Faranth and green Panralth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Cassandra – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a dragonrider.
Cassandra was born to unusual privilege – a granddaughter of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Cassandra 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, Cassandra 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 Cassandra becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Cassandra's betrothal to a nephew of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Cassandra 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, Cassandra left to begin her candidacy at Madellon Weyr.
As a candidate, Cassandra 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 Cassandra! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Cassandra's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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, Cassandra 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 Cassandra to find it. The quest took Cassandra 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, Cassandra encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Cassandra to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Cassandra 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, Cassandra offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Cassandra encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Cassandra – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Cassandra met G'kalte – a brown rider and Wingsecond, not to mention Weyrwoman Valonna's weyrmate – in the Bowl, and was quickly recruited by him to help with a diplomatic matter. G'kalte had been tasked with delivering two gifts from Valonna to her Southern counterpart Weyrwoman Karika – but he'd been summoned away to collect his own grandmother, Lady Coffleby, for the Hatching.
He asked Cassandra to figure out which of the seven Southern dragons visiting Madellon were the correct pair to hand over Karika's gifts. And while G'kalte's brown, Archidath, offered Cassandra some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Cassandra unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A rising problem
Cassandra 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. Cassandra'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. Even if Cassandra did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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 Cassandra 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 – Cassandra did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Cassandra 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 Cassandra didn't want to pass up.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Cassandra visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Cassandra ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Cassandra had an excruciatingly long wait before the white-swirled grey-beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark emerald-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Panralth.
A friend bereft
But to Cassandra'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?
Auciet's victimisation of Cassandra had serious consequences – for Auciet. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Cassandra did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Auciet, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Auciet from the candidate pool!
After the Hatching
"Panralth" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Cassandra 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 Panralth's first meal. That was the first moment Cassandra 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 Panralth's personality started to become evident. The emerald-green dragonet – the largest of her colour – immediately showed her devious and irreverent character, looking for mischief before she'd even left the Sands.
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 Cassandra made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Cassandra had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Cassandra at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Cassandra 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 to ask after their names. Cassandra was proud to introduce Panralth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Faranth, rider of green Panralth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Panralth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Faranth 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
Faranth and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Faranth 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, Faranth's grandfather, was faint with his praise for his granddaughter's Impression of Panralth – 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 Faranth, 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, Faranth 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 Faranth'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 Faranth 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 Panralth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Faranth 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 Faranth 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, Faranth decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger – though she did give L'stev her new name.
Returning at last to Panralth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Faranth 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 – Faranth 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 Faranth's new name?
Faranth and Panralth'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 (don't) love the smell of elision in the morning!
I changed my name by choice!
I make quite a strange match with Panralth!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
Panralth and I disagreed on something quite important!
Panralth and I disagreed on something very important!
Panralth and Kettymath took against each other!