==== September 26th, 2013
==== Kyara
==== With graduation only a few days away, Kyara takes a moment to reflect on what was, what has been, and what's to come.

Who Kyara
What With graduation only a few days away, Kyara takes a moment to reflect on what was, what has been, and what's to come.
When Late at night. There is 1 Turn, 1 month, and 17 days until the 12th Pass.
Where Liareth's Ledge, Igen Weyr

Liareth's Ledge
A wide, flat ledge, edges gouged from centuries of taloned feet gripping it to land, faces west near the apex of the caldera that is Igen Weyr. Sand fills a dragon-sized spot worn into the surface near the southern edge. The back half is sheltered by weathered, rusty-hued stone - expansive enough to provide a haven during inclement weather. Around the outside edges of the cave, a few smaller shelves of rock jut out - deep enough to allow firelizards to lounge, should they wish to. Beyond a stone platform lies the entrance to Kyara's weyr, cut off from the ledge by a heavy, sapphire-hued hanging edged with a simple blocked spiral pattern in gold thread. Two sand-filled cylindrical striking bags hang in the back left corner of the sheltered space. Just to the left of the entrance is a shelf holding pots of oil and salve, beneath which is a row of hooks for fighting straps.

The day I watched the sky fall - then, in a past now so far away - was the day I became the blank awaiting the forge. I just didn’t know it yet.

I left a world burned and broken to my parents and two brothers, believing I could help restore it where I was bound. I was meant to come, to help, to rediscover and revive records rent by time and disaster, to sing out the old ballads that taught and the lays that were lessons, to preserve the ways of music and the knowledge bound up in it that have kept Pern alive throughout centuries. Little did I know that what I was, what I’d trained to become, would be merely a foundation on which to build - the shape to be hammered.

How could I know how swiftly the ways of this era would rise up to try to tear me down, along with so many others? For us, help offered was spurned, knowledge extended with best intent was dashed in scorn upon the sand, motion forward met with a surging pressure backward… Back, down, know your place, and all of it might have broken me quickly, had I not learned to endure such things as a child. The fighting and contention I sought to leave behind me emerged as an ally to keep me sane when I became a willing anachronism. Plunged into the fire, I did not burn. I just became malleable to what my life was meant for.

In the cool silence of this moon-washed autumn night, I make my way with soundless steps to where she sleeps upon the ledge - this aerie between land and sky we call our home now. Where Timor and Belior would turn me to a simple, silvery mote on this mountainside, they make Liareth mysterious in her beauty, the ivy-draped arches and curves of wings and muscles wrapped in shifting shadow and pallid luster, seeming to peer out of a forgotten age in the gloaming. Like a majestic ruin of my own time, reclaimed by the world it was built upon, showing me that all will be as it will be, no matter who or what comes. She is my reminder, my reflection, my way forward.

She found me and showed me what more I was meant to become, and it thrills me and frightens me and drives me in ways I can’t even rightly describe. My doubts are tempered by her reassurances; we will succeed, we will make a difference, we will keep justice and protect - we will survive. But why me? I ask it so often. Why the naïve, tune-smithing Harper who learned how to fight, who has such a hard time rectifying her own ideals with this new life and still struggles to walk the grey path between light and dark?

« For precisely those reasons, my love.» She whispers this into my mind, sleepily…but the image of the mirror-surfaced bath, surrounded serenely by the smooth marble of elegant pillars, fountains, and wall carvings, is sharp and clear. Falling stars dance across the twilight sky above and within the water, wall sconces gutter with the soft orange light of embers alone, dense and humid heat wraps around me in a full embrace as the scent of flowers swirls on an imperceptible breeze. Achingly beautiful is this thought-place she keeps for me, and I am drawn there willingly, simply being within for long, long moments as I rest against her side.

Once again, I am apologizing for waking her with the volume of my thoughts. I’ve been doing this a lot lately, though she never seems frustrated with me for it. Frustrated with me in other things, yes…and it’s mutual. But she and I are good for each other. It’s taken me some time to come to terms with this, but I see the truth in it. Without Liareth, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I have no idea where or what I would be without her, in fact. Let me have my doubts, my insecurities, my questions and my frustrations - she’s there for me through all of them. Sometimes I need to have these things argued with me. Other times, I need them supported, counter-questioned, reinforced, encouraged - and she often needs me to do the same right back to her. In that, she’s taught me assertiveness. Not the sort I learned as a Journeyman over Apprentices. Lifemate over lifemate is something almost entirely different, and has given me a completely new sort of strength.

She’s asleep again. I think I’ll stay here for a while longer, though. Especially since she’s got her tail across my lap, curling ‘round me. Protective. Loving. I snuggle into her side a bit more with a sigh. I wasn’t the one who daydreamed about being a rider. I was perfectly content as a Harper. But this love, this depth of knowing another…I can’t imagine myself without it now. Without her. How could I have known?

This world, spinning headlong towards a new Turn burgeoning with the threat of Thread, is our forge, the fires of which are fueled by the people, politics, traditions, and turmoil that fly in the face of where our focus ought to lie. Liareth and I are being heated and molded by it all, also sharpening each other upon its grindstone. But what are we to be? A sword? A shield? The tip of some unforeseen spear? Just a small part of one of those? Time will reveal that, I suppose - as it has so much else. We’re to take up the reigns of a full fighting pair, in just a few days. No precarious steps through a poacher-trapped battlefield of a weyrlinghood for us any longer - the salvage of our education by Sienna, K’ane, and our mentor wings aside.

My gaze slips across the dark silhouette of the other side of the Bowl, where the mouths of myriad other weyrs, like mine, stand frozen agape in the dark. I’m wrong. It isn’t just Lia who sharpens me, though she is foremost among those who do. There are others, important others who I can’t fathom my life without.

I came close, far too close, to losing the best of my friendships not so long ago. Sometimes I think I would have done better to face that situation in ignorance. Had I been the person I am now when we jumped, maybe I could have kept silent. I could have avoided those mistakes. But without those mistakes…would I be the Kyara everyone’s familiar with? I’ll never know. Trust is still being repaired, I think, but it has come a long way, and I haven’t lost those relationships. Thank Faranth that they’ve been willing to forgive.

Zan - my brother, my blood, and I love him. What more can I say?

D’reize - thoughtful, stable, practical. Rare. I have a cautious hope that maybe, just maybe…

Vashae - stronger and more thoughtful than I, in many ways; how did I end up as Wingleader and not her? She is a counterbalance, and dear to me.

We’bey - confusing; part levity and part seriousness, and much cleverer than me, I know. He is an insight and a foil, and my fondness for him is strong.

I’yn - discerning, quiet, and sharp. A good man.

And Sienna - I will always see her as my mentor, and now…are we free to be friends more openly, now that I’m about to become a full rider? No more constantly picking out which of several lines to walk with one another? Because nothing would make me more glad.

They are my family, comprising the space I have come to rest in - the ones who remind me what not to take for granted, who have my loyalty and my trust. As the greatest danger draws ever nearer, I find them to be the ones who strengthen me, whether they know it or not. They temper me. I only hope I am a worthy enough friend to them that they might see the same in me.

Am I ready? Are we ready? I’m of two minds about the answer. At long last, we’ve learned what we need to belong fully to this Weyr. I can say confidently that those of us who are weyrlings are prepared to be such no longer: still learning - always learning - though ready to move on. But how can any of us - riders new and old alike - truly be prepared for what’s coming? Thread… The thought…terrifies me. Makes me cold with fear.

My gaze comes to rest on Liareth again, her folded, jade-sailed wings rising and falling in the steady, even breathing of sleep once more. As always, she is my answer, and the warmth to counter the chill of apprehension. She trusts in me and I in her, and together, we will face what is to come bravely - with action, with what we are meant for, even in the face of fear. And each pair at Igen must stand together as such, too - and then all of us as one. With this thought, and with Lia and those I love and value around me, the fear is bearable…and life becomes an adventure part of me craves even in spite of the danger.

I rise and rest my hand on Liareth’s head, my eyes rising to the moons, and I find myself standing taller. We will live, learn, survive…fight on - Kyara and Liareth of Igen Weyr. Now I wait the dwindling months, my eyes watching for the baleful glow of the Red Star. Waiting for the sky to fall again.

But not alone. And not simply as Kyara the woman, helpless bystander to disaster, as I would have been in the past I left behind.

In my new home that is Now, it is as Liareth’s Kyara, a dragonrider of Pern!

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