Day 018: The Destruction Of Thripoda
Summary: A group of Grounders go on a scouting mission in the wake of a crash landing.
Date: 30 May 2016
Related: There are, but I'm not sure if they're posted yet.
Afaye Arlin Rinnan Tuan Veks Wren 

The Village of Thripoda
Included in the scene.
18 Days After Landing

Note: All speech in this log is in Trigedasleng. We just got tired of using the tag.

<FS3> Rinnan rolls Survival: Great Success.
<FS3> Wren rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Tuan rolls Survival: Success.
<FS3> Veks rolls Survival: Success.
<FS3> Arlin rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Afaye rolls Survival: Great Success.

Overnight, the storm had dissipated, leaving a starry sky in the early hours, and then a brilliant sunrise at dawn. The Trikru who had been at the delinquent camp during the newest arrival from the sky had come to the village, gave Oxfor a rather quick debriefing of what had happened, and the steheda had agreed to them taking provisions and horses to see to what had happened to the east.

Using the smoke as a guide, they headed into the forests to scout where the dropship had fallen. It is almost an hour away from its site that everyone starts to get this strange realization: they know where this path leads, and it is straight to the Trikru village of Thripoda — a small village nestled between the shores of three small lakes.

There was no option to be tired, despite lack of sleep. Tuan was used to this life, he had been well trained by this point as a Second so the journey for him was nothing out of place. He pats the neck of the horse along the ride, not the most comfortable on the animal but it was the best way until they got closer. "<In Trigedasleng> If they know of us from the Skaikru on ground, should they not expect a Trikru greeting?"

Roach is a lumbering asshole, but he's fast when he needs to be, even with the armored bulk of Wren atop of him, that massive double-bladed axe slung behind his shoulder. "<In Trigedasleng> Depends on what they've said about us." he comments over at Tuan. "<In Trigedasleng> But as Afaye said some time ago, I doubt anyone really survived that kind of landing. Looked…painful from the sound all the way from the Skaikru camp. I don't think we should expect to find any survivors. And if we do, it would be a mercy to simply give them a painless death."

Rinnan doesn't sleep much, anyway. As Arlin can atest, the little of it that happens is muttery threats, jerky movements, and snoring. So, it's nice to have something to do at this hour other than sit on Que's porch and smoke dope. Atop Horse, with Arlin seated in the most auspicious female canine seat behind her, she moves with the rest of the party. Horse, which would the name of her horse, keeps pace with Roach like the horses have a lumbering asshole union going. "<In Trigedasleng> Do you think they have a primary language, other than Warrior's English, that's just high pitched screaming? Or do only dogs hear it?," she asks the group, the devaluation of Deliguent 'culture' apparent in her voice.

Despite his little interlude with Horse yesterday, things are back to business as usual today: which is to say that Arlin is yet again riding bitch with Rinnan. "<In Trigedasleng> Dunno. Stupid is stupid in any language, though," he replies to her. As for survivors, "Probably not, but they can still fuck us up." Diseases, yo.

"If the first hundred Skaikru survived, the rest of the Skaikru could, too," reasons Veks. Unlike some of the others — not naming any names — he rides his horse with a comfortable ease that leaves him able to scan the forest without much worry that his horse will suddenly dump him from his saddle.

"I have a feeling they weren't thinking about greetings," Afaye observes from her own mount, a white and black tobiano gypsy mare all fluffy and prancing from being groomed. She follows at a close clip behind Roach and Horse, and although she pauses from time to time in the conversation to scan her surroundings, there is little to be scene other than wilderness glistening in the aftermath of a storm. Afaye inhales deeply the fresh scent of earth opened for the rain, and it makes her smile as she clucks her horse into a trot to outpace the others. "Maybe these ones won't be as stupid. They are older, after all, right?"

<FS3> Afaye rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Wren rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Veks rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Rinnan rolls Alertness: Amazing Success.
<FS3> Arlin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Tuan rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"Does age truly make people less stupid?" Tuan asks towards Afaye, managing a smile when he does so. "Or merely result in them using different words in their arguments." He nudges his horse along down the road, brow furrowing as he does. "I do not like this thought that they all have died."

Afaye replies to Tuan with a faint grin, and she lifts a hand to run it over the bristle on her head. The gesture is slightly nervous, and happens to occur right as her gaze lands on a tree leaning over their path. A piece of twisted metal has been hammered straight through the middle of the thick trunk. "We should probably consider they are dead, though, Tuan," she murmurs, directing his attention toward the tree with a gesture from her hand. "We're closing in on Thripoda. Do you think it landed on the village?" This prospect makes her much more uneasy than the death of anonymous Sky People, and she shifts in the saddle with a slight frown. Her mare picks up on the growing tension and prances a bit, snorting and pushing ahead without being directed to do so.

"If they are older, why do they suffer the useless ones to live?," Rinnan asks, shifting her weight slightly. Some damn cold Grounder parenting 101, right there. There's no comfortable way to sit in a saddle after a while or at least one . The jaunty decorative human ears that hang from her saddle in a festive string bang against her foot with the movement of the horse.

Her eyes are scanning the horizon as though her hypervigilance alone allows her utter control in all matters everywhere. Something pricks in it, as she pushes up just a touch in her saddle to lean juuuust forward to get a better look. "There!," she states, her arm stabbing towards a spot where the trees are starting to thin out. "It's uh… thing!," she pronounces. "Metal and a… flag! Or a towel!" Leave your options open. She starts to steer Horse, as much as Horse allows this human to tell it what to do to go in the direction of her arm. Horse complies, this time.

"Hold." Wren says, seeing something and pulling Roach to a halt on the trail. Dismounting, he walks a couple feet into the grass, kneeling down to prod at something with a gloved finger. Then he grabs onto it, grunting in exertion, which is pretty impressive, given how strong the Big Guy is. Eventually, he pulls something out of the ground: a long shard of metal with a particular black coating over it. It's twisted and warped, kinda looking like a sharpened javelin. "Metal." he says, turning it over in his hands. "Made of the same material as the ship in the skaikru camp." he observes, studying it for a long moment before deciding to take it with him. "Something wrong happened with this 'ship' from the Sky. I highly doubt it was supposed to explode if it was carrying people." Then he looks up to the others, packing the metal shard onto the Roach's saddlebags and climbing back onto his horse. "Silver did say something about something happening on their Ark. She didn't know what, but it did not sound good from what she said."

Metal. "We should collect that for Que." Because Arlin somehow felt the need to state the obvious. When Rinnan mentions a flag, he tightens his grip around her a little bit so he can side tilt in hopes of glimpsing the flag. Or towel.

"Age gives you wisdom." This from the guy sporting a swollen blue-black bruise across his cheek and jaw from mouthing off to one of the village's biggest warriors? Maybe there's no word for 'irony' in Trigedasleng. Veks urges his own mount forward with a few clicks of his tongue and a bounce of the reins, catching up to Rinnan and Wren. Watching the warrior affix the metal to his saddlebags, he frowns a bit and gives the now-empty sky a wary glance. "Maybe all they ever do is fight."

Falling back to dawdle about the shards of metal, Afaye hesitates before she nudges her horse up to the tree. She wraps a spare but of cloth around her hand and tries to grip the piece stuck in the tree, but after a few tugs finds that the effort is futile; the shard is wedged firmly in the wood. With a dark frown, Afaye turns her horse away and slaps the reins to encourage the mare to catch up to the others. When Rinnan announces something up ahead, she rises up in the saddle with one hand braced against the mount's neck to keep from falling. "A flag?" she inquires, unsure of what this might mean. "Do you see any people?"

"From what I've been told, what fighting there was ended ind eath." Wren looks over at Veks. "Criminals under a certain age were what they called 'floated' as in the Sky there is no air to breath. "Every single crime ended in death. In some ways, their laws are harsher than our own. I think these teenages simply do not wish to be as strict as their adults are. But then again, they /are/ criminals. At least most are."

Unconsciously, Veks rubs at the side of his face as he listens to Wren's explanation. "Like warriors out for their first blood without some elders along." He snorts at the thought, then belatedly seems to realize he just justified some of the Skaikru's behaviour. AWK. WARD. He clears his throat and coaxes his horse back into a walk. Smoothest change of topic ever.

Rinnan stills her horse with a gentle tug on the reigns. Horse responds with a blunt rush of air pushed through his nostrils which almost sounds like a teenagery sloushing whine of petulance. Fiiiiine. I'll stop here, peasant. "No, just… the wreck and the flag. No people," she advises Afaye, and the rest of the group with a shake of the head.

Afaye's uneasiness grows, and she glances around the immediate vicinity before reluctantly urging her mare into a walk again. She trails the group by a few feet - close enough to catch up, but far enough back to avoid bumping into anyone should they suddenly stop. "Keep your eyes and ears open. Chatter to a minimum, please. Any see any scouts?" Hopefully she doesn't have to add 'that aren't us.'

The smoke continues to spiral toward the sky, and the closer they get, the thicker the air. There is a strange scent on the breeze — a chemical smell they have not experienced before combined with the more expected scent of woodsmoke, hot metal, and burning grass. The forest has begun to thin, and the horses start up what will become an overlook into the small valley where the Thirpoda village lay.

What they see at the top of the overlook is total and complete annihilation. The village, which had been half again as large as Coesbur, is completely gone save for smoldering ash. Nothing remains, not even the docks that had stretched out across the small lakes. The bodies of water have lost almost three-quarters of its volume, having been vaporized on impact.

Tuan's voice is utterly absent as he looks out over the destruction of Thirpoda. It'd been away from Coesbur, but he had had friends there and now… He actually staggers a step and then looks back to the other Trikru, speaking very quietly. "<In Trigedasleng> Wherever they go… death follows."

Wren had not been expecting this. "Damnit." he stammers out. "Their ship did crash." he shakes his head. He's not quite sure what to say at the moment. "Not good." Understatement there.

The sight of the destruction is almost incomprehensible, and for a moment Afaye merely blinks slowly like an owl. Her lips form a rounded 'o', and any moment she threatens to call out 'hoo-hoo' just like the predatory bird. But after several seconds of lingering, the truth finally hits her like an acme anvil. Much like the others, she, too, had friends that counted among those of Thripoda. There isn't anything she can say, mostly because her breath catches in her throat, and her eyes begin to water and threaten tears. Fortunately for her, they remain unshed. Clearing her throat, she pulls her mare's head away and scans the perimeter of the valley slash crater in search of a less risky way down. "You were right, Tuan. Age does not necessarily improve things. They bumble around like fucking children."

"Truce is over," Rinnan circumspects grimly, surveying the carnage with a nod of agreement Afaye's way for her ruling on the maturity level of their new neighbors. She pulls in a rough inhale and wrinkles her nose at the foreign, chemical smell that permiates the breeze. "Lots of incidents. Less and less what feels like chance to many. Some might take this to be an accident but…," she continues, her tone hedging but leaving out the second half which probably goes something like 'but a lot aren't gonna probably'. She twists in her saddle slightly, to glance back at Arlin with a raised set of eyebrows that follows an expectant grimace. Expectant of what exactly? Well, its probably not going to be an an old time-y hoop race.

Veks's horse stops at the crest of the hill, responding to its rider suddenly freezing in his saddle, as what used to be Thirpoda sprawls out below them. He stares blankly, even rubs his eyes as if he expects the village and docks and lake will all reappear afterwards. "But there's nothing left." The words are so full of utter uncomprehension they're almost childish.

"Fuck." It's such a versatile word. In this moment, its meaning can be discerned by the dumbstruck way Arlin utters it. And then he coughs a few times. "What is that smell? It smells worse than horse ass." That's saying an awful lot. By the time the medic has drawn the light scarf he packed — to ward off germs, yo — over his nose and mouth, he finds Rinnan giving him A Look. WHAT? He doesn't hold the look long before instructing, "Let's keep moving. Maybe someone was out hunting and is still alive outside the burning ring of death. And if no luck there, we'll come back and scavenge what's useful.

"The true is /not/ over." Wren snaps at Rinnan. "It is not your place to decide that. Two small battles do not make a list of 'incidents'. And I doubt that the Sky People would sent a number of their own people to die, using their own ship as a weapon. That makes no sense to me. If they wanted to attack us from the Sky why not just attack Tondic? That would send a much clearer message than wasting something like that on a village that's not even as large as are our own. There's no tactical advantage to that." And the warrior is something of a tactician. Certainly not something he would do if he had a weapon that could create that much devastation. "We are assuming a great deal. And assumptions is something I want to avoid until we know more." He urges Roach forward at that point, wanting to get closer to the devastation.

"Our job is to scout." Tuan says quietly as he takes a deep breath and looks around. "This needs to be reported back to Staheda so it can be relayed to Polis rapidly." He bites his lip, "This news should not wait but we also must provide full information, not speculation." His eyes snap to Rinnan, "And not our own beliefs. Only what we can see and prove."

"We're venting our frustration and desolation at the death of an entire village, Wren. Just let it be for once, will you? We can pick fights later once we've grieved, and once we've finished the job." Afaye shoots Wren a look that she hopes might be slightly quelling; the last thing they need is fighting among their own. "Fan out and look for a path down. And we need a group to check for any survivors outside of the village, as Arlin said."

"But they- Then- Why-" Veks's hands gesture uselessly at the smoking ash crater as he tries to shape chaotic thoughts into orderly words. Gone. Bricks. Metal. People. Boats. They had fishing boats. All gone. He looks at Afaye with that same hollow, stunned expression he's had since cresting the hill, then mechanically spurs his horse forward. Find a path. That's something he can do.

"Maybe because they're stupid, or because they want us to believe they're stupid." Hey, Wren asked. Nothing said he needs to like Arlin's snarky answers. To the rest, he reiterates, "Yeah. Why I said to keep moving. And I don't mean your mouth flaps." Oh, but then Afaye is being the voice of reason, and he finds himself scrutinizing the darksome woman. It's unlikely anyone can read the 'WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO BE ALLIED WITH THE ENEMY? FUCKING HORSES' tic around his hazel eyes, but it's there. "What Afaye said. Now, enough yapping'. Move out."

As they come down the bank, and into the enormous ash field, it is hard to imagine that anything has survived. At the epicenter of the crash site is merely a crater that smolders, with deep embers still burning at its heart. It is under Afaye's horse hoof that something crunches, and a studious glance reveals a now-concaved skull. It is attached to only half of a body, as the other half had been completely burned to dust by the explosion. A wind picks up, and ash and debris dance around them in a black cloud of death.

Rinnan breathes out a long sigh, her head rolling to the left and right and then center in reaction to being verbally betrated by Wren. She shifts in her saddle again, trying to find some kind of comfortable seat. Wren gets a brief glance for his continued bent out of shapery before Rinnan lets out a weary double click for Horse to go forward. Mercifully, Horse doesn't pick now to disagree with her suggestion to move.

"We can mourn later. Once we have answers that prove things one way or another." Wren grunts. Warrior mentality. Compartmentalize until he has time to really digest what's happened. Once he reaches the epicenter of the crash, he dismounts from Roach, beginning to walk around on foot. Looking, searching. Not really sure of what, but something that'll shed some light on the situation. So of course he moves towards the biggest peice of wreckage he can find. If there's anything left of the ship to even look over.

<FS3> Arlin rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Afaye rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Veks rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Rinnan rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Tuan rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Wren rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"That metal box the hundred Skaikru fell in. It didn't do this." Way to state the obvious. Veks dismounts as well, and starts kicking at the charred earth to see what lays beneath it. As he does, the wind picks up and a wracking cough seizes him as he inhales a fleck of gods-know-what. "Goatfucking whoremother, that /smell/," he rasps, turning to his saddlebags to dig out a sun-bleached kerchief to tie bandit-styles across his mouth and nose. He turns and starts leading his horse toward the outer rim of the blast crater, overturning shards of metal and ceramic as he finds them, kicking over small heaps of bricks that used to be walls. Nothing but ash and char. Nothing at all.

The smell in the air is enough to choke a horse - indeed, Afaye's mount snorts and gasps and shakes her head, shying away from the wreckage. Stumbling backward, a hoof caves in a skull with a resounding *crunch* that draws down her rider's attention. Cringing, Afaye pulls the reins to stop her horse before sliding from the saddle. A wayward place of her boot kicks a bone (a radius?) away. The woman hangs her cloth in front of her face to obscure the oily, smoky smell of carnage and ties it behind her head. She slides carefully down a few feet of the crater, stopping before a pile of burned bodies. The sight causes her to cringe and look away, turning about to scan the smoking wreckage for anything that might be alive…but there's nothing. "I think everyone is dead," comes her slightly muffled call back to the group as she edges away carefully, eyes bent upon her footing and trying desperately not to identify anything that might be a piece of a human.

Rinnan remains on her horse, for now. She watches Veks dismount his for a moment, digging into a saddle bag to pull out a rag that she holds to her face. The rag looks terrible and is covered in someone's dried blood but its probably better than huffing in the current hot garbage tuna rancidy happening up in here. Her focus instead falls on a scrap of yellow lettered metal on the ground just off to the side. "Hiiigh…drahhhh..zzz… Highdruh…zee?," she attempts carefully trying to puzzle out the word. "What is High-Druh-Zee?," she asks the group, before looking specifically at Arlin. Tell us, learned one.

Tuan has been walking the area after getting off his horse for a bit now, surveying searching, the things he is supposed to do. By this point he's covered in soot and ash, marring his features some. So much in fact that even his blond hair has taken on a murky brown tinge. "Is this… How is this possible?" He asks mostly to himself, fighting to keep himself detached from what he is looking for. The reality that there is nothing to find is what is shaking him further. "There is nothing left. At all."

<FS3> Arlin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Rinnan rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> Tuan rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Afaye rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Wren rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Veks rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Arlin rolls Science-2: Embarassing Failure.

Warrior instinct, they are honed to a fine point for Wren. He was kneeling down what he can only assume is a charred pile of human remains, looking over it, as if trying to tell if this was Trikru or someone else. Maybe if there was evidence of that, of Skaikru bodies being here, that would give a better idea that was just a horrible accident. But he can't tell, he's no doctor or medic, suddenly regretting not bringing Silver with them. But, something catches his ear. "Does anyone else hear that?" he says getting up to his feet, starting to move towards the sound.

High-Druh-Zee? Fucked if Arlin knows. For a moment, that even shows. And, yet, for some reason, he feels that he needs to give Rinnan an answer. "It's some drug that gets you high and makes you tired." Beat. "Maybe they were fucked up on it and that's why they crashed." If he's wrong, he'll just blame her for mispronouncing. So her fault.

To Wren, he says, "I do. It's coming from the lake," and he's actually clasping Rinnan's forearms to get her to steer Horse in that direction. "It might be a person." Which should account for why Arlin is giving the horse a (reasonable) kick to get moving.

Shaking her head, Afaye turns and climbs back up to her horse. She pauses beside it, panting a little bit, and blinks at Wren. "Hear what? I don't hear anything." Inhaling deeply, she holds her breath as if to quiet herself and listens intently; but there's nothing that reaches her ears. Still, she trusts the others' senses and swings up into her saddle with the ease of a longtime rider. "It might be a survivor. Can you follow the sound, Wren?"

Rinnan doesn't hear that sound. If she did, she'd now not be getting off her horse and picking up the DANGER: HYDRAZ metal shard. But a question like that— Wren's question— is never a prelude to candy floss or free ice cream. "Shit," she mutters in Warrior's English, trying to wrangle the metal shard in her hand as she tries to get back on Horse, with Arlin still on Horse and now moving towards the sound "Pull me up," she voluntells Arlin with a slight grin, that's more grimace because of the smell as she tries to keep up.

"I can if everyone will just shut up." Wren remarks to everyone talking. Except Afaye, since she asked. He doesn't bother gettting back on Roach, the sound of the horse will distract him from the sound he's trying to pinpoint. "This direction." he points, then continuing to walk at a slow, steady pace, heading down towards what's left of the lake.

Hiding behind a divot in the earth is a small child, perhaps four years old at most. She is covered with ash and soot, and sitting with a small, very young kitten in her lap. The kitten is quite — well — dead, and the child seems to be crying over it. Though, there is much to cry over. Her cheeks are tear-stained, but her lips look dry and cracked from dehydration — she has probably been out here in the sunshine for many hours. When the adults come near, she looks up with bright, light brown eyes. Just the sight of them causes her to burst into full-blown sobs.

Maybe it's because Horse really hates the hydrazine. Maybe it's because Horse really hates Arlin. Maybe it's because Horse really hates that Rinnan left him alone with Arlin, who now has the audacity to give orders. Whatever the case, when the man snickers, "Yeah, yeah, princess. Whatever you say," and reaches down to help haul her up, he instead falls off — and atop Rinnan. "OOF." This is probably what prevents him from congratulating Wren on heading in the direction he already told people to go.

Afaye's mare picks her way carefully behind Wren, following closely. It isn't until they're practically upon the child that she finally catches the sound of crying, and she immediately swings out of the saddle once more. The horse minds itself, standing quietly while Afaye follows behind Wren as they circle around to spot the poor creature. The tears are nearly catching, but being childless, Afaye is left standing awkwardly and gazing up at Wren with a perplexed expression that clearly reads 'now what the hell do we do?'

"I loved my father too much to be under you for this little," Rinnan mutters at Arlin, when the dust clears. She squirms her half out of the tangle and climbs to her feet, offering her free hand down to Arlin to pull him up. Horse gets a seething glance as it trots ahead, jauntly. Threats of jello and glue will be whispered into his ears in kitten soft tones on the ride home.

The little girl is another matter. And it brings Rinnan to immediate, jarring stop for a moment as she watches the little girl cry over the cat. Her head slides to look at Afaye. "She might have kin another village," Rinnan suggests, in a way that doesn't seem altogether confident in this toddler's ability to tell them where her distant cousins might live. The smell in the air makes it hard to maintain the sudden knot in Rinnan's throat even as her feet are carrying her forward ever so carefully towards the little girl. "<In Trigedasleng> What's your little one's name?," Rinnan asks the girl, her hand indicating the less than with us former pet.

<FS3> Arlin rolls First Aid: Great Success.
<FS3> Arlin rolls Medicine: Success.

I dont' know how handle children." Wren says, putting his hands up a little in a 'not it' guesture. "Someone else can do it." Then a look between Afaye and Rinnan. They're mothers….right? Maybe? He doesn't ask. But he shrugs at Afaye. "I was the middle child, I never had to deal with this kind of thing before." He seems to be the sort to avoid young children for the most part, doesn't want to break them.

"What?" Arlin protests. "We were so cozy." Yet he's being pushed off, then hauled up, and trotted away. But then there's a child, and his heart seems to stop when the horse stops. Dead still, he stares intently with a flurry of emotions that bleed into white noise. And then, abruptly, he's dismounting, retrieving his medial satchel from where it's lashed to the saddle, and walking towards Rinnan and the girl.

The medic crouches down, slowly enough, and pulls down his scarf so the girl can see his face. "Hey, there, darlin'." His voice is pitched low and warm, tender and firm. "C'mere." And he moves to gather her up in his arms, protectively, the way someone really good with children does. Who knew he was that kind of guy?

For several minutes, the only thing the girl does is sob uncontrollably and clutch at her dead cat, hugging it to her chest. She gazes up at the group gathered around her, wide-eyed even as she cries. When a question is directed to her, she uses her forearm to wipe tears and snot from her face and replies through her hiccups: "<In Trigedasleng> D-d-dog." What an appropriate name for a pet cat. Another swipe of her arm removes the most of the runny residue from her face, leaving a streak of dirt across her cheek. She watches Arlin for a moment but puts the deceased animal aside and reaches out for him when he scoops her up. When she looks back toward Dog's body, her lower lip begins to quiver and a new spate of tears leak down her cheeks.

Rinnan grimaces through a hard swallow, the kind that might suggest that its not the air that's making her a touch less steady even as unties the leather water bag from the small load Horse carries. She reapproaches she hovers near Arlin, without overcrowding the girl in his arms as she thumbs open the top and holds it out to Arlin to give to the girl. Arlin has this little girl handling thing in the bag, but Rinnan seems… at least making an earnest effort, even if she does give Wren a briefly surprised glance that he might see her as in the neighborhood of being motherly.
"<In Trigedasleng> This is a strong name for a good friend," Rinnan attempts with sage, respectful nod. "Sadness is okay when our friends have to leave us." Later, much later, Arlin can make fun of her for all her flailing around and trying to comfort this child. She might not punch him in the kidney for it, either.

Children - well, people in general - are not Afaye's forte. So when Arlin steps up to take over care of the child, the horsemaster exhales in relief and heads back to her mount. She climbs back into the saddle and settles herself, leaning forward with the reins held loosely in her hands. She is in no immediate rush to run back to Coesbur with the news, but she does watch the interactions with the girl with some degree of interest. "Check her for injuries, and then we should get back to the village to report what we found. With the girl, obviously."

Tears and snot in an adult might well sent Arlin running, but he's like teflon when it comes to the spillages of the child. Snugly cradling the girl, including one palm cupping the back of her head. "Shhh. Shhh. It's all right, darlin'. It's all right." And he simply holds her close, strong and comforting, stinking of sweat, dust, leather, and sage. He rocks her the way one does to comfort someone so young and so scared. And he simply stays like that, until she winds down to whimpers and sniffles. Only then will he deal with more physical care. With a heavy look and grateful eyes, the medic takes the waterskin from Rinnan. "Okay, sweetheart," he tells the girl, husky voice soft, "Drink up. You lost a lot of tears." As an aside, the medic remarks to Afaye, "Some scrapes and bruises, like she came from the woods. Dehydration."

It was rather a trying chase into the woods, and she has lost quite a lot of water… The offer of drink spurs the girl out of her brief state of melancholy inertness and she accepts the waterskin with two hands. Disregarding the talk of adults, she tilts the skin back and drinks deeply. After a moment of chugging, she pulls it away from her mouth with a loud gasp for air. A dribble trails down her chin, but she disregards it as she listens to the others. "Where are we going?"

Wren is not a kid person. Nope, nosiree, he will leave that to people who know that kind of stuff better than him. Getting back on Roach, he settles in the saddle. "I don't know if there's anything else for us to really look for. The whole amount of nothing is…well, I don't know. But I feel like we simply don't know enough. Too much of this ship strewn about to get a good idea on the size of it, how many people were on it at the time…nothing. Won't be able to tell Oxfor much of anything, other than it happened."

Arlin's throat is dry, and it's just not from all the dust and detritus and hydrazine in the air, so he also gulps no small amount of water, wiping his mouth with the back of that same hand when he's finished, then handing the waterskin back to Rinnan. Whatever's going on — and there's something going on — his friend would at least recognize he's compartmentalizing the way he does when on the job. "Where are you're folks, sweetheart? She would go find them?" He peers at the girl with a prompting smile that might seem a little silly to a grown-up. And, well, if they are dead and injured, the child's response will be a dead (no pun intended) giveaway.

Wren's comments draw Afaye's attention away from the girl, and she sits up in the saddle to gaze around at the stinking, smoking wreckage. "No. He will have to consult with the Skaikru if he wants those answers. There's nothing we can do here now. I'm going to go scout for any others in the surrounding woods. Someone signal me when we're moving out." Turning her horse about, she clicks her tongue and sends the mare into a trot toward the treeline.

"Well we have this," Rinnan suggests, gesturing to the DANGER: HYDRAZ scrap in her hand. She may not know exactly what it is means or the full context, but it seems at least in their favor to come back with a metal scrap with words AND a child. At least, it can't hurt. She smiles reassuringly at the little girl presently downing an impressive amount of water as she walks over to Horse, to lash the sign down to her saddle. She looks over her shoulder at Arlin with the little girl, exhaling a heavy push of air that seems belabored about something before looking up at the departing Afaye. This prompts her to at least retake her own Horse, pulling herself up on to the saddle with the reluctance of someone who doesn't find the seat comfortable or the view charming.

"No," the girl replies promptly to Arlin, gazing bleakly back at the remains. That is about all that she needs to say at this point in time, and she presses her lips together in a dreary way that spells out her reluctance to speak of anything else much further. Her lower lip trembles, but her chin crinkles as she fights to keep back her tears. After a moment of struggle, she slumps against her new Trikru friend and sighs, eyes closing. It is obvious that despite everything, the child is thoroughly exhausted.

The girl's reply prompts a grunt from the medic. "That answers that," he murmurs before telling her, "Ar'ight. Alley oop!" And then he's on his feet, readjusting the child, whom he carries over to Horse. "I'm gonna hand you to Rinnan, now, okay, darlin'? Just until I'm on the horse."
And with that all settled, the Trikru are ready to return to Coesbur, lacking in answers, but gaining one child who has medicinal ointment applied to her scrapes while she sleeps.

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