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Golden Gift

Writers: Paula
Date Posted: 13th August 2019

Characters: Mealden, Unnamed Hold Boy
Description: Mealden's gold egg Hatches.
Location: Barrier Lake Weyrhold
Date: month 12, day 10 of Turn 9

Mealden was working on construction site when the boy he had hired to
keep an eye on his gold firelizard egg came running. The egg that had
been gift from his friend H'lim.
“Journeyman, the egg, it’s moving!” the boy cried between gulps of
air. Mealden quickly excused himself, getting wishes for good luck
from his workmates. Gold eggs were so rare that they understood the
need to be there when it hatched.

“Get some meat for me from the kitchen, please,” Mealden asked the boy
who nodded and then he rushed to the tent where he slept with some
other crafters. His family was yet to move to Barrier Lake.

The egg was indeed rocking violently, faint cracks running along its
sides. A fair of firelizards had gathered to witness and welcome her
with their humm. Mealden cradled the pot in his lap, sending warm,
welcoming thoughts at the egg, while hoping the boy would arrive with
meat before she broke out the shell.

The lad had to break some sort of speed record, so quickly he came
with a plate of meat scraps. He gave it, Mealden thanked him and then
the boy withdrew, far enough not to interfere with the Hatching but
still close enough to see it. Just in time.

A tip of a gold wing broke out. More of the wing was pushing out of
the widening crack but then it stopped. Mealden held his breath. She
seemed to struggle inside and he reached to help her. A firm tap set
the top side of the egg lose and suddenly she was out. She laid there,
sprawled half in, half out from the pot and seemed too tired to move.
The firelizards around them greeted her with jubilant “song” but she
didn’t seem to care or even notice. Suddenly concerned, Mealden took a
small piece of meat and placed it right in front of her muzzle. After
tense heartbeat or two, her tongue darted out and the meat disappeared
to her maw. Mealden fed her more meat, picking the smallest pieces so
she wouldn’t choke swallowing them. She was too hungry to chew. Piece
by piece she gained strength and soon crawled completely out of the
pot, settling into Mealden’s lap, her tail curling possessively around
his wrist. And if he was too slow, she made a demanding creel. The
plate had only a few scraps left when she finally stopped eating. She
yawned, flicking her tiny, pink tongue and Mealden got first, proper
chance to examine her. He didn’t have enough experience of firelizard
to estimate her size. Her hide was the red gold-hued. Her jewel eyes
were content-blue shade and her belly bulked. Mealden used his free
hand to gently scratch her ridges. She made a sound that could only
called a purr. Her lids started to close off.

“So, what should I call you? Red-gold? Your colour makes me think of
fire opal or yellow agate,” Mealden talked to her. “Did you know my
master used to call the metal gold aurum?” She was about to fall
asleep but the word made her perk up. “That’s not very feminine name,
is it. Aurum, Auruma, Aurua, Aure, Aurea,” when he mentioned the last
word, she chirped. “Aurea? Is that what you want to be called?” She
yawned again and nuzzling her head against him, fell asleep. “Aurea it
is,” Mealden said with a gentle voice.

The boy crept closer, overcome with curiosity. “Can I take a look at
her, sir?” he asked.

“Sure, go ahead, but she just fell asleep,” Mealden replied. He was so
happy that he paid him an extra quarter. He just couldn't wait to show
her to his wife and children.

Last updated on the August 13th 2019

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.