Maretta and green Halopth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Maretta – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Maretta was born the daughter of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at 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. As a first-time candidate with no dragonrider blood, Maretta looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing she might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that she would!
As a candidate, Maretta 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 Maretta! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Maretta's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Maretta 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 Maretta left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Maretta'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, Maretta 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 Maretta to find it. The quest took Maretta 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.
Respecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Maretta encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Maretta to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Maretta 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, Maretta offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Maretta encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Maretta – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Maretta 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 Maretta 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 Maretta some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Maretta 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, Maretta 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, Maretta 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. Maretta 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 Maretta a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Maretta 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. Maretta'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. Even if Maretta did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Maretta 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 Maretta to find for his warming salve.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Maretta 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 – Maretta did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Maretta trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Maretta 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, Maretta 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 Maretta didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Maretta approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Maretta went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Maretta doubted if Shookana and Jopha will ever be friends, the restoration of her Hatching robe to a suitable length did a great deal for her self-confidence!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Maretta visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Maretta ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Maretta didn't have to wait at all for her date with destiny. The long pale grey egg that Hatched first produced a light cloudy-green hatchling who spared no time in choosing Maretta, naming herself Halopth.
A friend in me
And Maretta wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Maretta and Halopth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Halopth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Maretta 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 Halopth's first meal. That was Maretta's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Halopth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Halopth's personality started to become evident. The cloudy-green dragonet, being a very forthright and direct character, spared no time in making it clear that she wouldn't take any nonsense from anyone – her new rider included!
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 Maretta made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Maretta had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Maretta at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Maretta and Jopha 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. Maretta was proud to introduce Halopth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Maretta, rider of green Halopth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Halopth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Maretta and Jopha 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
Maretta and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Maretta had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Maretta's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Maretta's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Maretta was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Maretta and Halopth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Maretta, 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, Maretta 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 Maretta'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 Maretta 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 Halopth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Maretta 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 Maretta 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, Maretta decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Halopth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Maretta 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 – Maretta 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?
Maretta and Halopth'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
Halopth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Halopth and I agreed on something very important!
Halopth and I agreed on something quite important!