L'van and green Stiporth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Luvaldan – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Luvaldan was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Luvaldan didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, Luvaldan was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about Luvaldan becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Luvaldan's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Luvaldan had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Luvaldan left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Luvaldan's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan 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, Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan to find it. The quest took Luvaldan 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, Luvaldan encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Luvaldan to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Luvaldan 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, Luvaldan offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Luvaldan encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Luvaldan – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Luvaldan unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Luvaldan met his fellow candidate Zielaph, who'd been tasked by his somewhat dim uncle, bronze rider Fr'ton, with delivering a complicated drinks order to a group of Master Crafters. Zielaph had information about their names, beverages, crafts, and fire-lizards – but not in any sensible order!
Luckily for him, Luvaldan solved the puzzle of Fr'ton's confusing notes adeptly, delivering the correct drinks to the correct Masters, and earning a handsome tip in the process. Luvaldan even shared the largesse with Zielaph, who then introduced him to Fr'ton – who, having Impressed a bronze in spite of his less than boundless promise, gave Luvaldan a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Luvaldan encountered both Soleigh, whose green Bristath was preparing to rise near the lake, and her weyrmate Maris, who was getting very drunk in the dining hall on account of her fears that Soleigh was having an affair with a blue rider, G'tron. Luvaldan's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight – not to mention G'pellas, another blue rider, needed in the Harper ensemble – and reconciled the two green riders.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan 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 – Luvaldan did!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Luvaldan was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. It couldn't hurt to have some close-up experience with a bronze, could it?
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Luvaldan 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 Luvaldan that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Luvaldan'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, Luvaldan visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Luvaldan ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Luvaldan had an excruciatingly long wait before the grey-splashed beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark teal-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Stiporth.
A friend in me
And Luvaldan wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
Rielat didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Luvaldan'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 – Luvaldan 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
"Stiporth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Luvaldan on his Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's grandson had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Stiporth's first meal. That was Luvaldan's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Stiporth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Luvaldan that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Stiporth's personality started to become evident. The teal-green dragonet, inquisitive about everything from the instant of her hatching, also proved to be an especially sweet-natured and kind character.
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 Luvaldan made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Luvaldan had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Luvaldan at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Luvaldan 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. Luvaldan was proud to introduce Stiporth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Stiporth, Luvaldan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'van, rider of green Stiporth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Stiporth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, L'van 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
L'van and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'van had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
Lord Winstone, L'van's grandfather, was in a state of high dudgeon about his grandson's Impression of a green. A tense scene ensued, with the Weyrleaders obliged to step in to defend L'van from his grandfather's fury – but the damage was already done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'van, 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, L'van 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 L'van'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 L'van some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, and made some observations on Stiporth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , L'van 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 L'van 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, L'van decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Stiporth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – L'van 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 green beside him – L'van 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?
L'van and Stiporth'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Stiporth and I make a very strong match!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Stiporth and I agreed on something very important!
Stiporth and I agreed on something quite important!