Serafin and green Martalinth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Serafin – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Serafin was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Serafin 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, Serafin 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 Serafin becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Serafin's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Serafin had her majority, she had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Serafin left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Serafin was assigned a bunkmate – Erilde, a quiet young woman from the Lower Caverns fearing a second unsuccessful Hatching, 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 – Auciet, a snobby and superior Holdbred girl – who took a firm disliking to Serafin! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Serafin's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Serafin on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Auciet, 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 Serafin left, Erilde asked her to make enquiries about any dragonrider heritage she herself might possess, to give her confidence a boost before the Hatching.
The one-armed green rider
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Serafin was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Serafin never discovered, after making a mean-spirited joke about M'shen's missing hand that – not unreasonably – made the green rider take against her.
Respecting her elders
In the infirmary, Serafin encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Serafin to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Serafin rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Serafin 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, Serafin 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.
A rising problem
Serafin 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. Serafin's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Serafin with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Serafin 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. But with one thing and another, Serafin didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
At the lake, T'gala – the only female blue rider on Pern – asked for Serafin's help in bathing her big Southern blue, Heppeth. Serafin, reluctant to get wet, refused – earning T'gala's dislike, and a blot on her reputation!
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Serafin visited the Weyr's Archives and sought advice from Weyrwoman Tarshe, the Weyrwoman Second. While Tarshe could find no evidence that Erilde's father had been a dragonrider, she suggested Serafin might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Serafin delved into Madellon's records and unearthed a brown rider, B'get, deceased some Turns ago, but of the right age to have fathered her friend. Bringing this plausible white lie to Erilde may have been a tad devious – but it had the desired effect on her belief that she could, in fact, possess the ability to Impress a dragon!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Serafin 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, Serafin strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Serafin 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, Serafin crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!
When it came to the Hatching, Serafin had to wait a little while before the elongated spotted egg Hatched to reveal the pale mint-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Martalinth.
A friend in me
And Serafin wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Erilde also Impressed, becoming the rider of an inquisitive teal-green hatchling, Shaldeth.
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Auciet Impressed an unusually aggressive grass-green hatchling, making them Serafin and Martalinth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Martalinth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Serafin 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 Martalinth's first meal. That was Serafin's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Martalinth and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Martalinth's personality started to become evident. The pale green dragonet had absolutely no hesitation about making her voice – her very loud and strident voice – heard, indicating what a forceful and demanding character she would become.
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 Serafin and Erilde wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both girls' dragonets and to ask after their names. Serafin was proud to introduce Martalinth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Serafin, rider of green Martalinth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Martalinth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Serafin and Erilde 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
Serafin and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Serafin 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, Serafin's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Martalinth – suggesting that she should have waited for a chance at a queen. The Weyrleaders were swift to insist that Impressing any dragon was a great achievement!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Serafin, 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, Serafin 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 Serafin'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 Serafin 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 Martalinth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Serafin 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 Serafin 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, Serafin decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Martalinth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Serafin 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 green beside her – Serafin 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?
Serafin and Martalinth'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
Martalinth and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Martalinth and I agreed on something very important!
Martalinth and I disagreed on something quite important!