Tala and green Alamanath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Tala – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Tala was born the daughter of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of 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. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Tala wrestled with the fear that she wouldn't live up to her rider parents' expectations a second time.
As a candidate, Tala 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 Tala! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Tala's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Tala 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 Tala 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, Tala 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 Tala to find it. Despite Tala'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, Tala encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Tala to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Tala 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, Tala offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Tala encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Tala – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Tala 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 Tala 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 Tala some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Tala 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, Tala 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, Tala 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. Tala 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 Tala a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Tala 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. Tala'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 Tala 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 Tala to find for his warming salve.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Tala 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 Tala didn't want to pass up.
A breath of foul air
Early in the day, Tala 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. The route she chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Tala soon found herself struggling for breath.
Undeterred, Tala pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But she wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Tala from the Sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Tala had an excruciatingly long wait before the spotted green and cream egg Hatched to reveal the vivid sea-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Alamanath.
A friend bereft
But to Tala's dismay, Erilde 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 Auciet?
Auciet's victimisation of Tala had serious consequences – for Auciet. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Tala did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Auciet, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Auciet from the candidate pool!
After the Hatching
"Alamanath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tala 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 Alamanath's first meal. That was the first moment Tala had truly grasped that Erilde wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Erilde's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Alamanath'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.
Another friend Tala made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Tala had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Tala at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Tala 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 to ask after their names. Tala was proud to introduce Alamanath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Tala, rider of green Alamanath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Alamanath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Tala 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
Tala and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Tala had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their daughter as a green rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Tala and Alamanath, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his daughter by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Tala, 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, Tala 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 Tala'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 Tala 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 Alamanath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Tala 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 Tala 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, Tala decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Alamanath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Tala 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 – Tala 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?
Tala and Alamanath'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
Alamanath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Alamanath and I agreed on something very important!
Alamanath and I disagreed on something quite important!
Alamanath and Naisseth made friends!