Search
Triad now has a new search page. Go here to get to anything on the Triad Website or Forums. Check it out today!

   

Forgotten Password? | Join Triad Weyrs | Club Forum | Search | Credits |

Leaving on a Dragon

Writers: Emma, Estelle, Suzee
Date Posted: 4th December 2017

Characters: R'fal, Oria, L'cor
Description: Renfal is searched by Oria and L'cor
Location: Emerald Falls Hold
Date: month 2, day 12 of Turn 9


Renfal was out in the far pasture when he saw the dragon overhead.
He'd been moving their flock of ovines out from the barn for grazing,
and had just closed the gate on the last one when he caught a glimpse
of green wings against the cloudless blue sky. Leaning on the fence,
he tilted his head back to watch, and spotted a second dragon - this one, a
bronze! Though he wasn't sure if they could see him from so high up, he raised
an arm to wave.

Dragons hadn't been seen much in the skies when he was a small boy,
and even though sightings were a far more regular occurrence since the
Pass began and the accession of a Lord who was more favourably
disposed to the Weyr, Renfal still liked to watch them soaring
overhead and wonder where they were going. Probably they were
sweepriders, so nowhere in particular, but it was still thrilling to
think that in the blink of an eye they could be anywhere on Pern.

The young herder had a secret guilty wish that one day his father or
one of the neighbouring farmholders would have cause to set out a
message banner to request a dragonrider's assistance. Even though he
knew that would have to be for something serious, like an illness or a
bad Thread burrow, it would be incredible to see one up close.

He looked over at the flock, placidly grazing and unaware of the
dragons overhead. If some of them went in tithe to the Weyr, they might
end up getting a closer look at a dragon than he ever would. Renfal
grinned. A bit too close - even he didn't envy them that!

As if they'd read his thoughts, the nearest ovines looked up in alarm,
then broke into a jog away from the herder and the hold and towards
the far end of the pasture. The agitation spread through the flock and
soon they were all in retreat as if pursued by a canine - or a wild
feline. Renfal glanced over his shoulder - maybe they'd spooked at
nothing, but just in case - and was amazed to see the dragons circling
lower over the farmhold. Were they going to land? Had they seen
something they needed to speak to his father about?

Whatever it was, he wasn't going to miss it sitting out here. Renfal
pushed away from the gate and set off at a sprint for the hold.

Oria waved to those on the ground below, gesturing for them to make
room for her green, and the bronze of her weyrmate to land. Once they
were clear, Degrorth gracefully landed, moving over to the side to
leave room for L'cor and his bronze. **Tell them we're ready when they
are,** she asked of Degrorth as she unbuckled her straps, and surveyed
the small hold in front of her.

}:Tonuth,:{ called out Degrorth. }:My rider is ready, and I think I
will find at least one person here today.:{

}:Then we land,:{ The big bronze replied and began to circle into the
small clearing. People backed up the moment they could see how big the
bronze really was. It was unusual for the outlying settlements to see
a bronze other than high in the sky during Threadfall.

As soon as they touched down, L'cor released his straps and slid to
the ground then crossed to Oria. "She thinks there is hope here," he
asked. They'd been searching more than usual due to the presence of a
gold egg on the Sands so they followed the slightest lead.

"She's usually right." Degrorth had a good record in searching
candidates. If they didn't impress the first time, it was rare that it
took more than three hatchings for those she searched to find their
match. "And I'm betting he'd tell you she was sounding smug about it
already."

"Yes," he chuckled and put his hand on her back to steer her toward
the nearest group of people. "Do your thing," he said quietly. "I'll
stand here and look forbidding." Not that he really did it as well as
some. But he did have a personal interest in her wellbeing.

She gave him a smile before heading to the knot of gathered holders, which
parted as they approached, leaving it obvious who was in charge.

"Sir,"Oria began. "I am Oria, Degrorth's rider, and this is L'cor, Tonuth's
rider. We ride on search today. I ask your permission to do so."

"Search? Here?" The holder, a dark-haired man in his mid-forties, relaxed a
little when he heard the purpose of their visit, though he still eyed the
dragonriders with ill-concealed trepidation. Even though he didn't think there
was anything for them to find at the moment, Terren did not particularly like
the idea of dragonriders poking around his hold - and why was the bronzerider
here? It had been a few Turns since he'd been to Emerald Falls, but he couldn't
miss the man's resemblance to the Lord Holder. The thought that Lord Corowal
might be taking an interest in his activities was not a comfortable one.

What else could he do, though? "Ah, of course. You're both welcome in my hold,
greenrider." He managed a nervous smile. "Forgive me - it's been a long while
since we had search riders here."

"But we do know our duty to the Weyr." The holder's wife came up to join him,
drying her hands on her apron, and gave her husband a meaningful look. "Can we
offer you any refreshment? Or would you prefer to see the young people straight
away?"

Oria thought for a moment, there was perhaps a chance that some holds might
still use that pause for refreshments to hide away any youngsters that they
didn't want searched, a girl who could marry well perhaps, or the expected
heir. Other holds, it seemed some of them couldn't spare it. "If there is time
after," she said. "But if I could ask for the young people here to gather round,
and give Degrorth a moment to see if there are any candidates here. It is also
my duty to inform you that there is a gold egg on the sands this time."

That caused a stir and excited whispering between a trio of teenage girls who'd
emerged from the hold. Slowly a group of younger holders began to form, some of
them casting apprehensive looks at the dragons. No-one seemed to want to get too
close, whether out of respect or fear.

Renfal put on an extra burst of speed as he ran down the path by the side of the
hold, and skidded to a halt beside his youngest sister, who had climbed up onto
the runner trough to get a better view over the heads of the adults and was
balancing precariously on its edge. "What did I miss? Do you know why
they're here?"

"They're on search - and there's a gold egg!" She swayed, and Renfal quickly
caught hold of her legs to steady her. "If only I was older!"

"Renfal!" Terren pushed back through the group of onlookers. His smile had
vanished now that the greenrider was focusing on the potential Candidates. The
boy had never seen him so agitated before. "You're supposed to be in the far
pasture."

"But Da, there are dragons..."

"Go back indoors. Both of you! Now!"

Renfal was too confused to move right away - he trusted his father, but neither
did he want to hide away in the hold while the most sensational event of his
life was taking place outside. What if the others thought he was scared of
dragons? Whatever he might have decided, though, his sister soon put paid to
Terren's efforts at secrecy. Her high-pitched voice carried over the buzz of
chatter from the onlookers. "It's not fair! Renfal's old enough, and I
want to see!"

"Sir," L'cor called and began walking toward the disturbance. "Is
there a problem here?" He looked directly at the Holder and his wife.
He'd seen the looks directed at him and the looks between them. He'd
also heard the command to send the children inside. He kept an eye on
Oria as he walked he wasn't going to forget his first duty.

"Ah - no, no problem, bronzerider." A brief grimace passed over the holder's
face before his ingratiating smile returned. "I was just telling these two to
stay back and not get in the way. My daughter here is too young to Stand, and
Renfal is my heir."

"Sir," Oria began, after a quick glance to make sure L'cor had her back. "If
your son is of age, it is up to him whether he wishes to take part in the search
or not." Even as she spoke, she could sense that Degrorth was feeling
something, maybe it was the lad, or another of the youngsters beginning to form
a group ready. "Might I ask him his wish?"

For a moment, the boy was too stunned at having been so abruptly named heir to
think of anything else. Terren had never spoken of it before, and although he
was the eldest son, his younger brother and his sisters' husbands had a claim.
This was not the moment to disappoint his father. But if he was chosen, he could
go to the Weyr, and he wanted very badly to see something of the world outside
the farm before settling down to life as a herder. His father had travelled -
why couldn't he? "I'd like to try, ma'am - please?"

"Then if you would join the others there, and my Degrorth will join us
to see if there is anyone here who might impress," said Oria gently,
even as she summoned her green to see the youngsters. "It wont's take
long, and she'll tell me as soon as she can what she finds."

L'cor bowed slightly from the waist and swept his hand toward the
dragons. He lifted a brow at the unhappy holder. He thought he knew
what was going through the man's mind and from the look on the boy's
face, his status as heir was a surprise. "It will only take a moment,"
he smiled.

"Thank you!" With a brief apologetic look at his parents, Renfal ran over to
join the others. Most likely he wouldn't be searched, but at least he wouldn't
have to wonder whether he might have been. And if one of his friends was chosen
and Impressed, perhaps they'd bring their dragon to the hold to visit. It might
even be the queen! He imagined a gold dragon, even larger than the bronze,
landing outside the hold with one of the girls on her back. That would cause a
stir, for sure.

Degrorth gathered herself, and studied the young people. Nobody knew exactly
what it was search sensitive dragons found in potential candidates, and she had
never been able to totally explain it to her rider. Just that she knew who might
find their other half on the hot sands of the hatching grounds. After a moment,
she spoke to her rider.

"She says she has found two potential candidates here," Oria told them, as she
reached for the search tokens she routinely carried. "The girl at the back with
the brown hair and blue dress, she thinks you will impress well, and..." Oria
turned to face the boy identified as the heir. "You as well. Both of you, it is
your decision, we will not force anyone to come with us, if they do not truly
want to."

L'cor kept a pleasant look on his face but watched the Holder and the
other adults nearby for any signs of belligerence. He knew how feeling
could be at a Hold. After all he'd been raised in one and had never
thought to be searched himself. He simply watched.

A ripple of surprised murmurs spread through the crowd of watching holders. Two
searched was quite an honour for the small hold. There were delighted gasps from
the girls, who took turns to hug their lucky friend. Renfal realised that faces
were turning towards him to congratulate him, and his older cousin - who hardly
ever spoke to him except to tease him over something or other - was clapping him
on the back. He couldn't seem to stop himself staring at the greenrider in shock
- first dragons at the hold, then he'd been named Heir, and now this!

"I'd like to go!" The words burst out before he could think. "I mean - if it
would be all right, ma'am..."

"Now just hold on a minute." Terren approached the group of young holders, his
voice rising in alarm. If he'd been uneasy about dragonriders in his hold, the
idea of his boy going to live among them had driven him to near panic. Who knew
what he might let slip? "Renfal, you're not going anywhere. You're needed here,
learning the skills you'll need to run this hold one day - not gallivanting off
to the Weyr. He's not going," he repeated, scowling at Oria.

"How old are you Renfal," L'cor asked quietly.

The boy hesitated, wondering if he was being disloyal to his father by
answering, but what else could he do? "Sixteen Turns, sir."

L'cor looked directly at the holder. "Sir," he said a little sadly. "I
am sorry. He is old enough to make his own decision, if he wishes to
go."

"Da, please?" Renfal pleaded. "If the eggs are on the sands, it can't be that
long until the Hatching. I'll probably only be away a few sevendays."

"That's enough, boy. You have no idea what you're talking about." Terren turned
to the bronzerider, his apparently respectful manner slipping as he raised his
voice. "I don't care how old he is, he's my son and I say he stays here!"

There was a disapproving murmur from the watching crowd. The sense of excitement
and celebration was swiftly turning to tension and disappointment that they
might not have two candidates representing them at the Hatching, and it became
clear Renfal's father wasn't altogether well liked by his holders. "Let him go!"
someone called out.

"Yes, let the lad go, you rascally tunnel snake!"

"Wait!" The holder's wife pushed her way forward and put a hand on his arm.
"Excuse me, dragonriders, but may I have a word with my husband in private? It
won't take long."

**Please ask Degrorth's to get the girl aboard as quickly as possible.
We may have to leave with the boy and nothing else. If that happens I
want them in the air at a moments notice.** L'cor stood with his arms
crossed and waited for the woman to help her husband see sense.

Oria had got the message and was discreetly steering the girl and a hastily
packed bag of belongings towards Degrorth and rigging the passenger straps,
while they waited.

"Believe me, Terren, you don't want to have this conversation in front of
everyone." Lirena spoke calmly over her husband's objections. Fortunately, he
seemed too distracted by trying to work out who'd called him a snake to argue.
"Renfal, please stay here while I talk to your father."

"Yes, Ma." Renfal watched them walk away, his mother speaking in a low, urgent
voice. It was so strange - his Da had never said anything to suggest he didn't
approve of weyrfolk, beyond a bit of grumbling when tithes were due. True,
he hadn't said anything good about them either, but...it wasn't something they
really talked about. No-one had ever thought the Weyr would intervene in their
lives.

He wondered if he should try to explain to the dragonriders. The hold must seem
less than welcoming - but before he could make up his mind to say anything, his
parents were returning. His father looked mutinous, but he couldn't read his
mother's expression at all.

"Fine! He can go." The man glowered at them. "But he's to come straight back
afterwards. And don't say I didn't warn you, Lirena." He turned his back and
stormed off back to the hold.

"I'm sorry about that, sir, ma'am." The holder woman smiled, but it was rather
strained. "I'd offer you the hospitality of the hold, but in the
circumstances I think you'd best be on your way. Before he changes his mind."

L'cor nodded. "I will return to bring you to watch the hatching.
Perhaps his father will want to come to see a gold egg on the Sands if
nothing else." Then he turned to Renfal, "Climb aboard Tonuth," he
said. "Everything you need will be provided by the Weyr."

Oria had settled the girl, and her things aboard Degrorth's neck ridges, after
first having shown her how best to adjust skirts for the air. "We're ready when
you are," she said to her weyrmate, before turning back to the youngsters.
"Don't be too disappointed. It might just be that another time and another
dragon might see or feel something about any of you that will find you on the
sands. thank you for being patient today, and for being willing to try."

Renfal could still hardly believe that he was really leaving - and on a dragon,
no less! It almost felt as though he was dreaming. The other holders were
already backing away to give the dragons room to depart, waving and calling out
encouragement. "Goodbye, Ma. I'll see you at the Hatching."

"Good luck!" She embraced him tightly. "Promise me you'll be on your best
behaviour all the time you're at the Weyr. Mind what the Headwoman says, and be
polite and respectful to the weyrfolk, and don't go exploring where you're not
supposed to - and _don't_ get into card games, I know what tricks your father's
been teaching you and they won't make you any friends..."

"Ma!" the boy protested, embarrassed. "All right - I promise."

"I know you'll make me proud." Lirena stood on tiptoe to kiss her son's
forehead, then backed away to join the others.

Renfal looked uncertainly up at the bronze dragon. He'd climbed every tree on
the farmhold and most of the outbuildings, but how did you climb up to a
dragon's back? "How do I...I can't hurt him, can I?"

L'cor smiled. "Step there," he pointed to Tonuth's foreleg. "Then up
the straps like a ladder, there." he pointed.

Tonuth's neck curved and he peered with a single whirling eye
encouraging the young man to climb with a woof of breath. "He says
you can't hurt him," L'cor smiled.

The dragon's warm breath ruffled Renfal's hair, and his eyes widened. "Oh. Thank
you, Tonuth. I'll be careful, anyway." It was a long way up, and he hoped he
wouldn't fall and make a fool of himself in front of the entire hold. Then,
before he could think about it too much, he followed the bronzerider's
instructions, scrambling up the straps and trying to place his feet as lightly
as possible. Before he knew it, he was sitting on the dragon's back, looking
down at the hold with a delighted and slightly silly grin on his face. He was
going to ride on a dragon, and see the Weyr!

Last updated on the December 10th 2017


View Complete Copyright Info | Visit Anne McCaffrey's Website
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.