K'reth and brown Gerardith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Kerreth – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Kerreth 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, Kerreth didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Kerreth 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, Kerreth's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Kerreth with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Kerreth 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 Kerreth! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Kerreth's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Kerreth 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 Kerreth 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, Kerreth 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 Kerreth to find it. Despite Kerreth'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, Kerreth encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kerreth to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kerreth 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, Kerreth 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, Kerreth 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.
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Kerreth 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 blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Kerreth offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
When it came to the Hatching, Kerreth had to wait a little while before the unassuming grey-green egg Hatched to reveal the deep russet-brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Gerardith.
A friend bereft
But to Kerreth's dismay, Martom 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.
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 Kerreth and Gerardith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Gerardith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kerreth 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 Gerardith's first meal. That was the first moment Kerreth 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 Gerardith'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 Kerreth made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Kerreth had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Kerreth at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Kerreth 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. Kerreth was proud to introduce Gerardith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gerardith, Kerreth gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'reth, rider of brown Gerardith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gerardith's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, K'reth 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
K'reth and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K'reth had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
K'reth'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 K'reth and Gerardith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'reth, 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, K'reth 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 K'reth'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 K'reth 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 Gerardith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , K'reth 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 K'reth 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, K'reth decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Gerardith – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – K'reth 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 – K'reth 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?
K'reth and Gerardith'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
Gerardith and I make a very strong match!
EBONY AND IVORY
Gerardith and I agreed on something very important!
Gerardith and I agreed on something quite important!