The windy Waters: Rescue at Sea

Floating On The Azov

A dull grey of dawn captures the present sky, with storm clouds receeding but leaving a constant reminder of the nights previous perils. For miles in all direction, there is only the fresh water of the Azov Sea in sight. Not a speck of land, just the constant churning and rolling waters. Except in one spot, some aimless miles away from any charted course that a sailor would take, there are pieces of debris scattered to the winds. It is evident that something happened in the mile or so radius that the debris has spread, all that remains of a ship and her crew. Small pieces and a few bodies… with the ship long gone under.

The churning waters of the Azov had claimed many lives in one night. Countless men went to their watery graves, including the Captain of the Windy Waters and most of the passengers, some which had been starcraft students. The night spent out on the sea was a rough one, constantly having to battle the swells of water and the coldness of. It sapped energy from a man, yet it wasn't cold enough to kill all on its own, it would take prolonged exposure to serve as a ruthless killer. There wasn't much larger pieces of debris floating as one would suspect, since the ship had capsized and stole mostly everything under with her. Only a few things that would've bobbed to the surface, have, along with pieces of the railing and small boards or planks that let loose when the ship went down.

Landers is currently swimming with a board under his arm toward the hollaring Ryeokie, trying to use his one aching arm to paddle himself over to the other survivors. His eyes despondently searched the bobbing waters for further signs of his crewmates, unable to see above the rolling of the waves long enough to pinpoint if there had been any. A defeated scowl rests on his features as he manages to swim the length it takes to get over to Ryeokie and Pyriel, sharing a pitiful look between them. He mutters something of a reassurance, though his usual jovial tone is no where near that now, something much less and wretched speaks in a choked up voice to them, "Ya made it.. ta see the sun… Tis a good thing…"

Alerted to the conditions and the possibility of wrecks, the Weyr's mustered teams to fly sweeps far out over Azov's waters to check for the ships listed out by more than one harbor master. The ones unaccounted for as of yet, in the wake of the blow. As morning shifts to mid-morning, one of those sweeps passes by overhead, dragons casting weak shadows on the waves to announce their presence.

Pyriel had woken up from being unconscious sometime in the middle of the night. He found himself tied to Ryeokie with a rope of all things and floating on his back in the water. There was a moment of stillness just looking up at the sky and feeling the water, and then all of sudden he was sputtering and panicked. Grasping out at anything, he could to hold onto. Wait, there was some debris right there right? Despite a spitting headache, he reaches out and grasps the broken piece of ship. He though he had been done for to be honest, not that he was sad to be alive. He instantly looks for Ryeokie now, quick movement of head and eyes.

Still tied by the waist, the crafter is not far off, drifting on his own piece of ship debris. From the look in his eyes, Ryeokie hasn't slept since the ship sank. Black hair is wet, sticking to his forehead and barring his vision in the most uncomfortable of ways. But even with the curtain of hair and lack of spectacles, its hard to miss Pyriel's flailing. A hand snakes out, grasping the boy firmly by the wrist. "Don't fidget, brat. You'll send us both do—" The crafter stops midsentence as a shadow envelops them. Dark eyes shoot upwards and a weary smile crosses his face before Ryeo looks down, seeking out the seacrafter apprentice as he swims closer. "We /did/ make it Lan. And they're here. They found us!"

Back in Xanadu the Weyrwoman has organized things, the Caverns have been made ready should sweeps report the worst. The Kitchens have huge pots of stew simmering, extra quantities of hot cider and klah on hand. The Infirmary is at the ready with trained aides and several extra Journeymen from Healer Hall at Fort Hold flown South to the Weyr just in case. Blankets are being warmed in electric units. Reports are flying back and forth via the airwaves to the radio in the Administration Hallway and by dragon-voice to Seryth. Thea paces the hall, restless….

Pyriel was freezing, and his teeth chattering now that he was awake and aware of the goings on. Wide gold eyes flicker here and there with really no real purpose other than to perhaps help him look as if he was experiencing a touch of shock. The grab to his wrist and Ryeokie's voice is comforting of course, and the Harper almost seems glad to see Landers as well before shadows overhead signal the rescue. The tug of the rope tied around him pulls the drifting blond towards where the starcrafter was swimming. Already he was telling himself, never again would he set foot on a boat. Ever.

Sloshing up near the two other crafters, Landers tries to take in the sight of the sea around them, disheartened by the lack of noise. Bracing himself up against the shipboard, he was likely doing more than that, stilling his heart from the loss that was yet to settle in. The fact that Ryeokie and Pyriel had made it, gave him hope though, however small a sliver of hope it was. If two who weren't in the sea craft could make it, others could too… Gritting his teeth together, he let himself dangle there in the water, resting his chin up on the plank of board he had managed to get a hold of; a part of the railing that was blown off when the mast fell. The words from Ryeokie then have him lift his head up, water-puckered hand used to shield his eye from the brightness of the dawn clouded sky. "Ya sure…?" is all he manages to get out, before sharing a wary smile with the others, not wanting to hold hope too tightly to his chest until he knows it was for real and not some trick of the imagination.

There's not much to see on the water's surface, but the motion of swimmers catches the attention of one of the flyers and the wing breaks right in unison, flies back over the wreckage site, lower this time and the lead rider waves: they've been spotted. Word is passed back to the Weyr and Inimeth reaches out to other dragons including Azaeth, mustering riders to come assist the sweep. Word is passed to Seryth as well.

It's been some time since K'ael has run any sweeps. Since he was last in Xanadu, really. It's hard for him not to bark orders at the other riders he flies out with after Inimeth's call. Azaeth has experience rescuing though, and K'ael then feels obligated to assist. The big bronze leads a pack of hodge-podge riders out to where everyone is clinging to hunks of ship.

Ryeokie frowns, because he isn't sure, not at all anymore. It was only one night and half a day they had been floating there, but his mind seemed to already be playing tricks on him. His head tilts upwards, as arms hooked over the wood steady him. "Maybe not…No, it's them, no cloud or delusion can fly in that kind of formation!" One arm lets go of the wood, reaching to the sky and waving. For the first time in a long while, the crafter's trademark half-moon eye smile appears. Ryeo clasps the seacrafter on the shoulder and directs his grin towards Landers, "They'll get us back. And they'll find the rest of them. More survived, and they'll be brought back. Safe." At Py's movement, the starcrafter also pulls on the rope, bringing him closer and slinging an arm around the boy. "And don't you ever go unconcious again you hear?"

There's no one to tell her to stay put by the radio. Not this time. The Junior Weyrwomen and Assistant Headwomen have things well in-hand and Thea? She can't remain idle one more second! When Seryth passes that message from Inimeth, the Weyrwoman strides for the door, a terse word or two with the other goldriders shared and then she's out and sprinting for Seryth. The pair lift off while she's still buckling her harness… and appear from Between on the last coordinates given by the sweepriders. She's a little to the rear and higher aloft, leaning to scan the water while biting her lower lip. She has no Search and Rescue training and thus, after alerting the Weyrleader that she is here, awaits directives.

Among those in K'ael's hodge podge, D'son has actually ceded leadership to the other bronzerider, probably given that the pair have more recent experience with S&R. « Haul up by ropes? » Inimeth queries on behalf of his rider, though the question is audible to all dragons and Dels follows it up with the manual signal over K'ael's way, unaware of Thea and Seryth for the moment.

Pyriel was looking like he was trying to figure out what had happened really, but it wasn't exactly difficult to put the pieces together. His hair was stuck salty to his head with dried seawater so wide eyed, he clings to his chunk of ship and remains very quiet indeed, occasionally looking upwards at the dragons circling. At least he thought they were drago….oh wait yes, someone was waving. His attention returns then to Ryeokie and Landers as he is pulled over with the rope, not really doing much to help other then kick his legs a little bit. He lowers his chin to the weathered wood he clings to. "I'm glad you're both all right." he murmurs, perhaps to the sea for that is where he's currently focusing.

Some of the riders circle in large loops about the area the three are in, looking for further survivors. « Since when are you afraid of getting a little wet? » Azaeth passes along to Inimeth. Then to everyone comes Azaeth's booming voice. « Those who can make the flight back without betweening will take survivors. Everyone else is to redouble the search efforts in this area. » Even if K'ael can keep his trap shut, Azaeth wasn't about to take a backseat. He's the first to head down to the water and swim over to where everyone is floating.

Landers seems slaked of energy, putting more of his weight on the board than he otherwise ought. The fact that he worked all night in the blistering storm and then survived his way through nearly drowning, gave him reason not to lift his arm and wave as swiftly as Ryeokie. He merely sighed against the board, closing his eyes as the slop of water brushed up against his face. Only the clasp of a hand upon his shoulder shook him awake, his eyes darting where directed, noticing the formation that starts to build over them. The starcrafter's words put the sailor to shame, for Landers has to force himself to believe it, force himself to think that others had made it. Shivering despite himself, he hugs that chunk of ship as the adrenaline acquired to survive fades now that their salvation had come upon dragonback, causing even more strength to dwindle. "Tell 'em ta hurry.. 'n quit staring at us so long.. sharding frozen…" a grumble from Landers, something to say to console himself and keep awake.

Ryeokie smirks at the harper. Oh yes, now that the rescue team is here, the starcrafter is back to his smart aleck self. "You can't rid of us that easily brat." Ryeokie reaches out and unceremoniously ruffles Py's already mussed up hair. But then his attention turns towards the usually jovial sailor. The crafter digs out another smile and brightens the tone of his speech. Though how convincing his voice sounds is up for question. "They'll get us soon enough. And hey, now you get to see that friend you made over at the weyr again!" Ryeo directs a slow wink at the crafter. He either can't read the atmosphere or doesn't want to. The second seems more likely.

Since Thea hasn't the experience at spotting bodies at a distance and discerning them from wreckage, Seryth dips a wing, gliding lower to skim the sea's surface with just enough clearance given her great wings to pump without disturbing what's below. The queen flies slowly, an occasional but strong wingbeat keeping her aloft while Thea continues to search the flotsam. Azaeth's splashdown is vaguely noted, but the Weyrwoman is focused on her search. Such that it is. If she's not doing it right, at least she means well?

« To avoid possibly swamping some of the swimmers, » Inimeth points out. « It would be perhaps more prudent to … » he trails off as Azaeth goes floating right on down. D'son meanwhile is uncoiling a rope from Inimeth's straps and directs the two other riders nearest him to skim down in similar fashion to Thea. « Take the one nearest you, » Inimeth suggests to Azaeth while D'son signals to the others to adopt a hovering pattern for a scoop and sweep of the 8 in the water, including Landers, Pyriel and Ryeokie. Just his luck, D'son is probably going to wind up with Mister Grumps-alot.

Landers lets his gaze settle on the two crafters, frowning not at them, but at the fact that others of his crew weren't there to celebrate with him. Of the eight that make it, only four others will be from the ship's crew. Landers settles for a nod to the starcrafter and a quiet smirk that flashes briefly on his face for the promise of seeing the bluerider again. Unlike the star-gazer, the seacrafter was letting the reality of the situation sink into his heart now that rescue had arrived, eyes showing the inner turmoil caused by questions that were to go unanswered. In humor though, as if to shake off some of the disturbing thoughts running through his mind, he comically adds in a dry tone, "I reckon I deserve more than a blanket ta warm me up." He groans when he lobs more of his weight on the board, shifting his shoulder that he previously used to break a fall, taking note of the pain that lances through it, hissing, "Arg.. 'n some proof rum.. lots of it…"

Pyriel isn't so Mr.Grumpy right now, there were other things on his mind then the things that made him grumpy, like his head hurting and being freezing. He says nothing at being teased by Ryeokie this time, not even a flicker of the fire he usually he had in him. He just goes quiet and floats there.

There are several more splashdowns as other survivors are spotting clinging to the floating debris left from the ship. Thankfully Azaeth touches water far enough to avoid swamping, and instead swims over. Poor Ryeokie is stuck with the gargantuan bronze, who is mostly submerged other than his neck above where his rider is perched. He's grabbed by the back of his shirt by K'ael and literally plucked from the water like a claw-machine. As long as there isn't any struggling, and Rye's shirt holds out (hopefully he's wearing one, otherwise K'ael might grab something else) he hoists him up onto Azaeth's neck in front of himself. It's not far, thankfully, since he's down in the water. "Up we go."

Seryth spots the problem before either hers or Azaeth’s rider is aware, takes the initiative even as she's alerting Thea of what she's going to do. They're but a few lengths from where Azaeth floats and so the queen's motion takes her directly over where Pyriel is now being dragged by that attached rope to Ryeokie. The unsuspecting Harper is carefully scooped up in her foreclaws while Thea, leaning off the other side, slices that hampering rope with her bootknife. Yay turnday presents - this one came in handy. And Pyriel? If he hasn't fainted yet? He might well now, for the boy is now skimming above the water cradled in a dragon's talons.

Ryeokie is taken by surprise at the sudden bustle around him. "Wha? Oh!" As he's hauled up, realization finally hits him and he settles down without much of a fight. There's a quick glance backward and a flash of the boy's goofy grin towards the rider. "Thanks!" But that's about all Rye has energy to say. He soon lapses into a tired silence, watching as the Weyrwoman and Seryth rescue the harper. The motion just earns an appreciative widening of the eyes and a nod.

And Landers must look like a fish! The seacrafter bobs there while he gets sloshed about by the movement around him, turning his eyes toward the mounted riders with a scowl for those that come too close and fail to rescue him all the same. He slips on the board, almost losing hold of it, during a precision swim to keep himself from getting swamped by the dragons stirring up more swells. His head nearly goes under before he catches himself with a quick tread, fingernails clawing to the board as he sputters a cough or two.

Pyriel is…moving? The blond watched with a sort of shock induced detachment as Ryeokie is starting to get pulled away and the harper apprentice along too thanks to the rope that connected them, its the sensation of being lifted though from the freezing cold water that has him blinking. He looks down at the golden foreclaws that scoop him up out of the sea. Another series of blinks and the rope is cut, and he glances over his shoulder. It's Thea of all people. He manages, despite his lips being rather blue, to take on a slightly pink tint before he's then skimming the water in Seryth's talons. Yep, lights out.

"We'll get rope down to you," D'son calls to Landers, "sling it under your arms when it touches down and I'll haul you up," he says and loops the rescue harness securely to Inimeth's straps then lowers it down carefully so as not to splash the man in the face. There's a leather padding across the loop where arms could sling through.

Other survivors are being dealt with in like fashion all around though there aren't many of them: two are hauled up in similar fashion to Landers, two others are scooped up by dragon talons, being unconscious on boards and the last two are hauled up in similar fashion to Ryeokie.

Once it looks like everyone is out of the water, then it's time for the fun fly back to Xanadu! Hopefully they're not too far out to sea. K'ael has a good grip on Ryeokie, though he's pretty quiet so the bronzer is a little worried he might be dead. But that means Azaeth is flying extra fast to get him back to the weyr. Hot klah and blankets for everyone!

Wary of the motions surrounding him, Landers casts an eye up to the harness that descends for him, gladly slipping his arm around that than the board he was clinging to for a whole night. Fumbling hands attempt to grab onto any spare rope or padding to secure himself to, noticing then when he starts to be retreived from the sea that there were others. "Thank.. Faranth…" he whispers, clutching firm to the rescue harness.

Now that she's got him, Seryth isn't sure… To Inimeth, « What do we do with him now? » Because they can't go *Between* with the boy sopping wet and they're miles from shore. Shifting an unconscious boy from claws to her back where the blankets are stowed might be a little tricky; a maneuver they're untrained for. For her part, Thea is peering down at poor Pyriel there with concern, before sending D'son an appealing look.

« Bring him over to Caradoth and release him gently onto his back. His rider will hold the boy, » is Inimeth's direction, likely conveyed from D'son who makes explanatory gestures, albeit briefly because he's got a Landers to haul up out of the water. It shouldn't take too long and he tries to make the ride as smooth as possible, leaning down to offer the man a hand up onto Inimeth's back more properly when he's within reaching distance. "Tough way to spend a night," the weyrleader says sympathetically. "Got blankets and hot klah in here," he tilts his head in the direction of a satchel also strap-attached.

Sucking in a sharp breath, Landers ignores the momentary tightness against his chest that causes a bit of pain, wanting to badly be out of the water enough that it was worth enduring. Soon enough the water logged sailor reaches out with his good arm, clasping hands with the Weyrleader and leaning his chest forward, grappling himself upward onto Inimeth's hide. There's a distinctive panting heard once Landers is on the dragon, exhausted not from the climb up but for the last ounces of his energy it took to do it. "Aye…" he murmurs with a forlorn tone, looking toward the other dragons, "How many?" is all he asks, mindless of the blankets and hot klah offered, which will be attended to in short order. His main concern is for his brethren, tilting over to view the debris field and what was left of a livelihood.

D'son helps get Landers situated with some directions about where to put his legs, then turns to get the thermos out of the satchel, hands that to the sailor first, then unrolls a blanket to cover him with for the trip back to the Weyr. He pauses though, blanket half-unrolled as he touches base with Inimeth and through him the other. "Eight all told," he says quietly, relaying the news once the rescuers have secured all immediately visible survivors.

Seryth's wingbeats sound loud in the early morning air as she rises higher in altitude to meet up with Caradoth. The queen glides in behind the other dragon, steadying herself as she extends her forearms and slowly releases her catch into the waiting arms of the rider, who wraps the unconscious lad in blankets, securing him in both straps - and her arms to help warm him up. Seryth flies off to one side now, accompanying them on the trip home, ready to take on a passenger should one of the other dragons tire and need to go *Between* to get home faster.

"Eight…" Landers reiterates in a miserable whisper as the numbers sink in, numbly accepting the thermos as he repeats the number in a whisper several more times, "Just… just.. eight…" The shock of the ordeal starting to take its toll on the young sailor. Absently he also pulls the blanket around his shoulders, shuddering up against D'son's back as he lowers his head and closes his eyes, whispering the number over and over.
K'ael wraps his own blankets around Ryeokie, who has apparently also passed out from exhaustion. But it's making the bronzer a bit distraught. He wasn't expecting to pull a bunch of teenagers out of the water. Were there other children on board? « Ours might be dead. » There's no way the bronzer will be able to be sure until they're back at the weyr.

"I'm sorry," D'son says quietly, not coming up with anything more meaningful just now. He makes sure Landers is as comfortable as he can make him, then signals the others who were nearest up into formation once more. A final pass is made over the choppy waters, then the wing of riders heads back to the Weyr to deliver patients to the infirmary and the care of the healers.

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