Ayla and green Pelliath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Ayla – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Ayla was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Ayla 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, Ayla 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 Ayla 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, Ayla left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Ayla 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 Ayla! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Ayla's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Ayla 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 Ayla left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Ayla'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, Ayla 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 Ayla to find it. Despite Ayla's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting her elders
In the infirmary, Ayla encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Ayla to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Ayla rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Ayla 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 Ayla 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 Ayla some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Ayla 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, Ayla 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, Ayla 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
Ayla 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. Ayla's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders. Even if Ayla did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Ayla 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. But with one thing and another, Ayla didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Ayla trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Ayla gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
At the lake, T'gala – the only female blue rider on Pern – asked for Ayla's help in bathing her big Southern blue, Heppeth. Ayla, reluctant to get wet, refused – earning T'gala's dislike, and a blot on her reputation!
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Ayla approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Ayla went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Ayla 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!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Ayla 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, Ayla strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Ayla 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, Ayla decided not to risk approaching the clutch, and went instead directly to the infirmary to be treated with antivenin.
When it came to the Hatching, Ayla had an excruciatingly long wait before the elongated spotted egg Hatched to reveal the pale mint-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Pelliath.
A friend in me
And Ayla 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?
Thippia didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Ayla's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that she had probably got herself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Ayla supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Thippia, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Pelliath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Ayla 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 Pelliath's first meal. That was Ayla's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Pelliath and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Pelliath'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.
Another friend Ayla made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Ayla had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Ayla at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Ayla 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. Ayla was proud to introduce Pelliath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Ayla, rider of green Pelliath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Pelliath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Ayla 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
Ayla and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Ayla 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, Ayla's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Pelliath – 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 Ayla, 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, Ayla 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 Ayla'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 Ayla 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 Pelliath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Ayla 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 Ayla 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, Ayla decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Pelliath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Ayla 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 – Ayla 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 Ayla's Impression here. Ayla and Pelliath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Ayla's Impression here. Ayla and Pelliath'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Pelliath and I make a very strong match!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Pelliath and I agreed on something very important!
Pelliath and I disagreed on something quite important!