Khestry and blue Achatoth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Khestry – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Khestry was born the daughter of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of Madellon Weyr. While she didn't have to be Searched, she was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. As a first-time candidate, Khestry looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – half convinced that she would be meeting her own dragon at last; half terrified of failing to meet the standards expected of a Wingleader's daughter!
As a candidate, Khestry was assigned a bunkmate – Jopha, a mischievous young Weyrbred girl prone to getting herself into trouble, who would soon become her closest friend in the Weyr. She also got to know many of her fellow candidates, including the Weyrbred twins Leover and Leoguy; Zielaph, the nephew of a Madellon bronze rider; and Arina, a level-headed young woman from Jessaf who'd stood at the previous Hatching.
But she also made an enemy – Thippia, a foul-mouthed girl from the Seacraft – who took a firm disliking to Khestry! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Khestry's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Khestry on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Thippia, the pair joined the rest of the candidates for a morning lecture. The Weyrlingmaster, L'stev, gave the whole cohort – increased by three late Searchees to a total of thirty-five – strict instructions about pre-Hatching preparations, including eating, drinking, bathing – and in some cases, getting a decent haircut – and then turned the group loose for the morning. Before Khestry left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Khestry's help in getting it adjusted by her nemesis Shookana in the mending room.
The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Khestry was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with one arm, a fire-lizard queen – and a problem. His queen, Squiffy, had stolen several pieces of the Weyrwoman's jewellery, and hidden it around the Weyr. M'shen recruited Khestry to find it. The quest took Khestry all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end she succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Khestry encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Khestry to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Khestry duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Gifted a small pot of the salve, Khestry offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Khestry encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Khestry – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Khestry met G'kalte – a brown rider and Wingsecond, not to mention Weyrwoman Valonna's weyrmate – in the Bowl, and was quickly recruited by him to help with a diplomatic matter. G'kalte had been tasked with delivering two gifts from Valonna to her Southern counterpart Weyrwoman Karika – but he'd been summoned away to collect his own grandmother, Lady Coffleby, for the Hatching.
He asked Khestry to figure out which of the seven Southern dragons visiting Madellon were the correct pair to hand over Karika's gifts. And while G'kalte's brown, Archidath, offered Khestry some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Khestry unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Khestry met her fellow candidate Zielaph, who'd been tasked by his somewhat dim uncle, bronze rider Fr'ton, with delivering a complicated drinks order to a group of Master Crafters. Zielaph had information about their names, beverages, crafts, and fire-lizards – but not in any sensible order!
Luckily for him, Khestry solved the puzzle of Fr'ton's confusing notes adeptly, delivering the correct drinks to the correct Masters, and earning a handsome tip in the process. Khestry even shared the largesse with Zielaph, who then introduced her to Fr'ton – who, having Impressed a bronze in spite of his less than boundless promise, gave Khestry a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Khestry encountered both Soleigh, whose green Bristath was preparing to rise near the lake, and her weyrmate Maris, who was getting very drunk in the dining hall on account of her fears that Soleigh was having an affair with a blue rider, G'tron. Khestry's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight – not to mention G'pellas, another blue rider, needed in the Harper ensemble – and reconciled the two green riders. Even if Khestry did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Khestry with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, and earned her a selection of goodies warm from the oven.. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Khestry to find for his warming salve.
Khestry certainly indulged her sweet tooth before the Hatching – laying claim to not one, not two, but three different types of bubbly pie .
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Khestry expressed an interested in looking up some Weyr records, Tarshe offered her the loan of a glowbasket – on the proviso that she return it afterwards. Which – mindful of not offending such an important personage of the Weyr – Khestry did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Khestry offered her assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted. Getting some first-hand advice about what it took for T'gala to Impress a blue dragon was an opportunity Khestry didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Khestry approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Khestry went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Khestry doubted if Shookana and Jopha will ever be friends, the restoration of her Hatching robe to a suitable length did a great deal for her self-confidence!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Khestry visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Khestry ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Khestry found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow her a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, she crawled into a confusing maze of passages.
By a stroke of ill luck, Khestry strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Khestry was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Having survived her encounter with the snake, Khestry crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the gleaming blue egg made her feel strangely certain that she would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Khestry had an excruciatingly long wait before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Achatoth.
A friend in me
And Khestry wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Thippia didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Khestry's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that she had probably got herself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Khestry supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Thippia, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Achatoth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Khestry on her Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Achatoth's first meal. That was Khestry's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Achatoth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Achatoth's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Khestry made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Khestry had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Khestry at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Khestry and Jopha wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both girls' dragonets – and in particular to remark upon Khestry's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Khestry would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Khestry elected not to elide her name – content to remain Khestry, rider of blue Achatoth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Achatoth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Khestry and Jopha headed into the girls' barracks to claim the billets that would be theirs for the next Turn. Choosing adjacent cots, the two new weyrlings got their dragonets settled on the couches that they would take months to grow into. But there was no time for them to sit and admire their new dragons. The Weyrlingmaster soon came along to give them their new weyrling shoulder-knots, before chivvying them off to the Hatching feast!
The Hatching feast
Khestry and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Khestry had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their daughter as a blue rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Khestry and Achatoth, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his daughter by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Khestry, and it came as a relief when the Weyrlingmaster ordered all the new weyrlings back to the barracks for a good night's sleep. But en route to bed, Khestry was flagged down by a Weyrbrat, Emry, bringing the message that Weyrwoman Second Tarshe wanted to see her in the Archives.
Setting the record straight
Tarshe, tasked by the Weyrwoman with converting candidate documentation into weyrling records, went through Khestry's background with her – including much of what she had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She offered Khestry some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, and made some observations on Achatoth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Khestry had two peculiar encounters – first, with Tarshe's queen, Berzunth, who seemed quite agitated by one of the visiting dragons on the Rim; and then with a mysterious hooded figure, smelling strongly of what Khestry would later realise was firestone, who called her by name – and gave her a curious wooden box.
"The Watchful Queen" by Chris S. Baily
Back at the barracks, Khestry decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Achatoth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Khestry was too tired to examine the strange wooden box very closely, and put it in her clothes' chest for later examination. But even as she went to sleep – a dragonrider at last, her blue beside her – Khestry was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? And what was the significance of the strange wooden box?
Khestry and Achatoth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
A HORSE WITH A NAME
I have a name and it's a good name and I don't need to fix my name. Probably.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Achatoth and I complement each other!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Achatoth by touching his egg before the Hatching!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Achatoth and I agreed on something very important!
Achatoth and I agreed on something quite important!