Dragon Candidate Nali
Nali actually hadn't been a dragon candidate that long. Perhaps a few sevendays really. Such a short time that the lackluster chores and lessons had yet to bring her down from her high of finally being a dragon candidate. Perhaps what kept her excitement running though had been the clutch on the sands, not far from hatching. At times she had stolen peeks into the sands, carefully peering around the large ground entrance into the sands to get a look at the clutch and the mother guarding them. She never actually entered the sands though, knowing better, and always keeping her little stolen glances brief so as not to alert the mother or get yelled at for seemingly trying to sneak onto the sands. She just couldn't wait for those eggs to break and hatch into perfect little dragonets.
It was still morning when the call from the Queen mother Paiseantath rang out to the Weyr and candidates, and Nali was among some in the group to quickly inhale the rest of her food. Luckily, she had nearly been done with breakfast, so there was only so much to finish before she abandoned the breakfast table to rush back to the barracks. Already the Candidatemaster was in the commons of the barracks, telling candidates to get their robes and to meet back up at the entrance to the sands, but to not enter until she brought them in herself. Nali almost didn't hear the woman's words as she rushed back to her room.
Skidding into the room, she yanked her candidacy robe from her clothes chest, and stripped out of her normal clothes and yanked on the robe as fast as she could manage, nearly tripping over her slacks and shoes as she threw the robe on. Within minutes all around, she was out of her room, and rushing out of the barracks and to the hatching sands. Already, there was a group of other candidates gathering, and Candidatemaster Bellatrix was waiting for the rest of the candidates to appear. It didn't take long of course, and soon they were given the rundown of how to behave on the sands, before being led out by Bellatrix. She only took them so far though, and after that, the group was expected to find their place on their own to stand before the clutch. Nali excitedly followed the group and found herself a place to stand and watch, making sure none of the older, taller candidates got in her way. She wasn't going to spend her first official hatching staring at someone's back.
It didn't take long, and the eggs began to hatch, making Nali bounce on her feet eagerly. Perhaps the very first dragon would be hers, she thought with excitement. How great would that be? Being a new candidate and Impressing to the first dragon? That didn't happen though, but she wasn't discouraged. Not even after the second, third, or even the tenth dragon. She still had about half the clutch by that point, so she still had plenty of chances, even if there were more candidates left than eggs. Nali was surprisingly optimistic, and didn't start to feel a fall in that optimism until only three eggs were left. Three wasn't very many, and there were still so many candidates left, older candidates, ones that had been here longer.
The next egg hatched, and Impressed to a candidate that wasn't her, and for the first time, she frowned and looked back. Two left. Maybe the next one then, she hoped desperately. The next one didn't hear her hopes though, hatching and Impressing to another as well. The last shell intact had her last hope for this hatching, and like every egg before it, the hatchling broke shell and chose another that was not her. Even Nali couldn't help the pang of disappointment, hoping that she would be special and be one of those candidates that Impressed the first time. It wasn't to be though, and she was soon shuffled off the sands with the others left standing. A few were obviously more disappointed than she was, and one other candidate she was sure had been crying. If she remembered, that candidate had been standing for a long time.
On the way back to the barracks, Nali thought on that. The candidate who had been standing for turns now, who couldn't help but cry as they left the sands. Who was she to be so disappointed that her very first hatching didn't pan out when there were those that were nearing the end of the candidacy that still hadn't Impressed? She realized she was in no position to be so sad over it. She had turns ahead of her, countless hatchings left. It made it easier for her to accept the rejection and just look forward to the next hatching.