Es'qurl and blue Pentafith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Esquirelle – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Esquirelle was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Esquirelle didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, Esquirelle was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about Esquirelle becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Esquirelle's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Esquirelle had her majority, she had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that she should remember her place as his granddaughter and not make a scene ringing in her ears, Esquirelle left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Esquirelle's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle 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, Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle to find it. The quest took Esquirelle 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, Esquirelle encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Esquirelle to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Esquirelle 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, Esquirelle offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Esquirelle encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Esquirelle – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Esquirelle 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, Esquirelle 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
Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle 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!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle 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 – Esquirelle did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Esquirelle trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Esquirelle gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Esquirelle encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Esquirelle hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Esquirelle's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Esquirelle 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, Esquirelle visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Esquirelle ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Esquirelle had an excruciatingly long wait before the green-clouded blue egg Hatched to reveal the dark steel-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Pentafith.
A friend in me
And Esquirelle 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?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Auciet Impressed an unusually aggressive grass-green hatchling, making them Esquirelle and Pentafith's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Cedranne didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Pentafith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Esquirelle on her Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's granddaughter had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Pentafith's first meal. That was Esquirelle's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Pentafith and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Pentafith'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 Esquirelle made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Esquirelle had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Esquirelle at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Esquirelle 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 Esquirelle's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Esquirelle would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Esquirelle took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Pentafith, Esquirelle gave the Weyrleader her new name – Es'qurl, rider of blue Pentafith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Pentafith's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Es'qurl 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
Es'qurl and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Es'qurl had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Lord Winstone, Es'qurl's grandfather, was outraged by his granddaughter's highly irregular Impression of a blue dragon – calling her aberrant. The Weyrleaders were quick to take Es'qurl's part, but the damage to her relationship with her grandfather was done.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Es'qurl, 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, Es'qurl 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 Es'qurl'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 Es'qurl 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 Pentafith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Es'qurl 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 Es'qurl 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, Es'qurl decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Pentafith – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a very large green dragonet – Es'qurl 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 – Es'qurl 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?
Es'qurl and Pentafith'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.
I make quite a strange match with Pentafith!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Pentafith and I agreed on something very important!
Pentafith and I disagreed on something quite important!