Mirrah and green Berberith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Mirrah – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Mirrah was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Mirrah 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, Mirrah 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 Mirrah becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Mirrah's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Mirrah 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, Mirrah left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Mirrah 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 Mirrah! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Mirrah's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Mirrah 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 Mirrah 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, Mirrah 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 Mirrah to find it. The quest took Mirrah 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.
Disrespecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Mirrah encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. But they got off to a poor start – Mirrah had unwittingly taken a redfruit without permission – and furthermore lied about it when challenged by the old bronze rider. The scrumping alone might not have turned R'hren against Mirrah – but the literal red-handed lie did!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Mirrah 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, Mirrah 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
Mirrah 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. Mirrah'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 Mirrah 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 Mirrah 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. But with one thing and another, Mirrah didn't bring it back – earning the Weyrwoman Second's ire!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Auciet had paid to cause Mirrah trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Mirrah 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, Mirrah 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 Mirrah didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Mirrah 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 Mirrah might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Mirrah 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, Mirrah visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Mirrah ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
Wherry bad behaviour
Mirrah's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with her. L'stev collared her in the Bowl and gave her an ultimatum – buck up her ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Mirrah chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Mirrah remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!
When it came to the Hatching, Mirrah didn't have to wait too long for her date with destiny. The rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched out a vivid grassy-green dragonet who told Mirrah her name was Berberith.
A friend in me
And Mirrah 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 Mirrah was a very poor choice on Auciet's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Mirrah 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
"Berberith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Mirrah 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 Berberith's first meal. That was Mirrah's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Berberith and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Berberith's personality started to become evident. The little grass-green dragonet, small for her colour, made up for her size with a fierce, aggressive personality – and very evident teeth!
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 Mirrah 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. Mirrah was proud to introduce Berberith to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Mirrah, rider of green Berberith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Berberith's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Mirrah 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
Mirrah and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Mirrah 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, Mirrah's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Berberith – suggesting that she should have waited for a chance at a queen. The Weyrleaders were swift to insist that Impressing any dragon was a great achievement!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Mirrah, 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, Mirrah 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 Mirrah'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 Mirrah 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 Berberith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Mirrah 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 Mirrah 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, Mirrah decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Berberith – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a very large green dragonet – Mirrah 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 – Mirrah 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?
Mirrah and Berberith'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
Berberith and I complement each other!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
EBONY AND IVORY
Berberith and I agreed on something very important!
Berberith and I disagreed on something quite important!