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Somewhere New

Writers: Aaron, Halyonix
Date Posted: 10th December 2022

Characters: T'ner, Y'rim
Description: T'ner spots a new face.
Location: Barrier Lake Weyrhold
Date: month 4, day 14 of Turn 11

The air was not quite warm yet, but it was not quite so frigid anymore, and T'ner was exceptionally thankful for it. Winter was quite a different beast in the mountains than it had been back home at Green Valley.

After eight months, he had a fair idea of which faces were new. But given the knots, T'ner did not have to guess.

**Hey, Leh, do you know who that is?**

}:That, my friend, is the distinguished rider of the lovely Quiroanth,:{ the blue answered.

**Are they new?**

}:They are, indeed.:{

T'ner took the opportunity to sit in the empty space across from the new rider. He had been new twice in the last Turn " and that was just in terms of home. He had a good idea of what the distinguished rider of the lovely Quiroanth was going through newly arrived at the Barrier Lake.

"Ho there," he greeted him. "Lehystrath says you're new here. I'm T'ner. Welcome." He offered a hand to shake.

}: Oh, he's cute but definitely too young, :{ Quiroanth commented as Y'rim looked up at the bluerider that was taking the seat across from him. He agreed with his dragon but his shy, welcoming smile didn't dissuade the conversation from starting.

"Y'rim, Quiroanth's rider," the older greenrider said, gently folding his hand into T'ner's for that handshake. "And yes, we're new. We came from River Bluff just a few sevendays ago. We're just now getting into the straps again. Have you...been here long?" Most of the riders were new to Barrier Lake in some fashion, since it was such a new place, but some had been there first, putting in the work to build what would become their new home.

T'ner had not been prepared for a gentle handshake, but Y'rim nevertheless provoked a warm smile from him.

“Only eight months or so,” said T'ner. “And Lehystrath and I have only been together a Turn.” It felt odd to put a date to it. The time before Lehystrath may as well have been another man's life altogether. Most riders felt that way, but former holdfolk likely felt it most keenly. Especially those who might once have been married. He absentmindedly touched the bare finger where his ring had once been.

“I suspect you must have known your Quiroanth a bit longer.”

A small, gently sincere smile from Y'rim and then, "A bit. Thirteen Turns. Though..." And he turned, looking in her direction, wherever she was out of sight. That familiar, contented look that all dragonriders wore whenever they revisited the moment of Impression appeared. When Y'rim looked back at T'ner, the smile widened. "Some days it feels just like yesterday." He seemed to noticed that he was grinning so openly because the shyness returned. He looked away, then back, recovered. "Are you...from the Weyr?" he asked.

"Well." T'ner's own smile faded a touch. "I am now. But I wasn't always. My brother is a holder, and that's where I grew up," he explained. There was a lot of baggage there he had not expected to pile on when he left for the Weyr.

"Are you?" he wondered. "From the Weyr, that is."

The way Y'rim's smile faded was probably answer enough. He looked down at his food for a moment, then back at T'ner. "I'm from the Weyr now," he said, with all of the bravado of someone trying to convince himself of the same statement. How was it, after so many Turns, that some scars just didn't heal? He barely even spoke with his family anymore. He was much happier now in the Weyr, with Quiroanth. So why did it still bother him that his holder family thought less of him because he had Impressed a green?

}: Oh, forget them, :{ Quiroanth said tartly. }: I do. They don't deserve you. :{

Y'rim smiled softly. **Thanks Quir love.** But so that the conversation didn't dwell on things they couldn't fix, Y'rim went on to say, "It's nice to be in a new place like this. Sometimes you just have to get away from the old, right? Try something different. I'm glad to be here. Quiroanth is itching to go explore more. Where should I take her on our next restday?"

T'ner could not miss the change in expression. He suspected the same feelings were there " or similar. Reven had not been unkind about Lehystrath's color, but he had not spoken to him since. Though Ayressa had clearly been more disappointed than he had realized at first. She had, perhaps, come to Barrier Lake to get away from the old, but T'ner had come to stay in his son's life. The new was a pleasant side effect.

"My weyrmate loves to explore," he said to Y'rim. T'ner might have been much less adventurous without F'aen, and he was glad to have him. "We found a tavern not too far from here that we fell in love with. Might not be a dragon's idea of a good time, but maybe we could take you to grab a drink sometime, though," he chuckled.

"The mountains are different from what I'm used to. I know you've see the view from up high before, but there's just something different about looking down from one of those ridges than being in the air or on the Weyr heights down by the seashore."

Before Y'rim could turn down the offer of a tavern, with its most likely lively conversation and music, Quiroanth interjected so succinctly that Y'rim realized that he could hardly so no without appearing rude. "I've never been one for loud places," he said, wrinkling his nose a little, "but I would like to see some of the sights of the territory. I'll take you up on that offer." He ended his words with a soft smile. "Who's your weyrmate, if I may ask?"

"Of course! His name is F'aen," T'ner answered. A smile crossed his face without his even noticing as he mentioned the man's name. There may have been places where he would have felt it necessary to dance around the fact that his weyrmate was a man, but T'ner had little reason to go to most of those places anymore, and this was certainly not among them.

"Have you met?" he wondered as it struck him that it was entirely possible that he and Y'rim might work together now.

Surprised that he recognized the name, Y'rim replied brightly, "We have! He's in our new Wing. Scarleth's rider, right? And a painter, I think? Maybe I heard wrong. But yes, we've met him."

"You heard right!" T'ner confirmed. He smiled with pride for his weyrmate. "He makes a good impression. Do you have a trade from before Quiroanth?"

In response, Y'rim held up his hands, calloused from dragonriding but not much else. "I was training to be a farmer," he said, "but the Weyr whisked me away when I was fifteen so I didn't get _too_ far into it. I do still have a soft spot for growing things. I love seedlings, saplings, all of those little -lings sprouting all green and lovely. I suppose it's no surprise that I Impressed a green dragon with how much I love greenery already." He tilted his head slightly to the side as he put his hands down. "And you?"

"I might have been a master smith someday if I'd stayed home," said T'ner. There were many might have beens back home. There was a whole other life he could have lived and enjoyed, but Ayressa may never have truly been happy.

}:And you would never have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with me,:{ Lehystrath pointed out. T'ner smiled.

"And I still practice when I can, but it's much more of a hobby now than a livelihood."

Y'rim chuckled. "Dragons do become a full-time job, don't they?" he remarked. "But absolutely worth it." Always worth it. Y'rim could not imagine where his life would be now without Quiroanth, what road he would have taken had he not Impressed. Assuredly, it would not be half as meaningful and fruitful as it was now. "At least you can still practice your craft here at the Weyr. It's impossible for me to grow anything in my weyr here! I mean, I suppose I could go work the gardens but I don't want to interfere with the Headwoman's order." He propped his chin in his head and smiled. "Guess I'll just have to be a former farmer boy."

"Hmm. Well, you could always offer to help. That's what I do with Master Dunrik. They don't always have real work for a part timer, but I make sure that I'm not in their way. Buy my own metal if they don't have anything I can do to help," said T'ner.

"And if it comes down to it, F'aen and I could definitely help you find some flower pots or something for your ledge. There's bound to be something that'll grow up there." He smiled. "There are a lot of things from... you know, from the before times that it's best to leave behind. But that doesn't mean you have to lose _all_ of the good stuff, too. Those things are a part of what made us who we are."

T'ner's helpfulness and candor were refreshing and dismantled a bit more of Y'rim's shyness. "Master Dunrik?" he echoed. "I'll be sure to look him up. And I think I like your idea about a flower pot. Just _something_ growing would be a lovely addition to my new space. It is a new start, after all. Why not make it more mine?"

T'ner smiled warmly, and his eyes misted just a bit.

"Yeah. It's _our_ new start," he agreed. Maybe that was the key to finding out how to be a better version of the T'ner he used to be. The T'ner F'aen fell in love with. He had to find a way to really make this new start his.

}:Shall I find you a flower pot?:{ asked Lehystrath. The blue could not begin to guess what more T'ner thought he needed to have a clean start. He had already chosen to suffer nearby the Boy's mother so he could be near him as well.

**Maybe that's it. Maybe I just need to finally... let all of it go. The life I thought I would have.**

}:It was never real. But the two of you _do_ make good friends. And good parents for the Boy. Let her have her life and you yours. You haven't taken anything away from each other, only given. You both have more than you would have without the other. And you're both happy now.:{

Throughout this interchange, Y'rim, well-versed with how a dragon could interject their own opinions into the conversation that their riders were having, waited patiently until Lehystrath had stopped talking and then asked, "I'm guessing he had something to say about it too?" He was smiling knowingly though, as if he was betting a mark on it.

"He did." T'ner chuckled and nodded. "He's too clever by half for my own good and just clever enough all at once, however he manages that."

"What did he suggest?" Y'rim asked, his dark eyes twinkling still. Oh, he knew all about how clever dragons could be!

"He, uh..." T'ner's faltered for a moment as he pondered how to explain. Or whether to tell the truth. "He said I should let go of what I thought I would have and enjoy life as it is. Because I can't have both, and I never really had the one to begin with. And he's right. I have a lot to be thankful for."

Y'rim's smile softened, as though he was quite familiar with having the same sort of conversation with his own dragon some Turns ago. "He's right," he said. "Once we Impress, there's...no going back to the way things were. It's a completely new, entwined life. And even..." Y'rim paused, his expression losing some of its contentedness. "Even if we could go back, sometimes it's for the better that we can't," he finished, looking back up at T'ner with the expression of one who understood that sometimes there was no return to that home.

}: All of this droll talk, :{ Quiroanth commented sharply, trying to cheer her rider. }: A new friend and all you are talking about is the past! :{

To this, Y'rim burst out laughing, and then pointed to his head to indicate that Quiroanth had been talking to him. "She's got an opinion of her own about it too. And she thinks we're boring her with all of this talk of the past. And honestly, to Red Star with the past." His face split into a grin. "So, that tavern? When are we going?"

"If F'aen's free, how about tonight?"

Why wait? T'ner thought. There was never going to be another time like now. He should enjoy all of the nows he could while he could. To the Red Star with the past, indeed.

Y'rim smiled. No backing out now. "Sure."

Last updated on the February 19th 2023

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