What the Dragon Horked Up

Fort Weyr - Blueberry Barrens
There are some places that seem to defy all conventional understanding: the blueberry barrens might be one such place. It's a vast field of blueberry bushes that pushes the forest back as far as the eye can see, broken only by the improbable existence of a hill in the middle of it all that bears a single, strange tree. The rest is a sea of lush green foliage and branches, of blue fruits and a narrow warren of paths that changes every couple of turns or so. The air is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of nature at its finest, from the bejeweled trundlebugs making their rounds and the sing-song calls of unseen avians to the sweet aroma of berries.

Mid-spring heralds the onset of harvesting season and, with it, the arrival of avians, wherries, and other wildlife. In fall, after the last of the berries has been harvested, the barrens are rife with wildfire-bright foliage, the blueberry bushes taking on a lurid red-yellow-orange coloration that lingers until the onset of winter. It is, in all, a place of restoration and renewal, where one might seek a snack and a place to relax; indeed, the gentle whispering of a creek can be heard from time to time, although finding it might be an adventure in and of itself.

(Continued from The People of Fortadu)

Borodin's fingers tighten on the straps. Ready? No. He's never ready. "Yes." Ulp. Into the air they go! Borodin is… mostly okay with the part once they actually get more than a dragonlength or so above the ground. Once it doesn't seem like they're about to crash. And this is a short trip overland, so… no between! That's good. He even manages to loose his deathgrip on the straps enough to point with one hand and help navigate to where a vast field of blueberry bushes seem to have taken over entirely from the other plants.

It is a good flight over, and one that allows Ka'el to see some of the landscape of Fort. Sure he's flown over before, but he's never really stopped to smell the … blueberries, in this case. "Woah…" The flight is a short one, and it isn't long before his line of sight takes on acres and acres of blueberries. Fort…must really like blueberries! Even the forest has made way for them, and Ka'el scans for a dragon-sized place to land. Uuuhh… Ok Kanekith], how about we settle for do as little damage as you can? His descent is abrupt, a sudden dropping of altitude as legs extend. Where to land. Where to land.. there! Squish, squash! He lands somewhat near that lone tree in the middle of things, though still succeeds in flattening a few of the bushes and getting blueberry juice on his feet. Squishy! "Good landing!" compliments Ka'el, flipping his goggles up again. "You weren't lyin' about the 'giant' part. All good?" he says, peering back to check on his passenger.

Kanekith may be a purple-spotted dragon for a while. It'll be very distinctive? Borodin clenches the straps again as they land, with a wince for all those crunchy noises and then… okay, breathe again. Exhale! "Uhm. I…" Now Ka'el's looking at him. "…yeahI'mfine." He looks down, focusing on undoing his straps so he can slide off and be done with crazy dragonflying. At least until it's time for them to head back. Maybe he'll walk… y'know, and get himself beat up by tough gangs of holdless kids. So maybe not. "They, uhm, grow like this sometimes. Just sort of… take everything over." Thump. Borodin's feet touch ground. Blueberry-flavored ground.

Kanekith lowers his head down to peer at the ground. Specifically, his blueberry splattered foot, which he gives a tentative sniff. « The ground here is unacceptable » he proclaims, setting his foot down with a snort. "It's just different, Kanekith," verbally consoles Ka'el, who goes about unstrapping himself since Borodin seems to have everything handled on his own. Apparently, this isn't his first dragon ride! Once unbuckled, Ka'el dismounts, giving any helping hand that Borodin may need. "We don't have anything like this on Xanadu," he whistles, giving the vast fields an appreciative once over. The air smells sweet due to the fruit. "..You're sure there's no crazy farmer that's gonna come barrelin' in with an axe, shoutin' about his crops?" he asks, giving the older guy a sidelong look, brow quirked. "I know a thing or two about crazy farmers."

Borodin might be more graceful if he took that helping hand. Then again, he might not. Either way, he does get himself down. Safely, even! And without being deterred by the dragon/rider conversation that happens partially aloud. He's been around dragons. He knows this is not, in fact, a sign of insanity. "Uhm, no," he says to Ka'el. No, he's not sure? Or no, there's no crazy farmer? "This, uh, grows wild." Despite being just blueberry bushes without intruding plants. "We went here gathering for making some brandy. And a blueberry ale, only…" his nose wrinkles "…I don't think that turned out very well." A shrug, and he reaches out to pluck a ripe-looking berry from one of the nearby bushes and pop it into his mouth before looking back to Ka'el. "Why? Were you one?"

The crises from the kitchen having been handled, Angelique grabs some klah and debates if she wishes to peek back onto the lake shore to see if a certain cute rider and his dragon still linger. After talking herself into doing just that with the reasoning that it would be polite to ensure the out of weyr guest be comfortable, she sets down the empty mug and goes. But…there's no one where. Well there are plenty of people there, bathing dragons…sun bathing but there's no Xanadu rider among them! However once she asks around she discovers that the unfamiliar bronze was seen taking to the skies and headed over here! So this is where Angelique finds them as she's threading her way across the field in between the bushes.

"Oh." Ka'el sounds relieved. Farmers can be protective of their crop! Rightfully so, but still .. that doesn't make him any more willing to be on the receiving end of shouted words. Especially since he's a visitor here! "Blueberry ale?" He imagines that, or at least tries to .. and yes, his nose wrinkles. "Heh. I wouldn't think so. Apple ale, on the other hand.." He nods. "That's good stuff, I don't care what anybody says. Plus, apple's the right color for ale. Blue ale I wouldn't drink, no matter how good anyone claims it is." He grins, following his lead and helping himself to a blueberry. Then another. Then anoth- "Sour!" He makes a face at that third one. "Yup. Family was. Is still. Back at Black Rock, everybody is," he smirks a bit. "Everybody I knew anyway, and there's one thing y'lean right quick: Don't mess around with anyone's crop." Kanekith has begun exploring, nudging those blueberry bushes inquisitively. It's he and not Ka'el that notes that someone is here, and he bugles out a greeting. Scritchy hands is here!

"It's not really blue. Not once it ferments, anyhow. More sorta… brown. The brandy's kinda blue. Or, well, purple, anyhow." Which is a reasonable sort of color for brandies, even if it's more traditional for wine. "Apples work, though. We've got one brewing with apple and clove in it, that one should be good." He hopes. It smells… somewhere between good and awful, but then, that's how partially made beers always smell. Unless they smell outright awful because they've gone bad. Borodin could probably keep going, but there are blueberries to be nibbled. Also, other topics, because maybe Ka'el isn't interested in a full brewer lecture just now. "Oh." He nods. "Black Rock is…" somewhere. He doesn't know where. He's probably heard of it? Sometime? Maybe? Then again, maybe not. "Where?" He can admit his ignorance! Also look away before he gets his answer, and lift a hand slightly to wave to Angelique when he notices her.

Angelique gets a bugle for a greeting! Angelique squints against the sun before lifting a hand to wiggle scritchy fingers in a wave to the handsome bronze. Now she approaches Ka'el and Borodin. "Still visiting, good." she's happy to see 'em both.

Ka'el may not be completely interested in a full brewer lecture, but it is sort of interesting to hear like…a brewer talk about brewing! "Hey, if you need a test subject for that apple ale've yours…" he says, brows lifting. "I'm your guy. You might benefit from an outsider's tongue.." He pauses, thinking those words over, then making the same face he made with that sour berry. "That sounded…bad. Forget I said it." And hopefully he said it before Angelique can hear! For it's now that he notices her, thanks to Kanekith's heads up, and he lifts an arm to wave at her. "Hey, you found us!" he calls, grinning her way. "Everything ok in the kitchens? Have a berry or ten thousand. There's plenty," he laughs before answering Borodin. "Black Rock's.. uhhh near Xanadu. Flyin' east. S'a good place. Good people." A fond look that's tainted with something else around the edges, but he shakes it away before it has much time to form.

Test subjects are always needed. They're called focus groups! And are an area Borodin is bad at, because it involves talking to people, so he could probably use the practice. "Uhm, okay," he says with a nod, and the bad version sails right over his head… until Ka'el reverses himself and Borodin has to go back and think and… blush, his head turning away as his ears go a little pink. He takes another blueberry. By their powers combined, he'll be purple? Maybe. Or maybe he'll just be ever so busy inspecting the bushes, though he nods to Angelique as she arrives. "He, uh, wanted to see the… wilder side of Fort." … which doesn't sound that great either, now that he thinks about it. Borodin coughs and looks away again, staring at the bushes intently. He does nod about Black Rock's location, because at least Xanadu he can find on a map.

There's no indication from Angelique if she did or didn't hear Ka'el's however brief contemplation on how his outsider's tongue might be useful or helpful. "The injured party is resting well in the infirmary now though I fear they'll be out of kitchen duty for several marks. Which means that the head cook wanted a replacement Right Now." emphases on that right now. She reaches for a berry to pop into her mouth. "An interesting choice of places to visit." she remarks.

Squish, squish. It's a good thing nobody really owns this field because Kanekith is making a mess of it wherever he steps. Bronzes aren't the daintiest of dragons, you know, and clumps of blueberries are being turned to mash whenever he walks. Which .. one would think would be reason enough for him to stop walking, since he had complaints, buuuut.. that squishy feeling? Kinda feels good. And how about the taste? The carnivorous creature mimics what the people are doing and tentatively takes a chomp from a bush. Leaves, stems, berries, and all.

Meanwhile, Ka'el gives Borodin a long look. The wilder side? Really? He clears his throat and plasters a grin on his face. "Yeah," he agrees, looking back at Angelique. "We could've gone to the caverns and gotten our food there, buuut that'd've been too easy. Plus, I've already been there once. I know there's more to Fort, and I figure, while I'm here…why not see it?" He pauses, getting a vague.. woody taste in the mouth. He eeeyes Kanekith, but presses on. "Just a kitchen accident, then? Hopefully not too serious, but better than assault by knife."

Borodin does not see Ka'el's look, because he's far too busy staring at this bush. … … … Not helping. So, he tries looking at Kanekith instead! Stompy, stompy Kanekith. Seems like there's going to be a purple-spotted dragon by the end of today. "It's, uhm, nice to get out sometimes." That sounded innocent, right? He goes back and does a mental check to make sure. Yes. It seems innocent and safe and like words that won't get him any more funny looks. Speaking of, he gives one to Ka'el. "I, uh, should hope not."

Angelique bobs her head quickly to Ka'el's words. "Oh yes, just an accident. Nothing too serious and certainly no assaults by knife." she confirms. "And I suppose here is as nice of a place to visit as any. I must admit I've not been here yet myself." another couple berries pop into her mouth. The soon to be purple bronze is cast a look as he too munches, leads and all. "What's /he/ think of 'em?" she inquires.

You know what? Blueberries are … goooood. Really good. Kanekith has never had anything like it before! Not meat, definitely, but not bad. He walkstops to another bush, looking for big ripe fat juicy ones. Then.. CHOMPCHOMPSNAPCHOMP! Attack the bush! Feeed on the bush! A copper muzzle is looking rather blueberry stained. "Uh…" Ka'el glances from dragon (what is he doing??) to newfound friends. "He likes'm .. a lot." He snickers. "We don't have these at home so…I guess he likes the different taste? Maybe.. I dunno." Ka'el plucks another one for himself. If he can eat them, then surely they're not harmful to dragons? He hopes. "So, if not here, where do you all hang out? I mean, even someone as important as an Assistant Headwoman and Fort's future vinter has to have downtime, right?"

Don't ask Borodin! He's pretty sure dragons eat meat, but other than that… "Uh. Good." Apparently they eat blueberries too… bushes and all. They are pretty tasty, it's just… not the sort of thing Borodin usually thinks of as dragonfood. He nods to Angelique. "Was it, uhm, one of the new helpers?" Or someone who should know better? Borodin has a few more blueberries for himself before Kanekith smashes them all, then looks back to Ka'el. "Oh, uhm. I mostly… well, I go to the tavern sometimes." Does that even count as downtime, when you're a vintner? "Or down in the tunnels, out of the way. There's some nice quiet spots." That he's not about to give exact directions on how to find.

Angelique will hold off on the leaf eating to ensure there's more for Kanekith to enjoy. Already there's purple streaks on her own fingers so it seems that there'll be more than one of them will leave here with purple streaks. Hmm…this could be a good color for her. Perhaps purple streaks in the hair? "A newer helper, yes." confirms Angelique. At the mention of where she shrugs a moment. "Well I enjoy a good soak in the hot springs." mmm, warm water. "Downtime happens though I'm always just a beckon away from duty, as you can see. "I'm still needing to go exploring the tunnels though sometime."

"Oh, you all have hot springs too?" grins Ka'el. "I like a soak, too, especially in the winter. I could live in the springs in winter … unfortunately, so could everyone else! It isn't too peaceful." He smirks, squishing a berry between his two fingers and watching juice flow. "What are 'the tunnels'?" he asks, glancing from one to the other. "Are they what they sound like? Just…tunnels someone dug?" He sounds genuinely curious, though also looks faintly green around the gills. Kanekith has finally slowed down his vaccuum-like eating of the berries, leaves, and branches. His jaw still moves, though less frantically as before.

Borodin nods to Angelique. He may not work in the kitchens anymore, but he does still keep up on that news somewhat. He has acquaintances there. Borodin looks back to Ka'el, and blinks. "Uh, well, the tunnels." Like, duh. "Things… really are different on the Southern Continent, aren't they? It's, uhm, all the old tunnels, back from… where everyone lived during the Passes. And from the Ancients." Having different construction is one thing, but don't they even study history down South? "So, uhm. There's a whole lot of them. Some of them have been closed off, and you can get lost if you're not careful. Or trapped in a cave-in."

Angelique seems a bit uncertain how to explain the tunnels to him so she falls silent as Borodin tries too. "Maybe we could go check 'em out?" she suggests. "Thought I think we may have to find some old glows. Not sure if the older tunnels are lit too well." she shrugs, unsure. She adds a bit to the explanation. "The weyr is built into the old volcano. Plenty of tunnels and some caves too." "Oh yeah, got to be careful of small cave-ins."

Oh those tunnels. Sure, yeah. Ka'el is looking less like someone who's paying attention and more like someone who's intent on keeping his lunch down in his stomach where it belongs. But he's still listening, yes he is! Because it'd be rather rude to get sick in the middle of conversation. His eyes narrow vaguely and unfocus, but whatever communication is happening between himself and his dragon is unnecessary now, for even Kanekith is starting to feel a gurgle in his belly. Apparently .. leaves and sticks don't go down very well. .. Mrrgh. "If … if uh, cave-ins are … a thing, they must really be worth it if people still go down'm," he says with a grin that's interrupted with a winced sort of look. Is that his stomach gurgling, or Kanekith's?

Borodin glances to Angelique, and nods a little. "Well, uhm, maybe. There's, uh… usually some spare glows if you check the stores." And then he glances aside, because presumably Angelique either knows that, being an assistant headwoman… or he's not supposed to be borriwn them. Either way, Borodin looks back to Ka'el, who - blueberry stains aside - is looking a little green. Borodin (subtly) takes a step away. "They, uh… they're mostly safe. But there was a bad one recently. It depends where you go. I… don't go all that far." Or at least he doesn't admit to it. Besides, distance is relative.

Angelique pauses in mid-bite as she can't help but notice the slightly green tinge to Ka'el…and maybe Kanekith too? With a hint of concern she watches, perhaps to ensure she can step safely to one side should either one decide to empty out their stomachs hastily. "Plenty of spare glows for anyone to use." she assures Borodin. "Still…mostly safe." is echoed after the apprentice's words. "Are you okay?"

A bad cave in? "Anyone.. hurt?" Ka'el asks Borodin, noting that step he takes away from him, even though he did it oh so slyly. He's not offended! In fact, his eyes are roaming to Kanekith more often now. He's still trying to pick at those berries. "Hey stop that!" « .. But they taste good. » -.-;; "I'm fine," he assures Angelique with a crooked grin. "It's…him. Don't think those bushes are settlin' too well. S'hurtin' my stomach." A concerned look is given to his bronze who, is a bit torn. He wants the berries! But .. they make his belly hurt. Gurglegrumble. The bronze slowly squishes his way towards the group of youths, his feet purple, as is his muzzle, and eyes swirling a yellowish color.

"Uhm. A… broken leg, I heard." Vintners may not gossip directly with drunks, but the news travels nonetheless. Borodin glances away from the others. "And they were worried about the air." So… it could have been worse? In that not very reassuring way where it was bad to begin with. Borodin keeps his eyes averted for another moment or three, then glances them back to Kanekith. Ohh. So that's the source of the greenery. Or, rather, the thing that's been eating the greenery and purplery. "I, uhm, oh." That seems… difficult to dodge. Also "…uh. I can walk back."

Angelique gives an uncertain shrug. All she's heard so far on the injuries really are just rumors. Side stepping a bit more she looks over to Kanekith with a concerned look. "Maybe it might be best to adjourn to the bowl?" suggests she. After all there's no tempting bushes there!

"Uh.." Poor Ka'el! What to do? Kanekith has never been sick before. … Kanekith has also never eaten blueberries and sticks and leaves before! What's a weyrling to do? .. He knows what V'dim would say. "I think walkin' back is gonna be on all of our agendas," he says with a feeble smirk. "Unless either of you have a dragon in your pocket. And uh … I may be lookin' for a dragonhealer, just to be on the safe side, when we're there. Just an upset stomach, but with dragons..can't be too careful." He shrugs a little, downplaying his concern and doing his best to disregard the queasiness of his own stomach. He definitely is not going to dislodge any undigested food! Kanekith, on the other hand? "To the bowl, then?"

"I, uhm, no." There have been occasions on which a certain dragon has appeared in front of a sufficiently distressed Borodin. Having to walk back to the Weyr is nothing even near sufficiently distressed. "We, uh. We can take it slow. It's back this way…" Fortunately for Ka'el, he's with two Fortians who know the way! "There's, uhm, there's a dragon infirmary." Duh. "So you can get him checked out." Borodin attempts a smile. "He's probably not the first dragon to have tried?"

Angelique thinks it is most likely safe to assume with the number of blueberry bushes in residence here that certainly he wouldn't be the first dragon to try and see how many bushes he can digest before they come back to haunt him. "Sure, we'll take it slow indeed." there's not dragon in her pocket and Skyler, while perched on her shoulder napping, isn't nearly large enough to carry anyone, much less three. She turns to start walking, content to keep pace beside Ka'el. "Certainly a good idea though to find someone to check him out to ensure nothing has done any permanent harm. I'm sure I can find you an empty guest weyr as well if you can get permission to stay the night. If that's needed."

Don't do it, Kanekith. Don't. Throw. Up. Ka'el silently coaches his sickly bronze as the party of three plus one make their way through the fields and back towards the bowl. Taking it slow? Yup, Ka'el is all over that, for sharing mindlink also means, at least in this case, sharing stomachaches. He pales a little at the thought of having Kanekith stay overnight. What will V'dim say? He'll be grounded to the weyr til graduation! And so the little group makes their way through the Fortian forest, Ka'el lead by his friends and Kanekith not too far off with eyes still a yucky color, but at least he's mobile. They reach their destination, and Ka'el leads Kanekith to the dragon infirmary, where he's reprimanded for allowing his dragon to eat foreign, non-meaty foods, and especially in such large amounts! But luckily blueberry plants are not poisonous, just stomach-upsetting. Will he have to stay? Can Kanekith fly and go between safely? That all depends on how the dragon is feeling in an hour or so. So, til then, Ka'el finds himself as a guest of Fort for a bit longer, and possibly an overnight guest if those swirling eyes don't clear up. Oh boy.

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