Kate and Xinieth learn Between

Characters Kate, R'sner
Synopsis Kate and Xinieth learn to go Between
Out-of-Character Date April 1, 2020

Igen Weyr - South Bowl
The orange hued sandstone layers comprising the bowl walls curve gently, but ever presently in your view. Fine sand shifts underfoot, a slightly paler version of what is found upon the walls. It gives way along the eastern edge to a section of contrasting green grass where a series of cleverly engineered pipes provide water to the fenced off area of the feeding grounds, and keeps the shimmer of the shallow lake beyond from dissapearing during the dryest periods of the turn. A distinctly squared entrance farther south is the tunnel leading out to the lands beyond. Traders and tithes arrive here at regular intervals and it is not uncommon for part of the bowl to be set up with a series of tents and wagons as wares are displayed and sold. To the west, the bowl wall has been eroded by the desert winds into strange shapes. At their base are found the weyrling barracks and training fields.

The infamous Between lesson has been looming on the horizon for weeks. Visualization drills have been increased and harder than ever, lessons have taken a tone toward a much more serious nature, and more than one lecture has concluded with warnings about the dangers of reckless behavior and the perils of Between. While R'sner does not believe in scaring his weyrlings unnecessarily, neither has he shied away from blunt descriptions of what could happen to a dragonrider, should they go Between unprepared. Hubris is the precursor to disaster and death, and R'sner is adamant that none of his weyrlings become a casualty. And so, it is only when he is confident that a weyrling has mastered visualization and understands the seriousness of Between, that he'll call them out for the actual lesson. And today is apparently Kate and Xinieth's lucky day.

Visualization drills have been something that Kate and Xinieth have picked up on quickly, especially once they closed in on what details are and aren't important in them. Putting them into practice however is something that brings more uncertainty. While R'sner might not be trying to scare the weyrlings it certainly is something to consider and warnings have been taken to heart. Scared, not exactly. Between the two its more of a mix of excitement to finally be to this point and apprehension that this lesson is already upon them. Ready or not it's that time though and if he feels they're ready they are. "Sir," the blonde greets with a salute.

"Morning," returns R'sner, offering a nod for the salute. "I assume you know what this lesson is about." Undoubtedly. And if not, Toith would have been sure to tell them. No surprises here! "In a moment, we're going to mount up and fly over the southern end of the bowl. Once we're in the air, the dragons will be how we communicate. It is important that you and Xinieth pay careful attention to any instructions we give, and to not do anything without our say-so. Toith will be very clear about when you can jump. That being said," he offers, perhaps knowing well the mixed emotions most weyrlings feel during this lesson, "I don't want you to be overly worried about it. The first jump will be made by Toith providing the image, and we're going no further than the other side of Igen's bowl, near the Star Stones. If you and Xinieth feel comfortable after that, it will be your turn to visualize the destination, though you're not to jump until Toith has said so." A pause comes then, perhaps to hilight the seriousness of that statement. "Any questions before we begin?" And if not, then, "Mount up and we'll meet you in the sky."

"Yes, sir," Kate replies with a nod of confirmation. They are well aware of what this particular lesson is about. The anticipation might not be literally killing them, but it is had and may well provide a few knots. A nod again as she listens to the instructions. "No questions," she replies before climbing to take her place on Xinieth and strapping in at the Weyrlingmaster's go-ahead, and once ready the green pushes herself from the ground to meet Toith at the predetermined location.

With a final nod, R'sner turns and hauls himself aboard Toith. The little green takes off with great exuberance, flinging herself into the sky and racing toward their 'destination'. Once there, however, she settles into an easy glide, assuming her role as 'instructor' just as easily. « 'Kay, » comes in serious though not somber tones. « Y' seen th' bowl lots since y' started flyin', » she continues. « An' now y're gonna put tha' to pra'tice. Bu' firs', Imma give y' th' pi'ture fo' th' firs' jump. » A perhaps unnecessary rehash of what R'sner said below, but Toith diligently repeats it nonetheless. And soon enough, there's a nice, crisp and (hopefully) extremely familiar picture of Igen Weyr offered. « Got it? » she ask a second later. « Nice an' clear, yeah? » She knows it is. « 'Old that in y'r 'ead. Onna count o' three, y' can jump. 'Kay? One… two… three. Go. »

Kate nods, the action unnecessary perhaps now that they're in the air and communications are between dragons but it's habit nonetheless. Xinieth too confirms « Got it. » passing it onto her rider as well. « Very, » she agrees on clarity of the image. Would any of them expect anything less? Then there's the count down and at three, the designated 'okay' the young green blinks from one end of the bowl to the other appearing just above the star stones with a trill of triumph.

Toith is quick to follow, that uncanny knack of dragons not to run into each other putting her beside Xinieth with a dragonlength between. A crow of triumph rises from the green, a brassy sound that fills the sky above Igen. « Ya did it! » Was there any doubt she wouldn't? Not from the Weyrlingmaster pair, at least. Even R'sner offers a nod of his head, though it's far more in confirmation than triumph. « Good job! » comes Toith's and R'sner's praise both. « An' now y' get t' do it y'rself! Firs' we gotta fly back o'er the sou' bowl, » is offered as the smaller green gets to doing just that. And once they're back where they started, she proclaims, « Y'r turn! But don' jump until we say so! » That point cannot be hammered home any further, but Toith's still gonna try. « When y're ready, gimme the image of the bowl o'er the star stones. » And presuming it's nice and crisp and clear, they'll be given the go-ahead to jump.

« Of course we did. » If there was ever any doubt it certainly wasn't from Xinieth. « And then we can go other places too? » Because lets all be honest, that's what this young green has been waiting for all this time. With the okay to fly some months ago she finally gained limited approval to see and explore what's beyond the walls of the bowl, but now there are (almost) no limits on where they might be able to get off to. She's getting ahead of herself though as they fly back to the south end of the bowl where they began. This time it's Xinieth providing the image to Toith, clear and well practiced from all those earlier drills, and when given the okay the previous performance is repeated.

And once more, Toith appears a few seconds later, triumphant once again. This time, there's an enthusiastic bugle from the green and the flickering of a smile from the human — not that anyone is in a position to see such a thing, alas. « Well done, » comes quickly, the ring of R'sner's tone in Toith's words. « Th' firs' jump's usually th' hardest. » Maybe cause of nerves? Who knows. « Ready f' some other places? » because of course they're gonna go other places now! Sadly, it is not as far as Xinieth might have hoped, as first few places they visit are all locations the green would have seen when flying with the sweep riders. But after a handful of successful jumps to familiar places, R'sner offers a final option. « F' th' las' jump, Res is gonna give th' image 'gain, kay? » She doesn't really wait for an answer. Instead there's a quick pause and then a suitably image of an island from above is presented; black sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Ista Weyr in all her glory. « Ready? » and then « Go. »

Aww. It was there though! Too bad about not being able to see it, Kate certainly would have had a few words of teasing for him for that almost smile except perhaps that they're mid-lesson. Those next jumps are just as exciting as the one across the bowl for the green. Sure they've seen them all before, but they didn't have to fly there straight. Flying has it's joys too, but lets face it getting there without it is even better. Xinieth fills that pause with her « Okay. » The image shared is committed and on 'Go' there's the quick jump between to appear above the island weyr. « Ista, » she must draw the name from Kate since Toith didn't tell her where they were going, « is lovely. »

« It is! » And perhaps the name was withheld on purpose. Perhaps it was meant to be a surprise! « An' warm. » Not that Igen isn't warm, being Igen and all. « An' th' water's nice, » just in case Xinieth didn't catch sight of it. « S' th' ocean! » Which is, probably, another unnecessary comment from the green. But Toith is excited, despite having committed herself to the role of teacher, and she can't quite keep it from her mind. « Res wan's t' know if th're's anywh're Kate wan's t' go next. »

It was a surprise, sort of. That's probably Kate's fault for having been so many coastal places previously. For other weyrlings Ista might be much more the surprise. « It is! » A different kind of warm from Igen though and « So much water! » Because water Toith, WATER. « Kate was right. Can't we just stay and see more? » The ocean is one of those things Xinieth's been talking about seeing almost since she was hatched. The question becomes almost an afterthought though she does finally provide, « Nerat. »

« Res says we c'n come back an' play inna water, » promises Toith. « After th' lesson. » Cause lesson now, play later. And perhaps it was the ocean more than the island that was the intended surprise. An ocean that, in a few short days, Kate and Xinieth will be able to visit in their free time, uninhibited by the Weyrlingmaster's oversight (though, of course, there will be someone with them. >.> Res isn't about to let his weyrlings run free just yet). « Nerat, » repeats Toith. And after another short pause, the image is provided: a crisp image of Nerat for Xinieth and Kate. « Ready? Go. » And once more, into the black.

That may be a hint of a mental pout from Xinieth, but she's over it quickly with promise to return to play later. She might not like it, but she'll abide by those lesson rules. The next image taken from Toith and at the go they slip again into the darkness of between to reappear at the next location.

With Nerat spread out below them, Toith once more bugles Xinieth's triumph at a successful trip Between. The residents of the Hold below may not appreciate it as much, but at least they won't be staying here long. A couple more jumps around Pern, alternating between location's chosen by R'sner and those by Kate, until they find themselves in the sky over Southern Boll. Balmy breezes keep Toith aloft over the large Hold, the green drifting comfortably. « Las' jump, » she announces. « W're goin' home. An' you give us th' image again. Skies o'er Igen by th' star stones! Don' jump till we say 'go' tho',» she reminds.

Xineith is quiet pleased by each successive jump to a new location. So many places to explore! And she will do her best to find a way to revisit as many as she can. Given the announcement of returning home she sends the image back to Toith of the day's first visualization the star stones of Igen Weyr. Once confirmation is returned with the okay to go the pair traverse between one more time, returning to Igen's skies.

This time, Toith's triumphant bugle is met with answering calls from dragons around Igen, either feeding on the green's delight or happy to congratulate Xinieth as well. « Wahoo! Ya did great! » she compliments, indulging in a lazy little loop-de-loop before heading for the bowl once again. Xinieth is clearly meant to follow, and if that's not clear there's a quick little, « We're landin' now, » offered before she does just that. And once on the ground, Res is quick to dismount, moving to meet Kate half-way for a final discussion. At least he looks pleased, even if there's (sadly) no smile to speak of. He's not scowling, so…Winning. "How do you feel?"

Xinieth joins in on that celebration, adding in her own exuberance for the adventure (and successful lesson). Circling down to land beside Toith « Can we go to to ocean again? » Dismounting, Kate slides to the ground, turning a quirk of a smile towards the man at his question. "Better." Not good, not bad, but better about the whole thing. Sure it still might take a little more getting used to that yes, they really are doing this thing now. But it is less daunting now.

R'sner will refrain from the 'told you so' that he might rightly be able to claim. He did tell her it would get better, didn't he? "You and Xinieth did well," he confirms. "But I find that Between is one of those lessons that most weyrlings are appropriately wary about, only to become more complacent with time. Don't let that be you." It's at least spoken gently; a reminder rather than a reprimand. "Remain diligent with visualization each and every time. But, you are now free to go places with an assistant weyrlingmaster. And next week, if all goes well, I'll release you to go Between with other dragonriders as well." And the week after that, they'll be released to travel by themselves. Of course, that will also come with new and "exciting" chores — yay, delivery service! "Do you have any questions or concerns?"

He could say it, but she'll likely appreciate it more that he doesn't. She might usually be more respectful of the Weyrlingmaster but for that confirmation of doing well R'sner earns a quick hug before Kate steps back with a sheepish if somewhat apoplectic look. "Thank you, sir," followed by "Yes, sir," for both of the following comments with a single nod. "No," her answer to the question of questions. She may well think of some later, but not at present.

R'sner is not a stranger to hugs, but they're usually coming from his weyrmate. Still, he takes it in stride even if he doesn't exactly return it. "Yes, well. If anything comes up, you know where to find me." Through Toith. Because dragons are pretty cool like that. And thus, with the lesson concluded and no answers needed, there's a familiar, "Dismissed," for Kate, before Res is taking a break before the next lesson starts.

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