C'ko and brown Komaith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Chouko – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Chouko was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Chouko 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, Chouko 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 Chouko becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Chouko's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Chouko had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Chouko left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Chouko 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 Chouko! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Chouko's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Chouko 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 Chouko 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, Chouko 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 Chouko to find it. Despite Chouko's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Chouko trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Chouko gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Chouko 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 Chouko that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Chouko'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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Chouko 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!
When it came to the Hatching, Chouko had an excruciatingly long wait before the moonlike grey egg Hatched to reveal the warm milky-klah brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Komaith.
A friend in me
And Chouko 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 Chouko and Komaith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Komaith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Chouko 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 Komaith's first meal. That was Chouko's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Komaith and Aeranth. Soburn also told Chouko that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Komaith's personality started to become evident. The little klah-coloured brown proved to be exceptionally friendly and forward from the very beginning, wanting nothing more than to introduce himself to everyone he met.
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 Chouko made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Chouko had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Chouko at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Chouko 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. Chouko was proud to introduce Komaith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Komaith, Chouko gave the Weyrleader his own new name: C'ko, rider of brown Komaith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Komaith's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, C'ko 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
C'ko and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk C'ko 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, C'ko's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Komaith's colour, if clearly disappointed that his grandson hadn't managed to Impress a bronze – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to C'ko and Komaith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for C'ko, 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, C'ko 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 C'ko'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 C'ko 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 Komaith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , C'ko 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 C'ko 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, C'ko decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Komaith – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – C'ko 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 brown beside him – C'ko 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?
C'ko and Komaith'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Komaith and I make a very strong match!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Komaith and I agreed on something very important!
Komaith and I disagreed on something quite important!