I Got You
Furayl chewed his pen and looked down at the notes he'd made in the
candidates' class in a scrawling, childlike hand. He felt the familiar
stirring of fear in the pit of his stomach.
Usually he managed to get through the classes all right. He knew they
made allowances for his age, and his holder upbringing, and he always
liked the ones on caring for dragons. How they chewed firestone, how
often they hunted, the importance of keeping their hides well-oiled...
He bit his lip, knowing his mind was wandering.
Today's lesson, though, was on the history of the Weyr. He'd known
little of it before, even for a holder. Since his father's injury, it
had become an unmentionable subject, shadowing their lives but never
spoken of, except for that one, awful night when his mother had told
them what happened to Grevan, and made them promise never to follow him
to the place where the dragonriders lived by the sea.
Lost in his thoughts, he hadn't taken in half of what had been said in
the class. Something about an earthquake? And Thread had come back, of
course. But which had come first?
"Psst." The older girl seated next to him at the bench elbowed him
gently and nudged her hides toward him. Today's lesson was a bore,
something Reyela knew far too well at this point to do anything but take
notes and doodle ovines and runners in the margins, but the kid beside
her looked completely overwhelmed.
The boy looked up at her with a worried gaze. Out of the corner of his
eye, he glimpsed a much neater set of notes than his. But he couldn't
look...could he? That would be cheating.
"I'm sorry." Maybe he'd sighed and disturbed her?
Reyela tapped her notes with the end of her pen. "You looked like you
were daydreaming. Feel free to read them over if you need to," she
whispered. "Just in case you get asked a question."
He looked even more nerve-wracked at the thought of being called on to
answer. How much trouble would he be in for not paying attention? "I
wasn't...I didn't mean to..."
"It's ok! I got you," Reyela said encouragingly. The kid looked
terrified. She wondered where he was from-- a small holding somewhere
that didn't have a regular Harper to teach, most likely. "Feel free to
look at my notes any time, all right?"
Furayl's eyes widened as he considered the offer. It was possible that
she'd written something ridiculous, so that when he got called on, the
whole class would laugh at him. That sounded like something the older
boys back at the Hall would do. But he didn't have any other answers,
and perhaps girls didn't play mean tricks like that. His sister never
"Thank you," he whispered, and glanced over at her notes. Having it
written down like that, with all the dates in order, made more sense
somehow. And when, a few minutes later, the harper _did_ turn to him and
ask a question, he took a deep breath and answered, and got a nod and an
encouraging smile in return. Furayl felt a tingling glow of warmth that
began in his belly and spread right out to his toes and the roots of his
hair. He'd been right!
The moment class was over, the Candidates hurried out, laughing, heading
for the beach or the dining hall. The baking heat of the tropical sun
hit Furayl as soon as he stepped outside, but he ran to catch up with
Reyela all the same.
"Excuse me? I just wanted to thank you, again," he said, politely but a
little out of breath. "I wouldn't have known what to say without your help."
"I'll catch up," Reyela called to her friends, who waved and left her
behind with the kid. "You're welcome. But it's just what we do--
candidates help each other," she said with a smile. "This is your first
time Standing. I know that it can seem like a lot-- the classes, the
schedules, the Weyr..."
Furayl nodded vigorously in agreement. "It's...different." He couldn't
think of a word large enough to encompass everything that was strange
and new about the Weyr. The heat, the towering cliffs, the vast caverns,
the noise and laughter of the weyrfolk. The dragons. "And I didn't - we
lived in a farm hold, just me and my mama and sister, and there weren't
any classes like that, so..."
The older girl smiled. "I understand. It can be a _lot_ here. Listen...
I grew up at a Weyr. If you want, I could take some time every couple of
days and we could go over the lessons. I've been Standing since I was
your age so I know this stuff real well. And if you're ever confused or
want someone to talk to, let me know. I know it can be hard to talk to
the Weyrlingmasters sometimes."
"You really wouldn't mind?" The boy looked thoroughly relieved. The
classes still frightened him, but it wouldn't be so bad learning from
another Candidate. It'd be like when he'd practiced reading and reciting
his Teaching Ballads with his mother. He realized, also, that he'd be
able to ask questions about the Weyr, without attracting suspicion.
Anything that Master Shuvan asked him to find out. Immediately, he felt
guilty - but it was true. "Thank you!"
"Of course I wouldn't mind-- I wouldn't have offered if I did!" She
glanced over her shoulder towards the beach. "Listen... I should go.
Just come find me if you need anything. I'm Reyela, by the way," she
added. "You're... Fural?"
"Yes - no - I mean, I'm Furayl." He blushed, but was reassured by her
smile. "See you at class tomorrow?"
"I'll save you a seat, Furyal." Reyela waved and hurried off, after her
Last updated on the July 21st 2021