Toucha Toucha Touch Me (Egg Touching)

Day 12 of Month 6 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.

THAT DISGRUNTLED AWLM? He looks like he's seen better days: his hair is askew, his clothing is rumpled, his eyes say that he's in hate with everybody for simply having the audacity to exist, and that maybe a good sleep got interrupted - but he's here. That's the important part. He's not the only one here either, not when Chauth and Ysgie made it clear that they were willing to accommodate a few hands on a few eggs. So Disgruntled AWLM is not the only one leading a pack of candidates onto the sands. Either way, he stops at the entrance, bows to dam and sire, and then turns to face the shifting group behind him. "Right," comes his voice, heavy with sleep. "You know the rules, but here they are again in case you forgot: bow to the dam and sire, do not run, do not hit, do not be loud. Once either of those two dragons start looking like you're more of an annoyance than a poorly tolerated visitor, we leave. I don't care what you're in the middle of doing. Now go. Go, go. Bow - yes, you. Bow. Now go." FREEDOM! Kind of. TOUCH ZE EGGS!

Petra is hovering near the back of the group of candidates, looking very uncertain of herself and clearly hoping that someone else is going to lead the way. When one of the younger boys, wearing clothes clearly somewhat too large for him, half trips over his over long trousers and his bow turns into a stumble and a yelp, she can't suppress a giggle and seems to lose the nervousness. Bowing to Chauth and then Ysgieuth with a neat economy of movement taught by a lifetime of riding runners, she moves over towards the nearest egg, staring at it for what seems to be a long time before cautiously extending a hand to lay her fingertips on the shell.

< Petra touches egg 3 - Illuminated Dreams Egg >

While diminutive in size, this egg sure makes up for what it lacks in stature with pure pizzazz. A blossom of burnished gold comprises the base, subtle shading giving the false impression of dings and dents in the pristine surface. Over the broad belly, fanciful whorls of smokey silver embrace the shell, and within those swirling clouds, flecks of sandy gold glitter like small jewels - winking in and out of existence - as one tries to focus on them. And yet, amongst the metallic hues there is a splash of bright, as erupting out of the smoke, shades of azure and turquoise cling to the apex of the egg, drawing the eye up, up, up into a world of brilliant possibility.

« Seeking Endless Wonder draws you away and as it does so you feel the heat intensify around you. The world is illuminated by an unrelenting sun that beats down upon, but despite the harsh conditions you look around to find yourself in a small oasis. Plants flourish in this walled garden, filling the air with hints of jasmine. A large fountain stands in the middle of the grounds, and you find yourself drawn by the sweet promise of chilled water. It’s only after you begin moving towards it, that you realize you aren’t quite alone. Seeking Endless Wonder is there and immediately looks up in surprise. You came from outside? Excitement fills the air as it grabs your hands, and the moment it does so your memories begin to spill forth. Behind these walls it has never known a normal life, the small mundane things you do on a daily basis are /incredible/ by its standards. Laughter fills the air, amusement at something you deigned to buy, but then abruptly stops. There it is, a single moment of injustice that seems almost entirely insignificant to you…but to Seeking Endless Wonder it’s quite a shock. Immediately it begins to draw back, and within moments you are returned to the sands. »

Petra takes a step back and stares first at her hands, then at the shell of the egg as if expecting to see something different about it. Then stares at her hands again and glances at her neighbours, one of whom appears to be giggling at something with a friend, the other one with his eyes shut and a blissful expression. Clearly whatever they are sensing, it is not the same as the strange sensation that she has just encountered. Her face shows intense curiosity and she gently leans forward to touch the same egg again.

« Seeking Endless Wonder welcomes you back to its paradise in the desert, apparently recovered from earlier. Still, it desires to see the world but there’s caution now. Rather than rifling through your memories it waits, waits for /you/ to take its hand should you choose to, waits for /you/ to choose what you will share. But there’s little mystery about what Seeking Endless Wonder would /like/ for you to show it. It wants your most beautiful memories, the sights that left you in absolute awe, each and every moment that you wished could last forever. With each image you feed it, you find the scenery around you changing. The walls of the garden begin to crumble and the suffocating heat eases as the sun disappears behind the horizon. Large sand dunes stretch as far as the eye can see, each one constantly shifting as warm currents of air skim against their surfaces. You can feel it, the draw to /explore/ that unending landscape because there /is/ something else out there- something incredible. Before you get the chance however, you’re whisked back to the hatching grounds. »

Petra seems a little more ready for the experience this time, and the expression on her face is passing from curiosity to something more subtle - anyone who has ever seen her on runnerback will recognise that slight unfocus of the eyes as her mind concentrates on something intangibly felt rather than seen - but this is not a feeling on a runners reins, it is something far stranger. But she seems to be offering back an answer as her fingers move over the eggshell, and then suddenly she blinks hard and steps back, finding herself back in reality rather than a shell-wrapped desert dream. She deliberately takes a pace backwards though her eyes linger on the first shell and she is slow to move to a second egg.

< Petra leaves egg 3 - Illuminated Dreams Egg >

Petra leaves the first egg with a backward glance. Many of the other eggs seem to have candidates already attached to them, but for some reason the startlingly green egg has nobody near it - she moves towards that one.

< Petra touches egg 7 - Everything Lime is Evil Egg >

There is not a subtle thing about this egg - not its elongated narrow shape, nor its above average size. Most certainly not the color. It all but glows under the lights on the hatching grounds, like a froggy ferny cabbage this egg is unnaturally green. Lime green to be precise. The colors seem to shift and swirl like smoke, creating whirls and eddies that start to resemble distorted faces or shadowy masks if you look too closely or too long.

« The Shadowman strikes without warning, and suddenly it is as if your hand is sinking through the shell of the egg, as if it was merely comprised of opaque, glowing smoke. Swirling outwards, the vapors of the dissolving egg engulf you, turning your mental world first green, than violet as the smoke fades from view. You find yourself surrounded by walls of silk, subtle stripes stretching upwards to infinity, while they are interrupted by wooden masks of every shape and style. Echoing, indistinct whispers dance around the space like mayflies, impossible to trace, but drawing you towards those masks… drawing you in, before suddenly a swirl of green smoke and you find yourself back on the sands beside the egg - most decidedly not touching it even a little. Wasn’t that fun? »

Petra now seems shaken - if the first experience was strange, that one was little short of eerie. Whatever the instructions they were all given in the barracks, they definitely were not any preparation for that. She seems to make a deliberate decision to back away from that egg, and since another candidate is moving towards it, she takes the opportunity to move to the egg the other girl has left.

< Petra leaves egg 7 - Everything Lime is Evil Egg >
< Petra touches egg 10 - What Lies Beneath Egg >

This ovid is a clash of vibrant reds and golds against black, a reflective shimmer that curls, and arcs, and reaches like licks of flame against an endless backdrop of ebony. White breaks the pattern of this shell, a creamy hue that leaves even more patterns against its shell: one that appears to be a rose in so much blood-red… and a mask.

« Unspoken Secrets push in against the back of your mind, a slow, hot, consuming burn that flutters in tandem with the frantic beat of your heart. Phantom fingers trace along the curves of your body, delineate your collarbone, drag blunted nails up your neck where they wrap one by one in slow, deliberate claim. You are mine, it whispers against skin, a breath that precedes the weight of a body pressed up against you, behind you. I am yours. More fingers, this time at your hips, catching at hipbone and dragging slowly across your stomach to the other side, catching in fabric and brushing feather-light against exposed flesh. You wanted this. Lips find your shoulder-blades as that hand on your hip jerks you back, seals the gaps between your bodies, bodies that begin a slow sway back and forth — as if you are dancing, losing yourselves to something slow, something intimate, something that needs not the accompaniment of music. You wanted me. A shuddered exhale as nose, lips, the barest hint of teeth press against your jaw, your cheek, and drag up, up, up to your cheekbone, back against your ear in slow, agonizing movement. And I wanted you. The hand at your hip rises up along your side, curls fingers over each bump of your ribcage, traces up along the curve of shoulder to grab your upper arm, and it pushes you forward, using your unsteady footing to twist you back around, to drag you in right against it, chest to chest, hip to hip, the hand at your neck curving back along your jaw to cup your head at the base of your skull as it leans over you, as it bends you back to meet its persistent dominance. But it is our secret. When you open your eyes, the figure you think you see seems to disintegrate into sand, blown away by the breeze — a breeze that isn't there. Surely not. Not here. Not against the sweltering heat of sands, framed beneath the dome of the arena. »

Petra seems to be nodding slowly at something on she can hear, her eyes closed - then her eyes open and she lifts her hands from the shell again. She looks slightly dizzy and presses the hand that was on the shell to her forehead as if trying to ground herself again in reality. Her pupils are dilated and her breathing somewhat fast as she seeks to regain her composure. For a second she looks like she might almost be thinking about bolting out of the Sands, then another candidate beckons her to take his place at an egg and she seeks to bring her breathing back to normal before nodding to the boy and moving to the egg he has left.

< Petra leaves egg 10 - What Lies Beneath Egg >
< Petra touches egg 4 - Mists and Ashes Egg >

Standing out from its peers, Smoke and Ashes Egg has the singular distinction of being surprisingly tall and narrow despite being obviously ovoid. At first glimpse, one might consider it awfully dark and gloomy, but when looked at closely, a doorway to a place of phantasmal enchantment can be found. One where there is hardly no day, nor hardly no night, where there's things half in shadow, and halfway in light. At the base, hues of the deepest black stretch into lissome tendrils reaching into the star-flecked blues of its midnight center. Upon those towering peaks of darkness, shadows cavort, leaping from darkness to light quicker then the eye can follow. Crowning the egg’s starry expanse, wisps of pearl and smoke twist and curl as they billow outward to catch the light.

« Winds in the East swirl in, gradually turning the world around you into one of shadow and light. Darkness roils at the edges of your vision, thick tendrils creeping towards you, dark as coal as they blot out the already fading light. Soon, there is only darkness and gloom, all hope of relief disappearing as from within the shadows, a whisper - fleeting and insubstantial. Something, something is brewing. The gentle breeze stirs, then, pushing curls of silver mist against the gloom, brightening the darkness only briefly. And then, an icy gust across your mind leaves you alone on the hot sands. »

Petra seems to find this egg far easier to deal with. There is no instinctive withdrawal from this one. She brings her other hand down to slide over the dark shell, smoothing the surface as she would have caressed a runner's neck, both hands circling as her eyes seem to unfocus into the darkness beneath her fingertips. She seems to be seeking a way back into the shadows.

« Winds in the East slips around your mind, and suddenly you are once more amongst the hollow landscape of shadows, the wind howling as it twists and shapes the silver mists. Anticipation builds around you, energy gathering, the weight of a great storm looming. And then, amongst the heavy darkness, there is a soft sound - faint musical notes barely noticeable - delicate music that dances along, seeming to draw the wisps of light and mist along with it, as they swirl into dancing forms. As it swirls around you, pushing back the darkness, pushing you, until you are back on the sands. »

Petra without realising it is humming under her breath, a slightly tuneless drone that might be an attempt by her unconscious mind to echo music that only she can hear. Her fingertips are no longer circling, they have stilled on the shell, and again when she seems to come back to herself she does not leave this egg. Her humming might almost be a lullaby as her fingers slowly caress the shell.

« Winds in the East draw you into the ghostly dance - whirling, twirling, you are almost immediately breathless, as the soft music has gained strength, becoming a lilting melody - one surrounded by harmonies of laughter. Despite the surrounding darkness, you are swept along by the light - as you are surrounded both by hope and fear, anxiety and bravery, success and disappointment - each opposing pair balancing itself just as the light and darkness around you do. And then, it is all retreating, leaving you with only the sense of Potential. »

Petra leaves this egg with some reluctance, gently dusting grains of sand from her fingers as she steps away from it. Some of the candidates seem to be leaving the sands, and she clearly starts to move after them - and then the shell of the first egg she touched seems to catch her eyes again, and she walks back over to it, hesitates, hesitates again - and then reaches out for a final time.

< Petra leaves egg 4 - Mists and Ashes Egg >
< Petra touches egg 3 - Illuminated Dreams Egg >

« Seeking Endless Wonder takes your hand, pulling you upwards into the sky. Thick clouds obscure your view of the moon and soon you find yourself passing through them with ease. The gray-white puffs blanket you, leaving you with a chill that isn’t completely unpleasant. Seconds tick by and abruptly you emerge into an endlessly shimmering sky. Millions of stars paint the atmosphere, as if glittering jewels were set in the backdrop of deep azure. You have only seconds to take in the view before Seeking Endless Wonder hooks your arm and the two of you plummet down to the earth. Ethereal laughter fills the air once more, bright and pure, continuing even as you two stop /just/ before hitting the ground and proceed to skim along just above the desert sand. There is so much MORE to this world, so much more than what was in those walls and /you/ are the one that showed it what could be! There’s no going back now, because there is so much more to see. Will you be the one that shares this world? The one that continues with Seeking Endless Wonder on this journey of discovery. For a brief moment you are infused with warmth and the promise of a bond that /could/ be…but will it? »

Petra has a smile on her face as she moves away from the shell - but also she now looks tired and quite overwhelmed, her wiry hair is straggling down one side of her face and she looks younger than her sixteen turns. When one of her friends beckons to her, she does not look sorry to leave the sands, to return to the practical earthbound world she knows - and yet she pauses before leaving, bowing politely to queen and bronze again but her eyes are on the eggs, and the dreams of what might be, before a return to what is here and now.

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