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Re: Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Rebme, & Indali))

Ren
 

It was hard to tell who was more ready for this, Indali or Tanivith. Indali was excited because she was one of the few of her classmates given permission to actually go between today and she considered that a solemn honor. Tanivith was excited because it meant that she was one step closer to being allowed to rise. Soon she would be the only thing that the bronzes, browns, and blues wanted and she lived for that moment. The power would be hers.

"Tanivith! Focus on the now instead of the then!" Indali swiftly rebuked her dragon, who snapped out of her reverie with a grunt.

{{Right, Arolos Point. I'm ready for it!}} Tanivih confirmed with a snap of her wings as she launched up in the air when it was her turn. The green rose to the proper altitude and Indali passed along the image. Tanivith passed it to Zerenth and her mentor and gave a triumphant bugle when she was given permission to go. Using her innate abilities, the green popped into the freezing cold blackness. Indali fought to control her terror and count, but the seconds seemed to last forever in the ultimate night.

{{I'm here,}} Tanivith's voice came like a soothing and warm blanket to the girl. {{We'll be there soon, I know where I'm going. And then you'll be warm again.}}

Right as her dragon finished speaking, they emerged into blinding sunlight and almost overwhelming warmth. Indali wooped and Tanivith gave a triumphant bugle as they did a victory loop over the stones. They'd done it! They'd successfully went between and were that much closer to becoming full dragonriders.
--
Out of the fire comes new life. Telgar Rises!

Are you afraid of the dark? Come play in the Shadow...


Re: So what do you think? {Dyarla, Dyrina}

Kouga
 

Dyrina turned a bright, inquiring gaze on her younger sister. "Yes, I did hear that." In fact, Dyrina would be surprised had anyone in the Weyr not heard, dragons and weyrfolk being the true gossips at heart that they were. She chuckled. "Upset more than one betting pool from what I've heard."
She arced an inquisitive eyebrow. She had some ideas on where this
conversation might be going, but it was better to allow the younger
woman to get there at her own pace. "Why do you ask?"<<

Dyarla chuckled at that with a grin "I bet. Even if it did happen once
before who would ever bet on two golds especially with how that flight
went. I mean right after fall and how all three dragons ended up? No I
don't think anyone would have guessed that." she agreed.

She paused after that looking out over the lake watching the dragons
for a long moment before finally replying "I want one Dyrina." she
said finally after the pause looking back at her sister "Hatchings are
always exciting, but there are two out there. There are two little
golds, and I want one. I didn't know how much I wanted one until they
were on the sands." she confided in the older girl finally looking
away from the lake and back to the bluerider "Is that silly?" She
needed Dyrina to tell her that there was nothing wrong with it, that
there was nothing wrong with her wanting a gold, as always she needed
her sister to approve of her or at least not disapprove.

*Kouga*

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"My personality is 30% the last anime I watched." - Tumblr
"Remind me never to get out our bad side. It seems to be ...
unhealthy." - Varric
"Death By Apple Pie a lovely poem by our friend Cole" - Dorian


I Have Some Concerns... (jp: Cremsden, Cuylar)

Aaron
 

Cuylar knocked on Cremsden's office door and then let himself in once he was sure Cremsden was there.

"Hey. Do you have a minute?" he asked.

“Sure.” The office wasn’t as completely packed with firelizards as it used to be but there were still half a dozen placed around shelves and desk. “Only writing up notes, 
nothing exciting. Are we on a klah break or is it work?”

"It's work," said Cuylar with an apologetic grimace. "But I'll pour you a mug if you like." He walked to pour one for himself.

"I saw a Candidate for a checkup because they'd been sent for something to help them sleep. Skittish as a whipped puppy when I tried to take their pulse."

“Oof.” And Cremsden set down his pen, turning in his chair to give Cuylar his full attention. “You think there’s problems?”

"Oh, I know there's problems," said Cuylar as he sipped his klah. "They've got trouble sleeping, I reckon, due to anxiety. And not a little bit due to an injury. Lashes on their palm. I've heard quite a bit of the story of how they came about, but I promised to be judicious in who I told and how. The patient is afraid of retaliation."

Cremsden winced at that, hand coming up to cover his eyes a moment. “Well.. feck,” he said bluntly. “Home life or here?”

"Here," said Cuylar. "And to a lesser extent, also home life. Now that you mention it. When it comes to that part, we likely couldn't be more different, but when it comes to here? I see a lot of myself in the kid. I offered to apprentice them, you know – you should be proud."

“Feck’em,” Cremsden sighed deeply. “Sharding bastards can spot a kid who’s started off miserable a mile off. Like someone already started doing their work for them. So, you’re here to tell me I get a new kid then?” He reached for a new piece of paper now, ready for details. “Don’t worry, I don’t know anything.”

"He said he didn't think Healing was for him," said Cuylar. "But he thinks every Candidatemaster is out to get him. He never said the one who gave him the lashes, but you can bet his eyes lit up and went wide when I told him about a certain Candidatemaster I once knew."

Cuylar sighed and sipped more.

"He's swamped with work he doesn't feel like he can finish, and he took the lashes in return for being allowed to go on the Candidates' little camping trip. I told him I would bring his sleeping medicine to him there and then once he gets back, I want him in for a sleep study. Mainly because I think if he has a safe space, he won't have as much trouble nodding off – it has to be the anxiety."

“If he gives you anything to concern you after the trip, he has a fever,” Cremsden said flatly. “You’re quarantining him out of concern for-- no shardit, that won’t work, kid’ll want to stand, feck--” And for a moment he went off into a string of distinctly unHealer-like curses that had Bitey sitting up and looking at him as though trying to remember them for later use.

"Calm down, calm down. He can't Stand. They've already determined that he's not fit for it this time around," said Cuylar, waving his hand at Cremsden to interrupt the tirade. "So it will work. And I'll keep that in my back pocket. Now, I think he would be willing to drop out of the Candidacy all together if not for the other half of that equation. He's meant to Inherit his father's hold. Except it seems neither one of them really wants to."

"The father has the boy convinced he's stupid, and I think he thinks sending him to Stand is just about the only way to get rid of him without it looking strange to his people," Cuylar explained. "And the boy is sure that if he's no longer Standing, he'll have to go home. I thought maybe if we, ah… faked a certain groinular kind of injury and convinced Father that he can't have an heir of his own, that might serve as well. What do you think?"

“Unless the man actively doesn’t want the boy to inherit, I think you’ll lose your career when he starts looking for a specialist,” Cremsden said frankly. “You’ve not worked in Holds much, have you?”

"Ah, not apart from when you took me up to help with the clinic," Cuylar admitted. He had not considered that the boy's father might look for a second opinion. "Do you think he would have let him come to the weyr if he did want him to Inherit?" he asked. "It sounds like he's spared no expense when it comes to tutors, but if he's let him come here, it feels like he's giving up."

Not that Cuylar especially wanted to risk his career on a hunch.

Cremsden sighed. “Hard to tell without actually meeting the man. Might be he wants rid of him, might be he doesn’t believe the kid will Impress but wants the Weyr to crush that dream rather than him so he’ll come back and settle down properly.” He raked a hand through his hair a moment. “Okay, shall we deal with one issue at a time?”

"That's the best way to do it, isn't it?" said Cuylar. There was definitely a reason he brought his harebrained schemes to Cremsden before trying to singlehandedly implement them.

“Okay. I assume Father’s arrival at the Weyr isn’t imminent so let’s prioritise. Tell me what-- tell me what you want me to know and I swear to you I’ll forget it the moment we leave this room,” Cremsden offered.

"Well, obviously, M'ayen has chosen this kid as his Example." Cuylar folded his arms. "The one he cracks down on so everyone else knows he's serious? He doesn't seem to want to be a Candidate all that much, he thinks he's not smart enough to do much else, and he's going to have a nervous breakdown if nothing changes."

Cremsden looked at him a moment, just looked, seeming to be searching for words. “Cuylar,” he said after a moment, tone quiet and careful. “Tell me you’ve got a witness to this who isn’t you. Someone who’s seen those marks. An apprentice will do.”

"I sent him out of here with his hand cleaned and bandaged," said Cuylar. "But he barely let me see it and demanded I not tell anyone before he would. I'll be seeing him again tonight before bed. Should I have him show it to Elphith? She couldn't lie if a gold asked her what she had seen."

“I..don’t know,” Cremsden admitted. “I’ve never used a dragon for a witness for anything before. Might be they’d argue she’s picking memories out of your head and your perception would be influenced by.. Well.” He hesitated. “I’m tempted to tell you to hand me something to sign and I’ll agree I’ve seen it but I’m not sure it’ll pass.”

"They'll ask him to confirm it without giving us a chance to get the story straight," said Cuylar. "I offered to introduce him to Elphith after class. Meet him there with me, and you can see it. If he'll show you."

“Think he will, or do I look too terrifying?” Cremsden asked. “Last time I had to do this--” because there had been a last time, which implied there were other times before that “--I snagged one of the younger looking female Senior Apprentices. Alyx I think it was, or maybe Aru.”

"You don't look any more terrifying than I do…" Cuylar pointed out. "But sending a woman might not go amiss. He's bound to realize I told if I go bringing extra witnesses I barely know. But maybe if I bring you, I can say I needed you to take a second look to approve the sleeping medicine."

Cremsden considered it and nodded slowly. “If he seems nervous about it, back off,” he cautioned. “This’ll go easier if you have back up, but if he’s trusting you right now -- it’s not worth screwing that up.”

"I agree," said Cuylar. "I don't know what I said to convince him, other than that I was a Candidate once in the same position… But that didn't work very well the last time I tried it, so maybe it was something else."

Cremsden shrugged. “Sometimes it’s just the right tone of voice at the right moment when they need to hear it. Don’t question it too much. The important thing is that right now he’s listening to you.”

Cuylar nodded. "And I mean to do my best to see this doesn't happen again, of course. It would all be much easier if his parents were Healers who would absolutely love to hear he had come back to the Infirmary, eh? But of course, we're not that lucky."

“Mmm.” Cremsden glanced up at his face at that. “I know you won’t want me to. But-- you want a drink after this?”

"I'll be OK," said Cuylar. "I hate to drink in front of you, anyway. Not very fair, is it? I can't save everyone, but for now, I'm not going to assume the worst about this one."

“Come over anyway,” Cremsden offered. “Margana’s got drills so I’ve got Arden but.. Baby cuddles improve a lot of things I find, and he smells really good when he’s not smelling awful.”

Cuylar smiled and nodded.

"I'll take you up on that. It'll be easier that way, anyway. I can say we were already together when it was time for me to take the boy his medicine."

“You could stay over if you wanted, but we’ve been pacing the floor in the early hours the last couple of days so it might not be all that restful,” Cremsden admitted, reluctant to leave Cuylar on his own after a bad day but also realistic. “Teeth. Or just he’s feeling grumpy. One of those two things.”

"We'll play it by ear," said Cuylar. He appreciated the offer, but if he really needed a warm body in his bed, he had a few options… and they would all sleep through the night.

“Okay. Let’s see if we can get this logged and documented first then,” Cremsden said. “Then you can worry about the rest of the kid’s life.”


Last Will and Testament of a Candidate (JP: Asheran & Garatt)

Laura Walker
 

Asheran lay on his back in the tall grass, staring up at the night sky overhead. He had one arm tucked under his head; with the other, he dug up loamy, damp earth and ran it through his fingers. He had set himself a little apart from the others, still lit by the dim glow of the nearest campfire - but unwilling for the moment to return to its raucous, noisy warmth. He could hear snatches of conversation, laughter, what sounded like the refrain of a badly sung song. He let it wash over him. A seven-day left at most, and then things would change for him forever - one way or another.


He wanted to tell his parents, or tell Alyx - someone. But no one would be there while he Stood to witness his crowning achievement. Though, he acknowledged, there would be the others who had helped him, his friends, and there would be the Weyrwoman, and the look on her face when he Impressed would be an achievement in itself. He just couldn't disappoint everyone who had stuck their necks out for him. He wouldn't. So he reached for perspective, instead. He tried to clear his head, tried to work through contingencies. He felt - even now - keyed up for a fight. He wanted a fight, something simple and straightforward he could finish with his fists. He needed to burn off some energy - the sudden image of him in a Runner circle, doing lunges, made him laugh. He tossed up the wad of dirt in his hand and watched as Felix swooped down low to catch it out of the air, then wail piteously when she realised what it was.


"You dumb flit," he said warmly to the fat green firelizard, feeling suddenly more centered. "Who's going to watch you, huh?"


He couldn't ask Tyne. That would give it away.


There was rustling in the grass nearby. The light was growing dim, Garatt hadn’t expected anyone to be there, and sometimes you just needed to exercise a call of nature. It had seemed an easy enough matter just to head back towards the campfires, and it would have been if there hadn’t been anyone lying in the grass.


So, he headed back towards the fires, eyes on the light rather than the ground, and noticed Asheran about a millisecond after he fell over him, landing less than gracefully on the ground.


"Hey!" Asheran barked, rolling to avoid the falling body, and pushed up onto his forearms. Whatever brief peace he had gone looking for was broken; he felt annoyed, even if it was probably his fault for loafing around in the dirt like a sunning tunnel snake. "What gives?"


Above him, Felix tucked her wings in and dropped, dive bombing the interloper with hangry little noises.


Garatt yelped and covered his face with his arms, trying to protect himself from the firelizard. “Sorry! I-- I didn’t know you were there,” he apologised quickly, half-rolling himself as he tried to sit back up without getting attacked. “It was dark!”


"Garatt?" Asheran squinted, then slouched back on his elbows, feeling some of that hard annoyance disappear. You couldn't be angry at Garatt - it was like kicking a particularly helpless puppy. Felix, on the other hand...


"Felix, quit that - go find the… go find Kashara, she has food!" He shooed the firelizard away from the other boy and watched as the space where she had hovered grew lighter as she vanished - presumably to go look for the food that wasn't there. It was a trick that always seemed to work, much to his flit's eternal angst.


"You okay?"


“Sorry,” Garatt apologised again, but it was at least easier to push himself back up to sitting without Felix flying at his face. “Just-- didn’t expect you there.” He squinted at Asheran in the dark, not entirely sure if he’d irritated the older boy. “I can just--go away again?”


Asheran lifted his shoulders up in a loose, light shrug, then flopped back onto the ground, aware of the dirt in his hair and streaking up the back of his clothes.


"No, stick around. I was just thinking about - uh." Not the Hatching that I'm definitely not going to sneak into. "Stuff." He glanced over toward Garatt, sticking an arm back beneath his head, and deflected:


"You okay?" He echoed.


“..Yeah.” And Garatt sounded almost surprised by that himself. “Yeah actually. It’s good here.” After days of feeling progressively more anxious and waiting to be pounced on for whatever he’d done wrong next, the relief provided by being somewhere no-one was going to shout was like an enormous breath of fresh air. He settled more comfortably, cross-legged, bandaged hand resting in his lap. 


"Kinda reminds me of nights back home when my folks'd want some time for themselves. They'd send all of us out camping in the field - you know, guarding against rogue wherries or the like." Asheran's gaze sharpened after a few dull moments on Garatt's bandaged hand, drawn by the movement, and then he looked away studiously. He thought back - had Garatt had the bandages in class? Or when they spoke near the tanning vats? Or during their egg watching excursion in the stands? Had he been hurt when everyone evacuated then, or later? It seemed new - or Asheran had been unobservant, which bothered him on some level, because he was supposed to be looking out for the younger boy.


"What happened to your hand?"


“I--” Garatt flushed, but he’d had time to think of a story. “Obstacle course. Was hurting after. Healer said I’d strained the muscles.” And hopefully that story would hold when Cuylar did actually report it up.


"Well, it's wrapped all wrong for that. Here - let me see," Asheran pushed upright, sitting up beside the other boy, and held out his hand expectantly. He didn't know much about healing, outside of what he heard Alyx say occasionally and what they covered during his early chores in the infirmary, but he knew a little bit firsthand about muscle strains. "It's gotta be a lot tighter or you may as well not even bandage it at all. You got numbweed for it?"


Garatt’s face froze, all the anxiety that he'd thought had vanished rushing back. He covered the injured hand protectively with his right hand. “It’s okay. One of the Infirmary Healers did it earlier, numbweeded it and everything.’


Asheran paused, glanced from Garatt's hand to his face, then drew back with another of those casual shrugs, though there was a careful watchfulness about him, too.


"Alright," he murmured, feeling suddenly out of his depth. Something was odd here, but if Garatt didn't want to share, he wasn't going to bully him into an answer. Men had secrets; every Holder knew on some instinctual level that sometimes a man's problems were his burdens to carry alone, right? "You know if you ever need to talk about stuff, though, well, I'm no mind healer. I won't go passing stuff up wing if you tell me a cloud looks a lot like your... your mother, or something. I'm here to talk."


Maybe he was embarrassed about slicing his palm open on a harp string. What did Harpers do anyway?


The rush of relief at being left and the utter weirdness of that phrase made Garatt giggle - a little inappropriately but sometimes laughter caught you like that. “Wouldn’t know if it did,” he admitted, relaxing again although his right hand stayed covering the injured left from view. “Not exactly sure what she looked like.” Which shouldn’t really be funny but was too far removed to be painful, and sometimes you couldn’t help what tickled you.


Fuck. Asheran tried not to wince. Despite spending Turns at the Weyr, where broken families seemed to be the norm and not the exception, he always seemed to put his foot in his mouth at the first opportunity.


So he made a noncommittal noise deep in his throat and slouched back again, looking back up at the sky overhead.


“...Sorry.” It was easy to make Garatt apologise lately. He was so worried about losing the friends he had that just an odd look would do the trick. The laughter quickly dried up. “It's not funny really, I know.”


"Don't apologise if you didn't do anything to warrant it." Asheran glanced sidelong at Garratt, then leaned over to give his shoulder a friendly shove. "I'm the one put my foot in it, anyway. If anyone's supposed to apologise, it's me."


“It's okay though,” Garatt offered.”I mean. It’s not like I knew her to miss.” No one was shouting; it was safe to relax again. “It's like, if something happened to Auntie, I mean, my aunt,” he corrected the baby name self consciously. “that’d be just awful. But it's hard to miss someone you never knew anyway.”


"Yeah." That line made Asheran think of the clutch of eggs out on the sands again, though, which reminded him that he still hadn't found a sitter for his flit. "Hey, you said they were thinking of pulling you from Standing, right? What happened with that?"


“Oh.” Garatt looked sheepish. Absent-mindedly he started to pick at the grass, pulling up a few stalks to twiddle with. “I just uh. Got nerves, I guess,” he admitted, wishing he had an excuse that sounded more like ‘people got angry after I tried to heroically save someone from an angry gold dragon’. An excuse like that sounded a lot more manly than ‘I realised dragons are really big and have teeth and got scared’. “Tr’foshe thought it’d be better if I waited.”


"I got caught up with Flight stuff last clutch, during the seven-day prohibition," Asheran offered, assuming blandly it was somehow related, not so curious that he'd ask about the specifics. It was more polite to suggest that somehow Garatt was involved with a girl than just - well, just falling behind. He also didn't point out that despite his own Flight stuff, he had bitten his tongue until afterwards and Stood anyway. "It happens. I was wondering if you'd watch my flit for me, around then, Felix. She's a handful, but really sweet if you feed her."


“Is she the one who uh, got annoyed when I tripped on you?” Garatt glanced around, not exactly sure where she’d vanished to. “I’ve never looked after a firelizard before, just.. You know, normal stuff like dogs and runners. And cats, but honestly mostly those looked after themselves.”


"She's… She's a good flit, really. It just takes her longer to figure out stuff. All you'd have to do is feed her and she'd stick around." Asheran felt a little defensive about his dumb firelizard, especially when the muted frustration in the back of his mind signified that she still hadn't managed to work out yet she'd been sent on a wild wherry chase. "Plus, if you ever needed me to kick someone's … if you ever needed any help, I mean, she can find me anywhere. It's what they're good for, over canines and stuff. They're real clever."


Somewhere, off-screen, Felix was eating rocks.


“Does that mean you’re going home or something?” Garatt’s brain finally caught up with ‘reasons you’d ask someone to watch a pet’. “Don’t firelizards normally just go wherever you go?”


Asheran had forgotten for an instant that Garatt wasn't in on the heist, and he had forgotten to think of something beforehand, so he paused for a moment, and then he improvised.


"My girl's wher doesn't like her when she gets, uh, proddy. He's liable to eat her." Lie, lie. It stung a little to not tell Garatt the truth, and he blew air hard out of his nose, leaning forward over his knees. "Just for a couple days, and there's this - she's not really a rider, Tyne, but she's good with flits. After that, if you run into any trouble, she can manage her."


“...Will she be proddy long?” It was a natural question. Not that Garatt wasn’t happy to have something to look after but surely proddiness didn’t usually last days. “Do I..” he waved a hand vaguely, blushing a little, conscious of stallions led to mares, and rams loosed amongst ewes. “..have to do anything?”


"Just a seven-day or so, I guess, but she won't rise or anything, she's just…" Asheran groped for the word he always heard gold riders use, only half aware after all this time what it really meant. "She's gravid. Just feed her whenever she wants it, and she'll be fine. Meat, fish, soup, bread, basically anything. I'll be back for her in no time, and maybe she'll help you sleep in the meanwhile."


If Asheran didn’t know what that word meant, Garatt did. He sat up a little straighter, eyes widening. “She’s going to have babies?”


Oh, suddenly a lot of conversations over the Turns made a lot more sense. Asheran palmed at his face, exhaled into his hand, then nodded with the weary resignation of a man digging himself in deeper and deeper - or, hopefully, also of a man who had a dumb flit preparing to make more dumb flits.


"Eventually? But not… She's just proddy right now, and she's… she won't clutch in your bed or anything." At least she was fat enough to look the part, he supposed.


“I can-- I can make her a nest?” Garatt offered, with more interest and enthusiasm than he’d shown about just about anything in Candidacy up to that point. “When my -- I mean, Auntie’s - cat was having kittens she wanted a nest.” She’d actually given birth in the shoe closet in the end which meant for a few days Garatt and his cousins had done without their boots. Still, right up until the point where she had decided to do that she had wanted a nest.


Asheran had opened his mouth to shut down the idea, but Garatt's enthusiasm stopped him. He'd been so down about things, and now he looked so… different, and what could it really possibly hurt?


"Yeah, that might be sort of nice. I mean, she's liable to, when she clutches, put them anywhere -" Why am I still talking about this?


"You ever think about getting a flit?"


“Auntie said I was too young and uh, there was never really a good moment to ask my father,” Garatt admitted. The truth was that his father tended towards the sternly formal to the point that requests seemed to dry up in his throat some time before he managed to spit the words out. “How long is it usually between, uh.. You know, proddiness and when they have the babies-- well, eggs I suppose?”


Asheran's mind blanked. Everything he knew about flits was self-taught, and amounted even then to very little. He gestured vaguely, at least managing to sound confident when he said:


"Oh, you know, it depends. It won't be too soon."


“Do you have to--” Garatt was very pink. A certain amount of matter-of-factness about farm animals had been drilled into him by his aunt sure enough, and his father and tutor had then spent four turns firmly reinforcing that these weren’t nice subjects to discuss. “Uh. Monitor which male it is?”


Why am I still talking about this? Asheran twisted to look at Garatt, then shook his head patiently, visible even in the low light.


"It wouldn't really matter, I think. She's just a green. Just feed her, that's it. Don't let her find me until I come back."


“I’ll look after her really well,” Garatt promised. “Your girlfriend’s wher is really fierce, huh?”


His girlfriend's wher was so unfierce that the lie stuck in his throat. He pictured the big, goofy, playful brown and shook his head.


"Not really. Just with Felix. He's real good around people, well-behaved, you know, she has him trained pretty decent. But he'd eat a flit in - he'd… Felix isn't too smart, she'd fly right up in his craw, and that would be that."


Then, looking for an excuse to stop lying his way into logical knots, he glanced at Garatt's hand again and found himself saying: "If you want help on the course, I can give you some pointers."


It was Garatt’s turn to look sheepish and he covered the bandage again with his good hand, trying to hide it. “Maybe when we’re back.”


Asheran misread the sheepish expression, and pressed on bullishly, leaning forward again: "Couple points, real quick. First, no matter how good you are, you're gonna fall off the first half dozen times, no matter what. That's because you're a smart guy, you're a thinking man, right? No matter how many times you think you understand, you'll fall off because there's nothing to think about. It's pure muscle memory. You just have to keep doing it over and over until your body learns and your head forgets. No thinking, just… You basically sleepwalk through it. Body reacts, mind goes under. That's probably where you mess up."


He reached out again, this time to poke Garatt in the forehead.


"You can't learn it from a book."


“..I’m not smart,” Garatt was surprised enough by the first part of that to just stop and listen a minute, ducking away from Asheran’s finger. “I just read a lot. That’s not smart, I just-- sometimes it’s easier than people.”


"You're smart. Maybe you're too smart to see it, but that's what trips you up, I think. You overthink stuff that should be really simple." Asheran wasn't having any of that modesty bullshit from him now. More and more he was realising that, though they both nominally came from holds, they had been raised in radically different ways. Reading wasn't something dumb people did for fun. Shells, before he'd come here, the smartest person he'd even known had been his own father, and his father had never been remotely literate. Reading was something Harpers did; reading for fun was something rich Lord Holders did.


"Got it? You're smart, just… you get tripped up by it."


“I’m really really not.” Garatt rarely doubled down on anything, particularly of late. Apparently this was the topic he chose to dig his heels in on. “If-- If I was smart I wouldn’t even have a problem with the stupid essays, I could just be.. One of those people who write them in five minutes and then they’re perfect and no-one complains. I wouldn’t even be behind if I was smart!” Instead of which it felt like most of the CandidateMaster team was constantly breathing down his neck.


When he'd say something stupid, his brothers would punch him. Asheran considered that strategy, but discarded it with the understanding that maybe Garatt needed something more abstract and delicate, instead. So he opened up, instead.


"I didn't even know how to write, or read, when I got here. It's hard, and I can't bloody well even understand how you do it for fun, Garatt. My eyes hurt, the squiggles go all dumb. Nobody's good at essays, that's just… It takes me candlemarks sometimes figuring out stuff, right? But once I do, I just stick with it until everybody agrees with me. That's more about just persuading people. I bet as soon as they say you're wrong, you go with it, right?"


“No, I don’t, I--” Garatt’s chin was jutting out, his expression stiff in an effort to keep it under control because he was not, not, not getting upset over this again. Not in front of Asheran, who right now he’d do just about anything to make sure he preserved his good opinion of him. He took a deep breath, both to try to calm himself and to try to explain.


“Reading is just-- it’s words, okay? It’s just remembering what words look like. Once you know what they look like enough, you can do it fast. It’s like.. Like talking, you don’t have to remember what words sound like to listen to someone, you just--you know. It’s just practice, and doing it longer. It’s not smart. Smart is-- if you can read it or, or hear it and then make it work for someone else, that’s smart. And I, I can’t, the words come out wrong, or I forget what I’m meant to be saying or--or I get some other thing that I don’t know what it is wrong and--” He took another breath, “--and half the ACMs hate me because I can’t do any of them right and they think I ought to be able to, and I’m not even meant to be here, ‘cause they weren’t going to let me come because I couldn’t catch up, and-- and I think my father mostly wishes he had got ‘round to having a second son who didn’t just stare at him when he wants to know what-- what stupid crop is good for, for a certain soil type or something and-- and don’t call me smart!” 


Okay, so not quite so good at being calm at the end as at the beginning. He looked down at his hands, good one holding the bandaged one so tightly it was starting to hurt, and made himself let go.


Okay, Asheran thought as the rant washed over him. That didn't work. I'm going to have to hit him. He sized up Garatt, listening but not focused, trying to figure out how best to jar him without actually hurting him. Shoulder jab? Shove in the side? His brothers would go for the gut punch, mostly because it'd rarely bruise and he couldn't cry tunnel snake to their ma, but he didn't think Garatt would handle getting hit in the stomach very well. Maybe the upper arm, but he was so weedy --


"Wait, back up. You weren't allowed to come? How did you sneak in? We rode on dragons."


When you were saying it to someone else, ‘one of the ACMs was mean to me so I cried in front of the Candidate Counselor and he said I could come’ didn’t sound anything to be proud of. Garatt went red. “..Tr’foshe overruled them,” he admitted in a mutter, “because.. It doesn’t matter.” He stared at his hands, injured one still held protectively close.


Asheran followed Garatt's stare to his hands, and he focused on them as he slowly, carefully worked back through their conversation. There were secrets, after all, and then there were secrets. He hadn't seemed all that enthused about the obstacle course advice, the bandaging was off, maybe there were a dozen smaller tells he had missed. Maybe it was an overreach, but going with his gut instinct hadn't really failed him yet - except for all the many myriad times it had.


"Tell me how you hurt your hand."


He thought about his father, and tried to put that same iron will into his own voice.


“I..” Garatt was wishing he’d picked a different story already because apparently he’d decided to lie to an obstacle course expert and now he was going to have to firstly describe a nonexistent accident in a believable fashion and then probably be told how not to repeat it. “I--slipped on the.. Climbing thing, you know the big one? And I-- probably wasn’t holding onto it right with my, my left hand but then it was taking my full weight.” Wait, would that have hurt his hand or his wrist? He wasn’t sure any more.


That was Mister obstacle course expert. To say Asheran practically lived there after his first failed Stand would not have been that much of an overstatement - so it was with a mixture of confusion and disbelief that he said:


"The ramp? With the rock wall? Wait, are you talking about rope?" He cocked his head to the side like a quizzical canine, picturing the course, trying to work out what "the big one" translated to. Also, if it was his hand that was hurt, a compression bandage for bruised fingers was worthless - and a strain would have… immobilised them? Maybe? With tiny little sticks? If he had hung from it, he'd probably have hurt his wrist, right?


If Garatt had said he'd twisted his wrist reading a book, turning too many pages or something, he'd have believed him without question. But this?


"That," he said quietly, not unkindly, "sounds like wherry teeth." Which, muddled metaphor aside, aligned pretty closely with bullshit.


The truth was that Garatt tended to slog through the obstacle course slowly, usually somewhere near the back of the pack, but without actually falling off all that often. The truth was that he’d never actually stopped to think about this stupid lie before offering it and now he couldn’t actually remember a suitable obstacle.


He should have said he’d slipped and gotten a rope burn. That would have been a far better lie and he had his mouth half-open to attempt to talk his story around to that when Asheran called him on it. And he stopped, mouth still half-open, going slowly red, trying to work out if it was better to double down or move to a new story somehow.


"Let me see." Asheran held out his hand, then qualified the (let's be real, here) demand with: "I won't touch it, promise. Just look." 


Just like that, Garatt had been demoted from faux-brother to basically my sister's babies.


Garatt shook his head, still trying to hide it under his good hand. “...if.. If we take the bandage off I wouldn’t be able to get it back on right?” he offered, half a question, reaching desperately for any excuse going now. 


Asheran, like usual, saw only solutions.


"So we find somebody, you know, an apprentice healer who tagged along on the trip. It's just bandages for a strain, how hard can it be?"


And then yet another person would know. “No!” Garatt blurted, horrified by the idea. “I just..don’t want you to.” Good excuses had run right out. Five minutes before Garatt had been relaxed and chatting enthusiastically about firelizard care. Now he was clutching his hand, eyes darting around, looking for a way out of this conversation.


Asheran exhaled hard through his teeth, staring at Garatt - clearly wanting to push the other boy into an answer, a better answer. But with a low oath he pushed up to his feet instead, pacing back and forth restlessly.


"Fine, but if -" if what? They weren't kin. Garatt might have become his latest project, but he wasn't going to torment him just to find out who his latest tormentors were. So he gestured vaguely, the motion a blur in the growing dark, then turned his gaze back toward the campfire.


"Shard it, then. I'm gonna head back to the fire. If you wanna meet Felix, I can call her back."


It would be a few minutes before Garatt’s heartbeat settled, before that quick panicky feeling of ‘he wants me to tell, I can’t tell, he’s going to make me tell’ stopped feeling like it might choke him. What would happen if he had told he wasn’t sure; only that Asheran was likely to be angry, and however he might think he would help M’ayen had all the power here. Some way or another, if Asheran knew, something bad was likely to happen.


He’d watched quiet and wide-eyed as Asheran paced, all out of reasons beyond please don’t ask. It took a moment for him to follow the older boy to his feet when invited. “That would be good,” he agreed cautiously, but his voice had gone small, stiff and polite, infused with a wariness that hadn’t been there before.


I can't let myself get distracted by this right now, Asheran thought, keyed up in a way he had been trying to avoid, and he made his way back to the fire, jaw clenched against anything else he might say to the younger boy. Focus.


He tried to clear his head. He failed.



--

Blackadder: I mean, what about the people that do all the work?
Baldrick: The servants.
Blackadder: No, me; *I'm* the people who do all the work.


Re: Right Place + Right Time = Loneliness (Attn: Any)

Alyx
 

Alyx couldn't help it, she giggled and shook her head. "He won't even get in the same room. But...it seems their dislike has become mutual. Cremmie doesn't much like his habit of yelling at everyone."

Cremmie had leaned his shoulder up against Alyx's hip, he came up to there now easily, but when Chato bounced at him he stepped carefully away from Alyx, then half reared up on his hind legs, half spreading his stunted wings, in a clearly playful fashion. He snapped his wings back closed though, to keep them safer and went to pounce Chato.
--
Have fun with any of my characters. Alyx, Lerian (candidates), Vayka (Healer), J'hen, D'vik, Teyra, Cotai (Riders), Rotasta (AWLM)


Re: Hair today, gone tomorrow. (Attn: D'vik/Fabio- Calyse)

 

Calyse found herself unable to stay mad at the little 'lizard while he behaved so affectionately - even if the stench of burned hair still followed her everywhere. She'd have to do something about that. For now, she concentrated on finding this mischievous thing's owner. Tracking down a rider named D'vik wasn't difficult, and she was given directions to his weyr by one of the staffers passing in the halls. 

Stomping up to the tunnel-side entrance, Calyse paused to tuck her badly asymmetrical hair behind her ears so that she didn't look entirely out of order. She approachd his weyr and knocked several times to announce her presence. "I have something of yours!" She called through the door, clear frustration in her words. "Candidate Calyse here, sir!"

On Sun, Aug 23, 2020, 10:44 AM Alyx <scottish.wolfecary@...> wrote:
As soon as the numbweed his his hide, Fabio relaxed into the girls arms with a relived sigh. He knew all about This part of the healing. This was the good part, when the hurt stopped. Though he wasn't so much a fan of being wrapped up. He didn't worry about scars, ladies liked scars. Or something like that. He wriggled slightly as she scooped him up again after putting things away, but made no complaints. One strand of non-torched hair had fallen forwards where he could reach it, he turned and rubbed his little wedge head through the soft locks as if he'd completely forgotten what had happened mere moments ago.
--
Have fun with any of my characters. Alyx, Lerian (candidates), Vayka (Healer), J'hen, D'vik, Teyra, Cotai (Riders), Rotasta (AWLM)


Re: Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Ry’len, & Keahi))

Steelsilver
 

((Come on, come on!)) Taiath urged, practically dancing in place, even as Keahi listened intently to the Weyrlingmaster one last time, nodding and turning to her blue, mounting up before the pair were launching skyward. 

When the visual was cleared, Taiath gave a trumpet of excitement, and ducked between, emerging with another bugle of delight. ((WE DID IT!)) 


Re: Good Luck Can Be Uncomfortable (Attn: Reirel/Tamalak)

Laurie
 

"Oh, Hi. Reirel, right? Yeah, it's kind of hard to not be known. Chato, want to say hello to Reirel?"

~~'kay.~~ Chato went up to the boy and sat prettily. ~~'lo, 'rel,~~ he said.

On Mon, Aug 24, 2020 at 2:09 PM Kouga <hanjikouga@...> wrote:
>>It had been three months since Tamalak's unexpected Impression to the tunnelwhere, Chato. The novelty for the other wherhandlers--both with and without whers--had worn off. Now he noticed that he was sometimes the recipient of dirty looks--usually when the others thought he wasn't looking.

This unfortunate circumstance had the detrimental side effect of
turning him anti-social in the whercraft. When he wasn't needed for
lessons or chores, he spent more and more time at the Weyr, where he
was viewed as more of an oddity than as an object of envy. So when he
saw someone heading towards him--Reirel, he thought--he put his head
down and veered away.

~Why we go dis way?~ Chato asked.

"I'm avoiding people."

~Why?~

"They're jealous of you. They want to be the ones who have you and
don't think I deserve you."

Chato sat. ~Dey can't have me. You all mine. Dey try, I bite.~ He
showed his sharp teeth.

"No, you can't bite them. Then we'll both be in trouble."

By now, the other person was close enough to hear, if he so wanted to.
Tamalak blushed, hoping he hadn't heard that last remark. Or any, for
that matter.<<

Reirel would admit that he hadn't been paying too much attention to
what he was doing or even where he was going, but with so many whers
around the sound of wher claws hadn't actually alerted him to
anything, no it was the voice. He blinked a couple of times looking up
and spotting the younger boy offered him a grin, he hadn't ever been
able to gold anything again Tamalak or the other boy for that matter
when they impressed their whers. Had he wished it had been him? Sure,
but he didn't hold it against them at all, not after Fort. Fort had
made it very hard for him to hold anything against anyone. After all
it was just that that had forced him into being a candidate when he
hadn't wanted to be one, but it had either been that or know his days
may be numbered one way or another.

"Hello Tamalak and Chato right?" he offered.

*Kouga*

Join the Aywas fun - http://aywas.com/register.php?ref=768

"My personality is 30% the last anime I watched." - Tumblr
"Remind me never to get out our bad side. It seems to be ...
unhealthy." - Varric
"Death By Apple Pie a lovely poem by our friend Cole" - Dorian




Re: Right Place + Right Time = Loneliness (Attn: Any)

Laurie
 

"Yeah, we had some extensive training to do with these mischievous little guys after the fiasco at the Gather," Tam said. "They're still very willful, and I don't know if it's because they're a different breed, or because Chato's bronze and Sleek's gold. Or a bit of both." He reached down--not as far as he used to need to--and scratched Chato's head. The usual frond wrapped itself around his fingers. He briefly wondered what it would be like to not have that little bit of acknowledgement, but seeing Cremmie he decided that the regular whers showed their affection in other ways.

"So, has Cremsden caught on to you naming your wher after him?"

Chato unwrapped his frond and crouched by Cremmie. ~~'bviosly Tam wrong.  We play now~~ and he ran around Cremmie playfully.



On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 7:03 PM Alyx <scottish.wolfecary@...> wrote:
"It's going pretty well actually. Cremmie is smart, and wants to please so most things have been pretty easy. I've also gone back to work part time. Now that he will stay in my room without eating furniture." She couldn't help a chuckle at that. That had to date been his worst habit to break. Not eating, or crushing her bed.

{Why not like? Tam nice, 'lyx nice?} The brown wher considered a minute, rustling his wings idly while he thought, and searched his human's mind a bit. {No, 'lyx likes just fine. Likes not trouble maker.}
--
Have fun with any of my characters. Alyx, Lerian (candidates), Vayka (Healer), J'hen, D'vik, Teyra, Cotai (Riders), Rotasta (AWLM)


Re: Trying to be Subtle atten: Tamalack/Kalain

Laurie
 

And did it really matter anyway, if anyone heard them. But Tam didn't care about that anymore. He cared about his friend.

"If you can't talk to your best friend, who can you talk to?" he asked. Then he snapped his fingers. "Is it Karla? Do you want to see her? I'm sure she'd like to see you!"

On Wed, Aug 26, 2020 at 1:07 PM sailyn2 <empressoftheworld@...> wrote:
"There's no one to hear anyway," Kalain pointed out. He shook his head. "Nothing worth talking about." Or at least nothing  he could talk to Tam about.


Re: Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Rebme, & T’son))

Steelsilver
 

T'son took a deep, shuddering breath. This was it. This was really it. Why did he feel so- so nervous? He'd been training for months to get to this point, and so had Sigyth. "Okay." he answered, squared his shoulders, took another deep breath. "..Okay. Yes sir, ma'am." he added to Rebme just in case. He could do this... right? 

He turned to Sigyth, mounted her, but not before the green gave him a nuzzle. ((We can do this, Mine, and we will.)) his dragon assured him, her affection strong in her mental voice, and he caressed her neck ridge. 

And then. And then T'son was summoning the clearest image he could, passing it to Sigyth, who passed it to Zerenth, got it confirmed. 

They went *between*.

Three. 

Two. 

One. 

And as they burst back into the warm Arolos sunshine, Sigyth bugled her joy and triumph, echoed by T'son's enthusiastic yell. ((WE DID IT!!!!))


Wherricane, Ten Different Fathers, and Dragons with Fish Burps, Oh My! JP Kassia/N'shen

sailyn2
 

The medication that K’ren had prescribed through Mariska was helping some, but it did little to stem the tide of anxiety. Of course she had a lot to be anxious about after a weird flight breaking Foreth’s leg, the failed attack, two gold eggs, and the girl who had tried to touch the eggs. Having her mates sleep with her in the night helped during the night, but they all had things that they needed to do during the day and didn’t need her interrupting it.


It was N’shen’s time to come for the morning meeting. Kassia tried not to pace, but failed. That Foreth was also anxious only made things worse. She didn’t have her gold to be her rock.


So she paced. And waited.


"Good morning," said N'shen as he rushed in to meet with Kassia. "I'm sorry if I kept you waiting." He had done his best to be on time – he even had the Weyrleader's timepiece to ensure he would be… But perhaps he should be even earlier if she was pacing as she waited for him.


"How are you feeling?"


“No, no, you’re fine,” she said, waving it off. “It’s not you. It’s me. I can’t stop thinking.” Thinking and pacing. Thinking and pacing.


"What are you thinking about?" asked N'shen. If it were Cotai, he would offer a shoulder massage, but he was not sure whether that would be appropriate here… Perhaps he might offer anyway. It seemed that Kassia could use one, whether it was entirely "appropriate" or not.


“Everything,” she said with a dramatic fling of her arms to encompass around her. “What if something happens at the Hatching? What if the gold eggs are duds? What if someone gets hurt? What if someone tries to get through with a knife again? So many things could go wrong. Both me and Foreth are worried.”


Out on the Sands Foreth was pretending to sleep, but she opened one eye. It swirled with the colors of worry.


N'shen nodded and walked around behind Kassia.


"Would it be weird if I massaged your shoulders?" he asked as he walked. "There are a lot of what-ifs. Let's talk about what we can do to stop them from happening and what we'll do if they happen."


"We'll start with… what was it, something happening at the Hatching? What could happen? We could have another cave-in… that's happened before. Can we reinforce the cavern ceiling any more than we already have?"


“If you want. Maybe it’ll help me sit down.” Kassia took a seat in the Stands. There was plenty of room behind her for him to sit if he chose.

She shook her head, trying to think. “Not at this time,” she said. “But we should before the next Hatching. We’d be in trouble right now if there was an earthquake or something else that hit the Caverns.”


N'shen sat behind her and began to try to work through some of Kassia's muscle knots. He doubted his hands were strong enough to get them all, but he could try…


"All right, so we'll schedule reinforcement work after the eggs are off the Sands. And a thorough inspection of the subterranea? What else could happen at the Hatching? More crazies running for the eggs? Between Foreth and the others, I can't imagine anyone would get through. And that girl must have already put the fear of death in most of them."


Kassia moved her braid so that he could get better access to her neck. She made a happy sound as he started in on her tight muscles.


“Someone could always try to attack like they did at the Gather,” Kassia said. “A bunch of people running in with knives while everyone is distracted.” Clearly she’d been reaching into the recesses of her mind for weird things that could happen.


"We have a choke point at the cavern entrance," said N'shen. "And we've mostly reassigned any guards who are young enough to Stands Impress. If the guests would submit to a search before entering, we could ensure that no one brings any weapons in and then stop anyone else from coming in once the Hatching is officially underway."


There was actually a smaller, human sized entrance off to the right that led into the Weyr and to the stairs to the Upper Caverns, but he was right. The majority of people would be coming through the main Cavern entrance.


“It’s a nice idea,” she said, “but there won’t be enough time to check everyone. We don’t have to worry about the Candidates, I don’t think. Nor the Arolos riders, but maybe a spot check here and there is possible.”


"It may have to do. I'd say we could have a check-in list for anyone purporting to be family of one of the Candidates, but I'm not sure how feasible that is, either. A bit faster than a frisking, perhaps," said N'shen. "And someone could put on a pair of Arolos knots without too much trouble… Even the guards who have been here forever don't know everyone by sight."


“You’re not helping,” Kassia said, only partly joking. “At least there will be at least three dragons that would react if there was a problem. Maybe that’s enough of a deterrent. So maybe that’s not a problem. What about with the gold dragons? What if there’s a problem there?” The list went on and on.


"Sorry. I'll try to keep it a bit more positive, eh?" N'shen worked at an especially stubborn knot in Kassia's right shoulder. "Would Foreth let one of the other golds help if it came to it, or would that just cause more problems?" he asked.


Kassia grunted and leaned into his hand. She doubted he could defeat the knot, but it was a relief that it was being worked on at all.


“Maybe Zivath if it was a desperate need,” Kassia said. “But I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe if I was injured or something, she’d need the other golds to keep her calm. But if I’m injured then we have a lot of problems.” She shook her head, her braid shaking with her, as she tried to rid her head of things that weren’t worth worrying about. She took a deep breath and rolled her shoulders under his hands.  


“But that’s not going to happen. I think I need more of that stuff for my anxiety that Mariska gave me. I may as well start worrying about getting a hurricane or a tornado for all I’m worrying. A thread tornado, maybe.” She turned her head to look at him. There was a small smile on her lips. “Maybe a bad thunderstorm will come through the area and there will be lightning bolts hitting Candidates. What else can we think of that’s ridiculous?”


"Why not a wherricane?" N'shen wondered as he finally gave up on the troublesome knot and moved onto something that was a little easier on his knuckles. "Clouds raining wherries and floods with whers at the crest," he suggested. "Wherries wielding pickles and whers bearing soap."


Kassia couoldn’t help it, she started to laugh. “Everyone in the Weyr getting food poisoning at once. All the Weyr’s clothing getting died green. Dragons burping up fish.”


"Runnerbeasts wearing people clothes!" N'shen added with a laugh of his own. This was a lot more cathartic than trying to figure out a way to allay each of Kassia's fears individually.


“I end up having a whole litter with ten different fathers,” Kassia suggested, laying her hand against her slowly swelling belly. “Every egg Hatches and they turn out to be golds. The golds eggs turn out to be Kabelth sized greens.”


"Ten different fathers!" N'shen laughed again. Surely, it could not be that many… "You would have to outdo Foreth, eh?" He laughed. "Maybe you'll give birth to two tiny golds, and two giant human babes will hatch from the gold eggs!"


“Faranth, that sounds even more painful than usual.” Kassia shuddered at that, but it was clear she was relaxing a bit. She turned to look at him again. “Thank you. That helps.”


"I'm glad," said N'shen. "It's a bit surreal with you and Cotai both with child at the same time. It's been so long ago since Gebrand's mum, I almost forgot what it was like… But if I let myself, I can slip back into the Dad Zone pretty easily."


“I have a feeling that this baby will have a lot of love and daddies,” Kassia said. “Hopefully I won’t be birthing gold dragons.” She took a moment to look around and then back at him. “If the offer is still there, I’d like you to move your office in here until the Hatching.”


"Of course, it is," said N'shen. "And I can do it right away if you'd like. I don't have to bring everything, and I'm sure Bl'by would be happy to work without me looking over his shoulder."


“Do whatever works for you,” she said. “I really appreciate it. I’ve got Mariska, but she can only spend so much time here.”


"Then I'll go grab everything I need," said N'shen, "as soon as we're done here. And then I'll be back as soon as I can."


N'shen turned to look toward Truenoth.


"True thinks this is a good idea, too."


Kassia smiled. “Thanks Truenoth.” She looked at Foreth. “Are you okay with this?”


Foreth grunted but said, ((If you must. Just remember, you’re Mine.))


Kassia switched to mindspeech. ((Yes, all Yours. I’m not going anywhere.)) And that was maybe part of the problem, but she took what she could.


"Thank you, Foreth," N'shen said to the gold. She might not have said yes, but it was best to be deferential to a broody gold one way or the other.


"What else can I help you with before I go to get my things?" he asked Kassia.


“Can you make the tea for me? The herbs are in a pouch on the table next to it. Just make it like normal tea. Then I’m going to drink it and then take a nap.”


"Of course," said N'shen. "When you wake, I'll have moved my office here, and I'll only be a shout away." He gave Kassia's shoulders one more squeeze and then stood to go make the tea for her. 


“Thanks,” Kassia said, feeling a little better from everything. Maybe a nap would make it even better.





Re: Of Sound Mind? (Attn: Torrela/Namieh)

 

Namieh had seen decks of this nature before among the caravans when they could come through Igen, but it perplexed her to see them in the hands of someone who claimed to be a Mindhealer. Only luck-tellers had those decks in her experience, and the confusion showed clearly on her tawny face. She didn't have the knowledge necessary to understand the hidden meanings in the card that faced her, focusing instead on the imagery of someone leaving a cart behind and the twisted trees that surrounded it. "I don't like that card," she said with an air of doubt that manifested in the purse of her lips. "He shouldn't have left the wagon, anyone could take it while he's gone. Like those firelizards. Definitely gonna steal somethin' while his back is turned."

OOC: Sorry for the delay! That is a fantastic deck, I love this!

On Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 5:24 AM Laurie <Laurie.Lynne@...> wrote:
"In a way," Torrela said. She did have a normal deck of cards with her, too. "This is a special deck of cards. I grew up in a Caravan, the daughter of fortune-tellers. But when I started to follow in their footsteps, I found that the images on our decks gave people insights into their own minds. So I took up mindhealing, but I use the cards to help me with my diagnosis." She continued to shuffle, then pulled one card out.

"Some mindhealers use ink blots. I find this to be more fun for both of us--the Healer and the patient. If it makes you uncomfortable, let me know and I'll go back to conventional methods.  And when we're done, I do have a normal deck of cards and we can play a few games."

She flipped the card over to show an old man in white walking away from a lone trader and his runner-cart., but he was looking back at it.  Firelizards flew up in the background. The trees in the card were gnarled and ambiguous as to some people they could look threatening but to others they were just winter trees.

image.png

OOC: I'm using Lisa Hunt's "Ghosts and Spirits" tarot.  Mainly because I'm going to be working on a ghost story in the Three-Day Novella contest.  

The card is the King of Pentacles/Coins. I like doing a combination using the pictures to enhance my readings, rather than just straight using the book meanings. I probably wouldn't have used this deck but when I pulled this card, to me it was a perfect jumping off point for Namieh. 

The general key words for this card are: Enterprising, Adept, Reliable, Supporting, Steady

In Lisa's Little White Book for the deck, the meaning of this card is: Someone may enter your life who can offer you comfort and stability as you experience a possible transition.



On Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 3:47 AM Ariel Rogers <ariel.aurora.rogers@...> wrote:
"They might have said something about that," she gave the neutral answer with a small, uncertain frown. If they had, she didn't remember it or hadn't been paying attention - not that it mattered now. 

At the sight of playing cards, Namieh visibly perked. She missed her own deck dearly while in effective solitary. To see the Mindhealer shuffling a set casually made the girl tilt her head like a puppy surprised by an unfamiliar sound, unable to hide the physical manifestation of her curiosty. 

"Do you wanna play?" She asked with a hopeful note. 

On Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 8:50 PM Laurie <Laurie.Lynne@...> wrote:
Well, now they were getting somewhere. Though there still seemed to be some hesitation. And what did she mean, she could go anywhere? But more importantly, were they not being taught properly?

"Had the Candidate Masters not told your class that the eggs were still too fragile to be touch?" Torrela asked. She pulled out her cards and started to riffle them. In order to get some answers, she would need some insight into her mind, and the cards would take her there quicker than all these questions. 


On Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 12:24 AM Ariel Rogers <ariel.aurora.rogers@...> wrote:
Namieh swallowed hard at the question, though part of her couldn't help but to appreciate that she cut right to business. Despite a healthy dose of wariness, there didn't seem to be a reason to keep up the charade anymore. The effort was exhausting, but so were most things while she was recovering. "I.. I'd heard that you could rig a Hatching in your favor if you touched the eggs," she answered with the quiet reservation, fussing with the hem of her gown while her eyes focused there. "If I had a dragon, I.. I could go anywhere. Be anyone. Weyrwoman even."  There was clearly more to this reason, but she hesitated to elaborate.

On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 7:56 PM Laurie <Laurie.Lynne@...> wrote:
Torrela was amused at the girl's distrust. Not the amused of blatant superiority, but the amused as if she were sharing a secret. It was obvious this girl wasn't going to give her full trust to anyone, but that was fine. Because Torrela could wait. She was in the Weyr, and it would take a Wing of dragons to move her back out.

"Trust me, even if you'd never seen a mindhealer in your life, you'll know how unconventional I am. But, before I even start, want to tell me just why you went running off to touch the eggs? Why you couldn't wait until the whole class was led down to them?" If she told her, great. If not, it would come out eventually.


On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 8:59 PM Ariel Rogers <ariel.aurora.rogers@...> wrote:
"I do not want to be yelled at," Nami replied flatly. She had a hunch there would be plenty of that in her future as it was and she hadn't a doubt in her mind that it would come sooner than she liked; her heart raced uneasily with anticipation. She watched the other woman with suspicious eyes, a blatantly untrusting sort of girl if ever there was one. Hearing about Mindhealers was entirely different from interacting with them, but fancy, learned folked were all the same in her view. They had always seemed to have a habit of making Namieh feel less than for her upbringing, for her heritage, for her gender. At least here at the Weyr they were more open minded, from what little she'd seen so far. 

"I've never talked to one of you before," she admitted more casually than she felt. Torrela was not immediately threatening and after her warning, Nami's interest piqued. "So I dunno if I'd even notice." With a pause in the pretense of consideration, though she'd already decided, the girl added with an affected sigh. "You can come in." 

On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 6:11 AM Laurie <Laurie.Lynne@...> wrote:
"Not unless you want me to," Torrela said. "I'm Torrela, Mindhealer. I thought that you may want to just talk without any judgement." She waved her hand to encompass the whole Weyr. "There are enough people out there judging you, talking about you, even blaming you that I think you need someone non-judgemental." And Torrela was all that. She spent her whole career learning to not judge people. Granted, there were those that she couldn't help it, but this slip of a girl? She wasn't bad, or evil. She just went about doing something the wrong way, and had to learn that actions had far-reaching consequences.

And it seemed that she had. Her lesson had been painful, brutal, and would haunt her for the rest of her life. Which, in Torrela's mind, seemed a bit too much. 

"I must warn you, I'm not like other Mindhealers. Something you may find interesting, or you may find scary."


On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 12:25 AM Ariel Rogers <ariel.aurora.rogers@...> wrote:
Namieh looked up from where she sat in bed at the unexpected visitor, surprised to meet someone who hadn't been in the rotation of Healers tending to her injuries. While she was eager for conversation, after Asheran's confrontation, she felt wary and apprehensive about a stranger. 

"I guess that depends," the girl answered. "You here to yell at me?"

On Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 2:29 PM Laurie <Laurie.Lynne@...> wrote:
Torrela had wanted to go speak with the Candidate who endangered the eggs right away, but hadn't. Mainly because the girl had been on pain medications and if the mindhealer were going to work with her, she wanted her to at least be coherent. So she waited several days for the fog to clear, then one day peeked into the girl's--she looked at the chart, Namieh--alcove.

"Hello. Are you up for some company?" Torrela asked.


To sleep, the everlasting dream (jp: Cuylar, Garatt)

Aaron
 

Tr’foshe had said that he needed something to make him sleep. That if he could sleep, he would feel better. It felt just possible that this was true; at least if he could sleep he could maybe just catch up enough that people would stop shouting and setting more work.

So, looking pale and hollow-eyed still, Garatt trailed obediently over to the Infirmary, looking like a boy who was highly in need of a check-up in any case.

"Hi," said the Healer once Garatt made it to an exam room. "I'm Cuylar. You must be Garatt. How are you feeling?" He looked like absolute ass, but Cuylar was not about to just tell someone that. It was not the best bedside manner.

“The Assistant Candidate Master said you’d be able to give me something to make me sleep,sir.” Garatt was too tired to remember who in the Weyr warranted a sir and who did not. It felt safer to err on the side of caution.

"You can just call me Cuylar," he answered. "So, you've been having trouble sleeping?" He began to look Garatt over, going through the standard checkup. "Is something bothering you?"

Was anything bothering him? Garatt stared at him listless for a moment until Cuylar reached to take his pulse and he flinched back, pulling his left hand away. “Just…” Explaining felt exhausting.”Just..everything.”

Cuylar sat down in one of the chairs in the exam room.

"If you want to talk about it," he said, "then it won't leave this room." For the most part, he could keep whatever secrets the kid might have. As far as he could see, Cuylar was already concerned there might be some kind of abuse going on. It could happen anywhere – even Arolos.

Easy to say, hard to trust, and Garatt looked at him warily, moving to protect his left hand with his right. “All of the CandidateMasters hate me,” he said after a moment, but there was no indignant passion behind the statement. Just tiredness, explaining a fact he was certain of to another adult who was in the end going to do very little. “They.. they don’t think I ought to be a Candidate I don’t think and.. And they’re probably right but.. But I don’t want to go home.”

Cuylar could certainly relate to that. While "home" would have served him much better had he gone there, when he was a lad, that had not been where we wanted to go. But after what he had seen…

The unhatched eggs were not quite on the same level as what Cuylar had seen, but that did not mean Garatt's experience was invalid… and then, there might have been more to it than that, too. After all, there was the much more recent unpleasantness with the girl posing as a boy to try to get close to the gold eggs.

"What do you want to do?" he asked.

“I don’t know,” Garatt admitted unhappily. He fidgeted in his chair, picking at a loose thread on his sleeve. “I’m.. I’m not really good at anything and.. And besides if he knew I wasn’t Standing my father would want me to go home.”

"When I was a Candidate," said Cuylar, "I saw something on the Sands that really haunted me. And it made me want to be anywhere but there. I couldn't bear the thought. But I didn't want to go home either."

Cuylar had not wanted to avoid home so much as to stay with a boy he loved. And his heart always ached when he thought of him, even then.

"So I took a job in the Infirmary. Convinced Master Kregg to let me stay. And some of the people who were there with me then are here with me now. Like Journeyman Cremsden. And I know that if you wanted to give it a try, he would welcome you to the Infirmary with open arms."

“My father wouldn’t want me to.” And Garatt wasn’t entirely sure he’d want a job in the Infirmary even if he did. He’d been in there for chores. People bled a lot. “He-- If I was going to be a dragonrider, that’d be okay? He says that’d be an honour. But, if I’m not doing that..”

"No higher honor, eh?" Cuylar smiled. He knew the type. But he wondered just what Garatt had at home that would be so important that even a Healer for dragonmen would not be considered nearly as good as a dragonman.

"I'm not going to tell him anything, of course," said Cuylar. "But they do bring in families for Hatchings, yes? He'll be expecting you to be on the Sands. Hmm… What's it like at home that it's better to be here like this?" he asked, gesturing to all of Garatt.

“They don’t want me to Stand for this one anyway,” Garatt admitted in a small voice. “And it’s not-- if I’m home, I’m meant to be getting ready to-- to run the hold and-- I’m not good at it.” Right now it felt as though he were good at very little.

"Are you good at being a dragonrider?" asked Cuylar. It was a fair question, he thought. If the kid thought it was going to be easier than running a hold, well. There were different types of difficulty.

Garatt stared at the floor, cheeks pink, still picking at that loose thread on his cuff. “I’m.. not really good at anything really,” he admitted. “I-- I know if they made me run the Hold I’d screw it up. I think.. I think everyone knows that, they just don’t want to say it.”

"Everyone is good at something," said Cuylar. "Here. Let me help you." He stood and opened a drawer, took out a small pair of scissors for cutting bandages and then leaned in to snip the thread.

Garatt twitched back again as the Healer leaned in, not quite a flinch but close. “What if.. What if you’re not?”

"Well, if I weren't good at this, I think they'd have asked me to find another line of work by now," said Cuylar with a warm smile. "But if you're worried about yourself, I've never met anyone in the world who wasn't good at anything. What are the odds you'd be the first one?"

"Listen… and remember, you can tell me anything, and you won't get in trouble. Has someone been hitting you?"

Garatt’s sharp inhale of breath in response to that question might perhaps have been answer enough. The boy went pale - well, paler - and he hugged his left hand tightly to his chest. “I didn’t-- I never said that!”

Cuylar's eyes widened a bit, but he did not otherwise react with surprise.

"All right," he said. "Nobody is going to send you home. And if you need protection, well. I can make sure you get it. If someone were oh, say… giving you a hard time… making you afraid. Hypothetically. I can make sure they wouldn't get away with it."

Garatt stared at the floor again. “It was only once,” he said in a mumble. “Otherwise.. Otherwise I couldn’t go on the trip. Please don’t tell anyone.”

Cuylar raised an eyebrow.

"Someone told you that they would only let you go on the trip if they hit you first?" he asked.

“...I couldn’t catch up on the essays.” Garatt’s voice wasn’t far above a whisper. “I was meant to have caught up if I was going to go. But I just-- I’m tired all the time and my-- my head doesn’t work right any more. I keep thinking I’ve done them right and then they just-- they’re not right.”

"And that's why they sent you for something to help you sleep, yes?" asked Cuylar. "You're safe here," he said again. "I'm not going to hurt you, and I won't let anyone else hurt you, either."

“My brain just won’t let me sleep any more,” Garatt confided unhappily. “I-- I lie down and I’m just so tired, and I just-- can’t. It’s like sleeping stopped working. Sometimes all I can think about is how tired I’m going to be if I don’t sleep.. Then I’m tired in class, and they catch me, or, or I try fidgeting so I don’t fall asleep and they yell at me for it.”

Cuylar nodded.

"They? Are they all haranguing you?" he asked. It seemed to Cuylar that it was the anxiety keeping the boy awake. He could get him to sleep, but if he did not find a way to alleviate the anxiety, he would just be treating a symptom and leaving the problem in place.

“I told you, they all hate me.” To Garatt it was fact, plain and simple. “I -- I tried telling the nice ones, but then they go and find out the others are angry because I can’t do anything and then they hate me too.” He sniffed hard. He thought he’d cried himself out after his earlier weep in front of Trif but no, apparently there were tears left to come.

"Here's what I want to do. But I won't make the decision by myself. I'm going to recommend that you undergo a sleep study. You'll sleep here in the Infirmary for a little while. No one will wake you in the night, and you'll be safe to fall asleep. If you still can't find sleep, then we'll give you something to help," said Cuylar with a soft, soothing tone.

"You don't have to stay there. I'll convince your father we need you here in the Infirmary myself if I have to. I'll tell him you've got the best knack for healing I've ever seen in an apprentice before and you'll save a hundred riders' lives or more before the end of the Pass if you stay with us."

Garatt gulped. “If-- if I sleep here, does that mean I have to stay when the others are on the trip?” Even if he was here at night, being alone in the Barracks the rest of the time didn’t bear thinking about. “Only.. they said I could go on the trip now.”

"I'm not going to keep you from having your fun," said Cuylar. "You'll get to go; you've more than earned it. And if anyone says differently, then I'll take you on a trip myself. Elphith and I can take you anywhere you want to go."

“No.. they said I could.” Garatt was hanging a lot on that right now. He fidgeted again, somehow finding yet another loose thread. “I don’t think I’d really be any good at a Healer,” he admitted in a whisper, as though the confession was shameful. “Don’t they have to be awfully clever? And-- and when people get hurt, I mostly just want to run away.”

"What makes you think you're not awfully clever?" Cuylar asked. It was true, there were some folks who were not exactly cut out to be Healers, but Garatt could hardly know whether he was or not without having even tried.

“I’m just.. Not.,” Garatt confessed. “Never have been. At home-- they don’t exactly say it, just..my father sort of sighs, and then he looks at my tutor and he shrugs and..” He shrugged a little himself, drawn tight in on himself. “Do you think some people are just born stupid?”

"I think everyone has different strengths and weaknesses," said Cuylar. "Being bad at bookkeeping isn't the same as being born stupid. Is your father stupid? How could you be stupid if you share his blood?"

“He’s not. He’s like.. The opposite of stupid,” Garatt said. “Maybe I got it from my mother though.”

"Is she, ah…" It was never easy to ask whether someone's family was dead. But if he was not so sure about it, then he may not have known her very well, and well, that implied… "Gone?"

Garatt nodded. Mostly he slipped around the subject in case people looked sorry for him, but this conversation was well beyond that point. “When I was being born. I think if I’d had.. Brothers or something my father wouldn’t have minded so much me being stupid.” 

"You're not stupid. And I very much doubt your mother could have been, either. After all, your father wouldn't have married her if she was," said Cuylar. It hurt his heart to hear that his mother had died in childbirth, but even more that he had been allowed to believe that his father wished he had more children. Better children.

"Everyone has their own strengths, remember? Even people who some might call stupid. Nobody can do everything."

Garatt sighed. “Yeah, but I don’t think I can do anything,” he said. “If I was one of those people who was smart all the time it wouldn’t matter if I was tired, I’d just know it all anyway and catch up.”

"Nobody can be at their best all the time – especially when they're as tired as you look." Cuylar offered a smile. "We'll get you what you need to get some sleep. You'll have to come by to get a new dose every evening, or else I'll come to you. And then when you're back from the trip, we'll do the sleep study."

“You’ll be on the trip?” It made sense, Garatt guessed, that a Healer was on the trip in case a kid bashed their face in falling out a tree or something.

"I hadn't planned on going," said Cuylar. "But I can make it out there and back in just a few seconds each way, you know. I won't leave you hanging."

It teased out a slight smile for the first time. “Thank you.”

Cuylar smiled even more broadly at seeing the little smile from Garatt.

"You're more than welcome. I promise, I'll do whatever I can to help you. Now… is it OK if I finish the checkup?" He grinned to show he was not upset.

Garatt hesitated, fidgeting a little again. His right hand clutched the left arm protectively. “My hand hurts,” he admitted finally, voice dropping to a whisper again as though guarding from hidden listeners.

"Hey," Cuylar said softly. "Listen. Nobody is going to get you in trouble here. This is a safe place. And I'll do everything I can to show you I'm a safe person. I'll be gentle with your hand, OK? And we'll find out what's wrong and fix it."

Garatt swallowed and nodded, holding out his hand to the Healer. It took a moment for him to convince his fingers to uncurl, he’d been holding it carefully and protectively for most of the day. The inflamed red lines across the palm and fingers were clearly cane marks to anyone who had seen them before, not the hardest or most severe beating but still a shock to a boy who hadn’t been used to it. 

Cuylar's eyes widened again, but as before, he gave no other sign that he was as shocked as he was. He would not ask that Garatt tell him who did it. But he would be telling K'ren that someone had done this to one of his patients. He had to.

"Alright. I'm going to wash it with a bit of diluted red wort, and then I'm going to put a bit of numbweed and a bandage on it. OK?" he said.

“Will that make it stop hurting?” He’d thought that if he just ignored it it would stop, but he’d waited all night and most of the day and the steady throb still hadn’t gone away. Despite wanting to trust Cuylar it was still hard not to flinch away from the Healer touching it. His brain suspected it was going to hurt when touched, consequently he flinched. 

“I-- I did tell him he could,” he asserted again in a small voice. “Because.. I couldn’t catch up on the essays. He said I could.. Could pick which punishment I preferred.”

"The numbweed will make it stop hurting for a time," said Cuylar, struggling to keep the murder out of his eyes. "The essays are to find out what you know. And if you need help learning. The Candidatemasters should be helping you learn it."

Cuylar bit his tongue. This was really not his place. He would have to talk to K'ren. He was the one with the rank, the one who could really do something.

"If this happens again, come tell me. And I'll make it stop hurting again." And give K'ren another piece of his mind along with it, of course.

Cuylar prepared the red wort and then knelt again in front of Garatt.

"This might sting a little. OK? But then I'll put the numbweed on, and it won't hurt any more."

“I-- I don’t think I’d pick that again.” Garatt’s voice wobbled a little, trying to hold his hand still. “I thought-- I thought maybe if it just hurt for a little bit of time-- if, if I were a proper man I wouldn’t care.” Being a proper man could be tremendously important when you were fourteen. Particularly when you couldn’t seem to stop crying all the time.

"Listen. I'm, what, thirty-five? If someone did this to me, it would hurt like a bastard. And I would not be surprised if I cried. You're no less a man for admitting it hurts." Cuylar looked into Garatt's eyes as he gently dabbed the red wort onto his palm.

Garatt twitched a little as it started to sting but managed to hold still. “He said..” Another sniff. “He said no-one acted like a baby about it where he came from.”

"And where is he from?" Cuylar wondered. There was something tickling at the back of his mind, something that seemed so very familiar… 

“F--” The word was nearly out before Garatt’s brain, tired as it was, realised how easy it would be to identify someone from that. And how very angry M’ayen would be. “..I don’t remember.”

Fire flashed in Cuylar's eyes.

"When I was a Candidate," he said as he worked, "my Candidatemaster was a man named M'ayen. And he left me to mourn alone when… when some very sad things happened. He left me to cry all by myself in my bed, because I knew he would never meet my tears with anything but… anything but this." He pointed to Garatt's hand.

"The only friends I thought I had ran from me then because they were in a place I couldn't go, and they saw my tears as… as poison compared to their own. And when I had nowhere else to go but home, it was the Infirmary that took me in. I don't care what happens, I will always make sure you have some place here. Because I know what this is like."

Cuylar finished cleaning Garatt's hand and then began to rub the numbweed onto his palm. It, too, was diluted from full strength, but still potent enough to wash away pain without quite the same degree of stink.

Garatt had jerked a little at that name, almost pulling his hand out of Cuylar’s in startlement. He was studying Cuylar in some puzzlement through the speech. Was it a trick somehow, to make him tell? Because Cuylar was surely far too old to have had M’ayen as a Candidate. 

His shoulders relaxed as the numbweed started to work, and he gave a little sigh of relief. 

“Did..” The question was hard to get out. “Did people hit you when you were a Candidate?”

"Sometimes," said Cuylar. "It was the way they thought was right to discipline people there, in that place at that time. Even some people who I thought were my friends would hit me if I didn't act the way they thought I should." He closed his eyes for a moment to collect himself.

"But not here. Not now. It shouldn't be like this."

“Did you..mind?” Maybe someone older would have noticed and backed off from this line of questioning. Garatt had yet to notice any effect it might be having however.

"It felt like a betrayal every time," said Cuylar. "I trusted them. I thought they were my friends, my teachers, mentors. And then they…" He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment.

"This is not right. And you don't have to put up with it like it is."

“...You trusted M’ayen?” Garatt’s tone held a hint of incredulity because some people surely, just could not be trusted. He pulled his hand back a little to examine it, experimentally wriggling it. “It stopped hurting!”

"Until he showed me why I shouldn't have…" said Cuylar. "I was a very trusting boy. But it didn't take that long for Fort to beat that out of me. It took a long time to learn how again. And I'm not going to let that happen to you if I can manage it." He grabbed a roll of bandage and began to wrap Garatt's hand, once he was reasonably sure the boy was satisfied with the wriggling.

“You promised you wouldn’t tell anyone.” Garatt reminded him of that anxiously.

"I won't tell him you told me anything," said Cuylar. "But I want to do what I can to make sure I can protect you. And that means making sure he can't retaliate against you, too. You know, you didn't tell me who it was that did it. Remember?"

Garatt nodded uncertainly. “If-- if he found out though,” he said quietly. “They’d all-- all of the ACMs believe him all the time anyway. And they just-- they don’t like me.”

"I won't be going directly to the Candidatemasters. I have my own masters who believe me. And they'll believe me when I say what I saw in your hand, even if I never tell them which one did it," said Cuylar. "Even if I never tell them which Candidate it was. If any of them admits they know, then they'll be as good as admitting they were the ones who did it."

“But they can’t-- they’re not going to tell all of them off,” Garatt said. Firing them was a thought too big for him. “So, they’d just.. Take his side. They always do.” He watched Cuylar work. “...also ‘m going to be the only one with a bandage.”.

"The Healers won't," said Cuylar. "And if the Healers don't, Kassia won't. Surely… she listens to K'ren." She did, did she not?

"You can take the bandage off. If you're worried," said Cuylar. "But I want you to keep it on for now. At least until you get back to the barracks."

A sharp intake of breath at that. “You’d-- they’d tell the Weyrwoman?” Garatt’s eyes had gone wide. “But she-- she hates Candidates! More than anyone! And-- and her dragon nearly killed one! She-- she told them to be mean!” Sort of. Probably. Something might have been lost in interpretation.

Cuylar shook his head. She might have said something like that. Something that someone like M'ayen might have taken for that.

"She doesn't hate Candidates. She might be upset about what happened. But that's not the same thing. And whatever she said, this is a bridge too far." He pointed to Garatt's palm. "This couldn't have been what she meant."

"I understand you don't really have any reason to trust me. But I promise you, I will be careful about this. And whatever happens, I will personally protect you if someone tries to hurt you because of me."

“Please don’t make them hate me more.” Garatt’s voice dropped back to a whisper. Some things clearly could only be discussed very quietly.

"I am going to do my very best for you, Garatt. I'm going to try to be for you what my friends – my real friends – were for me back when I was where you are now," said Cuylar. "My best. I promise."

Garatt wanted to believe him, he did, but he’d had adults say kind things before and then..change. He bit his lip, pulling his hand close to his chest again. It didn’t hurt any more but the instinct to protect it was still there.

“Then-- then can you wait until after the trip?” he asked softly. “Or-- or they might pull me back. And-- then they won’t know it was me, maybe. If I take the bandage off.”

Cuylar did not like that stipulation. But he could let Garatt have this, he supposed. Unless, of course, it came out that he knew sooner but delayed saying anything, and that was used against him.

"Have they done this to anyone else?" he wondered.

“I don’t think--” Garatt shook his head. “They just-- none of them like me. He doesn’t but--” He picked at his cuff again. “They were all, they, they were going to leave me with him during the trip.” Had they known? It felt like they all had to be in it together to Garatt.

"Is your sleeve bothering you?" Cuylar asked. As far as he could tell, this was typical M'ayen fair. He was disappointed to hear that others were going along with him, but he had that effect on some people… 

Cuylar was kind, but Garatt still flushed, dropping his sleeve as though it burnt him. “Sometimes I fidget,” he admitted as though this were a terrible crime.

"Oh." Cuylar smiled, relieved. "There's nothing wrong with that. I was just wondering whether you needed help with fixing something. I know M'ayen doesn't like to see fidgeting. Can't stand for someone to pay even the slightest bit of attention to anything but the back of his head, eh? Maybe, if it's hard not to do it where he can see it, we can figure out a way to do it without him noticing."

“None of them like it,” Garatt admitted. “It-- it was fine before, but it’s like now if I move they notice.”

"None of them?" It seemed unusual that everyone on the Candidate staff would be falling in behind M'ayen. What was he telling them? Cuylar knew he did not need a specific reason to be picking on Garatt – he was just The Unlucky One. But for the others to be going along, he had to have told them something…

"Are you sure you don't want me to say something? This isn't normal."

“...what if it’s just that I’m a really awful Candidate?” Garatt’s voice dropped back to a whisper. It had been a lot easier for him to tell himself that it wasn’t just him before it was - or felt like - all of the staff.

"What if being bad at being a Candidate doesn't mean you're a bad person? I was bad at being a Candidate. And I Impressed anyway! When I wasn't even trying to. Dragons don't care what M'ayen thinks about you. If one of them wants you, they'll have you, and it doesn't matter how good your essays were or how long you could sit still in a classroom," said Cuylar.

“No, I mean,” Garatt swallowed, not looking at him. “What if I’m just-- if, if there’s something wrong with me?” Because sometimes it felt as though M’ayen could maybe just see right into his head, into the lurking fear that had taken root when the dragons had defended their eggs. Everyone else had been able to see that it wasn’t the dragons fault after all. No-one else seemed to dwell on it.

"I'm a Healer – if there was something wrong with you, wouldn't I notice?" Cuylar countered. He was not going to let M'ayen win on this, if he could help it.

“..I guess? Maybe?” Garatt looked uncertain. “But-- I can’t do anything right for anyone else.”

"If your teachers don't give you what you need to succeed, then how can they expect you to do it?" asked Cuylar. "Can you concentrate on class if you're constantly worried about getting in trouble for not concentrating?"

“Everyone else manages!” Garatt sounded frustrated. “And it’s-- it’s not just them, I wasn’t any good at home either!”

"Everyone else can't sleep? Is trading in piles of work for lashes on the hand?" asked Cuylar. "I don't think it's you. Because I was where you are when I was your age, and it wasn't me."

“You can’t have been as stupid though, not if you’re a Healer.” Garatt said with certainty. “Because Healers have to be really smart, don’t they?” He looked again at his hand; newly numbed, freshly bandaged. “If-- if I’d just managed to catch up--” Then he wouldn’t have had to.

"You weren't meant to catch up," said Cuylar. "They kept you from it on purpose so they could push you to think you chose this." He pointed to Garatt's hand. "To think you're stupid. And they're holding the trip over your head now to stop you from telling anyone what they're doing. This isn't you. It's them."

“But my father thinks I’m stupid as well!” Garatt’s voice raised above a whisper finally as he hugged his hand to his chest again. “And my tutor. They-- they can’t all be wrong!”

"Why can't they? They all learned what ‘smart’ is the same way from the same line of people. Powerful people who decided that ‘smart’ meant people who think like they do. If they admitted that smart isn't what they thought, then they would have to admit that they're not as special as they thought, either." Cuylar folded his arms.

Garatt just gaped at him for a moment. It was one thing having an adult be kind to you and tell you they were on your side. Quite another to have another talk like that, as though they might be angry for you rather than just slightly pitying. And Cuylar wasn’t just another Candidate like Asheran; he was a proper adult, and one who looked as though he could be quite fierce in his own right with his arms folded like that.

Cuylar let his hands fall to his side, and his face softened.

"Are you all right?" he asked. He had not meant to scare the boy, but perhaps he had gotten carried away. There was… a little baggage there for him, he could admit.

Garatt nodded, still staring. That wasn’t exactly a scared expression, and he’d spent the last twenty minutes or so looking some shade of terrified so that was notable. That was.. Something akin to awe. “You really think that?” he asked after a moment in a hushed whisper.

"I can all but guarantee that," said Cuylar. He offered a smile. He had never seen anyone look at him quite like that, but it was nice to try to help a kid and not be shut down. He still felt guilt in the pit of his stomach over his inability to reach Kel.

“I never thought about it like that before,” Garatt admitted. He hesitated. “Is it okay..” he said carefully, because disappointing one more adult right now was one adult too many “..if I don’t want to be a Healer?”

"Of course," Cuylar assured the boy. "Just because it was right for me doesn't mean it's right for you." He smiled. Cremsden might be a bit disappointed when Cuylar told him he said so, though.

"What do you want to be?"

Garatt sighed. “Something that doesn’t involve endless studying?” he said rather plaintively. “I like reading just fine but.. But essays!” He sounded honestly despairing on that last word.

"There's plenty of essays with the Healers," Cuylar admitted. "And with the Harpers. I can't say I know for sure, but maybe there aren't so many with the herdsmen," he offered. "Or with the lower caverns."

“Yeah.” Garatt sagged a little. “No way my father would ever approve anything like that. I’m not sure there’s anything he even would approve other that..you know, dragons.”

"What would happen if he tried you take you back, and you just… said no?" Cuylar asked. He knew Garatt was not exactly an adult according to the law, and Kassia was not likely to want to cause a Political Incident, but. It was worth asking.

“I mean. I'd still have to inherit though, wouldn't I?” Garatt said doubtfully.”Unless you Impress you have to.”

"Hm. What if." Cuylar tapped his chin. "What if you were to… ‘suffer an injury’," he said with air quotes, "that left you unable to have heirs of your own? Maybe a runner kicked you in your business." He motioned to his own crotch.

Garatt looked to where he gestured and went pink, pressing his own thighs together instinctively. “That uh.. That sounds like it would hurt an awful lot,” he said weakly, not quite following the deception. “And-- and I’m not sure. I think if I don’t have kids then it has to pass to someone like one of my cousins after me? But-- that gets all complicated and stuff and I think it might need the Lord Holder’s approval or a Harper or something. They were talking about it in one of the lessons. Mostly I think one of our big jobs is uh, not letting that happen.” Which made it all the weirder that his father had been willing to risk his Impressing really.

"Well, we wouldn't actually let something like that happen," said Cuylar with a bit of a grin. That was what the air quotes were for, after all. "We would just send word to your father. Just a little fib so you can have the life you want for yourself doesn't sound like such a crime. I might need to get some help to make it work, but… it's worth a shot if that's what you decide you want to do. Shells, if I brought it up with the right people, they might have a better idea than that."

"And it sounds like your father already has an idea of who he would be expecting to inherit aside from you – if he sent you to Stand. So you wouldn't have to worry about that, either."

“Maybe.” It was a thought anyway. Garatt offered a small smile. “Do you still need to check me over?”

"I do," said Cuylar. "Is it OK if I touch your wrist to take your pulse?" He thought perhaps he had earned enough trust after having permission to apply the redwort and numbweed, but better to ask again after the reaction the first time.

A nod from the boy, although he still offered his right rather than left wrist. Even knowing Cuylar knew it felt better to keep the left one safe and protected in his lap.

"All right. Here we go. Just relax and breathe," Cuylar said as he went through the usual checkup. Even after their chat, the boy still had an elevated heart rate, and after the full checkup, it was clear that if he had not already been barred from this clutch, they would need to have a chat about it. But that aside, there was nothing so alarming that Cuylar would have to recommend he stay in the Infirmary for observation or the like.

He would still be recommending the sleep study if for no other reason than observing whether giving Garatt a safe space apart from the Candidate barracks made as big a difference as he thought it would. But that was not quite the same thing.

"OK. So, my recommendation is still the same. I'll be giving you medicine to help you sleep, and I'll give it to you a bit before lights out every night – including out on the trip. And then when you get back from the trip, I want you to sleep here at night for a little while so we can see whether there's any other problems we need to be addressing. Sound good?"

A nod and another of those shy smiles. “I can watch for your dragon?” Garatt offered.

"You can! Next time you've got a bit of free time, you can meet her so you know who to look for." Cuylar smiled and finished writing his notes. "For now, you should probably get back to your classes."


Re: Trying to be Subtle atten: Tamalack/Kalain

sailyn2
 

"There's no one to hear anyway," Kalain pointed out. He shook his head. "Nothing worth talking about." Or at least nothing  he could talk to Tam about.


Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Ry’len, & Keahi))

Rosiegirl
 

Ko’ssen was admittedly more than just a bit nervous about this lesson. It was a very important lesson, possibly one of the most important, and had the possibility of being the most dangerous. Not only that...it was the *first* weyrling class he was in charge of, and he very much wanted to make sure he didn’t lose a single one of the weyrlings, for this class *or* any future classes. 


So the WLM had been preparing for this lesson ever since these weyrlings’ month 8 interviews, doing everything he could to make sure that when it came time for each weyrling to go *Between* that they were having *no* issues. No behavior issues still happening, no issues with their lessons or their physical exercise, and *especially* no issues with anything involved with *Between* Prep (from Image Visualization to Image Sharing). 


It was now the end of Month 10 and he couldn’t delay this lesson any longer at risk of the green weyrlings of the class beginning to have their Flights before learning to actually *Between*. He’d done everything he could to make sure that these weyrlings were cleared to not have any issues with any part of *Between* Prep, and he’s also made the decision that the first *Between* lesson would be done privately with just the weyrling, the weyrling’s mentor, and him instead of in either the small group or large class setting. He didn’t feel like the weyrlings needed any additional stress of being watched by their classmates for this lesson. 


So, he set aside a day specific for this lesson, let Keahi know when she’d be meeting Ko'ssen and Ry'len out in the bowl, and even arranged for there to be food delivered to the barracks for the other weyrlings while they waited for their turn in the *Betweening* lesson. Once each weyrling had arrived, the trio of WLM, AWLM mentor, and weyrling flew straight to Arolos Point just a little bit outside the Weyr. 


Once there, the trio had all taken a good long look at the area from dragonback to have the visualization fresh in their minds before they’d flown a little ways away and then landed. Once on the ground again, Ko’ssen turned to look at Keahi with an expression not often seen on his normally relaxed and friendly face. Today, Ko’ssen looked stern and, maybe, even a little tense as he looked at the weyrling who was under his charge hoping that he could convey the gravity of this lesson. 

 

“You are about to take a very important step in your Weyrlinghood,” he explained. “Today, will be putting all the visualization you’ve been doing over the last several months into practice as you and your lifemate actually go *between* for the first time. You have just visited Arolos Point to take a good long look at it. Now, once you take off and gain enough altitude you will visualize it for your dragon. Once you have the image clear you will pass it to your dragon, who will then pass the image onto both Zerenth and your mentor’s dragon for verification. Once we have confirmed that your visualization is without issue, and once you feel prepared, you will be allowed to go *between*.”


Taking a breath, Ko’ssen continued with “Now, when you get up in the air I want you to visualize Arolos Point with as much detail as possible. Remember how it was when you saw it just a very short while ago, and put that image in your head. Think of the color, the shape, the relative positions of various things, the edge of the cliff and its angle to the sea. If, once you are in the air again, you feel like you need to take another look at Arolos Point then that’s more than fine. Please let us know and then go take another look so that you feel as prepared as possible. Make sure your image is as clear as possible before you transfer that image to your lifemate for them to then send to us. And then *if* we give you the go-ahead from that image, once you are ready to go *between* let us know before you go.” 


“If, at any point, you don’t feel comfortable going *between*, then you can wait. There is absolutely no pressure for you to take that step if you or your lifemate don’t feel ready. And after you either go *between* or let us know you need to wait, we will return to the Barracks where I’ve arranged for there to be a lunch delivered where you can eat with your classmates and catch up.”


“So, whenever you’re ready go ahead and get to the correct altitude and we will wait for your visualization image.” 


ooc: Feel free to just assume that Ko’ssen approved (either before or after making some suggestions on improving it) your weyrling’s visualization if you want to just go ahead and get to having your weyrling *between*. Or, if you want Ko’ssen to actually reply before you go *between* that’s ok too.



Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Virian, & E’thari))

Rosiegirl
 

Ko’ssen was admittedly more than just a bit nervous about this lesson. It was a very important lesson, possibly one of the most important, and had the possibility of being the most dangerous. Not only that...it was the *first* weyrling class he was in charge of, and he very much wanted to make sure he didn’t lose a single one of the weyrlings, for this class *or* any future classes. 


So the WLM had been preparing for this lesson ever since these weyrlings’ month 8 interviews, doing everything he could to make sure that when it came time for each weyrling to go *Between* that they were having *no* issues. No behavior issues still happening, no issues with their lessons or their physical exercise, and *especially* no issues with anything involved with *Between* Prep (from Image Visualization to Image Sharing). 


It was now the end of Month 10 and he couldn’t delay this lesson any longer at risk of the green weyrlings of the class beginning to have their Flights before learning to actually *Between*. He’d done everything he could to make sure that these weyrlings were cleared to not have any issues with any part of *Between* Prep, and he’s also made the decision that the first *Between* lesson would be done privately with just the weyrling, the weyrling’s mentor, and him instead of in either the small group or large class setting. He didn’t feel like the weyrlings needed any additional stress of being watched by their classmates for this lesson. 


So, he set aside a day specific for this lesson, let E'thari know when he'd be meeting Ko'ssen and Virian out in the bowl, and even arranged for there to be food delivered to the barracks for the other weyrlings while they waited for their turn in the *Betweening* lesson. Once each weyrling had arrived, the trio of WLM, AWLM mentor, and weyrling flew straight to Arolos Point just a little bit outside the Weyr. 


Once there, the trio had all taken a good long look at the area from dragonback to have the visualization fresh in their minds before they’d flown a little ways away and then landed. Once on the ground again, Ko’ssen turned to look at E'thari with an expression not often seen on his normally relaxed and friendly face. Today, Ko’ssen looked stern and, maybe, even a little tense as he looked at the weyrling who was under his charge hoping that he could convey the gravity of this lesson. 

 

“You are about to take a very important step in your Weyrlinghood,” he explained. “Today, will be putting all the visualization you’ve been doing over the last several months into practice as you and your lifemate actually go *between* for the first time. You have just visited Arolos Point to take a good long look at it. Now, once you take off and gain enough altitude you will visualize it for your dragon. Once you have the image clear you will pass it to your dragon, who will then pass the image onto both Zerenth and your mentor’s dragon for verification. Once we have confirmed that your visualization is without issue, and once you feel prepared, you will be allowed to go *between*.”


Taking a breath, Ko’ssen continued with “Now, when you get up in the air I want you to visualize Arolos Point with as much detail as possible. Remember how it was when you saw it just a very short while ago, and put that image in your head. Think of the color, the shape, the relative positions of various things, the edge of the cliff and its angle to the sea. If, once you are in the air again, you feel like you need to take another look at Arolos Point then that’s more than fine. Please let us know and then go take another look so that you feel as prepared as possible. Make sure your image is as clear as possible before you transfer that image to your lifemate for them to then send to us. And then *if* we give you the go-ahead from that image, once you are ready to go *between* let us know before you go.” 


“If, at any point, you don’t feel comfortable going *between*, then you can of course wait. There is absolutely no pressure for you to take that step if you or your lifemate don’t feel ready. And after you either go *between* or let us know you need to wait, we will return to the Barracks where I’ve arranged for there to be a lunch delivered where you can eat with your classmates and catch up.”


“So, whenever you’re ready go ahead and get to the correct altitude and we will wait for your visualization image.” 


ooc: Feel free to just assume that Ko’ssen approved (either before or after making some suggestions on improving it) your weyrling’s visualization if you want to just go ahead and get to having your weyrling *between*. Or, if you want Ko’ssen to actually reply before you go *between* that’s ok too.



Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Rebme, & Indali))

Rosiegirl
 

Ko’ssen was admittedly more than just a bit nervous about this lesson. It was a very important lesson, possibly one of the most important, and had the possibility of being the most dangerous. Not only that...it was the *first* weyrling class he was in charge of, and he very much wanted to make sure he didn’t lose a single one of the weyrlings, for this class *or* any future classes. 


So the WLM had been preparing for this lesson ever since these weyrlings’ month 8 interviews, doing everything he could to make sure that when it came time for each weyrling to go *Between* that they were having *no* issues. No behavior issues still happening, no issues with their lessons or their physical exercise, and *especially* no issues with anything involved with *Between* Prep (from Image Visualization to Image Sharing). 


It was now the end of Month 10 and he couldn’t delay this lesson any longer at risk of the green weyrlings of the class beginning to have their Flights before learning to actually *Between*. He’d done everything he could to make sure that these weyrlings were cleared to not have any issues with any part of *Between* Prep, and he’s also made the decision that the first *Between* lesson would be done privately with just the weyrling, the weyrling’s mentor, and him instead of in either the small group or large class setting. He didn’t feel like the weyrlings needed any additional stress of being watched by their classmates for this lesson. 


So, he set aside a day specific for this lesson, let Indali know when she'd be meeting Ko'ssen and Rebme out in the bowl, and even arranged for there to be food delivered to the barracks for the other weyrlings while they waited for their turn in the *Betweening* lesson. Once Indali had arrived, the trio of WLM, AWLM mentor, and weyrling flew straight to Arolos Point just a little bit outside the Weyr. 


Once there, the trio had all taken a good long look at the area from dragonback to have the visualization fresh in their minds before they’d flown a little ways away and then landed. Once on the ground again, Ko’ssen turned to look at Indali with an expression not often seen on his normally relaxed and friendly face. Today, Ko’ssen looked stern and, maybe, even a little tense as he looked at the weyrling who was under his charge hoping that he could convey the gravity of this lesson. 

 

“You are about to take a very important step in your Weyrlinghood,” he explained. “Today, will be putting all the visualization you’ve been doing over the last several months into practice as you and your lifemate actually go *between* for the first time. You have just visited Arolos Point to take a good long look at it. Now, once you take off and gain enough altitude you will visualize it for your dragon. Once you have the image clear you will pass it to your dragon, who will then pass the image onto both Zerenth and your mentor’s dragon for verification. Once we have confirmed that your visualization is without issue, and once you feel prepared, you will be allowed to go *between*.”


Taking a breath, Ko’ssen continued with “Now, when you get up in the air I want you to visualize Arolos Point with as much detail as possible. Remember how it was when you saw it just a very short while ago, and put that image in your head. Think of the color, the shape, the relative positions of various things, the edge of the cliff and its angle to the sea. If, once you are in the air again, you feel like you need to take another look at Arolos Point then that’s more than fine. Please let us know and then go take another look so that you feel as prepared as possible. Make sure your image is as clear as possible before you transfer that image to your lifemate for them to then send to us. And then *if* we give you the go-ahead from that image, once you are ready to go *between* let us know before you go.” 


“If, at any point, you don’t feel comfortable going *between*, then you can wait. There is absolutely no pressure for you to take that step if you or your lifemate don’t feel ready. And after you either go *between* or let us know you need to wait, we will return to the Barracks where I’ve arranged for there to be a lunch delivered where you can eat with your classmates and catch up.”


“So, whenever you’re ready go ahead and get to the correct altitude and we will wait for your visualization image.” 


ooc: Feel free to just assume that Ko’ssen approved (either before or after making some suggestions on improving it) your weyrling’s visualization if you want to just go ahead and get to having your weyrling *between*. Or, if you want Ko’ssen to actually reply before you go *between* that’s ok too.



Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Rebme, & Ez’ren))

Rosiegirl
 

Ko’ssen was admittedly more than just a bit nervous about this lesson. It was a very important lesson, possibly one of the most important, and had the possibility of being the most dangerous. Not only that...it was the *first* weyrling class he was in charge of, and he very much wanted to make sure he didn’t lose a single one of the weyrlings, for this class *or* any future classes. 


So the WLM had been preparing for this lesson ever since these weyrlings’ month 8 interviews, doing everything he could to make sure that when it came time for each weyrling to go *Between* that they were having *no* issues. No behavior issues still happening, no issues with their lessons or their physical exercise, and *especially* no issues with anything involved with *Between* Prep (from Image Visualization to Image Sharing). 


It was now the end of Month 10 and he couldn’t delay this lesson any longer at risk of the green weyrlings of the class beginning to have their Flights before learning to actually *Between*. He’d done everything he could to make sure that these weyrlings were cleared to not have any issues with any part of *Between* Prep, and he’s also made the decision that the first *Between* lesson would be done privately with just the weyrling, the weyrling’s mentor, and him instead of in either the small group or large class setting. He didn’t feel like the weyrlings needed any additional stress of being watched by their classmates for this lesson. 


So, he set aside a day specific for this lesson, let Ez'ren know when he'd be meeting Ko'ssen and Rebme out in the bowl, and even arranged for there to be food delivered to the barracks for the other weyrlings while they waited for their turn in the *Betweening* lesson. Once Ez'ren had arrived, the trio of WLM, AWLM mentor, and weyrling flew straight to Arolos Point just a little bit outside the Weyr. 


Once there, the trio had all taken a good long look at the area from dragonback to have the visualization fresh in their minds before they’d flown a little ways away and then landed. Once on the ground again, Ko’ssen turned to look at Ez'ren with an expression not often seen on his normally relaxed and friendly face. Today, Ko’ssen looked stern and, maybe, even a little tense as he looked at the weyrling who was under his charge hoping that he could convey the gravity of this lesson. 

 

“You are about to take a very important step in your Weyrlinghood,” he explained. “Today, will be putting all the visualization you’ve been doing over the last several months into practice as you and your lifemate actually go *between* for the first time. You have just visited Arolos Point to take a good long look at it. Now, once you take off and gain enough altitude you will visualize it for your dragon. Once you have the image clear you will pass it to your dragon, who will then pass the image onto both Zerenth and your mentor’s dragon for verification. Once we have confirmed that your visualization is without issue, and once you feel prepared, you will be allowed to go *between*.”


Taking a breath, Ko’ssen continued with “Now, when you get up in the air I want you to visualize Arolos Point with as much detail as possible. Remember how it was when you saw it just a very short while ago, and put that image in your head. Think of the color, the shape, the relative positions of various things, the edge of the cliff and its angle to the sea. If, once you are in the air again, you feel like you need to take another look at Arolos Point then that’s more than fine. Please let us know and then go take another look so that you feel as prepared as possible. Make sure your image is as clear as possible before you transfer that image to your lifemate for them to then send to us. And then *if* we give you the go-ahead from that image, once you are ready to go *between* let us know before you go.” 


“If, at any point, you don’t feel comfortable going *between*, then you can wait. There is absolutely no pressure for you to take that step if you or your lifemate don’t feel ready. And after you either go *between* or let us know you need to wait, we will return to the Barracks where I’ve arranged for there to be a lunch delivered where you can eat with your classmates and catch up.”


“So, whenever you’re ready go ahead and get to the correct altitude and we will wait for your visualization image.” 


ooc: Feel free to just assume that Ko’ssen approved (either before or after making some suggestions on improving it) your weyrling’s visualization if you want to just go ahead and get to having your weyrling *between*. Or, if you want Ko’ssen to actually reply before you go *between* that’s ok too.



Month 10: FF’s First *Between* Lesson ((Attn: Ko’ssen, Rebme, & T’son))

Rosiegirl
 

Ko’ssen was admittedly more than just a bit nervous about this lesson. It was a very important lesson, possibly one of the most important, and had the possibility of being the most dangerous. Not only that...it was the *first* weyrling class he was in charge of, and he very much wanted to make sure he didn’t lose a single one of the weyrlings, for this class *or* any future classes. 


So the WLM had been preparing for this lesson ever since these weyrlings’ month 8 interviews, doing everything he could to make sure that when it came time for each weyrling to go *Between* that they were having *no* issues. No behavior issues still happening, no issues with their lessons or their physical exercise, and *especially* no issues with anything involved with *Between* Prep (from Image Visualization to Image Sharing). 


It was now the end of Month 10 and he couldn’t delay this lesson any longer at risk of the green weyrlings of the class beginning to have their Flights before learning to actually *Between*. He’d done everything he could to make sure that these weyrlings were cleared to not have any issues with any part of *Between* Prep, and he’s also made the decision that the first *Between* lesson would be done privately with just the weyrling, the weyrling’s mentor, and him instead of in either the small group or large class setting. He didn’t feel like the weyrlings needed any additional stress of being watched by their classmates for this lesson. 


So, he set aside a day specific for this lesson, let T'son know when he'd be meeting Ko'ssen and Rebme out in the bowl, and even arranged for there to be food delivered to the barracks for the other weyrlings while they waited for their turn in the *Betweening* lesson. Once T'son had arrived, the trio of WLM, AWLM mentor, and weyrling flew straight to Arolos Point just a little bit outside the Weyr. 


Once there, the trio had all taken a good long look at the area from dragonback to have the visualization fresh in their minds before they’d flown a little ways away and then landed. Once on the ground again, Ko’ssen turned to look at T'son with an expression not often seen on his normally relaxed and friendly face. Today, Ko’ssen looked stern and, maybe, even a little tense as he looked at the weyrling who was under his charge hoping that he could convey the gravity of this lesson. 

 

“You are about to take a very important step in your Weyrlinghood,” he explained. “Today, will be putting all the visualization you’ve been doing over the last several months into practice as you and your lifemate actually go *between* for the first time. You have just visited Arolos Point to take a good long look at it. Now, once you take off and gain enough altitude you will visualize it for your dragon. Once you have the image clear you will pass it to your dragon, who will then pass the image onto both Zerenth and your mentor’s dragon for verification. Once we have confirmed that your visualization is without issue, and once you feel prepared, you will be allowed to go *between*.”


Taking a breath, Ko’ssen continued with “Now, when you get up in the air I want you to visualize Arolos Point with as much detail as possible. Remember how it was when you saw it just a very short while ago, and put that image in your head. Think of the color, the shape, the relative positions of various things, the edge of the cliff and its angle to the sea. If, once you are in the air again, you feel like you need to take another look at Arolos Point then that’s more than fine. Please let us know and then go take another look so that you feel as prepared as possible. Make sure your image is as clear as possible before you transfer that image to your lifemate for them to then send to us. And then *if* we give you the go-ahead from that image, once you are ready to go *between* let us know before you go.” 


“If, at any point, you don’t feel comfortable going *between*, then you can wait. There is absolutely no pressure for you to take that step if you or your lifemate don’t feel ready. And after you either go *between* or let us know you need to wait, we will return to the Barracks where I’ve arranged for there to be a lunch delivered where you can eat with your classmates and catch up.”


“So, whenever you’re ready go ahead and get to the correct altitude and we will wait for your visualization image.” 


ooc: Feel free to just assume that Ko’ssen approved (either before or after making some suggestions on improving it) your weyrling’s visualization if you want to just go ahead and get to having your weyrling *between*. Or, if you want Ko’ssen to actually reply before you go *between* that’s ok too.