D'ren and green Sarrath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Darren – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Darren was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Darren 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, Darren 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 Darren 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, Darren left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Darren 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 Darren! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Darren's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Darren 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 Darren 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, Darren 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 Darren to find it. The quest took Darren 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, Darren encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Darren to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Darren 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, Darren offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Darren encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Darren – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Darren 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 Darren 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 Darren some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Darren 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, Darren 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, Darren 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. Darren 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 Darren a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Darren 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. Darren'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Darren 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 Darren 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 Darren 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 – Darren did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Darren trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Darren 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, Darren offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Darren'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 Darren 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Darren visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Darren ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Darren 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, Darren strayed into tunnel snake territory! A brush with a small male tunnel-snake, guarding his nest, netted Darren some marks – and a painful, if not serious, bite. But that was only the beginning of his snaky problems. A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Darren 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 tunnel-snake, Darren approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Darren off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Darren had an excruciatingly long wait before the blotchy pale turquoise egg Hatched to reveal the bright olive-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Sarrath.
A friend in me
And Darren 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Darren was a very poor choice on Gydeton's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Darren had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Gydeton. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Gydeton's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Sarrath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Darren 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 Sarrath's first meal. That was Darren's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Sarrath and Kauth. Martom also told Darren that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Sarrath's personality started to become evident. The rather slender olive-green dragonet demonstrated an immediate haughty pride in herself – and in her rider.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Darren made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Darren had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Darren at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Darren 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. Darren was proud to introduce Sarrath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Sarrath, Darren gave the Weyrleader his own new name: D'ren, rider of green Sarrath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Sarrath's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, D'ren 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
D'ren and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk D'ren 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, D'ren's grandfather, was in a state of high dudgeon about his grandson's Impression of a green. A tense scene ensued, with the Weyrleaders obliged to step in to defend D'ren from his grandfather's fury – but the damage was already done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for D'ren, 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, D'ren 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 D'ren'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 D'ren 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 Sarrath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , D'ren 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 D'ren 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, D'ren decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Sarrath – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – D'ren 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 – D'ren 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 Darren's Impression here. D'ren and Sarrath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Darren's Impression here. D'ren and Sarrath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Sarrath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Sarrath and I agreed on something very important!
Sarrath and I agreed on something quite important!
Sarrath and Destrath took against each other!