R'ser and brown Gemirth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Rauser – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Rauser 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, Rauser 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, Rauser 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 Rauser! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Rauser's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Rauser 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 Rauser 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, Rauser 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 Rauser to find it. Despite Rauser'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, Rauser encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Rauser to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Rauser duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Rauser 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, Rauser 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. Rauser 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 Rauser a certain confidence in his own prospects!
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Rauser to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately he asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Rauser 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
Setting aside his petty rivalry with Rielat in the face of a genuine emergency, Rauser set about getting Rielat to safety. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated himself, he raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.
Rauser woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Rauser had certainly saved Rielat's life counted in his favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.
When it came to the Hatching, Rauser didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The unassuming grey-green egg that Hatched first produced a deep russet-brown hatchling who spared no time in choosing Rauser, naming himself Gemirth.
A friend bereft
But to Rauser's dismay, Soburn wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in him, and he was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.
After the Hatching
"Gemirth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rauser 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 Gemirth's first meal. That was the first moment Rauser had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn'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 Gemirth's personality started to become evident. The little russet-brown dragonet proved unusually quiet, speaking only seldom, and showing a strong preference for his own company – and his rider's.
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 Rauser made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Rauser had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Rauser at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Rauser 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. Rauser was proud to introduce Gemirth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gemirth, Rauser gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'ser, rider of brown Gemirth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gemirth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'ser 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
R'ser and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'ser had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
R'ser's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as R'ser's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, R'ser was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to R'ser and Gemirth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'ser, 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, R'ser 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 R'ser'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 R'ser 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 Gemirth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), R'ser 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 R'ser 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, R'ser decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Gemirth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – R'ser 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 – R'ser 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?
R'ser and Gemirth'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
Gemirth and I complement each other!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Gemirth and I agreed on something very important!
Gemirth and I agreed on something quite important!