Running Into Each Other
Vatirel hadn't forgotten that he'd told his father that he was willing
to check in on the River Bluff arrivals and make sure they were doing
okay. Especially the ones who were A'kades' favorites. He would have
done it anyway given enough time, but it was nice to feel like he was
helping out his dad.
**Even though he should be here too, introducing me to them,** Vatirel thought.
He just wasn't sure exactly how to pull it off. He spent a few days
trying to figure it out - did he offer to help out washing his dragon?
But it was the riders of the larger colors who usually wanted that
help, not greenriders with their smaller dragons. Also, it might look
like hitting on him, like 'wash your dragon' was a euphemism of some
kind. And that wasn't really how Vatirel wanted their first meeting to
go. He didn't even know him yet, it would just be wrong.
Maybe A'dryn would need clothing. How much could the River Bluff
riders have rescued? What was in the stores probably wouldn't fit him.
That sounded good. But after a day, he realized that seemed silly. How
long would it take until the right greenrider came through, and would
anyone be asking an apprentice to help fit it...
His next plan was much simpler and involved lunch. He could just sit
next to him and aggressively try to make friends. That was more some
of his friends' speed than his own, but it could work. Vatirel kept an
eye out for A'dryn during meal candlemarks, and after a couple days he
had figured out who he was and where he usually sat.
Except that that involved other people. Once he was sitting in the
middle of the Weyrleader's wing's table, and a Candidate couldn't go
there... Once he was eating with Lanniya... the next day, with B'jon.
He couldn't just bust in and interrupt his friendships.
He was heading out of the Weavers' workshops and on his way to the
Dining Caverns, wondering if he should go back to the dragon washing
plan no matter how bad it sounded. Because he was distracted and
looking at his feet, he wasn't paying attention to the world around
him, and he bumped right into someone.
"Ah!" The collision started a yelp out of A'dryn. "Oh, I'm so sorry!"
He'd been caught up in thoughts of what happened at River Bluff and
hadn't even seen the other young man.
"No, it was my - " Vatirel looked up, realized who he'd stumbled into,
and stumbled over his words. " - my fault," he finished.
Well, he'd wondered how to meet A'dryn.
"I wasn't looking where I was going." A'dryn managed a polite smile
and reached for the manners that he sometimes wore like protective
clothing. "I don't believe we've met. I'm A'dryn, of green Nalarith."
He held out his hand.
Oh, it _was_ exactly who he was looking for. Vatirel offered his own
hand and shook the greenrider's a bit enthusiastically. "I'm Vatirel,
a Candidate here. Pleased to meet you, A'dryn, give Nalarith a welcome
"A pleasure to meet you. Are you heading anywhere at the moment?"
A'dryn wondered if the Candidate had been in a hurry.
"I was thinking about food. Do you have time to sit and eat?" Vatirel
offered his best smile.
"Sure, that sounds good." Several people had gone out of their way to
make him feel welcome at his new Weyr and he appreciated the kindness.
A'dryn turned toward the dining cavern. "Were you born at the Weyr or
were you Searched from elsewhere?"
"Neither, actually. I was born at River Bluff, went with my mother to
Rising Moons, and then here. So I've just assumed it's my right to
"Ah, so weyrborn, but not at _this_ Weyr. Did you have friends or
relatives still at River Bluff, then?"
"My father," Vatirel said. "I don't really remember River Bluff very
much. Rising Moons was always my home - and then here was," he said.
"Is your father well?" A'dryn asked carefully.
"Yes. He transferred to another Weyr instead of Dolphin Cove. Wasn't
close enough to my mother or me to come here," Vatirel said. It was an
unfair way of phrasing it. He didn't care.
"That's a shame." That made A'dryn think of his own father and mother
and how he would likely never see them again. But that was different.
Dragonmen sometimes weren't close to their children as they could be
the result of a flight or a tryst and not a more stable relationship.
"Moving seems to be a fact of life for riders," Vatirel said. "You get
used to people you know heading somewhere else. I try to get used to
it and appreciate people while I still see them," he added, trying to
drag this somewhere cheerful.
"That sounds like a good approach." They reached the dining cavern and
A'dryn led the way toward the food. "I certainly treasure the friends
that made it here with me." He tried to push back thoughts of Lenala.
"I'm sure I'll get to meet them some time," Vatirel said. "I hate that
it happened this way, but it is nice to get to meet new people."
"Did you move here recently?" A'dryn asked as he started to fill his plate.
"We moved here in Turn 3. There was a major accident here and the Weyr
needed new riders. There was space for some new support staff and my
mother wanted her chance to be an assistant Headwoman."
"Ah, an ambitious mother. Do you have ambitions yourself, besides
being a rider? Do you have a Craft?"
"I'm a Weaver. If I don't Impress, I'll make Journeyman and figure out
a specialty. What about you?"
"I don't Craft but I was an Understeweard before I was Searched. Let's
head to that table." A'dryn pointed to one that was still mostly
"Did that prepare you for weyrling training at all?" he asked.
Vatirel headed over and set his pack down, then went to get a small
pitcher of klah and some mugs. He also snatched a small one of water.
"In some ways. Studying charts and the like isn't so different from
some of the hold management duties. And the discipline in general
served me well." A'dryn poured a mug of klah and set it down to cool,
then poured one for Vatirel.
"I don't know anything about how a Hold Steward works but I'm
imagining it a bit like a Headwoman. If you hadn't Impressed would you
have tried to be an assisant?"
"I suppose. The Headwoman and her staff at the Weyr handle many of the
duties that would fall under the Steward and Understewards."
"Interesting," Vatirel said. "Would you have done it as expected or
because it was a passion? I like my craft, but I'd rather Impress.
It's something not a caverns worker to do, but it's not my final
"It was expected of me, but I've realized I also liked the work."
"That's a good thing then." It sounded like A'dryn was a content man,
most of the time. He had a dragon to love him and work he'd enjoyed.
His mentors seemed to think highly of him.
Vatirel felt a sharp twist of envy in his gut. He worked so hard at
everything he did, even when he wasn't passionate about it, but he was
still seen as mediocre or average. Who was proud of him and his
accomplishments? He felt like he wasn't anything compared to A'dryn.
**And he's just gone through something awful. Be nice,** an inner
voice reminded him. It was reminiscent of his father's.
"I'm perfectly content to be a dragonrider, though. This is what I was
meant for." Even if his parents couldn't be proud of their man-loving
son protecting Pern, at least he was content in his duty.
Self-confidence was Vatirel's weakness, he found himself envying it
and being attracted to it both. Whether it was cocky and obvious, or
quiet and assured like this.
"I hope I'll understand when I Impress and start flying," he said.
"What Wing are you in now?" he asked, because it seemed like a good
"Hurricane. They shifted me over from the Weyrl-- er, Rapids Wing.
They needed to make some adjustments and while I would have liked to
stay in my old Wing, I'm honored that N'vanik thought well enough of
me to take me on as his wingrider."
"That's impressive," Vatirel agreed. "Wing balance changes around. You
might wind up back there one day. But if I was in a high-flying wing I
wouldn't want to change."
"It is a good recognition of the hard work Nalarith and I put in, and
I'm quite honored." While he had enjoyed his duties as an
Understeward, it hadn't filled A'dryn with a sense of purpose the way
Vatirel thought to himself that this whole conversation hadn't been
what he expected. He had thought the greenrider might need comforting,
and he did seem sad about some parts, but in other ways he seemed fine
and like the kind of man that
"If you need an introduction to Dolphin Cove hobbies or social life,
just ask me anytime."
"Thank you, that's very kind. I may take you up on that." If A'dryn
stayed busy, maybe he wouldn't have so much time to think.
“I hear there's going to be a welcoming party at some point, so you'll
have to come to that. There'll be Harper music from the trained and
probably dancing and food on the beach. It's the kind of party we're
"I have heard and it does sound fun." Lanniya would probably go. Maybe
B'jon would, too. And now this friendly Candidate was inviting him, so
A'dryn would have familiar people to stick close to.
"You'll enjoy it, I promise. And I won't even make you dance or drink
if you don't want."
Did A'dryn look like a spooked runner, to need such coaxing? Or... was
Vatirel flirting with him? Heat crept up his cheeks. "Dancing with a
man is still a bit beyond me. And, well... I have someone special."
“Dance with a caverns girl. They still enjoy the spin even and they
don't expect anything else. Or bring him and have fun,” Vatirel
encouraged. “Think of it like a Hatching party. Or like Turnover,
since it's right before then. You can do as much or as little as you
Maybe he wasn't flirting? "You sound as if you'll be quite
disappointed if I don't go."
"I think if we're having a party, you're exactly the kind of person
who should come. You're from River Bluff and we're trying to welcome
you into Dolphin Cove, and how better to do it?" he asked.
"If I agree to come will you stop pestering me?" A'dryn smiled to take
the sting out of the words.
Vatirel couldn't resist waggling his eyes at the implication there,
but he didn't say a word of it. "I promise I won't come stand outside
your weyr serenading you."
"My sweetheart might object to that." His heart fluttered. He'd just
said that _out loud_.
"Would it help if I serenaded him too?" Vatirel joked.
A'dryn covered his face with his hands, partly from embarrassment and
partly to stifle his laughter.
Maybe he was joking too much. "I promise not to serenade either of you
if you don't want. Unless it's Turnover. Then everyone is drunk and
happy. Who knows, you might serenade him."
The thought made A'dryn's face burn even hotter. "If I drink enough
for that, I'm going to be quite sorry the next day."
"Then stay away from the red punch we serve," Vatirel said.
"I'll keep that in mind."
"I promise I'll stop bothering you now, A'dryn," Vatirel said to the
greenrider. "But let me know if there's anything you or your friend
need for help settling in."
"It's no bother," A'dryn managed. "Thank you for the kind offer."
"Any time," Vatirel said with a grin.
Last updated on the September 2nd 2017