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Mandisa and green Elaecarth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Madellon Weyr for Mandisa – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Mandisa 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. As a first-time candidate, Mandisa looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – half convinced that she would be meeting her own dragon at last; half terrified of failing to meet the standards expected of a Wingleader's daughter!

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Mandisa 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 Mandisa left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Mandisa'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, Mandisa 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 Mandisa to find it. Despite Mandisa's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.

Respecting her elders

In the infirmary, Mandisa encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Mandisa to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Mandisa rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!

Southern comfort

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

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Mandisa with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.

Friend request

Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Mandisa approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Mandisa went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Mandisa doubted if Shookana and Jopha will ever be friends, the restoration of her Hatching robe to a suitable length did a great deal for her self-confidence!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Mandisa didn't have to wait too long for her date with destiny. The rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched out a vivid grassy-green dragonet who told Mandisa her name was Elaecarth.

A friend in me

And Mandisa wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.

Whatever happened to Thippia?

Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Mandisa and Elaecarth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)

After the Hatching

"Elaecarth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Mandisa 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 Elaecarth's first meal. That was Mandisa's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Elaecarth and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Elaecarth's personality started to become evident. The little grass-green dragonet, small for her colour, made up for her size with a fierce, aggressive personality – and very evident teeth!

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

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Mandisa and Jopha 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. Mandisa was proud to introduce Elaecarth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Mandisa, rider of green Elaecarth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Elaecarth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Mandisa and Jopha 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

Mandisa and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Mandisa 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 green rider for the first time . And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Mandisa and Elaecarth, 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 Mandisa, 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, Mandisa 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 Mandisa'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 Mandisa 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 Elaecarth.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Elaecarth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – Mandisa 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 – Mandisa 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 Mandisa's Impression here. Mandisa and Elaecarth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Mandisa'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

Elaecarth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Elaecarth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Elaecarth and I agreed on something quite important!