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Zoyah and green Jacieth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Zoyah – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Zoyah was born the daughter of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside her widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up her young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Zoyah didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Zoyah that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. She almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon her father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Zoyah's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Zoyah with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.

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

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Zoyah 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 Zoyah 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, Zoyah 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 Zoyah to find it. Despite Zoyah'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, Zoyah encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Zoyah to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Zoyah duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Zoyah 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, Zoyah 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. Zoyah 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 Zoyah a certain confidence in her own prospects!

A rising problem

Zoyah 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. Zoyah'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.

Kitchen diplomacy

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

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Zoyah was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Zoyah was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!

A breath of foul air

Setting aside her petty rivalry with Auciet in the face of a genuine emergency, Zoyah set about getting Auciet to safety. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated herself, she raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.

Zoyah woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned her sternly about her adventures, the fact that Zoyah had certainly saved Auciet's life counted in her favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Zoyah had to wait a little while before the grey-splashed beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark teal-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Jacieth.

A friend bereft

But to Zoyah's dismay, Erilde 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.

After the Hatching

"Jacieth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Zoyah on her Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Jacieth's first meal. That was the first moment Zoyah had truly grasped that Erilde wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Erilde's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.

It wasn't long before Jacieth's personality started to become evident. The teal-green dragonet, inquisitive about everything from the instant of her hatching, also proved to be an especially sweet-natured and kind character.

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 Zoyah 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. Zoyah was proud to introduce Jacieth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Zoyah, rider of green Jacieth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Jacieth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Zoyah 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

Zoyah and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Zoyah had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.

Zoyah's father almost couldn't believe his daughter's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Zoyah and Jacieth.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Zoyah, 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, Zoyah 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 Zoyah'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 Zoyah 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 Jacieth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Zoyah 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 Zoyah 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, Zoyah decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Jacieth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – Zoyah 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 – Zoyah 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 Zoyah's Impression here. Zoyah and Jacieth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Zoyah'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

Jacieth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Jacieth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Jacieth and I agreed on something quite important!

Achievement Unlocked:
ENEMY MINE

Jacieth and Naisseth took against each other!