A Wher to the Rescue!

Continues from Trapped?

Xanadu Weyr - Ruins South Tunnel


Ancient smoothly-cut stone walls here drip with moisture, the scent that rises to your nostrils is of damp stone, plant decay and musty long-unused space. Underfoot the flooring is smooth, polished stone and might be a touch slippery due to the wet dripping from tendrils of roots that have managed to work their way between the stones lining the space overhead. Though dark, this corridor was obviously meant to be lit as there are ornate niches inset into the walls on both sides of the tunnel at regular intervals.

In one direction the tunnel ends in a stone-arched exit, while in the other the darkness of the long corridor presses heavily save for the distant and faint light filtering in from the sinkhole.

Thea sits sentinel beside the unconscious A'dmar keeping watch, checking his condition regularly. Though really. If he gets worse, what can she do? Seryth has attempted to maintain a contact with the man's bronze, assuring him hers watches his and he is alive. The queen exerts a calm, whether her words are heard or not, requiring the bronze to stay and she speaks with the healer's green, relaying information via her rider to the wherhandler assigned to the rescue. Xe'ter, meanwhile, is not in sight.

Neither Thea nor Xe’ter have moved the Iernian, save for maybe turning the rider to lie face-up if he was face-down while keeping his neck and spine aligned. He’s been made as comfortable as possible, covered him with the Weyrwoman’s jacket to prevent him from going into shock. A ripped piece of the Weyrwoman’s shirt has had to suffice in staunching the bloodflow to the bronzerider’s head, which is held there with a light pressure in case there’s been a skull fracture. There isn’t enough material to bandage his head and keep Thea decently clad since her jacket is otherwise occupied, so that will have to be done later.

The heavy weight of silence presses atop the darkness, broken only by the occasional plip-plop of moisture dripping from roots in the tunnel. It's not so long that the second collapse took place, maybe an hour or so and late evening by now at Xanadu Weyr. Leaning forward for what must be - seems like it to her anyway - the hundredth time to listen for a heartbeat, Thea cocks her head, ear just above the man's chest while her fingers hover below his nostrils testing the air for his breath.

Yarovith has not been an excitable dragon, surprisingly, during the incident. The dark bronze is more likely the type to slither off and *between* in silence than make a death cry - should his rider perish. So it was good that Seryth has maintained contact with him, to ensure that he wouldn't sneak out and wink out of existence. He has gotten as close as he can to the situation, sitting on the edge of the forest with a dragonic whine given every so often, or a long wheeze of air while eyes remain bright with the color of pain and worry.

Back in the hole, as it were, A'dmar, hasn't really moved since he went down, save for the weyrleaders shifting him to be face up to manage his vitals. His hair was clotted with oozing blood, some of it having crusted up as it clotted but most of it remained wet, despite the attempt to still it with a cut of cloth. The situation looked dire, since there was no sort of movement or noise out of him for some time. Only the presence of Yarovith concluded that the taciturn bronzer of Ierne wasn't dead.

As ironic as it may be, for Thea had done it a hundred times before, there is a twitch of movement from the man as her ear is to his chest and her fingers near his nostrils. The twitch turns into a heavier breath, exhaled, in unison with eye movements underneath the eye lids - a sign of some activity going on, finally.

Dersk, having been in contact with Seryth and Romth both, as best as he can, is trying to get information that his handler requires. But how does he..The blue wher tries to prod into the dragons' minds for any information about the situation within. It is just as he is trying this that the sweet voice of green Romasseth creeps in to assist, since it's quite a bit easier for her to talk to her fellows than poor frustrated Dersk. « The Boy wishes to know if there is anything that is needed, they are trying to dig your riders out. Dersk wants to know if all is okay inside, do you have food and water? And The Boy also wishes to know if a med kit is needed? »

Seryth, after overflying the dense old forest in a futile attempt at ripping a clearing in the canopy so she could apply herself to dig her rider free, has likewise settled at the forest's edge. No doubt Romth is there too, but both Xanadu dragons are fortunate to have contact with their riders and thus not as distressed as Yarovith must be. Soothing croons, in the deeper registers are uttered from Seryth, reassuring both bronzes and perhaps herself as well? Her surprise at the whervoice, when she finally understands where it comes from is comical. She shakes her head a few times, lifting a fore-talon to rub at one side of her head with a knuckle - almost as if to say 'I'm hearing things. This can't be right'.

Instead of a reply from the gold, it is Derin that receives the reply - through a human, a healer in Asteroid Wing. "They need water, a med kit and food, yes. But water especially." With a smirk, she adds, "Her dragon doesn't know quite how to speak wher." Thea, meanwhile, notes the change in the man, cracks the glowbasket open a sliver and leans to scrutinize his pallor. "A'dmar? Can you hear me?" It's spoken quietly, even so in the enveloping silence of the place, it may seem loud.

A'dmar's face starts twitching, eyebrows furrowing, cheeks giving a flick or two, mouth quirking up and twisting a bit. The man was fighting to come back to consciousness and while in one moment it might seem to take hours, in the very next there is an exhale of a groan. As the glow basket is cracked there the woman could see his eyes squinting at the illumination, but they were open, with his dark gaze blinking heavily a few times, rolling his eyes about in his sockets as if to clear his sight. The response that he has for the quiet words is a disoriented sound, a word or two likely, but muttered as if his tongue forgot how to work.

« The Boy, Derin.. » Just in case the others didn't know who he was. « …is going to send Dersk in with food and water, and a medical kit. But he needs to know how much room there is near you. » This is Airen's green Romasseth's mindvoice again, lucky Derin has dragonrider parents with dragons who actually talk to him.

Seryth listens and she tries for some minutes to respond to Dersk and the other green wher, but her vocal rumble of frustration is the only answer the whers get at first. After a span of some minutes, a picture is transmitted, along with coordinates to Romasseth, and hopefully to the whers as well. A corridor, similar in size to mine tunnels, dimly lit by a shielded glow, one human lying prone upon the floor and one kneeling over him. A piece of masonry lies on the floor not far away while a gaping spot on the wall above marks where it fell from.

Thea's assuming the man can hear her, even if he's not speaking yet and thus says quietly, keeping her voice as calm as she can, "A'dmar. You've taken a blow to the head. We're still in the tunnel. Lie still, okay?" Not like he's tried to move, but she's going to head that off at the pass, so-to-speak. If she can! "I'm going to close the glowbasket to save the glows." There's a quiet clunk as she sets it down, the sound of the lid snapping shut as darkness once again presides. A feeling of gentle pressure as the cloth is once again applied to his head. "I need to to speak to Yarovith, can you do that? Please, Seryth says he's very worried."

Unpredictably, the man doesn't try to move or get up. There is some common sense in him or he had broken his neck. Either way, the man doesn't do much more than grumble a second time, his eyes closing as he takes in a deep breath. Yarovith, outside, seems to settle from a state of anxiety to a state of patience, worried patience, but nevertheless able to sit back and wait for the rescue to come. Inside, the man reopens his eyes into the darkness, as the glow basket is closed by the time he reopens them. Rather than the man trying to vocalize a word or two, since it had seemed a struggle, Yarovith conveys the message to Seryth with a subdued crackling, like the embers of a fire popping, « Mine feels tired … and strange… » There is drawn pause between this and the bronze's further mindspeak, « He does not know where he is and why he is there. »

After a pause as Romasseth relays this to her rider's boy, she finally answers. « Dersk will come, they are strapping canteens, dry rations, and a first aid kit to him. He asks that you both stay still so he does not get lost *between*. »

Thea murmurs something, approval in her tone when there is no struggle to rise and she's not going to have to sit on his chest to keep him lying down. Letting out a breath of relief, she relaxes, focusing on listening to Seryth while keeping the cloth on A'dmar's head wound. As things become clearer and more complicated at the same time, she winces, thankfully unseen in the darkness is the worry etched on her face. "You're at Xanadu Weyr, A'dmar. You were exploring the tunnel with myself and Xe'ter. There's been a cave-in. Something hit you on the head. Do you remember now?" A beat later, she adds, "Lie very still. One of the wherhandlers is sending his wher in."

Seryth likewise is busy relaying information to and from several directions. First an assurance to Romasseth, her touch a current of cool water, « I have told mine. She will not move." Then her mindvoice to Yarovith curls in a mistlike eddy, infusing hope, or at least attempting to, « Mine says something fell and hit his head. His brain has taken a shock but it is good that he is awake. She will help him, if she can. »

"Xanadu…" the man muffles his reiteration of where he is in a slurred way. An irritable frustration sensed from him as his legs shift noisly, "What… tunnel? Why would I be…" he trails off as he further tests his limbs and his motor coordination: one arm moved, the other arm moved, now both with fingers wiggled. The man exhales again, wincing in the darkness at the ache in his brain, which Yarovith repeats « His head really hurts. I can feel it too. He desires a warm bath and a soft pillow. » Apparently, the introverted bronze pair have let barriers down, since Yarovith seems to freely give the image of such things, right down to the man sinking bare butt into a hot pool in Ierne. Back in the cave, A'dmar, not himself, doesn't realize the slip of his dragon, instead there is an amused snort to go along with the timing of Yarovith relaying the bare-butt image.

« Just waiting on the med kit that the healer has sent someone to get. The Boy and Dersk are almost ready. » That was, of course, Romasseth's gentle tone there, washing over the minds of the trapped riders' dragons.

Seryth's touch to Romasseth is now the brisk patter of raindrops on stone, « The man moves! Tell me to mark when the little wher *Betweens* » Then to Yarovith, the queen's rains, still brisk assure the bronze, « They will have medicine for him soon. Hear me now, Yarovith. » Her rains slow to a gentle shower, enjoining his help, « It is good you can feel his pain, take what you can of it, and give it to me. I will show you how. » Her touch changes, as a gentle rain intensifies, rivulets of her strength flow to puddle in his mind becoming a current, a stream that carries some of the pain, if he allows her to do it.

Beside A'dmar, Thea twitches, tenses, then relaxes as Seryth does, on her own accord, what she has been doing for turns in the dragonhealer's annex. "You had a meeting with the Weyrleader and he wanted to show you the ruins we've found here," she explains slowly, patiently as one would be with a sleepy tot awakened from a bad dream. The next moment she is fighting an embarrassed laugh while in the dark her cheeks flush thanks to Yarovith's TMI. Yes, the floor is hard, something she hasn't thought about until the bronze mentions it to Seryth. "Would you like to put your head in my lap? We're fresh out of pillows."

Seryth senses that Sahazyth sends a warm wind of thought down « How is your rider and the others? »

Sahazyth senses that Seryth seems distant and distracted, her touch a pale shade of what is has been during the first moments of the collapse. Likely her mindforce is directed elsewhere at the moment, for her reply curls in terse wisps of cloudy thought in Sahazyth's winds, « Mine and the Weyrleader are unhurt. Romth's seeks another way out. The Iernian has hit his head. The man hurts. »

"That… doesn't make sense…" A'dmar protests, if there had been light, she would've seen him pinch the bridge of his nose and frown hard, as if trying to will some of his memory back to him. Nothing happens of course and in the dark, there is only the wheeze of frustration pressed against the back of his teeth and the flop of a limb down at his side to rustle the clothes he was wearing. The inquiry continues, "I am in… the business of delivery… why would I … be down in a cave…" Befuddled, the man tests his upper torso, shifting it, just enough to know his back wasn't broken. For Thea's last, the man seems even more confused than ever, "I… didn't… ask for.. a pillow…" Oh the time to ponder and puzzle, a sign that the hit on the back of the head must've given him a concussion, since in prior encounters he was never this slow and hadn't the need to ask questions in which he should know the answers to.

Yarovith for his part, seems to shy away from the offer. In the physical world the bronze adjusts the distance between himself and Seryth, in the mental word of dragons, there is a ripple of clicking sounds - as if a line of rifle men were readying their guns to fire. « He is my rider. » A brisk response that seals away the bronzes mind back into a hoarded little package.

Seryth will not force the bronze and so her stream slowly trickles back to whence it came, although it is with a soft croon of regret that he chooses to shoulder this alone. She allows him his space, unperturbed and perhaps even understanding the necessity from having seen this sort of response before. Echoes of her mind eddy in retreat, « I am here whenever you wish. » With that she leaves Yarovith to his solitary watch.

« They are ready, please have them be still. » Romasseth gives warning to the dragons.

Sahazyth projects to Seryth, « Dersk will be betweening into the area, make sure there is a clear area for him. »

In the dark, the whispers of fabric tell the tale that A'dmar is moving about. Hearing the frustration in the Iernian's tone Thea simply notes dryly, "You didn't. But the floor is hard - I should know since I've been sitting on it. And you've hit your head, so lying without one can't be all that comfortable for you." She makes no attempt to set him straight on where, how and why. She simply leave that for later having gotten a mental nudge from Seryth says cryptically, "Mark!" « Mark! » is echoed by Seryth in the minds of the other dragons involved and at that moment she leans forward and carefully but swiftly presses those restless arms down, leaning to keep her weight, slight as it is, on his chest. "Don't move, please," she says crisply. Hopefully her, "Wher incoming," will explain if there's time.

The only response to the dry remark is a perturbed noise, something akin to a grunt though unique to the man himslf. Instead, there is a muttered, "I'm filthy-" likely a realization of his current state lying on the ground or an excuse as to why his head should not be placed in her lap. He doesn't specify which he meant, since in the next instant the woman has put her weight on top of him. No doubt he can smell her she's that close, if he can't necessarily see her. Again, he doesn't move, which could simply be from the fact that she's touching him. Maybe.

A rush of cold air in the dark is the indication of something emerging from between. Dersk appears further up the tunnel, a safe distance from riders and fallen rock. He gives a quietly questioning 'mrple' sound as he gazes about the tunnel, eyes finally fixing on the heat signatures he has been looking for. Soon an ugly blue head is stuck towards Thea. If she can't see him, she should be able to feel the heat of his breath nearby.

Couldn't be sweat - Thea's chilled having given up her jacket to keep the Iernian from going into shock - so it would most likely be the scent of the jasmine she normally wears, that and the faint soapy-scent she's washed her hair in since her twist has come undone and her dark hair tumbles down around them. Mingled with that is the musky scent of raw earth carried by dust that rolled down the corridor and settled on her after the sinkhole collapsed. "That makes two of us, then," she mutters absently about being filthy as she focuses on keeping them both still until there's that rush of cold air and the sound of a wher nearby. Oh surely she can't see Dersk but yep, that warm breath smells…wherlike. "Oy," is Thea's next comment as she sits back up, "Please excuse me for… ah," it's hard to say whether the odd sound in her voice is withheld laugher (probably) or embarrassment, "jumping you." Up until now the focus had been on Dersk being safe *Betweening* into their airspace but - oh joy! Now it is how to approach the little where without losing a hand. "Hello, um… Dersk?" (thanks Seryth, for supplying the name) Now what?

There's a 'pbbbhts' blowing bubble sort of sound from the man below her as that hair of hers that tumbles about them, does happen to get a few strands into his mouth. Thus, the sound he is making, is that of him trying to dislodge some pieces he had to eat because of her concern with keeping heads down so the Wher could *between* to them. Other than that sound, there was nothing to indicate that he loathed the situation he was forced to endure. In time, as she sits up, he draws up a hand to his mouth to pry a few strands out from between his teeth. Though slowly that hand moves from his mouth to the back of his head where the cloth was resting, feeling the stickiness of half dried and half wet blood. The witty response to her odd sounding voice? None really, just a cantankerous: "Tie your hair back next time…"

Dersk gives a soft whirrr sound and shakes his head, then lowers it and lightly touches the weyrwoman's hand, he doesn't bite, really. Then he mrples questioningly and turns his head so that the attached items can be removed. The wher even turns his mind towards the dragons outside, he is calm, the nervousness before the teleportation all but forgotton now. Now he just wants this stuff off of his collar.

With cool sarcasm as Thea levers herself up and away from A'dmar, "You mean next time I save your behind from becoming one with a *Betweening* wher?" You can almost hear the eyeroll as Thea assures A'dmar (far too) sweetly, "I seriously doubt you need worry about a 'next time', sorry to disappoint!" She's re-gathering her hair to at least tuck it behind her ears since all those tiny pins that had been holding it up have been lost to the darkness and dust on the tunnel floor while tentatively reaching out to Dersk with the other. Headbutt to hand and oh! "It's that easy, huh?" She offers the creature a pat and a sincerely meant, "Well done, boy. You at least, have manners." Then she's shifting to her knees to unbuckle the supplies from the wher while filling the bronzerider in on what's come for them, "He's brought blankets, water, food and medical supplies." There's the crisp crackle of paper then, "And a note. Which I will read when I can unshield the glow."

A'dmar gives a slight wheeze (was that laughter?) and his own unseen eyeroll occurs in the pitch blackness of the cave. A retort: "At least your hair smelt nice." Whether that is meant to grait at her nerves or not, is unknown. He had no inflection in his voice that would say one way or another. Other than that, the quiet rustling suggests he is tempting to move now, as in, sit up move. Which is a bad move, because he groans and slumps back down with a bit of the head spins.

Dersk may be ugly but he's definitely a sweetie, shhh, don't tell anyone okay? He holds nice and still while he's unburdened. The wher peers through the darkness and gives a questioning sound, he was told there were three stuck here, but he only counts two, hmm. The wher focuses down the tunnel curiously, then he seems to remember something and trudges over to the rubble where the tunnel caved in, he nudges it here and there, testing to see if it might be easier to dig out from this side.

Since it's quite a ways down the tunnel that the sinkhole collapse lies, Thea unshields that glow - not too much since the man is likely photo-sensitive after his knock to the head - and bends to hold that note close to the light source. After an unreadable look flickered towards the Iernian for that remark about her hair, the Weyrwoman says nothing, but her lips quirk in an ironic half-smile, quickly and purposely sobered by pressing them together. Summarizing for him, "They say the collapse may take several days to dig through since the dragons are too large to reach the sinkhole." She's taking stock of the provisions, leaving him to move about as he pleases when his groan recalls her to his need. "Here, let me?" Offering over a folded blanket for him to use as a pillow, "Can you lift your head?" Her hand hovers, ready to lift it for him and slip the blanket underneath but something stops her, perhaps mindful of male pride and the wish to leave his dignity intact, she waits. "You should take some water. And there's fellis powder here for your headache."

A'dmar does turn his face away from the basket as much as a Wher would, squinting as his eyes have a difficult time adjusting. "Days…" he does mutter with a defeated tone, trying to get comfortable and just then noticing a jacket stretched over him. Blink. Awkward. Maybe. He deflects by pretending he knew it was there and upon taking the blanket, he hands over her jacket, swapping the items in the dimness. A few more grunts have him resting with his head to the side (without her help to lift it), skewed to avoid the tender bump and split scalp. It would need stitches no doubt and without them, it would continue to bleed. "I'll take it…" he's not arguing over the fellis, he actually wants it. When the powder is mixed with the water, he'll consume whatever he's been alotted. Eventually he'll roll over onto his side into an uneasy sleep.

Dersk continues to nudge the rubble a few more moments, it seems just as stuck as it is from outside. The wher pads back to the two riders, he offers his head once more. And he has been instructed to stay until everyone is settled.

There's another blanket offered to pillow his head and when he's taken the fellis powder and water, hopefully drifted off to a deep enough sleep that he doesn't notice the cool application of numbweed nor the gentle cleansing of the would once numbed. Weaver Thea is and fortunately for A'dmar, she knows a thing or two about needles and thread. While he sleeps, she stitches delicately, pulling the edges of that gash together until the thing is sewn in a neat, if not pretty line. Then she shields the basket once more, remaining awake to watch… for both Xe'ter's return and any signs that the Iernian might take a turn for the worse.

Continues in: Underground Exploration

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