Entries tagged with “size difference”.


Freedom. At long last he was free!

Delvin threw back his head and let a laugh tumble free, whipped away by the wind as Glitterdark bore him down from the clouds. The drake was in just as good humour as the rider, wings splayed wide, barely rustling as he rode the currents; his eyes were half-lidded, his posture as relaxed as it was possible for a dragon in flight to be, save that as Delvin looked about at the vast unspoiled landscape rising to meet them, the drake’s tail-fin splayed and relaxed in a rhythm of barely-constrained excitement.

Behind him, now, was the bewilderment of Choosing, the labour and study of a candidate with eggs hardening before the hearth, the gut-wrenching anxiety leading up to a hatching. They’d lived together through Glitterdark’s ravenous hatchling days, the confused young night-drake barely able to comprehend anything but his own hunger and Delvin’s devoted care. Then the lessons, the training, the endless, endless drills both on the ground and in the air. For years, they’d never had a moment’s peace.

And now, wonderfully, for the first time since he’d been Chosen by his dragon’s dam as a youth of fourteen autumns and entrusted to the care of Glitterdark’s cornflower-blue egg, the young man’s time was his own. (more…)

The rider glowered past his mount’s head as the beast trundled down the packed dirt road, eight sets of claws churning up little clods of dust. Neither of them had a countenance that brooked argument; the man had passed beyond surly long ago and was now downright thunderous, and while his hand was nowhere near the sword at his hip, still nobody wanted to impede the wearer of that crest when he was looking so incensed – it was known far and wide that Davion del Torim was very quick to find his sword when the need arose, and while he was also known as a kind, fair-hearted man, that made his palpable fury all the more frightening. None wanted to be seen as in his way when he was in that mood, lest he see violence as an expedient way past.

As for his steed, Winter was a full-grown gerwuhl hob, nearly as well-known as his rider. Most people who rode gerwuhlen instead of some more placid beast rode jills, in small part because the males were substantially bigger and thus harder to maintain and feed, but mostly because they could be so vicious, and in a species that could already be almost disturbingly clever about escaping restraints and the like, a vicious streak was the last thing anyone wanted to risk. Winter was a deadly fighter in his own right, with cruel weapons tipping each of his numerous limbs and jaws that could break through a man’s thighbone with scarcely a pause. Nobody wanted to feel his bite any more than that of his namesake.

It was a strange day when that wolverine-like countenance was the less surly-looking of the pair, and the gate guards instantly decided they wanted no part of it. Davion was familiar enough to them as to need no interrogation, and he had a royal exemption from the usual queries anyway; they just hauled the turnstile out of his way to let him pass, and Winter churned through the gate without breaking stride.

Davion kept his silence until the guards and everyone else were out of earshot, and only then did he start cursing. It was under his breath, but it went on for some time, with an extensive vocabulary that would have surprised most people who’d ever met him. Winter endured it stoically, just bearing his rider along the road with his usual steady, rolling gait.

(more…)

Technicians working on the Azemi L97 Slipdrive engine had been pretty negative about it. Whatever virtues it had in terms of license fee, construction cost, and efficiency of both power and fuel was countered, they’d said – at least in those reviews that weren’t cursing tirades – by its maintenance demands. While parts weren’t an issue as such, the thing required regular adjustments, a task seemingly needing three hands while in cramped crawlspaces that even one tech could barely fit into, never mind two.

Kirrik, then, was doubly fortunate; he was far smaller than any other tech he’d met during his career in space, and any of his six limbs could be brought to bear when he needed a hand. If the work needed to set up and tune the L97 was complicated and needed him to move three things at once, that was still easier for him than bringing heavy force on one thing. Indeed, the extra bits were a joy to work with for now, though that’d probably ebb as the novelty wore off. And a secondhand focusing matrix with less than two hundred hours on it – the “heart” of the engine, the only part they hadn’t been able to fab new – meant that even those much-bemoaned extra adjustments would be less than had been demanded by the decade-old, much-abused, more-patches-than-not monstrosity that had been saved from the recycler to get their ship moving way back when.

Completing that thing’s long-delayed journey to be reduced to fab material had been one of the biggest guilty pleasures of Kirrik’s career.

(more…)

The ship’s bridge wasn’t much of a conference room. For that matter, it wasn’t much of a bridge – civilian vessels didn’t need all that much as it was, and in this case, auxiliary displays and a few secondary stations had been shut down and stripped for parts to keep more essential things running. But it was an even worse conference room, with crash chairs and consoles cluttering the open space. The only reason there was enough room for everyone present to sit facing one another was that the engineer was small enough to perch on top of a console.

In fairness, part of the reason for that was that their security chief and loadmaster took up as much space as any two of the others. Kirrik could have sat in his lap, but the Trygg didn’t really want to draw any more attention to their unconventional arrangement than might already be upon it, not during anything remotely official anyway.

(more…)