Thread: DragonDays
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Old May 17 2006, 04:37 PM   #7
Kath
Starsmith


Weyrwoman
 
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oop North

Fan of: Moreta
Default Re: DragonDays

Picking up the pieces


"Well, that went better than I expected,'' Sorka murmured, as she watched the group of riders walk away from the infirmary weyr. Even Catherine hadn't taken things too badly, though she hadn't said much either, and had made her excuses to leave very quickly once everything had been said. Almost as if she'd felt uncomfortable around the other riders, Sorka mused. Perhaps, it might be an idea to pop up to the new Weyr and have a few words with Nick, before Catherine caught up with him? Smiling tenderly at Faranth, she checked the tension in the straps spanning the gold's neck, and prepared to mount up. A light drizzle was beginning to fall from the sky -- typical, for a Thread-free day! -- and Sorka wondered whether it was best to risk a drenching on a straight flight, or to take the easy option of between. Another couple of weeks, and she'd be flying straight everywhere, but even though she still had the choice, Sorka preferred to avoid the effects of between on a pregnancy-stressed bladder when she could. Well, she could decide either way once they were in the air.

Just a short hop up to the Weyr, love?

As Faranth crouched down in order to allow her rider to mount, Sorka heard footsteps behind her. Tarrie must have finished tending to Porth, and was now standing in the shelter of the overhanging roof of the weyr.

"Need a lift?'' Sorka asked cheerily, tucking her hair behind her ears and out of the wind's reach. Past time it was cut again! "We're off up to the Weyr, but could easily drop you off en route.''

"Thanks, but no.'' Tarrie shook her head, eyes narrowed in thought. Sighing, she tugged on the sleeves of her jumper and folded her arms against the breeze, before giving Sorka a speculative glance. "Damage control?''

Sorka nodded. "Unless you have a better idea?''

"I wish! I'm still trying to straighten out my own head with all this, let alone anyone else's. It just feels like...''

Tarrie's voice trailed away into a strained, awkward silence.

"Just bear in mind that we could be worrying for no reason at all,'' Sorka said reassuringly.

"Yeah, right.''

The look Tarrie gave her in return told Sorka all she needed to know. Tarrie, too, thought that Bay rather than Wind Blossom was closer to the truth. She waited patiently, giving Tarrie the space she needed to gather her thoughts. It was pretty clear that the woman needed to talk, and be listened to, and Sorka wasn't going to let the opportunity slide. Better by far to get things out in the open, than to keep them boiling away under the surface.

Carenath and Sean have offered to go to the Weyr in our place, if we need to stay here? Faranth must have been listening in on her thoughts, and Sorka readily agreed with her dragon's suggestion even as Tarrie started talking once more.

"I mean, part of me wants to suggest you let Catherine sort out her own problems! I know I'm being unfair, and things are different for her and Alianne, and Paul too I suppose.'' Tarrie took a deep breath, and went on, arms still folded defensively.

"But just because I'm not in a relationship right now, it doesn't necessarily make things any easier for me! And I really resent having my concerns sidelined by the others.''

Grimacing, Sorka had to agree. "Oh, Tarrie. You're not being unfair at all.'' Would it be Porth who was the first to mate, she wondered? Sean had shared Carenath's earlier thoughts on the matter, and had agreed it seemed likely. She'd tried to find out what Faranth's instincts were on the same subject, but the gold had simply brushed her aside, apparently in no hurry to think about such things. Any maternal instincts the dragon might have were focused solely on Sorka's own pregnancy. Why would she, Faranth, need to mate, when Sorka still hadn't clutched her own newborn?

"I know,'' Tarrie answered, walking out to join Sorka in the drizzle. She looked up at the darkening skies, and shook her head at the weather. "Typical! Anyway, I'm sorry for going on about all this, but it's just good to know that you know how I feel, at least. Weight off my mind!'' she finished, smiling.

Sorka was glad to hear the obvious relief in Tarrie's voice. "Good!''

Tarrie gave Faranth a friendly pat, and briefly turned aside to glance back at her own dragon, a quizzical look on her face. "Mind you, it makes me wonder... just how much our emotional turmoil affects our dragons, and vice versa,'' she said.

Sorka raised an eyebrow, and, in lieu of a chair, leaned back against Faranth's supporting bulk. Any further insights the woman might have were more than welcome! "Go on.''

"You remember how Milath got all snappy at Porth last week, over sharing the sunlight on the ridge?''

"Mmm.''

"I was speaking to Nyassa later, and she mentioned that she'd run out of her usual meds, and asked if I had any to spare. It could just be the way they reflect our moods automatically, but I wondered... if it might be more
than that?''

"Interesting,'' Sorka murmured slowly. She thought she could see where Tarrie was going with this. "So. You think that Milath may have been directly influenced by Nyassa's cycle, and it might be possible that Milath's hormones could affect Nyassa in turn?'' Or, more likely: was Porth the cause of Tarrie's own outburst the other day?

Tarrie laughed, and blushed slightly. "As far as I know, dragons don't normally suffer from PMT! I just wondered if you'd noticed anything similar?''

Well, perhaps Sorka had. Perhaps Porth, and Tarrie, did need careful watching after all? In answer, Sorka shook her head. "It's worth watching out for, you're right about tha...''

A sudden surge of alarm from Faranth stopped Sorka in her tracks.

Something's wrong with Chereth!

A weird sense of heated anguish rolled across the link between dragon and rider. Sorka frantically tried to understand what Faranth was sensing, while the gold queen attempted to reach Chereth herself. Tarrie looked equally stunned, and must surely be experiencing the same thing via Porth. Confused queries from other dragons echoed through from Faranth, as the other riders tried to ascertain what was happening, and Sorka found herself slip into her accustomed role as a coordinator. Milath and Amalath were no longer with the others, and had no idea what was happening. Try as she might, Faranth was unable to make contact with any of the other dragons currently down in the south. Carenath was on his way with Sean; everyone else was to be told to sit tight and wait for news.

"She needs Alianne!'' Tarrie gasped, eyes clenched shut as she concentrated on communicating with Porth.

Porth is right, Faranth agreeed. But I do not see why she cannot find her?

This was exactly the kind of thing Sorka had been fearing, ever since speaking to Wind Blossom earlier that day. Worried, she asked Faranth to renew her efforts. Even as she did, she saw Tarrie open her eyes again, and brush her hair away from her face.

"Porth says Chereth is mating!'' Tarrie blurted out.

While this was both an amazing, and worrying, development, Sorka was simply relieved that Porth had actually had some luck reaching Chereth. The two queens flew in the same wing after all, and were probably more familiar with each others' minds. Certainly Faranth found Amalath's mind more readily than Milath's, for much the same reason.

"Mating?'' she asked.

The sense of panic felt by Faranth suddenly abated, as Tarrie continued speaking.

"Yes! Porth still can't reach any of them clearly, but Chereth... Chereth isn't frightened any more. I think they're going to be okay. ''

"We're not out of the woods yet,'' Sorka said. Instinct made her look over her shoulder in time to see Carenath and Sean blink out of between, far closer to the ground than they should. "Keep trying to reach them,'' she shouted over her shoulder, as she jogged towards her husband and his dragon. Carenath skidded to an untidy halt on the muddy ground, his eyes edging out of their usual blue-green into flashes of purple and a stressful red.

"Chereth's bloody mating,'' Sean shouted as he flung himself towards the ground.

Sorka sidestepped to avoid a puddle and waited for Sean to reach her. "So I hear!''

Sean, too, seemed torn between his broadest grin and most concerned glare. Finally, he laughed, and gave Sorka a quick squeeze across her shoulders. "Shaffit, I'm glad I didn't put any bets on this. Please tell me Faranth knows more about what's happening down there than Carenath does? It's bad enough trying to convince him not to fly down there and join in, and he certainly wants to try.''

No, I don't know any more, Faranth bespoke both riders. But Porth has reached Gilgath!

Sorka grabbed onto Sean's arm for support as the images appeared in her mind.

An entangled pair of dragons, bronze and gold, plummeting groundwards in a barely controlled descent. Another view: two bodies on the ground, mimicking their dragons above. Emotions swept over her; Gilgath's dejection, and his growing concern, both of which were soon drowned out by the rising tide of
Chereth's joy.

Fourth hand, she picked out the thread of human commentary; Pete's thoughts, Sorka realised.

I tried, so hard, but we had no choice! None of us did.

If what Sorka was feeling via Faranth was even the slightest fraction of what the others had faced, it was no wonder that events had unfolded in the way they had. A quick glance at Sean, and they were both rushing to their dragons, to get airborne as fast as they could. As Sorka ran, the
viewpoint shifted once more, Gilgath diving in an attempt to intervene, to give warning.

I don't know what to do. I cannot reach them!

Man or dragon, the need to do something was clear, but their actions were utterly in vain. Alianne's empty, vacant eyes stared past Pete's gaze, and Gilgath's warning was rebuffed by the winning bronze's talons.

Sorka shook the images clear of her mind, and found Tarrie standing beside her, a spare set of riding straps in hand.

"Sean isn't needed there now, or Carenath. But they'll listen to Faranth.''

Numbly, Sorka nodded, realising that Tarrie was right. Once there, Faranth could make herself heard; one of the many unexpected advantages of her gender. And Alianne... Sean's presence was the last thing she'd need. Sorka hauled herself into place between Faranth's neck ridges, and reached down to assist Tarrie into place behind her.

Tell Carenath and Sean to stay here, she asked of her dragon, and to call the men back as soon as they can hear them. We'll deal with this.

She glanced over at Sean, already mounted on Carenath's back, to see him nod his head soberly. Sorka braced herself, barely anticipating Faranth's powerful leap into the air, and continued her instructions. Tell Gilgath we come, and take the visual from him.

Gilgath's visual was quickly received, and Sorka held it firm in her mind as she instructed Faranth to make the jump between.

I know what to do, Faranth supplied, as they reemerged into the humid sunshine. Wings beating strongly, she followed the mating pair down towards the earth, insisting that they hear her. Gilgath, and Firth too, were both echoing Faranth's commands, as they flew alongside in readiness.

END THIS NOW! YOU ENDANGER YOURSELVES, AND EACH OTHER!

At long last aware of something other than themselves, Polenth and Chereth finally reacted; Chereth snarling angrily at Faranth's impertinent interruption, while her mate pulled away with a frantic bellow. But with the distraction of her lover removed, the enraged queen thankfully turned her attention back to her own flight. Sorka watched anxiously as Chereth twisted in the air, her wide wings once more bearing her own weight in full. There was little room left in which to manoeuvre, but enough to avoid disaster. Mere moments later, the barely sated gold made a heavy landing on the sands, shrieking in pain. Polenth, a little luckier, made a safer landing beside her, and started crooning his support.

"That was too close,'' Tarrie shouted into Sorka's ear, fighting against the air rushing past them.

Indeed it was, but Chereth was surely not too badly hurt, Sorka hoped. Faranth soon answered her concern.

Her legs hurt from the shock of the landing, and her wings are strained, but she will be fit to fly again in a few hours.

Sorka directed Faranth to land beside the other males, a little further down the beach, and as they circled in she finally had a chance to survey the scene. A dishevelled Alianne had clambered to her feet, and was stumbling towards her dragon, leaving David Caterel sitting alone in the sands. The other men were grouped around their dragons, all looking utterly exhausted. Carcasses--of cows?--littered the heavily stained sands all around, some more-or-less intact, and others little more than piles of mostly devoured bones. It looked like a warzone, like the kind Sorka remembered from the old
programmes on tri-d.

Otto, Paul and Shih Lao were already mounting their dragons as Faranth landed, and none seemed willing to meet Sorka's eyes as she slid off Faranth's neck, Tarrie beside her. So. Sean had called them back; he could deal with them. She sighed, watching Pete approach. He was trying to pull his clothes back into some semblance of order, and not having much luck.

"I'll go and see how Alianne's doing, okay?'' Tarrie said as she hurried off.

Sorka wasn't sure which if them had the easier task, as Pete stopped before her. The man looked dreadful, haunted by what had occured.

"Thankyou for getting here in time,'' he said, a twisted look of self-disgust on his face. Sorka found herself dreading speaking to Dave, who'd surely be feeling far worse about himself.

"You all did what you could, we know that,'' she said, wondering how true her words really were. But the best thing to do now was surely to give what support she could to those involved, and to avoid imlpying that anyone was to blame.

"Gilgath says we're to return north, as soon as we can,'' Pete said slowly. "But I thought I'd see if you wanted me to take care of Dave? Alianne'll need you more, but someone should see to him as well.''

"Oh come here, you silly, thoughtful man!'' Sorka said, reaching out to give Pete a warm hug. She thumped him firmly on the back, and gave him a quick smile. "Thanks, you do that then. Both of you can head back when you're ready. Tell Sean that Tarrie and I'll return when we can, but it'll likely not be until Chereth's ready to take to the air again.'' And certainly not until Alianne was up to heading home.

Leaving Pete to see to Dave, Sorka took what comfort she could in Faranth's mental support, and turned to pick her way across the blood-soaked sand. It was time to start picking up the pieces. If she could.




Well, you're all caught up now. I'm working on the next bit right now, and hope to have it up in another day or two.
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