Riders from the Protectorate

When Jeyann sent out invitations to other weyrs and sites across the Nexus that Ryslen Weyr was to have another of their Winter Flurries, folks automatically thought that certain people and their dragons were going to participate. However, by all accounts, they were wrong.

In his tower on Paniya, carefully listening to the mental conversations which took place nearby, ex-holder Engell closed his eyes and let his dragon communicate.

There is a flurry.

I know.

But I came from a flurry.

Chuckling, Engell said aloud and to his dragon's mind, "you came from the flurry, Tehn."

I know! That is why I want to go back! My clutch mates will be there and I have not seen most of them for ages!

"Some of them might be, but there is no guarantee. There's not even a guarantee we'll be able to fly. You are a silver, after all."

I am silvered, that still counts as white! ...doesn't it? Worry battered Engell's mind from the inside, from his dragon below. The white-silver snout peeked out from the depth of the sea hall, where the Cove and Aerie both rested. Tehndarinth had become known as a bit of a nosey busybody, now that he was waiting for his offspring from the Lao Daemia clutch to show up. It was taking longer than Engell suspected it ought - and that made him nervous.

Shard's dragon clutch was rescued from the nexus at long last, but that didn't mean that every clutch lost between places and times could be so revived. With a bit of a twist in his gut, Engell turned his attention back to his dragon.

"I think we will go anyway, and pay our respect to Jeyann. She has done well with the fine gold she's bonded. And her mother says that the Weyr is being run the way she's most happy with it."

What way would that be? Tehndarinth queried.

"Mostly on its own, with very little help." Engell smiled, and started choosing items to bring to Ryslen.


Thousands of planets away, on the world called Abode by some inhabitants, a small elfin woman paused long enough from her leather working, to listen to the excited statement from Adisath.

Will you let me fly? Oh I so want to try it, when we helped with the Cross Gender flight I was so jealous! I wish to show off that I can fly too. I am small, though... will there be someone small enough but perfect?

Ainea grinned, her lips still clutching the heavy needles which she was using to poke holes in her latest creation. *I think you might convince me. I remember how you felt then. I would not make you go through the anguish of watching but not participating.*

...Even though you might not?

So, Adisath felt that bit of reservation from the elf. Ainea put her work down, and climbed out of her wintery den. The weather outside was changing from early to late winter, soon it would be all but frozen solid out here. Adisath seemed to know what Ainea was pondering right then.

If we go, and I mate, we will be able to spend the winter at Ryslen again! You liked that place. I remember.

Adisath's nodding head made Ainea half-laugh. *I will have to prepare some things to bring, though. We can't have a gather stall without goods, after all.*

Then I can fly? We will go? The proddy excitement of the silver-white made Ainea worry though - what if there was a mate for her dragon and not for herself? She would not truly enjoy being with a human male - they were much too large. And, they seemed to have some kind of age-based taboo, so a younger, smaller male would be inappropriate as well.

She pondered these things while she took up her leather crafts, and selected which ones would be best sold off to the good folk at Ryslen.


Something clicked in Kemroth's mind, and while he was in mid-flap above the river which cut through Hoalin's peaks, the white Talor-born dragon hummed loudly to himself.

Curious, Simon butted into the dragon's mind with an equally wordless query.

Oh, nothing. Just a flight. I think I shall be successful there, there will be some good fema-

"A flight, where?" Simon said, darkly worried. "Surely not here, we'd attract too much attention."

Your mother cannot touch you here. Her nearest Holding is far across the continent anyway. And we have traveled through time - I do not know if she is even alive here and now. Stop panicking about her. I would like to mate. Do you not think I am good enough to mate?

"I..." stunned, Simon knew that this day was too long in coming - he had not allowed Kemroth to participate because of the fear that some how Keenae would find him. Or one of the others she had searching... Or, worse yet, E'tan.

It was a touchy subject for Simon, breeding. Of course, at the hands of Etan (or, E'tan, take your pick) he had been forceably bred, not even given the opportunity to see if his child lived, what it might look like or ... if they were a slave like he had been?

But his dragon offered a kind if nagging comment. If you found a woman who wanted to be with you, even just for a while, as the eggs from this flight harden, would you deny her or yourself? I could never deny a fine female.

"You think very highly of yourself, Kemroth," Simon smirked, "let's land here, the cavern isn't far away, and I'd like to walk home, if you don't mind."

Suit yourself.

The dragon backwinged down near the curved river, and then took off once again as his rider dropped expertly to the ground.

Simon watched the bright whitecaps on the tumbling water as he strolled up to their mountain top cavern. Hoalin, a small mining and forestry site on Kiran, wasn't known for its dragons - but it was nice, the residents said, to have a dragon present when the Aliens struck. While that wasn't often, it had been enough times that Simon could be hailed as a hero when Kemroth and he took to the air and fought the craft to the ground. Several trophies awaited in Simon's cavernous home - items from another planet that he would never voluntarily visit.

Have you decided to let me go, and be happy when I find a mate? You Zekirans are supposed to be happy about children. We dragons are thus as well - and I am from the last true generation of Talor Cliff dragons, we are a special line.

"You are special," Simon said, placing his hands on the small white dragon. "We should go, and I ... could try and find someone to spend some time with. I just ..."

You do not have to get attached.

"I want to," Simon said, "it's what's been denied to me for so long."

Only because you won't go out and mingle. When we get there, you will see. Someone will happen upon you and maybe we will all be happy here later.

The dragon's innocent assessment of the situation started to filter into Simon's abused brain, and slowly he got used to the idea. Kemroth informed him of the location and the theme of the flight - and that it was a Flurry, traditionally in winter for light colored dragons like himself. So Simon set about finding some chill weather clothing (not too hard, given that Hoalin was on one of the highest mountains in all Kiran) and making arrangements for their trip.


The healer struck her hand onto the patient's back and elicited a yelp.

"You couldn't go a little easier, could you?" The man gurgled.

"No I cannot, and you cannot afford to stop me. If I do not get this ... crap... loose from your lungs you'll drown in your own mucus. Do you get it?" Lakhshmi growled. Sometimes, these patients got in the way of their own best interests.

You should let me slap him around a bit, commented silver Okiath, from her den near the other dragons.

I don't think that'll be necessary, Lakhshmi said, as the man coughed up what appeared to be half a lung full of sand-colored gunk.

"Now you've got to stop smoking that awful tingle-weed," the healer said, helping him clean himself up. "I don't want to see you here again."

"No time soon anyway," he grunted, and trundled off. The Caer was filled with people who didn't know how to keep themselves healthy.

Lakhshmi and her cousin-twin Sarasvati kept some of them in passable enough condition, but both were more concerned with their dragons health of late.

Lakhshmi especially - for her silver Okiath had started acting a little... oddly.

It is because I want to mate, my rider. You get to play with mates, I want to find one. Or two.

"Okiath, you're ..."

Old enough to mate! You know that - I've been old enough you just don't want to let me have any fun at all.

The sulky female scraped around in her den, pressing on the stone walls.

When Lakhshmi arrived, it was to see Okiath sadly fluttering her tail and sighing. "Oh get over yourself," she commented. "You're not all that."

I AM all that, AND a bag of chips! The silver erupted into a loud bugling chorus of draconic swearing.

"Okay okay..." Lakhshmi waved her hand, "where, then? Here in Paniya it's not like we've got much to do. The sands won't be open for a while."

Ryslen. There is a good flight there. And we could find a nice man for you. Or a nice woman, whatever. You confuse me.

"I get to confuse everyone..." Lakhshmi grinned, "besides the fact that I'm a healer and an assassin."

I thought you said bounty-hunter.

"I can do that too." The darkskinned half-human said. "Besides it's Sarasvati who really goes for the girls. I'll take em as I find em."

I want a male.

"Of course you do, silly. Though..." Lakhshmi looked around and thought about her ancestry and their propensity to live in other dimensions with cool machinery and tools... "we could splice you together with -"

NO! I want a dragon male who can subdue me! Nothing less will do!

With a naughty grin, Lakhshmi muttered, "I knew you were into that, but you don't need to advertise..."

That... is NOT what I meant! The intense frustration of the female silver finally got to Lakhshmi who threw on a couple things and was woefully unprepared for the chill of Ryslen's winter.

Silvered White Tehndarinth, Male - Hatched at Ryslen Flurry 2001 - Ridden by Lord Engell of Alabaster

Size: medium to smallish

Abilities: plotting, planning and clever. This dragon takes after his rider in many ways, but is eager to have more eggs on the sands that belong to him. He has one flight behind him, that at Lao Daemia. He is not the fastest nor the strongest flier of the Protectorate, but he is able to plan his movements quickly and may even use teleportation to catch his mate.

Silver-White Adisath, Female - Hatched at Ryslen Flurry 2001 - Ridden by elfin Ainea of Abode

Size: Very Small - may only be flown by medium to small sized males!

Abilities: quick moves, both in the air and on the ground. Likes to use camoflage techniques like snowblinding and cloud cover when she hunts, so will apply those tactics to her flight. She has never mated before, this is her first flight.

Silver Okiath, Female - Hatched at Wild River Caer on Veritas Isle, Alskyr - Ridden by Lakhshmi, healer-for-hire of Paveh Hold

Size: Medium, with broad wings

Abilities: Okiath is a sure, solid flier. She spends a lot of time gliding and finding places to dive into the sea, she'll be sorely disappointed that the lake would be frozen over at Ryslen for this flight. Otherwise, she is more sturdy in flight than agile. However, she's also half likely to nip or claw at her suitors - if they are not strong mentally as well as physically, she would just as soon drop them from the sky forever. This is her first Flight.

Oh, sorry... Talor is long gone...

White Kemroth, Male - Hatched at Talor Cliff's Final Clutch - Ridden by Simon Sengihr of Zekira

Size: Small, around the typical size of a green at best. Suitable for smaller females.

Abilities: Kemroth is quick enough in the air that he might catch a medium sized female, in addition to whatever smaller ones are available. His goal, however, is to find a dragoness whose rider is appropriate for his own. His concern about this is belied by his excitement for the Flight - this is his first true mating flight.