The Second Time

Day 20 of Month 5 of Turn 2720
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Hatching Sands
A wide, spacious cavern with a high, vaulted ceiling and ledges high above for dragons to perch upon. The iridescent sands shimmer in the heat, a myriad of pearlescent colors which change and shift in the light. The sands themselves are uncomfortably warm although they seem most welcoming to dragonkind. Scattered shards remain from past clutches although the current brooding queen usually has a cleared spot for her own clutch. Just up from the sands are the ledges where dragons can land to watch, while along the eastern wall are the galleries for humans to watch.

Another day, another touching, another blessed moment during which Chauth won't eat candidates! Candidates have been summoned to the sands and awaiting them is one dark-skinned AWLM. Suyi stands with buckets and towels at the ready for hand washing and a grin on her face. "Just be nice otherwise we'll feed you to her…and to Zych." The blue isn't on the sands, but he /is/ hovering just at the entrance so that every candidate has to pass him by! He's eyeing each and everyone for REASONS, maybe figuring out which ones he can drag into some type of chaos later.

Round two of egg touching is here for Etinei! The girl looks less anxious than last time, though Zychaelth's presence right by the entrance to the sands is a cause of nervousness. She gives the blue a respectful nod of her head as she passes him by (dragons really don't eat people, right?) and heads towards the eggs across the hot sands. "Hello, Weyrlingmaster," the teenager greets Suyi, glancing over at Chauth to settle her mind that the gold isn't on hyper alert. They wouldn't have brought the candidates out if she wasn't, right?

"Hello there," Suyi replies with a grin, though a glance over towards the blue results in an expression that's a tad more…scary. For now though, chaos is held at bay and she gestures towards the buckets and then the eggs. "I'm sure you have the hang of this by now, but if you have any questions I'll be here…and don't push yourself if anything gets to be too much."

Etinei nods, all obedience in the face of instructions, implied though they may be. She washes hands, dries them off, and then meanders towards the eggs. Many of them are familiar, though there are a handful with which she has yet to interact. One of those she is somewhat familiar with from her chat with Teinon about the eggs the other day, and so she heads towards the perfect-seeming black egg with the white 'collar', putting a gentle hand just to the side of the spot of red.

< Etinei touches egg 2 - Hatred for the Harper Egg >
Poised and perfect, there is nary a flaw to be found upon this egg - its ovoid shape neither too long nor too squat, its shell carefully smooth, and the colors upon its surface clearly applied with great care. Darkest ebony sweeps in, cloaking the lower portion of the egg in the hues of the night, somehow unmarred by the glittery sands, while a 'ruffle' of white settles like a great collar upon the upper portion of the egg, settled effortlessly upon the curves, even and perfect. The only hint of color is a delicate, round spot of richest red, like a boutineer - a rose by other name that hardly smells as sweet.

« Whispered Prophecies slip in from the shadows, a surprisingly jaunty tune that seemingly comes from nowhere. A patchwork of colors and patterns bob along through your mind, tickling at your thoughts. Oh, you wish to know what it is coming? You wish to know how you will make your big break? The mental music suddenly shifts, becoming starkly different - slower and more ponderous - as it continues to stalk around you. It is quite simple, you must.. And then, there is a distant crash, and suddenly you are alone, the music gone, the answer left unshared. »

Etinei isn't the most musical, but she can listen and appreciate a tune. So she does, her brow wrinkling as it seems to tickle at her thoughts. There's something uneasy about this egg, though not frightening like some of the others. Certainly not frightening enough to scare her off, and the blonde keeps her hand in place, drawing in a settling breath as she seeks an answer she hasn't yet received.

« Whispered Prophecies slowly, carefully, inch their way towards you once more, the colors and patterns seeming far more ridiculous this time, as the music starts softly before building up in tempo, in volume, and in sheer silliness. Mental gymnastics of the not usual sort begin as the mind is here, and there, contemplating you carefully, Do you really wish to know what you must do? Are you not happy with who you are? Do you feel unable to succeed on your own? A brush of fabric across your mind punctuates that question, as the music levels off. »

It's getting overwhelming for her, the silliness of it all, the mental gymnastics and the volume and tempo of the music. But Etinei stands her ground, determined to get answers from this presence. Teasing her with an unanswered question is just the sort of thing to make her stubborn, and the set of her feet on the sands is exactly that as she keeps the contact.

« Whispered Prophecies suddenly return in the style of a great finale - flashing lights, crashing drums, singing and dancing and twirling and clapping. The noise and spectacle go on and on, surrounding you, pulling you away from the sands, and creating a great ruckus. And then, everything goes black, and you are left alone on the stage of the sands, with a single word echoing, the answer to the questions in your mind. Eggs. »

Etinei is buffeted by the cacophony of sound and light and movement, wavering in her place as she feels as though she's being drawn away somewhere. Just before it gets too much for her, she's suddenly back in herself, with a lone word left there in her mind. Taking a shaky breath, she draws away from the egg, looking at it wide-eyed and slightly suspicious for a long moment. With a glance to check that Chauth is still not a danger, the girl moves on, careful steps leading her to another new egg. The bold-seeming egg or black and gold, this one sitting behind others. This one is the one she'll lay both hands on, taking great care with the still-hardening shell.

< Etinei touches egg 1 - The Egg Where It Happens >
This egg is a study in contrasts, a shimmering, gilded shell interrupted by wild geometric black patterns. Stars are broken up by intermittent stripes, ones that encircle the egg at a jaunty angle that smacks of bravery and bold attitude. Jet black markings are only tempered by the rich gold of the rest of its shell, aureolin tones beaten and worn as a lucky coin passed from pocket to pocket. It's almost as if it were attempting to blend in with the sands around it whilst also trying to stand out as the place to be, the egg to touch and, frustrated by its inability to do both, it therefore accomplishes neither. It sits behind the others, ready prove itself, to show its worth, to take its shot and never waste it, but for now it'll bide its time. It'll be here. It'll wait for it.

« Inimitably Original winks on slowly, one spherical orb of light at a time. Each light flickers, shines, catches upon the glassy surface of its brethren, seeming to pass the torch from one to the next to the next in steady, even revolutions. Slowly they spin, a rectangular marquee of brilliant lights surrounding one singular word: your name. What's that? You came to learn about //it, not teach it about you? Nonsense. You're the one vying for its time, right? Well, you've got it. Now hush. It's watching the show, now, and helpless, you're pulled along with it. It's strange, perhaps, to witness the events of your life as played out by actors upon a stage. The movements are perhaps jerky and overdramatic, as though acted out by marionettes, but it's all there - the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of your youth, a parade of caricatured characters performing a rhythm and dance you know only too well. The egg, however, is perhaps not the best theatre guest. Who is this, it seems to ask in a loud stage whisper. What was that? What happened here? It so desperately wants to know, finally withdrawing from your senses with a hushed intake of breath. Don't worry. Take your time. It'll wait. »//

Inquisitive mind meets inquisitive mind: Etinei presses back mentally as best she can, inexperienced as she is with this whole mind's presence thing. There is no fear to be found with this one, but rather something she is willing to share just enough of herself with to learn more about it.

« Inimitably Original raises the curtain upon the second act, taking what its learned and shedding new light upon your burgeoning adolescence. Literally. Depending on the thoughts you conjured, the lighting changes with a staged //click, as though this happiness, sadness, greed, jealousy, whatever was an absolutely instrumental aspect of what has made you, you. It studies your efforts to come into your own, to become a young adult under this new light with raptorial interest, and for a moment it seems as though you'll be put through this awkward self-indulgence in silence and then… But what about love? Green, gold, blue, whatever your lighting was, it suddenly becomes suffused with warmth, soft pink gels sliding in to slowly change the atmosphere. Just who or what is the love of your life seems to matter less than it merely existing - it could be a person, a passion, a pursuit, something lost, someone long gone, but it seeks to know as much about this mysterious figure upon the stage as you will tell it. Please. It needs to know more, and it will wait as long as it takes for you to provide it its answer! »//

The scrutiny is a little much for Etinei, and there's a tension in her jaw and through her body as she perseveres. The prominent thought in her mind is no person, but rather the rough image of a book, conjured up with as much power as she has to do so. She didn't even have to pause before offering her answer!

« Inimitably Original reaches a turning point as your mind touches its own once more, a sense of exultant expectation, tension, //frisson causing the air to fairly crackle. This is its favorite part, don't you know? But… but what is it? The answer is not immediately apparent, as actors rush through the events of the last several months, weeks, days, a particular dragon, a particular knot, a particular weyr featuring heavily and then… Then what? But that's the best part. Who knows. The end of play has yet to be written, and nobody knows what will come next. What do you think? What do you hope? What do you want? This is no time to sit and idly wait for it, wait for it, wait — no, this is the time to witness what you have become in this moment, to see this pantomime version of you, this brightly lit stage that is your life, this theatre full of people you know, you will come to know, you may never know and to seize upon the sheer, unbridled potential you represent. You can do anything, anything at all right now. What will it be? No dream is too big, no hope is too small, and it can only wish it will be there to witness it all, to keep your flame, to tell your story. Finally, the curtain lowers. Slowly, the lights of your marquee wink out, but it leaves you with a lingering promise that if nothing else, you have made it your biggest fan. »//

What feels like a tingle of electricity is running through Etinei's body as she pulls back from the egg, equal parts exhilarated and relieved at breaking the contact. She has to stand there for a moment until she's sure that her legs aren't going to give out underneath her, her eyes still fixed on the egg right in front of her. Finally, she moves, gaze swinging around until she finds its target. There is one egg she has yet to encounter, and it would be remiss of her not to see what that one is like. A larger egg, it is no longer guarded by Chauth as it is last time, and Etinei can at last lay a hand on the darkly coloured shell.

< Etinei touches egg 9 - A Shiny New Era Egg >
Melding with the darker shadows of the sands, this large egg is wrapped in an aurora of deep amethyst and blue obsidian with hints of garnet. An avid explorer will find there appears to be a raised ridge that appears discolored on one side, enough that the garnet has brightened to a pale morganite pink crescent as though a talon has embossed itself there near the apex of the ovoid. The vivid colors are lighter near the top, and deepen towards the base until whorls of black can be seen engulfing the garnet and melting into the dark amethyst spire that rises towards the morganite crescent. Blue obsidian makes up the majority of the rest of the egg's color, rich in hue and easy to miss.

« Regal Aspirations does nothing, nothing at all. For long enough that you begin to wonder if there's anything in there or if you should call the dragonhealers to see if this egg is a dud. Your feet, they're hot. Is that a trickle of sweat that's beading up on your head that you're starting to notice? The chattering of people nearby or just the sound of movement on the sands starts to be distracting - what are they saying? Is there some meaning there? Are you the type that worries if the conversation is about you? Just then, when you remember that your hand is on the egg that has an interesting satiny smoothness - a brush of something curious, a gleam of bright gold that blinds, before you're thrust into darkness. It's not cooler here, wherever this is, but it's starting to become illuminated in a brilliant lime fluorescence. »

For a long moment, Etinei stands there, waiting. And waiting. And then wondering if something is wrong. It's not until there's the brush of something, something that makes her let out a soft gasp, that her worries are wiped away. Pressing on into the growing fluorescence, she needs to know what's going on.

« Regal Aspirations guides you through the darkness with its luminescence, appearing out of this craggy slit of darkness and then vanishing to reappear in the next. Are you curious? Or, are you frightened? Will you steel yourself and follow after the presence, or retreat back to the safety of the sands? Perhaps this in itself is a test, one that proves your worth and status to be notable enough to the glimmering mind that is the resident of this fortress. It also could simply be a game played by the young forming mind of the dragon, to see if you're inquisitive enough to chase along after it. So much uncertainty, and not a word of guidance from the beast that lingers in wait. A flare of glimmering gold is seen in the dark distant horizon, extinguishing in a wisp of pale green before disappearing altogether. Again, you're lingering in the dark. Will you wait? »

Etinei's curiosity gets the better of her, as ever, and she allows herself to be lead through the darkness. Just a little further, and maybe she can see what's waiting out there, so far away? Just as she feels like she's approaching, it's gone, and there's only darkness. Feeling her heartbeat thudding through her body, and the smooth shell beneath her hand, Etinei steels herself and waits.

« Regal Aspirations can be felt approach, the coolness of its presence might send a shiver down one's spine, but then it's followed by warmth which permeates the chill. Silken, velvety, smooth, these feelings give the impression of the dragon within having an intelligence beyond its unborn turns with a temperance to be calculative. Assessing, analyzing you to see what use you might be to it. Would you be strong enough to be its leader, or end up being a follower trailing behind? Either way, the beast within grows tired, or perhaps bored of your presence in its space. A last peek, a shimmer of lime green that speeds off into the distant blackness before you return to the realization that your feet may have been too long on the sands. What even happened? Light returns to you, and the darkness vanishes to return beyond the borders. »

It feels like a long moment with the egg's presence, and yet like no time at all. Abruptly, Etinei is back on the sands surrounded by light, blinking stupidly at the curious egg before her. There were answers, sure, but there are more questions than before. Slowly, she steps away, a touch unsteady as she moves away from the clutch and a little towards Suyi. "I think - may I be excused?" She asks the Weyrlingmaster politely, if rather faintly.

Suyi frowns just the slightest, but it's certainly not the worst reaction anyone has had on the sands, "Of course…if you need to stop by the infirmary on your way please make sure you do." There's a softer smile from the AWLM before she gestures towards the exit.

Etinei's nod is a slight one, and whether or not she's considering that advice is hard to tell. She looks thoughtful, and perhaps a little paler than usual, as she murmurs a 'thank you', and then slowly leaves the heat of the sands.

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