There was no way around it. Necessity dictated that we practice first. And Merlin and the High Fairy ran us nonstop through the night. (Besides, as Noralei pointed out, doing it in the dark would give us all a taste of what to expect on the other side).
At first we concentrated on Navril, the only one of us with no experience riding dragons. We each took a turn riding with him on Conjil. Thankfully he proved quite adept (and I do believe even better than Dunfallon). Thus, we were able to move on to flying in formation.
For that we worked out our assignments. Noralei and Herblas on Rayjil; Dunfallon and Navril on Conjil; and Gibley and I on Cluyjil.
After those maneuvers ran smoothly we added armor and armaments. Our mounts were more than meet for the added weight. (Though some had doubts that with the crystals they may not be necessary).
In the afternoon Merlin pronounced us ready. We are to rest for now. Then come sunset we shall set out for the other side.