Schizophrenic? Or Simply Egg Touching?

Fort Weyr - Hatching Sands

The sands. The most prominant and possibly most important area for a weyr, this section of Fort is no exception to the rule. Completely enclosed from the outside elements by a high rounded ceiling, the golden white sand glitters under the streams of sunlight that manage to make their way in from the upper openings. Ledges abound in the upper areas of the dome, perfect for riders and their dragons to watch the action happening on the ground. At the back of the sands there appears to be a raised section of sand, built over generations by the golds who have laid clutches here, a couch of sorts for basking on while protecting their eggs. Slightly to one side of that, a small nook has been carved for the weyrwoman to take respite from the heat of the cavern.


It's just after lunch at Fort Weyr and M'icha has prowled the caverns to select a group of candidates to familiarize themselves with the sands and those eggs. His gait is not speedy, leaning on his cane as he walks, but that's okay. It give the gruff elder rider time to emphasize that the group must be respectful to the dame and sire, not to roughhouse or crowd the eggs. He enters the cavern and bows respectfully in the direction where a sleepy Kouzevelth and a watchful Kainaesyth sprawl near those eggs. He'll wander towards where Inri or Ha'ze (if they're about) are and keep an eagle eye on the youngsers after he shoos them forward with one last warning to behave.

Lucy wipes floury hands down the front of her frilly apron…you can take the Candidate out of the kitchen but she'll get right back in again…and watches M'cha ditch them for a long vaguely anxious moment. Then she shrugs, copies his bow a little awkwardly, and scans the eggs. "That one's perfect," she informs the group generally before edging her way towards the One Smart Cookie egg.

< Lucy touches egg 6 - One Smart Cookie Egg >

Alister isn't the oldest of the candidates but he is older, and unfortunately blessed with that middle-child cusp skill of being affectionately dubbed both older and younger brother by his varying acquaintances. Which is how he finds himself dispatched onto the sands riding herd on a twiggy, freckle-faced boy who has grown three inches since he was Searched and a pigtailed girl with sweaty palms whose hand he is staunchly not holding as everyone bows with varying degrees of coordination. "It's fine, go," gets hissed, paired with a pair of gentle shoves, before he grins a lopsided grin toward the clutchparents and then finds his way to Flock of Fate egg. There is a stealth wiping of his own palms against his hips, then he places them carefully against the shell.

< Alister touches egg 8 - Flock of Fate Egg >

"I am-" Lucy says rather defensively, whirling around to find who was talking to her…then more softly when she sees no culprit, "…getting started…" Her hand traces the golden buttery curve of the egg and she hisses to Alister, who is not far off, "Hey. Are these things supposed to…you know…talk?"

Kouzevelth s-l-o-w-l-y drags herself into a sitting position, seeming to decide that she'd rather observe than nap through this particular group. The tip of her tail switches slightly, periodically tapping against Kainaesyth as she forgets just how much space it takes up, but by now he's surely used to it. It appears as if Inri's very recently vacated her usual spot, perhaps only having run off for a moment; her dragon is giving the general vibe to Aycheth and Kainaesyth that she'll be back in a minute. None of the candidates are being menaced, but those who haven't seen Kouzevelth before might be slightly off-put by her seated height.

Alister jerks a little bit, startled, but doesn't break contact entirely — one hand waves above his head as if to ward off something, but when he comes back into himself his expression is mildly sheepish. Well. Lucy's question-hiss catches his attention and he stage whispers right on back, "I have no idea, this is the first time I've done this kind of thing." Farther down the line, pigtails is crying. Alister looks torn, but since it isn't as of yet disruptive — he puts his second hand back on the Freaky Fateful Flying egg, just to see what happens.

To Lucy: There's somewhat of an afterthought, the words not actually spoken this time, the being inside the egg wonders what else its supposed to do in here?

"Same," Lucy whispers back shortly, her own gaze straying to Pigtails, though if she has maternal instincts they haven't kicked off yet. "Don't suppose you smelled vanilla either," she adds, "Or felt-", words cutting off as Kouzevelth stirs. Lucy has seen her…but certainly not this close. She edges to keep the sugary egg between herself and its mama, telling it under her breath, "I don't understand. I don't know how to use a boat."

Several eggs away, and freckles pulls back suddenly to — sit? — sit down on the sands with his head between his knees, but a hand up to forestall any worries. He'll be fine, he just — needs a minute, apparently. In the hotseat. (With a hot seat). Alister is the one who is crying now, but he doesn't seem upset by it — just proud, nostalgic-fond and a little embarrassed by whatever the egg has called forth. "I got bells," he tells Lucy, a little hoarse, while down the line Pigtails has recovered and is now smooshing her cheek against her chosen egg, "and memories. Shit." He strokes a hand over the shell, keeping that shiny-shared memory jammed up in the forefront of his mind. Who knows what it is.

Kouzevelth is totally not intimidating! at all! She's just kind of absurdly lengthy, and so towers over people without trying. She absolutely isn't making it any worse, either, by stretching her neck out to get her head closer to the candidates. Now they're being almost directly hovered over. But don't think she's disruptive or anything! She's just watching!

"Oh," replies Lucy faintly; if she doesn't know how to deal with a crying twelve year old girl, a crying man a couple of ages her senior is right out. "This one talks like a Harper. All riddles, I don't…it's like…" The next "Oh," is for lurking Kouzevelth. Lucy tips her head back to survey that hovering gold muzzle, taking a step back from her egg and falling on her rump in the sand. "Oof."

Alister doesn't seem to mind, though, so it's okay. He says, "Oh, well that's — good for you, little dude," although it's negligible whether pre-hatchling dragons even have differentiated genders at this point. The final pat to the shell is brief, a clear goodbye for now, and he steps away and scrubs a hand over his damp cheeks as he notices Clutchmum Kouzevelth. His response is to offer a hand, then retract it with a laugh and a, "Think I'm supposed to be saving the petting for them, right." Instead he paces over to offer it to Lucy, if she needs the hand up. "Seems like sitting on the sands is a popular option, today."

Freckles, meanwhile, has scooted back close enough to his egg that he can lay a cautious hand on its shell, while Pigtails has bravely moved on to the next in her mental list of eggs she wants to get up close and personal with.

Wait, was that a wrong move? Kouzevelth sometimes does screw these things up by being overly friendly; thankfully her looming is also interrupted by the return of an energetic but kind of pale-looking Inri. "No, give them space," she urges, as she steps around eggs and candidates and Weyrlingmaster and other dragon to return to her actual seat and her present knitting. Kouzevelth takes the hint, finally, and picks her head up more … but she's still kind of hovering, just. Not as intimately. She might even apologize to Lucy later.

An incredulous look flashes across Lucy's face when Alister appears to offer to pet the gold, though she says nothing about it and observes as the gold backs off a tick. Discernibly relieved, she reaches for that hand up. "I can't imagine why. It's hot as balls."

M'icha has seen all sorts of what others might deem 'odd behavior' while doing escort duty to egg-touching candidates. He, however, remains impassively on the sidelines without remarking upon tears, cries, sighs and sudden collapses. He does watch the young folk with concern to be sure they - and the eggs - are okay. At least he doesn't point and laugh?

< Lucy leaves egg 6 - One Smart Cookie Egg >

Alister's dignity appreciates the lack of pointing and laughing, it really does. He braces so that Lucy can use him for leverage, then lets go once she's made it to her feet. "I've heard the eggs inspire odd reactions?" he offers, looking around for his former charges — and saluting Inri, now that she's turned back up — before striking off toward another egg. This time he lays hands on Cuprum Curse egg and waits, curious.

"Sorry if there's flour," Lucy apologizes, once on her feet again. "M'icha dragged me right out of the kitchen." She copies the salute to Inri, with much less style, and then crosses her arms over her aproned front. As Alister moves to the next egg she says, "Think I'll take a little breather."

Alister very briefly almost looks like a giant dumbass: one hand detaches from the egg's surface and he halfway extends his arm, all wheeeeeeeeee … but he doesn't make it to full extension, and settles his hand back against the shell with a more somber expression. "Could you keep an eye on," he jerks his chin toward the direction of the younger candidates, but it's clear his attention is, you know. Focused. On Cuprum, and shit.

Lucy nods and meanders towards Freckles and Pigtails, but after keeping a weather eye on them for a few minutes, figures she may as well go for another egg too. The fiery egg draws her attention and, with the mother a little less up-on-her, she reaches a hand towards it.

< Lucy touches egg 10 - Eggsplosive at Best Egg >

< Alister leaves egg 8 - Flock of Fate Egg >

< Alister touches egg 5 - Cuprum Curse Egg >

Alister is a shining beacon to which all younger candidates (and a few of the older) should aspire: his jaw works, he grimaces, he turns his head and he — spits. Okay, so maybe not. Reach a little bit higher, y'all. He keeps his head turned, roughly wiping his mouth against his shoulder; he hasn't pulled his hands away from the egg, but this time it's more oversight than intention.

"Flour-resistant fabric, that would be an invention," Inri murmurs, as she's managed to also not laugh — M'icha was a bad example sometimes during her weyrlinghood, but she did learn the straight face routine, and she already had her issues with alcohol. Including the issue with alcohol where it's been at least two months since anyone's seen her take more than one sip from a drink; she's hit her wall at being annoyed with everything tasting off, though, and hasn't tried as recently. "Though the sands at least won't mind it, even if Alister's clothing does." And Alister's behavior is apparently gross, according to Kouzevelth, who is definitely snorting at him.

Lucy jerks her fingers back from the egg's shell, reacting to a sharp noise only she can hear. Then she laughs sheepishly and reaches for the shell again. Another laugh, this one with a hint of wondering delight. "I'm still here." And reaching a little bit higher than Alister, showing no signs of expectoration.
That means Kouzevelth at least temporarily likes Lucy better, because she isn't gross. Even if she doesn't have a nose-pats instinct.

< Alister leaves egg 5 - Cuprum Curse Egg >

"…sorry," Alister says as he clears his throat again and pulls back, wiping both hands against the fabric of his pants again. He toes some sand over the rapidly drying damp spot on the sands, and looks sheepish as he glances back at the clutchparents — who, yep, totally caught that.

Inri noticed, too, but she's not being quite as judgmental as Kouzevelth - "At least you cleaned up after yourself," she says with a tiny hint of approving smile. It's not that she has favorite candidates, normally, it's just the ones that are actually her family … were already favorite people.

At least he doesn't look about ready to pee himself, which is more than can be said for Freckles, though the teenager is still managing to maintain his dignity. As for Alister's dignity, his shining example: he places careful hands against Shattered Shards while telling Inri, "As if I could get away with not," over his shoulder. His mother would KNOW, somehow.

"I like how this one feels," Lucy murmurs, though the 'better' goes unsaid, as does 'that other agg made me super uncomfortable'. She determinedly ignores Spitgate, and unfortunately is starting to ignore those younger candidates as well. But hey, she's not the weyrlingmaster!

"This one's very — distracting," Alister muses, disengaging fingers from the egg's surface so he can rub them against the scar at his hairline, souvenir of a low-speed guard chase over ice that ended worse for him than it did for the criminal. Does he try to catch his reflection in the shell, maybe, just a little? Just a little. (His hair is sticking up weird in the back. No-one tell him, okay).

"Come back," Lucy whispers to the fireball egg, wistful as she runs one hand across its dark top. But there's no help for it, and finally the young woman uses the edge of her sleeve to rub the last smudge of flour off the egg's tip. No, she doesn't use any spit. "Sorry." She steps away with a final pat, then watches Alister preen at his egg with guarded amusement.

There is a lot for the egg to pick through, although everything up until the memories most recent are heavily flavored with fish. Hope that doesn't accidentally influence anyone. Alister is less entertaining, this time — his hand settles back on the eggshell, and a faint-furrowed frown starts to form between fair eyebrows. Huh.

< Lucy leaves egg 10 - Eggsplosive at Best Egg >

Lucy spends the rest of her time stalking the perimeter and cataloging the odd behavior of her fellow candidates before she is released back to the comfort of the chore she was occupied to begin with.

This is the one that makes Alister stagger, makes Alister stumble — there's a sympathetic look from Freckles down the way as the guard candidate manages not to end up entirely on his ass, but man. There's a new respect in Alister's eyes as he looks at the egg, and rubs both hands against his chest. "That was," he says, then swallows, "intense, okay, sure." He circles back to an earlier almost-choice, and wipes away a trace of flour still left on One Smart Cookie egg.

< Alister touches egg 6 - One Smart Cookie Egg >

"Okay," Alister says out loud for anyone paying attention, "this one really is talking." There's your external validation, Lucy. "…and smells like vanilla." But, since it seems rude not to, he considers the question, turning the possibilities over. "Already done it," he says, finally, "got myself a job away from the fish, and eventually got out of Breakwater." Not that he doesn't, clearly, still hold the little hold and its occupants in high and affectionate regard. Just — less so their largest export.

Inri and M'icha are definitely both staring a little at the — it's probably the vanilla part, and not the talking. Probably. Kouzevelth has started to encroach closer onto Alister's vertical space.

Alister half-steps back, still without letting go, and squints against — what? The sands' heat, maybe? But that hasn't changed. "I told you, I already got—" he twists around, looks toward the collection of senior riders to ask, "Is this normal? This doesn't seem normal." But then again, he's only touched four dragon eggs, ever, in his life. Maybe the other three were the outliers, and should not have been counted.

"Well that's sweet," Alister says, and he's working his mouth again — but this time he doesn't spit, instead stepping back and away from the egg and wiping his hand over his mouth. He looks up toward Kouzevelth, this time, and says, "This one seems like it's fond of your looming," because what else is he supposed to do with that information.

What Kouzevelth does in response is yawn; it is this ENORMOUS yawn that demonstrates how someone could easily walk down her throat should they want to. Inri yawns in tandem, not because she's actually tired, but … lifemate yawns are even more contagious than regular ones. "I think," she tells M'icha and the nearby candidates, who will now be getting weyrlingmaster-herded outward, "that we're probably done for now, she'd like a sounder sleep. Come back soon, though!" Because Kouzevelth does hate when everyone leaves.

Were Alister bolder he might linger to chat, but no, either he is not bold or he is — oh, no. He is swarmed, with Pigtails now latched firmly onto his hand as she big-eyes at the size of Kouzevelth's gaping maw; Freckles orbits in attendance as well, and the whole lot of them are herded out under M'icha's watchful eye.


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