F'riond and green Burserth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Forriond – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Forriond 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, Forriond didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Forriond 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, Forriond's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Forriond with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Forriond 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 Forriond! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Forriond's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Forriond 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 Forriond 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, Forriond 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 Forriond to find it. The quest took Forriond 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, Forriond encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Forriond to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Forriond 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, Forriond offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Forriond encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Forriond – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Forriond 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 Forriond 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 Forriond some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Forriond 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, Forriond 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, Forriond 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. Forriond 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 Forriond a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Forriond 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. Forriond'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. Even if Forriond did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Forriond 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 Forriond 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 Forriond 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 – Forriond did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Forriond offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Forriond'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 Forriond 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Forriond 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 slithery customer
Early in the day, Forriond 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, Forriond strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Forriond 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, Forriond crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!
When it came to the Hatching, Forriond had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched to reveal the vivid grassy-green hatchling who would choose him, naming herself Burserth.
A friend in me
And Forriond wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.
Whatever happened to Gydeton?
Gydeton didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Forriond'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 – Forriond supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Gydeton, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Burserth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Forriond 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 Burserth's first meal. That was Forriond's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Burserth and Kauth. Martom also told Forriond that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Burserth's personality started to become evident. The little grass-green dragonet, small for her colour, made up for her size with a fierce, aggressive personality – and very evident teeth!
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 Forriond 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. Forriond was proud to introduce Burserth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Burserth, Forriond gave the Weyrleader his own new name: F'riond, rider of green Burserth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Burserth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, F'riond 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
F'riond and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk F'riond had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
F'riond'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 F'riond and Burserth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for F'riond, 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, F'riond 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 F'riond'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 F'riond 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 Burserth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , F'riond 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 F'riond 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, F'riond decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Burserth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – F'riond 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 green beside him – F'riond 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?
F'riond and Burserth'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.
I make quite a strange match with Burserth!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
Burserth and I disagreed on something quite important!
Burserth and I disagreed on something very important!