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Eivena and blue Oulanth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Sarre – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.

Sarre was born the daughter of Wingleader R'yeno and green rider Evie of Madellon Weyr. While she didn't have to be Searched, she was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Sarre wrestled with the fear that she wouldn't live up to her rider parents' expectations a second time.

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

Hatching Day

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

A rising problem

Sarre 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. Sarre'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

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

Weyrbrat by name...

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

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Sarre had an excruciatingly long wait before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Oulanth.

A friend bereft

But to Sarre's dismay, Erilde 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 Auciet?

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

After the Hatching

"Oulanth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Sarre on her Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Oulanth's first meal. That was the first moment Sarre 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 Oulanth's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Sarre 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 Sarre's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Sarre would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Sarre elected not to elide her name – content to remain Eivena, rider of blue Oulanth!

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

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

R'yeno and Evie couldn't have been happier to greet their daughter as a blue rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Eivena and Oulanth, R'yeno was delighted to embarrass his daughter by insinuating that Gryth would be stiffer competition to Muzzanth in Shimpath's next flight.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Eivena, 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, Eivena 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 Eivena'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 Eivena 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 Oulanth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks , Eivena 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 Eivena 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, Eivena decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.

Returning at last to Oulanth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Eivena 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 – Eivena 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 Eivena's new name?

Eivena and Oulanth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Eivena'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:
OPPOSITES ATTRACT

I make quite a strange match with Oulanth!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Oulanth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Oulanth and I agreed on something quite important!