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Ja'es and bronze Motsath

The Road So Far!

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

James was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. James didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, James was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about James becoming a candidate – while conceding that he could spare a younger grandchild. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, James left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent James 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.

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, James 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, James 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 James that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But James'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, James had an excruciatingly long wait before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Motsath.

A friend in me

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

After the Hatching

"Motsath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate James on his Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's grandson had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Motsath's first meal. That was James's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Motsath and Aeranth. Soburn also told James that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Motsath'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As James 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. James was proud to introduce Motsath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Motsath, James gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Ja'es, rider of bronze Motsath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Motsath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Ja'es 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

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

Lord Winstone, Ja'es's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Motsath for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to Ja'es and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Ja'es, 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, Ja'es 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 Ja'es'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 Ja'es 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 Motsath.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Motsath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Ja'es 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 – Ja'es 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 James's Impression here. Ja'es and Motsath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Ja'es'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

Motsath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Motsath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Motsath and I disagreed on something quite important!