D'nika and blue Noath
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Diannika – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Diannika was born the daughter of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, she was apprenticed to the Craft when she came of age. But she never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for her. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Diannika caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Diannika arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Diannika 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 Diannika! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Diannika's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Diannika 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 Diannika left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Diannika'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, Diannika 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 Diannika to find it. Despite Diannika's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Diannika trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Diannika 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, Diannika 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 Diannika didn't want to pass up.
When it came to the Hatching, Diannika had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue hatchling who would choose her, naming himself Noath.
A friend bereft
But to Diannika's dismay, Jopha wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in her, and she was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Diannika and Noath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Noath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Diannika on her Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Noath's first meal. That was the first moment Diannika had truly grasped that Jopha wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Jopha's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Noath'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 Diannika made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Diannika had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Diannika at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Diannika and Arina 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 Diannika's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Diannika would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Diannika took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Noath, Diannika gave the Weyrleader her new name – D'nika, rider of blue Noath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Noath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, D'nika and Arina 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
D'nika and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk D'nika had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
D'nika's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider - even though it meant she would be leaving the Harpercraft for good. And they were even more delighted to drink to D'nika and Noath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for D'nika, 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, D'nika 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 D'nika'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 D'nika 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 Noath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , D'nika 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 D'nika 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, D'nika decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Noath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – D'nika 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 – D'nika 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?
D'nika and Noath'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Noath and I make a very strong match!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Noath and I agreed on something very important!
Noath and I agreed on something quite important!