Winter, Turn 2511
A drought has lasted for more than a Turn in the Fortian region. Although cold, the weather remains dry, with very little snowfall. The water-level in the lake is low, and the lower caverns are now rationing non-essential water (for bathing, laundry, et cetera).
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Messages - G'brihl
« on: December 27, 2012, 01:10:50 PM »
It all happened so suddenly.
One moment he was sitting at the table in the dining hall assigned to Weyrlings, and the next there was a hand on his shoulder. G'brihl had reflexively flinched away from it, but then there was a man--a bronzerider--a Wingleader urging him to his feet, and you didn't say no to Wingleaders. So he stood up and then his Weyrling knots were gone and there were rider's knots hanging from his shoulder and in his very business-like way T'van had urged him over to the rest of the Wing and plunked him down. And now he was sitting in the middle of a bunch of strangers.
G'brihl was not a social creature. He did not like crowds, but at least at the Weyrling table he'd been among a crowd that he was familiar with. After a Turn's worth of training, he knew most of his peers fairly well, even if they weren't friends or even on friendly terms, and he could tolerate their presence for more than ten minutes at a time. Yes, Weyrling training was essentially finished and it wasn't really a surprise to be tapped into a Wing. It was bound to happen, was the next logical step of progression in his career as a dragonrider. It was an inevitability, and he had even dedicated a few spare moments to wondering just whose Wing he might get placed in and for what reason.
He just hadn't been prepared for it to happen so quickly.
Now he sat rigidly among his new Wingmates, his back ramrod stiff (which only made him stand out all the more since, once again, he appeared to be the tallest person at the table), his hands folded together in front of his plate as he tried to hide the fact that they were tightly clenched together, and attempted not to look as uncomfortable as he felt. These were fellow riders. His new peer group. The people he would spend the next however many Turns riding with, fighting Thread with, having drinks with. A new family, of a sort, and likely all of them perfectly nice people. Well, most of them. Statistically speaking, at least one (probably closer to three or four, more if he was particularly unlucky) of them was probably an asshole.
Three. I'd wager approximately three in this lot.
You really are quite the pessimist, aren't you?
Better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Zaman was perched on one broad shoulder, Rioghan on the other, and if it wasn't already obvious that G'brihl was uncomfortable they made it glaringly so. The little green was glaring red-eyed daggers at these heathens who dared to make her Pet so uneasy, and the bronze's eyes were also touched with shades of yellow-orange, though by far he was much calmer and more placid about the whole ordeal. If there was trouble then he would know about it, and only then would he react, but his sister had always been the hasty sort when it came to their Pet. He tried to soothe her (and G'brihl, to an extent) with a low croon, though Rioghan was the only one who really responded to it.
G'brihl was too busy trying to decide if it was more socially acceptable to stare at his plate or to look between the various pairs of eyes currently settled on him. Watching his food would undoubtedly make him appear shy (which he wasn't--well, maybe in some ways he could be considered shy, but it was less a case of being mentally and emotionally afraid of contact with strangers and more that he simply preferred not to), but if he just stared at them back it might make him seem rude. Which was preferable? Certainly it was in none of their best interests that they mistake him as being slow, simple, or stupid, so perhaps he ought to begin what was bound to be at least a half hour's worth of people trying to get to know him. T'van had already introduced him, and there'd been some welcomes and congratulations, of course, which meant the proverbial ball was in his court.
"Ah... thank you all," he finally said after a brief clearing of his throat. G'brihl even tried on a smile, small and lopsided as it was, almost more like a grimace. "It is an honor to have been chosen for this Wing."
« on: July 24, 2012, 03:35:04 PM »
It is a good day for a swim, Kiverath commented idly as he waited for his rider to finish changing, and then to collect their recently fashioned riding straps. Though I shall endeavor not to crash us into the lake. I cannot imagine the water would be a good thing for leather straps.
I suspect you are correct, G'brihl answered as he habitually inspected the riding gear. It was rather different from making shoes, was the creation of a flight harness, but not so different in some ways. There was a particular amount of care required, an attention to detail that might one day save your life. He was accustomed to the creation of things that aided and were required of his craft; riding was not running, but they both required specific sets of tools. His stitching was neat, the leather was strong, and though he'd have to remake this harness several times as Kiverath grew larger, G'brihl was confident that each successive set would pass on the first attempt, just as these had. I also suspect that much the same could be said on the matter of water and human lungs.
Kiverath tsked mentally, the sound manifesting as a quiet grunt. If I should have the misfortune of crashing--which I doubt, as I am not a lumbering bronze--I will have the courtesy to land belly first, he retorted with a touch of hauteur, glancing away to take note of who else was leaving the barracks. Do hurry. It would be highly distressing if we were late.
G'brihl quirked a slight grin as he slung the straps over his shoulder, falling into step next to Kiverath as they exited the barracks. Training was going by so quickly; it seemed only yesterday that Kiverath was taking his own first, wobbly flight over the lake. Now he was getting quite skilled at hunting on his own, and today... today they would see how well he carried a rider in flight. Though he'd never say it aloud, G'brihl was slightly worried; Kiverath had maintained his perfectly standard, average size. He was not the largest, nor was he the smallest blue in his clutch, and there was not a thing wrong with that, but G'brihl was definitely one of the tallest Weyrlings. How would that affect his dragon's ability to carry him aloft?
Just lean down over my neck, the young blue answered, confirming that G'brihl had, in fact, been thinking aloud. It was not uncommon; since growing accustomed to speaking with Kiverath mentally, G'brihl rarely communicated with him verbally these days unless it was necessary. It was much easier, much more efficient, to just speak mentally and not have to worry about anyone overhearing half of a conversation. You will not catch as much wind then, and will provided less resistance and sheer.
There was, of course, a hint of affectionate teasing in his voice, and so G'brihl gave him a wry but somewhat amused look as they stopped next to the lake and their slowly gathering group of peers. Kh'mic received a slightly formal tilt of his head, as did Ry'ver. Luka he was a touch surprised to see in attendance; then again, G'brihl could not pretend to know what sort of training was standard for young goldriders. Perhaps this was one of her duties, or perhaps, as rumor liked to say, she was simply trying to find a way to be useful since she was unable to fulfill other, more standard duties. Either way she outranked him, and was a goldrider besides, so she too received a respectful nod.
Greetings, Kiverath murmured politely to those dragons assembled by the lake, glancing briefly to his fellows before turning his attention fully to Seirath.
« on: July 09, 2012, 04:43:42 PM »
Trousers neatly folded and stacked on one sides, tunics just the same on the other side, socks and other undergarments tucked neatly in between. G'brihl made sure that everything was placed just so before closing his clothes chest and flipping the latches shut. His coat was on a peg near his bunk, and below that, dangling from their laces, were his running shoes. He kept them near since their earlier vanishing act, as well-intentioned as it had been, and best to keep them off the floor lest a particularly daring tunnelsnake decide to make a snack of them. His other boots were settled neatly beneath his cot, which was crisply and precisely made up. Kiverath's hollow was also freshly swept, the entire massive dip of it, even though the young blue currently preferred to occupy a portion that was fairly close to his rider's bed.
The Weyrling barracks were certainly preferable to those belonging to the Candidates. It was half as crowded, for one, and to improve matters each cot was separated from its neighbor by a sizable hollow couch for growing dragons. G'brihl was still anxious for the day when he would have his own private weyr, but this... well, he could tolerate this until Kiverath was large enough for them to move out. True, that was months away, but he had a feeling there would be plenty to keep him busy until then, between his growing dragon and pair of firelizards and all the lessons soon to be learned.
Lessons he was almost obscenely excited for. Here was a topic he was all but guaranteed to know next to nothing about. True, he knew about dragons and all of the popular sayings and teachings as were presented by Harper Hall. He knew his ballads and his teaching songs and his duties. But now he was going to learn first hand to be a dragonrider, not just about the sort of life that they lived or the sacrifices that they made. A topic that was, funnily enough, under discussion just a few cots down. He had a mind to leave things be, to let the others continue to talk on their own, but... well. Gone were the days when he could afford to seclude himself from others. Though G'brihl didn't much care for the thought, he was going to have to learn to work together with others or he wasn't going to make it very far as a dragonrider.
"That is one aspect of a dragonrider's life that is presented, yes," he interjected himself into the conversation, raising his voice slightly to be better heard before he moved closer to the group. "Another being that they risk their lives and those of their dragons on a regular basis. The intent being to remind common folk of the perils dragonriders face in the battle to keep them safe." Even when he stopped next to the group he was slightly distanced from them, his hands folded neatly behind his back as he accorded them all a slight bow. "Pardon my intrusion. I am G'brihl, of blue Kiverath."
Of those assembled there was only one thus far in his peer group that he recognized. He and Jaymesin--or J'sin now, he supposed--had spent a month locked in a cell together courtesy of the would-be Lord Holder Mikhen. J'sin had been Searched some time before he had, and as such they had seen little of each other even as Candidates. His gaze flicked briefly back to the sleeping young bronze before meeting J'sin's gaze and giving him a slight nod. "You Impressed well," G'brihl said quietly, and with a touch of sympathy. "Lord Groghe would be proud."
« on: June 19, 2012, 08:51:45 PM »
Kiverath was asleep, finally. The young blue had fought his weariness for as long as he could before succumbing, and while G'brihl found it difficult to leave his side, he was at the same time... somewhat relieved for the reprieve. It gave him time to think, to consider what he was going to do now that he was a dragonrider--a dragonrider. No more long runs across Pern, no more cool spring days on a trace by himself, enjoying the breeze and the quiet and the absolute lack of a need to be or do anything beyond what he was at that moment. Now his life revolved around Kiverath; feed him, wash him, oil him, training, and eventually... eventually they would rise to face Thread together. For now, it was constant attention to the growing dragon and completing his lessons in the meantime, and all the while trying not to go crazy because he was, yet again, shoved into the barracks with far too many people.
Much like this hatching feast. In the Weyrling barracks you at least had room to breathe, primarily because the cots were spaced rather far apart to allow room for growing dragons. The dining cavern at Fort Weyr was almost always occupied by numerous people, but this... the sheer mass of people made G'brihl not want to take one step further into that room, and he could practically feel all the bodies pressing in around him already. He didn't have to go, he knew... it was technically optional, because some Weyrlings just couldn't bring themselves to leave their dragons. But his parents were likely to be in attendance, though he hadn't had a chance to try and find them in the stands, and he should at least try to find them before making himself into the recluse of his Weyrling class. Besides, a good glass of wine (even if it was first thing in the morning) wouldn't go amiss right now. So, with a deep breath, G'brihl fortified himself and stepped into the fray.
Unsurprisingly, he was able to see his way through the crowd with relative ease, though he did go out of his way to try and avoid the more crowded and congested areas of the room. G'brihl could smell breakfast from the door, so unsurprisingly his feet ended up taking him in the direction of the numerous food-laden tables, his stomach rumbling in the wake of Kiverath's sated hunger. With any luck he could get a bite to eat, find his parents for a post-Impression chat, and then be back in the barracks (or out taking a jog around the Weyr bowl, which was somewhat more difficult since someone had had the audacity to steal his precious running shoes and he hadn't had time to make another pair) before the sheer oppressive weight of the crowd drove him crazy.
« on: June 15, 2012, 03:46:35 PM »
It was all happening so quickly. They'd been told, of course, that once the eggs started hatching they didn't wait for anyone, which was why it was so important to get to the sands as quickly as possible after the dragons started humming. But even so, Gabrihl had assumed that some of that was just a cautionary tale, a reason to make sure they didn't have Candidates going missing at the worst possible moment, because losing a dragon at a hatching was a very real concern. It was a logical enough reason that he hadn't questioned it, but now he could see that they hadn't been exaggerating; after that first Impression, all of the rest of the eggs seemed impatient to hatch and do the same, to make sure that they got the best choice of Candidates.
Brown, blue, green, brown, and that first one hadn't even Impressed yet. Was something wrong with him? Perhaps he was ill... which did not bode well. If he didn't Impress then he would go between, and that would upset those hatchlings that did survive. But it was none of his concern, not unless that lazy little brown decided he wanted Gabrihl for a rider--and he wasn't all that sure that he wanted to be that brown's rider. Oh, certainly, brown was a fine color, a good, strong color that any lad who hoped to Impress ought to be glad to have, but...
Did he hope to Impress? Gabrihl had to admit that not even he was immune to the lure that was a bond with a dragon. Who didn't want to have someone to love and care for them unconditionally, who knew and understood them without a word ever needing to be said? This was a dream most special to those who did not have much in the way of human companionship, and Gabrihl had to admit, to himself at least, that he was one of those people. He had his family, yes, but he was distant from them, and he had friendly peers among the Runners in his craft, but... perhaps Zaman and Rioghan were to blame for this. They cared for him without concern for his faults, that he needed his life to be in a certain order and that he had little patience for those who could not think at the same pace as he did. But they were not at the same sort of intellectual level as a human, while a dragon was as sentient as the person standing next to him, but far more devoted. Or so it was said.
Could he handle it? Could he bear the responsibilities that came with the bond of a dragon? He was older than most of the other Candidates, pushing the edge of the acceptable age range, and he already had a good life laid out in front of him. There was honor and duty enough to serve as a Runner of Pern, and no need to tear his life up by the roots and then try to rebuild it around a dragon. There were plenty of Candidates to Impress these hatchlings.
But then--a jolt. It was like an invisible hand reached inside of him and flipped a switch, his entire body jerking at the sudden sensation of otherness that invaded his mind. What was stranger still was that this otherness seemed to feel that it had every right to be there, that this was where it was meant to be, and it was... offensive, to be invaded in such a manner. Gabrihl gave himself a shake and drew himself up to his full height, looking around for the source of his attacker, not noticing at first that Zaman and Rioghan were crooning with delight, settling on his shoulders and bobbing their heads in approval as they stared at--
Now what do we have here...
He hadn't even seen the blue hatch, because he'd been too caught up in his own thoughts. Now, Gabrihl could not for the life of him understand how he had missed it, and he regretted it. There was another jolt, something fainter, and gone was that sudden alien sensation. It was still strange, still foreign, but for the life of him Gabrihl could no longer recall how it had felt to not have this other presence with him. Now he fully understood why dragons and riders bonded for life, and why the death of one killed the other, because in spite of the fact that he was fully aware that this was a new, strange thing to him, it felt so natural and so right that he would fight anyone or anything that dared to try and take it from him.
I am not an 'it', you know, the voice said again, slightly acerbic but somewhat amused that he had managed to turn his heretofore genius rider into a dithering idiot. Temporarily, at least. I am male, and I do have a name.
"... Kiverath," G'brihl managed to respond, the hoarseness in his voice not entirely because he'd only woken up less than an hour before. How did he know Kiverath's name? How could he not have known it?
You are correct,, the blue answered simply, and though it might seem that he was being unnecessarily cool, to G'brihl there was fondness in his words. Not exuberant or flashy adoration, not giddy devotion, but while Kiverath might not say it in so many words, he loved his rider. What dragon could not? But though the pair was now bonded, they were two distinct beings, alike in some ways but different enough that it might take them a bit of time to come to an accord with one another. Time was, thankfully, something they had plenty of for the moment. And you are G'brihl. You aren't going to cry, are you?
"What?" The question startled him, and he blinked, only then realizing that... well, there was a tell-tale pressure behind his eyes and a thickness in his throat, but the moment Kiverath drew his attention to them, G'brihl swallowed and fought it back. Well, this was supposed to be a touching moment, and it was a bit forward of him to have... never mind. "No. No, I am going to..."
Well, first he was going to reach out, to run his hand along that beautifully sculpted head, fingers reflexively seeking the curve of the blue's eye ridge. Perhaps he was not a dragon given to emotional display, but not even Kiverath could dislike having his eye ridges scratched, leaning into the caress gently. And in the process, it made the whole situation more real to G'brihl, who still wasn't entirely sure that he wasn't dreaming. But along with his pleasure came hunger, and suddenly his own empty stomach was trying to wrap itself around his spine in a nausea-inducing manner. "Perhaps I should--"
Get me fed before you puke, yes. Perhaps you should have eaten before you came.
"There wasn't time. The humming woke me and I had to come here immediately."
Hm, yes. It is rather early, Kiverath mused, and somehow they were walking--he thought briefly to carry the small blue, but Kiverath would have none of that, he said in no uncertain terms--toward the Weyr bowl. Food would be waiting beyond, away from the heat that would spoil even the freshest of meat in a matter of hours... and then they would go from there.
« on: June 15, 2012, 10:52:45 AM »
How long had it been since he'd come to the Weyr? Less than a month? And yet it felt like ages spent waiting for the hatching, trying to be patient and calm and do his duty in exchange for the honor of being presented at a clutch. And it was an honor, really. It helped that, because of his Harper training, Gabrihl was often assigned to less drudgery tasks than the other Candidates, even if copying hides could hardly be considered riveting. He had a neat hand and, as he had so woefully discovered, Fort Weyr's record room was in quite a disarray. There were hides so old that you could barely tell what was written on them anymore, that hadn't been recopied in ages, and the minute you tried to pick them up they crumpled into a smelly heap, and then you had to try and puzzle-piece them back together so that you could try and make a fresh copy...
Going into the records room had made him develop something of a twitch. But he could tolerate it, because whilst he was in there Gabrihl could work at setting things aright, making them just a bit neater and more organized for those folk who needed to access them. That was the least of his troubles. The Candidate barracks, on the other hand...
So many people. Too many people cramped into a tiny space, even if it wasn't actually tiny and only felt that way because of the oppressive weight of so many other bodies packed together with him in a single room. He'd chosen a cot as far away from everyone else as he could manage, even though it did make him seem rude and he'd barely made any sort of acquaintances among his peers as a result, but the Weyr's habit of having at least double the amount of Candidates than eggs meant that, by the time of the hatching, there just wasn't all that much space for privacy. The records room became a place of refuge instead of just a project to occupy him while he waited for the eggs to hatch, and he spent as much time as he could either there or out in the vast expanse of the Weyr bowl, doing laps to keep himself in shape. And relatively sane.
Perhaps he had simply been a runner for too long, but these last few sevendays spent in the midst of so many people had all but convinced Gabrihl that he simply wasn't cut out to be a dragonrider, whatever Desith thought him capable of. It was pure, niggling curiosity that had kept him from requesting to leave after the first week, but even now, when they were being all but dumped out of their cots and the stone floor beneath his bare feet was vibrating from the force of the dragons' humming (he could feel it thrumming in his chest as well, sort of like when you sent a message from the great, loud drums at the heights of Harper Hall), he was eager for the hatching only because it meant that, when all was said and done, things would change. He might not Impress, but he was absolutely fine with that because after this hatching he would be too old for another and he could go home and get back out on the traces and not have to worry about being crammed in the midst of so many people again.
Zaman and Rioghan, unsurprisingly, felt much different. They certainly seemed to enjoy the Weyr, particularly as they tended to get so much more attention, especially from the other Candidates. Gabrihl had harbored the brief worry that someone might be foolish enough to try and steal them from him, but had quickly realized that, firstly, most of the Candidates understood that trying to take a draconic creature from its bonded was a bad thing, and secondly... well, how do you catch something that can flit between the instant you get close enough to lay hands on it?
This morning it was their exuberant humming that roused him, so Gabrihl was already up and digging his Candidate robe from his chest by the time someone came to wake him. Such a ridiculous thing, this robe, and what a strange tradition. Why wear white? The odds were incredibly high that these robes would be blood-stained before the morning was through, and wouldn't breeches and a snug shirt make more sense? All this billowy fabric was only more apt to get stuck in stumbling dragon claws. Really, whoever thought this was a good idea needed... well, something. And it didn't help matters much that even the largest of Candidate robes only dropped about a quarter of the way down his shins, though at least it wasn't too tight across the shoulders.
But it looked ridiculous. He looked ridiculous, especially since he hardly had the time to run his fingers through his hair to put it to some semblance of rightness, never mind getting a good fifteen minutes to shave the stubble from his cheeks. And no time for breakfast either, which he didn't mind as much. Gabrihl preferred to be awake for an hour or so before putting anything in his belly, though the heat from the hatching sands might make that problematic. He'd never been prone to nausea before, but...
And then they were ushered out into the darkness of the Weyr bowl, Zaman and Rioghan circling in the air above his head because he refused to let them on his shoulders when they were humming loud enough to deafen him. Then cool dirt gave way to warm, hot, scorching sands, and if he thought the noise was deafening before... and hatchlings! Already there was a brown waiting for them as the Candidates were ushered forward, and a green, though she seemed to have hatched first but had only just come to his attention. Then a blue, who quickly found his rider before the Candidates even had a chance to fall into the usual semi-circle around the clutch.
Everything was moving so quickly. Which meant it would probably be over before he even had a chance to decide if being a dragonrider was really the sort of life he was meant to lead.
« on: June 14, 2012, 10:03:50 PM »
"It takes but a moment to travel between from one place to another," Gabrihl answered, realizing a moment too late that L'sean likely knew this better than most. He was, after all, a dragonrider. It occurred to him that he should perhaps apologize, or at least make some sort of favorable remark that might make the statement seem a tad less insulting, but the bluerider was already rambling away, taking the note (with what Gabrihl felt was considerable less regard for its contents and the person it was intended for, all things considered), naming the Master it was for (Lucho, eh? Hm, who could be at Fort Weyr with a message for that aging Harper...), and then wondering if or perhaps why Gabrihl hadn't asked his name.
Well. To be blunt, he wasn't much interested in L'sean's name. The chances of them ever meeting again were about--
But L'sean didn't seem to care about chances or whether or not they would meet again, providing both his name and that of his dragon. Then apologized for not introducing them soon, which Gabrihl had to admit was technically a breach of etiquette, though he wasn't much concerned by it, and honestly, unless he'd been to Harper Hall before how did he expect to find Master Lucho if someone didn't take him?
"As I am no longer a Harper," Gabrihl finally began slowly, once given the opportunity to speak. "I have no pressing duties that might otherwise provoke me to simply give you directions. I can show you to Master Lucho's study; he can often be found there at this time of day." A pause, as he considered something. "I am Gabrihl, Journeyman Runner. It is an honor to meet you, L'sean and blue Desith."
Which was technically true. Most people were honored to meet dragonriders, but Gabrihl had never expected one of their number to be quite so... flighty.
« on: June 10, 2012, 08:07:19 PM »
This blue dragon was a forward sort, and Gabrihl couldn't help but smile slightly at his boldness. It was but a faint curve of his lips and a crinkling at the corners of his eyes, but it was a smile nonetheless. They were fascinating creatures, dragons. According to the records, they bonded to a single rider at their hatching and would have no other for the entirety of their life. If the rider died, so too did the dragon, such was the depth of their love for that person. What must it be like, to be so bound, to have a creature who knew your very soul partnered with you for all of your days? It was an intriguing notion, one that Gabrihl hadn't really considered before, but then, why would he? He was Crafter born, and most of his life had been spent beneath dragonless skies. This was, in truth, the first time he'd been able to see one of the great beasts up close.
It was tempting to look, to touch, to examine, to see just how similar Desith here was to Zaman and Rioghan, but it would be exceptionally rude to do so. So Gabrihl controlled the urge and instead focused on the task at hand; the retrieval of the letter that L'sean had forgotten. Tilting his head to one side so that he could see the flit perched on his shoulder, Gabrihl lifted his forearm and gave the silent command for Zaman to take a perch there. The bronze obeyed without question, wings spread to steady himself as he was extended toward the dragonrider, tilting his head curiously at the command to take an image from this big-lizard rider. Practiced as L'sean was at giving visuals, Zaman had little trouble at picking up the image of where he was supposed to go, and with an affirmative chirp he launched into the air and winked between.
"It will take him but a moment to return," he reassured L'sean, folding his arms behind his back, and if Gabrihl was at all aware of the boy's defensiveness, he hid it well. People forgot things. He didn't, but not everyone had the same sort of memory he did, so he was not surprised by this failing, nor was he judgmental of it. "If you do not mind my asking, dragonrider, what is--"
There was a sudden rush of bitterly cold air as Zaman returned, and Gabrihl deftly accepted the piece of hide he was clutching in his foreclaws so the bronze could settle on his shoulder once more. His free hand dipped into a pouch at his belt, retrieving a small tidbit to reward the flit for his service. "Beg pardon, rider." Gabrihl said as he offered the note to L'sean. "If you will confirm that this is the correct message and tell me who it is intended for, I can escort you to them or deliver it on your behalf, if you wish."
« on: June 04, 2012, 08:06:57 PM »
Gabrihl's stride slowed before he reached the place where the blue dragon was circling in to land, and by the time Desith was settled in the courtyard he had already slowed to a walk, occasionally giving his legs a shake to help properly cool and relax them and prevent cramps. His first thought upon seeing the rider perched on the blue's neck was that she was entirely too pretty--and then he realized that 'she' wasn't a she at all. He had to scrutinize the rider for a few moments, but yes, there was a bit of a masculine line to his jaw, and there was a distinct lack of feminine curves beneath his snug, obviously tailored wherhide clothes.
Then there was a soft, lilting voice in his head, and it took him a moment to realize that the dragon was speaking to him. Gabrihl's other eyebrow went up as he focused his attention on Desith, momentarily at a loss as to how to respond. It seemed discourteous not to reply, but then, he might appear to be less than sane if he started talking to himself. Perhaps if he just... thought his answer? Dragons were telepathic, after all, and if this one was willing to speak to him, perhaps he was still listening, as well.
Greetings, he thought at Desith, feeling no less foolish for the endeavor for all that he hadn't spoken aloud. As if drawn by the dragon's presence, Zaman and Rioghan suddenly winked into the air above his head, the bronze circling down to settle calmly on his shoulder. The green, on the other hand, seemed to be immediately intrigued by the dragon and settled on his neck ridges, studying him intently. Gabrihl thought to call her back, but the blue didn't seem to be taking any harm from the contact, and then his rider dismounted and Gabrihl's attention was required elsewhere.
He was a tiny little thing, wasn't he? A tiny, forgetful thing, it would seem, and Gabrihl couldn't help but tilt his head slightly to the side as he considered L'sean for a moment. "Do you perhaps recall where you left the note?" he asked, hoping to prevent the utter inefficiency of a wasted trip. "If you or your dragon are willing to provide directions, Zaman could go and fetch it for you."
« on: May 30, 2012, 05:23:13 PM »
Two months. Two months had passed since his impromptu rescue from Fort Hold, eight sevendays to the day. The first week had been spent recovering, mostly eating and sleeping because he'd had to suffer the indignity of a cold caught from being crammed in a poorly heated cell with equally poor rations and general conditions. He was lucky, all things considered, that a cold was all he had to worry about when compared to some of the other prisoners. For instance, while most of them were crammed into whatever spare space Harper Hall had to offer, Gabrihl had been able to find a place in his parents' apartments which was far less crowded. Awkward, yes, particularly as he got the feeling that his mother, at the very least, was hoping he might reconsider his place in the Craft, but far better than being stuffed into too small a space with (not really) complete strangers.
Of course, some of those not-so-strangers were already gone, plucked from the Hall not a sevenday after their rescue on Search, of all things. Gabrihl had been, as mentioned previously, curled up in bed asleep at the time as he recovered from a cold, and when he learned of what he'd missed hadn't given it too much though. He'd seen dragons on Search before, and it was nothing spectacular, even if he was mildly curious as to whether or not he would have been found acceptable.
But, as it tended to do, life continued. He recovered from his cold and from the ordeal at the Hold, and once officially cleared to do so by a Healer, had assumed some duties around Harper Hall. It was a good thing he had training in the craft, since the cold clutches of winter as of yet had kept him from resuming his duties as a Runner. Gabrihl couldn't do anything official, such as teaching (which he was silently grateful for), but there had been little compunction in setting him to other tasks, such as copying records (boring, but his handwriting had always been impeccably neat, so it was understandable), manning the drum tower (also boring, but the code was a second language to him), proofreading musical scores for errors (boring)...
In short, he was going out of his mind. There was very little for him to do that provided any sort of stimulating mental challenge. Most of the Harper Masters were busy with the debate as to who would replace Master Robinton (which left him somewhat bitter, even though he understood the importance of having a Masterharper in place), which left him dealing with Journeymen who already had their hands full with their own craftwork in addition to dealing with the Apprentices. They tended to shuffle him off as quickly as they could manage, and while he never shirked the duties to which he was assigned, no matter how boring they were, more and more Gabrihl was finding himself slipping away to spend some time on his own. He'd taken to running a circuit around the Hall courtyard when weather and ground conditions permitted, which not only helped to keep him somewhat sane but was good practice and exercise to make sure he wasn't out of shape come late spring when the roads finally became passable again.
It was on one such day, when the sun was shining thinly down from a sky still the pale, slightly washed out hue of winter, that a shadow passed overhead. Gabrihl didn't even break stride as he glanced up, squinting against the sun's glare. There was little enough reason for concern; though danger did fall from the sky, salvation came from there as well, carried aloft on dragon wings. Those wings, it seemed, were bearing a rider to Harper Hall for some task or another. A quick look around showed the courtyard was mostly empty otherwise, Apprentices and Journeymen alike busied with lessons and duties, so the Runner altered his course so that he was heading to where it looked like the dragon was going to land. He could at least attempt to assist the rider since there were no others about to do so... and perhaps it would help to alleviate the boredom of a daily routine, however briefly.
« on: May 25, 2012, 01:59:21 PM »
There were voices in the night suddenly, urgent, angry voices, and the need to bolt away was an abrupt, almost itching ache in the muscles of his thighs. He was only jogging along, but the slow pace was a warm-up enough; if he put up his heels Gabrihl knew he could outpace everyone here and be within the inviting warmth of Harper Hall in mere minutes. A particularly uncharitable part of his mind even suggested that the stragglers would provide an ample distraction for the guards, allowing him to escape with ease. Yes, he could flee to the Hall, bathe, shave, eat a warm meal, and curl up in a clean bed to let his conscience stab at him all night long for being heartless enough to sacrifice others for his own well-being.
Maybe it was just the Harper in him talking, but it was enough to make him glance over his shoulder, trying to see, to count his fellow captives in the growing gloom of true night. Most were but indistinct shapes against the paleness of the snow, but already he could see that there were some beyond any aid, dark splotches in the powdery white who laid where they had fallen, unmoving. Maybe he could--no. No, there was a difference between helping your fellow man and committing suicide. Already there were guards pushing open the main gate to follow them, and Gabrihl had little doubt as to what would happen to anyone who was recaptured. There would be no second chance to escape. There was nothing he could do for them.
The gate to Harper Hall seemed to loom out of the darkness suddenly, and unconsciously Gabrihl lengthened his stride, eager to be within the safety of its walls. Someone running next to him--he couldn't see who exactly it was in the darkness--tripped, staggered, would have fallen. Zaman and Rioghan shrilled a warning in his ears as he reflexively snapped out his arm, catching the falling person by the back of their shirt. The sudden extra weight made him lose his stride, and he too might have fallen, but with a sound that was very much like a snarl Gabrihl hauled them up, all but dragging them stumbling along those final few yards to the safety of Harper Hall gate.
They passed through.
Gabrihl finally slowed, drawing to a stop and letting the person he was pulling along regain their feet. There were some Harpers waiting for them, some Healers from the nearby Hall as well, and most of the escapees found themselves being ushered toward the main entrance so they could be taken inside and looked after. He resisted briefly so that he could turn back, watching as the last few stragglers who managed to evade the mercenary guards wobbled into the courtyard, the shouts of their pursuers dwindling when they realized that there was nothing they could do. Bitterly, he wondered how they could respect the sanctity of the Hall now, refusing to even come too close to the gates, after Masterharper Robinton had already been murdered.
But it didn't matter now. There was a Healer at his elbow suddenly, murmur softly under her breath as she encouraged him to come along, to take shelter in the Hall. Gabrihl hesitated a moment longer before acquiescing, the adrenaline fading, and as they neared the main entrance he began to realize just how tired he was. The warmth of being indoors again made him notice how cold his skin was, exposed areas like his hands and face tingling and prickling in the heat. Though it was late and most of the denizens of Harper Hall were bedded down for the night, there were enough people present and watching curiously that he also became aware of the rather overpowering smell of unwashed bodies that accompanied him and those who had escaped with him into the room.
His skin crawled.
Master Nipcy was there (Should be Master Robinton, a voice in his mind whispered), along with several Journeymen and some Healers, and the escaped captives were being ushered off undoubtedly toward warm food and a bath and careful, probing questions. Having been raised in Harper Hall, Gabrihl knew his way around. Even though he was no longer officially a Harper, his training would mean that they would question him especially thoroughly, and he would answer those questions as best he could, but first--first--
He deviated from the group, spiked shoes rather noisy against the stone floor. Like most of the rest of Pern, Harper Hall was furnished with a public bathing area, with only a few of the Masters quarters equipped with their own baths. It was simpler that way, and more economical for those who had first constructed the Hall. This is where he went, fighting the urge to strip in the hallway as he walked. The baths were empty at this time of night, and he slowed only long enough to carefully remove and set aside his precious shoes and runner pouch before all but tearing off his clothes and stepping into the water.
To be clean. Gabrihl silently thanked whatever intellect had come up with the notion of perpetuating water flow, the dirty drained away down to a filtration system to be cleaned and replaced immediately by fresh, hot water. Perhaps too hot, a red flush rising against his skin, or maybe he was just cold still. There was not enough sweetsand in the world as he scrubbed at himself, Zaman and Rioghan splashing and playing in the suds from his efforts. It seemed a long while even after the grime and grit of the last month had been cleansed from his skin before he actually felt clean, his hair washed at least twice and his body scrubbed no less than three times, and once satisfied that he could benefit no further from the washing, Gabrihl rose from the baths, wound a towel around his waist, retrieved a straight razor from his pouch (he always carried one with him on runs), and set about to rid himself of the rather ghastly beard he'd acquired while incarcerated.
It took some time and patience, because the beard was thick and his hands weren't quite as steady as he would have liked, but finally he was done. He looked more like his old self, if a touch more gaunt and somewhat haggard around the edges. His hair was longer than he generally liked, but that at least he could tolerate until later. For those in Harper Hall who knew him (and there were a few), they would understand why this ritualistic cleansing had to be undertaken before any sort of interrogation began. Gabrihl would have been unable to focus beyond his own self-disgust, above his own compulsion, and therefor would not provide them with as clear an account of the happenings at Fort Hold as was required. Undoubtedly they had now had ample time to question the others, and his presence hadn't been missed much yet. He could eat, and he could tell them in precise detail all of the things he'd been setting to order in his mind while he bathed.
... except he had forgotten that he had no clean clothes with him. Hm. This could prove troublesome.
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:35:49 PM »
Never had a single word sounded so sweet. Once outside the gate it was all he could do to keep from bolting, from leaving this scraggly lot to stare at his heels as he booked it to Harper Hall, but... but Gabrihl had been cramped in a cell for the better part of a month now. He had paced as much as the tiny confining space allowed, particularly after it started filling up with people, but other than that, he was utterly cold. No warm-ups, no stretches and slow jogs to acclimate his muscles to that oh so familiar tug and pull. If he took off at a dead sprint now the only thing he would accomplish was a cramp, if he was lucky, and torn muscles if he wasn't.
No, better to wait, to let Kaire--he recognized her now, though they hadn't spend much time together when he was still at the Hall--lead them on. There could be a wagon hidden further up the road for all he knew, and it wouldn't do to run right past it. Night was falling, and though Gabrihl knew the route between Fort Hold and Harper Hall like the back of his hand, he was the first to admit that he wasn't entirely certain he could make it there with the same sort of speed he could normally manage. Given that he was in less than prime physical condition at the moment (though the lack of food hadn't eaten at him quite so much as it had some of the others), the last thing he needed was to be caught out in the middle of a bitterly cold winter's night.
But that did not mean he couldn't put his training to good use. Though Gabrihl could not claim to be overly fond of any of his former cell-mates, neither was he so cold-hearted as to wish them all dead. Undoubtedly there would be some to lag behind, to falter or cramp or fall because they were running incorrectly, and while he had no patience to be a teacher, in this he might just be able to help. So, when they finally began to run, he fell into a steady, easy lope, his long legs allowing him to pace most of them without much difficulty, and as they moved he gave instruction in a low, insistent voice; "Tuck in your arms, you're trying to run, not fly. Pick up your feet; you'll just wear yourself out dragging them through the snow. Breathe steadily..."
All in all, he wasn't entirely sure how effective his instructions would be, but perhaps it would allow more of them than he expected to reach Harper Hall alive.
« on: May 14, 2012, 07:52:23 PM »
When was the last time he had bathed?
Gabrihl tried not to think about it often, but at times it could not be helped. He itched from being dirty, though he honestly could not tell if the sensation was a real one or if it was just his mind protesting the state he was in. The clothes he wore were rank after a month spent crammed in a cell that had only become more crowded as time had passed, more people joining Jaymesin and himself in its cold, cramped confines. There were more people than beds, which meant anyone who didn't want to sleep on the cold stone floor had to share, and for someone who valued his own space, his privacy, and not being crammed in like sardines, the situation in which he found himself was maddening.
Thus, when the door to the cell opened and the guard made allusions that they were actually leaving, Gabrihl spared only the briefest of thoughts that it might be some sort of trap before hastily slipping his feet back into his shoes (better to risk cold feet than to let sweat and grime mar the leatherworking there) and pushing through the crowd and out of the cell. Better to meet his end on a sword than to slowly go insane in a cell. At least they hadn't been too hungry even with being fed only once a day; Zaman and Rioghan had gotten ample training in the art of discretion and fetching food and other small items when it was required of them. Gabrihl had even tried sending them to Harper Hall with a message once, but they had returned with no answering note and there was no sign that the little scraps of paper hadn't just blown off in the wind during the trip.
But now--the face that greeted them outside of the cell was familiar, so perhaps Harper Hall had gotten his message. Or perhaps their spies were in more places than he had previously thought, but either way, Gabrihl was grateful. She probably wouldn't recognize him as disheveled as he was, a good month's worth of bead covering his face, but there was little enough time for catching up at the moment. It was all he could do to keep himself from outpacing her as they trooped silently down halls and corridors until they reached the outer courtyard, and though the thick layers of clothing he wore stank like nothing else, Gabrihl was glad of them when they stepped out into the frigid darkness. Zaman and Rioghan, silenced by his sense of fear and urgency, huddled closer to the sides of his neck as they crept nearer and nearer to the gate...
« on: May 14, 2012, 07:33:58 PM »
Was that envy, irritation, or general weariness that he heard in Jaymesin's voice? Well, no one had told him to pass up the egg that had been drawn for him, and he had still managed to receive one on the strength of his Blood alone. It was a bit ironic, really, that the only reason Gabrihl had ended up with a pair of them was because one of Jaymesin's younger brothers (or perhaps a half-brother; Groghe didn't seem to mind siring a bastard here and there) had felt he'd had something to prove, or some sort of wager to win. And it was only pure luck that one of his tickets had been drawn, let alone both of them. Perhaps it was best that he not mention that the egg that would have been Jaymesin's had hatched into a bronze...
So that was where he'd heard that name before. Growing up in the Harper Hall as he had, Gabrihl hadn't ever seen much of Groghe's family outside of the Lord Holder himself and those children who had been capable enough at the Craft to visit the hall, or to become students there. Mikhen, as he recalled, had a good twenty Turns on him, and Gabrihl couldn't remember ever having met the man face to face. So it was a good old fashioned Blood feud that now had the Hold in lockdown, him locked in a cell, and Masterharper Robinton dead. But why go after the Harper?
"I intended no humor, Holder," Gabrihl answered, a bit of a bite to his tone. "I was raised at Harper Hall. Mikhen was long gone from the Hold before I became a Runner, so all I know of him is what I have seen on a hide or heard in a rumor, and given... current circumstances, I was somewhat preoccupied to recall his identity on my own."
Silence fell over them again as Gabrihl fell into thought, Zaman moving to a familiar shoulder perch while Rioghan, Brick and Jaymesin all but forgotten for the moment, crooned soothingly to her pet. So, Mikhen had taken over the Hold. It didn't take long for him to decide that the rumors about Groghe's death were likely true, which did not bode well for the Lady Holder or for the erstwhile heir, Haighe. Or for any of Groghe's Blood kin, really. Mikhen was taking a page right out of Fax's playbook--to a degree. Why hadn't he slaughtered the entirety of the Fort Hold brood to assure his claim as Lord Holder?
"I wonder what he intends to do..." Gabrihl mused aloud. "With Lord Groghe dead, Haighe is now Lord Holder. If he wished to secure his place, I am surprised that he has not tried to weed out the competition. No offense," he added a moment later, aware that Jaymesin might not appreciate being likened to either a weed or to mere competition.
« on: May 10, 2012, 01:19:26 PM »
The voice was a familiar one, and Gabrihl immediately found himself pouring through his memories to try and pinpoint where he'd heard it before. Surely it wasn't so long ago, for him to recall hearing it before. When his fellow cellmate introduced himself as Jaymesin, Gabrihl was only moderately surprised, though he wasn't quite sure if that surprise was that one of the Lord Holder's sons was being kept imprisoned or that he hadn't been killed, given the rumors of Groghe's demise. If Mikhen the Usurper was intent on claiming the Hold for his own, and was not afraid to model himself after Fax to do so, then he rather expected much of Groghe's bloodline would be killed off, particularly any sons that would have legitimate reason to contest his claim.
Mention of food made Gabrihl reflexively reach to check the runner's pack that had been secured at the small of his back at the start of this ill-conceived venture. It was still there, surprisingly, and while the contents might be a little worse for wear, the food rations he'd packed would still be edible, even if they wouldn't last more than a day or two, especially if divided between two people and three firelizards. Further mention that he was laying very near--far too near for his strict adherence to personal cleanliness--a piss bucket was enough to finally prompt him to move, pushing himself up to gingerly scoot in the opposite direction of the bucket Jaymesin had mentioned.
"Journeyman Runner Gabrihl," he obliged in introducing himself, even as he silently reached out to Rioghan to calm the excited green. Then, as he expected Jaymesin wouldn't likely recognize the name, he elaborated. "I received the firelizard egg you passed over at the Gather, and then the last one from the clutch, as well. Not that it seems to have hindered your ability to possess one." This a not so oblique reference to Brick, who Rioghan was now ignoring but Zaman was watching with large, slightly wary eyes. He didn't think his brown brother would attack, but it never hurt to be on guard just in case.
Silence fell briefly as Gabrihl considered the predicament he'd gotten himself into. There wasn't much of a way out that he could see; only the door, and no windows, which was actually a blessing given the frigid temperatures outside. He did have his firelizards, and Zaman was at least fairly reasonable about delivering messages or fetching small items, which might come in handy. Assuming he lived beyond the next day, which reminded him...
"Tell me, Jaymesin," Gabrihl mused. "Does the name 'Mikhen' mean anything to you? I feel as though I have heard it before, but I cannot place where."