L'pan and bronze Bazouth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Lappan – a young boy of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Lappan was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Lappan 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, Lappan 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 Lappan 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, Lappan left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Lappan 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 Lappan! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Lappan's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Lappan 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 Lappan 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, Lappan 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 Lappan to find it. Despite Lappan's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the infirmary, Lappan encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Lappan to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Lappan rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Lappan 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 Lappan 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 Lappan some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Lappan unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Lappan took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Lappan trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Lappan 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, Lappan 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?
Wherry bad behaviour
Lappan's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with him. L'stev collared him in the Bowl and gave him an ultimatum – buck up his ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Lappan chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Lappan remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
When it came to the Hatching, Lappan had to wait a little while before the purple-speckled cream egg Hatched to reveal the bright golden-bronze dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Bazouth.
With friends like these...
But Lappan's Impression of Bazouth came at a cost – to Martom. Bazouth had looked like he was about to choose Martom before Lappan pushed in front of him – claiming the bronze for himself. It would turn out to be a critical blow to Martom's confidence. No other dragonet took an interest in him, and he was ultimately among the candidates left standing.
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 Lappan and Bazouth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Varell didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Bazouth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Lappan 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 Bazouth's first meal. That was the first moment Lappan 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 Bazouth's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.
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 Lappan 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. Lappan was proud to introduce Bazouth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Bazouth, Lappan gave the Weyrleader his own new name: L'pan, rider of bronze Bazouth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Bazouth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, L'pan 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
L'pan and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'pan 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, L'pan'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 Bazouth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to L'pan and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'pan, 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, L'pan 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 L'pan'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 L'pan 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 Bazouth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , L'pan 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 L'pan 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, L'pan decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Bazouth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a slender green dragonet – L'pan 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 – L'pan 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?
L'pan and Bazouth'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Bazouth and I make a very strong match!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Bazouth and I agreed on something very important!
Bazouth and I agreed on something quite important!