T'cau and blue Orthotrith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Talincau – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Talincau was born the son of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of 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. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Talincau wrestled with the fear that he wouldn't live up to his rider parents' expectations a second time.
As a candidate, Talincau 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 Talincau! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Talincau's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Talincau 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 Talincau 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, Talincau 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 Talincau to find it. The quest took Talincau all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end he succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Talincau encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Talincau to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Talincau duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Talincau met G'kalte – a brown rider and Wingsecond, not to mention Weyrwoman Valonna's weyrmate – in the Bowl, and was quickly recruited by him to help with a diplomatic matter. G'kalte had been tasked with delivering two gifts from Valonna to her Southern counterpart Weyrwoman Karika – but he'd been summoned away to collect his own grandmother, Lady Coffleby, for the Hatching.
He asked Talincau to figure out which of the seven Southern dragons visiting Madellon were the correct pair to hand over Karika's gifts. And while G'kalte's brown, Archidath, offered Talincau some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Talincau unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Talincau met his fellow candidate Zielaph, who'd been tasked by his somewhat dim uncle, bronze rider Fr'ton, with delivering a complicated drinks order to a group of Master Crafters. Zielaph had information about their names, beverages, crafts, and fire-lizards – but not in any sensible order!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Talincau to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Talincau encountered both Soleigh, whose green Bristath was preparing to rise near the lake, and her weyrmate Maris, who was getting very drunk in the dining hall on account of her fears that Soleigh was having an affair with a blue rider, G'tron. Talincau's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight – not to mention G'pellas, another blue rider, needed in the Harper ensemble – and reconciled the two green riders. Even if Talincau did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Talincau 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 Talincau to find for his warming salve.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Talincau 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 – Talincau did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Talincau trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Talincau gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Talincau offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
With friends like these...
But handling Soburn's long-distance crush required a delicacy that Talincau sadly didn't possess. Revealing too much to H'nar – and then failing to treat Soburn's bruised feelings with any sort of care – destroyed Talincau pining friend's confidence. Having already failed to Impress once, and now crushed by the rejection of a rider who would certainly be his Wingleader should he ever Impress, Soburn decided to rule himself out of candidacy entirely.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Talincau visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Talincau ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A breath of foul air
Setting aside his petty rivalry with Rielat in the face of a genuine emergency, Talincau set about getting Rielat to safety. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated himself, he raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.
Talincau woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Talincau had certainly saved Rielat's life counted in his favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.
When it came to the Hatching, Talincau had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the yellow-green craggy-textured egg Hatched to reveal the light sky-blue hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Orthotrith.
After the Hatching
"Orthotrith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Talincau 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 Orthotrith's first meal. That was the first moment Talincau had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn'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 Orthotrith's personality started to become evident. The big sky-blue dragonet demonstrated an enormous desire to please, making him an especially endearing character.
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 Talincau 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. Talincau was proud to introduce Orthotrith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Orthotrith, Talincau gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'cau, rider of blue Orthotrith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Orthotrith's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, T'cau 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'cau and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'cau had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their son as a blue rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to T'cau and Orthotrith, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his son by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'cau, 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'cau 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'cau'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 T'cau some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised him to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get his injuries checked again, and made some observations on Orthotrith.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), T'cau 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'cau 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'cau decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Orthotrith – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – T'cau 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 – T'cau 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?
T'cau and Orthotrith'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
Orthotrith and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Orthotrith and I agreed on something very important!
Orthotrith and I agreed on something quite important!