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B'liss and green Persath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Barliss – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

Barliss 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. As a first-time candidate with no dragonrider blood, Barliss looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing he might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that he would!

As a candidate, Barliss 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 Barliss! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Barliss's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

Barliss 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 Barliss 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 Barliss some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Barliss 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, Barliss 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, Barliss 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.

A rising problem

Barliss 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. Barliss'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Barliss 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 Barliss to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Barliss 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 Barliss 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 – Barliss did!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Barliss offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.

Friend request

Given Barliss's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Barliss an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!

Hair today

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

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Barliss found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow him a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.

By a stroke of ill luck, Barliss strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Barliss was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived his encounter with the tunnel-snake, Barliss approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Barliss off the sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Barliss had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the grey-splashed beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark teal-green hatchling who would choose him, naming herself Persath.

A friend in me

And Barliss wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.

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 Barliss and Persath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Persath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Barliss 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 Persath's first meal. That was Barliss's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Persath and Kauth. Martom also told Barliss that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Persath's personality started to become evident. The teal-green dragonet, inquisitive about everything from the instant of her hatching, also proved to be an especially sweet-natured and kind 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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Barliss and M'tom 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. Barliss was proud to introduce Persath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Persath, Barliss gave the Weyrleader his own new name: B'liss, rider of green Persath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Persath's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, B'liss and M'tom 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

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

B'liss's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as B'liss's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, B'liss was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to B'liss and Persath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for B'liss, 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, B'liss 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 B'liss's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with his new name, too. She offered B'liss 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 Persath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), B'liss 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 B'liss 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, B'liss decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.

Returning at last to Persath – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – B'liss 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 green beside him – B'liss was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known B'liss's new name?

B'liss and Persath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

B'liss'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:
APOSTROPHE NOW

I love the smell of elision in the morning!

Achievement Unlocked:
DEED POLL

I changed my name by choice!

Achievement Unlocked:
CEASE AND DESIST

I prevented legal difficulties by changing my name!

Achievement Unlocked:
ONE STEVE LIMIT

I avoided duplicating a Dragonchoice character's name!

Achievement Unlocked:
THEY'RE DEAD, DAVE

I changed my name to respect the deceased!

Achievement Unlocked:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Persath and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Persath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Persath and I agreed on something quite important!