I'anto of Torchwood Weyr

Chapter 1: Impressions

A/N: This is just a but of a crack-fic that took over my brain while I was writing The Year That Never Was scenes for my story Torchwood Files. I needed a bit of cheering up, and here it is! Let me know if you like it enough for me to continue.

.

Iyanto stood on the hot sands of the Hatching Ground, barefoot and dressed in a simple white tunic and trousers, just like all of the other Candidates. It was an honor to even be on the sands, as he knew, and he was not about to waste his one and only opportunity to Impress one of the dragonettes that were about to hatch. What child hadn't dreamed of bonding with and riding one of the massive creatures that protected Earth from alien threats? Especially a child raised in the Weyr?

Iyanto knew his place, and dreamed of Impressing a Blue or Green dragon. What Bronze or Brown would want him, the orphan son of a kitchen maid and tailor, raised by his elder sister since his tenth birthday? He had a place in the Weyr, cooking and mending, and at seventeen years old, that was almost enough for him. There was a Harper's apprentice named Lisa that he'd started flirting with last month, and the good luck kiss she'd given him before he took his place on the sands promised much more. Still, to Impress a dragon! It would change his life.

Self-doubt crippled him. He was one of seven boys from the lower levels of the Weyr, while the other twenty-odd boys were from richer stock. Holder's sons, Harper's apprentices, students at the Crafthalls. The children of dragonriders. All in all, twice as many boys as dragon eggs.

Across the sands, the lone Queen egg was watched over by the Queen Canarath, the last of the majestic Gold dragons. Ten girls huddled clustered together, whispering. His friend, Toshiko, from the local Crafthall stood among them, granted permission to join them on the sands, though she was not seen as the prettiest or smartest of the Candidates. Iyanto had his doubts. Toshiko was like a sister to him, and he wanted the best for her. He knew she was brilliant, but as a woman in a man's field, her work was often overlooked. And she was certainly pretty enough, though not his type. If she could Impress the Queen, she would be the next Weyrwoman, her place in society decided forever.

Above them, the stands were filled with people, the dragonriders, the Holders, other Weyrfolk and invited guests. The dragons lazed about on shelves bored into the rock of the towering mountain that gave the Weyr its name. Tower Weyr. Of the four Weyrs on the planet, Tower was the oldest, as well as the largest. The Second Weyr, unoriginally named, Iyanto thought with a snort, was a signal outpost, staffed by an elderly man named A'rchie and his Brown dragon Glassoth. If something were coming towards the planet, A'rchie would alert the Tower and the other Weyrs, who would take to the air to burn their enemies from the sky. The fourth Weyr, named Atlantis, vanished below the rising waters of a typhoon over five hundred years ago.

There were rumors that the third Weyr, Torchwood Weyr, was to be re-opened after the Hatching. Iyanto thought, in the deepest, most private part of his mind, that opening Torchwood again would be a good idea. There were several among the staff at Tower who disliked the policies of the Weyrwoman, Yvonne Hartman, and her Weyrmate, H'rold Saxon, the current Weyrleader. They felt that the dragonriders should be elevated from regular society (more than they already were) and given privileges only held by the richest of Holders and Crafthall Masters. Rumors also said that H'rold was having an affair with one of the maids, Lucy, and that Yvonne had threatened to remove his bullocks if she ever caught them at it.

Yvonne's dragon was old, however, and the current clutch of eggs was likely her last, meaning that she and H'rold would not be in power for very much longer. Still, one was Weyrwoman for life, and the rider of the baby Gold would have to learn her skills from Yvonne. Iyanto revised his earlier opinion. He did not want Tosh to Impress the queen if it meant so much time with the Weyrwoman.

Suddenly, a Bronze dragon materialized from between directly over the sands. A highly dangerous move, the rider would have to have complete faith in his dragon and an innate understanding of flight, of between and of where everyone in the entire cavern was to avoid getting stuck in a wall or, Goddess forbid, another dragon and rider. It had happened once, twenty years ago, that a young weyrling and his dragon, trying to impress his teachers, flitted between without the proper training and materialized inside the solid stone wall of the barracks. New barracks had been built on the opposite side of the Weyr floor.

The rider calmly dismounted his dragon and joined the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman on the stands while his dragon settled onto a ledge emptied by a Brown/Green pair. Iyanto wondered who the latecomer was, intrigued that he would be allowed to sit with the Weyrleaders and that the other dragons gave up their own spots of comfort for his dragon. Before Iyanto could think any more about the stranger, the Hatching began.

The next twenty minutes were a blur of dragon cries, children's laughter, and cheering from the crowd. Iyanto was overwhelmed. All of the hatchlings had Impressed, and only a few boys had been injured. Next to him, Toshiko – no, it was T'shiko now, Iyanto forcibly reminded himself – sat with her Brown dragon, cooing and murmuring babytalk in his hear. It was unheard of for a woman to Impress a Brown dragon, for a woman to Impress any dragon but a Gold, actually, but somehow T'shiko did it.

A plaintiff cry met Iyanto's ears and he looked around. The Gold dragonette, the new queen, was trying to walk across the sands. She tripped on her own wing and fell face first. The girls from before tried to help her up, but she hissed at them and continued trying to reach her goal. She sounded so sad, Iyanto thought, so lonely. Like he was lonely, with his sister married to a small Holder already raising children of her own, with his best friend now a dragonrider and no longer available to him. The girl Lisa, he found out from the other boys, had kissed him goodbye. Her Master was taking her back to the Harper Hall in the morning, and she would have no desire to spend time with someone who had failed to Impress a dragon when the new dragonriders were available and looking to show off their prowess.

Something nudged his thigh, and Iyanto absently stroked the warm leathery skin. Warm leathery skin? Looking down, Iyanto met the eyes of the Gold dragonette and fell in love.