Tarelhen and green Limeath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Tarelhen – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Tarelhen was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Tarelhen's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Tarelhen had her majority, she had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Tarelhen left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Tarelhen's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen to find it. Despite Tarelhen'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, Tarelhen encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Tarelhen to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Tarelhen duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen 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
Tarelhen 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. Tarelhen'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 kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Tarelhen to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately she asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Tarelhen 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 – Tarelhen did!
A breath of foul air
Early in the day, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen soon found herself struggling for breath.
Undeterred, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen from the Sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Tarelhen had to wait a little while before the elongated spotted egg Hatched to reveal the pale mint-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Limeath.
A friend bereft
But to Tarelhen'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?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Auciet Impressed an unusually aggressive grass-green hatchling, making them Tarelhen and Limeath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Limeath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tarelhen 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 Limeath's first meal. That was the first moment Tarelhen 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 Limeath'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 Tarelhen 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. Tarelhen was proud to introduce Limeath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Tarelhen, rider of green Limeath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Limeath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Tarelhen 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
Tarelhen and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Limeath – 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 Tarelhen, 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, Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen'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 Tarelhen some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised her to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get her injuries checked again, and made some observations on Limeath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Tarelhen 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 Tarelhen 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, Tarelhen decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Limeath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Tarelhen 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 – Tarelhen 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?
Tarelhen and Limeath'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
Limeath and I make a very strong match!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Limeath and I agreed on something very important!
Limeath and I agreed on something quite important!