Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    Mawgrim
  • Author
  • 3,648 Words
  • 865 Views
  • 13 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

To the Weyr - 23. Rumours and Gossip

The following day wasn’t too busy. Just the regular amount of garments and bedding had come in. Everything had to be finished by the end of the shift, though as it was Fall the next day and they’d been told the laundry crew would be helping out at the infirmary.

‘It’ll be mostly fetching and carrying for the Healers but you’ll get to see some nasty sights. Think you can cope with that?’ Bavi asked.

‘Can’t be nastier than what we’ve already seen.’ Kadin’s voice took on that haunted quality Jevikel recognised whenever he was reminded of witnessing Berrand’s death.

‘We’ve both seen what Thread does close up,’ he said quickly, to forestall her asking anything more.

She nodded. ‘Of course,’ then raised her voice to address to rest of the workers. ‘Right. Break time, everyone.’

It had turned cool and cloudy; a relief from the steamy heat inside. Jevikel fetched klah and took it over to where Kadin had found a place to sit.

He was watching something at the other side of the Bowl. ‘F’nor and Canth look as if they’re off somewhere.’

F’nor was busy fastening carry sacks to Canth’s straps. As he worked, another brown dragon landed close to him. He was much darker in colour, like strong klah. By his build, he was obviously not hatched at Benden. Like all of the Five Weyrs dragons, his hide bore scars from their Turns of fighting Thread.

‘I think that’s our new Weyrlingmaster,’ Kadin said, lowering his voice even though they were too far away to be heard.

‘How can you tell?

‘He’s wearing Fort knots. Dragon fits the description. Apparently he got friendly with F’nor soon after they got here. Some folk are saying that’s why he got the job.’

‘Who?’

‘Nursheldor and Kernam.’

‘I’d expect nothing better from those gossips.’ Jevikel had decided to reserve judgement. Although he and Kadin hadn’t had a favourable first meeting with the Fort Wingleader, Bavi and H’rek had spoken well of him.

The two riders talked for a while, then both looked up - as did Jevikel and Kadin - as Ramoth glided down from her weyr, closely followed by Mnementh. For such a large dragon, she landed very gently. Her belly was much rounder than the others. Full of eggs, he knew. Was his future dragon inside there?

‘Ramoth’s amazing.’ Kadin regarded her with awe. 'So big, but so graceful, too.’

‘Hmm,’ Jevikel agreed. Mnementh wasn’t much smaller and Canth was one of the biggest browns at Benden. By comparison, D’gar’s dragon was only slightly larger than a Benden blue, although far more stocky.

F’nor and D’gar remounted, then F’lar gave the signal and all four of them took off. He watched them ascend, until they all winked out between as one.

‘One day, we’ll be able to fly off like that.’ Kadin sipped his klah. ‘Go to the beach, or anywhere we like on Pern, in an instant.’

‘Let’s hope so.’ Jevikel wouldn’t allow himself to believe he’d Impress first time. It seemed like tempting fate. Some of the other lads had said it was bad luck to even tell anyone else how you wanted to contract your name after you’d Impressed.

‘D’you reckon L’cal will bother us again?’

‘What makes you ask that?’

‘Just some things I’ve heard. He likes picking on folk.’

‘Well, it won’t be in the laundry, for sure.’ Jevikel had seen him a few times since their confrontation. He usually hung around with a group of young bronze riders, who behaved in similar fashion. It was probably best to avoid them all. ‘He’ll be going back down south soon, anyway.’

‘Only for a month.’

Prideth’s clutch had been divided into halves and alternated duties between Benden and Southern. Were the other half so bad?

‘Still, by the time they’re back again, we’ll be in the barracks, learning all about dragons.’

‘Hurry up, now,’ Bavi called. ‘Finish your klah and let’s get back to work. Quicker we’re done, quicker we can get off.’

At the midday meal, conversation was lively. Something was going on, but no one was entirely sure what, so speculation was bubbling.

‘The Weyrleader and Weyrwoman just came back to the Weyr,’ Lukodan said. ‘I heard someone got carried in to the infirmary.’

‘One of Prideth’s greens dropped everything earlier on and just flew off from the firestone dump,’ Kernam said. ‘He’s going to get into trouble.’

‘Wonder what’s happened?’

‘We’ll find out sooner or later.’

By the evening meal, more rumours had spread. ‘Here’s the latest update.’ Egevan leaned close, his eyes sparkling with excitement. ‘The new Weyrlingmaster killed another rider, down south. Almost got killed himself, apparently.’

‘And they’re going to let him be in charge of us?’ Lukodan shook his head. ‘I don’t like the sound of that.’

‘I heard he saved someone’s life.’ Taltien didn’t comment very often, so everyone tended to listen when he did. ‘The other rider was threatening someone, so D’gar stepped in to defend him.’

‘Who told you that?’ Lukodan asked.

‘Some of the riders from Prideth’s clutch were talking about it. And it was H’rek who went off in a hurry. He’s D’gar’s weyrmate, so he should know.’

Jevikel thought so, too, but that obviously wasn’t dramatic enough for some of the others. ‘We saw him heading off with F’lar, Lessa and F’nor this morning. If they were there, they must have seen what happened.’

‘Killing someone though…’ Egevan seemed disappointed his gossip might not be as accurate as he hoped.

‘You don’t know for sure he killed anyone,’ Kadin pointed out. ‘He might have just knocked him out or something.’

‘All right, then. I’ll go and find out.’ Egevan spooned the last mouthfuls of stew from his bowl. ‘Grab me a couple of those redfruit tarts and I’ll see you all outside.’

People were sitting in their usual spots. As they followed the others across the Bowl, Jevikel heard some older riders talking and put a hand on Kadin’s arm to slow him down as well so they could listen in.

‘… they were duelling with knives. T’bor tried to stop them and nearly got knifed himself.’

‘No need to use knives. But that’s what happens at those other Weyrs. Duels to the death all the time, so I’ve heard.’

Kadin glanced at Jevikel with a worried expression. Jevikel moved on. ‘Let’s hope that lot are exaggerating.’

Jevikel decided to keep quiet on what he’d overheard and hoped Kadin would too. They sat down with the other candidates. ‘Maybe the Weyrleader will make an announcement, if only to put a stop to rumours.’

‘Maybe.’ Lukodan shrugged. ‘It might only be to the riders, though, so we’ll still get it second hand.’

‘He shouldn’t be allowed to be Weyrlingmaster after this,’ Nursheldor said.

‘If it’s true.’ Jevikel wasn’t entirely sure why he was defending D’gar. Perhaps because he didn’t really like Nursheldor’s attitude. He had the feeling that if Nursheldor Impressed a bronze, he might act in a similar way to L’cal and his friends.

‘Looks like we’re about to find out.’ Kernam pointed to Egevan, who was hurrying towards them.

He arrived, slightly out of breath. Everyone shuffled up to clear a space for him.

‘What have you found out?’ Lukodan asked eagerly.

‘D’gar threw another Oldtimer into a volcano.’

‘Those others said it was a knife fight.’ Jevikel inclined his head toward the group of older riders.

‘No, definitely a volcano. Of course, they may have been using knives before that.’

‘So, what was it all about?’ Kadin asked.

‘No one really knows, except they hated each other. One of my sources said it was because F’drun - that was the bronze rider - threatened D’gar’s weyrmate. Anyway, it all started up during a routine visit to Southern.’

‘We saw them setting off this morning,’ Jevikel confirmed.

Egevan nodded. ‘Even the Weyrleader couldn’t stop them. And D’gar’s in a bad way himself. They reckon he might not live.’

‘Great.’ Lukodan sighed. ‘No sooner as we get a new Weyrlingmaster he goes and dies.’

Jurrendon broke in. ‘Folk are always exaggerating. Remember before Lessa announced she was pregnant, they were saying that jump through time had damaged her health? Or how they said sending Ramoth’s hatchlings back in time would stunt their growth? None of that was true, so there’s no reason this should be, either.’

‘Still don’t like it,’ Nursheldor muttered.

‘So where’s my redfruit tarts?’ Egevan looked around the group.

Lukodan reached into his pocket. ‘Here you go. Might be a bit broken, though.’

Egevan smiled. ‘I always knew you cared.’ He gave Lukodan a quick kiss before claiming his prize.

The following morning, people were still talking about the incident. D’gar and Herebeth had been seen flying back to the weyr he shared with H’rek, so he obviously wasn’t dead, or even close to dying. The speculation continued, though. Jevikel reckoned the volcano theory, however outlandish it sounded, must be at least slightly true, as that seemed to be the most talked about. Most probably there had been some kind of tussle and the other rider had lost his balance.

Fall started late; well after lunch. Together with the other laundry workers, Jevikel and Kadin made their way over to the infirmary, where they were soon put to work setting up trestle tables, carrying pails of numbweed where they would be easily accessible and filling bowls with water. A few dragons had already gathered a short distance away.

‘They’re on support duty, too.’ Bavi explained. ‘The riders aren’t fit enough to fly Fall, but the dragons are fine. They’ll help injured dragons to land safely. Oh look, there’s D’gar.’ She waved as the dark brown dragon landed extremely gently. Even from a distance, the bruising on D’gar’s face was obvious and he moved carefully as he made his way to a nearby bench. Another Five Weyrs rider came over to join him. He wore orange and black shoulder knots.

‘Is that rider from Ista or Igen?’ Jevikel asked Kadin. ‘I can’t remember.’

‘Ista. Igen’s yellow and black.’

‘Glad someone’s got a good memory.’

Kadin smiled. ‘Benden’s red, High Reaches is blue, Telgar…’

‘Wait. I know that one. White, isn’t it?’

‘Correct. And what about Fort? No looking.’

‘Brown. And black means they’re from a Weyr, not a Hold.’

‘Well done.’

Bavi looked across the Bowl as the Wings formed up. ‘H’rek’s flying with the Queens’ Wing today.’

‘Why is it called a Queens’ Wing when there’s only one queen dragon.’ Jevikel had wondered that a few times.

‘The other Weyrs have three or four of them each, so I’m told, but all of them make up numbers with dragons or riders who are coming back into work again. Plus the youngsters, like H’rek, as it gives them Threadfighting experience.’

‘So we’ll be doing that one day,’ Kadin mused.

‘If we Impress dragons.’ Jevikel found Kadin’s confidence worrying. He was going to be so disappointed if he didn’t succeed the first time.

Together, they watched as the Wings formed up and the dragons began crunching firestone. Everything was ready, so there wasn’t anything else to do. Jevikel and Kadin played a game in which they had to identify the Wingleaders. It was a good way to learn names. F’lar was easy, as was R’gul. No one else was as tall and broad as him. K'net was the youngest and shortest. Although they all rode bronzes, each dragon had their own distinctive characteristics, particularly in colour. Some were paler, with hints of green, others had a deeper, reddish-bronze hide. The Benden dragons were all much larger than their Five Weyrs counterparts.

‘That’s W’lir from Telgar,’ Kadin said, pointing the man out. ‘His dragon’s called Araeth. Don’t know who’s leading the other Five Weyrs Wing, since D’gar’s not fit enough to ride Fall.’

Bavi supplied the answer. ‘It's V’vil, from High Reaches. Lovely man, very polite. He was forced to come here because his Bitath nearly caught the Weyrwoman’s dragon in her last mating flight. Current Weyrleader doesn’t like too much competition, so I’ve heard.’

It was another confirmation that Impressing a dragon didn’t make much difference to human pettiness. ‘So why did D’gar get sent here?’

‘There weren’t many left in his Wing after the end of the last Pass. It was easier to send the odds and ends here rather than try to redistribute them.’

Jevikel glanced over at D’gar. who was still chatting to the Istan rider. Herebeth crouched nearby, his legs tucked neatly beneath him and wings furled.

Bavi must have noticed him looking. ‘Poor love. The things they’re saying about him.’

‘We’ve heard quite a few of them.’ Kadin looked over as well. ‘Wonder what really happened?’

‘Well.’ Bavi paused. ‘H’rek told me what he knows yesterday evening. He was in such a state. Thought he was going to lose D’gar.’

Jevikel wondered if she’d divulge it, or if it had been told in confidence.

But Bavi carried on. ‘We all saw the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman fly off yesterday morning. F’nor and D’gar too. They were off to Southern. You see, D’gar had uncovered a plot to get rid of T’bor as Weyrleader. I wouldn’t be surprised if that Kylara wasn’t involved, too. She can be a nasty piece of work.’

‘But T’bor’s dragon flew hers,’ Kadin put in.

‘Doesn’t mean she has to like the rider. Of course T’bor is totally besotted with her. And she’s nice to him when it suits her. But lately, she took up with one of the High Reaches bronze riders. Man called F’drun.’ Bavi’s face took on a disapproving look. ‘He’s… sorry, he was a bad man.’

Jevikel picked up on her correction. ‘Is he the one who was killed?’

Bavi nodded grimly. ‘He deserved everything he got. He was encouraging some of the young riders to join in and help him win the next mating flight by cheating. Then, when he was confronted, he took one of them hostage. Held a knife to his throat. D’gar tackled him and they rolled down the side of a mountain. Well, a volcano. There’s a lot of volcanos in the southern continent. Anyway, F’drun took both of them over the edge and he fell to his death. But Herebeth…’ her voice took on a softer tone. ‘He was able to catch D’gar in mid air and saved his life.’

‘Whoa.’ Kadin sounded impressed. ‘That’s kind of what we heard. Well, the volcano part, anyway.’

Everyone paused and looked up as F’lar’s Wing ascended over the Bowl. Some people clapped and cheered. Most other times, they’d been working inside, so hadn’t seen any of this. One by one, the other Wings joined them, each disappearing between in turn. Finally, the Queens’ Wing took flight. The cheers for Ramoth were louder than ever.

‘Now what?’ Kadin asked.

‘We wait. Thread probably hasn’t begun to fall yet, but they like to be in the air well in advance. When the casualties come in, just do whatever the Healers tell you and don’t get under anyone’s feet. I’m going to have a word with D’gar before it gets busy.’

Left alone, they found a smooth area to sit down. ‘That sounded heroic,’ Kadin said. ‘Everyone’s been making it seem like D’gar did something wrong.’

Jevikel had thought the same. ‘Some of them probably don’t like it he got the job. And it’s obvious how some folk feel about the Five Weyrs riders in general.’

‘Yeah. Nursheldor still calls them “Oldtimers.”’

‘Half the Weyr does.’

‘Maybe they’ll change their mind now?’

‘Maybe.’ Jevikel doubted it. Some people would never accept any new way of thinking. Vikkel had stubbornly refused to believe Thread would return until the day before it fell.

The Weyr seemed strangely quiet without the usual number of dragons flying around. Jevikel thought of the battle going on in the air, far from here. The deadly silver Threads, charred to ash by dragon flame. He remembered the dread as he and Kadin realised it was falling over the Weyr and coming their way, thinking they were going to die. He grabbed Kadin’s hand and squeezed it.

‘What’s that for?’

‘Just thinking about the day we were rescued.’

Kadin shuddered. ‘I try not to. Sometimes I dream about it, though, but it’s all mixed up with what happened to Berrand. I’ll be trying to save him, then Thread gets me, too. It’s horrible.’

‘Thread’s horrible.’ Jevikel hugged him. ‘But we’re safe here.’

All of a sudden, a creeping sensation ran up his spine, then an indescribable sound filled his ears. It felt as if all the sadness in the world was pressing in on him. He clutched Kadin tighter, seeing over his shoulder that the dragons waiting on support duty had all raised their heads, looking upward. The noise was coming from their throats. It was like nothing he’d heard before. The relief when it ended was profound, although he still felt sad for no good reason he could fathom.

‘What was that?’

‘I don’t know. But I think that’s what they call keening.’ It meant another dragon had died, somewhere in the skies above. His or her rider, too.

Bavi hurried back over. ‘D’gar reckons this will be a bad one. A death so close to the beginning isn’t a good sign.’

Healers already waited by the open door of the infirmary. The lingering sadness of the death along with her comment increased Jevikel's sense of anxiety.

It wasn’t long before the first casualties returned. One pair looked unharmed at a distance, but once they landed he saw the blood running down the rider's face. He kept wiping it out of his eyes as one of the support riders helped him down and guided him towards the Healers. They disappeared inside the infirmary.

Just a few moments later, a blue dragon emerged from between. It was clear he was in trouble as his descent was fast and uncontrolled. Almost as one, Herebeth and a Benden brown took off, intercepting him in mid air. With one of them on either side, they assisted the dragon to a safe landing. Not having seen this sort of move before, Jevikel was impressed by their teamwork and the way they stayed by him as he hopped toward the area set aside for dragons. His rider slid off, grabbing a bucket of numbweed as he followed.

The pale blue hide of his left wing was blackened and holed in several places. The sight of it made Jevikel wince in sympathy. A couple of dragon Healers were there almost at once, assessing the damage and applying numbweed to relieve the pain. As the dragon relaxed, so did his rider.

After that, there was a slight lull, followed by several more casualties. Most were thankfully light, although one or two made him want to look away. He didn’t though. This was the reality of fighting Thread and he had to become used to it.

He and Kadin were called on to help a number of times, fetching redwort or numbweed. When another dragon - a green this time - with an injured wing had been helped to land, the Healer called him over. ‘You’re tall. You can hand me up the splints.’ He moved a trestle into position and climbed up high enough to assess the damage.

Her rider sat on the ground next to his dragon, one hand on her foreleg. ‘It’s nasty up there today, Really windy.’

Jevikel nodded. It probably did him good to talk about it, plus it helped to distract him from what had happened to his dragon.

‘A clump of Thread blew straight into her. Nothing we could do.’

Judna brought hot klah over. ‘Best thing when you’ve had a shock like that,’ she said. ‘I’ve put plenty of sweetener in it.’

The rider smiled. ‘Thanks.’ His hands shook slightly as he took the mug from her. ‘Not a score until now,’ he said to Jevikel again. ‘Wish it had been me instead of her.’

He wanted to say she’d be fine, but he didn’t have sufficient knowledge to know if that was the case. This damage was far worse than the blue he’d seen earlier. Would the dainty green ever fly again?

As the reconstruction continued, he noticed D’gar walking over. He sidled slightly closer to the Healer, trying to make himself inconspicuous, but the Wingleader bypassed him to talk to the green’s rider.

‘I know it looks bad,’ he said. ‘Wing injuries always do.’

‘The rider nodded, then sipped the steaming brew.

‘What’s her name?’

‘Sireth.’

‘I’m sure people have said this to you before, but dragons heal far faster than we do. Once that wingsail is splinted and stitched Sireth’s hide will grow back in a couple of sevendays.’

‘Really?’ There was a smidgeon of hope in his voice.

‘Oh, yes. I’ve seen it many a time. My own dragon had his left wing scored a few Turns back. We were out of the air for two months, but now he can fly as well as ever.’

‘I hope so.’

D’gar squeezed his shoulder. ‘Honestly. I’d not say that to you unless it was true. Why not talk to T’sum when you get the chance? Munth had far worse damage than Sireth, but he’s starting to fly again now.’

‘I’ll do that.’

‘Another splint, lad,’ the Healer called down from his perch on the ladder.

Jevikel complied and by the time he’d passed it up, D’gar had gone.

‘Never thought an Oldtimer would be so sympathetic,’ the green rider said.

Jevikel didn’t correct his terminology. It wasn’t the time. But it made him think. That simple action had demonstrated D’gar’s concern for others and if Bavi’s version of events was even half true, so had his actions in the south. Perhaps he wasn’t so bad after all?

©1967-2022 Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey; All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2022 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 17
  • Love 20

New chapters will be posted each Thursday.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

Story Discussion Topic

It is with great sadness I must announce the death of Mawgrim, Promising Author on GA. He had been in declining health for some time and passed away on Christmas Day. Mawgrim worked for decades as a cinema projectionist before his retirement and was able to use this breadth of knowledge to his stories set in cinemas. He also gave us stories with his take on the World of Pern with its dragon riders. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his friends, family, and his husband.
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

What a super chapter. Thank you. 

I'm glad D'gar did not go down with F'drun. D'gar is going to be a first rate Weyrlingmaster. We've known him from the beginning ro be brave, caring and loyal. 

It is good that our lads have seen the true D'gar. They will learn so kuch from him.

I can't wait to see whether Kadin and Jevikel will impress on the first round. I hope so. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 4
Link to comment
17 hours ago, Doha said:

What a super chapter. Thank you. 

I'm glad D'gar did not go down with F'drun. D'gar is going to be a first rate Weyrlingmaster. We've known him from the beginning ro be brave, caring and loyal. 

It is good that our lads have seen the true D'gar. They will learn so kuch from him.

I can't wait to see whether Kadin and Jevikel will impress on the first round. I hope so. 

It's all down to the dragons. Jevikel is more prepared for the eventuality of not Impressing than Kadin, who is more of an optimist.

  • Like 4
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
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. 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..