Riale as a
It was a bright afternoon, and clouds drifted idly across the brilliant blue sky. A young woman crouched low over her mounts neck as they flew along the ground. Looking through the clear glass of the riding goggles, Riale saw the lay of the land, and mentally encouraged him. Faster Niawith! Faster!
The blue dragon ran on, his long sturdy limbs sending them thundering across the plains. The mighty blue dragon flared his nostrils, drinking in the crisp air. Digging his talons into the ground for traction, the dragon picked up speed. His faceted eyes whirled brightly, his excitement echoing that of his rider.
Jump ahead! Niawith warned his rider, his keen eyes catching the shadowed place lengths ahead of hers. Riale grinned, the wind from her life-mate's speed ripping past her, making her glad of the warm riding gear the weyrlingmaster insisted they wear, despite Niawith's abnormality. Standing up in the coyly rigged stirrups on the blue's riding straps, Riale prepared for Niawith to jump.
One stride... two... three... Niawith came to the last of the ground before it dropped away, and sprang, his powerful hindquarters propelling them forward as his short blue wings snapped open. With seemingly effortless ease, the pair glided over the rocky valley.
Niawith hit the ground on the other side running, neatly folding in his wings without missing a beat. Riale let out a yell of sheer delight, cheering the dragon on. "That was great, Niawith!" she shouted, settling back into rhythm with the galloping dragon.
I'm glad you like jumps. I like jumps too. the dragon said, his pleasure echoing in his mellow mental tones as well as in his eyes.
Niawith was no ordinary dragon. He had hatched from a small clutch of stunt dragons, each one special in his or her own way. In fact, it had been the very first full hatching of non-traditional dragons at Baeris Kshau's Healing Den.
Niawith was special because he was a racer - his fore and rear legs were long, and powerful, like a runnerbeast, and each paw was equipped with talons suitable for gripping the earth. His tail was shorter than average, and thick, acting as a counter-balance when he ran, turned, and jumped. He and Riale especially liked jumping. However, his wings were short, preventing him from achieving "true flight" though he glides very well.
With the help of Ryslen's Weyrlingmaster, Riale had measured her lovely blue. He was a full 23 meters from the nose on his equine-like head to the tip of his spade-less tail. That, more than anything, bothered the more hide-bound dragonriders at the weyr. They couldn't object too much... he was properly sized for a dragon of his color, he could flame just as well as any other blue, and that's not all.
They're reminding us to return before dark. Niawith said, several jumps later. Riale looked to the west, and sure enough, the sun was beginning to set.
"Did you tell them we're farther west than the Quarry?" Riale shouted, a bit sorry that Niawith couldn't see in the dark like Twilight, the blue watchwher could. Not that she'd ever think of leaving her beautiful ice-blue dragon for a common wher.
No... should I have? Niawith said, a bit concerned as he turned to go eastward, and back towards Ryslen.
"No..." Riale said. "but we are a long way out yet."
Not a problem, Riale. Niawith said, beginning to unfurl his wings. Jump ahead!
Riale stood up in the stirrups, a grin on her face, as she clearly visualized the bowl of Ryslen Weyr, with it's strong evening thermals. Yet another advantage of riding a dragon! Riale sent warmly to her dragon as the racing blue lept, flaring his wings before they winked Between.
They appeared above Ryslen, catching the evening thermal to glide safely down into the bowl. Niawith roared to the dragon on watch, and then landed on the floor of the bowl just as he always did at the end of a jump -- running. He slowed to a stop within a few paces, letting Riale dismount.
Nice landing, Niawith, Tylar's green dragon Isemoth said, observing from her ledge, where she rested under the watchful eye of Ancith, R'lan's blue dragon. Ancith looked at the stunt blue, and turned back to gazing at the green without comment.
Thank you, Isemoth. Niawith said, prancing bit under the gaze of the other dragons. Privately, he spoke to Riale Ancith is acting oddly. Is Isemoth due to Fly?
Riale's jaw dropped. "Niawith!" the 5'4" brunette exclaimed, "You couldn't possibly be thinking of..."
No... I'd never be able to keep up with a full-flighted green. Not that I'm not interested. The blue said, eyes whirling slowly as they walked to their weyr.
Once inside, Riale shed her riding gear, and hung it on the pegs. Taking a brightly colored scarf from the chest by her bed, she tied her long hair back, then began unfastening Niawith's riding straps. "We had a nice long ride today, and a stop at Jenir Plains Runnerhold to visit with Twilight..." Riale said as she turned to hang the straps on their pegs.
And the picnic by the river... that was nice too. Niawith said, always happy to spend time with his rider.
Riale picked up the big brushes and the sweetsand for Niawith's scrub, and shooed him from the weyr. "It's the Sier-Dehsa, Niawith. You should remember that by now." Riale said, walking towards the lake with her big blue friend.
Dehsa is a Weyr, Riale. Niawith said, looking at her. You like the stories, don't you? Niawith asked, as he waded into the cooling waters of the weyr lake.
"Of course I do. Maybe someday they'll find it, and we can go see." Riale said as she began washing the blue as the sunset colored the bowl.
I would like that. Niawith said, rumbling happily as Riale scrubbed away the mud and grass from their trip.
After a bit, the braziers that were placed strategically around the bowl and the lake were lit, providing some light so that night-flying dragons and nocturnal weyrfolk wouldn't get hurt or accidentially find themselves in the deep end of the lake.
"Ahoy there!" Someone shouted, catching Riale's attention. "Can I help out?"
Riale looked up, seeing the figure, but not identifying the speaker. "If you could get me a fresh pot of oil from the supply caverns, that'd help a lot!" Riale called as she continued working.
"Sure thing!" He called back, and then vanished.
A few minutes later, a lad of perhaps 19 turns appeared on the shore with the oil, rags, and some towels. Niawith was in the deep spot, rinsing, but when he saw the lad arrive, he came back.
"Oh, hi Alonndo." Riale said, "thanks for getting that."
"My pleasure, Riale." the brown-haired, green-eyed young man said, "I thought I'd come lend a hand, since it's dark and all."
Riale laughed. "I appreciate the help." Riale said, catching a towel Alonndo sent flying her way. Niawith stepped out onto shore, and between his rider and the weyrbrat, he was soon dried and oiled.
Finished, Riale gathered up the scrubbing brushes and the oil pot and such, as Leyken walked past the lake on his way to the dining cavern. "Oh, there you are Alonndo!" he said, hailing his friend. Riale looked at Niawith, and together they started to go back to their weyr.
"Aren't you coming to have a cup of klah with us?" Leyken called to her. "You're welcome to join us, Rider Riale." he said, his mock formality a bit too much.
Worse than the boys at Jenir, that one. Riale muttered to herself, but called back cheerfully. "Maybe next time, Leyken. We've had a long day."
The pair of young men went off towards the kitchens, and Riale and Niawith went home to their weyr.
Riale stowed the things away, and then headed off towards the baths to give herself a well-deserved scrub.
Riale? Niawith called to her. Where's my blanket?
Riale, at that precise second, was toweling her hair. Isn't it on your couch, love?
Nooooo... the dragon said, worried and confused.
Riale picked up her things, and headed back. She'd made a pair of matching quilts back when she was a candidate, one for her, and one for the dragon's couch. It fit well on the weyrling-sized couch, but now that Niawith was full-grown, it was absurdly small. Yet Niawith loved it.
Stepping into their weyr, Riale saw what had happened. Niawith's blanket was draped across the foot of her bed, blending in with hers. "Here it is, Niawith." she said, setting down her load, and picking up the quilt from her bed. She carried it over to his couch, and draped it across his forelegs.
Thank you the blue said, nuzzling his small rider with his big head.
"You're welcome, Niawith." Riale said, scratching his eyeridges affectionately. "I love you."
I love you for always. Niawith said, his eyes shining brightly.
Niawith "flew" in the Second Flight Frenzy at Baeris' Healing Den!
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