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C'san and blue Cannath

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Cassandra – a young woman of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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. Cassandra was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Cassandra was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Cassandra arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

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

Gifted a small pot of the salve, Cassandra offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Cassandra encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Cassandra – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

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

A rising problem

Cassandra 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. Cassandra'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 Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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 – Cassandra did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Cassandra visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But she fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at her expense!

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Cassandra 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. The route she chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Cassandra soon found herself struggling for breath.

Undeterred, Cassandra pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But she wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Cassandra from the Sands!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Cassandra had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Cannath.

A friend bereft

But to Cassandra'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 Cassandra and Cannath's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Cannath" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Cassandra 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 Cannath's first meal. That was the first moment Cassandra 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 Cannath's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Cannath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, C'san 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

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

C'san's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at C'san'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 C'san and Cannath – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for C'san, 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, C'san 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 C'san'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 C'san some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised her to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get her injuries checked again, and made some observations on Cannath.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), C'san 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 C'san 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, C'san decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Cannath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – C'san 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 – C'san 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?

C'san and Cannath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

C'san'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

Cannath and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Cannath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Cannath and I disagreed on something quite important!