Dalibor is a semi-canon Dragonriders of Pern site. No knowledge of the series or site is required to join; players of all experience levels are welcome here. Founded in 2008 on Proboards and moved to Jcink in 2013, Dalibor has been running for nine years.
Winter, 18th Turn, 11th Pass
Winter is in full swing as the Northwest reaches the middle stages of the cold month, and Dalibor, taking full advantage of a crackdust filled break in Threadfall, is back at it again. Delving into the Southern ice and snow, they have paired with Grove Weyr to fully explore the lands they only slightly uncovered the previous turn during the Jungle Expedition. This, however, will not be a warm and relaxing waltz through the woods; although was it ever that to begin with?
Rayna of Gold Couineth - Boo
Z'dyn of Iron Baihujinth - Rhia
Jali of Copper Laanasuth - Rii
Os'nin of Blue Alwanath - Aerona
Norla of Bronze Norsk - Ives
Oreanda of Bronze Osk & Blue Oresk - Ruin
Der of Grey Desk - Rii
K'ton of Blue Ironth- Jenn
S'vor of Green Absinth - Ruriko
Nia of Pink Koeneth - Catsitta
Ijo of Brown Isk - Rhia
Pavir of Blue Pavisk - Captain
Swithin of Blue Swisk - Ives
Ulian of White Rivath - Ruin
Zanii of Black Zansk - Leo
Dalibor was created by Bre, continued by Cathaline, and is now owned and operated by Ruin
. Most of the information, rules, and graphics were made, compiled, or written by staff with credit given to those whose resources they used. Stock thanks to credited parties. All characters and posts are copyrighted to the members of the game. No material from this site should be copied in any way, shape, or form without utter express permission from the members and staff. All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's 'Dragonrider of Pern' series are copyright Anne McCaffrey 1967-2017, all rights reserved. The Dragonriders of Pern is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with general permission for non-commercial purposes without monetary gain.
Qav'rik, Rider of Black Astrateth, Wingrider
Member Inventory: View
36 turns (AU:182)
Wingrider/ journeyman beastcrafter
Qav’rik has always been the type to keep to himself. He’s not unfriendly; he doesn’t mind having conversations with others. But by nature he is something of a lone wolf: he’d much prefer to quietly go about his own business than try to reach out and make friends. In his youth he was often harsh and thorny in his dealings with others, but age has worn down his edge. Hostility is no longer one of his typical approaches to others. Whether or not he comes off as approachable is entirely up to the person trying to approach him; he looks just like what he is: a cynical man with a black sense of humour. Turns ago he actively tried to drive others away, but now he settles for going about his business and assuming that if people want him, they’ll find him.
Cautious in his dealings with others, the blackrider has learned to hold his tongue and think carefully before he speaks. He doesn’t often run his mouth without considering the consequences, so if he chooses to say something, one can be fairly sure that he’s thought about what he wants to say. Admittedly the words that come out of his mouth are usually sardonic and cynical, coloured by a life that hasn’t seen much light. Still, somewhere beneath the layers of dark humour and wry remarks, he does care. After many turns of pretending that he doesn’t, he still hasn’t learned to be open with his own emotions, but he does leave the occasional indicator of his affection. Qav’rik has a habit of showing up ‘by accident’ to check on his few loved ones. He’s learned to do at least that much.
While he does converse quite well, usually with a sly wit and the occasional funny anecdote, Qav’rik does not tend to seek out the company of others. He’s more comfortable with animals than people, but he’s also the guy that’s always there: he doesn’t disappear, and he can always be found if someone needs him. For all his subdued mood and dour attitude, he won’t withhold help from anyone that needs it. Qav’rik doesn’t say no to a soul in need, or act as though helping others is an inconvenience to him. He just takes it all in stride, and when applicable he often gives sound advice (or tries to, anyway).
Despite all of this, his slightly grim nature and general solitude have made him the black sheep of his family. Growing up in a family full of life and personality, he was consistently overshadowed; because of it, the blackrider faded into himself, and there he has stayed ever since. He is well aware of the looks that his family gives him; he knows that they think there is something a little bit off about him. Others’ opinions matter to him more than he lets on; he doesn’t exactly resent people with brilliant personalities, but he’s keenly aware of the difference. Qav’rik knows that he is, and always will be, the shadow to their light. Originally it was this difference between himself and his kin that drove him to runners: in his youngest turns he sought an escape, some way to be his own person, and the gentle beauty of runners called to him. Since then he has devoted his life in equal turns to dragonriding and animals; he is much quicker to show his affection for horses than humans. Still, it’s easier to talk to him when he’s around animals; they seem to relax him and take away some of the wariness that otherwise pervades his nature.
One more thing that should be mentioned is that Qav’rik loves a challenge. Champion of the lost cause, he is an avid rescuer of damaged horses, and he’s also drawn to damaged people. While he does not work solely for the sake of work, he takes quiet pride in a job well done, and his favourite accomplishments are the ones where he can see a traumatized runner regain trust in people. Humans are a little tougher for him, but he has been known to try and take responsibility for them too – admittedly with less success. The blackrider is the sort that tends to take on way too much, then pretend that he’s fine with it when he’s actually drowning in his own responsibilities. His dragon has tried to train him out of this tendency with no success.
Lean and wiry, the blackrider doesn’t cut an imposing figure: he stands at only 5’6”, and if he’s got any bulk, it’s in muscle tied tight to bone. His shoulders could be wider, his arms more muscular – these are things that he used to wish for, when he was younger. Now he simply accepts the fact that he is what he is: a small, wiry guy that can, if desired, eat his own weight in food and not gain a pound of fat or muscle. All he resents about his body now is the fact that his right knee is a little stiff, and gets sore especially when it’s damp or cold, thanks to an accident during weyrling training. Mostly he wears loose, comfortable clothing: t-shirts, vests, and pants with enough pockets to hold all of the assorted junk he tends to carry around. Guaranteed, one can always find in his pockets at least one knife, bits of hay, scraps of parchment, a compass, a broken door latch (or other implement), and whatever other crap he’s managed to find and pick up during his day. Qav’rik’s pockets hold Stuff: all of his stuff. It’s a source of constant amusement to his dragon to watch him try and find any particular item, because he always pulls out handfuls of everything but what he needs.
His face is sharply featured, defined by a Roman nose and arched brows that look as though he’s about to laugh at you. Thin-lipped and wry, his mouth is surrounded by a well-trimmed moustache and beard. Qav’rik won’t shave it, but if he did it would take about fifteen turns off his age. He knows that and if presented with the argument, will grumble that he doesn’t want to look like a child; he’s a grown man, thank you very much. Dark brown eyes are keen and full of intelligence; one can see the thoughts flickering behind them. Qav’rik is pretty good at not giving off excessive displays of emotion, but he’s never mastered the art of completely hiding his feelings. One can always get a good impression of what he’s thinking by looking at his eyes. Of course, when he knows he’s being transparent he’ll usually try to hide it by turning away and running a hand through his dark hair. People that know him will recognize this as a signal that they’ve gotten under his skin, but he tries to play it off as simple dismissal.
Qasjaran, father (+27 turns), journeyman harper
Kanarik, mother (+28 turns), master harper
J’vik, brother (+10 turns), rider of iron Kosargoth (deceased)
Qanar, twin sister, rider of green Tarsilliath (deceased)
Jorvan, nephew (-10 turns), dragonless (ex-rider of black Kynareth)
La’xat, nephew (-22 turns), weyrling of green Kiriath
Highbar: Bay runner gelding [SP:12] – Highbar doesn’t make a very good first impression. At 14.2 hands he’s scarcely bigger than a pony, a muddy bay colour with a white star and one white sock on his left hind. All of that would be fine and dandy, but it’s the nasty look in his eye that mostly turns people off him. Highbar lacks the large, gentle eye of most runners: he looks more than willing to bite or kick (which he is). He’s also short-necked and hammer-headed, without much aesthetically to redeem him. All of the work that Qav’rik has put into him has smoothed and leveled out his musculature, and he’s healthy and shiny, but still not much to look at.
His personality leaves something to be desired, too. People unfamiliar with Qav’rik or runners probably won’t understand why he keeps the gelding; Highbar is a bad egg as horses go. He’s reactive and difficult to handle, prone to rearing when he doesn’t like something, and he bites and kicks like he was born to it. A tremendous amount of work has gone into calming him, and admittedly he’s gotten better with his owner, but he’s got a long way to go. While he is less aggressive with his handler, he doesn’t do well with anyone else, and it’s taken a lot of work and bruises to get him to where he is. He is not broke to ride and is still being taught to respect his handler and perform groundwork.
Sage: Strawberry roan runner mare [SU:196] – sleek and elegant, Sage looks much more like a runner that someone would be proud to own. Despite her advancing age, she is in excellent health and Qav’rik keeps her in good shape – all 15 hands of her. Her coat has faded a great deal from her younger turns, leaving her body and face mostly white, but her legs are still the deep, rich red of her youth. A white blaze highlights her nose (much more visible before she greyed out), and she sports three white socks, two hind and one on her right foreleg.
Despite a rough start, Sage has developed into a calm and gentle mare. She is easy to handle on the ground, though she can be a bit spooky if people move too quickly around her, but under saddle she is a fun and spirited ride. Qav’rik’s favourite mount, she loves to gallop and is one of those blessed horses that adjusts her tricks to the skill level of her rider; she will be gentle with the very young and inexperienced, but loves to be a handful for more experienced riders. Very much a snuggler, she will happily stand for hours to be petted, and she loves to be scratched under the jaw. She, unlike her owner’s other runner, does not kick or bite.
Qasjaran and Kanarik, upon the arrival of their first child Jorvik, were thrilled. Both came from a long line of harpers; theirs was a bright and joyful household, full of singing and laughter. Jorvik was a welcome surprise, and a blessing at that. Mostly he took after his mother; Kanarik was a fierce and charismatic woman, able to draw the attention of an entire room just by walking into it. Jorvik inherited that gift, and from a young age he showed clear promise as a harper. Installed as they were in Fort’s Harperhall, it was easy for him to develop his talents. He made friends easily, helped others out where he could, and spent a fair chunk of his time finding ways to help out the other harpers. In short, he made his parents terribly proud.
Ten turns following his birth, Jorvik was well-established as his parents’ pride and joy. Kanarik did not expect to become pregnant again; the first birth had been hard, and the last thing she expected was to find herself pregnant with twins. Still, she and Qasjaran decided to try: abortion, they decided, was not something they were willing to do. Besides, their firstborn son was turning out so well that they were eager for the chance to raise their new children.
Surprisingly, both babies were born healthy, and while it took the mother a while to recover, she did so without complications. Qanar and Qavarrik were as different as sun and moon; Qanar was a sweet and helpful child, while her twin brother was careful and reserved. No one could figure out where he got his personality, but it soon mattered little. When time after time he quietly refused to try the harpercraft, and Qanar proved to have inherited her parents’ social skills and lovely singing voice, Qavarrik was all but forgotten. When his parents acknowledged him it was generally with a sigh and the vague admonition that he should be more like his elder brother. Jorvik was still the shining star; apprenticed as young as was possible, he was doing extremely well in the harpercraft when he was Searched at nineteen – weeks before walking the tables. A Fort Searchrider swept him away to the Weyr, where he Impressed iron Kosargoth at his second Hatching.
While their parents were proud, they were also disappointed. J’vik, as he was now called, wrote them frequently and often came back to visit, but he was too busy with his new duties to pursue the harpercraft. Now their focus had to shift to their younger children, as there was no eldest son for them to admire. Qavarrik just couldn’t measure up; he was inferior to his brother in every way, and while his parents did not precisely berate him, they let him know in a thousand tiny ways that he wasn’t his brother, but he should be. Physically, J’vik was tall, broad-shouldered and handsome like his father, but the younger boy was small, wiry and dour in look and manner. As a youth Qavarrik responded to pressure with aggression; he rarely fought, but his sharp tongue more than once earned him the hostility and ire of his parents. Qanar understood her brother better than anyone; they were inseparable, and while she pursued their family’s dream of becoming a harper, he wanted nothing to do with it.
Growing up at the Harperhall was terribly lonely. As his parents slowly gave up on him, it seemed that his world became ever smaller and more isolated, save for Qanar. Qavarrik didn’t want many friends, but neither did he like the uncomfortable tension that often settled around him when he entered a room. Unable to devote his life entirely to night-long conversations with his twin, Qavarrik began to look for something else to do. Once he stumbled upon the runners of Fort Hold’s stables, and then his choice was decided: he wanted to be a beastcrafter. His twin sister encouraged him, delighted that her brother had found a path where he wouldn’t be miserable. J’vik and his parents hated it. Harpering had been in their family for generations; he couldn’t just turn his back on that. J’vik in particular was nasty about his brother’s choice; the two had never gotten along well, but the new-turned ironrider didn’t approve of his little brother’s decision, and he let him know it.
Qavarrik, having given up on his family Turns before, apprenticed to the beastcrafters at the local stable on his twelfth Turnday. The craft became his whole world, except for a carefully maintained correspondence with Qanar. Little effort was made to befriend his fellow crafters, but he worked hard and slowly his angry edge faded, however little. People noticed and respected his efforts, though he didn’t care about their recognition as much as he did about the animals under his care. As he gained experience, he first began training runners, and then started to rehabilitate those that had been abused. One of his first projects was Sage, a strawberry roan mare from a nearby farm. She had gone barn-sour, and her owners had attempted to beat her out of her stall. While they succeeded, they also had a crazy mare on their hands; they could no longer handle her, and she was slated for slaughter whenever they could get around to it. There was a teenaged girl at the farm, softer than the rest of her family; she gave a messenger all of the marks she'd been saving for Turns to save the mare's life. She set desperate word to the beastcrafters, who she imagined would be able to fix the roan's issues.
The messenger delivered the girl’s message straight to Qavarrik, little caring which crafter got the note, and caring less what happened to the runnerbeast. Through sheer fluke, she ended up in Qavarrik’s hands. Nearly eighteen now, he spent a great deal of time earning the damaged mare’s trust. When not busy with craft-assigned work, he was teaching Sage how to trust again, and gradually he succeeded. She was a kind-hearted and trusting animal by nature, and eventually she relaxed first with him, and then with other people that he allowed to handle her. Breaking the mare to saddle was easy enough after that, and then he had not only a good step up toward journeyman status, but a reliable riding horse. All along, he had been sharing news of her with Qanar – who was delighted by his victory. Their parents never wrote back to acknowledge the news, and J’vik only said that it would be more of an accomplishment if runners were intelligent animals. Qavarrik never acknowledged that barb, but it stung all the same.
Soon after turning twenty, the beastcrafter walked the tables. He was thrilled by his accomplishment, and the fact that he was now in a better position to work with his runners. Once achieving his journeyman status, he was posted to Fort Weyr: the same Weyr that his brother had Impressed at. He was surprised to find himself the target of a dragon Search – and even more surprised to find Qanar arriving the same day, for just the same reason. Afraid to go through candidacy and weyrlinghood alone, Qanar talked him into accepting the terms of Search: he was twenty, after all, with only three Turns before he couldn’t Impress at all, and if he wanted to continue his crafting, he could do so on the side. If he Impressed a dragon, she said, he would still be able to work with his runners.
Reluctantly, and more than a little dubiously, he listened. He and Qanar stood for one of the senior queen’s clutches, and Impressed together at their first hatching – mere weeks after arriving at the Weyr. Qanar Impressed first to a sweet green named Tarsilliath, leaving her brother both stunned and horrified that he was now on his own, waiting for a dragon he didn’t really want. Somehow he’d half-thought that he could Stand a few times and age out, possibly even with his twin at his side.
However, he didn’t have long to worry about it. Unseen by most of the people and dragons in the cavern, a tiny, gaunt-looking black crawled up to him. It’s not over, you know. The hatchling rose delicately onto his hind legs, the better to gaze into his new rider’s eyes. I’m not the end of your life, my friend. This is only the beginning of something new. I’m Astrateth. Give me a chance and I’ll show you, Qav’rik. Even though he resented the time taken out of his crafting schedule, Qav’rik could not bring himself to hold it against the black. Astrateth and the bond he brought was a challenge in his own right; while the black was calmly agreeable on the outside, he was also freakishly hard to deal with. The blackrider rapidly discovered that dragonriding was not simply a matter of burning Thread on one’s dragon: it was a matter of learning how to work together. And Faranth did Astrateth like to make it difficult. Ordering him or arguing with him never worked; the black was more stubborn than any mule his rider had ever met. Weyrlinghood was torture, especially while he watched Qanar and her gentle green coast easily through the program. Tarsilliath, his sister said, was easy – they almost always got along, and she didn’t have to fight her way through lessons.
Months into training, they slowly began to figure out how to work together. Astrateth, of course, already knew – but, just as he refused to be given advice, so he failed to give it. Qav’rik had to figure out on his own how best to handle his new bond. It was during between training that they seemed to be hashing it out, however roughly. In fact all lessons pertaining to flight were going fine, even if everything else was a pain. One day they had just completed their portion of the training when another of their classmates betweened in too close – virtually on top of Astrateth. He and Qav’rik had been descending from the Star Stones, but the brown popped in too low. His arriving form hit the black and knocked him out of the sky into the rocks; Astrateth shattered his shoulder and Qav’rik suffered a serious concussion and a crushed knee. That they didn’t incur greater injuries was a miracle.
Qanar checked on the pair of them every day until they were healed. Her brother appreciated her support more than he let her know, but then they were twins – there were few things he needed to say that she wouldn’t understand. Tremendous amounts of make-up work found Qav’rik and Astrateth graduating with the rest of their class, ready to join the wings. Strapping up the black’s leg was an idea that didn’t hit his rider until the dragon was two, but even so they did well in their Threadfighting endeavours.
Tarsilliath had her first mating flight soon after their graduation. The winner was a visiting bluerider from another Weyr; he was only there for perhaps a sevenday before going back home. The consequences of the flight were more than just the usual, though: Qanar fell pregnant, managing to stay so for long enough to realize what was going on. She was both shocked and excited; she requested non-between work only in order that she could keep the baby, and her wish was granted. For all his sister’s eagerness to have a child, Qav’rik was illogically furious that the father had left, and that he didn’t come back even after he learned that he had a child. Perhaps this was the way Weyrs worked – he knew that – but it pissed him off all the same. Even J’rik (from whom he rarely heard, but who visited Qanar regularly) cared for his own kid. Jorvan had been born Turns before, and still his father at least looked out for him.
Dedicated as he was to his new life fighting Thread, the wingrider still had other work to do. Sage was still in the stables, somewhat deprived of attention during his weyrlinghood, and there were other runners he felt he had to help. Qav’rik took up an intense double life as both dragonman and beastcrafter; he worked hard to make up the two turns he had spent devoted to dragons. He was tireless, throwing in hours around the clock until he could catch his skills up to where they should have been all along.
Once or twice his parents came to visit, brought in on the back of J’rik’s iron dragon, and they were just as dismissive of their second son as they’d always been. Why divide himself between two jobs when he should be sticking to one, they asked? Why continue on with something like his weird fixation with runners when he could just devote himself to Threadfighting, like his brother? Since nothing he did seemed good enough, Qav’rik tried to ignore his family’s words. Astrateth and Qanar both tried to make him feel better about his parents’ cold dismissal, but they didn’t succeed. Qanar had her baby boy to make them proud; J’rik had his iron dragon and the son who seemed more like his serious uncle than his shining father. Qav’rik had a peculiar black dragon and the runners his family didn’t understand. He pretended that their words didn’t bother him, and moved on with his life.
Turns passed this way. Occasionally something would change the routine of things – there would be some Weyr emergency, or Qav’rik would find a girl he liked, and date her for a while. Most of his relationships were more flings than anything else; he was simply too hard to be with for them to be anything more. All of his time was taken up by his double career of Threadfighting and beastcrafting; every time a girl found her way into the mix, she was the one left behind. Once a pinkrider from his wing took an interest in him; Qav’rik was with her, and loved her dearly, for two Turns. But she tired of his ways just the same as the others, and when she gave him the ultimatum that he could keep her or his craft, he chose his craft. She burned his favourite jacket before she left him.
Shortly after their twenty-eighth Turnday, he and Qanar got in a horrific fight. His entire life was his work; the blackrider hadn’t forgotten his twin, or meant to ignore her, but like the people he tried to date, she was sick of being forgotten because of his work. More than that, she was angry that he didn’t know Laruxat as well as he ought. True, he visited often enough – they lived in the same Weyr, after all – but she wanted him to spend more time with her son. She wanted all of her family to be together. She wanted Laruxat to spend time with him and know his uncle. Qanar argued that she’d always supported him (which she had), but that this was too much even for her. Qav’rik snapped that her son had taken up all of her spare time, so why shouldn’t his craft take up his?
It was a bitter, vicious fight – and it might have been reparable if J’vik hadn’t gotten involved. Both brothers were equally protective of their sister, but they’d never gotten along: the ironrider was furious to hear about the fight, and when he confronted his brother about it, they argued viciously. Threats were uttered, and harsh words on both sides, and the elder of the two gave up on the blackrider; in his anger he twisted the events when relating them back to Qanar. Qav’rik was successfully made into a villain, and his separation from his family became complete. He never saw his siblings or his nephews, though they all lived in the same Weyr, and his parents were right out.
J’vik was killed several months later. A clump of Thread came out of nowhere and hit him and his iron; they died before they could make it out of between. His twin siblings both grieved, but when Qav’rik went to find his sister after their brother’s death, she was nowhere to be found. Unbeknownst to him, she had taken Laruxat and gone to find comfort with their parents; he didn’t see her for some time, even though she returned after just a few days. She never knew that he had tried to speak with her.
Had he known that they would never speak again, he might have tried harder to mend the rift between himself and his twin. Several turns after their fight, Qanar was killed by Threadfall, leaving her son motherless and her brother guilt-ridden. Laruxat disappeared soon afterward, having transferred out of the Weyr after his mother’s death. Horrified, Qav’rik wasn’t quite certain what to do. Astrateth, sensing disaster, convinced him to stay calm and wait a while before taking any kind of action. Laruxat hardly knew him at that point; by now he could be only a distant memory in the boy’s mind. Qav’rik hadn’t seen him since his fight with Qanar many turns ago. Astrateth, always calm and logical, pointed that out. He convinced his rider to stay and continue working, gently suggesting that it might be better for the boy to be on his own for a while. An estranged uncle suddenly appearing after his mother’s death might be too much for him, particularly if he were looking to distance himself from his loss.
Jo’van was the next to leave. Qav’rik barely knew his brother’s son, but he heard of his transfer out all the same. The other blackrider went to the newly founded Grove Weyr to help with an exploration crew, and suddenly Qav’rik was alone in the Weyr. To say that he minded would be something of an overstatement; while he was concerned for his far-off nephews, he also understood that he would be of little help to either one. Jo’van was only ten turns his junior and could take care of himself; Laruxat more likely than not didn’t even remember him. So the blackrider stayed at Fort, burying himself ever deeper in his craftwork. Tremendous dedication and long hours helped him keep his sanity, and pretend that he wasn’t doing further damage to his shattered family. He worked, and he fought Thread, and lived as he always had. Runners came and went, and months passed, and a half turn after his thirty-fifth turnday, Qav’rik acquired Highbar.
Owned by a very uneducated man with a very crass view of how horses were to be treated, Highbar was meant to be a carthorse. Up until his acquisition by this owner, he had been left to roam a property on the outskirts of another band of better-trained runners. He had dealt a series of nasty kicks to people trying to handle him, and his owners opted to leave him outside, perhaps hoping that a stray bit of Thread would eat him. Such fortune did not befall them; the dragonriders kept them Thread-free and in any case the then-stud colt was smart enough to stay in the stone shelter when the silver rain threatened. When his time came to be trained for driving, he was dragged in with ropes and hauled off to his new owner’s property. Attempting to break him resulted in a great quantity of broken tack and damaged bodies; and the beatings dealt for bad behaviour did nothing to sweeten his temperament.
Someone had sent round word of Qav’rik’s fondness for difficult horses; a man approached him one day in the stables and told him the story of Highbar. Ultimately, the runner’s options were few and grim: he would be released to be eaten by Thread, put down by force, or sold to the blackrider. Curious about this impossible animal, the beastcrafter agreed to come and meet him; Highbar’s first move was an attempt to charge him through the fence. Something about the miserable creature caught his eye; Qav’rik liked the ugly little horse right away, and handed over a pittance of a sale fee.
Several months passed where his main job was just to get near and halter-break the six-turn-old runner. When at last this was accomplished, Qav’rik requested a transfer to Dalibor Weyr. The wayward Weyr was always looking for wingriders, and he’d a suspicion that they could use bodies in the stables as well. Besides, he had got word that this was where Laruxat had transferred to – although he didn’t yet know about his nephew’s Impression to green Kiriath. Qav’rik made arrangements to ship his runners, but he insisted on going along himself to keep an eye on his aggressive gelding. Astrateth was unimpressed by the arrangement, but his rider wouldn’t be swayed – so he spent part of the trip taking up space on the back of the ferry, and part of it flying while Qav’rik monitored his charge.
Finally they arrived at Dalibor Weyr, much to the relief of both dragon and human. And there they settled, with the blackrider adopting his usual overload of work as they were assigned to a wing, and he took up a position in the stables.
Astrateth is, and always has been, a challenge to his rider. Very little outside of Qav’rik’s existence concerns him, which has always been a sticking point between them. Where the blackrider keeps an eye out for people, his dragon thinks very little of others. He’s not arrogant, not precisely. Astrateth doesn’t think he’s better than anyone else, he simply doesn’t think of them at all. For this reason he has never chased a female or shown the slightest interest in finding himself a mate. All he cares about is his rider, and making Qav’rik the best that he can be. To be fair, it’s not an unworthy goal. Qav’rik is as difficult to work with as his dragon; the black strives to make His realize that he will not be happy unless he bonds more closely with other people. Hypocrisy at its finest, that: Astrateth hates taking his own advice, even when his rider throws it back at him, so they’re constantly arguing about the fact.
Besides his eternal efforts to make his rider take better care of himself, and urging him to be a happier person, Astrateth brings challenges all his own. He is terribly proud, and doesn’t like to take advice from anyone. Asking for help feels like practically a sin, so he refuses to do that either. Like his rider, he will not turn down someone in need of assistance, but he has a vaguely cool air about it – he doesn’t necessarily want to help, but he will. Not precisely thorny, he is nonetheless not the friendliest of dragons. Things he doesn’t like will garner coldness or a snide remark, and the list of things that he doesn’t like is long. Astrateth is both proud and finicky; he is irritated by a variety of tiny things that shouldn’t make the slightest difference in his day. Qav’rik finds it funny to perform these tiny annoyances just to irk his dragon. It works every time. Astrateth does not think it’s nearly as amusing.
Astrateth’s main problem is that he is contrary. Picking fights is beneath him; he simply does the opposite of whatever has been requested of him. For his rider, it’s been like dealing with sixteen turns of a stubborn toddler, except one that’s otherwise very bright and well-spoken. The black is a savage and dedicated Threadfighter; he does his job with vicious zeal, but in all other aspects he just calmly enjoys being difficult. Maybe he’s selfish. Maybe he just likes forcing his rider to work harder. What his rider has ascertained, over time, is that the black needs to be handled very carefully. Like the runners his rider loves so dearly, Astrateth won’t be told to do anything. Words seem to have no effect on him at all, and it took many turns before Qav’rik realized that if they need to work together, it has to come over their bond. Shared intent will convince the black; nothing else will. It serves as a constant reminder to His to be patient, relax, and trust his instincts – not his logical analyses.
Perhaps the black is sensitive. Perhaps he’s just that smart.
Small even for his colour, Astrateth looks uncannily like his rider. He is wiry and narrow-set, with bony limbs, a sinewy neck and sharp thin wings. Barely managing to look this side of healthy, he obviously lacks stamina, but he is terrifyingly quick; Astrateth can turn on a dime and whip out of the way of Thread that’s almost on top of him, with inches to spare. Despite his lean, wiry look, he is well-proportioned; his neck is an appropriate length to his body, and while his tail is a little long, he at least manages to look balanced. His wings are very slim, perfect for quick maneuvering, but he burns a lot of energy in the limited amount of time he can fly Thread. Still, Astrateth’s reflexes are extremely sharp and he’s a great asset to his wing – for the time he’s able to fly with them. One of his shoulders doesn’t work quite right, however; the motion in his right shoulder is severely limited from having his scapula broken as a weyrling. Fortunately his wing is unaffected, and many turns ago His devised a strapping system that keeps his leg stabilized against his chest and out of the way of Thread.
Black as black can be, there’s really nothing to describe about his colour. Astrateth is an almost uniform, impenetrable black; the only exception is a small sliver of grey under his jaw. Light seems to melt right into him, and while there is a faint sheen to his hide, he mostly gives the appearance of a black hole. Even his eyes typically spin dark colours.
Astrateth’s birth was about as uneventful as is possible for a dragon’s to be. He avoided notice right from the moment he was born, slipping through broken eggshells and among candidates until he found his – an uncertain young man named Qav’rik. He never questioned it, and never considered any other candidate: while his new rider wasn’t sure he wanted this life, Astrateth knew it was the best thing for him. Most of their weyrlinghood was spent with the black patiently waiting and complicating life for His; he knew how the young man had to act to get him to respond, but he refused to share this information. As with most other aspects of his life, Astrateth chose to let Qav’rik figure it out for himself.
Mostly he enjoyed weyrlinghood. The black made no friends among his siblings, mostly because he was too aloof to take an interest in them, and his goals were centered singularly on the progress to be made by himself and His. He performed teamwork well, but like a drone: he didn’t necessarily like having to interact with his fellow dragons, but understood the necessity and did what he had to (as he still does) to make a functional team. All was well, at least for him (Qav’rik had much more difficulty) until between training. Concentration, between himself and his rider, was excellent – they had no problem memorizing coordinates and appearing there.
Misfortune struck when one of their classmates, a brown and his rider, betweened too low, just as they were descending from their destination. Astrateth, hit by the heavier dragon, was knocked out of the sky and broke his shoulder, spraining his wing in the bargain; Qav’rik suffered a crushed knee and a bad concussion. The black’s wing recovered perfectly, but his shoulder didn’t heal right; the surgery seemed to have gone well at first, but it was realized later that he was not recovering as he should. The muscles in his shoulder and foreleg atrophied; while his wing had healed just fine, the dragon was not regaining use of his leg. Attempting a second surgery was both questionable and risky; without looking more closely, the healers couldn’t quite figure out what had gone wrong. Risking a Threadfighting pair for a questionable outcome seemed foolish; the healers determined that he would be better off the way he was than gambling with further damage. Astrateth and His didn’t want the procedure anyway; they accepted the dragonhealers’ verdict without issue.
Mostly, it didn’t bother him much, except in the cold or damp – the same weather that bothers Qav’rik’s knee. To this day they complain back and forth at one another, often trying to figure out who’s hurting where. However, the flopping leg was a nuisance while fighting Thread, and after a while the blackrider came up with a system of leather straps, designed to keep the leg close to Astrateth’s body and under control. Things went fine after that, and the black no longer even notices his problem, though his landings tend to be a little choppy and rely mostly on backwinging.
Turns passed, but the black took no interest in other dragons, and his entire focus was upon his rider. Threadfighting was his only interest outside of his bond with his lifemate, and the time that His spent in the stables, Astrateth spent either watching or lounging somewhere sunny. He was furious on his rider’s behalf when Qav’rik’s brother ruined the relationship with Qanar, knowing how much his twin meant to his rider. Still, the black was never one to intervene, and there was nothing he could say to Kosargoth or his rider that would make a difference. All that followed that fight was disaster; while he didn’t mind being alone, the black tried to urge His to form other meaningful relationships. Losing his siblings, even with the awful relationship he had with J’rik, took its toll on Qav’rik, and it became his dragon’s responsibility more than ever to try and support him.
When his rider suggested moving to Dalibor, Astrateth was completely on board with the idea. All the reasons his rider suggested seemed valid to him: a change of scenery would be nice, as well as the fact that Qav’rik’s nephew lived there now, and there would be plenty of work. So they set off – while they had the coordinates to simply go between, the blackrider wouldn’t hear of leaving his runners unattended on a ship, particularly his troublesome project horse. So they spent some time on a ferry, with Astrateth either taking up residence in the stern or flying ahead of the vessel, but they made it to Dalibor at last.
Adoption Preference: Transfer please.
"Branches may stop the ordinary man, but B'tor "slapper of jungle cats" is no ordinary man."
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