B'ran and green Eparuath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Benoran – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Benoran 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, Benoran didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Benoran 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, Benoran's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Benoran with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Benoran 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 Benoran! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Benoran's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Benoran 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 Benoran 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, Benoran 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 Benoran to find it. The quest took Benoran 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, Benoran encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Benoran to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Benoran 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, Benoran offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Benoran encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Benoran – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Benoran 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 Benoran 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 Benoran some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Benoran 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, Benoran 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, Benoran 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. Benoran 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 Benoran a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Benoran 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. Benoran'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 Benoran 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 Benoran 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 Benoran 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 – Benoran did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Benoran offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Benoran'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 Benoran 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, Benoran visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Benoran ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Benoran had to wait a little while before the long pale grey egg Hatched to reveal the light cloudy-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Eparuath.
A friend in me
And Benoran 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 Benoran and Eparuath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Eparuath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Benoran 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 Eparuath's first meal. That was Benoran's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Eparuath and Kauth. Martom also told Benoran that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Eparuath'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 Benoran made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Benoran had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Benoran at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Benoran 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. Benoran was proud to introduce Eparuath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Eparuath, Benoran gave the Weyrleader his own new name: B'ran, rider of green Eparuath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Eparuath's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, B'ran 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
B'ran and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk B'ran had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
B'ran'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 B'ran and Eparuath.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for B'ran, 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, B'ran 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 B'ran'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 B'ran 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 Eparuath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , B'ran 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 B'ran 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, B'ran decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Eparuath – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – B'ran 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 – B'ran 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?
B'ran and Eparuath'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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Eparuath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Eparuath and I agreed on something very important!
Eparuath and I agreed on something quite important!