R'zel, Alyna


A chance meeting on the Rocky Outcropping between R'zel and Alyna as they ponder recent events as well as the questions still needed answers.


It is midmorning of the thirteenth day of the eighth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Rocky Outcropping, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 02 Apr 2018 04:00


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"So we know What, and at least part of How," R'zel says slowly. "What we want to know is, Who."


Rocky Outcropping

This place has been roughly cleared, a highland area stretching from the rocky cove to the south to curve seamlessly upwards into the foothills of the Barrier Range to the west. Those who explore the eastern ridge may note evidence of hidden pools and dangerous miniature cliffs, a break in the ridge that proves treacherous to traverse. North is lost to the curve of jungle dissecting this place from the outer edge of the weyrwall, a formidable denseness of foliage that deters those who would otherwise brave the tiny trail snaking northwards.

This may not be the most prepossessing place for a picnic lunch, especially as the sky is spitting fine rain that seems perpetually on the point of stopping, but never quite manages to do so. However, here's R'zel, sitting on a rock, eating a flat, round pie. Something about the pie's appearance suggests that it's not standard Weyr fare - perhaps it's the harpercraft emblem stamped into the top! He's got an earthenware flask, too, with a beaker upended over its neck. The rock is large enough for two, and beside R'zel is his small friend, though Zhiva is tucking into chopped meat rather than pastry. R'zel looks tired, though at least there's no hidework in sight. Way below on the beach, Verokanth is in the water.

Overhead, the chartreuse green form of Haquith is headed back towards the Weyr proper after some morning sweeps. When her sharp eyesight spies Verokanth in the water and R'zel on the outcropping, there is a short conversation between dragon and rider, the end results sees the green turning on her tail and winging over to land land long enough for her petite blond rider to hop off before she heads to the beach and the water below to join the bronze. Pulling off her riding helmet and goggles, Alyna smiles warmly as she strides over to her Wingleader. Once she reaches the rock where he is seated, she'll offer him a smart salute, "Wingleader." her lips curl into a smile as she nods at the picnic lunch. "Still taking precautions huh?"

R'zel grins as he returns something approximating a salute in response to Alyna's smarter one. Having a pie in the saluting hand cramps the style, rather. "Oh, I wouldn't say no to a Harper Hall pie even if circumstances were better. I dropped in on Mother yesterday and she loaded me up with goodies from the Hall kitchens. They have an excellent pastrycook." And no poison in the pies. He scoops up Zhiva and deposits her closer to him then eyes the remaining meat and the wet surface. "Have a seat if you want; I'd recommend avoiding where Zhiva's been eating." The little gold firelizard resumes her meal from her new position. "Mercifully, she's no longer creeling solidly all day."

Alyna takes his invitation and finds the least messy part of the rock to perch upon, her helmet put down next to her as she reaches up to loosen the collar of her riding jacket. Her cheeks are wind-reddened by the candlemarks in the air and her hair is flattened unflatteringgly, which she will try and remedy by fluffing it back up by running her fingers through it. "They certainly look good." she remarks as she nods to the pie. Spying R'zel's little gold, she smiles warmly with a soft chuckle, "Well that does sound like a mercy. I remember being glad when Jem outgrew that stage. You started with her training yet?"

"Well, yesterday was partly about introducing her to Mother, because that's the main place I'll be sending her. She'll go to Verokanth now. Mostly. Especially if he calls her rather than me telling her," R'zel explains with a touch of chagrin. "And he can usually send her back to me. I reckon that's as much as I can expect for now. The parents were very taken with her. Even Morcom said she was "a thoroughgoing little lady", and he's really not that keen on firelizards. As if she can tell that R'zel is talking about her, Zhiva looks up from the last of her meal and tilts her head to an imperious angle.

"Well that sounds great, little steps are what's needed." Alyna says with a smile, as she rolls her head from one side to the other, causing a couple of small pops as she works out some kinks in her neck with a soft sigh. "I find Haquith was very useful when Jem was younger too." Although that was basically because the green would use the gold as an accessory, but at least she was helpful right? "How is Keitrill doing now?" She queries after their brownriding wingmate, knowing that she was in dire straights before the source of the poisoning was found.

A shadow falls across R'zel's face. "She's still not at all well. She came round for a bit, but then she was having seizures, and she was in a lot of pain. You've probably gathered how upset Theibeth's been. Vero and some of the others have been sitting with him quite a bit." Wingmates tend to know about a panicky dragon via their own lifemates, after all. He raises his free hand to touch the side of his head. "Oddly, she's lost a lot of hair. But last time I went in she was really drowsy again - not really awake." He seems to hesitate before saying more, and in the end, he just shakes his head slightly.

If Haquith hadn't been missing the ever important empathy gene that most dragons have, maybe Alyna would know more than she does. Listening, the greenrider's face pales slightly as she shakes her head with a long sigh. "That's not good. I'd offer to help with Theibeth but it is not a good idea to have Haquith deal with anyone upset, she is not the comforting type and would probably say something to make it worse." Her own hand reaches up to her blond locks when R'zel mentions her hair, shuddering softly. "Well here's to hoping that she can pull through now that they at least know what made everyone sick."

"I do hope so," R'zel says fervently. "She's friends with Heri and Chegana, and Provobeth and Jesherath are close to Theibeth. But at least - ghastly as it is - there are some lines of enquiry to follow now. That has to be better than not having a clue about it. The Weyrleader asked me to try and find patterns of people getting sick in the records; I need to go and report to him soon. And I heard you did some good work in the Stores." There's approval in his voice as he says that. "But I didn't hear a lot of detail - can you fill me in?"

With another shake of her head, Alyna sighs, "I agree, even though things are still dire for some, at least no one else is going to get sick from this." At least she hopes that the chaos of the sickness is behind them. As he mentions wanting to hear her side of things, the greenrider shrugs, "I was just doing what you asked me, some quiet snooping in the kitchens. It wasn't just me though, weyrwoman Amani was there, she noticed the entry in the ledger about the Tunnelsnake poison. And there were also a couple of bakercraft apprentices who were having problems with some butter. All I did was find a sweetener bowl the poisoner must have used hidden in the Stores. Just a case of being in the right place in the right time really." Her words are dismissive as she runs another hand through her hair nonchalantly.

"And it had something other than sweetener in? Or there was something /in/ the sweetener?" R'zel's keenly attentive now. "What was wrong with the butter? Was that suspicious, too? And the ledger - I mean, we do use tunnelsnake poison…." All the questions! "It sounds as if your snooping has paid off, anyway. And maybe this will help the healers to treat the victims - if it's tunnelsnake-poison, they must know what's in that."

Alyna can't help but giggle just a little bit as the bronzerider bombards her with questions, as she holds up a hand, "Yes, it was mixed I think, it didn't look or feel right, and when I tasted a little tiny bit, there was this strange metallic taste. Never found out what was actually wrong with the butter, but it wasn't churning up right according to the bakers, so as a precaution they threw it out as well. And it was the weyrwoman who mentioned that it was the wrong season for the amount of tunnelsnake poison that was begin ordered." To his last, she nods vehemently, "I concur. I really hope it will help with those still ill like Keit."

"So we know What, and at least part of How," R'zel says slowly. "What we want to know is, Who. But When might help us with that. And if I've read the records right, they started a sevenday or so before the storm. That's when Wings started getting a few people reporting in sick for a day or so." He nods slowly to himself, as if still putting it all together in his own mind. "One or two people were ill during the evacuation of Black Rock and when the storm hit here - Vani was, I think. And do you remember that rider from Siberian who died during the Storm?"

"Well I fear they are long gone as soon as they heard that all the sweetener was being pulled from the Living Caverns." Alyna says with a long sigh. "I did put the sweetener bowl back where we found it in the Stores and I have Jem watching it, but I don't think anything is going to come of it, it's already been over a sevenday." When R'zel remarks that riders were ill during the evacuation, Alyna considers the When as well, "I didn't even think of that. I always figured the illness was part of the chaos caused by the storms, but I guess that can't be the case. And yes, I do remember that, I was in the Hatching Grounds when his green went between." she shakes her head again with a heavy sigh. "So even when we get some answers, it just leads to more questions."

"Doesn't it just!" R'zel's rueful in his agreement. "And then there's Why? Why would anyone hate the Weyr so much that they'd make huge numbers of riders - and weyrfolk, and crafters - sick, and reduce our ability to fight Fall; let alone that they'd even kill people - for Faranth's sake, who would kill /dragons/? It's hard to imagine anyone being willing to kill a dragon. And anyone who knows the first thing about us knows what happens if a rider dies." That last is obviously the sticking point for him.

"It can't be a rider, and I hope to Faranth that it isn't weyrfolk." Alyna says as her blue eyes take on a stormy quality as she stares off into the distance, considering the possiblities." Her brows furrow more as she tilts her head again and looks at him, "Is the Headwoman still missing? Her disapearance just as we figure out the cause of the illness is rather suspicious don't you think?"

"As far as I know," R'zel says, the doubt clear in his voice. "But it's hard to imagine Laeiva could do such a thing. She's been here Turns. And surely nobody with a dragonrider in the family-" He shakes his head. "I find it hard to imagine. But it's hard to imagine /anyone/ doing it - or any sort of motive, either. Someone who wanted to incapacitate the Weyr? Someone who wanted to kill one person and hide it in a supposed epidemic?" He thuds his fist against his thigh, startling Zhiva into flight. "Someone who's off their head in some way, maybe."

"The only person able to answer that is the guilty party, it could be anything." Alyna says with a resigned sigh, "But you're right, I can't see anyone with a rider in the family doing something like this." Furrowing her brow, she ponders for a moment, "I know the Headwoman had family lost to the storm at Black Rock, but if people were getting sick before then, it wouldn't make any sense for it to be her." An exasperated sigh accompanies another shake of her head.

"S'vian died before then," R'zel says thoughtfully. "I saw that in Tiglon's records." A moment's pause, then, "I don't think he was very old. Poor Laeiva; she hasn't had a good time, has she? First S'vian, then her daughter - at least we found the little girl in time. But there was the other grandchild who was missing, too - as far as I know, he was never found."

"Was that her son?" Alyna ponders at the mention of a rider dying, "I thought I heard something about that. And then her son-in-law came in on that boat and was one of the refugees who hunkered in the Barracks." She pauses for a moment, "I guess someone has gone to Black Rock to talk to him?" she asks, her words half-statement and half-question.

"I don't know," R'zel says with a frown, "but aren't the Weyrwomen looking for Laeiva? It seems an obvious place to try. Any other family, too - wasn't she from Boll? Maybe there's someone there. I don't know her that well." He gives a brief confirming nod. "S'vian was her son. He flew in Tiglon - that's where most of the very young riders go. Marsha used to look after them like a mother hen and bring them on to be ready for other Wings."

Alyna blinks incredulously as R'zel fills her in on some details, "And Marsha's the one who died not that long ago, right? This is really not looking good for the Headwoman. I'm sure the Weyrwomen have it in hand then, Amani seems a capable woman." Tilting her head up, she lets her eyes stare off at the sky for a moment, "There's no way she would have gotten a dragon out of here, so what are her other options? A ship? Or maybe she's on foot or runnerback? Might be worth it to ask the herders and seacrafters."

R'zel frowns; he's apparently less certain than Alyna of that. "Yes, it might be. But /is/ there no way she'd have got a rider to take her? I wonder when she would have got wind of something being up. She's the headwoman, after all: if she went before it became clear we were looking for her, what would happen if she found a rider - say, a weyrling on transport duty - and asked for a ride to visit… wherever she wanted to go." He shrugs. "I reckon they'd take her, no questions asked. Then she tells them she's already got transport back arranged, and they go back without her. But you'd expect them to come forward if they knew she was missing. Still, that's something else to ask about."

"I guess the Weyrwomen are going to have their work cut out for them." Alyna considers. "And you're right, she most likely snuck out as soon as she saw there was interest by the weyrwoman that morning in the Kitchens. It was really busy, I can't even tell you if she was there or not there were so many people rushing around getting breakfast together. Unfortunately that would be the perfect time for her to slip away unnoticed." Her brows furrowed once more, she looks at R'zel, "What about a friend of her son's? A Clutchmate maybe? Someone she would trust to keep quiet."

"Could be. Though I'd hope a rider would come forward if they heard, even so." R'zel doesn't sound entirely convinced by his own expectation. "But if they'd given their word, maybe… or she told them she was on the trail of the mystery poisoner, or something." He reaches a hand into the air, and Zhiva comes down to perch. He settles them on his shoulder. "I need to get my results together to show Va'os. But that's given us some more ideas to think about." Down on the beach, Verokanth is back on dry land, and getting his hide as dry as the rain will allow.

"Well I hope it helps then." Alyna says as she forces a smile on her face, "She can't run forever. Hopefully she'll be found soon and then we'll get some answers. If it even is her, I mean this is all speculation of course." When he heads off, she gives another salute but she makes no move to head down to Haquith who is still lurking in the waves of the cove. Instead she will spend some time up here, just thinking and processing, seeing if anything else comes to her.

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