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Microfic entries

We challenged our players to write a 250-word microfic about their Dragonchoice – You Choose: Candidate experience, and the members of the Dragonchoice Facebook group rose to the challenge!

We had a tie for the top spot, so our winners are “First Sight” by Heather Smith and “Dirges In The Dark” by Nicole Carucci-Winkler!


Shortlisted finalists

All other entries

Lying Still (Finalist)

By Leahanne L Alexander

“The training we’ve done will have to do,” Master Tammary said, refilling her recently drained klah. “Candidates are near invisible, better than drudges. We can’t pass up the opportunity.”

The words echoed with importance, as Inidro stood in her cramped office. “Be polite, obliging, and keep your ears open. Claim a musical specialty, so no one suspects. You do play?”

Inidro nodded. “Gitar and pipes. I know what to do,” he said with a confidence only half faked.

She sat, smiling. “Good. Then go.”

I’dro woke surrounded by the scent of oiled dragonhide, and it brought yesterday rushing back. Disoriented, his mind groped over memories of loud hatchlings, so many hand shakes, gorging himself on raw meat. No, that was Walperth’s. He looked over. His blue and the other new weyrlings slept on.

He’s gone too far, believed his own lies. Now…

Walperth shifted and I’dro froze. Stuck, staring, he had the perfect view of a brown firelizard, winking in above him. I’dro recognized the creature from the dining hall. Tammary’s.

The brown dropped silently out of sight. Soon, tiny talons nudged a rolled hide onto the mattress. He saw a pair of whirling eyes for only a moment before the brown unnervingly disappeared between again.

I’dro palmed the hide and stuffed it under the mattress without thinking. She wouldn’t have bothered to send anything if she were done with him. He sighed heavily. He would read it later. For now, he would be a Madellon bluerider.

Always Left Behind (Finalist)

By Katie Dresel

Daylar took a step forward, then another. Only when the cold water was lapping at his knees did he stop. He could feel the cold digging into his bones. He knew he should get out of the water, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so.

He could still hear the music, the happy crying, and shouts of congratulations. He wanted to cry. He could feel the cold of the water sinking into the gaping hole in his chest where his heart should be. He knew it was stupid to feel this way. Grandfather had told him that coming here to try to claim a dragon as his own was a worthless venture. That Daylar would never be chosen. He wasn’t his Grandfather’s favorite. Not even the favorite child of his own parents. Why would he ever be the favorite of a dragon.

But he had felt hope. Everyone at the Wyer seemed so sure he had what it took to be chosen by a dragon. Several had even looked at him. Briefly. But like always, Grandfather had been right. None of them gave him a second look.

Except that gorgeous mint green. And even then she had only gave him a second look to threaten him for trying the trick M’Shen had taught him.

His throat constricted as the tears began to form again. He took another step. He thought he heard a voice nearby but it wasn’t for him. It was never going to be for him.

Conspiracy Theory (Finalist)

By Christian Nuera

“So what exactly are we looking for?” Kaneya asked. Among the dusty, moldy tomes in the Archives, she held her breath, trying desperately not to sneeze, but failed. Outside, she could almost hear Dayiath’s own sneeze accompany hers.

Erilde peeked over a gigantic, dusty book. “Something, anything that will keep Shaldeth’s attention and keep her out of trouble. Every time she hangs out with Ishkinth or Deimoth, or Egg forbid, both of them, something always happens!”

Kaneya smirked. The fun-loving sea green and the emerald green practical joker were not the best companions for the ever-curious Shaldeth if the point was to stay out of trouble.

“So is that why you’re reading…” Kaneya scanned the title of Erilde’s giant book, “’A Brief Treatise on Ancient Toys and Games’?” She snorted. “Sounds like something an apprentice Harper would write on punishment detail!”

“It must be exciting to be a Harper,” Erilde said wistfully, “Getting to teach history and make it at the same time!”

“I don’t know,” Kaneya answered sourly, “You’d have to be really lucky to be at the right place at the right time when history’s made. Usually a Harper’s running around, getting second-hand information after the fact, when you can’t tell truth from lie.”

“But isn’t that still good?” Erilde asked. “At least people know something’s happened!”

“True,” Kaneya replied. Then an uneasy thought crept into her mind. How many things in history have been covered up or erased because a Harper got there first?

Clouds (Finalist)

By Hannah Bennett

Bryaceth stared up at the clouds above, watching as they lazily drifted across the sky. His view was obscured by a piece of meat and the hand holding it. “You at least have to open your mouth,” L’nard informed the dragon. Bryaceth opened his mouth and his rider dropped the meat in for the blue to chew passively. “What’s so entertaining up there anyway?”

Do you think the clouds have to eat? Bryaceth asked.

“They aren’t alive so I’d have to say they don’t,” L’nard answered. “Meanwhile dragons do have to eat.”

How do you know that clouds aren’t alive? Bryaceth asked, ignoring L’nard’s point about eating.

“Because dragons fly in the sky, up near the clouds, and they know they aren’t alive. When you get bigger and we learn to fly you can see for yourself.” L’nard fished another bit of meat out of the bucket, preparing for his dragon to be ready for more.

That seems like it’s really high up. I think it would take a lot of flying to get that high. Sounds like a lot of effort. The moon-blue dragon rolled onto his side, stretching his wings out as he turned his gaze to his rider and opened his mouth.

L’nard put the new piece of meat in his dragon’s mouth and shrugged. “Then I guess you’ll just have to trust me that I know they aren’t alive.”

Bryaceth thought for a moment before he stretched out his legs and yawned. I trust you.


By Christian Nuera

What would it be like to ride a dragon?

Kaneya tapped her quill in thought, the tip beating a soft tattoo along the edge of the hide on her desk. The hide’s blank surface stared back, as if mocking her.

This was always the hardest part of composing for her. Melodies and notations came to her easily, but words…

Kaneya leaned back against her chair and sighed. Her eyes wandered to a small scroll at the corner of her desk. The words within the scroll she already knew by heart. Her invitation to Search. A wave of anticipation swept through her. In less than a month, she would Impress a dragon.

At least, she hoped she would.

A high-pitched squeak rang out from the room next door, startling Kaneya out of her thoughts. Khrissy’s pipe-playing had improved over the last sevenday, though at times a stray shrill note issued from them. At least he was making progress, unlike her song-writing-

Argh! Kaneya shook her head briskly. Enough wool-gathering!

One of the best pieces of advice her Mum had given her was to write what you know. But she hadn’t Impressed a dragon yet, had she? Imagination could only take her so far…

She glanced out of the window at the blue, cloudless sky.

What would it be like to fly with a dragon?

First Feed

By Heather Smith

Dyhath’s heart swelled at the sight of his rider, A’rra, but his belly clenched, drawing a pitiful keen from him. <Someone must feed me,> he demnaded, <or I might waste away!>

She gazed at him in wonder like a hungry dragonet might gaze at a whole herdbeast laid before him, and giggled with her eyes scrunched up in that eye-catching way that made her stand out as much as he did. “Of course they will. Look, here come the bowls now.”

Turning his gleaming head, Dyhath smelled the approach of the figures that were still too far away for his brand-new eyes to see clearly. Sweet, meaty, bloody, wonderful smells that sparked grumbles of protest from his empty belly. He stepped forward, only a bit more steady than he had on the Hatching Sands, and chirruped at the bowl-bearers to hurry. Didn’t they know who he was? Blue Dyhath would be a well-known name within the hour, if he had anything at all to say about it.

Wonderful A’rra stepped faster, blurring with distance for just a moment before she returned with a wooden bowl. Her deft fingers picked out a choice morsel and held it for him. “Here we go. Now be careful about chewing your tongue; you wouldn’t want to spoil the Weyrlingmaster’s image of you, now would you?”

Dyhath scoffed <Of course not,> grabbing the morsel from her hand, savoring the juicy, squishy feeling on his forked tongue and between his blunt molars. Life was good, indeed.

Midnight Flight

By Christian Nuera

Kaneya couldn’t sleep.

In the silence of the weyrling barracks, the soft breathing of the other girls and the deeper snores of the slumbering dragonets were amplified fourfold in her ears. She couldn’t hear herself think.

That’s what happens when you drink three cups of klah before bedtime.

Kaneya’s eyes darted toward the sleek, midnight-blue dragonet curled next to her on his couch. His jeweled eyes glistened in the darkness.

It wasn’t three cups of klah, Dayiath, she retorted, it was two, and I had a song I wanted to finish.

Dayiath let out a soft huff. But you only wrote a few words!

Kaneya sighed, then jumped in surprise at a loud, bleating snore. She glanced up and shot a glare in that direction. She couldn’t wait until they all graduated and got weyrs of their own. Then, maybe she could sleep-

It must feel exhilarating!

Kaneya looked back at Dayiath. What?

To fly. To feel the wind flowing against your wings. The sun warming your back. The clouds giving you a cool bath! Dayiath’s eyes twinkled. That’s what you’re struggling to describe. The feeling of flying in the sky.

Kaneya stared at Dayiath in surprise. You’re awfully poetic, for a dragon.

Dayiath blinked. All I did was feel your dreams.

Kaneya’s eyes fluttered closed. Do dragons dream? she asked drowsily, the noises finally lulling her to sleep. She waited for his answer, but sleep finally overtook her before she could hear it.

First Oil

By Heather Smith

Oh, the itching! Dyhath had only known warmth and comfort before, but now, with a bellyfull of meat and too much cold air around any piece of him that crested the warm waters of the lake, he itched like nothing he could imagine!

Wonderful A’rra wiped a sliver of meat from his nostril and scratched above his eyeridge, gently. “Let’s get you clean and oiled before you doze off right here,” she suggested. “No reason to let anyone see you at anything less than your best.”

<You know me so well,> Dyhath chuckled, lazily tumbling himself onto his back in the water as blood and sand swept clear from all the nooks and crannies of his body. With A’rra’s help, of course.

When she assured him his hide was perfectly unblemished, he strode somewhat carefully onto the shore. He was getting better, about walking without staggering and seeing things at a distance. He could make out the faces of his clutchmates as they passed on the path, and even vague streaks of color above that chitered and talked with feelings instead of words, welcoming him.

An oilcask stood beside Dyhath’s cot in the Weyrling barracks, and A’rra set about rubbing slow circles on each of the itchy patches. He hadn’t thought he would be so drowsy. But as his closest friend massaged away his pains, and the heavy meat settled in his belly, it took everything he had to arrange his wings in a proper display before sleep took him.

First Scrub

By Heather Smith

At the shore of the steaming lake under sparkling morning sun, A’rra set down the bowl she carried and began unpacking the canvas bag hanging from her hip. Even over the tantalizing smell of bloody meat, Dyhath recognized the sharp sugary smell of cleansing sand. “Be careful not to eat too fast,” she admonished as he dove for the bowl, and he slowed for her. “I’ll look a fool if the daughter of two riders can’t feed her dragonet properly.”

Dyhath nodded. <And I would look the fool if I ate so fast I coughed some up,> he agreed, approaching the bowl more sedately.

While he ate, A’rra splashed warm water from the shallows up over his tail, and attacked it with cleansing sand, soothing itches Dyhath hadn’t even noticed and peeling the sloughing skin from where he’d outgrown it overnight. He picked gently at the last scraps from the bottom of the bowl while she splashed and scrubbed his haunches. He licked every trace of blood from the laquered wood while she splashed and scrubbed his back and belly. By the time he needed to lift his wings and help her reach his fingers, he was ready, and together they scrubbed until sweet foaming sand covered every inch of his midnight-blue hide, smearing blood around his muzzle and mud around his talons.

A’rra giggled and pointed, “Off into the lake with you.” Dyhath snorted and tackled her instead. The cleansing sand floated away in the splashes of their play.


By Stephanie Davis

As the humming grew, so did his discomfort. His muscles were cramped, and he was very hungry. But he was safe here, hidden from those outside who were judging and being judged by his brethren. Those minds would judge him too…

But it was the only way.

He felt the attention that his shell’s shifting had attracted, along with a couple of minds that seemed more in tune with his own. One of those minds was suddenly joined with one of his siblings. He struggled harder, he just had to find one who was right before they were all gone!… and then the shell broke, little pieces falling on and around him, as he finally stretched his cramped wings.

*Only a blue*, every thought around him said, disappointed. *But…*

He didn’t listen to the rest. They didn’t like him. He wasn’t good enough.

Except for one. One who, the more he looked, seemed to feel much as he did. One who was perfect. But… was he worthy of such a perfect person?

Carefully, his eyes never leaving hers, he lowered his head into her hands uncertainly. *I am Shandanth, Winry!*

The girl, Winry, seemed awed. Not dismayed, or disappointed. If anything, she was thrilled at his coloring! He examined her mind ever so slowly in case… *You do want me?* he asked. *I am… good enough… for you?*

“Of course I want you!” she cried, and his heart danced.

He was worthy!

He was home.

…He was still hungry…

To Sleep, Then To Dream

By Nicole Carucci-Winkler

They called her reserved, quiet, and shy. They didn’t know she was listening, gleaning their secrete so she could use it against them.

They called her polite, gracious, and kind. They didn’t know it was a façade to hide her dark temper, keeping her above their suspicion.

They called her altruistic, helpful, and considerate. They didn’t know she was acquiring favors, debts owed to her on which she’d demand payment one day.

She hadn’t been Lord Winstone’s favorite granddaughter abiding by rules. She had won it by being bold, ruthless, and a touch reckless. Ambition drove her, she coveted a respect above the trite, marry well conventions of Hold life. This respect needn’t be worked very hard for; it was bestowed by virtue of being one of the chosen ones.

She was one of the chosen ones. They were beneath her. Now she would seize the day and become the most talented, sought after, in-demand Bluerider beloved by all Pern!!

After I take my nap, Caleath yawned as he rolled over languidly against her, the green flecks in his blue-tinged eyes whirling sluggishly beneath semi-closed lids, his feet flailing listlessly in the air.

Sabrinn stroked her hand across the silky-soft, iridescent white-Blue belly with pampering tenderness. Of course, dear-heart mine, she crooned indulgently, after your nap. Today’s lesson in Weyrlinghood was just going to have to wait; it was cosmic law, you did not move once a Dragon had made himself comfortable in your lap.


By Hannah Bennett

Locanth raced across the hatching sands, charging toward the wall of white robed people. The moment he’d broken through his shell and seen them he knew that was where he needed to be. Among them was his perfect person who could help him fill the part of his mind, and his stomach. Even from a distance he could spot his rider, his perfect match. He’d known he was perfect from the moment his egg had been touched earlier that day. As he neared Locanth noticed his perfect human tense and he forced himself to come to a stop.

He locked eyes with his chosen and was even more certain, if that was possible, that he had the perfect human. He waited for his chosen to agree, his joy starting to bubble up. He started to hop from foot to foot, eager for his perfect match to accept him.

“Calm down before you hurt yourself,” his match implored him, stepping forward.

Locanth sprang forward toward him, ecstatic to have been accepted. His mind reached out and he spoke to his chosen. Haytham, I’m Locanth. The young bronze eagerly mind eagerly descended on him. Despite the full weight of his mind hitting his partner Haytham’s mind stood strong against it. That’s why I chose you. A bronze should not be weak and neither should his rider! Haytham’s mind pushed back some against Locanth’s enthusiasm and their minds mixed, coming to a perfect balance, like Locanth knew it would. He really was perfect.

New Day

By Hannah Bennett

The sun above shown bright on Madellon Weyr as the new class of Weyrlings filtered out of the barracks. Fhenth sauntered into the bowl, wings spread slightly so that the others could take in more of his glory. The rays from the sun seemed to hit him and vanish into the eternal depths of his midnight hide. It was no bother to him, he didn’t need the sun for him to shine. P’mer walked beside him, hand on his shoulder, a constant physical reminded that this was her reality. She knew she always wanted a blue, they were perfect for her, but she never could have imagined how perfect Fhenth would be. She glanced around at the other weyrling and was struck that she wasn’t sure really who she belonged with. Did she go with the boys, because her dragon was male, or the girls and their greens because she was a girl.

Neither Fhenth declared. They will come to you. You are Madellon’s first female blue rider. Your name will spread across all of Pern. One day young candidates will stand on the sands, look at young blues as they hatch, and hope that one day they can be like the great P’mer and Fhenth. You don’t need to seek a group, they will all want to near us. For we are amazing.

“I’m sure you’re right,” P’mer confirmed, trying to settle her nerves. As long as she had Fhenth she’d find her way.


By Hannah Bennett

Eivor held her hand out and when the dragon didn’t right away eat she tried other tactics. “Look at this meat, it’s gotten my hand all dirty.”

How dare it. I’ll bite it. The grassy green dragon snapped up the meat, comping on it. Eivor smiled, pleased that she was able to get her dragon to eat. One of her blue brothers walked past as he and his rider made their way to a spot to feed. I’ll bite you. She threatened.

“You can’t actually bite the other dragons,” Eivor warned her dragon. “If you do we’ll get in trouble and we don’t want that.”

I’ll bite them if they try to take you. Bauplinth asserted sharply.

“I think they’re all happy with their own choices.” Eivor motioned toward the other pairs and how they all seemed wrapped up in their own worlds.

That’s because they haven’t met you and found out you’re better than their choices, Bauplinth explained. When they do and try to take you I’ll bite them.

“You don’t have to worry about that. It doesn’t matter what they want, I only want you,” Eivor assured her.

I’ll still bite them. Bauplinth stated simply. But has any more of that meat gotten your hand dirty? Eivor lifted up another piece of meat for her dragon. I’ll bite you, the green said as she snapped up the food. She bit it again and again. Also known as chewing.

Don’t Get Between A Dragon And Her Wrath

By Nicole Carucci-Winkler

Madellon’s Dining Hall was full of Riders, residents, and an individual sitting alone. E’lios approached her tentatively.

What’s her problem? The voice in his head sniffed disapprovingly.

Maris looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes, mumbling, “Every Season, we go through this shite. Bristath Rises…and Imdoth is RIGHT THERE! You got my juice?”

E’lios surreptitiously gave her a wineskin from beneath his vest.

Maris inspected it, eyes widening at the seal. “This is good stuff! Where’d you get it?”

He grew up as domestic help, stealing from the cellars was easy, but E’lios wasn’t going to say that. “Um, Soleigh gave it to me. Yeah, she says she’s sorry an’ all. Wanted to make it up to you…”

If I were Indrahath, I would…. The voice gave E’lios an indignant huff.

“As I was saying…” Maris drank deeply, “I have the best weyrmate a woman…”

Outside there was a terrific roar of pain, then a furious flapping of wings, then after a long, foreboding, silence, Bluerider G’tron stalked into the cavern enraged. “Which Weyrling looks to the little miscreant that bit my Imdoth on the arse!?”

Cortlanth! E’lios blanched. Tell me you didn’t!

The voice of his Dragon replied with a very non-contrite shrug. Maybe I didn’t….maybe I did.

“I’ll take care of this,” Maris shoved E’lios away with a coy wink, “You best get to your Green.”

He didn’t need to be told twice, E’lios beat a hasty retreat from the Dining Hall.

No Laughing Matter

By Christian Nuera

“Thrice between, at the end of time and space.”

Tia blinked. “W-what?”

Elderly green rider Kisha smirked. “Go on, answer it!”

Tia stared at her, speechless. This was the last riddle, and she had solved one and failed the second. And if she failed this last riddle the old biddy would refuse to take her medicine. It was only blind luck that she had solved all three of Kisha’s riddles last time, on Hatching Day. If only Master Isnan hadn’t caught her on the way to lunch today and asked her to talk to Kisha again, as if she were some miracle worker.

Between time and space, she thought frantically as her stomach growled. Why was she spending her lunch break playing word games with stubborn old ladies? Shard it – she was a Healer apprentice, not a mind reader!

You are also my rider, and much too kind to give up on others!

Tia mentally reached out to the sky-blue dragonet currently sunning himself outside the weyrling barracks. Thank you, Setinth, she replied mildly, but these riddles are really too much!

Between time and space. She’d rather shove these riddles between time and space. Or at least take the medicine draught, mix it with fellis juice, and shove that down Kisha’s throat…

Tia. That’s not nice.

I know, Setinth. Good bedside manner and all…

Tia returned to the riddle at hand, and after envisioning the words in her mind, realized the answer.

Lost and Found

By Marli Kennedy

“…If I’d known that’s all you were worth…”

“The moment I was Searched, I decided to find my own worth. I did. With honest work and service. And Kotkith found me worthy, Lord Winstone.” Z’char replied with cold emphasis on his grandfather’s title. “That’s more than good enough for me.”

“You are no longer kin of mine. I’ll have the Harper read it!”

“Be certain that Harper Arbach does the honors, my lord. Kotkith is my joy, as I am his.”

//We are together!// Kotkith affirmed lovingly as he leaned against his rider.

“And Z’char has earned the respect of the Weyr,” Valonna replied, as she and Weyrleader T’gat joined them. “Shimpath says so. If you are not proud of him, we most certainly are.”

The new dragonrider stood tall, squared his shoulders and looked Lord Winstone in the eye.

“The Weyr is my true family,” he said firmly and then walked away to join them.


By Stephanie Davis

The gardens were so peaceful, R’hren considered with a smile. A moment later, that peace was shattered…

“Sanctuary!” a familiar figure gasped, as she sped into the walled space, a streak of midnight blue following after her.

“Wha…?” Before he could finish voicing his thoughts, another figure stormed in. Oh shells, what had the girl done to get on Soleigh’s bad side?

“Get over here and own up to what you’ve done!” the green rider roared. “I told you NOT to let Maris drink! And what did you do? You not only managed to get your hands on wine -at your age!- but you also GAVE it to Maris! She’s STILL feeling the effects of that vile brew!”

As she spoke, Soleigh continued forward, trampling his carefully tended crops. Odd that the child, who couldn’t be more than 14 Turns, as well as her new blue hatchling, had both been careful to avoid doing damage to them. Plus, she had been so kind the day before, helping him with the salve and sharing with old S’rius.

Stepping before her, he stopped Soleigh’s progress, and very calmly, his diamond hard eyes never leaving the green rider’s, he quietly but firmly said, “Sanctuary granted.”

A Token of Thanks

By Stephanie Davis

“A package for you, m’lord,” a servant mumbled from the door to his office, interrupting his sour thoughts.

Lord Winstone’s annoyed sigh could be heard halfway down the stairs, but everyone was so used to it that it didn’t register with them anymore. He wasn’t expecting any deliveries… what was this foolishness? “Well? he asked, annoyed now. “Are you going to at least tell me who it’s from? And bring it to me?”

“It was delivered by a Madellon dragonrider, m’lord,” the servant replied, and with a bow they placed the neatly wrapped box on the desk and left.

With a disdainful snort for the idiot, Winstone promptly forgot about them. A gift from the Weyr? Curious, he peeled away the brown paper and opened the box. Within, there was a smoked wherry, barely cooled from it’s journey between.

Well, at least he knew what his lunch would be! But… Why would anyone at the Weyr send him anything, let alone this? The sound of parchment sliding to the floor caught his attention, and he bent to retrieve the note that had fallen from the wrapping.

The words therein caused him to roar so loudly, some wondered if a wild animal had gotten in.

‘Lord Winstone,

Thank you so much for choosing to disown me yesterday, and so publicly in front of the entire Weyr! As such, I am no longer your granddaughter. Enclosed is a token of my thanks.


P.S.- Axoath and I wish you well, old man!’


By Hannah Bennett

H’ytham scrubbed at the Lochanth’a hide, amazed at how right L’stev had been. Lochanth had been larger than most of the other dragons when he hatched but he was noticeably larger now, and a lot more work. As H’ytham stared at the bronze hide he was scrubbing it was still a wonder to him. He’d gone from a Harper apprentice with no future to a bronze rider. It still felt unreal.

Why did you have no future?Lochanth asked. H’ytham still wasn’t used to sharing his headspace.

“Because I was never good at anything in particular. Everyone else was a journeyman and I was still an apprentice.” H’ytham could feel his dragon’s confusion. “If you have a skill for a part of the craft in particular you advance and become a journeyman and start learning from a master, the most skilled in that aspect. There’s no master for being mediocre.”

You don’t need a master, Lochanth asserted. You are a bronze rider.

“You say that like there isn’t a weyrlingmaster,” H’ytham pointed out.

 He teaches you to be a rider, not a bronze rider Lochanth countered. He cannot teach you to be what you already are. You were always a bronze rider. You were always my rider.

H’ytham stared at his dragon, overwhelmed by feeling the love and confidence through their bond. He quickly wiped the tears forming in his eyes. “I love you,” he said as he leaned against the bronze.

 I love you Lochanth echoed back.


By Tracy Harden

T’vor stirred to gruff hollering, “Get moving and feed your starving dragons!” He rolled over, mumbling “five more minutes”, then felt an urgent hungry voice in his mind. Immediately, he was wide awake, remembering yesterday’s events that culminated with him pushing past Martom to Impress perfect Gyrosmoth. “Yes, I’m perfect, but very hungry.” Dressing quickly, he joined the other weyrlings, feeding pieces of meat from a bucket to Gyrosmoth, who eagerly gobbled them up. “So tasty!” Finally, after two bucketsful, he burped and plopped down, sighing contentedly.

Suddenly T’vor was tackled to the ground! “Tailfork! You stole MY dragon!” screamed Martom. Luckily for him, a couple of older weyrlings pulled him off before Gyrosmoth waddled over, bugling angrily. The weyrling Master ordered Martom to leave, “You’ll not Stand again if you cause any more trouble!” He left, cursing. It’s clear T’vor has made a true enemy.

What’s Next

By Hannah Bennett

Falia sat on the shore of the lake, watching the weyrlings wash their dragons. She was jealous of them, how could she not be after none of the dragons had seen her as acceptable yesterday. She focused on the teal-green and her rider trying to remember every detail she could of her friend and dragon. She could still vividly see Shaldeth looking between her and Erilde, undecided. Still Falia didn’t regret stepping back and letting the dragon choose her friend.

How could she forgive herself if she’d stolen the green from Erilde?

What she regretted was what she knew was coming. Now that she hadn’t impressed her grandfather was undoubtably already planning. His words before she’d left were in frustration, and she knew better. She gave it a seven day before he was demanding her return to the hold. The man never could give up leverage. Or let a deal pass he might benefit from it. He wasn’t going to let her to wait and see if there would be another clutch before she aged out.

Falia clenched her hands, defiant. She liked the weyr, she didn’t want to leave to be in a loveless marriage for the benefit of a man who didn’t care what she wanted. She vowed to hold her grandfather to his word. She would find a place here at the weyr and she’d fight him to do so. The weyr was where she belonged, dragon or not, and no one was going to change that.

Diving In

By Christian Nuera

M’tia sat by the lake, watching as Tiemath poked at the water’s edge first with a claw, then with his snout. All around them, the other weyrlings were scattered along the lake, bathing their dragonets.

It’s cold, Tiemath stated, licking his wet snout. Do you really want me to go in?

“It’s so hot out here, and the water’s nice and cool.” M’tia wiped her sweaty brow for emphasis. “Don’t you want to be nice and clean and cool after your bath?”

But the lake is so large! Tiemath said in alarm. What if I get lost or trapped?

“You wouldn’t get lost or trapped,” M’tia replied patiently, “The other dragonets will see you and know where you are.”

I don’t want anyone to see me bathe! It’s embarrassing! Tiemath wailed.

M’tia sighed. She had been trying for the past half hour to get Tiemath into the water for his bath, but he just seemed too skittish. She thought a moment, then smiled as an idea formed in her head. She got up and calmly walked away.

Don’t leave, M’tia! Tiemath called frantically. His panicked thoughts were interrupted as M’tia rushed past him, did a little somersault, and landed in the lake with a splash. M’tia! Tiemath called again.

M’tia’s head emerged from the lake, and she let out an excited whoop. “Tiemath! Come on in, the water’s fine!”

Tiemath looked down at the water again, and gathering his courage, stepped in.


By Chris S Baily

He couldn’t scrub the feeling of it off his fingers. Like sap, it clung to them despite scouring his hands clean over and over again, the sand scraping his skin raw. He barely noticed, even when a tiny drop of blood welled and was washed away almost as quickly. The waxy, lax feel persisted, as though it was somehow part of his fingertips now.

The tea that A’len had given him – and that several of the other candidates were still half-drowsing through – hadn’t rid him of the feeling on his hands. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, the smell. He hadn’t noticed it when he touched the egg the first time – he’d been too careful to hold his breath, afraid that Shimpath would awaken if he so much as sighed. He didn’t know how he could have missed it when he ran across the sands, over broken shells and the footprints of the other new riders and their partners. When he touched the soapy, somehow-wrong surface. Tore through it.

And revealed his dragon.

His eyes went blurry, unfocused, as he scrubbed ceaselessly at his hands. As though he was seeing something else. Someone else. The corner of his mouth quirked upwards into a half-smile, and the tears spilled from his eyes unheeded. Fel could see him, if he tilted his head just-so, where he scrubbed, imagining that his hands were washing blue-brown freckled hide instead. His dragon.

Slowly, jerkily, he turned away from the basin and one bleeding hand patted his thigh. His mouth moved, whispering.

“Come along, Zygoth…”

(NB: This story was disqualified for being over the word count!)


By Christian Nuera

“Natia! Wake up!”

“Mmm… Five more minutes…” Natia muttered and turned over.

Five more minutes… A relaxed hum rang out beside her.

The draconic voice echoed in Natia’s head and her eyes snapped open as she remembered the events of the previous day. The Hatching! And Vittath… Her heart swelled with happiness as she studied her sleeping moon blue dragon.

“It’s about time you woke up!” Erilde said, “It’s been raining packages all over your bed for the last five minutes. Haven’t you noticed?”

Natia blinked and looked blearily at the little paper-wrapped bundles scattered across her bed.

Shaldeth poked at one package that had fallen to the floor.

“Stop that!” Erilde bumped her dragon on the snout.

Just then, another package materialized in the air and dropped on the bed. Natia looked up at a chittering brown fire-lizard – one of the fair that lived at her grandfather’s manor at Jessaf Hold. She pulled out a small piece of paper that was tied to the package. It was a hastily-written note from her sister, Winter:

“I wanted to get your things to you before Grandfather burned them all. These were all I could manage to save.”

Natia looked at all the packages again. They were more than enough, and she silently thanked her sister.

Something small and soft dropped on her head and bounced to the floor. She bent over and picked up a tattered, well-loved stuffed blue dragon.

Natia smiled, reflecting on how long-held dreams could come true.


By Christian Nuera

Kaneya and Dayiath sat at the water’s edge, watching as the other weyrlings bathed their dragonets. Dayiath, finished with his bath, spread his large, magnificent wings to allow the sun and wind to dry them. Kaneya, meanwhile, was lost in her thoughts.

It was still hard to believe that she, a lowly Harper apprentice with little talent, had become Madellon’s first lady blue rider. But somehow, she felt like it came with a price.

Kaneya had felt the change the moment the Hatching Feast started. People of high rank congratulating her, and expecting great things from her and Dayiath. Her family looking at her with awe.

Wherever she and Dayiath went, everyone’s eyes were on them. Watching. Waiting.

As they should, Dayiath said, breaking into Kaneya’s thoughts. We both are destined for amazing things.

No pressure. Was this how brown and bronze riders felt? She thought that by Impressing a blue she wouldn’t have to deal with other people’s expectations of her and her dragon.

It doesn’t matter what other people think. We will go our own way and they will follow.

But what if it was the opposite? What if people were waiting for both of them to fail?

They can go between, Dayiath replied smoothly, and we will continue forging our own path. They can follow us or not, but if they expect to go anywhere interesting, they’d better keep up!

Kaneya laughed softly, her doubts pushed aside by her dragon’s infectious charm.

Pick Your Battles

By Christian Nuera

There were times when Keaki was amazed at how intensely serious Gaceath could be. He would tackle problems head on, and fixate on them until they were solved. Just like her – she never left a problem alone if it could be solved.

But Keaki also knew that this kind of approach could easily backfire. So when she came across Gaceath sulking in the corner of the weyrling barracks, and a certain sea-green dragonet causing a ruckus with some other dragonets outside, she had a pretty good idea what had happened.

“You lost at one of Ishkinth’s staring contests again, didn’t you?”

Gaceath let out a huff and closed his eyes.

“It’s only a game, you know. It’s not really something to take seriously!”

But it still hurts to lose!

Keaki sighed and stroked Gaceath’s head. “I know it does. But that means you should choose what problems you want to solve with all your heart, and leave those that aren’t worthy of you. Or at least not take them seriously!”

Gaceath made an agreeable hum and snuggled against Keaki. Her heart swelled as she felt the bond of love between them.

Then she smirked. “And besides, think of what will happen if Ishkinth challenges another dragon who hates to lose? Say, a bronze?”

Just then, a high-pitched squeal rang out from outside the barracks. Keaki poked her head outside just in time to see Ishkinth galloping away from a large, golden bronze dragonet.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

By Nicole Carucci-Winkler

What is it? Aeranth asks, her olive color muzzle nose-to-nose with my grassy green one.

I don’t know, I snort at her. A little creature is scurrying for our wallows.

You should bite it, Dhanth snickers from across the aisle.

How about I bite you! I glower at him. He gives me a wolfish grin. Stupid Brown, I mutter to Aeranth. She rolls her eyes. Dhanth is always starting something.

Whatever you do, Kettymath warns, Don’t Eat It. She smacks her jaws together in disgust, teal wings mantled to keep balance as she cranes her head over my shoulder for a better look.

I’m not gonna bite it, or eat it. I sit up, bumping Kettymath off-balance so she topples, But I don’t want it in my wallow. I swipe the creature away with my paw. It ricochets off of Dhanth’s earth-turned colored rump and beneath his Rider’s bunk. A tiny puff of smoke follows it.

“Ugh…Who needs to bend a tail?” Dhanth’s Rider sits up in his bed with a look of disgust, waving a hand in front of his face.

From all around the Barracks come human noises of retching while my brothers and sisters creel their distress. The smell is worst than rotten fish, and I gag.

“Whoever smelt it, dealt it!” My Rider points and laughs.

G’det glares around the room, shouting denial, “It wasn’t me!” Dhanth growls and I growl back, bearing my fangs. Told him I’d bite if he started something!


By Christian Nuera

“How would you prefer to be known now, weyrling?”

Tiyana looked at the Weyrleader in surprise. The one thing she thought she couldn’t do as a dragonrider, and it was being handed to her! “I’d like to elide my name!” she said breathlessly.

Then she blanked. What name would she use? T’ana? Ti’na? Midnight blue Mehrath sat at her side, flapping his wings and giving her his thoughtful opinions. Tiyana chuckled at his enthusiasm, but the names that came to mind just didn’t feel right.

Tiyana knew that most dragonriders gave their children (or at least, their sons) names that would easily elide in case they too became dragonriders. But of course none of that would apply to her.

Her Mum had told her long ago that the name Tiyana meant “storyteller” in some ancient, dead language. “A perfect name for a Harper!” she said. As a dragonrider, Tiyana was determined to give her own spin on her name.

She thought some more, and her thoughts drifted to one of old green rider Kisha’s riddles: “A dragon gives you his, but you won’t take it. Yours will never be heard again.”

Tiyana smiled as she came up with her answer. Her new name would be a dragonrider’s name, but with the spirit and sound of her old name. It would certainly be heard again!

She looked down at Mehrath, and he hummed and nodded his approval.

“Ti’ana,” she said with conviction. “You can call me Ti’ana.”

Fun and Games

By Christian Nuera

Mabonth was bored.

It seemed like every fun thing she did either made Vanzanth angry or got Kaiya in trouble.

She tried challenging the other dragonets to staring contests, which was fun until Sespanath chased her off – what a sore loser! She tried playing rock, paper, scissors with Meedith and sent him sulking off to the weyrling barracks – another sore loser! But the last straw was when she hid a hotfruit in Cyrnath’s wallow and almost got her head bitten off – it was only a joke! But it had set Cyrnath’s rider off against Kaiya, and nothing was worth that! Vanzanth was now keeping a very close watch on Mabonth to make sure she didn’t cause any more distress.

Now she was loafing around near the weyrling barracks, bored out of her mind. She looked up to see Kaiya with a small carrysack and a smile on her face.

“Mabonth! I have a surprise for you!” She reached into her carrysack and pulled out a flat, metal round disc with a curved rim.

Mabonth perked up. What is it?

“It’s called a ‘frisbee’. I found a picture of it in some old Record, and I thought I’d have one made. It cost a few marks from the Smithcrafters, but hopefully it’s worth it!” She grasped it in one hand, and threw it. Mabonth gaped as it glided smoothly through the air.

“Catch it!” Kaiya called out.

Mabonth bugled joyfully and leaped up, catching it in her mouth.


By Hannah Bennett

J’hon carefully applies oil to the beautiful russet hide of his dragon. It still felt unreal to him that Meninth had wanted him, even though as he thought he could feel his dragon disagree. All around him he could hear his classmates talking to their dragons, merging into a dull background noise that J’hon blocked out. The only thing he cared to focus on was his current work oiling the quickly growing hide of his brown. They didn’t speak a word to each other, they just didn’t need to. A part of J’hon’s upper arm itched faintly and he shifted to oil the spot on his dragon. As soon as he did, he felt a wave of satisfaction from the brown. He never thought he’d share such a deep bond with anyone that he could just feel what they wanted from him. It seemed like everyone else needed their dragon to speak which made him wonder if maybe there was something different, maybe wrong with the way they communicated. After all the Weyrlingmaster had seemed concerned when they’d come off the hatching sands. As soon as he went down that line of thought he could feel Meninth refute it. There was nothing wrong with their silent way of communicating and that was that. He felt a wave of love and affection from his dragon and J’hon smiled, returning the emotions through their bond. They didn’t need words, and there was nothing wrong with that.

Impromptu Concert

By Christian Nuera

Kaneya played a few notes on her pipes, her eyes following the notation. She reached a particularly difficult passage, and her pipes made a high-pitched squeak. Kaneya grimaced and scanned the passage again.

A loud trumpeting followed, mimicking the notes she had just played, including her mistake.

Kaneya sighed. Dayiath was doing his best, but she wasn’t quite sure he was helping by singing along.

She had heard this particular song at the Hatching Feast, and afterward she had begged Carleah to lend her the sheet music so she could play it herself. But it looked harder than she thought. She played a few more notes, immediately followed by Dayiath’s bugling accompaniment.

“Kaneya! Can you keep it down? Some of us are trying to sleep here!” someone called out from the back of the girls’ barracks.

“Oh, hush!” Erilde answered, “You’re just jealous that she can play!”

Kaneya continued playing her pipes, only half-listening.

“Kaneya! Don’t make me come down there and break those pipes!” Auciet shouted.

Meanwhile, Dayiath continued to sing.

Dayiath! You’re too loud!

Oh, keep going, I wanna hear the rest! Shaldeth said encouragingly.

Dayiath, you’d better shut your trap before I bite you! Cyrnath growled.

“SETTLE DOWN!” A loud bellow echoed through the barracks.

Both Kaneya’s pipes and Dayiath’s singing ended in an ear-splitting shriek. The entire girls’ barracks was shrouded in silence as L’stev entered.

Kaneya stared back, mortified.

Oh well, Dayiath mused. That was fun while it lasted!


By Christian Nuera

Kaneya made a couple of notations on the hide on her lap, then played a quick flourish on her pipes. A lovely draconic hum accompanied the notes. Dayiath sat nearby, enjoying the sun as it glinted off of his newly-oiled hide.

Kaneya smiled. They had both been reprimanded the other day for keeping half the weyrling barracks awake with her pipe-playing and his bugling along, so today they were taking it easy.

She looked down at her hide and sighed at the song she was still working on. The melody was finished long ago, but the verses still needed work. A deep blue dragon flying through the deep blue sky at midnight and navigating through high winds.

She had heard a ballad long ago about an old woman who could read the wind and tell when a storm was coming, but then she died and her skill was lost to time. Kaneya wouldn’t mind having a skill like that – she and Dayiath could ride the wind together and predict the rain and snow, or even tell when Thread was coming…

Kaneya laughed to herself and shelved that thought. Thread would never come in either of their lifetimes.

It wouldn’t hurt to learn, Dayiath replied lazily, We could discover something useful and pass it on, so it wouldn’t be lost! We have already lost between.

That gave her an idea. She scribbled another verse, determined not to let this song be lost to time or space.

Nightingale’s Ride

By Christian Nuera

“So let me get this straight,” Carleah said, “A blue dragonpair is carrying medicine to their sick Weyr, and are caught in a severe rainstorm. And at the height of the storm, they… rediscover between and time it back to before the storm so they arrive safely?” She turned toward Kaneya, who was staring back at her with a hopeful smile on her face. “Interesting.”

“Isn’t it?” Kaneya asked excitedly, “I wanted it to end on a hopeful note, especially for us riders who can’t go between.”

“And how did the timing part come in?” Carleah asked, with a strange look on her face.

“Well, I did some research in the Records, and I’ve heard some riders talk about timing, and it’s like some mythical thing, so I figured I’d make it official! Fictionally, anyway!”

Carleah laughed. “Aiming high, aren’t we? Are you sure you just Impressed a few days ago?”

Kaneya smiled. “So how is it? Is it good enough to play on the platform?”

Carleah thought a moment, then replied, “It’s still a little rough, but with some polishing, it’ll do. If you’re confident enough about it, we can trial it at the next Gather.”

“Thank you!” Kaneya beamed, and thanked the Egg she had never given up on this song.

She felt Dayiath reach out to her and his own excitement washed over her.

You see? Dayiath added, with just a little effort, we’ll have something the entire Weyr will be proud of us for!


By Christian Nuera

Kaneya stretched out on the grass, looking up at the evening sky as it darkened from the red-orange of sunset to the deep midnight-blue of night. Dayiath lay beside her, his glistening eyes rivaling the sunset and his midnight-blue hide rivaling the night.

It was a rare thing to spend a quiet moment together, just her and her dragon. Kaneya sighed peacefully as her eyes slowly scanned the sky.

What are you looking for? Dayiath asked.

“Nothing really,” she answered softly, “Just the stars.”

One of the old Masters at the Harper Hall had been a lifelong stargazer, making maps and drawings of the stars and constellations. He had taught the young Kaneya to appreciate the stars and their positions in the sky. And he even shared his theories with her.

That each star was a sun. And each of these suns had their own worlds, like Pern. And there were so many of them.

The idea of it had always fascinated Kaneya. So many worlds! Worlds where people like her would look up at the sky at night, and wonder if they were alone.

“Dayiath,” Kaneya whispered, “Could you imagine us going to the stars someday? Once we’ve learned to fly?”

I want to know what’s out there too, Dayiath said eagerly. If there are dragons on other worlds, I want to meet them!

Kaneya reached out a hand to the darkening sky, toward the stars that were slowly appearing. So close, yet so far away.

Sky Child

By Christian Nuera

“Is it true?”

Kaneya looked up at Erilde’s question. “Is what true?”

“That you fell from the sky when you were a baby.”

Kaneya’s heart dropped. “Who told you that?” she asked nervously. Dayiath felt her unease and reached out to her mentally. She held onto his presence as if it were a lifeline.

“It’s just a rumor,” Erilde answered, “I thought maybe Auciet was stirring something up, but… it’s not something she’d know, would it?”

She wouldn’t. The only people who’d know about that were other Harpers who were around back then…

“It’s nothing,” Kaneya answered hastily, “I got into an accident when I was little, and people blew it out of proportion.”

But Erilde was very close to the truth. No one could explain the blast of light that streaked across the sky one night eighteen Turns ago, or the burnt wreckage of something large and metallic that appeared the next day near Kellad Hold. The discovery of the wreckage had been covered up by the Harpers involved, but the sole survivor of the crash could not.

A baby girl, miraculously unhurt, nestled in a cracked glass and metal capsule amid the twisted remains. She was quietly adopted out to a young Harper couple, and her origins considered an open secret.

Even though she loved her parents and brother, the knowledge that she came from somewhere else had always haunted Kaneya. If someone in the darkness of space was looking for her, she wanted to be found.

Good Boy

By Hannah Bennett

M’key went over the instructions that the Weyrlingmaster had given them at the start of their day. He knew there was going to be a lot to learn as a weyrling but the instructions on how to do the daily care for his dragon seemed top of the list. He made sure to scrub around his blue’s wing joints, reminding himself to oil it thoroughly. “Can you stretch your wing out?” He asked.

Of course, Sonnith responded, doing as instructed. He supposed he was lucky to have such a cooperative dragon, willing to work with him. He glanced toward one of the greens nearby who was being splashed by her dragon. It was in stark contrast with his stationary and obedient blue. May I move for a moment? Sonnith asked.

“Of course,” M’key assured his dragon as he stepped back. The sky-blue dragon shifted, lifting his front leg and reaching back to try to scratch at his side. “Let me help,” he said, moving to scratch the spot his dragon was attempting to get at. Sonnith set his foot back down and let his rider take over. M’key scratched at the dragon’s hide, rewarded with a low hum from his partner. “If you need me to scratch you anywhere you only need to ask and I’ll be happy to do so.”

The blue’s eyes whirled, clearly trying to accept the instruction. I will try, the blue responded hesitantly.


By Hannah Bennett

As soon as Clonth swallowed one piece of meat his mouth was immediately open, ready for the next. G’ard appreciated his dragon’s efficiency. He knew that the bronze would need more food than his classmates so while plenty of the greens and blues were obviously in less hurry they would probably still finish around the same time with feeding. It meant they wouldn’t be behind when it came to bathing and oiling that morning. Though both of those would take him longer so they would likely fall behind due to the greeny bronze’s size.

G’ard caught the sight of movement out of the corner of his eye and a flash of bronze. He looked over quickly and relaxed when he identified the dragon as Calproth. He turned back to his dragon who was looking at him, eyes whirling with curiosity. What were you looking at?

I thought I saw Gryth,G’ard explained. He could feel his dragon’s confusion so he explained. I thought my father had sent him to check on us. There was a weight that came with being the son of a bronze rider, and wingleader, who had impressed a bronze. What he did would reflect in a way on his father and he knew that, and that his father might keep an eye on him. The bronze clearly dismissed the concern and opened his jaw, ready and waiting to continue being fed. G’ard decided to follow his dragon’s lead and put the concern aside.


By Hannah Bennett

L’sky had always had trouble falling asleep in new places. When he’d come to the Weyr it had taken him a few days to get used to Cayde’s snoring. C’yde, L’sky reminded himself. While the snoring was still there, C’yde laying in the cot beside him, but there was so much other noise. The ruffle of wings, the scrape of claws on the stone couches, and Weyrling tossing and turning as they tried to get comfortable in their new beds. L’sky turned onto his side so that he was facing his dragon. Even in the dark his bright golden-bronze hide was easy to make out. It all still seemed impossible to L’sky that this wonderful bronze had chosen him. He’d thought himself setting his sights so high hoping for a bronze but Limeath had chosen him. It all still felt like some type of dream. L’sky reached out, his fingers gently touching his dragon’s wing. Just a way to silently reassure him that this was reality. The hide was warm under his touch and he could feel his dragon in his mind, assuring him that it was all real. He withdrew his hand and once more settled into his cot, letting his eyes slip closed. He needed to try to get some sleep. Tomorrow there was a lot of work to do and a lot he’d have to learn. He was going to need all the energy he could get.


By Hannah Bennett

C’yde glanced around, trying to be sure that the weyrlingmaster wasn’t watching him. He seemed to be in luck as L’stev was busy correcting how another weyrling was feeding his blue. He turned back around quickly to his dragon. “Okay, we have to do this quickly before Low-Brow notices. We’re only going to get one shot.”

I only need one shot Fordiath asserted. The green dragon tensed and looked upward a bit. C’yde pulled his hand back and quickly lobbed the bit of meat into the air. The sea green dragon tried to snap the meat out of the air but she was to low. The piece of meat rose and then fell, landing on the green’s muzzle.

“C’yde, the meat goes in your dragon not on her,” L’stev snapped.

“Yes, Weyrlingmaster,” C’yde said quickly, grabbing the meat form his dragon’s muzzle. To her credit Fordiath opened her mouth so he could put it in. “You almost got it,” C’yde assured his dragon. She’d tried her hardest and he was proud of her for it. The failure also hadn’t upset her at all which was comforting. He loved the ball of joy and fun that Fordiath was and it was comforting to know that she happily let things wash over her without getting hung up on them.

Do you want to try? Fordiath asked.

C’yde looked at the meat in his hand and then to his dragon. “Do you think you could throw it?” He asked with a grin.


By Hannah Bennett

Kina scrubbed at the neck ridges of her green, trying to be thorough and get every nook and cranny. They should have someone to do this for you, Galvedath asserted. You shouldn’t have to get all wet or get your hands dirty.

“I don’t mind,” Kina assured her dragon as she moved along the green’s neck. “Besides, you’re my dragon so no one else should touch you except for me. That’s my privilege alone.” They’d been told about how important the early days were for making sure that their bond was strong. She didn’t mind the hard work that came with feeding, washing, and oiling her dragon if it would strengthen her bond.

It was bad enough they didn’t give me as much meat as the others but now it seems like you were given less to clean me with. What will be next? Less oil? Galvedath huffed and her tail flicked in annoyance.

“They gave you less meat because you’re smaller than the others. Same with the cleaning and with the oil. You’re a more sensible color so you don’t need as much as the brutish bronze and browns. Just another reason why you’re the perfect dragon, Galv.” Kina moved to start to scrub her dragon’s tail.

I suppose that is true Galvedath admitted. Still, they should have someone who can do this for you. You deserve to relax and just bask in being my rider.

Let’s Make A Deal

By Hannah Bennett

“You can’t take my sheets,” Lena scolded, grabbing the loose end of the bedding. “Now let go, you need to be fed.” At the mention of food Aysheath released the cloth. Lena took the chance to collect up the sheet and toss it back onto her cot. She’d have to make her bed later but for now the other weyrlings were already starting to make their way out of the barracks.

Oh, you got me, Aysheath admitted with a joyful sound. I guess you’re keeping me on my toes. She tried to move toward the cot to steal it back again before Lena stopped her.

“Food is the other way,” Lena informed her dragon, trying to distract her from her goal. “How are you going to eat if you’ve got cloth in your mouth?”

Aysheath considered the question for a moment. Carefully she finally answered with delight before moving toward the cot again.

Lena set her hands against the dragon and actively pushed back against her. She needed to come up with some way to placate her dragon. She grinned as she came up with the perfect idea. “If you head out with the others to eat later I’ll give you my candidate robes and you can keep them.”

The emerald dragon considered the proposition for a moment, weighing her options. Deal she suddenly announced to Lena’s relief. The green turned and started to walk-skip toward the double doors that lead outside.


By Hannah Bennett

That’s so nice Avioth crooned as Petra applied oil to the green’s stomach right behind her foreleg.

“You need only ask and I’m happy to do anything for you,” Petra assured her dragon with a loving pat.

Why would I need to ask? I didn’t ask you this time the dragonet pointed out. Petra paused in her oiling to consider that fact. She’d been oiling in a pattern and had just felt a mental nudge from her dragon that was deeper than words and she’d just known what the green wanted. Of course. Why would I have kept what I needed from you? Why would I keep anything from you?

Petra searched for an answer, trying to come up with something that Avioth would want to keep from her but she came up with nothing. She considered as well if there was anything she’d want to keep from her dragon. They’d been advised that there would be things but at the moment she couldn’t really consider what she wouldn’t tell her dragon. After all they were bonded, what mattered to her would matter to her dragon, wouldn’t it? Petra was aware that her dragon was still waiting for an answer to her question. “I don’t know, but maybe one day I’ll come up with something,” Petra answered honestly.

I do not understand but okay, Avioth accepted. The green seemed to not be bothered by the conversation. Petra made a note to consider the question further. Her dragon deserved an answer.


By Hannah Bennett

Aulaxith sat, watching a nearby blue who was splayed out on the ground, being fed lazily by his rider. In contrast her tail and wings were tugged tight to her body, head low as she sat close to her rider. Each time Mana offered her a bit of meat the green would open her mouth, let her rider place it in, and once the hand was withdrawn she closed her jaw.

“You don’t need to be scared of your brothers and sisters,” Mana assured her dragon, noting the way she was watching the blue.

I don’t know them! Aulaxith insisted her tail twitching slightly as the blue rolled onto his side and his wings stretched more in her direction.

Mana wanted to put her dragon at ease but she knew that her sweet green was just so nervous. “They’re only strangers until you talk to them. If you let them close they can be friends.”

What if I don’t like them? What if they don’t like me? It’s better to just keep our distance and just keep to us. I know you. Aulaxith crooned to her rider, pushing her head out just enough to place her muzzle against Mana’s hand.

Mana moved her hand to cradle her dragon’s head, leaning against her dragon to reassure her. “Eventually you’ll get sick of just me and you’ll want someone to talk to while I’m in class.”

I don’t need anyone but you Aulaxith asserted and Mana could only sigh in resignation.

Finding a Spot

By Hannah Bennett

P’tak looked around as the other weyrlings and their dragons settled into places to feed their dragons. He spotted a place between the dusty-bronw and Olive-green dragon. “How about there?”

Tirgalth looked at the spot, examining and evaluating it. It might be a bit small. My brother might need more space and we don’t want to crowd my sister. That seems like belittling because of her size.

“If being closer to her would be insulting because of her size wouldn’t be staying away from a brown be insulting him because of his color?” P’tak questioned.

Tirgalth let out a small sound of distress. Oh, I don’t want to insult anyone.

“What I mean is I don’t think they’ll be insulted. The brown does need more space because he’s bigger. And greens need less room because they’re smaller. Like you need less room because you’re smaller than a brown,” P’tak explained. “Are you insulted by that?”

No, I suppose I’m not, Tirgalth admitted, eyeing up the spot. Maybe we can just ask them if we can sit there.

“Excellent idea,” P’tak encouraged his dragon.

The blue moved forward a bit and there was a moment of silence where the brown turned toward the blue and P’tak assumed they were speaking to each other. After a moment Tirgalth turned back to him. He says that we are more than welcome to the spot. P’tak patted his dragon’s side and they moved forward to take their spot and begin feeding.


By Hannah Bennett

Have you ever saved anyone’s life?Torolth asked, taking the next offered piece of meat.

“I was only ever an apprentice and life-threatening injuries would have been taken care of by a journeyman or master,” R’ory explained to his dragon. “I mainly did minor injuries though taking care of any injury is important. A poorly treated sprain can become an ache for life and a cut improperly cleaned can become infected and deadly.”

So you keep things from becoming worse? Torolth bobbed his head, pleased. I am sure that our classmates will appreciate your skills.

“The weyr has a staff of healers who I’m sure can take care of all of our classmates,” R’ory pointed out. “Also I don’t know anything about healing dragons.”

I’m sure that if you tried you’d be able to apply your skills as a human healer to dragons. Torolth opened his mouth for another bit of meat.

R’ory seriously considered the prospect as he presented more food to his dragon. He liked the idea of being able to identify when Torolth was injured and needed to get help from a healer. And he knew from experience that it was nice to be able to tell when your injuries were healing correctly. “I assume that they’ll teach us about it in the planned lessons.” After all every craft covered what injuries could happen during their work. And what was being a rider but a craft?

We will have to wait and see Torolth concluded.


By Hannah Bennett

The greens don’t deal well alone Cactath informed his rider as he looked around at the other dragons. The blues are not much better.

“You’re assuming that the bronze and browns aren’t simply putting on a front of being fine,” Z’ala countered. A quick glance around at his fellow classmates made it clear his dragon was likely correct. The blues and greens around seemed clingier to their riders than the bronze and blues in the class. Still, he had to point out his dragon’s assumption.

If they are able to pass as being fine they are still better than the others. None of them were vocally distressed. Cactath looked toward the mint-green dragon, not trying to be subtle. Z’ala didn’t really have a proper response so he didn’t say anything. They also do not take their feeding very seriously.

Z’ala had noticed as well that the greens and blues, despite their small size, were taking longer than his brown to eat their good. “That’s our gain. You need as much food as a bronze due to your size so their delay prevents that gap from causing them to take longer at their daily tasks. He doubted that in the future it would continue to be the case.

Their lack of focus annoys me, Cactath announced. It wasn’t really a point of argument, simply a statement of the brown’s view.

“Agreed,” Z’ala confirmed as he shook his head as a green nearby was playing with his green instead of feeding her.


By Hannah Bennett

My brothers and sisters are so enthusiastic for life, Thamarth commented as he looked around at the other dragons who were currently being oiled. Many of them were animated, interacting casually with their riders. The Weyrlingmaster has done such a good job making sure everyone is happy and healthy.

“Don’t let L’stev hear you say that. He’ll think you’re sucking up,” E’zio warned his dragon. Although he knew that Thamarth’s praise of the older brown rider was genuine he also knew it wouldn’t be taken that way. The brown was pleasant but in time E’zio would have to teach him some restraint. He needed to learn that sometimes even if you’re genuine you can sound false.

Does he not want to know he has done well? Thamarth questioned. The brown looked toward where the Weyrlingmaster was chastising the quality of how a blue rider’s oiling. I am sure that my brother’s rider is trying.

“I am sure that she is,” E’zio agreed. He watched as the new female blue rider flinched under the werylignmaster’s scolding. He felt for her in a way. She was carrying more weight than most of the other weyrlings and he was sure that the rebuke bothered her more. E’zio considered if he should approach the female rider, try to make friends. He hesitated, uncertain if she would be offended, assuming he was pitying her. His dragons stared at him, clearly confused. “We want to make friends’ not enemies. Being polite isn’t always clean cut.”

A Lady Is As A Lady Does

By Nicola Carucci-Winkler

“FIVE MINUTES!” the Brownrider bellowed.

“You’d better get ready,” Erilde chided while frantically cleaning.

The Barracks was frenzied in preparation for inspection. It wasn’t worth wasting energy over mundane housekeeping, so Sabrinn lounged on her cot indifferent to the warning.

“Ooops.” Auciet stood with a bucket of sloppy water she’d jostled to splash a puddle onto Erilde’s freshly swept floor. Sabrinn rose deliberately to her feet. The crushed expression on Eridel’s face moved her.

“I guess you better clean that up,” Auciet chuckled snidely.

“No,” Sabrinn planted herself before the Greenrider, “You, clean that up.”

With a toss of her hair, Auciet lifted her chin, staring the Bluerider down. “And if I don’t?”

Is this worth the energy? Caleath’s smooth voice filled Sabrinn’s mind with his gentle reproach.

Sabrinn drew herself to her full height haughtily. “A proper Lady does not start fights,” she told Auciet before turning away.

“But you ain’t no proper lady no more, are you?” The words made several other girls snicker.

Before anybody could react, Sabrinn spun on her heal, a fist lashing out at the insulter. The Bluerider and Greenrider went down in a tangle of shrieks and hair pulling, neither of them aware of the Weyrlingmaster who’d come up behind them, watching the tussle with arms crossed over his chest, scowling.

“Apparently she knows how to end them,” L’stev growled when Sabrinn pinned Auciet beneath her and blackened the Greenrider’s eye. “Both of you, wherry pens, now.”

Second Chances

By Jennifer Minor

Hello. My name is Marra. I am… or was, a candidate for Shimpath’s clutch at Madellon weyr. I was a model student right up until the hatching day. Curiosity is not always a good way to learn, especially when it comes to mating flights.

I awoke from my unexpected detour to the news that I had missed the hatching completely! The other riders didn’t act as though anything terrible had happened. My family on the other hand, were so aghast that I was disowned on the spot.

The Weyrleader was kind enough to allow me to stay at the weyr, to help in the kitchens and with general weyr life. I was young enough that there was a chance of another clutch.

I owe him a debt I cannot repay. I dedicated my time to learning as much as I could about dragons and impression; what it means to be a rider.

And now here I am. Back on the sands. This will be my last chance: if I do not Impress today I will age out of candidacy. The excitement of today is palpable, and with good reason. There is a gold egg on the sands this time. Two greens have hatched and moved on, and several blues and browns.

I am holding my breath when the gold egg shatters. As the glistening newborn queen makes her debut, I strive with everything I am. Her piecing gaze sweeps along the line of girls, and then her eyes meet mine….

Big Heart

By Hannah Bennett

Are you sure that none of my bronze brothers need that meat? Phoziath asked, craning his neck toward the dragons in question. Or maybe for my brown brother, he is rather large and the Weyrlingmaster might not have prepared for how much food he’s going to need.

“You need food as well,” H’nry reminded his dragon holding out another piece of meat for him. “Besides, their riders need to learn to take care of their dragons. Once you’re full if they ask for some of our meat then we can give it to them but not until you’ve eaten.” H’nry loved his dragon’s big heart but he was aware he’d have to keep it in check. If not then Phoziath would have give away everything, even his wings if it would help a green fly better. They’d all been warned by the Weyrlingmaster that they’d have to be the restraints of even the best intentions of their dragons. H’nry needed to pull his dragon back and be sure that Phoziath’s needs were always met. He knew it would be a struggle but he adored his brown and it was worth the effort.

I suppose it will do them more good for them to be more independent. But if they ask us for help then I insist that we help them. Phoziath finally took the offered meat from his rider.

“That I can agree to,” H’nry relented. After all, it was also important to encourage people asking for help.