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G'wen and blue Auseeth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Gwendal – a young woman of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

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

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Gwendal 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 Gwendal 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, Gwendal 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 Gwendal to find it. The quest took Gwendal 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, Gwendal encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Gwendal to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Gwendal 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, Gwendal offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Gwendal encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Gwendal – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Gwendal 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, Gwendal 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

Gwendal 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. Gwendal'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 Gwendal 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 Gwendal 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 Gwendal 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 – Gwendal did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Friend request

Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Gwendal visited the Weyr's Archives and sought advice from Weyrwoman Tarshe, the Weyrwoman Second. While Tarshe could find no evidence that Erilde's father had been a dragonrider, she suggested Gwendal might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Gwendal delved into Madellon's records and unearthed a brown rider, B'get, deceased some Turns ago, but of the right age to have fathered her friend. Bringing this plausible white lie to Erilde may have been a tad devious – but it had the desired effect on her belief that she could, in fact, possess the ability to Impress a dragon!

Hair today

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

The Hatching

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

A friend in me

And Gwendal wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Erilde also Impressed, becoming the rider of an inquisitive teal-green hatchling, Shaldeth.

Whatever happened to Auciet?

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

After the Hatching

"Auseeth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Gwendal 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 Auseeth's first meal. That was Gwendal's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Auseeth and Shaldeth.

It wasn't long before Auseeth'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 Gwendal made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Gwendal had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Gwendal at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Auseeth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, G'wen and Erilde 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

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

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for G'wen, 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, G'wen 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 G'wen'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 G'wen 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 Auseeth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Auseeth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – G'wen 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 – G'wen 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?

Find out more about Gwendal's Impression here. G'wen and Auseeth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

G'wen'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

Auseeth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

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

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Auseeth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Auseeth and I disagreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BFFs

Auseeth and Chanth made friends!