At long last, after all of their visualization practicing (and that AWFUL four days of trying to navigate that obstacle course), it was FINALLY Alyena's turn to actually try going between. She was a little anxious, but she was also very excited. This was one of the ultimate tests of their adulthood.
She and Hetty arrived a little early. She'd only eaten a light breakfast because her stomach was tied in knots. She found H'lee and Seeth waiting for them, even though they were early. At first, she struggled with the visualization and was scolded for her lack of focus. You're nervous, you're not focusing. We've done this hundreds of times, it's no different.
It IS different! You'll have to go between to the locataion I visualize. If I'm not perfect, we could both die!
The gold snorted at her rider. You're perfectly capable of perfect. We've been doing this for weeks. I know I can go between just fine. You just need a perfect image to make Seeth and H'lee happy.
"Weyrlingmaster, can I have a few minutes, to settle my nerves?" She closed her eyes and focused on clearing her mind and settling her stomach. She began scanning through each of the twelve locations one at a time, an exercise she'd engaged in dozens of times over the last few days. Doing so helped her relax and she finally told H'lee she was ready.
She'd gone through each location a score of times for H'lee by lunchtime and thought she maybe even detected a hint of approval in his countenance by the time he released her for lunch. She ate a healthy lunch, with her nerves settled. She was beginning to think they wouldn't actually go between that day. She didn't know what his schedule was like, but there were only ten of them, so it was entirely possible they would each spend two days with him instead of one.
She did take his advice and take a nap. Between the mental exercises and her nerves, topped off with a full stomach, she was very drowsy. So she took her nap and the pair returned to the bowl when she woke.
This time, H'lee only grilled them on the first location, A1, the top of the glacial bowl that contained the junior weyrlings' barracks. Then, unexpected, Seeth sent through Hetty the command to go between to that spot. Alyena froze for a moment, surprised. Then she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and told her stomach to untie itself, and exhaled as she took the last image she'd sent to them and told Hetty, Take us there. Between.
She didn't remember the ditty, but she did remember how long it was supposed to take. One-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, one-thousand four, one-thousand five, one-thousand six, one-thousand seven, one-thousand ei--
Sunlight burst over their backs, but it didn't disperse the chill of between. It took them a moment, but then they realized they'd done it, and Hetty's triumphant bugle let loose over the Academy. Alyena threw her hands up in a gesture of success and was grinning from ear to ear. Of course, then they had to repeat the performance three more times, before they moved on to the other eleven locations.