S'griffa and blue Yaxioth
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Harperhall at Kellad Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Selgriffa – a young girl of 14 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Selgriffa was born the daughter of two Harpers at the Southern Harperhall, Kellad Hold. Surrounded by music, she was apprenticed to the Craft when she came of age. But she never excelled in any discipline, and it seemed as if an unremarkable career as a mid-level journeyman likely lay ahead for her. And then, in early 102, J'kel – a dragonrider of Madellon Weyr – came to Kellad Hold in search of candidates for the new clutch hardening on the Sands of Madellon Weyr. Selgriffa caught the attention of J'kel's blue Hozrath. And a sevenday later, Selgriffa arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Selgriffa's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Selgriffa'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, Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa to find it. The quest took Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Selgriffa to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Selgriffa encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Selgriffa – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa 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. Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Selgriffa 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. Selgriffa'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 Selgriffa did annoy Soleigh, who wasn't impressed with her for prolonging Maris' binge by bringing her more wine!
A Harper born
Selgriffa's Harper training came in handy when Carleah, the Weyr Singer, asked her to play a set with her ensemble in the dining hall. They played to a rapturous reception that gave Selgriffa's confidence – and her mark purse – quite a boost!
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa 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 – Selgriffa did!
Weyrbrat by name...
A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Thippia had paid to cause Selgriffa trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa 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 Selgriffa didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Selgriffa approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Selgriffa went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Selgriffa doubted if Shookana and Jopha will ever be friends, the restoration of her Hatching robe to a suitable length did a great deal for her self-confidence!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Selgriffa visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Selgriffa ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Selgriffa 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, Selgriffa strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Selgriffa was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Recognising the severity of her condition, Selgriffa decided not to risk approaching the clutch, and went instead directly to the infirmary to be treated with antivenin.
But when it came to the Hatching, Selgriffa had a less than ordinary experience. While bathing in the lake, Selgriffa was swamped by a brown dragon's careless landing – and almost drowned. She survived – only to be invalided out of the Hatching and confined to the infirmary. But an earlier conversation with a veteran blue rider, S'rius, gave Selgriffa the notion that she might still be able to Impress – if she could just reach the Sands in time. She staggered from her sickbed, across the Weyr, and onto the Sands – just in time to Impress the very last dragonet, a blue who named himself Yaxioth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Sadly, there was at least one fly in the numbweed. Thippia Impressed a very vocal mint-green hatchling, making them Selgriffa and Yaxioth's new classmates. (On the bright side, at least Berrin didn't Impress!)
After the Hatching
"Yaxioth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Selgriffa on her Impression, but it was J'kel, thrilled that Hozrath had finally found a successful candidate after so long without, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Yaxioth's first meal. That was Selgriffa's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Yaxioth and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Yaxioth's personality started to become evident. The dark blue dragonet, among the smallest of his colour, turned out to be of an endearingly shy and modest character, rather requiring of encouragement.
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 Selgriffa and Jopha 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 Selgriffa's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Selgriffa would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Selgriffa took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Yaxioth, Selgriffa gave the Weyrleader her new name – S'griffa, rider of blue Yaxioth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Yaxioth's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, S'griffa and Jopha 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
S'griffa and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk S'griffa had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
S'griffa's Harper parents were absolutely delighted to find themselves the mother and father of a blue rider and happier still to learn that S'griffa had already brought her musical skills to the Weyr. And they were even more delighted to drink to S'griffa and Yaxioth when the Weyrleaders arrived to toast them!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for S'griffa, 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, S'griffa 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 S'griffa'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 S'griffa 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 Yaxioth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks (by way of the infirmary, as ordered by Tarshe), S'griffa 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 S'griffa 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, S'griffa decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Yaxioth – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pale green dragonet – S'griffa 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 – S'griffa 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?
S'griffa and Yaxioth'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.
I make quite a strange match with Yaxioth!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY
I returned to the infirmary!
EBONY AND IVORY
Yaxioth and I agreed on something very important!
Yaxioth and I disagreed on something quite important!