The Fisher's Lure!

The Fisher's Lure
Deep within the bayou near Ressac Seahold, off a small inlet barely large enough for a rowboat, there's a pathway of planks, their suspicious soundness clearly intended to keep one's boots free from the brackish water underneath during all but the highest tides. The path weaves through groves lined with ominous moss, a trail that wends and winds long enough that one might start to wonder if this is a road to nowhere before the forest breaks onto a little beach. The strand is dominated mostly by the remains of a wrecked ship, once forgotten but recently reclaimed by some enterprising souls with a mind for entertainment. Come on the right night and music can be heard well before you spot the vessel, carrying eerily over the dark water.

There's no door to the 'inside', just a curtain draped over what was once a cargo hold. A handful of small tables have been jammed into most of the limited space. If the moons are out, at least half seem to be filled with the roughest sort of seafarers and holders one could imagine playing a variety of cards and dice games. If one prefers not to test their luck, libations can be had as well at the bar tucked away in the corner, kept right next to where the proprietor Kifean tends his books (and takes wagers as well… or possibly extends some credit if one is willing to ask and has collateral to put up…)

It's hard to keep up with Yunia through the swamp as the speeds she's running it seems she could be part frog or something. Those boards however, still give a major clue for which direction Sh'y's search should head in even when the crafter's disappeared from sight into the gloomy forest. For the path Byvero picks out, it does seem a bit better kept and a bit higher out of the muck, but there's a persistent buzz of vtols in the air as they head through the swamp.

Sh'y is doing his best to keep up — and will even sacrifice some stealth for speed, if necessary. The last thing he wants is to end up lost in the swamp. Kovagath continues his 'lazy' loops overhead, craning his neck to scan the forest and try to keep his eye on Sh'y and the mystery woman, directing him whenever possible (even if it's probably impossible thanks to the trees).

K'vir likely feels similar to others in regards to Javier and his current situation; if the teen is where he wants to be, well … who are they to meddle further? They're tasked with finding him and the bronzerider is willing to take that literally. Find, but not drag him back kicking and screaming — unless he's at risk or in danger. As for any smuggling or other illicit trade? K'vir could turn a blind eye to some if Byvero's help proves worthwhile. Only fair, right? "Just the kid." he confirms without hesitation to the man. Glancing sidelong to D'lei, he'll nod subtly. Shall they? Since it seems they're to be lead on a different path. There's a quirked brow for the mention of Kifean, but K'vir doesn't press their would-be guide for elaboration. Yet.

Just when both groups might think the swamp is endless, draconic eyes above notice a break in the tree cover. Are ships supposed to be within even swampy forests? Or… having the curving bits of their hulls facing the sky? Indistinct voices can also be heard through the trees, although the water does weird things with acoustics…

Off they go! Through the trees and muds, toward… well, whatever it is. Some people won't be happy, but hey. The dragonriders just want the kid, right? So they'll edit this out of their memories… not that it ever really works that way, so Kifean may be right to be mad, but… that's a problem for future-them. And it's not D'lei's problem anymore at all, really, so he just focuses on jogging along after Byvero and attempting to not fall off into the swamp until… "Huh." That's all the comment he has for now, still mostly focused on not going for a squelchy-swim.

The benefits of not wearing a fancy-schmancy knot is that Sh'y doesn't really have to worry about all the other stuff. He has his mission: find the kid. He can def. pretend not to notice anything fishy (within reason, of course. He *does* have morals). His steps slow as he spies the… ship? Bar? Illicit Hangout Space? Whatever it is, it has his attention instead of Yunia, and he's happy to let her disappear into it and hang back, waiting for K'vir and D'lei. Overhead, Kovagath helpfully relays what Sh'y's seeing to the other bronzes, so everyone is nice and informed.

Could be worse? They could be going through a bog! Where a boardwalk would be absolutely necessary and any deviation would end in more than just soggy footwear. K'vir is keeping some attention on the path, but also the rest of their immediate surroundings when possible. Noting landmarks, perhaps? He'll make a similar low throated hum of observation as D'lei, lips pressing into a thin line as his jaw tenses. Not quite what he was expecting! "This is the Lure?" he asks of their would-be guide, gaze shifting to Byvero. That there are other voices in the trees has him wary, but not immediately defensive. Zekath will pick up Kovagath's relay, informing the blue that they've arrived at that same oddly positioned ship.

Soon enough, the riders get an even better view than the dragons have. One of the wider rivers off the sea wound through the swamp enough to eventually come to this rather surprising beach. Some sort of misfortune long ago seems like it must have befallen the ship, much too big to be one of the standard river vessels and more accustomed to open waters now stranded side up in the swamp.
Stranded, but certainly not abandoned as Byvero gives a nod. "Yep, that there's the Fishers' Lure. End up tempting more marks out of ya than ya ever should spend." A familiar head that could be Yunia can be seen darting through the curtain that serves as a door over what was once the cargo hold.

It could always be worse, much like it's always complicated somehow. Life's just a matter of figuring out how and doing what one can about it! D'lei glances to the sides, trying to reconcile dragon-transmitted pictures with their immediate surroundings to figure out Sh'y's exact position… though it's clear enough they're all coming to the same place, and his gaze focuses on the stranded hulk to take it in. Byvero's comment makes him grin. "Ha. Isn't that always the way of it? You go to celebrate your successes, and then the next night you need to drown your sorrows over spending too much…"

It could be that Sh'y spots the group before the group spots him, being a single individual rather than a crowd. As soon as he does though, he's heading that way — he's pretty sure the giant, stranded ship isn't going anywhere. "Not sure what all the fuss is about," he admits once he's close enough to talk. Byvero gets a bit of a squint but that's about it from the bluerider. "So. What are we walking into?"

Never say never, Sh'y! K'vir smirks faintly for Byvero's remark, while nodding to the man, appreciative for the immediate response. It may be that the humor is more reserved for D'lei's answer, one he doesn't follow up on. His attention has drifted back to that ship, the movement by the curtained entrance and just trying to take stock of the whole situation thus far — and just how to continue approaching. "Not sure." And there's no way he's just going to blindly march them all inside there! He'll glance wordlessly to Sh'y, then D'lei. Ready? To Byvero, he levels a neutral look as he waits on the man's answer to Sh'y's question. Time to elaborate! Or spill more information.

"Its… the Lure," Byvero's lost his words a bit as he gestures to the wrecked ship as it should be self-evident. But seeing as how none of the others have actually been inside the wrecked ship, he eventually continues. "Drinking, gambling, sometimes some fights. It's gets a little rough sometimes, but that's what makes it exciting. But Holders and y'all dragonfolk always so tight on rules and stuff…" The man gives a shrug. "We tried to keep this off the sweep-paths, ya know?"

The glances from K'vir and Sh'y - laden with meaning as they are - are certainly noted by D'lei, gaze met for the moments it takes to assure that he's here and… well, hopefully he's ready. Who knows? For the most part, his posture stays casual, in keeping with the tone of his words to Byvero, and as the others ask for more details, he lets his gaze drift over to the swamped ship itself while he waits for them to ask and be answered. The answer, when it comes, gets a nod. "So's snobby Holders don't take offense at having a drink spilled on their fancy clothes." He gets it! Which is to say, it's probably not the sort of place he'd go drinking without a buddy, lest he wake up with empty pockets and a headache that might or might not be from the booze, but he would expect to wake up.

Sh'y is as ready as one can be, when they expect to go searching for a missing person and instead uncover an illicit establishment. "And you're sure the kid's in here?" is the next question because, really, that's the most important one. It's why they're here, after all. "A'right then." Time to see if he's really lost or just having fun. There's a tip of his head toward the ship, and while he's not affecting the same casual-relaxed as some, he's at least not exuding any real menace. Just… on guard.

"Understandable." K'vir keeps his responses brief and straight to the point, but his tone lacks any edge or terseness; it's simply how he is! A man of few words, even if he has the fancy knot~ D'lei is doing well enough in engaging in lighter comments and Sh'y delivers the good questions. Leaving him to observe without having to stress concern himself with keeping Byvero talking (and at ease). Until something does come up that has him amending with a low spoken not-quite suggestion to Byvero: "If you'll step inside then." With all of them to follow right behind! No easy escape for the man, if they are to be heading into the Lure. An establishment that, while better kept unknown, is not the sort (so far) to have K'vir up in arms about the discovery of it. Gambling dens are nothing new!

D'lei's observation gets a grin and a nod from Byvero. That one, he certainly seems to have it. For Sh'y's question, he just gives a shrug. "I ain't exactly seen him today. Could have snuck out in the bayou with Tievara, but then she'd be in trouble with Kiefan if she ain't tending the bar tonight so… chances are he's in there." The same name again, with a particular emphasis on Keifan's as if there's no doubt he's the guy in charge. When K'vir asks him to step on in, he gives a sigh and one last glance at the three riders before stepping on in.

Inside the ship, there's enough glow baskets to illuminate but it's still on the gloomy side, and takes a moment to adjust from coming from the slightly brighter outside. A few small tables have been jammed into the cargo hold, early enough that only a few are occupied although any of the dragonpoker games come to an abrupt end as all eyes turn to the crowd that just came in. At the bar, there's two figures, a young woman currently wiping out a few mugs and checking the stock on her bottles, and an older man with a jagged nose that's definitely been broken more than a few times. If anybody thought Byvero would be doing the introductions well… they'd be sorely mistaken. He quickly sidesteps behind the dragonriders (or tries to, the space is tight) while tilting his head. "If Zavier's been here today, Keifan there's the one to ask."

D'lei takes the spot following immediately after Byvero, his posture still casual. That way, the people inside have a chance to get used to there being strangers here before the more wary riders arrive! D'lei glances around as he enters, with a slight smile as he meets all those staring eyes, and ambles his way across to the man Byvero indicates. "Keifan, is it?" he asks, with an affable smile but enough sharpness to his gaze to make it clear that he's not just oblivious. "I'll take one of whatever you suggest." He pulls out a handful of small marks, ready evidence of his willingness to pay for the barkeep's time. Maybe it'll put him in a better mood for when the other riders arrive with their questions?

There might be a moment of hesitation on the part of the bluerider, but whatever has him pausing at the curtain is brief. With a grit of teeth and a sigh of resignation, he soldiers in after D'lei and pauses just inside, letting his eyes adjust to the new light. Wary, sure, but only the healthy sort. The kind that says 'I'm keeping my eyes open because I've never been here before' rather than 'I'm way over my head'. He's only a *little* over his head on this. Ordering drinks might get a twitch of an eyebrow, but Sh'y's pretty sure he's not allowed to drink while 'on duty'. Plus. Well. He might be side-eyeing the state of things and wondering just how sanitary it might be.

The barkeep hesitates at the drink order, but there are marks on the counter. She shoots a glances over to Keifan and as the man gives a nod and she reaches for a bottle of dark rum and pours out a drink, taking all the marks he offered. No change! Once the drinks are given, Keifan unfolds from where he had been leaning against a stool. "Didn't come all this way just for a drink, did ya?"

Sometimes there are situations that call for some rule-bending! In this case, ordering drinks is not off the table. One (or two) won't hurt! and needed, to settle nerves from being stared at K'vir ignores the 'welcome' they receive and when Byvero has given that name yet again, he'll let the man scurry off with a parting nod (and maybe it's an unspoken thank you). Leaving D'lei to take the lead, he'll only gesture to indicate a desire for the same order; if he noticed that no change is supplied, he makes no comment. The marks he supplies should cover two drinks, the assumption being he's picking up one for Sh'y — if the bluerider declines, then it's two for him (and he can handle it). "Regrettably." K'vir answers Keifan with a half-grimaced smirk that is likely partly genuine too. Really, they're not here to cause trouble, even if this sort of … establishment might otherwise invite it. "Been looking for someone the past while. Young teen by the name of Zavier. Know him?" And now, he shows his stance on this whole matter in a slightly brazen or stupid move. "We're not here to drag him off." But they, or K'vir at least, wants his side of this story!

Fortunately, alcohol has disinfectant properties? As for drinking on duty… eh, D'lei has bent worse rules than that, so he's simply ignoring it! He smiles, just waiting out that awkward moment, and makes no complaint about the 'stranger' upcharge. "Thanks," he says to the barkeep, and lifts that glass of rum to her before taking a sip. Dark, strong, a bit rough… seems fitting. "Mmh. Suppose not," he answers Keifan, then glances to K'vir as the younger bronzerider arrives and says more. D'lei nods to it, and smiles as he adds his own confirmation. "Kid wants to stay here, that's fine… but we'd like to hear him say it."

Sh'y will at least hold the drink, but one or two sips is all he's going to take. Really, out of all of them, he's probably the one that stands out the most. He's definitely not cut out for the 'smile and make friends' part of this whole endeavor (things were so much easier when he was just flying around looking for a lost kid! He knows how to do that!). So he'll just kind of sidle up and do the 'keeping an eye out' thing while he lets D'lei and K'vir to all the talking bits.

Keifan doesn't need to say a word because right after K'vir mentions the name Zavier, the gawky teen with the straw blonde hair they'd been searching for all sevenday arrives carrying a crate of beer bottles on his shoulder that he sets on the counter and gives a bit of a hip bump to the bartender before she nudges him to the point to the riders. Zavier gives a glance at the three riders and looks like he might try to flee immediately, but D'lei's words catch his ears. "I'm saying it. I can't go back. If you're here, you met my mother…"

If only it were so simple and they could just all finish their drinks and leave it at that! K'vir is incredibly tempted to just close the whole case then and there … but he knows better. So while he gives a nod of understanding to Zavier, the fact that he knocks back the entirety of his drink should be warning enough. "We met her." Low opinion, there. Maybe that'll be their bonding point! He grimaces next, "We're not going to drag you back to whatever you're escaping from." It's just a little too far outside of their purview, really! "Can't promise the same for the next bunch that might be sent hunting for you. You're going have to help us out a bit, kid. A message, maybe, we can bring back?" Okay, not the best suggestion so he tips a look to D'lei and Sh'y. There's a gesture following that partially excuses him; he's no doubt focusing now on having Zekath call off any other would-be searchers … but keeping things on the heavily on the downlow. For now. The Wingsecond will still be there, of course, but likely much quieter as he mentally navigates a minefield of political snarls, their own duties and, of course, the dreaded ripple effect.

Really, Sh'y's got nothing. A letter is definitely what he'd suggest, so he seconds that with, "It would at least put her heart at ease that you're not dead in the woods somewhere." Helpful, maybe? "Doesn't hafta be much; just lettin' her know you're alive and happy. Don't even hafta say where you are." *He's* certainly not going to tell!

D'lei turns, looking to Zavier, and nods to him. The smile remains, the glass lifted again before he has another sip and gives another nod. "Or, if you're really certain of it… tell us how you died." That's where the smile slips, his expression shifting to something somber, yet still earnest. "Just… know that if you go that route, you're not just going to hurt her, you're going to hurt everyone there who's ever cared about you. Not going to say you can't change your mind, but… it'll be hard." He gives a wry half-smile, though there's something pained still lingering if you know how to see it. "Letter's kinder, in its way."

D'lei's offer of telling them how he died does seem to tempt the teen for a moment, but Zavier shakes it off and pours himself a drink. "She wouldn't believe it wihout seeing the body… and having the Masterhealer himself tell her five times." He gives a bit of a shrug. "But think I can get a letter, but… could you promise not to tell her where you found me? So she doesn't come trying to drag me away herself? After meeting Tievara here at a gather… well, I just couldn't go back to trying to live the life my parents demanded." The young couple squeezes their hands in a show of mutual support.

Sh'y shrugs. "I see no reason for her to know," he admits. "Our job was to find you. We found you." Mission accomplished. "You're alive and your wits are about you; not lost in the woods and dying of dehydration. And you're of age. Not really our place to step further into this." It's a lot of words from the man who doesn't talk much but hey, maybe he's just glad the kid's okay.

D'lei nods to Zavier. "Way I figure it, we came here, got ourselves a lead to… mmh, I'm thinking somewhere near Black Rock?" He glances to K'vir, noting his preoccupation, then returns his gaze to the teen to continue. "We can stop by there, let ourselves be seen, wander past the mines long enough to smear a bit of coaldust on the outside of your letter… and we'll let her draw her own conclusions from there."

"Black Rock, yeah. Like the sound of that. Gonna mention running off on a boat so… hopefully it's enough she'll stop looking," Zavier's plan probably won't last forever, but hopefully it'll last long enough that he can grow a bit more sure of himself.
"Great," concludes Sh'y. And even if he doesn't *sound* like he thinks it's great, he at least won't protest. This is fine. Not his problem. And he's saved from having to haul and unwilling son back to his overbearing mother. Sliding up to the bar, he'll claim himself a seat, knock back the drink, and hang out until the letter is written and they're ready to go.

Really, the point of this letter is partly just to get the fellow's overbearing mother to stop complaining to the Weyr! …okay, that's probably far, far too optimistic, but at least with a letter in hand, the Weyr leadership can feel somewhat more justified in ignoring those complaints. D'lei doesn't expect Zavier's mother to stop looking, but the misdirection may at least buy the teen some time… maybe enough for him to stand tall and prove he's been successful when the inevitable confrontation comes around. So, D'lei nods, with a smile and a lift of his glass. "Good." He sounds a bit more actually-approving than Sh'y did, and settles himself down similarly to await that letter… and coordinate a bit through dragon-linked backchannel with K'vir, while he does. The plan is afoot, and the problem is… kinda… solved.

Zavier doesn't have to look far for pen and paper. Keifan is more than willing to spare some from his supplies if it will get those riders out of hsi hair. The letter is short, but to the point, but that won't stop Nerriam from continuing to demand people bring back her boy but well… Risali and R'hyn have done more than the Weyr's duties. None of the other holds will blame them either. And eventually, eventually the demands for help looking for someone who doesn't want to be found more than he was already found. And while the Fisher's Lure might not be the most welcoming location for dragonriders ever, they will bregudgingly accept rider's marks as long as they're willing to abide by the house rules!

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