Z'srea and brown Sonnith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Zosrea – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Zosrea was born the son of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at Madellon Weyr. While he didn't have to be Searched, he was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. As a first-time candidate with no dragonrider blood, Zosrea looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing he might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that he would!
As a candidate, Zosrea was assigned a bunkmate – Martom, a confident young Weyrbred lad, 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 – Gydeton, the blustering, entitled son of Lord Meturvian of Kellad – who took a firm disliking to Zosrea! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Zosrea's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Zosrea on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Gydeton, 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 Zosrea left, Martom – keen to prove himself by Impressing on his first attempt – asked him for help procuring some additional confidence in the form of some alcohol.
The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Zosrea 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 Zosrea to find it. The quest took Zosrea 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, Zosrea encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Zosrea to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Zosrea 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, Zosrea offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Zosrea encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Zosrea – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Zosrea 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 Zosrea 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 Zosrea some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Zosrea 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, Zosrea 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, Zosrea 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. Zosrea 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 Zosrea a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Zosrea 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. Zosrea'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 Zosrea 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 Zosrea 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 Zosrea 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 – Zosrea did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Zosrea offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Zosrea's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Zosrea an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Zosrea visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Zosrea ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A breath of foul air
Setting aside his petty rivalry with Gydeton in the face of a genuine emergency, Zosrea set about getting Gydeton to safety. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated himself, he raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.
Zosrea woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Zosrea had certainly saved Gydeton's life counted in his favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.
When it came to the Hatching, Zosrea didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The moonlike grey egg that Hatched first produced a warm milky-klah brown hatchling who spared no time in choosing Zosrea, naming himself Sonnith.
A friend in me
And Zosrea wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.
After the Hatching
"Sonnith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Zosrea on his Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Sonnith's first meal. That was Zosrea's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Sonnith and Kauth. Martom also told Zosrea that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Sonnith'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 Zosrea made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Zosrea had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Zosrea at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Zosrea and M'tom 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. Zosrea was proud to introduce Sonnith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Sonnith, Zosrea gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Z'srea, rider of brown Sonnith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Sonnith's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, Z'srea and M'tom 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
Z'srea and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Z'srea had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
Z'srea's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Z'srea's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Z'srea was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Z'srea and Sonnith, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Z'srea, 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, Z'srea 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 Z'srea'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 Z'srea 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 Sonnith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Z'srea 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 Z'srea 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, Z'srea decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Sonnith – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – Z'srea 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 – Z'srea 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?
Z'srea and Sonnith'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
Sonnith 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
Sonnith and I agreed on something very important!
Sonnith and I disagreed on something quite important!