"Ivan wished he could remember which famous officer had once said, 'The Imperial Service could win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to have to.'"
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold

A paragon of Pern's protectors, he's a pleasingly proportional brown with a tall and toned framework whose angles are regulation definition, standard slopes flowing into the lines that limit his form. Within the broad strokes of perfection, close inspection reveals flaws and foibles that distinguish him from his counterparts. His hide, subtly sectioned with seams of soot, militaristic in precision, is otherwise a study in suspended metamorphosis: a demonstrable incompletion that lends to his affectation of simplicity and hampers an accurate assessment of his acumen. Gradient plumes running the gamut from umber to frothed foam capture the kinetic kick of transformation mid-mix, uniformity an unattainable ambition. Deep, rich brown infused with warmer whorls and smoky swirls pour over his back and the expanse of his wings. By contrast, the underside of his 'sails are bursts of beige and biscotti that billow across the mocha canopy in nebular expansions limited only by the horizon of his spars. If, for all his recruitment-ready appearance, this particular dragon happens to have a rather vacant look more often than not… well, dragons aren't paid to think, right?


Egg Name and Description

Egg On Parade
All right and tight, this regulation size egg (quantity: 1) stands on a mound of sand with angles so crisp and clean that they could draw no criticism from even the fussiest most fastidious dam. Bold red dotted with near-aureate dabs is framed with a 'V' of vibrant blue and limited three-quarters of the way to the sand by a band of black. Below, the blue continues, interrupted at the sides by braids of that same not-quite-gold that doesn't quite shine. The tailored transitions between one element and the next troop across the egg, demarcating it in uniform symmetry. Even the small ovals atop to either side with their fringe of tendrils draping for just a few inches downward, directing the willing eye, don't dare destroy the regimented appearance. The singular divergence is a subtle glitter of varied hues to solely one side of the dominating red, but commendations of competence, as the pattern suggests, must pass muster and never go out of style. If its shell is any indication, whatever dragon exits this egg must, per force, be one of the egg-born elite… or at least, not one that would dare disappoint its dam.

Hatching Message

Wobble Message
Despite the implication of its name, Honor Guard is a terrible assignment for even the most well-intentioned soldier egg. Standing at stiff attention, when it's hotter than hot, when the ceremony hatching drags on… and on… It's just the worst! No matter how polished Egg On Parade's appearance (and, yes, its dam probably did shine it up just for the occasion), no amount of tenacity (questionable in quantity from the start) will see it through this unbroken. Fortunately, that's rather the point of all this pomp. Thus, when the smallest shudder that shakes it - there, then gone - it cannot be wholly unwelcome. It's barely enough to do more than relieve a cramping muscle, or twitch from an unignorable itch in such close constraints, but it's enough to contravene its composure for just one moment before the egg stills once more.

Crack Message
If time seems to exist at all for the dutiful occupant Egg On Parade, it must be c r a w l i n g. 'Just five more minutes,' might have been the silent litany when the collective hum signaled a start to this pageant of premiere appearances many more minutes than "just five" ago. Whatever it might feel like, though, time is passing. The other two eggs are hatching— have hatched, and it's up to this one to keep up appearances! Must not wiggle… Must not wobble… But its resolve, tested, is starting to break. Literally. While the others do a different kind of breaking (ranks, in fact, to go marshal new lifemates and begin a whole other kind of service), fissures mar those crisp lines and fractures charge across the expanse that was all spotless shell moments before. This fancy facade won't be needed for much longer; it's nearly time for a changing of the guard and the uniform to go with it.

Hatch Message
Egg On Parade is accustomed to heat, to stress, to every extreme condition this hatching ground can throw at an egg to build its occupant up into the best shelling dragon it can be. Minute movements intensify, rhythmic in the step that seeks means of decamping in short order. The hatchling might be called by some unheard drum (or just the impatient warble of its dam) to form up, to join its siblings and get on with the business of being born, but orders from above will do it no good if it can't breach the fortification that was once its immaculate egg. It might seem the dragon has given up when the egg becomes abruptly motionless; after all, when one musters out in a moment like this, there's no option to turn back. It's possible that if it were to yield to the problem of the partition between itself and its life to come, the occupant might simply wait, might see if the problem went away on its own or if someone would fix it without the dragon having to do anything. But this is one assignment that's wholly up to it; it'll find its partner soon enough. The hatchling bursts forth in a blast of red-and-blue shell fragments, limbs and wings flared wide to pause before coming to a snappy attention, dripping goo amidst the wreckage.

Sands Pose #1
The Fool Gambit Brown's limbs hold him stiffly, goo dripping from snout and spar. His gaze is locked on some indeterminate space in the middle distance, heedless of all the eyes suddenly on him. There might have been silence, if not for the pervasive sounds of hatching, even when the only hatchling not finished his performance is so stock still in the red and blue detritus of his former posting. He doesn't seem to notice the shell fragment ghosting down his spine for all that muscles twitch in involuntary reaction to that oozy crawl down his hide. There's a little disapproving noise from his dam, and maybe the fastidious gold simply can't stand to see her son less than perfect for she's dipping her head to help the shard along. At least she didn't lick a talon to clean his face. The movement startles the hatchling into an un-dragonly squawk, not having noticed the impending babying until the doomed attempt to evade is made wholly after the fact. He casts a look up over his shoulder at her; if he had feathers, he'd be fluffed, to be sure. How dare, ma mere! Her exasperation for his near-perfect but not nearly perfect enough entrance and his for her interference runs two ways, for all that both probably have some ingrained tolerance for that kind of thingbiology, you know. He can't roll his eyes at her, but he can wiggle himself a little straighter and take a step pointedly away. He hasn't noticed the candidates yet, or at least, not in any appreciable way; they might as well be as much fixture as the galleries for all the attention he's yet to give them. But he's moving now, and instinct should guide him from here, right? He's not worried, even if his mother is seeing fit to offer an encouraging croon. Stahp, Mom! He's got this!

Sands Pose #2
The first skirmish between the Fool Gambit Hatchling in the campaign for companionship unfolding might reveal more fool than gambit, as he starts to wander, working out the mechanics of one foot in front of the other well enough until he trips himself up, and rights himself… and a cheer goes up from the stands. That's when it finally seems to register to the brown that he's the center of attention. One might think from his fabulous hide and pleasing proportions that the spotlight is just where he'd love to be, but he recoils very slightly, as unnerved in appearance as a hatchling can get, if only briefly, before he swallows that down and forces himself to soldier saunter on. He's just another goo-and-sand crusted face on the ground, that's right! Nothing to see here, move along— and he nearly walks right into one of the white robed figures in their loose semi-circle. The young woman manages not to shriek, whisking herself back with only a sharp intake of breath when she realizes this approach was unintentional and not the partner of her dreams coming to collect her. The blithely unaware brown only looks her up and down and then swivels his head to take in the rest— ooh, what's this? A formation. Something about that appeals to him, it seems, or maybe it's just the curiosities in their white robes that draw his focus - either way, he embarks on a curving parallel, keeping to the more defensible inside position where his mother has his back. He is, it would seem, rather social, almost to a comic extent, sort of introducing himself as he comes down the line. Yes, hello, and how are you this evening? Obviously no words are spoken, but the jaunty little tilts of his head and experimental warbles make the point well enough. And yet, none that he exchanges such greetings with are his partner for the patrol called life - if he only knew what a comet-tail trail of broken hearts he was leaving in his wake~ But on he goes, more the fool for his nescience.

Impression Message

Public Message
The Fool Gambit Brown nears the end of the line, as though the experience of cycling through so many (many!) possible partners (for just three eggs!) has brought him no closer to evolution in method or outcome. Every hi, hello, how are you doing, is all just the same… until he can see the end of that line, where the options stop. His efforts redouble with— well, he won't admit to the panic that briefly tinges his eyes. That's buried in the gambit of the fool; what care has he if they swan off to find other partners, more right, more impressive than he— even if they really couldn't do better, if he does say so himself. Still, where's the harm in taking just a little more time with each greeting, with each candidate for compatriot. He's so very nearly to that last boy, the one that's so small by comparison to the rest, full of the awkward dimensions that are the lot of every gangly barely-teen, when he pauses to look back along the line. Did he miss his shot at the one that mattered? What would he do if he had? He could turn and go back, of course, but easier to do that where there's space to maneuver at the end of the line… and thenKismet. There he is, so unexpected; a boy unlike anything the hatchling could have imagined (even though he was idiotically looking through him at the end of the line only moments before). There he is. With a nudge of his nose to the teen's chest, he claims his future. Wings rise to enclose them, protecting their precious moment from prying eyes… almost. When the brown's wings fall away, his eyes are still effused with the transcendent joy as he hangs on tight to his miracle: his, his, his.

Private Message
The world goes dark. Is it because the heat has become simply too much for that body that is too small to contain the so much that is you, ready to burst from the already known disappointment of what it is to be left standing, for the sinking surety that you will be again? No bronze. There was no bronze in the whole clutch! Maybe the world is dark because you couldn't take the crush of it and have fainted, or died of despair on the spot!! That would be dramatic, wouldn't it? If your mind was churning before being bereft of your senses, it might well be wheeling after, at least until it is brought to a jarring halt. A slosh of frigid wet sops over everything, freezing your developing drama in its tracks. « Ah, ha! » An earnestly cheerful voice breaks into those bleak thoughts. « I thought that would get a rise out of you! » You can't hide your dislike of the cold from him, and maybe between that invasion of privacy and the sputtering you might want to do over the "warm" welcome, you miss this moment. Though this moment will echo itself over and over again, as often as needed in your life to come, this first moment will only come once. It's the moment where Xath brings light into your darkness, where his warmth of his wit drives away the fiercest cold, and the reckless love and loyalty he bears for you and to you drive straight to your beating heart, re-orienting the state of your world and everything you thought you knew about life up to the moment you found each other, M'tras. The world isn't suddenly more safe, nor more kind, but never will you lack for an ally, a friend, a lifemate, because Xath is with you. « I will make light for you, Rau, to the ends of our universe… to the ends of our lives. It'll be wanted, I'm sure. » And he's right. But first, there are more practical and pressing matters, pitched to you in a casually entreating tone, « Do you think we could hunt up some grub around here somewhere? I'm starving! » Suddenly, you are. Share and share alike! Though your other senses come flooding back, your sight is still clouded— or should that be shrouded? The nebulous swirls of brown on Xath's wings closet you and your moment of feeling. Only when you're ready does that guard come down; he has your back, now and forever.


"Ivan played the upper-class lout with the same cultivated thoroughness with which he played the Imperial lieutenant, or any other role his world demanded of him. The real Ivan was rather more elusive, Mark gauged; it would not do to underestimate his subtlety or mistake him for a simpleton."
Mirror Dance, Lois McMaster Bujold

"Fool" is both first impression and second skin for the fit and fine fellow that is your Xath. Though it's something he comes by honestly, it doesn't begin to touch the sum of all he is. "Fool" is the picture the tapestry of his character presents, but seeing only the surface simplicity sacrifices the significant substance of the whole. The flawless delivery of his detailed dissimulation is evidence of intelligent execution, colorful charm and a consistent commitment to the mien meant to mislead. It may help you, M'tras, to hold fast to your cognizance of this inner complexity that exists at Xath's core. Though his true deficiencies become an embarrassingly elementary exhibition next to minds of true genius or seasoned skill, if you cling to your conviction, you might avoid apoplexy with every moment you are forced to just b r e a t h e because the foil of foolishness has proven (once again… and again… and again…) indistinguishable in its fiction from lamentable fact.

Even if he inspires more than a little hair-tearing exasperation with his determination to avoid affirming for the world all the amazing things he could be or already is, Xath is a good dragon to know with his suave sociability, jocular humor and genial demeanor. It's in the worst moments, though, that his fierce fortitude, dauntless devotion, and profound protectiveness prove him indispensable. The desperate moments where darkness devours, the very thing needed most is a brave idiot to spark enduring hope that outlasts any temporary (or not-so-temporary) despair. It will take time for you both to grow past your youthful beginnings, with all the expected growing pains entailed by an adolescence doubled in drama, in joy, in trials and travails. Whether you chart a course or navigate by stars and instincts alone through your first and future turns, you'll never take one step of that journey alone. Hang onto this miracle, Rau. Hang on for all you're worth. Xath will, and he'll never let you go.


… which just means you'll both be there for all of the bumps and bruises and buoyant blips of bliss that punctuate your lifetime together. Weyrlinghood naturally brings the greatest range in extremes as well as overall variety and scope of these experiences, never lacking for action, for opportunities to grow, or obstacles to overcome. While no amount of training, urging, or bribery (to which he's usually susceptible) will alter Xath's essential, « Why invite trouble? » nature, the process of getting all the proper forms and functions of a once-upon-a-time fighting dragon through the brown's thick skull and into the eager mind within will give trouble plenty of time to find you! Being a fourteen turn old with a baby dragon would be sweet enough bait on your hook to attract all the drama you could wish to wallow in, M'tras, but Xath will do his part, unwittingly, to lure so much more~

Where some dragons give their riders the gift of an easy babyhood, Xath's is just a primer for all the more problematic plights right around the corner. He's noisy, he's needy, and none too pleased about all these things you have to do just to get a meal or cope with any of the other mundanities of life as a dragon. He can't remember exactly, but he's pretty sure things were easier in the shell. Now, there's all this go and do and his mother expects so much of him! …Did you somehow fail to notice her particular attention to her brown child when he hatched? Or fancifully hope she'd have lost interest now that her Xath has a lifemate? Not a chance!

Xath's dear ol' dam is right there, resolute in her stance that her stake in her bouncing baby brown's future is second only to yours (and even then, only when it's convenient for her to acknowledge your claim). Fortunately or unfortunately, this also means you'll have an extra set of adult eyes on you in the form of Xath's dam's rider. Though you may resent the additional oversight like you're some kind of child! How dare!, in time, you may find the steadying influence of the wiser, logical, frequently bemused older rider a helpful anchor in your life at Telgar. She may even prove to be your ally when it comes to reining in the gold's efforts to civilize and socialize and other-ize her son.

Xath, being the focus of such overwhelming maternal attention, will likely struggle most, but he will look to you to share the burden. You will become his lifeline to sanity and sense of self outside of being his mother's son. He will lean on you, talk with you, escape with you or his passel of peers. It's an opportunity to launch into the lifelong labor of love that is cultivating your connection with Xath. Your rapport with your lifemate has rich potential, but unlike pairs who nearly live within one another's skin, the bond you share is one that takes active effort to grow. It will thrive with time spent together, words exchanged and games played… no matter how they work out in the end.

Babyhood blunders of following you or that one hyperactive maniac dauntless blue, only weeks older and no wiser, will do nothing to help him shake his habit of becoming the reluctant accomplice rather than the innocent bystander he tries so hard to be. He'll follow either of you obliviously into traps into courageous, completely ill-advised (he tried to tell you, but would you listen?) adventures and secret escapades that inevitably require rescue whether the diversion of the moment was competitive ice-sliding or any number of other inventive pursuits. Even when conclusions include unfortunate consequences (like injury), nothing discourages his love of fun. Just you wait until he's old enough to play games of chicken in the sky~ What a deadly thrill!

Honestly, M'tras, Xath's definition of entertainment is not the kind of thing everyone finds fun. More often than not in youth, as gregarious as Xath naturally is, he's also… well, a lout. Prone to gaffes amid too frequent insensitive rambles that are too readily shrugged off, the brown's big mouth attracts foot at an alarming rate. While it's good for you that he just spits it back out and moves on, it doesn't do anything to make amends with those he's wounded. Add to this his tendency to use whatever leverage he has at his disposal when he thinks he can get away with it to get what he wants and his proclivity to get even for perceived slights, you might find that among certain circles, Xath has made himself as loathsome as he is lovable within others.

Just as well that when the brown finally buckles down into the real work of learning to serve the Weyr, he's aiming for a follower's ease and not a leader's effort. Given his propensity to take the role of support for you, for that blue, and for any older, impressive (read: unnerving) relative (if he doesn't duck for cover the moment he sees them coming), it should come as no surprise that Xath's preferences include keeping his figurative feet just one step over the line of competence as far as the world is concerned. His disposition to downplay his abilities might seem rational to you - or infuriating - with your exclusive insight that Xath is plenty clever enough to excel, if he chooses to. Instead, his choice, as you will well know, is to direct the significant sum of his wit toward one goal in weyrlinghood and beyond: steering clear of trouble, being so unremarkable as to not draw the slightest notice beyond being another dragon body doing a dragon's job, unexceptionably, one way or the other.

It is through pursuit of this goal that Xath finally stops loitering in adolescence with you, and becomes truly teachable, if rarely initially competent. Some of the lessons may need to be delivered with the force of a brick to the head or a training accident or twelve that requires rescue of one variety or another, leaving dignity and ego sorer than his physically adept frame. Such experiences are worth that comparatively small cost because the payout is a prominent place in Xath's already impressive memory. While he observes much in detail and retains it for longer, thanks to his natural aptitude and inclination to catalogue experiences, index them and add appropriate appendices before filing these mental reports away in your mind, Xath will need to lean on your cerebral competence (or someone else's) to walk him through the logic so that he can arrive at the correct conclusions sometime before Rukbat goes dark.

"'Want to give me a clue?'
Simon murmured something under his breath that might have been, But you're so much more amusing without one; Ivan didn't ask him to repeat it."
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold

Unlikely though it may seem at times, you will (almost definitely) make it through your possibly protracted weyrlinghood (and adolescence), reaping the reward of adulthood and all that responsibility on the other side. At some point in your tenure as weyrlings or in early riderhood, Xath will grow up. He'll have been growing all along, of course, but over no small stretch of time, all the lessons collected will begin to gel. Redoubled efforts to cultivate not only his inborn skill for making himself invisible, but blandness as a survival mechanism will keep trouble from darkening his door, at least any more often than it's dumped there (usually by one of his many relatives— or maybe you).

His convictions for the worth of simplicity as a lifestyle, inertia as a problem-solving technique ( « I usually prefer to give it a bit of time. Maybe there'll be a better idea come along, or the problem will change, or, if you wait long enough, even go away on its own, without having to do anything. If people don't keep poking at it, that is, » ), and development of a perennial modesty that camouflages his extreme bureaucratic competence, enhance the evolution from "jerk" and "idiot" into a dragon of inconspicuous chivalrousness and strong virtue. These mantles of mettle will suit him far better than his boorish, brainless beginnings ever did. Hopefully, they'll suit whoever you've become, too!

Some things won't change among the many that will. "That idiot, Xath," will never be forgotten, alas, but carries the benefit of Xath being seen as too empty-headed when paired with his active propagation of his disinterest to end up a pawn in someone's political ambitions. Politics are still a HARD PASS, M'tras, don't try'n change his mind; he would sooner bodily throw a bronze into the path of that senior gold than try to uproot the traditional system with his pretty face and ready charms, thanks. « Better you than me, boy! » Find another figurehead, y'all. You'd think his mother would be disappointed, but in truth, Weyrleadership and all that stress is not something he'd ever choose for himself, nor she for Xath… who still seeks to evade her maternal eye whenever he can.

"'So use your initiative!'
'I don't have initiative. I follow orders, thank you. It's much safer.'
'Fine. I order you to use your initiative.'
Ivan breathed a bad word, by way of editorial. 'I'm going to regret this, I know I am.'"
Cetaganda, Lois McMaster Bujold

Where in weyrlinghood Xath would blindly follow orders given him for the delightfully simple fact that they were orders, he can now recognize when the logic of them isn't adding up… even if he still vastly prefers the simplistic nature of, "Do as you're told," to any need to get creative. There are few things in life that Xath loves nearly so much as a good flow chart (he'll get poetic about it, if you let him). None of this means he lacks an imagination, though, he'd simply prefer to employ it to avoid additional work whenever possible. « I could do this faster, y'know, but then there's a chance they'll set us something else to fill up the time we didn't use. » It's never been lost on him that the typical reward for a job well done is another job.

There are a few jobs he doesn't mind doing, if only for you. As he has since his youth, your mornings begin with his obnoxious cheer on a (reasonable, even if you might not have always seen it that way) schedule that he will keep for the both of you, assisting with self-care routines to be ready for the day, complete with pithy editorials. Isn't it a joy to have his help? Such moments may have you cleave to a doomed wish that he would apply his ingrained service mantra of, « Accuracy, brevity, clarity, » to more than just the various reports you have to complete in order to fulfill whatever roles you take on. He wouldn't offer to do them for you, even if he could (because that would be extra work~), but since they're assigned to you as a pair, he won't leave you to wrestle with papercuts alone. After all, he gave you his word that he would be with you in this life, and he believes in the honor of his word in a way some might find backwards or downright archaic. Then again, some dismiss words like honor and integrity in ways your Xath never could.

It could always be said that your Xath has a unique way of looking at his world, and at you at its heart. Where others look and see simply the high-energy, melodramatic teen barely acquainted with who he wants to be, your lifemate sees you. He is with you in a way no other will ever be, closer than family, better than friend, with a profound belief in your potential and your right to pursue it— whatever it is. He is not simply able to carry whatever load you throw at him, be it bauble or bomb, he is a partner you can rely on absolutely, and for all time. He will stand with you in good times, in bad, in scary, or in hard. He will see you through the impossible because it's the right thing to do… and because his love for you is the most vital and profound thing he's ever likely to know. You are his miracle, M'tras. For as much as he makes light in your darkness, you are the light in his.


Mindvoice: That Idiot, Xath

"They'd made it themselves with their own breath and voices. Funny Barrayaran phrase, that. Their own breath and no one else's."
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold

Words carry weight with Xath. Sometimes, they're called upon to carry such hefty ideals as honor, integrity, and justice. Sometimes, words are just hot air. In Xath's head, they might literally be touched with the warmth of breath as only part of the array of very human expressions he has at his command. Conversing with the brown is much like speaking with another person because of his mannerisms and because the words are foremost in his focus. His voice comes through as a rich baritone, dynamic in timbre and pitch. The subtle elements common to dragon minds are often less purposeful than innate manifestations of his true nature, accenting the essence of what is being said, but rarely dominating it.


Luxury is something Xath takes for granted because he's never known deprivation in any fathomable way. Conceptually, he could define it, but that knowledge does nothing to reduce the simple indulgences littering his mind. Everything a posh bachelor could want for, from polished chrome to sleek leather to the coziest blankets and beyond, is here to employ at the speaker's whim. Speaking of speakers, the sound system is to die for, not to mention the collection of high-tech conveniences designed to let the lazy man dragon loaf in utter contentment. Smoky hues, dark and rich in texture, dominate when color is needed at all, occasionally lit by the flicker of firelight. Though no dragon has cause to depilate, the faint scent of a pleasantly masculine aftershave tinges the heady aroma of life-sustaining klah integral to the olfactory dimension of his touch.

Most will miss the detail that all these elements are subtly advanced, comparative to Pernese standards. Even with all the technology now available, Xath's innermost mindscape, shared only with you, is nothing short of fantastic in its futuristic glamour. Here, buildings of glass reach toward the heavens, while flying vessels of dreamy chrome and gilt-edged red wait for you to simply take the controls. Maybe you've seen something similar now and again with the techcraft's newfangled (or is that ancient but renewed?) contraptions, but nothing they have begins to approach the practicalities that would be needed to reach this level of metropolitan magic.


It is here, within Xath's world of dreams, that he gives you part of himself to enjoy - a place play will never grow old, where you can whiz through the sky or beat a quick path through the streets, smell the mouth-watering aromas of foods you've never imagined and make a new discovery around every turn, if you try. Here, you might trip into those places where the words that are his bond have been writ, literally. Graffitied in the back-alleys and cast upon sky-high murals lest he forget are those commitments of greatest honor and import. For all the very real gravity this space represents, it is first and foremost a safe place to be, to dream, to catch a sailing ship headed for the stars. Here, you can escape the omnipresent fear that ugly reality will sweep in to steal away your treasured joy just when you've found it, here, you can find the solace and safety to be.


"Dear God, don't tell me you let Ivan drive."
Mirror Dance, Lois McMaster Bujold

Xath is one of the physically blessed dragons with fantastic proportions and excellent reflexes (not to mention a handsome face~). As is often true of the annoyingly adept, the brown's command of his movements is almost wholly effortless and largely unconscious. A mind more prone to self-examination and doubt might trip up the casual grace and pervasive self-possession with which he moves either on or off duty. He does draw a distinction between the two modes that are discernable by his movement alone.

While on duty, movements tend toward crisp with attention given to following the letter of the regs (or, those that don't cause him substantial extra work), because it's the best way to swan along not drawing any notice or, Faranth-forbid, responsibility. In time he may become less adverse to the latter because by then, being on duty is as facile as being off, simply different. It can't be too perfect, of course— that would draw attention— but when he's "on," he won't lack for the requisite effort needed to maintain the appearance of cheerful competence for everything on the ground and— well, in the air he tries


In the air, Xath has every appearance of being a menace whether he's on duty or off. It's an inaccurate impression, but understandably so. Because of Xath's innate precision of movement, even the most apparently perilous maneuver is, in reality, unconsciously controlled. Trying to explain the problem or point out the problem with his flying will be met with genuine bafflement; he's dense about it all because he had it, whatever it is, it was never not fine, what's all the fuss? What's wrong with going (much too) fast, or changing direction (abruptly, with jarring twists or sudden drops and rolls)? He'll always get you where you're going safely, but whether or not you'll still have your most recent meal within you when you get there is really a different question.

Off duty hours bring far more ease to his movements. Everything he does from then on is centered around keeping it light and enjoying life. This includes everything from indolent sprawls in the sun to high-energy flights of fancy - better with a (preferably green) friend! He could indulge in a hunt that, while not something he adores, he'll do to get the mouth-watering morsel he's craving in the moment. Better if someone will bring it to him, but he'll put in the leg work if he must. After exertions, you will be called upon for one of his favorite ways to relax: a long bath and a luxurious oiling. Just be glad he's not overly fussy and that he's content to cooperate, preferring to look his best given the opportunity. Ladies appreciate a clean-cut brown— superiors, too, for that matter. At the end of a long day, he's likely to sleep so deeply that only the invading scent of steeping klah (real or imagined) will coax him to meet the demands of another day on duty.


"Trying to stop Ivan from rescuing a kitten from a tree was apparently as futile as trying to stop Ivan from making a pass at a pretty woman. It was some kind of spinal reflex."
Cetaganda, Lois McMaster Bujold

Fascination with the fair females that cross Xath's path begins unfortunately young. Unlike some dragons who pair with teen riders, there will be no stopping Xath from responding to nature's beck and call whenever a green (or gold) gets to glowing, nor any rescue effort of yours not doomed from the start when he takes it into his head to try to chat them up beforehand. Fortunately, for all involved, in youth, Xath is a hopeless lout more likely to inspire a slap or tears (or both!) than anything remotely resembling encouragement. Thus, it will be turns before you have to do more than face the embarrassing position of standing at the edge of a group of chasers, almost all of whom will have at least one of your lifetimes on you. It might be the only time you're appalled, and not impressed, by your chronically circumspect lifemate's display of ambition to become truly first-rate.

Exciting or exasperating as that shift may be to you, nothing will deter him from trying again, and again, and again, until his efforts at long (long, long, long) last achieve success! In truth, that green, whoever she ends up being, is probably a kind soul more amused by his attempts than put off by them. Regardless, he will learn much from that one encounter to complement all the knowledge he's garnered from his losses. He won't stop there, though. A win ignites his zeal for the subject matter and he will pursue it with determination fuelled (to his credit) by an earnest desire to improve, to excel, in a way that leads to enjoyment for all. True, the early wins will have more in common, flight-wise and fling-wise, with his laughable first attempts than with what he will later deliver as a smooth and skilled suitor, but he'll get there. Don't be surprised if a time comes when his wit and willingness to engage with even the most ferocious of proddy greens makes him a popular pick for twining tails.

In youth, it's any green (or gold), every green (or gold). He wants a taste of that high so badly, every female will turn his head. As he ages and matures, however, his tastes refine - not just in areas like his food and entertainment choices for the lady of the hour, but in which ladies he accords his undivided attention and gallant charms. Though it might seem unlikely, he may even trip unexpectedly into a particular female that commands his loyalty more than any other. He might not give up chasing entirely, but as his anything-goes evolves naturally into choosy, a permanent and unique attachment naturally leans toward a future where he's choosiest. Too improbable in the immediate, such possibilities are relegated to the realm of a vaguely presumed outcome of all these interim liaisons - it's not fun to think about, really, as being tied down is the last thing Xath wants from these flights of fancy (not that he'll feel he is, should kismet eventually strike).

The saving grace of both his focus on females and flights, and the intractable attitude that prevents you from saving his ego and tail from being stomped time and again, is his astounding resilience when it comes to matters of the biology heart. Sure, it means he has to hear (or feel) the rejection of each female who passes on his proposal, but he knows it will all pay off the next time — or the next — or the next. Odds are far better if he can make her laugh in the getting there, but that's rather what he's all about: keeping it light. That's for them as much as for himself: if you've invested little more than words and laughter, what do you lose by not being allowed more? The lasting impression of a loss is only what he might need to alter to have a more successful next attempt. All's fair in love and war, right? If at first he doesn't succeed, he can try, try, try, try, and try again, none the worse for wear.

"'They offer to let you hold one [infant] as if it were some kind of treat.' Ivan shuddered. 'And they leak, and make the most horrible noises.'"
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold

Should his worst nightmares be realized in spite of every effort he makes (short of not chasing with a will unto his extreme limits) to avoid siring a clutch, Xath will probably be unflatteringly aghast for some time before it starts to sink in that this is real life and he can't take it back. It might hit like a ton of bricks if his mother sends along her joy and excitement over the babies to be, or slowly like being alone, trapped in the dark, only facing the reality of the situation after screaming his head off where no one can hear him for a time. Hopefully, he'll manage to have some grace when facing the dam, but … eggs are just not his thing. He puts on a good face, but, « They all look just alike! What am I supposed to say when she asks me how I like this one or that one? As if I can tell them apart. » Since he has no hair to pull out, he may take to worrying over his own conduct in a way that makes you want to put yours through the ordeal for some relief from his naive nattering.

While babies are not his deal, he is a protective and dutiful dragon, so as much as he would really rather be anywhere else on Pern than on these hatching sands, he will persevere and stay, because it's the right thing to do. He'll need to get away from time to time, but he'll wait to be relieved, bite his tongue when he's sure every word he has is going to be wrong, and honestly, once they've hatched and are dragonets on a path to becoming trained fighting dragons, he does quite well with them. It's just that egg and early days baby time that has him rattled. With you at his side, he'll manage. Right? Right? Rau??? M'tras! Where are you going?!?


Xath's write up is inspired by Ivan Xav Vorpatril, cousin to the frequent protagonist, Miles Vorkosigan, from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. Ivan is the protagonist in one novel and supporting character (or referenced) in many others.

The egg is based on a Barrayaran Imperial Service dress uniform, with mind touches that nod to Captain America's Star Spangled Man clip because it seemed, to me, to relate to how young Ivan approaches his military responsibilities and his personality during those formative years, as seen to some degree in Cetaganda.

The name Xath is inspired by Ivan's middle name, Xav, which is an important piece of his identity once he meets Tej in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. His mind name is a reference to "That Idiot, Ivan," which was his perpetual nickname, to the point that his cousin comments that he didn't realize Ivan wasn't his middle name until he was about fourteen.

Xath is an insta dragon written by his player and edited by several sets of eyes belonging to generous, thoughtful and meticulous people who helped so much in revisions. MANY THANKS!!!


Name Xath
Dam Adonaith
Sire Tazroth
Created By M'tras with awesome editors
Impressee M'tras (Marautras)
Hatched ~ January 12, 2017
Xanadu Weyr
PernWorld MUSH

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