The day was bright and sunny at the beaches of Turin Hold. The Remyndal
Hall students has finished their morning classes and some had now gathered
on the beach for their individual or group projects. William, a Dolphineer
journeyman was keeping an eye out, but he was pretty easygoing as
Sanne, a shy girl of 16 turns was out in the water, giving the resident
dolphins attention and generally enjoying their easy socializing. If only
humans were that easy to be around. Of course, humans didn't broadcast
their thoughts and some had selfish motives. Dolphins were hardly ever
selfish, maybe only when food was being distributed.
As a future dolphineer she would be expected to be very in tune with the
dolphins and be able to swim with them and convey their messages. Diving
for seafood, looking for lost people. The tasks for dolphineers were
diverse. William had given her an assignment for extra credit. Two other
students would join her and they'd need to attempt to re-enact a search
and rescue mission. Sanne was worried about the two other students. Even
after 2 years in the hall, she hardly knew anything significant of her
At that time, Renna was looking out on the beach, observing the quiet girl
with the long hair. Sanne seemed completely oblivious that she was being
observed. Renna too had been given an assignment for extra credit. If she
could get Sanne to make friends, Blanca would allow Renna to join her on
the next trip she took. Renna couldn't wait to experience more of the
world and to see more people. As a harper student she needed every
experience she could get. Officially she was studying story-telling and
acting, but aside from that she was also being prepped to work as a spy,
as the eyes and ears of the harper society. Renna hoped that one day she'd
be able to blend in so well that she could pass by one of her teachers
without them noticing.
A dark-skinned boy of 15 turns called Eryk walked up to Sanne. He'd been
given the assignment to help the slightly older student with her
assignment. Eryk had only recently enrolled in the Hall, but as the son of
a Sailor he already knew a lot about his future craft. After losing his
father as a young boy, his uncle had taken over the role of a father
figure and he'd taught Eryk all he needed to know about sailing and
fishing. But his mother had insisted he'd study at Remyndal Hall for a
couple of years to broaden his knowledge. Eryk understood his mother's
fear and accepted it as he accepted most of live. With a smile and a need
to protect those dear to him.
"Sailor Eryk, reporting for duty." he said, startling the
Embarrassed that his little joke had backfired, Eryk started to apologize,
but was interrupted by Renna before he could get more than a Sorry out of
"Nice to meet you." Renna said, "I'm also here for the
group project. I'm Renna."
"I'm Eryk." Eryk said, slightly blushing at the prospect of
having to work with 2 older girls. Both seemed nice but he was always a
bit shy around girls.
Renna looked pointedly at Sanne until she croaked: "Sanne."
"So Sanne, what is our assignment?" Renna asked, taking the
lead while also shoving the duty in Sanne's shoes.
Sanne blushed and stuttered: "We eh... need to eh... act out a rescue
with the dolphins."
"Great," Renna said, "Since I'm an acting student, I'll
play the victim."
"How can I help?" Eryk asked, "I only know how to
Renna kept quiet. Sanne was the one she wanted to keep the conversation
going. The shy girl took a while to compose herself but then she finally
opened her mouth. At least the stutter was gone, though Renna needed to
strain to hear Sanne's voice.
"How about Renna hides along the shore and we try to find her with a
boat and the dolphins?"
The smile Eryk gave Sanne could have lighted a room at midnight. He jumped
up and wanted to dash away to get his boat.
"Wait!" Renna said, "I'll need some time to get into place.
Give me half an hour before you start."
"How far will you go?" Sanne asked.
"You wouldn't know for sure in a real rescue attempt." Renna
countered, "Let's just say, people overheard me saying I had a
craving for tropical fruits and roasted fish. But who knows. Keep an open
And then Renna got up and dashed away, heading to the road but vanishing
behind the greenery before Sanne could see which turn she took.
Eryk gently tugged Sanne's shirt
and waited until she turned around.
"Want to do something while we wait for Renna to hide? I have some
snacks." he offered.
"Thank you." Sanne said and sat down on the beach.
She was used to sitting on the sand and she'd just wash her clothes
tonight, but then she considered that Eryk might not feel the same. Did
she know anything about him? She had seen him around the Hall. He was
usually surrounded by friends. But her mind drew a blank on anything of
importance. Luckily Eryk sat down beside her without a fuss and opened
the small bag he'd brought with him.
"My mother made cookies. They're still the best I've ever
Eryk was at the age where most boys would rebel a bit, but as his father
had died when he was so young, Eryk had a deeper bond with his mother than
most. They were a unit and he wouldn't think about arguing with her like
some of his friends did.
Sanne smiled and added: "My mother can't bake at all. But she is
great with animals. I take after her."
She took a bite and nodded: "These are wonderful."
"I'm glad you like them." Eryk said and was also glad that Sanne
seemed to warm up to him a bit. She seemed like a nice girl. Even though
she was a year older than him she didn't talk down to him nor acted
"Do you like sailing?" he continued, trying to keep the
"Somewhat." My parents have a sailing supply store so I know how
to sail, but I can't say I've gotten a lot of practice. Mostly calm
"Do you need to be in the water with the dolphins?"
"Not really, I can be in the boat and listen to them. Why?"
"We can take a slightly larger boat then. We should realistically
have a place for Renna as well. I've heard people talk about her and
apparently she's quite a good actor. She might want to play out her part
until the very end."
"I don't know much about her." Sanne admitted.
They talked for a while longer, and then Renna's half hour was finished
and Eryk hauled Sanne away to go look at the boats. He already knew which
one he wanted to take. It was a sleek and fast sailboat that would
comfortably seat two and with a stretch could seat three. It was
particularly handy for sailing along the coast because it was
"Alright." Eryk said, "Which way do you think Renna
"She said something about tropical fruits and roasted fish. But I
have no clue."
"Might be the fishing spot around the bay. There are fruit trees
"It might be a ruse."
"Well, it isn't far so we might as well start there. She might have
left us a clue."
Sanne perked up. "Right! If this was a real rescue, we'd also have
the dolphins look for signs of the passage of people and boats."
"Can they do that?"
"Yes. They're really marvellous animals. Smart and playful but they
really like rescue missions so they might like to help us out."
"Let's go ask them!" Eryk yelled, nearly losing his balance in
Renna walked toward the famous
fruit and bbq beach like she would if she were actually headed there for
some fun. Of course, no dolphin would be able to spot her. Or could they?
Renna actually didn't know how good their sense were, but she thought it
was highly unlikely that the dolphins would be able to see a person yards
from the water. Which meant she'd need to move on from the beach either
walking along the water, wade along the shore through the water, swim to a
spot further down the coast or take a boat.
As she reached the beach, Renna saw a couple of her classmates. Time to
make chat a bit. It was actually quite fun to make a trail for the others
to follow. Like hide and seek, but with more fun for the person hiding.
Renna had always been bad at staying put. She'd moved around, which hadn't
gone over well with some of the children.
"Hello girls." She said, "Any plans for today?"
"Hello Renna." the brown-haired girl said, "Me and Lily
thought we'd head out to Loren's Island. "
"It's such a warm day I really want to swim." the blonde-haired
"Nice plan. I think I'll take a walk along the shore. I want to think
Now if the dolphins picked up the swimmers then the girls would share the
next bit of information. Just to be sure, she'd wade through the water.
Maybe the dolphins worked with scent.
"Oh I know just the place!" the first girl said, "You
should really check out the seaside cave. It's a really nice place and
with this weather most other people will be swimming or sunbathing."
"The reflections of the water in there are really something."
the second girl added.
"I will do that. Thanks for the tip."
Renna waved as the girls headed for the beach to start their swim. She
also headed to the water and waded along the shore, carrying her shoes and
enjoying the feel of sand between her toes. The cool water really did feel
nice in the heat of the day. Ten minutes of following the shore later,
Renna reached the cave the girls had spoken about. The atmosphere was calm
and relaxing. Some dolphins were playing in the vicinity but Renna ignored
them as best she could. She just hoped these wouldn't be the ones that
Sanne called upon because then the search would be brief.
Climbing into the cave, Renna relaxed in the shade. She stretched out on
her back and looked up to the ceiling where the water reflected the light.
The wavy lines waxed and waned, turned and blinked.
Renna couldn't help but think of the stars in the sky... and her mind
wandered to five years ago when she'd made a hobby of tailing Rogier, a
taciturn astronomy student. She found her mind wandered to that time a lot
lately. Her younger self had seen her brother in Rogier, but her present
self had less than pure emotions when she thought about the young man. She
was as old now as he'd been when he'd been searched. Where would he be
Her mind wandered back to the present, well the last week when she'd
raided Blanca's office as she'd done so many times before. Nothing looked
out of the ordinary, but some subtle hints had alerted Renna that
something huge was up. Blanca had rearranged her coats, most likely
because she would need one of the fancier ones for an upcoming event. More
letters had been coming in and going out than usual, another indication
that something was up. Which was why she'd jumped to the chance this
assignment offered to go along with Blanca. If she impressed a dragon of
her own, then just maybe she might meet Rogier somewhere.
Meanwhile Eryk and Sanne had
arrived at the BBQ beach spot. The dolphins had happily tagged along for
the exercise and were already swimming in search patterns, looking for
disturbances and traces. Eryk and Sanne were looking around the beach.
"I'm pretty sure she wouldn't just have stayed here." Sanne
"No, but if this were a real search party we'd have to do this."
Eryk nodded seriously.
"You're right. But I'm certain she left us clues." Sanne said.
"Maybe she talked to the people here?"
Sanne looked around and saw about a dozen people, none of which she knew.
The prospect of talking to all of them wasn't a happy one. She could
already feel her cheeks redden and her pulse quicken.
"Excuse me..." she started but her voice was lost in the
"Has anyone seen Renna?" Eryk bellowed and almost all of the
people on the beach turned their attention to them.
"Hey Eryk", one of the younger boys said, "I think she
talked to Druanne and Lily."
"Where are they?" Eryk asked, looking around.
"I'm pretty sure they went to the island."
Eryk smiled at Sanne, "I'm pretty sure she told them something."
Sanne nodded and they headed back to the boat. She wondered how Eryk could
speak to others so easily. It seemed like it cost him no effort at
"Is something wrong?" Eryk asked.
"How can you do that?" Sanne asked, "Talking to
Eryk blinked and considered. Sanne could speak just fine. But he had
noticed she was shy and quiet. He had seen her around the hall during the
brief time he'd attended the classes so far and every time she was
standing away from the others. He'd never even seen her talk to any of the
students now that he thought of it.
"I grew up with my mother but I have a large extended family."
he finally said, "We play together a lot so it just comes natural to
me? I've never met anyone who wished me harm or who wouldn't help me if I
Thinking about it now, Eryk could tell that his life had been blessed.
Because he could very well imagine the hardships some people could
encounter and the bad intentions some people might harbour.
"I think I also just know which people are good and which people I
just need to stay away from." he concluded not knowing how to phrase
"I wish I could do
The dolphins had not found anything out of the ordinary, but with all the
people playing in and around the water, they couldn't be certain it was
Renna who'd made some of the tracks or if it had been the others. For now
they trailed behind the boat and waited for their time to shine.
The two of them docked at the small island that was little more than a
piece of rock that extended out of the sea. The surface was flat and the
two girls were sunbathing. This time Eryk flushed and stuttered a bit.
"Wh-why don't you try now."
"Okay." Sanne said, determined to repay the favour.
"Hello!" she waved, her voice not as loud as she'd wanted it to
be but the girls had heard her anyway, "We're looking for Renna."
"Oh right, we told her about a seaside cave. Look you can just about
see it over there." said the girl and pointed.
"Thank you." Sanne said and turned back to the boat.
Eryk helped her back in and Sanne asked: "Can we get to the caves
with this boat?"
"It is shallow but if we hit some jagged rocks the hull would be
"Then I'll ask the dolphins to check the caves. We can always swim to
shore to rescue Renna."
"Sounds like a good plan. And if she isn't there we won't get
wet." Eryk chuckled.
The dolphins regrouped, happily took their new missions and shot away
while the slower boat followed. Though they did go pretty fast. The winds
had picked up and the sail pulled tout. Eryk strained a bit to keep it in
"I don't like those clouds that are blowing in." He called above
"It might be a storm." Sanne agreed, "Maybe we can take
shelter in those caves."
"Let's hope Renna is there and not somewhere else without
Early Spring storms tended to bring heavy rains and those clouds looked
like they carried a lot of moisture. His uncle had always warned him for
that peculiar shade the sky took when a storm was brewing.
"I'll take us as close as we can get." Eryk called, "But
we'll have to swim the rest."
They threw out the anchor in the calmer seas of the bay. The rocky outcrop
that was dotted with caves sheltered the bay from the worst of the tide
and winds. Sanne and Eryk took down the sails, lifted out the rudder and
sword and secured everything as best they could. Afterwards they dove into
the water and swam to the shore.
They were greeted by the dolphins who swam around and under them, jumping
out, enjoying the rougher seas. The dolphins conveyed that they had found
evidence of a human passing through and they led them to the cave where
the tracks had led to.
"Renna!" they called, storming in and found the older girl
Renna woke up from the commotion, "I guess you found me." she
yawned, "time to head home."
"We can't, there's a storm." Sanne said.
"Really?" Renna jumped up and ran to the cave entrance where she
saw the darkened skies and heavy cloud cover, "Oh that looks
"I hope the boat doesn't sink." Eryk fretted.
"Don't worry, the dolphins will protect it." Sanne said, "I
"They can do that?"
"To some degree. As long as lightning doesn't strike it."
Renna looked to where the little boat was floating on the water. The masts
were down and there were higher trees in the vicinity. So their chances
were good, but lightning didn't always act predictable.
"Well since it seems we're stuck for now, I'll share my food."
She took out a backpack that and tossed out some snacks and water. She'd
brought the supplies because she hadn't known how long she'd have to
"Great." Eryk said as he grasped his stomach, "I was
"One day you'll tell your kids about the time you got stuck in a cave
and were entertained by a master harper."
"You're not a master harper." Sanne giggled.
"Not yet. In a couple of years I sure will be."
The storm had raged for the good
part of an hour. The sky still looked grey and
cloudy but the rain had let up. Renna stuck her head out of the cave
entrance and whistled.
"Looks like the boat is still afloat."
Eryk let out a relieved sigh and scrambled out to go inspect the boat
while Renna cleared the cave of their things. Her backpack was nearly
empty now so she was hardly bothered by it's weight. Sanne had joined Eryk
and helped him with the masts and sails. She was quiet, even more so then
"Is something bothering you?" Worried about getting home
late?" Renna asked.
"I'm worried about those 2 girls on the little rock in the bay. Would
they have gotten back to shore before the storm hit?"
"Want to go check to make sure?" Eryk asked.
"Actually yes.... but I can ask the dolphins to do a sweep."
"I don't mind getting home a little later." Renna insisted.
"Me neither." Eryk added, "They helped us out on our
Sanne nodded and felt better knowing they would check on the girls. More
than likely the girls had swam to safety but just in case she wanted to be
sure. As they headed out, Sanne called the dolphins and asked them to
speed ahead. So far none of them had noticed humans in danger so that was
As they circled the little rocky island, the sun was travelling lower in
the sky. There were no signs the two girls were close by and the dolphins
didn't find signs of alarm underwater. They could only return to the hall.
"I'll check up on them when we get back." Renna promised.
"I'll come with you." Sanne said.
"Then I'll come too." Eryk said.
"You're not allowed in the girls' quarters." Renna grinned.
"I could try." he grinned but he had just wanted to prolong
their adventure a bit. Over the course of the day, Eryk knew he'd made two
new friends and he hoped both girls felt the same. Even the shy Sanne
acted like she was completely at ease with them now and that made Eryk
happier than he could have imagined.
The rest of the trip back to the harbour was uneventful. As they neared
the harbour they were greeted by a golden firelizard that flew toward
them. Renna recognised the little pet.
"I guess we were missed. That's Blanca's firelizard."
And indeed, the journeywoman was waiting for them on the dock. She looked
worried and was apparently glad to see them return unharmed.
"Did anything happen? Did you get caught in the storm?" She
"We had to wait it out in a cave. We checked on some classmates
before heading back. Do you maybe know if Druanne and Lily made it
"They've been home for over an hour." Blanca assured them.
"Oh good." Sanne said relieved, earning her a strange look from
A little plan formed in the journeywoman's mind. Clearly this trio had
grown quite close through their ordeal. She probably could take the other
two to her next trip to Isla Weyr. Apparently something interesting had
happened over there and Blanca wouldn't be a harper if she didn't go there
to witness the event.
"Well I'm happy you're all fine. Eryk and Sanne, hurry home because
I'm certain your parents are also worrying."
The two of them thanked the journeywoman and ran to their respective
homes, both of which were in the harbour town. Blanca turned to Renna.
"Now for that trip. I think you already know something is happening
at Isla Weyr."
"The frenzy." Renna nodded.
"That's my girl." Blanca smiled, "We'll be attending the
hatching. I think I'd like to take Eryk and Sanne as well. Would you
"Why would I?"
"Well it was to be your treat after all."
"I like them, we had fun."
"Which you hadn't expected." Blanca noticed.
"No." Renna shrugged. In fact she had thought she'd have fun
turning the whole situation to her hand, but from the moment the others
had joined her in the cave, Renna had stopped wanting to control the
situation. Just enjoying the day had been enough.
"I'm glad about that." Blanca nodded, "I'll go ask theirs
and their parents' permission tomorrow. We'll leave at the end of this
sevenday so make sure you're ready."
Isla had shone like a diamond in
the sapphire sea during their approach. Blanca, Renna, Sanne and Eryk had
been transported in on dragonback, ferried to the Weyr by some of Remyndal
Hall's students that had impressed dragons before. Blanca showed her
invitation to the waiting crew and they were led to a spacious room in one
of the Weyrbowl walls.
"We'll have to share since I didn't send advance notice that we'd
come with more than the two I reserved for." Blanca said, "Renna
and Sanne will sleep here while Eryk can take the adjoining smaller room
that was reserved for Renna."
While they unpacked their items, Blanca told them more about Isla, the
people they might meet and the general rules of conduct they should abide
by. After the introduction, Blanca set the children loose and went to go
about the more diplomatic part of her visit. She would meet them at diner.
"What do you want to do?" Eryk asked.
"Explore of course." Renna was quick to answer, "This is a
Weyr, who knows what we might see here."
"What if we get lost?" Sanne asked, "I don't want Blanca to
get into trouble."
"She won't." Renna said, "We'll stick to the rules."
and silently thought: 'and they won't blame us for getting a little lost,
"I want to walk around the Weyr too." Eryk said, "We can
always ask for permission if we don't know if we can go somewhere."
"Okay." Sanne agreed.
They went down the stairs to the Weyr bowl and kept to the public grounds
at first. The Weyrbowl was bustling with activity. Dragons taking off and
landing, people bringing in supplies, going about their business.
Following the smell of delicious roasting meat ad vegetables, the three
soon found themselves entering the lower caverns where more people went
about their daily lives. Following some boys and girls their own age, they
exited again and found the beach.
"This place is as wonderful as the beaches at Turin." Eryk
remarked, "I bet you can catch some good fish here."
"I don't see any boats in the water though." Sanne said, putting
a hand above her eyes to look.
"Maybe it's not the right time?" Renna shrugged.
The two Turin Holders looked at her shocked as if it was common knowledge
that the weather and tides were absolutely perfect for fishing at this
A little commotion caught their attention and the absence of fishing boats
was forgotten. As it happened, a local boy had found a firelizard clutch
on the beach and the eggs were hatching. Almost without warning, one of
the local children dropped an egg in Sanne's hands and out popped a little
"Wha..." Sanne started before the screech of the little lizard
"Amazing, you got a firelizard." Eryk grinned.
The children passed around strips of dried meat that they'd brought from
the kitchen and soon the newborn firelizards were asleep with extended
bellies from their first feed. While the other children scattered,
returning to their tasks, lessons and chores, Renna, Eryk and Sanne
remained on the beach.
"Can we add a firelizard to our room? What if Laryssa doesn't like
her?" Sanne asked, referring to Blanca's gold firelizard.
"This one is still so tiny I doubt it's going to cause
troubles." Renna said.
As they were talking, they were approached by a man who had the air of a
dragonrider to him, not to mention he was wearing the leather vests the dragonriders
"Are you the students Blanca from Remyndal Hall brought with
her?" he asked politely.
"We are." Renna answered, "Does she require our
"Oh no, she mentioned you had potential and I do think I have to
agree. My name is M'Len. My dragon Jesioth is over there." he said,
pointing to a stately blue dragon, "Would you like to join us for a
visit to the eggs?"
Renna looked at the others, but the sparkle in their eyes spoke volumes.