Russi and green Emerth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Rusalka – a young woman of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Rusalka was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Rusalka 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, Rusalka 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 Rusalka 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, Rusalka left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Rusalka 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 Rusalka! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Rusalka's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Rusalka 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 Rusalka 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, Rusalka 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 Rusalka to find it. The quest took Rusalka all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end she succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Rusalka encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Rusalka to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Rusalka 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, Rusalka offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Rusalka encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Rusalka – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Rusalka 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 Rusalka 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 Rusalka some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Rusalka 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, Rusalka 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, Rusalka 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. Rusalka even shared the largesse with Zielaph, who then introduced her to Fr'ton – who, having Impressed a bronze in spite of his less than boundless promise, gave Rusalka a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Rusalka 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. Rusalka'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 Rusalka 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 Rusalka to find for his warming salve.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Rusalka 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 Rusalka didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Rusalka 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 Rusalka might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Rusalka 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Rusalka visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Rusalka ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Rusalka had to wait a little while before the spotted green and cream egg Hatched to reveal the vivid sea-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Emerth.
A friend in me
And Rusalka 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 Rusalka was a very poor choice on Auciet's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Rusalka 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
"Emerth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rusalka 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 Emerth's first meal. That was Rusalka's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Emerth and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Emerth'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.
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Rusalka 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. Rusalka was proud to introduce Emerth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Russi, rider of green Emerth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Emerth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Russi 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
Russi and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Russi 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, Russi's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Emerth – 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 Russi, 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, Russi 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 Russi'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 Russi 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 Emerth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Russi 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 Russi 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, Russi decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.
Returning at last to Emerth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Russi 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 – Russi 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 Russi's new name?
Find out more about Rusalka's Impression here. Russi and Emerth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Rusalka's Impression here. Russi and Emerth'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!
I (don't) love the smell of elision in the morning!
I changed my name by choice!
I make quite a strange match with Emerth!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Emerth and I agreed on something very important!
Emerth and I disagreed on something quite important!