P'ige and blue Quemonth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Paige – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Paige 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, Paige didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Paige 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, Paige's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Paige with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Paige 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 Paige! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Paige's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Paige 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 Paige 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, Paige 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 Paige to find it. Despite Paige's best efforts, though, she didn't manage to complete and return the jewellery set before the Hatching.
Respecting her elders
In the infirmary, Paige encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Paige to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Paige rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Paige trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Paige gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
When it came to the Hatching, Paige had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue hatchling who would choose her, naming himself Quemonth.
A friend bereft
But to Paige's dismay, Erilde wasn't as fortunate. No dragonet showed an interest in her, and she was left among the candidates remaining unmatched at the end of the Hatching.
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Auciet Impressed an unusually aggressive grass-green hatchling, making them Paige and Quemonth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Quemonth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Paige 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 Quemonth's first meal. That was the first moment Paige had truly grasped that Erilde wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Erilde's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Quemonth'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 Paige made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Paige had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Paige at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Paige and Arina 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 Paige's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Paige would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Paige took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Quemonth, Paige gave the Weyrleader her new name – P'ige, rider of blue Quemonth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Quemonth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, P'ige and Arina 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
P'ige and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk P'ige had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
P'ige'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 P'ige and Quemonth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for P'ige, 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, P'ige 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 P'ige'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 P'ige 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 Quemonth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , P'ige 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 P'ige 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, P'ige decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Quemonth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – P'ige 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 – P'ige 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?
P'ige and Quemonth'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
Quemonth and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Quemonth and I agreed on something very important!
Quemonth and I agreed on something quite important!