Seeing a ghost

East Bowl
Stone slabs slope gently from one to another as the bowl floor extends outwards. The bowl is a mix of bare patches of darkly hued stone and grittier bits of dust and pebbles. The pebbles and dust combine into a rough dirt which has been slowly worn down over time and settled into the lower spots slowly evening out the bowl floor. The rustle of the Weyr's herd can be heard, and often smelt, to the northeast where behind the grounds the closest part of the bowl wall rises majestically toward the sky. From here one also gets a good view of the seven spindles curling about the rim to the north, spreading east and west like fingers safely protecting all within. The chilly lake waters sparkle invitingly behind its pebbly shore to the southeast, while much of the activity about the Weyr can be seen distantly in the northern portion of the bowl.

The call came in to High Reaches Weyr dragons, another freak tidal wave had washed up north of Tillek. Fortunately it didn't slam into the hold itself, but some ships were known to be out in the probable path of the wave. A sweep rider was requested to search for the ships. Not long after, another call came. A ship had been tossed up on a rock, stranded above water level, and even if it wasn't stranded, it was not in a condition to sail. Assistance was requested to bring the stranded FisherCrafters back to the Hold.
Among the dragons to respond was bronze Zhirazoth and his rider. They were one of the two pairs to come back directly to the hold with injured persons that were taken straight to the weyrhealer. The rest of the sailors were taken back to Tillek Hold with minor injuries, and it was reported that all hands on deck had been rescued.

The door the infirmary opens to allow a youthful sea lad of impressive height (although he also has that thin look of one who has recently shot up and his muscles haven't quite caught up with the growth of his bones) to walk out under his own power. A sling holds his right arm close to his body, and the small knapsack of belongings that he clung to with his good hand when being loaded onto the bronze is now slung over his good left shoulder. He squints in the late afternoon light as the sun is reaching the mountain rim and sending a glaring shaft of light down into the bowl before it will disappear altogether, and leave the ground in shadow.

Walking up from the lake shore is a young lady, her short, dark hair flying around in her face in the light breeze, though she keeps trying to push it back with distracted movements of her hand. Her other hand is held onto the leash of a runner, the mid-sized creature plodding along contentedly, out for an afternoon walk. Tossing his head, his antics keep Mohria's attention fixed on him rather than the area around them, as she shushes the creature. "Hush, now. Back to the stables, alright? We had a nice walk, huh?"

Of all the available places to land and settle in the bowl, Zhirazoth must have the ground where that glaring shaft of light still warms and where it will now warm and brighten his hide instead. Never mind it will require a bit of a tricky twist of his wings, the young bronze forges on and sticks the landing with minimal dust kicked up. Ta-da! Wings flick and tuck up tight to his sides and with a pleased rumble he surveys the bowl. As for his rider, well… Mr'az looks rather grim when he peels back his goggles and pull the face cover down enough for his features to be visible. A swift smack is given to the great bronze's neck, muttered comments lost to distance. No doubt the words 'reckless' and 'unnecessary' are in there somewhere, words Zhirazoth only snorts at before he waits patiently (for now) for the task given to them this afternoon. Mr'az dismounts and his green eyes scan only briefly before he spies that youthful lad and a gloved hand lifts in salute, then wave. "Afternoon," he calls out, voice warm and welcoming even as his eyes give Firmin the once over. "You're looking much better since our last meeting. All set then?" Mohria's approach hasn't been caught yet by the Wingrider, though Zhirazoth is certainly curious — and more for that four legged creature she's leading.

Due to the sun in his eyes, and the distraction of the bronze dragon in that sun to watch land, Firmin has yet to notice the woman leading the runner beast. "Well met again, Mr'az," Firmin calls in reply, his fishercraft accent coloring the greeting. "I'm feelin' better, too, thank y'. Looks like I'll be land locked f'r a couple weeks, 'least." The young man turns his steps towards Zhirazoth. "Am I lucky enough t'have a ride back with y'an'yer fine bronze?"

The gelding Mohria is leading lifts his head again, tossing it a bit with ears swiveling forward and then back when Zhirazoth lands and looks their way. Swallowing a bit, Mohria focuses on keeping the creature calm, but then she stops, head tilting a little bit. That accent is familiar, and easily recognizable as Tillek. The girl ducks her head for a moment, staring at the ground and taking a slow breath. Maybe they won't notice her and she won't have to socialize. Though probably it's not someone she knows. What're the odds of that? So she lifts her head and continues to walk, tugging a bit more on the gelding's halter to get him moving at a faster pace.

Zhirazoth is just that flashy! And he knows it. Something else has enraptured him though and Firmin's comment on 'fine bronze' goes missed in favor of that runner. No matter that the poor gelding is tossing his head, Zhirazoth is delighted! Is this a new friend for him? Of course the runner is for him. How kind! Mr'az is unaware of his lifemate's current focus, caught up as he is with actual duties. "Well met, Firmin." he echoes when politest to do so, trying not to squint too much as he deciphers the unfamiliar accent. He does however smile, light and easy going. "Good! And don't thank us. Just doing what we're put here to do and all." he admits with a slight shrug, only to grimace. "Ahh, that's a pity. But could be worse, right? Only glad we could get to you and your fellows in time." Mr'az steps forwards as well, gesturing for Firmin to approach while he roots around in one of the lower sacks stitched into the straps. Pulling out a spare helmet, he almost tosses it to the lad out of habit but catches himself with a sheepish grin. Oops? "Here, see if that fits right." he says while offering the helmet for him to take. "Suppose that answers your question too. Yes, we're to take you back." Something catches his attention then, likely the certain way Zhirazoth rumbles. Mr'az's head lifts and turns, eyes scanning… ah-ha. "Miss? Mind your runner there. May want to skirt a wider berth around him." So much for stealth evasion?

Firmin reaches out for the helmet with his good hand, and settles it on his head. "Thank y'. It could by, ya, but it's still a nuisance, aye?" He fumbles with his free hand to buckle the helmet, turning his head to follow Mr'az's eyes to the 'miss' being addressed. He freezes, his hand no longer fumbling with the strap. Instead, he seems to pale, almost as pale as when Mr'az first brought him in.

Mohria turns her head when Mr'az calls out to her, and then she ducks her head a bit, blushing. The color rises from her cheeks to the tips of her ears as she pushes at her hair again. "Yes, sir, I will," she promises. And then she finally catches a glimpse of the young Seacrafter lad with the bronzerider. And she freezes, eyes widening, and she takes a small step back. Sensing her shift in mood, the runner flicks his ears back and prances, stomping his hooves into the packed earth of the bowl.

"Nuisance? Hardly. We're glad for the work. Better yet if it serves a good purpose and sees you safely home!" Mr'az remarks with a slight chuckle to his voice, eyes keenly observing how that helmet rests on Firmin's head. His smile wavers and then he frowns when the youth goes pale and already the bronzerider is reaching out with one gloved hand to perhaps rest it to the lad's shoulder or arm in a firm and steadying grip. "Woah, hey now. Don't go swooning on me! You sure you're cleared for travel?" he asks, peering at him. Don't lie now! Zhirazoth rumbles again from behind Mr'az, his wings now twitching with imaptience and his whirling eyes locked on that runner — which is now prancing and sending a thrill of delight through the bronze. Look how it moves! He wants it! Aware now of the bronze's obsession, Mr'az sighs and turns his head slightly, "The gelding isn't for you, you silly beast. Settle down." He then shifts his attention to the one leading the runner and straightens a bit, recognition slow coming. "Ahh — Mohria, right? Don't mind Zhirazoth, he's just fond of the gelding." Pausing, he stares at her for her reaction. "Now what's got you too? Are you ill?"

Mr'az's naming of the young lady leading the runnerbeast seems to release Firmin from his trance. "Mohria?" The name is repeated with a mixture of disbelief and barely suppressed hope. He takes a step in the direction of the gelding and its handler.

Mohria shakes her head slowly, looking at Firmin with wide eyes. "Firmin," she whispers, a soft exhale of breath accompanying his name. It's not a question either. She knows him. Grasping the runner's lead tightly in her hand, her eyes flick to Mr'az and then back to Firmin as she swallows and bites hard on her lower lip. And then she takes a slow step forward. "What…what are you doing here?"

Mr'az lets go of Firmin the moment he's assured the youth isn't about to collapse in a fainting spell. A brow quirks up when it becomes obvious that the two know each other and the bronzerider takes a slight step backwards, green gaze flicking between the two. For now he bites his tongue and sends a sharp reminder to Zhirazoth to behave himself as well, as the bronze continues to fawn over the gelding despite his rider's request not too.

Firmin forgets the helmet, and he lets his knapsack slide off his shoulder before he moves to cover the distance between him and Mohria, his hand reaching to take her shoulder first, then, reassured that she is real, he pulls her to him in a tight, one armed, hug… disregarding the runner beast she's still holding onto. "What'm'I doin' here? What're y'doin' here?" he asks incredulously. Then he lets go, his hand returning to her shoulder to grip a little harder, giving it a rough shake. "I picked up th'Stargazer's wreckage," his voice roughens as he feels the monstrous joke played on him. "I rang th'bell fer y', an' y've been here? Y'never sent word? Never thought t'let me know y're alive?"

The gelding's ears flicker again as Mohria gasps, pulled into the hug and returning it with one hand as well. "I," she gasps, blinking rapidly and shaking her head, looking up at him with guilt weighing down on her features. "I couldn't go back," she whispers, voice breaking. "The…longer I was here, the harder it got. I thought you'd just forget…" She blinks again and sniffs, a certain dampness to her eyes.

Mr'az just scratches at the back of his neck as Firmin goes on to hug Mohria and the bronzerider doesn't even have to listen close to the conversation between them to sense there is a past between the two. Not his place to ask though, he simply leans back to rest against Zhirazoth's side or pretends to busy himself with the bronze's straps. Never mind him! Though despite his "idle" tasks, he is keeping half and ear open.

"Why would y'want me t'forget y'?" Firmin wants to know, dropping his hand from her shoulder. "Y'have any idea what it's like passin' y'r house an' seein' that wherry-necked…" he tightens his mouth on the word he'd like to use to describe Mohria's step mother. He shakes his head and backs off a step. "Y'didn'even send me a message."

Mohria dips her head forward and when he lets her shoulder go a little shiver runs through her body. She rocks forward but doesn't take a step. "I…it hurt too much," she whispers. "I don't know, Firmin, I don't know," she says, frustration seeping into her voice as she shakes her head firmly. "I'm sorry," she whispers, staring hard at the dirt and sniffling.

Zhirazoth whuffles softly, head tilting as if to regard the little scene now with more interest as the fascination with the runner fades. Then he turns his head and lowers it down to nudge his rider impatiently. Weren't they going to do something? The sun is lowering! Mr'az only pushes back against that muzzle, muttering under his breath while he peers at the pair. Does he step in? Somehow the Wingrider doesn't see a reason to, save for the fact Mohria is sniffling. Zhirazoth nudges him again. Do something! Mr'az… clears his throat! What more can he do and not be a rude jerk about it?

"Aye, it hurt," Firmin affirms roughly. He turns and stalks back to his knapsack, squatting down to rummage in it with his one good hand, the other arm cradled on his thighs. "Y'were like family t'us, Moh. Ma an'Da woulda taken y'r side, if we'd known. We'd have helped y'. Y'could've even lived with us. We'd have taken y'in." He gives a shake to the knapsack as it doesn't seem to be yielding up whatever it is he's looking for.

Mohria takes a few steps after Firmin when he stalks back to his knapsack, wiping at her eyes with her free hand. "I'm sorry," she whispers again. "I just…ran away. I…I wasn't thinking. It was horrible," she whispers. She glances at Mr'az but she has nothing to offer the young bronzerider other than a pained expression.

Mr'az simply returns Mohria's pained look with a sympathetic and understanding one, perhaps even a vague nod. It's alright, though he's giving Firmin a lingering look as the youth begins to rummage around in that knapsack of his. "Need some help with that?" he asks gently, a touch awkwardly. It's the least he can do?

Firmin growls a little in frustration, but his fingers finally clasp around the long, thin object he'd been looking for, and he shakes it out of the knapsack. A couple other belongings spill out onto the ground in the process, and he turns back to
Mohria. The wherhide case seems to be holding something cylindrical, and is about as long as Mohria's forearm as he hands it over to her. "I made this f'r'y', an' was goin' tae give it t'y'on yer birthday when y'got back. But y'never got back."

Mohria is so startled by Firmin's gift that she drops the geldin's lead rope, and the creature begins to amble off. But the stablehand doesn't seem to notice as she reaches out to take the gift. "You made…" she whispers, opening the case. But she knows what it is. What else would it be?

Mr'az will barely have time to witness the surprise gift exchange before Zhirazoth is warbling and calling his rider to attention. Hey, hey! His runner is getting away! Green eyes dart from the pair and then to the retreating runner and figuring that a lose beast in the bowls would not bode well, the Wingrider mutters a swift, "Right, then." And is striding off to go snag that lead rope before the gelding ambles too far away. He seems to handle the creature with a sense of familiarity though, but it puts him in an odd situation as he now stands between his bronze, the gelding and with the two reunited youths. Uh… how'd this happen?

Firmin tries to cross his arms, but that motion reminds him of the shoulder wound most unpleasantly, so he settles for hugging his left arm to himself with his right. "'Course I did. Y'know I always make y'somethin' fer y'r birthday." He glances up as the bronze warbles, and is reminded… "'M sorry, Mr'az. I didn' mean t'keep y'waitin'." Turning, he goes back to his knapsack, gathering what spilled out and pushing it back in before he picks it up to swing back up on his shoulder.
Mohria looks at the flute he carved for her, and then she gently puts it back into her case. Before bursting into tears and lunging at him. Oh, the teenage drama. Also, she hasn't yet noticed Firmin's injury, as self-absorbed as she's been, so the poor guy might get a nasty jolt.

Mr'az turns his attention from the gelding, who is snorting and flattening his ears any time he tries to approach Zhirazoth or any direction that is forwards towards the bronze. Setting his jaw, the Wingrider exhales steadily but when Firmin addresses him there is only a smile given to the youth. "Nah, don't worry about it. We're not pressed for time. So don't rush—" Mohria's bursting into tears and lunging forwards however catches him off guard and he starts, sentenced dropped. "Hey!" he begins to say, striding forwards only to have his arm wrenched back when the gelding balks.

Still half bent in his squatting position, Firmin is completely unprepared for the rush, and he goes down awkwardly, giving a yelp of pain as his shoulder smacks into the packed earth. He turns pale again, and this time it's looking like he might almost faint. "Shards, Moh," he grits out from clenched teeth, trying to get his good hand to his shoulder as he lays on his back, his knapsack once more knocked all over the ground. His eyes squeeze shut against the pain.

Mohria startles when she knocks him over, scrambling to her knees and looking at him wide eyed. "What? What-" And then she finally notices his shoulder. "What /happened/?" she gasps, clasping a hand to her mouth. "Firmin, are you okay? I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she whispers, her face flooded with embarrassed color. She looks over at M'raz and, seeing him holding the runner, she scrambles to her feet. Indecisive, she looks between the runner and Firmin, and then crouches beside her friend once more, eyes searching his face worriedly. "I'm such a fool," she whispers harshly.

Mr'az winces when Firmin falls back and even Zhirazoth stirs, partially from his rider's alarm. The bronze rumbles, shifting so that he can better peer at the two with a piercing look. These two are strange! The Wingrider only exhales again, before clicking his tongue in a strict way to the gelding. "Get going, you," he growls low at the runner, eventually succeeding to get the prancing animal to move forwards rather than back and sideways. Eyeing Mohria first, Mr'az's glance then shifts to Firmin before he clears his throat again, "Look, hate to break up your reunion here." Really, he does. He feels low for stepping in, "Mohria, if you don't mind?" And he will foist the lead rope on her with a look that is bordering on commanding. Once he's no longer responsible for holding the gelding, he turns to Firmin. "As for you… Okay to stand there?"

Giving a little groan, Firmin lowers his good hand to the ground. "Good t'know some things never change," he manages to reply, something akin to a smile trying to make its way across his lips, but he hurts so damn much again. "Spar snapped, went int'm'shoulder when it fell. 'S why I'm here. Mr'az…" and he pauses as said rider intervenes to give Mohria the runner. "…picked me up from th'Wave Dancer an' brought me straight t'their healer." He opens one eye to look at the rider. "With some help, aye. Think I might need t'go back in an' see y'r healer again." The blood starting to seep out and stain the sling subtly reinforces his guess.

Mohria shakes her head, inhaling sharply at Firmin's words. And when Mr'az gives her the runner's lead she takes it and pulls a few steps away. "I'm going to go put him in the stable," she says, stooping to pick up her flute. She gives the men a fleeting glance before turning and striding off quickly towards the stable, the runner having to pick up the pace to a trot to keep up with her.

Mr'az only stands with a modest look on his features as Firmin goes on to explain how they came to cross paths at least, giving Mohria a sidelong look. Behind him though, Zhirazoth lifts his head and swells his chest with obvious pride for the past duty done. Blood is never a good sign and the moment the Wingrider spies a hint of it, he makes a low sound, "Yes, you do." he confirms with a grimace. "Can't take you anywhere if that has reopened. Betweening will chill that and then we're facing a whole different mess of trouble." Blinking as Mohria steps away, Mr'az nods when she states her reason, green eyes watching her for a brief moment before looking back down to Firmin. Crouching slightly, he extends a hand to the youth, "Here, then. Lets get you up and back to the Healers."

Firmin let's Mr'az take his hand, and stands, holding on for a moment as he sways. He watches Mohria walk off with a puzzled look, then glances to his belongings on the ground. "Girls," he mutters, perplexed, as the one in question disappears towards the stables.

Mr'az snorts and his smirk carries a wry edge to it. "Well said," he drawls, keeping his grip on Firmin when the youth sways. Eyeing him with a lingering look, the Wingrider then begins to crouch down in preparation to gather those scattered belongings unless the owner protests against it. Zhirazoth however has decided to pine over his lost friend and the bronze's head has turned to where Mohria disappeared with the gelding, forgetting the setting sun and their paused duty.

Firmin can't help grinning wanly at Mr'az when the man speaks, and he doesn't object when the bronze rider bends down to pick up his things as he has the distinct impression he might make an idiot of himself and pass out if he tries bending over. "Thank y'," he says, his gaze turning again to look at the stables. "What gets int'their heads, I wonder?" He lets out a sigh and rakes his left hand through his hair, pushing it back off his face. "Guess I should be sendin' a message so's m'folks aren't worryin' about me."

Mohria returns, her steps slow and hesitant. "Are you okay?" she asks as she approaches, pushing at her hair again. "I…here, I'll carry that?" she offers to Mr'az, holding out her hand though her eyes are locked on Firmin. Brows furrowed, lips compressed, she shifts her weight nervously, fidgeting.

That would certainly dampen the afternoon further if Firmin went and passed out now. "I've long since given up on that puzzle. Probably best if you did too," Mr'az remarks with another wry look and smile as he's about to hand the belongings back to the youth, only to pause as Mohria returns. "Here," he murmurs, all too glad to let her carry the items. "And that's up to you, Firmin. If you want, Zhirazoth and I can take it. We're due to head out anyhow. May as well show up with a note." He shrugs then, clearly at the whim and choice of the lad though the bronzerider does not mind either way. Right now his concern is turning back to the two of them, eyes flicking from Firmin and Mohria before he jerks his head towards the Infirmary. "Best get going and get that shoulder checked." And he will take a few steps forwards, pausing only to see if the two are following.

Firmin reaches out a hand to ruffle Mohria's hair when she asks if he's okay, but then shifts to wrap the arm over her shoulders for balance. He turns his eyes to Mr'az, "are y'sure y'don' mind?" he asks, his tone hopeful, but not wanting to offend the rider. "I can write up a quick note… tell 'em I'm all right but I gotta stay a couple days. An' tell 'em," he turns his eyes back to the girl, "that Moh's all right, too, an' she's livin' here at th'Weyr."

Mohria ducks her head at his hair ruffling, and she elbows him in the ribs. But /very/ lightly. It's more a token gesture than anything, especially since she's smiling when he puts his arm over her shoulder. She's silent when Firmin relays his message, taking a slow and steadying breath.

Mr'az shakes his head and his smile widens a bit even if he's pretending not to notice the exchange between the two. "I don't mind. Need to get Zhirazoth out of the Weyr for a bit anyhow. We'll figure something out." His gaze settles first on Firmin and then on Mohria, curious though he does not press either of them for details. It is not his place, though he'll at least help in one small regard. "Sounds like a good plan," he agrees, stepping forwards again at a slow pace as they edge closer to the Infirmary.

Firmin doesn't seem to worry whether or not the smaller girl can take his weight as he leans on her to turn towards the Infirmary. "Thank y'Mr'az. 'Preciate it." There's not much more in him for words, and he is, indeed, looking a green around the gills again, and the spot of red on his shoulder has grown quite a bit. "I'll just get int'th'infirmary an' set down, an' I'll come up with somethin'."

Mohria supports the seacrafter's weight easily, and she doesn't look like she minds a bit. Giving Mr'az a fleeting smile, she helps Firmin into the infirmary and happily hands him over to a Healer. Though she lingers, not wanting to leave just yet, standing by the exit and fidgeting.

Mr'az keeps his own council for the most part, though he gives a nod to Firmin for the thanks. "Only doing our duties," he replies, once again modest. He frowns though as he studies the lad a little closer but any suspicions he keeps tightly lipped. Truthfully once inside the Infirmary, the Wingrider's presence isn't wholly needed, but the lad did say he would write a note and so the bronzerider remains, hands clasped behind his back and now left to watch as Mohria stands by as well. "He'll be alright." Mr'az murmurs, offering a reassuring smile. Jinx?

Firmin may be all right. It's clear from the pursed lips of the healer who arrives to attend to him when he's brought back in that they aren't best pleased. The lad explains that he lost his balance and fell on the shoulder. He seems a bit cloudy for a moment, but then Mr'az's continued presence reminds him to ask for something to write a note, which he carefully and painstakingly writes. When he finally hands it over, the healer pushes at him gently to lie down and take the dressing from the wound to examine it. Mohria and the rider are shooed away as Firmin closes his eyes and lets the healer do her work.

Mohria doesn't go far. Shooed away, the stablehand sits in the hallway outside the infirmary, fretting and wringing her hands, turning the flute he gave her over and over between her fingers. Thinking…about so many things. She waits.

Mr'az will take that note once it is handed over and tucks it safely within the inner pockets of his jacket. "We'll see to it that it is safely delivered," he says to Firmin, regardless if the youth can quite hear him then or not. Shoo'ed, the bronzerider dips his head in a respectful nod and then begins to stride out only to pause when he spies Mohria still seated in the hallway. His mouth opens to protest, but then he promptly closes it and only offers her a reassuring smile. "Clear skies." With that, Mr'az is gone and out to Zhirazoth's side where the bronze has already anticipated their departure. Quick to mount up, in minutes they are airborne, clearing the spindles of the bowl wall before vanishing Between.

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