G’ter and brown Touzanth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Gunther – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Gunther was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Gunther 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, Gunther 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 Gunther becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Gunther 's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Gunther 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, Gunther left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Gunther 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 Gunther ! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Gunther 's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Gunther 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 Gunther 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, Gunther 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 Gunther to find it. Despite Gunther 's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Gunther trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Gunther gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Gunther offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Gunther 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 Gunther that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Gunther '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, Gunther had to wait a little while before the very large dark grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep turned-earth brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Touzanth.
A friend in me
And Gunther 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?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Gunther and Touzanth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Touzanth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Gunther 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 Touzanth's first meal. That was Gunther 's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Touzanth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Gunther that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Touzanth'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 Gunther 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. Gunther was proud to introduce Touzanth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Touzanth, Gunther gave the Weyrleader his own new name: G’ter, rider of brown Touzanth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Touzanth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, G’ter 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’ter and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk G’ter 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’ter's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Touzanth'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 G’ter and Touzanth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for G’ter, 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’ter 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’ter's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with his new name, too. She offered G’ter 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 Touzanth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , G’ter 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’ter 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’ter decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.
Returning at last to Touzanth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – G’ter 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 – G’ter was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known G’ter's new name?
G’ter and Touzanth'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!
I changed my name by choice!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Touzanth and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Touzanth and I agreed on something very important!
Touzanth and I agreed on something quite important!