Where Plains and Forest Meet
The area is comprised of tall, very dry and yellowed grasses that whisper in the arid late Summer/early Fall heat. Grassland transitions to forest proper from scattered trees that thicken as the land rises towards the mountains. All the leaves have dried and fallen far too early from the lack of rain and the skeletal branches stand guard over the kiln-dry underbrush. Here and there blackened areas with fallen tree trunks that gives testament to small fires having burned themselves out. Apparently the danger of fire is past?
It's early morning Xanadu time and hold visits have given Thea and Seryth a reason to be out and about, away from the offices these days and given that the small hold they've been to is close, they've chosen to fly long rather than Between - at least that's what Thea will say if she's asked. Passing over the area, the burn is unmistakable to the eye, the tang of burned wood still lingers heavily in the air. Is that smoke below or residual fog wisps? The Junior isn't sure, so the pair of them settle into a clear spot and those buckles unclipped before the weyrwoman is swinging down on that flightstrap to have a closer look.
Popping in from Between, Inimeth and D'son wing down to catch up with Thea and Seryth, a bright enough greeting from the Weyrleader's bronze sent on to the gold. « Good day, Seryth. Have you found something? »
Sweeps have brought D'had back over one of the charred areas. A second check to make sure its truly out. The spotting of a certain gold dragon, as well as the Weyrleader's bronze winging down to join her has Siebith spiraling down as well. A greeting shared with each of the dragon as he lights on the ground and the Weyrsecond swings down.
Thea's in the midst of her catwoman-like swing dismount as Inimeth pops in and Siebith wings into view, so it's the gold's serene greeting to the Weyrleader's bronze and the Weyrsecond's blue that alerts her that others are nearby. Seryth's rainwashed mindvoice patters serenely to both dragons, « The burn the wings are keeping an eye on has mine curious. As she is with so many, many things! » Tolerant, amused by the rabbit-trails her rider is always taking her down, she doesn't appear to mind this pause in their short trip, although she echoes some of her lifemate's aggrieved tones, « And since we -still- may not attend sweeps, we're looking. » As Thea's feet touch lightly in the crisped grass, the Junior waves cheerfully skyward. Gloves and goggles are removed, although there's no evidence she was wearing a helmet at all. For the moment, she simply stands, waiting for the others to land.
Inimeth sets down lightly and D'son vaults down off his back with typical energy, cap pushed back and he waits for a moment on D'had, then walks over to Thea with a quick salute. "Heya. How's it looking, Thea?" Dels asks, eyes traveling around the perimeter of the area and back to the goldrider.
"Looks like someone else is taking care of my sweeps today," D'had teases, the words directed towards the junior once he gives D'son a quick salute of greeting. "Just wish someone woulda told me and I wouldn't have made the trip." All in jest of course as he waits for Thea's reply.
Seryth whuffs at the ground, curious herself (the irony) and sneezes heartily, blowing little blackened bits of grass in a cloud of ash that slowly settles back earthward. Brightly sarcastic, but humor-laced, Thea replies to D'had without a beat, "Next time I'll be sure to have Seryth notify Siebith!" But she's grinning as she says it, returning the salute with one of her own for both of them. She kicks at a burned hillock, "I haven't really looked around on foot. Just got here," in reply to D'son's question. "I couldn't see any flames from the air, but this fog hides smoke, if there's any. I'm gonna look for hotspots. We were smelling smoke, " a tilt of her head includes D'had on that "the other night out on the lake quiet a distance from shore." A small frown of concern is there on her face as she shares that bit of news.
"Huh, shells. Did you smell it from a particular direction? We could split up and triangulate if that'd make it go quicker," D'son suggests with a little frown on his face about the idea of fire still lingering. D'had earns a brief look and a slight grin for the remark about the sweeps.
D'had shakes his head, "Not exactly, was hard to tell being out on the lake." The breeze has a way of mixing up directions out on the water. Not to mention they, or at least he, was a bit distracted then too. As for Thea, "Just be careful," said a touch more sternly than might be truly necessary.
"It's so far away, it was hard to tell?" Thea sounds very uncertain as she answers the Weyrleader, her hand sweeps towards the mountains that rise from the nearby foothills. "The air has been so very still lately that it would have to go-" she turns towards the gentle fall of land and the valley that leads to the Weyr proper, "around these hills and past the Weyr before it drifted out over the lake, I guess. But it would sink with the cooler air at night, right?" She pauses to listen to D'had, nodding agreement. But breezes? Distracted is right! For a moment it looks like she's about to protest D'had's caution as her lips part, but then some sort of realization hits her, for the look of mild rebellion clears from her face and she offers a jaunty, "Yes Sir!" and a saucy wink. Triangulating then, she moves off, the crunch-crunching of her boots over burned grass and twigs the only sound she makes as she moves through the eddying ground fog.
"Yeah, all the more reason to spread out, there and there and there, and pull in to make sure," D'son points to the applicable areas to cast a search 'net' over the possible places where something could still be burning. "Don't worry D'had, I'll be careful," he tells the weyrsecond, deadpan, though the Weyrleader is serious enough. "Stay in touch through the dragons," is Dels' further advisory. Check in every five minutes."
D'had nods, turning to look towards where D'son points. "Didn't.." He was meaning Thea with that be careful, but no point in arguing it with the Weyrleader since the intended target … agreed? "Right," he finishes before turning to take his designated direction of search.
Thea snickers at D'son's quip to D'had, but she does note the direction she's supposed to go and she's heading off that way, now and then seen by the others, at other times obscured by wisps of fog as the rising sun begins to lift it and it dissipates in patches as it rises. Now and then her boot can be heard clunking against a fallen trunk here and there. "So far nothing's warm to the touch." Her voice floats back to them, still close enough to be within hearing indicates that she is indeed moving with caution. She can do that once in awhile, yes.
It takes D'son a little while to climb up along the slope a little ways to get where he means to start from. His footsteps fade away after a little while and it's Inimeth who touches minds with Siebith and Seryth pretty punctually. « It's messy up here, D'son says. Lots of junk all over. The ground is gray and ashy. »
D'had follows his path and his reply though Siebith is much the same as D'son's. Not much to see but burnout and no hot spots yet. Then again, he's hoping not to find any even if chances are that they will.
Sounds of small rocks sliding and clinking down a slope sound faintly from the direction Thea as taken and it's a few moments before the swirl of moist, cedar-scented fog in Seryth's tone reaches out to Inimeth and Siebith, « Mine says there are some trees and branches down with charred bushes all around. Where the fire has not touched, the trees are unburnt, but have lost all of their leaves early. There are piles of dried leaves all over the ground. » Her rider's uneasiness is also conveyed with that report.
From upslope, Inimeth's report is tinged with mustiness: « The footing is slippery and it is smelly and — whoops, D'son just fell down. » He shares a rather amusing image of the weyrleader skidding down an ashy expanse on his butt and getting pretty gooped in the process. Faintly, muffled by the fog comes D'son's "Argh!!!"
D'had turns at the sound of those rocks sliding, but given there's nothing about Thea in that report from Seryth he continues down his own path. That image from Inimeth gets a chuckle though Siebith does relay the question « Is he alright? » along with his own report. A wash of waves over a pebbled shore. « Same here. Burned areas. Leaves. »
"Ya alright over there?" Very faintly and somewhere off-triangulation comes Thea's amused voice from the fog. Having gotten Seryth's relay of that image, she doesn't sound alarmed. Seryth's waters tinkle a musical laugh at the picture Inimeth sends, « Mine says she's moving very slowly, for the fog is thicker where she is, the ground is steeper and the footing is loose. » This seems to be directed more towards Siebith than Inimeth, although he is included in the reassurance. The young queen's voice continues with raindrops beating an uneasy drumbeat, « Mine says she can smell smoke much stronger where she is. »
"OW!" is louder and a moment later, Inimeth's sending picks up with a thread of green excitement in it. « D'son is fine, but he has found /hot/ ash with orange underneath the gray up here. He says that his butt is /not/ burning. » Though boy would that be funny, is the undercurrent to the bronze dragon's sending. « There is smoke down near yours, Seryth? There is no smoke here, but there are … coals. »
« Mine is just finding more of the same," Siebith replies, currents churning his waves as words boom over the top. « He heads back to yours. » Which one of 'yours' is left vague but its directed more towards Seryth than Inimeth. As said D'had has turned back around finding nothing of interest as the burnt area ends rather quickly in his direction.
There is a distinct pause from Seryth with a silence before the storm when she answers « She has reached the edge of the burn, and… » her contact is interrupted by something from her rider before she continues, all traces of amusement gone from her rains, « She finds a smoldering stump that was rotten before the fire. The smoke is coming from that, she thinks. » Her silence resumes once more before windswept concern flows back to the two dragons, « She wants to know if we're sending for groundcrew to come do something about these hotspots and, oh… she's lost her way. » The last bit has a definite smug chitter of laughter in bright raindrops. « She remains by the smoky stump. » A picture of the Junior sitting down on a rock with a small huff of self-directed frustration as she blows a wisp of hair out of her face is shared.
« D'son comes. He's … messy. » Amused still from Inimeth. « I am sending back to the Weyr for a go-over of this whole section of wood. » Shortly thereafter there's the sounds of D'son approaching and when he turns up, oh boy. He's smeared from shoulders to knees with gray-black grossness, some of which has splattered his right cheek and no he doesn't look too happy about it. "Hey Thea. Seems like there's a lot of stuff still smoldering underneath layers. We'll have to go over the whole area on foot, dousing to make sure it's all out. Inimeth's sent back to the Weyr for support."
« D'ad comes. » Siebith's words are an echo of Inimeth's with different patterns, a reminder to Seryth's. Soon enough the bluerider makes his appearance. When the Weyrleader joins he can't quite fully suppress a chuckle. "You alright man?" he asks, a look asking a similar question sent towards Thea. "Best to check though. Don't want it going up unexpected."
When D'son emerges from the fog, Thea takes one look at him and her face goes through the oddest contortions for a brief time. Finally, she can no longer stop herself and a snort of badly-contained laughter erupts in unlady-like fashion from her nose. She helplessly gestures to his right cheek, although she's unaware that she has smudges on the tip of her nose and forehead from swiping her hair back with sooty fingers. She rises from that rock as D'had walks up answering his silent question with a reassuring, "I'm fine. Just… can't see much." Like how to get back? "What was V'dim -thinking-?" This is Thea's agitation coming out over these hotspots as she scans the area, "We're so lucky this wasn't a huge fire." The last bit is almost growled.
Sticking his tongue out at Thea is a very mature reaction from D'son. "Yeah yeah, I'll soak back at the Weyr," he says with disgust and swipes futilely at the edge of his leathers. "Yeah. We're sticking to the /lake/ from now on," he says fervently.
D'had chuckles, "Well," he starts, swiping a thumb down Thea's nose to catch that smudge with a grin. "If you've got 'em coming to do a ground sweep should have this one taken care of." Hopefully. "I'll take a look out at some of the other places once we're done here." A suggestion of sorts. "Could be worse," to D'son, "could be covered, not just halfway?" Its still amusing from his side. "You wanna head back?" to Thea.
The lake. "Good idea!" The Junior's reply comes amidst more smirking at the boyishness the Weyrleader exhibits but then she's going cross-eyed watching D'had's thumb trail down her nose. "What- oh Shells, me too?" She can see the soot on his thumb, and it's a sheepish grin she gives the two of them. "Mark that," she points with a toe to that smoldering, smoking stump. "Punk can burn for days." And she shudders as her eyes lift to the tinder-dry forest marching up the slope beyond. She nods at the Weyrsecond's hint. Yes, she should be getting back with the hold report and the daily paperwork and since she has no clearance for sweeps… She sighs, keeping her thoughts to herself and starts up the slope. Wait. She turns back. "I'll follow you two." Because… where’s the way back now?
D'son snorts softly. "Yeah, I'll flag this stump but I'm telling them to go over everything in grid pattern," the Weyrleader notes with a squint back up the slope. "Damn ash," he mutters lowly. "All right then, back to the Weyr to get clean and coordinate all this and hopefully, this'll be the end of it," Dels says with a clap of mucky hands, then he's turning to rejoin dragons, climb aboard with a lot of huffing that might be laughter from Inimeth for his ashy mucky state and then it's back home to get clean and deal.
D'had lets Thea follow D'son back to their waiting dragons, opting to follow her given the somewhat slippery slope that's between them.
Thea steps after D'son and yes that loose shale and ash added over it do make for a slippery slope. She's overly-careful and so lags behind D'son by some length. Inimeth's huffing causes her to grin and she's momentarily distracted, eyeing his dim form through the fog rather than watching where she's putting her feet. A stone slides underneath her foot and she goes down rather heavily, landing on her side and stomach with a small. 'whoof' of air knocked out of her.
D'had follows taking the pace that Thea sets, a few rocks sliding under foot here and there. When she falls however he's scrambling to catch her which only sends more shards sliding downhill. "You alright?" he ask ducking down to help her back to her feet and subsequently the rest of the way back if she doesn't protest too hard.
Thea nods in response to D'had, her wide-eyed blink up at him as she catches her breath her only reply, one hand rubs at her stomach. "That rock there-" she juts with her chin toward a small protruding rock, "-got my belly when I fell. I'm sure I'm fine." She hope's she is. She makes no protest at all when he helps her up and gives him an apologetic look as he helps her over to Seryth, who isn't all that far off. "I'm sorry. I guess I can see why sweeps might not be such a great idea."
D'had glances back towards the rock in question when it's pointed out and nods. "If you're sure," he agrees a hint in his tone that he's avoiding being the usual protective 'I told you so' about sweeps. "Yeah. Well.. we got plenty of others for sweeps."
Thea turns her head at that tone, but amazingly this time she remains contritely meek. "I'll see the healers if-" She doesn't finish but there is in her tone that she hasn't seen them in a long while. She grasps the straps, leans to brush a kiss across his cheek, "Be careful, hmm?" Trying to make a joke of it, as if he's the one always getting hurt.
D'had nods, not making a big deal about that suggestion in her tone for once. "I will," he assures, returning that kiss with one of his own before letting her pull herself into place. "You too."
So with a concerned glance at D'had for his very uncharacteristic behavior, Thea pulls herself up, buckles herself in and waits for him to step back before giving Seryth leave to lift off. As the queen rises into the now-clearing morning air, she keeps her thoughtful gaze on the Weyrsecond. She lifts a hand to wave at him as the rising sun gilds the gold on her turn towards the Weyr, the Junior’s neck turning to keep him in sight as long as possible, brow wrinkled in concern as the pair again fly long back to the Weyr rather than going Between.