Extended Weyrlinghood: Month 2

Detailed Summary

The dragons have grown considerably, and while a few might have been able to sneak into the inner weyr caverns in the months after hatching, they’ll now be too big to do much more than try to stick their heads in, something that is both highly discouraged and apt to get you extra chores. You will need to work on controlling such impulses as your dragon for such activities can be harmful, and first and foremost, even if they don’t appreciate the fact, your job as a rider is to keep them safe as well as happy and healthy. Their growth does have its benefits and they no longer need food brought to the barracks and you no longer pamper them at all in their meal preparations. It’s time for them to be hunting on their own and the feeding grounds is plenty big for them to both get exercise, work on their coordination and hunting skills from the ground.

When you’re not observing their bathing / oiling their growing lengths of hide, or getting them to hunt from the ground in the feeding pens, or continuing the various exercises, you’ll have your own lessons to consider. Mental strength remains as important as the physical and so you’ll set to understanding the broad history of Pern, of memorizing the names of all the Weyrleaders, Lord and Lady Holders, and Craftmasters, of interpreting, using and understanding maps, as well as a little basic first aid for humans, wing formations and weather issues. Not that the physical will be ignored, no you’ll have plenty of ‘fun’ and ‘games’ in a few rounds of sack toss … who knows it may even be filled with actual firestone. Once the entire class is riding on the ground we will also be beginning ground drills on the various formations you’ve covered earlier in the classroom.

As the eight month begins you’ll find the flutter of your dragon's wings growing ever more restless and their eyes tracking ever more often skywards. It’s a good thing that your teachers are also well aware of such yearnings, and it isn’t long before they’re checked over and if their progress is found good from all those exercises you’ve both been diligently doing (you have been, right?), your dragon will be cleared to take its first flight. It is a moment like no other, and is heavily supervised, but in the end your dragon will be aloft for a few wingbeats, your heart and mind soaring as adrenaline pumps through, breath catching as the ground looms until your lifemate is back again safe upon the ground. It marks a major transition point in your training, and the dragons will practice over the next months taking to the sky several times a day for ever longer intervals. At first they’ll be heavily supervised but as they get used to the sky, the supervision will still be there but less obvious to you both.

Riders as well have their own role in this benchmark, reporting even the smallest talon scratch to the weyrlingmasters. More interestingly you’ll be digging through barrels of old flight suits to find one that fits, or will fit with only minor adjustments. Yes, it won’t be particularly glamorous, but considering the heavy wear and tear it’ll have to put up with while you learn your own part, you’ll find it a practical alternative to wearing holes in brand new leathers that are costly to replace. Additionally, you’ll be getting lessons in the grand art of strap making. While you may, after graduation, barter or purchase ready made straps, for weyrlinghood you’ll have to buckle down and learn at least the basics of this skill. Once you manage to get a passable loop secured about your dragons neck you’ll be able, encouraged even, to ride them (on the ground, mind you) around to help both of you get used to the sensation so that when it comes time to fly together it will hopefully not be so awkward.

Your Life This Month


What's happening with your dragon these months:
Lots of itchy skin, oil everywhere – which will be becoming more and more of a task, given that rapidly expanding hide! Your dragons won't be flying yet, but they'll be starting to stretch out their wings when they're outside, perhaps wave them around gently. It's up to you to make sure they don't do anything to overstrain themselves, as this could result in a weakness that will last throughout their lives.

You'll be making riding straps: You'll be making your first set of straps. They won't be fancy, since your dragon will outgrow them soon enough, but this is a skill each dragonrider needs to master for themselves, as repairs will be ongoing for the rest of your riding lives.

Education, education, education: Lots of it. For those of you who might ICly be a little weak in the reading or writing departments, remedial lessons will be beginning. The Xanadu Weyrling staff is rather into the development of the person as a whole, rather than just a dragonrider, and believes that education is important in representing your weyr properly. Further, weyrlings will be learning all about the politics of Pern. Major imports and exports of each area, names of Lords, Ladies, Weyrleaders, Weyrwomen, histories of the Holds, the works.

Fitness: Things have been easy so far, but in the first bit of these months, the fitness regime starts to really intensify! In addition to your lap running and working with weights becoming a daily thing, Weyrlings will be doing obstacle courses twice a week, and if your character is unfit, they can expect to be doing extra workouts.

Hunting: Your lifemates are finally starting to be large enough to take down a full animal without too much fear of injury. While the initial attempts will take place with a small group of animals specially selected for their small size, with practice your lifemates will soon be hunting like a regular dragon - thank goodness for not having to chop anymore meat!

Formations: Formations will be practiced both on on foot with your fellow weyrlings, and once your straps are completed and you have some practice being astride your lifemate, upon dragonback - though still firmly on the ground. Formations are a good way to bond with your fellow wingmembers as well as to build concentration.

Wing Inspections. If your dragon passes their wing inspection (weyrling staff will be looking for any sign of weakness, strained muscles, soreness), then they're good to take to the skies on their own! This'll first happen with a rider at each end, watching their take-off and landing (and a weyrling running nervously in circles on the ground nearby). If that's fine, they'll be taking their first circuits around the bowl.

RP Ideas

- Making riding straps is long and time consuming. Wielding those enormous needles and huge lengths of leather is going to be hard work, so your characters will be spending plenty of time doing that. Making them will involve lots of fittings and require cooperation from your lifemates.
- The dragons will now be at the stage where a little more outside interaction is possible for you people – they're no longer going to want you to come back outside and be with them every ten seconds, and their emotions won't be as overwhelming. They're still babies, but now might be a good time for characters to sit back, relax a little (in between studying!) and perhaps talk with some riders about what being life might be like after graduation.
- Washing is now a far more comprehensive task, and your dragon'll need a scrub on a very regular basis. You can now go and wash your dragons unsupervised.
- Prior to the first time mounting your dragon, the straps probably suggested to you that you're going to be mounted up soon. At the rate your dragons are growing, the very thought of climbing up on their backs might be a bit overwhelming. There's fun RP to be had from sneaking off and learning to mount your dragon when nobody's looking.
- Hunting! Feel free to play the various aspects - fear of attempting it the first time, or perhaps being a bit too overzealous in a hunting attempt.
- First flights! We'd love to get as many of these on-camera as possible, feel free to snag us, or to RP with an NPC weyrlingmaster observing further attempts after the first.

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