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1 Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Kestrana

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For the previous month, weyrling riders had been performing maneuvers on the ground, first as individuals, learning commands, then as a group. The dragons were added after a week and moved beside their riders. For the last two weeks, they'd been practicing side-by-side in Wings and as a Flight with the hempen riding straps provided to them in their flight class. The riders had also learned the basics of riding strap structure and care.

This day, when they assembled, H'lee had exciting news for them. "Today, you get to sit astride your dragons for the first time! At least, it better be your first time..." he growled out, giving all the riders a jaundiced stare.

The young dragons were now about half their adult size. It would be necessary for the dragons to crouch so that the rope riding straps would be near their forelegs, allowing their riders to clamber aboard. H'lee and Seeth demonstrated the maneuver.

Once the riders were aboard and had secured their riding belt to the riding straps, H'lee turned them loose to wander about the Bowl, not enforcing any strict order or formation. "So you can get the feel of sitting astride your dragon," he explained.

Feel free to look guilty or squirm when H'lee stares at you. :-)

For those who wish to use the info in their posts: the diameter (thickness) of a dragon's forearm is about 1/12 the length of the arm (from shoulder to claw-tip). For Qancith, who's about 14m long now, that's 6 inches (or 0.15m).

First Post: Getting astride your dragon and practicing walking around the training bowl.

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 15
Next Post: Sunday, Sept. 16
Required Posts: 3 out of 4




K'so & Qancith
K'so swallowed hard and tried not to fidget when H'lee glared around at them. He had sat on Qancith's back a few times, always within the shelter of their weyr, though. Apparently, he was successful at not appearing guilty (unlike S'nom, Pareilth's rider) and didn't receive a quiet scolding like the green.

He fumbled quite a bit trying to get up on Qancith's back now, though. Previously, he'd stood on Qanc's couch, which gave him some additional height. He hoped the fumbling gave credence to his expression of innocence. "Step onto your dragon's foreleg. Don't worry, he's got enough strength, you're not going to break his leg," he was told. Qancith held is forearm out for K'so to step on.

A little lower, please, Qanc. I can't step that far up.

Oh. Sorry. The blue obligingly crouched a bit lower and lowered his arm until it was about six inches off the ground, putting the top of his leg about twelve inches up. It wasn't a huge step, but K'so did have to jump a little to transfer his weight from his bottom foot to the one he planted on Qancith's arm. The blue grunted a bit and lowered his leg. You're heavy.

Well, next time put it a little lower and I won't have to jump. Okay, now slowly, raise your arm so I can slide onto your back.

Qancith carefully raised his arm as instructed. K'so wobbled on his rounded, rock-hard but narrow perch as it moved and hand-walked up the rope straps to keep from falling over backward.

This is as far as I can raise it comfortably, with you standing on it.

"Okay..." K'so muttered to himself. Qancith's neck was level with his crotch, but the neck ridges stuck up a few extra inches. "So much for it being like swinging onto a runnerbeast's back. At least their backs are smooth!" Qancith snorted at being compared to a runnerbeast and craned his head around to watch. "QANCITH! Don't---! Don't move," K'so yelped as his perch and the neck he clung to shifted. The blue straightened his neck out again, slowly.

K'so wrapped one hand around the the riding strap and the other around a neck ridge. He first tried just swinging his leg over, but he couldn't quite clear the rear neck ridge. Muttering under his breath, he sent a picture of what he was going to try to do to Qancith and asked him to hold perfectly still. Then he placed one hand on either side of the forward neck ridge and turned so he was balanced on one foot on the blue's forearm. He tucked the other leg up, then jumped a little so his arms took his weight and swung his leg over the rear neck ridge. He was already grinning with success when his weight came back down and jolted him. His fingers tightened convulsively around the neck ridge in front of him as his breath exploded out of him. But he didn't fall off and after a couple of minutes he was able to adjust his seat and rub his aching tailbone. He'd cleared the rear neck ridge height-wise...but his jump had pushed him backward so his offended posterior came down squarely on the ridge.

Qancith, admirably, held his position until his rider relaxed and shifted, despite the desire he felt to cradle his own tail. One of the Weyrlingmasters then assisted them with getting buckled in and they started walking around the training bowl with the others. K'so considered that riding on the ground wasn't unlike riding the ship that had brought them to Snowy Hold - a concept that made him slightly queasy. So he focused on keeping his head still and focusing on the horizon while his rump swayed and shifted with Qancith's awkward lurching.

This is not how we're meant to travel! the blue complained bitterly and with no small undercurrent of disgust. Dragons were meant to fly! And riders were meant to fly with us! Qancith gave a little hop and unfurled his wings.

"Don't you dare, Qanc!" K'so yelped. "Feet on the ground for now. You might be flight ready, but I'm not! We don't even have the proper equipment yet. They're still fitting us for proper riding gear. And I'm still working on your proper riding straps. I don't know if these would hold my weight if I fell off."

The blue creeled apologetically and resumed lurching around on all fours.
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2 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:53 am

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The Twins

Artemis stood next to her dragon as they watched H'lee speak to them. Despite all the times when they COULD have been getting into trouble and trying to see if the green could carry her... well, they just didn't. It was bad enough with Jadziath unable to learn to fly with the rest of the group... but they couldn't really bring themselves to cause any sort of real trouble. Thus, when H'lee shot hit little stare her way, she didn't really fidget or squirm... after all, with her starting to show for certain that she IS pregnant...well... it wasn't really hard to figure out why she wouldn't want to try clambering onto a dragon unless she had to. Never mind her dragon's broken (and recently healed-ish) wing.

A'lo, for his part, did have to shift a little uncomfortably under the stare from the weyrlingmaster. Quite honestly, it wasn't HIS fault... he had been curious and both he and Rik wanted to see what it would feel like when he was finally astride the beast's shoulders. At least his dragon was bigger and stronger than some of the other dragons in the group.

~Please tell me he doesn't know we were already trying this...~ he begged his dragon.

~Of course not. Although he might know if you don't wipe that guilty look off your face. Sheesh! Haven't you been practicing your dragon poker face!~ the bronze repremanded his rider.

A'lo sighed to himself, but didn't respond to his dragon as he listened to H'lee and watched as the man demonstrated mounting one's dragon.

Artemis turned when it was time to mount and grabbed the rope once Jazz had lowered herself to the ground. ~This would be so much easier if I wasn't pregnant...~ she complained before pulling herself (awkwardly) onto her dragon and panting once fully seated. The green snorted at her before rising.

At the same time, A'lo had grabbed the rope and climbed rather easily onto his beast. Technically... they'd done this more than once... as both felt the need to enjoy the feel of rider and dragon together. Once seated properly, he was giddy about the next part. They had never gone for walks like this, only mounted and dismounted within their weyr.

Before long, Jadziath and Rikraketh were lumbering along the weyrbowl and conversing with their riders. Rik was more so excited to be carrying his rider around the weyrbowl, and didn't reall feel that the man might be 'heavy'... of course, the bronze had lifted herdbeasts heavier than his rider!!

Jadziath, for her part, did complain a little bit. Although hers was a mixture of complaints about the weight, and how awkward her wing was feeling.

3 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:43 pm

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D'rick shifted uncomfortably, he -had- tried to several times mount his green, but she was protestant to having him on her just yet, as he always seemed to be awkward (and doing so from a couch, chair or whatever they could find barely worked). Of course, this perhaps had something to do with the fact D'rick had a tendancy to land wrong and hurt himself on her neck ridges. [color:6753=light green]Okay don't move, we got this I know but don't land wrong this time, it hurts both of us when you do mine. Haranth pointed out to her rider standing stoicly. With time and paitence D'rick had managed to NOT hurt himself and was proudly perched on his beast. They quickly joined the group though he did take the time to join up with Artemis grinning at her.

--

Fayble on the other hand almost expertly rose to the occassion, having been practicing for a bit now, slowly she rearranged the straps (which usually weren't there) and ensured that she had enough leverage before settling down onto Deasarith. Unfortunately she also missed and ended up flopping off the other side of the green landing with a loud "OOF!" ~MINE! Are you okay?! My back hurts now and its hard to breathe! Or it feels that way anyways! Are you dieing?! [color:6753=light green]No...I'm winded ow...that hurt. After a moment of regaining herself she once again tried, this time making sure she was on the weyrling properly before joining her classmates.

4 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:30 am

Kestrana

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Admin / Weyrlingmaster
Over the previous week, H'lee repeated their formation drill lesson structure; they spent the days getting comfortable astride their dragons and practicing commands as individuals. This week, they would start working in Flights and practicing those commands.

"Alright, get with your Flights. Flightleaders, choose your formation."

After they'd arranged themselves, H'lee presented a series of directions from his perch atop Seeth. "Right. Fore. Left. Back." He moved them around in a square for several minutes until they stopped worrying about stepping on each others' tails and bumping into each other.

Next, he had them walk over to a seldom-used section of the training bowl, containing a large set of platforms set at two separate heights. It was used to help the weyrlings get a feel for vertical maneuvers. They were built from solid stone in order to allow the dragons to also stand on them.

For the remainder of the week, they practiced Flight formations on these platforms. H'lee would move the Flights around among the platforms like chess pieces and encouraged the Flightleaders to change up their formations.

Just as an FYI, I'm changing our terminology up a bit. Since "Wingleader" and "Wingsecond" is standard terminology, then I would say the full group would be called a "Wing." So, "Flight" is now being used to represent the trio formations; "trio" may also still be used. Sorry for the confusion!

Second Post: A'lo, X'kim, Katarina, and Z'vier, pick your dragon order(s) for your Flights (assuming the "Flat" formation or a variation of - e.g. instead of two dragons behind one, you can put one dragon behind two). All: practice moving around under the direction of your Flightleaders and H'lee's instructions (at least the "Right-forward-left-backward one - additional practice is optional).

Additional Reference: Flight (Trio) Formations - these would be what they're practicing on the platforms.

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 22
Next Post: Sunday, Sept. 23
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5 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:03 am

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A'lo, naturally, moved into a group with his twin sister and his friend. He'd already explained to K'so at some point that the previous week it hadn't been HIS choice, persay as to where they were placed. X'kim had decided that he wanted them placed where they were... because he would have put K'so closer to them... and probably either next to or in front of Artemis... or at the very least... between his sister and that sharding greenrider D'rick! Yes... the boy still hated his sister's little 'boyfriend'.

Regardless they were all happy happy and buddy buddy again. Thus, as he considered the options, he put made up his mind. "Arty, I want you to the front left of me, and K'so I want you in front and to the right of me," he announced after a second, having his dragon move into position before he mounted up and waited for his formation to do the same.

Once they were in place, he gave the commands for them to move in whatever direction it was that H'lee wanted them.

When they moved to the platforms section, he changed things up and had his sister and K'so behind his bronze with Artemis on the lower platform (not wanting to see Jazz try to use her wing without permission) while he had K'so on the slightly higher platform... along with Rik.

Artemis followed her brother's instructions to the letter. All the while explaining to Jadziath that while things were at this point, none of the others were taking off from where they were and neither should she. They would be meeting up with H'lee later on anyways to continue on with their private lessons.

6 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:22 am

Kestrana

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K'so

The more they worked as a Flight, the more comfortable K'so and Qancith got with taking orders from A'lo and Rikraketh, although Qancith did have a tendency to mutter in K'so's mind about how he'd do things differently. And though the blue took immense pleasure in any other dragon's embarrassment, seeing Rikraketh in a compromising position always elicited extra amusement.

K'so mounted up on Qancith's back and instructed him where to stand in relation to Rikraketh and Jadziath. When will we start flying? the blue complained.

When the Weyrlingmaster says we can, now hush and listen to his instructions.

First they moved to the right. Sideways movement was awkward for the dragons on the ground; they weren't built for grapevining, after all! But after some intense shuffling and a couple of squawks from smaller dragons who couldn't move as far in the same space of time as their larger companions, they made it. Moving forward was much, much easier. Then they had to move left. K'so instructed Qancith to move slowly so as not to collide with Jadziath. Then, in a maneuver that was easier than sideways, but harder than forward, they had to move backward.

Then they moved up onto the platform and A'lo chose a "slope right" formation. The platforms were large enough to walk the same square they'd done on the ground: first shuffling to the right, then walking forward, scrambling left, and finally waddling backward.



On their third week practicing mounted ground drills, H'lee put the whole Wing together and ran them through the same square: right, forward, left, backward; first on the level ground of the training bowl, then on the platforms.

The platforms were close enough that the young dragons could hop from one to the next without unfurling their wings and the Weyrlingmaster encouraged the four bronze and brownriders to talk through their dragons during exercises and rearrange their formation as they moved during H'lee's commands. This would simulate changing positions during aerial maneuvers.

Third Post: A'lo, X'kim, Katarina, and Z'vier, pick your dragon arrangement for the Wing (assuming the "Flat" formation while on the ground, pick a formation from the Trios pamphlet for on the platforms). Feel free to pick multiple formations and state when you change between formations to give the rest of us extra practice. :-) All: practice moving around under the direction of your Wingleader and Wingseconds as well as H'lee's instructions (at least the "Right-forward-left-backward one - additional practice from H'lee's commands is optional).

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 29
Next Post: Sunday, Sept. 30
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7 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:35 am

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A'lo had managed to get together with X'kim, Katarina and Z'vier once more. The group of them discussing how best to arrange them. After much debate, it was decided rather decisively by the group as a whole, with fewer complaints from A'lo. After last week's weapon training... the boy had calmed down a bit about D'rick.

Once it was all decided they once more selected A'lo as the spokesperson (it seemed that X'kim enjoyed making his fellow bronzerider do all the work THAT way...). "Alright! The wing will be led with Katarina at the front. Behind her will be Ashendel and N'sir, with Ash to her left. Behind them will be K'let, Z'vier and S'nom. Behind them will be K'so, Artemis, Fayble, and D'rick, with X'kim and myself taking up the rear," he explained to them, moving into position.


Once everyone was in formation, the group began doing the drills that H'lee specified. Moving in each direction. Naturally, with each wingleader/second announcing various changes to the formation as needed. ~Qancith, move further out and onto that higher platform. Jadziath, move closer to him and over there,~ Rikraketh passed along, while the other bronze and browns passed along their own instructions until the wing formed two long rows... declining towards the right. (This was done just as they were moving backward one before X'kim's bronze ordered for everyone to move left once more).

When they were done, Artemis was frustrated. Her dragon had managed to bump her wing during the exercise and wanted something to help the dull throb stop. It would seem her wing was more sensative than usual... but at least nothing broke and it was really just a nudge.

~I do not like this. I want to be able to fly,~ the green complained to her rider, watching as (once the formations were done) her brother moved over to converse with X'kim and the other wingseconds.

She moved over towards K'so and shook her head. "Do you think he'll ever stop putting me directly in front of him... I know he's worried about Jazz... but it's kind of starting to feel like he's getting a bit too concerned about me and not concerned enough about whether or not that is the right placement for me," she commented to her brother's friend. She was hoping that K'so could shed some light on the situation...

8 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:03 pm

Kestrana

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One week away from their first flights! Having gotten used to the awkward gait of the dragons on the ground, now they'd get to start feeling how wingbeats felt. They also would start fitting their dragons' riding straps so that the following week, their straps could be inspected in preparation for getting to fly with their dragons.

They assembled on the training grounds and H'lee gave them the single to mount up. Once they were mounted, instructions were relayed through the Weyrlingmasters' dragons for the young dragons to space themselves out with plenty of room and start flapping their wings. However, they were told, while they could sit up on their haunches if they liked, their feet were not to leave the ground at any time. Nice, gentle wingbeats so their riders could feel the motion of the wing muscles. Any dragons who left the ground were verbally and mentally trounced by a Weyrlingmaster.

Fourth Post: Sitting astride your dragon while he or she flaps wings.

Deadline: Saturday, Oct.6




K'so
K'so was assigned left Wingpoint, in front of A'lo, next to Artemis, and behind K'let. He thought Artemis and Jadziath should have been on the outside; greens were more agile and darted about more than blues, so they needed extra maneuvering space. But he wasn't Wingleader, or even Wingsecond.

Of course, Jadziath was injured and wouldn't move as fast as a normal green in any case, so maybe inside was better. In a real Threadfight, she'd probably be assigned to the Queen's Wing.

They performed the box maneuver as a Wing before moving up onto the platforms, where he and Qancith were instructed to climb up onto one of the taller platforms as they moved backward through another box.

When Artemis approached him, he shrugged. "Well, he is worried about you, more about you specifically than Jadziath, though, I think. But I don't know if it's just your physical welfare he's worried about. I mean, you are the daughter of the Ruathan Lord Holder; sometimes I think he feels embarrassed or disappointed that--" he stopped speaking abruptly, realizing she might think he thought the same thing. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Um, well. In a real flight as a Wing or Weyr, you'd probably be placed with the Queen's Wing," he finished lamely, repeating what he'd thought earlier.

----------

The next week, they were one step closer to flying together! Qanc, just keep your feet on the ground like they say, okay? We've been in enough trouble as weyrlings, let's not add to it.

He scrambled astride Qancith and the blue stretched his wings out, waddling sideways to get a safe distance from Jadziath and Rikraketh. He flicked his wings up and then down, snorting at the limited range of movement. He sat up on his haunches, causing K'so to squawk and grab for the riding straps to hold his seat. "Warn a guy next time, would ya?" he yelped. "And can you angle your neck down a little so I don't feel like I'm going to topple down your back?"

Qancith crooned apologetically and leaned forward a bit and ducked his head, giving K'so a better seat. I'll feel better when our straps have passed inspection. These hempen things don't make me feel very secure.

Only another sevenday, right? The blue gave another sweep of his wings, powerful enough to lift him ever so slightly, stretching his spine so that his feet never actually left the ground. K'so gasped at the movement; it may have been slight from a dragon's perspective, but it still amounted to several inches - leaving K'so's heart in his mouth as they moved.
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9 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:22 pm

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A'lo

A'lo found himself placed to one side of his friend, although he was still worried about his sister. Lucky for her, he was far too busy being excited over the idea of feeling his dragon's wings flap beneath him. ~Careful, Rik, I don't want you to accidentally lift off from the ground,~ the young man told his dragon.

The bronze snorted at him, ~I have better control than that, mine!~ the brute responded, feeling rather offended. His tail flicked behind him as he felt the straps get put into place before he lowered himself to be mounted.

Once it was time for them to try just flapping wings, Rik beat his wings once in a powerful flap. Which of course sent him onto his haunches. A'lo yelped slightly and snatched hold of the harness and his dragon before he chuckled and patted the beast. The second flap had the brute mimicking Qanc's own posture with his form tipped forth a little and his neck arched to keep his rider seated properly. Sadly, however, his power was misjudged on his third flap and he took off slightly, landing instantly afterwards with an apology to the weyrlingmasters and his rider.

10 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3a: Mounted Ground Drill on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:41 am

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Artemis

While others in the class were anxious and excited about this particular class... Artemis and her green were rather worried about it. While Jadziath had gotten the hang of gliding around, and she was slowly getting the hang out of take offs... she was still concerned with not only breaking the "no takeoffs" rule, but with falling like she had been doing in her private lessons. And Artemis didn't feel much better about this. Least of all when she had to think about the fact that she was pregnant.

Regardless, neither one said anything and just swallowed it. They trusted that H'lee wouldn't be making them participate if he didn't at least have SOME faith that Jazzy would be able to compensate for her injured wing. With that in mind, she climbed up onto the dragon and took a deep breath. ~Are you ready, Jazzy?~ the girl asked as she sat there. They'd already double checked the straps and made sure she was carefully secured.

~I will be careful. Seeth said I should keep my right wing partially closed so that I don't tip over again. And it has been working in practice,~ she commented.

~Okay, just remember to keep your claws on the ground, sweetie. I know H'lee said that your twisted wingbone would make it easier for you to take off.. but I don't really want to get into more trouble...~ she said softly.

Jadziath snorted at her before she finally flapped her wings, keeping her right wing from opening fully. It forced her onto her back legs and ended with her arching her neck forth while digging her claws into the ground to keep from lifting off. Once she was settled back down on all fours, she snorted and repeated the action... until Artemis told her to stop. The poor woman was going to throw up if her dragon kept up the roller coaster.

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