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Hannah and green Palth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Hannah – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Hannah was born the daughter of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside her widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up her young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Hannah didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Hannah that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. She almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon her father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Hannah's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Hannah with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Hannah 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 Hannah 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, Hannah 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 Hannah to find it. The quest took Hannah 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, Hannah encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Hannah to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Hannah duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

Southern comfort

Hannah 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 Hannah 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 Hannah some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Hannah 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, Hannah 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, Hannah 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. Hannah 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 Hannah a certain confidence in her own prospects!

A rising problem

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

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Hannah 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 Hannah didn't want to pass up.

Hair today

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

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Hannah 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 a stroke of ill luck, Hannah strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Hannah was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived her encounter with the snake, Hannah crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the grey-splashed beige egg made her feel strangely certain that she would Impress later that day.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Hannah had to wait a little while before the grey-splashed beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark teal-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Palth.

With friends like these...

But Hannah's Impression of Palth came at a cost – to Erilde. Palth had looked like she was about to choose Erilde before Hannah pushed in front of her – claiming the green for herself. It would turn out to be a critical blow to Erilde's confidence. No other dragonet took an interest in her, and she was ultimately among the candidates left standing.

Whatever happened to Auciet?

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

After the Hatching

"Palth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Hannah on her Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Palth's first meal. That was the first moment Hannah had truly grasped that Erilde wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Erilde's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Palth's personality started to become evident. The teal-green dragonet, inquisitive about everything from the instant of her hatching, also proved to be an especially sweet-natured and kind character.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

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

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

Hannah's father almost couldn't believe his daughter's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Hannah and Palth.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Hannah, 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, Hannah 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 Hannah'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 Hannah 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 Palth.

A close encounter

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

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

Hannah and Palth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Hannah'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

Palth and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

I pre-Impressed Palth by touching her egg before the Hatching!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Palth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Palth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
ENEMY MINE

Palth and Naisseth took against each other!