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Topic: Searching Colin - part 2  (Read 1449 times)

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on: February 25, 2016, 02:29:49 AM Searching Colin - part 2

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   When the dragons started humming, we candidates gathered in the Weyr Bowl. Rider M'thos addressed us: "Okay, everyone listen up. We don't want any maulings... so stand in a loose circle around the eggs. Be aware, and move out of the way when possible. Remember once impression is made, please announce the dragon's name. And your dragons will be hungry. When you feed your dragons give them small pieces so they don't choke. You move much faster than the hatchlings do, so move out of the way, or see if it's your dragon."
   Adara asked, "How will we know?"
   M'thos replied, "You will know. You will meet the hatchling's eyes and they will speak in your mind."
   He continued, "If you do not Impress, one of the Weyr staff will lead you out of the Cavern. After Impression there will be a feast and as Candidates or new Weyrlings you are all invited, once your dragons are asleep. ... Okay, time to move out. Stay in a single line please." I noticed that Zircon left her wheeled chair near the cavern entrance and used a walking stick to cross the sands.
   M'thos said, "Ok now stand in a circle, Candidates." We did so, very nervously. The eggs started rocking again; the canine I call Linn barked at them.
   An egg near Handa cracked. The dragons' humming grew louder. I wiped sweat off my forehead.
   The egg burst open and a baby green stumbled out, shaking shell fragments off her wings. She stumbled around, then turned toward Handa, who froze, then sat on the sand in front of her newborn dragon, Taissath. I could feel the surge of joy from the pair.
   Another egg cracked and a little blue fought his way out. He wandered around, pausing and moving on, having trouble finding his person. He approached me... I fought the urge to look into his eyes... I stepped back in consternation... he moved on, crying and seeking. I resumed breathing and moved back into the circle, watching him searching desperately.
   The gold egg burst open and a little gold emerged to gasps of delight from the ladies.
   The blue was staggering around crying... and climbed into the spectators' benches. Someone said, "They're not supposed to do that, are they?" He approached Master Rodney, "the man all dragons love," who greeted him kindly... but wasn't his person. Everyone was watching, sharing the hatchling's distress as he climbed back down onto the sands and collapsed. Adara moved forward as if to try to comfort him. As the spectators murmured anxiously, the blue looked up, met Adara's eyes, and we all relaxed as the Impression happened.
   While that was going on, the gold had gotten out of her shell, gotten her feet arranged, and was stumbling over the sands seeking her person. She stopped near me and sniffed at my foot! I gasped, "Oh no, not me, little gold!" and backed off in consternation. Was I to be not just riding a dragon but riding a gold? No, she turned away. I relaxed very slightly, muttering "Me riding a queen? A Trader being Weyr... man?" I don't know much about how the Weyr works but I've never heard of a man riding a gold.
   The gold bumped into... butted?... Suzie, knocking her over. As she started to rise, she found herself face to face with her dragon. One of the dragons bugled and the canine barked frantically. Suzie looked into the dragonet's big swirling eyes, her own eyes a little narrowed at first, then they slowly opened wide. She almost rocked back, startled. Her eyes welled up as she softly uttered the name "Ar...Aramyth... her name is Aramyth!"
   Adara cried out, "He says his name is Bodnath.. and he is hungry!"
   A green had hatched and was wandering around giving piteous cries. Sandie called out to her, holding out meat. The hatchling waddled toward the treat, let out a long low warble, and attacked Sandie's sandal. I heard Master Rodney observe, "Another shoe biter!" Sandie, laughing, pulled the hatchling off her sandal and held out the meat, saying "No, you silly thing, you eat this." M'thos commented, "You'd think Ademith was enough... but the hides do come from food for the dragon so..." The hatchling attacked the meat.  barely missing Sandie's fingers. Sandie reached out hesitantly and petted the little green's neck while carefully offering more food.
   Zircon jumped as an egg next to her suddenly cracked. A green hatchling popped out and ran straight to Zircon.
   Adara looked at her new bond mate, clearly oblivious to everything else... only the need to curb his hunger. and maybe not lose a finger, mattered.
   Suzie softly stroked Aramyth's smooth skin, murmuring "ohhh you're so hungry you poor little thing, here, let us get you something...." and led the gold to the potted meat chunks.
   Zircon stared at the large green that had come straight to her. She cried out, "Oh, she came to me! Could it be? Yes! Her name is Hwyleth." She held out small chunks of meat in each hand.
   Sandie placed a hand on the little head and finally looked up, "Jayceth...... her name is Jayceth and she hungers......greatly." Then she again saved her sandal and scolded playfully, "Oh you are going to be trouble, arn't you?  Here, eat this..." and held out more meat.
   As the new Weyrlings fed their partners, who were slowly growing sleepy, M'thos led me out of the Cavern... but I didn't leave without a backward glance... part of me was envying the bonding that was happening there. M'thos said, "Thank you for Standing, Colin, and as you see, it didn't happen. I hope you have good things to bring back to your people."
   Wiping sweat from my brow - not entirely caused by the heat of the Cavern - I replied, "Aye, Rider, this opens a new relationship... if I could convince my people that it had happened and I had survived."
   M'thos said, "Okay, Colin, you can certainly stay for the Feast... and head back home when you are ready."
   I said, "Thank you, sir. My Trader crew will be glad to know they've not lost their leader."
   M'thos called back, "The rest of you... weyrlings. Do not over feed them, and when you are feeling sleepiness from your dragon, we will head to the weyrling barracks. If you need to, carry your hatchling."
   I noticed Hwyleth letting Zircon lean on her, rather than on her walking stick, as they walked back to Zircon's wheeled chair. I paused to make sure that Zircon didn't need help getting settled. Then, as the weyrlings and their hatchlings headed for the weyrling barracks, I dropped off the procession and found a dark corner of the kitchen supply room. That was one place I knew from accompanying a Tithe Train. I changed back to my fancy clothes, carefully folding the Candidate's robe with a sigh of relief.
   I walked up the ramp, through the kitchen, into the dining hall, and settled at a table well away from where I could see Important People gathering. Journeyman Harper Moira joined me.
   "Well, Trader, off the hook I see!"
   "Hello, Moira. What a day it's been!"
   Moira nodded, "Yes it has been.  Do you feel relieved or do you feel sad?"
   "Mostly relieved. I'm surely the first of my people to go through this in... well, thousands of Turns, I guess. Now I have to figure out what to say to my cousins. That'll surely take some thinking!"
   "I don't know if they'll ever understand.  I've been thinking maybe we should send Harpers around that area more often."
   "Hmm, that's a thought. They certainly accepted Ludo. Harpers would pose no threat to them."
   "Not just for introducing more teaching songs and trying to bring them around some about dragons, but I would also hope we could learn some more of their music and songs."   
   "Aye, that would be a good task, for we've been so separate for so long. When I first came down here with my father's Train, every song and story I heard at that Gather was new."
   I thought for a while and continued, "A trip like that would take some cautious planning - my people distrust all outsiders. But if Harpers worked out through the smallholds, through the area where some of my people live near some of yours, that could build up good feelings on all sides."
   I looked up as Ademith entered the hall, and chuckled, "Ah, there's the little blue who got me into this."
   Moira: looked over at the blue and laughed. "Yes, it would take some planning. We haven't been up in some of the more remote small holds for awhile, but I think you're right about that being a good place to start out from."
   I rose, saying "Pardon me for a moment, I have a dragon to greet." I walked over to Ademith, who lowered his head to me. I scritched his eye ridges with a grin; he closed his eyes, making a soft sound of pleasure. I said, chuckling, "Well, this was quite an experience you got me into. Pretty soon I'll be out on the trail to the hills, and look up and see you flying a sweep." He pushed his head toward me. I continued, "And unlike my cousins I'll not get under cover... I'll wave hello to you and your Rider." I gave him a two-handed ridge scritch, smiled, and returned to my table.
   Moira was just leaving, but Suzie stopped by and would have conversed - while devouring bubbly pies from a tray that the kitchen server had brought - suddenly got a far-away look - said, "Ohhhh by the eggs, what is she up to..... I'm sorry do excuse me" and rushed off to the weyrling barracks. I remembered having done things like that when Leaf was very young, and imagined how much more disturbing a link to a dragon would be than one to a firelizard!
   Fisherwoman Shanna sat down and took a pie from the tray that Suzie would have emptied, She said, "Stopped shaking, Colin?"
   I chuckled and replied, "That I have, and almost itching to get back into my working clothes with a wagon under me, a team ahead of me, and the high country beckoning."
   "Oh, you'll be back; the dragons will see to that!" She looked up at the noise of a commotion down in the weyrling barracks.
   I started to say, "I might just..." when the hatchlings erupted into the hall, running all over, surely recovered from hatching! Ducking, I continued, "Well now! They certainly woke up quickly!" The storm receded into the hatchling barracks as fast as it had appeared. Collecting scattered mugs and plates, I muttered, "I could have sworn that only five hatched but there must have been ten in here!"
   The kitchen maid said, "It is not every dining hall that has such entertainment!"
   Shanna snorted and said, "We have just one flit at Fishers Hall, and he is quite well behaved."
   I said, "And it's glad I am of that! Hurtling hatchlings add a bit too much spice to the meal. But I'll admit none of them stepped in the food, nor on my head... yet." I reached up to stroke Leaf... "Now this firelizard is a little lady. A good companion and a good messenger."
   Shanna replied, "So she is."
   The Candidates... no, I corrected myself, the Weyrlings came into the hall, dressed up as for a Gather and accompanied by dragonets who were behaving themselves - at the moment.
   I stood and said, "I'm thinking it's about time for me to be heading back to work... I should make sure my crew chief hasn't taken over my Train too early. I gave him a letter turning ownership over to him if I wasn't heard from in two sevendays. I'll be happy to take it back."
   Shanna replied, "You will have a good tale to tell, which will grow with travelling."
   I smiled and said to all, "So, good night, clear skies, and happy days with your new partners!"
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