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L'roy and blue Mildenth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Leroy – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Leroy 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 Leroy 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. Leroy was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Leroy was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Leroy arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Leroy 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 Leroy! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Leroy's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

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

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Leroy 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 shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Leroy was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. It couldn't hurt to have some close-up experience with a bronze, could it?

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Leroy 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, Leroy had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Mildenth.

A friend bereft

But to Leroy's dismay, Martom 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 Gydeton?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Gydeton Impressed the biggest dragonet of the clutch, a hefty dark-brown hatchling, making them Leroy and Mildenth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Mildenth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Leroy 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 Mildenth's first meal. That was the first moment Leroy had truly grasped that Martom wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Martom'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 Mildenth'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.

Big brother

Another friend Leroy made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Leroy had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Leroy at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Leroy 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. Leroy was proud to introduce Mildenth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Mildenth, Leroy gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'roy, rider of blue Mildenth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Mildenth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, L'roy 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'roy and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'roy had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

L'roy's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at L'roy'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'roy and Mildenth – 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'roy, 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'roy 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'roy'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'roy 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 Mildenth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Mildenth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – L'roy 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 – L'roy 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'roy and Mildenth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

L'roy'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

Mildenth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Mildenth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Mildenth and I agreed on something quite important!