Fumbling First Flight

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.

V'dim has had Isobeth summon the Weyrlings to the grounds, inviting both those who have not yet finished the unmanned flight portion of their lessons, and those who wish to get a little extra practice in. He stands near his lifemate in the center of the area, one hand resting lightly on her leg as he watches the riders and dragons file out of the barracks. Fortunately for this group, the weather has calmed since the last time this class was held, and though the air is icy, the sky is clear and, for the moment, no storms threaten. "Gather around, Weyrlings," the Weyrlingmaster rumbles, watching as the pairs slowly form a ragged arc before him.

Jessa is returning not from the barracks, but from the weyrling beach, bundled up and with cheeks gone rosy from the chill in the air. At least the weather has calmed down, for certain, though there's enough of a breeze to pluck at the large bundle of what looks to be fresh fabric scraps in her arms. Ninkasith trundles along at her side, keeping protective watch over her lifemate as the pair joins the others encircling V'dim. Wisely, the former seamstress says nothing, having learned the folly of speaking up too soon in front of V'dim during Candidacy.

Phylicia and Fauikith are among the first out of the barracks. Or rather, Fauikith is and the weyrling is just trying to keep pace with the green. "Faui, they won't start any sooner, especially if you slip and strain something!" Phylicia calls out after her dragon, trotting in a controlled fashion after her dragon. She's all bundled up in her long coat and gloves, the hood pulled partially down over her face to protect from the chill. The dark forest green stops in front of Isobeth with an impatient flick of her wings. If V'dim ever wants a way to punish this pair, for sure it would be confining them indoors. The ice storm just about drove the pair insane. Or extremely grouchy.

Isobeth paces away from V'dim, coming to halt several lengths away as the greenrider clasps his hands at his waist and begins the lesson. "Today your lifemates will be taking their first unmanned flights. I hope you have all been working on the exercises you were assigned, because if your dragons haven't been strengthening their legs and wings, they won't be able to perform this lesson." He turns to glance at his dragon, nodding, and Isobeth gathers her hindquarters, leaping into the air in one, smooth push. Spreading her wings wide, she glides the several lengths distance between her and her rider, settling down on the ground nearby. Tucking her wings against her back, she turns to study the Weyrlings with her rider, who points to the first pair he sees. "You two, Jessa and Ninkasith. Do you think you can do that?"

Ninkasith rears up on her hind legs, bugling in answer to a clear challenge. She spreads her wings wide, beating them strongly in the air.

Jessa claps her hands over her ears, turning to face her lifemate. She has to shout for a moment, to be heard above Ninkasith's trumpeting. "Ninka! Calm down, this is what we've been practicing for!" With a low rumble, the young green settles down into a crouch, tucking her wings in close to her body. She tilts her head up towards the sky, with a warble of longing. "Come on, Ninka… focus. Here…" Setting her bundle of fabric down on a relatively clean spot on the ground, Jessa trots off a few lengths away, for all the world like a mother encouraging a child to take her first steps. "Go on, Ninka, it's al…" Too late. Ninkasith, finally deciding the time is right, bunches her hindquarters and leaps into the air. It is a second before she puts two and two together, spreading her wings at last, just in time to glide through the air and close the distance to her bonded. Jessa can't help but let out a triumphant shout. "Yes! That's it!"

Phylicia watches Isobeth take off as intently as she can, squinting around the gusts of wind a dragon taking off is bound to create. "No." The healer-weyrling states flatly. At first she's looking directly at V'dim and his green, before her chocolate gaze shifts to Fauikith. "You wait until one of them calls on us." She continues on, firmly. In this case, Faui is impatient to be going. She's been practicing those exercises with diligence. As much so as some physically able weyrlings put into their own exercises. And Phy is starting to distance herself from Fauikith, watching above carefully as Ninkasith glides above her. Right. She's not getting in the way of that mass. Fauikith is watching Ninkasith glide however, and there's not a warble of longing but a pathetic sounding creel. "Empty egg, just /wait/ a few more minutes!"

V'dim's gaze turns briefly on Phylicia and her green, just the faintest of frowns touching his lips before he turns back to study Ninkasith's first flight. "Good," he states blandly. "You might want to work a little more on your control, however. There are times that her anticipating could have unintended consequences for you both. Phylicia and Fauikith, you two are next." Waving Jessa and her green off to the side, he indicates for the named pair to take their places. Isobeth peers over V'dim's head at the eager green, an amused rumble sounding deep in her chest.

Ninkasith 's landing is a little less than graceful, but at least she does not plow her muzzle into the ground. She does pitch forward a little, taking a few awkward crow-hopping steps as she touches down. Oh dear, still a lot to learn!

Jessa steps out of Ninkasith's way as she touches down, wincing a little bit. "Oh dear." She doesn't wait long, but instead runs over to check and make sure her lifemate is whole. The young green folds her wings in to her body without any difficulty at all; the worst she appears to have suffered is a little grass ground into the hide. Jessa heaves a sigh of relief, reaching up to scritch Ninkasith's eyeridges. "It's alright, you'll get better." Despite V'dim's usually sour, taciturn nature, she is all smiles as she turns to face him, listening to his advice. "Alright, I'll remember that. Maybe some more practice another time couldn't hurt."

There's the faintest of blushes to Phylicia's cheeks, that's likely not entirely due to the icy chill of the air. And in her position across the field, the weyrling-rider merely cocks a brow to her green. "Well?" It's said at a normal level, since there's no need to be screaming across the field. There's just a pause of a moment where Fauikith gives Isobeth a happy chuff, before she's hunching back onto her hind quarters. The only pause Fauikith suffers is that to do a little bit of a butt-wiggle like a feline preparing to pounce, until there's a massive springing action, shoving the petite green into the air. The launch could very well be good for one just taking to the skies, and the forested green croons her pleasure as she glides across the field. A leaf on the wind, is the image that might come to mind. By now Phylicia has stopped looking exasperated with her dragon and is instead, grinning broadly, watching Faui glide. "There. Happy now?" If there's any physical response, it's so soft as to not be heard.

V'dim nods his head approvingly to Phylicia at this demonstration of her green's grace. "Very nice," he murmurs, clapping his hands. "You're to continue exercising your lifemates, paying especial attention to the wing exercises. The next lesson will be on feeding, so you want to be sure that your lifemates have strong enough muscles to hold them in a prolonged chase, and enough stamina to stay aloft and make a kill. Are there any questions before I dismiss you to your duties?"

Jessa says "Just one, really, sir." She tilts her head to one side as she regards V'dim, azure eyes sparkling and a smile still playing upon her lips. "At what point will our flights be unsupervised? It's going to be hard to keep Ninka out of the air now, she's been itching to fly for weeks."

Grace would certainly cover Fauikith's launch and gliding. However, it isn't the word to be used for her landing. The decent is gentle and calm enough where the forested green should have no problems landing, but there's a fumble of feet and Fauikith does what Ninkasith didn't: muzzleplant. At least her wings were neatly tucked back to her back before the plant happened, so its only four limbs that get tangled up in the mess and not six. For a moment Phylicia looks somewhere between shocked, worried and ready to break down laughing. The weyrling is rushing over, running hands along shoulder muscles or anything that was likely to have been torn or injured in the muzzleplant, having Faui stretch everything. "Landing tips, maybe, sir?" Phylicia pipes in a moment later, the obvious mirth in her voice barely controlled.

V'dim doesn't look amused, but neither does he berate the Weyrling for the landing. "Grace in landing will come in time. I suggest having her extend her forearms so that her forefeet hit first and absorb the brunt of the impact. Don't try to land on all four feet at once. And it will be a while yet before you can do this unsupervised," he remarks to Jessa. "For now, you can ask any of the Weyrlingmasters to stand with you while you practice, but you are not to take to the air without a weyrlingmaster, nor are you, under any circumstances, to mount your dragon. You could do irreperable damage to them."

Jessa nods, the threat of injury to Ninkasith enough to wipe the smile right from her face. She shivers, her expression a mix of fear, worry, and somber reflection all at once. "Of course… I'd rather not see Ninka hurt." Enough said! She leans against her bonded's shoulder, the colorful patchwork flowers on her jacket standing out in stark contrast to the almost plain pear green of Ninkasith's hide. "Nearly killed me when I'd just overfed her, that would be… worse. Much worse."

"You spent /all/ that time thinking about how to get up. You never spared a thought for how to get back down, did you?" Phylicia mutters to her dragon, likely audible to Jessa, and maybe V'dim depending on how close he's standing. By now Fauikith has righted herself and is daintily rubbing at her muzzle. Frozen ground is hard. "Yessir." Phylicia is listening to V'dim, and it shows. "Now you take that in mind, and stop pestering me about it. I won't hurt you. Especially like that." And her tone sounds like that is the end of an arguement between them.

V'dim claps his hands, a very final sound. "Very well then, if that's it, you're dismissed. As I said, if you want to practice and have some free-time, you're welcome to ask any of the weyrlingmasters to supervise you." He doesn't bother to detail what might happen should they be found disobeying the strictures against flying without a teacher present. Content that the class is over, he strides across the field towards Isobeth, thoughts already shifted to the next of his duties.

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