Asharna and green Annonath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Asharna – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Asharna 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, Asharna 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, Asharna 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 Asharna! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Asharna's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Asharna 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 Asharna 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, Asharna 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 Asharna to find it. Despite Asharna's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Disrespecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Asharna encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. But they got off to a poor start – Asharna had unwittingly taken a redfruit without permission – and furthermore lied about it when challenged by the old bronze rider. The scrumping alone might not have turned R'hren against Asharna – but the literal red-handed lie did!
Asharna 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 Asharna 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 Asharna some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Asharna unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A rising problem
Asharna 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 Asharna 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!
Overkeen to get her hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Asharna took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Asharna 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. But with one thing and another, Asharna didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Asharna trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Asharna gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Asharna 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 Asharna didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Asharna 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 Asharna might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Asharna 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!
Wherry bad behaviour
Asharna's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with her. L'stev collared her in the Bowl and gave her an ultimatum – buck up her ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Asharna chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Asharna remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!
A breath of foul air
Early in the day, Asharna 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. The route she chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Asharna soon found herself struggling for breath.
Undeterred, Asharna pushed through the discomfort, and emerged shortly onto the Hatching Sands. But she wasn't quiet enough. Shimpath, dozing only very lightly, awoke, and she and Muzzanth chased Asharna from the Sands!
When it came to the Hatching, Asharna had to wait a little while before the white-swirled grey-beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark emerald-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Annonath.
A friend in me
And Asharna 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?
It turned out that making an enemy of Asharna was a very poor choice on Auciet's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Asharna had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Auciet. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Auciet's reputation was done – and she was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Annonath" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Asharna 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 Annonath's first meal. That was Asharna's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Annonath and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Annonath's personality started to become evident. The emerald-green dragonet – the largest of her colour – immediately showed her devious and irreverent character, looking for mischief before she'd even left the Sands.
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 Asharna made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Asharna had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Asharna at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Asharna 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 to ask after their names. Asharna was proud to introduce Annonath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Asharna, rider of green Annonath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Annonath's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Asharna 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
Asharna and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Asharna had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Asharna's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Asharna's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Asharna was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Asharna and Annonath, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Asharna, 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, Asharna 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 Asharna'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 Asharna 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 Annonath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), Asharna 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 Asharna 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, Asharna decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Annonath – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Asharna 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 – Asharna 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 Asharna's Impression here. Asharna and Annonath's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Asharna's Impression here. Asharna and Annonath'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.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Annonath and I make a very strong match!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Annonath and I agreed on something very important!
Annonath and I agreed on something quite important!