Weyrling Lesson: Betweening

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds

Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.

It's lesson time! And all the assistant weyrlingmasters have rounded up the weyrlings for a very important lesson. Once they move out into the ground though, it's not V'dim that's standing there, but the weyrsecond himself. Though right now he's looking just as intimidating, standing in his riding gear with his high collared coat and dark shades on. "Gather around weyrlings. Gather around. Today's lesson is going to be a tricky one." Behind him is the slender Arinith, who rumbles at the nearly full grown bunch.

Thea is already on the Grounds, working on Seryth's harness. The young queen is nearby, lying in the grass, enjoying the sun. She trills a clarion greeting to Arinith, but stays put. Thea leaves the harness on the ground and rises to her feet. She moves in the crowd towards R'miel to listen.

Saige is leaning against Ulaekimajith, sewing not only Ulae's harness but a riding jacket when she see's Arinith's shadow and then Ulaekimajith's clear bugle of greeting. At that, she stands and wanders towards him.

A'dar is also already on the grounds. And wouldn't you know it? He's also working on more permanent straps for Zeituth, following the 'pattern' Delynni gave him. Double-stitch here, fold again he—what? Zei nudges him, and A'dar looks up, as if startled. "Huh? Oh!" He scrambles up from his seat, gathering the straps-to-be in a makeshift loop and sets them down. Then he and Zei move to where the others are gathering.

"Today's lesson is betweening. I'm sure you've all been between before, but let me describe it anyways. It's cold. And it's black. And it's empty. And you don't want to be stuck there for more than a few moments. But betweening is also the quickest way to get around, so it's a necessary evil I guess. It also has personal uses, which we can talk about later." He walks up and down the ranks, looking over the weyrlings. "Betweening is also dangerous. If you and your lifemate don't synch up correctly, you can easily pop out of between inside a rock, or a cliff, or something equally as horrible. All those imaging exercises you've done? This is where they come into play. First lesson is to remember an image, then we'll fly away a bit, and between back to that spot. It's always best to between up in the air, less chance of you betweening into someone that way. At any rate, let's strap up and head into the skies." R'miel hops up onto Arinith with ease, strapping himself in. Then the bronze heads skywards.

Thea nods solemnly as R'miel speaks but she can't stop the shiver of pure excitement that shudders her frame. Betweening! Perhaps it's bravado that makes her steps spring and she says, "Whoo-hoo! No more shoveling couches!" as she's heading over to harness Seryth in her straps. 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.

Betweening. contrary to Thea's enthusiasm, just the word causes an icy chill of fear in his stomach. He doesn't like Between. At all. Not after all the awful things he's heard about happening to Betweening riders—the Betweening and never coming back, the Betweening into solid things (including people!). So no…this is one weyrling lesson he's not looking
forward to. But…better to learn how to do it and use it as little as possible than never learn and screw it up when it needed to be done, he supposed. And so it is that he gets the other set of straps, the ones that are finished, and straps them onto Zei. He favors the unusually quiet Saige with a silent gaze. The question is clear in his expression.

Saige works at it for a while, getting, Ulaekimajith's riding straps on just right.

Using the straps to help her climb, Thea swings up onto Seryth's shoulders.

Saige swings up onto Ulaekimajith's neck.

A'dar swings up onto Zeituth's neck.

Zeituth spreads his mighty wings and leaps into the air, surging upwards.

Seryth spreads her mighty wings and leap into the air, surging upwards.

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Sky(#9190RAJLe)
A pocket of calmer air, this patch of airspace is dangerous for a very different reason: the presence of Weyrlings whose flying ability is exceedingly unpredictable.

Ulaekimajith surges up from below, wings beating.

R'miel laughs a bit at Thea as he and Arin take off. "It's true. Between is a great spot for your dragons to do their business. In fact, most dragon prefer to do it there. More privacy after all." Once everyone had arrived they fly in slow circles so R'miel can give more of the lecture. "Here we are, the sky above the weyrling grounds. Know this sky. Love this sky. By now you should know it pretty well, both you and your dragon. So this will be a good place to between to. Before we fly away, take one last long look at the world around you. Make sure you really know this place, and make sure your dragon really knows this place."

Seryth reaches the assigned altitude, almost last due to her size, but she's not letting that get her down. Wide wings catch the wind and she lets it carry her into position. Thea listens for R'miel's instructions, but also looks out and below. She's smiling, obviously happy to be in the air and upon Seryth's shoulders. Both of them study the place well as they enjoy the thermals.

Ulaekimajith looks around as her rider does too, but then after a few minute sof steadfastly getting down details, she stares down at the harnesses on Ulaekimajith's back, and hugs her dragon, hiding her face. Oops.

A'dar and Zeituth fly up to where R'miel has indicated. At his instructions, they both look really, really good at the place. All the while, A'dar is trying hard not to be afraid. It could make things more difficult for Zei. The blue gives a comforting croon to his rider, and A'dar smiles, 'sending a thank you to his lifemate. He breathes slowly, to try and calm himself. He's one the imaging exercises, he knows how to hold a mental picture, and he's got a vivid imagination. This should be easy. Tell that to his raging heartbeat, though….

Xanadu Weyr - High Sky(#1616RJLae)
It is easy to see why the settlers of Xanadu chose this exact spot to live out their lives. Here high above the Weyr one gets a good perspective on the landscape that drew the eye of that rider long ago that sought out the home for a new Weyr. Mountains loom protectively above this pristine little valley, while an energetic river races headlong down the northern side, in a hurry to reach the lake that rests peacefully to the east. Grove after grove of trees dot the land, creating endless shade for the human or dragon.
As well-placed as the natural aspects of the Weyr are, the founders worked hard to keep with the uncontrived rhythms of the valley while destroying as little of it as possible. All of Xanadu opens up below you, welcoming the odd visitor into its friendly arms, or calling a cheerful 'Welcome Home' to the rider and dragon after a visit away.

Arinith and R'miel lead the weyrlings up further into the sky, and away from the weyrling grounds. "Alright, here we are, in a more unfamiliar piece of sky. And we want to get home to our recognizable sky. There really isn't a way to 'teach' your dragon how to go between. They already know. You just have to help them by sending them the image of where you want to end up. Continuously give them the image and tell them you want to go there, and they'll pop between on their own." There's a grin from the bronzer, then suddenly him and Arinith pop between.

Seryth beats her wings, rising after the others. She's just one of a staggered rainbowed chain. Her eyes whirl greenly as she arches her neck to peer downwards. On her shoulders, Thea's just enjoying this, fairly new at flight, yet they've been practicing for awhile now. She glimpses A'dar's face, calling out to him, "You doin' ok over there?" Then R'miel and Arinith
disappear and Thea's asking, "O-ho-kay! Where did he *Between* to?" For now, she stays put.

A'dar listens to R'miel's instructions, and reminds himself of them over. Thea calls out to him, and he calls out, "Yes, I'm fine. Just nervous." And then…*pop*. R'miel and Arinith disappear. To Thea's inquiry, he calls out, "Probably back to where we were, where he had us remember the image. Want to try together?" He's staying put for the time being, too.

Arinith appears way down below them! And over quite a ways. But he's by himself! Arinith gives a jovial trumpet to the weyrlings. He's over here, back above the weyrling grounds.

Seryth hovers, trilling questioningly, while upon her shoulders Thea just shakes her head. "He didn't say to follow, but that's a good guess, A'dar." She smiles her approval at him, then scans the sky watching for the bronzerider to reappear. "Ah- ACK! Phew!" A bug just flew into her half-open mouth. The hazards of flight.

"Ah-ha…thought so," A'dar notes as Arinith appears again. The place he had them remember. He takes a deep breath. Then he points to Arinith. "There!" he calls out. "I think he expected us to, though." He smirks a bit as Thea nearly swallows a bug. It's then that he notices there's no R'miel. "…Where is R'miel?" Obviously not lost, since Arinith sounds so happy. A'dar pauses, not knowing what to do now….

Seryth folds her wings as though she's going to dive, but only drops a few dragonfeet. She disappears and for a few seconds there's no sign of her. Far below she reappears with a joyful bugle, turning her head to watch the others try. Her voice carols encouragement to them. On her shoulders, Thea gives a thumbs up.

A'dar has a half-second of panic as Thea and Seryth disappear. And then relief when they reappear. And then it's his turn. He pauses, breathes slowly to calm himself, and notes, "…Are you ready, Zei?" he murmurs under his breath. Once his lifemate indicates he's ready to try, A'dar 'sends the image to Zei. The sky of the weyrling grounds…let's go there. Yes,
let's. *POP*

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Sky(#9190RAJLe)
A pocket of calmer air, this patch of airspace is dangerous for a very different reason: the presence of Weyrlings whose flying ability is exceedingly unpredictable.

A'dar shuts his eyes as he and Zei go Between. Suddenly it's cold. And dark. Not that A'dar would notice the darkness…his eyes are shut! The sound of his roaring heartbeat fills his ears for a moment. And for a moment, he's terrified. Terrified that he and Zei will end up stuck here. But he's resolute. One does not survive falling into a harp at five years of age without being seriously stubborn! He holds the mental image. And a moment later, the cold and silence abates! And he opens his eyes. He and Zei are back over the weyrling grounds!

Yay! No one is lost between! Though it takes the weyrlings a bit to make it over. And everyone gets their first experience between on their own dragons. Possibly betweening for the first time! The bronzer looks pleased. "Very good! Everyone is here in one piece. The hardest bit is over really. Now it's just more of the same. For something a little bit different and
more exciting. I'm going to have Arinith project an image, and then your dragons will get it from him. And then off we'll go!" And thus, Arinith starts projecting his own image to the others.

Seryth glides serenely, pleased with herself in her first trip *Between*. Thea listens to R'miel, but this time she's a little more sobered. "W-what happens if they don't catch it correctly? We don't have any visuals to help them out." She's dubious, that's clear and she pleads with her lifemate, "Pay attention, Dear. Our lives depend on it." She swallows, "I'm trusting you." And she waits quietly, forcing herself to relax.

A'dar breathes a visible sigh of relief. Yes, he had just gone Between for the first time on his own dragon. and it was unpleasant. Here too, A'dar is again terrified, as R'miel seems to want them to Between to somewhere they've never seen. Arinith's assurance to Zei seems to comfort the blue…but there's not a lot it can do to calm A'dar! "Yes…be sure to pay good attention," he notes to Zei. Though, he supposed, if he was to be lost Between, he'd rather it be with Zei than alone….

Seryth and Zeituth sense that Arinith is full of sandy yellows and bright blue skies. « Do not worry young ones. I will not let you fail at this! Soon we'll be able to travel all over together! »

Arinith and Zeituth sense that Seryth bounces in a brisk rainshower patter «Lets go somewhere far, far away and interesting!!»

R'miel chuckles. "Well, you should make them send the image to you as well. If they can project it to you, then they can certainly between to it. And they should always ask Arinith to clarify if they get confused. Arinith is a very friendly dragon and he's always eager to chat and give a hand. Don't be afraid of him!" Arinith certainly wasn't a scary dragon. He was more like an overgrown intelligent puppy. "Once you both feel comfortable, go ahead and head between!"

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