Jump to content
  • Members Can Sign Up For Content Notifications

    Do you want to be automatically notified of updates to your favorite content?  Join now for free and follow your favorite stuff!

    Mawgrim
  • Author
  • 5,152 Words
  • 144 Views
  • 4 Comments
Recognized characters/events/plots from Dragonriders of Pern belong to Ann McCaffrey

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 4. Complications

D'gar is back on delivery duties

Over the Weyr, it was another one of those bright, early summer mornings. The weather report from Ruatha wasn’t so good. Fog, they’d said. Most of the wing riders were grimly subdued as they prepared for Fall.

D’gar and the other weyrlings handed over their first sacks of firestone to the wing riders as they assembled in the Bowl. It helped him take his mind off thinking about later, when he’d have to replenish the stocks in mid-air. Even though he tried to stop it, he kept on remembering the moment he was hit, the last time he flew during Fall, interspersed with the more recent images of Branluth’s unpleasant last moments.

‘Not going to be good up there today,’ one of the grizzled older riders said to a wing mate as he passed by.

‘Sharding fog.’

His stomach felt unsettled. He’d tried to eat some breakfast, but food had lost its appeal today. All around him, dragons were noisily crunching firestone. The sound of their teeth grinding the rock set his own teeth on edge. Normally, his dragon’s moods echoed his own, but Herebeth’s enthusiasm for getting back in the air made him feel inadequate.

Lots of people get scored, many of them much worse than I did, he thought. They just get back on and ride Fall again with no fuss. I have to do the same.

He handed out another couple of sacks, noticing, as he did, the various little rituals riders carried out before mounting up. One man walked twice around his dragon, pausing briefly by each leg. Another traced the old scars on his cheek absently, while muttering something that only he could hear. Leanna, who worked in the kitchen, ran up to her weyrmate and gave him a long kiss. All of them believed these things would keep them safe, presumably because it had worked for each previous Fall when they’d come back unharmed. Branluth’s rider had probably thought the same before that fateful day.

The Weyrleader’s Wing took off in perfect formation, ascending to the level of the rim before going between as one. D’gar stood to one side, watching the riders mount up, the checks they made, the determination reflected on faces. That was how he had to behave. He’d Impressed a dragon and he had a duty to protect Pern. If that meant pain and maybe even death, that was just how it was.

We are not going to die, Herebeth assured him. We are young, fit and strong.

You are a good dragon. I’m not a very good rider. I feel scared. He wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone else, but there was no point trying to hide it from the one creature who knew the turmoil in his mind.

You must be brave. We have a job to do. And I dodge very fast.

He smiled. Herebeth would look after him, as much as he could. Come on, then. Let’s get ourselves ready.

It wasn’t so bad, waiting at the dump. The sun was warm enough that they’d hooked their jackets on the straps. D’gar listened to the gossip and even joined in with some of it. Maybe the fog had cleared over Ruatha by now?

‘First orders coming through,’ N’teren announced. ‘B’ Wing - J’rud and M’rell, ‘C’ Wing - T’mudra and K’torl, ‘F’ Wing - D’gar and R’chol. Get yourselves ready.’

He pulled his jacket back on. His stomach had been relatively calm, but the thought of what was coming set it churning again.

S’brin came over. ‘Are you all right?’

‘Feel a bit sick, that’s all,’ he admitted.

‘You’ll be fine.’ He watched D’gar fumble with the fastenings of his jacket. ‘Come here. I’ll do that for you.’ As he did, he leaned close and whispered all the things that would be waiting for D’gar when they got back.

D’gar couldn’t help but smile. ‘Is that a promise?’

‘You bet.’

The younger weyrlings were already handing out colour-coded sacks. Herebeth crouched down to allow him to mount. He pulled on his gloves, then took a deep breath. We can do this.

Of course we can.

Loaded with sacks, they took to the air. Sassilith first, Herebeth said.

That’s the bronze, yes? Wingsecond? He could never remember the rider’s names as easily as their dragons.

You are right. I have the visual now.

Let’s do it, then. Bright sunlight was replaced by the blackness of between, then they emerged into the grey murk over Ruatha. Still foggy, then. D’gar felt his muscles tense as he flinched from what he thought was Thread to his right, but turned out to be just swirling cloud. I hope you can see where you’re going, he said to Herebeth.

I know where we are going but Sassilith tells us to wait.

The smell of charred Thread and phosphine from the dragon’s flame was all that indicated the Wing’s position until they were almost alongside the pair. D’gar unhooked a sack and threw it across. Sassilith’s rider - Z’tul, that was his name - caught it deftly, then after securing it to his own straps, beckoned for the other. Delivery done, they banked away and Herebeth set a course for the next delivery, dodging through a cloudscape of white, grey and the occasional silver strand of Thread. A vague glow gave away the sun’s presence. D’gar fervently hoped it would manage to burn off the fog before too much longer. He tried to imagine how difficult it must be for dragons to fight Thread in such conditions.

A lot of Thread is getting through to the lower levels, Herebeth commented. It cannot be helped. D’gar felt himself thrown sideways as his dragon swerved abruptly. What was that for?

Did you not see Thread?

He hadn’t, but Herebeth’s comment got him staring more intently into the dense fog. There were several times that he anticipated a dodge when Herebeth kept flying straight ahead and twice more when he was caught unawares by a sudden change of speed or direction. Eventually, they arrived at their next delivery drop alongside blue Mayarth. Two more sacks away and the empties stashed ready to drop back at the dump. Who’s next?

Midoroth. Then we return for the next load.

Herebeth flew surely through the cloud, beneath ‘F’ Wing. It was the safest way to move between riders; most of the falling Thread would have been caught by the dragons above. Sun’s brighter now, D’gar commented. Occasional glimpses of a wing, tail or a flank assured him they were still keeping to the right course. Tiny droplets of moisture had condensed on the rough fabric of the sacks and on Herebeth’s neck in front of him. Char drifted down almost continuously, sticking to everything. Just as he’d begin to relax, he’d spot Thread’s deadly glint, setting his heart racing again. He kept anticipating an impact that never came; the fierce burn of it eating his flesh, or worse, tunnelling into Herebeth’s body.

All of a sudden a diving green dragon plummeted down in front of them, flaming furiously. Herebeth had to backwing frantically to avoid her and lost a fair amount of height before he could recover his momentum. D’gar’s stomach lurched yet again. What was that?

That was Diakath. She says sorry. She did not know we were there.

He felt his heart slow again. Thread wasn’t the only danger up here. Make sure Midoroth knows where we are. We don’t want to get flamed by accident.

I tell her now. She is ready for us.

They delivered the final two sacks. Coming back to the Weyr in brilliant sunshine was a shock. Herebeth landed and he called out the next orders.

‘Took your time, didn’t you?’ one of the weyrlings grumbled.

‘I’d like to see you try and do the job as well.’ D’gar swilled out his mouth with water from his flask and spat out a mouthful of foul char. ‘Weather’s not like this over Ruatha.’

M’rell landed close by. ‘Four bronze, two brown,’ he called out, throwing the sacks down. ‘We nearly got flamed,’ he shouted across to D’gar.

‘We nearly got hit by another dragon.’

‘It’s shit up there.’

D’gar nodded in agreement.

Zemianth returns, Herebeth announced as a shadow across the sun announced her arrival.

S’brin was swearing as he called out his orders. ‘Sharding moron dropped both sacks.’

‘Who?’

‘Sharding F’gil. Had the nerve to say I wasn’t close enough.’

D’gar hoped they hadn’t hit anyone on the way down. ‘It’s hard to see up there.’

‘He’ll have problems seeing when I punch him later on.’

One of the weyrlings passed him a sack. ‘Everyone makes mistakes now and then.’

‘He’d better not try to blame me for it. I’ll throw the next lot right at his sharding head.’

D’gar secured the first sack, then grabbed the second. F’gil was a young rider who’d only joined the Wings a few months back. ‘He’s probably as rattled as any of us in conditions like these. Give him a break.’

‘So long as he doesn’t drop another one,’ S’brin grumbled, although he was clearly calming down.

‘Hurry up with those sacks!’ The Weyrlingmaster’s voice boomed out, sending a couple of weyrlings scurrying over, barely able to lift the bronze tagged sacks up to D’gar.

He fixed them in place. ‘Right. Off for a second drop. See you later. Don’t forget what you promised earlier.’

’S’brin flashed a smile. ‘Looking forward to it.’

He went back up four times. The fog only began to clear as trailing edge went over. Apart from the continual worry of riding into unseen Thread, the emotional shockwave following the death of two pairs left him shaken. When they finally returned to the Weyr Bowl, the queue of dragons and riders outside the infirmary was long and even though none of them were his clutchmates or friends, he still felt unsettled.

‘Come on,’ S’brin said, taking off Zemianth’s straps, which he dumped on the ground. ‘Let’s get a quick bath, then we’ll be able to spend a couple of hours in the usual place.’

D’gar saw to Herebeth, then as the two dragons flew off to clean the char from their hides in the Weyr lake, followed S’brin quickly to the bathing cavern.

It was only when they were in the water that he realised how hungry he was. Nerves had meant he couldn’t eat much before Fall and his stomach was growling. ’I’m going to nip to the kitchens first to get some food. See you down there?’

S’brin smiled, ‘I’ll be waiting.’

He hurried across. If he was lucky, they might have just taken a batch of meat rolls out of the oven. He could pick up a jug of klah and a few cakes, too. S’brin would appreciate that.

There was a queue of freshly washed riders waiting their turn to get into the dining hall. D’gar dodged round them into the kitchen, getting a few glares. The advantage of having a mum who worked in the kitchens, he thought, feeling no remorse whatsoever.

Agarra was busy rolling out pastry. She looked pleased to see him. ‘Nice to see you back in one piece today. S’brin all right, too?’

‘He’s fine. I’m just going to grab something for us to eat. We’re skipping lunch here.’

‘Bet I know why.’ She smiled knowingly and gave a nod of her head over to her left. ‘You know where everything is. Have fun.’

He took a selection and helped himself from the kettle of klah over the hearth. ‘See you later,’ he called to his mother on the way back out. Most of the riders had gone into the dining hall. There was just a small group of them still outside.

‘Hey, you! Weyrling.’

He looked around, wondering if he was about to get into trouble for avoiding the queue and getting fed before it was properly his turn. There were a couple of older riders sitting on a bench. On of them was H’sal. He wasn’t sure which of them had called out and you couldn’t just ignore a wing rider. ‘Yes?’

‘Where are you off to in such a hurry?’ That was definitely H’sal speaking.

He’d have liked to tell him to mind his own business, but that might lead to a complaint to N’teren about his weyrlings’ behaviour which would definitely lead to trouble. ‘The barracks,’ he replied shortly.

‘Kadoth’s clutch are too stuck up to eat with the likes of us,’ H’sal said. ‘Not too stuck up for other things though, eh?’ He made a suggestive gesture, prompting a laugh from his friends.

D’gar started to walk away. He didn’t have to listen to this.

‘If you fancy another go, you can come up to my weyr any time,’ H’sal called after him.

‘Or mine,’ one of the others added.

As D’gar made his way across the Bowl, he considered that it was a good job S’brin hadn’t been with him.

‘You took your time,’ S’brin said when he arrived. He’d already removed his clothes and was lying comfortably on the sleeping furs they left permanently down in the cavern.

‘Had a bit of a run in with some of the riders. They didn’t like that I’d got food before them.’ It was always best to tell half of the truth, he’d found. Then you were less likely to be found out.

‘Miserable gits.’ S’brin stretched, showing off his muscles. ‘Now, do you want to eat before or after?’

Later on, back in the barracks, D’gar was cleaning and checking Herebeth’s fighting straps. Carrying heavy loads of firestone put a strain on them and the amount of swerves and dodges his dragon had needed to do that day made it worse.

K’torl came over, carrying Ganath’s neck strap. ‘Hey, D’gar. Want to give me a second opinion on this?’

D’gar looked at the leather. ‘It’s a bit strained, here,’ he pointed to one part, ‘And here as well. If it was me, I’d probably make a new one.’

‘That’s what I thought, too.’ K’torl glanced around, then got a bit closer. He spoke quietly. ‘Have you seen Zalna again lately?’

‘Not for a couple of days. She’s kept busy scrubbing and oiling Gemalth.’

‘Do you think…’ again he glanced around. ‘You could maybe introduce me to her?’

D’gar frowned. ‘You could just talk to her yourself.’

‘Yes, but you already know her. If I go up to her, out of the blue, she’ll think I’m just another one of those bronze riders who’s only interested in one thing.’

‘And aren’t you? Only interested in one thing, that is?’ D’gar found it quite funny that he was being asked to act as a go-between.

‘No!’ K’torl protested, loudly enough that S’brin looked around from where he was checking his own straps.

‘Get your hands off him, D’gar,’ he joked. ‘He won’t appreciate you feeling him up.’

‘I didn’t touch him,’ D’gar said.

‘He didn’t,’ K’torl confirmed. ‘I didn’t touch him, either.’ He obviously hadn’t caught the humour in S’brin’s tone and like a lot of the other weyrlings, he was a little bit scared of S’brin’s temper.

‘Pity,’ S’brin turned so K’torl could see his smile. ‘Might be fun to watch.’

‘Get off,’K’torl said. ‘I’m not interested in him. Or any lads, for that matter.’

‘That’s what M’rell said, too, but he didn’t do too badly once he got going. Come on, K’torl, you know that Ganath’s likely to catch a few more greens than golds. Won’t do any harm to get in some practice.’

K’torl shook his head and started to walk away.

D’gar felt slightly sorry for him. ‘Hey!’ he called.

K’torl turned back. ‘Yes?’

‘Next time I meet her I’ll get Herebeth to bespeak Ganath. Then you can come over and pretend you wanted to see me about something and I’ll introduce you. But you’re on your own from there.’

K’torl’s face lit up. ‘Thanks, D’gar.’

‘Be nice to her,’ he warned. ‘She needs friends.’

‘I will. I really like her.’ He went off with a spring in his step.

Dinner that evening was a slightly somber affair. There had been a lot of injuries in Fall and many of the Wing tables had gaps where men had been forced to stay in the infirmary. On the tables occupied by ‘F’ Wing and ‘D’ Wing, the riders went through their customary toasting for the dead. D’gar watched as the Wingseconds solemnly passed around small cups of grain spirit before the Wingleader said a few words about the departed pair. He caught the tail end of Z’los’s speech. ‘…wing mates for nearly Ten turns. Here’s to A’til and Mayarth.’

‘A’til and Mayarth,’ the riders repeated, before drinking.

Mayarth, D’gar thought. The name was familiar.

‘Didn’t you deliver to him earlier?’ R’chol nudged D’gar.

That was why, then. ‘Yes, think I did. Blue, isn’t he? Sorry, wasn’t he?’

‘Yes. And R’feem’s weyrmate.’

D’gar noticed that the Wingleader of ‘C’ Wing was sitting with A’til’s wing mates, rather than at his own table. Z’los passed him another cup of the fiery spirit, which R’feem downed as if it was water. He seemed stunned, rather than grieving. Maybe it hadn’t hit him fully yet.

‘They’d been together for a good few Turns, so I heard,’ R’chol went on. ‘Sad for him.’

D’gar had seen the aftermath of Fall enough times to know what would happen for the rest of the evening. A’til’s wing mates - and his weyrmate - would recall events from his life, particularly the funny ones, drinking after each story was told. It would get louder and more rowdy, ending only when everyone was so drunk they could barely manage to stagger to their dragons for the short hop to their weyrs. Some might end up so paralytic that they’d sleep around the night hearth.

T’ron and Mardra made their way around the tables, too, offering their condolences. T’ron stopped for a drink with each of the Wings who’d lost a rider. He even sat down and chatted for a while with R’feem.

‘Come on, lads.’ As soon as they’d finished eating, N’teren ushered his charges back to the barracks. It wasn’t unheard of for violence to erupt, if someone misconstrued a look or a comment from another table, once the alcohol started to do its job. There were a few grumbles.

‘I was hoping for seconds,’ J’rud complained. ‘Or maybe another drop of wine.’

‘Don’t worry about that,’ S’brin smirked. ‘Look what I brought back.’ He’d managed to pick up one of the flasks of spirit that had been doing the rounds. ‘Almost half-full, too. Who wants a drink?’

Two days had passed since the bad Fall over Ruatha. Herebeth had expressed a wish to eat, so D’gar had accompanied him to the feeding pens and sat there in the morning sunshine. For outsiders to the Weyr, dragons feeding was a gruesome sight, but he’d long become used to it. Herebeth hunted his prey efficiently. Unlike some dragons, he didn’t run the flock around. Once he’d picked the beast he fancied, he’d chase it away from the rest, then swoop down and swiftly break its neck, before picking up the carcass and taking it further away to enjoy his meal.

‘Mind if I join you?’ Someone sat down heavily beside him.

D’gar turned to see H’sal, whose Nalth had obviously dropped him off before he too went to hunt. Actually, he did mind, but he also didn’t want to be rude. He said nothing.

‘That was just a bit of banter the other day,’ H’sal went on, taking his silence for permission. ‘Hope you didn’t mind.’

D’gar shrugged. ‘Not much I can do about it even if I did.’ Weyrlings had to put up with a lot. But then, when they graduated to the Wings, they’d give their replacements the same treatment. Mostly, it was just teasing, although occasionally older riders went too far and N’teren had to complain to the rider’s Wingleader.

H’sal looked at him in that way he had, that made D’gar feel he was naked. ‘I meant what I said, you know.’

‘What?’ He’d forgotten what exactly had been said that day.

‘About you coming up to my weyr again. We had fun, didn’t we?’

Maybe he had, but D’gar hadn’t enjoyed it much. ‘I thought we made an agreement,’ he said. ‘That it was a one-off.’

H’sal shrugged. ‘If you like. But your weyrmate’s dragon’s going to rise again soon. Thought you might like to do the same again.’

‘No,’ D’gar said, without a second thought.

‘Oh, don’t you care any more?’ H’sal said in a mocking tone. ‘Don’t want to stop Nalth from chasing her this time? Or me from screwing your weyrmate?’

‘Shut up! I thought you said you didn’t fancy him.’

‘I don’t much. Like I said before, you’re more my type. Think about it, weyrling.’

D’gar got up and walked further along the fence. He realised now what a mistake it had been to bargain with H’sal the first time. He might have known someone like that wouldn’t keep his word.

‘Just don’t think too long,’ H’sal called after him.

What is wrong? Herebeth asked, licking the last scraps of herdbeast from his muzzle. You are agitated. You were not agitated when I started to hunt.

Someone annoyed me.

Herebeth looked around, catching sight of Nalth, who had just brought down a fat wherry. I do not like that dragon, he said, even though he probably couldn’t remember why. Do you like his rider?

No. I don’t like him. But he likes me in the wrong way.

I do not understand.

D’gar sent him a graphic image that he couldn’t fail to understand.

He wants to do with you what you usually do with Zemianth’s rider? Just tell him you do not want to.

You make it all sound so simple. Anyway, that didn’t work.

Herebeth flew back across to him. I can bite his dragon, if you want.

You know that’s not allowed. Dragons mustn’t fight.

Pity.

D’gar didn’t really think much of it, although he kept his eyes open for H’sal and tried to steer clear of him. The Weyr was a big place, but sometimes it was hard to avoid people, particularly if they wanted to make a nuisance of themselves. H’sal was one of those kinds of people. In the dining hall, he’d deliberately get into the same queue as D’gar and ‘accidentally’ brush up against him. He also made comments to his wing mates when D’gar was in the vicinity, after which they’d laugh loudly, evidently at his expense. It began to get very annoying.

‘What’s up with him?’ J’rud said as they waited for dinner to be served. He’d noticed too, but then, H’sal and his cronies weren’t exactly discreet.

‘Just trying to irritate me.’

‘Why? It’s greens he usually pesters…’ J’rud’s eyes widened. ‘He’s not tried it on with you, has he?’

D’gar looked down at his scuffed boots. ‘Maybe.’

J’rud nudged him.

‘Well, yes. And I don’t know how to get rid of him.’

‘Swift knee to the groin usually does the trick.’

‘I don’t think that would do me any favours.’ D’gar helped himself to a portion of wherry pie. ‘If I assaulted a wing rider I’d probably be on midden duty until next Turn.’

‘There is that. Best hope S’brin doesn’t notice, then. Because he won’t care about stuff like that. Hit first, think later is his motto.’

D’gar smiled at the thought of S’brin clouting H’sal, even though he knew it would mean trouble. ‘I’m just trying to ignore him. He’ll give up after a while, if I don’t react.’

‘Let’s hope so.’

The tactic might have worked, if H’sal hadn’t decided to push things a bit too far the following morning, at breakfast. Fall was due later on, so there was a slight edginess in the dining hall. Lots of riders suffered from pre-Fall nerves, D’gar included. Although he’d delivered firestone without incident since his recovery, he still couldn’t help thinking of worst case scenarios. He wasn’t really paying attention as he went up to fetch some porridge. It didn’t look very appetising, but it was easy to eat without having to think too much about it. It also settled his stomach.

‘Hey, weyrling. You want something else nice and warm in your mouth later?’ H’sal had managed to join him in the queue without him noticing.

‘Leave me alone,’ he said. ‘Haven’t I made it clear enough I’m not interested?’

‘No harm in trying.’ H’sal shovelled a couple of eggs onto his plate. ‘Your friend’s dragon’s starting to look a bit bright.’

‘Is she?’ He’d not noticed.

‘Ha! Got you worried there.’ H’sal nudged him, almost upsetting the porridge.

D’gar turned on him, the bowl upraised, ready to throw it in his face.

H’sal’s expression changed when he saw what was about to happen. ‘Hey! Don’t do that.’

‘Why not? You asked for it.’

‘Might have to report you to N’teren if you do.’

‘What’s up?’ Unseen by either of them, S’brin had arrived. ‘Are you pissing off D’gar?’ he asked H’sal.

‘It’s all right, ‘D’gar said. ‘Don’t get involved.’

‘It was an accident,’ H’sal said. ‘I only nudged him and he turned on me right away. If he was a green, I’d think he was proddy.’

‘Oh yes, and you’d know all about greens, wouldn’t you?’ S’brin was never at his best in the morning. ‘You and those slimy friends of yours, always chasing after weyrlings.’

‘Didn’t need to chase this one, did I?’ H’sal obviously didn’t realise he was playing with fire. ‘He turned up in my weyr of his own free will.’

‘What?’ S’brin asked, his eyes narrowing.

‘Leave it.’ D’gar didn’t want S’brin to get into any trouble. Or H’sal to reveal any more.

‘What’s this tunnel snake trying to say?’

‘I, er…’ From the corner of his eye, D’gar could see N’teren looking their way. ‘We should go and sit down,’ he hissed. ‘People are looking.’

‘I want to know what he’s got to say.’ Once S’brin got an idea in his head, he wouldn’t budge until he got an answer.

Even H’sal had obviously realised he’d gone too far this time. ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ He chuckled nervously.

‘No,’ S’brin grabbed him by his shirt front and pushed him away. He took a few steps forward, fists at the ready. H’sal quickly dodged behind a small serving table.

‘It was just a joke,’ he said again, holding up a hand in defence.

D’gar glanced around. N’teren and his assistant were on the way over. ’S’brin. Don’t.’

S’brin turned slightly, as if he was giving up, then as H’sal relaxed his guard, swiftly picked up the table and threw it at him. He went sprawling in a clatter of plates, eggs skidding across the floor. N’teren and M’nan sprinted over, just as S’brin was going in for a second round. Between them, they pulled him off.

‘Pick that lot up,’ N’teren told D’gar. ‘Then you can get back to the barracks. My quarters, right away.’ He and M’nan dragged S’brin off.

D’gar righted the table, prepared for H’sal to say something else. If he did, then he’d definitely get a thump. He knew he was in trouble anyway, so it wouldn’t make much difference. But H’sal got himself to his feet and disappeared very promptly.

D’gar carefully righted the table and was about to start on the platters when Agarra came through from the kitchen. ‘I’ll do the rest,’ she said. ‘What happened?’

’S’brin lost his temper.’

She shook her head, sadly. ‘Will he ever learn?’

‘It was partly my fault.’

D’gar walked back slowly. He knew he was in trouble, but that wasn’t what bothered him. He should have been able to put a stop to H’sal’s behaviour before S’brin got involved. He’d have to make that clear to N’teren. By the time he’d got to the Weyrlingmaster’s quarters, he thought he knew what he needed to say.

He stood outside the heavy curtain, knocked and waited.

‘Come in.’ N’teren and M’nan sat one side of the desk, S’brin standing in front of them.

’S’brin tells me that H’sal was picking on you. Is that true?’

D’gar nodded. ‘Yes. Sir, it wasn’t S’brin’s fault, what happened. H’sal made some inappropriate comments. He was deliberately trying to rile S’brin.’

N’teren raised an eyebrow. ‘You know the rules concerning weyrlings and wing riders, don’t you?’

‘Yes, sir. We shouldn’t fight with wing riders,’ D’gar said. ‘But what about when they try to pick fights with us?’

‘Then you should report it to myself, or M’nan. We’ll deal with it. I don’t want T’ron coming down here demanding to know why one of you has started throwing things around in the dining hall for no good reason.’

D’gar thought that was very unfair. ‘So why is it all right for H’sal to send his dragon up after young greens? Shouldn’t something be done about him?’ He sneaked a sideways glance at S’brin. He was being unusually quiet.

N’teren sighed. ‘You can’t stop dragons from rising.’

‘We’re not blind,’ D’gar protested. ‘We all saw what happened to Sh’bul. There’s been a few more like that, too…’

‘That’s enough!’ N’teren snapped. ‘That’s for us to deal with, not you.’

‘Except you don’t, do you?’

‘Enough!’ N’teren roared. ‘Both of you, midden duty for the next two sevendays and you’re back to bagging firestone instead of deliveries. I want fifty bags filled by each of you before Fall and I’ll be checking them, so no shortcuts. Now, get out.’

They walked the short distance to the barracks in silence.

‘I’m sorry,’ D’gar said to S’brin. ‘I shouldn’t have said all that. You’d have probably got away with a lot less extra duties if I’d not annoyed N’teren.’

‘Is it true?’ he asked.

‘What?’

‘That you went to H’sal’s weyr?’

D’gar sat on the edge of his bed and looked at the floor. ‘Yes,’ he said quietly.

‘Why?’

‘I was trying to save you. He said he’d set Nalth after Zemianth. I told him it was just that once, but he’s been pestering me because he knows she’s due to rise again.’

S’brin sat next to him. ‘You’re crazy, you know? I can look after myself.’

‘Not when you’re out of your mind during a flight. I was scared. No-one else would do anything to help.’

S’brin put an arm around him. ‘I wish I’d thrown that bastard right across the dining hall,’ he said. ‘And I hope he does send Nalth after Zemianth. I might not be able to do much while the dragons are at it but I’ll bash his head in afterwards. And no-one will be able to touch me then because everyone knows mating flights can get rough.’

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

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Great chapter, looking forward to more, it would appear F'drun isn't the only a'hole!

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Good chapter, flowed well and very well written.  That is one think that I don't understand, why doesn't those in charge limit the ones that can rise and chase after a dragon when it is a really young rider.  It seems like it would be like raping a child, even if the child wants it in the midst of the mating flight.  That is one thing that has always bothered me...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
6 hours ago, drsawzall said:

 

Great chapter, looking forward to more, it would appear F'drun isn't the only a'hole!

 

There are bound to be one or two in every Weyr. Thankfully H'sal isn’t as murderous as F'drun, but that’s probably his only redeeming feature.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
2 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

That is one think that I don't understand, why doesn't those in charge limit the ones that can rise and chase after a dragon when it is a really young rider.  It seems like it would be like raping a child, even if the child wants it in the midst of the mating flight.  That is one thing that has always bothered me...

Yes, it’s an issue in the books too. When you consider that F'nor Impressed Canth at the age of ten, he must have only been twelve or thirteen when his dragon became sexually mature and started to chase green dragons. Lessa was told next to nothing about what happened in a mating flight before Ramoth rose. Obviously it’s going to be impossible to stop dragons doing what comes naturally, but I think the Weyrbred attitude of 'oh well, it happens so deal with it' is bound to cause problems such as these.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..