'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.

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. 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.
The seasons shift around the lake in a timeless flow. Waters grow choppy as autumn blends the summer calm with winters coming fury. The shoreline soaks in the heat of the day and provides a pleasant strolling area in the evening hours as long as the weather remains tempered, releasing the heat of the day to the cool of the night. In the early morning a layer of frost can sometimes be found dappled over the shoreline though the waters remain liquid.

It's winter and the weather is cold, but people dismiss it cheerfully with, "It's a dry cold." And indeed, there is a light fluffy snow overlaying the ground, a-sparkle beneath azure skies and Rukbat's afternoon rays, even though weak are a welcome sight after so much rain this past turn. Weyrling classes are finished for the day and the intrepid Dremkoth has coerced D'ani to allow him to wander all the way across the bowl to the lake he's been hearing so much about. Baby dragon strength could not, however, outlast enthusiasm apparently, which would be why the little bronze is curled up on the snowy beach fast asleep while D'ani sits on a rock… and patiently waits for him to catch his twenty winks before they head back.

Ezra has not been seen much of since the hatching, the young boy preferring to hide rather than venture forth to meet the newly impressed. But agitation grew until he couldn't wait any longer, and he crept out towards the lake shore when he saw D'ani and Dremkoth heading that way. With the massive Zoi loping alongside, the pair navigate the slick mud and snow as they approach, and Ezra clears his throat. "E- D'ani," he says, correcting himself and blushing a bit, hunching his shoulders in his pink and black coat. "Um. Hi."

Though mealtimes have been at first mostly taken in the weyrling barracks, D'ani has managed to catch a quick bite in the living caverns when Dremkoth is napping and he's kept his eyes peeled for sight of Ezra (what a horrible phrase!) to no avail. The sound of that throat-clearing pulls him from wherever his mind has wandered in contemplating to turn a glance over his shoulder as his name is spoken and his expression lights up when he sees who it is. "Ezra! Where've you been man? I’ve missed you!" No reproach, just simple glad-to-see-you in his wide smile as he rises and steps to meet the boy. He reaches a fist to bump in greeting, then offers a hand for Zoi to sniff, lick… chew on if she so desires and then he'll give her a good ear-scritching. "Look at her! She's almost as big as Dremkoth." That might be a bit of and an exaggeration but he is truly astounded at her growth.

Ezra blushes a little bit, looking rather relieved as he returns the fist bump. Zoi eagerly licks D'ani's hand, then nuzzles it and tries to shove her face into his pocket. Because /everyone/ keeps food in their pocket, right? "I've been…" Ezra trails off, unable to find the words to explain his absence, so in the end he just fumbles out a "Congratulations. I was watching. You and Iny - Inri, both." And he smiles, but it's a touch awkward. Then his pale eyes turn to feast upon the sleeping bronze, and his exhale is a soft sound of awe. "He's so beautiful…"

Sadly, all Zoi finds in D'ani's pocket is an oil-soaked rag. Which, she might actually like very much come to think of it, seeing they've made it out of some sort of combination of rendered animal fat and plant oil. It smells pleasantly musky. He isn't noticing the canine nose in pocket at the moment though, because he's focused on that awkward fumbling of Ezra's. Rather than draw attention to it though, he is easy, relaxed and gives the boy a look full of understanding. "I'm glad you were there. Don't be such a stranger though. You're still important to both of us. We always have time for you." Okay so he's putting words in Inri's mouth there, but he's pretty sure she feels the same as he does where Ezra's concerned. And of course he's totally susceptible where praise of his dragon is concerned. "Yeah…" he breathes in total agreement with that assessment, going all mushy-sentimental in the rapt gaze he turns to the still-sleeping baby bronze. "This is Dremkoth," he says with that sort of pride a parent has in their offspring.

omg a RAG. Zoi tugs it out and starts to chew on it, tasting it and then deciding she doesn't like it, jerking her head back and pawing at her mouth to try and get the flavor out. Ezra just stares at her, baffled, and then looks back at D'ani, before glancing at his boots. "Thanks," he murmurs. "I…I won't." Then he nods, a bit of light returning to his eyes. "Dremkoth, yeah, I heard. It's a great name. What's he like? What's his…it like having him in your /head/?" Rapt, now, the boy stares at D'ani, all those questions he's never had the courage to ask another rider threatening to tumble out.

D'ani seems willing to let Zoi have the rag. There are plenty more of those back at the barracks near the oil vat. He just chuckles at the canine's reaction to it and reclaims it, shaking the snow off before stuffing it back in his jacket pocket. Ezra's questions re-direct his focus. What is Dremkoth like? "He's like… wow. No one I've ever known before," he starts. How to explain? "He wants to know everything and he trusts me completely. He thinks," a rueful chuckle interrupts the thought, "that I am the font of the world's wisdom thus I know everything and can't make a mistake. It's… humbling and disconcerting at the same time." Having him in his head? "It doesn't hurt and it's not driving me crazy, which is something I can't say for poor Harmony. It's like… I'm two people, never alone. I know instantly how he's feeling, what he's thinking before he speaks. Which, let me tell you, is handy in keeping him out of trouble."

Ezra gazes wistfully at the bronze. "It sounds…really great," he says, lost to his own wishes for a moment. "And kinda scary, too. What if you mess up? Does he get angry? What's Harmony's dragon like? Does he hurt her head?" And he frowns at the thought, rubbing his hand against his hair and then reaching to rub Zoi's ears.

Dremkoth is deeply asleep despite the conversation just a few feet away. He's grown used to the constant background noise of the barracks, it seems. His paws twitch in response to a dream. He uncurls, shifts onto his back, stretching while his paws cup his face then he goes limp once again as a quiet snore rattles from underneath those paws. "It's great," D'ani hedges, for the whole experience is a mixed blessing to be sure. "But no, he doesn't get mad. He's pretty biased in my favor. He's totally in my corner and tends to make up excuses like… I was misinformed and stuff. It can be… disconcerting, amusing and awfully sweet all rolled into one." He considers Harmony's plight. "Her dragon giggles and gibbers a lot," he finally says with an obvious bafflement in his tone as he blurts, "How she deals with that is beyond me. I'd go crazy hearing it all the time. Though it's happening less as he learns to broadcast just to her and not everyone." He snorts a silent laugh through his nose, "Crosenturath really loves her though and she basks in that, so I think she'll survive."

Ezra's heart melts a little bit at the sight of the baby bronze, and he sighs. "He's so beautiful," he whispers. "That's…it's…really nice…" Fumbling and awkward, the boy tries to keep the focus on D'ani and Dremkoth, and not on his own wishes and dreams, not wanting his friend to feel bad. "Oh. That'd be real annoying. But…nice to have a dragon that loves you and all." He shifts his weight a bit and tears his gaze away from Dremkoth to look at D'ani, smiling a bit. "Now you can search whenever you want to."

Perhaps it's that awkwardness of Ezra's that prompts D'ani's memory of the boy's reaction to all his friends getting searched. The weyrling gives the boy a keen look from under his lashes while saying easily, "It is… hard to put into words how nice it is not to feel alone deep inside. Have you ever thought what you'd say if you got Searched, Ezra?" He leans down and scoops up a small handful of pebbles, tosses one lightly into the lake. Ploop! The sound is quiet as ripples spread slowly out in the back waters. "I can't look whenever I want," he corrects gently after a few moments of thought. "I'm sure I'll have duties, but when I do look, I won't have to pay someone to do it."

Ezra's answer is swift but softly spoken. "I'd say yes," he whispers. "I'd…even though it'd mean giving up Stonehaven, I think…?" And he looks at the older boy, knowing that he is in a similar situation with his own hold. Glancing down again, his pale eyes are drawn towards the stone's ripples in the water. "I…I wanna keep looking. For you," he says quietly. "I've got…I can get riders to take me." The 'for free' is implied. "Ones'who feel sorry for me and stuff." And he shrugs, both pleased but uncomfortable about his unique position in the weyr. 'That Stonehaven Boy' and all the attention it gets - both good and bad.

"Would you?" Dani is both surprised and not. He reaches his arm further back, tosses another pebble, this time further out. The rings radiate out, reaching the ones from the other stone, intersect and create a crisscross of diamond chop, changing the pattern entirely. "That," he says with a nod to the disturbed surface of the water, "is what my life is like now. I'm not sure where things will end up now." His voice carries his disquiet, "I can't give up Maiona. But I can't be its master now." The bleak look that flickers across his face is telling that he's really just grasped that fact. The declaration of Ezra's chases it away. "Do you now? Ezra, that's mighty unselfish of you when you should be spending your efforts in… learning what to do for Stonehaven." He's visibly struggling with what to say. How can he accept such an offer? "Only if you promise not to neglect your studies and your own plans," he finally says firmly. And still somewhat stunned.

Ezra nods, "I…I would. Just to try. 'cause then if I didn't Impress I'd always have Stonehaven, but if I did, then I'd know. And if I didn't try, then I'd always wonder. If I was asked." Watching the rings, the boy's brows furrow, struggling a bit with the more existential concept. He nods. "I understand that," is his whispered reply. "It's…hard. When you're two people." Turning a bit, he looks up at D'ani and his nod is minute, just enough to set hair swaying. "I do," he says, voice firming a bit. "Because you can't. And…I like traveling." He's realized this now. "And someone needs to keep looking, cuz' what if they're out there? They need to know you're here, and you miss them, and you can't go for…a long time. And…" his voice drops and he looks down again, "and maybe my family's out there too, somewhere, maybe. They only found Dad…"

"That's… huh. Very thorough. I never thought about it except-" Except to have his own transportation in searching. D'ani rubs the back of his neck with the hand that isn't full of pebbles while he allows those to trickle to the ground through his fingers. He's been pretty one-track minded for so long. "You're right I can't. Dremkoth has to grow up first. And the Weyrlingmasters say it'll take around two turns." He's not exactly thrilled with the delay, but is resigned, by the look of it. His dark eyes crinkle as he turns a grin towards Ezra and away from the lake, "The traveling bug bit, huh? They say there are vast sandy deserts with red rock mountains in the southern continent and mountains that scrape the sky so steeply they look like they'll tip over in high reaches. Not that I've ever seen them. But maybe someday…" His expression is morphing to less bleak and more animated as he considers this. He trails off when Ezra speaks about his father, understanding settling his features into a more somber expression. Carefully stepping around the mention of revenge, he states quietly, "I want to help stop him, catch him so he can't do this again." And then, in an uptick of hope, "Could he have taken your mom and sister away with him, do you think?"

Ezra glances at the bronze with a small nod, but there's a softness to his expression too, that betrays his boyish wishfulness. But then he's looking back at D'ani and blushing a little. "Haven't been anywhere 'cept home and here and to Maiona…" And he's willing to prey on the sympathies of riders to take some trips and see Pern. "Wow. I wanna see everything…" Then he looks down, digging a toe of his boot into the sand. "I want him dead," he says, calm and flat. "And…maybe. My mom and my sister…were girls. And my brother could'a been…I dunno. He was strong." So maybe Laris wanted to keep him alive and use him somehow? He shrugs. "Dunno though, it's been turns and they would'a come here if they'd gone to Stonehaven cuz Th'ero left a note on the door."

"I don't blame you," D'ani's quiet agreement is steel-hard for a man who did what he did to his friend and the people of his home. Whether it would be preferable for girls to be taken with Laris' group is something he veers his thoughts away from sharply, simply saying, "Women can sew and cook and… things. Maybe if his group is found, they will be also." Too late, the unsettling thoughts have seeped through to Dremkoth, who snorts awake with a disoriented blink of yellow amongst the green. Baby paws flail the air in an ungraceful attempt to gain his footing, legs still asprawl as they were when he was zonked so soundly. Now, however, he rolls to his side and scrabbles up, head swinging to gaze about in comical confusion, first noting where his lifemate is, then peering at Ezra. "Just a dream, Dremkoth, that's all," soothes D'ani. And now the young bronze is curious, taking a step towards the smaller boy to whuffle at him experimentally. "Ezra, may I present Dremkoth, Dremkoth, this is my friend Ezra."

Ezra winces a bit, adding "bad things," under his breath. He's much of the same mind as D'ani on that, it seems. But he doesn't have time to elaborate or even think about it much, because Dremkoth is awakening. Startling, Ezra stares at the bronze with wide, almost worshipful eyes, holding out his hand like he would towards a runner. "H-hi," he stammers.

D'ani was sort of hoping Ezra's mind hadn't made those connections, but with a grimace that shows he realizes that's not the case, he strives to swallow his dismay about that. Dremkoth pads forward, the green dominating in his eyes snuffs out the yellow slowly, his muzzle bypasses the outstretched hand until the tip of it gently touches the boy's chest if he doesn't back away. It brings his jaw within easy scritching reach as he takes in the boy with wide-eyed interest. D'ani chuckles, "No, he's a boy. He is younger though." Amused, he shares with Ezra, "He wants to know if you're a human hatchling because you’re smaller than I am." And then he adds, translating, "He says he's glad to meet a friend of mine and will you please scratch him here." And he turns his hand upwards, demonstrating just where the young bronze means on the underside of his jaw. Dremkoth will rumble pleased, eyes half-lidded but that's only until he spots Zoi. Then his eyes blink open and all of his muscles tense.

Ezra holds /perfectly/ still, torn between a fight or flight response, and pure joy and awe. He laughs quietly, a bit nervously, and is eager to scratch him where D'ani points out. But when the bronze turns his attention to Zoi, little Ezra stiffens and frowns and reaches out to *poke* Dremkoth on the muzzle, right between his nostrils. "No, she's /mine/." That…might have broken /all/ sorts of dragon/non-rider etiquette rules, and the boy blushes furiously afterwards, looking downright /ashamed/ with himself. He's just broken his entire friendship with D'ani, he just knows it, and he's a horrible person and he should just run away now.

D'ani is right after Ezra in the muzzle-poking. Only he grabs the tip of it in both hands and swings the baby bronze's head to forcibly make eye contact. Dremkoth is a-quiver, legs crouching just a bit, but they're like coiled springs while his eyes roll to keep Zoi in sight and D'ani not only knows it, he can feel the WANTTOPOUNCECHASETHAT rolling into him from his lifemate. It's so overwhelming that his face, which must look quite strange, mirrors it for the few deep breaths he takes while he's willing his dragon's feelings not to take him over too. Saying firmly out loud for Ezra's benefit, "Do not chase! That is NOT a sheep, it is a canine. That's Zoi and she's Ezra's friend." It's a battle of wills until Dremkoth's tail gradually stops lashing, the twitching tip finally stills and his eyes shift from Zoi to D'ani. Then the baby bronze slowly melts into a puddle of remorse, flopping onto his belly and making all kinds of warble-croon-whuffs at Zoi and Ezra as soon as D'ani releases his muzzle. "He says he's sorry and he promises he won't eat Zoi." Now he can chuckle, even if his legs are a touch shaky after that near mishap, "And you, my friend, would make an excellent rider. You didn't flinch for one second." That's pure admiration there, for that poke.

Ezra stands straight and tall when D'ani and Dremkoth are battling it out, but his eyes are wide and nervous looking. Zoi presses close, more for Ezra's comfort than her own, muzzle nosing against his pocket until he puts a firm hand on her head. Then there is visible relief on Ezra's features when the danger has passed and D'ani isn't angry with him. Letting Zoi go, the canine takes a few curious steps forward towards the bronze, at which point Ezra looks at D'ani, biting his lower lip. "He okay? Or should I make her go…?" And then he just blushes, ducking his head to let his hair swing forward to hide his face. "I…like," love, adore, couldn't live without, "Zoi…"

"He's fine. I told him I would be very unhappy if he frightened or hurt either one of you. He understands. I don't think he'll forget, but I'll remind him often enough that he will remember." Dremkoth remains on his belly perhaps to prove he means no threat and he continues his vocalizations, which take on coaxing notes bordering on the absurd. "Don't overdo it, Drem", D'ani says finally, tempted to roll his eyes in the way an embarrassed parent might at their silly children. "He wants you to be easy. And he wants to play," he explains with merriment brightening his eyes for that vast understatement of Ezra's. "I told him that too. That Zoi is to you like Dremkoth is to me."

Ezra shifts a little bit, watching the bronze for a moment. And Zoi continues forward until she's muzzle to muzzle with the bronze, sniffing him. Sniff. Sniff. Lick. And then she hops back and play bows, tail wagging furiously and ears perked. Never mind that Dremkoth is bigger (a bit) than she is. That just makes Ezzra grin, giggling a little bit. "He's…" Cute? Amazing? Wonderful? "awesome."

Dremkoth's head pops up when his muzzle is licked. Neck arched coyly he watches Zoi for a few beats, then he rises fluidly, wings tight to his back and whuffs a snort through his nostrils. That's all the warning any of them get as he scrabbles, sending snow flying all over the place as he snakes off across the lakeshore, turning his head to invite the canine to chase him and his writhing tail trailing him in the snow, if indeed an invitation is even needed. All his teeth are showing as his mouth opens to warble high-pitched excited dragon laughter. "There you have it," says D'ani drolly. "That's what it's like to impress a dragon. Never a dull moment." He sounds exhausted.

Zoi, with an exuberant WOOF, chases quickly after the dragon, bounding through the snow, long legs flailing and talons gripping, and Ezra lets out a childish and happy laugh. "That's awesome!" Looking at D'ani, he smiles and then reaches out to briefly touch his friend's arm. "I'm happy you impressed," he admits, fumbling in his tween-way.

Out there in the open there's a Dremkoth and Zoi flurry-cloud, thanks to that light, fluffy snow, as that game of tag races over the snow-covered ground. Claws skittering over both stone and ice as the bronze feints in one direction, then goes the other, he's careful to lift his tail high should Zoi get too close. In the course of things, the baby bronze turns the table and chases instead of fleeing and there's the thunder of dragonfeet as they approach. "You might want to-" D'anmi starts to say, and then simply reaches out and snags Ezra by his pink and black jacket (yeah, he totally noticed that eye-catching addition) and hauls him behind the rock he was sitting on, ducking back there with him as the sliiiiiiide-sceeeeeeet of claws heralds Dremkoth's attempt to put on the brakes. Snow everywhere! D'ani is brushing it out of his hair, laughs and replies with, "My mother would tell you I'm getting it all back, let me tell you. But thanks." And he reaches out to nudge Ezra's shoulder back, brown eyes warm. "I should get this guy back to the barracks before his exhausting romp sends him into another snooze. You guys want to walk with us?" Walk, he says. Like he thinks canine and dragon will actually do that.

Ezra lets out a startled yelp when Dremkoth begins to approach, led by the bounding, happy, woofing Zoi. Hauled behind the rock he crouches down and lets out another peal of laughter, shaking snow from his hair as well. Looking up at his friend, Ezra is gripped by a moment of insanity and flings his arms around D'ani for a tight hug. Then he's rocking back and nodding, standing and looking around like nothing happened. "Sure," he says nonchalantly.

That impulsive hug takes D'ani completely by surprise and the boy is leaning back and standing before he can recover enough to return it, so all he does is mock-punch the boy's shoulder and say with gruff affection, "You're all right, Ezra." Which means so much more than he can put into words without embarrassing the boy. And so back they go, Dremkoth diving, leaping and flaring his wings in a mock-battle-attack-flee. If Ezra is allowed, he'll take him inside to meet the other dragonets. Regardless, when they part, he's more than pleased to announce that, "Dremkoth likes Zoi. And thinks he makes a lot more sense than Crosenturath." There might be a sage nod at the end of that comment and then a, "He ought to sleep really well tonight. Tell the beastcrafter up at the barn I owe Zoi one of those extra-large doggie treats."