R'var and brown Belemith
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Relovar – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Relovar was born the son of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. He was treating minor injuries even before he was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Relovar an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Relovar was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Relovar was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Relovar arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Relovar 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 Relovar! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Relovar's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Relovar 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 Relovar 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, Relovar 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 Relovar to find it. Despite Relovar'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, Relovar encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Relovar to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Relovar duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Relovar 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 Relovar 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 Relovar some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Relovar 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, Relovar 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!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Relovar to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Relovar 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. Relovar'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 Relovar with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, albeit cut short, literally, by the slip of a knife that sent Relovar to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Relovar to find for his warming salve.
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Relovar 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?
When it came to the Hatching, Relovar 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 Belemith.
A friend bereft
But to Relovar'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.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Relovar and Belemith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Belemith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Relovar on his Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Belemith's first meal. That was the first moment Relovar 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 Belemith'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 Relovar made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Relovar had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Relovar at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Relovar 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. Relovar was proud to introduce Belemith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Belemith, Relovar gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'var, rider of brown Belemith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Belemith's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'var 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'var and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'var had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
R'var's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at R'var's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his son wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his son, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to R'var and Belemith – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'var, 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'var 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'var'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'var 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 Belemith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), R'var 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'var 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'var decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Belemith – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – R'var 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'var 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'var and Belemith'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
Belemith and I make a very strong match!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Belemith and I agreed on something very important!
Belemith and I agreed on something quite important!