WARNING: Other players should not read this until Chapter 1 is complete.
The sevenday following Kebrin’s talk with Masterharper Cameron was the longest and hardest of his life. Kebrin withdrew as he struggled to finish letting go of his childhood dreams to embrace the promising new path before him, and rumors ran rampant against Eurielle’s and his friends’ attempts to curtail them. His head agreed with Masterharper Cameron that he could do far more good as a leader and diplomat than he ever could in a Weyr, but his heart still longed for the freedom and adventure that being a Dragonrider represented.
The abrupt decline in Kebrin’s grooming and demeanor was not lost on anyone, especially not the Masters and other Journeymen he interacted with every day. Doubly so since the Masters teaching his classes had undoubtedly been warned to watch for exactly that. Fortunately, Kebrin’s sense of duty prevented him from completely withdrawing into his own head. He was heartbroken, but he still couldn’t bring himself to let his Masters – or his own students – down. His obligations anchored him until his own natural optimism combined with the support of Master Salinda, Eurielle, and his friends helped him regain his equilibrium.
Kebrin surprised just about everyone by not just attending the Hatching festivities, but actively participating in them. His loss still ached gently in his chest, but he chose to focus instead on how happy it made him that this hatching represented the continuation of the Weyr way of life, of what he still thought of as his way of life. He was deeply disappointed when Tumar returned to Harper Hall the next day. Slipping awkwardly back into old habits, he eagerly asked Tumar all about his experiences at Fort Weyr. He never quite fully grasped why Tumar wasn’t completely devastated by not being Chosen, but contented himself with being happy that his friend was happy. He ended the conversation by putting his hand on his much taller and older friend’s shoulder, meeting his eyes, and telling him, “Well, you may not be a Dragonrider but you’re still brilliant. You’ll just incredible in a different way.”
Kebrin had never met anyone nearly as colorful and flamboyant as Master Karthen before, and didn’t really quite know what to make out of him at first. This was compounded by the fact the he couldn’t shake the creeping worry that anything he felt toward his future Master might have been placed there, might not be his own thoughts or feelings at all. Despite these misgivings, he eagerly carved at least an hour out of his current schedule each day for training – both because he was eager for a better understanding of his own abilities, and also because he was intensely curious to know what other abilities were out there – and if he could learn any of those, as well.
Without thinking, Kebrin hopped up to help his friend Ned corral the burning logs as soon as the ground quake started. As a result, he was standing with Aunt Gema, the hall staff, and drudges when Steward Marlen ordered all students to sit near the center of the room. When he didn’t immediately immediately move to join the other students, Aunt Gema gave him an appraising look and then assigned him a task just like everyone else. Kebrin was grateful, because he would much rather be doing something than sitting uselessly with the other students.
As soon as they were allowed to leave the main living cavern, Kebrin sought out his friends, students, and anyone else that he could marshal into service and placed them at Aunt Gema’s service. He offered words of advice and encouragement where needed, and was quietly proud that his team was among the first organized and certainly the most efficient.
Following Master Salinda’s advice, he had memorized the Drum Codes a semester or two back, so he paused to listen when the messages started. He was still leading his team in cleaning up in the main hall and kitchens – freeing Aunt Gema and her staff to perform other, more critical work – when Master Karthen found him. He nodded without hesitation in response to the Master’s request.
Without thinking, he also fell back on Weyr habits. “Yes, sir. Of course sir. I’ll do whatever I can to help. You didn’t have to ask. You need me to get anything for you, too, sir? And where do we meet back up at?”
Kebrin called Mitch over once he was speaking with Master Karthen and told him that he was in charge until Aunt Gema told them that they were finished. He then jogged out of the living quarters, already mentally inventorying what he would need to add to his normal traveling gear.