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Time: It is an autumn morning, 8:46 of day 14, month 12, turn 19 of Interval 10.
Place: Fort's bowl
Players: B'kaiv, Jantha, Chielyth, Imoth
Scene: The weyrlingmaster has concerns about Chielyth's visualizations.

Southern Bowl, Fort Weyr

There is a little more grass in this section of the bowl than at the center, though this can be attributed to the lake that's not too far off and not to any improvement to the sandy soil. More weyrs can be seen high along the mountain walls to either side, though there are none in the massive earthworks that spill down the southernmost section of the volcanically created valley.

The sandy lake shore is further to the southwest, creating a vast half-crescent that contains the blue-green waters of the lake proper. More to the west would be the feeding grounds that contain the animals designated for being consumed by both dragons and humans alike. Off toward the distant northeast would be the weyrling barracks, the Weyrleader's complex, the hatching complex, living cavern, and infirmary.

Obvious exits:
Northern Bowl Weyrling Barracks Lakeshore Hot Springs Guest Weyr Infirmary Feeding Grounds

Breakfast's mostly over and the weyrlings are starting to congregate outside the barracks, prior to this morning's drill. V'rel's all set to go, and so's his green. Jantha and Imoth, on the other hand, are waiting by the barracks entrance, and appear to be looking for someone - at least, the Weyrlingmaster is keeping an eye on the arrivals.

Chielyth and Kai wing over from the other side of the bowl - the green with hunched shoulders and the generally grumpy attitude she's sported of a morning ever since the 'you -will- be awake for morning drills' dictum was laid down. Her rider's less grumpy than exasperated; he slides off her shoulder and pops the last bit of toast into his mouth, tosses V'rel a salute and the other weyrlings general morning greetings before checking Chielyth's straps. He's probably noticed Jantha, with a weyrling's heightened awareness of Where Is The Weyrlingmaster, but V'rel's leading this class, and it's V'rel he's concentrating on.

Jantha works her way through the class towards the weyrling pair, calling as she approaches, "B'kaiv! You're with me this morning." She comes to a halt next to the small green. "We need to talk about Chielyth's visualisations. Work out a plan."

Surreptitious glances and open looks follow the brownrider, as do a flurry of salutes as the woman passes. Of course her words bring a rush of whispers and giggles, hastily repressed, because Kai's innn tro-uble! "Ma'am?" the greenrider asks, turning to salute, one hand left on Chielyth's shoulder. She yawns and settles down, curling her front feet beneath her, and blinks sleepily at Naimath. "What's wrong with 'em?" V'rel calls the rest of the class to order, sharply, and they mount more or less as one, leaving an interesting scene behind in exchange for flying.

A woman of about 40 turns, Jantha is of medium height and build, with plenty of muscle but not an ounce of fat visible anywhere. Dark hair that's starting to show a sprinkling of grey is cut short and shaped into her neck, with a short fringe. Deep brown eyes are set in a tanned, triangular face with the beginnings of lines around eyes and mouth, above a neat, straight nose, thin lips and a pointed chin. Hands and feet are small, with the fingernails filed short, and pale, smooth scarring runs across the backs of the fingers of her right hand.

Jantha's smart outfit is mostly made of wherhide, dyed a pale grey. The comfortably-fitting trousers and short jacket aren't warm enough for flying gear, though. The jacket is well-cut, slightly bloused, to allow a sweater beneath, but finishing in a band just below the waist. Today she's also wearing a tunic in a soft burnt-orange fabric, its cowl neckline falling over the neck of the jacket. Grey shoes complete the outfit, and a matching belt-pouch is worn at her side.

Jantha just beckons to B'kaiv and leads the way to a more dragon-free spot. It really won't do to get in the way of some of those take-offs. When they're gone, she turns a querying look on the weyrling rider. "What's wrong with them? They're going to get you a serious case of dead, is what's wrong with them. Didn't you realise?" She frowns. "You must have realised."

Did he realize? Maybe. Arms folded, shoulders hunched, he doesn't look at Jantha, but at her knees, at her feet, at the wall way over her shoulder. "They ain't - s'how she." He falls silent then, as quiet as Chielyth stealing the opportunity for a nap, but a few seconds later offers a strangled, "No, ma'am."

"Yes, it's how she does it, apparently," Jantha agrees with a longsuffering expression. "But why do you think we get you to practise so much? It's because there has to be somewhere that's like what she's visualising. All these - these children's drawings that she's showing Imoth, there's nothing like them anywhere on the planet. Mountains like upturned W's, trees like - well, you've seen them."

B'kaiv says, "Yes ma'am," with a certain amount of resignation. "S'just. I know where she means, an' all. Th' star stones," he glances that way, in case they've suddenly moved (they haven't), "Always look th' same. She don't got t' - she used t' have t' tell me where she were thinkin' of, but she don't no more." Abruptly he swears and looks into the brownrider's face. "You sendin' us back t' th' barracks, 'til she can get it right?"

"I don't think living in the barracks is going to help, do you?" Jantha asks with a faint chuckle. "But I do think we need to work out why she still isn't getting it. The trouble is, it doesn't matter if /you/ know where she is or not. There are a lot of things not clear about betweening, but that's not one of them. What's certainly true is that /she/ has to know where she's going, and we know from bitter experience that dragons who make bad pictures get lost between. Even if she knows the place, we don't know that a bad picture is going to get her there. And she seems to be... well, mangling pictures other dragons give her, too.;"

Maybe, maybe not, but there's a weight dropped from Kai's shoulders when he won't have to move - again. "She do, though. Does. V'rel were doin' that drill with us - th' one where he yelled places an' we had t' picture 'em an' show Naimath?" It's likely that Jantha would have known the drill -without- his explanation. Being Weyrlingmaster does that. "An' every time he said a place, she had a picture of it. I just - shells. I dunno what else she can do. She ain't never - she's always done that, since she were small!" His voice rises plaintively; noting it, he shuts up and folds his arms tight again, looking firmly at Chielyth.

"B'kaiv, we've been telling you - and her - that her pictures weren't clear enough since she was small." Jantha can be just as firm. She shakes her head. "I'm sorry, lad, but I have no wish to get the both of you killed, and that's what you're risking with those pictures. She's going to have to get the idea."

B'kaiv's, "Yes, ma'am," has a decidedly reluctant undertone, but he says the words anyway. "Dunno how I can make her not think like she thinks. She /tried/ t'... shells, I dunno. Takes the pictures from Imoth, or Bennath, or anybody. She ain't got a problem with that." It's just in the reflection, and returning the images.

"I suppose we know what she's showing, but not what she's got in her own head. Or can you see how she sees it herself? Somewhere she's... mangling it. One thing's certain, even if those pictures could get you both there in one piece, she's never going to be able to give references to other dragons like that." Jantha purses her lips for a moment. "All right, let's try something. Show her your image of the StarStones and ask her to give it to Imoth."

B'kaiv glances uncertainly sidelong at what Jantha's saying, but nods. And stares at Chielyth, who is slow to rouse. Finally, though, after long seconds, she reluctantly pushes up to sitting and scrubs at her face with one foot. "I told her," he reports needlessly, even as Chielyth reaches for the brown. Here are the Star Stones, as seen from the middle of the bowl: sweeping scribbles of grey-brown walls, the flattish bit where watchduty takes place, the poking up bits of the 'Stones themselves. After delivering the image she lets it sit for a second before adding, irritably, that they're the /Star Stones/.

Jantha pauses for a moment, her gaze drifting off towards Imoth. Then she snaps back to attention. "It's mostly the colours, isn't it. The shapes aren't too bad. Hmmm." She frowns for a moment. "We don't do this with you so much these days, but once upon a time, riders mostly learned Between points from drawings. Could you - you, rather than her - see that image as a line drawing, with just the shapes of the bits that make it distinctive? It's the distinctive features that make a Between location anyway. If you can, show her that and ask her to show Imoth. Just the outlines, none of the... scribbles."

B'kaiv only stares at the Weyrlingmaster as if she's just claimed that she's laid a lovely clutch of fourteen eggs. "I - what? I don't draw real good." He and Chielyth exchange looks before the rider looks back to Jantha. "It's the Star Stones, ain't it? She got th' wall, th' stones...?" Chielyth emphasizes the Star-Stoneness to Imoth, this image all outlines, before yanking it away and replacing it with another: /her/ ledge, the image filled with the stone of Fort's walls, her itty bitty ledge sticking out and the scribbles of green around the black opening.

"Just the shape, yes - the outline, the features - ah." A few moments of silence. "Yes, that's a bit better, but- oh, Faranth, /don't/ let her get the idea she's going to jump to her own ledge. We lost-" Don't go there, Jantha. "Let's have the Starstones again, and get her to concentrate on the outline. Explain it to her. No squiggles."

B'kaiv continues to squint disbelievingly at the brownrider, but he and Chielyth must be in silent communication, for with a put-upon sigh worthy of the most misunderstood adolescent EVER, she shows Imoth the scene. /Again/. But this time, she draws it in reverse, and pointedly slow: sticking up bits of the stones. Squashed circle for the watchdragon's post. Lines here, here, and here for the walls. A few scribbles of blue in the otherwise empty sky. Once she's done she adds sulkily, << This is not right, though. >>

Jantha waits until Imoth passes the image on to her, and there's a silent conversation. Then she smiles. "Better. Imoth says that would get him there. It's got all the right shapes. Tell her that that's nice and try another one. Do you remember Fort Hold?"

Poor Kai, stuck in the middle as translator. He shifts his weight and coaxes Chielyth over, holding her muzzle in both hands as she blinks at the Weyrlingmaster. "Says it ain't right, though," he reports before tilting his head back to look up at his green. "Yeah, we know it." The image doesn't appear in Imoth's mind for nearly half a minute, but when it does, it's the same sketchy outline she's been producing in lieu of the Star Stones, but with the addition of a strong scent of flowers.

Jantha sighs, when this effort finally appears in her mind courtesy of Imoth. "Tell her, no smells. You can't rely on smells." She considers the mental image still further, her eyes losing focus as she becomes engaged in conversation with her brown.

Dragon> To Chielyth, Imoth suggests gently, << I know you do not find this picture as nice as your others. But they are what you need. Try to give nice clear shapes that someone else could know and understand. >>

B'kaiv says, "Th' flowers is 'cause she's mad," but Chielyth yanks the smell away -anyway-. Jeez. << They are not /right/! >> she protests to the brown once more, with a background feel of chin-wobbling. << That is not what I see! >> Kai only sighs and leans back against her chest, one hand alternately scrubbing at his face and twisting around to rub Chielyth's skin. "She don't understand how she's s'posed t' not use what she's seein', but make somethin' up. 'Cause what Imoth's askin' for," blame the brown, not the brown's rider! "is like what she used t' do when she were a baby. Only better, I guess."

Jantha nods. "Better, yes. And she's not putting in all sorts of - extra stuff, that she thinks looks nice but just isn't how it is." She eyes the green for a moment. "You're going to have to delay starting to Between until we've got this reliable. I think we'll start from scratch - she needs to be getting those outlines more confidently, if you've got to do it that way, and to take only what you give her. But why she can't just hold in her mind what you see and show her - it beats me. Remember we had the different-shaped blocks? We'll start with those. First, though, let me try something. Imoth's going to show her another picture, and I want her to tell me if she thinks she knows where he wants to go."

Dragon> To Chielyth, Imoth takes a few moments to send a clear crisp outline of a promontory jutting northward into an ocean. It's seen from above and a slight angle, and to the right, the clear shape of the cone of a volcano rises. It's all confidently visualised, as if the rider who sent it knew it very well - but B'kaiv and Chielyth won't have seen it before. The brown says gently, << See, this is a good image. Take it into your mind, and don't change it. Then tell me: if we were going there, could you see where to go? I think you should be able to. >>

Dragon> To Imoth, Chielyth considers the older brown like this might be some sort of trick. Still, she answers with only a breath of violet, << Yes. I could go right now. >> If only Kai and Jantha would let her!

"She don't do that for th' important ones," Kai protests, but without heat, because before? Yes, Chielyth would do that. For a while all her dragons were blue, just because she liked the color. "Why's it matter, though, if it's a outline or a... shells, I dunno what t' call 'em. A real picture? Long as she knows where she's goin'. That's th' important bit, ain't it?"

"For her, yes it is. Not if she gives pictures to others. But we have to be sure that she's going somewhere real. If she suddenly decides to turn the grass pink, or something, you're dead." Jantha's sounding distinctly uncompromising about this. "Let's try again. Hold on."

"She don't, though," Kai starts, stops with his mouth twisting. This is the point where he's supposed to say 'yes ma'am' and shut up, but he skips the first bit and only does the second.

Dragon> To Chielyth, Imoth takes a little longer to reply this time, and he sounds a trifle unsettled as he sends the picture - a child's drawing of a bay, with squiggly waves and lime-green trees on the cliffs, and pretty red flowers growing out from the cliffs - rather unnaturally large ones. << Could you see how to go to this place? >>

Dragon> To Imoth, Chielyth likes this picture quite a bit more than the other ones. << Yes! >> she answers immediately. << That's a very nice image, Imoth! >> How clever of him to finally get it right!

Dragon> To Chielyth, Imoth sounds very serious. << That is a pity. /I/ couldn't go there. It is wrong, Chielyth. It is not right, and it is dangerous. The place is not like that, and if you tried to go there, you would be lost in Between for ever. The other sort is better, and that's what you must do. >>

Jantha sighs again. "She doesn't have any idea of whether an image works as a destination, either. Well, she probably wouldn't, just yet. But I'm starting to think she is actually getting it for herself. It may be that it's just communicating images that she can't do. I'm not certain, though, and you don't get second chances Between."

Dragon> To Imoth, Chielyth projects, << But... it's the same? You put flowers there, but they are the same! >> She flashes the two images back at him, the first 'crayonized' but without flowers, the second with the flowers. Then she erases the flowers. << I do not - they are the same! >>

B'kaiv's looking definitely worried at this point as he continues to reassure Chielyth with pats. "I don't... It ain't -bad- she can't show images, is it? Mean, she ain't broken, or nothin'?" His thoughts are easy to read: they'll be moved back to the barracks! Awful things will happen! "She ain't - ma'am, I thought all dragons was able t' go *between*?"

"It's not helpful, if you need to give a visual to someone. Other dragons wouldn't be able to take visuals from her, or well, if they did, it might not be good. But, yes, they can all go between. Hang on." Jantha stops, apparently becoming aware of the conversation between the dragons. "Imoth thinks she knows the difference between what the place is actually like and how she shows it. That's a good sign."

B'kaiv blows out his breath and laces his hands behind his neck, nods. "I don't understand half'a what you're sayin', ma'am, but - we'll keep workin' at it. She's got better at bein' able t' show me things without havin' t' tell me what they is - or who they is. I don't hardly got t' ask no more, an' that's only for things she's seen that I ain't." He looks to the sky, but V'rel and the other weyrlings are long gone. "I just don't want nothin' t' happen t' her."

"Neither do I - or to you." Jantha says briskly. "That's why I'm going to keep on at you about it. Go and practise with the blocks this morning. Make patterns and get her to show you their shape - images that someone who didn't know what they were would recognise. Understand?" Imoth gets to his feet; he's apparently ready to move.

B'kaiv nods sharply: this he -does- understand. "Yes, ma'am. They're still on that one shelf?" He salutes and heads off for the barracks at a jog, leaving Chielyth half-dozing behind him. She rumbles at the brown but settles in, content to snatch her naps where and when she can.

Jantha watches them go for a few seconds, then gives a resigned shake of the head and goes to mount Imoth.