Come Touch the Eggos

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.

Mid-morning and already the summer heat is gruelling but as soon as the dragonhealers said the eggs were firm enough for touchings well… Weyrlingmaster staff and candidates were both rounded up, along with some snacks and even some pre-emptive water flasks too. Inasyth hovers close to the Hatching Sands entrance, perhaps too close to some, but the massive mother-hen of a gold just wants to warble a greeting to each and every candidate entering the sands. There might even be some bubbles and even balloons in her mindvoice that can't just be contained for her fellow dragons. "Ina… back up! Like… three steps," Rhodelia's here too, though way over there, in a seat under a giant umbrella on the platform set up so she doesn't actually have to be standing on those hot, hot sands, fan a-fanning. All the eggs have been displayed just so in a big circle so they're with their siblings and no egg is lonely, but plenty of room for candidates to walk between them.

Garouth is here on the sands as well, but where Inasyth has taken the up-close-and-personal approach to the arriving candidates, he's apparently decided to wait and see. He's lying toward the back, in a spot where he has a good vantage over all the eggs - and those candidates coming to meet them - and watching with green-and-gold tinged eyes. Just watching … for now. D'lei? Well, he's pouring himself a drink, because it's hot here - like, really hot - and also because, hey. If he's gonna be here watching this, he might as well have a drink, right?

Padjma is somewhere in the middle of the group receiving last-minute instructions before they're turned loose to begin their explorations, hands twisting nervously in front of her before she forces them to part as she follows the person in front of her forward — past Inasyth, for whom she darts a look and a reflexive bob of her chin. Where some of the candidates might choose the closest one or already murmur about making a beeline for a supposed favorite, uncertainty keeps her on the periphery of that circle for some moments before she finally all but tiptoes toward the most aesthetically-pleasing side of an egg with a little more blue in its markings. If her fingers flex slightly before she reaches out for this first sort of encounter, perhaps she might be forgiven as everything in her approach certainly declares her to be a novice.

Zaira is one of those Candidates on the Sands, clad in blue denim capris and a red sleeveless shirt. Her silvery gold-ringed eyes are shinging brightly, her hip-length hair pulled back into a long runner-tail The Candidate stands erect, hands strumming and fingering the strings of an invisible guitar rather absentmindedly. Her attention is all for the eggs…and the watchful parents. She is waiting patiently, waiting to be told what to do, only her eyes hinting at her feelings. Instructions done she goes for an egg herself, choosing at random, crouching near the egg and gently resting a longfingered hand on it.

Well, D'lei, have one for Arden because he can only have the 'for actual hydration' use kind in this heat! The young man follows directions and pauses, mouth agape, at Inasyth. "You made all of these eggs? That's impressive! I'm jealous, I wish I could make eggs like those. Thank you for having us." He does manage to get a bow in before he catches Garouth out of the corner of his eyes. The bronze just gets a little wide eyed stare and a wiggle of fingers in greeting. omgpleasedon'teatme. With that done, he just… wanders around the circle and makes his way to an interesting shell, reaching out with cautious yet curious fingers towards Mollusk Magnetism Egg.

Inasyth practically beams at Arden's compliments which… since she's a dragon and dragon faces don't quite work like humans, is really more of a bit of a grin that shows way too much teeth as her eyes whirl an excited blue as she goes to sit back with Garouth and watch with a delighted rumble and tries to keep an eye on everything. "She says thank you," Rhody translates even as she takes a drink from her probably-not-booze-yet flask.

If it were the job of the weyrlingmaster team to 'bring the fun' to this shell-stroking shindig, then Rau's contribution is obviously the candidates. Goodness knows the one-time Telgari-by-way-of-Ierne transfer doesn't seem to be bringing anything else that goes well with bubbles and balloons. In typical fashion, M'tras can be assumed to be all business judging by the grim-or-just-intensely-serious line his lips are set in as he brings up the rear in herding duties. Dressed lightly but functionally in deference to the heat, his flip-flops kick up a little of the hot sand as his smooth gait keeps him beside one of the younger candidates in the class, head tilted to hear what appears to be a very animated telling of— something. He's only rescued when that mouth goes slack with a delighted awe at Inasyth's nearness. This must be one of the Holdbred ones, and with a respectful nod to the dam, Rau is using an elbow to nudge the young one along with a low reiteration of some of the key rules lest they have fallen out of their head along with whatever they were in the midst of sharing with him moments before. DON'T WORRY, CANDIDATES. AWLM M'TRAS IS HERE TO SOLEMNLY REMIND YOU WHERE THE LINES YOU SHOULDN'T CROSS ARE and to look exceptionally unimpressed when you cross them. He doesn't even go for a drink (yet); he's On Duty and looks Just So Thrilled not about it.

Arden's eyes are looking everywhere and no where at once, then he forces them close to get the whole imagery and everything that comes with it. The edge of his mouth twitches, then slowly it pulls into a wide grin while his fingertips follow the unseen life within the egg. At least he thinks he's following it! Was he expecting more? A second hand is carefully added to the shell of the egg, and he lowers his head to focus on what else might come out of Mullusk Magnetism Egg.

Zaira doesn't even notice M'tras' approach, totally absorbed in egg visions. She lingers just one more time. She doesn't want to overdo it or draw anyone's eyes to her. She wanted this to be a personal, private business between her and the unhatched dragons.

Padjma sways dangerously while her fingers remain in contact with the shell before her, lips parting into a little gasp of astonishment. Something makes her go pale, sends her to instinctively take a step back and away; there's a wide-eyed stare and not-quite hyperventilating while her weight shifts from one foot to the other. That small, forward-and-back motion also (perhaps unintentionally) brings her fingers back into contact with the shell again moments later, for which there might be a grimace.

He straightens, eye brows rising and his mouth opens just a little, followed by a wince and then he tilts his head to the side as he manages an awkward smile through messy red hair and totally just TAKES IT. Why? Cause being nice to eggs is what Candidates are supposed to do and he'll survive. Might need a good cry in his blanket while holding his pillow but don't we all? Arden takes in a deep long breath, slowly exhaling, and then he slides his hands as far as he can reach over the apex of Mollusk Magnetism Egg one last time.

Zaira is almost shocked by the avian attack but steadies herself quickly, remembering her father's words from his own Candidate days. Nothing in the visions could really hurt you, it was simply an attempt to communicate using imagery and emotions rather than words. She seems to sense that this egg has given her all it has to give so once more she rises to touch another egg, remaining standing this time and resting the palm of her hand on the top of the shell, delicate, gentle, and endlessly curious.

Fortunately for Zaira, being oblivious to one particular assistant or another while personally doing nothing wrong is not against the rules. This doesn't, of course, earn her any approval from the dark-haired assistant, his lips staying in their favorite boring line as he moves around the outside of the ring of eggs, eyes scanning over his charges. M'tras' brown gaze stops on Padjma whether he's hearing the change in her breathing or just seeing some shift in her body that requires a longer scrutiny to be sure there's no need to alter his prowl course, but whatever he sees doesn't seem to alarm the man enough to take action (or even to alter his expression). Arden must not be doing anything untoward despite an entirely SUS level of grinning because Rau doesn't angle to interfere there, either. So far, so good.

Arden might be blushing furiously just a little bit, and those warm brown eyes open wide once he's free of the eggs influence. Hands are carefully pulled away, and he glances around the circle. Few steps are taken and before he knows it, fingertips are reaching out towards Something Green and Growing Egg.

Padjma has both eyes firmly shut seconds after she makes contact again against one of those particularly blue patches, but looks more shocked than like one who might be about to faint by the time she dares to peek through the smallest lift of dark lashes toward the egg in front of her. A shiver works its way over her frame; she misses M'tras's scrutinizing look entirely, but grits her teeth as she lets the whole of her palm meet that warm, smooth surface in the briefest of presses.

Zaira likes this one, the shiny colors like jewels and she liked the mingled feelings of hope and loss. Had she not lived that way for many turns? Loss of her parents, hope at this new juncture in her life. Her hand moves softly over the smooth shell, stroking gently, almost fondly. Her eyes show the depths of her concentration as she tries to make connection again.

The world does sway a little bit for Arden, but he digs his heels in deep and keeps his hand firm on the shell of the egg before him. His head tilts, turns to the side, then darts back the other way, following something quickly moving yet unseen and he steadies himself to keep up. Shoulders deflate just a little bit, there might be a little pout on his face but soon enough, it faces back to a face of concentration. Eyes are given a break and he blinks them wide, readying for the next round and… M'tras? Who's this person? He looks important. Likely Weyrlingstaff, poor guy is about to see how much more of a payraise he's going to need once these eggs hatch. Look, Arden is giving a sweet innocent smile maybe Meh, this Candidate's no fun, M'tras will be bored. Arden slides his hands over Something Green and Growing Egg once more, ready for what comes his way next.

Zaira does not mind the heat of the Sands, or at least she is not showing any signs of it yet if she is. The sparkling colors had changed! And she could feel the questioning attitude in her mind. But what was the right answer? She had to confess she didn't know right away. She continues to gently finger the egg, running the fingers of her right hand in gossamer touch around the narrow end of the egg, wondering what lay inside it.

Pensive, Arden lowers his head one last time, licking his lips while he counts the things presented to him and he slowly nods his head. Yes, these are very real things inside of him and he'll likely never forget them. Some forgotten resurface in fragments and he straightens up, concentrating on the tiniest details before they flicker and fade into darkness. He has questions, too, egg! With a huff, he slides his hands closer together, letting them join while seeing what left the Something Green and Growing Egg offers.

It's possible that there's nothing at all perfectly normal about this encounter for Padjma, who's visibly trembling once she reclaims her hand. One hard swallow follows another; she doesn't look green, but abandons the pretty shell in favor of finding someone with water, which she takes in ginger sips with little glances toward the exit now and then, as if contemplating securing permission to use it.

Zaira still likes this partly done jeweled mosaic. What lay in that one hidden corner? she wonders to herself. Again she seems to pick up on the fact that this fact that the egg has shared all it will for now. So with one last pat she leaves it and moves to another egg, quickly and quietly before again squatting beside it and and raising one hand to touch this new egg.

Arden doesn't know when he leaned forward enough to… hug the egg but when his eyes open, he sheepishly pulls away, patting the shell in thanks as he steps back. He peers around, eyes seeking out the next shell on this meet and greet. It doesn't take long, but he finds himself eagerly ready to meet with Egg on the Beach Egg.

Zaira is sorry that vision is over so soon. It had been wonderfully relaxing and made her long for the black beaches of Monaco Bay that lay not far from her home cothold of Shadow Ravine. Mayhap sometime. Her eyes are glittering and she presses slightly inward, opening her mind and just asking for more, ready to recieve what it has to offer.

There's a look of calm washing over Arden's features while he joins with this egg and he holds perfectly still. The heat of the sands doesn't register in his mind, despite his body dripping with sweat. It's a good thing he hydrated! Completely at ease, he slides his hands across the Egg on the Beach once again so where it ventures next.

Zaira is really enjoying this egg's visions. Her first thought was that she could have a grand time performing to this crowd. And there, was that her mother, gone all these Turns? No, it couldn't be, just a close resemblence and a bit of wishful thinking. But yes, she definately liked this egg…and it sesemed to like her, too. Giving relaxing visions that were balm to her soul.

Arden chews on his lower lip, otherwise, the young man doesn't move a muscle. He sits there, taking it all in and asking himself questions he never thought to ask himself before. The world is always changing, but doesn't have to change so much? He slides his hands across the shell one last time, to see where Egg on the Beach unfolds it's conclusion.

Snow is not Zaira's friend, but the rest of the vision is certainly something she could easily enjoy. She's starting to sense a pattern with the eggs…three visions each was it? Seemed to be. So reluctantly she leaves this egg and heads for another, to see what visions it had to show her. Again she opts to stand up and rest the palm of her hand atop the egg in question

M'tras looks SUPER IMPORTANT, it's true. With his regulation haircut and boring clothes (except for the flip-flops) and the not-technically-a-glower-unless-you-choose-to-interpret-expressionlessness-that-way look, he is easily mistaken for SUPER IMPORTANT. Maybe he likes boredom, though, because he doesn't seem disappointed by the lack of need to jump to action with alacrity. He paces slow and steady (maybe it's he who'll do the boring for the next many weeks and months of candidacy - he seems good for it). The assistant's dark eyes track Padjma as she heads for where there's water, but seeing her receive what she needs with no delay, he's not bothering to go play hostess, not when there are RULE BREAKERS TO WATCH FOR, or you know, just those same candidates doing exactly nothing he needs to worry about. He'll stick with them… for now.

Zaira frowns in diappaointment. This was not what she was expecting at all…she'd expected something more colorful with audio to accompny the viual in the the picture. Nope, not getting that this time. Sweat has plastered her bangs to her forehead but she just flips them away for now. Fortunately she had tought to have a drunk of water before going on the Sands. There has to be more to this egg than that little snippet! She decides to try again…and hope for something a little more exciting.

Carefully, Arden slides his hands away from the egg, slowly nodding. Indeed, only time will tell, egg. So far the day has been going rather splendid so naturally when this Candidate decides to take a step back and move on to the next, his foot catches on the other and then there's a man down face first into those sands. He shoves himself upright, quickly lifting the hem of his shirt up and drying the sweat and sand from his skin before chancing another opening of EYES. EYEBALLS UNSCATHED. So, after clearing his breath and pretending nothing just spectacularly happened, he wanders over to the next egg - IT'S GONNA BE A PARTY EGG.

"Do you think he's lost all feeling in his feet? Trying to establish fear in the candidates early?" Rhodelia doesn't have much else to do besides watch so M'tras' flipflops don't escape her notice and she elbows D'lei to try and point them out to him as well. And there is plenty of water about for any that need it. Some even has citrus slices in it though the ice has long since melted. There's only so much hospitality one dragon can do and really any of it might be remarkable considering Inasyth doesn't have thumbs.

"I mean, this can't be his first time, right?" D'lei muses back to Rhodelia as she points out the flippity floppity M'tras. "I think the resistance builds up over time." He swirls his glass, looking at the lack-of-ice swishing over that citrus slice, because he's fancy like that. Garouth leans forward as Arden tumbles to the sand, but when it's clear that he didn't hurt any of the eggs (and also got back up again), the bronze settles back again to maintain his vigilance. Maybe it's that stir of alertness that makes D'lei ponder, "…I wonder if the sands are hot enough to brew klah."

Zaira does need a break for a moment. Whilst she didn't mind the questions or anything like that, she also disliked being motionless for an extended period of time…with no guitar to play anyway. But this was more interesting than the last visit. Okay, try number 3…her hand shifts slightly, fragile fingers extending over the smooth shell as she focuses for the next attempt at contact.

Has Rau lost all feeling in his feet? BETTER QUESTION, how would you tell? His omnipresent storm-cloud expression could mean yes, or it could mean no. It's probably the mystery that makes him worth talking about. All that mystery could be spoiled, of course, with one question to M'tras' far more convivial lifemate, but no one would suggest ruining the suspense, right? Then what would they have to talk about? These candidates who are not running, not shouting, not fainting, not even LICKING eggs even though that's probably still within the technical rules? (And can you imagine Rau's face about that? Spoiler alert: looks pretty much like the one he's wearing now.) The brownrider might be oblivious to the clutchparent riders' fascinating conversation about his podiatric resilience or lack thereof, but there's that mystery again: there's no way to know, since he's just doing his very boring job. Maybe someone should fetch a klah pot so they can divine the truth of something anyway.

Well, D'lei, according to Arden's FACE, it is not quite not enough but if you preheat your brewing device on the sands before putting your liquids in, you just might have a chance! There's a jolt of surprise from the onslaught of imagery shared by the egg but Arden holds his ground, sliding his hands across the shell once more. There might be a little look of unease from lingering thoughts but IT'S GONNA BE A PARTY EGG is gonna fix that. Maybe.

Zaira blinks, still a little confused by this egg's visions. What in Pern could it be trying to tell her? Well, one shouldn't judge by size or shape anyway, but by the motivations and the heart. She breaks contact almost abruptly and moves on to yet another egg, still seeming to enjoy herself despite the heat of the sands. She opts for a crouched stance this time, left hand splayed around the egg's rounded side.

Rhodelia glances again at M'tras' flippy floppies and wiggles her own toes. "I'm not sure how, but clearly he's still standing…" So there must be something to the idea of resistance. But beverage discussion quickly grabs her attention as well. "There's folks that brew klah cold even, it just takes a lot longer. We could try to use the sands. For science. We got time, after all. Just gotta make sure no candidates accidentally uncover our klah-periment thinking it was an egg. DON'T DRINK THE EGGS, KIDS!" No matter what some of the eggs might tell you.

"…or is he?" D'lei counters, with an arch of his brows. "Maybe he's a mirage, cast by heat on the sands. Or…" He pauses, and glances down into his glass. "…wait, no, this is water. So I suppose we can't both be that drunk. Yet." He grins, and has another sip of his don't-get-dehydrated potion before nodding to Rhody's klah-related ideas… and grinnning at her advice, shouted to the candidates. Garouth rumbles his own opinion of it, lifting his head to get a better angle and inspect, just in case someone might have ideas. And not ones about klah. "If we get a few containers to bury, we could crack one open each morning, see which work best…" And by the end of it, they'll be over-caffeinated from over-steeped sludge. It'll be great!

Arden flinches as the imagery unfolds but his hands don't lose contact with the egg. Instead, he slides them across the shell, a grin forming on his face as he takes it all in. Egg touches are always exciting, you just have to commit to everything they throw at you! As the last of the story unfolds, Arden lowers his head gently against the shell in a form of thanks and slowly, he moves his hands across the shell one last time. The heat is starting to sink in, there'll be other times to visit when staff allows.

Zaira inhales deeply, fascinated, silvery-gold orbs wide and nostrils slightly flared. It was gone now, but at least she had the memory of it to remind her. She shifts her weght back, more on her heels than the balls of her feet. Her touch this time was a little bit higher on the egg's flank, stroking gently, respectfully, carefully turning hernails so they won't scratch anything.

"Well, he's not sitting," Rhodelia's not really giving much more thought than that to the metaphysical possiblities of a certain brownrider's existence or mirageness. "And hey, it's five o'clock somewhere." And even if it's not here and her drink is decidedly not alcoholic yet, she'll tip her flask in D'lei's direction as a toast. The plan forming about klah-brewing has her nodding. "It sounds like a plan. And could save a bunch of steps having to run all the way to the caverns for klah in the morning. Gonna have to take notes though, to make sure we can replicate the perfect batch once we find it." Like it's real science! And not just a make-shift hobby while tied to the sands.

Arden isn't sure when someone cut some onions out here in the sands, in close proximity to him but HOW RUDE. As his visit with the egg comes to an end, he slowly pulls his hands away and uses the collar of his shirt to wipe his face clean. He slowly wanders back over to the riders, placing a hand to his chest before lowering his head in a bow. "Thank you for the opportunity but I think I got sand in all of my facial holes so I'm going to… go that way." The Candidate renders a clean salute and moves out to the barracks a little snifflier.

THERE'S STILL TIME, D'LEI. And drinks. It's the perfect recipe for drunkenness and unwise experiments. SOMEONE SHOULD GET TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN. Other than the eggs. And maybe Arden. And maybe Zaira. But definitely not Rau. M'tras' superpowers-and/or-lack-of-feeling-in-his-feet are still going strong but it looks like his plodding route might just be bringing him nearer to the people who don't find him as fascinating as caffeinated trial and error. And fairly so. Just because his proximity to the gold- and bronzerider is increasing does not mean his force of personality has gained any ground. He's still all that tall-and-silent professional. This might carry weight in some quarters like terrifying candidates early but probably not so much with those he's ranging closer to.

"Probably for the best. I doubt his butt's got as thick a hide." D'lei lifts his citrus'd-water glass back to Rhodelia's in that toast, then drinks to… whatever it is they're drinking to. The point is, they're drinking! He nods to those klah-schemes, and grins. "Yeah. Label the jars, write down what we did…. tasting notes, even. We should do this right. For posterity." Or the next time one or the other of them is stuck on the sands like this, which is more or less the same thing. D'lei turns his attention to Arden, and gives a smile and a quirk of one corner of his mouth. "Please remove the sand from your face-holes, yes. We'd rather it didn't stick that way."

Zaira straightens up but does maintain contact with the egg's ovoid form. This was more like it. Challenging, intriguing, learning insight into herself that she had not had before. Father certainly hadn't told her that about the eggs. Oh well, live and learn. Her eyes fall half shut as once again she concentrates, willing the link to engage.

Oh wait… Candidates are leaving? And their face holes are watering? Inasyth's head wobbles a bit anxiously as Arden and a few other candidates begin to trickle off. There's a very mournful, questioning chirp from the gold and Rhodelia gives a bit of a comforting shhh-shhh-shhh as one might to a small animal or child. "No, it's not that they don't like your eggs… their feet were probably just really, really hot. Or they needed water. Or to go to the little candidate's room…" she lists off possiblities and while Inasyth seems somewhat mollified for the moment, she lets out a massive sigh as she slumps down next to Garouth again.

Garouth rumbles his own reassurances to Inasyth as she slumps beside him, a mental flickering that touches on each of their eggs with a gleam of unmistakeable pride. Anyone who didn't like these eggs would be foolish, and while he remains uncertain whether these particular candidates are going to be correct for their babies, he doesn't think any of them would be that foolish. Seriously. Their eggs, though. They're wonderful little babies. That's just a fundamental truth of the universe.

Zaira 's eyes go completely shut, contemplating the egg's vision…it had so much to say, so much to experience. She needed time to think through what she had seen so far. D'le had said Candidacy would give her plenty to write songs about. Right now she could write one for each egg. She straightens to her full height and notices most of the Candidates heading off the Sands. Reluctantly she realizes that she needs to join them. The heat was getting to her and a cool drink of water would go down very nicely right now.

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