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T'ter and bronze Gigath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Etterel – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

Etterel 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. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Etterel struggled with both his modest upbringing as a Weyr child with no rider blood, and his fear that he wasn't dragonrider material.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Etterel 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 Etterel 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, Etterel 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 Etterel to find it. Despite Etterel's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting his elders

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

Southern comfort

Etterel 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 Etterel 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 Etterel some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Etterel 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, Etterel 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, Etterel 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. Etterel 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 Etterel a certain confidence in his own prospects!

A rising problem

Etterel 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. Etterel'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 Etterel 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 Etterel to find for his warming salve.

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Etterel 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, Etterel 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 Etterel that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Etterel'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!

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Etterel 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, Etterel strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Etterel 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 tunnel-snake, Etterel approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Etterel off the sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Etterel didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg Hatched out a bright golden-bronze dragonet who told Etterel his name was Gigath.

A friend in me

And Etterel 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 Etterel and Gigath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Gigath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Etterel 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 Gigath's first meal. That was Etterel's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Gigath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Etterel that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Gigath's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.

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 Etterel 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. Etterel was proud to introduce Gigath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gigath, Etterel gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'ter, rider of bronze Gigath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gigath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, T'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

T'ter and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'ter had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

T'ter's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as T'ter's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, T'ter was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to T'ter and Gigath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'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, T'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 T'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 offered T'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 Gigath.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Gigath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – T'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 bronze beside him – T'ter 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?

T'ter and Gigath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

T'ter'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:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Gigath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Gigath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Gigath and I disagreed on something quite important!