SEXUAL ORIENTATION/ RELATIONS:
"What's that? Who's there?"
A light flickers on inside of the cathair, and a young girl with kaffee-colored braids and a sweet face stares at you in surprise. She gets over it quickly enough, and guides you deeper into her home, exclaiming over your wearied state.
"Oh, traveler, you must've been here all day! Please, sit down a moment, and have something to warm your belly."
You comply, unable to do anything but, your brain and body are so fatigued. You collapse onto a couch, while the girl-you haven't caught her name, yet-busies herself in her kitchen. Soon she emerges with a tray, which she sets on your lap; next, a bowl of soup and some warm milk.
"Eat up. I hope you like it-but even if you don't, you must have some, it will do you good. My name, traveler, is Petzel."
"Nice to meet you Petzel. I am a little tired; I've been roaming around the Cathair all day-"
"Stupid thing to do, wearing yourself out like that. I think you'll have to stay the night. I cannot let you wander around in this fatigued state."
You try to argue, but Petzel is adamant, and you end up falling asleep on her couch.
You wake to the clanging of pots, and a warm stream of sunlight spilling onto your face. You sit up, yawning and stretching, and Petzel comes out with a tray. On the tray is a plate; on the plate is some sort of pastry, with flaky bread and a sweet n sour fruit filling in the middle. More milk accompanies it. You eat voraciously; it seems forever since that last bowl of soup. Petzel watches you with pleasure, a large, dimpled smile stretched across her round face. Today she wears a plain pink dress, with the customary braids falling past her shoulders.
"Good morning to ye, traveler. I trust you slept well?"
"Yes, thank you, Petzel. This is marvelous pastry."
"Why, thank you, traveler. I can turn my hand to a bit of cooking when there's a need for it."
You laugh merrily.
"And I'm glad for it!"
Petzel smiles sweetly at you.
"Now that you're rested and full, you may tour my home..there isn't much. Of course I have the normal gear: numbing salve, oil, scrubbing salts..but you might want to see my room, and eating area."
You agree, standing and stretching massively, and follow her into the eating area.
It is a cheerful yellow room, with a fire crackling merrily in its pit, and a small stove and counter. There is also a table in the center; upon the table is a golden dragonchen.
"Good morning, darling Merit!"
The dragonchen darts parallel, and comes back perched atop Petzel's head. Petzel giggles, and sets Merit on her shoulder, leading you into her sleeping quarters.
The walls of the sleeping quarters are trimmed with pink and a golden-yellow. There is a small bed in the corner, and the room is lit by the sun coming in through a window, and small lanterns on the floor. Jars of rider essentials are piled neatly on a bedside table.
Petzel bites her lip, a little ashamed of her meager ownings.
"Well, that's it, traveler. You'll be wanting to go on your way, now."
She sounds almost hopeful.
"Well, thank you, Petzel..you have a lovely home."
You wave as you walk out, and run further down the corridors.
Walking past Petzel's cathair again, you hear her happy voice from inside. You call out, and she pokes her head out, smiling at you. "Hello! Hurry! Zaith just woke up. She's tired..hurry hurry hurry!" Petzel leads you inside at a quick trot, and points to the ground. A tiny, sleepy-looking green hatchling regards you with a rainbow gaze of curiosity.
Hello, traveler. Petzel?
Petzel hurries to the dragon's side. "Yes, Zaith, darling?"
"Of course; you just woke up. Wait a tick, I'll be back soon."
Petzel hurries off to another room, supposedly the eating area, and you are left with the tiny green being. "Hello," you begin awkwardly, "hello, Zaith."
Hello, again. Have you come to see me?
"I guess so. Um..how did you know Petzel was the one?"
She hurried over to me, when I was dizzy and confused, and helped me to stand. I knew that I wanted her, then. I was worried that some snotty gold would've gotten her! But no, she wanted me..
Petzel returns with fresh meat, and you leave, as the dragon and Petzel smile a farewell.
"Zaith! You are so big now..I'm sure many of the young male dragons would love to catch you in Chase! On the other hand, you're very hard to oil..hold still!"
"You are always hungry, as well..I'm so proud of you, now that you've grown to a lovely adult!"
I am as well
"Oh, you and your ego..you're as good-or bad, depending on how you look at it-as any old starry!"
Of course. And GOOD would be correct
Petzel giggled at her dragon's ego, and finished oiling her. She then took a bath herself, and scrubbed her skin 'til it glowed with aromatic scrubbing salts. Petzel had become older, too. She liked to keep clean..especially for the boys in the cathair..in fact, there was a certain handsome boy that she had her eye on, the kind and muscled H'dar, rider of blue Jarmuth.
Oh, you and your crushes..I like Ewerth, and Birith, and Beliath, and Jarmuth, and Oroth..I like any male dragon! But humans..humans are so picky. I suppose, tho', many of OUR dragons, here, are wonderful, different than some
"Of course, Zaith," said Petzel, stepping from her bath, drying off and putting on a soft pink robe.
"Zaith, I'm so proud of you! You'll be in your first Chase!"
Zaith was busy flirting with the male dragons in the other cathair.
Hmm? Oh, yes. Very excited I am. Nervous. But I'll do fine
"Of course you will."
I'll blow my pursuers right out of the air!
And then..when a worthy one catches me..
Petzel shivered with a strange delight.
"Wonderful! But you'll put up a fight, girl, won't you, Zaith! You'll make them really have to try!"
Zaith will be in Chase at Baeris Kshau's Healing Den!
Zaith was outside, sunning herself on a ledge..although the past days had gone fairly well, she was not the 'boycrazy' dragon she had been when her green scales had first become vibrant. As she stared at the passing dragons below, she felt so contemptable she could spit. It seemed as if the only ones worthy were the larger copper males..and knowing that they could not fly her was a blow. She hissed angrily, and spoke;
Stupid males! You cannot hope to catch me!
Petzel, who was inside her cathair, entertaining a friend who had come for kaffee, heard the remark, and gasped. The friend nodded, knowing that look.
"You'd better go," she said.
Petzel nodded, and ran outside, frightened by her mingling feelings of Petzel/Zaith, just as Zaith vaulted into the air, toward the feeding grounds. In Zaith's haste to get into the sky, she tumbled through the air, barely righting herself with a series of aerial acrobatics. Rumbling in fury, as if the sky was plotting against her that day, she raced toward the feeding grounds. It would be her first Chase, and her rider was pale and trembling, but Petzel chased after her anyway, as if she herself were the competing males. But no, those males, and their riders, were following her, to the feeding grounds..
"BLOOD it, only, ZAITH!" Petzel screamed, but, since she was still little more than a young lady, and barely a woman in her mind, Zaith managed a quick bite before won over by Petzel. Petzel sobbed once, but stood, echoing the fury her beautiful dragon glared at her through reddened eyes. Finally, this ordeal was over, and Zaith spun, roaring her hatred, at the males, and, claws digging frantically in the ground while she ran to give her power. Her wings filled with air as she caught an updraft, and she glorified in the height of her soarings. However, the males followed fast. Two smaller, darker coppers, and two blues. She thought, Well! None of them could ever catch me!
But they would try, as was proven as Copper Irjath went spiraling upwards, in an attempt to catch her. He missed, but apparently was not down for the count, as he tried again..This time, though, Blue Aeshoth got in his way, and the two quarrelled for a long time, scratching at each other, and biting, tangling themselves. Eventually they noticed how far behind they were, and dejectedly sailed downward, where their riders consoled them.
Petzel noticed nothing, because by now she was deep inside her dragon's mind, seeing everything. She roared happily, scoffing at the two males that had failed to win her. Petzel glared at the two losing riders, as they tried to catch her with arms that had lost. She snapped at them, and tore herself away.
Zaith was getting a little bit tired by now, because Copper Amontilath was constantly on her tail, and nearly grabbed hold. She seemed to remember that there was another blue dragon out there..but she had no time to think of that. All she wanted was to get away. But as she released herself from Amontilath's grasp, a blue shape came hurtling after her, missing her, but barreling into Amontilath. It was Blue Jarmuth! Amontilath was so bruised that he decided to go back down to the watching people, but Jarmuth decided to hide once again in the clouds..Zaith was pleased. It appeared that no one would catch her, because all of the pursuers were gone!
Suddenly, a stronger force than she had imagined blues to have, the force of determination, wrapped around her, and as the red in her eyes faded to a swirling blue, and then a purple-white, she knew she had fallen in love with Blue Jarmuth. They took their time getting down, but below, H'dar had already taken his new mate, Petzel, to the room arranged for them..
Zaith was caught by blue Jarmuth, and Petzel by the handsome H'dar!
Zaith and Jarmuth's Hatching--last on the normal sands!!
It had been so long on the sands that people were wondering if these eggs would ever hatch! Truth be told, it was only as long as normal for a green's clutch to harden, perhaps a little longer than a gold's. The six eggs trembled softly at first, but then grew more and more steady until Zaith alerted Petzel to them.
The eggs will hatch. I want the candidates back on the sands!
Petzel ran to Baeris, and pointed out that the eggs were about to hatch flailing her arms about until Baeris calmed her. "I'll see to it that the candidates are brought. Now, you go settle down with Zaith. This is a big moment. Look sharp. And make sure you remember to greet the candidates, it's your dragons clutch, after all!"
Petzel went off to her temporary cathair, near the sands, so she could be ready. She paid attention to her appearance and then got someone to send for her friends and others she felt should be at this momentous hatching. While they were arriving, she was still busy preening.
The other candidates, though, were what bothered Baeris the most. There had been a number of them, wandering about waiting for the hatching. They'd been learning their lessons on flight and healing their dragon's ills, patterns for fighting in the air, and the like. There had been a number of truly intense candidates, but... Where were they? Where was the big felinoid Kyria? And whatever happened to that peaceful and observant pottery maker Noam? Baeris sent Striker out to look, but when he chirped back that he'd have to look between for them, she knew they would not be there for this hatching. It would take too long to find them at this rate. The eggs were snapping around on the sands, and the other dragons present were crooning in a beautiful chorus!
No time to think. Baeris shooed the other four, chosen before hand, to the sands. Haliria, shy sweet and intelligent. Miza, demanding and snippy almost to the point that Baeris threw her out of the Den more than once, but searched is searched... Then there were Nemato and Mortimis, two who had remained on from the Fools Day gathering. Both of them knew they were dragon-riding material, though they were both somewhat broody about their not being chosen by the abandonlings before.
Abandonlings! That was it! Baeris ran down to the abandonling chamber and saw that true to form, Stephion was still there looking at the caverns where the abandoned dragons would be. Most if not all of them were out of their cathairs, actually, either having been bonded again to someone, taken back their original impressed rider, or simply out cheering the eggs on. Even this event could bring a depressed abandonling out into the light of day.
As if they had day. Baeris shook her head and tapped Stephion on the shoulder, "Stef, there's a hatching. It's time to come and get in there. You could very well imprint, you know, and we need the candidates. I haven't the time to explain." She shooed him into the hall, and he bolted down to the hatching sands in a hurry! This was great news!
Baeris saw that one of the fine search riders for Falas, the future holder of the old Protectorate Isles lands, was there with a boy named Derzonil, and Baeris almost cried for joy. "Thank goodness you've come, just in time too," she breathed, panting from her running about. She urged Derzonil onto the sands as well.
There they were, six ragtag kids in their normal clothing; there hadn't been time to actually stuff them into any candidate robes, and besides, it was always uncomfortable for them to wear. Baeris knew that the dragons would find their companions with or without the editing out of clothing and colors below the candidates faces. It was a tradition they'd abandoned anyway.
So, with the crooning of the dragons above, and the sighing of the sands below, the hatching could finally proceed! Those in the stands were largely members of the Den's populace, but Baeris saw several relatives and friends, search riders and there was H'dar and his friends too. The blue's rider would be released back to the Protectorate's wings, where he felt most comfortable. Shard wasn't there, but that was just as well. The man would gloat and grin as if hed laid the eggs himself! With that on her mind and a chuckle in her throat, Baeris saw the first of the small eggs begin to break open.
The egg was the larger of the bunch, and darkly cream-colored. The deep brown snout which broke through the cracks in the shell was followed by an even deeper body and wings. His wing sails were wetly transparent though, and underneath were light. He was a truly beautiful dragon, and he shook his wings off before strutting in front of the candidates. He stopped at Mortimis.
You've waited too long, and you've been punished with bad karma. But no longer! I shall assist you in your life. I am Arabicath, don't you love me?
With his eyes wide, and fingers trembling (as if with a coffee buzz, which they were) Mortimis reached out to touch his new life mate. "Arabicath... did you know you smell great? Just like a mocha java!"
They went to the kitchens to get food and to explain to the dragon that no, he did not in fact need coffee even though he was so tired.
Next to burst out into the open from their shell was a pale mottled blue dragon. He angrily tossed aside the broken shells, and sprinted over to Miza. I have been waiting for you for forever! I remember you coming to my egg! And now I can finally see you for myself. I'm Hawk!
The dragons in the nooks above grumbled to one another. So, there would be Alskyran dragons in even this clutch? How odd!
Miza looked defiantly at Baeris and smiled widely. "I knew he'd come to me! I just knew it! Finally I've got my dragon!" Baeris only nodded and smirked. It'd be a good match, this pair.
Then two eggs shuddered, and opened up revealing two greens of very different appearances. One was a dark color, clouded with slate, the other was a minty green, bright and cheery. The darker of the two slunk around, groggily. At last, she perked up and looked up to Stephion.
You too have waited. And you were so disappointed. I hope you are not disappointed with me, though. I am Mukuiruth, your reward for remaining here. I was not certain I would find my partner among the other candidates here. She cast a glance away, but only for a moment. Her eyes were fixated on Stef, whose own eyes were tearing up.
"I did wait! I'm so glad I did!" His blue firelizard propped himself up onto Mukuiruth's shoulders, and rode her out of the area.
Then the minty green bumped into a stunned Haliria. I'm looking forward to seeing my home, Liri! My name is Luck, can you believe it?
"Oh, I can! I do! I am the luckiest girl in the world to have you!" She laughed, and hugged Luck's neck tightly. Her golden flitter hummed and nuzzled both of them, and seemed to agree entirely.
That left two eggs and two boys on the sands. When another green poked her nose from her shell, Nemato perked up. She was the color of sea foam, sort of greyish-bluish-greeny-sea. A lovely color.
I am Foamyth, by the way, she announced herself kindly to Nemato, and I will enjoy being whereever you would like to be. Would you show me this sea, that I look like? I think I would like that. Do not be disappointed any more, we'll fly and dive and do all those things you want to! But right now, I want something to eat, can you help me do that?
"Of course I can!" Nemato said, with a stronger voice than he'd had before.
The last egg was still shaking when they left the sands. It'd been moving around for the whole hatching, and finally it broke half and half, almost right down the middle. Everyone applauded when the blue came striding from inside it, unfurled his wings, and then flopped onto his back and rolled around on the warm sands.
It feels so good, Derzonil, you have no idea how good it is to be out of that egg shell!
"I don't?" he replied, and his two green flitters chirruped and sprang into action. One of them dive-bombed over the blue's belly, apparently either wanting to tickle him, or gut him, no one was sure and she was hardly big enough to do the latter. The other clung to her masters shoulder, while he knelt down and rubbed the blue's neck. "Well, I know now. I can feel every bit of you in my head." He looked up to Blyzska and thumbed up. "Thanks!"
Skaarpath, bespoke the blue as he got to his feet, my name is Skaarpath, by the way.
Derzonil announced that, and followed the tracks of the others into the kitchens, as everyone went their own ways.
Baeris looked at the empty shells, and the cathair which would soon be cold. Zaith and Petzel would be leaving for their home Weyr, and... these sands would become the backup sands for the Den. They were not of any use any more, since...
Baeris pushed a tear out of her eyes, and chastised herself. This had been the last normal flight, the last bunch of normal eggs that the Den would host. Since Pern was now only a memory and a cold teleport between away, she knew that there were never going to be any plain old dragons coming from the Den again.
She glanced up at greeny-golden Dulath, and smiled broadly again.