Ar'dele and blue Mosawath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Ardelia – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Ardelia 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, Ardelia didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Ardelia 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, Ardelia's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Ardelia with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Ardelia 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 Ardelia! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Ardelia's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Ardelia 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 Ardelia left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Ardelia'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, Ardelia 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 Ardelia to find it. The quest took Ardelia 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, Ardelia encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Ardelia to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Ardelia 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, Ardelia offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Ardelia encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Ardelia – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Ardelia 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 Ardelia 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 Ardelia some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Ardelia 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, Ardelia 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, Ardelia 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. Ardelia 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 Ardelia a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Ardelia 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. Ardelia'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. Even if Ardelia did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Ardelia 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 Ardelia 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 Ardelia 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 – Ardelia did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Ardelia 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 Ardelia didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Ardelia approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Ardelia went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Ardelia 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Ardelia visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Ardelia 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, Ardelia 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.
Ardelia woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned her sternly about her adventures, the fact that Ardelia had certainly saved Thippia's life counted in her favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.
When it came to the Hatching, Ardelia had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Mosawath.
A friend in me
And Ardelia 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
"Mosawath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Ardelia 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 Mosawath's first meal. That was Ardelia's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Mosawath and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Mosawath's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.
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 Ardelia made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Ardelia had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Ardelia at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Ardelia 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 in particular to remark upon Ardelia's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Ardelia would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Ardelia took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Mosawath, Ardelia gave the Weyrleader her new name – Ar'dele, rider of blue Mosawath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Mosawath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Ar'dele 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
Ar'dele and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Ar'dele had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Ar'dele'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 Ar'dele and Mosawath.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Ar'dele, 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, Ar'dele 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 Ar'dele'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 Ar'dele 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 Mosawath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Ar'dele 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 Ar'dele 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, Ar'dele decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Mosawath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – Ar'dele 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 – Ar'dele 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 Ardelia's Impression here. Ar'dele and Mosawath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Ardelia's Impression here. Ar'dele and Mosawath'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.
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Mosawath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Mosawath and I agreed on something very important!
Mosawath and I disagreed on something quite important!