Laeiva, M'noq, Kyriatis, Alyna, Ibrahim, Z'bor, N'iel


The search is on for Southern's murderous headwoman.

Mental illness, mention of dead kids.


It is afternoon of the first day of the ninth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


River Bank, along the Black Rock River.

OOC Date 07 Apr 2018 23:00




River Bank

With the towering cliffs left behind, the forested growth slopes downward towards the river's edge. Not as forested as the main jungles, yet still temperate to allow for full-fledged greenery, the river's bank is a mixture of sandy mud. One of the lower points of the river, the bank allows for easy access for both people and small sea-going vessels. A rickety dock, woven of water-damaged stone and wood, sits on the water's edge, bearing the mark of time. The blue-green waters of the river are gentler here, lapping against the bank in gentle caress, whirling in small eddies around the stone columns of the small dock. The call of avians and wild firelizards echo through the trees, with the quiet sounds of moving water aiding in giving this spot a hint of comforting tranquility.

It's a fine warm afternoon; the Southern spring is definitely here. Southern Weyr has seen a fair bit of this river in recent months, between the original evacuation of Black Rock and the additional searches and sweeps that follows, but today they're back in force. There's a base of operations by a decrepit dock, not far from the small hold to which, it seems, Weyrling Luki transported the missing Headwoman a few days ago at the latter's request, From here, search parties are heading out in all directions. Dragons are flying low over the more open areas away from the river, but the worst of the work will fall to those on foot, heading upstream and downstream along both sides of the river bank. A number of local people have been roped in to act as guides. The group heading north from this point will find that the space between the river and the rising rocks that will soon become cliffs is very narrow in places, to say nothing of muddy; wet feet are likely to be in everyone's future. Other groups have been flown to starting points further afield, and back at the local base, there's a supply of water and food for anyone who needs it.

Having involved herself in this intrigue in less reputable ways, it is perhaps only fair that Kyriatis put her feet to the ground and assist above board as well: the teen has hitched a ride with other searchers (likely against her father's preferences, but no matter), and, armed with a hat and a water bottle, joined the group heading north. The squelching sound her boots make in the mud is taken in good grace, though she's cautious - perhaps too cautious - in how she steps: those behind her may very quickly become frustrated with the snail's pace she's moving at.

One might enjoy the beginnings of Spring, with its warmth and sweet scents and most of all, lack of rain for this brief space of time; one might even enjoy striking a good trail and heading along it, gathering food, spices, and medicines, should one choose to do so. However, today is not a day for such things — indeed, it is a day for hunting. Hunting people. Among those locals assigned to act as a guide is Ibrahim, for who better than a wildling to help search the many many ways in which a person can disappear into the wild jungles? Even though they start at a Hold, there's no reason Laeiva will stay there. How he got here is his own business, though it's likely a-dragonback like everyone else — by his expression, one might assume he wasn't entirely thrilled by the prospect. He gathers up the needed supplies and begins tying his hair back to keep the twisted mane out of his eyes; he'll need to have clear vision for this guiidance business.

N'iel and Roxeauth are one of the pairs taking part in the aerial search, and the green floats along easily through the sky. She has a faint interest in what's going on, thanks to Haquith's information the other day, but it's N'iel who's truly involved in what's going on. He's peering down from her neck, switching sides now and then to mix things up. it's not raining, at least, so that's a relief.

Z'bor arrives on the back of his patchwork green, Ozriath giving a good shake after he dismounts. In moments, she takes to the skies to join the groups of low searching dragons, her link wide open with Z'bor so that he can communcate with her. He however, strides to where the head of operations seems to be, he has hunting and tracking skills that could come into use if it's needed. Getting to the site, he looks around for who to talk to while Ozriath checks amongst the dragons. «Who's in charge of this?»

Lynx riders have been flying sweeps, frequently stopping to talk with local holders about what, if anything, they might have seen. A few riders including M'noq have come down to the river area to do searching on foot. The sweeps riders send back information to Ravaith, for M'noq to coordinate. "At least the weather has finally turned, eh?" And it's easier to track someone when it isn't pouring rain, so there's that.

Being a part of Ocelot, the Search and Rescue Wing, it's no surprise that Alyna and her green Haquith are one of the pairs that are also searching in the air. The bright chartreuse green is just heading back towards the base camp after sweeping to the south east when she spies Roxeauth and trills a greeting in her direction before starting her slow descent. Once landed off to the side of the base camp, the petite greenrider hops down easily before her green leaps back into the sky to continue her searching alone. Heading to the klah table, she tips a salute at M'noq, "Sir. Still nothing?" she asks as she finds a mug and starts to fill it with the hot liquid.

Those who are currently heading north on foot are approaching a flat patch of ground at the water's edge. It gives easy access to those in search of water, and the thick mud has recently been churned up by several pairs of feet, not all of them human - though there's at least one pair of boots with fairly narrow soles among the prints. Some of them definitely had large paws, though. And claws.

Without a dragon of her own, Kyriatis has only one pair of eyes to lend to the search, but they're keenly trained: if there's anything to see, surely she'll see it! On the other hand, she's plainly not as fit as perhaps she ought to be, because already she's breathless and painting, sidling out of the way of others so that she can pause for a breather. It's as she's in the process of pausing that her gaze drops towards the mud, and the footprints catch her attention. "What kind of animal is that?" she asks aloud, voice raised enough that anyone in the vicinity ought to be able to hear her if they're listening. "Are those claw-marks?"

M'noq flashes a smile over to Alyna as the woman returns. "Nothing definitive yet, but we're all making so much noise, anyone who wanted to hide would have plenty of notice to." He generally prefers coordinating smaller scout groups. "But come with me. I think the loop is tightening along the river, not all that far off." Ravaith launches back into the air as his rider heads back along the ground. The brown flickers contact over to Orriath, sending along a mental image of a map where searchers are looking. « I can take a report if you are looking to make one. »

Meanwhile, just rooting around near Kyriatis — he looks down to inspect the prints carefully, very carefully. "Human." He eyes Kyriatis with some amusement, wondering. "Perhaps she was wearing hiking boots." For animals who are not domestic don't usually wander near to human establishments, no matter how hungry they are. "SI think we shall have to follow them where they lead us." He looks around at the rest of the group, hoping they will take this hint and follow it through.

Roxeauth is turning now, towards the river, her long eyesight letting her take a look at the searchers on foot. Since N'iel isn't having much luck spotting anything suspicious, she's more interested in hwat's going over there. « Anything interesting happening on the ground? » She asks casually, mostly directed at Ravaith as he's her Wingleader, but Haquith and Ozriath will be included too, as will other nearby dragons.

Alyna frowns and has to agree with M'noq about the noise, following after him when he tells her to, keeping quiet for now, eyes narrowing intensely as her mind wanders to her wingmates who got grieveously ill, allegedly by the woman they were now hunting and she begins to feel the anticipation at the idea of finally catching her. But with a nudge from her dragon, she banishes those darker thoughts as she tries to keep her mind and demeanor completely neutral as she squelches through the mud along the river.

"Those ones aren't," Kyriatis says, pointing firmly towards the decidedly paw-like and claw-like prints. "Unless someone's deformed in a way I've never seen… or wearing really, really weird boots, maybe. Do you think it was really her? I mean, anyone could've walked this way. I guess we don't have much else to go on though, do we? Let's go." Her shoulders roll back; she's ready to proceed (despite her still-short breathing). Hopefully they don't run into anything with claws.

Z'bor takes a few minutes to do so, but eventually he finds M'noq in the center of things. He walks up with a crisp salute for the man and throws a look around. Ozriath flickers in with what was said from above and he sighs, the mental map burning it's way into his head. "Anyone need an extra tracker in their group? I'm a fair hand at it." Ozriath rumbles her thanks for the mental map, but the lazily floating rainbow bubbles on her yellow brick road float gently on the breeze. Nothing to report here yet.

If someone follows the prints, they'll soon find it harder to spot them as the mud gives way to drier ground, though traces can still be found if someone knows how to look. The large paws seem to veer away and head towards some thick bushes. The boots continue along the river for a while until the traces are lost in an area of stony ground. A dragon in the air, who happened to be looking in the right direction, might notice a faint trace of movement some way ahead of the ground searchers.

Ibrahim sees, now. "Yes — I take your point — it's all muddy." He'll shrug at Kyriatis, and start off after the narrow footprints he'd seen; they're of more interest to him than some wild cat come to drink. Or had it. But follow the wildling does, picking up a faint trace here, an even fainter trace there, ignoring the way the paw prints veer away. Until he reaches the stony ground, and finds nothing. "She has to have come this way…" He growls, squinting about, going over th ground again and again until he's certain he can find nothing.

M'noq gives a nod to Z'bor as he joins Alyna and himself. "Much appreciated. I heard reports of tracks not far from here along the river." He has a machete in hand to cut through the jungle growth where necessary, and it isn't long before they reach the area with the tracks. He frowns, noticing the paw prints right away. "If we're lucky, all the commotion we're making will scare off any hunters in the area." Most wild felines won't want to confront a large group.

Kyriatis, far from an expert tracker, pads on after Ibrahim, who does seem to know what he's doing, though she stays back as he tries to pick up the trail again on the stony ground. She casts a wary glance towards the bushes, because she can pick up that much, then turns back towards the wildling. "Do we keep going? I mean, just because the trail ended… she probably went the same way, right?"

Haquith wings north when her rider heads in that direction on foot, sweeping her large eyes back and forth until they catch on some movement ahead of the searches which she will relay back to Alyna. As they come up at the prints, the greenrider's eyes unfocus as she catches her green's report, "Haquith says she can see movement ahead of us." and her pace quickens in the direction her dragon is indicating.

Bah, nothing interesting - yet. Roxeauth and N'iel will continue their search, following whatever orders may come in as things proceed. The excitement, it seems, is just about to begin!

It's not actually a great deal of movement that's visible; and it almost stops after a while. But the very keen-eyed may soon be able to see that there's actually a figure among rocks near the water's edge, their dark clothing helping them to blend in with their surroundings.

Z'bor follows along and nods when M'noq mentions the tracks, and shivers a bit when felines are mentioned. "I doubt we'll have much issue with felines. You're right about the noise, it'll deter them, might make finding our target a bit harder too." Winging above, Ozriath also reports movement in her line of vision.

"That's likely, yes — " Ibrahim confirms for Kyriatis, and has that suspicion confirmed by Alyna's report. "She did, apparently." And he, smart boy, opts to follow off after Alyna, pulling a machete from that baldric that has always been on his back, really it has. Just because he's been ignoring the sign of wild felines, doesn't mean he isn't cautious enough to go armed. His firelizards dash ahead, and begin to circle over that vague movement, shrieking discovery, encouraging Ibrahim to move faster, already! He's actually drawn closer to Alyna — close enough to spot that movement among the rocks. "There!" He points the blade at the shifting figure.

M'noq flicks a look over to Alyna and nods. Quietly, he says, "All right, everyone, let's be careful. We don't know who it is or if they're armed or not." He moves forward carefully, watching for movement along the ground. For his part, Ravaith passes along information to any other dragons in the area where the movement was seen, to coordinate the search from above.

"Movement," enthuses Kyriatis, who may be finding this whole adventure rather more exciting than perhaps she should, given the seriousness of the whole chain of events. She's a little more cautious than either others in the vicinity, staying well behind the forerunners rather than rushing to the front, but that doesn't mean she's not watching closely. In a loud whisper, "Is it her? Do you think it's her? I'm not armed…" For the best, really.

Orders given, Z'bor quiets and slips into hunter's mode, ears and eyes on the alert for anything out of the ordinary. His machete is on hand, ready for bush or battle. Now to see what comes up. Every nerve on alert.

Alyna freezes when the man with the interesting hair points out the movement and she looks over to the ranking rider, M'noq for his instructions. With a curt nod of her head and a thought to her dragon to see where she is, the green following Ravaith's instructions as they are given. Alyna is light on her feet as she follows closely after the brownrider her ice blue eyes sharp as they lock on the figure, body tensing with readiness for anything that might come.

Firelizards? The figure looks up sharply at their noisy arrival, and if she'd been inclined to bolt, she'd have had a good start on the hunters, but she doesn't move away. The searchers will need to come closer before they can see that it is indeed Laeiva, sitting on a low rock by the riverside, with a carisak at her feet. She seems to be clutching something to her chest. . Her lips are moving, though one would have to be very close to work out what she's saying - or maybe singing, as she's also swaying slightly, rocking to and fro.

M'noq fans out down a small game trail, hoping this one will let him circle towards the area of movement from another direction. He moves quietly but not exactly silently, pushing aside jungle growth with his machete when he can and chopping it down where he has to. He spots the firelizards gathering, though, and they lead him to the figure crouched in the pushes. "Laeiva? Are you all right?" he asks quietly, trying not to startle.

Sharditall - Ibrahim issues a stern mental call, firmly rebuking his little covey of lizards before they startle the woman right off her precarious perch. Once they're streaking away, He'll run a hand over his face, smothering further curses. Recalling an earlier conversation, he's certain the last thing the woman needs is more shocks. He might not be happy about what she's done, but really. As for Kyriatis being unarmed, he'll raise his eyebrows. "Hmm. I suspect we have sufficient to keep you safe. Not all of us need to run around with sharp objects." The girl might cut off an arm, or her own toes, or something. She seems an excitable youngling.

"Protect me with your life," is probably not meant seriously, by Kyriatis to Ibrahim. She's grinning— well, what might be a grin except for it being serious somehow, too. Her hands clasp behind her back as she shifts herself closer to the scene, close enough now to visually identify the (former?) headwoman, if not to hear what she's saying (or is that singing?). "She really is crazy," she breathes.

"Sure, kid." Ibrahim smirks wryly, eyeing her sidelong for a moment before returning his attention to Laeiva, frowning. Crazy she may be, but who knows. One simply can't make a real assessment while hanging out on a rocky shore and hoping nobody takes an unfortunate header somehow.

To say that Laeiva isn't looking her usual well-turned-out self would be an understatement. She's clearly been out here for several days, and it's as well that the weather is turning warm because she has nothing with her except for the small carisak. Her boots are sensible but mud-encrusted; her hair resembles an avian's nest, and one knee of her trousers is ripped. And she really is humming as she rocks the whatever-it-is she's hiding; it sounds like a well-known lullaby. At the sound of M'noq's question, she looks blankly at him for a few moments, then answers, "I had to look for them, you see. Nobody else was looking for them."

Alyna seems to just now notice Kyriatis and she frowns at the girl and looks like she wants to say something but M'noq is now moving towards the Headwoman, and Alyna will approach slowly as well, coming from a slightly different angle, to cut off another avenue of retreat should the woman decide to bolt. But her frown is sympathetic as she hears the woman murmuring. She'll let M'noq do the talking and though her body looks relaxed, one hand casually on her hip, the little greenrider is tensed and poised to move in a flash if needed. Turning back to Ibrahim, she mouthes the word, "Healer?" indicating that maybe someone should go fetch one.

Z'bor sighs as he too sees the woman, a look opf sympathy crossing his face. He's always had a soft spot for the mentally touched. He slinks in with the rest, eyes riveted on the woman rocking to and fro in front of them. "I can have Oz fetch someone if you need her too." This in Alyna and M'noq's direction.

Alyna's not the only one to have decided that perhaps a fifteen-turn-old - and a not-always-completely-sensible one at that - is not the best person to have around at a moment like this. Someone is sensible enough to draw the girl away, and though Kyriatis is plainly not happy with this, no doubt it is for the best: let the adults handle this one.

M'noq is no mindhealer, but he certainly can see that the woman is troubled. If she looks up and speaks to him, perhaps they can make it back to the Weyr with a minimal amount of drama. "Well, thank Faranth you looked for them and found them," he says to Laeiva, as he holds out his left hand to her, his right holding the machete, concealing it behind his back for now. "Shall we go back to the Weyr now?"

There's a relief in that — Ibrahim is a patient man, but he has to concentrate on what's going on down there, as opposed to an excitable teenager. He gives Alyna a slow nod, managing to snag one of those pesky lizards of his long enough to attach a note: Found her. Healer needed. Preferably a Mindhealer. While he is a healer of sorts, this is beyond his ken. He does edge closer, though; close enough to cut off a third possible escape route while hopefully remaining out of her line of sight.

Laeiva gives M'noq a puzzled look, but continues to sway, and her gaze is turned to the ground as she continues, "Poor little Tiever, he's only six. I made him that little tunic for his turnday…. And Lanto is seven. That's too young to be all alone out here, with the storms and the river and the felines… That no-good father of theirs should take better care of them. My poor babes. All my poor babes…."

Alyna is definitely relieved when Kyriatis and her not so helpful comments are removed from the immediate vicinity, her voice rising to join M'noq's after the woman talks of the children lost, her heart aching for the woman briefly as she looks back to spy Ibrahim sending a message and shooting him a bob of her head in thanks. Returning to the woman then she clucks her tongue softly, "Can't trust men to do a woman's job, can you? And you've done a great job Laeiva, but you need to rest now too."

M'noq takes a couple of steps closer and crouches down next to Laeiva, giving her a look on her level. "Oh dear, that's far too young, isn't it? Let's take them back to the Weyr right away, where they'll be safe. Perhaps you should take them to a healer to get them checked out? We can take them there by dragon so they'll get there right away." He gives a smile of thanks to Alyna for her supporting words too.

Ibrahim runs a hand over his face, a dawning horror creeping up on him; he hopes he's wrong. Oh, how he hopes he's wrong about his suspicion. But he makes no move to come closer to deny or confirm that suspicion. Instead, he moves a bit nearer to Z'bor, wondering softly, "Did you bring extra blankets? I think she…" He pauses, watching the woman with that unwilling sympathy welling up again. "… might accept them, maybe." If those unidentified objects in her hand are children, there's no good in carrying them about without dignity. the question will be how to get them down there without unnerving Laeva.

Z'bor nods. "Did a stint in Search and Rescue, been keeping things like that in m y bags since, never know when you might need something. Calling to Ozriath through their mind link, he sends her to a spot she can land safely nearby. "If you can spare me a moment, I'll go get them." Z'bor nods at Ibra and begins backing out slowly, because you never know when something might trigger a fit in a mentally unstable person.

"Soon," Laeiva says. "I can rest soon. You have to put them first, don't you? I just need to finish feeding him." She finally opens the arms that have been held across her chest all this time, to reveal a jumble of cloth. There's a piece of reddish-brown fabric, greatly tangled and torn but still showing some neat edge-stitching - the 'little tunic', perhaps. It's wrapped around something stick-like that gives it a vestige of shape. And then there's a piece of unbleached loose-weave cloth of the kind the kitchens sometimes wrap baked goods in. She holds that against the red object for a few moment, as if offering food to a baby, then says, "No? See, Granny likes it!" And then she raises whatever's in the cloth to her own mouth.

Alyna swallows hard at the lump that rises in her throat as she finally gets a look at what it was that Laeiva was clutching to her, her normally pale ivory skin blanching considerably as stands poised, ready for whatever comes next. But when she sees that cloth and how she raises it to her mouth, Alyna's heart lurches and it may be only a hunch, but the greenrider was ready for action and moves on automatic as she closes the distance in a moment before she attempts to grab whatever it is out of the woman's hand, fearing she may have poisoned it.

"Yeah…" Ibrahim is so not going to rush Z'bor on that account. Instead, he's going to move back to his place near Laeiva, settling into an easy crouch, minimizing his already short stature — perhaps he won't look even slightly threatening that way. "Laieva… perhaps they're cold. D'you think they might like blankets? Someone's bringing some for you. And them…" His voice is gentle, soothing, coaxing. "I know young children do better away from the damp, haven't you found the same? But perhaps your grandchildren are more robust." Let's talk parenting shop, shall we?

Z'bor disappears into the jungle, but he's not gone long. He's soon fading back in from the jungle with blankets over his arms, a skin of water and some redfruit. He'd thought to grab them when he got the blankets, if the woman won't eat or drink, they will need to at some point. Z'bor approaches slowly, the things he's carrying in plain sight so he doesn't seem threatening at all.

As Alyna makes her grab for it, Laeiva drops the pale cloth, and it falls to the ground, allowing the last morsels of a sticky bun to roll into a patch of mud. "Oh!" She turns on Alyna. "You shouldn't have done that. He can't eat it now." To Ibrahim and Z'bor, she nods slowly. "Blankets to keep him warm, how kind." She's still clinging to the red cloth, from which the end of a long piece of bone is now protruding. It looks like a rib from some large animal, and it's clearly quite old. Though this may not be so clear to Laeiva, as she carefully covers it again with the battered red cloth, before reaching for a blanket.

"My apologies Laeiva," Alyna says with all sincerity, "There was a huge bug on it, I don't think he would want to eat that." She says with a too warm smile as she reaches over to what Z'bor is carrying and grabs a redfruit with a nod to the other greenrider as she passes it over to the older woman. "Here, this would be so much better for him too. Fruits are much better that too many sweets, right?" Her voice has an almost sing-song sweetness to it as she watches in facinated horror as the woman takes such care with her burden.

Ibrahim will gently hand one to her, taking it from Z'bor with a smile. "We mustn't let them catch a chill. They're such good children, aren't they?" He's struggling to remain so casual during this; internally, he's wincing at the sight of a bone — until he realizes it's old, and likely not something from a human. Now is not the time to show even the slightest hint of repulsion. "Look, Z'bor's brought the good kind, too. Soft and thick. Perfect for younglings." He smiles winsomely at the woman, canting his head and doing his best to appear very, very boyish and charming. "Come, Laeiva, why don't we go over to the little food tent up there…" And he points in the general direction of said tent, wherever it is. "I'm sure they'd like some hot ones. I think the cooks have some frosted ones. Kids love those. The messier the better, am I right?" Slow and fluid, he rises — a slender young man, he's likely hardly bigger than the average woman. He grins sideways at Alyna. "Redfruit are better, but sometimes after a scare, sweets calm a child." Or whatever. Anything to keep Laeiva calm and cooperative, yes?

"I hope you've washed this," Laeiva tells Z'bor as she takes the redfruit from Ibrahim, then she turns that puzzled look on the wildling. "Them? Can't you see there's only him? His brother's not found yet." She's becoming alarmed now. "He's still out there, all on his own. I have to find him! Will you help me? They wouldn't help me before, they stopped looking, all those dragonriders, and he wasn't found. He has to be here somewhere!" She looks back in the direction that Ibrahim has indicated. "But Tiever likes sweets." She's tempted, yes, she's definitely tempted. She holds the fruit against the 'face' of the 'child', then stands up and takes a step in the right direction, and another. "Perhaps a blanket, too…" Looks like she's going to come quietly.

M'noq steps back as the others circle around Laeiva and attempt to comfort her. He looks to Ravaith, who has brought the dragons back to the main clearing where there's room to land, since the search is over and their quarry has been found. "Good job, everyone," he says quietly. "Time to head back to the Weyr." And whatever will happen to the woman in the long term can be sorted out there.

Z'bor nods at Laeiva, a smile touching his lips. "Aye ma'am, everytime I do a strap check I chek the things in my bag too. Why don't we get you a blanket too eh? We'll find whomever needs finding, promise…" Z'bor offers Laeiva a blanket as well and nods at M'noq as he reappears and Ibra, who seems to be on the same wavelength as Z'bor is. Alyna is given a look of thanks for her patience. She's done quite well for a situation like this.

"Hmm, yes. We'll have to remedy that, won't we…" Ibrahim soothes gently, offering the woman his arm as it seems she's going to come along quietly. "We'll just settle this youngling with a nice blanket and plenty of sweets, shall we?" How does one look for a child one is sure is no longer alive? Or perhaps he's been found already, Ibrahim knows not. Either way, he seems to feel it best to gently go along with what she asks for now.
Alyna lets herself relax considerably when finally the woman looks as if she is coming quietly, her whole body slumping forward as the tension leaves her, shaking her head considerably after the woman is being guided in the direction of the clearing. She'll follow after the pack quietly, lost in thought, or maybe conversing with her green. Once she gets back to their base of operations, the greenrider will head over to the refreshments herself, her mouth is as dry as Igen, but she is relieved that the search is finally over.

Laeiva drapes herself - one-handed - in the offered blanket, and scoops up her carisak. She's rather laden, between that and the 'baby', but really, with 85 degree temperatures, it's not going to matter if the blanket's a bit loose. She walks quietly, murmuring to her 'grandson' from time to time. It won't be long before she's safely back in the Weyr - if 'safely' is the right word, given her current position.

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