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The Hardest Part

Writers: Aaron, Paula
Date Posted: 17th September 2018

Characters: Dessa, K'don
Description: Dessa offers advice on keeping Maciath under control
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 6, day 15 of Turn 9


"Hello, K'don," Dessa greeted the young brownrider. "I heard you
needed help with your visualization practises," she continued. They
were preparing for their first /between/, exciting phase and getting
good in visalization was important. Dessa had turned out natural in
it, her harper training helping no doupt, so she got assigned to help
those who had less easier time.

K'don blushed. Had it already gotten around so much that Dessa wanted
to help him? How embarrassing! Of course, he did appreciate that she
wanted to help, but it was still tough to admit that he was frightened
of between and worried about going there himself.

"Um. Hi, Dessa. It, um... It's not so much that I'm having trouble
myself, exactly. I just am not so sure Maciath and I are really
hearing each other very well on it. But then... if he's not getting
what I'm showing him, I guess that's my fault, not his. I don't really
know what to do, but I didn't mean to bother you with it," he said,
turning his gaze to the floor.

"Helping you is good practise for goldrider's duties," Dessa replied,
hoping that would make the boy feel better about it.

K'don blushed again, though he tried his best not to react visibly. He
could tell Dessa was trying to help, and he would feel even worse if
he made her feel bad.

}: Don't think on it so much! She needs to learn how to do her work,
too, doesn't she? Let her. She will learn by helping us, and we'll
learn so you don't fret so much about what I was born to do,:{ said
Maciath.

K'don smiled and nodded to Dessa.

"I really appreciate your help," he said.

"Shall we get to work then?" Dessa suggested and sat down. "Do you
know what precicely is your problem?"

"Oh. Yes. Right. Of course. Sorry." K'don rubbed his cheeks, certain
he was blushing again after his flustered answer.

"Well." Keep it together, K'don, he chided himself. She's your
classmate, not just a goldrider. You're friends, right? She won't bite
your head off.

"Mostly, it's Maciath doesn't like to wait. I have to keep a very
tight hold on him to keep him from jumping the start. I'm worried that
if we don't have time to take it slow, or maybe even when we do, he'll
jump between before we're ready. And. We won't come back."

"I see," Dessa mused. "I could have Santhiath to speak to him and
stress the importance for getting permission and clear image from the
rider before going /between/," she suggested. The only issue was that
Santhiath was still carrying a grudge against Maciath, because he had
been the Hatchling to push Dessa over She didn't even remember why,
she just remembered she didn't like Maciath.

"If you think it will help," said K'don with a hopeful rising tone and
smile. It was all things he had told Maciath before himself, but there
was something about hearing orders from a gold that somehow just
worked.

Maciath had no memory at all of knocking Dessa down. But he was
clearly still just as impulsive now as he had been from the start.

"Dragons tend to pay attention and do as the golds tell them to do,"
Dessa remarked with wry tone.

"O-of course," said K'don, turning his eyes to the ground and feeling
foolish for having phrased his answer with any shadow of a doubt. Of
course, Santhiath's word would work. "Sorry."

"K'don, stop apologizing all the time," Dessa said gently.

"S-"

K'don barely caught himself before he apologized again. Instead, he said,

"I mean, yes, ma'am." This was already a disaster!

Maciath chuckled. }:Don't be such a showman. Everything will be all right.:{

**She already thinks I can't handle this... Or you.**

}:We will work together. I'm not out to hinder you.:{

**I know. It's just hard sometimes to help you remember to think
first. And I don't want to die.**

}:I won't let you die.:{

"Are you hesitant when dealing with Maciath?" Dessa asked, reminding
herself how young he was.

"No. I mean. I don't think so?" K'don answered. His eyes wandered back
and forth as he reexamined their interactions thus far. As far as he
could tell, the biggest issue was simply whether he would notice and
have enough time to intervene when Maciath was going to do something
impulsive. He had to think of whatever Maciath might do before he
could do it.

"You need to be firm with him. They don't really have that good of a
memory," Dessa adviced, basically just reminding what had been told
during the weyrling classes.

K'don nodded. Of course, he had learned this, both in lessons and in
practice. But there must be something, some part of knowing it that
was not coming through in what he was doing. When he was holding
Maciath back from making sloppy kills, it had been the distraction
from Marlath that really broke his hold on Maciath.

It was always some distraction that made him lose his grip. And when
it came to between, any little distraction could be the end of them.
It was a terrifying thought.

"It's usually something else catching his attention that makes me lose
him," said K'don. "But I don't know how to keep him from getting
distracted."

"That's where you need to be firm and keep him focused. It's just
something that takes practise," Dessa replied. "Faranth knows that
Santhiath can get easily distracted too," she rolled her eyes. "It's
like riding a runner," she remembered he was a beastcrafter. "You
usually don't let it wander around by whim. You guide it with the
reins and your body. In a case of dragons, the reins are just mental.
Try using that imagine, picture the reins on Maciath and then tug them
to get his attention to right direction or pull them to restrain him.
The same way you visualize your destination when /betweening/."

K'don nodded. Having been an apprentice beasthealer himself, this
visualization made quite a bit of sense. Although he had very rarely
ridden runnerback, he had his share of experience in leading beasts
here and there.

}:Does it gall you look on me as a beast?:{ asked Maciath, somewhat
amused at the twinge of dissonance building in K'don's thoughts.

**A bit,** the boy admitted. **You're much more than a beast.**

}:Maybe,:{ said the brown, not at all offended by the comparison.
}:But you are meant to lead me. And if this kind of thinking helps you
do that, I will not be wounded by it.:{

"Maciath says that helps," K'don said aloud. "Leading him will get
easier as he learns where I mean for him to go. I hope..." If it was
like the true beasts, he might.

}:We will work to fasten our wills together as one. And we will do
that as you lead me and I follow you.:{

"Yes, once you both get older and more experienced, you won't need
things like that," Dessa replied encouragingly. "You're both still
very young."

K'don blushed at the reminder. Yes, he was young among the youngest
in the class. The youngest riders in the weyr. Yes, he would have to
wait behind until he was old enough to fight while most of his
classmates risked their lives without him.

He tried not to sulk.

}:Let not your heart be downcast! We will fight when it is time for us
to fight. And we will fly high and fight true.:{

"It all just seems like it's forever away. When I'm old enough..."
K'don trailed off.

"It will go faster than you realize," Dessa comforted. "It's not a
shame to be young. You already have Maciath. Think all those
candidates that have to wait Turns to get their dragon. You don't have
to feel that uncertainity, will you Impress before you're too old."

K'don smiled, taking heart at Dessa's encouragement. "Thanks. That
does help," he said. "It's just... I'll have to stay back while
everyone else goes to fight. I know I'll have plenty of time to fight
later, but... It's scary that people die doing this. And my friends
are going to do it while I'm safe."

"That really is the hardest part," Dessa agreed.

Last updated on the October 1st 2018


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