Fort Weyr - Training Complex
The remnants of a historic collapse are apparent here, as the slope face of the bowl has a predominant downward curvature. It's likely long ago, that a cavern larger than any Fort currently has was where the training complex currently is. A probable cave in triggered a fissure on the bowl wall which lead to a great chunk of it dislodging, thus creating the rounded slope.
Yet, many centuries later, all that remains to give evidence is the pocket made into the bowl wall. It seems that the inhabitants of Fort Weyr have made best of the created space. Rock on the ground proper has long since cleared, but pebbles and loose shale are constantly underfoot. Still, the sprig of some green leafed vegetation isn't too out of the ordinary in these parts, as long as it doesn't get trampled by the comings and goings.
It's clear that this area has been designated for the training of young minds, whether human or dragon. Surrounded by rock on all side, it's like a personal weyr bowl for the youngsters to minimize distraction and danger. The candidate barracks have been built across from the Weyrling barracks, so that one group can educate the next. Finally, placed in the center of the two entrances of the opposing barracks, near the rock face, is a statue with a memorial plaque.


Colorful was the dawn sky, though now those vibrant shades have paled as the sun climbs higher in the sky and the morning grows later and on towards the lunch hour. The Weyr is bustling with activity and M'icha has had the Weyrlings up since the sun first broke the horizon. Set to their usual routines, they were only minus one of their comrades though the green weyrling pair have since returned and it doesn't take long for the others to clue in what is happening. All have passed M'icha's tests, so that only means one thing… Between. As'tre's unfortunate run in with a misplaced visualization has no doubt spread too, but news that Anique faired just fine should be a welcomed boost to confidence. Now however the call goes out to another Weyrling from the Weyrlingmaster, with orders to report to the training complex prepared for flight.

Waiting patiently just inside the entranceway is Velokraeth and at his feet is Th'ero, the Weyrleader still dressed in his flight gear and with his helmet strapped on with the goggles up and resting on the visor. There they wait, not knowing which Weyrling has been selected for them for their second trip as mentors.

And out comes So'l, dressed for riding and leading Sharuth out into the sun. Walking at a brisk pace - mustn't keep t the Weyrleader waiting after all - the bronze rider quickly approaches and offers Th'ero an expert salute. "Weyrleader," he nods, a small smile brewing beneath that respectful faade of his. "M'icha indicated we should join you out here?" A bit of uncertainly muddies So'l's tone; while he's sure it's time to between for real, he's not entirely feeling confident in his and Sharuth's ability to do so. «We will be fine, do not worry,» the bronze comforts before looking to Velokraeth. «Magnificent Velokraeth,» Sharuth dips his head low with respect. «It is very good to see you today.»

Velokraeth rumbles low and deep in his throat from where he sits regally and proud and in a return gesture of respect he bows his oversized head in a welcoming way to Sharuth. « As it is good to see you too, Sharuth. You've grown well and strong, a fine example of a bronze if I must say so myself. And I do not brag or am biased because you are of my blood! » The last is said with a ripple of amusement and laughter in his tone. « You both must be eager for this day! Do not worry. It is rather simple and quick and you will not be without us to guide you. » While Velokraeth speaks to Sharuth, Th'ero is focusing on the young weyrling and returns the salute given. "That is correct," the Weyrleader says with a faint smile, though the bronzerider seems a touch rushed. No doubt his is a very busy day! If he had been more observant, he'd had taken time to address more of So'l's possible nervousness. "I've some business to attend to in Xanadu, an important letter to deliver. It takes just a moment but it is also a good opportunity for me to bring one of you along for practice. So if you would check Sharuth's straps then and mount up? I'll hazard a guess and say that M'icha has cleared you for Between, if you are here." Th'ero will fix So'l with a lingering look then, questioning and so long as the answer proves satisfactory, the Weyrleader will gesture for the weyrling to proceed while he adds. "Velokraeth will guide you and Sharuth to Xanadu, but on the return home to Fort Weyr, we will let you attempt the visualization. Mount up and on Velokraeth's signal, we fly!"

Under Velokraeth's praise, bronze Sharuth stiffens and attempts to mimic the other's regal, proud pose as he replies, « I am most grateful for your words. I have grown large and very, very strong but I still have so much to learn. From you, especially, So'l tells me. On this, I agree. » Further praise is left off as the older bronze mentions being with them today and aiding them through what is to come. « We are excited to go between for the first time. We have studied hard and we are ready. But I am glad you are here should we fail, » Sharuth notes somberly. So'l, meanwhile, nods to Th'ero and says, "Yes, we know this weyr better than I ever thought I would," he smirks, referring to the various landmarks and such that will provide for return fixtures. Checking over the new set of straps he'd put on Sharuth only the day before, So'l ensures that all is well before pronouncing himself and Sharuth ready to fly. Nodding understanding once more - as Th'ero indicates the plan they will follow today - the young bronze rider gracefully swings up onto Sharuth's back and buckles himself in. Goggles are lowered and the pair readies to fly after Velokraeth.

« You will learn much of the world as time passes and while I am flattered that you seek me out to be your guide, you should learn to observe more around you. You would be surprise how much one can gleam from studying the everyday things. Alas, that is not the lesson for today. Today we guide you through a very important milestone! » Velokraeth speaks to Sharuth in a sweet and mellow tone, rich in it's own ways but oddly soothing. His words do not cease even as Th'ero buckles in and slips on his goggles and Velokraeth himself steps back and unfurls his large, broad wings. With a powerful leap upwards, he is making his ascent into the skies and checking his pace to allow Sharuth to gain on him and slip into position just slightly ahead and to the right. They fly together it seems today! No fancy formations. « There is no failing with Between! » Velokraeth chides gently as he levels out high above Fort Weyr. « We can sense your eagerness and this is good! But you will not fail. We are here to make sure of that! » Confident is what the older bronze is! Focused now on the task, he extends his mind out to Sharuth and weaves in tightly to strengthen the bond. « Take this image and hold it steady in your minds. This is where we must go. When you are ready, we will go together. Take your time! » An image begins to form then of a landscape far below that is both like but unlike Fort Weyr. No detail is spared, from the very trees, rocks and the lay of the land itself and the structuring and spread of Xanadu Weyr as it extends outwards in all directions. When the signal is given, Velokraeth will take them Between and…


Between
Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.
<LUB> <DUB>
<LUB> <DUB>
<LUB> <DUB>
Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…


Xanadu Weyr - High Sky
It is easy to see why the settlers of Xanadu chose this exact spot to live out their lives. Here high above the Weyr one gets a good perspective on the landscape that drew the eye of that rider long ago that sought out the home for a new Weyr. Mountains loom protectively above this pristine little valley, while an energetic river races headlong down the northern side, in a hurry to reach the lake that rests peacefully to the east. Grove after grove of trees dot the land, creating endless shade for the human or dragon.
As well-placed as the natural aspects of the Weyr are, the founders worked hard to keep with the uncontrived rhythms of the valley while destroying as little of it as possible. All of Xanadu opens up below you, welcoming the odd visitor into its friendly arms, or calling a cheerful 'Welcome Home' to the rider and dragon after a visit away.


«To fail /between/ is to die,» Sharuth laments. He isn't so worried, though. Supreme confidence radiates through him and though some of the details are still a bit fuzzy, he has decided that he'll figure it out with practice and the sharing of visualizations with other dragons like Velokraeth. Following the bronze into the sky - admiring his beautiful wings and strong, stalwart ascent - Sharuth 'listens' to Velokraeth intently, allowing the bronze into his mind where the smell of pine is strong and the sounds of brooks and singing birds colors all. «I understand,» Sharuth answers, the image fixed firmly in mind and shared with So'l. Raising his fist to signal readiness, the young rider takes a deep breath and… Nothingness. Cold, despairing nothingness. Darkness like the blackest ink swallows them, drowning out even the gleaming gold-green of Sharuth's brilliant hide. Numbing cold claws at their bones, knifing into them and freezing from within. One beat, two beats…and then, on the third, the darkness shatters into a million prisms of light as the dragons emerge from *Between*, settling into a world made whole again. Releasing his breath, So'l's chest heaves a little as a grin spreads across his face. » We did it, Sharuth! I mean, we had help but…we did it! « The bronze beneath him rumbles with contented satisfaction. « As I told you we would, » Sharuth chides humorously. Following Velokraeth, they'll make for a landing with heads filled with gleeful satisfaction.

Velokraeth appears from Between first with the words from Sharuth still echoing through to Th'ero. To fail Between is to die. Ominous and so sadly true, but if the Weyrleader had the slightest doubt that So'l was prepared, he would not have permitted the Weyrling to proceed. He can go about his tasks alone but as fate would have it the bronze Weyrling was ready for this crucial leap forwards in their training. Between does not phase Th'ero now, but his heart hangs frozen and body tense and stiff for another reason as his eyes scan the skies. It's just a half-breath, maybe a second at most but it feels as though time stretches for an eternity for the bronzerider until… Sharuth appears and Velokraeth warbles a welcome to the young bronze. « Well done! There is nothing to it. A good visualization and a steady mind and you will be just fine with Between! Now, follow me to the clearing. Th'ero needs only to stop to deliver the letters and we will be off again. Xanadu has just had a Leadership change and we are best not to linger here too long. Another time perhaps, when things have settled! Though you and So'l may visit when time permits. Pern will be open to you now! » Velokraeth wastes no time in landing in the clearing below, with Th'ero unbuckling and dismounting with ease as he signals to So'l to wait as he strides off, pulling out a thick letter from an inner pocket of his jacket as he goes off to find who he needs to find. No doubt their arrival has garnered some interest and a few Xanadian dragons may offer their welcomes, with a few weyrfolk pausing as they walk through the clearing to catch a glimpse at the two Fortian visitors.

Sharuth positively glows under Velokraeth's praise. « You were right! This is easy and we should not have been so worried, » the bronze bugles with delight. So'l reaches down to hug his dragon's neck with affection even as Sharuth follows Velokraeth in for a landing. Touching down, a nod is given as Th'ero slides down and orders him to wait while delivery is made. "We'll be right here," So'l promises, looking around this familiar-yet-foreign weyr. Life seems largely the same here though - obviously - So'l recognizes /none/ of the faces. When polite hellos are tossed his way, the rider smiles and waves back, making a mental note to return here one day and explore. "Pern is open to us indeed," So'l grins, patting Sharuth's neck. "Let's get our image ready for the return trip while we wait, yes?" « Of course, » the bronze replies, feeling very confident in the return leg.

Velokraeth contents himself with some basking in the sun in the far warmer climate of Xanadu while his rider is away. While most of the hellos from the humans go to So'l, any from fellow dragons goes answered by the bronze and he is ever the gentleman to each as he shares the conversations with Sharuth. A few respectful calls of 'Xanadu's duties to Fort Weyr and her Queens' are sent to the Weyrling pair too, no doubt inviting return courtesy for such formality. And if there is one thing Sharuth will also learn is that his grand-sire is an outrageous flirt, as the moment the first green lands in the clearing it matters not to him that her rider is Xanadian, he is crooning sweetly to her and attempting to coax and woo the female over — and is succeeding! Maybe the Weyrleader really should hurry. Fate smiles upon all as Th'ero does return before Velokraeth can charm the green too far, much to the bronze's frustration. Drat! Mounting up again, the Weyrleader signals to So'l. All ready? « Our task here is done. Are you both prepared to return home? Let me see your visualization of the centre bowl. » Velokraeth requests as he flares out his wings once more in preparation for flight.

So'l definitely returns those greetings, having learned the proper exchanges and procedures in recent classes. It is with great amusement, though, that the young man watches the older bronze attempt to draw in a green. Sharuth is highly pleased by watching this; after all, such things will one day be his concern, too, though that time is not yet here. Even so, why not learn the ropes now? Croons? Check. Sweet warbles? Also check. « I am learning much today, » the bronze sends up to his rider. "Just don't try to put it into practice too fast," So'l laughs back before spotting Th'ero's approach. He salutes again to the Weyrleader as the man mounts his dragon and then confers with Sharuth as the image is asked for. "Here we go," the bronzer whispers so only his lifemate can hear him.

Coming to Velokraeth is an image of Fort's central bowl. The entrance to the Infirmary is visible, as are the berths into the Candidate Barracks and the Guest Weyr. People are not present in the image though the level of detail otherwise is extreme. The sun is up in the image, though not directly visible. Its light, however, touches all that is below and even the shadows it casts are visible. Overall, this is a very crisp visualization, composed of all the necessary landmarks that would return them home. However, one detail - a very small one that could go unnoticed - is just slightly off. The shadows aren't in the correct position; they're just slightly off, as if the sun is higher in the sky than it should be. But the difference is so minimal that So'l has certainly missed it. Smiling with pride at Sharuth's efforts, he waits for the signal to go *between.*

Not yet but much sooner than So'l may think! If there is one thing Velokraeth does well is lure females to his side. The bronze may be ugly to look at, but there is something in the way he spins his honeyed words that seem to work. He's a charmer, a devious one at that and while Sharuth may learn a few things, he will not enjoy having the older bronze as competition come the time of a true flight — or perhaps he will learn from that too. The green is gone now though and Velokraeth focuses back on the task of inspecting Sharuth's visualizations for home. « Very good! Your knack for detail is remarkable. » he praises, also unaware of that subtle shift. It's so tiny that the bronze does not see it, intent on trying to find bigger flaws that would get them into serious trouble. « Come now. Time for us to return! » With that, the bronze launches into the skies again, wings sweeping in powerful strokes as he gains the altitude needed. Holding firm to Sharuth's image, Velokraeth gives the signal again to go Between…


Between
Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.
<LUB> <DUB>
<LUB> <DUB>
<LUB> <DUB>
Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…


Fort Weyr - Center Sky
The central skies of Fort are usually high traffic areas as dragons are taking off and landing, or ferrying passengers to and fro. The cliff walls stretch up, dotted with the 'weyrs' of the dragon pairs that make their homes here.


More praise! « Thank you, Magnificent Velokraeth! We have worked hard to be ready, » Sharuth boasts, some overconfidence filtering into his mental tone. Th'ero gives the ready signal and - nodding - So'l says, "Alright, Sharuth. Our turn! We've got the image…now let's get /there/." Obeying his rider's command, Sharuth firmly fixes the image in his mind and, after ensuring Velokraeth has done so as well, slips himself into the ether. Cold, plunging darkness envelopes them once more. Gone is the sun; gone is the pleasant warmth that only moments ago had kissed their faces; gone is reality of the world entirely. In its place is the depthless black of *between,* clutching at them with frosty fingers and numbing knives of cold. One beat…two beats…three beatsflutter? Fort Weyr's central bowl explodes into being all around them, just as expected though full of people going to and fro. Dragons are landing, drudges are drudging, but before So'l can whoop in delight, his insides churn uncomfortably. "I think that's enough betweening for us today," he says, looking back to watch for Velokraeth to reappear. The bronzer isn't aware yet that something has gone wrong, nor is Sharuth - though something naggles at the back of his brain; a notion that things aren't quite what they should be.

Velokraeth emerges from Between a half-beat later as he ought to, as is normal and expected. All is well below them, so far below as the Weyr begins to stir to life for the beginning of the day. And therein lies the fault! They had arrived midmorning to greet So'l and Sharuth. That churning feeling will intensify, followed by a crushing wave of vertigo. A feeling of double, of being here and not here, shouldn't be here! It nags and claws and sinks in as the mind seems to weaken and drain, along with strength. Something is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Yet it all seems so right, so normal. This is home! It has all the proper feelings of home! The answer will come seconds after Velokraeth arrives, for that is how much time has past, and the bronze all but shouts in alarm to Sharuth. « NO! Go back, go back! We are too close! Too SOON! We cannot meet ourselves! » It makes no sense what the bronze is trying to convey and his mind is a fractured and roiling mess, the usual honeyed wines now souring to vinegar and fading of all vitality. Velokraeth, normally pale, looks almost greyed as he hovers and then suddenly veers sharply away from the Weyr as if trying to escape whatever it is that is tormenting his rider's mind. The answer is below, should So'l and Sharuth see… for they will see themselves down there, too far below to notice the echoes of themselves above. « Back! BACK! We have to go back! NOW! » Velokraeth will all but scream at the poor young bronze and suddenly there will be an influx of images as he's bound and held by the fractured thoughts of the irate pale bronze. An image of a coastal hold far to the west, harsh and forbidding, unwelcoming and imposing where it nestles in the cliffs. Desolate and isolated. It fades, followed by the lush tropical jungles that border Western Weyr but that two crumbles and falls apart. Another Hold, still in the west but fashioned of blinding white rock, high arches and open to the elements … more images follow, merging and twisting. Xanadu Weyr, High Reaches, Tillek, Lemos, the Yokohama and at last Fort Weyr. Clung to as though drowning, Velokraeth summons up the image Sharuth had given and nudges the position to the sun so that the shadows bend. « Here! GO! » And the bronze will nudge the younger forwards (or is it backwards?) and follow suit, keeping an iron vice grip on the other's mind to ensure he does not get 'lost'.

Velokraeth and Th'ero have successfully emerged from *between* but all is not well. Not at ALL! "Something is WRONG!" So'l shouts, doubling over as the vertigo hits. It's so powerful that were it not for the straps, the young bronzer would go falling down to the bowl below. "Don't…understand," he gasps, pained and lost and unfocused in every way possible. Hanging down, however, he suddenly sees something that frightens him perhaps more than even drowning once did: Sharuth on the ground, led by So'l towards the waiting Th'ero and Velokraeth. They've not left yet for Xanadu…meaning /this/ So'l and Sharuth have arrived an hour too early! With another wave of vertigo, both dragon and rider suddenly feel in two places at once…as if the universe had somehow mushed two versions of themselves together and meant to utterly crush them underfoot. 'To fail between is to die…' Sharuth's early words come echoing back to So'l as he forces himself to sit up; to try to get a handle on things before it's utterly too late. Sharuth attempts this as well but the mental link with Velokraeth has him confused, his mind flailing and failing to latch onto a stable image of what to do and where to go. Different pictures flash through his mind so quickly that Sharuth doesn't even understand what he is seeing. That is, until, Fort comes up again…only this time, he sees the shadows bend and suddenly understands what has happened. He added too MUCH detail and it shifted them in time! With plaintive bleats of sorrow for what he's caused, Sharuth desperately grabs on and folds them *between.* An eye-blink away and they reappear, Sharuth flapping hard in an attempt to stabilize and hover while hoping Velokraeth and Th'ero come through right behind them…

An eye-blink away, a dash back to that black void of nothingness and out into the sun again and this time the world is right and whole again. Time has found it's proper course, the paradox avoided and there is no crushing sense of vertigo and wrongness now. Just the summer winds and clear skies with Fort Weyr spread out below them, innocently unaware of the shock So'l and Sharuth have suffered. Another beat of the heart, maybe two and Velokraeth appears from Between, slightly off from formation but safe. Both bronze and rider have taken a great deal of shock themselves, perhaps not as crushing as it is to the Weyrling pair. Velokraeth's hide has a faint greyed ting to it and when he sweeps his wings to stabilize, they seem sloppy and almost weakened. « Sharuth? So'l? Are you two alright? » Despite the lassitude settling into his frame, his chief concern is to the young pair, likely enforced by Th'ero's heightened alarm. Coherency has returned at least, no fractured and shattered images or shouted orders. Just a tired but steady growing calm. « Land on the Weyrleader's ledge. Our riders need to talk. We need to feed. Come, young one. And count yourselves incredibly fortunate! » Velokraeth folds his wings then and slips into a swift dive, eager to be out of the skies for now. No rebuke comes, no lashing or anger from the pale bronze. Just a sense of overwhelming relief that is also troubled.

« We are alright, » Sharuth rumbles back, thankful to see Velokraeth emerge from *between.* His hide, too, is not the color it should be. In bright sunlight such as this, his hide should shimmer almost golden but now it is a dull bronze, more green and grayed than metallically mesmerizing. « I have failed you, So'l, » Sharuth warbles with incredible sorrow. «Failed us both. It is with luck only that we are not perished. » Gliding down heavily, the bronze lands after Velokraeth to deposit his rider. "We made a mistake, Sharuth," So'l answers back aloud, "both of us. I should have noticed but I didn't. It looked right," he sighs, shoulders falling with defeat even as he slides down to the ledge. "It just…wasn't. But we're alive and we'll learn how to avoid that /ever/ happening again. Alright?" «Velokraeth says I must eat,» the bronze answers without replying to So'l's assurance. And with that, he flaps his wings and flies off, following Velokraeth towards much needed nourishment. So'l stands there a moment, keenly feeling the failure and blinking back a tear at Sharuth's disappointment in himself. They'll have to talk about it later, though, for Th'ero is here and there's likely some intense disapproval coming…maybe even a grounding from EVER attempting to between again. So'l hides the thought from Sharuth as he considers the notion that they may be straight-fliers only…for life. "Weyrleader," the brawny young man turns, hardly able to make eye contact but doing it all the same…


Fort Weyr - Th'ero and Velokraeth's Weyr
This weyr is opulent and almost as large as one of the ground weyrs and the ledge outside can easily fit two large dragons. The broad shelf ties in directly to the stairs leading down to the bowl below and over to the administration complex, making it easily accessible from both levels and the other end of the ledge curves around as it meets the stone wall of the Weyr and then turns inwards. Carved and smoothed by time, the covered wallow offers more ample space for the residing dragon and one more should a companion be welcomed in. Sheltered by the worst of the elements, it's a perfect hideaway from winter cold and the slight lip allows for large blackets to be draped over it without sliding downwards.The stone floor is smooth, having been worn down over the Turns. Toward the back of the dragon area, there is a wall with a small entranceway leading into a tiny alcove and nook, where several chests, supplies and pegs to hold the straps rest. Beyond this is a narrow hallway, hidden and secreted from view by a grey hued rug, but allows a secondary and private access to the main living area.
Accessible from the ledge outside, two large wooden double doors lead into the wide and spacious living area. Raised like a natural formed dias, a tiny foyer opens up just steps past those doors, gradually and subtly inclining down into the rough semicircular shape of the room. Along the same wall of the doors but further in is a large stone hearth and in front of it lies a very large and well woven rug. Placed on top is a low, dark wood table and behind it is a long, deep cushioned and equally dark leather couch. Thick pillows rest at each end and there is a matching chair to go with the set though it rests to the side and facing back towards the doors. Shelves have been carved into the wall, little recessed pockets that allow for a variety of items to be placed, though most commonly used for glow baskets. The smoothed wall curves at the right handed side, extending out to create a semi-partition, an illusion that the room is in fact made of two pieces.
Tucked away in this hollow is the kitchenette, visible either from approaching it as one walks towards the back of the weyr or through the mock arch window carved at shoulder height into the rock wall extension. There are ample cabinets and counter space, all made with good stone though they are worn a bit by age.


Velokraeth lands heavily on the ledge, not even bothering to properly fold his wings as Th'ero dismounts and so focused is the Weyrleader that he does not even bother taking the straps off the bronze. He'll deal with the mess later. Waiting for Sharuth, the older bronze will take wing again and off to the feeding grounds he will take his younger charge. After the first kill, some vitality will return to the dragons and though greediness is usually frowned upon, in this instance even Velokraeth goes for a fourth and fifth beast until he is finally sated. Back on the ledge, Th'ero approaches So'l and does not meet the Weyrling's eyes either. The Weyrleader's face is pale but flushed from the wind and his expression has settled into a scowl but beyond that remains unreadable. "Come with me." is all he says in a low and firm tone to the young man, which may do little to settle his growing apprehension and fears. Worst yet, they do not remain out on the ledge or even head down the stairs to cross the bowl to the training complex. No, Th'ero takes So'l inside the privacy of his weyr which is highly unusual and likely terribly upsetting when the Weyrleader remains so silent. Once inside and a few glows uncovered, Th'ero gestures to the couch by the hearth. "Sit down, So'l. We need to talk." Obviously. The Weyrleader rubs at his forehead and then runs his hand through his hair and it's then that it can be seen that he's still struggling to focus his thoughts. He's rattled is what he is, shaken and thrown off his usual balance. First things first though and the Weyrleader disappears into the kitchenette for a bare few moments. There is the sound of rummaging, clink of glass and then he returns with two small glasses filled with a sweet smelling amber liquid. Alcoholic and strong. So much for that rule? One is offered to So'l and then Th'ero is taking a seat in the nearby chair. "You understand what happened?" he asks, while knocking back most of the drink in one shot.

When Th'ero bids the weyrling /inside/, it's almost as if that vertigo is hitting all over again. This can /not/ be good. Not that So'l expects it would be but…well, he'd thought they'd probably stroll right down to M'icha with a firm directive never to let Sharuth and his rider *between* again. Instead, they're going into the Weyrleader's private residence and this only bodes worse for the weyrling, who's feeling even worse as Sharuth feeds himself without the normal joy he takes from such things. The bronze is just…there in the link. Present but not shining. Around but withdrawn. He's slain two already but contemplates a third. » Sharuth? « So'l asks, his thoughts questing after the bronze across the bowl. There's no response beyond a flicker of sadness that sends So'l's spirits even further into his stomach. Entering the residence proper, he sits as directed and nods somberly at needing to talk. "Yes sir," he says, lowering himself into a seated position but sitting so rigidly he'll probably strain something. 'Here it comes…' he thinks, readying himself for it. But instead, Th'ero leaves without explanation, only to return later with something potently alcoholic. So'l takes the offered glass, eyeing it warily - warm thoughts of trying Th'ero's drink in Shenanigans (a happy memory) destroyed by the cold of what can only come next - and takes a sip. Yep, potent. Yep, breaking the rules. But damn if its warmth doesn't feel good right now. Th'ero is suddenly asking if he knows what happened, bidden to reply, it all sort of comes out in a jumbly tumble. "I think I do? I mean, the shadows…they were wrong. Shouldn't have been in the picture. It threw us off, changed the time. I mean, I know dragons can move through time," So'l admits without clarifying, "but I thought that was something that was incredibly hard to do! Not something we'd accidentally fall into. I am so sorry, ThWeyrleader," he corrects himself. "I am so, so sorry. I should have paid more attention; should have thought more logically about it. It's not Sharuth's fault, it's mine. /I'm/ the rider. I should have caught that and I can't believe I almost got all of us killed," he growls, upset with himself and downing the rest of the drink in one gulp. It BURNS going down but So'l doesn't care.

With his need sated and some strength returning to him, Velokraeth settles on a patch of ground far enough away not to be a hinderance to any others coming to feed. He's too stomach-heavy to fly quite yet and while his colour is returning his wings still ache and he has no drive to grace the skies quite yet even if to return to the comfort of his ledge. Yet that does not mean he is oblivious to the world around him and he watches Sharuth with a careful eye. « Do not take it so hard. You and So'l live! Take comfort in that. You made a mistake, yes, but perhaps not as grievous as you may think. » There is a pause, as the bronze seems to collect himself. « And I should apologize for my roughness with you. If we had timed it and not been in danger of the effects of a paradox, we'd have had more time… pardon that awful pun … » Not intentional! Back in the Weyr, So'l will swiftly learn that Th'ero can often be full of surprises and that if he were in trouble, he'd know by now. The Weyrleader is not usually one to hide that part of his emotions. He need only ask As'tre! Sitting tensely in his chair, he will hold his drink in one hand and stare at it as his fingers idly turn it to slosh the liquid lazily back and forth. He listens and he does not need to be looking at the Weyrling to see what he already knows from his tone and just his words. There is a silence that settles then, heavy and uncomfortable while the Weyrleader just sits there and says nothing, scowl still firmly in place and yet not directed to So'l. At last, Th'ero seems to withdraw from whatever brooding state he was in, inhaling deep and letting it out slowly. Dark eyes shift from the glass in hand to fix on So'l and still there is no anger there. There's just… a very unsettling nothing. The Weyrleader has masked himself, withdrawn into a protective shell while his thoughts remain so disjointed. He's still trying to absorb the situation. "Of course all know of timing. Lessa's ride is one of legend… and is supposed to have remained as such." Th'ero drawls. "So'l," He sits up and forwards, elbows now resting on his knees as he levels the young man with a steadier look. "You do not need to apologize. We should have noticed the detail. Your visualization was not wrong, it simply had a unnecessary detail — one that also proved correct. Timing it is… The dragons seem to have an uncanny knack for it and most riders will erroneously jump Between times at some point in their lives. Usually too small to note. Five minutes here, twenty there. It happens. What you did today was an accident and a very harsh lesson learned. For you witnessed first hand why we do not teach timing it. Why it is so dangerous…" So the Weyrling isn't in trouble?

Sharuth has declined another beast after all, instead deciding to crunch bones and suck out their succulent marrow. Velokraeth's encouragement is heard…acknowledged…appreciated even, but the younger bronze is going to have a harder time with coming to grips, apparently. « We do live and for that, I am glad. To destroy your own rider and friends? The shame alone would end me. » And now that he knows how to go between, it would be an easy end at that. « It did not happen and I am glad but I have much to consider,» Sharuth replies heavily. « You have nothing to apologize for, » he adds, shaking his head. Back in the weyr, So'l's words have finished tumbling out and they fade into the sounds of silence that remain. Such stillness stretches on interminably, it seems, until - finally - Th'ero begins to speak. At first, the words bring comfort: of course! Velokraeth and Th'ero didn't notice the flaw in the image, either. If such nobles as they could make such a mistake, surely a mere weyrling could understandably do so too, yes? But as conversation turns to timing and not teaching it, So'l almost feels…resentful of that. "It IS dangerous. We certainly found that out in a hurry," the weyrling replies, deigning not to mention how teaching - at least in the broad sense - could have maybe headed their mistake off at the pass. Regardless, though, the past is unalterable - well, outside of timing it - and Th'ero is right. This /did/ teach he and Sharuth something very, very valuable. Their mental images will /never/ cause this to happen again, that's for sure. "While it was perhaps and understandable mistake, I am still sorry we put you both in danger…"

Velokraeth begins to preen his talons cleaned while he speaks with Sharuth, still keeping one whirling eye focused on the young bronze and the facets shimmer between a calm blue flecked with the yellow of concern and worry. « You never were in any danger of destroying us or yourselves. We would have seen such a mistake in your visualization. You've nothing to be ashamed of, young Sharuth. Even in the heart of it all, you did not panic and were able to return to Fort in the correct time! Think of that. » the bronze says in a firm and level tone. Back in the Weyr, Th'ero is unaware of So'l's resentfulness towards an ability that hasn't been taught for centuries of dragon riding. Know of, for who can ignore the obvious glaring use of it concerning Lessa's ride to save all of Pern, but apparently kept silent. Draining the last of his drink, the Weyrleader keeps his gaze levelled with So'l even as his mouth draws back into a grimace. "Do you know why it is not taught how to time it?" he asks unknowingly only to openly stare at the Weyrling. He'd almost laugh if he were a different sort of man, but he is not and he keeps his expression carefully schooled and controlled. "Shards, So'l! You're not at fault here! You made a rookie mistake. One that every rider blunders upon. You know now what to watch for. It only all backfired so poorly because of the doubling up…" That brings a bit of a haunted look to Th'ero's eyes and he promptly gives himself a good mental shake before standing to collect So'l's glass. He returns again with it refilled, though it will likely be the last time. M'icha is going to tear into Th'ero bad enough, no need to send his Weyrling back completely drunk on top of it all.

And think of it, Sharuth does. In all the chaos that ensued, other dragons might have lost their head. But he - Bronze Sharuth! - was able to do what must be done. The pride of that does bring some comfort and though it's not an immediate thing, it seems appealing to his strengths has shifted something inside. The whirling of his eyes slows and the bronze raises his head, some of that regality regained. « You are right. It was not as bad as my fears made it seem, though I still have much to consider. Even so, your wisdom proves your magnificence yet again, Velokraeth. » Appreciation shines in Sharuth's eyes and in the distance, So'l breathes out in relief as the bronze reaches out to him once more. « I should not have pulled away from you and I am sorry. » So'l looks far away for a moment as he replies, » We both have much to learn still. But at least we are here to learn it. Get some sun. We will talk more later. « At Th'ero's question, the weyrling ponders the notion for several long moments before replying with, "I imagine it's because the temptation to go back in time and change something is too great. Lessa did it because she /had/ to. Our very existence was at stake. But if timing it was taught, we'd have N'an going back to see what fighting thread was like." That boy positively seemed obsessed over the idea a few days earlier. "And then we could lose them both, not to mention potentially screwing with events that would change our lives here, today. Right?" he asks, hoping he's hit the nail on the head. The second drink is accepted but sipped much more slowly this time, the lack of thundering tirade having given way to concern more than anything else from his Weyrleader. And in that is some relief.

« I wouldn't quite say it is wisdom, Sharuth. At least, not all wisdom! A dash of logic and quite a few pinches of luck half the time. If I was wise, I'd likely rarely leave my ledge if I sought to avoid every single danger that roam the planet. It is good to be afraid. You know now to Between and how to time but you wisely fear and respect both. Always keep that in mind and you may escape harm yet! » Velokraeth muses to the younger bronze. « Besides. It's not like you're the first youngling to do something reckless! Zeltenith Betweened himself half way across Pern and your sire, Dremkoth, once grabbed an irate Zuvaleyuth as she sought to challenge her own daughter, gold Iaverulth when they were too close to their time to mate. I'd advise against grappling with a queen and taking her against her will Between! Granted, if you grapple with a queen in the skies well… then you're just a lucky bas— bronze. » A true sign that Velokraeth enjoys the company of another is his love to ramble, as well as his dry sense of humour and hidden sarcasm. He does it too to serve as a distraction, to focus away from the fear and upset for now.

Back in the Weyr, Th'ero is slowly loosing some of the tension to his posture and the lines of his face seem to relax with it. It's a slow process and often when his eyes are not settled on So'l they drift to some other point in the room, thoughtful and distant. "Very wisely spoken but yes, So'l. That is it exactly." he murmurs with a nod of his head and lifting his drink he drains most of it again in one shot before nursing the rest. He frowns, "N'an best not catch wind! And that brings us back to the reason why it is not taught in the regular lessons. Too many would abuse it. Most ignore it unless in need of it, because the dangers it possesses. It's been used for ill purposes before. You know of it now and all that I can ask of you is that you do not speak of it. Not openly at least! Most riders already know. And shells, do not let me or any of the others catch you timing it needlessly! There are signs… We will know." he warns and even then the lecture is mild at best.

Sharuth accepts what Velokraeth says in regards to wisdom vs. logic before the bit about knowing how to time it sinks in. « Then…we are not grounded? We may *between* then? I know how to avoid that ever happening again…needlessly,» the word is chosen carefully. It's a tacit understanding, this exchange between Velokraeth and Sharuth. Good news indeed but it's come at a price; a price that will ensure difficulties like this never happen again. Back in the weyr, So'l considers Th'ero's words and nods deeply. "I won't say anything, I promise." Given the steely determination in his tone, it's very clear that he /means/ it, too. "I'm also going to ask M'icha for a little extra help…just to make sure we fully understand what we're doing before we attempt *betweening* again," So'l states. "As for timing it, well…I doubt we'll have need of that, but I appreciate your trust in me. We may have stumbled onto it accidentally but we aren't prone to flights of fancy. Time /scares/ me," the weyrling finally chuckles, the dour cloud hanging over him fading a bit. "Thank you for everything today," So'l nods, sensing that the discussion has drawn to a close. Rising, he'll snap one last salute and wait to be dismissed before walking back out to the ledge, where Sharuth has obligingly come for him. Perhaps things did not go so badly after all? Time will tell.