N'lan and green Tsigolth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Nindlan – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Nindlan 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, Nindlan didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Nindlan 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, Nindlan's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Nindlan with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Nindlan 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 Nindlan! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Nindlan's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Nindlan 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 Nindlan 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, Nindlan 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 Nindlan to find it. The quest took Nindlan 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, Nindlan encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Nindlan to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Nindlan 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, Nindlan offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Nindlan encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Nindlan – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Nindlan 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 Nindlan 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 Nindlan some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Nindlan 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, Nindlan 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, Nindlan 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. Nindlan 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 Nindlan a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Nindlan 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. Nindlan'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Nindlan 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 Nindlan 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 Nindlan 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 – Nindlan did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Nindlan offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Nindlan'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 Nindlan 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, Nindlan visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Nindlan ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Nindlan 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, Nindlan strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Nindlan 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, Nindlan crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!
When it came to the Hatching, Nindlan had an excruciatingly long wait before the long pale grey egg Hatched to reveal the light cloudy-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Tsigolth.
A friend in me
And Nindlan 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Nindlan was a very poor choice on Gydeton's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Nindlan had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Gydeton. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Gydeton's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Tsigolth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Nindlan 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 Tsigolth's first meal. That was Nindlan's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Tsigolth and Kauth. Martom also told Nindlan that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Tsigolth's personality started to become evident. The cloudy-green dragonet, being a very forthright and direct character, spared no time in making it clear that she wouldn't take any nonsense from anyone – her new rider included!
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 Nindlan made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Nindlan had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Nindlan at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Nindlan 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. Nindlan was proud to introduce Tsigolth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Tsigolth, Nindlan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: N'lan, rider of green Tsigolth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Tsigolth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, N'lan 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
N'lan and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk N'lan had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
N'lan'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 N'lan and Tsigolth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for N'lan, 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, N'lan 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 N'lan'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 N'lan 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 Tsigolth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , N'lan 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 N'lan 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, N'lan decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.
Returning at last to Tsigolth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – N'lan 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 green beside him – N'lan 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 N'lan's new name?
Find out more about Nindlan's Impression here. N'lan and Tsigolth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Nindlan's Impression here. N'lan and Tsigolth'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
Tsigolth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Tsigolth and I agreed on something very important!
Tsigolth and I agreed on something quite important!