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L'nard and blue Bryaceth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Lernard – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Lernard was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Lernard caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Lernard arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Lernard 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 Lernard! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Lernard's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Lernard 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. Lernard'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.

A Harper born

Lernard's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Lernard's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Lernard to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately he asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Given Lernard's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Lernard an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Lernard 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.

By a stroke of ill luck, Lernard strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Lernard was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived his encounter with the snake, Lernard crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Lernard had to wait a little while before the grey-swirled silvery cream egg Hatched to reveal the very pale moon-blue dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Bryaceth.

A friend in me

And Lernard wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.

Whatever happened to Gydeton?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Gydeton Impressed the biggest dragonet of the clutch, a hefty dark-brown hatchling, making them Lernard and Bryaceth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Bryaceth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Lernard on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Bryaceth's first meal. That was Lernard's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Bryaceth and Kauth. Martom also told Lernard that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Bryaceth's personality started to become evident. The moon-blue dragonet, while seemingly reluctant to even leave his egg, showed glimmers of a curiously perceptive and knowing mind beneath his apparent laziness.

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 Lernard and M'tom 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. Lernard was proud to introduce Bryaceth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Bryaceth, Lernard gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'nard, rider of blue Bryaceth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Bryaceth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, L'nard and M'tom 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

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

L'nard's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider and happier still to learn that L'nard had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to L'nard and Bryaceth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'nard, 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, L'nard 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 L'nard'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 L'nard 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 Bryaceth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Bryaceth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – L'nard 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 – L'nard 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 Lernard's Impression here. L'nard and Bryaceth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

L'nard'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

Bryaceth and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Bryaceth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Bryaceth and I agreed on something quite important!