Jhetarya's eyes widened as she rounded the corner, faced with another pair of startlingly blue eyes in a dark-skinned face. No...not entirely dark, because golden rosette-shaped markings stood out like brands several feet above her, on his forehead.
The man was tall and strong-jawed, angular of face and body. Others could have called him sinister-to Jhetarya, he looked half-familiar, a handsomer echo of the face she saw in the mirror. The hair about his face was gold, like the pale streaks that ran in some people's families. The rest of his neat 'tail was black.
He also carried himself with an assurance that the goldrider automatically classified as arrogance. Lips thinned, she stared up at him impatiently, shoulders askew and one hand on her hip.
The big cat at his side fascinated her, but Jhetarya wasn't about to give up her fašade of irritated boredom for mere curiosity....
Before the intruder could answer, something outside let out a wowing scream. As the sound dropped off to a steady growl, Jhetarya paled. "Scorch her, scorch her, scorch her..." she hissed, and ducked outside, eyes fixed on the furious torch of Arosambyth.
Brown Medicath from Talor Cliff Weyr was only seconds behind a big night-bronze--obviously from Ryslen--who wheeled broodingly above the pens. Both of them had caught wherries already, Medicath scientifically dissecting his, the night-bronze slashing ferociously with teeth and talons.
As Ruan joined Jhetarya and the stranger, dragging a rather bewildered stand-in, a bright-hued brown-Terth, also from Ryslen-dropped lightly toward his first kill. G'den was not far behind, his plain face solemn as he saw Jhetarya's bared-teeth snarl.
"You want to escape?" the goldrider snapped aloud. "Then blood the beasts, idiot! Keep your teeth out of that beast!"
H'vin of Tarizal sauntered unhurriedly toward the goldrider as his brown Cairpath took a beast with a flaunt of his wings. Last of all, T'lan and his Ryslen night-brown, Xerith, dashed in as Arosambyth broke the neck of a third creature.
With a whipcrack of wingsails, the gold flicked herself into the air.
The dawn of battle comes,
One golden sweep defining,
Prompt pulses' daunting drums,
A throbbing, primal pining.
Defiance is her clothing,
As the sky's her taunting ground,
She dashes forth with loathing
For the chasers she has found.
She ascended like a comet, feeling the heat of her body stream out behind her as she battered the thermal with her wings. The thunder of her chasers spurred her on.
They would never catch Arosambyth.
The clouds, when she reached them, were blessedly cool, and she breasted their billowing heights joyously.
Hot and gold to the wild blue!
Bolt of sun doth split the sky!
Glory's in her winging true,
And to cooling winds they fly.
Cairpath was the first to falter, thrown off the tail of the chase as Arosambyth 'cracked the whip' and went up and over swiftly. Disappointed, he flapped his way back toward the Weyr.
Terth, young and hot-blooded, struck too soon, and the gold eeled away from his clutching talons, hissing dire warnings. Off-balance, G'den's lifemate fell away into the cloud cover.
Unfortunately, Terth fell right into Xerith's line of attack. Roaring his rage, the night-brown was forced to break off, momentum lost. There was no way Xerith could regain enough speed to take part in the flight.
They fly, fall, at swiftest pace,
Hounding gold in windborne wave,
Through the wide blue sky they race,
To catch; all of the air they pave.
There were but two chasers left, and that pleased Arosambyth very well. No chasers, no children...
Medicath and the night-bronze postured as they chased, panting. At least, the Healer-brown was panting. The night-bronze turned his muzzle up in disgust, and struck out. Snarling his opinion of his competitor, Medicath dodged, spiraling sullenly back to the Weyr. She was to be my mate...
The night-bronze snorted, and matched paces with Arosambyth, his nose even with her flank. The rest are gone. You are mine. Slow down!
Saffron-and-vinegar flashed. As you wish...Zkoth.
The gold braked midair. With a bruising impact, the night-bronze smashed into her as she half-turned. Her talons dug into his hide as they fell, a dizzying twist of amber against scorched bronze.
In wild wing, in heartbeat, surge!
Brighter gold has shadow caught!
Caught, by Zkoth's desp'rate urge,
Twine and fall: all else is naught.
Below, Jhetarya was in the arms of...well, in Ivo's arms, at least. And she was not displeased.