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

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 24. Old Friends

D'gar meets someone new to the Weyr and sees an old friend

The story of G’dol’s mishap lost nothing in the telling. In fact, it gained a few flourishes as it spread around the Weyr. N’dru had insisted on a trip to the beach before returning, so that Dorniath wouldn’t foul the lake and G’dol the baths. His wherhide and the clothes he wore underneath had been beyond saving.

After the experience, he was considerably more subdued and far more eager to listen to advice. He still wouldn’t be D’gar’s favourite person to spend time with, but he gradually gained a few friends in ‘C’ Wing.

Summer faded to a memory - although it would always be referred to as the hot summer of 46 - and the seconded riders gradually settled in to Fort’s way of working.

Tenth month passed and still Suderoth didn’t rise to mate. It was an undoubted change from her normal pattern and was said to be further proof that this Pass was coming to an end. It might be anywhere between three and five Turns before the Red Star diminished in the sky sufficiently so that Thread no longer reached Pern, but it was something to look forward to.

Even though the days were still warm, evenings became chilly and night fell earlier. Rather than meeting by the lake, gatherings began to be held indoors. At least once a sevenday, musicians entertained weyrfolk in the dining hall and the old aunties and uncles huddled closer to the hearths and talked of seeing another Turn’s End.

D’gar and S’brin held a party in their weyr. It was the preferred location for Wing gatherings, being a double, with more space for dragons to land and extra room behind the sleeping chamber. The only annoyance was having to carry all the food and drink up.

‘One more trip and I think we’ll be done.’ D’gar handed the packed basket over to S’brin, who was busily placing the food on their table.

‘Do you think we’ll have enough wine. You know how much some of them drink?’

‘Can always nip down and get more.’

‘Not if we’re too drunk to stay on a dragon.’

‘I won’t be.’ D’gar had suffered sufficient hangovers to make him realise drinking to excess wasn’t worth it. ‘Sh’frun doesn’t drink much, either.’

The scrape of talons on the ledge told of another dragon landing. Shortly afterwards, J’rud and Sh’frun made their way in carrying a couple of roast wherries and laughing.

‘What’s so funny?’

‘Zurinth thought these were her treat for helping us carry stuff. I’d best take her off to the feeding grounds or she’ll get moody.’ J’rud settled his dish next to the rest of the food.

S’brin looked at it suspiciously. ‘She didn’t dribble on it, or anything?’

‘Certainly not. Once I told her cooked wherry wasn’t good for dragons, she said she preferred having to chase it first anyway.’

‘You should have seen the look on her face.’ Sh’frun had become far more talkative recently. D’gar had even heard him re-telling some of J’rud’s old jokes around the table.

‘So, we have food, wine, ale. What else do we need?’ S’brin surveyed the table.

‘People,’ J’rud suggested, setting Sh’frun to laughing again.

‘I’d better go and fetch my mum and Torala. M’rell’s bringing Rina over. Any other Lower Cavern folk need a lift?’

‘Leave it up to the riders,’ S’brin said. ‘They’ll pick up whoever they fancy.’

‘As they always do.’ D’gar followed the two green riders back out to the ledge. Herebeth was neck twining with Zurinth again. ‘Is he ever going to get over her?’

‘Let’s hope not,’ J’rud said. ‘She’ll be rising again in another couple of sevendays and I wouldn’t mind a repeat performance.’

‘Is it that time again?’ D’gar hadn’t realised.

J’rud rolled his eyes at Sh’frun. ‘Seems like green riders are the only ones who can keep track of time round here. Come on. Let’s get Zurinth some food before she wastes away.’ He vaulted up onto his dragon's neck, then gave a hand to Sh’frun. ‘See you later.’

Let’s go and fetch some guests, D’gar said to Herebeth. Zurinth will be back again later.

When I have helped you, I may go and catch a wherry myself.

Fine. D’gar reckoned he just wanted to spend some time with Zurinth, doing that draconic thing where they played tug of war with dead prey.

Agarra waited outside the kitchen, dressed as finely as if she was off to a Gather. Torala and another young woman stood with her.

‘I’ll be getting a lift with M’ta,’ Agarra said. ‘But you can take Fiaran up with you.’

‘Fine.’ He didn’t remember seeing Fiaran before, but supposed she must be a friend of his foster sister. He asked Herebeth to crouch as low as he could so that they wouldn’t have too much trouble climbing up in their long dresses. Torala had been scrambling onto dragons for a long time, so she knew the technique, but Fiaran hesitated.

‘Need a leg up,’ D’gar offered.

‘She’s new here,’ Torala called down. ‘She’s not ridden a dragon before.’

‘Ah. Right. Well, if you put your left foot there, on his foreleg, then Torala can grab your hand when I give you a boost up. All right?’

She nodded. Another quiet one, obviously. It wasn’t easy, but she was soon on board. D’gar climbed up behind them. ‘Hold on tight.’ Take it carefully, Herebeth. One of our passengers is new to this.

I will. He took off gently, although even that drew a small gasp from the woman. Thankfully, it was only a short hop to the ledge. D’gar slid off, then helped Torala and her friend down. He noticed that Fiaran looked around her in wonder.

‘It’s so high,’ she said, going to the front of the ledge. ‘It’s amazing. You can see the whole Weyr.’

At least she wasn’t afraid of heights. ‘Yes, we have a good view from this side of the Bowl.’ He could see Zurinth chasing after a fat wherry over on the feeding grounds.

I shall leave you now. Herebeth waited until D’gar had everyone safely to one side before he slipped off the ledge, then glided over to join Zurinth.

‘Thanks for the lift,’ Fiaran said. ‘How do people get to and from weyrs if they don’t have a dragon?’

‘If the weyrlings aren’t busy, they spend a few hours each day flying people to and fro. I can give you a lift back later, if you need it.’ Many of the guests would leave with different riders than the ones who had brought them. ‘Or you can stay here.’

Fiaran’s eyes widened. ‘Er, well…’

‘It’s all right,’ Torala said, evidently recognising her hesitation. ‘He’s not interested in you like that. He’s already got a weyrmate.’

S’brin chose that moment to push the curtain back. ‘Thought I heard voices. Who’s this?’

Torala pushed Fiaran forward. ’S’brin, Fiaran. This is my brother’s weyrmate.’

‘Oh, er…’ Fiaran didn’t seem sure what to say.

‘She’s Holdbred,’ Torala explained. ‘Still needs to get used to the wicked ways of the Weyr.’

‘Were you Searched?’ With no golden egg on the sands, it seemed unlikely.

‘I, er, made my own way here.’

‘Well, good for you,’ S’brin said. ‘Did you come up from Fort Hold?’

‘No, Ruatha.’

That was a long way. D’gar couldn’t imagine how many days it would take to travel even from the south of Ruatha to Fort Weyr without a dragon.

‘She hitched a ride with traders,’ Torala said, clearly impressed.

‘I’d like to hear about that. Sounds like quite an adventure.’ D’gar wondered what had forced her to do it. She didn’t look pregnant.

‘Maybe later.’

‘Come on inside. You can find a seat before the place fills up.’ S’brin led the way through.

D’gar stayed outside as another couple of dragons arrived, welcoming people, while S’brin took care of getting them drinks.

Agarra and M’ta flew up on Zath. It was good to see his mother settling down with someone for a change. Maybe this relationship would last longer than her usual flings? He hoped so. M’ta was a decent sort. Is’ish brought a lad from the maintenance crew with him. It was clearly not his first time in a weyr. A’xal and B’thun arrived on Halerth. He’d heard they’d got together recently and wondered if R’xel minded. But then R’xel arrived with another green rider - E’sen from ‘D’ Wing - so he supposed not.

By the time he went inside, the weyr was noisy with the babble of voices. He picked a selection of food and poured himself an ale, then tried to find somewhere to sit.

‘Over here!’ Torala beckoned him, patting the space next to her. ‘We didn’t dare get up in case someone stole our seats, so if you stay with Fiaran, I’ll go and fetch some food.’

D'gar thought he should be polite and offered his platter to Fiaran.

‘It’s fine,’ she said. ‘I’ll wait. I’m not that hungry.’

‘Well, I am. I’ve been carrying this stuff up here half the afternoon. So excuse me if I tuck in.’

He ate a couple of meat rolls before Torala came back, bearing a laden platter and two cups of wine. Torala slugged hers back, like a rider, whereas Fiaran sipped delicately. She seemed well brought up. Some of her mannerisms reminded D’gar of Zalna.

‘Care to tell us that story, then?’ he asked.

She shrugged. ‘It’s not much of one. I knew the traders would be passing close to my family’s Hold, so I met them, paid some marks and travelled disguised as a boy.’

That explained her short hair, then. ‘Sounds exciting. Like a ballad or something.’

‘It was uncomfortable. I never realised those wagons jolted so much. We had to shelter from Thread one day, too. I hadn’t been outside of the Hold in Threadfall before.’

‘Hopefully, we didn’t let too much through that day.’

‘No. But I saw the dragons flaming in the sky. It was quite a sight.’

‘Tell him the rest.’ Torala nudged her. ‘You’re at the Weyr now. No one minds anything.’

She toyed with the wine cup. ‘I was betrothed to be married.’

Not an uncommon story. Even Zalna had been relieved to be Searched as it removed her from the possibility of a loveless marriage she’d not really wanted.

‘I didn’t love him. I didn’t even like him. I didn’t want to marry any man.’

That would have been a major problem. Not for the first time, D’gar felt relieved he’d been born at the Weyr, where it didn’t matter who you loved. ‘You’ll find it very different here. As Torala just said, no one minds.’

‘It’s what I heard, too. That’s why I reckoned I’d be safe here.’ Fiaran sipped her wine again. ‘I almost didn’t dare to believe it was true.’

‘Quite a few folk who don’t fit in with the Hold way of life end up at the Weyrs. My own mum did.’

‘That’s Agarra?’

He nodded. ‘She’s probably told you already how she was thrown out for being pregnant and unmarried. Luckily, she made her way here.’

‘You were the baby?’

‘No, I came along a few Turns later.’

‘You’ve met Sagarran,’ Torala told her. ‘He’s D’gar’s older brother, on the maintenance crews.’

Fiaran nodded.

‘You’ll soon get to know folk.’ He spotted J’rud and Sh’frun near the weyr entrance and waved them over.

‘Hey, Torala,’ J’rud said. ‘How are you feeling now?’

‘I still miss A’ren. It’s not fair he can’t come back to visit.’

‘He probably feels the same,’ D’gar said. ‘But when you’re seconded to another Weyr they don’t want you popping back home every rest day.’ I’grast had explained the reasoning to him. As well as accustoming riders and dragons to different climates and terrain, secondment was about immersing yourself in the ways of another Weyr and learning how to fit in. If riders came back to socialise with old friends, it would lose some of the effectiveness. ‘They’ll probably be allowed to spend a day here over Turn’s End.’

‘I hope so.’

‘Benden’s not so bad,’ Sh’frun assured her. ‘Most of the people are decent enough.’

D’gar knew he’d been teased at Benden, but that was probably because he was shy and Holdbred. Folk would always find someone to pick on. Since coming to Fort, though, he’d become more confident. Another objective of the secondment process. Maybe A’ren would be the same when he returned.

‘I hope he’s all right.’

‘I’m sure we’d find out if he wasn’t.’ D’gar had an idea. ’S’brin and I promised we’d go over to visit Zalna, so when we do, you can come along as well.’ It was bending the rules, but they could always say they hadn’t realised. Chances are, though, no one would even notice, let alone say anything.

‘Would you? That would be lovely. Will you be going soon?’

‘Why not, while the weather’s still good. The Weyr won’t be snowed under, will it?’ he asked Sh’frun.

‘It’s not High Reaches,’ he said. ‘Benden’s winters are cold and damp. There’s always some snow, but not usually until nearer Turn’s End.’

‘I can’t imagine covering such a distance in the blink of an eye,’ Fiaran said. ‘What’s it like, going between?

‘Very dark and cold,’ D’gar said. It was hard to describe the total absence of anything between.

‘Colder than the coldest winter,’ J’rud said. ‘Which reminds me of the old joke. Why do riders from High Reaches go between?

D’gar had heard it before, so he didn’t say anything.

Torala gave the correct response. ‘I don’t know.’

‘To get warm.’ J’rud quipped. Sh’frun laughed along with him.

‘If you want a demonstration, you should come along on our next day out,’ D’gar offered.

‘It’s horrible, the first time you do it,’ Torala told her. ‘But if the rider’s thoughtful, like my brother, he’ll warn you when they’re about to jump.’

‘Thanks for your approval.’

‘Well, you have offered to take me with you to Benden, so it’s the least I could do in return.’

Sh’frun picked up on what Fiaran had said. ‘You’re new to the Weyr? Holdbred?’

She nodded.

‘I was, too. If I hadn’t been Searched, I’d probably be dead by now. They weren’t very tolerant in the place I grew up.’

‘Nor where I did. I saw a few people shunned, or turned out. I didn’t want that to happen to me. But the alternative was hiding how I felt and getting married, so I had to do something.’

‘You’ll be fine here,’ he assured her. ‘You can be yourself at the Weyr.’

The party went well. Everyone said it was a good evening and although there was some heavy drinking, it didn’t get out of hand like one the previous Turn when someone fell off a ledge and broke both legs.

Two days later, after the next Fall, D’gar and S’brin set off for a trip to Benden. They aimed to arrive mid-afternoon, which meant leaving just after breakfast, due to the time difference. Travelling across half a continent, even on dragon back, had to be planned carefully to avoid arriving too early, or when everyone was about to go to bed.

D’gar lent Torala one of his spare flying jackets. She also wore a multi-coloured hat and matching mittens she’d knitted. Agarra had given them some of the cakes Zalna liked. ‘A taste of home,’ she’d said. Torala also brought along some goodies for A’ren.

D’gar had been to Benden Weyr previously, as a weyrling during their between training. They’d overflown all of the other Weyrs and major Holds, although not landed. Both he and S’brin knew the co-ordinates well and they emerged into a dull winter afternoon. It was immediately noticeable how much colder the air felt.

Benden Weyr was similar in construction to Fort, being almost the same age, but without the rockfall at the far end of the Bowl and Tooth Crag above. Unlike Fort, it was far from its sister Hold, high and isolated amid dark mountains that disappeared into swirling cloud.

Weyrlings were drilling on a flat area next to the lake as Herebeth greeted the watch dragon and they were granted permission to land. There were a few onlookers watching as D’gar helped Torala down, although most riders and weyrfolk were indoors on such a murky afternoon. Dragons too were mostly inside their weyrs, although a few peered out inquisitively at the new arrivals.

Herebeth. Would you bespeak Brandith and tell him to let his rider know that there’s a surprise waiting for him outside?

Will do.

Torala fiddled nervously with her basket and pulled off her knitted accessories. ‘Do I look all right?’ she asked, smoothing down her hair.

‘You look fine.’

‘Torala!’ A’ren emerged from the dining hall and spotted her. He sprinted towards her and she met him half way.

‘There’s someone made happy for the day,’ S’brin said. ‘Now, where do we find Zalna?’

Herebeth had anticipated this. Gemalth is in her weyr. Her rider comes out to see you.

It was only a few moments before Zalna appeared at the entrance to one of the queens’ weyrs. It wasn’t quite ground level, but had just a single flight of steps up to it, much the same as those at Fort. She waved them both over. ‘This is a pleasant surprise.’

‘Mum sent you some cakes.’ D’gar swung the basket.

‘Lovely. Do come inside. I was just having klah with Morna. There’s room for your dragons, too. It’s not the day for them to be up on the heights.’

The weyr looked familiar, yet different. Zalna’s rugs and tapestries had been set out, much the same as they’d always been, but the furniture inside the weyr was far less ornate than at Fort. D’gar remembered that Margatta had brought quite a lot with her, so presumably Zalna had needed to re-furnish from what was in the stores at Benden.

A small woman, of middle Turns sat under one of the glow baskets, working on an intricate piece of embroidery. She smiled to see them.

‘These are some friends of mine, from Fort. They brought cakes.’

‘Anyone who brings sweet treats are welcome here,’ she said, with a smile.

It was only as she stood that D’gar registered the knots on her shoulder. He made a short bow. ‘Weyrwoman,’ he acknowledged, nudging S’brin in case he’d not noticed.

‘Please. No need to be formal. Now, I’m sure you’d like some klah to warm you up.’ She made her way towards the back of the weyr, where D’gar saw there was a service shaft.

‘Sit down, both of you,’ Zalna said. ‘I’ll get some plates.’

It was much cosier in the weyr than outside. One of the tapestries stirred slightly from the warm air entering through ducts to the side of it.

Morna returned with a tray bearing a pot of klah and cups. ‘Here you are, lads. I’m guessing you must be D’gar and S’brin. Zalna’s told me all about you.’

‘Just the good parts, I hope,’ S’brin said.

Zalna opened the basket and made a little noise of delight when she saw the cakes. ‘You must thank Agarra for remembering my favourites.’

‘She insisted. Thought they might not have the same recipes here.’ D’gar poured out klah, adding sweetener to his. ‘So, how are you?’

‘Really well.’

She looked it, too. Her eyes had something of their old sparkle. She’d regained the weight she’d lost after K’torl’s death.

Morna tasted one of the cakes. ‘Delicious. I shall have to make sure Mardra serves these the next time we’re at Fort. We usually get a very plain cake. Now, tell me how all of our riders are settling in at Fort.’

‘We’ve three in our Wing,’ S’brin told her. ‘A’xal, Sh’frun and G’dol.’

‘Ah, G’dol. I expect he’s been telling you all of his exploits.’

‘He did, at first,’ D’gar thought he should try to be polite. ‘But not so much lately.’

‘Not since he fell in that shit pit.’ S’brin suddenly realised what he’d said and clapped a hand over his mouth. ‘Sorry, Weyrwoman.’

Morna looked as if she was trying not to smile. ‘Do tell. It sounds like a fascinating story.’ After that, it became easy. They carried on chatting while the cakes were demolished, then Morna put her embroidery into a bag. ‘I’ll get back to my own weyr now and let you youngsters catch up. It’s been lovely to meet you.’ She limped slightly on her way out. Joint ache, most likely, from all the damp.

After she’d gone, S’brin was first to speak. ‘You couldn’t get someone more unlike Mardra if you tried.’

‘I know. She’s so… nice. Easy to get along with, helpful. I knew from the first time we met that we’d get on. I know I’ve only been here for two months, but Fort seems a lifetime ago. Has Loranth clutched yet?’

‘Any day, they’re saying.’

‘And has Suderoth risen?’

‘No. She’s broken her usual pattern.’

‘Another reason to believe we’re close to the end of the Pass.’ Zalna smiled sadly. ‘I can’t say I’ll be sorry when the Red Star leaves us behind. Then we can all lead uneventful and hopefully very long lives. So, how’s Margatta?’

‘Z’los has been courting her. I don’t think she’s thrown anything at him yet, but give her time.’

‘You must have had the same amount of attention,’ S’brin said. ‘All the bronzes love a new weyrwoman.’

‘A few,’ she said. ‘Thankfully none of them as obnoxious as Z’los. But I’ve told them I don’t want to get involved with anyone. I’m not ready for another relationship, so soon. When Gemalth mates, that’s another story, although it probably won’t be for at least another Turn. Maybe longer.’ She sounded relieved.

‘By the time she’s ready, you’ll feel differently,’ S’brin said.

‘We’ll see.’

D’gar cast his mind back. This time last Turn K’torl had still been alive. Zalna must be aware of that, too, remembering incidents and events from their life together as each month passed. They’d be reading out his name at Turn’s End this time around. It was probably a good thing she’d not be there to hear it.

They spent a couple of hours talking. It was a surprise to leave the weyr and see that darkness had already fallen, when to D’gar, it still felt like early afternoon. ‘Think we’ve given the lovers long enough?’ he asked S’brin.

‘I reckon so. I’ll ask Zemianth to bespeak Brandith, shall I? Give them time to kiss goodbye.’

Zalna pulled a woven wrap around her shoulders. ‘It’s so damp here in the evenings. I shall head to the dining hall soon. It’s warmer than my weyr and we always have some good entertainment.’

‘Take care,’ D’gar said, hugging her.

‘You too. And you, S’brin. Especially you. I know what you’d Zemianth are like.’ She hugged S’brin, as well. ‘It’s been so good to see you. You’re always welcome to visit.’

Brandith landed close by, ferrying Torala back from A’ren’s weyr. A’ren helped her down. ‘Thanks for bringing her,’ he said. ‘I really appreciate it. Say hello to everyone back at Fort for me.’

‘We will.’ They climbed back onto their own dragons and after a final wave goodbye, ascended into the night sky. It was strange to emerge from between into Fort’s afternoon sunshine, with dragons lounging on the heights.

‘I wouldn’t fancy being at Benden permanently,’ S’brin said, removing Zemianth’s straps back in their weyr. ‘Bit dismal, isn’t it?’

‘I expect it’s fine in summer. And they can always go somewhere warmer for a day out.’

I am going somewhere warmer right now. Herebeth visualised his favourite spot on the fire heights.

‘Zalna seems much happier without Mardra to contend with. And Morna was nice.’ D’gar hung Herebeth’s straps back on the peg, examining a piece of stitching that looked as if it might need renewing. He’d make time for a proper inspection tomorrow.

‘Wonder what the Weyrleader’s like?’

‘I expect we’ll find out, once the secondment’s over and they all come back.’

Herebeth flew off, followed shortly after by Zemianth.

‘She says she needs some sun.’

‘Herebeth, too.’

‘Think you’ll end up there?’ S’brin flopped down on the bed.

‘At Benden? I doubt it. The next lot of secondments are bound to be somewhere different.’ D’gar pulled off his boots and lay next to S’brin, hands behind his head as he stared at the ceiling.

‘It’s going to be tough, not seeing you for six months.’

It made D’gar happy to hear that, especially given the rough period their relationship had been through recently. ‘Six months isn’t that long.’

‘And then I’ll be sent after you come back. That’s a whole Turn.’

‘We haven’t any choice about it.’ Maybe it was another aspect of the process; to make couples less reliant on each other? ‘We’ve got our whole lives, after all. Once the Pass is over…’

‘What if I don’t make it? Or you don’t?’

It wasn’t like S’brin to think so deeply. D’gar turned to face him. ‘We’ve survived so far. No reason why we shouldn’t continue to.’

‘Yes, but look at H’fra. He was experienced and still died. So was R’feem’s weyrmate.’

‘I know.’ D’gar thought about the statistics fairly often. S’brin didn’t, which was why it hit him harder those few times he did. ‘But then look at N’rir, or I’grast, or M’ta. They’ve been fighting Thread for Turns and they’re still here.’

‘But is it down to experience, or just plain good luck?’

‘Bit of both, I should think. Look, I know that I’ve had a few close calls and I’ll bet you have, too.’

S’brin nodded.

‘But Herebeth and I don’t get taken by surprise nearly as often now as when we first joined the Wing. I’ll bet it’s the same for you and Zemianth. So although there’s some luck involved, the longer we go on, the less likely it is that anything bad will happen. It’s never going to be zero. What we do is dangerous. But experience helps.’

‘More greens die than any other colour.’ S’brin pointed out.

‘Well, that’s because greens make up a higher percentage of dragons in the Weyr. And because… well, some of them are risk takers.’ You couldn’t ignore that factor. ‘Plus, it takes greens longer to get the same amount of experience, only flying half shifts.’

‘I’d not thought of that.’

‘There are as many retired green riders around as any other colour. No reason why we both won’t see the end of the Pass.’

‘You’re right,’ S’brin sighed. ‘Seeing Zalna reminded me how we take life for granted. I hope she finds someone else. It would be sad if she mourned K’torl forever and didn’t dare let herself fall in love again.’

‘She has to get over it in her own time. Some people jump straight into another relationship. Some don’t.’ R’feem, for example. It had been over two Turns since his weyrmate died.

‘Promise me that if anything happens, you won’t waste the rest of your life.’ S’brin’s eyes bored into his.

What had got into him? ‘I don’t want to think about that.’

‘You and J’rud would make a good pair.’

’S’brin, stop it. Neither of us are going to die any time soon. We’ll make it through and live to a fine old age. The weyrlings will have to lift us onto our dragons. We’ll tell them all kinds of exaggerated stories about fighting Thread, like G’dol. We’ll be fine.’ D’gar suddenly had a thought. If Zurinth was almost due to rise again, so was Zemianth. A female dragon’s moods affected riders in different ways. Maybe this time it was making S’brin morose?

‘You’re right. I’m just in a funny mood.’

‘Is Zemianth getting close to mating?’

‘Probably.’

D’gar could see him working it out in his head.

‘Maybe two more sevendays. But that’s not why I’m like this. I’ll give you some warning this time, like I promised.’

‘That’d be good.’

‘She doesn’t always affect me, you know. Maybe this time it’ll be fine?’

‘Let’s hope so. ‘Cos if not, it’s going to be a tight squeeze sharing M’rell’s bed with Rina in the middle.’ He wriggled closer to S’brin. ‘As we’re both still alive right now, how about enjoying the benefits.’

S’brin smiled. ‘You have all the best ideas.’

It was a just over a sevenday later that Zurinth rose. They’d flown Fall early in the morning and the dragons had spent the afternoon resting and basking in the pallid sunshine. It was a short flight, which was advantageous to the blues giving chase. Wasuth caught Zurinth after only a few minutes, before Herebeth even had a chance to get close. D’gar’s disappointment was taken care of by S’brin, who seemed somewhat relieved at the outcome.

J’rud and N’dru were late to the dining hall for dinner and had a noisy reception. Neither seemed to mind very much, although Sh’frun looked disappointed. That was the downside of green riders getting together; they’d always miss out on mating flights.

Four days later, Zemianth rose. Having chased recently, D’gar didn’t expect Herebeth to be interested and was proved right. Zemianth blooded her kill this time and was in the air for a long while. I’grast’s Tiriorth won again.

‘Good thing, too.’ S’brin said afterwards. ‘She likes her bronzes and the only other one who went after her was Dorniath. No one’s fussy during a mating flight, but doing it with G’dol would be a step too far.’

D’gar made a face.

‘Maybe Herebeth will chase her next time?’

‘Maybe.’ He didn’t like to disappoint S’brin, but he knew his dragon’s mind by now and it wasn’t set on Zemianth.

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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Some serious foreshadowing going on over here...here's hoping for many more chapters!!

‘Promise me that if anything happens, you won’t waste the rest of your life.’ S’brin’s eyes bored into his.

What had got into him? ‘I don’t want to think about that.’

‘You and J’rud would make a good pair.’

’S’brin, stop it. Neither of us are going to die any time soon. We’ll make it through and live to a fine old age. The weyrlings will have to lift us onto our dragons. We’ll tell them all kinds of exaggerated stories about fighting Thread, like G’dol. We’ll be fine.’ D’gar suddenly had a thought. If Zurinth was almost due to rise again, so was Zemianth. A female dragon’s moods affected riders in different ways. Maybe this time it was making S’brin morose?

‘You’re right. I’m just in a funny mood.’

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While I enjoyed this chapter a great deal, the primary feeling that I got reading it throughout was one of melancholy.  Even during the upbeat parts; there just seemed to be a low level feeling of sadness or regret.

Well written and flowed beautifully, can't wait to see the next update.

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Yes, there is both melancholy and foreshadowing going on. I'm getting into the last third of this story and there are some tough times ahead.

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I like these chapters where we get to see everyday Weyr life and some clam and loving times fro D'gar and S'brin. Even if their dragons don't mate, they have a solid relationship (after that bad patch).

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