K’lee and blue Venth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Kaylee – a young girl of 15 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Kaylee 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. As a first-time candidate with no dragonrider blood, Kaylee looked forward to the Hatching with both excitement and trepidation – fearing she might not have what it takes to Impress, but hoping beyond hope that she would!
As a candidate, Kaylee 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 Kaylee! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Kaylee's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Kaylee 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 Kaylee left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Kaylee'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, Kaylee 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 Kaylee to find it. The quest took Kaylee 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, Kaylee encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kaylee to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kaylee 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, Kaylee offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Kaylee encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Kaylee – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Kaylee 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, Kaylee 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.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Kaylee 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 Kaylee to find for his warming salve.
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Kaylee trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Kaylee 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, Kaylee 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 Kaylee didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Kaylee approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Kaylee went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Kaylee 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, Kaylee visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Kaylee ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Kaylee had an excruciatingly long wait before the yellow-green craggy-textured egg Hatched to reveal the light sky-blue dragonet who would choose her, naming himself Venth.
A friend in me
And Kaylee 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?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Kaylee and Venth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Venth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kaylee 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 Venth's first meal. That was Kaylee's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Venth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Venth's personality started to become evident. The big sky-blue dragonet demonstrated an enormous desire to please, making him an especially endearing character.
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 Kaylee 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 in particular to remark upon Kaylee's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Kaylee would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Kaylee took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Venth, Kaylee gave the Weyrleader her new name – K’lee, rider of blue Venth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Venth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, K’lee 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
K’lee and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K’lee had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
K’lee's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as K’lee's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, K’lee was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to K’lee and Venth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K’lee, 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, K’lee 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 K’lee's background with her – including much of what she had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She cleared up an anomaly with her new name, too. She offered K’lee 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 Venth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , K’lee 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 K’lee 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, K’lee decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.
Returning at last to Venth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – K’lee 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 – K’lee was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? What was the significance of the strange wooden box? And how had the stranger known K’lee's new name?
K’lee and Venth'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!
I changed my name by choice!
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG
Venth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
Venth and I disagreed on something quite important!
Venth and I disagreed on something very important!