G'bhardo

Character type: Dragonrider
Rank: Assistant Weyrlingmaster
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Sexual Preference: Bisexual, but tends to prefer women

Appearance

Sitting in the Dining Hall slouchily straddling a bench with an ale in one hand and his shirt-collar and cuffs undone: that’s G’bhardo in his natural habitat, and like any bear in its den or bird in its nest, he seems to have adapted to look as if he belongs there, so intrinsically blue-collar that it can be a little startling to imagine him standing in front of a class and lecturing. He’s a reasonably tall fellow, 6’1” and with an average frame that’s supplemented by a well-developed musculature that shows particularly well in his upper body, especially his chest and biceps. Wiry body hair, once dark brown but now salted through with gray hairs too, covers him everywhere you’d expect, though he does keep his face clean-shaven except for thick sideburns, and he plucks those odd hairs that occasionally try to sprout from his ears now that he’s getting older — less because they bother him directly and more because a couple of lady-friends have reacted negatively to them. He would draw the line firmly at manscaping anywhere below the neck, though, lady’s preferences or no. There’s less grey in the hair on top of his head, but it is beginning to settle into a couple of faint streaks at his temples; thankfully it doesn’t appear to be thinning at all, and his hair, still as thick as when he was a lad, is kept just below shoulder-length, tied back into a short, simple tail. He has a wide, squarish face with an olive-tinted complexion and bright brown eyes that seem a bit too small for his face, particularly considering the width of his thin-lipped mouth and size of his both long and broad nose. His voice still carries all the grit and gravel of someone who spent his formative years breathing in exactly that — it’s likely he would have naturally had a rather harsh, throaty voice anyway, but growing up breathing stale dusty air, and then spending his adult life shouting over the Istan wind, really didn’t help. He sounds almost growly sometimes when he’s using the right tone. He’s also a baritone, but don’t ask him to sing.

When his flying jacket isn’t on, making him look all flyboy-official, he doesn’t dress much different than he did as a miner, even though its been over two decades since he last hefted a pickaxe. He’s certainly cleaner thanks to the Weyr’s rather efficient laundry staff, but he doesn’t care about minor stains or wear and doesn’t keep an extensive wardrobe or send his things off to be mended or laundered as often as many Weyr residents do. He generally keeps a couple of trusty plain outfits, drab shades of brown or off-white, and often rolls his sleeves up. During the warmer months he’ll sometimes even just wear a plain vest with no shirt at all underneath. He still doesn’t get all the fuss about wrinkling, and even his gather-wear tends to look rumpled — for that matter, the only real difference between his regular clothes and his gather-wear is that the gather-wear doesn’t get worn nearly as often, and that it adds some much-needed color to his wardrobe, a nice resplendent blue.

Personality

It might not be quite right to call G’bhardo easy-going, though he certainly is in some ways, at least. He’s a casual sort of guy without a lot of thought for appearances (beyond, perhaps, some basic standards of manliness), an appreciator of simple things, a man with an active sense of humor even if it tends heavily towards the sarcastic and frequently towards the inappropriate. Upon first meeting he tends to come across as gruff, partially because his voice is just naturally that way and partially because he doesn’t really thaw to strangers quickly and can occasionally be brusque even with his friends. He’s cheerfully blunt and possesses no filter even in front of the weyrlings — he’ll tell you to your face if he thinks you’re being an idiot or if those pants make your butt look fat — but he’s not the type to go hurling insults or actively digging for ways to cut people down. He’s just brutally honest, and it works both ways — he can admit when he’s wrong, and he can compliment you on choosing better pants or being less of a dimglow tomorrow.

He approaches dragonriding, and more recently teaching, in the same way he once approached mining: it’s a job to be done, and he’s just a working stiff. Sure he takes pride in his work, but he doesn’t like the idea of work being all he is. He takes care of his dragon because his dragon is pretty much a part of himself as well as being his primary tool — he doesn’t view that as work — but everything else? He’s either on-duty or he’s off. When he’s on, he’s a hard worker, a grunt who does his job and shoulders his share because that’s how things get done, damn it, and he doesn’t believe in forcing others to pick up his slack. When he’s off, though, he’s a steady drinker and a womanizer and is utterly unapologetic about it, though he doesn’t go out of his way to flaunt it. His private life is his private life, and he’s got no plans to curb his excesses or his bad habits until it starts affecting his job performance — until then, haters can suck it.

As an assistant weyrlingmaster he’s not some big strategist, or some great patriot with a need to build Ista’s future and a master plan for the kids in his charge. He’s just a guy with a job, who happens to have a knack for imparting information in a way that’s easy to understand. Hell, he’s not even that well-educated, himself — he’s never been great at reading or figuring beyond the bare necessities, but he’s always been good at grasping anything which directly relates to his work, and he teaches things in the same way that he understands them. He expects his pupils to show some basic common sense and some effort, and that’s really all he asks. Perfection? Pfft, he hasn’t even managed perfection himself yet, and he believes that striving for it doesn’t do anything but tighten people’s assholes. Don’t reach for the damned stars, reach for the tips of your own fingers — your arm still stretches the same distance, and you’re less likely to get beaned in the head with a firestone sack because you weren’t busy focusing on something that’s so irrelevant to you that it may as well not even exist.

Given that his approach is so focused on the practical, it’s probably a little less surprising that he can be as patient as he is. He can be annoyed and frustrated by lack of effort and sometimes it shows, but he doesn’t lose his temper easily, freely hands out praise where it’s due, and is willing to help a student work through something difficult if they’re willing to try. He doesn’t even mind the antics of baby dragons, or the occasional headstrong drama queens among the weyrling riders (hey, we were all young once, he figures), if only because it keeps the job from getting too boring. He may be blunt, but he can be encouraging, too, and he doesn’t care about proving what a hardass he is, so long as they’re more-or-less obeying him. Outright rebellion or disrespect is another story, to be dealt with more harshly, but thankfully that’s rarely necessary. He doesn’t believe in trying to tear the weyrlings down or trip them up with trick questions, and generally speaking he treats them like the young adults they are (until they show him differently) and expects them to act it. A part of him rather enjoys being someone they can approach with questions, and he finds it much easier to be paternal with young folks who aren’t actually his own flesh and blood for some reason. It’s a bit ironic that he’s probably Ista’s most approachable weyrlingmaster, or one of them anyway, considering how often he insists that it’s just a job and that he should be allowed to write alcohol off as a work-related expense.

History

Birthdate: 11.01

Gilbhardo came to weyrlife later in life than most riders of the Interval. He was born in the interior of Ista island, at one of the smaller mineholds dotting the island, and for the first portion of his life, the mine was all he knew. Like the rest of the boys he was hauling sacks and pushing carts for the men from a young age, and then swinging a pickaxe himself as soon as he was old enough to reliably hoist it without gouging himself. It was a dangerous, yet wholly un-glamorous life, but it was his world, and he hadn’t the education or imagination to imagine something different for himself even if he had wanted to — and he didn’t. It was worthy work that he was born and bred to do. Why would he want to go anywhere else?

He was already a man of twenty-one when the dragons came. Ista Weyr didn’t Search often in those days, and it was even more rare that they bothered sweeping the smaller, more remote holds when usually the larger holdings provided all they needed before they got around to the smaller places. The younger boys were excited; the young men towards the upper range of the Search spectrum lined up only because it was a formality, elbowing each other about what a lark the whole thing was and how whoever got Searched would have to “Impress” a nice buxom easygoing weyrgirl and bring her back home to offer the rest of them a “dragonride”. The Searchriders were clearly unimpressed by the crude, dismissive talk about their ladies, and clearly didn’t think much of the grime-covered rabble from the mines, and that first real interaction with dragonriders left a bad taste in Gilbhardo’s mouth — enough so that, when the Searchdragons picked him out as a potential candidate, he almost declined immediately. He was a miner, he didn’t give two shits about what his duty to the Weyr was, especially when they presented it as if it were a great honor and opportunity — which it was, of course, but there was more than a hint of disdain for the life he knew in their words and tone, and an expectation that anyone would be thrilled to jump up out of the mud to be “saved” by them, and it rankled his pride.

But the truth was, it also gave him a convenient out. A young lady he had been seeing had approached him a few days before in a quiet panic, claiming that she was late. And he knew how that ended: if she turned out to be pregnant, he’d be attending his own shotgun wedding with two black eyes and saying his vows through a broken jaw. He’d tussled with her brothers before and had no desire to repeat the experience, and though he fully intended to settle down and marry someday, he wasn’t ready yet! Not now, not like this, and not to this particular girl! It seemed the worst fate imaginable to a rowdy young man who hadn’t yet been broken down by the long hours in the mine.

So he accepted the Search, claiming that it was his duty and it seemed like fun, right? Later in life he would come to regret abandoning his girl the way he did, and would even go back to apologize and try to make peace with her and the daughter he sired and left behind, but at the time he was just a young man making a hasty decision for all the wrong reasons and he was almost proud of himself for slipping away so neatly. He didn’t actually expect a dragon to choose him, especially not after spending some awkward time around the mostly-younger and mostly-weyrborn candidates and realizing he had only the most basic things in common with any of them, but he figured that at least he was at the Weyr now and untouchable by anyone who might come along cracking their knuckles at him. He had time to breathe and then figure out what he was going to do later.

Malkorth had his own ideas, however. The big blue hatched Gilbhardo’s first time Standing, and that was that — G’bhardo was a dragonrider whether he liked it or not. It was a little weird at first, but having a dragon in his head felt surprisingly natural, and once he settled himself into the idea that work required the same basic qualities of him no matter where he was or what he was doing, he took to dragonriding like a duck to water. He adapted so well, in fact, that he took to helping a younger lad in the class who was struggling — even though G’bhardo himself was still actively learning the material and didn’t always make the highest marks, he seemed able to distill the knowledge and impart it well enough that it really seemed to help his fellow weyrling, and the Weyrlingmaster took note of this without making an obvious fuss about it, choosing instead to test it out and partner G’bhardo with the more needy and less confident weyrlings whenever an exercise required partners or group work.

Nothing else was said about it, though, until ten turns later — long after G’bhardo had graduated and settled into the wings as a seasoned dragonrider. An assistant’s position came open and, after exploring his options and consulting a bit with the man’s wingleader to see if the tendency to mentor had continued, the old weyrlingmaster submitted G’bhardo’s name to the Weyrleader as a possible candidate for the staff. They asked the bluerider if he was interested, he said “Hell, why not, waiting for Thread is getting dull” and that was that.

He spent the next twelve turns as an assistant weyrlingmaster, helping to prepare young riders for the return of Thread. He enjoyed it for the most part, and as the clutches got bigger and more frequent there was more to do than he ever imagined possible, but as the Pass drew near, he felt the tug to join his fellows and contribute more directly. A couple of turns before the Pass, he asked to rejoin the fighting wings and his request was granted. And then, though he occasionally felt the pull to go back to his old job, the horrors of the first ‘Fall kept him firmly in place — Ista needed every rider it had, and he was nothing if not good at knowing where he was needed.

Now that the wings have been bolstered by Outsiders who seem to be settling in — some of them, anyway — and Ista has produced a second queen who will hopefully be providing more clutches in a couple of turns though, he made his interest in returning to the staff known. He didn’t expect it to happen so soon — perhaps when said young queen actually came of age — but he couldn’t deny that he was pleased when the transfer came. Apparently he missed keeping the youngsters straight more than he thought he had.

Relationships

Family

Father: Gorbhin, miner, died when G’bhardo was six
Mother: Seresly
Several siblings
Assorted children

G'BHARDO'S DRAGON: BLUE MALKORTH

Dragon Name: Malkorth
Colour: Blue
Age: 24
Weyr of Origin: Ista Weyr
Weyrling Class: 8.429.4.14

Appearance

Malkorth is a beast of a blue, about as big as his color can come and heavily muscled, with shortish, thick limbs. His head is wide, too, with smallish eyes and very little definition between the back of his jaws and his solid neck. His ridges are a bit jagged, his feet big and plodding, and his tail seems too thick for much sinuous movement — it doesn’t really twitch or whip so much as just sway slowly back and forth, though of course it has more give to it than is immediately obvious. His hide is a very pale chilly light blue, and a jagged streak of darker blue down his back. The tips of his neck-ridges, as well as his wingtips and trailing edges, are frosted with the same icy shade as the rest of his body.

Personality

Malkorth looks rather like a big dumb brute and, well… he is. Simple and serious, he’s got good instincts but he’s not one to think too hard or innovate on his own. He possesses even less tact than his rider and little to no sense of humor (mostly because jokes usually fly right over his head) but he’s incredibly patient, persistent, and takes direction well. He can sometimes be hesitant in his social interactions with other dragons because he knows he has nothing clever to add, but then, that’s probably part of the reason he likes interacting with weyrlings so much: even if they’re smarter than he is, he still always has something to teach them, and he demonstrates his skills with pride.

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