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K'leia and blue Melianth

The Road So Far!

It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Kyleia – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.

Kyleia was born the daughter of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. She was treating minor injuries even before she was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Kyleia an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Kyleia was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Kyleia was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Kyleia arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.

As a candidate, Kyleia 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 Kyleia! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Kyleia's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Kyleia 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 Kyleia 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, Kyleia 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 Kyleia to find it. The quest took Kyleia 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, Kyleia encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kyleia to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kyleia 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, Kyleia offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Kyleia encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Kyleia – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

Southern comfort

Kyleia 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 Kyleia 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 Kyleia some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Kyleia unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Kyleia 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, Kyleia 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. Kyleia 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 Kyleia a certain confidence in her own prospects!

A rising problem

Kyleia 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. Kyleia'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 Kyleia did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!

Kitchen diplomacy

Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Kyleia 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 Kyleia 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 Kyleia 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 – Kyleia did!

A blue lady

Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Kyleia 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 Kyleia didn't want to pass up.

Friend request

Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Kyleia 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 Kyleia might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Kyleia 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!

Hair today

Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Kyleia visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Kyleia ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.

A breath of foul air

Early in the day, Kyleia found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow her a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, she crawled into a confusing maze of passages. The route she chose turned out to be thick with choking toxic fumes from Madellon's volcanic foundation, and Kyleia soon found herself struggling for breath. And then she came across Auciet – having apparently followed Kyleia into the passageways – lying unconscious and insensible in the fume-filled tunnel.

Setting aside her petty rivalry with Auciet in the face of a genuine emergency, Kyleia set about making Auciet stable – glad for the Healer kit she always carried with her. And on crawling out onto the Hatching Ground, half suffocated herself, she raised the alarm with the Weyrleader before being overcome by the ordeal, and fainting there on the sand.

Kyleia woke in the infirmary, and while the Weyrleader and Weyrlingmaster questioned her sternly about her adventures, the fact that Kyleia had certainly saved Auciet's life counted in her favour, despite having disobeyed the order not to go meddling in the tunnels.

The Hatching

Disaster almost struck during the Hatching when Kyleia – following some dubious advice about attempting to force a dragonet to choose her – put her self in the path of a less than receptive green hatchling. The green, clearly objecting to being crowded, lashed out at Kyleia – slicing her arm. Luckily for Kyleia, the mauling wasn't a fatal one – though it could have been, as an irate L'stev told her when patching up the injury on the spot. Even more luckily, the incident didn't deter another dragonet – the blue who Hatched from the pearl-green – from choosing Kyleia and naming himself Melianth!

After the Hatching

"Melianth" by Chris S. Baily

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kyleia on her Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Melianth's first meal. That was Kyleia's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Melianth and Shaldeth.

It wasn't long before Melianth's personality started to become evident. The big midnight-blue dragonet showed an immediate desire to show off and preen – not surprising given his handsome colour and conformation!

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big sister

Another friend Kyleia made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Kyleia had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Kyleia at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Kyleia 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 Kyleia's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Kyleia would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Kyleia took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Melianth, Kyleia gave the Weyrleader her new name – K'leia, rider of blue Melianth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Melianth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, K'leia 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

K'leia and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk K'leia had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.

K'leia's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at K'leia's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his daughter wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his daughter, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to K'leia and Melianth – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for K'leia, 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'leia 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'leia'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 K'leia some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, advised her to report to Master Isnan before returning to the barracks to get her injuries checked again, and made some observations on Melianth.

A close encounter

On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), K'leia 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'leia 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'leia decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Melianth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a pale green dragonet – K'leia 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'leia 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?

Find out more about Kyleia's Impression here. K'leia and Melianth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

K'leia's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
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.

Achievement Unlocked:
OPPOSITES ATTRACT

I make quite a strange match with Melianth!

Achievement Unlocked:
SUGAR AND SPICE

I've been a very nice person (so far)!

Achievement Unlocked:
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY

I returned to the infirmary!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Melianth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Melianth and I disagreed on something quite important!