R'kos and blue Pianelth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Arkose – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Arkose was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Arkose 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, Arkose 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 Arkose becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Arkose's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Arkose had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Arkose left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Arkose 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 Arkose! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Arkose's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Arkose 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 Arkose 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 and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Arkose 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 Arkose to find it. Despite Arkose'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, Arkose encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Arkose to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Arkose duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A rising problem
Arkose 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. Arkose'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 Arkose 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 Arkose 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 Arkose to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Arkose to find for his warming salve.
Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Arkose took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Arkose 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 – Arkose did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Arkose trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Arkose gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Arkose offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Arkose approached the object of his affections – H'nar, Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – with some circumspection. Still, when questioned, H'nar insisted he had to know who was making enquiries of him. And when he learned the identity of his admirer, he told Arkose that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Arkose's agile pivot in questioning revealed that a close friend of H'nar's – blue rider M'rany – might be a viable alternative. Thus encouraged, Soburn began to think more positively of life as a dragonrider – even if H'nar would end up being his Wingleader!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Arkose 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, Arkose strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Arkose was bitten – badly – and immediately felt the effects of the snake's paralysing venom. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Recognising the severity of his condition, Arkose decided not to risk approaching the clutch, and went instead directly to the infirmary to be treated with antivenin.
When it came to the Hatching, Arkose didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The gleaming blue egg that Hatched first produced a bright indigo-blue hatchling who spared no time in choosing Arkose, naming himself Pianelth.
A friend in me
And Arkose wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
Rielat didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Arkose'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 – Arkose supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Rielat, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Pianelth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Arkose 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 Pianelth's first meal. That was Arkose's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Pianelth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Arkose that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Pianelth's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.
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 Arkose and S'burn 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. Arkose was proud to introduce Pianelth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Pianelth, Arkose gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'kos, rider of blue Pianelth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Pianelth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, R'kos and S'burn 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
R'kos and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'kos 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, R'kos'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 R'kos's behalf, but the damage to his relationship with his grandfather was done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'kos, 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, R'kos 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 R'kos'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 R'kos some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised him to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get his injuries checked again, and made some observations on Pianelth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), R'kos 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 R'kos 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, R'kos decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Pianelth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a bright bronze dragonet – R'kos 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 – R'kos 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?
R'kos and Pianelth'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.
Pianelth and I match perfectly!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Pianelth and I agreed on something very important!
Pianelth and I agreed on something quite important!