It Can't Get Worse Than Mass Suicide, Can it?

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 this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. 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 Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

Spring has breathed warmth into Xanadu, chasing the chill away to the North, the ice and mud also having relinquished its hold, allowing the grass to awaken and feather the clearing with a hint of green as it pierces the brown left from last turn. Fears still seem to linger in the minds of some that the return of incessant rains will resume, but thus far the weather has been mild, rains misty and brief rather than the steady pouring, soaking that had been the norm for the past two turns. Today light fluff-clouds hang in flower-scented air and while the work never stops, people seem to slow down enough while trekking hither and yon to absorb the warmth and enjoy the respite. Wing drills being held in this sort of weather are a treat after enduring them in freezing weather and as Galaxy disperses there's laughter and banter amongst the Riders. The Weyrwoman, having seen to Seryth, lingers. Apparently she’s wishing to speak to the Wingleader.

Keziah stands to one side of Alosynth as she takes in a few deep breaths, enjoying the fragrence or perhaps just trying to ease her tensions. She closes her eyes a moment and a brief smile flickers across her face and she gives Alosynth a bit of a thump. "Behave" she remarks as she opens her eyes and glances around. She notes Thea and she straightens up a bit and her work face expression appears. She's wary perhaps? One never knows what to expect it seems. She gives a nod of acknowledgement to Thea and makes her way over. "Galaxy is doing well, they're starting to settle in again."

"So I've noticed," Thea answers easily, while shifting the weight of her flamethrower on her hip. The thing is pointed at the ground, safety on, but she dips her head to check it once more, perhaps overly-conscious of safety. It's obvious she doesn't handle the mechanism with ease and there are wide swaths of char left behind on the beach where she's missed the targets to give silent testament to that. When she lifts her head, she brushes at one cheek leaving sooty ash smudges behind. Giving Keziah a few moments as others pass by, comment or ask questions, she waits until they are relatively alone. Giving the woman an appraising look, lips curve in a teasing smile and asks lightly, "So how's the Wingleader of Galaxy settling in?"

"You mean aside from the larger amounts of worry I have now? The wellfare of my riders to consider and schedules to rearrange and duties assigned and still find time to eat? Oh, I think I'm doing all right." Keziah notes. She eyes the flamethrower a bit, nothing wrong with checking the safety again, unless yer doing it every two seconds or the like. "Well, I think yer coming along better. You're hitting the ground pretty well." she states as her eyes twinkle briefly and then they're serious again. "Doesn't hurt to keep practicing. It's always a useful skill to have, and a flamethrower kill keep most felines at bay as well. Sometimes a little better than a crossbow. Speaking of which, been seeing some signs of them a few miles south of here."

With a little smirk Thea quips, "Is that all?" Her expression is sympathetic, however. "It's a big job, but I know you can do it, Keziah," she assures the woman sincerely. "How's Ers'lan seem to be handling things?" Watchful for nuances, those pale eyes are. The flame-thrower gets a look askance. "But I could -kill- them with my crossbow," she murmurs with a disparaging sort of look again directed at the unweildy weapon in her hands. Her head jerks up at the mention of felines, "You have? For how long? How many?" There's a suppressed shudder, eyes passing over the children playing in the warmth of the Clearing before her gaze is riveted back to the greenrider.

Silence meets Thea's question and then Keziah answers after a few moments "He's performing well." she notes simply. "I have no complaints on his completion of his duties." "Well, flame thrower'll kill them too. Get more then one at a time if need be. Always good to know more than one weapon. And people seem to have quite the instinctive fear of it." she notes quietly. She looks off in the distance "I saw at least two seperate tracks. I'm thinkin' they're denning." she notes.

Thea hmms to herself, lashes flicker together and hide the expression therein as she squints at Keziah at that final answers on Ers'lan. She doesn't press it, however, but murmurs a non-committal, "I'm glad he's meeting the challenge of Wingsecond thus far." Metal clanks as the flamethrower bumps against her thigh as she shifts it once more. She nods thoughtfully, "I think Briana and I both could use some fine tuning on aiming. Taking up the training just a few turns ago when the Weyr had dropped it for so many turns… " There's a childlike appeal in her eyes as she asks, "If you know someone who could help us, I'd be grateful, Keziah." As for those felines, her lips press together. "That's not good, to have them establish a territory so close to the Weyr. We should have a hunt."

Keziah laughs brightly "Just come train with us. We have flamethrower drills for everyone. Never be dependant upon one thing. Course, I'm sure you could also sweet talk V'dim into teaching you." she notes with a laugh. "Briana did well in weyrling training, I'd be glad to seeing her keep it up." There's a silent moment "I never doubted that he could meet the challenge." she notes after a moment. Now, she just wants him to exceed the challenge. "Perhaps I'll have Ers'lan head up the hunt." she murmurs after a moment. "One, I think it would be good for him, show him that I do think he's capable." She rubs her right side a little, and two she doesn't have to deal with them personally.

Thea is completely still for a few beats, looking mighty guilty for a Weyrwoman. "Uh, Keziah." Her free hand lifts to rub at her forehead, again leaving a black smudge, "We have been, sort of." Well, she was there today, on the periphery while the woman likely had her hands full and attention on her new wing. She coughs and adds dryly, "When paperwork, hold visits and being trapped in holes have allowed." Which means not often or consistently enough, apparently. With a long-suffering sort of sigh she explains, "All the goldriders were supposed to be training on search and Rescue techniques as per D'son's orders four turns ago, but we've only ever managed to do the flamethrower part." Rolling her eyes just a bit she adds, "The Weyrsecond wasn't too keen on the idea." Aaaaand she didn't rock D'had's world nearly enough, it seems. Her lips purse together in thought as she considers the decision about Keziah’s Wingsecond, then notes with some trepidation, "He's a…man of the sea…” Her voice trials off before she asks tentatively, “Do you think he would be willing to seek the help, do the research necessary to succeed?"

"Sort of." she snorts a bit "Sort of does not get the job done. I do understand the duties and responsibilities, still, you can carry a flamethrower with you. Get used to the weight of it. Carry it empty, carry it full." She might suggest sleep with it, but won't push it that far. Yet? "Learn how to work things into the schedule." She then blinks a little "Well, we'll have to see about working you into the rotations more often." She thinks a bit "How familiar are the both of you on first aid?" she asks and then she nods "He is a man of the sea, but he has been doing quite well on land as well." There's a pause "I would hope he's smart enough to research on it. He's always been willing to work hard for the wing. I do not see how this would be different." She takes a breath and looks away. "I can go with and oversee." There's a little shiver at her words, slight, but there none the less.

At that advice a rich peal of laughter rings out from Thea, short-lived, but none-the-less hearty. "Can you imagine the holder's reaction to that?" Merriment dances in her eyes as she elaborates, "They're -still- asking me if I'm sure the odd weather and Ista's earthquakes might mean Thread is returning." She sobers, taking Keziah seriously, it seems, "Though. I could lug this thing around here, I guess." She might be on the receiving end of D'had's glares, but what else can she do? A hand lifts, making a rocking motion. "So-so for me. Used some on the trails, but… it's been turns." She listens to Keziah, nodding a calm satisfaction at her answer regarding her wingsecond. "Good." Then firmly, "I'd like to come also."

"I'll believe Thread is coming when that blasted planet starts making an appearance in the skies again." Keziah notes. "It didn't come Turns ago when Kefai said it was. It's not coming now." She snorts and then there's a brief glance skywards "At least not right now." She hehs a bit. "Give it another sixty-four turns and then maybe worry about it." she remarks. "For now, tell them you're annilating some thorny creeper that got transmitted to these parts. Tell them it's as bad as the sticklebush up north." She then eyes Thea and arches a brow "And why would we want to risk our Senior Weyrwoman?" she asks after a moment. "And I'm sure D'had wouldn't be real thrilled either." she notes. "Felines aren't something to be taken lightly. Especially if they're in a pack together. They're quick, dangerous and can easily slice upon a side faster than you can blink." She regards Thea "If you do go, I want you to hang back, and be additional eyes and ears. What's the range on your crossbow?" she asks as she starts to think. "They're too blasted smart and are good at circling back around."

About the possibility of Thread returning, Thea is nonchalant, "You and me both, Kezi, but the holder's scare easily. And they seem to prefer believing their worst fears rather than the sensible Harpers, the evidence of the Starcraft - or us." She shrugs, though looks thoughtful about the creeper idea before vehemently, interjecting, "Kefai was more dangerous than Thread!" She coughs a little, modulating her voice after a quick glance to make sure no one overheard that, "He was insane and too crafty by half. And I'm not all that thrilled he was never caught." At Keziah's question her brow twitches, the shoulder with the flamethrower strap jerks irritably, causing the instrument to clank against her knee. "He won't be thrilled and I won't be asking his permission either. And I don't take them lightly," she finishes with a near-growl. She deliberately avoids answering the question as to why she wants to be there, but nods about the hanging back part even as she answers readily enough with a lift of her chin and a touch of pride rippling her voice, "I can hit accurately enough to kill at 1000 feet. And I rarely miss."

"You ain't the only one who ain't thrilled he hasn't been caught. I want that man /dead/." Perhaps more than any other rennie out there. Even more so than Veski. He only scared the leaving daylights outta her, not kidnapped her. She's silent as her eyes look out and away. "He can be a very likable man." she murmurs softly and then lets out a huff and gives herself a shake "Are you going to at least let Xe'ter know?" she asks. "I think he'd rather hear it from you and not just get it submitted on a roster." she notes. "Just curtesy I would think." She nods at the and looks pleased at the distance "Then we'll definately keep you back. Seryth can be useful too. I don't want to risk the dragons. Though at the least, it's not too far to fly back straight if injuries are incured. I hope not, the wounds are nasty."

"If it's ever in my power to hunt the man down, I promise we'll do it." Dark brows relax from their glower and the Weyrwoman smiles ruefully, totally misconstruing the woman's meaning. "Yes, he's likable. And as stubborn as I am - poor us!" She shifts, turning a look cavern-wards before giving Keziah an unreadable look. "Courtesy works. Sometimes." Then quickly she assures her, "I promise I will tell Xe'ter." Pause. "Beforehand, even." With a snort, she adds, "/He's/ at least reasonable." Lips twitch in self-directed amusement. How two such different people as Thea and D'had made Weyrmating and a leader-partnership work is apparently a mystery to her in addition to half the Weyr. "We won't do anything rash, but I want to be certain there are no felines that could endanger the Weyr's little ones."

There's a completely shocked look on Keziah's face as she listens to Thea and then she murmurs us? under her lips a little "Oh, D'had." she shakes her head a little and then lets it slide. "Courtesy always works." There's a pause "Just not how we always want it to." comes the rueful addtion. "Still, courtesy is as courtesy does. We all must lead by example." Now that sounds like something she must have said a million times in the past. She smiles a little about Xe'ter "It's good to see how well he's matured. Course, my first run in with him was when he lost some green flight some Turns back." She laughs softly. "Still, that is a thing time does tend to cure in most people." She gives a nod to Thea "I understand the need to want to make sure the little's are protected. Though I fear they are the ones least likely to be in trouble. They are generally not that far out. But some of our beastcrafters are when they take the herds out, though some times to will take some of the older children. Either way they are still too close." She's thoughful "I'm still surprised that they've come in this close. I didn't think hunting was that bad." There's a pause. "You don't think…" her lips purse again. "You don't think someone enticed them in, do you?"

With a semblance of agreement Thea murmurs dryly, "Trust me- there are times when it doesn't." But then, when has anyone ever seen the holder's daughter in her forget the manners that were drilled into her? Keziah's preaching to the choir here. The Weyrwoman's lips twitch in the attempt not to grin outright as the greenrider goes on about leading by example. She gives Keziah a two-fingered, saucy salute and a cheeky, "Yes Ma'am!" Hiking the strap more securely on her shoulder, she agrees about the Weyrleader, "He's got the makings of a fine leader in him." She's mid-pivot, turning to go on into the Caverns when ‘that far out’ stops her in her tracks. She turns back. "A few miles from here," she demurs, "is too close by half. Some of the younguns take hikes that far." She looks troubled about the reasons felines would be so close despite the dragon traffic in the area, startled at the conjecture Keziah posits. "I don't kn-“ Beat. “Ahh… Why would they?"

Keziah just grins "Oh, but as I said, it may not always work as intended. Just because they person you're being curteous too doesn't respond well, doesn't mean there isn't someone else watching and learning by your example. She then rolls her eyes at the salute and then shakes her head briefly before turning serious again. "Aye, some of them do, don't they?" she frowns a little "Still though, don't you find it a might odd that they be in so close?" she asks. "Though I suppose it could happen."

There's a sighed, "Yes Mo-om" from Thea, but she laughs quietly while doing it. It's not everyone who will prompt her on etiquette these days! There's naught but a helpless sort of wide-eyed look in return for that question of hers. "Absolutely! But I'd find it odder still to think anyone would deliberately lure them in rather than that felines would be so bold- or desperate -to move in so close," she blurts finally. "If they're anything like their domesticated cousins, wild felines are insane at the best of times." Looking troubled, she notes, "I'll have the hunters and woodsmen increase foot patrols as well as issue an interdiction about Weyrfolk wandering in the forests beyond the immediate area. Have your riders increase sweeps around the Weyr's perimeters too. And…" she turns, begins striding for the Caverns, "We'll put your reports in priority." Which means they'll be wanting those post-haste and looking for them, even. No doubt Xe'ter will think of something to add. Later.

Well, Keziah was brought up as a holder lass herself, and her mother is still on her about it. She does eye Thea "Wild felines are worse then their domestic cousins. They think, the plan. In many ways they are nothing like the little cousins." She does nod "Absolutely. Just as easy to add in looking for other things as opposed to just new sinkholes." she notes "I'll be sure to have reports in everyday." If not multiple times as needed. Kezimay groan at paperwork, but she doesn't shirk on it. More's the pity. "Well, I suppose I'm just as paranoid as the folks of Mire Hold." she admits. "Though, it wouldn't be the first time renegades did something completely out of norm." Mass suicide anyone?

Thea's foot is raised to take that next stride. It remains in the air, however at that one word. Renegades? Her head turns back over her shoulder and she stares at Keziah. Her mouth opens. Her mouth closes. Renegades. Great. Now the Wingleader and Wingsecond of Search and Rescue will be haunted hourly, never mind waiting for reports to arrive on their desks. She just nods and heads on in. XE'TEEEEEEEEEEEER…!!! No, she's not screaming for the Weyrleader, she doesn't ‘do’ yelling. But by the look on her color-drained face, she'd like to be.

Keziah watches as Thea leaves, noting the pale look. Well, Kezi is a paraniod one and she'd rather be prepared instead of surprised. She takes a breath and then she glances up at Alosynth. "We best be hunting down Ers'lan." she notes and the green warbles softly "He's going to hate me before this season is done I'm sure." she shakes her head a bit

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