Family: M’wau (semi, sort of brother); Linjani (mother), Effan (father) & numerous unnamed siblings
From: Azov coverage area
Past life: Knitter, nomad
Leija’s life was that of a nomad, traveling with her rather sizable family, never staying in any one place long enough to set down roots. Expectations for her were minimal at best: she would help raise her family and when she reached the appropriate age, she would be married off and start a family of her own.
The first threat to those grand plans came at the age of five when Leija revealed that she could hear voices. Strange, wonderful voices that no one else could hear. At the age of seven, her parents accepted that it wasn’t Leija’s imagination, nor was it a stage that she would eventually grow out of.
Plans rapidly shifted, and while they never truly gave up hope of trying to find a suitable match for her to marry, those plans would never come to fruition. Life was already hard for the minorities of Pern and to be an outcast amongst outcasts rendered the girl untouchable. While much of the truer practices of their Hopi ancestors had been shed in an attempt to ‘fit in’, her parents believed that Leija’s gift had been bestowed upon her for a reason, which naturally lead them to believe that she belonged in a weyr.
It took a while, but her parents managed to locate a distant relative that had impressed and lived within close distance to a weyr. Correspondence with said relative ensued, and after reaching an agreement, Leija was sent to live with M’wau (rider of green Tesiath). Over the years that followed, Leija lived a sheltered life with M’wau playing the part of an overprotective, overly strict keeper. Eight years passed before Leija felt even the first glimpse of freedom.
As a result of her gift of being able to hear all dragons, Leija’s fascination with riders and their dragons always leaned toward the extreme. Though M’wau forbade her from revealing that secret out of fear of what would happen to her, it was only a matter of time before Leija’s peculiar ways would suss out the truth. Weyrwoman Xia was the first to learn of the girl’s ability after Leija snuck out from M’wau’s watchful eye to spy on a recently laid clutch. The ‘accident’ was a blessing in disguise, for it landed Leija under the mentorship of Xanad’s Weyrwoman Cecily.
From then on out, things snowballed. Leija’s eagerness to explore more and more of the world resulted in new experiences. Like setting her foot on fire at the Spring Games; being accused of shoplifting a dress by brownrider D’von; answering the calls of a distressed dragon, only to wander into a very pickly and violent act down in the tunnels below Xanadu; witnessing the appearance of the Red Star and subsequent gold flight that followed; wher-sitting for Professor Mahesh; a first love; her first broken heart… They were all new experiences, frightening and wonderful and truly challenging to the sheltered girl. But nothing compared to the very first clutch she stood for, one which contained a gold egg. Though many who knew her secret believed she was a sure thing for impressing the gold, it was Nance who walked away with gold Isth and Leija who left with crushed dreams.
The disappointment threatened to throw Leija head first back into her sheltered life. Her relationship with M’wau had become fractured and strained as a result of all that she’d done and changes within his own life. Though the two were able to repair that relationship, it would never quite be the same. Leija moved into town and took up a job as a piecework knitter. Through word of mouth and a bit of good fortune, she eventually landed a job working for Xanadu stakeholder Murray Sopers.
Time passed, and more experiences were had – the terrible agony of a dragon passing, of hearing each and every dragon connected to it experience that agony; listening to the weyrlings and their dragons grow and learn with one another… those were the times Leija cursed her ‘gift’ and questioned whether it was really a gift at all. But there was a blessing in it all, and often came in the quiet moments she found with dragons who she was particularly fond of. Among them (unbelievably enough) was brown Gesrith. Though the brownrider eventually learned of Leija’s secret (and condemned her for it), he never welcomed her presence nor interferences with his dragon.
By the time Cecily’s gold Tachryleith rose, Leija was feeling out of sorts and out of place. She definitely wasn’t feeling confident enough to Stand. It took coaxing, but in the end, Leija accepted the offer of Search for a second time. It was to her immense surprise (and relief) that the gold egg hatched first and near immediately impressed to her. That day Leija walked away with Kwanjath and into a whole new life.
Weyrlinghood was a trying time. There were new ‘firsts’, more disappointments and an ever increasing amount of incidents in which rowdy and impulsive Kwanjath earned the both of them a very bad name. Though that reputation continues to follow them today, Leija has grown more confident and has begun to explore avenues of how she might better help dragons and Pern. Most recently, she was apprenticed to Saira and has since devoted herself to the art of healing dragons.
Bronzerider Th’deus proposed, and a date for a wedding was set. Leija braved Xia to gain the Weyrwoman’s approval and was surprisingly granted it. However, Leija failed to see the wedding through and bolted moments before saying her “I do’s” leaving Th’deus at the altar.
Not too soon afterwards during Threadfall, green Cadeth and her rider Alys were struck by Thread, sending the pair into a plumet. Leija and Kwanjath went in for the rescue, flanked by Xia and Tiangliath. Tragedy struck when firestone fell free of Alys’ bag, striking the Senior Weyrwoman and killing her. She and Tiangliath disappeared between, leaving everyone in a state of shock.
With everyone aware that the next gold due to rise is Kwanjath, Leija has found herself thrust into an unwanted spotlight and, potentially, an unwanted promotion.
Ambition gleams in wide-set eyes, is echoed in the stubborn set of a fine boned face; even in youth, these are clear. She is large even by gold standards, though the bulk of her form is lanky, seemingly stretched to its limits. Her limbs are long and slender, the joints a touch on the knobby side. Neck and tail balance one another out; respectively short and long, while delicate bones support powerful wings. Hers is a hue that is fair yet rich with champagne-quality gold spreading evenly from tail-tip to wing.
Kwanjath is impulsive and brash, overflowing with confidence and grand ideas. She is a fiercely proud creature, and by proxy expects nothing less from Leija. Though her rider confounds her at times, disappoints her at others and downright annoys her every other day… she is terribly proud of Leija’s gentle nature and good heart. Leija is the yin to her yang.