Who

Miel, Xanthee

What

…for Between! Miel leads Xanthee and a couple of fellow weyrlings on this most important lesson.

Just a tad backdated.

When

It is sunset of the twenty-eighth day of the sixth month of the fifteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Red Butte, Lost Oasis, Central Bowl, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 16 Nov 2018 05:00

 

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Better to be sure than to be well… dead.


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Red Butte

Far removed from Hold and Hall, out in the utter midst of the plains of Keroon, sits the unique, solitary stone dome that every weyrling most likely knows better than any other landmark on the face of Pern - the Red Butte. Rings of eroded bedrock and sandstone ring this small mountain like long-frozen ripples worn by weather, upheaval, and time. Valleys and scarps surround and fade into the varied strata of the plateau itself. From both the ground and the air, the strikingly-hued Red Butte remains one of the most impressive and recognizable features of the entire Northern Continent.

It is the twenty-eighth day of Summer and 105 degrees. Overnight, the temperatures plummet to a reasonable heat. Sand coats everything.


What's best to do on another hot Igen summer day? Between lessons! Or, at least, taking all that studying and practicing and finally putting it to USE! The sun has just begun to set, a valuable tool for the few weyrlings who have been selected to come along on this all important test. Any lingering anxieties have been hopefully laid to rest; Miel's got a sharp eye and even sharper intuition on who might try to be "brave". Any attempt to sneak by her will be met with a firm lecture and reshuffling, as she reminds those who aren't quite ready that there is no shame in it. Better to be sure than to be well… dead. She doesn't want any dead weyrlings on her hands and in her Turns as an assistant Weyrlingmaster, she hasn't had ONE failure. A few close calls but… none who haven't come home. Today aims to be no different! She'd instructed them to all mount up, had Ivaenth check the image of their rendezvous point before they rose up as one group in formation. One last run through of instructions and then Miel and Ivaenth had made the jump first. The weyrlings were to jump, staggered by mere seconds, after them. Now they wait, already soaring in to land on a wide expanse of bedrock plateau to wait with held breath, rider and dragon looking skyward. One… two…

Sometimes you really wish for something to arrive faster, but when it does finally come, it's like…Woah! Are we really doing this? Xanthee is definitely feeling that right that betweening is becoming a reality. She's suited up, Lio's newest straps are in place. Her attention is focused on Miel as she runs through her instructions, nodding along as she finally mounts up with an excited bounce in her step, using the straps to secure her to the emerald green neck, double and even triple checking the ties. When given the signal, Liowyth eargerly takes them to the skies, maintaining her spot in formation. They both concentrate on the image they were given of the Red Butte, Xan clearing all other thoughts from her mind until her visualization is crystal clear. Then Miel and Ivaenth are gone, and she's third in line to go. First a brown, then a bronze, then Xan gives the command to take them between, holding the image tightly in her mind as she takes a deep breath. It's a good thing she's gone between so often in her life, the cold darkness is definitely not reassuring, but certainly familiar to the former weyrbrat. She counts her breaths, and soon enough, they are out of between and the Red Butte is exactly where they pictured it below. Heartbeat leaping out of her chest, she lets out a whoop as she pumps a fist in triumph. They did it!

… Three! As expected (and secretly hoped), the first pair appear in the skies above. First brown, then bronze and then Xanthee and Liowyth. Ivaenth bugles from below, though she'll share the delight of her rider through a mental brush with the weyrlings. Miel is definitely proud of these three, even if they can't see her grin. The visual gesture of her raising her arm up should be enthusiastic enough to translate, however! « Take a moment to orient yourselves if you haven't already and then you may land. We're in no rush to head back! » No sense pushing things too fast, too far, right? And there's more than enough room for all the dragons to land. Miel waits, jacket undone and resting on her straps… it's far too warm even here to stay in full gear for too long. "How're you three feeling? Not so bad, was it? You kept formation fairly good, though…" She has one small nitpick for the bronzeling, who seems to accept the correction well despite looking even younger than Xanthee and the brown weyrling with them.

With a warble of delight mirroring her rider's emotions, Liowyth dips a wing and starts a lazy circuit over the Butte, as Xanthee's sure her face will crack with the force of her smile. Lio relays Ivaenth's instructions and Xan directs them to land near the assistant weyrlingmaster. After another tighter circle, she angles her oversized wings down, zeroing in on her destination and finally landing with a careful back-winging and a flick of bright green tail. Xanthee turns her attentions to Miel, still grinning from ear to ear. "That was incredible! I mean I can count how many times I've gone between in the past, but never as part of the pair doing the actual…thing!" Seems even words are failing her as Xanthee carefully undoes the straps and slips down to Lio's waiting forelimb before hopping to the ground. Riding jacket is likewise shed in short order as she goes for her small water skin she has hooked to her belt. "My mouth feels like the desert now though. That was the most nerve-wracking few seconds of my life so far. But we made it."

"It's definitely much different when you're the one in charge of the actual skill itself!" Miel's grinning openly still, her behaviour 'laid back' compared to some. It's also the perfect mask to wear over the dwindling build up of concern and anticipation; she may be experienced as a rider, but that doesn't make this any easier for her either! It can wear on the nerves, though she's relieved that her running streak of success continues on. Words won't be failing just for Xanthee, the other two in her group seem to be resetting their brains as well, looking delightfully shellshocked but eventually warming up to conversation again. "Go ahead and have a drink. Unwind a bit," Miel encourages, nodding to the other two and encouraging them to follow Xanthee's example of grabbing a drink of water. "Enjoy the view, too!" Bemused, she'll sweep a hand out over to the sprawling land below the plateau they've landed on. Content to let the weyrlings have a moment to "themselves", after a few quiet minutes of thought, Miel speaks up again. "So. Any lingering worries? Before we start discussing our route back." That draws the attention of the other two weyrlings, the youngest voicing a wavering: "Wait. We're not going straight home?"

Taking another swig from her waterskin, Xanthee wipes at her lips with the back of her hand. Wispy trendrils of raven hair have escaped her runner tail to frame her face, eliciting her to sweep them back into place. Taking Miel's advice, she puts her hands on her hips, she inhales deeply as emerald gaze travels over all the light touches, followed by a soft whistle under her breath. This is it! The last big skill to learn and soon…Senior Weyrlinghood. The whole thing is a bit much for the greenling as her eyes prickle and fill with tears. Dipping her head in the guise of taking a drink, she sniffs softly and covertly scrubs at her eyes, turning away from Miel and the other weyrlings. « Everything alright? » Liowyth asks with a concerned touch to her mind. Oh course! Just an emotional day Lio. She composes herself enough to turn and at Miel's last, even if her eyes are a touch red and puffy. She's not entirely surprised that they won't be taking the same route back. "No worries on our part. Just…It gets less nerve wracking right? I felt like my heart was about to burst through my chest at one point."

Definitely the last big skill, but there is so much more that they'll learn over their hopefully long Turn-filled lives! Soon, all too soon, they'll be applying this to real Threadfall and that will be the ultimate test beyond Between. Xan may think she's hiding her emotional moment, but even Ivaenth rumbles low and Miel tilts her head a bit. She doesn't directly ask her, but the lingering look she gives the younger woman tells all: IS she okay? Because no one will be flying out of here until she's certain that emotions are in check and won't flare up at the wrong moment! "It does and it doesn't. I want to reassure you all that it gets easier but when it comes to Between, you don't want to get too comfortable. The shock will wear off, but always keep your mind sharp!" She taps a few of her fingers to the side of her head for emphasis.
Catching Miel's look her way, Xanthee reads her meaning loud and clear. Brightening smile and a firm nod of her head is used to relay that she is just fine, but just in case, Liowyth reaches out to Ivaenth, « She's fine. Just really happy from what I can gather. » Already her eyes are drying and what little redness was there is quickly fading. Turning to better face Miel, she titls her head to one side with a thoughtful nod. "Right. Because you definitely don't get a second chance if you mess up betweening even once." It's a little morbid to think about, but that's the reality, one that anyone who's grown up in the Weyr knows about.

« That's reassuring! And not uncommon. She doesn't have to hide it though? » Ivaenth is quick to pass word on to her rider, while also answering Liowyth. The other two weyrlings have started their own conversations, becoming comfortable enough to even wander a bit of the plateau as they gaze out over the land below. Miel smiles, though her tone remains rather sobered. "Exactly that! You might get lucky, but chances are you just… won't. Better to be safe, than to be dead. Right?" Have some dark humour, everyone! Glancing skywards, she sighs a little on her next breath. "And as much as I'd love to let you three relax all evening, we should get ready for the second half of this. Feeling steady?" Her eyes roam to Xanthee first, though the bronze and brown weyrlings nod their heads firmly.

Putting on her serious face as well, Xanthee nods in Miel's direction to show that she is definitely getting the idea. A little practical paranoia is a good thing when it comes to betweening…check! Not able to help a soft chuckle at the assistant weyrlingmaster's idiom, she nods to the woman's last, a surge of excitement, with a tad less fear, as it looks like they are going to go again. Taking a final draught from her waterskin, she secures it back to her belt and goes to stand near Liowyth, the green readying a forelimb to help her rider up when needed. "Yup, I'm all good," She affirms with another grin.

"Then listen up!" Miel beams, pleased with how quick this trio recovered from their first jump. She nods to Xan, signalling that she and the others can mount up. "Get buckled in!" she pitches her voice to carry, while she'll reach for Ivaenth's straps and hoist herself up, gathering her jacket and strapping herself in. Instructions will be given through Ivaenth, who easily links up with the young weyrling dragons. Their goal is simple (at least she lays it out that way): they're to fly up high and in the same formation as before. Only the Between point is somewhere a little more vague, along the distant range of the desert but with a clear landmark: the oasis. « Remember to keep the sun's position in mind when envisioning. We will jump in the same order as before! » Miel will wait until she's certain no one has any last questions before lifting her arm up in the hard-to-miss signal. Time to fly! Flaring her over-bright wings, Ivaenth leaps skywards and effortlessly into position. When they've all reached that point, they continue to fly in formation while Ivaenth and Miel both check and correct the images fed back. « Hold steady now. On our mark… » One blink and they're gone, reappearing above the desert oasis. Miel twists in the straps, breath held for the second time that evening. One… two…

With a somewhat already practiced move, Xanthee is astride Liowyth with little trouble. Her straps are buckled, then checked and double-checked, fastening her riding jacket once more. Looking expectantly at Miel when she's ready, she nods subtly as Lio transfers the older green's instructions to her. With a bit more confidence this time, and a little less fear, the greenling urges her lifemate into the air when she sees the hand signal. Using those oversized wingsails of her, the green pushes off the shelf of rock they were on with one powerful downsweep and follows Ivaenth into the skies, careful to remain in postion in relations to the other two. Liowyth and Xan both concentrate on the image they were given, taking care with the placement of the sun. When Miel gives her mark to go between, she waits first for the other two to go before following in short order. Soon though, the greenling pair pops out of between above the desert oasis, a beaming smile for another successful jump.

Oh, Xanthee and the brown weyrling are successful in their jump! The bronze weyrling with them, however? Is very much off his mark and while they do not misjudge to a fatal point, they are too high and out of formation. Alarmed to find their comrades below rather than beside, they overcorrect and Ivaenth gives a warbled-bellow of alarm when the young bronze's shadow falls over them. « What are you doing!? » Is all the warning she can give, before the bright green has to drop down and swing out of the way, while the young bronze blunders his way in. Xanthee and the other brown weyrling will likely have to scatter a little themselves, in order to regroup. « — of all the stupid, reckless moves! You never just bullrush your way back IN formation! Communicate! » Ivaenth's scolding, which likely more Miel's, continues on though the conversation turns private at one point. The bronze in question gives a disgruntled whine at one point, while his young weyrling rider looks ready to go find a proper hole to die in, mortified (and probably shaken up). « You two okay? » Ivaenth and Miel's focus turn both to Xanthee and the brown weyrling, who almost immediate signal they're fine (if a touch flustered and annoyed).

Blinking when she realizes that something is not really as it should be, Xanthee looks around for that bronzeling and his lifemate, not seeing them immediately. When the shadow falls on them from above though she glaces up quickly to see the pair descending way too fast. "Lio! Move!" she yells almost instinctively, but the green is already darting out of the way, a little sharply perhaps as Xan gets thrown against her straps. Good thing she double-checked them! It takes a moment for the greenling to right herself even as Liowyth is apologizing profusely for the sudden maneuver. Tasting blood, she reaches up and feels a small cut at her lip where she must have bitten it. It's ok Lio. You had to get us out of there. When Ivaenth passes on her concern, Liowyth replies, « We're fine. » even as Xan waves at Miel to reassure her, covertly wiping her other hand against her bloody lip.

« That's going to sting a bit. » Covertly or not, Ivaenth is not blind and neither is Miel when she catches on that Xanthee has bloodied her lip. Between certainly won't tickle with a minor wound like that but it's not life threatening! « Change of plans! » The green's tone is firm, the dual-tone of it ringing clearer with a metallic burr that betrays her true mood. « Liowyth, you and your rider are to take point for the next jump. We're going back to the Weyr, above the centre bowl. Two-paired formation, side by side." Meaning the brown weyrling. The bronze is given a snort. « As for you two, you'll be following us and we'll be discussing a few things on our return. » Uh oh, someone's in trouble! Rumbling, Ivaenth will soar to fall into line beside the bronze, leaving Xanthee and the brown weyrling to form their own group. Miel raises her arm again, signalling them to go ahead when ready. « Focus now! Set the image clear and steady in your minds… » Ivaenth will help a little, of course, but for the most part they'll be trusted to make the leap of faith themselves; Miel has enough faith in them to make the last leg of the lesson home safe.

When Miel changes it up, Xanthee blinks a little bit in surprise when she's told to take point, but it's a challenge she's certainly up for as she signals that she's understood. Taking a few calming breaths, she takes the time to clearly set the image of the Central Bowl into her mind even if it is the place she's most familiar with, she's taking zero chances of messing this up. Signalling to the brownling to get into position, they quickly line up and then watch for Miel's signal. When it's given, she relays it to the brownling and then she urges Liowyth between. Three breaths and they are out! Exactly where she meant them to go. Looking around, she spies the brownling as he pops in, right where he should be as well. All in all, Xanthee is going to call that success. Let's just hope Miel concurs.

Definitely a success! Ivaenth appears from Between not a second behind them, along with the bronze weyrling pair who were more or less "tethered" to them. « Well done! You didn't fall for the 'comfort of home' trap. » Meaning they're praising Xanthee and her partner's ability to keep the image of home so highly focused. « You've both earned some downtime. Go ahead and land, mind your straps and then take a breather for the rest of the evening. » It's a rare, rare treat to be given some 'downtime' in weyrlinghood, so they're left to their own devices! Miel will give a thumbs up gesture to them both and there's no need to be close to understand that she's probably grinning, pleased with two of them, anyhow! As for that bronze? Well, the assistant weyrlingmaster was true to her word. They're going off to land somewhere nearby, but it's obvious his evening is no where near finished or likely to be pleasant…

Xanthee's heart is still beating in her chest hard even as she gets the the compliment back from Ivaenth. She gives a big thumbs up to her brownriding cohort and then grins broadly as they are given the evening off. Nice! Extra time to spend with Mal. Xan asks Liowyth to pass on their thanks for the lesson before she instructs her to fly towards the Lake and home, not willing to waste a moment of this rare opportunity.

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