T'ren and brown Aprenth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Taren – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Taren was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Taren 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, Taren 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 Taren 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, Taren left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Taren 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 Taren! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Taren's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Taren 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 Taren 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, Taren 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 Taren to find it. Despite Taren'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, Taren encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Taren to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Taren 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, Taren offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Taren encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Taren – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Taren 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 Taren 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 Taren some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Taren 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, Taren 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, Taren 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. Taren 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 Taren a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Taren 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. Taren'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 Taren 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 Taren 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 Taren 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 Taren 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 – Taren did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Taren trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Taren gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Taren offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Taren 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, Taren strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Taren 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, Taren approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Taren off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Taren had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the moonlike grey egg Hatched to reveal the warm milky-klah brown hatchling who would choose him, naming himself Aprenth.
A friend bereft
But to Taren's dismay, Martom wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in him, and he was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.
Whatever happened to Gydeton?
Gydeton didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Taren's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that he had probably got himself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Taren supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Gydeton, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Aprenth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Taren 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 Aprenth's first meal. That was the first moment Taren had truly grasped that Martom wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Martom'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 Aprenth's personality started to become evident. The little klah-coloured brown proved to be exceptionally friendly and forward from the very beginning, wanting nothing more than to introduce himself to everyone he met.
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 Taren 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. Taren was proud to introduce Aprenth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Aprenth, Taren gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'ren, rider of brown Aprenth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Aprenth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, T'ren 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
T'ren and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'ren 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, T'ren's grandfather, was grudgingly satisfied with Aprenth's colour, if clearly disappointed that his grandson hadn't managed to Impress a bronze – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to T'ren and Aprenth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'ren, 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, T'ren 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 T'ren'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 T'ren 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 Aprenth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , T'ren 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 T'ren 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, T'ren decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Aprenth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – T'ren 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 – T'ren 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 Taren's Impression here. T'ren and Aprenth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Taren's Impression here. T'ren and Aprenth'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
Aprenth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Aprenth and I agreed on something very important!
Aprenth and I agreed on something quite important!