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K'man and bronze Gongorth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Korman – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Korman was born the son of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. He was treating minor injuries even before he was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Korman an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Korman was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Korman was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Korman arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Korman 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. Korman'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Korman 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 Korman to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Korman 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 Korman 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 – Korman did!

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Korman 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

Given Korman's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Korman an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!

Hair today

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

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Korman found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow him a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.

By a stroke of ill luck, Korman strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Korman was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived his encounter with the snake, Korman crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Korman had to wait a little while before the black-freckled grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep classic-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Gongorth.

A friend in me

And Korman wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.

Whatever happened to Gydeton?

Gydeton didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Korman's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that he had probably got himself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Korman supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Gydeton, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!

After the Hatching

"Gongorth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Korman on his Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Gongorth's first meal. That was Korman's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Gongorth and Kauth. Martom also told Korman that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Gongorth's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his rider!

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Korman and M'tom 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. Korman was proud to introduce Gongorth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gongorth, Korman gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'man, rider of bronze Gongorth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gongorth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, K'man and M'tom 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

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

K'man's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at K'man's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his son wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his son, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to K'man and Gongorth – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'man, 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, K'man 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 K'man'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 K'man 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 Gongorth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Gongorth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – K'man 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 – K'man 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 Korman's Impression here. K'man and Gongorth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

K'man'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

Gongorth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Gongorth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Gongorth and I agreed on something quite important!