| Three sevendays later….
Aummery wiped the sweat from his brow, straightened his back and let sunlight wash over his face before bending over and getting back to work. Seeding could be such tedious work, and it was best just to do it and get it over with. It’s not like Saluvmen’s philosophy, which was don’t do it at all.
Saluvmen. Aummery stopped bending over the dirt furrows, and lost himself in thought for a moment. He hadn’t thought about his friend for several days, and was ashamed to realize that fact. Aummery scowled, brushing some of his long, light hair from his face, and took a deep breath.
Saluvmen had been Searched, and hadn’t sent a message to Aummery since he’d left for the Weyr in such a haste nearly a month before. Not that Aummery blamed him, he and Saluvmen had gotten into a huge fight that very night, one that sent Saluvmen storming away, swearing never to speak to Aummery again. It wasn’t such a loss for Saluvmen, who had enough other friends to fill the lonely gap, but Saluvmen was Aummery’s only friend.
Sharding Venny. Aummery thought semi-affectionately. He got himself Searched right when I needed him most.
Aummery realized it wasn’t the watch wher’s death that caused him to be so upset, but he still couldn’t figure out why he exploded on his friend like that either.
“’Murry! The headwoman wants to see you! She says it’s something important!” Visciren, another lad who was friends with Saluvmen, shouted from across the field. Aummery waved at him to let him know he’d heard, and then took his sack and small hoe back to the shed where they came from. If he knew Headwoman Pola, and he knew he did, whatever she had in mind for him would take a while.
But as Aummery entered the kitchens where Pola worked at this time of day, he noticed that hardly anyone was there. Odd. He thought. For the great kitchens should be alive and bustling with workers and drudges at this time of day. Where is everybody?
“Aummery! There you are, little glow, there’s someone looking for you. A dragonrider.” And Pola beamed proudly, pointing Aummery towards the steps that lead up to the gardens.
“A ‘dragonrider’?” Aummery furrowed his brows, and shrugged. Well, if that clutch had hatched, and Saluvmen Impressed, then maybe his friend had managed to get a ride here to let Aummery know. Well, then he’s not that mad at me. Aummery thought, ignoring the helpless cried of a litter of canine pups as he passed them in the corner, and entered the “gardens”.
The gardens were a flat terrace above the kitchen complex. It was filled with easy access foodstuffs and some decoration plants for the main Hold. It was larger than the main courtyard, with plenty of room for a dragon to land. So Aummery wasn’t surprised to see the large blue lounging near the rows of tubers, and he looked anxiously about for his friend.
Instead Aummery only saw another man, standing tall against the far wall. He wore the shoulder knots of a dragonrider, and seemed easy in the presence of the large beast. Aummery assumed it was this man who had come looking for him, not Saluvmen, for Saluvmen wasn’t the hide and wait type, his friend would have leapt from the bushes by now.
Aummery approached the dragonrider with caution; he didn’t know what this strange man wanted.
“Aummery?” The older man asked curiously, and Aummery nodded his head.
“Yes sir.” Privately Aummery thought this man seemed to relaxed to be called “sir”, but being polite Aummery didn’t bother to call him anything else. The man smiled, and waved Aummery closer. He extended his hand, and Aummery gripped it firmly. Aummery jerked his hand back though, as if it had been shocked. The moment he touched the riders hand, a tumble of hope came waving through him, and the boy didn’t like it. The dragonrider raised an eyebrow, but didn’t question further. He pointed towards his dragon, who was watching them lazily, and said,
“I picked up your friend a few sevenday ago. I never met you, but I’m C’san. That guy over there is Naojith.” And the rider waved happily towards his blue, who rumbled. Aummery grinned at the creature, in awe of it’s loveliness, and turned back to the rider.
“Hello.” He said, in a late greeting. He was feeling easier around the rider now, and the dragon seemed to have a calming affect on Aummery’s mind. The rider nodded, and then suddenly looked intense about something.
“I didn’t want to rush this, but I’m rather in a hurry. The clutch hasn’t hatched yet, and it’s taking time to get enough Candidates. When your friend, Saluvmen, heard that, he ordered someone to come down here and take a look at you. Said you’d make a good rider, with your affinity for the animals and everything. What do you say? Would you like to go to Beach Shards with me?”
Aummery didn’t know what to say. What would his parents think, when he told them that their only son was leaving a life of farming to become a rider? His mother would cry for happiness, and his father would get gruff and angry. His little sister would beg to go, and make everything worse for it.
About time you stopped worrying about everything. A mocking voice, a ghost of Saluvmen’s, said in Aummery’s mind. Aummery smiled to himself, and listened as his friend’s voice told him that he shouldn’t think about his family so much, and that he should think about himself more. With a tut-tut clicking sound, Aummery swore it could have been Saluvmen himself standing there, and not half a continent away.
“Well?” The rider, C’san asked, eager to have an answer. Aummery looked at him, and his eyes shining with hope was all the answer C’san needed.