N'cil and bronze Lienth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Narancil – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Narancil was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Narancil 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, Narancil 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 Narancil becoming a candidate – while conceding that he could spare a younger grandchild. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Narancil left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Narancil 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 Narancil! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Narancil's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Narancil 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 Narancil 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, Narancil 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 Narancil to find it. Despite Narancil's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Narancil 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 Narancil 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 Narancil some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Narancil 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, Narancil 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, Narancil 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. Narancil 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 Narancil a certain confidence in his own prospects!
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Narancil 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 – Narancil did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Narancil trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Narancil 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, Narancil 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?
Given Narancil'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 Narancil 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!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Narancil 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, Narancil strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Narancil 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 snake, Narancil crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!
Disaster almost struck during the Hatching when Narancil – following some dubious advice about attempting to force a dragonet to choose him – put him self in the path of a less than receptive green hatchling. The green, clearly objecting to being crowded, lashed out at Narancil – slicing his arm. Luckily for Narancil, the mauling wasn't a fatal one – though it could have been, as an irate L'stev told him when patching up the injury on the spot. Even more luckily, the incident didn't deter another dragonet – the bronze who Hatched from the black-freckled grey – from choosing Narancil and naming himself Lienth!
Whatever happened to Gydeton?
It turned out that making an enemy of Narancil was a very poor choice on Gydeton's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Narancil had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Gydeton. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Gydeton's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Lienth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Narancil 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 Lienth's first meal. That was Narancil's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Lienth and Kauth. Martom also told Narancil that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Lienth's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his rider!
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Narancil made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Narancil had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Narancil at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Narancil 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. Narancil was proud to introduce Lienth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Lienth, Narancil gave the Weyrleader his own new name: N'cil, rider of bronze Lienth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Lienth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, N'cil 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
N'cil and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk N'cil 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, N'cil's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Lienth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to N'cil and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for N'cil, 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, N'cil 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 N'cil'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 N'cil 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 Lienth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), N'cil 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 N'cil 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, N'cil decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Lienth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – N'cil 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 – N'cil 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?
N'cil and Lienth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Lienth and I complement each other!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Lienth and I agreed on something very important!
Lienth and I agreed on something quite important!