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Sun, Sand, and Sea Monters

Writers: Estelle, Leigh M-F.
Date Posted: 17th March 2018

Characters: L'exan, R'fal
Description: L’exan has a big mouth, but R’fal is open-minded.
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 3, day 20 of Turn 9


Barracks inspection was over, and Marlath had curled up in his couch with a yawn. }: I think I will sleep now. Then I will wake up, and I will be bigger, and hungry again! :{

** Just like always, ** R'fal said, smiling. He idly stroked the brown dragon's head and wondered what to do with his free time this evening. Some of his friends were studying, while others were talking with their dragonets or had turned in early after another long day of training. Perhaps it would be sensible to do the same, but he wasn't sleepy yet and instead, he decided to go down to the beach, just for a short while. There had been few opportunities to go there since coming to the Weyr, since his days were so full, and he was fascinated by the sheer vastness of the sea, which he'd never seen before. He liked watching the full-grown dragons bathing, too, and wondered if Marlath would enjoy that when he was older. And then there were the girls...

Once at the beach, he took off his shoes and wandered along the shoreline, enjoying the unfamiliar sensation of sand between his toes. Ahead of him, he saw a blue dragon with what he realised as he got closer was scarring on his shoulder. It was hard to imagine that Marlath would be so big one day, even though he was growing so fast.

}:No.:{

“I’m telling you, you did."

}:Nuh-uh. There’s no way I did something so undignified,:{ Larzeth insisted as he carefully shook out his wings to get water off them.

“I remember it plain as anything,” L’exan insisted, putting his hands behind his head to wring out his hair and temporarily exposing the entirety of the Threadscore scarring over his whole back.”We were new here, and I was telling you about some of the weird things dolphins talked about that dolphineers would discuss, like the possibility of large monsters in the sea. You gave me the most disbelieving look I’ve ever seen on a dragon, and said ‘You mean to tell me something we don’t even know about could just randomly decide to-‘ and here you ducked under the water and said ‘-go blub-blub, blub-blub, blub blub blub blub waaaaaah!’ and lunged upright so fast you scared the daylights out of Tyoreneli. The idea of a sea monster kept you up for a couple nights.”

}:That never happened!:{ Larzeth insisted, sending his rider into a fit of laughter.

Hearing a familiar laugh, R'fal stopped. It was the bluerider from the Hatching feast! Remembering how welcome he'd been made to feel by the dragonriders - and how useful he realised their advice had been now that weyrling training was under way - he approached, raising a hand in greeting.

"Bluerider L'exan - " He recalled the phrase he'd heard the some of the weyrfolk using. "My duty to you, and your dragon, sir.”

“Hey, kid!” L’exan turned on recognizing the voice and waved. “You’re looking mighty perky for a weyrling. I take it that means you’ve been taking care of yourself?”

"Yes, sir! I've been eating really well." R'fal patted his stomach. “So has Marlath. I can't believe how much he's grown already.”

}:It’s hard to believe we ever start out so small, even though the evidence is right there,:{ Larzeth commented.

L’exan chuckled. “Larzeth says it’s hard to believe dragons ever start so small,” he repeated. “But they do grow faster than expected. In some ways, that’s helpful. In other ways, it’s a pain in the arse."

The weyrling grinned. "Why - because there's so much more to scrub and oil?" He found those tasks fun at the moment, but could see how it might be different when Marlath was the size of Larzeth.

“Nah; it’s because their attitude grows along with their size,” the bluerider cracked.

}:You’re one to talk.:{

“He just told me I’m one to talk,” L’exan echoed with a cackle.

R'fal laughed. "Marlath has enough attitude as it is. Sometimes I think the hardest part of weyrling training is persuading him to either sleep or pay attention while I'm in class. He keeps telling me about everything that's going on around him, or asking questions that have nothing to do with the lesson. It can be a bit distracting.”

The bluerider snickered. “I almost wish I’d had your attention span. Back when I was a weyrling, I was dozing off and Larzeth was prodding me to pay attention.”

}:For all the good it did,:{ Larzeth teased, nuzzling his partner’s shoulder. }:It’s good Marlath is so engaged with the world, though. That means he’ll never be bored.:{

“Larzeth thinks your boy being so curious means he’ll never be bored."

"That's true." He'd never thought of it that way, but Marlath's endless fascination with the world around him could brighten his spirits even when training had been particularly hard. "I can't wait until we can fly together, and go outside of the Weyr. We'll go back home first, and then we'll visit the Hold at Emerald Falls, and the other Weyrs, and go to Gathers. He'll love seeing all of those new places!”

“Just remember to present your best self when you’re out there,” L’exan warned. “Some people get stuffy about weyrfolk, so they look for excuses to make us look bad. So good manners and a refusal to get riled will go a long way in case of trouble. But on the hand, there generally isn’t, so good times can be had."

"Oh." The weyrling looked slightly startled. "I never thought...well, I just assumed people would be pleased to see a dragonrider. When I was back at the hold, I used to want one to visit more than anything.”

“Thinking everyone feels the same way you do is a trap,” L’exan said gently. “It’s true some people out there care about us, want to be one of us, or are just thankful for what we do. But others.... well, they just plain don’t like us. That’s why we need to be at our best, to make us and the Weyr look good."

}:You’re being quite the buzzkill. That’s not like you,:{ Larzeth noted.

**I know, I know. I’m not having fun here,** the muscular man replied. **But this kid seems more starry-eyed than most, and I’m starting to wonder if there’s more the weyrlingstaff should be doing the very instant the Searched kids get here.**

Larzeth heaved a gusty sigh that blew his rider’s drying hair into disarray. }:Well, at least you’ll keep being nice about it, I hope.:{

**I’ll try, anyway.**

R'fal thought that over. It was hard for him to comprehend why anyone might harbour a dislike for weyrfolk. There was the tithe, of course, which he supposed people might find burdensome, and it was true that the way of life was very different here compared to back home, but he couldn't see how it did anyone any harm. Could it be different at the larger Holds? Perhaps if you made a mistake there, as a dragonrider, it would be remembered. He'd have to be more careful than he'd thought.

"I'll try to remember that. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself again," he said, smiling. "Marlath hasn't even flown yet, and we won’t be able to leave the Weyr for a good long time.”

**On the other hand, this one seems to have a good head on his shoulders,** L’exan thought, quite impressed by R’fal’s reaction. “Well said,” he praised, beaming at the boy. “Hey, why don’t you come have a sit here,” he said, motioning to a nearby rock worn smooth by time and the elements. “I’m not dry enough yet to ride Larzeth back, so let’s pass the time.” He seated himself, and Larzeth laid down in the warm sand. “Where have you gotten in your lessons?"

"Ground drills! And tossing firestone. It's hard work." R'fal rubbed his upper arms, which were still aching from the day's practice. "At least I'm sort of used to it from the farm. There was a lot of carrying sacks of stuff around there. It's not so easy for some of the others, but we help each other out." As tiring as the outdoor drills were, it had been a relief to find at least one part of weyrling training he didn't feel he was completely hopeless at.

“Oh, do I ever remember those. I thought it was fun, but you’re right, not everyone has the kind of background you and I might have,” L’exan commented. “It’s good your class is trying to help each other out, though. Valuable stuff, teamwork.” That part definitely sealed it; this kid was already learning fast. And with luck, the lessons would keep sticking. “They got you on any bonding exercises yet? Those can trip you up hard. When I was a weyrling, there was one day where the weyrlingstaff set up a fairly simple obstacle course, and then they’d take turns blindfolding either us or our dragons, and we had to borrow the other’s eyes in order to make it through one at a time."

"Wow. I'd like to try that!" R'fal tried to imagine what it would be like to close his eyes and trust entirely in what his lifemate could see. "It sounds fun. As long as Marlath doesn't lose concentration and start playing with the others, or forget that I'm not the same size as him and I don't have wings...well, I guess that's the point. I have to trust him not to do that.”

“Exactly. Thankfully, most dragons aren’t pranksters. And if they are, it’s harmless.” L’exan scratched the underside of Larzeth’s chin, garnering a pleased sound. “Larzeth here did right by me on that course, so I returned the favor. At that point, anyway. We tended to tease each other a lot even then."

"Larzeth teases you?" The boy looked up at the blue dragon, as if he might catch a mischievous glint in the large eyes. He was never quite sure whether Marlath was teasing him with some of the things he said. Sometimes he thought he caught a hint of amusement in the brown's mental voice... "What about?”

“Everything he can think of and then some,” L’exan replied. “It could be my age, my libido, the fact I’m an absolute sucker for my daughter, some of the stuff I got up to as a teenager, even being kind of harsh at the Hatching Feast. But sometimes he has a point; I've done many, many stupid things, so he’s right to needle me about it. Word of advice, R’fal? If your dragon says anything like ‘I have a bad feeling about this,’ it’s worth listening to, even if it turns out he was just worrying too much.” It was all recited in an easy-going manner, without censure or malice, just Turns of experience.

"Yes, sir. Marlath's pretty sensible, even if he doesn't always listen in class." R'fal couldn't think of anything he could possibly want to do that his dragon wouldn't approve of - at least, not with weyrling training filling almost every waking hour - but L'exan's advice had come in useful so far. "I do try to stay out of trouble, but it's not always so easy! Maybe he'll help me with that.”

“Or maybe he’ll egg you on. I’ve been told of a few dragons who might want to just see what happens as a result,” the bluerider joked. “Actually, speaking of eggs, let me tell you about this prank my class pulled on our weyrlingmaster not too long before the majority of us Impressed. It was a hoot, I tell you what. Just don’t get any ideas,” he added with a wink, and proceeded to regale the brown weyrling again.

Last updated on the April 10th 2018


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