Who

Dione, AWLM and eggs by Hannah

What

Finally getting her chance on a dim night, Dione jumps at the chance to touch some eggs, and comes away with unsettling viewpoints

When

It is before dawn of the twenty-second day of the first month of the second turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Hatching Sands, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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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.


Timor: moon6.jpg Belior: moon3.jpg

Egg touchings usually take place in the bright, gaily lit daytime with Rukbat's thick, yellow light soaking into a weyr saturated in heat. However, on this day evening edges into night as stars peek out above. It is humid and clear, and one of the assistant weyrlingmasters leads a small group of candidates onto a desolate sands. It is only Desmeth watching this eve, Khalyssrielth is off feeding which is a perfectly good time to lead a group of minions-et-candidates out onto the sands. "Bow to the clutch parents-er-parent," comes the whispered response, torchlights and glows giving the sands an almost romantic feel, "and be very, very gentle. Make sure you don't yell, scream, kick, or do anything that would otherwise put the eggs at harm." Some of the younger candidates jostle a bit, but the AWLM just gives them a look and makes a shooing motion across the hot, hot heated sands.

Dione, having just that day returned with the two sick individuals, hadn't expected this much, so the egg-touching is a TREAT. Scooting in with the others lucky enough to be in on it, she soberly bows to Desmeth, half-glad that it's the slightly-more-jolly father and not irascible mother there. Nodding to the AWLM, she swallows and slowly, carefully walks in between the large mound of eggs, looking to and fro to see which one she wants to touch first. Seconds later, her glance gets drawn by a dark, sanguine splotch, almost black in the moonlight, and she reaches out carefully to the And Suddenly, Blood egg, touching the shell with whisper-light fingertips.

And Suddenly, Blood Egg
A perfect sphere of crisp white perfection, blinding in its icy glory. This is not the sort of egg that draws stares: it is perfectly smooth, perfectly white. If you see it from one side, anyway. It's when you see it from the other side that things take a turn for the morbid. Flowing, swirling, pooling… blood? Like a gaping wound, a slow-motion waterfall of red red RED seems to ooze from the icebound sphere, languorous ripples creating an unsettling optical illusion. Ominous to its core, an unnatural heart revealed behind a frozen facade.

Darkness falls, hazing the vision behind the eyes until you feel a blindness overtake. Panic might make your heart race, but fear not that darkness doesn't last. It fills with a vision of white that is impossibly cold, forcing goosebumps down your arms and a shiver to your spine. The tightly wound muscles of your back clench in the sudden, irrepressible cold. Is your breath fogging? From the sheet of ice leaks a substance eery and strange, colored metallic red it looks almost like blood. The cold, cold world around you bleeds as if cut, but by what? Your head turns to see, but your eyes never leave that wound that falls like a waterfall into the void below. Panic pumps the heart and races the blood and quickens the breath. Just when you fear the world will bleed dry, all snaps back into place. The sands are once more around you, but… is the egg's shell just a few degrees cooler? Or is that just your imagination?

There's a tensing to her posture, a hitch of breath strangled to a hiss by the sudden tightness in her throat, and an I-can't-breathe that grips her soul with frosty fingers. That, more than anything, is probably why she doesn't jerk back, flail away; as it is, she takes her fingertips from the egg with a sudden, frightened gasp. She's a creature of sunshine and heat; feeling the ice slide that close to the core of her is impossible to maintain a touch with. For a moment there's no movement from her as she breathes in-and-out, in-and-out to stop the adrenaline from affecting her too much. Then, swallowing hard, she turns and scoots away from that curve of cold to one that seems more hospitable at first glance, touching instead the smooth creaminess of the Tire d'Erable egg.

Tire d'Erable Egg
Over a background of driven-snow purest white, dark amber melts haphazardly in wide, pulling swaths of slow-moving viscosity over the shell of this small egg. The darker drizzle maintains a mouthwatering visual texture, the colour glistening throughout a spectrum of burnt-oak whiskey, rippled golden and crimson in turn: truly eye-candy coloured. The color sinks against the white, the edges crackling and staining, as if sweet syrup sinking into snow.

Once again the sands wavers from your vision; the egg's shell disappears from beneath your fingers as your world changes. You shrink as time is wound backwards, moving you at the speed of sound to a world beyond worlds, to a time beyond time, to a moment of childhood past. Is it your childhood? Perhaps not, but you feel the sweet thrill of rushing across the ice in wooden shoes, traveling to where the frozen stream beckons. It's cold, so cold, but the light of Rukbat is cast upon you like a sea of gold that warms the exposed flesh. Childish giggles erupt from you lips as you race the hazy friend that warms your heart with love. It is this, this golden haze of love that's frozen on the ice that meets your eye. The color of maple, the color of childhood, the color of life. Eagerly you pluck this bit of maple glory from the ice, instinctively knowing it's edible and that the sweetness of this frozen treat — once hotly poured upon the frozen water — will have the gritty texture of sugar, and fill your mouth with sweetness. Before this childish dream can be realized, you are summarily expelled from the vision. Once more, your hand is touching the egg's shell and the heat of the sands crashes upon you. You feel the lingering sense of loss as if something treasured has disappeared into the snowy world-beyond-worlds, into the pastime of a childhood not yours. Still, some of that golden haze of love, the kiss of Rukbat's golden light, lingers in your heart. Does it beat faster?

The AWLM patrols the edges of the little group, watching the Candidates to make sure that the eggs don't eat them or they don't slap them or something terrible. A brow quirks here and there, but the overall feel is a hushed quiet that lingers like a veil between the night and the dreams beyond.

"I… no," Dione whispers, uncaring that the AWLM might look at her funny. She's crying, great silent tears that marks something infinitely precious lost, and is on the verge of putting her hands back, leaning into the egg's comfort when a noise nearby distracts. Plucking her shoulders upright, she hastily dashes a hand across her cheeks, counting her lucky stars that it's dark and the silvery tracks will likely go missing from casual glances. Turning her back on the egg as if to shun an impossible temptation, she resolutely marches away. Her mind wanders there still, and she'll have happy dreams tonight, making the morning's wakening all the more bittersweet. In direct contrast to the earlier touchings, she looks up to try and get her bearings, and marches to the egg that had reminded her of clarions and urgency during its hatching. Firmly this time (but still gently) she places her hands fully on the shell of the Valkyrie's Passage egg, shoulders stiffened against possible shock.

Valkyrie's Passage Egg
Unnameable is the iridescent flow of colors that shimmer across this egg, shifting sweetly, swelling, dimming, flying, racing across the shell in wild swervings. They seem to inspire a soul-deep longing: to devour with the eyes, hands, to touch and be touched in return. Shimmering is the kiss of a glorious death flowing from the crown, crimson life draining down into the icy crux wrapped in luminous ephemeral skirls of fae light, more achingly beautiful for their transience.

A subtle shift is all you feel at first, the caverns not looking all that different. Your eyes move in their sockets and you can feel the sensation of them sliding against your eyelids, slightly sticky from the tears evoked by the previous egg's touch. This egg seems to be waiting, waiting for those lingering emotions to die into the aether that this egg creates. It's this moment that you feel the world around you dissolve into the watery streaks of color and light and sound, much as if you splashed water onto a painting and watched the colors blur. These shifting colors elongate and change, deepening against and impossibly black sky. A starless sky for the colors of the northern lights play across your mind's eye in startling clarity. A vast ice shelf provides the backdrop of what's taking place against the velveteen night. You feel yourself separating, your soul yearning for that which creates the light. The passage of the harbingers of death and a life reborn. An expansion fills your heart, your chest and laughter erupts from your mouth. For whatever your life has held, your soul is ready to depart, to become the swirl of color in the night's sky. Tears fall once more, leaving diamond's to dot the skies in pinpricks of light. Starlight winds through the patterns of blues and greens and yellows and azures, caressing you, filling you, holding you. Cradled, you are gently returned to yourself. You know your Self is you once more as the sands build back up. This glimpse into death is not yet yours. Your time is not ready and you feel the egg's last caress as a sweet promise of what the end of one's life might feel like. And then you are you.

The young woman fades, waits, feels the emotions run away with the timeless patience of the egg until she's soothed, eyelids no longer sticky, but luxuriating in the promise of a different kind of love. This one takes her to a place by rights only old age and accident should reach, and she gives a shuddering exhale that signals something in her core relaxing, losing the last bit of fear she might have had of what happens inevitably at life's end. Her soul rides those currents, seeking between the stars until she's breathless, open, and ready to let the light fill her. Her is a cold that isn't cruel, doesn't cut, just promises a gentle end. Even the delivery back on the sands is gently, seeing her back to her body with renewed tears and a hopeless, strangely happy smile. "Incredible…" she whispers, unable to say which of the two she's loved more. Buoyed by that feeling, she almost drifts to the next egg, a huge, jolly, festive Beer Thirty.

Beer Thirty Egg
If not for Desmeth, this egg would draw eyes and speculation to it alike, for it towers as one of the largest eggs, gilded topside in the shameless sunshine of a wheatfield ripening in late summer, parched and parching. Below is a cold, beckoning richness, lager-brown and stout, bubbles of lighter color clinging to the alcoholic mayhem wrought on this beer-battered, beer-bottomed shell. A thin line of ivory separates the wheat from the product below, looking like nothing else but the head from a fine-poured brew. There will be drunks waxing poetic over this egg, if not any other.

Open up your eyes; this whispered thought reverberates through your mind even though your eyes are opened, and seeing the sands around you. This egg doesn't change your vision, but rather eclipses every other sense: sound, taste, smell. Into every pore, beer flows. Your job as a bartender has prepared you to taste every flavor that crosses your tongue. High end, low end; it's beer o'clock somewhere, right? As if you are a vessel waiting to be filled, your entire essence is transcended to the golden glow of fizzy beer, until it is everything. Your world lies somewhere in the swish-swish of alcohol. You are beer. It is who you are and you realize that your life as a bartender will eventually lead to alcohol being your life. Is it what you want? Is this dreams come true for you? Or dreams cast to the taste of ash that coats your tongue as the rush of alcohol turns a world hazy and liquid. You sway on your feet. Are you drunk? No, because all of that beer floods your senses and then out of your body. If you opened your mouth, the golden, foamy stuff would pour out. Something dark twists within and as you are cast out of this egg's essence, you are left with a crushing headache and the taste of sour beer on your tongue. Your stomach is in knots. And then all is well, in the single blink of an eye. Did that really happen? Is your head a bit tender? You surely won't be any rich foods for dinner!

Beer. Wait. Her mind is rebooting. BEER. Dione's mouth opens as the golden liquid rushes into her pores, surrounds her, becomes her. For long moments she's lost on the jolly hilarity of it, the foaming fun that she's poured so many times for others in the Kitten. Despite that, perhaps thanks to that, though, she understands the temptation better than most, and blechs at the worm of sourness that twists her tongue, startling a Candidate nearby. She plucks her hands back on a "No, no, no" that wonders how Sevreni is still doing it after so many years, and quietly vows that one day there'll be a new place to move on to. Stepping back with juddering, slightly drunk steps, she sinks down on her haunches first, cradling the hot-heated-sore forehead as she breathes against the hangover. Then, perhaps unwisely, she stumbles towards an egg thankfully a little dimmed in the darkness, but still too bright: the Blingin' Egg's ghetto curve is what she touches next, swallowing against remembered bile.

The AWLM watches Dione with concern when the egg makes her look like she's going to hurl — or that's the AWLM's take on it when she hears the belching. "No hurling," she might murmur, but otherwise doesn't molest the candidates.

Blingin' Egg
No ice to be found here, unless the ice you speak of is like Talicanitath's diamonds: for pure crystallized carbon encrust the jagged shell of this larger-than-life egg, or so it would seem by the blinding reflection of light. It appears as multifaceted as any dragoneye, faintly silver and gleaming with refracted glory, a dazzling array of brilliance. Alas, for all it could be elegant and lovely, it somehow misses the mark, skirting strongly into the land of gaudy ghetto-fabulous.

Gold. Pyrite. Silver. Platinum. Everything metallic flows from point of contact with the egg's shell, into your fingers. The cheapness of the colors is only further undermined by the faux feel of the metal that slowly begins to wind around your body. A giant mark slung around your neck, dripping from a golden chain that weeps blood. Silver rings encircle your fingers, cutting off your circulation and causing the skin to turn green. Platinum encases your ears, digging into the tender lobes with malevolent intent. Pyrite, a fool's gold, forms a girdle encrusted with stones. Around you, the heads of the Candidate's turn in eerie, horror story style, and turn twisted grins upon your countenance, dripping as you in fake finery. Each bit of finery is a flaw drawn from your character that only you know. Perhaps, pride is in the twist of mark around your neck. Or the girdle symbolizes something binding you with material desires. The others — even Desmeth — begin to laugh as every emotion you feel is cheapened until it's distilled into the worst sort of poverty: the poverty of the soul. An evil laugh reverberates through your skull, ripples through the liquid of eardrums and encases in the meats of your mind. Even the golden kernel of truth cannot warm your bones of all the falseness of over-embellished feelings that hang around your neck, for all the world to see. However, the egg's touch rejects you, summarily. And you find yourself back in the caverns. The AWLM is eyeing you oddly, the sour taste of beer still on your tongue. No one is the wiser, but did you feel something? See something? Do you hide yourself behind fake finery to protect the kernel of truth? Only you can know…

Dione, at first, enjoys the feeling of being a Lady Holder, dripping in gauds and gems and precious metal that twists and adorns. It's only after a moment that she starts feeling the shackles, the prongs in the gifts, the negative impact. She looks up, blanching, as everyone starts to laugh at her, shrinking against the jeering and pointing, the incessant mocking abuse heaped on her vainglorious feelings. The last shock, the final piece, is as Desmeth's booming, hissing laughter sounds as well, and she yanks her hands back to salvage some kernel of justified pride. It's easy to see her arguing with herself by the expression: I'm not like that, I'll never be like that. They're wrong about me. In the end, however, even that struggle stays internal as she steps away from the egg, questing blindly now away from the other Candidates and the AWLM, away to the very periphery of the clutch, the beaten shell of the Cold Iron egg.

Cold Iron Egg
The luck of a thousand horseshoes is pounded into this tiny egg of silver and dull light. Luck is only half of it — the other laments a dire portent, tracings of crimson lifeblood that pool in cracks and crevices, never quite completed-cleaned. Fey ichor stands not a chance against the sturdy realism of this very present egg, as smooth and rounded as if forge-fired and Smith-beaten to a fine lustre. It radiates a sub-zero aura as tacit threat; cold iron is faerie's bane, nothing but a sharp edge to those mere mortals who would claim familiarity with the cold shell's surface.

The fall into this egg's touch is instantaneous; you find yourself in utter, utter darkness. A void of sensation that not even the heated sands can penetrate. A howling rushes by your ears as your heart's beating slowly increases until you feel as if it'll explode. Blood pounds through your blood vessels as your hindbrain takes control in a fight or flight moment where you beat feet away from the large, monstrous thing that swims in the darkness. Slowly the moons of a long-distant place and time peek through the heavy darkness of a dense forest. Something howls that sounds nothing like a dragon. Dark red eyes peer from the bushes, watching your movements. You run! Faster! Faster! Your breath is a thundering staccato to your ears, rasping from lungs that flag as if they'll fail you. A branch pulls away from a living tree, snagging your pants and tripping. Hands fall to the dirt, feeling the twigs and rocks dig into your skin. A wail escapes — or is that even you? Are you, you? Your eyes, they finally see. You have hair on the back of your hands, and claws protrude where your nails once where. Your whole body feels weird — weird enough that when you fall over, you find an avenging hunter standing above you with a stake made of gleaming, dull metal. You want to beg, but you don't have a mouth. You are a beast, and instinctively know that the metal the hunter holds means certain death. The stake plunges and you are expelled from the vision. But before the last of the egg's touch fades, something warm and soft caresses. The slow beat of faery wings that strike a chord of hope, of love, and something that lies between terror and utter ecstasy. You feel as if, in that single parting moment, every single part of you is accepted in the line between lines. In the hall of worlds, all variations of you are treasured. And then you're left, stuck on the sands. Sweating your ass off. Did… do you check for hair?

The Candidates at the front are starting to get rowdy, so the AWLM perks up and dusts her hands off. "One more touch, and then we'll need to get going. Khalyssrielth will be returning soon." The warning in her voice states it all: no one wants to be here when Khalyssrielth returns.

It's only by some kind of fae miracle that Dione doesn't shriek and flail, caught too tightly in the egg's touch to let limbs have the way they want. Her mouth works, her throat opens to howl, and it's by the bare mercy of the AWLM's voice that shocks at her that she regains a sense of self, a refuge from the terrible lure of a life lived between the lines. She's pale and shaking, sweating like the proverbial pig, when she opens her eyes languorously, veins still beating-beating-beating with furious, frantic sensation. "I… um. Uh." Verbal, she, trapped in too many strange experiences. Then, frantic all of a sudden, she checks the back of her hands, patting them again and again, to make sure there's no hair there. Swallowing repeatedly, steps no longer sure, she stumbles to her final touch, the toffee-pecan-caramel twist of the I got 99 Problems egg.

I Got 99 Problems But A Blizzard Ain't One Egg
Creamy, delicious; pure vanilla is the confectioner's foundation to delectable creation in iced perfection that hardly seems appropriate to be born of its dam. Chunks of buttered toffee, chips of pecan and bits of caramel blend through a chocolate swirl winding lazily through the creamy backdrop. Painfully sugary, a sweet-tooth's dream, it is arranged to display the perfect blend of salt-sweet-nutty, sitting proudly upon a base of cobalt blue with a slash of red and orange. A delight for the tastebuds, the very essence of this egg calls to all to touch it, lick it… The whipped lines of the drag of a cosmic spoon hint that at least something has already taken a bite out of this egg, but would you?

In the battered remains of a life held in the cusp between two worlds, the moment your finger's touch the hardening shell, all emotions are leeched from your soul. Good, bad; it doesn't matter, for all matters naught. All of the problems you've felt are taken away, born to another land to leave you standing in the middle of the hatching sands feeling glorious. As the world spins away, it's not winter to where you are born, but summer. Heat eclipses everything, warming the very bones that beheld a bloody waterfall to the fingers that felt the icy touch of a stream. Rukbat — is it Rukbat? — warms from the top down, but another sun rises, blinding. Your soul, a fae-light transcended to a different place and time — is attached to the springy limbs of someone you've never met, but you know as well as you know yourself. A summer of summer's, your legs carry you to a place of brick and mortar, set upon a wide sea of grey that steams in the summer's heat. Red and orange smear across your vision before your double is thrust into cheap air conditioning. Before your mind can even fathom these far-reaching, strange and alien ideas, your essence is thrust into the most delectable experience you will ever experience in your life. Toffee, chocolate, peanuts; a sweet confection served on a boat of a light flavor that carries the others well. It's icy and cool and feels like a sweet treat, refreshing as you are once again conveyed into a land of twin suns and strange, artificial seas of grey with yellow and white lines. Drowning in this icy glory, your problems dissolve like soap bubbles born on a tidal wave of sugar and sweets. All too soon, however, the taste is gone. Life is gone. Your world goes grey — a promise lurks. Fear not, the evils of the world for where evil is born, good is as well. Something shifts — did you feel that?! — internal to the egg and you are set oh-so-carefully back into yourself. The beer is washed away as your tongue only has the lingering sense of these strange, sweet tastes that leave you craving for more. You may have ninety-nine problems held in one hand, but in the other, life's sweet treat is a reminder that all is never lost.

It's such a blessing to have some of the experiences leached away from her, that Dione gives a fool's grin as she sinks into the egg's welcome. Is it permitted to be so happy about surcease from some of the previous grim truths? Perhaps, perhaps not; whichever it is, she dives into the alien feeling of smeared red-hot-orange-skin and coolness that it gifts her with, and her soul rises like the pop-pop-pop of effervescent bubbles. Even the grey life that appears gives her no trouble, taking the now-acrid taste of beer-mouth with it, and there's another sigh of pure relief. The promise is there, somehow, outweighing the sorrows with the hint that as long as there's life, there's always another day to hope, another chance to rise above. This time, when she steps away there are no tears, no frightened feelings, no shocky adrenaline. She steps away with a gulp of breath and gives a profound, deeply respectful bow to Desmeth — he deserves it, for one-half of the little minds she touched tonight. "Thank you, sir," she mutters to the AWLM, and makes her way from the sands.

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