S'ven and blue Arecath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Steven – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Steven was born the son of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at Madellon Weyr. While he didn't have to be Searched, he was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. As a first-time candidate with no dragonrider blood, Steven looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing he might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that he would!
As a candidate, Steven 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 Steven! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Steven's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Steven 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 Steven 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
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Steven was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Steven never discovered, being disinclined to be helpful with so many other errands to run.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Steven expressed an interested in looking up some Weyr records, Tarshe offered him the loan of a glowbasket – on the proviso that he return it afterwards. Which – mindful of not offending such an important personage of the Weyr – Steven did!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Steven encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Steven hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Steven's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
At the lake, T'gala – the only female blue rider on Pern – asked for Steven's help in bathing her big Southern blue, Heppeth. Steven, reluctant to get wet, refused – earning T'gala's dislike, and a blot on his reputation!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Steven 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!
When it came to the Hatching, Steven didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The green-clouded blue egg that Hatched first produced a dark steel-blue hatchling who spared no time in choosing Steven, naming himself Arecath.
A friend bereft
But to Steven'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 Steven and Arecath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Arecath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Steven on his Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Arecath's first meal. That was the first moment Steven 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 Arecath'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.
Another friend Steven made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Steven had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Steven at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Steven 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. Steven was proud to introduce Arecath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Arecath, Steven gave the Weyrleader his own new name: S'ven, rider of blue Arecath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Arecath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, S'ven 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
S'ven and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'ven had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
S'ven's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as S'ven's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, S'ven was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to S'ven and Arecath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'ven, 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, S'ven 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 S'ven'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 S'ven 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 Arecath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , S'ven 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 S'ven 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, S'ven decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Arecath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – S'ven 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 – S'ven 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?
S'ven and Arecath'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
Arecath and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Arecath and I agreed on something very important!
Arecath and I agreed on something quite important!