Fort Weyr - Tooth Crag
A large section of the bowl wall has been chewed away by Turns of dragons landing and clinging to the sharp ridge. At its sharp angle, people aren't advised to be up this far on the highest peak of the Fortian Bowl, and yet there looks to be evidence that people have been up here - rock climbing no less! Anchors are mounted into sections of the rock, with ropes having been left behind for courtesy of other climbers. There looks to be a crevass in which the rope dangles down toward. In the other direction, adventurers have attempted to climb the high spire named Tooth Crag, which for the most part in this spot is a hazardous spike of rock with minimal hand and foot holds. From here, the entire valley and mountain range, along with the bowl and the sky above the Weyr can be seen without anything hindering the view.

A chill night is not easily shaken off as a strange misty drizzle greets the dawn but clears as the sun climbs the horizon. Everything remains a touch damp however, though the winds at least are mild and promise some warmth. Up high on the tooth crags though it may as well be winter again. Up here it's still cold but the view alone will make up for it. While not a recommended spot for humans to venture to (not that it stops them, from evidence of the rock climbing anchors), it's easy enough for the dragons to access and what footholds would be nigh on impossible to use for small human hands are just fine for taloned feet. Velokraeth has perched himself on an downward angle, poised as if ready to spring aloft on a moments notice though the pale bronze's body is relaxed, tensed only in his stunted and malformed limbs where he grips the stone. His wings remain pinned to his side, unfurling only enough to ensure his balance if the wind picks up particularly strongly. He's taken the steeper incline, leaving the less daunting sections for the Weyrlings to land on. Settled between his neck ridges and buckled in securely into the straps sits his rider, Weyrleader Th'ero, who is wearing his thicker riding gear to guard against the cold. His face mask is up and his helmet on, though his goggles remain lifted to rest above the visor. Gloved hands grip the saddle handles and then restlessly one will move to stroke the pale hide of the dragon beneath him. Velokraeth rumbles deep in his chest, turning his oversized and ugly head away from the sprawling view beyond the Weyr's walls and back to the inner bowls. « They will soon be here. M'icha has just briefed them on the morning's change in exercise and drills. He sends a small group. »

The Weyrlingmaster would have told them little beyond that he was not to be teaching them today, that it would be Th'ero taking over the first ever jaunt beyond the Weyr. He split the groups up, sending a group of four to the tooth crags and no doubt the four Weyrlings he felt could handle the trip. The rest will practice! It's been a few days now since they all had their first taste of mounted flight, starting with take offs and landings, then five minute flights that gradually extended longer and longer. Now with them beginning to understand formation flying, it was time for some field training. Those sent first were advised to dress warmly, to have their lifemates well fed and stretched and straps triple checked before taking off to the tooth crags, an area normally restricted to most weyrfolk and until now restricted to them. Not any longer!

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> Chilly indeed. So'l is thankful for the directive to dress appropriately. Safely strapped to his ever-growing bronze, the brawny lad is acting as Wing Leader today. With goggles safely in place and his helmet ever ready to protect against aerial debris impact, the former woodworker has neck ridges in hand as he leans forward, enjoying the utter exhilaration of flying upon Sharuth like this. It's a phenomenal sensation - one he'd once thought would only come via dragon taxi rides - and So'l's pure joy radiates throughout his link with his lifemate. Taking a moment to look back, he ensures that the Weyrlings in his charge are flying in correct, straight line formation. Nodding with approval, he turns back as the bronze beneath him continues to flap, increasing their altitude until their destination comes into view. Spotting the craggy outcroppings, So'l figures another formation will serve them better for perching. 'Sharuth,' he bespeaks the dragon, 'please relay to the other dragons: Reverse Vee formation. Take a spot on the rocks, please.' To Anique, who's acting as Wing Second today, he looks back and gives her a hand sign signaling the same. Soon enough, they'll all come in for a landing.

Away from Velokraeth, Typriaeth is cheerful as always this morning as she and Anique are ready. Anique's dressed in warmer clothing, including a knit cap over her head and dark green gloves adorning her hands. Pleased at how well they've done with the take off and landings she looks quite happy mounted up on the green as they glide towards the now unrestricted tooth crags. From atop the green back one hand leaves the hold on the straps to snap a salute towards the Weyrleader. They are ready for today's adventure! As it's passed on through Sharuth Typriaeth slips into formation and lands.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Cold? What cold? Sharuth is far too exhilerated to feel any such cold. He is flying! Not only is he flying. But at the head of the formation. His are the wings that break the wind. His is the body that cuts the air. His are the eyes that lead the way. And his is the voice that calls like thunder in a joyous refrain. His is a life that is meant for the sky, and in its embrace, the chill can not reach him. He is a source of radiant warmth and vibrant energy, the heat of pumping muscles, of heavy breath, of rolling swirling eyes that tell plainly his exuberance. So lost is the bronze that it actually takes a moment for his rider's words to reach him. He was just… well… actually tasting the currents of the air, and embarassment floods him for just a moment at the delay. When he withdraws from the world of pure sensation though, his determination forms, and though it's laced with no small amount of eagerness and bravado, Sharuth obeys. «Reverse Vee!» he calls out proudly to those in his wake. «We're heading for the rocks.» Which ones? That was made clear by thoughtful communication and impression as the formation banks in the air and he falls in to his place within it before coming to settle on the rocks and choosing, by no accident, a location directly adjacent to Velokraeth.

Velokraeth warbles a warm greeting to the young dragons as Sharuth leads them in formation up to the stony crags and while the pale bronze speaks no words to start it's evident from the whirl of his eyes and the way he holds his head proudly upon his arched neck that he is pleased with how the four arrive and arrange themselves so neatly. « Well, well! So what Aycheth has told me is true. You have grown well and strong! And four of you today, is it? Which of you has assumed roll of Wingleader and who is Wingsecond? » The bronze probably already knows, at least through his rider's thoughts but he is polite and asks, a bit of idle chat while the Weyrleader assesses the Weyrling's himself. Anique's salute is returned, followed by a hand signal for 'all is well?' and the same will be echoed for So'l once he's caught the bronze weyrling's attention. Marin and F'rari salute as well as they have their dragons land in the formation Sharuth instructs them to and signal back that all is well and good. They're ready and waiting on orders! Velokraeth bespeaks again, shifting against his downward sloping perch, sharp talons clicking against the stone and some lose pieces break free and scatter to tumble down the steep drop to the ground many, many feet below. As his mind reaches out to the others, his voice is awash in the rich bouquet of the finest wines and today he's chosen a cool, mellowing and honeyed white to echo his enthusiastic energies. Followed with it is the sensation of warmth, a faint whisp of smoke that speaks of the comforts of hearth and home and only accentuate his equally as richly toned voice. « Fortune smiles upon us as the weather holds and we will fly to the mountains today! It will be a long flight and we will take it at a steady pace but there is no shame if it at anytime one of you may need to land to rest. This is no contest, but merely an outing to stretch your wings and test your limits. If that is understood, then we may begin to proceed. »

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> Having ensured their own footing is secure first, So'l pats Sharuth affectionately on the side - an assurance of a job well done - before turning to observe the others lands. Yes, indeed, they have all improved! And it's something the acting Wing Leader makes note of for his report to M'icha later. Smiling, he looks to Velokraeth - bowing his head deeply to the bronze who once saved him from certain death - and then snapping his own salute to Th'ero. "Weyrleader," he greets with a chipper clip. "Good morning," the weyrling's smile spreads, 'listening in' on the draconic conversation through Sharuth. "I'm acting as Wingleader today and Anique is our Wingsecond," he explains. As further conversation ensues, he 'listens' intently, nodding along. 'Are you up for this, Sharuth? Feeling strong and mighty today?' So'l mentally asks, humor coloring his tone in knowing the answer already. Looking about the other weyrlings, he catches looks that indicate - perhaps - some trepidation but also a lot of determination. "We are ready, Weyrleader," So'l nods, very much excited for what's to come.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Even landed, Sharuth is restless. His muscles writhe, his wings fidgit. He can still feel the air around and beneath them, still revels in the pleasant burning ache of his muscles, stoking the fires within them, preparing them for awai- The mountains?! His head lifts, pulled from reverie again and cranes as if to see them. To peer at the heights that they will climb. His claws dig in to the rock beneath him as he aches to leap, to take flight and begin the ascent. To crest the summits, to rest upon a surface so high he might just reach out and touch the sun itself. It sends shivers down his spine, likely felt by So'l from his perch. But the patting asurance calms the bronze well enough, steadies him, his thoughts, and his breathing. There's still work to be done before he gets there. «We are ready, Mag…» Sheepish emotion seizes hold for a second before he can quell it, his draconic gaze darting to the others who accompany them, «Velokraeth,» he ammends, his tone and mind suffused with all the pride and glory of a coming dawn.

Away from Velokraeth, Anique has learned well the hand signals and while she's a bit clumsy in the reply it comes through easily enough as 'all good here'. Typriaeth's warble of greeting echoes that all is well the green looking quite bright today as well as pleased to have her rider upon her back. The green's excited enough to reply right on the heels of So'l's answer, an echoey quality to her mind voice as if it comes from a far distance. « Anique and I are to assume the role of Winsecond! » she is pleased enough with this. Resting easily from her perch Anique waits for orders with one part of her attention on quiet conversation between her and Typriaeth who is no doubt asking quite a number of questions about this trip. She does comment once more though towards Velokraeth. « I am well stretched and foresee no problems with this trip! »

The air is suddenly rent by a strange chuffing sound that comes and goes like rolling waves and it won't take long to pinpoint the source as Velokraeth. He makes those sounds in the closest approximation to 'laughter' as a dragon can get and when the bronze does reach out again to brush against the four weyrling dragon's mind his tone is positively rippling with mirth. « Sharuth, you should inform So'l that he cannot be heard clearly in normal speech. Tricky thing about wind and distance, it distorts vocal sounds and unless he wishes to yell at the top of his lungs to be heard properly, it's advisable that necessary communication is kept to hand signals or relayed between us. » he corrects gently, only to have the bronze softly add. « He knows now that you are Wingleader today and Typriaeth's is Wingsecond — thank you, little lady. » The last he says for the green, acknowledging her input. « He also says 'good morning'. » From up on Velokraeth's back, Th'ero is grinning though his features are covered by that cloth mask and the Weyrleader quickly adjusts a few buckle straps to tighten them before he's reaching up to pull his goggles down over his eyes. Velokraeth rumbles low and deep in his chest, picking up on Sharuth's eagerness to be off and his mind rippling once more with amusement for the young bronze's amending statement. « Excellent! It is good that you are all so confident! Sharuth, you are to follow behind me. We are to keep a staggered line as formation for now but you may adjust as you see fit. When we approach closer to the mountains, however, I want you to yield to me. The winds at that height are unpredictable but should not be beyond any of your capabilities. Now — we fly! While the morning is still young. » With a delighted call to the open skies, Velokraeth spreads his wings full, two broad sails of reddish gold-bronze and the only part of his malformed and stunted body that is untouched and correctly proportioned. His haunches tense and then propel him forwards, springing to clear the crags before his wings sweep down in that first crucial stroke that has him soaring upwards, speed checked to be sure the weyrlings follow.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> The acting-Wingleader flushes a deep red, embarrassed for his mistake. Though hand signals and dragon-bespeaking are, of course, the tricks of the trade when it comes to communicating in the air, his enthusiasm proved a bit distracting when perched as they were upon the rocks. Lesson learned, it seems, for So'l suffers the laughter at his expense and asks Sharuth to confirm both reception of the orders and readiness to follow them. A wave is too quickly offered back to Th'ero before the young man is leaning over to pat Sharuth's gleaming hide once again. 'I admire your strength and resolve, Sharuth. But do tell me if you begin to tire. Better to rest than injure yourself, yes?' So'l expects his lifemate to answer in the affirmative here; a tone of rigidity infuses the question. Looking up, he spies Velokraeth launching from the rocks and gives the hand signal for the rest to fly as well. They'll keep the staggered line formation until they've cleared the rock formations, at least.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Such confirmation is made, the exchange brief and perhaps even a little bit rankled over the excess of laughter directed as So'l. Nut that Sharuth is angered by it, just perhaps a little bit wounded. He is, after all, highly defensive when it comes to his rider. But whether he thought such a reaction was warranted or not is lost to the thrill of the flight as he watches Velokraeth launch from the surface of the rocks and take to the open air. His own wings flex, his legs bend, his claws seek the purchase they need to propell him, and So'l is talking. Saying… saying what? He has to focus again, quell his eagerness and when he responds it is with a chortled snort, «Tire? Of this? How could…» But the quality of the tone sombers the bronze to the point where he cranes his neck and reveals eyes that roll briefly with the color of apology. «I promise,» he guarantees at last. «But it will not happen!» And then, at the height of his exclamation, the bronze launches, throwing the two of them out in to the sky and casting his wings wide to catch the wind. It breaks his descent, and he pumps, once… twice… thrice… climbing in to a soaring pursuit of their teacher.

Away from Velokraeth, Adjusting the straps once more or at least simply checking them again even though it's needless, Anique shifts her weight unconsciously as Typriaeth leaps up from her perch, tiny rocks tumbling down down down to the bowl below. « It is a good morning indeed! So bright. » she remarks towards the older bronze. Her eyes are swirling slowly in deep greens and contented blues. She loves mornings! Her wings sweep the air with broad, even strokes that makes a fairly good jump upwards. Adjusting slightly she's fairly well in the proper formation where she should be. Anique's gaze sweeps the other two weyrlings briefly before looking ahead once more, eyes on Sharuth.
You paged D'ani with 'I'm just about to take the Weyrlings on an extended flight if you wanted D'ani and Dremkoth to join? :)'.

Fort Weyr - Sky Over Mountain Range
High in the Western Mountain Ranges, the peaks are still draped in snow. Only in the middle of summer when temperatures are scorching do the peaks ever lose their snow, and even then, it's for mere sevendays before they regain their cover. Thus, flying in low altitudes on days when the cloud cover shrouds the peaks is dangerous business. Some of the peaks are constantly lost in the clouds or they create their own with the altitude they reach. Overall, from a long range standpoint, the view is dramatic. Rock of all colors, snow, some low lying valleys, lakes, rivers, forest. It becomes a beautiful mesh from way up high. There even looks to be one mountain peak in particular that draws interest - is that a cabin down near the lake?

Marin and F'rari follow on their brown and green respectively and the two fall into formation with ease behind Typriaeth and Sharuth, their voiced whoops of exhilaration to be finally free (in a sense) lost to the winds. Velokraeth hadn't really meant to rankle Sharuth that way with his laughter, but it was just too amusing for the pale bronze not to reflect on it. Lesson learned though and any conversation is now kept to hand signal or via dragon alone. Now the winds play a factor and any spoken words would be lost to it, even some of the vocalizations from the dragons are lost or distorted as they soar out over the valleys and forests below. Their path is a simple one and as the Weyr wall falls further and further behind, Velokraeth will give the "lead" more and more to Sharuth, as So'l has drawn the role of 'Wingleader' for the day, with Anique as his Wingsecond. The only words from the pale bronze are little snippets of advice, no doubt from Th'ero more than Velokraeth. « Veer a little further northward. Feel the change in the thermals? » He will share, not only to Sharuth but to Typriaeth and the others as well. « Indeed it is a very fine morning, little lady. » Velokraeth response to the young green and if he could, he'd grin wolfishly then. « A find day for you four to show us how well you can fly! We're coming up to a rather… flat part of the land. » By flat, he means forests. Trees, trees and more trees. Not much variation but then the Weyrleader has likely seen this stretch how many times in so many Turns? « Sharuth, you may increase pace if you see fit. » In simpler terms: have some fun! In moderation. The winds will stay calm though in this fair morning, with the temperatures cool and the sun up in a sky that is relatively clear of clouds. Some are gathering behind the mountains but seem still a considerable distance away not to be of a concern. Other dragons fly by in the distance, other Wingriders come in from sweeps or are simply returning home or venturing out again. For four lucky Weyrlings, this is the farthest they've ever been from the confines of the Weyr.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> Though So'l appreciates his bronze's hurt on his behalf, he encourages Sharuth not to worry over it. Velokraeth certainly meant no harm and besides, there are other things to focus on, yes? Scratching the bronze's neck ridges, he sends appreciative thoughts in response to the re-dedication /not/ to get hurt. And so they launch, the wind whipping at faces and bodies as the weyrlings soar farther than they've yet been allowed. After months of isolation, they are finally - FINALLY - able to experience the wonder that is being dragonbound. Laughing with exhilaration, So'l's own whoops of delight are dispersed by the roaring wind, his hands firmly grasping saddle horns and neck ridges as needed to remain stably put. With the weyrbowl now far behind them - and with Velokraeth ceding some control over to Sharuth - So'l grins beneath those googly goggles of his and directs the bronze to, indeed, pick up speed. 'Formation change, Sharuth: Forward Vee. Give them their places,' So'l orders, looking over to Anique and giving a hand signal to take the right-rear position behind Velokraeth. He and Sharuth take the left while Marin and F'rari are ordered to bring up the rears. Now the dragons can really stretch their wings without worrying so much about bumping into the clutchmate ahead. And as the land rushes beneath them, something suddenly has the wingleader very, /very/ excited. 'TREES! Look at that, Sharuth!' the weyrling mentally direct, admiring the huge swath of forests below them. The very forests his bronze's mindscape so much resembles. 'They're beautiful,' he comments, 'just as you are.'

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> «I do!» The response to Velokraeth is one that is a mix of enthusiasm and awe. He feels them, at once both powerful and sublte, allowing for the slightest of changes in direction or elevation by the smallest shift in the angle or flex of his wings. Not that he is skilled enough yet to fly with such delicacy, but he makes the attempt, and when met with only a modicrum of success, decides to focus on other pursuits. For the great bronze in front of him has just given them free reign! At the urging from So'l, a great and yet unnecessary breath fills the dragon's lungs, and he calls openly to the others who fly with him. «Forward Vee!» His words explode like a sunburst, the promised dawn breaking over a bright horizon, one that rushes towards them as they soar amidst an ocean of blue. «And keep up if you can!» His rider may not have requested that part, but it's there, and the breath he drew is finally put to use. Oxygen floods his veins, pours in to fill the sudden demand of his muscles as a roar of effort takes him further skyward. He climbs, and climbs, and climbs, reaching directly for the sun that shimmers and ripples across the subtle shades of his hide. He scales until his wings ache, until his head swimbs, and when at last his rider calls his attention down once more to the world below, he flushes inwardly at the compliment. «Then I shall take you to see them,» he boasts, and yes… there is a hint of mischief in there. For what had been a steep-sloped ascent becomes equally so a plummet. «Hang on!» is the only warning his rider would have received, and with only a single glance to see if the others still maintained formation, he tucked in his wings. First one, then the other, the one that remained a moment longer sending him in to a slow and measured spin. The barrel roll fell like a bullet toward the ground and as the trees made their approach, thrusting like green daggers toward the falling pair, at last wings snapped open again, catching those tricky thermals and breaking the bronze in to a slow glide above their verdant tops. To his lifemate, Sharuth snickered, head bowing toward the woods below them, «Close enough?»

Velokraeth will keep and hold formation with relative ease and when he is not keeping focus on the land below and spread out ahead of them his whirling eyes turn to the Weyrlings to monitor their progress. Both he and the Weyrleader have invested a certain amount of trust allowing them out this far and for one to lead them through it. Yet that doesn't mean they will be wholly without supervision. Velokraeth observes but does so quietly and will not step in even if there is some struggle or blunder. He and his rider will wait to see if they can sort it out themselves if there is no immediate danger. « Are you issuing a challenge? » The older bronze calls to Sharuth, his mind bubbling again with mirth. « You will have to be a little older before we can truly test that! Let your siblings test their mettle though against yours. Just be mindful of your strength! We fly TO the mountains but you must also fly BACK. » Devinth and Kedizeth soar up after their bronze sibling, with the green being the speediest of them all and even managing a daring corkscrew maneuver before levelling out. Yet both warble in a mixture of surprise and alarm when Sharuth suddenly dives and rolls, the pair about to follow before they are corrected by their riders — reluctantly. They are confused, if not envious, of the acrobatics, wishing to send their lifemates in to show off their skills as well. Velokraeth's warning on conserving strength though has Marin and F'rari balking, even though the bronze reassures them that all is well and fine as the pair do eventually dive down, but only to resume their formation on level with the older bronze. « Enjoying yourself? » he drawls to the young bronze from where he continues to fly evenly through the sky. « Nothing quite like a good dive like that! Well executed. But I stand by my earlier warning — do not tire yourself needlessly. We are approaching the mountains now and the winds here change often. Sharuth you are to take lead behind me and heed me. Now comes the challenge. » For with each stroke of their wings, the land below begins to change as the mountains loom closer and closer. The trees thicken and then grow sparse as the ground rears upwards, any vegetation growing sparser and sparser as rock and stone claim dominion. Velokraeth is careful to keep them by the smaller peaks and even here the winds grow tricky, just as the bronze had warned. He skirts around the base rather than soar up and over. They are not ready for that yet and there is a subtle undercurrent to the bronze's thoughts that edges towards respectful fear of the largest and more centre peak, who's top is lost to the gathering clouds above.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> It's a phenomenally fun ride that has So'l's adrenaline pumping like it never has before and yet… there's also a note of concern? Disapproval? Exhilaration and responsibility war within the weyrling in a confusing knot, one no doubt discernible to Sharuth even as So'l struggles to issue a response. Fighting past unexpected shock and unbelievable excitement, the part of So'l that's a bronzerider in wingleader training knows that what happened was not appropriate. Fun, but…not appropriate. 'You are amazing and I love you, Sharuth,' So'l mentally opens, 'but as wingleads, we have to be concerned with /all/ of our wingmates. Not all are as strong as you, nor do they have your endurance. Which is very admirable,' So'l's thoughts soften with a bit of encouragement. 'That was amazingly. Truly, truly, wondrous,' he smiles genuinely, 'but we still have much ahead to do and a wing to lead. Let's level out and follow Velokraeth now.' With an affectionate pat, he lets Sharuth know that even though he had to be a bit of a killjoy, he still believes in him very much. Watching the lands below as they approach the base of the mountains, So'l instructs Sharuth (and through him, the others) to be mindful of their surroundings on the approach.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Sharuth shrinks a bit beneath the reprimand. But even admonishing words and warnings from both his rider and the larger bronze can't quite extinguish that burning ember of pride and exhileration that burns within him. Besides, praised laced both their words, and what might, in another dragon, in a younger dragon, turn in to an inflated ego or a defiant streak, instead solidifies in to determined duty. He levels out as he is bid, takes the words to heart, and readies himself for 'the challenge'. He knows it will not be as liberating or exhilerating as the one he left in his wake, but it is his task to perform, and he will bend all of his strength and will to it. «Sorry,» he releases after a moment, the words as gentle as a sunbeam, sliding off the leaves of the trees to the forest floor. «And thank you.» That was sent to both So'l and Velokraeth, conveyed with a swelling of emotion for their faith in him, in his strength, and his ability. Such strength is put to the test now indeed as they sweep along the lands below them and begin the arcing ascent up the mountain's surface, his bronze body extended long and straight into a glistening streak, following in the wake of the greater dragon in front of him.

Away from Velokraeth, Typriaeth seems to know her own strength and well as weakness for when Sharuth soars up higher she sticks fairly well to formation but doesn't follow exactly as she is aware of how high she can go. As he dives though she carols a challenge and dives too. Chances are her goal is to soar past and take the lead but after a quick mental argument from Anique she eventually levels out some distance still above the tree line though there is reluctance in her movements. It's a win for the green rider who's flush with excitement. It's never been very often that she'd been dragon back before and that was naturally on someone else's dragon. To be up here upon Typriaeth is a whole new experience as she adjusts her grip and balance accordingly with every move the green makes. » This is wonderful! « she says privately to Typriaeth who agrees whole heartedly. « We fly well! » the green calls out cheerfully to all, weyrlings and Velokraeth included. As the journey continues she veers properly and adjusts her strides to keep up fairly well with Sharuth and change formations when needed.

Velokraeth may not remember being a young dragon, but Th'ero does and as the Weyrleader observes them he can't help but smile broadly, his mind drifting a bit to that nostalgic time when he and the pale bronze flew for the first time too. Not that the spark has diminished! There are times when the bronze rider still gets a thrill or two, on those rare days that he is not bound by duty and has free time to spare and Velokraeth has energy to burn. That is when they go flying and truly test their endurance and ability. Something the bronze yearns to do now, to playfully pit his skills against those of his legacy. Another time perhaps, when they've grown closer to maturity and they do not have the threat of a mountain looming ahead and beside them. « You are all flying well! We will not tarry here for long. Feel how the winds are already playing their complex game here. To linger here long will guarantee to sap strength and there are only rocks below to embrace you if you fall. » How delightful! Velokraeth isn't a bronze prone to sugar coating and lying. The winds are indeed playing tricks and the bronze has to adjust altitude and speed frequently, all of which he relays back to Sharuth. « Mountains should always be treated with respect. Do you see that largest peak? Even I will not attempt flight there unless I must. It has brought down dragons far wiser and stronger than you and I… » There is a sadness there faint but enough and strangely the bronze thinks of Wiyaneth, the former-Senior of Fort who now spends her days with a wing that will never allow her the once carefree ease of flight. « Not that it will be often that you must fly mountains. » The bronze muses then in a lighter tone. « Once you can Between, they are no longer an obstacle. » The winds shift again and there is a powerful updraft that catches even Velokraeth off guard though his experience keeps him from being blown too far off course. Devinth wobbles and Kedizeth is buffeted back and down before the green can recover but they hold. The pale bronze makes a low sound in his throat, craning his head awkwardly to peer above. « Weyrlings? » Velokraeth intones calmly. Yet the fact that he's dropped all focus on mock rank should be unsettling. « Take either echelon or reverse vee formation and return back home! The weather has turned and we should not be here to meet it! » Indeed, the skies are gathering clouds and the temperature begins to drop, among other things that generally signal unsavoury weather. Enough that it has the Weyrleader concerned enough to retreat, even if the clouds seem to boast nothing but rain. Even now a few drops begin to fall, but it is only the beginning.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> So'l's eyes scan upwards, tracing the progress of the peak up into the darkening clouds. With a shudder Sharuth will likely feel, he decides facing that particular challenge is not something to take on just yet. Or ever? Before the question can be thought more upon, the dragon beneath him is suddenly buffeted by burst of updraft. »Thank goodness for straps,« So'l says to Sharuth, ordering the bronze glide less and hover more for a moment. Looking up towards Velokraeth and Th'ero, a raindrop on his goggles heralds the promising arrival of a storm, perhaps, and nodding in agreement with Velokraeth's words - relayed by the ever helpful Sharuth - So'l wastes no time in organizing the weyrlings and getting them on their way. Taking point, he orders the Reverse Vee and claims the right leading edge as his own. "Back to base," he mumbles to himself, disappointed in the early cutoff but knowing the comment will be lost to the wind.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Sharuth forced his way up the mountain. By sheer strength and will he climbed, chasing the tail of Velokraeth. This was no game though, and as he made the ascent, he began to feel the ache all the way down into his bones as he struggled against the pull of the earth beneath him and the ferocity of the winds all around him. The same gust that took their teacher took him as well, and for a moment, panic radiated down the bond that dragon and rider share. His great wings, attempting to stabilize them, flared wide. But that only caught the tumultuous currents further and sent them hurtling off course. Claws struke stone as the mountain rushed to meet them, scrabbling, scraping, and eventually thrusting themselves off the stony surface and once more into the sky. Never once did they make more than a glancing contact. But that was enough. The taste of acid filled the dragon's mouth, and his once glorious sun was now subsumed by the coming clouds and the threatening storm. He rallied to their leader's call, «I'm here!» flapping his wings to bring himself once more in to line and formation. «Reverse Vee!» he calls out after a moment, regaining his senses as well as his bearings and then banking his way around. At least descending shouldn't be as hard. The drafts should be easier to manage that way, right? «Stay close together,» added the young dragon, perhaps talking to assure himself as much as the others. For surely they all heard the note of fear in Velokraeth's voice. «Make sure everyone stays in sight at all times.» Hopefully they can at least stay ahead of the storm.

Away from Velokraeth, Typriaeth would rather, if asked, prefer the straight talk of the situation rather than the sugar coating of something. In fact she'll inform you when not asked as well for her mental voice rings out like a bell with swirls of deep purples and blue specks dancing along and wrapping you in their colors. « I do not wish to fall so I will follow the lead of one so very wise. » the compliments are thick and heavy towards the older bronze, perhaps she learned from the Queens? Or just one in particular. « It will be exciting for Anique as well as myself when we can go *Between*. To do so is like a major turning point in our training and a sign that soon we'll be full riders like everyone else. » she's full of remarks and opinions today! With the wind shift the green though is caught off-guard by it and like her other clutch mates she is buffeted back and down before she struggles to maintain the altitude she was at before. Anique is well strapped in but even with that security the movement has the former assistant head woman a bit paler than she was before. "Careful." she murmurs, a word for Typriaeth's attention alone for no one else near would be able to hear over the wind. Through her goggles securely covering her eyes she looks to the skies and the clouds that are gathering quickly. She shivers a bit despite the warmth of the riding jacket around her.

Devinth and Kedizeth do not require much convincing or encouragement to get themselves into position and ramp up the pace. Both brown and green will relay their understanding back to Sharuth and Typriaeth and likewise Velokraeth as they swing into formation. AS the young bronze glances the mountainside, Velokraeth warbles in concern but his worry is unfounded when Sharuth manages to pull himself away and both dragon and Weyrleader can sigh in relief. « That time will come soon. » he assures Typriaeth, amused even now at the green's enthusiastic look towards the future. Yet it is the present that they need to focus on now, as the skies darken further and the storm begins to roll in with the edge of it now plainly visible. Just from a glance alone one could tell without a doubt it is one of those fast, wicked storms that pack a lot of power but generally blow through in minimal time. Good if you have to shelter but bad if you're caught out with none. Down they descend and the ground evens out again from rock and stone to old and ageless forest. Velokraeth pushes them onwards, slipping in to the point of the formation so that he can see the weyrlings ahead and call to them should they begin to drift. Rain begins to fall, the sound of it overly loud as it reaches the trees and the winds stir up again with greater force, enough to make the tops of the forest sway and bend. « Keep flying! Keep calm and keep flying. Glide when you can! » Velokraeth's voice encourages from behind, yet there is urgency in his tone now. They have to get back or risk landing below where space is limited and much too cramped. With the storm behind them (but gaining) they stand a chance and the pale bronze knows of the cabin they passed but it would be too risky to turn back now. They're caught in that dreadful no-man's land, with limited options that have no good outcome no matter how one looks at it. « My wings are starting to ache! I feel like I have to always fight the wind now! Where are the gentle thermals? » That voice belongs to Kedizeth as she struggles along and managing still but barely and the rain begins to fall in heavier sheets, reducing visibility and the Weyr's walls loom in the distance, a dark shadow on the horizon.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> The problem with dark shadows is that when light fades, so do they. As the storm rages behind the weyrlings and their escort, its leading edge continues to move along their path, soon overtaking it. The rain is pelting now and with winter only so recently subsided, spring climes mean one thing and one thing only: it's cold up in those clouds and as they pour down, drops have frosted into balls of ice. The hail begins to fall with thunder as its backdrop; lightning crackles overhead - connecting one thunderhead to another - but not extending to the ground. The winds have become a cacophony of howls and though the young weyrlings and their dragons race to be free, nature is faster - always faster - and it becomes apparent to So'l as visibility dulls that landing is their best option now. For no formation, no aerial maneuver, and certainly no burst of speed is capable enough to take them out of harm's way at this point, not with some of the smaller dragons already struggling to even maintain the current pace, much less a faster one. Their only hope is the cover of trees, though they pose the risk of being struck by lightning. Even so, there isn't much option as the trees prove less of a risk than dragons smashing blindly into obstacles they cannot see. Throwing up a hand signal no one will see, So'l orders the weyrlings down, down into the forest, to find what shelter they can. Such orders will be relayed by Sharuth and So'l ensures to encourage everyone to stay calm, stay focused, and get under what cover they can.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> Even Sharuth, strong as he is, feels the strain. Yes, he overexerted himself on the way there, and the words of warning that were delivered to him not by just one… but two sources… find deep roots within his mind. He knows So'l can tell that exhaustion, fear, and determination are all roiling around within him, that no veil can disguise the mixture of emotions that leave his mighty jaws clenched, his stomach churning, and his veins cold. Cold… The rain and ice pelt him, and a moment later the revelation is shared, quietly, and just for his rider. «I feel the cold…» At last, what had begun as liberation, what had been the embodiment of so many dreams, has become far more real than he had hoped. But he conveys the message that So'l gives, sending it to the others where the hand signal might fail. «Descend!» he tells them with what strength and confidence he can muster. «We will take cover within the trees and wait for it to blow past us.» He banks low then, bringing himself down and into the growth as gently as the brutal winds and relentless hail will allow him to.

Away from Velokraeth, Surprise and momentary panic grips Anique as the rain begins to fall and the feel and sound of it is quite different while mounted on her lithe little green. Quickly though Anique reins in her emotions before Typriaeth can get even a hint of it. The green is steady in her movements even when the rain starts to beat down upon them, her wingstrokes confident as she cuts a path through the wind and rain. « Be careful! » she calls out, perhaps passing on advice from Anique, her words pointed towards Kedizeth though she's loud enough for all to hear. « Use your strengths and do not worry. » she adds. Anique twists in her straps to try to make out where Kedizeth is and how he is doing. Despite the order relayed from Sharuth to descend down into the trees to take cover the green falters with concern over Kedizeth and how that one is doing so she doesn't yet go down until she's sure Kedizeth will be able to as well.

Nature is indeed unpredictable but storms like these could be noted and avoided. The clouds had been there in the background, but the sweep rider who did the report miscalculated somehow or some detail was incorrectly passed along. Or, being that nature is chaos, it simply changed course. Regardless, when they all do return safely to the Weyr, the Weyrleader is going to have a stern talking to with that particular Wingrider if he doesn't get his hide flayed by the Weyrwomen first. The decision to land is met with approval from Velokraeth, who's eyes are now lidded against the pelting hail and rain, hissing when a few strike the fragile membrane of his wings. « Form a protective circle! Riders are to dismount, but we can shield them and each other as best we can! » he adds over the orders given by Sharuth and the encouragement from Typriaeth. Kedizeth is still struggeling, her flying becoming sloppier even on the downwards descent to the sparse clearing in the thick of the foods. It's barely large enough for all of them plus Velokraeth to wedge themselves into and not get caught or snarl on branches. Forests are no place for a dragon! The weyrlings may have an easier time of it, both Velokraeth will not. Devinth is struggling too but not from tiredness as he drops from formation to speed his way down almost recklessly until Velokraeth chides him. « My rider is scared! » he admits in his concern for her, much to her shame. « The storm upsets her! » But they will land, along with Kedizeth and the moment both are down they fold their wings tight and bunch together to clear as much room for their siblings and mentor as possible. Velokraeth will be the last to land, braving the storm's winds and pounding rain for as long as he can manage until his charges are down and safe. His landing is… less that graceful. The bronze cannot keep his wings extended, less he risk a puncture or tear from the branches and to keep from smacking a weyrling or two he will fold his wings prematurely and 'fall' the rest of the way. It's not comfortable by far and his back legs take the shock but his stunted and twisted forelimbs don't and his right one gives, sending the bronze into an embarrassing forward flop that fledging dragons are often prone too. « Well damn! That didn't quite go as planned. » Velokraeth grumbles as he pulls himself up and shakes himself off, brushing aside his bruised pride. Th'ero's been jarred around a bit but not the worst that he's ever experienced and after confirming with his bronze that no injuries occurred, he is hunching his shoulders against the rain and dismounting. No sooner is he on the ground that Velokraeth is trying to move to form a protective barrier for his rider and those of the young dragons as well. Not nearly as nice as a stone weyr or the barracks but it'll do!
Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's back> <OOC> So'l thinks it's awesome that an afternoon thunderstorm is happening during this scene. That's where I got the idea for the hail. ;)

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> It /is/ chaotic, trying to get everyone to land and form up in Velokraeth's circle of strife. There's so much going on but even with dragon eyes and telepathic communication, it still takes time for all to land safely - as much as possible, anyway - and get into the ground formation. Unbuckling his straps, So'l slides down to the earth, which has become muddy and puddled thanks to the ensuing storm. Old, dead pine needles flow down the slight slope, carried by water that will no doubt be soaked into the ground once the weather has subsided. It's with curiosity that So'l considers these needles for a moment, imagining he and his fellow weyrlings carried away much the same by the strong air currents. Thankfully, the trees here provide some much needed cover from those currents, not to mention much of the rain and hail. Looking around, So'l confirms that everyone is present before turning to look his bronze over for any damage. «I am fine,» Sharuth sends, understanding exactly what he is doing. «We are very lucky to have landed when we did,» he comments, staring up at a storm that continues to prove difficult above them. »I'm very relieved,« the weyrling sighs, confirming their very lucky escape of any wing tears or broken bones. »Please ask after the others?« Sharuth nods deeply and looks about, a single question brushing against the other dragon's minds: «Are you hurt?»

Away from Velokraeth, Typriaeth doesn't stumble as much as Velokraeth does though her land is less than perfect in these conditions. Perhaps luck for her she is the smallest of the group so she does fit a bit easier through the trees as the land in the clearing. Once landed Anique is quick to unstrap as well and slide down to land with a squelch in the mud. « Not hurt here! » she'll carol cheerfully into the other's minds, her light touch a comforting one with twinkles of white lights like stars bursting into their thoughts. Her words pop like bubbles upon impact of the mind she's touching. « We are all a good team to work together so well. » she praises them all though quickly her head shifts to ensure the other two weyrlings beside herself and Sharuth are as well.

Devinth is resting on Typriaeth's other side, with Kedizeth wedged between her and Sharuth, while Velokraeth just coils most of his body in front of the young dragons as a makeshift shield. The pale bronze can't get too far under the over of the trees though he does settle to his belly eventually, muddy ground or not. « I am not injured! » Devinth reports, the brown lowering his head again to nuzzle his still shaking (and ashamed) rider, Marin. She doesn't even have something witty to fire off about their luck! Kedizeth chimes in in an exhausted voice. « Not injured but I am tired. We will rest here, right? » F'rari has dismounted and is already loosening the straps on his green to allow her some comfort as she too settles against the ground. « You were all brave! To face a storm like that so soon is no easy task. » Velokraeth agrees, joining in Typriaeth's praise. Privately to the green and Sharuth both he adds. « You've done well to lead each other and your group. Shame that it all had to be undone by the weather. Are your riders alright? » Th'ero's boots squelch through the mud as he walks from around Velokraeth's side and to where the weyrlings are huddled under the shelter of the trees. The Weyrleader's expression is grim and concerned, visible now that he's pulled down the face mask and collar of his jacket.

Away from Velokraeth, Sharuth's neck> When Sharuth reports on Marin's status, So'l quickly moves to help the woman unbuckle herself and slide to the ground. He speaks with her quietly, shielding her from the view of Th'ero and Anique, though her dragon may relay some of what's being said to the others. "It's alright. None of us were truly prepared for this," So'l tells Marin, reaching out to put a comforting hand on her shoulder. Thunder crashes in the distance - not so loud now as the storm, perhaps, begins to lessen. "Now we know what to expect right?" the brawny weyrling tries to catch her eye and gain some agreement. Turning, he raises his voice so the others can hear, too. "We can practice for this now," he smiles encouragingly to the other riders, "because we know what's coming. We're alive and fine, from the looks of things," So'l notes, his gaze quickly roving over the pairs huddled together. "A little rest and we'll be back at it." He's not entirely sure that Marin (or anyone else) is comforted by this but he felt it should be said nonetheless. Looking to Th'ero, he nods to the Weyrleader, hoping he didn't sound like a buffoon there. Sharuth bugles in support of So'l's notion, sending much pride and encouragement though the link. «I bet others could not have done as well as /we/ did,» the bronze croons. «We should be proud and happy!» To Velokraeth and Anique, he says, «Thank you. It was good team work.» Still storming? Yes. Forest crashing down on their heads? Not so much.

Away from Velokraeth, Typriaeth is content to be squeezed in with the others, Anique standing beside her muzzle. She croons reassurance towards the others before chiming into the more private conversation towards Sharuth and Velokraeth. « My rider was a bit worried though she would not admit that to anyone. I informed her that it seems natural to be worried over something new. » her tone is awash with colors, coming from a great distance. « She is not hurt nor am I. We lead well together and like it. » she adds.

Marin will accept the comfort and reassurance from So'l, brushing at her eyes with the mumbled excuse that she got rain in them. Yeah. Rain… Anyone want to dispute that? Nodding her head, her shaking subsides and she is able to take steadier and calmer breaths and her brown, Devinth, rumbles happily behind her. There, see? Nothing bad! "Nothing like hands on experience, huh?" the girl says with some sarcasm as her usual sharp tongue gradually returns. F'rari just snorts and shakes his head, but he grins when So'l and Typriaeth work on boosting morale. "I for one don't mind waiting out the storm. We're wet and cold but it's better than being up there!" he says. Velokraeth rumbles his low agreement, the pale bronze having rested his head on one of his forelegs. « It is okay to be a little worried. Especially in a time like this. Worry and concern need not be weaknesses. They can be strengths too. So settle in now and get some rest. Once the storm has passed we will fly again. » Th'ero gives So'l a curious look when he blocks Marin from him but as Devinth is in no distress the Weyrleader leaves them alone. He says nothing though he listens, a faint smile curving his lips for the words given by the bronze Weyrling. Pleased, he turns then to Anique. "A bit more than bargained for, hmm? Typriaeth handled the storm well. No strain or exhaustion?" he asks.

Away from Velokraeth, Anique casts a crooked grin towards Th'ero at the question. "Always expect the unexpected, yes?" she's in good enough spirits now that they've landed and have taken some shelter from the storm. No strain." she reports. "She's pretty good at letting me know how she's feeling." like constantly.

Th'ero smirks crookedly. "Always." he agrees with a dry chuckle, glancing from Anique to Typriaeth as she reports the lack of strain or injury. "Good! We're fortunate then that the bad weather did not result in total catastrophe." Turning to face the others, the Weyrleader lifts his voice to be heard by all. Not that he has to speak too loudly. "No sense in us wasting energy either. See that your straps are loosened enough for your dragons to be comfortable but we may as well bunker down and wait this out. If you're soaked through and cold, huddle against your dragons. Good way to keep warm!" Never does he mention for them to huddle together. Satisfied, he begins to scope out a dry spot for himself to sit and eventually finds one beneath a large and old pine. There the Weyrleader will settle himself with his back against the trunk and a clear view of the weyrlings and their dragons, with Velokraeth looming behind. Th'ero was never much for conversation, but if they come to him he will talk. For now though, he leaves them to talk amongst themselves and occasionally he will chime in. Slow, but surely, the rains will pass and the storm with it and once the winds have died down too it will only be then that the Weyrleader will bring them out and have them all take to the skies again, one by one. Time to return home and with quite the grand tale to tell!