Off Course

Lost Island - Remote Peak

As you continue to follow the trail up, the thick jungle gives way to low-growing shrubs, the path is now a faint trace of black pumice cinder that crunches underfoot. The lush grasses here ripple in the continual winds off the ocean that brings with it the faint sound of surf pounding the reef afar off. From this height, the land appears folded in verdant blocks and crevasses, tumbling to the distant white beaches far below, the surf a lace collar that borders the aquamarine of the ocean.

It's late afternoon on the nameless tropical island. Thea and D'had's words over whether the Weyrsecond needed numbweed for sore muscles likely awoke N'shen, unless he was awake already. Breakfast has been eaten, perhaps a nice swim in the clear waters of the falls pool. The dragons lounge on the beach below by the cove, enjoying their ease and so far unvisited by their riders. It's a bit of a hike to the peak that Thea has in mind, perhaps not all the way to the top, but high enough that they can get a good view of the island and the sea below. After some discussion, and an hour's effort, the three find themselves on a west-facing ridge above the treeline, having taken their time on the walk for various reasons. Thea's had to stop here to have a look at this flower, there to peek at that butterfly among other things.

The breeze on the ridge is cooling, the seas below aqua-brilliant under the tropical sun and unlike the night before, tranquil. But there is something out on the water - the sail of a tall ship moving steadily eastward. Its course looks as to bypass the island.

D'had has let Thea and N'shen take the lead on the hike up, letting them set the pace. Thea's habit of stopping here and there might be a good part of the reason for such. He hasn't had much to say along the way, but then again when does he ever. Coming up onto the ridge however he stops, peering out over the water towards that ship far out on the water.

N'shen is merely along for the ride, and nearly as reticent as his father, though he's clearly enjoying the trek, giving every evidence of enjoyment at the things Thea points out, and offering observations of his own. However, his attention seems slightly torn, the unfocused look that occasionally creeps into his eyes hinting that Taozyuth is offering his own commentary.

Thea isn't as talkative as she might normally be, but she has managed to comment now and then to N'shen, or ask D'had questions he may or may not be able to answer. All done with a breezy ease and a glance back under her lashes to see if the Weyrsecond is doing alright, or maybe she's just gauging his mood after that numbweed discussion. When they're at the ridge, she's letting her backpack slide to the ground and rotating her neck to ease it, eyes closed while the breeze dries the beads of perspiration from her temples. When pale eye open it's to the sight of D'had peering at something and her gaze follows his to sweep the panorama. The sails catch her eye and she makes a sound of delight, her question half-hopeful, "Is it the Vega Run?" She knows it's a longshot, but…

D'had's attention stays fixed on that ship for a moment longer. His reply to that question comes first in the form of a shake of his head. "No," he adds a second later. That's one ship he'd know on sight even at the distance this one currently is. "Whoever it is they're off course." At least by the routes he knows. A shake of his head and he pulls his attention back to the other two. "Should be a good place for lunch. Hmm?"

N'shen's attention fixes briefly on the ship, and he studies it curiously, but a stray butterfly catches his eye and his gaze goes unfocused as Taozyuth studies the fluttering insect through his rider's vision. Mention of lunch, however, causes the boy's stomach to rumble and he shakes his head, recalling himself back to his parents. "Food?" he asks hopefully, in the manner of all constantly-starving boys.

Sad. No impromptu family reunion. Thea is disappointed, but still enjoying the majestic sight, so keeps her eyes on the ship for the time being. As to lunch, she has no objections at all. Absently, "Yeah, sure. Lunch sounds good." She turns an enquiring look at N'shen, "Are you hungry?" Silly question, that, as proved by the boy's response at the same time she speaks and it's with a grin she tells him, "Coming right up!" She's bending to retrieve her pack, noting cheerfully, "I have meatrolls with the sweet-spiced meats, cheese, fruit and more bubbly pies." Food that's easy to eat on trail.

It's a whisper from the sea, just audible over the sound of the breeze through the trees below them and the muted sound of the rhythmic surf far below. The sound becomes a steady rush, louder, although from their high point it's not all that much. On the horizon the sea heaves, a long ripple of sorts moving with incredible speed towards the island - and the ship is in its path.

D'had chuckles. Hungry? Of course, but then that's already said between N'shen and Thea. "Ready for anything, hmm?" he teases the woman lightly about her preparations for their adventure. And then its his turn to unfocus as some conversation passes silently between Siebith and himself.

"Food." N'shen's vocabulary is distinctly one-sided at the moment, as his firm statement reflects. He flashes a grin at Thea, his teeth white against his klah-colored skin - darker than ever with the tan he's acquired of late - and he moves up to offer her help, or perhaps just to ensure he's the first to receive the goodies. Either way, he's much more interested in stoking the hunger in his belly than he is in whatever the sea is doing.

Thea's teeth flash in a cocky grin over her shoulder at D'had. "Apparently I am." Her eyes dance with a bit of devilment as she teases right back, "I bought the numbweed too." She's not from the tropics and so ascribes the faint sound to wind or waves, not really aware of anything amiss, she's delving in the pack with nothing but lunch on her mind. She offers N'shen a wrapped packet of meatrolls, nodding to the waterskins piled underneath, "Help yourself." She rises with D'had's packet, arm outstretched to hand them to him.

D'had glances towards Thea, a hint of a glare there at her mention of having brought the numbweed. Why would they need such a thing? Really now. Soon enough he's looking back out in the direction of that ship and again paying little attention to family, that packet of lunch going ignored.

N'shen doesn't ignore his lunch, though at least he doesn't tear into it like a ravenous wolf. However, it doesn't take long for him to reduce his meal to naught but crumbs, which are quickly swept from his hands with a few judicious wipes against his pants. The remains of the wrappings are stowed in his bag, and he takes a long pull from one of the waterskins before replacing it in the pile. "Food," he says with satisfaction, grinning foxily at Thea. "S'wrong, D'had?" he asks, noting the other man's inattention to his meal.

It's not the little bit of a glare D'had's giving her that has Thea blinking. No, that draws a hastily-covered laugh-turned-cough and a half-wink at N'shen. "Don't forget the bubblies." He's still growing after all. But the Weyrsecond is ignoring -food- and that's unusual enough that it has her arm dropping and she's then rising to step towards where D'had is and peer out over the ocean in the direction he's staring. There's a little 'huh' when she notes he's got his eye on that ship. Mildly, "Something wrong?" She hasn't noticed anything, but then the sea isn't something she knows well enough to spot trouble.

The 'ripple' sweeps onward and although unheard from up here is apparently spotted by the crew, for there's sudden activity on board the vessel. Sails are trimmed and the craft begins to swing slowly to meet the wave, an attempt to ride over the crest. The maneuver is much too slowly and executed too late…

D'had shakes his head. "Somthin' ain't right…" Not that he's sure just yet, what it is, but there's something off about it all. Its just about then that he realizes along with the crew of the ship just what it is. "That," he notes, lifting a hand to point out the surging water.

N'shen studies the incoming ship, but he's completely clueless when it comes to sailing or the sea, and eventually he shrugs. As the adults are otherwise occupied with such matters, he wanders off a few feet, his two firelizards circling lazily above his head as he curiously studies a plant.

Thea glances at D'had's hand and adjusts her sighting, looking beyond the ship. At first she sees nothing, having not seen what hit them last night, it takes her a moment to understand what she's seeing. The dark, long curl is unmistakably unusual, however and her eyes widen, her startled cry is cut off as she watches it race their way. "Should we help-"

Too late for them to offer - the wave slams the ship, causing the vessel to shudder as it is lifted and then turned partially as white fury boils around the craft. It doesn't capsize, but is carried backwards towards the island where it runs aground finally, left behind on a shoal off the west beach as the wave continues to engulf the beach far up into the trees and then wrap around the island and continue on off towards the east. The impact causes the ground to tremble even up here on the ridge while on the other side the cove is, the dragons are aware.

D'had shakes his head at that question of hers. "No time," he replies just as it hits. Not much that they could have done to help anyway, even with the assistance of dragons. "Could," he suggests after a long moment of silence while watching the ship as it's pushed ashore, "check it out though… See if everyone's okay.."

"Carefully," N'shen murmurs, leaving off his inspection of the plant to rejoin his parents. Taozyuth is listening in - this much is obvious from the abstracted look in the young bronzerider's eyes. "You didn't recognize the sails, right? But we should check, at least. It's our duty." The words may be coming from his mouth, but there's a definite feel of old-wise-man-in-bronze-body intervention here.

Thea's hands lift to grip D'had's forearm without thought, her eyes are affixed on the scene below, the color slowly draining from her face. She winces as the ship is hit, but N'shen's words about sails reminds her: "Can you make out anything with your spyglass, Donn? A nameplate, anything?" Maybe he will recognize the captain or some of the men? Aloud, she negates Seryth's liftoff, "Wait for Siebith's lead." This is beyond weyr management and falls under sweeps or search and rescue, so she's looking to the Weyrsecond.

There's plenty of activity on that foundered ship, for the water keeps coming from the sea as though it were a huge tub that had been tilted, the ocean pours over the decks and continues to rise on shore. Far below the ridge there's the sound of trees cracking and groaning and then the water rushes back from whence it came and then some with a mighty sucking sound, carrying downed trees, broken limbs, vines and leaves with it. The receding waters finally do roll the ship onto it's side, exposing the hull and leaving it on bare sand as the sea ebbs out beyond what is normal. There's no waiting from the crew. They're leaping off and running ashore as the sea begins to return.

D'had shakes his head again. "Not one I know." Then again he hasn't spent so much time on the docks in a good number of turns. It doesn't occur to him to pull out the spyglass until Thea mentions it. "Wanna grab it there?" he asks, motioning towards his pack. "Should be on top." He's still surveying the scene. Though if its through his own eyes or Siebith's as the blue takes off from the beach to sweep overhead, its hard to say.

N'shen is quiet, allowing the adults to handle the situation. He merely crouches on the ground, shielding his eyes with one hand to watch the drama unfold as Taozyuth keeps him updated with what Siebith is up to.

Thea flicks D'had's belt an odd look, but turns and hastens to the pack finding the instrument quickly enough, her lip caught between her teeth as she returns. Easy enough to see the crew scrambling ashore ahead of the returning tidal flow as she hands the spyglass over. "At least they didn't get caught in it, like- That's odd!" She breaks off as some of the figures below catch sight of Siebith, gesturing wildly and by the looks of things, they're not happy. Some hit the dirt, others find boulders to hunker down by while the rest take to the jungles. The ship is pushed further in now that it is on its side; well and truly grounded now.

D'had takes the glass and lifts it to look through and down towards the grounded ship. "Here," he starts after a moment, holding it over for N'shen, "What do you think?" The look he gives the boy is one of those that says, don't need to say it, just want to know if someone else is thinking what I am.

N'shen takes the glass and eyes it dubiously, shooting a cautious look at his father before lifting it to one bright green eye. He studies the ship and the men below, lips pursed thoughtfully, then lowers the glass and shrugs lightly, offering it back to the bluerider. His expression is troubled, but he allows his gestures to indicate to the man that he's not sure - either about the situation, or the men below.

"That's not the normal reaction you'd expect from shipwrecked folks-" Thea starts to say as her eyes flicker from Siebith back to the men. Her tone and glance over at D'had is questioning, an eyebrow lifting as he hands that spyglass over to N'shen. With nothing spoken after the boy looks, she stirs impatiently, "What did you see?" Seryth, for her part remains out of sight of the West beach, still on the cove beach. Below, all of the men trying in vain to hide from the blue above make for the jungle where the rest of the crew went, their unified exodus of the beach obviously in response to a given command.

"I'm not sure," D'had admits, "But whatever it is there's something off about the whole thing. No reason for a ship to be out here in the first place." Its not on any routes he knows of at any rate. "And you're right about that reaction. Not normal." He reaches out to take back the spy glass, giving the boy a reassuring look.

"I don't like it," Nash murmurs. "No one with good intentions is scared of a dragon like that. No! Stay there," he adds sharply. "You're too big." With Taozyuth effectively grounded, he turns his attention back to his father. "What should we do?"

There's a frown on Thea's face as she considers the foundered ship. She has to agree with the both of them, "I don't like the way they're hiding. No one hides unless they're up to no good." Her eyes swing back to father and son, silent as N'shen speaks. "You know," she says slowly, "Rubicon never did find out why Lord Leonidas' ship sunk nor where he or the crew ended up. Ships disappearing, ships out of shipping routes…" She's uneasy as she, too, waits to see what D'had says. If her imagination is overactive, well, those men are acting suspicious. "I don't suppose marching down there and asking them where they were going is an option?"

"You two," D'had starts, finally turning away from the ship to face his family, "Head back to the beach and head home. I'm gonna head down there and see if I can't figure out what they're up to." Because that's the way he does things. On his own where he knows he's the only one who might end up in trouble.

N'shen hesitates, clearly wanting to argue - but he's a boy, what use is he to D'had in this situation. Instead, he reaches out for Thea's arm, anticipating that she may protest the Weyrsecond's decision. "C'mon, mama Thea," he murmurs. "We can help rouse the Weyr if need be." Never mind that Siebith can do that if needed.

Thea blinks, her mouth opens as she stares at D'had. "What?!" Clearly she wasn't expecting him to say that. She's spluttering but not arguing. She's not moving away, either until there's a hand on her arm. She blinks down at N'shen then takes a deep breath, reluctantly deciding to be an example to the boy, she acquiesces to D'had's order. "We'll harness Siebith for you." And yes, she expects he'll ride off rather than take that whole crew on by himself. She bends to snag her pack and shoulders it and starts off with N'shen. Her head remains turned back over her shoulder, mouth grim and eyes upon the Weyrsecond's until they step out of sight down the trail. "Be careful Donn!" As the pair head off down the trail, Thea quietly notes to the bronzerider, "They'll be looking for water, so we need to get down the path and by the falls before they find it."

"Just go," D'had replies harshly to that 'what' of Thea's. Just go woman! "I'll be right behind you." He just want's a closer look at who it is and what they're up to. Siebith in the mean time has circled back around to the beach where he left Seryth and Taozyuth. He waits until the pair are on their way before moving off in search of the crew, cringing at that call Thea leaves behind her. Someone's bound to hear that. Hopefully not.

N'shen nods quietly at Thea, following his father's example and keeping his mouth shut. He's gotten remarkably good at that of late. Squeezing Thea's arm lightly, he lets go of her so as not to be an encumbrance, then starts back towards the falls at a good clip, the agility of youth on his side.

Thea is stung by the harsh tone of voice D'had uses, but she makes no comment to it, perhaps even understanding his need to use it. Her call back, while soft enough to her own ears, may indeed be heard by others more attuned to sneaking, skulking and listening. She too, picks up the pace and it isn't long before the pair of them skirt the falls clearing and arrive at the beach, leaving their camp as is for more important things. Unfortunately the riding harnesses are not looped over that low-hanging branch where they left them the day before. In fact, they're nowhere to be seen. "Swept out on last night's wave, I'll bet you." It takes no more than a breath for her to turn around, "Back to the falls, we'll rig something with the hammock ropes." Something - anything to keep from falling off. This time, she runs and by the time D'had meets up with them, those rope harnesses although hastily made, are safe enough to get them home.

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