Weyrling Lesson: Manned Flight

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Beach
With a gentler slope to the water from the main beach and the way it is cut in like a cove, this is the most sheltered spot for bathing. The sand is the same white hue, there are just as many — or perhaps more — scattered shells. From here, one has a beautiful view across the lake, a scene more often tranquil than not.

V'dim has called together the weyrlings! Which could only mean one thing: it was a serious lesson. As is usual, the weyrlingmaster only appears when the big lessons are planned, the day to day activities he generally leaves to the assistants, only showing up to yell and check on progress. With him is the lithe and lovely Isobeth, looking like she's ready for some action. Her straps have been expertly tied and situated, and she's relaxing in the sand. V'dim is waiting for the weyrlings to scramble. "Form a line, weyrlings. We needs to get started right away. Chop chop!"

Thea has Seryth's straps looped over her shoulder as she enters the beach beside the young queen. As V'dim speaks, Thea heads that way and steps into the forming line. Seryth stands behind her, looking towards the water. Thea salutes and waits quietly, but her eyes are dancing as she listens to the Weyrlingmaster. She silently shakes her head; it's obvious she's answering a question from her lifemate, who likely wants to know if they're swimming.

V'dim wants the weyrlings to scramble. And scramble A'dar does! He and Zeituth have been out on the beach, playing 'swat the fuzzies' with the odd fuzzy seeds that have begun blowing around the weyr. So by the time the weyrlingmaster calls them to assemble, enough of the weird little seeds have gathered in his auburn hair that it's quite noticable. However, he doesn't let that bother him. Zeituth however, is not quite so lax about it. As he stands behind A'dar he raises a foot to scratch some of the fuzziness off his side, and flaps his wings a couple of times to shake off the seeds. He huffs a little as the gust from his wings blows one onto his snout, and shakes his head. A'dar is quite plainly trying not to snicker at his lifemate's predicament.

V'dim stands there, looking threatening. Where as Isobeth looks all relaxed and pretty. Once everyone is in line he starts his speech. "Today is the start of your life as a rider. Up until now you have been separated from your lifemate when they took to the skies, in effect limiting both what they can do and how much you can control them. But starting today, that will no longer be the case. Everyone here as worked long and hard building up their dragon's muscles and wings and now it's time that we move from riding on the ground to riding in the air." He moves over to destrap, then strap Isobeth up. "First task of today is to get your dragons properly strapped. Your straps are your lifeline. If a strap fails, it could mean nothing, it could mean you fall. So let's strap up."

Cenlia seems to have wandered a fair ways from the garden, her attention on the fluffy seeds that seem to have invaded the weyr. Indeed, the girl is holding a handful of the stuff, walking slowly along the beach, probably not even realizing she's strayed to… where has she strayed to? She seems to have come upon a weyrling lesson, apparently. The girl blinks in surprise, hesitating at the edge of the beach. What's going on? Is she allowed to be here? Will the scary-looking guy giving instructions even notice her standing there with her hands full of fluff? Cenlia stands far from the group, curiosity overcoming her uncertainty.

Thea is having a hard time ignoring the fluff blowing by her eyes, but she manages to watch as V'dim buckles Isobeth into her straps. A snort behind her from an exuberant Seryth doesn't help; she's puffing at seeds floating by to keep them aloft. Thea moves beside Seryth and begins the process of getting the straps around her. "We can do this, we've practiced, we can do it." She stops to hack and spit out a floating bit of fluff and resumes her task.
Thea places the heavy hide straps across Seryth's back, fastening the brass buckles to the cross-pieces and chest-plate. She tugs, testing the fit, finding them secure.

The talk of falling is scary. But then, there's the knowledge that they're going to be up in the sky - TOGETHER! A'dar just hopes he's not afraid of heights. He's never noticed it before. But then, he's actually never been up on a dragon before. Let alone HIS. It's a daunting prospect, but at the same time, exciting. He runs to get his straps; they had been lain carefully on the beach within sight. As he returns to Zeituth, he's dusting the sand - and seeds - off them before putting them on the blue. He's a little clumsy with it still, but his fingers are nimble with this task. One does not become a clockmaker with two left hands, after all.
A'dar works at it for a while, getting, Zeituth's riding straps on just right.

V'dim heads over to check each and every weyrling's straps himself. Tugging, pulling, twisting. A poor greenrider looks ghostly white when a tug by V'dim causes a rather weak point in his leather to give way with a snap. "Weyrling! These straps are inadequate! Look at this leather. It looks like it's been dunked in the ocean several times! Back to the barracks with you two! You won't see the skies today!" He sends an assistant off with the lad for one on one instruction at repairing straps, but everyone else seems to pass for the time being. "We all know how to get up by now, go climb up and strap in." Yes, he has every intention of checking again once all the riders had strapped in.

Blue Mazunth gallomps onto the beach with E'gin sprinting right behind him, narrowly missing Cenlia as they pass. As the blue skids to a stop, E'gin smacks into the nether-end of his lifemate, but leaps to attention with a salute. The two are covered with bits of fluffy fuzz, but E'gin's got his straps. "S-sorry…pant…we're late..pant…we got side-tracked…pant…chasing these…pant…floaty things." He's fumbling with his straps now and managing to get them situated on Mazunth.

Cenlia nearly falls over from surprise as the blue dragon gallomps past her. She continues to gawk, though edging even more out of the way now. Even if she's gotten over the initial culture shock - weyr shock? - of having transferred here, she's certainly not over her curiosity. Though she wisely stays far out of the way; this looks like Serious Business going on here.

Thea is looking relieved as she passes V'dim's inspection. "Hey! Ack!" She gets a sand shower as E'gin and Mazunth churn by. There's nothing going to spoil her day though, and she hastens to get atop Seryth before the gold, who is crouched and waiting with her neck snaked around to watch Thea, decides to assist her. Thea places one booted foot on the nearest foreleg and springs from there, scrabbling a bit and then pulls herself up. Once atop Seryth, she settles for a moment just smiling, then buckles herself in. She notices Cenlia for the first time and gives the girl a wave.

A'dar pauses as his straps are checked. No, he hasn't finished his permanent set of straps…but then he's not a very good leatherworker, and he keeps injuring himself when he tries. However, he does keep his old straps in good shape, even repairing them when necessary. The greenrider in question—the one whose straps have broken - gets a sympathetic look from A'dar, and the green gets a sympathetic croon from Zeituth. A'dar notes Cenlia and offers a smile her way. Though he dares not wave; V'dim is a harsh weyrlingmaster. As said weyrlingmaster instructs them to mount up, A'dar does just that. By now he and Zei have had enough practice that it's old hat; he gets up there as easily as a Beastcrafter would mount a runner, and settles upon the blue's back. He gives a little snicker at E'gin and Mazunth, but not a mean chuckle. He's amused.

V'dim doesn't look happy about a tardy wweyrling. "Get your straps on and get into them, now weyrling or you'll miss the lesson." He'll get inspected later, once he's done with everyone else. With each weyrling he climbs up and pulls them tight, checking everything. All the buckles and all of that good stuff. Once everyone (even E'gin) has been checked over, V'dim climbs up onto Isobeth, who looks happy to be of use finally. "I'm sure you all remember the first flight lessons. We will take things slow, similar to those. All of your dragons will need to adjust their flight patterns with you on top of them. ALL of your dragons. So there will be no taking off, understood?" He moves over to the end of the weyrling line. "We'll do some short glides first. Once the dragon to your left has arrived, it is your turn to leave." And he demonstrates by having Isobeth take a few good flaps and glide down to the other end of the beach.

Cenlia grins a bit as she catches sight of Thea's wave, and sends a smile A'dar's way as well. It seems obvious now what they're up to, and Cenlia watches with even more interest. So this is how dragons learn to fly!

E'gin fumbles a bit in is haste, but settles into his routine as a crooning Mazunth helps calm him. Finally he's mounted and buckled in. He winces as V'dim checks his straps and heaves a large sigh when he passes. His turn to glide comes and the blue leaps into the air, flaps a few times and glides towards the far end of the beach. Little white seed puffs dislodge and eddy in his wake. They land with a bit of a thump, turn and do the glide thing back. E'gin remembers to breathe; he's nearly the same color as his dragon.

It is Thea's turn and the girl is ready. Or so she's telling herself aloud. Seryth lifts her wings, crouches lower and Thea braces. The young queen leaps with a powerful thrust of her hindlegs and her wings give a mighty downsweep that makes the sails crack smartly. The wind helps the larger dragon, giving them a bit of needed lift as the pair glides down the stretch of beach. The flight does not last as long as some of the lighter dragons, but Seryth trills her satisfaction as she touches down once more. A quick turn and the glide is repeated, this time the wind is against them, however and they land short. The gold has to walk partway back until they are back in line once more. Thea reaches to pat Seryth's shoulder, wordless in the wonder of being in the air together.

A'dar waits paitently for his straps to be checked over by V'dim. And as his turn to glide comes, he prompts Zeituth to follow the others' lead. A leap, a couple of flaps…and he glides down the beach. Sure, it's not too far…but he's off the ground. They're off the ground. It's exhilarating. Not just for him, but since he's never tried to block Zei's emotions, he can feel the blue's as well. Zei is just as pleased at being able to not leave his lifemate on the ground worrying when he flies this time. Though his exhilaration comes after the short moment of being confused at how to balance A'dar on his back and not drop him. A'dar has to resist the urge to give a joyous whoop—and so does Zei! He tries to keep his air while turning back towards the line of weyrlings, but he drops a little too far and has to land. Oh well. He leaps into the air again, and glides back to the other weyrlings. Neither Zei nor A'dar can really be too upset at not sustaining the glide both ways; that was fun!

Since no one has fallen off their dragons V'dim decides that it's time to up the ante a bit after a few rounds for short glides. "Alright, now we will be doing some actual flying. We will do it out over the water, but still low. This way if there's a fall, it will likely be without injury." Assuming that whoever it was could be fished out quickly or could swim, of course. "We will fly single file, stay behind the person you're following. If your dragon gets tired, or you feel unsafe come back to the beach immediately. Isobeth and I will lead, we'll be doing just a low swoop around and then coming back." There's a brief pause while the green sets up, then off she goes over the the water!

Cenlia has been keeping far back, watching the weyrlings take glides back and forth. She seems to have forgotten about the handful of fluff she's still holding onto, and as she girl continues to watch, more of the floaty stuff lands in her hair and on her clothing. She doesn't seem to mind, though, not even bothering to brush off the one that has managed to land on her nose. She does run a hand briefly across her eyes to clear a few bits of fluff clinging to her furehead as she turns to watch the flight over the water.

Seryth leaps into the air just behind a small green, but her takeoff is much slower since she is heavier. She trumpets her dismay, but a pat from Thea focuses her on her task; to fly! Her wings steady as she gains altitude enough to glide just above the waves and her wide wings carry her well as long as a shift in the wind doesn't interfere. Thea's hair slips out from under her helmet and whips in a trail behind her. She can't help but, peek over her shoulder at A'dar and wink through the blizzard of fluffies the wind is pushing out over the water.

E'gin is gnawing a finger in unconscious nervousness as Mazunth leaps and follows the line of flying draogns out over the water. He's white-knuckled gripping the flying straps and looking at the waves just below the claws of his blue. "D-don't go so low, Mazunth!" The blue obligingly flaps a few times to lift them higher, then resumes his glide.

Actual flying? Another mixed bout of trepidation and excitement from A'dar, and Zei looks over his shoulder to his rider, offering a comforting croon. A'dar pats Zei's snout briefly. Then Zei turns his head front again, and they both get in line. He gives Cenlia a look, and finally waves at her (since the weyrlignmaster's back is turned). Thea and Seryth get in the air, and then E'gin and Mazunth. As A'dar turns his attention back to the line in front of him - probably at Zei's mental urging - Zei follows suit, leaping into the air behind them. He too is a little bit unprepared for how much slower the extra weight of his lifemate makes his takeoff. But he sticks it this time. Since ending up skidding out of the air that time, Zei had been quite adamant about getting it right. As Thea looks back over her shoulder, A'dar grins and waves slightly. He notes E'gin's discomfiture…and suddenly wants to fly around him or something of the sort. But he doesn't think V'dim would appreciate that much. So he stays in line with the others, as instructed.

After the first glide V'dim stops to take a look at all the weyrlings. None had passed out, none had fallen off. But lo! What is this! The greenrider moves over to the goldrider and looks up at her. He points to the back of his own head. "What is this, weyrling?" Clearly talking about her hair. "That hair needs to go before you do any more flying. Today I'll let you slide, but no more after today until that hair is GONE." He peers at his assistants, who all will be getting a lecture later one weyrling safety. "That goes for the rest of you as well. No hair outside of the helmet! What if it were to get caught? You could be ripped from your dragon!" V'dim's face is red as a cherry right now, finally he moves on with the lesson. "Last flight with me. We'll be going a bit further this time, and higher. If your dragon is tired you MUST MUST MUST come back to the beach. Otherwise, follow me." And off this go again. This time up high enough where there were actually thermals and other changes in air pressure for them to get used to.

Cenlia grins wider in response to A'dar's wave, snickering a bit as she notes that he waited till the weyrlingmaster's back was turned. She doesn't wave back though, as he is supposed to be here, and she has a sneaking suspicion that she really isn't. Still, from her expression, she'd be reluctant to leave, just when things have gotten more interesting. She furrows her brow at V'dim's pointing and scolding, clearly baffled about whatever it is Thea's apparently done wrong.
Cenlia does move further up the beach, however. No need to further irritate the scary guy in charge. Nope.

Thea looks dutifully at the back of V'dim's head, opens her mouth to answer V'dim, "It's….a helmet?" She hears the rest of his speech and with growing dismay and a stubborn line forms her lips into a firm line. She doesn't answer back; nooo she knows better. "Yessir." She's not happy about that and her expression shows it. For now, she rapidly braids the stuff and wraps it in a coronet about her head before replacing the helmet. "Caught on what?" She mutters to herself as Seryth follows Isobeth and the others aloft once more. Higher this time and she ooohs aloud as Seryth catches a bit of stronger wind and banks slightly to accommodate for it.

E'gin can't gnaw on a finger this time, nope. He's got to use both hands to hold on. Going higher requires his total energy (he thinks) to stay atop Mazunth and he's not even about to try looking down. He's staring fixedly at the tail of the dragon in front of him, his complexion looking decidedly pale. Mazunth on the other hand, is enjoying himself immensely as he glides and dips with the thermals.

And that is why A'dar keeps his hair tied up well when wearing his helmet—yay for topknots! Yes, he had long hair. And he wants to keep it. Having tried the whole 'short hair' thing when he was younger, he'd come to the decision that it wasn't for him. Besides, he took care of his hair! And now that Zei didn't need quite as much care, he could spare the time to take care of it. V'dim and Isobeth go higher; he and Zei follow suit. A thermal pushes at Zeituth's wings, but the blue banks slightly to straighten himself out, though he wobbles a little. "Oops. Careful," A'dar notes quietly. Zei, too seems like he's enjoying the time up here, with A'dar upon his back. He's looking very proud now at being able to carry his lifemate.

The wyerlingmaster leads the young dragons and their riders on a nice tour of the skies over the weyrling area. Then he moves to spiral downwards and back onto the soft sand of the beach. Once everyone is down (hopefully in one piece) he hops off Isobeth. "That is all the lesson for today. Practice as much as you can with your lifemate, without tiring them. Never fly more than half an hour without some sort of break, and make sure your lifemate is eating enough if you're flying a lot. My assistants will be here to help and answer questions." Then to Thea directly. "Once you leave the beach today there will be no more flying until that hair is gone. You're free to practice here today." Then to the group. "Stick to the weyrling skies for now, and gradually move into the weyr. There is more traffic there, so it's important to be more aware as you head back that way. Safety always comes first." And with a nod, he's off.

After Seryth settles to the beach once more, Thea listens to V'dim grimly. "Gone?! ALL of it? As in shaved? Please say that's not what you mean." But the man is heading off. She's glancing at the Assistants to see if they can clarify. When no one speaks up immediately, she half-growls quietly, "We'll see about that!" There's a croon from Seryth and Thea's immediately contrite. "Oh, let's get you something to eat, then, sweet." And she slides down to lead Seryth to the feeding pens.

As the dragons went higher, Cenlia craned her neck to watch them. "Pretty," she mumbles under her breath, though there's no one nearby to hear. Shading her eyes, she follows the progress of the weyrlings as they return. Having been standing for a while, she finally plops down in the sand, giving finally giving Thea and that other guy a wave.

A'dar follows the other weyrlings out of the air, and as he lands, Zei gives a triumphant trumpeting sound. A'dar chuckles, and slides off of Zei's back. "I know, I'm happy too," he notes. There's a pause…and then he gives into the urge to hug the blue! However, as he leans back, he hears Thea's statement. "I'm…sure he just meant cut, not shaved…" he notes. "That would be cruel. And as mean as the weyrlingmaster can be…I've never known him to be QUITE so cruel." Here he removes his own helmet, and unpins his hair from the topknot. "Besides. If he thinks I'm shaving mine, he's out of his mind." A grin. And then as Thea moves off, he waves.

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