"You're looking nice today, Tiyoshi." Quolwic said, "Something special happening today?"
Tiyoshi blushed. "No, Quolwic, just an ordinary day." As far as she knew at least.
"Well, okay." The boy said.
Tiyoshi smiled again. "Thanks for bringing this. Mother will be happy." Tiyoshi had good feelings about that boy. He'd be a draognrider someday, she was certain.
"No problem." Quolwic said, and bounced off down the hallway.
Tiyoshi continued smiling, and turned back into her mother's office, wondering why she wanted the hatching records for the last 15 turns. "Mother...?"
Tiyanni looked up at her daughter, and smiled. They looked cery much alike, tall and slim with long hair and hazel-green eyes. "Here's the records you sent for. Quolwic brought them."
Tiyanni smiled. "Don't tell, Tiyoshi, but we'll be seeking out a clutch for him to stand for in a turn or so."
Tiyoshi beamed. "I knew something good would come of him."
Tiyanni smiled at her middle child, perhaps a bit skeptically, but an honest smile nonethe less. "Have your eye on becoming a Searchrider, have you? You know what J'lenn will say aobut that."
Tiyoshi sat down in a chair on the opposite side of Tiyanni's massive desk. "Uncle J'lenn probably has good reasons for his deeply rooted beliefs, Mother, even if they are a bit outdated..."
Tiyanni suppressed a laugh. "J'lenn is merely old fashioned? Is that what you're saying?"
Tiyoshi shrunk back a little. Her mother wasn't scolding, merely restating what was said. "Uncle J'lenn believes women should ride female dragons and men should ride males. It's perfectly logical. How closely could a male dragon's mind match with a woman's? He would never get pregnant as the result of a flight - and can you imagine how much a male mind would panic when his rider reached her monthly the first time after they bonded?"
Tiyanni set her quill down. "That's a logical reason for why male dragons bonded to females could cause problems - but how do you argue the other side. What of male greenriders?"
Now Tiyoshi had to think quickly. "It is assumed that male greenriders prefer men. As a result of this, it's assumed that they have no desire to be fathers. However, the nature of green dragons is such that they will and do mate rather frequently."
"So men should not ride greens because of the green's drive to procreate?"
"Yes." Tiyoshi said boldly, though she did feel a measure of uncertainty.
"You have not considered the effects of firestone." Tiyanni said with a smirk.
Tiyoshi wasn't exactly sure what to say, where to go with that, and it was very clearly displayed on her face.
Tiyanni rose from her chair, a devious smile on her face. "Think about it for a while, dear. Litayth and I have business to attend to. If you need something ele to do, go over the hatching records and see when the next likely abnormal hatching will be." With that, Tiyanni collected her riding jacket from it's peg near the door and strode out.
Tiyoshi just sat there, stunned. Her mother had...
* * *
After some time, Tiyoshi went to the desk and looked thorugh the records. Her findings were left neatly on a sheet of parchment in the vibrant green ink that had been made available to her. By Tiyoshi's calculations, things would start getting weird after Litayth's last clutch hatched.
Tiyoshi strode out of Tiyanni's office and down the long corridor to the lounge where J'lenn normally could be found. Predictably, he was there, and by himself. "Uncle J'lenn..."
J'lenn smiled. "Tiyoshi, dearest, it's about item you stop calling me that. You're a grown woman."
Tiyoshi dropped onto the couch and put her head on the searchrider's shoulder. "Maybe to you, but my mother treats me like a child."
J'lenn patted her hand. "You'll always be her child."
It didn't comfort Tiyoshi any. "J'lenn... I need to get away from here. I need to be my own person and not my parent's child. I need to find someoen who'll love me for me I..."
"Need to Impress a dragon of your own." J'lenn finished for her, although that thought had never crossed her mind.
"That won't help Un... J'lenn! I'll still be... well... Every Weyr knows my parents. They'll make a fuss over me."
"The dragon won't care, Tiyoshi."
Tiyoshi crossed her arms and huffed.
J'lenn laughed. "You can go to Abri." He said.
"No such Weyr." She said in a low voice.
"Not yet." he laughed.
Tiyoshi stared blankly at him for a moment. "Are you suggesting...?"
J'lenn laughed. "I'm suggesting we jump you forward in time to Abri Weyr. You can always time it back."
Tiyoshi shook her head. "You can't..." J'lenn laughed. "You wouldn't! ... Would you?"
J'lenn looked at her soberly. "Only wiht your permission, Tiyoshi."
She sat quietly for a while. "I'm going to have to think about this for a while." she said at last.
"Take your time, dear. Just call Scith if you need me." He patted her knee and left the lounge.
Tiyoshi tipped over sideways on the sofa and drew her feet up close, her multicolor skirts draped around her like so many fallen petals. How many people ever had to face a decision like this? Suddenly she realized she was no longer alone in the lounge. Cautiously opening one eye, she saw her younger brother Jekyann, who hovered nervously in the doorway.
"Tiyoshi... are you okay?
Tiyoshi managed a weak smile. "I'm fine."
Jekyann did not believe this for an instant. "Okay Tiyoshi..." he said slowly, "Just let me know if I can help." Jekyann was a turn her junior, but very mature for his age.
"I just have some thigns to think about Jeky. I'll be fine."
"Promise?" Jekyann said in a tone that insisted on truth.
"Promise." Tiyoshi said, and then lay back down. Sleep came upon her soon, and she passed most of the day alone in the lounge. As darkness crept over Ryslen, Tiyoshi made up her mind and called out to Scith.
* * *
Tiyoshi stood at the entrance of Abri Weyr and was thunderstruck. This was completely unlike anythign she expected. The dragons there were... rather different. The watchdragon was an adult gold the size of a green, the Weyrsinger rode a dragon that was half blue, half white, and one of the searchdragons was half black. Tiyoshi would have to reevaluate her entire perspective. WHen she learned when she was - and that a number of these odd dragons were shelled at Ryslen, she immediately resented her decision. What wonders she could have witnessed!
Do not worry. said a voice which did not identify itself, but wrapped her mind in pleasant velvet darkness. It's only beginning. Welcome to Abri, Candidate Tiyoshi.
* * * Jekyann and Tiyoshi @ Abri
Tiyoshi is a candidate at Abri Weyr.