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C'ad and bronze Doplinth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Chad – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

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

As a candidate, Chad 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 Chad! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Chad's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Chad 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 Chad 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, Chad 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 Chad to find it. Despite Chad's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Chad 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. If only she'd known what other use Chad had in mind for it...

Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Chad took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Chad trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Chad gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!

At the lake, T'rello – the rider of the biggest bronze at Madellon, Santinoth – asked for Chad's help in bathing his gargantuan dragon. Chad, reluctant to get wet, refused – earning T'rello's disdain, and a blot on his reputation!

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Chad approached the object of his affections – H'nar, Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – with some circumspection. Still, when questioned, H'nar insisted he had to know who was making enquiries of him. And when he learned the identity of his admirer, he told Chad that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Chad's agile pivot in questioning revealed that a close friend of H'nar's – blue rider M'rany – might be a viable alternative. Thus encouraged, Soburn began to think more positively of life as a dragonrider – even if H'nar would end up being his Wingleader!

Wherry bad behaviour

Chad's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with him. L'stev collared him in the Bowl and gave him an ultimatum – buck up his ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Chad chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Chad remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Chad had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Doplinth.

A friend in me

And Chad wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.

Whatever happened to Rielat?

For Rielat, getting on Chad's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Chad dosed Rielat's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Rielat was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in his nether regions, he fled the Hatching Sands – squandering his chance at Impression!

After the Hatching

"Doplinth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Chad 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 Doplinth's first meal. That was Chad's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Doplinth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Chad that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Doplinth's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.

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 Chad and S'burn 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. Chad was proud to introduce Doplinth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Doplinth, Chad gave the Weyrleader his own new name: C'ad, rider of bronze Doplinth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Doplinth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, C'ad and S'burn 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

C'ad and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk C'ad 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, C'ad'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 Doplinth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to C'ad and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for C'ad, 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, C'ad 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 C'ad'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 C'ad 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 Doplinth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Doplinth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – C'ad 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 – C'ad 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?

Find out more about Chad's Impression here. C'ad and Doplinth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

C'ad'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:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Doplinth and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SNAKES AND SNAILS

I haven't been very nice!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Doplinth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Doplinth and I agreed on something quite important!