Kultir, Linden, Quentin (egg posing by Bailey, Yules, T'ral, and Br'er )


Some Candidates get to touch eggs, with a variety of actions.


It is evening of the tenth day of the first month of the second turn of the 12th pass.


Hatching Sands

OOC Date



Hatching Sands

The Sands are surprisingly soft to the feet and to the eyes: rich grains of gold commingle with the ground basalt-black that mark the shores of Azov's Sea. The whorls of lighter color pattern into the sands, larger-grained and often settling at the top, as golden driftwood against dark shores. … but the moaning from above sounds like the chorus of the damned, lessening the natural beauty here below.

It has been critically assessed by the sitting clutchmother that these eggs are due some socialization, and therefore Khalyssrielth has sent her redheaded lifemate to go FIND HER SOME MINIO… victi… er, candidates. Therefore, Bailey; walking onto the Sands with a small handful of youngsters, giving the standard rules in a wry tone. "This is the first time that she's let anyone touch these, so be careful. Walk slowly. Bow to her and Desmeth. Try not to trip. No yelling, no flailing, no screaming, no running, no sudden moves. Got it? Get it? Good. Go." She gestures with the hand NOT holding the wine skin and meanders out towards her lifemate.

Nothing to see here, nothing to see here; oh wait, there IS something to see here: Southern — Pern's — tiniest gold, a teacup sized dragon in comparison to her golden brethren. Full of fire and ice, born of steel and stone; Khalyssrielth looks on with a hauteur that even Talicanitath could never have replicated. She snaps her teeth when her minions arrive, Desmeth is relegated to the far side while she sprawls across the sands. My, my what big teeth I have. My, my what big claws I have. My, my what ennui I have.

For all that Desmeth's a gentlemanly sort, he is keenly aware that there are going to be people touching his babies. And Khalyssrielth too. She helped. But he is sentenced to merely watching from afar, huffing noisily in the background. Don't worry, children. "Don't worry, Desmeth," Yules chides before she glares at the Candidates in tow. Just to stay in practice.

Quentin has seen dragons before. He's seen eggs before. He's even - although he's certainly not going to tell her! - seen Khaly's eggs relatively upclose before. But not this close. And not with the invitation to *gulp* touch them. Offering a nervous salute-bow (salow? balute?) to the queen and clutchfather, and their riders, the boy tucks his hands behind his back and wanders through the eggs, looking but not touching. Except touching is the whole idea, and finally, reaching one of the eggs that so intregued him, he stretches forth his hand and plants it gently on the curve of the Hoth's Not A Dragon Egg.

Hoth's Not A Dragon Egg
Biting wind howls across the mind, jagged shards in a blinding, sideways driven shrilling cry so sharp and loud it stabs right into the brain. Right. Into. The. Brain. There goes knowing how to bullseye womprats. That wasn't important anyway, right? It's cold. So cold. And there's just no one around. Not that can be seen in the sheeting white. But wait. What's that? A form drifted over with a fresh crusting of ice. It's… there's blood. So much blood. But it's warm. The warmness beckons. It's so cold. It would be warm in there in that meaty pouch of… don't inhale. Shallow breaths. Dear FARANTH it stinks, but it's soooo warm. And squishy. Like a hug. Made out of looping, bloody flesh sacks. Warm. Finally warm.

Kultir follows the goldrider into the Hatching Grounds, his memories of the last time he'd been here fluttering at the back of his mind though he tries to ignore it as much as he can. He nods at the instructions and when they are shoo'd forward, he bows politely to Khalyssrielth and Desmeth before moving in the direction of the clustered eggs. Keeping his hands to himself, he simply walks between the eggs and looking at the variety of colored shells until one catches his eye and pulls him toward it with that interest. Reaching out he lays his hand carefully against the shell of the Cold Iron Egg, his fingers tracing a crimson line briefly before his hand rests flat against the shell.

Cold Iron Egg
Silvery tinkles and baby laughs start to filter in through the background, little peals and chimes of joy. Chatter and joy and all things warm wrap around you like soft, comforting cotton, happiness and childish giggling fills your ears, until one horrible, cold CLANG that stops the merriment, a solid bell toll of silent, grim reminder. There is no laughter that resumes, only the cold of ::between::, resting under your finger tips, frozen in the cold grasp of reality; dashing the fuzzy midsummer night's dream that you have been languishing in.

Khalyssrielth watches Desmeth. In case he crosses an invisible barrier. However, the Candidates are given little other than whirling dark looks. So long as they don't fuck with her faery ring of eggs, they'll be fine. Just ignore the fwump, fwump, fwump of her tail. She is the worst mother ever. Really.

Bailey whaps her lifemate, because she's the only person on Pern who can get away with that lazy slap against darkened rose-gold cheek, and then she's sauntering off towards Desmeth and Yules. Or maybe she's just flanking the candidates. Keeping a GOOD eye on them.

Lookit. Bailey is a better mother than her dragon is. YAWN.

Various other candidates flutter and fidget their way onto the Sands. Circumstances have thrown together, in a cluster, a hodgepodge group. There's the spoiled girly-girl redhead, the loner brunette, the nerdy kid from Harper Hall, the macho jock from a Seahold, the asshole who is rumored to be a good drug source. You know the types. They would never speak to each other under normal circumstances, but candidacy isn't normal. The spoiled redhead ambles prissily over to STOP: Collaborate And Listen! Egg, and lays a hand on it.

STOP: Collaborate And Listen! Egg
ICE IS BACK with a BRAND NEW INVENTION and it is called a FUCKING FURNACE because the moment your hand touches that shell it feels like it explodes into red-hot heat more soulless than you. Which is impossible. Ginger. Hey, maybe it is ALL ABOUT burning you at the STAKE. Collaborate on that, bitch.

"That is SO not cool," complains the vapid redhead girl, removing her hand from the STOP egg with a jerk, followed by a shudder. "Screw you too." She fixes her hair. Meanwhile, the nerdy kid has sidled up to Tire d'Erable Egg, expression both tentative and terribly, terribly curious.

Tire d'Erable Egg
Why is it so hot, nerdy child? Seriously, four eyes. It is. SO. BLOODY. HOT. You could sweat yourself to a skeleton if you stayed out here on the Sands — wait, maybe that explains why goldrider are all a) skinny as fuck and b) hot as hell. HUH. GO FIGURE. Anyhow. Why is it so … cold? This egg is bipolar because suddenly you are STICKY SWEET and someone has poured sugar … no … SYRUP all over you. STICK INCOMING. STICK INCOMING. MOVE MOVE MOVE CHILD. Oh look. I've been impaled.

The sense that Kultir gets from the egg is oddly joyous, the peals of laughter reminding him of his children's giggles and making him smile. When that cold clang sounds, he sighs softly and shivers as a cold fingertip trails down his spine causing the hairs on the back of his neck and along his arms to rise and his skin prickle. Swallowing hard, he lets his hand slide from the shell though his gaze lingers for a little longer before he turns and moves on to inspect some other eggs. Rounding a corner, he chuckles as he hears that prissy female he's managed to avoid until this moment and glances in her direction. The ex-tracker does a double-take as he catches sight of what looks to be a humongous glass of frothy ale and grins at the egg that reminds him forcefully of his favored drink. Stepping in that direction, he lays his hand flat against the Beer Thirty Egg with a resigned sigh of regret that he can't actually have one to quench his thirst after a long day of chores in the hundred plus degree heat of the jungle Weyr.

Beer Thirty Egg
What is better on a hot summer's day than a cold brewski? You can feel the glass pressed to your lips, the cool, delicious slide of ale a pilsner down your throat, refreshing to your stomach. The glass is dewy around your grasp, condensation building like the tension after a long day, and this is just the perfect break from it a… SMASH AND CRASH behind you to the beer-lover's worst nightmare. Suds slicking over the ground, glass littering atop it; some whistle and applaud mockingly, but over that is the general 'ooooohs' of disappointment. But it's not your beer, right? Look again - the glass in your hand has shattered too, mocking as it slides out, waiting until the last minute to show the cracks blossoming from the bottom up. Awww. Too bad.

"Oh sweet Faranth, what are you, a porcine?" Even if the scent is in his head and not his nose, Quentin gags slightly, nose wrinkling against the temptation to sneeze and clear his nasal passages. Despite his dislike of that fetid stench, however, he lingers briefly, fingers matching the curve of the shell - frozen there, perhaps, by the biting cold that doesn't truly exist. Finally, however, he manages to pull away. Worrying at his lip, he considers the egg quietly for a moment, then turns away, moving through the ovoids for his next vic- er- attempt. Blue eyes dart to and fro, seeking, and he finally steps up to the Valkyrie's Passage Egg, reaching out to press fingertips to shell.

Valkyrie's Passage Egg
Blood leaks from wounds too grievous to treat. Glorious. It was GLORIOUS. Metal biting deep into flesh, rolling eyes, shouts and screams and sprays of hot blood pumping, steaming in the brittle air giving their precious heat to the night. But now… with a last shudder, the darkness comes. And cold. Bitter cold. Stars glitter high above. The sounds of battle fall away, cries turn into the calling of nightbirds. The burning in wounds cools. And all is quiet but the slowing beats of a heart as it passes into glory. The light comes on slowly. Green and blue shimmering ribbons filling the edges of sight, brighter than the stats, shivering sheets of seafoam shot through with red and orange, streching across the sky, shivering with the notes of a horn so sweet it stills the slowly beating heart. Hoofbeats, quietly, quietly. Louder. A whickering and a plume of steam. A hand on the chest, over that stilled heart and then a wrenching, soul-deep and a flaring of brightness, golden, laughter, calling. Voices raised in triumph. Welcome! Welcome home!

The nerdy kid takes off his glasses, and looks at his hands. His expression is odd: he keeps poking at his palms, like he thinks there should be something… different there. One of his not-friends (the rumored drug dealer, specifically) leans over, expression intrigued. "Hey. You high?" Subtle, druggie kid. ELSEWHERE: it's the jock's turn up at bat. Either he's trying to impress the strutting idiots he normally hangs out with, or he's a meathead, or he's trying to impress the fluffy-haired ginger rich girl (or maybe it's secretly the weird loner girl?). At any rate! He goes for And Suddenly, Blood Egg.

And Suddenly, Blood Egg
Hi, jock. You are kind of hot. Southern's hot, too. But this egg? This egg is cold, ice cold. Cooler than you will ever be, manchild, until that second head of yours is determined to be the secondary force of your life and, you know, you actually grow a frontal lobe. You aren't smart enough to understand the bleeding intellect slowly flowing out of this egg, and so it is as lifeblood smeared wasted upon the bleak stretches of ice and snow and tundra, bleeding out under the open sky, the sun as a wound in that perfect robins-egg-blue; lifesblood that keeps pumping out, and you are too insignificant to understand the truth of it all.

Bailey continues with that wary eye of hers, squinting at that knot of weirdos in the middle around the gashed-red egg, then at Kultir, then at Quentin. She retreats a little bit, backing up towards her lifemate.

"Faranth's dick," says the jock, indicating that he may labor under several significant falsehoods re: dragons, the nature thereof. The loner girl dressed in black snorts, muttering something not terribly subtle about the famous Foremother of Dragonkind having a bigger dick than the jock. You can just FEEL the clique-defying sexual tension there. Speaking of the loner girl! She's gone in for Contagious Egg. "You look gloomy." She likes that.

Contagious Egg
Oozing sores. Pustulent wounds. Virulent sneezes. Snot. Waste. Piss. Sweat. Stale. Bodily fluids. Osweith. This egg is a conspiracy. It is the universe. It is truth. It is failure. It is love. It is despair. It is bleakness and the end and all the finite parts of beginning. It is the truth of the world and it is miserably white-hot fevered skin, the flush of vulnerable eyelids, so delicate, striated with blood vessels, blood vessels that pop abruptly and you are crying, crying blood, crying blood like tears from your cold, black, but surprisingly warm and filled-with-pink-snugglies goth heart.

Kultir's eyes close as the sensations of this egg filter into his mind, a slight smile curling his lips as the feel of that cool ale slides down his parched throat. Oooohhh, so nice … so cool and just a little more malty than hoppy and quite refreshing. Amber eyes blink open at that sudden crash that causes him to jump slightly in place, his left hand lifted as if he's drinking from a glass at the tavern. He blinks in confusion for a moment and stares at his hand and then the sand before his feet as if expecting the sand to be damp from the spilled beer. With a softly derisive laugh, he shakes his head at his reaction and lets both hands drop to his sides though he finds himself swallowing and running his tongue over his lips at the memory of how that imaginary cold beer tasted. His gaze travels around the rest of the clutch and finds his feet taking him back in the direction of the clutchparents until he comes upon a rather odd looking egg. Curious, he lays his hand against the shell of The Last Lonely Deviled Egg, wondering just what is up with it.

The Last Lonely Deviled Egg
This egg… The last of its sort, and thankfully so. As your hand touches the shell, you are surrounded with smell. Not the smell of fresh hoppy beer or even a good time; this smell is of disappointment, waiting too long, all dressed up with nowhere to go. It smells like the fish that sat in the fridge too long while you were deciding what to do with it, or the potato salad that you forgot to throw out. It's awful and sad, and you feel the full recrimination of having forgotten it. Forgotten, just like your mother, or your father, or the girlfriend you just stopped calling… And now you want it back? Well watch this! The egg goes dead quiet and you are dropped back harshly into the present of an egg-touching.

Quentin gasps softly, body bowing away from the egg as his eyes narrow, fingers of the hand not touching the egg clenching into a fist. Yet - abruptly, he relaxes, eyes unfocusing as he gazes at something over the top of the egg. His lips curve in a faint smile, and he sighs, before allowing his eyes to close altogether. He lingers at th egg, soaking in the sensations of homecoming and joy, then reluctantly pulls away, eyes still squeezed shut to soak every last memory of that final sensation. One minute, two, he stands by the egg, remembering, enjoying - then his eyes slowly open and he offers a respectful nod before moving on. He skirts by several eggs, dodging other Candidates, before settling on his next target. Hello, That's So Ratchet Egg. Meet fingers.

That's So Ratchet Egg
The door shuts on a writhing darkness. Limbs twist and bodies grind to music that is barely discernable as anything other than a gritty cacophony and driving bass felt in the chest. Eyes follow you as you cross the dance floor, lips curled back from teeth into sneers, their thoughts as plain in your mind as if they'd spoken right in your ear. How did YOU get in here? And in that. PUH-lease. Put some clothes on, skank. It's ten below, outside. Not enough room in that tackly little clutch for good sense, hmmm? Figures. Well, there is some glass we need cut over here. Sidle your skinny ass over here sit a spell. But you're hot, right? You know you're hot. This was your favorite outfit and all your friends said you were banging. Earrings tug at your ears, too heavy. Painful. A guy shoulder checks you, spilling a drink down your chest and laughing. A false step and your heel twists, dumping you in a painful heap on the floor. Legs all around and no one helping you up. No one's even laughing. No one's even noticed. Tears begin to flow. You drag yourself up on a barstool and catch a glimpse in the mirror, mascara running, earrings, a tiny dress and… oh… where's your purse. Oh no! This night was gonna to be so fun…

Nevik is wandering nervously upon the sands with the others. Each step towards an egg is mirrored by a glance towards the parents to see if they show any sign of displeasure. Bailey's words of caution about 'no falling' or 'flailing' has him just a bit on edge. The eggs, however, draw his attention in someways and unnerve him in others. As some people turn this way and that to find those eggs that draw their attention so too does the rusty-haired youth. He draws closer and closer to the egg some have said seems as happy and hopeful as a Snow Day. Tentatively, nervously he reaches out his fingers and ever-so-lightly he presses flesh to shell.

Snow Day Egg
Expectation lies heavy on your tongue, dusting over your brain like the faintest flurry of snow. You're waiting for SOMETHING. Something vital. Something AMAZING. Looking out the window, listening to the snow-muffled beats of Harper drums in the heights above. A particular candace starts. Wait. Is that -! YES! FREEDOM! And suddenly you're running, bounding, racing for the door, for a winter wonderland beyond, so starkly different from the hot HOT Sands… and then the image fades. But - just for a second - there's the faintest remaining flicker in your mind. The cool sting of snow.

"Okay, hold up, there can't possibly be two crazy-ass dragons in this Weyr, egg, so maybe you need to dial it down a notch." That's more words put together than the whole candidate class has ever heard from weird loner girl who dresses in black. She seems to have liked that egg, man. Elsewhere, the druggie guy. He's wandered over to The Only Way To Quit Egg, maybe as a sign of his secret desires to be more than just the druggie guy. Who knows? Certainly none of the candidates near him, who clearly have nothing in common with him.

The Only Way To Quit Egg
Lucid dreaming flows round you like the finest touch of fellis, hitting you like a drop of acid, searing soul and burning blood, popping poppy-field colors as starbursts of color and intent and all the latent love that only a pair of pretty-in-pink MDMA can bring; were those bunnies imprinted on those innucous little pills? Color and life and highs and chills, all of the excellent things in a drug-addicts life, is suddenly seized in a vice of grey, in a vice of blank nothingness, and there is nothing but being stopped COLD, nothing but the pain, spine-wracking, gut-churning, teeth-rattling. Pain is the only way out, child, and the grim price to be paid.

Nostrils flare at an ethereal scent that is less than nice as lips turn downward into a grimace as Kultir's stomach churns slightly with nausea. His throat works as he tries to swallow against that nasty flavor that seems to linger in his mouth. His head tilts as his ears suddenly seem to stop working, that dead silence rather unnerving until he is dropped back onto the Sands with his hand against that odd egg. Frowning at the egg, he removes his hand and wipes it unconsciously against his sweat-damp tunic with an expression of distaste on his face. Shaking his head to free it of those distasteful thoughts, he shakes his hand as if something sticks to it and walks on toward the clutchparents and the other side of the clutch. Though he's not terribly fond of pink for himself, he knows a few people who are and they always seem to be rather upbeat and perky people. After that last egg, he hopes for something a little less … noisesome as he reaches out to lay his hand against the Pink Slushy Egg.

Pink Slushy Egg
Hey. Hey, cutie. You know that egg over there you touched? All sweet bells and laughter? It ain't got nothin on this egg. This egg is seductive, cool on the tongue and syrupy sweet, after you get past the initial crystalline feeling under your fingers. Pink might not be your color but maybe you're pink's kinda guy. C'mon in, baby, it's cool and delicious here, this egg comes in many flavors. There's a party in your mouth, and the fiesta's just getting started. Just a little closer, it's so sweet for you… And then all goes fuzzy, fading back to the Hatching Sands; sorry, cute stuff. Maybe tomorrow.

Linden crept out onto the sands with the other candidates, and up until this point, after his bow, he's been hanging back. Hesitant, perhaps, to approach and touch his First egg. Finally overcoming his nerves, the youngest Candidate steps forward to gently place his palm against Snow Day Egg.

Snow Day Egg
Static in the air, crackle on the screen. Er. Before your eyes. Right. That. Do they look like snowflakes? No — they are grey, as ash, and seem surprisingly not-fluffy. There is the sense of waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting. It's agony, waiting. Waiting to grow up. Waiting for the weather to turn for the worse. Waiting for Godot. You're always waiting, and if you aren't, you are hurrying up to wait. If patience is a virtue, this egg is a saint.

"Huh." Quentin wastes no time backing away from this egg, his distaste plain on his face. He turns his back on it without so much as a second glance, though he does make certain his path takes him by a certain red-head, and with well-hidden spite, he murmurs with a smile, "You should try that egg. It will suit you perfectly." Leaving her to decide whether he's sincere or not, he moves on, walking straight up to the I Dare Ya Egg and taking its challenge with the touch of fingers on matte metal shell.

I Dare Ya Egg
Jeering calls echo strangely in a quiet moment that stretches out and out and out, a dizzying tilt of pressure and promise. Do this and legend. LEGEND. It was safe. It was safe or they wouldn't allow it, right? Right? A shove from behind, vertigo. The jeering rises and falls with the tilting plane, frame of reference slipping, catching, slipping until, crash, piled right at the base. It's tall. So tall. Looming. Bright colors atop, snapping and cracking. It was a simple thing. So easy. It couldn't be bad. And they wanted to see it so much. LEGEND. Knees turn to water. Belly lurches. Heart hammers. One step. Two steps. Closer. Jeers turn to cheers. Here goes nothin— oh! Oh no! OH NO NO NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Nevik pulls back from the egg he was touching and staggers a second. The hopefully, happy-as-a-snow-day spheroid does not so much as vibrate at the apprentice-healer's fleshy touch. It simply is. The rusty-haired youth steps back from the shell and has to take a few deep breaths to pull his mind back from the momentary break. "Whoa!" he exclaims in surprise and wanders about a bit. In time, only a moment or two he heads for another with an eager curiosity. And then he spies it; The Black, Blacker Blackest Egg.

Black, Blacker Blackest Egg
Black, blacker, blackest! You've heard of this, you know: this feeling of nothingness. It surrounds you, it encases you, the Void coming to perch upon your shoulder and laying its icy cheek to yours. It wants to embrace you. It wants to KEEP you. Black, blacker, blackest! An image flickers in your mind of Southern, of warmth and GREEN and sunlit life, and you cling to it like a drowning man. Black, blacker, blackest! All at once the Void recedes, leaving you on the Sands - but not before it has a chance to give you a flicker of a glimpse of its depths. Wow. That's a whole lot of dead dragons floating in a whole lot of dragon dung. Huh.

Deep baritone laughter begins as a rumble before rolling into a still low-pitched and somewhat soft thunder among the eggs though it doesn't echo as Kultir opens his eyes and lets his hand slip from the pink shell with a gentle caress. The young man blushes at the sensations and thoughts that egg had brought to mind and causes his amber eyes to sparkle with delight. "Oh, that was a refreshing touch," he murmurs to himself. Glancing toward the clutchparents, wondering if he's got time for another before the two adult dragons get tired of the Candidates bothering their babies. Without any signal otherwise, he moves back around the clutch and blinks at an egg that looks completely black though as he gets closer, he can almost make out some of the constellations that swing around the night sky. His hand comes to rest on the shell of the Black, Blacker, Blackest Egg.

Black, Blacker, Blackest Egg
Nothing. This egg has nothing. In fact, it has Nothing. Capital N. The Nothing that is between, the three seconds that you spend, hanging in non-space, the freezing searing of a place that is less than something. It is cold, uncaring, indifferent, and scalding in all those ways. To touch it is to feel the absolute uncaring of the universe; even Thread burns with something. This egg? None of that. Are you sure you really want this? Any of this? The cold absolute nothing? If your hand falls away… Welcome back to the living.

Linden looks startled and moves back, frowning in thought as he peers at the egg. "I know how it feels," he murmurs, before he grins. "But it'll be alright in the end. Enjoy what you've got here, now." Stepping away from it, he wanders through the large clutch before he gently touches The Last Lonely Deviled Egg.

The Last Lonely Deviled Egg
For a moment, nothing happens. Nothing. It's like the lingering effects of the previous egg: waiting, waiting, waiting.. is there an echo in here? Maybe it's just an echo in this shell, empty… empt… empt… emp… An echo in your heart, cavernous. There is a tenuous wistfulness: is it yours or does it come from without? You cannot help but think of your mom, bring her soft, sweet face to mind, how her eyes flash when she's mad or engaged about a topic. The strong jaw of your father, paired well with the broad plains of his palms, confident, assuring, home. Melancholy touches bittersweet, but these are all your thoughts, all your feeling. Or are they? .. they … they … they.

Nevik shivers and recoils his hand from the Blackened egg as though he had been burned by it. Yeah. No more of that one. He can't help but rub at his hand nervously and walk away from it with the occasional glance over his head. Eventually he finds himself in the approximate middle of the clutch of eggs and seems nervous once more. Not all eggs are filled with the happy and warm feelings of his first. Paused there for a bit and chewing at his bottom lip in contimplation. Seeing Kultir head for the black one he calls out, "I wouldn't…" and heads for one that would seem less disturbing. For now, he trods across the sand towards another - shaking his head as a few others head for the last, lonely egg. For him, he would avoid it for now and head towards the shell that's covered in frozen fractals; the Let it Go egg.

Let it Go Egg
LET IT GO, LET IT GO! This song will never leaaaaave your heaaaaaad! LET IT GO, LET IT GO! Even after all life is deeeeeead! HERE YOU STAND! In the LIGHT OF DAY! In - well, actually, you really do have to give this egg credit: it really knows how to work those frozen fractals that are expanding all around, backlit by crystalline hues of purple pink blue white. Higher and higher they expand, faster and sleeker than ever ice was in real life: creativity long-suppressed (be a good boy, Nevik, be the good boy you always have to be) now let loose in a burst of pent-up extravagance let loose like an icy river cracking its way past a dam. LET THE STORM RAGE ON! The cold never bothered this egg anyway.

Sigh. Quentin withdraws from this egg, as well, though perhaps not with the haste with which he left the last one. Still, it clearly didn't suit him, and he takes no time in making his way towards yet another egg. If his path takes him by the jock-like Candidate - and if he stops to murmur, "I think that egg has something to say to you" to him, well, just coincidence, right? Egg touchings - the perfect way to settle grudges. And now he's at his next egg: I've Got 99 Problems But a Blizzard Ain't One.

I've Got 99 Problems But a Blizzard Ain't One
Smooth and silken, cold against the skin, but so soft, the cold doesn't even really register. And the sweetness, it suffuse every inch of you, soaking in. Sinking in. Sinking. You're sinking. Slowly. Feet trapped as sure as if the creamy cold were steel. Up to your knees now. There's nothing to grab onto. Solid bits that slide by slowly squish away as you put weight on them. Up the the waist now. Thrashing doesn't help. It just heats the sucking cold and makes you slip down faster. Collar bone. The cold is intense. Beating into your skin. Traitor heart pumping warmth through your veins that makes the cold all the more intolerable. Chin. So cold. Sinking. And then… a gut wrenching twist. Vertigo. You're upside down. Upside down! Surely freedom will come soon. … Any time. Any time at all now. So cold. Shivering. Wriggling doesn't cause the frigid clutch to move at all. The weight of cool, sweet frozen creaminess is crushing, but it won't let you go. No. It's got you. Right where it wants you. Held. A captive in frozen luscious suspension… forever.

Linden tilts his head at the egg, frowning at it. "How do you know my mom and dad?" he whispers to the egg's curved shell. "Home…" He exhales, looking into the middle distance. "Home is wherever I am, now, I guess… It's been so many different places." He lingers there for another minute or so before leaving it, wandering off to STOP: Collaborate And Listen! Egg.

STOP: Collaborate And Listen! Egg
Creamy dreamy, soft and silky, dripping and melting and sticky and delicious: whoever said vanilla was boring is out of their MIND because when done right, vanilla can't ever be trumped. Even if it's white. Even if it may be a little … okay maybe it is a little boring, but it always, always is reliable. Consistent. Predictable. Tasty in a non-threatening way. Soft-serve whips around you, a cool blanket of sweetness a la mode, before disappearing as quickly as ice melting on a sidewalk in summer.

Nevik is positively vibrating with excitement as he lets his finger-tips press onto and against the shell as the sensations crawl out and up his arm. Brightness fills his eyes as a smile cracks through the nervous apprehension. A storm within his mind swirls and then suddenly breaks down a small corner of the icy wall of doubt built over the years. The burn of the Black Egg is gone. The hope of the first egg has returned. If permitted, he would have hugged the egg before him but that would definitely get the attention of the clutch-parents. For now, he wanders off and continues to glance back for a few more steps. One more. Which would it be? To risk ruining his mood and potentially find something on the terrifying side or play it safe. Fah! Let the doubt go…and so he wanders to the Last, Lonely Deviled egg.

The Last, Lonely Deviled Egg
Sulfur. Sulfur and mold. And… a dash of paprika? What the blazes, egg. There's something growing in your BRAIN, Nevik. You shouldn't have left it in the back of the candidate barracks for so long! Don't you know brains have a shelf life of under five days? You've gone RUBBERY, Nevik. Rubbery and (as previously stated) moldly. And… paprikay. Do you like paprika? I hope you like paprika, because that's the only part of your brain that might still be usable. Seriously, Nevik. Just toss it out. This egg is bad news. You'll get food poisoning. Just order pizza.

(Just you wait, Quentin. You're bound to go on a wild adventure through the Weyr with that oddball pack of misfits. It's fate. Don't you know that inside of each of us lurks an athlete, a lady, a brain, a basket case, a criminal?)

(If it involves aliens from outer space taking over my school and drinking lots of water, no thank you.)

Kultir lets his hand fall from that black shell, his head tilted as he peers at the constellation-like dots and swirls on the black surface. He frowns slightly as he turns from that egg, the hand that had touched the shell clenching briefly as memories he doesn't care to think about surface, the Turns he'd spent not caring for anything and realizes that egg embodied that exact feeling and makes him shudder as he tries to shake that feeling off. Blinking around him, he scans the eggs a bit more methodically as he moves through the clutch and past other Candidates. Pausing, he considers the Slushy Rain Egg for a moment before reaching out to trace his fingers over one of the red streaks before letting his palm come to rest against a splash of blue.

Slushy Rain Egg
PANIC! Terror, adrenaline, fear race through you, synapses firing through your lizard brain, totally bypassing reason and control! Your other hand clenches into a fist; your stomach churns while you do, spinning into the cosmos like that playschool tire ride you once sat on and whirled around until you had to throw up. But this is REAL, man, this is DANGER. You can't see past the white specks before your eyes, you can feel the warmth in your pants as your bowels react to the situation… And suddenly, you are back on the hot Sands, situation normal. Better check yourself.

Linden licks his lips. "Mmmmmmmm. You feel delicious." That sounds wrong. With a soft exhale Linden steps back, but his gaze keeps wandering towards The Last Lonely Deviled Egg time and time again, while he just stands on the sidelines and lets things sink in.

The Last Lonely Deviled Egg
Yeah. Nevik should have stuck with his wintery-themed eggs. The last, lonely egg should have been left alone. The scent, if such a word could be used to describe the sensation that came to him from touching the egg, still hangs in his nose as he walks away from the egg. Two for four and he's left with a bad taste in the back of his mouth. Paused in the approximate center of the clutch he looks around for another egg to sample.

And here Quentin was hoping for a tasty treat, perhaps something with some nice peanut butter cups, maybe a bit of chocolate syrup - but no. All he gets is trapped. His hips wriggle as he strains against the bindings on his mind, and he bites at his lip. His hand slips free from the shell, and with it, the hold. Stumbling back slightly, he wrinkles his nose, shivering in the heat of the summer and the Sands. "Not cool. Well. Too cool? I'm confused." This not an unusual state for him. Still - he doesn't seem as displeased with this egg as he had the previous two, and takes a bit longer to study it before moving on. Hmm. Flying on a Broken Wing Egg, are you there?

Flying on a Broken Wing Egg
Glowing white, whisper soft falls of snow, blankets of silence and wonderment. Shhhhhhh… listen. It's so quiet you can hear your heart. But you can always hear your heart… What is it, then? A presence. Just over your shoulder, hovering, a silver-golden light just beyond your periphery. And soft warmth. A touch, ethereal notes, fluid and flowing… a voice? The touch brings a thrill of cold shivering down your spine, up your neck and then you're falling. Falling. Faster and faster. That soft warmth still hovering. What are you falling into. You can't turn to see, but that warmth suffuses you. Faster. Speed turns the soft fall of snow into stinging pricks across the skin. The wind, a brisk breeze, becoming a gale. Faster. Howling, the wind. Driving, the sleet. Cold without. Bitter, beating at you. But the presence remains, just out of sight. Sleet turns to hail, battering. Bruising. Freezing. Blackness without. Shrieking blackness. Hope. The presence is hope. And faith. Sheltering. Warm. Jagged shards fall apace, splintering shards that cut and bruse. In one fell stroke your fate is clear - jagged teeth of ice below, stretching up. Hungry. A jolt. Wrenching melancholy. Searing pain. Blinding white. And then… a faint strain of music. A flash of silver-gold… of warmth and then… nothing.

Ok, last one - hope it's a good one. Nevik walks, nay - he marches towards an egg that drew his attention while standing and searching for something to help pull his mood out of the mold-ridden memory of the one before. Wintery eggs seem to do good things for him so he heads for one…they one…the first one; the Unthawed Ancient.

Unthawed Ancient Egg
It was not a good one. Suddenly you're running, running, RUNNING. Something sharp and awful is in your shoulder - you glance at it in haste - it's an arrow. Run, run, RUN! Up the mountain you race, the crunch of pursuing feet in the snow behind you. Your eyes are swimming with pinpricks of light - that can't be good - there seems to be an awful lot of BLOOD streaming out of that arrow wound - you've twisted your ankle - you're falling - black edges in. Time passes. So much time, Nevik. Can't you feel your flesh turn to jerky, to leather, to dust? Your bones are all that is left of you, Nevik, hidden beneath an oppressive mantle of snow. But now it melts! You melt. What awaits you, Nevik? And what will you do to those who have dared disturb your ancient rest?

Reeling with vertigo, retching at the roiling nausea and muscles jerking at misfired synapses, Kultir stumbles a half-step away from that egg and finds his heart racing and his breath rasping in his throat as his body responds to that fear stimulus. Blinking dazedly he finds himself still on the Sands and not dropped into his darkest nightmare. Drawing in a deep, shuddering breath, he sighs it out slowly in an effort to calm himself and make a mental tally of his physical reality. He chuckles softly as he finds that the very real sensation of having soiled himself is not an actual fact and lifts a hand to wipe the fear and heat sweat streaming down his face. Moving back toward the entrance to the Hatching Grounds, he decides he's had nearly enough and seeks out one last egg before he gives up this time. Deciding that nothing can be as bad as that last egg, he approaches a rather gaudy egg that looks to be encrusted with glittering diamonds and lays his hand against the Blingin' Egg.

Blingin' Egg
Ahhh. You lay your hands upon grandeur. You wish to be above the rest of those plebes. How wondrous that you've come to this egg, you silly darling… As this egg hums through your veins, measuring, calculating your worth, you start to slowly sense that for all its glitz and pompousness, there is little beneath. A cold, soulless shell beneath, hollow of warm feelings or intent. No, no, darling, this just won't do… And as you gaze deeper, as your attention swirls with this egg, you start to understand: for all its glamor and gems, this egg is just trying to become what it could be…

Nevik screams. Yup. Screams. The rusty-haired candidate falls from where he had reached out to gingerly touch the ancient egg and does his best to flounder back and away from it as though he were caught in the gaze of a hungry, nameless beast. His mind tries to grasp on what he saw and pull apart the vision from reality but he is convinced that there's an arrow stuck in his shoulder and that his ankle won't hold weight. Wordlessly he is frantically attempting to crawl away from the icy mantle above him, crushing down upon his body with the heavy weight of time. And then…he realizes that the snow under his hand isn't snow…but sand. He's not in some forgotten cave but upon the sands. His eyes squint tightly - trying to hide from the gaze of all those who have probably had their attention drawn to his yelps.

Linden looks over to Nevik in concern when he screams, edging in that direction. "Nevik. Are you okay?" he hisses as he approaches, trying to see which egg he touched. So he can avoid it in the future.

And that, my friends, is a sudden and decisive roar — from Khalyssrielth in fact, when confronted with a candidate who breaks not only one rule but TWO. Her eyes roil a burdensome bloody-crimson and she snakes around her eggs protectively, huge teeth showing in maternal fiercesomeness at Nevik. Bailey's voice rings strident above it all: "EVERYONE OUT. RIGHT NOW. OUT. OUT. NOW."

Kultir frowns as that egg releases him and pulls his hand from the shell with more than a little curiosity. His head tilts in thought as that frown deepens as he turns to wander away from that egg and nods slowly as thoughts percolate through his mind. Nevik's scream followed by Bailey's strident shout causes his head to snap up and his pace to pick up, the roar from the gold dragon making him wince and duck slightly as he has to pass rather closer to her than he'd really care to considering her state of upset. As he makes his way out of the Sands this time, he takes more than just a fear of the eggs and the dragons within … he takes a great deal to think about, better able to interpret what he thinks those eggs he touched were telling him.

Linden yelps and tries to grab for Nevik as he scrambles back to the exit.

The young healer, upon the roar of the dragon, continues to try and escape but has to convince himself that he's not really stuck with an arrow nor is his ankle hurt. The command to leave the sands was not something that surprised him but what got him moving was the words and movement from the other candidates. His scramblings first are on his hands and knees until he puts some effort upon the 'wounded' ankle and discovers that its strong; strong enough to push him up and off of his hands. He's not really able to get into a full run but he does his best to simply remove himself from the sandy floor of the clutching grounds.

Softly, softly - then a violent jolt, and Quentin is dragged from his communion with the egg by Nevik's scream and Khaly's subsequent tantrum. Hurriedly pulling awy from the egg, he joins the other Candidates in scurrying from the Sands. Ah well, another day. Hopefully.

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