Dragons Dwindling Post-Thread or Fertility Issue?

Xanadu Weyr - Hatching Sands

The large circular "stage" is surrounded on one half by a towering wall, thin slit windows high overhead letting in some light without truly endangering the objects on the sands, though plenty of lights are spaced at human-level all the way around. The other half is ringed by the dark blue seats of the observation level, rising upwards towards the back wall. 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 the same old story for gold pairs at Ierne. If they clutch, it's often at another Weyr. Xanadu is common, especially for those dragons that need observation from dragonhealers. Rwylann has been doing so with Auspiraeth for many Turns now and the situation is little different. Word passes that the gold has gone up and she was given the go-ahead. With the warning that the Sands would be shared. A natural diplomat, it's nothing Auspiraeth has ever had an issue with. As her eggs require regular observation, there's never been issues of being overly protective over them. They arrived relatively early, knowing things should happen soon… and to give Rwy time to settle in. The time has come, however, both rider and dragon heading to the sands in the early evening. While there's sure to be some interest in the process, even if just for the sake of gossip… none of it comes from the pair who are all business.

Xanadu's Senior Weyrwoman is soon to arrive heading over to that raised platform to the side closest to the wall that rises for the observation level. The wooden deck offers at least a little protection from the heat and she's carrying a cooler, no doubt with ice and chilled drinks for all involved. Seryth does not enter, but remains in the clearing and the senior gold keeps her presence to light mind contact with all the dragons, soothing, calming and will, if necessary inhibit should tempers flare.

While Auspiraeth is experienced as any gold ought to me, Yarovith is needless to say, inexperienced. As luck had it, the dark as black bronze pokes his head in the entrance of the hatching grounds, unsure. They don't give manuals about this stuff to bronzeriders, especially those who purposefully live away from Weyrs to avoid such pressures as to egg sit. His rider is a little more sure footed than his lifemate, the exotic dark sienna skinned man drifting behind Rwy and her Auspiraeth, quite curious about this whole ordeal from the perspective of a clutch sire. Yarovith hangs back, his orange-fire blazed muzzle sticking inside then retracting, his frame anxious to follow but nervous to. A'dmar quiets a look over his shoulder, saying ahead toward Rwylann with amusement in his tone, "He's not completely sure if he should follow." And it's no wonder why, as the sands are being shared.

It's a fortune Rwylann hasn't been wearing any layers around Xanadu. She's a fan of cool weather. It's made even more clear however when a sheen of sweat begins at her brow. As Auspiraeth makes for the furthest spot from Yumeth's eggs and begins to paw at the sand, the goldrider turns to A'dmar. An easy smile comes to her lips as she looks towards the entrance. "I don't want to seem cruel… but it is somewhat amusing." She slows to walk in step with A'dmar, angling to be somewhere off to the side. "He can wait outside if he wishes. She's… had bronzes that assist and bronzes that don't. I don't think she'd be insulted."

A'dmar doesn't show the same sweat that marks Rwylann's brow, appearing rather comfortable in the heat, loose clothing likely the cause for it. The man comes up to a halt next to Rwylann, eyes again cast toward his lifemate who hangs back in his silent sulking way. "It's not cruel to speak the truth," the man tries to urge his lifemate in, his eyes glazing with the communication of and in response Yarovith takes a shuffling step forward only to hunker down like a feline lurking in the shadows. "Honestly, we've never had the chance to do this before," he gives Rwylann a soft shrug, "Jitters of a first time sire." That's what he's chalking it down to.

Out in the clearing Seryth offers a cheerful enough greeting to the arriving Yarovith, whom she's knows well enough after having spent a week in vigil awaiting both her rider's and his to be dug out from underground when those ruins collapsed a turn or so ago. The gold neither pushes him to enter, not warns him against it, leaving it up to the clutching pair to decide what to do about that. Over on the platform, Thea waves to both Rwylann and A'dmar; they're welcome to join her if they wish. She's dressed for the office, so her shoes aren't enough protection from the heat of the sands, thus her trek over to the deck was at a light run. She too is sweating, removing her dress jacket immediately. At least her dark hair is up in a twist, which helps a little.

Ahh, dressing up. Something Rwylann hasn't had to do since leaving High Reaches Weyr for Ierne. The woman, however, is all-too pleased to join Thea at the side… though she does keep to a measured pace so that A'dmar doesn't think she might be fleeing him. Auspiraeth offers an absent croon to Yarovith; it's not a snuggly gesture, no, but a friendly one. She won't bite him! The gold does give a shudder then, adjusting one of the furrows she's dug to settle an egg in. It is, as hers always are… a small thing. Then she's focusing on covering it up while awaiting the next. Rwylann dips her head to Thea once nearer: "My appreciation for allowing this. I've heard of the recent difficulties… I was not sure if I should put in word to Telgar or not."

A'dmar crosses over toward Thea a step behind Rwylann when she waits for him, his eyes turning toward Auspiraeth and her digging, seeing the shudder that is a sure sign of an egg. Yarovith's response to Seryth was some subtle wing flap or a quiet wisp of a mental touch in thanks for the welcome. Though it is in his attention to watch Auspiraeth. It isn't until the first egg is deposited on the sands that he slinks in further, keeping his belly low and crouched to the ground, neck stretching out to get a better look from the distance he's at. Slowly the blackish dragon works his way close enough to inspect the mound, pushing his muzzle into the sand, jerking his head back with a long exhale of sand for his efforts. Yarovith hunkers down there for a moment, his neck cranned to see what Auspiraeth will do next, looking back at the mound she covered. A'dmar is meanwhile hoisted himself onto the platform to take a seat down from the goldriders, as he's just there for the view more or less, right?

Thea is lowering herself to settle on the decking, arranging her skirt as her legs dangle over the side as the Rwylann walks up the stairs. Her main focus is watching the Xanadu clutchpair, dark brows knit in concentration as outside in the Clearing Seryth warbles sharply to Maehwazeyeth. She takes a deep breath, her brow smooths and gives the older woman an easy smile of welcome. "Of course. Ierne is welcome any time. I hope you've found your quarters comfortable." Mention of the sands heating unit problems sobers her and she simply nods. "It's risky to take an egg-heavy queen in the air, let alone *Between*. The air currents are tricky around Telgar's mountains too. And we have the Annex incubator at the ready if the unit malfunctions again, which, hopefully it won't. Jethaniel seems to know what he's doing and monitors the temperatures frequently." Blase she is not, but she does seem to trust the Journeman techcrafter. A'dmar recieves a friendly nod. She doesn't seem surprised to see him; news of who caught who has traveled fast.

"We've used the incubator sands before, when some tests were being run," Rwylann says with a dip of her head in a nod. "I look forward to meeting the tech crafters. I've never thought much behind the scenes of the Sands… I'd guess much of Pern hasn't." The woman finds herself a seated position as well, directing attention to the Sands proper. "Has… ah, Yumeth? ever shared Sands before?" Auspiraeth is still doing a good job keeping over to her side. Nope, no worries of interference yet. The exhale of sand from the bronze brings a warble from the pale gold, who appears rather amused by it. She is distracted, however, by another hide-ripple and hunkers down for another couple of eggs to settle into waiting hollows. Then she's moving to prepare another…. maybe it'll be up to Yarovith to cover those two.

Leaning back in his seat, A'dmar half considers the two goldriders, nodding back to Thea as he notices her greeting all the same. He doesn't appear willing to interrupt the women in their talk of clutching sands and incubators, rather irrelevant to him. Rather than commenting on tech crafters or some science behind the heat of the sands, he instead smirks with his own wry amusement for his lifemate. Carefully slipping up behind Auspiraeth, the orange blaze of his muzzle seems to disappear into the mound as he inspects the couple of eggs that have been deposited. His wings fan out in question of the lack of sand and he starts to carefully draw sand in over the eggs with his muzzle, shaking his head a few times with heavy snorts for sands that get a little far up his own nose first. It's a slow methodical process, but the bronze carefully covers the eggs, not too much not too little. "There, he's got the hang of it," A'dmar mentions, even though the Ierne bronze continues to look over at the other gold to ensure she doesn't suddenly attack or something.

Thea looks thoughtful while folding her dress jacket into her lap. "Yumeth… suffered a wing injury when she was young so I'm not sure how many times she's risen to mate successfully." She flickers a glance up towards the galleries where Sorrin's table desk has been set up. "They transferred to Xanadu two turns ago. This is her first clutch here to my knowledge, though it's possible while at Telgar she did." In other words, she doesn't really know for sure. Her gaze travels the sands to where the other gold lies curled protectively around her own small clutch, no doubt watching the others closely - from what little she can see around Maehwazeyeth's bulk. "Would either of you like something to drink? There's wine, ale, water, iced klah (keeping Sorrin's love for the beverage in mind) and fruit juice." She opens the cooler she's deposited where they can all reach it and pulls out a bottle of fruit juice, then tilts her head forward to better see A'dmar. "Any luck in your search for your daughter?"

"Oh goodness," Rwylann says, upon hearing of Yumeth. "Auspiraeth rises regularly, but…" she gestures as the gold continues with another egg. Like the others, it's fairly devoid of color and small. "I think sometimes such things are indication that Pern does not need us as she once did." The invitation to a drink is taken happily and she reaches for an ale. Rwy does love her ales. The question to A'dmar brings about a surprised expression, eyes widening. She doesn't interrupt; merely waits to hear his answer.

Yarovith pauses long enough to watch Maehwazeyeth, size up the brown, little does he see Yumeth around the brown, but soon slipping back to his curious task of following Auspiraeth. The bronze remains crouched low and hanging back some to ensure the three eggs already on the sands are going to be ok. A'dmar looks over toward the host goldrider, nodding at Thea's offer, "I'll have some water." The best thing to have in the heat. He considers the cooler, shifting off his seat to be able to grab the offered drink. Resettling himself back with the cool beverage, he gulps back at least half of the water before stopping with a heaved breath of relief. He doesn't show sweat no, but it doesn't mean the heat isn't causing him to feel dehydrated. Pursing his lips together, the man stores the rest of the water between his feet, looking back to Thea for her abrupt question, which is answered at first with a lowering of his gaze and a soft shake of his head, "No. I fear she is lost." His dark gaze flickers back to the sands, sounding as if he's finally let go of the hope that once was a driving factor for him. Sensing the somberness of the subject, he glances back at the two women, "She'd be in her late teens now. I'm not sure if I'd recognize her even if I did see her."

Thea's eyes shift towards Auspiraeth and Yarovith in time to see the small egg tumble into the trough. If she's surprised, she doesn't show it. "Have her eggs always been like these and do they hatch live dragonets or…?" Pale green eyes lift to the woman beside her and she says firmly, "I used to think that but I'll always believe Pern needs dragons. Maybe not quite so many as she did before when Thread took its toll." Her gaze moves on to A'dmar and she nods reluctantly. "I'm sorry to hear that." She doesn't offer a pep talk, nor false hope, simply looks sympathetic. In a shift of topic, she asks, "How fares Ierne after those fires?" Since they are both from there, they can give accounts more accurate than the gossips.

Auspiraeth seems comfortable now with Yarovith tending to the eggs. She's even just focusing on her clutching and leaving the covering to him. "Ah… a couple have hatched, yes. But… not many. That's part of why we come here, since there's more tools and Healers to monitor so someday we can find the cause." Rwylann opens the ale and takes a good long drink. "I'm sorry," she says to A'dmar, brow furrowing a bit. "My son decided to go into the Beast Craft. I don't get to see him often, unfortunately, but… that's still far better. Hopefully someday she can find her way back to you." The question of the fires comes up and Rwy just looks sidelong at A'dmar. Clearly she's going to let the bronzer answer this one.

A'dmar nods at the sympathy, the grief apparent in his gaze now that he's declared his daughter lost to other people, a gripping moment that one's loss becomes all the more real. The man looked reminisce for the conversation answering Thea and Rwylann both with a soft, "So am I." His eyes traverse to Rwylann for her mention of a wayward son who has gone off to the beastcraft, nodding softly for her encouragement, not about to get into detail about his daughter so soon. Not that the next subject is any better. "The fire was caused to a robbery gone wrong," he decides to tell it, "it only wiped out my warehouse and my store before they managed to get it under control. The building is currently being rebuilt. There are of course, unanswered questions and a wanted poster going out for the blond haired man in my shop. He was mute, so I'm not even sure his name as he didn't fill out the paperwork before his … attempt failed." He rolls his shoulder, "Most assume it was someone hired by a competitor. Who better than a mute for such work?"

Thea sips from her bottle of fruit juice, unmindful of the steady dripping into that jacket on her lap as condensation forms on the outside of the cold glass. Listening to both of the other riders intently, Rwylann's elaboration regarding Auspireth's clutches draws an agreeing, "The dragonhealers here study fertility issues, mostly. So it's a good place for her to clutch." A'dmar's emotions, however in control the man is, are recognized and she extends a hand towards his arm to touch lightly if he doesn't draw away. Lowly she says, "I know what it is to not know where a missing loved one is. To wonder always what happened." Her own grief, long buried, lies darkly in her eyes for a moment before she pushes it back down, giving attention to those fires instead. At the mention of his shop and warehouse, fire flashes in the ice green of her eyes. "That's despicable. There ought to be well enough business for everyone. We'll get a copy of that picture and keep an eye out."

"I do wonder if it /was/ him, whether he was a mute at all or it was part of the ploy…" Rwylann is happy to move on. Though not to brighter things, but easier to handle. It's a similar emotion for all and something all can feel similarily towards. Auspiraeth seems nearing the end of her clutching for the pace has slowed. Two more are laid suddenly and the total seems to be six, for the gold settles in to start covering them. "Hmm," Rwylann says, glancing out. "That's fewer than usual, but… they're all a uniform size." If, well, small, they do all seem to be a similar size. "I wonder if that's a good sign or not… I'll have to ask the healers later."

The bronzerider snaps his gaze over toward the hand on his arm, eyes lifting toward Thea's face with a searching consideration for the woman's show of empathy. It is with that controlled emotion that he replies, "Thank you for your kind words. I can only hope she is still alive somewhere and is living happily." With a fixed composure, he leans back in time to watch Yarovith taking care of another of the eggs on the sands, looking more comfortable since he's not entirely hugging the sand. As for the fires, A'dmar nods, "I'm sure the Harpers will see to it that the image is well circulated. What comes of it, I can't say. It's slowed me down and taken a chunk of my profits, but it's something I can recover against." He doesn't seem happy about the prospects of having to start all over, but there was nothing to be done for it. For Rwylann he does nod, "They did want to speak to him, but of course he never came forward. So it's hard to say whose at fault." A'dmar glances down toward the sands then, watching Yarovith take care of the last two that are plopped out, "I would've assumed that's a decent size for a gold without a Weyr."

With a light pat, Thea withdraws her hand back to her own space, peering out towards the Iernian dragonpair out there. "Time will tell," she says of Auspireth's eggs. Even the dragonhealers won't know for sure until the shells crack. The Weyrwoman tries not to look somber - it's a clutching after all and some people have filed into the observation area to watch. Thus her concerns about the survival of the hatchlings - and what they must be ready to do if they do not live long - is left unvoiced at this time. Grim tasks can be assigned later, should they be necessary. "We still have that contract for Igen stone," she reminds A'dmar. "There's no rush, just know we will wait for you to rebuild and not give that to another." Of clutches and Ierne's queens, she's no expert, however she does observe, "They seem to be settling alright." Meaning all four dragons. To the both of them she says, "I need to see to my family. Please have your dragons bespeak Seryth if you need anything." Then she pushes to her feet and makes her way down the steps to dash for cooler ground.

Rwylann taps at her chin a bit, "Well… it is. Usually there's… eight to ten? But often the last few are… ah, immediately obvious that they're not good." It's strange to discuss, but the woman seems more uncomfortable for the others' sake than her own. It's been how many Turns? Many. She's used to it. "I can usually spot the ones that will have to be… removed right away. I don't see any, but… that doesn't mean anything and I'm not trained." Just practiced. "So perhaps she's adjusting?" She dips her head to Thea as the Weyrwoman stands. "Thank you again for the hospitality. If there's anything I can do while I'm here to assist, please let me know." Then it's time to make sure Auspiraeth gets settled in before going to unpack for her stay.

"I still mean to fulfil it," A'dmar responds to the contract of Igen stone, "I'm sure we could work something out in the next sevenday, as I'll likely be around now that Yarovith has taken an interest in the eggs." Regardless if they are healthy or not. The bronzerider stands as soon as Thea does, nodding to her, "Thank you for your hospitality." His eyes turn toward Rwylann as she remarks about bad eggs, "I hope that Yarovith might have been a help to offset the chances." He doesn't seem outwardly worried about the condition of the eggs or the size of. "Looks like I'm stuck here until I can convince him off…" he murmurs about the bronze, who has taken up post directly across from the brown, lower to the ground, but just as protective, matching the brown stare for stare, or playing at the ignore game if he has to. Then he's leaving the platform, looking once up to to the galleries before he slips on out.

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