Frost glittered on the edges of exposed vegetation, vanishing instantly in the sun like tiny faeries vanishing into thin air. Prima Jeyann yielded to temptation and threw her arms wide as she spun in a circle, as though trying to embrace the red stony walls of Nidus Ryslen that surrounded her. As she stood grinning, she felt rather than heard the rumbling croon.
"Now that's a true queenly sound!" Jeyann laughed, and sprinted across the courtyard and up the stony steps into the apartments she shared with her queen.
Are you saying I'm not a true queen? Mezireth asked in a half joking and half serious manner.
"Of course you're a true queen, darling. I just meant it's been a while since we've heard a golden hatching serenade." Jeyann said, slipping out of her heavy jacket and vanishing behind the curtain into her dressing area.
Your brothers are rounding up the novos as we speak. None of the vampires will be in attendance - it's daylight - but we have no reason to exclude the elves and weres. Mezireth informed her rider as she made her way to the hatching sands and her preferred perch.
Jeyann emerged in a deep crimson dress with vertical black pinstripes and close-fitting sleeves. "Good. J'ky and J'ti are efficient." She replied thoughtfully as she chose a red pendant on a black satin ribbon from the box on her dressing table.
"It runs in the family." Ke'l said, coming in quietly and taking the necklace from her and tying it gently but securely around her neck. He placed a kiss on her neck, and offered an arm in escort. "Shall we?"
Usodorith's humming grew more audible, and other draconic voices, the first to join being Mezireth's, followed by Litayth's distinguished voice.
Twenty seven novos - candidates - stood in a loose ring around Usodorith's clutch of fifteen. All of them wore the most traditional candidate robe Ryslen offered - a sleeveless long white vest with the Ryslen Crest embroidered on the back in white. The last they'd seen, the eggs were together in an easily guarded mound, but this bright morning, they were spaced apart in the soft red sands, and cradled between the mother gold's talons was a large egg which had slowly grown more golden day by day. Everyone was certain that Usodorith had laid a queen, but which of the girls would she choose?
The eggs rocked erratically, and the first to show striations of hatching was of medium size, and sat just off the center of Usodorith's section of the hatching sands. The fractured shell bulged and then broke wide open, spilling a rather large and rather dark green hatchling out into the world. Green? Green? Wasn't a proper gold's clutch supposed to hatch bronze or brown first? The brown-sized green got to her feet and wound her way out to the ring of novos. Her rainbowy faceted eyes sought those of Yoshi, and she spoke: Yoshi, My name is Verausth. Usodorith gazed at her first-hatched child and at her rider's niece with happily whirling eyes.
The second egg split just moments after Verausth's impression, and a deep brown hatchling staggered out. His steps became steadier as he shook out his damp wings and headed for the boys. Keain saw him coming and stepped forward to greet him. "Hello Atocyazoth."
The next egg spilled out a green hatchling, who squawked at the indignity of landing in the sand. She hauled herself to her feet and shook her wings out. They were long and delicately colored, and with steps that matched her graceful green coloring, the hatchling strode towards Tlyzza of Falas. I am Gaelath.
A large egg split directly in half, and with confident steps, a bronze stepped out of his ivory cradle and onto the red sands. He did not as much as glance in another direction before heading straight towards Tulalyn, one of Tlyzza's brothers. "Rorfiliath…" Tulalyn said, speaking his bronze's name.
The fifth egg yielded to an ocean blue hatchling with a hungry look in his faceted eyes. He moved with the grace of a creature in its element, and swept up beside Loinneil in silence. I am Niuhith. he purred hungrily.
Usodorith's humming rose in pitch, and she removed her claws from where they supported the egg with the golden-sheen. It wobbled surreptitiously, and then split apart into neat sections. Sure enough, a golden hatchling was revealed from within. None of the candidates dared to breathe. They'd been well informed this time that queens of old were vicious upon hatching, and had been known to kill girls who were not their bond without the slightest bit of remorse. At long last, the hatchling queen moved towards the candidates. She paraded past them, ignoring the boys, until she came to a girl who was as properly weyrbred as a non-Pernese child could be. Tell them my name, love. The hatchling whispered. They're dying to know. The girl blinked. "Her name is Etherrallanth." Ilene announced to the world.
As the crowd of spectators applauded the impression of the queen, a blue and a bronze hatched in rapid succession. The blue scrambled to his feet and made a beeline for the earthling Zare, as if the bronze would steal his chosen bond. Leejuath is my name.
The bronze hatchling took his time getting his limbs organized, shaking sand from his damp wings, and then moved leisurely to the slowly dwindling circle of novos. El-thuli, I choose you. he said at long last. "Welcome, Gilondeth…" El-thuli said, practically purring in his happiness.
Another green appeared, pushing apart her shell with determination. With a bounce in her step, she approached the novos and leaned against a young Pernese girl. "I love you too, Boabeth." Rhira said with a smile.
A second green appeared a heartbeat later. With heavy limbs, she would have more muscle than some of her more lithe sisters, and could probably outlast some blues. She strode across the sands and stood before Analu. "You have chosen me, Feycirath… "
A long-winged blue hatchling tumbled out of his egg and across the sand, stopping at Arathi's feet. Dizzily he looked up at the candidate. One Arathi… Two Arathis…. "Just one, Athuiteth." The boy said, embracing the slightly damp dragonet.
Another blue broke free of his egg cradle and pranced jocularly across the sands to another Earthling. Merick, I am "Joekarath."
Three eggs remained, and the smallest was rocking the most fiercely. However, it was the almost still one that split first, sending shards of creamy shell scattering across the soft red sand. A klah brown dragon stood there, surveying the world with rainbow faceted eyes. Almost serenely he strode over to the candidates and put one paw on the boy's leg. Thalenyth is my name, Trystyn.
The other large egg went to pieces, and another rich klah brown hatchling came into the world. His wedge head oriented on the twelve remaining candidates, and with an awkward false step, began his trek towards them. "Careful Ocorebeth…" Snoen said, encouraging the brown instinctively. His eyes widened, and he stepped forward to meet his dragon.
The smallest egg rocked itself over, and split open. A smallish green crept out, exhausted by her hatching efforts. I am Ieanitegeth. And I am tired! she bespoke her chosen as she sprawled out in the warm red sands. Bree watched happily as Therbre, her sister, stepped forward to meet her dragon properly.
I told you they would both impress from my clutch. Usodorith said smugly.
Keain and brown Atocyazoth
Tlyzza and green Gaelath
Tulalyn and bronze Rorfiliath
Loinneil and blue Niuhith
Ilene and Gold Etherrallanth
Zare and blue Leejuath
El-thuli and Bronze Gilondeth
Rhira and green Boabeth
Analu and green Feycirath
Arathi and blue Athuiteth
Merick and blue Joekarath
Trystyn and brown Thalenyth
Snoen and brown Ocorebeth
Therbre and (small) green Ieanitegeth