(by Silver Adept)
When we stepped away last time, Kylara intended to take over the world, Brekke would be happy if Kylara would take on her proper duties, and F’nor and Canth went for a bath, and then a nap. Something, however, has come to say hello that most of the residents wouldn’t believe, even if they saw it.
Dragonquest: Chapter IV: Content Notes: Domestic Abuse, Victim-blaming, Abuse Apologia
F’nor, Canth’s gentle summons penetrated the brown rider’s delicious somnolence, do not move.
That was sufficient to dispel drowsy complacence, but the dragon’s tone was amused, not alarmed.
Open one eye slowly, Canth advised.
Resentful but obedient, F’nor opened one eye. It was all he could do to remain limp. Retutning his gaze was a golden dragon, small enough to perch on his bare forearm.
Once the tiny dragon notices he’s awake, it moves to fly off, but both rider and dragon try to calm it down. Canth instinctively knows they’re of the same blood, and uses that as his pitch for the tiny dragon to stay. The little dragon expresses skepticism at the idea, but eventually, curiosity takes over. (I should mention at this point that the little dragon is communicating entirely in feelings, without words. So, when I say curiosity takes over, that’s the communicated feeling from the tiny gold. Onward.) Eventually, the dragon communicates wonder at how a little dragon could become a human, and F’nor gently corrects the idea, which causes skepticism about the relative sizes of the two dragons. F’nor, pragmatically, and with Canth’s help, puts things in perspective for the tiny dragon (quite literally – he walks a ways away from Canth so that the two sizes are similar when viewed), who promptly disappears.
Canth, do you realize that was a fire-lizard?…Those legends are true! You were bred from something as small as her!…Just imagine being able to breed tiny fire-lizards into a creature the size of you!”
Genetics! Also part of the ancient knowledge here on Pern.
F’nor, ever-practical, wonders if fire-lizards could be trained to do things that dragons can, on a much smaller scale, of course. Like running messages. Canth is a bit miffed at F’nor, but when the fire-lizard returns, Canth informs F’nor that she’s hungry. F’nor feeds her and tempts her closer every time until she eats out of his hand, and then he scratches her eye ridges the way dragonriders do to their dragons.
She is a hatchling. You have Impressed her, Canth told him, very softly.
Congratulations, F’nor, it’s a girl! And also a potentially panic situation, as the newly-hatched clutch on the beach is in danger of predation from wherries and each other. As the fledglings fight each other. F’nor asks Canth to send for help, and a green dragon and some riders arrive to scare off the wherries and feed the fire-lizards. Including Brekke. Seven of the original fifty in the pile Impressed, three to Mirrim, one each to Brekke and the riders that came with her. Plus one for F’nor, so eight of fifty-one. By the time everyone gets home, Southern is abuzz with activity and the news.
Now that he has some time to think, F’nor realizes something he probably could have picked up on earlier.
“You don’t suppose he’s [Canth] jealous, do you?” F’nor asked Brekke, when he found her in her Infirmary splinting the little blue’s wrenched wing. “Wirenth [Brekke’s queen] was interested until the lizards fell asleep…And you know how touchy Wirenth is right now. Mercy, F’nor, what is there for a dragon to be jealous of? These are toys, dolls as far as the big ones are concerned. At best, children to be protected and taught like any fosterling.”
Which produces Meaningful Glances at Mirrim, with her three fire-lizards contented around her.
“Mirrim is very young for this,” he [F’nor] said, shaking his head.
“On the contrary, she’s as old as most Weyrlings at their first Impression. And she’s more mature in some ways than half a dozen grown women I know with several babes of their own.”
“Oh-ho. The female of the species in staunch defense…”
“It’s no teasing matter, F’nor,” Brekke replied with a sharpness that put F’nor in mind of Lessa. “Mirrim will do very well. She takes every responsibility to heart.”
Brekke defends Mirrim, pointing out that she has three to everyone else’s one as a sign of character before Kylara bursts in, fueled by anger at not knowing and jealousy at not having, advancing on Brekke such that F’nor attempts to disperse Kylara’s anger before there is violence. Kylara does her very best Veruca Salt impression, reaching out to take away an already-Impressed bronze lizard from one of the green riders at the beach, and is about to get bit for her trouble, when the knowledge that F’nor having Impressed a queen brings her focus on to him. F’nor describes how they managed to get them, when none had before, with an extra mental insult for Kylara’s avarice. Stymied, Kylara storms off.
So, in the middle of this, there’s a segment I skipped over in the plot summary, but that I want to get back to.
It was too bad you couldn’t beat a Weyrwoman with impunity. Her dragon would never permit it, but a sound thrashing was what Kylara badly needed.
Cocowhat by depizan
F’nor doesn’t know what Kylara is suffering from, or what fetishes she may have, but the narrative does, and placing that thought in F’nor’s head, the practical, level-headed one, is either a deliberate signal about how deep this fucking shithole of abusive culture goes or a really, really poor decision. From the demeanor expressed, I’m pretty sure there was no kink to that thought at all. Are all dragonmen expected to beat their women? Or is abuse just tolerated in Weyr culture? We’re supposed to think of this, I think, like a parent spanking or taking the strap to a spoiled child, so it’s okay to beat Kylara to teach her a lesson, but NO! NOPE NOPE NOPE FUCK YOU, SHITHEAD!
Abuse is not okay, ever. And fuck the idea that someone deserves abuse in any way, shape, or form.
Ahem. Brekke and F’nor discuss whether or not fire-lizard Impression might not be a bad thing – the “commoners” outside of the weyrs have built up a mythos and imagination about Impression and being chosen on Search. If they could have their own mini-dragons, they might be able to understand all the issues that come with being attached to the big ones, and they’d stop being so jealous of the riders. It would foster understanding. F’nor, having had his privilege checked, returns to our pragmatic and affable guy and apologizes, something his brother would never do. Which is kind of frustrating, given how he was entirely okay with beating someone a few pages earlier. It’s like he can’t quite translate one experience to another yet. He does at least seem to be trying more than the higher-ups in the Weyrs to not be an ass.
F’nor is still my vote for best male protagonist so far, but his esteem just went way down with this chapter. Brekke is trending upward as best female protagonist, though – I’m hoping she can break free of the patriarchal culture of the Weyr soon, and her and Lessa (and possibly Mardra and Kylara, too) can lead the queens’ rebellion for feminism and better treatment in Weyr culture. Not that such things will ever happen on Pern with F’lar in charge.