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Queuing for Breakfast - Second Day of the #medhunt (ATTN: Anybody!) #medhunt

Jenna Cunningham
 

He stood barefoot on the warm sands, working his toes under the soft grit of the cavern floor. 
 
The murky egg ahead of him split with an audible crack, fluid seeping from the wound; the dragon spilled out in a heap, nose over tail. One wing caught on a sharp fragment of eggshell, twisted painfully, and the dragon bellowed, wrenching away. 
 
The world ground to a syrupy slowness. He felt his each individual beat of his heart hammer in his chest. 
 
Then, guilt pushed him into action.
 
He ran to help the dragon, kicking in the egg to shatter it into smaller pieces, and reached out to try and free the wing, when something heavy hit him across the chest. Something wet and hot spilled down across the shredded front of his uniform. Pain. The little dragon was lurching at him, jaws snapping, eyes wild. 
 
I love you, it was screaming at him. I love you, I love you, I love you.
 
He went down under the claws and body of the creature as it screamed at him, trying to shield his face, and something hit him hard across the throat --
 
Asheran jolted awake with a muted yelp, tearing at his neck, where a thorn from one of the weeds he'd rolled over on had dug into the skin.
 
He sat up, pulse racing, and looked around wildly. Then, as he recognised the unfamiliar treetops overhead and the smell of dirt below him, he relaxed.
 
It was early morning on the second day of the medical supply run.
 
As Asheran stood, he noticed that he had rolled over in his sleep and crushed the little white flower he'd found the day before. He stooped, picked it up, pocketed the bruised petals, then trudged blearily back to the clearing to get a crust of bread to start the day. Those still manning the stewpots looked as exhausted as he felt. He didn't blame them. He had seen things on the way there for dinner last evening that had drove him deeper into the woods out of embarrassment, away from the revelry, mildly uncomfortable and intensely lonely.

That discomfort had followed him through his restless dreams. 

He rubbed at his neck again, wincing, then joined the queue for a cuppa, a bit of bread, and leftover stew from the night before.

Maybe he'd spot someone in the line he could talk to. That would snap him out of his funk.

If not, then there was always the klah.

mglady3@...
 


He stood barefoot on the warm sands, working his toes under the soft grit of the cavern floor. 
 
The murky egg ahead of him split with an audible crack, fluid seeping from the wound; the dragon spilled out in a heap, nose over tail. One wing caught on a sharp fragment of eggshell, twisted painfully, and the dragon bellowed, wrenching away. 
 
The world ground to a syrupy slowness. He felt his each individual beat of his heart hammer in his chest. 
 
Then, guilt pushed him into action.
 
He ran to help the dragon, kicking in the egg to shatter it into smaller pieces, and reached out to try and free the wing, when something heavy hit him across the chest. Something wet and hot spilled down across the shredded front of his uniform. Pain. The little dragon was lurching at him, jaws snapping, eyes wild. 
 
I love you, it was screaming at him. I love you, I love you, I love you.
 
He went down under the claws and body of the creature as it screamed at him, trying to shield his face, and something hit him hard across the throat --
 
Asheran jolted awake with a muted yelp, tearing at his neck, where a thorn from one of the weeds he'd rolled over on had dug into the skin.
 
He sat up, pulse racing, and looked around wildly. Then, as he recognised the unfamiliar treetops overhead and the smell of dirt below him, he relaxed.
 
It was early morning on the second day of the medical supply run.
 
As Asheran stood, he noticed that he had rolled over in his sleep and crushed the little white flower he'd found the day before. He stooped, picked it up, pocketed the bruised petals, then trudged blearily back to the clearing to get a crust of bread to start the day. Those still manning the stewpots looked as exhausted as he felt. He didn't blame them. He had seen things on the way there for dinner last evening that had drove him deeper into the woods out of embarrassment, away from the revelry, mildly uncomfortable and intensely lonely.

That discomfort had followed him through his restless dreams. 

He rubbed at his neck again, wincing, then joined the queue for a cuppa, a bit of bread, and leftover stew from the night before.

Maybe he'd spot someone in the line he could talk to. That would snap him out of his funk.

If not, then there was always the klah.
_._,_._,_

~~~~~~~

"Rough night?" Asked a sympathetic male voice.

The speaker - a bronzerider by his knot - was a young man with dark hair and blue eyes, dressed, some might say, far too neatly for a expedition out in the woods. There was already a mug of klah in his hands, so presumably he was in line for something else. And shortly after he spoke, he closed his eyes brought his mug up to his face and inhaled deeply. 

"One of man's better creations." Kyn'dras exhaled with a happy sigh.

Jenna Cunningham
 

"Yeah, didn't sleep well." Asheran half-turned to the other man in the queue, then spotted the bronzerider knot and brought his hand up, touching his knuckle to his temple. "Bronzerider," he acknowledged politely, then lowered his arm.

"Just bad dreams. I guess I fell asleep with something weighing on me."

mglady3@...
 


"Yeah, didn't sleep well." Asheran half-turned to the other man in the queue, then spotted the bronzerider knot and brought his hand up, touching his knuckle to his temple. "Bronzerider," he acknowledged politely, then lowered his arm.

"Just bad dreams. I guess I fell asleep with something weighing on me."
_._,_._,_

~~~~~~

A slight grimace slid across Kyn'dras's face at the salute. "That's really not necessary. Really." He protested mildly. "It's Kyn'dras. Just Kyn'dras." Now it was his turn to take a moment to study Asheran's knots, though he made no comment.

"And you really shouldn't be falling asleep underneath heavy objects." He quipped lightly "Health hazard, you know." Another grimace twisted his face. "Sorry. Bad joke. Very bad joke." He scrubbed a hand across his face. "It's too early for this. Anyways, what's been weighing on you - if you don't mind me asking?" 



Jenna Cunningham
 

"Well," Asheran began, then used the shortening breakfast queue as an excuse to shuffle forward and gather his thoughts. "Yesterday, heading to the cook line for dinner, I took a shortcut, and there were a couple there in the bushes who were coupling, ah, you know." He made an okay sign with one hand, and poked the index finger of his other hand through the circle his thumb and index finger made, looking at the older man with what he hoped was a very knowledgeable look. Then he turned his head to the side, eyes slanting upward in thought.
 
"...and it made me think of home -- not in that way, I didn't have a girl or anything, I wouldn't dishonour any of the girls back home like that without a promise out of it, but just... I started thinking about my family, and how it's been awhile since I've seen them. It had me feeling a bit low and lonely." He chewed on the inside of his cheek, then nodded and continued, as if self-reassured by his own response: "And we'd had a lesson a couple days before about our fears and that, and it must have just weighed on me. So I had a bad dream about being on the sands again, about maybe getting injured... But I'm not afraid of being hurt, I don't think, so I don't know why I'd dream that."

mglady3@...
 


"Well," Asheran began, then used the shortening breakfast queue as an excuse to shuffle forward and gather his thoughts. "Yesterday, heading to the cook line for dinner, I took a shortcut, and there were a couple there in the bushes who were coupling, ah, you know." He made an okay sign with one hand, and poked the index finger of his other hand through the circle his thumb and index finger made, looking at the older man with what he hoped was a very knowledgeable look. Then he turned his head to the side, eyes slanting upward in thought.
 
"...and it made me think of home -- not in that way, I didn't have a girl or anything, I wouldn't dishonour any of the girls back home like that without a promise out of it, but just... I started thinking about my family, and how it's been awhile since I've seen them. It had me feeling a bit low and lonely." He chewed on the inside of his cheek, then nodded and continued, as if self-reassured by his own response: "And we'd had a lesson a couple days before about our fears and that, and it must have just weighed on me. So I had a bad dream about being on the sands again, about maybe getting injured... But I'm not afraid of being hurt, I don't think, so I don't know why I'd dream that."
_._,_._,

~~~~~~

The description of the couple in the bushes elicited an raised eyebrow from Kyn'dras. He wasn't body shy - riders generally were not and Kyn'dras had been...fond of bedroom sports even before he'd impressed. Even so, public exhibitions were not, as far as Kyn'dras knew, par for the norm, at least when there was no flight involved. But what other consenting adults got up to in their free time was none of his business, so he shrugged off the thought and focused instead on the rest of what Asheran was saying.

And in, what was for him, a rare fit of sobriety, decided to give a serious answer. "Well, accidents do happen on the sands." And somehow more often and more spectacularly at Arolos than at any other weyr. Kyn'dras didn't quite see the need to add that part. "But that's why you have candidate lessons. So that you know what do when the time comes. So that you can keep both yourself and the hatchlings safe."

Jenna Cunningham
 

"I know - I've been to them before. A couple times now. I even raised a paper hatchling, in one of my lessons. It's not that I'm afraid of getting hurt, it's really not that at all," he persisted, unsure how exactly to explain it. It was the loneliness, maybe. He wasn't sure. 
 
He trailed off to shuffle forward again, and this time he was at the front of the line, accepting a hot cup of klah and a bit of bread with a grateful nod. Then, stepping to the side, he focused on the bronze rider again, attentive and respectful.
 
"How was it for you? If I can ask."

mglady3@...
 


"I know - I've been to them before. A couple times now. I even raised a paper hatchling, in one of my lessons. It's not that I'm afraid of getting hurt, it's really not that at all," he persisted, unsure how exactly to explain it. It was the loneliness, maybe. He wasn't sure. 
 
He trailed off to shuffle forward again, and this time he was at the front of the line, accepting a hot cup of klah and a bit of bread with a grateful nod. Then, stepping to the side, he focused on the bronze rider again, attentive and respectful.
 
"How was it for you? If I can ask."
_._,_._,

~~~~~~

The bronzerider fell silent for a moment, as if taking the time to sift through his memories. "Exciting. Terrifying." He replied at last. "It was our first hatching - my brother and I, that is - though we'd been at the Weyr for about a year at that point. Padakth was one of the first to hatching." A smile curved Kyn'dras's lips, small and yet intimate. "Knew that he was trouble the moment I laid eyes on him. And when he came towards me, I just... knew." 

He chuckled softly. "Not very eloquently, am I? I know, I know - as a former harper, I really should do better, but..." He shrugged. "It really is difficult to describe."  

Jenna Cunningham
 

He took a sip from his cup of klah as the other man spoke, letting the warm, spiced liquid settle on his tongue, pricking at his taste buds. Then he swished it around his mouth and swallowed, looking down into the mug. It wasn't that the bronze rider's story wasn't interesting. But it wasn't helpful to him - terrifying, exciting. He could have guessed that for himself. But the intangible parts, the hard to explain parts were what he wanted to know about. He felt like a runner at a Gather race, pulling at the reins, aching to hit the starting line and just go - even if he didn't know he was running toward.
 
"It sounds like something," he said finally, because he felt that there ought to be words. "What about your brother? Did he - is he a rider, too?"

mglady3@...
 


He took a sip from his cup of klah as the other man spoke, letting the warm, spiced liquid settle on his tongue, pricking at his taste buds. Then he swished it around his mouth and swallowed, looking down into the mug. It wasn't that the bronze rider's story wasn't interesting. But it wasn't helpful to him - terrifying, exciting. He could have guessed that for himself. But the intangible parts, the hard to explain parts were what he wanted to know about. He felt like a runner at a Gather race, pulling at the reins, aching to hit the starting line and just go - even if he didn't know he was running toward.
 
"It sounds like something," he said finally, because he felt that there ought to be words. "What about your brother? Did he - is he a rider, too?"

~~~~~~

Kyn'dras grinned sympathetically. "Not quite what you were hoping for, is it?" He guessed. "But it really is difficult to put to words." His eyes gazed off into the distance as he turned his thoughts inwards. "One moment you're standing there - hot, sweaty, and shaking with nerves - and the next moment he's there, in your head. And it's like he's always been there." The rider seemed to come back to himself with a small shake of his head. "Like I said, hard to explain." He shrugged and took a sip of his klah.

"And yeah, my brother is a rider as well now." He continued. "Feast Crashers, which would have been..." He thought for a moment. "The clutch right after Padakth's actually. Now there was an interesting clutch."

 

Jenna Cunningham
 

Asheran's eyebrows went up in the universal "tell me more" signal at the mention of an "interesting clutch." His first impulse was to conjure up images of two-headed hatchlings... but that hit too close to his earlier nightmare, and made the klah sit heavy in his stomach, so he pushed the thought aside. 
 
"It helps," he said truthfully enough. "It's... not helpful, exactly, but it helps."
 
Then, because he wanted to hear more about the clutch, but didn't want to hold the bronze rider up from any important business, he added: "Are you on transport duty, or do you wanna partner up for the plant stuff?"