Look At My Eggs! (Fifth Touching)

Xanadu Weyr - Hatching Sands
A domed ceiling stretches high above the sands, enough open air for a queen and her mate to be comfortable with their clutch. Thin slits of windows around the edges let in a little light, though more of the illumination comes from electric lamps diffused off the dome. The sands are ringed by the dark blue seats of the observation level, the first third exposed to the sweltering heat of the sands but those in the back glassed off for the comfort of those watching.
The circle itself is filled with a mix of red and white sands, deep enough to cover the largest of dragon eggs with ease. To one side, a small door is visible, hidden away behind a platform meant to provide a place for the clutch parent's lifemates to stand during the on goings.

WELP. So much for getting a nap in the store room. Risali looks the least amount of amused that one can possibly look when her delivery of Hierax to the barracks heralds Leirith demanding an audience for her eggs - and by audience, we clearly mean candidates to touch them. So there Risali is, waiting while the weyrlingmaster and his assistants gather up a group to heed Leirith's call with her arms crossed over her chest. At last. An exhale, and a soft, "I know some of you are sick of hearing it. If it's any consolation, I'm sick of saying it, but here we are and it needs saying because some people are new and some just don't like to listen. When you go in, bow. Leirith and Garouth are letting you touch their eggs, show them respect in return. Be mindful of your footing, and no rough housing. If we tell you that it's time to go, you need to leave, no lingering. And of course, as always: be mindful of one another, and have fun." And to the side she steps, making room for people to spill out onto the sands and touch them some eggies.

Some people are new, some people don't like to listen, some people are new and listening and have a tendency to be compared in personality to court jesters at times. So hopefully Hierax's bow gets amusement rather than being gnawed on playfully or otherwise by dragons as he bows very flagrantly, and then impressively low. It's a bow with an arm flourish and a knee-bend, and a playful grin. Thankfully, as of right now, nobody knows him well enough to thwap him in the head, maybe next time. After getting his bearings — because he's never done this, even if his siblings have — he goes for an egg that is … brown. Yes. Egg of Brown Egg, meet Hierax's recently-inspected and Leirith-approved fingertips.

< Hierax touches egg 2 - Egg of Brown Egg >

Today in things that were totally unexpected: this. Hierax should not have come in so cocky. Or so amused. Or so wow-this-entire-day-must-be-a-dream … oh, wait, that one actually makes an impressive amount of sense, because this still has a surreal quality. Except for how it's also way too real and anyone who might look over at Hierax right then would see that he's shaking, what with the dichotomy of his entire body knowing it is standing up and his body thinking it should be on the ground. Even as he stumbles — and then catches himself, so only one knee got a little burned! — he's not smart enough to take his hand off the egg. Even if abject terror says that would probably be a good idea. Other teaching experiences have told him that dragons like longer than four seconds to get to know you. On the other hand, the egg is trying to convince him that he's drowning and THAT ISN'T FUN.

Hierax totally has managed to master the whole standing on both of his feet thing now, but the egg also has him sulking for sure. Even rudely opening his eyes isn't breaking him out of the funk, so pardon him if he is drumming his fingertips on that eggshell a little. He's thinking, and he's involving the inner dragon in his … highly depressing … thought process. "You're kind of glum," he informs it, "but very prescient at the same time, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, and I'm talking to an egg out loud, aren't I." He screws up his nose a little, then stops the tapping to rest his palm on the shell for a final minute.

Amended: Hierax HAD had the whole standing on two legs thing going for him, but between him and the egg the egg is totally winning and he's kind of … fallen once more. Not all the way down onto the sands, but it does kind of look as if he's been flung off to the side a little and stumbles as he tries to right himself. Not using the egg as a support, because it was completely behind that. "… Glum and aggressive, but maybe with a point," he concludes lamely, since he's now feeling kind of down. Let's find another, maybe friendlier one. Like — that one. The silvery little one, that one looks more charming: Hierax's hands, meet Steadfast Satellite.

< Hierax leaves egg 2 - Egg of Brown Egg >
< Hierax touches egg 6 - Steadfast Satellite Egg >

Yes, Hierax's nerves have definitely decided that this is better. This is a nice, peaceful egg-scape, even if it is a little darker and a little stranger than he was … well, who is he kidding, all expectations have gone out the door at this point. "That's …" he starts, and trails off as a noise that Does Not Belong sends an eerie cold feeling down his spine. "… a tunnelcat?" might not be a bad guess, but hey, Hierax, remember how none of this is real and it's just an unhatched dragon messing with your head? Nice try, subconscious, Hierax is ignoring you for enjoy-slash-fearing the eggsperience. His left hand does not leave the shell, but rather is joined by the right one.

If he were a little more with it, Hierax might even be telling the egg it gets credit for trying, but instead he's trying to shake off the idea that he keeps ending up in places that are making him fall and then drown, almost as if Leirith decided to design a nice clutch of offspring specifically tailored to Hierax's phobias. The shallowish water is a nicer place for his booted feet, though — squishy and less TERRIFYING than the beginning of the mental image he was faced with. He definitely looks strange to any of the other candidates, but they would look just as strange to him. "Uh," he says, hands off the shell, and then after a moment of blinking and shaking out his wrists, they're right back on it. Have to carry this one through until it kicks him out.

Not running away after that shaking out was a good call; Hierax seems to relax, and in fact seems much more at ease, for … oh, about five seconds, until it gets creepy again. But those were a very lovely five seconds. "Having to worry about trees eating me is not …" and then he's trailing off again, because talking isn't as important as following the egg down whatever path it's sending him on. Yes, he definitely looks stupid. Hopefully there isn't anyone in the galleries, but it's not a regrettable stupid, it's the kind of stupid that makes for a solid bonding experience. One where at the end, his eyes open slowly, his hands pull away with a gentle release rather than an abrupt step backward, and across his visage: a soft smile, before he gives the egg a quick little pat and finds another to get to know. Which it is will have to be a mystery to the reader for now!

AWWWYEAH. It's EGG TIME. And Risali is already out on the sands standing beside Leirith, using Garouth as some kind of vigilant producer of shade because she can be in her business and go ahead and try to tell her that she can't be. A spattering of candidates are already out on the sands moving around the eggs, placing tentative touches on shells, which means it's the job of some poor assistant weyrlingmaster to find other candidates and usher them onto the sands with a quick rundown of the rules. Again. BECAUSE WHO ISN'T TIRED OF THOSE YET? And Risa, she will flicker a glance their way with a soft smile, and the kind of expression that says I probably haven't slept in days and I am about to curl up, SOS.

One left to meet and perhaps..others to become reaquainted with. Will they be so harsh the second time around? Kelani looks around the sands and settles her attention on the last one. Will it be a dancer or darkness? A step forward and a bow and she is walking to the Steadfast egg. Fingers lightly touch upon its surface and she closes her eyes preparing for what this egg may wish to share. A tilt of her head up as if to abreeze or the sun and a little smile on her lips. Whatever it shares is quieter than the others. Though after a few moments her brows knit.

< Kelani touches egg 6 - Steadfast Satellite Egg >

Jaune is out on the sands once more, maybe he has become a bit addicted to this part of the process? A brown egg catches his eye, only because it was never spotted by him before. A wry grin towards Kelani as she moves towards an egg Jaune has already become well familiar with. Hands, reaching out, touching eggs, touching youuuu. Upon Brown egg, that is.

< Jaune touches egg 2 - Egg of Brown Egg >

With the peaceful start Kelani is caught off guard as things change and her fingers tense on the egg. Frozen in place once again by whatever is being shared. Her breath coming out shakily. Then there is a slight change and a hand lifts from the egg as if reaching for something. A light in the darkness to hang on to. A flinch at a sound or touch? When the darkness descends again she is more prepared and there is the meditative counting under her breath once more, even if still frozen in place unable to step away even as it releases her.

Jaune startles out of his reverie, and glances around the sands as if to reassurement. He spots Kelani and the fact that she is as unsettled as he is clams his nerves a tad and he presses back against this egg, to show whomever is residing in it that he isn't going to be scared off!

Kelani's breath quickens even as she tries to combat the fear that is growing in her. Why must they all remind her of that time, that fear? To face it and become stronger or to scare her off? "Did you find it in me?" She says in a strained whisper. Fingers curl claw like on top of the egg as if to grip something, some handhold of reality perhaps. Then suddenly they relax upon the surface and she nearly sags with that release. "I am sorry…if its me I am sorry…if its your memories…I am sorry." She says as she crouches next to the egg. When silence responds takes a slow steadying breath and looks out over the sands. Her plan to return to the other eggs? Well it seems as if one was quite enough for her today. With a shiver of shoulders she moves off the sands, wiping at her eyes.

The candidates are starting to leave now but Jaune hasn't quite finished with these eggs. This brown eggstill has him enraptured, hands pressing and fingers splaying upon its surface as if maybe he if tried hard enough, he'd be able to withstand the pressure of the occupant's mind.

Jaune stumbles back from this egg now, the fog and mist that had enshrouded him lifts once more and his hands shake as his feet kick up sand. He wants away from *that* egg, and he entrusts another egg now, to see if it'll be more gentle than most of these other eggs. Its a BEAUTiful egg, lovely and colored and vibrant and his hands still tremble as fingertips feel for life within.

< Jaune touches egg 4 - Beauty Lies Within Egg >

This is not the safe and gentle presence of a mind Jaune was hoping for, and he practically recoils from the egg, his heels spinning in the sand. But the presence yearns for something else and Jaune isn't ready to abandon it quite yet. His grip firms up on the eggshell and he delves back.

"I'm here to find what I can be. What I can do. To untether myself from the demands of men and women….to make of my future what I will." Jaune whispers back to the egg and he doesn't let its strength deter him, intent on pressing his response back to one dwelling within.

Jaune is shaken out of his communion and glances around to see the candidates dispersing once more and he moves to follow them out, out of the sands where these eggs make such pressing demands to know everything…at least he thought he was leaving. Instead, he visits the first egg he looked at it presses a hand upon it once more. This one wasn't that overwhelming, was it?

< Jaune leaves egg 4 - Beauty Lies Within Egg >
< Jaune touches egg 1 - Seldom What It Seems Egg >

This egg doesn't befuddle the senses and pound at the very fabric of your soul. Its almost comforting and Jaune isn't quite ready to leave just yet. Instead turning his hand over and pressing the back of his knuckles against the hard shell and running downwards over the arch of its curve.

< Jaune leaves egg 1 - Seldom What It Seems Egg >

Risali is STILL HERE, YA'LL. So is Leirith. AND, COINCIDENTALLY, GAROUTH. But you might be harder pressed to find Garouth, since he has slowly become little more than vigilant eyes from beneath the bulk of one massive, golden (OKAY MUSTARD STOP RUINING HER DREAMS) queen. Risali is possibly taking a nap, but it's really hard to tell from where she's positioned in the shade of dragons (because she's cheating). So it's up to some poor, unfortunate Weyrlingmaster's assistant to herd in scragglers to join those candidates already on the sands. The rules haven't changed, and they list them with an inattentive kind of boredom: NO ROUGH-HOUSING. Leave when we tell you. Bow! Be freee!

Yet another one of those stragglers is Zasheir. When you have nervous runners due to foal at any time, the beastcrafter has been pulled away to lend a hand calming them down at all hours. Which is likely why he's trying to cover a yawn with a hand as he makes his bow to the golden (MUSTARD IS GOOD!) queen. Nevermind the way green eyes look to the shadows over there. He does give the three eggs he'd touched before a look, shaking his head a little to himself as other candidates go about touching them. Creepy. He warned them!! Finding himself before a free egg, he takes a moment to brace himself before reaching out for the Brown egg and letting his palm settle against it's surface.

< Zasheir touches egg 2 - Egg of Brown Egg >

Zasheir is tempted to pull his hand away immediately. Who wants to feel like that? And yet he's curious, and a guy. A guy just isn't going to run from something just because it's creepy, right? Right. So the beastcrafter is going to stand there, and continue to get a fix on the mind of this particular egg. Oh, and he's not a frog. Or a toad. So take that!

Frowning more, Zasheir just shakes his head, muttering to himself as he keeps the connection. Such a strange egg. "Not a frog. Made my choice to be here.." Here at Xanadu, even here on the sands. Sure, Garouth gave him the eye, but he still accepted the honor. Could have said no if he'd wanted too!

A sharp inhale is drawn in by Zasheir as the sense of falling and boiling water comes. So quickly does he snatch his hand off the egg, giving it a quick shake as if to clear the heat from it. "Maybe not, but I'm still a good beastcrafter. Got the knot to prove it." Realizing he's talking to the egg, a hint of color rises across his cheeks as he steps away, turning, finding another egg to try. Strange, weird eggs.

< Zasheir leaves egg 2 - Egg of Brown Egg >
< Zasheir touches egg 3 - An Egg Only A Mother Could Love Egg >

Such a nice start to things. Peaceful, almost. But if Zasheir's learned anything, is these eggs turn creepy soon enough the longer you linger with them. His hand brushes the surface, tracing pale lines, his brows furrowing a little as his gaze goes distant. The prickle of uncertainty is raised within, though before he might think on it much more, he's back on the sands, standing there, once more staring at the egg before him.

Drawn back in, Zasheir to lean into the egg a little more, to actually smile as his senses are taken by the pure joy. Flying. Closest thing he's gotten to actually being in the air, is on the back of a racing runnerbeast. Flight in a different manner, the grass zipping by, the pounding of hooves against the ground, the wind in his hair. Perfection. And yet, as the shots ring out, he cannot help but jerk a little, brows once more furrowed as he tries to piece together what happened. "Live?" The word is repeated as he comes back to himself on the sands. He'd be lying if he denied not trembling a little where he stands.

Eyes flutter close as once more he's taken down, as that mental touch lays out the scene. Such beauty to be shown, and yet it comes with such pain. Who'd tought beauty would be so painful! Certainly not the beastcrafter. He's at a loss in so many ways, gaze to take in this new him, only to have it fade away once more. This time, he pulls away from the egg slowly, ducking his head, perhaps to hide a few tears that are quickly dashed away with a brush of his hand against his cheeks. Nope, he wasn't crying. Not at ALL. He wanders for a while, watching the others reactions, not reaching out to touch another egg until he finally finds one he hasn't touched before.

< Zasheir leaves egg 3 - An Egg Only A Mother Could Love Egg >
< Zasheir touches egg 4 - Beauty Lies Within Egg >

There is no time to take in what is going on with this egg, Zasheir's mind taken immediately by it. Run. Run away. Maybe it's something he should do once he leaves the sands. He knows well the danger of such wolves, and yet he doesn't run far. Sometimes one has to make a stand, protect those things most important to you. He's done it before on the ranch, defending animals from predators that would sneak in at night. Once more, before he can truly react, he's back on the sands, blinking a few times.

Shaking his head, Zasheir finds himself once more drawn into the inner voice of the egg. Such a place, the scene vivid within his mind. Another dance, once more pulled by something stronger that leads. Around and around, dip and sway. Those questions come again, his name offered in return to the first before attempting to find words to answer the next too. Home. It's the one word he can come up with, his lips opening to speak it before being urged to run, to escape, "But.." Plop. Back on the sands.

His figure stands there, his hand touching the egg, soon joined by the second. There's the occasional twitch or jerk as the scene unfolds, as he fights those ghosts. Fights himself. How long he does that, he will not be able to say, but only that it seemed like forever, or just a minute. Zasheir pulls back, this time, with more than just a single tear or two, those whispered words of love and thanks, touching him deeply. He lingers, slow to pull away, even after the connection is broken. Finally, hands fall to his sides, head turning to peer around before shuffling off to the side out of the way.

< Zasheir leaves egg 4 - Beauty Lies Within Egg >

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