Meredith and green Racobath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Meredith – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Meredith 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, Meredith didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Meredith 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, Meredith 's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Meredith with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Meredith 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 Meredith ! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Meredith 's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Meredith 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 Meredith 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, Meredith 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 Meredith to find it. Despite Meredith '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, Meredith encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Meredith to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Meredith 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, Meredith offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Meredith encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Meredith – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Meredith 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 Meredith 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 Meredith some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Meredith unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Meredith 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 Meredith to find for his warming salve.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Meredith trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Meredith gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Meredith was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Meredith was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Meredith visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But she fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at her expense!
When it came to the Hatching, Meredith had an excruciatingly long wait before the rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched to reveal the vivid grassy-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Racobath.
A friend bereft
But to Meredith '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?
Quite simply, none of the dragonets seemed to want Auciet – she was left standing. Although Meredith did wonder if her own vivid grassy-green Racobath might have glanced, however briefly, in Auciet's direction, and what might have been had she not chosen her...
After the Hatching
"Racobath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Meredith 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 Racobath's first meal. That was the first moment Meredith 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 Racobath's personality started to become evident. The little grass-green dragonet, small for her colour, made up for her size with a fierce, aggressive personality – and very evident teeth!
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 Meredith made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Meredith had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Meredith at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Meredith 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. Meredith was proud to introduce Racobath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Meredith, rider of green Racobath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Racobath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Meredith 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
Meredith and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Meredith had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Meredith'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 Meredith and Racobath.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Meredith, 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, Meredith 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 Meredith'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 Meredith 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 Racobath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Meredith 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 Meredith 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, Meredith decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Racobath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Meredith 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 – Meredith 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?
Meredith and Racobath'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
Racobath and I complement each other!
INSULT TO INJURY
I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Racobath and I agreed on something very important!
Racobath and I agreed on something quite important!