Ston's Armor-Plated Remote-Control Tank Bronze Kyzhanth

Skeleton in the Closet Egg

Swirls of misty white stand out against the starkness of this egg. At first glance, there only seems to be black on black, an endless void to the darkness. With a closer look, ghostly figures can be discerned forming from misty wisps that twirl and whirl amongst the outer edges of the shell. Perhaps it is a slight of eye, but at times the haze appears almost skeletal; a sickly grinning skull, its face forever etched in demented laughter with eyeholes devoid of any life. Another quick glance and the frightening face is gone, and vapors are all that linger. Some things are meant to be forgotten.

Hatching Message

Skeleton in the Closet Egg shivers one last time, like a broken maraca. The rattle of old bones catches and trembles, and then the skeleton dissolves, tumbling apart in a scattering of ancient parts. Laughing deathmask, gone: mocking ghost-forms, gone. In their place, fire and life.

Armor-Plated Remote-Control Tank Bronze Dragonet

No delicate prize, this one: he is weathered well before his time. Battered bronze thinly washes over a hulking musculature and militaristic bearing: it bleeds iron-grey over the straining spars of his wings' tattered glory; it trails past the blunt curve of narrowed hips and stumpy tail. His badly-set muzzle crooks to the left, warping the symmetry of what could have been a handsome visage. Darkness fissures the muted hide, lending a craggy-jaggy air of authority. Ancient knowledge lies within the depths of his shadowed eyes, calculation at the heart of this old-souled war-machine.

Public Impression Pose

Armor-Plated Remote-Control Tank Bronze Dragonet has laid a course in, and plugged in the proper corrections, now, it's time to let instinct do its job. There is the one. He moves like destiny itself, and for a moment, it seems there will be another casualty on the sands, but candidates have sense enough to scrabble away, and this one is not moving fast. He has all the time in the world. All the time in the world to find… Winston.

Private Impression Message

The waves of heat from the sands take on an odd metallic tinge, bitter and scented with ozone. Your skin tingles with a strange electric urgency, and then there is someone there with you: you taste blood. « You're in over your head here, hotshot. » Dry amusement colors the low rumble of the words: felt, not heard. « Call me Kyzhanth. I'll call you S'ton. Stick with me, and between us we'll change the world. » The presence does not vanish, but it retreats somewhat, allowing the rest of the universe a little space, again. A quiet echo murmurs, « I've got your back. »

Winston! S'ton — we are so glad you decided to come play at High Reaches Weyr, with your twisty-manipulative words and your clever schemes. Here, to make sure you don't fall flat on your face (too often, anyway) is Kyzhanth. We love you (some of us enough to marry you), but more than that, we are truly delighted by Winst— S'ton, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy him for many years to come. — T'ii, Chey, Jesha

Egg Inspiration

Everyone everywhere has the preverbal skeleton in their closet. Something that was done or said that they may have regretted. This egg represents those choices in life that sometimes we'd all just like to forget!

Theme Inspiration

With a character like S'ton, it can be hard to find a match that will challenge him, help him grow, and keep him from flaming out early. As we considered the kinds of minds that would help S'ton become the rider he can be, we found ourselves thinking of the character of Ky Tung, from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books. S'ton reminds us in some ways of a young Admiral Naismith, operating on bluff and willpower, highborn but in a place where that may not matter, and he could easily get in over his head. Kyzhanth will be his ironic commentator, the one to whom he can look for an honest appraisal of his schemes and plans. Your dragon will never hold his tongue to protect your feelings: your screw-ups are informative, and you will, by Faranth, learn from them, even if he has to beat them into your head with a mallet. As you both age and learn each other's strengths and weaknesses, you will start to butt heads less, evolving to a real partnership. You will be able to use one another as devil's advocate for tactical decisions, as a second opinion on approaches to problems. You just need to learn to trust one another.

Name Inspiration

The 'Ky' of Kyzhanth comes from the character that inspired him: Ky Tung. For the rest of it, we looked to Chinese, for Tung's favored old Chinese philosophers. 'Zhan' is the pinyin spelling for a Chinese word for 'war'. We liked the look of the word as well, with the K and Z giving it a nicely morally ambiguous feel. We say it as Kye-JHAHNth.


With ill-grace, Tung mouthed a nobly worded, if vague, apology to Auson for past slurs on his character, intelligence, ancestry, appearance—as Auson's face darkened Miles stopped Tung's catalogue in mid-list and made him start over. "Keep it simpler." Tung took a breath. "Auson, you can be a real shithead sometimes, but dammit, you can fight when you have to. I've seen you. In the tight and the bad and the crazy, I'll take you at my back before any other captain in the fleet."
— Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game

Kyzhanth speaks with blunt directness most of the time, his words carrying with them the tang of lightning and gunpowder. He tastes like electric fire, crackling in the back of your mind. His colors are dull metallic colors: iron and steel, no rainbow hues behind his voice.

He wields sarcasm like a knife, filleting you without mercy when you do anything stupid, and he does not reserve the sharp edge of his tongue for you. He respects his superiors – after all, once you and he have their jobs, he will expect that respect – and he nurtures those placed under him with protective patience, but he will verbally dissect those who are supposed to be his equals, ripping them apart with devastating accuracy and cruelty.

When pressed to "play nice," he will put on a show, but the insincerity will be blatantly obvious. He is fairly good at deception when he chooses to employ it, but he does not see its value for something as trivial as keeping the peace. If they want to play with the big boys, after all, they had better learn to keep up.


"Tung had not changed, anyway. Still looked any age between forty and sixty. Still built like an ancient tank. Still seemed to see more than he spoke, most uncomfortable for the guilty of conscience."
— Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game

Kyzhanth is a tank of a dragon. His coloring is faintly blueish under the bronze, an iron-grey tint of metal. No one will ever call him handsome, or, god forbid, pretty, but he has a presence all his own.

He is massive: not necessarily long or tall, but every dimension of him feels large. He fills space like no one else, moving with the kind of purposeful intent that sends mere mortals scrambling out of his way. There is something to his gait that brooks no resistance, and once he starts to walk, he will reach his destination.

He is not exactly violent, but he is willing to exploit his size for intimidation purposes as needed. He will occasionally drive a shoulder into someone who is (foolishly) trying to call his physical bluff. If someone, particularly a non-rider, is making your life difficult, there Kyzhanth will appear, looming like an angel of painful death, to stare them down. He will up the ante as much as necessary to make them respect the menace he represents.

He will be ungainly in the air, un-aerodynamic and slow. His mass is made for endurance marathons, not sprints, and he will never match the maneuverability of many of his fellows. He will need extra practice to handle some formations, not because he does not understand them, but because his massive body and intense momentum do not accommodate them easily.


All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
— Sun Tzu Kyzhanth, for all of his physical strengths, is a thinker more than he is a fighter. He has a keen intelligence that is often masked by his blunt directness in speech and action. He likes it this way: being underestimated never hurt anyone's chances of winning.

He is a match for your ambition, but has a patience that will often clash with your youth: he sees strategy rather than tactics, and plans for the long road. You do not need to be Weyrleader now, after all, or even in ten years. His goal is that once you become Weyrleader – and it is once, not if, in his mind as well as yours – you will never stop. He is deliberate and gradual, and wants to ensure that your victories are never reversed: a win is a win for all time, or it is no win at all.

He is bitingly sarcastic, using it as a weapon of humiliation: embarrassment, to his mind, is the best weapon. You will often feel that burning of shame when he lashes out with razor-precise insults, accusing, dry: are you really that stupid? You will need to learn to refine your schemes more carefully to avoid the edge of his wit, and he will always be willing to help you in that, but woe betide you if you present as complete and perfected a plan with obvious weaknesses.

« That's an interesting solution, S'ton. It's creative. I would not have come up with it, I think. I may have misunderstood the objective we had, though. I thought we were trying to position ourselves well for wingsecond. Our goal was actually to get ourselves spectacularly killed and embarrass ourselves and our Weyr, then? »

A type of combative bantering will be commonplace in your relationship, and you will learn to give as good as you get: sometimes he will burn with that quiet shame, as well. Eventually, you will begin to shape this into a real working relationship, and one thing, at least, will stand you in good stead there: for all that he is willing to flay you in the privacy of your own mind, he will always be your staunchest ally when it comes to facing the world. It does not matter how idiotic he thinks your behavior is. If you choose to act, there Kyzhanth will be. Backing you up.

Tung struggled with his resolve, then blurted, "My troops. How are they?"
— Lois McMaster Bujold, The Warrior's Apprentice

Kyzhanth is a teacher and a mentor, regardless of what position you and he may win. He will always divide the world into three categories: superiors, equals, and subordinates. While his superiors will get his respect and a hungry eye on their backs, and his equals will get the merciless edge of his scorn and competition, his subordinates will get his absolute loyalty. Until and unless they betray him, he will be their captain and their protector.

No matter how bad his own situation is, he will not stop to deal with himself – or you – until he knows that your responsibilities are taken care of. You have a bone sticking out of your leg? Too bad. You're a big boy, and you can handle yourself while you both make sure your troops are all right. This does not mean he is unwilling to risk or even spend lives under his command – and you had better not be squeamish about that, either, or he will have Words for you – but he knows well the value of every one of those lives, and he will not disrespect them or neglect his duty to them.

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.
— Confucius

There are dragons who are naturals at various things: flying, walking, using their mind link, formations, flaming… Kyzhanth is not. Other than sarcasm, he does not have any natural talents. What he does have is a stubborn streak that brooks no surrender. If there is something he is required to do, then by Faranth, he will do it, no matter how much work it takes.

He has the intelligence to make this possible, but it will drive you out-of-your-head crazy at times, when you have something to do other than spend thirteen hours practicing a particular roll in the air. You may be tempted, sometimes, to make do with good enough. Suggesting that to Kyzhanth, however, is never a good idea.

"What are you, a walking reference library?" "No, but Commodore Tung is. He collects Wise Old Chinese Sayings, and makes me memorize 'em."
— Lois McMaster Bujold, Cetaganda

Kyzhanth is a quoter. For any situation, if he feels he is being insufficiently persuasive, he will borrow from others' litanies of words to bring to bear. Most frustrating about this, from your perspective, is that dragons have no memories, so he has to borrow yours.

« That was a good turn of phrase from the Weyrlingmaster. Remember it, S'ton. »

And then, in the middle of an argument, he will clip it out and fling it at you. He will be fascinated with the thoughts of all kinds of different people, sending you to the records rooms to read up on philosophy, centuries-old formations, or ancient leadership tomes. He will even be intrigued by music and poetry, liking the way the words are shaped and fitted together.

« You can't always get what you want, S'ton. But if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need. »


"Kissing is like drinking salted water: you drink and your thirst increases"
— Chinese Proverb

Kyzhanth is not the kind of dragon swayed by a pretty tail of a flash of a wing. He prefers to stay a bit apart, and likes comrades more than conquests. When he does decide, however, that that girl is the one for him, be prepared for an all-out, no-holds-barred campaign.

Your bronze, you see, does not know how (or when) to quit. Once he has the idea of a green or gold in his head, that dragon is his, and he will home in with a possessive viciousness. Kyzhanth will be the dragon that, in the air, "accidentally" buffets his rival aside with one slam of a massive shoulder. He will call on you to see that his rivals are away from the weyr by any means necessary. All is fair in love and war.

If he wins the flight, he will settle down, but there is a part of him that will always view the dragon he caught as his, and he will make a special effort to chase again, to bring special gifts to her. He is no monogamist, but he wishes the girls would be: he cannot understand why they would ever turn to another after him.

If he loses, he will try to brush it off, but expect a day or two of irritability and impatience. He will press you toward other ambitious projects, as a balm for his wounded pride. Everything in those days will need to be perfect, and he will start reciting your weyrlingmaster's instructions at you in acerb tones every time you fail to live up to his impossible standards.

In the end, of course, Kyzhanth is all yours, to make of what you like. We have provided a base, but every good character is dynamic: you learn about them as you play them. We have no doubt that in your hands, Kyzhanth will evolve into something more complex than we have done here. We hope you enjoy the process!


Name: Chey
Egg Desc: Tye
Dragonet Desc: T'ii; Chey tweak
Messages: Chey, T'ii
Puppeteer: T'ii, Chey
Inspiration:Chey, T'ii, Jesha

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