L'zeus and bronze Hartinth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Lazerius – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Lazerius 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, Lazerius didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Lazerius 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, Lazerius's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Lazerius with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Lazerius 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 Lazerius! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Lazerius's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Lazerius 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 Lazerius 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, Lazerius 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 Lazerius to find it. Despite Lazerius's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the infirmary, Lazerius encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Lazerius to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Lazerius rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Lazerius 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 Lazerius 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 Lazerius some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Lazerius 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, Lazerius 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, Lazerius 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. Lazerius 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 Lazerius a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Lazerius 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. Lazerius'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Lazerius with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Lazerius took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Lazerius 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 – Lazerius did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Lazerius trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Lazerius 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, Lazerius offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Lazerius 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 Lazerius that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Lazerius'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!
Wherry bad behaviour
Lazerius's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with him. L'stev collared him in the Bowl and gave him an ultimatum – buck up his ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Lazerius chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Lazerius remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
When it came to the Hatching, Lazerius had to wait a little while before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Hartinth.
A friend in me
And Lazerius 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?
Rielat didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Lazerius's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that he had probably got himself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Lazerius supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Rielat, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Hartinth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Lazerius 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 Hartinth's first meal. That was Lazerius's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Hartinth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Lazerius that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Hartinth's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.
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 Lazerius 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. Lazerius was proud to introduce Hartinth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Hartinth, Lazerius gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'zeus, rider of bronze Hartinth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Hartinth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, L'zeus 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
L'zeus and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'zeus had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
L'zeus'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 L'zeus and Hartinth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'zeus, 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, L'zeus 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 L'zeus'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 L'zeus 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 Hartinth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , L'zeus 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 L'zeus 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, L'zeus decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Hartinth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – L'zeus 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 – L'zeus 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?
L'zeus and Hartinth'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
Hartinth and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Hartinth and I agreed on something very important!
Hartinth and I agreed on something quite important!