R'yan and bronze Scrolath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Rayani – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Rayani was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Rayani 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, Rayani 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 Rayani 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, Rayani left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Rayani 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 Rayani! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Rayani's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Rayani 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 Rayani 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, Rayani 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 Rayani to find it. The quest took Rayani 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 infirmary, Rayani encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Rayani to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Rayani rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Rayani 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 Rayani 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 Rayani some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Rayani 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, Rayani 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, Rayani 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. Rayani 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 Rayani a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Rayani 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. Rayani'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 Rayani with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Rayani 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?
With friends like these...
But handling Soburn's long-distance crush required a delicacy that Rayani sadly didn't possess. Revealing too much to H'nar – and then failing to treat Soburn's bruised feelings with any sort of care – destroyed Rayani pining friend's confidence. Having already failed to Impress once, and now crushed by the rejection of a rider who would certainly be his Wingleader should he ever Impress, Soburn decided to rule himself out of candidacy entirely.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Rayani visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Rayani ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
Wherry bad behaviour
Rayani'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. Rayani chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Rayani remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Rayani 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, Rayani strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Rayani 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, Rayani crept closer to the clutch – close enough to notice something very peculiar – an extra, twenty-first egg! Intrigued, he sneaked close enough to examine the strange, yellow, somewhat waxy-looking egg, before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground.
When it came to the Hatching, Rayani didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg that Hatched first produced a bright golden-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Rayani, naming himself Scrolath.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
It turned out that making an enemy of Rayani was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Rayani had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Scrolath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rayani 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 Scrolath's first meal. That was the first moment Rayani had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn's absence, Chiliam – the highborn lad from Kellad, who'd Impressed a dusty-brown dragonet, Destrath, and who now styled himself Ch'liam – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Scrolath'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 Rayani and Ch'liam 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. Rayani was proud to introduce Scrolath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Scrolath, Rayani gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'yan, rider of bronze Scrolath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Scrolath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, R'yan and Ch'liam 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
R'yan and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'yan 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, R'yan'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 Scrolath for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to R'yan and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'yan, 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, R'yan 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 R'yan'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 R'yan 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 Scrolath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , R'yan 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 R'yan 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, R'yan decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Scrolath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a slender green dragonet – R'yan 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 – R'yan 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 Rayani's Impression here. R'yan and Scrolath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Rayani's Impression here. R'yan and Scrolath'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
Scrolath and I complement each other!
...what did I just see?
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Scrolath and I agreed on something very important!
Scrolath and I agreed on something quite important!