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X'shon and bronze Myliath

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Xerashon – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Xerashon 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. Xerashon caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Xerashon arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Xerashon 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 Xerashon! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Xerashon's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Xerashon 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. Xerashon'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

Xerashon'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 Xerashon's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Xerashon 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?

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Xerashon 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 Xerashon soon found himself struggling for breath.

Undeterred, Xerashon 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 Xerashon from the Sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Xerashon had to wait a little while before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Myliath.

With friends like these...

But Xerashon's Impression of Myliath came at a cost – to Martom. Myliath had looked like he was about to choose Martom before Xerashon pushed in front of him – claiming the bronze for himself. It would turn out to be a critical blow to Martom's confidence. No other dragonet took an interest in him, and he was ultimately among the candidates left standing.

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 Xerashon and Myliath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Myliath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Xerashon 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 Myliath's first meal. That was the first moment Xerashon had truly grasped that Martom wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Martom's absence, Chiliam – the highborn lad from Kellad, who'd Impressed a dusty-brown dragonet, Destrath, and who now styled himself Ch'liam – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Myliath'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Xerashon and Ch'liam 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. Xerashon was proud to introduce Myliath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Myliath, Xerashon gave the Weyrleader his own new name: X'shon, rider of bronze Myliath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Myliath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, X'shon and Ch'liam 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

X'shon and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk X'shon had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

X'shon's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a bronze rider and happier still to learn that X'shon had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to X'shon and Myliath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for X'shon, 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, X'shon 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 X'shon'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 X'shon 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 Myliath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), X'shon 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 X'shon 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, X'shon decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Myliath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a slender green dragonet – X'shon 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 – X'shon 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?

X'shon and Myliath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

X'shon'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

Myliath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

I pre-Impressed Myliath by touching his egg before the Hatching!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Myliath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Myliath and I disagreed on something quite important!