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.
K'ael comes running down to the sands. There's only one thing missing, and that's big daddy bronze Azaeth. K'ael is still being an overprotective lifepartner apparently towards the bronze. He stops for a moment to catch his breath once he's on the sands. "I'm here! Shall I call to Azaeth or can Umni handle it on her own? I mean if she want him here he'll come, I just… you know with the cough. And all." The bronzer looks around at the sands. "So sparse…"
"I want all the dragons off the sands K'ael…might be the only way to protect the hatchlings." Lisle says to the Weyrleader as she looks to her lifemate again, "Umniyath…we will keep them safe…but it is time for you to leave it to us now so we can keep them healthy." The dragon gives a strained bellow before she coughs again and looks to Ankhepith as if waiting for her to leave first. It is then that the candidates that could be wrangled have been brought down to the sands around the older set of eggs.
Another cough echoes around the hatching grounds, Ankhepith's head sinking slowly back to the sands afterwards.
K'ael blinks at Lisle. "True enough. Oh.. but if she leaves Azaeth can come watch the eggs maybe. Or maybe we can just look after them." He looks up to Umniyath. "Don't worry, Umni. We'll take care of them. You've done a great job looking after them so far, but you should go home and rest now." It might be a struggle getting the other clutchmother to leave, though. K'ael moves over towards Lisle. "Well, not much choice here… the eggs won't wait for us to clear the sands. We'll just have to make sure we get them off as soon as we can…"
Umniyath gives another bellow and flies up to the dragon ledge above the sands and bellows down to Dhonzayth and Ankhepith to do the same. Close enough to keep watch but hopefully far enough to keep the dragonets from getting ill. "Let's just get the candidates out here…" Then there is a line of white being ushered onto the sands, most still tying off their robes. Lisle looks up to the Weyrlingmasters, "As soon as they impress get them to the barracks…" She directs. This is going to be a quiet hatching it seems. No great crowds of families, crafters and holders. Just what Ista can muster.
Shandraive seems to be tailing the crowd of Candidates, since most were in the Barracks when the warning went out, whereas he had to leave from the hatching grounds to get where he was going. As it stands, he's still struggling with the strap to one sandal, and his robe is tied in a haphazardly manner, but he's there, and he's presentable — that's all anyone can ask. Round, inquisitive eyes drink up the scene. He's startled to notice that the dam seems to have vacated, but there's no time to worry about that now. For the moment, all that matters are the eggs.
Slowly, pausing to cough between each movement, Ankhepith gently tends to her eggs.
K'ael tries to shoo the dragons, but it's a bit like trying to shoo a mountain. He just gives up after a while, instead choosing to wait over with the weyrlingmasters. At least he'd be useful over here. It was a bit depressing, having such a sparse audience. "I'll give them a hand, Li. You going to be alright? All we can do now is wait, I suppose." He watches the row of candidates being ushered in.
Zorya trails in a step or two behind Shandraive, still fussing with the tie of her robe. Stepping onto the sands however the string seems to be in place, or at least close enough for the girl to be happy with it as she falls into place among the candidates. The girl bites her lip slightly as she sends a glance towards the stablehand.
The first two eggs start to crack and Lisle just moves to stand between the two clutches as if her body alone could stop the transmission of the disease to her eggs. Though she is only wearing light sandles on her feet and is soon pracing one foot to another. The first egg cracks open to reveal a little blue dragon, scrabbling out of its shell. By this time several more eggs have joined in the rocking on the sands. Lisle turns to look up at Dhonzayth and Ankhepith, "Please please…go up to the ledge?" She pleads to the pair.
Lilibet, a willowy girl with dark brown hair and dark eyes, scurries in after the majority of the rest of the candidates are already in place. The miner almost trips over the too long hem of her robe as before she finally takes her place in the ring of candidates around Umniyath's clutch.
Dhonzayth croons, turning to look at the rocking, before finally the bronze is shifting to move to the ledge. Ankhepith, however, remains hovering over her eggs, glaring at the candidates at Umniyath's, though she does shrink back.
Shandraive shifts closer to Zorya, seeking familiarity in this foreign place. Just as he starts to get used to the touching, just as he starts to feel like this might really be his place, an actual /hatching/ decides to put him out of his comfort-zone again. Murphy's law of sheltered teenagers? Must be. "I don't know what to do." It's barely a whisper in Zorya's direction, but it's a lot more insecurity than he usually allows others to see. "I don't know what to do…"
Rising from the sands Ankhepith turns her back on the galleries to cough, wings flaring slightly as she does so.
K'ael watches as at least the clutchsire moves up into the stands. He figures he ought to help poor Lisle keep the clutches separated, lest she be trampled by a bunch of confused hatchlings. So now he's off to stand next to her. "Shards this is strange…" He mutters under his breath. He pats Lisle's back gently. "I'm sure they'll be fine. We just need to make sure they get off as soon as possible. Close in closer candidates. Don't be afraid of them."
Zorya turns an uncertain smile towards Shandraive as he moves closer to her. "Just.. be yourself?" she suggests, not quite certain of just what to do herself despite having stood before. "And be.. calm? Everyone's different." she replies in that same hushed tone her first reply. Every hatching that is.
Lilibet mutters something to herself about being late. Something to do with sharding sandals from the sound of it. Excuses of course, the girl has been known through out her candidacy for perpetually procrastinating.
Dacian and Deynx stand on the other side of the ring. One nudges the other in the ribs, "What color do you think is first?" "Bronze I bet," the other replies, "Bronze is -aways first."
Lisle nods to K'ael as he adds to the human barrier between the two clutches. "Too quiet in here…" Well other than the coughing and the candidates…but there is only a scattering of people in the stands, not the crowds of usual. Umniyath warbles to Dhonzayth as he joins her and they keep careful watch from the dragon ledge. The older queen looking to her daughter on the sands to make sure she stays clear.
The little blue looks to the tight circle around him and teeters off over to one of the locals from Ista…oh so many of those these days with all the restrictions being placed on search. The next to hatch is a green and she stands in her eggs for some time before charging toward the late arrival, Lilibet, bowling her over even as the impression is made.
Shandraive looks a little pale, but he's putting on an enthusiastic face (effective deception distance: anything more than two meters away). He rocks forward onto the balls of his feet instinctively as the eggs start to move more emphatically, eyes straining to catch any relevent details, but a hefty-framed Candidate's bulk is between him and the action — he can't see a thing. That is, until a green comes hurdling out of the clutch and veritably pounces on poor Lilibet. "You alright?" he asks the girl, although he gives her and the dragonet a wide berth.
Zorya peers towards the center of the ring, shifting to get a better look around that same bulky form which is giving Shandraive trouble. "There's a blue and.." she starts quietly only to stop suddenly as that green she was going to mention takes out the dark haired girl and for the moment until impression is sure the harper keeps a wary eye on the pair.
Ankhepith coughs several times in quick succession, the noise harsh and dry.
K'ael nods to Lisle. "It's a shame, really. Ah well. I'm sure the clutch will still turn out nice and strong!" Hopefully. No dragon deaths, that's what he said and he was sticking by it. "I asked Alix to stand. I hope you don't mind. Thought we could use an extra body. I know he's got a craft and everything…" He glances up to the other dragons, then looks back to the hatching babies.
Shandraive follows Zorya's lead in moving to the side of the heavy-set Candidate to provide a decent view of the clutch. Now he can see the blue that she's mentioned, and the shivering, shaking eggs still on the sands. He takes a half-step toward the blue, then a half-step away, indecisive. He looks at the girl again. "Is it always like this? So.. empty. And with so little warning?" Even as he speaks, he keeps a wary eye on the clutch — he's heard enough stories of injuries and deaths on the sands to teach him caution.
A bronze and another blue are the next to hatch out almost at the same time, the bronze tumbling out of his little sand mound to fall in front of the hefty candidate and Shandraive. There is a curious warble as the dragonet looks to between them both, one through the legs of another. Finally though the hefty candidate is nudged and Weyrlingmaster ushers them quickly from the sands with Lilibet and her green. The blue takes a bit more time moving along the line sniffing just about every candidate before pausing in front of Denyx.
Lilibet squeals, being knocked firmly on her bottom by the green. The miner girl seeming not to hear Shandraive's question as she gives the hatching on her a gentle shove like one might a puppy who's just a mite bit too excited, "Get off me Onoith," she grumbles. "Yes, yes, food," the girl agrees with a nod, giving the green a pat on the head as one of the assistant weyrlingmasters lead them off the sands.
Lisle looks over to K'ael and extends a hand to him with a nod, "Yeah it is….yes they will." She says hopefully and turns back to watch the dragons make their impressions and get ushered from the sands. With each impression there is a mix of relief and a sense of impending doom marking her. Then the Weyrleader distracts her with words of her son, "Alixaunder? Oh…that…is ok..he has been taking a break from his craft…He said yes?" Of course not upset, but definitely curious.
Zorya nods, "Yeah.." she replies, her attention much less on the conversation than it is on the hatchlings as they make their debut onto the sands. A momentary glance is spared for the galleries, "Well not so empty. But sudden, yeah." she adds, blue eyes catching sight of the bronze she points the boy towards him, "Lookit there!"
Exhausted Ankhepith tries to curl up on the sands to sleep, but another bout of coughing ruins her plans.
Denyx isn't exactly paying as much attention as he perhaps should be, chattering away rather with his slightly older twin Dacian. Its the brother who first notices the blue's arrival in front of him and points him out, taking a step back least this one 'attack' the way the green did. Denyx, however, just stares.
Shandraive freezes visibly as the newly-hatched bronze comes near. The dragonet's warble makes the color drain from his face, and anyone who's looking can see that he's completely rigid. "WhatdoIdo, whatdoIdo, whatdoIdo—" In with one breath, out with the next, it's all he can say.. until the bronze nudges their large friend, and the threat of injury-by-dragon is diminished. Paradoxically, he's drawn to the sight of the first blue, who doesn't seem nearly so threatening as the bronze, although that could also be the result of the bronze's proximity. In the confusion, he doesn't even see the second blue approaching Denyx. Shan shoots Zorya an apologetic smile. "Just.. not used to this. A lot of pressure."
Zorya isn't exactly the picture of calm herself. Nervousness clearly playing across her features as blue eyes try not to focus on one thing for too long least she miss something terribly important. Its the bronze that continues to hold her attention for the moment though considering his proximity before he and the hefty new weyrling are lead off, leaving a much clearer path of sight towards the rest.
At this point all the remaining eggs are dancing in their spots on the sands, almost as if in a race to see who will come out next. Yet another blue makes wins this race as his claw punches through the egg and causes it to balance out of its little wallow and roll towards the candidates. By time it stops the egg shatters and the little blue dizzily wanders the sands. First bumping into Zorya to knock her over before falling against another girl nearby. It is to this girl he stands over for such a long time, shaking his head a few times to clear it before impression is once again made.
K'ael takes Lisle's hand gingerly and offers her a comforting smile. "Umni's always had great clutches. And they won't be around long enough to get that little cough." Of course he's relieved to see each dragon leave the sands with its lifemate as well. No coughing from the little ones. He nods to Lisle. "Yep. Your son. The oldest. He doesn't remember me, either. He made me promise none of the dragons would be… terminally ill with his cough. And I made him promise to stand." He grins to her.
Shandraive's sharp eyes are doing their best to take in everything, but to no avail. There's simply no human way to comprehend all the hustle and bustle, color and motion of a hatching from the Candidate's point of view. When an egg comes rolling straight toward the Candidate cluster, the stablehand's wide eyes are watching it traverse the entire path and spit out a blue dragon, which proceeds to lurch into Zorya, then another female Candidate. Once it's clear that he's chosen the other girl and not the Harper, Shan feels safe in offering Zorya a hand to steady her. "And I thought caprines were chaotic," he laughs, but it's more out of nerves than mirth.
Zorya catches sight of this newest blue too late and the step she tries to take back only causes her to stumble more as he bumps into her, the blonde ending up sitting on the sand with a squeak as the dizzy little blue bounds away. "Thanks…" she replies, reaching a hand up towards the one offered by the stablehand to assist in returning to her feet. "It can get a little .. crazy. Yeah," she agrees, flashing a nervous smile Shan's way. Deep breath. It was just a bump. Everything is still okay.
Ankhepith coughs several times in quick succession, the noise harsh and dry.
"He has been a little focused on other things…I am sorry Cael…" Lisle responds as he says her son does not remember him, "Well I hope you can keep your promise.." She squeezes his hand and looks back to the eggs as two more eggs hatchout, a pair of browns this time. They look nearly the same in every way, like twins. They look at each other first them make paths to either side of the line. Each one moving along the line, pausing occasionally. The slightly darker of the two pauses in front of Shandraive and gives him a nose butt in the the middle of his chest then steps back a few steps with a headshake and looks to the a girl two people down and impression is made, even as the lighter of the pair stands before Dacian to make his choice.
Shandraive gives Zorya a once-over to make sure there are no gaping wounds from stray claws, but she doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear. "No cuts? I've heard their claws a wicked. And with sickness around.." And that comment effectively shuts his mouth, which is beneficial, since he's just noticed that the darker brown dragonet is making his orderly way in his direction. His breath catches in his throat — is this it? Every muscle in his body is taut from nerves, but he doesn't flee as the dragonet nudges him. A cautious hand flickers, just the barest hint of a motion in the dragonet's direction, but quickly withdraws when the hatchling continues down the line. His eyes, however, stay fixed on the brown even as he Impresses the girl down the line, inquisitive, considering.
Dacian just stares at the brown for a long moment, much like his brother had the blue he impressed not so very long ago. "Duiumelth! His name's Duiumelth!" he exclaims e second later, glancing over his shoulder to yell down the exit tunnel after his brother, "You hear that, he's brown!" At least now there's a way to tell the pair apart as one of the weyrlingmaster assistants leads the two newly paired browns and their lifemates off the sands.
K'ael nods to Lisle. "Ah, it's alright. We've only met the once anyways, so I didn't really expect him to remember me much." He smiles a bit to her, but he's mostly focused on the hatchlings right now. Lots of impressions! It was a good clutch and that made K'ael feel pretty good.
Ankhepith's cough causes little puffs of sand to race away from her snout.
Zorya is indeed none the worse for wear even if she is a bit more anxious. As the brown nears she doesn't let go of the Shandraive's hand, rather her grip tightens just a bit more. Once the hatchling has move on however she does left go, brushing lightly across her robe to straighten the material and perhaps remove some of the sand that still clings there. Her gaze doesn't settle on one spot in particular, split between each of the browns, pausing a moment on Shandraive once again as as she turns between them and those remaining. "Nervous?" she inquires, biting her lip.
The last three finally hatch out, another bronze, and two greens. The bronze and the paler green are quick to make their choices. Moving from their pile of shells and almost directly to their partners. The bronze to a diminutive harper lad and the green to a bulky looking minecrafter. Sometimes you never can pick it. The dark green is the last left on the sands and she seems in no great hurry. The little princess intent to look upon every offering with equal interest. Sniffling each, nudging each, a couple so hard to knock them over before she finally sits down before a young girl from Igen hold and impression is made. Then all the dragons are ushered from the sands as swiftly as they are able.
When the hatching is finished Lisle releases K'ael's hand and steps forward to face the group remaining, "In a few sevendays another clutch will hatch upon these sands and I would ask you all to remain and stand for Ankhepith as well. We will take every care and precaution we are able and hopefully by time they hatch the dragons will be hale again."
Shandraive quirks a smile. "Just a little." But his smile has loosened a bit from its previous rictus, and he's breathing more easily now. Odd as it seems, the brush with the brown seems to have given him some degree of confidence. Having not noticed that Zorya kept his hand until its removal (distracted by the brown and all), he was then acutely aware of the fact that it was missing. Under normal circumstances, he'd have simply taken it back up again, but the Sands are no place for flirtation. "Choices are thinning out," he observes. "But I haven't heard a cough yet." His eyes are drawn to the final three hatchlings. At this point, his hopes are diminishing as quickly as his anxieties — the bronze and pale green Impress too quickly for him to pay them attention, and the darker green is too far away to be aiming for him. A slow exhale, and a sharp nod to the goldrider signals his assent. "Should we take our leave now?"
Zorya's eyes follow the darker of the greens, "Me too," she replies to Shandraive's answer, "Good sign at least…" Or perhaps more of a so far so good. About the cough not having gotten to the hatchlings that would be. All too soon each of the remaining hatchlings have found their mates and Lisle is bringing the ceremony of hatching to an end. The harper lets out the breath she'd been half holding the whole time in a slow sigh, relaxing just a touch as the others begin to file off the sands. As for her, she nods at Shan's question, "Probably," she agrees, "Sure Ankepith would rather we were gone," she adds, sending a glance towards the gold on the far end of the sands before she starts towards the exit with the rest of those left standing.
Slowly, pausing to cough between each movement, Ankhepith gently tends to her eggs.
Shandraive,still not sure of ceremony, follows dutifully in Zorya's wake. He draws in a deep breath, and lets it out in a wooshing, "Wellllll, that was.. different." He isn't quite sure how to go about this without looking the fool, so (in true Shan fashion) he just charges in. "Thanks for the support out there." And the smile isn't quite so casual as the words.