Alive, Aware, in Awe [ 76th Clutch Touching ]

A large natural cavern found by the initial expedition. It has been cleared out and filled with sand. Naturally flowing hotspring pools inside the cavern keeps this cavern warm enough for dragon eggs, but also makes it very humid with all the steam from the hotspring waters.
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Isilsk
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:32 am

Greetings one and all!

Today, Atricis is pleased to announce that we’re hosting an official touching for our upcoming 72nd Dragon Hatching (please keep in mind that behind the scenes these do sometimes take place, so they aren’t a rarity behind the scenes by any means).

But before you jump in, please keep in mind that there are rules, both Out of Character and In Character which will be explained in the second post; as such, In Character Actions will indeed result in In Character consequences.


Out of Character Touching Rules

[1] First of all, only official candidates are able to participate in this event. If you have a candidate that is stands or out of age, by all means let them sneak in but do keep in mind what was stated above about ICA=ICC (In Character Actions equaling In Character Consequences); those that attempt to sneak will be given a chance to escape and a chance to be caught and if they are, consequences will follow.

[2] If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of your character being punished in any way, don’t let them sneak on the sands and have them behave the entirety of the event.

[3] This is a privilege for candidates and not a right. When they enter the sands, they will respect the wishes of the mother and the rules set out by her and her rider. Once again I am going to stress the importance of how much you need to remember that ICA will equate to ICC and if you do anything that the mother finds to be harmful or disrespectful to her or her eggs, there will be swift consequences to follow. What will these consequences be? Immediately they will be forced to leave and additional punishments will follow, up to being barred from standing depending on the severity of the offense.


Out of Character Touching Information

Now that these very simple OOC rules have been listed, you’ll see something else posted below - colored eggs waiting to be touched and lavished with attention! The touching will go in several rounds, as many as can be managed before the start of the hatching.

The first “round” for your candidates will involve heavy interaction with the mother before you’re allowed to participate with the eggs. Then, following her approval - or disapproval - you’ll be able to respond depending on what takes place; if approved, you’ll be allowed to go to a single egg to interact with it. Following that will be a round of responses from Isilsk, at which point your candidate will be able to approach another single egg, and it will go on at that; more than one candidate may touch a single egg at the same time (just assume that your candidate is the only one at the egg, as this is the easiest way to do it).

You may also make a list of eggs that you’ve visited at the bottom of your posts and strikeout the ones you’ve visited such as: Egg 1, Egg 2, Egg 3, Egg 4, Egg 5

IC wise, this thread is fuzzy timed to roughly one sevenday before the hatching, which is about two or so sevendays after Turn’s End/Beginning. It is being posted now to give everyone the chance to get as much in as possible before the hatching. (Please keep in mind that if your candidate misbehaves at the Gather while they might have “slipped by” for the touching, it may come back to bite them later on.)

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in Discord or shoot a PM to a member of the staff. Finally, please remember to have fun!


The Eggs
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[ Early Crack Egg - Stripes Egg - Leopard Egg - Brassy Egg ]

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[ Large Lizard Egg - Sunset Egg - Whirlpool Egg - Black Hole Egg ]

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[ Coming Together Egg - Simplistic Egg - Petals Egg - Tiger Egg - Pebbles Egg ]
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Ember
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:33 am

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It was going to be a mistake in the end. Dirce could feel it straight down to her bones. The agitation all morning had been palatable in her dragon, and she’d been shifting and moving herself and the eggs since the crack of dawn. She glanced towards the entrance where Bellatrix and K’rios were waiting, instrucint the candidates, then over her shoulder at the zultanite flaring her wings and hissing.

”You said they could be here today, Sandy. You promised the Candidatemaster that it would be fine. You remember, don’t you?” She tried to reach for the precious multi-hued face of her zultanite only to have her pull away. She was not happy, and Dirce decided it would be best to step away for the time being; not far though, she found being far from the dragon was not a good thing on days like these when visitors were expected.

*Well I don't want them here now. I do not care what I promised the Candidatemaster.*

She had yet to cover the eggs with her body though, so Dirce knew there was hope. She cooed and soothed as best she could, clicking her tongue in the gentle manner that often drew her dragon’s attention to her when she wasn’t making sense these days. ”I understand that, but still they are waiting, and we should give them some of our time. They will be standing here very soon, and it would do to get to know them now, wouldn’t it?”

The zultanite hadn’t contemplated it like that, and she quieted some for a moment before folding her wings back against her back again. While still not happy, she decided she was right, her rider was. Still… Sensing the hesitance, Dirce grasped her hips and tried one last thing - it might very well do the trick, or it might backfire, so she chose her words carefully. ”What do we need to do to make this good for you, my love?”

Sure enough, thought came from the dragon, and more ease started to bleed through, though not enough for her to stop shifting the eggs. She arranged them how she wanted, until she was pleased enough with how they were situated. Then she gave her answer, as she moved away from the eggs, though she clearly wasn’t pleased and her rider could understand that. *They must tell me why they believe they are worthy for one of my children, and they must also bring me a fish.*

Dirce let out the breath she’d been holding and decided that was good enough and would do. She watched her dragon for a moment as she continued to pace while waiting for her rider to leave to speak to the candidates, and once she’d gone, she returned to her eggs to hover over them, apprehensive as ever about this entire affair.

Once she approached, Bellatrix and K’rios both bowed partially and Dirce would have brushed a hand towards them if she could have, still not used to such behavior in her presence. ”I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t allow you in just yet. Sandalphonth is extremely agitated and apprehensive right now and has a couple of requests.” Bellatrix nodded, as did the Assistant with her, and stepped back to allow the Junior Queenrider time to speak to the candidates.

Dirce looked at them and gave a nod of her hand as she grasped her hands behind her back. ”I know most of you, during past touchings, and maybe even now, have been told to bow to the mother and be respectful before touching the eggs. All of that is to be taken into consideration still, of course, but there are a few additional things I wish to put out there.” She gave a pause before continuing. There are to be no pets on the sands at any point of time period. If there is so much as a flicker of wing or tail in the air, I will not stop her from reacting. She is not in the state and I do not want her irritated more than she is.”

She peered at them all, making sure it had been heard and witnessed, before continuing. ”Now, that being said, in order to gain entry on to the sands you’re going to need to leave to gather something for Sandalphonth, an offering. She wants a fish, and not just any fish will do - it must be whole, it cannot be salted, and she would prefer one that still has its scales. I am aware that riders were out today fishing today, so you may still be able to get one from the kitchens before they’re tended to. Once you have it, return to the sands and approach her, set the fish before her, and explain to her why you believe you’re worthy for one of her children. If she approves of both your fish and your explanation, then you’ll be allowed to touch the eggs.”

She glanced at the candidates carefully, her eyes narrow. ”If any of you disagree with what the mother of your potential dragons demands, then you can leave now and you don’t have to worry about standing. Otherwise, do not frustrate the kitchen staff when making your requests.” She sent them off, as they would, and nodded to the Candidatestaff before returning to her dragon’s side.


In Character Rules
Here are some IC rules - remember they will result in ICC if they are broken!
[1] Absolutely no pets of any kind on the sands during this time; the mother might mistake them for a snack and besides that, her rider doesn’t want to see them there for any reason.

[2] Abide by what the mother wants; anyone that doesn’t follow the rules can expect to face consequences.

[3] No rough housing on the sands, no jockeying for eggs, no bad mouthing the mother, her rider, or the Weyr while on the sands - she is an observant creature and extremely hyper focused on the candidates right now - and anxious to boot - and if she notices bad behavior...

[4] Candidates that arrive “late” must have reported to the Candidatemaster or one of her Assistants in order to still be able to participate. Anyone who is “late” or “not sure what is going on” will not be allowed on the sands as everyone who is behind will be sent word by dragons what is going on.

[5] The mother has the Reminisce trait equipped, so she will remember any misbehaving candidates come hatching day - this is something to keep in mind.
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I can be found on Discord @ Ember#8349 ~ feel free to drop be a message even if I'm on DND.
Kate
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Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:28 am

So here it was is finally, the first time Gavael was going to Stand for a Hatching. Taking a deep breath, he quickly made sure he was ready. It seemed to him like he was, so he took one last deep breath and then quickly made his way down towards the Hatching Sands. When he had heard that there was going to be a touching, he had been a bit shocked. Of course, he had heard of them before, but it had been a while. Now they were calling all the candidates to get there and be present for the Touching. When he arrived, he saw other candidates there, and it seemed like they were all waiting. For what, the young man did not know what they were waiting for, but he assumed that this was standard practice. Or, maybe, something was wrong? Shaking his head, he just joined the rest of the candidates, knowing he would find out sooner or later. The important part was that he was here. To him, at this moment, just the fact that he wasn't late, was good enough for him.

While he waited, he let his mind drift a little. Part of him still wondered if he had made the right choice, getting his knots early to come here and become a candidate. Deep down though, he knew he had. Everyone had told him he should. Sure, he missed his friends, especially Ema. The upside to moving back to Atricis was that while he had to leave Ema behind in the North, Angela was here. Gav found that he truly missed Ema though, more than he had thought he ever would. Shaking his head, he tried to push those thoughts out of his mind, for now. To help, he decided that he should go and find Angela.

The young man had just enough time to say hello and talk with her for a moment before Dirce started speaking to them. Listening carefully, a frown came to his face. That really seemed like an odd request, but, then again, this was his first Touching. Nodding, he listened to the rest, knowing he was going to do everything that was asked. There was no if and or buts. Gav hoped he would make it in time to get a fish. That was the only bit of worry in his mind right now. Luckily, Angela told him to follow her. Once everything was said and done, he made his way to the kitchens with Angela, wondering exactly what his friend's plans were.
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Shaihulud
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Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:02 pm

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@Kate | Gavael - @Ember | Sianca

While other candidates might bounce on their toes from the swell of excitement, Angela had tread this path far too many times before. Even if she could touch the eggs, she had stood at enough hatchings and faced enough rejection that it was near impossible for her to believe in herself. In the back of her mind, she could hear Emalia scold her, telling her these things took time, but Angela had never been the most patient with such things. Yet... part of her still stole peeks from time to time down the corridor where flecks of the queenrider could be seen. It was an old feeling, a warmth of hope. Though it no longer burned with the thrilling excitement like it did in some of the others, she could not deny the gentle flicker of its presence still lingering within her. Maybe this time would be different.

Having support also always helped. Sianca had become her best friend over the last turn, while having her old friend, Gavael, at her side certainly did help to ease the bitterness she often held towards candidacy. When he appeared in the barracks a day or so after the gather, Angela gave him a rare smile. "Glad you could finally join us. Took you long enough, you know," she teased the newly made candidate. "Is this your new turn resolution?" They had their time to catch up, enough for him to tell her what the north was like and how her sister was doing. Weeks later, Angela still found herself relieved to have him back. Now if only Emalia would come back...

When Dirce approached, Angela brought her thoughts back to the present and listened carefully to what the queenrider said. It all seemed rather standard. Respect the queen and honour her, no pets - Angela made sure to leave her trio back in the barracks with a stern warning, for she did not want to repeat the same mistake her cousin, Faveonn, had made several months earlier - but as for the last... a fish? And Angela had no idea what made her worthy to stand? Was her two turns of dedication, patience and obedience not enough? Now she had to show her submission? Angela nearly snubbed the entire idea, willing to forgo the entire touching if it required so much submission. They lived in a weyr for shards sake, and it felt like rank was being pulled all because they could. Candidates were the lowest of the low, but did they really have to be reminded of this repeatedly?

And yet... Angela did not say no. Though it went against previous traditions for an egg touching, Angela submitted once again and made her way down to the kitchens. At least Amuderudalya was there. Her cousin would be able to help them get the fish they needed. "Come on," she motioned to Gavael and Sianca, albeit with a touch of a huff in her voice.

All the way down, she whinged about the demands made of them, and it took a bit to calm her down, at least to give the three of them a chance to seriously consider what in the world they were going to tell Sandalphonth. "I honestly have no idea. I don't even think I'm worthy to stand considering I've been doing this for two turns now." And bitterly, she thought to herself if she had been Emalia, she would have Impressed by now.

But she could not think of that now, not as they reached the kitchens. Glancing about, she spotted her older cousin who had busied herself with a basket of fish. Carefully, Angela slipped over Amuderudalya, and tapped her. "Dalya?" she called to her.

The woman glanced over her shoulder and over to candidates. "Angie, what are you doing here? Don't you have lessons right now?"she asked in a friendly enough manner.

"We do, but... we were sent here to grab a fish for Sandalphonth. We were going to do a touching, but I guess she's hungry."

Another kitchen worker popped their head over to them and scowled. "I take it there's going to be more of you?"

Angela nodded. "Yes. She wants a fish that is... whole, not salted, and still has scales."

The woman shrugged while Amuderudalya set her knife down and stepped over to their basket. "Here..." Reaching in, she procured a nice big fish for each of them. "Why don't you take these, and I'll make sure the other candidates get their fish. Reyna, will you help me with this basket? It's probably better to meet the candidates at the entrance rather than have them come back here."

"Aye Aye, little Sparrow. I'll help you," said the older cook who lumbered over and lowered to help Amuderudalya lift the basket. As she did so, she motioned to the others to get going. "You lot run off now with your fish, and get back to the sands. We'll take care of the rest."

Angela held her fish close and motioned towards her friends to follow her back out. Once they returned to the sands with fishes in hand, Angela waited for confirmation from K'rios, Bellatrix and Dirce before she stepped out onto the sands.

She set the fish in front of her... shards this feels so stupid... But Angela did not dare say it out loud as she complied with Sandalphonth's wishes. She partially expected the dragon to toss her out regardless, but she waited for the zultanite to pass judgement. As to what to say... From her humble bow, Angela spoke, "I really have no idea what you want me to say. I actually don't know why I'm worthy, other than I've been waiting for two turns for this, being... patient..." ...staying loyal, remaining dedicated, minding all rules, keeping obedient, submitting herself when she could have so easily have walked off.

Angela had no idea what else she could possibly say, other than to be honest, though she was not about to inflate herself to another when it was hardly in her character to praise herself.
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Tag - All Candidates

With a basket full of fish between herself and Reyna, Amuderudalya walked out into the entrance between the kitchens, dining hall, and hatching grounds where the candidates would likely come streaming in for their fish. Naturally, some candidates were already heading into the kitchens when they were heading out, and with an irritable voice, Reyna drove them back.

"Out of the kitchens, the lot of you. We have your fish, so be patient."

Step by step, they made their way out, until they reached the space across from the kitchen entrance. There, they began to handout fish to eager hands. As for those who did not see them, Croquembouche, a rather large prize breed fancy flit, squawked out to the candidates before they might try running into the kitchens, and when they looked about in confusion, Amuderudalya called out to them to guide them over to where the fish were being handed out.

Naturally, some still wandered into the kitchen, not entirely paying attention to the favour being done for them, but still, Amuderudalya stood there, emptying the basket little by little with every candidate who came and went. "Reyna, I think we're going to need another basket," she warned the woman as she neared the bottom.

The woman, who had seated herself next to the basket to help the baker, rocked herself back to her feet and began to lumber back into the kitchens without a word.

All the while, Amuderudalya smiled at the young candidates, offering them the last of the fish. Right when the panic in some of them might arise, Reyna and another kitchen worker came back with another basket, and Amuderudalya returned to handing out the fish.

"That's the last of it."

"I think it'll be enough," Amuderudalya replied as she slipped another fish into a pair of impatient hands.

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Adrune arrived at the tail end of the rush, hoping to get his hands on a fish. However, he let the others go first, simply for the fact he could not be bothered to run off like some of the others. When he reached the entrance of the kitchens, while he did spot the knot of candidates, he did not know why they gathered there, for that was not where the kitchen was. Therefore, he moved into the kitchens, only to be halted by the protesting cries of a large starburst fancy flit.

"Huh?" he asked with a bit of surprise. He had half a mind to try again, but before he could, he heard someone call out to him from behind.

"Over here, if you want a fish."

He looked one way, then the other before he turned around fully to see the reason why the candidates did not all rush into the kitchens. There, where the entrance of the dining hall, kitchens, and hatching ground intersected was a young woman with a basket of fish being handed out. It did confuse him, for how did the kitchens know? But he was not about to question his dumb luck as he approached with nod of respect given to the kitche- no... journeywoman, he realised when he saw the cords that hung from her shoulder. "Do you have any more fish there? I'd be very thankful if you did."

She gave a nod and procured a decent sized fish from the basket.

"Thank you, ma'am," he answered politely just before he took the fish and made his way back to the sands. As he walked back, he thought about what he was going to say, and had at least somewhat of an idea of what to say. He waited for the adults to give him permission to proceed, especially from Dirce, since it was clear her dragon might be in a slight mood with all of the candidates wanting to touch her eggs. As a beastcrafter who dealt with a fair share of protective mothers and their offspring, Adrune had a good idea as to why that might be. Mothers were very particular when it came to their babes and strangers.

When he did approach, he took a knee before her and slipped the fish forward for her to inspect. "My parents were both riders, and... well... I know how important dragons are, which is why I'm here. I'm also a beastcrafter, so I know how to take good care of anything not a person." Whether that satisfied her question or not, Adrune did not know, but it was the best, and the most honest answer he could think of.
Kate
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Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:44 am

Grey eyes glinted with excitement as he followed Angela and someone he didn't really know. He had seen the other candidate a few times, but did not know their name or anything right that. He just assumed that they were Angela's friend, and that was enough for him for now. It did not take them long to reach the kitchen, and Gav found himself hoping that whatever plan Angela had, was actually going to work. It wasn't like he did not trust his friend. He just knew that sometimes plans had a way of not really working out how you wanted them to. Hopefully, that was not the case this particular time. Whatever plan the young woman had, Gav knew they all needed it to work. Honestly, he wasn't sure how he knew, he just did.

Gavael found that there was something familiar about the person they ended up going to see in the kitchens. What it was, he wasn't quiet sure. Had he met her before, somewhere else? She just looked very familiar, but the young man was having a hard time placing her face. Smiling softly as she handed them the fish, he said, "Thank you, I really appreciate this." It felt weird to be holding a fish in his hand, and having to bring it all the way back to the Hatching Sands with him. Quickly, the three of them made their way back to the Sands before the other candidates got to the kitchens, so at least they had avoided the rush.

Patiently he waited his turn, and when it finally came, he set the fish down in front of the Zultanite, bowing as he did so. "My Queen, both of my parents are dragon riders, one even became Weyrwoman. I know this in itself does not make me worthy, but Im hoping this is a chance to prove myself even more."
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Parker
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Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:04 am

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Tag ~ Open

Olyver was always excited when a hatching came around. Even though this was the umpteenth time he'd stood for a clutch. Ever since he had been old enough to stand he had been. That was long enough now that he couldn't remember every single hatching he had stood for. More than enough would be his answer, but he continued to be a candidate and would stay one until he aged out. After all, he did look up to his father who was a bronzerider and had been one of the people he is closest with. Besides that, his two oldest siblings were already bonded and he couldn't help but feel like he was being left out... and remembering of the fact that his brother had impressed a bronze. He hadn't cared about that until R'vin impressed one. After that, he was rather jealous. He was smart enough to know there was not going to a chance to 'one-up' his brother. One up in his mind was gold and he knew he never stood a chance at that.

Those things are what was going through his mind as they gathered in the Hatching Grounds. He hadn't been paying much attention when Dirce began to speak. Olyver knew that he should always listen but it was hard to do when you had the rules memorized as well as he did. When he heard the word fish he snapped his attention back to the Zultaniterider. "Fish? We have to get a Fish?" He asked, more to himself but also to the person nearest him. Oly wasn't going to argue though. Sandalphonth was the mother and you always should do their requests.

Olyver followed the others back out of the Hatching Grounds and headed to the kitchen. Whoever had told the kitchen to expect them and had them ready to hand out a fish was a hero in his eyes. He waited and then got his fish and headed back. There were already some candidates going up to the mother to fulfill her requests. He didn't mind waiting. It gave him time to think of a reason he was worthy.

When it was his turn he gave a bow to Sandalphonth and then to Dirce before speaking to the dragon. "A gift for you. For allowing us a chance to touch your children." He greeted the zultanite and placed the fish down in front of her. "Alright...why am I worthy?" He asked and thought for a moment. Olyver had his dad's humility with none of the arrogance. He'd prefer to not talk about his temper though. "In all honesty... I'm not. To impress to a dragon is an honor, not a right. I might not ever be worthy to be a rider, but I sure as fuck will try to make myself worthy every day." He hoped that was good.
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Zaynallen | C'sian | Sid'nis | Locke
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Najden | Kisle'vis | Corbin | Calivander | Olyver

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Slasher
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Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:28 pm

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Tasryrg kept trying to stand and walk with Sianca whenever they had to do Candidate things. And she kept deftly avoiding him, which was frustrating. She was his wife, damnit! She needed to be on his arm when they walked places together. Like to the Hatching Sands. And while standing around waiting for an apparently nervous mother dragon to allow them to come and touch her eggs. Standing in the tunnel, Taz peered out around the Candidate master and Assistant, watching the upset Zultanite and her rider. The young man experienced a wave of apprehension then. Did he really want to go out there? This whole thing was more an excuse for him to stay in the South and convince Sianca to return with him...

As they stood, waiting, the young man was hit with the reality of the situation. He had been Searched. A dragon said he would be a good rider, and he had pounced on the easy opportunity to find his wayward wife, but...The Hatching was not far off, and he was not any closer to convincing Sianca to come home, and he was expected to touch the eggs.

Luckily, his thoughts were interrupted as the rider of the mother came and addressed them. She wanted...a fish? Tasryrg's nose wrinkled automatically at the very idea of him touching a raw fish, all slimy and smelly that it was. The group of Candidate's headed off, and he wasn't the only one that had a slightly sour expression, he noted. Arriving at the kitchens, the smell of fish was obvious as they approached the workers hand out out fish to the Candidate's from a basket. Taking his, Taz nearly dropped it. A polite, ”Thank you.” and he turned back for the Sands.

He wasn't the first to arrive back, but he wasn't the last either. It seemed as if there was a sort of line forming as each Candidate approached Sandalphonth with their aquatic offering, and gave their reasons for deserving one of her children. As Taz watched the candidate's before him place the fish upon the sand, he realized however...The sand was sticking to the scales of the fish. For some reason, he was deeply irritated by that. When it was his turn, he approached the zultanite. Before setting the fish down however, he pulled a strip of cloth he kept in his pocket(a sort of handkerchief, but nicer material), and lay the fish down on the cloth on the sand.

Straightening, he bowed deeply to the dragon. If nothing else could be said of Tasryrg, the young man was polite, especially when it was expected and required, ”Lovely Lady, I thank you for allowing us on your sands.” Taz, ever the diplomat, ”I am the son of a Lord Holder, raised to lead. I deserve one of your children, simply because I am the best. You could not want for a better rider of one of your babies. You would not deny them the chance to choose me, would you?” His tone was bordering on arrogance, and he seemed unaware of that fact as he stood before her, smiling, sure of himself.
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Dreamer216
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Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:34 am

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El had arrived perfectly prompt along with the others, on her best behavior, although she did eye the Zultanite with some wariness. She had only ever dealt with Gold clutchmothers, and those were finicky enough, she had no idea what to expect from this queen. She was grateful at least that it wasnt her first clutch at Atricis, having stood for the recently hatched clutch. Some of the other candidates might not have even that much experience. Touchings however... well they were so personal, and not every queen was willing to risk her eggs to a clumsy candidate. El was grateful for this chance, and she had every intention of thanking the clutchmother profusely.

She recognized many faces of other candidates, though she still didnt know too many of them. It took her time to warm up to people, and she had a tendency to focus exclusively on her work rather than socialize. It wasn't her best trait. Maybe she should find her roomate and stand with her, or Sianca, since she had at least talked to her.

But before she could make a move towards someone she knew, the Candidatemasters had begun their explanation, so she sat still and listened carefully. El wasnt particularly surprised when the Zultanite's rider came with a list of demands, after all El had stood for plenty of Gold clutches, and the queens could be quite finicky themselves when they wanted to. The fish was new, but I mean it wasnt like Sandalphonth got the chance to go out and hunt very often, maybe she was just hungry?

Unfortunately she didnt manage to get out fast enough, she ended up with the crowd of candidates streaming towards the kitchens. She chuckled when she saw several slightly exasperated looking kitchen workers set up outside the kitchen, to keep them all from going in to disrupt whatever they were doing. El patiently waited her turn, chuckling at the chaos around her and calmly thanking whoever passed her the fish. As soon as she was free of the line, she speed walked back to the cavern, she didnt want to be the last before the Zultanite after all.

When she reached Sandalphonth she knelt and placed the fish before her and then stayed there. "Lovely Sandalphonth, I doubt any of us are truly worthy of your children, but that won't stop me from trying to be the best I can be, just in case one of your children may decide I am the person for them. The best I can do is work hard to earn your and your children's respect." Was it excessive? Maybe, but it was better to be safe than sorry in El's mind.
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Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:41 pm

This would be Kulbit's first time being allowed to touch dragon eggs and they were both more excited and nervous than they had thought they would be. They had done their best to prepare, taming their short dark hair into something like well groomed tidiness, dressing in the best of their clothes that were still practical for the hatching sands, limiting themselves to just 2 small beaded bracelets in pale greens on their right wrist, one very slim band of twisted gold plated wire on the left, the locket from their mother that they always wore, an earring with a small golden brown feather in their right ear and a small blue-green stud in the left one. As much as they loved the soft jingle of wearing a collection of metal bangles, they were unsure if the mother of the eggs would appreciate it as much or be annoyed by it, and so had chosen to forgo that particular decoration for today. The tunic they had picked was a pale gold hue, barely more colorful than the traditional hatching day robes would be, tied with a soft golden brown cord at the waist, light brown trousers rolled up to their knees, and soft sandles rather than boots (so their footwear wouldn't be perceived as a potential danger to delicate shells). They wore their new candidate's knots proudly as well.

They were fussing a bit with their knots, trying to get them settled just so, when the announcement came to the gathered candidates that Sandalphonth had a slightly unusual requirement for those wishing to greet her and her eggs. Kulbit had brought a small gift already, though it might be something the Zultanite's rider might like more than the dragon. But getting a fish would actually not be all that difficult. They smirked a little to themself as they watched most of the others go running off to the kitchen while they just stepped out to where they could quietly call Ree.

The little brown firelizard responded a bit quicker than usual, perhaps having picked up on his human's nerves when they had told him to go entertain himself elsewhere till they called for him. He chirruped inquisitively as Kulbit wrote a quick note on a scrap of hide (they carried such things and something to write with everywhere they went, just in case). “Take this to Ari'vos please dear?” They had met the pearlrider at a gather 2 turns ago and had been exchanging letters by firelizard since then. The pearlrider seemed genuinely flattered that the youngster had sought them out, and while they did occasionally try to persuade Kulbit to consider coming to stand for the pearls if things didn't work out in their candidacy for a dragon, they had been encouraging about Kulbit's goals and dreams and had been glad to answer questions about the pearls and the particular honorifics they used. Picturing the short form, grey eyes and light brown hair of the pearlrider for their firelizard, they gently raised their arm in a light toss to help him take off.

The little brown disappeared and Kulbit waited. A few minutes later, as the fastest of the other candidates were returning from the kitchens, Ree and Ari'vos' little green firelizard, Bitey, popped back in front of Kulbit. The green firelizard dropped a scrap with a hasty “Good luck!” scrawled on it before vanishing again. Ree clutched a still slightly struggling fish almost too big for him to carry and Kulbit quickly relieved him of the burden. They sent the tired brown flit off with scritches and praise, the little fellow happy enough to go curl up somewhere else and nap after the struggle with the fish. They might not have the very biggest fish of those being offered, but Kulbit was fairly sure their offering would be among the freshest. They joined the line of those returning from the kitchen, feeling a bit more confident now.

When it was their turn, Kulbit approached and bowed, the long limbs they hadn't quite grown into yet making the motion just a little awkward looking, despite Kulbit's best efforts.
“Good day Sandalphonth, and best wishes of good health to you and yours. Here are your gifts, I hope they meet with your approval.”
They laid out the fish, which gave a weak twitch, and the other small gift they had brought. It was a large seashell that had been carefully carved with the image of a flying dragon. Kulbit had bought it at the last gather they had gone to before their mother had died. The gift might not mean much to the Zultanite, but to Kulbit, it felt right to offer it anyway, a bit of letting go of the past while also looking forward to what the future would hold. At the very least, it was pretty and shiny.

“Yours will be the first clutch I have the honor of standing for, if you grant me leave. I'm new to candidacy, but I was born and raised here in New Atricis, and my mother and her green Gwyneth served here with bravery and honor. I have been preparing to be a dragonrider since I was 6. Being born here and preparing from that young an age doesn't make me worthy on their own, but I've learned much about dragons and Pern because of those things.”
They looked the Zultanite dragon in the eyes, remaining respectful, but letting their own fierce determination shine through.
”I'm worthy to have the chance to bond with one of your children because I'm going to change Pern. I'm going to protect people, but I'm also going to help bring about change so we can grow and be better than turns past. And I know when I find my bond, they will do great things with me.”

They hoped they hadn't come off as boastful. They had only said what they felt was the earnest truth. Hopefully the mother dragon wouldn't take boldness and determination for braggadocio and rudeness. Kulbit had to fight not to hold their breath as they waited to see if their offering and words would be acceptable.
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:16 am

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Dirce watched as the last of the candidates ran off to procure the fish in question. She wasn’t sure what some of them were thinking tilting their trots to the side away from the kitchens, but that was their prerogative she supposed; far be it from her to correct them if they thought they had a clever tactic in mind for which to accomplish their task. Suffice it to say, their absences gave her dragon time to relax without the advancement of their presence bearing down upon her sands, and even if they were gone for only a short while, the zultanite queen lowered herself onto the sands away from her eggs, knowing if she did so closer she would never get up and move away from them. ”Good girl.” Dirce murmured, nodding to the Candidatemasters before setting herself towards her bond where she would stand and watch and - hopefully - keep her dragon calm.

As the minutes ticked and tocked away, she wondered how long it would take for them to begin to return, and then they started to trickle in one at a time, little by little. She was impressed with some of them, and watched as one was turned away, told to go and find a better fish. Oh, but it had been a fine looking fish, and now it was a fine looking fish covered in sand, one that the dragon would likely eat regardless, and the kitchens would be low on their supply. Perhaps she could get Sh’del to go out for her later - he was always malleable enough to her whims when she requested it of him… She shook herself of that thought and glanced towards Sandalphonth as she inspected the next candidate, a girl she didn’t recognize.

It would be the same each time for Sandalphonth. She inspect the fish and then hear the candidate out, pull back and mull it over. She was an observant creature, as much as she was presently apprehensive, and she’d be able to tell by the way the candidate acted if they were being sincere. She wouldn’t have to say much, but not much would need to be said. And so she did that with Angel as she presented her fish and began to speak.

"I really have no idea what you want me to say. I actually don't know why I'm worthy, other than I've been waiting for two turns for this, being... patient..."

There wasn’t much for her to contemplate. She snorted and proceeded to roll the fish back towards Angela. It was a worthy fish, one she was eager to eat - it smelled divine as she nudged it against the girl’s shoes. And then she pressed her nose up against her and let out a soft whuffle of breath, a sigh that sounded almost sad. *You, candidate, may go to the back of the line and wait until last. Once all others are on the sands, then you may try again. Perhaps the time you spend waiting will provide you with the chance to contemplate your answer a little more thoroughly.*

Once that was over with, she was ignored, and she would not be allowed to leave without Sandalphonth’s say so. She had been given a direct order from the queen, and it was best to do as she said. The next candidate, Adrune, spoke in kind words and gentle tones, and she listened to what he had to say. After her contemplation and observation, she leaned towards him and sniffed at his fish. It was a good fish, and a lick of it told her it would be a tasty one to enjoy while the candidates mingled around her eggs. *You are indeed worthy to proceed. Be kind to my eggs and do not upset them.*

There were so many, and the only things keeping her calm and from possessively sweeping her eggs up against her was her rider and the growing number of fish gathering in a pile in front of her. Sandalphonth watched as the next candidate, Gavael, approached and set his fish down, and with it she found herself in front of another large, fat fish that smelled entirely too good - she had to taste this one, and took a nibble from it. It was indeed tasty, and if all others were like this one, then she was in for a treat! *Being like your parents, and worthy on your own, is indeed a good cause. If you are gentle with my eggs, you may touch them. Be careful among them. I will be watching.*

Dirce found herself chuckling over the next candidate’s forwardness, but Sandalphonth found something more serious in it all. It was straightforward and to the point, honest and raw. Olyver was telling the truth - and if only more of the candidates could be so honest as he was. *You are right.* She told him, open with her words so everyone could hear her. *You are not worthy. It is an honor, not a right. You all would do well to remember in the days leading up to my eggs hatching.* Then, to Olyver alone, she simply said. *You are indeed worthy.*

The arrogance oozed off of this one, Tasryrg, and Sandalphonth was taken aback by it at first. She looked at him, then at her rider, and slowly back at him before pulling his fish towards herself with her lips and eating it, all while talking to him and eyeing him carefully. *Now go find me another, get to the back of the line, then maybe I'll let you try again.* She finished her fish that he’d so graciously given her, then turned away to look at the next candidate before he had the chance to even so much as formulate the utterance of a single word.

She was starting to grow agitated again, and the last candidate had done her no good at all. Dirce had been certain she was going to need to ask for a brief moment for the dragon to rest, but she continued to allow the candidates forward, and the next one was like a breath of fresh air for the zultanite. Ellenor was polite and honest without being brash and bold like the last candidate had been - she admitted that she was not worthy, but that she would try, and that meant something to the zultanite. She sniffed at the fish and after contemplating her a moment longer, or pretending to at least - she was thinking more about the fish really - she made up her mind. *Thank you for telling the truth about the matter. You have eased my mind just a bit more, and for that I appreciate your words more.*

The next to come about brought a little gift as well as the fish, and the zultanite didn’t know what to do with the first, but Dirce gathered it up to hold onto and keep safe, smiling and nodding her thanks towards Kulbit before they had a chance to speak. The words were big for someone so young, but they were well intended and well meaning and Sandalphonth admired them for that. *It is good to have meaning and goals, but you need to know there are larger pictures to see as well. Pern is already changing, young one, but you may not be of an age yet to understand or truly see what is yet to come.* Not wanting her words to come off as harsh, she nuzzled them gently before nudging them equally as careful towards the eggs. *Keep what I said in mind as you spend time with my eggs.*
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