Natural Talent (Aedeluth Gets to Lead a Wing)

Day 21 of Month 4 of Turn 2714
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Weyrling Training Field
Near the tall black eastern wall of the crater is a cleared field. The earth there has been churned many times over by the landings and take offs of young dragons and only a few patches of grass cling to life in this active area. Wooden props and markers used to assist the weyrlings as they learn the precise maneuvers required for the rescue and protection work that the weyr is famous for, litter the training field. Close to the rimwall, in the east where the sun is usually shaded is a large wooden slat barracks for the weyrlings to live in. Tropical trees and shrubs have been allowed to grow here, perfuming the air with a floral scent.

It's perhaps not the /most/ ideal weather for learning to fly, skies covered by a high, thick blanket of cloud cover that stretches from here to aye, considering the weather's recent propensity for blowing trees sideways and washing great, stinking beasts up to shore, well… "I'll take it," R'hyn mutters at Nadarya as she comments on the everpresent grey, favoring the weyrling with a glitter-eyed glance and a smirk as she dons flight gear. "Better this than sun in your eyes, anyways." The woman harrumphs because she can't possibly be seen agreeing with R'hyn, and the assistant weyrlingmaster moves on, eyeing weyrlings in various stages of be-strapping and be-goggling, mentally tallying progress as he saunters down the line. "That strap is too loose," he comments to one weyrling, "Your goggles are upside down" to another with a twirl of his finger while waiting for preparations to settle.

S'van's eyes may be on the sky as well, though it's a very different look on his face than Nadarya; anticipation and battle-ready rather than apprehensive. A very 'bring it on' glint to those grey eyes, echoed in the way Aedeluth's whirl just that much faster at the prospect of flight once again. The pair came prepared, which has been their habit for these much anticipated lessons; straps on, goggles ready, jacket slung over his arm until it becomes absolutely necessary to put it on (and even then, well… it may end up on the ground instead). Something passes between them, and a flash of a look is give from weyrling to bronze before a hand reaches out and *THUMP-THUMP* smacks him on the leg. It was probably affectionate, and not a warning to behave.

It's possible R'hyn saves S'van for last, or maybe that's just how things end up, but the assistant weyrlingmaster sidles up to him lastly nevertheless, eyeing Aedeluth, then his rider with a keen eye. "Almost makes you wish it was a cooler climate, doesn't it?," the man notes with a nod to the folded jacket, lips quirking up on one side. "I bet Fortians don't sweat through their leathers and then freeze up like ridercicles between." A flash of teeth make it a jest rather than any real complaint, chin jerking up towards Aedeluth to return subject back to business. "Lookin' good. Straps will probably need redone before we practice betweening, though. Last place on Pern you want to go with weak points." And with a nod he's off, just backing a few steps away so as to not deafen poor S'van as he pitches his voice loud enough for them all. "That goes for all of you. Before the sevenday is out, you're all expected to check every inch of your straps. If you have a single niggle of doubt, scrap them and start new. As for today, we're going to warm up with a five minute flight around the bowl. We'll land, regroup, and then go on an adventure. Any questions?"

Aedeluth may not appreciate being last, but S'van doesn't seem to find anything odd about it. Just the way the cookie crumbles, right? Or maybe it's 'save the best for last'? Either way, it means everything is good-to-go by the time R'hyn is addressing them, and S'van is spared from any sort of last-minute hurry to get things 'just right'. A soft "mm" for the ridercicles, though he admits, "Think I'd rather have the warmth and bit of sweat, than the eight months of freezing, tho…" maybe. Or he's just being conversational. As the subject of straps is addressed, he turns a critical eye towards beast-and-garb, as R'hyn heads away, the weyrling's head tipping just slightly to the left as he considers those bits of leather designed to keep him from death. A resigned sigh of agreement as he decides, "They're a good set, but he's probably gonna grow out of them by the end of the seven…" which perfectly lines up with R'hyn's next command. Sev's already gotta remake them, so… Just a shrug from the bronzeling. And then a grin, which he tries really hard to keep excited and not smart-ass as he turns towards Aedeluth. "No questions here," he says loud enough to hear, already reaching up as the bronze ducks down to allow easier ascent. It's quick, practiced movements by now, and S'van is settled and clipping snaps in just record time.

Or is it a form of goading to get Aedeluth in the zone, a quasi-sleddog 'if you aren't first, then you're last' mentality? We'll never know, not with R'hyn chuckling before conceding to S'van with a droll, "You make a good point. Fuck snow." He'll take the bajillionty-degree weather they're about to head into any day. There's an agreeable nod following Sev's sigh, lips twitching to one side in understanding. "True. Just means you get to make the next ones better, yeah?" Cue a flicker of blue-grey eyes up at Aedeluth, one lid twitching shut in a wink. No, now he's definitely goading, and at least seems to be rewarded with the bronzeling's quick ascent to dragonback just as his own bronze swoops in over the edge of the bowl. Xermiltoth glides low over the weyrlings, buffeting wind and sand and stormy detritus in passing before coming in for a hard landing, momentum rocking his form and claws skittering against rock and dirt as he drags himself to a halt in their midsts. « Form up, children, » the blackened bronze booms with a scatter of diamonds, tail whipping hard, cat-like, about his legs. « Single-line formation, taking command from your line leader, » a flare of wings to indicate today, that's him, « and while you go tell me what was wrong with that landing and what you will do better. Be detailed. Be critical. Dish, that you might take. » Patiently he waits for answer and formation both, his own thrill barely leashed as R'hyn clambers onto his back, hand raising in the air to count down with Xermiltoth's readiness when the dragon finally decides they are set. « On my mark, we will take to the skies where you belong. Ready? Set. Launch! » Forwards he bounds, gathering momentum before leaping into the sky, wings working to gain altitude even as turns to observe progress, grin a visible slash of white against tanned features.

Aedeluth is cold. Calculated. Precise. And maybe just a little irked. But he'll let that slide for now. There is no ruffling him today; not when it may mean getting booted from a much-desired trip into the sky. S'van is settled, snapped in, and pulling down his goggles as Xermiltoth comes in for his (almost) crash landing. Thankfully, the weyrling's eyes are already protected, though he still ducks his head reflexively, one arm lifting as if to protect his eyes and face from that kick-up of dirt and what-not. Aedeluth huffs, shoulders rolling as he climbs to his feet and braces against the pitter-patter of detritus that clatters harmlessly. Oh, he definitely has some thoughts on that landing, but a firm hand to the side of his neck is likely the reason his voice is much more restrained in tone and temper. Hum and drone, a half-dozen screens flickering to display that "landing" from every angle as he details the 'wrong'. « Too fast, » and the screen flickers to show an appropriate descent speed. « No compensation, » and again with an accompanying image, this time complete with the FEEL of a proper rocking back, the stretch of muscles, weight shifted, wings lifted, tight sails filled with the catching breeze, slowing momentum, legs extended before, « you hit the ground like a rock, » rather than a loping stride, gentle, a backwing to complete the stop with precision. Huff. There's a little restless movement of his wings, and a brief flash of his own landings (haphazard, jolted, unable to complete it the way he wishes if just for his back leg). « But regardless, » of his own lack of form. « That is what you did wrong. » By the time the young bronze has finished, he's found his place in the line, angling himself into formation (probably having subtly threatened those around him who may have thought to go for it themselves) so that by the time they are ready, Aedeluth has procured what would be the 'Wingsecond' spot as his own. And then the ripple of anticipation, physical and mental, as the call to rise is given. The weyrling's hands and knees tighten as his beast makes the appropriate (lopsided) steps necessary to launch them up. The spring into the air is awkward, but Aedeluth is now practiced at compensating for this, and does not break from the line; in the air he is all power and speed, born to fly, perfection on wing, and he knows it. Wings stretch, catch the breeze; muscles flex and take him higher and, as he goes, Aedeluth's mood rises with it. Here, he is home.

Diamonds spark betwixt and between Aedeluth's screens, Xermiltoth's mind pressing against the edge of the younger bronze's with just a touch of the sunny heat that defines his amusement as he watches the analysis flickering to life on his screens. « Very good, » the bronze praises, pride in tone and form for restraint and answer both. « It was also rude. Yours was wearing goggles, but had he not been, my landing could have impacted his vision. It could have spoiled a person's lunch with dirt, or knocked over a child. No matter how good it feels, there's a world around you that does not stop existing for even a second. » That, at least, is not a dig - it's stated simply, matter-of-fact, if not with a slight curl of humor as Aedeluth parks himself second in line. He doesn't comment, but there might be a low rumble of maybe-approval, maybe-draconic-laughter, the noise ultimately lost as they take to the skies. There is a wash of gold into Aede's mind, nonverbal affirmation for the adapted takeoff before his attention diverts down the line, correcting errors, giving criticism, and, finally, giving them time to enjoy themselves. He gives them a handful of moments, banking gently to circle the weyr before eventually interrupting the calm. « Take this time to mark the visual cues of your weyr. Feel the space you are in, the distance from one landmark to another. Have your rider hold it in their mind, solidify it, make it indelible. Aedeluth, what markers should yours be noting for visualization? And more importantly, what markers do you think he should not? »

Giving due consideration for the welfare of others is not something Aedeluth usually does. S'van, perhaps. But the bronze? No. So it is with a bit of a gruffness, a sort of hunkering-against-the-rain sensation, that he accepts the other ways in which that landing was 'wrong'. But before long, the thrill of being airborne wipes all unpleasantness from his mind. He is free. He is wild. He is AMAZING! Even if his weyrling is firmly telling him that he cannot challenge for the position of leader, he will settle where he is at, smug that he is better than his siblings in this area, if not others. The stretch of wings, the sunlight on sails and the wind against his hide; all of this is euphoric for the young dragon, who cannot help the ripple of satisfaction that projects to those around him. S'van is not immune, and though he attempts to reign in his own delight, there is a smile threatening to split his face in half. THIS was their element, if nowhere else. But all too soon, it is down to business once again, and both get on with the task at hand. « Hm. » analytical once again, sparks of light and strings of code dancing around the periphery as his screens fill once more with the appropriate images. Rock. Cliff face. Distance and scale. Ledges and dark openings to individual weyrs. Immovable things. Things that would outlast him and S'van both. « These things » There's a blur to some of those images, as if a duplicate image is overlaid it, indicative of the ones that are suggested by his Weyrling rather than himself. And of the things to not? The bronze is slower, but the weyrling is not. Though he mouths the words, and they are lost to the air, the dragon will supply the translation. « movable things. » such as people, dragons, clouds, grass. « We have studied this much, » says the bronze, though he cannot stop small leak of information, the nervous insecurity, of his weyrling (or perhaps he is happy to share this fear to those around him) « He does not want to fail. » And neither does Aedeluth. Failure, in that lesson, means death. But the bronze is unconcerned, really. That lesson is in the FUTURE and he is concerned with the NOW. The act of flying.

« Yes, » Xermiltoth affirms, capturing the overlaid image from Aedeluth's mind and broadcasting it with his own, sketches of gold ink creating another layer still as it circles key items to make his point. « Always pick a weyr's most defining features to memorize. Our slanted caldera, our placement of lagoon and pen, our radio antenna, all are excellent visual markers. If you remember no other image, remember this one. Brand it in your minds. This is safety, this is home. Practice holding it in your minds in every exercise until it becomes as instinctive as walking, as beating your wings, as right as the feel of the wind coursing over your wings. » There is warmth for S'van's nerves made public, not the avid heat of Xermiltoth's amusement, but something bracing, understanding. « And if you are ever in doubt, there is no shame in asking. » But indeed, that is a worry for future times - for now, the bronze's mind dims, thoughtful even as his rider turns to observe the formation. « I do not think we will land after all. The watchdragon states there's excellent flying conditions out over the bay. » A beat and then, thoughtful but firmly, « Aedeluth, take point. Adjust formation as you see fit, and guide us to the bay. I will watch from above. » And with a heavy flap of wings the bronze slides above them, keen, observing, and more than a little interested in just what the bronze will do when that perhaps-not-as-subtly-as-they-thought repressed challenge for leadership is accepted!

There is no quick brush-aside of this information, no light dismissal or 'I'll do it later' from either weyrling or bronze. This, they are both in agreement on. Images are focused. Processed. Both minds working in tandem to solidify a picture that could mean life and love if done well, or darkness and death if done wrong. Aedeluth only does things right. Or so he will assert. S'van attempts to do things right. And in this, there is no half-assed attempted but the full committing of mind and body. And then they are done with visualization, perhaps to the relief of the weyrling. A gloved hand presses to the side of his dragon, a quick affirmation or confirmation of something between them that has the bronze rumble deep in his chest. And then, the delight of an extended flight! Of extending that flight to the bay! And the call to leadership that is met with a not-so-quiet crow of the bronze beast even as S'van looks like he may have just been punched in the gut. Aedeluth has got this boy. Just relax. And so as his the darkened bronze concedes the lead, his son shall replace him with all eagerness and determination. There is a quick casting of his though towards those he now leads, a flicker of connection among minds as he determins who is where, and whether they should remain there. As the small 'wing' progresses towards the lagoon, Aedeluth will make minor changes, shifts, pushing here or there. And although some are good choices (moving the group into a small "V" and having those who are perhaps not as strong fliers positioned to the back, to better utilize the updraft of the stronger dragons in the front) not all changes are for selfless reasons. Aedeluth does not like that dragon (Mnemth) so he moves him away. Far away. Go AWAY! Until S'van is reining him in and calling the brown pair back, tightening the formation once again. It is wibbly-wobbly and they are clearly inexperienced, though the pair do try their best. And at one point, a very firm 'no' from S'van has the bronze stop fussing with who-is-where for the sheer fun of watching his clutchmates MOVE at his command, and the whole thing settles just as they glide over the water. A flap of his wings takes the bronze a bit higher, and there is a thrill of delight that he doesn't even attempt to hide as he feels the wing take after his lead. MINE is the predominant feel there, and the smugness of Aedeluth is felt by all.

Xermiltoth listens, and watches, and notes, and though he holds his mental tongue at first, eventually it comes: the critique. « A good choice in formation. Easy to compensate, easy to maintain, but also easy to use to delegate, » said firmly, as though it were a thing expected of the bronze. « It doesn't matter what you think of a dragon - if they will serve you best by being closer, you must endure and not let it distract you. » The words are laced with golden humor, and perhaps just a tad bit of the sort of chagrin that presents in a person who speaks from experience, flickers of self-deprecating brightness dancing in his tone. « S'van, you do well reminding him of his primary goal, of keeping him… humble. » It's a carefully chosen word, and that's definitely not laughter that sounds an awful lot like R'hyn's clattering around in the back of his mind. « You make a good team. You all do, so I think we will continue this exercise, rotating between leaders until you all get a sense of each others' strengths and weaknesses within the wing. » AND YET, lest any of this be taken too seriously, the bronze dips back into their midsts, wings tilting back and forth to play with the feel of airflow over his wings. « But that is enough work for one day I think. The winds are fair and if I'm not mistaken, that's a break in the clouds over there. Go fly and be free for a time. Build your strength, and learn how the wind feels when it hits your wings just so. No stunts, but go have some fun. When you tire or grow hungry, return to the weyr. We will practice this exercise again tomorrow. » As for him? He'll circle high and monitor, but only for safety - no lessons, no lectures, just good old-fashioned self-discovery.

The criticism is met with the same prickling, 'brace for impact' as before, though S'van's hand on his neck is likely what keeps Aedeluth from mouthing off some smart-ass comment or two (or ten). Probably a good thing, if they wish to keep flying. So the bronze allows such words to roll off his shoulders, even if the weyrling will remember them FOR him. Humble. That makes him snort, and S'van laugh. A tip of his head, and S'van finds Xermiltoth above them, one hand lifting to give him a smart (and not at all smart-ass) and proper salute for the feedback. He's GOT IT! And will put it to good use. But even for all the gruffness, the young bronze does acknowledge the wisdom of utilizing all available resources, even if his use of them may not be very… flattering. No words from Aedeluth, just the begrudging acceptance that his time as Leader was at an end. A mild prickling for the idea that another would lead him (« hmph, no way», "Yes. YES WAY") and then the blissful freedom of being TURNED LOOSE! There is a bugle of triumphant freedom before he takes off like a shot, spreading his wings to quickly outdistance those smaller siblings of his, racing for the sky, chasing the sun, lost to the freedom of air and wind and sea and sky and the sheer joy of being a dragon in the air. Until all too soon for him, his weyrling is asserting command and demanding that he land; to rest and relax, with the promise to fly another day.

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