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M'kal and brown Sherinth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Mikal – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.

Mikal was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Mikal caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Mikal arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

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

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Mikal 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, Mikal 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.

A rising problem

Mikal 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. Mikal'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.

A Harper born

Mikal's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Mikal's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

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

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Mikal visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Mikal ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Mikal didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The moonlike grey egg Hatched out a warm milky-klah brown dragonet who told Mikal his name was Sherinth.

A friend bereft

But to Mikal's dismay, Martom wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in him, and he was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.

Whatever happened to Gydeton?

It turned out that making an enemy of Mikal was a very poor choice on Gydeton's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Mikal had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Gydeton. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Gydeton's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!

After the Hatching

"Sherinth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Mikal on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Sherinth's first meal. That was the first moment Mikal had truly grasped that Martom wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Martom's absence, Chiliam – the highborn lad from Kellad, who'd Impressed a dusty-brown dragonet, Destrath, and who now styled himself Ch'liam – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Sherinth's personality started to become evident. The little klah-coloured brown proved to be exceptionally friendly and forward from the very beginning, wanting nothing more than to introduce himself to everyone he met.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Mikal and Ch'liam 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. Mikal was proud to introduce Sherinth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Sherinth, Mikal gave the Weyrleader his own new name: M'kal, rider of brown Sherinth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Sherinth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, M'kal and Ch'liam 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

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

M'kal's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a brown rider and happier still to learn that M'kal had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to M'kal and Sherinth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for M'kal, 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, M'kal 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 M'kal'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 M'kal 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 Sherinth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Sherinth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – M'kal 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 brown beside him – M'kal 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 Mikal's Impression here. M'kal and Sherinth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

M'kal'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:
OPPOSITES ATTRACT

I make quite a strange match with Sherinth!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Sherinth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BROKEN STRINGS

Sherinth and I disagreed on something very important!