Please eat something.
Vorth had eaten within the past two days, but his belly still rumbled with sympathetic hunger. His rider didn't even spare him a glance this time. That was a new development - S'haile always had time for his Vorth.
"I don't know how to picture him any clearer, Askersu." The young bronze rider had worked himself to exhaustion, his voice rough from the exertion. Green Askersu mumbled piteously, and shoved her headknobs into S'haile's stomach. She couldn't find Adeloc, no matter how clearly her boy pictured him, and that failure upset them both.
Fire lizards cannot find something not there.
S'haile hit the ground, heedless of the pain in his shoulder, hip, and knees. That was a thought he had been successfully ignoring - what if Adeloc wasn't there. But the dragons had not keened for her, nor for Jironath. Surely the one would go with the other, in a calcium-cobalt pairing. No one knew.
Tears slipped down his dusty cheeks, burning his eyes with shame. He was a full bronze rider at sixteen, one with Falls and fights beneath his belt. It was embarrassing to lose it so badly, not that anyone would blame him. With the Tiger Clan rent between two continents, and his weyrmate unresponsive, S'haile was overwhelmed.
He clutched something between his palms, pressed to his heart. That something was attached to a leather string, which dangled over his fingers, but the object itself could not be seen.
Should not be seen. He held the ring he'd commissioned for his weyrmate a full Turn ago, but had never given him. Shortly after receiving it, the weyr had meddled again. In his distress, S'haile had thrown the ring over the Black River. One of his fire lizards had retrieved it, but he still did not give it to Adeloc.
He just couldn't think why not, though.
"Don't make me think like that," he begged. If there was nothing for the fire lizards to find, it had all been in vain. All the pain, heartache, avoidance, gossip, strength, brutal honesty . . . all of it. It had taken him too damn long to have Adeloc as his own.
The universe owed him.