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R'chard and bronze Penadith

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Richard – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Richard was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Richard 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, Richard 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 Richard 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, Richard left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Gifted a small pot of the salve, Richard offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Richard encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Richard – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Richard 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, Richard 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?

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Richard had an excruciatingly long wait before the large greeny-grey egg Hatched to reveal the pale greeny-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Penadith.

A friend bereft

But to Richard'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 Richard and Penadith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Penadith" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Richard 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 Penadith's first meal. That was the first moment Richard 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 Penadith's personality started to become evident. The pale bronze dragonet – the largest of the clutch, and the image of his father Muzzanth – proved to be a particular intelligent and perceptive character even minutes out of the egg.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Richard 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. Richard was proud to introduce Penadith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Penadith, Richard gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'chard, rider of bronze Penadith!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Penadith's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'chard 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

R'chard and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'chard 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, R'chard'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 Penadith for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to R'chard and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'chard, 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, R'chard 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 R'chard'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 R'chard 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 Penadith.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Penadith – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – R'chard 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 – R'chard 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?

R'chard and Penadith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

R'chard'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

Penadith and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Penadith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Penadith and I agreed on something quite important!