Xanadu Weyr - Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places.
The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the rock edifice where, high above on Xanadu's Star Stones, the ever-present watchdragon sits on the lonely peak. Directly south is the hatching arena, the large round complex taking up a large portion of the perimeter, a line of trees visible beyond it. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the infirmary is a human-sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Wandering Wherry Tavern. Tucked neatly under the arch, to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Petals and Pots Garden Shop'. Southwest lies cliffs where windows for the administrative offices have been cut. Underneath them are the entrances to the crafters complex while north and west along the cliff's base, a broad path leads to the feeding grounds. Due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr - the meadow, the forest beyond. At the far edge of the clearing, beside the trail leading to the forest sits a clocktower.

The afternoon is still early and somewhat misty. The sun hasn't gained enough strength to burn the vague haze off completely yet, but it's getting there. Already it's clearer now than it was hours ago. And hours ago was when the Weyrleader woke to ready both himself and Kanekith for this little venture. A Weyrleader's gotta look good when going abroad to face other diplomatic people of his rank or lesser! Rule one of diplomacy: Always come dressed your best when on a planned visit to possibly meet the leaders of a place. Maybe the Candidates have been told this. Maybe they haven't and this is their first test. Will they have figured that out on their own? Regardless, Ka'el is here with Kanekith, and both are dressed to the nines. Kanekith, oiled up and metallic hide polished to gleam in the afternoon light. His straps are a handsome leather, stained a masculine dark brown that stands out against his lighter hued hide. Ka'el himself in a new set of expensive-looking riding leathers trimmed in Xanadu's colors. Candidates mill about. Some are still hurrying out of the Annext. They mustn't be late! But where are they going? There are murmurs of speculation but none approach the Weyrleader to ask, especially since he has a serious look on his face. They must be going somewhere important for the young Weyrleader to look so Weyrleaderish! And is that the Weyrsecond's blue there too?

Indeed, there is a blue lurking in those vague mists and shifting restlessly. Ujinath hangs back a little beside and behind from the freshly oiled Kanekith, whirling eyes constantly scanning the clearing as he ruffles his wings or twitches his tail. He too has been groomed prior to arriving and sports a new set of straps of dark leather to offset his cerulean hide. Kiena is there too, looking a slight bit more at ease than her lifemate — if one ignores the way she plucks at her clothing. Fancy clothing! Even the Weyrsecond has dug out some formal riding leathers and wrangled that messy mane of hair back into a plaited braid. Who knows how long it'll be contained or how long the bluerider will manage to stay along a path of politeness. Provided the Weyrleader hasn't mounted up yet, Kiena will sidle over to his side and quirk a brow as she gives him a studious look and then snorts. "Think any of 'em have figured it out?" she drawls in a low voice. The Weyrsecond doesn't quite hold the same serious expression as the Weyrleader. "Them" must mean the Candidates, some of which are hurrying out just then and earn a smirk from the bluerider.

Garawan is a salesman. He is always dressed to impress. Thus it is that, as he exits the barracks and comes to join the others there, he is dressed neatly. Clean shirt, pressed pants, shined boots, his hair back in its customary ponytail. He looks like he's ready to make a deal! He heads out to the clearing, saluting the Weyrleader and Weyrsecond. He remembered this time! And it looks like he's been studying that salute, too. "Good morning." He doesn't bother asking where they're going. He's been through this enough to know that they're not going to be told until they get there.

Bowyn has wandered out with a little gaggle of Candidates, unaware of the clothing requirements. While she doesn't look dirty (in fact, she just got out of the bath), and she isn't dressed in her usual worn out, patchy garb, she's just wearing some casual clothes: brown pants, sage green tunic with a cream undershirt and brown belt. Upon seeing the Weyrleader and co dressed to the nines, the little hunter just kind of /stares/. And blinks. And looks down at herself, slightly embarrassed, as she realizes that there's an apparent dress code. "Shells," she mutters, shoulders dropping a bit as she walks closer. Once in hearing range, she salutes the riders and says, "Hullo." Bo scoots over to be closer to Garawan and whispers, "What are we doing?" as if he might know.

Ka'el has not mounted up, nope, and thus he's securely on the ground when Kiena moves over to him. He's already commented on the Weyrsecond's attire, complimenting her overall look because in these cases, looks tend to be important. But he does it again, though likely this time it's just to poke at her a bit because he knows just how much of a fashionista she is. *snerk* "Your leathers compliment your eyes. Was that planned, Weyrsecond? I hadn't any idea you were knowledgeable with color choice." And he isn't. He hadn't any clue if her leathers compliment her eyes or not, or if that was even the word to be used in this case. But, considering his sly grin, that isn't the point. "And, I doubt it," he murmurs back to her before looking back to the faces of the Candidates. There's more waiting til it seems like everyone is here. Whoever isn't will be left behind and face the wrath of the Candidate Coordinators. He looks about..then realizes. Oh yeah! He's the one that's supposed to get this show on the road. Er. Right! "Time to go," is said to Kiena before he steps forth a little and claps his palms together once. "Candidates!" Oo. Commanding voice. "You will mount up on either Ujinath," a gesture to the blue, "or Kanekith," a gesture to the much larger bronze who strikes a pose. Wings, flared! Head, up and slightly angled to the left! Aaand, marvel. .. -.-; Ka'el moves right along. "If you've never before ridden upon dragonback," he's not going to tell you which dragon would be the better choice, nope! "we will help you get settled. If you have, we'll still help you get settled. When we reach our destination, you're expected to conduct yourself in…an exemplary manner. You are guests, and you represent our Weyr. Behave accordingly!" They'll be taking notes. "Are there questions? If not, mount up!"

Kiena just shoots Ka'el a narrowed look that is both amused and carrying a warning. Don't tempt her! While she'd like to elbow him one for that, the Weyrsecond is trying to set an example of (ugh) proper behaviour. So her mouth quirks into a respectful half smile and she drawls, "Not planned at all, just luck. You're looking good yourself, Weyrleader." Okay, so she had to get some snark in! Apparently he was close enough with his compliments? "Clean up good." Another jab or does she actually mean it? Who knows, but she nods briskly as there are Candidates afoot! Salutes are returned, Kiena realizing she has to behave in that sense too. No half assed half-salutes today! Then she allows Ka'el to take charge, trying very hard not to burst out laughing at Kanekith's posturing and having to chew on the inside of her lip to keep her composure. Ujinath steps forwards a little, giving the bronze plenty of room and simply settling himself in a rather sedate manner. No flaunting for him? Kiena catches Bowyn's eye first and tries to give her a reassuring… wink? Garawan is also included in this. "Y'all heard the Weyrleader. Quicker we're about getting organized here, quicker we're out and gone!"

Garawan leans back to whisper to Bowyn, "No clue. That's how it's done." Very simple, succinct statement. Because that IS how it's done. Perhaps it's to prepare them for needing to think on their feet as riders. He'll explain more once he gets the chance. It won't be right now. He sends a mischievous smirk back at the Weyrsecond. Very briefly. Then he looks to Bowyn, inclining his head at the dragons. "Let's go." He heads for the bronze, because he's bigger and will be able to carry a heavier load.

Bowyn frowns at Garawan's response, only because she doesn't like surprises, and sighs. Then, she catches that wink from Kiena and blinks, confused. When a few of the other Candidates start making their way toward the dragons, she takes a moment to look at the giant, flashy bronze. She basks in his majesty. She's blinded by his manly glory. And then she decides she'll ride the blue. The hunter walks over to Ujinath, casting a slightly nervous glance over to Kiena as she asks, "Do I just…get on, ma'am?"

Alright! Kanekith has customers! Now, usually he doesn't like being used as a common runner (as he puts it) but today's an exception. He's in a good mood! Looking good means feeling good, and he folds his wings and stills himself for the 'getting on his back' process as lines begin to form both by him and by the quieter Ujinath. Ka'el shoots Kiena a grin, tosses her a wink, then heads on over to help Candidates up onto Kanekith. And hey, a familiar face! "Garawan," he greets with a smile to his former Candidate and Weyrling companion. "Good to see you!" He claps a hand on the man's shoulder. "You'll represent us well, eh? The diplomacy thing is only difficult if you allow it to be." He's lying. It's difficult all the time! But hey, he's supposed to give encouragement, right? He helps him to get strapped in, then helps up another. And another. Gets them settled. Good thing Kanekith has a big back!

Encouragement… right! Kiena grins as Bowyn approaches and promptly steps forwards to stand by the Candidate's side, appearing as relaxed and laid back as though this is an everyday thing. "More or less. This your first time on a dragon?" she asks, already assuming so just by that slightly nervous glance. Ka'el's grin is noted and returned, though the wink has her snorting and smirking. Ujinath rumbles softly and steps back just enough so that he can lower himself down in a less intimidating posture. Not that it makes him any smaller! "I'll help you, Bowyn." Kiena assures her as she guides her towards the blue's side and will point out where she'll need to grab with her hands and hoist up. "Pretty straight forwards. Don't worry about it being awkward or if you need to go slow, alright?" Just ignore the other Candidates milling about to wait on their chance! "And I'll be with ya and help you buckle in." So no risk of falling, right? Right.

Kera clutches her satchel in hand and hurries to catch up with the group. Nodding to the Weyrleader and other riders present, she gives a hurried salute then goes back to trying to settle her jacket. Looking between the dragons when told to head to one or the other, she waits to see where most of the candidate's go, then goes for the other. Thankfully, Minimur has been distracted with a fresh bowl of meet, thus he'll be sleeping soon. Still fussing with her jacket and trying to smooth her braid, since Bowyn heads towards Ujinath, Kera turns her steps to the the large bronze with a polite dip of her head.

Bowyn nods her head to Kiena, a little sheepish, and says, "Yeah-er…yes, ma'am." She supposes she should break out the "sir's and ma'am's" given the fancy clothes. And probably she should speak properly. Probably. She puts her hands in the designated place and hoists herself up, a little clumsily, onto Ujinath's back, and wiggles around a little as she gets settled with a quiet "Thanks, Ujinath." She eyes the buckles. She eyes Kera, who she notices has gone for the other dragon. She questions her decision to ride the blue. She's confident about it. "Kiena, ma'am? Where are we going?"

Garawan smiles to the bronze, bowing politely. He gets up on the dragon when prompted. And to Ka'el's words, he nods. "I'll try my best to represent us well, sir," he promises. He does still need the help getting settled on the dragon. Because even though he's ridden a few times, it hasn't been nearly enough that it's become routine.

Kanekith's neck> Ka'el helps Kera up, as she's one of the last Candidates to arrive, though he seems not bothered by that. "Good of you to make it," he says with a smirkish look once he gets her settled. He double, then triple checks everyone. No one's falling off on his watch! "Keep a steady hold. If this is your first time flying…do not throw up on Kanekith's back. I've just oiled him and trust me.." he says as he settles into his spot, strapping in, "it'll be bad news for everyone if we've to fly with vomit splattered all over the place. Especially on him." He looks over to Ujinath and his rider, giving a thumbs up. Ready? Ready! Okay! And with a mental cue, Kanekith's body shifts as he readjusts his weight, feeling weight of bodies on his back. Wings spread, then tuck as he makes a mighty leap up. It's flying time!

In the Sky, Ujinath's neck> Kiena tries not to wrinkle her nose too much at the ma'am bit. Part of the package deal, this whole properness thing. "Well, don't sweat it, Bowyn. It's a bit unsettling at first but Ujinath is a good flyer." she assures Bowyn and when she begins to hoist herself up, as promised the Weyrsecond is right behind her and helping in buckling her in. "Just a second, I've got to get the others." Others? You bet there are more Candidates! No where near as many as Kanekith could carry, but the blue will do his part as transport! At last it's Kiena's turn to sit in the saddle and she will arrange herself with Bowyn ahead of her and the other candidates behind, after asking them of their experience in riding on a dragon's back. Seeing as they've done it before, she leaves them to take the back seat. Ujinath turns his head around to whuffle softly to Bowyn's thanks and the Weyrsecond chuckles dryly, "He says you're welcome and not to be afraid. No harm will come to any of us. As for where we're going well… that's a bit of a surprise. You'll see shortly enough. We're flying straight too." No shock of Between! Ka'el's signal is caught and echoed and then Kiena is leaning forwards to murmur to Bowyn. "Get ready now. You'll feel Ujinath gather himself… Here we go!" Sure enough, the blue begins to move and there is a sensation of muscles gathering and tensing just before he leaps aloft. Wings flare open and sweep in smooth, even strokes as he soars higher and higher to take his place just behind and beside Kanekith.

In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Garawan does start a little when Kanekith suddenly leaps into the air, but handles it relatively well. He merely hangs on as the bronze leaps into the air. He will move in whatever way he needs to, to make it easier for him to stay on. There's a certain rhythm that's necessary to move one's body in for comfortable travel on an animal's back, whether it's through the air or on the ground.

In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Kera climbs up, with Ka'el and the bronze's assistance, chuckling a little. "Sorry for bein late sir." Nodding to Garawan as she settles and gets strapped in securely, she glances towards Kiena and her passengers before nodding at the Weyrleader's rules "No vomiting til after we climb back down, got it." This is mainly murmured to herself of coarse. Then comes the part she hates, that sudden jarring in the neck at the 'leap' upwards.

In the Sky, Kanekith opens his mouth and calls out as wings pump him higher above the clearing, then higher still. The fog is left below them, and above are clear and chilly skies. Ka'el glances behind him, checking on his passengers. Anyone looking green in the gills? Anyone scared of heighs? Huh. He probably should've asked that earlier, but it makes no difference now. They're already up! And they're still rising. Kanekith's wings lift and drop, cupping the air and pushing itb elow him as he elevates himself and the riders on his back, though his mind is only tuned in to one of them. Gently? Pft, why? Okay…okay for now, he'll keep his ascent smooth despite his jarring start. Ka'el checks for Kera and grins and offers her a thumbs up before looking forward again, spotting Ujinath's blue body. Everything good over there? Eventually, the climb stops at a dizzying height, and the flight moves forward to..unknown destinations!

In the Sky, Ujinath's neck> Ujinath breaks his silence by calling out after Kanekith does, the blue actually showing something more than his usual reclusive nature. He loves to fly and once he feels the wind against his hide and wings, it's as though he's a completely different dragon. Thankfully Kiena keeps a tight grip on him or he'd be foolishly taunting and challenging Kanekith to race or flying all over the place. Who doesn't like some dives and dips, bracing turns and wild acrobatics? Anyone? No? Darn it. The flight moves forwards alright and pretty straight at that, deviating only when Ujinath follows a different thermal or adjusts. At least the view is stunning up here? The mists won't obscure much, hopefully! Once things have levelled out, Kiena will check on her charges. Bowyn first, assuring herself that the Candidate is hanging in there alright before twisting around a bit to check on the other too. All good? All's good! For now.

In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Garawan seems to be handling it well. He's keeping a good grip on the straps, but still taking the time to enjoy the scenery. There's not much else to do on the trip, the wind is too strong to make talking viable. Oh yes. This shoulder have been noted before, Garawan is wearing his nearly ever-present gloves.
In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Kera smiles around once the initial leap is passed, returning a thumbs up to Ka'el before lookinglooking to Garawan. "Did they tell you where we are going?" As the angle changes, Kera looks down at the Weyr with a slow shake of hooded head. Huge wings push downward and the sudden elevation makes the candidate grapple at the straps holding her in place and grip then tightly. Not any mistrust on her part for either Kanekith or the straps, just pure instinct.

In the Sky, Kanekith's neck> Oh yes, all is good! As much as Kanekith doesn't like to fly with more than just his rider on his back, he's not incapable of doing so. And once he gets clued in on where he's going, he adjusts his flight that way. No Betweening! That shock will be saved for another day. For now, let's just focus on getting there and, yes, enjoying the view of the magnificent Weyr far, far beneath them. Kanekith's swirling eyes find Ujinath, his current flying partner. Hey. Hey hey Ujinath. Hey. Hey look. Watch this! "..Wait a se-.." Too late! The bottom seems to drop out of the sky as Kanekith, who was flying along so nicely, suddenly falls like a stone! Ah! Granted… it's a short drop, but a fast one of a hearty handful that'd be enough to put the stomach (and possibly heart!) somewhere high in the throat. Ka'el was expecting that. He got the mental warning. The others? Well.. Luckily, they aren't falling to their death, and wings splay again and pump to gain the altitude that was lost, corkscrewing in the process. Whee! So much fun, yes? Right? From the random "Ahh!"'s from his back…maybe! Maybe not?

In the Sky, Ujinath's back> Bowyn grabs onto whatever she can grab onto in order to help stabilize herself: straps? Kiena? Anything? Straps it is! She holds on for dear life, clenching her jaw. Once they're up, and she's survived without falling off due to a broken buckle or something, her body relaxes and the Candidate even smiles a little bit. A big breath is let out, and she even moves to give Ujinath a little pet. "OK, well I didn't die!" Bo twists to look at Kiena, with a dopey, relieved grin on her face. Then, her attention turns to the Weyr below them and she stares at it in awe. She's never been up so high! Suddenly Kanekith is dropping like a stone, and all of the color drains from her face. An uneasy glance is cast at the back of Ujinath's head.

In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Garawan holds onto Kanekith's straps tighter, emitting a quiet squeak of fear, when the bronze drops so suddenly. There's no sense in trying to unstrap— on the dragon or off, a fall from this height would probably kill him. That's the one problem with dragons— no safety net. But before he can panic too much, the bronze comes back to the same altitude, though that spin… sheesh. It's only when they're back at the proper altitude that he relaxes. Okay. Mental note, don't ride with Kanekith again if given the choice.

In the Sky, Ujinath's neck> The view is a perk for sure or at least something to focus on for those trying to keep their unease and fear at bay. Kiena is seated comfortably in the straps, almost bored if it where not for the attentiveness she spares to both Ujinath and her Candidate passengers. "You're not going to die!" Kiena says, catching most of the words from Bowyn over the wind. Bonus of being close behind! Ujinath just snorts, but doesn't seem offended. It's for that reason the blue is able to sneak that trick on her, as the Weyrsecond becomes distracted by conversation and to also check again on the Candidates behind her. Bowyn gets some warning, as Ujinath turns his head just enough that it almost appears as though he'd be grinning wickedly if a dragon could grin. Well, he could but he'd flash teeth and THAT would just be downright nightmarish. Hold on! Ujinath can't let Kanekith have all the fun and after being 'nudged', of course the blue is going to drop like a stone too and likely far quicker, being small and nimble as he is. Down, down they go and after he's dropped past the bronze he'll flare his wings again and arch his way back up with a little twist to be level. By this point, Kiena's forgone the politeness thing and is cursing up some of her most cherished oaths and perhaps shooting Ka'el a look. What in Faranth's name was that? "Everyone alright?" Kiena asks, also giving Ujinath quite the narrowed look.

In the Sky, Kanekith's back> Kera is starting to relax and enjoy the scenary, even smiling over to her fellow andidates. But then the ground starts coming fast as the crazy dragon dives. Eye widen and a startled squeak pipes out of her throat before she scrunches her eyes closed as tight as they will go. With a death grip on the straps, she cringes as if waiting for something. Feeling the dragon move and adjust his wings to catch air, she reluctantly opens eyes to squint/glare at the Weyrleader's back, or the dragon's. "Not funny." is muttered a few times while she gets her breathing back under control.

In the Sky, Kanekith's neck> Okay so…note: Kanekith and Ujinath flying together is /not/ a good idea! One acrobat is enough. But two? When that happens, one will always try to outdo the other! Case in point? Now! Kanekith comes out of his spiral in time enough to watch Ujinath drop too. So zippy and fast! Oh yeah? Well then watch this! He's about to do one heck of a big loop-de-loop, but Ka'el does a mental clamp down. NO! *muttermutter* "Sor….My apologies, everyone!" he hollers out over his shoulder, flashing a grin and flicking Kanekith's neck in the process. It probably felt like a fly. In any case! The Candidates are thankfully spared any more theatrics throughout their trip across the regions of Xanadu. Where are they going? It definitely isn't the shortest flight ever, as time ticks by from minutes to a couple of hours til finally they begin to descend…over marshy…swampy looking land.

Xanadu Wilds - Grassy Flat

This small clearing is just barely large enough for one large dragon to land without snagging its wings on the surrounding tree branches. Here in the center of the swamp, life is rampant and the sounds, from insects to avians, can be heard. There can also be heard the rustle of tunnelsnakes and the burble and plop of gas bubbling to the surface of dark pools.

The earth here is thickly-covered with six foot tall grass, making it impossible to actually see the ground, but it appears level, and safe for landing. On three sides of the perimeter, plant life grows rampant through the dank and damp earth that gives the impression of solid ground. Quicksand-like places are hard to see until one is on top of them; A hidden hazard that takes many unawares. If you land a dragon here, it will sink to it's elbows and knees in muck. Liftoff is possible, but those dismounting will endure a slog thought hip-deep mud to arrive at the cothold just adjacent to this clearing and accessible via a narrow bridge across one of the canals.

Ujinath's back> Bowyn saw it coming. She knew it would happen the moment that lump of blue meat turned his head back and stared straight at her. "/No/. Nononononono!" Aaaaaaaand they're falling. Down, down, down, wind in her mouth, wind in her eyes, pretty sure a bug in her teeth. Bowyn is not having it. Her usually lightly curled runner's mane of a haircut is all puffed up and frazzled, and she looks a little nauseous. When they're level again, the poor, sick Candidate closes her eyes and takes a deep breath to try to calm her nerves.

The long, dry, head-high grasses, wave in a slight breeze, rustling as dragons backwing into them. Yonder over a footbridge lies a cothold. A very… quiet-looking cothold. In fact, nothing stirs over there. Nary a peep or a child's excited shout to indicate visitors have been spotted and no one hustling to see what they want. Oh my?

Ujinath's neck> Oops? Of course it's a bad idea for Ujinath and Kanekith to fly together! Kiena had been doing just fine keeping the blue in order and not wild and carefree up to that point. Just a little blip but she is much wiser now. Mercifully Ka'el keeps Kanekith from doing that loop-de-loop because Ujinath would have certainly mirrored it AND tried to top it with something far flashier. Like a vertical corkscrew! Nothing says sick and rattled Candidates like some G-Force experience, right? Satisfied that the experienced Candidates behind her are okay, Kiena turns her attention to Bowyn and gently taps her arm to gain her attention. "Sorry about that. We're almost there now and we'll be letting you dismount. Ujinath apologizes too. Sometimes they just get a bit too overeager with flying. How're you holding up?" she asks, trying to get a good look at her. Not going to be sick, is she? Because if so, well… there may be some hasty flying and landing if that's the case! Right down to… the marshes and swamps below? Uh. Surely this can't be right? Sleepy cothold and all, it's quite the remote location!

Kanekith's back> Kera starts to loosen her grip, bit by bit, on the straps as the sudden drops have stopped. The shifting landscape below is watched as it rolls by way down there. She's not keeping track of the time, but a little fidgetting start to occur after a while. Stretching a leg, rolling an ankle, leaning a bit to see a little more past the dragon's side. Sitting up again, she pushes her hood back a little and grins. "Garawan, look." Then she points a gloved hand slightly above them a fair of wild lizards going their own way. Soon the air starts smelling differant and they are lowering over… a swamp?

Kanekith's neck> Landing is a .. process. There's not a whoooole lot of room in this clearning, but it is a clearing. But it's not a very…uh, sturdy clearing and Kanekith is not a fan of the sensation of his clawed feet sinking into the ground. It's not solid ground at all! He voices complaint and tosses his head. Noooo! Not his shiny, freshly oiled legs! Nooo! See, this is why he wouldn't've made a good dragon for the transport wing at all! Unforunately, whether he likes it or not he has to land…and so…*slog* land he does. Ka'el takes just a moment to soothe him before he sits up in the saddle and turns to the wide-eyed Candidates behind him. And … eh, some are looking green around the gills! "Alright, everyone off!" he barks. "I helped you up, I'm not helping you down!" Maybe he doesn't want to get his boots dirty? His eyes dart over to Ujinath, seeking those of his rider as the bewildered crew on his side begin awkwardly climbing down. "Yuck!" says one who sinks into..what is this? Mud? Water? Muddy water?

Ujinath's back> Bowyn looks back at Kiena, still feeling somewhat sick, and says "It's alright. I just need to be on the ground. Are we almost there?" When she looks below, she furrows her brows at the cothold and scratches the side of her head. "What's that?" She seems more excited when she asks, "What are we doing here?" Remote locations are her favorite places! She watches Kanekith land and eyes that swamp water…stuff…suspiciously. She doesn't like it already.

Things below them gurgle and burble with liquid pops. The scent that rises as dragonclaws break through the surface is malodorous of rotting vegetation and sulfur. How…nice?

Kanekith's back> Garawan looks to Kera when she says his name. Wild firelizards? How neat! Much not-neater, however, is the nasty muck they seem to be landing in. And see, this is why he always wears heavy boots with his pant legs TUCKED IN. He dismounts the dragon when the Weyrleader says, though he's careful not to land too hard. He's still going to sink, but hopefully not too far.

Kera eyes the…..mud with a disgruntled eye, then looks back to Ka'el and Garawan. 'I was late cleaning myself up from chores…for this? Gah!' Taking a few extra seconds to undo the straps, stalling having to wallow in the muck a little longer, then there is goes and she's free. Casting another glance towards the Weyrleader and other candidates, she pushes her hood back fully and tries to scramble down the bronze's side. Unfortunately, she resembles a flailing heardbeast in the process. She sticks her landing though, too well, as she's now ankle deep in what please better be mud. Teeter forward, then backwards, she tries to get her balance and retrieve her feet.

Ujinath's neck> Ujinath does not mind in the slightest about squishy and not-solid ground! This time the blue's descent is much more gradual and when he does land it is well cushioned. Slorp? He sinks a bit, but barely twitches his tail or wings over the sensation. It's just a bit of mud! He snort-chuffs to Kanekith: suck it up, prissy! Just means more bathing and oiling back at the Weyr! Round 2. Slorp, slog, slurp. Ujinath picks his way a bit closer to the bronze and as he settles, Kiena answers Bowyn's many questions… with a barely contained grin. "We're here now. As for what this is, it's a marshy swamp. What you're doing here? You'll see. Try to relax! You'll be just fine." she says and explains little. Crytpic game time! Unbuckling the straps, she'll gesture then for the Candidates to dismount. "Everyone off please! Don't think you'll need help for that. Just take your time." And enjoy the mud! Once all passengers are off, Ujinath… backs up? Hey, wait a second… where's he going? The blue flares his wings the moment he has space to do so and launches back into the air. Maybe the Weyrsecond has to return to fetch something? That makes sense, right? Yet when she doesn't return… one has to wonder!

There's… mud in there too, yes. And whatever got stuck in the mud and died, be it last turn's vegetation or some creepy critter who lives here. And other brown things, but that percentage is, naturally, lower.

Kanekith's neck> Ka'el watches as Candidates file off of his dragon's back, offering no help or explanation of just…what sort of diplomat would wish to meet in the middle of swampgrounds. Nope, the Weyrleader is of no help. Kanekith still grumps over his legs being stuck in the muck, though he's settled by the presence of the blue. Ka'el sits up straighter once the last occupant is off, and he nods in agreement with Kiena. Yup, we're here. Yup, it's a swamp. Most assuredly they'll all figure out why they're here. Relax? He smirks at that. Then, her passengers are gone too and Ujinath is back in the sky. With a little smirk still on his face, Ka'el gives a small salute to the dropped off bunch. "Remember. You're representatives of Xanadu," he says as parting words of advice. Wait… parting? Yup! Kanekith gives a few telltale signs of leaving by backing up too, paws sloshing, then launches up too, spraying muddy, swampy water everywhere. And he's off! Byeeee!

Bowyn dismounts rather quickly, her feet sinking into the mudstuff when she hits it, but she holds still for a few moments to make sure she doesn't lose her lunch. Once she's got herself back together, she carefully makes her way over to stand near Garawan and Kera, being splashed by mudstuff as the bronze departs. "What…the…" Confused as she is, she's actually a little bit excited still. The girl looks around at the swamp, lifting her feet now and then to free them from the stickiness beneath, and then looks at the others with a grin.

And still no movement from that hold over there - not that they can see it now that they're standing in the grass. Hm. Silence, save for the whisper of late fall wind through that dry grass and the gurgles, plips and plops around them. They //do remember which way that cothold lies, right?//

Yep. That's about what Garawan was expecting. He's beginning to be able to telegraph the Weyr leadership's punches now. It's pretty typical of a Candidacy— pick the candidates up one day, fly them to some remote location, and then leave them there for a week or so, then pick up those who survived and bury the ones that didn't. He's at least quick enough to back up and escape the majority of the mud flying as Kanekith takes off. What he misses lands on the underside of his sleeve. He'll deal with it later. "Well then." He looks to the candidates. Perhaps he's decided to take charge? Well, no, but he does know what to say. "For those of you who haven't been through this before, this is likely the very typical 'wilderness survival' test that I am willing to bet all of the Weyrs put their candidates through before the hatching. It should only last a week or two, though it may go as long as a month." Cothold? What cothold? Garawan's never been out here before. There's no major trading in this direction, so why would a caravan go out here?

Someone is keeping score, right? Garawan gets a zero for observational skills. Anyone else do any reconnaissance from the back of their transport dragon on the way in? Anyone else want to try? or are they spending the night here, sinking in the mud? It's up tp a dragon's elbow in here. That… can't be good.

Kera manages to free her boots, sorta, and steps over to where the candidates are gathering. Unbuttoning her jacket, the healing candidate peers towards the blue as it lifts off. Peering between the others "Bowyn, Think ya got something in your teeth…just there.." Mimicing on her own teeth to show the hunter. "…and something in your hair.." Point it out, her attention goes to the bronze lifting off and vanishing. Frowning at the sky, she waits, then blinks and waits some more. Not gonna panic, nope!. After a few more long seconds, she looks between the others "There are nicer ways to tell us we aren't candidates anymore aren't there?" But then Garawan is explaining, but he's not giving her a warm fuzzy feeling, far from it actually "Wilderness survival! A month!" Kera sputters to a stop and reaches into her satchel and starts cataloging what's in it and shaking her head. "Nothing but mud and grass as big as trees."

"Typical? Typical?? There's nothing typical about this!" shrieks a teenaged candidate girl, somewhere around sixteen. She goes by the name of Lyrena. "And you knew?" she rounds on Garawan. Why didn't you say something! I wouldnt've worn this dress if I'd known we'd be out in the…the wilderness!" A dress that's now wet and yucky and absolutely ruined in her eyes.

Rien, a young boy who looks like he's ten but is probably closer to the youngest age that a candidate boy can be, stared wide eyed at their surroundings. So. Cool. But. Also. Not. "Wuddr we supposed t'eat?" And drink for that matter. The water here looks gross. And what about bathing? Not that he's too worried about that. It's not mandatory to bathe daily, right? "Why didn't you say something*

AHA! Wilderness survival! Bowyn's grin grows wider, and she fails to hold back a laugh. "Oh, this is going to be so much /fun/!" When she notices how unamused Kera is, the hunter clears her throat and puts on a serious face. "We probably won't be out here for a month, Kera. It's OK." Then she looks around her once more, pointing in the general direction of the sad little building that she had seen from Ujinath's back. "I saw a little cothold…thing…over in that direction," she says, taking a few steps that way. She turns back and smirks at Rien when she says, "That'll be a surprise! We'll have to see what's around." Lyrena's comments cause Bowyn's nose to wrinkle, and the hunter rolls her eyes. "You can get a new dress," she mutters under her breath. "C'mon, guys. Let's go this way. Maybe if you're a little unsure about the mud you should hold someone's hand." The Candidate turns and offers her hand to Kera. Garawan gets a smile as she says, "Did you go through this your first candidacy?"

Garawan raises his hands to the teenage girl. "Calm down, yelling isn't going to help anything." Smirk. "Nor is hitting me." Because he knows she wants to. "I didn't know /when/, and normally there has been /some/ kind of preparation. It's always been waking the candidates up early in the morning and telling us to pack. There must be something else here, and this may be a shorter trip than we think." Pause. "Does anyone remember the area from above? Perhaps there's something we're missing." He wasn't paying a lot of attention, admittedly— they mentioned diplomacy, so he assumed it would be into a clearing they'd land. He'll go along with the others, picking his way carefully through the mud and muck. Bowyn's question is answered, "Yes, but not like this. They woke us up before dawn and told us to pack for some time, but pack light. This is different. So perhaps they have something different in mind."

Kera flashes an annoyed glance towards the shreiking girl and rolls her eyes "That's helpful." Not bothering to hide her sarcasm as she continues to look through her satchel. "My messege just said bring my bag, so I did." Brandishing her shoulder satchel briefly, she finishes rummaging through it before slipping her head through the strap and settling it across her back. Accepting a bit of help through the mud when feet start trying to slide out from under her Kera huffs what Bowyn is sooo amused "Not everyone likes living with insects and tunnelsnakes Bowyn." Shaking her head to Garawan "No, pretty much all I remember seeing for the last bit was grass." Glancing towards the other candidates, hopefully the smaller ones won't be bring up the rear of the group for tunnelsnakes to pick off…..stay out of the tall grass keeps whispering in her mind. Kera waves little Rien closer to her before gesturing almost imperiously to Bowyn "Well, lead on fearless Hunter!"

Now that the dragons are gone, the hum of insects resumes. Insects. The jumping, creeping, dropping-on-from above kind that seek… nourishment from passers-by. Won-der-ful!

Lyrena glares daggers at Garawan but thankfully, no actual blood is shed. Or fists swung either. She'd stamp a foot if it wasn't so hard to get her foot lifted enough to stamp it, so in the end she just sort of huffs of slosh walks off. "Come on then. Apparently there's a cothold 'thing' over yon," she says with a passing look to Bowyn, chin jutting up and genuinely peeved. Here she was thinking she was going to met some cute young heirs or something! Hence the dress.

Rien likes the mush well enough and has no complaints other than his question over food. That's important. He must have snackage! And a little guidance doesn't hurt either, and he follows along as things start progressing forward and walking begins. Does he remember seeing anything while in the air? Before or after almost dropping to his death? "I remember…seeing…uhwait no I don't." *smack!* He slaps a hand to his neck. "Sumthin bit me!"

There's also the kind of insects that make clouds, too small to quite be seen individually but together forming a slowly-drifting haze. Try not to inhale?

Bowyn smiles over at Garawan again, saying, "I guess this'll be quite the experience for you then, huh? Have you done anything crazier than this?" She does assist Kera through the mud, glancing back at Rien every now and then to make sure he hasn't been swallowed by the stinking, rotten muck. When Kera starts giving her sass, the hunter, though amused, shoots her a /look/. "I know that, but it's not like you can do change anything by complaining," and she looks at the sixteen turn old, "or going into a panic. You're in this situation now. Make the best of it." That's that. When she's been assigned charge, her skin prickles with irritation but she doesn't say anything as she swats at the bugs, picking a couple out of her teeth, then killing the ones that bite. After a moment she stops to scoop up some mud that looks a /little/ less suspicious than the rest, and slathers it on her arms. And her neck and face. "I know it smells rank," she begins to explain, "but if you rub some of the cleaner looking mud on your exposed areas it'll help prevent bug bites. At least the nasty ones." She presses on, trying her best to pick up on cues for the way to shelter.

zzzzzzZZZZZZRRRRRROOOOWWWWWwwwwwww!!! A large dark shape whizzes by, mere inches from the tips of the waving grass right over their heads. There's a raucous croak over the trees of the shadowed swamp and the pulse-beat of wings against the air as whatever it is, seeks height, turns in the skies for another dive.

Garawan has a talent for looking completely innocent. That whole salesman thing. Really! He didn't know! Bowyn's question gets a shake of his head. "Not quite this crazy. But what choice do we have, mm? Might as well make the best of it." Though how one can make the best of a bug-infested, ankle-deep swamp of mud and Faranth only knows what else is anyone's guess. Which is probably part of the point. And then they're being dive-bombed. Garawan ducks the first dive, and then looks down. Any big rocks or branches? He's got gloves on. And yes, he's going to check for 'things-that-will-bite-him' before picking up the rock or branch. He needs it to defend himself— and possibly others— from that thing, he's not about to make ANOTHER creature that wants to bite/kill/eat him angry!

Kera glances to Rien at the *smack* sound, offering a little wince, seeing the size of the bug that was trying to feast on candidate. "Don't worry Rien, when Bowyn finds this shack she saw, I got some dried meat we can all share." She offers the littlest candidate a friendly wink "And when Minimur shows up, he can help by bringing us something to eat too." Of coarse, some of it will be raw offerings. the odd noise has her ducking as she peers upwards, seeing a dark shape outlines against the grass as it zzzzswoops overhead. Peering back to Garawan with wide eyes, she silently mouths 'Did you see the size of that thing?' Tugging off her gloves, she makes her her little knife is handy "Um, Bowyn? You don't by chance have your bow, do ya?" Teetering suddenly, her feet shift, or, something shifts under her feet, causing Kera to jump and lurch forward. Finally she stumbles onto a dry clump of grass where the mud is less squishy and squelchy.

IS the mud ankle deep? Maybe where they're stepping at the moment, but beware, for there are sinkholes of quicksand in here. And no visible path. Be careful where you step?

The divebombing thing causes Bowyn to freeze, and then suddenly she's moving a little quicker than before. "It should be right up here." When Kera finds more solid ground, the hunter hops up to it so she can help the others up in case they lose their footing around the sinkhole. "Watch your step guys. Apparently there's a sinkhole right there. Thanks Kera." She offers a muddy hand in case anyone needs to take it, and once she's free she parts the grass and reveals the edge of the little shack. "Well…let's go in, I guess." She seems…unsure?

Xanadu Weyr - Mire Hold

Having followed the trail, which has led you through a swamp, taking an increasingly difficult and sometimes meandering passage through boggy patches with nearly hip-deep mud, you arrive in Mire Hold. This place is a good three day hike from Xanadu Weyr.

Mire Hold is a combination of wet and dry land. Channels have been built to guide the water from the swamp in slow-draining canals, while land space has been built up to support people, crops and animals alike. Bridges and pathways crisscross across the area, providing solid footing upon which to walk. In larger open ponds gray trees stand like sentinels in the water with long moss hanging from their limbs. Tall pines or deciduous trees stand in small clumps, dotting the marshy area. Fruit trees have been planted closer to the buildings; terraced gardens have reclaimed the land and provide food for this cothold. A stone wall surrounds the main buildings, though several stone cottages can be found on the outskirts as well. Wooden fences break up pasture land for herdbeasts and runners as well as other small livestock. Very few places are sturdy enough to support a dragon, but there appears to be a somewhat suitable clearing to one side.

This is obviously more than a 'little shack'. But this compound is apparently deserted. The stone buildings are shuttered and silent. And yet… there are little signs that this place has been - very recently - inhabited. Chickens scratch in the dust, clucking away. Tendrils of smoke rise from several chimneys - fires hastily doused, but still smoldering. Doors, if checked, are locked. There are no people to be seen.

Bugs! Yuck yuck she hates bugs! But who actually likes bugs, other than those creatures that eat them? Lyrena is no such creature, and her hands wave and flail in front of her face to shoo them away. When she sees Bowyn slather mud all over her face, she /makes/ a face. "We're not even out here a full candlemark and we're layering ourselves in mud and larvae and who knows what else? There's no way any of that is going on me-eeeeeeee!" The extra 'ee' comes because of that zooming, dive-bombing, thing that flutters by her head. She covers her head, ducks, and begins to run-shlosh forward with everyone else. "What is it? What is it!" She'll probably fall, and that'll be the end of any hopes of saving her dress.

"Cool!" says Rien, who just thinks this is the most awesome thing ever. He didn't want to go on a diplomacy trip. That sounded boring. But this is a SWAMP ADVENTURE and that's right up his alley! Even with that bug bite that'll likely be a very itchy situation later. He follows everyone else, trying to look up and see what was swooping down at them because it's probably something super neat! But he ends up looking ahead instead. "Woah…where are we?"

Slogging through mud is not really Garawan's idea of fun. But at least someone seems to know where they're going. So he's going to follow. And get the heck out of the area of the dive-bombing… THING. Whatever it is. Garawan doesn't want to know. "Lyrena, don't run!" he tries to caution her. But he can't catch up to her fast enough to prevent her from falling. Not without going down and taking a few others with him. Which he's not doing. So, sadly, Lyrena will be on her own if she falls. He WILL however, help her get up off the ground if she does fall, when he can catch up to her. At least the hold soon comes into view. Here he'll try to make himself visible, slightly mucky as he is. If this is diplomacy, where are the people they're supposed to be diplomatic with? "… Hello?"

Gabit has been ware that outsiders were entering Mire's territory for some time. Dragons cavorting in the skies are not difficult to spot and Mire Hold has been appropriately alerted. He materializes seemingly out of nowhere, with a six foot long slender pole held in his fingertips pointed at Garawan's chest (since he seems to have assumed the leadership despite Bowyn's leading them in here). The young man has the quality of something not-quite tame and yet there's nothing overtly threatening about him. He's balanced on the balls of his feet, obviously ready to move, alert, wary and not trying to hide the fact. Dark eyes flick over the group. "Why are you come to Mire?" he asks with a rough, backwoods accent.

Innes has been here the whole time, really. Up until this point, she has been surprisingly quiet aside from a few (mostly unhelpful) comments. She's about halfway covered in mud after falling soundly on her behind, and her hair is even more of a mess than usual. All in all, she looks like a bit of a wreck. She's close to the rear of the group, but is quick to move toward the front when they reach something that seems a bit like solid ground. At least there seem to be structures involved. She's looking at the area with narrowed eyes when Gabit's appearance takes her by surprise. Well. "Seriously?" she mumbles, spreading mud across her forehead as she swipes a hand over her face. If this is one of those occasions when she's meant to salute, she doesn't have the sense to do so.

Whoops! Garawan again raises his hands, this time in surrender. Pointy things being pointed at his chest is not something that he's been prepared for. But at least it's clear there's no weapons on Garawan's person. "Ah, pardon me… I didn't see you until just now." He steps back, and bows— carefully, and not wanting to take his eyes off of that pike. "Xanadu's duties to you. We are from Xanadu Weyr…" Saying they come in peace seems a little… cliche'. So instead he supplies, "We're here for diplomatic purposes." He can't really say any more than that because… well, they weren't /told/ any more than that. But that would be an excuse, and this person clearly wants none of those. Besides, one always has to at least LOOK like one knows what one is doing.
Bowyn busies herself with counting the people following, giving Lyren a /look/ when she comes within range, and almost doesn't notice Gabit's appearance. She turns at Garawan's "hello" and spies the newly-appeared person before them, confused. She moves to stand next to Garawan, not liking the look of that pole being pointed at him, and stands up straight. Innes gets a sidelong look and a little jerk of the head for her fellow candidate to come closer. Strength in numbers and all that! She looks between Garawan and Gabit as words are exchanged, uneasy.

Strength in numbers, yes - so where's the rest of the hold that had those still-smoldering fires and those chickens? There's nobody - oh wait. Has there been a man standing in front of that tree all along? Tarmin doesn't so much move as stand there, his arms crossed in front of him and his stance one that has him light-footed and ready. This one is further from the group of intruders, but Gabit isn't alone. Now there's two of these people to be seen, though Tarmin's not one to be heard, just yet. He's silent, watching… waiting.

Gabit smirks at Garawan. "I've been here," he says casually in the manner of one wondering why the other is so dull of observational senses. "Saw ya comin'." Dark, nearly-black eyes shift momentarily to Innes and his mouth curls at the corners even as his expression remains serious. Yes, really. This is his home. They are strangers. The world is not… always…a safe place. Back to Garawan, his mouth forms a firm line and his head cants fractionally as he levels a flat look at the male candidate. He can spot a charade when he sees one. "I know where you're from," he says evenly, and gruffly, "But we don't need diplomatic… attempts." The mud-smeared Bowyn is spared a glance - although his vigilance decreases not one whit. "Fall in, did you?" To the entire group, "Why're you really here?" Distrustful? You betcha!

Innes doesn't wantto go stand next to Bowyn and confront this stick-bearing man - not out of fear, mind - but with a quiet huff she reluctantly does so. She slides into place beside the hunter, elbowing her gently and then tilting her head to point out that another person seems to have materialized. Where are these people coming from? Her attention shifts back to Gabit as he speaks, her lips curling with a hint of repressed laughter. This situation probably shouldn't be funny. Her quirked smile turns smug as Garawan's first attempt at diplomacy is rebuffed. "We're here because we got dropped off here, and you've got the most solid ground we've managed to find," she offers instead with a one-shoulder shrug. "What do you need from us to get you to drop the big stick?"

Okay. Right. No BS with this one. Garawan can read people pretty well, but this one isn't giving up much. Other than 'please to not try to BS me or this pointy thing will shortly be somewhere very undesirable and uncomfortable for you'. He sighs a little bit. "She is correct… truth be told, we were not given specifics," he admits. "We were rather unceremoniously dumped here without being told any specifics on what we were supposed to do. Only that this was a diplomatic trip and we were to represent Xanadu Weyr."

Tarmin starts by letting Gabit do the talking. He's just here, in the hold that at first seemed recently-abandoned but now has sprouted a pair of men seemingly out of nowhere. There's a flick up of one corner of Tarmin's mouth for the fact that they've been here, but then it flattens again. Xanadu's duties? That draws an arch of his brows, puzzlement and suspicion both directed at Garawan, and then his eyes leave the male to look over the others. Innes and Bowyn have noticed him; he gives the faintest of nods without anything like a smile. He sure is here. Who else might be? He's not saying. It's to Innes that he addresses himself - now that he's been seen by some, it's time to let the ones who haven't noticed him catch up. That solid ground? "Sure is ours." His voice is gruff, accented the same as Gabit's. The question from Innes is considered, but his eyes flick to Garawan as the young man speaks, then back to Innes as he answers. "And we ain't interested."

It really shouldn't be funny. Gabit's eyes flick to Innes, but briefly; perhaps because she is female, hardly a threat? There's no telling. The corner of his mouth tugs downward at her levity. With his dark eyes upon Garawan, he says solemnly, "I never drop it. Miss." The log, slender pole remains a half-inch from the male's chest - it's several feet long, flat-tipped on both ends (no pointy) and barely an inch in diameter. It… doesn't really look deadly? He's aware of the elbowing between the girls, knows what that means but doesn't turn his head. Dumped here - hah! If they weren't within Mire territory, Gabit might smirk at that. "We saw," he tells Garawan, and then Tarmin's voice has him pausing, not that he's been overly wordy. He nods agreement; they do not need Xanadu's diplomacy. "Or want it," he tosses to the group with a flat line to his mouth. "You may return to your Weyr." Which way is home? By which trail? The afternoon edges towards evening. It will be dark within an hour or two. Good… luck?
Innes can't help rolling her eyes as Tarmin sees fit to speak up. She presses a muddy hand to her temple, but in spite of that gesture of frustration she still appears mildly amused by the entire situation. It's much easier to be unconcerned when you're not the one with the stick (even a non-pointy one) aimed at your chest, after all. "So don't be interested," she states in a monotone, looking to Tarmin as she speaks, "We're trespassers, I get it. You have every right to shove poles at us and throw us off of your land." Oh look, is that a hint of understanding from the mouthy candidate? She shifts slightly to check in on the locations of her fellows, making sure that they're all present while subtly checking to see if others have joined their welcoming party. "We could go home," she agrees, "Or you could hold us hostage and put us to work while we try to talk you into liking us." At least it'd keep them from slogging through the muck after dark, right?

Holy crap who's that? Garawan hadn't seen Tarmin, but when the man speaks up, his attention turns in his direction. Blink. The expression states, 'where did you come from?' Though he doesn't say it. he does feel the need to point out, "We weren't given much choice but to come out here. I'm sorry if we are tresspassing, but it was not the intention." His demeanor changes a bit. While he loses none of his politeness, there is an edge there now. A firmness. It's the firmness that comes when another merchant is trying to diddle him out of marks. An emotional sense of Will Not Budge. It's not overbearing in the slightest. But it firmly states that he will not be pushed around.

Kera has lagged a bit towards the rear of the group during the trek through the candidate feasting bug infested swamp. She flails at the air almost constantly, muttering curses to all bugkind. Somewhere along the way, she grabbed a broken branch that she's been using to test questionable bits of the swamp for firmness. Things seem to be going, not fine since they are stumbling around a marshy swamp, but at least the group is moving somewhere, that is, until they aren't. New voices bring the healing candidate out of her misery and the stranger is spotted. Narrowing her gaze on the pole weilding scruffy looking stranger, Kera glances around to the others and starts trying to nudge the younger candidates into the center of the group. Listening to the conversation with a wary expression, she stays quiet, for the moment as she watches the strangers.

Tarmin doesn't look to Gabit, though he nods slightly at the younger man's agreement and decision. Go on then. Scram! No? Innes may claim she gets it, but she certainly isn't going anywhere, and as she continues, Tarmin's mouth flattens enough that the corners of it turn down into a frown. "No, miss, I'd say we can't. We ain't thieves, and we ain't kidnappers." He keeps his eyes on the womenfolk, though he adds after Garawan speaks, "Some funny Weyr business brought you here, well, that ain't our problem." Maybe there's a reason for the aversion these people seem to have? Fewer involvements, fewer problems. Matter-of-fact, he adds, "Only problem I got is you're still here."

A faint grimace flicks across Gabit's face. On the heels of Tarmin's refusal, "Dun need hostages," he growls towards Innes with another flick of nearly-black eyes to her, only to return to Garawan right after. "Dun need ta like ya neither." That's said completely without hostility, simply matter-of-fact. He can read expressions, Garawan's implacability included. His own expression reveals little, but there is the creeping of amusement around the edges. Not thawing, however. The swamps of Mire ensure that pushing someone around is unnecessary. But Garawan may find this out for himself; Gabit makes no comment regarding his apology either. Forgiven? Snerk! They're still here. Perhaps after they've gone! Scruffy? Tsk. Gabit is clean-shaven and in clean clothing suitable for work, while the lot of them are muddy and mussed. Who's scruffy now?

"You're not thieves and you're not kidnappers, but you'd send the lot of us, whose only mistake was getting lost and trusting the wrong bunch of riders, out into the wilderness at night when we clearly have no idea what we're doing," Innes responds sharply, the sarcasm heavy in her tone. "How good of you." She seems to have forgotten that attempt she was making at being polite. "If you're such decent people, be decent people. We can return the favor by leaving tomorrow." A glance goes to Kera, watching her attempts to round up the group. Good. While Innes is unlikely to leave her position at the head of the group, she does take a few moments to glance over the rest. Some of them are definitely looking worse for the wear, herself included. "We need a place to stay." A pause. "Please." It's unlikely she'll stay silent for long, but once those words are spoken she does make an attempt to zip her lips and let the chips fall where they may.

"Perhaps not. But /you/ appear to be /our/ problem," Garawan replies to Tarmin's words. Again, firm, but not at all unkind. "I get the feeling we aren't the first to be sent out in this direction. What have the others wanted?" Maybe they could get an idea of what exactly was expected of them if they knew what they were supposed to be out here to do. Though he has a feeling now that they've been sent out here specifically to fail. It is, after all, sometimes more educating to fail than to succeed. Innes's comment draws a look from Garawan. But then, politeness hasn't worked, so perhaps these two are the kind to only respect those who are strong in some way. Still. Just in case. Garawan gives a nod. "She has a point. We're obviously unprepared for this. And I know you know that. You've been living here long enough to know this place better than we ever could. I can see how well you're adjusted to life here, to the rhythm of things out here." A bit of flattery? Maybe, but it's completely true, and spoken on a no-nonsense tone. "You can spot the unprepared from a mile away, I know you know we aren't ready for this. In any way. We are not here to threaten you or steal anything from you. We are here to talk. That's all. And since we are all stuck here until the riders see fit to come get us, which means you are stuck with us until then, this is not going to be pleasant for anyone unless we try to work together." Hopefully logic has a place here.

Kera can't help but snort "We most certainly did 'not' get lost." That would insinuate they knew they were going all along. Watching the strangers, she can't help but frown as the word hostages is tossed around. Gripping the ground poking stick tighter, her attention drifting over the group of candidates, then scanning the tall grass as if expecting more rude stranger to come along. Some of the younger candidates are bunching together, sending uncertain glances to each other then to the older ones. This whole time the rude strangers have been accosting the candidates, the annoying buzzing bugs are having a candy feast, complete with musical accompanyment consisting of many sweaty hands slapping at exposed skin. Looking among the welt covered group, Kera shakes her head, listening to several attempts of reason fail. Clearly losing patience, "The longer we stand here, chatting, the more first-aid we'll all need later…" she gestures to all the bug bites that are already starting to swell and irritate everyone. "And the less time we have to actually try finding something to eat." Her gaze darts towards the sky briefly before looking back towards Garawan, Innes and the others, before peering forward again. "If you would be good enough to let us pass, maybe even let us get in and away from these bugs..perhaps we could assist with a few chores." She gestures around the group "Among us, we've a few differant Hall trained skills that you may have a use for."

"Life ain't fair, miss." Tarmin says simply, his tone level despite the rising sharpness from Innes. "I ain't saying you ain't got problems, but they ain't mine." He rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "Don't take much mistake to leave you dead." The swamps of Mire are quite willing to teach that lesson, and Tarmin knows it well. Garawan's comments about others receive an arched eyebrow from Tarmin, and his gaze flicks over the group before returning to Innes with her request. "You try and help every broken-winged bird, you're gonna run outta bandages real fast." His tone is gruff, but not unsympathetic, and then… it takes a few sentences for Tarmin to look to Garawan instead of Innes, but there are plenty of those sentences to be had. First there's an arch of an eyebrow. Who's seeing what now? Then there's the twitch of lips for the obviousness, followed by their flattening and descent into a frown. "Boy," he says, "We ain't stuck with nobody." He looks back to Innes. "Now then, miss." He points to one of the outbuildings. "That there needs cleaning, I'd reckon. Might take all night." There's a meaningful pause there as he levels a look at her. "You can take them," a gesture to the quieter group, "to help." Which would make it get done faster, except there'll be other chores (mucky and unpleasant, many of them, and certainly not fancy Hall-trained tasks) appearing to take up any free time this evening. That said, Tarmin turns his gaze to Garawan. "You are going to learn 'bout the rhythms of this place. I got a feeling that's part of diplomacy." His eyes flick to Kera. "You're goin' with him. Catch y'self some dinner." Or… try, at least. "He'll take you." A tilt of his head to Gabit.

Send them into the swamps? Gabit levels Innes a flat look. He's never claimed to be decent, however, after a pause, he snorts then says flatly and simply, "You'd die." Kera's outburst brings the first sign of amusement to the young Mire holder's face. Not lost? His mouth curls and he interjects, "Not yet anyway." Rude… hah! What does she think this is, a tea party? He shifts his attention back to Garawan, though still addresses Innes with, "The lot of ya'll be escorted out when it's time." To see them out of Mire territory - in such a way that they'd never find their way back in. Others…sent…here? When Garawan opens his mouth with the uninformed assumptions - again - Gabit's expression morphs into a 'what?' grimace and a small shake of his head. He's not privy to the other's thoughts - and it's a very good thing he isn't. He rolls his eyes at the long-winded speech, though. "We ain't stuck with ya," he choruses with Tarmin and just as firmly as Garawan has spoken. Though he steps back a few paces and lowers his pole from the aim it's had on Garawan's chest with an air of barely concealed disgust. Obviously this one is no threat. Garawan appears the sort to assume - ignorantly - and then go off on some tangent or talk so much he'd be out cold before he knew what hit him. Does this mean Gabit lowers his vigilance? Nope! But he does turn his head fractionally to Tarmin and nods once. Again to Kera - not harshly, simply matter-of-fact, "Dun need anything." It's true. Mire is self sufficient and has been for a long, long time. "This way," he says to Kera and Garawan with a jerk of his head. He'll lead them to the dusty, unused learning building with the stacks of pillows, telling them this is where they will be sleeping. It's too dark by the time they've gotten things settled with everyone so instead of hunting, they'll end up killing a few chickens with the fun of plucking and dressing them, tossing them in a pot with some dried vegetables and rivergrains. Soup, hot and nutritious, to warm them before they sleep. They will be warned not to leave the compound for their own safety and they will be watched.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License