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

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 31. Decisions and Homecomings

The trial period comes to an end at Telgar.

It was a surprise when J’rud sat down next to him at breakfast the next morning. ‘Hey,’ he said. ‘How are you doing?’

Missing you more than I can say. ’Fine.’

‘Look, I’m sorry about how I acted. It came as a surprise and I was upset.’

‘Perfectly understandable.’ Ugh. Why did that sound so uncaring?

‘I’ve been thinking a lot since then.’ J’rud stared down at his plate. ‘You were right. The longer it went on, the worse it would have been when it had to end.’

D’gar still felt bad about what he’d had to do. He needed to make sure J’rud knew that. ‘I’m sorry I hurt you.’

‘Well, that’s just how it is.’ J’rud sprinkled salt over his eggs. ‘Realistically, I know you’ll never leave S’brin.’

D’gar was glad he was being so reasonable. So like J’rud, really. He’d feared he’d lost him as a friend, even if anything more was always going to be restricted to mating flights. ‘I can’t,’ he replied. ‘It’s just how it is.’

‘You hold yourself to a higher standard than most others. I admire you for that.’

They both ate for a while. Having J’rud at his side again made him feel that life was falling back into something akin to normal.

‘Trials seem to be going well,’ J’rud commented, after finishing the first egg.

‘They do. Half way through now and it’s looking good.’

‘Zurinth’s been sharing her kills with one of the Telgar greens. I’ve been chatting to her rider. He says there better be some changes at the end of this, or there’ll be trouble. Most of them are sick to death of their dragons having to live on wherry meat.’

‘Can’t blame ‘em for that.’ D’gar picked up his toast. The bread was nowhere near as good as what they’d been used to at Fort. Even the eggs seemed a bit watery. ‘I’ll be glad for some of Agarra’s cooking again.’

‘Her cakes especially. Food here’s not a patch on home.’

‘I was just thinking the same. Do you suppose it’s because we’re further north?’

J’rud frowned. ‘Why should that make a difference?’

‘Some things don’t grow so well up here. They use less herbs and flavourings. Probably can’t get them so easily. I suppose if it’s what you’re used to, it’s fine.’ It was good that they could chat about such everyday matters, even though it felt as if both were skirting around what they really wanted to say. For now, it had to be enough.

Another Fall went by. Risalth suffered a minor tail score, while one of the Telgar riders in Greenfields Wing caught Thread on his left shoulder. D’gar noted that neither Campbell’s nor Balan Wing had any injuries, while Crom had a fatality. Not that it could be blamed on the Telgar system. Every Weyr had losses, whatever their fighting style. But it would make the other riders in that Wing more eager to be free of the restrictions which made an already difficult job much harder.

The day after, Herebeth and Zurinth ate together, while J’rud and he sat and watched some of the older weyrlings drilling.

‘Seems a long time ago, doesn’t it?’ J’rud said. ‘They look so young.’

It was true. D’gar felt as if he’d aged about ten Turns during the last two of them. He wondered how many of this clutch would still be alive by the time the Pass ended.

On the Weyrlingmaster’s signal, they took off, ascending rapidly over the Weyr. ‘They’re looking good. Wonder how long before they get tapped for the Wings?’

‘Soon, hopefully. Then we might be able to go home.’ J’rud was obviously feeling homesick too. ‘Do you reckon we might have felt differently if we’d been sent somewhere in the south. Ista maybe, or Igen?’

‘It’s not just the climate here, it’s the whole situation. Bit of sun might help, though.’ Although summer was well on the way, the sun at Telgar was all too often hidden behind cloud. It rained a lot more than he was used to, as well.

‘We should have another day out soon. Maybe we could show them Southern Boll?’

‘Might be an idea.’

‘There are a few more greens getting close to rising. They’d rather get it over with away from here.’ J’rud began to tackle the second egg.

‘I’ll talk it over with the other four later. Mind you, there’s less animosity towards us now.’

J’rud paused with a spoonful half way to his mouth. ‘Still not worth risking it. Besides, some of them have already taken up with other seconded riders. They know who they want to catch their dragons.’

He spoke very matter-of-factly, but the words hit home. ‘I wanted Herebeth to catch Zurinth,’ D’gar said, speaking his mind at last.

J’rud didn’t reply for a while, but that was probably because of having a mouth full of egg. ‘It’s all right,’ he said at last. ‘I wanted it to happen as well.’ He stirred the remaining egg around on the plate. ‘I thought I’d got over you. Only, turns out my stupid heart had other ideas.’

D’gar felt for him. ‘I’m sorry.’ He didn’t feel as if he could ever apologise enough to J’rud.

‘It’s fine. We had a good time, for a few days. Better than nothing at all.’

‘You’ll find someone else…’

‘I did. And he went back to Benden. I’m not like some folk. I don’t fall in love easily. Or out of it. Trouble is, you’re the same. You and S’brin will still be together when you’re old and grey, even if you have a few spectacular fights along the way.’

D’gar knew that was the truth. ‘I hope you’ll still be my friend when we’re old and grey.’

J’rud smiled. ‘Always.’

After that talk, it became easier. Something had definitely changed in their relationship; it wasn’t quite the same as it had been before. How could it be? But they’d reached a kind of understanding, the same as Herebeth and Zurinth. On a sunny day, they were often together on the heights. When fighting, they could almost predict each other’s moves, becoming a very effective team. When they went back to Fort, he’d probably suggest to R’feem it would be a good idea to keep them together. There were always pairs whose styles matched well, not necessarily because their riders were weyrmates or the dragons had mated.

The last Fall of the trial passed. It was a nasty one; fine drizzle reducing visibility, dragons dodging in and out of cloud for most of it. Two pairs didn’t come back; it would have been the same at Fort under those conditions. The losses included one of the weyrlings on delivery duty; always an occasion for a greater degree of sadness than when it was a wingrider. No one was in a particularly exuberant mood afterwards. R’mart announced that he would be meeting with his Wingleaders the following day to assess the statistics and make a decision.

All around Greenfields table, men discussed the situation. D’gar and the other seconded riders felt slightly out of it; whatever happened they would keep their protected status. But tension was high among the Telgar riders. Several times he heard phrases such as ‘take it into our own hands’ and ‘not standing for this shit any more’. S’gra looked concerned.

Out in the Bowl, he and T’san waited for their dragons. ‘What do you think will happen?’

‘Our Wing has definitely seen improvements. S’naull says the same. If it’s decided honestly, then they’ll scrap the system. There are still a few naysayers, but if the Weyrleader doesn’t announce changes, I reckon this Weyr will have all kind of problems.’

‘And what if Bedella doesn’t want to scrap it?’

T’san shrugged. ‘She’s not a stupid woman. All leaders have to compromise sometimes. I reckon she’ll bow down gracefully, then find other ways to influence what happens in the future.’

Herebeth landed neatly, as he always did, with Huylonth alongside. ‘See what happens tomorrow, then.’

On the short flight back, he asked Herebeth how the other dragons were feeling. They do not understand why this Weyr runs the way it does when there is plenty of food for everyone. They see us eating our fill and do not know why they cannot. But they will obey Solth.

Of course they would. Dragons were hierarchical creatures. And their riders? he asked

Their riders are concerned. We feel their concern. They also want their dragons to eat well and be happy.

Then let’s hope tomorrow brings what they want.

R’mart and his Wingleaders weren’t at breakfast. Evidently their meeting had begun early.

‘This place is tighter wound than before Fall,’ J’rud said. ‘Let’s hope this won’t take all day to get sorted out.’

The seconded riders mostly stayed in the dining hall, clustered around their usual table. Someone started a game of dragon poker. A couple had brought down sewing kits and were mending straps or pieces of clothing. Most clustered in groups, talking quietly and waiting. The Telgar riders stuck around, too. No one wanted to miss the announcement when it came.

So much klah was being drunk, the kitchen staff had to brew another kettle. D’gar felt nervous, even though the results wouldn’t affect him directly. Although the Weyr rule against riders fighting was well ingrained, he felt violence simmering just under the surface. If they didn’t hear what they wanted, it might erupt.

It was getting close to the lunch gong sounding when R’mart and the others returned. Their faces gave nothing away, not even Bedella’s, but they must have felt the tension thicken as they made their way to the top table and all heads swivelled towards them.

R’mart waited for everyone to settle, then stood. ‘I’m sorry it’s taken a while, but we’ve had a lot to discuss this morning. And I know you’re all waiting for me to make our decision public, so I’m not going to keep you in suspense any longer.’ He took a deep breath and let his eyes scan the room briefly. ‘The results of the trials prove conclusively that Balan and Campbell’s Wing have consistently performed better than all of the others during the past four Falls.’

A few voices began to rise. Wisely, R’mart realised they wouldn’t quieten easily again, so he carried on, quickly. ‘Therefore, as from today, we will be abolishing the points system…’

Anything else he might have been going to say was drowned by the mighty cheer rising up. Dragons’ emotions spilled over too, making everyone suddenly feel relieved in a way D’gar had only previously experienced when a queen was caught at the end of her mating flight.

All around the room, riders hugged each other, pumped fists in the air, clapped their hands together and banged tables. R’mart allowed himself a small smile. Bedella’s expression remained unchanged.

T’san, S’naull, Z’ma and M’lir stood, as did D’gar and leaned across the table so they could clasp hands in congratulation. After all, if they hadn’t protested in the first place, this probably wouldn’t have happened. Or at least, not so quickly.

‘Yes!’ Z’ma exclaimed. ‘We won!’

D’gar still felt uplifted by the waves of happiness in the dining hall. ‘I reckon everyone just did.’

Lunch was chaotic. Now that no one had to wait their turn, there was a free for all with quite a lot of jostling. After the novelty wore off, they’d soon work out there was no need to hurry. And with snacks left out in between main meals, no one would find it necessary to pile their plates high any more.

Once everyone had settled again, T’san leaned over. ‘I suppose we’re redundant now.’

‘Maybe not,’ D’gar said. ‘After all, the riders have got used to bringing problems to us four. We can act as liaison between all of us and Telgar, when it’s necessary.’

‘I reckon we should have a party tonight to celebrate.’

‘Us and the rest of the Weyr. Although, if you’ve any more of that Benden white, it’d be appreciated.

T’san gave a sly smile. ‘I might just be able to get my hands on some more.’

A’myrrin overheard the tail end of it. ‘Most folk brought clothes and trinkets with them. Reckon T’san loaded up Huylonth with skins of wine.’

As expected, celebrations went on well into the night. D’gar tried not to drink too much as he didn’t want to feel ill the next day. He enjoyed the ambience of the party and sang along when one of the Ista riders produced a gitar and began singing lewd ballads. Once folk began dancing - even in the cramped conditions of the weyr - he went and found somewhere to sit. It was good to rest his feet and have a chance for a breather.

He’d not been sitting for long when G’tash pushed his way through the throng. ‘Well, this is good, isn’t it?’

He sounded a little tipsy. D’gar nodded in response.

I knew R’mart would see sense in the end,’ G’tash said. ‘Sensible man, really. And well done to T’san for organising it all.’

‘Eh? He was just one of the five of us.’ Had G’tash forgotten the original meeting in his weyr already?

‘Yes, but look at him. Perfect example of leadership. He’ll end up a Wingleader one day, mark my words. Maybe even Weyrleader.’

It was pointless, really, trying to explain. G’tash, like so many others, was blind to what went on in plain sight. It was a reminder of how, as a brown rider, D’gar would never be regarded as competent in his own right. The most he could hope for was to become an efficient Wingsecond for a decent Wingleader. All of a sudden, he realised how the green riders must feel. No matter how good at their job, they’d never be allowed to show their true worth. While others - G’dol sprang to mind - would get responsibility foisted on them purely through Impressing the right colour dragon.

G’tash carried on with his circuit of the room, leaving him sitting alone, although not for long. J’rud joined him. ‘It’s a celebration,’ he said. You’re supposed to be cheerful.’

‘I was, until someone brought me back down to earth.’

‘That ass, G’tash? I saw him talking to you.’

‘He thinks T’san should get the credit for it all. Just because he rides bronze…’ D’gar wouldn’t normally say anything, but this was J’rud. He didn’t have to hold back.

‘More fool him, then. It was you who started this. Your idea to go to the Weyrleader.’

‘I dare say someone else would have spoken up if I hadn’t.’

‘They didn’t though. Don’t underestimate yourself just because some folk are idiots. R’feem values your opinion, doesn’t he?’

‘Well, I suppose so.’ Did he, really? Sure, he’d asked D’gar for information a few times, but he probably did that to all of the riders. Well, maybe not the crazy greens, unless he wanted advice on which of the weyrlings were likely to be as mad as they were.

‘There you are, then. And you’re friends with Zalna.’

‘I was in the right place at the right time.’

J’rud rolled his eyes. ‘And all of this…’ he gestured around the weyr. ‘Is down to you. You know it. I know it. G’tash probably does too, just can’t bring himself to praise you for anything. He was always the stuffiest of all our clutch.’

Maybe he had a point. ‘You’re right.’

‘Now, come on. Get to your feet. We’re having a dance.’

There were still niggles at Telgar. Some of the Wingleaders weren’t pleased about having the points system removed. Bedella didn’t come out of her Weyr for a few days and it was remarked that V’dren, leader of Crom Wing, was often in there with her.

‘Plotting R’mart’s downfall, no doubt,’ T’san commented. ‘I hate Weyr politics.’

‘You’ll be a big part of them one day.’ That was the downside of having a bronze. ‘I thought you were ambitious.’

‘I suppose I am. But if I get to be Weyrleader one day, I want it to be fair and square. The best bronze catching the queen. Liking her rider would be a bonus, but so long as we can run the place together, I’m not that bothered.’

It was pragmatic of him. Most Weyrwomen and Weyrleaders weren’t romantically involved. Often they had different weyrmates. The only exception seemed to be Fanna and D’ram at Ista, from what he’d been told by the riders from the island Weyr. ‘So, what have you learned from this secondment?’

‘That if you work together, a lot can be accomplished. It wasn’t how I expected it to be, but it’s been… well, interesting.’

‘I agree. J’rud and I were watching the weyrlings the other day. I don’t reckon it’ll be long before some of them are ready to graduate. Then we can go home.’

T’san smiled. ‘You’re really homesick, aren’t you?’

‘A lot of the time. I was Weyrbred at Fort, Impressed there. It’s my home, in every way that matters.’

‘I understand. I was the same at Benden. Still, you have to keep your options open. Sometimes there can be advantages in moving elsewhere.’

‘For bronzes, maybe.’

‘For anyone with a brain in their head. I’ve never asked before, but I’ve often wondered why you didn’t Impress bronze.’

D’gar gave a wry smile. ‘You aren’t the first, but the answer’s simple. No bronzes hatched when I stood on the Sands. And Herebeth is perfect for me, anyway.’

T’san patted him on the shoulder in kindly fashion. ‘Everyone’s dragon is perfect for them.’

Life settled down to an almost normal pattern of Falls and rest days. Because of the way the secondment had started, D’gar never felt they fully integrated with the Telgar riders in the way he’d seen during the secondments between Benden and Fort. But as the Weyr settled into its new way of working, everything became easier. They had a couple more days out to the southern beaches. A few Telgar riders came along, enjoying their newfound freedoms. For many, the old ways had become so ingrained that they still didn’t go anywhere far from the Weyr. It would take time.

Although he longed to visit Fort, he knew that went against the principles of secondment. Besides, if he even had a taste of home, he knew he’d miss it all the more. So, although days out were enjoyable, he kept well away from his home Weyr, or even to beaches where he might meet someone familiar. The highlight of the secondment was the annual Telgar Gather. He managed to buy two new shirts for himself and one for S’brin, as a reminder of this time away.

Almost three months to the day since they’d arrived, the first ten weyrlings graduated. By then, D’gar had learned two of the Telgar queens had clutched very close together, even more so than Loranth and Gemalth at Fort. This meant there were over forty young pairs waiting to join the Wings; almost the same number as the riders seconded to help. Now that they were no longer constrained by lack of firestone, efficiency had improved. He was glad all of those youngsters would have a chance to fight Thread as well as they were able. Maybe a few more of them would survive thanks to what had been achieved.

Two sevendays later the first of the seconded riders went back. From Greenfields, they said goodbye to N’shorg and A’fas, returning to Igen. K’dis and T’mudra returned to Fort.

‘We’ll be keeping the larger colours for longer,’ S’gra explained. ‘It’ll give the new pairs a chance to ease in to our long Falls.’

That made sense to D’gar, yet he found himself increasingly envious as more weyrlings came in to join them, and he was left behind.

Then, just short of four months, the day finally came when two young brown riders were ready to take on a full shift with Greenfields Wing, meaning D’gar and M’lir were free to leave. J’rud could have returned before, but he’d decided to stay for as long as D’gar had to. D’gar helped him roll up his tapestries and remove the fixings from the walls. He took a last glance across the Bowl.

‘I won’t be glad to see the back of this place.’

‘No,’ J’rud agreed. ‘With any luck, we won’t have to go anywhere else ever again.’

M’lir had packed and was already waiting on the landing ground with Kurath when Herebeth and Zurinth glided down to join him. S’naull, T’san and Z’ma were there too, on foot. They wouldn’t be leaving for another sevenday or so.

D’gar slid down and hugged each of them. ‘I’m not sorry to leave here, but I’ll miss all of you,’ he said. And he really would.

‘We can keep in touch,’ Z’ma said. ‘After all, we have dragons. It’s not like travelling is hard.’

D’gar smiled. There’d been promises made like that before, but once you were back home, priorities changed. Still, it was good to think that if he visited another Weyr, there’d be a few familiar faces around. ‘You take care. Hope it doesn’t rain too much during your last sevenday.’

He climbed back on board, sensing Herebeth was eager to be off. When we get back, I will find a sunny spot on the heights.

Yes, and get all covered in ash again. He glanced over at J’rud. ‘Ready?’

‘Let’s go.’ Both dragons took off, Zurinth lagging behind a little, burdened as she was by all J’rud’s possessions. D’gar waved one last time as the group of figures below became smaller. Then they were above the rim and he sent Herebeth the well-known image of Tooth Crag and the Star Stones, waited until Zurinth caught up, then gave the signal to transfer between.

The air felt warm and balmy, morning sunshine reflecting brightly from the light coloured rock of Fort Weyr. They descended in a slow spiral. On the way down, D’gar checked the ledge of his weyr. He couldn’t see Zemianth, but this early in the day, she might still be inside on her couch. He peeled off from his formation with Zurinth and let Herebeth find his way home, talons scraping as he landed. Still no sign of anyone being there. Maybe they were having breakfast? Fort was two hours behind Telgar, after all.

He slid down, unfastening his bags and Herebeth’s straps. The ledge was dusty, as if it hadn’t been swept for a while. Or maybe not used, a little voice in his head said. All of a sudden he began to worry. What if Zemianth, or S’brin had been injured and were in a ground level weyr?

He pushed aside the curtain, almost tripping over a boot lying on the floor. As light illuminated the interior, he noticed how unkempt it looked. A layer of dust had settled the tapestries, there were stains on the couch and empty cups had been left standing on any horizontal surface. His worry increased.

Ask Zemianth where she is, please.

He waited for what seemed a long time before Herebeth replied. She is with Toth. They are feeding.

Zemianth was all right then. It still didn’t answer his questions about S’brin, though. A dragon would still eat if her rider was hurt.

Toth has been here,’ Herebeth went on. I can smell him.

D’gar went back through to the dragon’s quarters to find Herebeth sniffing at the couch. He wasn’t surprised Toth had been in the weyr. S’brin had probably been drinking with M’rell, helping him to get over Rina’s death in his usual fashion. That would account for all the empty cups. He looked out towards the feeding grounds, seeing the brown and green dragons. S’brin and M’rell might be with them, although it was too far away to make out any features of the people down there.

Best take me down. Are you hungry?

I could manage a wherry or two. D’gar received an impression of feathers flying and the taste of raw wherry flesh, as he often did when Herebeth thought about food. Not his favourite flavour, but then Herebeth probably didn’t enjoy klah or smoked cooked meat in the same way he did.

They glided from the ledge, over towards the feeding grounds. As Herebeth came closer, D’gar saw Zemianth playing tug a wherry with Toth. It reminded him of the way Zurinth and Herebeth sometimes toyed with their food. M’rell and S’brin were sitting on one of the benches, so he asked Herebeth to drop him off nearby. A feeling of relief washed over him as he slid down from his dragon, seeing that S’brin looked perfectly healthy and unscored.

S’brin had spotted him, too. He rose to his feet, although he waited for D’gar to reach him, rather than meeting him half way. M’rell looked down at the ground.

D’gar enfolded his weyrmate in a hug. ‘Shells, but I’ve missed you.’ The familiar scent and feel of S’brin completed his sense of coming home. Yet, he still sensed something a little bit… off.

‘You’re back, then. For good?’ S’brin asked, hesitantly as they disengaged from the embrace.

‘Yes. Thankfully.’ D’gar wondered how much they’d heard about Telgar Weyr from those who had already returned. ‘So, how’s it been here?’

S’brin glanced over towards the dragons. ‘Oh, fine really. A few changes in the Wing.’

‘The new weyrlings?’ It seemed an age ago since R’feem had asked him to keep an eye on the newcomers. Someone else, probably A’ren, would have done it instead.

‘Yes. And we’ve lost two pairs.’

‘Oh no.’

‘Only one death, though,’ M’rell put in, quickly. ‘A’ren was asked to join “A” Wing.’

‘Good for him.’ That hadn’t been unexpected.

‘A’kindry didn’t make it, though. Got scored badly over Southern Boll last month.’

‘Sorry to hear that.’ A’kindry had been one of the crazy greens. Presumably his risk-taking had ended up his downfall. D’gar followed S’brin and M’rell back to the bench, where they all sat down.

‘Something else happened, too,’ S’brin said, slowly. ‘Zemianth rose a couple of sevendays after you’d left.’

Suddenly, a few things began to make sense. Zemianth and Toth, feeding together. M’rell’s slight awkwardness when he’d first arrived. ‘Toth flew her?’

S’brin nodded. ‘I guess it was because M’rell and I had been spending a lot of time together, after Rina…’

‘He was good to me,’ M’rell put in. ‘A lot of folk didn’t want to talk, as if it embarrassed them or something. S’brin listened. We got drunk a few times.’

‘More than a few,’ S’brin said. ‘And M’rell didn’t want to be alone, so, well, he stayed in our weyr a few times as well. Zemianth got used to Toth being there.’

‘It’s all right,’ D’gar said, wanting him - wanting them both - to know he understood. ‘Herebeth flew Zurinth while we were away. It’s what dragons do, after all.’

S’brin still had that look. ‘Then, after the flight, he carried on spending time with me and not just to get drunk…’

D’gar suddenly got it. He glanced at M’rell. ‘I thought you didn’t fly that way.’

‘Not normally, no.’ M’rell was clearly embarrassed now. ‘Well, only in mating flights. But S’brin was there for me. Do you see?’

M’rell had been getting over losing the woman he loved. S’brin’s way of dealing with most emotional problems was sex and alcohol. It was obvious. So why did D’gar suddenly feel like he’d been punched in the gut? ‘It happens,’ he said, surprisingly evenly. It also explained the state of the weyr. Neither S’brin nor M’rell were particularly tidy. ‘Is he… has he been staying recently?’ he asked S’brin.

But it wasn’t S’brin who answered. ‘Sometimes,’ M’rell said. ‘I tried to go back to my own weyr, but I couldn’t sleep on my own. We don’t actually, you know, do anything most of the time, just snuggle.’

‘He didn’t move in, or anything,’ S’brin said quickly. ‘It’s still our weyr. Yours and mine.’

‘Is it? Really?’ D’gar thought of all those nights he’d suffered through at Telgar, when having J’rud to cuddle up to would have helped take away some of the loneliness. ‘Well, you know, maybe I’ll just leave you to it.’ It was S’brin’s fault, not M’rell’s. M’rell didn’t need any more problems right now.

‘There’s no need for that,’ M’rell said, slightly sadly. ‘I knew this couldn’t carry on when you got back.’

‘It’s what happens when people are seconded,’ S’brin said, almost defensively.

D’gar snapped. ‘And you’d know all about secondment, wouldn’t you? Stranded at a Weyr where you and your dragon don’t get enough to eat, where firestone is rationed. The homesickness. The loneliness. After Herebeth caught Zurinth, J’rud and I shared a weyr for three days until I told him it had to end there. I wish I hadn’t now.’

Herebeth was picking up on his emotions. Normally he killed cleanly and neatly. The wherry he’d just caught screamed as he pulled it to pieces instead. M’rell flinched at the sound.

‘I’m sorry…’ S’brin began.

‘You’re always sorry afterwards. Can’t you just think about consequences beforehand?’ He turned to M’rell, taking a deep breath before he trusted himself to speak. ‘I’m glad S’brin’s been able to help you through your grief.’

M’rell looked as if he wanted to sink into the ground. Or for Toth to swoop down and carry him away. ‘It’s not like you think…’ he protested.

‘You aren’t to blame,’ D’gar said. ‘I’m not angry with you.’ He’d been an idiot. J’rud had been right to say he set himself higher standards than most other folk. He turned to S’brin. ‘I’ll get my stuff out of the weyr.’

‘But M’rell doesn’t have to stay there any more…’

‘I don’t care. Actually, I do. I care about M’rell’s state of mind. Don’t just dump him like you seem to have dumped me.’

‘Where are you going to sleep?’

‘Don’t worry, I’ll find somewhere. I did before.’ He could go to Naraina and ask about spare weyrs.

I can share with Zurinth, Herebeth said hopefully. It is a small weyr, but she will not mind.

He began to walk away, not wanting to wait here any longer. Not wanting to look at S’brin. He was overreacting, he knew, but how else to make it clear to S’brin how he felt? He was tired of being reasonable and sensible. Last Turn had been bad enough, but if S’brin wasn’t going to grow up, maybe they shouldn’t be weyrmates any longer? His feet felt heavy as his boots kicked up the summer dust of Fort Weyr and his heart even more so.

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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Well, I can't say it was unexpected. S'brin lives in the immediate now, with no thought for the future or consequences. He is also selfish and not feeling lonely is more important than loyalty to his weyrmate. I'm glad D'gar managed to be polite to M'rell - and it probably made him feel worse than if D'gar had been angry with him.

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25 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:


Well, I can't say it was unexpected. S'brin lives in the immediate now, with no thought for the future or consequences. He is also selfish and not feeling lonely is more important than loyalty to his weyrmate. I'm glad D'gar managed to be polite to M'rell - and it probably made him feel worse than if D'gar had been angry with him.


Sad, but true. D'gar did what he considered to be 'the right thing' in breaking up with J'rud. He knew Zemianth would rise to mate while he was away, but he expected S'brin would be equally responsible. Plus he doesn’t want to pick a fight with M'rell because the man's an emotional mess right now.

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What happens when you love a green rider that apparently lives in the now. I suspect that they both will remain star crossed for a bit. Neither M'rell or S'brin have truly considered the consequences of their actions, to everyone's detriment.

A heck of a homecoming to say the least!

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4 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Neither M'rell or S'brin have truly considered the consequences of their actions, to everyone's detriment.

M'rell has a bit more of an excuse, but neither S'brin nor he think very much before acting.

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2 hours ago, centexhairysub said:


I wish I could say this was a surprise to me at all; but honestly, it isn't.  


It would have been more surprising if D'gar came back to find nothing had happened.

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Well, the old adage 'Nice guys finish last' seems as true on Pern as in our own world.  Truly, I find no fault with M'rell as he needed someone to support him, and unfortunately that had to be S'brin rather than someone more stable.

Will D'gar now wish to alter the new status of his and J'rud's relationship?

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11 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Well, the old adage 'Nice guys finish last' seems as true on Pern as in our own world.  Truly, I find no fault with M'rell as he needed someone to support him, and unfortunately that had to be S'brin rather than someone more stable.

Will D'gar now wish to alter the new status of his and J'rud's relationship?

You're right. M'rell was in need of some help. Unfortunately, neither he nor S'brin could ever be accused of over thinking an issue before leaping in. D'gar will certainly re-assess his life and relationships after this setback.

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