T'gran and bronze Ahateth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Tegran – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Tegran was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Tegran 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, Tegran 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 Tegran becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Tegran's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Tegran 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, Tegran left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Tegran 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 Tegran! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Tegran's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Tegran 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 Tegran 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, Tegran 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 Tegran to find it. The quest took Tegran 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, Tegran encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Tegran to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Tegran 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, Tegran offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Tegran encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Tegran – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Tegran 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 Tegran 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 Tegran some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Tegran 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, Tegran 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!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Tegran to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Tegran 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. Tegran'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 Tegran 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 Tegran 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 Tegran 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 Tegran 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 – Tegran did!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Tegran 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?
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Tegran 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 Tegran that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Tegran'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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Tegran visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Tegran ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Tegran didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg Hatched out a bright golden-bronze dragonet who told Tegran his name was Ahateth.
A friend in me
And Tegran 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 – Tegran'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 – Tegran 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
"Ahateth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tegran 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 Ahateth's first meal. That was Tegran's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Ahateth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Tegran that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Ahateth'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 Tegran 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. Tegran was proud to introduce Ahateth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Ahateth, Tegran gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'gran, rider of bronze Ahateth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Ahateth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, T'gran 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
T'gran and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'gran 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, T'gran'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 Ahateth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to T'gran and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'gran, 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, T'gran 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 T'gran'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 T'gran 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 Ahateth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , T'gran 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 T'gran 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, T'gran decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Ahateth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – T'gran 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 – T'gran 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?
Find out more about Tegran's Impression here. T'gran and Ahateth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Tegran's Impression here. T'gran and Ahateth'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Ahateth and I make a very strong match!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Ahateth and I agreed on something very important!
Ahateth and I disagreed on something quite important!