~ MORLEVAN WEYR WEYRLING GUIDE ~
General Weyrling Restrictions
Weyrlings are to remain celibate for the entire first Turn of their dragonet's life. This is because the young dragons cannot handle the strong emotions and because the weyrlings have not yet learned to block their potentially troubling thoughts from their lifemate.
Weyrlings are NOT allowed to drink to the point of inebriation and are probably better off not drinking at all. Ask K'dan if you doubt me. Be prepared for harsh punishment for any activity your weyrling may engage in that has the potential to harm (especially mentally) his/her dragonet.
Strong romantic attachments are not allowed. This type of relationship is asking for trouble and will cause intense scrutiny from your Weyrling Masters. Once again, harsh punishment will be meted out to offenders who distress their dragonets.
Your weyrling's life for the next full Turn will center almost entirely around their dragonet. The first thing they will hear upon rising in the morning (or earlier) is protestations of hunger. Bathing, feeding and oiling your dragon will be the FIRST thing the weyrling does in the morning and IN THAT ORDER! A newly hatched dragonet is not going to wait while you saunter down to the Dining Hall and eat a three course meal. Think of them as very young and completely helpless pets for which your character is now entirely responsible. That's exactly what they are.
If there are any questions about this, please feel free to ask. Your BOD is happy to elucidate.
During this month, dragonets do little more than eat, sleep, and grow! Weyrlings have to make sure that they do not overly cosset the dragonets - no carrying them around - and weyrlings have to make sure that the dragonets get some exercise every day.
Weyrlings also have to make sure that the dragonets do not overexert themselves. Swimming in the weyr lake is encouraged after the first sevenday.
- Dragonets Hatch!
- Bathing and oiling the young dragons. (Learn to watch for peeling/stretched hide)
- Lessons on feeding. (Not letting dragonets overeat)
- Basic health. (Overeating, biting the tongue, wrenched wings, overstretched muscles, and other injuries as they occur)
- Dealing with dragon-induced emotions.
- Learning not to strain the dragon/rider bond. (This includes learning how to "vent" emotions, and learning to live with another being in your mind. Each pair will have their own way of dealing with one another.)
- Weyrlings shown the table(s) at which they will sit during the main meals and special functions in the dining hall.
- Weyrlings are assigned a group "name." This is helpful when there is more than one clutch of weyrlings being trained.
Bathing, oiling, and feeding - (in that order!) - will be done every day for the first five months. The reason for the order of events is simple: After they are fed, dragonets fall asleep. It is very hard to thoroughly bathe and oil something that outmasses you!
This is not to say that spot oiling and cleaning cannot be done after your dragonet has fed, (some of them are awfully messy!), it's just that the thorough scrubbing and oiling that all dragonets require must be done prior to feeding.
Sevenday 2 - Bathing and oiling the young dragons.
- Basic health. (Lessons on dragonhealing conducted by the dragonhealer in the Weyr, Almene.)
- Resumption of chores. (All those fun things you did as a Candidate!)
Sevenday 3 - Continuing lessons on dragon health.
- Physical training. (Sparring and knife fighting lessons are available for those who are interested. Knife fighting is done with wooden practice blades, which are also used if two riders need to "settle their differences," and cannot resolve the matter any other way.)
Some form of physical fitness will be expected of all weyrlings; the instructor will repeat over and over than dragonfolk do not draw live steel for any reason other than to defend their lives. Dragons die when their riders die. This is the most important lesson to be learned at this time.
Sevenday 4 - Activities continue as in the weeks before. (Caring for the dragonets, attending the Weyrlingmaster's lessons, and doing assigned chores.)
Dragonets continue to eat, sleep, and grow, though they are starting to show more and more interest in their surroundings, and their mental voice is already starting to mature.
- Human first aid, taught by the weyrhealer. (Cuts, burns, breaks, etc.)
- Weyrlings are assigned to their first set of trios. (These trios will be assigned a specific chore, to get them used to working in team situations. Weyrlings will be assigned to new sets of trios several times; goldriders are included at this point, though this will change later in the training.)
The dragonets have reached 15% of their total size by the beginning of this month. Daily exercise is now mandatory, though duration is often short, due to the sleeping habits of the dragonets. Weyrlings are repeatedly told that unless they encourage them, their dragonets would probably never exercise at all, (dragons tend to be lazy!).
All lessons this month are handled with the weyrlings in trios, with adjustments to the trio assignments for personality, strengths and weaknesses handled by the Weyrlingmaster.
- Begin firestone drills!
- Selecting and judging firestone ore. (A miner is brought in for this lesson, lasting a sevenday.)
- The Dragon Toss. (Weyrlings are trained how to throw and catch full bags of firestone. Beginning tosses are done with bags full of something other than firestone, and at short distances,less than a quarter dragonlength. Note: Dragons cannot fly yet. The Dragon Toss is practiced from the ground.)
- Sizing of firestone. (Learning what is considered "bite-sized.")
- Breaking stone down to size. (A miner is present.)
- Bagging of firestone. (Learning how much stone is needed to make a "full" bag.)
- Question and Answer drills. (Quizzes on what's been learned.)
The "Dragon Toss" takes time and skill to perfect. It is not busywork -- in Threadfall, it's vital to be able to either toss a bag of firestone to a rider in need... or to catch one, when you've run empty. In Threadfall, this could mean your life! Though our characters are now in an Interval, they know that preserving these skills could mean life or death for the generations to come.
Ladies especially should be aware: Gender will not spare you from this training! Your upper arm strength will be developed. All riders of fighting dragons are expected to be able to toss a full bag of firestone a full dragonlength, (the size of an adult green dragon.) This might be hard for the female dragonriders, but no allowance will be made. They'll be worked extra time, if necessary, to develop their strength to the point where they can manage this feat. (If they can't, female Candidates will have to be restricted to golden eggs only.)
Even though gold dragons never chew firestone, the goldrider weyrlings are included in this training as part of their preparation as future weyrwomen. The Dragon Toss also helps build stamina and reflexes, as well as creating the team spirit that is vital to a healthy, well-run Weyr.
Special Note: Drilling will take place no matter what the weather is. (The only exception is if the elements are hazardous to the health of the weyrlings, i.e., lightning storms, etc.) Since Thread is flown in all kinds of weather, the weyrlings have to get used to being out in all kinds of weather.
Even though Thread drowns in heavy rain and freezes in snow and sleet, some can get through, so light wings are flown during Threadfall even in the worst conditions.
Dragonets are now spending more time awake and are curious about everything. Weyrlings have to be on their toes, as the dragonets are inclined to get into mischief at this time.
- Trios are reassigned. (Different groupings from before. Goldriders are not included in these trios.)
- Goldriders begin training under the Weyrwoman.
- Ground Drills begin! Basic Maneuvers. (Marching together, pacing, turns, etc. Basic close-order drill.)
The "Ground Drills" are another important part of Weyrling Training. In the air, adult dragons and their riders will need to perform complex, intricate maneuvers in flight. The dragons and dragonriders will need to know how to fly in pattern - how to make simultaneous maneuvers - and how to follow orders instantly.
The Ground Drill teaches weyrlings these maneuvers... even before their dragons are old enough to fly. Each person stands in formation, and begins to learn the traditional flight orders, (shouted, and/or given by hand/arm signal).
These drills will start out as a couple hours each day. Goldriders are not included in the group, though they will learn Basic Maneuvers from the Weyrlingmaster in individual training at this time.
Dragonets have reached 25% of their total size by the start of this month. Though they are still eating every day, the amount of time spent sleeping has decreased drastically.
- Ground Drills, Beginning Maneuvers. (Begin learning crossing maneuvers, pausing in "flight" to avoid collisions, and other maneuvers that simulate "flight" situations. Three hours every afternoon are spent on Ground Drills. Goldriders are not included.)
- Goldriders continue training with the Weyrwoman, assisting her and performing whatever chores she assigns you.
- Making tools. (Crafters are brought in to teach the weyrlings how to make the various tools that are necessary for the care of their dragonets. Scrubbing brushes, first aid kits, etc.)
- Goldriders begin flame-thrower training. (How to maintain, clean, repair, fill, use, change tanks, etc.)
Dragonets are now expected to link to their partners during the full duration of Ground Drill practice. The dragonets are slowing down in their eating, only requiring feeding every other day.
Exercises and swimming are required now, though these are handled sometime during the morning hours and are not expected to be of lengthy duration, (usually less than half an hour.)
- Ground Drills, Advanced Maneuvers. (more complicated, maneuvers are added: The switch in positions due to wind shear, approximations of "stacked" wings, special maneuvers for the Left Wing, Right Wing, and Forward/Center Wing, [the standard flight pattern for a Fall], etc.)
- Weyrlingmaster tosses "Thread" among the marching weyrlings. (The "Thread" is made up of ropes that have fresh dye applied to them. This dye will mark the weyrling if it hits him, showing him to have been "Threaded.")
- Goldriders continue with all other lessons and practices, as well as continuing to work with the Weyrwoman.
Those who show leadership qualities are tapped for special training; those who need extra help are tapped for additional training. All orders are given by hand/arm signal during this month, and the Ground Drills last for four hours every afternoon.
Dragonet exercise is increased to one full hour every day. Dragonets will reach 40% of their full size during this month.
- Trios are grouped into sets of nine weyrlings, "Nines" assuming the clutch is of sufficient size to do so. (Ground Drills start over with Beginning Maneuvers.)
- Goldriders spend one hour a day on Ground Drills. (The rest of their time is spent learning all aspects of Weyr Management.)
Dragonets are now feeding every third day, consuming one or two wherries or a small herdbeast/runnerbeast. Swimming exercises continue, and an additional hour is spent having the dragonets walk about the Weyr, strengthening their leg muscles and backs.
- Ground Drills, Advanced Maneuvers. (Including special training for those who need it.)
- Goldriders spend one hour a day on Ground Drills. (Rest of afternoons with the Weyrwoman.)
- "Nines" are broken down into new trios. (Orders are now passed, not through voice or signals, but through dragonets only. The dragon/rider link is very important.)
- Ground Drills are decreased to three hours a day. (Once every sevenday, randomly chosen by B'ren, the weyrlings will "fly" a full "Fall" -- six hours!)
Dragonets are eating only every three or four days now. Exercise for the dragonets is increased to four hours a day, split between swimming and walking, with special exercises begun to strengthen wing muscles.
No flights are allowed!
Weyrlings, take care: Your dragonets will be wanting to try out their wings, but they're not ready for it yet. If they try too soon, they could cause damage to their wings and muscles.
- Ground Drills continue. (Orders are being relayed through the dragonets. B'ren tells Dath, Dath tells the dragonets, your dragonet tells you, the rider. This is how it would go in a Fall, so this communication is essential.)
- Goldriders continue one hour with the Ground Drills. (Otherwise working under the Weyrwoman.)
- Trios grouped into "Nines." (Different groupings than the previous time.)
Dragonets are only eating once every three to five days, depending on their personal metabolism. (This is close to an adult dragon's eating schedule.) Swimming practice is sharply curtailed, (too many youngsters in the bathing pool).
Walking exercises and wing exercises are continued, but watched carefully, since the dragonets are very tempted to try flying.
- Ground Drills continue. (Orders are given by hand/arm signal and through the dragonets, training the weyrling to be alert to all forms of taking orders from their future Wingleader.)
- Threadfall Games begin! (The weyrlings are grouped into teams, as evenly as possible, and begin ground versions of the Summer and Winter Games.)
"Thread" is thrown and "flamed" or dodged, scores and "kills" are tallied. Normal Drills will continue, but once every sevenday these Games will take place. The Games last for six full hours, replicating a Threadfall.
While greenriders will not - in actuality - ever fly a full six hours, the riders do Drill for the full time. This allows them to increase their personal endurance, and to learn all the various aspects of a Fall, since they could be flying any portion of it.
(Greenriders typically fly either the first or last half of a Fall, with the Wingleader alternating who flies what each Fall.)
Dragonets are now spending the entire day awake, and participating in all aspects of their riders' training. It's an interesting sight: The Training Ground lined with watching dragonets, curiously peering down at their riders.
- Learn how to make riding straps. (A tanner is brought induring this part of the training. The proper method of making, maintaining, and repairing riding straps is gone over and over again - with an emphasis on what can happen if the weyrlings do not learn properly.)
- Lectures on watching for fatigue in your dragon.(Watching for muscle strain and how to recognize it.)
- Ground Drills continue.
- Songs and Teachings about being lost between. (The dangers of overstraining a dragonet and midair collisions are brought out to prevent overeager riders.)
Twelfth Month - First Turn
Dragonets have now reached 70% of their adult size. Weyrlings are constantly reminded during this month of the dangers of overstraining a young dragon!
- First flights! (This always starts with the smaller dragons, working from green, blue, brown, bronze, to gold. All flights start from ground level takeoffs. The Weyrlingmaster gets each pair ready, checking riding straps and position. The flight itself consists of little more than an awkward launch, a few flaps for lift, and a slow glide back to the earth.)
After every pair of weyrlings has had their first flight, a day of rest is declared, and a Feast is held to celebrate!
- Flight training continues at a light pace. (Each weyrling pair will have one flight per day, taking off from the floor of the bowl. Flights never last longer than fifteen minutes.)
- Later - flights from third-tier weyrs.
- Diving Maneuvers. (The weyrlings are taught to begin riding thermals. The flights are increased to a half-hour duration.)
Thirteenth Month (Turn and 1 month)
All weyrlings are assigned to their very own weyr! No longer do they have to live in the Weyrling Barracks. They're all now able to safely fly anywhere within the Weyr itself.
At this point in their training, the weyrlings are encouraged to mix among the Fighting Pairs during evening meals, listening in on conversations and asking questions about anything.
They are also allowed to join more experienced riders on recreational flights about the immediate Weyr area. This allows Wingleaders and Wingriders to get to know the weyrlings and start judging them as potential wingmates.
- Weyrlings and dragonets are taught to hunt and fish outside the Weyr.
- New trios are assigned.
- The Aerial Drills begin. (Flight versions of all those Ground Drills.)
- Aerial Recognition. (Learning to recognize landmarks on dragonback while on hunting trips outside the Weyr.)
- Goldrider has special training with Weyrlingmaster for Queen's Wing Aerial Maneuvers. (The Weyrwoman may join in to round out a "trio" for the weyrling goldrider.)
- All weyrlings, including goldriders, assigned to "Elevator Duty." (Flying weyrfolk up to various tiers and levels in the Weyr.)
Fourteenth Month (Turn and 2 months)
Weyrlings are now allowed to join the Weyrlingmaster, (and other experienced riders), on visits to the Holds that are within straight flight distance from the Weyr. All such trips must be cleared by the Weyrlingmaster.
No trips between are allowed! This has not been taught yet, and attempting to do so would - in all likelihood - prove fatal!
- Aerial Drills continue.
- Begin training in the chewing of firestone! (This takes one very long day as the Weyrlingmaster trains each pair individually.)
The dragonet is started out on a soft rock, (not firestone), so that the weyrling can get used to the horrendous amount of noise the process takes, and the dragonet can learn to "think" of his other stomach and to not bite his tongue.
A quick lesson on how to regurgitate the "digested" stone is also passed on by the Weyrlingmaster's dragon. (Many weyrfolk will find excuses to be elsewhere on this and subsequent days, as the noise and later stench can be a bit much.)
When the Weyrlingmaster feels that a pair is ready for the next step, he hands the weyrling a small bag of low-grade firestone. The Weyrlingmaster reminds the weyrling to stand upwind and to the side, as the moment of flaming is somewhat unpredictable at first.
The dragonet will only be able to produce a small flame from the low-grade ore, but he will be able to flame. Once all the dragonets have produced a small controlled flame, (not just the accidental belch), the Weyrlingmaster will hand each pair the real thing: High-grade firestone.
Practice targets are set up along one wall of the Training Ground, and the next sevenday will be spent learning how to aim, and how much firestone is needed for each individual dragonet.
- Goldriders practice with flame-thrower while sitting the queen. (This allows the dragonet to get used to the smell and proximity of flame, and allows the rider to practice aiming near her dragonet.)
The gold dragonet is prompted by her rider to encourage her clutchmates during firestone practice, as the support of a gold is as boost to the ego of any dragon, and is very good for morale.
Fifteenth Month (Turn and 3 months)
This month is the most dangerous in the training, and is eagerly anticipated and dreaded by weyrling and Weyrlingmaster alike.
- Learn to go between! (This segment of training is handled by the Weyrlingmaster only... and only with one weyrling at a time.)
Each pair takes off with the Weyrlingmaster, whose dragon feeds a visual image directly to the dragonet for the first couple of trips. (The weyrling is more like a passenger on these first trips.)
Once the weyrling and dragonet are "used to" between, the weyrling will be allowed to direct his dragonet between to one of the locations that has been so carefully drilled into the weyrling's head over the past two months of Aerial Recognition.
After the pair has gone between to the chosen location, "shadowed" by the Weyrlingmaster, they are then instructed to return to the Weyr. The Weyrlingmaster then orders them to land and takes up the next pair. By the end of the sevenday, all weyrlings of the clutch will have gone between!
- Practice going between and learning to take visuals from other dragons. (Unsupervised visits to halls and holds are allowed, with the Weyrlingmaster's permission. Any trips out of the Weyr's area of protection must be accompanied by an older rider.)
- Aerial Drills, going between, and Aerial Recognition continue. (By the end of this month, all weyrlings will be practiced at flaming from their dragon while in the air.)
Sixteenth Month (Turn and four months
The weyrlings will be taken on trips all over the immediate area, to acquaint them with the Holds and Halls with which they'll need to be familiar.
By the end of the month, weyrlings should be confident with recognition of all the Holds in their Weyr's area of protection, as well as all major locations they might need to travel to at a moment's notice.
- Aerial Drills combined with going between. (At this point, collisions become a real danger, as the pairs learn to travel between in groups.)
- Weyrlings are assigned to messenger service, and will often be sent to locations to pick up packages and passengers. (This continues their training in recognition of major locations as well as increases their confidence in their own skills. Many a Weyrlingmaster ages over this month.)
Seventeenth Month (Turn and five months)
The dragonets are nearing their adult size.
- Aerial Drills culminate in Threadfall Games! (All members of the weyrling clutch participate, even the goldrider.)
Eighteenth Month (Turn and a half)
Dragonets have reached their full size. Graduation Day! Were we within a Pass, the weyrlings would begin flying firestone sacks to fighting wings, learning the intricacies of Threadfall, and - eventually - facing and flaming Thread on their own.
Though this cannot be the case in an Interval, the same precautions will still be taken. No weyrling is ever graduated just because his dragon is old enough. If a weyrling has not satisfactorily completed his/her training... he/she will remain a weyrling until he/she has.
- Weyrlings are assigned to the Weyrling Wing. (The "Weyrling Wing" is the wing for not-yet-adult dragons. The Wingleader is the Weyrlingmaster, and until their second Turn, no dragon/rider pair will be assigned to a fighting wing.)
- The goldrider is assigned to the Queen's Wing.
Twenty-fourth Month (The Second Turn)
By their second Turn, dragons are mature enough to breed. No longer will they be called dragonets - they are now full-grown dragons!
Greens and Golds will begin to rise for their maiden mating flights somewhere between their second Turn and the end of their third.
- Weyrlings are assigned to a fighting wing. (The decision is made by the Weyrleader, in consultation with the Wingleaders and the Weyrlingmaster.)
- The goldrider becomes a full-fledged "Junior Weyrwoman."
Congratulations to the entire clutch! Your days as a weyrling are finally over, and all are now official Dragonriders of Morlevan Weyr!
Links & Information
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2000, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
Thank you to Damacea-player who first compiled this wonderful Morlevan Weyrling Guide. I am in her debt for providing this to us -- as well as for her kindness and encouragement.