V'lon and brown Arionth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Valon – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Valon was born the son of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of Madellon Weyr. While he didn't have to be Searched, he was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. As a first-time candidate, Valon looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – half convinced that he would be meeting his own dragon at last; half terrified of failing to meet the standards expected of a Wingleader's son!
As a candidate, Valon 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 Valon! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Valon's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Valon 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 Valon 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, Valon 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 Valon to find it. The quest took Valon 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, Valon encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Valon to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Valon 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, Valon offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Valon encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Valon – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Valon 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 Valon 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 Valon some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Valon 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, Valon 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, Valon 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. Valon 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 Valon a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Valon 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. Valon'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 Valon 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 Valon 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 Valon 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 Valon 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 – Valon did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Valon offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Valon visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Valon ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Valon 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, Valon strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Valon 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, Valon approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Valon off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Valon had to wait a little while before the moonlike grey egg Hatched to reveal the warm milky-klah brown dragonet who would choose him, naming himself Arionth.
A friend bereft
But to Valon'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 – Valon'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 – Valon 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
"Arionth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Valon on his Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Arionth's first meal. That was the first moment Valon 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 Arionth'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.
Another friend Valon made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Valon had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Valon at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Valon 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. Valon was proud to introduce Arionth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Arionth, Valon gave the Weyrleader his own new name: V'lon, rider of brown Arionth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Arionth's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, V'lon 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
V'lon and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk V'lon had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their son as a brown rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to V'lon and Arionth, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his son by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for V'lon, 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, V'lon 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 V'lon'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 V'lon 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 Arionth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , V'lon 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 V'lon 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, V'lon decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Arionth – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – V'lon 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 – V'lon 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 Valon's Impression here. V'lon and Arionth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Valon's Impression here. V'lon and Arionth'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
Arionth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Arionth and I agreed on something very important!
Arionth and I agreed on something quite important!