Or'ren and bronze Cofiath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Orizaren – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Orizaren was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Orizaren 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, Orizaren 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 Orizaren becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Orizaren's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Orizaren 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, Orizaren left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Orizaren 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 Orizaren! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Orizaren's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Orizaren 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 Orizaren 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, Orizaren 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 Orizaren to find it. Despite Orizaren'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, Orizaren encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Orizaren to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Orizaren 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, Orizaren offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Orizaren encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Orizaren – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Orizaren 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, Orizaren 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
Orizaren 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 Orizaren 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 Orizaren 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 Orizaren to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Orizaren 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 Orizaren 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 – Orizaren did!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Orizaren 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, Orizaren 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 Orizaren that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Orizaren'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, Orizaren 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!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Orizaren 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, Orizaren strayed into tunnel snake territory! A brush with a small male tunnel-snake, guarding his nest, netted Orizaren some marks – and a painful, if not serious, bite. But that was only the beginning of his snaky problems. A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Orizaren 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 tunnel-snake, Orizaren approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Orizaren off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Orizaren had to wait a little while before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Cofiath.
A friend in me
And Orizaren 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?
Rielat didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Orizaren'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 – Orizaren supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Rielat, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Cofiath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Orizaren 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 Cofiath's first meal. That was Orizaren's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Cofiath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Orizaren that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Cofiath'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 Orizaren made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Orizaren had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Orizaren at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Orizaren 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. Orizaren was proud to introduce Cofiath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Cofiath, Orizaren gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Or'ren, rider of bronze Cofiath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Cofiath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Or'ren 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
Or'ren and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Or'ren 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, Or'ren'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 Cofiath for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to Or'ren and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Or'ren, 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, Or'ren 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 Or'ren'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 Or'ren 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 Cofiath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Or'ren 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 Or'ren 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, Or'ren decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Cofiath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Or'ren 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 – Or'ren 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 Orizaren's Impression here. Or'ren and Cofiath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Orizaren's Impression here. Or'ren and Cofiath'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Cofiath and I make a very strong match!
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
Cofiath and I agreed on something very important!
Cofiath and I disagreed on something quite important!