Ankhepith x Dhonzayth Clutching

Ista Weyr - Hatching Sands
The gently convex floor is hardly visible thanks to its filling of deep black sand, nonetheless forming a bowl in which a clutch of eggs can harden in safety and warmth. Heated by the thermal energy of the dormant volcano, the sands are always opressively hot - even through boots, the sand seers and bakes, small rushes of air from above and through from the bowl making little difference. A large outcropping of stone becomes an island within this sea of sand, the resting place of a queen who guards her clutch; a smaller platform of wood is set aside for the queen's rider.
Centuries of eggshells scatter the dark sands, broken down to but pieces of colour amid the darkness. A staircase rises towards the far end of the sands, almost out of view, whilst a small passage leads in the general direction of the weyrling barracks.


Ankhepith waddles out onto the sands, head kept low for the time being as she focuses on the more important task of finishing her sands preparations. For now Leslyn is missing, this having become something of a daily routine for the gravid gold.

Those times that Dhonzayth and L'ton are at Ista, and not gallivanting across Pern, the brassy bronze has spent lurking here and there, often follow Ankhepith from a safe distance, and watching the gold from the overhead ledges. Today, however, he's actually playing the role of gravid gold shadow, for he's trudging along after his mate, pausing at the edge of the sands with croon - a croon that has the barest hint of hoarseness to it.

Ankhepith smoothes and pats, working her way methodically around the sands though always keeping a safe distance from Umniyath's eggs that already lie there. After working her way to one side of the area she's claiming as her own she turns, smoothing and patting back in the other direction. She pauses for a second to reply to Dhonzayth, and then continues with her ritual.

Dhonzayth warbles to the gold that got away, but after that briefest of acknowledgements, all his attention is once more on the gold that truly matters - at least for right now. As Ankhepith moves back and forth, the brassy bronze settles down, stretching his nose out to her as she passes, staying out of her way less he ruin the ritual.

As she reaches the rear of the sands Ankhepith pauses, digging one foot into the black sand and scratching a series of gouges into the flooring. This done she stops, laying her snout at the end of one of the lines and blowing gently. Closing her eyes a moment of utter silence follows, the gold barely appearing to breathe. This seems to signify the last of her preparations, as she lifts her head and moves heavily over to lie beside Dhonzayth. After a moment her tail moves across to lie touching his.

Dhonzayth croons softly at Ankhepith gouges the sand, wings spreading slightly as the ritual comes to a close, settling back down as she joins him on the side of the Sands. As tails touch, the pale tip of his twines around hers gently, even as his brocade-muzzle gently touches Ankhepith's neck and side, offering a bit of comfort and encouragement.

Ankhepith doesn't move much; just the occasional lean towards her chosen mate, but anyone who's paying enough attention would spot a slight rippling along her side. Her tail flicks slowly from side to side, head leaning over towards Dhonzayth.

Dhonzayth continues his gentle attentions to Ankhepith, nose touching her side, and then to her nose, leaning with a wing spread far enough to be rather protective of the gold who chose him from the rest. The movement of her tail has him shifting, and twining his neck ever so briefly with hers, before he's looking at the sands.

Ankhepith stretches her forelegs out in front of her, digging talons into the sand as her sides ripple once more. Slowly, very slowly, she gets to her feet again; tail protectively gripping on to Dhonzayth's for a moment. Her wings flare a little as another ripple runs the length of he belly, this one very much visible.

Dhonzayth stretches even as Ankhepith does, turning his head to look at her side, gently running his muzzle along it as it ripples. Tail tightens with hers, and he leans back against her, slowly moving to escort her on the sands. Despite as slow as they are, its still a bit before L'ton is arriving on the scene - the Weyrsecond still buttoning his shirt as he goes, running his hand through his hair - though whether its to settle his unruly locks or to muss them further, who knows.

From the Galleries, Since arriving at Ista, Lear has often visited this place for its moments of peace and for the way it feels orderly, controlled, organised. He likes that. Lear had been sat quietly in thought, when Ankhepith and Dhonzayth had entered. Now he fidgets because he is not sure what to do. He is rather surprised by what he is realising he is seeing, but he also feels he might be intruding. What to do…

Ankhepith takes a few paces forwards, pausing as another ripple shudders its way down her sides. Her movements are slow, head turning to look towards the entrance to the sands time and again, waiting for Leslyn to put in an appearance. With no sign of the junior goldrider just yet, Ankhepith starts to slowly dig a depression into the sands, pausing to glance up at the galleries once the hole is made, hen moving forwards a little to dig again.

Dhonzayth moves with Ankhepith, helping to shift the sand away from her chosen spot, the black grains sliding back into place with each scoop of his brassy paw. As Ankhepith continues to shift and dig, he tries to help where he can, sparing L'ton only the briefest of glances as the bronzerider settles on the platform, doing his own nervous glances towards the entrance, looking for Leslyn.

The ripples down Ankhepith's sides are coming thick and fast now, yet she still seems in no hurry for the first of this group of eggs to appear. A second hole is abandoned in favour of digging a third; forward movement slowing while that of her tail speeds up greatly. While the gold's movements slow, Leslyn's when she finally appears are much, much quicker. Damp hair is clinging to her head as she appears almost at a run, pausing at the side of the sands and taking the long way round so that she doesn't disturb anything that is happening - she knows when her part in the procedure comes, and that's after all the eggs have been laid. L'ton is greeted with a quiet, "Hey." but for now that's all.

Dhonzayth stretches out, shifting to pepper the sands with a few shallow holes of his own, offering them up for the gold's perusal, and approval. His soft croon his muffled by his wing as he turns to watch Leslyn cross the sands, before his nose is touching Ankhepith's side once more. As Leslyn joins him, L'ton meanwhile holds out a friendly arm to pull her to his side, gaze leaving their lifemates very briefly. "Hey Les." He murmurs.

The truce between Leslyn and L'ton seems to still be in force for she doesn't pull away, doesn't punch him again either which is always a bonus. Ankhepith's tail lifts; a series of ripples moving down her side as she plods back across to the first hole that was dug. Carefully she lowers, a slight hiss of pain escaping as the first of the eggs finally is allowed to grace the sands.

Use The Force Egg
Putrid swamp green clings to this shell, coating each and every spot upon it in the color of rotting foliage, the sheer drab color seeming to evoke a particularly horrid smell. Wisps of foggy gray seem to rise from the surface, spinning this way and that before they are caught and dispelled by the gray-green branches that create a dark canopy, fingerlike appendages creeping outwards. And yet, there's a bright spot - a streak of neon green - that seems to disappear as soon as it's noticed on one side of the shell.

L'ton leaves his arm loosely over Les's shoulders when there's no punch or other retaliation for his actions, smiling a bit. "Looks like ya were caught as off guard as Ah was.." He teases her a little bit, even as Dhonzayth is being much more respectful to his golden companion. As the first egg appears, filling the first hole, Dhonzayth is once more at Ankhepith's side, looking at it with a tilt of his head before the nasty green shell is shifted and quickly buried beneath Ista's hot black sands.

Leslyn chuckles slightly, "What gave it away?" Her hair's drying fast now that she's on the sands, "Should've brought something to drink though." Out on the sands Ankhepith is digging again, dragging one foot to create some sort of pattern in the sands that encircles another hole. Another ripple courses down her sides, but she ignores this latest hole and moves towards the rear of the sands instead.

L'ton lifts his hand to tug on her drying hair - very gently - before he's grinning. "Ta bad K'ael ain't here, only thing he's good fer, he usually's got something." The Weyrsecond, it seems is equally without drink. None of this matters to Dhonzayth, however, who gives the first egg another showering of sand before heading after Ankhepith towards the rear section of the Sands, a soft croon escaping him.

Ankhepith lets out another long hiss of pain causing Leslyn to wince. "Alcohol's the last thing you want on the sands anyway. Juice is good, but I can wait. Con might bring some later anyway." Another wince accompanies Ankhepith moving again, the gold's sides heaving. Tail lifts slowly, a second egg left glistening damply on the sands, ready to be rolled towards its new home.

Contours of Light Egg
This mottled egg seems nothing to look at at first. Just blends of brown and muddy bronze over the smooth organic surface, like the hide of a dragon. Only here and there, does contrast suggest flachettes and cords of colour, streamlining that which is otherwise unremarkable. What does draw the eye are contoured lines of lighter colour, like streams of light, growing brighter until nearly searing at the base, shining almost blindingly against the darkness of the sands beneath, like a flash in a dark sky. The mind could easily believe the shell to be filled with kinetic potential, about to blast off into the unknown.

"It helps things go faster, though." L'ton counters, but then he's just nodding at Leslyn's words, wincing a bit even as Leslyn does. "Shards…" He murmurs softly, watching the gold with a bit of nervousness. Dhonzayth's mimicking his rider's emotions, the brassy bronze's eyes tinged with orange and yellow as he's quickly at Ankhepith's side, muzzle touching her side and a soft croon. Its okay. Only after a moment of comforting the gold does he moves onto the newest egg, covering its brown shell with black sands, just like the first.

From the Galleries, Lear had noted when Ankhepith had looked up to the gallery, and somewhere in his mind realised that there was no hiss in his direction. This helped his choices of whether to stay or go… then more people arrived, so it must be ok right?! Looking about for a moment he nods politely to different people as eye contact is made, but then sometimes his eyes were so glued on what is going on in the sands.

Ankhepith pauses next to the first egg, or mound of sand as it has quickly become. Carefully she scoops a little more sand around its base, before moving a little step away. There's a pause, a long one where she doesn't move at all, and after a time she turns to look at Dhonzayth. Stretching a wing she twists her body a little, seeking some relief from the discomfort. On the little riders podium Leslyn frowns, "She's feeling it more this time. Figure it would get easier each time, not more painful. Weird, huh."

From the Galleries, Shandraive is lucky that he was in the kitchens when the clutching began, and that the chatter of drudges drew his attention to the goings-on of the Grounds. He takes a seat quickly in the galleries, but seems to think the better of it. He glances at those on the Sands, then decides they're probably too busy with their own problems to get upset at him. He moves to the front of the galleries (currently fairly unoccupied) and begins to climb onto the railing. "You think they'll mind?" he asks the boy nearby, pausing halfway.

"Ah hope she's okay…" L'ton murmurs softly, giving Leslyn's shoulders a squeeze as he bites his lip, shaking his head. "Ah.. Is there anything Dhon can do?" The bronze is trying to help as he can, gently nudging his nose against her side rubbing his neck against hers to lend her a bit of reassurance.

Leslyn shakes her head, "They come as they come." And they come when they're not quite expected as well. Ankhepith's wings flare, momentarily blocking part of the sands from sight, and as she turns there's a third egg on the sands that she stares at for a moment - she wasn't ready!

Electric Mayhem Egg
Vibrant colors of neon green and bright orange, glowing magenta weaving between the other colors, providing an eclectic backdrop, sparkling like stage lights. The circles of a drum set perch on the crown of the egg, dark red and each sitting slightly offkilter upon the shell, as if they'd been wildly beaten upon. A robins egg blue shape is settled on one side, seeming to look similar to some sort of horn, darker blue spots dotting it here and there, while bright red and lavender clash in a shape that resembles a gitar. And yet, despite the clash of colors, the noisy patterns on the shell, there seems to be a certain harmony about it.

From the Galleries, Lear tears his eyes away from Ankhepith, while she tends the sand mound as a voice reaches his ears. Looking up he smiles and shakes his head. "I was wondering the same thing earlier, but I am sure Ankhepith noticed I was here, she seemed to scan the galleries, but nobody commented.." He shrugs lightly and indicates the seat next to him. "As long as we don't make a fuss eh?!" a light shrug follows this statement.

"Ah guess.." L'ton murmurs softly, but he's still shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot, shaking his head. Dhonzayth ducks his head a bit as Ankhepith's wings flare, and he's crooning in surprise, turning to look at the brightly colored egg. After a moment to stare, he's gently starting to dig a shallow trough next to it, to give it a home of its own.

From the Galleries, Shandraive decides that sitting on the railing might be seen as 'making a fuss,' and reluctantly steps down to take the offered seat near Lear. "I guess that's alright." His eyes scan the grounds again, and he gestures to the Electric Mayhem Egg. "Look at that one. You have to wonder what makes such colors, don't you? I mean, they aren't dyed or painted, but just look at the vibrance!" For all that he wears black, blue and grey exclusively, Shan is very much a fan of the bright colors, and it's audible in the enthusiasm in his voice.

Ankhepith snorts at that third egg, turning her back on it and moving away. The next egg comes a lot more sedately, the gold placing herself carefully before it makes an appearance. She stretches again, taking a couple of steps away and lowering to the sands - for a rest this time. "Four." Leslyn nods, "So far so good. She's been averaging about eleven so we've got a while to go yet."

Weird As a Wherry Egg
The top of this very ovoid egg is a bright red, like the skin of a redfruit. It's a bit textured, looking bumpy and thick. The red expands outward from the peak, creeping down the sides a bit before it thins out in a drip-like pattern. The bottom of the egg is purely white, moving from a perfect circle about an eighth of the way down and around it and then to the southern peak. There's only one black ring in this white area, forming a nice white cup as its supporting base. The rest of the egg is covered in thin pale yellow stripes that swirl around without any rhyme or reason. They seem to lack a plan or a good understanding of how they ought to lay, instead choosing to settle into complete chaos.

From the Galleries, Leona is here, loitering in the back. Yes. Exciting! She seems to be spending a lot more time at Ista lately, but she's not often seen with her dragon, Lakareth. "Hrm. Never actually /been/ to a clutching before." she muses absently, rubbing her temples as the third egg, the Electric Mayhem Egg, is laid, though that could just be coincidence.

From the Galleries, Lear nods and hopes he has given the right advice regarding being able to watch. Curiously he looks closer at the vibrant egg described, and actually thinks about the colours. He himself is rather a neutral-coloured kinda guy. "Perhaps he shows the personality within?! as clothes can often demonstrate a persons style?!" As a launderer he notes lots of different styles of clothing. He is quiet for a time as a fourth egg finds its resting place. Turning again then to the boy next to him he adds. "What do you think?!" As an after thought he adds. "Sorry, I am Lear.."

Dhonzayth carefully finishes his hole, gently nudging the third egg into it. Forgotten as it is by Ankhepith, he takes his time to settle it, covering it with sand. Only after he's satisfied does he move to the fourth egg in its little hole, covering this one as well. Then, he's turning to join Ankhepith, draping his neck over her back gently, whuffling at her, careful of those eggs already upon the black sands of Ista. "Well, hopefully her and Dhon'll do right by Ista. Faranth knows we need it right now."

From the Galleries, Shandraive gestures to his own clothing. "Looking at a black shirt, grey vest and black pants, would you guess that my favorite color is either bright cobalt or blinding magenta?" He gives the boy a quirky smile. "Can't tell everything from the clothes. Bet it's the same with dragons." He pauses for a moment, seeming to consider. "And it would take all the fun out of it, I think, if they were just like their eggs, you know? 'I want a boring dragon. Look, a boring egg! Hey, let's be friends!'" Because in Shan's mind, that's exactly how Impression goes (hey, he's only been in the Weyr for a sevenday, and he _was_ fairly sheltered).

Ankhepith rubs gently against Dhonzayth, enjoying the contact for the moment. Her neck stretches twice in quick succession, head almost making contact with the sands. Her eyes whirl with pain and a little worry as she lumbers back to her feet and takes a couple of steps towards the galleries. Leslyn nods, giving L'ton a quick squeeze, "It'll be fine, see, there's another one on the way."

Dhonzayth is happy to supply anything the clutching gold desires, crooning to her. And then, as her neck is stretching, wings are going wide, and he's rocking back onto his hind feet. But then, she's lumbering on, and he's recovering, eyes still whirling with concern as he's following after her, muted croons echoing in the Hatching Cavern. At Leslyn's squeeze, L'ton glances down at her, smiling and nodding. "Ayep." He replies simply, gaze drifting back to the progress of the dragons.

From the Galleries, Leona can't help but smirk at the conversation, and moves over to sit nearer Shandraive and Lear, interrupting idly, "Ha! Lakareth's egg looked so sweet and innocent, like a crumbly desert, but the dragon himself is anything /but/. He's no sweet desert with creamy filling, no, he's a bastard-coated bastard with bastard filling." she smirks. But oh how she loves him. He's just like her, after all!

From the Galleries, Lear can't help but glance at the clothes as they are indicated. He chuckles. "Fair point, I wouldn't have guessed your favourite colours!" Listening to the idea of egg shells 'v' personality he nods slowly. "But an egg that is plain might not seem boring to one person? I mean they say you never can tell the colour a dragon egg holds, the same as who they will pick, but it is an interesting theory don't you think?" One of his usual shrugs happens then before adding. "In any case, they are all very individual.. I mean look at that red toppe one!" Lear is about to add more thoughts when he catches what Leona is saying. "Maybe then, its a way of enticing someone near to the egg? You think its all sweet and innocent, then your pounced on?" lets face it, Lear has no true idea, but he is curious.

Ankhepith's neck stretches again, almost as if she were ready to be sick, and he next step forwards is more of a stumble as an odd strangled noise comes from her throat. There's little time to consider this oddness as another egg makes itself known to the world. Head held high, neck almost rigid, she takes a step away from this latest egg, using her tail to pat sand around it where it sits. leslyn takes a little step fowards herself, hand drifting to L'ton's arm. The expression on her face is pure worry.

Gol Darn Ball of Yarn Egg
Almost entirely spherical this odd little egg has a fuzzy look to it, as if a layer of fluff must surround the shell, if it even is a shell and not the giant ball of yarn it resembles. Bands of bright colour wind over each other, criss-crossing and intertwining so that if there's one dominant colour it's impossible to tell - red flowing into green, flowing into yellow and brown. There's even some purple there, and right at the bottom there's a tiny spot of regular eggshell white.

From the Galleries, Shandraive grins and turns at Leona's interjection. "Bastard-coated with bastard filling, huh? Well, maybe the desert scene was meant to have a different meaning.. more like 'desert all hope, ye who enter here'." Oh yes, he thinks he's clever. He opens his mouth to reply to Lear, but the noise from the hatching grounds distracts him. And there on the sands is an egg that audibly takes his breath away. "It's so gorgeous…" A pause. "Does it look _fuzzy_ to you? Like.. like wool! Wool yarn. I knit my nephew some pants with yarn that looked like that." This doesn't seem to curb his enthusiasm at all — if anything, it makes the egg more fascinating to him.

Dhonzayth rocks back on his hind legs again, trumpeting loudly - showing no sign of the earlier muffled tone - eyes whirling red as Ankhepith stumbles. The bronze is left torn between the newest egg, currently protected by the golden tail, and the gold herself. Settling for his decision, a bit more sand is pushed over the egg, to augment what the gold had added herself. But then, all his attention is on Ankhepith herself, moving to support her. L'ton is shifting to support Leslyn as well, arm dropping from her shoulders to her waist, squeezing her a bit. "Ah.. Ah'm sure it was nothing Les… Just.. take a breath.." Though, despite the calmness of his voice, there is worry written on L'ton's face.

From the Galleries, Leona nods slowly to Lear, smirking absently. "Well, could be, could be. Some dragons do match their shells though, it's near impossible to predict what will come out of any egg. Or even whether the dragon stays the same in the egg. My Lakareth grew oddly in the shell, left him with a weak leg, makes him grumpy. The sweet outer shell was probably appropriate when the egg was first laid." She notes, with a frown. There's a pause, and Leona turns her head to stare at Ankhepith, eyes quickly glazing over as she makes contact with her own lifemate for some reason or other. She falls a little quiet then, frowning at the sands in concern.

Ankhepith retches again, forefeet digging into the sand as she fights to keep control. There's no mistaking the noise that comes from her throat this time - harsh and choked it may be, but it is a definite cough. "Ton! Get him out of here!" Leslyn's voice is practically nonexistance, it's so high pitched. Not caring any more about ritual, about giving space, she jumps down from the platform and races across to Ankhepith's side.

Dhonzayth, still at Ankhepith's side, is nudging her gently even as she's coughing, the brassy bronze trying his best to comfort his mate, eyes whirling faster and faster. Particularly as Leslyn is tearing across the Sands towards them, he's trumpeting again, wings flailing, not wanting to leave the gold's side. L'ton is left, frozen in his spot, staring at the gold, and then the goldrider as she runs away, just stammering ineffectually.

From the Galleries, Lear had been listening to the description of the latest egg addition and frowns as he listens to the description. "Not sure fuzzy is right.. but I can see the idea of the wool..?!" his hands going to remove some of his mop-of-hair from his eyes before he goes to make another comment. This doesn't happen as the noise of trumpeting fills his ears. "Is everything ok?!" His turning to the only person who might be able to answer the question he looks to Leona. After a moment though he asks. "Why does your Lakareth become grumpy because of his leg?" looking then between Shandraive and Leona he adds. "Perhaps when the candidate the like gets near them, that changes their personality to something that would suit the Rid…" His sentence is stopped by the cough. "oh no…"

From the Galleries, Shandraive hasn't been in Ista long, and as such, he doesn't understand the significance of the cough. Even so, it's enough to pry his attention away from the fuzzy-looking egg to watch its dam. "Sick mother," he comments. "I wonder if the clutch will show it." At Lear's 'oh no,' he cocks his head slightly in curiosity. "It's not like she's dying or anything, right? The goldrider will just call a dragonhealer, same as you call a healer when _you_ cough." Sheltered. Again, sheltered.

From the Galleries, Leona tilts her head at Lear, consciously looking away from the sands. If she doesn't look, it can't be what she thinks it is. Right. "His leg hurts, all the time. I mix numbweed myself, but it only dulls the pain." she sighs. "Not a dragonhealer on Pern can figure out what's wron—" Cough. Cough? Leona goes very pale then, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. It seems like she'd much rather be … elsewhere. "Lakareth." she whispers, finally allowing her gaze to drift back to the sands, eyes quickly settling on Ankhepith, and /staring/.

Leslyn is unphased by Dhonzayth's size or reaction; she's intent on one thing and one thing only, Ankhepith. The gold coughs again, head dropping to whuffle gently at Leslyn then nudge her out of the way. As rider falls on her backside, dragon takes a couple of steps to allow a sixth egg to drop to the ground.

Fulfill The Prophecy
The entire surface of this ovoid is covered in a strange hue of deep purple. There appears to be a series of natural highlights running across the shell in sharp straight patterns that makes the egg look more angular than it really is, as each section is picked out in lighter shades to create an impression of a crystalline facets. Up near the top of the shell there is one long thin section that looks out of place when compared to the rest, it is a much deeper shade of purple and makes it look like the shell is damaged, or a shard is missing.

From the Galleries, Lear couldn't help the 'oh no' that slips out but he had also been listening to what Leona had said about Lakareth and at the note about not knowing whats wrong he begins to look apologetic. "I hope you didn't mind me asking, I was just curious." Its an honest statement. All thoughts of the browns leg are wiped from his mind though as the dragons name is uttered. "He is not coughing is he?!" turning then to Shandraive he adds. "I don't think they can just call a dragonhealer.. because nobody knows.." He trails off his sentense as he watches the Weyrwoman race to her gold. "Could it effect the clutch!?" He asks then to both people around him.

Dhonzayth, meanwhile, is also intent on staying near Ankhepith, the bronze snorting at the little rider as she falls on her backside, the bronze only paying her attention enough to not accidentally squish her, while moving to cover up the purple shell. The dark sand covers the shell hurriedly, even as L'ton is finally coming to his senses, rushing across the sands as well, trying both mentally and physically to get the bronze moving.. anywhere else.

From the Galleries, Shandraive looks from Lear to Leona. "I'm missing something. It's a cough. It's just a cough. You," and he indicates Leona, "look white as a sheet." He crosses his arms over his chest and, completely ignoring the hatching grounds, waits for someone to tell him what's going on.

"Tonnn!" Leslyn stays seated on the sands, almost as shocked by Ankhepith's behaviour as she is by L'ton's delay in moving. Ankhepith moves on, neck drooping now. There's a pause, her feet digging into the sand near her first egg. A long deep breath, her head comes up again, wings spreading a little though this time with pure determination.

The battle between Dhonzayth and L'ton continues, before finally it seems L'ton has won, though the rumble of Merkabeth from elsewhere in the Weyr proves that there is a certain, greater force that is enforcing order. The bronze croons once more, before he's backing away, and in fact off the sands, lingering on the edge and making a pathetic sound, before he's disappearing completely. L'ton is left to stare at his lifemate, visibly shaken as he moves to help Leslyn to her feet.

From the Galleries, Leona blushes, and quickly shakes her head, "Er, no, no, Lakareth is fine." Lie! Lying liar! The guilt is written all over her face. "He, he's fine." Is she … almost /crying/? No, no, can't be. Probably a bit of dust in her eye, that's the ticket. "Just his leg, that's all. Just… leg. Old leg. Nothing new." she suddenly realises she's rambling and clams up, looking down at the sands, mouthing 'Move, move, get out, fly /away/' at the bronze, not that he'd be paying close enough attention to notice. "I, I do? I'm not white, I'm nice and tanned! My /brother/ is white as a sheet." Yes, she's deliberately misunderstanding, but being able to get angry seems to be helping somehow. "Dragons are falling ill with this, this, who knows what. It's … bad. It's very bad. Dragons don't /normally/ cough." Her voice says anger, but her expression says fear.

Ankhepith lets out a long sad note as Dhonzayth leaves, gaze following him as he heads off the sands. Now she's even more determined, and even as another cough shakes her, she moves with as much grace as she can manage in her current state to leave a seventh egg in her wake. Leslyn is clinging, hands grabbing at L'ton a she pulls herself upwards. She's not dumb enough to invade Ankhepith's space again, but it's clear the temptation is there.

Of Mazes and Monsters Egg
Dizzying to the eyes, the main focus of this roundish egg is the twisting, turning, zigzagging dark lines etched deep into the shell, surrounded by cracked walls and foreboding barriers. Dead tan earth supports the bottom edge, dimming into the shadowy center of narrow corridors and hazy obstacles that need closer inspection— an ominous forest, blackened pits, or perhaps a murky swamp. The shell's mysteries are drawn out nearing the apex of the egg, brightening to a smoother stone and polished brass, clearcut edifices making their home on the shell, surrounding a fortress standing guard over the secrets of this dragon's egg.

From the Galleries, Lear holds his hands up in a calming pose has ne noted shandraive folding his arsm. "Its just that they don't know what is causing this cough, and its knocking the dragons for six! They are slowly falling ill and not getting better." his own voice shows the concerns he feels from everyone he speaks to. For a time he is quiet as his eyes seem to watch the scene below with something like a numb shock registering. Suddenly he snaps out of it and turns to Leona. "Just Lakareth's leg? Are you sure.. I mean are you ok?!" He had noted the change from jovial rider to rambling-concerned-rider."

There's an echoing rumble, sad and drawn out, coming from outside the Sands, as Dhonzayth is kept at bay both by his lifemate and by the Senior gold. L'ton's holding Leslyn's hands as she clings, pulling her into a hug even as he turns to watch Ankhepith, shaking his head. "Ya gotta give her space, Les.. It'll… It'll be over soon 'nuff, then ya can go to her."

From the Galleries, Shandraive finally seems to be understanding a bit. He moves closer to Leona, intending to comfort her, but decides that this would probably get a bad reaction — she doesn't seem like the sort who wants a shoulder to cry on (although those _do_ look like the sparkles of tears in her eyes, now that he thinks about it..). "A dragon illness. It's not.. totally unexpected. Look at all the plagues we've had. Dragons have gone largely untouched." Not that it matters, since a dead rider equals a dead dragon anyway, but that's not the point. "And how bad is it, all around? A cough isn't so bad, if it's _just_ a cough. What else is there to it?" He ignores Lear's questioning of Leona — if she wants to talk about her dragon's problems, that's her business, but he's not intent on prying into specifics.

Leslyn nods, dropping her head to L'ton's shoulder — if the truce between the two had been shaky at any point before, now it's rock solid. Left alone on the sands Ankhepith moves to dig another indentation soon to become an egg housing. The ripples that have been coursing down her stomach preceeding each egg have slowed now, and she moves again to dig once more once another cough has faded.

L'ton gently squeezes Leslyn as her head drops to his shoulder, sighing softly and looking past her to her lifemate, alone on the Sands to finish her clutching. "It's gonna be okay, Les… Ah promise.." He says softly, giving her another squeeze, before there's another sad cry from Dhonzayth and the Weyrsecond is torn. Slowly, though, he's detaching the goldrider, squeezing her hands. "Ah.. Ah need ta be with Dhon, he's.. He's not happy. Ah'll be right outside, though…" He says, giving her a sad smile before he's running to the tune of another distressed trumpet from the bronze.

From the Galleries, Leona may have been jovial before, but it was a forced mood. Never would she normally sit and chat with /teenagers/, that's just not her idea of a good time. No offence intended. She snorts, and snaps at Lear. "There's no 'just' about Lakareth's leg, but the rest of him is fine. As am I." she's /very/ defensive there. Yes. Part of her desperately /wants/ to be honest, she's a mean-spirited grouch most of the time, but never a liar. But then there's the part that's not her, the part that's Lakareth. And /he/ doesn't want to be prodded by dragonhealers. That, combined with the part of Leona that loves her job, is enough, for now. That secret is not coming out any time soon. "Ask a dragonhealer, how should I know?" Because if she reveals that she /does/ know, well, there'd have to be a /reason/ there, wouldn't there?

And so both of the girls are abandoned on the sands, Leslyn left simply staring after L'ton as he heads out. Ankhepith's croon this time is for her rider only, the gold moving towards her a little until another cough causes her to stop. Her head droops, the effort of another egg arriving and four coughs in quick succession making her sink to the sands. Without thinking Leslyn hurries to her side, leaning against the gold's neck and welcomed this time.

Big Blue Wet Thing Egg
Black swirls into deep navy, the shades of the deepest depths of the ocean dredged upwards to engulf the gentle curves of this damp looking egg. Faint traceries of light and life break through as the navy clashes with cerulean, the lighter tones seeming to win out over the center band of the egg, which in turn gives way to turquoise, as green begins to creep into the picture. Upon the very crest, the lightest hues cling - seafoam and sky blue, cream and white, as the waves break, crashing upon a the sandy shore of the Hatching Sands.

From the Galleries, Lear raises his eyebrows at the change in tones from the others around him and for a moment sits in silence. He understands where Shandraive is coming from and maybe he should not have asked questions, but the snappings from Leona had surprised him and he feels the need to backtrack sligthly. "Oh! Hay! I meant no offence with my comment about Your lifemates leg. I realise it is something.. I was just…" he sighs then as the keening from the bronze outside had began to really grind in his hearing. Watching another egg reaching the sands he chooses to many point out the positives. "Another egg, She can make it." Its a bold statment but he can only hope there is truth behind the statement.

For so long there is no movement on the sands, most would be forgiven for thinking all is over. Now and then coughs shake Ankhepith, yet gold and rider stay close together. Eventually Ankhepith lumbers to her feet once more, the strain telling in every movement she makes. Leslyn backs off a little, giving the space needed, and as a ninth egg makes its appearance there is no movement to bury it. Ankhepith's tail curls around this final shell, holding it in place as Leslyn is the one to comfort her once more.

Overhead Critics Egg
Luxurious red velvet drapes in heavy folds, gathered there and there, casting the maroon cloth into darker shadows here and there, a heavy curtain obscuring the smooth ovoid shell, and giving this egg a rather lumpy appearance. Cords and tassels of gold trim the shell, bits of copper touching here and there, accenting it and brightening up the shell, while the shadows turn portions to a dull amber. Oddly, however, there a much brighter, almost perfectly round shape settled on one side - similar to a spotlight - settled not upon the stage of the sands, but upon the balcony that is this egg's shell.

From the Galleries, Shandraive withdraws into silence at the rider's harsh words. Something's going on there, but he's not going to pry. If her bite is as strong as her bark, Leona is likely to take his face off. He looks down at the sands, trying to block out the image of the gold and her rider to focus only on the eggs. "What's that now, eight?" As he speaks, the Overhead Critics egg makes its appearance. "Nine," he ammends. "Not a bad clutch, right?"

From the Galleries, Leona eyes the clutch absently, though the exhausted form of Ankhepith keeps stealing her attention. Finally, the woman sighs, and stands to leave. "Never been to a clutching before, never will again." she mutters as she leaves without even a word to either Lear or Shandraive. That's probably for the best, really.

From the Galleries, Lear sees Leona rise, and for a moment thinks about stopping her go. "I…" Maybe not right, but he would apologise at a later date. Turning back to the cluch he smiles lightly. "New life, and a happy occasions, when all else around feels apprihensive, worried.." He trails off for a moment before adding. "Ankhepith is doing an amazing job, to still tend the eggs… She's not covering the last one?!" its a question but, as nobody in the 3 had been to a clutching before, guess it would be an unanswered question.

Alicia steps down onto the sands from the Foyer.

Leslyn and Ankhepith have barely moved since the last egg was clutched, the gold's cough the only real noise as it echoes around the hatching grounds. They still stand together, though the gold has made a vague attempt at hiding the last egg that was clutched.

Alicia strides onto the Sands "Dlienth says that you needed me here L'ton?" she frowns as she hears the gold cough

Leslyn looks round, shaking her head. It takes her a moment to find her voice, and when she does speak it's very quiet. "He's gone. Didn't want Dhon to… you know." There's a pause, a tiny step away. "Alicia, can you…." She glances to Ankhepith, the gold nervous about people on her sands so soon, "She just started coughing today."

Alicia nods "Just today huh?" she asks as she moves closer to Ankhepith, "Ankhepith, might I look at your throat please? I need you to open your mouth."

Leslyn nods, moving quickly back to Ankhepith's side. It takes a moment for the gold to agree, Leslyn talking to her quietly assuring her that Alicia means no danger to the eggs. Slowly Ankhepith's head drops, though she turns away and coughs before opening her mouth for Alicia.

Alicia looks closely as possible, moving about quietly to get the best light angle. She steps back "Thank you very much Ankhepith. It appears to be the flu that she has, like the others. She should be kept as quiet as possible. I would like her in the infirmary but I know that she won't go with her eggs here. I would suggest that Dhonzayth post himself at the entrance to discourage visitors so she can stay quiet

Ankhepith rumbles quietly, and Leslyn gently strokes a hand down her neck. "She'll definitely not leave just now. There's nothing you can do?" Her voice is tinged with hope, but she knows there's nothing yet. "Dhon… will he be okay to be here? Even just at the edge?"

From the Galleries, Lear turns to Shandraive and then adds. "Did you hear that?! Flu?!"

Alicia crosses her arms and thinks a moment. "I'm not sure. We still don't know exactly how it is going from dragon to dragon. He can stay on the grounds if he wants I just want him to be careful. I know that 'mates can be helpful when it comes to healing a sickness." she looks at Leslyn "Keep her fluids up and I'd say have one of the staff running about butcher a herdbeast every other day or so for her to eat so that we can keep her strength up. I'll have someone bring in a tub for water." she turns to Ankhepith "Ok Ankhepith? Someone will bring you water and we'll bring you your food so that you can rest and get better."

From the Galleries, Shandraive furrows a brow. "I think that's what she said. Hard to hear from up here, but it makes sense with the coughing." He pulls his jacket closer around his body, feeling chilled even in the warm Istan air. "If that mess is contagious, I want none of it. Well met, Lear, and I'll be taking my leave now." He stands and makes his way toward the exit, then turns to say, "I'm Shandraive, by the way. Forgot to say it earlier." And with a slight wave, he makes his escape.

Leslyn nods, though it's clear that this whole thing has upset her more than she's admitting. "Thank you. Can… can you come back now and then? Just to check?" Ankhepith lowers her head to blink at Alicia, sending her agreement via Dlienth. She stretches a wing, draping it gently over a couple of the eggs, the lays her head back down onto the sands.

From the Galleries, Lear 's eyebrows go even higher into his mop of hair as Shandraive is soon to follow Leona. He smiles though ands nods. "Yes, well met Shandraive. Hopefully see you about the Weyr." and he means it. Suddenly he adds. "I have heard it is only affecting the dragons.." not that that is anything to be thankful about. As people about him slip away, he goes back to watching the sands, looking at each egg and noticing their shades and shape more than before. He turns back to watch Ankhepith with the healer and suddenly realises that if peace is needed, probably having someone sat watching is not the most appropriate thing. He too begins to get himself sorted to slip away.

Alicia nods "Gladly." she turns to Ankhepith "Anytime you want me to come just bespeak Dlienth and I'll get here." she turns back to Leslyn "And if she won't ask and you feel she needs me here have someone call for me. I know how stubborn some dragons can be." this last is said with a gentle smile. "Nice clutch here I must say that Ankhepith"

Ankhepith's rumble this time certainly sounds happier than before, though she doesn't move. "Thank you." Even Leslyn seems a little easier about things, "I know you've got others and I shouldn't take up all your time but… well… eggs." At least that's part of the reason. "I'll make sure we don't bother you too much. I promise."

Alicia she chuckles "not a bother to come see to the health of those that accepted me turns ago despite my scarring. Just make sure to 'bother' me if I am needed. I'll be staying in the Infirmary for the duration. Ok?

Leslyn smiles at that and nods, "Yes ma'am." And just for good measure adds another, "Thank you."

Alicia nods "Both of you are quite welcome. Now I'm going to head back to the infirmary for a bit to get some paperwork done but Dlienth is just right outside and a thought away." she points to the gold "You rest now. LEslyn won't let any harm the eggs and Dlienth would be in here at the drop of a hat to help protect if he is needed for such."

Leslyn nods, making to move back to Ankhepith's side. "Alicia." She turns back quickly, "Can you have a look at Dhon as well, just in case? L'ton took him outside, but… well they have been together a lot. She can be a bit demanding when she's pregnant."

Alicia nods "I will."

Leslyn nods again to Alicia, this time retreating back to Ankhepith's side to offer what little comfort she can.


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