K'lson and brown Roxanth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Kelson – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Kelson was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Kelson caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Kelson arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Kelson 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 Kelson! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Kelson's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Kelson 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 Kelson 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, Kelson 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 Kelson to find it. The quest took Kelson 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, Kelson encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kelson to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kelson 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, Kelson offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Kelson encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Kelson – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Kelson 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 Kelson 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 Kelson some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Kelson 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, Kelson 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, Kelson 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. Kelson 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 Kelson a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Kelson 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. Kelson'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.
A Harper born
Kelson's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Kelson's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Kelson 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 Kelson 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 Kelson 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. But with one thing and another, Kelson didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Kelson offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Kelson'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 Kelson 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, Kelson visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Kelson ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A breath of foul air
Early in the day, Kelson 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. The route he chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Kelson soon found himself struggling for breath.
Undeterred, Kelson pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But he wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Kelson from the Sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Kelson had an excruciatingly long wait before the grey-mottled tan egg Hatched to reveal the cool dusty-brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Roxanth.
A friend in me
And Kelson wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.
Whatever happened to Gydeton?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Gydeton Impressed the biggest dragonet of the clutch, a hefty dark-brown hatchling, making them Kelson and Roxanth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Roxanth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kelson on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Roxanth's first meal. That was Kelson's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Roxanth and Kauth. Martom also told Kelson that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Roxanth's personality started to become evident. The dusty-brown dragonet, while neither the largest nor the most handsome of his colour, proved to make up for both with his calm and helpful character immediately endearing him to all around.
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 Kelson made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Kelson had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Kelson at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Kelson 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. Kelson was proud to introduce Roxanth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Roxanth, Kelson gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'lson, rider of brown Roxanth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Roxanth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, K'lson 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
K'lson and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K'lson had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
K'lson's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a brown rider and happier still to learn that K'lson had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to K'lson and Roxanth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'lson, 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, K'lson 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 K'lson'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 K'lson 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 Roxanth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), K'lson 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 K'lson 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, K'lson decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Roxanth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – K'lson 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 – K'lson 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?
K'lson and Roxanth'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.
I make quite a strange match with Roxanth!
...what did I just see?
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
Roxanth and I agreed on something very important!
Roxanth and I agreed on something quite important!
Roxanth and Corienth took against each other!