T’ria: Chapter 5, Journal 24 – Return Of The Old Blood

Eighth Month of 1,266

  • We readied ourselves and set off to fly south in a double-vee, to the lands of the Chingfa and the Fortress Thusdo. Because we were flying straight, it took the better part of the day. We passed over a number of villages.
  • Eventually, we approached a plateau on the side of a volcano with the top blown off. There were many rectangular buildings on the plateau, along with two round buildings. I noticed a lot of orange and flame patterns in the area.
  • Two watchriders launched from a tower about a mile off, acting as escorts as we got closer to Thusdo.
  • We landed at a platform with line art of a prowling tiger on it, obviously a place for guests to land, with a bridge leading from our butte to the main plateau.
  • I felt around psychically and was puzzled when I didn’t feel the usual activity I would expect in a Weyr. Not dead or anything instantly alarming, but… not active. I relayed this to K’brin as we noticed people coming to meet us. There was someone with the look of a Lorekeeper with them.
  • We were introduced to a woman who spoke Gairian and the language of Terenmor, and four men who would be assigned to serve and help us.
  • It was then that the explanation for the strange quiet I had felt as we flew in revealed itself in sudden and dramatic fashion. The men in our wing swooned hard as a glowing gold dragon radiating the mating urge flew over us, quickly gaining altitude. No sooner had we processed this than Valenth sprang into the air, hissing and pursuing the queen. B’dir’s Borheth also took to the air, to protect Valenth, not try to win the queen. The strain on B’dir was was evident on his face as he tried to maintain enough control to direct Borheth.
  • In the considerable time between the start of the mating flight and the end, in which Valenth beat back all challengers, I had the thought that this was a trap somehow. Garaam may not have been in on it, he and his patrol had been with us in Modaisa long enough, but everyone should know when a mating flight is approaching. 
  • As we grappled with the implications of Valenth winning the mating flight, B’dir and ‘Zana drew close, with ‘Zana turning to me saying, “Me or the queen?”  The implication was immediately clear. Let her try and interject herself to go with K’brin, or risk what might come of a union between him and a gold rider in a Dominion we just landed in? 
    • I admit, I struggled in that decision, if it was even mine to make. I first thought to see about ‘Zana going with K’brin, and we even started walking towards a huddle of people that seemed important. After some talking, it came out that the gold in the mating flight was not the senior Queen, and it was then that I changed my mind. The risk of interjecting ourselves even further into the situation was just too great, and I advised that we let things take their natural course. The junior Queen would likely not have as many expectations on her, nor would her mate, I reasoned. Also, angering a Queen in the immediate aftermath of a mating flight was just not something I felt would be wise.
  • Chancellor Somchar introduced himself to us when things had calmed down somewhat. He was black-haired and black-eyed, and fairly average looking. His clothing and jewelry indicated he was someone of importance. He wore flowing silk robes with embroidery of a tiger leaping down from each shoulder. His belt had gold embellishments and his rings were set with intricately cut stones. N’lan, as a brown rider, temporarily took charge instead of L’nos because, as he later explained, they might not understand why a blue rider was Wingsecond.
    • Somchar explained a few things to the very bewildered dragonriders who had unexpectedly endured a surprise mating flight. First was that all the dragon dens were connected through tunnels and had lifts inside. 
    • What eased my suspicions that it was a set up was his explanation that nobody knows when a gold is about to rise. Queen riders hide the fact that they’re about to rise to mate because they’re afraid of efforts to fix the results, even the assassination of bronzeriders. It immediately both put me at ease and horrified me. That the gold mating flights were this cutthroat as to cause their riders to conceal the signs of an impending flight served to remind me, yet again, that we were on another world, where life was very different.
    • When I asked, we were told that there were no obligations if a child was born of K’brin and Princess Sunstrasiri of Naktenfeth’s union. He said she would have given the Winter Winds to her dragon beforehand. When I asked what that was, he very nonchalantly said it would guarantee no eggs. I could barely keep the look of utter horror off my face when he said it like it was nothing. Each egg was precious and very needed on Pern and we would never do such a thing! I could see the others were also unsettled by Somchar’s words. Apparently, permission from the head of the Dynasty was needed to lay eggs.
  • Faranth’s Wing took turns keeping watch that night. I busied myself documenting everything that I’d seen and heard, anything of note, and even some things that may well have been irrelevant. I figured that K’brin would want to know as much as possible about what happened while he was out of it.
  • Later the next morning, K’brin returned and we caught him up on everything that had transpired. He said that he had been well treated, so they must not have been too undone by a foreign brown flying one of their junior Queens – something I had been afraid of. I caught him up on what had transpired at the mating flight, where we were trying to see if we could get ‘Zana to K’brin together before anything happened, but backed off from it. I didn’t want him to be blindsided by anything.
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