Safi and blue Colchith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Farasafi – a young woman of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Farasafi 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, Farasafi didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Farasafi 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, Farasafi's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Farasafi with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Farasafi 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 Farasafi! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Farasafi's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Farasafi 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 Farasafi 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 and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Farasafi 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 Farasafi to find it. The quest took Farasafi 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, Farasafi encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Farasafi to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Farasafi 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, Farasafi offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Farasafi encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Farasafi – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Farasafi 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 Farasafi 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 Farasafi some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Farasafi 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, Farasafi 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, Farasafi 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. Farasafi 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 Farasafi a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Farasafi 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. Farasafi'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Farasafi 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 Farasafi 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 Farasafi 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 – Farasafi did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Farasafi trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Farasafi gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Farasafi 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 Farasafi didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Farasafi 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 Farasafi might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Farasafi 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Farasafi visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Farasafi ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
A Weyrleader's mercy
Early in the day, Farasafi 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 chance, she found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Farasafi safely to ground level.
Realising that honesty was the best policy, Farasafi apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Farasafi the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. She touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality.
When it came to the Hatching, Farasafi 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 Colchith.
A friend in me
And Farasafi 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 Farasafi and Colchith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Colchith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Farasafi 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 Colchith's first meal. That was Farasafi's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Colchith and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Colchith'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.
Another friend Farasafi made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Farasafi had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Farasafi at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Farasafi 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 in particular to remark upon Farasafi's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Farasafi would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Farasafi elected not to elide her name – content to remain Safi, rider of blue Colchith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Colchith's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Safi 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
Safi and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Safi had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Safi'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 Safi and Colchith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Safi, 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, Safi 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 Safi'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 Safi 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 Colchith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Safi 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 Safi 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, Safi decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Colchith – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a very large green dragonet – Safi 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 – Safi 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 Farasafi's Impression here. Safi and Colchith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Farasafi's Impression here. Safi and Colchith'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
Colchith and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Colchith and I agreed on something very important!
Colchith and I agreed on something quite important!