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Chapter 9 Dragonquest Chapter 11

Robinton was wearing a green tunic, specially prepared by Masterweaver Zurg. He wore pants of a light green, made by Mastertanner Belesdan. Both Zurg and Belesdan had disapproved of his choice of colors, but Robinton felt that it was time to drop that old superstition.

He waited for his transport, dragons, grudgingly granted by T'ron. Three dragons appear, a green, a blue, and a bronze. He calls four other Harpers who were accompanying him.

The three dragons are still in the sky as he comes out to meet them, and Robinton wonders which dragon he should pick. The blue from Telgar Weyr, which appeared first? The green from Fort Weyr, to whom his Craft was weyrbound? Or the bronze from Benden, as the highest honor?

The three dragons landed, and their riders began arguing amongst themselves who should transport Robinton. The Benden bronzerider, N'ton, gracefully bows out of the argument, deferring to Robinton himself, while the other two continue arguing.

Robinton choses the bronze dragon, as his rider gave him the honor due him. Robinton devides the other four Harpers between the blue and green dragons.

N'ton arrives at Telgar Hold with Robinton. The Hold was well-decorated for the wedding. After landing, Robinton asks N'ton if he was going to say. N'ton replied that he had a sweepride to fly, and so would be unable to stay. Robinton thanked N'ton and Lioth. Lioth replied The Harper has only to ask, surprising Robinton.

N'ton and Lioth leave. Robinton gives the other Harpers various instructions and sends them off. Robinton observes various guests, before greeting Lord Larad.

He wanders, discretely observing the guests. He notes the absence of Fandarel and Terry, and wonders if they were able to connect their distance-writer to Telgar in time.

Lytol, accompanied by Jaxom, approaches Robinton. After sending Jaxom off, Lytol asks Robinton how he felt the other Lord Holders would react to Meron. Robinton didn't understand the question, and Lytol told him about Meron's fire-lizard.

Robinton muses on the idea of being able to Impress fire-lizards, and of the old dream of "catching" one, and the related dream of countless boys of Impressing a dragon. Robinton spots Raid approaching and quickly slips away, knowing that Raid was going to ask him to play his favorite, a song that Robinton himself disliked.

Brudegan finds Robinton and reports his impressions of the crowds. Determined to have a good time, but with disturbing undertones, particularly of distrust towards their own Weyrleader and Weyrwoman, combined with respect to F'lar and Lessa.

Robinton finds D'ram and G'narish. He learns that M'rek, R'mart's wingsecond at Telgar Weyr, had taken over leadership after R'marts Threadscoring. D'ram and G'narish had sent spare riders to help out Telgar.

Lessa and F'lar arrive, wearing, like Robinton, light green.

Meron and Kylara arrive immediately afterwards, spoiling Lessa and F'lar's entrance. Kylara wore a bright red dress, her hair "unbound like a maiden's". Meron's tunic was slightly orangish. They both had a fire-lizard on their shoulders. A murmur grows as people talk about them.

F'lar takes their entrance in stride. He presents Asgenar and Famira with fire-lizard eggs, thanks to the generosity of Toric, who had found them, and T'bor, who delivered them to F'lar. Kylara and Meron were both furious at being overshadowed by F'lar's gift. After Lessa makes a comment on Kylara's "pet", Kylara retorts taht she was no mere pet, she'd eaten Thread at High Reaches.

Two minor Holders approach D'ram and G'narish to ask questions about the fire-lizards. The Conclave is called to confirm the marriage (a formal necessity, as the offspring could claim either Lemos or Telgar).

Robinton observed F'lar approaching Kylara, who was arguing with Meron. A dragon calls Robinton, telling him F'lar needed him. Robinton felt sorry for Fandarel, whose distance-writer would be overshadowed by the fire-lizards.

Robinton arrives to find F'lar, Kylara, G'narish, D'ram, and T'bor in an informal meeting. Kylara is, apparently in response to something else, telling T'bor that she had gone to Nabol Hold, because that was where her fire-lizard had went between to. While there, she spotted signs of Threadfall over the High Reaches Range. She'd flown instantly to T'kul to warn him, but he refused to believe her. Kylara then had Prideth sound the alarm to the dragons of the Weyr, so that they turned out in time. D'ram and G'narish were clearly disturbed by this news. F'lar congratulates Kylara on her actions. She demanded to know what he was going to do about T'kul. F'lar waited before replying, hoping that D'ram would speak up. At last he replied that they would have to call a Conclave of their own. Kylara insisted that he should do something right away.

D'ram replies that the Weyrs were traditionally autonomous, but that in this case, something had to be done, by all of the Weyrleaders, when T'ron arrive.

F'lar asks Kylara more questions about the Threadfall over High Reaches. She had flown with Merika's wing. When her fire-lizard saw Thread, it "seemed to go mad", and flew at a patch and ate it. She burrowed, too. The Fall lasted about three hours, the part that was flown, anyways. The leading edge seemed to fall over rock and snow in the High Reaches Range.

During the discussion, Fandarel arrives, announcing that his distance-writer was ready to be demonstrated. Fandarel acknowledges the fire-lizards, though expressing some uncertainty as to their merits. Kylara reacts harshly to that skepticism. Robinton quickly intervenes to soothe her.

F'lar felt that now was a poor time to introduce the distance-writer, as it would not get the attention it deserved, not with the fire-lizards to compete with. Robinton, responding to an unspoken request of F'lar's, distracted Kylara, keeping her away from the demonstration.

T'ron and Mardra arrive as F'lar was heading for the demonstration of the distance-writer. The Conclave had not yet started, they were still waiting for Lords Groghe of Fort and Sangel of Southern Boll. The Weyrwomen were already waiting by Fandarel's device. Mardra arrives, demanding to know what was going on.

Groghe and Sangel arrive and enter the Conclave.

Fandarel connects the distance-writer, and sends out a message to the Smithcrafthall "Hook-up completed, efficiently and on time. Stand by". He then sets it for receive, and waited. Mnementh warns F'lar that Groghe had told the Lords that T'ron had fuond a distance-viewer at Fort, and had seen the Red Star through it. The Conclave opened, and the Lords came out to confront the Weyrleaders. Suddenly, the distance-writer began spitting out a message. "Igen Hold reports Thread falling. Transmission broken off midsentence". Groghe demanded to know what kind of nonsense that was.

Dragons appear repeating the message, Thread falling at Igen southwest. G'narish and F'lar ran to the courtyard. Groghe demandedto know where he was going, and he replied that he was going to fight Thread. G'narish was surprised, but grateful, for F'lar's offer of assistance.

As G'narish and F'lar, and D'ram (because of the possibility that Thread might be reaching Ista as well), are heading out, T'ron steps in F'lar's way, asking why Benden Weyr was concerning itself with Igen and Ista, and rushed to Nabol's aid. F'lar pointed out that Igen and Ista were winglight, with so many riders helping out at Telgar Weyr. T'ron says that Igen and Ista should fend for themselves.

He hears Ramoth crying out, and going between without Lessa. T'ron's hand rested on his belt knife at the same time. F'lar insists that they could settle their differences later, in private. The greenrider from Igen landed, repeating his message, but T'ron would not let go. D'ram tried to intervene, but T'ron shook him off. T'ron yelled that he'd had enough of Benden, and he draws his knife, attacking F'lar. As the crowd watched, F'lar ducked, pulling out his own knife, intended merely to be ornamental, a gift from Lessa. F'lar was a bit concerned. T'ron had a longer knife, and was still dressed in riding gear, while F'lar had on just cloth. T'ron slashes at F'lars wrist. F'lar realized that T'ron had deliberately planned this fight, to deprive the modern Lord Holders of their sympathetic Weyrleader. F'lar remembered lessons from old C'gan. T'ron slashes at F'lar again, slashing at his chest, cutting his shirt, but not seriously harming him. He made it out to be nothing but a minor scratch, though in reality it was a bit more serious. Finally, F'lar stabs T'ron. T'ron fell to the ground, unconscious, but still alive. He had someone call a healer.

F'lar takes T'ron's riding gear, to allow himself to fight Thread. He looked around, and asked those assembled if they supported Benden.

Lord Larad of Telgar was the first to announce his support, threatening anyone who did not. The various Crafts and Holds followed suit, followed by D'ram, and G'narish, and T'bor.

Lord Asgenar asked if he could do anything to help. F'lar tells him he should enjoy himself on his wedding day. He announces that Ramoth had already called up the Benden wings and has T'bor call up the Southern wings. F'lar announced that anyone, craftsman, Lord Holder, commoner, or dragonrider, who did not wish to follow Benden's lead, must go to Southern. F'lar asked the Igen rider where Thread was seen, and when. The riders prepare to time it to the start of the Fall. Lessa gives F'lar some numbweed for his injury, and stays to handle Mardra. They go between to Igen.

After the Threadfall, the Riders return to Telgar, by an odd coincidence, the very place that the massed Weyrs had first fought Thread after Lessa brought them forward. After landing, Lessa comes up to F'lar, telling him she had fresh clothes and bandages for him. Lessa bathes F'lar, reporting what had happened while he was fighting Thread. T'ron had been taken to Southern Weyr. Mardra had contested F'lar's authority to exile them, but found, to her chagrin, that she'd had few supporters among the Weyr. Kylara attempted to proclaim herself Weyrwoman of Fort, nearly leading to a fight between herself and Mardra, but she was convinced to take over High Reaches, almost all of whose riders were leaving for Southern. Since that Weyr would be nearly emptied, the Southern Riders were to take over it, with Kylara and T'bor as Weyrleaders. F'lar was concerned that that put Kylara too near Meron, but Lessa pointed out that it left the way clear for P'zar to take over. F'lar suggests that N'ton would make a good wingsecond.

Only 20 riders had left from Fort, but from High Reaches, all but 14 had gone. Those who stayed were young riders, Impressed in the modern time. F'lar remarked that a clean break should be made, cutting off the Southern Continent from the Northern. Lessa was concerned that they could perpeptuate their grievances there, but F'lar replied that those queens who went were all older, unlikely to rise more than another time.

Lessa reported that the mood among the Holders and crafters was one of relief. Fandarel was already busy at work burying the wires to prevent them from being cut by Thread and planning installations of his distance-writer at every Hold and Crafthall.

F'lar and Lessa enter the dining hall after he had bathed and redressed.

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