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 oppressively 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 color 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.
Ellamariseth is there already, without her rider-half, glancing up over and over towards the galleries as if to wait for it to properly fill up. But her belly isn't doing too good waiting, roiling with contractions ever so often and making her paw at the sands uneasily. Her whirling eyes stare at each section, the people, and she even manages to offer them a warm rumble. Hi there, audience! Not a shy queen, indeed. But it doesn't last, as she goes pacing away to start pawing at the sands, seeking the first spot.
Kinseth comes swooping in well ahead of his rider, the enormous bronze's eyes fixed on Ellamariseth as he takes his rightful place on the sands — hovering nearby, watching and waiting to see what Ellamariseth will do. He paws at the sand a little, as if to dig hollows for her to lay eggs in, and then peers over. Does she need his help? Does she /want/ his help? Where is his rider? What is he supposed to do? It's not like the bronze to be so nervous, if anything, he's usually /over/ confident. Where /is/ that rider of his?
The queen's head snaps up towards Kinseth's arrival, the sound almost audible even though she immediately bugles loudly to the clutchdaddy. Excited to see him is an understatement as she wobbles her way over towards him, sticking her nose in his face even as her whole body shakes with the eggs making their way out. First on the agenda: Give her some loving! And then moving right on to the second, the queen shoves forward, seeking to move the bronze away from the hollows he was making, as they were apparently better than hers, and crouches. Her whole body gives a shudder as the first egg is laid, which is the sight that meets Ysa's eyes as she comes running in. "Never quiet, as always, ya sharding beast! Couldn't even get in a bite to eat!"
|Haphazard Chaos Egg|
|A very loud egg indeed! The surface of this egg is covered with odd shapes of all different sizes and colors, layered upon each other as if they were just strewn on there by a careless painter. It's confusing and haphazard, and makes it impossible to see the color of the egg's surface. However, through it all, there's a definite pathway. A silver line stretches through the chaos, letting one find the path from the top of the egg to the bottom of it, and then from one side to the other. The pathway loops and twists about itself over and over…far more complicated than it needs to be.|
Kinseth warbles anxiously at Ellamariseth, then croons, and nuzzles her face. It'll be alright. It will. Many queens have done this before, and the clutch is /his/ after all. /Theirs/. It /will/ be perfect… Won't it? As Ellamariseth chooses his wallow over his own, he moves aside and starts to dig another, a flurry of sand flying as he digs with a little /too/ much enthusiasm. "Hey, hey, calm down!" comes a voice from the edge of the sands. X'hil? Indeed. The man pauses to tug his second boot on, and then jogs the rest of the way, laces still untied. He slows a moment as he spots the first egg, and alters course slightly to go around, though he wasn't about to come near the dragons in the first place. "Interesting…" He murmurs when he reaches the rider platform, though it's with a wince. Bright, isn't it?
Ellamariseth just sucks in the attention, quite confident about her clutch either way it goes. As experienced a queen as she, she didn't look too worried at all if in a bit of labor pains. Pushing these suckers out wasn'tt he most comfortable thing in the world! She stares at the first egg for a moment, not even glancing in the direction of the riders. The with a little nudge of sand around itshe'll work on that later she moves on towards the big hollow that Kinseth was make, rumbling kindly. Ysa runs her hand through her messy hair, shaking it out as she looks over to X'hil. "He's had several clutches before, hasn't he? At least he's a good daddy, making Ella happy." Her lips purse at the first shell. "Not ugly," is her remark on it. With the big hole dog, Ellamariseth is ready for the next egg, facing the galleries as she does so. Watch the magic happen!
|Snake in the Grass Egg|
|This ovular egg is covered in bright colors. The bottom, peaking out from the sand, is a fantastic lime green and jagged looking where it meets a neon blue. In the green there seems to be oddly shaped blobs of color, like a three-year-old's drawing of a flower. One side of the egg has two pink lines that extend from top to bottom with several pink lines between them, all evenly spaced from the one above it. Taking up a good portion of the opposite side of the egg is a silver stripe that dissappears beneathe the sand and to the bottom of the egg.|
The bronze eyes his rider, and then snorts. /He/ doesn't care what the eggs look like, he knows they'll all be /wonderful/. As the next egg is laid, he peers back at it, then shuffles forward and gets to digging another hollow, /slightly/ less enthusiastically than before. At Ysa's comment, X'hil shakes his head. "No, not ugly, just … interesting. Cheerful. Exuberant." Charitable. No, wait, that's X'hil. "He's had … a couple. One was laid in the middle of the night, while we were out of Weyr, his first." There's a grimace. "Second…" Lusiath. "Third was a double clutch, two golds, two sires." A pause. "And this is the fourth." But only the second he's been able to attend. His first time as lone sire.
From the Sands, Ysa snorts lightly at the Weyrleader's comments. "If you want to get that detailed, sure. Not ugly is fine. I remember this one clutch she had…"Ellamariseth exhausts herself already after that second egg, the ripples taking a break along her rounded belly. She turns her head, glancing at that third dug out ho llow, as if considering it for a long moment. And then she moves away. Kinseth can only keep her attention for too long when there're people over /there/. She starts thumping over to the galleries, sticking her muzzle in close, whuffling here and there at those in the front that get frightened. Then a rumble escapes her, body shaking, forcing her to turn back to the sands. Right there, next to the galleries, is where she settles in the next egg— quickly followed by a fourth.
|On Thin Ice Egg|
|Totally covered in an ice-blue color, the egg looks as though it is covered in a thin layer of ice. However, the shell is not translucent, and it does not allow its occupant to be seen. The whole surface of the egg is a singular expanse of that cold, icy blue-white, but for two things. Around the equator of the egg there is a thick band of cobalt blue upon which the egg seems to rest in the sands. And at the very top of the egg there is a single red figure perched seemingly atop a small red square. Cracks seem to spread out from underneath the figure, black lines in the perfect blue-white shell. Luckily, the egg is not actually cracked.|
|Insatiable Four Egg|
|From the Sands, The appearance of a tranquil lake spreads out on the surface of this egg, blue and clean, clear and pure. A few green spots indicate either plants or small amphibians there amongst the blue waters. And a few pink-white spots like flowers float there, too. However, along the middle of the egg, arranged in an even ring, are four large spots — one orange, one green, one shocking pink, and one yellow. They appear to have their mouths wide open, and vortices near the open mouths—as well as the white dots that appear to be falling into them — seem to indicate that they're actually INHALING the water. Oh no!|
Kinseth warbles worriedly as Ellamariseth gets too close to the galleries, and makes his way over, cautiously. As the eggs are laid, two of them, right then and there, he bugles in alarm, and quickly tries to bury them in sand. Not good, not good, too close to the galleries. "Kinseth! Calm down!" X'hil barks at the bronze, and it /seems/ to work, as the bronze backs away and starts digging another wallow, peering anxiously at those two eggs. X'hil sighs. "Should've seen Kinseth's first clutch. One of them looked like a ram's head. With /blood/." Ugh. And he hadn't even had his ovine run-ins yet at the time.
"She always does that," Ysa grumbles as she eyes the eggs by the galleries, wincing at sound of the sire. "At least someone's going to be protective of the clutch." She tries to laugh it off a moment, though she does look worriedly over to the sire before she turns those eyes on X'hil. "He's not going to hurt anyone on the sands or the galleries, is he? Ella kind of likes the people around, most of the time." But the queen isn't paying attention to the fact that Kinseth might have scared people more, letting him deal with those two eggs as she paces away a safer distance. "All dark eggs, was that one clutch. And the hatchlings looked /awful/. 'Course, she mated with her sibling." Ysa frowns as she watches her lifemate actually making a bit of distance, ignoring Kinseth's wallow for one of her own. And finally she crouches down again, and lays an egg. Right there in the middle of the grounds.
|All That Glitters Egg|
|In pyrite gleams and argent luster, treasure allures the eyes of Ista in a treasure trove of hues, composing a shell that strikes contrast against the black Istan sands below it. Bejeweled, glittering, and dazzling against the light, this egg allows no mystery to the world of what may lie within, for surely, it is the same of which the shell is formed of. Against a field of silver decorum, a gilded golden crown wraps around the mid of the egg, nestled within a pile of chains: strings of pearls, belts of rubies, circlets of emeralds… riches no Pernese would dare not wish to possess. The coronet itself is no less elegant: different shapes and colors of baubles and gems seem to sparkle across it's shape, etching into the surface of the egg until reaching the smooth surface of the egg's summit. And there, within the glassy texture of pale metallic sterling, the reflection of its location abides against it: a revelation of the imperfections of it's surroundings in a ghastly mirror, that those who touch it will be forced to look upon.|
X'hil shakes his head slowly, "Kinseth won't hurt anyone. Scare them a bit, maybe, but he'll let people visit, and let candidates touch them." But beware non-candidates? "He's …" There's a pause, and he blinks at the latest egg. /Well/. "…think the odds on a gold might've just … changed." he whispers. But, X'hil, don't count your eggs before they've hatched! Even Kinseth seems a little awed, as he leaves the egg sitting there, in the open, in all its splendour. He doesn't dare touch it. He croons, and moves over to nuzzle at Ellamariseth. That's brilliant, she's brilliant, the whole clutch is, and will be, brilliant, as he knew it would be. He moves away again, to dig more wallows, though he's already dug two that went unused now. It's all he knows how to do. Well, that, and freak out the poor folk in the galleries.
Ysa bobs her head about that, looking a bit relieved for her lifemate's sake, though she's never stopped any over-protective clutch father from doing his job. She slowly shifts her feet on the hot sands, watching that last egg come out with wide eyes, making her back up until she's near X'hil, reaching to clutch his arm and give it a shake. "You /think/? I might bet my best wine on it. It's definitely—" She cuts herself off when Ellamariseth finally looks at the egg, snorts at it, and then moves on. Well then. The queen's returning back to the people, as if to say: Look at me instead! And then quickly turns back to find another one of those wallows she missed from Kinseth, focusing on depositing another pair side by side.
|The Age Old Battle Egg|
|Distinctions run rampant across the gleaming exterior of this egg. Two colors are most notable, splicing through the straight middle, rounding the curved surface to encompass the entire shell. Lady slipper pink, soft and inviting, is colored throughout the first half. Jagged streaks of a blood red, however, is obvious within the softer shade, making streaking lightening lines where ever they please. On the other side, the bluest blue captivates and controls, darker and more intense than the pink hues it sides against. A midnight tone, almost black, is speckled and dotted on it's half. In the middle, a battle wages war for color dominance, blue versus pink. Male versus female.|
|Dead Boddy Egg|
|Riddled with information, a code to crack, this shell provides all the answers if one were able to study it for an extended period of time. The systematic coloration splits several sections with their individual stories, sketched onto the smooth surface and whose details need closer examinations. The apex is a gaping cavern, mimicking the one in which the egg resides, with a scarlet spot pacing its way down the center and a coil of thread weaving its way out, coiling to the next destination; a mustard figure stalking behind shadowy bookcases with a lighted candle. Each tattooed story links to the next in a mysterious sequence, waiting to be read and solved.|
X'hil chuckles softly. "The gold in Kinseth's first clutch came from an egg mostly brown, but with just about every colour /but/ gold on the shell." he notes, idly. Appearances /can/ be deceiving. But, hey, Kinseth has sired a gold before, that's promising, right? And X'hil /does/ seem to be in awe of that one egg, though the latest two do manage to provoke a frown from the man. Which egg was that for, then? Or was it both of them? Kinseth ignores his rider, just diligently digging wallows, and crooning at Ellamariseth as she nears the galleries, warning against that, though quietly. It seems X'hil has gotten through to the bronze, though the dragon clearly still worries about those two by the galleries.
Ysa bobs her head in agreement to X'hil. "But that one's so… /shiny/. I can't imagine anything but a queen egg!" She sounds doubtful though, frowning. "Ellamariseth came from a gold-colored egg, and her first queen came from a— alright, it didn't really look gold." Now she's just deflating, slumping her shoulders miserably. Bubble has been popped. Ellamariseth gets exhausted from each double lay, crouching low in the sands between the few eggs already laid there, heaving big sighs. Resting. Ysa almost looks like she's ready to call the clutch quits when her lifemate gets up again, turning towards Kinseth again and hurrying for one of his holes. This time she doesn't have time to face the galleries, so they get a nice few of this miracle in the process: One egg, just the one for now.
|Everyone's a Jerk Inside Egg|
|If you were expecting something more impressive… Well, you're just *beep* out of luck. In fact, this egg barely requires more than one word to describe it, it's just that boring: brown. Very, very brown. It's so brown, you could tell it's brown in the dark. Your mom could tell it's brown three Weyrs away. Your great-great-great uncle Freddy can tell it's brown from 6 feet under. Lessa, indeed, can sense with clairvoyance that in 2682, Ellamariseth laid a very, very brown egg. It's so brown, you could almost say it looked more like — Okay, I think that just about explains it. However, because apparently you're *that* interested in knowing what exactly else is goin' on with this piece of work, it's worth noting that, at the end of a shadowed-looking seam right down the split middle of the egg, is a long, thin triangular… well, it's brown, but with a darker-brown tuft looking thing at the end. A tail, perhaps? Think about it. … Yes, smarty. It looks like a — HAHA! You said /butt/!|
Kinseth glances up from his current wallow, and peers over at Ellamariseth, crooning curiously. Is she done? But she lays one more, and he can't tell if there won't be any more, so he just keeps digging. Better to have too many wallows than too few? The bronze does snort at the latest egg. Very … brown. He kicks sand over it. So, he /does/ play favourites? The glittering egg is held in high regard, on display even, and the brown egg is covered up. X'hil looks over at the shiny egg, as if he could somehow divine it's contents just by looking long enough, or hard enough. "Could be a bronze… or a blue for all we know." he notes, but he does frown. "It is hard to imagine anything /but/ a gold coming from that one." he finally has to admit. But… but… pessimism is so much safer. Pleasant surprises, and all that.
Ellamariseth is not done. While that last egg took awhile, her whole body is starting to go into convulsions again, making a nice show that there were still more eggs to come. She glances briefly over at Kinseth covering the brown egg, giving him a snort. Why bother? This queen didn't really play favorites, even if it was a big shiny egg over yonder, which will just make everyone /think/ about that now. Like Ysa, who keeps glancing over to that egg over and over before heaving a big audible sigh. "Could be. Let's just pretend that it is a queen's egg and we can celebrate with something a little special tonight." Because she needed a good reason to drink? She scrubs at her face, peeks at the egg again, and then turns to actually look at the half-covered brown one. "Well, we couldn't have hoped for all of them to be nice eggs." Ellamariseth hovers around the galleries again, this time pawing her own holes, not quite as close to the other two eggs but at least she squats down to add two more next to their siblings.
|The Space Between Egg|
|This egg is slightly odd in its shape. The center of it seems to be sucked in just slightly, almost hourglass shaped; though the impression is only barely there. The top and bottom of this egg seem to be painted a deep, flat purple. The space between looks nearly like the texture of sand, white and grainy looking, though the sruface is still perfectly smooth from top to bottom, all the way round.|
|Three Misses and a Hit Egg|
|Murky blue and dusky gray; a mingling of the two swirl together to create a whirlpool of dark colors intertwining between one another. Spanning from each pole of the egg and twirling appropriately towards the middle of the egg, it almost appears to be a constant, never-ending inward cycling. Reds and oranges dot here and there, explosions of color reaching out amidst the gloomy hues, sometimes in conjuction with black lines that are each a different size but all straight and narrow. These are randomly placed throughout the shell, with no known rhyme or reason.|
Kinseth moves over towards the galleries himself, poking his head up there, to see what sort of people have come to gawk at /his/ clutch. Is that a snarl for a group of weyrbrats? Can't be. He lingers there for a long moment, then slowly retracts his head, shuffling back after the latest two have been laid, to continue digging wallows. /Someone/ has high expectations. What are we at now? Ten? X'hil snorts at the bronze, and eyes Ellamariseth with a bit of concern, but whatever he was thinking is wiped away by the suggestion of celebrating. He tilts his head at Ysa, and frowns a little. "Well, it does seem cause for celebration, if for nothing else than the size of the clutch." Ten is good. Great, even. "A feast." …with alcohol, no doubt. Not that X'hil will partake. "…after all, I /was/ called away from a nice meal." By Kinseth.
Ellamariseth gets distracted by the laying of the eggs when she picks up on something that the bronze did. Was that growling? She glances towards the galleries in concern, wondering if the galleries were going to clear out. There's another snort for the bronze. Play nice. Though any of those in the galleries making fun of her eggs get a sharp look from the queen before she focuses back on her task. Wobble here, wobble there. Ysa watches her with wide eyes and a slowly widening grin. "Oh, definitely a celebration! This one equals her largest clutch, now. No more browns catching her, so there's been quite a good number of eggs. And look, she isn't done yet!" The Weyrwoman reaches over to clutch at the bronzer's arm again, trying to get him to look at where Ella's going. Not that he can miss the big queen, as she closes her eyes in strain and— there we go, another egg.
|Lost in Delicious Adventure Egg|
|Cotton-candy pink diabolically splotches the outside of this oblong egg, smarming it with texture and color that would give a baker's sweetstick a run for its marks. Perhaps it is no visual marvel, with indents, outdents, and bulges galore, but intricate color and ambrosially curved markings in the brightest, boldest hues give appeal where the shell's curvature lacks. In fact, such luscious variety of hues coat over the main scheme of pink, that its base may not be apparent at all: snake-like coils, constantly changing from purple to yellow to blue to orange, to green to red as well, dance around from base to top. They weave over odd patches of sunny-green, wrap around peppermint white, skid away from licorice-ly black, and ooze through molassesy brown, in an exotic display of likely one of the most rainbow-colored, spotlight-stealing eggs of the batch. Hopefully, the unwary do not get lost within it's hypnotic grasp, though the journey across its hardening form may, at least, be an exciting one.|
There's enough span from that prettily shelled egg for Ellamariseth to pass it a glance and then slowly move on to Kinseth. She settles right there where the bronze is currently digging, settling down. Once twitch, two twitches, not quite looking like she had anything else in her. Oh, but she did! Up on her feet she goes and her body shudders completely one last time, depositing one more egg. And from the way that the queen just collapses in the space between that and the rest of the clutch, it didn't look like she had any more in her. Or any energy left.
|Keys To Your Nightmare Egg|
|Murky purple miasma swaths this shell in a sinister veil, creating a mysterious gleam depending on the angle the egg is seen, and draped over what appears to be a stony surface. Two large winged shapes flutter across the shell, sometimes at the apex and sometimes seen on the side as the egg is turned, almost leaping out at the viewer with bared sharp teeth. Serrated edges and haggard peaks of colored keys extend out from the black sands, circling around to form a cradle around the shell, contrasting against the rocky shell and vaporous cover.|
Kinseth bows his head to Ellamariseth, and retreats to the rear of the sands, leaving the last wallow to her. The bronze croons then, and pats at the sand with a paw. Done? It is a marvelous clutch, twelve eggs! Ellamariseth must be exhausted. X'hil sighs, and shakes his head. "I do apologise for Kinseth, he can be a little … protective." Or a lot, rather. "He's just… worried." The man frowns, and tallies up the eggs. "Twelve? Good clutch, great. Kinseth thought eleven, but he /always/ thinks eleven. His first was twelve, too." The man seems to consider that a good omen, as he smiles, at last. His first was twelve with a gold… That glittery egg draws the man's attention again.
Ysa beams at her lifemate, pride etched all across her face. "Well done, love!" Ellamariseth looks from one side of the hatching grounds, to the other. All that space for once to herself… She crooons back to Kinseth, happy for the attention, but isn't about to get up anytime soon. "Oh, it honestly is alright. After someone snuck onto the sands during one of Ella's clutches a bit ago, I really wish she /would/ be more protective of 'em. And at least the last clutchfather never even stuck around." She snorts at that, turning to X'hil and grinning widely. Nothing can ruin her mood right about then. "And there's a good reason to be /very/ protective about 'em this time, if Ella isn't." She nods towards the shiny one and then starts backing out a little. "I'm /starving/, though. Care to join me, Weyrleader?"
X'hil chuckles. "Kinseth will definitely keep watch, the hard part is convincing him /not/ to. He needs to relax now and then, to sleep, and to hunt." he rolls his eyes. He makes it sound as though, if the bronze had his way, he'd be half-dead from hunger and exhaustion by hatching day. But X'hil would never actually let that happen. "Mmhmm, I could use a bite." he admits, quite the understatement. The man has /quite/ an appetite. Hollow legs. As X'hil makes his way to the exit, Kinseth moves forward from the rear of the sands, curling protectively around the glittering egg in the middle of the sands. Ellamariseth can sleep soundly now, Kinseth is on watch.
"I'll make sure Ella doesn't keep him from eating and sleeping, either." Ysa actually manages to look concerned for the large bronze, watching him for a moment. "Let's go start on the feast. Likely they'll have something good saved for us." Weyrleaders and all, right? She hesitates in leaving the sands, eyes on Kinseth for a moment and that egg before she turns away from the heat of the sands to hurry after X'hil for a proper dinner, finally. Ellamariseth's eyes start shutting, head dropping in between her forelegs even as she turns it in the bronze's direction. She was either watching him or that egg, but either way her eyes finally shut. Not even the excitement in the galleries can wake her up by now.