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S'lir and blue Cerath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Solliver – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

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

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Solliver 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 Solliver 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, Solliver 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 Solliver to find it. Despite Solliver's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting his elders

In the infirmary, Solliver encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Solliver to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Solliver rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Solliver 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, Solliver 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. Solliver 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 Solliver a certain confidence in his own prospects!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Solliver 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 Solliver to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up.

Eggs and baskets

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

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Solliver 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 Solliver that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Solliver'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, Solliver had to wait a little while before the yellow-green craggy-textured egg Hatched to reveal the light sky-blue dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Cerath.

A friend in me

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

After the Hatching

"Cerath" by Chris S. Baily

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

It wasn't long before Cerath's personality started to become evident. The big sky-blue dragonet demonstrated an enormous desire to please, making him an especially endearing 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 Solliver made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Solliver had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Solliver at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Solliver 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. Solliver was proud to introduce Cerath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Cerath, Solliver gave the Weyrleader his own new name: S'lir, rider of blue Cerath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Cerath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, S'lir 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

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

S'lir'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'lir and Cerath.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'lir, 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'lir 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'lir'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'lir 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 Cerath.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Cerath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – S'lir 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 blue beside him – S'lir 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?

S'lir and Cerath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'lir'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

Cerath and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Cerath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Cerath and I agreed on something quite important!