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M'vint and brown Shigarth

The Road So Far!

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

Marvint was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Marvint 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, Marvint 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 Marvint 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, Marvint left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Marvint 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. Marvint'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 Marvint 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 Marvint 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 Marvint 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 – Marvint did!

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Given Marvint'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 Marvint 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, Marvint visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Marvint ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Marvint 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, Marvint strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Marvint 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, Marvint 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, Marvint had to wait a little while before the very large dark grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep turned-earth brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Shigarth.

A friend in me

And Marvint 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?

It turned out that making an enemy of Marvint was a very poor choice on Gydeton's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Marvint 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

"Shigarth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Marvint 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 Shigarth's first meal. That was Marvint's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Shigarth and Kauth. Martom also told Marvint that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Shigarth's personality started to become evident. The substantial dark-brown dragonet – chunkier than any other hatchling – had a stolid, non-nonsense character to match, speaking his mind without hesitation or tact.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Marvint 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. Marvint was proud to introduce Shigarth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Shigarth, Marvint gave the Weyrleader his own new name: M'vint, rider of brown Shigarth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Shigarth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, M'vint 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

M'vint and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk M'vint 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, M'vint's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Shigarth's colour, if clearly disappointed that his grandson hadn't managed to Impress a bronze – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to M'vint and Shigarth.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for M'vint, 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'vint 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'vint'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'vint 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 Shigarth.

A close encounter

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

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

M'vint'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

Shigarth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Shigarth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Shigarth and I agreed on something quite important!