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Fari and green Acharith

The Road So Far!

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

Fari was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Fari 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, Fari 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 Fari becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Fari's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Fari had her majority, she had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Fari left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

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

Hatching Day

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

Southern comfort

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

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Fari 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, Fari 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

Fari 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. And while Fari did manage to get G'tron excluded from the flight – not to mention another blue rider, G'pellas, who was needed in the Harper ensemble – she still ultimately failed to reconcile the star-crossed green riding lovers!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Fari 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 Fari to find for his warming salve.

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

Eggs and baskets

A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Fari 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 – Fari did!

Weyrbrat by name...

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

Backhander backfired

Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Fari encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Fari hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Fari's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Fari 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 Fari didn't want to pass up.

Friend request

Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Fari 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 Fari might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Fari 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!

Wherry bad behaviour

Fari'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. Fari chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Fari remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Fari 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.

By a stroke of ill luck, Fari strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Fari was bitten – badly – and immediately felt the effects of the snake's paralysing venom. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Recognising the severity of her condition, Fari decided not to risk approaching the clutch, and went instead directly to the infirmary to be treated with antivenin.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Fari didn't have to wait at all for her date with destiny. The elongated spotted egg that Hatched first produced a pale mint-green hatchling who spared no time in choosing Fari, naming herself Acharith.

A friend in me

And Fari 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 Fari was a very poor choice on Auciet's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Fari 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

"Acharith" by Chris S. Baily

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

It wasn't long before Acharith'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 Fari 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 to ask after their names. Fari was proud to introduce Acharith to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Fari, rider of green Acharith!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Acharith's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Fari 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

Fari and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Fari 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, Fari's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Acharith – suggesting that she should have waited for a chance at a queen. The Weyrleaders were swift to insist that Impressing any dragon was a great achievement!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Fari, 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, Fari 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 Fari'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 Fari 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 Acharith.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Fari 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 Fari 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, Fari decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.

Returning at last to Acharith – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Fari 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 – Fari 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 Fari's new name?

Fari and Acharith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Fari'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:
ONE STEVE LIMIT

I avoided duplicating a Dragonchoice character's name!

Achievement Unlocked:
COMPUTER SAYS NO

I changed my name from something unacceptable!

Achievement Unlocked:
BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Acharith and I make a very strong match!

Achievement Unlocked:
SNAKES AND SNAILS

I haven't been very nice!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Acharith and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Acharith and I disagreed on something quite important!