==== December 19th, 2013
==== Kyara, Liareth
==== Everything slams into Whirlwind's youngest greenrider like a ton of bricks upon returning to Igen from the freak Threadfall over Keroon.

Who Kyara, Liareth
What Everything slams into Whirlwind's youngest greenrider like a ton of bricks upon returning to Igen from the freak Threadfall over Keroon.
When Evening. There are five months and six days until the 12th Pass…aren't there?
Where Dragonhealer Yard, Infirmary, Central Bowl, Lake, Kyara and Liareth's weyr; Igen Weyr

The final transition from the frigid void to the baking night air of home draws a raw growl from Kyara’s throat as the extremes set the Threadscore across her thigh to throbbing. The sluggishly oozing track marks sparsely peppering Liareth’s foresail sting and pull - Kyara can feel that, and the pained edge to her lifemate’s bugled announcement of their return only aggravates the perception.

« It hurts, » Liareth reiterates plaintively, no embellishments other than a thick fog of exhaustion accompanying. « You hurt. »

“Just hold on, love,” Kyara answers through gritted teeth as they touch down in the Bowl just beyond the dragonhealer yard. “We’ll both be fine; these are just little things.” She unclips and slides from Lia’s neck, the landing sending a fresh burn through her score and an involuntary hiss sizzling through her teeth. “We were lucky. So lucky. So many were hurt worse.” And too many met with much, much worse than hurt. How many times did Liareth and the others around them keen for a fallen pair? Too many. Kyara lost count, wasn’t thinking about more than staying alive to count. She only felt.

Automatically, they’ve come into the yard, a dragonhealer with his brown lifemate jogging up to meet them as Liareth explains her injuries as best she can while they continue forward into the pool of glowlight inundating the place. “Her right wing; please - it’s not bad, but it stings so…” Kyara is saying simultaneous to that as a Healer Apprentice catches up to her, glowbasket in hand.

“How bad are your injuries, greenrider?” the young man is questioning, his tone gentle yet strained as he looks her over. This was just as unexpected for the non-riders.

“I’m alright,” Kyara answers, her exhaustion now becoming mingled with some severe adrenaline drop-off. “Just a light score on my thigh; it’s not bad.” Apparently she’s not moving fast enough all of a sudden; the Healer has a grip on her arm and is guiding her onward to the infirmary.

“Water!” the Apprentice calls, leading the greenrider in over the threshold and turning her on a course to the right, where he gently but firmly pushes her down onto a stool, pressing a cup of water into her hand. “Drink that down,” he orders, and she absently complies. Deft fingers brush forgotten bits of fabric from atop her thigh, and he nods, slowly. “You’re right; it isn’t bad. You’re a fortunate one, greenrider. You and your dragon make a quick pair. I’ll be back in just a moment.” He slips away, into a small press of other Healers and injured riders.

From the yard, Liareth is giving her rider a rundown of those who are injured enough to return…and those who have gone completely.

Twenty lost ::between::, nine of whom belonged to Igen.

Some part of Kyara wants to be sick. She’s compartmentalizing, though, momentarily distracted as she looks down at herself. Her dress - what remains of it - is a study in twisted contrasts, just like the evening. Shielded by her riding jacket, the upper half is intact in all it’s silver-darkening-to-blue beauty, albeit wrinkled and sweat-soaked now. The skirt is in tatters, the two jagged slits she’d pulled into it from mounting rising all the way up above her knees. There’s a whole swath of fabric missing over her right leg, the edges charred away along the top and outside of her leg and faintly purpled by blood. The Threadscore itself is about the length of her hand and the width of two fingers - an angry red slash beginning atop her thigh like a burn and deepening slightly as it curls around to end just a bit above her knee. The edges on the lower end look somewhat blistered - cauterized, as they learned during weyrlinghood.

She studies that wound - that minor, minor wound - with grim fascination. Her first scoring. Would it have even happened, had the lot of them not been caught by surprise? It’ll be her last, too…if she has any say in the matter.

There’s a sudden easing and sense of sheer relief from Liareth, enough to have Kyara shutting her eyes for a moment. The numbweed has finally come her way! « That is so much better, » the green is telling the dragonhealer’s brown. « Thank yours for me. Truly. »

The Healer returns, immediately staunching the score with a redwort-soaked cloth. Caught off guard, Kyara hisses rather vehemently and stares wide-eyed at him for the lack of warning, and he gives her a contrite look. “I’m sorry,” he apologizes, giving it one last gentle swipe. Ash and grit are now cleared from the wound, only making the redness of it more alarming. “Quickly is the best way to go about these types. But it’s clean now, and it’ll heal up quickly as long as you take care of it. Here. This’ll ease it.” He produces a small jar of numbweed and directly slathers it on.

Kyara’s relieved sigh might be comical under other circumstances, but just how much the burn of that score was aggravating her wasn’t apparent until that moment. “Thank you,” she breathes, wondering at how much she was blocking out. Well…that’s what they were trained to do, wasn’t it? But if one little score like this hurts so much, the others… Her concern suddenly rising to the fore, she peers around the infirmary anxiously. There are others she knows are here, hurt worse than her; Liareth knew them in the moment of their injury. Is N’thu here somewhere, or still in the Fall? No; he’d been fine last she knew. K’ane - Faranth, where is he? How is he? He’d been scored, twice…

« Dhioth is not forthcoming, understandably. » The concern in Lia’s mindvoice is readily apparent, however.

» Vashae? We’bey? I’yn? «

« They are fine. They came after we left and fight well. »

» Sienna; she’s with the weyrlings… «

« Safe, as much as they can be. They- Oh! » The alarmed warble from multiple dragons without has Kyara standing in an instant.

» What, Lia? What? «

« A weyrling pair from Southern! Oh, they hurt so badly! They’ve skipped… »

Kyara’s stomach goes cold with sickening abruptness. » Not E’don and Qianvaelth? « Please, oh please, oh please, not them…

« No. A green - Jiamoth is her name. She and hers are the other weyrling wingseconds. They are at their Weyr, now. The healers have them. » The relief to Lia’s tone is nearly palpable, and it amplifies Kyara’s own - both that it isn’t E’don, and that the injured pair made it to Southern. Hopefully they’ll be alright-

There’s a sudden moan, and a small knot of Healers in a corner Kyara can barely make out sends up a flurry of urgent murmurs at the same time as a dragon lets loose an agonized cry outside. A whoosh of air and a great rustling of beating wings…and the greenrider slumps against the nearby wall and braces, realizing what’s to come. The dragons’ keen rolls with eerie despair through the Weyr, and as much as Kyara tries not to, there’s no escaping the sense of utter emptiness and loss that twangs mercilessly at her nerves - what she’s hearing compounded by what she’s feeling from Liareth. Baring her teeth and screwing her eyes shut, she gives way to the tears, letting her forehead come up against the cool stone wall.

« Tyth is gone. Twenty-four. »

The tentative hand that reaches out to touch Kyara’s shoulder startles a small gasp out of her as her moisture-clouded gaze flicks over to find the Healer. “I’m…sorry, greenrider,” the young man says, his face drawn and his eyes round as he looks at her. “So sorry.” Hesitantly, he gives her shoulder a gentle squeeze, then holds out a good-sized, stoppered clay pot to her. “This should be enough for you and your dragon both, for a day or two. But I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to step out, now. We…have more coming.”

Kyara blinks a few times before giving a comprehending nod. With a quiet murmur of thanks, she slips out into the yard to meet Liareth, the dragons in the darkness still murmuring their melancholy as myriad eyes whirl in many shades tinted grey. Silently, the green pair drifts out into the Bowl, stalking unheard across the shadowed sand. « The Fall is over, » Liareth reports quietly after a time. « They come. »

Presently, bugles of greeting sound round about, and Liareth adds her own alto notes to the chorus as Kyara cranes her neck to see patches of stars blotted out by the forms of dragons blinking in overhead, the sudden presence of many wings displacing the air with hundreds of muted fwumps. The wings have returned. But how many will make their way to the dragonhealer yard now? How many didn’t make the trip home?

« Twenty-six are lost to us. » The pretty green’s voice is imbued with quiet sadness, and it wrenches at Kyara’s heart like nothing before. « Thirteen were ours. This should not have been. »


“No,” Kyara chokes out, her knees suddenly giving way. She finds herself abruptly in the sand, heedless of the pull it gives her score, her head hanging nearly to her thighs as she digs her palms into eyes framed by a goggle-shaped tracing of dust and ash. “No, it shouldn’t have.” And she weeps, Liareth curling around her sobbing form in a guarding embrace as the greenrider lets loose the culmination of all the anger, fear, pain, and sadness this inexplicable day has built within her.

It isn’t clear how much time has passed by the time Kyara pulls herself to her feet, suddenly very aware of just how dirty she is. She wants to be rid of it - the coating of ash and char, the remnants of dead Thread coating her. All that they killed. They’ll kill it again.


They won’t have died in vain.

Kyara pulls up onto Liareth’s neck, and they make for the lake. She dismounts to free her lifemate of her straps and then slips around to the other side of Lia. It’s dark, and there’s no one else about, but still the greenrider uses her dragon to shield what she’s doing, stripping away the shredded remains of her dress and stepping into the dark water, submerging and scrubbing away all the physical remnants of that aberrant Threadfall with increasing anger until her skin smarts and the effects of the numbweed on her score are nullified. Get it off. ALL of it. Wincing as she emerges from the water, she finds the pot the Healer gave her and sets that to rights before digging into the large pouch on the discarded straps to find the pants and shirt she meant to wear under her leathers for the return trip. She doesn’t care so much about the boots she brought along, taking the short flight up to her weyr in bare feet.



Can she sleep? Kyara is uncertain that her still-churning thoughts will allow her. Perhaps the bone-tiredness setting in will overrule her mind. She enters her weyr as Liareth follows, curling up on the stone couch beneath the overhang to be closer. Inside, the greenrider stops after she sets down her belongings, still even as her firelizards come down to find their perches on her shoulders, crooning and gently rubbing their heads against her cheeks in comfort. Absently stroking their diminutive heads, she stares at the stone pillar in the midst of her weyr. No candles are lit upon it at the moment, the only light coming from the few glowbaskets that sit unshielded on the miniscule stone shelves. With a sigh, she finds the taper she uses to light the stubby pillars, along with a flint and striker. Lighting the long, slender candle, she approaches the column. The candlelight will help, she thinks.

She lights the first candle…and stops, an idea coming upon her as more of an impression, an urge, than as something she can put words to. “Tyth…” she whispers, her voice hoarse from her earlier crying. “And F’menik.” Liareth gradually wraps that familiar blanket of comforting, humid steam around her lifemate’s mind, but understands what it is that Kyara is doing now. Some might view little rituals such as this as meaningless, a waste of time even…but to her, such things are a sort of release. A way to keep the better parts of hard memories. Her tone nearly a whisper itself, Lia relays the names of each fallen dragon, and Kyara repeats them aloud, each time lighting a candle, adding the names of the riders for Igen that Liareth can’t remember. Remembrances for those from Southern are only dragons, but those they belonged to are thought of in silence, until Kyara has lit one candle for each one lost.


Cheeks glistening with renewed tears that have fallen unchecked yet silent, the greenrider gently blows out the taper and stands in silence for a long while, meditating on the flickering flames of the fallen until Liareth gently urges her to find her bed. Kyara goes…but instead gathers up a blanket and a few pillows and seeks out her dragon. Tonight, her bed is going to be right there, between Liareth’s forelegs. Here’s another night she really doesn’t want to be alone - but this time, her dragon is the only one she wants to be with. Her greatest and closest comfort and love.

Sleep falls, heavy, dreamless, blank…and mercifully quick.

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