Q'ang and bronze Condalith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Qiang – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Qiang was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Qiang 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, Qiang 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 Qiang 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, Qiang left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Qiang 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 Qiang! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Qiang's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Qiang 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 Qiang 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, Qiang 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 Qiang to find it. Despite Qiang'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, Qiang encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Qiang to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Qiang 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 Qiang 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.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Qiang trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Qiang gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Qiang 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?
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Qiang 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 Qiang that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Qiang'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, Qiang had an excruciatingly long wait before the black-freckled grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep classic-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Condalith.
A friend in me
And Qiang 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Qiang was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Qiang had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Condalith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Qiang 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 Condalith's first meal. That was Qiang's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Condalith and Aeranth. Soburn also told Qiang that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Condalith's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his 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 Qiang made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Qiang had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Qiang at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Qiang 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. Qiang was proud to introduce Condalith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Condalith, Qiang gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Q'ang, rider of bronze Condalith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Condalith's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Q'ang 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
Q'ang and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Q'ang 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, Q'ang's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Condalith for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to Q'ang and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Q'ang, 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, Q'ang 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 Q'ang'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 Q'ang 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 Condalith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , Q'ang 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 Q'ang 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, Q'ang decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Condalith – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Q'ang 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 bronze beside him – Q'ang 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?
Q'ang and Condalith'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
Condalith and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Condalith and I agreed on something very important!
Condalith and I agreed on something quite important!