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S'thia and blue Liwanuth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Synthia – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Synthia was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Synthia didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, Synthia was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about Synthia becoming a candidate – while conceding that he could spare a younger grandchild. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Synthia left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

As a candidate, Synthia 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 Synthia! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Synthia's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Synthia 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 Synthia left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Synthia'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, Synthia 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 Synthia to find it. Despite Synthia's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting her elders

In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Synthia encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Synthia to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Synthia 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, Synthia offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Synthia encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Synthia – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Synthia 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 Synthia 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 Synthia some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Synthia 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, Synthia 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, Synthia 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. Synthia 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 Synthia a certain confidence in her own prospects!

A rising problem

Synthia 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. And while Synthia did manage to get G'tron excluded from the flight – not to mention another blue rider, G'pellas, who was needed in the Harper ensemble – she still ultimately failed to reconcile the star-crossed green riding lovers!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Synthia with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Synthia to find for his warming salve.

Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Synthia took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Synthia 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 – Synthia did!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Synthia 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 Synthia didn't want to pass up.

Friend request

Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Synthia approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Synthia went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Synthia 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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Synthia visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But she fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at her expense!

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Synthia 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, Synthia strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Synthia was bitten – badly – and immediately felt the effects of the snake's paralysing venom. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

But the snake's venom had done its work, and Synthia collapsed trying to reach the eggs, waking up in the infirmary.

The Hatching

But when it came to the Hatching, Synthia had a less than ordinary experience. While trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground for a surreptitious look at the eggs, she disturbed an immense, highly venomous tunnel-snake. She survived the encounter, but not without a cost – she was bitten. Seeking immediate aid from the Weyr Healer, Isnan, saved her life – but got her invalided out of the Hatching and confined to the infirmary. But an earlier conversation with a veteran blue rider, S'rius, gave Synthia the notion that she might still be able to Impress – if she could just reach the Sands in time. She staggered from her sickbed, across the Weyr, and onto the Sands – just in time to Impress the very last dragonet, a blue who named himself Liwanuth.

Whatever happened to Thippia?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Synthia and Liwanuth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Liwanuth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Synthia on her Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's granddaughter had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Liwanuth's first meal. That was Synthia's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Liwanuth and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Liwanuth'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.

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Synthia 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 Synthia's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Synthia would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Synthia took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Liwanuth, Synthia gave the Weyrleader her new name – S'thia, rider of blue Liwanuth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Liwanuth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, S'thia 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

S'thia and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'thia had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.

Lord Winstone, S'thia's grandfather, was outraged by his granddaughter's highly irregular Impression of a blue dragon – calling her aberrant. The Weyrleaders were quick to take S'thia's part, but the damage to her relationship with her grandfather was done.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'thia, 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, S'thia 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 S'thia'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 S'thia some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised her to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get her injuries checked again, and made some observations on Liwanuth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), S'thia 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 S'thia 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, S'thia decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Liwanuth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – S'thia 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 – S'thia 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?

Find out more about Synthia's Impression here. S'thia and Liwanuth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'thia's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
OPPOSITES ATTRACT

I make quite a strange match with Liwanuth!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Liwanuth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Liwanuth and I agreed on something quite important!