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Talin and green Heliath

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Talin – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.

Talin 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. Talin caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Talin arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Talin 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 Talin! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Talin's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Talin 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 Talin left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Talin'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, Talin 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 Talin to find it. The quest took Talin 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, Talin encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Talin to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Talin 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, Talin offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Talin encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Talin – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Talin 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 Talin 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 Talin some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Talin 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, Talin 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, Talin 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. Talin 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 Talin a certain confidence in her own prospects!

A rising problem

Talin 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. Talin'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.

A Harper born

Talin'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 Talin's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Talin 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 Talin 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 Talin 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 – Talin did!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Talin 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 Talin didn't want to pass up.

Friend request

Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Talin approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Talin went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Talin 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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Talin visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Talin ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.

A breath of foul air

Setting aside her petty rivalry with Thippia in the face of a genuine emergency, Talin set about getting Thippia 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.

Talin woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned her sternly about her adventures, the fact that Talin had certainly saved Thippia'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, Talin didn't have to wait too long for her date with destiny. The grey-splashed beige egg Hatched out a dark teal-green dragonet who told Talin her name was Heliath.

A friend in me

And Talin wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.

After the Hatching

"Heliath" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Talin 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 Heliath's first meal. That was Talin's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Heliath and Deimoth.

It wasn't long before Heliath'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.

Big sister

Another friend Talin made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Talin had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Talin at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

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

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Heliath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Talin 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

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

Talin's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a green rider and happier still to learn that Talin had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to Talin and Heliath when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Talin, 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, Talin 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 Talin'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 Talin 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 Heliath.

A close encounter

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

Returning at last to Heliath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – Talin 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 – Talin 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?

Talin and Heliath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

Talin'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:
MIRROR IMAGE

Heliath and I match perfectly!

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

Heliath and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
IN TUNE

Heliath and I agreed on something quite important!