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S'lana and blue Etomjeth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Solana – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Solana was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Solana 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, Solana 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 Solana 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, Solana left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Respecting her elders

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

Southern comfort

Solana 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 Solana 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 Solana some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Solana unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!

A rising problem

Solana 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. Solana's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Solana 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 – Solana did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Friend request

Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Solana approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Solana went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Solana 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!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Solana had an excruciatingly long wait before the pearl-green egg Hatched to reveal the deep midnight-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Etomjeth.

A friend in me

And Solana 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?

It turned out that making an enemy of Solana was a very poor choice on Thippia's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Solana had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Thippia. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Thippia's reputation was done – and she was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!

After the Hatching

"Etomjeth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Solana 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 Etomjeth's first meal. That was Solana's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Etomjeth and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Etomjeth's personality started to become evident. The big midnight-blue dragonet showed an immediate desire to show off and preen – not surprising given his handsome colour and conformation!

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 Solana 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 Solana's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Solana would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Solana took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Etomjeth, Solana gave the Weyrleader her new name – S'lana, rider of blue Etomjeth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Etomjeth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, S'lana 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

S'lana and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'lana 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, S'lana's grandfather, was outraged by his granddaughter's highly irregular Impression of a blue dragon – calling her aberrant. The Weyrleaders were quick to take S'lana's part, but the damage to her relationship with her grandfather was done.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'lana, 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, S'lana 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 S'lana's background with her – including much of what she had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with her new name, too. She offered S'lana 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 , S'lana 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 S'lana 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, S'lana decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.

Returning at last to Etomjeth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – S'lana 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 – S'lana was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known S'lana's new name?

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

S'lana'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:
DEED POLL

I changed my name by choice!

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Etomjeth and I complement each other!

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!