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Et'iel and brown Bravilth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Etadyl – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

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

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Etadyl 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. Etadyl'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. Even if Etadyl 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 Etadyl 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 Etadyl 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 Etadyl 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 – Etadyl did!

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Etadyl 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 Etadyl that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Etadyl'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, Etadyl didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The unassuming grey-green egg that Hatched first produced a deep russet-brown hatchling who spared no time in choosing Etadyl, naming himself Bravilth.

A friend in me

And Etadyl 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?

For Rielat, getting on Etadyl's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Etadyl dosed Rielat's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Rielat was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in his nether regions, he fled the Hatching Sands – squandering his chance at Impression!

After the Hatching

"Bravilth" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Bravilth's personality started to become evident. The little russet-brown dragonet proved unusually quiet, speaking only seldom, and showing a strong preference for his own company – and his rider's.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Etadyl 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. Etadyl was proud to introduce Bravilth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Bravilth, Etadyl gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Et'iel, rider of brown Bravilth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Bravilth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Et'iel 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

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

Et'iel'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 Et'iel and Bravilth.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Et'iel, 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, Et'iel 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 Et'iel'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 Et'iel 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 Bravilth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Bravilth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Et'iel 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 – Et'iel 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 Et'iel's new name?

Find out more about Etadyl's Impression here. Et'iel and Bravilth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Et'iel'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:
DEED POLL

I changed my name by choice!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Bravilth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Bravilth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Bravilth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BFFs

Bravilth and Destrath made friends!