( Tag: Cataren; Niomi; Varric )
While waiting for the young man’s answer to her question, Alassiel took the opportunity to look over the clutch. They had started with twenty eggs originally, and twelve of them had hatched so far. One egg was a set of twins, so out of the twelve eggs, thirteen young dragons had actually hatched. It was a good, strong clutch, but they were officially in the final stretch of the Hatching, with over half of the eggs gone and their former inhabitants bonded to their lifemates. If she had to be honest with herself, however, she was rather curious about what the two largest eggs of the clutch had in store for them. One of them was a yellowish color that, in her honest opinion, could have easily been taken to be a queen egg. The other, however, was a diluted shade of purple that seemed far closer to a grayish lavender than anything, and this was the egg that had captured her attention most.
Almost as if her thoughts spurred them on, the largest egg started to wiggle, pulling the attention of all in the cavern straight to it. But it wasn’t the yellowish egg that hatched first, but rather the grayish egg beside it that started to shake and crack first. The smaller egg actually managed to wiggle itself away from its larger neighbor, the movements causing larger cracks to form in the shell. Pieces started to fall away as well, falling to the sand while the protective membrane beneath the shell was left intact. This was the moment many on the sands had been waiting for, and Alassiel as well, frankly. Once, twice, and finally three times a nose pushed against the membrane, breaking it and revealing a clearly red-colored snout. Ah, so a garnet was going to be the next to hatch! The young woman had been present when the very first garnet broke her shell, and she had to admit that she held a soft spot for them.
The hatchling’s nostrils flared as she took her first breaths of fresh air, then set to work freeing herself from her shell. She managed to push the rest of her head out of the egg, but she managed to trap herself once again when her chest was about to emerge. She squawked in irritation, telling the egg that she would be free of it at last as she latched onto the shell with her jaws, yanking pieces away, throwing them aside with such force that some of them actually struck nearby candidates. But thankfully, there was no real harm done there so far. Another squawk, and the shell finally gave way, crumbling beneath her and pitching her forward as the top of the shell fell with her. She made quick work of it, however, by spreading her wings and splitting it neatly in two, prompting the young woman to smile warmly at the little female’s wit.
As the little garnet started to peruse the candidates, moving to find her lifemate as well, Alassiel took the time to answer Cataren. She had been listening intently to what he had to say, and when her eyes fell back on him, she already had a good enough idea of what was going on to form some sort of answer on it. “Well met, Cataren,” she started, offering him a smile before continuing on. “I know it’s hard to see it any other way, but you most certainly have not
failed her in that regard. You are here, and though it’s true that you missed the very first moment, that still doesn’t affect the fact that you were here
for her nonetheless. Surely she’ll understand.” Of course, she wasn’t sure if she sounded convincing
in the slightest, but perhaps he would understand that no, he definitely hadn’t failed anyone. To fail her as fantastically as he thought he had, he would have had to be completely absent from the hatching grounds, and that simply wasn’t the case.
A collective sense of shock from the rest of the spectators caught her attention, and Alassiel quickly turned her gaze to the sands. The garnet seemed to have looked over all but one of the female candidates, and the hatchling was now starting to show obvious signs of panic as she approached the last female that she had yet to study. As she studied the girl, it seemed as if she wasn’t right for her either, and the little female’s eyes started to whirl with more yellows than before, making her anxiety all the clearer to those who were watching. “Oh, look. None of the candidates seem to be a match for her… no, little one, look to the stands! There are more people here, please look here.” Her own anxiety was growing with the garnet’s, her mind starting to race as she struggled to consider what would happen if she didn’t
find a suitable mind. No, best not to dwell on the potential for despair, she told herself firmly as the little garnet seemed to grow more and more fearful.
I am sorry if I overlooked you, please do not hide from me.
The anxiety in the hatchling’s voice was practically palpable now, and her heart leapt into her throat, fear for the dragonet reigning above anything else. One of the candidates that she had looked over stepped in front of her then, hoping perhaps to force an Impression in order to spare the little garnet from between
ing. “No, you fool,” Alassiel whispered, her worry for the dragonet switching to the candidate for just a moment as she realized what was happening. “That’s the worst thing you could do for her!” And there, she was proven right as the garnet cried out, her head snapping forward to grab the girl’s leg in her jaws and yank it out from underneath her, blood appearing as even the small teeth that the garnet had was enough to tear into the flesh. Without looking, she turned and ran, knocking another candidate to the sand as well and stepping all over him, continuing to desperately search for her own.
She called out again, this time asking the candidates to stop focusing on each other and help her find her rider. She lashed out at another of the candidates, and an audible gasp escaped Alassiel as she realized that it was Varric that the garnet had torn into this time. She half stood at the realization, making to move to the sands herself to help her friend, but she soon realized that he would be alright, the garnet hadn’t harmed him fatally and there were healers who were far closer and far more useful to him than she was. To rush onto the sands now would be foolish, she told herself firmly as she forced herself to settle back down into her seat, frustrated that she couldn’t help him. And there, the garnet was in front of another young woman, apologizing to the girl and bumping into the candidate with her head as if she could force the bond to happen. But perhaps it simply wasn’t right, Alassiel thought with a slight shrugging of her shoulders, careful not to disturb Persephone as the little gold gemlet had curled up in the crook of her neck.
It was then that silence fell upon the cavern, every eye on the garnet as despair started to settle in. The little hatchling’s head dipped until her snout touched the sand, her hide graying in the clear sign that she was giving in. A candidate called out then, telling the garnet to try the stands, there were plenty of girls there. Yes, yes! Please try the stands, Alassiel tried to beg silently, willing the garnet to choose one of the girls in the stands, any
one would do so long as she stayed! Without another word, the garnet ran to the stands, not caring if she knocked anyone down along the way, before starting to scramble up the steps leading into the stands. Alassiel noticed with an appreciative grin as some of the nearer spectators started to even help the little hatchling up the steps, urging her onwards. The garnet was no longer speaking, desperately searching the stands for the young woman that she was meant to find. As she neared the spot where Alassiel and Cataren were sitting, she started to worry more and more, and even reached out for a moment to help the hatchling as she drew closer. She was getting tired, panting and her sides heaving with each breath. A light keening was starting to emanate from her, her hide graying again with despair. No, no, this simply couldn’t
There you are!
the garnet cried out with a trumpet and such intensity in her voice that Alassiel was certain that the whole cavern heard her as she lunged forward, falling before Alassiel with her energy nearly spent. My Alassiel, I have found you. I am so sorry for not knowing you were up here. Oh, and those poor candidates that I hurt. I did not mean it, I was scared I would not find you. But please, I am tired and I am hungry. I need you, my Alassiel.
Alassiel simply stared down at the hatchling in shock for a moment, blinking incredulously at the garnet at her feet as she struggled to make sense of the situation. Wait… the garnet had called her by name, had called her hers
. This was… this beautiful creature was her
dragon? She had actually managed to Impress, two Turns after aging out of candidacy? She shook her head, processing her thoughts before kneeling down, her hands moving to help the garnet rise to her feet, all at once feeling the hatchling’s hunger and exhaustion, her relief at finding her, and knowing the name of her bondmate. “My beautiful Akath,” she whispered, helping her dragon start down the stairs once again, realizing more than once that she had to lift the dragon’s front half from time to time to keep her upright. “I’m sorry I wasn’t closer, my love. We’ll get you something to eat right away, don’t you worry. Then we can both rest easy, now that we have each other.”
You shouldn’t be sorry,
Akath commented as they reached the sands at last, the both of them turning to reach the place where the buckets of food for the hatchlings were being handed out. You had no way of knowing that I was searching for you. I’m so glad that I managed to find you before I gave in to that despair, however.
And with that, the garnet seemed to have more energy, though she still leaned against her rider as they were handed a bucket of food. Akath glanced over her siblings, her gaze settling on one of her sisters and crooning softly to her. I hope that you found your rider without the complications that I did, sister. I wish that fear on no one.
Alassiel glanced towards the other dragonet, smiling when she realized that it was the green who had bonded to Cataren’s “friend”. Ah, perfect opportunity to get to know her fellow weyrling, and perhaps to make a new friend of her own. “Well met, Niomi! I was eager to meet you after hearing all the wonderful things Cataren had to say about you.” Akath, don’t forget to apologize to those candidates later. But first, wish my friend luck? His name is Varric, he’s one of the ones you need to apologize to.
Of course, my love,
the garnet stated, acquiescing to her rider’s wishes and reaching out to touch the mind of the young man in question. It was a strange feeling now, touching another mind that was not her Alassiel’s, but she didn’t mind it so long as it was temporary Your name is… what was it again… Varric, yes? My Alassiel sends well wishes to you, and I’m sure she would like to visit with you after everything is all said and done. I would also like to apologize for my behavior earlier. I was scared, and lashed out at you because of it. You didn’t deserve that, and I am sorry. I hope I didn’t hurt you too badly.