Jazrae lay back on the hay in the loft above the runnerbeasts in the stable at Jenir Plains. The hay smelled of summer sun, and the sound of runnerbeasts soothed her jagged nerves. A few nights ago, someone had broken into the stable, and made off with one of the prize breeding stallions. Since then, someone had to be with them, no matter what time of day or night it was.
The sound of footfalls nearing the stable brought Jaz out of her daze. Creeping slowly to the edge of the loft, Jaz watched. Slingshot armed and ready, She waited. The door opened, and a tall lad stepped in. Silvin, her relief. "Where the..." he mumbled under his breath, then saw Jazrae climbing down from the loft. "How can you watch the runners from up there?" he demanded.
"The stablemaster wants us to watch for and catch anyone trying to take the runners. How can I prove they were going to steal the runnerif they're scared off the second they reach the door?" Jazrae countered.
"Okay, you have a point." Silvin said, now face to face with the 5'7" tall girl. At 17, she was the most likely candidate to teach someone a lesson if they stepped out of line. She was deadly accurate with a bow and with slignshot, and could catch rabbits with her bare hands.
Silvin traced a finger along her delicate jawline, tilting her head up, her grey eyes meeting his. "You're very beautiful... I mean, clever." he said. Jazrae took a step back, running a hand through her short dark hair, flushed in embarassment at the unexpected compliment. Noticing the stray bit of hair now in her fingers, she ran both hands through her hair to get the rest out, and sprinted from the building. Her legs were a bit long, and she loved to run. Surprising to most, she could run very fast and without a sound. Her footing was sure, and she'd never twisted an ankle or fallen.
Overall, she was a pretty stable person, reliable in the fullest... unless it came down to flirting. That was one area where she faltered. One compliment, and she blushed redder than fine wine in no time at all.
She was one of those boyish girls -- didn't wear skirts if she didn't have to, ran around with the boys, didn't mind getting muddy -- but she still enjoyed getting all primped for dancing at Gathers, and was a fair hand at embroidery, sewing lace, and cooking.
The sun was setting as Jazrae ran into the hold. Dinner had passed while she did her stint in one of the stables, but her mother had set aside large portions for those who'd been watching like Jazrae had. The evening passed without incident, and Jaz retired to bed, and was soon sleeping soundly.
The next morning, Jenir Plains Runnerhold was buzzing with activity. The Masterbreeder had caught the thief! Silvin came looking for her at breakfast. "Jaz... I told Semikk and he told Master Horrau what you said when I relieved you. Master Horrau followed your advice, and hid in the loft -- got the thief with a big runnershoe." Silvin stopped talking long enough to stick a piece of fruit in his mouth. "He's very proud of you for thinking of it."
Jazrae blushed. "It was nothing, Silvin. My duty to the hold."
"If that's what you call duty, then have I got an offer for you!" D'run laughed. Jazrae looked up at the older Ryslen Searchrider. "There's a clutch at Lasair Weyr, and with and attitude like that, you'd better stand, dear Jazrae."
"I..." Jazrae began. Not once in her 17 turns had she ever dreampt of being searched!
"Well?" several people in the dining hall asked at once.
"I'll go!" Jaz said at long last.
Silvin wished her luck, and told her he wished he could go too. As Jazrae ran off to pack, D'run winked at the charming lad - leaving him to the mercy of the other Searchriders.
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Background from Peeling Pixels