Anger and irritation had consumed her night, leaving her awake and restless and unable to sleep. That fight with N’kio – what he had said – what she had said – it had been hard on Elora’s mind, teasing her, tormenting her.
She was still angry. Not so angry as to give up on him, but angry enough that she didn’t want to speak to him, not right now.
The sun peaked over the edges of the Weyr, sparkling and colorful and bright. Against them, the smokestacks of the forest curled higher and higher. Their world was beautiful, but it was breaking.
Her world was beautiful, but it was breaking.
And then she sensed it. The never-ending hunger tickled the back of her mind, made her own stomach growl in response. Anger and confidence and a need to fly away, away from dragon and away from those who did not understand her.
Had she triggered it? Or had Saphireth’s nearing Flight triggered the argument?
And will he know to come?
Elora left her perch on the rocks and ran, bare feet slapping against the ground as Saphireth growled. Don’t you dare eat that, you – don’t you dare.
She reached her just in time to glare at her, and the DarkBlue bowed her head, eyes flashing as she drained one herdbeast, two, of its blood. And with fire rising in the east, and fire rising in the west, and fire flickering hot in Elora’s stomach, Saphireth let out a roar that echoed throughout the Weyr.
And with talons sharp and eyes flashing, she took to the sky.
As soon as the roar hit the air, Cerrodalth grumbled and opened his eyes. His rest had been interrupted. On a normal day at Sky Mountain, he would have been up with the best of them. But this lower, seaside altitude had been making him feel more tired than usual - not to mention the firefighting he had thrown himself into. But there was nothing for it now. He doubted he would get any more rest at the present, not when there was a commotion down below.
He lifted his head from his forelegs and sought out the source of the noise. While there were many different vocalizations a dragon could make, and many different meanings they could have, this one was painfully obvious. He stared out from the lip of their weyr and watched the fields as a small, dark female began to terrorize the herdbeasts. Cerrodalth watched with interest as an even smaller figure - her Rider, surely - appeared not long after. Yes, this was certainly a Flight.
He weighed his options, briefly, and then cast them aside as soon as he had them. She was still too small for him to chase - or so he assumed, from this distance - and he knew J'ral wouldn't step in where the younger Riders ought to.
So he would watch only, and not roar back in response, despite the lingering urge to do so. Just because he was one of the older dragons here didn't mean he didn't feel the same things as the younger dragons, thank you very much. However, despite the favorably tipped scales (he had more than a few turns of experience, thus multiple strategies to employ), he didn't enjoy a Flight that was clearly weighed in his favor, if he would ever chase again. He rumbled amusedly at the thought.
Cerrodalth shifted to rest on his side and swished his tail on the floor, his mind already flying ahead with thoughts. Her roar was not as powerful, nor did it command as great a pull as a Queen. But for one her size, he supposed it would do. He wondered who would answer her summons, and began to speculate clutch sizes.
Hey, watch the tail! You are aware you're blocking the entrance, right?
The Chrome snorted complacently. I have a strategic vantage point from this spot, J'ral, and it is warmer here than it is outside. If you can't get over me, find another way around.
Thought you'd never ask.
And then Cerrodalth regretted his words instantly, and grumbled loudly (as was his duty, even if he knew he shouldn't complain) when his Rider reached up and climbed over his side. Thankfully, he noticed J'ral had been considerate enough to not put his boots on before he walked across his side to get to the opening of their weyr. Well, he had certainly eaten his words.
Once J'ral was back on the ground, one hand on the curve of the entranceway as he worked his feet into his boots, he looked out to see what all the fuss was about.
What's that girl planning on doing? She's not planning on being out in the open when they-- --Says you?
J'ral laughed suddenly, and then bent down to tie his boots. That was one time, you gasbag, and a long time ago at that. Anyway…I'm going down to eat. You're not going to stay and watch? Please...I don't need to watch to know what's going to happen, but thanks. I'll be back later. Don't spend all your time spectating.
Cerrodalth bumped his Rider with his nose and looked to the skies, as the female had already taken off in that brief span of time. She had blooded two and left her Rider soon after. Smart to fly on an empty stomach.
Of course, he replied, in a way both of them knew he would do exactly that.
It was early, and as always there was a scent to his weyr. He lived in this scent, comfortable and unnoticed. The smell of leather, the smell of oil on hide, the smell of a feline’s breath in the morning. D’ziel opened his eyes and sat up, his hair was disheveled and he was still in his nightwear as he pat Pounce. Another scent has become all the more common as he got up and got ready, slowly integrating itself into the tapestry of other scents. Smoke, seeping out of his clothing. A subtle reminder that there was always something burning just out of sight.
Hocteth was quiet in the mornings. It was always the case. A proper morning should be a quiet affair, gathering strength for the day. Provided, of course, that the Feline didn’t ruin it all. But no, she was far more interesting in pestering D’ziel for food. Good. So he sat, letting the morning rays warm him up.
Mornings, as some have noted, rarely stay simple.
The Moonlight’s head snapped toward the direction of the roar that broke through the morning. His eyes whirled to more intense colors while he was being filled with a very different sort of fire. Hocteth ignored what effect this was having on D’ziel, as he knew, as he always felt that he did, what the proper course of action was. The lovely Saphireth was rising. Therefore he would declare his intentions and most certainly do everything in his power to show himself worthy. So the Moonlight roared back and tested his wings but once before taking to the air, flying straight and true toward his goal.
D’ziel was having a rougher time of things. Pounce was angry at his sudden stop, and therefore the delay in being fed. So he got a neat scratch as he tried to deal with the sudden spike in Hocteth’s emotions, threatening to drown him. He tried to get her something to eat, but upended a bowl when the vision of sky took him over for a sudden second. The feline bolted under the bed, not going to have any part in this. What was it about flights again? He wasn’t supposed to resist, right? He was just far to overwhelmed to think much of anything, only let Hocteth do the heavy lifting. Why was the Moonlight so much more intense then he thought? He tried desperately to think about what was going on but got drowned again, in visions of the fire colored sky, streaked with smoke and contrasting a familiar, flying Darkblue dragoness. Saphireth was flying, and they would show what they could do.
N'rel had hardly set foot outside the weyr for the past several days. He'd been stuck inside, coughing up a lung, and frustrated with the inability to do anything except mess around with a few scraps of hide. The end result was a very nice, tightly woven marks pouch, but that was hardly enough to make him happy.
For some reason, this day was not as bad as previous several had been for the older rider. So he had risen early and walked around the Bowl after a bite to eat. Near the end of his stroll, his attention was drawn to a DarkBlue as she descended to the feeding grounds. Her beautiful hide seemed to glow, and N'rel found himself admiring her; the way she moved, and how she looked from his vantage point on the...Rim? A woman ran past him, snapping him back into his own body for a moment. Nysqualith rumbled with anticipation from his perch on the Rim, wings spread and ready to follow once Saphireth launched herself into the air.
"What the shards do you think you're doing?! Leave her for the younger dragons, I can't..."
You wanted to be productive. So I am being productive for you. Nysqualith roared in response to Saphireth’s call and launched into the air after her, joining a Moonlight in the chase. It would not be an easy Flight for the older Bronze, but She was worth it.
Every swear word known on Pern poured from N'rel's mouth before this dragon began the chase, taking N'rel's mind with him into the smoke.
A Bronze and a Moonlight had leapt after her; as if they could catch her like this! One might be a king, and the other a friend, but this was her time to shine! Her hide pulsed a bright blue as she twirled through the air, the smokestacks in the background mimicking her motions as she soared higher, and higher, and higher.
The only one who could possibly catch her - not that she would ever give him the satisfaction! - was not here, his midnight hide missing from the wings behind her.
And so she hissed between her teeth, and twitched her tail, and soared away from the dragons behind her, coasting ever faster in the morning air.
On the ground, Elora watched her, her dragon's desire and urge to run coursing through her veins. It was hard to focus, so hard, when all she wanted was to run and -
But she had to focus, had to - firelizard. She needed a firelizard, needed to tell N'kio, though he should have known; Cliffside always knew when there was a Flight, you could see it on the horizon. He should know. He should know.
But he wasn't here, and if he didn't show - why wouldn't he show? They had fought, but he wouldn't - would he?
D'ziel. If N'kio couldn't come - he was the second best option; they were friends, and he didn't judge her for her past, and - yes, he would have to do, if Saphireth let Hocteth catch her.
But it shouldn't have even been a question.
Teeth grinding, she turned and stalked back towards the Weyrs, muscles quivering in an effort to stay focused.
The dragoness spiraled upward, brighter than any of the smoke she mimicked in her motions. Of course she was, it was as it should be. She soared away, against the bright sky and Hocteth chased after, though he spied the Bronze dragon trying for her as well. He should have expected that, of course more would want to try to win her this day. He may be a king, but he would show himself more worthy.
Still, as she hissed and spirited herself to the sky, Hocteth knew she would not make it easy. He refused to let her get too far, but he couldn’t dare to overtake her. He pursued, enjoying the way the morning light reflected off her Darkblue hide. Still, he had to focus, and show he was strong enough to catch her. Surely she could see his effort.
D’ziel tripped. Hocteth had been admiring Saphireth, but it had blinded him so he hadn’t seen where he was going. He tried to figure out where he was going, what he was doing. He strained to think, and another wave of Hocteth’s desire got to him. Right, it was Elora. He got lost again, entirely overwhelmed. He had always been a more passive person so it shouldn’t have surprised him he was having such a hard time dealing with all of this. He’d grown up knowing this was the sort of thing that he would have to deal with if he had impressed, his family was full of riders after all. He just…hadn’t really known how it would be, not really. It was insane. Properly crazy.
Hocteth paid no mind. Riders were supposed to just let dragons handle the flying and be taken along for the ride. That was the proper thing.
Saphireth had made her decision - on who she would let catch her, if he could keep up - and Elora's pleasure in the decision was just barely there; there was too much anger at those who hadn't come, and too much lust radiating from her on behalf of her dragon, and too much need to grab D'ziel and get to the Weyrs before they both did something in public that they would regret.
So she stalked her way to where he was and grabbed her friend's arm, offering him an apologetic half-smile as she began pulling him toward the Weyr. Already, Saphireth's mind was making it hard for her to think; but she still managed to stumble out, "Saphireth knows who she wants, between those chasing, and we might as well get inside now."
As if she had heard her Rider, Saphireth twisted away from the Bronze in the air, backing and sweeping past the Moonlight and brushing him lightly with her wing as she spiraled away from him. Oh, Hocteth could catch her, if he wanted; but he would have to keep up, and fly with her, and flying with her was not easy, no.
She careened downwards, tail flashing against a waterfall and spraying water through the air as she turned and flew and dared the males behind her to keep up, keep up, keep up.
D’ziel started when a hand grabbed his arm, and he refocused to what was going on around him. He pushed his mind enough out of the haze to register the half smile on the other riders face and the words coming out of her mouth. He spared a glance behind him toward where the dragons were. He supposed Elora would know best what her dragon was thinking, but it didn’t feel like a won flight. He followed her lead, as it seemed like she knew exactly what she was doing. Actually for the most part, Elora always seemed that way. It was a good quality to have. It helped him keep his focus and most certainly not trip over anything on the way inside.
Hocteth was not just going to roll over and let some other dragon win Saphireth. Especially when the very tip of her wing brushed his hide as she moved passed him. That encouragement pushed him forward, after the spiraling Darkblue dragoness. She kicked up water in her wake, causing the droplets of water to catch the light, the red morning light trapped in their watery prison. It made for a lovely display, but it was all too soon ignored in favor of taking after the dragoness. He didn’t want to be left behind for even a moment. He would not disrespect her in that way.