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K'en and blue Exagryth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Keren – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Martom and Keren 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 Keren 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, Keren 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 Keren to find it. The quest took Keren 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, Keren encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Keren to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Keren 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, Keren offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Keren encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Keren – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Keren 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 Keren 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 Keren some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Keren 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, Keren 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, Keren 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. Keren 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 Keren a certain confidence in his own prospects!

A rising problem

Keren 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. Keren'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Keren 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 Keren 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 Keren 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. But with one thing and another, Keren didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Keren trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Keren 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, Keren offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.

Friend request

Given Keren'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 Keren 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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Keren visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Keren ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Keren found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow him a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.

By a stroke of ill luck, Keren strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Keren was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived his encounter with the tunnel-snake, Keren approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Keren off the sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Keren had to wait a little while before the yellow-green craggy-textured egg Hatched to reveal the light sky-blue dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Exagryth.

A friend in me

And Keren 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 Keren and Exagryth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Exagryth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Keren 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 Exagryth's first meal. That was Keren's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Exagryth and Kauth. Martom also told Keren that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Exagryth'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Keren 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. Keren was proud to introduce Exagryth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Exagryth, Keren gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'en, rider of blue Exagryth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Exagryth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, K'en 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

K'en and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K'en had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

K'en's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her son's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as K'en's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, K'en was keenly aware of what it meant to his brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to K'en and Exagryth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'en, 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, K'en 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 K'en'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 K'en 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 Exagryth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Exagryth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – K'en 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 – K'en 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 Keren's Impression here. K'en and Exagryth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

K'en'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

Exagryth and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Exagryth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Exagryth and I agreed on something quite important!