Arlemond, Nevik, Niyati, Kultir


A crew enter the ice caves to explore and take samples. Nevik is along, so you can guess what happens.


It is afternoon of the nineteenth day of the tenth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Southern Hold

OOC Date


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Base Camp

Here rises the dark-grey monolith of massive caverns, open-facing and airy. The arches, far above, make this space ill-equipped for centralized heating but excellent for campfires. The caves go deep, grey-walled caverns that tempt with enigmatic promise. Some are lofty as this main entrance; some are cozy enough for a tall man to bump his head. They all lie in nascent mystery, ripe and ready for the claiming by those strong enough to hold them.

It is the seventy-ninth day of Spring and 21 degrees. It's really damn cold out.

Dragonborne teams of people rotate in and out around the clock to the ice-bound caverns. Freezing temperatures and dangerous conditions have nerves taut, but there is a buzz in the air. Exploration. Expansion. Work crews take shifts, working for only a couple of hours apiece before resting or heading back to Southern Weyr. Much of the work consists of hauling fuel and supplies, but some… a select few… have been chosen to survey deeper into the cave system. Arlemond leads one such team surveying a newly uncovered branch of caves, "Get up here. What do you see?" The gravelly-voiced Stonesmith rumbles. He's clad head to foot in furs, goggles perched atop his head. He stomps, making sure the teeth on his boots grip as he peers into the strange twilight of ice and shadows, luminous with veins of ice lit from an unseen and distant sun. It's not windy here, but that serves to drive home just how very cold it simply IS.

Nevik, being from Fort Weyr, has probably seen winter and colder temperatures than can be found down in Southern Weyr's jungle-like setting. Still, the young healer has a near-permanent shiver rattling his pale frame within the fur-lined jacket that he's wearing. A pair of goggles have been scrunched up onto his forehead giving him, literally, four eyes, to look at rather than just his usual pair. Hood-hair has created a bird's nest of creatively tassled, rust-colored hair that would probably be competition for some of the feathered displays found in some of the southern avaians. Sent to 'help' with the exploration and be on hand should an accident occur, he's equipped with a healer's bag, a lantern to help shine light for the explorers and, of all things, his sling. At least he probably couldn't hurt anyone in the caves - right?

Niyati has exchanged her usual lightweight outfits for warmer gear, though the fur she wears lacks nothing of her usual flare. "White," is her first answer, muffled as it is by the scarft that protects her face from the cold. So what's a weaver doing here? Freezing. "It's beautiful though, isn't it? Who knew white could have so many colors?" She settles the strap of her bag on her shoulder and turns to glance at the area around the camp now that those troublesome goggles are somewhere above her eyes.

Kultir climbs up a little more clumsily than he normally moves since he's clad in several layers of fur-lined leather from head to toe for warmth in this arctic Hold being built. Stomping his feet the same way the big Stonesmith does, he finally stands securely beside the man to gaze into that shadowy opening. Tugging at the thick wool scarf wrapped around his face, his eyes glitter at the strange but oddly beautiful sight before him. The question of what he sees though, that causes him to peer with confusion at the other man. "It's lovely but … not sure how you're going to make it habitable." Or keep it warm enough for folks to actually do things much less thrive. "Almost seems a pity to knock down all those … what are they? Icicles?"

"Keep that brazier at the entrance," Arlemond barks at Kultir. The burly tracker had been given the task of bearing the portable heatsource. "Don't want those falling on us." He unshoulders his pack and begins to assemble a series of strange drill-like devices. "Nevik, Kultir, you're a team. Niyati, you're with me. We're to find the flags left by the first team and take samples, floor and wall at each location." He holds up an augur, "One person takes the sample, the other person keeps the spot illuminated and watches for any dangers. Any questions?" They'd been briefed on how to use the augurs back at basecamp.

Nevik holds up the glow-filled lantern, as it would be less likely to melt anything, and gives it a quick tap to aggitate the contents to produce a bit more light. As the jobs are explained and he glances over to his partner, Kultir, his green eyes eventually drift up to the dozen or so ice formations that hang precariously above their heads. Yes, this is the -perfect- place to send an accident-prone healer. "I…I'll watch your back," he explains to the hunter with a faint shiver to his voice - whether out of fear or cold it's unsure.

Niyati appears innordinately thrilled with the prospect. "I do hope we find some interesting minerals or lichen. Something colorful." Nevik is earns a broad grin. "What an adventure, eh?" Arlemond earns a nod and she nearly- /nearly/- salutes. "I do hope you're not intending to keep all of the fun to yourself." Maybe she's a little too enthusiastic about all of this. "Dangers.. Oh! Do you suppose we'll run into some of those large cats? They have lovely fur…"

Kultir nods at the order from the Stonesmith and turns to set the brazier up at the entrance to the cavern they are inspecting. The bulky apparatus is swiftly assembled and is soon giving of a good sized sphere of warmth as the coal ignites and the tracker fiddles with the dampers and baffles before he's satisfied it can be left to its self. Returning to the group, he accepts the augur and nods to Nevik with a soft chuckle. "Just make sure you yell if something starts falling and we'll be good, Nevik." The tracker hasn't ever worked with the young Healer directly but he knows the kid will do well once he's grown out of his accident prone state. "None here, sir." Moving carefully so that the ice cleats keep him from slipping, he leads the way along the path that follows the right hand wall to where he can find one of those flags.

Arlemond's lips press together at Niyati's flippant enthusiasm for their very serious -and dangerous- work. Judging himself the better to keep an eye out for dangers for himself and the other pair -he'd heard things about the Healer Apprentice- he hands the augur to Niyati and breaks up an fresh glow, gesturing Niyati ahead of him. He nods at Kultir's call, "Keep checking in," he rumbles. "Clear here. There." A little flag sticking out of the ground at the junction of floor and ceiling.

Nevik starts to take a step along the path that they were to check but decides that it's probably best to let the larger, more burly guy go first - just in case there could be something bigger and meaner than him inside. Pausing and turned to his side to let the man pass by, he glances up once again and raises his glow-lantern to cast the light a bit further. "Have you heard?" he begins a low but not secretive conversation with his exploration partner, "…Master Aemon mentioned that I might get transferred here once they open it up. He said that I would be…what was the word he used…oh yeah, -invaluable- here." The sarcasm and derision drips from his lips as foggy breath escapes with every word.

Kultir keeps glancing back at his partner as he moves to make sure Nevik is using his cleats properly before turning back to find a little flag sticking up from the join of wall and floor a few feet ahead. Hearing the rumble from across the cavern, he glances in that direction to see a glimmer of light from the other pair's lantern. "All clear here. Got a flag, getting ready to take a sample." The few steps required are taken and the augur is placed on the floor to take that first sample, the tracker squinting in the dimness. "Shine that light down here, please, Nevik?" The young man waits till the light brightens before repositioning the augur before turning the bit, leaning hard to make the drill move through the ice and whatever might be beneath that icy layer. Frowning at the soft words from his work partner, he chances a glance up at the youth. "Really?" He can easily hear the sarcasm in the younger man's voice and it causes his frown to deepen as he turns back to pay attention to his task. "I don't see how anyone would be 'invaluable' here just yet. Unless it's someone like Stonesmith Arlemond there or some of the guards to keep the wildlife away." His lower lip is caught between his teeth briefly since he'd been wondering if the Weyr would choose to send him here as well since he had so much experience in dealing with animals in general.

Niyati couldn't be more thrilled or enthusiastic, though she somehow manages to make her way carefully, checking twice and thrice before even daring to make her way along the path. "The last time I made a climb like this we were in a little holding near High Reaches. They do this sort of thing quite a bit. Well, not this particularly, but you get my meaning. Takes them no time at all. Oh look, flag. …that could have been a little brighter." All of that in the most excited voice.

Arlemond's mouth only grows flatter and flatter and flatter as Niyati's excited chatter spills forth. If it weren't for her apparent keen vigilance he'd have boxed her ears by now. Until she inattends, he'll let her chatter. For now. Disinclined to encourage the chatter, he does make 'Mmm' and 'Mmmhmm' sounds at odd intervals. "Right. Niyati, set the bit and lean in good." He calls to Nevik and Kultir, "Flag here. Preparing to sample."

One flag, one sample. This isn't so bad. Nevik and Kultir continue working their way down the line of small flags after having completed the first and the healer tries to pass the time with a casual conversation. Taking point, as the light would be blocked were he to walk behind the larger man, he walks cautiously forward and holds the light aloft in one, gloved hand. "Master Aemon is sometimes confusing, I think. When I volunteered to come help with the work crews he seemed almost happy. Several people told me that I should go explore around the area and make sure that I see a few of the ice cracks and look for any ravines or something," The darkly humorous tone to his voice crowds out the sarcastic lilt he had when they began. Just because he's a walking accident waiting to happen doesn't mean that he's a bad guy, right? His foot-falls grow heavier and heavier, as though he weren't so much walking as he were stomping his way down the path. "You know what I think?" He turns back to look at Kultir, the lantern raised above his head, "… I…" and he never gets to finish the phrase. As he was speaking he takes a step back and a very loud crunchy-crack can be heard under one foot. It -could- be nothing. It -could- just be a particularly loud bit of ice cracking under his boot. But he's not about to bend to check it out. Standing stock-still he looks at Kultir with a mixture of confusion and panic.

"Yes, Journeyman." Amusement in Niyati's voice? Couldn't be. The sample is taken with care but she falls still- yes, even her mouth- just as the sampling is finished. Her head tilts as if she's listening for something and one hand reaches up to pull away her scarf to expose her face. "Did you feel that?" It's a whisper but she motions her hand toward her face to indicate air. But hey, it's just the wind, right? Nothing to do with ice shifting or anything.

Kultir lets the younger man lead with the lantern and follows carefully behind the youth. "Samples taken, Stonesmith. Moving on to the next flag." His low voice travels easily across the frozen icescape of the cavern before rumbling into silence broken only by the sounds their cleats and clothing make. The crunch of cracking ice just in front of him, beneath Nevik's feet, causes him to stop stock still and look downward though he can't make out much without a bit more light. Fishing around at his belt, he unhooks the lantern hanging dark from where it is clipped securely to his person and flips the little vent open before shaking it to stimulate the spoors. "Just stand still for a moment, Nevik. Let me see what's going on here." Crouching carefully with a creak of icy leather, he shines his own lightsource at the crack-crazed ice beneath the young Healer's feet. "Umm, Arlemond? Got a … situation here. The ice has cracked beneath Nevik's foot." Directing the light a short distance around them both, the tracker frowns at the radiating fractures in the ice and sighs softly at the spinner-web pattern beneath his own feet.

"Niyati. Out." The command is issued in a low, calm voice. No chances at all taken. Arlemond looks up across the cavern and spies a striken Nevik poised stock still with Kultir leaning down. And then Kultir's words. A chill that has nothing to do with the temperature roosts between his shoulder blades. "Don't move." Not that it looks like they're going to. Whether she's moving or not, Arlemond takes Niyati's arm, grabbing a fistful of sleeve he pulls her along towards the brazier and the exit. Stopping at the pack he'd doffed, Arlemond moves a coil of rope out and begins methodically affixing a spike to its end. Quietly, to Niyati: "Get the mallet." Heart hammering, the Stonesmith looks outwardly calm as he works. He looks over at the young men, eyes intent. Swallowing a curse, he fumbles his gloves off, and flexes them in the cold. With hands freed, he makes quick work of affixing tying off the rope. Don't move. Don't move. A silent sending to the boys.

Anyone who has ever tried to stand perfectly still realizes, quickly, that it's nearly impossible. First their calves start to cramp and then their knees start to get a bit woobly. Pretty soon, their weight wants to shift from one foot to the other but they can't because they're standing -perfectly- still. With a slow, deep breath, the young healer puffs out a foggy breath and begins to wiggle his nose a little as though there was a serious itch -because that's just how his luck runs- at that particular moment that needs scratched. Slow and even breaths escape his lips and without him knowing it the begining phrases of the 'Healer Song' can be heard in his humming. The tune, probably known to every healer and almost definitely known to every mother, is a soothing, yet haunting melody. His eyes drift closed for a moment and he continues to hum.


Niyati doesn't have to be told- or pulled- twice and that chatter she'd kept up earlier is a distant memory. She grabs the mallet and nods in Arlemond's direction before glancing in the direction of the other pair. She takes a second to resettle her scarf against her face, the picture of calm as she waits. Nevik is glanced at again and she gives him a thumbs-up as encouragement. See? It's just a little adventure.

Kultir remains crouched despite the cold chill that threads up his spine that has nothing to do with the chill temperatures surrounding them. "Keep still, Nevik. I'm not an expert at this but if we don't move, nothing else will crack." The young tracker's voice is soft and calm though his heart hammers in his chest, wondering if the Healer will be able to stay still. "Hadn't planned on it, sir." His voice drifts back to the entrance where the Stonesmith works though he doesn't say that he's feeling like he's staring down a feline's gullet right now. The sound of Nevik's humming penetrates his hearing causing him to glance up at the youth, hoping that the boy can calm himself without making himself sway to the tune. His own calves cramp along with his toes going numb since the bunched leather and fur behind his knees cut off circulation.

Arlemond takes the mallet from Niyati and sets the spike to the ice. He grimaces, having foregone a key safety measure, not touching metal with naked skin in below freezing temperatures. With teeth ground hard together he drives the spike deep with the surety of a mason's long practice, hissing as the spike bites into the ice and skin frozen to the metal tears free, blood spilling before he balls the injured hand into a fist. Brow furrowed and jaw bunching against the pain, he directs a clipped, heads up to the tracker, "Kultir, rope coming!" To Niyati, intent and low, "Throw the rope to Kultir."

Toes attempt to grip through the leather soles to find purchase upon the ice-covered rock of the cave. Nevik forces himself to relax and, at first, the humming was helping. As the seriousness of his situation starts to set in and the feelings of dread and panic start to build, the melody becomes more forced. His heart begins to pound through his chest, his breath comes in short, labored burst and the humming sharpens to a muffled yell of blats and hrumms as the various notes are splatted out from the boy. His eyes now tightly closed to block out all that might be happening around him, Nevik's light starts to lower - his arm can't stay held up at that angle for too much longer. As the light dips - the ground around him should become more visible now with the combination of two lanterns.

Niyati already has a strip of cloth ready- See? Weavers really are good for something on expeditions like this!- and tosses it toward Arlemond as she readies the rope. Two practice swings are taken bfore she tosses the rope in an arc heading for the pair. "Runnershoes," she whispers, though the half grin she gives looks more like the effort of willing the rope to land in the right spot than self satisfaction. "C'mon, c'mon…"

Kultir sighs softly at the cramping and numbing going on in his lower limbs and wonders if he's going to be able to move, much less walk when the Stonesmith finally calls that a rope is coming his way. Shifting his weight very carefully, as if he was perched on a treelimb in a high wind, the young hunter peers over his shoulder to watch as the young woman throws the rope toward him. The young man suppresses that instinctive snatch as the rope comes close to him and allows it to slap down onto the ice beside him. "Got it! Gonna stand up, feet are numb." Reaching out carefully for the rope, the hunter draws it toward him before pushing himself upward slowly as he hooks the lantern back onto his belt. He listens hard for any more crunching or cracking and though he hears a little it's not the sharp sound of something giving way. "Okay, easy Nevik. I'm going to flip this rope so that it goes around your waist, lift your arms but do it slowly and don't move anything else." Giving the tail of the rope a swing in a wide arch, the tracker manages to get it around the youth and catches the loose end in his free hand. Heaving a slow, steadying sigh, he knots it carefully around the Healer's waist before making another loop similar to some of his snares to slip over his head and down around his waist. "Okay … we're roped up. Heading your way."

Arlemond catches the cloth with a nod of thanks and a notch up of his assessment of the girl from the last few moments, "Go for help," he directs, nodding as she hurries out towards the exit. He winds the cloth around his hand and while Kultir is tying the end to Nevik, he tugs his gloves back on, onto the injured hand first. Once gloved, the sturdy smith leans down to take the rope in hand and sets his stance, digging spikes on his boots into the the ice driving weight down and twisting. "All right. I've got you. Come on back, easy does it."

At the instruction of the stonesmith, Nevik tries to take a step. Yup. Just a single step. He want to move off of whatever was crunching under his foot. With one foot pulled off of whatever it was but not yet set down, he has shifted his weight from one side of his body to the other. Waiting only a moment to let Kultir take a step or two himself out of danger, he tries to plant his foot on the ground and move away from the crack. As soon as his leather-booted foot touches the ground the crack he was on jumps to him with the speed of a striking tunnel snake. The young man's eyes flash open and he looks at Kultir, "Do you trust me?" he asks with an oddly serious tone to his voice.

Slow and steady has always gotten Kultir out of any other difficulty he's been in but then he's not been on ice in a dangerous situation before. Moving carefully back toward the Stonesmith, he keeps a short distance away from the young Healer so that not too much weight is put onto the weakened ice. "On our way." He calls back toward the entrance though his eyes remain on the path before him, the cracks from behind them threading alongside him as well. Sweat beads on his forehead though he continues his slow steady progress. That serious tone and the question makes the young hunter to blink questioningly at the younger man. "Yeah, I guess?" What kind of a question is that to ask right now?

Arlemond keeps a steady pressure on the rope, hauling the boys in as the work slowly along. He can't quite make out what Nevik says, but peers towards the two, rolling his uninjured hand more firmly in the rope. Oh boy. He grits his teeth and takes a deep breath in and out, steam pluming away. The melody Nevik had hummed has wormed its way into Arlemond's mind and he finds himself singing it, low, quiet.

Nevik continues to follow the pace of Kultir as they back out of their path and make their way to the entrance. As the hunter answers, the rusty-haired youth explains in a serious, if somewhat cold tone, "…I'm not going to let you get hurt - not for me." Each of his steps is carefully positioned. There isn't the usual slipping over nothing or hesitant step. The healer might be attempting to gain some sense of confidence - over coming his natural clumsiness. Perhaps it's this potential hazard that's spurred him into action as it were. However, this is Nevik - the walking catastrophe and even when he tries to do his best things don't always work out. Few times in his recent life has he ever tried -not- to have such bad luck and each time has been either very successful or very…well, bad. Half of the Weyr knows the story of him, a barrel of numbweed and a dragon and a ladder. The crack continues to follow him. Each step is echoed by the crackle-crunch of splitting ice under foot. The sheet of ice they are on seems to be determined to simply fracture.

Kultir glares at the young Healer when that cold toned comment is made and shakes his head slightly. "You do something stupid … like untie that rope or try to cut it loose … and I'll have to thump some sense into you. Just keep walking. I've been in worse situations and got out with nary a scratch." He keeps his voice low as he turns his gaze back to the fracturing ice sheet and hopes that it's just ice over stone and not a drop into a crevasse or ice-slush ravine. Glancing up, he sees that the slow pace has brought them about halfway back to the entry way. "Nearly there … and it doesn't look like it's fracturing quite as much as it was." He turns back to watch his feet and is relieved to see that there's fewer cracks following his greater weight this far from the initial crack.

"Less talk, more walk." It's sort of a motto of Arlemond's in any case. It has never meant more. Kultir and Nevik are making excruciatingly slow progress, but steady. The Stonesmith winds the rope, it coils painfully slowly at his feet. Less talk, more walk. Less talk, more walk. The lullaby replaced in his head as he murmurs a syllable with each step they take. And just like that, the split races under Nevik's feet, spidering towards Kultir, collapsing behind Nevik in a roar that echoes and shakes the room. Shards of ice arrow down making crunching sounds as they topple or stab into the cavern floor.

Before Nevik can even make a sound, the ground under his feet is simply gone. With a final lurch to try and jump free of the shattered ground he does nothing more than off-balance himself while in mid-fall. Arms flail, legs kick but oddly enough no sound escapes his lips. There was something close to a loud 'umff' of air that was heard a second after the crash of the floor but that was not him crying out. In actuality, it was the sound of him slamming against the edge of the drop-off. His body hangs suspended by the rope limpy - arms and legs splayed and his head lolled back.

The splitting sound that Kultir's been trying not to hear sounds a short distance behind him … right about where Nevik is. Turning, his amber eyes widen in horror as his hands tighten on the rope around his waist, watching as the floor disolves beneath Nevik and the youth falls into the widening hole. The tracker's strength, the cleats on his boots and the rope around his waist keep him from being yanked into that hole himself but now he's got to drag the deadweight of the young Healer out while keeping himself from sliding in as well. "I gotcha, Nevik!" He starts pulling the rope toward himself until finally the youth's body comes up over the lip of that hole. The spidering cracks beneath his feet send him moving once more, dragging the Healer along with him at the end of that rope since he doesn't dare pause to pick the kid up. Finally, after what seems an age, he finds himself at the entry and within the warm sphere of the brazier. Looking at the Stonesmith, he heaves a deep breath out in a huge plume and drops the rope. "Thanks for the rope. How in Faranth's name did the first party get that far without fracturing that sheet of ice?" Bending over, he leans his hands against his knees as his chest heaves for breath in reaction to the adrenaline pumping through his veins.

Arlemond's stomach drops with Nevik, a sick clench. Thundering blood is hard to differentiate from the roar of the ice breaking away. Hauling on the rope, Arlemond doesn't have breath or time to speak a warning. He plants his feet and pulls, lending whatever support he can give to Kultir. In the end, the collapse isn't that deep, just deep enough to swallow the lad and the tremor of shifting, breaking icicles free from above a danger itself. Once the two are back and safe, Arlemond slumps against the wall, hand over his face, looking at the inert form of Nevik. After a moment, collecting himself, he kneels beside the boy and checks his vitals, leans over to hear or feel his breath. "Just knocked out it seems. Good work catching him." He sits back on his haunches, calls from the help Niyati had gone for echoing ahead of them. He shakes his head at Kultir's question, "Might've warmed up since they came through?" As cold as it is, that seems unlikely. He settles Nevik as close to the brazier as possible and hunkers down reassemble his pack and store the samples.

Once Nevik is settled within that sphere of warmth, Kultir collapses as well and hands over the two samples he took from the first flag. Nodding his agreement, the young man scrubs a hand over his face shoving his goggles off his forehead where they had been forgotten. "Thanks … done some rock climbing before. Not on ice, of course, but it's all the same if you can keep from slipping. Might not have done as well if he'd been your size though." The tracker tries to inject a little humor into the aftermath to stave off the anger and fear he feels and tries to control. Looking at his hands, he shakes his head and sighs softly before tugging his gloves back on against the cold. "Rope burn … right through the fardling gloves." His tone is wry but there's a note that says he pretty much expected that as hard as he was holding onto that rope.

Arlemond nods along to Kultir's description of ice and rock climbing. "In some ways, ice seems easier." He eyes the small chasm, "And more difficult." He glances up the passage, help is getting closer. "Worked in mines back North," he offers, "Used to ropes and cramped spaces. Danger." He takes the samples from Kultir, stowing them along with the one that Niyati had gotten. "Tracker. I do believe you just called me fat," Arlemond's face is very serious, lit by the brazier's glow. He's interrupted by a stirring from Nevik, the boy is rousing.

Kultir nods at the older man and scrubs his gloved hands over his face once more as the help gets closer. "Yeah, I don't use ropes so much in my line of work unless it's as a snare or something to catch an animal. And my rocksnares I can usually free climb to but it's still a lot easier than working on ice. At the Stonesmith's serious expression and words, the tracker frowns for a moment trying to figure out how he'd managed to say the elder was fat and shakes his head as he chuckles. "Not fat, just more muscle than the kid has … he's a skinny rail, you and I aren't." Feeling himself getting back to normal in the way his mind is working, the young hunter gets to his feet and closes the vents on the brazier so that the coals will die faster. "Guess we better get packed up and ready to head out. He's gonna need the Healers, I need some numbweed … how about you?" He'd seen blood drops on the area around the stake but isn't sure who's it might be. "Though what we're going to do with that while it's hot, I have no idea. Leave it here for the next crew, you suppose?" He nods toward the brazier before glancing back to the older man.

Arlemond arcs a brow at the tracker, a joke you have to explain wasn't a good joke. He clears his throat and carries on, shouldering the pack while Kultir helps the healer to his feet. The spike that affixes the brazier to the ice also, when flipped, doubles as skids and it can be pulled along. Melting the ice as it goes, of course. Perhaps it was one of these left untended or not in the right spot that lead to today's accident. Arlemond, with some effort, sets the skid and is prepared to head out when the other crew arrives. Checked out and declared fit, the three explorer remaining in the cavern head towards warmth and safety and numbweed and blessed, blessed sleep.

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