R'garr and brown Fabronith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Rugarr – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Rugarr was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Rugarr 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, Rugarr 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 Rugarr becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Rugarr's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Rugarr 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, Rugarr left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Rugarr 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 Rugarr! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Rugarr's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Rugarr 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 Rugarr 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, Rugarr 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 Rugarr to find it. The quest took Rugarr 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, Rugarr encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Rugarr to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Rugarr 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, Rugarr offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Rugarr encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Rugarr – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Rugarr 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 Rugarr 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 Rugarr some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Rugarr unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A rising problem
Rugarr 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. Rugarr'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. Even if Rugarr did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Rugarr 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 Rugarr 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 Rugarr 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 – Rugarr did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Rugarr trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Rugarr gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Rugarr 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?
With friends like these...
But handling Soburn's long-distance crush required a delicacy that Rugarr sadly didn't possess. Revealing too much to H'nar – and then failing to treat Soburn's bruised feelings with any sort of care – destroyed Rugarr pining friend's confidence. Having already failed to Impress once, and now crushed by the rejection of a rider who would certainly be his Wingleader should he ever Impress, Soburn decided to rule himself out of candidacy entirely.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Rugarr visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Rugarr ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Rugarr found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow him a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.
By a stroke of ill luck, Rugarr strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Rugarr was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Having survived his encounter with the snake, Rugarr crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the very large dark grey egg made him feel strangely certain that he would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Rugarr had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the very large dark grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep turned-earth brown hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Fabronith.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
It turned out that making an enemy of Rugarr was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Rugarr 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
"Fabronith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rugarr 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 Fabronith's first meal. That was the first moment Rugarr had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn's absence, Chiliam – the highborn lad from Kellad, who'd Impressed a dusty-brown dragonet, Destrath, and who now styled himself Ch'liam – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Fabronith's personality started to become evident. The substantial dark-brown dragonet – chunkier than any other hatchling – had a stolid, non-nonsense character to match, speaking his mind without hesitation or tact.
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 Rugarr and Ch'liam 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. Rugarr was proud to introduce Fabronith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Fabronith, Rugarr gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'garr, rider of brown Fabronith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Fabronith's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'garr and Ch'liam 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
R'garr and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'garr 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, R'garr's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Fabronith's colour, if clearly disappointed that his grandson hadn't managed to Impress a bronze – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to R'garr and Fabronith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'garr, 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, R'garr 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 R'garr'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 R'garr 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 Fabronith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , R'garr 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 R'garr 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, R'garr decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Fabronith – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – R'garr 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 – R'garr 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?
R'garr and Fabronith'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
Fabronith and I complement each other!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Fabronith by touching his egg before the Hatching!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Fabronith and I agreed on something very important!
Fabronith and I agreed on something quite important!
Fabronith and Sespanath took against each other!