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S'ifar and bronze Visperth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Sallifar – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Sallifar was born the son of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. He was treating minor injuries even before he was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Sallifar an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Sallifar was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Sallifar was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Sallifar arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Sallifar was assigned a bunkmate – Martom, a confident young Weyrbred lad, 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 – Gydeton, the blustering, entitled son of Lord Meturvian of Kellad – who took a firm disliking to Sallifar! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Sallifar's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Martom and Sallifar on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Gydeton, 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 Sallifar left, Martom – keen to prove himself by Impressing on his first attempt – asked him for help procuring some additional confidence in the form of some alcohol.

The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Sallifar 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. Sallifar'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 Sallifar 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 Sallifar 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 Sallifar 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 Sallifar 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. But with one thing and another, Sallifar didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Sallifar 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?

Hair today

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

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Sallifar 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 Sallifar soon found himself struggling for breath. And then he came across Gydeton – having apparently followed Sallifar into the passageways – lying unconscious and insensible in the fume-filled tunnel.

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

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

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Sallifar didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The large greeny-grey egg Hatched out a pale greeny-bronze dragonet who told Sallifar his name was Visperth.

A friend bereft

But to Sallifar's dismay, Martom wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in him, and he was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.

After the Hatching

"Visperth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Sallifar on his Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Visperth's first meal. That was the first moment Sallifar had truly grasped that Martom wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Martom's absence, Chiliam – the highborn lad from Kellad, who'd Impressed a dusty-brown dragonet, Destrath, and who now styled himself Ch'liam – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Visperth'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Sallifar and Ch'liam 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. Sallifar was proud to introduce Visperth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Visperth, Sallifar gave the Weyrleader his own new name: S'ifar, rider of bronze Visperth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Visperth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, S'ifar and Ch'liam 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

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

S'ifar's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at S'ifar's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his son wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his son, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to S'ifar and Visperth – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'ifar, 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, S'ifar 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 S'ifar'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 S'ifar 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 Visperth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Visperth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – S'ifar 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 – S'ifar 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 Sallifar's Impression here. S'ifar and Visperth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'ifar'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

Visperth 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

Visperth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Visperth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
RIEN DE RIEN

I left Gydeton to die, and I regret nothing!