News - Candidates

The group of sixty selected to be presented to the first group of hatching eggs ranged in age from eighteen to thirty. Later, in the pass Sean wouldn't let his son Michael stand until he was at least twelve. By the ninth interval those as young as eleven were allowed to stand due to infrequent clutches, though later in the pass older candidates were preferred since they were able to fight thread right after graduation without additional maturing time. That's about all the evidence we have for this mysterious group of folks. Considering the above and some common sense ideas we have formulated the following as the current handling of candidates.

As the Pass approaches, the Golden queens are rising more frequently, laying larger clutches and consequently the demand for candidates is ever present all over Pern. Each Weyr across the continent is independant of the other and each handles the matter of candidates naturally with some variation.

Blue and green dragons have been found to have the best ability to find receptive people to stand for hatching eggs. When a clutch is on the sands, they spread out across the High Reaches Territory to look over holders and crafters of the right age and ability. Depending on the Wingleader, the whole wing may travel for this important errand, or smaller units of blue and green dragons may go, often led by a brown or bronze dragon. Not every area will be visited every time, on average a hold or hall will see searchriders once every other turn or so. If there are already enough candidates at the Weyr, a search within the territory may not be conducted at all.

After arriving at a hold or hall, all eligible youngsters will be brought out and looked over by the search dragons. Those who are eligible are between the ages of fourteen and twenty two, are of sound mind and body, not married or pregnant, and do not hold the rank of master, journeyman, or heir to a hold. The dragons notify their riders of those they think are suitable and the riders, if they agree, will ask the person that they have been selected and if they wish to accept search.

Being searched is viewed in different ways depending upon where one comes from. Some holds, often where illness has recently dented the population resent the able bodied healthy youngsters being taken away. While others celebrate the honor it is seen to be a dragonrider, even the chance to be one. As clutches are generally frequent, those who are searched are not returned to their home locations unless they choose to not stand EVER again in the future (for instance: to go get married, or to accept the rank of journeymen are common reasons that someone will leave the Weyr). As the Weyr is generally better off, most want and choose to stay there, even if they do not wish to stand again.

Females are often held back from search by their home hold or crafthalls. They are seen as more useful in terms of bearing children, or for marriages to increase one's holdings. This is generally overlooked by the current Weyr administration, except in the cases when there is a gold egg. When a gold egg is on the sands every eligible male and female is expected to be presented to the searchriders. As a consequence, riders will tend to take more females on such searches, whether the dragons find them or not, lending to the negative impression that riders are 'stealing' all the women and, hence the lack of females being presented for future searches where there is no gold egg. In addition, the younger ages that females are being married off, or becoming pregnant, has also reduced the pool of potential candidates.

Female candidates may stand for any clutch, as they are valued for being much more level headed riders for the speedy green dragons. The dragons have no way of distinguishing what females may impress gold, versus those that may impress green. As such, anytime there is a gold egg on the sands ALL of the female candidates will stand on the gold mound until the queen hatches and impresses. After the queen impresses the female candidates are directed to join the ring of male candidates around the normal eggs, or leave, if they do not wish the chance to impress a green. When there is no gold egg, female candidates are given the option of Standing or not, and must register themselves with the Weyrlingmaster.

Those who are weyrbred are allowed to stand if they are of appropriate age and temperament. They are rarely formally 'searched' by a dragon, and most weyrbred folk will choose to stand at least once in their lifetime.

All of those who are brought in on search, or weyrbred and come of age, are kept on a list by the weyrlingmaster. When a new clutch of eggs is laid the list is reviewed, and those who have not yet impressed, and are healthy, are asked if they wish to stand for this clutch of eggs. Those females who are pregnant are not asked, as they are not allowed to stand. Childbirth is not entirely without risk and the young dragons are viewed as to precious to risk impressing to a pregnant female who might die a short few months later. The Weyrlingmaster also takes the opportunity to remove those who have become ineligable. This is usually due to the person marrying, crafters who have obtained the rank of journeyman, those who have become permanently mentally or physically incapacitated, or have displayed what is considered an incompatable temperament (generally violent or always angry).

If there are enough candidates available the Weyr will not usually conduct a formal search through the territory. Candidates are generally integrated into the Weyr and reside in the normal living area. Those who are crafter apprentices will be placed under one of the posted journeyman or master of their craft in the Weyr, all others will work as any other normal weyr resident with assignments dictated by the Headwoman. The exception is that when there is a clutch on the sands, those who will stand for that clutch spend most evenings reciving lessons from one of the weyrlingmasters.

Lessons cover a variety of topics on being a dragonrider, its joys, its dangers, and what to expect and do during the hatching. Each candidate is given a white robe that they will wear during the hatching. As robes are reused from one generation to the next they are often in need of repair, resizing and a good washing. It is the candidates responsibility to have their robe ready in time for the hatching.

The dragons generally sense when the eggs are within a few days of hatching. At that point the current candidate class will start carrying their robes with them at all times. Once the dragons start to hum candidates gather at the entrance to the hatching grounds and after a quick check by the weyrlingmasters will be led out onto the sands to await their fate. Those who impress become weyrlings and those that do not return to their place in weyrlife and if still eligible when the next clutch comes around stand again.

You may only have one candidate alt standing for a clutch.

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