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S'venor and bronze Runfirth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Stevenor – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

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

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Stevenor 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 Stevenor 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, Stevenor 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 Stevenor to find it. Despite Stevenor's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting his elders

In the infirmary, Stevenor encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Stevenor to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Stevenor rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Stevenor 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. Stevenor'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.

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Stevenor 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 – Stevenor did!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Stevenor trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Stevenor gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!

Backhander backfired

Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Stevenor 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 Stevenor hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Stevenor'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, Stevenor 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

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Stevenor 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 Stevenor that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Stevenor'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

Stevenor'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. Stevenor chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Stevenor remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Stevenor didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg that Hatched first produced a bright golden-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Stevenor, naming himself Runfirth.

A friend in me

And Stevenor 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 Stevenor and Runfirth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Runfirth" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Runfirth'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Stevenor 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. Stevenor was proud to introduce Runfirth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Runfirth, Stevenor gave the Weyrleader his own new name: S'venor, rider of bronze Runfirth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Runfirth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, S'venor 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

S'venor and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'venor 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, S'venor'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 Runfirth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to S'venor and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'venor, 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, S'venor 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 S'venor'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 S'venor 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 Runfirth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Runfirth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – S'venor 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 – S'venor 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 Stevenor's Impression here. S'venor and Runfirth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'venor'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

Runfirth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SNAKES AND SNAILS

I haven't been very nice!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Runfirth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Runfirth and I disagreed on something quite important!