Weyrlinghood: Week Five

Main Tasks Of The Week:

Tasks Carried On From Previous Weeks:

Visualization Practice and Test

Practice - A weyrling rider can practice visualization by many methods. They can study locations from within the air mounted on their lifemate; they can study locations from the ground; they can study locations from other riders; they can study locations from star charts and maps. The basic drill of recalling a location often requires another dragon rider/weyrling as an aid. One person will ask for the visualization of a location, while the second will visualize it and pass it via dragon until it reaches the first. Another way is have one person pass the visualization via dragon to the second and have the second try to guess the location of the visualization. Other simple ways of visualizing is to practice alone with one's lifemate. Usually a weyrling rider will concentrate on an object and ask their dragon to verify what and where it is - this can also work from dragon to rider. Typically, a ranked member of Islet will come by from time to time to see how far along the rider is with visualization.

WeyrlingMaster's Test - A weyrling rider may take the WeyrlingMaster's test as many times as needed but with each failure comes with further drills, chores, and after hour studying. The point of the Weyrlingmaster Test is to ensure the rider is confident in his or her abilities. To fail it several times only gives the weyrling rider more work. The test is fairly simple to those who are experienced enough at visualizing.

A staff member of Islet will give the weyrling pair taking the test a location that they are to visualize. It can be any where from within the boundaries of the Weyr itself; this is why the weyrling pairs were sent out to land mark, study, and practice before hand, because the Weyrlingmaster staff member will be giving the pair any location they should know. From there, the weyrling rider has to give detailed accounts of what the location should look like during that time of day to their dragon, precise enough that once their dragon passes it to the WLM's dragon, the WLM/AWLM can assess if the amount of detail was sufficient to make a safe *between* jump. If a weyrling rider gives the location correctly but without the needed detail, they will have an 'X' by their name on the *between* chart, which means they would have died if they made that jump. Those with several 'X's by their names will be held back until they can get an equal amount of 'B's beside their names. It's not unusual for a weyrling pair to be held back for months as they practice. Click here to see the Between Chart.


Lecture on Dangers of Betweening - Obviously, for those who have failed the visualization test, there are dangers when it comes to Betweening and unlike the test, there are no second chances. If a rider fails to visualize properly they may be lost *between* forever. Therefore, the weyrlingmaster staff will lecture each individual on the dangers of betweening before they are allowed to do a practical. The weyrling rider must absorb the seriousness of the situation. If any weyrling rider or dragon fails to take the lecture serious and or the on-coming practical with out a mature and serious understanding, they will be excused from the practical until the dangers of betweening are realized. The Weyrlingmaster is responsible for all the weyrling pairs and thus it falls to him/her if a pair is lost *between*. There are no excuses for losing a pair between in modern day Pern, so there is absolutely no tolerance at this stage of the game for condescension.

First One-On-One Between - As soon as the weyrlingmaster staff declare a weyrling pair ready for their practical, one ranked member of the Islet wing will take the weyrling pair on their first jump. The only thing that the weyrling pair have to do during this jump is to concentrate on the image that the ranked member passes on to them and get through the jump alive and safe. The destination is likely to be within the area of the Weyr, so that if anything should happen, the weyrling rider should already know his/her locations well enough to save themselves from being lost *between*.

Second One-On-One Between - When the weyrling pair has come through the first one-on-one between safely and without any hitches, it is likely the same ranked member of Islet will now guide them through the second jump. This one is completely different from the first, since the weyrling rider will asked to visualize the location of the next jump. The weyrling pair selects the image and passes it to the ranked member. If the ranked member cannot clearly picture the jump, the jump is called off and the pair will physically fly home to where the weyrling rider pair will removed of their rights to between, having once more to complete the Weyrlingmaster's test before running another practical. However, it is completely at the discretion of the ranked member in regards to the clarity of the image. If the ranked member gets the visualization from the weyrling pair and is satisfied, the weyrling pair will guide them through the jump between - each dragonrider knowing well the risks of failure.

Group Between - With the hard part completed, each weyrling rider that is successful will be put into small wings to practice their *between* skills. Each wing must be accompanied by a ranked member of Islet. Should a wing of weyrling riders fail to find a ranked member and go *between* without an escort, they will be punished accordingly to the extremes of physical punishment and or humiliation/shaming. However, with a ranked member as escort, each weyrling-wing rider will be given the opportunity to guide the group through jumps in the Half Moon Bay Weyr area. This sort of practice will continue as the weyrlings visit the rest of Pern.

Visiting Pern

Land Marking - Once there are big enough groups successful at betweening together, a ranked member of Islet will take them to other regions, teaching them the common land marks for each area they visit. Usually the ranked member of Islet will bring a group of weyrling riders to an area and ask the weyrlings for the land marks of each place.

Inter-Weyr Communication & Introductions - Now that the weyrling riders are capable of *betweening* to different places on Pern, a ranked member of Islet will coach them on communicating with other riders from different Weyrs, thereby introducing the weyrlings to other areas. It is an essential part of being a dragon rider on Pern to create net-working immediately, especially if a rider is interested in pursuing a craft. Regardless, this is the weyrlings opportunity to get to know new people, considering how long they have spent restricted to Half Moon Bay.

Approved Self Exploration - Typically, after the Weyrlingmaster is assured the levels of capability of a weyrling rider to *between* not only in the Half Moon Bay region but all over Pern, the weyrling rider is given approval to explore Pern. Usually for a day at a time and without ranked escort. This is a sign of trust between the Weyrlingmaster and the weyrlings, and should the trust be broken, there are likely consequences to follow.

Physical Strength Training

Flying - Weyrlings riders should encourage their dragons to fly after they have successfully completed the unmanned drills. Riders should now be joining their lifemates in flight as soon as they have successfully completed the manned drills. Otherwise, riders should continue to urge their dragons to get as much exercise as possible.

Wing Flares - As a good pre-flight stretch, a weyrling rider must have their dragon do a series of wing flares to prep the wing joints before flight.

Stretching - Both rider and dragon need to stretch. Weyrling riders have to make sure at the beginning and end of the day, that they are doing stretches. The physical requirements of the upcoming sevendays will test the body, so it is required that each rider stretches.

Jogging/Running - If there is time during the day, weyrling riders are encouraged to go running or jogging together in groups. Also, this exercise prepares the lungs for the months ahead.

Arm Strength Training - The traditional way to strengthen one's arms is firestone sacking, which is, filling a bag full of firestone. In the case that Weyrs now treat firestone as rare, due to the lack of thread, rocks can be used in the stead of firestone. Other techniques of arm strength training is encouraged. Heavy objects can be used as dumb-bells. One's dragon can now be used to practice pull ups and chin-ups.

Dragon Care

Feeding - Weyrling riders no longer have to worry about feeding their dragons, however, the rider should still keep an eye on the intake of their dragon. Just because their dragon can now hunt doesn't necessarily mean they know when to stop. Though, for the most part, dragons are mature enough know how much they need and when they need it.

Oiling - The dragons should be nearing the end of their growth by this stage, yet, it is likely a weyrling rider will still have to oil them once a day, at the very least.

Defecation - Weyrling riders continue to clean up after their dragon, no matter where the dragon is at the time of defecation. Riders now must ensure when they leave the immediate Weyr area that their dragon defecate in an appropriate place in the wilds, if not, the rider is still required to clean up the mess. It is strictly warned that all weyrling riders ensure their dragons do not defecate any where near a Hold or Hall.

Sleeping - Dragons usually need less sleep now that they are growing older. However, they still sleep on average eight to twelve hours a day. Riders at this point usually never feel compelled to sleep when their dragon does.

Strap Making

Maintenance - General maintenance is required of all equipment. Straps will have to be re-made constantly depending on the growth rate of one's dragon. Straps will also be checked for safety before and after flight drills.

History and Current Events

Stay Involved - Weyrling riders are expected to stay involved in current news, while studying or learning about history. It is a task that is to fill one's spare time though current news and or events will be important to the daily life of any dragonrider and therefore the weyrling riders will be tested.

Extended Flights

Endurance - Riders should continue to participate in extended flights to strengthen their lifemates wings and increase the aerial stamina that a dragon has. It is beneficial for the pairs that they extend their flights further out, especially while learning land marks and locations - for endurance is something that a dragon gains by physically flying. It is important for them if they want to win mating flights.

Aerial Formations

Group Work - For those who have achieved this stage of progress during weyrlinghood, it is important for them to learn to organize themselves into a functional group. Aerial formations with fellow weyrling pairs are strongly recommended. Working in a Weyr requires team work, therefore this task emphasises it and the fact that weyrlings are now capable of leading themselves. A ranked member of the Islet wing is no longer required. Weyrling riders can establish who is to lead these aerial formations between themselves.

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