All the candidates were led in single file through a small door that opened right onto the Sands. Guests were still being delivered to their seats, but already most of the dragons ringed the upper levels of the room. Their loud humming echoed through the halls of the Weyr. The Hatching was about to begin.
The eleven most hopefull candidates circled the ten eggs. Looking at each other, the wondered who would be the one that wasn't going to Impress. It seemed a bit sad as they all had become friends after their long (and for some, extremely long) wait here at the Weyr. But these thoughts were soon pushed aside as the eggs began to move.
Two eggs rolled off the mound Padrieth had so carefully constructed. Actually, they kept kind of rolling around until finally they both broke before two awed candidates.
Epnez blinked. "Geth, you hatched first. A perfect blue!"
Aura called out to Epnez who she'd made friends being in the weyr next to his and all. "Look Epnez, my beautiful green Pidith".
The rest had barely noticed, so focused were they on the unhatched eggs. The girls had already moved to stand close to the gold egg which had yet to begin hatching. They held hands and hoped for the best, knowing that all of them had an equal chance.
But no matter how they hoped, it was not the gold who hatched next, but a brown. Blinking bleary-eyed he stared at the ring of girls and headed off towards them. He gave each one a curious look but finally seemed to shake his head and decided that they weren't exactly what he was looking for. A couple more blinks and he spotted Chabraninan. He waddled over to the slightly reluctant candidate and peered up at him. He opened his mouth wide in a dragon grin as the young man looked back and exclaimed "Fenyth!"
The girls, busy with their golden egg, didn't notice when a green at the edge of the clutch broke free of her shell. She whimpered when she found herself alone. Then she huffed a bit as none of the girls heard her cries. She glared at their backs, till she picked one out. She waddled purposely up to her chosen one and gave her such a head-butt that the girl fell over. Brianna stared at the green staring back at her. "Oh Cadayth, you're better than any old gold."
Next a fine blue searched for his partner. It seemed like he couldn't decide between E'leran and Nerolin. Well, another blue solved his problems by leaping up like a happy puppy (a big one at that) into Nerolin's lap. E'leran grinned, "Couldn't make up your mind could you, Brekath?" He waved at Nerolin who pointed down to his excited dragonet, "Keranyth", and made a scarf appear under the dragon's wing. The hatchling love it.
Scarlett looked at the remaining girls. There was one egg less than there were candidates, she thought. Then she shrugged and left the group. Maybe next time would be her big chance, she just didn't feel like that gold would hatch for her, or any of the others for that matter. Sitting down, she watched the action, ignoring the scorching heat of the sand, and that tugging feeling. She turned to tell off that boy who was annoying her and came face to face with the swirling blue eyes of a gentle green. Scarlett smiled, "Asiloth, I'm so glad I sat down her. Come, put your head in my lap and I'll give you something to eat".
Now there were two girls, and one queen egg..........
But a brown decided it was time to meet the others. Unlike Fenyth, he knew exactly where he was going. Right into Flaren, knocking him flat to the ground. "Uleth! You're so strong. You'll be a match for any bronze."
Just as Flaren's words were out of his mouth, the bronze broke out of his egg. He wandered up to Natelan. "Lomulith. I think you'll be a greater dragon than any I could ever invent." The bronze closed his eyes in contentment, or maybe he was dreaming of charring a Threadfall all on his own.
And still the golden egg did not hatch. Two girls were left on the Sands, the rest of the candidates had gone to the other room with their dragons. Aoife looked at Megumi and Megumi looked back. What if the egg wasn't going to hatch at all? Silence fell as everyone waited. Even Padrieth watched breathless.
The egg ever so slightly began to move. Then it began to rock a little more. Then it stopped. Everyone stared. Then the egg just seemed to explode into little pieces as the little queen let out a cry. She shook herself off and preened her wings a bit before even looking at the two girls. She blinked slowly and then yawned. "Wiketh! I can imagine that you're tired after have to break out of an egg and everything!" Aoife exclaimed.
Megumi, though pleased at Aoife's great fortune felt very disappointed in not having Impressed, even with a gold so close. She tried to smile, but it just wasn't working. At least she was not going to cry. I mean there's always next time, right.
A deep, yet soft voiced echoed in her head. Megumi looked around but couldn't figure out who had spoken to her. Then it dawned on her, as she turned to look at Padrieth. No one else had heard that voice, they all wondered what that ex-kitchen drudge was up to.
~There's one more........ I wanted to keep that one, but you can have her.~
Megumi's heart leapt as she walked around the huge golden bulk. And sure enough, there was a slight bulge in the sand, something one wouldn't notice under normal conditions. Quickly she uncovered the shaking egg. It was large, not big enough for a queen, but large just the same. Megumi watched in awe as piece by piece the egg broke away until a shiny green hide showed through.
The large green looked up at Megumi with her swirling blue eyes. "Merrith....." Megumi whispered to her green.
"Do you hear that sound, T'ryn?" J'layle asks absentmindedly as he walked down the hallway beside the green rider.
T'ryn grabs J'layle's arm and starts dragging him down the hall, "Come on! It's the Hatching, stupid! Hurry up, you've got to get the candidates ready!"
With a slightly startled, yet excited look on his face, J'layle runs breathlessly from room to room, dragging candidates out of bed or upsetting their breakfasts by throwing their white robes right on top of their meals.
"There, that's the last spectator we have to deliver this Hatching. You can go sit at your favorite place in the tiers to get a good look at all the excitement," J'layle says as he sends his blue to go sit with the rest. He spots T'ryn and sits down on the bench beside him.
"Look, look! The candidates are filling out. Remember how terrified you were when you went out there. I thought I would just die. It took every ounce of will power in my body to stop me from turning and running........" T'ryn stopped mid-sentence as an egg broke open even before the candidates had finished coming into the room. They all rushed forward, not wanting to miss the chance, and the startled brown dragonet squeaked, and awkwardly backed up right into the Hold Brat - but they'll probably be calling him B'jrin from now on. Help me! "Of course I'll help you little one. What's your name?" I'm Orlath
Moonvith barely had time to relay the conversation when the next egg broke.(Ok, ok. he wasn't supposed to, but he and J'layle *did* find most of the candidate, so they felt entitled. And J'layle wouldn't live till morning if he didn't pass on the interesting stuff to T'ryn.) This time it was a green. The girls had by now all gathered around the queen egg, so the little green got a huffy look on her face since they were all ignoring her. She glared. One of the girls shivered and turned around. "Cadaeth! Oh, I'll never ignore you again!" M'rianna cried as she rushed towards her now happy green.
The two riders nod, remembering what it was like to Impress. I remember too! "Course you do Moonvith," J'layle replied absentmindedly as two eggs started to hatch.
The blue and the green hatched right next to each other at the same time. They looked around bleary eyed and then studied each other for a moment. Deciding that they would not make good riders for each other, they turn to the candidates. The blue picked out his choice quite quickly.
"Now that artist will be able to paint pictures he had never even dreamed of before, views a-dragonback. What is his name anyway?
"Jihlon," J'layle replied but he was watching the green.
T'ryn pokes him. "And the dragon's name? My Nimeth won't tell me."
"Umm, its Lorloth."
The green was wandering about the girls. Obviously undecided. In the meantime, the queen egg started rocking and the girls clustered about it. The green looked a little sad as everyone turned away from her. So she sulked off to one corner. The queen egg, on the other hand, broke open with great force, the gold dragonet spralled on her back. She blinked and quickly got up from that undignified position. Taking her time to preen a moment, she settled her awkward wings the best she could, and with a regal glance, studied her choices.
There was a squeak from one of the girls and she cried out, "Her name is Ariath!"
"That was a good choice, I think" T'ryon says to J'layle. "That Coral is strong and healthy from those two years of wanding Pern holdless. She must have been pretty smart, and creative to find hiding places in time for Threadfall. And she knows this planet better than most, and a queen rider who's a healer is always an asset. Reminds me a bit of Moretta, no?"
J'layle grins and nods. "She'd make a good Weyrwoman one day. You never know!"
A second green hatched, and as there was no gold competition, the girls rushed over to her. Feeling like a queen under all this attention, she strutted over to her candidate of choice. I'm Ceveth, and I'm hungry
"I guess she meant it then when she said she didn't care about her beautiful skin getting messed up. Look how she gets the meat all over her arms as she feeds that green! Oh yeah! I remembernow, her name is Cerice. Pity nothing can be done about the wear and tear of being a rider.......so beautiful."
J'layle smacks his friend as he drifts off in reverie and points out the bronze now hatching.
He seemed to be kind of stuck in the egg, but the candidates knew that they were not supposed to interfere, but one boy couldn't resist. He rushed forwards and ripped pieces of shell free. He then looked up at the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman and called out to their frowning faces, "But he was calling to me! Asking me to help him! His name is Vendath!" he bends over and hugs the purring dragonet. The Weyrleader looks up at J'layle who looks surprised but nods. J'layle had thought no one knew about his eavesdropping......
By then, another blue and green had hatched. The green didn't hesistate an instant and went for one of the girls.
"Kiyou will now be able to study the stars from her Trisath's back. *I* find their much more beautiful when it feels like you're flying amongst them," J'layle mused.
The blue also had no trouble picking out a rider. HI, I'm Galomith. Can I be your dragon? "I think you already are," replies Kaloren to the happy, hyper blue.
Both J'layle and T'ryn chuckle at that exchange as Moonvith relayed it to his rider. "I wonder what happened to that green, did she Impress and I missed it?"
But J'layle didn't have time to continue that thought as the last egg hatched into a brown. He just kind of rolled till he ended up at the feet of one of the remaining male candidates. I'm Iveth! R'lin laughed at the rolly-polly little dragon and started to feed him, staring into those swirling blue eyes.
By now, all the girls has left, the green forgotten out of sight in her little corner. The candidates who had Impressed were filling out into the back room to meet the riders who'll help them through the fears of being new riders. Then the remaining boys wandered off the hot sands disappointed. That is until one of them noticed a glimmer of green in one corner. Padrieth had moved off so he went to investigate. Spectators were leaving, eveyone talking about the hatching, all but two riders who were searching in vain for a green they were *sure* was still out there. After all, Moonvith had said so.
As the boy got closer he heard a little shuffling sound. He couldn't see into the hole where the sound was coming from so he put his arms inside and touched something soft and warm. And it wiggled. He grabbed and pulled. With a squeak, he pulled the little green out by her tail. They both fell back and she landed on his chest, staring deep into his eyes. I guess you don't like me either..... "Don't be silly," Vhalaradyn said, "I love you!" Really? I'm Talith And she began to lick his face.
Though the two riders couldn't see what was going on down on the Sands for all the spectators who were now standing, Moonvith kept them well informed of the events below. It seemed like no one else knew about the Impression, but they would all soon find out.
Icons and background by Dee Dreslough