Authors Note: As I said in the summary, this was started by a thread on the KP Slash Haven called Musical Dimensions... but most of it is actually based on the Dragonrider of Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. If you haven't read them... I suggest you do, they're worth it. And obviously, I don't own anything. I am making no money off this, I'm just borrowing the characters and settings for an idea I had. I hope everyone enjoys.
A few quick things for those who haven't read the books. Dragon's don't talk, they speak telepathically. This is shown by italicized type. The reason for some of the name having a consonant and then an apostrophe consonant, (F'lar, F'nor, N'ton) Is because dragon riders shorten their names from their birth name (Felarnon, Famanoran, Naton.) to this honorific contraction. I think that's all the little details, everything else should be explained as the story continues... Enjoy.
Hatching at Benden Weyr.
By the Golden Egg of Faranth
By the Weyrwoman, wise and true,
Breed a flight of bronze and brown wings,
Breed a flight of green and blue.
Breed riders, strong and daring,
Dragon-loving, born as hatched,
Flight of hundreds soaring skyward,
Man and dragon fully matched.
Kim fell hard to the hot sands, her senses reeling from the trip through dimensions. Her stomach felt as if she were going to vomit, but the motion and press of bodies around her forced her to master that urge as she became aware of her surroundings. She quickly got to her feet, her hands stinging from the heat of the sand under her. She looked at those around her and wondered. She was surrounded by dozens of boys around her age all dressed in long white tunics. And every one of them was looking at her. She looked up beyond them and saw hundreds of people in stone stands looking down at them. Beyond them, on high ledges she saw several men standing beside huge dragons; all looking down at the group of boys, and more importantly, at her. A rattle from her left drew her attention, and her eyes widened as dozens of mottled eggs sat shaking on the sands.
"Oh man…where am I?" Kim asked to no one in particular and was dumb founded at the answer she received.
"By the shell! You just fell from between onto the hatching sands of Benden and don't know where you are?" One of the white robed boys asked.
"Between? Benden?" Kim looked back at the eggs as a pair of bronze colored wings burst forth from one.
She watched the young dragonet tear his way free of the egg, shards falling to the sands. It stood, looking around at the group of boys on the sands, then its eyes landed on Kim and it rushed forward. Kim eye's widened as the creature seemed to lunge at her. Her mind jumped into mission mode on reflex and she prepared to leap out of its way, her eyes locking with his as she watched for the correct moment. Then time stopped.
"Oooh…" Kim's breathing grew heavy, her mind rushing with new sensations. She felt elation and amazement. How strong was Kim, how powerful. The thoughts flowed through Kim's mind not her own. She felt tenderness and love for the beast that she'd first assumed attacking her. Suddenly she smiled and stood, relaxed as she reached out unconsciously to scratch the young dragonet behind his eye ridge. "Kith… How do I know your name?"
Why shouldn't my rider know my name?
"Rider? I'm… Kim, Rider to Bronze Kith." She said with the dragon's prodding, smiling as if the most wonderful thing in the world had just happened.
"How that is possible, we'll discuss later." A tall dark haired man with amber eyes said, from her left.
"Anything's possible for a Possible." The old line came naturally thanks to the man's inadvertent prodding.
"Let's get you and this dragonet outside and feeding before troubles begin." He grabbed her by the arm, a growl from the young dragon making him loosen his grip. "Tell him I mean no harm please. I am F'lar, Benden Weyrleader."
Kim wasn't sure who he was really, or what a Weyr leader was, but she recognized authority when she saw it. That meant two things to her. One, this person would know where she was, and what the rules of this world were. Two, unless it was corrupt or preventing her from protecting the innocent, she obeyed the authority. That left her only one question.
"Weyrleader?" She played the word in her mind and smiled as Kith relayed a message from F'lar's dragon Mnementh.
The great bronze says that F'lar is the leader of Benden Weyr because he rides the queen dragon's mate. Ramoth, the dragon queen is ridden by Lessa, the Weyr Woman. They are the authority within this Weyr. And I am of Ramoth and Mnementh's latest clutch.
"So you're in charge of the Weyr?" Kim said, as she allowed F'lar to lead her outside and to one of the aides with several baskets of cut raw meat. She started feeding Kith and he greedily devoured the meat.
"So to speak, don't you listen to your harpers? I thought everyone on Pern knew all the Weyrleaders." F'lar looked at her curiously.
"I'm not from," She looked around, "Pern."
"Not from Pern? Then you truly did fall frombetween…" F'lar sighed, "When T'ron hears this… Lessa's coming."
"F'lar! Where did she come from? What's going on?" Lessa turned to Kim, then to her dragon. Slowly a strong calm overcame the Weyrwoman. "She's impressed, there's nothing to be done now. She'll be trained as is the tradition of the Weyr."
"There could be issues with that. She knows nothing of Pern. She's not from our world." He sighed, "But you are right, she is a rider and will receive all honor as such."
"Where are you from?" Lessa turned to her.
"A world called Earth. I was a hero there, but an accident sent me into… a vortex. The next thing I remember, I was on your hatching grounds, and Kith and I were one." She rubbed the bronze's eye ridge affectionately as he finally seemed to be sated from all the meat she'd plied him with, she looked around to see that the other dragons had hatched as well and their new mates were all feeding them.
"Looks like you got the pick of the litter." F'lar suggested, "He has the best color of any of the bronzes, and is the largest hatchling by a good weaver's length. He'll rival Mnementh in size one day, and be flying a good month before the others if he grows as quickly as I think."
Kim smiled, "He wants to sleep, and I'd like to as well, I know I should have more questions… but right now, I can't even conceive of anything but taking care of Kith."
F'lar summoned one of the blue riders over,
"Lead our first Bronze Woman to a private barracks. It's probably
smartest for now." He turned to the peak. "Mnementh? Would you
mind sitting watch outside her barracks to ensure no one enters
without our say so?" He then turned back to Kim, "He says he'll
watch out for you well, and reminded me to assure you that you are
not a prisoner, merely that I wish you protected from jealous
candidates who missed out on impressing because of your appearance,
and having to deal with old traditions when the Oldtimers arrive, and
they will hear about this soon
Kim awoke to the sound of Kith calling for food. Her smile widened as she slipped from the bed and made her way to the young dragon. Her hand rubbed over his hide carefully. Then her brows knitted together as she felt a patchy spot near his left front leg.
I'm hungry and I itch…
"What's with this? And are you bigger than you were yesterday?" Kim wondered.
"He is, and that patchy spot is where he outgrew his hide. You need to bathe and oil him everyday, for a while, all he'll do is eat and sleep, which is what makes a dragon grow." Lessa's voice came from the entrance to the Weyr.
Kim… I itch… and I want food!
"How fast will he grow?" Kim looked at her, absently scratching Kith's neck and silently reassuring the dragon she'd see he was fed and cared for well.
"Fast." Lessa smiled, "Larger and larger over night, he'll be full grown by the end of his first turn, then his appetite will taper off. Come on, I'll help you bathe the beast. After you've fed him, then we can get you some proper clothes for the Weyr. We've decided to teach you privately, at first. Then once you're prepared, we'll put you to use."
"Why teach me privately? Wouldn't it be better to see that I'm accepted as a rider with the rest? I mean, I can see I'm gonna be here a while… from the looks of things, you aren't a very technological society… and then there is Kith…" Kim smiled affectionately at the bronze.
"Kim… you've impressed a dragon. On top of that, you've impressed a Bronze Dragon. You don't really know what that means since you aren't from Pern. Dragons and riders bond for life. If you die, Kith would commit suicide by flying between. If…"
Kim stopped her, "He won't…"
"Maybe not, but the possibility is there. Bronzes aren't just normal dragons. They're the next to rarest dragons on Pern. Their riders are wing leaders, they become Weyrleaders if the bronze is strong enough to fly a queen. They are some of the most important and revered men of Pern. This is a major event. Honestly, you seem like you'll be a strong rider, though how you impressed a bronze I don't think we'll ever understand." Lessa sighed, "But we've a dragon to see to."
"Yes, finally, you sound like Ron. Your brain is in your stomach. I had no idea you were so special." Kim led Kith outside and to the lake, Lessa following close behind.
"Just wade in with him, and use the sweet sand to bathe him, pay close attention to the patchy spots, and we'll oil them once he's clean. Then you can feed him and I'll introduce you to Manora. She'll help you get some clothes together," Lessa looked Kim over as she started to clean Kith. "Shouldn't be too hard for the most part, but we'll need to have your wherhide gear made especially for you. Since you can't leave Kith here while you go off, I'll send for the Master Tanner and the Master Weaver as well. I'll send Manora with the messenger, that way they'll be able to pick out lengths and completed clothes that would better fit. I give it till full night before the Oldtimers hear about you…"
"Oldtimers?" Kim looked at her.
"The Dragonmen from four hundred turns ago. Shells!!! I need a Harper! Dragon men exist to fight thread." Lessa smiled at the quizzical look Kim gave her, "No, not the stuff we use to sew, Thread is a parasitical organism that fall's from the sky and eats away at anything born or grown; flesh, plant life, hide… Thread scores and burns it and can only be killed by extreme heat or cold. Hence, the dragons. Dragon's flame thread from the skies of Pern. Searing it in the air before it can harm those we protect.
"Thread doesn't fall constantly though; it comes in times we call passes. A pass last for fifty turns, and thread attacks come… at shorter and shorter intervals as the star passes. At their height they last six hours and fall about fourteen hours apart. Six turns ago, when thread was about to start falling, we'd had a long interval of four hundred turns without thread, and Benden Weyr," Lessa gestured, "Was the only active Weyr, and we were under manned with just over two hundred and fifty dragons in a Weyr able to support thousands."
"So…" Lessa hesitated a moment before plunging on, "I flew Ramoth, my queen, between four hundred turns back to bring forward the old Weyrs to help us fight thread."
"Dragons can fly through time?" Kim looked at her astonished, then at Kith with a sort of awe.
"Dragons can fly, instantly, anywhere their rider can see and show to them. You'll learn that, once Kith can fly. Between, is the cold, void of nothingness that they fly through. In the span of three coughs, you can fly to any point on Pern that you know. Your weyrling leader will teach you reference points, and even how to fly between time now that we know the way of it…" Lessa took a long hard look at Kim, "You're thinking of flying between back to your world?"
"So not the drama, if you can fly between times…" Kim said.
"You come from a different world entirely, and there is nothing between. Nothing, it is a complete void. My trip through time nearly killed me, and there's no guarantee you could make the journey between worlds, or if you or Kith would survive it." Lessa pointed out.
Kim's mind took all that in. Was it possible to jump between to reach home? Possibly. Was it safe? Not at all. Could they die in the attempt? Maybe. It came down to risk. Was she willing to risk her life to get home. Yes. Was she willing to risk her dragon. She couldn't. And, then, even if they survived the trip to earth, where would she house a creature that grew to be the size of… and with a long slow look, her eyes settled on the bronze that had rested outside her Weyr.
"Come on, let's oil that hide, he'll
still be itching. Then he needs food." Kim smiled strongly.
Kim looked into the polished glass that showed her new look. Lessa had braided her hair back and she wore the form fitting Weyr hide pants and steel soled boots of a rider, and it had been died a soft red. Her tunic was soft woven and bleached pale white. There was also a Weyr hide jerkin to put on over the tunic that belted in place in the same soft red as the pants. She picked up the white gloves, looking at them a moment before setting them down. Finally she picked up the belt knife that had been given her. It was simple. A red handle and a blade sharp and made for use, not decoration.
Lessa had said to come to her Weyr as soon as she'd gotten dressed. That meant something was happening. A quick decision, and she'd slid the knife into her belt. The Weyr hide jerkin would be too hot in the Weyr, and, according to Lessa and the Weyrleader, she had another full turn before she could fly. She turned to Kith, sleeping on his couch, an absent smile playing on her lips.
"How did this happen? This is major drama, I've only been here two days, and I can't imagine a life without you. And Ron, Rufus, Wade, all of them gone… No Drakken, no Shego. I fell through that vortex and into a fantasy… how… " Kim sighed.
"Not sure about the how part on your coming here, but the bond with a dragon is like nothing else you'll ever feel. You're never alone now, not even when you're in an empty room because Kith will be there; a part of your mind, your soul." The voice came from behind her and Kim turned to see a man with F'lar's same dark hair and amber eyes, but his features just a touch different. "I'm F'nor, F'lar's half brother and wing second. I'll be the one putting you through your paces with Kith and teaching you about Pern after today. Once Kith is flying, and you're good enough, we'll see how you fight thread."
Kim smiled, "No big."
"I like you. Come on, the other Weyr Leader's will be here soon and you need a quick crash course before that happens. R'mart, T'ron, and T'kul are the three staunchly set in their ways. They're also the oldest of the Oldtimer Weyrleaders. D'ram and G'narish are Oldtimers, but they're younger, and not as stuck in the past, however they will usually… defer to the other three, especially if the other three are all in agreement. T'bor is a modern rider. He was actually a Benden rider before the establishment of Southern Weyr a few turns ago… but this is something that's never happened before. Honestly, if you'd not fell from between, I don't think F'lar would have even let a woman attempt to impress a fighting dragon… let alone a bronze." F'nor shook his head.
"I tended to do a lot of things no one else did on my world." Kim smiled as she walked along the stone path towards the Queen's Weyr.
"So I'm told. Well, this should be interesting. Just above all, act with strength befitting a Bronze Rider and try not to insult them." F'nor said, then he stopped in the entryway. "I have to go, but remember, F'lar and Lessa are your Weyrleader and Weyrwoman. They're on your side. Watch yourself and be careful of your words, and be sure to greet Ramoth."
Kim nodded, "So not the drama," Then stepped into the Weyr and nodded to F'lar and Lessa, "Weyrleader, Weyrwoman." She turned to the giant gold dragon, "Ramoth." She stared at the large creature, it's huge whirling eye taking her in. She carefully held its gaze, barely breathing, but refusing to back down.
When the golden queen finally let out a gentle croon and turned her head away Kim relaxed and joined F'lar and Lessa; her breathing slow and steady. She regarded the smile on Lessa's face curiously as she came up.
"Ramoth say's you'll be a fine rider for Kith, she approves." Lessa said.
"Glad I have such support." Kim smiled.
"Truthfully Kim, there's not much can be done. You have impressed. You're a Dragonrider. No man would dare harm a dragon, and to harm you would harm Kith. This is more so that we can tell the other Weyrleaders on our terms. Full disclosure so they can't use it later." F'lar smiled at her.
"That's a possibility?" Kim asked, "I thought we were all on the same side."
"We are, but we have different…views on how the Weyrs should interact with Hold and Craft…" The sound of the watch dragon's call caused F'lar to pause, "Someone's here."
"T'bor on Orth, and R'mart on Branth." Lessa said.
"Oh yes, Lessa can speak to any dragon in the Weyr, so don't be surprised if she knows everything that happens when you think she isn't looking." F'lar smiled as his weyrmate teasingly.
"Reminds me of Wade…" Kim started, then stopped as she remembered home.
"Wade, " Lessa spoke softly, "Was a friend of yours from your world?"
"Yea, he was my… life line. If I needed something, I called him and he called in a favor, did what he did, made it happen. He, Ron, and Rufus. We were a team." Kim sighed, "Hard to think I'll probably never see them again… I mean, even if they find me… with Kith… I can't go back. Not to that world."
"I know it's hard Kim," Lessa said, her voice soft, "But there'll be time for that later. We have," She looked toward the sound of footfalls in the entryway.
"I understand Weyrwoman." Kim said, then stepped back to stand behind the two.
"F'lar, good to see you. What's this about though?" T'bor said as he and R'mart came into the Weyr.
"T'bor, Southern seems to be treating you well, as for the reason for this meeting… I'd rather wait till everyone arrives." F'lar said.
"Why Benden? It's obviously something to do with the young girl there… else she wouldn't be here." R'mart pointed out.
"Indeed R'mart, but honestly, I only wish to explain this once." F'lar shrugged.
A bugle from outside announced another arrival, and the other leaders looked to the entryway as F'lar again turned to Lessa, "T'ron and T'kul… and D'ram and G'narish, they came right behind them."
"Good, the sooner the better. You've got me curious F'lar. What's Benden up to now?" The Oldtimer said it easily, but there was a touch of wrath in the words.
"We're here Benden!" Came from the entrance and T'kul entered, flanked by the other three. "What's so important that you call a full meeting of the Weyr leaders? High Reaches has thread to fight come morning and I'd like to get some sleep in tonight." T'kul's words were clipped and harsh. "Whose the girl?"
"The girl, Weyrleaders, is the reason I called this meeting. She's impressed at yesterdays hatching…" He gave that a moment.
"So? Everyone knows there was a new queen on the hatching grounds." R'mart said.
"There was…" F'lar said, "And Brekke impressed Wirinth. This however, is Kim. She impressed Kith, a bronze." He looked at the shocked faces of each man.
"What are you pulling Benden?" T'kul's voice shook with anger. "Women aren't allowed to impress fighting dragons."
"Traditionally no…" F'lar started.
"It's not done Benden!" T'ron's voice came hard.
F'lar looked from one to the other of them. T'ron and T'kul both had a look of pure hate on their faces. T'bor was looking at F'lar in shock. R'mart was staring straight at Kim. D'ram and G'narish were looking back and forth between Kim, F'lar, and the two leading Oldtimers. Then F'lar looked back at the silent Kim. Her eyes were harder than either T'ron or T'kul, her stance ready. Time to do this.
"Bronze Rider." F'lar said.
Kim stepped forward to the protests of T'kul and T'ron, her voice came clear as glass, and hard as steel as she spoke, but she still kept a polite volume and tone. "My name is Kim, I am Bronze Kith's rider. As I understand things, once impression has been made, there is no turning back. The dragon and his rider are bonded, mind and soul, for life. I did not come to Benden Weyr by choice… as a matter of fact, I did not come to Pern by choice." She smiled at the look of shock on their faces at that revelation and knew they were listening to her now, "My first sight on Pern, on this world, was of Benden's hatching. If you doubt me, ask anyone within the Weyr how I came to be on the grounds yesterday. I looked up from the sand and into the eyes of a Bronze Dragon, whether it is tradition or not, I have impressed. What else can you do but train me?"
She saw instantly that she had convinced T'bor, D'ram, G'narish, and R'mart, but T'ron and T'kul wouldn't budge that easily. She could tell they'd want to undo this somehow, and all that stopped them was that it couldn't be undone.
"So what does this mean Benden? That you want us to not only search outside the Weyrs for riders, but you want us to offer up girls for the impression of fighting dragons!" T'kul roared.
"Not at all… I merely wished to bring this piece of information to your attention. I thought it better to tell you all now, rather than to have it found out later and someone claim we tried to hide it. The fact is, until it happened yesterday, I had no idea that women even could impress fighting dragons, let alone a Bronze. Now however, she has. For the simple fact that it can't be undone, we must train her as a dragon rider, a task made doubly hard, because she isn't from our world. She wasn't raised to the beat of harper drums and teaching songs, she was taught whole other lessons on a whole other world, that has never seen thread. There is no red star, no dragons at all…" F'lar looked at there silent shock.
"That's…" T'bor started.
"I can't…" R'mart managed.
"Now imagine Weyrleaders, if we were in her position… She has, in the span of a day, accepted that she may be trapped on our world forever, bonded for life to fight thread and serve Pern, a task she may die in. And she isn't shaken by those thoughts… who are we to question the ability of a rider like that? That's why I called you here gentlemen. Because as the leaders of the Weyrs, you deserved to know. Now you do." F'lar sat.
"Now we know." T'kul said coldly, standing he nodded to F'lar, "My duty to you Weyrleader." He turned to Lessa, "Weyrwoman." Then he strode from the room, T'ron following his example immediately.
The remaining three Weyrleaders stood each nodding and giving polite honor to each of the Benden pair, and then to Kim as well before they left quietly. As the calls from the watch dragon signaled the last of them leaving, the three inside the queen's Weyr all let out a held breath.
"That went better than expected, but it'll be a contention point with T'kul and T'ron later." F'lar sighed.
"True, but this was a better choice than an unexpected meeting. Now everyone will be expecting to see her." Lessa pointed out.
"So not the drama. When they've fought a green thief with flaming hands, we'll talk." Kim smiled.
"Always confident, aren't you Kim?" Lessa said.
"I have to be." Kim smiled.
"I'd say that's true now more than ever." She looked toward the golden queen, then back to Kim, "You should get back to your Weyr and get some rest… the next turn will be… eventful…"