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S'law and bronze Osaith

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Soclaw – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Soclaw 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, Soclaw didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Soclaw 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, Soclaw's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Soclaw with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

Soclaw 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 Soclaw 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 Soclaw some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Soclaw unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!

A rising problem

Soclaw 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. Soclaw'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. Even if Soclaw did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!

Kitchen diplomacy

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

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Soclaw trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Soclaw 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, Soclaw 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

Given Soclaw'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 Soclaw 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, Soclaw visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Soclaw ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Soclaw had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the black-freckled grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep classic-bronze hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Osaith.

A friend in me

And Soclaw 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?

Gydeton didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Soclaw's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that he had probably got himself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Soclaw supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Gydeton, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!

After the Hatching

"Osaith" by Chris S. Baily

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

It wasn't long before Osaith's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his rider!

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Soclaw 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. Soclaw was proud to introduce Osaith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Osaith, Soclaw gave the Weyrleader his own new name: S'law, rider of bronze Osaith!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Osaith's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, S'law 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

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

S'law'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 S'law and Osaith.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'law, 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, S'law 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 S'law'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 S'law 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 Osaith.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), S'law 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 S'law 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, S'law decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Osaith – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – S'law 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 – S'law 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?

Find out more about Soclaw's Impression here. S'law and Osaith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'law'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

Osaith 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

Osaith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Osaith and I agreed on something quite important!