W'nys and green Aranth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Wynis – a young man of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Wynis was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Wynis 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, Wynis 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 Wynis becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Wynis's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Wynis 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, Wynis left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Wynis 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 Wynis! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Wynis's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Wynis 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 Wynis 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, Wynis 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 Wynis to find it. The quest took Wynis 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, Wynis encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Wynis to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Wynis 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, Wynis offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Wynis encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Wynis – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Wynis 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 Wynis 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 Wynis some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Wynis 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, Wynis 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!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Wynis to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Wynis 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. Wynis'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 Wynis 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 Wynis 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 Wynis to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Wynis 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 Wynis 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 – Wynis did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Wynis offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Wynis 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 Wynis that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Wynis'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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Wynis visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Wynis ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
Wherry bad behaviour
Wynis'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. Wynis chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Wynis remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Wynis 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, Wynis strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Wynis 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, Wynis approached the clutch – but not stealthily enough! His presence woke Shimpath from her doze, and she and Muzzanth chased Wynis off the sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Wynis didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The pearlescently pink egg Hatched out a deep bottle-green dragonet who told Wynis her name was Aranth.
A friend in me
And Wynis 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Wynis was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Wynis had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Aranth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Wynis 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 Aranth's first meal. That was Wynis's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Aranth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Wynis that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Aranth's personality started to become evident. The bottle-green dragonet – by some margin the smallest hatchling of the clutch – had a nervous and wary personality to match, startling at everything and everyone.
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 Wynis 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. Wynis was proud to introduce Aranth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Aranth, Wynis gave the Weyrleader his own new name: W'nys, rider of green Aranth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Aranth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, W'nys 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
W'nys and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk W'nys 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, W'nys's grandfather, was in a state of high dudgeon about his grandson's Impression of a green. A tense scene ensued, with the Weyrleaders obliged to step in to defend W'nys from his grandfather's fury – but the damage was already done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for W'nys, 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, W'nys 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 W'nys'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 W'nys 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 Aranth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), W'nys 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 W'nys 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, W'nys decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Aranth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – W'nys 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 green beside him – W'nys 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?
W'nys and Aranth'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
Aranth and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Aranth and I agreed on something very important!
Aranth and I disagreed on something quite important!