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T'quine and blue Cadetiath

The Road So Far!

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

Tarquine was born the daughter of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside her widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up her young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Tarquine didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Tarquine that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. She almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon her father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Tarquine's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Tarquine with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Tarquine 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 Tarquine left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Tarquine'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, Tarquine 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 Tarquine to find it. The quest took Tarquine 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, Tarquine encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Tarquine to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Tarquine 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, Tarquine offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Tarquine encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Tarquine – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Tarquine 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. Tarquine'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Tarquine 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 Tarquine to find for his warming salve.

Eggs and baskets

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

A blue lady

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

Friend request

Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Tarquine approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Tarquine went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Tarquine 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, Tarquine visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Tarquine ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Tarquine 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, Tarquine strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Tarquine 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, Tarquine crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Tarquine had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Cadetiath.

A friend in me

And Tarquine 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 – Tarquine'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 – Tarquine 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

"Cadetiath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tarquine on her Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Cadetiath's first meal. That was Tarquine's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Cadetiath and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Cadetiath's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big sister

Another friend Tarquine made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Tarquine had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Tarquine at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Cadetiath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, T'quine 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

T'quine and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk T'quine had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.

T'quine's father almost couldn't believe his daughter's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to T'quine and Cadetiath.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for T'quine, 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, T'quine 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 T'quine'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 T'quine 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 Cadetiath.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks , T'quine 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 T'quine 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, T'quine decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Cadetiath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – T'quine 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 – T'quine 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?

T'quine and Cadetiath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

T'quine'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:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Cadetiath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Cadetiath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Cadetiath and I agreed on something quite important!