A'nius and brown Nympath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Antonius – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Antonius 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. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Antonius wrestled with the fear that he wouldn't live up to his rider parents' expectations a second time.
As a candidate, Antonius 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 Antonius ! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Antonius 's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Antonius 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 Antonius 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, Antonius 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 Antonius to find it. Despite Antonius 's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Antonius encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Antonius to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Antonius 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, Antonius 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, Antonius 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. Antonius 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 Antonius a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Antonius 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. Antonius '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 Antonius did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Antonius to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately he asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Antonius trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Antonius gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Antonius 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, Antonius 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 Antonius that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Antonius '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!
When it came to the Hatching, Antonius didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The grey-mottled tan egg Hatched out a cool dusty-brown dragonet who told Antonius his name was Nympath.
A friend in me
And Antonius 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?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Rielat Impressed an impressively proportioned indigo-blue hatchling, making them Antonius and Nympath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Kestor didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Nympath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Antonius 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 Nympath's first meal. That was Antonius 's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Nympath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Antonius that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Nympath's personality started to become evident. The dusty-brown dragonet, while neither the largest nor the most handsome of his colour, proved to make up for both with his calm and helpful character immediately endearing him to all around.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Antonius made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Antonius had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Antonius at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Antonius 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. Antonius was proud to introduce Nympath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Nympath, Antonius gave the Weyrleader his own new name: A'nius, rider of brown Nympath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Nympath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, A'nius 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
A'nius and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk A'nius 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 brown rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to A'nius and Nympath, 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 A'nius, 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, A'nius 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 A'nius'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 A'nius 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 Nympath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , A'nius 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 A'nius 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, A'nius decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Nympath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a bright bronze dragonet – A'nius 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 – A'nius 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?
A'nius and Nympath'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
Nympath and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Nympath and I agreed on something very important!
Nympath and I agreed on something quite important!