Tr'ly and blue Keith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Trily – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Trily 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, Trily didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Trily 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, Trily's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Trily with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Trily 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 Trily! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Trily's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Trily 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 Trily 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, Trily 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 Trily to find it. The quest took Trily 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.
Disrespecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Trily encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. But they got off to a poor start – Trily had unwittingly taken a redfruit without permission – and furthermore lied about it when challenged by the old bronze rider. The scrumping alone might not have turned R'hren against Trily – but the literal red-handed lie did!
Trily 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 Trily 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 Trily some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Trily 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, Trily 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!
Sadly, though, Fr'ton's garbled instructions proved too convoluted for even Trily to follow, and the drinks order went rather wrong!
A rising problem
Trily 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. Trily's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Trily with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Trily 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 Trily 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 – Trily did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Trily trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Trily 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, Trily 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 Trily hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Trily'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, Trily 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 Trily didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Trily 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 Trily might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Trily 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, Trily visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Trily ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
Wherry bad behaviour
Trily'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. Trily chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Trily remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!
Disaster almost struck during the Hatching when Trily – following some dubious advice about attempting to force a dragonet to choose her – put her self in the path of a less than receptive green hatchling. The green, clearly objecting to being crowded, lashed out at Trily – slicing her arm. Luckily for Trily, the mauling wasn't a fatal one – though it could have been, as an irate L'stev told her when patching up the injury on the spot. Even more luckily, the incident didn't deter another dragonet – the blue who Hatched from the pearl-green – from choosing Trily and naming himself Keith!
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Auciet didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Trily's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that she had probably got herself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Trily supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Auciet, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Keith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Trily 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 Keith's first meal. That was Trily's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Keith and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Keith's personality started to become evident. The big midnight-blue dragonet showed an immediate desire to show off and preen – not surprising given his handsome colour and conformation!
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 Trily made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Trily had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Trily at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Trily 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 Trily's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Trily would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Trily took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Keith, Trily gave the Weyrleader her new name – Tr'ly, rider of blue Keith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Keith's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Tr'ly 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
Tr'ly and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Tr'ly had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Tr'ly'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 Tr'ly and Keith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Tr'ly, 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, Tr'ly 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 Tr'ly'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 Tr'ly 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 Keith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Tr'ly 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 Tr'ly 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, Tr'ly decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Keith – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Tr'ly 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 – Tr'ly 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?
Tr'ly and Keith'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
Keith and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Keith and I agreed on something very important!
Keith and I disagreed on something quite important!