====October 27, 2013
====Merid, Prymelia; ST'd by Hannah

====Merid and Prymelia stumble on the remains of a shipwreck that's eerily empty… The girls (of course) explore it!

Who Merid, Prymelia; ST'd by Hannah
What Merid and Prymelia stumble on the remains of a shipwreck that's eerily empty… The girls (of course) explore it!
When There are 0 turns, 10 months and 15 days until the 12th pass.
Where Lower Black Rock River, Southern Weyr



Lower Black Rock River
Closer to the Sea of Azov, the winding Black Rock River's water turns darker, greyer as the riverbed itself drops lower forming a wide, lazy river that slowly makes its way towards the inland sea. Through its winding path, Southern's hills rise up on all sides, providing only a few spots down the long length of the lower river where ships may dock and the river's bank touches at water level. Otherwise, towering cliffs provide high vantage points to see across the length of the lower river, towards the Caspian lake and beyond. As the water encroaches upon the river delta that marks the entrance to the inland sea, the waters change yet again, providing a deeper blue hue as the depth only increases.
It is Summer and 89 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.
Prymelia and Merid are here.
Obvious exits:
Upper River Lake River Bank Sea Delta

-- On Pern --
It is midmorning
It is 10:30 AM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 10 months and 15 days until the 12th pass.
It is Summer and 89 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.

As dark as velvet, the night sky is peppered with diamond-like stars set beyond the drifting clouds of the lingering storm. Moonlight limns the rounded edges, aiding in spilling light across the length of the winding Black Rock River. The presence of malevolent mystery has been dormant of late, the lack of abandoned ships since the last on was found giving both relief and worry to the denizens of the weyr. However, this night, another ship has coasted to the shore, canted oddly in the lapping waters of the river where the bottom has lodged in sediment. Far, far away — to far by foot — eerily dancing lights of night marching torchlight can be seen winding upwards through the mountainous jungle region of Southern. The storm's passing has left a stillness on the sticky, humid air that's given little relief by minute breezes heralded off the cooler river waters.

"What should we do, Captain?" asks a harried voice, and it's answered with a gruff, "Arm yourselves, men!" Both suspiciously tainted by the same excitable alto; both Merid. "Yar!" She cries, hopping from one half-buried river rock to the next, the sole of her boots skidding and grasping for balance in the unpredictable night. "And that!" Though she's a place strapped around a boot for a knife, she wields nothing but the skinniness of her arm, thrashing about as if the very darkness in front of her were villainous. The diamond-stars, the drifting clouds and rays of moonlight, and the crookedly set ship in the distance are so much— wait. Her head jerks up, flustering the fall of her brown hair, lazily tied around her shoulders. "And… that?"

Too much on her mind and unable to sleep, Prymelia has saddled up her sturdy runner and headed out for a night ride. The wind in her hair, cool against skin dampened by humidity helps to expel the turmoil of thought. At least temporarily. She yearns for a swim. To luxuriate in the cool lap of water about her body, floating free in its silky caress. Thundering hooves slow and then pause, Soot carefully navigating a twisty bit of path, and then there it is, spread out before her like a beckoning swathe of black velvet draped through the landscape - the river and…a ship? The unnatural angle of its lean draws closer scrutiny, the flicker of torchlight moving away narrowing hazel eyes and focusing concentration. And then! Soot rears up in surprise almost unseating his rider then jinking sideways and snorting. "For Faranth's sake, Soot!" Prymelia starts to scold amid a bounty of curse words and then she sees her, the girl playing pirate across the rocks. Blink!

Ill-portent winds on the night's sparse winds like the coming rise of Rukbat, still so far off by the candlemark's count, yet the hushed stillness is eerie. So close, even untainted by the youthful rise of a girl playing pirate, to the ship the creaking sway can be heard. A low-groan cry of straining wood and the wet slurp of the water sucking around the ship's bottom. A galley ship, it is massive with faded markings that could once have been sea craft. It's a little to stressed to tell.

Nearing runner steps are obscured by the fog of night, even in that eerie silence — or because of it — but the rear of one cuts straight through Merid's fantasy, ripping her squinting gaze from the ship to a widened one on the rider. Her hip hurries to follow the twist, and her foot after, creating a doomed physical symphony. With a scratch on rock, soles slip in the murky night wetness and Merid tips over, spouting, "Sweet mother of a— " and additional curses spreading out amongst Prymelia's in an illicit cacophony as she hits the water with a gush of water and breath. Catching on her hands, both propped behind her, her palms cut on the, luckily shallow, basin where she'd been playing and her butt aches something fierce from landing, but she otherwise goes unharmed despite all the noise. Almost immediately, she's clambering to rise, a whiplash of looking between Prymelia and the ship.

Prymelia has heard the whispers about the Weyr of ghost ships but had snorted and poo-poo'd the idea. Ghosts. Honestly! But now, with the grinding moan that reaches outward, grasping at the still night air with eerie fingers, she's starting to rethink her earlier assessment. Oh poppycock! She gives herself a stern talking to, nimbly dismounting the shaken runner the moment Merid goes over. Hastily looping reins about a tree stump washed up by the storms she splashes into the shallows and holds out a hand to help the girl up. "Jays, kid. What you doing out here all alone? Don't you know there's ghosts after the marrow in your bones in that wreck!?" She's kidding, told in the impish cast to her lopsided grin but perhaps the cover of night hides the tell.

"You see it too?" gasps Merid amongst her struggles, aided by grasping onto Prymelia's hand to pull herself up. Water dribbles off her arms and the bottom of her skirt inappropriate for the play she'd been performing. Spare breezes add to the chill, both physical and in those bones so desired by ghostly wretches, but it only seems to spur the red in Merid's blood. A grading look casts up and down Prymelia, but in the cold and dark there's little can be done about properly assessing, so she accepts with a bob of her head. Scrapped palms are rubbed idly together for their wounds as she picks herself up onto a more stable shore, "Well, come on, then." As if the other were holding them up, and intention was clear.

The ship awaits, a siren's call beckoning to youth's desire to adventure: creaking and swaying to the gentle currents of the lower, slower Black Rock River. The torchlights in the distance are gone now, nothing but firefly memories of passing night marchers.

"Aye, I be having eyes in my head," Prymelia confirms on the wreck being of solid stuff and not a figment of Merid's imagination. Wearing riding breeches and a thin strappy top with thick mahogany hair left loose, the trader runs a critical eye over the teen. Scrapes and scratches, nothing life threatening. A grin pulls free, baring teeth white in the moonlight at Merid's intention. "You reckon its true?" she asks, dolefully eyeing her now wet and squelchy boots. "About the ghosts? I bet there's treasure aboard and the stories are just to keep others away from it." A quick check on Soot's reins and then she shucks her boots off, tips them upside down to drain the water from them and wades back into the water. "Finders keepers, losers weepers, I say. Lets go." That's Prymelia for you. Rushing in where angels fear to tread. Perhaps Renalde has the right of it to worry about her safety out in the great beyond.

The grin blossoms tried and true on Merid' face as Prymelia serves perfect second to her call for adventure. "Reckon there's only one way to find out!" She assures excitably, attempting to rein in the pure adrenaline with something more authoritative and well-traveled; she half succeeds. And, by then, what does it really matter. At first she picks her way as she did before, hopping, but the woman's 'finders keepers' sparks a new light in her and she nods, dipping her chin to look Prymelia over a second time. "Then, I suppose… first one there gets all the glory!" Spurring her to take off with a splash and ill-advised speed towards the looming, forboding (except, apparently, to these two) wreckage.

The wreckage is eerily empty, the boards swept clean of even dirt and grime other than the weathering that comes natural to the elements of the sea. As the girls dash towards it, rounding the bow of the ship, it's easily seen that the gangway has been left down, leaving a clear path onto the ship. The wind picks up, briefly, setting the behemoth to sway as the ripples of the river roughen towards the shore. Then all is set to rights again and stillness returns. Quiet.

A laugh, held low out of deference for the stillness of the night, spills from Prymelia's lips, quickly becoming charmed by the scrappy little thing splashing ahead of her. "Hey, wait up, kid. Remember, I'm the one with the runner to haul the bounty back to the Weyr!" Rounding the listing bow of the ship, delight shows in the wide grin for a gangplank left to clamber up onto. Waiting until the rocking roll of the vessel has settled, Prymelia puts those long arms and legs of hers to good use and hauls herself up onto, reaching out to offer Merid a hand if she needs one. "Where shall we start? Below decks or the captain's cabin?" But even as she posits the question a strange finger of dread drops down her spine.

In a fit of stubbornness over Prymelia climbing up first, Merid initially denies the help, scrambling up on her own, using torn palms with abandon. "Maybe I'll just bury it somewhere and come back with a runner later," she speculates happily, unattended by that finger that tickles Prymelia. Instead, she straightens, pushing a bit of loose hair behind her ear and glancing out to the jungle the way the floating lanterns of the night had vanished. "Maybe that's what someone's already doing…" The thought of not being the first both spurs and slows Merid, lending that sense of chill: they're treading on ground a mysterious entity has. Planting a foot and barely making sure it stays before shifting her weight, she holds a hand onto the ship's exterior and looks it up and down. "What, you don't want to split up?" is teased, before decisively: "The cabin."

Thankfully, the ship's condition is fair — no one will be falling through cracked and broken boards this night; however, as decisions are being made as to which way to go the eyes first see that there are two entrances to below decks. One aft, one fore. The ship seems to not be inclined to yield its secrets, but perhaps below decks will change. Shadows gather in the cavernous openings that would send unwary feet scuttling through wooden staircases, and the sense of ill-luck is palatable; the aura of fear still clinging like the shadow of a smell.

Grinning at Merid and pretending to try and avoid that questing finger, Prymelia snorts at inference that she's a scaredy-feline. "No, just don't want the ghosts to get you. It might be a touch tricky trying to explain why you're little more than a pile of bones after they suck dry. Then again," she goes on to add, gaze casting one way and then the other to orient herself with the layout of the ship above board, "if they get you then all the booty's mine. Mwahahaha!" The added cackle an attempt to make light of the situation and dispel that niggling feeling creeping along the edges of her mind. It's not entirely successful. Glancing in the direction she'd seen the lights earlier, the trader shrugs, "Aye, but maybe they left something behind." Ever the optimist she allows Merid to lead the way this time, the fine hairs on the back of her neck starting prickle at thought of descending into the darkened bowels of the ship without so much as a glow to light the way.

Left to lead, Merid fights against freezing, against the knowledge that she knows nothing about the ship and cannot fulfill her choice with any accuracy. A quick eenie-meenie in her head and then she's confidently stepping along the wooden boards towards the fore level. The back of her neck seems to itch with the sensations of the night and she scratches at it while picking across the crooked floor. "Oh?" She muses over the possibility of the ghosts sucking what skinniness survives on her bones away. "Has it not occurred to you that maybe you're alone here? That it would be even trickier to explain why you thought you were exploring a ship with a girl who never existed? Perhaps we're about to— " and she rounds towards the stairs dramatically, enjoying how the sound of her own voice breaks some of the eerie stillness— or does it, "— stumble upon my bones in the cabin were I was struck down!" Whoosh! Or at least, she attempts to whoosh, skipping several steps ahead to try and disappear on Prymelia around whatever corner or stair the ship's fore offers.

The clouds part, lighting the deck with silken, silvery moonlight that shimmers off the little puddles of water that cling to where feet once trod. The shadows of the entrance are deep, and the stairs tricky. Only with the light of the moons cast through open portholes does the ship's interiors get graced with the silvered limning that looms shadow'd shapes. Aft or fore, this ship is simplistic in design, both ways converging to the same long hallway of vacant rooms with open portholes - the only light to see by. Eerily, everything is gone; the interior of the ship swept clean. Or is it? If only one had a light… Or perhaps the rooms themselves, with the flood of moon's caress, will yield more.

"Oh har, har," Prymelia mocks back, keeping her attention firmly to the wooden decking they cross over. But then. What if…Her gaze flicks upward, pupils dilating with a lick of fearful apprehension. Just when she reaches out to pinch Merid and prove her existence in the here and now, a noise off to her right, the splash of a fish distracts her and when she turns back again, the girl is gone. Ice sluices through the trader's veins, a sick feeling dragging in the pit of her stomach. "Hey kid! You're not funny you know! What if there's a great big tunnelsnake just waiting to pounce on you!?" She calls out, hating the light tremble she hears in her own voice and carefully making her way downward despite her own warnings of critters with appetites. At the bottom she pauses, hand to rail, seriously starting to question the wisdom of investigating an abandoned ship at night without so much as a belt knife for protection. Bare feet pad silently as she takes first one step and then another forward, eyes squinting through the darkness to try and pick Merid out among the shadows.

Thump! Something's pushed right up against Prymelia in the darkness— but a flash of moonlight proves it to be Merid, returning from creeping up to a porthole and squinting in the overly oppressive sense of night. Her boots make little squelches to tell her by now, heavy with the wet of playing in the river, like the fall of her skirt whispering against her legs and constantly sending a sweep of cold to her skin. "Everything's gone," she murmurs, having already gotten over the previous conversation in her boundless curiosity. "We'd better check the rooms." A tickle of anticipation becomes indistinguishable from one of wandering disappointment. What if… nothing's here, spurs her on. It's scarier than critters, clearly, because she tries to pick out the first handle in the creeping moonlight and tugs. It's as an afterthought that she reaches down to the squish of her boot and unsheathes a working blade.

First one door, then another. Clean, clean, clean; the ship has been gutted and all that remains is the furniture nailed down against the storm-tossed seas. In the center of the hallway, an huge, yawning opening into the belly of the ship exists. Dark shadows are impenetrable, but it's only in contrast to such darkness that leads to areas where the moon's light cannot go, that contrasts to the half-open handle of a doorway at far end of this hallway of ill-portent. Past the great, yawning draw of shadows and depths: here, the ships creaking and groaning is louder, eerily winding through the very bones of the ship itself. That door has a siren's call to be explored. Barely noticeable, the cast of faint yellow can be seen where the door's bottom meets the floor. Perhaps, it is occupied.

Wound tighter than a spring, whispers of skeletons found in abandoned sections of the caverns trickling through her mind, Prymelia actually shrieks! The moment her 'attacker' is revealed to be Merid, she glares at the girl. "You almost gave me a fardling heart attack, you little imp!" She scolds, flicks a lock of hair from her eyes and marches with all the false bravado she can muster, to a door opposite to the one the teen tries. The handle is jiggled a few times before it grudgingly gives way and allows the door to be swung inward. "You take that side, I'll take this side," she calls out before crossing the threshold to do a quick survey of the room. One after the other, and nothing! Frustration soothes anxiety and then the door at the end of the hallway is given attention. "There!" Prymelia calls out to Merid in tones suddenly hushed. "I bet there's something in there." That its occupied doesn't even occur to her though the dim glow of light does set off a silent alarm in the back of her mind.

Here, naturally, a siren call speaks to Merid, pulling her ahead of Prymelia the same as the woman's words: she seems to hear 'I bet there's something in there… and you take the lead'. Fingers coiled around the blade she's wielding as much for show as anything else — the room after room of nothing has previously relaxed her grip to almost nothing — she steps up to the door with much pomp and show of being stealthy. She might've succeeded better if not for the slosh of her boots, somewhat dulled only by the actual grace she possesses for sneaking. Sidling up to the half-open beckon, she flattens her back against the door and then slides her foot against it, pushing it open thusly while skimming around with it so that it, at least, guards her one side while opening, and she can present the smaller target of her side, knife out, to that light.

The room is, indeed, occupied but not by anything living. A single candle, nearly burned to the ends of tallow stump, flickers vainly in the room's barren shadows. Moonlight spills, and all seems lost except: from the corner, something pale catches the light from 'neath the skeletal remains of a desk. Fractured, this room shows signs of a struggle, the casualties listed are the desk, what must have been a chair and the small cabinet-like thing that's now gone to smithereens. But caught beneath the crooked-angled leg of broken wood, a ripped bit of worn hide beckons.

Usually armed to the teeth when out on the road with blades hidden upon her person, Prymelia, having intended nothing more than a ride and a swim, is this night, unarmed. The absence of the reassuring weight of metal and bone handle leaves her feeling vulnerable, the fact that Merid has a weapon with her, found to be oddly irksome. The very least she can do is enter the room firs.The plucky teen beats her to it. "Kid!" She hisses. Names exchanged at some point might have been helpful. "Come back here!" But too late, Merid has slung herself inward. Uttering a low curse and willowy frame strung taut with tension, Prymelia is right on her heels. Relief is first to sweep through her when no occupant either skeletal or living is revealed and then frustration. All that for nothing!! "Bugger me!" The trader curses again, taking in the room's destruction. "Someone went down with a fight." Now that perceived danger has been swept aside, she begins a slow circuit of the room, taking in the details of destruction. The cabinet is inspected, hope of a gem perhaps hidden in its ruin dashed. And then she sees it - the worn bit of hide. But it's dismissed without inspection. Overlooked as being little more than trash left behind. "There's nothing here," Prymelia announces with disappointment riding the tone of her voice.

"There can't be." It's as determined as it is tremulous with the same rising tide of disappointment; Merid absolutely refuses to believe, can't have this happen. Plucking at bits of desk, she pries her knife into a broken piece and carves out a slice of her own, needing to make a mark on the place. "But dragged out?" She wonders about the end of the struggle, "Walked out?" Spinning in a slow circle looks for beads of blood or discoloration on the floor — everything's so shardin' clean! It's so that she sees the speck of trash, that hide, with a wash of relief and desperation. A message scrawled in blood and left behind: it simply has to be. With a scramble of purpose, Merid scurries to the spot, haphazardly kicking the broken wood aside with no sense of preservation of scene. The hide's picked up, turned over at first too fast to read, if there's anything at all to read, and then squinted importantly at. And squinted some more. She moves it back and forth. It's just too dark, until she inches towards the dying flicker of the candle.

It is clean; too clean. Something is definitely not right with this ship, cast so far outside the normal confines of the shipping lane. Where did the people go? What happened to them? Why are there no stories? Is it all a ruse? The torn scrap of hide yields little except the mention of, combustible material, mined just outside the Crom colonies, and the rest degrades into what might have once been a manifest, but the rest is lost to wherever the other half of that torn hide went to. The ship groans around them. And something could be scratching up from the darkened bowels, crawling up the long and narrow steps from the sightless galley below… or is it? Perhaps it is prudent to escape before whomever did this decides to come back for one, last final sweep. The existence of that flickering candle yields a clue itself: that whatever was done, was done within the time it took that single tallow candle to burn down near to the nub… Poof. It flashes out. Now both girls stand in shadow'd darkness, the moon's light cast malevolently upon the broken room, limn'd now in silver'd lines.

Having already started for the door, the ship and its lack of contents or answers pulling etches of dissatisfaction across Prymelia's shadowed features, she huffs an impatient breath as Merid refuses to give up. There's a light flare of interest when the scrap of hide is pounced on, just enough so that she crosses back over to where the teen is squinting at it. The spluttering candle is scraped from the desk, the trader gritting her teeth against the hot drips of wax that spill over her fingers when she angles it so that Merid can complete her inspection of it and then - complete and utter darkness. A dreadful sense of foreboding crawls up Prymelia's spine, that trail of lights in the darkness they'd seen earlier suddenly holding an ominous cast. "C'mon, kid," she says, trying to make a grab at Merid, "we gotta get out of here. There's nothing right about any of this! Whoever did this," the destruction and complete stripping of the ship, "could already be on their way back." Yes, she's scared and right now, she could care less whether the younger girl knows it or not. "We have to go. Now!"

"Com-bus… hey!" Over her second reading, attempting to glean any secondary information, Merid's head jerks up as the light goes out, flushing a new darkness over eyes unadjusted. "But— !" Protestation incomplete, she allows herself to be slightly manhandled, some better sense surviving against the scratching noises of the ship. It's like they crawl up her neck, making it itch again. This time, she ignores it for a more prudent chore of picking across the room, its cleanliness helping in at least there's nothing to truly stumble over once the broken desk's out of the picture. The hide gets shoved into a leather jacket pocket and she hops a couple of times, ripping out of Prymelia's grip, to sheathe the blade back into her boot. But then, she takes to leaving with a halfhearted conviction. "There's more to this!" She insists in a hiss, boots clomping on the wood back out the way they came with less gumption but more speed.

Certainly, there is more but without a light the depths of the ship cannot be plundered. As it is the thing is groaning, the weathered boards of whatever caused the shipwreck groaning as the lower levels fill with onrushing water. As the girls flee the ship, it is likely that whatever other secrets may have been kept will be gone by Rukbat's morning light. This night, however, has stilled again with the twin moons giving very little illumination to cast upon the exit as the clouds have swept in overhead. A faint drumming can be heard — or is it heartbeat? The night closes around the ship and her secrets.

"Aye, maybe so," Prymelia agrees with one hand reaching out into the darkness before as she heads back the way they'd come, "but it's not worth dying over." Yeah, she said it. "You can catch a ride with me and we'll see what more we can figure out back at the Weyr." Where its safer and there's no groaning, moaning ship stripped to an empty shell or strange lights winding up the hill. Where there are people and weapons and dragons. Down the long hallway, up the stairs, missing her footing once and then out into the still air of night. A deep breath inhaled that does little soothe frayed nerves. But there's no time to linger not with the rush of water heralding the ship's doom. Down the gangplank, into the water, wading back to the questionable safety of land and escape provided by a runner rendered inexplicably fidgety.

As if in a trance, her mood sinking with the ship, Merid follows along, pattering after Prymelia to the runner's side where she accepts a hand up to ride behind the woman. Fingers clutched around this flesh-and-blood, she stares over her own shoulder, chin tightly held against it, to watch the night plod away. Towards safety, perhaps, but also towards the known — where the possibility of else fades as the mysterious lights glowing up into the jungle did.
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