The eggs rocked in the red sands of Ryslen under the watchful whirling eyes of their mother, the dark teal green born of Baeris' Healing Den who now called Ryslen home - Aderynth by name. Her mate Myth, also from Baeris' sands, graced the hatching grounds with his inky black-blue presence. 22 Candidates were present at Ryslen that morning, some first time candidates, others standing for their second or third hatching and hoping it would be their last.
The candidates entered, and Green Emyricieth took up her perch on the ledges above - still not welcome on the sands with Aderynth, even now. Less than a third would have their wishes come true this bright day.
The clear blue sky was touched with high fluffy clouds - beautiful and light unlike what would soon appear on the hatching sands. The largest egg of the clutch trembled violently beneath Aderynth's wing; she took this as a cue and ascended to the ledge where her dark mate rested. Her children could do this on their own.
From that quaking egg, pieces of shell began to fall and in a heartbeat came the determined first step of a Night brown - a tribute to his parentage. There was light applause from the assembled guests, honoring htem all as the brown approached the candidates - his choice was clear. The unmistakable Ryff. I can feel the strength in you, Ryff. You will go far, I know; but together we will go further.
"Wings and Flame, Redaelth! What we can do! Together with Lena and..."
Lena shrugged. No dragon for her yet.
Her time will come.
Ryff didn't speak as his hungry bond led him out of the sands, but his expressoin was clearly read. I won't leave you alone here.
Whether Lena got the message was debatable, as the second dragon made his appearance - a Night blue. With solemnity in his step, he surveyed the candidates. "He thinks he's really something, doesn't he?" The little red dragonlet said.
"Hush Keyatee." Eric Duncan said, and the blue oriented on them.
She sure chatters a lot for a flit. the blue said clearly into his mind.
"She's no ordinary 'flit', Minuoth."
"Yeah!" Keyatee said.
The third egg shivered, shook, and stopped. This repeated several times as the candidates and visitors looked on. "Should we help?" one candidate whispered, and it was echoed as they decided; or attempted to. But one candidate had an idea in her head.
Calmly Mayte stepped from the circle and approached the egg. Her palms hovered over the smooth cream-colored shell before softly touching it's marble-hard surface - a familiar feeling to may - but different for her. Silver eyes beheld little of what others could, but an interesting expression grew on her face. The egg shook once more, and Mayte dug nails into the hariline cracks and pulled. Her light assistance was all that dragon needed - or maybe she was waiting for someone to be next to the egg? A black paw pushed out, and then Mayte held not egg but a beautiful dragon.
Don't gape, Mayte. the dragoness said.
Mayte caressed the hatchling's neck. Could she be mistaken? A Night purple? The dragoness stepped from her shell and excited murmurs confirmed it. But had she identified the dragoness beforehand? Minaeya was grinning...
She's grinning, and you should be too.
"You're the first purle Night, Helindivioth."
You said my color wouldn't matter.
"It doesn't, Helin. It doesn't." The colorblind girl clutched the dragon to her. Gem grinned. How anyone could not love the dragon bonded to them was a mystery to her. Eeppoth nuzzled her rider, the equivalent of a dragon grin on her blue muzzle. After a moment Mayte and Helindivioth rose and departed; to be fed and congratulated by friends. Minaeya and D'ari slipped out to ask her if she had known - and to caution her about using her talent - or rather having it exploited by the greedy and unscrupled.
The next egg revealed the familiar features of a Night green - and one that would not be ignored. Le'ivren! she barked, I am Tsi'erenth!
The fifth egg shattered violently; but the Night green within moved with precision. K'ma locked eyes with the dragoness. "Rekarlith."
The dragon stepped to her side. A feeling of uneasiness washed over a few as K'ma and Le'ivren exited with their inky dragons.
17 sets of eyes looked at the last egg of Aderynth's clutch, and held their breath as the Night blue slipped carefully out. With great pride the blue began towards a duo of candidates. Hiroshi and Mitsui knew that he would only choose one, and they awaited the voice in their minds. Hiroshi's mind flitted to his family... former family. Hiroshi, fear not. I am Shukumeith - fate. And you believe, do you not?
Hiroshi clung tightly to Mitsui as this was said. "I believe, but what about..."
Mitsui pushed his love towards the blue "We're not the only pair split today. Don't worry Hiroshi."
Shukumeith nudged against his chosen. There will be others. There will always be more to come. Mitsui smiled. How could he not?
The remaining candidates quickly gathered the shards of eggshell, and then Ainchisth and Ambroseth were left alone on the sands.
But not for long.
Eric Duncan & Night Blue Minuoth
Mayte & Night Purple Helindivioth
Le'ivren & Night Green Tsi'erenth
K'ma Larkioin & Night Green Rekarlith
Hiroshi & Night Blue Shukumeith