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D'son and green Gerardith

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Dasson – a young boy of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Dasson was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Dasson 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, Dasson 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 Dasson 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, Dasson left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

As a candidate, Dasson 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 Dasson! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Dasson's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Martom and Dasson 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 Dasson 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, Dasson 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 Dasson to find it. Despite Dasson'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, Dasson encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Dasson to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Dasson 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, Dasson offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Dasson encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Dasson – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Dasson 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, Dasson 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

Dasson 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. Dasson'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Dasson 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 Dasson 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 Dasson 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 – Dasson did!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Dasson offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.

Friend request

Given Dasson'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 Dasson 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!

A Weyrleader's mercy

Early in the day, Dasson 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 chance, he found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Dasson safely to ground level.

Realising that honesty was the best policy, Dasson apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Dasson the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. He touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Dasson didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The grey-splashed beige egg Hatched out a dark teal-green dragonet who told Dasson her name was Gerardith.

A friend in me

And Dasson 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?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Gydeton Impressed the biggest dragonet of the clutch, a hefty dark-brown hatchling, making them Dasson and Gerardith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Gerardith" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Dasson 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 Gerardith's first meal. That was Dasson's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Gerardith and Kauth. Martom also told Dasson that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.

It wasn't long before Gerardith's personality started to become evident. The teal-green dragonet, inquisitive about everything from the instant of her hatching, also proved to be an especially sweet-natured and kind character.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big brother

Another friend Dasson made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Dasson had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Dasson at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Dasson 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. Dasson was proud to introduce Gerardith to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gerardith, Dasson gave the Weyrleader his own new name: D'son, rider of green Gerardith!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gerardith's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, D'son 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

D'son and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk D'son 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, D'son's grandfather, was in a state of high dudgeon about his grandson's Impression of a green. A tense scene ensued, with the Weyrleaders obliged to step in to defend D'son from his grandfather's fury – but the damage was already done.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for D'son, 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, D'son 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 D'son'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 D'son 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 Gerardith.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , D'son 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 D'son 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, D'son decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Gerardith – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – D'son 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 – D'son 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?

D'son and Gerardith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

D'son's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Gerardith and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Gerardith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Gerardith and I agreed on something quite important!