Login | Register

Donna and blue Turbalth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Donna – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Donna 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, Donna 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, Donna 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 Donna! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Donna's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

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

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Donna 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 Donna to the infirmary with a slice to be stitched up. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Donna to find for his warming salve.

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Donna trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Donna 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, Donna was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Donna was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Donna had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue hatchling who would choose her, naming himself Turbalth.

A friend bereft

But to Donna's dismay, Jopha 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 Thippia?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Donna and Turbalth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Turbalth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Donna 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 Turbalth's first meal. That was the first moment Donna had truly grasped that Jopha wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Jopha's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Turbalth'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 Donna made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Donna had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Donna at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Turbalth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Donna 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

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

Donna's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Donna's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Donna was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Donna and Turbalth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Donna, 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, Donna 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 Donna'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 Donna 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 Turbalth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Donna 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 Donna 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, Donna decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Turbalth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Donna 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 – Donna 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?

Donna and Turbalth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Donna'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

Turbalth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Turbalth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Turbalth and I agreed on something quite important!