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

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 18. Fights and Flights

D'gar and M'rell commiserate about their relationships and Zemianth rises to mate.

D’gar woke with a pounding head. They’d sat out by the lake for a long time, drinking steadily. At some point, M’rell had gone to fetch more alcohol. He’d stayed, staring at the water, illuminated by the light of Timor, which was just sinking below the rim of the Bowl. The light had steadily faded until there was nothing left but blackness. He’d thought it seemed very symbolic. Dark and empty, like his life. Then M’rell had returned with a skin of wine.

‘Shouldn’t mix wine and ale,’ he’d protested.

‘Why not?’ M’rell had said, then laughed. ‘Wine not.’

He’d found it funny, too, by then. They’d drunk it regardless, until the music ended and people gradually drifted away. He had a vague memory of flying back up to the weyr on Toth, hanging on to M’rell and of throwing up several times into the necessary before finally falling into bed.

M’rell was snoring softly beside him. At least he was on his own side of the bed now. Earlier, D’gar had woken to discover he was the type who liked to cuddle while he slept. It was probably a good thing he’d have been too drunk to remember that.

You are awake. Herebeth radiated grumpiness. This weyr is too small for two fully grown brown dragons.

I’m sorry about that. He could have taken himself up to the heights if it was that bad.

Toth has been generous, Herebeth admitted. He has tried to share his space with me. It is not his fault.

Fully alert now, the memories of the previous day - the previous evening specifically - surged back. Couldn’t he have tried harder to pacify S’brin? He shouldn’t have started to argue…

Zemianth’s rider should not have pushed you.

D’gar sensed Herebeth was not just referring to the physical act. S’brin had pushed him a bit too far. He just couldn’t see, right now, how they were going to recover from it. M’rell turned over, reached out and tried to pull him closer. ‘Come here, Rina,’ he murmured sleepily.

‘I’m not Rina,’ he said hurriedly. ‘It’s D’gar.’

‘Eh, what?’ M’rell opened his eyes, screwing them up against the morning light spilling under the curtain. ‘How did you get here?’

‘You invited me, remember?’

M’rell sat up slowly. ‘I feel ill.’


‘It’s not because of you. My mouth is as dry as Igen in a drought. How much did I drink?’

‘Too much. I don’t feel great either.’ Klah. He needed klah. Lots of it, hot and sweet.

‘Did you say you had a fight with S’brin?’ M’rell was obviously remembering something of what had happened.

‘We had a row, yes.’ The less said about it, the better. D’gar wondered how late it was. In his own weyr he could easily estimate the time from the angle of sunlight hitting the floor, but in M’rell’s he hadn’t a clue. ‘I’m going to get breakfast while there’s still some left.’ He found his clothes in a heap on the floor and sniffed at the shirt. It would have to do.

M’rell groaned and pulled the sleeping furs back over his head. ‘Think I’ll stay here. If I go down to the dining hall everyone will be asking questions about Rina.’

‘I expect I’m going to get all of that too. You can’t hide forever.’

‘Bring me back some klah. Please.’

‘All right.’ It was the least he could do really, after spending the night. ‘I shouldn’t be too long.’

Toth raised a head as he passed. Herebeth was sprawled over the ledge, his tail hanging down outside. Judging by the shadows, it wasn’t as late as he’d feared. Normally, he woke early, because S’brin liked to get his morning run and exercises done before breakfast. D’gar usually went along with him, unless the weather was exceptionally foul.

He stretched and yawned, then climbed onto Herebeth’s neck. It seemed more of an effort than usual. Dining hall please, he requested.

Gladly. Herebeth dropped off the ledge and glided down. Can we go back to our own weyr yet?

I don’t know. Can’t you ask Zemianth?

She is not responding to me.

Probably not, then. D’gar had a sudden thought. She’s not about to rise, is she?

Herebeth didn’t reply for a little while. I do not think so. Not yet, anyway. When she does, I will not be chasing her.

That was very definite. D’gar slid off carefully. Sudden movements hurt his head.

I think I may chase Zurinth, though.

Great. That was all he needed. He walked into the dining hall, scanning the ‘C’ Wing table. S’brin wasn’t there; still running probably. R’feem and N’rir were at the head of the table, a gaggle of green riders at the far end. H’fra nudged A’kindry as they spotted him. The looks he got made him decide he definitely wouldn’t be sitting with them this morning.

He picked up some toast, a boiled egg and klah, then made his way back to the table.

‘Morning,’ R’feem said, watching him over the steam from his own mug. ‘It seems you had an eventful evening.’

Oh, great. ‘Er, yes, you could say so.’ He wondered how many of the other riders had heard them shouting. It wouldn’t matter, really. Those who hadn’t would have been told the story by those who had. Doubtless, everything had been exaggerated beyond measure by now. ’S’brin and I had a difference of opinion.’

‘And how are things between you now?’

‘I don’t know. I didn’t stay in our weyr last night and I’ve not seen him this morning.’ D’gar took a deep drink of klah.

‘Hmm,’ R’feem mused. ‘I expect you to be on speaking terms at least before tomorrow’s Fall. I won’t have riders in my Wing at loggerheads with each other.’

That was going to be difficult. ‘He may not talk to me again until after Zemianth rises.’

‘Ah. Proddy, is he?’ N’rir asked.

‘A bit.’ He poked at the egg. Suddenly, the food seemed less appetising.

‘Well, if she rises today, that should solve the issue and if she’s close enough to affect his moods that badly they’ll probably be missing Fall anyway.’ R’feem buttered a piece of bread. ’N’rir, would you draw up an alternative shift pattern in case Zemianth isn’t fit to fly?’

‘Of course.’

‘And D’gar…’

He felt the Wingleader’s steely gaze on him again and looked up from his breakfast.

‘You did the right thing by leaving before it got any more heated.’

So he had heard, then. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, wishing even more that the ground would open up and swallow him.

‘Let’s hope S’brin feels the same way once he’s in a more sensible frame of mind.’

After that he ate quickly, forcing down the toast and egg. He refilled his klah and got one for M’rell, along with a sweet roll in case he felt like eating something, then headed back up to the weyr.

I will be on the heights, Herebeth said. There is more room up there.

M’rell was still buried under the furs. ‘Go away,’ he mumbled.

‘I brought klah.’

‘Ah, that’s different, then.’ He reached out a hand for the mug. ‘Did I dream it, or did Rina and Janelle fight over me?’

‘You told me about it before you got really drunk, so I’m guessing it’s true.’

He groaned. ‘Do you think I’m being an idiot?’

‘Well, it’s obvious Rina cares for you, otherwise she’d not be bothered about you seeing someone else.’ Why did other people’s relationship problems always seem so much more straightforward? ‘And if she wants your baby that just proves the same thing.’

M’rell gulped down some klah. ‘I know. I just don’t think I’m ready for all that. The responsibility. To have some kid looking up to me and wanting to “be a dragonrider like my dad”. It’s all a bit much. I can hardly remember my own father. He was killed in Fall when I was six.’

That might be one of the reasons he was reluctant to commit. ‘That’s fair enough, but she won’t wait forever for you to make up your mind. I take it you still want to be with her?’

‘Well, yes. She understands me. And, well, I love her.’

‘Then tell her that. Don’t throw it away.’ He sighed, thinking about S’brin. ‘I really hope S’brin and I can sort things out.’

‘You will,’ M’rell said with a confidence D’gar didn’t feel. ‘You always have before.’

He didn’t see S’brin until dinner time. Bearing in mind what R’feem had said, he thought he should try to smooth things over. He’d spent most of the afternoon sitting in one of the empty weyr mouths at the opposite side of the lake, thinking what to say. The trouble was, it all depended on the mood S’brin might be in and as Zemianth hadn’t yet risen to mate, he didn’t reckon it would be much use. Still, he had to try.

S’brin was sitting with his usual friends; R’xel and B’thun to either side of him with H’fra and Is’ish opposite. D’gar noticed J’rud at the table, too, although he had chosen a spot further up, with some of the older greens. He walked deliberately over towards S’brin. ‘I think we need to talk,’ he said carefully. That was a fairly inoffensive opening.

S’brin regarded him coldly. ‘You’re at the wrong end of the table. Greens only.’

D’gar was very aware of people watching, including R’feem and his two Wingseconds. Maybe if he apologised first, it might help? ‘Look, I’m sorry things got out of hand last night…’

‘You shouldn’t have set Herebeth on us.’

‘I didn’t. Not deliberately. He thought I was in danger.’ This wasn’t going well.

S’brin shook his head. ‘I don’t want to talk to you.’

‘All right, then.’ D’gar knew it was pointless to try and discuss it, especially with half of the Wing looking on. Still, at least R’feem would have seen that he’d tried. ‘Can I fetch some of my stuff from the weyr?’

‘Sure. Just not when Zemianth or me are there.’

‘I’ll go right after dinner.’

S’brin nodded curtly. D’gar made his way back to the other end of the table. On the way, he noticed J’rud give him a sympathetic look. He picked up a bowl of stew and some bread, then sat down next to M’rell.

‘Didn’t go too well?’ M’rell asked.

D’gar shook his head. ‘He’s not ready to talk and certainly not in front of his friends.’

‘So we’ll be sharing a weyr again tonight?’

‘Looks like it.’

R’feem had obviously been listening. ‘If you need any help finding a weyr of your own, I can have a word with Naraina.’

‘Not yet. I hope we can sort things out. But thanks.’

R’feem addressed his Wingseconds. ‘Zemianth’s definitely not going to be leaving the Weyr tomorrow. I shall tell S’brin he can help out at the firestone dump.’

S’brin wouldn’t enjoy that, especially with the new Weyrlingmaster, M’nan supervising.

‘She might rise before Fall,’ I’grast pointed out. ‘It’s not until mid-afternoon.’

‘She might,’ R’feem agreed. ‘But in that case, she’d probably be too tired to fly for long anyway. We’ll manage without them both.’

D’gar ate his stew quickly. S’brin would see R’feem’s actions as just another example of how Weyr policy was prejudiced against green dragons and their riders. It would make his resentment simmer further. Still, there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

‘Never mind, lad,’ N’rir said kindly. ‘It’ll blow over, once he’s cooled off and she’s had her fun.’

D’gar hoped so. It had been different when they’d argued in the barracks; their clutchmates had been mostly supportive in trying to help them patch things up. Now, with S’brin listening to some of the - frankly poisonous - advice from some of the other green riders, he couldn’t help worrying about how things would turn out.

When he went to pick up a change of clothes and his riding leathers, he found further evidence of S’brin’s state of mind. The weyr was a mess. He must have been throwing things around for a while after Herebeth flew off and hadn’t bothered to tidy up. The Moreta tapestry was askew, one of the hooks having been pulled out of the wall. ‘Bet you never had to deal with stuff like this,’ he said to her. ‘Plagues would be an improvement in my life right now.’

He packed his things quickly, not wanting to take any more time than was necessary. When he brushed past the curtain, he found Herebeth staring longingly at his comfortable couch. I’m sorry, he apologised. We won’t be coming back here right away.

I will manage. If it is too uncomfortable, I will find a place outside. The nights are warm.

If nothing’s changed in a sevenday, we’ll find a new weyr for ourselves. He hoped it didn’t come to that. The longest he and S’brin hadn’t spoken to each other, up until now, had been three days. Even thinking about the possibility made him feel sad.

On his way back to M’rell’s weyr Herebeth relayed a message. Gemalth’s rider would like to see you. She is in her weyr.

He’d not been to the Hatching Ground today, what with everything else. She must have wondered why. Tell her I’ll be there shortly.

He had a quick wash and shave, then put on a clean shirt. Echoes of his mother’s advice rang around his head. ‘You should never visit a weyrwoman looking scruffy,’ she’d told him. Not that he’d ever expected to, back then, before Impressing Herebeth. It was just one of those things mothers told you, along with making sure to wash your hands before you ate.

Zalna was reclining on her long couch, looking cool as she sipped chilled fruit juice. He knew of the store rooms, deep inside the Weyr, where ice was piled up during the winter so that the privileged few could enjoy such treats in the summer months. ‘You look as if you could use a cold drink,’ she said, pouring him one.

He was intrigued by the piece of ice floating in it, enjoying the clinking sound it made as it hit the sides of the glass.

Zalna laughed. ‘Anyone would think you’ve not seen ice before.’

‘Not in a drink, no. Us common riders don’t get treats like this.’ The redfruit juice tasted far more refreshing icy cold.

‘So, what’s this I hear about you and S’brin breaking up?’

The news had travelled, then. ‘I’m hoping we haven’t broken up, although we did have a row.’

‘Yes, I’m told half the Weyr heard you shouting and throwing things at each other. Is it true he pushed you off the ledge and Herebeth had to catch you?’

Weyr gossip had done its usual work, elaborating and exaggerating events. ‘Not exactly.’ He filled in what had actually happened. ‘So now he’s not speaking to me.’

‘Oh dear. Is there anything I can do to help?’

‘Probably not. I’m hoping it will all blow over. S’brin will see reason once she’s mated.’

Zalna nodded in sympathy. ‘I remember being very irritable for a day or two before Gemalth rose. It was far worse than I normally feel before my monthlies. Her emotions seemed to set off my own in a kind of vicious circle. Plus, of course, I was nervous about the whole thing.’

‘Turned out well, though. Twenty-five eggs is a good number for a first clutch.’

‘So I’m told. I wish it had been a few less, though. If Loranth doesn’t lay as many, Mardra will hate it.’

‘It’s not a competition, surely.’

‘It is to her.’

Even weyrwomen had problems, he reflected. Although there were compensations, like being able to get icy cold drinks when you wanted. ‘Still considering a transfer to Benden, then?’

‘I think so. It’s not just about K’torl, either. Of course, I miss him and every time I look up at his empty weyr I’m reminded, but I really believe I’ll have a better chance of a good life there. The Weyrwoman is actually friendly and willing to train me. In two conversations with her, she’s made me feel more at ease than Mardra has in two Turns.’

They chatted for an hour or two. It was the most relaxed he’d felt since it all happened. Even the prospect of Fall the next day didn’t dampen his good humour and he flew back up to M’rell’s weyr feeling in relatively good spirits.

As M’rell wasn’t there, he tidied the place up a bit. M’rell hadn’t bothered to put away his laundered clothes, just left them on top of any available surface. There were several unwashed cups that had contained klah, the floor hadn’t been swept in a while and he found some stale bits of food in the corners. It was definitely not a good idea to leave those lying around as food debris encouraged tunnel snakes. He’d just dumped the rubbish down the chute next to the necessary when M’rell arrived.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Tidying up. You don’t mind?’

‘It wasn’t that bad, was it?’


‘Rina usually does it when she comes up to stay.’ He sat down on the edge of the bed and started pulling off his boots. ‘You probably don’t want to know this, but S’brin was drinking quite heavily down there.’

D’gar shrugged. ‘He doesn’t have to ride Fall, so it hardly matters.’

‘He was saying some nasty things about you. Some of the other riders walked away.’

That was good to know. At least not all of them sided with S’brin. ‘He’ll be fine in a few days.’ Say it enough times and it might come true.

‘Were you and J’rud really all over each other at the lake?’

‘No!’ It didn’t surprise him that S’brin should be saying that. ‘We both fell asleep leaning against the dragons. Nothing else happened.’

‘H’fra, A’kindry and that lot were being bitchy to him.’

Poor J’rud. He didn’t deserve that kind of treatment.

’R’feem sent N’rir over to have a word.’


‘He didn’t look happy with any of them.’

D’gar shook his head. ‘I really, really hope Zemianth rises soon. Then this will be over.’

‘For another three months or so.’

‘He doesn’t always get it so bad.’ It had been a combination of circumstances, all coming together at once.

‘Maybe you’re a bit too ready to excuse his behaviour, too.’

D’gar wondered about that. ‘What else can I do?’

M’rell shrugged. ’Oh well. Time for bed. I like to get an early night before Fall.’

‘Yeah. We do usually, as well.’ Although not necessarily to sleep straight away. There wouldn’t be any of that tonight.

‘Cover the glow baskets while you’re up, will you?’

‘Lazy sod. I hope you don’t get Rina to do that as well.’

‘She doesn’t mind. So, who does it in your weyr?’

‘Whoever’s last into bed.’ He slid the cover over the first basket. As the light dimmed, M’rell started getting undressed. Funny, he was never so shy in the baths and certainly hadn’t been last night. Mind you, he’d been drunk. They both had. He covered the second one, then waited for his eyes to adjust before making his way back to the bed; not so easy in an unfamiliar weyr. It was a good job he still had his boots on, or he’d have stubbed a toe. He sat down heavily, misjudging the height of the bed as well, then quickly got undressed and slipped under the covers.

‘Goodnight, then.’ He made sure to keep a good way apart from M’rell. No point in making him feel uncomfortable when he might need to stay a while longer.

‘Goodnight,’ came the reply.

By morning, M’rell was cuddling up to him again. Evidently, once he was asleep any inhibitions were lost. D’gar carefully untangled him and made his way to the necessary. His guts knew it was a Threadfall day and were churning already.

‘You all right?’ M’rell asked, when he climbed back into the bed. ‘You didn’t eat something bad, did you?’

‘I always get like this before Fall.’

‘It’s not happening until later on.’

‘Tell my stomach that.’

‘Yeah. Didn’t you throw up all over Herebeth once?’

‘Thanks for the reminder.’ D’gar stared at the striated ceiling above him. The patterns were quite different than in his familiar weyr. His mind felt in as much turmoil as his guts. What if Thread got him and they’d never made it up? If he died, then S’brin would feel horribly guilty. Then there was J’rud. How could he have been oblivious to someone he knew so well feeling that way about him? ‘Why is life so complicated?’ he said out loud.

‘Dunno. I thought it was supposed to get easier once you were older.’

Humans make life very complicated. Herebeth was awake and decided to contribute. Dragons do not think about the past all the time like you do.

That’s because you don’t remember it very well. Maybe that was a blessing.

We remember. Herebeth said. But the past is like an eggshell on the Sands. It is of no further use and we must leave it behind.

‘Do you reckon Rina will get back with me again?’ M’rell interrupted his conversation.

‘Probably, if you explain it all to her.’

M’rell sighed. ‘I’ve never been very good at explaining things.’

‘You managed all right to me.’

‘I don’t love you.’

He’d got it right there. Why was it people often found it easier to talk to friends than to the ones they loved? ‘You have to try. If she understands your reasons, she might have a bit more sympathy. Right now, she probably thinks you don’t want to be with her any more. Or that you fancy Janelle more than you do her.’

‘I suppose so.’ M’rell stretched and yawned. ‘So, what are you going to do about S’brin?’

‘Wait until he’s in a better frame of mind. Get him on his own. Talk. Then, hopefully, have several hours of passionate make-up sex. That’s the only good thing about rowing in the first place. Never know, you and Rina might even start off that baby when you get back together.’

The day dragged, as it always did when waiting for Threadfall. D’gar spent the morning checking over Herebeth’s fighting straps and drinking klah, which was about all his stomach could cope with. He saw S’brin and Zemianth fly off to join the weyrlings at the firestone dump. Zemianth’s colour certainly seemed brighter than usual and he suspected she would rise to mate at some point during the day. Although both green and gold dragons were naturally inhibited from doing so during Threadfall, the Weyr was a long way from Hold Gar, where they would be fighting later, so it probably wouldn’t affect her. Or him, for that matter, as Herebeth had stated he wasn’t going to chase Zemianth anyway.

After lunch, they assembled as usual. It was swelteringly hot down on the landing ground, so everyone waited until they were almost ready to take off before putting on the heavy wherhide gear. Even so, by the time they took to the air, D’gar was sweating. He’d attached two flasks of water to the straps; that way he might have enough to get to the end without becoming dehydrated.

The weather was the same over the coast, where they waited for leading edge to come in across the sea. Three of the Wings had been assigned to protect the fishing fleet far below. They’d net a bumper haul when the shoals of fish ascended to eat drowned Thread.

D’gar watched the dragons flaming against the blue sky. The scene reminded him of the smaller tapestry hanging in their weyr. Was it still ‘their weyr’, he wondered? Then leading edge was upon them and he didn’t have time to think any more.

It felt like hard work today; even on the middle level, the air was much warmer than usual and the sun beat down relentlessly. Each blast of flame sent waves of heat back over him. Thread was coming down thick and fast. Riders became tired and made mistakes, resulting in more injuries than would usually occur in good visibility. Around two hours in - just as they were over the Hold itself - the emotional wrench that told of a fatality tore through his mind. He ignored it, as you always did and carried on.

By the time they came back to the Weyr, he felt totally drained of energy. It was as much as he could do to take off Herebeth’s straps and trudge wearily to the baths. Like everyone else, when he stripped off the wherhide, his clothes beneath were soaked in sweat. It felt good to get into the water, even though it was still warmer than he’d have liked. Right now, diving into that ice lake would be perfect.

Afterwards, they made their way to the dining hall. Pitchers of cold water and juice had been left out, together with refreshing slices of fruit. Gradually, the table filled up. D’gar kept checking for S’brin to come in. Mind you, anyone shovelling firestone was always late, as there was the clearing up to do afterwards. None of the weyrlings had arrived yet, either.

‘Tough one, today,’ T’garrin commented.

‘Makes you wish for winter,’ M’ta put in.

‘At least you weren’t up for the whole Fall.’ M’rell sprawled along the bench, while next to him, A’ren sat up as properly as he always did.

‘Anyone know who died?’ N’dru asked.

‘A pair in “G” Wing, I heard,’ M’ta said. ‘Probably young ‘uns.’

R’feem arrived, chatting with I’grast, shortly followed by N’rir. He called them to order. ‘Short meeting tonight, folks. I know you’ll all want to get some dinner as we had a late finish, so I won’t keep you long.’

As he continued speaking, D’gar noticed some of Suderoth’s clutch coming in, chatting loudly. A few of the other Wingleaders had also begun their meetings. As they passed ’A’ Wing’s table, T’ron glared at the noisy weyrlings, which kept the levels down.

R’feem soon finished speaking and ended, as always, asking if there were any questions or comments. When there weren’t, he dismissed everyone. ‘Enjoy what’s left of your evening. Rest day tomorrow, naturally.’

‘Well, that was nice and quick,’ M’rell said as they went up to refresh their drinks and see what was being put out to eat. D’gar was starving, having only been able to stomach some porridge and a meat roll earlier. Thankfully, the kitchen staff had taken into account the hot weather and had provided cold pies, pickles and vegetables, along with plenty of freshly baked bread with cheese.

As he was cutting off a chunk of cheese, a couple of the weyrlings joined them. He couldn’t help but overhear what they were talking about.

‘Now you know what happens when a green dragon rises to mate,’ a freckle-faced lad said to his friend.

‘Well, I hope it doesn’t happen to me in the middle of the firestone dump like that. Bit embarrassing, wasn’t it?’

‘You were staring along with everyone else. And those two didn’t seem embarrassed at all.’

M’rell nudged D’gar. ‘Wonder if that’s S’brin they’re talking about?’

D’gar feared it probably was. He hesitated.

‘Go on, ask them.’

‘Er, lads. Whose dragon rose today?’

The lad with the freckles answered. ‘Just some wingrider who’d been sent to help us.’

‘Yeah,’ his friend said. ‘They did it right in front of everyone…’

He looked as if he was about to go into more detail when M’rell stopped him. ‘Best not say any more. This is his weyrmate.’

‘Oh.’ The freckled one blushed. ‘Sorry.’

‘You weren’t to know,’ D’gar said. His imagination provided the images. It was a good thing S’brin - and whoever’s dragon had caught Zemianth - wouldn’t have known or cared about the audience. They went back to the table to eat.

‘At least it’s over,’ M’rell said. ‘Maybe he’ll talk to you tomorrow.’

‘I hope so.’ S’brin would probably laugh it all off. D’gar could imagine him joking about it with the other greens. If the flight had happened sometime during Fall, then S’brin and his partner would still be wrapped up in the aftermath. He tried not to think about it too much.

M’rell always had a few drinks after Fall. ‘To relax,’ he said.

D’gar stayed on juice. ‘How can you drink again so soon after having a hangover as bad as yesterday?’

‘Easy. Like this.’ He sank a cup of ale, then refilled it. ‘Lovely.’

They stayed down in the dining hall for far longer than D’gar would usually have done. The day’s work had taken it out of him and the thought of sleep appealed. Herebeth was tired too; that was part of the problem. After four hours in the air, he should have somewhere comfortable to sleep.

I shall be all right, he said. I am by the lake now. The ground is warm from the heat of the day and the sound of water is soothing.

If you’re sure?

By the time they left - along with several others of the Wing - he was almost nodding off. As folk called out goodnight and waited for their dragons to pick them up, he couldn’t help but glance up at his own weyr. Zemianth was out on the ledge, as she often liked to be on warm nights, but she wasn’t alone. Another dragon nuzzled her neck and folded a wing across her body protectively. A young, reddish-brown dragon. He must have been the one that had flown her earlier, and if he was up there on the ledge, then that must mean his rider was inside the weyr, with S’brin.

‘Are you calling Herebeth, or do you want a lift up on Toth?’

M’rell’s voice dragged him back. ‘Toth will be fine. Herebeth’s resting right now.’ Were they having a drink together, chatting? Or having another round, still stoked up with dragonlust? A flight was one thing, but to take him back to the weyr; their weyr…

‘What’s up?’

‘Nothing.’ He looked up again. He wanted to go up there and confront S’brin. Throw the other rider out. It was totally unreasonable, he knew.

M’rell followed his gaze. ‘Oh. That’s not right. Taking him back to your weyr.’

‘I know.’ He didn’t want to look any more. ‘Let’s go. Before I do something stupid.’

They climbed up on Toth and flew up to M’rell’s weyr. D’gar didn’t feel sleepy any more, just sad and angry at the same time. He took off his boots and hurled them at the wall, then sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the floor.

Herebeth picked up on his state of mind. What has angered you?

This. He sent Herebeth an image of what he’d seen.

Zemianth has found a mate. It is what green dragons do.

‘Are you all right?’ M’rell asked cautiously.

‘I will be. That sharding bastard!’

‘It’s just dragonlust. He doesn’t love whoever it is.’

‘I don’t think he loves me, either.’ With no means of venting his anger, D’gar felt tears gathering.

‘He does. You two have been together for Turns. That won’t just fall apart over one mating flight.’

‘Mating flight’s one thing. But this…’ It felt like a betrayal. ‘S’brin thinks something’s going on between me and J’rud. That’s why he’s doing all this.’

‘Everyone knows that’s not true. You and J’rud are just clutchmates. He might as well say we’re carrying on.’

Everything M’rell was saying made sense. But S’brin wasn’t seeing reason. ‘It’s those other greens. I’ve suspected they were jealous of our relationship. They’re poisoning him.’

‘Why should they want you to fall out?’

‘Maybe one of them fancies him. Maybe they just don’t like me. I don’t know.’ All of the frustration of the past couple of days welled up. ‘I should probably find myself a new weyr.’

‘Don’t be too hasty,’ M’rell cautioned. ‘You said yourself you should wait until after Zemianth rose to mate. She’s done that now. S’brin will probably wake up tomorrow feeling bad about everything. Give him a chance.’

Despite all of it, D’gar couldn’t help smiling. ‘You sound like me, now.’

‘I know. Not too often I end up giving you advice, but you’ve helped me out, so I should do the same. See how you feel in the morning.’


‘I’m going to try and speak to Rina tomorrow, as well.’ He sounded determined. ‘Let’s see if we can both salvage our relationships.’

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

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Wow, someone (S'brin) has their head on backwards...great chapter, thanks!!!

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S'brin is really showing his emotional immaturity the moment and probably taking too much notice of some of the other green riders in the Wing. 

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It's clear that dragons only enhance the emotions of their riders  and that envy and selfishness are hallmarks even on Pern.  The other greens clearly want what S'brin and D'gar have, and can't abide it being successful for them if they can't find it themselves, hence....

I hope our estranged couple will reunite quickly, S'brin to gain some maturity and D'gar to begin exerting some of his own wishes in the relationship rather than just letting his weyrmate slide due to it being the 'dragonrider way'.

More please, Mawgrim!

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On 4/23/2021 at 12:10 AM, ColumbusGuy said:

The other greens clearly want what S'brin and D'gar have, and can't abide it being successful for them if they can't find it themselves, hence....

I hope our estranged couple will reunite quickly, S'brin to gain some maturity and D'gar to begin exerting some of his own wishes in the relationship rather than just letting his weyrmate slide due to it being the 'dragonrider way'.

Envy is certainly a part of the other greens motivation. D'gar and S'brin are both young and like many couples who first get together in their teens, they are maturing emotionally at different rates. Add in S'brin being paired with a hormonal green dragon and there are bound to be problems. Up until now, D'gar has tended to just excuse S'brin's behaviour but things are going to change.

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I wish D'gar would consider getting together with J'rud, he's so much nicer. But if J'rud is in love with him, and D'gar can't return his feelings, then it would probably make things worse. :( 

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