Underground Exploration

Continues from A Wher to to the Rescue!

Xanadu Weyr - Ruins Stairs


Suspended in mid-air, a stone staircase leads down from the arched doorway, dividing at a small landing to split at the center of a light-filled, spacious, circular room. The steps descend in opposite directions from that small landing, tenacious greenery growing out of the cracks in the stone underfoot, their forty-five degree angles merging into a simple landing at the bottom. From that landing a wide, single greenery-covered staircase opens onto a mezzanine accessible via two arched entrances.

Light, a welcome change after the darkness of both tunnel and amphitheater alike, is able to filter in through the high-domed ceiling, which consists mainly of thick, tinted panes of glass in multiple hues. Rain and sunshine have filtered to the floor thanks to the fact that some of the panes are missing, allowing vines to trail down the walls, meeting those that creep up along the walls from below.

It's still dark. It's still dark outside. Dragons and whers relate information back and forth again, though Romth's finally clued in that Dersk needs direction…apparently he 'speaks wher' better than most. That, or he's not too dignified to do so…

It's the young Weyrleader's lifemate that relates to Seryth « Mine has found…a place. An open place. A lost place, with glass windows in the ceiling. » He offers a hazy image of the great open area, as it can be dimly percieved by the handful of glows Xe'ter carries with him. « A large place. With steps. » As if this was as strange as finding a fire underwater or something.

Seryth's 'want to' simply isn't enough to help her understand Dersk, but she listens to the translation from Romth with a curious bemusement, her rains dancing almost-but-not-quite laughter as she informs Romth, « He mumbles. How ever DO you understand him? » Well, that's her interpretation of wher-speak anyway. The gold has made herself comfortable at the forest's edge and settled off to one side - out of the way of those coming and going with shovels and picks, serene and sure they will be able to get her rider out eventually. Her reply to Romth's news comes after pause in which she passes this information on to her rider, her tone infused with a bright interest that feels of Thea rather than the queen. « A glass ceiling? » This is a new concept to her as well, but again these words seem to be passed on in her next, « Mine says the Iernian awoke and the little wher brought water and medicine. He sleeps. She has sewn his head wound. »

Romth confirms, with a better image, of trailing vines and the dim suggestion of multi colored glass. « Mine says there is a platform at the base. He is going to go further. » It's more of an aside « Listening to a wher is no worse than listening to a littlecousin. » Then again, Romth will talk to just about anyone, dragon, human, flit, wher. He might even address his prey…hard to know.

Seryth is curious, considering the comparison and mulls the idea over in silence while transmitting the image to her rider. Of understanding whers she finally concludes with, « I'm not very good at it. Perhaps because I will not hear my rider's bronze. » There's a definite dislike in those words, unusual for the normally easy-going gold. When she speaks again, it's to pass on her rider's words almost verbatim, « Yarovith's rider is asleep. The fellis will assure he won't awaken for quite awhile. Mine is curious about this glass room. She comes. »

And indeed if Xe'ter looks at the door behind him, there's a telltale glow on the slick walls of the tunnel that grows brighter as Thea draws near. She has a glow in the palm of her hand, which is lifted high as she steps through the arch, pauses to peer around, first with wide-eyed wonder at the grid of glasswork on the ceiling, then down into the depths below.

Xe'ter is stationed at the bottom of that big staircase, his palm full of glows a bright beacon in the endless night. But there's a hint of sky above…a slightly less dark blackness where the windows gleam above…and he's outlined by the glow of the strange fungus AND the darker night behind him. He calls softly, but it makes everything echo unnervingly, "Thea…careful, the steps are steep…don't fall." But he doesn't discourage her from heading down after him. Not in the slightest! "This is…amazing. It's an old forgotten Hold, I'm sure of it."

"And they have no railing," agrees Thea of those stairs. "How… odd." She makes her way down, mindful of the slippery moss on them, and stops beside Xe'ter while lifting her glow high once more. "A hold." She breathes the word out in wonder while giving those free-standing stairs a close study. "The stone-masons should see this workmanship. I've never seen anything like it." She tips her head back to eye the glass ceiling far above, while commenting idly of those lost holders, "I wonder where they went? And why?" Then she points, "I can see stars through the leaves up there. A panel must be missing. I wonder if they could send a rope down…"

Xe'ter nods, "Except I'd be worried that they might step on a pane of glass and fall through. Then where would we be?" But he grins, "We know the Ancients were here on the Continent for a while before Thread came…maybe they built this first?" He points, away from the ceiling, "Look at the platform here…there's more beyond. Some sort of harper's platform or stage or something, I think."

Xanadu Weyr - Ruins Mezzanine


This room opens up to a low, wide balcony. Not far below, in the dim reaches of the cavernous room, a curved platform built of stone has been built to form a large stage. Wings are free-standing stone walls from which dark corridors lead into smaller rooms, likely meant for dressing, costume and prop storage.

To the front of the mezzanine, a short flight of stairs leads to the stage itself, while to the back there is access to the dim reaches of the place where audiences once sat, rising above and opposite the stage in steep tiers of stone. Ranks of seats, interspersed with landings and stairways meld into the echoing and shadowy space.

With obvious disappointment in her tone, Thea tsks, "Figures the only opening we find is inaccessible. But I wouldn't want anyone getting hurt or wrecking that ceiling. I'll bet it's pretty with the sun shining through it." She's turning to take in the entire circular room as she speaks, eyes shift with a blink at Xe'ter's suggestion, "The Ancients?" Where there was wonder before, now there is obvious awe. "To think these ruins are that old! I wonder if we could find any records in the files at Landing. Or a map of them!" She lowers her hand to better direct the light through those double doors, steps through after him, squinting in the dim light to see the far recesses that their feeble glowlight cannot illumine. "This place is… vast."

Xe'ter nods, "Aye, ma'am…it's that. I wasn't going to go any further. Too dangerous to go prancing about…might have fallen down into a hole or worse. And I realized too late, I didn't have anything with me to help me find my way back. This was just in a straight line. We'll probably have to let the minecraft really explore it." He chuckles after a moment, "So Dersk saved the day, did he…I like that wher."

Eyeing the fallen debris dimly seen on that stage below, the Weyrwoman can only agree, "Breaking a leg isn't on my To-Do list today." She turns to peer upwards and into the ranks of seating rising behind them, can't suppress the impulse and thus cups one hand beside her mouth and calls a "Ha-loooo out there!" ’Aloooo ou’ ‘ere!!! echoes back after a few beats. "This is at least as large - or larger - than the hatching arena. And all for a stage." The idea seems to astound her, but perhaps the harpercraft would not be so surprised. As for Dersk, she nods emphatically. "He Betweened with water and medical supplies. He's a friendly little guy." Then with a snigger of irreverent laughter, she tells him, "Dersk's forever my hero for bringing enough fellis to mellow A'dmar."

Xe'ter makes a faintly uncomfortable sound, "What is A'dmar's status…other than fellised within an inch of his life?"

Thea has turned back, one booted foot on the riser that leads out of the mezzanine, but she pauses at that sound from Xe'ter. One dark brow is cocked in a saucy 'what?' sort of look. With a smirk, she answers pertly, "Grouchy. Or, well he was." Then she relents enough to give him a serious answer as she continues up those steps, "He's taken a knock to his head hard enough to put him out for quite some time and split his scalp an inch or two. I sewed that up after he had the fellis." She spreads her hands helplessly adding, "I don't have Healer training, but he didn't know where he was or that he was in Xanadu even. He was complaining of feeling dizzy and having a headache. He doesn't even seem to recall going into the sinkhole, which can't be good."

Xe'ter sucks his teeth a moment, in silence. Actually, A'dmar not remembering might be the best thing for him. But that said, he notes, "Romth says they don't know how long it will take to get through the rubble…" That's troubling, "But come sunrise, we might be able to guide them." He pauses, "I didn't think to bring rope, but I'm fairly sure I'd remember my way back to here. I'm going to look and see if there's another exit."

Thea nods agreement, reminding him, "Several days, they think, to dig us out. Which may not be all that great for A'dmar. I do hope he hasn't cracked his skull." She moves then, taking the mossy stairs two at a time. She's been gone all of ten minutes but, "I'll get back to watch him and you, my dear Weyrleader, should have some water and sleep before any further exploration." As she gains the top of that unique stairway, she adds, "Dersk can *Between* with enough rope for you. Just… be careful when you do it?"

He stands there a moment longer, and then sighs a bit. Right. He nods, and turns away from the amazing vista. "I'll go back with you. I could use some water. It's a pity Dersk can't *between* him out. That'd be sharding useful."

Despite the shudder that wracks Thea's frame at the thought and the muttered, "Trusting a wher to *Between* me anywhere after depending on Seryth would be… a challenge." Even so, she pauses to give the idea some thought. "Why couldn't he? He did alright with the supplies. If the man needs prompt medical attention, maybe Yarovith could support the attempt? Somehow?"

Xe'ter nods a bit, "But that's only if we think he's failing…the wherhandlers will certainly know better…if that's even possible. I've heard it's very dangerous for a wher to *between*…I suppose we can wait. I'll go again, when I can see some sunlight uptop…maybe I can find another way out. That'd be safer than betweening with a wher."

Thea hmms an agreement, "It… does seem dangerous to me, this *Betweening* while not in clear airspace." As for the Iernian bronzerider, she sounds a touch flippant when she says, "He seemed vigorous enough to be cantankerous, so if he goes all lovey-dovey on us? I'd say he's failing." Her giggle ends on a sob. It's been a long evening; there's likely other communications going on between Seryth and Siebith that she hasn't let on to. Mental effort, lots of it and quite draining at that, which might explain her emo. Oh she doesn't voice it; likely Xe'ter can guess. "Just. Be careful?" Yup, Thea's repeating herself.

Xe'ter nods a little, "I will, Thea. I have no intention of not seeing Romth's get hatch." He's quiet a moment longer, then notes, "It's really close to her clutching, isn't it." Yeah. That's not gonna help ANYTHING. "Think she'll delay?"

The clutching is close? How about happening now? Which could account for some of Thea's emo for sure. As for an answer to Xe'ter's query, above ground at the forest's edge where Seryth has reclined so comfortably up until this point there's a change. It's subtle at first; a shift for a more comfortable position, a hiss of ire at a log poking the usually placid queen in the flank as she seeks a position that will feel better. Finally the gold mumble-croons as she rises to her feet, seemingly torn between remaining near her trapped rider and obeying nature's summons. With a sound bordering on distress, she lifts off heavily, wings straining to lift her egg-heavy bulk into the air. Her line of flight is an indication of what's going on: she's making a v'tol-line for the hatching grounds. And Thea? Deep below ground she's suddenly clutching her abdomen with fingers gone white while seeking the support of the wall with her other hand, glow dropped and forgotten. Yay empathic bonds!

Xe'ter blinks, for a moment really not catching on to what's wrong, "Thea?" But Romth is on Seryth's tail…literally…leaving everyone else in the dust as he follows after his mate. Oh, and remembers to tell his lifemate where he's going. Xe'ter curses rather creatively, "She's clutching NOW?"

Thankfully the Weyrwoman isn't struck with sympathy pains while on those rail-free stairs, but after stepping through the arched doorway into the tunnel. With a bare nod to answer Xe'ter's query, biting her lips to keep from crying out, Thea's effort is directed at not doubling over. When she is able to speak, the only thing she can say to enlighten the Weyrleader is, "She…" A pause while she sucks in a breath, "…waited as long as she could." Which has made it all the worse for the dragonpair. Thea's face has gone chalky, beaded with moisture. And off just outside of the hatching grounds where Seryth has landed with less grace than her usual, the jarring thud likely reverberating to the nearest cottages, there's a whine for Romth to get a move on before the gold scrabbles inside.

Romth lands behind his mate and goes lightly on his feet, his step with a certain syncopated rhythm as he goes. Bump-bump-dum-dum-dum…but he doesn't hesitate. It's instinct, or some dim memory latched onto from Xe'ter…he starts digging in the sands with his strong foreclaws, thrumming at his mate. See? Everything's going to be fine!
Xe'ter's softer, "C'mon, let's get back to A'dmar and rest. She'll be alright. She's a wise gold…" He hopes.

Through whitened lips, Thea agrees with Xe'ter, "She is." Wise. Seasoned. And VERY clingy to her rider until those eggs harden, now separated by the physical space that stone and dirt has seen fit to accomplish. "It will be alright," the words are perhaps echoed from what Seryth picks up from Romth, meant to assure both the gold and the Weyrleader. And maybe herself? She nods agreement about water and rest in that order. "You too," she asserts, trying for firm but it comes out wobbly and definitely lacking in authority. And it's back to the tunnel where A'dmar lies, the short trek interrupted a time or two for a sharp intake of breath while over at the sands her lifemate, grateful for both the digging her mate is doing and the presence on one of the higher ledges of a blue friend of hers…

Continues in Rescue by Wher

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