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    Mawgrim
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 23. Ignoring Advice

D'gar is given the task of showing the Wing's latest bronze rider around, much to his annoyance.

Flying with Herebeth was an experience D’gar would never grow tired of. Even if it was like this afternoon; a series of increasingly complex manoeuvres which he led as G’dol and Dorniath attempted to follow. Most of the time, he succeeded, too, which was slightly annoying. D’gar had assumed that G’dol’s boasting covered up his lack of skills, but it was as obvious to him as it must be to R’feem and his two Wingseconds that was not the case. Dorniath was exceedingly quick in the air, turning almost as tightly as the smaller Herebeth and had all of the power and strength you might expect from a bronze dragon.

Hang on, Herebeth warned him as he received his latest set of instructions from Piroth. He took them into a stalling turn, followed by a steep dive. It was a tough one to follow, but D’gar sensed Dorniath was just behind them as they plummeted through the air before finally levelling out. Dorniath pulled alongside and G’dol grinned at him as if to say, ‘see what we can do.’

Piroth tells us to rejoin them. Herebeth gradually regained the height he’d lost and now the bronze’s greater wingspan and size meant that he pulled ahead, reaching their final altitude in the lead. While they circled, D’gar watched as Gr’thol finished his own set of moves to test the two green dragons, then flew back into formation.

They returned to the Weyr. I would like a swim now, Herebeth said, looking wistfully at the lake.

I need a bath. He’d sweated nearly as much as during Fall, particularly when they’d been throwing sacks of firestone around. You flew very well, he said to his dragon.

I can outfly most other browns. He said it in a very matter-of-fact way. Dragons didn’t boast, although if Dorniath was anything like his rider, D’gar wouldn’t be surprised if he proved the exception to the usual rule.

‘Well done,’ R’feem said to everyone, after they’d landed. ‘The rest of the day is your own. If you could show the green riders around, Gr’thol.’

Gr’thol nodded.

‘And D’gar, you can do the same for G’dol. See you all at dinner, later.’ R’feem and the Wingseconds flew back up to his weyr, presumably to discuss the shuffles in the Wing formation that would result from taking in the newcomers.

‘What now?’ G’dol asked.

‘Well, I’m having a bath and Herebeth wants to swim in the lake.’ He hoped G’dol would take himself off somewhere, but that wasn’t to be.

‘Sounds all right to me.’

They both removed their dragons’ fighting straps and D’gar led the way to the bathing cavern. There were only a few people using the pools at this time of day. ‘I expect this is similar to what you have at Benden,’ he said, just to try and make conversation. ‘You can put your clothes in any of these niches. It gets a bit busier after Fall, of course.’

As G’dol stripped off, D’gar couldn’t help checking him out. He was almost as tall as S’brin, although not quite so muscular. Not bad, though. He wondered whether G’dol favoured men or women as bed partners. Or either, like R’feem. His question was answered as they stepped into the first pool, which was a comfortably warm temperature.

‘So, are you going to introduce me to the good looking women around here?’

‘Everyone will probably go down to the lake later on, when they finish work. And I doubt you’ll need any introductions. They’ll be as keen to check out the new arrivals as you are.’

G’dol grabbed a handful of sweetsand and started to wash his hair. ‘Is that where folk meet, then?’

‘When the weather’s good, yes.’ Although they were into the ninth month, the summer showed no signs of departing yet. ‘It’s usually fine until the middle of tenth month here and doesn’t really get cold until eleventh month.’

G’dol ducked under to rinse his hair. ‘Feels warmer,’ he said.

‘Well, Benden’s a lot further north.’ D’gar washed his own hair. Maybe G’dol had just been compensating for nerves last evening? Or maybe he’d figured out that D’gar had been trying to take him down a peg or two and had decided to tone it down.

‘What did you think of our flying, then?’

Here we go. ‘Not bad at all.’

‘Yeah. Your brown did well to keep up. Your Wingleader should have matched us with another bronze, really.’

‘There’s only Piroth and Tiriorth in our Wing and I think they both wanted to observe.’

‘In my Wing at Benden, there’s four of us, excluding the Wingleader.’

The way he said it felt to D’gar as if he was showing off again. ‘Some of our Wings here have more bronzes, too. It doesn’t make a lot of odds really. We usually fight in triplets; a brown or bronze flanked by a blue and a couple of greens. Or sometimes two blues, depending on conditions.’

‘Pocket sized area here, isn’t it? At Benden, we cover a lot more land.’

D’gar tried not to feel annoyed. ‘Fort and Ruatha Holds are fairly densely cultivated. Southern Boll less so, but it’s a big place. Lots of different climate zones, too. You’ll see for yourself.’ It was stupid to go on like that when you didn’t know an area. He wouldn’t start shooting his mouth off about Benden, when all he knew of the place was that there must be quite a few vineyards.

G’dol smiled lazily. ’Your riders will soon find out how tough it is up in the north east. As for me, I’m looking on this secondment as a bit of a holiday.’

‘Fighting Thread’s never a holiday.’ D’gar swam out into a deeper part of the pool and ducked his head under to rinse out the sweetsand. Why had R’feem asked him to show G’dol around? It felt like a waste of his rest day.

He usually liked to relax around in the water for a while, enjoying the quiet, but G’dol didn’t let up talking for long. He started to tell D’gar some of the stories he’d already overheard the previous evening. Every other sentence seemed to begin with ‘at Benden’. D’gar very soon found himself wishing G’dol had stayed there, but he had been given a job to do and he was determined to do it as well as he could. Even if he did wish he could strangle the annoying bronze rider.

Having finished bathing and dressed again, D’gar gave G’dol the grand tour of Fort Weyr.

‘That’s our Senior Queen’s weyr. She’s called Loranth and her rider’s Mardra. She only mated a couple of sevendays ago, so there’ll be another clutch on the sands soon.’

‘Any chance of a gold flight while we’re here?’ G’dol’s eyes had strayed toward a couple of women bringing in washing from the lines.

‘Suderoth’s due to rise again soon. How long’s it been since Luduth last clutched?’

‘A Turn or so.’

‘Then she might rise as well. Has Dorniath chased any golds yet?’

‘Couple of times.’

If he’d caught any, then doubtless G’dol would be telling him all about that, too, so D’gar supposed that like many young bronzes, he hadn’t got the knack of it yet. ‘That’s the barracks over yonder and there’s the infirmary.’

‘Shouldn’t think I’ll be needing that.’

D’gar almost hoped he got himself scored somewhere painful and embarrassing. ‘The dragon healers and ground level weyrs are next to it.’ T’kes still occupied one with Neyrenth. He had difficulty in landing on a conventional weyr ledge due to his wing injuries.

A few folk had started to make their way to the lake as they finished their shifts. D’gar headed toward the kitchens. He’d promised to get some food and meet S’brin down there later in the afternoon.

‘Where we going now?’ G’dol asked.

‘Kitchens.’

‘Good. I’m a bit peckish myself.’

Agarra was cleaning down her usual work table when they arrived. ‘Who’s this?’ she asked.

‘G’dol, from Benden. G’dol, this is my mum, Agarra.’

At least he didn’t flirt with her, which was a blessing. Unfortunately he noticed Torala carrying a load of bowls back from the washing area. While D’gar packed a hamper with snacks, G’dol went to introduce himself. Hopefully, she’d tell him where to get off.

‘He’s playing with fire there,’ Agarra commented.

‘I hope he gets burned. He’s a menace, but R’feem told me I had to show him around, so I’ve no choice in the matter.’

G’dol came back as Torala got on with her duties. ‘I reckon she fancies me,’ he said to D’gar.

D’gar doubted it, even if she wasn’t still getting over seeing A’ren off to Benden.

‘My foster daughter has very good taste in men,’ Agarra said in dismissive fashion.

It went right over G’dol’s head. He smiled as if she’d paid him a compliment. At least he helped to carry the loaded basket and the jugs of ale down to the shore.

S’brin, M’rell and J’rud were already there and had found a good spot. S’brin took D’gar aside. ‘Why did you bring that big idiot?’

‘R’feem’s orders. Sorry.’

‘Oh well, maybe we can have a bit of fun with him.’

‘Rina should be joining us,’ M’rell said. ‘Soon as she gets off.’

D’gar thought he’d best be polite and introduce G’dol. ‘M’rell, J’rud and S’brin. All from our Wing.’

G’dol seemed more interested in the food than in talking to anyone. They weren’t bronze riders, so maybe he thought they were beneath him. He soon perked up when he spotted a pretty face on the way over. ‘She’s all right.’

‘She certainly is,’ M’rell agreed. ‘And she’s with me.’

S’brin winked at D’gar, then moved closer to G’dol. ‘There are plenty of women around here who aren’t attached. See that one…’ he pointed out a group of maintenance workers sitting by a boulder.

‘The redhead? She looks a handful and a half.’

D’gar smirked at J’rud as S’brin went on to extol Fayesla’s charms. He knew S’brin’s foster sister didn’t suffer fools gladly. He took a bite of a meat roll and watched G’dol swagger over to the group. It didn’t take very long before Fayesla’s expression turned from boredom to annoyance. A few seconds after that, everyone winced as she slapped Gdol’s face. He came back over, rubbing his cheek. ‘I thought you said she was easy to chat up,’ he accused S’brin.

‘Obviously you don’t have the knack.’ S’brin shrugged.

M’rell and Rina were trying to stifle their laughter. Eventually, M’rell grabbed Rina and rolled her over onto the ground so G’dol didn’t notice.

‘Better luck next time,’ D’gar said. ‘Perhaps what works at Benden doesn’t always work at Fort.’

G’dol left them a little later - after he’d eaten all the redfruit jam sweet rolls, J’rud pointed out - when he spotted a couple of the other Benden riders who’d been allocated to other Wings.

‘Thank the egg for that,’ J’rud said. ‘Otherwise, we’d have nothing left to eat.’

‘How did he fly this afternoon?’ S’brin asked.

‘Not badly at all, more’s the pity. The greens were fine, too.’

‘That A’xal’s a one,’ S’brin said. ‘He was entertaining us with some of his exploits at lunch.’

D’gar could imagine. ‘He’s going to be in competition with A’kindry and V’chal, then?’

‘Looks like. Oh yes, and there was some other gossip, wasn’t there, J’rud?’

J’rud nodded. ‘A couple of the riders from Z’los’s Wing came over while you were off flying. They’re thinking about transferring out of his Wing. Apparently he’s been very difficult since he lost that mating flight.’

‘Yeah, his temper’s got even worse. Although he’s being sweet enough to the new weyrwoman.’

That was Z’los all over. D’gar remembered Zalna throwing his present at him and wondered if Margatta might end up doing the same once she saw through his act. It led him to wonder how Zalna was settling in at Benden. Doubtless she’d have bronze riders shadowing her every move as well, although at least she’d not have to worry about them for a while as Gemalth had only just clutched. He hoped she’d be happy there.

The following day they were due to fly Fall across Hold Gar and part of Southern Boll. R’feem held his usual Wing meeting beforehand. D’gar noticed that he placed all of the new pairs with older, experienced ones.

‘Might have known I’d end up with bronze boy,’ M’ta grumbled on their way out to the Bowl. True to form, he wasn’t going to bother to learn anyone’s name when they wouldn’t be around for long. Due to the shuffles, D’gar would be flying with G’reden on blue Jekkoth, together with Taronenth for the first part of Fall and Zurinth until the end. Herebeth was happy about the latter.

I like Zurinth, he stated. It would be nice to share a weyr with her.

That won’t be happening any time soon, he told his dragon. Anyway, I thought you were getting on all right with Zemianth these days.

She is restless and wakes me up.

D’gar felt slightly guilty. Maybe he should have kept the separate weyr? But if he had, S’brin would have had to give up the double and might have ended up in one of the less favourably positioned weyrs.

I will manage, Herebeth said with a slightly resigned tone. I know you like Zemianth’s rider and do not mind sharing his couch.

Sorry, D’gar told him, wishing there was a way to keep both his dragon and his weyrmate happy. Now we had best get ready. Leading edge is in sight. How’s your firestone?

I am ready to flame.

It was a relatively easy Fall; a good one for the new riders to get used to the terrain and the different conditions in the steamy southern heat. There were no fatalities, which meant that the atmosphere in the baths was somewhat rowdy. A water fight began between ‘C’ and ‘B’ Wings. It was hard to say who won, but the floor was awash for some time afterwards.

‘We’re on cleanup duty next time,’ R’feem told him at the post-Fall meeting. ‘I’d like you to help N’dru again and this time G’dol can go with you as well. He says he’s done it before, but I’d like to make sure he knows what he’s about before letting him loose on his own.’

‘Sure.’ D’gar had thought he’d finished nursemaiding the Benden rider, but evidently R’feem had other ideas.

R’feem must have caught his expression. ‘It’s good experience for you,’ he said. ‘You need to be able to get along with everyone in the Wing whether you like them or not.’

N’rir had obviously overheard. ‘The boss is right. I have to treat everyone the same, whatever my feelings about them. You’ll need to do the same one day, when I retire.’

That was a long way off, hopefully. ‘What about A’ren?’ Surely, he was the next brown rider in line for promotion?

‘If we get to keep him,’ R’feem said. ‘Looks like he might be offered a transfer to “A” Wing when he gets back.’

It was typical. T’ron always got his pick of the promising riders. He’d had a few from ‘C’ Wing over the Turns.

‘Still, there’ll be a few more weyrlings ready to move up now,’ N’rir said. ‘We can always tap a few of those.’

‘Hmm,’ R’feem said. ‘I’d rather have more experienced riders than train up more novices.’

D’gar wondered if he’d heard the gossip. ‘Apparently some of those in Z’los’s Wing are looking to transfer.’

‘Really?’ R’feem asked.

‘Yes. A couple of them were talking to some of the riders in our Wing yesterday. Might be worth keeping your ear to the ground.’

‘Poaching Z’los’s riders. That wouldn’t make us popular,’ N’rir said.

‘If they want to leave anyway, someone has to have them,’ D’gar pointed out.

‘Ask around,’ R’feem said to N’rir. ‘Not too obviously, though.’ He turned to D’gar. ‘Thanks for the tip.’

The following day, they packed some lunch and headed for the beach; not the cove D’gar had visited several times recently, but a less sheltered place further to the south. Large breakers rolled up onto a sandy shore. The dragons practiced diving or skimming the waves from a low flight. B’thun and R’xel showed off by jumping in to the rough sea off their dragons.

‘They’re just trying to impress the Benden lads,’ J’rud said. He and D’gar watched as S’brin and Zemianth did the same, followed by A’xal.

‘Crazy greens,’ D’gar commented.

‘R’xel’s Lath is blue.’

‘You know what I mean. Risk takers, the lot of them.’

‘You must worry about S’brin, sometimes.’

D’gar shrugged. ‘Of course I do. But if he didn’t do stuff like that, he’d feel left out. He likes a touch of danger in his life.’

‘As if it’s not dangerous enough fighting Thread.’ J’rud poured another cup of wine for Sh’frun, who had chosen to sit with them while his dragon bobbed up and down in the ocean like a large green boat.

‘I take it you aren’t like that,’ D’gar asked Sh’frun. He’d not said much so far.

He smiled shyly. ‘Not really.’

‘There are plenty of greens who aren’t crazy,’ J’rud said. ‘Me for one. Gr’thol and H’kail too. He’s gone to Benden, though.’

‘He’ll be all right. There are some of us there who don’t act like…’ he glanced at D’gar, seemingly uncertain if he should continue.

‘You were probably going to say “idiots”. It’s all right. I don’t mind. S’brin’s my weyrmate, but sometimes I wonder if he’ll ever calm down.’ He grabbed the wine skin and refilled his own cup. ‘So, what do folk at Benden think of G’dol?’

Sh’frun made a face. ‘He’s a bit of a show-off. I mean, everyone expects bronzes to be ambitious, but he goes a few dragon lengths too far.’ Saying so much in one go seemed to surprise him. He stopped, looking down at the sand between his toes.

So, er, do you go to the beach much usually?’ J’rud asked, evidently trying to keep him talking now he’d started.

‘Now and then.’

‘What are the beaches like over there?’

‘The sea at Greystones is rougher than this and a lot colder. If you want to lie around in the sun, Nerat’s the place.’

‘Never been there,’ J’rud said. ‘Nice, is it?’

‘It’s good to go there in winter to get some warmth. Falelth loves swimming.’

‘How about you?’

J’rud was being persistent. D’gar wondered if he liked Sh’frun, or if he was just trying to make a newcomer feel welcome.

Sh’frun nodded.

‘Want to go for a swim then? Before we have too much to eat or drink.’

‘All right. But…’ he looked around the beach. ‘Will my things be all right here?’

‘No one’s going to steal them,’ D’gar said.

‘I know,’ he said quietly. ‘But sometimes people think it’s fun to hide my clothes, or drop them into a rock pool.’

That wasn’t nice. ‘I’m going to stay here for a while. I won’t let anyone touch anything.’

J’rud and Sh’frun left him. D’gar lay back and enjoyed the sun. The distant whoops and yells of riders playing in the surf were comforting sounds. Herebeth chased fish further out, beyond the breakers. Got one, he thought, as his jaws snapped shut. The afternoon passed in leisurely fashion. S’brin eventually grew tired of jumping off Zemianth and joined D’gar sunbathing.

‘Been a fun day,’ he said sleepily.

D’gar agreed. Lying here, warm, well-fed and content, with S’brin beside him was about as good as life got.

‘Sh’frun’s Holdbred,’ J’rud said later, back at the Weyr. ‘Bit shy, but once he gets to know you, he’s all right.’

‘Weyrbred’s best for greens, I’ve always been told.’ It was a common enough saying at Fort.

‘He didn’t have much choice in the matter. He got Searched, then Falelth picked him.’

‘You like him, don’t you?’

J’rud flushed slightly.

‘I knew it. Good for you. He looks as if he needs a friend.’

‘Trouble is, if you’re not loud, no one bothers to get to know you. You get lost in the crowd.’ J’rud ladled some stew into his bowl. ‘His clutchmates were all like that, so he never really fitted in.’

‘Maybe that’s why they sent him here,’ D’gar suggested. ‘Everyone’s new. It’s a fresh start.’

‘Maybe.’ J’rud glanced back at the Wing table. ‘I see G’dol’s full of himself as usual.’

The bronze rider was next to I’grast, in a seat he seemed to have claimed as his own. Unfortunately, that meant he was also next to D’gar. Of course, he could always move, but that would show that it bothered him. ‘Not looking forward to tomorrow,’ he said.

‘What, cleanup duty again?’

‘Yes, and with that wherry turd along.’

’N’dru won’t take kindly to him if he acts the know-it-all.’

‘That’s what I’m hoping.’ D’gar helped himself to a couple of meat rolls and fried tubers. ‘He needs to get taken down a peg or two, or he’ll be unbearable for the whole six months. Torala told me he’s making a nuisance of himself hanging around the kitchens.’

‘Is he after the women, or the food?’

‘Both, probably.’

‘He’ll learn.’

It was an early start the following day. D’gar woke well before dawn, with dread anticipation in the pit of his stomach. He envied S’brin’s ability to sleep soundly almost up to the moment where they needed to begin getting ready.

It was fine over the Weyr, although weather reports from southern Ruatha, where leading edge would hit in an hour or two, told of low cloud and intermittent drizzle. Just the sort of weather D’gar hated. He pulled on his oiled wherhide, knowing that rain would almost inevitably penetrate after an hour or so; quicker if it was windy up there.

‘Looks like we’re going to get soaked today,’ he commented, aware that S’brin was sitting up in bed and yawning.

‘It might stop.’ S’brin was on the early shift. He’d be back at the Weyr on standby for the second part of Fall, where it travelled over the northern part of Fort Hold.

‘Let’s hope so.’ Riding cleanup in wet weather was going to be worse than usual. N’dru had already advised him that they’d be responsible for an area used for grazing herdbeasts. The handlers would have brought the herds safely under cover before Thread began to fall. Even if none got through, the sight of it, together with flaming dragons in the sky would panic the beasts and cause injuries. They wouldn’t want to take that risk.

The rain held off for the first hour or so. It wasn’t until they’d passed over numerous orchards and cultivated fields that he felt the first drops against his face.

More firestone. Herebeth turned his head and caught the first chunk D’gar grabbed from the sack. It was a lot easier for him now that he’d mastered the knack of chewing several pieces at once, rather than just one at a time. To his left, Jekkoth flamed several strands of Thread, covering for them as Herebeth re-stocked his second stomach. Moisture beaded on the coarse fabric of the sacks and made streaks down Herebeth’s hide; a magnet for all the char in the air. Within a short time after the rain began, D’gar felt ash coating his face. It had the slightly metallic taste of burned Thread. He took the opportunity of a lull to wash his mouth out and spit over Herebeth’s shoulder while the air below them was clear.

As Fall progressed, the rain became steadily heavier. As he’d predicted, it soon worked its way through the layers of clothing he wore, elbows and knees first, then inside his collar and down his back. At least it wasn’t too cold at this time of the Turn.

P’goll and Taronenth left them, to be replaced by Zurinth. J’rud gave a cheery wave before getting down to business. Zurinth might be stocky for a green, but she was still nimble.

Zurinth always flies well, Herebeth said. Was it his imagination, or did his dragon show off a little now she was flying with them?

The wind picked up some more, making it harder for the dragons to keep their line. Jekkoth drifted several times, caught by stray gusts. He would be growing tired now. Mistakes were common towards the end of a Fall. More Thread escaped to fall below them and not all would be caught by the Queens’ Wing. By the time trailing edge passed over, N’dru’s Wasuth had already passed on news of two definite burrows and another to investigate.

They split off into cleanup groups. D’gar joined N’dru and G’dol to land close by a small farmhold. They kept the dragons well clear of the covered pens where tightly packed herdbeasts protested noisily at their captivity. Herebeth felt hungry just to see them, so that was probably as well.

N’dru was as ash-besmeared as anyone. He unshipped the sounding rods as two men from the ground crew came to meet them. ‘What do we have?’

The older of the two, who carried a battered looking flamethrower, pointed beyond the pens. ‘Think we’ve got one over yonder, if you’d not mind checking.’

D’gar trudged up the hill. The beasts’ hooves had churned up the grass and mud stuck to his boots, making the trek harder work. A strong smell of herdbeast dung filled his nostrils.

Beside him, G’dol grumbled. ‘We don’t do it like this at Benden. Why couldn’t we just fly over?’

‘We’re trying not to terrify their beasts.’ D’gar found his attitude even more irritating now that he was wet and muddy. All he wanted to do was get back to the Weyr and soak in a warm bath, but they had a job to do first.

N’dru held up a hand to halt them half way up the hillside. He beckoned D’gar and G’dol over. ‘You’ve done this before?’ he asked G’dol.

‘Loads of times.’

‘Tell me what we’re looking for, then?’

D’gar wiped the rain from his eyes and surveyed the muddy ground. Was that bare patch caused by landed Thread, or just trampled? He couldn’t be certain.

G’dol checked the ground ahead of them. ‘Is that it?’ He pointed at a disturbed area D’gar had overlooked.

N’dru nodded. ‘Could be. We need to go in closer to find out. Get your tethers fixed, lads.’

D’gar uncoiled his own and clipped it to the ring on Herebeth’s straps. Just as he had last time, he started to feel nervous about where he put his feet, scanning the ground ahead carefully as N’dru led the way. Wasuth stretched out his neck, his tongue flicking out as if he could somehow taste the presence of Thread.

Go carefully, D’gar warned his dragon. The thought of Herebeth’s leg going into a Thread burrow was somehow more frightening than if it happened to him.

Wasuth is experienced. He will sense it before we do.

The ground crew trailed behind them, evidently trusting the dragonriders to know what they were about. N’dru halted them again, then passed his sounding rods over to G’dol. The bronze rider walked on, pushing the rods into the soil ahead of him. D’gar thought he went a bit too fast, compared with how he’d seen N’dru carefully check the ground previously.

After a while, he turned back. ‘Nothing here.’

‘You sure about that? What’s your dragon telling you?’

‘He agrees.’ G’dol sounded a little irritable.

‘So you reckon this field is clear?’

‘Of course.’

‘Go to your right about a dragon’s length. Try there.’

G’dol threw him a furious look. ‘Since when do blue riders give orders to bronzes?’

‘Since the Wingleader ordered me to supervise you two. If you’d rather take it up with him, get yourself back to the Weyr and tell him yourself.’

D’gar had never heard N’dru sound so sharp before. G’dol muttered something, but did what he was told. After a couple of tries, he looked back. ‘Got something here.’

‘How did you know?’ D’gar asked N’dru.

‘Experience. A feel. Wasuth knew there was something not right. Sometimes, you have to trust your dragon on these things.’ He made his way over. It was only as they got closer that D’gar saw the entry hole where Thread had burrowed, a depression in the ground all around it.

‘Now, would you say it’ll be deep or shallow in these conditions?’ N’dru asked.

‘Shallow, most probably.’ Grass didn’t have deep roots and there was no other organic matter about.

N’dru took the rods from G’dol and worked out where Thread was most likely to be. ‘Has your dragon got plenty of flame left?’ he asked G’dol.

‘Of course.’

‘Then he can deal with it once we’ve uncovered it.’

They pulled back to give the men space to dig. It only took a couple of shovelfuls of wet, heavy mud before the sickly grey-white of living Thread heaved up. The men recoiled back; an instinctive response. Dorniath made short work of the burrow, leaving a smoking, stinking mess behind. The younger man prodded at it with his shovel, then they both dug a little more to make sure it had all been destroyed.

‘Nicely done,’ N’dru said to G’dol. ‘So, where’s the other one?’ he asked.

’T’other side of the outbuilding. You’ll have to go round long way, though.’ The man pointed with his flamethrower to the right of the pen.

D’gar sighed. It looked like a long walk and his boots were heavy with mud. Rain still fell gently and grey cloud scudded overhead. He started to follow N’dru and Wasuth back down the hill, being careful not to lose his footing on the slippery grass.

Dorniath is not with us, Herebeth said, making D’gar look back. G’dol had ignored the man’s instructions and was taking the shorter way.

Idiot. He’s getting too close to those beasts. G’dol evidently didn’t care for directions from mere ground crew.

N’dru had noticed as well. ‘He’s heading for trouble.’ He wiped his face with a dirty hand.

D’gar hoped that R’feem would tear a strip off him later, even though he wouldn’t get to see it. R’feem never told riders off in public, but when someone was summoned to his weyr, everyone knew they were in for it. ‘Shouldn’t we try to stop him?’

‘No. It’s his choice.’ N’dru had stopped. Both he and Wasuth watched as G’dol and his dragon made their way to the left of the pen. The frightened beasts tried to get as far away as they could from the bronze.

The two men watched as well, the younger one hardly able to suppress a chuckle. D’gar wondered why they were treating the situation so lightly. If the herdbeasts panicked, some might get hurt. A moment later, he realised why.

G’dol suddenly disappeared up to his chest. D’gar’s immediate thought was that there must be another Thread burrow and he looked on in horror. Much as he disliked G’dol, he wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But then he heard the older man burst into a wheezy laugh. ‘Told him not to go that way.’

N’dru smiled too. ‘He’s fallen in the manure pit.’

‘Shit!’ D’gar swore.

‘Exactly. It’s where they keep it before spreading it over the fields. You’d think it was just mud, till you step in it.’

G’dol flailed and struggled. He still had his tether attached, so Dorniath made short work of pulling him out, but even his own dragon didn’t want to get too close to him. He looked to be covered in the foul, slimy stuff.

‘That’ll have been there almost a Turn, maturing,’ N’dru said. ‘Next time, I bet he’ll take more notice of what he’s told.’

©1967-2022 Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey; All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2020 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

Story Discussion Topic

It is with great sadness I must announce the death of Mawgrim, Promising Author on GA. He had been in declining health for some time and passed away on Christmas Day. Mawgrim worked for decades as a cinema projectionist before his retirement and was able to use this breadth of knowledge to his stories set in cinemas. He also gave us stories with his take on the World of Pern with its dragon riders. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his friends, family, and his husband.
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Chapter Comments

Love the saying, Tim!  I have to admit this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy... :)

Could it be that J'rud has found the only likeable Benden transfer?

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I realize I am repeating myself but...G'dol has to be an early ancestor of F'drun...I suppose a pit of dung is nearly appropriate as a volcano!!!!

‘Pocket sized area here, isn’t it? At Benden, we cover a lot more land.’

D’gar tried not to feel annoyed. ‘Fort and Ruatha Holds are fairly densely cultivated. Southern Boll less so, but it’s a big place. Lots of different climate zones, too. You’ll see for yourself.’ It was stupid to go on like that when you didn’t know an area. He wouldn’t start shooting his mouth off about Benden, when all he knew of the place was that there must be quite a few vineyards.

G’dol smiled lazily. ’Your riders will soon find out how tough it is up in the north east. As for me, I’m looking on this secondment as a bit of a holiday.’  

Yea...a freaking holiday in Craptown!!

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Well, had to wait the whole chapter but G'dol finally got his comeuppance.  I was afraid he was going to get himself, his dragon, or someone else hurt but this works so much better.  There are those that just think their shit doesn't stink, but he will find out that it all does in the end...

Enjoyed this chapter a lot, so much going on; but it flowed wonderfully and was really well written.

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8 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

We have a saying in Danish: Hvis du ikke vil høre, må du føle. That means If you won't listen, feel the consequences. I guess that's what happened to G'dol.

Great saying. G'dol chose to ignore people he felt were unimportant compared to a bronze rider and definitely felt the consequences.

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5 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Could it be that J'rud has found the only likeable Benden transfer?

That may well be the case. Maybe ‘C’ wing were just unlucky with the riders they picked, but I expect that with these secondments, some of the riders sent to other Weyrs may well be ones no one will miss for a few months.

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5 hours ago, drsawzall said:

 

I realize I am repeating myself but...G'dol has to be an early ancestor of F'drun...I suppose a pit of dung is nearly appropriate as a volcano!!!!

Not quite as dangerous but much more smelly!

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4 hours ago, Kitt said:

Some people just have to learn the hard way!

Absolutely. G'dol is definitely on of those people.

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2 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Well, had to wait the whole chapter but G'dol finally got his comeuppance.  I was afraid he was going to get himself, his dragon, or someone else hurt but this works so much better.

There was a high likelihood that if he carried in the way he was someone else might have suffered, but after his experience and, I suspect, a lecture from R'feem, he will hopefully alter his attitudes.

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Not in comments so far so I will say it. That's stepping in a Big pile of shit!  G'dol certainly didn't show much skill at clean up.  G'dol declared a field free of thread when he couldn't find the mass of burrowed thread there.  Not listening to the farmer, he arrogantly took the shortcut and got his just reward.  

I do like the new Benden green rider, Sh’frun.  Maybe he can transfer to Fort Weyr in the future.

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5 hours ago, raven1 said:

Not listening to the farmer, he arrogantly took the shortcut and got his just reward.  

I do like it when arrogant know-it-all’s get their comeuppance.

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