N'kou and brown Myliath
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Nikoulis – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a brown rider.
Nikoulis 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. Nikoulis caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Nikoulis arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Nikoulis 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 Nikoulis! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Nikoulis's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Nikoulis 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 Nikoulis 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, Nikoulis 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 Nikoulis to find it. Despite Nikoulis'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, Nikoulis encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Nikoulis to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Nikoulis duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Nikoulis 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, Nikoulis 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. Nikoulis 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 Nikoulis a certain confidence in his own prospects!
A rising problem
Nikoulis 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. Nikoulis'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
Nikoulis'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 Nikoulis's confidence – and his mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Nikoulis 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 Nikoulis to find for his warming salve.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Nikoulis offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
With friends like these...
But handling Soburn's long-distance crush required a delicacy that Nikoulis sadly didn't possess. Revealing too much to H'nar – and then failing to treat Soburn's bruised feelings with any sort of care – destroyed Nikoulis pining friend's confidence. Having already failed to Impress once, and now crushed by the rejection of a rider who would certainly be his Wingleader should he ever Impress, Soburn decided to rule himself out of candidacy entirely.
When it came to the Hatching, Nikoulis 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 Myliath.
Whatever happened to Rielat?
It turned out that making an enemy of Nikoulis was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Nikoulis 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
"Myliath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Nikoulis 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 Myliath's first meal. That was the first moment Nikoulis had truly grasped that Soburn wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside him – a truth that hit hard. In Soburn'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 Myliath'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 Nikoulis made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Nikoulis had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Nikoulis at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Nikoulis 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. Nikoulis was proud to introduce Myliath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Myliath, Nikoulis gave the Weyrleader his own new name: N'kou, rider of brown Myliath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Myliath's and Destrath's newborn itchiness, N'kou 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
N'kou and Ch'liam soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk N'kou had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.
N'kou's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a brown rider and happier still to learn that N'kou had already brought his musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to N'kou and Myliath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for N'kou, 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, N'kou 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 N'kou'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 N'kou 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 Myliath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , N'kou 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 N'kou 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, N'kou decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Myliath – billeted between Ch'liam's Destrath and a bright bronze dragonet – N'kou 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 – N'kou 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?
N'kou and Myliath'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
Myliath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Myliath and I agreed on something very important!
Myliath and I agreed on something quite important!