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Ar'nor and bronze Speziath

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Artnor – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Artnor was born the son of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. He was treating minor injuries even before he was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Artnor an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Artnor was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Artnor was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Artnor arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Martom and Artnor 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 Artnor 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, Artnor 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 Artnor to find it. Despite Artnor'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, Artnor encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Artnor to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Artnor duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Artnor 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, Artnor 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. Artnor 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 Artnor a certain confidence in his own prospects!

A rising problem

Artnor 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. Artnor'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 Artnor 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 Artnor 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 Artnor 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 – Artnor did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Artnor 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?

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Artnor had an excruciatingly long wait before the large greeny-grey egg Hatched to reveal the pale greeny-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Speziath.

A friend bereft

But to Artnor'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 Artnor and Speziath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Speziath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Artnor on his Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Speziath's first meal. That was the first moment Artnor 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 Speziath's personality started to become evident. The pale bronze dragonet – the largest of the clutch, and the image of his father Muzzanth – proved to be a particular intelligent and perceptive character even minutes out of the egg.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Artnor 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. Artnor was proud to introduce Speziath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Speziath, Artnor gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Ar'nor, rider of bronze Speziath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Speziath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, Ar'nor 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

Ar'nor and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Ar'nor had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

Ar'nor's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at Ar'nor's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his son wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his son, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Ar'nor and Speziath – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Ar'nor, 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, Ar'nor 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 Ar'nor'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 Ar'nor 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 Speziath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , Ar'nor 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 Ar'nor 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, Ar'nor decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Speziath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – Ar'nor 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 – Ar'nor 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 Artnor's Impression here. Ar'nor and Speziath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Ar'nor'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:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Speziath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Speziath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Speziath and I agreed on something quite important!