K'din…impressed at 15…he's now 24…brown hair, a little on the long side. Brown eyes…KIND…not the usual arrogant bronze rider. He KNOWS he's capable, he just doesn't need to flaunt it. He's pretty empathetic. He knew when runners were hurt…rather like his green firelizard. He came from a beast hold and Impressed Meertanth at Western Weyr during the 5th pass of the Red Star.
Meertanth…bronze, also very capable and strong. He's now nine. He has never flown a queen before.
Just a short story, based on the Dragon Riders of Pern AND a blog devoted to writing AU Dragon Rider Stories
In the blog, yes, women can...and do...impress blues...
That wonderful world belongs to Anne McCaffrey...I wanted my own Bronze Rider
This is a look back at K'din's impression...
K'din...Bronze Meertanth's Rider
How it all began...
Kaydin ran his hand down the runner's leg. She shivered when he touched her ankle and he found the small thorn imbedded under the hair there. With deft fingers he pulled it out and rubbed over the area. A relieved whoosh of air left her lungs and flowed over his head, ruffling his long brown hair.
He stood and addressed her. "Better, sweetling?" He knew she wouldn't really answer him but he did feel her relief flowing from her. A soft chirrup answered for her.
"So, Bithia, you agree, she's better now?" The dainty green firelizard trilled an affirmative from where she sat on the sturdy creature's back and flew to the padded shoulder of his vest. She rubbed her head against his cheek.
Kaydin glanced back over his shoulder. The rest of the herd was moving along behind his brothers where they walked at the head of the long line of beasts. No one was riding as these were all yearlings being brought down from the high pastures for the first time.
At fifteen he always got to bring up the rear on these excursions. Martouf and Dramon always led the way. They weren't fond of breathing the dust that was stirred up by runner feet. Besides, if something happened to any of the runners, Kaydin was usually able to take care of them. He didn't mind being in the back anyway; it gave him time to think and to enjoy some solitude.
Being alone was hard in a hold where there were so many people. His father had finally decided to expand on the cots that they lived in as his new wife had just borne him a set of twin girls, to go along with his three younger brothers. Both of his older brothers had wives and children. Yes, it was crowded at home and solitude was a nice thing occasionally.
Just as they rounded the last bend before the hold, Bithia looked up into the sky and chirped. It was a happy sound, so he wasn't worried that thread was falling out of order. Before he could get more than an impression of happiness and awe from her, she flew into the sky, joined quickly by the gold and bronze firelizards of his brothers.
A second later the sky was dominated by a blue dragon and his rider. Kaydin's eyes widened at the thrill of seeing him on wing. Dragons were a common enough sight, but it never ceased to amaze him. This one was hovering, giving them time to move the runners into a pen. The herd's unease was clear to him as they eyed the dark blue creature. The rider was kind enough to stay far enough away that the scent of the dragon didn't wash over the herd.
When the gate was firmly closed behind the last one, Kaydin joined his family to wait on the Rider as he dismounted from his dragon. The blue was looking over the people gathered and for a long moment held Kaydin's eyes with his own, and then swept on.
"Holder Seneca, I'm B'ran and I'm on Search. There are eggs on the sands at Western and Bralth says that you have someone suitable." A gasp from many of those gathered met his words.
"Rider B'ran, it is our pleasure to allow you to Search here. Please, who do you honor?" Holder Seneca asked.
Kaydin noticed that Bralth, his blue eyes swirling, was again looking at him and he felt a shiver of anticipation go down his back.
"You, young man, what's your name?" Kaydin looked over his shoulder to make sure that it was he that the Rider was addressing before he stepped forward. Bithia was circling over his head in an aerial dance of joy.
"I'm Kaydin, Rider." That was all that he could manage to say from a suddenly dry mouth.
"Holder, would you allow Kaydin to stand on the sands?"
With a nod from his father's head, Kaydin's life changed in a huge way for the first time. It seemed to take no time to fill a carisack with his clothes and to say his goodbyes. The Rider said that more could be sent for later.
"We'll send for you when Hatching is imminent," B'ran told his parents. They agreed to be ready in about a seven day.
Kaydin's younger siblings were looking at him with awe on their faces. His father was full of pride as he grasped his shoulders and there was a small tear on the face of his father's wife. But she smiled, full of pride in him too.
The Rider mounted and held a hand for Kaydin to join him on the back of the dragon. A deep breath and a small climb later and he was situated behind B'ran.
"Settle your green on your shoulder and tell her to hang on. I'll warn you both before we go between." Kaydin took in another deep breath and suddenly they were airborne and he was watching the Hold that he had been raised in falling away below them.
A smile filled his face and his soul before they winked between.
The following week was filled with Candidate classes and enough information to make Kaydin's head spin. There was also lots of bagging of firestone for his first threadfall at the Weyr. That was a sight, watching the dragons far overhead flaming and diving. He'd never been outside to see it before and it was thrilling. The thought that he might, at some point, be one of those who guarded Pern filled him with awe.
His second day at the Weyr had found him washing a dragon, a sweet green by the name of Brenith. She had been grateful when he found and took care of a hideous itch on her shoulder.
Her voice in his head was something that he would treasure.
Kaydin fell into bed in the Candidate barracks each night physically exhausted, but his mind would be running over everything that he had learned. Bithia would rest in the curve of his neck, sending him soothing emotions and brief flashes of her day. Many of those memories were of the eggs that hardened on the sands. She was enthralled by them too.
The Candidates had been allowed to wander amongst them earlier in the afternoon. The Queen had watched them carefully as they gently touched the twenty-six eggs. He hadn't gone near the glistening gold egg. That one was surrounded by four young women.
One egg had stood out to Kaydin. It had a mottled design that reminded him of a runner's head, a runner with its ears perked forward. He had felt the anticipation from the eggs. Nothing substantive, of course, but certainly an eagerness to be free of their shells. There was also hunger; he knew that feeling from being so closely bound with Bithia.
Kaydin didn't know what it would take to draw a dragon to him; no one could say exactly what it was that dragons looked for. As he fell asleep before what everyone expected to be the Hatching day, he just hoped that one of the dragons would find him worthy.
Just after dawn Kaydin awoke to find Bithia sitting in the middle of his chest. She was crooning a welcoming song. Just as he realized that the eggs must be starting to hatch, the door to the barracks was flung open and the Candidate Master was standing there. He flipped the glow basket in his hand open and looked at each of the people in the room.
"Well, are you all going to get up, dress and come to the sands? This IS what you've been waiting for!" A moment of silence met his words before chaos ensued.
Kaydin stripped off his tunic and reached for the white Candidate robe that Bithia was holding in her talons as she hovered over his cot. The hum was now reverberating through the very walls of the room.
The Candidate Master had the thirty-two Candidates line up before the barracks. Overhead, dragons flew into the opening of the hatching grounds, many of them with two, three and even four passengers aboard. Kaydin wondered if his father was one of them and who he would have brought with him.
The humming was becoming more intense as the Candidate Master had them continue waiting. He quickly covered the rules again.
Never try and force an impression.
Don't touch a hatchling unless you are making impression, or setting the hatchling to rights (he/she hatched on their backs) and if that is the case, set them up and then step back.
Keep your eyes open and keep out of the way of a hatchling that is not yours. Their talons are sharp and they are a little unstable on their feet.
With a good luck and follow me, he led them into the archway and urged them to find a place on the hot sands.
Kaydin looked up at the tiers of people and dragons waiting. With a thought he sent Bithia to a ledge where many of the Weyr's firelizards waited. He had been told that the Queen didn't want any of them actually on the sands. He and three others had lizards that looked to them.
A gasp from those in attendance focused his eyes back on the eggs. One of them had rocked hard. The humming from dragon and firelizard throats stepped up a notch.
Squaring his shoulders, Kaydin looked toward the egg with the runner's head on it. It wasn't yet rocking but the one right before him was.
Suddenly a crack appeared and a brown wingtip slipped out. With a thrust of the appendage the rest of the shell fell in shards around the hatchling's feet. A joyful cry from beside him let him know that this brown was taken. He watched as the tall boy stepped forward and impression was made.
"His name is Meath!"
Eggs were rocking all around Kaydin. Impressions were being made right and left. A small lull was filled when the glistening queen egg split and a hatchling bigger than all the rest stepped from the broken remains. She looked over each of the girls, apparently weighing them in her mind, before she called imperiously and one, a small dark haired girl walked forward and cupped her face.
"Tiaminth…her name is Tiaminth!"
Kaydin glanced around the sands, looking to see if any of the eggs were still in one piece. There were four, one of them being the one he had had his eye on.
Something was pressing at his mind and he looked to see what it might be. It was similar to the feeling he had when the green had thanked him. Before he could find the source a blue hatched near him. Pain roiled through the air toward him and he realized that the creature had his talons snagged in his wing. Without thought, Kaydin stepped forward and gently detangled the talon. He wondered if this was his dragon.
No…there is yours…THIS one is mine! The dragon, now set safely on his feet lunged toward one of the women who had been left standing near the queen. He butted her firmly in her backside. She turned and with a cry looked into his face. Impression, once again, was made.
Here I am…K'din…here The voice burst into his mind and the young man turned just in time to see the egg with the runner's head shatter. A bronze hatchling glistened there. He spread his wings and barked loudly.
Don't you want to come close?
"Yes, of course I do, Meertanth!" K'din, no longer Kaydin, strode quickly to stand before the sturdy bronze.
It was kind of you to help my clutchmate…now I need to eat…
K'din pressed his hands firmly along the bronze back of his dragon and scratched a small itch as directed.
Bithia was hovering, as the Queen had already left the sands with her new daughter.
The little sister looks to you too?
"Yes, she does." K'din could hear and feel the joy that Bithia was emanating. "She's happy that you are with us. As am I."
The Rider led his dragon to where food awaited them. Bithia keeping pace beside them as they left the sands.
Nine Years Later...
The last hatchling left the sands and Bronze Rider K'din watched as Basilissath's Rider, Tirzah, walked beside her Queen behind her hatchling daughter and her newly impressed Rider.
K'din drew in a deep breath as he realized that he had not taken one since he had first seen Tirzah standing beside her Queen when the hatching began. He hadn't met the young Queen Rider before this day. But when he caught sight of her, he felt like he had known her forever.
I don't remember meeting her before, have we? Meerthanth's mental voice was curious.
No, dear heart, we haven't. I don't know what's happening. Shaking his head to clear it he asked, Are you happy on the rim?
Yes, the sun is warm and the others are pleased with the hatching. Many pairs found each other today.
It was a happy occurrence when K'din realized that his transfer to the Weyr came on a hatching day. He had always enjoyed seeing the Candidates turn into Riders by impression. After the impressions were over there would be a feast with music and dancing afterwards.
Maybe he would be able to dance with the dark haired beauty that had stolen his breath away.