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The Strange Events on the Sands

Writers: Avery
Date Posted: 25th September 2021

Characters: I'rad, Serys, Devryn, Andvari
Description: Irradis Impresses at a very unutual Hatching.
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 9, day 17 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: Irrkali, M'gan, Cyradis, N'vanik, Furayl, Reyela, Larsaz


Irradis was assigned to his third day of weyr cleaning duty, and was up
in one of the higher weyrs that he had to get lifts from retired riders
and weyrling members to, when he heard a sound echo in the Weyr. It
started slow and then began to build. Being Weyrbred, he knew the sounds
of a Hatching in progress. **Oh no,** he thought, wondering if the rider
who'd been giving him lifts was going to come back in time, envisioning
missing out on the Hatching.

He bolted into the Candidate barracks, and noted with relief that he
wasn't the last person to arrive there. There were Candidates outside of
the were still a few others in the barracks getting changed. He rushed
to his assigned bed, yanked open his trunk, and pulled out the
carefully-folded Candidate robe and sandals. As he pulled the robe on,
he noticed that it was higher than it should be on him and it felt a
little tight on the shoulders. He'd just made sewing edits to it for
Panitath's last Hatching! **Must have grown again,** he thought as he
tugged to get it on.

He shoved his feet into the sandals and laced them up, then headed out
of the barracks to join a small group of the other Candidates milling
outside, holdbred first-timers mixed with shy ones.
"Come on, let's go to the Hatching Grounds," he said, waving along the
small group. "We can wait outside the Candidates' entrance and make it
easier for the others."

"Nobody from the weyrlingstaff is here yet," Devryn said, scuffing his
toe on the ground. "What if we're supposed to wait here?"

"That's because they're _there_ already," he said patiently.

The humming had been rising as they walked, and he stopped to point out
the bustle of different groups working on their part in the Hatching for
the new people - the caverns workers who were running by with food, or
decorations for the feast, or as they were outside, the dragons in the
sky, carrying the passengers who would be viewing the Hatching. When
they got there, sure enough, there were a number of other Candidates
waiting outside.

A middle-aged greenrider who was on the weyrlingstaff because of her
injuries waved at Irradis. "Thanks for leading this group here."

"No problem, Andvari. Good to see you again."

"Back again, I see. Hope it's your Hatching this time," she told him,
clapping him on the shoulder with her good arm.

"Are we late?" Serys asked.

She shook her head, braids flying. "Terristh will let me know when it's
time to go on in. Panitath is still crooning at the eggs, and they're
filling the Sands with people."

She tugged at her robe hem. "Okay."

Irradis grinned at her and Devryn to reassure them and bounced up and
down on his toes as he waitied, scanning the rest of the Candidates who
were assembling. He spotted Larsaz, who seemed to be doing his best to
ignore them all. Yvedra and Reyela among a group of girls, and behind
them there was Furayl. Fhirat, who caught Irradis staring at him and
backed off.

"Okay, go on in," Andvari told them.

So they shuffled in. He watched, amused, as the newcomers were shuffling
on the ground and dancing at how hot the sand was. It was super-hot on
his feet too, but he was acting all casual and unaffected. He looked up
and scanned the crowd, and spotted his mother there in the stands
sitting close to the leaders' section, sitting with _M'gan_, and waved
up at her. **Huh, something there.**

Two eggs were really rocking, and he drifted over that way. The first
popped a blue, and he thought, **well, that's middle ground,** thinking
of the old weyrbred rumors that a bronze was best and a green was bad
luck. Then he grinned as the blue Impressed to Furayl. "Good job!" he
called.

That first egg started the cracking going. He watched as other dragonets
walked by him and hit familiar places - Fhirat got a brown, Reyela got a
green. As none of them seemed interested at him, he glimpsed back up at
his mother. And then he heard a noise. A loud bugling noise from the
dragons, a bellow of outrage, and a rustle from the crowds. He spun to
look behind them at where the dragonets had been led off to and he saw
staff surrounding a dragonet.

"What's happening?" Serys asked. He started as he heard the girl ask, he
thought she'd been over by other candidates.

"I don't know," he said. He was nervous too, and he wanted to know as
well, but he didn't want to let her get scared, so he shifted into a
protective mode. "But the weyrlingstaff is going to handle it. We gotta
look at the dragonets, okay?"

And he thoughbt he had her calmed down, right till Loseth jumped over
them and glided past. Panitath's eyes started whirling red and orange
and he hissed mentally, knowing the problem. **If she won't let us near
the eggs and babies... something is really wrong.**

Serys shrieked and grabbed at his arm, and Irradis wrapped it around her
instinctively. "Where is he going? What are they yelling about?"

Irradis pointed at the little blue and green by Panitath's body, as she
spread her wings and crooned. "Look at them, okay? The last thing we
need is to get run over by a dragonet."

"Okay," Serys said. She took a deep breath.

"Look, there's a few cracked eggs over there, let's go." He walked there
with her, to a group of five eggs and a number of Candidates around
them.

And it was a good thing he chose to walk there too, because almost as
soon as they got there, a small green popped out of one of the eggs. She
looked up at Panitath and creeled, and then stumbled over towards the
group of Candidates. He held his breath, wondering if she was coming for
him or one of the girls around them.

Then she opened her mouth and charged up to Serys and plopped down at
the redhead's feet, emitting joyous squeaking and eyes whirling a
rainbow of delight. He cheered as the girl bent down to cradle her face
before walking off with her. "Good job!" he yelled.

Now there were only two dragonets left and one open egg with a foot
sticking out, and over a dozen Candidates waiting. His odds of
Impressing this time were slim, and so he turned away from them to look
at what was happening. Loseth had come back in, carrying a herdbeast
over to the crowd of Impressed weyrlings. **Why would that happen?
What's changed?** he wondered as he looked at it. He knew from his
mother there was always meat for the weyrlings.

A glance at the crowds revealed the Weyrleaders in their seats, and he
saw Cyradis and N'vanik with expressions of concentration. Dragonriders
were pushing and whispering. And the hold-types and crafters who came
out to watch, many of them seemed bewildered. That was an understandable
mood.

He looked back at the Sands. The bronze and brown had impressed and he
couldn't see the dragonet from the cracked egg. All of the other
Candidates who hadn't been chosen were starting to move their way off of
the Sands now. Irradis should do that, but he thought maybe he could
slip over to where the newly Impressed had gone, try to overhear what
was happening...

Something bumped into his knees from behind, and he staggered slightly,
turning around to see what had happened. Had someone tripped? He looked
down to see a dragonet the color of the blue morning fog by his feet,
leaning forward to tap his head against his knee. }:I had to find you
before you walked away!:{ a voice said, before the dragonet looked up
and Irradis met whirling blue-green eyes and fell into them.

He didn't know how long he stood there, eyes meeting the dragonets. The
hot Sands fell away, as did the babbling noise and chatter from the
Stands and the dragon bellowing. He felt like he was being enveloped in
the heavy morning fog from back at Rising Moons, in the stately coolness
of mist surrounding his skin and the quiet eternity of the shrouded
valleys. It felt like going _home_, and he exhaled as the piece of him
he hadn't even known was missing settled into place.

}:We are together now, I'rad.:{

He looked up to the Stands and caught the eyes of his mother - and M'gan
next to her - celebrating jouyously - and waved frantically at them.
"That's my family," he said to his blue. "I can't wait for you to meet
them."

}:I will meet your people. But please. Feed me first.:{ The blue gave a
creel, plaintively, and I'rad felt his belly twitch with it, cramping.

"Alright, Echovath," he said, already knowing his lifemate's name.
"Let's go to the food."

And resting his hand against his small new dragonet, he started walking
over to the place for the newly-Impressed, seeking only food to fill the
hunger in his - Echovath's - stomach. The need was strong, but not
strong enough to make him no longer care about what was going on. He
hoped he'd find out more when they got there...

Last updated on the October 1st 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.