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Riona and green Tichuth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Riona – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

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

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Riona 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 Riona left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Riona'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, Riona 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 Riona to find it. Despite Riona'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, Riona encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Riona to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Riona duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

Southern comfort

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

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

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Riona to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately she asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.

Friend request

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

A friend in me

And Riona 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?

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

After the Hatching

"Tichuth" by Chris S. Baily

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

It wasn't long before Tichuth'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 Riona 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 to ask after their names. Riona was proud to introduce Tichuth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Riona, rider of green Tichuth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Tichuth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Riona 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

Riona and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Riona 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, Riona's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Tichuth – 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 Riona, 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, Riona 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 Riona'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 Riona 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 Tichuth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Tichuth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Riona 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 – Riona 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?

Riona and Tichuth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Riona'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

Tichuth and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
INSULT TO INJURY

I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Tichuth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Tichuth and I disagreed on something quite important!