Kassima: "When the going gets tough, the tough make bluerider stew."
Note: As many now know, Anne McCaffrey decreed after seven years that NC may no longer continue to feature Benden Weyr or Ruatha Hold. As such, the Bendenites were forced to relocate to Telgar Weyr. This was not a voluntary action. Though we have no choice but to go with McCaffrey's wishes, she can never take away the marvelous times people have spent at the Weyr that will always remain the home of Kassi's heart. Both Kassi and I, her player, remain forever Bendenite in spirit--regardless of which Weyr we must technically ride for.
Kassima is often grinning; her good nature is so strong that it manifests even in situations that she finds displeasing. It takes a lot to get her angry--and when she is, she usually won't show it. However, she's not a push-over, and can be as quick with a tart phrase or sardonic comment as anyone if the situation warrants.
That child, Kassi, helped out at the Holding as soon as she was old enough to harvest crops and clean fish. She was still fairly small when she also began assisting Yvani in the cothold's meal preparation, later to become almost fully in charge of that task; it's been accurately said that Yvani's food tastes like charbroiled dust, and presented with the choice of either learning to cook or dying of food poisoning (or starvation, if she was smart), Kassima elected to take her mother's place in the kitchen--much to the relief of her father.
Kassima had dozens of cousins but never any siblings, so she became sort of a jack of all trades and master of none, doing whatever needed doing at the moment. This might be one of the reasons she was so eager to get away from her home. It's hard to say. She didn't get to travel much as a youngling; the only trips her family ever made were up to Greystones proper, or to see those members of her mother's family who didn't live in the same Holding. Kassi liked these visits with her cousin Thera and her kin--primarily because Thera's mother could cook, but also because Thera was crazy and generally fun to be around. She had to visit her Uncle Myaron at the quarry he oversaw, too, but didn't like this so much. Whenever Uncle Myaron had his niece over for a visit, he'd cajole her into helping out with hauling the stone for which Greystones is named. And he wondered why she didn't come to visit more often....
When Kassima was near her fourteenth Turn, she got fed up with being the family drudge and decided that no matter what traveling was like, it had to be better than this. Her parents were wonderful, loving people, but she'd been cooped up with them for far too long and it was driving her mad. Yvani would never let her do anything interesting, like play tag with the watchwher or join the flamethrower crews. Kassi's mother was absolutely terrified of anything remotely draconic--and she seemed to think her daughter should be, too. Rather than tell her mother just what she could do with that idea, Kassi bid her parents a fond farewell and hiked off to see as much of the world as Thread would allow.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Kassima didn't have any fire-lizards, what with her mother's draconophobia and all. Once Kassi had met Aph's charming fair, she was set and determined to change this as soon as possible. It just ducky for her, then, that a fire-lizard queen's clutch of eggs hatched the next day at the Gather. It was even better when, through use of meats and a sparkling silver necklace, Kassima managed to attach her first fire-lizard, a dark and handsome blue she named Kyril.
While this turn of events delighted Kassima no end, it also caused a bit of a problem. Kassi'd been making the occasional visit home--after all, she did love her parents, even if she didn't want to stay around them for the rest of her life. Once she had Kyril, though, visits became difficult. Yvani would not ever allow Kyril in her home, and Kassima didn't like this one bit, even though she knew her mother couldn't help her fear. Consequently, visits home became less frequent.
Eventually, Kassima decided to take Aphrael up on her invitation and got en route to Ruatha. Through a strange twist of luck, or fate, Kassi wound up on a beach where--yes, you guessed it, more fire-lizards were hatching. Blue Sapphron joined Kassi and Kyril on their travels, much to Kassima's joy and consternation. She wasn't a dimglow and knew darned well that Yvani wouldn't be any more pleased with two fire-lizards accompanying her daughter than she'd been with one. Oh, well--it had always been a saying of her father's that you can't go home again... and her father did have the irritating habit of being right all the time.
Kassima's decision to go to Ruatha wasn't totally based on a desire to see her friends again. She'd heard from a passing Harper that there was to be a runner festival there in a few day's time, and Kassi liked festivals. She had a wonderful time kaffeklatching with her friends, and--surprise, surprise--Impressing her third blue fire-lizard, Kayvist, from the clutch of Aphrael's green Kryliar.
Kassi liked Ruatha, so she decided to stay for awhile. She made some more friends, with whom she'd gossip, write songs, and break klah pots (it's a long story). The girl did visit Greystones now and again, but felt much less welcome than she had previously. If you guess this got even worse when she Impressed another fire-lizard, green Rhiannon, then you're not wrong. Impressing blue Darvan didn't help matters much, either--especially since Darvan was hostile to anything and everything, and when Yvani was hostile right back, it got messy.
What wasn't known or even suspected by the folks around Ruatha was that Aphrael, the assistant headwoman and Kassi's good friend, would be Searched to Stand as a Candidate for said clutch. Now, Aphrael had two fosterlings, Martigan and Breana. They weren't what anyone would call overjoyed, even if they were happy for Aph. When Martigan was threatened with being sent back to Boll, that tore it--they took a pair of runners and left, presumably to see Aphrael. A search was conducted for them at the Hold, but proved fruitless, so Hunter Ryanne embarked on a Mission Implausible to find the runaways and return them.
Kassi didn't know Mart and Bree too well, but she was never one to turn her nose up at adventure--and when word was sent that they'd been seen at Bitra, she hitched a ride and went to help with the chase.
Just as was suspected, the trail led them to Benden Weyr, outside of which they found the camp of the fugitives. After convincing Mart and Bree that no, they wouldn't be sent to Boll and yes, they could see Aphrael, the duo agreed to return to Ruatha, and to return the runners they'd borrowed as well.
What could go wrong in one little visit? This was Kassima's logic. Unfortunately, logic sometimes doesn't come into things. Plenty could go wrong--fortunately, only a few things did. The main thing was that Shastar got a ride to Benden to reclaim his stolen runner, Droon. What's so bad about this? Well, Shas was kind of vocal about it. Eventually, things got settled, everyone was escorted back to Ruatha--except for Shas, who wanted to ride Droon home--and they lived happily ever after, right? Not exactly.
There were dragons out there, all right--Elyandra, green Zibrith's rider, had stopped by to talk to Lord Eleos, and Jazmin, brown Chaeth's rider, had accompanied her. Kassi was a bit surprised when she found herself being whuffled by a dragon, but did another one of those mental shrug things and decided to go with the flow; she asked, and was given permission, to scratch Chaeth's eyeridges. Kassima doesn't exactly share her mother's fear of dragonkind (as if being the pet to a swarm of blue fire-lizards hasn't proven this point already), but she was still just a twinge on the shocked side when she started hearing a voice, talking to her in her head. She was even more shocked when she was told that Chaeth seemed to think she should be going back to Benden Weyr with the riders. However, she wasn't so totally surprised that she didn't immediately agree.
Candidacy was an interesting experience, to say the least. Kassima missed her friends, but was too busy to think about it much. There were latrines to be cleaned, cots to be made, and tubers to be peeled, after all. She eventually got used to her new way of living; she had several friends amongst the Candidates, including her cousin Thera, whom she could talk, laugh, and joke about Slithereth with (don't ask). Plus, there was the extra benefit of occasional dragon-washings--or dragon-drownings, as Kassi liked to call them. Most people might think being half-drowned several times over is a bad thing--well, not Kassima. But then, no one's ever claimed to understand her sense of what's fun... least of all Kassi herself.
With the donning of the white robe, the momentousness of the situation registered in Kassi's adrenaline-loaded brain. This was it, the end of her life as a Candie no matter what happened. So she took Aph's hand and, with a nervous grin, walked out with Aphrael and Meli onto the Hatching Sands.
Ouch. Have you ever heard how hot the Sands are? Well, it's not an exaggeration. To get back to the story, though, Kassima bowed with the others and joined the semi-circle. Just in time, too; the action was about to begin. Kassi was glad when two of her friends Impressed, and a little nervous--but not so nervous that she didn't notice the hatching of the long, thin dusty pine green dragonet, or the fact that said dragonet was headed, with enough determination to give about anyone the feeling of 'Get out of my way or you're toast,' to her part of the semi-circle. Not wishing to be toast, Kassima prepared to dodge--but stopped short, dropped before the green, and with a grin so large it's a wonder her face didn't split, announced, "If it's food you want, Lysseth, it's food you shall get!"
When she and Lysseth were given clearance to go between when they chose (so long as their chores were done for the day), Kassi went here, there, and everywhere to see all of her friends, some for the first time in Turns. This constant traveling caused her to wander in on several fire-lizard hatchings, and a number of blues and greens were subsequently added to her horde.
Not long afterwards, Kassima was innocently sipping her usual glass of citron in the Living Cavern (can't drink the klah around Benden--there's Water in the stuff, you know) when she overheard Assistant Weyrlingmaster T'fian mentioning his intent to have her lead the Weyrling Wing, named Moonrise, in the upcoming Fall. Overwhelmed by the thought, she agreed to do it, though she had qualms about her abilities to lead. As it turns out, Kassi should've trusted her instincts. During the Fall, on a resupply run, Maarie and green Zuseth were Threadscored. Rather than stay with the Wing as she should, Kassi and Lysseth flew after the injured pair to aid them--a grave mistake, for that left Moonrise leaderless for a few crucial moments. Blue Prefeth was almost injured because of Kassi's negligence. She did not realize this until later, when she was rightly taken to task for abandoning her responsibilities. Unable to make amends for this, she was rather solemn and brooding for a time, fighting an internal battle with doubt in her own abilities--not just as a leader, but as any sort of rider. She remained less than eager to take the lead again for any reason for some time after that, but it's almost impossible to stay gloomy when your riding gear has been dyed with splatters of bright purple, blue streaks, and multicolored spots.
It was within a few days of this that Kassi's depressive mood packed its bags and hiked off to go plague someone else--for she was admitted into Thunderbolt Wing, the first of her weyrling group to graduate. Aside from being wonderful in and of itself, this promotion also meant that she'd finally get to move out of the Barracks, so Kassi was of course overjoyed. The Barracks were nice and all, but would you want to share a stone couch with a fully-grown dragon who keeps hogging the sleeping furs?
A few Turns ago, Benden's senior queen Leilanth rose to mate and laid a fine clutch of thirty eggs as a result. When the time came for them to Hatch, Kassima's cousin Thera, whom Lysseth had Searched, Impressed green Lilith and became one of the Weyrlings; since then, she's graduated and been taken into Dawnslight Wing. Though Kassi hoped to find some way to get Thera to pay back those marks now that her cousin was back at the Weyr, this hope was entirely in vain.
Now, it's been said before that Kassi enjoys excitement, and Benden is rich in that--but sometimes the excitement isn't the kind of thing anyone wishes for. Not very long after the graduation of the latest clutch, news came to the Weyr that a strange band of non-violent renegades was operating in the Benden area, even going so far as to steal supplies from a Lemos tithe train. After two Turns of planning, discussion, and waiting through the winters, a plan was formulated: a false caravan would be set up and used as a lure with which the renegades would be trapped. A Benden Weyr resident named Asrai had some knowledge of the caves around Lemos; since she was also a rather unsuspectable figure, she agreed to play the part of a lost Holder who had been along with the caravan. With Kassi and Lysseth watching from afar, Asrai performed her role perfectly and got the renegades to buy the whole story. It was not long after this that Weyrleader P'tran, Skyfire Wingsecond Ursa, K'tyn, Lal, T'vor, and Kassi went off to capture them, with fortunate success and no serious injuries to either side.
At other times, the things that keep life at the Weyr from ever being dull can be entertaining indeed. For example, it would seem that for the past several Turns, Kassima and Kindre have been in a competition of sorts with M'rgan. It all started when Mart won a mark from Kindre by playing pin the tail on the runner at the Ruathan Runner Festival. Determined to prove that Mart's wins are all luck and not skill as he claims, Kassi and Kin have since been trying to best the brownrider in any games of chance they run across. It was a strange and perhaps somewhat ironic twist of fate when Kindre's golden Herath rose one evening while Mart was visiting (and looking just dashing in the new kilt that Kassi had forced--err, persuaded him to wear), and Mart's brown Ularrith proved the victor. In this busy time, did the greenrider and the goldrider forget about their vendetta against the brownrider to devote time to more important concerns? Nahhhhh. (Just ask him sometime about the dress incident!) And when the eggs Hatched, Kassi was delighted not only to find her friend Asrai--whom Lysseth had Searched--and other Candidates she liked Impressing, but to win a sizeable amount of marks in bets as well.
When their conditions were confirmed by a Healer, both of the greenriders and the bronzerider found themselves faced with a future as first-time parents. Kassi moved in with Meli and T'lar at Meli's suggestion, occupying a small separate weyr that was connected to theirs. The nine months passed by too slowly for her liking; she could often be heard making quips about her resemblance to a dead, bloated fish, staunchly denying Cav's claims that she had to be carrying at least three kids, and hiding from the sadistic Healer Garant. She also felt that her belief in the Water's powers had truly been justified, for surely only Cav's tricking her into drinking most of a full skin of the stuff could have gotten her into this predicament.
Eventually, the time came; Kassi went into labor in the Living Cavern (which she blames on the vinegar, rivergrain pudding, and garlic combination she'd eaten the night before even to this day) and was escorted to the Infirmary... where Meli, too, started her contractions. Though both swore to high heaven that they'd get even with T'lar and men in general for causing this, the births were uncomplicated and fairly quick--and thus it was that on the thirty-first day of the eleventh month of the eighteenth Turn in the Tenth Pass, Kassima spawned a dark-haired daughter whom she named Kaylira, and Meli's blonde son Tamlin soon followed.
Will Kassi mellow out some now that she's become a mother? Probably not. In fact, it likely wouldn't be surprising if months of the weirdest diet ever seen on Pern have worked to make her loonier than ever. And as to whether Kaylira has inherited her mother's dementia... well, rumor has it that the wise bettors have placed their marks on it.
It was during this jesting-spree that the Weyrleader came over to see how Kindre was doing. He then asked Kassi how much longer she was due to be grounded; he said something to the effect that he would need to find something for her to do, once she answered that she had months yet to go. Suspecting that she was about to be assigned dawn sweeps for life for those cracks about bronzeriders, Kassi was thunderstruck when she was instead told that she should try to spend more time with F'hlan and F'nar, the Thunderbolt Wingseconds... so that they could properly teach her to be a Wingsecond herself. Once she managed to shut her jaw and stammer an acceptance of the position, she was given a Wingsecond's knot in place of that which had marked her as a greenrider, and she wore that knot with pride for nearly four Turns.
When Kaylira was almost a Turn old, the child was fostered to Kassi's cousin Simaeva, who then lived in Benden's Lower Caverns. Much though Kassi loved her daughter, she knew better than to think she would make a suitable full-time mother; her life was just too busy to give Kaylira the constant attention that she deserved. Kassi relocated back to her old weyr as soon as Cav began the month of servitude he owed her from a lost bet--after all, why move all that heavy furniture herself when she could get someone to do it for her?
Hatching time came upon Benden again in due course. This time, it was Merla's golden Kimbrith who rose, and E'ryn's brown Parth of Ista who caught her. While awaiting the Hatching of the eventual twenty-eight egg clutch, Kassi and Lysseth Searched several persons--including Alexi, a kitchen worker at Benden, who Impressed bronze Nraith at the Hatching and became A'lex. Once again, Kassi found herself winning a surplus of marks--and with Mart not stealing any of her cash for awhile, due to a certain incident that occured at HRW one day, she even got to hold on to some of them for a time.
Later happenings at Benden were unfortunately not so positive or exciting, though they were certainly events to keep an eye on. Benden's water supply began to dwindle. The Hot Springs became dangerous to bathe in; the Lake, mostly mud. Though Thunderbolt and the other Wings sent out patrols to try and determine the reason that the spring runoff had been blocked from the Weyr, it was all in vain. Rumors on what the possible effects on the Weyr and its people might be abounded; nevertheless, most people--Kassi included--were confident that a solution could be found eventually.
The Weyrcouncil of Pern removed both Telgarian leaders from their positions of authority once the Telgar Weyrfolk presented strong evidence that they were only aiding in the Weyr's downfall. However, there was a condition: a senior Weyrwoman from another Weyr must transfer there in Benna's place. To this day, Kassi is not sure why Jehrina was the one chosen to go. Benden Weyr was in a crisis, after all--shouldn't they have kept their strongest leaders by them, and sent a junior queen? The Weyrcouncil apparently didn't see it that way. This decision was announced to the Bendenites one night at a fateful Weyrmeeting--and as if that weren't enough, it was further proclaimed that the Weyrleader, the Weyrlings, and five full Wings of Benden riders would also have to make the sojourn. Wingleader P'tran decided that he would offer Thunderbolt as one of the Wings to go... which meant, for Kassi, the choice of separating herself from the Wing she'd served for Turns when they would need absolutely every rider they could muster, or leaving her beloved home. No choice at all, really.
Though she tried to look on the bright side of things at first, just what this would mean soon hit Kassima full-force. To say that she loved Benden would be the understatement of at least seven Passes. She had never, ever entertained the thought of leaving it for any reason. It was her home, moreso even than Greystones--for at Benden, she had friends, a life's work, a family, and acceptance from her peers. Yet she could not go back on her agreement. As she told the Wingleader, "Where the Wing goes, so go I." For all that she might and did rue the fact, it was nothing less than the truth.
Almost grimly, Kassi set herself to the task of helping to get her Wing and herself readied for the transfer. Even amidst the unhappiness that was--and still is--predominant in her mind in regards to the move, there were occasional moments of joy; she witnessed J'lyn being selected as the next Wingsecond for Thunderbolt, and Aph being promoted to Wingsecond of Skyfire. She was also present when Ursa was named Weyrsecond in the place of T'fian, who would remain at Benden. Simaeva agreed, too, to come to Telgar with Kassi's daughter so that the rider would not have to leave her child. Yet not even these could banish her melancholy mood. In the end, only the farewell gathering that was thrown to give the departing riders a good send-off brought back a brief return of Kassi's cheerful and laughing self--primarily due to the quantities of strong liquor being served, no doubt.
After that, it was time to make the final move. Leaving most of her gear in her weyr for the nonce, Kassi transported her furniture, her old chair at the Thunderbolt table, and even her favorite Lake Shore perching rock to her new place at Telgar. She got something of a surprise while shifting her things: only eighteen of her massive swarm seemed willing to depart from Benden with her. Kassi had been expecting some of her fire-lizards to go wild before too long, but such a mass defection was an unexpected blow. Still, perhaps it is not an entirely bad thing; having only a remnant of her once-enormous horde to care for has given Kassi more free time to attend her duties and travel when she may--especially to Benden, which she has vowed to continue visiting frequently until either it or she are no more.
Once Kassi got over her hangover, one would think that life would continue as normal. This was not the case. For one, Kassi's life is almost never normal. For two, the greenrider soon found herself feeling rather less than well. She was often tired, queasy, and had a sudden repulsion to anything even resembling a legume. The reason was obvious, once Aph ruled out the idea that Slithereth's bite was somehow turning her into a mutant: Kassi was pregnant. Again. There was only one person who could possibly have sired the child, which left but one question: what would be the result of a genetic cross between one of the most notorious greenriders of all time and a woman who's known for whacking off wherry heads? (Sure, she only did that once--but you try telling Tria that!)
For the first months of Kassima's pregnancy, circumstances kept arising that kept her from informing Jh'rin about his child-to-be. Howevever, fate was to intervene; the Istan greenrider came to Telgar, and the two of them discussed the matter, eventually reaching an understanding and confusing most of the Living Cavern in the process. Coming to be pleased with this turn of events, and secure in the knowledge that Jh'rin was, too, Kassi was then free to turn her attention to the most important aspect of pregnancy: trying to nauseate the people of the Living Cavern with her bizarre cravings.
As odd as Kassi's cravings were, they still weren't as odd as the happenings that kept occuring around her. First, a certain brand of demonic klah came to the Weyr, the effects of which on Kassi's unborn child were wondered about by several. Then, the greenrider's long-time friend Channie, of High Reaches Weyr, decided to stir up some trouble. She determined that M'rgan must be the father of Kassima's child, since his Ularrith had won a flight of Lysseth's awhile back. Never mind that 'awhile' actually amounted to over a Turn's worth of time; she was convinced that she was right, and couldn't be gainsaid. She took it upon herself to inform the brownrider of his nonexistant impending fatherhood. Mart confronted Kassi about the issue and learned the truth (much to his relief); both riders later spoke with Nie about the matter, and the situation was resolved. Mostly.
On a night that was, alas, neither particularly dark nor stormy, Jh'rin came to Telgar, worried by a dream he had about Ista's upcoming clutch. His concern proved most timely; Kassi went into labor before he could escape back to his Weyr. With the Wingsecond's mentee Maylia, green Tierth's rider, attending, Kassima's second daughter was born after several hours of screaming and death-threatening on the part of her mother. Kassi deemed that the perfect name for the healthy and beautiful girl would be Kharisma, considering who had fathered her. With the help of Simaeva, she cared for her new child up until her tenth month of age, at which point Khari joined her elder sister in being primarily Simaeva's charge.
However, life does have a way of coming up with its own little surprises when everything seems sanguine; this was the case then, too. P'tran, Thunderbolt's much-respected Wingleader, began to show strain from his previous tenure as Weyrleader and his continued service as Wingleader: his Wingmates had been noting that he and his Laerth were given to tiring more in long Falls, and often complaining of strained muscles, too. The diagnosis from the Healers was simply that age and stress had taken their toll on the bronzerider. His solution was to announce his retirement from the position... and to recommend Kassima as his replacement.
One can imagine that this came as a surprise to Kassi. As Wingseconds go, she hadn't been serving all that long; she was certainly familiar with the ways of the Wing, but she hadn't been expecting to lead her comrades full-time for some Turns yet, if ever. When presented with the knot, though, she accepted it--and found herself faced with the task of trying to pick up where P'tran left off and follow in his footsteps, something she wasn't quite sure anyone could aspire to do.
Kassi's style of leadership is a bit on the peculiar side. Her hand with punishments is heavy and creative; she makes a point of knowing what sorts of tasks each of her riders likes least, and immediately assigns anyone in need of correcting to a long stint at just that. She can be ruthless about ensuring that her Wing is up to her own very high standards. However, she's far from tyrranical: Kassi may not tolerate foolishness lightly, but she's much more concerned with seeing that mistakes aren't repeated than anything else, and only people who make the same errors over and over will find themselves facing Kassima at her angriest. Kassi's willing to attempt any exercise, no matter how odd it may be, if it shows some sign of being able to increase Thunderbolt's performance and survival rate. She also makes a point of being as friendly and amiable as possible with her Wingriders, disregarding formality, trading jokes, wagers, and gossip, and socializing openly when they're not on active duty. One reason for this is that she never wants to let herself forget that those flying under her are people... and that the cost of a Wingleader's failure to bring all of her own home alive is high.
A few months after the latest Telgar Hatching, there was a bit of a crisis at Bitra: an unseasonal blizzard had come up unexpectedly and trapped a few of the residents away from the Hold. Telgar Weyr was asked to send riders to do an aerial search. Kassi was one of those who volunteered, and, together with several of her Wingriders, she formed a small patrol. They found and rescued five Holderfolk fairly early out, giving them a ride back to Bitra proper; the next day, they discovered another victim and brought him out of the snows. Eventually, between the crews from the Hold searching on the ground and the aerial patrols supplied by the Weyr, most of those who had gone missing were returned to their homes.
More chaos was stirred up for the Weyr in general not long afterwards. After Jehrina announced her retirement from the post of Senior Weyrwoman, Kindre took up the reins, a bare few sevendays before her golden Herath rose in the leadership flight. The winner was not K'tyn's Prometh, but bronze Talibenth, ridden by M'hryn of Ista Weyr. This occurance was met with a variety of reactions from Telgar's people. Kassi, less than pleased with the change, was harder than ever on her Wing during drills for a time, telling anyone who asked that none of her Wingriders were going to die just because the Weyrleader was inexperienced. Fortunately, she had a new war with M'rgan to distract her from turning into a greenriding version of Sionelle.
The situation with the Weyrleader stabilized considerably in time; a few of the Telgar riders even saw the way clear to pull pranks on him. However, there were other happenings to keep life interesting: a number of High Reaches riders came to Telgar as part of a Wing trade... including several of Kassi's friends, one of whom was Mart. Though she did not (to her regret and his indubitable relief) manage to snare him for Thunderbolt, there are still certain advantages to having your archnemesis and several co-conspirators within easy reach.
It was only a month later that Kassi realized that the saga of her offspring was apt become a trilogy, with another child--E'vrin's, of course--on the way. Uh-oh. Given Telgar's general reaction to the news, perhaps it's no wonder that Kassi expected E'vrin to be less than pleased when she told him. That, at least, wasn't the case.
It was then that the problem came to light: E'vrin was very pleased, because sometime in the interim, he'd decided that he was in love with Kassi. Yes, you read that right. This announcement was met in a rather dumbfounded state by our heroine/villainess, needless to say; not only had she never expected any man to make such a claim, but E'vrin barely even knew her, nor she him. Sure, what she did know, she liked... but still! And it didn't do much for her confusion when he suggested the possibility of commitment--to the extent that he mentioned the idea of his transferring to Telgar in order to facilitate their weyrmating, should their relationship work out.
Confused, Kassi sought advice from various friends. She didn't wish to encourage him, lest she disappoint him; however, this only succeeded in hurting him less directly. The two finally sat down and talked about the matter, coming to a tenuous agreement of sorts.
All was not perfect, of course. Though Kassi enjoyed having a steady lover for the first time in her life, she remained convinced that it could only be temporary, and the relationship would dissolve when E'vrin realized that he didn't truly love her.
After many months spent visiting and exchanging gifts and favors with Kassi, E'vrin was understandably a bit surprised to be requested on one such trip to help Kassi find her nightgown--she needed to change into it, she explained, for the coming birth of their child. With Meli, Maylia, Aurian, and archnemesis Ushu in attendance, the greenrider threatened several lives, tried to strangle E'vrin, and eventually produced a healthy, wailing son. The amazed parents agreed to name him Keveris--Kris for short, lest anyone think Kassi was subscribing to her family tradition of giving her children horribly long names.
For a time--an all-too-short time--things were nearly paradaisical. Kassi found herself weakening in her resolve not to love the bronzerider, which she'd made in the conviction that he deserved someone better than her. They attended the next Telgar Hatching together, watching the Impressions and nauseating the rest of the audience. For once, it actually seemed as though Kassi might have met her match.
As it turned out, life wasn't content with depriving Kassi of one of the two men she'd loved; it had to take the other, also. Some sevendays after the greenrider's breakup with E'vrin, Lysseth's sharp keening announced the deaths of Jh'rin and Siaroth in Threadfall at Ista. Sorrowing and faced with the task of comforting Kharisma, who had much adored her father, Kassima avoided the company of others for a time. Grimly, she further swore to herself that she would eschew romance and love henceforth; her past attempts had served to convince her that nothing lay down that route for her but pain.
Consolation after the tragedy came from a surprising source. On Kassi's thirtieth Turnday, M'rgan organized a surprise party for her--and the number of well-wishers attending, to say nothing of giving her gifts, shocked the greenrider out of a measure of her depression; it's always hard to sustain a good blue funk when people are presenting you with crazy songs, frilly underwear, and pink dresses. Though still more subdued and even withdrawn than the norm, Kassi was once more able to assume her natural gaeity in public, even after Weyrling training claimed the lives of M'kla and Torinth.
A good thing, too; with the Weyr under the leadership of Acting Weyrleader A'lex during M'hryn's mysterious absence, our heroine once more had to take up the task of acclimatizing herself and her Wing to a new regime. In some ways, Kassi was more comfortable with 'Lex's leadership, which was entirely (well, all right, mostly) unrelated to the fact that A'lex allowed her to lead the Weyr's Wings in a Threadfall over Woodcraft Hall not long after his ascension.
When Nraith caught Herath in her next mating flight and made A'lex the true Weyrleader, however, the pendulum swung back the other way: he took Kassi's sole Wingsecond to be his Weyrsecond, despite Kassi's misgivings on the matter. This left Kassi in something of a lurch. For nearly three Turns, the greenrider devoted herself to her Wing and her children, infrequently seen in casual settings with too much to do to continue her previous level of social activity.
En midst the simple pleasures of taunting friends and fearing puppets, Kassi had forgotten a very important fact: now that she was out of hiding, all the craziness that had previously marked her life could find her again. It did so, of course, in the form of a Lava Lounge visit that found her waking up with J'lyn there the next morning. Will this woman ever learn the follies of getting drunk with lunatic greenriders?
Given the alternating bronzerider-greenrider-bronzerider and flight-wine-flight patterns that Kassi's spawnings have taken, maybe it shouldn't have surprised her when Lysseth smugly informed her that oh, by the way, she should pay a trip to Stores sometime soon to find a kilt small enough for the hatchling she'd be having in eight months or so. That's not to say it didn't, mind; somehow, she had just never quite expected to find herself spawning with her former Wingsecond, who's well-known for preferring males. She broke the news to Jal in what she's probably still convinced was a reasonable fashion, and once the yelps, blushes, and hysterical laughter died down, resigned her ruefully amused self to another upcoming Kassi-Spawn.
But resigned though she may have been to the main idea, she was thrown additional food for thought soon enough. J'lyn, to her dismay and great annoyance, decided to use his rank over her to ground her--relenting only enough to say that she could travel if she had another rider along as escort, of all ridiculous, unnecessary things. Further, Kena and Mart approached her in the hot springs one evening with a totally unexpected request: they wished to foster the child when it was born. Kassi had been intending to give Simaeva the baby, to be raised with its siblings, so she was rather uncertain about that matter, only consenting after striking a bargain with Mart.
Irritated though she was by the escort requirement, Kassi nevertheless took full advantage of that loophole to keep boredom at bay. South Boll and the Weavercraft co-hosted a Gather late in the summer; as she had once before, Kassi agreed to be one of the models in the Weavers' fashion show, and persuaded the dubious I'sai to do likewise--never mind that she had to bribe him first with marks and an unspecified future favor of his choice. The entertainment value of the show alone proved worth the price. Whether it was also worth the exhorbitant amount of marks that Kassi wound up paying for Leya, I'sai, and herself at the post-show auction, well, only the greenrider knows.
On the last day of the Gather, Kassi's longtime friend Ryialla gave birth to her daughter by I'sai, Ysaira, with a full peanut gallery in attendance. Amazingly, even though to watch the spawning required Kassima to wander into the Healers' very den, she didn't get pounced and dragged off to suffer some sort of nefarious retribution. (She had been stealing jars of mint-sticks from the Infirmary to sate her spawning cravings, and as if that weren't bad enough, had addicted Leya and others to the things so that now the Healers could barely keep a jar for more than two minutes without it disappearing.) At least, not immediately. The Healers waited until her next thievery attempt, at which point they ambushed her and hauled her off to be examined. This may have been a blessing in disguise, for as it turns out, they had news for Kassi: rather than the single child she thought she had been carrying, she was in fact going to spawn twins in four months' time.
What could Kassi do but try to cope? She continued to haunt the Weyr in her waddling way, witnessing the havoc of gold Rinath's first flight, vexing the Healers, and addicting more and more people to the glories of mint. When the time finally came for her to deliver the twins, she did so with mint sticks and friends both on hand: J'lyn, Maylia, Leya, and an unconscious Ushu were all witness to the birth and naming of daughter Kimlyn and son Kyjain.
Kassima, after pensive consideration, encouraged the idea. When the bronzerider arrived, not only did she welcome him warmly, but she gave him the patch of Thunderbolt Wing: slated to receive the next bronze to balance her green and blue-heavy ranks, Kassi found herself in the peculiar position of being directly in command over a former lover who was perhaps still beloved.
Those people of Telgar who were hoping E'vrin's new place at the Weyr would lead to a happy ending at last for Our Heroine were doomed to disappointment, however. There could be no returning to their former relationship; he made it clear that he did not love her--at least, not in the fashion she needed to be loved--and she did not trust him not to hurt her again. In personal relations, they were friends and nothing more. Their professional relationship at least was somewhat more successful: a few months after E'vrin's transfer, Kassi promoted both him and Leya to the rank of Wingsecond. Kena, who also held that position, stepped down shortly thereafter, the roles of foster-mother and Senior Dragonhealer taking too much of a toll on her ability to perform other duties.
Things continued on in this vein for some sevendays. But Kassi had changed since last E'vrin had known her: much of her laughter had been replaced almost entirely by despair over the lonely Turns, and while never neglectful of her family or duties, she had taken to drinking heavily in her off-hours after turning the twins over to Mart and Kena. Ev saw fit (while somewhat tipsy himself) to inform her that depressive Wingleaders weren't good for much--words that led to an angry, no-holds-barred fight between the two, which ended in turn in a resumption of their former physical intimacy.
Kassi was greatly tired of being alone. So when E'vrin suggested that they become lovers again even though there was no love of the romantic variety between them, the greenrider agreed. Perhaps it was her subconscious suspicion that this offer was made more from pity than anything else that made the arrangement short-lived; after only a few months, she went back to her chaste lifestyle, though better for the experience. Something about her time with Ev had finally allowed much of her love for him to fade into the affection of old friends, and if her loneliness was not cured, at least some of her bitterness seems to have gone.
With some encouragement, she took her retreat from hermitage even further than that, beginning to travel again to other places for special events; Merielan and Aisling learned the follies of drinking with the greenrider at Boll, and poor T'kar found himself collared into the role of Thunderbolt's Wingsecond when he allowed Kassi to shanghai him and Leya to a belated induction ceremony. K'ran was accused of impotence. A fish was gutted in the High Reaches Living Cavern. A Masquerade Ball was planned, and--with I'sai's help in organization, and the help of many others in execution--pulled off with great success. Kassi was in full form, and on top of the world.
Speaking of I'sai, it would be remiss to talk about this time period without mentioning that illustrious bronzerider and a particular series of bets Kassi made in relation to him. The young Wingsecond had set Weyr tongues to wagging by siring four children at a fairly young age; when Kassi's new Wingrider Alessandra and brownrider Ceria let it be known that they, too, were pregnant by him, the gossip and teasing spread like wildfire. Kassima wasn't at all above joining in the fray, managing to place several wagers to this effect: I'sai would have eight or more children in his lifetime, equalling the totals of legendary spawners F'hlan and M'kla. When all was said and done, she stood to win no less than twelve marks if this came to pass. So, needless to say, she was quite enthusiastic and supportive of I'sai's unintentional Weyr-repopulation efforts.
Poetic justice decided to step in at this point. Shortly after the births of babies five and six, Lysseth rose to mate; Taralyth, for the second time, caught her. And in due course, Kassi found herself in the interesting position of needing to inform the subject of her bet that she would be providing him with his seventh child herself--or so she thought. I'sai was good enough to tell her that as it happened, his true seventhborn had arrived at Igen that day. None other than Kassi would be the mother of the crucial eighth spawn. So perhaps it's not surprising after all that she offered Is a cut of her winnings. Man, people are going to say she'll do anything to win a bet now....
Kassima was looking forward to the birth of this child; it had been several Turns since the twins, and she'd given them up sooner than she really wanted to besides. Between her own delight in her condition and I'sai's apparent contentment--not to mention his generous gifts and concern--she enjoyed pregnancy more than usual. Quite likely, she would have said that her life couldn't get much better for her. And she would have been wrong. One evening, while Kassi and Kaylira were chatting in the Hot Springs, P'tod and his brown Semeth dropped by... and took Kay away with them when they left, away to Ista where a clutch of eggs awaited Candidates. Kassi was at once thrilled and immensely proud of her eldest-born.
Said eldest-born was worried, though, that her mother might try to come to the Hatching even when she was far too pregnant for such antics; with good reason, too--Kassima wasn't about to miss Kay's chance at standing. This turned out not to be necessary. Before the eggs at Ista Hatched, about a sevenday in advance of when she was due, the greenrider gave birth to her sixth child and fourth daughter with petal-lover Ushu for once nowhere in sight. Master Sauscony, Kichevio, and Ryialla were all looking on when, with the approval of the amazingly tolerant and pain-enduring I'sai, Kassi gave their beautiful little girl the name Kisai.
Unfortunately, this blessed event was not to be followed by another; when the eggs at Ista Hatched, Kassi witnessed, not Kaylira's Impression, but her daughter being left Standing. She brought Kay home to Telgar afterwards. Though she remained concerned for the young woman, the fact that Saulith soon Searched Kay again for Herath and Chezroth's clutch brought her some hope... and some distraction from the mildly disturbing news that her eldest had acquired a dedicated male admirer.
Yet even here there was chaos brewing. Weyr events were to have an impact on the Candidacy. While flying an early-morning Threadfall, A'lex and Nraith suffered a serious injury--sufficiently serious that the bronzerider felt it necessary to retire as Weyrleader; in his stead, he appointed J'lyn. And one of the first changes J'lyn made was to make Macami, Kassi's fellow Coordinator and a relatively recent transferee from Igen Weyr, the new Wingleader of Skyfire Wing. Despite this new responsibility, Macami completed her term as CC without so much as a hitch, and Kassima found herself respecting the brownrider's abilities as much as she had respected those of her predecessor. (Or nearly so. She is a bit biased on Mart's behalf, after all.)
And what of the Hatching? It occured in due course, as Hatchings must. For the first time since she had Stood on Benden's Sands nearly twenty-five Turns ago, Kassima had a proverbial front-row seat for such an event... and while she tried not to show it too obviously, she was terribly proud of her erstwhile charges when they either found their new life-partners or endured the trial of being left Standing with dignity and grace. Then, once it was over, she stepped out of the role of Coordinator and back into that of mother in order to comfort Kaylira; her daughter's dragon had not been at Telgar, but Kay seemed better able to accept this than before. In fact, she expressed an interest in moving to Ista Weyr to strike out permanently on her own--a concept that didn't entirely please the greenrider, yet were she asked, she would grudgingly admit that her daughter had the right idea. It was time for Kay to make a life for herself away from the shelter of her family.
Kaylira was not the only one for whom time was passing, either. Kassi realized one day with some dismay that the Turns had zipped by with lightning speed--she was nearing the Unmentionable Age of forty, at which point she'd surely be considered ancient and decrepit by all. 'Thrilled' was just not the word for her feelings on this matter. Her plan became to spend her Turnday getting thoroughly intoxicated in a convenient bar, and then lie about her age for the rest of her life (after all, she surely wouldn't be the first woman to stay thirty-nine forever...), but this intention was quite thoroughly disrupted when I'sai, via Taralyth, called her down to the Living Cavern. It would seem that certain Weyrfolk had no intention of letting this particular occasion slip by unnoticed. And so, thanks to the machinations of delightfully evil Telgarians--Talisha and Shawnah included, with Zaidra taking the time to present Kassi with a lovely gift from the Weyrlings--the Wingleader did not go off to drink, but instead had a celebration, a cake, and a stripper all of her very own.
One of the new riders was destined for an interesting life of her own, and it came upon her (and everyone else) startlingly soon: Macami elected to retire from Wingleadership of Skyfire, and in her place J'lyn chose to raise recent graduate Zaidra, who until that point had ridden with Dawnslight. Murmurs of concern were heard in some corners of the Weyr... not over Zai's potential, no; she showed every sign of having what it took to be a Wingleader, but her lack of experience was hard not to notice. It was this over all, perhaps, that would eventually lead to a bitter falling-out between Kassima and I'sai when the latter chose to go to Ista for a Turn and a half to help teach their soon-to-come Weyrlings--but details on the conflict were hard to come by, as Kassi wasn't inclined to speak of the matter.
Yet there's no cloud without its silver lining. This particular clutch at Ista was one of some interest to Kassi, since Kaylira had once again been Searched to Stand for it; her hopes for her daughter were another thing she didn't talk much about, perhaps to avoid jinxing Kay's luck. She needn't have worried. The third time proved to be the charm; while her anxious mother watched with bated breath, Kaylira announced the name of her new lifemate to the world, and the joyous shrieks and trumpets from Kassi and Lysseth respectively probably deafened some of the folk nearest! Laughing and crying and hugging the friends who were around her, Kassima made her pride in her eldest plain (and probably made a fool of herself, but it's doubtful she could have cared less), and spent the rest of the night drinking toasts with Lirra to Kay and her brown Pheirth.
Fortunately for all concerned, Kassi had other things in life to distract her. After Ursa's brown Spineth caught Tarlo's gold Cariath, making Lysseth an aunt for the first time, the inevitable cycle of Searching and Hatching caught the Weyr up in its rhythms; a perfectly pleasant sparring match that Kassi was having with Telgar huntress Yashira was ruinously interrupted when Lysseth decided to Search Yash before any winner could be determined. Nor did Kassi get a chance for a rematch right away, since brown Decarath claimed Yashira on the Sands. But she did find herself assigned to the new brownrider as a mentor, and did her level best to be helpful to Yash in her odd way up until the time the clutch graduated and she tapped her erstwile mentee into Thunderbolt.
Then there was the issue with I'sai. Two Turns passed without much contact occuring between them, save for when Is would visit Kisai... and even then, Kassi arranged to be absent more often than not. She was distressed not only by the action that had caused their estrangement in the first place, but also by her perception that he seemed to be in no particular hurry to mend fences. (Never mind that he was probably assuming she didn't want to mend fences, given how she was avoiding him. It's hard to deny that Kassima isn't always the most logical of persons.) However, when I'sai approached her one evening in the Storage Rooms to discuss whether they might be able to, at least, talk to one another again, she admitted that she would find that preferrable, and their relations slowly improved.
It probably didn't hurt that he'd caught her in a good mood, a side-effect of a recent trip she'd made to Fort Weyr; while bringing an evening's catch of fish to Master Jorenan (Telgar's own cooks weren't inclined to accept such gifts from Kassi, as Lysseth's rising had just finished another spate of proddiness), she met up with Weyrsecond L'nan, whom she'd terrorized a time or two before in friendly fashion. His blue Alirath had just failed to catch a green, which put him into a bit of a mood and led him to suggest something to her: namely, that he'd like for her to give him a lift up to his weyr and console him there. This was something that, though Kassi might well have been willing to do for some of her closer male friends, no one had ever asked her for before; surprised and rather flattered, she agreed, and spent the night with him at Fort.
There was some embarrassment on both sides the following morning. But once again to Kassi's surprise, L'nan not only didn't seem unduly horrified, but instead pleased once the initial awkwardness had died off. He invited her to come to the Weyr and share company with him whenever she wished, and she invited him to visit Telgar for similar reasons, thus beginning a casual, friendly relationship between the two. Without infatuation being an issue, Kassi didn't waste time worrying or being pensive over it; instead, she was more apt to show high spirits about the whole thing.
Not long after the dragonets cracked shell, Kaylira's Pheirth called Kassima and Lysseth over to Ista. Kassi was rather disturbed by this summoning--as well she should have been, though her worry was initially for the wrong reasons. Nothing had gone wrong for Kay... she simply had a few pieces of news to share with her mother. Namely, that she'd been promoted to Wingleader by M'llon, who was now her formal weyrmate. And while Kassi was still choking over that one, Kay threw another log onto the fire: she was pregnant. But she wasn't sure whether the baby's father was M'llon, as one might expect, or Ursa's son U'yn.
These revelations caused Kassi some difficulty for an assortment of reasons. The Wingleadership wasn't entirely unexpected; Kay had been serving as Acting Wingleader of Timor for quite some time while Tella was away attending to family concerns. But that weyrmating! Oh, certainly, that too might have been predicted. Kaylira had made no secret of her love for the much older bronzerider. And he was reported to love her in return, which was all to the good. But it remained fact that M'llon was said to also be dallying with Fluria on a regular basis, and when Kay ducked the question of whether her new weyrmate had given the goldrider up to cleave to her alone, it gave Kassi a pretty good idea of where things stood. Even that disturbance paled compared to the final one, though--Kassi was in no ways ready to be a grandmother. Nor had she anticipated doubts about the paternity of any of her grandchildren. And when you throw in the fact that U'yn was rumored to be in a romantic tangle of his own that included Yashira, well... maybe it's no surprise that Kassi had little luck in coming to terms with things for awhile. Truthfully, it's arguable that she still isn't completely at ease with the situation.
Kassima wasn't, however, about to let Kay's child go unacknowledged or ignored, whether she was comfortable thinking about it or no. The greenrider went straight away to Healer Hall to seek out Craftsecond Sauscony and struck a bargain with her: the Healer, who had attended Kisai's birth, would also attend the birth of Kaylira's child... if Kassima would spend some social time at the Hall. Given Kassi's distrust of Healers in general and their Hall in particular, it says something about her love for her daughter that she consented to this deal. Another trip took her to the Weavercraft for baby clothing, and she later commissioned a cradle from Telgar's own Woodcrafter Jeroch. It's interesting to note though that despite all this frenetic shopping, she was reluctant to tell anyone about her daughter's forthcoming offspring--and did not even inform the Crafters just whom she was shopping for unless she was pressed.
It's scarcely surprising that between these activities, her continued casual relationship with L'nan, the time she spent around the Weyrlings--she even had a rare opportunity to teach Elauren a class herself when Ursa allowed mentors to give their mentees the first lesson in hunting--and the usual bustle of Weyrlife, Kassi's days were for awhile somewhat crowded and hectic, though she still found time for such important activities as mud-wrestling with Maylia and providing assistance (along with teams of riders from Thunderbolt, Skyfire, and Starblaze) when the Smithcraft Hall suffered a destructive fire. As such, she found the time until Kaylira's baby was due passing with an almost alarming swiftness. It was a frantic and anxious greenrider who descended upon Ista when Bromith and Pheirth informed Lysseth that Kay wished her mother's presence. But Kaylira, though easily as frightened as Kassi had been when her birth was nigh, endured the experience admirably well, and within a few hours was delivered of her first son and Kassima's first grandson: Kaylon.
By the time the greenrider decided to indulge in a midday fishing trip by a southerly river, she was in sufficiently good spirits that she didn't really require further distraction per se--which is almost a shame, since the day's events would certainly provide it in plenty. She discovered that O'wyn, bronze Baeth's rider of Southern Weyr, was already preparing to fish there; he was amenable however to sharing the spot, and they struck up a friendly conversation while spectacularly failing to catch anything. They also drank. They drank quite a bit. Beer, wine, some of the hard liquor Kassi had brought along--it was a very cheerful alcohol-fest. And, well, sometime after all this drinking they decided there might be more fun things to do on a warm and sunny afternoon than fish.
Kassi thus returned to Telgar late that evening quite cheerful, if somewhat hung over, and remained cheerful for various reasons for about three sevendays. After that point, she was generally too busy being nauseated to be all that cheerful. Suspicious, but not really daring to get her hopes up, Kassima waited until Lysseth's recovery from a nasty char-burn on her wing (incurred during a particularly rough series of drills) meant that she would be expected to return to work to seek out a Healer; fortunately for her, Sauscony happened to be visiting Telgar that evening and was willing to examine the greenrider and thus spare her from Ushu's rose-petal-laden mercies. The diagnosis was that Kassi was, indeed, pregnant with her seventh child.
Since she'd not seen L'nan for a decent stretch of time, Kassima could at least be certain of the baby's paternity; of course, that meant she'd have to tell poor Ozy, who after all barely knew her, that he was going to be a father. (She's had to tell a comical number of near-strangers that they're going to be parents, at this point. It's an odd track record for a not-highly-promiscuous woman.) She got a chance to do so when he came up on a visit they'd arranged some time before. Thankfully, he took the news altogether well and much better than she had feared he might, and knowing that he was pleased--if, naturally, somewhat surprised--by the situation left her free to be thrilled without any concerns in that direction.
Concerns in other directions, though, were a different matter. Another clutch was soon warming on the Telgar Sands, courtesy of Daelyth and Palineth; Kassima had the fortune first to win a good share of marks by guessing the number of eggs exactly, then later to usher a new Candidate into the Barracks when Lysseth decided that being grounded wouldn't stop her from Searching Yselle. More traumatically, she also found herself the sudden subject of Katlynn's non-platonic affections. The Masterweaver had been sufficiently disgruntled by the behavior of the various men in her life that she decided romancing women might be preferrable. Why she decided Kassi was the woman she wanted is something the greenrider couldn't begin to guess at, but Kat started to send gifts, and flowery notes, and then finally visited Telgar in person to confess her feelings. Though Kassi tried to convince Kat that she feels no attraction to women whatsoever and could only see her as a friend, Kat's been quite determined so far; in fact, Kassi's already had to talk her out of plans that involved group intimacy with I'sai and O'wyn, among other things. This situation promises to be an adventure.
With all this on the boil--not to mention having to fend off endless questions from I'sai about Ozy's sexual prowess in the meanwhile--the months of Kassi's pregnancy passed relatively quickly, interspersed by such delightful things as the gift of a beautiful quilt he himself had made for her from Ozy and a visit to the South that left her facetiously swearing that she'd found a new place to retire. But as much as she'd loved being pregnant again, she was still quite ready to be through with cravings (for fish this time, of all ironic things) and waddling by the time she actually went into labor on a day when most of the Weyr was celebrating autumn with a harvest outing. O'wyn didn't waste any time in responding to her call through Lysseth, and with Sauscony once again acting as Healer and sparing everyone from the antics of Ushu, Kassima delivered a fine and healthy boy. Once she'd recovered somewhat, she and Ozy decided upon Kaswyn as the name of their son.
One subject that came up often between Kassima and the Weyrlings she spoke with was mating flights. Many of the clutch's femaleriders seemed nervous about the prospect; Kassi tried to reassure them, and was pleased to do it, never suspecting along the way the impact one new greenrider's flight would have on her own life. When Yselle's Dianneth eventually rose, many males chased her--including I'sai's Taralyth. It was Indrath who won, however. Kassi, who'd been hiding out in the Records Room (and who'd discreetly watched the pre-flight antics of the maleriders, so was able to gleefully witness Yashira planting her knee between B'var's legs after the Fortian slapped her behind), dared the maddening throng once it had thinned to offer Is the wineskin she'd been drinking from. Some wild impulse bid her not stop there: quietly, she also offered him a different form of consolation. He took her up on it, and the two of them exited together, stage left.
With Kaswyn just over a Turn old--and only a few months weaned--it really didn't occur to Kassi that her reward (as it were) for this moment of impulsiveness would be more than the obvious, but given her proven fertility and I'sai's proven virility she really should have known better. After a smug Lysseth's certainty had indeed been borne out by a Healer's examination, Kassi tracked down the bronzerider to let him know that they would have a second child together; his eleventh child overall... and her eighth. They would each end up providing the other with their eighthborn. How could Kassi not be entertained by the poetic justice of that? I'sai took the news well and seemed as happy as she about their incipient parenthood redux, so all was sunshine and roses for the greenrider--or at least close to it. It's hard for things to be all sunshine and roses when morning sickness is involved.
The pregnancy turned out to be a gratifying one in many ways. Kassima was surprised to discover (and not for the first time) just how many of her friends were interested in lending her a hand, or offered to watch her young son when she needed an evening to herself. As for I'sai, he was as ever a marvel and continued to pay her frequent visits--further sweetened by gifts of mint or pine boughs--even after he was posted to Smithcraft as a temporary watchrider during the last three months before their child arrived. Or rather, the last three and a half months; the baby was in no particular hurry to enter the world, which had begun to worry Kassi by the time he finally did decide to make his entrance. The extra wait and the infant's resultant good size made the birth a bit strenuous, but at least it was short, and Is found someone to substitute for him at Smithcraft so he could be there to support Kassima and see their son be born. Delighted with the lovely, vigorous boy if not with the Healer who'd delivered him, the pleased parents decided to call him Kaisan... and not 'Raisin,' as confusion on V'dan's part later caused it to be rumored. Whose confusion was to blame for the companion rumor that Kassi set Is on fire during her labor remains unclear.
In the meanwhile, Kassima's life as a rider, occasional mischief-maker, and
fire-lizard chew toy seems bound to continue. Both she and her dragon remain
healthy and whole, and between leading her Wing, spending time with her children,
wagering on just about anything she can, and travelling when duty allows, she never
lacks for something to do. What will the future next hold in store for her?
(Aside, as always, from rampant chaos....)
Pictures of Kassima
A'lex has drawn a fantastic Kassi-pic, and one that strikes fairly close to home. I've made some slight modifications to it myself, but most of the work is his.
Furthermore, a marvelous artist named Julia has gone beyond the borders of mere generosity to draw a group picture of Kassi and some of her closest friends. (M'rgan has once again put me muchly in his debt by putting the labels on the large pic, and resizing it into a smaller version as well.) Julia has also done a superb sketch of Kassi alone.
I've recently rediscovered this lovely colored sketch of Kassi which Kindre did and sent me awhile back. I'm sure Kyril appreciates being included, not to mention looking so delightfully sinister!
Emne did me a great service in drawing several pictures of Kassi, which can be found in a gallery together. They have varying degrees of accuracy--the one at the very bottom is my favorite--but all of them are excellent drawings!
Kin commissioned this pic of Kassi and Kin in a snow-fight from Mylee Ejercito. I would like to state here and now that this artist does wonderful work; the pic is absolutely beautiful.
Mirala was inspired by a certain Bollian Masquerade to draw this... uh... interesting image. I rather like the evil expression--it's as if the Kassi-Wherry is concentrating on summoning the forces of darkness with her dance or something.
Mylee Ejercito did me the wonderful favor of drawing Kassi as Lady Benden for a Day. I can't say enough about how marvelously she drew Kassi's Celestial Ball gown; it makes me wish I could have one that looks just like it in real life! This image is copyrighted by the artist, and may not be reproduced without her permission.
Some time ago, I decided to draw Kassi myself, with rather dubious results. I wouldn't say that this one is particularly good or accurate. Still, I'm vain enough to post it anyway; I only ask that viewers keep in mind that it was done in MS Paint while they mock my lack of skills.
The ever-talented, ever-bizarre A'ser has drawn several fabulous anime-style pictures of Our Heroine: the first in honor of the Great Table War, and the second seeming to depict Kassi in a rare vulnerable moment. (I think she might have looked like this while Standing on the Sands, minus the earrings.) The third is a colored variant, and very well-done. The fourth... well, it truly defies description, and I mean that in a good if snicker-filled way. The fifth is an image of Kassi dressed as the Easter bunny, and yes, it's every bit as surreal as it sounds. Then there's the sixth. I refuse to comment on the sixth.
And finally, a certain paragon of greenrider disturbingness named Talisha has come up with a Chibi-Kassi. I particularly like the little devil-horns.
Kindre did this cute small graphic of Lyss for me. This may be the only depiction of a dragon fighting Thread that I would ever term adorable.
Catalina is responsible for this lovely picture of Lysseth. While the color's a bit lighter than I picture her, the pose is consummate Lyss. She's also recently done a revised version, complete with a truly striking background.
There's also a watercolor Lysseth done by Schmitt of Telgar. I think my favorite aspects of this picture are the wings and coloring (whether the dark version or the light version), but the chosen perspective and pose are pretty good, too.
Last updated September 25, 2004.
The World of Pern is copyright(c) to Anne McCaffrey l967. The Dragonriders of Pern(r) is a registered copyright. The character of Kassima, her websites, and all materials being presented as written by her are the intellectual property of her player. Many thanks to K'ti for the excellent Moonrise Patch graphic.
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