Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. The water itself is usually chilly — invigorating is the term the residents use.

This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible.

It's a spring day at Fort. Winter's grasp is slowly being left behind but things are still a bit damp, the grounds soggy and the lake waters noticably cold, if no longer icy. This particular day the weather finds the sun shining in a slow attempt at warming the chills pring air, and a few clouds lazily threading their way through the skies far, far above. At ground level the lightest of breezes plays through while higher up the breezes are more notable. The current occupant of a low level weyr located between the lake and the feeding grounds proper has been ousted in favor of the presently large, rather notably bright, gold Zuhth taking a late afternoon snooze. She doesn't fully fit on the ledge and so various parts are hanging over, tail twitching with greater frequency. Her rider is stretched out in heavy winter clothing on a thick towel on the beach, mostly oblivious at the moment to the near term event to unfold.

K'ael is moseying at Fort today! What the Xanadu wingleader is up to is anyone's guess, however. Likely cruising the taverns or the caverns for company he doesn't really need. Or maybe he was on business and just forgot to leave. And while K'ael has been preoccupied, it's given Azaeth time to poke about the weyr as well. And he's spotted a rather bright gold laying on a ledge. And so the bronze has decided to wet his hide just a bit in the cold waters, then lays out on the beach with his wings partially unfolded to let the sun beat on them. All the while keeping one eye on the lounging gold, of course. His rider is making his way over from the cavern area, giving a wave to the wrapped up figure on the beach.

Messenger duty takes one near and far, and this day, N'shen and his bronze Taozyuth are notably far from their home of Xanadu Weyr, delivering parcels to Fort. Though their duty is discharged, the pair linger still, enjoying the change of scene from the South. And so, they can be found near the lake shore, boy bundled in his riding jacket, trailing in the wake of his lifemate as the dragon noses about curiously. "I'm not sure why you wouldn't expect it to be different than home," the young rider mutters, hands shoved in the pocket of his jacket as he kicks at a random rock in his path. "No two Weyrs are alike, ain't that what they always say? And we're all North and stuff, which means the seasons and stuff are all kinds of topsy-turvy." Whatever the response is, it earns an unintelligible grunt from the lad, and he kicks at a second rock, sending it skittering under the bronze's great feet.

There is a sense about the air, the glowing queen is starting to attract the attention of some dragons. One in perticular being Nasheth, the bronzer comes from the northern sky gliding down over and around the lake low to the water. Soon the heavy beast flies hight soaring over the sands and landing a bit away from the water, the dragon's eyes flicker up towards the queen. R'oc has been called by his dragon, as the bronze moves towards slowly towards the ledge not moving too close. A soft croon from the bronze comes. «Zuhth….you shine and glow warms and calls me to you… baske in your radiance.» The bronzer looks to the dragon and smiles. "Always the sweet talker." The others are noticed but the man just looks to his bronze who speaks and sends warm thoughts to the queen.

The wandering redhead bronzer and his Irene pal stalk out of the living caverns with a good laugh in the air, sharing stories while they still carry a pint of booze - or at least N'kor is carrying one. M'gaal may not be. Still the pair have come from Istan skies on a quest to go binging while they can, now that M'gaal has been released back into the wild as they say, no longer contained on the Istan sands. N'kor for his part is smiling broadly, tipping the pint of ale back numerous times as they head toward their mounts, intending to return to Ista or Ierne - one or the other - before anyone notices they've been gone for quite some time. "Shenanigans… Been here once before. Ran into the Weyrleader I think. Nice place anyway. Too bad I didn't win more at the betting tables…" N'kor's voice can be heard as he points out toward their mounts, only then to spot the glowing gold. N'kor extends his hand to stop M'gaal and point toward Zuhth, "You better get your arse out of here unless you want to be stuck on the sands for a third time!" N'kor teases, sparing a look toward Nasrinth who doesn't seem so anxious now about leaving.

Charred darkness in the form of a smoke-wrought bronze has been lingering in the bowl for some time now. Zaqalekhth has been more or less staring at Zuhth the entire time his rider's been enjoying a few pints in Shenanigan's with N'kor — though whether he's been relaying his observations or not is another matter entirely. As M'gaal exits the caverns with Nal — and he is, indeed, with a mug of ale of his own — he's answering with a teasing, "The betting tables are always rigged — you, ah, should know better than that, N'kor." He tilts a grin to his friend, then pauses, eyes tracking where the other man points. He makes the grievous error of being in mid-drink at the time. Mergie chokes, hard, and spits out his drink with a garbled expletive or another that's certainly not for the faint of heart. "He won't leave you know full well he won't," is mutter-growled. Dun dun DUN.

Zuhth really doesn't fit well on the smaller ledge, but it caught her eye hours ago when the sun was high and the basking looked well. Her deep sleep seems to be lifting however, giving way to something much more basic and instinctual. The soft rustle of wings join the growing agitation of her tail. By all appearances she'll be waking moments from now. Below her rider gives puzzled waves to the growing number of riders until -it- dawns and she sits up with a sigh, pushing the wintery hood off her head and looking towards her partner, then back at the other riders and dragons. The growing presence of the bronzes migrating to the feeding grounds shows they know what's coming and are well preparing for whatever this lady might have to offer. The bleating of the herdbeasts falling beneath broze talons serves as a final alarm call and Zuhth's head rises, lids pulling back to reveal rapidly whirling eyes.

N'kor makes a groan as some of that spit drink spews in his direction, his hand sweeping down his arm. "Thanks…" he gives his friend a scowl, "Just had this cleaned you know." The man pounds back another swig of his ale, his eyes trailing over the gold dragon before popping over toward his own, "Looks like Nasrinth is going to give Zaq a run for his marks. Two to one that he beats yours this time." He gives a smug look over at M'gaal while Nasrinth starts to stretch out his golden-bronze self. There's certainly not any hurry in his stretching, one wing flared out and then the next, with his neck given a few extensions just as well. As the smoldering fire starts to rise anew within, the smoke-clouded mind of this bronze reaches out to Zaq, a challenge for his competitor as he blasts a physical roar for all the rest. With an hop made, Nasrinth playfully heads over toward the bleats of the herdbeasts, chittering at them as if to bait them closer. Come hither and let me feast upon thee!

K'ael gives a nod to the other emerging riders, and takes a flask from his pocket. He puts it to his mouth and tips it. Then tips it more. Then more. Then he taps at it with his finger and sighs. "Empty… shard it all." Azaeth's head lifts as he, too, hears hearbeasts to the slaughter. There's a look to Zuhth, then off in the direction of the feeding pens. To blood or not to blood? After a moment he lifts all the way up and stretches out his sails a bit. If he was going to blood he was going to wait for the lady to make her way there first. Azaeth keeps a close watch on her as she lifts her head.

It may be that the younger of the Xanadu pairs are too inexperienced to catch the subtle hints of glow and gathering bronzes, but as Zuhth awakens, it hits Taozyuth like a hammer. The bronze halts mid-stride, ignoring his rider's sudden spate of complaints as he swivels his head to watch, as his brethren already are, the golden form upon the too-small ledge. Ignoring the panicked edge that has entered his lifemate's words, the ageless bronze drops his head to sniff contemplatevly at the sand, still gazing upwards with whirling eyes of blue-edged violet, then abruptly he launches upwards, moving with swift, steady strokes for the feeding grounds. He does not strike out, however, instead landing just outside the pens, great head swiveling this way and that as he takes in the actions of his elders, studying them with unshakable calm before twisting to watch the gold's progress instead.

The moment the queen awakes it, though he does not see it the dragon senses the feeling. The molten metal form crouches for a moment to take flight to the feeding grounds, the metallic dragon trumpets in call into the skies of Fort. The bronze's eyes locked on the queen waiting for her movement to give the signal. "Eyes turn to the words of the bronze's. "I'll take that bet." R'oc says waving to the visitors moving somewhat in their direction. Nasheth's eyes whirl around spinning with the waiting passion and again he calls to her. «Are you awake radiant one? Come feed the calves are fat with blood….all ready for you..come so that I may enjoy your light better.» The words are sent like a radiant fire to the glowing queen, the sight of the other bronze and browns have the bronzer growing more apprehensive.

Ah, yes. Blooding. Zaqalekhth is quick to take wing, gliding over to the feeding grounds with a calculated beat of wings. He descends and proceeds to watch the beasts, rose-violet eyes spinning rapidly as he gauges this beast or that. One is finally tripped up with a talon, the animal spilling to the ground with a bleat of terror … and then Zaq is gutting the creature, taking a moment to study the way the entrails spill on the ground before lowering his head to suck blood from the poor, still-bawling, creature's neck. Nasrinth's challenge is met with gold-caged fire, a searing burst of raw heat and burnt sage — in the back of Zaq's mind, the ratchet-click of diabolical gears can be heard, as some grand masterwork is just starting to awaken. But his eyes? His eyes are for Zuhth — nothing more. M'gaal, for his part, just grimaces, then chokes down the rest of his drink with a sour look. "I'll pay for it to be cleaned again," he grunts, slanting a look sidelong to N'kor. "It's a fine thing the beast doesn't have my marks purse; I'd be poor a thousand times over with all the bets he'd place on his odds." His free hand lifts, dragging through his hair. Some squinting is had as dim recognition dawns for a few faces that are present … but then he's back to all sour grimaces and muttered swears directed to the monster that's blooding. "Not taking that bet, N'kor. Would rather change it to, ah. To ah. A turn's worth of drinks for the winner, paid by the, ah, loser." Pause. "Just between the two of us, naturally."

Zuhth doesn't seem to like what she spies. Her grounds full of intruding males, irregardless several are fort's own, snacking on her choiciest bits of meat-to-go. A hiss escapes as she retracts hanging limbs and chisles bits of stone off with her talons in agitation as she adjusts her perch to pounce. A few seem either polite or shy, not yet entering her ground but she isn't about to wait for them to decide. Anger mixes with hunger and she launches from her perch, a deft sweep of wings slicing her down into the middle of the grounds to scatter what few foolish ones remain in her way. The majority seem wise to such ways, much to her chargin, she decide for the moment after to ignore them in favor of the leaking fluids and panic'd scents of the beasts. Her catch is easy, her kill not quite so much as she is reined back by her rider not to distant. Hunger to be satisfied by a liquid diet and not the tempting steamy entrails her talons have revealed. Tossing her head a few times, the queens struggle against her rider, giving time for the males to blood or perch at their discretion.

Nasrinth doesn't waste any of his energy getting over toward those herdbeasts, popping over the fence line with only a minimal effort of muscles. Although he does catch his tail up against the fence post, the bronze issuing forth a muted dragonic yelp-like call. The bronze swivels around in his spot, glancing back to see a herdbeast caught between him and his red-violet glare at the fence post. Attention locks. It was you! The herd beast doesn't have enough time to even get its heart hammering with panic before Nasrinth launches and rips the beast in half with one loud crunch of a bite. Blood oozes from the victim, frothing around his muzzles as he shakes it, letting the blood paint him with war markings. The entrails of the beast are scattered and spewed about him, causing quite the devastation in the immediate area surrounding him. Someone will always pay the price for the smoldering heat of flight lust brewing in this golden-bronze's gut. His whip-like actions reassert his position on a mound of dirt that gives him but a slight advantage to glare down his next victim. The second taken with much the same regard as the first - a vicious assault with no respect to the creature giving its life. Blood is all that matters and it will be taken - not given. When the warmth of the liquid fire ignites the smoldering fuel, the bronze bristles up on all four limbs, attention alert upon Zuhth, talons gripping the ground, wings fanned. At the ready, lady dear.

Azaeth needs not another invitation. As the queen's own wings unfurl, so do his in her likeness. And off he goes to follow her to the pens of awaiting foodstuffs. The oversized bronze is hardly graceful in his attack, picking out one of the fleeing animals that skitter away from the queen and divebombing it. A horrid squeal is soon muffled by the bulk of the incoming dragon's girth, and its legs crunch beneath it. Immobilized, Azaeth tears its throat from it proper place in the beast's neck and takes in as much as he can. There's one more bite given to the belly, but then the beast is dry and Azaeth's form is lifting up to drop onto the next unlucky brute. There's only a slight pause in between for him to call out a low greeting to the queen, likely unheard amongst the sound of frightened herdbeasts and other dragon roars.

With the arrival of the queen, Taozyuth breaks off his self-imposed ban from hunting, and leaps in amongst the beasts already stirred and tired by the earlier, more eager bronzes. Inky talons strike, make quick work of an unlucky herdbeast, and the bronze lowers his head, mouth gaping over the sliced belly of his prey. However he lingers over the flesh, however, it is blood he takes, teeth sinking into the creature's throat, draining the heated, steaming liquid into his great maw. Once done, however, he does not launch himself greedily for a second, instead remaining crouched upon the desecrated ground, tongue flicking out to catch the last traces of crimson from his jaw. Calm, collected, he watches Zuhth, wings pressed tightly to his back and tailtip twitching, feline-like, as he stalks a different sort of prey than the bleating, creeling creatures tumbling about his bulky form.

Nasheth takes flight as the Zuhth shines bright and lands in the feeding grounds, the strong bronzer comes down on two of the beasts snapping one's neck instantly. THe other sits under claw bawling hoping to escape, but the cage is too strong for the beast to escape. It can only watch as the more fortunate beast is taken in his maw, and with ruthless crunch, the blood explodes from his the beasts body as it's crushed. As the blood is sucked up and the body is thrown to one side, dried of all it's juices. Eyes whirl towards the radiant queen, his eyes only for her and he calls to her once more. «I am warmed by your glory my radiant queen, no other looks so glorious as you. I Have a fat one…here for you…..the bronze tosses the live wherbeast near her, it baahs louder now as it looks upon the queen unable to move. The dragon waits little before snapping another beast nearly in half, blood now coats his molten skin.

Another beast falls prey to Zaqalekhth's hunger — one more gout of blood to lubricate the enigmatic gears that propel him and to further inflame the fires of his gut. It fails to satiate the hunger that drives him, only spurring him all the more. More entrails are spilled and studied with a contemplative prod of charcoal talons; more determinations made. There's a grunt from the smoke-forged beast, but the noise is replaced with a low, audible hiss — like so much steam — that issues from his partially opened maw and a faint rattling in his chest, as he primes himself for this venture. He settles on his haunches and simply waits, wings mantled and the rest of his lean form poised. And he waits, an impossible living construct that remains disturbingly still for the here and now. The other males are smoke, shadows cast by Zuhth's glow, and he is not to be distracted by them. She is the fire that entrances him — and that is all that matters.

Zuhth relents, but barely. She bloods only, several falling before her, the blooding becoming easier as time slowly progresses. The last falls, of course only she knows it is last, throwing her head back and roaring to the world at large. She takes wing again, low at first looking as ever as if she will strike into the grounds as she has several times now. Then abruptly she surges upwards with the rush of a strong air current that fills her sails. The rim of the bowl passes in a blink and she simply heads up, straight up into the wild freedom the sky offers. Her endless savanah upon which to run, to hide, to keep things… interesting. Below Neyuni gets up, shrugging off the outermost layer of clothing, no longer feeling the coolness of the air around. She moves suggestively, drawing those riders who are interested in following back to the privacy of her own lair as her dragon dissapears into the sky above on a hunt of her own.

Nasrinth is part of this frenzied mass and like the group in large, he not only watches Zuhth launch herself to her glorified freedom, but he feels it. Her ascent sends a shock wave that hits this bronze like someone pulling the trigger on a pistol. He's reacting with a split second, the mechanics of his body propelling him, renting the earth asunder below him, dirt exploding and dust rising around him. Fire-tinged wings snap and hiss as they cut through the air, the legs of this beast kicking out behind him as he seeks to be near the front of the pack. He may be part of the mass but he is by and large a spark not like the rest. Each limber movement is drawn from the explosion of determination racing through his incor in union with the fuel of the blood giving this chase life. A warrior of the winds, Nasrinth skims the rim of the bowl, making it look easy as he shunts back fragments of rock, having clawed at the lip of stone on his passing by. A little underhandedness is not beyond him. He would do what he could to ensure he was the first to trap their prey in his net rather than in another's.

Azaeth's head lifts at the mighty roar from the queen, and a bit of flesh from the beast he's been chewing on comes with it, stuck in his teeth. There's only a split second to suck the bits in and then the bronze's ironclad sails don't so much as unfurl as snap into their proper flying positions. There's a terrific spring upwards and wings beat at the air beneath them to get Azaeth's hulking muscular form airborne, then up into the sky. Now that he's free from the ground he lets out a thunderous roar, just in case anyone's forgotten he's there. Or forgotten to leave the ground. As the queen heads up past the bowl, he's quick to follow her upwards. Well, as quick as he can be at least. Meanwhile K'ael down below is happy to follow Neyuni wherever she might be headed. Off a bridge even, if she would like.

The sudden upsurgance of the queen catches Taozyuth off-guard, and he wastes precious moments staring at where she had been before he gathers his legs beneath himself and launches into the air. Green-flecked pinions spread wide, sweep down, and the young bronze is airborne, floating as easily as a breath during the transition from ground to sky. His focus is narrow - on gold alone, the other challengers mere specks to taunt the edges of his vision, gnats to beat themselves sensless upon the armor of his calm. Glorying in the flight, in the chase, he surges upwards, following in Zuhth's wake, his full-throated bellow echoing outwards as he sets himself upon the trail, hunting the hunter, stalking his salvation through the spring-bright Fortian sky. Below, left forlorn amongst the others, N'shen watches, face pinched, before he closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and follows after Neyuni, trailing like a ghost at her heels.

The last body spills and falls from the hight coming down with a thud, though then eyes are locked on her glow. There is a deep waft of the queen that enters the nostrils of the bronze goliath, there is a moment where the dragon seems to crouch as if ready to spring in chase of his prey. The rumble from the fires and molten steal that burn inside him, the mountain shakes as it readies to errupt. The bright fires are spread giving more warning to the on coming explosion that will shake the world. And the queen is off, the bronze errupts with all the power and rage of a volcano. The magma sears the skies and burns the air around him. The glow of the queen making him chase, as if the warmth of the sun were to call to the fires of the bronze mountain. «My queen….you soar… are magnificent….but you are mine…» The sight of the other dragons can't be seen as he keeps pace in the front, his powerful wings are strong. He will not lose…not to another…he is the only one worthy of her warmth!

The blood-fueled creation that is Zaqalekhth needs no further incentive: as Zuhth takes to the skies, so, too, does he follow in her wake. A calculated beat of spark-chased wings and the powerful push of charcoal-touched haunches is enough to propel him upward with terrible speed and ferocity. But all is well-calculated, an act of precision that burns in his ichor and is engraved in his very essence. His gaped mouth snaps shut, once, with an audible clicking of teeth in warning for one bronze that draws too close, but his mouth opens anew to permit the hissing to escape him once more. His mind is kept shuttered, the grinding of mental gears kept a secret from his competitors — and from the gold that he pursues so ardently. Only she might catch a whiff of telepathed cinnamon smoke, a burnt offering that is impossible to grasp, while peripheral heat is all the others might feel. Below, M'gaal ditches the mug without a thought, his eyes hazed over and his steps following Neyuni's. Low utterances escape the man like a litany, a strange recitation of something or another, with words too low to be heard.

Zuhth transitions easily from the fading current propelling her to her own muscular power. Wings sweep the air continuing her rise, if not quite as quickly as before. The afternoon is fading and evening arriving as the sun slowly drops toward the horizon. The gold seems to have her sights set much farther above, basking in the warm glow of the sun while continuing her upwards journey oblivious a short time to the fleeting attempts of those following. The few wispy clouds that trail the sky are yet much, much higher up. This is her own domain, and she knows every fingerlength of space, body shifting to catch another favorable wind. It propels her forward but not much farther up and as she sets her sails to this new current she peeks back beyond her curved body to see what might be of the ones she can sense so strongly behind her, though by sight none are yet truly close.

Azaeth has always been rather big at catching the air currents. Sometimes it was just his bulk that gave him the disadvantage, other times he'd simply ignore them and power upwards the hard way. Today is no exception, and as the queen shifts over to move from the current he finds himself caught in a downstream, giving a low rumble as he works to get himself out of it and not fall behind the others. Up and up she goes! And up and up they follow her. Azaeth finally manages to settle in with the rest of the pack as the queen levels out a bit. These were unfamiliar skies to the Xanadu bronze, but he isn't here for the scenery after all. His gaze is fixed on the gold whose wings were stretched out before them. With a slight mind for not bumping into one of the fellow chasers of course.

Nasrinth follows the great seductress of foreign light, on the beat of her wing with a hunter's attentive eye. Ambitious, this bronze harnesses the power of the blood gleaned viciously below, lashing out with his fire embraced roar to those seeking to shadow his movements, ensuring that with a tail flick or a brave weave in the air that none over cloud his air space while he hunts for the deserts queen. Cupping the wind underneath his sails, his whole body crunches and coils before in a burst of energy he makes an extension of limbs and neck, as if to gallop himself ever skyward after the gold that could eclipse the sun with her illumination. A rumble vibrates through his throat, a boast once again that he could win over Zuhth, that he could wrestle the queen from any of those who attempt such easy roads.

Currents and eddies are clear to Taozyuth's eyes, and even as he swerves to avoid one, he dips into another, feeling the push of air beneath his wings bringing greater speed to his hunt. Planning ever two steps ahead, he focuses not only upon the glowing golden form that is his ultimate goal, but upon that which might hinder - or help - his course. Preternaturally calm, he flies, wings beating strongly as he surges after Zuhth, his great - and rather rounded - bulk hindering him not at all as he darts and dashes, glides and flaps, alone as far as he cares but for the glittering prize before him - the other males not even a blip on his personal radar as he, the eternal seeker of light and enlightenment, hunts down the glory promised in a shimmering golden hide.

Molten bronze parts the clouds, moving from the burning skin as he is in chase of that glorious warth that is Zuhth. A few dragons fly too close to the fires of the mountain, and they are burned as the his comes only before the fires sear at the dragons as the maw snaps at one of the other bronze's. «Leave now….she is mine….her glory is mine and mine alone.» As the bronze watches some of the smaller dragons fall out, his concentration falls back onto the queen. «My radiance choose the bronze of bronzes….the only one you deserve….he is here…he is me….let your glory fall upon me! For I am the only one worthy of your light!» The fires of the volcano would burn at the savanah until it would find it's target. The flames look to wrap around the heat, the warmth that so tries to run from the molent beast Nasheth. R'oc trails towards Neyuni, slowly his eyes slowly shoot up into the sky as he moves, entranced he looks to the skies. "Take it for yourself….no other is worthy…" THe mumblings of an entranced man.

The skies are familiar enough to the once-frequent visitor — and Zaqalekhth remembers enough to ensure that he doesn't lose his hold in the heavens while he pursues the luminous form of Zuhth as she sketches out her flight path. The darkened bronze continues to rattle-hiss, wings beating powerfully as he continues on his own, well-gauged, course. The other males remain like smoke-birthed spirits to either side, his charred form pushing past the others to rise above them. The better to calculate his next course of action; the better to keep his red-and-purple eyes on Zuhth in all of her glory. And so what if his eagerness has his wings pushing faster than they should? So what if some spark is triggered a bit too early and starts to set his desire aflame a bit pre-emptively? It matters not … not right now. Fuel burns fast — faster than it should — but he cares not.

Zuhth loses one air current and pushes on manually, blood energy still surging through her frame. She looks, joyful, and if there is a particular task at hand she is making this a test of endurance mostly. Pushing forward she peeks back now and then to see the progress of her pursers, though she doesn't crow as a younger brown falls out early, and later an older bronze gives in. Gradually she changes course as her own energy begins to ebb, and heads in the direction of the setting sun. Hoping perhaps to lose a few of the males as the shine of her hide is matched by the growing fire of the orb as it nears the horizon and lights the wispy clouds into equally blazing reds and oranges. Will any of the males be thrown off course as Zuhth's energy slips away and her speed noticably declines, or might now be their best opportunity before a second wind strikes the golden glory?

Azaeth for one does not look joyful. There's a fire that rages behind his swirling eyes… This was war! Or a battle, at the very least, and it was every dragon for himself! It won't be any surprise as the bronze gets more aggressive as the pack start to close on the queen. He may even assist in knocking out a smaller dragon or two from the chase if they get too close to him. He can feel Zuhth's enquiry fading like the warmth of the day, and with a tremendous battle cry he makes the final push in an attempt to scoop her up. Victory or death! Either he'll emerge with the queen in tow, or he'll end up zipping off past her into the sunset.

Hide blazing a reddish bronze against the sunsets of Fort, Nasrinth cuts through the fine sheen of clouds gathering in the heights of the Fortian skies, wings hissing through some of the heavier moisture that's already gathered in the presence of the storm of chasers. Weaving and ducking, twisting and clawing, this older bronze has put the challenge to them all as he ascends after the trophy of the skies. Into the blinding light this bronze goes, relying on dragonic sense to feel the ebbs and flows of the wind that she's left to ripple behind her as she shields herself with the last sparks of a burning sun. Carefully he positions himself aloft, snapping teeth at any other that gets too close. Through the dazzling radiance of gold and red, with the last spurts of life blood flowing through him, urging him further, grinding those mechanical gears within to reach the prey with his net of wings and claws. A whip-snap of a tail and a careful cut of his wings to angle him toward where he believes Zuhth would be, his wings billow out in a parachute like fashion to slow him down as he attempts to enshroud Zuhth with a cloud of smoke from the eyes of the others, like a magician who will make a rabbit disappear from a hat. And so he goes, trying… otherwise he'll end up ensnaring some other poor beast by mistake, likely Zaq (if he doesn't win)!!

Brilliant light - it blinds, and Taozyuth momentarily loses his way, wing beats faltering for a brief dazzling moment. Then his vision clears, and his focus returns, unerringly finding Zuhth within the liquid sun. Though he, too, has begun to tire, his blood-fueled energy slowly trickling away, he finds the strength, the surge, that second wind that she yet lacks to burst forward, making one last push at the prize, one last sprint for the finish line - glory is in his grasp, his enlightenment is on the line - and the promise of salvation winking at him out of the western sun drives him to the point of near broken calm, violet eyes whirling madly as he pushes himself to the breaking point, neck outstretched, eager to tangle the golden glory in his embrace, to draw her in and find, if only for a brief moment, the ultimate peace.

The fires will not be doused, the errupting mountain will burn all till it is satisfied, the time is now! The bronze beast roars letting the molten lava incinerate all around him, the fires burn for the glorious Zuhth. «These are the skies that no other can fly….you are mine my queen…your glory only for me…only for me!» The bronze roars again and then the wings beat with a strength only he can put forth, no other dragon will be his better! «Zuhth your warmth….your touch…must mine…I will not lose.» The bronze and his rider are joined as one, eyes flare up to the skies and the growl comes deep and low at first. "Nasheth!!!" The bronzer screams into the heavens where the dragons dance, the mountain explodes one last time, the fires are massive and they will burn everything that that stands before it. Nasheth knows victory, and he will not lose, he will not relent to another. The flesh bone that holds, the flesh that drives….the passion that will not be burnt…..«You will be mine!» The moment
comes and wings close as the mass falls to the queen with frightnening speed, and there the fires are open once more catching…winning…..nothing less!

Ah. There. There! Zaqalekhth tries to pour more fuel on his inner fire, the selfsame flame that powers his wings … only to come up completely empty. The push to reach the fore of the group in the hopes of reaching the gold before she was ready to be caught was simply too much, too early; yet, still, he struggles on rapidly tiring wings to catch up, talons grasping for a dream that's rapidly slipping past them. Zuhth is just so, so terribly close … and, yet, so far away. Too far for him to properly grab, too far for him to do more than watch, futilely, as other males move in where he should have been. A rusty bellow escapes him as the dying light of Rukbat splatters on his hide and sets the sparks and his eyes to blazing even while his innermost fires threaten to burn him alive — those flames lick out violently, as the gears of his mind shriek into overdrive though his body simply cannot keep up. There is nothing left for him to sacrifice; nothing more for him to offer … and while there may be dim hope that he might be able to catch her should she fall past those other males (and deep, unspoken terror that he might well be caught awkwardly by Nasrinth should that bronze fail in his quest), his rider, for one, isn't going to hold his breath. That breath is reserved for a single word: Burn.

Zuhth briefly closes her own eyes against the brilliant glare in front of her. The blazing setting of the sun slowly diminishes as it fades beyond the mountains. Only then does she realize just how much she has slowed, how foolishly she is coasting as if she can somehow still hide her own brilliant hide against the dimishing star. It's an opportunity for those once so far behind her indeed and now she must do her best to dodge as those closest try to catch her. A defiant hiss and she manages to push herself up just enough to avoid Azaeth but stalls. Blind luck on her part, that stall saves her as Nasrinth and Nasheth miss, dropping past into the last of the fading light. In that moment when she might crow her achievement there is a frantic calm that overtakes in the form of Taozyuth. Two fading energies find refreshment in the tangle of neck and tail, talons locking in tangled glory together that doesn't fade with the setting sun.

Azaeth goes zipping by the rest of the group and off into the sunset. His rider meanwhile has already made himself scarce. The two heading back to Xanadu as soon as Azaeth can manage.

Enlightenment strikes like a lightning bolt as Taozyuth wins the glory that is Zuhth, wings flaring as he eases their fall, tail and neck and talons tangling with hers as calm fades away into that most primal of urges - a peace in and of itself, despite the frantic urgency it evokes. Fading sun, creeping night, the slow pulse of energy slipping away - all is lost to him as he revels in his salvation, and as he acts as hers.

Nasrinth was going to catch something the way he was angled! Whether or not it was Zuhth he cannot tell when his talons come to grip around poor Zaqalekhth! There's flaring wings and such as he tries to keep his hold on the other bronze! The poor lout is blinded by the light or some such thing for making the mistake and when he realizes it, it seems too late for him to disengage, since he's already getting tangled in the other's limbs. Mean while, his rider on the ground is still in the daze of flight, not yet realizing that his dragon has caught M'gaal's instead of Neyuni's, but feeling the anger rising when Nasrinth tries to pull out of it and can't. N'kor makes a move toward M'gaal, something mumbled incoherently about getting the shell off him….

Oh, no. No. That's the furthest thing that Zaqalekhth could /ever/ want. As Nasrinth collides with him, the bronze's hissing rises to a rusty, metallic-sounding /shriek/ of rage, while his darkened talons flash out and lash at the other bronze. His wings spread, his body twists … and if he can't wrench Nasrinth free from him, then they're /both/ going into the lake, head-first. Below, the combined revelation of loss and shared pain is enough to prompt a growl from M'gaal. The normally calm bronzerider finds himself lifting a fist and aiming it for the shorter N'kor without shame or fear. Flightdrunk and dragon-lost, Faranth knows just how far this may go.

Nasrinth starts to howl with his own rage when the fighting of the other starts to entangle them further, his teeth coming down to snap at the other bronze as he tries to shove off him. Wings beat and claws rake as he gets his one talon hooked in Zaq's, and his own wing likely fouling up well with him as well. It's a big jumbling mess of two bronze dragons duking it out, Nasrinth from surprise of not catching what he wanted and now having to try and defend himself and Zaq just from surprise period! Nasrinth manages to detangle in the last moments, unable to avoid a head long dip into the water despite his wing beats. For N'kor on the ground, the punch lands square where it was aimed, sending the man sprawling backward by the force of it. His mug of ale goes crashing to the ground, shattering to pieces as he takes a very hard hit… the guy remains sprawled out, likely seeing stars and little blue birds dancing in circles about his head.

Ichor is spattered on Zaq's hide, though one can't be certain which dragon is the one spilling it. Ker*SPLASH* goes Zaqalekhth after Nasrinth finally does manage to wrench free — one hindleg of the charred bronze kicks out violently as if to make absolutely sure the other is /over there/ — and then he's quick to seek deeper waters in pursuit of the cool and dark that will dampen his inner flames. On the land and out of the water, the shock of water — at least as it's felt by his lifemate — is enough to jolt M'gaal out of his momentary fit of rage. There's a blurted swear word for Zaq and then he's quick to shake his head and clear it. "Shells and /shards/. N'kor — ah, hell. N'kor, you, ah, you alright?" Dumb question to ask … but he's not stupid enough to lean over and check.

Nasrinth is likely the one sporting the various gashes, though it's hard to tell with him lolligagging around in the water. It takes him ample time to drag himself out of the lake, limping his way on shore with incor flowing freely from one of his forearms. There's a backward glance given toward Zaq, a wet snort issued, and wings favoured as he pulls them in only to leave the one extended awkwardly. There's a terrible sound from his throat when he realizes his rider is as well, a graiting trumpet that lingers into a croon when N'kor does start to push himself up. The man looks dazed, his hand going to his jaw as he moves it testingly, to see if anything was broken. Alas, blood is spit out to the side and a hard piece of white tooth following… The red head grunts as he notes a chunk of tooth, pinching the bloody thing between two fingers as he stares up in a bewildered state at M'gaal, "You owe me a tooth…" he jests with an impish yet bloody grin, "Oy.. you hit like a sledge hammer…" His eyes turn slowly toward the remains of his drink and there he gives a low groan, "What a waste..!!" Woe!

The other bronze finally surface, a baleful, red-rimmed glare sent to Nasrinth. Zaqalekhth paddles further out into the lake, a furious hising trailing in his wake. No further energy is spent on the other one; he focuses, instead, on seeking out the solace necessary to re-orient his mental gears. M'gaal, meanwhile, looks genuinely contrite about the whole thing, grimacing visibly when N'kor spits out that chunk of tooth. He offers a hand — just in case the other man is still too dizzy to get to his own feet, of course — and chuckles, though the sound is apologetic and a bit awkward. "Ah. I don't- I'm not normally like that," is lamely offered, if genuine. He's never been one for violence, even if he's quite able to deliver it in a pinch. "I'm sorry. Shells, I'm sorry — I, ah. I'll buy you a drink to make up for that one … and if you want a swing, you're, ah, welcome to take it."

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.