Hvar [ The Raptor Caretaker ]

Don Tarkington
Name Hvar
Age Mid 20s
Appearance Tall, tanned, with a mane of dark hair that bounces and waves in the wind. Hvar is very easy to spot, and easy to distinguish due to his hair and his height, looking like an odd reed of a giant flower amongst the other residents.
He is normally dressed in very durable and practical clothing; sometimes a little worn down here and there, but very well designed to stand against teeny tiny claws and beaks.
Personality Hvar is very easy going and flexible. He moves with the wind and with the political discussions, and has no qualms about following orders. It’s not that Hvar doesn’t have passion and goals in life; he is just so busy living life, that he doesn’t really spare time and thought at planning things.
A very easy going man, he is enjoys spending time with animals other creatures, and finds the raptor queens a fascinating study. More at home surrounded by raptor fledglings than with the general adult population at the Vella Crean, he has slipped in so well with the Projects that people sometimes have trouble remembering he isn’t a project himself.
Ability Hvar is entirely human.
Standing at Dawn Watch Weyr

The Imperial Guard hatching caught him by surprise.

Not the glory and splendour behind the dragons, no, Hvar wasn’t surprised. He had heard stories of the Scientist, knew that a man who cared so much about his reputation would do something grand to impress the people. The Scientist had been missing for ten years, hadn’t he? And the People, they had managed to survive a war without him.

The Scientist had a lot to prove; so Hvar was not surprised at how the hatching had proceeded.

He had been surprised at the “candidates”.

Dragons that flew in and bonded with other dragons. Wherhandlers, who already had bonds, able to stretch their hearts and minds a little bit more and welcome another bond.

Hvar shook his head as he cleaned his way through the stands, brushing the odds and ends out from below the seats.

“We have help to do that you know.” Odd, modulated tones reached his ears and Hvar looked up, starting a little bit to see a tall and brown shouldered man with a bushy beard and a little bun, a white and gold drak by his side.

Hvar shrugged. This was an important Project, his eyes weren’t the same shade of gold all the time. Hvar had learn this about the Projects: that there were those with molten gold eyes that listened to commands and quietly did their duties, and the more human one, the ones whose eyes were different shades, and who had Titles.

Hvar knew all this because he listened when others talked, when he heard the excitement and fear. Hvar wasn’t afraid of the Projects, not like some of the other residents. He wasn’t particularly attracted to them either, although he knew some of the women (and men!) seemed to find it thrilling to bed a Project.

No. Hvar didn’t particularly have strong thoughts or opinions.

“I have time on my hands, and it doesn’t bother me.” Hvar shrugged again as he continued to clean up the stands.

“I’m Imraan.” the Project spoke, his eyes flashing a little molten gold as the benches rose and sand rolled, shifting and moving all the litter into the center of the hatching sands.

Hvar carefully put down his brush. Well then.

“I suppose you didn’t need me help after all.” he stated, his words matter of fact.

“It doesn’t scare you?” Imraan seemed surprised.

Which surprised Hvar. “Should it?” he asked, curious.

“Some of the residents… find it a little bit weird when I do that.” the man admitted. The sand continued to roll and shift as it gathered up any remaining litter, benches sparkled and shined as they buffed themselves.

“It seems useful.” Hvar commended instead. All the residents who had to spend hours cleaning and scrubbing after an event; this was a useful talent. “Are you the Cleaner?”

The Architect coughed. “Excuse me?”

Hvar wondered if he had the title wrong. “I heard that Projects have names, and titles sometimes. There is a Search Rider.” oh, he knew that one. The man with the shiny eyes and the impish smile that some of his female friends seemed to go weak in the knees for. “And the Oracle” the little girl with eyes that was too old for her face, the one who liked to watch the men train. “You clean well. So are you the Cleaner?”

Imraan’s expression seemed nonplussed, and then he laughed. “I am the architect. What is your name?”

“Hvar.”

“Hvar. You are a funny one. Come with me. Maybe I can find better work for you, then cleaning up after me.” Imraan hesitated. “Unless… you don’t like Us?”

Oh. Hvar could hear the capitalized word. “Why would I not like you?” he asked mildly. “You are a resident of the Vella Crean, as am I. I think, we can be friends.”

Hvar was sitting on the ground in the center of the fledgling pen, a raptor fledgling snoozing on his lap, another one in his arms.

“‘allo?”

The high trill of one of the raptor queens, followed by the ‘sh sh sh’ sound of feathers.

Some ‘pinged’ and bounced on the floor. A flash of red, Hvar frowning as he leaned over to pick up the thermos.

“The cleric brought new tea, yes? And Shy says it is very delicious.” the green raptor queen bobbed her head and tilted it coquettishly. “You like delicious, yes? So we bring you some.”

Hvar smiled. “Thank you.”

The raptor queens were unusual. Hvar wasn’t sure quite what to make of them, even now; he knew they were a little different from the other raptors that he minded, intelligent, sentient creatures able to speak (although he was not sure what the odd trilling accent was).

Imraan had told him that the odd goggled bald man that lived with the Scientist had designed them, a gift.

(Hvar was not sure what to make of people who created and “gifted” sentient beings.)

Imraan had also told him to stay away from the bald man, and Hvar had complied.

He had settled in well into his new duties as a raptor caretaker; the fledglings were not too difficult to take care of, and with the raptor queens having approved of his hire, it seemed that they were smart enough to understand that Hvar was not food.

Hvar was not high enough up the pecking chain to command obedience (except from the littlest of raptors), but they generally seemed to list to him when he needed. He enjoyed his time particularly with the raptor queens. Flirtatious, playful and giant feathered raptors who laughed and teased the little raptor fledglings.

“Did you au revoir Cassiask?” Frou asked, tilting her head and sliding a fledgling away from Hvar to settle in by his side. She wriggled her feathers until they settled nicely, leaning over to groom herself.

“Cassia and Cassisk?” Hvar asked. The wherling master had been efficient at handing over her knowledge and duties, her odd interim role as raptor caretaker during her candidacy at the Vella Crean. Hvar nodded. Cassisk especially, had seemed to be invaluable help in herding the most stubborn raptors.”

“Are you sad?” Frou crooned, that they leave?

Hvar frowned, shrugged. “No. I can see them again. Maybe they will come visit, or we could go visit.”

Frou’s fail feather ‘proinged’ upwards. “We?”

Hvar laughed. “Yes, why not?”

The visit to Dawn Watch to visit Cassia and Cassisk came sooner than Hvar had expected.

Because after the departure of the wherling master and the whers, Hvar found himself completely and utterly overwhelmed.

Ari looked down at the report in front of her, nodded. “It makes sense, that you might need help in herding the raptors. The extra set of hands would be efficient.” she paused. “But why don’t you recruit some of the other residents of the Vella Crean?”

Hvar paused, carefully trying to figure out how to tell a Project that most humans did not want to work with raptors that could eat them in one bite.

“Whers are intelligent, and their have a size advantage when it comes to dominating the fledgling raptors.” Hvar answered instead.

Ari nodded. “We could design you something.” she offered. “Maybe a miniature guard Project, the same size as Kausalyath?” the aide brightened at the thought of distracting the Scientist with work. Of assigning him homework.

Hvar hesitated, carefully trying to figure out how to tell a Project that maybe he did not want to surround himself with more Projects.

“Ariiiii” Chou crooned, her tailfeathers bobbing up and down as she peered from around the corner. “There are eggs at Dawn Watch.”

“Wher eggs!” Dou chirped, piping.

“Petite Cassisks!” Frou chirped, letting out a little laugh. “Bebes for us to bring home.”

Ari stilled. Her expression blanked, and a very polite, very diplomatic smile grew on her face.

Hvar knew he was in trouble.

“You’ll be going to Dawn Watch to stand for a wher clutch, Hvar?” Ari asked, ignoring the raptor queens.

“Uh. Yes.”

“Am I correct to assume that there are others, who will be attending the clutch to stand?”

Hvar took a careful step back. “I am sure Dawn Watch is recruiting candidates for their wher clutch.” he hedged.

“Am I correct to assume that there are others from the Vella Crean of the raptor variation?” The small polite smile hardened, and Hvar could certainly feel his legs weaken.

Something large and furry propped him up, three raptor queens sidling in behind him, “Areeeeee” Chou crooned. “They know us. They like us.” she cajoled.

Ari put down the document and carefully massaged her temples. “You are raptors. Talking. Raptors.” she closed her eyes. “I cannot send talking raptors to a different world.”

“But they liiiikkke us.” Dou whined. She let out a chirp of noise. “We can behave.”

“Oh.” Ari laughed. Hvar did not think it was a laugh of joy. “You will naturally be expected to behave. But I cannot send raptors to stand at a clutch and cause chaos.”

Hvar was very sure Ari muttered the ‘that’s Shy’s job’ under her breath.

“We can’t go?” Frou asked.

Hvar saw the raptor queen’s version of puppy dog eyes, and found it curiously endearing.

Ari sighed. “I’ll figure something out.” she muttered. She looked up and her gaze fastened on Hvar’s. “You’ll take care of them, while you are Dawn Watch?”

Hvar nodded. Once, twice. Swallowed as he saw something slick and dark swim over Ari’s irises. “Of course.”

“I’ll figure out an illusion. But Hvar, the raptor queens are raptor. Queens. RAPTORS.” she repeated. “I will write to the Weyr Leadership Council, and see what we can work out.”

“What if say no?” Hvar asked. A chorus pitiful mewls followed his words.

Ari sighed. “They won’t. It will be tricky, but they won’t.”

It took one month for Ari to hammer out the terms and conditions with the Weyr Leadership Council at Dawn Watch. The Raptor Queens were granted a long term illusion that would be maintained at Dawn Watch; especially outside the Weyr itself. Sylden was given master control over the illusion (Ari did not trust the raptor queens to behave), and Hvar given a long list of rules of follow.

It took time, but it worked.

Hvar, the ‘Vella Crean Wher Caretaker’ arrived as a candidate, followed by three cousins. Bright eyed, flirtatious women who seemed to coo and twitter more like birds, who delighted at simple chores and tasks and seemed to have no concept of personal space, as many the man (and woman) of the Weyr soon learnt.

The cousins delighted in exploring the Weyr. Maybe there were a few times a herdbeast disappeared at night, and maybe, sometimes, some of the weyrfolk swore they saw three monsters hunting in the shadows. But the cousins behaved (most of the time), and Hvar delighted in more time with Leosida and Cassia, to learn a little bit more about what a raptor caretaker might need to know.

Read about the Raptor Queens here

From the Hatching

The bronze was positively sedate in comparison to the other hatchlings, proceeding at a slow pace to seek his person. Meanwhile three more eggs broke open, a green, a copper and a purple entering the chaos. They needed little encouragement to get to their feet and the green headed to the candidates without an issue. The Purple however seemed more curious about the rest of the sands than the people waiting for it, and headed jauntily towards the other clutch, before being warned off by Cassisk and sent skittering back towards the humans.

The copper seemed content to just among the shattered remains the clutch, with only the largest egg still whole, though the dark cracks which riddled it suggested it wouldn’t remain that way for long. Still, the copper seemed to bask in the attention of the watching humans and Dragonkin. She was taking her time, brushing away what she could of the sand which stuck to her golden striped hide, then spreading one dark edged wing to carefully groom it. Only when she felt herself to be suitably presentable did she finally give in to her dam’s urging and begin to move. However she disdained the clustered groups of candidates, turning away from them and towards where the spectators watched from.

Am Ousk Her voice was clear as she stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked up at three particularly enthusiastic watchers. Ousk needs fed, clean. Frou, Dou, Chou come down now The chattering woman immediately came rushing down, cooing over the small copper and bundling her off to where the buckets of meat were waiting for them.

That not end well The Bronze said as he came to a top beside Hvar, watching the three disguised raptor queens fussing over their new friend. Am Hvarsk. Will help- His words were cut off as his green sister came barreling into his side. Not bond without me! She cried out Hvar, Hvarsk not leave Hvask behind! Hvar quickly moved to reassure her than they weren’t going to leave her behind at all.

The Stalwart Guardian Bronze
Hvarsk
(h-vhar-sk)
Guard Wher
Bonded to: Hvar (Naeodin)
#7E641F | #48380F | #AE8F40 | #D2CBBA
6’6 at the shoulder | 19’6 long
Stoic | Logical | Private | Caring
Mutation: Off-colour Markings

The Frentic Guardian Green
Hvask
(h-vah-sk)
Mine Wher
Bonded to: Hvar (Naeodin)
#073A13 | #349249 | #C0DFC7
3’6 high | 11’6 long
Quick-witted | Detail-oriented | Easily Stressed | Brave
Mutation: Off-colour Markings

Hvarsk and Hvask