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D'nel and bronze Lunulath

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Dandinel – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Dandinel was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Dandinel caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Dandinel arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Dandinel 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 Dandinel! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Dandinel's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Dandinel 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 Dandinel 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, Dandinel 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 Dandinel to find it. The quest took Dandinel 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, Dandinel encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Dandinel to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Dandinel 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, Dandinel offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Dandinel encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Dandinel – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Dandinel 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 Dandinel 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 Dandinel some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Dandinel 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, Dandinel 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, Dandinel 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. Dandinel 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 Dandinel a certain confidence in his own prospects!

A rising problem

Dandinel 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. Dandinel'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.

A Harper born

Dandinel's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Dandinel's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Dandinel 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 Dandinel 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 Dandinel 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 – Dandinel did!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Dandinel trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Dandinel gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Dandinel 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?

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Dandinel 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 Dandinel that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Dandinel'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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Dandinel visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Dandinel ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Dandinel had an excruciatingly long wait before the large greeny-grey egg Hatched to reveal the pale greeny-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Lunulath.

A friend in me

And Dandinel wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.

Whatever happened to Rielat?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Dandinel and Lunulath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Lunulath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Dandinel on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Lunulath's first meal. That was Dandinel's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Lunulath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Dandinel that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Lunulath's personality started to become evident. The pale bronze dragonet – the largest of the clutch, and the image of his father Muzzanth – proved to be a particular intelligent and perceptive character even minutes out of the egg.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big brother

Another friend Dandinel made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Dandinel had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Dandinel at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Dandinel 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. Dandinel was proud to introduce Lunulath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Lunulath, Dandinel gave the Weyrleader his own new name: D'nel, rider of bronze Lunulath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Lunulath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, D'nel 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

D'nel and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk D'nel had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

D'nel's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a bronze rider and happier still to learn that D'nel had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to D'nel and Lunulath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for D'nel, 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, D'nel 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 D'nel'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 D'nel 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 Lunulath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , D'nel 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 D'nel 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, D'nel decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Lunulath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – D'nel 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 bronze beside him – D'nel 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?

D'nel and Lunulath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

D'nel's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Lunulath and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Lunulath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Lunulath and I agreed on something quite important!