Vallen's Cove HoldThe early light of false dawn crept through the curtains of Texia's room at Vallen's Cove, gently waking the girl of 15 turns from her slumber. She'd lived at Vallen's for almost eight turns. As a child of six, Texia had been attacked by a wild wher when she was lost in teh woods. A passing dragonrider spotted her, and saved her from the beast. She had suffered deep scratched across her shoulders and down her back that healed into long white scars on her tawny-gold skin. Fortunately, she had regained almost a full range of motion, and was very active, though her flexibility was limited by the scar tissue on her back.

Her eyelids opened slowly, revealing one brown eye and one icy-blue eye. Texia had full vision in both eyes, unlike some born with the variation, and never worried about it. She'd done a lot of growing up here at Vallen's Cove, and had never been teased about it, or the scars, and never learned to be overly self-concious. She smiled, and got quietly out of bed. They'd never found her parents -- she'd been so traumatized by the attack that everything she'd ever known or done before was completely gone -- the only thing she remembered was her name. She'd been fostered to the headwoman at Vallen's Cove -- a pleasant dark haired woman named Dyni -- once she was recovered from her injuries. A nice greenrider named Tylar had brought her here. Though they never told her, Texia knew they'd taken her into the past. She wasn't sure why, but she knew if she travelled to the healer's hall, she wouldn't find Mallian -- or anyone who knew him.

She slipped into her swimwear, took a towel from her press, and headed for the beach. It was quiet, and empty; no one watched the swimmers here. Texia stood 5'3" tall, and was slender. She was a cute young woman, and probably would gain beauty as she grew older, like other girls her age.

Unlike other girls, Texia could sense the future. Not vague warnings of danger, or premonitions of things to come that flash across the mind and are gone, but constantly. She just knew what was going to happen before it happened. She could pick the winning runner before the race began, even if he was a surprise late entry.

Texia thought about this while she swam lengths parallel to the shoreline. When she needed the information, it was just there, but if she wanted to... see who the next Weyrwoman of Ryslen would be, there was nothing there, as if it hadn't yet been decided.

At breakfast, Texia informed her foster-siblings that a white dragon would rise today, and be caught by a blue. Of course, they all laughed. There were no white dragons in East Rock.

It wasn't until two weeks later that Texia was proved right when Searchdragons came upon Vallen's Cove. The only person of potential was, of course, Texia. Everyone thought it was very odd that she refused the Search, but Texia knew those eggs wouldn't be hatching.

Fifteen turns in the future, Tylar sat at a small table in the healer hall at Kielac with C'nordi, and her betrothed, R'lan the Searchrider. "You see, Tylar, every Searchdragon at Ryslen thinks Texia should be a candidate for this clutch at Baeris'. There's this really wierd story about this clutch being from a Weyr that was mysteriously destroyed -- and on top of that, D'run and Okserth swear they Searched this girl 15 turns ago at Vallen's Cove, even though she's just turned seven now."

"And D'run is certain this past-Texia is our Texia?" Tylar asked skeptically.

"Yes -- mismatched eyes, scars from the wher, and all."

Tylar took this all in. "So you want me to take young Texia about twenty turns back in time to Vallen's Cove so she's there for D'run to Search?" Tylar asked. Her green Isemoth had hatched from Baeris' and (oddly) had a very good grasp of time-and-space.

"Twenty-three." C'nordi said, fiddling witha ring on his finger. "Texia is my foster-sister -- she arrived aboard a green dragon the day I was born."

Tylar did a double take.

"You think that's wierd? It was my sister Texia's scars that made me want to become a healer. Someone had taken extra-special care fo her, so she healed properly. Sure, Mallian got her cleaned up and Infection free before you Searched him, but I helped her recover. I inspired myself to become a healer." C'nordi laughed, reaching for his soon-to-be-empty wineglass. The wineskin hung from his chair and was nearly empty. Tylar hoped being drunk helped him deal with this strangeness. "A greenrider came a week after my 8th turnday and took Texia away again -- A week after they'd tried to Search her."

Tylar was astonished. "Well, I guess I'll have to take her then." Tylar said, standing. "Seeing as how I already did. I'll go wake her."

Texia was sitting on the edge of her bed, a small satchel beside her, and a blanked draped around her shoulders. She looked up at Tylar with her mismatched eyes and said softly, "It's time to go now, isn't it?" Tylar nodded and Texia scooted off the bed, dragging her things behind her. The blanket slipped to the floor, and Texia slowly crouched down to pick it up. In her heart, Tylar knew this was right. Together they walked down the hallway. Texia stopped to hug C'nordi goodbye while Tylar got a jacket for her, and Isemoth returned to the landing.

Texia was about to leave when she suddenly turned back. "C'nordi, what's your dragon's name?"

"His name is Hitath -- don't you remember?" C'nordi said, taking another drink from his refilled glass.

"I won't forget." Texia promised. "Hug Hitath for me, okay?"

Vallen's Cove HoldA few days later, a large green dragon spiralled down on Vallen's Cove. As usual, the children all raced out to see the dragon -- all except Texia. She waited on the porch of the main hall. She was dressed in a lightweight skirt splashed in silvery-greens and blues, and a white tunic with blue flowerets embroidered on the collar. Her hair was pulled back, and anchored with the stiff stem of a beachflower. "Hello again, Tylar." she said. "Is it time already?"

Tylar smiled. "Are you ready, Texia?" the greenrider replied, answering her question with a question.

A boy of eight ran up. "Are you taking Texia to the eggs?" he asked. Tylar looked down into the face of the boy who would become healer C'nordi.

"Yes..." Tylar said slowly, "How did you know that?"

Conordi laughed. "The Searchriders wanted to take her ages ago." he said, and ran into the hall.

Texia smiled, and Tylar did too. "I suppose we should tell Dyni.."

The headwoman appeared at the doorway, Conordi tagging along behind. "Texia, are you really going to the Weyr? I thought you didn't want to be Searched..."

"I changed my mind -- it wasn't the right time." Texia smiled at her foster-mother. "I'll get my things, Tylar -- I've more than last time." she said, tehn went into the house. Conordi followed her. Tylar sat down on to wait.

"How long, Tylar?" Dyni asked, sitting down on the step beside Tylar.

"Pardon?" Tylar asked, a bit confused.

"How long until I can see Texia? I know you're jumping back -- you haven't aged a day in eight turns..."

Tylar blushed. "I've aged exactly a week." she admitted.

The headwoman sighed. "Conordi will miss her so."

Tylar patted the headwoman on the back. "He won't miss a day of her life -- but she'll miss fifteen turns of his."

Dyni smiled as Texia returned, bags in each hand and another being half dragged by Conordi. Tylar took Texia's bags, and strapped them to Isemoth while the girl said her goodbyes.

Dyni hugged her fosterling tightly. "Good luck, Texia. See you again in a few turns, eh?"

Texia smiled. "I'll come back and visit." she said. "I'll never forget Vallen's Cove." The girl carefully crouched down and hugged her youngest foster-brother. "Hug Hitath for me, okay?" she whispered to him.

"Who's Hitath?" the boy laughed brightly.

"You'll see." Texia said, then stood up and put on her heavy jacket. With a little help from Isemoth, she was seated securely.

"Right to Baeris'?" Texia asked once Tylar was aboard.

"You bet!" Tylar said, "Let's go home, Isemoth!"

The Lost Clutch has Finally Hatched!

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