H'ser and blue Hamamelth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Haser – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Haser 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, Haser 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, Haser 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 Haser! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Haser's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Haser 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 Haser 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, Haser 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 Haser to find it. Despite Haser's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Haser 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 Haser 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 Haser some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Haser 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, Haser 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, Haser 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. Haser 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 Haser a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Haser offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Haser 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 Haser that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Haser'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 breath of foul air
Setting aside his petty rivalry with Rielat in the face of a genuine emergency, Haser 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.
Haser woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Haser 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, Haser didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The yellow-green craggy-textured egg that Hatched first produced a light sky-blue hatchling who spared no time in choosing Haser, naming himself Hamamelth.
A friend in me
And Haser wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.
After the Hatching
"Hamamelth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Haser 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 Hamamelth's first meal. That was Haser's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Hamamelth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Haser that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Hamamelth's personality started to become evident. The big sky-blue dragonet demonstrated an enormous desire to please, making him an especially endearing character.
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 Haser made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Haser had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Haser at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Haser 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. Haser was proud to introduce Hamamelth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Hamamelth, Haser gave the Weyrleader his own new name: H'ser, rider of blue Hamamelth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Hamamelth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, H'ser 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
H'ser and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk H'ser had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
H'ser's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as H'ser's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, H'ser was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to H'ser and Hamamelth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for H'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, H'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 H'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 H'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 Hamamelth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), H'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 H'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, H'ser decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Hamamelth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – H'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 blue beside him – H'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?
H'ser and Hamamelth'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Hamamelth and I make a very strong match!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Hamamelth and I agreed on something very important!
Hamamelth and I disagreed on something quite important!