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Erekoli and blue Etomjeth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Erekoli – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Erekoli was born the daughter of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, she was apprenticed to the Craft when she came of age. But she never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for her. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Erekoli caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Erekoli arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Erekoli 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 Erekoli! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Erekoli's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Erekoli 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 Erekoli 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, Erekoli 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 Erekoli to find it. The quest took Erekoli 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, Erekoli encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Erekoli to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Erekoli 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, Erekoli offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Erekoli encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Erekoli – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Erekoli 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 Erekoli 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 Erekoli some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Erekoli 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, Erekoli 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, Erekoli 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

Erekoli 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. Erekoli'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 Erekoli did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!

A Harper born

Erekoli's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked her to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Erekoli's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Erekoli 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 Erekoli 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 Erekoli 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 – Erekoli did!

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Erekoli trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Erekoli 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, Erekoli 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 Erekoli didn't want to pass up.

Friend request

Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Erekoli 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 Erekoli might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Erekoli 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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Erekoli visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Erekoli ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.

A Weyrleader's mercy

Early in the day, Erekoli 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. By chance, she found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Erekoli safely to ground level.

Realising that honesty was the best policy, Erekoli apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Erekoli the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. She touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality. And something about the green-clouded blue egg made her feel strangely certain that she would Impress later that day.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Erekoli had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Etomjeth.

A friend in me

And Erekoli wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Erilde also Impressed, becoming the rider of an inquisitive teal-green hatchling, Shaldeth.

Whatever happened to Auciet?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Auciet Impressed an unusually aggressive grass-green hatchling, making them Erekoli and Etomjeth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Etomjeth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Erekoli on her Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Etomjeth's first meal. That was Erekoli's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Etomjeth and Shaldeth.

It wasn't long before Etomjeth's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big sister

Another friend Erekoli made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Erekoli had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Erekoli at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Erekoli 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 Erekoli's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Erekoli would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Erekoli elected not to elide her name – content to remain Erekoli, rider of blue Etomjeth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Etomjeth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Erekoli 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

Erekoli and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Erekoli had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.

Erekoli's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider and happier still to learn that Erekoli had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to Erekoli and Etomjeth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Erekoli, 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, Erekoli 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 Erekoli'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 Erekoli 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 Etomjeth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks , Erekoli 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 Erekoli 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, Erekoli decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Etomjeth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a very large green dragonet – Erekoli 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 – Erekoli 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?

Find out more about Erekoli's Impression here. Erekoli and Etomjeth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Erekoli's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Etomjeth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

I pre-Impressed Etomjeth by touching his egg before the Hatching!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Etomjeth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Etomjeth and I agreed on something quite important!