The End

Black Rock Hold - Sky
You are flying above Black Rock Hold. Pale flagstone makes up the courtyard with multiple stone buildings scattered around the edges. Far to the west is the hold lighthouse, located on a spar in Lake Caspian. Farms and fields spread out to the east of the hold with roads carving lines between them. Far, far to the east the Black Rock mines are just visible. The center of the courtyard seems to be the best spot to land.

A burst of cold air mists in the cool spring air as a massive, spotted brown bursts from *between* above the hold. For a moment, Izzuth just hangs there, broad wings holding him aloft as he and his rider survey the ground far below. At If’an’s signal, he banks gradually to the left, wingtip dipping as they circle the courtyard twice, three times, making sure that the area below is clear. « Take us down, Izzuth. » The old miner holds onto the straps around him, leather crackling slightly in his grip with the bitter cold they’ve just traveled through, « An’ none a that whershit ya like to pull! Nice ‘n easy. »

There’s a quiet snort, a low growl that rumbles in the brown’s broad chest, « I know what I am doing, old man. » The words coming as almost physical blows, each one landing hard enough to make the rider wince.

« Yeah, right. » If’an grumbles right back

The brown, still one of the largest browns on Pern, circles the courtyard again before strong wings drive him just a little higher – much to his rider’s displeasure, « I said down, not up, ya big thief! » Only a dragonlength higher before broad wings fold and Izzuth twists as he dives, nose pointed at the ground quickly rushing toward them. If’an’s angry yell is lost in the wind that whistles past them, « Up, Iz. UP! » The brown does pull up, wings snapping open to catch the pair.

This time, the leather and metal of the straps weakened by time and repeated trips between – a new pair sitting back in their weyr nearly complete – there’s a gut wrenching pop as they fail. A bloodcurdling scream rips through the air as the straps part, aging hands clutching desperately at the spotted hide before If’an loses his grip and slipping from the back that’s held him securely for well over half of his life. For a moment, he feels weightless, as though time has stopped with him suspended over a dragonlength above the stone paved ground. Then he’s falling, massive dragon paws reaching desperately to catch him as he plummets. A sickening thud fills the air before the heartrending keening of loss follows and Izzuth disappears *between*, two lives gone, forever.

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