"Huh?" J'layle said sleepily. "Moonvith.....go away. I'm tired."
They're hatching. But if you're not interested.......
J'layle was already half-dressed by the time his dragon finished his comment. "Quick, we've got to fetch the guests! And wake the candidates. Why do these things always happen at night."
When the last of the guests had settled into their places, Moonvith rose to sit on the ledge, his rumblings joining that of the other dragons and the hummings of the excited firelizards which seemed to be, well, everywhere. J'layle sat next to his friend T'ryn, a green rider. They always watched the hatching together.
At last the candidates were brought out. J'layle chuckled and nudged his friend. "That one, Patrin. I found him sleeping on the floor, he had fallen out of bed during the night. As you can guess it was rather hard to wake him up. I thought we'd all be late for the Hatching." T'ryn laughed but was sitting on the edge of his seat. He loved Hatchings, they always reminded him of his own.
The candidates encircled the eggs. Green Merrith watched with burning red eyes, but her rider, Megumi kept her under control. When the first one hatched, Merrith nearly attacked the candidate nearest the brown hatchling, so he backed away. When Megumi had gotten her green to go sit in the corner and behave, the spectators were cheering for the first Impression.
"I didn't see who it was....Merrith was in the way." T'ryn poked J'layle, for you see, Moonvith filled J'layle in on all the interesting conversations going on down on the Sands. They weren't supposed to, it was a new rider's most private moment after all, but......
There was a pause while Moonvith relayed the information. "It was Heytio! Well, I for one am not surprised. He is perfecty suited for a brown. A brown named Oculith. A strange name, but somehow interesting. There, see, Merrith moved out of the way. Look at that brown eat."
"Reminds me of you," T'ryn laughed under J'layle's glare.
Both rider's attentions were abruptly brought back to the Sands as three eggs hatched nearly instantaneously. T'ryn pointed out the smallish green who was having trouble picking a rider. She sat and stared at one boy who stared back into her eyes. T'ryn poked J'layle again. "Well...."
"I don't know. They aren't Impressing. Strange."
The green let out a yelp as a larger blue stumbled over her tail and landed in a heap at Sengalron's feet. He bent down to help up the hatchling. Thank you. I am Hewyth and I'm hungry
The two older riders sat back laughing, brushing tears out of their eyes. "Well, no one ever said dragons weren't quick to get to the point."
"Don't worry about it Moonvith."
"The green has now moved away from that boy. She's following one of the girls around like a puppy, but the girl hasn't noticed her yet."
Sure enough, the girl was trying to get into position to Impress the other green which had hatched. As she maneuvered about, trying to get around the other girls, the hatchling followed intently. Finally, getting tired of chasing her rider-to-be around, the green lunged forward, and grabbing onto the back of the girl's robes, pulled her to the ground. Stop! Don't you like Joyeth? Sornia wrapped her arms around her dragon's neck. "Of course I do!"
The other green in the meantime had pushed her way through the crowd of candidates to a rather short, but well built girl. Jequie bent down to rub her darling Darlith under the chin. The dragonet purred. Now Jequie will be able to write her song about Harper dragonriders, just as she had planned.
"Down to two eggs. It always goes so quickly, and yet, when I was down there, it seemed to take an eternity. I didn't think it would ever end." T'ryn nodded distractedly to J'layle's words because he was already watching the next egg break open in one sudden movement.
"Another brown!?" both riders exclaimed. They had expected perhaps one in a green's clutch. But two?
And this brown knew exactly who and what he wanted. He walked right up to the bewildered rider who had stroked his egg so lovingly. Where are the little ones with little, little ones? It took Baritor a few moments to realize that he had Impressed. A few moments more were required to figure out that the little ones where his flits who had recently clutched, which explained the little, little ones. "Oh, they're nearby I'm sure, Uneth."
"Another interesting name," T'ryn replied after J'layle told the greenrider what Moonvith had heard. 'I believe the dragons are getting more creative with every hatching." J'layle nearly feel off his chair with laughter as Moonvith exclaimed that he thought he had the best name. T'ryn look at J'layle for a moment, not knowing what was so funny, and decided he didn't want to know. He wanted to see the last green find her rider and bondmate.
"I think Melia will Impress that green. She's a smart girl." J'layle guessed.
"No way! Trilla is much more suited to be a rider."
"You would think that, considering you searched her. But Moonvith handpicked Melia. She'll Impress."
T'ryn stuck out his tongue. J'layle just didn't have a good response to that, wishing he was several turns younger. *Then* he would have had the perfect response!
Both riders watched.
"Isn't that Shaharaza, or Razi as everyone seems to call her. She gets on my nerves, so arrogant she is. Rumour has it she's never failed at anything she's attempted. But with my Trilla out there, she doesn't have a chance at Impression."
J'layle snorts, "That's because Trilla hasn't got a chance against Melia. I wouldn't call Razi arrogant though. Just *really* self-assured."
Now it's T'ryn's turn to snort. "Self-assured my foot. Well, it doesn't matter anyway. Trilla will Impress tonight."
When the riders looked back to the Sands, they were appalled to see that the candidates were being led out with their hatchlings.
"Moonvith! Did Melia Impress the green."
No, Chareth was not Impressed by Melia.
T'ryn beamed. "Ask about Trilla.
With a sigh, J'layle did.
T'ryn hopped from on foot to the other, trying to figure out what Moonvith had just told J'layle. Silently, J'layle asked, Who then?
The girl you didn't like. Razi. I like her though.
The riders just stared at each other, then they shrugged and patted each other on the back. Their candidates would be around to battle it out the next time. The walked off, arm in arm, to go meet the new riders.
J'layle was lounging about outside in the warm sunshine. The Hatching would be today. Moonvith had made certain to remind him of that several times already. How that blue knew these things, he never understood and didn't care to. T'ryn, a green rider and J'layle's friend, came over and lay down next to the blue rider.
"So?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" J'layle replied as he watched a wing of dragons take to the air and vanish Between.
"Aren't you going to fetch the guests?" T'ryn answered with another question.
J'layle sat up as he watched more and more dragons vanish, then the first few returning carrying lords and ladies upon their backs. "MOONVITH!"
By the time the last of the guests had settled into their places, J'layle had completely forgotten to reprimand his dragon for not telling him about the imminent Hatching. T'ryn squished himself between J'layle and another rider. "Didn't save me a spot did you?" J'layle tried to ignore him but smiled.
Eggs were rocking back and forth even before the candidates were brought onto the Sands. "They seem quite eager this time around! And look at the proud Cadaeth, such a deep green she is today." T'ryn merely nodded as the first eggs hatched.
The candidates hadn't had time to circle the eggs just yet, and because of the excitement in the air, all order was lost and they rushed forward, all wanting to be the first to Impress the little green. One girl got all tangled up in her robes and feel to her knees as the others ran past.
But before the wave of candidates could reach the startled green, a brown fell from his shell. The male candidates quickly turned and rushed towards the crying creature.
On the way there, one of the candidates passed an egg with a large crack down its side. Seeing that he wouldn't be able catch up with the front of the group he stopped and hoped that it wasn't a gold, which was nearly impossible, but you never knew. It wasn't, it was a blue. Tanvarian reached down to grasp the creature's fine head and stared deep into the swirling colours, falling deep.......
I am Abealoth
Up on the tiers, J'layle nodded to T'ryn, to let him know that Impression had taken place, Moonvith always kept J'layle up to date with these things. The first to hatch was a green, but the first to Impress was a blue. But there was still a brown out there.
Chaos would be too kind a word, as the frightened green backed aways from the mass of candidates around her. Another green and a blue hatched, leaving candidates very confused as to which one they should try for.
T'ryn watched with amazement. "Never seen anything like this before, its insane!"
J'layle laughed, "When I Impressed it was something similar to this. I ran from hatchling to hatchling, unable to get enough courage to just stop at one and take my chances. I jumped from a brown to a blue to a bronze back to a blue before I finally decided I wasn't going to get any if I didn't stand still. I picked the right one, I think....."
Moonvith muttered something in J'layle's head, but the rider refused to repeat it.
Finally one of the girls took pity on the poor terrified green, and carried her off to one side, away from the noise and excitement.
Thank you. I am Olondath and I was scared. Now I am hungry.
ReAnna couldn't believe it, she had Impressed the little one!
"Now there's a girl who knew what to do under pressure. Bet she surprised even herself." J'layle grinned as T'ryn laughed.
Now, there was only one green, but also a blue, a brown and one egg still unhatched.
The brown was being picky. Maybe he knew that he would be the highest ranked dragon of the clutch, or maybe that was just the way he was. But either way, he was taking his time, unafraid of the boys crowding around him. Finally hunger made him choose and he waddled up to one of the boys. Nephilim grinned in a superior way at the others as he reached down to feed his dragon.
As the young brown ate, he told Nephilim his name, Unurith.
J'layle shook his head. "That boy better be careful and not show off too much. The others won't like it if he shoves the fact that he got a brown and they didn't get any into their faces."
"He does seem to have a bit of a habit of getting into trouble, doesn't he?" T'ryn asked.
"Yes, but I do think he'll make a fine brown rider."
Now it was down to a green, a blue and a violently rocking egg. The boys who had lost out on Unurith rushed towards the blue and egg, hoping it was another brown, like the last time.
But the boys who had turned to the blue were to be disappointed. By the time they got there, Dalmon was craddling his Laraeth.
The ones who had turned to the egg had fared little better. Though greens often impress men, as T'ryn would confirm, the green which broke free from her egg knew what she wanted almost as soon as she hit the sand with a soft cry. She was up and tugging on the robes of a suprised Jessiv within a minute.
"What's your name my love?" Jessiv asked her hatchling.
Admeth, silly! as if Jessiv should have known.
T'ryn and J'layle nearly feel off their seats laughing after hearing what Moonvith had to report. The riders around them gave them funny looks, but took little notice of them. They had always been a strange pair.
When they stopped laughing, they saw that the candidates were being led off the Sands. A few with stumbling, awkward hatchlings in tow, but most were alone.
"Wasn't there one more green?" T'ryn asked.
J'layle queried his dragon who replied that if they had been paying attention instead of laughing themselves silly they would have witnessed the Impression of Querimeth and Lylith. The two riders looked at each other and broke out laughing again. Moonvith sighed as he found he could not understand his rider any more that J'layle could understand his mount. That was probably why they got along so well.
Icons and background by Dee Dreslough