Calysta and Luneth were getting into a rhythm, much better then they had their first Fall. Things were going smoothly for them until Shelath blundered into her path.
Luneth rumbled and back winged just in time, hissing slightly at Shelath. Calysta sighed in relief as they managed to avoid a collision and patted her green on the shoulder as they settled back into their spot in their wing.
Kyrian was helping fill the firestone sacks, glad to at least be able to do that to help. He was grateful for the physical activity to keep his mind off of the worry for the riders in the sky fighting the Thread.
Riley hurried to bring out bandages and other supplies for the healers to help injured riders. She snapped at a few drudges sniveling in the corner, forcing them into action.
She rolled up her sleeves and snatched up a pot of klah and a tray of mugs. She stopped by Gaylen, offering her some of the fortifying liquid before things got worse.
The relief that washed over Gaylen when C'lyn reported in through Greylith that he was alright was short-lived, for it was only a few moments later that Alabanth relayed two major injuries.
One was to human, and the aging healer was in the middle of instructing her blue to send Wickhath directly to her with his rider when the dragon's heart raced, sending adrenaline through the rider.
Ezelth! The young Queen!
I do not feel major organs involved.... Alabanth said, scanning the skies for the returning pair.
Gaylen raced for open space, where both dragons could land with their injured and injuries, calling assistants to her side.
On the way past Tierelm, she placed a hand on his shoulder. "You're doing beautifully," she encouraged, "Report to me when you've stabilized Emmith's leg."
It took the woman a moment to realize that Riley had stopped before her. Klah? Yes, she needed klah. It would help her keep going through what may turn out to be a tragic moment. "Thank you, dear, you're a gem," she said as she accepted the mug.
Ravyna felt the burning pain across her back half a breath before Igrainth had taken them between, freezing it dead before it could cause major injury. There was still pain when they emerged, but no worse than a blistered singe, and the greenrider was more determined than ever--
Wickhath! T'ryis! Igrainth shouted into her mind, and sudden, intense, devastating pain hit Ravyna hard.
Was it her own pain, or -- no! "T'RYIS!" she shouted, spinning in her straps, reaching for him!
We must fight! Igrainth corrected her rider, diving to char a large tangle of Thread with hateful fury! We must fight! We must KILL IT ALL!
It was true! All of Ravyna's heart wanted to be by T'ryis's side. She wanted to follow them to the healers, to hold him in her arms, to know each breath of his life until he was pronounced safe.
But they must fight ... they could not leave formation, to do so would endanger others.
She reached up and used her face-scarf to wipe the tears away that blurred her vision, as the lithe green dragon surged upward to char another tangle dead.
"You are all champions!" the Junior Weyrleader, his ugly scars covered by helmet and facemask, shouted to his Wing. "You fly well! Syth and I are proud of you!"
Dragons One! Syth echoed, Seablades fight well this day! THE QUEEN!
The sudden panic that gripped B'kay's heart stopped it for beat, and for the first time since they had engaged the leading edge, his gaze shot downward toward the Queen's Wing. WHAT QUEEN, SYTH!
The young Queen, Ezelth! She is badly injured!
"Noooooo---" he groaned, and snapped his eyes upward just as a a large tangle skidded across the thermals in their direction.
Syth's flame met it with rage, his eyes redder than they had ever been. The monster Thread may have endangered the very future of Pern!
See if the old healer's blue can report to the Wingleaders, Syth, when they know Ezelth's condition.
As the dark bronze dragon led his wing against a shifting shower of Thread that had escaped the upper wings, he assented and sent the message to Alabanth.
D’rel and K’mar were as always, together. The pair were in the dining hall with Crown, passing the time like the three liked to do. Mainly, D’rel pointing out the different men and rating them while Crown and K’mar snickered at his awful taste. He did it with both men and female – although Crown was defiantly heterosexual – her impression to a Gold had solved that mystery – she was comfortable enough with her sexuality to admit if a girl was pretty or not. They went through the various members of either sex, reclining at a table that they had very carefully marked THEIR’S.
D’rel had to admit, having a sister as a goldrider certainly was useful in some cases. It made it far easier for him to get girl’s – or men – and although he wouldn’t sleep with them for risk of compromising Scher-e it was quite fun to play. Besides, as she got older day by day she didn’t need him as much… As if his Green had ever needed anyone. Reaching out with quickness that belayed his easy thought about their relationship he immersed himself in the competent Green’s aura, and felt all the more comfortable for it. She wasn’t like the other Green’s he had heard of, although he realized he fit the typical Greenrider stance right off. It didn’t matter – she was His, and he was Her’s. Despite the fact that he hadn’t been all that excited about Standing, and he and K’mar had been force-searched, he couldn’t see life any other way. He missed the music, a little, but he could be coxed to singing and playing when he wanted to.
“What about that one?” Her brother pointed out a known Greenrider, a quiet young woman that was tiny and almost red-headed. Crown watched as K’mar gave her a passing glance, and then shrugged. "Too tiny for me." She looked as well, focusing on the young woman solemnly. – she knew every single name of the rider’s in the Weyr already, and almost every single dragon. “That’s Toni, of Green…” A dry voice slipped in, gave her her information, and was off before she even went looking for it. Mosawyth. As if the exchange had never happened, she smoothly finished, “Mosawyth. She’s prettyish…. I mean, she’s pretty, but she is so quiet and shy she doesn’t seem to talk to anyone but her weyrmate.” D’rel rested his chin on his hand and looked thoughtful – something that she didn’t see often, and said so. The young man stuck his tongue out at his younger sister playfully, but never left her. “Yeah, I’ve heard of her. She’s that old Queenrider’s daughter, right? The one every thought was a spy for a while?”
K’mar had been drawn into the conversation, even though he may not have wanted to be. “Yes, that’s her. The stories were fun, while they lasted, but one look and she’s too timid to be anything like a spy.” He tried to move one – he hated gossiping – and pointed out a likely man. “What about him? He Impressed with us, the little chubby Brown.” He had only remembered the Brown because he was the only hatchling that looked anything like his mother – thank goodness the Brown had turned out to be the steadiest creature he had seen, or lat least in Weyrling lessons. D’rel took the bait, nodding enthusiastically. “Yes, K’l’sran. He’s pretty, but he’s cocky and abrasive to people.” K’mar only shrugged – he could guess why someone might be abrasive around his twin, and suggested that outloud as well. To his younger sister, it was a raspberry – to his identical twin D’rel punched on the shoulder. Immediately, a worried voice rushed into his head. Are you alright MineOwn? I felt pain – are you hurt badly? It was Raouth, and K’mar soothed his quickly – I’m fine, dearheart. Just fine. Don’t worry about me, it’s D’rel.
Let’s followed the content up and out to the ledges, were three dragons were comfortably reclining. A slim, elegant Gold that was Ezelth happily took up the highest ledge, where she could get the most sun on the early morning, and Scher-ie and Raouth were with her. The three had formed an unlikely friendship, the much bigger Queen not minding the lower rank of color, and Raouth wasn’t worried about his rank around her as he was apt to be with other’s of his gender. She was Queen – he was dragon. That was that, for the young courageous Blue. At the moment, Scher-ie was telling a story that had Ezelth and him chuckling – around her and on lower ledges were Helksinth, Mosawyth, and several other dragon’s who were enjoying the Green’s knack for stories. It was odd for a Green to have such a good memory, but she did and gathered stories like they were lifeblood.
Down below, back in the dining hall, K’l’sran had just sat down with a few Healer’s, chatting politely about the newest methods of making numbweed. Someone had added fellis juice to the mixture, not a lot, and they were debating whether it would help the already numbing herb. He was focused, jovially, and politly distant – the way he always was when around people that he wasn’t necessary friends with.
A few tables back, Toniandra was sipping her klah and hoping that the people a few benches back weren’t talking about her. She knew the girl because she was the youngest Queenrider, the one that had trouble accepting her dragon, but the boys she hadn’t. Truth be told, she had been worried for a moment when she looked that she was loosing her sight – she thought she had seen double. Mosawyth wasn’t really paying attention to her, so she wasn’t around to ease her fears that people were talking about her, looking at her and gossiping… Clenching her klah a little tighter she focused on the woodwork and tried to think of nothing at all.
This peace they had all found for a few minutes was shattered quite suddenly, as the order’s ripped through the mind’s of dragon’s and the word caught fire. Thread! The five dragonrider’s part of our story stopped dead, frozen, with their head in the air as though sniffing frantically for smoke. And then it was a mad rush as every Rider sprinted to their rooms and the Healer’s ran to the infirmary. The firs call was D’rel – Scher-ie whipped down to the ground and hurried him out of the hall, carrying him up and up to where their room was. He had forgo the harness, and now cursed himself – but K’mar was calm, and so was Scher-ie, so he would be too. He fumbled his hands, but out on the ledge next to him K’mar was working steady and being encouraging in his own way, so that in less time then he could have thought they were in the air. He was a Cloudbandit, under that jackass M’kel - A Wingleader is a Wingleader, and to survive you wil put that aside. His Green’s steady voice was calming, and he did as she ordered – they had little time for past pettiness, although it would renew later. They landed in their position, grim faced as though the mischievous young lad he was was never there – he could just hope that his family was safe.
When Toni had heard the call she had known what to do – she had fought thread before unlike so many of the young men and women she saw. They were all so young, all so… Weyrlings. Every single one of them is a Weyrling. That was Mosawyth, not true but slightly on target. Everyone was so young – she couldn’t help but be just a little worried for them all. And where was N’ryl? She was a Seablade, he not in her wing, but she still couldn’t help but twisting and turning in order to find him and make sure he was alright. Mosawyth had the good luck to be able to talk to Gryth in her mind, and found her weyrmate quickly. Fly safe, or I will not be happy. Toni nudged her dragon as she finished cinching the harness – she had decided to finish that down at her wing, instead of wasting time in her weyr. “And tell N’ryl to be safe, please.”And Mineown threatens Her-Heart as well.
[/color]She didn’t actually threaten, but Her’s was so soft with that boy sometimes. The call SEABLADES TO ME! SEABLADES TO ME NOW! THREAD, THREAD, WE FLY! Came through to them, and immediately Toni was springing lightly on her green’s back, gliding over to where B’kay had landed. Did she realize that she was one of the eldest in her wing? That many of the people who were flying on the wings of their dragon’s were too young to be doing this? SEABLADES TO ME! Mosawyth responded, fast. We are here.
K’mar was gliding down behind his brother, Ra-o steady to his panic. Oh, Faranth, he had just gotten his family back and all of these new members to it… Raouth shook his head, glancing back at His. Check your helmet, please – but it is all right. We will be fine – all of us. The dragon was eager to fight, to prove his name as dragon, and as a Winddancer. The call was coming through now, ROUSE WEYR, ROUSE WINGS! THREAD THREAD THREAD! THREAD FALLS OVER SALTSPRINGS HOLD. READY YOURSELF TO FIGHT. WINDDANCERS TO ME, the call of the Wingleader and Weyrleader. Biting his lip, K’mar directed Raoth to his place in the left of the wing, determined to banish the threat to his life and that of the people and dragon’s he loved. Patting the midnight blue head of his striking dragon, he nodded when P’niel caught his eye, respect a firm declaration there. The Weyrleaer would lead them through this. By Faranth, he had too.
Helksinth had been enjoying the pretty Green Scher-ie’s story when the call came, and the dragon didn’t respond as other’s did. He was a big Brown, already as large as those of his color even though he wasn’t full grown, and he had a ledge all to himself. Now he lowered himself to the ground on mahogany wings, shaking the sandy-brown hide stripped with the same richer brown color. Come, MineOwn. At this point, K’l’sran had been half-way to the Healing hall, completely forgetting he had a new role in this game. Last Thread the Journeyman Healer had been in the hall, followed by HElksinth – now the big Brown was apart of a wing – oh Faranth, he was flying with the Dawnflames. Doubling back around and panicking out his mind, he had to steady himself with the calm aura that seemed to radiate from his big Brown. Sinth was eager to prove himself – but other than that he was acting as though they were going sweepriding. Breathing heavily, he tightened the harness he had put on his dragon earlier that morning and suited himself up, gritting his teeth and trying to remember who he was. You are Mine, and we are brave souls – we go into battle with stout hearts, like the hero in Scherothzoth’s story. [/i]He would have to make sure that Sinth stopped listening to stories – it gave the stoic dragon more ideas than he needed. Dawnflames! Prepare yourselves. Meet in the Bowl with the other wings. Dawnflames to me! The Brown found the Bronze a few minutes later, carefully backwinging down into his place and calmly waiting. We are going to be fine, MineOwn.
We are missing one character that hasn’t even appeared – while the rest of the men and women that were puppets of my mind all gladly managed to settle themselves in the dining hall, H’aze was sleeping. It seemed it was a good way to ignore Dartagnath’s sulking. The Bronze had been in a mope for days now, ever since that moment he had been forced to drop from the Flight with a wrenched wing after dodging an incompetent fool. The dragon was still in a rage about it, sulking and mindlessly glaring in turns. H’aze knew it was unhealthy, nut nothing really seemed to rip the Bronze out of his melancholy for more than a few candlemarks – even lessons weren’t helping. He had tried everything to get the noble Bronze out of his flump, and nothing had seemed to work – so H’aze was sleeping. Actually, he had been busy sweepriding – the Wingsecond had found out quickly that responsibility did actually come with the job. He had to talk to D’gellin, but the younger Bronzerider was a quite bit scary. Dartagnath had found that amusing and irking by turn – His had no one to look down on, but at the same time, His had quite the odd look about him – for a human, anyway, although Dartagnath didn’t really pay attention to what the other’s around His had looked like. H’aze’s wingleader was a year younger than him, but the young man was only twenty – they were a young wing in general. Too many of the men that had come to the future young – D’gellin wasn’t more than nineteen. But he was a Bronzerider, had been bonded longer than H’aze – which meant that he respected his Wingleader. Why he was the Wingsecond he would never know, but we digress.
H’aze had been sleeping, trying to get out of his Bonded varying raging irritance and depression. He would try again in the morning to fix it, and with Amora curled at his feet and Ritan on the pillow next to him, the young man slept quietly. Of course, when all of the sudden yells ran through the air and dragon’s shot awake, someone else might have woken up too. H’aze was sleeping, and the young man had been up the night before last – he was something of an insomniac anyway. So he slept, as Amora took cover under the bedframe and Ritan took off around the room in a flustered panic – the light brown flit with the huge seal brown wings was afraid of everything, and Amora had been his safety net when His was asleep. So he had to either find Amora, or wake H’aze or the big big Brother… Thankfully, the big big Brother was up, and had shoved himself in the room, the medium sized Bronze poking at His. Mine. MINE! H’AZEMINE! With the yelling, the nosing, and Ritan shrieking in his ear, H’aze scrambled away, rolling wildly and flailing so that he accidentally rolled off of the bed. His hand went to the dagger he kept under his mattress (and under his pillow and in his bathroom and in his boot) and he struggled up. It was a nice sight – he was completely naked, baring his teeth and looking a little wild around the eyes as he threatened everything… But nothing was in the room.
The man slowly dropped the dagger, scanning the room as he fought to control his breathing. He had once been insane, and the hole his dragon had filled without effort at Impression was a fresh scar – besides, he was never going to completely better. Killing your own grandmother and the rest of your household tended to do that to you. Now, things weren’t as bad, and he could breath and think instead of reaching out mindlessly to slit someone’s throat. “What? What is it?” The Bronze was wild, pacing around and being the most animated H’aze had seen in a long time. THREAD IS FALLING – OUR WING NEEDS US! Immediately H’aze was yanking on clothing, trying to sooth the frantic Flit that knew danger had found them. He finally sent him down with Amora who had taken refugee there, glaring out at the world with big vicious yellow eyes. “Dartag, calm down.” He was dressed within moments, and he had found everything he needed in over wear quickly – his anal retentive way of keeping his whole room completely neat with everything in grabbing reach quickly. Then it was Dartag that had needed to be primped and prepped – but calming his dragon took out all of the anxiety from him, and they were ready to go quickly.
They were down with the wing’s within moments, searching out the Stormchaser’s quickly. Settled, he made sure that everyone else was all right – a few murmured words and making sure that he looked at ease (although he was nothing but) and it meant that it was alright. Dartag under him was eager and restless, accepting the firestone that he picked for him and chewing fast – this was his way, this was HIM. This was what he and His were born to do, ready for everything – females didn’t matter anymore. It was nothing but protecting his weyr, what he had been bred to do from generations past. We shall do this. We shall be great. It was a murmur in his mind, a bare whisper, but he agreed with his dragon. Everything is alright, my dear. This is what we were destined for.
The only girl in this mess was involved as well – although she was bluntly reminded that HER dragon couldn’t breathe fire and she would never ride a flaming dragon by the sent of firestone and the thrill In the air. It didn’t matter – Pern was her home and she would defend it down to the quick. She had been trained in the subtle art of the flamethrower, and now as she sprinted from the dining hall she fought to remember everything. She would be in the least amount of danger – Faranth, how she hated that, feeling so weak as though the world had to protect her – but she still would face Thread, and the timeless fear that came with it. Ezelth flew down on her broad wings, a steady presence to the rest of the dragon’s. Gold’s had the ability to influence dragons around them, and nothing was more important to the dragon’s besides Their’s safety than obeying and protecting a Gold. Crown understood barely a hint of that unchecked power – Ezelth kept it safely tucked away as the two older Queen’s had taught her. Running over she scrambled up the offered leg and threw herself in the saddle – a quick stop to her ledge and then they were off into the air, over to where the other two Queen’s lay in wait. Ezelth was calm – the only notice of a little oddity was the fact the great Queen couldn’t be still. She shuffled minutely, ruffling her wings in eager preparation. She loved Her’s, and this was something that she and Her’s would be doing together – that was good!
All of the dragons, one of every color, tensed – every eye turned to the Weyrleader as he tensed – and then the words were spoken, and as one the dragons lifted into the air and popped Between. In a moment they were out, forming the carefully practiced formations. K’l’sran took a moment to look down – he was a Dawnflame, and up higher than the rest of the wings. It was the a pretty sight, beautifully proud that sent a tingle down his spine as he looked – and then Helksinth was flaming, darting with his Wing as K’l’sran urged his beauty on. There – wait, dodge that. It was going fine – but it turned out Helksinth wasn’t only paying attention to himself. A wash of worry swept over K’l’sran that wasn’t his own, and he was immediately on the lookout, trying to find out what had scared his Bonded so much. The generally calm dragon was worried – the answer was clear in his voice. Basyth’s was struck with Thread; Basyth got between fast enough, I believe. K’l’sran panicked for the three seconds Sinth allowed him too – and then they were narrowly avoiding thread and Sinth was catching it with a quick burst. Worry later, MineOwn. She will be fine. He nodded, and narrowed his eyes at the whipping wind – Just keep me posted.
On the far left was the Stormchasers, and as H’aze twisted back to check on the wing, he realized something. He could, just maybe, do this. It took him a few tries, but the dragon was eager, and it was simple to get into a zone with his dragon. Maybe, just maybe he could do this without getting hurt, without being too afraid. He couldn’t think of his family, risking their lives on dragon’s as young as his for a world that had hurt them too often. It didn’t matter now – what mattered was his dragon, and his wing. There! It was seared fast, and Dartag, the slightly rash dragon he was, seemed to howl with laughter. This is our time Mine! We will protect what is ours! H’aze only pointed out another clump, and tried to remember to breathe – the Bronze realized only a moment later and tried to sooth him. It is alright Mine. We will be fine. And tightening his grip, H’aze tried to believe him.
For a moment, Toni tried to breath as Mosawyth steadily rose in the air. Mine, you panic too much. Please, be calm. It was the nicest Mosawyth got, and Toni did honestly try – but she had more than herself to worry about. N’ryl will be alright, he will be alright. She chanted it over and over to herself, trying to make herself believe it – and when they came out from between, she almost did. Alright love – let’s go.Following their Wingleader, they dropped below as ordered – they would be the last line between Thread and the Queen’s. Wyth flew fast and strong, her large body agile and maneuvering between bodies as they did what they had to do. Over there, darling– they avoided a clump of thread easily – and then Toni felt it. Wyth became distracted for three moments, glancing up overhead. Gryth is injured – a Green Flamed his tail, the stupid wherry. Mosawyth was irritated now, but Toni directed her to another piece of Thread, asking hurriedly, Is N’ryl alright? The angry dragon focused, if not a lot, and curtly told her Yes.
And then the winds were dropping down, and they hovered in the air for a few seconds, breathing. Toni made sure Mosawyth was alright – and then their respite was over, and they were flying fast and hard. It happened so fast, Toni couldn’t remember seeing them coming near. Suddenly, B’rec and Dagonth were right there, and Mosawyth let out a draconic shriek – but they managed to stop and avert themselves in time. Toni was only glad they were all right, but Wyth was cursing – she was an angry thing. Watch yourself, Dagonth! Toni, meanwhile, only nodded as B’rec showed himself to be alright. That was all fine and dandy – but just as that happened a piece of Thread randomly passed by, too close. “WYTH!” The yell was loud (for Toni) and her dragon blinked between in time to avoid it landing on them. Out they popped, both breathing hard. Are you alright, Mine? Wyth’s voice was full of worry, but Toni only nodded, and stoutly directed her back out. We have to protect these people.
Meanwhile, the two wings on the farthest right were in hard battle – and the twin’s wing. K’mar was flying with Raouth under him, and the slightly panicky dragon was doing rather well. We are all right Mine – indeed, K’mar could hear his dragon’s joy humming through him as he did what he did best. They were so intent on their flying that suddenly K’mar realized the dragon’s around him weren’t his wing. Ra-o? The dragon looked around as well – his chase for the Thread had led him somewhere he wasn’t familiar with. Opps! They swerved away quickly, but suddenly a yelp made him spin around – Myra had hurt her… Butt? What happened? Raouth looked just as confused, blinking back as he asked Aglovth – What happened to her? How did she hurt her tail-end? But it was the only thing they could ask, for their Wing was calling them back and into the battle they fell. K’mar was feeling much better about this, after all… And then Ra-o was spinning around, yelping, Scherazoth! And K’mar’s heart was in his throat. D’rel!But no – She has been scored on her wing.
D’rel had been flying, his long dragon twisting and doing maneuvers that made him proud. She was a bright thing, and eager to fight – like the stories she told, she wanted to be the heroine.Easy, Scher.He reined her back, scanning around for Thread, but it seemed that none was there. They flew an idle pattern as they waited, and then she saw another piece. There! Long wings reached out and caught the air, pushing her forward – but in her impatience she had managed to push herself too far ahead and she screamed, and awful sound that made D’rel’s heart stop. BETWEEN! Tear’s ran down his face, as he tried to find the reason she was screaming and why pain was in his arm. But she was stopping her keen and coming back from between – thankfully. I was caught on my wing – I am fine. No, darling![/b] He was still crying, tears leaking down his face as he begged her to go back. Please! Let me numb it! She denied him, quickly flaming a piece of thread. No – not until the wingleader order’s us back, and I am fine. D’rel’s face twisted in agony – It’s M’kel, the idiot will have never noticed that you were hurt! My love, please! But her will was strong – No, MineOwn. It only smarts now. These people need us.[/size][/blockquote]
K'mar of Blue Raouth D'rel of Green Scherazoth F'del of Brown Khufuth with Green Ribbon Aren with Gold Lady, Blue Fellis, and Green Bubbly
Crown gripped the flamethrower tighter, letting Ezelth stay in one place for a few moments. Great wing strokes kept them in generally the same place as they both took the time to breath, and each surreptitiously scanned the other for anything too wrong. There. It was a command, but the generally headstrong Queen listened, for she too had seen the thread pouring down. It was the most wily of thread that escaped the upper thread’s, and Ezelth focused on it, making sure that Crown got close enough to char it but not be harmed. And then, it was just luck that as soon as she charred it she looked up to get a piece of strawberry blond hair out of her eyes. “EZELTH!”It was a scream both in her mind and out loud, seeing the clump of Thread spinning down right above her. Her gold moved fast – the long serpent of the air received a shock of adrenaline and folded her wings, dropping down.
Crown was still locked on the death spiraling down at her, and didn’t feel Ezelth doing everything in her power to stop it from dropping down on her. Muscles bunching, she threw herself hard to the right and forward, knocking Her’s out of the way – but she was such a big dragon that it landed on her back leg and began to swarm. A dragon scream burst from her mouth, echoed by Crown as the pain mimicked itself in her leg and she feared for her dragon. It was a large clump that had landed on her dragon, and Ezelth lost herself in the pain. Despite her obvious pride and the way that she acted, she was still too young – the power each Queen held over the other dragon’s raged out of control as she echoed her pain and fear to the other’s. Trying to draw them to her, anything to stop the pain as the Thread ate into her skin, and Crown panicked. Ezelth was hurt! She had already been out here for too long, and all she wanted to do was help the Gold that had risked her perfect hide for her.
Reaching behind her blindly with her hand to knock off the Thread, she begged her dragon, “Between, Ezelth, PLEASE!” Her Gold, shocked by the pain, could only blindly follow the order given and let Her’s take her between. It was dark between, and cold – but it was better than anything Crown could have ever felt before. Her right hand felt oddly numb, but she could only think of Ezelth, as the Queen hung in the air and heaved in great gulps of air, letting the frozen pieces break from her leg. It was almost five seconds before they were back between, and for H’aze, D’rel, and K’mar, it was the worst five seconds in their life.
Crown could think of nothing but Ezelth – the Queen was half blinded by the pain. It had never hurt so badly before, nothing ever had. Crown was bent over her dragon, half out of her bindings and wrapped around her dragon’s neck. Blood dripped from her hand where she had accidentally touched Thread, but she couldn’t feel it – nothing was more important than Ezelth. Please, PLEASE! GO HOME! But the Queen wouldn’t leave the dragons or the battlefield. She was in pain, and couldn’t form words, but her answer to Crown was clear. It was denial as she turned her head back to the Thread filled skies, while Crown sobbed tears of pain and sadness and worry and begged her to go back. She could feel the dragon's around them pressing closer in - the Queen's were the future of the world, they felt like they needed to protect her and Crown knew that she had to get her golden beauty out. “Ezelth!” Ichor dripped from the wound below, streaming thick out of a rear leg that had been eaten down to the bone, if Crown deciphered the white glinting out correctly. That was that – she WOULD go back. It took all of her will, and the only reason Ezelth finally blinked between was because of one thing… Love had played Crown’s hand, love that couldn’t be hidden underneath cold words.
As tears streamed down her face, Crown slipped off of Ezelth and half-tore the harness off of her dragon, ignoring the badly bleeding palm that had been eaten by Thread. It was Ezelth’s leg that was the only problem, and the Queen roared her pain of both Her’s hand and her leg - it was more pain than the not fully grown Queen could take. She lowered herself down on trembling legs, mantling her wings and covering Her’s away from anyone that would make the pain be anymore. People were running closer – she didn’t know them, and the half-driven mad Queen bugled her pain and fury, hissing and snapping at anyone that tried to come too close to them. Crown didn’t realize what was going on – she was busy trying to clear the weight off of her dragon, and make it as comfortable as she could – Ezelth was hurt, where were the Healer’s when she needed them?
K'mar of Blue Raouth D'rel of Green Scherazoth F'del of Brown Khufuth with Green Ribbon Aren with Gold Lady, Blue Fellis, and Green Bubbly
How he’d ever been chosen as wingsecond, F’rallen had no idea.
If it wasn’t for the new shoulder knot causing him to do a double take every time he looked in the mirror, he would scarcely have believed it to be true. Really, being a bronzerider alone was strange enough. F’rallen had been around many bronzeriders. Some had been taller, some shorter, some broad-shouldered and striking, others thin or less remarkable, but all had had one thing in common – the same undeniable air of command, of leadership, whether outspoken or quiet. Perhaps it came with growing up in a weyr, but no one had ever needed to point out the bronzeriders in the room to him, and he was certainly less rank conscious than most.
And yet here he was. Fingers clamped down so tightly on the riding leathers beneath the thick gloves that he doubted he could loosen his grip if he wanted to. P’neil was the wingleader, and while others complained of his inexperience and the fact that he rode a brown, it wasn’t for F’rallen to question such things. P’neil was the wingleader, and P’neil was the weyrleader, and in the height of threadfall, that’s all anyone needed to know.
Dacrith! The young bronzerider didn’t need to finish the command, for his dragon’s mind was more synced with his than ever. The star streaked bronze dodged the dangerous clump, tucking in his wings and rolling to the side, and the two plummeted downward for a stomach lurching moment before the powerful wings snapped back out. The maneuver had put them below the thread once more, and the bronze swerved around for another pass. F’rallen could feel the heat on his face as the offending tangle was seared out of existence, burned from the sky to fall as harmless ash. Dacrith’s wings beat steadily to bring them back up to the proper altitude, and, safer as they were below most of the dragons, he spared a quick glance around for thread before craning his head upward in search of a familiar green in the Cloudbandit’s wing…
F’rallen! It was the dragon’s turn to exclaim a warning as he suddenly flew after another of the vicious organisms, charring it at once.
Sorry, Dacrith. I just wanted to see…
Elinth’s is fine! They are both fine. If that changes, I will let you know. We must concentrate, mine.[/color] The dragon’s tone was curt and snappish at first, but his last words were more tolerant of his rider. It was a first for both of them, and what a terrible event it was. It was best to try not to think, to simply fall into the rhythm of finding and burning. They had, so far, done well enough of staying in that rhythm. They had work to do, after all; important work, and both were giving it their all.
But they both shared the same inexperience, and this time, neither saw the clump slip past the riders above. Dacrith was scanning ahead, F’rallen was craning his head up in an effort to see but the thread was just behind, out of his range of vision. F’rallen was out of danger, but the strong, healthy bronze was not.
F’rallen gasped in pain that might as well have been his own as flesh was torn from Dacrith’s back. His vision swam as the wave of agony hit, but F’rallen had worked with threadfall injuries for most of his life and been around riders for all of it, and if one thing had been instilled in his mind, it was that the only thing to do was -
BETWEEN! DACRITH, BETWEEN, NOW!
It was the first time in his memory that between was so welcome, so calming, as all pain ceased better than the best quality fellis or numbweed could manage. At least, for the three seconds it lasted. But when the chaos of whirling dragons reappeared, the pain had subsided from a searing agony to a dull throbbing. The moment the thread had landed on Dacrith seemed to have stretched on for an eternity, but in actuality, the wingsecond had acted quickly. He turned to survey the injury, and while alarm rose in him at the sight of the ichor oozing from his beloved dragon’s hide, the thread had not gone deep. It was a minor injury; one that could easily be patched up after the fall. F’rallen could do so himself.
I’m so sorry, Dacrith… He said, and if the bronze hadn’t been redoubling his watching efforts, he would have craned his head around in surprise at the slow, shaken tone in his rider’s voice.
Don’t worry about it, mine. It is our first ‘fall, after all. We’ll learn. And you can start now by keeping watch for thread instead of blaming yourself for things we cannot avoid and cannot change.[/color]
The familiar, condescending tone in the dragon’s voice was now edged ever so subtly with compassion, and the combination brought a wry grin to F’rallen’s face. Dacrith was right; if he wanted to avoid a repeat of the incident, he needed to commit everything he had to facing the threadfall. And he was prepared to do exactly that.
The wings fly well. Much better than last time, Gwynevith reported, and Alana nodded in satisfaction. They were certainly better prepared this time around, although once again, much of their wings were made up of untried weyrlings…although in lesser proportions this time. Alana knew perfectly well how horrific the first threadfall was. Not that all threadfall wasn’t terrible as well, but the screams of threadscored dragons, the smell of dragonfire, and the confusing whirl of dragons that disoriented so many and sent them colliding with one another that she had seen during her first threadfall would be forever etched into her memory. There would be many more, she knew, and it was likely that the horrors of one would blend into the tragedies of the next, but the events of the first would always be singular and isolated.
She and Gwynevith moved with strength and efficiency, gliding on massive golden wings from one fallen thread to the next. They were few, really, as the wings were doing an excellent job, but Alana’s flamethrower lit up the sky on more than one occasion as she and her gold chased down the stray tangles.
And then she heard the scream, felt the wave of emotions of pain and fear so strong they could only come from one kind of dragon besides her own: another gold had been injured, and badly so.
It’s Ezelth! Ezelth has been injured![/color] Gwynevith informed her immediately, undercurrents of distress in her voice. Even a fellow gold could be affected by another gold’s untapped emotional power, albeit to a lesser extent than the other colors. Besides, Gwynevith was somewhat fond of the younger gold, as it had been up to her and Lefayeth to act as mentors and teachers when needed. Pern needed all of its three golden queens, and they could spare nothing in ensuring that Ezelth would grow into the best leader of their kind she could be.
Alana looked upward, conscious of the seeds of panic being spread throughout the wings as the gold’s emotion took hold. They must be calmed! Everyone must continue to fight, Gwynevith! She cried to her dragon, as they veered sideways to flame another thread. Was it just her imagination, or where they getting through faster now that the dragons were caught in the poor young queen’s distress…
We must keep fighting! Many of us have fallen, but if we do not hold together now, all is lost. Pern depends on us. We must all keep alert and keep flying![/color] The gold accompanied these words with a roar, and, whether she was conscious of it or not, all the influence a queen carried. The only failsafe against one queen was the strength of another, all the more reason why the three of them were necessary and important. She exerted her own calming influence over the wings, while Alana lent her mental support to the gold. If there was one thing that could be said for the pair, it was that no matter the situation, Weyr came first, and they would give their all to serve the good of its people above all else.
Ezelth is not letting the healers approach her and hers.[/color] Gwynevith added, although she needed no response from Alana before knowing what to do. Her powerful, calming influence extended to the injured gold as well, although queens were more resistant to such power from fellow golds.
Ezelth, the people are trying to help you and yours. You must stop snapping and let them near. You both are in need of their help. For yours and your rider’s sake alike, let them near.[/color]
Gold Ezelth had fallen to the thread for now, and it was up to the remaining goldriders to keep the fight from erupting into chaos. They had to try.
There! Finally! It had seemed an eternity, but at long last, a golden form emerged from Between over the bowl, and Gaylen raced toward it.
Ezelth! Alabanth shouted, Ezelth, they are healers, they will take the pain away!
The old blue lifted, soared, and landed in front of the pain-raged gold dragon, ignoring the dangers to himself from her thrashing head. He made every effort to catch her eyes with his, long turns of experience at calming the injured coming into play.
He heard, like a distant vibration, the emotions and thoughts of Gwynevith as the Senior Queen did her best to calm the younger gold.
Gaylen, loaded down with supplies, was still the first to arrive of the racing healers. Later, some in the Weyr would wonder how the elder bluerider managed to move so fast at her age, but for now, such thoughts would be put on hold.
She ducked under a thrashing wing, racing for the oozing ichor. She must stop the bleed quickly, before the young Queen began to dehydrate.
The wing came back and hit her from behind, knocking her flat. As she leapt back to her feet, not even wondering if she'd been injured, she could hear Alabanth, uncharacteristic for the normally calm and rational blue, shout--
Now cut that out! They're trying to help you! Get hold of yourself, Pern needs you!
Not stopping in her efforts to dodge the dragon's efforts to keep the humans at bay, Gaylen only briefly wondered what the brash thoughts of her blue would earn him regarding Ezelth's future wrath.
Try as she might, however, she could not get to that leg.
"Claudia!" she called out, trying to find the Gold's rider, who was hidden from her by the pain-wracked form of the dragon. "We've got to hold her still! That is bleeding badly, and I have the means to staunch it, but she has to let me in!"
Despite exhaustion beginning to wear on all of the Wings, the dragons stayed remarkably keen and avoided any serious collisions. There were a number of blunders, however, though injury was avoided. Cilnah and Basyth left their Wing’s formation momentarily in pursuit of Thread and blundered, nearly sweeping into Brell and Brueth’s path, who also blundered in order to avoid the pair. Shikai and Dinaedth had a near miss, almost flying straight into their Wingleader, L’kas and Seath. Finally, F’rallen and Dacrith swept under Kimber and Ferth but didn’t quite go low enough, thus causing both pairs to blunder in order to avoid an actual collision.
In terms of battling Thread, the Wings also did quite well. The last of the ‘Fall was visible on the horizon, and the cheered dragonriders fought with renewed energy in anticipation of the ending. K’nte and Shelath, K’mar and Raouth, and S’lem and Griflith all had near miss incidents, but they were left unscored.
The dragonriders were beginning to celebrate a successful Threadfall under the guidance of their new Weyrleaders, P’neil and Artoneth, when tragedy struck again for hapless Araelen. After the injury of one of the Weyr’s few and precious gold dragons, every dragon felt the blow when Artoneth was also hit. With the last clumps of Thread falling and vigilance relaxing, a clump of Thread slipped through the Upper Wing, the Dawnflames. With P’neil and Artoneth flying directly below another pair, they didn’t see the clump until it was too late. It struck Artoneth on the right wing, causing a major injury and leaving him unable to fly. As the pair began to plummet, Artoneth fighting to keep aflight, P’neil was slammed against his dragon’s neck ridges and suffered a major injury to his chest. After making it between to the Weyr, after a crash landing, Artoneth blacked out.
It was a bitter note to end on, but the dragonriders of Araelen Weyr had all survived a second Threadfall, and that was something to celebrate!
Artoneth and P'neil had settled into a rhythm now. With Artoneth keeping him informed of the status of the wings, P'neil was able to concentrate on watching for stray Thread, and the pair avoided scoring quite deftly. Actually, P'neil was rather proud of the fact that so far there had been few injuries, and most minor enough that the dragons remained aloft. This was going quite well, for their first Threadfall as Weyrlea -
The thought was cut off by the tormented scream of a badly injured dragon. The scream was echoed by Artoneth, and P'neil could feel through his own link to the dragon as Artoneth's mind was seized, commanded to help, to stop the pain... The brown folded his wings, dropping instantly out of formation to save the young gold who had reached his volatile mind. "Artoneth stop!" P'neil shouted, but his voice was torn away in the violence of their dive.
Luckily, they had not gone far out of the wing before Gwynevith's own command and influence caught them up and snapped Artoneth out of it. He instantly flared his wings, turning his momentum into a sharp about-face just in time to flame the Thread that had gotten through the hole he'd left in the Winddancers' wing, then between back into formation.
P'neil could feel the brown seething in frustration and shame, both that he could do nothing to help the young queen and that he'd broken rank. The rider thumped Artoneth's shoulder, shouting, "Don't worry about her, Artoneth, the queens can get her back and the healers will take care of her." He injected as much confidence in his tone as he could muster, and felt Artoneth respond somewhat. "Besides, look! Threadfall is almost over!" And so it was; he could see clear skies ahead, if barely.
Fight on! Artoneth bellowed to the wings, adding his voice and what little influence a brown has to his mate's own. And there! Clearly visible now were skies clear of Thread. Swooping to catch an errant Thread, the brown continued encouraging the tired dragons. The end of the fall is near! Take heart! We preva -
But Artoneth cut off mid sentence with a physical shriek of pain. P'neil's cry of echoed pain and horror mingled with the dragon's voice. Where had that clump of Thread come from? He hadn't seen it, he hadn't seen - oh Farenth, it was eating away at Artoneth's wing. "Artoneth!
Artoneth's wing gave out, dropping them faster than his more controlled dive earlier. Distracted as he was by the pain leaking through his link with the dragon, P'neil was unprepared for the sudden fall. He slammed forward, unable to catch himself in time, smashing against Artoneth's neck ridges. Something, or several somethings, gave way with an audible crack. P'neil struggled to breath past the intense pain, but with Artoneth tumbling out of control the air was going past faster than he could force himself to breath. Artoneth was flapping frantically with his other wing, trying to keep them aloft, but they were already falling past the queens, they were going to hit... Artoneth, the Weyr!
P'neil squeezed his eyes shut, mentally pushing the coordinates at his pain-consumed dragon. Then they were between with it's blessed pain-free breathlessness, and the Thread froze and cracked off of Artoneth's wing. One heartbeat, two, three...
They popped out above the Weyr, and P'neil suddenly found himself wishing they'd just stayed. Artoneth was screaming again from the pain, trying in vain to slow their descent with his injured wing. Still trying to force breath into his lungs, P'neil focused on the wing. The Thread had struck along the wing's leading edge toward the finger joint and along the spar bone. It looked like the primary mainsail was intact, and the secondary mostly so, but the spar mainsail had gotten chewed up a bit. Oh Farenth, please don't let that be cartilage he could see there, please let Artoneth fly again...
And then Artoneth hit the ground, throwing P'neil forward against the riding straps. He'd managed to fight against the pain to slow them enough that he didn't break anything on landing, but they hit hard enough to knock Artoneth into blissful unconsciousness, then skidded to a stop near Ezelth. P'neil had just enough sense left to be grateful that the gold was still alive.
Wheezing with pain and still more than a little wit-wandering, P'neil struggled with his riding straps. The pain in his chest was almost unbearable and caused him to fumble badly. Artoneth! Artoneth was injured, he needed help! His voice may have been a little pitiful compared to its usual timbre, but P'neil did his best to shout for a dragonhealer.
This is easy! boasted Wickhath, flaming a clump and turning on his tail to chase after another. The brown's small size, usually a disadvantage when it came to impressing females, was turning out to be quite useful in Threadfall. He was surprised to find that greens and blues might actually be more suited to this, with their tiny, agile forms, but if that was the case, Wickhath must have the best of both worlds, then!
Don't get cocky, T'ryis urged, gripping the riding straps so tightly that his hands were numb. His over-confident brown was frightening him somewhat with bravado and wild antics, but T'ryis knew that Wickhath wouldn't endanger either of them for the sake of performance.
How are they? Wickhath knew instantly who his was referring to, and he spared a mental glance. Assured that they Igrainth and Ravyna were fine, the dragon then arced himself upward after another stray clump of Thread, flaming so fiercely that ash blew into T'ryis's face once again.
T'ryis didn't even need to ask. He knew what had happened, could feel the pain blasting into him from his dragon and the brown's connection with that spritely green. His heart had barely formed the words, 'Which one?', hating himself for even thinking it, as both heads swiveled to spot the pair. And then the pain doubled, tripled, sent him reeling and spinning and out of his mind.
As Wickhath had turned to look for Igrainth, the first spark of relief filling his heart at the sight of her return from between, the clump of Thread struck. It grazed along the brown's turned head, scoring the top of it, but the majority of the clump blew past and into his rider.
T'ryis couldn't even scream. He was consumed by the pain, could feel his flesh being consumed by the ravenous Thread. It tore straight though his wherhide like there was nothing there, questing tendrils groping for his skin and the precious organs beneath, while nausea and horror overwhelmed the brownrider. He was beyond thought, beyond reason, his hands reaching as if they could tear off the Thread that was already burrowing deeper.
Wickhath was without guidance, but his love for his own sent him instinctively between to the place that was safest in this world. The Threadscore on his own head could not be felt over T'ryis's pain, and he came crashing to the Bowl of the Weyr, barely flaring his wings to slow their descent at all. MINE IS INJURED! HELP HIM! His desperate plea went out to all nearby, undiscriminating. His must be okay! He must! Or else...or else...
T'ryis coughed, choking on the air that his lungs needed so terribly, while his hands still gripped at the Thread that was no longer there, broken off between. Suddenly, he felt himself sliding sideways and had only a moment to register surprise before he plopped to the ground. The Thread had eaten through his riding straps enough that they had finally snapped, and he was left lying on the floor of the Bowl, curled in on himself in pain. Wickhath's nose hovered near, warm breath blowing on his and eyes whirling with fiery red and orange.
As T'ryis looked blearily around for a Healer, shaking and chilled by shock, he had enough presence of mind to feel a slight tinge of embarrassment and dread. That sharding Thread had struck his inner thigh...if it had...oh Faranth. He couldn't even think about that right now. No, instead T'ryis began heaving up his guts. When would the pain go away?!
Dragons and riders seemed to be getting injured left and right, and Brinne jumped every time Elinth reported a new strike. They had to be extra careful this 'Fall; if anyone was thrown from their dragon, it was their duty to catch them. More than that, if they failed to act, they could be the reason a fellow dragonrider plummeted to their death...
Oh no! The cry was echoed by both, as they saw the brown dragon and rider bearing down on them. Elinth had been dodging a clump of Thread too close for her to flame safely, and the swerve had thrown her into Rhobith's path. A moment later, however, they were safely between, and when they blinked out, the air around them was clear.
Sorry! Elinth told hers sheepishly, before spinning on her tail to go for another.
It's not your fault, Brinne assured her, before she felt a wave of fear from Elinth and froze.
Dacrith! And, a moment later, before Brinne's panicked mind could form the question. His is all right, though Dacrith is hurt a little. Brinne was so relieved that she missed the upset in Elinth's tone entirely. She didn't understand why her green was so peeved with F'rallen's bronze. He seemed charming enough to her.
What would have been even more surprising for her, if she'd known, was Elinth's next move. Are you okay, Dacrith? The green couldn't be too cool, though, for she was caught up in the frenzy of this 'Fall.
Kitari was beginning to tire. The flamethrower was heavy, bulky, and awkward, and it was difficult to grasp the riding straps while holding it. Thus, she was forced to grip Lefayeth mostly using her thighs, and the swerving motions of her gold were starting to wear on her. It was a little disconcerting that she had grown so lethargic in Weyr life. She would never have allowed herself to slip from her fit physical shape while working on the Fishing vessel. Exercising more would definitely be a priority once they got back to the Weyr...
Inconsequential, inappropriate thoughts for a time like this. Many a day, Kitari would look back on that time with shame. Perhaps if she'd been paying better attention, she could have intervened somehow, even though she knew this to be untrue in her heart. What happened was inevitable, in the greater scheme of things.
Ezelth and Crown were struck.
Ezelth! came Lefayeth's warning cry, even as the Wings above began to break formation, losing their fluid patterns and beginning to mill in confusion. Kitari could feel the power of Ezelth's emotions as she screamed for help from all, and the goldrider was almost overwhelmed by it herself.
To the Weyr! Return home! Lefayeth tried to tell the queen, ineffectually, for Ezelth was listening to none but hers at a time like this.
Then, both heard Gwynevith's attempt to regain control of the Wings above, and Kitari knew this was where they were needed most. The Healers would be waiting for the Jr. Queenriders, but there would be many more injuries if they couldn't bring order back for the last of the 'Fall.
You must destroy the Thread! You must save Pern! Do not falter! Lefayeth screamed at the Wings above, influence belying her diminutive size. With two queens to restore order, they should be able to override Ezelth's wild cries.
Things were going quite well, this time around... In fact, M'kel was actually feeling pretty good about the Threadfall so far! P'neil was leading the Wings with confidence and skill (even M'kel had to admit that), and there were barely any dragons sent back to the Weyr due to major injuries. A part of M'kel was a little peeved, for this stellar Threadfall would certainly provide a sharp contrast to his less admirable performance, but for the most part, the bronzerider was glad to celebrate with his fellow dragonriders the success of eliminating their enemy.
And, M'kel noted with a flush of pride, the Cloudbandits were exceeding his expectations! Myra and Aglovth had been involved in a minor collision, and Scherazoth had a light score across one wing, but the rest of his Wing were flying well and charring Thread with precision and determination. If he couldn't redeem himself to the Weyr for his past failings, at least no one could blame him for another poor performance from the Cloudbandits!
Are Aglovth and Scherazoth still okay to fly? he inquired of Tirenth, gripping the riding straps tightly as his dragon suddenly dove after a clump of Thread that had just slipped by.
They seem to be. They haven't mentioned otherwise, Tirenth replied distractedly, flame erupting from his great maw. It hurt the bronze to open his mouth so wide, what with the scars of his last encounter with Thread wrapped around his muzzle, but Tirenth would never voice that pain. Even still, M'kel would be sure to bathe it in numbweed when they returned home, just to take the edge off.
And then, chaos broke loose. Tirenth bugled and backwinged suddenly, ignoring the clump of Thread he had been chasing in favour of turning his whirling-eyed gaze downward. A Queen has been struck!
The fear in his bronze's voice distracted M'kel just as effectively from the Thread still falling around them, and he gripped the riding straps even more tightly, seeking a glimpse of the golden shapes below. Who?!
Ezelth! Tirenth bugled again, mirroring her pain in his raw challenge. He must go to her! He must protect his Queen!
M'kel was almost swept away along with his dragon. Crown. Crown was down there, with her Ezelth. Had she been struck as well, or was it just her dragon? She was so young, too young for Thread. So many of the Weyrlings were too young. M'kel couldn't bear to think of that troubled girl being scored any more deeply.
And then the other two Queens' calming influence penetrated the frenzy of Tirenth's mind, even as M'kel realized that they couldn't leave. The Cloudbandits needed them. Thread was still falling, and the bronzerider and dragon were needed to protect the other two Queens!
With a great effort of will, Tirenth turned his mind to the Thread clump that had evaded him, plunging far to burn it, before returning to his place in the Wing. Still, his mind reached out cautiously and hopefully to the young gold's. Was she all right? Was her rider?
The end of the 'Fall was in sight, and M'kel let out a triumphant whoop, although it was made rather half-hearted by the fear still thudding in his chest over the fate of the goldriding pair. He pumped his fist upward, sending the Cloudbandits to eliminate the last of the scourge, when a brown shape went tumbling by. Surprised, M'kel turned 'round, only to gasp at the sight of Artoneth falling from the sky. Despite all of his bitterness, M'kel would never have wished such a fate upon the new young Weyrleader, and after the impressive job P'neil had done this 'Fall, M'kel was as devastated as everyone else to watch the plunge.
Tirenth! he urged, and his bronze turned to race down after the falling pair. If they could just grab ahold of the smaller brown, perhaps they could slow the descent...
But then Artoneth went between, and Tirenth reported his crash landing in the Weyrbowl. Gritting his teeth, knowing there was nothing more they could do at the moment, M'kel turned back to clear up the last of the Thread. Shard it! That blasted Red Star just had to punish them, steal away what should have been a joyous, unblemished victory! Shard it all!
At last, the skies were clear, and M'kel blinked in surprise. It was strange not to see writhing shapes streaming downwards on all sides, now that the 'Fall was finally over. "Cloudbandits!" he called, weariness breaking into his tone. "Good job, everyone. Now let's go home!" And with that, the bronze and his rider disappeared between to seek out the injured Jr. gold.