Herdbeast Roundup: July 1, 2005

Black Rock Hold Courtyard
Pale flagstone has been painstakingly laid to create the wide courtyard, the cracks between free from growth, and filled with tightly packed dirt. The entire courtyard has a gentle upwards sweep, from the gates on the southern wall, to the large bronze doors leading to the Hold itself on the north. The light color of the courtyard stones is contrasted by the dark black of the walls and hold, the stone edges roughly cut, a pair of arches each with a bronze gate on the south and eastern portions.

Early morning, and the sun shines down from a nearly cloudless sky, the cool air of early autumn manipulated by a light wind. Two wings of Xanadu Weyr riders mill about the courtyard, their draconic lifemates settled outside to save on space. The lord holder and a variety of his holders are there as well, talking amongst themselves, a majority of them wearing rather worried expressions.

Niva is standing near the top of the ramp, near the large bronze doors, arms folding in front of her, watching those mingling in the courtyard. Glancing at the sky, she nods her head absently to the short, bald-headed steward standing nearby, the man's face red as he chatters.

Rivala is calmly, quietly making her way among those who have been designated to handle the herdbeasts. She's talking softly to those in charge, finding out what, exactly, she's going to be expected to do. She isn't the only candidate present; several others also caught lifts the dragonriders.

One of Xanadu's blue dragons wings in for a landing, just a tad bit late most likely, but fashionably late of course. V'ant hops down from his dragon as it crouches and with a slight flourish offers a hand up to Kieryn as he stands on the blue foreleg.

Mysarra dismounts a larger green and strokes Lineo making sure he is on her shoulder properly before letting Tela investigate his surroundings. She surveys her surroundings and then looks back to the rider of the green; Mysarra gives her a hug and smiles.

Kieryn reaches down for the bluerider's hand, a nervous smile on her face. Yep, she's gone between on a dragon before…but only once so it still makes her wary. She finds his hand and slides rather than hops down Trigath's foreleg, with much less grace that the rider possessed. "Thank you." She murmurs at him, and stands in the courtyard with her arms crossed over her chest, it is a bit cold out here.

Bellorya hobbles her way out from the doors, with a few extra tanners behind her. They all arrived the night before and were treated to the hospitality of the Holder. Which really just means that Lorya was pressed for more leather and a journeyman at least to go with it. "The Tannercraft's duties, Weyrwoman Niva."

V'ant hops down the last bit after Kieryn and offers her a rather deep bow. "You're welcome my lady, it was mine and Trigath's pleasure, right boy?" And the blue offers a low rumble in agreement before eying the green that brought Mysarra crooning.

Niva inclines her head with a bit of a grin to Bellorya, before she waits another long moment, glancing around her as a few arrive late, and the others begin to huddle. A final look, and she unfolds her arms, taking a deep breath. "Alright, people. A fair number of riders have been on sweeps in this area daily, both attempting to locate the source of the felines, and to locate free ranging herds for Master Bellorya and her Tanners - Given that we all do like to have leather at our disposal." And quieting, she glances around again.

Maran, the green rider with Mysarra smiles and looks at the crooning blue, this gains a roll of her eyes. Mysarra relaxes against Toryth and nods listening to Niva.

Kieryn smiles and nods gratefully to both V'ant and his dragon before gathering to hear the weyrwoman speak. She counts herself among one of those who'll be searching for the herdbeasts of course, it's not like the dainty redhead has any special skills or weaponry to deal with wild felines. She nods at the appropriate places, and feels a little lost about what to do but figures the riders should know. She waits by V'ant.

Bellorya inclines her head in reply, in part to Niva personally, but also to the gathered crowd. Joy. And she has no idea any of their skill levels, or who will be able to assist her and the others. Oi. She clears her throat and leans down a little to murmur something to Weyrwoman.

Bellorya whispers "Would you please ask for the people who are going to assist the tanners to step to one side so we can start to get them paired up?"

Trigath is totally oblivious to the green's rider's eyeroll, he only has eyes for the green of course and sort of sidles up to Toryth to 'chat' and such. V'ant gets a Kieryn sticking near him and doesn't seem to mind one bit. "So… what are we doing here again?" is asked of the candidate quietly. He's not entirely sure… like /he/ was paying attention?"

Niva glances over at Bellorya, quickly nodding her head, murmuring a quickly affirmative before she takes another deep breathe before continuing, hazel eyes still sweeping the area. "A very large herd has been located to the east - 2 days by runner, mere moments thanks to our dragons. Our general goal is to move them to the large portable corrals to the south, where they can then be loaded up at the convenience of everyone else. Master Bellorya asks that those of you assisting the Tanners move to one side, so you can be paired up, the rest of you will work in teams, some on runners, others in the air, to convince the beasts that the best way to go is, indeed, south. The felines will be dealt with at the end."

Kieryn starts giving the bluerider a bewildered look, she had of course been hoping he'd know what to do, but stops when Niva starts speaking again and listens. She actually might have known enough about tanning to assist Bellorya and her team, but would have hated to make a mistake since her skills were minimal at best. After the speaking stops, the teen turns once again to V'ant, a wry smile on her lips. "So…want to be partners then?" She asks in a tone that is nearly flirting, expecting the answer will be yes.

Mysarra smiles and looks to Maran, Maran gives a nod and strokes the green. Mysarra looks to Kieryn and chuckles. Her attention turns from Kieryn to Niva listening and nodding.

V'ant blinks at Kieryn and then that confused expression that only lasts a second turns into a self-assured smile. "OF course." Heck yes, he's getting /flirted/ with. This totally makes his day of course. "Assisting the Tanners? What would we be doing then? Not the corralling?" He's confused, as always and is willing to ask.

Bellorya nervously clears her throat once again. "Um. The people paired with tanners will assist the tanners in the skinning of the hides and their preparation. Uh. Someone else will need to then butcher the meat of the animal so that it doesn't go to waste. So uh. Well, really there needs to be one person to help the tanner and one person to butcher. Yeah." The people behind her seem confidant enough in this. But the shy MasterTanner will never be comfortable addressing a crowd that doesn't all bear the badges of her Home and Hall.

Kieryn finally notices that Mysarra is among those gathered to help, and gives a big wave to the older girl. She'd only met Mysarra earlier this morning in the caverns, but making more friends among the candidates can't hurt, right? Amused by the bluerider's seemingly constant confusion, she turns to address him. "Do you know how to do that tanner stuff? I don't know, or at least I doubt I know enough. I'm guessing we'll be corralling the herdbeasts." She says with some confidence and crosses her arms again, wishing she'd worn her jacket.

Mysarra nods and looks to Kieryn. "Yes, but I’m here for another reason, I have a turnday gift to get."

Niva willingly lets Bellorya take that question, before glancing, waiting to see if there's anything else before waving a hand. "We will all regather near the corrals, then. W'slei's Faeyth will provide you all with the necessary image. Once there, those going on runner back will be mounted, extra layers will be available, as it is cooler out on the grasslands. Each pair will be given a direction to cover, and the tanners and their assistants will proceed from there." And glancing around, she waves her hand is a dismissing manner, turning to find said W'slei.

V'ant smiles brightly at the candidate as she turns to him, nodding with a self-assured smile. "Corralling sounds good to me." And noticing Kieryn hugging herself he slips off his riding jacket. "Here, you look a bit cold." And simply settles it over her shoulders.

Kieryn finds something interesting to look at down on the ground to keep the bluerider from seeing her blush. Okay, I guess this is another good thing about candidacy: handsome riders. "Turnday gift Mysarra? Oh for Mylla you mean. I suppose I should look into buying her something too, but I always have problems picking out good gifts. So you aren’t going to help corral or anything?" She asks earnestly, and then figures her face ought to be back to a normal enough color where V'ant won't notice. "I suppose we should probably get going if we're going to keep up huh?"

V'ant may notice that blush, but then again he may not. Either way he's not commenting on it and just has a lopsided grin on his face. Yep, he's definitely a handsome rider, and he knows it. Maybe not always the /brightest/ of the bunch. "Well, guess we're hopping back up on Trigath" and he leads Kieryn back to the blue.

Bellorya makes sure that her tanner all have rides to where their equipment awaits, then arranges for one herself. Though it takes her a bit to manage the climb up the dragon's side.

Niva waits with W'slei until the rest have departed before settling herself on the green's back, the pair slowly lifting off and popping between.

The dusty, dry earth of the grasslands promotes little growth in the way of verdance; it does, however, provide the perfect grounds for the expansion of tall grass, dried into a brittle golden-brown by the relentless glare of the sun. Little shade exists in this wide-open land, for trees are sparse, save for the occasional shrub here and there. In some places, the level of the terrain is clearly uneven, smattered with slight hills that briefly rise, plateau, and promptly meet the ground just as quickly as they arose. Extending nearly as far as the eye can see, it's obvious that the land stretches a good distance to the west, north, and south. To the east, a line or a smudge of green, depending on the visibility, can be seen, where the grasslands merge with an untamed jungle.
A large group of herdbeasts, easily a thousands animals, is spread out over the region - their hides a variety of colors, both long and short haired. However, these beasts are differentiated from most by the lack of brands on their rumps, and the exhibit extreme skittishness amongst people. The mill about as the graze, in smaller groups, calves with the mothers, and lone males in groups on the fringes.

Kieryn again makes a not-so-graceful dismount with the help of V'ant and can't help but gape at all the wild herdbeasts roaming the seemingly endless grassland. "I've been a lot of places, and seen a lot of things, but I don't think I've ever seen this many herdbeasts all at once." She comments to no one in particular. Yes she's in a good mood, because this trip counts as something new, yet another tale she'll be able to tell her friends in the kitchens when she gets back to Xanadu.

V'ant gives Kieryn a bright grin after he helps her down and then tilts her head. "So do you know how to ride a runner then? Of course /you/ could ride Trigath and I could ride the runner."

Green Faeyth circles for a long time, letting the others land in a relatively open area away from the herds before slowly landing as well, W'slei remaining a'dragonback, while Niva slides to the ground carefully, grinning at the reactions of some of the others before moving towards the corrals. /She'll/ be staying here, thank you. Glancing around her, "If anyone needs additional layers, please let them know when you gather your runner. If you are paired with Storm wing, please take the eastern edge of the herd. Tornado, western edge. Typhoon you'll take the east-center line, and Cyclone the west-center line. Any questions?" And Niva peers around her curiously, glancing at those already in the area, before her gaze turns to the very large herd of beasts.

Mysarra dismounts, Maran looking at the herdbeasts and stroking her green. Mysarra looks at everything and waits for further instructions. Maran hears V'ant and looks to Mysarra, "Runner or Tory here?"

Bellorya gathers the tanners and their assistants off to the side of corral, counting up numbers.

Kieryn grins at V'ant a little mischievously. She may not have learned enough about the tanner craft to be of use in this situation, but during her first year after running from the woodcrafter hall one of the first odd jobs that Kieryn had picked up was working in a runner stable cleaning stalls and feeding animals, and she managed to learn a thing or two about riding them in the process. "I can manage a runner, but thanks for the offer." She says with a smile and wanders off to go find one, with V'ant's jacket still on.

Jazmyn stands on the edge of the area for a moment before Jasiri spots her and trots anxiously up to her. Jasiri holds very still while Jazmyn mounts up.

V'ant can't help but smirk even more at the mischievous grin he gets from his new candidate friend. Sure, some would say he shouldn't be flirting with a candidate and all, but it's all for fun. Really. "I'm Typhoon wing!" is called off after Kieryn as she goes.

Crystath stays with the runnerbeast transport. She has little interest in her rider's insanity today and will just watch.

Niva paces back and forth as those going out to steer the runners collect their beasts, turning towards Bellorya with a bit of a grin. "Just let me know what to do.. As long as the beast is no longer kicking, I'm up for it." Kicking beasties are bad, though. Nodding her head to Jazmyn with a bit of a grin, "Welcome to the hunt.." This certainly will be interesting. "Make sure you stay with your partner, so we're spread evenly!"

On Jasiri, Jazmyn saddles and mounts an old grey mare, retired from show rings many, many turns ago, "Just point me at those herdbeasts."

Fyenai sits astride a tall blue roan stallion, a heavy knit cap that ties in the back keeping his head warm and a long, winding scarf about his neck. He seems to have a moment's trouble with getting the stallion in line, nudging his heels into its sides and tugging the reins in order to draw it up to a proper standing position. He huffs a soft sigh when he manages, finally, and brushes his bangs back behind his ears, grey eyes sweeping over all the people that have turned out for this as if he were looking for something in particular.

Crystath settles down to rest, watching lazily with her chin resting on the top of the transport.

Kieryn collects her runner, an older chestnut mare who seems docile and easy enough to handle. Making sure the bridle is fitted and all the straps snug she swings up into the saddle with little difficulty. Typhoon wing huh? I guess that means I'm supposed to go to the east-center…or was it the west-center? Maybe I should have paid more attention. The teen spots some more of her fellow candidates among the crowd and waves at Fyenai.

Ziven mounts his own stallion, a Zebra Dun, which Ziven bought for riding purposes. He sits easily in the saddle, straps tight in his hands as he shoots Fye a quick smile. "You know how to ride, right, Fye?"

Jasiri yawns and stands placidly, waiting for her rider to direct her.
V'ant climbs back onto his blue, jacketless. Silly guy giving it to Kieryn and forgetting that he might get a little cold too, ah well, he's too… manly(?) to admit it. So there he sits, waiting for more directions

Fyenai smiles brightly and draws his runner up carefully alongside Ziven's, "Aye, I do. You certainly seem to. I like your runner." He leans over and pats the other candidate's runner on the neck companionably enough before he straightens in the saddle and sighs, looking around absently, "I wonder when we - oh, hi, Kie!" He lifts a hand and waves in the young woman's direction only to drop his hand back to the reins quickly after; he holds them double-handed rather than single, more comfortable with the control. Cowboy Fye, y'all. The lean blonde takes a moment to look around before he asks Ziven, "Who are you riding with?"

Mysarra smiles as she mounts a 16 hand bay mare, which looks to be about 4 turns of age. She gets comfortable in the saddle stroking the beast as the young mare is doing a small dance back in forth ears going back on her head. Maran mounts Toryth and watches Senior Weyrwoman Niva for instructions.

Ziven grins, "I bought him before I became a candidate, I wanted a way to travel Pern if I was needed somewhere else. He's my only one, though." He gives a slight shrug as he jabs a finger to a smaller man sitting in back, "This guy, says his name is Kienal."

Jasiri is 22 turns old, but still has enough spunk to herd cattle. What a fate for an old show mare. But it beats being made into wher-chow.

Niva turns back, looking at those mounted yet without a half in the air. "Weyrwoman Jazmyn, if you would, you may ride with Po'ele and his bronze Aihueth, of Storm wing and candidate Fyenai, with S'ky and bronze Kuriath of Tornado wing." A glance at Ziven and Mysarra, "Ziven, you and Kienal are with Cyclone wing, and Mysarra, you and Maran are with Tornado wing, while Kieryn is with Typhoon. You can split into your groups and begin your circling - I will have W'slei have Faeyth pass on the signal to start."

On Jasiri, Jazmyn nods and looks around at Po'ele. Hey, he's kinda cute. The old retired weyrwoman of Western might be getting on in turns, but it doesn't keep her from 'looking' at guys. She gives him a grin and a wave.

Crystath looks over at bronze Aihueth and rolls her large faceted eyes in a 'whatever' sort of way, then closes them. She’s not as easily impressed at the dragon as her rider might be with the bronze's rider.

Kieryn wiggles in her saddle and adjusts things a little. It's the first time she's been on a runner for well over a year, but it all comes back to her quickly as she pats the mare's neck and whispers to her soothingly as she leads her over to where they're supposed to be. She watches the sky for blue Trigath, and feels a bit sorry for V'ant who is probably now missing his jacket. Oh well, she'll apologize to him later of course, and hope that he doesn't say anything to make her blush again.

Trigath leaps into the air with his rider on board (good thing too, V'ant falling off would be bad, you know). The blue circles lazily and with an air of confidence. He knows /exactly/ what he's doing, even if his rider doesn't. "Which direction were we going again? Mid-west?"

Mysarra gets comfortable in the saddle and strokes her mare. Toryth launches herself and Maran gives the signal to begin. Mysarra taps her runner gently with her heel's as they head towards the north.

Fyenai glances back towards Kienal and quirks a smile of friendly greeting before he fixes his gaze on Ziven and says, quite seriously, "You be careful, Zi. Don't get trampled or stomped or chomped or anything…" As Niva gives the assignments, Fyenai's attention is momentarily distracted, but then he smiles at Ziven and gives a bit of a wave, angling the stallion towards S'ky and the western edge of the herd.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn wakes up from a light doze and nudges the old grey mare into a jog, following the group out. Old Jasiri arches her neck and still has something of her old flowing gaits to her as she heads out.

Ziven rolls his eyes slightly as he steers his own runner in the direction the riders of Cyclone head in, "I'll be fine, I've been taught to ride by the best, you just worry about yourself!'

Niva watches as the groups split off before turning back towards the corrals, staying well behind one of the rails, and basically out of harm's way. The majority of the dragons take off, headed to their assigned locations, circling around the large herd, as to not scare them.

The Tornado wing moves towards the north above and slowly pushes the herdbeasts towards the corrals, Mysarra gets around them and moves her runner forward quickly the beasts moving swifter as she makes a little noise.

Kieryn stands where the Typhoon wing is supposed to be, at the center-east. Above her V'ant and his dragon circle and she smiles, thinking that it probably wasn't V'ant himself who got the pair where they were suppose to be. She starts her runner in a slow trot, and weaves back and forth behind her section of runners to try to keep them headed toward the pens, all the while shouting and such to help keep the herd moving, although the bugeling dragons seem to be doing that well enough on their own.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn circles her grey mare around to the far side, turning back any beasts straying from the main herd. The old mare lays back her ears and aims a nip at one beast who tries to slip past her.

Oh yes, Trigath and V'ant are in their element, being all showy while actually getting the job of scaring the runners in well, pretty much the right direction. It's the runners and their riders down below's job to really steer them.

It seems that in all of their movement, and the movement of the herd, some one or something came too close to a large rocky outcropping amidst the grasslands, for in all of the confusion something had slinked out from the rocks. Something that is now running with a lengthy stride amongst the herdbeasts being guided by Kieryn. As they continue to move, a lean, tawny brown and spotted creature leaps upwards, bringing down one of the beasts near the candidate's runner.

Bellorya watches for a moment as everyone not in her group head off. "Right. We've got a few minutes, while they drive and cut the herd. Lets get the tripods and the frames set up as much as possible so that we're ready to start taking them for the culling. We're not taking any calves, pregnant cows or young bulls. Make sure the beastcrafter's have approved the animal before you take it to tripod. We've got some time." See, when she's in her element she can address a crowd. Tanners she can talk to, anyone else…..well that's always depending on when and why she's chatting. Her eyes turn to Niva, who'd offered to be her own assistant. She's got a couple of extras since she's still recovering from her latest surgery to repair damage done to her person by the renegades that necessitated this hunt. "Our workspace is over here," she points with a toss of her curls. "Lets get the tripod up first, then the frame since we'll need the frame last of all. Oh, and this is Linya and Melkein, journeyman and senior apprentice respectively." Both nod and murmur their duties to the Weyr before heading towards the space designated for them.

Crystath raises her head from where she was resting and rumbles a warning. She senses the chaotic thoughts of felines around.

Fyenai angles his stallion to the side, glancing up every so often to check on S'ky; he clenches his jaw when a herdbeast sidles too close with its horns and the runner shies, quickly regaining his place and driving the herdbeasts towards the corrals as best he can.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn pulls up and looks around, then nudges the mare to a gallop back around towards the other side, calling out, "Heads up! Crystath says there’s a cat run into the herd! Watch out!"

Kieryn shrieks as her old and placid runner suddenly comes to life and decides it would rather live than become feline chow, it whinnies and rears up while Kieryn desperately holds onto the saddle to keep from sliding off. In one part of her panicking mind Kieryn notes that one of the herdbeasts is down, and if she doesn't do something others may follow it, but first how to calm her mare down. She pulls on the reins as the mare takes off in a gallop away from the feline and the herd and her hearts sinks as she notices the herdbeasts scattering from the feline in their midst. She desperately hopes V'ant is watching her up there and realizes what is happening.

Niva spares a quick glance at Crystath before she's speeding up her step to catch up with the Tanners, nodding her head. "I'll, uh, need a bit of direction, but I'm willing to try.." Though, as things are passed back to her, she freezes, hurriedly turning, one hand going to her forehead to shield her vision.

V'ant was probably watching her the whole time anyhow, just letting his dragon to the work. But now his dragon is directed and diving down towards that feline and trying to grab it in it's large claws. "You all right?" Is yelled to Kieryn as his dragon starts attacking the feline. Yup, gotta check up on the girl.

Toryth sense's the felines as well and comes down on one on the outskirts of the herd, Mysarra looks around and continues to push the herd south, landing a good number of beast's in the coral. Toryth lands with a dead feline, a male with a beautiful spotted coat. Mysarra grins and goes back to moving the herd.

Shortly after the first beast is downed, another herdbeasts is pulled down near Fyenai, though this time there is no sign of the feline responsible for the damage. A bird's eye view could possibly reveal as many as 6 others amongst the beasts, lean, graceful bodies attempting to angle the herd and the herders their own way. As the beast is attacked by Trigath, it yowls loudly, using its claws in an attempt to free itself, while the others in the area yowl in response. A few of the riders rise in their saddles, crossbows at the ready, ready to spot the beasts.

Crystath peers out towards where the herd if being moved.. She’s a ways off, but she can sense Kieryn's fear and the wild insane thought patterns of the wild Mentasynth enhanced felines. She suddenly takes to the air so she can get a better look from above.

Fyenai's runner proves himself to be a little difficult to control once more as the herdbeast goes down nearby, the creature whinnying and rising up on its hind hooves, forcing the blonde to cling tightly to its back, "Whoa!" The runner drops its hooves to the ground, stamps and swerves its head about before it jumps forward, starting to run only to get spooked once more, this time kicking and sending Fyenai tumbling off over its shoulder. Crying out as he hits the ground, the young man rolls out of the way of any stray hooves and quickly gets back to his feet, snatching the reins of his runner before it can run off. Owie.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn finds that galloping around the edge of the herd seems to be a mistake. It attracts a feline's attention and she, despite turns of skill as a rider of dragons and runnerbeasts, is forced to grab a handful of mane and hang on for dear life as the old mare violently kicks and bucks as one of the felines rushes up behind her.

The feline may or may not be down, but Kieryn is still swearing her head off at the old runner who refuses to respond to the reins. The handler who gave her the mare to use said she was 18, and had never in all her life given anyone any trouble. Now though her chestnut hide was lathered in sweat and her eyes were wide with fear, perhaps she was making up for all those times she had done exactly what her rider had wanted. Kieryn tries to glance behind her, to see if the feline has been killed or scared off and if the herd had been steered back into a group after the feline had sent them in all directions. Silly girl she thought, trying to act like you knew exactly what you were doing out here. The redhead thought about if she had only had better control on the reins, if she had only been keeping a better eye on what was before her instead of staring up into the sky and wondering if V'ant really liked her, she may have seen the attack coming and warned someone before the feline had killed one of the animals.

Niva is hesitate to get too into the fray, instead staying near the corrals - If there /is/ an injury, she's no good if she's injured as well. Not to mention she's hesitant to suffer to much physical harm as it is. Instead, she hovers, pacing back and forth, nervously staying out of the way of those beasts charging the corrals, relying on relayed information.

Crystath glides in and suddenly drops down, landing so hard on top of a feline that its mashed flat and dead before it knew what hit it. The ground trembles at the gold's hard landing and she hisses in annoyance as herdbeasts scatter in all directions around her.

Mysarra strokes her mare, which despite her age is as calm as expected, the mare moves forward as she keeps the herd moving towards the pens. With great efficiency they move more animals into the corral's and move back out.

The feline that took down the herdbeast near Kieryn is taken by surprise as he was busy with his herdbeast he killed, and thus blue Trigath is able to kill the beastie. As his dragon settles on the ground V'ant does the utterly intelligent thing of undoing his straps and leaping to the ground to run over Kieryn's runner. "You all right?" is asked again.

And the felines continue their attack, even as the initial predator is downed by both dragon talons and a crossbow bolt through the neck. A second is downed on the edge with a crossbow bolt, the rider directing his runner to stand over it, getting out of the way of the now stampeding herdbeasts, few of whom care to go in the direction they were originally being herded.

Fyenai is one of the few humans on the ground right now that doesn't have a big animal between himself and the felines running about the herd. This almost turns out to be his undoing as he tries to calm his steed only for a feline to creep up on the candidate and try to leap on top of him. Fortunately for Fye, his runner is insane, and backwings to lodge its large hooves right in the feline's head. That threat knocked away, Fyenai gives up on straightening the saddle and calming the beast and swings up onto the runner's back, kicking him forward to round up the scattering herdbeasts, letting the scared energy go into it, trying to keep the runner moving too much to really get scared.

V'ant curses as the runner Kieryn is on just keeps bolting and glances right and left. "Aw shardit." Having the dragon chase the runner will just scare it more right? Hrm… Ah well, he'll try the daring rescue anyhow. So hopping back on his blue the dragon takes off after the runaway runner.

Niva runs her hands through her hair as she continues to pace back and forth, unsure of what to do, too worked up to help any with the beasts that have managed to be pushed into the corral.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn lets the old mare have her head as she pulls out a belt knife and slashes back at the attacking feline, only grazing its nose with the knife as it leaps at the hindquarters of the runnerbeast, but its just enough to make it think twice and give the mare a chance to outrun it. Steering the madly galloping old runner back through the stampede and back towards Crystath seems the best choice, hoping the feline will not be able to follow. She lucks out as the feline gets caught in the stampede and trampled, but now faces possibly getting her runnerbeast knocked from under her if she makes one wrong move now.

Kieryn continues clutching onto the mare's reins desperately as she tears off across the grassland with the speed of a runner half her age. A shadow passes over the clear sky and Kieryn peers up and behind her to see blue Trigath flying low to the ground and quickly catching up to the runner. And then the teen looks in front of her again and swears some more. Of all the directions the runner had to be going, it was east, toward the only forested area within sight. Kieryn prays that V'ant can catch up with her before she reaches those trees, or she's in trouble.

Unfortunately for him, teenaged Endare is not as lucky as most of the others, for a feline decides that he looks like a good target, the beast pouncing on the back of the runner and the teenager, long claws dug into the backs of both before the weyr-type manages to sink a knife into its shoulder, a crossbow bolt hitting it shortly after from a close-by herder. The beast drops, Endare sinking in his saddle, as the other makes to hurriedly escort the runner and boy towards the corrals, and hopefully healers.

Raenth swoops down from the sky, his great copper form shimmering as he spirals towards the frightened herd. "You know. We probably aren't helping the problem." T'eo says against the wind even though his dragon can hear him. « Who cares, man? They'll be all the better for it! I want to get me one of those guys! » The image of a feline projects in his head. T'eo laughs. "I'm sure you do. Let's go." The drop low at the far side of the grasslands and Raenth bespeaks his weyrwoman with the vibrant splash of candied rum. « Weyrwoman Niva… We have arrived. » He comments the obvious of course as he skims the grass towards the herd.

V'ant and Trigath to the rescue! The blue slows his pace so he stays right above the runner and quite low. "Kie! Grab his claw!" Foot, whatever… the blue's large claws are right there for her to hold onto, and it's better than going into the trees you know.

Crystath sees the danger her rider is in and starts forward, head low as she ROARS and moves at a lumbering run, parting the herd before her and swatting slow herdbeasts out of her path as she races, on the ground, towards her rider. Unfortunately, Jazmyn's runnerbeast isn't too keen on running towards a charging, roaring dragon and skids to a stop.

Mysarra watches Kieryn but then her attention is back on her situation as she sees something ruffle the bushes and moves her runner forward. Tornado wing has brought in at least a hundred herdbeasts. Maran swoops down on a feline and breaks it's neck, the gorgeous striped pattern on this one making Mysarra smile. Her runner rears up, almost losing it's rider. Luckily Mysarra is holding on and doesn't come out of the saddle.

On Jasiri, Jazmyn is nearly unseated as her runnerbeast plows to a stop. Looking up, she realizes WHY and shouts at her dragon, "No! Stop! You are NOT helping, Crystath! Put that herdbeast down! Just stand still and let me get to you!"

Kieryn promises herself that if she lives through this, she'll never complain about doing candidate chores again, ever. She reaches for the blue's massive claws…and misses by mere inches. She sees the trees looming up closer and closer as the runner eats up the ground and thunders toward the 'safety' of the forest. Kieryn is running out of time. In one last desperate attempt she stands up in the saddle, her feet still firmly in the stirrups, and reaches out…and succeeds. Kieryn quickly pulls her feet from the stirrups and let's Trigath carry her off.

Atop Demarco, Iaeran wields a long blade against the teeth of a feline. Not to much effect as Demarco, though tamed to work with the bull herdbeasts, is not so keen on hand to hand combat with a carnivore. He rears up and hops sideways of a swipe from one of the creatures. "Easy, Marco, easy…" Ran's voice soothes the stallion and he lands to vault away from another slashing paw. Ran's experience pays off nicely as with a tap on the stallion's haunches two hooves fly at the critter. Wham. "Good boy!" The feline gets smacked in the nose. It wheels away from the pair. Screw that. It was gonna return to the herd. "After him, Marco." The Istan ranch hand wheels the bay about and kicks him into a gallop.

Fyenai's runner continues along at his merry breakneck speed until the dragon's scattering of herdbeasts comes up again and, moments later, the youth winds up on his back in the dirt again. S'ky, perhaps realizing that a swift runner kick won't dissuade herdbeasts from trampling the candidate, dives down atop his lifemate to scare them away; swooping a bit lower, he grabs up a feline for himself and, rather than simply kill it, actually eats it. Chompy! Fyenai brushes dirt from his scraped cheek and runs back after his own runner, catching the thing just barely as it gets scared away from another dragon, managing to swing up onto its back yet again. Though he favors his left arm somewhat, he seems all right, but decidedly no longer fond of riding runners right now. His features are screwed up in fervent concern, the runner pushed forward to bolt at herdbeasts, shoving them sound by shoulder-to-shoulder pushing if nothing else works, trying as much as he can to at least get them headed back towards the corrals.

Trigath carefully slow and turns away from the oncoming forest. Then managing to hover right above the ground he does his best to set Kieryn on the ground, it's probably a bit rough but he does what he can. Once the girl lets go he moves off and lands nearby, his rider leaping off yet again and running towards the girl.

And, it seems the felines have been dealt with, though the herd is still stampeding, which is only sped up by the addition of a charging, noisy gold. The herdbeasts have no desire to turn back the way the came, instead heading to the north with great speed. A few of the riders circle off, moving to pull limp feline bodies over their saddles, while others go to lasso downed herdbeasts. The rest of them continue with the herd, hopefully to at least slow their progress, if not stop them.

Kieryn is visibly shaking as she picks herself up from the grass where Trigath had deposited her. She brushes some dirt off herself and slowly gets to her feet. Her left ankle hurts, a lot, but she puts her weight on it to stand and it holds out.

And V'ant does the properly dramatic thing of scooping Kieryn up into his arms to make sure the candidate is okay and then well, kisses her. What… he just saved a damsel in distress, that's what you /do/.

Crystath snorts and stops, rumbling in anger, a dead herdbeast dangling from one clawed hand. She casually drops it and waits for her rider to catch up.

Bellorya cocks her head and at the sudden shift in the weyrwoman at her side. Her height seems to give her something of an advantage this time, as she peers and murmurs, "There's a pride of felines in the herd. " Who knew the giantess was paying attention? "Looks like Trigath got one. One of your candidates went end over end. And the candidate is back on a runner, appears to be unhurt. Female candidate, made it onto a Triganth." Her play-by play comes a little slow, but it's breaking news to the people now arraying themselves behind Niva and Lorya.

Raenth sails towards the herd, flying low and swift. But projections tell him he's missed out. The bronze rumbles angry and disappointed. It was, after all, T'eo's craft that made them so late to help. "I'm sorry Rae…" He says quieter. Raenth thoughts that of stale grog as he wheels down and lands in the open grass… in dead silence.

Kieryn should have been worried about that cardinal candidate rule: no relationships, but hey, she's just been saved by this handsome blue rider, so what is a girl to do? She accepts the kiss and kisses him back, simply grateful to still be alive.

The tornado Wing works hard to convince the herdbeasts that they need to keep going south, swooping down on them in a mock feeding behavior. Mysarra makes loud noise, "Goowww, get, get, get." She yells at the beast's also whistling and yelling "Hey, heeeeee ,heyyyy heeyyyy."

On Jasiri, Jazmyn tries to goad her runner towards the dragon, but the mare, which normally isn't that frightened by dragons wants nothing to do with one that’s in a temper and plants all four feet like a draybeast and refuses to budge. Soon as its safe to dismount, Jazmyn does so and lets the runnerbeast run where it will as Crystath moves up to join her so she can mount and try to take care of things from the air.
Niva glances over her shoulder at Bellorya, with a slow nod. "Kilaueth says.. She says that the felines are gone. The riders are going to return here, there are some injuries." Pause. "I'm going to have all the dragon pairs return here, to assess and regather. The herd.. The herd may have to wait." Though, at least they're all still alive, right? Or at least, as far as she knows.

The herd slows some as it puts a great deal of distance between themselves and the corrals, though they make no move to turn back, even at the swooping dragons, most of them standing splayed legged, chests heaving from their run. At a silent command, the riders end their attempts at herding, instead merely gliding quickly back towards the corrals to the south.

Crystath heads off with her rider after the departed herd, to see what they can do to help.

V'ant kiss someone and didn't get slapped? Wow, that's got to be on the list of firsts or something. He carefully sets her back on the ground though. "You okay? We'd better get you back to the others."

Mysarra makes it back dismounting and looking at her skins. Maran smiles and lets her touch the bodies of the Felines, "Ok one for Mylla and the other for me right?"

Kieryn nods silently. She's afraid that if she tries to speak it'll come out as a scream with how much her ankle hurts. She lets V'ant help her up onto Trigath's riding straps.

Iaeran gallops Demarco after the herd, his beast having disappeared in this dust. The bay, covered in sweat and dust, puffs heavily. Ran could go back, but his duties were to beasts more than people. He wanted to make sure the herd got back safe. "Ha! Ha! Get!" He yells, urging Demarco faster. The stallion obeys and stretches out, flying up along side of the herd.

Fyenai turns his runner back towards the corrals as well, riding easily though he pauses once away from the herd in order to look around for Ziven, looking decidedly dusty and sore.

Crystath glides back around and drops down to land near where everyone is regrouping. She eyes a few of the dead herdbeasts wistfully. All this excitement is working up an appetite and those beasts look tasty.

Trigath flies back in and lands near the corral but not too close, better not to cause panic in the herdbeasts again, right? He carefully helps Kieryn down and they head towards the others. "Need a healer?"

Ziven trots his runner, having escaped minimal damage himself, slipping off the saddle and leaning lightly on the runner behind him. "Fun, eh?" He asks the other man who looks a little on the tired side, but none the worse for ware.

Mysarra looks at the feline carcass’s and nods, mounting Toryth, who is strapped with the two large felines. She got what she came with. Time to go home and the real work will begin.

Kieryn nods mutely again and hobbles over to the group of people forming to find a healer, apparently the herding didn't go as well as planned, not surprisingly.

Iaeran is a good distance off with the herd. Luting tunes from a green try to turn him back, but he ignores them. The beasts need care. Good ole' Demarco lopes along with the slowed herd, tired but obedient. Ran would stay out for the night. There were plenty a scratched up creature and with tanner problems it was best they didn't allow the wounds to infect.

V'ant ponders things for a moment. "Actually… I'll just take you back to the weyr… that sound good?"

Kieryn nods and with help gets up onto Trigath one last time, her ankle very much in pain.

And Trigath of course makes a very showy take off before disappearing between.

Bellorya nods. "I've made sure we're all trained in first aid, so we can give a hand." She motions for the others to move out and start taking a look at everyone else.

Once he has his runner put away, Fyenai walks quietly back into the grasslands, sighing and rubbing his shoulder quietly; he plops down in a particularly nice looking bit of grass and huffs a sigh, letting his legs tangle loosely in front of him.

Ziven stretches idly as he wanders to follow Fyenai to the grass, plopping near the other and rubbing at his arms, "That was fun, hmmm?" Ziv asks, "Thought they'd get the herdbeasts for a while there."

Jazmyn slides down her dragon's foreleg to the ground, "I am getting too old for this…"

Fyenai makes a face at Ziven before he bends a knee, rubbing at the inside of it, "I suppose. I fell off a few times, though… now my whole body hurts." He slides down onto his back in the grass, letting his arms splay out.

Ziven nods and casts Fye a side look, "Riding can be kind of hard on your body, but besides that, you're okay? No scratches, no bruises?"

Bellorya had been heading to personally check on Fyenai, since she'd seen him go off the runner. But then Ziven's there and so the candidate is in much better hands. There's another instead the craftmaster hobbles off to go help.

Fyenai points at his cheek, where a small scrape is, then to his shoulder and the inside of his thigh, "Bruises and scratches… and probably on my palms, too. Nothing too bad, though. I could mostly just do with a bath, I think… you look like you came out of it pretty good." This is said with playful envy as he pokes Ziven in the side.

Niva had busied herself with Endare as soon as the teenager had ridden, in, and as she bundles him up, well bandaged and wrapped up, onto a dragon's back bound for the infirmary at the Weyr. After doing so, she wipes her hands, absently on her pants, turning to look at the state of the others.

Ziven rolls his eyes, "I told you, I was taught fairly well. And anyway, I tried to stay away from the felines, I got a few scratches but nothing serious." He gives a shrug, "Let me look later and I can see if I can do something?"

Jazmyn says "I seem to have managed to not get injured, but Crystath says she has feline blood and guts all over her claws and she wants to know if she can eat the dead herdbeasts? If so, I would remove what hide is usable from them first."

Fyenai sticks his tongue out at Ziven, then pouts a bit, "I know you said that… and it's not my fault they were over there!" He huffs a sigh, then nods a little bit, smiling at Ziven easily, "Okay. Thanks, Zi." Breathing in deeply, the young man pushes himself to his feet, stretching comfortably, "I'm going go take a bath and change clothes."

Niva glances over at Jazmyn, blinking at her for a moment before nodding her head. "If they're skinned, then they'd just be stored anyway. No harm done.." And Niva shakes her head a bit, to clear it, before glancing around her. "Where did those skins go?"

Ziven nods and pushes himself to his feet, "I think I'm gonna go back to the weyr myself and get comfortable, I'll see you around?"

Jazmyn looks around at the bovine carnage left in her dragon's wake and blushes, "I'll pay for the ones she killed…"

Fyenai smiles warmly at Ziven, nodding once lightly, "I'll see you later." With a wave to the other candidate, Fyenai makes his way Wayward himself, though inevitably on a different path.

Crystath looks innocent as she steps off to one of the herdbeasts and snacks on it.

Niva waves a hand, shaking her head. "T'would have just gone into Weyr stores, and the few beasts, like I said, won't make much difference. Not that there is anyone to compensate for them, in the first place, assuming the Tanners get the hides. And, well, I'll be satisfied with one of those feline pelts."

Jazmyn says "The hides on some of those are a ruin… I'll pay for those ones and have her eat them, since they were pretty torn up and not much good for the stores. Would 20 marks be enough?"

Niva glances at the beasts, quickly nodding. "I'm sure it will. Though, certainly it should go to Bellorya. T'was her loss of hide." And Niva shakes her head, slowly, "I certainly wasn't expecting that, though. I hadn't realized exactly how bad the problem had become."

Jazmyn grimaces, "One of the problems of living down here in the south. I was on my way to the Hold to breed my mare and Crystath said they were herding and I thought the old mare could use the exercise.. Umm… Not sure where she’s run off to now."

Niva wrinkles up her nose. "We'd had reports on problems, however.. It never occurred that they might be living well with this sized herd." Shielding her eyes, Niv stands on her tiptoes and peers off towards the distance. "Perhaps one of the other riders out found her?"

In the distance a rider trots towards them, something slung over the front of his saddle. As he nears the Istan ranch hand can be identified. The thing over his saddle is a calf just under a year. A very injured calf as the hand's arms are covered in blood.

Jazmyn fishes around in a pouch attached to her dragon's harness..And pulls out some marks and hands them over, "Give these to the tanner."

Niva leaves the marks in her hand, as she quickly nods. "I will. I hope you find your runner, otherwise its a real loss for you.." And she wrinkles up her nose at the appearance of the one on runner back and the calf, "What do you have there?"

Jazmyn nearly jumps out of her skin as her missing runnerbeast sneaks up and butts her in the back with its nose.

Iaeran reins the stallion up. Poor tired thing. It puffs away as Iaeran hops off and unloads the young beast. The bay's shoulder gleams brightly as well as the saddle and the young man's arms and chest. The little beast has a vicious slice along her haunch and thigh. "I'm amazed she made it as far as she did. I found her in the dust when I went and scouted the path. She'll pull through. It's not too bad. Need tending though."

Niva nearly jumps as the older goldrider does, before nodding her head in passing to her, turning then to Iaeran and the calf. "Do you prefer to take care of it?" And the calf is looked over carefully, checking the extent of the injuries as she does so.

Jazmyn waves as she heads back to her dragon, "Well, now that the mare is back, I should be going. Clear skies and all.." She loads the runner back in the transport, climbs onto her dragon and her dragon takes hold of the transport and carefully rises, wings beating hard to keep the transport level and steady as she moves steadily up and forward, moving in the direction of Black Rock Hold.

Iaeran gives a nod. "I can, just need supplies. And water…" he looks himself over. "A lot of water. The calf lows unhappily. "S'okay, little… We'll fix you us right well again. Gee you're heavily." He sets her down in the grass. "No… Stay there silly, or you'll hurt yourself. Marco." He whistles and the bay walks forward and places his muzzle on the calf's shoulder obediently. "Gotta love the things you can teach these guys. Um, where do I go for bandaging?"

Niva waves him to stay where he is. "I'll get it - Easiest for me to, anyway." And a wink and she heads over to gather up bandaging, stealing a full skin of water, heading back to offer the water to Iaeran first. "Let me know if you want me to help with anything.."

Bellorya finishes wrapping a sprained wrist and surveys the scene around her.

Iaeran smiles. "Thank you, ma'am." He takes the water and washes his arms off then the calf's haunch, peeling off dried blood and dirt with care. Some of the water is given to the herdbeast and the runner in cupped hands. "There ya go. Alright. Let's get this thing protected, huh?" He's talking to the little beastie of course, but turns to Niva. "If you could help me…" He slowly lifts the calf's leg. She struggles and lows again but Demarco keeps his muzzle firmly on her, whuffling softly. Runners know their jobs well. "Easy lady… Here… Hold this up please? At this angle. She should be okay."

Niva stands there, bandages in hand, as she watches the careful ritual with interest. When her aid is asked for, she crouches down, awkwardly holding onto the leg of calf, while offering the wrappings to him with the other hand. "Like this?"

Iaeran gives another smile. "Yes… Thank you." He takes the bandages and applies patches of gauze over the wound then commences wrapping. "That’s a little girl." he croons to the herdbeast as she lays there, eyes wide. She doesn't struggle anymore which thankfully makes the process quick. "There. You can let her leg down. Thank you, again." Ran look over the calf. "Should get her on her feet. She'll have to be supervised."

Niva slowly lets the calf's leg down, straightening and glancing around her with wide eyes. "If you've a way to transport her, you're free to take her." Easier, that way, at least for Niv. Glancing around her, she wrinkles up her nose. "I.. I should find W'slei and get back to Kilaueth, before she decides to show up here." That would be bad. A nod of her head to Bellorya, "I'll send teams back to help, and redirect that herd." And with another bob of her head, she's jogging towards Faeyth, hurriedly climbing up before they disappear *between*

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