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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 - 41. Settling In

D'gar settles in to his new role and G'ren faces the challenge of flying between for the first time.

D’gar handed around the cups of fiery spirit to all the riders on his side of the table. It was the third time he’d done this now; the first being after the Fall when they’d lost N’rir. This time, it was for Is’ish and Panruth. All of the ‘crazy greens’ seemed unusually sombre, having lost one of their group. Once they’d had a few drinks inside of them, that would change. Is’ish would have a good send off.

R’feem stood to speak. He looked serious, as you’d expect, but there was something else, too. A weary, resigned look D’gar remembered from after his former weyrmate had been killed in Fall. Losing so many of his Wing in the past few months; pairs who had been fighting for Turns, must be taking its toll.

‘Today we lost another of our colleagues and wingmates. Is’ish and Panruth were a quintessential green pair, daring and brave, priding themselves they could turn fast enough to catch Thread few other dragons would be able to reach. Is’ish himself lost part of a leg a few Turns ago, but he didn’t let that slow him down. We will all miss him and we honour them both now by drinking to the memory of Is’ish and Panruth.’ He lifted his cup. Everyone else followed suit, standing as they drained their cups.

D’gar felt it sear down his throat; the warmth as it reached his belly. No sooner had cups been put down on the table than I’grast gave him a glance and they both went around to top up. As always, there would be a lot of alcohol consumed tonight. D’gar resolved he would stick to ale. He’d be less likely to have a hangover than if he went onto wine. R’feem would want a meeting tomorrow to discuss what they were going to do now they were short on greens and he wanted a clear head for that. He supposed R’feem could go to the Weyrleader and ask for a replacement, but all the Wings were in a similar state. ‘You have to make do,’ was a phrase heard increasingly often around the Weyr these days.

Thread was falling more erratically, that was certain. Falls still started at the usual times and places, but the quantity of Thread had become unpredictable. There had been a few occasions when they’d flown a four hour Fall and only had to sear a few odd strands, then others when it came down thick and fast, like a blizzard of deadly snow. It was one like that which had done for Is’ish. D’gar considered himself lucky he and Herebeth had come through unscathed. S’brin and J’rud too. They’d all been lucky so far, but he couldn’t help but wonder if luck came with a limit. People often talked about it ‘running out’. Maybe if you took risks all the time, as they all did, the odds became stacked against you. Or maybe it was the feeling you’d been lucky for too long that precipitated disaster. He drank his second cup of spirits, hoping it might quiet his brain. Really, he should be more like a dragon - or some of the green riders - only living in the here and now, not caring about the future.

‘Who else are we going to lose this Turn?’ J’rud’s thoughts must be running the same way as his own.

‘No one knows the answer to that.’ He was glad, too. Knowing would make it so much worse.

‘I mean, “C” Wing’s always had a good record, but everything’s changed lately.’

D’gar nodded. ’The only good thing is most people agree it’s a positive sign we’re getting to the end of the Pass. This should be our last summer of fighting Thread.’

‘Thank Faranth for that.’

S’brin had moved down the table and was drinking with the ‘crazy greens’. ‘I reckon we’ll have to carry him back to our weyr later.’ D’gar didn’t mind. Everyone had their own way of dealing with grief and S’brin’s happened to be alcohol.

‘At least there’s two of us to carry him.’

D’gar rolled the empty cup around his hand. ‘I suppose I’d better make my way around the table.’ As Wingsecond, even in just a temporary capacity, it was expected. I’grast had already settled with the blues and they had begun to reminisce about Is’ish’s wilder adventures.

D’gar thought he might as well start at the green end of the table. He may not get on with some of them, but it was his duty. It was going to be a long evening.

He turned up for the meeting in R’feem’s weyr the following day with only a mild hangover. R’feem seemed as clear headed as ever, making D’gar wonder if Hebiri had access to some miracle hangover cure. Although, come to think about it, you never actually saw R’feem drink much, even if he always had a cup in his hand. I’grast was definitely the worse for wear. He looked only marginally more alert than S’brin, who had gone off for a soak in the baths; his favourite cure.

‘I’ll try to keep this short. We’re currently down to two bronzes, two browns, seven blues and ten greens. N’kal’s not going to be fit to rejoin us for another month according to the healers. It’s getting to the point where I’m having to keep greens in the air for longer than they should be. Hence the increase in injuries and fatalities. I’ve spoken to the Weyrleader to see if we can bring in some temporary help, but as you know, none of the other Wings can really spare anyone, or they’ll end up with their own shortages. We need to try and think about how we’re going to cope over the next couple of months.’

D’gar wished he had more experience to draw on. N’rir would have probably come up with something straight away.

‘Put ‘em on three shifts. Less time to get tired, and the first shift will have had a rest before they need to come back up again.’ I’grast took a swig of the klah R’feem had ordered from the kitchen.

‘That’s a possibility. D’gar, anything?’

‘Well, I suppose once we know what kind of Fall it’s going to be, we could send some back right away. Like that really light one over Hold Gar. We could have fought that with less than ten dragons. If it changes half way though like the last time over Ruatha, then the rest can come up fresh. I know that doesn’t solve the problem if we get one like the last, but we’ve not had many of those…’ It seemed a bit pathetic, now he’d said it, but he supposed it was better than not contributing anything.

R’feem nodded. ‘A good solution for those occasions. Thank you.’

They discussed the situation a while longer. D’gar found the more he talked, the more ideas he came up with. The fact that both R’feem and I’grast took him seriously helped as well.

Eventually, R’feem said, ‘I think we’ve done as much as we can. We’ll try out some of those ideas in practice tomorrow.’

Both I’grast and D’gar stood to leave.

‘If you could just stay a while, D’gar…’

He wondered if he was in trouble; if he’d not been doing a good job? He’d made a few mistakes, he knew, although none had been serious. He sat down again as R’feem waited until Tiriorth had collected I’grast.

‘Don’t worry,’ the Wingleader said. ‘I know you well enough by now that you’ll be assuming the worst. You’ve done nothing wrong. In fact, you’ve made a better job of it than some Wingseconds with several Turns more experience.’

He felt reassured by this. ‘So, is there a problem I should know about?’

‘I’ve heard some quibbles regarding the five Turn rule, but as of next month, you’re past that, so it should silence some of the naysayers. Unfortunately, the Weyrleader won’t hear of you being made permanent at the moment, so I can’t promise you shoulder knots or a better weyr.’

‘That’s fine. So long as I’m doing a good job, those don’t really matter.’

‘Once the Pass is over, then there’ll be time to review promotions properly. You aren’t the only one in this situation. I shall certainly recommend you’re allowed to stay. And, to be honest, T’ron won’t be in a position to pick and choose. We’ve few enough decent browns and bronzes as it is.’

‘Thanks. I really do appreciate it. Although I’d rather N’rir was still with us.’

‘Well, that’s how it is during a Pass. There are a few I’d love to see walk into the dining hall again, but it’s not going to happen. Anyway, that’s all. You’re free to go.’

He called Herebeth over. His dragon flew up from the lake. water dripping from his wings. Well, from everywhere. He was soaked. What have you been up to?

The weyrlings are having a bath. I helped. They asked me about flying between. They will be learning soon and are eager to try.

That’s good. He wondered if G’ren would feel as nervous as he had been. Once they’d mastered the technique, they’d move up to delivery duties, freeing a few more to join the Wings during these last, dangerous months. Given the numbers, it would probably work out at one or two pairs per Wing. Still, if they could get a few more greens…

Might as well take me straight to the baths. I’m going to get wet riding you, anyway.

I will dry myself first. Herebeth gave himself a good shake and flapped his wings. D’gar didn’t have the heart to say he was now wet all over rather than just his legs and bum from sitting on a damp dragon. Oh well, his clothes would dry quickly enough in the sun.

Sixth month meant his birthday had come round again. The weather turned out fine, so they had the usual celebration by the lake. Agarra had made a cake with a brown dragon sitting on top; an almost perfect replica of Herebeth. Now that Matagar was walking around, it was a job to keep him away from the food. Still, there were plenty of folk around to distract him and at least five other weyrbrats of similar age to play with.

D’gar lounged at the water’s edge with S’brin and J’rud, while their dragons floated equally as lazily.

‘Twenty-three,’ S’brin said. ‘You’re getting to be an old man.’

‘You’ll be catching me up next month.’ D’gar wondered what sort of celebration S’brin had planned this Turn. It certainly wouldn’t be as sedate as this. Probably on a beach somewhere, with plenty of wine and the kind of dangerous games greens loved.

‘Let’s enjoy ourselves. Our last birthdays of the Pass. When we’re twenty-four, all this will be over. We’ll probably be bored silly.’

‘Bored, but safe,’ J’rud put in. ‘Or maybe not so safe with the ideas you and the crazy greens will dream up when you’ve time.’

‘Yeah.’ S’brin turned over. ‘Put a bit more of that oil on my back, D’gar, would you?’

‘You’ll fry yourself.’ S’brin tanned easily and this summer he seemed darker than ever, almost the shade of a brown dragon. D’gar rubbed the oil in, feeling S’brin’s muscles under his hands. It made him think about the other birthday treats he’d been promised later on. Best make sure S’brin didn’t get too drunk, then.

Seventh month brought the usual dustiness to Fort Weyr. Dust and gloriously hot weather; well, glorious when you didn’t have to get dressed up in thick wherhide. Most of the Falls were as predictable as they used to be, save for two which brought a high toll of casualties and four deaths, although not from ‘C’ Wing. D’gar began to settle in to his new role. Organising firestone deliveries wasn’t so difficult once you’d found a method that worked for you and your dragon. Most of the time now, they used the three shift plan for green dragons. It seemed to work well. Once or twice, during sparse Falls, R’feem had put D’gar’s suggestion into action. That worked too. In between Falls, there were the usual green flights, triggered by heat and sunshine. Herebeth caught Zurinth again, while Zemianth chose her favourite bronze, Tiriorth.

‘You don’t seem to mind too much when Tiriorth catches Zemianth,’ I’grast said to him when they were on their way out of one of R’feem’s meetings.

‘I can’t do much about her liking your dragon, can I? Besides, S’brin doesn’t mind you, either and I’d rather him have a good flight than not.’

‘It’s just some riders get really jealous about things like that.’

D’gar shrugged. ‘I suppose I used to, but I’ve realised mating flights aren’t everything. Anyway, he still loves me when it’s over.’ It didn’t sound too far away from what that blue rider had said, so many Turns ago.

Seventh month also brought closer the day when Y’min judged Suderoth’s clutch to be ready to fly between.

‘We’ve had so much practise sending visuals I think I could do it when I’m asleep,’ G’ren told D’gar.

‘Good. Just follow the instructions Y’min gives you, keep your visuals clear and you’ll be fine. Once you’ve done it the first time, it gets easier.’

G’ren smiled. ‘They say that about sex, too.’

D’gar presumed from his comment he’d not had much experience in that area. Mind you, he’d have been under the usual restrictions while Paizarth matured. ‘Good looking bronze rider like you shouldn’t have any problems finding someone.’

‘Well, there’s a few girls I like, but…’

Maybe he was shy. ‘Just talk to them. They won’t bite.’

‘It’s not that. It doesn’t seem fair. I mean, what if someone falls in love with me and then I’m killed?’

‘Ah.’ D’gar admired his consideration. ‘Everyone at the Weyr knows that’s a risk. Besides, you won’t be on delivery duties right away, even after you’ve grasped the basics of flying between. If you’re really lucky, you might never get too close to Thread at all.’

‘It’s our job, isn’t it?’

‘Well, yes…’ D’gar knew Y’min wanted to try and keep his weyrlings as safe as he could, especially given the likelihood Thread would only fall for a few more months. As Wing numbers dwindled, so did the need for deliveries. ‘Just don’t be over eager. There are plenty of willing girls in the Lower Caverns who aren’t looking for relationships, just a bit of fun. Don’t deny yourself.’ D’gar remembered all too well how he’d been at sixteen; how he and S’brin had found ways to get around the prohibitions on sexual contact. Giving advice to his foster brother made him suddenly feel old. ‘And don’t be thinking about sex when you’re trying to go between for the first, time.’

As was usual, Y’min only told the riders on the morning itself. At least that way, no one had a sleepless night worrying about it. Also as usual, word spread around rapidly so that by the time they had formed up outside the barracks, a crowd of weyrfolk and riders had gathered to watch.

Agarra hugged a shawl around her shoulders, even though it wasn’t a chilly morning and she’d already been on breakfast shift in the kitchens. ‘I’m so nervous.’

D’gar felt that way himself. Of course, it wasn’t as bad as when he’d been one of the weyrlings, but as he’d discovered back then, worrying about someone else was nerve-wracking in a different way. When Zemianth disappeared between, it had seemed an age before she burst back out into the light. One good thing was that at least G’ren and Paizarth wouldn’t need to wait too long for their turn; as one of the two bronzes in the clutch he’d be either first or second to make the attempt.

People shielded their eyes against the low morning sun, watching the dragons ascend. Y’min gave them all time to settle down before instructing them to circle at the distant end of the Bowl.

‘This is it,’ S’brin muttered, to his left. ‘Moment of truth.’

The first bronze broke away. It wasn’t Paizarth; too pale in colour. G’ren would be second, as he and Herebeth had been on their first jump. Everyone held their breath as he disappeared, then turned their gaze to the spot above the Star Stones where he - hopefully - would reappear shortly. D’gar counted in his head, much as he sometimes still did when he and Herebeth went between. As he reached eight, they reappeared, to cheers from the onlookers. The rider punched his fist in the air triumphantly. His trial was over. Now, alone, he circled well away from the target area, waiting for his clutchmates to join him.

‘I can’t look, but I have to,’ Agarra said, clutching D’gar’s arm tighter.

He wished he could reassure her, but it was all up to Paizarth and G’ren now. They winked out. He counted and watched. Five, six, seven… and Paizarth emerged from his first foray between, coppery hide gleaming. It suddenly struck D’gar that for future weyrlings, this would be the most dangerous moment not just of their training, but of their whole lives. Once Thread was over…

All of the weyrlings made it through safely. Y’min must be relieved too, as they were the first he’d trained from start to finish. Agarra’s own relief showed in her incessant chatter and beaming smiles. D’gar hoped G’ren might find another kind of relief with one of the young girls who’d been watching this morning. Most would be all too happy to congratulate the successful riders.

‘Remember how we celebrated?’ S’brin reminded him.

‘All too well.’

‘Want to do the same again? This time in a comfortable weyr?’

‘I wouldn’t mind that at all.’

S’brin’s birthday fell towards the end of the month. As D’gar had expected, they went to one of the coves off the west coast, where the seas were rough enough for the greens to play the kind of games they enjoyed. He was the only brown rider there. And the only Wingsecond, for that matter. It made him feel slightly excluded. He knew his presence might inhibit some of them, so he found a quiet part of the beach to sunbathe and hoped he’d merge into the background.

J’rud found him there. Well more accurately, Zurinth asked Herebeth where he was, then gave him some warning of his approach.

‘That lot really are crazy. Being drenched and half-drowned repeatedly isn’t my idea of fun.’

‘Nor mine. I heard someone saying I was here to report back to R’feem, so I thought I’d stay out of the way, at least until they unpack the food. Might go for a swim later, although I prefer a calmer sea. How’s S’brin?’

‘You’d think he was seventeen again rather than twenty-three, the way he’s carrying on.’

D’gar sat up. ‘We’re not really old, are we?’

‘No. I mean, I don’t think of anyone under, say, thirty-five as old.’ J’rud looked slightly bemused. ‘Where did that come from?’

‘Well, when I was fifteen, people of our age seemed old.’

‘Yeah, I know what you mean. And the weyrlings these days look so young.’

‘Exactly.’ Maybe age was relative? In a few Turns he’d be complaining of aches and pains, just as some of the riders like M’ta and P’goll did.

‘At least we’ll all grow old together. You and S’brin can tease me when I get my first grey hairs and I’ll do the same when you start to get wrinkly.’ J’rud leaned back against a sun-warmed rock. ‘Did your mum make some of those tarts again?’

‘Of course. She knew you’d be here. She’s also made S’brin a cake, but I’m keeping it out of sight until they all calm down.’ He imagined the greens having a food fight. Some of their parties ended up like that.

Even exuberant green riders had to stop at some point. D’gar and J’rud got the food spread out and he recovered the skins of wine from a rock pool where he’d put them to keep cool. Once everyone had eaten and drunk, they seemed far more relaxed and content to spend the afternoon laying in the sun, chatting or exploring the caves dotted beneath the cliff face.

R’nix brought out a pack of dragon poker cards. They were fresh and new looking. ‘Bought these at the Ruatha Gather. I reckon Mardra looks constipated on this one.’ He held up the card to much hilarity.

D’gar saw a couple of glances cast his way, as if they were afraid he might pass the comment on to her. ‘She does, doesn’t she?’ he said, trying to reassure them he was on the same side.

‘So, anyone fancy a game?’

D’gar was reluctant, but S’brin pushed him to join in. ‘You can’t not play cards forever. Besides I thought you weren’t superstitious.’

‘I’m not.’ He’d avoided the game for Turns. Perhaps it was a bit silly. People had still died without him drawing any elevens. Those other times could just have been coincidence. ‘Go on, then.’

They spent a few hours playing. Not many people had brought marks with them, knowing where they were headed, so R’nix played it as a drinking game. D’gar bowed out when he felt he might be getting a bit too light-headed to ride back safely. Still, at least he’d played his usual, average game with no nasty surprises.

They arrived back at the Weyr well after dark. ‘I reckon that was a pretty good birthday,’ S’brin said, yawning, as they made their way to bed.

‘It was.’ One that was memorable for the right reasons.

The next Fall, over Peyton and the west coast, was almost non existent. A few thin tangles fell initially, followed by clear skies for a good while, then another paltry collection of Threads lasting all the way to the coastline. On their return, riders were in a buoyant mood. When the one after was much the same, D’gar began to hear more and more folk saying that this was it. Thread was finished, for two hundred Turns at least.

I’grast wasn’t quite as optimistic. ‘We’ve had sparse ones before. Bet you anything the next one’s same as ever. Maybe worse. It’s too early in the Turn to end. Not even half way through eighth month.’

‘I agree,’ R’feem said. ‘But you can’t stop people getting their hopes up. We’ll plan for the usual, then change tactics if we need to.’

The next Fall was back to normal, with the added pain of a fatality. D’gar felt the morale of the Weyr drop. Now the gloomy predictions were back again; how Thread would exact its deadly tithe, even as the Red Star receded from Pern.

I’grast was sneezing as they met before the following one. ‘Sharding dust,’ he swore. ‘I’ve never known it so bad.’ He blew his nose loudly.

‘Right.’ R’feem got down to business. ‘Fort Hold, plus the Weyr itself, today. We’re on low level, just above the Queens’ Wing. Who knows what Thread will throw our way, so let’s be ready for anything. Weather’s looking fine with good visibility, so at least that’s one less thing to worry about. Any questions?’

‘I’m fine with that.’ I’grast sneezed again.

‘Me too.’ As it was a relatively short Fall and winds were light, the greens should be able to fight all the way through, barring injuries. If they were really lucky, it might be a scanty one again.

They went between to a point over the rocky terrain south of Ruatha River Hold. D’gar had his ‘usual’ dragons around him on one leg of the vee, while I’grast’s section was over to the other side of R’feem’s Piroth.

They waited for leading edge to tarnish the pristine sky. D’gar prepared himself, physically and mentally. He knew most of the riders - as he did - would like it to be a another meagre Fall. In a few minutes, they’d find out if they were right.

It turned out to be a tricky one; thin at first, with scattered strands, turning to large clumps, then back again to barely a trickle. Just as you and your dragon became used to one style of fighting, it changed. They had to switch formation a few times, once just as they approached the Weyr. Smoke rose almost vertically from the burning fire heights. The workers who kept the fires fed looked up and waved, as they always did, getting a fine view of the fight. Down in the Bowl, injured dragons would be restless, soothed by Suderoth, whose turn it was to be on support duty today. Nothing got through. In the Queens’ Wing, Margatta used her flamethrower to good effect on one clump and a faint cheer rose up from the Bowl.

The Weyr fell behind them. D’gar still tasted the smoke, although it was a far more wholesome flavour than charred Thread. He registered the shriek of a dragon, hit by an unseen strand and saw Wasuth blink between. N’dru brushed off frozen strands of Thread from his leg and his dragon’s shoulder as they returned.

Check them, Herebeth. Do they need to return to the Weyr?

Wasuth says no. It was small and they do not bleed much.

A lucky escape, then. Sometimes those small pieces were harder to spot than a big clump. They were more tiring to chase, too, driven hither and thither by the air currents created by dragon wings. Herebeth dodged to and fro, breathing out small bursts of flame, while the smaller dragons picked up what he couldn’t reach.

Tiriorth returns to the Weyr, Herebeth suddenly announced. His rider is scored.

He saw M’rell move up to the Wingsecond position and hoped he’d manage. He had good training. There was no reason he shouldn’t. He tried not to think about how badly I’grast might have been injured for them to go back. Everyone got the odd score. If you went between fast enough, it froze before much damage was done. Generally, unless you or your dragon were bleeding badly, you stayed with the Wing and got it seen to at the end of Fall.

The pattern changed twice again before trailing edge finally disappeared over the mountain range. ‘B’ Wing were on cleanup duties today, so they were able to go straight back to the Weyr. D’gar cast a glance over toward the infirmary. He spotted Tiriorth being tended by the dragon healers. It looked like a leg injury of some sort. I’grast must be inside. At least they were both alive, if not unharmed.

After they’d landed, M’rell made his way over. ‘That was nerve-wracking. Let’s hope I’grast isn’t going to be out for long. I don’t think I’m cut out for this job.’

‘I felt the same at first. It gets easier with practice. Anyway, we’d best get ourselves cleaned up then get up to R’feem’s weyr for the post-Fall meeting.’

One of the downsides of promotion was not being able to spend much time in the baths. All of the Wingleaders and most of the Wingseconds had bathing pools in their own weyrs. It was a useful convenience as well as being one of the perks of the job. D’gar and M’rell didn’t have that privilege, but they managed to get into the communal baths before the main bulk of the riders. As the rest of ‘C’ Wing turned up, they found themselves being questioned by the others as to what had happened to I’grast.

‘No more idea than you, yet.’ D’gar lost count of the number of times he said that.

They got to R’feem’s weyr just as he did. He hadn’t had time to wash. Even his face was smudged with char. ‘I’ve just come back from the infirmary,’ he said, gesturing for them to sit. ‘I’grast’s lucky to still be with us.’

That sounded serious. ‘He’s all right, though?’

‘Lost a lot of blood, but he’s conscious.’ R’feem sat heavily in his own chair. ‘Well done, M’rell. You coped admirably under the circumstances. Would you mind ordering us some klah?’

‘Sure.’ M’rell went over to the service shaft and called for a jug of klah and three mugs. He seemed taken by surprise when it was sent back up almost immediately.

‘They keep a lot of klah ready after a Fall,’ R’feem explained when he carefully carried it over. ‘I suppose I’d better tell you about I’grast’s injuries. And Tiriorth.’

D’gar poured out the klah. He knew exactly the amount of sweetener R’feem liked by now. ‘I saw Tiriorth having his leg seen to when we came back.’

R’feem sighed. ‘One of those stupid little pieces of Thread caught I’grast. He didn’t notice it until it had eaten through the wherhide and into his upper arm. They went between straight away, but it had severed a blood vessel. Luckily he had the presence of mind to use a spare strap to slow the bleeding. Then he told Tiriorth to get them down fast. So Tiriorth did exactly that. Went between again and came out just a few dragon lengths above the Bowl floor. He didn’t have time to slow himself, so landed heavily. Both his hind legs are damaged. The left one’s broken.’

Both D’gar and M’rell winced. It took a lot to break a dragon’s bones.

‘Still, he saved I’grast’s life. The healers stopped the bleeding just in time, but he’s very weak.’ He sipped his klah, then looked at M’rell. ‘Do you feel up to filling in? It’ll be a good few months before either of them are fit again.’

M’rell was serious for once. ‘I’ll never be able to match his experience, but I’ll do my best.’

‘Good lad. I’m sure D’gar will help you out. He’s had to learn the hard way, too.’

D’gar hoped he wouldn’t disappoint the Wingleader. In just two months he’d gone from having two extremely competent older Wingseconds to the youngest in the whole Weyr. ‘We’ll manage,’ he said. It was yet another case of making do.

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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There are always those who like to blame, but at this time, with not enough Wingseconds to go round, there's no real alternative.

I would prefer D'gar's birthday, too.

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I'm trying to avoid a sense of foreboding, but since we know what will happen by Fall's end, it's hard to avoid.  Then too, you've given us more players to worry about like G'ren who could easily not fight until the Pass has ended, but who knows now that Lessa's arrival will happen soon?

The talk of their next birthdays being safe and looking forward to growing old together just is wrenchingly poignant for me...one of my nephews was only a couple years older than that when he took his own life. 

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5 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

I'm trying to avoid a sense of foreboding, but since we know what will happen by Fall's end, it's hard to avoid.  Then too, you've given us more players to worry about like G'ren who could easily not fight until the Pass has ended, but who knows now that Lessa's arrival will happen soon?

The foreboding has been building up over the past few chapters. We're almost at the end of the Pass, bringing the dread day closer.

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Foreboding, foreshadowing, fairwarning,and forewarning to say the least...

Who else are we going to lose this Turn?’ J’rud’s thoughts must be running the same way as his own.

‘No one knows the answer to that.’ He was glad, too. Knowing would make it so much worse.

Thanks....I think....hummm?

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I'm glad they have so many months where all is well, and that D'gar is becoming a good Wimgsecond. Consiering how J'rud is almost like a third Weyrmate, it's surprising he's not able to comfort D'gar afterwards. 

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9 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

Consiering how J'rud is almost like a third Weyrmate, it's surprising he's not able to comfort D'gar afterwards. 

Some people like to be comforted in their grief, while others push everyone away.

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