Th'ron and bronze Droserath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Theron – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Theron was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Theron 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, Theron 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 Theron becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Theron's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Theron had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Theron left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Theron 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 Theron! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Theron's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Theron 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 Theron 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
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Theron was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Theron never discovered, after making a mean-spirited joke about M'shen's missing hand that – not unreasonably – made the green rider take against him.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Theron encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Theron to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Theron duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Theron 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, Theron 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
Theron 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. Theron'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.
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Theron 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.
Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Theron took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Theron 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 – Theron did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Theron trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Theron gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Theron encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Theron hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Theron's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Theron 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?
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Theron 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 Theron that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Theron'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!
Wherry bad behaviour
Theron's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with him. L'stev collared him in the Bowl and gave him an ultimatum – buck up his ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Theron chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Theron remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
A curious development
Early in the day, Theron 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 glowbaskets, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.
Theron never made it to the Hatching ground – instead, encountering an unusually intelligent feline in the tunnels. Following it deeper into the ventilation shafts, Theron came across the most unexpected discovery – a hidden room, full of a very peculiar selection of individuals. But he had barely taken stock of his situation before Vanzanth, the Weyrlingmaster's brown, forced his way into the room – ordering Theron out, and commanding him never to speak of the encounter again!
When it came to the Hatching, Theron 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 Droserath.
A friend in me
And Theron 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 Theron and Droserath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Droserath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Theron 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 Droserath's first meal. That was Theron's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Droserath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Theron that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Droserath'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.
Another friend Theron made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Theron had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Theron at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Theron 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. Theron was proud to introduce Droserath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Droserath, Theron gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Th'ron, rider of bronze Droserath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Droserath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Th'ron 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
Th'ron and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Th'ron 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, Th'ron'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 Droserath for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to Th'ron and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Th'ron, 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, Th'ron 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 Th'ron'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 Th'ron 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 Droserath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , Th'ron 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 Th'ron 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, Th'ron decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Droserath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Th'ron 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 – Th'ron 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 Theron's Impression here. Th'ron and Droserath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Theron's Impression here. Th'ron and Droserath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Droserath and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Droserath and I agreed on something very important!
Droserath and I disagreed on something quite important!