It was early in the day. It was one of the few times that R'le could be found consistently at the Weyr, except when he was sleeping. The dark haired rider was in the kitchens, grabbing an early bite to eat. He had already grabbed his afternoon snack, some dried meat that was in his pouch. Since he had met Elraisha, it contained more meat then usual. The much more recent addition to his bag was the throwing knives. He'd gotten his lost knife back, having slipped back after a seven day. He felt fairly lucky about that, he liked having the whole set. For the time being he was enjoying the warm K'lah as he relaxed in his chair. He was just about done with it, so he downed the rest before it got cold. A smile played across his face as he spent a moment enjoying the early morning rest. He was neither a morning nor an evening person, but once he was very awake. Still, it was nice to take it easy in the mornings. Especially since Quiorith was still asleep. The cloud often slept right up until they went flying, which actually worked out okay with his ability to go from asleep to awake in a few seconds. Or so it seemed. R'le gathered his mug and went to put it away before heading out to the WeyrBowl. There were people already up and about, which was nice. He usually got the opportunity to chat with some of his friends before heading out. R'le would be there until Quiorith woke up, enjoying the morning at the edge of the Bowl.
Nineteen! She still couldn't believe it. Turndays were the best. The party glow still had not finished radiating out from the young woman. Sure, the Weyr was a bit on edge since those Riders had found that dreadful thing out in the jungle, but lifted spirits were better than gloomy ones. Always.
She had gone home and managed to get Rilora for about an hour too. Mom had made a wonderful meal and the family was enamored with Hrith, who loved the attention even more. It had been the highlight of the month. In fact,...it was just the sort of thing the Weyr needed.
Lithena found herself with a pleasant grin on her face as she recalled Rilora mentioning that the Weyrleader's turnday was coming up. He was a charismatic one but she still felt that not enough of the Weyr knew him. What better way then to calm the Weyr than to throw him a party? With zeal to spare, Lithena trotted down to the kitchens. She would inform the staff of her grand plan and then head out with Hrith to Golden Flight to pick up a few other things. She had friends there who would trade her favors, plus she had a few marks from the freelance tailoring work she did. Lithena had to fund her celebrations somehow.
She had just finished explaining to the fourth kitchen person, finally to someone with the authority to okay a celebration, about the Weyrleader's turnday. She didn't mind retelling her ideas though. Every iteration just got better and better. They had some stores of food that needed using up, it turned out, and satisfied with recruiting the kitchens Lithena bounced back out into the dining area, bread and jam in hand, so see who else might be free to help with her plans. She had to get presents, some of the decorations from her weyr sorted and put in order, and of course on her trip to the Hold she should consult with her friends there. Golden Flight folk knew how to throw a party.
Standing up ahead of her was that CloudRider from the gloomy news brigade. If he were involved, and a good spirited host to boot, surely that would lighten up the Weyr. "R'le!" she called, taking quick strides up to his side. "R'le. I am working on throwing the Weyrleader the best turnday party ever, because all my parties are the best. I have to go to Golden Flight to get some things and I was wondering if you and Quiorith would come help? Please please?" Surely party planning and getting to hang around Golden Flight were better than whatever else the CloudRider might have had planned that day.
R'le had just finished a conversation with another rider, who had to be off on their sunset dragoness, when he heard someone call his name. He turned to see who it was when a very spirited woman strode right up. He had only taken in her appearance enough to realize that she looked familiar before she went headlong into a request for him. He remembered about halfway through that this was Lithena, and he thanked his lucky stars he was good with names. He had certainly got to know some more people after the craziness in the jungle, since he hardly did from walking about the Weyr. He brought his hand up to his chin, seeming to ponder the request to help with the Weyrleader's turnday festivities. Of course he knew exactly what he thought about that.
"Well if it's the best one ever, how can I possibly say no?" R'le broke into a wide grin, looking quite enthusiastic. "Quiorith no doubt agrees."
What about me?
R'le turned toward the Bowl and jumped, spotting Quiorith sitting in the Bowl, waiting for him. 'When did you get there?'
A second ago. We are going somewhere? The cloud sounded excited, which wasn't surprising considering the time of day.
R'le chuckled softly. He loved his dragon, today a little more then some days. 'Feel like helping Lithena by helping get stuff from Golden Flight Hold?'
Quiorith stretched out his wings, then relaxed and started flipping his tail back and forth. Ready when you are!
R'le turned back to Lithena, looking a bit sheepish about suddenly getting distracted. "Welp, we're excited over here, and can't wait to help. Just say go I guess?" The dark haired man was visibly in good spirits. He usually was.
"Okay, great!" She hadn't quite expected him to agree so easily but perhaps she just needed a bit more faith in people. Lithena was in full-grin-mode and ready to start. Though not the best runner (who cared if you were having fun?) she waited a moment after R'le's final affirmation and then squeaked "Go!" and took off down the hall to the Bowl. He recognized her and could get details from Hrith if he needed them now and from her as the day went on otherwise. That was usually how Lithena explained things: slowly, and in bursts.
We're coming. Lithena gave her dragon a heads up.
Already ahead of you on that one, dear. Hrith crooned as she touched down in the Weyr Bowl. She had her riding gear on from not too long ago when Lithena put it on, before heading to the kitchens. A good couple of packs to carry things and the whole get up. The weather was like to be nice at Golden Flight and Hrith was looking forward to the trip. Holdfolk usually liked to devote their attention to dragons, especially unexpected ones. She held her head at just a certain angle to show her show-offish excitement.
And we'll go ask Torvin if he has more mending needing doing and the like and maybe I can get a bottle of his good wine to bring as a present. Higher ups always like that sort of thing, Lithena planned on as she neared the Bowl. Well, first we just need to get there, hm? Hrith replied.
It was easy for R'le to get caught up in Lithena's enthusiasm, and dashed to Quiorith at the word 'go!' from the blond woman. Of course he had to get the cloud into his gear, but both he was good at getting the stuff on quickly. As he made sure everything was secure, he gave a glance at the black-green dragoness that was taking off. Interesting color that. Confident everything was good he got on the cloud and said with a smile, "All ready. Remember, we're heading to Golden Flight, not the jungle."
Of course. Hang on Mine, we need out morning dash. The cloud took off, much in the same way he usually did. However, once he got clear of the take off area he suddenly dashed forward, going for pure speed. If only lasted a few seconds, but it was a good way for both Quiorith and R'le to get warmed up. The cloud looked over to where Hrith was and then turned his head to look back at his dark haired rider. Mine...?
R'le chuckled a little bit, understanding immediately. "Well you can ask. I don't know if we're in a rush, but it never hurts to ask. But don't be pushy."
Quiorith gave a little nod as he flew, then turned his attention to the dragoness. Hrith, want to race? Maybe just a short one? Perhaps? The Cloud was excited, obviously, he usually was when the possibility of a race rolled around.
Lithena and Hrith watched as the Cloud took off. Lithena moved her riding goggles over her eyes to try and dim the bright light in the sky. The Cloud sure was a fast one, they noted, smiling. Lithena moved to climb up Hrith's back, which she did with a huhh and settled herself. Hair out of face; check. Riding gear ready; check. Marks for the Hold; not check? She reached around in one of Hrith's packs for a moment before her hand landed on the wallet. Good.
With the check list complete, but Lithena not quite facing forward, Hrith took off. It jolted her but she quickly regained her posture and tried to seek out the Cloud in the sky.
Race? You're on. Hrith agreed without consulting her Rider, gliding in closer toward the Cloud. To over Cliff Side? she asked, glancing in the direction up the shore and toward the water. It won't be a long race. Lithena should be okay with it. Hrith told herself.
The Cloud's mood immediately swapped to excitement at hearing Hrith's response. Over Cliff Side then. Quiorith naturally matched pace with Hrith so they were gliding side by side. R'le will call it. Anticipation sent the cloud's tail twitching but he didn't move any faster or slower then he had been. He just listened very carefully.
R'le grinned a bit, always pleased to be the one to signal start. Preemptively, he got into a position that wouldn't be troublesome once the race began, though he usually recovered well even if he was caught off guard. Still, he did this first so it wouldn't give Quiorith any prior hint that he was going to send them off. That done he spoke quite clearly so there would be no trouble hearing.
"Ready?" A heart beat went by.
"Steady." R'le grinned just a hair more in anticipation.
The race was on, and the cloud dashed, having just a moment of delay on his reaction time. The feel of the wind was wonderful against Quiorith's hide, only pressing him faster. R'le was just glad he was used to his behavior.
Ready... Hrith's muscles tensed and relaxed trying to find the right moment to give that first push.
Steady... Certainly by now Lithena knew what was going on. Focus, she told herself, which by doing so made the task at hand harder.
Go! came and she beat down at the air sloppily. Embarrassment came but this was a race with no time for stopping or feeling too awful about starts. She wasn't too far behind Quiorith from the start, since he hadn't burst ahead quite like she was expecting. Her wings beat the air harder and she felt them falling into a rhythm, though Lithena's mild alarm and darting movements weren't helping.
What-? Lithena startled, eyes searching for a reason they were suddenly jerking through the air and then quickly speeding up. It took her mind only a moment more to piece the facts together and realize she was in the middle of a dragon race. Relief and irritation found her simultaneously, quickly replaced by a will to win. They were up against a tough match, Quiorith was an exceptional flier, but if Hrith wanted to race then they'd give it their all.
Hrith felt her Rider's emotions change rapidly, finally settling in on board with the race. A smile found them both, at last, and Hrith gained an extra little boost of power, streaming forward further into the air. She was not a regular racer but she'd be on the ground already if she weren't going to work to win.
She stared at the Cloud's tail, ahead of her like a taunt to catch up. Wings, wind, strength; Hrith felt them all acutely. It wasn't far to Cliffside at this speed. Could they overtake Quiorith? To her it seemed still as it if were any dragon's race.
Quiorith's whirled, feeling both joy and a desire to win. R'le wasn't about to disagree with the sentiment. Oh it was lovely, wind on their faces, sun shining down. It was great. Just then a mischievous zephyr decided to play a prank on the Cloud, coming across in a short, but powerful puff of air. Quiorith naturally turned into the air rather then get flung away, R'le gripping onto the Cloud's gear to make sure he stayed in the seat. Oh he was strapped in and all but he didn't want to be thrown up and disrupt the dragon's usual aerial abilities with the change of air around him. It only lasted a moment and no harm done, but it was something that cost precious time and direction. An easy course correction was made but the Cloud had to spend another moment to open his wings wide to make a proper dash again.
R'le's expression never changed even while Quiorith was dealing with the race. He did love it when Quiorith was having fun and racing on the back of a dragon was a thrill. He turned to look at Hrith and Lithena and grinned a little more. Quiorith was going to have to work hard to make it so that they didn't completely capitalize on the smallest loss of time. Even more so, it like the pair was having fun. That was good, he had hoped they would. Still, he wasn't going to roll over and let them win. That wouldn't be fair to either of them.
Got it handled?
Are you underestimating me?
Nope, just making sure you remember that you are giving me a ride.
Hah! Like I can't feel your 'suggestions'. And just to let you know, pulling away from it would have lost us more time, and your breakfast.
R'le laughed, enjoying the mid race conversation. Lucky talking wasn't much of a strain on Quiorith.
Hrith watched as the wind caught Quiorith and pushed him back. She struggled to avoid letting the same thing happen to her, the wind would not find her! Still, she couldn't make full advantage of the Cloud's setback. They were too close in the air and what happened ahead tried to happen behind too. Focus. Hrith said to herself as much as her Rider. Quiorith was faster than she was. He was a Cloud, for Faranth's sake! None the less, was this race really about winning to them? Games were all well and good, but it was the fun that really counted and determined the quality of the day. Not far now, Hrith commented, strained, wings still working as hard as she could make them. It hurt, it was fun, it would feel awful when they were done, but the wind in her face!
Ups and downs. It was life's way. So Hrith swooped down, towards the fast approaching Hold. She had lost track of where her Cloud competitor was. Would they make it there first?
It was so close. They were almost there. The Cloud continued pushing on, determined to get to the goal first. R'le was watching the other pair, as Hrith adjusted for the wind and gained on them. Quiorith wouldn't let her get much more on him, he just knew it. He turned his head back to see where they were going and had to reach up to get his hair out of his face. He really should get a haircut. Once he could see again he could see again, the goal was within reach. But after he looked again for Hrith he couldn't find her. Huh?
Quiorith was too focused on the goal now. A few more wingbeats... and finally he was there!
Goal! The Cloud announced proudly once he got there, going for a little while longer just to slow down and turn about. But he didn't see Hrith either. The pair looked about and realized the other pair had gone at a different altitude, so he couldn't tell if she had gotten to the hold first or not. Did I win?
"Unno. Either way I think its time to work on why we are actually around here." Quiorith looked back at R'le blankly. "We're helping with the Weyrleader's turnday celebration?"
R'le laughed, extremely amused. This was the best sort of day,
Oh thanks Hrith! And thanks for racing with me! Its been a while since anyone has agreed to race with me. Feel free to ask if you want to race again. Quiorith was very pleased, his eyes whirling to prove it. R'le grinned, giving the Cloud's hide a good pat. After gathering his sense of direction Quiorith went to match altitudes with the black and green dragoness.
Remember not to pester other dragons too much. I'll lose all chances of being friends with their riders. R'le continued grinning as he teased his dragon, who pretended to be offended at the very idea. Of course it was all in good fun. They were all about having fun.
Yes! Lets go! The Cloud was so excited that R'le instinctively grabbed onto the Cloud's harness and held on. Like clockwork, Quiorith hopped /Between/ and a few heart beats later both dragon and rider were safely above Golden Flight Hold. R'le sighed as soon as they were back out and followed up with a dry chuckle. Yep, that was Quiorith alright. R'le could swear that he made rider only by figuring out what the Cloud was going to do before he himself did. Of course, it helped that they thought approximately the same most times. Still soon R'le would be on the ground helping Lithena with whatever she needed to pick up. A touch safer then being riding an excited Quiorith.
Hrith was pleased with Quiorith's attitude. The race was all fun and no competition, really. No gloating winner, anyway. She liked that. And with one fun thing done, perhaps on to the next. Lithena would be walking around Golden Flight, so they could do any number of things in the mean time.
"Well, there they go," Lithena remarked, watching the Cloud disappear. "Shall we follow them?" She realized then she was talking aloud, which was unusual for her when in the air. No matter.
Yes Mine! Let's go! Hrith agreed and together they winked between. They arrived a good distance from Quiroith and R'le. Hrith started her descent, since they were pretty high. Lithena instructed Hrith where to go and the Black-Green was happy to oblige.
The vintner for the area, though not renowned in the least like those at Melisong, was a happy man, content with his quiet work. He claimed not so many people bothered him and interrupted his work that way anyway. He had a shop on the edge of the Hold near one of the main gates, since that was a visible spot to get customers. Hrith landed in an open, grassy hill outside the gate, taking care to avoid landing on anything that was being grown on purpose. Golden Flight was rather serious about their farms and their fields.
Lithena slipped off and Hrith returned herself to the air, the two of them making room for Quiorith to make use of the spot.
Quiorith followed Hrith's decent, checking the area they were going to be landing at. R'le knew the jungles outside Rainbow Mists more then he did the Holds under her jurisdiction. Well, he knew Melisong pretty well, but that was where he was born. So he took in the sights as his dragon went to the landing spot, getting a good look at Golden Flight Hold. Nice place. The place seemed very close to nature, in a civilized way. He wasn't sure what made him feel that way but he felt it fit.
When the Black-Green dragoness took off again Quiorith landed in the same place, neatly touching down. R'le slid off his back and gave the hide a pat before getting over to Lithena. The Cloud took off again, to enjoy the sky and the good company. R'le took a moment to appreciate the view of the Hold from ground level, nodding to himself.
"Nice place. This is your home turf, yeah?" R'le was ready to tag along on whatever errands they had here, but a little friendly conversation was always on the agenda.