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The eruption of Mount Garben has forced the people of Landing to evacuate north. Under a storm of ash and Thread, the colonists make the perilous journey to Fort Hold. The riders fulfill their duty at last, and a new era dawns for the Pernese--join the plot here.

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 Roads Go Ever On, Open! [02.09]
Clara Jones
 Posted on: Dec 17 2017, 06:58 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Brownrider
Picath | #9D715D
67 posts | 0 marks
written by Otterly

They walked often together, exploring Landing and the fields and woods surrounding the settlement. It was awkward for Picath, especially as he grew, but neither of them wanted to stop.

Soon we'll fly together, Picath said, his eyes glinting.He'd grown so much since hatching, and Clara smiled down at him.

"Yes," she said, shifting young Lyra in her arms. "And that's how it should be." The thought of flying with him--of continuing down that road together--set something fluttering in Clara's belly. It was a mixture of excitement and worry, something that perhaps wasn't so strange in light of their duty.

Picath rumbled softly as he caught wind of her thoughts. He didn't like the idea of fighting Thread. Clara crouched beside him, her free hand coming up to stroke his shoulders. "Whatever it is, we'll go together," she reminded him, smiling as Picath leaned his head against her. "A partner for the long journey, remember?"

It had become evident that dragons did not actually have good memories, but Picath knew her mind, so she thought on their conversations during the viewing often, and Picath recalled them with her.

Yes, he said, some of the pleasure returning to his voice. I wouldn't like to travel it on my own.

"Nor I," Clara said.

She stood and they continued on through the fields where some of the bare places had hints of green regrowing. It had been overcast and grey all morning, but now it began to rain, a light drizzle that grew steadily heavier, and soon Clara and Picath turned for a nearby outcropping, ducking under the rocks to watch the rain where it was dry.

Clara laughed a little, settling back against the stone, Picath at her side, and her hoard of green fire lizards fluttering in around them.

How long do you think it will last?

"Dunno," she said. "But I brought snacks, in case we get hungry." Picath hummed, pleased, and turned his head to stare out across the field.

Oh, look Clara! Someone's out there! Should we invite them to join us? It's dry here.

Clara squinted through the rain till she saw the shapes that caught Picath's attention. "Good idea," she told him. Then, raising her voice she called, "Hello out there! Come sit with us out of the rain!"


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Enid Faulk
 Posted on: Dec 19 2017, 01:20 PM
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Dragonriders
Goldrider
Falth | #D1B316
84 posts | 40 marks
written by North

[ 02.09 ]

By now, Falth's withers rose to Enid's hips. She still recalled the strange, gangly alien who had clawed out of that ominous egg, wreathed in tainted yolk; flooding the incubation room with her malformed, insidious mind-presence. She still recalled how much, in that moment, she wanted Falth to be hers, despite all the hairs that stood up on the back of her neck to even consider it. But it had been five months, now, and their bond only grew stronger and closer.

The myriad fractals of the gold's abyssal mind became easier and easier for Enid to parse, like a book she had read over and over. She began to recognize certain paragraphs and phrases. They worked well together, she thought. In lessons they were clinical in their exactitude, for what else could Enid do but approach everything with her all? With Falth's innate, cosmic wisdom behind her, translated through her, they felt whole. And it was nice.

Still, though, Falth would often become overwhelmed. She could think herself into terrible, esoteric knots. Sometimes the closeness of the other weyrlings, as much as she loved them in a queenly way, became too much. Sometimes Landing as a whole was too much – too many minds burbling away in Falth's depths. When the sticky black tides of Falth's consciousness began to turn to stormy shades, Enid was always quick and calm to take her away from it all. To go for walks; to be surrounded by the softer presence of nature, instead. They walked in relative silence, even in their own heads.

It began to rain, though, and though Enid had worn her regulation rain jacket, plasticky and silver, the downpour picked up beyond the safety of a simple garment. Falth caught the rivulets of rain on outstretched black-and-yellow wings. Considered the physics of the precipitation. But Enid, meanwhile, was more interested in shelter, and she grinned when she heard a fellow rider call out.

"Clara!" Enid was laughing, drenched, and grateful. She hurried over to sit under the overhang with Clara and Picath. "That came on fast, didn't it? How are you two?" Or five, she supposed, if she was counting firelizards – and at the light mental brush, her own new baby poked out of the collar of her raincoat, eyes swirling blue against his blue-gray hide.

Falth, however, was in no rush to join the rest. Water, after all, had always been her element. The coldness was welcome for it felt how her mind felt, on most days. She stood gleaming in the rain, metallic gold and darkness, all made shining wet. Her head was held serenely high.

Picath, she offered, voice echoing to him. The sky falls to meet the ground. What a nice reunion.

[ otterly ]


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Clara Jones
 Posted on: Dec 19 2017, 09:08 PM
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Dragonriders
Brownrider
Picath | #9D715D
67 posts | 0 marks
written by Otterly

North

Clara shifted over with a laugh, making room for Enid to fit beside them. "It really did! I shouldn't be surprised, this time of year, and yet--I always am!" It had been almost a whole decade, and there was much about Pern that surprised her, not the least of which were the two dragons sitting beside them. Lyra peeped a tiny greeting to Enid's blue, and Clara grinned down at her.

"We're all right," Clara added. "Just soaked though. Picath and I were walking. He likes to imagine what the paths leading away from Landing are like." They weren't exactly roads in the proper Earth sense, just the sort of footpaths one might find on hikes in the woods. Pern was still mostly unsettled, even around the parts of Landing that were bustling.

How her mind wandered today, she though. Clara turned her attention back to Enid. "And you? This weather's put a damper on many things." She grinned, unable to resist the pun.

Beside them, Picath turned to peer at Falth. I hadn't thought of it that way, Picath mused, his eyes a-glitter. Yet I like the sound of it. A reunion! He fluttered his wings a bit, then folded them carefully along his back, humming as he did so.

I like to think on the rain's journey, though. Where does it come from, how does it return to the sky? Clara tells me that it is all a cycle. He turned to look at Clara and Enid and seemed to come to a decision. Shall I join you, Falth?

He stood, spotted tail twitching, and stepped back into the rain.


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Enid Faulk
 Posted on: Dec 25 2017, 11:41 AM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Falth | #D1B316
84 posts | 40 marks
written by North

Little blue Sol blinked towards his green sister, considering her and her sweet peeping for quite some time — but eventually his languid shyness gave way to a whistle of greeting, melodious and kind. Hello, hello.

Enid idly stroked his small neck.

"I try not to let it get to me," said the woman, although in her tone of voice, it was clear that it did. The weather was always against them in this season. The dry season couldn't come soon enough, she felt. "Just rain, I suppose. Sometimes Landing is still a bit much for Falth. She's gotten better at tuning the other minds out, but – only so much we can do. A lot of people living in such close quarters. It's a lot of background noise."

Falth, meanwhile, was pleased to have Picath so receptive to her ramblings. Pleased that she had managed to speak clearly enough for him to understand. But it was often that way, with the other dragons – they seemed to trust her, despite her eccentricities. And Picath was so warm.

Here — let me go to Enid's mind, she whispered. That infinite well of human-knowledge. She stretched her voice to the brown dragon, slippery and wet, but no less cold than the rain that fell upon their hides. She tipped her chin elegantly; felt the rivulets course down her citrine neck. Yes! A cycle. The sun that is warm, that is life, raises the water from the planet and from the sea and places it in the sky... hmm. Once joined, now reconciled. She enjoyed the idea of a cycle. It fit nicely into the fractal spinning of her dark head. Evapor-a-tion. Conden-sa-tion.

"Even Picath's getting big," Enid said, smiling small and soft, watching the dragons in the rain.

[ otterly ]


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Clara Jones
 Posted on: Dec 26 2017, 03:24 PM
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Dragonriders
Brownrider
Picath | #9D715D
67 posts | 0 marks
written by Otterly

North

Lyra was pleased by Sol's reply, and it showed in the slow-whirling blue of her eyes. Clara bit back a grin. Missy and Seeker, the other two greens splayed out beside her, lifted their heads and blinked sleepily, but the conversation between Clara and Enid wasn't nearly as interesting as their own napping. They settled back down to sleep, and Missy curled in on herself like a cat.

"I s'pose it could be worse," Clara mused. It wasn't snow, after all. She'd grown up in Illinois, before coming to Pern, and there'd been a lot of snow there. She ran her fingers over the mottled green of Lyra's hide. "But the soggy ground makes it hard to go walking so much, sometimes." Enid wasn't the only one who longed for the dry season.

Falth's voice was damp against Picath's mind, but he was unbothered by the feeling. Her words were more interesting. Evaporation, condensation, Picath murmured, as if he were tasting the words.Yes, I like this. All things connected. He tilted his head up, blinking against the rain as it fell down over his snout and into his eyes.

That is good. It makes the green things grow. There are many paths to tread, to see all those connections. Picath shifted, forefeet slipping a bit in the mud. He turned his bright gaze to Falth and crooned warmly at her. We've quite the journey to embark upon, don't we, Falth? His voice was bright with good humor, as if he were inviting Falth to come along with him.

Clara, observing them, sent a brief grin to Enid. "Not so big as Falth is! It's hard to imagine them growing to be horse-sized, sometimes, but they're well on their way. Only a few months since they've hatched, and they've already grown leaps and bounds." Picath didn't seem to notice, but it was often on Clara's mind.


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Enid Faulk
 Posted on: Jan 23 2018, 06:51 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Falth | #D1B316
84 posts | 40 marks
written by North

Falth's eyes glittered as she watched Picath slip, just a little. She was standing still herself. Careful and rooted, as much as one whose mind swirled as much as Falth's could be. But she did give her head a mighty shake, dislodging excess water in a spray that glittered and refracted with her natural metallic glow.

A journey? the gold mused. Ah. Yes. The life were were designed for. The life we were made to follow, on this planet, this ball, floating in space. Alone. We are, at least, on this journey together. Us dragons. Connections and paths – the first clutch would ever be interwoven in her mind. I feel it in my bones. Something dark on the horizon but — togetherness.

Enid smiled. Laughed lightly. "At least, with any luck, they'll stop growing at some point. Settle into a size we can actually get used to, instead of waking up each morning wondering when Falth stopped being so small." She wasn't afraid, exactly, but she was apprehensive of the future. Of the purpose set out for the dragonriders. It would be a lot to handle.

"Does he get along with the others?" she asked of the brown. "I can never really tell if Falth has... friends."

[ otterly ]


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Clara Jones
 Posted on: Jan 28 2018, 02:06 PM
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Dragonriders
Brownrider
Picath | #9D715D
67 posts | 0 marks
written by Otterly

North

Picath looked up to the sky, blinking away the rain that fell into his eyes. Falth's words--something dark on the horizon--worried him. Deep down, he was afraid. He was often afraid of the future. He turned back to Falth, pausing to admire the way the droplets of water caught on the glow of her hide. His own hide was dark and earthy, and did not glitter so, but Picath did not mind that. He preferred to admire.

He craned his neck forward and gently reached out to touch his nose to her shoulder. No, never alone, he agreed. It comforts me to know this. The darkness is less frightening, when you've a partner to walk beside you.

He sat back on his haunches, finally still and hummed softly to himself. Roads go ever, ever on, he mused. A poem Clara told me once, though I do not remember where from. It rings true to me. But it is not the sort of way one wishes to go alone. How long and lonely that would be.

Clara nodded, and leaned her head back against the stone. "Soon, I hope. I didn't realize how fast they'd grow. But then again, I suppose there is a lot I didn't realize about them." She looked out through the rain, to where Picath and Falth stood together. "I wish I could protect him forever, but--" She cut herself off and shook her head. She knew that was impossible.

"Oh, he will get along with anyone who lets him chatter," Clara said, laughing lightly. "He doesn't... Well, he doesn't seem to let others see him very deeply most of the time. But he is friendly with everyone. He's fond of Tenceth, and of Chioneth. He seems to like Falth, though." She offered Enid a smile. She liked her, too.


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Enid Faulk
 Posted on: Feb 3 2018, 02:41 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Goldrider
Falth | #D1B316
84 posts | 40 marks
written by North

Falth shivered at Picath's gentle touch. In a way, the contact amplified what she felt from him. Deftly, telepathically, saw the abyssal glimmers of fear in his mind, smoothed over softer washes of admiration and kind reliability. She blinked at him slowly.

I have looked down that lonely path, she said, her voice cool. Matter-of-fact. Echoing hollow from her cold, wet mind. Empty darkness. By now, her memories of a time in the egg were growing faint, swallowed up into the spinning haze of all the things she knew, saw, sensed. That was fine, she supposed. Not everything deserved to be kept. But then there was Enid. Loneliness vanquished. As Picath sat, Falth stepped slowly through the mud, padding in a wide, aimless orbit around him.

Roads go ever, ever on. She liked that. It seemed comfortable and familiar.

Tolkien, Enid told her.

The humans like their books, Falth said to Picath. Tiny words on tiny pages.

"Soon they'll be the ones protecting us," Enid said quietly. A strange though, to pass from caretaker to dwarfed rider. To become, once again, a delicate thing. Then, with less seriousness, continued, "Falth quite likes Harth and Baliuth, I think. Which is funny – they're both very different from her. Though she takes an interest in all the others, often it seems like she's just... analyzing them? Like some sort of science experiment." A laugh. "Guess I can't blame her. Picked a scientist for a rider, after all."

She peered out at the rain. "Think it's letting up, yet?"

[ otterly ]


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Clara Jones
 Posted on: Feb 4 2018, 02:31 PM
Quote
Dragonriders
Brownrider
Picath | #9D715D
67 posts | 0 marks
written by Otterly

North

It was lonely in the egg, Picath agreed. His own memories of that time were fading too--but Clara thought on it often, and so Picath did too. He saw through her eyes, what it was like when their minds brushed one another that first time. It was good to hatch, and to know she was there.

That was as it should be--dragons were not meant to be alone, and now neither Picath nor Falth were.

He turned his attention back to Falth and watched her moving 'round him, slowly circling. He blinked affably at him and shook the rain out of his eyes again.

Clara was a librarian, before, he mused. That involved many books. He paused, considering. Many books, many worlds. That is how Clara thinks of it. Picath liked the thought of that, even if he did not always understand.

"We need them," she agreed, "to be strong and fly well. But it's hard to imagine them growing as big as horses, after hatching so small." They'd never know the future for sure, apart from that it would come time to do their duty.

She laughed a little, after resolving not to worry over it now. There was nothing they could do to stop the moving of time. "You're well-matched then," she said with a grin. It's interesting to see--all of the dragons and their riders seem well-matched. How do they know?"

After a moment, Clara leaned forward to peer out at the rain. "I think it must be," she agreed. It didn't sound as heavy as it had been, pounding against the ground and the stone above their heads. "Maybe it'll let up long enough to run back to Landing."


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Enid Faulk
 Posted on: Feb 13 2018, 03:58 PM
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Dragonriders
Goldrider
Falth | #D1B316
84 posts | 40 marks
written by North

Many worlds. Mm. Yes. False realities. Narratives. Enid had told her of this. She said that humans believed some things that were not real. That religion back on Earth had been like that. That currency was like that. Value assigned to things that did not inherently have value. Fictions. But they helped them, Enid told her. They gave them things to bond over. To find purpose in.

Once, we were a fiction. An idea. She considered that the rain was easing up, now. That there were fewer ripples in the claw-printed mud below. Something out of a book. It was not a strange thing, or a sad thing. She spoke it only matter-of-factly. Cool and calm. Now we are made real. Collected out of little molecules. Living.

Falth felt content.

Back under the overhang, little blue Sol whistled lyrically and nestled back into Enid's silver raincoat. She drew up the hood, feeling rivulets of water curl down around her hands, caught in the folds from before – but she stepped out into the rain, which was indeed lighter, and less windy.

"Yes – I think we can make it back. I can see some sunlight over there." She smiled to Clara. Little drops still pelted her coat – but certainly better than before. "Falth and I will walk with you. Or run." A tight laugh. "If we have to."

The riders were all in this together, after all. Rain or shine – or Thread. All of it.

[ FIN. ]

[ otterly — wrapped this up! xoxo ]


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