Impression is the first step on an 18-month path that transforms weyrlings into dragonriders. The military-style training that follows is intensive and all-consuming. During an Interval, most weyrlings survive to graduation, but the loses can be as high as fifty percent during a Pass.
Their instruction is overseen by the Weyrlingmaster, most often a brownrider. As some candidates are as young as 12, the Weyrlingmaster is two parts drill instructor and one part parent. Other experienced dragonriders assist at various points in the curriculum. The Weyrlingmaster is highly respected as it is difficult to train children for combat. Few dragonriders have the emotional fortitude to hold the rank for long.
During the first 43 weeks of training, weyrlings and their quickly growing partners live in barracks. Hatchling queen dragons and their young goldriders, however, move immediately into quarters set aside for junior weyrwomen. They are trained separately from the rest of their clutchmates.
Weyrling Training Schedule
- Week 0: Candidate training – “As I was told, so I tell you. No more, no less. Remember these two points. Turn out fear and do not let them overeat.”
- Weeks 1-4: Hatchling training – bonding, feeding, cleaning, dealing with emotions, mental communication, separating individual thoughts and sensations, and basic care.
- Weeks 5-9: Dragonet training – continued basic training plus limited interaction with other people and dragons.
- Weeks 10-17: Weyr life – structure of weyr life, etiquette, rank knots, history, geography, light ground exercise, socialization, and basic dragon anatomy. Riders can venture away from their dragonets for an hour, in uniform.
- Weeks 18-29: Basic classroom training – mechanics of flight, weather prediction, dragon health care, and human first aid; dragon strength building (gliding) at week 26.
- Weeks 30-35: Basic field training – swimming, dragon hunting, and dragon endurance building (supervised, unmounted flights in the bowl).
- Weeks 36-39: Advanced classroom training – thread-fighting techniques, threadfall chart reading, equipment care, professional skill (IE: glassblowing), and field flights (unmounted flights outside the Weyr and higher altitude flights).
- Weeks 40-43: Flight training – map reading and navigation, first mounted flights, visits to landmarks, traveling between, and finally moving into private weyrs. The dragonet is now a young dragon.
- Weeks 44-47: Ground drills – marching and mounted on the ground, longer mounted flights, and visits to holds.
- Weeks 48-51: Advanced field training – firestone grades, chewing stone, fire breathing, flights at night and in poor weather conditions, and visits to other Weyrs.
- Weeks 52-57: Wing formation flying – formation practice, gradual increase in flight duration, and team building.
- Weeks 58-61: Rope drills – single and then multiple wing, wing travel between, and between “skips” to kill Thread.
- Weeks 62-67: Combat drills – introduction to mating flights, night rope drills, unscheduled call to battle to test readiness, and full Fall duration flights.
- Week 68: First Fall – replenishment duty (firestone delivery).
- Week 70: Sweeps – trailing edge combat and post-Fall patrols.
- Week 72: Queen’s Wing and graduation.