Thunderheads rolled across Ryslen’s sky, dark and ominous, making midmorning look as midnight. Jazrae stood with Weyrwoman Jeyann on the ledge that lead into the office. “Such beautiful weather…” she sighed sarcastically. “Nynaeveth assures me that her eggs will hatch today, but they haven’t as much as quivered yet.”
“Hatchlings take their own time, Jazrae. Life teaches us these things.” Jeyann said with a smile very reminiscent of her mother’s. Her hand went absently to the slight rounding of her belly, where her child grew. Jazrae blushed twice; once for her impatience with her dragon’s offspring, and once for herself – for her own child. Jeyann noticed and smiled. “Ryslen continues grows by leaps and bounds…”
In the courtyard, Teme stood with Kyoram’s arms around her. As Jiyan had chosen Ryslen as her nesting place, they had all relocated here from the Pelar Protectorate for the duration. The huge silver-rainbow queen could wait to mate until the time was right, but neither rider wanted to be rushed, not with Zhure and the twins needing to be brought along. “Such beautiful weather…” Teme sighed, not a drop of sarcasm in her voice. Kyam nearly purred when she spoke those words.
“Would you like it to rain?” he asked, eyes sparkling with delight, knowing her answer before she spoke it.
A thundercrack shook Ryslen from its doze, the bright simultaneous flash of lightning making the red stone burn like fire. The clouds opened and huge raindrops began to fall, raising tiny dust clouds where they crashed into the sand of the courtyard. Teme laughed as the warm-yet-cool late spring rain fell upon her and her beloved.
* * *
The storm was almost spent when Nynaeveth awoke from her slumbers and separated the slowly moving eggs. Jazrae, my children will hatch soon. the even-tempered queen spoke, her eyes whirling in happy rainbows of love, anticipation, and even sadness that her time of nurturing was nearing completion.
Jazrae smiled at the other queenriders as they sat having tea and coffee in Jeyann’s office and mulling over Ryslen’s future. “It’s time.” She said joyfully, and happy dragon noises filled the air that had been filled with thunder not long before. By the time they reached the sands, slightly damp candidates were in place, adrenaline running high. Eager eyes searched across the sands as spectators made their way to their seats, and a rainbow of dragons perched on the high ledges, necks craned, waiting to see the newest dragons in the Nexus.
Nynaeveth crooned happily to the nine rocking eggs, not exactly humming as other mothers did, but she encouraged them nonetheless. With her joined the voices of the sire Vajrath, and his beloved mate the pale green Zakurath who’d helped to care for the clutch. The first of them cracked as the hatchling within rammed his sharp Ryslen crest against the thin ceramic wall of his cradle. In moments, the red hatchling looked out at the world through an opening he had made, and without a lick of hesitation, he pushed free, revealing a half-white body. A Light Red! Interestingly, his head was graced only with the crest; no headknobs whatsoever. The knobless Light looked to a young man, whose face lit up. “Estroithemith…” Realiciet said, naming the first of the hatchlings.
The second egg cracked, the hatchling within snarling audibly as he fought against the unyielding shell. Finally the young beast kicked away a section of the creamy container, revealing his bright crimson hide. He broke free of it, and finding his feet, broke for the candidates. He nearly toppled over his choice, the tall tanned young Gatoshnarel. His bright green firelizard scolded the red, but the young man settled her, and knelt before the hatchling, his voice finding the difficult sylables of the dragon’s name slipping easily out. “Uaillikenth, her name is Qyzell…”
The third dragon to make an appearance had far less trouble shattering the restraining walls of his shell. The brown boldly made his way into the world, and spreading his wings, he trumpeted his triumph an angel, to laugh. Why do you laugh, Tanaro? The angel’s eyes met with the hatchling’s opalescent ones. “Your joyful exuberance is exactly what I felt, Etheveth my bonded, the moment you hatched.”
The next dragon cracked his shell open, and slipped out silently, his red hide clearly visible on the red sands, but not for long as he rolled in it, attempting to camoflage himself, if only temporarily. He crept across the circle to his choice of candidates. Emili looked down at him, and smiled softly. "Sevromath..." he chided gently, promising himself he'd teach his dragon how to best infiltrate... once he perfected it himself.
The network of cracks that had been growing on the roundest of the eggs split, revealing a creamy dragon who exactly matched the pallor of her shell. On wobbly legs she stood, and began to move through the soft red sands towards her future. She spread her wings, glorious shining things, and looked up into the sun-struck gold eyes of the Gryphosi. I will take you home, Moriaya, as soon as I can fly. Someone there will be able to fix your wings, certainly. The young dragon’s voice was full of certainty. “Are you sure, Nalilath? Of course you are…” she hugged the dragon to her, happy.
Two eggs had rocked in such a manner that they were close together, even though Nynaeveth had carefully separated them. They knocked together, and two dragons looked into each other’s eyes, then away. A stocky blue, and a lithe silver. Norman, the cop, suddenly spoke “Ampararth…” “and Betjanath.” Abby finished, the names striking a resonating chord with them. The dragons looked directly at them, and then approached their bonds, the blue looking to Norman, and the female silver to Abby. To Protect… and Serve. the dragons said in matched tandem. How law enforcement would change, with these four on duty!
That left the largest two eggs unhatched, but not for long. One split, pouring white and bronze head over heels. In an acrobatic feat that not many hatchlings are coordinated enough to achieve, the Light Bronze righted himself, and skidded to a stop before a somewhat startled young man. Aervlen, my bond, tell them my name. His compassionate brown-black eyes shone as he looked up towards where his family held their breath in the stands. He saw his aunt, and beamed. “His name is Chycanth!”
The last egg opened, the pieces falling away silently as a deep bronze hatchling stepped out with more grace than his lithe Light brother had displayed. Even with gawky childish proportions that would disperse with maturity, the hatchling had a natural agility about him that corresponded with the talents of his chosen. It was right, Cerathu, absolutely right. We will make it all right. I am Onilaath. The Jaguar-shifter’s eyes were as saucers. His dragon. His dragon…
As the last of the newly impressed left the sands, the late afternoon sun burst through the clouds, casting a rainbow across the sky. A glorious ending.
Gatoshnarel and Red Uaillikenth
Tanaro and Brown Etheveth
Emili and Red Sevromath
Moriaya and Cream Nalilath
Norman and Blue Ampararth
Abby and Silver (f) Betjanath
Aervlen and Light Bronze Chycanth
Cerathu and Bronze Onilaath