"The Talk" aka Mating Flights

Characters A'eyr, R'sner
Synopsis R'sner has an awkward conversation with A'eyr about mating flights. (Mature subject warning)
Out-of-Character Date May 30, 2019

Igen Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
Nearly equal in size to the Hatching Cavern, the barracks are immense, easily one of the largest of the caverns that sprawl through the cliffside at Igen Weyr. Accessible though a wide entrance meant to admit wind-trailing dragonets, and lighted by small windows cut into the rock, as well as the newly added electric lights, the weyrling barracks provide a place for growing dragonets that haven't reached their full size yet. A path leads though the cavern, on either side standing stone hollows that form the weyrling couches, with a cot and clothespress for the rider beside them. A small alcove in the back houses several large bins are placed along the short ends of the walls nearest the entrance tunnels, containing supplies of oil, food, and water for the young dragons and their riders: a vat of oil and paddles for spreading it onto itchy hides, and various containers kept filled daily with fresh meat. There are also materials available for making riding straps later on in the training sessions. A training chart is posted near the doorway, informing the weyrlings of the lessons they will need to follow.

Having settled Indaryth in for the evening, A'eyr gives his lifemate's snout a soft lingering touch before he steps down off his wallow and heads over to his cot in order to change out of Igen robes into something a bit more interior casual. It's a quick thing without fuss, folding up that which he'd taken off and neatly tucking it away into his press. Comfortable trousers, a simple white tunic, and he's done. Dropping himself to sit on the edge of his mattress, all that long blond hair is let down, falling in waves and curls down to the center of his back, and giving the back of his head a scritch and groaning softly. Wearing it up all day kept it out of the way, but made his scalp ache after a while.

The barracks are getting crowded. Those baby dragons aren't exactly babies anymore, and even if there are only nine of them… well. Space is becoming something of a premium. Maybe that's why R'sner has been singling out groups of weyrlings, pulling them aside and having a rather curious 'talk' with them. And now it's A'eyr's turn. The Weyrlingmaster at least waits until Indaryth is down for the count before he slides on over and issues a curt, "Weyrling," in greeting. A tip of his head indicates he ought to follow as Res heads right on down the path through the barracks to the less-populated side.

A'eyr is nearly finished braiding his hair in preparation of sleep when R'sner arrives, quite used to the way that R'sner greeted the weyrlings, and so the curtness earns back only a soft nod in return, "Sir." It's the indication that it was to follow the Weyrlingmaster that has fingers hurrying and applying an elastic hastily, rising to his feet and doing just that with only a single peek back towards Indaryth. The bronze was completely passed out, and maybe a small part of his rider wished he could find sleep that quickly.

R'sner doesn't go too far. Just far enough that they won't be easily overheard. A casual gesture indicates that A'eyr ought to take a seat, and it's only a moment before Res is sinking down onto an empty and unused cot as well. No need to stand when there's perfectly good seating available. But while he might sit, he's not exactly relaxed. A moment of silent study, and then he begins. "Indaryth is nearly mature, and it won't be much longer before he takes an interest in females. Before that happens, it's important for you to understand the… details of mating flights." There's no real awkwardness in the Weyrlingmaster — he's done this a lot over the turns. But there is at least a sensitivity to the weyrling's history, and a desire not to overly embarrass them. So Res pauses, considering A'eyr quietly once again before he asks, "What do you know about mating flights?"

With that gesture, A'eyr scoots and finds himself a seat, plopping himself down much in the same way he had on his own cot. It doesn't take long for him to settle himself, head tilted slightly in regards to the Weyrlingmaster. Any curiosity as to the topic vanishes as R'sner explains, for the most part seeming rather relaxed given the subject that they were about to discuss, "Okay," he says with nods, probably having some idea that something of this nature would be discussed at some point and had prepared for such an inevitability, "Not much, but I've seen riders and their dragons acting different than they usually do which I guess is a part of that."

R'sner is not the sort of Weyrlingmaster to withhold information, especially information that is a key element of life as a dragonrider. So even as candidates, they would have been briefed on the more important details of mating flights. Namely, the sex-aspect. But the rest of it? The nitty gritty details he definitely saves for later. Which happens to be now. "A part of it," he agrees. "Riders of female dragons may experience symptoms of their dragon's going proddy — which is a term we use to describe the time just before they rise to mate. It can affect… all manner of things. Some riders may experience emotional changes, others might get weird cravings. Some are entirely unaffected, though that's rare. The dragon, as well, may experience changes in behavior or mood. The experience is very individual, for both the dragon and the rider." A moment of pause. "What else do you know?"

A'eyr nods, listening, hands lightly placed on the mattress of the cot he occupies. It wasn't difficult to put one and one together and get two, and this was not his first time hearing the word Proddy. It was usually dropped every single time the rider of a female dragon started acting even the least bit out of character, regardless of whether or not it was accurate. Seemed to him just as bad as associating any foul mood with monthly symptoms of another affliction, the one that was typically experienced only by women. Green eyes shift off and a touch of color seeps into his cheeks, "That the rider on the winning male dragon, typically has sex with the female's rider. Substitutions happen, but…" Yeah, sex. He knew about that part, but certainly wasn't going to lead with it. "…it's rare."

"Not as rare as you might think." But Res won't go into that just yet. "But yes. Typically, the riders of both the male and female will have sex. The feelings experienced during a mating flight are very strong, both for the rider of the female and for the riders of the males who chase her. And even after the flight, the riders of those who lost are usually compelled to seek out a companion to alleviate the stress." He might ride a green, but he's known enough blue, brown and bronzeriders in his life to speak with authority on it. And then there's another pause, a longer look settled on the weyrling before he asks rather bluntly, "Have you had sex before?"

For some reason, A'eyr looks downright relieved when R'sner says that substitutions are not as rare as he thought, his gaze tracking back to him. The color however remains in his face, not worsening but not getting any better either. There's no doubt he's listening, given the eye contact and occasional nod of his head, but somewhere around the time that the man starts in on seeking companionship even when losing his attention drops to one of his own knees. "No. I've been apprenticed to the healer craft since before puberty," he breathes out, but loud enough to be understood, "Celibacy is expected until walking the tables."

A hint of a smirk accompanies R'sner's "I'm sure it is." Because expected is a fair deal different than practiced, and he's not fool enough to think that all apprentices abstain. "Same with candidacy, and Weyrlinghood. But that's about to be over," he announces. "We're having this talk because the dragons are mature, and there's no need for celibacy anymore unless that's your preference." And there will be no judgement, either way. "But regardless of your personal taste, it is important to understand that Indaryth will chase. And someday he will catch. And it is very likely that you will wind up in bed with the rider of the green or gold he's caught. I recommend you spend some time considering what that will mean for you and make a decision on whether or not you want your first time to be in the throes of a mating flight." Were A'eyr a girl, or riding a green, he might press a bit harder to not wait. But given that the bronze is, well, bronze, it is rather unlikely that A'eyr will end up on the receiving end, even if Indaryth catches a green with a male rider. And speaking of… "It is also important to understand that the person you end up with might not be a woman."

There is no hint of answering amusement, for it seems that despite Alek's tendency to take very little seriously, the rules of his craft and the weyr of his Impression were the exception. However, other than looking at the Weyrlingmaster dead on, unwavering and with complete seriousness, he does not stress nor repeat his answer. Instead, there is a single nod of understanding, as he was well aware of that rule extending into candidacy and weyrlinghood. His eyes might have strayed in the occasional moment of weakness, but he had most definitely kept his hands and all other body parts to himself. A'eyr does not share whether he had decided to continue abstaining or not, giving the man another crisp bob of head, to indicate that he was still listening and that he would in fact think on matter of his first time. "I don't really have a preference, either way." Though not having ever been with anyone, man or woman, might have played some part in that.

So long as those eyes don't stray to a certain sarong-wearing greenrider, R'sner has no problem with weyrlings looking. Just no touching. Until now. "I mention it because there are those who, having not considered it, find themselves uncomfortable and even repulsed at the idea of winding up in bed with someone of the same sex," explains R'sner, who does a very good job of looking like that sort of thinking doesn't bother him. Even if it does. A lot. "But it is a simple fact of life as a dragonrider. When the dragons rise, our preferences mean nothing." Which leads him to the next uncomfortable topic. Which has the greenrider clearing his throat and looking a smidge awkward, even if it manifests itself in a grimace. "We need to talk about something else, as well," he adds. "Something rather specific to you… and your sister." (DUNDUNDUUUUUUN). "Dragons do not recognize blood-ties the way that humans do. It is not at all uncommon for dragons from the same clutch to chase each other. Or for a bronze to chase his mother, or daughter. Dragons… Familial relationships don't seem to mean much of anything to them." And now there's a bit of a hard look, if just for the grim reality of the situation and not because he is upset. "Both you and Alexa will need to be vigilant around Raaneth. The moment she seems off, or either of you might suspect that she is proddy, it is in your best interest to take Indaryth far away. And to stay away. Until Raaneth has risen and been caught."

"I'm not one of those people," A'eyr reconfirms and with it, dismisses the suggestion of such entirely from there, offering little more than another nod in punctuation. The seriousness of his expression changes only once R'sner has moved on, brows lifting as it's mention that it's specific to him, dropping into a furrow as soon as Alexa is mentioned. Honestly, at this point, the greenrider doesn't have to explain. Unfortunately, he does so anyway and the bronzeling begins to look ill. He already knows where the man is going with his explanation and by the time he gets to the point he's looking about the same color as the man's own dragon. "Seems a good time to visit Ista…" spills from his mouth, and there should be no doubt in the Weyrlingmaster's mind that A'eyr intends to follow his instructions to the letter. There will be no boning of his sister, or anyone really for that matter. No. Just, no.

It's kind of R'sner's job to explain. He's not going to make assumptions about something like this. So toughen-up buttercup, because Res is gonna be talking about that. "Ista. Xanadu. Wherever you want to go that isn't anywhere near Igen," agrees the Weyrlingmaster. At least he won't keep on talking about it. His point has been made. "And get really good at telling Indaryth no and meaning it. Not all golds give warning before they rise." Just so A'eyr has a little more to go green over. But with that, Res seems done with the hard-hitting stuff, settling back to consider the weyrling in brief silence before asking, "Do you have any questions?"

Needing to hear something and not wanting to, are two different creatures. The subject is, in a word, uncomfortable. To say the least. A'eyr certainly gets it, nodding vehemently, but looks no less green. "That hasn't been an issue between us for a while, sir." Indeed, Indaryth had learned by now the meaning of the word and while he may not always like it, he listens and obeys. Of course, this hasn't come up in regards to his interest towards females yet, so perhaps he's spoken too hastily. Exhaling unsteadily, looking a little worse for wear following this conversation, the bronzeling gently shakes his head back and forth. "Not at this time, no. If something comes up, I'll be sure to ask though." Right now, he's got things in his head he needs to reconcile before he's going to be able to think clearly again. "If that's all sir, I think I'd like to go to bed now." As long as that was it, A'eyr takes his leave with respect, making his way back to his cot and immediately lays down upon it, pressing his face directly into his pillow. Perhaps, he intends to smother himself a bit.

"You may find him a bit less… amicable when it comes to a flight." But there really is no explaining it. Some things just have to be experienced. But with A'eyr declining questions, Res offers a curt nod of his head and a murmured, "Yes. And tomorrow… go look at some weyrs. You'll be moving out soon." Perhaps that will bring some comfort and keep the weyrling from smothering himself completely. As for Res? Well. Uncomfortable conversation over, and he's headed home himself.

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