Jellia and green Skytreth
The Road So Far!
It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Jellia – a young woman of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a green rider.
Jellia 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, Jellia didn't even present herself as a hopeful. Yet it was Jellia 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, Jellia's mother, had always dreamed of being a dragonrider – and gifting Jellia with her blue feather pendant as a lucky charm.
As a candidate, Jellia 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 Jellia! Backed up by her crony Cedranne, Auciet became the thorn in Jellia's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Erilde and Jellia 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 Jellia 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, Jellia 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 Jellia to find it. The quest took Jellia 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, Jellia encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Jellia to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Jellia 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, Jellia offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Jellia encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Jellia – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Jellia 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 Jellia 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 Jellia some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Jellia 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, Jellia 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, Jellia 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. Jellia 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 Jellia a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Jellia 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. Jellia'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 Jellia 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 Jellia 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 Jellia 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 – Jellia did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Jellia 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 Jellia didn't want to pass up.
Seeking knowledge of Erilde's parentage, Jellia 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 Jellia might construct a story about a long-dead rider. Jellia 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!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Jellia visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Jellia ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
When it came to the Hatching, Jellia had to wait a little while before the rough-textured cloudy white egg Hatched to reveal the vivid grassy-green dragonet who would choose her, naming herself Skytreth.
A friend in me
And Jellia wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Erilde also Impressed, becoming the rider of an inquisitive teal-green hatchling, Shaldeth.
Whatever happened to Auciet?
Quite simply, none of the dragonets seemed to want Auciet – she was left standing. Although Jellia did wonder if her own vivid grassy-green Skytreth might have glanced, however briefly, in Auciet's direction, and what might have been had she not chosen her...
After the Hatching
"Skytreth" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Jellia 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 Skytreth's first meal. That was Jellia's first opportunity to speak to Erilde, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Skytreth and Shaldeth.
It wasn't long before Skytreth'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 Jellia made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Jellia had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Jellia at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Jellia 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 to ask after their names. Jellia was proud to introduce Skytreth to the Weyrleader – and to give him her full new name: Jellia, rider of green Skytreth!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Skytreth's and Shaldeth's newborn itchiness, Jellia 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
Jellia and Erilde soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Jellia had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Jellia'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 Jellia and Skytreth.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Jellia, 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, Jellia 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 Jellia'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 Jellia 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 Skytreth.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Jellia 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 Jellia 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, Jellia decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Skytreth – billeted between Erilde's Shaldeth and a very large green dragonet – Jellia 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 – Jellia 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?
Jellia and Skytreth'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
Skytreth and I complement each other!
INSULT TO INJURY
I Impressed the dragon that my rival coveted!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Skytreth and I agreed on something very important!
Skytreth and I agreed on something quite important!