In the season since her latest Flight Lauruth had been doted on and then some. Much like past mates Iolith was no slouch in fawning over her and when he was busy there was Kelpieth. The water-hued blue was always there for Lauruth, though never did he intrude upon her time with her mates. Still, if it was possible for a dragon to have a crush, Keetin would say Kelpieth had one on Lauruth. If so the feelings were not exactly exclusive to Kelpieth...but when she Rose Lauruth only accepted the best. She was impressed with all her suitors but there was always one that stood out ju-ust enough that she called to him to Catch her. So far that special one had not been Kelpieth and not for lack of trying. Keetin was positive it was only a matter of time though. The bond was there. In the meantime Lauruth effectively had two mates. She was not left wanting for attention...which was very good for Keetin.
Call it dragon hormones, instincts, whatever, but Lauruth did tend to be a bit moody and demanding when it was this time of the turn. First as she neared Rising, then up until a good sevenday or two after her clutch hatched. The zultanite definitely got "broody". When she had enough attention from the boys though, Keetin was able to tend to his work in peace.
It wasn't as if he ignored Lauruth outright; he still took care of her and even set aside time to be with her. However he was still a queenrider and he had his duty to the Weyr as well. Keetin kept a healthy balance, though again it helped when Lauruth had lots of attention from Kelpieth and her current mate. She did not seek Keetin's attention as much then.
There were moments though! He loved his beautiful, perfect girl, but oh did she have her moments. Now especially since she was getting close to clutching. She was not that egg-heavy but then it was not surprising when her mate was a blue. Browns sired smaller clutches when they Caught golds and the blues were smaller sires still. On top of that, zultanites did not have clutches quite as large as golds-though they could clutch quite a few he was sure! Lauruth would show them all the turn she chose a bronze to Catch her.
For now the zultanite had moved into the Hatching Grounds, knowing her time was close. Much like the other queens she liked to make the sands Hers, arranging things to suit her and her future children. And thanks to the fact there were no other egg-heavy queens, Lauruth had the entire sands to herself, a situation the zultanite loved. If needed Keetin was confident she would share but there was no denying Lauruth liked having the sands all to herself.
Again she left Keetin in relative peace, focused on nesting in the sands. Even when she began to clutch she did not reach out to tell him-but Keetin knew. He could feel the cramps around his middle, phantom sensations from his dragon. However without being called he knew Lauruth was fine clutching alone-not that he intended to miss all of it.
Keetin was quick to finish what he'd been working on so that he could join Lauruth on the sands. To his credit Keetin did get his work done well; it was not rushed. He didn't linger either though, making his way to the sands.
"Hey there Grumpy," he teased as he approached, noting the shell already on the sands. Affection colored his tone as he approached his beauty, reaching out to stroke her muzzle, which she had obligingly lowered to nose at him.
Hello yourself. Did you get lost on the way to...the sands? Lauruth counter-teased. Her voice was strained though, the zultanite pausing at times with a mental grunt as another contraction rippled through her.
"You know better than that," Keetin play-scolded, clucking his tongue at her. "What sort of queenrider would I be if I could not even find the Hatching Grounds?" He leaned forward to rest his forehead against her snout for a moment before kissing her nose softly and pulling back to look at her. "Have I ever told you how proud I am of you?"
The warmth of his dragon's love washed through him. Always. As you should be-eee!
Lauruth hissed, tensing as a strong contraction came. Keetin clung to her mentally yet stepped back, giving her room to move as needed. This time Lauruth was pushing for a good moment but when she finally relaxed and Keetin peeked-sure enough, another shell had joined its brother or sister on the sands.
"They're beautiful," he murmured. "Just like their mother. I'm here now dearest Lauruth and I am not going anywhere. You are doing great. I know you don't need me here...but you also know how much I want to be here, to love and support you. We'll get through this together."
A soft snort met his words, blowing his hair into a mess. Yes, "we" will...because of course you are pushing out eggs of your own! The retort was yet another tease, born of affection and adoration for her rider. Enough of the sensations bled through that Keetin might as well be clutching and she knew that. He even did what he could to help share the pain, the strain of it all. He tried to give her a boost in strength just as he did when she Flew.
By the time she had finished Lauruth's clutch numbered eight eggs, a very good size for a zultanite clutch. Iolith had been a strong pick as sire. He was also treated to the sight of his eggs not too long after Lauruth finished Cluthing. She wanted her mate there, to see what they had created together and of course to dote on her more. She was exhausted and wanted cuddles darnit! ...and maybe a herdbeast or two, if he or Kelpieth were up to the task. Clutching was hungry work!
The clutch was right on time when the eggs decided to crack shell. And the colors of dragonets revealed was not too shabby at all! Blues and greens of course, a handsome little pewter, a brown (which was roughly the equivalent to getting two bronzes in a bronze-sired gold clutch in Keetin's opinion), and even a pair of opal-pyrite twins. From eight shells had come nine healthy dragonets. Lauruth and Iolith had done an amazing job. Keetin couldn't wait to see what the next clutch might yield!