L'ita and blue Cristath
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Lolita – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Lolita was born the daughter of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, she was apprenticed to the Craft when she came of age. But she never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for her. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Lolita caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Lolita arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Lolita 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 Lolita! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Lolita's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Lolita 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 Lolita left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Lolita'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, Lolita 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 Lolita to find it. Despite Lolita'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, Lolita encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Lolita to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Lolita 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, Lolita offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Lolita encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Lolita – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Harper born
Lolita's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked her to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Lolita's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Lolita to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately she asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Lolita 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 Lolita didn't want to pass up.
When it came to the Hatching, Lolita had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue hatchling who would choose her, naming himself Cristath.
A friend bereft
But to Lolita'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?
Thippia's victimisation of Lolita had serious consequences – for Thippia. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Lolita did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Thippia, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Thippia from the candidate pool!
After the Hatching
"Cristath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Lolita on her Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Cristath's first meal. That was the first moment Lolita 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 Cristath's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.
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 Lolita made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Lolita had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Lolita at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Lolita 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 in particular to remark upon Lolita's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Lolita would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Lolita took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Cristath, Lolita gave the Weyrleader her new name – L'ita, rider of blue Cristath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Cristath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, L'ita 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
L'ita and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk L'ita had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
L'ita's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider and happier still to learn that L'ita had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to L'ita and Cristath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for L'ita, 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, L'ita 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 L'ita'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 L'ita 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 Cristath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , L'ita 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 L'ita 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, L'ita decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Cristath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a very large green dragonet – L'ita 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 blue beside her – L'ita 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?
L'ita and Cristath'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.
I make quite a strange match with Cristath!
EBONY AND IVORY
Cristath and I agreed on something very important!
Cristath and I disagreed on something quite important!