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N'reg and brown Mackinth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Nebereg – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Nebereg 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 Nebereg 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, Nebereg 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 Nebereg to find it. Despite Nebereg's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting his elders

In the infirmary, Nebereg encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Nebereg to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Nebereg rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!

A Masterful order

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

A rising problem

Nebereg 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. Nebereg'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 Nebereg with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Nebereg 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 – Nebereg did!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Nebereg trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Nebereg gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!

A shining example

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

But when it came to the Hatching, Nebereg had a less than ordinary experience. While bathing in the lake, Nebereg was swamped by a brown dragon's careless landing – and almost drowned. He survived – only to be invalided out of the Hatching and confined to the infirmary. But an earlier conversation with S'rius, gave Nebereg the notion that he might still be able to Impress – if he could just reach the Sands in time. He staggered from his sickbed, across the Weyr, and onto the Sands – just in time to Impress the very last dragonet, a brown who named himself Mackinth.

Whatever happened to Rielat?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Nebereg and Mackinth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Mackinth" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Mackinth's personality started to become evident. The little russet-brown dragonet proved unusually quiet, speaking only seldom, and showing a strong preference for his own company – and his rider's.

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 Nebereg 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. Nebereg was proud to introduce Mackinth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Mackinth, Nebereg gave the Weyrleader his own new name: N'reg, rider of brown Mackinth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Mackinth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, N'reg 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

N'reg and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk N'reg had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

N'reg's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as N'reg's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, N'reg was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to N'reg and Mackinth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for N'reg, 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, N'reg 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 N'reg'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 N'reg 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 Mackinth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Mackinth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – N'reg 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 brown beside him – N'reg 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?

N'reg and Mackinth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

N'reg'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:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Mackinth and I make a very strong match!

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

Mackinth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Mackinth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BFFs

Mackinth and Destrath made friends!