Preface: I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Like, LOTS. Ridiculous amounts, NANOWRIMO and THEN some amounts. Unfortunately, most of it isn’t fit for the eyes of anyone other than my co-conspirators. Thankfully, I HAVE been having a stupid amount of fun. This is where all my little mood paintings come in. They’re inspired by all the writing I’ve been doing.
A side effect of doing so much writing is that every once in a while I’ll make something that I’m really quite happy with.
What follows is a vignette piece, between two of my own characters that I’ve been working with. I recommend you be at least passingly familiar with Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books. The story is based in her world, loose canon. Some liberties I’ve taken include a woman riding blue and a dragon who’s bonded himself to someone else in addition to his rider. This is an unpleasant situation for everyone involved.
I have attempted to edit in such a way that you don’t need to be familiar with the storyline thus far to enjoy it. But like I said, a familiarity with the world of DRoP is recommended.
Leymok’s sleep was fitful. Granted, there was only so well someone could sleep when locked in a stone cell, but something this morning was different. D’sol’s bronze Jerikaith swam through nightmarish eddies in his dreams. The dragon was always there. What is it now? Leymok groaned, clawing his way to wakefulness. But being conscious didn’t bring relief. His head was starting to pound and his vision was blurry. The ghostly shapes of dragons overlaid his customary view of the cell they’d thrown him in.
“Shards….” he whispered, his voice gone hoarse and throaty. Jerikaith… he could see through the bronze. What was going ON? He watched as the bronze’s attention focused on a shining golden shape. The things it was doing to those herdbeasts… Leymok had never seen so much blood. He could feel the bronze’s arousal. He started feeling it as his own…
Leymok’s queen firelizard, Affair, rounded a corner and flew to to him, squalling, agitated. Eyes that saw more through the dragon’s than his own caught her golden shape and he reached out for her, a strangled wordless cry for comfort on his lips. The tiny gold was all too willing to oblige. As much as she tried though, she couldn’t shield him from Jerikaith. The great bronze was too near, too strong, too wrapped up in the impending mating flight. It was a mating flight that had bound Leymok to Jerikaith in the first place, and with a queen rising… Already the images and emotions were beating at him, and the gold dragon hadn’t even risen yet.
His arms clutched tightly around his golden firelizard, Leymok crept into the corner of his cell. There he curled up and buried his head as he shook, weathering the storm.
That morning Nashi and her dragon were up above the rim, practicing scratching in the still morning air. It was Kvietoth’s soft whistle that first alerted her. Her querying thought was answered soon enough by Shivith’s lusty bellow.
Below her, the blue began to rumble, his eyes whirling up to purple. “Oh no you don’t…” Oh but he wanted to chase! Had he not caught the green? Had he not paced her and a bronze, small though he was? “You’re too old and too small and I’m in no mood to be jostled.” Nashi locked her knees tight on his neck and directed him, firmly, downward.
Kvietoth went, though unhappily. Couldn’t he at least TRY? “No.” Nashi was firm. The tiny blue landed outside the lower caverns and flew off quickly. “No!” He turned his head back to Nashi and swerved to their weyr, aborting the path he’d been headed on towards the waiting bronzes. Nashi placed her hands on her hips and frowned up at her dragon. Well now she was stuck down here, she might as well make the most of it.
She paused at the kitchens for breakfast, then took it with as she went wandering in the lower caverns. She enjoyed the cavernous hush that fell over the place when everyone was out chasing a queen. Speaking of queens, a small golden form rocketed down the hall above her, chattering and obviously distraught. “Now where are you…” she muttered as she followed after the gold.
It was quickly apparent who the gold looked to as Nashi’s feet led her to the makeshift holding cells. The raider’s cry made Nashi wince, it was so raw. Shells she couldn’t even see him in the cell. She craned and eventually had to stick her head through the bars before she noticed Affair’s telltale gleam. The boy had stuffed himself into a shadowed corner and curled into a ball. Only the gold’s tail and her angrily whirling red eyes gave his location away.
Other than the look she’d gotten of him on the night of the raid, this was the first time she had really seen the raider. “So you’re Leymok, the one causing my protege D’sol so much trouble.” Her voice was low, but by no means inaudible. The raider’s lack of reaction, then, infuriated her.
“You will acknowledge me when I speak to you, child!”
The raider snapped his head up. His eyes were wide and unfocused. Nashi took a step back, stunned. He wasn’t seeing her, that much was painfully obvious.
“What? Who’s there?” The boy’s voice broke, rasping on the end, like it’d been too long unused. He flailed outward with one hand, attempting to ward her off, “Go away, leave me alone!”
Nashi had to admit, the sevendays had not been kind to him, and he hadn’t looked like much to begin with. Someone had taken pity on him and stitched up that gash in his nose, at least. His hair, which had been a loose cloud about his head, was now clumped and dreaded. She could see patches that would likely never comb out. They’d have to be cut if he were ever to clean up properly. As she watched, he moaned and curled back into a ball. What the shells was wrong with him?
Kvietoth, handily, had the answer, “He flies with Jerikaith. It is not right.”
Oh, shards. She had no idea. This went way beyond anything she’d ever heard of.
“Jerikaith chose him for D’sol.” Kvietoth continued. His mental voice was cold.
“Is there anything you can do?” Nashi asked.
She felt a rush of fury from the blue, “It is what he deserves, for stealing the the candidates.”
Nashi set her jaw and watched as Leymok cowered in the corner. He was shaking, writhing. His long thin fingers kneaded the hide of his little gold. Nashi could see clearly that the rough attentions pained her, but she clung to his shirt anyway, offering what comfort she could. It was a torturous thing to watch, this boy with his mind laid open to what he shouldn’t be seeing. Nashi tried to remember what he was, what he’d done. But she only saw a terrified, pitiful child. And D’sol so obviously loved this boy, second only to his dragon.
She couldn’t watch this anymore. “Kvietoth, do whatever you can. Ease this.” she commanded her dragon, her mental tone unyielding.
She could feel displeasure from the blue, but he complied. As she watched, Leymok’s shudders subsided and the writhing of his hands slowed, then stopped. She could hear his ragged breathing, and his eyebrows were still pinched with strain. But when he opened his eyes, she could see sense behind them. “Who are you?” he whispered.
“My name is Nashi, of blue-“
“-Kvietoth.” He finished for her, “I can hear him. He…. Oh shards…” tears welled up in his eyes, poured down his cheeks. Leymok wept openly, too distraught to try to hide it, “Thank you, THANK YOU!”
Nashi actually smiled. It was a small, tight thing. “Thank me by telling me this,” Her mouth might be smiling, if ever so slightly, but her voice was cold and hard, “What is D’sol to you?”
Leymok was taken aback. “D’sol is… he’s…” His mind had just been stuffed with dragonlust. Even beyond that though, for more than the past month every other thought of Leymok’s had drifted to those strong shoulders, those thick braids, that dark and freckled face. Leymok, so quick and clever, had been stripped of all his carefully built walls. Just then he didn’t have the wit or the will to lie, “D’sol is… everything.” The boy’s eyes looked lost, haunted. “Nashi…” he pleaded, feeling very close to her because of the closeness of her dragon, “Nashi what is this?”
“This?” Nashi’s expression softened, “Sounds like love to me, kid.” She leaned against a wall and used her hands to walk herself down it until she was sitting on the floor next to the bars. “We’ll stay with you for the flight,” then that steely expression and voice was back as she glared a warning at the raider, “But if you EVER do anything to hurt D’sol again, I’ll rip your heart out myself.”
Leymok didn’t even flinch. His reply was small, cowed, but nonetheless completely honest, “I don’t think I ever could.”