Scorching Sands

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.

The night is cold, and the sky is clear. The time is between midnight and dawn, when the night owls have gone to bed and the morning larks not yet risen, and the weyr is quiet and peaceful.

The peace of the weyr is shattered by a gold's bugle, broadcasting fear and anger. Firelizards rise up and disappear between, frightened away by that anguished voice, and dragons are roused from slumber. A moment later, a second gold joins her voice to the first.

Fire-Burning-Fear- the Sands. Things are horribly, terribly wrong on the hatching sands.

The sands are hot. Hot enough to burn flesh. Hot enough to singe leather. Hot enough to boil an egg, and they're only getting hotter.

Voices shout to be heard over the draconic bugles - Yumeth whose anxious fussing has met with a terrible reality, Auspiraeth who came here to Xanadu that her fragile eggs might be safe. Dragonriders, newly roused from sleep, trying to calm their lifemates before the chorus deafens everyone. The candidates, rudely roused from sleep and stumbling out to sands they have not yet been permitted to visit.

Somehow, a plan emerges. Shirts become improvised carry-slings - in this heat, who wants to wear them anyway? Sorrin and Rwylann, with the strength of Xanadu's senior gold behind them, manage to calm Yumeth and Auspiraeth enough that it's safe for others to venture on the sands.

Dragonriders and candidates work together to take the eggs from the two clutches to the incubators being warmed in the Annex. Dragonhealers rub bleary eyes and have clipped arguments about the proper actions to save these overheated eggs - would a rapid cooldown do more harm than good? The shock of a quick change might be devastating; so might too long at these high temperatures.

Perhaps it's fortunate both clutches were so small - even so, it seems to take ages for all the eggs to be moved. One tumbles from its carrier as the cloth gives way, and knocks a young woodcraft apprentice to the ground. The egg is intact; the apprentice has to be helped from the sands with a broken ankle. She won't be standing for this clutch… if there's anything left to stand for.

Partway through the move, someone stumbles down the stairs in the dark and finds the switch marked 'Emergency Override' by the red glow of the instrument panels. The heaters whirr off, and one by one the lights wink out. The chaos and shouting above are made faint by stone overhead, and the drip-drip-drip of water is nearly as loud. For a moment, it's possible to pretend that the sands don't still burn with too much heat.

Just for a moment, before groping through the blackness back to the chaos of the sands. The lights overhead are dimmer now, some of their circuits caught up in that override, but the sands are still scorching. Sand holds heat well; usually, that's a good thing. Not tonight.

At long last, the sands are empty. The eggs are in the incubators. The dragonhealers are keeping a close watch over them. They're also doing their best to encourage others to get some sleep, with limited success. The massive empty weyrs for draconic patients look cramped with a pair of unhappy queens.

In a quiet corner, the senior dragonhealers consult. D'ren is an old man, shaking his gray head. C'per speaks quickly, glancing frequently to the throng still gathered here, while Fallian's frown is a constant no matter what she says.

Their consultations complete, Fallian goes to once more check the incubators, C'per to firmly send the riders back to their weyrs and candidates to their barracks, and D'ren, as the most senior, to speak to the goldriders. Not that he has much in the way of comfort to offer; only that the dragonhealers will do whatever they can, and there's still a chance that some of of the eggs will survive.

The goldriders are welcome to stay if they choose; everyone else is sent away - though one of the candidates ignores the orders. She finds the klah pot instead, and once she's got it working, nobody has the heart to send away their source of a hot cup of wakefulness.

The incubators hum softly, working their way through the series of adjustments the dragonhealers have concluded holds the best chance of success. They're checked frequently, charts updated and speculations made. As dawn arrives, a second stir of activity begins as the techcrafters arrive on the sands to figure out just what went so very wrong.

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