Who I'rly, Kralkth
What Snippets from I'rly and Kralkth's early days. All in past tense because brains.
When Summer through Autumn, Turn 2711
Where Weyrling Barracks and Training Complex, Fort Weyr


Fort Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
The rounded ceiling of this set of barracks is high enough to accomodate growing dragons. Lining the walls lengthwise are sets of stone couches and cots for their riders. At one end of the room are cabinets holding supplies for bathing and oiling young dragons, as well as the weyrling manuals. Against the opposite wall is a table with scraps of leather and leather-working tools. Tacked up on the wall is a diagram of riding straps.

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 centre of the two entrances of the opposing barracks, near the rock face, is a statue with a memorial plaque.

Kralkth wasn't pretty even when he slept.

Tracing the bunched-up, muscular shoulder closest to her, Ibby huffed. The massive dragon grumbled something that sounded like « whertits », and shifted, one wing sprawling out beside him.

He was in her head. It wasn't – unfamiliar. Jae and Sanl had been there her whole life. Rymrth wasn't exactly easy to miss.

It wasn't just that, though.

There was a part of her that was there, outside of her, in the confident, combative dragonet. Had it always been missing? Had she always been…less? Was this what the old archives went on about? The countless interviews with dragonriders, before and after threadfall. The studies, candidate physicals, versus weyrling physicals.

Ibre – I'rly, really, Kralkth? – Ibby shifted on the rock she'd set up on when the idiot collapsed into sleep on their way back to the barracks. Her tightly-wrapped ribs hurt. Her knees, sand-scuffed, hurt. Her head hurt, or felt like it should hurt, or maybe that was the ringing in her ears.

“He looks too damn big to lift, even now.” A heavy thump on the rock next to her, and a solid shoulder pressing into hers.

Ibby sighed. “Sorry I yelled at you.” She muttered, leaning heavily against Zan'ri. His coat smelled home-like.

It had been a really long day. He wouldn't tease her about it later. Maybe for getting headbutted by her sharding dragon, but not for needing a little propping-up for a minute. “Did you find Syg? Syn.”

A loud huff, and an arm fell over her shoulders, pulling her obnoxiously closer. “She didn't blow anything up.” Zan soothed, then laughed, quick and loud. “Her dragon named herself after me. Didja hear her name? MoriZANth. The Zan's for me. I'm her favorite.” He ruffled her short hair, still laughing.

“I don't believe that's how it works, Zan'ri.” Ibby pointed out, wincing a little. Sharding dragon really had gotten her ribs.

“Sure it is.” A hand waved grandly. Zan quieted for a few; they both watched Kralkth gnash his teeth, claws flexing in the hard-packed dirt of the 'bowl.

Ibby ruminated, scuffing a toe next to the massive barrel of the brown's chest. “Were they happy?” She wondered after a few, glancing sidelong. “All of them. I checked on Metan, he's – he's okay. I hope that didn't, well.”

The arm around her shoulders twitched. Ibby remembered, vaguely, Zan dragging Esi out of the stands before she could go running out to find Ainemn in the rubble. Somebody dragging aunt Cai. The look on – “They were very proud. It was awful. They yelled and yelled.” He coughed, clearing the hoarse start, and finished strong.

When Ibby glanced up, he was grinning, unrepentant. Hazarding the pain in her ribs, she elbowed him, hard. “You screamed like a wherry every time a dragonet came near me, the first time I Stood. Don't think I didn't shardin' hear you yelling this time, idiot.”


To her credit, Ibby didn't scream or jump up or flail. The thunderous din of Rymrth's voice was – different – an echo, grating and sore. She frowned, exploring the feeling warily. A crash of distant lightning snaked across her mind, bringing the scent of ozone and petrichor. « My apologies, weyrling. I meant no harm. Please forgive my trespass. »

Both of them blinked, mystified, at that. One corner of Zan's mouth pulled up. “Shells. He never talks that quiet unless it's to me or Esi, lately.” A beat. “He doesn't want to 'startle her into an early clutching'.” He added, grinning stupidly, entire face lighting up in a broad grin. He had new wrinkles around his eyes, deep and craggy, grown sometime in the last few turns they hadn't seem much of one another.

“It's okay, Ry. I think the hatching made it all.” Ibby glanced skyward and made a vague gesture, wincing. Hopefully, Ry and Jae and Sanl's voices wouldn't always feel wrong-weird, like a knocked-out tooth. “Your face is going to stick like that.” She added, serious, summoning her most sincere and stern expression.

“Ugh, don't do that. You look just like mom.” Zan snorted, grabbing her head in the crook of his elbow and squeezing.

Ibby jabbed a finger into the soft spot at his collarbone, kicking the rider's shin. “What's wrong with that?” She demanded, struggling out of the head-lock.

Rymrth didn't need words to thunder laughter across the Weyr, a din of warring clouds and gale-force winds. Kralkth, at their feet, stirred. He cracked open an eye, looking distinctly disgruntled. « Shut that up. » The hatchling mumbled, stumpy tail slapping angrily at the ground.

“Up, weyrling!” Zan'ri hopped to his feet, clapping both hands loudly enough that Kralkth startled out of the half-sleep he'd fallen right back into. “Get up. March! You'll not have your lifemate sleeping out in the open. Get up, or I'll get Rymrth down here.”

Watching Zan try on his Authoritative Voice was hilarious. “Your kids are going to eat you for breakfast.” She informed him, drily, digging a toe sharply into the juncture of Kralkth's hip and belly. “Get up, lazybones. It's gonna get cold outside tonight, I bet, and I'm not cuddling with you for warmth. I'll leave you out here and sleep inside myself.” She threatened, standing and propping hands on her hips, both eyebrows raised.

« Get down here and make me, I'rly. » The brown mumbled, curling his head against his belly.

Wingbeats; as loud as his mind. Rymrth landed with a heavy thud a dragonlength off, taking two careful steps to approach them. His bright eyes lit the darkness, whirring pools of green-blue light. « HAIL, YOUNG WARRIOR. YOU HAVE MUCH TO LEARN OF LIFE AND LOVE. » The bronze rumbled, gently amused, as he – stooped, then gently scooped Kralkth up in a paw and held him against his chest.

Kralkth's rage was sudden and profound – a blistering storm of screaming winds and rending metal, the distant rumble of something dangerous. « RELEASE ME. » He screamed, but his range wasn't nearly as impressive as Ry's.

In the next moment, the opposite wing descended on Ibby, scooping her up and gently setting her on his back. “Thanks, Rymrth.” Zan laughed as he scrambled up the same politely-offered wing-hand, settling between a pair of neckridges. “This is further up than you'll be in a turn, Ibby! Enjoy it while it lasts.”

A few leaping, three-legged strides later, I'rly wondered vaguely how she was supposed to enjoy a hopping dragon-ride, when her head and ribs were trying to make a break for it. Kralkth was struggling fiercely, but Ry had him firmly in his grasp, tightly enough that the little brown couldn't injure himself. Just tire himself out, struggling to break free, ripping through his new lifemate's head like a fiery sandstorm.

Ry had to kind of duck to get through the barracks doors, but everybody was already passed out cold from the sharding-long day. Nobody even looked up when the giant bronze went lumbering through, carefully setting Kralkth in his couch and taking the angry headbutting-swatting-tantrum in stride.

Thanking every sky-ghost listening for Rymrth's tactful silence in front of her classmates, Ibby leaned over to hug him, taking her time. He was warm, and soft, and while not Sanl or Jae…well, he was still family.

Zan got a side-hug and silent wave as Ibby slid down, making sure to land with both legs around Kralkth's barrel. He was still small enough to pin as her brother and his dragon wandered back ot, leaving them in the deafening din of dragonets and humans snoring and shifting in their cots.

« Whatever. » Just like that, the brown dropped, asleep as quickly as he'd awoken.

“Whatever yourself, big fella.” Ibby laughed, throwing herself facedown in her cot. It hurt.

She couldn't bring herself to care.

« Why would you not eat that? »

“Kralkth. It's covered in dirt.”

Ten – twelve? – turns prior – world lots bigger – “Betcha won't eat that trundlebug.” Hazy fuzzy indignation. “I bet you won't eat FIVE if I DO.”

Nasty NASTY NASTY CRUNCHY swallow it anyways you're not a baby Ibreily don't let them think they're better than you “HAH. I ate it! You have to eat five!” « Lie. »

“I was a kid! Kids eat weird things, man. One of them told me grubs tasted like custard, once, and I ate it.”

« Did it taste like custard? »

“No. It tasted like dirt and squishy.”

« Hmmm. Are you going to eat that or not, I'rly. »

“No, Kralkth. I'm not going to eat it. You don't think you've eaten enough today?”

I'rly wasn't sure if it was her boredom or Kralkth's that finally dragged her out of the half-sleep she'd been pretending she'd finally get back to. It was still bleeding back and forth, emotional feedback from either or both.

She groaned, and sat up in her cot, careful not to turn her back on the dragonet. Last time, he'd sent her flat on her ass and lectured her about sight-lines. Asshole. Hopefully, he was going to forget that particular trait sometime soon. Concussions on top of concussions were not good for integrity of her brain.

Nobody was awake.

Well. Kralkth was. Probably Morizanth, though Foryth was sprawled upside-down, snoring like a wher.

« No use sitting in bed all day. » Her other-part rumbled, sounding generally irritated.

Sighing, I'rly crawled out of bed, throwing one of the weyrling jumpsuits over her underthings. It was easiest to take care of, and required no thought at all before she made her way over to the hearth for klah. Ignoring Kralkth's muttering about taking her daisy-fresh time, the weyrling ate an entire granola bar with her drink. Yesterday she'd forgotten and nearly passed out after their first go-round.

Ibby didn't wait for the opportunity to strike, once outside of the barracks and into the chill morning. She struck first, aiming a palm-flat strike to the underside of Kralkth's jaw. It didn't land. Not as intended, at least.

The brown whirled, quick on his feet, and her palm smacked hard against the bony part of his forehead. « Faster! » He barked, swinging a wing-arm wide to jab hard at her still-sore ribcage. The blow landed, and I'rly lurched, snatching the dragonet's nearest headknob and yanking him down.

She'd taken a few of the Hall's self-defense classes for Senior Apprentices, and some more at Ierne and growing up, but somehow Kralkth knew all her moves. He also instinctively knew how to sharding use his bulk to his advantage, only a handful of days old. It was a pain in the literal ass, as she went flying onto hers in the dim morning.

« Get up! Feeling that belly of food yet, I'rly? I'm not bitchin' to be fed yet, am I? » The bulky little asshole grumbled, waiting for her to stand.

She did – and this time when he charged, she side-stepped, employing her favorite childhood trick for the bigger kids. She stuck her foot out, and the brown's momentum just couldn't stop quickly enough. He managed to get three paws up, but his hand left caught, and the dragonet went tumbling into the hard-packed dirt.

Laughing like rocks grating on metal, Kralkth shook himself off, thumping her soundly on the side with his head. Not hard enough to knock her over; probably affection, then, Ibby decided warily.

« Not bad. Won't work for long, though. »

« Hardly my fault it's so big. You're the one keeps shoving shit down my face. »

“I don't,” Shovel. Pant. “Think you're without fault here, Kralkth.” The wheelbarrow wobbled precariously. A late-summer, scorchingly hot sun warmed her back as she shoveled.

Snorting without further comment, Kralkth resumed feinting at the heavy, sand-filled bag technically meant for the human halves of the pairs. He'd managed not to shred it yet, but only because Ibby had knocked him on his ass for the last one.

Leaning on the shovel's handle for a quick break, I'rly had to admit the brown had some dexterity. He was the biggest of the clutch, but under all that sharding growing, he was quick on his feet. Unfortunately.

“You'd have made a great thread dragon, asshole.” Ibby sighed, bending back to finish shoveling her dragonet's shit into the barrow. At least he only crapped once a day, unlike poor Dii's Lhunath, who was going through an alarming phase of crapping almost continually.

Kralkth snorted, going down in a tangle of limbs and heavy canvas bag. It didn't bust, but he mantled triumphantly. « Hrmph. »

“Hrmph yourself.” Ibby laughed, somehow managing to repress the urge to fling the brown's crap at him as she heaved the bag back upright. At least it kept him from tormenting Foryth.

“It's not because you're better, Kral.”

« Sure it is. Why else would I be bigger? »

“Genetics. Faranth, dragon, you think you're the greatest thing since shardin' AIVAS.”

« I am. »

“What you are is a sharding pain in my ass. Honestly, did you have to pick a fight with Foryth?”

« I finished the fight. That dumbass started it. »

“You're bigger than he is, Kralkth! You're going to hurt him! You hurt him, you hurt Leia, and I hurt you.”

« That hurts you. »

“He wants to be your friend.”

« I'm not being friendly? I didn't rip his headknobs off! He'll be fine. Stop being a crybaby.»

“Shardin' egg-suckin' pain in the ass son of a booger and a shellfish —”

« Where did you learn that one? »

Her head hurt. It hurt, and ached, and roared, and every other word she couldn't think of to conceptualize just how badly she wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. Or maybe scream. Screaming wouldn't be so bad.

Automatically – how was it automatic, after such a short time – she reached out for Kralkth.

Somewhat surprisingly, the brown ushered her quietly into the dim, dark of his innermost thoughts. It was warm, at least. « They keep me. » Voice like grating stones, the young brown rumbled, angry and unable to do anything about it.

I know. Ibby sent, and found her focus wavering wildly. It took a few tries. Oh, her head.

« Whershit. » The young dragon snarled, his impotent fury stirring up dust and ominous creaking from all directions.

The very recently buried-alive portion of I'rly's brain rattled in utter terror.

STOPstopstopst – « Get a grip! Shit. » I'll get a grip on your face you obnoxious – « Shut up. I'm trying to listen to them. »

I'rly didn't argue. He withdrew some, leaving her to curl further into the nest of pillows and blankets she'd set up near Syn. The fellis was wearing off; which helped, because it didn't block Kralkth as much. It left her dizzy and confused and hurting, though, which wasn't helpful. And worried. Terrified. A whole host of emotions that didn't feel nice, dancing around inside of something drilling through all sides of her head.

« Kayeth sleeps. I come. » Triumph burned vivid light into the back of her skull – searing pain – and Ibby could sense the dragon moving. Leaving the infirmary, where he'd been laid up with his injuries.

Either Kralkth's shoulder and forearm weren't as bad as he'd relayed, or he was too damn stubborn, because no pain bled through their connection. She could sense his movement across the weyr, mental presence coming closer and closer. Eventually, instinct tugged her eyes away from herself, slipping into Kralkth's awareness without even really meaning to.

A team of miners was working. It was dark, and relatively quiet, save for their working. Kralkth didn't think much of their slow, methodical clearing of the rubble. Whatever control the sleeping queen had on him held, though, and all her dragon did was pace, relentless at the edge of the pile of crap that blocked them from one another. « Useless. Sitting on my ass, rider. You, too. »

Not like we have much choice. Ibby shot back muzzily, trying to find her way back into her own head. After a minute of struggle, she gave up, letting Kralkth keep her. There was something simmering under the surface; restless fear, or unease, something keeping him from settling. He was too young to be separated so long from her. How is Leia?

« Foryth's sleeps. » The usual report, dismissive. Ibby didn't particularly feel the need to remind Kralkth that he'd been snapping and snarling at anybody approaching Foryth for at least a day, protective of the smaller dragon in his own way. Not wanting them to corner the blue like they had him, penned and wing-clipped. It wouldn't help anything to point it out.

Morizanth? She wondered, closing her eyes and trying to expand her range. It felt muddy; the softness of the pillows beside her. The chilled air around Kralkth's wings, rising in speed as the night wore on. Not all-one or all-other; her head not clear enough to differentiate completely.

« How am I to know? » With words, Kralkth. « Why would I do that? » Because Syn is sleeping, and I'm worried.

Annoyance in muddy shades, but Kralkth's consciousness waned some, and Ibby floated – realized abruptly that her head hurt more when he pulled away. Well, shit.

An indeterminate time in which she drifted in cold-warm-her-Kralkth, and Kralkth was there again, this time relaying an answer: « Well, my dear Kralkth, my weyrling is trapped and broken by a ceiling that, according to her best knowledge, fell in by design and we are out here, powerless to do aught but wait because a gold with no more qualifications than you or I possess than age and coloration told us we may not assist in their recovery so how exactly do you think I am doing? »

Ibby snorted, burying her head further against the pillows. That sounded like Morizanth. Probably fine, then, or whatever counted as fine in this situation. She wasn't actually sure what that meant. Thanks. She muttered, while Kralkth devoted at least part of his attention to antagonizing the green into a temper fit, probably. For one of them, or both.

At least it would keep him occupied as she tried to sleep…

I want carob chip cookies and milk from Moo.

« I want to eat this idiot who's moving rocks backwards. »

I want you to eat that idiot too.

« So you're saying… »

Difference between want and do. Want, no. Do, yes.

« You think too damn much. »

You don't think enough. I want fellis.

« No. Not again. Last time you made me tell Morizanth you loved her. »

Better or worse than Foryth? Kamysth?

« Foryth sleeps. Kamysth has done nothing deserving. »

You're not fun. When are you going to have Zippy and Glowbutt bring me milk from Moo and cookies, Kralkth.

« I'm not. »

I hate you.

« Shut up, rider. »

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