Cereena was thoroughly disgusted with her dragon's decision to rise - not that she ever voiced her opinion, but Navinth knew it, all right. Both were snappy and grumpy - Cereena because Navinth hadn't risen yet, and Navinth because Cereena kept complaining about that.
The green-gold rider was in fact complaining even when Navinth bugled in the very early morning - she wasn't happy at the time the sharding green queen decided to rise, considering the sun had only just made an appearance over the horizon.
Navinth really didn't care.
The green queen's bugle had alerted the five males who had signed up to chase her; their riders, rubbing their eyes and stumbling, at least had the discretion not to complain even nearly as much as Cereena, who was making her protests quite vocal.
Navinth quickly acquiesced to Cereena's prompts to only blood the herdbeast she'd just killed; the green-gold knew that if she was to fly hard and fast, she couldn't be weighed down by the flesh. And she, Navinth, obviously had to have a good flight - she just hoped the dragons chasing were up to it.
Five herdbeasts later, Navinth gave a roar and sprung into the air in a lightning fast movement - the males were quite a way behind her by the time they recovered enough to launch after the green queen.
Covertly, Navinth examined the chasers behind her - a bronze, a blue, two browns, and an interesting Ryslen oddity of blue and black. The two browns were in front - Navinth gave a silent snort as she sighted the Ryslen brown pulling in front. During her time at the Weyr she'd developed a certain disdain of Ryslen dragons - for what reason, neither her nor her rider could pinpoint.
The green-gold was rather dismayed that only one bronze and one rare had signed up... ah well. They'd have to make do; she couldn't have anything less catching her, after all.
Navinth slowed her pace slightly, her wingstrokes becoming lengthier - in a manoeuvre timed precisely, so that the first Ryslen brown had almost caught up to her tail, she flared her wings and came to a complete halt, and then dipped under the following pack.
She crowed in triumph as the brown - Nowyrth, she believed - overflew his mark. Navinth did a turn in mid-air and was gratified to see that the brown dropped out, unable to recover and catch up to the rest of the pack that was chasing.
Night blue Idaylath was next to make his move - Navinth was rather disappointed in the dark blue, really, considering it futile to try and catch her in such a early stage of the flight. Or was it that early? Navinth wasn't sure, though Cereena was conscious of every minute and second ticking past.
The black-blue was, Navinth reasoned, half blue, after all. Talons extended, Idaylath dropped from above her, trying to snag her wings in his claws. Navinth furled her wings tight to her body, and dropped beneath the blue-black; Idaylath tried to follow, but caught himself up in the remaining brown's path.
The brown - Cahnath - gave a screech, pulled away from the dark blue, but delivered a hefty blow to Idaylath's head. Screeching back half-heartedly, the black-blue dropped out of the chase while Cahnath tried to catch the two remaining chasers up.
Disappointed, Navinth was almost caught by the blue, who was gaining ground on her, when the green-gold paused to watch the dark blue drop to the weyrbowl. She gave an outraged screech - how DARE he! - and then flipped over the top of Liosliath. The blue recovered quickly, and dove after her again, trying to regain the space he'd just lost. The bronze was still steadily pumping his wings after her, and the distant brown was straining to catch up; Navinth doubted Cahnath would ever catch up.
She turned her attention to the blue, and then the bronze - admirable, the blue was, really, for having survived this long: whether he was worthy of her was a different matter. The bronze, well...
For long minutes - hours? - Navinth just flew, the energy provided by the blood of the herdbeast's gradually waning; but the three males behind her had the same problem. Cahnath, amazingly, had managed to catch up again somehow; Liosliath was dropping further and further behind; and Ramlanth just continued to eat up the distance with massive strokes of his wings.
Navinth kept flying, not trying to outwit, just outdistance. Later when she glanced behind, she saw only two dragons - Liosliath had not been able to keep up with the larger dragons. The green queen also noticed they were getting closer - her own wings were tiring. Perhaps she should...
She dipped under a cloud and doubled back over the top of it; Cahnath, exhausted, screeched in surprise and rocketted straight through the cloud, and Ramlanth went through behind him, unable to stop as quick as the smaller green-gold.
Cahnath fought his way out of the cloud, and then started chasing her again; Navinth's flying was getting slowly weaker. She glanced behind, and saw only Cahnath; that sharding bronze hadn't made it out of the cloud!
Large talons snagging in her wings told a different story: Navinth gave a cry, but then her wings gave out to the exhaustion that had been plaguing them. Cahnath surged forward for a moment, and then obviously gave up, seeing that Navinth had been well and truly caught by the bronze Ramlanth.
Navinth was satisfied; a bronze would sire her children.
Cereena was only vaguely aware of the arms that embraced her; she looked up, the last coherent thought she had, and saw T'arel's face.
"I could go for the lean brown look..."