Murder by Sea, oh my!

Western Weyr - Living Caverns
Here is the center of Weyr life, the living caverns. These two main rooms were man-shaped from smaller caves, and are joined by a carved arch with depictions of dragons in flight and dolphins leaping in swirling waves. One room has many round stone and wooden tables and a stone fire-pit instead of a hearth. Over the round-walled, gas fired pit is a large conical hood made of polished bronze, with reliefs of dragons with their riders flying over ships guided by dolphins. This hood and chimney keeps the room smoke-free. Through the archway is an enormous hall, with long tables and benches, some carved from the rock floor, many crafted of wood. This room is a combination dining and meeting hall, and can seat over 300 comfortably. Above both rooms, angled shafts lined with polished metal bring in sunlight during the day. Electric lights also burn, day and night.

It's quite early at Western. Quite early. The sun has just come up, actually. Zi'on is already sitting in the caverns even though food wouldn't be served for several more hours. He's sitting by himself, since there's no one else around besides the occasional drudge worker slipping in and out of the caverns to get things ready for breakfast. Zi'on looks terrible. He's jittery from too much klah and as circles under his eyes from not enough sleep (or any sleep). His scruff is also growing into his goatee, which was trimmed nicely the day before.

Those early morning hours are Shadhavarth's favorite for waking and partaking of her already ritual daily Sun Worship aka basking. As she's already fed, sated, and sprawled out in a spot of sun in the barracks, Iris is free to go feed herself. She's still sleepy, meandering in and bee-lining for the perfect klah she knows will be brewing in the kitchens. She emerges a minute later with a mug of klah and a redfruit. The rather empty cavern is peered into and she heads for Zi'on, sliding into a chair next to him and offering a tired smile. "Asked m'friend to heat up some sweetrolls if you want'em too. Don't think I'm actually as hungry as I feel."

Zi'on is staring off into space when Iris sits down. There's a pitcher of klah in front of him, but who could tell how old it was. The stuff Iris retrieves probably tastes much better. He jumps a bit as Iris starts talking to him. "I who huh? Oh… sure. Yeah… Thanks…" Zi'on is generally off in la-la land, but not usually like -this-. He stares down into his mug then. "Er, how's things going? You impressed the gold, right? Are you still Idris?"

Iris is just alert enough to laugh as Zi'on jumps, and the laughter wakes her further. "There's /just/ been some fresh klah that finished brewing in the kitchen… do you want some? Yours looks pretty old. Or maybe you should have something like juice- how long have you even been up? You look awful!" She rises, to go fetch him something fresh if he decides. There's a bit of a gleaming expression as she waits, and the former baker nods. "I did… she calls me Iris, actually… guess she didn't like the 'd' or something."

Zi'on stares at Iris and hugs his klah pitcher to himself. "No, this is mine. It's fine. I'll get more later." Maybe he's laced it with something? Does Pern have cocaine? "I.." He counts in his head. "About a day or so, now. A little longer maybe. I don't know." Zi'on sounds a little manic. Too much klah, probably. "That's good. Iris is a flower, right? That's a pretty name. Congrats and all. I bet Enka is happy." He blinks then. "Enka! Ooh… I haven't been over there since the hatching. She probably thinks I'm mad at her. Or dead." Stare. "DEAD."

Iris lowers back into the chair, nodding slowly. She takes a sip of her own nice hot klah before responding. "Thank you… I haven't gotten to talk with her, really, but I heard she's pretty glad there'll be someone to foist numbers off on." She chuckles a little, "Yet another thing I'll have to brush up on." And then Iris is staring at Zi'on, expression becoming quite confused and a touch concerned for his sanity. "Um… dead?"

Zi'on grins a bit and nods. "Yeah. She'll be glad of that. I hope you like your maths. Though she's got computers now to help her. You'll have plenty of time to talk to her once you're graduated." The bronzer peers around and leans in close to Iris. "Can you keep a secret?" Probably a really bad question to ask a weyrling. Because even if Iris could, her dragon probably couldn't. The bronzer doesn't wait for an answer, either. He whispers, "I saw someone murdered last night!"

Blink. Blinkblink. Iris just kind of stares blankly at the bronzerider for a long moment, then her expression becomes a mixture of suspicious and incredulous. "Are you trying to pull a fast one? Is this some kind of prank?" Naturally, it's that moment that her drudge-friend brings out the warmed sweetrolls, and she leans back to accept the heaping plate, say a quick thank you, and look back at Zi'on, eyes narrowed as she simply sets the plate down so she can continue eyeballing him. "For real?"

Zi'on stares at Iris with big bloodshot eyes with circles under them. He's twitching a bit. When the drudge comes out he gives her a sleepy smile. Then he picks up a sweetroll and takes a bite, before turning back to Iris to explain. "I saw it last night… while we were on sweeps. It was out on a boat! Way out in the water. There was a few men, and it looked like they were dragging someone behind them. And I could see the thing they were dragging. A guy, all tied up with a bag over his head. Then I saw the glint of steel… and then tied up man went limp." His head falls to the table with a clunk. "Oh Faranth they killed him! They killed him and we didn't do anything!"

Iris continues to stare incredulously, wanting to believe but it is quite the story. She startles at the clunk his head makes. "You mean… like Renegades?" she shivers, then grabs a sweetroll- that will warm her up! Roll is chewed slowly. "Did you… did you, well of course you reported it. Why wouldn't we have done anything? If it's on sweeps isn't that our, erm, territory so to speak?"

Kyldar waddles (yeah, waddles) into the cavern under the weight of her now huge baby bump, and, yawning hugely, makes her way toward the serving table, helping herself to a big mug of klah. She runs a hand through her hair and turns to address those already seated. "Morning," she greets sleepily.

Zi'on stares at Iris, then he reaches over to grab her shirt. "Like… pirates!" He shoves the rest of his roll into his mouth. He waits until he's swallowed it down. "Yes. We came right back for more riders to chase down the ship. But it was moving and then the storm blew in and we couldn't find them. Everyone said I'd made it all up and Da scolded me for wasting everyones time. But I saw it! I SAW IT." He shakes her a bit before releasing her. There's a bit of a wave given to Kyldar and then the bronzer goes for another roll.

Iris's eyes go big when he grabs her shirt and she squeaks, and nods agreeably and quickly to his frenzy. "Um, okay, yes, I believe you?" When she's released, she scoots her chair back just a smidge. She's definitely not sleepy now but awake and alarmed, undoubtedly disturbing Shadhavarth's basking. She grab her sweetroll and takes a big bite, chewing anxiously as Kyldar arrives. Seeing Zi'on wave, she turns to see who has arrived and offers an uncertain smile at the other rider.

Kyldar plunks herself down at an adjacent table. "What's this about renegades and pirates? She gives Zi'on a quizzical look. "Am I missing out on some wing action?"

Zi'on is known for being a drama queen anyways. And a gossipmongerer. And lately prone to serious lapses for judgment. He wolves down another roll, then lays his head down on the table. "You didn't miss out on anything," the young bronzer informs Kyldar. "I'm going insane. Or so everyone keeps telling me. That I'm seeing things. That there was no boat, or it was this or that."

Iris isn't down on all the latest gossip she'd normally have overheard working in the kitchen, so lapses in judgement and talk of Zi'on's drama haven't settled in her brain. But incredulity that he could have actually seen it- and no one else thanks to a nicely timed storm is definitely at the forefront of her mind, even through the haze of alarm. "Where was this? Was it near us?" They could be coming /here/! She stares down at her mug of klah, eyes wide and unblinking. "Maybe you are going insane. But Suldith wouldn't be, would he? Or did not even he see the blade?"

Kyldar narrows her eyes at Zi'on. "Um," she ums, "if you say so. So, erm, maybe you should talk to a mindhealer or some such?" Pause. "Of course, Sinasapelth would be ready and rarin' to get into action under normal circumstances, but I'm grounded until the babies come." Babies? Plural? Oh, dear.

It was probably a good thing that Iris isn't on the latest gossip. Otherwise she'd have seen Zi'on and ran the other way or something. He did see it! Well, he saw -something- like he'd described, but they were far up. "Suldith saw something, yeah. But we were high up and it was dark other than one glow lantern on the boat and the storm was rolling in. It was out off the coast a ways up north of the bowl. I don't think they're coming here." He sighs. "We searched the whole island for them all night."

Th'ero comes wandering into the living caverns, looking as though he's just rolled out of his cot and hasn't really stopped to fix his rumpled hair or even bother changing into some fresh clothes. He hesitates for a moment by the entrance, glancing about the near deserted cavern. It's not long before he finds whatever - or whomever rather - he's searching for and with slow, but reasonably calm steps he approaches the spot where Iris, Zi'on and Kyldar are no doubt conversing. "What's going on?" he asks, frowning and obviously still partially asleep. No hellos, no greetings. Just straight to questions. His gaze seems to settle on Iris for a moment, as if he guesses the answers lay there. But then he looks between Zi'on and Kyldar with a questioning look.

The many grains of salt Iris might've woken up with has by now dwindled down to basically none. That's what you get for telling a sleepy weyrling you saw someone murdered! She's anxious, and picks at her sweetroll while Zi'on explains more. Kyldar is gaped at for a moment, "Mindhealer? But if his dragon saw something too?" She shudders a little. Dragons /know/, at least in her experience they have so far. When Th'ero arrives, she looks up with a bewildered expression, realizing a moment later that Shadhavarth had woken others responding to her alarm, and she bites her lip and just nods toward Zi'on. How could she have words for this?

Zi'on gives Th'ero a groan. Zi'on looks horrible. He clearly hasn't slept all night, and has had enough klah for forty people. He mumbles a bit to himself. Now everyone's heard that Zi'on's gone insane! "I don't need a mindhealer. I know what I -saw-. They could come back? I mean, who were they? Pirates? Renegades? Something new?" He lifts his head then to peer at Iris, then to Th'ero. "I saw someone get -murdered-. Yeah that's right. And then we looked all over the weyr for them all night."

Kyldar nods. "Yeah, if the dragon saw it too, then never mind the mindhealers." She shifts uneasily in her seat, rubbing her pregnant bulge as she sinks into thought. "Y'know," she yknows at Iris, "These are the things a watch wing looks out for. I know you impressed at the hatching, I watched you. Congratulations by the way." She smiles friendily. "But—have you decided what you're going to do after you graduate from weyrlinghood?" To Zion: "So, no one is taking you seriously, then?"

Th'ero notices the bewildered look from Iris and at first he seems to smirk, though it does soften to a bit of a sympathetic smile. The weyrling is then scrubbing at his face tiredly and no doubt starting to feel a little awkward being out so early and with little ideas as to why - aside from Velokraeth's insistence that he be here while the bronze continues to sleep. So really, he's nothing more then a messenger to his otherwise calm dragon. When Zi'on groans, Th'ero's gaze focuses on him and it's not long before he's far more alert. Sliding into a nearby seat, he's shaking his head a little to snap himself into gear. "Shells. Right out in the open too?" he asks, seeming to believe the bronzerider right off. Then the frown returns, deeper then before. "Depends where the murder happened." A pause. "Out looking for the murderers or the murder victim?"

Iris returns her gaze to her cooling mug of klah when Zi'on starts explaining for Th'ero. Mug is safe, sane, and has seen no murders. She drinks from it and shrugs at Kyldar's questions. "Er, thank you. I haven't given it much thought, since, I mean they tell me what weyrwomen do so it'll be that." She's glad for something completely different to babble about, though her tired brain is still wrapping around Zi'on's tale, and she looks up at him again before glancing to Th'ero. His final question earns another look of alarm; she hadn't considered both aspects yet. "Could they even find the victim? Or would he be at the bottom of the ocean now?"

Kyldar sips lightly at her klah and nods to Iris. "There's that. You'll be second to Enka, of course, but she's a good Weyrwoman and a good leader. I've known her since she was Weyrwoman for Ista, turns ago. It's always good to plan your future, though." Then, to Zi'ion, "Yeah, someone got murdered, and apparently no one is taking you seriously. So, /was/ the victim found? Or the perpetrator for that matter?"

Zi'on shrugs to Kyldar. "Not anymore, I don't think. Not after we searched all night and didn't find a ship. Maybe they found a place to hide it…" He looks to Th'ero then. "Out in a ship out on the ocean. They probably thought they were far enough out, but I saw them! The murderers. They probably weighted down the body. You can do that right? With big rocks. So it sinks down." The bronzer finishes off his mug of klah, then bangs his hands down on the table. "I'm going out to look more! There's got to be some evidence!" Poor Suldith was probably tired of this game by now. But that's not enough to keep the bronzer from marching out of the caverns. "I'll be back with evidence!"

Th'ero glances back to Iris, no doubt noticing her alarmed look. Again, he tries to give her a reassuring look in return, but it ends up twisting into something more like a grimace then anything. "It happened on the water then?" he asks in general, sounding far more curious about the whole ordeal then his fellow weyrling. There doesn't seem to be an ounce of alarm in Th'ero. Only a thoughtful look and then he's regarding Zi'on again and ready to being plying him with questions, though he waits for him to share his side of the story. "You could. And sounds quite suspicious and could be renegades or pirates." Blinking a bit in surprise as Zi'on suddenly moves to leave, Th'ero quickly adds. "Get the guards involved if you need help." He offers, before turning back to both Iris and Kyldar. Now that he's awake, he seems reluctant to head back to the barracks right away. "What are you two doing up this early?" he asks, smiling lightly.

She starts to nod at Kyldar when Zi'on goes into another frenzy of words. His mania does nothing to calm down Iris; naturally banging hands and Zi'on's rush out the cavern are cause for another startled jump and a stare after him. Once he's fully gone, however, she turns back to the other two, expression wrinkled with concern. "I was just coming to eat. Shadhavarth had woken with the sun to eat and bask and I was hungry. And there he was looking all, um, crazed. I'm /really/ sorry if she woke you, I didn't mean to project, everything's so much more vivid with another in your head…"

Kyldar cants her head at Zi'on. "Um, yeah, you do that. Go and find something, more power to you and all that." Then to the others: "You're still getting accustomed to the draconic bond. It's going to take a while for you to adapt, this is why they have you away from most things aside from weyrling life for now. You'll adjust."

"Don't apologize." Th'ero tries that reassuring smile again towards Idris and this time he actually manages to do it thought it quickly fades. "Velokraeth wasn't alarmed, just curious. That's why I'm here and he's asleep." There's a bit of a smirk to that last bit and then he's settling deep into his seat to the point of almost slouching, resting one arm across the tabletop. "Zi'on did look really out of sorts." He admits, frowning thoughtfully again. "Shells! I wonder at what he and Suldith saw." For a moment, Th'ero seems almost envious or frustrated. No doubt he's itching to help but, well, obviously can't. To Kyldar, Th'ero smiles lightly. "That's reassuring to know. It was tough the first days or so, but it is getting easier." Suddenly, Th'ero looks distracted and his expression goes blank for a hearbeat before he's blinking and rising from his seat. "Speaking of which… I better get back." With that, he gives both Iris and Kyldar a quick wave and then he's off, slipping out of the caverns at as fast a walking pace he can manage.

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