Unmanned Flight is Easy! - WL #4

Weyrling Barracks
The weyrling barracks are two large buildings built against the bowl wall to house newly partnered dragon pairs until they are old and mature enough to move out into their own private weyrs. Originally separated by the riders sex, the smaller number of greens and blues impressing females and the rarity of a gold's arrival has reduced their territory to about a third of one of the barracks. The sections are separated by heavy leather curtains. There are wide wooden doors covered by a thin sheet of copper which roll open and closed as needed. Metal shuttered windows are found along the west wall, most often thrown wide open for both light and ventilation. The barracks are subdivided into areas for the dragonpairs which consists of a raised wooden platform couch for the dragons and a cot and small press for the rider. Pegs along the wall help to hold riding gear and there is a central area in which large barrels of oil, rags, brushes and cleaning supplies are gathered for all to use.

Practice Field
A wide expanse of trampled grass that unfolds in front of the weyrling barracks, this area has been used for turns for the play and exercises that growing dragons need. Here, they take their lessons, both for the riders and dragons, in everything they have to learn to be a functioning part of the weyr. Well, at least in the outdoor classes. Straps are first put on here, as well as first flights, both for dragons and then dragons and riders together. Oftentimes, if a wingrider is curious and has a free moment, they may wander through to see just how those new riders are progessing. Especially those they have a particular interest in.

Weyrling Barracks

The barracks doors swing open to invite in the biting nip of an early spring afternoon. The winds are light for spring and carry only an occasional flurry or two. For locals, it's positively a lovely day though nearly anyone else would be hard pressed to go beyond bearable. "OK, ladies and gentlemen! Suit up. I want full fall out in five minutes. Complete suits, flight straps, your dragons' weighted bags at the ready." P'wyn calls from the doorway. With that he turns about and exits outside without another word and without waiting for any questions.

You head outside.

Practice Field

Shailaja comes out of the weyrling barracks.

Eodarin comes out of the weyrling barracks.

Sh'wn comes out of the weyrling barracks.

Five minutes! It's just -barely- enough time. But, Shailaja makes it out there, huffing and puffing a bit as she lugs the straps and bags. She's all kitted out in her gear, at least, which makes the chill outside plenty tolerable. Ruebalith, for her part, is still a bundle of clumsiness - cautious clumsiness, at that. She picks her way along after her rider, eyes wide and slightly distressed around the edges, though that seems to be a normal state of affairs for the anxious young gold.

Who cares what the weather is? Eodarin doesn't question P'wyn's orders for once. Not even her usual mutterings of 'what next' or 'what now'. She just suits up as requested while Orayth stretches from her couch and fidgets. Five minutes? Why always so little time? The pair will shuffle out with the rest, tailing near the end. Eodarin gives a quick nod and wave to Shailaja as she stops nearby, while Orayth seems fascinated with the gear strapped to her and looking both curious and eager.

As unmoved as ever by those few grumbles that accompany Pen's usual short time frames, the brownrider stands legs slightly apart, arms akimbo waiting patiently as the two clutches begin to form up in ragged ranks. Surprisingly for some, there is much less grumbling than has been so in the past and a much quicker and more precise response. Maybe there is a point to the madness. Once everyone is in place and quiet, P'wyn begins. " I'm sure you have all been working hard on your strength runs and up/downs. I'm even more certain you've been doing you ground flight practice and formations drills." A little uncomfortable shifting signals those who always will be slackers. "Now it's time to put it to the test. I want dragons with full rider weights to line up by size for up/downs. Riders, I want you to divide up into three wings, bronzes as wingleader. Ladies," He asides to the golds "Pick your wing leader. Spread out across the near side of the field, north end highest level, south end lowest."

There's a sheepish look this way and that before Shailaja picks one of the bronzes completely at random; really, it doesn't seem to matter much to ''her'', just that they're able to get into a wing quickly to see this thing through. She double-checks Ruebalith's straps - or is that a triple-check? - and picks up her bags again to lug them along to wherever they're supposed to go. The gold warbles a bit with uncertainty, but the former artist soothes her with a murmur and a sigh, which seems to settle her. For now, anyway. Into position!

Eodarin heaves a bit of a sigh. Must she choose? Apparently so, though Orayth may beat her to it by a few seconds by selecting her choice and looking rather smug about it. "… really?" she sighs but to save time she won't argue. Hey, at least it beats covering her eyes and pointing at random? "Come on, then." Pleased, Orayth leads the way while Eodarin gathers whats needed and joins the 'wing'.

As the wings sort themselves into vaguely equal lots, P'wyn goes through and shifts a few around. "There now, everyone, weight bags need to be mounted and tied firmly in place. Then I want you each to do a lifted gear check. Enolth will demonstrate." With that the brown stands and gives his whole body a vigorous shake. Then he goes upright on his hind legs, wings extended and sort of 'hops' up and down a bit. As nothing shakes loose, he stands and does the full body shake again. "No loose straps people! No loose saddle bags either. When you are confident they are good, send them to line up. You stay in formation here. They will do up/downs to begin. You will do formations. If I call your name, you need to send your dragon an emergency between image to be passed on to Enolth. Remember strength of body, strength of mind!" And the weyrlingmaster steps aside to check each dragon as they come up to the flight line.

"Yes, sir," Shailaja chirps and she's quickly at work, cinching the sacks onto Ruebalith's straps. Her features screw up with the effort of concentrating on the task - and assuaging her lifemate's apparent concerns, inspired as they are by Enolth's hopping antics. "You'll do -fine-," the young woman murmurs, with a glance angled back to Eodarin and Orayth after a few moments. She flashes her fellow weyrling a smile and soon turns her attention back to the work immediately at hand. "See? Orayth isn't worried. You shouldn't be, either." It seems to do the trick - at least for now - as the smaller gold finally stops shifting from foot to foot with anxious energy. When the girl finishes up, the gold tests things exactly as they were shown, though she's a bit wobbly on the last little hop or two. Shai beams at her and it's off to line up with the rest, while the former artist worries over her lower lip a little.

Eodarin gives what appears to be a quick salute, followed with an equally quick spoken: "Got it!" There's no hesitation, though she'll have her hands full trying to keep Orayth steady so she can triple check those straps. The gold has endless confidence but is still working on patience. A firm pat to the side and Eodarin steps back as Orayth goes through the motions shown by Enoth. Body shake, check. 'Hop'… check. Catching the smile from Shailaja, Eodarin returns it along with a positive thumbs-up like gesture. Orayth rumbles too, pleased with her success but encouraging to Ruebalith. Nothing to it! So it's off to the line up and the next step.

By virtue of a certain dragons color Sh'wn and his partner move and form the front of a line. He gathers a good assortment of colors except those two dazzling ladies who meander to the others. He sniffs but pushes his shoulders back ignoring the brief smug looks flashed his way by the other two. Then he realyl must pay attention, that seems to be quite the set of instructions. Temurth isn't moving any quicker, slow to get in line, and patiently unhurried as his rider snaps to in getting the gear settled and yanked about. When Sh'wn thinks its good he passes on the instruction to the bronze to go give a test hop like Enolth and gets a reluctant rumble. "No I'm sure that second bag is tight.." a pause and the rider rolls his eyes "fiiiine" and scrambles to double check before Temurth will oblige to hop his way into line. Dandy!

P'wyn gives a soft chuckle at the distinct personalities of the dragons coming through in both their reactions and how quickly they surge into line. He and the other weyrlingmasters look over each dragon as well to check weights before sending them on to do the same wing exercise with occasional short glide they have been working on for weeks now. Enolth launches to perch higher up the bowl where he can watch the weyrling dragons better and Pen turns to the weyrlings. "Excellent. You will motion with your full arm in the direction of fire please. Formations ready?" And as he asks the question, a pair of adult greens *pop* out of between not too far above them and drop something overboard. "Sh'wn, highest flight, Pl'er, lowest. Here they come!" And they do. A light rain of yarn snips no more then a finger length long floating lazily on the light southeastern wind. " R'drew! Image!" is called before the weyrlings have even reacted to the strings. "No! I am not a safe image. Eodarin, show him how it's done please!"

Oh dear. Thread! Well. Yarn-Thread, but still. Ruebalith swings her head around to watch the stuff, her gaze quickly shifting to study the other dragons and where ''they'' are and what they're doing. She's back to shifting on her feet, which Shailaja struggles to settle with more murmured words and smiles and careful pats. She glances off to Sh'wn when his name is called, though, her forehead furrowing a little as she checks on the third bronzerider's wing. A smile is shot his way as well - and it might even be a touch apologetic, for all of that - but then things are happening and it's time to focus. Back on P'wyn, then, with a slight nod and a delayed salute - d'oh!

Eodarin's glance to Sh'wn may hold some form of apology as well and the shrug that follows. Next time? Now there's no time. Things move along fast and she has to focus, both on P'ler and the commands coming from P'wyn. Lowest flight and now yarn-Thread! "Easy." she murmurs to Orayth, when the gold twitches, ready to forget (kind of) that she's supposed to be in formation and no, she can't go off on her own. Stick with her 'wing' and behave. There's no time to snicker either at R'drew's mess up as suddenly she's being called on to make an example. It throws Eodarin off, her mind already pulled in other directions but she'll recover, eyes blinking as she forces her attention on a 'safe' image. Orayth relays to Enolth, sending a not-so clear focused image of High Reaches, of the skies above them but some distance away, a bowl over. But which one or which direction…?

Temurth hops a bit heavier on his left foot, and then pauses and a breath later does so again with more weight on his right. Well, wind patterns woudl surely shift right and when nothing dislodges he falls back to all fours and waits until he is inspected. There is a distinct deferral to the weyrlingmasters authority although the way his head holds up he's sure his rider has done a fine job and when he's waved on to the next task he moves into wing exercises. The relatively peaceful drone of the routine is broken by the bright thoughts of his partner and heads swigs instinctively back. There's no real harm of course, it's just that touch of adrenaline as Sh'wn leads his "wing" into the high flight position although arms of his riders point in a variety of directions as far as 'flaming' the thread. It takes Temurth a little bit to process what's happening before he gets back to what he should be doing. Ooh, gliding, bet I can get farther than you! There's a sparkle in his eye as he launches into a glide just after a green although with his bulk compared to her light he falls short and has to deal with the sway of a tail in front of his face.

There's the typical confusion and distraction with both dragons and riders as this new wrinkle in their training commences. "Kp'ler, you just flamed C'ork. T'dus, you're dead. Stand aside please." The weyrlingmasters wander through the formation, correcting flame direction and pulling out other 'injuried' or 'killed' riders. "Very nice Eodarin, but you need a bit more distinction. Have someone take you up again to get another view. S'mum! Image." The image gets a "Good! Sh'wn, Image". Each pulled rider is given a short 'time out' and then shuffled back into a different place in a different wing.

It's… a lot of stuff. A lot. Shailaja's trying to stay focused - she really is! - but Ruebalith isn't the most graceful creature out there and that's not helping. She's good about being where she's supposed to be, at least! But she's plainly having trouble doing the short glides and the running as a connected activity of some sort. The human half of that awkward equation blows out a sharp breath and focuses on -her- task as best she can, with the flaming motions in the face of the thready-bits. Fortunately - at least for the time being - she isn't flamed, nor has she flamed one of her fellows, but the steady -pressure- does leave her a little shaky at the whole thing.

Eodarin breathes a sigh of relief but gives a sobered nod. "Yes, sir." she says to P'wyn, glad she isn't lumped into the 'dead' or 'injured' pile of riders. Yet. Orayth is too distracted, pleased in passing that they've "passed" so far. There's more to do, a lesson to continue! Commands to follow… as they were. More confusion is bound to follow. The gold is handling the physical demands but the mental is another. Eodarin is extending her arm but the longer this goes on, the more the strain of so much focusing has her reactions slower or, Faranth forbid, she second guesses. Someone's going to end up 'flamed' at this rate!

Sh'wn watches as some of his riders get filtered out. The mistakes seem so obvious when they're pointed and yet look at how many occured. And this is still in two dimensions! Still he can do what he can to keep his wing in line at least "Watch your step M'ino!" until he hears his own name at least. Thoughts reach to Temurth who wobbles mid glide and lands a bit hard but walks it out as he relays the image to Enolth. The spires with the bowl stretching out below, it's a rather simple image. The rider then swaps instinctively at a waddled bit of yarn that breezes towards his face. L'ris calls up to the wingleader "Was that a hand signal?" which sets the rest of the 'wings' riders on alert in confusion. were they supposed to do something else and Sh'wn snaps "No it was the shardin thread i just betweened from." can't they tell the difference?!

"Good Sh'wn. A bit simple, but distinct." P'wyn says. "Shailaja, Image." And so it goes, till the wings are generally all shuffled up, and the dragons have worked themselves nice and warm. That's when Eodarin takes a direct hit from Fa'tem. "Eodarin, you're dead. Please come over and call Orayth to you. Take off her saddlebags." As he says this, a brassy bugle sounds from above as Enolth calls. The weyrling dragons all stop, turn and move to the sides of the practice field, clearing the center. "When you're ready, send her on another pass. When she jumps for the glide, keep flapping. See if she can circle above at least twice. Enolth will be there to catch if needed." The brownrider gives the young goldling a confident nod. "Sh'wn, watch those signals. You don't want to send your wing into a clump."

"Oh!" Her name is called and Shailaja fumbles for a few seconds before - after a second or two too long - Ruebalith passes a startlingly clear image of the spires and bowl. It's fine, as images go, but it's probably delayed a bit too long to be -useful-, unfortunately. She bites her lower lip and continues her flaming gestures until that bugling happens. She drops her arm and watches as Ruebalith manages just one more short glide before -she- realizes what's happening and makes her way to the side to join the others, wide-eyed as ever. The gold fidgets while she watches, while the rider half just bounces on the balls of her feet with a different kind of anxious energy.

Eodarin grimaces at her 'fate', muttering something under her breath that is suspiciously close to a curse or oath. Fa'tem might get a narrowed look too. Thanks? Orayth comes quietly, looking a touch ruffled at their 'fate'. "We'll practice more." Eodarin promises, as she removes the saddlebag as ordered and pausing when Enolth calls. Blinking, it takes the weyrling a moment to realize what's happening now, but Orayth gives a delighted trill. She can do this! Disappointment is shed fast for eagerness and barely does she wait for the go ahead before she's going for that pass. Eodarin can only watch as Orayth jumps for that glide but keeps flapping… and it's not pretty. Wings work, but it takes her a moment to gain enough altitude and then to keep enough speed and not be wobbling. But she makes it! For about one full pass and a half of another before her wings foul and she has no choice but to bail into a rough landing that has Eodarin wincing, but Orayth shakes it off and returns to her rider's side, looking satisfied with her first taste of flight — even if she was anything but perfectly graceful.

Sh'wn bites his tongue. He does still have plenty to learn, Temurth seems to take it harder than his rider, ready to protest but for the sudden command to stop and clear the field. He senses something new upcoming and makes way as Orayth gets cleared to fly, really fly!

P'wyn beams, rather pleased with the first flight, even with the rough landing. "Check her over carefully. Make she she didn't strain anything or get any bumps or bruises on the landing." And then he bows to the young queen. "Well done." he says directly to Orayth. "Shailaja, you died between. That image was much too late. You and Ruebalith are up next. Same procedure. The rest of you fall out and remove your weights. We'll go down the line by size. Everyone gets the chance to try to circle twice. Then it will be a part of your daily exercises. Up/downs, glides, and circling. Add a new circle after three days of comfortably completing the last set."

There's really no -reason- for the abrupt keening from Ruebalith, but there it is. Shai bites her lower lip, nods, and quickly tries to calm the gold - from a distance, sure, but it -seems- to work. This time. It takes a little bit more to get the wee gold to step out and do as she's instructed. She lopes and hops up into a glide that's followed by an even more awkward couple of wingbeats that gets her up and into the air. Her flight is wobbly and, a good quarter of the way into the second pass, she just -can't- do it. She loses her wing-footing, as it were, and drops abruptly into a stumbled landing that leaves her keening again. She's not -hurt-, but she -is- pretty embarrassed and that shows up as a sudden blush in Shailaja. "Oh, jays."

Orayth dips her head to P'wyn and if she could smile, she would but her body language speaks enough for the delight in the direct praise. Eodarin just shakes her head and chuckles to herself as she starts her check over to be sure the gold didn't hurt herself. As Shailaja is called next, she'll pause long enough to give another gesture of encouragement as well as a grin. Go for it! Listening to P'wyn give out further instructions, Eodarin nods but one look at Orayth and she smirks. The gold probably wants to try again but the weyrling knows better. "Are we permitted to return to the barracks? She's tired." she asks, though she'll wait on a response before acting. They may linger, perhaps on Orayth's insistence, to watch the next few pairs make their attempts before truly retiring.

Sh'wn watches Orayth make her circle and even if she lands a bit roughly it was flight, real flight! At the release he jogs over to Temurth and works to get the weights released and neatly stacked. Then he stands by as Ruebalith takes her turn while Temurth seems to watch rather impassively, digesting it all.

After Orayth has been examined, P'wyn waves his permission for the pair to retire to rest. He's watching Reubalith's flight carefully even as he calls the three bronzers to his side. "Sh'wn, you'll be up next. You three need to start thinking about who you'd like to be in your wing if you could pick it and why. I want a paper on it on my desk by the end of the week. I'll be making practice wing assignments and your requests will have a some say in those assignments so chose wisely." And then the little gold is down and keening. Enolth offers a soothing but encouraging warble. "Well done, Ruebalith. That's quite a bit of height you got. Shailaja, check her over for injuries and strains please. If she's good, once you've both cooled down you can take her to rest as well."

Temurth has waited his turn. He's not impatient about the ordeal he knows his turn will come in due and that his due is near the front of the line anyhow. His rider shifts more uncomfortably, a hand rubbing along the arced neck as he watches Ruebalith makes her first flight. Flight always seemed to be something just assumed that dragons would know but seeing them not take so easily to the skies like their adult counterparts brings another reality to focus. Still, the rider has faith in his mate and then more realities at the Weyrlingmaster's instruction. Choosing wingriders? Whatever doubts he may have his reply is straightforward "Yes Sir." cause, you don't questions such things, he'll just have to figure it out later. For now this will mean his partners up and Temurth heaves to his feet and moves once the field is cleared. Although he pauses its not because he's waiting for all eyes to be on him, he seems to be feeling the wings with sails half unfurled and then he's moving forward, leaping into the glide they've been practicing except this time wings continue to beat and he rises wobbly into the bowl sky. He bugles, this, this is good although after one circuit he starts to descend, not actually admitting the level of effort outwards but landing before he'd be fatigued about it. He uses the light winds in his favor, choosing a good approach so that he lands more lightly and with only an extra light hop before finally settling back to Pern.

P'wyn nods firm approval at the bronze's flight. "Very nice. Same again. Check him over carefully. Temurth, nicely done." And so it's on to S'mum and Pl'er, Cius and P'jana and the rest of the browns, with a few larger blues mixed in. On through the last of the blues and finally ending with the tinest of greens. "Alright you lot, you know your orders, take those tired dragons for a good rest and get yourself something to eat. You have the afternoon free." By which of course he means, you'd better study up on formations and angle of attack. "I'll see you all bright and early for morning lessons. Dismissed!"

Sh'wn salutes and then finds his way to Temurth's side, slapping the bronze's shoulder before checking him over in detail. The bronze watches the rest of the weyrlings go through their flight, absently stretching a wing or lifting a talon as his rider asks without having to actually look. When finished Sh'wn joins until the last of the tiniest greens finishes a wobbly circuit. Woo free afternoon, riiiight. Wasn't there something about wingriders he has to write? The pair head off to the barracks, Temurth having the easier job of a nice nap ahead.

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