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T'mas and bronze Ebonth

The Road So Far!

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

Thomas 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. Thomas caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Thomas arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

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

A Harper born

Thomas's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Thomas's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Thomas with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Thomas to find for his warming salve.

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Thomas 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, Thomas 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, Thomas didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The large greeny-grey egg Hatched out a pale greeny-bronze dragonet who told Thomas his name was Ebonth.

A friend bereft

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

After the Hatching

"Ebonth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Thomas 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 Ebonth's first meal. That was the first moment Thomas 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 Ebonth'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Thomas 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. Thomas was proud to introduce Ebonth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Ebonth, Thomas gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'mas, rider of bronze Ebonth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Ebonth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, T'mas 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

T'mas and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'mas had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

T'mas's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a bronze rider and happier still to learn that T'mas had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to T'mas and Ebonth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'mas, 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, T'mas 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 T'mas's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with his new name, too. She offered T'mas 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 Ebonth.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , T'mas 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 T'mas 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, T'mas decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.

Returning at last to Ebonth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – T'mas 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 – T'mas was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known T'mas's new name?

T'mas and Ebonth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

T'mas'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:
DEED POLL

I changed my name by choice!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Ebonth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Ebonth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Ebonth and I agreed on something quite important!