Something was smiling upon Quleyne the night of the Gather at Two River Hold. Nearly half a candlemark late he was for the caravan's performance, but aside from a minor scolding from the Boss, there were remarkably few consequences. Especially once he explained the reason for his tardiness.
And when they sat around the bonfire they'd built (well away from any combustible structures), the appearance of a particular bluerider shut them up for good.
The leader of the troupe, a tall but stocky fellow with greying hair and a piercing gaze, stood at the rider's approach. "Greetings," he said with a peremptory nod.
"Well met," the rider returned the polite greeting. "I am R'lan, rider of blue Ancith."
The Boss did not introduce himself any further - he never did, for some reason (it was a quirk) - instead enquiring, "Did you wish to honour our fire with your presence, bluerider?"
R'lan smiled a little wryly. "Unfortunately, I have little time. I came in Search of a young man by the name of Quleyne." The slight emphasis on the word 'Search' was lost on the traders.
There was a muted muttering amongst the troupe before, with a shove, the boy in question was revealed. "Yes, Sir."
"Good," R'lan said, nodding and winking at the young man. He cocked his head and raised one eyebrow. "Have you a moment for me?"
"Of course," Quleyne replied briskly, hardly concealing his pleasure at being singled out. "Gladly." He handed a companion his mug and followed the retreating dragonrider.
When they reached a safe distance from the private celebration, R'lan turned. "Do you know what I wish to talk to you about, Quleyne?"
A little hesitantly, the trader shook his head.
"Quleyne, I'm a Searchrider. Ancith has taken notice of you."
"T-taken notice, Sir?" His heart rate had accelerated, his mind forming images of a very exciting future, but he needed to hear the words before he could let himself believe.
R'lan smiled, understanding. "You've been Searched, Quleyne. Ancith wishes you to stand for Vasharath's clutch at Talor Cliff Weyr."
And there they were. Those three little words that every boy yearns for. You've. Been. Searched.
Slowly, shock was replaced by jubilance, and shortly Quleyne found that he could not help but burst out in gleeful laughter.
R'lan grinned brightly. "You believe it to be a joke, my boy?" he jibed good naturedly. "Take my word for it, it is no joke. If you accept, I will announce it to Lord Mejolin tonight and before the sun rises on the morrow you will have a new home at the Weyr."
Quleyne was speechless. But not for long. "If I accept... Oh, R'lan, of course I accept!" he cried, forgetting his manners in his excitement. "Oh, thank you! Thank you!" It was all he could do to stop tears from flowing down his cheeks.
The bluerider nodded, keeping his elation at his new candidate's reaction to a professional minimum. "I'm glad you're pleased, Quleyne. I believe you will do well at the Weyr."
"Thank you, Sir," the trader-cum-candidate said more seriously, his eyes twinkling fiercely. "I honour you."
R'lan nodded graciously. "Now go and tell your friends. I can see you're dying to."
With a last grateful glance, Quleyne returned to the camp for the last time.