A Gift of Dragons

Who: Isolwyn, J’kson, Eosyth, Malynth, Akanyth
When: Month 12, 203 AT
Where: Hatching Sands, Fort Weyr
What: Gifted eggs hatch.

Though the clutches were laid some weeks apart, when Akanyth reluctantly echoes his mate to signal that eggs are starting to rock and ready to hatch, it indeed for all of them and not solely Amorenth or Inaskashath’s eggs, making it quite impossible to tell which is which. Perhaps having been brought Between has affected the younger eggs of Inaskashath, or maybe it’s their blue sire that has ensured they are destined to hatch before they should, or it could even be that all is simply as it should be. There’s no telling why eggs hatch early or late, after all. The brown is just as he was for the hatching of his own eggs, a dangerous, edgy presence close to the perimeter of the Sands, intent on protecting his bloodline from any who might interfere, including those standing as Candidates.

Jakson’s not been one of the most upstanding candidates, though unlike some of his younger ‘peers’, he hasn’t broken rules blatantly or gotten into trouble. He’s too skilled at wearing masks, knowing when to push, when not to, where to look and how to be. He’s had to shave the beard he wore for many years, one that made him look far older than he was, and he self-consciously rubs at his jaw and the stubborn stubble that still runs there. He put his foot down on shaving his head into a more “rider appropriate style”, his long hair kept back in a half-up knot and gelled enough to pass as ‘trying’ to appease those in charge. He’s got a dubious expression on his face as he stares at the rocking eggs and up into the gathering crowds. “What am I doing here?” he growls, his voice low and gravelly as he speaks out to no one in particular.

“What we’re all doing here,” a voice to the right drawls, Isolwyn’s feet carrying her out of Akanyth’s potential path. “Whether the children among us realise it yet or not, we’re all here because people have failed us. Or we have failed people. To hope a dragon would be different may sound foolish, yet here we are all the same.” Across the Sands, one of the smaller eggs cracks open, letting free a tiny green who digs her wet claws into the sand and hisses at her audience. Watching her, Isolwyn flicks the long plait of her dark hair back over her shoulders. “Bronze is better luck, they say. But then, if you study the line of the dam of one and the colour of the sire of the other, perhaps there’s not to be one.” The gold egg shivers, yet she ignores it, too busy keeping an eye on the green.

Jakson looks to Isolwyn with a barked laugh, “Ever the Lady, Isolwyn, to pronounce we are here due to our personal failings instead of the bright-eyed dreams of the younger ones.” He shakes his head, shoving his hands into his pockets as he looks at the hatchling tumbling out. “Luck has nothing to do with being born,” Jakson drawls, stepping up to match his body alongside Isolwyn, leaving the others to bunch together to share excited whispers about who the green will choose. He watches apathetically as the green turns to face that bundle of bodies and begins to tumble towards them, keening a demand that is answered by one of the bright-eyed girls who crows, “She’s mine! Isanth!” She rushes forward to wrap her arms around the green’s neck and give her all the praise and assurance of their love for each other before they’re escorted off. Jakson looks to the gold, “You’d think you girls would all be fighting for the gold. Isn’t that what one dreams of having?”

Isolwyn folds her arms and gives a rather unladylike snort. “As if I would be seen fighting with youths for the attention of a creature who has, in all likelihood, already made up her mind. Why have us touch the eggs, if not?” She folds her arms and sinks her heels a little more deeply into the sand beneath them. “She will choose what she needs. None of us can change ourselves into that in the moments after setting eyes on her. Why make a fool of yourself over something you have no control over?” Still, that egg rocks again, drawing Akanyth’s attention, pulled back to the arrival of his sibling and queen. He sits himself behind that egg, watching it shiver as flakes of a metallic sheen float to the ground. “If we are letting blues sire clutches now, perhaps the new queen will choose a boy. You’d better watch out.”

Jakson can’t help but still at that idea, his brows lifting as he glances at Isolwyn and then towards Akanyth and the shivering golden egg. “I hope you’re mistaken on that front,” he drawls, watching as another egg, far smaller than that golden one, begins to shiver. “I didn’t feel a damned thing when I touched those eggs,” he lies cleanly, shaking his head, “The others stories of feelings and impressions and memories? Full of childhood fancy.” He rubs at his arm unconsciously. “I just hope that Fort honors its word when it said I could stay were I not to Impress. Could use a break from Keroon’s sun.” He scratches at his cheek again, the habit of toying with his beard on full display despite it being gone. “Though I imagine you’ll be glad to return to your previous life. The chores they had us do were debasing.” He watches again as that egg shivers and shakes. A crack forms down it’s middle and all movement stops.

“You can come home with me and I’ll present you at my uncle’s feet like a spoil of war,” Isolwyn proposed, dry-voiced. “If one Fort won’t honour its word, that is.” For all he seems to have been on the verge of violence since the eggs began to rock, Akanyth is far more careful with the egg before him, lowering his muzzle to give it a gentle nudge. Whether prompted or encouraged, a gold wing breaks free, what would have been Honshu’s and is now Fort’s newest queen seeming to stumble from her shell and to the Sands, where she lies for an instant trying to gather herself both physically and otherwise. While she takes the time to breathe, another egg rattles itself to cracking, splitting unevenly from top to bottom. “Any last minute bets?” Isolwyn enquires, arching a brow. “I imagine they will crowd her now.”

And the Blood Shall Sing to the Blood Gold Eosyth

A petite creature of pale sunlight, this fragile-seeming gold is both tiny for her colour and delicately built, her long limbs slender and features just the slightest bit angular. Her elongated muzzle creates an elegant jaw-line, her thin headknobs curving outwards a little behind eyes that carry a weighted quality beyond her years. It’s at her ridges that a darkness that seems incongruous with the rest of her colouring begins to creep in, tarnished shadows mingling with fire opal that ripples through those ridges and bleeds a little down her neck and shoulders, drifting along across slim bone and carefully crafted muscle. Her wingsails are almost translucent, facets of jewel tones visible as they catch the light, fibre light and diaphanous save for trailing edges tainted with that same mix of fire and shadow. There seems not to be a spare scrap of weight on her, her ribs almost visible and the articulation of her hips easily seen as she moves. Faint wisps of mist turn her hide almost white where it mottles her sides and limbs, though her claws and a single ring towards the tip of her tail are a solid ebony.

“Why would I place any bets?” Jakson queries Isolwyn, watching as a group of girls step closer towards the newly hatched gold. “Now’s not the time to gamble if there’s no guarantee of a win.” His attention moves from the gold to two eggs that seem to hatch in unison, a green and a brown tumbling free of clinging shell to stumble against each other on the sands. He goes back to watching the one egg that hasn’t moved since it cracked. “That one doesn’t seem to want to budge,” he notes, then watches as finally another shudder shakes the egg and it topples to the side. The act of dropping opens the shell enough to let a blue hatchling sprawl out. The blue shakes itself and lays there for a moment, taking in his new surroundings as that brown claws itself over the blue. “Hey now,” Jakson calls out, striding forward to nudge the brown off of the blue. “Well, shit,” he breathes as his eyes catch in the blue’s eyes, “Malynth.”

Always Remember Us This Way Blue Malynth

Like his sire, this blue’s hide is chrome-dusted and despite his disability, he will always carry himself with a steadiness that speaks to his lineage. His dam’s darkness plays across his blue hide, blending the golden light of stars into the moonless night across his frame. His nose is slender, his body rich and full, he will be the same size as his sire when his full growth is reached which will be commented upon as a sadness for his rider – for Malynth was born with only one, membranous, glorious wing, the other a quiet stub of bone and flesh without a wingsail to grace its form. Blues and golds splay further out along his body, trailing down his spine, and splaying upon his tail. He is a blend of two beings and it is clear in every glimmering step he takes upon the world.

Isolwyn has her mouth open in a shout of silent outrage as brown claws over blue, as if she could somehow chastise the former for being so uncivilised, but when Jakson gets there first and she hears a draconic name uttered, she tightens the knot of her arms and lifts her gaze to a distant point on the cavern wall, unable and unwilling to see anything beyond the ring of girls that has converged on the gold, all others having now found their new lifemates. She isn’t going to face her failure without anything less than her head held high, which is another reason why she doesn’t see the petite queen pad past those who would divert her with an unerring certainty, to present herself at her feet with an expectant stare that demands her attention. Isolwyn staggers, flinching away from something – or maybe everything – before gravity pulls her to crouch down beside the one who has chosen her, oblivious to the envious stares of younger women and girls. “Eosyth,” she murmurs, gathering her close in a protective bundle. “Hello, my love.”

Jakson – now J’kson – caught up in the whirlwind of the moment of Impression, did not notice that Malynth had only one functional wing, the other was a mere stub, as if in development the limb simply stopped after the first wing joint and did not develop a wingsail. J’kson’s attention was internal, the blue’s mind a landscape of song and laughter, Malynth’s delight in finding him so engrossing J’kson was numb to the nervous chatter of the weyrling staff and the ushering off to the barracks. Only after J’kson had fed and oiled Malynth’s side were the dragon healers called, then the Weyrleaders,discussion about ‘how’ and ‘what’ was to become of his sweet blue. Protectively, J’kson’s temper burst as yet another discussion was going around in circles. “It’s late,” he stated flatly, a fist forming at his side. “Malynth doesn’t deserve your contemplation any longer. He is who he is and the rest we can figure out later. I ask that you leave us be.” Unlike the other weyrlings, J’kson had no one to greet him to celebrate, and so he rests on the floor with Malynth’s head in his lap and idly scratches along the darker ridges of his eyes.

Having managed all of twenty minutes in Fort’s living cavern – just enough time to pay her respects to her uncle and family – Isolwyn returned to the barracks not so long ago and simply curled herself around Eosyth, tucking her head in against her to block out the world that suddenly seems so loud and awful. They’ve remained so, perhaps sleeping, perhaps not, for quite some time, only now the young queen gently shifts to free herself and pads across the barracks, leaving Isolwyn groggily pawing after her. Eosyth doesn’t stop until she reaches Malynth and J’kson, the latter regarded with a tilt of her head, that being her only hesitation before she folds herself in around her brother, quite as if J’kson must accept her too – and like it. Her rider is slower to respond, blinking across the space until the need to be near her is too much and she stumbles after, still in what finery she clothed herself in for the feast. She sinks down next to her, blinking blearily at J’kson. “He lives. He’s yours. That’s all that matters.”

Malynth is surprised by Eosyth’s attention and blossoms for it, her attention lighting a fire within him that draws out a golden hued light that he dapples over her. << They care for me yet they are scared, concerned, worried. Mine doesn’t want to hear it. >> he tells her, his tone rich with the piano hints and guitar thrums, << It is kind of you to show me more consideration than them. >> He nuzzles against her, sighing contentment into her side as he lets the tug of oiled hide and full belly draw him to sleep. J’kson is quiet until his blue drifts asleep, his awareness drawing him out with a shake of the head once the music has left his mind and clarity registers more fully in the wake of his dragon’s slumber. He reaches for Isolwyn’s hand and grips it tightly, “It wasn’t supposed to be,” he breathes the words raggedly, trying to settle himself as his body trembles. “I wasn’t supposed to Impress. He deserves… better.” Whether or not she’ll judge him, he turns and rummages in his jacket pocket for a flask and downs it’s liquid without offering her any. It’s only with the fire of whiskey on his breath that he feels settled, another pocket reached into, another flask wordlessly produced and handed to her.

<< You are who you are meant to be. All of us are. They will see. >> Earlier, Eosyth’s mind might have glimmered with a rich rainbow of hues, yet now there is something undeniably ominous about her touch, her soft voice full of midnight and lightning beyond the hours of her age. She remains awake, draping her neck over Malynth, though closes her eyes so as to spare any the weight of her stare. “You can’t believe that. You wanted it to happen. You wouldn’t have been on the Sands if you didn’t want it, whether you think it was meant or not.” Isolwyn holds his hand tight, her grip intensifying as J’kson reaches for that flask, though she goes no further than to tug as if she could stop him without actually doing so herself. For a moment, she studies the flask offered her, then accepts it and unscrews the cap to lift it to her lips, though whether she drinks or not remains unclear. “If you want to fend off their concern and pity, you’ll need to be sober,” she says quietly. “You’ll need to defend him with words and the wrong ones might cost you.”

J’kson tucks his chin towards his chest and the hint of a smile plays across his face before he tips his head back against his cot and takes another swig from his flask. He tucks it back in his jacket pocket, his legs easing out in front of him as he sighs. “Concern, pity, shame. They better keep it all away from Malynth. He has more… talent than they’ll ever understand.” He has a soft smile as he looks at Esoyth. “She’s kind,” he looks back to Isolwyn’s hand and to his. “As are you.” He reaches once more for her hand, squeezing her fingers and then he removes it, patting her leg before he retreats to his own lap with his hand. “What did your uncle say to you?” he asks, looking askance at her, trying to gauge her reaction. “Now that you can’t be a pawn for him.” Whether or not she’s spoken openly about her situation, J’kson’s assumptions are clear as to her uncle’s motives.

“She’s…” For an instant, it seems that Isolwyn might disagree with the assessment of her queen, yet she stops herself and gives a shake of her head, reaching a hand to gently run the backs of her fingers down Eosyth’s neck. “And I’m…” But she doesn’t manage to evaluate herself either, murmuring, “I don’t know what I am.” Mention of her uncle draws a wry smile tainted with bitterness, a huff of laughter escaping her as she plants her hands down behind her and leans back. “He only wanted to know what I’ve learned while I’ve been here. I imagine he believes I’ll continue to assist him, but the Hold has claimed enough of me already. Any chance of marriage and a family or a craft, I gave to them. Now I can choose what I want. Marry who I want. I owe him nothing.” She lets her gaze drop to her new lifemate. “I belong to Eosyth now.”

“Holders always seek to send spies to infiltrate places they don’t understand,” J’kson drawls, rubbing at his jaw briefly, fingers scratching along his stubble. “They take and they take and they take. They never have anything to offer in return, aside from the scraps of their attention.” He snorts, speaking too roughly for it not to be of some truth. “It’s good you can belong to Eosyth, better if you can belong to yourself first.” He grows quiet, letting the silence drape between them like a comfortable blanket. As the others start to drift in, celebrations cut short by tired dragons, he looks to Isolwyn, “It’ll be nice to have a friend to go through this with. Someone who isn’t… so naive to the hardships of the world.” He notes the giggling girls of earlier and their greens,. “This is going to be a challenging few years.”

“I’m not sure there’s enough of me left to belong to.” Isolwyn makes her statement matter of fact, without any suggestion that she’s seeking pity. As the others begin to appear, she rises to her feet, Eosyth uncurling from Malynth in a manner designed not to wake him. “If they,” she nods towards the other weyrlings, most a decade and more younger, “say anything about Malynth, I’ll rip out their hearts so politely they won’t understand how they’ve been insulted.” It’s a threat only J’kson will hear, though the sentiment lingers in the click of heels and swirl of black skirts she becomes as she moves back across the barracks to make sure that none of them get any ideas about claiming the corner cot she and Eosyth have made theirs. There, she still doesn’t bother getting changed, but curls herself back around her lifemate and swiftly sleeps to await the new day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *