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Jumping to Conclusions

Writers: Estelle
Date Posted: 8th April 2018

Characters: R'fal, O'len, Lydela
Description: R'fal attends his extra class, unaware that he's being followed
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 4, day 5 of Turn 9


"...Marlath is growing fast Ma and is now much biger than me. You would
hardly beleve how much he's grown since the Hatching. We are longing for
the day when he can fly for the first time, which is not far of now. He
cant remember you or Da well because his hatching day was to long ago
and his memery doesnt go back as far as mine (this is normal for a
dragon and nothing to be conserned about) but he says he knows you any
way thro me and is looking forward to seeing you agen. Sometimes in
drills its like we are one and I can hardly tell which thots are his and
which are mine. Those are good times. The classes are not so good, but a
kind Harper is helping me and I think if I keep working I can do beter.

Da must be getting ready to sell this Turns lambs soon and I hope they
are growing fat. Perhaps some will come here. Marlath says he hopes so
as he is sure they will be delishus! If you have time plese write to me
and tell me how evryone is. I missed Kerril's birthday, but I will be
there next Turn for sertin! As good as it is at the Weyr there are times
when I miss home

***

R'fal hesitated over the last sentence, then crossed it out. His mother
might worry, and besides, he was going to have to show this to the
harper journeywoman who'd been helping him and he didn't want to seem
ridiculous. Brave and heroic dragonriders, he thought, weren't supposed
to miss their parents. Instead, he signed his name and rolled up the
hide, ready to take to class.

He had mentioned the possibility of writing a letter to his family at
his last lesson. If he'd had more than his occasional experience of
teachers, he might have guessed the outcome: it had become his
assignment to bring to the next class. At least he'd been able to work
on it in the barracks without anyone asking any questions, and for once
he'd forgotten to be bored as he recounted the events of the past
sevendays, described his training and recorded every detail of Marlath's
appearance and developing personality.

He'd rushed dinner so he'd have time to finish it, and now he'd have to
get going if he was going to be on time. Outside the barracks, he saw
O'len chatting with one of the other green weyrlings, Lydela. The other
boy saw him too and raised an eyebrow. Remembering his ruse about the
imaginary girl, R'fal winked and raised a hand to wave before heading
off in the direction of the classrooms.

***

"A classroom! That's not a bad idea." Lydela couldn't help but
appreciate her fellow weyrling's creativity in choosing a location to
meet his secret girlfriend. "It'll be deserted at this time in the evening."

"Let's hope none of the Weyrlingmasters chooses this evening to give
someone extra tuition," O'len said, glancing over his shoulder
nervously. "Then they really will be in the soup."

"Maybe they can hide in a cupboard." She smirked. "It could be R'fal's
lucky day."

"That's not funny. And what if we get caught too? We'll be in trouble
for not telling anyone."

"Ah, we're more likely to expire from boredom. They could be in there
for ages." Lydela debated taking a look through the keyhole, just to see
who it was. But if the girl hadn't arrived yet, she might show up and
catch her in the act.

"They're probably just chatting, like he said." O'len shifted
uncomfortably. No matter how curious he was, he didn't like spying on
his friend. "You're right; this is boring. Let's go back. There's still
time to meet the others at the beach."

"Not until we find out who it is. I...wait!" She held up a hand,
listening. "Someone's coming."

O'len ducked into a side passage in the opposite direction to the sound
of approaching footsteps, followed by Lydela, and peered cautiously
around the corner. The person who hurried down the corridor towards the
classroom was loaded down with writing materials and had a gitar case
slung over one shoulder. However, she was not a teenage girl and hadn't
been one for Turns. For one awful moment, he thought R'fal and his
girlfriend were going to be found out, as he'd predicted, but as the
woman shifted her stack of papers to one arm and turned to push the door
open with her free shoulder, she spoke.

"R'fal! I'm sorry I'm late..." Whatever she might have been about to say
was cut off as the door swung shut behind her.

The two green weyrlings slowly turned and stared at each other in mutual
astonishment.

"_That's_ R'fal's girlfriend?"

"It can't be. That's Journeywoman Rhela. She taught us when we were little."

"I know who it is!" Lydela nearly forgot to whisper, and hastily lowered
her voice. "She must be over _thirty_! Holders are weird."

"Well, um...if they like each other, why not?" O'len said. Come to think
of it, he wouldn't mind an older rider himself when Niannath was mature
enough to understand. "She wasn't his teacher."

"I'll tell you why not. Journeywoman Rhela has a weyrmate!"

"She does?" O'len was momentarily distracted by her superior command of
Weyr gossip. "How do you know?"

"They had a big argument in the dining cavern last sevenday because she
was supposedly flirting with some rider. I don't think he's been here
that long." Lydela rolled her eyes. "Like I said: holders. Weird."

"Maybe we're jumping to conclusions." It did seem implausible that a
grown journeywoman with a mate would want to spend her time holding
hands with a weyrling, no matter how cute. "This might not be what it
seems."

"Then what," Lydela asked, gesturing towards the closed door with a
dramatic flourish, "_is_ going on in there?"

"Ssh...they'll hear us," O'len hissed. Deciding that they'd pushed their
luck with this spying lark long enough, he grabbed her arm and hurried
them away. "She might have left something in the classroom. It could be
a coincidence."

"Then why did she say was late? She was expecting him to be there."

He recalled R'fal's sly wave when he'd left the weyrling barracks
earlier. He'd definitely been off to meet his girl...or, at least, O'len
had thought so. "Perhaps he's taking music lessons. He might want to
serenade his sweetheart with love ballads."

"Have you ever seen him practising? And why would she spend her free
time helping R'fal with a romantic relationship he isn't even supposed
to have? I think we were right the first time. They're in love." She bit
her lip. "Do you think we should tell someone?"

"Like who?"

"One of the Weyrlingmasters?"

O'len frowned. It went against the grain to tattle on a classmate, and
he also wasn't sure how to explain their suspicions without admitting
that he'd broken his promise. "We don't know for sure he's doing
anything wrong. Marlath hasn't been upset, has he?"

"No, but..."

"If they're both happy, then we should keep our mouths shut. It _is_
none of our business."

Lydela reluctantly nodded. "Okay. But I'm keeping an eye on him." She
still couldn't quite believe it. R'fal and their old teacher! Weyrbred
as she was, she'd never had a piece of gossip this shocking...or juicy.
And she couldn't tell anyone. Could she?

Last updated on the April 10th 2018


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