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K'ren and bronze Lerooth

The Road So Far!

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

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

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Ketteren 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 Ketteren 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, Ketteren 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 Ketteren to find it. Despite Ketteren'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, Ketteren encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Ketteren to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Ketteren duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Ketteren 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, Ketteren 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. Ketteren 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 Ketteren a certain confidence in his own prospects!

A rising problem

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

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Ketteren offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.

Friend request

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

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Ketteren had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Lerooth.

A friend in me

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

After the Hatching

"Lerooth" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Lerooth'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 Ketteren made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Ketteren had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Ketteren at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Ketteren 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. Ketteren was proud to introduce Lerooth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Lerooth, Ketteren gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'ren, rider of bronze Lerooth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Lerooth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, K'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

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

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'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, K'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 K'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 K'ren 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 Lerooth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Lerooth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – K'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 – K'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?

K'ren and Lerooth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

K'ren'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

Lerooth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Lerooth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Lerooth and I disagreed on something quite important!