Perrin was awake, in full dress. He crept quietly through the soft early morning light, careful not to wake anyone as he pilfered the kitchen's larder. Perrin's partner-in-crime, Merrin, was busy elsewhere..Perrin smiled in the dark. The new year's eve would tell what mischief Merrin had been up to. For now, Perrin would gather a feast for their celebration.
New Years was Perrin and Merrin's favorite time of year. They considered it the Day of Mischief above all others, and the chief entertainment would be the fireworks. This year it was rumored that the firework-makers had a grand array of bulbo-powder-, the explosive powder, and rainbow-powder-, the color and crackle to go with the explosion,-filled fireworks. They were guarded well, and for a good reason: the DoubleMischief. And who were they? None other than Perrin and Merrin!
Perrin thrust two large bottles into his sack--sparkling cider and beer--and added to those a generous helping of cheese, bread, meat, and sweet cakes. Oh yes, this was what he had been waiting for all year.
His bag full, Perrin tiptoed back to his room, stashing the goods under his bed. Perrin grinned with satisfaction as his pal Merrin entered, an impish smile stretched across his dirty face.
"Well, did you get them?" Perrin inquired excitedly, his voice hushed. Merrin nodded and chuckled.
"It was easy. The guards, nothing but a couple o' farmer boys, fast asleep! I hid them out in the hayloft. I didn't take all of them..but the ones I took..well, let's just say we've got the Works!"
Doch sighed. She had been hired to write a speech for the New Year, and quite frankly her muse had forsaken her.
"This always happens!" she cried, frusterated. Suddenly, she stopped scribbling, and listened intently. There was no noise coming from her brother Merrin's room, nor was there any noise outside. Doch was instantly suspicious. Merrin was always noisy, especially when he was with his friend Perrin, which was inevitable. Doch slipped her shoes off and tiptoed out of her room and down the hall to where Merrin's room was located. She paused at his door and pressed an ear to the side. Nothing. Doch carefully put her hand on the doorknob...
"A-hah, you little imps!...." Doch cried as she opened the door and jumped into the room. Nothing.
"Where could they be?" she wondered aloud. This was trouble. With a capital T.
Perrin slung the bag of food over his shoulder and followed Merrin out of the room, chuckling to himself. He knew that they would be in trouble-capital T, of course-but he didn't care. This was what made New Years such a splendid holiday. Merrin led Perrin to their secret hideout, a place carved into the lee of a large rock. The hideout was in the Birches, a small forest. The only way to get to the hideout was over a river, either by swinging across on a rope or taking the more perilous route, a thin board. The boys knew they would be safe there.
Merrin opened a large sack and pulled out firework after firework, his face aglow. Finally, he reached into the very bottom and pulled out the granddaddy firework: a humongous red one shaped like a dragon. Perrin nodded and grinned.
It was the New Years Eve, and a great mass of people congrugrated in the Central Plaza of Utopian. Doch was there, nervously crumpling her small speech. Her muse had not returned.
Perrin and Merrin were sitting with the others their age, eating the food they had plundered. The younger children would come up to them, and for stories of mischief they hungered. Perrin and Merrin chuckled and sang, and spinned tales longer than any ever told, leaving the children wide-eyed.
"Just wait'll tonight, young 'uns," Merrin remarked unwisely, a bit tipsy on the champagne. Perrin elbowed him and shrugged.
"What are you going to do?" asked one little girl eagerly.
"Well..you just wait and see."
Doch climbed up to the podium, trembling nervously. She scanned the crowd to see if her brother and his companion were there; they weren't. Doch shook her head and began her speech quietly.
"Today we celebrate all that we remember throughout this year. It has been a happy one for most of us, abundant with parties and new love and childhood mischief." Doch grinned slightly. "We also cast away the troubles that we know, and resolve to make ourselves better to please the New Year up ahead." Doch wiped her brow quickly and blinked, faltering. "Tonight, I resolve to enjoy myself: and I advise all of you to do the same!" A great cheer rose from the crowd, and Doch stepped down from the podium, weak in the knees.
The guests helped themselves to punch, cake, and a variety of other foods. Some little fireworks exploded, sent off by the farmer boys, who had been severely scolded for neglecting to guard the massive firework display properly.
Doch looked around, anxious to find Merrin and Perrin before they performed anything too horrific. She had no idea what was in store.
"C'mon, light it!"
"I'm trying to, I'm trying to!"
Merrin and Perrin frantically lit firework after firework. The little children had told their parents about the 'special surprise', and the boys knew that the adults suspected something. They had very little time. The crowd oohed and ahhed over the hill, and Perrin and Merrin reached the last firework: the dragon. Both exchanged nervous, exuberant grins.
"Well, here goes," remarked Perrin, and his comrade nodded. The stuck the dragon firmly into the ground, aiming it over the hill. Merrin struck a match and lit the fuse..it traveled up, and into the dragon...
Perrin and Merrin flew backwards, singed and laughing in surprise and pleasure, and the dragon-shaped firework flew over the heads of the guests, exploding in a sizzle and crackle of brilliant red, orange, gold, and white!
"Let's do it again!"
The boys stood up, a bit wobbily...and cried out in pain as their ears were seized roughly.
"I should've known it!" cried a familiar voice. Doch turned the boys around, shaking them angrily.
"How-" Doch was cut off, her mouth hanging open, her face drained of color. Merrin and Perrin stared quizzically, and slowly turned around. A gigantic copper dragon stood before them. A young man with black hair slid down and jovially extended his hand, grinning.
"'Allo there, I'm B'lan. I've come to take you to a Cathair..Keandyn's the name."
Perrin and Merrin exchanged deliriously happy looks and nodded.
Doch stared a minute longer, and then fainted.
Happy New Year everyone!
Excerpts from the Hatching of the New Year's Clutch @ Keandyn
Down on the Sands themselves, Janet was the first to enter. She skipped in- not walking, but skipping happily- among cheers and claps from the spectators. Next were Dora, Kaylee and Alex, not nearly as energetic as Janet- perhaps they did not like being awoken so early in the morning.
The next candidates to enter the Sands were Erriba and a girl called Galdrien- a Weyrbrat who's home was none other than Keandyn itself. Lissa felt a sort of pride in having a "home girl" Standing for one of Keandyn's clutches.
Galdrian entered the Sands, scanning the Stands, and was pleased to see her group- Jeanine, Katy, Jasper, Derrick, Charlier and Heptor- all sitting as close as they could get, cheering her on. She waved back at them happily. She only wished that Jeanine and Katy could be feeling the same things she was.
Mira and Trin were the next to enter the Sands. People were gazing at them in wonder, from their strangely-coloured hair to Mira's rather large breasts. Mira noticed this, and said something to a man, snarling, and he backed away, eyes wide and no longer gazing at her longingly. Trin was shaking her head, knowing this routine all too well.
Zebraxsan and Jearostin walked onto the Sands next. They walked to the crowd of candidates together, and stayed together once they got there. Jearostin did not look as glad to be there as Zebraxsan did.
Erriba stalked on to the Sands, peering around with beautiful stormy-blue eyes. She was trailed by a silvery-coloured Wyvern, who caused almost as many stares as the halfling herself.
Doch was the next candidate to enter the Sands, and she was looking around frantically. She joined the other girls, still peering about her. The eggs began to quake, and they distracted her long enough so that she did not see Perrin and Merrin sneak slowly onto the Sands and blend in with the others.
The eggs were rockin' and rollin', but none seemed ready to break just yet. Sefith, the watchdragon who had been watching over the eggs since they were discovered, cooed softly. There was an answering coo, and every head in the Cavern looked up. From above were two dragons, spiraling down gacefully, and landed softly on the Sands. One had hide as black as the night, and the other was white as snow. The wingsails of both dragons were decorated with patterns- the white, which was female, had patterns of the light blue sky and white clouds, and the black had a pattern of stars- like the Bronze who had hatched from Zoith's first clutch. The sound of the coo and the arrival of the two wild dragons seemed to be what the eggs were waiting for. The first egg shattered with a loud crunch.
Another egg hatched, and then another, revealing two dragons of dark hide. One was black, like the dragon who everyone assumed was the sire of the clutch. He opened his wings to reveal wingsails decorated with the brilliant colours of a New Year's fireworks display. The other was just the opposite- hide decorated with the design of fireworks, and hide the dark black of a night sky. The two dragons greeted each other, and proceeded to roll in the Sand. Perrin and Merrin grinned at each other, and then ran to the pair.
Why, hello, Perrin! The dragon with the plain hide looked up cheerfully, eyes sparkling mischieviously. Perrin grinned down at the dragon.
"Hello there, Hertzith. We are going to have lots of fun together..."
As will we, Merrin.
"Yes, we will Mashakath." The boys left the Sands, laughing together and whispering. Doch looked as if she were about to have a heart attack- or perhaps faint. She felt a conforting nose on her hand, and looked down. The nose belonged to a small dragon, white hide and confetti-decorated wing sails. She looked up happily.
Don't you worry, Doch. We will watch them. They will not do anything with us as their guardians. Doch smiled wide, her worries gone for the moment.
"Those four are going to be so much trouble, Liamath. We will be very busy."
Yes, but it will be fun. Doch didn't know if she quite agreed with that, but left the Sands happily with her new lifemate- hurrying to catch up with the two trouble-makers and their dragons.
Lissa stood. It had been a successful hatching. Very wonderful, with marvelous dragons. She wondered what would happen when these guys grew and Clutched.
The dragons have grown!! Aren't their colors fantastic?