G'ol and bronze Rishelth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Goliath – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Goliath was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Goliath 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, Goliath 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 Goliath becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Goliath's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Goliath 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, Goliath left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Goliath 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 Goliath! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Goliath's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Goliath 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 Goliath 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, Goliath 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 Goliath to find it. Despite Goliath's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Goliath encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Goliath to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Goliath duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Goliath 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 Goliath 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 Goliath some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Goliath unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A rising problem
Goliath 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. Goliath's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Goliath with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, albeit cut short, literally, by the slip of a knife that sent Goliath to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Goliath to find for his warming salve.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Goliath offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Goliath 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 Goliath that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Goliath'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!
When it came to the Hatching, Goliath didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg that Hatched first produced a bright golden-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Goliath, naming himself Rishelth.
A friend in me
And Goliath 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Goliath was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Goliath had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Rishelth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Goliath 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 Rishelth's first meal. That was Goliath's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Rishelth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Goliath that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Rishelth's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Goliath 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. Goliath was proud to introduce Rishelth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Rishelth, Goliath gave the Weyrleader his own new name: G'ol, rider of bronze Rishelth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Rishelth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, G'ol 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
G'ol and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk G'ol 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, G'ol's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Rishelth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to G'ol and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for G'ol, 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, G'ol 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 G'ol'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 G'ol 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 Rishelth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), G'ol 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 G'ol 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, G'ol decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Rishelth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – G'ol 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 bronze beside him – G'ol 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?
G'ol and Rishelth'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
Rishelth and I complement each other!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Rishelth and I agreed on something very important!
Rishelth and I disagreed on something quite important!