The beast charged, its jagged talons sliding across the sandy floor, clipped wings beating the air both for balance and to gain speed. Snarling, the brown lept towards its quarry, mindlessly underestimating the nimble two-legged male. Jandolin lept aside, moving swiftly around behind. Deeper in the cavern, other beasts fought against their wrought iron retraints, instinct telling them that any fight with one of theirs led to a free meal. Their bonded could only look on in horror as the brown again tried to tackle the man. He stood 5'8" tall, and had a rather rectangular shape. His dark hair was cut short, and his gray eyes were as cold as rock.
Again, Jandolin dodged the wher, it's teeth narrowly missing purchase on his woven pants. The wher dashed past, readying itself for renewed attack. Jandolin climbed onto a nearby boulder. The wher charged again, and once it realized it couldn't reach him, he oriented on those in the pack of the cavern. Snarling, he advanced. Jandolin lept from the boulder onto the wher's back, the downward force throwing the wher to the floor. Jandolin's knees pinned the wher's wings, and the more the beast struggled, the more the already fight-scarred sails were torn. The wher tried to snap at Jandolin, missing, but the slightly stocky man didn't. Grabbing the wher's muzzle, he clamped it closedd with both hands. Defenseless now, the wher was forced to submit. Another Nightwatcher ran up with a new, sturdier iron collar for the brown.
Kyrrin held fast to the collar while Jandolin got off the wher's back. He wasn't foolish enough to let go of the wher's mouth, however. Together they brought the wher back in, chaining him securely in his den. This done, the Nightwatch and the bonded still had one thing to cope with... the fight-hungry whers. That, of course, called for fresh meat...
Later, Jandolin sat in the Watch office, drinking one last mug of sweetened klah. "That was a brave thing you did, Jan." Tiagara said, sidling into the office.
Jandolin guffawed. "Not like I had much choice, Tiagara. He got loose, and decided on having me for lunch."
Tiagara sat down on the bench beside him, wiggling over until her thigh was pressed against that of the 23 turn old Nightwatchman. "What would we do without you?" she said sweetly.
"Learn to fight your own whers." Jandolin laughed, standing up. "I've got to go... Riale's coming early in the morning to take me to Baeris Kshau's Healing Den to pick out a few firelizard eggs for the Gather prizes." Jandolin explained, leaving the overly-friendly Tiagara alone to wonder what dragonriding gals had that she didn't.
Jandolin arrived at Baeris' right after breakfast the next morning. It was a gorgeous day, considering the season, and Masterhealer Baeris was more than happy to show him the flit room. He felt bad for having left Tiagara like that, and thought he'd pick out a firelizard egg for her, as an apology.
He'd picked out several yet too soft to hatch eggs, and was about to turn another likely choice when a small egg below his hand began to hatch.
"Feed it!" Tylar exlaimed, as a blue firelizard got free of his shell. Jandolin fed the hatchling bits of meat, and held him close. Feelings of love swept over Jandolin as the flit fell asleep. "What are you going to call him?"
Jandolin considered thoughtfully. "Vaid." he settled on, after several moments contemplation.
The six eggs for Gather prizes were packed in hot sand, and were ready to be taken back to Kielac. They were walking past the hatching grounds when Jandolin stopped in his tracks. He'd forgotten an egg for Tiagara.
"Something wrong?" Tylar asked, turning to look at the NightWatchman.
"I wanted to take back a firelizard egg for Tiagara..." he said.
"It'll just have to wait." Said a voice from inside the sands. It was Ankalia. "Fairth wants you for her clutch." she said, looking pointedly at Jandolin.
"I guess we'll be staying then, Vaid." Jandolin told the sleeping blue cradled in his arms.
Tylar smiled, remembering when she'd Impressed Isemoth on those very sands. "I'll take the flit eggs back to Kielac, and bring your things back to you." the greenrider said, departing down the hallway.
And to think I thought wrestling whers was a rush! Jandolin thought to himself as he grinned.
And the story continues!
Vaid the blue firelizard comes from Baeris' Healing Den,
Background from Boogie Jack's Web Depot.