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L'lie and brown Katoath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Leslie – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

Leslie was born the son of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside his widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up his young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Leslie didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Leslie that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. He almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon his father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Leslie's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Leslie with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

As a candidate, Leslie 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 Leslie! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Leslie's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Leslie 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 Leslie 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, Leslie 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 Leslie to find it. The quest took Leslie 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, Leslie encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Leslie to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Leslie 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, Leslie offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Leslie encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Leslie – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

A rising problem

Leslie 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. Leslie'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Leslie 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 Leslie 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 Leslie 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 – Leslie did!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Leslie trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Leslie 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, Leslie 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?

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Leslie 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 Leslie that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Leslie'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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Leslie visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Leslie ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Leslie didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The unassuming grey-green egg that Hatched first produced a deep russet-brown hatchling who spared no time in choosing Leslie, naming himself Katoath.

A friend in me

And Leslie 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 – Leslie'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 – Leslie 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

"Katoath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Leslie on his Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Katoath's first meal. That was Leslie's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Katoath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Leslie that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Katoath's personality started to become evident. The little russet-brown dragonet proved unusually quiet, speaking only seldom, and showing a strong preference for his own company – and his rider's.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big brother

Another friend Leslie made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Leslie had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Leslie at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Leslie 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. Leslie was proud to introduce Katoath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Katoath, Leslie gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'lie, rider of brown Katoath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Katoath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, L'lie 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'lie and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'lie had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

L'lie's father almost couldn't believe his son's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to L'lie and Katoath.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'lie, 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'lie 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'lie'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'lie 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 Katoath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , L'lie 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'lie 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'lie decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Katoath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – L'lie 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 – L'lie 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'lie and Katoath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

L'lie's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Katoath and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Katoath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Katoath and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BFFs

Katoath and Destrath made friends!