T'frest and green Ashuath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Tofreast – a young boy of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Tofreast was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Tofreast 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, Tofreast 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 Tofreast becoming a candidate – while conceding that he could spare a younger grandchild. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Tofreast left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Tofreast 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 Tofreast! Backed up by his crony Varell, Gydeton became the thorn in Tofreast's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Martom and Tofreast 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 Tofreast 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, Tofreast 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 Tofreast to find it. The quest took Tofreast 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, Tofreast encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Tofreast to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Tofreast 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, Tofreast offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Tofreast encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Tofreast – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Tofreast 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 Tofreast 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 Tofreast some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Tofreast 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, Tofreast 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, Tofreast 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
Tofreast 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. Tofreast'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 Tofreast 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 Tofreast 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 Tofreast 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 Tofreast 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 – Tofreast did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Tofreast offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Given Tofreast'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 Tofreast 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, Tofreast visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of his dignity, Tofreast ensured he came away with a cut he actually liked.
A Weyrleader's mercy
Early in the day, Tofreast 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 Tofreast safely to ground level.
Realising that honesty was the best policy, Tofreast 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 Tofreast the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. He touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality.
When it came to the Hatching, Tofreast didn't have to wait at all for his date with destiny. The blotchy pale turquoise egg that Hatched first produced a bright olive-green hatchling who spared no time in choosing Tofreast, naming herself Ashuath.
A friend in me
And Tofreast 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 – Tofreast'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 – Tofreast 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
"Ashuath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tofreast 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 Ashuath's first meal. That was Tofreast's first opportunity to speak to Martom, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Ashuath and Kauth. Martom also told Tofreast that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – M'tom.
It wasn't long before Ashuath's personality started to become evident. The rather slender olive-green dragonet demonstrated an immediate haughty pride in herself – and in her 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.
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Tofreast 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. Tofreast was proud to introduce Ashuath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Ashuath, Tofreast gave the Weyrleader his own new name: T'frest, rider of green Ashuath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Ashuath's and Kauth's newborn itchiness, T'frest 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
T'frest and M'tom soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'frest 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, T'frest'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 T'frest from his grandfather's fury – but the damage was already done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'frest, 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, T'frest 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 T'frest'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 T'frest 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 Ashuath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks , T'frest 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 T'frest 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, T'frest decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Ashuath – billeted between M'tom's Kauth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – T'frest 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 – T'frest 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 Tofreast's Impression here. T'frest and Ashuath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Tofreast's Impression here. T'frest and Ashuath'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
Ashuath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Ashuath and I agreed on something very important!
Ashuath and I agreed on something quite important!
Ashuath and Destrath took against each other!