Thread: Fan Fiction: The Skyboom (v2 - rewrite)
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Old Dec 1 2008, 03:23 AM   #9
D. M. Domini
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chicagoland

Fan of: Afra Lyon, and Robinton!
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Default Re: The Skyboom (v2 - rewrite)

Chapter Nine

"Tell me, Harper...is it obvious?" F'lon asked Robinton a sevenday later, tossing his helmet on the stone table and plopping down on the cold, unpadded stone bench in a way that made Robinton's tailbone flinch.

Robinton caught the helmet before it rolled into his bowl of soup, and set it out of the way on the table. "I'm thinking that it is not, because I haven't the foggiest what you're talking about. Do you want some food?"

"Did you cook it?"

"It actually turned out well this time," Robinton admitted, stirring his spoon around in the broth. It kicked up rice and diced vegetables, and sent tiny savory particles swirling in the amber liquid.

"Ha! I'll have a little then." And F'lon jumped up again like he had springs in his boots and retreated into the kitchen. A few moments later he re-appeared with his own steaming bowl. "Hmmm. This is good!" he said, timidly sipping at the steaming hot liquid in his spoon as he sat.

"Thank you sir," Robinton said, and dipped a piece of bread into his bowl to sop up some broth. A few moments later he spoke up again. "What is it that you wanted to speak to me about?"

"F'lar and F'nor. Did you know they're brothers?"

"I didn't pick up on it, no. So I might say that it's not obvious from first glance."

"No, no, no, that's not the obvious part. Think about it again."

Robinton thought about it again, as commanded. "F'lar looks a bit like you," he said.

"Yes! So it is obvious!"

Robinton snorted. "Am I supposed to be drawing some sort of conclusion from that? I can think of three, maybe four other riders from our own time that have a resemblance to you. Probably half-brothers or cousins or whatever--I'm led to believe that that doesn't matter much among weyrfolk, though. Am I wrong?"

"You're not wrong, Robinton. Are you really not picking this up, or are you trying to make me feel better about not realizing it before now?"

"I didn't pick it up originally, but you've been leading me down a path for the last few moments. Are they related to you?"

"They're my sons!"

Robinton blinked in genuine surprise, trying to reconcile the stern, authoritative Benden Weyrleader and the quiet but watchful brownrider with that information. Both men were easily twice his age, so it took a few mental gymnastics to get his brain to accept it, despite the physical similarity between F'lar and F'lon. "They act nothing like you."

F'lon waved that away with his hand. "We've seen their public personas. Who knows what they're really like. I don't always act like fluff on the wind, you know. I've been a little discombobulated by events lately."

"That's a big word for a little dragonrider," Robinton teased.

The bronzerider threw a piece of bread at Robinton. "I have sons! And maybe you do too! Do you think Masterharper Sebell is related to you in any way? He's tall...like you..."

"It would be terribly convenient for your sons to run Benden Weyr and mine to run the Harper Hall, wouldn't you think?"

"Do you doubt that F'lar and F'nor are--"

"No, no, not at all. I'm doubting that Sebell is my son. Or Menolly my daughter, for that matter." Robinton paused, thinking about it. If he had a child, a son or a daughter...he would have expected him or her to act a bit differently, if he was, say, a parent come back from the dead. There had been a note of...of...of something, from both the Harpers. He'd seen the shock, warring with the need to act in an official capacity during this strange mixed-up betweening across whens. But it wasn't like how he would feel if, say, his mother had come back to him, if she...

Well, that was a depressing thought. "Thanks for making me imagine my mother gone," Robinton said, a touch of sarcasm in his tone.

"Oh. I'm sorry. Why were you thinking about that? Oh! Well, you might have fostered them..."

Robinton gave his friend a look. "No offense intended, I know the weyrs do it frequently, but I doubt I'll foster my children, if I ever have any."

"So you don't think that Masters Sebell or Menolly are--"

"I think they're my Apprentices," Robinton said. "Or were. Or will be."

F'lon raised his eyebrows. "So you're Masterharper? Before Sebell?"

Robinton hesitated. "It feels...arrogant to say yes. Being that I'm merely a Journeyman now. But," and he sighed. "Evidence suggests it. Master Gennel has been grooming me for it for a couple of Turns now; I would have to be blind to deny that that is what he's doing with me. If it wasn't, I would be one of the other Master's Apprentices; it doesn't make sense for a Masterharper to take an apprentice that won't follow in his footsteps, unless he already has a candidate under his wing. Regardless of the fact that formally you need a majority of the Masters to vote a new Masterharper in, historically it's been rare that they've chosen someone other than the previous Masterharper's student. So if I become Masterharper, and Sebell is Masterharper now, it follows that Sebell would have been my Apprentice. I would have groomed him to replace me. It would also explain why both Master Sebell and Master Menolly have such difficulties calling me 'Journeyman'." Robinton paused, then switched subjects again. "If F'lar and F'lon really are your sons...they seem like good men."

"Yes. I barely know them or what they've done, but I'm already proud of them. Isn't that strange? And they're both dragonriders!" F'lon seemed even prouder of that. Then he seemed to deflate. "I've been a horrible boor, though. The worst example of a father ever. Right in front of them. If I had only known...!"

Robinton laughed. "I think they'll understand."

"Are you embarrassed about how you've acted around your future Apprentices?"

Robinton considered this. "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't start it out drunk."

"I don't think we'd be here in the first place if we hadn't been drunk. Or," and here F'lon shot his friend a very wicked grin, "You could have remembered your riding gear!"

"Hey now, just because I forgot my gear didn't mean you had to take us into a thunderstorm," Robinton quickly pointed out, stabbing a forefinger at his friend in emphasis. "Don't blame your failings on me!"

The two young men growled at each other over that one for a while, re-treading a mock-argument that had grown comforting and familiar over the past seven days. They managed to empty the cooking pot too, something which Robinton noted with a bit of bemused happiness; it didn't always happen when he was the one making the meal. His culinary explorations didn't work out nearly as well as his musical ones did. Although he was trying; the longer they stayed here, the more he became restless. He had nobody to teach, nobody to perform for, no destination to go to (within his control), no way to help F'lon and Simanith do...whatever it was that they needed to do to be able to return them to their own time. He wasn't quite sure what to do with himself.

Thinking of that..."How goes lessons?"

F'lon hesitated in his reach for the crusty end of the loaf of bread, then picked it up and with a frown tore it into pieces. "Not...not well. We don't know why."

"Oh," Robinton said. "How is it not going well?"

F'lon gave Robinton a look. "We're still here, aren't we?"

"That is true," Robinton said cautiously, hoping that F'lon would relent and give him some more information to work with.

F'lon rolled his eyes. "The mechanics are the same as going between like normal. I've verified it with the Weyrwoman hundreds of times now. We, Simanith and I, visualize our destination, like we normally would when going between. Then we add a fourth dimension--time. Typically time is implicit...when you want to go between from one spot to another, you want to go there now, not yesterday, or tomorrow. But when you want to go back in time, you adjust your coordinates to the proper when in addition to the where. You specifically imagine the place how it looked a sevenday ago, or Turns ago, or whatever, or you can also imagine it as you usually would, but specify yesterday, as a fourth, unseen, dimension. If you've never been personally to that when and where you can even use a very specific mental image, such as of the stars or alignment of the moons which only look a certain way during a certain when from a certain where, and let the when work itself out because the visual itself specifies the when because it only occurred in that configuration at a specific moment in time."

"Or so you've been told?" Robinton guessed.

"Or so we've been told. We've tried going backwards a day. From here-today to Benden Weyr-yesterday. We go between places fine, from here to the Weyr, but are still in the now when we arrive...today, not yesterday. We tried a month, and a turn. Same deal. Simanith has taken the destination directly from Ramoth. And Lessa. And myself. Using stars and planets, using a specific memory of how the place looked yesterday, trying all the different ways. Same result. We get to the where, but stay in the now." F'lon looked a little worried, but covered it up by using his shredded bread to clean up the last drips of soup from his bowl.

"They say this is unusual?"

"Oh she says nothing about if it's unusual or not. Her lips are sealed on that. And it's not unknown for a weyrling to pop out of between right where they entered it a few seconds later, or right back to their home weyr, rather than going where they intended to go; our dragons are trained to do that if something wrong happens, so we don't exit in a mountainside or something. But Simanith and I are not weyrlings. And I can tell that we're going wrong somewhere, just by the way she's expanded on the tactics to try to get us to time it somewhere successfully. You don't do that when training dragons unless the usual way isn't working."

"I would say you try that tactic with any student that's not performing as expected," Robinton mused. "Do all the dragonridrers here learn how to go between times as well as places?"

F'lon shook his head, then nodded, then shrugged. "Yes, no, maybe so? I get the impression it's not nearly as big of a production as it is with Simanith and I. The first time she introduced it, in our first lesson, it was merely as a fourth dimension. Like...to make a Harper analogy, playing a chord with four notes instead of three. Slightly different, but not so much that it should take this much effort."

"Unless you're missing a finger," Robinton said with morbid amusement. "Then you can play a three-note chord just fine, but will have all sorts of trouble adding a fourth note."

F'lon paused, as if seriously considering it. "But we got here. How did we get here in the first place if we only have three fingers?"

It was unhelpful, but Robinton didn't have any answers. Nor did he want to suggest that a fourth "finger" had been damaged on the way here, or some such. "I don't know."

"Man. I'm so sorry we got you into this..." the bronzerider told him with a maudlin expression, while shaking his head in apology.

"It's not your fault, F'lon. Nor Simanith's, nor mine. It just happened. Perhaps it has something to do with the lightening storm; perhaps the lightening strike addled your heads at precisely the wrong moment, and that's how we got here."

"Are you suggesting we find a tame thunderbolt to catalyze our way home?" F'lon asked. "Shards, I hope that's not the solution. I don't want to go flying in a thunderstorm again without the tingly glowy feeling of being entirely liquefied-drunk beforehand."

Robinton agreed with that. Yet, he couldn't help but consider it seriously. It was one wild card that had occurred while they had made the transition between. "It would be breaking our word, as we'd have to go seeking out a thunderstorm...but do you want to try it?"

F'lon glanced over his shoulder, as if seeking for invisible eyes and ears spying on them. "But how do you coax the lightening down out of the sky? It doesn't really strike on will, you know."

"Have you ever seen a wooden hold?"

"A what?"

"A hold. Built of wood."

"Why under the red star would anyone do that?"

"My mother has a cousin who is a woodsman. There are lots of trees around in the area where they live, but it's a bit of a trial to find stone. It's expensive to transport it in, and the Lord Holder isn't always willing to fund the creation of a new minor hold. The older families live in existing holds made of stone, but the newer ones, and the poorer woodsie people, use what's at hand. What's plentiful, what they have the tools to harvest. There are many people who don't believe in Thread, F'lon, and wood works just as well as stone to keep the rain off of your head and the drafts out of your bedroom."

"It's short-sighted of them."

"I don't know; it's been hundreds of Turns since Thread last fell. You can't really blame them for being practical."

"Robinton...you heard--"

"No, no, no, I'm not saying I believe Thread is never going to fall again, or that we were lied to about it, but in our time, without that information...it's not illogical. It's very easy to see why people have started to make that choice, to use wood. That's all I'm saying. Anyway, they understandably have an issue with fire. From lightening. They have these big metal poles attached to the peaks of the roofs of the holds. I asked my mother's cousin's family what they were for, the first time I saw them. And they said, it causes the lightening to hit the metal part rather than the wood, and somehow the lightening goes into the ground and that keeps things from being set on fire. I don't know exactly how it works, though. But the metal pole attracts lightening away from everything else in the area."

"So you say we should go find a metal pole, and then find a thunderstorm, and then go riding around it with the pole stuck out to see if lightening strikes us, and when it does, we should try to go between back to our own time?"

"I never said we should, F'lon," Robinton said, uncomfortably aware of the stupidity of the idea. "I'm just putting ideas on the table. Speculation number one: we're here because of the lightening. Solution number one: try to get lightening to hit us again."

"How is it that you make an awful lot of sense when saying stupid things?"

"It's a gift. I can make anything sound perfectly logical," Robinton said with a smile.

"What about the fact that lightening only strikes a man once, if ever?"

"Is that a myth, or is it true?" Robinton asked.

"How would I know?" F'lon said. "I never expected to be hit once."

"...alright. I'll hold the rod."

"So if we do this, you're volunteering?"

Robinton rolled a shoulder. "Never ask someone else to do something you wouldn't be willing to do yourself?" he offered. "And you've been hit once. I suspect that that tale is a myth, but I don't think we'll have the chances to try more than once, all the same."

"But you don't even know how the lightening didn't set the wood aflame, you said."

The Harper was uncomfortably aware of that, but shrugged. "Why does a string play a note when plucked? I don't know. But I can make and attach the string to my gitar. I suppose I can find a metal pole and. Er. Hold it out in a thunderstorm."

"...we're actually going to do this, aren't we?"

"We're not doing anything if you don't want to," Robinton said, and rose, gathering their dirty dishes to him. "It's not like I can go between all on my lonesome. Let's think it over." And with that he left the idea in the dragonrider's lap, and took their dishes to the kitchen so he could wash them.

#

Two nights later, some time after midnight with both moons riding high, Robinton and F'lon crawled out of bed. Without saying anything, they both made their beds, gathered their things, and made their way outside. Robinton had a pole that he had found stored away in one of the storage rooms. It was plain, and about as long as the spread width of his arms, and hollow so it wasn't as heavy as it could have been. It didn't seem to be used for anything, or if it was, it seemed like something that would be simple enough to replace, since if they were successful, they would be taking it with them.

"Did you ever get anything out of Lessa on if she thought the storm might have had anything to do with it?" Robinton asked his friend, as they exited the small cothold and slid the metal door shut on its track.

F'lon's stride hesitated, then corrected itself. "No."

Robinton frowned. "Did you ask her?"

"...no," F'lon admitted

Robinton closed his eyes for a moment. "F'lon--"

"She would have caught on, and put a stop to it! The moment I opened my mouth, no matter how I phrased it, she would have caught on. She can hear all dragons, you know?"

Robinton didn't know how that applied to F'lon, since he wasn't a dragon, merely a dragonrider. "You're still scared of her?" Robinton asked.

"I am not 'scared'. I am cautious. And since you obviously are not, why didn't you--"

"Because she definitely would have caught on if a Harper was asking about it. I technically have no need to know; without a dragonrider around, I can't apply the knowledge. I would need to coerce someone into helping me. Nevermind that; do you know where there's a thunderstorm around?"

"Nerat," F'lon said. "Rolling in near Half Circle Sea Hold."

"Ah. So we know that, at least."

"Yes. You brought the pole? Good." And F'lon grabbed Robinton's gitar case and strapped it on.

"I brought the pole. You know, I think I should leave these riding leathers behind..."

"What? No! Are you stupid? You're lucky you didn't come down with firehead or anything last time. Besides, they're yours."

"These are far finer than anything I've ever owned, my friend. They shouldn't be mal-used like this. And I'm just borrowing them."

F'lon turned around and rolled his eyes heavenward. "They're yours. I will bet you five marks on that."

"The Masterharper never said anything about giving..."

"Anxiety is slowing your brain down tonight, old man."

Robinton paused, thinking about that. "Wait. You think they were mine?" he asked, what F'lon was saying suddenly clicking.

"They still smell like storage!"

"Oh." Robinton looked down and touched the lapel of the jacket, which was snugly and warmly padded with fleece. It had blue-stitched patterns on it. "Oh." He didn't quite know what to think about wearing riding leathers that he had owned in these times...before he had passed away. It was more than a little strange.

"Don't worry about it. Get on, and bring the pole, and think on how you're going to explain those fancy riding leathers to your mother."

"I only wish," Robinton said. "Alright, let's get on with this ridiculous scheme."

#

"This isn't a very good thunderstorm," Robinton commented in F'lon's ear some time later, as they hovered above a crag-ridden shoreline. The moons still shone brightly at their backs, uncovered by clouds just yet, and the waves below crashed and roared with more than your standard vigor, but the storm rolling in from the south was little more than some surly dark clouds, and a few glimmers of lightening right now. It wasn't even raining; the air was thick and moist and smelled of ozone, but the moisture wasn't actually consolidating into droplets.

"You want we should look for a hurricane?" F'lon suggested.

"Not really. But this is sort of pathetic, as far as storms go."

"It'll get better. They usually do."

#

F'nor.

Hair tickled his nose, but it was a tickling of a good sort, and F'nor pulled his weyrmate Brekke closer into his arms under the furs. She made a vague sleepy sound, and curled her small warm hand around his.

F'nor. Wake up. Canth's voice was insistent.

What is it? F'nor asked, not quite believing that it was time to rise already.

Simanith is gone.

F'nor's eyes flew open, and he cursed under his breath as the lest webs of sleep were swept away. Brekke still slept, however, so he gently extracted himself from her and from the furs, and quickly climbed out of the bed. What? How?

Canth didn't answer such an obviously stupid question like that, and F'nor didn't blame him as he groped around in the dark for his pants. They've gone south, Canth said instead.

It was clear from Canth's tone that Simanith--and presumably F'lon and maybe even Robinton--that they had left under their own power. Canth would surely pick it up if the bronze was in some sort of distress, and the brown dragon was nothing if not calm. But the move baffled F'nor--both Robinton and F'lon had promised to stay put. And if you couldn't trust their words, who could you trust? F'nor shook his head to himself and hoped it had something to do with their youth. Even his father and the Masterharper had been young and impulsive once, as this whole state of affairs attested. Still. It was a bit strange. Are they still in this when?

Yes.

That was good, although not surprising considering Lessa's reports on the subject. Do you know what they're doing?

Should I ask?

No, no not yet. Such a question would likely be better put by Ramoth.

She will scare the sense into them, Canth agreed. I have just told her that they are gone.

Thank you, F'nor said. By the time he reached their quarters, they would be awake and dressed.

Well, mostly. F'lar was shirtless still when F'nor arrived, and Lessa hidden behind a screen, her riding jacket thrown over the top. "They left under their own will and power?" F'lar asked F'nor, pulling a shirt up both arms, and then over his head. He nodded before F'nor could reply, probably to something his bronze had said. "What do you think, Lessa?"

"If you're asking if I knew anything about this, no, I didn't," she said from behind the screen. Then the riding jacket was pulled down, and a moment later she emerged, dressed in her wherhide, her hands busy behind her head braiding her hair. "F'lon doesn't say much around me. He seems to only open his mouth when Robinton is there to back him up." Her tone was dismissive.

F'nor caught F'lar's eye, and they shared a look. It was a bit strange to see a man they had known as being so strong and in command being set wrong-footed by this particular Weyrwoman, but a little funny to watch as well. A moment later F'lar sighed. "So we essentially have no idea why they're up and about in the middle of the night."

Lessa peered at a mechanical clock on one of the tables that had been given as a gift to them from the Mastersmith. "It's after midnight. Why this late?"

"After midnight is a good time to be skulking around, if you have no intention of running into anyone." F'lar said. "And for even us to be asleep."

"Simanith must not have realized that Canth was keeping an eye on him," F'nor said, yawning.

"I thought the whole point of having Canth do it was so that Simanith would know," Lessa muttered to herself.

She underestimates me, Canth said smugly. F'nor felt a little stung at Lessa's comment, but knew Lessa likely didn't mean to imply what she had implied. She looked tired and still a little asleep--much like he felt himself.

"Alright, let's swoop down from on high and put the fear of us into them," F'lar said, a little jocularly.

Lessa wasn't impressed. "You think this is funny? They promised to stay put. Robinton even made a big production of saying why he was promising," Lessa said.

"Guess we'll have to feed him to the whers," F'nor said lightly, and Lessa glared at him too. Canth, he said. Is Robinton with F'lon and Simanith?

Robinton is gone, Canth said ambiguously.

Gone as in he went with them, or gone as in dead?

There was confusion in Canth's tone. Didn't we fly for him? he asked.

F'nor sighed. "Robinton may or may not be with F'lon; Canth doesn't think that this Harper and our Robinton are the same," he said outloud for F'lar's benefit.

"Ramoth says there's nobody in the cothold, so I'd presume he went with," Lessa said.

"Let's go then," F'lar said, pulling on his own riding gear. "And see what they're up to."

#

Robinton wondered if there was an ideal position for holding a metal pole when you were trying to use it to get hit by lightening. He held it straight up at first, mimicking the configuration he'd seen on the wooden holds, but even hollow it was heavy and he was concerned that if he dropped it, they wouldn't be able to find it in the dark on the ground below. Perhaps he should have attached a chain or rope to it. Of course, it didn't matter much now. "This storm is still pathetic," he told his friend. There was hardly any lightening at all, not like the one from before.

F'lon was quiet for a little while, his head cocked, as if he were speaking to his dragon silently. Then he leaned back, and Robinton put his ear by the man's mouth so he could hear. "Keroon usually has some good storms this time of year. Let's try there." And with that brief warning, they went between again. And emerged into a howling, pouring, flashing vortex that was probably a thunderstorm.

"I THINK THIS IS PRETTY PATHETIC TOO, MAYBE WE SHOULD TRY AGAIN?" F'lon howled over the shrieking of the wind at Robinton as the storm buffeted even the heavy bronze dragon about.

Robinton bonked him on the head with a light fist, which made the dragonrider laugh. Simanith, too, seemed to perk up at the storm, and roared at it in challenge. Not unlike before. A good sign? Maybe. He held the rain-slickened metal pole up above his head in a tight grip, trying to ignore the voice within that told him that this was very, very stupid. And he closed his eyes, not wishing to be blinded when the lightening struck, if it did.

He wasn't expecting to go between when they did some time later; there had been no lightening hitting them at all. When they emerged, he opened his eyes and queried F'lon. "Did we go home?" he asked, although he doubted it, because they were still in the middle of a storm.

"No!" F'lon yelled back. "The Weyrleaders are here!"

"Blast," Robinton muttered. "So soon? Weren't they asleep or something?" Or had they timed it, like F'lon was attempting to do?

F'lon didn't answer that, but Simanith tilted under them, and seemed to steer them into a darker bank of clouds. Robinton gamely held onto the metal rod, as rain blew sideways into his face. He was unsure if this was better than when he had been drunk or not; the rain was cold and managed to seep down the back of his jacket to kiss his spine.

"You hit yet?" F'lon yelled above the wind as a particularly close SNAP! of thunder roared.

"Believe me, you'll know when I've been hit!" Robinton said in the man's ear.

Lightening did not hit. They darted among the clouds, occasionally going between to avoid pursuit, or so Robinton presumed. He didn't know where they were any more, but held onto the pole, and sort of poked it in the direction the most lightening was flashing among the clouds.

No results. No direct lightening strikes, for all the thunder, nor did they emerge into the air above the Harper Hall of the correct when.

"I'm not sure this is working!" Robinton yelled in F'lon's ear. "And I'm going to be deaf soon from all this thunder!"

"What?"

Robinton didn't know if F'lon was messing with him or not, but didn't repeat the question. He was starting to feel a little sick from all the weaving and dipping and swerving the great bronze dragon was doing to stay aloft. He hoped Simanith was not struggling, and that he was doing all right.

I am not struggling, the bronze assured him. But Mnementh and Canth are following us. I am staying ahead of them.

"Thank you," Robinton said, not expecting a status report directly from the dragon himself, but appreciating it nonetheless. If the bronze, who was the one doing all the hard work, was not struggling, he certainly had a little more stamina in him. He held onto the metal rod grimly.

#

"What in the world are they doing?" Lessa asked the two other dragonriders, as they stood in the middle of a sopping wet Keroonian field in the middle of the night in a thunderstorm, shielded from the downpour by three overlapped wings.

"I thought they were fleeing from us," F'nor said. "But they keep returning to the center of this mess. It's like they're only jumping between so we'll stop bothering them, and there's something that they want here."

"But why would they break their word to visit a muddy, unused field in the middle of the night in a thunderstorm?" Lessa cried. "It's makes no sense!"

"There must be something here," F'lar agreed, rubbing at his chin and peering out into the darkness. Simanith and his riders were impossible to make out in the dark and in this weather, but it was possible that whatever they were after was visible. Lightening flashed, illuminating waist-high grain gyrating in the winds, but F'lar could not spot anything of value.

"Canth says they've stopped going between now that we're no longer pursuing them," F'nor said.

"And Simanith is not obeying Ramoth?" F'lar asked his Weyrwoman.

"He's being very polite, but is refusing my request to land," Lessa confirmed, her mouth thin.

"Ask Simanith if he will land once he's done here," F'lar asked suddenly.
Lessa looked surprised, but then understanding dawned, and her eyes became far away as she spoke directly to Simanith. A few moments later, her expression changed to one of curiosity. "He says he will land if things fail."

All three of them understood then.

"They're trying to--" F'nor began.

"--the proper when--" F'lar agreed.

Lessa nodded. "But they've been failing entirely during my lessons. Do they think the thunderstorm is what's going to catalyze their return home? It doesn't work that way!"

"How many people jump forward in time--without a guide?" F'lar pointed out.

Lessa hesitated, not willing to take his point, but not willing to refute it out of hand, either.

"They're landing," F'nor interrupted. "How long were they up there in the storm?"

"Too long," Lessa said, a sour tone returning to her voice. It was clear that she was not happy at all with the antics of the two young men. "F'lon should know better than to ride in a thunderstorm!"

"Let's see if they have any excuses for this," F'lar said, watching as Simanith landed a few dragonlengths away. Then he left the protection of their dragons' wings.

#

"Here comes out welcoming committee," Robinton said in F'lon's ear, as flashes of lightening showed the gathered forms of three dragons, and their three riders striding away from towards where Simanith had landed. "What are you going to say?"

"Me?" F'lon asked, and laughed. "That's what I brought you along for! Harper."

Robinton rubbed the back of his neck, which was beginning to prickle. "Right. Keep in mind that no matter what I say, we're going to be in serious trouble. And I can only do damage control if they want to be fooled. If you're looking for a happy ending, well, I'm fresh out of those right now."

"It's better than what I have," F'lon muttered, then stopped speaking as the Benden Weyrleader came within shouting distance.

"Bronzerider! Harper!" Weyrleader F'lar said. It wasn't exactly a greeting. More of an acknowledgement that they had gained his attention, and in the worst way possible. "Is there a particular reason you broke your word and dragged us out of our beds at this blighted hour? Into a thunderstorm no less?"

Robinton considered his options, and transferred the metal pole to his other hand, and started to unbuckle himself. If any damage control was to be done, it was better done face to face, and not while he seemed to be in a position where he could potentially flee from consequences if Simanith took off. Considering how the Weyrleaders themselves had deemed it necessary to rouse and pursue them in the middle of the night, he didn't doubt they'd have entire wings out after them if they made a serious attempt to leave that didn't involve in going between back to their own when. "My apologies, Weyrleaders," Robinton said loud enough to be heard, while undoing the last buckle, and swinging his leg over so that he could slide down Simanith's side. The movement made the hairs on his legs prick and pull painfully against the cloth of his pants. A rather odd reaction to the fear that tried to raise its head deep inside of him, but he pretended the anxiety belonged to someone other than him, and powered through it, focusing on being polite and contrite. "We didn't expect you to be joining us out here tonight."

"Is that supposed to be funny, Harper?" Lessa demanded, coming alongside her mate.

"No, no! Not at all," Robinton assured them, extending one foot to catch himself when he reached the ground. "We--"

Static sizzled up his spine from tailbone to scalp, making his hair crawl painfully, and suddenly his left hand exploded with a metallic sound, and his right foot, touching the ground, seized.

The world went white.

There was a scream. It was his.

Then the world went black.
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Read my Pern and Talent fanfic on Archive of our Own.

Fanfic WIPs: The Day Benden Went to War (Pern/Talent); Slosh (Pern); Weyrbred Lads (Pern); When You Fall Asleep /Between/... (Pern)

Completed Fics: Flight (Pern), Flight v2 (Pern), Golden Glow (Pern)

D. M. Domini is offline   Reply With Quote