J'ayne and brown Encalipth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Jefrayne – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne didn't even present himself as a hopeful. Yet it was Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Jefrayne with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Jefrayne's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne 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
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Jefrayne was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Jefrayne never discovered, after making a mean-spirited joke about M'shen's missing hand that – not unreasonably – made the green rider take against him.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Jefrayne encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Jefrayne to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Jefrayne encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Jefrayne – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne 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.
A rising problem
Jefrayne 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. Jefrayne'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 Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne to find for his warming salve.
Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne 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 – Jefrayne did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Jefrayne trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Jefrayne gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Jefrayne encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Jefrayne hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Jefrayne's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne 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 Jefrayne that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Jefrayne'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
Jefrayne'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. Jefrayne chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Jefrayne remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Jefrayne 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, Jefrayne crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the very large dark grey egg made him feel strangely certain that he would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Jefrayne had to wait a little while before the very large dark grey egg Hatched to reveal the deep turned-earth brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Encalipth.
A friend in me
And Jefrayne 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Jefrayne was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Jefrayne 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
"Encalipth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Jefrayne 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 Encalipth's first meal. That was Jefrayne's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Encalipth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Jefrayne that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Encalipth's personality started to become evident. The substantial dark-brown dragonet – chunkier than any other hatchling – had a stolid, non-nonsense character to match, speaking his mind without hesitation or tact.
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 Jefrayne 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. Jefrayne was proud to introduce Encalipth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Encalipth, Jefrayne gave the Weyrleader his own new name: J'ayne, rider of brown Encalipth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Encalipth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, J'ayne 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
J'ayne and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk J'ayne had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
J'ayne'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 J'ayne and Encalipth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for J'ayne, 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, J'ayne 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 J'ayne'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 J'ayne 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 Encalipth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , J'ayne 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 J'ayne 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, J'ayne decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Encalipth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – J'ayne 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 brown beside him – J'ayne 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 Jefrayne's Impression here. J'ayne and Encalipth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Jefrayne's Impression here. J'ayne and Encalipth'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
Encalipth and I complement each other!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Encalipth by touching his egg before the Hatching!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Encalipth and I agreed on something very important!
Encalipth and I agreed on something quite important!