The Reluctant Candidate

Oh once there was a Candidate, 'twas Searched from Ista Hold

By a brave and valiant brown who had a rider just as bold

They whisked the young boy off to Ista Weyr, so we are told

To stand upon the sands before the eggs of the Istan gold.

Before too long had passed they all discovered something queer

Everything around the holder lad was cause to shake in fear

He'd never been outside his Hold before he'd ridden here

And these were all the words that anyone heard from him in the Weyr

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders and I wish I were in bed."

When asked if he would still Impress, the answer went like so,

"No!" said the Candidate. "I won't go!"

Oh they coaxed and they pleaded 'til their throats got sore

There were stories all about the times that had gone on before

But it didn't matter what they said in voices fast or slow...

"No!" said the Candidate. "I won't go!"

It was hopeless said the leaders as the Hatching Day drew nigh

It looked as though the Candidate was just too awfully shy

None can make you stand the sands if you don't want to try

But still throughout the Weyr they all could hear the lad's plaintive cry

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders and I wish I were in bed."

When asked if he would still Impress, the answer went like so,

"No!" said the Candidate. "I won't go!"

Oh the Hatching Day arrived and every rider wore new pants

The feast was planned, the harpers tuned and readied for the dance

But when they asked the holder lad if he would take his chance

He simply crawled back into bed and took up his usual stance

Oh his foster mother who had come to see her baby win

She dragged him from his room and put the white robe over him

Over to the Hatching Grounds, she pulled him by a limb

And all could hear him cry just as the event was about to begin

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders and I wish I were in bed."

When asked if he would still Impress, the answer went like so,

"No!" said the Candidate. "I won't go!"

The baby dragons started coming out in twos and threes

A lot of little Candidates fell down on bended knees

The sight was so miraculous that tears flowed like the seas

But still the little holder lad cried plaintively without cease

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders and I wish I were in bed."

When asked if he would still Impress, the answer went like so,

"No!" said the Candidate. "I won't go!"

Finally the clutch was down to three bright shining eggs

Over near the entrance was a bunch of unsteady legs

Emotions in the audience were drained down to the dregs

Never in the past had there been a Candidate who reneges

One by one the last three eggs burst out to dragon song

A pretty blue and handsome brown, they found their mates erelong

The only one left creeling was a bronze so bright and strong

And the audience were spellbound as the bronze seemed to choose wrong

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders and I wish I were in bed."

The holder lad's soft murmurings suddenly ceased their flow

As deep within his mind, the lad heard a voice that said, "Hello."

Looking up into the bluest eyes he'd ever seen

The holder lad was captured in a place he'd never been

The bronze was quite the biggest and one day might fly a queen

And the Holder lad found this to be a mighty appealing scene

"I'm afraid of the dragons, I'm afraid of silver Thread

I'm afraid of all the riders, but I'm glad I'm not in bed.

For then I never would have found a bronze so strong and true

I'm still afraid of dragons, but I'll always give love to you."

So the leaders were surprised, but they could see the change it brought

The little holder laddie was no longer so distraught

Now when asked if he was looking forward to fighting Thread,

"No!" said the Candidate. "I'd rather be in bed!"