B'ol and bronze Colath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Bol – a young man of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.
Bol was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Bol 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, Bol 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 Bol 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, Bol left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Bol 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 Bol! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Bol's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Bol 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 Bol 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, Bol 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 Bol to find it. Despite Bol's best efforts, though, he didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting his elders
In the infirmary, Bol encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Bol to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Bol rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Bol 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 Bol 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 Bol some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Bol unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A rising problem
Bol 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. And while Bol did manage to get G'tron excluded from the flight – not to mention another blue rider, G'pellas, who was needed in the Harper ensemble – he still ultimately failed to reconcile the star-crossed green riding lovers!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Bol 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 Bol to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent him to find – although Bol had an alternative use in mind for it...
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Bol 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 – Bol did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Bol trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Bol 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, Bol offered his assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted.
Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Bol 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 Bol that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Bol'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 breath of foul air
Early in the day, Bol 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. The route he chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Bol soon found himself struggling for breath.
Undeterred, Bol pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But he wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Bol from the Sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Bol didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The black-freckled grey egg Hatched out a deep classic-bronze dragonet who told Bol his name was Colath.
A friend in me
And Bol 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?
For Rielat, getting on Bol's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Bol dosed Rielat's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Rielat was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in his nether regions, he fled the Hatching Sands – squandering his chance at Impression!
After the Hatching
"Colath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Bol 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 Colath's first meal. That was Bol's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Colath and Aeranth. Soburn also told Bol that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.
It wasn't long before Colath'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 Bol made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Bol had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Bol at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Bol 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. Bol was proud to introduce Colath to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Colath, Bol gave the Weyrleader his own new name: B'ol, rider of bronze Colath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Colath's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, B'ol 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
B'ol and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk B'ol 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, B'ol's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Colath for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to B'ol and his bronze.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for B'ol, 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, B'ol 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 B'ol'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 B'ol 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 Colath.
A close encounter
On his way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), B'ol 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 B'ol 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, B'ol decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Colath – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – B'ol 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 – B'ol 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?
B'ol and Colath'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
Colath and I complement each other!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Colath and I agreed on something very important!
Colath and I disagreed on something quite important!