Run! Run from the Wind!

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Today has been a busy day for the beastcraft. Some fine runners up for sale, and throughout the day, they've been showing them to interested potential owners. A couple sales, a few more expressions of interest, and various riders and gawkers alike. Things are winding down now, as evening falls and the shadows of the trees stretch out across the meadow. Many of the runners have already been taken back to their stables. In fact, there's only two runners - and three humans - left of the whole grand affair. One runner being put through the paces by a petite woman - a potential buyer - the beastcraft journeyman who's hoping to close that sale, and a rejected runner being brought back to the stables on a lead by a beastcraft apprentice. It seems this long day is nearly over, and a good thing, too. The wind's picking up, and it carries the scent of rain. The shadows cast by the trees sway in the rising breeze, and a sudden gust brings with it the sharp crack of a branch snappng free. The runners shy, whinnying to each other, and then the wind flings that broken branch against the ridden runner. The poor creature squeals and bolts!

It has indeed been a fairly long day, and Idrissa is looking towards the end coming quickly. She continues to lead the runner back towards the journeyman and the few others that are still lingering around. The crackle of the branch is caught by her and she lifts her head slightly to look out over the area while taking in a soft breath. Her free hand moves to softly pet and brush across the runner's neck that she still has hold of the reins. The louder cracking of branch makes her runner shuffling about, and half rearing, though she is able to calm him. "It's alright Just settle down." This said with a soft murmur. Around this time is when the other runner is getting hit with the branch and takes off running. Rissa blinks. A faint err escaping her and without thought she gets her running moving forward, fingers gripping at its mane and saddle while she pulls herself upwards onto its back and with a kick she is off after the fleeing runner and rider to try and catch up with them.

The journeyman starts off after the fleeing runner at his best jog, shouting advice for the rider to bring the beast back under control. Whether he's even heard over the rising wind is up for debate, but what's clear enough is that the rider is having trouble halting the spooked creature. Hooves continue to pound the ground, fleeing the scene, and the journeyman stops jogging to trail off into curses. He glances back, and that's the moment when Idrissa passes him. It's fortunate the stallion was still there - he's got a good pace, even if he's still acting a little skittish, and he's soon across the meadow and chasing the other toward the roadway, away from the looming shapes of the forest trees. Idrissa's got the other runner in her sight - not only that, she's gaining.

Idrissa knows that an inexperienced rider will have problems trying to get a spooked runner under control, no matter what helpful hits the journeyman is shouting out towards the rider. She passes the journeyman without a glance offered to him while she lowers herself slightly, leaning more against the runner she is upon, another slight kick given to keep her runner going. Rissa and her runner is starting to gain on the fleeing one and rider, this is a good thing, right? For the moment the stallion she is on is doing well, the howling wind keeping him a bit skittish though as the chase continues!

The curses of the journeyman fade, and he turns to jog back toward the stables; doubtless to get a few more riders mounted to come find the spooked one. This is not what he calls a good sales pitch - and he'll have some difficulty rousing aid, because many of the beastcrafters (nearly all, in fact) have gone off to dinner already. Time is wasting, and the ground is vanishing under the hooves of the runners. The fleeing one weaves back and forth, settling onto the road for a moment - it's a level surface, after all, and a clear one. A decent place to run until winded and more easily tamed. If that's how things go, it won't be so bad… but that's not how it goes. Idrissa's nearly in distance to be heard over the wind, and the lead runner seems to be slowing, when another gust of that wind sends a giant black THING blowing up into the road. A cloak, perhaps, or a flag - it doesn't matter. It's a giant billowing monstrosity, and the runner rears up and then plunges off the road into the marshes.

Idrissa is getting closer and closer, she'll be there within the range of the other runner in no time, right? Well that is what she thinks at least! At this is taking her mind off of problems that have been linger around her lately. Her runner continues forward, pace quick and hooves slamming into the ground which sends clods of earth up in the process. Rissa bits down upon her lip, fingers gripping at the reins and she gives the runner another kick and the stallion whinnies out as he continues. There is a moment of glee and then it is smashed away as something out of the corner of her eye catches her attention. The fabric is not a good thing and her eyes wide as she watches the first runner tear up. "Oh no" Her runner pulls hard on the reins, a fearful whinny escaping him and Rissa is able to keep him from rearing, though he does follow after other runner down into the marshes leaping downwards into the great unknown.

As the runners enter the marsh, the thud of hooves turns to squelching instead. They send up sprays of mud, marking the trees around them with streaks and coating their own legs and those of their riders with the decay and saltwater of the swamp. The new energy of fear vies with growing exhaustion; neither of these runners is pacing themselves very well, in the panic of flight. The wind gusts again, and with it come the raindrops. The clouds overhead have drawn close enough that tonight's storm has begun, dark enough to make dusk seem to have come early. Despite the gloom, the shape of the other runner is still visible, still in motion up ahead…

Idrissa yells out as she and the runner goes splashing down into the swamps, this is not a good thing! Her runner continues forward, kicking at times to try and free his hooves from the muck that is half way up his legs. Rissa does her best to keep a tight hold of the reins, fearing what could possible happen if she was to fall into that mess. Though the more she attempts to calm the runner the more he pushes forward, the sight of the other runner is what is pushing him forward now, he wants to be with another runner too help in this fearful situation. Each kick and move of the runner through the thick mucky swap ground is making the reddish colored stallion tire more so, which if this keeps up Rissa is going to lose her ride so to speak.

The rain is starting up in earnest now. Big, fat raindrops, pleasantly cool after the heat of the day. The wind continues to gust intermittently, changing directions on what seems like a whim as the currents that brought this storm collide with those over the Sea of Azov. The other runner is becoming more a dim shape than anything - at least to Idrissa's eyes. Her runner can smell the other, when the wind gusts in that direction, and the herd sense is what's drawing them together. There's a whinny, coming back on the wind, and Rissa's runner responds with the same, bounding forward and out of the muck onto the brief sanctuary of more stable ground… though even that is growing muddy with the rain. At least it's not quicksand. Is there quicksand out here?

Idrissa is right now wishing it would stop raining, really, why does it have to rain /now/ doesn't she have enough problems here! "Calm down! You going to wind up breaking a leg or something!" Rissa at least attempts to get the runner to calm down, but so far it just isn't working and they go further and deeper into the swaps. She glances behind her and sees nothing that looks like a clear path for her to follow back. When she looks back in front of her she is smacked across the face by a branch and yelps out at the sting of a cut across her right cheek. Finally her runner is able to find firmer ground, and for a moment he pauses to look one way and then another, quick jerks and shakes of his head and he snorts. Large hooves carry him forward in a quick pace once he has picked up the scent from the other runner, the only thought in his mind is to get too that other runner.

Rain may be unpleasant, but at least the wind is starting to calm down, and with it, the runners. The fleeing one is definitely slowing now, whether from the rider's success or sheer exhaustion, and the one Idrissa is riding manages, after a few more stumbles through the swamp, to catch up. They're together now, and all the riders have to do is keep from having their legs crushed as the runners sidle up to each other for warmth and comfort against the storm. Well, and one more thing - to find their way home. It's too dark to really see, and all directions look the same anyhow; scraggly marsh bushes, small trees, and mud. Surely, though, they can't be far from the weyr. If they just get the runners turned around, they can be back while there's still dinner…

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