Raaneth's Maiden Flight

Characters Alexa, F'inn
Synopsis Raaneth rises for her maiden flight, in which a foreign bronze is the victor.
Out-of-Character Date July 20, 2019

Igen Weyr - Living Caverns
Second only to the Hatching Sands in size -- although its walls are not so nearly circular -- the living cavern is filled with numerous rectangular tables, almost too many to count. The Weyrleaders have the table farthest from the kitchen and hearths at one end of the cavern. The hearths are kept as low-burning as possible during the day when folk come inside to escape the heat outside. They burn brighter at night to keep away the deserts chill. No matter the level of flame, there is always a stew pot that hangs for nibblers at a good temperature. Favored drinks, particularly iced klah and juice, are kept on ice and interspersed at various food tables scattered about, along with baskets of rolls and fruit. There are, of course, scheduled mealtimes, and at certain points of the day the available fare slides into the menu for the nearest meal, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night snackings, but the staff has long since acknowledged that people will sit to talk and nibble here at all hours. In the cooler parts of the evening in particular, the cavern hosts games of chess, checkers, dragonpoker, and others. Several degrees are knocked off thanks to the Technician Craft's cooling system.


F'inn is tense as they land before the living cavern, dragging a hand through short spikey hair before slipping off Nymionth and assuring the bronze he won't be long. Still, he has a shopping list courtsey of N'sir and Elianneth and he's grateful for the excuse to give them extra time.

Nymionth is not the only bronze hanging out in the bowl. Several have convened around the glowing Raaneth, who has curled herself on a sunny ledge and is snoozing away in the evening sun. Inside the living caverns, Alexa is entirely unaware of her dragon's condition. Or, rather, she is in complete denial. But she is not ignorant of the attention she seems to have been garnering, which is simultaneously flattering and a little unnerving, particularly when a few of the dragonriders start eyeballing her like she might be a snack. Edging her way down the serving tables, she's making it a point to avoid eye contact with anyone male (and even a few females) in the vain hope of going unnoticed.

Unfortunately, Nymionth doesn't notice the glowing Raaneth until F'inn is well on his way into the living cavern. Even when he does notice her, it is not something that he even considers. He has a mate, and he has no desire to look elsewhere. Still, he does call a greeting to other males, settling down on the warm sand to soak up the sun. For his part, F'inn is focused on the mission at hand- dual mission really, since he's also tasked with loitering until K'zre has enough time to talk to his father. Yasminath will let them know when it is safe to return, he's confident of that. So it is with basket in hand that he makes his way down the length of the tables, peering curiously at the abundance of foreign dishes. It is the presence of another at the tables that has him looking up and flashing a lopesided smile, a hint of apology immediately shining in his gaze. "Excuse me," he murmurs in tones that are just a tad sheepish. "You ah… you wouldn't be willing to point out curry for me, would you?"

Alexa jumps about two feet in the air at the unexpected murmur, nearly spilling her own plate of food as she turns to stare wide-eyed up at F'inn. A second or two ticks by before she seems to remember her manners, throat cleared and cheeks pink as she turns back to the table. "It's um. It's that one," she declares, reaching over to point a finger at the curry. "Well actually, it is all of these," she allows, motioning to several options. "Depends on how spicy you want it." She scoots a little further down the table on the pretense of getting something on her plate, though she's paying very little attention to what she is doing (which is probably how she ends up spooning fruit preserves over her mashed tubers instead of gravy). Instead of looking at what she's doing, she's shooting furtive glances toward F'inn (and his knot) and then the hoard of dragonriders at the table behind them, all of whom are looking more interested in her than their dinner. Denial, however, runs very deep. Even as Raaneth stirs and a few of the bronzes take flight for the feeding grounds. Most of them ignore Nymionth's greeting, though a few puff up and snarl a warning, intending to stake a claim on the glowing gold.

For his part, F'inn blinks owlishly at the reaction, his mouth opening and closing a few times before he winces visibly. "Sorry… I.. I didn't meant to startle you." At the mention of spices, however, he looks completely baffled, staring at the variety of bowls like they are alien creatures. "Your cooks don't… cook the food?" It's the jelly on her potatoes that has him once more falling silent, one brow arching mildly before he lightly clears his throat and nods to her plate. "I think you.. I just don't… You didn't mean to do that, right?" Cause really? While he's eaten some really strange things in his day, that is strange even for him.
Outside, Nymionth — he's still relatively young and has never been in a Gold flight before — is momentarily taken aback at the snarls. It is Raaneth's stirring though, that clicks something primal in his brain. Primal for Nymionth, however, is a protective instinct and in a flash, he is in the air, completely forgetting the presence of his rider as he heads for the feeding pens, himself. If nothing else, there is no way he is about to allow what are clearly barbarians near the young gold.

Inside, it is Nymionth's sudden surge of protectiveness that has F'inn finally noticing the other riders in the room. More importantly, he's noticing the fact that they are all firmly focused on Alexa. "Oh.. Shells no.." Setting his plate down, he pulls himself up to his full six feet three inches of height, folds his arms over his chest and steps pointedly between the young gold rider and her admirers. "Eyes on your plates," he snaps in no uncertain tones.

Alexa definitely did not mean to do that. But she stares uncomprehendingly at her plate, frowning hard at the glob of jelly sitting on her potatoes. But even then, she's too distracted to really understand what it is, only that… it's a bit odd. It's F'inn's voice that has her jumping again, twisting around to find him even if it is not her that he's glowering at. It is short-lived relief that finds her, for just as she's beginning to relax there's a sudden rush of commotion as several things happen at once. Outside, the males in the feeding grounds growl and roar at the intruder before going back to blooding their kills. Zuhth and Zeraeth, rider's astride, leap from their ledges to vanish Between, taking themselves well away from the impending flight. And then Raaneth wakes, and whatever else Alexa might have thought is suddenly swept aside in the rush of anger and bloodlust that comes from her queen. "No!" But whether it was meant for Raaneth or the dragonriders is unclear. A moment later, and Alexa's plate is abandoned and she's literally running for the lower caverns. A clatter of chairs, and the dragonriders glowering at F'inn are promptly following her instead.

In the feeding pens, Nymionth meets the growls with a roar of his own, his wings flaring out to make it clear that he is not about to be intimidated. Descending on a herdbeast, he tears it in half with a single snap of his jaws and a display of violence that is completely uncharacteristic for the normally gentle bronze. Inside the living cavern the story goes from protection to pursuit the moment that Alexa shouts and breaks into a run. There is no time to think, even if F'inn could form a coherent thought. He's moving before his mind even registers that that is the case, one of the other pursuers bodychecked into a wall before he takes advantage of that long stride to keep the goldrider in sight.

Raaneth finishes with her first and claims her second, fighting Alexa only a moment before giving in and draining the beast of blood, leaving the meat for the firelizards. A snarl and, without warning, she leaps into the sky with blood still streaming down her mouth, a half a dozen bronzes on her tail as she streaks upwards. And on the ground, Alexa runs for the only place she can think of. Her weyr is too far, back the way she came. And so she heads deeper, into the tunnels that lead for the resident cavern and her old room, conscious of those that pursue her just as Raaneth is conscious of the bronzes in flight.

Nymionth bursts into the air only a breath behind Raaneth, using his considerable bulk to send one of the other pursuers spinning through the air at the same time that his rider bodychecks another. The roar of warning issued to the other pursuers rings through the bowl, bouncing off stone with an eerie echo as he does his level best to block them from getting anywhere close to the fleeing gold. For his part, F'inn is running on the adreline from his lifemate, Nymionth's anger and umbrage more then enough to have him close on Alexa's heels. Like his dragon, he uses his own body to block the others, a snarl slipping past his lips whenever one of them gets to close.

While Raaneth races through the sky, outpacing and out maneuvering those that pursue her with surprising ease, Alexa is not so lucky. She has no idea what is happening behind her, the scuffle and scrape of boots, the collision of bodies against walls or each other, just adds to the sense of urgency to get away. To flee. To hide. She can feel them close on her heels. She knows it the way Raaneth knows it; they are being chased and they must escape. Unfortunately, while she rounds the corner into a familiar hall, it is the necessity of opening the door that is her undoing. She collides with the wood, and a moment later another body collides with her, eliciting a yelp from the girl. A second more, and the pair of them are tumbling into her room, the door slammed shut and bolted. And while the protest of the dragonriders echoes the protests of their dragons, in the end the flight is won. Raaneth, swift and agile though she is, is young and inexperienced. A twist to avoid one male sends her careening into another, and she is caught in the wings and tail of Nymionth.

Nymionth is quick to wind himself around Raaneth, the other chasers forgotten in the brush of bronze on gold. In the room, lost to Nymionth, F'inn doesn't spare a thought for the pounding on the door. Instead, strong arms wind around Alexa, his fingers burying in her hair as he crushes her against his chest. Even swept up in the power of a Gold flight, though, Nymionth and F'inn are gentle. While they both possess the capacity for violence, neither of them are prone to unnecessary displays of harm. Even when the females inevitably claw and bite, they are confident enough to take it, accepting the wounds, assuming there are wounds, as simply their due.

Raaneth is not a violent queen, but she will have it be known that she is no meek and timid creature; determined that the one who claims her is worthy of the honor. While she snarls and snaps, she does ultimately concede that he is the better choice, the valiant knight chosen over the ravaging hoard that would have otherwise caught her. Alexa, however, does not seek to claw and bite. She is lost in Raaneth's head, more her dragon than herself. While she struggles and fights, it is only so long as Raaneth does, and when her queen submits so does she, compliant if obviously inexperienced. F'inn may bear wounds, but they come in the heat of passion rather than struggle, delivered unintentionally while Alexa is not herself. In the end, she is just as accepting of the one that caught her as Raaneth is.

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