Part 15

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J'gol and Missa stood in the weyr bowl. The day was cloudy which made the temperature balmy instead of hot.

"I want to impress upon you the seriousness of what I'm about to teach you," J'gol said. "If you waiver, if you lost concentration, if you allow yourself to become distracted, the consequences are dire. You could end up somewhere you can't get back from. You could come out of /between/ in the middle of a mountain entombed in rock, or in the branches of a tree with branches sticking out of vital organs. You could /between/ and never come back again."

Missa swallowed.

"It is why we make absolutely sure that you have the maturity to be cautious and not take unnecessary risks," J'gol said. "Have I made myself sufficiently clear?"

"Yes, J'gol."

"Now, we're going to practice the first thing you need to learn," he said. "Know where you want to go, and then be able put the image in your mind. Apeth will see it and take you there. She depends on you. You are the reigns and she is the transportation. She gets you to where you steer her."

It took quite a bit of self-control for Missa not to roll her eyes. I get it. I got all the other times you said it.

"Think of the docks down by the beach," he said. "Do you have it in your mind?"

Missa closed her eyes and pictured the docks with the waves crashing against the large support posts at low tide.

[[ That was easy ]] Apeth said.

[[ I don't think we're done yet ]] Missa said.

"Very good," J'gol said. "A nice clear picture. That is what you want to strive for. Now go ahead and get on Apeth. Today's real exercise is to go to different important points here on the Southern Continent so that you have a series of places you can go to. I will be giving Apeth the image through Acinth. This will give you practice is giving and receiving images in your mind and memorizing these points."

Missa took in deep breaths as she strapped herself into her riding straps. She retrieved her riding leather jacket, gloves and hat from the thong attached to Apeth's straps, and hurried to put them on.

[[ Acinth's rider ask if you are ready ]] Apeth said.

[[ Tell him 'yes' ]] Missa felt like her heart was going to beat out of her chest.

Apeth and Acinth leapt into the air and gained a bit of altitude.

[[ Acinth's rider says that you need to take a minute to memorize the Eye Rock. He called it your 'home point']]

Even though Missa had seen the Eye Rock a million times since being at the weyr, it wasn't something she had paid too close attention to. It was just there. Mindful of what J'gol had said, she looked over the rock to make sure she had all it's details memorized in her mind, before instructing Apeth to tell J'gol that she felt confident that she had good image.

[[ Acinth's rider says that you must remember it because that is how you are coming back when we are done. Acinth's rider says to be ready to go /between/. I am so excited to do this myself ]] Apeth said.

[[ Me, too, sweet girl ]] Missa said unable to keep the smile from her face even though inside she felt scared to death.

[[ I have the image. We go /between/ ]]

Without further warning, Apeth popped from the air above the weyr to the numbing cold of /between/. Missa counted to three and then they were above Southern Hold near to where the fire pits were. Missa let out the breath she didn't know she was holding and let out a yell of excitement. [[ We did it! ]]

[[ That was too easy. Wasn't this supposed to be hard? ]]

[[ The hard part will be when J'gol isn't the one giving the images. ]]

[[ You're my rider. You're the best of them all. You would never put us in danger. ]]

[[ Exactly right, sweet girl. I couldn't bear to lose you, so we'll just be really careful.]]

The rest of the afternoon J'gol popped them all over the Southern Continent from Ierne Island far to the west to Cove Hold to the east. Exhilaration filled her chest. This had been the most exciting thing she'd done since Impressing Apeth. And soon, she'd be able to do it on her own and go wherever she wanted to go.

Later in the evening she was sitting at a table for the evening meal when Kila came up and sat down next to her.

"So the weyrling information network says that you were learning to /between/ all afternoon with J'gol," she said.

"Yes," Missa said. "Oh, Kila, it's so exciting and scary at the same time."

"I can't wait until he starts teaching us to do that. I'm getting so bored of flying formations and throwing firestone sacks," she said, poking at the food on her plate.

"Have you had a chance to see Chasse lately?" Missa asked.

"Yes," Kila said. "I'm so glad you showed me how to get to Southern Hold. It's been so nice to use my free time to see him and be near him."

"I'm glad. It must have been horrible to be so far away from someone you love."

"So, this last time I went there, I was almost late for curfew," Kila said. "I was so afraid I'd be late and get in trouble and then I wouldn't be able to go see him for a long time. If only I could go /between/ like you are."

Missa sat for a minute letting a plan form in her mind. "You know, /betweening/ isn't really that hard. It's just a matter of keeping a clear picture of where you want to go in your mind and then your dragon does the rest. Maybe after I have a few more lessons with J'gol I could teach you how to go to just Southern Hold. That way you would only have to know one place rather than all the places I need to know. You'll be learning to /between/ yourself soon. What do you think?"

Kila hugged Missa. "I would be so grateful if you would do that. I mean it can't hurt if it's just one place. That would be easy to do."

Missa smiled at the other girl. It was so good to finally have someone who she considered a friend, besides G'dran.

Something tugged at the back of her mind after Kila had left to go feed her dragon. One point wouldn't be bad. It was easy and she'd be giving Kila's dragon the information.  J'gol made sure they had come back and forth so many times it's not like she'd have to think about the image very hard.  Sending images to Acinth through Apeth and been easy too, so it's not like anything bad would happen.

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