Neshomeh: At Southern Hold, a small crowd gathered at the entrance to the shed that housed the resident gold watch-wher. Thersk grumbled and muttered to herself inside, irritated at being up this "early," as it were--but eggs would do as eggs would do, and she knew it. There were eight in this clutch. She checked each one multiple times, adjusting and re-adjusting them for the comfort of the hatchling inside. Her specialized vision allowed her to be very particular about this. Her handler, who hovered closest to the door, watched the skies for the arrival of the hopeful candidates.
Nerissa: Five dragons appeared in the sky above Southern Hold simultaneously. They spiraled slowly and eventually landed as near to the wher shed as possible. Passengers were dropped off and the dragons took to the beaches to sun while their riders opted to stay near the shed and watch the proceedings. The prospective handlers filed up to the shed, somewhat nervously.
Neshomeh: The handler smiled at the newcomers. "Good, you're here. I--we--that is, who's first?" The man was feeling Thersk's anxiety, though he was gentler about it than his beast was inclined to be. He, too, was unaccustomed to being awake before sundown, and that made him a bit scattered.
Nerissa: Arent, Arodet, Eron, Demer, and Tiria cautiously stepped forward. The others followed to create a sort of line.
Neshomeh: "You, then?" The handler nodded toward Arent. "Fine, fine. Just be sure you don't move too fast--but don't hesitate, either. You don't want her to think you're weak, like prey. They're not like dragons, you know. Show respect, but don't let her intimidate you." With that contradictory advice, he opened the shed door enough to let Arent pass through.
Nerissa: The young man entered and, after a few minutes, returned with an egg in his arms.
Neshomeh: The handler nodded his approval. "Well done, well done. If you just go over there--"he pointed at a larger building down the path--"you'll find food enough to satisfy the little one when it hatches. And don't forget to blood it, or Impression won't take. Next?"
Nerissa: One after another, the candidates progressed. Each went in, some came out with eggs, some didn't. Eventually, Tiria was the next up, and the young woman who'd gone before her emerged from the shed, arms heavy with a misshapen, mottled egg. Tiria stepped nervously into the large shed, blinking quickly to let her eyes adjust to the darkness. It was not long before she could make out the shape of a creature which was easily larger than any of the runner beasts she'd seen in the hold stables. Remembering the handler's advice, Tiria bowed slowly, but did not move her gaze from the two huge shining orbs which could only be the wher-queen's eyes.
Neshomeh: The wher regarded the girl with a low growl in her throat, considering, considering. She turned her head this way and that, drew deep sniffs of air, and gave a sharp, low bark.
Nerissa: Tiria was startled but did not dare show it. Recalling the abilities of dragonkin, she cleared her mind and began to think very calm, cool thoughts while taking a cautious step forward.
Neshomeh: Thersk could tell she'd given the girl a scare--the momentary spike in her body temperature was all too revealing. However, as the girl had recovered so well, the wher came to the conclusion that she could probably handle one of her children. Humming to herself, she stepped aside to clear the way to the remaining two eggs. They were both on the larger end of the scale, and both likely to hatch strong, feisty offspring. Both rocked, though the one toward the back of the shed was going at it with a bit more enthusiasm than the one nearest Tiria. Thersk's eyes gleamed.
Nerissa: Tiria quickly registered the Queen's acceptance and made her way slowly over to the eggs. She decided that it would be best to take the one that seemed closest to hatching. The sooner it was out of the shed and within in reach of food, the more smoothly things would go. The girl hefted the odd load into her arms. It was no small feat what with the way the egg was rocking about. Still, Tiria managed a parting bow to the Queen and made her way out of the dark, musty shed and back into daylight. She noticed the egg begin to chip and hurried along to the designated building to set her egg down in the warm sands. She chose the far corner and made sure to keep out of the way of those already feeding ravenous hatchlings as well as those who still waited for their eggs to hatch.
Within moments the egg was rocking violently and pieces began to fly away as the creature inside fought for freedom from it's shell. Eventually, the beast's entire back end was sticking out and the remaining half of the shell toppled off. In the darkness, Tiria's eyes were draw to the huge, shining faceted eyes. An acute fondness over came her and she barely noticed when on of the aides handed her the bucket of what smelled like bloody gruel. The foul stench was enough to bring her back to the task at hand and she quickly moved to spoon the awful mixture into the creature's mouth.
The aide returned to her and asked her if she wanted to blood the beast now or wait 'til it had slept. She opted for getting it over with quickly and closed her eyes at the pain of the incision the man carefully made along the palm of her right hand. The little wher lunged ravenously at the scent of blood, it's tongue greedily tasting Tiria's blood. Mercifully, it was soon again distracted by the food that the girl continued to shovel into it's mouth, and the aide hastily cleaned and dressed the wound.
Half an hour and 6 buckets of the reeking gruel later, the beast had curled up to sleep. Tiria sat exhausted against the wall and took a moment to examine the creature who had completely changed her life. In the extremely dim light, the girl could barely make out the gleam of the wher's well muscled body. Gold. She looked about at the sparkling shards of the egg. They too shone with a distinct golden sheen. 'Well,' Tiria thought, 'a Queen.' She managed a little smug satisfaction at the thought. And there was an odd affection she felt towards the little Queen that she could not explain. It was then that she noticed the half open eye gazing sleepily at her. 'Tirsk,' was their simultaneous decision, though the girl could not quite grasp how the notion truly came to her. The eye closed in sleep and Tiria laid down beside her golden friend and drifted off.
"Tiria's Impression" by Neshomeh and Nerissa, January 28, 2006.