Ground Drills

W'red.jpg L'ron.jpg Ahnika.jpg A'kon

Date: 18.12.2010
Location: Eastern Weyr Bowl
Synopsis: Spread out over the floor of the bowl area are a number of barrels each barrel has a small flag fixed to the top of it in different coloured fabrics, green, blue, brown and a shimmering brown representing the bronzes.d
Rating: PG13
Logger: W'red

W’red and Tavaith are once again in the bowl waiting for the weyrlings to assemble for today’s class, spread out over the floor of the bowl area are a number of barrels each barrel has a small flag fixed to the top of it in different coloured fabrics, green, blue, brown and a shimmering brown representing the bronzes. The weyrlings have received a lesson on formations, today will prove how much of the previous lesson has sunk in and how much needs to be worked on. The barrels have been placed strategically to represent flying formations for attacking Thread, next to each barrel is a pile of sacks.

In the manner that has been customary, Ahnika and Jhath marshal their way up to the training area along with the other early-avian classmates. The barrels are given a curious, but brief look, and Ahnika then salutes to W'red and Tavaith and any other assistant weyrlingmasters that are present today, before she and her tall and stocky green move into the base formation they were instructed to do, relative to the rest of the class, most of whom are not yet here, but Ahni thinks where they will be in her head anyway. The redheaded green weyrling then stands at attention with Jhath beside her, who bows her head respectfully to W'red and Tavaith.

This time, Balkrith and L'ron are somewhere in the middle of the arrivals. As colours start to peel and separate out as indicated by the flagged barrels, L'ron finds himself a position amongst the ranks of blues with Balkrith doing the same, except that he's got his wings extended to almost full flight capability and is doing an odd little shuffle from side to side. "Stop it!" the blue weyrling hisses and then gives a light roll of brown eyes as his bonded counters with « Just checking I've got enough space if the Thermips take me. » "We're on the ground! - « I know that! »

As the weyrlings start to move towards the barrels before being so instructed, W’red waves a large hand, “not yet, over here first,” as they gather in front of the Weyrlingmaster, a few of them seem to be straggling along at the back, the big brown rider waits patiently for them all to form up as has become customary, greens in front then blues, brown, bronzes and the queens filling in at the ends of the green row. He scans quickly across the gathered noting that none are missing. Tavaith confirms all the dragonets are present, « All the young ones are here W’red. » A nod of the head is all Tavaith gets in reply before the booming voice is heard across the bowl, “good morning weyrlings, dragonets,” A crisp salute is given before continuing, “today we will start to test your ability to learn and remember lessons previously taught.” He seems a little gruffer today than usual it is probably the terrible hangover he has from last nights revelry.

Having moved as instructed and settling once more into at-attention stance, Ahnika keeps her gaze focused forward while W'red speaks. If his gruffer than usual voice is anything noteworthy to Ahni, she studiously keeps it out of her expression. So, too, does she hear more than see L'ron and his keeping (or trying to keep) in line of Balkrith. Straightening a little in draconic mimic of Ahnika's at-attention posture, Jhath towers over her lifemate and observes everything with quiet interest.

Having been one of those pairs needing to be called to formation before W'red, Balkrith smartly tucks his wings against his sides and trundles along behind L'ron. The altered tone in the weyrlingmaster's voice is noted as are the words given on testing their recall on previous lessons. The blue weyrling doing little more than nodding with his bonded immediately setting to rummaging about in his rider's head to try and find what information he's already forgotten. This being done in the same manner of somewhere going through drawers and simply tossing everything out over the shoulder has poor L'ron going almost squint eyed before sending a sidelong scowl to the blue.

Pointing to the barrels W’red squints a little into the bright sunlight, “okay now, form up at the barrels in a ‘V’ formation, I’m not going to tell you how, I want to see if you can remember how.” Dust and noise accompany the movement of the weyrlings, as they move off to do as instructed. W’red’s voice can be heard by those passing close enough to him or those that are listening, “No Tavaith, they must do it themselves,” as the ever helpful brown was about to instruct the dragonets on the correct positions for the formation. The flags are not placed where they should be so this could be interesting.

Being among the first pairs to move again while many others try to remember, Ahnika and Jhath thread their way with quiet confidence through the crowd of other weyrlings. Once destined for a headwoman knot, Ahnika's sense of structure and order doesn't fail her now as she settles precisely into the position she was previously taught. Whether it was taught her correctly or not is left to be said, but she puts herself right where she was once instructed to be, with Jhath settling into position beside her. Meanwhile, other weyrlings meander around, some eventually remembering right, and others getting some discreet help and guidance from the redheaded green weyrling nearby. While Ahnika's posture is one that is at-attention, her gaze does wander, taking in the relative position of those around her and motioning with a flapping hand at the end of her wrist and 'psst's and slight inclinations of her head where the lost need to be. At least the ones that had been set to a formation around her. The rest of the class outside her immediate vicinity, well, they're on their own, unless they get help from others around them, of course. In one of Ahnika's gaze-wanderings, she tries to spy L'ron and see how he and Balkrith are getting along.

Oh!! There it is!! One can almost picture Balkrith holding up a chart with a formation drawn up on it. Except that…he's looking at it upside down, so as L'ron head toward one of the outer legs of the 'V' just in front of where the last of the greens would be, possibly even in front of Ahnika and Jhath. His bonded however heads off in entirely the opposite direction. It takes a moment of the blue weyrling standing there in place, arms crossed over his chest giving his dragonet the look, and Balkrith sending him one in return that reads 'Whaaaat?' before the blue exhales a long hardly done by huff of air and draaags his blue butt over to his rider.

Watching to see how the weyrlings form up next to the barrels, W’red scratches his chin and with a slight shake of his head walks a closer to the first of the barrels. “Okay, where should the wing leader and wing second be?” The question is asked in general not pointed at anyone in particular. “The two legs of the ‘V’, which dragons would be most likely to be wingleader and wingsecond?” Again a question to no one in particular. “The most likely candidates would be bronzes or browns,” He stares at A’kon who is quite proudly standing at the head of one of the ‘V’ legs, “Move lower down, greens are always about halfway down the ‘V’ legs on either side.” There is much shuffling and movement of those that are totally in the wrong position, W’red notes the few that seem to have got it right and are at least close to where they would be required.

Remaining quiet and attentive, Ahnika and Jhath both just watch Balkrith fall into formation with L'ron, well, as much as they can see depending on where he ends up, and then they both put their attention on W'red as he speaks. Not entirely certain the questions were meant to quiz those who got things wrong or just anyone, Ahnika chooses to play it conservatively and just remain quiet, listening to any others who happen to do pipe up. A'kon getting things wrong and being corrected? Well, that might earn a smug look or snicker from others, but Ahnika keeps her at-attention poise, doing the snickering on the inside.

L'ron's not quite as circumspect as Ahnika is, however rather than snicker, he merely sends A'kon a tight smirk as he passes by him. And then its attention to W'red and the questions asked, muttering the answer under his breath rather than state it aloud, "Bronze to lead, browns to second, blues and greens to fill the ranks."

The Weyrlingmaster wishes he had brought his box to stand on, but his befuddled brain this morning never gave the box a thought, so he moves to the centre of the ’V’ formation. His voice rises above the shuffling around, “Weyrlings! A wing, consists of the following, generally, a wingleader usually a bronze, a wingsecond usually a brown, sometimes another wingsecond if the wingseconds happen to ride blue or green and then the wing itself, the wing is usually green and blue heavy.” He sighs, “So as this is training we will go with the given norms, I want a bronze on the one leg a brown on the other, all the rest of the bronzes and browns to fill in behind them, then the blues and then the greens, form the full ‘V’, the reason for this is?” W’red peers around the group, Ahnika catches his blues eyes, “Ahnika, do you know why this is the general formation?”

Again with the shuffling and muttering and moving about as W'red corrects those who are not in formation. Ahnika and Jhath remain still and observant while others move around them as dictated. She was listening, sure, but it's only after W'red addresses her directly that Ahnika's grey eyes settle on the Weyrlingmaster, "Sir! The greater likelihood of Thread not slipping through to the ground, sir, and the less likelihood of anyone flaming anyone else by accident!"

Balkrith wishes the Weyrlingmaster had brought a box too, for there might well have been turnips hidden under it this time. But that is neither here nor there right now. Not now that he has that formation picture right way up in his mind's eye and seems pretty certain he and L'ron are in the right place. The blue weyrling remains quiet throughout Ahnika's reply studiously ignoring his blue's mental whisperings of « And because we can better use the Protection of the Turnip that way. The Thermips will never see us coming! » Mmhmm.

W’red waits for the young redheaded green rider to answer, he nods, “that and the greens and blues tire more easily and it is easier to change them around if they are in the depths of the ‘V’ when attacking and flaming the leading edge of Thread.” Looking over the weyrlings still not having a position being mostly green and blue riders, “Now all of you that are now standing next to a barrel stay where you are, those of you that do not have a barrel form up behind one of the dragons of the same colour that does have a barrel.” It makes sense to the Weyrlingmaster, not so sure if the weyrlings all understand though as the milling around starts again. Eventually all the dragonets and their riders seem to have a place except for the poor A’kon, who gets it in the neck again, “A’kon, move in behind Ahnika, she at least seems to know what is going on perhaps you can learn something from her!” As soon as all are in place W’red sort of smiles, before giving the next instruction. Tavaith croons « Well done Balkrith, » the big brown seems to have a soft spot for the blue, who is always talking about turnips.

With a firm nod once in acknowledgment of W'red adding onto her response to his query, Ahnika's gaze moves up to Jhath, inwardly exchanging a dialogue with Jhath that very likely involves discussion over speculation on Jhath's own endurance compared to other greens. She certainly has the heart and soul to fly a full Fall, but the body? Well, that is still left to be seen. When W'red orders them into a new formation, Ahnika takes just a couple heartbeats to hear his orders out and mentally visualize it before she moves into formation behind another green. Once again, she adopts the at-attention posture, while her gaze strays to L'ron and Balkrith, if she can see them from where she is.

Just as well there's a barrel next to them for the blue pair are somewhat unsure of quite what it is that W'red's wanting from them now. And so staying just exactly where they are, pretty pleased to have gotten something right for a change, Balkrith's little chest fairly puffs with pride for the praise sent him by Tavaith his mental voice sent out on the muted sounds of floors being scrubbed in the background, « Thank you, Great One! Mine has a good collection of things in his head. » Erm, okay. L'ron turns a look back onto the blue pair that have settled in behind them and catches Ahnika's gaze straying in their direction, a warm smile forming as he sends a dip of head in approving acknowledgement of her having gotten the answer right and then his attention goes back to the weyrlingmaster

”Right, now the browns and bronzes will be able in most cases to fly a Threadfall from beginning to end unless they are thread scored or the fall is much longer than normal which are both scenarios we won’t consider for purposes of this exercise. The greens and blues would last around halfway and then be changed out, with fresh blues and greens taking their places, this will allow those flying first to rest a while in case they are needed again to fill in holes in the formation.” W’red is talking as he walks deeper into the ‘V’ formation to ensure all can hear him, even though his voice is perfectly suited to this he wants to be sure, “if we were flying Thread the front dragons would be flaming in all directions, the ones behind them would be flaming towards the inner of the ‘V’ and so on backwards, that way the bulk of the Thread would be flamed, the wings above and below would be flying the same formations and flaming in the same way, remember if you are in a lower wing you have more to watch for, falling ash from flamed Thread and Thread itself.” Taking a deep breath he continues, “the upper most wing would fly slightly ahead of the next one down and so on all the way down to the bottom most wing, so there would be a staggered formation of ‘V’s’ this helps to avoid ash and will cover the biggest area of falling Thread.” The big brown rider pauses waiting to see if there are any questions comments, remarks from the weyrlings.

Ahnika follows W'red with her gaze as he walks the formation and explains the methods and means and how it is all coordinated together with other wings. When he gets out of her line of sight, where she will have to turn her head or just lose sight of him, she keeps her head forward and pays attention with her ears. A slight dip of her head is returned to L'ron as she sees his to her, but it is the green weyrling in front of Ahnika who raises her hand and once given permission to speak, asks, "We can't do this on the ground, sir, so I thought I should ask: are the dragons in the wing itself flying at slightly staggered altitudes as well? Or at the same altitude, just in a V formation?" And even if the question didn't come from Ahnika herself, the redhead former cotholder country bumkin actually looks interested in hearing the answer, not having thought of it. Of course, she's only ever been on a dragon once, and that was to get to Eastern, so it really wouldn't occur to her to ask such a thing.

L'ron, following the weyrlingmaster's path with just the slightest movement of head, focuses on trying to draw up a mental picture of what it is the brownrider describes. Balkrith getting himself horribly confused in trying to keep up, actually becomes the pair's saving grace. Quickly erasing the tangled mess his rider was putting together he substitutes each pair of riders with a turnip, until eventually, neatly dotted across the crayoned landscape of his mind, staggered formations of turnipped 'V's appear. The blue weyrling blinks as the image is presented to him and turns a somewhat shocked look onto his dragonet. "Jays," the oath given in quiet incredulity of the blue having been the one to get it first this time around. « The Power of the Turnip. » Balkrith gives out smugly. And then keeping his crayoned, turnip dotted landscape in his mind waits eagerly to hear the answer to be given by W'red so that he may adjust it accordingly.

Turning in a full circle so that he can see all the dragnets and weyrlings, W’red has a sudden brainwave and calls Tavaith closer, and climbs up into the browns neck ridges, while the brown crouches so as not take his rider to far above the weyrlings and dragonets. The question from the green rider, gets his attention the answer given to all though, “yes the wings are at different altitudes, the Thread that escapes the upper wings is then flamed by the lower wings, no one wing can flame all the falling Thread, if this was possible we would only need one wing for each Threadfall. Below the last fighting wing is the Queens wing, which is made up of the Queens and all pregnant or recuperating riders and dragons, they are armed with agenothree tanks and they take care of any straggling Thread missed by the fighting wings.” Satisfied with the formation as it is, W’red gives the next instruction, “This is a standard ‘V’ formation, probably the most used formation, the second most used is the inverted ‘V’ formation, now lets see if you can remember how to do that one, the ‘V’ remains but your positions are totally different.” A grin creases his face, at least being on Tavaith’s neck he is safe from being trampled by the confusion taking place below.

The girl in front of Ahnika looks confused a moment longer, opens her mouth, then blushes, and shuts it, simply nodding. She'll make a point to ask one of the assistant weyrlingmasters for better clarification, no doubt, later when she's not in front of her entire weyrling class and too embarrassed. Ahnika returns her attention to W'red's voice, now a little higher and more elevated while on Tavaith. When ordered to do the inverted V, Ahnika finds her position largely unchanged with Jhath being among the bigger green dragonets. She only ends up moving relationally up with Jhath, one dragonlength, while watching the smaller greens and the largest bronzes doing the most shifting around.

Brows go up as W'red climbs up Tavaith and perches himself between neck ridges and then a wide grin breaks out when L'ron realizes his reasoning behind having done so. Clever man! With the weyrlingmaster giving the command to change to an inverted 'V', Balkrith quickly sets about re-arranging the turnips on his crayoned landscape and then nudges at the butt of the blue in front of him as he and his rider look set to go off in the wrong direction, « You and yours need to go… » presenting the turnipped image to the other blue, « Thatta way. » Rolling his little cartography up, he mentally tucks it under one wing and sets off to take up the slightly different position with L'ron left to do little else but follow along with him, still somewhat gobsmacked.

As the dust settles and the last few take their places, W’red quickly checks it over, Bronze at the point browns following as the ‘V’ widens, blues then greens, seems pretty much as it should be, “I see you were all at the lesson and once the spinners webs were removed from your heads you can now do the formations.” It seems even A’kon has now got it right, “The other formations the ones less used, are simpler, three rows of dragons a wingleader or wingsecond at the head of each or a single file of dragons, but these are used for smaller Falls, remember the Weyrleader will decide the best tactic for each Fall the wingleaders will be instructed and all wings will follow the decided tactic for that Fall. We will practice the standard formations, but the Weyrleader can and will change to his own formation for a Fall as he sees fit. Once we take formations to the air, it will become easier and clearer to each of you.” Taking yet another look around at all the weyrlings and dragonets, “Any colour dragon can become a wingleader, if they have the courage and show the fortitude to lead, but this is also up to the Weyrleader, if he sees potential in a dragon and rider he will use them to the best advantage of the Weyr.” Blue eyes settle on the bronze at the point of the ‘V’ the Weyrlingmaster not impressed by that particular weyrling, this is all noted in the reports though. “Right, to ensure you all remember the formations for the day we do take it to the air, formation training will be done once a sevenday, on that day no gliding will be allowed.”

Grinning a little as she spots Balkrith and L'ron working their way through formation with, apparently, Balkrith leading the way, Ahnika nods again to L'ron from her own placement. But that grin is wiped away as W'red speaks again, his mentioning of the various tactics used of keen interest to the green and her lifemate, but they have no comments or questions to offer at this time, both seeming inclined to just pay attention. With the mention of formation practice happening once a sevenday, Ahnika nods a little in acknowledgment. Such a thing makes good sense, in her mind.

Catching Ahnika's nod, L'ron lifts his hands out from himself in small gesture and gives a little shrug meant to silently transmit, 'Hey don't ask me. He's the one with the map.' It doesn't get said of course but there is a slight note of pride in his easygoing countenance for his dragonet having quite literally, gotten the picture. Once in position, attention turns to W'red, with Balkrith setting the brownrider with an unusually keen look when he mentions how the Weyrleader will need to change things up with each Fall. Commenting with all mental gravity to his bonded, « Erikath will need turnips. » The blue weyrling groans inwardly as he pictures the ridicule likely to come from J'cobi when his blue dumps a whole wash of turnips on his front door one day. So the only question he'd have for the weyrlingmaster would likely be - How soon can we learn to Between to the other side of the planet? Again, nothing gets said, just a slight grimace that flickers in and out.

W’red is hot and suffering with his head pounding, but it seems the lesson is almost over for today anyhow, so from high on Tavaith’s neck he once more surveys the dragonets and riders alike. Nodding his head in satisfaction for how the bulk of the weyrlings are progressing very well. “Well it seems that most of you can at least remember the lessons previously taught, most of you are progressing well, those that feel they are not, my door is always open, come and see me, we can make a plan to help you catch up, some of you are showing good leadership qualities, some are just keeping up.” A pause, “You are probably wondering what the sacks are for? During your weekly formation practice, try and throw those sacks to each other, they only contain rocks not firestone, but the distance between the barrels is around the distance you will need to throw sacks of firestone. Are there any questions on this lesson?” A mental note is made of the stiffness of a certain green rider, she never seems to relax, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Of course, Ahnika has no way of knowing if she is being considered a bit stiff and unable to relax or not, so she certainly isn't going to change her ways now. She listens to W'red in her usual at-attention stance beside her towering green and her gaze only strays to the sacks of stones as he points them out, mentally filing that all away as the weyrlingmaster asks if there are any questions. Her grey eyes dart to the green weyrling who spoke up with a question about wing formations earlier, but nothing appears to be forthcoming from that quarter right now. Ahnika, herself, has no additional questions, but simply smirks faintly for L'ron's shrug.

L'ron…has no questions just now, although he is eyeing those sacks out as W'red outlines the full extent of their formation practices from hereon in and then he's sending a smirk Balkrith's way. Yeah, draw that up you big lug! Which of course, the blue obligingly does, sending teeny little turnips bounding between the bigger ones on his mind map, his tail sneaking out to the side and then lifting to tap at the side of rider's head as he does so. Either to get his attention to the turnippy game of Draughts he's got going on in his mind, or…simply as reminder that he's not quite as thick as most would believe him to be.

\\As there are no further questions W’red dismisses the class, the Weyrlingmaster himself slips off Tavaith’s neck ridges and back to the ground, heading for the living cavern and a cup or six of klah, if that doesn’t help perhaps a stop off at the bar for another quick drink to steady the hands.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License