|It hand been a fine winter afternoon like this two turns ago when Moeomth shed his shell.
Of course, at Baeris' weyrlet, winter meant crisp and cool, not hot and humid, like here at Vallen Cove.
Z'rin sat on a ledge, about twice his height from the shore, and watched the others frolicing in the cool ocean waves. His hair reached just a bit past his jaw, and was still half blonde, half red. This time, however it was on purpose. The ladies in the lower caverns laughed, but did a marvelous job of helping him re-dye it. A breeze blew past, but provided no relief from the heat.
It is hot, Z'rin. Dive in. I'll watch while you cool down. Moeomth said. Z'rin looked out, and saw the unmistakable rust-orange of his dragon swimming in towards shore. Moeomth was no ordinary dragon. He was one of a small clutch of "stunt" dragons that had hatched. Sweeping his short, wide wings, Moeomth made great speed through the water, faster than the shipfish he oft races with in the depths. Moeomth climbed out, his sinouous neck and tail (which had been so long when he hatched that it trailed all the way down to the sandy ground when Z'rin carried him) were even longer now, making him look like a cross between a dragon and a giant sea snake.
|Despite being adapted for spending a lot of time in the water, Moeomth measured just over 30 meters long from his nose to the tip of his tail. Which is exactly right for a brown dragon -- which he is, with a rust variation, of course. The dragon's webbed paws barely left an indentation where he walked across the sand, the extra surface giving him support. I still do not understand, Z'rin. Why is the sand so hot, when the water is cold? The dragon asked, making his way to the cliffside.
"The sand is hot because it is lots of tiny parts, and the sun heats them up. The water is cold because it is one very big part, and the sun can't warm it up." Z'rin said, explaining the concept to his draconic companion again, knowing full well that he'd be doing it again in a week or so. The Sea-Rescuer stood up, keeping his eyes on the water, lest someone drown.
That is why you get hot so fast in the sun, and it takes a long time for me? Moeomth said, coming to a stop by the cliff.
"Exactly, Moeomth." Z'rin said, feeling his dragon's presence beside him. Moeomth gazed lovingly at his rider, then lifted his head up, crouched on his hind legs, spread his short wings and, with practiced ease, lept up to a ledge a higher than the very small one his rider rested on. He lept once again to a ledge higher up on the cliffside, and farther from the beach. The gentle surf pounded against the rocks below, and deep water started not very far out from there. An ideal perch for a water-borne dragon.
Coiling himself up on his ledge, Moeomth turned his orange head towards the waves. I am ready, Z'rin.
Z'rin climbed down from his watchtower, using the hand- and foot-holds he'd long since found in the cliffside. Slinging the floating buoy-harnass over his shoulder (common practice among the Sea-Rescue teams) then strode toward the water at an easy pace. He waded into the cool water, and when he got out deep enough, dove under and swam out. After a bit, Z'rin surfaced for some air, and looked about. A small, two person boat had come around the bend, and was coming towards them. Are the boaters all right, Moeomth? Z'rin asked his friend mentally.
Yes... the dragon responded, keeping track of everyone. Since they'd come back to Vallen Cove, no one had drown whilst the striking orange sea-dragon kept watch.
Z'rin took a breath, and began to swim parallel to the shore. Suddenly, Moeomth broadcast alarm, and Z'rin surfaced. There was a very large splash as Z'rin looked out across the water. The boat had tipped, spilling it's occupants into the deep water. One had managed to grab hold of the boat, but the other, panicking, couldn't reach, and the gentle waves pushed the boat farther and farther from her. We come! The dragon sent to the girl, but the dragon's message was no comfort to the terror-stricken girl.
Z'rin began swimming out towards the girl, not panicking, just moving as fast as he could.
Ready... Moeomth said, winging his way through the cool waters. Z'rin slowed his speed, but kept on towards the boaters.
Set... the dragon said, speedily moving towards his lifemate. Z'rin took in air, knowing what came next.
NOW! Moeomth said, as he passed just below Z'rin. At that moment, the Rescuer stuck out his hands and grabbed hold of the webbing-harass Moeomth wore, tucking in close as the dragon 'flew' towards their quarry. It was a manuver they'd practiced many times, and as good as they were at it, they still enjoyed it.
She tires... the dragon said, never hesitating as he swam towards them at a remarkable speed. ...but we are near.
Boat in three... the dragon said, beginning to slow.
...three!! Z'rin let go, springing from Moeomth's back, towards surface and the overturned craft. As he splashed up, the lad hanging on the boat was startled, and let go. Z'rin swam a few strokes, and put an arm around the floundering boy.
"I've got you, you're ok." Z'rin said, floating the rescue-buoy around in front of him. The boy lunged for it, dunking himself under again. He did catch it, and when his head popped back out of the water, he looked like he felt rather foolish.
"What's your name?" Z'rin said, treading water as the lad clung to the buoy for dear life.
"Rolix" the boy gasped, still a bit flustered from dunking himself.
"Hang on, Rolix, and I'll tow you back." Z'rin said, as he began the slow trek back to shore.
"What about the boat?" Rolix called.
"Moeomth'll get it." Z'rin said simply as he swam on.
Meanwhile, onlookers were panicing as Z'rin appeared to help the less-threatened victim of the boat turn-over. The girl, seeing this, panicked even more.
Moeomth, on the other hand, had just begun to slow down, backwinging in the water as other dragons did when they were going to land to stop his forward motion. He slowly came up under the girl, and startled to suddenly find herself astride a dragon, she screamed. A good sign really... it showed her lungs weren't full of water.
Don't scream... I've got you, you're okay. Moeomth said, blinking his outermost eyelids as water trickled down his brightly-colored hide. Slowly, he swam around in a cirle to face the shore. Z'rin had the other, and everyone else was okay too.
"You... You..." the girl spluttered. She grabbed hold of the lightweight water-resistant straps around Moeomth's neck as she shook her head, sending water droplets flying from her hair. "I was rescued by a dragon?!"
I'm a Sea-Rescue dragon. Moeomth told her. Ordinarily, he wouldn't be talking to strangers, but a rescue wasn't an everyday occurance, now was it?
"Sea-Rescue? Dragons can't swim..." she said, flustered. Then she laughed. "That was silly... if you couldn't swim, you wouldn't be here, would you? Why didn't you fly out? Dragons fly..." The girl prattled on as Moeomth swam.
"Moeomth doesn't." Z'rin said as Moeomth swam up beside him and Rolix on the tow-behind. Moeomth slowed to a near stop, as did Z'rin. With a little coaxing, Rolix let go of the buoy, and grabbed hold of the straps to climb up onto the dragon. Once he was aboard, Z'rin followed suit.
Moeomth began swimming towards shore, quickly, but not too fast as to dislodge his rescued passengers. It is faster to go under water. Moeomth said to Z'rin.
I know, Moeomth. but they are wet enough. Z'rin responded. "Are you okay girl?" he asked, his voice kind.
"I am now... Moeomth" she hesitated, trying to say the dragon's name correctly. "He rescued me."
Z'rin grinned. "I'm Z'rin. Moeomth's rider." he said, watching as the shore neared.
The girl blinked. "Anilla is my name." She looked back towards the boat, which still floated bottom-up. It was suddenly very far away. "What about our boat?"
"Moeomth will get it. Don't worry Anilla." Z'rin said.
The sea-dragon had made very good time on the return trip, his short wings and webbed paws helping him to move effortlessly through the water. When he waded up onto shore, the pair were astonished at how quickly they'd gotten back, and at how large he truly was.
Everyone was standing on the shore as Moeomth crouched to let them all slide down. C'nordi, the healer was there, with his blue dragon Hitath, whose eyes whirled a concerned yellow.
C'nordi came and herded the rescued youths off to make sure they were okay.
Z'rin turned and patted Moeomth's leg. He grinned at the orange dragon, bespeaking him. Good rescue, Moeomth. Good rescue. A few girls came up to thank Z'rin, and just generally make him feel appreciated. As long as there are sea-rescuers, there will be girls whose only desire in life is to be there after a daring rescue.
Moeomth, grinning in his fashion, turned to go back after the upturned craft.
When he returned, pushing the boat up onto shore with his nose, he waded out of the water, and curled up on the sand.
The girls, and the other swimmers had gone into the hold, to dry off and ready for the evening meal. All we need now is a girly sea-dragon for you, Moeomth. Z'rin sent, as he sat down in the sand, and leaned up against his forever-friend's hide.
Someday, she will come, Z'rin. but I am happy.
We both are, Moeomth. We both are.
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