Wild Wild Western!

Emerald Island - Island Road
A long road, winding through tropical jungle along the coast line of the island. Colorful tropical avians flit from tree to tree, oddly patterned, brightly colored tunnelsnakes can sometimes be seen and tropical fruits often provide a traveler with a meal.
The day brings new sounds to the area here, voices from people working nearby, splashes from those cavorting in the surf, and all the splendor of the Western Isle is in plain sight.Winter has descended once again upon the Western island, though those from the north would never be able to tell it, but the short days and the cooler nights are painfully obvious to those born here.


A'ven leads a small contingent of searchers looking for any piece of the lost herd of Western Weyr. The party has been searching for some time, and now it's getting a little later in the day. "We'll check nearby fresh water, that's the only thing I can think of where they would go. Stay kind of together, I wish we had more people so that we could spread out … but we'll do our best."

T'burk looks at the young G'len. "What's with the big stick?"

G'len says "Wild boars."

T'burk says "Right…..Well, keep the point up. Don't poke anybody with it."

Runners are better for covering distance, which is why Joraycen's come mounted. And well equipped, with full saddlebags, water skins, and a few coils of extra rope. "In this weather, if there are any shady hollows near to the water, that'll be your best bet, sir," he offers. "They'll likely bed down during the worst of the heat if they've found a good spot."

To'by nods and pauses to look at Dirt. He holds the brown's head for a moment before releasing him to flit off. "Sent him off to see what he can see. If he finds one or more he's to go to NEbryth and Nebryth will send to me where the cattle are.

G'len makes sure his 8 foot pointed pole is pointed up and smiles over to A'ven and To'by. He'll follow along on foot, pretty fleet as he is. He does not trust runners.

Bringing up the rear of the line of searchers is a rather odd combination of a rather tall lanky dapple grey runnerbeast with the oppositely shaped Ae'gus with his short, stocky body perched fairly easily on the saddle. A good amount of gear has been packed onto the sides, as well, making the man seem even more lost amongst the piles of equipment than his stature would usually allow. It doesn't help his attempt at looking like an expert rider is hindered by the odd way he's bouncing slightly as his mount traipses over uineven terrain. Bounce bounce bounce. "Have to hope they aren't too scared out of their wits, eh? Duno how much use we'd be if we had a stampede on our hands," he remarks thoughtfully with a few jerks in his voice due to the motion.

A'ven has borrowed a runner for this occasion, and it shows. He hasn't had much experience at all on runners and his mount doesn't trust him. He trues to reassure, "Well, if we do find them and we're not able to capture them, that's okay — I mean at least it's something, to know what happened." "That's another big part of why we're here. We need to watch for clues…" He pulls his runner up short, noticing a ribbon of fresh water, "Look there, that might be a good spot!"

To'by looks in the direction A'ven indicates and takes off at a good clip slipping through the brush fair silently as he goes.

T'burk keeps up pretty well on foot. Hasn't ridden for nearly 65 Turns. Hasn't needed to. So he marches along with the group, his medical bad slung over his shoulder. He nods to the young WeyrLeader. "Most likely. If there's shade and water and grass they'll probably stay put…unless there are som wild boars," he adds softly.

Joraycen eyes A'ven a bit dubiously, shaking his head slightly. He gives his high-spirited young mare a practiced 'chsk', a small squeeze with his knees to get her to pick up the pace. And while he does try to keep an eye out on the land surrounding them, his gaze keeps returning to the Weyrleader as if expecting him to go arse over kettle off his runner's rump.

Ae'gus furrows his brow slightly, pulling his thick eyebrows together to form one line as he peers down at the ground that's passing by underneath his mount. There's some attempt at a serious, manly look on his face as he does some attempt at looking for these clues that A'ven is describing. Not that it's entirely easy to do when his head is bobbing slightly from the jerking motion of the rocky terrain underneath. His dappled grey runner walks straight past the water that was pointed out and he hasd to perform an odd twisting motion on the reins to get the beast to swing around in a circle to follow it, "Ah … ah —" He's cut off a little due to the spinning but recovers himself with a huff, "Water. Yeah. Animals have to have water, y'know. Unless the beast that's hunting them likes it too." He tries to make this sound like a joke, but there's a quaver of uncertainty in his voice as he follows the others along the water trail.

T'burk keeps an eye on everybody as much as the terrain. He adds to two together and keeps coming up with the images of sprained ankles and skinned knees. His dragon sails effortlessly above, high enough to not be smelled by the beastsand pointed into the sun to keep her shadow from off the direction that the humans are going.

G'len trots along, leaping nimbly up and down rocks, keeping an eye out for boars more than herdbeasts. He runs easily enough over flatter terrain. But he keeps up.

A'ven shares T'burk's concern. "I hope that we don't run into trouble.", he agrees. "I miss Glyith's long eyes. It'd be easier if they weren't so skittish." The way ahead is indeed looking promising. There's something moving near the water. "That could be some of them there…" He says, perhaps a tad too optimistic at the mobile shadow on the landscape a good distance away still. They are closing though, and A'ven urges his runner to quicken his pace, almost falling off sideways in the process. A'ven admires G'len's vigilance, it's good to have someeone looking out for more… nearby trouble.

"Check the wind!" Joraycen calls forward, and admirably doesn't add anything insulting. He gives his boot a light smack with the trailing ends of his reins, the sound along with more pressure from his knees coaxing the bay mare into a long-trot. He keeps his eyes ahead, trusting the runner to avoid any dangerous footing as he tries to close the distance enough that he won't be shouting his advice. "We're just going to spook whatever's there if we approach from upwind," or making a lot of racket, but he rather thinks that part is more obvious.

T'burk keeps an eye on A'ven, seeing him swerve. Terrific. He's going to suggest more riding on runners practice at the next Weyr Officers meeting.

Ae'gus pauses where he is for a moment at A'ven's words, narrowing his eyes and shading them against the sun with the back of one hand as he tries to discern what exactly those shapes might be, "Ah .. A'ven, perhaps we should make sure they're herdbeasts n' not big giant felines intent on eating us …?" His suggestion begins, but trails off as he notices the Weyrleader's runner skirting forward. It takes the man a moment or so to fumble with his own reins, shaking them against the dapple grey's neck once or twice to no avail. Frowning slightly in frustration, he tries again, this time a little harder unti lthe runner finally gets the message and jolts forward, causing Ae'gus to nearly smack his nose on his mount's neck. "Mrf … I think I miss Halinith too, eh?" he meekly mutters under his breath as he maneuvers the reins to try to follow A'ven towards the distant shapes, though he does approach them a bit more warily.

As the party rounds the next bend in the trail, if indeed it can be called a trail, the unmistakable bulk of a dead runner greets their eyes. It's been dead only a few hours, not yet decayed although the local VTOLs are investigating it. There's something else too, a little further on, a smaller group of herdbeasts, perhaps 12 to 15, grazing just a stones throw from their dead companion. A'ven puts a hand up for silence, they haven't spooked yet, although one or two of the males is snorting nervously. There's still the group further on to consider as well, if indeed that is a group of them.

G'len stops dead in his tracks at the sight of the dead beast. His eyes go over the mess of the once-a-beast and tries to figure out how it was torn up, or jus what killed it. He starts looking around for other things, not just the herdbeasts, to see if there is anything else moving in the grass and brush nearby. He even sniffs to see if there is a sudden scent of something strange…though the smell of the blood of the dead beast is in and of itself pretty demanding. His eyes peer about, one hand up to shade them.

Joraycen eases his runner back, a gentle pressure on the reigns and a relaxing of his legs all she needs to slow, first to a jouncing trot, then an easier walk. He rubs his face with one hand at the sight of the dead 'beast. "Shells," he mutters softly. He drops the reigns, ground-tying the now-slightly-nervous runner, and dismounts. A gentle pat to her neck, before he walks forward to take a closer look at the dead critter, and the wounds it's suffered.

The mere sight of the herd sends Ae'gus' old hunting instincts going wild and he gives his runner's reins a good yank out of pure instinct, causing the beast to skid slightly to a stop several lengths behind A'ven. It's a miracle that the man isn't thrown forward yet again, but he manages to brace himself against the animals' neck to prevent himself from making either a noise or a fool of himself. There he waits, clutching the reins tightly in clenched fists as he assesses the situation at hand, eyes narrowing slightly and causing the eyebrows to send them into deep shade along with the help of the sun. "One change of the' wind and they'll be onto us," he remarks in barely a whisper, perhaps not even wanting to dare to breathe too hard as he indicates Joraycen, "He was right about the wind thing. But I think the stink from the carcass might be to our advantage." He clamps his lips tightly shut and peers past the closest beasts to the indistinct blobs behind them, "That look like more of them behind there?" He jerks his chin at the general direction, his anxiety over the oncoming action causing his runner to shift nervously beneath him.

T'burk comes up even with Joraycen and looks at the dead beast. "That doesn't look…good. So what could have done that? I don't recall boars taking after the herdbeasts. Did anybody think to bring a crossbow?"

A'ven doesn't talk in anything above a whisper now. He directs his strawberry roan at right angles now, going off the path a bit in an effort to find a way around the herd. Only the remembered comments about the wind stop him, "Well, what to do now…", he says in a perplexed whisper. If we try and encircle them, they'll catch our scent for sure — but I do want to see if we can either capture them, or maybe drive them towards the others there… get them all in one big group."

G'len checks for movement in the grass all about them. "I got my stick," he says trying to keep his voice from carrying too far, just enough for the people around him to hear. It's 8 feet long.

Joraycen casts a disgruntled glance over his shoulder at the inept dragonriders. Meaning those who're mounted. The ones on foot aren't potentially about to harm perfectly good runners, so don't earn much more than a passing curiousity from the young beastcrafter. He glances at T'burk with a raised eyebrow, at first his only answer being a shake of his head. Kneeling down, he ignores the blood and bugs and flaps of flesh, digging the fingers of one hand into a long gash to check the depth. Lips thin, and he moves down the animal's flank, splaying his other hand out over a set of bloody stripes, measuring the width between them. His final action is to bend down and rip out a hunk of drying grass, using that to wipe the blood from his fingers. "Can't say exactly," he says quietly, "but it's consistent with what I know of how larger felines hunt. Not too big, though. It's been bled out, hamstrung. A truly large feline coulda broke it's neck, but there's no sign of a bite."

G'len looks at Joraycen incredulously. "Broken it's neck?"

T'burk looks up at A'ven. "We don't have felines on this island.How did it get here?"

Ae'gus somehow manages to calm his runner long enough to pat a rather bulky portion of his saddle gear in response to T'burk's question, "Got one here, along with some daggers and throwing knives. Used to be a Weyr hunter, afterall, eh? Didn't think it'd be good to go out into the wilderness without something like that." He juts his jaw out importantly, though, and squares his shoulders a little, adding in an even throatier whisper, "I'll not let anything near us, eh? Besides, we gots ome dragons nearby that can land on anything flat if need be." Then the problem at hand is given some thought as he lifts a hand to the air to test the direction and cast another appraising eye over the gathered herd. Leaning forward in his saddle enough to make the leather creak a bit, he whispers. "We'll need to split up, I think. Stay behind the carcass to mask our scent with the dead one. Stay in the foliage. We'll need to ah … need to have a group go left and one go right so we can spread out along either sides of em." He hesitates at the mention of a feline, though and glances worriedly at Joraycen, "Y'think the thing is nearby? Thata fresh kill? Seems a bit old to me, but didn't think a feline'd leave all that meat lying about, either. They like to eat a lot of it, yeah?"

A'ven shakes his head, "I'm just as perplexed as you are. I have no idea how they got here. For right now, we need to collect the ones that are alive, and maybe take some samples from the other.. just to see if there's anything we missed."

Joraycen walks back to his mare, approaching with his non-bloodied hand held out so as not to spook her. Gathering the reigns, he looks at G'len and shakes his head, "Coulda, if it was big enough. Whatever did that, wasn't big enough." There's a pause, leather creaking as he swings back up into his saddle. Twisting, he unhooks two of the rope coils, "Here, catch," tossing one in G'len's direction. Kneeing his runner, he reaches out to hand the other to Ae'gus. "Might come in handy, hook it to the pommel." He gives a shrug, "Kill like this wasn't done to feed. I think we all gotta be real careful. If we're lucky, it's alone. If we're not, there's more than one, and they're worse than feral." Now he tries to meet A'ven's eyes, "Shouldn't let anyone go alone. Keep in pairs at least, if we have to separate."

Ae'gus' dapple grey runnerbeast shifts nervously, nostrils flaring with unease at the close proximity of the dead carcass and soon actually does a little circle in place until the man can bring it to a stop again with a sharp pull on the reins. "I didn't think felines liked water, anyways … one couldn't have swam over here, eh? If it did though, I'd imagine it'd be rather angry, what with it bein' all wet, but ah … I suppose all these herdbeasts ought to cheer it up real soon," he remarks, trying to inject some sort of a better mood into the current situation, but he soon turns serious, "They do usually run in ah .. groups, don't they …" Something in his hunter instincts takes over again and he eyes the herd once again, clenching his jaw slightly, but he soon relaxes, "If'n there were any of them nearby, the beasts would be running like mad, so they're atleast a good tell to tell us if we're in danger." He lifts a had up to catch hold of the coil of rope and deftly loop it across the pommel of his saddle, while still keeping a wary eye on the horizon so to speak. "I don't think our runners'd be calm or peaceful if'n any of the felines were around. They're better at sensing a predator nearby … but if'n we don't want to be near a feline, I would suggest we move away from the dead thing, as it might come back to collect more of its kill?"

G'len reaches up and catches the rope. Now this is something he knows, along with any number of knots. He nods his thanks to Joraycen. He drapes the coil over his head and one shoulder and starts edging over to the right, trying to see what may lie ahead. He listens for sounds, trying to keep his eyes on the grass, the milling herdbeasts, the brush…everything all at once.

T'burk says "What if that's just it? If it has young, it'll come back for more food for the young."
A'ven presses his lips into a thin line, "If we start them moving the wrong way, they're gong to be hard to turn… I guess one of us… or two of us as you said, stay in pairs, needs to ride ahead — and see if we can't keep them on course."

"Most are actually solitary," Joraycen points out, easily handling his runner as she dances sideways, the scent of blood sending her as skittish as the rest. He mostly gives her head, offering only enough steering to keep her under his control, allowing her to reach a distance from the dead 'beast that allows her to calm some. A nod goes in T'burk's direction, "That's the likliest possibility; a family group. A mother will usually have two, maybe up to four cubs. If they're adults, it means they were probably reared together in an unnatural environment." He looks back to A'ven, and even in this situation can't help but smile. "No offence sir, but you sit like a sack of tubers. You'll be safer back here. Let me ride ahead with one of the others; they'll be able to relay anything important to you via your dragons, correct?"

T'burk says "Vinnie will let me know." He looks up glancing around for a moment to see her, high above. "She's watching out for us."

Ae'gus pulls his reins through his fingers as he stares across the horizon of the scene, mentally calculating the beasts at hand and the terrain for possible points of attack with his hunter's eyes, "Ah. That'd work, perhaps. Though we're a bit outnumbered. We ought to have someone mounted on either side of the herd to keep it driving forward, eh?" He glances off to the side at Joraycen, furrowing his thick bushy brows together in concentration as he thinks aloud in a low, throaty whisper, "And ah … we only got the three mounted and two on foot, yeah? I s'pose you and me can be the side runners and the rest here can try to herd any that miss the formation back into the ghroup? THough I'm worried that those on foot might be run over or something …" Here he hefts the lasso of rope, testing its weight a moment as he considers further, "Though the longer we keep weighing it on here, the more likely it is they'll move on without us, y'know?"

Joraycen frowns consideringly at Ae'gus, tapping his chin - and smearing a bit of drying blood there all unrealising - as he nods slowly. "You're a better rider, you'll work best as a ranger like you suggest. The Weyrleader should stay to the back, for his own safety as much as to keep the herd moving forward. A hard turn would send him flying," keeping his own voice low, though it's not as growly at Ae'gus's. "If you two range to either side of him, you should be safe from any possible stray 'beasts trying to trample you." He looks up at the sky, squinting into the sun, "And I'm no adverse to having a dragon dive the herd if necessary. That'll turn 'em faster than you or I could."

T'burk says "I can have Vinnie come down behind them and not rush them, but nudge them from a distance, just creep up slowly enough to make them uncomfortable. Think that'll do it?"

Ae'gus gives a decisive nod then, a wide toothy grin framing his face for the first time this whole trip at the prospect of some action for once, despite the slightly morbid fact that they're so close to a dead carcass. With a good creaking of his saddle and twisting of reins, the stocky man tries his best to settle his frame as best he can against the sliht back of his dappled grey runnerbeast, swinging him aroun to face the herd in the distance. "I think we ought to try to stay in relation to the wind and try to get off to the sides of them as best as possible. You take the left and me the right?" He keeps his voice as low as his deeper toned voice can allow as he casts a sidelong glance at Joraycen, tucking his elbows tightly against his sides in preparation for the dash. Of course, he's not silly enough to not check to see if the other players are ready too, though, as he twists slightly in his saddle to peer back at T'burk and G'len, "Ah, I'd probably wait and see how our manual run goes, eh? Wouldn't want too many things coming at them at once or they won't know where to go. I s'pose if it seems that they're going to flee in the wrong direction, we can coordinate Vinteth to sweep low from overhead to coax them." A questioning look is given to the beastcrafter at this, as though to confirm his comment as a good suggestion, one bushy eyebrow raising towards his hairline.

T'burk says "Okay, sounds good. Let's do it!"

Joraycen is just nodding along, bobbleheadedly. By the First Shell, a dragonrider with sense! Will wonders never cease? "You sound like you've done this before," he grates, grinning as he leans low over his mare's neck, sliding a hand down along her shoulder. "I'm left, got it. You start first, you've got the wider arch to ride. Let's bring this herd home!"

Ae'gus merely lifts one of his slouched shoulders up into a careless shrug, offering up a crooked smile in return, "Ah. I have to know how herds move. I'mma a hunter and all. Or I used t'be. Granted it's not as sophisticated as a beastcrafter, but close enough." Nudging the sides of his runner slightly, he edges the beast forward a couple nervous paces, positioning himself towards the right and partially covered by some overlying bits of foliage. He too leans forward across his mount's neck, folding himself there as quietly as he possibily can, trying his best to make himself as unobtrusive as possible with his overly loud hair color. "Get as close to em as possible before breaking into a run, y'know. They'll start to bolt every which way as soon as we move," he whispers hoarsely over at Joraycen, as tohugh it were'nt already obvious. Gus is full of the obvious. His runner edges forward at a slow pace off to the right, "I … I s'pose you give the signal, then? What's a good signal word?" he adds at the other man, eyeing him from the slight distance between them now. "Yee-haw?"

G'len looks over to Joraycen. "Yee-haw?" He looks back at Gus. "What's that mean?"

G'len smiles at G'len. "It's just a sound to get the beasts moving, is all. We'll keep out of the way. /You/ still keep an eye out for anything in the grass."

Joraycen's bay mare can sense the tension in her rider, her head lifting, alert, nostrils flaring to scent the wind. She knows something's about to happen. She shifts under him, resettling her weight, ready … ready …. She's to be disappointed, however, as it's only a gentle pressure with his knees that he gives her, signalling a slow walk. He snorts, shaking his head as a wry chuckle escapes him. "Just give a whoop and start galloping. The 'beasts'll give all the other signals we need." A grin is directed down at G'len, "I think your friend here's been reading too many Harper scrolls about range drivers. Those scrolls usually feature some sort of buxom lass falling out of her dress, too." That last line delivered over his shoulder, as his runner ambles along to the left, taking him out of range of the group, and setting the course for getting the beastcrafter into position.

T'burk chuckles. "I'm reading the wrong books. Must have missed that one," he grins.

Ae'gus risks a quiet snort at Joraycen's comment, craning his neck over his shoulder to get a good look at the other man across the way and giving a slight waggle of his eyes, "Eh, what's wrong with buxom lasses falling out of their dresses, though? They seem to like those range drivers. It's a very manly profesion." Before any other banter can be tossed about, he settles back into the task at hand, tensing his shoulders and leaning in against his runner's neck in preparation for quick movement. I wouldn't help for him to be thrown off at a crucial moment like this, no matter how funny it might be for those who are watching. He lets the beast edge itself forward a few more paces until they're within a good few gallop lengths away from the main herd, yet still downwind from the milling animals. The man inhales deeply, almost with enough force that it's likely audible as a loud gust from nearby. "YEEE HAW", he lets out a sound that is surprisingly loud and carrying for one of such short stature. His naturally bass tones make it sound even more impressive. At the noise, he and his runner shoot out from the foliage like an arrow from a bow, zigzagging in a careening fashion for the first few leaps before setling into a fast lope along the right side of the herd, which are now starting to mill around in terror at the sudden activity.

Joraycen's entrance onto the field is rather less dramatic. He doesn't holler, he certianly doesn't 'yee-haw'. No, he's set his runner into a gallop without any sound at all, leaning low over her neck. Giving the milling 'beasts, for the start, only one noisy creature to worry about. It's only when it looks like the small herd is going to split, some heading away from Ae'gus and some back towards the others that he'll break his silence. A much less powerful or impressive, bit still loud, "HA!" Followed by a series of sharp, piercing whistles. He's unhooked the rope from his belt, using it to add an illusion of bulk to him and his runner as he waves the coil in wide cirlces. "Hya, git!"

G'len watches the men peal out on their runners, laughing as they take off. Even he hoots with excitement.

T'burk watched the lads ride off, keeping a mental connection with Vinteth high above. He just chuckles at G'len. "Just watch the grass, lad."

Ae'gus manages to maintain control of his runner after his slightly messy entrance, flicking the reins once or twice to smooth his curve out a little as he presses his path into the herd, trying to drive them towards Joraycen and still keep them in a tight knit group. With all the uneven terrain in the area, though, it's making it a difficult ride for the dragonrider, who is jittering along in a bouncy fashion as his mount careens across the expanse. As a result, his next whoop comes out a bit shaken, "HEE-YAH," he tries to make his voice carry over the pounding hooves of the multitude of beasts, but it's a loss. Perhaps he's managed to spot his partner in cirme's antics with the lasso, as he seems to remember the coil of rope only just then. Deftly uncoiling it from his saddle pommel, he begins to wave the thing about in the air in some fit to make himself more noticeable. That can't be too difficult, what with his whooping, extreme runnerbeast riding and bright red-gold hair to boot. It's like he's a moving target for all to see. TThe collaberative efforts seem to be working, as the herd is now moving in a motley channel off in the general direction of the Weyr, though there are a few near the rear end that are beginning to veer to one side in genuine fear of the situation.

"Ha!" Another shout followed by those sharp whistles from Joraycen, the whistles carrying much better than the shouting. As most of the herd begins to form a cohesive whole, he pulls his bay out wide again. Better to see what's going on with the herd, and manuever easily if required if any start to stray. Through the cloud of dust that's being raised it's hard to really see what Ae'gus is up to, but whatever he's doing certainly seems to be working. A fierce grin is Ray's expression, save for when he's sending that annoying whistle through the air. A sudden pull at the reigns sets his runner almost down on her rump, before she turns at right angles and charges headlong at a random cow who thought to split from the main herd. Possibly trying to join those few at the back who're still pointed in the wrong direction and too far away for the runner-mounted to catch.

Vinteth slides down from her higher glide to swerve along the hilly side of the herd, at a distance, going from one rider to the other. She's swift and green and should be a deterrent enough from any of her meals-to-go from heading anyplace back from where they are supposed to go.

There might be some laughter through the latest whoop that comes from Ae'gus, as there's a giant toothy grin splitting his face to add to his merriment as well. That strange moustache on his face that he insists on keeping only makes it look even more comical, if it could even be seen through the giant cloud of dust that's beginning to settle over the area. It's the dust that catches the dragonrider offguard, as when he inhales to take another breath for another whoop, he catches a lungful of dirt. Eyes tearing up, he settles for swinging his lasso around in a tight loop, not that it has as much effect as Joraycen's due to the man's height. He makes up for his temporary deficit by giving the reins a quick flick and sending his dapple grey runer in a sharp turn that kicks up a fresh cloud of foliage and dirt into the air. With another flick, the beast zigzags another way, sending the herd rippling like water before a swift wind. To and fro, back and forth. He swiftly canvasses his side of the herd, trying his best to cut off any stragglers who feel the need to part company with the main pack. As Vinteth flies over, he finds his voice again and lets out another whoop of delight, his runner skidding a little in his latest sharp, showy turn. Not that he has anyone to show off to, but he's always been for the flamboyant moves.

Joraycen now has to be preoccupied not only with keeping the herd under control, but keeping his mount under control, as well. Training only takes you so far, and when a great big predator comes winging out of the sky, instincts start taking over. The spirited bay wants to bolt, and there's some dancing and bucking and likely some cursing, not that it could be heard. Finally, though it pains him to do so, he slaps her rump with the trailing ends of the reigns, a sharp sting that jolts her into a headlong run. A hand on the pommel helps to pull himself back into the saddle - the silly creature can crowhop! Once she's running again, he keeps her nose pulled down near her chest, directing her with reigns and knees in an unknowing immitation of Ae'gus. The sharp, sudden turns keep the 'beasts on the edge of the herd confused, less likely to try to break away as they can't quite make up their minds if this strange flailing, whistling creature is a predator or not.

With the addition of the dragon into the mix, it's quickly turning into a wild, bumpy ride for Ae'gus. Jittering in the saddle like a rock in a can, the man leans low over the runner's neck to try to keep himself from being bounced around as much as possible. Still, he keeps up a relentless stream of whooping and waving of his free arm wielding the lasso, lifting his torso up to add to his visible bulk whenever he feels it's safe enough. As it is, his runer is careening frm one side to another, almost as badly as some of the rampaging herdbeasts only a few feet away. Leaning back sharply, Ae'gus jerks on the reins slightly, trying to wrest control of the runner back to himself rather than the instincts the creature is suddenly feeling. Dust is caking every pore of the bronzerider's skin and clothing, as well as the runer himself, not to mention there is a desperation in the herd's mood. They're running on pure terror and blind fear, throwing themselves forward with little knowledge of where they might be going. Some have stumbled and fallen behind, only to be driven further forward by Vinteth. The Weyr is starting to grow large in the distance - it must only be several dragonlengths until they're in the outskirts of the Weyr itself and just a small bit more before they can try to corral them in the feeding ground area. In fact, the fenced area is quite visible in the distance now over the haze of dust and sweat.

Vinteth circles back, inland, away from the riders and the herdbeasts. She makes a turn, keeping low over the land, and turns back to make a much slower approach. If the two runnerbeasts keet the flanks of the herdbeasts fron scattering, she can give the herdbeasts reason to keep going forward. She flaps her wings slowly, working hard to keep from getting too hungry as she watches her lunch running, or trotting away from her.

G'len starts loping after the herd, the men on runnerbeasts, and even the dragon. His legs seem to be made for it for he leaps from stones and rocks, bounding off of them, his pace not stumbling or slacking.

T'burk follows, last of all. He runs for a while. then stops. "What the shards am /I/ running for?" he asks himself out loud. "I got a ride." He shakes his head and just strolls back, whistling a sea chantie.

As the Weyr starts looming large, the time for finesse is over. The herdbeasts are set in their course, now, blinded by panic and dust, too stupid and tired and hot to try any of the silliness they attempted at the start of the drive. With a grimace of distaste, Joraycen drives his heels into the bay mare's sides and whips the reigns from side to side. Not striking the runner, but rather his own thighs, and likely turning them black and blue in the process. But the sharp sounds behind her head spur the mare forward and this time he gives her her head. Where she summoned up the energy for a flat out run is anyone's best guess, but summon it she did, drawing steadily forward and ahead of the herd. Someone's got to make sure the pen gates are thrown wide, and that the 'beasts actually head into it. As he and the bay come even with the front of the heard, and then edge in front, he suddenly sends her veering sideways, right in front of their noses. At this stage, with no whistling or whooping or flailing, since Ray's flattened himself as low as possible on her back, the dumb 'beasts will just follow the closest rump to the front. If they're lucky, they'll follow the bay right where she leads.

In a jerking and bumping fashion, Ae'gus and his grey runer zig zag their way along the back line of the herdbeasts, driving them forward along with the help of the overheard green. Little has to be done now to urge them forward, as the whole mass of them are running in a blind flat out sprint towards whatever solace they can find. Just for the fun of it, though, the bronzerider lets out several loud whoops and several showy waves of his coil of rope. Have to lool and sound the part, afterall, through and through. Clouds of dust rise up from underneath his runer's hooves as they gallop flat out at the straggling members of the stampeding herd, driving them forward relentlessly. The animals have little choice but to follow Joraycen's bay mare towards the pens in the Weyr proper. With many bellowings and whufflings and frightened noises, they barrel forward, intent on their purpose: safety, solace and some peace and quiet. No more whistling, hollaring or whooping for them. They just want to be left alone now and will do anything to get that.

G'len keeps up the steady lope, heading back to the Weyr. The others are way ahead of him now but he still pushes it, his pace hardly slacking. He holds his pole in one hand, point elevated only slightly, so it doesn't get caught on anything.

T'burk strolls for a ways yet. He takes it easy. He gets too tired he'll just call Vinnie back.

One can only hope that the gentleman with the oh-so-helpful green dragon also had enough sense to have her send ahead word to expect them. Fleet the bay mare may be, but she's not quite fleet enough to give Joraycen a good enough lead to be able to shout in time for the gates to be opened. Runner and herdbeasts crashing -through- the fence would not make anyone happy, oh no. Although the big cloud of dust and dull thunder should have also given warning that they were coming, and hopefully the weyrfolk will have gotten out of the way, and aren't standing around gawping trying to figure out what's going on. The potential for disaster … doesn't bear thinking about, really. Here's to hoping the way is clear, the gates are open, and the 'beasts can be brought to a safe, if lathered and drooping, halt within the pens.

Weyrfolk get word from their dragons that the flirty green is chortling her joy in dinner being served! Before their dragons all rush out to feed and scatter the herd again, their riders control their dragons to stay put while the riders make sure the gates to the corral are all opened. Vinteth hangs back now, letting the good men on the runnerbeasts to herd the dinners-ona-hooves heading in the right direction. Once the herd is all in then she will go back to get her rider. She listens to what she is told and is careful to not bugle to her fellow dragons.

In the confusion of thundering hooves, giant clouds of dust and whooping riders on runnerback charging in their general direction, some more quick-thinking stable workers rush to the feeding ground gates to hastily undo the bolts keeping the things closed. They make a quick job of it, even though the fastenings are heavy and manage to pull the things open just wide enough for a small line of the beasts to trickle through before they have to stumble and fall backwards to keep from being caught by any straggling beasts. As the first of the herd crash through into the open plains, the gates roll open to their full opening with a CRASH that thankfully doesn't appear to do any damage to the sturdy gate, other than a thorough rattling. Terrified cries from the herdbeasts, snorting, snuffling and general sounds of exhaustion permeate through the milling beasts as they fan out into their sanctuary. Peace at last. Some of them decide to do a complete run of the enclosure, searching for another way out of the area, but a knowledgeable worker thinks enough to force the gate closed behind the last of them to prevent any from leaking back out. Ae'gus rides up a few moments later, his runner skidding to a stop just outside the fence. There's a giant grin on his face that seems to be splitting it in half, despite the fact he's covered in dust from head to toe. He looks like some sort of dust monster from under the bed, "That was /great/, eh? I hope there are more to take in, y'know? There have to be more around." He swivels in his saddle to peer back to where they came from with a hopeful look in his eyes.

Once safely inside the pens, Joraycen once more sends the bay veering off to the side in a swift U-turn that takes her out of the attention of the leading 'beasts and allows the beastcrafter to bring her back round by the gate, slowing her to a walk. He's the same uniform shade of grey-brown as Ae'gus, colour showing through only where sweat has streaked down his face and neck. He grins across at the dragonrider, panting and laughing even as he swings a leg over the bay's back and dismounts. "No chance we rounded up even a quarter of what went missing. There'll be more to find, I'm sure, but not today. Not for that runner, anyway." Trust a 'crafter to be all business. "He needs a proper cooldown, rubdown, water and feed." As he speaks, he's lifted the reigns over his own mare's head, turning them into a short lunge. She would prefer to just stand, spraddle-legged with head hanging so far her nose touches the ground. But with a click of his tongue and a shake of his rope, he sets her reluctantly walking, trembling and lathered, in slow circles about himself, turning with her. "You could use a cooldown and rub as well, I expect. You'll be discovering muscles you forgot you had, perched up adragonback instead of on a good solid runner. If we let you go back out today, you'll be half-crippled inside of an hour." He coughs suddenly, hacking out a load of dusty glop and spitting it onto the ground. "To the stables with the runners, and to the healers for some salve for us, I think should be the next order of business." Clop clop goes the bay mare, and as Joraycen turns again he peers curiously past Ae'gus. "You think the Weyrleader fell off?"

Vinteth makes another sweeping turn to head back to pick up her rider. He's sitting there, on a large group of boulders, relaxing. Moments later he's back to the corral with the others. "Good girl, Precious!" he tells his lifelong companion. "Well done! Well done, indeed!" He rubs her head and eyeridges. Then he waves over to Joraycen and Ae'gus. "Excellent job, gentlemen! Thank you!"
Vinteth warbles her appreciation as well.

It's hard to tell exactly what color the runner Ae'gus was riding was, considering he's completely brownish grey, rather than the dappled color he had been when he first came out on the journey. Even so, he's also showing signs of exhaustion after the long trip, nostrils flared and haunches slick with sweat through the coating of grime and dirt. The daze of excitement and adventure leaves Ae'gus' eyes finally and he drags his attention back to the present, punctuated by a rather deep hacking cough of his own, which sends a swirl of dust flying away from his clothing. His entire face scrunches up into a grimace as he swings his legs over the side of the saddle and dismounts with less grace, stumbling slightly upon landing. The runner is a bit tall for one of his stature, but he makes no notice of his less than standard landing as he straightens up briskly, brushing at his clothing with that odd, jolly grin splitting his face. All that is visible is a slightly muddy brown moustache and bright white teeth behind it. "Ah, I know. I wouldn't be that silly to take the same one out again. And, ah … eh. Now that you mention it. I think sore would be an understatement to the twinges I'm starting to feel, eh?" he remarks, finishing with another grimace as he rubs at one of his arms experimentally. "Would be nice if /I/ could get a rub down massage and a nice wash by one of them buxom lasses falling out of their dresses. Runners get all the luck." He lets out a snort of laughter at this, amused by his own wit not for the first time. "I think I ought to take a bath and get cleaned up, no matter how dashing and rugged I look like this." He aims a grin at Joraycen as he passes, casting a glance back over his shoulder, "Ah. Ih ope not. I'll have to say he might be looking for clues or stragglers, perhaps? I'll have Halinith check up with his bronze Glyth." Wioth that, he walks off, trying his best to walk normally without showing any hint of stiff-leggedness. Still he walks as though he's still partially sitting on a saddle, oddly enough.

T'burk watches Ae'gus head off and chuckles. "Looks like I'd better get out the numbweed."

Joraycen lifts a hand in a wave back to T'burk, but that's the only acknowledgement he'll give. Now that the beasts are all properly tenderized and fear-spiced for any hungry dragons lurking about, the young man's attention is turned to a new and equally important task. Caring for the runners who, true to their name, ran their hearts out today. He steps in close to the exhausted mare, stroking her velvet nose and murmuring softly. "There's a good girl. You did well today, sweetheart. Easy now, easy, it'll be cool water and a warm mash for you soon enough." A brief flash of a smile and a laugh, as he nods his farewell to Ae'gus. A signal of his hand and a jerk of his chin requests the gates to be opened again, just enough for him to lead the mare out, and gather up the reigns of the dappled grey the bronzerider left behind. "Come along you two. Let's get you untacked and taken care of, hm?" And with that, he'll lead the reluctant runners off to walk them down, moving slightly easier, but with many of the same signs of stiffness at Ae'gus. Regular excersizing rounds and hard riding are two very different things.

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