Chassika and green Caprarith
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Chassika – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Chassika was born the daughter of a modest cotholder at Jessaf Hold, working alongside her widowed father to work their allotted land, and help bring up her young twin siblings, Albon and Gettie. And in early 102, when a green rider, N'jol, and his Kistrith came to Jessaf in search of candidates for Madellon Weyr's hardening clutch, Chassika didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Chassika that Kistrith singled out among all those young people. She almost didn't accept Search – anxious not to abandon her father. But he insisted, revealing that his late wife, Chassika's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Chassika with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Chassika 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 Chassika! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Chassika's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Chassika 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 Chassika left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Chassika'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, Chassika 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 Chassika to find it. The quest took Chassika 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 infirmary, Chassika encountered Kisha – a blind old green rider giving the Weyr's Healers a difficult time about taking her medicine. Kisha challenged Chassika to answer three riddles before she would consent to behave. And Chassika rose to that challenge – answering all three correctly, and winning Kisha's grudging respect!
Chassika 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 Chassika 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 Chassika some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Chassika 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, Chassika 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, Chassika 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
Chassika 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. Chassika'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 Chassika with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva, and earned her a selection of goodies warm from the oven..
Chassika certainly indulged her sweet tooth before the Hatching – laying claim to not one, not two, but three different types of bubbly pie Albeit she stole one of them..
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Chassika 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 – Chassika did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Chassika trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Chassika gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for her reputation!
Seeking an easy way to slip into the Hatching Ground for an early peek, Chassika encountered H'nar – Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – on guard at the entrance. It may have seemed like a good idea to offer him a few marks for safe passage – but Chassika hadn't reckoned on H'nar's incorruptible nature. H'nar rejected the money with outrage, and word of Chassika's attempt to bribe him made its way back to the Weyrlingmaster!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Chassika 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 Chassika didn't want to pass up.
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Chassika visited Madellon's resident barber, Z'fell, for a trim. But she fell foul of the green rider's perverse sense of humour, and came away with a curious cut – short on top, long at the back – that prompted quite a number of odd looks and laughs at her expense!
Wherry bad behaviour
Chassika'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. Chassika chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent her to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Chassika remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule her out of standing!
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Chassika 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.
By a stroke of ill luck, Chassika strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Chassika was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Having survived her encounter with the snake, Chassika crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground! And something about the white-swirled grey-beige egg made her feel strangely certain that she would Impress later that day.
When it came to the Hatching, Chassika had to wait a little while before the white-swirled grey-beige egg Hatched to reveal the dark emerald-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Caprarith.
A friend bereft
But to Chassika's dismay, Jopha 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 Thippia?
It turned out that making an enemy of Chassika was a very poor choice on Thippia's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Chassika had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Thippia. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Thippia's reputation was done – and she was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!
After the Hatching
"Caprarith" by Chris S. Baily
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Chassika on her Impression, but it was N'jol, delighted that his most humble candidate had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Caprarith's first meal. That was the first moment Chassika had truly grasped that Jopha wasn't going to be a weyrling alongside her – a truth that hit hard. In Jopha's absence, Arina, who'd Impressed a cloudy-green dragonet, Chanth – was a welcome friendly face.
It wasn't long before Caprarith'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.
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Chassika 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. Chassika was proud to introduce Caprarith to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Chassika, rider of green Caprarith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Caprarith's and Chanth's newborn itchiness, Chassika 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
Chassika and Arina soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Chassika had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Chassika's father almost couldn't believe his daughter's good fortune, completely thrilled to be the father of a dragonrider. And he was even more starstruck when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Chassika and Caprarith.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Chassika, 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, Chassika 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 Chassika'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 Chassika 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 Caprarith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Chassika 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 Chassika 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, Chassika decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Caprarith – billeted between Arina's Chanth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Chassika 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 – Chassika 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?
Chassika and Caprarith'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
Caprarith and I complement each other!
THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
I pre-Impressed Caprarith by touching her egg before the Hatching!
SNAKES AND SNAILS
I haven't been very nice!
Caprarith and I disagreed on something quite important!
Caprarith and I disagreed on something very important!
Caprarith and Kettymath took against each other!