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R'co and bronze Mackinth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Rocco – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Rocco 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 Rocco 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, Rocco 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 Rocco to find it. Despite Rocco'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, Rocco encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Rocco to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Rocco duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

A rising problem

Rocco 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. Rocco's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Rocco 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, Rocco 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 Rocco that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Rocco'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!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Rocco 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 Mackinth.

A friend in me

And Rocco 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 Rocco and Mackinth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Mackinth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rocco 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 Mackinth's first meal. That was Rocco's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Mackinth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Rocco that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Mackinth'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 Rocco made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Rocco had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Rocco at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Rocco 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. Rocco was proud to introduce Mackinth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Mackinth, Rocco gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'co, rider of bronze Mackinth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Mackinth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, R'co 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

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

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

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'co, 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'co 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'co'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'co 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 Mackinth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Mackinth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – R'co 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 – R'co 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'co and Mackinth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

R'co'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:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Mackinth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Mackinth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Mackinth and I disagreed on something quite important!