Gwynda and blue Smadouth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Gwynda – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Gwynda 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. As a first-time candidate, Gwynda looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – half convinced that she would be meeting her own dragon at last; half terrified of failing to meet the standards expected of a Wingleader's daughter!
As a candidate, Gwynda 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 Gwynda! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Gwynda's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Gwynda 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 Gwynda left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Gwynda'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, Gwynda 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 Gwynda to find it. Despite Gwynda's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting her elders
In the infirmary, Gwynda encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Gwynda to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Gwynda rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Gwynda 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 Gwynda 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 Gwynda some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Gwynda 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, Gwynda 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, Gwynda 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. Gwynda 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 Gwynda a certain confidence in her own prospects!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Gwynda with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, albeit cut short, literally, by the slip of a knife that sent Gwynda to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Gwynda trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Gwynda 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, Gwynda was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Gwynda was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Gwynda approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Gwynda went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Gwynda 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!
When it came to the Hatching, Gwynda had an excruciatingly long wait before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Smadouth.
A friend in me
And Gwynda 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 Gwynda and Smadouth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Smadouth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Gwynda 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 Smadouth's first meal. That was Gwynda's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Smadouth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Smadouth's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.
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 Gwynda made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Gwynda had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Gwynda at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Gwynda 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 in particular to remark upon Gwynda's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Gwynda would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Gwynda elected not to elide her name – content to remain Gwynda, rider of blue Smadouth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Smadouth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Gwynda 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
Gwynda and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Gwynda 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 blue rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Gwynda and Smadouth, 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 Gwynda, 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, Gwynda 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 Gwynda'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 Gwynda 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 Smadouth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Gwynda 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 Gwynda 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, Gwynda decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Smadouth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Gwynda 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 – Gwynda 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?
Gwynda and Smadouth'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.
I make quite a strange match with Smadouth!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Smadouth and I agreed on something very important!
Smadouth and I agreed on something quite important!