S'lena and blue Larizath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Solena – a young woman of 16 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Solena 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, Solena 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, Solena 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 Solena! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Solena's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Solena 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 Solena 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, Solena 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 Solena to find it. The quest took Solena 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, Solena encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Solena to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Solena 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, Solena offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Solena encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Solena – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Solena 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 Solena 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 Solena some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Solena 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, Solena 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, Solena 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. Solena 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 Solena a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Solena 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. Solena'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 Solena 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 Solena 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 Solena 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 Solena 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 – Solena did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Solena 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 Solena didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Solena visited the Weyr's Archives and sought advice from Weyrwoman Tarshe, the Weyrwoman Second. While Tarshe could find no evidence that Erilde's father had been a dragonrider, she suggested Solena might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Solena delved into Madellon's records and unearthed a brown rider, B'get, deceased some Turns ago, but of the right age to have fathered her friend. Bringing this plausible white lie to Erilde may have been a tad devious – but it had the desired effect on her belief that she could, in fact, possess the ability to Impress a dragon!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Solena visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Solena ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Solena had an excruciatingly long wait before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Larizath.
A friend in me
And Solena wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Erilde also Impressed, becoming the rider of an inquisitive teal-green hatchling, Shaldeth.
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Auciet's victimisation of Solena had serious consequences – for Auciet. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Solena did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Auciet, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Auciet from the candidate pool!
After the Hatching
"Larizath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Solena 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 Larizath's first meal. That was Solena's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Larizath and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Larizath'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 Solena made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Solena had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Solena at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Solena and Erilde 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 Solena's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Solena would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Solena took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Larizath, Solena gave the Weyrleader her new name – S'lena, rider of blue Larizath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Larizath's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, S'lena and Erilde 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
S'lena and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'lena had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
S'lena's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as S'lena's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, S'lena was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to S'lena and Larizath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'lena, 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, S'lena 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 S'lena'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 S'lena 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 Larizath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , S'lena 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 S'lena 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, S'lena decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Larizath – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – S'lena 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 – S'lena 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 Solena's Impression here. S'lena and Larizath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Solena's Impression here. S'lena and Larizath'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
Larizath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Larizath and I agreed on something very important!
Larizath and I agreed on something quite important!
Larizath and Chanth made friends!