K'ai and blue Fadeniath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Kay – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Kay was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Kay 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, Kay 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 Kay 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, Kay left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Kay 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 Kay! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Kay's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Kay 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 Kay 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
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Kay was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Kay never discovered, after making a mean-spirited joke about M'shen's missing hand that – not unreasonably – made the green rider take against him.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Kay encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kay to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kay duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Kay 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 Kay 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 Kay 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 – Kay did!
When it came to the Hatching, Kay didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The pearl-green egg Hatched out a deep midnight-blue dragonet who told Kay his name was Fadeniath.
A friend bereft
But to Kay's dismay, Soburn 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 Rielat?
For Rielat, getting on Kay's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Kay dosed Rielat's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Rielat was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in his nether regions, he fled the Hatching Sands – squandering his chance at Impression!
After the Hatching
"Fadeniath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kay 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 Fadeniath's first meal. That was the first moment Kay had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn'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 Fadeniath's personality started to become evident. The big midnight-blue dragonet showed an immediate desire to show off and preen – not surprising given his handsome colour and conformation!
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 Kay made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Kay had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Kay at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Kay 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. Kay was proud to introduce Fadeniath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Fadeniath, Kay gave the Weyrleader his own new name: K'ai, rider of blue Fadeniath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Fadeniath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, K'ai 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
K'ai and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K'ai 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, K'ai's grandfather, was highly displeased that his grandson had only managed to Impress a blue – against his strict warning that nothing less than a brown would suffice. The Weyrleaders were quick to step in on K'ai's behalf, but the damage to his relationship with his grandfather was done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'ai, 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, K'ai 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 K'ai's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with his new name, too. She offered K'ai 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 Fadeniath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , K'ai 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 K'ai 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, K'ai decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.
Returning at last to Fadeniath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a slender green dragonet – K'ai 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 blue beside him – K'ai was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known K'ai's new name?
K'ai and Fadeniath'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!
I love the smell of elision in the morning!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Fadeniath and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Fadeniath and I agreed on something very important!
Fadeniath and I agreed on something quite important!