Faster than she expected, the day came that Serisk went to the hatching room, calling for her handler to be there and Rheask as well if he could spare the time. She seemed to be ok with having Rheask there at least, but almost demanded Sterling be there. She dared to believe that perhaps, somewhere, Serisk was worried about this, this being her first clutching, but it seemed there was almost nothing to worry about. Serisk found herself a place in the sands of the hatching room, and dug out a wallow in the sands to lay her eggs. There was some pain and discomfort, but one at a time, four pitted, lumpy eggs rolled gently out into their little sandy bed. It didn't take more than two hours before Serisk rose from where she laid her clutch, sniffed at the soft shells. Soon she began to bury the eggs partway under the sand to keep them warm and protected, and Sterling counted the shells. Just a mere four, admittedly, she had hoped for more.
I think you looked bigger than you really were. Maybe you just got fat. She teased the female, who grumbled at her handler's jest.
Did not get fat. Was right size for my eggs. Serisk shot back at her handler, just earning a bit of a grin from Sterling, who took no offense to the abrasive tone as Serisk settled around her clutch. Sterling patted the wher's snout, still proud despite the smaller number of eggs than she had hoped.
Even if you did get a little fat, your eggs are wonderful. I can't wait to see them hatch.
And so the sevendays passed of the eggs hardening on the sands. Rarely, Serisk wandered out for food, but she had Rheask bring her food when he could do so so she didn't have to leave the hatching room. The times she did leave the hatching room though, she made Sterling stay behind to watch them in her stead. She might not have been quite as bad as a Gold wher, but she certainly didn't want to leave her eggs without a pair of eyes on them. Because of this, Sterling caught a few eyes peering in, hoping to get a look at the clutch when the brood mother took her breaks, but they were always shooed away by Sterling, usually with her saying something like, "You can wait until they hatch to see them," since she assumed most of the prying eyes were candidates.
The shells grew harder, and all four of the eggs seemed to grow and thrive, each keeping a decent color, for wher eggs, and keeping warm in a way that only a living thing felt. Even if they had only four eggs, perhaps all of them would hatch! Sterling began to hope so, growing a deep attachment with this first clutch as she watched them develop on the sands until the day the hatching came.
The wher candidates were brought into the room, and Serisk grumbled and hunkered down around her eggs as if to hide them. Sterling could tell she didn't want to give up her eggs, her offspring, but Sterling reminded her mentally she had to, that her offspring could only live here happily if they bonded to candidates. It was a quick internal struggle between the two before they began to mentally discuss each candidate. Serisk was the one who made the final choices of candidates who would get her eggs though.
This one was chosen for the largest egg. Then that one for the smallest. She hadn't handed out the third before the first two eggs hatched into a young brown and a young green. Then the third was given, just in time for an obviously Agate foot to pop out from inside. The fourth egg too, was handed out, though there was some suspicion it wouldn't hatch due to how still it had been. However, it seemed this clutch, while small, was strong, and the fourth egg hatched into a young blue wher.
Sterling almost cheered, but Serisk grumbled at her to not startle her children, earning a mental apology and a mental cheer for all four eggs hatching. So what if the clutch was small then, at least all four eggs had hatched this time, giving the Weyr four more new wherlets. Sterling felt proud, as did Serisk. Even if only the wherhandlers and whers cared, Sterling felt this was the best thing she and Serisk had given to the Weyr.