I'anto of Torchwood Weyr

by Gracefultree

Chapter 14: The Battle

Posted: October 31, 2015

A/N: Has it really been two years since I updated this story? I'm so sorry it took that long to update. Here's the latest chapter. I hope you enjoy. And, before you ask, yes, there's another chapter after this one that I've already written. :-)

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The Battle raged for hours. J'ack and the fighting Wings fought with great losses, but the aliens were slowly being destroyed. It helped that the two groups were trying to kill each other more than they were interested in killing the humans. J'ack had his riders ambush small parties of aliens, thereby trying to reduce their losses while making a maximum impact on the war.

I'anto's couriers returned to Torchwood Weyr with the report that Cybermen were in London and Paris and several of the other large Holds closest to Tower Weyr. The Daleks, it turned out, could fly when they chose, and were more far-spread. It seemed like they had decided to take Earth as their newest acquisition. I'anto vowed to never let that happen.

Myfanwyth slept throughout the whole thing, unable to be woken, hampering I'anto's ability to communicate with the outside world as he sat in the Conference Room that was attached to the Weyrwoman's weyr at Torchwood. His weyr, he reminded himself. His and Myfanwyth's, and soon to be J'ack's, when Boesheth caught Myfanwyth in her first mating flight. The weyr was furnished simply, and it seemed that J'ack had added a few details to appeal to I'anto's tastes, but it was basically sterile. He decided to sleep in J'ack's weyr as often as possible, since it had so many good memories. And there was a corridor and ladder-like staircase between his and J'ack's weyr, so in the long-term, it probably didn't matter where they actually slept.

Communicating with J'ack, at least to give J'ack information, was simple, as all I'anto needed to do was blow softly on the Harkness whistle for J'ack to hear him. He periodically gave him status reports about how the refugees were doing at Torchwood, how the makeshift hospital was holding up, and the progress of the aliens throughout the world. His couriers returned with reports that J'ack dispersed a half-Wing to each of London, Paris, and New York, so that the three main Holds would have protection. It wasn't much, but they had to eradicate the trouble at Tower Weyr first, so that the aliens didn't gain a foothold on the planet.

Gwen Cooper, Weyrlingmaster G'raint's daughter, stayed near I'anto for most of the day when she wasn't organizing the Lower Caverns, giving him food and substandard coffee. Too busy to complain, he thanked her distractedly and ate or drank whatever she put in front of him, his focus on the maps and tables and books spread out on the large table.

Sunset came and went as the Battle raged. Various riders returned for food or naps, too exhausted to continue fighting without a rest. Adrenaline and caffeine could only go so far, after all. J'ack, however, stayed out the entire night. J'ack appeared at Torchwood around dawn for about an hour, grabbing food and a quick nap before kissing I'anto deeply and disappearing back to the Battle. Though they only spent five minutes together, it raised I'anto's spirits immeasurably to have that time, and to know that J'ack was safe, at least for the moment.

Midmorning, almost 24 hours after the Battle started, Weyrlingmaster G'raint burst into the Conference Room from the main entrance, his eyes wild. He looked frenzied, as if something had given him a burst of energy. I'anto, his energy level dragging, having only gotten about four hours of sleep, looked at him with alarm, adrenaline flooding his system at the unusual situation.

"Has something happened?" I'anto asked, fear curling in his belly. "Is J'ack all right?"

"The Bronzes blood their kill," G'raint said cryptically, as the room filled with people.

"Has she woken?" M'kael demanded, shoving past F'loyd into the room. Another bronze rider, one who I'anto knew and hated, ran in, breathing hard, his eyes flashing with the same zeal as G'raint and the young riders.

"What's going on?" I'anto blurted, looking from one rider to the next, becoming even more anxious. There was only one reason the bronzes would blood their kill, but Myfanwyth was still sleeping, and had been for the last 23 hours. There was no way she'd be rising to mate today. It was too early! And J'ack wasn't there!

"Battle can bring premature mating in immature queens," J'ohn Hart explained. He gave I'anto a once-over filled with lust and hunger. "And my Spike will catch her," he declared proudly. "Your virtue will be mine, Eye Candy."

I'anto shivered in fear. He wanted nothing to do with J'ohn, and the idea of J'ohn's dragon catching Myfanwyth and having to sleep with the man filled him with dread. Everyone knew J'ohn wasn't particularly mindful of his bedmates. That was why H'rold and Yvonne had stationed him away from Tower as much as possible, because the boys and women he took to his bed kept complaining. He'd also shown an un-natural interest in I'anto, which Yvonne distrusted.

"What kind of a dragon name is Spike?" M'kael asked in ash undertone to F'loyd.

"Short for Spikieth," his friend explained. "Wouldn't you prefer Spike?"

"Enough," G'raint said. "To the Queen's Weyr."

"We need to call J'ack!" I'anto protested as they herded him down the hall to the bedchamber.

"Ha! He won't be back for hours yet," J'ohn said with a nasty laugh. "Finally, I'll get to take something from him!"

"Why aren't you fighting?" I'anto growled, trying to get the Harkness whistle out of his pocket without the others noticing. "Not man enough?"

"I came to report that the infestation at Cardiff Hold has been destroyed," J'ohn said. "Then Spike started blooding his kill, so I have to stay. Can't leave in the middle of a flight, after all." He sneered. "I know J'ack's had his sights on you since the very minute you met, and this time, this time I'm going to snatch you away before he even gets a taste," J'ohn informed I'anto.

As they reached the weyr, Myfanwyth awoke. I'anto was assaulted by her hunger, deeper and more powerful than it had ever been before, even when she was first out of the shell. He felt his stomach clench in response, demanding food, now. Completely overwhelmed, his last thought as his dragon's mind took over his own was to get off a few frantic notes to J'ack, hoping desperately that the man would hear and understand.

If J'ack were there, it would be all right. If J'ack were there, he'd still be Weyrleader in the morning instead of one of these others. If J'ack were there, he wouldn't have to bed one of these men. If J'ack were there, the world would be safe.

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Intense hunger. Desire. Compulsion.

The cattle flee before them, but they are strong, they are fast. They break its neck as they catch a calf. Young and tender, it will make a good meal. The blood, so sweet they suck the carcass dry. Next, the entrails.

No, he says. Blood only. Blood only so we can fly hard and fast and high.

Grumbling, she releases the dead calf so they can select another. This is an older cow, heavy with milk. Is milk permitted?

No, only blood.

Hunger slaked slightly after a few more animals, they begin to glow in the sunlight. They ache to stretch their wings, to fly, fly, higher and higher, into the air that is cold and thin. Higher than anyone has ever flown before.

Four bronzes hover near them, bothering them with their presence. The young ones are fit, lithe, yet lazy. They are confident in their ability to catch her. She scoffs at them, hissing. They scatter. The oldest of the bronzes seems favorable. Cunning and wise, he will make an interesting mate, though not a very energetic flight. They dislike the fourth bronze on sight. Though he resembles their chosen mate in age and size, he has a mean temper and a lack of concern for others.

Their chosen mate is absent.

They scream in anger, their roar echoing off the walls of the Weyr. How can he not show himself? How can he leave them to this group of inferior bronzes? How dare he break his promise to them?

Perhaps he isn't a good mate, after all, if he isn't able to be on time for their first flight.

Desire floods their system, taking any remaining thought or care. It doesn't matter who catches them, as long as someone does. They launch into the air, flying higher than they've ever flown before. The bronzes follow, and the game begins.

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tbc in Chapter 15: After the Mating Flight