N'viad and brown Escalloth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Komir – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Komir was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Komir caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Komir arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Komir was assigned a bunkmate – Soburn, an anxious Weyrbred youth with one failed Hatching already haunting him, who would soon become his closest friend in the Weyr. He also got to know many of his fellow candidates, including the Weyrbred twins Leover and Leoguy; Zielaph, the nephew of a Madellon bronze rider; and Chiliam, a good-natured highborn lad from Kellad.
But he also made an enemy – Rielat, a self-important apprentice Weaver – who took a firm disliking to Komir! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Komir's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Komir on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Rielat, the pair joined the rest of the candidates for a morning lecture. The Weyrlingmaster, L'stev, gave the whole cohort – increased by three late Searchees to a total of thirty-five – strict instructions about pre-Hatching preparations, including eating, drinking, bathing – and in some cases, getting a decent haircut – and then turned the group loose for the morning. Before Komir left, Soburn asked him to find out if H'nar, the young Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing, might currently be seeing someone – or not.
The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Komir was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with one arm, a fire-lizard queen – and a problem. His queen, Squiffy, had stolen several pieces of the Weyrwoman's jewellery, and hidden it around the Weyr. M'shen recruited Komir to find it. The quest took Komir all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end he succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Komir encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Komir to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Komir duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Gifted a small pot of the salve, Komir offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Komir encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Komir – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Komir met G'kalte – a brown rider and Wingsecond, not to mention Weyrwoman Valonna's weyrmate – in the Bowl, and was quickly recruited by him to help with a diplomatic matter. G'kalte had been tasked with delivering two gifts from Valonna to her Southern counterpart Weyrwoman Karika – but he'd been summoned away to collect his own grandmother, Lady Coffleby, for the Hatching.
He asked Komir to figure out which of the seven Southern dragons visiting Madellon were the correct pair to hand over Karika's gifts. And while G'kalte's brown, Archidath, offered Komir some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Komir unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A Harper born
Komir's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Komir's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Komir with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Komir to find for his warming salve.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Komir expressed an interested in looking up some Weyr records, Tarshe offered him the loan of a glowbasket – on the proviso that he return it afterwards. Which – mindful of not offending such an important personage of the Weyr – Komir did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Komir offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Komir approached the object of his affections – H'nar, Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – with some circumspection. Still, when questioned, H'nar insisted he had to know who was making enquiries of him. And when he learned the identity of his admirer, he told Komir that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Komir's agile pivot in questioning revealed that a close friend of H'nar's – blue rider M'rany – might be a viable alternative. Thus encouraged, Soburn began to think more positively of life as a dragonrider – even if H'nar would end up being his Wingleader!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Komir visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Komir ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
Disaster almost struck during the Hatching when Komir – following some dubious advice about attempting to force a dragonet to choose him – put him self in the path of a less than receptive green hatchling. The green, clearly objecting to being crowded, lashed out at Komir – slicing his arm. Luckily for Komir, the mauling wasn't a fatal one – though it could have been, as an irate L'stev told him when patching up the injury on the spot. Even more luckily, the incident didn't deter another dragonet – the brown who Hatched from the moonlike grey – from choosing Komir and naming himself Escalloth!
Whatever happened to Rielat?
Rielat didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Komir's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that he had probably got himself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Komir supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Rielat, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Escalloth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Komir on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Escalloth's first meal. That was Komir's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Escalloth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Komir that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Escalloth's personality started to become evident. The little klah-coloured brown proved to be exceptionally friendly and forward from the very beginning, wanting nothing more than to introduce himself to everyone he met.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Komir made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Komir had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Komir at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Komir and S'burn wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both boys' dragonets, to ask after their names – and to ask the two new weyrlings how they should now be called. Komir was proud to introduce Escalloth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Escalloth, Komir gave the Weyrleader his own new name: N'viad, rider of brown Escalloth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Escalloth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, N'viad and S'burn headed into the boys' barracks to claim the billets that would be theirs for the next Turn. Choosing adjacent cots, the two new weyrlings got their dragonets settled on the couches that they would take months to grow into. But there was no time for them to sit and admire their new dragons. The Weyrlingmaster soon came along to give them their new weyrling shoulder-knots, before chivvying them off to the Hatching feast!
The Hatching feast
N'viad and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk N'viad had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
N'viad's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a brown rider and happier still to learn that N'viad had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to N'viad and Escalloth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for N'viad, and it came as a relief when the Weyrlingmaster ordered all the new weyrlings back to the barracks for a good night's sleep. But en route to bed, N'viad was flagged down by a Weyrbrat, Emry, bringing the message that Weyrwoman Second Tarshe wanted to see him in the Archives.
Setting the record straight
Tarshe, tasked by the Weyrwoman with converting candidate documentation into weyrling records, went through N'viad's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She offered N'viad some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised him to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get his injuries checked again, and made some observations on Escalloth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), N'viad had two peculiar encounters – first, with Tarshe's queen, Berzunth, who seemed quite agitated by one of the visiting dragons on the Rim; and then with a mysterious hooded figure, smelling strongly of what N'viad would later realise was firestone, who called him by name – and gave him a curious wooden box.
"The Watchful Queen" by Chris S. Baily
Back at the barracks, N'viad decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Escalloth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – N'viad was too tired to examine the strange wooden box very closely, and put it in his clothes' chest for later examination. But even as he went to sleep – a dragonrider at last, his brown beside him – N'viad was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? And what was the significance of the strange wooden box?
N'viad and Escalloth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
A HORSE WITH A NAME
I have a name and it's a good name and I don't need to fix my name. Probably.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Escalloth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Escalloth and I agreed on something very important!
Escalloth and I agreed on something quite important!