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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 - 26. Secondment

Telgar Weyr suffers some losses and call for help from the other five Weyrs

Two sevendays had passed since Rina’s untimely death and M’rell wasn’t coping well. In the dining hall, it was clear he wasn’t his usual self. He’d talk if anyone spoke to him directly, but otherwise he kept quiet. It was as if there was an invisible barrier around him. He’d spent a couple of evenings in D’gar and S’brin’s weyr, mostly numbing himself with alcohol. D’gar tried to make sure he didn’t drink too much the night before Fall.

‘I don’t know what to say to him, sometimes.’ S’brin voiced D’gar’s own concerns. ‘It would have been easier on him if she’d been killed in Fall. If she’d been a rider, is what I mean.’

D’gar understood perfectly. If M’rell had been weyrmates with another rider, then there would have been a procedure to follow; drinks around the table after Fall, the support of the rest of his wingmates and the understanding that it could happen to any of them. People were kind, of course, but he had the sense that it was somehow less highly regarded. It wasn’t fair on M’rell. He’d loved Rina as much as D’gar loved S’brin or as much as Zalna had loved K’torl. ‘We just have to keep on letting him know we’re there for him.’

‘At least he’s got Toth,’ S’brin said. ‘You’re never alone with a dragon.’

That was true, although even Toth’s hide seemed duller than usual as he shared his rider’s grief, probably without really understanding why he was so depressed.

One evening, after Fall, R’feem pulled D’gar aside. ‘I’ll be picking some weyrlings in the next sevenday or so. Are you still prepared to look after one of them?’

‘Of course.’

‘How’s M’rell getting on these days?’

‘We’re keeping him occupied as much as possible. Letting him talk, when he wants to.'

‘Good, good. He’ll come to terms with it, in his own time.’

‘He keeps blaming himself.’ That was what M’rell kept saying. ‘We’ve told him over again it wasn’t his fault, but I don’t think we’re getting through.’

‘Say it enough times and he’ll start to believe it. He’s in shock right now.’ R’feem glanced over to the table. ‘Poor lad. We expect to lose friends and lovers every now and then, with what we do, but that came out of the blue.’

‘I don’t know what else I can do.’

R’feem rested a hand on his shoulder. ‘Don’t over think it. You’re being a friend. It’s what he needs.’

D’gar nodded.

‘And you seem to have had an effect on J’rud. He's looking happier these days.’

‘Yes. I think he’s come to terms with the situation. Sh’frun doesn’t want to transfer here permanently and he doesn’t want to go to Benden, so they’ll just have to make do with occasional visits.’

‘He’s a sensible one. He’ll be fine. I’ll let you know about the weyrlings, soon as I’ve selected which ones will suit us best.’

D’gar went back to his place, somewhat happier. Then, three days later, everything changed.

‘R’feem’s been called to an unscheduled Wingleaders meeting,’ I’grast told them. ‘It’s been going on half the afternoon. I heard there’s some sort of emergency at Telgar.’

Rumours began to do the rounds almost immediately. Some said that an earthquake had destroyed half of Telgar Weyr, others that a mystery illness was ripping through its population. It wasn’t until fairly late that the Wingleaders returned to their tables and T’ron took his customary place. He waited until everyone settled and he had their attention.

‘I’m sure you’ve heard that Telgar Weyr are asking for assistance. Contrary to rumour, it’s neither a natural disaster nor sickness that’s causing them problems. They’ve had a rough time lately and lost quite a few pairs to Thread. Unfortunately, their next clutch of weyrlings aren’t going to be ready to join the Wings for another few months. I and the other Weyrleaders met yesterday to discuss what we can do and we came to the decision that we are all going to send some riders to help them through this difficult period.’

A babble of conversation rose as the inevitable speculation about who would be going began. T’ron hushed them. ‘My Wingleaders have all put forward some names. Now, some of you were already due to be sent on secondment, so naturally, those riders are top of the list. But this won’t be like a normal secondment, as we shan’t be getting anyone in exchange for those we send. Therefore, I’ve decided to cap the numbers, so that none of our own Wings ends up seriously under strength. Also, unlike a secondment, it’s not for a fixed period. Ultimately Telgar will be able to re-populate their Wings with dragons of their own. As they fill in the gaps, so to speak, it will mean riders will be able to return to their home Weyrs, one or two at a time.’

As he continued, D’gar glanced across the table at J’rud. He saw his own concern reflected back. They’d both been due to be sent on secondment, therefore it was highly likely they were going to end up at Telgar.

‘So now, I’ll leave it to your Wingleaders to advise you further. Carry on.’

Everyone turned to R’feem, as all the riders on their various tables did to their own Wingleaders.

‘Well, you heard what the Weyrleader said. As we’re lucky enough to be at almost full strength in “C” Wing, we’re going to be sending two of you. And those two will be D’gar and J’rud.’

D’gar wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He’d become accustomed to ‘C’ Wing and all of his wingmates. Being sent to a different Weyr brought all sorts of uncertainty.

We’re off to Telgar Weyr, he told Herebeth.

His dragon mulled that over for a while. Will there be herdbeasts to eat?

I expect so.

And I will have my own couch?

Well, yes. He didn’t think they’d need to share a weyr, especially if Telgar was short in numbers.

And Zurinth will be with us.

D’gar hadn’t told him that, so the dragons must have started gossiping already. She’s going too.

I think I will like Telgar Weyr.

‘It’s all happened so fast.’ They were back in their weyr. S’brin sat on the bed, looking dismayed.

‘We knew I’d be going sometime.’

‘Yes, but you didn’t think it would be until later in the Turn. Maybe not even this Turn.’

‘You heard the Weyrleader. It’s an emergency.’ D’gar had already started to pack. They’d been told to be ready to leave the next day. He was glad about that in some ways; it meant he had less time to dwell on it.

‘What am I going to do?’

D’gar stopped packing and went to sit beside him. ‘You’ll be fine.’ He hadn’t expected S’brin to react this way. ‘You can go out drinking with the crazy greens as much as you like.’

‘I don’t care about them.’

Last summer, D’gar would have been so happy to hear that. It took a crisis to get S’brin to really show his feelings. ‘It’ll pass quickly.’

‘But you don’t even know how long you’ll be away for.’

‘It might be less than the usual six months. Look on the bright side.’

‘Herebeth will chase Zurinth, won’t he?’

Ah, so that was part of the problem. ‘He likes Zurinth,’ D’gar admitted.

‘And you like J’rud.’

‘We’re friends. Clutchmates. Nothing more. I don’t feel for him the way I do for you.’ D’gar thought it was best to demonstrate his feelings and wrapped his arms around S’brin, pulling him close. They tumbled over onto the bed. ‘Maybe you can visit, like we did at Benden,’ D’gar whispered. ‘Or I might be able to get back occasionally. It’s not a proper secondment, after all.’

‘I hope so.’ He leaned down to kiss D’gar. ‘I’m going to miss you.’

‘You’re going to miss this, you mean.’

‘That as well.’

Breakfast the following morning was a slightly subdued affair. It would be his last breakfast with the Wing for some time. D’gar had been pleased to find out that besides himself, there would be another four riders from Kadoth’s last clutch. That wasn’t entirely unexpected; they had all been in a Wing roughly the same amount of time and were therefore due to be sent on secondment. He was less happy to find one of them was T’mudra.

‘Don’t let that little shit get to you,’ S’brin advised.

‘I wouldn’t worry about that. We probably won’t even end up in the same Wing. I’ll have as much to do with him there as here, which is to say, not at all.’ There were a total of nine riders going from Fort; two each from ‘C’ and ‘F’ Wings and one from all the rest. Apart from T’ron’s of course. He wasn’t going to lose a single rider if he could help it.

‘Make sure you do a decent job,’ N’rir advised D’gar and J’rud. ‘It won’t be quite as daunting as when you first joined us, because even if you don’t know the pairs you’ll be flying with, at least you both have a good idea what you’re doing.’

‘I went to Telgar on my secondment.’ I’grast speared a piece of smoked meat on his knife. ‘It wasn’t so bad. Long shifts though. Their whole area is over land and a lot of it’s under cultivation.’

D’gar had realised that already. They were lucky having sea to either side of Fort Hold and Southern Boll. The east coast of Ruatha, too. It meant that unless they were protecting a fishing fleet, they could afford to let Thread fall into the ocean rather than having to fight the whole time. ‘What’s it like on a six hour shift?’

‘Well, you know how you feel now after a four hour one?’

D’gar nodded. ‘Pretty tired.’

‘Those extra two hours really take it out of you. It feels like double the time. Your dragon will probably need an extra firestone delivery to keep his flame going.’ I’grast chewed thoughtfully. ‘Oh yes, and don’t drink too much klah beforehand. Nowhere to piss up there.’

It was a good point. D’gar usually relied on plenty of klah with sweetener to provide energy as he couldn’t eat much beforehand. He might have to stuff his pockets with sweet rolls instead and take bites whenever there was a brief respite. ‘Thanks for the tips. I’ll try not to let down ‘C’ Wing’s good name.’

‘I know you’ll both do us proud,’ R’feem said. ‘Good luck and fly well.’

D’gar had already brought his bags down before breakfast and put Herebeth’s straps on. He double checked he had everything he needed and was just fastening the first of his bags when Agarra came over.

‘Here’s a few cakes for you,’ she said, handing him another bag. ‘I’ll try to send some more with S’brin now and then.’

‘Thanks, mum. I reckon they’ll feed us, though.’

She looked doubtful. ‘You be careful of that Telgar food. It won’t be what you’re used to. All stodge, so I’ve heard and not much flavour.'

He glanced across at J’rud. ‘Got everything?’

‘I reckon so. Hey, maybe I’ll be able to pick up some moving work at Telgar. No dragon carries furniture as carefully as Zurinth.’

‘You’re right there.’

Other dragons began to land, some familiar. T’mudra stayed as far from him as was possible. G’tash and K’dis waved a quick greeting. T’ron and Mardra stood at the entrance to the senior queen’s weyr to see them off.

‘Well, this is it.’ S’brin held him lightly and kissed him, just as they always did before Fall. ‘You take care, all right.’

D’gar nodded. His vision blurred slightly. ‘Safe flying.’

Herebeth disturbed them. Kailarth informs us he will be lead dragon.

That was typical of G’tash. Although, in fairness, even though they both rode browns, he’d joined ‘F’ Wing a good few months before D’gar was tapped. He had seniority. Tell him we understand.

‘Mount your dragons,’ G’tash called. He sounded as if he was enjoying being in charge.

Kailarth tells us to take the Wingsecond position on the right flank.

Herebeth leapt aloft on the signal. Beneath them, Fort Weyr and all of the watching people receded swiftly. D’gar wondered how long it would be before he saw the familiar sights again. Before he and S’brin made love again. Before life went back to its usual pattern. Then, having provided the visual for Telgar Weyr, G’tash gave the signal and all nine dragons went between as one.

They’d overflown Telgar before as part of the weyrling training. Like Benden, it was high and isolated, amid a mountain range that was still well covered in snow. G’tash and Kailarth led them on a steady descent into the Weyr Bowl, toward the landing ground. A number of dragons were already there and they moved aside as the Fort contingent arrived.

D’gar took his first good look at Telgar Weyr from ground level. The Bowl walls were far darker rock than at Fort; rougher too. Lots of unfamiliar faces stared at them and dragons peered curiously from their ledges. He could see his breath on the air, even though it was a good two hours ahead of Fort and the sun would have been up for some time. At least we didn’t come here in winter, he said to Herebeth.

A man wearing Wingsecond’s shoulder knots, woven with the Telgar colours of white and black, strolled over. He looked older than R’feem, with sandy hair and a neatly trimmed beard. ‘You’ll be the Fort riders?’

G’tash answered for them. D’gar didn’t mind. As some of the other arrivals took off their wherhide jackets, he noticed the Benden colours. They’d be used to the cold. He kept his on and fastened.

‘Right. I’ll introduce myself. I’m B’mill, Wingsecond in Telgar Wing. We’ve allocated weyrs for you already, so you can unpack and get yourselves settled, then be back down at the dining hall when you hear the gong sound twice. Then we’ll get you sorted out into Wings. Any questions, I’m the one to ask.’

He sounded very businesslike, D’gar thought, quite glad G’tash was the one doing the talking. He wanted to take in his new surroundings before opening his mouth.

‘What gong?’ J’rud hissed, coming up beside him.

‘I don’t know. It must be a Telgar thing.’

B’mill moved over to them. ‘Brown and green. Are you weyrmates?’

‘Er, no,’ D’gar answered.

‘Your dragons certainly seem fond of each other.’

Herebeth and Zurinth were nuzzling again. ‘He’s flown her once,’ D’gar said. ‘That’s all.’

‘Ah.’ B’mill scanned the slate he carried, then pointed up at the east facing wall of the Bowl. ‘See the two weyrs on the third level? Next to the green sunning herself.’

D’gar picked them out. ‘Sure.’

‘You two can have either of those. They’re much the same inside, but the one to the left has a slightly larger ledge, so it might be better for the brown.’

‘Thanks. By the way, what did you mean by saying there’ll be a gong?’

B’mill smiled. ‘It’s our way of letting folk know when the food’s ready. One beat for breakfast, two for lunch and three for dinner.’

‘Right.’ That was one difference from Fort already. Still, it seemed a good idea. ‘Come on, then.’ He and J’rud climbed back on board their dragons and flew up to the weyrs that would be their temporary home for who knows how long.

As soon as Herebeth’s straps were off he inspected the dragon’s couch, turning around several times before pronouncing it comfortable enough. D’gar pulled aside the dark grey curtain and went into his new weyr. The first thing he noticed was that, unlike Fort, the walls were rough-hewn, as if it had been hollowed out by more primitive tools than the stonecutters that had moulded the caverns at Fort. He’d heard many a time how Fort and Benden had been the first Weyrs and much of the technology that had been in use when they were established had broken down before the other Weyrs were finished. This was proof. Instead of a separate bedchamber and inner room, it was all one space, with a stout wooden bed frame and mattress. He sat on it and bounced a couple of times. It felt fairly springy. Not that he’d be doing anything much other than sleeping on it for the duration. That led him to thinking about S’brin, wondering what he was doing right now, back at Fort. A sudden pang of homesickness washed over him. Stop it, he told himself. He’d only just left and shouldn’t be feeling like this already.

The usual chest was placed at the foot of the bed as storage for extra blankets and clothes. Two rough niches cut into the walls had been supplemented by several shelves and pegs on which to hang Herebeth’s straps. The walls looked rather bare without any hangings or tapestries. They felt cold, too, another reminder of how much further north Telgar was. The weyr certainly didn’t feel as cosy as he was accustomed, even though warm air exuded from a small duct towards the rear of the room. It was as he looked around, he realised another important difference. There was no necessary in the weyr and a large pot placed beside the bed confirmed that he wouldn’t have the facility to which he’d been accustomed. There must be some communal ones elsewhere, he imagined, although it would be tricky having to carry the pot down on dragon back without spilling the contents.

He unpacked fairly quickly, not having brought much apart from clothes and a few bits and pieces for mending straps and so forth. As he did so, he heard knocking on the wall from next door. J’rud must have brought fixings for hanging his pictures and tapestries. It made him smile.

More dragons arriving, Herebeth announced. D’gar went back through to the ledge. Herebeth watched with interest as six more dragons glided in towards the landing ground.

I wonder where they come from, D’gar mused. He’d find out soon enough. It was pleasant out on the ledge, facing the sun. Judging by its position, this weyr would be in shadow by early afternoon. Mind you, if Herebeth wanted to get more sun, he was sure to find himself a place on the heights, as he had at Fort. D’gar looked around, trying to work out where everything was situated in this unfamiliar Weyr.

The lake looked of a similar size to Fort’s and he spotted what he thought must be the weyrling barracks to its left. That would be sensible, as the young dragons wouldn’t have too far to walk to the water. Herdbeasts roamed in large pens just beyond it. Over on the western wall, there were many weyrs including some at ground level. He guessed that was where injured dragons were housed. The opening to the Hatching Ground was unmistakeable. Beside the north eastern wall were several stone benches and tables. That must be where riders and weyrfolk could sit outdoors; indeed, several were already occupied as the inhabitants of Telgar took the opportunity to have a good look at those who were joining them. As he had nothing else to do for the time being, he sat beside his dragon, enjoying the view and whiling away his time. They’d be busy soon enough, so he might as well take any opportunity that presented itself.

The gong was loud enough to carry all around the Bowl. Almost before the second beat had died away, dragons and their riders began to glide down from weyrs.

I suppose we’d better join them, he said to Herebeth. Don’t want to be late and make a bad impression. Remind Zurinth, would you? J’rud couldn’t have failed to hear the signal, but D’gar knew how he sometimes got carried away when he was arranging a weyr.

He followed a group of riders with Telgar shoulder knots, as they obviously knew where the dining hall was located. Here was another difference; at Fort the kitchens were separate, whereas here, they seemed, at least partially connected. He watched pies being taken out of the ovens as they passed through into a large dining hall, where the same rough walls had been brightened by large murals depicting scenes from Weyr life; a cook waving her spoon at a grinning weyrbrat who’d run off with one of her bubbly pies, riders lounging around the lake with their dragons, a hatching scene. They were lively and full of character.

‘New riders!’ someone called out. ‘Over here.’

D’gar swivelled round to see a man holding up a board and pointing to one of the large, rectangular tables. Glad he had a place to go, he made his way over and looked for any familiar faces. K’dis beckoned him over. Next to him was a green rider D’gar recognised, although he couldn’t remember the man’s name, with G’tash on the other side.

‘What’s your weyr like?’ G’tash asked, almost before he sat down.

‘Seems fine. Herebeth likes it.’

D’gar spotted J’rud, stood up and waved. ‘Hey! Over here.’

J’rud slid along the bench next to him. ‘Thanks for getting Herebeth to bespeak Zurinth. I was in the middle of arranging my stuff.’

‘I heard you banging.’

‘He’s a quick worker, if that’s the case.’ The other green rider grinned. ‘Good for him if he’s found someone to bang already.’

‘I was putting up my pictures,’ J’rud said, a little frostily.

‘You’re S’brin’s weyrmate, aren’t you?’ He addressed D’gar. ‘I’m P’rin, Midoroth’s rider.’

Suddenly it clicked. D’gar had heard S’brin talk about him. They knew each other from the green meetings, of course. ‘Aren’t you in ‘F’ Wing?’

‘Unfortunately, yes.’

G’tash gave him disapproving look. ‘You shouldn't say that. Z’los is an excellent Wingleader.’

‘That might be your opinion, but I have my own.’

More riders joined them. As expected, they sat with the others from their own Weyrs. If D’gar’s own feelings were anything to go by, it gave you a sense of familiarity.

The support staff put out food on long serving tables along one side of the dining hall. It certainly smelled appetising. He noticed that all of the riders from one table served themselves before those on the next went up. There must be some sort of rota, although he had no idea how it worked.

‘I hope there’ll be some left by our turn,’ P’rin said. ‘And when is it our turn?’

‘Someone will tell us, I’m sure,’ G’tash told him. ‘Don’t go showing us up.’

D’gar didn’t like his tone. G’tash had always been a little bit pompous as a weyrling, but he seemed to have become worse.

‘Well, isn’t this nice,’ K’dis said. ‘Just like being back in the barracks again. All we need now is… ah, here he comes.’

T’mudra made his way toward the table and made a point of sitting as far from D’gar as he could manage.

‘How’s your weyr?’ G’tash asked, seemingly having put himself in charge of making sure everyone was happy.

T’mudra wrinkled his nose. ‘It doesn’t have a necessary.’

‘I don’t think any of them do,’ P’rin said.

‘Yes, it’s back to communal facilities again.’ One of the blue riders spoke up. ‘As far as I’m aware, it was only Fort and Benden had them put in to every weyr.’

‘Typical.’ T’mudra looked as if it was a personal slight.

‘Riders!’ The man holding the board stationed himself at the end of their table. ‘You may go and serve yourself now.’

There was a slight scramble. D’gar didn’t hurry; for himself, like the other Fort riders, breakfast hadn’t been particularly long ago. He guessed there must be some who were far hungrier due to the time differences across the continent.

Eventually, everyone was settled and eating. The main dish was wherry pie, with a good selection of root vegetables and greens. It all tasted fine. At least he could reassure Agarra he wasn’t going to starve next time he saw her.

It seemed the same rota applied for fetching puddings, fruit and klah. D’gar didn’t really see the advantage of doing it this way; it had taken around the same amount of time for everyone to get their meals as at Fort. He supposed it was just how they did things here and vowed he wasn’t going to be the one who behaved like G’dol and kept stating that things were done better at their home Weyr.

Eventually, everyone had their klah in front of them and most of the empty plates and dishes had been removed. The Weyrleader stood and banged on a smaller version of the gong for attention.

‘I’d like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new riders who have come to assist us. This afternoon, you’ll be given a short tour of our Weyr and then the Wingleaders will be making their selections. By dinner tonight you’ll be with your new Wings for the duration of your stay. We’ve no Fall expected until the day after tomorrow, so you’ll have some time to get used to our way of flying. Obviously, your Wingleaders and their Wingseconds should be able to answer any queries you might have. Thank you.’

‘Short and sweet,’ J’rud said. ‘So, do you reckon we’ll end up in the same Wing?’

D’gar had already worked out that with the number of riders around the table, at least four would be available to every Wing. ‘There’s a good chance, although it depends on how many of each colour they’re looking for.’ That was the unknown quantity.

‘Well, let’s hope so, eh?’

No sooner had they finished their klah than the rider at the head of their table introduced himself. ‘I’m As’gon, rider of brown Belnath. I’ll be your guide this afternoon. So let’s get started before the Wingleaders descend on you like dragons on a load of wherries.’

He showed them around all of the facilities, including the baths and next to them, the communal necessaries. As no-one else did, D’gar thought he should ask the question. ‘I, er, noticed we don’t have any necessaries in our weyrs. Do we have to carry everything down here?’

As’gon smiled. ‘You’re from Fort, right?’

‘Yes.’

‘For those of you who’ve been used to that convenience it may seem a little strange. If you check, right at the back of your weyr, you’ll find a flap covering a hole in the wall. The contents of your chamber pots can safely be emptied down there.’

‘That’s a relief,’ J’rud quipped.

That was something familiar, too. D’gar relaxed slightly. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

The tour continued. As they walked, As’gon gave them some background information. ‘Up until recently we had nine Wings here at Telgar, but the Weyrleader has reduced it to seven.’

That must be due to the shortages, D’gar realised.

‘I happened to be in one of those Wings, Feathertop,’ he continued. ‘That’s named after the large mountain you’ll see to the north-west of this Weyr. I’ve now been re-allocated to Balan Wing. All of our Wings are named after Holds or other features in our territory.’

‘What are they called?’ A tall rider whose shoulder knots showed he was from Ista spoke up.

‘Good question. Telgar is the Weyrleader’s Wing. Then there’s Balan, Crom, Far Cry, Dunto, Campbell’s and Greenfields.’

D’gar tried to memorise them all, then realised it probably didn’t matter. It wasn’t as if someone was going to test him on his knowledge and he’d easily remember the name of the one he ended up joining.

They finished outside the dining hall again. ‘Right. The Wingleaders should be ready about now, so if you’d all like to go inside, we’ve a few questions for you to answer, then you’ll be allocated to your new Wings.’

Everyone returned to where they’d sat at lunch. The Wingleaders soon arrived, making their way to the individual tables where their Wings normally sat. D’gar began to feel slightly nervous, reminded of the selection process when he was still a weyrling. He hoped they wouldn’t ask any of those tricky questions to which you couldn’t be sure of the right answer.

They’d obviously thought out the process beforehand. All of the bronze and brown riders started on the leftmost table, then the blues and greens were split into smaller groups. Once you finished at one table, you moved to the next on the right. Very efficient. As’gon supervised, making notes on a slate.

‘Right.’ The first Wingleader looked at them all. He was a bulky man, in his forties, D’gar guessed, with black hair and beard. He spoke brusquely. ‘I’m V’dren, Crom Wing. When I ask, give me your name, your dragon’s name, Weyr and number of Turns experience. We’ll start with you.’ He pointed at the rider nearest him, from Igen. D’gar let the names blur together until it was his turn. ‘D’gar of brown Herebeth. Fort Weyr. Almost two Turns.’ He was only just over a month short of that and everyone else so far seemed to have more experience than he did.

‘A Turn, then.’ Evidently the Wingleader believed in rounding numbers down. ‘We don’t count “almost” in my Wing.’

They moved to the next table, where they were asked to further detail their experience; whether they’d had any Wingsecond training, cleanup or sweep rider duties. Next it was injuries to themselves or their dragons, followed by disciplinary issues. Not that anyone would admit to those, D’gar assumed, although Telgar could always ask - might already have asked - for copies of records from the individual’s Weyr. Then they were asked to fetch their dragons, complete with fighting straps and to fly through some drills.

‘This is just like being a weyrling again,’ J’rud said, in a brief exchange when they were close enough to talk.

‘At least they haven’t asked where I see myself in five Turns.’

The whole exercise took up most of the afternoon. They were left to their own devices while the Wingleaders gathered at the top table to deliberate on who each of them wanted.

At last, it seemed, they’d made up their minds, although two of them seemed determined on swapping out certain riders. D’gar had no idea of what criteria they were using, although he knew that he and Herebeth had flown well and followed all of the instructions they’d been given.

Each Wingleader stood and announced the names of the riders they’d selected. R’mart, the Weyrleader, went first. He selected five riders; two from Igen, one each from Ista and Benden and their own G’tash. He looked very smug to have been selected for what was Telgar’s equivalent of ‘A’ Wing. D’gar tried hard not to feel disappointed. He knew that he and Herebeth were equally as good as G’tash and Kailarth any day. He just wasn’t very good at getting picked for jobs. The same had happened as a weyrling, after all.

He kept listening out for his name as the leaders of Far Cry and Campbell’s Wing made their selection. T’mudra ended up in Far Cry, so that was a relief. The Wing was obviously short on greens as most of the riders who were selected rode that colour.

Dunto Wing was next to choose. K’dis and I’tol from Fort ended up in that one, then V’dren stood up. D’gar hoped he wouldn’t end up in Crom Wing. There was something about the Wingleader he hadn’t much liked. It turned out the feeling was mutual, as his name wasn’t among those chosen.

‘Do we smell, or something?’ J’rud hissed in his ear as another group of riders left them.

‘I hope not.’ There weren’t many of them left now.

The next Wingleader stepped forward. ’S’gra of bronze Tussith. leader of Greenfields Wing.’

He’d been the one who quizzed them on relevant experience. D’gar had warmed to him. Although he looked nothing like R’feem, being relatively short in stature and blond, something about his mannerisms and way of speaking had reminded D’gar of ‘C’ Wing’s leader.

‘M’lir, D’gar, A’myrrin, A’fas, J’rud and N’shorg.’ He read the list from his slate, then looked up. ‘Come on over to our table.’

They followed, boots echoing on the floor of the almost empty dining hall. Greenfields table was close to where the food was served. D’gar wondered if that meant they got to go up first, or had to wait for everyone else. He’d find out sooner or later. Right now, what he mostly felt was relief at not being the last to be chosen.

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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I'm glad D'gar and J'rud got into the same Wing and have weyrs next to each other. It's good to have a friend by your side in an unfamiliar place.

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15 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

I'm glad D'gar and J'rud got into the same Wing and have weyrs next to each other. It's good to have a friend by your side in an unfamiliar place.

They will need that support. Telgar Weyr will prove to be run very differently from Fort.

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Well at least D'gar and J'rud got to stay in the same wing.  Glad that D'gar did not get stuck with either G'tash or T'mudra. neither would have been a good thing.  I do worry about S'brin, I have a feeling he will not do well without D'gar as a steadying influence back home.  Also worry about that M'rell will need D'gar to help him get over Rina as well.  

I don't think D'gar realizes how many other people depend on him...

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I envision S'brin and M'rell doing a lot of heavy drinking while D'gar is away.

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An interesting turn of events, wonder what could possibly go wrong/right?

At the least, it is good experience for D'gar, let's hope S'brin refrains form excessive drinking and the boys get to visit one another often!

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Interesting how Telgar names it's wings; I'm a bit surprised that the name Campbell has survived after almost 2,000 years since Landing while personal names have altered so much....

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6 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Interesting how Telgar names it's wings; I'm a bit surprised that the name Campbell has survived after almost 2,000 years since Landing while personal names have altered so much....

Well, it’s on the map of Pern, so I thought it would bo ok to include it. There are several Holds on Pern named after the original settlers. If Red Hanrahan had been more egotistical, Ruatha would have probably been called Hanrahan Hold!

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Benden survived as it was originally, also.  It’s been a while since I read the Landfall series and I can’t remember most of the names, but I do remember Kitty Ping!

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1 hour ago, Clancy59 said:

Benden survived as it was originally, also.

That's right, named after Paul Benden. Other holds named after the original colonists were Tillek, Boll, Nabol, Telgar, Bitra and Lemos. 

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