"Get inside, Lyda!" said her father, who then climbed onto his dragon. Together, her father and her father's dragon shot into the air at a speed that awed Lyda. His four guardsmen did the same thing. Not before long, all five dragons had already fallen into rank with all the other dragons of the Weyr in the sky. All her father's dragonmen and their dragons formed a formation, which was a 80-dragon arrowhead that faced the incoming enemy dragons that were still far far away. Her father led this arrowhead at the tip.
"Your father told us to get inside, Lyda," said Franth, Lyda's dragonnet.
"But I want to watch," said Lyda. "They are so far away. He won't even know."
"He will know when you are killed," said Franth.
"Oh, why fear? My father will win this battle. Bryo's dragons will never reach you and me. We will watch," said Lyda.
"If that is your choice," said Franth.
Together, Franth and Lyda stared into the red sky as the battle unfolded. Her father's dragons were so far away, yet Lyda had amazing eyes. She could see everything that happened.
As she watched, she couldn't help but feel entranced in the battle and its outcome. Her fate rested on her father's battle skills. If he lost, she would die. If he won, she would live, and Bryo's men would die. She wanted so desperately for her father's dragonmen to win this battle in the name of all the people in her weyr. Bryo, the man who wanted to kill her father, would show no mercy to those who rebelled against Bryo. Bryo would kill everyone even if they surrendered, as an example to all who opposed Bryo. Her father had to win.
And so, she watched. Lyda reminded herself that there was nothing else she could do. She was a child. She could only watch. And learn. As the two groups of opposing dragonmen reached firing distance of each other, Lyda tried to suck in every detail. She made several observations.
As the two opposing dragon forces intermeshed, Lyda made her first observation: it was easier to kill while chasing a dragon who moved in a parallel direction, so head to head intersection battles were frequent. Her second observation was that the accuracy of each dragon's fire was a big component to a dragon surviving. Her third observation was that: anywhere it happened, double teaming made it much more likely for a side to win. Her fourth observation was that speed was the most critical factor that led to a dragon's survival. If a dragon could not fly fast enough, it would get double teamed. And if it could move fast enough, it could double team an opposing side's dragon. Her fifth observation was that morale was a big factor. Her father's dragons had incredible morale, because they were fighting for their lives and the lives of their comrades and their families in the Weyr who they protected. The enemy's dragons - Bryo's dragons - did not have this morale advantage, and so they were much less willing to risk their lives to win this battle. Instead, they were much more likely to flee when things looked bad.
The entire battle took twenty minutes to finish. By the time it came to a close - even though Bryo's side had more dragons - it was Bryo's dragons who fled in retreat. her father had won!
Lyda screamed in elation. Her father had won! Her vision was so accurate that not only could she tell that her father, who led the spearhead, had lived, but that each of his closest guardsmen had lived as well. Everyone she cared about had lived! Most of all, she had learned. Her father - so brave - had won. This sent shivers of admiration up her spine. Better yet, Bryo's men had lost. Lyda was one step closer to seeing Bryo's downfall.
Yet she knew Bryo would come back with even more dragons - and more, and more. Bryo had so many henchmen - men who followed Bryo out of fear, or was it tyrannical loyalty to Bryo's evil charisma?
The war was not over, but at least Lyda would live another week or month before the next invasion occurred.
That was when she noticed something very odd. Another teenager was here too, but Lyda had never seen him before. He was a stranger to her weyr. Who was he? Why was he here? How did he get here? This teenager gazed at her curiously, and so did she. Both this mysterious teenager and his dragonnet were out of place, as if they didn't belong here or, for that matter, this time.
"Who are you?" asked Lyda. "Why are you here?"