R'zel, Novi, Alyna


An empty boat is never a good sign, Ocelot investigates in the midst of a spring storm.


It is afternoon of the twenty-fifth day of the eleventh month of the fifteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Beach, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 01 Jan 2019 05:00



"Any signs of life?"



An eerie mirror, the glass-quiet Sea of Azov: the clear waters stretch along the dark-pebbled shores, and along this narrow beach. Here the faintest lap of waves belies the calm beyond; here the rocks have been ground down into finest, softest sand - those observant would mark upon the similarity between it and the sands of the hatching grounds. The soft sand soaks up summer sunlight as a sponge; painfully hot during the warmer months, it is only truly pleasant at wintertime. Rocks rise to east and west, lichen-limned and green against the abyssal darkness of stone.

It is the fifty-fifth day of Spring and 101 degrees. A passing storm thunders overhead. Lightning flashes and thunder booms.

It's spring in Southern, which means the midday temperature's way too hot despite the storm overhead. The thunder and lightning have kept a lot of people away from the beach, or on the ground rather than in the air, but there are still a scattering of people and dragons along the water's edge, and a few dolphins can be seen close to the shore. A bronze dragon and his rider emerge from Between some way out to sea, and start to descend, flying along the shore. Rather than turning towards the beach, though, they curve in the other direction and descend in slow circles.

Among the dolphins is a new face to the area. Novi's busy finishing up the removal of bloodfish from the younger dolphins in the Southern pod. The dragon overhead gains her attention, and she'll sheathe her knife before striking off for the beach proper. A few dolphins squee their gratitude for having the parasites removed, and the girl grins to herself. She doesn't mind the rain, but the flashes of lightning do worry her just a little. She's thankful to be out of the water.

A few beats after the bronze appears a chartreuse green can be seen winging over from the direction of the cove. Haquith and Alyna are at the tail end of their morning sweeps, following the shoreline and keeping watch on both land and sea. Narrowing her eyes, she spots the familiar bronze of her wingleader and just as she was going to have her lifemate transmit a greeting, lightning illuminates something out of the corner of her eye and she directs the green to look out to sea as well, altering their course to glide lower for a better look.

Verokanth bugles a greeting to his wingmate, and R'zel turns to see who it is. It takes him only a second to recognise Haquith. He points in the direction he was previously looking. « Mine greets yours and wonders if either of you can see something in the water. Something white. » The sea's quite choppy this far out, making anything floating difficult to see, but Verokanth adds, « He doesn't think it's a wave. »

The tone of the squees have slowly been shifting from gratitude to the 'alert' that Novi's come to recognize means possibly someone in danger. She heaves a sigh as she turns to find a dolphin practically nose to nose with her, "Alright, let's go," she says as she cups the dorsal with her hand and allows herself to be dragged along the dolphin's side as he speeds off. She'll have to fill out a report on this of course, and she'll also have to listen to a lecture about doing search and rescue without the appropriate supervision. However, there just isn't time to call for any help. Maybe she'll have an early promotion? Nah, that's not likely to happen, but Novi can hope.

Haquith returns Verokanth's call with a trill of her own and Alyna catches R'zel pointing in the direction she thought she saw something. « Mine's seen it. We're going to drop down for a better look. » And then does just that, staying high enough that any waves that are kicked up from the incoming storm can't reach her, but she flaps nearly translusent wings to battle the wind kicked up this low. Alyna has to shield her eyes, but she finally gets a good look and sees that it is not a wave at all, but an empty skiff, the type three or four people might take out for an afternoon of fishing. Haquith relays the image back to the Wingleader's bronze before Alyna instructs her to rise a bit and start a widening circuit around the boat, looking for whoever might have been in it.

R'zel and Verokanth keep a little higher than Alyna and Haquith, but they've soon spotted the boat too. Verokanth passes on his rider's thoughts. « Mine says that didn't get there on its own. Can you see anyone? » The bronze widens his call. « Any Ocelots near the Weyr and ready to fly? » He circles round to come alongside Alyna. When he's in shouting range, R'zel calls, "We could do with some more eyes. And that looks like dolphins over there - can you call them in?" The pair veer away and start to circle more widely.

Novi has spotted the skiff, and then looks up to see how close the dragon, no, dragons are to the boat. If she shouts can they hear her? Novi tries regardless, "Any signs of life?" she shouts upward. With this storm, it's anyone's guess as to whether she's heard or not still the attempt has been made. Then to the pod she instructs, "Look for survivors. I'm going to board the skiff," she releases the dolphin's dorsal fin as she speaks, and makes her way towards the boat. Maybe she can find some indication as to how many they may be looking for?

The stormy winds carry Alyna's curses away as Haquith relays R'zel's words passed through his bronze. She had half hoped that it had just slipped it's tether, but she can see the line coiled neatly in the bottom of the boat, « No, we can't see anyone, but mind thinks you are right.» Alyna watches as her wingleader gets closer, keeping Haquith steady as she squints in his direction when he shouts at her, the looks back at Novi and the dolphins and gives the hand signal that indicates she's understood. Circling further down, Alyna manages to catch the dolphineer's words and calls back, cupping her hands around her mouth to amplify it, "Not yet, we're going to call in more help." The skiff looks mostly empty, except a couple of buckets with one or two fish, and a couple rods as well.

A couple of Ocelot blues arrive, then a green. Verokanth tells them, « We're looking for the crew, » and at R'zel's direction tells them where to go. A brown soon joins them, then another green, until the search is spreading wider, dragons flying to and fro without overlapping. Search and rescue is Ocelot's specialty: they've practised this.

Having looked around, Novi decides she's going back in the drink. A few deep breaths, and the girl dives over the side of the skiff. Hand cupping a dolphin fin almost as soon as she's slipped out of sight. The pair dive beneath the waves, and Novi spots something. Is that one of the crew? She nudges to get the dolpin swimming in the direction she's wanting to go. The girl's never done this on her own, but she's drilled for such a rescue many times. She'd like to think that the process of getting the person secured between her and the dolphin she's working with was done with ease. Alas, that isn't the case. It takes her a couple of tries to pin the man between her and the dolphin, then they're rocketing up towards the surface. How long has he been underwater? She'll find out soon enough as they break the surface, and move towards the skiff. This would be so much easier if there was someone already there to help, "Found one!" she calls upwards even as she works to get him back aboard the skiff.

When she sees Novi struggling tot he surface with someone, Alyna looks around a bit and then curses briefly before she sheds her riding leathers and boots in record time, leaving her in her smallclothes, and pushes the bulk into a sack attached to the green's harness before retrieving the first aid kit all Ocelots carry with them at all times. Once she's free of the straps, she indicates her lifemate should go as low as she can, and the greenrider slips off the chartreuse neck and falls over a dragonlength into the water. Someone needs to help the dolphineer. Haquith rises again to continue the search as the petite blonde makes her way to the skiff to pull herself up over the edge with a huff, "Is he breathing?" she asks as she kneels on the boards next to him, wobbling as a stray wave sends the skiff tilting almost vertically before it rights itself.

More Ocelots arrive and join the search. The woman that R'zel spots is quite some way from the boat, but at least she's still got her head above water, unlike her crewmate. She's treading water wearily, but when Verokanth drops towards her, with R'zel waving frantically to attract the attention of the dolphins, she shouts up, between gasping breaths, "Find my baby!" Verokanth passes it on to all the dragons. « One of the missing is a baby! » Verokanth's standard equipment includes a length of rope, and R'zel starts to untie it and knot a loop into the end as he calls back, 'You, the baby - how many others?' The woman's beyond shouting further, but holds up one finger.

"I don't think so," Novi says as she shoves the man upwards. Even as she works to get him to safety, he coughs and vomits water. Well that's good, right? Dolphins dive in an ever widening circle from the skiff. Surface. Dive. Surface. Dive. And once the man is secure aboard the skiff Novi joins the pod. She'll continue with the young male dolphin in search of more survivors.
The housekeeper arrives to cart Talya off to bed.

There are so many things happening at once, that Alyna is working hard to focus on the task at hand, the man who doesn't seem to be breathing. She starts going through the list of things the healers told them to do in case of finding someone unresponsive. Which is a little difficult to do when the surface they are laying on is rising and falling with increasingly alarming ferocity. It might be a good thing that she doesn't quite register that there's a baby missing out there somewhere. Haquith is working methodically amoung her wingmates to search every inch of roiling ocean as her keen eyes scan thoroughly. « Mine can't find a pulse on the man, but she can't try resucitation in the boat either. » the green relays informatively to the wingleader's bronze. Alyna is eyeing the rope coiled up in the skiff and quickly decides to see if she can't flag down a dolphin or two to pull them to safety.

R'zel hasn't succeeded in attracting a dolphin, but Verokanth glides low in the water and backwings as R'zel tosses the woman the loop of rope. She's quick to see what is meant and soon has it over her armpits. Rather than lifting her out of the water, the bronze begins a slow tow to shore, but R'zel has him calling out the rest of the wing as they fly. The wingleader's expression is grave, though: a baby's chances of survival in the water can't be good, and the man Alyna has retrieved may be beyond help. Verokanth comments to Haquith and Theibeth, « Mine is wondering how they all ended up in the water when the boat is fine. »

When Alyna can't attract a dolphin, she sends a mental call to her green, who drops low. With a silent plea to Faranth, she tosses the coiled rope as far and high as she can, and being rather agile herself, the green zips down to grab the end in her talons and begins to pull the skiff towards the shore. She's not sure what it was, maybe her ears are fine tuned to the cry of an infant thanks to her own relatively new offspring, but as she's being pulled to shore, the greenrider is sure that she's heard a baby cry and leans over the railing to look around. « Verokanth did say there was still a baby missing. » Haquith relays as her wings work overtime against the wind to get the small craft towards the sandy shore. Shielding her eyes, the greenrider sees something in the direction she hears the faint cries from, and without missing a beat, she dives over the side and disapears under the darkly churned waters.

R'zel's rescuee won't have had the most comfortable journey to shore, but once she's there and Verokanth has landed beside her, she's quick to relate her story to R'zel. It's a mix of accident and stupidity: a boat borrowed by those with little expertise, a baby that crawled overboard while the parents weren't watching it, a father who jumped in to the rescue despite being the poorer swimmer of the pair and then couldn't reach the child. When mother followed suit, she was caught in a current and swept away; neither could get back to the boat. R'zel leaves her there: the story's given him more idea of where the missing child is likely to be, and he redirects a few of the dragons in that direction.

Fighting against the waves, Alyna's starting to wonder if she'd done the wrong thing. Back on the shore, Haquith pulls the boat well onto the sand, making sure it's secured before she takes off back over the water. Her roundly expressive eyes are whirling a worried orange now as she fights the winds to reach her rider. Alyna can hardly see anything with the spray being kicked up by the storm coming in, but she hears it again, a gurgling cry, and it's close. Treading water, she turns in all directions until she can just see it, a flash of light fabric and she's diving in it's direction. A babe of just under a turn is frantically kicking to keep it's head above water, a flotation device tied improperly around it so that it keeps tipping forwards into the water. Cursing the ignorance of whoever did this, she gathers the babe in her arms and calls to her green. « Mine's got the child! » Dropping closer to the waves, Haquith reaches her talon in her lifemate's direction, but a huge swell pulls them under and forces the green to rise, the wind buffeting and pushing her away as she lets out a shrill cry.

« Excellent! » Verokanth's response is quick. « What about the man? » The bronze veers in Haquith's direction, passing commands to the other direction that confirm that the missing have all been located. Dragons turn towards the shore. It's only as he comes closer to Haquith that R'zel realises something may be amiss, amid the deteriorating sea conditions. Frowning, he passes another message to his bronze, this one for Haquith. « Does yours need help? »

« The man's in the boat. » Is Haquith's curt reply to the bronze as she fights against the winds to push herself closer to the spot her greenrider went under, but she's not gaining any ground against the onslaught of wind. Finally, after several nerve-wrenching moments, Alyna surfaces with the child still in her arms, but it is eerily quiet. Treading water, the greenrider tries to swin towards shore one handed as she reaches out to her green with a plea. « There! They are there! But I can't get to them! Please Verokanth! » She's not the kind of green to get frantic at the worst of times, but there is a strong sense on anxiety in her tone, and she continues to fight towards her bonded.

R'zel gathers up his rope again as Verokanth flies low and slow. « Stay clear. Tell her mine will throw a rope and we will lift her. » It's accompanied by an image of Alyna with the rope around her, holding onto the child. The bronze is hardly making forward progress at all when the rope is thrown, aimed ahead of Alyna to give her the best chance to catch it. If Haquith is listening to the rest of the wing, she'll hear Keitrill's Theibeth directing one of the other dragons, who has just arrived bearing a healer, towards the boat.

Veteran of over a dozen Turns, Haquith knows when to keep her head about her. Besides, she is reaching Alyna along their mindlink, and the steady steeam of mental cursing is all the reassurance the green needs. Veering off to the side to clear the way for Verokanth, Haquith doesn't let herself go too far, relaying any instructions she receives as well as replies back from Wingsecond to Wingleader. « She understands. » When the rope lands ahead of her, Alyna is ready and, with practiced moves, grabs and wraps the rope around the both of them and gives it a tug as a signal once they are secured. She's trying not to think about how cold the limp little body is in her arms, but she just knows she can feel a heartbeat, although her own is hammering away in her chest.

« Tell her we're going to lift you now, » Verokanth tells Haquith, and a few seconds later, the bronze climbs, lifting greenrider and baby clear of the water. It's a brutally quick flight to shore, but that child needs attention quickly. He hovers to deposit them gently on the beach, where by now the healer is shaking her head sadly over the man in the boat. R'zel shouts to her, "Journeyman! We have a baby here!" then pulls he quick-release knot on the rope, so that Verokanth can land with no risk to Alyna.

Alyna holds on for dear life as they are are swiftly taken towards the beach, using her body to curl around the babe's and protect it from the elements as best she can. Haquith follows closely behind the bronze, ready to help if there is need. But then Alyna can feel the solidness of the beach beneath her and she sinks into the sand with the child in her arms, laying it down in the sands before she lowers her head to its chest and listens intently. There! She thinks she heard it. Wasting no time, the greenrider starts compressions to the child's chest even though her fatigued arms feel like jelly. When the healer makes her way over, she takes over and sharply order Alyna back. Relief washes over the greenrider as she gets up only to stumble backwards.

R'zel jumps down from Verokanth, and trots over to Alyna. "Are you all right? I thought we'd better get you both on shore as soon as possible." At this point the distraught mother arrives, and watches, wringing her hands, until the journeyman places a breathing baby in her arms. But she has sad news to break about the child's father, and suggests that it was probably too late even when Novi pulled him from the water. Two out of three safe isn't a bad result, under the circumstances, but Ocelot's more subdued than usual as they return to the Weyr.

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