C’Len did, indeed, have a few thoughts on who might be best for his twin.
“Well it rather depends on what you’re looking for,” he said, “but off the top of my head, I’d say you wouldn’t regret a dalliance with D’ski, Z’Rey, or T’zel- they’re fellow brown-riders. Oh, and W’tarran, who rides bronze Korvath, is very funny and quite laid back: you might enjoy spending time with him.
“Hmm,” said C’Fra. “It’s a starting point, I suppose. None of them have issues with a female riding a fighting dragon?”
C’Len looked insulted. “I should hope you don’t honestly believe I would recommend you take time with anyone who did!” He heaved a sigh. “Look, C’Fra, I won’t lie- of course there are those in the wings who have ridiculously old-fashioned notions about women on anything other than a gold-”
“The irony, of course, being that in the truly olden-days, only women rode greens,” C’Fra said with some acidity. It was, perhaps, the most personally-satisfying bit of recovered information to come out of all the record-salvaging going on down in Landing.
“Yes, well, just because you can Impress a dragon doesn’t mean you can’t also be an idiot,” C’Len shook his head. “Ancients know we’ve had enough proof of that down through the ages. But that particular kind of idiot is getting rarer and rarer, sister-mine, so don’t worry too much about it, okay?”
“I don’t, mostly. I just… wouldn’t want to be in a situation where one of those prejudiced idiots…” she trailed off, and gave a shudder. C’Len’s eyes flashed dangerously.
“Anith would never permit herself to be caught by a dragon with such a rider.”
Of course not, Anith said. I would do nothing to cause you distress.
“That’s very sweet, my darling love, but from what I understand, you won’t be focusing on much beyond your own needs, in that particular moment.”
Well what I need is for my rider to be happy. C’Fra recognized the echo of her own acid tone in her dragon’s voice, and C’Len gave a hearty laugh.
“What a pair you are!” he said, shaking his head. “I shall miss you both when we’ve gone.”
“Do you really have to go? Can’t you just absent yourself whenever Anith rises?”
C’Len shook his head again, this time in regret. “My wingleader thinks it best, and honestly I agree with him. Greens rise multiple times each Turn- it wouldn’t be good for my wing to have me absent so frequently, and so erratically. Besides which, the chance to spend time at Southern is not exactly unappealing.”
C’Fra sighed. “No, I suppose not.”
I still do not understand why Tadith may not fly me, Anith complained. He is really a most excellent brown.
“We’ve been over this, Anith,” C’Fra said, exasperated. C’Len was stifling laughter, no doubt remembering the time she’d abandoned him to explain human breeding mores to his dragon. “It is not good when humans mate too close to their own bloodline.”
It is unfortunate, I think, said Anith. Look at how well close breeding worked for the dragons of Benden Weyr!
“Now love, what is good for dragons is often no good at all for humans. Imagine if I tried chewing firestone!”
Do not do that! Anith’s eyes whirled in agitation. You would break your teeth. And you do not have the second stomach to process it, so you would not be able to flame even if you were able to swallow any.
“Precisely. So although I am certain you and Tadith would have a most excellent mating flight, for you are the two most excellent dragons in all of Pern, it would not be so good for C’Len and I.”
C’Len left the following week, and C’Fra lost no time in getting to know the four riders he had mentioned. Mindful of his statement that it depended on what she was “looking for”, she tried to evaluate them as dispassionately as possible. Given that all of them were of better-than-average looks, this was not a particularly easy task. When asked if she had a preference between any of their dragons, Anith replied that her preference was the one who could catch her.
“Anyway why would you want to be dispassionate about a thing like sex?” asked Kivah, the young woman who had ended up Impressing gold Lyzith out of the same clutch C’Fra had Impressed Anith. Lyzith was still not fully mature, but Kivah was weyr-bred and had the typically casual weyr-attitude about sex. “Pick whichever one makes your toes curl and proposition him. None of them are likely to say no!”
C’Fra rolled her eyes at her friend. “Kivah, who did you lose your virginity to?”
“Lose nothing. I gave it away!”
“Okay, fine. To whom did you give your virginity to?”
Kivah thought for a moment, then shrugged. “I’m not really sure. That was a while ago. And it doesn’t really matter- whoever he was, we were just kids, figuring things out together. No need to make a big deal out of it.”
“Well it’s a slightly bigger deal to me,” C’Fra said. “I’m not expecting to become weyrmates with whomever I choose to lay down with- I don’t want a weyrmate at this point! And I don’t even require that we love one another, because obviously there’s no time for that, not if I want to get rid of maidenhead before Anith rises. But I’d like for there to be mutual respect- perhaps even affection! I’d like to remember his name, and for him to remember mine.”
“So judgmental!” Kivah laughed to show she didn’t mean it, then wrapped her arm around C’Fra’s shoulders. “Look, I happen to know that both T’zel and W’Tarran are exceptionally considerate lovers. You could do worst for your first time. Z’Rey is… well, that’s an intense experience, and one you might very well like to save for when Anith rises.”
“I haven’t managed to trip him, yet, so your guess is as good as mine.”