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Na'sume and blue Danguath

The Road So Far!

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

Natsume was born the son of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside his widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up his young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Natsume didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Natsume that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. He almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon his father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Natsume's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Natsume with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Natsume 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. Natsume'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 Natsume 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 Natsume 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 Natsume 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 – Natsume did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Natsume 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 Natsume that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Natsume'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, Natsume visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Natsume ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Natsume didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The grey-swirled silvery cream egg that Hatched first produced a very pale moon-blue hatchling who spared no time in choosing Natsume, naming himself Danguath.

A friend in me

And Natsume 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?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Natsume and Danguath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Danguath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Natsume on his Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Danguath's first meal. That was Natsume's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Danguath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Natsume that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Danguath's personality started to become evident. The moon-blue dragonet, while seemingly reluctant to even leave his egg, showed glimmers of a curiously perceptive and knowing mind beneath his apparent laziness.

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 Natsume 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. Natsume was proud to introduce Danguath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Danguath, Natsume gave the Weyrleader his own new name: Na'sume, rider of blue Danguath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Danguath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, Na'sume 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

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

Na'sume's father almost couldn't believe his son's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Na'sume and Danguath.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Na'sume, 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, Na'sume 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 Na'sume'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 Na'sume 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 Danguath.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Danguath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – Na'sume 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 – Na'sume 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?

Na'sume and Danguath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Na'sume'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

Danguath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Danguath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Danguath and I disagreed on something quite important!