Dragons deliver Kebrin and a new friend to Harper Hall…
K’len ruffled Kebrin’s hair when he saw the boy had his own goggles, smiling crookedly. “We’re going to a small hold east of here, called Katz Field. A girl there is heading to Healer Hall,” he explained.
Both Healer and Harper Halls were directly adjacent to Fort Hold. All three sat at the base of Fort Weyr’s mountain. That one area had the highest population anywhere on Pern.
“Anwen was my wife,” K’len explained in a surprisingly calm voice, given his use of past tense. “A green rider. Kind as the day is long. She gave me two beautiful children. The second birth was hard.”
Kebrin guessed that she must have died Turns ago, long enough for much of K’len’s grief to subside.
K’len gave the launch signal to B’dir. A moment later, Pentiath surged into the air with Borheth the customary three seconds behind. Kebrin had to brace himself for the leap but managed to turn and wave goodbye before Pentiath soared up above the lip of the bowl. The two dragons wheeled once over the watch rider and then turned west toward the sea.
Kebrin knew to brace himself for the cold of between. It no longer held any fear for him. As long as he was dressed properly, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. He had even learned to take a deep breath, close his eyes, and relax for the few seconds that he was plunged into absolute, airless darkness.
In an instant, they were high over the rolling hills of Katz Field, with the dark waters of Keroon Bay barely visible to the east. Kebrin could see several people standing on the fireheights, waiting for their arrival.
Pentiath and Borheth flew over the hold once before turning back to land. It was a common precaution when visiting a place that they didn’t visit frequently. Their riders would be studying the terrain and noting any changes.
Pentiath’s landing was rougher than Kebrin expected until he remembered the dragon’s age.
“Wait here, we won’t be long,” K’len instructed. He dismounted, patted Pentiath on the shoulder, and then walked over to meet the Lord and Lady Holder.
After a few minutes, K’len returned with a nervous young girl. She was perhaps five feet tall with braided blond hair, tanned skin, and a smattering of freckles. She was lanky, even a little boyish looking. It was a good sign — this was no soft, pampered hold girl.
K’len escorted the girl to the waiting dragons, one hand on her shoulder to keep her steady. He looked up at his dragon as Pentiath rumbled quietly and patted the aging blue on the side of his muzzle. “He says you shouldn’t be scared. He would never let you fall,” the rider passed along.
The healing student had a new, warm jacket to wear. K’len helped her climb into the saddle and sit in the middle. She didn’t have a riding belt but the rider would have no trouble holding on to her. By the stunned look on her face, it was doubtful she had ever been adragonback before. This would probably be her first trip between. People often didn’t handle it well, especially women.
The girl fumbled with a pair of borrowed riding gloves. This was going to be a short but interesting trip.