E'rol and blue Oshuath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Errol – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Errol was born the son of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at Madellon Weyr. While he didn't have to be Searched, he was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Errol struggled with both his modest upbringing as a Weyr child with no rider blood, and his fear that he wasn't dragonrider material.
As a candidate, Errol 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 Errol! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Errol's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Errol 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 Errol 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, Errol 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 Errol to find it. The quest took Errol 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, Errol encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Errol to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Errol 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, Errol offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Errol encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Errol – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Errol 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 Errol 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 Errol some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Errol 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, Errol 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, Errol 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. Errol 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 Errol a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Errol 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 Errol 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 Errol 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 Errol to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Errol 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 Errol 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 – Errol did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Errol offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Errol 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 Errol that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Errol'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, Errol 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, Errol didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The green-clouded blue egg Hatched out a dark steel-blue dragonet who told Errol his name was Oshuath.
A friend in me
And Errol 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 Errol and Oshuath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Oshuath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Errol on his Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Oshuath's first meal. That was Errol's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Oshuath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Errol that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Oshuath's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.
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 Errol made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Errol had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Errol at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Errol 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. Errol was proud to introduce Oshuath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Oshuath, Errol gave the Weyrleader his own new name: E'rol, rider of blue Oshuath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Oshuath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, E'rol 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
E'rol and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk E'rol had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
E'rol's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as E'rol's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, E'rol was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to E'rol and Oshuath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for E'rol, 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, E'rol 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 E'rol'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 E'rol 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 Oshuath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), E'rol 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 E'rol 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, E'rol decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Oshuath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – E'rol 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 blue beside him – E'rol 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?
E'rol and Oshuath'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
Oshuath 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
Oshuath and I agreed on something very important!
Oshuath and I agreed on something quite important!