- ~ Niomi, mentions Varric ~
When she'd heard what their lesson for the day was going to be, the southerner had fallen quiet and pensive as they all shuffled about, moving toward the entrance of the Hatching Sands. Only two days ago, she'd stepped onto those Sands for the first time, and it was a feeling that hadn't entirely sat the easiest inside her. The swells of emotions had been impossible to block out, from her fellow candidates or the spectators, and she felt the overwhelming tide as surely as they had all been her own. The whole cavern had been practically vibrating around her with the dragons' hums and the jubilation that exuded from everyone watching, there was no hiding it and she'd even begun to feel rather faint toward the end of the event, flooded with all these feelings.
Daelt had felt excitement, the thrill of such possibilities within those shells and she'd even dared to dream that one of those would be for her. There was a competitive streak in the cavern, and she could almost hear the whispers in her heart of which egg would hatch next, and what color it would be as everyone else made their bets. She felt the reel of ooh's and aah's with the crowd as each Hatchling broke free, and the soaring hopes of those who had freshly bonded. None of it could be held back, and there was nothing for her to hold onto in this sea of emotions, only ending when she had felt the dread and crushing disappointment when the last egg had hatched and bonded. It all came crashing down on her, and her knees even felt weak as she'd made her way out of the cavern to seek some place quiet, dark and alone to find herself again.
As they approached the Sands once more, Daela knew it would be different, that there weren't nearly that many people in there and it was just the candidates and a few others, nothing she couldn't handle. Somehow, that daunting feeling invaded her though and she seemed so small and insignificant as they stopped outside the cavern to wait for the pewterrider to return and lead them in. Even as she glanced about at the other candidates, many of them around her own age, she didn't feel as though she was a part of them, and how could she? The southerner hadn't been in the barracks long, and while she was always polite with the others, she hadn't made a point to befriend any of them. Except one. A young man she couldn't help but steal glances at, only to look away when their gazes met and she could practically feel him radiating this...light. Daela still wasn't entirely sure what to make of him, as their introduction had been a bit unorthodox and had left her curious, his handsome visage lingering just behind closed eyes.
When he turned to look toward her, her gaze shifted away under the guise of the returning assistant candidatemaster, but she could feel the prickles against her skin of his eyes on her, the little thrill that went through her every time. As K'rios made their introduction to the Queen and Leaders, Daela allowed herself the opportunity to slip on that Mask of Manners and stepped into the role of Heir once more. She wasn't a bashful candidate, she wasn't a whimsical dancer, she was to be a regent and she knew how to act the part and play the game of diplomacy. The young woman tried not to wince as she picked up the plate of raw meat, and took a deep calming breath that always helped her to quiet her gift as well, and strode onto the Sands toward the dark and dappled Gold. She couldn't help but think to herself though, What did one say to a dragon?
The southerner said softly as she curtsied before the dark queen and then crouched in her skirt to set down the offering and took a few steps back with another curtsy. "Many blessings upon you and your kin. May the Goddess shine brightly upon us on their Hatching day."
The young woman added with a soft smile, and her gaze shifted for a moment to regard the mighty bronze beside the queen and gave the sire his own curtsy and acknowledgement. Moving away, she strode with a feigned confidence further onto the Sands, her gaze moving to the empty stands as her mind's eye filled them with the crowds of yesterday. She could almost feel it rising within her again, the memory of the flood and for a moment, her step faltered and she had to pause for a moment, long enough to take a steadying breath and wipe the scene from her mind.
The candidate moved to take up a rake as many of the others did and made her way toward a spot on the Sands that didn't seem to be too occupied. There was one other girl tending to the sands here, a quiet one who didn't seem to mind the chore and just went about her business raking the shards of shell. Daela slipped in place around her and rather enjoyed the quiet little solitude they had to themselves for a while, the solace of a peaceful soul that quieted the gift inside her. Whenever she looked up, there was a soft smile for the other candidate, but she didn't press for anything more. It was a relief to just...be
for the moment and Daela allowed herself the chance to let that mask slip just a little as she began to hum softly while she worked.
The dark and dappled beauty lay just inside the Hatching Grounds, formidable presence as she was with such a rotund belly, and she made sure to choose just the right place to watch over each and every one of them. Soquilith had been thrilled to be invited to watch the candidates clean her
Sands, to wipe away the remnants of another queen's brood and make the whole cavern pristine for her eggs, her children and the queen basked in the glory of it all. As the candidates stepped forward to make their offerings, her faceted gaze seemed to inspect each of them, though words of praise were greeted with a soft warble and bows were offered a nod of her own head. Just as they performed the ceremony, so too did she, though the flicker of her tail spoke of the impatience and scrutiny of the expectant and brooding mother.
This underlying tension seemed to spark to life for just a moment when two candidates fell into a heap of limbs before her and scattered the offerings. Her tail thudded against the sands once, twice, as if to get their attention as the dark head loomed over them and the flutter of dark wings made her appear even larger and more foreboding. Whirling facets tinged with yellow as she regarded the pair, watching, waiting for them to get back to their feet and do it properly this time, a snort of indignation given when they took a fraction of a second too long to stand upright once more. Such foolery would not be tolerated on her
sands, at any time, during cleaning or Hatching, and now they could almost guarantee they'll be watched closely by the mother queen while they worked.
As the few candidates approached the Stands and delivered their trays to the Weyrleaders, Safryn had nothing but smiles and thanks for them as well. She was flattered by their sentiments, their thanks in allowing them to transfer or stand, and their stories about family and it brightened her spirits to hear them, and she replied to each how touched she was by their words. The redheaded woman even shared a little chuckle at the overprotective healer, assuring her they'll drink plenty of water. To the young man who vowed to work hard, she gave the candidate an appreciative nod and her blessing, taking the moment as he walked away to lean back in the Stands and admire the array set before her.
"It's a good thing I didn't eat lunch today..."
The woman said with a smile and reached to pluck up a piece of fruit, taking a savory bite of it and just letting the moment linger in a sense of bliss. A soft chuckle escaped her as she leaned back again, glancing to L'van and the pewterrider close by. "I remember the days when I had to clean the shards...Back then, I never thought I'd be looking at it from this angle though."