L'nard and brown Abarynth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Leonard – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Leonard was born the son of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. He was treating minor injuries even before he was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Leonard an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Leonard was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Leonard was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Leonard arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Leonard 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 Leonard! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Leonard's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Leonard 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 Leonard 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, Leonard 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 Leonard to find it. Despite Leonard'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, Leonard encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Leonard to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Leonard duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Leonard 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 blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Leonard offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
When it came to the Hatching, Leonard didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The unassuming grey-green egg that Hatched first produced a deep russet-brown hatchling who spared no time in choosing Leonard, naming himself Abarynth.
A friend bereft
But to Leonard'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 Leonard and Abarynth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Abarynth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Leonard on his Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Abarynth's first meal. That was the first moment Leonard 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 Abarynth's personality started to become evident. The little russet-brown dragonet proved unusually quiet, speaking only seldom, and showing a strong preference for his own company – and his rider's.
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 Leonard made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Leonard had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Leonard at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Leonard 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. Leonard was proud to introduce Abarynth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Abarynth, Leonard gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'nard, rider of brown Abarynth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Abarynth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, L'nard 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
L'nard and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'nard had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
L'nard's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at L'nard's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his son wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his son, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to L'nard and Abarynth – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'nard, 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, L'nard 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 L'nard'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 L'nard 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 Abarynth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , L'nard 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 L'nard 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, L'nard decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Abarynth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – L'nard 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 – L'nard 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?
L'nard and Abarynth'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
Abarynth and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Abarynth and I agreed on something very important!
Abarynth and I disagreed on something quite important!