Warm Eggs and Sand

Xanadu Weyr - DragonHealer's Annex

An entrance way which would allow admittance to even the greatest of Queen Dragons leads into a chamber which would house half-a-dozen of the same size. To one side is a shallow pool which constantly clears itself of grime and is used is washing wounds. Nearby is a shelf with a generous supply of clean bandages and clean sheets upon stone shelves. The other side of the chamber is taken up by an alcove with multiple banks of computers to house medical records and help to diagnose illness and injury in the Dragons who come for aid. Within this alcove is a small medical laboratory where medicines and herbs can be prepared and experiments can take place. The far wall houses two dozen Dragon couches, each separated above by a rail which supports a thick curtain allowing the patients an option of privacy as they rest and recover.

So the littlest egg was moved here a sevenday ago or so and so far there has been very little progress despite the added warmth. There still seems to be life inside the egg, but no doubt definate concerns on whether it will hatchy properly and with the others. Briana has been splitting her time between the annex and the main hatching ground, checking up on things for her agitated queen.

Like Briana, Ur'con has been a quiet visitor…stopping in to see the egg, so he can take reports (if 'nothing's really changed' is really a report) back to Briana. Or for his own curiosity and peace of mind! After all…Sahazyth might have laid the egg, but it was Darlth that sired it, and a dead egg in his first clutch would be a black mark on the bronze's ego…well. For as long as Darlth remembered. What is rare is that both of the riders of the clutchparents are here at the same time, though he comes in just after Briana, so they didn't walk in together! Happy accident…if you can call it that.

On egg-watch for today is one none other than Circelyn, who takes regular charted measurements once a candlemark, and who typically moves the egg itself with the highest level of care to prevent any one part of the egg from baking too long. The little dragonhealer is currently finishing up her mama-dragon mimicking routine, dusting her hands of sand, and moving to the hanging clipboard to mark down the time when the egg was rotated, and to what degree upon it's axis it was. The greeneyed lass looks up in time to compose herself at the clutchparents' arrival. "Goldrider, bronzerider," she greets, her alto calm. "Just rotated it again, but there has been little change since the last report."

Briana waits quietly as the Dragonhealer does her work, though her arms are crossed over her chest and such a look of concern on her features despite the care being taken. At the mention that there has been little change she looks over to the egg before she hears the footsteps behind her. "What will happen?" She asks with that same open concern in her voice as she looks between the older Bronzerider and the Dragonhealer, "Is there anything else we can do?"

Ur'con's expression takes on a bit of a wince, and he admits, "All queens eventually lay an egg or two that doesn't hatch. It's…natural." Even if it's unfortunate. But he does ask, even having pronounced this grim truth, "What about it, dragonhealer? Is the egg still alive now?" Surely it must be, "How can you tell?"

"If it doesn't harden to hatching potential by the time the others have hatched, and doesn't show signs of hatching, it will need to be taken ::between::," Circelyn replies to Briana, her voice that quiet, professional calm that most medical professionals adopt when delivering bad news. "It could still track to completion, but the longer it lags behind in development, the less likely it is." She nods along at Ur'con's words— "The reason that we even work here is to try to find out what causes these kinds of things. Typically, we take hatching fluid samples before the eggs are destroyed. One thing that seems to remain standard is that over the course of an average queen's clutch life, she can lay up to a dozen faulty eggs, randomly dispersed, and it still be quite normal. Some— glitch, perhaps as early as the mating flight." To Ur'con, "We've imaged it, and it still reacts to touch, however faint at times. It still has potential." She smiles, faintly: "When I turn it, sometimes, it makes me think of the sea."

The young junior listens intently to the words of the woman, her gaze though on the little egg. Her arms still crossed before her as if hugging herself. "Don't give up on it yet.." She says in a whisper and steps out closer to the egg, but does not touch it. "We won't give up on you, but you have to fight little one." She says in a whisper to the creature whether it can sense her or not. She looks up to Ur'con and Circelyn and takes a slow deep breath. "So its not because we did something wrong?"

Ur'con nods, a little…though he admits, "I wish I could say it was something we did…but sometimes, it just happens…" He glances at the young goldrider, then offers her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, "I won't let just anyone take it *between*, lass. If it doesn't have the will to hatch, Darlth'll I will do it ourselves. But let's think positive. Maybe it's just taken Darlth's laid back nature to an absurd extreme. They do tend to take after their parents, a touch."

Circelyn has a sympathetic moue for the junior, nodding along. "We're not giving up on it, just yet. There's still time. It's fairly routine for a candidate or two to come in here and spend time with it, too, so it has the capability of bonding just like the others," she assures the younger woman. "And no, it's very doubtful that you 'did something wrong'. Sometimes, things just happen." For Ur'con, she has a stronger smile, obviously appreciative of the bronzerider's emotional support of the goldrider. "He's right, of course. And we obviously will not randomly destroy it," she assures.

There is at least a little relief, that she didn't cause this. Her first flight, all the issues of her weyrlinghood and now this. She reaches out toward the egg, but drops it before touching it. That she will leave to the candidates and finally she rises to stand nearer the others. The offer from Ur'con gets him a nod from Briana, "Thank you.." And she settles at his side to take that reasurance. "Yes yes, please keep the candidates coming through. I don't want it to feel abandoned."

Ur'con smiles a bit, and notes, "I think it'll be just fine, dear. It's not like the ones I saw at Telgar….they just…sat there. There wasn't any … sensation inside." Some of the Northern Weyrs are often reluctant to take a weak egg down unless it's OBVIOUS it won't hatch…they just 'let nature take its course'. "And just think of it this way, lass…this is an experience. Something you can take and hold onto to learn from. It might be you in a few turns, sitting beside a young goldrider, reassuring her in the same situation."

Circelyn finds herself more nodding along to Ur'con than doing much else, for a great period of time. He seems to be hitting all the salient points, certainly. "Not to mention that you did the right thing by reporting it to us right away rather than dithering about it," Circelyn also interjects. "Even if the egg doesn't make it, you gave it more of a chance here than it would have had on the Sands, certainly."

Briana gives an absent minded nod to Ur'con's words as she looks over to the egg, "I should get back to Sahazyth." She finally says before looking to the Dragonhealer, "Let me know the moment there is any change, for better or worse." She says before she gives the egg one more look then turns back to the main cavern.

Ur'con stands as Briana goes, but settles back down once she is gone. With a slight, even paternalistic smile he notes, "She worries too much, the poor thing. I can't imagine having that much self doubt with something the size of a gold behind me."

"Not to mention the doubtless weight of her personality," Circelyn agrees. "Hers is a headstrong one, isn't she?" The dragonhealer sees far too many dragons to remember much by way of personality, especially the ones which she doesn't see that often. "She's so young, too," Circelyn comments, her dragonhealer facade breaking for a slight frown, shaded with a subtle hint of sadness.

Ur'con nods a bit, "But not so young as she could've been. She's got a strong heart, I think. But she's had a rough go of it; not all of the other Weyrlings were kind, and a couple left for another Weyr. I think she feels that might have been her fault. But when you're that young, you think everything that happens around you is your fault." He chuckles, "It's hard not to think you're the center of the universe at that age, doubly so with a gold dragon on your side."

"Mmmm. I think I heard about that," Circelyn comments regarding the weyrlings, brows creasing. That expression clears soon enough at the bronzerider's latter comment, though, even prompting a little chiming laugh from the girl. "This is so true. I imagine she was around my age when I hit rank two — I thought I knew it all, and that everyone's actions were of course due to *something* that I'd done, or something they wanted me to do." Her eyes roll in self-bemusement. "I can't imagine what it would have been like with a gold." She'd rather not, either, likely; some things are best left for nightmare-fodder. "And you, sir? Ur'con, right? How long have you been with your lifemate?"

Ur'con chuckles at that, "About two turns longer than our young weyrwoman's been alive. Darlth." He's hard to miss, Darlth, if only because he's an unusually PALE shade. More like the color of freshly mixed putty than anything. Creamy, if a bronze could be called 'creamy' at all!

Circelyn snorts, bemusedly, and nods along. "I'm sure that gives you an even further perspective on youth," she states, something of a tease in her voice. "I'm not /too/ older than her myself, I doubt — maybe a handful of turns. Darlth. He's the pale one, isn't he?" *Some* things stick out, even to Circelyn's forgetful brain.
He chuckles and nods, "Yeah, the pale one. That'd be Darlth. I can't say I've ever seen another bronze his color, though that Senior that just retired at Fort…her gold's almost as pale as he was. Galina's gold. I see more near-black dragons than I do pale ones. But he's definately not white."

"There are certainly a majority of dragons with very saturated colors," Circelyn agrees. "There was a rather remarkable brown through here the other day which I swore was more red than brown…" She trails off. "I've often wondered if any of the dragonhealers have done research into colors, to see what variables likely triggered the unusual ones, like you mention." Her tone is a little wistful. Someday, she'll get to do kind of ridiculous research like that, and get paid to do it! For now, though, she's a professional egg turner.

Ur'con chuckles a bit, and notes, "I'd be just as curious to know what causes the eggs to be different colors. I swear, when I was young, the golds were coming out of yellow eggs…but I can think of a half dozen gold hatchings I've been to since where that wasn't the case…and Arolaeth, over at Eastern. This clutch she's got hardening on the sands is almost all black! Two are sort of grey…"

"Traditionally, gold eggs certainly were — well — gold. From what I can understand of my history. But there sure have been differences in shell hues recently…" Circelyn can't very well say that the puppet-masters behind their oh-so-fictional world got bored with regular stuff. Oh the injustice. "Black? That saturated? Almost all of them?" Her voice is curious. "Very interesting. I'll be curious enough to go visit, I imagine, now." And now she has yet another research interest. Drat.

Ur'con nods a bit, "Best go quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if they hatched soon. If anything, they're a bit delayed…but Arolaeth laid them almost a sevenday early as it was."

"Oh, they've been down for a bit, then?" It would probably do Circelyn better to keep up with news past Igen and Xanadu's, respectively, but… it is what it is. "I may just go see them tomorrow, then," she declares. "I hope they look as dramatic as you say," she tacks on, with a half-smile for the rider.

Ur'con grins a bit, "Well, I was there when they were clutched, so I swear on Darlth's own dirt brown shell that they're more black than not. I asked Syra about them, but she says Arolaeth's eggs are often that dark." He notes, with bemusement, "She IS a dragonhealer…I'm sure you could find some reason. I'd take you myself, but I won't get Darlth away from those sands for anything short of Thread." And we all know how likely THAT is!

"Ha!" Circelyn snickers at the joke. "I wouldn't ask you to, sir, though I certainly appreciate the sentiment." She ducks her head appropriately. "I suppose I could go talk to her about it…" Ur'con has now started it: the search is on for the discovery of why eggs are the colors they are. Her thoughtful expression could be scary, if it was about something like 'why human heads stay on so well.

He grins, and then stands, to come and get closer to the incubator…thoughtful, before he asks, "So…how /do/ you image them? Is it like candling a chicken egg?"
"Oh, no," Circelyn replies. "There's a machine — the Healers bring it in. It's something they've cooked up with the computer craft, from what I can understand. We don't rate one full-time, so they bring it down, and it snaps an— image of it, and we can see the border of the skin, the larger veins and arteries, that kind of thing. If we can't discern the larger blood vessels, it's gone, pretty much. Some of the old-time dragonhealers do listening tests, too, to try to hear a heartbeat, but that's far more erratic."

Again, the nod, and then he asks, "If it's not a craft secret…can I see the image?"

"Oh, sure. Come this way — it's available as a computer resource." Pern goes green, and all that, of course. Circelyn winds her way from the back, after checking the egg one last time, moving up to the alcove with the computers. Logging into one, it takes her a few short keystrokes to password into the file on the egg, blandly notated as the third egg of the turn which they have actively studied. A few more keystrokes brings up the image, and she vacates the seat to the bronzerider, gesturing. "Zooming can be done with the up and down keys," she comments, "If there's something you'd like to see a bit more in-depth. The resolution isn't always the greatest, since the imaging is over such a large area."

Ur'con settles down carefully, as if he were pretty sure he was going to break the machine to touch it…but he's curious, maybe even morbidly so. "Oh…oh…is that…what is that?" He points at the screen, "The skull?"

"That is, yes. You can see the spine departing, of course, and this little curlie-que is actually the front paws — they develop late — and see this little cluster, darker but lighter? That's the heart." Circelyn's finger hovers over the screen to point out the parts she comments upon. "The hardest thing to see are the wings. The spars are one of the last things to develop, and the rest of the tissue is so light it hardly registers, regardless of what method you use."
Ur'con considers the image with a sense of distant awe. "It's hard to imagine…I mean. Darlth was huge when he hatched…but…so small compared to how he is now. It's fascinating. Thank you!"

"You are certainly welcome, sir." Circelyn waits for the man to disembark the seat before logging out. "I will be sure to keep you apprised if there is any further change over the night."

Ur'con nods a bit, as he rises, "Please do…I'll either be napping on those bleachers…or nappping on Darlth. I assure you, neither is as good as a comfortable bed." He rubs his neck, ruefully.

"That is quite sad," Circelyn states, in the tone of one who sleeps rather well on a rather fluffy and comfortable bed. "I'm sure if you asked Ocelara, she'd bring you out *something* softer to sleep on," the dragonhealer muses aloud.

Ur'con chuckles a bit, "It's not as bad as the cots from Weyrlinghood, I suppose…so it's not too bad. But I have my bedroll there, so it's better than nothing."

"Oh, true that!" Circelyn nods briefly at Ur'con. "I'll be out to check on you a bit later, but for now, I suppose I should get all my charting caught up." The neverending piles of paperwork… oy.

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