Chapter Four

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Terom spit on his cloth and rubbed the last of the smudges from the metal around the seat. He'd been as careful as possible, but attaching leather to metal was tricky. He rolled it back and forth to make sure that there was no pull from any of the wheels and that they moved with the surface of the worktable. Satisfied it would be as ready as he could make it, he took it over to the wooden crate he had made to transport it. He'd stuffed it with dried grasses so during transport, it wouldn't get dinged or scratched. He hammered the lid shut and set it aside in his workshop.

He hoped she liked it. Her quick reply to his message was hopeful at least. She had said he would have her appreciation. If Wendle had seen that, he'd make some vulgar comment about her appreciation. The rumor was women from the weyr were generous with their affections, much more so than craft and holder girls. Just because a few women were like that didn't mean that all of them were. He'd have to wait and see. Besides, he wasn't sending it to curry her favor like that. He saw a need, and he had the skills and knowledge to do something about it. Simple. Well, maybe not that simple. He did secretly hope it made her smile at the very least.

He stepped out of his workspace and looked for Wendle. Dimglow had probably snuck off with Chette again. He had always made it a point to never get involved with a Master's daughter and it had saved him quite a bit of trouble. Wendle's exploits and the resulting punishments were proof enough for him of that. Not that the girls hadn't been persistent, or that he hadn't been tempted, but in the end it wasn't worth it. He spotted his friend giving the girl one last kiss before walking away.

"You're a brave man," Terom said, slapping a hand on his friend's shoulder. "After what Master Freen did the last time he caught you two."

"I didn't do anything she didn't want me to."

"I bet," Terom said, chuckling.

"Speaking of giving things to pretty girls," Wendle said. "I may have solved your gifting problem."

"Oh?"

"Just so happens that my mother's cousin is a harper who just so happens to be at Southern Weyr," Wendle said. "Funny things you find out when you ask around."

"So?"

"Well, through a series of fortunate coincidences that I would hate to bore you with, said harper also happens to be mated to a dragonrider out of Telgar Weyr. He goes south quite a bit. We might convince him to take your present."

"What's his name?"

"J'arl," Wendle said. "I already sent him a message, so be on the lookout."

*~*~*~*~*

The next day, Terom was back at the forge when an apprentice came running up to him. "Terom, Wendle says he's here and meet them over by the entrance to the main hall."

"Who's here?" Terom asked.

"I don't know," the apprentice said. "He didn't say his name. He looked like a dragonrider, though."

Terom put down his tools and hurried to get to his workbench. He ditched his leather apron and grabbed a shirt. He threw it on and grabbed the crate.

As he walked around the building, he saw Wendle talking to a tall, dark man. He did indeed sport dragonrider knots.

"I didn't think he'd come here so fast," Terom said.

Wendle shrugged. Terom rolled his eyes.

"Dragonman, I'm grateful you're willing to do this," Terom said.

"He got here awfully fast since that apprentice left," J'arl said, looking Terom up and down with an amused grin. "He must really want her appreciation."

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