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Sharing the Sands

Writers: Estelle, Heather
Date Posted: 31st December 2020

Characters: Saibra, Ashela
Description: Chioneth begins to lay her eggs, with Aglayath already on the Sands
Location: Dragonsfall Weyr
Date: month 7, day 12 of Turn 10


Saibra
Saibra
Ashela
Ashela

Chioneth felt large.. and heavy. The gold grunted as she shifted on her
weyrledge, one set of eyelids shuttered as she watched the incoming and
outgoing dragons. How light and free they must feel up in the air, she
thought.

As suddenly as a gold knew when it was time to rise, Chioneth knew that
it was time to start laying her eggs. Pulling herself upright, the
senior queen spread her wings and allowed the currently to smoothly
glide her down to the entrance of the Hatching Sands.

Arriving in the cavern, she was momentarily surprised, but then
remembered that Aglayath would be in there as well, with her eggs. That
brought a tinge of annoyance. Chioneth did not want to share the sands,
but the area was big enough to hold two clutches. It would have to do.

}:Aglayath,:{ she greeted as she settled on the sands, as far from the
other queen as possible.

Aglayath had been coiled up on the warm sands, her eyes half-lidded as
she watched over her precious clutch. But the moment the other gold
entered the Sands, her whole body tensed and she raised her head, the
green glow of her eyes giving way to whirls of yellow and crimson. She
hissed softly, her tongue flickering between her jaws, and unfolded her
wings partly as if to shelter her eggs. }:Chioneth.:{

Ashela felt her agitation immediately, dropped the hides she'd been
working on and hurried down onto the sands, projecting feelings of calm
and soothing reassurance as best she could. It wasn't easy, for although
she'd known this would have to happen, she'd not been looking forward to
sharing the sands with another gold pair any more than Aglayath had. She
reached up and caressed her lifemate's jaw and muzzle, murmuring to her
until she settled down, though still watching Chioneth intently.

Chioneth spread her impressive wings out in warning to Aglayath’s hiss.
The younger gold might have clutched first but in Chioneth’s mind these
were _her_ sands.

Saibra entered the Hatching Cavern at that point, having felt Chioneth
move to the sands and knowing from Turns of experience what it meant.
She could see and feel that her dragon was much more agitated than she
normally was when she clutched.

**What’s the matter?** she asked, glancing at Ashela and lifting her
hand in greeting.

}:These are my sands.:{ Chioneth said to only her rider.

**Of course, dear, now lower your wings and clutch your eggs.**

For a split second Chioneth entertained the notion of clutching
somewhere else, but Saibra picked up the thought immediately.

**That is something a silly green would do, lay their eggs by the Winter
Lake.**

}:I know. It was just a thought.:{ Chioneth snapped before folding her
wings against her back and delivering the first egg.

Aglayath had allowed her rider to calm her, but she still eyed the other
gold warily, and began to nudge her eggs into a closer group, so there'd
be plenty of space between her clutch and the other queen's. }:I was
here first,:{ she grumbled. }:Why can not Chioneth go somewhere else?:{

**She is senior queen, and besides, these are the Hatching Sands. There
is nowhere else.** Ashela stroked her eye ridges, keeping up the flow of
tranquil thoughts, though it galled her to do so. She recalled with
regret the beautiful new Hatching Cavern at Barrier Lake, which might
have been hers, but carefully kept that from Aglayath. It wasn't her
dragon's fault. **She won't hurt your eggs. She will have her own to
guard. You've shared the sands before, when we first came to Dream's
End. All will be well.**

}:I do not remember. But I don't think I would have liked it.:{

The goldrider smiled. **You didn't. But you managed. Do you think you
could stay here, while I talk to Saibra?**

}:If I must,:{ Aglayath replied huffily, nosing another egg under her wing.

Ashela smiled, patted the golden nose and made her way around the sands,
keeping her distance from Chioneth. "Weyrwoman."

"I had hoped that Chioneth would wait to rise a little later," Saibra
said by way of greeting as she spared her 'second a smile. "So that we
wouldn't have to share sands. I had entertained the notion that two
Hatching Sands would be nice but.. honestly, we've never really had this
problem here before. Onnyth, Chioneth, and Anaeryth always managed to
avoid one another."

"Yes. This happened to me for Aglayath's first few clutches at Dream's
End, but she rose a little earlier each time so soon enough, she had the
Sands to herself. We can hope that happens again." Ashela looked out at
the older queen and her egg-heavy belly, wondering how many she would
lay. "Once she gets used to Chioneth being there, she'll be calmer. It's
the Hatching that may be difficult."

Saibra imagined that Chioneth would be quite protective of her eggs
while there was a hatching going on in the same Sands. "We'll manage,"
she said confidently. "Are you going to allow Candidates to come and
touch Aglayath's eggs before the Hatching?"

"I'd like to. Aglayath is usually wary, but she tolerates them." Both
queen and rider also enjoyed the awe and attention paid them by the
visiting Candidates. "It would be a good trial run for the Hatching,
when there'll be crowds and noise as well, but perhaps we should be more
careful, allow them in in smaller groups."

“That sounds doable.” Saibra agreed, watching as Chioneth another egg
and carefully used to her to push it into place and then almost nearly
cover it with sand.

**What are you doing?** she asked of the clutching queen.

}:I don’t want her looking at them.:{ Chioneth said sulkily.

Saibra released a little sigh but didn’t relay the information to Ashela.

Aglayath huffed discontentedly and curled up with her back to Chioneth,
encircling as many of her eggs as she could with neck and tail. Ashela
could feel the simmering tension in her dragon, setting her nerves on
edge, and hoped she'd get used to it before long. By her guess, the eggs
were still a few sevendays from hatching. The sooner she and Aglayath
were safely back in their Weyr, the better.

"I'd better go back and try to calm her," she said, and smiled with all
the bright sincerity she could muster. "Congratulations, Weyrwoman. I'm
sure you'll have a beautiful clutch."

"Thank you, Ashela." Saibra inclined her head, wondering if Chioneth
would lay a gold. In all these Turns her dragon had never laid the
illusive golden egg. She thought of the other goldriders she knew who'd
had more than one in their Turns of riding. Then her thoughts turned to
Chioneth's last hatching, when the dragonet had not found a lifemate and
had died on the sands.... Just the thought of it sent a shudder down her
spine. She would bring in double the amount of Candidates this time, she
vowed, none of Chioneth's babies would die on the Sands this time.

Last updated on the January 13th 2021


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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.