M'taine
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Flight name: M'taine (from Metaine)
Age: 52
Birthdate: Month 13, Turn 145
Sex: Male
Impressed: Bronze Agalloth
Rank: Was a Wingleader at Telgar, but is transferring in as a simple wingrider unless and until he gets promoted again… which he rather hopes he won't be, but authority tends to come to him whether he likes it or not.
Location: Telgar Weyr, with an imminent transfer to Barrier
Original Location: Telgar Hold
Play-by: David Mustaine

Appearance:

M'taine is a relatively tall man, standing just a hair short of six feet in height. He has broad shoulders and narrow hipbones, which gives him a slightly topheavy look even though he isn't exceptionally muscular. Life as a fighting dragonrider has kept him from putting on much weight, and he doesn't exactly bulge with muscle like some do, but he is in good shape, all things considered, and there is a definite strength in him which is palpable despite his lack of actual physical massiveness.

M'taine's loosely wavy hair is naturally a dark, coppery (as opposed to bright and carroty) red, graying at the temples and behind the ears; even his eyebrows, facial, and body hair are red, although two shades darker and closer to brown, with rather more incursions of gray (hence why he is invariably clean-shaven… he doesn't like how "old" a beard makes him look.) M'taine prefers to wear his hair a few inches past shoulder-length, though when flying he ties it back in a tail and tucks it under his flying helmet; he is remarkably adept at this, where many other riders have given up and cut their hair in frustration. People who have mainly seen him in riding gear are sometimes surprised by just how long and thick his hair is when they finally see it unbound for the first time. Despite what people would tend to expect, his eyes are neither blue nor green, but in fact an inconsistent sort of hazel color; somewhere between brown and amber with a greenish overtone, peering out at the world from coppery, thick but not bushy eyebrows that are rather more agile and expressive than average.

Overall, the older bronze rider's face is almost wedge-shaped in a strange way; a broad, heavy, but sharp-edged jawline and cheekbones drawn forward to the nose with its almost blade-narrow bridge and the full mouth with its tendency to pinch in distaste, sneer in disdain, or smile with only one side at a time. Like many riders, he doesn't look as old as he is, but time has not left him entirely unmarked, and subtle lines mark his face, especially around the corners of the mouth and eyes. Like his eyebrows, his face as a whole is unusually expressive, capable of a remarkable range of content and intensity of emotional communication. However, he isn't really aware of this fact about himself, so rather than making conscious use of this faculty as a skill, it tends to be more of an unconscious broadcasting of his thoughts and feelings moment-to-moment.

While he is not a flashy dresser (at least not in his own mind — others might disagree) and prefers what he considers simple, practical clothing, M'taine does have a weakness for masculine jewelry, including belt knives and necklaces. He is never seen without a belt knife; the hilt is made of leather-wrapped bronze, but it is not jeweled. He can't afford such ostentation. He also owns a couple of fairly simple necklaces, with carved and smooth-sanded wooden ornaments. His favorite colors are dark scarlet, gold or golden-yellow, black, and deep iris-violet, and what nice clothing he owns is invariably done in one or more of those colors.

Personality:

M'taine is not very good at recognizing and respecting the line between assertiveness and aggression. Even his best friends would describe him as a "jerk with a heart of gold." He is ultimately well-intentioned and honorable, but he is also impulsive and temperamental to say the least. He has been known to lash out both verbally and physically at people who displease or disappoint him, and once he loses his temper he loses all self control; when this occurs, his acid wit often serves to ensure that both sides end up regretting the incident later. M'taine has lived through a lot and has seen a lot… perhaps more than he was able to handle on some level. He refuses to deal with his painful memories, instead shoving them away and refusing to acknowledge that they still bother him. This contributes to his reactive personality.

Fortunately, time has mellowed him. He's still an irascible, even potentially violent man, but by his fifties he has learned to better control his impulses than when he was in his twenties and thirties. He is a fairly good but not exceptionally great leader; he takes the success of any wing he might lead or 'second seriously, and blames himself for its failures. If a rider or dragon in his wing is injured somehow, even if he isn't a Wingleader or 'second, he will invariably react in one of two ways — either with frustrated/disdainful sarcasm (though at this age he usually can keep his impulsive biting remarks to himself, choosing when it's best to speak and when not to… usually) or by finding ways to assign at least partial responsibility for the incident to himself. The worse the incident is, the more likely M'taine is to react with self-blame. Unconsciously, this is a manifestation of issues with control: he doesn't feel much need to control other people, per se, but events and happenings. If something bad that happened is his fault, then all he has to do to prevent it from happening again is to change his own behavior. This is a subtle and powerful psychological cycle in him of which he is utterly unaware.

Outwardly, though he is often gruff, even harsh, he is also ultimately fair, and, though he does his best to hide this fact under a curmudgeonly surface, he is intensely empathic, with a keen sense of others' emotions. These traits all serve him in good stead as a bronze rider and would make him a good Wingleader if he were ambitious enough to pursue the position. He would accept such a promotion if it were offered to him, but he isn't one of those riders who thinks authority belongs to him merely by right of his being a bronze rider. He knows full well that such things must be earned, not just once but on an ongoing, permanent basis. And, quite frankly, he isn't absolutely certain that he has what it takes to be a good Wingleader, or even Wingsecond. He's -pretty- sure… but that's not good enough in a situation where he could very well end up leading men and women into deadly combat. So he spent a much longer period of his life as a 'mere' wingrider than the average hard-charging, rank-seeking bronzerider.

Finally, somewhat against his own will, he ended up becoming first a Wingsecond, then a Wingleader, at Telgar, his native Weyr. To be fair to M'taine, he comported himself well, though not flawlessly by any means. He is, in practice, a good enough leader, but far from an amazing one. The whole concept of being in charge wearies him on some level… hence the transfer to Barrier Weyr. After ten Turns of being one of Telgar's Wingleaders, some part of M'taine has just had enough for a while. He's ready for a new Weyr and a new start. If, at Barrier, they promote him again… fine. He'll deal with it. But he honestly hopes that won't happen, that there will be plenty of more aggressive, ambitious riders to jostle for attention and allow him to go unnoticed.

For much the same reason he has little interest in becoming a Weyrleader, though his bronze Agalloth certainly has risen to chase the Senior Queen of Telgar every time she has risen, simply because as a bronze he desires to mate with her as he would with any queen who rose. Overall, M'taine is content as a wingrider, more or less, and while he sometimes daydreamed about pursuing a wingsecond or wingleader's position if he thought the particular person isn't doing their job well enough in the Turns before his own eventual promotion to those ranks, he has absolutely no desire for the responsibilities and pressures inherent to the Weyrleader's job. This may be why Agalloth has never actually CAUGHT a Senior Queen.

M'taine is starting, very slowly, to feel his age. He continues to act healthy, vigorous, and aggressive, but when he thinks no one is looking, he allows himself to slouch, to stretch, to rub his aching back, knees, and shoulders. His body is beginning to wear out on him, and while Agalloth grumbles that he needs to tell the Healers about the physical pain he often suffers from due to his aging and much-abused body, M'taine stubbornly refuses to admit to other humans that he is in pain unless it's serious enough to be disabling. If he can still function, he just ignores it. Agalloth is not pleased by this, but he doesn't know how to get his rider to see sense… and whenever he tries M'taine points out Agalloth's own aching joints, which tends to make the big bronze shut up very quickly. For now Agalloth has accepted that, until the problem starts to actually interfere with M'taine's ability to execute his duties to dragon, Wing, and Weyr, his rider will most likely continue to ignore it. This is an accurate perception; M'taine won't seek help for his joint-ail or any other health problem until it becomes so severe that he is forced to. Even this transfer South is a bit of a dodge — the climate will certainly be warmer and easier on both dragon and rider's joints in the South, which will allow both of them to continue pretending that nothing is wrong for much longer than they could at Telgar.

Despite being well into middle age, M'taine has never allowed himself to become overly attached to any one woman, preferring to focus on his work. The real reason for this is that he's attracted to men as much as he is to women, but he doesn't want to admit this, feeling it's a weakness and a flaw in a bronze rider. Of course, the truth is that other people would care a lot less than M'taine imagines they would, but he doesn't know that. His rural, out-of-the-way birth cothold was in a very backward, repressive area, and he hasn't clued in to the fact that the Weyr culture's more open attitudes about such things apply to him too. Agalloth's habit of deliberately chasing dragons with male riders distresses him to the point that he will sometimes hide in his weyr and suffer the tortures of not participating in the mating flight rather than be forced to acknowledge how much he actually -wants- to participate regardless of the rider's gender. Intellectually, he knows perfectly well that Flight lust is Flight lust, but the problem is that he finds himself attracted to other males even when there isn't a flight going on… even to males who aren't dragonriders! This is unnerving to him, and as a result he is unable to fully relax into and accept a male rider as a partner during a mating flight… at least, not without the aid of copious quantities of wine and/or other substances if they're available.

Speaking of which, M'taine has a definite "sweet tooth" for certain euphorics. He uses poppy milk and fellis whenever he can get ahold of them, although he doesn't keep a personal "stash" in his weyr anymore. He was once a much more frequent and copious substance user, but over the years he has cut down on his activity in this area for a variety of reasons. Most recently, the time he would otherwise use foraging for wild fellis and poppies has been spent hunting for wild food sources instead. Food is always a higher priority than drugs, regardless of how much he might actually benefit from the pain relief these days.

-STRENGTHS-

- Has remarkable willpower and has significantly improved his impulse control as compared to his youth.
- Relatively secure in who and what he is with the sole exception of his sexuality.
- Has a lot of wisdom and experience, even more than his age would tend to imply.
- Is still in very good shape physically and is aging relatively slowly and well.
- Has the skill and temperament to be a good Wingleader when he can keep his temper and acid wit under control.
- Prefers to focus on the concepts of responsibility and accountability rather than blame.
- Despite his somewhat abrasive personality at times, he is ultimately very generous, empathic, and kind-hearted. He would sacrifice everything to help someone who genuinely needed and deserved it.

-WEAKNESSES-

- His impulse control has improved, but it isn't perfect yet by any means. He still sometimes doesn't exhibit the best judgment and may snap at someone, though the odds of his physically lashing out are much lower at this point unless he is direly provoked. In particular, the present state of Vaioa Weyr and the reduced rations are wearing on his nerves, making him somewhat more likely to explode than usual.
- He believes that, as a bronzerider, being bisexual is a flaw and a weakness. Which, itself, is a weakness, given that it's a major chink in his otherwise perfect armor of self-acceptance. Note that he doesn't necessarily care what -other- bronzeriders are up to; actually it would never occur to him that other bronzeriders could have the same "problem". If he were to discover a bisexual or gay bronzerider who was open and self-accepting it would be a major revelation for him and possibly something he would struggle to accept as it applied to -himself-, but he wouldn't condemn this other rider as weak or immoral. He would simply find the other man incomprehensible… but not necessarily in a bad way. In short he would be very confused. :P
- Isn't always very good at teaching or otherwise sharing his aforementioned wisdom and experience. As he develops more patience and tact he is becoming a better instructor but he still has a tendency to become exasperated when a student doesn't learn quickly enough or in the way M'taine knows how to teach. This is why he's never competed for, say, Weyrlingmaster or Assistant WLM posting.
- Often not able to reconcile what he thinks or knows intellectually with his emotional reaction or evaluation of something. Just thinking or knowing something often has absolutely no impact on how he feels. As a minor example, he may find himself irritated by some random happenstance even when he knows perfectly well that to respond angrily to the situation is irrational. A more important example is his intellectual awareness that, most likely, no one really cares who he likes to sleep with, but this thought doesn't influence his fear of his own attraction to other males in the slightest. His emotions can run away with him at times and become overwhelming to him.
- He isn't good at channeling his aggression into ambition like so many others do. He would've been made a Wingsecond or Wingleader much sooner in life if he'd bothered to actually try to show that he was capable of and interested in such a job. But every time wing assignments are redone he was passed over and he had never said or done a thing that would suggest to the leadership of the Weyr that he objected to this state of affairs. When, finally, he did get promoted, it was somewhat against his own will… but he is incapable of disobeying a direct order from a superior even if he wants to most of the time, so he complied and did his best.
- Has a tendency to trust too easily, sacrifice too much, and then either be betrayed in reality or to irrationally -feel- betrayed, then forgive the person and go through the same cycle all over again.

-LIKES-

- Going between. He is fascinated by the phenomenon and tries to study it every time it happens.
- Masculine jewelry and other little ornamental things carved from naturally scented wood (sandalwood being an IRL example of a tree with scented wood.)
- Incense.
- Nice smells in general, albeit he avoids anything that seems excessively feminine for utterly irrational reasons (he doesn't want to seem anything less than "fully male", as his Holdbred prejudices have yet to go away completely in his unconscious mind even though he'd say that was a ridiculous idea if you asked him about it.)
- Wearing his hair as long as he can get away with; he is rather proud of its unusual color.
- Clear, translucent stones and glassware in vibrant colors; though he doesn't actually own anything like this, he likes to look at them in Gather shops.
- Wearing soft, fine leathers like suede.
- Being snarky.
- Anything that gets his adrenaline going, including fighting if he thinks the other person 'deserves it', though like all dragonriders he tries to avoid knife fights.
— Very strong, unsweetened klah.
— Drinking. At times he drinks more than he really should, though NEVER when he has duty the next day. The night before a restday or after something stressful has happened, though, or if he's been brooding about Vaioa's food situation, he may drink too much. Alcohol has become a substitute for poppy milk and fellis to him in many ways, which isn't always much of an improvement. This isn't a frequent thing… but it happens.
— Canines. He does not keep one but would if he had time.

-DISLIKES-

- Stupidity and ignorance.
- Failure.
- Being attracted to other men.
- Feeling burdened by excess responsibility and duty.
- Feeling as if he has dishonored himself or been dishonored.
- Feeling alone.
- Feeling inadequate.
- Having to bite his tongue when he really, really wants to say something but knows it wouldn't be wise.
- When Agalloth deliberately chases dragons he knows to have male riders.
- Acknowledging weakness to others, especially people he cares about and respects. He wants to be seen as strong, capable, and worthy.
- Having to leave his weyr to get klah in the morning when he feels barely sentient.
— Acknowledging his true sexual orientation to himself or anyone else.
— Revealing any sign of weakness (or self-perceived weakness) in himself.

Kin:

Father: Journeyman Beastcrafter Ketaraine (Deceased)
Mother: Myrennin
Siblings: Kemyre, 52; fraternal twins T'nemyr and Ketann, 50; Myretar, 47.

History:

Born in a farmcot beholden to Telgar Hold, Metaine was the firstborn of a Farmcrafter named Ketaraine and his wife, Myrennin. His father was drunk and distant when he was present, which wasn't often because he was usually out inspecting various pastureages and fields, coming home only very late at night, and sometimes staying gone for days. Finally, Ketaraine was bucked off a runnerbeast and killed when Metaine was ten Turns old. Metaine's mother was affectionate but remote, her time unavoidably taken up by the time and effort required to raise five children… for in the ten Turns between Metaine's birth and Ketaraine's death, Myrennin gave birth to four more children, two boys and two girls.

A mere Turn after Metaine's birth came his sister Kemyre, then, two Turns later, a set of fraternal twins: male Tainemyr and female Ketannin. Three turns later came the baby of the family, male Myretar. This meant that, when Ketaraine died, his wife Myrennin was responsible for a family of five children, alone, with the oldest 10 Turns old and the youngest merely four. Naturally, this meant that Myrennin didn't have very much time for any one child among the five, and that, naturally, the younger, more dependent children got more of her attention and resources than the older ones. Thus Metaine was introduced to the hard realities of life very early and was forced to learn to compensate without a whole lot of emotional support.

Metaine and his nine-Turn-old sister did their best to help their mother in every way they could over the next two Turns, but without a large extended family to act as support, the family was struggling badly. They came close to starvation a few times. Finally, Myrennin had had enough. Her brother was a dragonrider, and so the rest of her family, what of it there was, lived at Telgar Weyr. Deciding that she would rather slave every day as a Weyr drudge than continue to just barely scrape by in her dead husband's holding, she sent word to her brother, Ch'nyre of green Joheriolth, to come and rescue her and her children from their dangerous isolation.

So, one day when 12-Turn-old Metaine was working in their pitiful excuse for a garden, fighting a losing battle against the poor soil and tenacious weeds, when two dragons emerged from between in the sky above. At first, he watched them with only distant curiosity, expecting them to continue on to Telgar Hold proper just over the big hill on the horizon as most dragons did (the big hill was a useful reference point for between so dragons often appeared high in the sky above the family's cothold.) However, when the dragons circled to land at the cothold itself, Metaine was shocked and rather overawed. This was his first up-close experience with dragons and he has never forgotten it; his fondness for spicy, appealing scents originated with his pleasure in noticing the odor of healthy dragon hide.

This was also young Metaine's first introduction to the idea of homosexuality. In their holding, and that of all the others in the area, there was simply no discussion of any way of life except for males to marry females and have children with them, except for the occasional muttered or growled reference to the Weyrs and their "unnatural practices," with no specificity about what that actually -meant-. But now Metaine found himself hearing his mother explain that the green dragon belonged to her brother, Metaine's uncle, and that the other rider was his uncle's -weyrmate-. What did that mean? That they were married? To each other? A marriage of two men? It was an alien, incredible, impossible idea. And yet somewhere deep inside, the idea was… appealing, somehow.

Thus, while most of the boy's attention and interest was naturally captured by the two great dragons, with their spicy-scented hide, their great magical eyes, and — once the family was finished loading their meager possessions and climbing aboard the two beasts — the ultimate thrill of riding dragonback for the first time in his life, Metaine kept catching himself staring at the two riders, especially when they interacted in such a way that, while not blatant, made it quite clear that they were lovers of long standing. In particular, Metaine found himself very interested in the blue rider, L'rani, with his long, powerful legs, trim waist, and broad, muscular shoulders. Confused and beginning to be embarassed by his reaction to all these new things, Metaine quite deliebrately focused on the dragons for the rest of the encounter until he was finally left in the Weyrbowl with his mother and siblings in their new home, Telgar Weyr.

In truth, Metaine had felt small, subtle stirrings of interest in other males before that point, but he had never before been aware of them, nor had these feelings been nearly as strong as his impulses to look at and admire L'rani's body, to watch L'rani and Ch'nyre hug and exchange a casual kiss of farewell as L'rani left to take his blue Weirykth to feed, while Ch'nyre remained with his sister to guide her and the children to their new quarters in the Weyr and to explain their place and duties to them. Metaine was distracted and thoughtful during this explanation, only half-listening. His mind was full of turbulent ideas and emotions which he, at twelve, wasn't really mature enough to comprehend or deal with. So, just like earlier when he'd used the presence of the dragons to distract himself from the urge to admire the blue rider, L'rani, Metaine now forced himself to zero in on what his uncle Ch'nyre was telling his mother, shoving his uncomfortable, unsettling psychological morass to one side in his mind, telling himself he'd think about it later. Thus began a lifelong pattern of avoiding and trying not to think about his true bisexual inclinations. Though he is sincerely attracted to females, he is, in truth, equally attracted to males, but he has never been able to securely acknowledge that fact in his own mind, much less to others.

From that point on, Myrennin worked as a drudge in the Weyr, and her children became honorary weyrbrats, placed in the creche and raised there just like the others, though they slept in their mother's quarters at night. Metaine, as the oldest, was assigned more chores than the rest, but he didn't complain; the Weyr was keeping him and his family fed, which made him more than grateful enough to work as hard as they wanted him to. Fair was fair. He still felt rather bitter about the entire subject of his father, feeling as if he abandoned his responsibility to his family and that he was ultimately a failure as a man. From this developed the determination in Metaine to -not- be a failure as a man, to -not- avoid responsibility and accountability for things. At the same time, though, it made him leery of taking on more responsibility than he felt 100% certain he could handle, which remain traits of his personality to this day.

Ch'nyre's Joheriolth happened to be a Search dragon, and, when Metaine was fourteen Turns old, she unexpectedly Searched him while Ch'nyre was paying his sister a social visit; he had been too young to Impress two Turns before, but at fourteen, his natural empathic talent was blossoming and the green dragon instinctively sensed that fact. So Metaine became a Candidate, and, though he did not Impress at that clutch, nor the next one, or the one after that, he did prosper under the combination of Candidate chores and Weyr food, and as a result he was beginning to grow tall, fit, and strong, if not excessively muscular. Finally, at the age of sixteen Turns, his long patience and diligence were rewarded when he Impressed bronze Agalloth (bronze Killinarth x gold Ophidioth, Telgar Weyr T161) and became M'taine.

Weyrlinghood was challenging for M'taine. He struggled sometimes with authority and his temper; he was very impulsive, aggressive, and tactless in his youth. Not only did he have more buttons to press than average, but his buttons were more pressable than the normal person, so that the troublemakers in his class found him a particularly easy target. He has been involved in far more than his share of strictly moderated wrestling bouts and the like, even a handful of belt knife duels which ended at first blood… though he has actually -won- only slightly more than his fair share, at best, of these bouts. He does well in combative duels but does better in less violent competitions because he doesn't have to restrain himself; he isn't much of a sprinter but over longer distances he is very swift compared to most people and is difficult to beat in a long-distance footrace due to his stamina. Over time, however, he began to settle into the system and accept his place within it, which helped to reduce the quantity and pressability of his rage-buttons, so to speak. Also, he learned better ways to resolve disagreements and rivalries than fighting, which in turn helped him learn how to channel and dissipate his anger without it having to involve other people at all.

After graduating Weyrlinghood, M'taine and Agalloth transitioned into the fighting wings and began to train in earnest for Threadfall. Still somewhat young and irresponsible, M'taine fell into line, although in his twenties he didn't take the idea of Thread quite as seriously as he ought to have and tended to slack off a bit during training when it became especially repetitive and monotonous (a habit he developed during Weyrlinghood.) These and other antics contributed to the fact that he was never promoted to wingsecond or wingleader during his first decade as a dragonrider… although, given that M'taine didn't particularly desire such a promotion at the time (not that he desired it a whole lot more at any other time, albeit he feels much more capable of actually doing it if he must today) it's debateable which of those two factors contributed more. However, over the course of that decade, he began to exhibit more mature, controlled behavior, especially when not just one but two of his siblings went on to become dragonriders; this was the beginning of his need to subtly but firmly set a good example for others regardless of lacking an official leadership position. (Specifically, the fraternal twins were Searched at the age of 15 Turns; Ketann shortened her name thus after Impressing her blue Zurrexisth at her second Hatching, while her twin brother T'nemyr Impressed green Phaeyannorth from the very next clutch.)

When M'taine was 20 Turns old, his mother began to die slowly of a horrific wasting disease which the Healers were unable to cure (namely, cancer, though of course the Pernese don't know that word.) By the time he was 22, the disease had thoroughly ravaged her and it was obvious that she was dying. She began to ask for a mercy draught, and, in the end, her request was granted. M'taine and his siblings all stood vigil as the Healer administered the mercy draught. Then, when she was dead, he tried hard to maintain composure but basically fell apart, sobbing and trembling. The Healer administered a dose of fellis to calm him and sent him back to his own Weyr. This was the beginning of M'taine's relationship with fellis juice and poppy milk. Throughout his twenties and thirties, M'taine maintained a daily poppy milk habit, to the point of being physically dependent on the stuff. He was occasionally forced to pretend he had some kind of flu-like illness when he ran short of supply and couldn't even get fellis juice as a substitute. He would use fellis if he couldn't get poppy milk but vastly preferred the latter. Because he was very private and secretive about his substance abuse, however, and because he did not allow it to reach a point where it impacted his performance at his duties, his secret was never really discovered by the Weyr at large, although one long-term lover left him over it (a female green rider, Diyanha of Waekupedth) and, when he was about 29, a Wingsecond in his Wing with whom he was close friends and drug buddies decided to stop using himself and threatened to reveal M'taine's secret to the Wingleader if he, too, didn't at least stop using on a daily basis, because they couldn't keep doing this their entire lives and, in the Wingsecond's opinion (J'nallis of brown Tandirloyth) the whole thing was getting badly out of control — as evidence he brought up Diyanha. M'taine ended up requesting a transfer to a different Wing, and the whole incident badly damaged his friendship with J'nallis (though much more because the brown rider hurt M'taine badly by bringing up his ex-weyrmate to use her as a chess piece in their argument than because of the drug-related ultimatum.)

However, he did begin trying to alter his use of euphorics. Not because J'nallis wanted him to, but because the consequences in his life were no longer worth what he was getting out of using the euphorics. At first, he tried to just stop using them altogether, but the crippling sickness that resulted not only prevented him from functioning in the Wing, but it was so psychologically devastating that he found himself unable to stop from going back to the euphorics again very quickly. For several Turns, M'taine vaccilated between a state of daily poppy milk or fellis use and a state of either acute or post-acute withdrawal. Over time, there was a discernable pattern that could potentially alert someone who knew what to look for as to what was going on, but since no one who suspected M'taine had any concrete proof to bring before Weyr authorities, no one said or did anything. Besides, it wasn't like he was keeling over intoxicated or in withdrawal during his duty hours. He kept his struggle very quiet and private, close to his chest, allowing neither his highs nor his lows to be visible to anyone as much as possible. When his presence was required in the Wing or for other duties M'taine always made sure he'd had just enough to function but not enough to be intoxicated so that he'd be able to function as normal.

However, when he was in his mid-thirties, M'taine met a blue rider named Vr'verrin who was also a user of euphorics. At first, Vr'verrin merely supplied M'taine, but slowly the bronze rider began to open up to the younger man and the ex-Journeyman Healer was able to help the bronze rider with his problem, having more practical knowledge and understanding about such things. So Vr'verrin taught M'taine how to, in the blue rider's words, "taper off". Under the younger man's guidance and supervision, M'taine slowly, laboriously reduced his daily dose of poppy milk until he was able to switch over to fellis juice; then, after reducing his dose even further to just a few drops a day, he finally stopped using it altogether, after nearly two full Turns of painstakingly gradual doseage reductions, one every four sevendays, no faster. There was still a period of withdrawal-related unpleasantness, but because of this weaning-off regimen and Vr'verrin's supportive use of handleaf to reduce the symptoms, M'taine was able to avoid relapsing again immediately as he always had in the past, though he was sorely tempted to at times. Finally, however, Vr'verrin was able to keep M'taine off poppy milk and fellis juice for a long enough period that the older man's body finally reajusted to going without and M'taine was finally able to view the whole situation in a more objective light for the first time in several Turns. Realizing just how dependent he'd been on these euphorics, however, was very unpleasant and shocking to him, and it made him feel much warier of them as a result. Though to this day the bronze rider cannot stay away from them completely, he also does not dare use them on a regular basis. He is terrified of becoming dependent again, fearing that he won't be able to escape if it ever happens again. However, he also isn't able to keep himself from using it entirely. He feels as if, on some level, he is dancing with a venomous tunnel snake, but he can't bring himself to stop.

At the age of 33, M'taine received a fire lizard egg as a birthday gift from his weyrmate at the time. The relationship ended within another Turn or so, but the egg hatched out a surprisingly large blue fire lizard who has remained with M'taine ever since, remarkably loyal for one of his color. M'taine's love life has been like this his entire life — ongoing random mating flight-related encounters plus occasional attempts at longer-term relationships in which the woman (he has never allowed himself to be in a real relationship with another man) gives him something which he comes to associate strongly with her, then eventually the relationship ends and he ends up with another piece of property that he can't bring himself to get rid of yet can't look at without thinking of the woman who gave it to him. His weyr is littered with random relationship artifacts as a result. Among many other things, the leather-wrapped bronze-hilted belt knife he wears was bought for him at a Gather by his long-ago ex-weyrmate Diyanha, and his favorite semi-formal outfit was made for him by the woman he'd been with after Diyanha, Kerrest, who was a Journeywoman Weaver.

As M'taine's life moved into its fourth decade, he had finally tamed his drug dependency and left it largely behind, but life didn't get any easier for that. He was 41 when he was first promoted to Wingsecond. Then, when his Wingleader died of a training-related accidental fall (poorly maintained riding straps were later found to be the cause — foolish carelessness in a Wingleader of all riders!) M'taine found himself promoted to leadership of the Wing he felt like he'd only just become Wingsecond of! He did his best to acquit himself in his duty well, and he did a passable job at very least. But he is now in his fifth decade, and he is tired. He feels like he can't do anything of use where he is, really, that there are far too many riders here who are better than him at just about everything (whether this is true or not.) Hence the planned transfer to Barrier Weyr. He hopes to be able to contribute positively to the new Weyr. He hopes that his status at Telgar won't lead to his instant promotion to Wingleader at Barrier; he'd like to go back to being a 'mere' wingrider for a while, if not the rest of his life. But he'll accept whatever comes his way. It'll be nice just to be in a new place, doing something useful for once instead of just whiling away the days doing whatever is necessary that no one else is doing.

Dragon : Agalloth

Pets:

Name: Eyetooth
Age: 20
Birthdate: Month 6 Turn 178
Color: Blue
Length: 18"
Dam: Wild gold
Sire: Wild brown

Appearance:

Eyetooth may not be the single hugest blue fire lizard ever to live on Pern, but he is surely a contender for that title. He is stocky and heavily built, with a short, muscular neck, bluntly wedge-shaped head, and shark's-fin shaped neck ridges which run all the way down to his tailtip, getting smaller and smaller past the hips. His name derives from the fact that his left lower canine tooth, or eyetooth as they are known as on Pern, pokes out of his mouth when it's closed. Both of his lower eyeteeth are overlong compared to the average fire lizard, but only the one actually protrudes most of the time. Eyetooth's hide gleams with health, but there is a small scar at the tip of his right wing. In coloration the big blue is a rich, deep cobalt overall, darkening to near-black at the belly and paling down the spine. However, in shocking contrast, his wing membranes are the color of frostbite, very translucent and almost whiter than they are blue, giving him a very distinctive apperance indeed.

Personality:

Eyetooth is loyal, and well-trained. He takes pride in serving his human well, keeping an eye on all the riders in M'taine's wing without even being asked to and sanctimoniously reporting any perceived misbehavior to M'taine, though these misdeeds are usually such crimes as drifting too far out of formation, or allowing wing overlap within a formation. In short, he is obsessed with very minor critiques of the wing's performance. At first, M'taine found the blue's preoccupation with such minor details obnoxious, but over time he has learned to just allow the flit's communications to just roll over him without paying much attention. When a Wingleader or Wingsecond, this information can actually be useful, but even then, much of the time it's just a distraction. M'taine has learned to pay attention when the data is useful and ignore it when it isn't.

Despite having grown to adulthood literally decades ago, Eyetooth retains a hatchling's cheerful sense of his own immortality and is absolutely fearless as a result. He literally does not experience the emotion of fear in any form and does not comprehend it. This is rather dangerous — he has rather more than his fair share of past "incidents" under his metaphorical belt, and M'taine has long since despairingly concluded that his fire lizard is very likely to die in some ignominous, shockingly stupid fashion, such as flying too close to a blooding queen dragon and being eaten (indeed, the Senior Queen of Telgar Weyr herself once snapped up a green flit that got too close while she was blooding, so this worry isn't unwarranted… )

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