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Tessa and green Fhenth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Tessa – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Tessa was born the daughter of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, she was apprenticed to the Craft when she came of age. But she never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for her. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Tessa caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Tessa arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Tessa 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 Tessa 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, Tessa 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 Tessa to find it. Despite Tessa's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Tessa 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, Tessa 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 Harper born

Tessa's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked her to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Tessa's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Tessa 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. If only she'd known what other use Tessa had in mind for it...

Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Tessa took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Tessa trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Tessa gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!

At the lake, T'rello – the rider of the biggest bronze at Madellon, Santinoth – asked for Tessa's help in bathing his gargantuan dragon. Tessa, reluctant to get wet, refused – earning T'rello's disdain, and a blot on her reputation!

Wherry bad behaviour

Tessa's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with her. L'stev collared her in the Bowl and gave her an ultimatum – buck up her ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Tessa chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Tessa remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Tessa 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 Tessa her name was Fhenth.

A friend bereft

But to Tessa'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?

For Auciet, getting on Tessa's bad side proved to be an exceptionally poor choice. Tessa dosed Auciet's clean underfurs with hotfruit before the Hatching, and for once, the admonition to always put on clean underpants turned out to have very negative consequences. It took a little while for the hotfruit to take effect, but by the time the candidates reached the Hatching Sands, Auciet was in considerable distress. Unable to bear the burning sensation in her nether regions, she fled the Hatching Sands – squandering her chance at Impression!

After the Hatching

"Fhenth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Tessa on her Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Fhenth's first meal. That was the first moment Tessa 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 Fhenth'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 Tessa 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 to ask after their names. Tessa was proud to introduce Fhenth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Tessa, rider of green Fhenth!

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

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

Tessa's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a green rider and happier still to learn that Tessa had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to Tessa and Fhenth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Tessa, 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, Tessa 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 Tessa'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 Tessa 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 Fhenth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Fhenth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Tessa 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 – Tessa 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 Tessa's Impression here. Tessa and Fhenth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Tessa'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

Fhenth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SNAKES AND SNAILS

I haven't been very nice!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Fhenth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Fhenth and I disagreed on something quite important!