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S'rene and blue Phelanth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Sanra – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Sanra was born the daughter of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. She was treating minor injuries even before she was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Sanra an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Sanra was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Sanra was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Sanra arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Sanra 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. Sanra'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 Sanra 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 Sanra 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 Sanra 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 Sanra 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 – Sanra did!

A blue lady

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

With friends like these...

But approaching Shookana, mistress of the mending room and Jopha's arch-enemy, with a less than honest approach resulted in disaster. When Sanra tried to conceal the true owner of the offending robe, Shookana caught her in the lie – and tore Jopha's robe beyond mending. Forced to admit to the Weyrlingmaster that she had no robe, Jopha found herself on the end of L'stev's bad temper – and with many black marks already against her name, barred from candidacy!

Hair today

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

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Sanra 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, Sanra strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Sanra 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, Sanra crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!

The Hatching

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

Whatever happened to Thippia?

Thippia's victimisation of Sanra had serious consequences – for Thippia. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Sanra did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Thippia, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Thippia from the candidate pool!

After the Hatching

"Phelanth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Sanra on her Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Phelanth's first meal. That was the first moment Sanra 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 Phelanth'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.

Big sister

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Phelanth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, S'rene 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

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

S'rene's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at S'rene's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his daughter wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his daughter, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to S'rene and Phelanth – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'rene, 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'rene 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'rene'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 S'rene 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 Phelanth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Phelanth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – S'rene 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'rene 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?

S'rene and Phelanth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

S'rene'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

Phelanth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Phelanth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Phelanth and I agreed on something quite important!