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H'erc and bronze Aneurath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Heracles – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

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

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Heracles 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. Heracles'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.

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Heracles to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately he asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Heracles 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 – Heracles did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Heracles 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 Heracles that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Heracles'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, Heracles didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg that Hatched first produced a bright golden-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Heracles, naming himself Aneurath.

A friend in me

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

After the Hatching

"Aneurath" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Aneurath's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Heracles 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. Heracles was proud to introduce Aneurath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Aneurath, Heracles gave the Weyrleader his own new name: H'erc, rider of bronze Aneurath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Aneurath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, H'erc 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

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

H'erc'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 H'erc and Aneurath.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for H'erc, 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, H'erc 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 H'erc'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 H'erc 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 Aneurath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , H'erc 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 H'erc 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, H'erc decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.

Returning at last to Aneurath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – H'erc 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 – H'erc 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 H'erc's new name?

Find out more about Heracles's Impression here. H'erc and Aneurath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

H'erc'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:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Aneurath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Aneurath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Aneurath and I disagreed on something quite important!