It had been several sevendays since Tauryn had signed Lovanith up to rise at Ryslen, but her flight was not so far away as Tauryn had predicted. The Light green's flight was quickly filled, and as the number of chasers mounted, so did Lovanith's temper.
Tauryn! Those annoying males are watching me again! Lovanith's angry protest made Tauryn glance out the nearest window of Ryslen's dining hall. What was wrong now? Oddly enough, she couldn't see her green. A little anxious, she excused herself to her neighbors and limped out to the doorway that led outside. Of course, four or five male riders had to be blocking the exit at a time like this... Annoyed, she snapped at them to move. One, a brownrider by his rank knots, seemed to ignore her; she had to push him out of the way to get through.
Once outside, Lovanith became evident. The Light green hovered a little over the weyrbowl, circling impatiently and snarling at any of the males who dared to come close. In fact, there were an unusual number of dragons watching the green's every move... As Tauryn grew closer, she found out why.
Lovanith's green and white hide shone more brightly than ever before, almost luminescent. Her eyes blazed a bright orange of anger, and she was the picture of proddiness. Suddenly sure why her lifemate's temper was so fierce, Tauryn nodded to herself. Lovanith, of course they're interested. You're about to rise.
As if these words were a release, Lovanith abandoned her restless circling and sprung into motion, swooping over the beast pens. The blue and browns watched tensely from the ground, but Tauryn vaguely glimpsed a gold dragon flitting between. She herself hurried as fast as her leg would let her, up the steps to a temporary weyr.
She had acted none too soon; just as Tauryn reached the ledge, breathing heavily,
Lovanith suddenly dropped upon a herdbeast, tearing at its throat. They shall not catch me! None of them are good enough!
Lovanith! If you want to fly well, blood ONLY! Tauryn shouted mentally. Do not eat! They'll catch you!
Surprisingly, Lovanith made little protest, and quickly drained her prey of blood. Perhaps the desire to outfly her chasers had run over, for she needed no reminder to blood the next three beasts. Energized now, she circled as if to catch another beast, but instead leaped into the air, easily soaring above the waiting blues and browns. Back in the weyr, Tauryn felt herself join with her dragon. Lovanith was all that mattered now.
Lovanith made good use of her head start, soaring to an astounding height before turning to watch her pursuers. The slow males were still blooding their kills... But as she watched, the first brown leapt into the air, followed closely by the crowd of blue and brown.
Brown Geretrith had been the first to give chase, but the black-burnished blue Vileth quickly caught up. With a burst of speed characteristic of his color, he overtook his brown opponent and swiftly followed the green's path. Lovanith slowed tauntingly, keeping just out of her chaser's grasp. They were soon above the clouds, much higher than the other pursuers. But just as Vileth came near, Lovanith dropped suddenly, hurtling down through the clouds. Vileth was left far behind and returned to the comforts of his rider.
The other males, a blue and three browns, had not joined in Lovanith's ascent, but gave chase once again as she soared at a more reasonable height. She is to be my mate! Zaerth, a blue from her own clutch called. But Geretrith disagreed. No! I was the first to chase, and I shall be the winner!
Both blue and brown advanced on her, flying from opposite directions in their attempt to reach the Light green first. They were equally matched in speed, but when they were only a dragonlength away, Lovanith shot upwards once more. Unable to stop so suddenly, the two collided and winged back to the ground together.
Lovanith, watching from high above, laughed mockingly at the attempts of the inferior males. But she did not have time to pause for long; below her, the Night brown Tironath approached, gaining quickly. The Light green found herself tiring. Maybe if this brown could keep up with her, he would be a worthy mate...
She climbed slowly to the clouds, although lacking her earlier speed. Just before going above, she glanced down at Tironath, only lengths away. Then, with a last burst of defiance, she soared above... right into Xhishoth's waiting grasp.
Tired yet still willing to struggle, Lovanith tried to evade the brown. But Xhishoth was persistant, and as they fell together, brown and green-and-white mingled, she decided that this was what she had wanted, after all.
Far below on Pern, Tauryn watched as the only remaining rider ascended to her weyr ledge. Who was Xhishoth's rider? "Fr'dyre?" But he didn't seem to hear her. As he extended an arm to help her to the weyr, not even seeming to notice her crippled leg, Tauryn decided that it did not matter. Her Lovanith was happy; finally, so was she.