F'rack and green Skytreth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Finlarack – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Finlarack was born the son of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of Madellon Weyr. While he didn't have to be Searched, he was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. As a first-time candidate, Finlarack looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – half convinced that he would be meeting his own dragon at last; half terrified of failing to meet the standards expected of a Wingleader's son!
As a candidate, Finlarack 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 Finlarack! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Finlarack's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Finlarack 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 Finlarack 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, Finlarack 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 Finlarack to find it. The quest took Finlarack 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, Finlarack encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Finlarack to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Finlarack duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Finlarack 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, Finlarack 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
Finlarack 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. Finlarack'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 Finlarack did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Finlarack perhaps overestimated his own competence when it came to a disastrous spell on the Harper dais in the dining hall. Accompanying Weyr Singer Carleah – badly – on the tambourine, he was lucky not to be booed off the stage!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Finlarack 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 Finlarack 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 Finlarack 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 – Finlarack did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Finlarack trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Finlarack 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, Finlarack 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 Finlarack hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Finlarack's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Finlarack offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Finlarack'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 Finlarack 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, Finlarack visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Finlarack ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Finlarack 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, Finlarack strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Finlarack 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 tunnel-snake, Finlarack approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Finlarack off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Finlarack had to wait a little while before the spotted green and cream egg Hatched to reveal the vivid sea-green dragonet who would choose him, naming herself Skytreth.
A friend in me
And Finlarack 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?
For Gydeton, getting on Finlarack's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Finlarack dosed Gydeton's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Gydeton was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in his nether regions, he fled the Hatching Sands – squandering his chance at Impression!
After the Hatching
"Skytreth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Finlarack on his Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Skytreth's first meal. That was Finlarack's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Skytreth and Kauth. Martom also told Finlarack that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Skytreth's personality started to become evident. The sea-green dragonet – ambiguously coloured at first glance, but unequivocally female when asked – proved to have a particularly playful and fun-loving outlook on life.
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 Finlarack 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. Finlarack was proud to introduce Skytreth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Skytreth, Finlarack gave the Weyrleader his own new name: F'rack, rider of green Skytreth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Skytreth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, F'rack 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'rack and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk F'rack had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their son as a green rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to F'rack and Skytreth, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his son by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for F'rack, 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'rack 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'rack'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'rack 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 Skytreth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , F'rack 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'rack 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'rack decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Skytreth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – F'rack 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'rack 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 Finlarack's Impression here. F'rack and Skytreth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Finlarack's Impression here. F'rack and Skytreth'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!
CEASE AND DESIST
I prevented legal difficulties by changing my name!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Skytreth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Skytreth and I agreed on something very important!
Skytreth and I agreed on something quite important!