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A Special Sweepride

Writers: Devin, Estelle
Date Posted: 25th February 2023

Characters: T'lin, R'ayl
Description: T'lin and R'ayl find a hold in need of help on a sweepride
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 1, day 5 of Turn 11
Notes: Mentioned: J'ackt


T'lin
T'lin

T'lin waited with Calaroth and the other pairs assigned as weyrling
buddies. He'd been given R'ayl, who he remembered as the rider of the
blue who'd almost died at the Hatching. There were also rumors about
the boy being related to the man who tried to kill bronzerider J'ackt,
which T'lin found hard to believe.

Soon, the Weyrlingmaster released the weyrlings to go and find their new
buddies. R'ayl usually hung back shyly in drills or exercises, watching
to see what the others did, but today he hurried forward, beaming with
delight. He remembered T'lin as one of the first dragonriders he'd met
at the Weyr, when he'd let him help scrub Calaroth, and he thought the
bluerider was absolutely wonderful. He couldn't believe how lucky he was
to have him as his buddy. "Hello, Bluerider T'lin!"

"Weyrling R'ayl," T'lin said with a grin. "It seems I'm lucky enough
to have you assigned to me." The boy looked stronger and healthier and
seemed to be less shy.

"Yes, me and Delorth." R'ayl glanced over his shoulder as the young blue
dragon joined them. Delorth had grown out of all recognition since the
Hatching, and was now approaching his full size, though he didn't yet
have the solid muscle of a dragon who'd spent Turns in the Wings.
Remembering his manners, R'ayl bowed in greeting to Calaroth. "The
Weyrlingmaster said I should help you with your duties! What are we
going to do first?"

"We have sweeprides, which aren't very exciting. But it can be nice to
just fly with your dragon, or maybe another pair, nothing but the air
around you and the ground far below." T'lin smiled. "You do have to
keep an eye out, but most of the time it's pretty relaxing." He patted
Calaroth and climbed up to the blue's neck.

R'ayl thought sweeprides sounded very exciting indeed. Most of his
flying with Delorth had been in formation with the other weyrlings,
concentrating hard on trying to keep their place and follow the orders
of their group leader, and having the chance to just fly together
sounded wonderful. Remembering that the Weyrlingmasters might be
watching, he quickly checked Delorth's straps were all correctly
fastened and then scrambled up to his back, trying to remember
everything he'd learned in class about sweepriding.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"Over some minor holds in Topaz Sea Hold territory." All of the
sweeprides with weyrlings were far away from Emerald Falls.

R'ayl was also relieved that they wouldn't be going anywhere near
Emerald Falls Hold or the Weaver Hall. He buckled himself in to the
straps, then a little self-consciously, gave the signal that he was
ready to fly. ** Delorth, follow Calaroth, okay? **

The dragons took off, gaining height over the Weyr. Calaroth carefully
checked the visual from the young blue, and T'lin confirmed it before
giving the signal to go /between/. They came out over a cluster of
buildings with some farmland, surrounded by lush green jungle. T'lin
glanced over to make sure the weyrlings had come through all right.
}:We must look for anything unusual or people who need help. Holds
will put up flags if they need assistance, but we may find people in
trouble along the roads,:{ Calaroth relayed.

Delorth passed the message on to R'ayl with enthusiasm. }:I hope we find
someone to help!:{

**Me, too. But only if it's not bad trouble,** R'ayl added hastily. A
broken-down cart, or a missing herdbeast - something of that nature
would be all right. He watched the land beneath Delorth's wings
carefully, not wanting to miss anything on his first sweepride. As they
passed over the farm, he spotted a few small figures jumping up and down
and waving, while others went about their business. For a moment he
wondered if they should stop, but then he realised with a thrill that
they were children, excited to see dragons passing overhead.

They passed an empty section of road, then a few scattered cotholds
before nearing a minor hold. A flag was up on the signal tower and
T'lin waited a moment to see if R'ayl and Delorth spotted it.

}:Is that one?:{ The weyrling pair had both been watching the holds pass
by intently, but Delorth caught sight of the flag just before R'ayl.

**I think so!** The boy felt a fizz of excitement in his belly. What
could it be? **Can you ask Calaroth if we should land?**

T'lin smiled as he had Calaroth pass along the confirmation that they
should land. Good, they were paying attention. Then he put on a
neutral expression as they reached the ground and man rushed out to
meet them.

The holder was sweaty and panting. "Dragonriders, my duty to you and
your lifemates. My sister in law has a baby coming and there's
something wrong. The healer . . . he's a journeyman and says it's
beyond him. We need a Master, please."

T'lin nodded. "I'll have my dragon call one. They'll be here shortly."
It would be faster to have someone from the Weyr bring a healer
directly than to go there and come back. The bluerider's eyes
unfocused as he passed a message through Calaroth.

R'ayl's eyes had gone very wide at the holder's words. He hoped the baby
would be all right. **It's like a Hatching, but they need help,** he
explained to Delorth.

}:To get out of the egg?:{

**Sort of...I think.** He patted the blue's neck as another holder
hurried back inside with the good news. T'lin seemed so calm! "Is there
anything else we should do?"

T'lin unstrapped and slid down from his dragon's neck. "Wait here," he
told R'ayl. To the holder, he said, "Take me to the healer, I'll need
to get the details from him so the Master knows what to expect." His
heart was beating fast, but his job was to assure the holders and get
them the help they needed.

The holder led him inside, leaving R'ayl alone with the dragons.

R'ayl looked down from Delorth's back, watching as those holders who
weren't involved with the birth were beginning to gather, drawn to the
sight of the two blue dragons. He felt a little foolish perched up high
and so he unbuckled his straps and dismounted, hoping he wasn't
disobeying T'lin's order to wait by doing so.

He supposed the adults and older children would be at work or with the
harper, but there were a few old aunties and uncles with a group of
younger children who were staring at the dragons with round eyes. One of
the women smiled at him. "Either I'm getting older or dragonriders are
getting younger!"

The others laughed and R'ayl blushed. His small size would be more
obvious now he was on the ground. "I'm a weyrling, ma'am. I'm learning
to fly sweeps with Bluerider T'lin."

A short while later T'lin returned, speaking quietly and seriously
with the holder as they walked toward the dragons. The bluerider
glanced up and pointed. "There. I told you they'd be here soon." A
green quickly spiraled down to land and her rider helped the Master
healer to dismount. The Master gave a bare nod to the others and then
jogged inside the hold, clutching her bag of supplies.

T'lin rejoined R'ayl and patted the youngster lightly on the shoulder.
"Good job spotting the signal flag."

"Thank you!" R'ayl's face broke into a smile. "It was Delorth who saw it
before me, though." He reached out to touch the blue's hide as the
dragon lowered his head towards them.

"Well spotted Delorth." T'lin smiled up at the young blue. "We should
complete the rest of our sweep. The healer is handling things and
there's a dragon here in case they need to call for more help. But how
about we come back to check after our sweep is done?"

"I'd like that." R'ayl started to turn towards Delorth as the young blue
crouched, then hesitated, concern evident in his young voice. "Do you
think the baby will be okay?"

"We've made sure they have the best chance by bringing an expert
here." T'lin buckled his helmet. He didn't fully understand all the
information he'd relayed, but it did sound serious. While he didn't
want R'ayl to worry, he also didn't want to give him false assurance.
"The Master healer knows what she's doing." He climbed up on
Calaroth's neck.

The weyrling cast an anxious look back towards the hold, but followed
T'lin's example. **There might be others who need us,** he told Delorth.
On the signal, his blue leapt into the air. The upturned faces of the
watching holders shrank in size until they were no more than dots, then
faded from view as the hold receded into the distance behind them.

No more signal flags came into view during the rest of the sweepride,
but the time passed quickly for R'ayl as he watched the territory they'd
one day protect unfold beneath them. He was chilled from the wind and
his muscles were stiff after the long flight, but when Delorth told him
they'd reached the river which marked the end of their assigned route,
he remembered the holder family and their baby. **Could you ask Calaroth
if we'll go back to that hold now?**

}:Yes,:{ Calaroth answered the younger blue. }:Take the image from
me.:{ When Delorth had it clearly, they went /between/ back to the
minor hold.

Calaroth announced their arrival and people began coming out of the
hold, some lifting a hand skyward. It was hard to tell from this
distance, but T'lin thought they looked happy, which he hoped was a
good sign. The green who had brought the Master healer was gone,
replaced by an older green sunning herself at the edge of the Gather
square.

As the dragons landed, the man who'd asked for their help hurried up
to them with a wide grin. "Dragonriders, I can't thank you enough. The
baby is well, and so is my sister in law. The Master is staying the
night to watch over them, but she says it's caution rather than
worry."

"That's wonderful!" T'lin patted him on the shoulder. "Congratulations
to you and your family." It was such a relief that things had gone
well.

R'ayl echoed his congratulations, shyly but still delighted at the happy
outcome. "Sir, may I ask if it's a boy or a girl? It's my first
sweepride and I'd like to remember everything about it."

The holder brightened even more. "A beautiful little girl.
Dragonriders, could I ask your names? My brother and sister in law
were thinking of naming the baby for both of you, in thanks for
getting us a healer in time."

"Oh." T'lin blinked in surprise. "You certainly don't have to, it was
our duty. But I'd be honored. My name's T'lin."

"And I'm Fur... I mean, R'ayl." The younger bluerider was so startled he
nearly forgot his new name. A baby named after him and T'lin! He blushed
at the warm, sparky feeling that thought gave him.

The holder put a hand to his chin and rubbed thoughtfully. "Maybe . .
. Raylin? That's got a pretty sound to it."

"It's lovely," R'ayl said, and blushed even more hotly. Delorth crooned,
reflecting his rider's pleasure. He glanced at T'lin. "Are _all_
sweeprides like this?"

The older bluerider laughed. "Not at all. Now I've spoiled you." He
turned back to the holder with a wide grin, a warm glow filling his
chest. "It's a beautiful name. We'll try to stop by and see her when
we're in the area, and please feel free to write to us at the Weyr.
We'd be happy to have news of the little girl, and your family."

The holder promised to write to them, and a small crowd of people
waved and wished them well as the to blueriders mounted up. No, not
every sweepride was like this, but every once in a while something
special happened.

Last updated on the February 25th 2023


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