Although K'mai was sometimes a bit sad Sebeth hadn't shown an aptitude
for Search, he certainly didn't envy the Searchriders now, working
overtime to find enough new Candidates for two Hatchings. It reminded
him of the days before the Pass when the clutch sizes had suddenly
Despite not doing the Searching himself, K'mai still got the benefit
of meeting lots of new people. "Hello there," he said as he approached
a young woman with black hair and dark skin. "I'm K'mai, of blue
Orifa looked up from the knot of cord that she held in her hand,
trying fitfully to untangle the mass. Remembering her manners, she was
quick to reply, but seemed on the verge of tears from frustration.
"Oh, hello...uhm, I'm Orifa. Nice to meet you, K'mai."
"Are you having some trouble there?"
Orifa looked down at the cord, then back up to K'mai before words
exploded out of her. "I was supposed to bring this cord to the
Weavers, but I dropped it and it unraveled and I scooped it all up,
and now I can't figure out what I did! It's supposed to be for rugs
and it's all tangled!"
K'mai looked at the cord. "Why don't we just bring it to the weavers
and let the professionals figure it out?" He put a gentle hand on her
shoulder. "We can say I bumped into you and it's my fault."
Holding the wad of cord, she looked up at him with big eyes.
"You'd...you'd do that for me? But you don't even know me. Won't you
get in lots of trouble?"
"For something so small? Of course not."
"Am I going to get in trouble?" Orifa gathered up the cord as best as
she could and rose to stand a little straighter. "I don't want to. I
hate getting in trouble. My sister said I absolutely had to do things
right." She paused. "My sister is a rider, but she's at Barrier Lake."
"You won't get in trouble," K'mai assured her. "Who's your sister? I
know a lot of riders so I might know her."
"My sister is Ninaine. She's a greenrider and she used to live here."
Her face flushed. "She doesn't think I should be here." Orifa shifted
on her feet and nervously tucked a thick strand of hair behind her
ears before handing K'mai the tangled cord. "She thinks I should go
"Really? Why?" He did remember Ninaine, but only vaguely.
"She doesn't want me to get hurt." Orifa hadn't really grasped
Ninaine's meaning when she'd visited. "Something about being forced to
change and then that I'm really not meant for this life or something.
I didn't really understand."
"Hmm. So by 'hurt', she doesn't mean Thread?" From what he remembered,
Ninaine's green had been severely injured, so he would've understood
her being concerned for her sister's safety in 'Fall.
Orifa's lower lip thrust out in thought. "I thought that's what she
meant. I don't know. She was upset. But she made me promise if I
didn't Impress I'd go home." She began walking towards the Weavercraft
Hall. "But I don't think my Mama will let me after being here. Not
after Ninaine, you know? But I promised."
"You should make your own decision about what you want. If you want to
stay here, then stay. If you want to try a few Hatchings and then go
home, do that."
Orifa shifted on her feet and she looked down. "I'm supposed to keep
my promises." She looked up again. "But I do really like it here. I
don't have my mama watching me all the time and I don't have to get
married to an old man. That's nicer. Even if it's supposed to be
safer." She paused and offered a brighter smile, "You're nice though.
My sister said I should stay away from male dragonriders so I can go
home and all, but you seem perfectly nice, if you don't mind me saying
"I _am_ nice." K'mai grinned as they turned a corner. "I'm also very naughty."
Her eyes widened and she stumbled over her feet for just a moment,
mouth falling open. "Are you...are you one of the men that I should
stay away from then?"
"Your sister would probably think so." He chuckled. "But I only
corrupt people if they're going to enjoy it."
She stared at K'mai as they approached the Weaver Hall, her mouth
opening, then closing, once, then again. Orifa sputtered something,
her cheeks flaming hot, then blurted. "I don't think I would."
"If you warm up to the idea, then you can come see me." Then his
expression grew more serious. "But don't let anyone pressure you into
something you don't want. The freedom of the Weyr includes the freedom
to say no." Unfortunately, there were always a few people who failed
to understand that.
She peeped in response, utterly embarrassed and not completely sure
how to respond. "Uh..okay." She paused, certain she should say
something more. "Uhm...thank you?"
Shards, she was so young and naive. He hoped she wasn't going to get
hurt. "And if you have questions about Weyrlife, I'd be happy to
Orifa shifted on her feet, switching her balance from foot to foot,
then lowered her voice. "My sister made being a rider sound horrible
and dangerous. She's...different. And she was so...scared and upset
when she found me here. Why?"
K'mai shook his head. "I don't know. Fighting Thread is dangerous, and
I'm not fond of that aspect of my life. But otherwise I love being a
rider. Maybe she's... had bad experiences?"
Orifa sucked in her lower lip. "I don't know. She doesn't really talk
to me that much." She sighed. "My mother says bad things about the
Weyr, but I really like it here." She looked at K'mai. "And you're
really nice. "
"Well, thank you." He smiled at her. "I know a lot of holders think
the way we live is bad. That having sex with muliple people is wrong.
But I can't understand why that's a problem, if you're not hurting
That brought another flush and Orifa cleared her throat. "Well, I
gotta go get this put away." She gestured to the tangled twine. "Thank
"It was nice meeting you, Orifa."
Last updated on the July 21st 2021