Jo'athan and blue Ontith
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Jonathan – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Jonathan 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. Jonathan caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Jonathan arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Jonathan 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 Jonathan! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Jonathan's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Jonathan 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 Jonathan 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, Jonathan 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 Jonathan to find it. Despite Jonathan's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the infirmary, Jonathan encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Jonathan to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Jonathan rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Jonathan with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Jonathan offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Jonathan 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 Jonathan that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Jonathan'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!
When it came to the Hatching, Jonathan had to wait a little while before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Ontith.
A friend in me
And Jonathan 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 Jonathan and Ontith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Ontith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Jonathan 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 Ontith's first meal. That was Jonathan's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Ontith and Aeranth. Soburn also told Jonathan that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Ontith's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.
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 Jonathan made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Jonathan had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Jonathan at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Jonathan 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. Jonathan was proud to introduce Ontith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Ontith, Jonathan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Jo'athan, rider of blue Ontith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Ontith's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Jo'athan 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
Jo'athan and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Jo'athan had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
Jo'athan's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider - even though it meant he would be leaving the Harpercraft for good. And they were even more delighted to drink to Jo'athan and Ontith when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Jo'athan, 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, Jo'athan 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 Jo'athan'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 Jo'athan 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 Ontith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , Jo'athan 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 Jo'athan 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, Jo'athan decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Ontith – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Jo'athan 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 – Jo'athan 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?
Jo'athan and Ontith'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
Ontith and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Ontith and I agreed on something very important!
Ontith and I agreed on something quite important!