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Recognized characters/events/plots from Dragonriders of Pern belong to Ann McCaffrey

Canon typical violence

Gone Away, Gone Ahead - 3. Chapter 3

The Fort riders and their dragons are transferred to Benden Weyr.

It felt too soon to be embarking on another move. Three days since they’d arrived and now they were off again. At least this time, the dragons weren’t laden with goods and passengers, although everyone was taking their personal possessions. D’gar watched as rolled up tapestries and small pieces of furniture were secured to some of the dragons, thankful that he’d never been one for accumulating lots of stuff. Like any Weyr, Benden was bound to have stores, so any additional bits and pieces he needed, he’d pick up from there.

Of course, that hadn’t stopped Agarra from pressing a box full of food on him. He’d protested, of course, but it had fallen on deaf ears.

‘I don’t trust that lot,’ she’d said. ‘Apparently they sent some riders over here to tidy up, but the state of our kitchens…’ she sniffed. ‘If that’s what they call clean, then you’d best be careful of anything you eat there.’

‘I’m sure their Headwoman is as competent as ours. Don’t be a worry-wherry.’ It was always slightly embarrassing when she fussed over him. Most children in the Weyrs were fostered, but as Agarra had already been fostering four when she found herself pregnant, she’d seen no problem with adding another child to her brood. It was small consolation that she acted in exactly the same way with his foster siblings.

So now he was fiddling about with the riding straps, trying to find the best way to secure the box. Imagine the embarrassment if it fell off during their descent and hit some poor unsuspecting person going about their business. Even worse, if it hit someone’s dragon. Eventually, he settled for bundling it up inside his sleeping furs, then strapping those across Herebeth’s back.
Is that comfortable? he asked.

Herebeth flexed his wings a few times. It will do.

Good. Let me know if anything feels like it’s slipping, won’t you.

It seemed an age before everything was stashed and they were finally ready to leave. It had been supposed to be an early start, but the sun was already above the rim of the Bowl by the time they all mounted up.

He took a long look around the Weyr that had been his home for all of his life, apart from a few months when he’d been seconded to Telgar. Workers were starting to fence off the beast pens. The lake was being dredged and mounds of silt had been piled to one side. When he came back maybe it would look more like the well-ordered place he’d been used to. ‘If you come back…’ said that little doubting voice in his head.

Of course we’ll come back. Fort is our Weyr, Herebeth assured him.

V’chal waved them off; everyone was fairly sure Lilith would rise sometime today, or by tomorrow at the latest and it wasn’t the proper thing to send any dragon in that condition out of the Weyr. He’d be joining them later and would happily tell everyone the lurid details - well, as much of them as he could remember - and what he couldn’t he’d doubtless make up.

At last, they took off, the Bowl growing smaller beneath dragon wings. The watch dragon bugled a farewell, then R’feem gave the signal and they jumped between.

D’gar had seen Benden Weyr before, although it was several Turns ago. As weyrlings, they’d visited all the Weyrs and major Holds when they were learning to fly between. Back then, there hadn’t been much difference between Benden and Fort in terms of the number of dragons housed there.

The first thing he noticed this time around was that the air was noticeably cooler, even though it was afternoon and the sun was bright. Well, that figured, as Benden was a lot further north than Fort. Dragons were taking advantage of the fine weather to sun themselves on their weyr ledges. Benden had been designed to house up to five hundred dragons, but it was obvious that many of the weyrs were currently unoccupied.

They landed on a well cleared area - that was the other noticeable difference. Benden had remained a working weyr and had none of the signs of neglect and abandonment they’d all grown accustomed to since the Big Move. Everything looked well ordered and well cared for. A few young dragons were bathing in the lake, their riders diligently scrubbing their hide. Herebeth looked pointedly toward the feeding grounds as if sizing up his next meal already.

A tall woman holding a slate came over and started talking to R’feem. He introduced her as Manora, the Headwoman. She pointed across toward the eastern wall. ‘I’ve allocated you the third and fourth level weyrs on the eastern side. Once you’ve picked which one you want, please let me know, for my records.’

‘I’d prefer something lower down. And with stairs.’ M’rell said quietly, at D’gar’s side.

He smiled. M’rell was well known to the women of the Lower Cavern back at Fort. While it might be easy for him to get up to a higher weyr, for anyone without a dragon, stairs were useful if they wanted to nip in and out discreetly. ‘You’d best ask, then. Only don’t let the Headwoman know why or she’ll probably send you right up to the top.’

‘How about you?’

‘I’ll be happy if it’s clean and free of tunnel snakes.’

Tunnel snakes are fine. They make a tasty snack.

He chuckled.

‘What did Herebeth say?’ M’rell asked.

‘Nothing about you. He doesn’t mind having a weyr infested with tunnel snakes. Says they’re tasty.’

‘You better watch he doesn’t get fat.’

I am not fat. Herebeth said indignantly.

M’rell continued. ‘Maybe that’s why he doesn’t bother to chase any greens these days. He’s more interested in eating than mating.’

‘Maybe,’ D’gar said, not wanting to get drawn onto that subject.

Fortunately the conversation was ended by R’feem beckoning them all closer. 'Manora has very generously offered us something to eat before dinner’s served as we’ve missed lunch due to the time difference. So I suggest you all get yourselves settled and unloaded as quickly as you can, then meet back down here.’

The weyr D’gar had been given was slightly smaller than what he’d been used to at Fort, although, in all fairness that had been a ‘double’ size with room for two dragons. He’d known that at some point, he’d be asked to move out when it was needed by another weyrmated pair, but so far, that hadn’t happened.

Even though it was empty, it had been recently swept and prepared for the new arrivals. The ledge was bathed in sunlight, much to Herebeth’s approval and the dragon’s couch had been well worn to a pleasingly rounded shape. As soon as D’gar unfastened his belongings and removed the riding straps, Herebeth checked it out, turning around several times to assess the comfort.

It fits me very well, he pronounced, settling down with his head resting on his front legs. D’gar left him to it and pushed aside the heavy curtain that led into the sleeping chamber. It was sparsely furnished - just a bed and a chest for storing clothes - but that was all he needed. A couple of alcoves, cut into the rocky walls, provided some extra storage and a fresh basket of glows had been left there. A faded but clean rug had been placed beside the bed, so at least he wouldn’t have to step out onto cold stone with bare feet.

He put his box of food on one of the shelves and unrolled the sleeping furs, then sat on the edge of the bed and looked around his new home. He wondered how long it had been since someone last lived here. Could have been way back in the Interval, before the population at Benden had dwindled away. Whoever it had been though, they’d left no trace behind. Still, at least here there were no memories to haunt him so maybe this move, jarring as it seemed, was for the best.

He went back out, past a snoozing Herebeth, to the ledge from where there was a fine view of the Bowl. To his right, a sandy floor stretched as far as the feeding grounds and the lake. To the left was the wide entrance to the Hatching Grounds. Directly across the Bowl were countless other weyr openings, in shadow at this time of day. He realised his weyr must be almost directly over the kitchens. The smell of cooking reminded him how hungry he was so it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get back down. A couple of dragons and their riders were already gliding towards the ground, their wings gleaming in the sunlight.

‘Come on you. I need a lift,’ he said out loud, stroking the dragon’s shoulder.

Herebeth’s eyes whirled lazily. So soon? He asked. I was just getting comfortable.

Back at ground level, several of the Fort contingent had already gathered. ‘How’s your weyr?’ T’garrin asked.

‘A lot cleaner than my old one at Fort. Herebeth approves.’ He watched as his dragon flew back up, disappearing from view as he landed on the ledge. ‘How’s yours?’

‘Not bad. In fact, I think I’m just two along from you.’

As they chatted, a group of ten dragons; a bronze, two browns, three blues and four greens landed neatly in formation. As one of the riders dismounted and took off his jacket, D’gar recognised from his shoulder knots that he was from Telgar.

‘More reinforcements, it seems,’ he commented, noticing that the bronze was favouring a wing as if recently recovered from injury and two of the greens bore scars from old scorings.

‘Great opportunity to get rid of the odds and sods,’ T’garrin said.

‘Like us, you mean.’

‘Well, yes. Easier to send us off here than to try and slot us in to the other Wings back home.’

‘Good point. But I wonder how we’ll fit in here. I mean, all their dragons are huge.’ The modern dragons, being larger, would presumably have greater stamina, but at the expense of manoeuvrability.

‘I see what you mean,’ T’garrin said. ‘I’ve always considered Belloth quite a good size for a blue, but some of these Benden greens aren’t much smaller. And just look at that brown coming in now.’

They watched as a brown dragon - easily the size of bronze Piroth - landed on a nearby ledge.

‘Wonder why they’re that big? Back in our time, all the dragons were similar sized, no matter what Weyr they hatched at.’ D’gar pondered the question. ‘Maybe it’s due to inbreeding, with them being isolated for so long?’

‘Better not let them hear you say that. Someone might get offended.’

‘Yes, don’t wan’t to get up someone’s nose when we’ve only just arrived.’

Just then, Piroth landed neatly and R’feem slid down. ‘Is everyone here?’

‘All except J’rud. He’s probably still unloading his furniture.’

‘Oh well, he can find us when he gets down here. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I could really use a mug of klah right now.’ He led the way into the dining hall.

After a quick snack, they were given a tour of the Weyr. It was easy to see that it dated from the same era as Fort, when the ancients still had the tools to cut through solid rock and leave smooth walls. The bathing chambers were decently sized and the water seemed nice and hot. As they walked past the Senior Queen’s Weyr, Ramoth raised her head briefly, before resuming her afternoon nap.

After being shown around, they were left to their own devices. Some of the riders went back to their weyrs. D’gar considered doing the same, but there were comfortable places to sit in the dining hall and plenty of klah. Besides, Herebeth was sleeping and it didn’t seem fair to disturb him again.

The sun had slipped below the rim, leaving the floor of the Bowl in chilly shadow. Despite this, it still felt early in the day to D’gar, accustomed as he was to Fort time. It would take a day or so to get used to it, he knew and he’d probably find it difficult to get to sleep later. Still, at least there wasn’t another Fall for two days. Apparently, the Weyrleader had charts plotting out when and where Thread would fall. They’d never needed that before, but then each Weyr had become used to the regular patterns of Fall over their own areas. Until three days ago, Benden had been expecting to cover the whole continent alone. Impossible, of course, even without all the expansion of Holds and cultivated land during the Interval. Although, he supposed, this trick of being able to go between time would have helped. But still, a dragon and rider could only fly for a certain number of hours in a day without getting exhausted. It set his head spinning just to think of the complexities of planning and organisation that would have been needed.

This was the first time since the Big Move - and during the hectic days before - that he’d really had a chance to think about between timing. He knew that Lessa had worked out the reason why the five other Weyrs had been abandoned must be because they had come forward to her time, but of course no one in the past would have known that unless she'd gone back to tell them. So she’d figured out that she must have already done it, else the other Weyrs wouldn’t have been empty in the first place. It was all very complicated.

He poured a mug of klah and sat by the night hearth. How come no one had ever known dragons could go between times before? Going between places was one of those things that it didn’t do to analyse too much. Everyone knew it could be dangerous if you got it wrong; that had been drummed into them all as weyrlings. Flying on your dragon for the first time was exhilarating. Going between for the first time was downright terrifying. Apart from the horror stories - everyone was told the old tale of a weyrling pair found embedded in solid rock - there was the undeniable fact that some just didn’t come back at all from their first attempt. And because they didn’t come back, no one knew exactly what they’d done wrong.

The importance of an accurate visual was drilled into them over and over again. But at the same time, it was stressed that you needed to pick something that wouldn’t change over time; trees can fall, mountains rarely do. Maybe the whole knack of travelling through time was to forget all you’d been taught and go for the specific. Hadn’t Lessa used a tapestry to guide her back to the Ruatha of four hundred Turns ago, when the Hold had been subtly different to the way it looked today? Still, she’d almost died doing it, not realising how long she’d be trapped in the blackness and utter cold of between, unable to breathe. That was why they’d come forward in smaller jumps.

He sipped his klah and stared into the flames. Someone must have figured it out before. Maybe it was another of those things that the ancients had known about, but which had been lost in the mists of time, waiting for some brave soul to rediscover.

Another rider came over and poured himself a mug. He was young, probably just out of weyrlinghood. He had a shock of blond hair - almost bleached white - and was unusually tanned for so early in the spring.

‘Mind if I sit here?’ he asked.

‘No.’ He supposed it was no bad thing to get to know folk. Besides, this one was exceptionally good looking. Maybe a little on the youthful side, but then he wasn’t exactly ancient himself, even if he sometimes felt that way.

The lad cupped his hands around the mug. ‘Can’t seem to get warm since we came back,’ he said. ‘Is it always this cold here?’

‘Don’t really know. I’m from Fort myself.’ It wasn’t that cold outside, surely.

‘Oh, you must be one of the transfers they were telling us about. I’m from Southern.’

‘What, Ista?’ This was confusing. His shoulder knot was in the Benden colours, as well as showing that his dragon was green.

The lad laughed. ‘No, Southern Weyr. Well, not now, of course. We came back here three days ago. It’s been a strange couple of days.’

‘Tell me about it. So, where is Southern Weyr anyway? I’ve never heard of it.’

‘Well, you wouldn’t have, back then. It’s on the Southern continent. And I was Searched from Southern Boll for Prideth’s clutch, so I’ve never been this far north before.’

Well, that explained why he felt so cold. ‘Southern Boll, eh? You should have been standing on our hatching sands.’

‘Except when I was Searched, Fort was deserted.’

‘Oh, yes. I forgot.’

‘So, you must have been fighting Thread for Turns and Turns.’

‘I’m not that old,’ he protested, hoping fervently that the youngster wasn’t seeing him as being too old to be attractive. ‘Five Turns, that’s all. Our Wingleader’s been at it for nearly twenty.’

‘Were you at Telgar the other day?’

He nodded. ‘I think everyone was.’

‘They wouldn’t let us do much except supply extra firestone.’

‘That’s a vital job. And a good way to introduce you to the fighting wings. We did it, while we were still weyrlings.’

‘I’m not a weyrling,’ he said firmly. ‘We finished our training months ago. We came back here expecting to fight, then you lot turned up, so we didn’t have to.’

‘Sorry about that. I’ll just nip back four hundred Turns if you like.’ And that just made you seem even older, he thought, even as he said it.

The lad must have realised how ungracious he had sounded. ‘I didn’t mean it like that. Just that we were all ready to do our bit and then they didn’t need us after all. I can’t wait to get into a Wing.’

The enthusiasm of youth. Once a few of his clutch mates had died, he’d sober up a bit. If he survived that long. ‘Don’t be too eager,’ D’gar warned, knowing it was useless even as he spoke. He would have to find out for himself, as they all had.

‘Oh, there you are,’ M’rell came over with T’garrin and J’rud. ‘And who’s this?’

D’gar realised he’d not even asked the lad’s name. ‘Er…’

‘H’rek, Rioth's rider,’ he supplied.

‘Chatting up the greens already, D’gar,’ J’rud commented. ‘Quick work.’

‘Can’t I just have a mug of klah with someone without you lot thinking there’s an ulterior motive?’

H’rek interrupted. ‘To be honest, I started the conversation. I thought he looked lonely.’

He was never going to live this down. ‘I was just sitting here thinking, that’s all.’

‘He does a lot of that,’ M’rell said to H’rek. ‘It gives him that darkly brooding look some folk find attractive.’

‘Oh. Shut up. This disreputable bunch are my wingmates,’ he said to H’rek. Then, so they’d get off the subject. ’Guess what, you lot. He’s from a Weyr in the Southern continent.’

Everyone looked surprised. ‘I always heard that place was barren,’ T’garrin said.

‘No, it’s really lush. Everything grows twice the size it does here. The fruit’s the tastiest I’ve ever eaten.’

‘Well, I suppose stuff would regrow after four hundred-odd Turns without Thread.’ Even places that were cleared as regularly as the fire heights tried to sprout greenery, so it stood to reason.

‘That’s how they explained it to us, too. It was strange at first though, living in wooden huts in the jungle, but we got used to it.’

‘Wooden huts!’ M’rell exclaimed. ‘What about Thread?’

‘That’s just it. We were all worried about that, what with everyone saying it was coming back and that was why so many dragons were going to be needed soon. But all the time we were there, no Thread fell. T’bor - that’s our Weyrleader - said we didn’t need to bother about it. And it set me thinking…’

‘Oh no, not another one who thinks all the time,’ T’garrin groaned.

H’rek looked uncertain. ‘It’s probably nothing.’

‘Ignore them,’ D’gar said. ‘Say what you were going to.’

‘It might sound stupid, but I’m fairly sure they must have sent us back in time…’ he paused.

‘Well, go on.’

‘I mean, all of you came forward from the past, didn’t you? So that’s proof dragons can travel through time as well as from place to place. So I reckon they sent us back a few Turns, out of harm’s way. Give our dragons a chance to mature so we’d be ready to come back and fight Thread.’

‘What do your clutchmates think of your theory?’

He grimaced. ‘That’s the trouble. Most of them don’t think at all.’

D’gar smiled, looking around at the others. ‘I know the feeling,’ he said, then ducked as M’rell aimed a friendly blow at his head.

‘Does it really matter anyway?’ J’rud commented. ‘We’re all here now. Just got to make the best of it. Anyway, where are your clutchmates?’

‘They’re out on patrol, learning the local landmarks.’

‘So what did you do, to be left behind?’ T’garrin asked.

D’gar noticed the lad looked slightly embarrassed. ‘Isn’t that his business?’ he protested.

‘No. It’s fine,’ he said quietly. ‘It’s Rioth. We’re not allowed out of the Weyr at the moment. She’s due to rise soon.’

He didn’t sound as if he was looking forward to it, D’gar thought.

J’rud smiled. ‘She’ll have plenty of choice, then. There’s dragons here from all over Pern.’

‘While we were looking around another ten arrived from Ista. And four from High Reaches,’ M’rell said.

‘You’d have thought they could spare more than that.’ T’garrin looked over his shoulder to check none of them were around. ‘They didn’t lose as many as we did, from what I’ve heard.’

‘They’ve never been ones to mix much, though.’

‘Yes and no one wants to transfer there. Too sharding cold.’ J’rud shivered dramatically.

‘Colder than here?’ H’rek asked.

‘Much. They have snow nine months out of every Turn. You ever heard the old joke?’

‘Of course he hasn’t,’ D’gar put in. ‘But I’m sure you’ll tell him.’

J’rud sat on the bench. ‘Right. Why do riders from High Reaches go between?’

H’rek shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’

‘To get warm.’ He laughed. ‘Get it? To get warm.’

T’garrin rolled his eyes. ‘That one’s as old as the hills.’

A few drudges had emerged from the kitchens to wipe down tables. More people were starting to come in to the dining hall, among them a large group of young and suntanned riders.
H’rek waved to them. ‘They’re my clutchmates. We usually sit over there.’ He pointed to the far corner. ‘Why don’t you join us? There’s always a few spaces at that end.’

‘Might as well.’ At least that way, he’d be able to spend some more time in H’rek’s company. Just talking with him had made D’gar feel as if a piece of his heart had begun to thaw after a long cold spell. Natural caution mixed with painful experience was warning him that he should be careful. He had, after all, come here to fight Thread and it was entirely possible that neither he nor H’rek would be around for long enough to get to know each other better, but if they did, would that be so wrong?

The food was tasty and plentiful. There were some subtle differences in flavour from what he had been used to. Maybe it was down to the different herbs that grew in these parts, or the way recipes had changed through the Turns. As he ate, D’gar noticed the way people had grouped themselves; the Southern and Fort riders here, with the ones who had arrived too late spilling over to the next table. Those had been joined by others from Telgar and Ista. Next came another table filled with more Southern riders; from the clutch before his, H’rek explained. It was obvious how, despite the differences in age and origins, all those who weren’t regular Benden riders had sat together. Presumably that would change over the next few days as they were allocated places in the Benden Wings. He looked around the room, wondering where he’d end up and whether he’d get on as well with his new wingmates as with the ones he had now.

‘I still can’t get used to this many people in one place,’ H’rek said. ‘In Southern you knew everyone. Here, it’s like everyone’s looking at you…’

‘Well, that’s hardly surprising. You’re not bad to look at.’ He was trying to keep the conversation light, but that was bordering on flirtatious. And if H’rek’s green was that close to rising, he’d be sensitive to nuances. ‘Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.’

‘Everyone tries it on when you’re wearing these.’ He pointed to his shoulder knots with the unmistakeable green braid. ‘But as it’s you, I don’t mind.’

Some green riders, like V’chal, flirted any chance they had. H’rek obviously wasn’t that type; they’d had a perfectly normal conversation when he’d first shown up. However, with that comment, it seemed as if he might be feeling the same sense of attraction. Pity really that his dragon was so close to rising. D’gar would rather take it slowly and get to know him properly before being caught up in a mating flight. If, indeed, Herebeth deigned to get himself involved at all.

Is there something I should know about going on?

Trust his dragon to tune in now. How do you feel about a mating flight? Soon, I think.

What’s the dragon like?

A Benden green. Her name’s Rioth. I’ll find out more.

‘Has Rioth risen many times before?’ D’gar asked, trying to sound casual.

‘Just the once.’ He looked down at his food as if he’d suddenly lost his appetite.

He definitely seemed nervous about it. ‘Well, she might favour the same dragon again.’

‘I hope not. It was really embarrassing last time. Afterwards, I mean. Not for Rioth, obviously.’

‘Oh.’ Not a good experience, then. D’gar desperately thought of something that might reassure the lad. ‘If there’s anyone you particularly like, that can sometimes make a difference too.’

‘Really?’ There was a faint hope in his voice. ‘It was all a bit… overwhelming before.’

‘Mating flights usually are.’

‘No one really said anything about what happened.’ He paused. ‘I’m not Weyrbred, so I didn’t know… I mean, I saw a few of the greens from Ramoth’s clutch rise but I never realised how out of control it would all be.’

‘Didn’t your Weyrlingmaster give you “the chat”?’

From the blank look on his face, obviously not. ‘We had training from a few different people but it was mostly about flying and looking after our dragons properly.’

That didn’t sound good. Back when he’d been a weyrling, by the time the first of their clutch was mature enough to rise they’d all been aware of what it would entail. No one expected a young green rider to go into a mating flight without some kind of previous sexual experience. A sudden thought struck him. ‘I’ve got no right to ask this, I know,’ he said, dropping his voice slightly. ‘But when Rioth rose before, had you… was it your first time too?’

The absence of an answer told him everything. ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.’

‘I’m glad you did. Makes me feel like someone’s thinking about me.’

‘I think too much, according to my wing mates.’

‘Me too.’

They had so much in common, despite having been born in different times. D’gar reached out across the table and touched H’rek’s hand. Just to let him know he cared, really, except that when H’rek met his eyes it was one of those moments when you just know where this is going to end up. Physical attraction was only one aspect of what he knew he was starting to feel. And the idea of letting himself fall for anyone again was almost as frightening as the first time he’d ridden Herebeth between.

‘You two seem to be getting on very well.’ J’rud leaned across the table ‘Think we should put marks on Herebeth catching Rioth?’

’That’s up to Herebeth, isn’t it?’

‘Do you think he might?’ H’rek sounded all too hopeful.

‘Wherries might sing. Herebeth’s not risen for any green for a long time.’ J’rud said lightly. ‘Mind you, if his rider’s decided to start living again, who knows what could happen. Might even be in with a chance myself.’

‘It’ll be a warm night between before that happens.’ Suddenly, the food had lost its flavour. This was getting too much. He needed to get away, to give himself some time to think about the consequences, ‘I’ve had enough,’ he said, getting up from the table.

Before anyone had a chance to call him back, he walked out of the dining hall into the gathering dusk. On the weyr ledges, dragons eyes glowed like jewels.

I’m finished down here. Can you give me a lift back up to the weyr?

Of course.

‘Wait!’ H’rek had followed him. ‘Is Herebeth going to chase Rioth?’

He sounded desperate and it was that which made D’gar stop. ‘Sorry. This is all happening too fast. I don’t want to make any promises.’

‘But I thought you cared. No one else seems to.’

‘Listen, lad. The future of Pern’s been at stake over the past few days. Do you really think anyone up there…’ and he made a vague gesture towards the Queen’s Weyr, ‘Would have had the time to be bothered about the fate of one weyrling green rider.’

H’rek grabbed his shoulder and pulled him around so they were face to face. He was surprisingly strong considering his youth and slender build. ‘I’m not a weyrling. And I thought you felt the same way as I do. What’s changed?’

D’gar sighed. ‘Nothing. But even if Herebeth does chase Rioth there’s no guarantee he’ll catch her. You do know that, don’t you?’

The brown dragon landed neatly to one side, furling his wings. His eyes whirled quizzically. Am I carrying the two of you?

No. Just me.

‘I’m going up to my weyr now. You should probably go back inside and join your friends.’ He turned away. Herebeth extended a foreleg and he vaulted up.

The young one seems distressed.

He’s fine. Let’s go.

They landed back on the ledge. D’gar couldn’t help himself looking back down to the dining hall entrance, where H’rek was still standing all alone. Although he couldn’t be sure, at that distance, he felt H’rek’s eyes on him.

Now you are troubled. What is wrong?

I care about what might happen to him. He leaned against the comforting bulk of Herebeth’s flank. His dragon’s going to rise and he’s scared. I don’t want to care about him. I’m scared too.

A young green dragon launched herself from a ledge across the Bowl, gliding down gracefully. Even in the gathering darkness her hide was a vivid hue; the colour of new leaves in springtime. It had to be Rioth. Herebeth’s eyes followed her all the way down.

I miss Zemianth. You miss your mate. But they are gone. We are not.

He was right. Will you chase Rioth when she rises?

If you care about her rider, then of course I will.

Sometimes, he reflected, dragons had more sense than people.

Copyright © 2020 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
Recognized characters/events/plots from Dragonriders of Pern belong to Ann McCaffrey

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Chapter Comments

This is an interesting chapter, to say the least. I'm glad that D'gar has met H'rek and seems interested in him. I hope that Herebeth catches Rioth when she rises for her mating flight! I think that H'rek needs a man that is interested in him for more than just the mating flight.

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16 hours ago, Lutheros said:

I think that H'rek needs a man that is interested in him for more than just the mating flight.

Definitely. Next chapter is the mating flight!

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H'reck ended up being more than a little brusque, actually sort of an ass at the end; but I do still like him.  D'gar needs to find a connection with somebody, but not being weyr born doesn't seem to understand all the nuances; and damn someone should have explained things to those that were searched, especially those that got green dragons. 

Enjoyed the chapter, hope the next one is as good.



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