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Those young candidates who find themselves Impressed to dragonkind can discover all they need to know about their new lives here.

A weyrling is an inexperienced dragon rider under the tutelage of the Weyrlingmaster. His or her rank symbol is an inverted stripe. The term weyrling can also refer to a juvenile dragon.

Training for a weyrling usually lasts for the first eighteen months of a dragon’s life. By this time, the pair should be able to join a fighting wing and get promoted to a larger weyr. Weyrlings are expected to learn how to care for their life mate correctly and to obey the Weyrleader, Weyrwoman, and the Weyrlingmaster.

Weyrlings are slightly above the cooks and other common weyrfolk. Older weyrlings convoy messages and people for the weyr. The weyrling wing carries supplies of firestone and agenothree tanks to the fighting wings during a fall. Weyrlings tend to have to do the grunt work that no one else wants. It is a hard eighteen months, but can be well worth it.

Serious relationships, other than friendship, are discouraged during the first few months after impression. Such strong emotions can be harmful for a young dragon, unless the rider learns to shield the dragonet, which is something that is not easy to do. Besides, weyrlings seldom have time to do anything but meet their dragon’s needs. Any spare time they have would be spent sleeping, and possibly eating. Although, sometimes the weyrlings do find time to misbehave.

Right after hatching the new weyrlings are taught how to feed their dragonets. The young dragons will need to eat right after hatching. They are ravenous and if not feed carefully, could choke. For the first month after hatching they will need to eat six to seven times a day and will still need to be fed tinny gobbets of meat, which the weyrlings are required to carve up. After the first month, the dragonets should settle into a schedule and will be eating three times a day. At about six months of age, they will be taught how to hunt for themselves. Injured animals will be supplied to the rider and she/he will encourage the young dragon to make the kill. Being a dragon rider is not for the weak of heart or stomach. By one turn of age the dragons should be eating twice a week and catching their own prey. Things do vary somewhat by color, though. Blues and Greens will not eat as much as Gold, Bronze and Browns.

The days following hatching are very important and help the new weyrling establish a relationship with the hatchling. The weyrling is taught to oil and bath the young dragon. They are also taught minor dragon healing skills.

The dragonet, at hatching, can range in height from waist high to chest high depending on the color. Greens and Blues are smaller than the Gold, Bronze and Browns. The dragonets are more than welcome in the hall during the first month, but after about two months both rider and dragon should learn that the mind connection is more than enough contact. An offending weyrling will be disciplined with a very unpleasant task if he/she is caught bringing an older dragon into the hall. Please remember, they get very large, very fast.

Dragonets need to be bathed once a week and oiled every day to accommodate growing, stretching hide. They increase in size considerably in their first few months. So much so that it appears that they grow right in front of your eyes. If not oiled the dragon’s skin can dry out and crack. A crack in the skin is fatal when going between. Weyrlings should remember this and report to the Weyrlingmaster or the Weyrhealer if something looks suspicious. Listen to your dragons, they will tell you if there is a problem with their hide or any other part of their body.

The sweet oil that is used on the dragons is rendered from fish oils or from wherrie or herdbeast fat and mixed with good smelling herbs. Almost any combination of helpful herbs can be added according to the dragon‘s needs and the rider‘s preference. The new riders tend to notice that the oil mixture softens their hands significantly.

Remember, dragons mature at different rates, just like people.

Dragon are able to fly as soon as their wings are dry, but the Weyr does not ask them to carry a rider until after their first turn. No one should try to fly their dragon before a turn is up or without being trained, nor should they fly without the flying harness. If the rider survives and is caught, punishment will be severe.

Male dragons are ready to start chasing females not long after their first turn, but are not likely to out fly the more mature males. It has been known to happen though, especially if it is the female’s first flight. The females usually rise to mate for the first time at one and a half to two turns of age. Please remember that Greens usually mature faster than the Golds.

During the last eight months of training the weyrling is taught how to use fighting straps and flying harness, to fly, how to aid the dragon in chewing firestone, Wing positions, and how to fly between.

It takes a considerable amount of effort and training to become a member of a fighting wing. A lot of information has to be compacted into a short amount of time, so if the weyrling wants to graduate to a rider with all the rights accorded to one, he/she must come to class. The Weyrlingmaster gives his report to the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman and they make the final evaluations. Promotion to a fighting wing is left up to them.

Daily Schedule:
 
Day break: Feed, bathe, and oil Dragon.  Physical training. Then take care of breakfast and cleaning up. Chores. 

Mid morning: Classroom Lessons, with harper and or Weyrling Master or his assistants.

Noon: Lunch/one candle mark is given. Chores. Then to hands on training. (kinda like lab)

Mid afternoon: Classroom lessons. Physical training.

Night: Finish chores, dinner, studying and free time before lights out.

Training Schedule:
Month one (post hatching) to 18th month (graduation.)

Month one:

-Feeding and Care of young Dragonets.
(bathing will be supervised for 1st month)

-Basic First Aid for Humans & Dragons

-How to deal with telepathy
[look in Histories under weyrling info to learn more.][no chores first month]

Months two
thru
four:


-Assignments of Weyrling Wings

-First rank cords and badges

-Basic Wing formations

-Weyr Etiquette & History

-Political Makeup of Pern

-Gold riders will learn Weyr Management

-Bronze riders and those that show leadership
skills will also be taken aside for added training

-Basic Geography

-Basic Weather patterns

-Basic astronomy

-Dragon Healing & Anatomy

-Basic ground drills and signals

-Physical training for both rider and dragon

-Sparring for those interested

-Chores

Months five
thru
eleven:


-Advanced Astronomy

-Advanced weather patterns

-Basics of Between

-Terrain recognition

-Basics in sorting and choosing Firestone

-Firestone drills start

-Care and Use of Flamethrowers (Golds only)

-Advanced Wing Formations

-Preflight Training

-Advanced Ground drills

-Flight harness care, use, and construction

-Sparring

-Physical training cont..

-Chores

Months
Twelve
thru
Thirteen:


-Advanced Terrain Recognition

-Basics of Thread Charts

-Ground drills cont...

-Chewing Firestone & Flaming

-First Flights

-Sparring cont...

-Physical Training cont...

-Chores

Months
fourteen
thru
sixteen:


-Sex Ed. & Mating Flights (given by weyrling
master and Gold rider.)

-Flight formation patterns

-Applied Wing formations

-Flight drills

-First trips between

-Advanced Thread Fall patterns

-Fighting drills and training

-Aerial drills cont...

-Transport Duties Assigned

-If during a pass, will fly fall or transport firestone

-Sparring cont...

-Physical training cont...

-Chores

Months
seventeen
thru
eighteen:


-Transport Duties Cont...

-Shadowing different riders (ex. Sweeprider,
Searchrider, Watchrider, Wingsecond,
Wingleader & etc.)

-Wing Formations cont...

-Aerial drills cont...

-Interviews with the Weyrleaders & Wingleaders

-Final testing

-Graduation

-New Rank Badges and Cords

-Shoulder Tapping by Wingleaders

-New Weyr Assignments

-Gold riders move up to Jr. Weyrwomen
or are Transferred to different Weyrs

-Sparring cont...

-Physical training

-Chores

Weyrling Grad
The number of riders in a wing is determined by the Weyrleader. The Weyrleader commands all of the wings but also leads a single wing when battling thread or when doing anything involving ceremonial visits.

The days prior to graduation the weyrlings go through numerous interviews with Wingleaders, Wingseconds, and the Weyrleaders. The Weryleaders, based on information provided to them by the Weyrlingmaster and their own observations decide whether a weyrling will graduate to an adult rider.

During lessons, especially close to graduation, you will find more and more Wingleaders and or Wingseconds watching the weyrlings, Get some RP time in with them, but don‘t be…. They are looking for talent and personality traits that will fit well in their wing. Hot shots usually get tapped last. Everyone will get a wing assignment, but it is an honor to be among the first chosen. This will be based loosely on the amount and quietly of RP time you have spent in lessons and chores and on the rest of your posts. It is also the Wingleader’s personal preference. (just remember to keep it honest and fair.)

The ceremony takes place in the dining hall. The Weyrleaders, Weyrlingmaster, Jr. Weyrwomen and Wingleaders, are all seated at the great table, located on a dais at the front of the hall. Benches and chairs are lined up in front of the dais, affording a place for the graduates to set. All else viewing the ceremony have chairs and the likes lined up behind them. Either that or they stand against the walls.

The Wingleaders take turns claiming their new riders. (wing order is predetermined by rolling dice or some other random method) A Wingsecond from the wing will come to you and tap your shoulder. At that time, you salute the Wingsecond and will have the option to accept or wait hoping that your preferred wing will also choose you. (A place will not be held for you in the wing you turn down.) If you accept you will walk to the front of the hall salute, acknowledging your Weyrleaders first, then your knew Wingleader. The Wingsecond will take away your weyrling cords and rank symbols. Then the Wingleader will tie your knew cords, rank symbol and will give you your wing symbol. Then you will salute again, turn on heel and go back to your chair.

There will be other honors given at this time also: as in but not necessarily limited to Perfect Attendance, Top of Class, Most Improved Flaming, Most Improved Flying, Longest Flame held, and etc.

A feast is held afterwards that the entire Weyr is invited to attend. The new Wingriders can now enjoy all that comes with adult rank and they can move into their new weyrs. (Be checking out weyrs before Graduation…The best ones go pretty quick.)

-Jr. Weyrwoman Kyparla

All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright ŠAnne McCaffrey 1999- 2004, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.

The Dragonriders of PernŽ is Reg U.S. Pat & Tm. Office, by Anne McCaffrey, and may not be used or reproduced without permission of the author.