Who

Hannah, Tuli, Veresch, Q'fex, Xh'zil, L'ri

What

An expedition turns sour, unexpected 'fall arrives and the sky rent asunder by dragons

When

It is the eighty-fifth day of Winter and 37 degrees.

Where

Watering Hole Clearing, Sky Above, Nearby Beaches, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Watering Hole Clearing

Sky-brushed trees give way well before the swamp's edges to tall reeds and watergrasses, a damp and hummocked stretch of land which surrounds an ancient causeway. The crumbling structure extends, stony and washed smooth and slick, and at its middle has collapsed to allow the water's natural flow over its top in something akin to a safe ford. The region's native creatures favor this place; clean, filtered fresh water slides beneath the scummed, motionless green surface.

Paving stones, from unremembered times and now covered with the growth and debris of many centuries, poke through a trodden path from one side of the clearing, across the causeway until it disappears into a roughly rectangular shelter of tumbled, vine-covered stone.


Timor: 1_m5.jpg Belior: 1_m5.jpg

A terrible idea is under way. But wait - first! THE BACKSTORY. It's morning on the Southern Continent, and about an hour ago a pair of Igenites popped out of Between carrying an old map from some post-Comet period, indicating that the Farmcraft had, for some time after the disaster, maintained an old research station in the area of the (former) Southern Weyr. Curious at what she might find there, Jr. Weyrwoman Tuli came to speak with her Southern counterpart, Hannah, with her assistant Veresch tagging along. A fated conversation followed. An agreement brokered: hey, we're going to just scout the area from the air, see if we can find anything - we won't actually touch down, it'll be totally safe! And then, less than a minute ago, from Tuli's terrible mouth: oh, look, those stones do NOT look natural, c'mon, it's a clearing, what harm could possibly befell us in a clearing? LET'S LOOK. And now: Elicheritath landing alongside a topsyturvy moldering pile, disturbing the jungle greenery, well before Hannah or Veresch would have any chance to object. Way to be, Tuli.

Veresch has been a silent partner in The Thing - that's what she calls it in her mind - since the flight to Southern. Hanging around weyrwomen tend to do that, if only because you can't believe how gosh-darn-it big golden dragon necks can be. Being of an adventurous mindset herself, however, how could she fault Tuli's decision to touch down? Then, "Is that a swamp? It's totally a swamp. Felines don't live in swamps, I think." Totally Safe! She leeeaaans to one side in the straps, eyeing the considerable distance down to the ground. "Those stones are a little too rectangular — I think we're onto something here, Tuli." Her eyes flick to Hannah, poor (pregnant?) along-for-the-wild-ride Hannah, and down to the stones again. "Explore?" she asks brightly. "Shall we?"

"Tu— " Hannah's protest is smothered by the landing as the junior weyrwoman, atop the foreign gold's back, grips the straps and waits for the landing to finish before finishing her protest, "— li. Tuli. You promised that we would only look." Does Hannah look a touch nervous? Yes, she does. Not only that, but given that she's approaching the middle of her fifth month of pregnancy, the goldrider is rather awkwardly strapped in given that the swell of her lower abdomen has ballooned out. It's all that food, Hannah. "Are you sure you saw something? I don't think there's anything here…" But the longing carries in husky tones as the junior really is dying to be off that dragon and searching the ruins. "Th'seus and Lendai will kill me if they find out." And then there's Veresch suggesting they explore. Yes! No! Yes! No! Hannah is in choice paralysis, and fidgets. Or maybe it's not the choice that makes her fidget. "This baby is making me need to pee." And with that, the tiny goldrider is shimmying down Elicheritath's side with ease. Surely, the long-distant-extreme-great-granddaughter of her air barge Dhiammarath will lend her an elevator foot. "Oh Faranth. GOTTAPEEGOTTAPEEGOTTAPEEGOTTAPEEE."

"Well, yeah," Tuli looks guilty, as well she might, PROMISE BREAKER, "but we wouldn't be able to tell for sure from the air, right? And you'll be just fine - Elicheritath is right here, and she moves like a tunnelsnake when she wants to, and -" Oh, right. Hannah is a pregnant lady. Pregnant ladies are always having to PEE. "And we'll just look QUICK, while you get your bladder emptied!" Promises, promises, Tuli. Elicheritath does indeed offer up a foot for her great-times-x-grandmother's lifemate, after considerately crouching to reduce the distance to the ground. While Hannah is descending, Tuli hastily undoes her own straps, and shimmies down after, gesturing for Veresch to follow. Once on the ground, she's immediately making for the stones - and letting out a yelp of satisfaction. "Redwort!" She points, accusingly, at a patch of plants poking up amongst the cracks. "Not native to this part of Southern!"

"I am," Veresch notes solemnly as she watches the departing Hannah, "never falling pregnant. Ever." Less of a prediction, more of a solemn promise to herself, because Tiny over there seriously looks headed for a total peegasm. "What they don't know won't hurt them!" With that called after Hannah, she waits until Tuli hops off before dismounting, landing with a bowlegged stumble before hopping up straight with enviable ease. A few more hops - ludicrous energy levels - and she lifts her face to the sky before her attention is called back to the ground. "They're not?" Kneeling down, she digs in the bag slung over her shoulder and pulls out a series of smaller ones, handing it to Tuli. Evidence bags, yo. Her foot scrapes at a not-too-distant flagstone, trying to clean it to check the diameter. And oh… "Hey, look, is that pondscum over there?" The ex-Farmer should know, right?
Hannah gives Tuli the 'whocaresaboutredwartwhenyougottaPEE' face and makes for some bushes. It is good that she's given to wearing empire waisted dresses, because they are easier to lift and go. The dress itself sits on top of a developing mid-section, colored in a lovely aqua with an emerald sash that ties just beneath her breasts. The bushes rattle and rustle and shake and move as the junior weyrwoman lifts her dress and does her business. There is definitely some not-so-subtle sounds of utter relief going on behind them bushes. OHFARANTHITFEELSOGOOD. "You better look quick," the bushes admonish, "Because if Lendai transfers me or Th'seus kills me, you'll be the one explaining!" That statement is leveled for both Tuli and her assistant. Finally, the bushes start to writhe and shake again as the woman pushes out of them, shaking out the skirt of her dress that falls just beneath the knee. Impractical footwear — Tuli promised an aerial survey only — happens to be thin-soled aqua strappy shoes.

"Lendai and Th'seus can't expect you not to take pee breaks, and this is as safe a place as any," argues Tuli, though she is much distracted by the botanist orgy that is the foliage of the little meadow. Veresch can gather up stones: Tuli is putting plant cuttings in her little sack, (it turns out she has a pair of scissors in her flight jacket, AND thin gardening gloves), moving from plant to plant with every sign of enjoyment. And then, another cry of delight, as she lets her long legs bear her over the topsy turvy stones. "Some kind of… tool, maybe? This has gotta be the place, there's probably plants here that are extinct up in the North…" Something rusty is half poking out from along the stone edge. "Hannah, I'll be just ONE SECOND - Veresch, if you want to just quick gather up a few specimens of the stonework here…"

Veresch shoots emerging Hannah a rueful look of apology, but bounds after her boss with every evidence of enthusiasm. "Tools? D'you think it can tell you about techniques they used?" Gathering up pebbles with a mad frenzy, she tucks a full pack in her pockets and happily scoots to examine the rusty wonder. "Here, wait, I have a small knife, you're going to cut your gloves on that…" She produces a tiny knife, thinner through the blade than the shears, and holds it out grip first as she scoots pebbles closer with one reassuringly booted foot. "I wonder why they left. Weyrwoman Hannah, can you think of any reasons why? Well, besides the heat and humidity. Or would the hillfolk know perhaps?"

"They left because the comet destroyed all of this," Hannah comments, wandering a bit from the other two as they do Farmcraft things. "And they never came back because they fled to the new Southern Weyr, which didn't prove to be any safer." Picking her way towards the edge of the ruins — and pauses to look down at a pretty little flower. That's all the way down there by her swollen ankles. Fuck that. So she continues a little further, rubbing her side where hip is. "Yeah, yeah. One second, one second, blah blah, Farmcraft stuff, but hey what's this?" Now the goldrider is muttering and with a quick sneak over her shoulder at the two farmer intrigued women, she steps into the cool shade of some trees. "Ooooooooh." Yep. She's found something. Like a fish, she's angling for something sparkle!

"Thanks, a knife's exactly what I need." Tuli gestures Veresch over to join her while she works to excavate the lump of metal, which proves to be some kind of… lump of metal. It's rusted and bent and broken, but it clearly was some kind of tool at some point, with the faint rotted remains of a handle just visible. This process takes a few minutes, giving Hannah ample time to wander away from the group and into the trees. The close-set, dragonproofed trees. And thus it is MAXIMUM TERRIBLE when Elicheritath, crouched silently by the pond, suddenly stands straight up and stares at the sky above. Her bugle of warning is bone-shaking, as, far up above, something terrible and familiar becomes visible - Thread!

Veresch leans closer to watch the excavation, scrawny form leaning closer to the taller one. "Hey, maybe if you wiggle it in from that angle over there…" Just about to point and try to wiggle on the lump of metal, she's almost bowled over by the bugle, close at it is. Her glance snaps aside to Elicheritath, confused and half-deaf, before she too looks up and squints. It takes a moment for her to recognise Thread, but the silvery-grey wink of it makes her blanch. "Shit!" she curses out loud, dropping her things and turning to run. Tuli can take care of herself, she has Eli here. Hannah… oh dear. "Weyrwoman!" she yowls like a scalded feline as she sprints for the small, pregnant woman. "Weyrwoman! Come back here! Quickly!" Well. As quick as Hannah can move in a definitely-not-practical shoe pregnant walk.

< Southern Weyr > Dhiammarath senses that: Kraakenaeth is the rise of a behemoth from the deeps, a kraken that rises with tentacles and fury, and the riven force of an overwhelming being roused into intensity and saltbrined furor. « Thread falls, » comes the rumbled announcement, clipped and grim, « Thread falls over the coast, and Ours are vulnerable. Ocelot, we rise for Thread! » That last is directed to those of his own. The scramble of preparation has now begun: the envisioning for between follow swiftly.

< Southern Weyr > Dhiammarath senses that: Ice lashes, hail pelts and snow rides the furious waves of Kraakenaeth's rage against the mortal enemy. The iron mountains loom in the distance as the injustices of the world only firm the grounds of a hate that seethes for the silvery Threads that fall from the sky. For once, the teacup queen is in accord with the fishy beastly bronze. Soak it up, Kraakie. It will only last for as long as the memory holds. (Khalyssrielth)

Above, the silver threat of Thread has claimed the upper echelons of the sky — as have the collected force of Southern, popping into existence one wing at a time, a haphazard orderliness to the appearance of the wings. There is Ocelot, weyrleader's pride, first to rise with alacrity to the fight; there is Leopard, cunning and fierce, and Tiglon with the effortless energy of youth. A mishmash, not a single whole flight to be found — but there is Thread to be fought and the first flames lick at the eternal menace, ash starting to fall in whimsical sootfall, a rain of blackened malice crumbled to mere inconvenience.

And this is why we don't veer off our filed itineraries, kids. Things like this. WAY TO BREAK IT, TULI. The goldrider drops what she's doing (with a hiss of pain - her startled reaction to Elicheritath's warning bugle was to press the knife into her fingers for a half second and cut herself, what a maroon) and straightens. "THREAD! Faranth, Faranth, it wasn't supposed to Fall here today, I CHECKED!" Veresch is quicker on the uptake than her boss: it's only when Tuli has yodeled out a strained, "Veresch! Get BACK HERE, you FUCKING IDIOT!" that the woman realizes they're down a person. "HANNAH!" Meanwhile, Elicheritath is staring with red eyes up at the sky above, her wings already spread for take-off and evacuation. If, you know, her stupid-ass passengers would GET OVER HERE ALREADY.

Bad plans compact on more as Veresch makes her way into the treeline. There's a moment's frantic search through the wall of green before a sliver of airy blue is spotted and she nearly stumbles over Hannah. "Thread," she announces in bitten-off tones even if Tuli's yowls don't already cue her in. There's a bit of panic - does she manfully grunt and try to pick Hannah up, throw her over her shoulder, jitter fitfully at her side - before she settles down for stretching out a hand if the woman needs it, utters a terse "Can you kick those off, ma'am?" and turning to tramp down as much of the springy path's hazards as she can quickly. "Coming!" she shouts back at her boss. "We're coming! Shit, that ash is clo-oooose…"

It is good that Veresch doesn't try to throw Hannah over her shoulder, for where would she pick her up at? Her thickened waist? That wouldn't be good for the baby! "I'm coming, I'm coming!" She does take the hand, using Tuli's assistant as her leverage to haul herself up and out of the trees. Almost ready to flee into the open when she cries out, "WAIT. Wait," as a bit of Thread sails by before trundling forward as fast as she can towards Tuli and Elicheritath. "TULI, TULI, TULI. THIS IS NOT INCOGNITO!!" Okay, so a fearful Hannah is a Hannah that spouts random accusations. Now the time has come to cross the expanse of the clearing. The appearance of the wings overhead brings some measure of relief that Thread won't rain on their HEADS. This always happens in the movies, someone wanders off and causes chaos and death.

"FARANTH'S FUCKING TITS where are your PRIORITIES, WOMAN?" Tuli's screech is quite possibly loud enough they might hear it all the way up in the cavalry. Oh my Faranth how embarrassing, the tough independent goldriders needing rescue by the big strong regular riders :( The Igen rider is bounding over to her lifemate, half a foot already in her straps. Elicheritath is ready to go as soon as her stupid slow passengers GET here, a wary eye fixed on the sky above her. "C'mon c'mon C'MON, both of you!" This is the worst thing that could happen, surely.
Big strong regular rider at your service! Fortunately Xh'zil is, you know, on his dragon up in the sky. Or else he'd probably be saying things that would get him in trouble with goldriders. Like why are they putting themselves at risk! Clearly it's a cry for attention.

Last time when this happened, Veresch had a honking big flamethrower strapped to her back, and the full attention of Igen in the skies above her. This time there's Southern, a shouting Tuli, a pregnant Hannah and Thread falling RIGHT ON THEM. "Shards!" she whines out at that perilously close strand, and tugs on the hand to make the goldrider go faster. "Tuli, I thought you checked! I thought those charts were never wrong!" Finally out of the jungle growth, perhaps they can start making faster tracks now. Ash starts to fall as the wings start doing their work, and Veresch slows down a little, just a little, to allow Hannah the chance to approach the gold and get on first. On the way, like a 'snake, she darts to pick up her small knife. The cuttings can go to hell, really.

L'ri and Cignalusath are among the riders who pop into existance among Ocelot's lot. If those on the ground could see, he'd look like he hastily threw on his gear, and that wouldn't be a guess too far from accurate. Like with Xh'zil, there's probably assorted curses being muttered. But hey! THERE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THREAD TODAY.
It's an easy gig, isn't it? Normal thread even though THERE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THREAD TODAY. Kraaken even seems to relax in the face of it, as wings fill in — all except for Serval and the gold's wing, for some reason. Faranth only knows where they are. As a matter of fact, maybe he's craning his head under one wing to check the status of the lower flight when the most chaotic and unthinkable thing to possibly rue Southern's skies occurs.

Kraakenaeth receives a severe score on the neck!
Kraakenaeth receives a severe score on the wingtip!
Q'fex receives a deep score on the neck!

"PRIORITIES?! My priorities are — ow!" Hannah does the stupid thing and PAUSES in the mad dash to Elicheritath to kind of hop along as a cramp gets her down. At least it shuts her up, but ultimately she DOES make it to the gold's side. Struggling with the straps as frantic climbing with a different center of balance leads to quite a few false starts and slips, but finally, finally Southern's junior is on the back of a foreign dragon. She pats small hands on Elicheritath's neck muttering, "Faster, faster, oh Tuli we gotta go up now. NOW." Veresch is helped, but Hannah isn't the strongest woman on Pern so it's mostly a kind of hand-waving, cheerleading help. Can they go yet?! Thread flies from above, dragons flame and then — "Q'FEX!" Horror shows clear on Hannah's face.

Well. Crap. Elicheritath's alarmed bugle rings out again (poor Veresch - maybe she can get workman's comp from Tuli for the damage to her eardrums) as, eyes peeled on the skies above, she spots a certain bronze shape take a hit. The gold all but prances in place, desperately eager to be off the ground. Once all three of her passengers are there, she's up and beating the air with hasty wings.
Falling, falling, falling — Kraaken re-appears from ::between:: with a soundless wail of agony, all the lockers of the deeps rattling their chains in horrified pain. PAIN PAIN PAIN: it bursts white-hot and gushes as freely as the ichor that pours from the too-deep wound on his neck. His right wing is all but non-functioning with the catastrophe that has occured on the leading edge of his wingtip… and with that Kraakenaeth (and Q'fex) are falling, dropping out of the sky as a barnacled stone, saltstreaked and earthborne.

There's a mad scramble alright, as Veresch tries to assist Hannah from below - sorry for touching your butt there, Tiny - and scrambles up as easily as a madly dextrous monkey. ""I'm on!" she shouts to Tuli, yelling it at the top of her lungs to get over Elis bugle, even though she's only halfway into the straps and trying to make sure Hannah's secure. "I'm on, I'm on, go! Hannah!" No ma'am now, not with the girl trapped in adrenaline and mayhem and the intense desire for fire, "Can someone bring us flamethrowers?" Her eyes widen with horror at the scream of pain and the drumming of agony that bursts from Kraakenaeth, and her lips peel back into a snarl.

Mishonth is more concerned with the Weyrleader pair getting scored and falling than Xh'zil is, which might only be obvious in the shrieked, metallic bugle the bronze gives followed by a hesitance to break formation. Xh'zil's voice doesn't carry as well as Mishonth's so it's harder to hear him swearing at his dragon when the bronze does break formation to try assisting with the Weyrleader's precariously unhealthy descent. Sometimes you just have to take your rider for a ride, even if he'll be pissed off at you for it.

"FUCK. Ladies, HANG TIGHT." Sure, Tuli doesn't have her flamethrower with her. Sure, she DOES have a pregnant woman and a non-rider with her. But with Puma's absence, there's not a single gold in this patch of Southern sky, nothing big enough to easily catch a falling bronze. And Elicheritath is a meddler to her very core, and Tuli ballsy if nothing else can be said for her. And so, unarmed but determined, the gold darts Between - but not for the safety of a Weyr. She emerges a few dragonlengths shy of Kraakenaeth's plummeting form. With a shrieking screech of buzzing wings, the Spinner Queen dives to make the catch, awkwardly angled for it - after all, she has three fragile passengers on that strong back of hers - but with no time to adjust. Her urgent bugle to Mishonth, accompanied by an unfocused comment of « Catch his other wing! », cuts across the ash-filled air.

Q'fex lalalala blacked out, y'all have fun catching his fat ass. (Hi Hannah!!)

"FUCK!" That would be L'ri swearing, but there's Thread falling, and not every dragon can break formation to try and catch their falling Weyrleader (or else what would happen to the Thread still falling!?). That falls to other dragons. Like Elicheritath and Mishonth! Cignalusath flames, mentally and physically. L'ri glances down towards Q'fex again, slightly pale as the untouchable has been 'Scored. Hopefully the foreign gold and Mishonth can get the job done..

"I don't think so, we're not ready for Thread, we need to head back to the weyr," Hannah yells, lacing her fingers through the straps. But her eyes aren't trained on Elicheritath or Tuli or even Veresch, but the horror that's unfolding below. She hunches, curling over herself a little as Thread and ash hot wind flow around them. Regret makes for a sour stomach. Hopefully, she doesn't throw up on the dragon. The icy fingers of between are all that save Tuli and Veresch from that fate as when they re-emerge from ::Between:: the goldrider's got a firmer handle on things. "Faranth…" It is strange to be a rider on a dragon's back with her own so far from her. Dhiammarath's coiled presence on the sands is not an easy one, for without Sikorth, there is little choice.

That is exactly Xh'zil's point, L'ri! But since Mishonth is being a jerk (or helpful, depending on which way you look at it), his rider will make the best of the situation and try to get the job done. It's one thing he's good at. The bronze disappears, reappearing almost immediately at a slightly lower altitude than Kraakenaeth to put himself in a better position to slow the descent with the foreign gold's assistance.
Oh well, no time to head back to the Weyr now. Veresch mutters a curse that'd see her mother wash her mouth out, and tries to twine her limbs through the straps and around Hannah, leaning forward protectively to try and shield her. There's a soundless grimace coming in; there's still a soundless grimace coming out, trying desperately not to fall, not to panic, not to try and get away from the big bronze THING falling towards them at the speed of falling. Given the precarious position she's in and the very real desire not to distract Tuli with trifles, she shuts up tight. If there's going to be a vomit comet… well. It'll not be the first time she was within splashing range; besides, it's nothing against the fear of Hannah's footsies frosting off in those damn airy shoes.

Kraaken CRUNCHES as he makes impact: a wing there, his shoulder there, the tangled ichor of his force-broken wing snarling written lines of despair over Mishonth and Xh'zil. With a terrible sound of heavy brawn hitting flesh unforgivingly harsh, Elicheritath bears the brunt of the blow, Kraakenaeth's form heavy and dead-weight. The bronze has long since lost to unconsciousness, Q'fex slumped at his neck, bloodied. Maybe he drips, just a little, on Veresch and Hannah. It can't be raining blood, can it?

Kraakenaeth's comatose form is an anvil dropping from the sky, buffered unpredictably by the winds - and Elicheritath's wing is Wiley E. Coyote, because the bronze just hit her hard enough to make a sickening sound of snapping bone and tearing flesh. THAT'S gonna leave a mark. The gold's startled shriek is echoed by her rider's howl of echoed pain (and possibly a bit of LITERAL pain, for such an impact cannot leave the passengers altogether unscathed. But there is Mishonth, well timed in his positioning. "Hold ON sweetheart -" that's Tuli, pale-faced and intensely focused, and quite unaware now of her unfortunate passengers, hands clenched tight to her straps. "HEY!" Hi, Xh'zil! "TRY TO BANK US." The ground is getting REALLY horribly close :( "HER WING'S FUCKED UP." So, to recap: the Weyrleader's bronze is so badly hurt he just broke one of Igen's golds. This isn't going to be deeply embarrassing for anyone, no…

Q'fex dies. (Not really, don't anyone break out in dance or anything.)

L'ri puts his cowboy hat back away. :(

No linedancing for L'ri.

Arianne will just make you take everything BUT it off… slowly. M'gic Miketh style.

But who will Br'er have shameless public makeouts with now? :(

Someone not as scandalous, surely. But possibly more well-adjusted overall?

BORING.

A startled scream occurs at the same time the sound of snapping bone and dripping blood rains all over Hannah and Veresch. Blond hair is turned green as ichor traces down pale cheeks and the junior weyrwoman of Southern trembles in her straps. "Tuli," a rough whisper driven through husky-used vocal cords, "The ground." She's pointing to the rising ground with an inherent and deep fear, "Tuli. The ground. It's coming. The ground is coming fast. The ground. It's there." Words bubble forth, but they're halted in their stream as her eyes alight on Kraakenaeth and Q'fex, her vision obscured by Veresch's protective cover. "Q'fex… Q'…fex…" So much sadness there, and on the back of someone else's dragon, powerless to even help, there is little shame in the tears that course down rounded cheeks. Somewhere, in the weyr itself, Sikorth is getting ORDERED to Southern's sands. There's a behemoth coming.

Mishonth isn't so distracted by Kraakenaeth's impact that the gold's pain doesn't affect him. But there's only the brief, warm touch of his mind before Xh'zil forces his attention back on the bronze at hand. "IF YOU'RE GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOURSELF, YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE OUT EVERYONE AROUND YOU IN THE PROCESS," yells Xh'zil at Q'fex whether he can hear him or not. He's yelling more for his own benefit, after all. "WE GOT THIS. HE CAN HIT IF WE SLOW HIM DOWN ENOUGH." Seriously. Xh'zil is okay with it.

Awww, Xhaz. Q'fex loves you too.

Xh'zil has a heart! It beats! 10x too small, it's like a teeny nugget one.

Q'fex didn't need to know that Xh'zil has a … teeny … one.

Veresch will have no eardrums when this day is over. Funnily enough, she doesn't really notice the crack of the wing. She heard it, but it's totally overshadowed by the sound of a hefty bronze thudding into the spinner queen. Reacting without thinking, she stands in the straps, curving her unsecured upper body totally over Hannah's back to spare her the impact if Kraakenaeth's flopping head should impact them. The blood and ichor flow down over her, and there's a short, sharp grunt muffled against Hannah's green hair as somewhere, something pulls with the impact — a collarbone, likely, given how the arm on that side suddenly turns wobbly as the wind of their descent snags her up and back, right at the best angle to look at Q'fex's scored neck. "Oh…" she gets out lightly, wispily, trapped in a horridly real living nightmare. This must be what goldflights are like. Without all the sexy, and with passengers.

"Honey, let him take part of the weight, bank your wing up - FOCUS. Focus!" Tuli is braced on her straps like a jockey on a perilously positioned runner, every ounce of her energy on the bronzes (one comatose, one HELPFUL) and the wind currents, and the rapidly approaching GROUND. With a herculean effort, the muscles straining in her good wing, a dull roar of agony as she places weight on her damaged wing, Elicheritath works to slow their descent into a gradual coast over the treetops. The old Southern Weyr was coastal, and the ocean - with its FLAT BEACHES, devoid of POINTY BRANCHES - glimmers promisingly ahead. "HEY!" Another shout across Kraaken's lump at Xh'zil, Tuli's NEW BEST FRIEND (until she actually gets a chance to talk to him in a non-crisis situation, then she'll probably try to castrate him). "BEACH. SOFT LANDING." Sorry, Hannah, Tuli just stole your CAPTAIN OBVIOUS hat. A bit of ichor gets in her mouth. She spits it out. (It probably flies back onto Hannah and Veresch, the unluckiest passengers in the history of ever.)

Of course, it's about then that the trauma wears thin and the demands of the living rouse Kraakenaeth — enough to weakly thrash against the dragons that are helping him in vain effort to loft himself back into the air. His rider is still silent, and his mind is panicked, but he's there — which has to count for something, right? In all of his unfortunate scrambling he's probably offered even MORE collateral damage to those who are so graciously assisting him in the form of raking claws in his haste to GET AWAY. The effort itself lightens the load so-to-speak, however, and makes it look for a perilous heartbeat that this whole ordeal may have a tenable solution by-way of the beach.

"FUCKING SHIT FUCK YOU FUCK YOU." That's Tuli, over Elicheritath's miserable roar. She sounds kind of tired, like she's becoming RESIGNED to the unending stream of misery befalling her, and resigned to having to plow through it. This has turned out to be a really bad day for her :( At least the beach is SO CLOSE.

Mishonth does what he can to bear the brunt of the weight for the injured gold's sake. But considering the weight is an unconscious lump of huge dragon, there's not really much he can do to change how Kraakenaeth ended up. And even though this isn't the position he's usually in, Mishonth has some experience with gliding the weight of another dragon. See, Xh'zil! Getting laid is good for saving people! The bronzerider has a hand wound tight around straps to help brace himself and he yells back, "AYE," because it's more obvious than nodding or whatever he might do in a less intense situation. If nothing else can be said about his willingness to help, Xhaz has stayed calm throughout. Look, a beach! Brace for impact!

Hannah gets ichor to the eye… this is not her day. Veresch's protective movement is noticed in a panicked, girly crying sort of way and she is grateful for the assistant's help, though she can't verbalize it. In fact, as the ground rushes up to meet them, Southern's junior weyrwoman has all she can do to close her eyes and mutter something to Faranth. Curling her arms about her middle, she drops her chin to her chest and waits to see what'll happen next. Death, surely. The ground is not a forgiving soul. "Please, please…"

All the fucks in the world isn't enough to explain how truly well the three explorers screwed the pooch; seeing the beach heading towards them is just another sign that any second now, Veresch is going to be crushed between one huge lump and another, and there's little she can do for it. Ducking the swiping claws as best she can, praying that Elicheritath will forgive her for more pain (really, a burp in a bucket next to what she's surely already got), the poor non-rider reaches forward as much as she may, yanking on the straps to give her enough solidity to form her body into a scrawny, firm arch over the woman she's protecting. At least this way, if there's falling and rolling and general miserable crunching, she'd suffer it and not Hannah. Then her eyes shut, she forgets all about flailing Kraakenaeth's claws, and braces for impact.

The beach! Ash-blown from the battle above (which, you know, is still HAPPENING, because it turns out Thread doesn't stop falling just because there's a crisis going on), it is otherwise… spectacularly beautiful, a glimmering surface of pristine white sand and brilliant water. Not that the trio of dragons coming in for a hard landing are in much of a position to appreciate that. Elicheritath keeps her head, despite the soul-searing agony she must surely be going through. She and her rider are pinpoints of focus as the ground comes barreling closer. "BRACE YOURSELVES." Like Hannah and Veresch needed to be told! With a bzzting swarm of wingbeats, the gold makes a last-ditch effort to slow their descent… just enough, as it turns out, for the impact to be merely awful for all three dragons, not bone-shattering. A claw splintered here, a wing wrenched further there, nothing bone-shattering. Uh. Further bone-shattering. The boat already sailed on certain bone breakage. Sand fills the air for a heartbeat. And then, coughing… Tuli sits painfully upright, turning around to examine her two ichor-stained, miserable passengers. "Are you two - fucking shit." This is the first time she's gotten a chance to really LOOK at Kraaken, and at what Kraaken has done to her dragon's wing. Tuli promptly loses her lunch down her dragon's side. But that's okay: now that she's on the ground, Elicheritath is giving a final croon of victory, and passing right the hell out.

< Southern Weyr > Dhiammarath senses that: Dhiammarath arrives, as always, fashionably late. But that doesn't mean her SCOLDING doesn't touch so far even as to hit those of the weyr who are close enough to hear Dhiammarath's voice, typically so composed, unstrung in the moment with anxiety and relief alike: « You are NEVER to see THOSE PEOPLE ever again. No. We aren't talking about this. We shall talk about it later, beloved. » That's right. Later losers. Try not to leak ichor all over her jasmine-fragranced sand, because her give-a-fuck is broken. Thou Shalt Not Fuck With Her Lifemate. And just like that, Dhiammarath is TAKING HER TOYS (aka Hannah) and GOING HOME.

Man, once L'ri has any idea what all's happened down there, he'll either be reaaaally glad, or upset with himself for not joining in the attempts to save the day. Probably a little bit of both. Or like, more than a little.

If Mishonth is injured to any degree by the less than ideal landing, he doesn't let onto it. There are much worse injuries to be dealt with and his rider is well enough to sound angry about the whole thing. "WHAT THE FUCK." Xh'zil doesn't actually swear that often. He must be letting loose some of that calmness. But then it's back in place and he's unstrapping to tend to his wingleader, who might be in need of a ride to an infirmary or something like that. Xh'zil totally deserves a promotion. Just saying.

Soft sand, warm sand, little dune of sleepy sand: Kraakenaeth lifts his head after the impact as if to bewilderingly ask WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED… and then drops his head to the beach to bleed in peace and slumber. All is right in Southern tonight.

Meanwhile, Yules is busy putting together her, "He was a great leader… And now that I'm in charge…" speech that she'll never get to say. :(

For the first time in her life, Veresch has the special feeling of flying without assistance. As Elicheritath hits the sand and Mishonth hits the sand and Kraakenaeth hits them, she discovers why it's not a good idea to have your straps only halfway done, even if you were protecting a person. Wet from ichor, blood and splashback from whatever vomit might have come her way, she goes flying from the impact, bouncing off the poor, unconscious bronze's neck to thud down in the sand some distance away. Attempting to roll does NOTHING. She lands on her shoulder and there's a bright, almost pretty crack as her injured arm decides to snap. The force is sufficient to carry her up and over despite it, and she rolls to a halt a little further, groaning softly with pain.

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