P'trus and bronze Nisalth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Petrus – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Petrus was born the son of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, he was apprenticed to the Craft when he came of age. But he never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for him. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Petrus caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Petrus arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Petrus 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 Petrus! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Petrus's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Petrus 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 Petrus 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, Petrus 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 Petrus to find it. The quest took Petrus 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, Petrus encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Petrus to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Petrus 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, Petrus offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Petrus encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Petrus – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Petrus 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 Petrus 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 Petrus some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Petrus 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, Petrus 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, Petrus 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.
A rising problem
Petrus 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. Petrus'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.
A Harper born
Petrus'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 Petrus's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Petrus 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 Petrus to find for his warming salve.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Gydeton had paid to cause Petrus trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Petrus 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, Petrus 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 Petrus hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Petrus's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Petrus offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Petrus's age, finding some wine for Martom proved difficult – the Weyr Vintner, Master Saxton, refused to sell it to an underage candidate. His only other alternative was an illicit purchase from the shady figure of Grimes. And L'stev's warning about getting drunk before the Hatching held weight. The Vintner's offering of alcohol-free grape juice gave Petrus an idea – and offering it to Martom, none the wiser for the substitution, still had the desired effect of boosting his confidence before the Hatching – without any unwanted side-effects!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Petrus visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Petrus ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A Weyrleader's mercy
Early in the day, Petrus 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 chance, he found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Petrus safely to ground level.
Realising that honesty was the best policy, Petrus apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Petrus the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. He touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality. And something about the black-freckled grey egg made him feel strangely certain that he would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Petrus didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The black-freckled grey egg that Hatched first produced a deep classic-bronze hatchling who spared no time in choosing Petrus, naming himself Nisalth.
A friend in me
And Petrus wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Martom also Impressed, becoming the rider of a bright golden-bronze hatchling, Kauth.
Whatever happened to Gydeton?
Gydeton didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Petrus'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 – Petrus 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
"Nisalth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Petrus on his Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Nisalth's first meal. That was Petrus's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Nisalth and Kauth. Martom also told Petrus that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Nisalth's personality started to become evident. The energetic bronze dragonet, the classic shade of his colour, was unusually forceful even for his colour – promising to be a handful for his rider!
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 Petrus made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Petrus had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Petrus at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Petrus and M'tom 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. Petrus was proud to introduce Nisalth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Nisalth, Petrus gave the Weyrleader his own new name: P'trus, rider of bronze Nisalth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Nisalth's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, P'trus and M'tom 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
P'trus and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk P'trus had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
P'trus's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a bronze rider and happier still to learn that P'trus had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to P'trus and Nisalth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for P'trus, 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, P'trus 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 P'trus'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 P'trus 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 Nisalth.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , P'trus 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 P'trus 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, P'trus decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Nisalth – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a slender green dragonet – P'trus 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 bronze beside him – P'trus 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 Petrus's Impression here. P'trus and Nisalth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Petrus's Impression here. P'trus and Nisalth'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
Nisalth and I complement each other!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Nisalth by touching his egg before the Hatching!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Nisalth and I agreed on something very important!
Nisalth and I disagreed on something quite important!