Kayla and green Pauloth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Madellon Weyr for Kayla – a young woman of 18 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Kayla 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. Having been left standing at a Hatching once before, Kayla struggled with both her modest upbringing as a Weyr child with no rider blood, and her fear that she wasn't dragonrider material.
As a candidate, Kayla 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 Kayla! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Kayla's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Kayla 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 Kayla 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, Kayla 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 Kayla to find it. The quest took Kayla 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, Kayla encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Kayla to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Kayla 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, Kayla offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Kayla encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Kayla – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Kayla 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 Kayla 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 Kayla some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Kayla 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, Kayla 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, Kayla 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. Kayla 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 Kayla a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Kayla 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. Kayla'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 Kayla 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 Kayla 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 Kayla 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 – Kayla did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Kayla 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 Kayla didn't want to pass up.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Kayla visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Kayla ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Kayla had an excruciatingly long wait before the rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched to reveal the vivid grassy-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Pauloth.
A friend bereft
But to Kayla'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 Kayla had serious consequences – for Auciet. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Kayla 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
"Pauloth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Kayla 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 Pauloth's first meal. That was the first moment Kayla 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 Pauloth'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.
Another friend Kayla made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Kayla had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Kayla at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Kayla 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. Kayla was proud to introduce Pauloth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Kayla, rider of green Pauloth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Pauloth's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Kayla 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
Kayla and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Kayla had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Kayla's mother, Nelya, was thrilled by her daughter's Impression – though perhaps not quite as ecstatic as Kayla's younger siblings, Ashi and Halante. As the first dragonrider in the family, Kayla was keenly aware of what it meant to her brother and sister. And when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Kayla and Pauloth, Valonna was particularly delighted for Nelya – one of her most trusted Headwoman Seconds.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Kayla, 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, Kayla 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 Kayla'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 Kayla 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 Pauloth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Kayla 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 Kayla 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, Kayla decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Pauloth – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Kayla 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 – Kayla 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?
Kayla and Pauloth'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
Pauloth and I complement each other!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Pauloth and I agreed on something very important!
Pauloth and I agreed on something quite important!