Xanadu Weyr - Training Grounds
A wide, grassy expanse, nestled into the gentle bowl shape where something's taken a bite out of the mountain. It's high above the level of the beach, and there's a good eastern view of the lake and a long path leading down to that sandy shore. Granite cliffs surround it on the other sides.
While much of the grounds are left in their natural state, one area has been trampled and trodden by enough feet that the grass struggles to grow. A running track circles a set of equipment - straw dummies with wooden frames, obstacles of various sizes and shapes, and targets for flaming, archery, and whatever else.
There's a dragon-sized opening to the south that leads to the cavernous weyrling barracks, and a smaller tunnel to the northeast - large enough for dragons newly emerged from the sands, but quickly outgrown by hatchlings who are then forced to take the long way around - at least, until they learn to spread their wings and fly. Between them in both position and size, a jagged crack in the stone leads to a dim cave with the sound of water.
Kera drops the last of Moncerath's large packs to the ground, piled around the others and stretches with a winces as she rubs her shoulder. Rolling her neck and shoulders a few seconds, the greenrider gives her dragonmate an affectionate smack on a well-oiled neck. "No showin off, just quick demonstrations Mon." The dragon's cheek bumps against Kera's chest and she wuffles as if to say she would never show off. They are waiting for the weyrlings to arrive, a couple of pairs have already gathered, standing well away from each other as their dragonmates go through their warm-up stretches. "If they don't properly warm up, they could hurt themselves. So I wanna see some wings moving. Put some UMPF into those hops."
Leikoirath is bouncing with anticipation, her mental foot paws pattering up to greet Moncerath with an eager cavalcade of yips while her physical feet send her circling around Jaya in a swirl that pauses only when her human, laughing, puts a hand out to stop her. "Come on, settle down. Stretch!" Jaya tells her, and Leikoirath chirps, crouching her forepaws down for a moment with a wiggle before she stands up again and begins to stretch properly. Wings out, and up, and down… and repeat! Jaya glances to Kera, then back to Lei. "…can you stretch them any further?" she asks, and the green chirrups and attempts it on the next cycle.
Moncerath swivels her head around to watch the newly arrived pair «Hello Leikoirath. It is a good day for flying.» Her mental voice is calm and confident. Kera tips her head in greeting to Jaya as the weyrling quickly prompts the energetic greenling in start stretching. "G'morning Jaya, Leikoirath." Smiling a bit when Jaya urges her dragonmate to stretch further. "No need to rush her warm up Jaya, over stressing her muscles without giving them time to adjust can be just as bad as not stretching out. And may keep her from even attempting first flight." Brow arches as she makes sure the girl understands her warming. Stepping closer, she gestures towards the young green, hands slightly extends towards the green hide. "May I check her over Jaya?"
« How do you tell? » Leikoirath asks, craning her head to peer up at the sky. « Is it just that it's not raining? Or is there something else? » The secrets of flying! Enlighten her with them… please? Jaya smiles to Kera, then ohs. Her eyes flit between AWLM and her dragon, and she swallows before nodding. "Okay. Lei, uhm…" Not too fast, not too slow, do it just right! "It's still feeling okay?" The green chirps confidently, wiggling and waggling her tail, and Jaya looks somewhat relieved before looking back to Kera and nodding. "Of course!" She takes a step to where she'll have a better view to watch - she'll be doing this herself soon! - and grins as Leikoirath cranes her head around to peek at Kera and chirp a greeting. "Lei, do what she says…" Which is usually good advice, when AWLMs are concerned!
Moncerath moves with calculated slowness as she stretches her paws out in front of her, talons digging into the turf as the rest of her body follows along, as if there is much choice since her head is on the move with her feline stretch. Over-large wings bellow slowly, upwards and downward motions, then a few full motion pivots of the wing joint. «We are dragons, and the sky if there.» As if that should be all a dragon needs for good flying. «My Kera gets cranky when the sky is wet or white though.» Not to mention, a bit trickier to see in a snowstorm. Kera smiles up to the nearly full grown greenling "Alright Leikoirath, keep moving your wings and let your rider know if anything doesn't feel good." The Awlm runs her hand along the greenlings chest, pushing or prodding gently here or there. She seems to be touching spots that tend to affected with pulled muscles the most on a dragon. Her gaze slips to Jaya frequently during her check, expecting the weyrling to speak up if her dragonmate was in any hint of pain. "Do you think she's ready to fly Jaya?"
Leikoirath watches Moncerath stretch, her tail wiggling even as she watches the slow grace of the older green. She laughs, a bouncing feeling like a dozen puppies all jumping up and over each other at once. « I will like flying! » she proclaims confidently. « It'll be great! » …just as soon as she actually gets herself approved for it. She brings her attention back to Kera, and goes through her stretches - maybe a little slower now that she's watched Moncerath's example, but she's still clearly excited about this and a little bouncy as she goes through the extent of her wings and their flexes. Still, she's got the muscles to support that bouncing, good strength built up by not only active play but also repeated exercises, and she croons confidently as Kera inspects her. Jaya's gaze remains on her dragon, with an expression of concentration as she pays attention to Leikoirath's motions and feelings, but she doesn't say anything… because there's nothing wrong with any of it. She grins a bit, then looks to Kera. "Well…" She hesitates for a moment, then nods. "Yeah. I mean, her wings are strong, she feels good doing it… she wants to… I think she must be ready, right?" Jaya's tone is a little hopeful there are the end, asking in case there's something she's missing.
Kera nods agreeably to Jaya when the weyrling confirms her dragon is fit and ready. Giving Leikoirath a pat on her shoulder, she'll step back and gestures to her own dragonmate, who puts actions to Kera's words. Her voice raises so everyone can hear her. "Gather closer everyone. Now Moncerath is going to show you what to do. Do NOT do MORE than she does." Her gaze slips around to catch each weyrling's eyes to show her seriousness. "Notice how Moncerath is crouched, flanks coiled tightly ready to spring. When she leaps upwards, her wings will snap out and grab air, flapping twice and gliding to land immediately. Immediately!" Kera pauses and turns a stern gaze to everyone. "No exceptions. Anyone not landing immediately will not continue the lesson today. Understood?" Not waiting to see if it is or not, Kera gestures to her dragon "Now watch closely.." And then the older dragon leaps upwards and demonstrate a leaping glide. Afterwards, she looks around and gestures to Jaya "You two go first."
Oh good! There wasn't some secret test that Jaya missed about whether Leikoirath is truly ready. She grins, nodding to Kera, and steps up next to Leikoirath, draping her arm over the green's neck to hold her in place while they - and the other weyrling pairs - watch Kera and Moncerath. The crouch, "…kinda like hunting." Except… this is something more than hunting, and Jaya nods at the instructions. Two flaps. Two! Just two, nothing more. She glances to Leiokoirath, who chirps easy agreement, then turns her gaze back to Moncerath to watch that leap and soar. It looks so easy! And… "Us?" she says, blinking to Kera, then nods. She looks down to Leikoirath, and grins. "Okay, you heard her. Now… just a jump and two flaps, okay?" Leikoirath croons, and after Jaya pats her side, she wiggles out from underneath her riders arm to step up. She lowers her forequarters in a bow, tail wiggling, then draws back into a proper crouch. « I'm ready! » she tells Jaya with a joyous warble, practically wiggling with anticipation. Jaya nods. "Then do it!" she says, and for a moment Leikoirath is entirely still, muscles taut, before she leaps up into the air. Whee! She's flyi- oh, wait, right, she's got to flap her wings! The first flap is belated, the arc of her leap going farther than it should, but then her sails catch the air and she lifts again. Ha! There it is! Jaya's forgotten to breathe, but Leikoirath's moving on the air, her wings beating up once - and then, following the rhythm of the exercises she's practiced, twice! And then… it's tempting, the feeling of the air, but Leikoirath obediently tilts her wings into a glide instead of another flap, angling down to a landing pounce… with a little hop at the end. She shakes herself off, then lifts her head up proudly, caroling to Jaya as her rider, back across the field, remembers to breathe - and grins - and claps her hands!
Kera watches Leikoirath as she prepares, then makes her first foray into the sky. Nodding approvingly as the greenling comes right back down, she paces back over to the green pair as Moncerath bugles to the young one's success. "Well done Leikoirath. How do you feel?…Physically." Kera specifies belatedly since no doubt the young dragon is ecstatic right now, and tilts her gaze to Jaya curiously a moment. To keep things moving, she gestures towards the brownling pair that arrived before Jaya. "M'trl, Qoresth is next. Remember, two wing beats, no more." Turning a bit, she'll keep the young brown in her sights while confirming that Leikoirath is uninjured. "If she has no tenderness, then she can take another turn after everyone has had a turn."
Leikoirath bounces, shifting from one paw to the other in a happy little dance. « I am good! Flying is great! » she says joyously to her rider and Moncerath both, then chirrups. « I feel good. My wings feel like my legs do after running. They have worked! But they can do more. I want to do more! » Jaya glances to the next rider, then back to Kera and Leikoirath. She nods. "She says she's good. She's not hurt," that much is clear. "But she's… I think she's still building strength for the real thing." A smile. "I bet she can do another, as long as she rests while the others try." Jaya glances to Leikoirath, a reminder to not do everything all at once, then back to Kera. "If that sounds okay?"
Kera nods to Jaya as the brownling pair follow instructions, landing quickly as ordered. "Alright, you just watch the others, and go over what could be done better, now that she has an idea of how it felt." Kera moves to check the brownling over, while signaling for the next pair to go. In a short time, she's back to inspect Leikoirath again. "Alright, you wouldn't happen to know of a anyone that wants to fly again would you?" She pretends serious curiosity a few seconds before cracking into a grin and gesturing for the green to go once more.
Jaya grins and nods to Kera. "Okay!" she says, and tosses off a salute as the AWLM heads off. She steps back to stand with Leikoirath, the two of them watching and murmuring back and forth to each other as they critique the flights of the others. That blue landed well, quick on his feet - oh, and that brown had nice strong wing beats, a good rhythm to them - and so on. Finally it's their turn again! Or at least… soooomeone's turn! Leikoirath perks up her head. « Do I? » she asks, and bounces, forepaws lifting up and pouncing back and forth on the ground. « I do! I do! I dooooo! » "Weeeell…" Jaya says, teasing, and Leikoirath cranes her head to stare at her rider. « You do know. You know! It's me. It's meeeee! » she proclaims, and Jaya breaks down into giggles before she nods to Kera. "Let's do it!" she says, and Leikoirath wiggle-pounces forward. Oh boy oh boy… "Do it right, now!" she reminds her dragon, and so Leikoirath calms enough to gather herself in a crouch again, taut muscles that prepare and then… she springs into action once more! This time, she beats her wings just as she's coming into the top of her arc, the same two beats carrying her nearly twice the distance before she alights once more on the ground that no longer contains her. « I flyyy! »
Kera claps enthusiastically for Leikoirath, and every other dragon, as the learns quickly how to get more distance after only one prior attempt. "Very good. Now rest up, and there may be another go shortly." Then along down the line, young weyrlings leap and manage glides several dragonlengths further than before. "Excellent job everyone." She signals one more round for the ones that still have energy. "Okie, once more, then I think these young ones deserve some spoiling." Kera laughs at that, and moves to her own dragonmate, fidgeting with the dragon sized packs that attach to Moncerath's straps, her voice loud enough to be heard by all. "They'll be able to fly a bit further each day, with proper rest. If they overstress themselves, they will end up grounding themselves. And that may be worse than not being /allowed/ to fly. Soon they will be taking down the large herdbeasts when hunting."
Jaya grins, listening to Kera. "It's really great watching…" « It's better flying! » Leikoirath adds, and Jaya laughs. "Soon. After you practice more! But not too much." Just so Lei doesn't go getting any ideas about just how much she's allowed to do all at once. "See?" she adds after Kera talks about stress. "Don't do too much, or you won't get to do it at all. Why, I bet you wouldn't even feel like chasing sticks or anything, if you got yourself grounded!" …admittedly, that would take a lot, but that's what makes it a good sort of threat to make Leikoirath listen. The green dragon wiggles, ducking her head and offering a croon, and Jaya scritches her headridges as they turn back to watch the others go until everyone's had two tries and there's an offer of… « One more? » Leikoirath asks, hopeful. Jaya studies her. "Your wings feel okay?" The dragon nods, wiggling them, and after a moment, Jaya nods. "One more. Then that's it for today!" Leikoirath croons, bouncing forward and practicing one more time. This one isn't quite as good as the middle one - a bit of tiredness and some slight off timing to her flaps - but it's still acceptable, and after she lands she holds her head proudly as she walks back to Jaya. …hmm, she's not running, she's definitely getting tired.
Kera keeps her eye on the young dragons as the packs are reattached to her dragonmate's straps. Most seem to be tiring and landing much quicker than the prior glides. When the last touches down, she claps loudly "Great job everyone. Awesome! Now I think a stuffed belly, bath, oiling and snooze might be just what they need." Doesn't have to be in that order though. "You've a few candlemarks to get them settled before reporting to the class room this evening's lecture."
Jaya beams, nodding to Kera as she wraps her arms around Leikoirath to give the dragon a big hug. "You did great," she says, and grins. "So… do you want a bath first, or dinner?" « Food! » Leikoirath says. Ha, ask a silly question… « And a big bone for later on the beach. » "…that's not exactly part of a bath." « It can be. » "Well, I guess so…" Jaya admits, then grins and salutes to Kera at the final instructions. "What's the lecture on tonight?" It was probably on the syllabus… but given the excitement of first flights, can you really blame her for having forgotten?
Kera smirks over her shoulder to Jaja, "This evening's lesson will be strap making. You'll need to learn how to cut every piece of your dragon's straps, and learn to judge safe and unsafe straps." Waving off the pair in a shooing motion "Go get her fed, and make sure she doesn't push too hard tomorrow. She'll be feeling today more so tomorrow." Another wave and she dismisses the weyrlings to tend their dragonmates.
Jaya nods. Right. Straps. "Okay!" she says, and grins. "Thanks!" She salutes Kera, then beams a grin to her as she and Leikoirath head off to find some food - and then a bath - and then some oil - and then naptime! « A caprine, maybe… » Leikoirath muses as she bounces off, some of her energy having returned. « They have a good taste. And soon I'll hunt in the air! » "…only once they say you're ready." « Yes, yes… which is soon! And today a caprine, and a big bone, and… » Off they go! Leikoirath will eat and bathe and then sleep the sleep of the exhausted while Jaya works on learning about the straps that will - someday soon(ish) - let her actually fly with Leikoirath. Today was just the first leap - and two flaps - of many!