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.

IT'S THAT TIME!!! Leirith has been informed that the eggs are _ripe_ for the touchening and wasted ZERO TIME in demanding the audience of every available candidate to come and glorify in their glory. SO WHAT IF IT'S 3 AM, and so WHAT if she learned about this 12 much more reasonable hours ago, GET WITH THE BADASS YOU GUYS. Risali could use some help with her own badassery, looking as if she had just fallen asleep only to be woken again, eyes heavy, hair messy despite the bun she clearly pulled it back into. She's managed to snag a chair and looks as if she's ready to fall right back to sleep, half curled in it, cheek pressed against her hands and watching. IT'S THE WEYRLINGMASTERS WHO LOOK HAGGARD (or does Ila'den always just look that way?), the gruff, "Mind yourselves and watch your steps," the only real warning they get as he moves to let them file in and take their bows (which Leirith returns) before scattering half awake towards whatever eggs they want to touch first. FUN.

Izobet has absolutely no right looking as bright-eyed and bushytailed as she does as she makes her way onto the Sands with the weyrlingmasters and her peers. "It wasn't a joke, we actually get to touch them?!" She's not squeeing, but she does seem very excited by the prospect that this is for realy real actually happening. No need to worry about why she might have thought this was some weird candidate hazing.

This is not his first rodeo egg-touching, and no healer gets to Journeyman without experiencing his fair share of 3 AM wake-up calls - but Kyszarin still looks like he was just dragged from a very sound slumber. His tight-packed curls are mussed, the side of his cheek bears the crease of his pillow, and his storm-blue eyes are a combination of sleepy and cross that warns of a tightly-gripped temper, one that flickers briefly at Izobet's excitement. He manages to ignore her, however, and eyes Leirith, eyes Risali, and resists bowing for several breaths before offering both rider and dragon a grudging salute. That done, he shuffles off to lean on the nearest egg, barely managing not to rest his weight against the Light as Air Egg, eyes drifting closed as he leans in to press a palm against it and sigh. Noisily.

< Kyszarin touches egg 4 - Light as Air Egg >

Ila'den is Izobet's antithesis in this, his attention landing on the bright-eyed candidate with a raise of his brows before he growls out, "Yes." YOU DO ACTUALLY GET TO TOUCH THEM. Risali wads up paper SHE TOTALLY HAD BESIDE HER THIS WHOLE TIME to chuck at her dad and ping him in the head with it. Ila'den LONG SUFFERING SIGHS and tries again with a less-gruff, "Yes, you do. Go touch." And a smile that looks more predatory than reassuring. Funnily enough, Leirith just barely manages to resist licking Kyszarin, but Risali returns the salute with a middle finger and a smile and then sinks back into her chair, to watch… The Chaos.

Even Ila'den's growl earns a beaming smile from Izobet. She's looking at the eggs by the time he says the rest, clearly trying to form some sort of plan of action that isn't just running past all of them for a brief brush of fingertips. Then she's off in a direction that's away from Kyszarin so she can kneel down and press both of her palms gently against the Wild Tides egg. "Hello."

< Izobet touches egg 6 - Wild Tides Egg >

Oh bloody… it's too damn early for this. Kyszarin grunts softly, fingers drumming lightly against the shell of the egg as he half-contemplates pushing up and walking away. In the end, however, curiosity is always greater than irritation and he exhales once more, shaking his head as he brings his other hand up, framing the egg between long, lean fingers. "Very well, little one, show me what you wish." His murmur is soft, coaxing; despite his temper, he'll not lose it at the innocent. He'll save that for more appropriate parties - like his very guilty family. YES. YOU. He may not have seen Risali flip him the bird, but he knows, with that sixth-sense of MUCH YOUNGER BROTHERS everywhere. Rest assured. He will return it. With interest. When she least expects it.

An ill- (or perhaps fortuitously) timed trip courtesy of being a little too hydrated before lights out means that Andalise is maybe three-quarters awake by the time she's ushered over with some of the others who are also not sound asleep given the hour. "I thought they only dragged you out of bed if they were hatching, " one of the younger candidates mutters from behind her, but the baker seems to be taking the oh-dark-thirty interruption in stride as much as one can, muffling a yawn with the back of a hand after she straightens from her bow while shuffling forward. Ending up before one of the larger, especially reddish eggs, she all but squints at the shell whose shades are anything but sleepy before leaning forward to gingerly press fingertips to its surface with the expression of one reaching for a hot pan.

< Andalise touches egg 1 - Exaltation Of The Sun Egg >

"What?" Izobet says to the egg, then glances up and around to see who else is doing what and maybe to gauge whether she did it wrong somehow. Then she looks back down at the egg with a determined furrow in her brow, drumming her fingers ever so gently against the shell. What secrets are in here!

A sharp intake of breath later, Andy snatches her hand back in favor of clapping it over her mouth, eyes squeezing shut. "Not-real, not-real, not-real, " she mumbles rapidly, cautiously opening her eyes again to stare down at her feet. One foot lifts, drops again, then the other. Oh, good; the ground is right where she left it. Hands dropping to her sides, she takes a deep breath before engaging again, this time with a bracing posture and only two fingers edging forward to contact the ruddy shell.

"Woah. Sheesh. Chill." Kyszarin's voice is as tight as his shoulders, and for much the same reason. Ignoring the sensations bouncing around in his skull, he takes first one breath, then another, taking his time even as the heat of the Sands begins to invade his senses once more. He flexes his fingers against the shell, absently tracing the curves and curls of the clouds upon its surface, his focus wholly consumed by the egg before him. Is he so brave? What is bravery but a lack of wisdom - and what is wisdom when it's three bloody o'clock in the bloody morning, and you've more surliness than sense knocking around in your brain? So he stays, waiting to see what new horizon this egg drags him towards.

This time when Izobet comes out of it, she does a little shiver like someone walked over her grave. But, like, in a good way? She stares at the egg for several long moments, then strokes a hand over its apex like she's petting a feline that she's sure wants to be petted even though its given no indication that it agrees with the sentiment. "I don't mind, you can have them." Sharing is caring, friends.

"Um, " says Andalise weakly, free hand reaching up to hold the elbow of the arm still extended toward the egg. She doesn't pull away this time, but grows very still, eyes as wide as if she were being stared at with very little of her initial drowsiness remaining. For all that she's still standing there with fingers trembling slightly in another brush over the smooth surface, she looks like someone who's two seconds from bolting away.

Izobet isn't looking so bright-eyed as wide-eyed in the few moments more she stares at the Wild Tides egg like she's having her first existential crisis. "You can trust one of us," she reassures the egg as she's rising up from her kneel and dusting sand off of her shins before moving on to pick another unattended egg a little more carefully than she threw herself at the first.

"Maybe I don't know, " Andalise grouses, reclaiming her hand with a long shake once she's several steps away from that egg. Both arms tuck around her midriff as she sets off toward the opposite side of the sands, clearly intent on putting some distance between herself and whatever experience she just had. It takes her a few minutes of circling around, pausing and backtracking to eventually settle before a two-toned sort of egg. There's a dubious swallow before she carefully extends one palm forward, jaw firming in the way of someone clenching their teeth.

< Andalise touches egg 5 - Unpredictable Winds Egg >

Shaking his head like a dog in water, Kyszarin draws himself away from the egg, shaking his hands out as he frowns down at the pink-clouded shell. "I… huh." Mulling over the mental barrage, he wanders away, shuffling across the sands in no direction at all. Finally, he lifts his head, studying the closest egg - this one rising right in front of him, nestled into the Sands. He glances after Izobet, who had so recently left it, eyes narrowed as he takes in her distinct lack of her previous cheer. Thoughtful, he reaches out to lay a palm upon the Wild Tides Egg.

< Kyszarin touches egg 6 - Wild Tides Egg >

When Izobet kneels down again, it's beside the Arrow of Fire egg. "Hello," she greets it with a smile even if it has no eyes. That's just how you greet things. Despite whatever happened with the last egg, the girl reaches out to rest her palms against its shell much like she did with the other. How can you get to know anyone without putting your hands all over them!

< Izobet touches egg 2 - Arrow of Fire Egg >

Oh. Some of the tension held in the apprentice's frame eases; the breath she was holding blows out in a sigh that's as much relief as something wistful. "Wait, " blurts Andy aloud after lingering in that space for a few moments, with an expression that's almost eager, "come back."

"Well now." In contrast to the maelstrom in his mind, Kyszarin's voice is curiously calm - he's a contrary one, and never does it shine forth so strong as in the face of another's irritation. Probably part of why he's a more than halfway decent healer. Long fingers tap gently on the shell as he leans in, lips curving in a sly smile. "Come now," he coaxes, quite touching with his fingers, those soft fingertips wandering across the eggface, tracing the swell of wave and sweep of tide, touching, touching, ever touching. "Secrets are no fun until you share them. And who better with," he wonders, "than one who will never tell?"

There's a gasp from Izobet when she glances up from her egg like she'd forgotten to breathe for a few moments there. It happens sometimes! She's not alone, though. Everyone's still here who's supposed to be here. She even seems happy to see Ila'den still exists! "Okay," she says to the egg, one hand settling against her leg as she sits on her heels.

And with her next breath, Andalise takes another step closer, reaching out to touch both palms to the light-and-dark egg before her. The acceptance a young person in her shoes might dare to hope for, the fear of rejection, the thrill of being seen — they all play out over her expression in rapid succession, only to culminate in a tearful, dark-eyed stare. Something that sounds suspiciously like a sniffle escapes as she leans her head in farther to bring an ear up to the shell.

On a long breath, Kyszarin comes back to himself. "Right. I'd forgotten that. Thank you," he murmurs, that same sly smile curving the edges of his lips as he opens his eyes to gaze upon the tumultuous shell before him. "I still wonder what she put in that stew. Ah well. Another time, another place. Is there more you would steal learn?" he asks then, his voice dropping low, a dangled string baiting out the hatchling within the shell. Contrary meets contrary; it's a battle then, between wills - or between cats. Same difference, really.

"This is my adventure," Izobet tells the egg. "But hopefully there will be lots more. Maybe even with you! Do you like dolphins? I bet they have loads of adventures out in water we can't even get to. Well, maybe you could get to it when you're older. I wonder how long dragons can hold their breath for?" Look, Izobet might seem VERY AWAKE but the stream of consciousness commentary probably means she's more tired than she looks.

Storm-blue eyes open, suspiciously damp, and Kyszarin gazes down at the egg beneath his hands, drawing in an unsteady breath. "Well now," he murmurs, shaken more than he's willing to admit. His fingers flex, linger a bit longer - but in the end, he acknowledges that final flicker of thought and steps away, rubbing his palms against his pants. Slowly, he turns towards where Risali sits, frowning at his sister in some wisp of thought - then the expression shifts, fades, and he pulls himself together. Shoulders thrusting back, chin raising, he moves past the egg, fingers fisting as he resists giving it a little pat. There may be other eggs out there to meet - but not this night. Between his well-earned physical exhaustion and his sudden mental weariness, the healer-candidate has taken all he can tonight. It's back to the barracks for him - but he might just try and sneak in a kiss on Risa's cheek, first. Sometimes, it's good to remember those you love. Even when you hate them. LOVE YOU.

All these eggs with the tough life questions that Izobet is not nearly old enough to have figured out yet. What even is a goal?! And planning? Does Tunnelsnake McGee look like someone who has planned anything ever in her entire life? Probably not. "Okay, bye," she says, not forlorn, but at least like she kind of wishes she was following along on whatever adventure seemed fun to an egg.

That sniffle is swiftly followed by another before Andy's shoulders begin to tremble; she's shivering when she all but stumbles back and away, hands pressing to cover a face that's too hot in a futile attempt to muffle the small sobs that suddenly won't stop. Whether it's a result of being overwhelmed while being so tired, or a reflection of the time shared with the egg of contrasts, she's singularly focused on getting out of the too-public cavern, attention glued to her feet and pace rapidly quickening once she reaches the chamber without. It might take her a while to find her way back to bed.

Leirith croons, a soft sound that starts somewhere in her chest and grows until Risali is raising her voice. "Time to go!" And there all of the Weyrlingmasters go, Ila'den among them, ushering candidates away from eggs and back towards the barracks. TRUST THAT THE GRUMPY OLD MAN IS PROBABLY GOING TO GO MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IS OKAY AFTER, but for now… he has Sands to clear.

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