The last of the snow was melting at Katadon Weyr, and as the sun approached zenith, everything was in uproar, green dragons scattering like fallen leaves on a pond after a large stone had been launched in. The Senior Queen was rising and not a one wanted to be in her path.
The Junior Queen, Cytiath, and her rider had been sent on a trivial errand hours previous, a task that would take most of the day to complete. Junor Weyrwoman Illiri was to visit a dozen or so weyrs to find out if their wings were balanced, and whether or not they needed to transfer a few riders in or out. Illiri was not pleased. Couldn't one of those pesky blueriders do this?
Unbeknownst to Illiri, Weyrwoman Kahla had noticed a few changes in her Junior... and her dragon. Cytiath was nearing her first mating flight, and with the Senior Queen rising, Kahla wanted her second's dragon as far from Katadon as possible - to prevent a tragedy as history has shown happens when queens rise at the same time.
Illiri was in conference with Tiyanni, talking about potential transfers. Cytiath was dozing in the warm early-spring sunshine.
We must go. Litayth said suddenly. The bronzes blood their kills.
Tiyanni's eyes went wide, and Illiri looked at the Weyrwoman oddly as she stood up in a daze. The only other queen is Jeyann's Mezirth, and she's too young! Tiyanni shot back.
Cytiath. Hurry now! Litayth said. Tiyanni looked to Illiri, who was beginning to feel the power in her dragon's mind as she began to wake.
"Tiyanni..." she said in a panic. "I'm sorry..."
Tiyanni ducked out of the councilroom, and reappeared with her riding jacket on, and her helmet swinging from her hand. "Nonsense, Illiri. We're just fortunate Kahla sent you two here." Tiyanni said, taking the panic-stricken queenrider by the hand and leading her outside to the steps leading down into the bowl.
Shianna dashed up as the queenriders appeared. Litayth stood near, switching her weight from foot to foot in her impatience to get away. "Come with me, Illiri - we've a place for you." the bluerider said, leading the young woman away. Tiyanni and Litayth were gone moments later.
Shianna led Illiri to the stairs leading up to one of the junior queens' weyrs. "Go on up, Illiri. Stand on the ledge. Don't worry, not a one of them will climb even one step until Cytiath has her mate." Illiri was still shocked at the speed at which all this was occurring. Shianna saw this and walked Illiri up there herself, and none to soon. The male riders began gathering at the foot of the stairs a moment later, and soon Cytiath awoke. The bronzes ringed the feeding grounds and as the young queen stretched from her nap, her hide glowed like jewelry freshly polished, her eyes whirling fast with her eagerness.
"You have to make sure she bloods only." Shianna said from behind her, and though the bluerider spoke at a normal level, only the merest whisper reached Illiri. "If she eats, she'll be too heavy to fly."
With a scream, Cytiath launched herself at the penned beasts, toppling a buck. Her talons ripped at it, rending through the hide to the hot meat within. "Blood it, Cytiath!" Illiri screamed, fighting to control her normally calm bond.
Cytiath locked on, and soon left the carcass behind. Another met the same fate, and she eagerly drank.
With a cry of challenge, the young queen lept skyward. The males launched from the ground a few heartbeats later, in a flurry of wings.
Cytiath swept her glimmering wings in long strokes, winging her way high into the sky. She taunted these strong, strange males, darting in close, then flying away. One pale male caught her eye, and she trumpeted in challenge. You'll never catch me!
Just keep flying! Illiri encouraged, swept up in the swirling emotion of the flight.
Cytiath darted between two large bronzes, then up through the clouds. Many of the bronzes and browns lost her then, and were forced to drop out.
Cytiath burst from the clouds with a glorious trumpet. Only four males chased her, and two were visibly tiring, leaving a dark bronze and the pale one that caught her eye so.
Can't you do any better? Cytiath taunted, winging yet higher. The males flew faster, trying to catch her. The pack of four split, each trying to impress, or attain, this new prize.
Cytiath couldn't keep track of all of them, and yet climb higher. Suddenly she was caught, his neck and tail twining with hers. She tried to get free, but then decided this was what she truly wanted.
The pair fell in a dizzying spiral, and one man began his ascent up to Illiri. Shianna moved aside, allowing him space to get up the stairs.
L'ken had a smile on his face to rival no other. His white dragon had outflown the bronzes, and claimed the queen.
Illiri smiled at L'ken, and took his hand. Shianna began to go down the stairs. "Move along! Move along! Nothing to see here!" the bluerider said.
And flying high above,
Releith with Cytiath his love
Will bring new wings
and they will be glorious things.