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Ar'ando and bronze Repponth

The Road So Far!

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

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

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

Hatching Day

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

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Armando 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 shining example

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

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Armando 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 Armando his name was Repponth.

A friend bereft

But to Armando's dismay, Soburn 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.

Whatever happened to Rielat?

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

After the Hatching

"Repponth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Armando 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 Repponth's first meal. That was the first moment Armando had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn'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 Repponth'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 Armando made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Armando had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Armando at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Armando 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. Armando was proud to introduce Repponth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Repponth, Armando gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Ar'ando, rider of bronze Repponth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Repponth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, Ar'ando 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

Ar'ando and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Ar'ando 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, Ar'ando'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 Repponth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to Ar'ando and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Ar'ando, 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, Ar'ando 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 Ar'ando'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 Ar'ando 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 Repponth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Repponth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – Ar'ando 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 – Ar'ando 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?

Ar'ando and Repponth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Ar'ando'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

Repponth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Repponth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Repponth and I agreed on something quite important!