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R'yan and brown Gamblath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Ryan – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

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

Hatching Day

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

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Ryan with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Ryan 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 – Ryan did!

A shining example

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

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Ryan visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But he fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at his expense!

A breath of foul air

Setting aside his petty rivalry with Gydeton in the face of a genuine emergency, Ryan set about getting Gydeton 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.

Ryan woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Ryan had certainly saved Gydeton's life counted in his favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Ryan had an excruciatingly long wait before the moonlike grey egg Hatched to reveal the warm milky-klah brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Gamblath.

A friend bereft

But to Ryan '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.

After the Hatching

"Gamblath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Ryan 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 Gamblath's first meal. That was the first moment Ryan 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 Gamblath'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.

Big brother

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Ryan 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. Ryan was proud to introduce Gamblath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gamblath, Ryan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'yan, rider of brown Gamblath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gamblath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'yan 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

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

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

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'yan, 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, R'yan 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 R'yan'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 R'yan 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 Gamblath.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), R'yan 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 R'yan 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, R'yan decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Gamblath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – R'yan 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 – R'yan 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?

R'yan and Gamblath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

R'yan'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

Gamblath and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Gamblath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Gamblath and I agreed on something quite important!