W'lent and bronze Orchigoth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Warlent – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Warlent was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Warlent 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, Warlent 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 Warlent becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Warlent's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Warlent 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, Warlent left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Warlent 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 Warlent! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Warlent's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Warlent 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 Warlent 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, Warlent 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 Warlent to find it. Despite Warlent'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, Warlent encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Warlent to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Warlent 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, Warlent offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Warlent encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Warlent – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Warlent 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 Warlent 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 Warlent some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Warlent 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, Warlent 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, Warlent 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. Warlent 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 Warlent a certain confidence in his own prospects!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Warlent 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 Warlent 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 Warlent 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. But with one thing and another, Warlent didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Warlent 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, Warlent 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 Warlent that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Warlent'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!
A breath of foul air
Setting aside his petty rivalry with Rielat in the face of a genuine emergency, Warlent set about getting Rielat to safety. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated himself, he raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.
Warlent woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned him sternly about his adventures, the fact that Warlent had certainly saved Rielat's life counted in his favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.
When it came to the Hatching, Warlent didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The large greeny-grey egg that Hatched first produced a pale greeny-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Warlent, naming himself Orchigoth.
A friend in me
And Warlent wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.
After the Hatching
"Orchigoth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Warlent 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 Orchigoth's first meal. That was Warlent's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Orchigoth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Warlent that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Orchigoth's personality started to become evident. The pale bronze dragonet – the largest of the clutch, and the image of his father Muzzanth – proved to be a particular intelligent and perceptive character even minutes out of the egg.
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 Warlent 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. Warlent was proud to introduce Orchigoth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Orchigoth, Warlent gave the Weyrleader his own new name: W'lent, rider of bronze Orchigoth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Orchigoth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, W'lent 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
W'lent and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk W'lent 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, W'lent'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 Orchigoth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to W'lent and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for W'lent, 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, W'lent 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 W'lent'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 W'lent some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised him to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get his injuries checked again, and made some observations on Orchigoth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), W'lent 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 W'lent 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, W'lent decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Orchigoth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – W'lent 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 – W'lent 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?
W'lent and Orchigoth'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
Orchigoth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Orchigoth and I agreed on something very important!
Orchigoth and I agreed on something quite important!