Your Eyes Are The Size of the Moon (Fifth Touching)

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.

EYYYY! Some draggos totes-ma-gotes were like, « COME TOUCH MY EGGS AGAIN. » And there were even some really cool AWLM'S that dragged people there. Risali is there too, sitting on one of Leirith's forepaws while the queen watches giddy with excitement as people file in. And it's the usual list of rules, the ones that everybody knows because yes, yes, yes: bow, be gentle, mind your hands, get out when you're told. But they AWLM goes over it again anyway, because there are a lot of people and HOW DO THEY KNOW WHO HAS TOUCHED THOSE EGGS YET? THEY DON'T. But once the boring part is over, the fun can begin! GO FORTH, CANDIBEEBS! TOUCH EXACTLY ALL THE EGGS!

As if there's anything particularly boring about this! The process is just to build… anticipation, yes. Plus Cielo has to make little smiles at Leirith and Risali and bite back all that bit of gossip and excitement. All those little thoughts he has to take to the background, even asking after his New Friend in the infirmary. Feet meet sand. The young fellow scans the eggs in the sand and takes a deep, slow breath. Cielo kneels in front of the Nothing to See Here egg and considers it for a while. "Well.. hello there." He murmurs before reaching out to touch the egg.

< Cielo touches egg 1 - Nothing To See Here Egg >
< Kaellian touches egg 5 - Too Late for Goodbyes Egg >

Kaellian hangs back as the others moves onto the sands, standing just on the brink of the domed room. Just on the cusp of one slant of light filtering through a window, and just outside of the electricity-born illumination of the rest of the place. It isn't hesitation in so much as fear, for the man has nothing of the sort on his rugged expression. He shrugs out of his longcoat, hanging it across the back of one of the many blue-washed seats that ring the sands, just to the side of the entrance way. In easy sight, of course. His bow is on cue, following in the wake of the last few bodies, though his hands are busied emptying his right of rings once again, rather than adding to the flourish so appropriate of him. There is no specific direction that calls him this time, but rather one that he avoids. A side-glance strays to the queen and weyrwoman, then to the shells that he's here for. Curiously, there's no humor in the chill of his eyes, nothing that is so condescending as is more.. normal of his facade. He need not struggle to remember the last egg he Touched, for the Too Late for Goodbyes Egg had him reaching for something, and for one such as he- he cannot let a question, an adventure of untold (perhaps nightmarish) reward pass without pursuit. Bare hand touches shell, palm flat against smooth surface.

And Cielo pauses a moment, head slightly tilted as he ponders. Almost in silent conversation with the sort-of-voice playing in his head. He is very quiet, very still, a faint murmur on his lips that might be 'why those…?' And leans over the egg just a little more. Let him know you. Or at least, go ahead and feel him out…

Somehow, Nessalyn got shuffled into this group, and those AWLMs were pretty firm on the fact that no one was getting out alive. Or at least, no one was getting out of going on the sands once their group was rounded up. Which lead to this moment, with the techcrafter stuck on the sands, ultra-reluctant. After appropriate greets are offered she hesitates, straying a few steps toward Risali as though intending to go keep the Weyrwoman company… but she's pretty sure Risa will just send her back out toward the eggs again. RUDE AF, RISALI. So rather than risk that and earn extra scrutiny in the process, Nessalyn instead decides to join her fellow candidates amongst the eggs, pretending to touch them. That's totally plausible, right? NO ONE WILL NOTICE. Only she goes to step out of someone's way, and her hand accidentally lands on the shell of Embrace the Memories Egg. Well, shoot.

< Nessalyn touches egg 4 - Embrace the Memories Egg >

Muscles in his neck are taught, the first sign of his jaw clenched. "Why do you show me this-" Kaellian's voice is nigh inaudible beyond the air between himself and this egg. Seablue eyes stare at the shell, stare hard as if making out every detail of every nook and cranny that makes up the surface of it. But he isn't look at that, no. The time passes as if it doesn't matter to him. As if it belongs to him, not this. Not the dragon within that he just can't quite- He is as averse to all of this as drawn to it, much like all of the vices that just-barely keep him alive. An odd, harsh breath is taken as if he wasn't going to be able to come up for air, or if something knocked the wind from him. A faint shake of his head comes next, and his hand stays in place on the Too Late for Goodbyes Egg. Just a bit more. He has to know, afterall.

A healer's first instinct is to be there for someone even ifand especially ifthings are hard, or unsightly. It's duty, it's love, it's… ego, to a degree, that these touchings seem to knock out of Cielo's head no matter how confident he feels to approach it. Cielo gets goose pimples and looks up for a moment, behind himself, shaking his head vigorously. Back again with another breath. What do the lovely souls in these eggs see…? He strains like he's just trying to think. He stops, focuses on the light in the windows, lifts his hand for a moment. Then, s-lo-w-ly, back down to see… feel again. For better or worse.

< Kaellian leaves egg 5 - Too Late for Goodbyes Egg >
< Kaellian touches egg 3 - Umbral Egg >

A shudder takes hold of the man's shoulders, subtle. Tiny. But not invisible. Kaellian takes a step forwards towards the shell, walking after something. Stopping only because the physicality of the egg stops him. He doesn't run into it with any force, of course. He's already right there. But whatever he 'sees' and the feeling of not being able to go forward brings him to a halt. There are so many he could ignore, but there are few…. a few he cannot. There's a sea of something that he looks over, and it isn't on the sands. Then, he swallows, forcibly relaxing the expression of deep, furrowed lines that had taken him. The temper that appears to have arrested the schooled temperment he thought he could keep. The man of the sea lets his hand fall away, slipping off the shell like dragging fingers down a fogged window. Maybe hoping to clear a square enough to see, but with no effort behind it. And no success. He strokes his fingers through his hair, letting the strands fall where they may- into that always scoundrel'd fashion that only adds to his smolder, obviously. It's an action that lasts the few strides it takes to pass by a couple of candidates, and stop before the Umbral egg. Only fingertips touch this time, maybe not entirely commited.

While some have found comfort or catharsis when it comes to this shell, Nessalyn finds none of that. She snaps her hand back as though bitten, her experience underwritten by a dearth of voices rather than an excess. Friends? Family? There has been no excess of either in her life, and those repeated words are more like the haunting tones of a nightmare than a reassuring promise, and the touch of those insistent hands is a torture she wants nothing more than to escape. She outright laughs, bitter and sharp with disbelief, because none of it rings true. It's a sugar-coated lie. And while those phantom hands upon her skin may cause her to roll her shoulders in discomfort and try to shake it off, the false sincerity of that egg bolsters her confidence, and her hand remains upon the shell.

Cielo goes rigid. This egg puts him halfway through the clutch and not yet has he looked as pale and palid as this, his fingers curling and were it not for reflexive gentleness would there be a grip there. He pushes back, stares at the ceiling with wide eyes and small pupils. He tries out as if in anguish and raises his arms, sleeves falls, he rubs vigorously at the back of his arms, the front, like he's trying to scrub off something un-seen and then he stumbles backwards. "There was nothing I could do… there wasn't… I didn't…" He says, and down he goes. Back, into the vacant sand with a noisy *Paff* and a wave. If he could burrow, he would, tears almost silentrepressed chokes and gasps as he looks awayanything but that one.

< Cielo leaves egg 1 - Nothing To See Here Egg >
< Nessalyn leaves egg 4 - Embrace the Memories Egg >

Black-wrapped hand lifts to press against his cheek, wiping away something- a feeling? a breath? a touch? Kaellian's temper simmers and calms, whatever flush may have started against the dark getting-a-bit-too-long scruff of his face better explained by the heat of the sands than whatever had come and gone. "You underestimate." Never a whisper. Only mouthed words with bits of accent to stoke them into being between him and it, them, they. Whatever lies beneath, within, behind. He's good at walls, and walls there are. Built sturdy of turns past. Prepared for more than just dredging of old feelings, they are those ones prepared for war. Instead of receeding, the tides rise. Kaellian presses the rest of that bare hand to the Umbral egg's shell, letting fingers splay at that rest.

If anyone is on the lookout for effective Nessalyn Repellant, this egg has somehow found it. It's not fear or emotional turmoil which pushes the woman away, but rather that eager neediness. You don't want her to leave? NOW SHE WANTS TO LEAVE EVEN MORE. The longer her hand rests upon that shell, the more her features twist into something ugly and unkind. As soon as she can, she breaks away, eyeing the shell like it's some sort of troublesome child which continues to cling to her legs. She turns her back upon it, moving to meld back into the group and to continue the charade of 'touching' the eggs. This time, she's going to be careful not to accidentally touch any of those shells.

OHP! Candidate down! Maybe? Risali isn't sure, but it looks like it. Risali is moving, pushing away from Leirith and limping along as fast as she can, meeting Assistant Weyrlingmasters halfway to Cielo without stopping. "Faranth." WRONG QUEEN, or so says that booming laughter from Leirith that we're all just going to ignore. Risali's kneeling down to trap one of Cielo's hands between her own, anxiety knitting her brow as she asks, "Are you okay?" with mounting trepidation. She isn't trained like D'lei, she isn't a healer, she isn't any of those things. So she //tries to sound calm, honest, but there's sympathy and a hint of panic in her tone. Because this could just be a moment or he could need a healer. "Can you stand?" She's definitely going to be HAVING CONVERSATIONS with her counterpart about having a healer at the ready for this clutch.

And then a concerned AWLM butt maybe accidentally nudged Ness into an egg on their way to Cielo.

As if grabbed, Kaellian jerks his head back, though only a few degrees. He wouldn't have done it at all, but it was reflexive, repulsed. "Then face it." He growls, ungiving, unrelenting, unkind. This man doesn't boast empathy, doesn't have it to give out like a handful of posies to tuck in pockets and chase away the malodor of death. What keeps him here is that lasting need/ of knowing //what it is. There's a huff of a breath, something in the makings of laughter, and he closes his eyes, focused. His left hand, still wrapped in black with multiple fingers bound in plain and jeweled bands joins beside his other hand as flat as it may against the shell. In semblance of a threat to push whatever is in that Umbral egg towards somewhere. Something.

Cielo curls up a bit more. No, no, don't make him get up and do not look at him. That is a horrible thing. Rationally he can piece together these eggs, these minds, but… these eggs seem to have a way of reaching right around that part of him that can keep sense of everything and to that Other part. When he looks up at Risali again there is color in his face mostly from an intense flush. A familiar voice and presence brings him in again. "Yes," he says softly. "Thank you." Then he cleans his face with the back of his sleeve, so sanitary, and sits up. No, even sitting seems improprietary. He stands, but he doesn't look like he's going to have a fainting spell. "… I am fine now." There are times when he WASN'T. And he's trying not to linger on that, nope. "… is it possible to misbehave before you're 'born'?"

< Nessalyn touches egg 1 - Nothing To See Here Egg >

Look at Risali, awkwardly trying to human, hovering over Cielo as if waiting for the healer to collapse right back over into the sands. So she holds tight to him as he stands up, not trusting he will stay upright as he thanks her and she whispers, "You're welcome." But then hands are shifting about on her body and she's reaching into a pocket to produce a handkerchief. She dabs at his face with the fabric, gentle, and then extends it to him just in case. "I…" a beat, a huff of laughter. "I've had my own children knock the wind out of me, or keep me awake because they wanted to move, or…" A quiet smile. She knows it's not what he's looking for, but humor is how Risali handles most things. "… bounce on my bladder in the middle of an important meeting. So… Yeah. I'd say it's possible." And then, a little more somber. "Maybe you should rest."

Cielo is astoundingly good at staying up, though that may have had something to do with Meion calling dibs on being the Weyr's fainting goat and he doing his utmost to honor that. He accepts the handkerchief and tries not to hide in it so much as keep himself clean until the water stops and then listens. And flushes. He's got the look of someone ~just~ young enough to think of his own mother fresh in raising him and to consider parenthood from a whole new perspective. "Ahaha… yeah. They do. I think you're right…" He looks back at THAT EGG for a moment and rubs at his cheek self-consciously. "Maybe. I'd like to stay a bit longer though." Just no more eggs for tonight. No more filling the infirmary with poor candidates.

Kaellian sighs- a long, taxed exhale. That tolerance he grants to a few, when he allows but doesn't really accept the familiarity of touching. Not backing away, not repulsed, not speaking whatever words sit on the tip of his tongue to discourage the energy, the mind, the entity that again dips into him for its sake. Annoyance seems to be born of this, a barely-composed intolerance that doesn't bother to grasp at the same gift of feigned-patience he has otherwise kept carefully in place in the eyes of his mask. Then, he can move again, can look again, can progress. Letting his left fall away from the egg's shell, and his right palm still flush against the Umbral's surface, he turns to look beyond his shoulder with a distanced gaze that sees nothing on the sands themselves.

< Kaellian leaves egg 3 - Umbral Egg >
< Kaellian touches egg 2 - The Other Side of the Mirror Egg >

Maybe Risali sees that determination to stay just a little longer and… who is she to deny him? So Risali smiles instead, and breathes out, "Then stay." Because of course he can - at least until Leirith or Garouth decide otherwise. But for now, Risali is giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze with her hand and hooking a thumb back towards Leirith. "I'll be over there, if you need me." And off she goes, back to sit on her gold and watch.

Aaand bump goes Nessalyn, right into Nothing to See Here Egg. She and that AWLM may have some words later, but for now, she's swept away by the visions presented by its occupant. This egg won't be lacking for choice, as foolhardy bravery has always been prevalent in Nessalyn's personality, even recently. Remember trying to sneak up on Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf in the woods? Yeah, that wasn't super smart. Baby Nessalyn was even more foolish. But she's bolstered by whatever she finds within that shell, her lips turning up in the faintest of smiles. No need to leave this shell, accidental though the touch may be.

Kaellian removes his hand from the egg as he returns his gaze forwards. At that shell. At whatever he found. No surprise embraces his features, no satisfaction, no salvation. No. Just a faint scowl as kohl-rimmed eyes blink, and then again as his mind returns to the here and now, followed by a roll of his eyes, and another exhale. He'd taken away his touch almost as quickly as the sensations faded, giving nothing more, nothing longer than what it gave him. Certain ones have become familiar now, as he's moved between almost all of them. Attention strays to Nessalyn and the egg she's bumped up against, while idle motions draw right thumb to rub over left's palm. Massaging against the cloth in the few steps he takes towards The Other Side of the Mirror Egg. He doesn't waste time, now, pressing his hand against its side where half meets half.

Nessalyn laughs. Not because some particularly charming memory has floated to the forefront of her mind, or because she laughs in the face of danger (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), but because she knows this trick. She knows how to distract and misdirect when she wants something to go unseen. She knows how people blind themselves to danger just for the sake of a momentary sense of peace. Not for a moment does it fool her. Surely, something awful is waiting just around the corner, but she doesn't draw away. She's prepared. BRING IT ON, EGG. Do. Your. Worst.

Cielo watches a while longer, and while he might have some noble intention it's raw insatiable curiosity. Curiosity and fondness, which shakes a little much-needed warmth into his presence. Oh, that's going to get him in trouble someday, get him chased out but right now it feels like genuine urge and not that addled testing of limits people of… all ages get up to. There will be less ceremonial time later for him to clandestinely feel out his betters and companions but he knows when it is time to rest and he knows that the remaining candidates are in THE BEST most capable and experienced hands so there's only a little gesture before he wanders out and off for the night.

What does his free hand reach for at his hip? A cloth? No, not that. That grab that comes up empty is for the handle of his cutlass that isn't there. Delayed does he remember where and what he's doing, and Kaellian forces that hand back to his side, despite the uneasiness that had spurred on the need for that which cuts and hacks and takes away those who do things he doesn't allow. Abruptly, he is more or less pushed back, and the shadows of his face deepen where the lines create themselves in furrows and ridges of frustration, annoyance of being shoved out. That hand replaces itself on that borderline, seeking out what the break of connection- that ever so short period of time it was- may have cost him.

Maybe it's because previous personalities have searched him for similar things, or maybe he's just becoming better at not seeing them. Kaellian looks, but he doesn't see. Chooses not to. Refuses. Faintly does his head turn as if viewing different things at different angles, though the rest of him stays still. Too still. He's not holding his breath, not this time. Fear, pain, happiness, sorrow does not trickle across him, not this time. "No, wait." His gravel-touched voice is louder this time, not as low and controlled when he's back on the sands, as if he has to call to it, whatever it is. This thing inside this shell which couldn't possibly be a dragon. None of these could be… can they? His fingers curl on that shell, like he's grabbing something, or forcing it to come back to him for whatever lies at the X at the end of the dotted line.

Nessalyn thought she was prepared. She was certain that she was prepared. And yet, foolhardy woman that she is, she forgot about the terrors that lurk so recently in her memories. She forgot the things that wake her up every night, silently screaming with the promise of death lurking only a few steps behind her. A full-body shudder grips her as terror rips through her body, draining the blood from her face and leaving her shaken. She doesn't cry - is she even capable of crying? - but she does stand there trembling for a moment, her hand curled in rigor just inches above that shell. Then, suddenly, she whirls about with a bellow of, "RISALI!" Hell hath no fury like a terrified Nessalyn. Her limp seems more exaggerated as she storms her way over to the Weyrwoman. "I AM NOT GOING TO-… THIS-" An incoherent sound of frustration leaves her when words refuse to come, until she finally blurts, "I'M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN." A finger is jabbed toward Risali's chest, and then off goes Nessalyn, swearing about goldriders and stupid dragons with every step she takes.

Her name comes and Risali jerks her attention towards Nessalyn. There's surprise there, a hint of confusion on her brows and then - a set to her mouth, a set to her eyes as Leirith stirs behind her rider and the orange of agitation starts to dot her eyes. The goldrider watches the techcrafter leave, and then she clears her throat. "Time to go!" She's calm, at least, and the Assistant Weyrlingmasters move to heed what the Dam is saying - even if there's still a whole lot of blue dominating those eyes. BUT FOR NOW. GET OUT! Risa will FIND YOU LATER NESS. And YOU TOO, KAELLIAN.

"Enough." That accent growls, and he's trying to pull away before it's even over. Before he sees what he demanded to see in the first place. Be careful what you wish for, Dearie. He commands as if this is still his ship, these are still his crew, these are the things and people and places which he has reigned over for now too-long. But it isn't and they aren't, and he's pushing away from that shell with three or so strides backwards. Only the shouting, yelling from Nessalyn turns his seablue gaze away from shells that have proven to do nothing but toy with the strings he refuses to acknowledge are there- all made wounded, and open, and bleeding from the very first shell he touched. That one. The one that made Nessalyn storm off. As if he already didn't have a spiral that needs plentiful rum to control. Rum that awaits him in his pocket. Waits for him to get off this bloody sands and drown himself in it. He only studies her fury for a moment, only glances at Risali briefly in a question that doesn't have words to it. It's without fanfare that he leaves the sands, clenching that left hand to keep at bay what will take him awhile to get drunk enough to forget.

Well, Kaellian's question gets an answer, at least: Risali meets his eyes with her own, and cuts her chin down and to the left. Leave it. But her attention is back to the task at hand: getting everybody off the sands.

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