True and green Depreath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Katrue – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Katrue was born the daughter of Nelya, a Headwoman's Second at Madellon Weyr. While she didn't have to be Searched, she was 'given the nod' as a likely dragonrider by the Weyr's most senior retired Search pair – S'rius and his elderly blue Padseth. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Katrue struggled with both her modest upbringing as a Weyr child with no rider blood, and her fear that she wasn't dragonrider material.
As a candidate, Katrue 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 Katrue! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Katrue's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Katrue 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 Katrue 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, Katrue 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 Katrue to find it. The quest took Katrue 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, Katrue encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Katrue to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Katrue duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Katrue 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 Katrue 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 Katrue some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Katrue 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, Katrue 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, Katrue 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. Katrue 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 Katrue a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Katrue 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. And while Katrue did manage to get G'tron excluded from the flight – not to mention another blue rider, G'pellas, who was needed in the Harper ensemble – she still ultimately failed to reconcile the star-crossed green riding lovers!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Katrue 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 Katrue to find for his warming salve.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Katrue 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. Which – mindful of not offending such an important personage of the Weyr – Katrue did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Katrue trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Katrue 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, Katrue was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. Perhaps Katrue was never going to Impress a bronze – but it couldn't hurt to have some hands-on experience!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Katrue visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But she fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at her expense!
A Weyrleader's mercy
Early in the day, Katrue 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 chance, she found a way onto the Hatching Ground – onto a very high ledge! Calling down for help was the only option, and a welcome – if embarrassing – lift down from Muzzanth himself returned Katrue safely to ground level.
Realising that honesty was the best policy, Katrue apologised to the Weyrleader for intruding – and was surprised to find T'gat remarkably sanguine about it, reminiscing about his own youthful journey through the passages. And a polite request granted Katrue the Weyrleader's permission to approach the clutch. She touched one of the eggs, marvelling at its palpable vitality.
When it came to the Hatching, Katrue had an excruciatingly long wait before the rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched to reveal the vivid grassy-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Depreath.
A friend bereft
But to Katrue'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.
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Quite simply, none of the dragonets seemed to want Auciet – she was left standing. Although Katrue did wonder if her own vivid grassy-green Depreath might have glanced, however briefly, in Auciet's direction, and what might have been had she not chosen her...
After the Hatching
"Depreath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Katrue on her Impression, but it was old S'rius, delighted to have found yet another weyrling, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Depreath's first meal. That was the first moment Katrue 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 Depreath's personality started to become evident. The little grass-green dragonet, small for her colour, made up for her size with a fierce, aggressive personality – and very evident teeth!
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 Katrue made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Katrue had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Katrue at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Katrue 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. Katrue was proud to introduce Depreath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: True, rider of green Depreath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Depreath's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, True 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
True and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk True had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
True's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as True's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, True was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to True and Depreath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for True, 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, True 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 True'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 True 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 Depreath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , True 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 True 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, True decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.
Returning at last to Depreath – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – True 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 – True 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 True's new name?
True and Depreath'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 changed my name by choice!
I make quite a strange match with Depreath!
INSULT TO INJURY
I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Depreath and I agreed on something very important!
Depreath and I disagreed on something quite important!