When Mountains Fall [ Pt. 3 ]

Not the large stone caverns that Weyr people are used to, these are buildings built on the top of the cliff, sometimes referred to as the Weyr Cliff. These buildings are all the same size, with multiple apartments for dragonriders to live in in each building. Because of space constraints, dragons sleep in large pavilions built around the dragonrider apartments.
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Ember
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Title: Plot Enabler
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Age: 36

Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:24 pm

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(co-written by Ember and Fawkes)

They weren’t supposed to be here, but they had no other choice. The Weyrleaders had forced their hands. J’lor was only one of the many that were sick and getting worse and with each tremor, the crumbling of the Weyr was getting no better either. If nothing was going to be done by the Weyrwoman and Weyrleader, than someone had to and H’than took matters into his own hands. That meant reaching out, and if they had to do that in a way that might mean ostracization, it would be worth to see his friend healthy again, it would be worth it to save the rest of those trapped back at Igen.

The watchdragon on the cliff roared to life, and H’than wasn’t surprised, though his brown skittered back and tried his best to hold onto the tiny green that wanted to bolt between. He had kept J’lor with him on the off chance that the green would panic and he’d lose two friends at once, for the greenrider was in no shape to jump on his own. Both dragons were scared, both men were in conditions physically, but at least he was mentally sound enough to keep a grip on the situation so far. He wasn’t sure if that could be counted on though if they were turned away.

Zenjarth lifted his head when the watch called out to him and Soquilith, and he huffed and wanted them turned away, if only because they were strange dragons and from Igen at that. Yet, there was something about Igen in his foggy memories, and when told that both were scared, that piqued his interest enough to stay his anger, though eyes remained red and he flew to the air to linger near the pair. Then he reached to his rider, only when he’d assessed the situation himself. L’van, we’ve company. Two from Igen, dragons look scared, one rider is with the other. It doesn’t look good.

Normally a situation involving Igen would have L’van’s hackles raised, but being told that by his dragon was enough to bring the man to attention, and he looked up from his paperwork. They had been told that most of Igen had gone quiet lately, even diplomatic messages were curt, or none at all, so the Leaders had suspicions there was something brewing in Igen. ”Speak to Soquilith. Tell her rider I’m headed to the offices.” Of all the days to choose working from his apartment, now had to be the day. My love, L’van is about to reach your rider. We have a situation...

Soquilith was already on alert the moment she heard the watchriders’ call about two strange riders, head lifting from forepaws where she’d been resting. While her mate flew up to inspect these riders, the dark gold passed along the news to her own as well, gleaning what she could from her perch upon the cliff’s edge. Incoming riders from...Igen it seems. They appeared to be in distress, the brown is … clutching a sickly pale green in his claws. The queen even offered an image to the Weyrwoman of the descending pair to confirm that was indeed what she was seeing, the larger of the two dragons clinging tightly to the graying hide of what used to be a green.

The goldrider was already rising from her seat at the word ‘distress’, and the image she was provided only confirmed that must have a pretty good reason to be coming here. Igenese riders were a surprise though, they been told the Weyr had been awfully quiet lately, and she had wondered what had caused it. And yet, two riders, in obvious distress were coming to Atricis... What did New Atricis have that their own Weyrleaders couldn’t take care of, why come here? Safryn was already leaving her apartment well behind with questions forming in her mind, questions that needed answering and might as well speak directly to the source. Tell L’van I’ll be down in the Yard, I want to see this for myself. Send for the healers as well, that green needs attention and perhaps the riders too. The woman started as she jogged down the steps down the cliffside to get down into the Yard below.

Yes dear, we are well aware, however Safryn has already left the offices, wishes yours to meet her in the Yard. I’ve sent for healers as well, they’ll be arriving soon I’m sure. The dappled queen said, shifting her perch ever so slightly to get a better view down below where the Igenese were landing. She stood proud upon the cliff, a reminder to these strangers that she was in charge here and with merely a thought could have the whole Weyr upon them in a heartbeat.

The pair of riders settled down into the field, out in the open where they couldn’t try anything even if they wanted to. H’than held onto his friend, clung to the the greenrider as his brown carefully laid the pale dragon into the grass before taking a step aside to give her space. She weakly kicked at the ground, trying to get her feet under her and yet talons only raked at the dirt and she gave up after two tries, laying there with sides heaving. The brown dragon humbly lowered himself to lean against her to prop her up slightly while showing signs of submission to the dark queen that loomed above them. The brownrider carefully gripped J’lor and unstrapped them from the the saddle, sliding down with his friend in his arms and nearly tumbled when they hit the ground. He practically carried the sickly man, the greenrider leaning heavily against him as they took the few steps around the brown and J’lor gave a grateful sigh as he leaned against the pale green, slumping down beside her.

H’than turned then, moved to look out over this field and toward the buildings where he could see people stopping, gathering, whispering, wondering. There were a few that branched off though, a group that moved forward with those tell tale satchels around the shoulders and was that, a stretcher or two carried between them? Relief flooded the brownrider, but he remained upright, he had to speak with them before he could let himself stop. A pair of riders strode forward together, steps heavy and confident as they approached the Igenese, a woman whose hair shone like copper and her svelte form exuded power and grace, and a man who’s years of experience were shown in every fiber of his being. He knew who they were without even looking at the knots about their shoulders…

”Please, help us… Help Igen.”

While it didn’t please L’van to hear the word, he wasn’t about to turn away a pair of riders in need - or that of a Weyr. He gave them a look over and could see that they were in a state and then glanced at Safryn with a nod. Without a doubt he would help, and that was without hearing from them what had taken place at his former Weyr. ”Tell us what has happened at Igen.” He grabbed a flask he had on his hip and offered it, thinking it might serve to steady nerves, and H’than was the one who took it gratefully. It would be a few moments before anything could be said, but when it came out, L’van felt something shake him.

”There was an earthquake that shook the Weyr, it was falling down around us, and then something… came from the ground, people started getting sick. My friend, he’s....” H’than looked to his ill friend and moved to stand next to him. ”The Weyrleaders aren’t doing anything to assist in the matter. Not a single damn thing! Someone has to do something if they won’t…” He glanced at Safryn, his eyes red and raw from days of staying awake, from worrying, from not knowing when the next quake would happen or if Igen would sink into the ground. ”There are people that are sick, there are people that are dying, and neither of them are doing shit about it.”

Safryn felt a chill race down her spine when the brownrider mentioned an earthquake, and she remembered what it felt like to have the walls of your home come crumbling down around you. The old Dining Hall, she would always remember that day, the smile on Shayn’s face before he left to go get a plate… And then the ceiling rained down upon them, burying the kitchens and half the Hall and… her brother.

”You’re welcome here in New Atricis brownrider, and your friend is in no shape to be going anywhere anytime soon.” The Weyrwoman said, sharing a sympathetic look toward the frightened Igenese rider. He was desperate, and she couldn’t blame him, if back then Ma’lek and Aizlin had sat by and done nothing, one of their riders would have done the same as he was doing. ”Plenty of time to tell us everything.” The goldrider continued, a rather poignant glance given to the Igenese, and then her gaze flickered back toward L’van, knowing they were only breaking the surface about Igens’ situation.

By then, the small group of healers had shown up and quickly moved up toward the sickly green and her rider who also looked worse for the wear. The Weyrwoman nodded appreciatively to the healers and then glanced back to the brownrider. ”Your friend and his dragon will be in very capable hands, I promise.” Safryn said encouragingly as one of the healers broke off and moved closer to the Igen rider.

The Journeyman glanced at the man, who would clearly need a visit to the Infirmary as well, but his friend was in more need at the moment. ”Do you know what sort of illness this might be? We can provide better treatment if your healers knew what may have caused it.”

H’than reached up to rub the back of his neck, glancing sheepishly from the Atricis Weyrleaders and to the Healer. ”I think… they thought… It could be Valley Fever.” The brownrider said softly, looking back to his friend worriedly. He knew it was supposed to be an ancient disease, a plague and somehow had been buried in the mountains of Igen because now the Weyr was suffering.

”Ah, yes… that would make sense.” The healer murmured to himself and turned toward the Weyrleaders with a respective nod. ”Our Masterhealer has a potent remedy for the Fever, concocted during the Expedition when there were a few reported cases within the camp. We’ll have him on his feet again soon enough.” The journeyman said confidently and then gave another nod of acknowledgement to the Igenese rider before departing to treat his friend.

”What did I tell you?” The Weyrwoman remarked with a kind sort of smile for the brownrider to hopefully set him more at ease. There was a glance toward L’van though, knowing the bronzerider was itching to know more, likely already mapping out the worst of the devastation to his old Weyr in his head. She lay a gentle hand upon the bronzeriders’ arm, staving off the slew of questions that they were both thinking of. Now was not the time, let the man rest, recover his mind once more and then speak to him when he was more sensible.

”Please, brownrider, go with the healers and your friend, they will take care of you too. Once you’ve rested, we’ll be in touch.” Safryn stated softly, and gave the man a nod of acquiescence.

”M’lady… We are forever in your debt. I am H’than of Palisth and my friend, J’lor of Aequith.” The brownrider said, bowing deeply in respect of the Atricis Weyrleaders. ”Thank you…”

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{the next day}

There hadn’t been much chance to sleep during the night. What little had come had taken place in his office, though he’d been coaxed by Ay’li into at least taking a bath at some point to make a decent appearance to the rest of the Weyr throughout the day. His mind was just filled with what was taking place right now, not only within the Weyr of his home, but quite obviously within the Weyr of Igen. A place that at one time he’d considered a home but that was so distant from the word he had thought his business with them would only come through during conclaves and other functions.

L’van’s mind was troubled to say the least, and it was because of what he’d heard from the riders that it was; it was because of what he and Safryn had been told that sleep had been a distant and far reaching matter. While not everything had been shared, and some details had been fuzzy for obvious reasons, what he had been informed of was that the earthquake had been rather sudden. The Weyr had not collapsed, but the damage was severe with many cave-ins and collapses throughout the desert location.

There had been a clutch on the sands, though they hadn’t gone into much detail about it other than to say that it had hatched. When L’van had tried to go into further details about it, he wouldn’t say much, and when Safryn had asked after the little queen, there had been a pause before declaring she was healthy and nothing more. They had suspicions about this clutch, though they both chalked it up to Igenite pride getting in the way of talking about it further - and besides, there were far more important matters to discuss than a hatching they had no proof of even happening in the first place.

Now it was a matter of figuring out what to do next about the situation. There was bound to be sick riders, and there would eventually be countless dead that would need to be tended to. But if T’dar and Aglaia were not going to willingly accept help, that only left one option. L’van grabbed yet another mug of klah and entered Safryn’s office this time, declining an offer of food. Until this situation was at least underway, he’d rather wait to sit down and eat.

Besides, nerves were making it difficult to swallow anything down when he was finally coming to terms with the fact that there were friends and even family at Igen that could possibly be among those dead. ”They aren’t giving us a choice on the matter.” She would know who he was speaking of. ”We’re going to have to reach out to the other Weyrs. Inform them of the situation going on, what little information we have. It’s going to be the only way T’der and Aglaia are even going to agree to a meeting.”

The Weyrwoman had barely slept, and it showed by the pallor in her cheeks, though she did well to hide it with a little rouge. L’van would see it though, his own facade mirrored hers with worry and strife. Not only was something brewing within their own Weyr, now they had come to find out Igen was suffering by the furious might of Pern herself. Memories had haunted her that night, the pains of losing loved ones, losing the only home she’d ever known, and fleeing to the South much like the Igens riders had.

Of course they were going to help, how could they not? Atricis knew the plight of a crumbling Weyr and they sympathized with their fellow Weyr and had the means to do something about it. The redheaded woman looked up for her desk when the bronzerider walked in, untouched mugs of klah set before both of them. She had already begun to wonder where they might fit more riders, if they had the resources to build and furnish more apartments and where they might get what they were missing as soon as possible. With as many sick riders as H’than had told them, the Masterhealer would need a lot more supplies as well for this remedy of his, and the space to treat enough people. Maps of the Weyr, ledgers, and notes riddled the space before her and she’d barely only scraped the surface in one sleepless night.

”It’s true, they are too proud to come forward if it were just us, but if the rest of the North called them out, they would have to answer.” The goldrider said, her tone weary and yet determined as she glanced at her papers before looking up at the Weyrleader. ”I’ll send Piper to Benden and J’lek first, and from there the others. You should send Vigil to Igen, maybe he can see for himself what… the damage is.” She knew it was hard for L’van, to think about aiding this place that had cast him out, to imagine the crumbling walls of a place he once called home.

Safryn sighed softly and leaned back in her chair, regarding the bronzerider before her and cradling the untouched mug of klah before her. ”The healers say that J’lor is resting comfortably now, his Fever broke this morning and even Aequith’s color is starting to return.” The woman murmured, needing to hear the little bit of good news out loud, and reached to offer L’van the healers note a flitter delivered this morning. ”Be sure to tell T’dar his riders are safe and sound, we’ll send them home the moment they are fully recovered.” The Weyrwoman added, though who could be sure they wouldn’t be staying even longer if Igen was truly in as much trouble as it sounded like. It was a gesture of good will though, to return their riders once they are able and it would appease T’dar slightly as well.

L’van nodded as she spoke, already calling for Vigil. The blue appeared and landed on the desk, awaiting instructions patiently while messages were written up to be sent out. He could sense tension and concern in the air between the two and nudged mugs of klah forward as he waited, if only to dispel some of the restlessness that was coursing through his own little form. As soon as he was finished with his note to Igen, he rolled it up and whistled for Vigil’s attention, the blue at the ready for the attachment. ”Now,” he said once the firelizard was away. ”It’s a matter of waiting for him to return. In the meantime, we’ll scribe the rest of those notes and get them sent before T’dar and Aglaia can react.”

The letters were sent, and while they waited for responses, something else came to mind, and L’van stood to fetch charts he knew Safryn wouldn’t mind him getting from her cabinets. ”One thing we need to do, or should do while we wait, is begin to figure out how we’re going to make room…” It was something to do while they waited, not that they had long to do so. The first message returned came from Marna and P’uhr of High Reaches, and their words seemed to be in agreement with what followed - something needed to be done and quickly so. It didn’t surprise L’van that T’dar’s message was last to arrive, and was short and “sweet” in composition. He snorted and offered it to Safryn to read, allowing them both to shake their heads. ”Looks like it’ll be another sleepless sevenday for us. But I think with klah and support, we can do this.”

The Weyrwoman motioned the man toward some of the maps she’d already begun to alter, sketching in another wing of buildings that expanded as far as the cliff’s arm extended into the surroundings. ”I was already thinking of a few things, here…” She said, diving into the project as much as they both needed something to distract them while the messages came in from the other Weyrs. Safryn was relieved to hear that many of the northern Weyrs were in agreement that if Igen was indeed in that sort of condition, they were in a state of emergency and should have sought aide for their people.

Benden would hold the conclave, J’lek and Peira agreeing to host the Weyrleaders of Pern in four days time, enough for everyone to get their affairs together and take stock. Safryn and L’van had almost be preparing for something like this, felt that stirring in the world around them, and certainly this must have been the turmoil they had felt. They would concoct a solid plan to build new apartments for the displaced riders and their healers would be thrilled with the improvements to the Infirmary to make room to treat their ill. It made the most sense afterall that the southern climate and their Masterhealers knowledge would be the best conditions for those sick weyrfolk.

They would be prepared then, to support Igen despite their differences, and show sympathy to the crumbling Weyr and open their doors to as many as they could bear.

{To be continued…}
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I can be found on Discord @ Ember#8349 ~ feel free to drop be a message even if I'm on DND.
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