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M'dai and bronze Accorth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Mordai – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Mordai was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Mordai caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Mordai arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Mordai 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 Mordai 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, Mordai 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 Mordai to find it. The quest took Mordai 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, Mordai encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Mordai to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Mordai 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, Mordai offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Mordai encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Mordai – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Mordai 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. Mordai'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. Even if Mordai did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!

A Harper born

Mordai's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Mordai's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Mordai 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 Mordai 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 Mordai 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 – Mordai did!

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Mordai 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, Mordai 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 Mordai that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Mordai'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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Mordai visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Mordai ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Mordai 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. The route he chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Mordai soon found himself struggling for breath. And then he came across Rielat – having apparently followed Mordai into the passageways – lying unconscious and insensible in the fume-filled tunnel.

Perhaps it was the toxic air, or perhaps not – but when Mordai crawled out onto the Hatching sands, he didn't drag Rielat out with him – and nor did he tell the Weyrleader about his stricken fellow candidate. Overcome by the ordeal, Mordai fainted.

Mordai woke in the infirmary – only to be interrogated by a very grim Weyrleader T'gat and Weyrlingmaster L'stev. Rielat had been found – dead. And only some very quick talking on Mordai's part spared him from being thrown out of the Weyr entirely.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Mordai had to wait a little while before the black-freckled grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep classic-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Accorth.

A friend in me

And Mordai wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.

After the Hatching

"Accorth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Mordai on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Accorth's first meal. That was Mordai's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Accorth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Mordai that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Accorth's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his rider!

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Mordai 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. Mordai was proud to introduce Accorth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Accorth, Mordai gave the Weyrleader his own new name: M'dai, rider of bronze Accorth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Accorth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, M'dai 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'dai and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk M'dai had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

M'dai's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a bronze rider and happier still to learn that M'dai had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to M'dai and Accorth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for M'dai, 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'dai 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'dai'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'dai 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 Accorth.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), M'dai 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'dai 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'dai decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

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

M'dai'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

Accorth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Accorth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Accorth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
RIEN DE RIEN

I left Rielat to die, and I regret nothing!