Calanth's Clutching, February 18, 2006

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.

Calanth lumbers onto the Sands, burnished hide stretched over her extended belly. A loud, challenging rumble echoes within the hatching arena, as the gold's wings are extending, crouching low to the hot sands.

The gold paces back and forth, back and forth, to and fro across the sands, garnishing what attention she can as she goes. A rumble here and there, and she slowly starts to form a trench in the Sand, neither too wide nor too narrow, but then her attention is diverted, and its back to awkward wandering.

And then, the time has come, and the gold settles down at her first trench, a loud croon, and the golden sun that is Calanth is too close to the Sands, for after a long moment, an egg has fallen to the ground, landing within the trench and having no hope of escaping its fate on the ground.

Falling from the Heavens Egg
Muted blues spread over shell - the ocean enveloping anything that it comes to without hesitation. Land, ship, or man, it makes no difference, the depth of the hue shifting only slightly, betraying its motion. A splash of yellow mimics the sun lifting over the distant horizon, while tan rocks peek cautiously out of the blue, a bit of safety. A single splash of red mars one of the tan lumps, turned upwards like a face looking to the sky.

Calanth hovers protectively over the egg, coppery-gold body held low to the ground as she pushes sand around the blue-hued egg, supporting it, capturing it, and leaving just the tiniest glimpse of red visible above the grains of sand.

A long time the gold crouches over the lone egg, despite its sandy cushion, wings spread wide to prevent anyone from coming close to take this first ovoid from her. Yet, eventually she rumbles, her bulk becoming uncomfortable and the gold is moving across the Sands once more.

Calanth's muzzle is stuck into the sand, creating an initial dwell, though she slowly expands it with her limbs. The removed sands just slide down the forming ridge, ignored as some begin to cling to her body.

Calanth finally settles over her little dwell, ripples crossing her body, and an egg begins to fill the hole, like water in a low basin, a ridged beach surrounding it.

Moonlit Hold Egg
Midnight rules most of this shell, various shades of sapphire and navey blue scatter about the horizon. Yellow dots are seen crowning the horizon, their reflection shining down into the water below. In the distance under the starry night, lights shine brightly suggesting it's not too late at night for people to be asleep. The only two witnesses to the beautiful sight stand on a patch of land, just on the base of the egg, walking hand-in-hand.

As Calanth pauses over the newest egg on the Sands, the starry night seems in stark contrast with her hide, and then the gold is covering it up, piling sand and hiding the dark blue water on the shell from view. Yet, the base is turned upwards, and two tiny observers remain ever presence, escaping sandy cover.

With two eggs on the Sands, Calanth doesn't know which to be immediately possessive over. And so, she's headed back and forth between the two, wings spread as she tries to be near to both, rumbling almost sadly and swinging her head back and forth. Protective mother hen, it seems.

Calanth stomps around unhappily, looking discomfortable. She takes this instant, when all seems quiet, to stomp over to the entrance and peer out into the Weyr proper. From her posture, she looks over the ground first, then the sky, then snorts, and stomps back in, touching the two Eggs she's already laid gently with her muzzle. Casiella is still nowhere to be seen.

Need seems to have overcome her protective instinct, and so the gold finally leaves the already present eggs to begin making another trench. Yet, she doesn't go far, and her work is consistently interrupted by cautious looks around her. No one is sneaking up while she's occupied, are they?

Though the trench is finished, it's a long moment before Calanth resettles herself over it. And then a soft croon, and an egg is within the trench, rolling to a slow stop, the entire occurrence delicate in nature, like one putting a careful flower arrangement into a large vase.

Painted by the Sun Egg
Ivory beige gently covers the oblong shape of this egg; it appears taller than it is wide as if stretched out. Spots of canary yellow, like the sun has kissed color into a small spot on the egg, surround dark mahogany spots, creating contrast in the shades. The gentle strokes of a fine artist have shaped long lines running down from the yellow spots, the streaks showing a dead olive sheen. Apricot orange brightly circles the bottom of the shell, and ends the odd masterpiece.

Casiella flies in just as Calanth is laying her third egg, and squeeks. She glances around, noting those in the Observatory level and smoothing her clothes down. Her dark hair is sleek and black, piled in a bundle on top of her head, and though she wears loosely smooth silk pants in a deep blue and a light tank top, she looks more like she just rolled out of bed then dressed for a Clutching. She spots the two eggs, buried up to their tops in Sands, then hurries over to her gold, still panting a bit from the strain of laying. "Three laid already!" She scolds her gold. "Why didn't you tell me?" There must be some strained response from the gold, and Casi grins a bit, patting whatever bit of gold hide she can reach as she tries to bestow some comfort on the dragon, and scolding by turns. "Oh, come, now, quit your silly fluttering. Even if, by chance, one of the other golds *does* fly today, yours will be long Hatched and paired before that gold graces the sands with herself!"

Calanth hovers there for a long time, turning to inspect the egg curiously. A gentle nudge with her muzzle shifts it enough for her liking, and then the careful motion disappears and sand is quickly piled on top of it, hiding the flowers away from view.

Now, with three eggs on the Sands, all hope of personal protection has left the Sands, and the gold merely settles her still lumpy form amongst them, an occasional rumble interspersed with her soft croons, form constantly turned to look this way and that.

Casiella tucks herself against her gold's frame, the bronze'd coppery muzzle in her hands, resting against her chest. Calanth rumbles something to her rider, and Casiella pats her muzzle affectionately, yawning hugely. "I'll go see the Healers in a while, m'dear. Right now is your time. And I don't feel very sick… Anymore." She does look just a touch green around the gills. "Yes, yes, I'm helping you watch them. But who would steal one of your eggs?" There's no answer to that, and Casi just shakes her head, smiling a little.

Calanth flutters restlessly, but she continues to wait, staring out of the Hatching Grounds at some distant object.

Calanth though, seems to know that her rest cannot go on forever, and so the gold starts moving, picking a spot quite apart from the other eggs, a careful double trench dug in the sands. The gold continues digging, even as she rumbles deeply, some sand falling back into the deep trench with each motion.

The trench is now like a floral garden, as Calanth crouches, body shifting and an indignant croon escaping her before an egg is planted amongst the sand, like a bulb in sandy soil. Even without help, the sand starts drifting back towards the egg now it its midst.

Floral Spread of Ebony Egg
This small egg is could even be called delicate in appearance, dwarfed by many of its clutchmates, as it sits cushioned on the sands. The ends are a mixture of greens - forest and sea, lime and jungle - touched by light and shadow. Areas of pink fill in the center area, even and smooth, an odd contrast to the green. Yet, black and white spring upwards on one side, from green to green, spreading outward like wide petals - white slipping down the center of each form, joining in a narrow stem.

A snort, and Calanth moves away from the newest egg, quickly piling sand on top of it without hesitation, hiding away the greens and blacks, leaving no spot visible through the red and white Sands. A bulb will not flourish if it remains uncovered.

Casiella retreats as her gold lays yet another egg, watching will silly maternal pride etched all over her face. She glances over her shoulder, then out towards the door, looking for someone else. Then she cranes her head up, and spots Niva in the Galleries. She scowls only lightly, managing to hide it well, but she crosses her hands over her chest and retreats farther, to a wall she can lean on. Harumph.

Calanth retreats from the newest egg as well, starting to stomp around again. She stomps over to her rider, pushing her muzzle imperiously into Casi's chest, then giving a bugle. Casi bats at the golden muzzle, still scowling. "Of course I'm not happy." She says to her queen. "These sands hold rather unpleasant memories, if you'll do that dig thing you like to do to support your own points."

Calanth looks rather worn, and the gold settles down amongst her eggs on the Sands, wings drooping and hiding her body from view. Is this all?
While Calanth might wish it was all, it seems to be otherwise, and the gold trudges back towards the second of the double trenches, examining it like one might examine the light through a stained-glass window, before finally settling down over it cautiously.

San Giorgio Maggiore at Twilight Egg
An egg of average size, and appropriately ovoidal is a lively bit of color against the Xanadu sands. Brilliant, fiery oranges dapple across a backdrop of sinister indigo. It's as if a great celestial fire has broken out behind a trembling, craggy skyline of black, to seep across the equator of this egg. This warm outbreak of color furthers itself by blending apex-wards into a muted yellow, and finally, a fringe of forest to separate the darkness from the light. On the reverse a shadowed, half-hearted attempt at a mirror image is vaguely distorted, as if riding the crests of sedately choppy, murky waters.

Even Calanth seems rather surprised at the appearance of the egg in the trench, like it was a miracle that put it there. The gold swivels to regard it with a large, faceted eye, and then with unexpected reverence begins nudging sand over and around the choppy, fire-hued tones, though its hardly able to obscure them with the thing dusting of sand over the top.

Calanth takes a long pause, rumbling at anyone close enough to hear. Yet, the increase in eggs has done nothing to counteract her protectiveness, and while her body prepares itself for the next attack from within, she crouches low to the ground, watching.

Calanth, without being truly distracted from her eggs, begins digging another trench, giving it a spot of its own amongst the rest of the clutch, pushing the pink sand out of the way.

With five eggs on the sands, Calanth seems already diminished in size, though her stature is becoming more imposing with each egg she produces. Her sixth shot is no different; delicate, protective croons are emitted for the benefit of all, and she curls around her newest trench. Time stands still. Then a flash of color, and there is a sixth egg on the sands, appearing like an unexpected proposal.

A Courting on the Water Egg
At first glance, the most obvious feature of this egg is the distinct difference of color between the top and bottom. From the bottom grows the colors of spring: green, orange and yellow blooming in hundreds of miniature circles. At the center of the vibrant garden of color is wash of brown, two seemingly out of place streaks, one of white and one of black, blemishing the otherwise untainted field. The kaleidoscopic arrangement of colors flows upward, losing all hues but those of blue and green. Waves of ultramarine drift horizontally across the face of the egg interrupted only by small triangular specks. Near the head of the egg, clouds of grey and white smudge the cobalt perfection, the color deep and steady otherwise.

This sixth egg is rather colorful, and Calanth props it up, then pads sand all around so as to best show it off. She croons happily and settles down to rest for a short time. As she rests, she makes a head count of the eggs so far and burbles proudly at whoever might be watching or listening.

A long rest, and Calanth's already slimmer form starts moving again, amongst the eggs, nosing at them now and then, rearranging them just so slightly, adding or moving sand.

Under Casiella's closely watchful gaze, Calanth is much more careful with these eggs then with clutches past. Anyone sitting just above where Casiella leans against the wall will hear her. "*All* of these eggs *must* hatch, Calanth. Consider your first time a learning experiance. If you so much as nudge one of those eggs…" How do you threaten a dragon a thousand times your size? "I'll be very, very upset." The gold creels grumpy acknowledgement, still stalking among her eggs and twitching them, here or there.

A new hole! The gold carefully works, parting red and white sand with her talons, pushing it constantly against the chaotic tide seeking to return to its starting place, until eventually a hole has been formed.

Calanth doesn't wait too long after the completion of this newest dip to settle over it, crouching, crooning loudly as the sand shifts beneath her. But, all is worth it, for after a long moment, blues and browns grace the Sands, and the spot is no longer a dip, but rather a hill.

Graces of Three Egg
The background of this egg is dull - distinct blues and browns paint a very subtle distinction between ground and sky, blending into each other discreetly so that it may take a moment to pinpoint precisely where one ends and the other begins. Painted boldly vertical up and down the egg are three women in a line, each pretty in their own way, though the image is a little fuzzy in places. Still, it is easy to tell that two of the women, the ones on either end, face outwards, while the one in the middle is facing backwards, though she looks off to the right, and a profile of her face is visible. Each holds a dark orb in her hand - the two on the ends hold theirs outward, while the one in the center holds hers to the right. On the two women to the right, one can just distinguish necklaces about their necks, but none of the three women wears much else.

Calanth shifts out of the way, eyeing the graceful, yet bold, egg for a moment, and then she starts to nudge sand over it, changing the scene, and hiding away her creation, keeping it from harm.

In covering the sixth egg, a nearby trough is made, and it is over this that Calanth pauses, a chaotic break in her slow routine, and then an egg is deposited next to the last.

The Colors of Chaos Egg
Lilacs are in full bloom, a bright scene has made this egg very easy to spot. Red crowns the top, moving down and mixing with vivid chartreuse that puts other shades of green to shame. Dusty brown tracks move horizontally up the structure, as cerulean curls around the shell, meandering through the other colors, and twisting around the bottom like a river meeting the sea.

Slowly the gold moves away, piling more sand on top of the close pair, hiding the rest of the colors away beneath the pink-hued sand.

Calanth is looking more and more exhausted with each passing moment, and the gold doesn't take long before settling on an empty track of sand, slowly starting to push sand away, making a shallow trench.

Calanth strains, talons tearing through the sand, leaving only slight dents in the surface as more slides in to fill the wounds. Clearly tiring, she still can't escape the inexorable call of her body. A soft grunt, and another strain, and she suddenly leaps forward, looking resentfully at the rather monochromatic egg left behind.

A Maze of Stairs Egg
Stairs and steps and treads abound, going will-they, nil-they every direction but up. Despite the senseless conglomeration of stairways, however, there's an easily discernable pattern within the maze, an illusion of order amidst the chaos. Fortunately, the retread is all there is to see, for this egg is monochromatic to an extreme. Light and shadows may abound, but color is leeched until there's nothing but a million shades of black, white, and the ever present gray.

Turning around slowly, she gives a snuffling sigh and begins to bury it in sand, clearly not thrilled with her newest creation. Her expression softens as sand layers over the black and white egg, until only the apex remains to earn a look of mingled amusement and exasperation - a harbinger, perhaps, of things to come.

Calanth's movement is far slower to resume this time, as the gold remains in her spot, watching over the 9 bulges on the Sands with now somewhat detached interest, crooning now and then, though its quite muted.

Perhaps she could be more obvious that the time for eggs has not yet drawn to a total close, but the now not egg-heavy Calanth merely glances at the other eggs, then finally, she carefully prepares one more egg-resting place. This time, however, Calanth moves lugubriously, taking her own sweet time for this spot as she croons delicately at various eggs, and now and then at the spot. She settles over the spot, and after an eternity, there is a mottled egg on the sands.

Turbulent Swirls Egg
Makeup for this rather rotund egg is a mottled mixture of blue and yellow. A base coat of darkest midnight blue is splashed with furls of flaming yellow and white. The top of the egg is covered with one of the tumultuous circles of yellow, gold, and white. Towards the bottom of the egg, there are less yellow tones and more blue, with a touch of red here and there. Amid the swirls is a seaweed-shaped protrusion in black, tapering from a width of nearly half the egg at the bottom into just one thread of black at the egg's apex. Behind the black rages a storm of hazy swirls, spinning across the egg's surface as if painted on and simply blurred together into a mishmash of turbulence.

Calanth croons, this time still as delicate, but intermingled with much relief and exhaustion. Sand is padded around the egg's base, propping it safely up so that, though on the edge, it will still have even distribution of heat as the middlest of eggs. Then she turns around the Sands once, looking over all the eggs, and settles down to rest without further ado.

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