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Old Jul 10 2011, 08:06 AM   #1
Almaron
Weyr Harper
 
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Zealand
Gender: M
Fan of: White Dragon - Yay Ruth!
Default Paradise Weyr

Huzzah! I managed to finish this just in time for the Trimester to begin!

I've had this idea for a while now, ever since I wrote a specific page on this forum. One night last week I was sitting at my computer musing story ideas, and thinking to myself that it would be way too hard to come up with a sensible story that would fit the concept, and in a matter of seconds I had come up with the story outline!

So here's a quick foray into the world of fan-fiction! I just hope some of the scenes aren't too clunky! Read, review, and I hope you enjoy!

PARADISE WEYR
On the shores of the southern continent of Pern, a dragon lay amongst the warm sands. If anybody had been around, or in fact, able to see him, they would have been horrified at his condition; how a few shreds of charred membrane that was all that remained of the main part of his wings, and the vast amount of unhealed brown hide along his back which bore the unmistakable sign of firestone scarring. Despite this, the injuries were old ones, and caused the dragon no pain at all, not since he had first gone Between all those turns ago.
His name was Larth, and he was one of many dragons who, as Marco, their only human companion put it, were presently “being patient” at a place called Paradise River Stake, although most of the dragons simply called it Paradise - whatever that meant. Larth only knew Marco as “Duluth’s rider”, and as far as he knew, he was slightly older than he was, as he had been here as far as he could remember - which was not very far.
A shout rang out, and Larth lazily moved to face away from what he knew were the sounds of the nearby seaholders returning with their catches. Dragons did not normally have good memories, and Larth was no exception to this rule, but since the seaholders repeated their task every day, Larth had become accustomed to hearing the triumphant yells of a good catch and the peaceful quiet of a mediocre catch. In addition to this, the sheer monotony the dragons endured by “being patient” at Paradise meant that there was little else to remember except the unusual.
Up until a few turns ago, Larth and the other dragons at Paradise had weyred a lot closer to the river, until the holders had suddenly begun appearing from the bushes. At first there had only been a talonful, and Larth and the others had all watched in interest at the visitors to their weyr, but after it became clear that the people were unable not their riders, nor were they able to see the dragons, they quickly lost interest. Over time, more and more people had arrived, and Duluth’s rider had seen fit to suggest that they move a little further up the coast, “so as not to hassle the settlers”. Larth did not quite understand what he had meant by this; it wasn’t their fault that the holders had housed the herdbeasts so close to their weyr, but he had decided to move anyway - especially once Prideth had forced him to.
Beside him, a blue dragon stirred. What is it? came the voice of Forth. Duluth had retrieved the young dragon from Between the previous night, his reasons for being there becoming all too-clear when the others had seen the horrendous threadscores marring his neck. It is nothing, Larth rumbled, turning to face the tiny blue. The people have just returned home. Go back to sleep.
Forth made no further noise, but he trembled visibly as he lay down. Larth understood the young blue’s unease, knowing it all too well. Different dragons handled “being patient”, as Marco put it, in various ways. Some dragons did nothing but curl up upon themselves and huddle away from the dragons, others keened occasionally, but most of the dragons, Larth included, simply tried to make the time pass in whatever way they could.
Reminded of his grief again, Larth let his head rest on the sands. Where was his rider? When would he find his L’tol again?

***

“Hold steady, my lord,” the young rider said as he and his elderly passenger took to the air. “We shouldn’t be much longer. Only a few short-”
“Breaths. I know.” Lytol muttered, before looking off into the distance. He preferred to make little contact with the riders sent to ferry him from place to place, instead choosing to focus on the tasks that had been set him. He felt slightly annoyed that the Weyr had sent a young rider who, despite meaning well, obviously didn’t realise that the person he was retrieving knew plenty about dragons, having…
Lytol shifted such thoughts from his mind and began focusing on the task at hand; Jayge, the Lord Holder of Paradise River, was considering re-establishing the former provinces of the first stakeholders. As one of the few inhabitants of Kahrain Province, Lytol was needed to not only give his opinion on the matter, but to discuss a potential change in borders if the plan was accepted, as Jayge’s holdings already stretched far beyond that of the original stake. Only this morning had he learnt of these plans, when young L‘mel on green Tereth had arrived from Monaco Bay Weyr to both deliver the news and transport Lytol to the proceedings - D’ram and Wansor having decided to remain at Cove Hold.
L’mel raised his arm in a silent signal, and Tereth went between, before emerging over the clear skies of Paradise River. Tereth bugled happily, as she backwinged to land neatly in the sunny clearing not too far from the main hold building, where several other dragons were lounging. L’mel dismounted easily from Tereth, and Lytol followed suit, as Lord Jayge arrived in the clearing.
“Lord Lytol!” Jayge called, strolling towards the green dragon. “I trust you are well?”
Lytol nodded in acknowledgement. “Have the other Lords arrived?” he enquired.
“Yes, you’re the last one we expected,” Jayge said. “Come, we should begin the proceedings.”
Lytol made to move towards the main hold building, but Jayge pointed to a small shelter on one side of it, not unlike a small gather tent with the walls rolled up. “Thread’s not due for another two days, and with the weather being fine, we decided to hold the meeting outside.”
Leaving L’mel in the clearing to wait for his return, Lytol followed Jayge towards the shelter that had been set up for the occasion. As he got closer to the structure, he saw that the various holders and dragonriders were sitting around a large table.
Reaching the table, Lytol took his seat and began speaking with those sitting around him. T’gellan and Talina had come from Monaco Bay Weyr to represent Jordan, along with Rency, who he was told was the holder of Cardiff Stake. Readis was also present, having arrived dolphinback from Rubicon River Hold earlier in the day to represent Araby alongside his parents and the holders of South Bend Hold. Lytol alone would represent Kahrain - no other holdings had been established there thus far.
Several other visitors lined the edges of the shelter; various seaholders with minor holdings along the Jordan coast, and several journeymen from the Harper Hall. Lytol noted that they were carrying rolled-up sheets of paper - presumably maps for the holders to peruse.
“Shall we begin, then?” Jayge said suddenly, gesturing for the journeymen to begin unfurling the maps. “I imagine we’ll have much to discuss.”
Lytol and the other holders nodded agreement, and began examining the maps that had been prepared for the occasion - detailing the eastern part of the Southern Continent as it was currently believed to exist, with both the modern holds and the ancient’s stakes marked in differing colours. Lytol found he had no complaints about his own borders as they were marked, and thus sat back as the other holders began to debate areas of the maps. He had a feeling that the meeting would be a long one.

***

Larth was roused from his sleep by noises coming from the holding. These weren’t the usual noises of the people and their ships; the sounds were unfamiliar to him.
Slowly, he opened his eyes and began to look around himself. There was no sign of Duluth - he and Marco were probably Between - and the few dragons of their “Weyr” were all sitting at the edge of the river holding and looking towards its centre with some interest. Larth got to his feet and began moving towards the other dragons, curious as to what had attracted their interest. What is going on? Larth enquired of the dragons nearest him.
A queen dragon turned her head towards him, causing the sunlight to illuminate the brutal gashes in her neck, still visible many years after the original wound had stopped bleeding. Larth had always thought it odd that a queen dragon would consider a brown dragon like him to be worthy of acknowledgement, but Wirenth had always been kindly towards him since her arrival some…Larth struggled to remember...time ago.
There are dragons at the river, Wirenth said, before looking back at the events that were unfolding in the distance. They bring new people to the hold.
Shuffling past Forth, who was watching from the back, Larth moved to where Veleth - the only Bronze at Paradise - stood at the head of the group. Dragons rarely came to Paradise River - unless Duluth brought them - and as such the ‘visitors’ were watched with interest by the Paradise dragons, although none of them knew their visiting kin from the younger Weyr.
Look over there, chimed Folyth, a green near Veleth. All the people are under a sheet!
Veleth snorted, as several heads swung to look. It is nothing special, he said to the other dragons in a bored tone. They are just sitting down.
So? Wirenth called back. It is more exciting than watching the fishermen in their boats each day. If you are not interested, then go and sleep in the sun and we shall watch instead.Veleth grumbled, but did not move from his spot at the lead. Larth suspected that like the other dragons at Paradise, the large bronze secretly hoped that his own rider might be one of the newcomers, although he’d never say as much.
What do you think they’re doing? Forth called from the back of the group.
They are discussing things, Larth responded, looking closer at the visitors. The meeting will be a long one.
Larth blinked. Where had that thought come from? That didn’t sound like something he’d say.
Before he could give it much thought, Folyth began talking again. The people on the left wear riders clothing! she announced excitedly. Heads collided as every dragon moved quickly to better see the people on the left part of the shelter, who were unmistakably dragonriders. The excitement quickly faded away as the dragons saw that the riders were not their own. Several dragons rumbled their displeasure and abandoned the group, returning to the warm sands of the beach.
Larth continued to watch the ‘meeting’, as he’d called it. He did not recognise their Weyr markings, and the riders were wholly unfamiliar to him. To the right of them, a fat man was shouting at a tall man over some problem, and another one was looking down at something on the table. Larth squinted. The man looked familiar. He suddenly moved, revealing a face marred by a scar caused by some unknown accident, and in the instant that he saw the man’s face, Larth recognised him.
L’tol! Larth shouted mentally, startling the others, who all looked at him in confusion. The connection was faint, but it was him! His rider! Here! But why hadn’t he come? He was here and Larth was here, so why wasn’t he coming over? Did he not care about him anymore?
Without a second thought, Larth began running towards the tiny shelter, his companions, having realised the reason for his sudden outburst, began to follow him. L’tol! Larth called again, as he came ever closer to his beloved rider. L’tol! L’tol!!!

***

Lytol looked back at the map in front of him. Jayge had just proposed that they alter Araby’s borders so that they reached to the hills on the Kahrain side of the river. This was of no concern to him - Jayge’s holders certainly needed the land more than he did, and he had no desire to make things difficult.
Prior to this, Lytol had only briefly become involved with the discussions when young Readis and the South Bend holder had noticed the placement of the Tuareg stakes differed on their maps, and had begun discussing whether Kahrain’s borders ended at Paradise River or not. Although nothing would be officially decided by this, Jayge would take the results of their debating to the next Council meeting, and propose that the changes be carried out.
L’tol, a voice suddenly called from across the table. Lytol paused, looking up at those sitting around him.
“Did someone call my name?” he said, abruptly speaking into a rare silence that had fallen across the table. To his right, T’gellan chuckled. “I don’t think so. Are you imagining things, old friend?” Lytol ignored him, and looked back at his map. “My mistake, then”, he said.
As the conversation resumed around him, Lytol made to call Readis over, having noticed a cove near the present hold that could be put to good use, when he heard the voice call his name again, urgently.
Lytol looked around the table again. “Are you sure nobody called me?” The other holders either shrugged or shook their heads; none of them had said anything. “I could have sworn…”
L’tol! The voice called again! “There! Who said it?” Lytol shouted in a sudden anger. Who dared torment him with his old name? Did they take delight in reminding him of his loss? The other holders evidently did not hear this voice, as they regarded Lytol with confused looks on their face.
“Are you feeling alright, Lytol?” Readis spoke first.
“Should we adjourn for the time being?” Jayge offered.
Lytol waved his hands at them. “I’m fine, I-”
The cries of panicked herdbeasts suddenly echoed from a nearby paddock. “What’s going on out there?” one of the journeymen said, looking over at the fields. L’tol, the voice sounded again! Lytol grimaced. He didn’t feel right. He must be unwell; perhaps dizzy from his trip between. Lytol stood up from his chair. “I’m sorry,” he announced to the other holders. “I think I need to-“
L’tol! Again! The voice came again in his mind, relentless…L’tol, L’tol, L’tol! Anger arrived to replace sorrow, and he felt a rage building in his body. Lytol clasped his hands over his ears, his eyes becoming wet with growing grief. “Stop it! Stop shouting at me!”
“Lytol, my friend! Be calm!” Jayge called, getting out of his seat. T’gellan had already risen, and the two anxiously watched for Lytol’s next move.
Before Lytol could say anything in response, he was struck with a wave of oncoming emotions. The voice…so familiar, and yet so distant…It couldn’t be. Not here. But he was feeling sensations he hadn’t felt in many a long turn. Something in his mind…something like…
Tears began flowing from Lytol’s eyes as an equal mixture of confusion and understanding came to him. He collapsed to the floor, openly weeping.
“Shards! Lytol!” Jayge shouted, rushing over to him, along with T’gellan.
Lytol tried to plead that he was fine, but his mouth wouldn’t form the words, his mind still too shaken by his last thoughts. He waved his arms in an attempt to push the others away, to get to his feet, but strong arms grabbed him and held him still. “Please be calm, Lord Lytol!” yelled Ricsen, one of the journeymen holding him. Lytol ignored him, and continued to resist their grip. They did not understand! He must go!
Voices echoed around Lytol as the other holders closed in around him.
“What’s going on?”
“Is he alright?”
“He’s not well, get him out of here!”
“Where’s that blasted rider?”
“Drink this, my lord,” someone said to Lytol, as a set of hands pushed a cup towards his face. Lytol attempted to push the cup away, but another person forced the drink upon him, and he had no choice but to drink, recognising the taste of wine laced with fellis juice. As the world before him began to blur, Lytol had the faintest sense of a familiar voice yelling in protest. Then the drowsiness overtook him and he knew no more.

***

L’mel? Teleth called as her rider rushed towards the clearing, followed by two journeymen carrying the unconscious figure of Lord Lytol.
Something is not right. Teleth told her rider, as he began strapping Lytol into the flying harness. Monarth and Arwith say they hear voices.
L’mel looked to one side; next to Teleth, Monarth and Arwith were moving about restlessly, their eyes whirling yellow in anxious confusion. L’mel had been calmly resting in the clearing moments before, when all of a sudden the herdbeasts had begun panicking, and a journeyman had rushed from the shelter to inform him Lord Lytol had had a breakdown of some sort, and was to be escorted home.
Things seemed to have gone wrong all at once across the holding, L’mel thought to himself. Let’s move quickly, my dear, L’mel called, mounting his dragon after he checked that the unconscious Lord Lytol was safely strapped into the harness.

***

Unable to fly ever since the accident that had forced him Between in the first place, Larth could only thrash his wings uselessly and watch as the green dragon took to the sky, taking his rider away with her.
NO! NO! L’TOL! DON’T GO! L’TOL! Larth wailed, his eyes madly flashing red and purple in distress.
The dragon did not hear him, or if it did, it paid him no notice, as it abruptly disappeared Between. Larth fell to the ground, keening in despair. Wirenth and the other dragons joined in his keen, understanding all too well the pain a dragon felt to be parted from their rider. But to be separated again…

***

Marco returned from his daily journey Between to find the entire ‘weyr’ downcast; the various dragons all resting on the beach; a visible grey tone marring their hides. Marco squinted. Not too far from the Paradise River Stake, one dragon sat alone, essentially sprawled out on the surface…Larth? Marco was used to this sort of thing; every now and then one of them would sink into a melancholy about their rider, but ever since he had retrieved him from the greyness of Between, he had thought Larth to be one of the more steadfast dragons, at least when compared with dragons of his past such as the panicky Arith, who had caused him much trouble until she had finally disappeared Beyond. To see him so low was unusual.
Duluth? Marco thought to his dragon. What’s happened here?
After a few seconds of silence, Duluth responded. Riders were here, and Larth’s rider was with them. Duluth hesitated for a moment before continuing. His rider did not come to him.
Marco looked again at the stricken dragon, before telling Duluth to land beside him. “Larth?” Marco called, unsure of what to say to the poor creature.
Larth responded by opening one eye that slowly whirled grey with sorrow.
“Come away from the river, Larth.” Marco said, aware that nothing he could say would be enough to soothe the old dragon. He was about to ask Duluth to call Wirenth over - he had often seen the two dragons together, and Larth would not refuse a queen’s request - but Larth had feebly rumbled in acknowledgement and begun picking himself up from the ground.
“That’s the way.” Marco said softly, as Duluth began to walk towards their main camp. He knew of a secluded spot, near where the queen dragon Prideth had often rested before she’d disappeared ‘Beyond’. Larth could lie there in peace until he’d forgotten the events of this day. Draconic memory was blessedly short. “Follow us, old friend.”

***

Lytol woke from his fellis-induced sleep to find himself in his bed at Cove Hold. A young journeyman dozed in a chair opposite the bed, presumably having been set there by whoever had brought him home from Paradise River. ‘No!’ Lytol thought in anger. Why had they taken him away? For a second, he had been complete again! His mind had been whole, restored.
Lytol threw the blankets aside, and moved to sit upon the edge of the bed. He was no longer confused; emotionally overwhelmed to the point of madness as he had been at the hold, and was able to think rationally. He had not been hallucinating - he couldn’t have been! Somehow, in some way, he had felt his dragon’s presence, his voice, his touch. His dragon, HIS Larth was there. He couldn’t explain it, but Lytol didn’t care. All he knew was that he had to get back to Paradise River.
A yawn coming from the other side of the room signalled the journeyman was beginning to stir. Lytol got to his feet and walked over to where the young man sat.
“You there! Where is D’ram?” he said, already making plans as he spoke.
“Lord D’ram?” the journeyman said, rubbing his eyes. “He was in the main hall last I saw him.” The journeyman must have suddenly realised just who he was talking to, for he added, “Please, my lord, you must rest.” Lytol ignored this, making his way for the main hall. Finding it empty, he pushed open the large doors and walked onto the hold porch.
Not too far from the hold proper D’ram was visible, leaning against his dragon; bronze Tiroth, who thrummed in acknowledgement as Lytol began walking over to them.
“Lytol,” the elderly bronze rider said, noticing Lytol’s arrival. “Are you feeling better, my friend?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine…D’ram, I need you to take me back to Paradise River.”
“What?” D’ram said, confused. “Lytol, you’ve had a shock of some sort; the last thing you need is unnecessary travel.”
“I didn’t, I…” Lytol paused. “Something happened at Paradise River. For a moment, I heard…a voice.”
“What do you mean?” said D’ram.
“He called to me, D’ram. I heard…”
“What?”
“Larth! I heard my Larth!” The words burst out of his mouth. D’ram stood there, shocked at what he’d just heard. Then he shook himself, and stared at Lytol with a gaze the ex-Weyrleader must have once lectured his Wingleaders with.
“Lytol, listen to me,” he began slowly. “You know…better than anybody that…Larth…“ He stopped. “You’re not thinking straight, Lytol, you must be-“
“Do you think I would make such an easy mistake?” Lytol suddenly snapped. “That I would be so easily fooled by my own wishes that I would hear voices in my head?”
“No dragon can return from Between once they flee there, you know that as well as I do!” D’ram retorted, his voice rising in response to Lytol’s. “Shards, man, what do you think you’ll find at the river?”
“I don’t know! But I will damn well get there if I have to build a raft and sail there myself!” Lytol finished angrily. Behind D’ram, Tiroth trumpeted defiance, his eyes whirling red as he felt his rider’s anger. Lytol stopped himself. He knew he must calm down, else D’ram would think him unwell and think his words nothing more than ramblings. “I must go,” he began, in a softer tone. “D’ram, you must understand! If I do not, I will drive myself to my grave with thoughts of what might have been.”
D’ram made to say something, but paused in thought. “There are no records of something like this ever occurring, Lytol,” he began after a while. “Do you not realise that if there was such a way to undo the pain of loss the Weyrs would know about it? I don’t know what you expect to find at the river, Lytol, but I fear you’ll only bring yourself fresh grief.”
“I know,” Lytol said. “But I must do this. Would you not do the same in my place if you thought Tiroth…” he trailed off, not willing to finish the sentence.
“Lytol,” D’ram began, “You need to rest…”
“I need to do this, D’ram.”
D’ram looked over at Tiroth, his eyes losing focus as the two engaged in shared thought. “Alright, then,” he said after a while. “I will take you to the river. But if you do not…find anything, then you must return home with me, and turn these thoughts from your head once and for all.”

***

The sun had already been setting at Cove Hold, so by the time Tiroth and his passengers emerged from Between over Paradise River Hold, the sun had vanished below the horizon and given way to darkness. Lytol had brought a basket of glows with him, in case he needed to search the thick forests near Paradise River. D’ram, not realising how far Lytol was prepared to search, had assumed that Lytol had simply thought ahead and brought the basket to prepare for the oncoming darkness.
D’ram had guided Tiroth to land on the outskirts of the hold, so that Lytol could search the surrounding area in secret, without being harassed by Jayge, who would undoubtedly insist he come into the hold and remain inside, so as not to risk repeating his fit the day before. After dismounting, D’ram had told Lytol that Tiroth would be listening out for him, and if he sensed any harm befalling him, the two of them would take him back to Cove Hold, regardless of what Lytol might say.
As D’ram disappeared into the open doors of the holding, presumably making up some story to the Lord Holder about why he had chosen to visit the hold at this hour, Lytol started along the path to the herdbeast paddock, which he remembered had become highly agitated around the time he’d felt the ‘presence’.
He arrived there to find it otherwise serene; there was nothing to suggest a dragon had been here in the past day; no footprints leading away, no sign of disturbed greenery, nothing. Lytol continued onwards - not far from the herdbeast paddock was the beginning of the long beach that stretched across Araby’s coast, and the rocky cliffs along that held forests large enough to hide a full-grown dragon.
Lytol rushed out on to the beach, dimly illuminated by the glow of Belior. It seemed to stretch on forever, and he could see nothing out of the ordinary about the sand dunes. Already he was starting to think that he had embarked on an impossible quest. D’ram had been right, it was impossible, what he’d claimed to have heard.
No! He hadn’t been imagining things…he couldn’t have been imagining things…it had felt real…He took a step forwards. “Larth!” Lytol yelled into the night. “Larth! I’m here! Larth!”

***

The other dragons had given Larth a wide berth when Duluth led him across the “Weyr” to the isolated area of the beach where he now lay, far from the banks of the river and the tiny settlement that had caused him such woe. Curled up upon himself, Larth attempted to go to sleep, without success. He could not stop thinking about what had happened at the holding - his rider had abandoned him, disappearing between on another dragon.
A terrible thought gripped Larth’s mind; perhaps his rider did not care about him anymore. It had not been Larth’s fault that he had gone Between in the first place, but did his rider know that? Maybe L’tol blamed him for leaving him behind, and thus he now did the same to Larth in return; no longer wishing to have anything to do with him.
Larth shuddered. He knew his L’tol would never do such a thing, but he couldn’t forget what he had seen. He tried once more to sleep, so the thoughts would not torment his mind, but was unable to do so. The normally pacifying sounds of the waves lapping against the beach sands and the wind blowing through the trees of the nearby jungle had become infuriatingly repetitious.
Larth! Larth! Wirenth suddenly spoke to him from the distance. There is a man on the beach!
So? Larth called back bitterly. Men come to the beach all the time. Why should I care if one decides to in the night?
No, Larth, look! Wirenth repeated, urgently.
Larth grumbled. I am sleepy, Wirenth. This was a lie; he could not have been more awake right now, but he had no interest in watching the actions of some erratic seaholder.
Larth! Look at the man, now!
That last sentence had been an order, and Larth swung his head around grumpily, unwilling to disobey the commands of a queen dragon. In the distance, he could indeed make out the shape of a man walking along the river, a glowbasket in one hand.
“Larth!” The figure called, waving the glowbasket from side to side. “Larth!”
Larth’s low mood vanished in an instant. It was his rider! He’d come back! He did care! Larth scrambled to his feet, and began rushing across the beach sands. He briefly heard the sounds of the other dragons reacting as he ran through the “Weyr”; Wirenth’s happy bugle, Veleth’s disgruntled snort, Duluth’s rumble of confusion.
Looking again at the figure, Larth realised with joy that the man was now running towards him as well. He had seen him! He was here! He had come back!
L’tol! I am here! Larth called once more. L’tol!

***

Lytol didn’t realise he had started running until he noticed that he appeared to be making great strides across the beach. In the very moment that he had seen the familiar shape illuminated by Belior’s light and heard the voice echo in his mind, he had begun moving without thinking.
As both dragon and rider crossed the final barrier keeping them apart, Larth frantically slowed to a halt to avoid crashing into his rider. Lytol did not stop, and leapt against his dragon, clutching his hide tight and only just managing to hold back his tears as Larth joyfully thrummed back at him. His head almost ached at the sensation of Larth’s consciousness flowing back into his own. What was this? Impression? Re-impression? In that moment he was Lytonal again; the young boy who had impressed the creeling brown hatchling Larth in the vast Hatching Cavern of Benden Weyr and become L’tol, Dragonrider of Pern!
“But…h-how?” was all that Lytol could manage to say. Larth had no answer to this, and simply crooned back at him. Larth either didn’t comprehend the full weight of his rider’s words or he didn’t mind - perhaps both, Lytol thought for a moment. Lytol quickly found that he had no overwhelming desire to know how his dragon could have returned to him after so many years since…
I did go between, Larth stated, finishing Lytol’s thought. And now I am here.
Lytol looked all over his dragon in a mixture of love and pride - he hadn’t changed at all since the day of the accident! He was still the most magnificent dragon that had ever lived on Pern; his hide a rich brown, his wings-
“Your wings, Larth!” Lytol shouted.
What? Larth said, turning his head to look. Is something wrong with them?
Lytol stared at his dragon in horror. “Larth, they’re in pieces!”
The wings still bore the ghastly marks of Tuenth’s flame, even after all these years! Lytol could not believe that they had not healed, or why they were not bleeding!
They do not pain me, Larth attempted to tell his rider, but Lytol would not be dissuaded from treating his beloved dragon. Having no bandages or medical supplies with which to care for Larth, Lytol instead pulled off his tunic, and made to wrap it around a particularly nasty burn on Larth’s wing-
To Lytol’s astonishment, the shirt passed through the wing. Lytol blinked, unsure of what he had just witnessed, before reaching out to touch the membrane, finding it to be quite solid. But when he went to place the tunic on the damaged wing membrane, it once again fell through the dragon, as if he was made of air.
Lytol suddenly remembered with a sickening feeling a concept he had discussed once with AIVAS, when the ancient machine had still been active. A Keroon holder had discovered records in his hold purportedly describing an event where the figure of the queenrider Moreta had appeared outside a hold long after her fateful trip between. AIVAS had compared the occurrence to an old earth superstition about the spirits of the deceased returning to places significant to them, but had also explained that these “ghosts” were nothing more than illusions, caused by reflections of light or some other “unidentified phenomena”.
‘AIVAS was wrong then,’ Lytol thought bitterly. Was that it, then? He knew that his dragon was dead; he had accepted it long ago - he had seen his dragon go between before his very eyes! - so was Larth no more than a shadow?
I do not know? Larth said, having picked up on his rider’s thoughts, his eyes now swirling yellow in confusion. But it does not matter to me, he said after a moment’s concentration. I can feel you, and you can feel me, and that is what is important.
Larth moved his head to nuzzle Lytol where he stood. Lytol stroked the soft hide, and felt his dragon’s warm breath on his skin. No, Lytol thought to himself. Larth was here, he could feel him; he wasn’t a shadow. He was just…different now. He could accept that. He had faced many hardships in his life; so many of those that he had loved were now deceased, would he now spurn the miracle of one of them returning to him just because they were not quite the same as they had been when they lived? Larth was right; what was important was that they could sense each other once more.
What now, Lytol thought? Should he return to D’ram and the others and tell them of his discovery? His only fear was that the others might not see Larth, and believe him mad. Perhaps he had gone mad already, Lytol thought pessimistically. Perhaps he had dreamed this whole turn of events. Larth suddenly rumbled his displeasure, showing what he thought of that thought.
I am here and you are here, Larth said, asserting his earlier statement.
“I must fetch D’ram,” Lytol began, breaking the silence around them. “We must go home.
Larth’s mental tone was confused. Home? Where is home?
“Not too far from here, my beloved brown,” Lytol continued. “It’s just a short trip Between.”
I cannot go Between, Larth suddenly said.
“What?” Lytol was confused. “But you-“
I cannot go Between, Larth repeated. Why would I still be here if I could leave?
“But then-“ Lytol paused, sitting on one of his dragon’s forelegs. But what? He couldn’t go home because his dragon couldn’t go there instantaneously? Was it required of him that he live at Cove Hold, and that he must return to it at the end of the day? He was in control of his own life! If he was forced to abandon the Cove for the sake of his dragon, then so be it! He could live here, at the river - Jayge would not refuse him the use of one of the hold buildings.
On the other hand, perhaps he could travel overland to the Cove. Piemur had done such a thing many years before; perhaps he could send for him, and get him to guide the ‘Lord Holder of Kahrain’ across the beaches so that he could appropriately survey the area for Jayge’s proposed borders, or some similar excuse.
Larth interrupted his thoughts by laying his head down on the ground, his neck stretching out before Lytol’s feet.
You would not leave me again, would you? Larth softly called. Because I cannot go between?
Lytol threw his arms over his brown’s neck; miraculously unmarred, having somehow avoided the heat from the firestone that had burnt so much of his back.
No. Lytol said. I will never leave you again, my love.
Larth rumbled in pleasure, his eyes whirling green, before he closed them out of sleepiness. Lytol settled down on his dragon’s forearm. His plans could wait until the next day. He leaned against his dragon’s soft neck, and fell asleep in the arms of his dragon, the reunited pair sharing their most peaceful night’s rest for the first time in many turns.

FIN.

Dragonriders Of Pern, and all characters and locations are copyright Anne McCaffrey. Veleth, Forth, Folyth, L'mel, Tereth & Ricsen are characters I created for the purpose of this story.
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Old Jul 10 2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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That's great!!!
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Old Jul 10 2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Let's see, is there anything else I could add to this?

Notes:
*I haven't messed too much with what is established as canon in the series. All of this is based off what was shown to be possible in "Beyond Between". You can read what I deduced from Beyond Between about how the dimension works here; http://amcalmaron.deviantart.com/art...13729591&qo=26
*The mapping session, and the part with the Tuareg Stake was a nod to the mapping work I did recently, and the fact that the maps of the Southern Continent differ in the various versions of Dragonsdawn. Originally there was going to be a "montage" of voices shouting various things I'd had issues with, but it didn't fit the story so I axed it.
*Going along with the whole map thing, the journeyman named Ricsen is a nod to Niels Erickson, who drew one of the more detailed book maps.
*Several minor scenes got planned and later cut as they didn't work with the story or got replaced or whatever (originally I only planned to write five or so "chapters", but I kept realising that I needed several scenes from other points of view, hence why some of the chapters are shorter than others), such as Larth remembering G'ron's dragon keening nightly until he vanished "beyond", one scene where Lytol waited at Paradise River and Jayge mentions an odd phenomena where the herdbeasts panicked for no reason that they noticed when they first arrived, one where Larth absently asked Lytol where he got the firestone scar, and an alternate ending where Lytol remained at Paradise River until the end of his days (which was a shame, because it meant I lost the original end line, where the seaholders wonder after Lytol's death why he'd moved there, and the narration revealed that he'd spent every night asleep in his dragon's arms); Jaxom and Ruth visiting him to enquire why, and Ruth hears Larth, without realising the significance (this later became D'ram and Tiroth, and then got cut altogether as I changed the ending), another scene showing how D'ram and Lytol were good friends, but it was sometimes painful for Tiroth to be around Lytol.
*Several of the dragons mentioned at Paradise Weyr are canon characters who have died over the course of the series, and I tried to mention all the significant deceased;
-Larth (Lytol's brown, of course, who has been mentioned many times but never actually seen. Don't know if he's based off any major dragon character, but I think he ended up being mixtures of various dragon characters, including Canth. I think I also drew from several scenes from the Temeraire series when writing this.)
-Prideth (Kylara's queen; I assumed that Kylara had died by this point, and so she and her dragon would have gone "Beyond". I nearly wrote a subplot in where Marco had somehow persuaded Prideth to help him boss the others around, cause she had the most authority.)
-Wirenth (Brekke's queen; I decided to make her good friends with Larth out of the idea that she was remembering Canth when she saw him. Didn't manage to work the idea in, but I almost decided that since her fateful mating flight, she had become jealous of any female dragon, and there would have been a scene where Folyth said something innocent to Larth only for Wirenth to snarl and chase her away.)
-Arith (Lorana's queen; I mentioned this in another post, and even wrote a fan-fic outline telling her story - http://amcalmaron.deviantart.com/art...13729591&qo=24 - because I wondered exactly what had happened to Arith's spirit after she went Between to the First Interval. So Arith survives as a brief mention in this story.)
As mentioned above, I also planned to have G'ron's brown being remembered in one scene, but it didn't make sense (his character wasn't significant enough that the dragons would remember him) so he got cut.
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Old Jul 10 2011, 08:52 PM   #4
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I don't claim to be a critical reader, but I do know what I do and don't like. This, I like!
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Old Jul 12 2011, 04:54 AM   #5
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Hmm...I'm actually thinking about writing more to this - there's several short ideas for scenes that I'd like to see finished. I'd write a sequel, but since that would probably just be walking to Cove Hold, I doubt there'd be many interesting scenes to write, so it'd be far better to write a series of drabbles.

So far I can imagine a few potential ideas, some are more fleshed out than the others. Maybe I'll write these when I next have a few hours to spare.

*At Paradise River, D'ram talks with Jayge about the meeting earlier in the day. Jayge mentions that the herdbeasts became fearful, something that used to happen all the time when they first arrived. Jayge thinks nothing of this but D'ram wonders if there might be truth in Lytol's words.
Tiroth then calls D'ram over, and D'ram makes excuses to rush outside. When D'ram reaches him, Tiroth tells him that Lytol isn't hurt, but that he can hear another voice. D'ram and Tiroth fly towards the coast, and see Lytol with the spiritual Larth. They decide not to disturb them.
*Lytol wakes early in the rising sunlight at Paradise River, only to find Larth becoming fainter in the light. Larth does not understand his rider's panic, as he does not notice the difference. Larth disappears to the point where Lytol (either cannot or can barely) see him, but he is still able to hear his voice in his head faintly. After mulling things over for a while, and remembering the events of the previous day, Lytol concludes that Larth has not and will not vanish completely, he is just harder to see in the daylight. Lytol then starts making plans for how they'll make their way back to Cove Hold, imagining that he'll ensure he doesn't lose Larth on the journey by getting him to signal him every few moments.
*A short summary of the events of the journey from Paradise River to Cove Hold - Lytol, D'ram, Larth, and possibly Piemur travelling along the coast until reaching the large valley in North Kahrain, and going through it and overland to Cove (As described in the Atlas, and by extension, my map!). Ends with Larth and Lytol announcing their pleasure to be home. D'ram could also plan to suggest to the Weyrleaders that they track down the ex-riders and send them to the "revitalising shores of Paradise River" (Also wondering if Wirenth should "follow" Larth to Cove Hold, with D'ram and Lytol later deciding to casually "invite" F'nor and Brekke to visit).
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