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Messages - L'ok

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1
Though W’sar’s smile was a thin one, L’ok returned it nevertheless. Even if it wasn’t a real one from the other rider, he hoped that someday it would be. Healing was hard, surviving the Pass was hard. But the fact that they had endured so much already seemed to indicate that they would continue to do so. Those of weaker constitution might have crumbled already.

“He’d be honored to,” he confirmed. Iskelaith wasn’t about to intrude upon the other pair’s bond to tell them so himself, but L’ok would pass it along for him. “He doesn’t like admitting it to me, but he’s felt useless since…” Well, there was no reason to dwell on the painful past when both of them were trying to move beyond it. The Blue rider shrugged one shoulder.  “Anything he can do to help will help him too.”

That way, at least W’sar and Sath would know that they weren’t putting the Blue out any by accepting his help.

2
For a moment, Iskelaith’s attention strayed from Quorith and his passengers. While his bond with L’ok was still secure, it was growing ever more tenuous. And between that worry, that borderline panic and the adrenaline of the situation, the Blue was simply focused on pushing back those that had chased them into the courtyard. Distantly, he was aware of other riders rushing past him, their leathers setting them apart and saving them from his red-eyed rage. But he scarcely noticed whether or not there were other Candidates with them also intent on escaping the chaos of the Hold.

At last, Quorith’s voice reached out to him again. The other Blue was already in the air, clear and away from the crowd. And as other dragons rose into the sky as well, Iskelaith knew he had to leave. He couldn’t linger—nothing in him would let him stay behind while L’ok Betweened to whatever fate awaited him at High Reaches. He would be there, whatever happened.

But without his rider conscious enough to give him an image of their Weyr—again Quorith was his savior, sharing the image that D’rak had managed to summon to mind. I’m here, he told the other Blue, to confirm he was not being lost.

Blinking Between was almost painful. Now that they were away from the site of the violence, Iskelaith’s anger was rapidly giving way to fear. When they finally emerged, he could tell that L’ok was still alive… but he was still drifting between awareness and what felt like a dream.

Don’t leave me, he begged, and shot toward the ground near the entrance to the infirmary. He spotted someone wearing Healer’s colors, as the medics rushed out to greet the returning riders. Propriety, for the moment, didn’t matter as he reached out to them: Help us!

3
Any more, most of the surviving riders L’ok knew well were members of Mountain, but there was one notable exception. Were the Wing schedules more like the ones that had existed during the Pass, he might have taken issue with Qire being in a different one—back then, the sheer variance of schedules meant that those not included in similar Wings or groups of Wings didn’t see each other much. With Thread falling at all hours of the day, many of the riders had been forced to adopt unusual hours to accommodate.

Now, though, it meant she was in the Weyr rather than away all the time. L’ok knew W’sar would allow Mountain riders to return to the Weyr and attend events like the Turn’s End, but Hatching matters were a little harder to fenagle. The somewhat unpredictable times when they occurred made them hard to plan for, and some riders didn’t care about them at all. But since Beach didn’t leave, it meant he always had at least one friend around when he was feeling energetic enough to be social.

How Qirelai always managed to sneak up on him was another matter. Even as tall as he was, he’d never been good at spotting her in a crowd. That wasn’t to say she was forgettable, but there was a certain quality to her that always seemed to evade him until she all but appeared at his side. Perhaps a hold-over from the life she’d led before being Searched.

Nevertheless, it had been a long time since her sudden appearances really startled him. Instead, L’ok smiled beneath his beard when he heard her voice, and pulled her into a brief, one-armed hug. “I wasn’t sure you’d show up,” he teased in a rumble, “but I’m glad you have.”

Iskelaith was highly pleased that the Green next to him seemed to share his sentiment without taking umbrage at it. Perhaps they should, he observed dryly, adjusting his wings slightly but making sure not to brush her with the closer one out of some politeness. Do you have a guess, sweet lady?

Spoiler for OOC:

4

L’ok didn’t always attend the Rider’s Bets—sometimes, at the end of the day, he just didn’t have the energy for it. More often than not, feeling all the more like an old son-of-a-bitch because of it, he simply retired early and tipped into bed for some lovely sleep. Leave all that excitement for the younger riders who never seemed to stop moving or take a moment to rest.

But this had been a good day. His aches were relatively minor, and L’ok didn’t feel like he might be in danger of passing out on his feet if he did go. It would be a nice chance to socialize with other riders. And maybe, just maybe, there would be some wine. He knew better than to really hope, but it’d be nice if there was. So much of the newer stuff was far too rough for him; not to say that the Brewers and Vinters did a poor job. But they all had to make do with the materials that were available to them, and much of what they produced now just wasn’t to his taste.

He was sure he wouldn’t be the first rider to arrive, but this was hardly a formal event where he would be penalized for such. Inclining his head respectfully to Halirina and S’bok once he had entered the Hatching Sands, L’ok was content to slowly mingle and even get a better look at the eggs in this clutch. He hadn’t taken much opportunity to look at them before, but there was always an idle fascination there.

Iskelaith, for his part, was happy to settle in the Weyr Bowl rather near the entrance, looking forward to socializing as well with the other dragons that might linger after dropping their riders off. Do you think any more Candidates will die this Hatching? he asked, directing the question to the nearest dragon that he didn’t recognize as belonging to a ranked rider. It might be a morbid line of inquiry, but he’d never particularly cared for polite niceties regardless.

Spoiler for OOC:
The time has come for yet another Rider’s Bet! The OOC thread can be found here for those that want to check in and/or place OOC bets. Also, don’t forget that any Candidates you play need to at least check into the OOC Touching if not post directly in the event. If they do not, they will not be eligible to Impress on this clutch.

If anyone wants Iskelaith to have addressed their dragon, live your dreams. 8D

5
Just stay with me, L’ok. Try to help them if you can.

The Blue kept up a constant line of communication open with his rider as D’rak and the would-be Candidate moved him, recognizing that L’ok needed to be as coherent as possible. He was so much bigger than them, and Iskelaith knew they would have difficulty getting his bulk onto Quorith—if only he could actually help them, pick the man up and just place him on the other Blue’s saddle. But that wasn’t how any of this worked, and Iskelaith knew he’d only hurt L’ok more by trying to cradle him in his claws or mouth.

Gritting his teeth, L’ok did his best to swim through the haze of pain, even as it spiked each time he was jolted badly enough to aggravate his side. Though his hands were slippery with his own blood, he tried to help rather than hinder the others’ efforts to get him on Quorith, leaving sticky red handprints on Quorith’s hide and straps. //Tell him I’m sorry,// he thought distantly, sucking in a pained breath as he was finally settled in place on the Blue’s neck. His own hands were shaking too much to buckle himself in.

I will. Iskelaith pushed as much reassurance through their bond as he could, shielding L’ok from his own worry. It looks like she’s going to strap you in.

The girl might not know what she was doing, but he’d take it. Anything to prevent him from slipping off Quorith when they took off and had to Between.

As Qirelai helped D’rak climb upward onto his own dragon’s back, L’ok felt himself slipping toward the edge of consciousness. He tried to keep his hand still pressed tight against his side, but frustrating as it was, he could feel his strength flagging. That wasn’t a typical sensation for him, but his fingers felt numbed, and the dark, dark blood swam in his vision where it was staining his skin.

Iskelaith himself pushed forward to wedge his body between Quorith and the increasingly large crowd, roaring again in a bugle that would have done a Bronze proud, if he did say so himself. Go as soon as you can, he told the other Blue. Before these people try to pull them off you.

Spoiler for OOC:
If y’all want to finish out them arriving at High Reaches and such, feel free. ^_^ This thread will work fine for it since it’s not conflicting with anything anyone else is doing.

6
“You must be right. I don’t think any of us make really good patients.” As many other riders as he’d seen in the Healer Hall, L’ok knew most of them ended up restless. They weren’t generally good at sitting still, and their dragons sometimes even less so. It might vary by pair, but he’d observed enough of them to know that the Healers frequently had the most issue with riders.

He was a little hesitant for the next part, since some riders could be standoffish about needing others, and he didn’t want to offend W’sar. But L’ok didn’t think the level-headed Brown rider was the sort to have his pride so easily hurt either. “If you ever need another dragon to help in your therapy, Iskelaith and I would be happy to help.” The Blue might be smaller than Sath, but he was sturdy. If necessary, he could still serve as a balance or an aid.

That, and he knew Iskelaith would have no issue helping them. Of course I wouldn't, his dragon broke in dryly, a bit amused but no less sincere. They’re our friends.

Iskelaith would never say so, but he would also appreciate having something more active to do. Any more, he was often left with little to occupy his time while L’ok tended to chores and tasks indoors.

7
L’ok recognized that he was being moved, pushed along by D’rak and… the small slip of a Candidate that he had saved from the mob? She was wrestling with the hand he’d pressed to his side, and he resisted at first, not understanding what she was trying to do. What he knew, from the training he’d gotten in first aid as a weyrling, was that he needed to keep pressure on the wound. He couldn’t think about much of anything else -- the implications of where he’d been stabbed, what Between might do to complicate it.

She’s trying to help you, L’ok. Iskelaith’s voice was harried, worried and rushed. He and the other dragons had moved forward as much as they could -- and the Blue snapped at some of the non-riders rushing toward them. It might not be in his nature to actually attack them, but the showing of his teeth was still an intimidating thing, coupled with the quickly whirling yellow and red in his eyes.

His telepathic prodding managed to coax L’ok into no longer fighting Qirelai. He might not know her, but he trusted his dragon. A hiss of pain worked its way up out of his throat when she pressed hard on the wound, but at least she was helping to staunch the flow of blood.

“Y-yeah…” L’ok knew she was right, but Iskelaith looked so big now, too big to climb despite turns of practice.

But then he was being turned away from the familiar hide of his dragon, moved in a different direction, and he tried to struggle, but it was weak. “What--”

Put even more on edge by his rider’s confusion, Iskelaith reached out to Quorith in a panic. What is your rider doing? He didn’t intend to fight them, but he didn’t understand -- until his fellow Blue answered his question. Iskelaith might not like it, but it made sense. With the shape L’ok was in, it would be safer.

It’s okay, he told his rider then, stepping up next to Quorith. Eyes still a deep and menacing red, he bared his teeth and snarled at others who might seek to draw too close. Go with them. I’ll be right behind you.

8
L’ok nodded thoughtfully as he listened to W’sar’s answer. The physical therapy for a dragon could be vastly harder than it was for a rider; with the creatures being the size that they were, there was only so much a Healer could do to actually help the patient. Other dragons were often used to stabilize them as they performed the therapy, but even they could only assist so much.

“At least dragons adapt faster than we do,” he mused, absently tugging at his beard. With their shorter memories, they had less hangups about changes to routine or even ways of operating. Once they changed Wings, the schedules of the previous were easily forgotten. So it was, too, with many other aspects of life. Dragons that were injured tended to rehabilitate faster compared to their riders -- after a certain amount of time, they simply wouldn’t be able to remember the way things had been before their wound.

He smiled a little then. “As hard as the three of you work at it, I’m sure you’ll adjust just fine.” L’ok knew that the entire transition had been hard on W’sar and Sath both. But neither of them were the sort to give up. They would not languish as others did. Adapting was difficult, but not impossible. And W’sar had lucked out with the firelizard he had bonded to.

The return question was appreciated, and L’ok tugged at his beard again as he formulated an answer. “Better,” he said after a moment. “It’s still frustrating to come up against so many things I just can’t do anymore. But at least there are still some ways I can help out.” His voice dipped into a gruff murmur. “I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I couldn’t at all.”

Relax, Iskelaith suggested, but the Blue knew that just wasn’t who his rider was. He would always much rather be doing something than not.

9
“I’m sorry to hear that.” L’ok’s voice was low and sympathetic, but without being patronizing. He knew how hard it was to struggle with such things. Even talking to other riders that often went through the same ordeals wasn’t easy.

It was still taking L’ok a considerable effort to admit that sometimes he needed… help. As bad as the pain sometimes got for him, he was still incredibly reluctant to ask the Healers for medicine. He knew that fellis and nettlesap were addictive. After all he’d been through and overcome, the idea of having to rely on either of them to function just seemed unthinkable.

Sometimes, though, he just wanted to disappear into the sweet ease of pain that they could provide.

Though he didn’t sit on the bench, L’ok did lean against the wall near to his friend. A companionable closeness without being overbearing. He glanced at W’sar again then and ventured, “How is Sath doing?”

Nor was it an idle question. Beyond simply inquiring to be polite, he genuinely wanted to know how the Brown was faring. Almost losing his dragon was something L’ok couldn’t imagine. But he knew it had to be terrifying. Shaking, for both dragon and rider.

10
Long hours were endemic to everyone anymore, rider or no. L’ok might never be a full Wingrider again as he had been in his youth, but that didn’t mean he led a life of relaxation either. Whether it was cooking or cleaning in the kitchens, helping another rider with their gear, or aiding the Craft Halls however he could, he was more than willing to go to work at whatever was necessary. In this particular case, it was helping to man the Healer Hall during the late hours. He might not have the training to serve as an actual medic, but there were still menial tasks that needed tending to -- rolling bandages, sterilizing tools, and other aspects of general upkeep. All of which he was capable of handling to free up actual trained Healers for whatever patients may need tended.

He’d just finished rolling the last in a stack of bandages, tucking them into the crate meant for storing them. Leaning back in his chair, L’ok winced a little as he felt some of his joints pop. The stiffness had settled in his muscles while he sat, and he could feel an ache developing too.

As one of the supervising Journeymen passed, L’ok caught their eye with a faint smile. “Whatever you’ve got next, I’ll be ready in a moment. I’m gonna take a break first, stretch my legs.”

He had to steady himself on the table as he rose, knees cracking as he straightened. Iskelaith idly stirred through their bond, his voice sounding almost lazy save for the hint of concern beneath it all. Are you alright?

//Yeah, I’m fine. Just need to walk around a moment.// Slipping past an apprentice just making their way deeper into the Hall, L’ok stepped out into the entrance way. He’d meant to simply wander a moment, and ease the hurt in his legs. But seeing W’sar, L’ok smiled some and moved closer. “Hey. Late night, huh?”

The two of them had met in the Hall some months ago. And though it was rather hit or miss when they did see each other, he was always happy to run across the Brown rider. But he did hope his friend was alright, given that, well, he was visiting the Healers, and especially at such a late hour.

Spoiler for OOC:
8D This post is a piece of trash. I’m sorry.

11
“What’re you doing, girl? You gotta get out of here.”

We need to get out of here, L’ok.

Iskelaith was right. But he knew as well as his rider did that they weren’t going to just abandon the Candidates to whatever fate awaited them here. Nabol was imploding, in a fashion that neither of them would have ever thought they would see. It was like something out of a nightmare, and L’ok could feel the blood thrumming in his ears as he pushed the thin young girl toward D’rak. “Take her! We’ll cover—!”

He never finished his sentence, the words breaking off in a bellow of surprise and pain as he felt, with eerie clarity, the blade of a knife sinking into his side.

It was a mad grab to stop the man from getting around him, but L’ok managed to stop the attacker, his side throbbing with pain as the blood began to pour down his leg and puddle in his boot. Hitting the man hard in the jaw, L’ok pushed him back into the oncoming wave of Holders, succeeding in off-balancing them hopefully just long enough—

Don’t you dare! Iskelaith knew what he was thinking. Of course he did. And the Blue was furious, flapping down to the courtyard with his tail lashing behind him, wanting to claw his way into the Hall. Don’t you dare sacrifice yourself and leave me alone!

L’ok thought, as the crowd moved forward, he was going to be lost beneath it. He towered over them, but there were too many, and they were too fast—and then he felt a hand on his arm, gripping tight and pulling him away from what he knew would be a certain and bloody death.

They had already killed one of the riders, and he could hear the cry of another that sounded like a wail of grief, through the deafening sound of his own heartbeat.

Just get to me! Iskelaith snarled, eyes a deep and ruby red as he worked with the other visiting dragons to keep the Holders pouring out of the doors from getting to their riders, the Candidates… The tithe was lost, but it wasn’t worth their lives.

You’ll be fine. He was adamant, even while L’ok pressed a hand to his side and was stunned to pull it away covered in his own blood. Already he was starting to feel cold, and the idea of going Between to get away seemed insurmountable. We’ll be fine. I promise. Just get in the straps.

L'ok wasn’t sure he was going to be able to.

Spoiler for OOC:
I just can’t help myself, apparently. >:C

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