Virelle and green Haptanth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Virelle – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Virelle 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. Virelle caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Virelle arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Virelle 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 Virelle! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Virelle's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Virelle 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 Virelle 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, Virelle 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 Virelle to find it. The quest took Virelle 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 infirmary, Virelle encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Virelle to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Virelle rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Virelle 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 Virelle 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 Virelle some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Virelle 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, Virelle 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, Virelle 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.
A rising problem
Virelle 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. Virelle'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
Virelle'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 Virelle's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Virelle with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Virelle 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 – Virelle did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Virelle 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 Virelle didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Virelle 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 Virelle might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Virelle 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, Virelle visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Virelle ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Virelle 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 a stroke of ill luck, Virelle strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Virelle was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Having survived her encounter with the snake, Virelle crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the white-swirled grey-beige egg made her feel strangely certain that she would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Virelle 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 Haptanth.
A friend in me
And Virelle 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 Virelle was a very poor choice on Auciet's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Virelle 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
"Haptanth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Virelle 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 Haptanth's first meal. That was Virelle's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Haptanth and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Haptanth'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.
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Virelle 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. Virelle was proud to introduce Haptanth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Virelle, rider of green Haptanth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Haptanth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Virelle 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
Virelle and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Virelle had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Virelle's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a green rider and happier still to learn that Virelle had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to Virelle and Haptanth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Virelle, 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, Virelle 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 Virelle'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 Virelle 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 Haptanth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Virelle 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 Virelle 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, Virelle decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Haptanth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – Virelle 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 – Virelle 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 Virelle's Impression here. Virelle and Haptanth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Virelle's Impression here. Virelle and Haptanth'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
Haptanth and I make a very strong match!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Haptanth by touching her egg before the Hatching!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Haptanth and I agreed on something very important!
Haptanth and I disagreed on something quite important!