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Author Topic: Private First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread  (Read 317 times)

Offline Zarenna

First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« on: January 23, 2019, 09:03:03 PM »
She was sitting in the classroom helping another Candidate with their studies, which was something that she loved to do. It was in the early afternoon at the time, but the silent murmurs of studying and talking was soon interrupted. O'sir had just said that the hatching was starting, and that they needed to go and get changed. She didn't wait another moment before she was out the door and headed to her room to change. She didn't want to take too long to get changed, so she quickly changed into the ceremonial robes for hatchings. She hadn't been a candidate for too long, so she honestly wasn't expecting to be impressing right away. In fact, she was sure that she wasn't going to Impress.

But no one knew any of this for sure right? Once she was dressed in her robes, she made her way to the hatching sands. With this being her first hatching to stand for, she was determined to not become a casualty, so she was going to listen to everything that she was told, to the letter. O'sir warned them to walk slowly and not make themselves easy chasing targets, and Zarenna was more than happy to oblige.

None of the eggs were cracking yet, but there were small shakes coming from some of them. That was a good sign right? That meant that things were already going smoothly, right? She took a deep breath and calmed her nerves, she remembered that being calm was key during this, and she was going to be as calm as one could be. She could see the Healers entering the sands with their first aid kits and she felt instantly better. She knew that if she aged out, she would still be able to help by doing that right there, Healing.

She looked back to the Gold clutchmother and the eggs by her, and she started to silently and patiently wait. It was up to the hatchlings on when they would hatch, the candidates were here to wait on them.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 10:56:50 PM by SirAlahn »

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Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 01:59:22 PM »
Kalestath had certainly garnished a well earned reputation for being a broody, moody Queen when it came to her clutches. The fact that the Reds were a bit rambunctious didn’t mean she was about to let anyone wander around and try to corral them. Only Halirina braved the sands around the eggs, daring to put herself between the red eyed Queen who regarded the Candidates with angry distrust. Kalestath was ever convinced the clumsy children were a danger to her precious eggs.

Only their respectful behavior kept her against the far side of the Sands, wings flared, but she remained settled. It also helped that it required almost all of her concentration to keep the Reds from running directly at the Candidates to play with them. The last hatchings had been a flurry of activity and... well, messy. Now, Halirina and Kalestath were hoping to control the dragonets to a degree. So long as the Candidates didn’t upset Kalestath, then the Queen could focus on keeping her little ones mostly restricted to the Sands until they were called toward a certain individual.

The Reds loudly projected all of their thoughts, unashamed. Blasting everyone in the Sands with thoughts of I want to play! and Come chase me! Adorable, sure, but loud. To those not used to hearing dragons, it was like children screaming in their skull. Kalestath couldn’t quiet them, and she wouldn’t have tried regardless, but she was doing a marvelous job keeping the four that had hatched to themselves.

The four dragonets tumbled and played, utterly unconcerned about the Candidates that filed in. Ignoring them, as they were being made to by their mother, until they were drawn to one.

Which hadn’t happened as of yet.

Select triage Healers were lined near Halirina’s weyr. She’d escort them out onto the Sands if it were necessary. They’d been told not to go out on their own, just in case Kalestath got... bite-y. It was just better for everyone involved if Halirina was with anyone that shouldn’t be on the Sands, if they had to go out to help anyone.

Halirina didn’t really speak to Kalestath so much as continually sent soothing thoughts to her Queen. There was no reasoning with Kalestath right now, no talking her down. Just weathering out the storm in the Sands and hoping that it all worked out. So long as all the Candidates behaved, and didn’t run at the eggs, show up with fire lizards, or mess something else up.... it should all be well. 
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Offline Zarenna

Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2019, 02:38:55 PM »
She was thankful that the Reds were staying to themselves this time. She had heard what happened last year when the Reds first showed up. The hatching ended with three dead, one at the hands of Kalestath herself. So it was needless to say that Zarenna was scared of the Gold, and for a good reason too. She didn't have a death wish, so she was going to respect the queen and her children. If they wanted to play, as they were so loudly proclaiming, then she wasn't going to go near them unless they wanted to be near her.

She was doing her best to stay calm though, for she really didn't want to see any injuries happen, let alone any injuries to herself. She looked around her and saw that most of the candidates had arrived now, and when she looked back at the queen, she had to wonder how much strength she was using to hold the Red hatchlings back. Her eyes went from the queen to the hatchlings, she had to admire their energy and resolve, but what she didn't admire was the death and despair that she knew they could bring.

Just focus on the hatching now, not the one in the past. She had to remind herself that the past was the past, and she wasn't a healer anymore so she didn't need to worry about any injuries. But, that didn't mean that she wouldn't attempt to help if any surfaced. But for now, Zarenna was closely watching the Red dragonets, waiting to see if they broke through their mother's control to come and play with the candidates.

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Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 02:52:56 PM »
It seemed like the little Reds didn’t really care about the Candidates that were lining up. With Kalestath keeping them firmly away, letting the newly hatched know that people were not interested in playing, they were happy to chase, fall over one another, trill, and flail about in the Sands together. Unaware this was a special occasion, that people were there for them. Their thoughts were loud and unfiltered, like crechlings turned loose in the weyrbowl to shout and play. No one was immune. It’s not fair! You’re too fast! and Ow, ow, ow. That was my wing you stepped on! followed by the occasional Where is the food?! I’m so hungry!

There were certainly different tones, different voices and pitches, but trying to figure out what belonged to who was nigh impossible. The voices were directionless and ‘shouted’ into the cavern.

The crowd didn’t have to wait long for four more of the smallest eggs to crack open and spill their contents. More Reds. Kalestath might have been able to handle, just barely, four but eight? The Queen visibly tensed and her eyes whirled into a yellow-red as she strained herself.

Halirina actually turned to look at her Gold. //Don’t try to directly control them, just steer away the ones that get too close or become too excitable, she said, quick to stop the rising frustration of her Gold. There was no way even Kalestath could control eight dragons. But, one at a time? Maybe even two or three? That, she could do.

Kalestath’s wings flared a little more and she shifted, standing a bit more upright to do as her Rider suggested. She couldn’t keep a handle on all of them, but between herself and Halirina keeping an eye on them, hopefully they’d be able to prevent any real injury. So long as the Candidates still behaved themselves and didn’t draw Kalestath’s attention.

With the new additions, the former Reds became even more excited – if that was possible. New friends! Let’s play! Get out of the egg. Too much sand. There’s no food here. We’re not allowed to play with the people. Chase me chase me chase me! There was no reprieve from their voices now.

It was with Kalestath’s firm direction that they didn’t break eggs or, for now, barrel into the Candidates.

That didn’t stop them from hurting eachother though. Dragon claws and teeth were so very sharp, even for hatchlings. Two that were caught in a tumble were soon fighting while Kalestath was keeping a cluster from charging other eggs that were beginning to shake and crack.

You bit me, you’re mean. Get off, get away! There was no mistaking that the little Red was fine. No real harm done, but ichor splashed across the Sand as the ‘defeated’ Red dashed away from its sibling, toward the safety of Kalestath, while the angrier of the two stood triumphantly. Tiny and proud, she flared her wings – she thought she looked quite marvelous – and pranced over toward the Candidates.

Right up to one of the boys, easily knowing she was meant for him. Her dark red head peered up at him, her eyes a brilliant, bright blue, while she waited expectantly. Like he was the one that she’d been waiting on this entire time now. He said something to her, inaudible from where Zarenna was standing, and the Red headbutted him in the shin, cutting off his delighted laughter -- and the first bonded pair of the clutch were making their way off the Sands in short order.

As Hisketh made her Impression, a few of the other Reds seemed to take real notice of the Candidates for the first time. They were both from the original grouping of four that had hatched, pausing in chasing one another to study the figures steadily flooding onto the Sands. It was harder to ignore so many people now, and some of their initial burst of energy had been burned away in their cavorting. And with their mother now spread thinner over trying to keep an eye on so many of them at once, they took the opportunity to zero in on the Candidates more seriously.

Race you to yours!

What?! Get your own!

They had particular targets in mind, but one of them was a bit clumsier than the other, trying to cut a hard turn to avoid other Candidates stepping out onto the Sands, and slammed right into Oskendar’s legs. Flailing some as they rolled to regain, the Red was heedless as they left some cuts on him with their claws and wingtips. You’re in the way, they told him absently—loudly—but without any malice. Their attention was elsewhere.

The tumble had put them behind their sibling, though, and they finished trotting over to them just a few moments later. I can’t believe you won… they grumbled.

Their sibling just chirped brightly and added, We can race to the food too if you want.
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Offline Zarenna

Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2019, 03:18:54 PM »
The Reds didn't seem to care about the Candidates, which Zarenna could work with. But their voices were getting louder, and now there were four more of them. Zarenna could feel a heachache coming on from all eight voices, but it wasn't until they started to play and soon two were fighting, or at least it seemed like fighting. There was ichor on the sands now, and it made Zarenna's inner healer want to run to help, but she had to control it for three reasons. One, she was no longer a dragonhealer. Two, neither of those Reds were meant for her, which was easily seen as one ran to Kalestath, and the other went to its new bonded rider.

But the third reason was the scariest, Kalestath. She was not about to get killed by a Gold because her inner self wanted to help. No thank you. Her inner mind was muttering to itself that moment. But she watched the still playing and hatching dragonets. She had to admit, the Reds were pretty, even if they were dangerous to be around while unbonded. Of course, she doesn't know how Reds are bonded, she would just have to wait and see if she ever Impresses. She could see that other eggs were starting to shake and that Kalestath was keeping the playing Reds from them so nothing got hurt or damaged.

Two more of the Reds found their intended and impressed. They seemed to be making a game out of it, all because they were racing each other to the candidates and now to the feeding area. She knew one thing, a Red seemed like it was going to be a giant handful.

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Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 05:26:23 PM »
As the other three of the original four Reds quickly found their intended riders, the last dramatically flopped down in the Sands between the eggs and the Candidates. They were out of the way of their siblings, more or less, having crossed that invisible line past which Kalestath was working not to let them go until they needed to. Nevertheless, whoever claimed them would still have to step forward towards them.

The Red dragonet didn’t seem interested in going any further by themselves, though. I’m tired now, they announced, still on a wide band to whoever was nearby. Will you feed me? After a moment of receiving no response, some of the Candidates glancing uncertainly at one another, they huffed and narrowed their focus. You. I’m talking to you.

Without ceremony, another Impression was made and their future rider stepped forward to scoop them up.

That movement drew the attention of some of the other Reds, though. A pair of them that had been playfighting drifted closer, curious as to what their sibling was doing—even sniffing at the already-spoken-for Candidate as they tried to extricate themselves from the jumping bodies and exit to the Feeding Pavilion, earning some scratches for their troubles.

What are you doing? Can we go with you? We’re hungry too.

The one in the now-Weyrling’s arms flared their wings, as though to look bigger than they really were. You have to find yours, they grumbled aloud, once again to all that would hear. Get away. We’re busy.

That admonishment didn’t discourage them in the slightest, though. They sprang toward the Candidates instead, evidently making a game of it as they bluntly forced themselves into the minds of those they crossed paths with. Even calling out to them as they did, testing the match and apparently finding it wanting. A fair few times they jumped around the Candidates’ feet like excited puppies, and one of them knocked a girl down—Karou. Flipping over, they were heedless of the deep cuts inflicted by their claws and wings, fully expecting her to get up as soon as they were off of her. You? No, you’re not quite right…

They didn’t seem to notice the trail of red left behind them in the sand, nor the way the girl wasn’t moving, but others would. Her blood was as bright against the Sands as the hides of the Reds, and her body was as still as they were not.

It was only a few more moments before the two bouncing dragonets did find their riders, one even chewing on the ex-Candidate’s robes in their excitement and desire for food. But as the others realized what fate had befallen Karou, blood still pumping rapidly out onto the ground, the ensuing chaos was enough to distract from the hatching of a ninth Red as their still-energetic siblings crashed into their pale blue egg and cracked it open.

The last Red that had hatched was a scrawny thing, all legs and tail and smaller even than some of its other siblings. A tiny little bolt of color against the gold and brown sand. But in contrast to its fellows, its energy wasn’t focused on playing or chasing.

Rather, it had been startled out of its egg—not too early, not in danger of Betweening, but enough that it was disorienting. The others, unaware of how their antics might endanger the other eggs in the clutch, had slammed into it while they played and sent its egg spinning, cracking and then breaking apart as the hatchling inside tried to catch its balance, claws dragging furrows in the sand. That hurt! they cried, picking themselves up and shaking their wings as though to make sure the appendages hadn’t been injured.

One of the others stopped chasing the second to turn and look at the newcomer. Sorry… And then they added more cheerfully, Hey, are you hungry? Me too. I think if we go over there, someone will give us food.

I am hungry… The smallest of the three picked its way out from among the other eggs to join its slightly older siblings.

Well come on then!

They were a little more sedate as they made their way as a trio toward the Candidates, heedless of the tragedy another had caused. One of them did even stop to sniff at the streaked blood on the ground, even lick at it. It smells good, they commented, and then spit out the grains stuck to their tongue, eyes whirling a faintly ruddy color in annoyance. But it tastes bad.

You’ll find me something good, won’t you? The next question, from the last of them that had hatched, started as a louder projection and then narrowed to the Candidate they had sat down in front of, looking up at them with rainbows blooming in their eyes from the resulting Impression.

The other two were a little slower, perhaps made somewhat lethargic by burning off so much energy while they played. But eventually even they Impressed too, the one that had licked at the sand going last and their new rider brushing at the bits that had stuck to their snout.

Other eggs were rocking, but less vigorously. Those in attendance might have to wait a little while before the next dragonet made itself known.
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Offline Zarenna

Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2019, 08:58:21 PM »
The Red dragonets seemed to start to find their intended riders, which made the slight shaking that Zarenna had going on stop. But there was one dragonet who seemed to be exhausted after all the playing that it had done and it was broadcasting that it was tired. The dragonet asked to be fed, but Zarenna knew that it wasn't talking to her, so she didn't move. She was not about to go near a dragonet that was not hers, for she has seen the consequences of it before. She watched as a Candidate, no, a Weyrling went and scooped up the dragonet and went to go feed it.

There weren't too many Reds left on the sands, but that didn't mean it was safe, for they were now getting curious of the Candidates. She watched as the dragoets bounced around her feet and the feet of the other Candidates. So far, there had been no injuries, but that quickly ended. One of them had knocked down Karou, but in their moment of flipping around, they had killed her. Zarenna had to look away from the girl, because it was a sight she didn't want to see. It was something that she couldn't help with. It was something that pained her for she had had classes with that girl.

That is what scared her, losing the friends to the hatchlings like they had just lost Karou. But the dragonets didn't seem to notice that anything had happened and went about their business hunting down their bonded. That was until one went barreling down that sands and bumped into an egg that was in the process of hatching, another Red. The remaining Reds seemed to be calmer and easier to be around on the sands with, but one was curious of the crimson stream of blood that came from Karou. It sniffed the stream and licked it, before recoiling and declaring that it tasted bad.

But after a little bit, the last three Red were bonded, and the rest of the eggs were shaking and rocking, but slowly. Zarenna took a deep breath to relax a bit, hoping that no more Reds were to be hatched for the sanity of the remaining candidates. But she also had a feeling that it was going to take a little bit for the eggs to feel safe and ready to hatch. So she would wait, something that she didn't mind to do.

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Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2019, 01:05:47 PM »
True to the routine established at other hatchings in the previous turns, a period of calm followed the initial appearance of the Red dragonets. The other eggs were active, rocking and showing signs of following suit, but it took some time before another cracked on the sands. Long enough for some of the Healers to carry Karou’s body away, though the large bloodstain beneath her was left behind, making it impossible to ignore the truth of what had happened. Eventually, the bloodied sand would be removed and dumped in the cove, but for now it would only get shuffled against the rest of the soft ground, clumped together with gore and darkening in the heat.

But at least the remaining Candidates were given a chance to collect themselves before another dragon was born. This time it was the dim brown shell of an egg off to the side [1] that cracked, rocking vigorously enough to tip over on its side and widen the spiderwebbing flaws. A chirping could be heard from within, muffled at first and then ringing clear as the young dragon forced his head through and climbed out of the broken husk that had once been his home.

A leggy Brown, his eyes whirled in a mellow teal as he beheld the world for the first time, though there were hints of orange in his gaze that spoke of the hunger running like a hidden current beneath. Content to observe for a moment, he simply looked around at the Sands, at his mother, at the rest of the eggs still holding his siblings within, and then at the Candidates before crooning, almost humming like he was considering what to do next.

Closer to Kalestath, another of the eggs hatched without much fanfare, the shell simply breaking apart and sloughing off of the dark body within. The pale, grey-blue egg [23] had divulged its contents too, birthing a Black, glinting creature with what almost appeared to be a metallic sheen beneath the lights in the Hatching Sands.

He roared a challenge, brassy and loud, to announce his presence—enough to catch the attention of his Brown brother, whose attention shifted over to the Black and then slid away again in disinterest.

Finally, the Brown moved forward from the remains of his egg and approached the Candidates, moving unerringly toward the one that he intended to claim. Well, come along, he announced cheerily. I’m sure there’s more to see outside, and I’m hungry too.

As the two of them moved away toward the feeding pavilion, the Black dragonet snaked his way forward between the unhatched eggs, like a dark shadow moving across the Bowl as the sun traveled across the sky. He wasn’t as quick to make his choice as the Brown that had hatched before him, instead inspecting the Candidates as he considered them, eyes a deep blue. He wasn’t rushed or even annoyed—just judging everyone he came across and finding them wanting.

During his slow, ponderous process, another dragonet emerged into the world too. This one slowly broke through his own shell, a pale pinkish-lavender like the petal of a delicate flower that bloomed into the form of the Blue that had been born from it. Shaking off amniotic fluid and egg shards, he flared and shook his wings, the membranes shimmering like the scales of a fish.

He wasn’t as graceful as the Black nor as decisive as the Brown, walking clumsily across the Sands with an almost rolling gait, wings dragging on the sand. Cheeping to himself almost the whole while, as though he was talking to himself, he wove his way placidly between the Candidates at the front of the grouping to one that was standing quietly off to one side—and the Impression was made only a moment before his Black-hided sibling finally looked up at one of the male Candidates with a simple statement of, There you are.

Another handful of minutes passed after the Black dragonet had made his choice, he and his brothers all exiting the Sands and leaving the clutch further diminished. But though many of the young dragons had hatched already, there were yet more clusters of eggs remaining where Kalestath had protectively kept them, gleaming in the light with the promise of what they held within. So many more chances for the Candidates on the Sands to step away as a bonded pair.

Just enough time had passed for some, perhaps, to get impatient, when the top of an egg near the front cracked off, an almost clean shear as the baby within simply pressed their head up through the weakest part of the shell. Their claws were soon to follow, crumbling the front of the muddled grey and violet egg [14] until it gave way and spilled them out in a rush of fluid.

The second Brown of the clutch—certainly not an inauspicious addition to the clutch, even if he wasn’t as flashy as a Bronze. That distinction didn’t seem to bother him any, and his large body had a certain near-predatory quality to it as he flicked his tail, shattering what was left of his former prison, and moved to the Candidates.

He stopped near Harsaia for a moment, eyes narrowing up at her thoughtfully, and then moved on. His long, thick tail left a furrow in the sand as it dragged behind him, rasping over the ground in a way that might have seemed distinctly menacing where his hide black instead. Such as it was, he simply seemed thoughtful. Zarenna, too, was considered for a moment before the Brown passed her by.

Ultimately, he selected his future rider without fanfare. The moment might even be lost as a red-shelled egg [5] tipped against the speckled blue one beside it [4], almost knocking its fellow over before slipping off and sliding against the mount of sand that had been keeping them in place. Though it was somewhat difficult to see from behind the other eggs still shielding it, a back leg emerged first—glittering with a distinctive metallic sheen that seemed rather coppery against the more golden color of the Sands. A few moments later, the Bronze struggling to crack the thick egg finally forced his way out of it, inadvertently backing up into the same blue egg he’d knocked into previously.

Peeping could be heard from within that one, an almost piteous noise like a cry for help. The Bronze cocked his head a moment as he listened to it, even glancing up at his mother questioningly. But when Kalestath didn’t move toward the egg and the distressed-sounding dragon inside, he turned his claws to the shell instead.

Perhaps a tense moment as those razor-sharp talons tore at the outside of his sibling’s home, scoring the shell and eventually peeling at it and the membrane beneath once it began to crack. The peeping had intensified, the creature within maybe sensing that another was helping them. With the Bronze’s assistance, the thick, hard outer husk was left in shards on the ground and a little Green tumbled against her brother’s legs. Her foreclaws appeared duller than his, perhaps the source of her difficulty in breaking through on her own.

Beyond that, though, she seemed healthy. The two of them shared a short, trilled conversation—and her voice rang out in the heads of the Candidates near to the front of the group: Thank you!

The Bronze simply rumbled his acknowledgment, licking some fluid from along her jaw, and then nudged her with his snout to urge her toward those waiting for them.

She wasn’t a graceful creature, exactly, but she seemed energetic despite her struggle with emerging from her egg. Wings flopping comically along beside and behind her, she bounded across the sand—her brother following along more slowly behind, as he paused to sort out his legs from his wings—and nearly bowled into Sionann on her way to her actual bonded. He helped me! I think we’re friends now.
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Offline Zarenna

Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 08:44:13 PM »
It took a couple of minutes, and in that time, Karou's body was removed, but it didn't help the looming feeling that anything could still actually happen though. Things were not exactly starting off on the right foot right now anyways. But once the eggs started to hatch, starting with the dim brown egg. Zarenna couldn't help but smile when she saw the brown come from the shell then. He seemed so curious of the world, it was, sweet. Sweet was something that was needed after what had happened just minutes before. But when the black hatched and roared his entrance, she was surprised to see that the brown paid it no intention and just went right to his intended. It was a truly amazing sight to her, to see which dragons were going to ignore who.

The black seemed to be taking his time on finding his intended, and while he was waiting, another dragonet was hatched. A blue dragon came from the lavender shaded eggs. But the new blue and the black seemed to impress just moments after each other, with the blue impressing first. Zarenna couldn't help but feel happy for the new weyrlings as she waited. She didn't know if she was going to impress, but she knew that she would one day. Right now, she was enjoying the seemingly now peaceful hatching that she was standing for. But it took a bit for the other eggs to even think of hatching. They seemed so comfy in their eggs next to their mother.

It was a bit before one hatched, and Zarenna could tell that the candidate next to her was starting to get impatient. This just made Zarenna sigh as she watched, because eggs and dragons would hatch on their own terms, not the terms of the candidates. But that was when another brown hatched from his egg. She watched the brown's movements, and while she watched him, she couldn't help but notice how close he was to looking like a bronze, but he wasn't. That was when she noticed that he had stopped in front of her, and she wondered if she was going to impr...and he was gone.

But he did find his intended, and Zarenna felt that pang of disappoint leave and get replaced with happiness for the new pair. There was no time for Zarenna to feel disappointed, things could go wrong by her thinking and acting like that. There were two active eggs on the sands, one even knocked itself over into the other. The first to come from it's egg was a bronze, but he stopped when he noticed that the other egg was having problems, and distressed ones at that. After a few moments, the bronze helped crack the egg so that the dragonet could come out. From the fallen blue egg came a beautiful green, who the bronze seem to dote over a bit before nudging her to the candidates.

Because she was at the front of the group, she heard the green's voice when she thanked her bronze brother. The green came barreling into the candidates, well, into Sionann really before finding her intended. Zarenna held back the laugh that she had, just because she didn't want to anger any dragons, namely the gold mother.

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Re: First Impressions [24.06.2591 / 2:00PM] || Impression Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 11:11:25 AM »
The considerate Bronze had not quite crossed the halfway point of the space between eggs and Candidates when the next dragonet hatched. This one burst from his egg, leaving the speckled grey shell in shatters on the sand [15]. From it was born yet another Black dragon, this one a thick mass of muscle and eyes aflame with an acrid orange that quickly shifted to a redder hue as he spotted the Bronze before him.

He didn’t bother to roar a challenge as his older brother had. Instead he hissed, the sound nearly a snarl as he darted forward, trampling the remains of a previously hatched egg. Fortunate for his clutchmates, perhaps, that he was near the front of the grouping. It seemed nothing was going to stop him from getting to the dragon he had instantly recognized as a rival—maybe even for a future bonded.

His charge caught the Bronze by surprise, who screeched in pain as a raking set of foreclaws drew lines on his flank. Ichor bloomed against his hide, and he spun to face the Black in a shower of sand.

Their battle was brief but fierce. Though the reason for the fight escaped him, the Bronze seemed determined to give as good as he got—gouging at the Black in return for clawmarks and bites, until the Black pushed him away and now favoring one leg. The two eyed one another for a tense moment, teeth bared, until the Black seemed to catch sight of something interesting behind his brother.

Just as a Candidate stepped forward to claim the darker dragon, so too did one summoned by the Bronze’s voice as they each reached out to their riders. Neither of them had the energy to fight anymore.

Almost meekly as they were led off the sands, an pale tan and brown egg near the back began to break apart [29]. What emerged from it was a tiny thing, almost as small as some of the Reds that had been in the cavern earlier. But instead, this was a pretty Green lady, who slunk forward submissively to claim what was meant to be hers. She skirted wide around the spilled ichor between her and the Candidates, eyes whirling yellow in fear of the lingering atmosphere in the wake of her brothers’ fight.

A quasi-respectful silence fell over the Hatching for a time after the appearance of the tiny Green, as though the rest of the dragonets were reluctant to break the thick stillness left in the wake of the Black and Bronze’s fight. Eventually, though, some of the eggs began to rock again as the atmosphere dissipated. Despite the combativeness and previous tragedy of the afternoon, there were still quite a few baby dragons left to be born into the world. And no matter what their siblings might have been though, they were eager to hatch and find their own riders.

The first of them to move significantly was tucked at the back, almost enough to be overlooked. The pale, almost sickly-colored egg was a mix of pale orange limned with green, scarcely noticeable except under the brightest of lights [24]. Its hatching wasn’t given much fanfare either, as the little dragon inside broke out of the side of their shell while still shielded by some of their siblings.

Said egg had belonged to a Blue, who keened hungrily as he sorted out his legs and his wings. Both seemed almost too long for him, and it took a few moments for him to really get to his feet. Even when he did, he was wobbly and unsteady, having to make very slow progress across the sand. But with the bright, hungry orange that his eyes were, he seemed determined even if his gait was ponderous.

He brushed past Oarlen on his way, tail absently flicking against the boy’s leg—but not hard enough to any damage. Instead, he seemed to be idly touching the Candidates as he passed them, as though that might ease the bond he was trying to find. And perhaps it did, since he nosed against the hands of the rider he eventually claimed and then licked at their face when they bent to hug him tight.

Meanwhile, the next dragonet didn’t seem inclined to wait. This egg was pale and wan in its shell as well, but far closer to the front [6]. Luck had prevented it from being disturbed by the birth of its siblings, as it was wedged in a ring of sand, the base sunk deep and steady. Small spiderwebbing cracks appeared on the forward side, gradually growing until amniotic fluid leaked out to darken the sand and the clutch’s second Bronze broke through the rest of the shell.

He didn’t get a chance to move toward the Candidates before a pale pink egg broke apart, the front being punched open by the dragon within [30]. This one proved to be yet another Green, bigger than her sisters and trilling cheerfully as she shook fluid off her wings and tail. She rose fully to her feet then, but tripped on her own wings with a yelp and stumbled headlong into the soft yellow egg rocking next to her [32].

Just like that, she was joined by yet another sister. Though the egg had looked deceptively golden, its average size and Kalestath’s lack of protectiveness had proved it wasn’t special. But the Green housed inside it was still a slight yellowish in color, like bright green of new spring buds. Though she was initially startled by the unintended assistance in hatching, she chirped to the fellow Green and soon sorted out her limbs—faster than her slightly older sibling had.

She darted across the sands then, not hesitating at all before choosing the Candidate that was meant to be hers. Full of energy and graceful already, she was just excited at the idea of food!

It took the other Green a little longer, though she reached the Candidates about the same time as her brother, who had paused to watch the other two dragonets before making his way forward. The Green paused to regard Kharismene as she inspected potential riders, her mind briefly brushing the girl’s before ultimately moving on. Whatever she found there, it wasn’t for her.

Either way, the remaining Green and the Bronze found their matches nearly simultaneously—but there were yet more eggs showing signs of movement.
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