Login | Register

H'kel and brown Terobryth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Harkle – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Harkle was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Harkle 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, Harkle 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 Harkle becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Harkle's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Harkle had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Harkle left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Harkle 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.

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Harkle trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Harkle 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, Harkle 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?

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Harkle 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 Harkle that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Harkle'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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Harkle 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 Weyrleader's mercy

Early in the day, Harkle 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 chance, he found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Harkle safely to ground level.

Realising that honesty was the best policy, Harkle apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Harkle the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. He touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality. And something about the very large dark grey egg made him feel strangely certain that he would Impress later that day.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Harkle didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The very large dark grey egg Hatched out a deep turned-earth brown dragonet who told Harkle his name was Terobryth.

A friend in me

And Harkle 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?

It turned out that making an enemy of Harkle was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Harkle had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!

After the Hatching

"Terobryth" by Emily Holland

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

It wasn't long before Terobryth's personality started to become evident. The substantial dark-brown dragonet – chunkier than any other hatchling – had a stolid, non-nonsense character to match, speaking his mind without hesitation or tact.

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 Harkle 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. Harkle was proud to introduce Terobryth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Terobryth, Harkle gave the Weyrleader his own new name: H'kel, rider of brown Terobryth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Terobryth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, H'kel 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

H'kel and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk H'kel 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, H'kel's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Terobryth's colour, if clearly disappointed that his grandson hadn't managed to Impress a bronze – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to H'kel and Terobryth.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for H'kel, 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, H'kel 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 H'kel'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 H'kel 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 Terobryth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Terobryth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – H'kel 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 – H'kel 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?

H'kel and Terobryth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

H'kel'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

Terobryth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

I pre-Impressed Terobryth by touching his egg before the Hatching!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Terobryth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Terobryth and I agreed on something quite important!