The perpetual frown that graced Ael's otherwise rather beautiful face was firmly in place as he stood and waited for his Weyrlings to appear. He knew they were coming, but he still couldn't help the small flutter of anxiety in his stomach. He'd been doing his best, but they were entering into the dangerous portion of training. He wasn't quite confident in his ability to direct the current batch of Weyrlings under his tutelage how to Between, as of yet, but there was plenty of preparation that the Weyrlings could do to help themselves along. Another sevenday and Ael'thyristin would trust both his Weyrlings and himself a little more with the momentous task of Betweening. Absently, eyes still watching the door while he waited for the Weyrlings to appear, Ael reached down and straightened the six tablets that lay on the table next to him. Placed next to each tablet, a piece of paper and a pencil lay waiting for the Weyrlings. Closing his eyes for the briefest moment, Ael reached out to touch the bond he had with Xhaillocth. The blue was asleep, and Ael didn't dare wake him, but the gentle touch was enough to remind the rider that the anxiety he was feeling would pass. His position couldn't be helped, and despite his standoffish nature, he had been doing his best by the Weyrlings. He'd spoken at length with the Weyrwoman about the Weyrling lessons in general, but about this specific lesson in particular. There was no way to make Betweening totally safe, as they had both known, but they could over prepare the Weyrlings for it, and that was exactly what Ael had had in mind. So this sevenday, the Weyrlings had a separate piece of homework to accomplish besides their general daily chores, oiling and washing their bonded partner, and the excessive exercises that were meant to get them in tip-top shape for fighting Thread. He thought, at least, that this might be a little bit of fun for some of them. His face scrunched up at the word fun, although he forced it to relax after a moment, gaze shifting back to the door. He relaxed even more when he realized he was still alone. No one had seen his ridiculous facial expression.
Even if he wasn't predisposed to having fun himself, he knew it would be beneficial for the Weyrlings, both mentally to keep their minds off of the horrors that were still fresh in their heads and thoughts, as well as preparing them for the task of finding their way safely through the non-space of Between. The Weyrwoman had backed him up when he'd proposed making the first destination for the first jump for the Weyrlings a wide open space. He'd decided on the space just outside the Signal Tower, because apart from that structure, there wasn't anything up there, but it was also a memorable view. That last part was, of course, the key. He needed the Weyrlings to memorize that space, and thus the use of the tablets and the paper and pencil. A photo, as well as a drawing by each of the Weyrlings would hopefully help solidify the image in their minds well enough, and as a bonus, it would teach them exactly how well they needed to memorize a space to perfect the process. They would be using the Signal Tower as their starting place, as it opened up and the railings could be moves aside as well as the doors. It would easily fit all of their dragons together as one without issue. That would be in a sevenday, though. This lesson was all about the memorization of the space. It didn't matter to Ael if the Weyrlings were decent at drawing or not. How the actual drawing came out wasn't the point, but if the Weyrlings spent several candlemarks on the drawings each, then hopefully they'd be able to memorize the space without issue, and then the day of Betweening lessons, they would all go together and look over the space one more time. That way there was no risk of Timing. Ael had also discussed that with the Weyrwoman as well, and once again they had been relatively of the same mind. They wouldn't hide that particular ability of the dragons from the Weyrlings. Hiding it could do no good for anyone, and possibly result in more loss of life rather than less. Besides, after scouring the records of AIVAS, there was no hint of random sightings of dragons before The Frozen had awoken, so Ael doubted if there was anyone who was too curious.
Ael sighed and resisted the urge to once again straighten the already perfectly straight tablets. He'd never wanted to be a Senior Weyrlingmaster this early, let alone the only Weyrlingmaster, but fate, that ever cruel arbitrator of higher design, had seen fit to put him in such a position. He'd done reasonably well up until this point, as far as he could tell. None of the Weyrlings had died thus far, and they were all flying. The six of the Ragtag Weyrlings were, at the very least, a good starting point for him. He was not looking forward to the hopefully not seventeen Weyrlings coming out of the Snow and Sea clutch, although a part of him felt guilty for wishing so. He obviously wanted all of the eggs to hatch and be full of vibrant, healthy, strong dragonets that impressed at once to their respective riders, but he was not looking forward to trying to corral that many Weyrlings at once. At least he wouldn't be all by himself. He'd have Xhaillocth. His blue life-partner had been indispensable up until this point, and while this was not the first Weyrling lesson without him, Ael still felt the familiar pangs of anxiety creep into his chest and knot his stomach up. It was always easier with his dragon around, even if Xhaillocth wasn't always the most polite of creatures. He got his point across and eased the worry that plagued his rider. The future was in the hands and claws of everyone, rider and dragon, at Star Island, but, waiting for the Weyrlings to arrive, Ael'thyristin felt the most certain sensation that the future was very clearly, in this moment, in his hands. If any of the Weyrlings were lost to the bitter and endless cold of Between, there would be no one to blame but him, and the blow to the hopefullness of the upcoming clutch would be felt for turns, if not lifetimes. He simply had to succeed in making sure this process was as safe as he could. Inhaling deeply, Ael straightened himself up to his full height and let the breath out slowly, willing the anxiety to depart with it. The small trick, followed up by a very steady and regulated breath, helped Ael calm himself down, at least for the moment. He wouldn't let the anxiety show to the Weyrlings. That was the only thing he intended to keep from them while explaining the extra work he had for them on this day.
(Like candidate lessons, Weyrling lessons are not mandatory! What we ask, is, if you have no desire to post in the lesson, you post with your Weyrling like you would any candidate character. At least 1 thread with at least 10 posts in it within every activity check period per lesson posted in that period! So, if 3 lessons are posted, then have at least 3 threads with the 10 posts per thread in that activity period. However, like candidate lessons, touchings, hatchings, and plot, you do receive double the marks for posting in Weyrling Lessons, and with so many people posting, it will fulfill that thread requirement quickly.)
Ever since Veroschkath had hatched, We’nell had longed for the day when she'd be able to ride upon the dragon's back in flight. That day having come some prior, We’nell had switched her anticipation to learning that skill unique to dragons and those who flew with them; the ability to teleport to any known place by means of traveling Between. She wanted it for the convenience, of course, but there were other, perhaps even greater draws. She wanted another skill to master, a means to prove to the weyrling master that she was diligent and competent, and she wanted to fit in with the Frozen riders. Until she could Between with ease, she would not be a rider in full. There had been the temptation to try before the topic was raised in lessons. We’nell was an avid reader, and had found descriptions in old texts that made the process sound straightforward enough. She had resisted the urge not out of fear of it going wrong, but because, as Vero pointed out, it would anger Ael'thyristin and seem like unseemly showing off to her classmates.
And so We’nell was eager for Betweening lessons to begin, and as she and Vero made their way to their latest lesson - perfectly on time, as usual - the girl wondered aloud to the dragon whether this would finally be the day when the topic was broached. Patience, darling; Ael'thyristin knows what he's doing he'll teach us when we're ready. Came the calm, mild response as the pair headed for the meeting room. We’nell could only sigh and ruminate on her impatience in private.
They were the first to arrive at the lesson, but that was nothing new. As they entered, We’nell sent a warm, friendly smile the weyrling master’s way, while Vero dipped her head to him respectfully, avoiding eye contact. We’nell had gotten over her fear of Ael’thyristin long ago; he might seem stern and unsmiling, but he rarely lost his temper and was less strict that some of the teachers We’nell had in her craft. Vero, however, was afraid of virtually everyone. They headed for their habitual places, Vero huddled small against the wall, on the right side of the room from the weyrling master’s perspective, and We’nell sank into the seat next to her. No matter where weyrling lessons were held, the pair always gravitated to this sort of orientation. Now settled in, they awaited their classmates and the onset of the lesson.