Sh’arding and true true
The Road So Far!
It all began at for true – a young man of true Turns, dreaming of becoming a true rider.
As a candidate, true was assigned a bunkmate – true, , 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 Arina, a level-headed young woman from Jessaf who'd stood at the previous Hatching.
But he also made an enemy – true, – who took a firm disliking to true! Backed up by his crony , true became the thorn in true's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke true and true on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with true, 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.
The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, true 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 true to find it. The quest took true all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end he succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting his elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, true encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked true to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. true 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, true offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider true encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of true – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
true 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 true 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 true some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, true 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, true 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, true 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. true 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 true a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
true 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. true'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 true did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with him for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
A Harper born
true's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked him to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave true's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided true with the opportunity to show off his work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, albeit cut short, literally, by the slip of a knife that sent true to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent true to find for his warming salve.
true certainly indulged his sweet tooth before the Hatching – laying claim to not one, not two, but three different types of bubbly pie Albeit he stole one of them..
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When true 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 – true did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom true had paid to cause true trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, true gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, true encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but true hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of true's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, true was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps true was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, true visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But he fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at his expense!
Wherry bad behaviour
true'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. true chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though true remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
But when it came to the Hatching, true had a less than ordinary experience. While trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground for a surreptitious look at the eggs, he got a lungful of toxic volcanic fumes. Discovery – and rescue – landed him in the care of the Weyr Healer, Master Isnan – and invalided out of candidacy.But an earlier conversation with a veteran blue rider, S'rius, gave true the notion that he might still be able to Impress – if he could just reach the Sands in time. He staggered from his sickbed, across the Weyr, and onto the Sands – just in time to Impress the very last dragonet, a true who named himself true.
Whatever happened to true?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. true Impressed , making them true and true's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"true" by null
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate true on his Impression, but it was who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of true's first meal. That was true's first opportunity to speak to true, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, true and true.
It wasn't long before true's personality started to become evident. null
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 true and true wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both girls' dragonets and to ask after their names. true was proud to introduce true to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Sh’arding, rider of green true!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve true's and true's newborn itchiness, Sh’arding and true 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
Sh’arding and true soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Sh’arding had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Sh’arding, 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, Sh’arding 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 Sh’arding'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 Sh’arding 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 true.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , Sh’arding 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 Sh’arding 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, Sh’arding decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though he did give L'stev his new name.
Returning at last to true – billeted between true's true and a dragonet – Sh’arding 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 true beside him – Sh’arding 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 Sh’arding's new name?
Sh’arding and true'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!
THIS MUCH IS TRUE
I squashed the True bug!
I make a very odd match with true!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!