The moon had risen to the center of the southern sky when the call was made, the midnight stars glittered
brilliantly overhead as the sleepy candidates were awoken and the even sleepier Weyrleaders went to their dragons and mounted,
both remembering belatedly how welcome a cup of klah or teria would be at this hour.
At the entrance to the immense hatching ground, white Aphelionth paced back and forth, her tail lashing and
her silver horns glinting in the starlight. Will they not come faster Darkwind? I sense my children's impatience! The
shapechanger just moaned in her sleep on the borrowed bed in the Hatching grounds weyr, the reality of what her white was
saying failing to register. It was only when the dragon's warble of distress followed by the sharp crack of a shell
splitting did the raven haired celerien jump clear out of bed and throw on clothes, any clothes, and race out to the grounds.
She appeared just in time to see Aphelionth leave the entrance and go to the comfort of a black hatchling who creeled in hunger
and dejection. I am Rath, why is no one here? Does no one wish to see us hatch? Aphelionth's reply
was lost when Darkwind heard Copper yelling at her for not giving enough warning. Mindful that Galaxiath was probably due
to rise again, Darkwind carefully schooled her expression, and pretended not to hear.
Another, larger, egg cracked, and as the groggy candidates filed in, one face of them all was awake and hopeful.
A bronze snout appeared and the scantly gathered crowd gasped, first a rare then a bronze? That boded well for the rest of
the clutch. Bets were flying as the sharp-witted took advantage of muddled thoughts and feelings. As the large bronze struggled
free, he creeled and looked forlornly at his inky brother, who stood within the shards of his egg, a sad shadow of what should
be a glorious happening. Then the bronze warbled happily, and now free, bounded across the sands to land in a heap at the
feet of Easbalair. The weyrbrat smiled, and knelt to cuddle the downy head to his chest, as the bronze made deep rumbling
sounds deep in his throat. I am Ryuchotenth, you are E'lair, and the sky is no longer the limit
for us. And as E'lair led his new bond from the sands, neither felt the eyes that followed their every move.
Rath watched the newly bonded leave and he ducked his dark head, struggling with himself so as not to let
on how sad he truly was. A small egg cracked to his right, but he didnt hear, all he saw were the candidates watching him
waiting for his choice. But the wise young dragonling remained silent, and carefully stepped aside to allow his small
green sister room.
As the black hatchling stepped aside, the gathered girls gasped at the faultless model of perfection that
was the emerald hued dragon. Delicately, she picked her way across the sands towards them, then stopped, and arched her long
neck, her glowing eyes fastened on one. Zaqa I am Midorihath, and I shall help you all
I can, together, we shall return to Hermoso and make that Weyr shine with our presence! The young elfmaiden only nodded
through tear filled eyes as she helped the small green beauty negotiate her way off of the sands. Behind, Rath only sighed,
his eyes attentive, and forlorn.
Two eggs split at once, but the differences, even at this early state, were glaring. The largest practically
exploded, with the impatience of a mature red dragon, the medium sized copper rolled out, his glowing golden eyes fixed immediately
on one. Standing on unsteady legs he shook the hot sand off and peered around nonchalantly, his eyes never leaving one face,
slowly he moved forward, first towards the boys, then abruptly he veered off, in the direction of the girls, and in particular
to one who stood far from the others. Calypso regarded the copper approaching her with some mistrust and apprehension.
But once the little dragon touched her mind, the link was forged. Hello Calypso, I am Tolvathan, you
may not know a lot about me, but I know a lot about you right now, The copper paused and planted himself at the red dragonesss
feet, And I like what I have seen, do you like me? I seriously hope your not expecting to be my mother though. Then
the hatchling's tone took on a touch of arrogance. I can take care of myself, but I do hope you will show me how to fly.
The red dragon in human form laughed then knelt to scratch the coppers eye ridges and around the stubby silver horns. "I shall
teach you to fly little one," and she looked up, her eyes met those of her master, " and perhaps we shall return to my world,
and visit many places you have only seen in my mind." The copper rumbled happily, then complained that while he was
perfectly capable of feeding himself, he did have to get there.
As Xanthos watched his pupil bond to the spunky little copper, he totally missed when the other egg
hatched, as did most of the crowd, at least until he felt a feather light brush on his mind and felt something butt at his
leg. Startled he moved away, felt unhappiness, and looked down, and was lost in the bottomless depths of two dark amber colored
eyes. "Lyveana" he whispered, hardly believing what sat patiently at his feet. The small, delicately
proportioned ice dragon looked up at the unicorn mage with eyes that spoke of wisdom beyond her years, and her soft voice
that only he heard rang with a gentleness common with that of a delicate flower. Kneeling to be at her level, Xanthos peered
into those entrancing eyes, "You want me?" Acceptance, it rang through the bond he felt between them. Then he smiled gently,
"I see, shall we find Calypso and some food for you?" The little ice trilled and nudged him with her small head. Standing,
Xanthos gathered Lyveana in his arms and went off in search of the lower caverns and the other new dragonriders.
Rath watched as the healing ice dragon chose his only hope for a bond, but yet he felt no resentment, the
unicorn mage had been one of many options, not the one Rath was truly waiting for, one he was beginning to doubt he would
ever find. He sighed, and ignored the query from his snowy mother. Looking up at the stands his gazed filled many with hope,
then he looked away, and the amount of sighs that were heard was uncountable.
Another large egg split, as the glistening shards fell, a regal silver with hints of white walked
out at a sedate pace. She stretched her glistening wings and peered around her with wide opalescent eyes, fanning her wings
she yawned. Looking over her shoulder she looked at the black unbonded dragon quizzically, then up at her softly glowing mother.
Nodding a little to herself she marched up to the holder girl. Rohna, I am Fellitanth,
honor is a good virtue, and the truth is always important and builds trust. Shall we spread the ideals of these concepts throughout
the world? Rohna only nodded.
After the silver and her bond left the sands that left four, and one egg. This one gleamed somewhat, and many
had placed bets that it held not a gold, but a variant, perhaps a gold/white, or another rare, but they were all wrong. Aphelionth
trilled and nudged the egg, a fissure appeared, grew longer, then stopped. A faint creeling could be heard inside before it
too stopped. Rath looked up and stared at the egg, and trilled a bit in a soft musical voice, as if to encourage his clutch
mate to greater strength. The egg quivered, and all the assembled held their breath, and then, with a loud bugle, the egg
shattered, revealing a solid golden queen. Regally the gold stood amongst the needlelike like shards of her old home. She
trilled, in excellent imitation of a certain red/gold and looked not at the candidates, but at her brother. Why do you
not choose? You urge me to break free, to bond to one of my own, and yet you have not done so. Why? Are none of them worthy?
With that she glared at the remaining candidates, growling a little. But young Rath only shook his head. All are worthy
sister-mine, choose well, one awaits you here.
Throughout the exchange, one girl held her breath. She couldn't take her eyes off the slim golden queen,
all her petty desires for dresses and jewels were gone, all she knew was the intense longing to be accepted by the dragoness,
to be acceptable to Weyrfolk and to be acknowledge for something other then her beauty. Thoughts of her sister whom she thought
less then worthy of a gold, and of Easbalair whom she desired because he hadn't fallen for her had vanished like a candle
in the wind. Then the dragon turned after one last forlorn look at her brother, and in her heart, Creeoilid also pitied
the black dragonling. Perhaps that was it, or perhaps the queen already knew she wasn't all that she seemed, but before Creeoilid
could blink the gold dragoness was there, her amber eyes thoughtful as she studied her bondmate. I am Flihaen,
you desire me Creeoilid, and I tell you now I am not an object to gloat over. As my name implies I am much more then a simple
Pernese queen, no, in me flows the blood of great dragons, ones who could control the forces of nature and the magic of ages.
In me, they live on. Do you understand? I know you have no magic of your own, but together, all of Pern will feel the power
of our combined spirits, and all of Eien tremble beneath to force of my magic. But before the gold could continue, she
felt a hand on her muzzle. "Yes, but as you are not to be gloated over, these worlds are not to be ruled, that is not something
I have ever desired." Then the hand was gone, and Creeoilid was smiling behind her tears. And Flihaen relaxed. Rath was
correct, one out of all was worthy, and you are my one true bond. Gently she nudged the girl with her nose and Creeoilid
knelt and stroked the sleek scaled neck. "Now we eat with the others, and you can meet E'lair."
Rath smiled to himself at the outcome of that particular bonding, and in his bemusement, he almost forgot
the other candidates, standing there, watching him, all trying with all their might to link with him. One did not mean too,
she lay on the scorching sands, her mind crying out for death. As he felt their minds touch his, he snorted and backed away,
and stumbled over something, grunting in surprise, the black dragonling toppled over backwards then found himself at the mercy
of twin viciously sharp red claws. What the! As his eyes met those of the red hatchling his mind cried out to her.
I meant you no harm sister please release me! But the young red was not to be dissuaded. You! You tried to take
her! I felt you trying! No, I dont want any of them! Over-head Aphelionth roared and was answered by Galaxiath, but before
the red could seriously maim the black or the mother and the Sr. Queen could intervene, someone was there, trying with all
her might to pull the ruby hatchling off Rath. " No, stop Alethath, he means what he says, stop
this!" Eyes wide, the red stopped her attack, and swiveled her head around. Karwana? The dragons tone was incredulous,
then changed. You, you still dont want to live do you? Tears fell freely down the womans face as she looked down at
the red she held so tightly, slowly, she released her. "Ididbut, no more Alethath. If this were not right, you would not be
here now would you?" Slowly a smile crept onto Karwanas face. Alethath sighed gustily, and turned to look at Rath. Brother
Imand she stopped.
Before her Galaxiath stood tensely, her right fore claw placed in front of the still fallen black dragon protectively.
Slowly he climbed to his feet, Galaxiath lowered her head to his level, eyes whirling worriedly. Are
you all right? Rath nodded, and
bowed his head to Alethath. No need sister, I understand. The red nodded in return and looked up at her bond
Karwana wiped her eyes and knelt, scooping up the red dragon, who was crooning encouragement, then left the
Then there was only one. Rath watched the young
man standing before him, felt the prescence of the Sr. Queen behind him, heard the crowd's intake of breath. But he shook
his head and stepped back, the boy, Ysidro, cried out, stretching out one hand, then let it fall dejectedly to his side.
"I see, I was not meant to impress." he whispered, voice trailing off. Then Aphelionth crooned, and nosing
at a small pile of sand, revealed another egg. The crowd gasped, Copper was positivly mind boggled that there had been not
one, but two hidden eggs. Darkwind was furiously scolding her white at not telling the truth while Ysidro just stared with
wide eyed as the egg spilt, and exploded, revealing a dark brown dragonet.
Ysidro! I am Magneth! Don't leave with him! I am here, you
will never be alone! The the conversation went silent as magneth soon found himself entangled in the arms of his bond.
as the last two left the sands. Aphelionth came over and crouched down, her nose level with Rath. Whatever was said the two
never revealed, but soon the stands were empty, and so were the sands, except for Darkwind, who now realized she was wearing
some of Vr'lae's clothing, Rath, Copper, Galaxiath, and Aphelionth.
looked up at the circle of faces, Copper was scowling, Darkwind looked confused, while both mother dragons were expressionless.
Finally Copper sighed and knelt, scooping the surprised Rath in her arms. "You my boy, are staying with me and Gali, I
can't have an unbonded youngling running a muck" rath nodded, and laid his scaled head against her warm chest. suddenly he
sensed something, peering around he looked, but once his head left her body, the feeling vanished. Startled he tensed, then
relaxed and snuggled closer, feeling like he was home.