Senna and green Stilbath
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Senna – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Senna 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, Senna didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Senna 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, Senna's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Senna with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Senna 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 Senna! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Senna's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Senna 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 Senna left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Senna'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, Senna 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 Senna to find it. The quest took Senna 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, Senna encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Senna to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Senna 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, Senna offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Senna encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Senna – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Senna 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, Senna 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. Senna 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 Senna a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Senna 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. Senna'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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Senna 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 Senna to find for his warming salve.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Senna trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Senna 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, Senna 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 Senna didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Senna approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Senna went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Senna 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, Senna visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Senna ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Senna had to wait a little while before the long pale grey egg Hatched to reveal the light cloudy-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Stilbath.
A friend in me
And Senna wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Thippia didn't turn up for the pre-Hatching muster, and – Senna's own suspicions notwithstanding – L'stev guessed that she had probably got herself lost trying to sneak into the Hatching Ground through the dangerous ventilation tunnels. Fortunately – Senna supposed – Weyrlingmaster A'len located the missing candidate, but too late for Thippia, who having been found unconscious, was promptly invalided out of standing!
After the Hatching
"Stilbath" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Senna 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 Stilbath's first meal. That was Senna's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Stilbath and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Stilbath's personality started to become evident. The cloudy-green dragonet, being a very forthright and direct character, spared no time in making it clear that she wouldn't take any nonsense from anyone – her new rider included!
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 Senna made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Senna had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Senna at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Senna 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 to ask after their names. Senna was proud to introduce Stilbath to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Senna, rider of green Stilbath!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Stilbath's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Senna 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
Senna and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Senna had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Senna'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 Senna and Stilbath.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Senna, 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, Senna 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 Senna'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 Senna 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 Stilbath.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Senna 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 Senna 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, Senna decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Stilbath – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Senna 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 – Senna 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?
Senna and Stilbath'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
Stilbath and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Stilbath and I agreed on something very important!
Stilbath and I agreed on something quite important!