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A'cani and green Saxith

The Road So Far!

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

Ascanius was born the son of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside his widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up his young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Ascanius didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Ascanius that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. He almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon his father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Ascanius's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Ascanius with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

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

A rising problem

Ascanius 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. Ascanius'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 Ascanius 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 Ascanius 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 Ascanius 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 – Ascanius did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

A blue lady

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

Friend request

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

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Ascanius visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But he fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at his expense!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Ascanius had to wait a little while before the long pale grey egg Hatched to reveal the light cloudy-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Saxith.

A friend in me

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

After the Hatching

"Saxith" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Ascanius on his Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Saxith's first meal. That was Ascanius's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Saxith and Aeranth. Soburn also told Ascanius that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Saxith's personality started to become evident. The cloudy-green dragonet, being a very forthright and direct character, spared no time in making it clear that she wouldn't take any nonsense from anyone – her new rider included!

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 Ascanius 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. Ascanius was proud to introduce Saxith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Saxith, Ascanius gave the Weyrleader his own new name: A'cani, rider of green Saxith!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Saxith's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, A'cani 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

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

A'cani's father almost couldn't believe his son's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to A'cani and Saxith.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for A'cani, 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, A'cani 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 A'cani'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 A'cani 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 Saxith.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Saxith – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a bright bronze dragonet – A'cani 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 green beside him – A'cani 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?

A'cani and Saxith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

A'cani'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

Saxith and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Saxith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Saxith and I agreed on something quite important!