M'khail and bronze Acharith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Mikhail – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Mikhail was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Mikhail 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, Mikhail 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 Mikhail becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Mikhail's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Mikhail 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, Mikhail left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Mikhail 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 Mikhail! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Mikhail's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Mikhail 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 Mikhail 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, Mikhail 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 Mikhail to find it. Despite Mikhail'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, Mikhail encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Mikhail to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Mikhail 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, Mikhail offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Mikhail encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Mikhail – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Mikhail 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 Mikhail 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 Mikhail some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Mikhail 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, Mikhail 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!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Mikhail to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Mikhail 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. And while Mikhail did manage to get G'tron excluded from the flight – not to mention another blue rider, G'pellas, who was needed in the Harper ensemble – he still ultimately failed to reconcile the star-crossed green riding lovers!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Mikhail 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 Mikhail to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Mikhail 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 Mikhail 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 – Mikhail did!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Mikhail 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, Mikhail 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 Mikhail that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Mikhail'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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Mikhail visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But he fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at his expense!
When it came to the Hatching, Mikhail didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The large greeny-grey egg that Hatched first produced a pale greeny-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Mikhail, naming himself Acharith.
A friend in me
And Mikhail 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 Mikhail and Acharith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Acharith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Mikhail 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 Acharith's first meal. That was Mikhail's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Acharith and Aeranth. Soburn also told Mikhail that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Acharith's personality started to become evident. The pale bronze dragonet – the largest of the clutch, and the image of his father Muzzanth – proved to be a particular intelligent and perceptive character even minutes out of the egg.
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 Mikhail made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Mikhail had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Mikhail at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Mikhail 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. Mikhail was proud to introduce Acharith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Acharith, Mikhail gave the Weyrleader his own new name: M'khail, rider of bronze Acharith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Acharith's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, M'khail 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
M'khail and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk M'khail 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'khail'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 Acharith for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to M'khail and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for M'khail, 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'khail 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'khail'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'khail 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 Acharith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), M'khail 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'khail 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'khail decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Acharith – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – M'khail 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 – M'khail 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 Mikhail's Impression here. M'khail and Acharith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Mikhail's Impression here. M'khail and Acharith'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
Acharith and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Acharith and I agreed on something very important!
Acharith and I agreed on something quite important!