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A'dan and bronze Rokerth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Aedan – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Aedan was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Aedan 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, Aedan 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 Aedan becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Aedan's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Aedan 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, Aedan left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Aedan 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. Aedan'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Aedan 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, Aedan 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 Aedan that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Aedan'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, Aedan visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Aedan ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Aedan 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 Aedan soon found himself struggling for breath.

Undeterred, Aedan pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But he wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Aedan from the Sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Aedan 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 Aedan, naming himself Rokerth.

A friend in me

And Aedan 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's victimisation of Aedan had serious consequences – for Rielat. Not everyone would have tattled on him the way Aedan did, but his complaints about the other boy, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Rielat, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Rielat from the candidate pool!

After the Hatching

"Rokerth" by Chris S. Baily

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

It wasn't long before Rokerth'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.

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Aedan 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. Aedan was proud to introduce Rokerth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Rokerth, Aedan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: A'dan, rider of bronze Rokerth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Rokerth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, A'dan 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

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

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for A'dan, 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, A'dan 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 A'dan'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 A'dan 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 Rokerth.

A close encounter

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

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

A'dan'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

Rokerth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Rokerth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Rokerth and I agreed on something quite important!