News - Weyrlings

The period of weyrlinghood for dragon and rider last for approximately the first turn of the dragons life. It is during this period that they are trained to face all the dangers and joys of being a dragon and rider. It is also one of the riskiest times of the pairs life, and mortality runs high with as much as eighty percent of some clutches not surviving to graduate into the fighting wings.

On Seven Spindles the training of weyrlings is divided into three phases with each clutch advancing roughly together, though each pair is treated individually advancing or holding back as appropriate to ensure that when they graduate they are generally prepared to handle what is required of them. The riders of female dragons are given extra instruction for handling their dragons mating flights, and for goldrider additional training under the Weyrwoman, or Headwoman on domestic duties they will be handling.

The first phase of training generally covers a dragon's first four months of life, and can be overall as described from the period of hatching to flying. Most dragons will be experiencing tremendous growth during this period, and indeed the first month or two are almost solely devoted to the tasks of eating, oiling, bathing and most of all sleeping. When not caring for their new partners, the weyrling riders learn about the basics of caring for their partner, recognizing rank knots, learning the geography of the Weyr's region, hand signals, ground drills, basic riding gear and other necessities. The riders are also assigned chores, and toward the latter part of this phase will often ride a patrol or two with an older dragonpair.

The second phase of training is somewhat shorter, roughly between four and seven months of dragon age and can overall be described as the period between flying and betweening. Many of the smaller green and slower growing blue dragons may be late to enter this phase as dragon and rider will be held back until the dragon is at least twelve feet long before flying together. During this period the pair learn to work as a team and with other pairs. Skills focus on the geography of the region and memorizing between references, map reading and creation, strait flights, orienteering, and finally one is introduced to threadfall charts. Approximately twenty to forty percent of pairs are often lost during between training during this phase.

The third phase lasts until the dragon is approximately one turn of age, and exactly when a pair will be tapped into a wing depends upon each individuals progress. Duties and responsibilities increase during this final phase of training with watch duty, messenger runs, sweeps with older pairs, air drills, firestone training, and finally meeting threadfall. Weyrlings over nine months of age are utilized in threadfall as resupply agents to the fighting wings. No matter how much caution and how well the between images are the first time one meets thread will also be the last for ten to thirty percent of the weyrling class. Those that survive gain valuable experience. At this point surviving bronze and brown riders are singled out for their potential to be wingseconds or wingleaders and begin receiving additional guidance.

The weyrling pairs will generally move out of the barracks around when they fly together well. When the Weyrlingmaster is satisfied he will allow a Wingleader to tap a dragon pair into their wing. This generally occurs between eleven and fourteen months of age. (Note: Code in the Barracks will allow one to transition on the HRW knot from Weyrling to Rider and update the DTU. At minimum your dragon must be 12 feet in length and 9 months old.)

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