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Doratheexplorer and green Loquiath

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Dora – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Dora was born the daughter of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at 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 with no dragonrider blood, Dora looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing she might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that she would!

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

Dora 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 Dora 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 Dora some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Dora 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, Dora 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!

Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Dora to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!

A rising problem

Dora 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. Dora'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 Dora 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 Dora 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 Dora 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 – Dora did!

A blue lady

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

Friend request

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

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Dora didn't have to wait at all for her date with destiny. The spotted green and cream egg that Hatched first produced a vivid sea-green hatchling who spared no time in choosing Dora, naming herself Loquiath.

A friend in me

And Dora 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 – Dora'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 – Dora 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

"Loquiath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Dora 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 Loquiath's first meal. That was Dora's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Loquiath and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Loquiath's personality started to become evident. The sea-green dragonet – ambiguously coloured at first glance, but unequivocally female when asked – proved to have a particularly playful and fun-loving outlook on life.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Dora 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 to ask after their names. Dora was proud to introduce Loquiath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Doratheexplorer, rider of green Loquiath!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Loquiath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Doratheexplorer 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

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

Doratheexplorer's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Doratheexplorer's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Doratheexplorer was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Doratheexplorer and Loquiath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Doratheexplorer, 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, Doratheexplorer 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 Doratheexplorer's background with her – including much of what she had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with her new name, too. She offered Doratheexplorer 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 Loquiath.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks , Doratheexplorer 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 Doratheexplorer 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, Doratheexplorer decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.

Returning at last to Loquiath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Doratheexplorer 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 – Doratheexplorer was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known Doratheexplorer's new name?

Doratheexplorer and Loquiath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Doratheexplorer'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:
APOSTROPHE NOPE

I (don't) love the smell of elision in the morning!

Achievement Unlocked:
DEED POLL

I changed my name by choice!

Achievement Unlocked:
COMPUTER SAYS NO

I changed my name from something unacceptable!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Loquiath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Loquiath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Loquiath and I disagreed on something quite important!