Karen and green Geocalth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Windy – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Windy was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Windy 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, Windy 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 Windy 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, Windy left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Windy 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 Windy! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Windy's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Windy 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 Windy left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Windy'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, Windy 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 Windy to find it. Despite Windy'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, Windy encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Windy to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Windy 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, Windy offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Windy encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Windy – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Windy 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, Windy 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
Windy 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. Windy'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. Even if Windy did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Windy 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 Windy to find for his warming salve.
Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Windy 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 Windy 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 – Windy did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Windy trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Windy gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Windy encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Windy hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Windy's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Windy 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 Windy didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Windy approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Windy went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Windy 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!
Wherry bad behaviour
Windy's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with her. L'stev collared her in the Bowl and gave her an ultimatum – buck up her ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Windy chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Windy remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!
A curious development
Early in the day, Windy 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 glowbaskets, she crawled into a confusing maze of passages.
Windy never made it to the Hatching ground – instead, encountering an unusually intelligent feline in the tunnels. Following it deeper into the ventilation shafts, Windy came across the most unexpected discovery – a hidden room, full of a very peculiar selection of individuals. But she had barely taken stock of her situation before Vanzanth, the Weyrlingmaster's brown, forced his way into the room – ordering Windy out, and commanding her never to speak of the encounter again!
When it came to the Hatching, Windy didn't have to wait too long for her date with destiny. The elongated spotted egg Hatched out a pale mint-green dragonet who told Windy her name was Geocalth.
But Geocalth was nearly beaten to Windy by another dragonet – a big emerald-green hatchling who seemed torn between Windy and Jopha. Sensing that she wasn't the best match for her, Windy stepped aside to give Jopha precedence – resulting in her Impression of the green dragonet, Deimoth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Quite simply, none of the dragonets seemed to want Thippia – she was left standing. Although Windy did wonder if her own pale mint-green Geocalth might have glanced, however briefly, in Thippia's direction, and what might have been had she not chosen her...
After the Hatching
"Geocalth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Windy 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 Geocalth's first meal. That was Windy's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Geocalth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Geocalth'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 Windy 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. Windy was proud to introduce Geocalth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Karen, rider of green Geocalth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Geocalth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Karen 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
Karen and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Karen 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, Karen's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Geocalth – 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 Karen, 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, Karen 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 Karen'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 Karen 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 Geocalth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Karen 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 Karen 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, Karen decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.
Returning at last to Geocalth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Karen 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 – Karen 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 Karen's new name?
Karen and Geocalth'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!
I (don't) love the smell of elision in the morning!
I changed my name by choice!
ONE STEVE LIMIT
I avoided duplicating a Dragonchoice character's name!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Geocalth and I complement each other!
INSULT TO INJURY
I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Geocalth and I agreed on something very important!
Geocalth and I disagreed on something quite important!