After feeding their dragons, getting their own lunch and free couple of hours, and another dragon feeding, they weyrlings were to report to the Hatching Sands again, this time with their dragons (no exceptions). They were immediately starting in on their Anatomy & Physiology class.
When the weyrlings arrived, there was a board on the sands with several drawings and diagrams. Seeth was also present with his rider. "So, time to start learning what to call the different parts of your dragon!"
the Weyrlingmaster said with a grin. "Most of that is fairly self-explanatory, but one thing that always needs to be clarified with a new batch of weyrlings: your dragons only have two legs, not four. The other two are their arms."
Having clarified that, he briefly went over the basic physical anatomy of the dragons, using Seeth as an example. Then he moved on to the next part: organization.
On a table next to the board full of diagrams was a contraption which H'lee said was a microscope. They were instructed to, one at a time, look into the microscope; this
is what they saw. While each weyrling rider looked into the microscope, he quizzed the other weyrlings on the basic anatomy, like where the arms, wings, headknobs, and so forth are; they had to point out the body part on their own dragon. "Those are called cells. More specifically, Seeth's skin cells. Now, back to the board here..."
he directed their attention back to the board. "Cells are made of molecules of different elements. For example, all of Pern's native creatures, including dragons, require boron, which is a type of molecule that resembles metal, but isn't actually metal; most of Pern's species use it for their bones, the same way we use the calcium from milk to build strong bones. We don't have any microscopes powerful enough to confirm this, but AIVAS' knowledge banks confirm that is the case; they also tell us that molecules are made up of atoms. A common molecule is water, which AIVAS tells us is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
"Cells combine to make tissues; different types of tissues make different organs. Skin cells, like you saw in the microscope, make up skin tissue, which is the largest organ in or on the body. Another type of tissue makes muscles, and even muscles have specialized tissues, like the heart muscle. Some of the organs work together, like the nervous system - you have tiny nerves in your skin, which connect to nerves in the muscles and eventually they all come together in your spine and meet in your brain, which controls all the activity; this is called an organ system. All these different organ systems combine to make an organism."
Next H'lee defined anatomical directional terms: anterior, posterior, dorsal, ventral, left lateral, right lateral, medial, proximal, and distal. Each weyrling was given a set of diagrams of a dragon, showing a dragon from the top, front, and right side. Each page contained different information: a circulatory system diagram; a nervous system diagram; digestive system diagram; the skeletal system; the muscular system; other organs not covered in the other diagrams. The only common feature (aside from the presence of the same draconic outline) were the axis marks to match the anatomical directions that H'lee had defined. "Keep these; you'll need them for the next two months."
Then he handed out a similar diagram, only this one was blank, containing only the outline of a dragon. "You will fill these out. Draw everything you can see ON your dragon: eyes, nostrils, ears, any skin blemishes, any injuries from during the Hatching, et cetera. You also need to color them in; I know most of you are necessarily artistically inclined, and I don't expect you to match the colors of your dragon exactly. But get your dragon to pose and then color in the diagram using shade variations that you see when he or she is posed for you. After you've done this, on the back of the page, write down what appears on your dragon and it's anatomical location. For example, with Seeth, on the dorsal side of the anterior proximal left wing, I would list Threadscore. You'll turn these into me on the day before Restday."
This Post: Lunch, free time, afternoon feeding, Anat & Phys class
Deadline: Saturday, July 7
Next Post: Sunday, July 8; First Aid class
Makeup Deadline: Fayble and Derrick - Sunday, July 15
Note: I realized when I went to post this that the next couple rounds of posting would likely have been incredibly boring. So I've reduced the total posts for the lesson from 12 to 10 and removed the lunch/free time/afternoon feeding from the list of posts.
To "complete" the diagram, identify one distinguishing characteristic of your dragon and describe, usually anatomical terms for the location, where that feature is.
After feeding Qancith lunch, K'so got a light lunch for himself from the kitchens, comprised of items left over from the Gather the night before - a slice of roast herdbeast slapped on a piece of bread with a slice of cheese, tomato, and some lettuce. He also filched a bubbly pie; it was cold and a day old, but it was still a bubbly pie!
After he ate, he joined his dragon for a nap. When he awoke, he still had over an hour before he had to report to the Sands for whatever their next class was. Lacking anything better to do, he went down to the greenhouse that contains the various herbs that the kitchens used. Several of them smelled good and, during one of his lessons as a Candidate, he'd read about the mystical (or perhaps mythical) properties of certain such plants. He coaxed one of the Journeymen out of a few small pots and seedlings of certain herbs, namely lavender, peppermint, hops, rosemary, thyme, and chamomile. All four were rumored to help people sleep and he felt he was precious short on that (and got the impression that he was going to feel that way for quite a while). He planted the seedlings in the pots and then got a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Then he stopped in the infirmary to get one of the braziers that the healers used to help cover smells and soothe patients. Finally, back in his barracks, he lined the seedlings up on his desk. The brazier he placed near the head of his bed and dropped the adult sprigs into it before lighting the candle underneath it and stretching out on his bed. A great deal of scent was released, and a little smoke, and he soon drifted off again.Wake up. Wake up! WAKE UP!!!
the blue finally resorted to yelling mentally to rouse his rider."Yah!"
K'so yelped, flailing into an upright position on his bunk. "Huh? What?"I am hungry. It is time for food. The others are leaving.
Mumbling and bumbling a bit, K'so tried to wake himself up enough to take Qancith down to eat. The chilly late winter air bit at his nose and succeeded where Qancith and stretching had failed and he was wide awake by the time they made it to the Hatching Sands for their next lesson.
He made a face at the skin cells under the microscope. "Those are brown,"
he pointed out, only to hear that at that level, pigments in the skin weren't visible. Only when many such cells were layered and placed together could color be discerned. The quiz was easy; after all, EVERYONE knew where the wing of a dragon was, or its head, or its feet. He was having a little trouble adjusting to the idea that the front feet - er, hands - were not to be called feet, and that the arms weren't legs. Of course, babies crawled around on all fours, and you didn't call their arms and hands feet, so what was the difference, really?
He gaped at the drawings, and at H'lee when he was given the blank diagram. He wasn't an artist, how was he supposed to draw anything on this? Qancith, however, thoroughly enjoyed the idea of sitting perfectly still while his rider gave him undivided attention to fill out the diagram.
By the time they finished the diagram toward the end of the week, Qancith was less thrilled with it. Sitting still made him want to fall asleep, and he was not at all happy with how K'so had portrayed him in the diagram. My skin is NOT that pocked!
he complained."Yes, it is, now stop complaining about my artistic skills!"
K'so sighted. Or lack thereof,
he thought. The most noticeable blemishes were on the left and right lateral sides of the posterior of Qancith's head (better known as his cheeks). At least, K'so hoped that was the right anatomical description for cheeks...