M'ran and brown Ischiath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Meranden – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Meranden 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, Meranden 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, Meranden 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 Meranden! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Meranden's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Meranden 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 Meranden 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, Meranden 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 Meranden to find it. Despite Meranden'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, Meranden encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Meranden to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Meranden 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, Meranden offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Meranden encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Meranden – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Meranden 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!
Luckily for him, Meranden solved the puzzle of Fr'ton's confusing notes adeptly, delivering the correct drinks to the correct Masters, and earning a handsome tip in the process. Meranden even shared the largesse with Zielaph, who then introduced him to Fr'ton – who, having Impressed a bronze in spite of his less than boundless promise, gave Meranden a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Meranden 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. Meranden'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Meranden 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 Meranden to find for his warming salve.
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Meranden 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?
Given Meranden's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Meranden an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!
When it came to the Hatching, Meranden didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The moonlike grey egg Hatched out a warm milky-klah brown dragonet who told Meranden his name was Ischiath.
A friend in me
And Meranden wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.
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 Meranden and Ischiath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Ischiath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Meranden 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 Ischiath's first meal. That was Meranden's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Ischiath and Kauth. Martom also told Meranden that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Ischiath's personality started to become evident. The little klah-coloured brown proved to be exceptionally friendly and forward from the very beginning, wanting nothing more than to introduce himself to everyone he met.
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 Meranden and M'tom 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. Meranden was proud to introduce Ischiath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Ischiath, Meranden gave the Weyrleader his own new name: M'ran, rider of brown Ischiath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Ischiath's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, M'ran and M'tom 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
M'ran and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk M'ran had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
M'ran's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as M'ran's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, M'ran was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to M'ran and Ischiath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for M'ran, 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, M'ran 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 M'ran'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 M'ran 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 Ischiath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , M'ran 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 M'ran 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, M'ran decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.
Returning at last to Ischiath – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – M'ran 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 brown beside him – M'ran 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 M'ran's new name?
M'ran and Ischiath'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!
I changed my name by choice!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Ischiath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Ischiath and I agreed on something very important!
Ischiath and I disagreed on something quite important!