The world was rushing below him, green plains leading to blue rivers leading to dark mountains that were all left behind in a rush of bronze wings. Heavy wing beats carried him into the sky, the bronze he rode rushing higher and higher into the sky, to the silver menace that flashed and danced against the clouds.
He tightened his grip on the straps of the bronze beast, bellowing in his excitement. "Now!" He yelled, or perhaps cheered, to the beast that he rode. The bronze twisted obediently, his jaws gaping and a gust of flames spilling free to sear the alien menace that fell from the sky. He wooped in delight as the bronze dove and flamed, all raw power and stamina.
The fall was over just as quickly as it began. The bronze leveled in flight, his sides heaving with the exertion of leading his wing. He turned his head, focusing faceted blue eyes on his rider.
"Zalloran! Get up this instant, boy!"
"Mrrrph!" A scrappy candidate squeaked, falling from his bed in a tangled heap of blanket and limb. The boy turned surprised green eyes upon his foster mother, who was looming over him with her hands on her hips. The intimidating woman was on the small side, but he knew from experience that she was a force of nature when angered. Zalloran quickly got to his feet, staggering a bit and looking at her with astonishment. "Wassit?" He asked, quite unintelligibly.
"You've snoozed half the day away!" She scolded, her aged face red with fury. Zalloran winced, wondering what time it was if she was this mad at him. "You promised your father that you would help oil Najorth, but I imagine they've gone and left by now! For faranth's sake, boy, you get to see him once a sevenday. You would think that you'd have more respect for your father! That a boy of fifteen turns would have a better head on his shoulders!" She continued on in that same line, ranting about the lack of respect that her foster son showed.
Zalloran winced. This was a lecture that he'd heard many times. "I'm sorry, Meena." He did his very best to look ashamed. "I really didn't mean to sleep in." 'You don't have to be so harsh.' He loved the woman to death, but she was strict! "I'll go right now! Maybe I can still catch him!" He didn't wait for her to answer, rushing out of the room that they shared and ignoring her cries for him to come back. 'Ha! She probably just wants to yell at me some more.' He thought, a bit rebelliously.
Meena sighed, watching him go. "That boy..." She muttered, shaking her head and walking back into the room. She had the feeling he'd be back very soon.
He dodged around a lower caverns woman baring a load of dishes, twisting on one foot to avoid hitting her. He stumbled a bit, his awkwardly long legs rebelling against the quick movements. He kept running anyway, nearly trampling one of the brats that were constantly under foot. The little girl squealed and rushed to hide behind her mother, who shouted "What's the rush, Zalloran?" between laughs. Zalloran paid her no mind, not even stopping to answer her. He needed to catch his father before he left for the days drills. He almost never got to see him, and the thought of missing him...
So distracted by the sudden thoughts of disappointing his father Zalloran was, that he didn't even see the massive hulk of a man stepping directly in front of him. The boy collided with him, bouncing back and hitting the ground. While Zalloran was of average height for a boy his age, the man he'd run into was massive. "Ow..." Zalloran whined, rubbing his head and looking up to see who he ran into. "Hey! Watch out!" He squawked. The massive man turned to grin at him, reaching down to pluck Zalloran up and set him on his feet.
"In a rush, Zalloran?" A pleasant voice asked him. Zalloran's face turned bright red as he realized who he just yelled at, his eyes landing on the brown-rider knots resting on his shoulder. "Did Meena threaten to feed you to whers again?" The rider laughed, ruffling Zalloran's blond hair. The boy pouted. 'She only did that once!' Why did everyone always remember the embarrassing things that happened to him?
"K'ral! Er, sorry. No. I missed my dad." He peeked around the rider, his eyes set on the light of the weyrbowl. He needed to get out there, and quick! K'ral just laughed, patting him on the head. Zalloran barely suppressed a glare. Why was K'ral stopping him? He needed to go out there now! K'ral was in his father's wing, and he knew what his dad was like when someone was late!
"I'll have Garonalth tell Najorth to wait. You're not that late." K'ral grinned, like he was privy to some secret joke. "But I think that your father would like if you got dressed first, my boy!" His booming laugh echoed off the walls of the tunnel as Zalloran turned bright red. He was still wearing his bedclothes! In his rush, he'd completely forgotten to change. The big man turned Zalloran around, pushing him in the direction of the rooms. "Go on. Z'lon's in no rush." K'ral smiled fondly at him.
"Yeah..." 'I'm never gonna hear the end of this...' Zalloran sighed, jogging back into the room. His face was still bright red at his mistake. He'd been so determined not to disappoint his father, that he'd nearly embarrassed the both of them! 'I can't make that kind of mistake. Bronzeriders aren't supposed to do stupid stuff!' He told himself, smacking his forehead. What would his father have said? Probably given him a lecture on how he couldn't be embarrassing him in front of his wing... Zalloran sighed at the thought.
Meena was waiting for him when he got back, her usually austere face set in a wide grin. "Nice to see you're back, Zalloran." She remarked, fondly. She patted his shoulder. "I've got to go help in the kitchens, my dear. Remember, you have chores in the feeding pens today." She was off before he could answer, flicking her brown-and-gray hair over one shoulder. "Don't be late to that, either!"
Zalloran sighed, running his hands through his hair. "It's not like I meant to sleep in..." He grumbled, slinking into the room to pull on his clothes as quickly as possible. The second his shirt was half on he was yet again running through the weyrbowl, this time (almost) fully dressed. The girl he'd nearly trampled earlier giggled at him, and he shot her a grumpy look.
He slowed a bit as he reached the weyrbowl, a knot of dread forming in his stomach. What would his father say? He knew he was lucky, being one of the few weyrbrats who actually knew who his father was, but his father could be... intimidating.
'Maybe he won't be mad.' He sighed. 'As if.'
At least he'd see Najorth again. He loved the big lug.