Haizer awoke to find himself wet, cold and sick at the base of a mountain. Great. 'What did I do last night?' he asked himself. He couldn't remember anything after his fifth drink. He had a headache.
Haizer carefully shook his head to test his balance. His long black hair whirled in front of his eyes. He felt steady enough. No hang over. Odd. Haizer knew he could handle his alcohol. He'd had to with 3 older brothers.
Slowly Haizer regained his wits and he could hear water further down south. He got up, and immediately fell back down. His legs weren't up to the task just yet.
"Shards!" Haizer cursed, too demotivated to find a curse more colourful.
If walking wasn't working he'd have to get to the water crawling. Haizer was getting quite irritated. Posture was everything for him. He was big and strong, a rebel without a cause. He travelled round the Southern Continent of Pern and no-one would ever command him. It just wasn't done. And now he lay there helpless.
When he finally reached the water he was mad enough to stand if he wanted to. In stead he lay down and looked into the water, trying to catch his reflection. Some strands of his hair stroked the surface and Haizer quickly tucked them behind his ears. When the water had calmed down a male face looked back at him. Haizer looked at his eyes, they were deep purple. He had often been complimented about his eyes and he could get every girl just by looking at them. He smiled. After his eyes he examined his nose and mouth. They were normal, but that wasn't bad, as long as they didn't draw attention away from his eyes.
But when he was getting up he suddenly noticed something that was out of place. No, not out of place... there was something that didn't belong there. Haizer dropped back down and looked in the water. When he looked at his forehead, he could just see the little star that was tattooed on his left temple.
It didn't look bad or anything, but one day he had made a promise to himself to never let anyone do anything to his body he hadn't agreed to. And this he hadn't agreed to, or he had been in no condition to agree to anything. Haizer was enflamed with rage. He got up and walked into the direction he knew the town was in. He'd teach the people who'd done this a lesson.
But he didn't get that far. When he was about half way he saw a girl standing on the road. She was tall, slender and blond. Just the way he liked them. He thought for a second about a good opening statement and found one.
"Hello sir." she said before he could work his magic.
When she turned he saw that she was more beautiful than he'd ever be able to imagine. And on her left temple was a star too. She noticed his star and said: "Hello brother."
This was a strange development. But Haizer was interested in seeing where this would lead. Now what was the best way to gain her thrust?
"Hello sister." he answered, trying to get more information out of her. But she only sat and watched him.
"What is your name?" he asked.
"Moonchild." she said.
"Unusual name."
"I chose it myself at my incarnation."
"How does one pick a name like that?" he asked, feeling really goofy. Haizer had no idea where this conversation would lead him. She might be pretty, but she wasn't very bright. He doubted she could light a small room with that set of glows in her head. But then, he'd like to be in that dark room.
"Father loved it."
"Ah, and who might your father be?"
"Father is the one who protects us from the others. It isn't safe to talk about him outside."
"Then let's go somewhere safe to talk." Haizer suggested.
The girl took off and led him through some trees and over some plains, maybe an hour walking all together before she stopped and sat down. Haizer now knew the girl had been there for a reason. Surely she wouldn't walk an hour just to get some berries. No she had been there to wait for him.
"So, who's father?" he asked again.
"Shhh, he'll come." she said and watched the runnerbeasts in the distance.
Hours passed and the day was nearly gone when suddenly a man appeared. he was small, old and grey. Three words Haizer reserved for the very old and weak. Yet the eyes of the man burned bright. He'd have to be careful around this one.
Haizer nodded to the old men and played the waiting game the girl was so very good at. Finally the old man looked at him and said:
"Do you know who I am?" his voice was strong and deep.
"You are Father, whoever that is." Haizer replied. The old man would see right through his acting. From now on, he'd better be himself.
"Do you remember what happened last night?"
"Come, I'll tell you." the old man said and started walking. Haizer shrugged and followed. He had to admit to himself that he was far to curious for his own good. He looked back and saw the girl remained sitting under the tree.
"Won't she get cold?" he asked.
"She wouldn't feel it anyway." the odd reply of the old man came.
They walked and Haizer got irritated, he wasn't a very patient man. Well he could be if he had to, but he liked to take action wherever it was possible. In broad daylight, or covertly in the dark. He wasn't used to being kept waiting.
"We gave you fellis last night. You were already too drunk to notice the taste. Afterwards we examined you and found you fit to join my group."
Haizer waited. He didn't want to interrupt the old man. He needed to know more. But the old men became silent and watched the horizon.
"What group?" Haizer asked, a bit uncomfortable because of the silence.
"My group, didn't I say that?"
"Hmmm, I must have missed it."
All internal alarms and intuitions cried: 'run off!' as he heard that reply. Haizer doubted the man was sane enough to know the year they were in or the planet they were on.
Then he suddenly remembered the tattoo. 'Father' didn't have one. Another mystery waiting to be solved, but most of the curiosity had left Haizer by now. He wondered what would happen when he ran off. Haizer went off the path and walked into the pasture. Suddenly the staff 'Father' used to walk came down on his back. The stroke was surprisingly hard and Haizer felt himself go down on his knees.
"You must never run." the old man said.
Quickly Haizer grabbed some of the flowers that grew at his feet. He got up and turned to the old man. A look of pure devotion and stupidity on his face.
"But Father, I was merely picking some flowers."
"Then I am sorry child." 'father' said.
Maybe 'father' wasn't so dangerous. Maybe 'father' just was an egomaniac. Soon they came to a small hold carved in one of the mountain ridges that surrounded the valley.
"Enter child." 'father' said and opened the door.
Haizer really didn't want to turn his back to the old man, but he didn't have an option here. Maybe there were other people around that would come to help 'father' when Haizer knocked him down. Haizer went in and the opportunity was gone.
The inside of the hold was dark and damp. Water came down from some of the walls and Haizer could see patched of mould growing on the wall. No-one had bothered to clean the hold in years. Haizer watched where he was going, trying to avoid the rubble on the floor, but 'father' just walked right on top of it.
"Star!" 'father' called out and a young girl, maybe 11 turns old came from one of the rooms. Like Moonchild she was pretty and sweet. But her feet were bare and cut and her face was dirty.
"Yes Father?" she asked.
"Make me and your new brother food." he told her.
The girl ran to the kitchen and came back with some old bread, cheese and 2 mugs of water. 'Father' took a bite from the bread, spit it out and groaned.
"They do nothing right. I tried to teach them for years now, but they just don't do what I ask them." He turned to the girl and slapped her full in her face. The girl didn't even squint. She just bowed her head, apologised and ran to her room.
"I need another man in the house for when I'm off working. Moonchild is too friendly for them."
As if she was called the girl walked in and disappeared into one of the other rooms. 'Father' watched her go and then turned to Haizer again.
"She's a dimglow too. Too bad, I could have married her off good and we'd be out of this dump." 'father' said, "Moonchild! Come in and bring Star and Rukbat!"
Rukbat, apparently a young boy, was only a little older than star, 13 turns maybe. Haizer saw the bruises on his arm and pitied them. This was no place to live. Didn't harpers or dragonriders pass here? Even the vilest of people would take the children away from this old fool.
"Attention children, this is your new brother Comet. He'll watch over you while I and your two brothers work."
The children nodded and went back to whatever they were doing. 'Father' placed himself in front of the burning fire and soon nodded off. Haizer didn't quite now what was expected of him, but if he was here to watch over the children he probably was allowed to talk to them. He stood up and walked through the curtain that they had passed through only minutes before.
"Hello?" he whispered.
He heard a soft running sound as something fled from him. A rat, or maybe the young girl, Star. Suddenly Moonchild grabbed his arm and pulled him out.
"Don't hurt the children." she begged.
"I have no intention."
"Good." she looked around, afraid of something or someone still out in the dark.
"My brothers will be back soon and we fear them more than Father."
"I can take on a couple of guys." Haizer told the frightened girl. He knew she couldn't be much older than him with his 25 turns, and neither could be her brothers. She didn't believe him though.
"We have to hide!" she said.
"I will help you. I will take you away from here." he said.
"Away?" her eyes became lit with a hopeful light inside, "And the children?"
"Star and Rukbat can come too." he said.
"No, not Star, not Rukbat but Evandra and Lachen. And not Moonchild, but me Lena." she smiled.
"Are those your real names?" Hazier asked.
"They were before..." her eyes became sad
"Before what?"
"Before mommy and daddy went away." she finished.
Moonchild, or rather Lena was now crying. Haizer tried comforting her, but she had kept her grief hidden so long, she couldn't stop crying. They sat beside each other until Hazier heard the sounds of men approaching. He pulled Lena inside the hold and told her to call the two children.
"Go out." he told them, "Wait for me outside. I'll come and take you away." as he pushed them outside.
Hazier turned around and waited, hidden behind the curtain for Lena's brothers to arrive.
"Old Uncle!" They called and 'father' went out.
"What do you need my children?" he said bowing.
"Food and drink, and none of your usual rubbish." they shouted.
The two boys, both barely out of their teens kicked the old man to make him move faster. As much as he disliked 'father' and his manner towards the other children, what these boys, because he couldn't call them anything else, did was not good at all. The old fool didn't deserve this. Haizer stepped out and interrupted their little conversation.
"Who's this?" the eldest asked.
"Brother..." 'father answered, gasping for air.
"Hear that, brother mine? Uncle got us another sibling." the younger said, "Like we need any more mouths to feed."
"I'm not staying and I'd be happy to relieve you of some mouths." Haizer said.
"No way, you're not taking these away to make money on. That's our privilege for feeding them." the younger said, totally missing Haizer's intention.
Haizer raised his fists and started swinging them in the direction of the eldest. The eldest clearly was the leader, but the younger needed the elder's approval. One of their pickaxes was still leaning against the wall. He grabbed it and moved towards Haizer's back. Suddenly Lena came running out of the kitchen and ran Haizer over. For a brief moment he thought she had switched sides. But he regretted that thought only seconds after when he saw her falling. Her eyes closed and her face relaxed before she hit the floor.
Haizer got up and ran out before the brother's realized he was gone. It was his only opportunity out. He had to get away before the entire power-crazy family came after him. No that wasn't true, not the entire family. Lena had been pure and the two youngest still had a chance.
"Run!" he yelled, hoping they would hear him.
Hazier turned around and saw the brothers had started the chase. This wasn't good, but it meant the two children would have heard him. Carefully Haizer ran forward, trying not to trip. The two were gaining fast, they knew where all the ditches and pits were in the surrounding fields. Haizer thought he might as well turn and face the end like a man when a dark shadow raced over him.
"Climb on!" a woman yelled as she extended her arms. Hazier jumped and prayed he'd grab her arms and they'd hold. They did. He climbed up as fast as he could and placed himself behind the woman on her dragon.
"What were you running from?" she asked.
"Two swing-happy boys trying to kill me for interrupting their conversation." Haizer said casually, instinctively hiding what had happened.
"I see, we can't have people killing off our sorely needed candidates now, can we Phaysath?" she said.
"Yeah, that was why we spotted you. Phaysath told me it was a pity you weren't in the Weyr yet. My name is Blizska by the way."
"So, can I drop you of in the Weyr?3
"Sure." a new life might just be what he needed. He would never feel comfortable just travelling anymore.
"K, Isla, Phaysath." she said and they went between.

Life at the Weyr was good for him. At first it felt almost surreal to be back amongst normal people. People who could think and answer him when he asked them something. People who had dreams and opinions. But somewhere he still missed the others. The ones he hadn't been able to save.
He stood up and left the candidate rooms. Maybe a long walk around the beach would clear his mind. He looked out over the sea and felt himself calming down. The water still had the same colour as Lena's eyes, but it was also water.
A soft chittering to his right alerted him. He saw some young boys and girls run off laughing and carrying some things. Strange. Haizer smiled. He was still curious. He walked to the place and saw some eggs laying in the sand. The kids had run off with most of them but Haizer still spotted a few buried in the sand. The thought of owning a firelizard appealed to him. That and he would know in some degree what it was to take care of a dragon. Casually he walked by and picked up an egg.
He held the egg close to his heart and said: "I'll never let you go."
A soft crack alerted him to the fact that the egg was hatching. Carefully he held out the egg in front of him and saw a little cream head break his way through the hard shell. A sudden hunger overcame him. He grabbed a piece of cake he had been carrying in case he got hungry and stuffed it in the firelizard's mouth.
After she had eaten the cream looked up at him and rubbed her head along his cheek. She licked his cheek and steadied herself on his arm.
"You'll be Lena." he said, thinking of another beauty...


Suddenly he remembered he still needed to do one thing before he could start forgetting what had happened. Well not exactly forgetting. He'd have to thank the rider that saved him before he would be able to let it rest. Haizer ran off into the direction of the Weyr. He was in luck, he noticed her and her dragon in the Weyrbowl.
"I haven't thanked you for saving me back there yet." he told Blizska.
"No problem. I was just doing my job." she answered.
Suddenly the little head of Lena pushed through his shortened hair. She squealed and looked at the green searchdragon.
"You got a friend!" Blizska exclaimed.
"Yeah, I couldn't resist the temptation, her name is Lena." For a moment Haizer thought about the girl he had named her after and felt a sad cloud closing in. He swallowed and petted his new friend. He would always remember Lena, no matter what. And that was only right. She had saved him in another way...


It was late in the day, just as dinner in the Lower Caverns was ending and people were departing to their beds, that the Syriol Wing appeared in the sky. Niayith bugled, as did Rhiath. Soon all the dragons were making a racket that warranted people to cover their ears as they rushed out. In the middle of the angry draconic voices that condemned the news of a raid, another more melodic hum could be heard. 
Haizer and the other candidates were ushered to the hatching cavern. The cavern was filled with whispers and hushed conversations as people talked about the changes outside and the unusual parentage of this clutch. between the two there was more than enough to talk about. 
The air in the hatching sands went silent just as an egg cracked and a bronze muzzle poked out of the shell. Many in the audience cheered a bronze to hatch first had always been a good omen. The bronze struggled from the confines of the shell and collapsed on the sands for a moment before standing up. Flaring the thin, glistening membranes, the bronze blinked at the gathered candidates. Torches and illuminators were still being lit on the walls to help aid the hatchlings even if the candidates wore their white impression garments. But the bronze seemed to know whom she wanted and wasted no time to bond. 
Almost all the eggs hatched simultaneously after that, causing a multitude of colourful hatchlings to wander the sands, searching for the lifemate of their choice. Not unexpected a lot of these were unusual colours: diamond, silver, speckled...
Flynnth's bugle suddenly rang out in the cavern. Niayith's head tipped back in a bellow of anguish as all in the sands stopped moving at the sudden outburst of the dragons. The hatchlings that had already hatched and were scouting the candidates, began to whimper and sank to the warm sands in fear. Some of the humans covered their ears as firelizard fairs dove from the crevasse, nearly skinning their heads. Niayith didn't care about the racket anymore - nor about what she had been hiding under her left wing. Raising to her haunches, the large queen spread her wings wide, revealing three more golden tinted eggs, aside from the two that had already hatched. 
As a commotion spread among the spectators and the leaders still present hastily made their way to the exit to help the others outside, a green and brown had found there bonds. Haizer and a girl by the name of Caissa had been the only ones able to comfort the distressed hatchlings during the outbreak with the adult dragons and their mother. Haizer kept telling his brown that nothings was wrong that was major. 
"Just a minor incident at one of the holds, Harith. The Weyrleaders are taking care of it. Let's go eat, eh?"



Harith looked up and watched Lena circle above his head. A little off Haizer was doing maintenance to their riding gear. Nothing Harith could do to help with that. After the unusual events at his hatching, Harith had proven to be a relaxed dragon. Maybe because he'd been scared while being so young, not much else could rattle him. 
Yawning, Harith put down his head again and watched his rider do the chore with practiced ease. Harith knew of the sadness and regret hiding in Haizer's memories. Harith wondered if he could do something. He'd heard rumours told among the other dragons about time-related events. But they were only rumours and Harith was too young to figure out what he could do. But still, he felt there was something there, something hidden but very important. 
But for now he'd let it rest. He was still very young. The good thing about past events was that they stayed in the past and wouldn't disappear. 


"What are you saying?" Haizer asked.
"That we might be able to save Evandra and Lachen. And not in the now, we might be able to get to them at the night you were searched. Or maybe a little later to be safe."
"But how?"
"Between lets us travel to someplaces but also sometimes. Or that is how I understand it."
"I don't think I fully understand."
"We don't have to, we just need to use it. I'm willing to try if it will give you peace."
Haizer felt the inner sadness pull at the edges of his conscious. It took all he had to keep those memories locked away but still Harith had seen them. The young and unconcerned playboy he'd been was long gone. Haizer didn't particularly wanted to return to that more innocent mindstate. But any chance to save Lena's siblings caused hope to flare. He owed it to the girl that had saved his life. 
"Let's try." 

Haizer is a Candidate and Lena was adopted at Isla Weyr
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