Ailorea and green Iolanth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Ailorea – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Ailorea was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Ailorea 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, Ailorea 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 Ailorea 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, Ailorea left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Ailorea 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 Ailorea! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Ailorea's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Ailorea 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 Ailorea left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Ailorea'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, Ailorea 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 Ailorea to find it. Despite Ailorea'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, Ailorea encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Ailorea to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Ailorea duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
A rising problem
Ailorea 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. Ailorea'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Ailorea 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 Ailorea to find for his warming salve.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Ailorea trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Ailorea gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
A shining example
Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Ailorea was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Ailorea was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!
When it came to the Hatching, Ailorea had an excruciatingly long wait before the spotted green and cream egg Hatched to reveal the vivid sea-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Iolanth.
A friend bereft
But to Ailorea's dismay, Jopha 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 Thippia?
It turned out that making an enemy of Ailorea was a very poor choice on Thippia's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Ailorea had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Thippia. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Thippia's reputation was done – and she was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Iolanth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Ailorea 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 Iolanth's first meal. That was the first moment Ailorea had truly grasped that Jopha wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Jopha's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Iolanth's personality started to become evident. The sea-green dragonet – ambiguously coloured at first glance, but unequivocally female when asked – proved to have a particularly playful and fun-loving outlook on life.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Ailorea made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Ailorea had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Ailorea at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Ailorea 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. Ailorea was proud to introduce Iolanth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Ailorea, rider of green Iolanth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Iolanth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Ailorea 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
Ailorea and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Ailorea 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, Ailorea's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Iolanth – 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 Ailorea, 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, Ailorea 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 Ailorea'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 Ailorea 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 Iolanth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Ailorea 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 Ailorea 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, Ailorea decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Iolanth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Ailorea 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 – Ailorea 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?
Ailorea and Iolanth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Iolanth and I complement each other!
EBONY AND IVORY
Iolanth and I agreed on something very important!
Iolanth and I agreed on something quite important!
Iolanth and Naisseth made friends!