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Willa and green Clausith

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Willa – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Willa was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Willa didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, Willa was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about Willa becoming a candidate – while conceding that he could spare a younger grandchild. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Willa left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Willa 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 Willa left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Willa'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, Willa 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 Willa to find it. Despite Willa's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting her elders

In the infirmary, Willa encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Willa to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Willa rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!

Southern comfort

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

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

Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Willa took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Willa didn't have to wait too long for her date with destiny. The elongated spotted egg Hatched out a pale mint-green dragonet who told Willa her name was Clausith.

A friend bereft

But to Willa'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?

Quite simply, none of the dragonets seemed to want Thippia – she was left standing. Although Willa did wonder if her own pale mint-green Clausith might have glanced, however briefly, in Thippia's direction, and what might have been had she not chosen her...

After the Hatching

"Clausith" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Willa on her Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's granddaughter had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Clausith's first meal. That was the first moment Willa 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 Clausith's personality started to become evident. The pale green dragonet had absolutely no hesitation about making her voice – her very loud and strident voice – heard, indicating what a forceful and demanding character she would become.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Willa 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. Willa was proud to introduce Clausith to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Willa, rider of green Clausith!

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

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

Lord Winstone, Willa's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Clausith – suggesting that she should have waited for a chance at a queen. The Weyrleaders were swift to insist that Impressing any dragon was a great achievement!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Willa, 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, Willa 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 Willa'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 Willa 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 Clausith.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Clausith – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Willa 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 – Willa 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?

Willa and Clausith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Willa'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:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Clausith and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
INSULT TO INJURY

I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Clausith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Clausith and I disagreed on something quite important!