About As Useful As A One Legged Man In An Arse Kicking Contest

The Storm Within egg was unfortunate enough to be close at hand, offensive to Gavilth’s eyes, and, even more unfortunately, it didn’t happen to be moving at the moment.

The bronze paced over to it, more sure-footed and deliberate than it seemed fair for any newly-hatched dragon to be (or so Skalmith thought with both an inkling of admiration and a hint of jealousy), and sat before it for a moment, considering.

((Inefficiency disgusts me,)) he decided finally with a shake of his head and, rising again, rammed his shoulder hard into the side of the egg. ((Out with you. /Out/.))

((Very sorry,)) Skalmith apologized to the egg as he gave a half-hearted shove with one foot. ((If it makes you feel any better, it’s really very lovely out here! You’ll be much happier out of that smothering darkness! The light is good for you! Good for your soul!))

((In the time before the light came…)) the dragon suddenly spoke from within the egg, ((Voices interrupted the dreamtime…))

And the egg, as though punctuating the words, finally shifted under the ministrations of blue and bronze, and fell from its perch with a sharp unpleasant crack.

((That did not sound right at all…)) Hasheth observed, clambering to the top of her vantage mound once more, unable to stay away from watching everything unfolding, ((What if they hurt whoever was in there!))

But Danuath rushed forward, using her tail to brisky brush shell and sand away from the shape of a solid little green laying sprawled in the wreckage. ((Are you alive sister?)) she asked with some concern, ((Are you injured?))

((No…)) the green sat up, checking herself all over. ((Ah…just this…)) and she plucked a solid splinter of shell from her foot before giving Gavilth and Skalmith a reproachful eye, ((That was a bit uncalled for mate…))

Gavilth’s unchanging, emotionless gaze betrayed not a hint of remorse. ((You weren’t even trying. You should be grateful we only hatched you and have given you the chance to be useful. We could have rolled your egg right into the sea, and it would have been no more or less than you deserved.))

Skalmith shrugged a little sheepishly, an oddly human-like gesture. ((…You might have floated! In any event, I’m glad we didn’t have to find out, aren’t you?))

((I’m pretty sure giving me a bit longer to get my stuff in order wouldn’t have ended in everything going up in flames you nut.)) The green shook herself off, and huffed a sigh, ((Well I suppose I’m here now, so what’s happening mate?)) And then she eyed Skalmith, ((And I can assure you mate I’m pretty sure I’ll be the bom-diggity at floating. You guys get hot and bothered about anything.))

((Bom-diggity.)) Hasheth hummed, ((Sounds fun. No idea what it is though…))

((Bom-diggity,)) Skalmith repeated, dancing a little as he contemplated the word. ((I /like/ that! I’d have had no idea what it means if not for context, but now I’ve a new word to use! It rather flows, don’t you think?))

Gavilth blinked, unimpressed. ((It sounds like nonsense, from a nonsense dragon, and we’ve no time for it.))

((Lighten up sourpuss.)) the green stretched and strolled off, looking around the cavern, ((This is pretty nifty though. And lot’s of people watching us. Hi people.)) and she waved her tail at them, ((So…what’s the story morning glory? We got business or are we just chilling?))

((If anyone asked me.)) Hasheth huffed softly, ((Which no one does because I’m invisible. I would say Gavilth is always business and that you my dear sister are getting on his nerves.))

((There is always business,)) Gavilth said flatly. ((Which is why it’s so disgraceful that so many are wasting time lying about in eggs. If you can’t even be trusted to be born, how can you ever be trusted with anything else? Come, prove your worth and help wake our brothers and sisters.))

Skalmith cocked his head, listening to Gavilth, and then looked back at the new green. ((I don’t wish to be harsh with our siblings, but I do think it’s for the best that we all be together! You /are/ happier now that you’re with us, aren’t you…?)) His eyes widened. ((Ah, I didn’t even think to ask your name! Please forgive me! That was terribly rude. Would you share your name with us, sister?))

((I’m Kajurath.)) The little green tipped her head and then eyed Gavilth, ((And as for your pronouncement about being born. I reckon you’re a bit up yourself mate bronze. I reckon this is what is called ‘down-time’ right? We’re not training here, or fighting, or anything to do with our job. This is the time to chill and enjoy yourselves. So buy a new, looser pair of tighty whities alright?))

And she turned to Danuath and Skalmith, ((Who fancies doing some…well not sunbathing…but the sands pretty warm. We could sand bathe?))

Danuath sighed, seeing yet another confrontation brewing, ((Gavilth, why don’t we see if we can’t stir some of the other eggs. I’m sure that once we have a big enough group together we can achieve more.))

Gavilth glared at Kajurath, dark stormclouds in his eyes. ((We are /supposed/ to be choosing our partners for life. If that isn’t important, then I’d be interested to know what it is that you think /is/ important.))

((I admire how controlled and even you are able to keep your voice, no matter how angry you get,)) Skalmith commented. ((I truly do.))

((And you. Quiet,)) Gavilth added.

The blue moved forward, clearly about to speak, then stopped, thinking better of it, and sat down sadly.

((It is important.)) Kajurath allowed, ((However fussy-britches I feel no real need to rush into it and stuff it up. So..chill…it’ll happen. She’ll be right mate.)) And the green wandered off through the eggs, soft comments floating back to the others as she went, ((See that’s really pretty. Oh that’s interesting. Hey guys? This one looks like it’s mouldering.))

((Mouldering?)) Danuath asked with some alarm, rushing off after her sister, ((What do you mean? Is it damaged?))

((Maybe they’ll become a ghost like me…)) Hasheth gasped, following the pair in the shadows, ((Oh! Maybe my egg was mouldering too. We can bond over this I’m sure.))

Gavilth almost didn’t react — clearly, he thought, this green was just trying to waste his time — but the possibility of disease or corruption among their eggs was too dire a matter to leave uninvestigated. ((Which egg?)) he demanded, following the greens.

Skalmith couldn’t hold back a sharp intake of breath and an unhappy little whistle, even though he was trying dutifully to be quiet. ((Oh, disease? Something wicked and vile among the innocent? To arms, to arms!)) he cried, skittering after the group.

They found Kajurath in front of the Here To Stay Egg, which did actually look like a wound that had not been tended to by a Healer. Or at least not a proper healer anyway. The green looked a little disconcerted by it, ((Reckon the dragon’s okay in there?)) She asked, ((Looks like it had a brawl with someone and lost.))

Danuath let out a soft sound of concern as she circled it, before coming to a stop beside Gavilth, ((Surely it cannot be healthy to be within such an egg.)) She murmured to him, ((Our sister or brother may need tending to.))

Hasheth watched with concern as the others talked over the egg. She absolutely didn’t want anyone hurt or sick or anything…but…she didn’t want to be alone anymore either. Invisible. Unwanted. She wanted this dragon to be invisible too, so they could be friends…was that selfish?

((Or perhaps it isn’t the egg infecting the dragon,)) Gavilth observed grimly. ((Perhaps the dragon is the one infecting the egg. Rotten. Corrupt.))

((Surely not!)) Skalmith gasped. ((I can’t believe a dragon — let alone a sibling — could ever be anything but good! Misguided, perhaps, but good!))

((Hrm.)) The sound the bronze made was neither agreement nor disagreement. ((We will see,)) he said, stepping towards the egg, intent clear. ((Save now. Damn later, if we must. Let this dragon show its stripes.))

He sat back on his haunches, ready to claw at the shell of the Here to Stay egg… but a spidering of cracks appeared, and a piece broke off the front before he could even touch it.

((I am already making my own way,)) said a deep mindvoice from inside. ((Now move.))

((Oh good he’s alive.)) Kajurath grinned, ((That’s great news isn’t it…you know what blue? I haven’t the foggiest idea what your name is…))

((Are you well brother?)) Danuath asked, ignoring Kajurath, ((We are more than happy to lend you any assistance we can.))

((Me?)) Skalmith asked, glancing around as if expecting to see another blue dragon. ((Why, I’m Skalmith! Teller of tales, and… ah… well, I’ve not actually worked all that out yet. It just seems as if I should add something after I introduce myself. I think it would be sad to be uninteresting. Then again, I’ve never met anyone uninteresting. I really think you all are fine, exciting dragons!))

((You have been awake and aware for all of five minutes,)) Gavilth pointed out. ((We are the only dragons you know.))

((And a fine bunch you are!)) the blue defended, unfazed.

The occupant of the Here to Stay egg seemed to spare a look in Danuath’s direction — it was hard to tell, as all that could be seen through the open hole in the egg was a shadowed face and one single whirling eye — but that was all it was willing to offer.

((Move,)) it repeated, and that was all the warning it cared to give — if the dragons didn’t heed the warning, then it was their own fault. The Here to Stay egg rocked suddenly forward, then backward, then forward again, gaining enough momentum on the last rock to smash forward into the ground. The scabby-looking shell shattered, revealing a rugged young brown amidst the shards and clinging egg goo. ((I warned you.))

If a dragon could arch eyebrows Kajurath would have been arching hers at the new arrival, before turning back to Skalmith, ((So tell me Skally-wag)) she asked, actually curious about the answers, ((Are all bronzes and browns as…well…precious as Gavo here and Sunshine Charming? Cause seriously, I can get behind being committed…I can commit…but you need to have chill time you know?))

((She is going to get hit by someone.)) Hasheth observed, oogling the new arrival, ((Oh my, another brown. I wonder if he’s like Ceretith. Gavilth didn’t much like him the first time around…and I’m still the only invisible one.))

((Kajurath…)) Danuath said, her voice gentle but firm, as she surreptitiously flicked egg goo off her foot, ((They are our leaders remember, we owe them respect even if we disagree. Just remember that mm?)) and then she turned back to the new brown, ((Welcome brother. Might we know your name?))

((Huuuuuuuuuu…)) came quietly from the shadows as Hasheth slid back down her mound again.

((No,)) said the brown, settling himself down on the Sands, apparently unconcerned about the fact that he was still covered in goo, and about the fact that his siblings were all looking at him. He glanced around, taking stock of the situation on the Sands, but if he had thoughts on the matter, he didn’t share them.

Skalmith seemed unperturbed by the chilly reception. ((Welcome, brother! We are glad to have you, no matter your… preciousness, as Kajurath put it. If we can’t know your name, then I suppose we could make a guessing game out of it. Two syllables? Ends in -th?)) The blue warbled in amusement, then glanced at Kajurath. ((As for commitment and, er, “chill time”… I don’t see why the two need be mutually exclusive. One can work and be happy. In fact, one /should/ be happy — what is there to be unhappy about? We have the warmth of the sand beneath us, light all around, siblings nearby, and…)) He faltered briefly. ((…well, something /is/ missing, perhaps. I think.))

((Do you plan on sitting there having… “chill time” all day, too?)) Gavilth demanded of the brown.

The brown stared at him unflinchingly, tail flicking slightly, but made no reply.

((He does not have to share if he does not wish to.)) Danuath reminded the others, adding ((Even if it is rather rude. Still…we can’t loiter all day after all…these people are here to see us, so they probably expect us to achieve something yes?))

Kajurath eyed the blue, ((You’re right Skally-wag, there is something missing…can’t quite place my tail tip on it right now but it will come to me I’m sure.))

((Oh!)) Hasheth suddenly bounced upright and back up her sand dune to peer at her siblings once more. ((Skalmith,)) she reached out to her blue brother, the only friend she had, the magical little dragon who was the only one who could see her or hear her, ((Remember the others? Ceretith? Zalqueth? They went to those white flappy people over there for completion remember? That made them happy.))

Skalmith looked at Hasheth, shifting from foot to foot, clearly becoming anxious. ((I thought I /was/ happy. I should be happy! Everything is… everything is wonderful… isn’t it?)) He sat down hard. ((Oh! I am /not/ happy! The light and the warmth — it all means nothing! How could I have been so blind? How could any of /those/ ever make things right, Hasheth?))

((And this is exactly why our duty is important,)) Gavilth said, without even bothering to look back at Skalmith. He glared back at the brown. ((Exactly why we are wasting our time here. Some more than others.))

((Then go,)) the brown replied, unconcerned.

Hasheth crooned softly trying to comfort the little blue, ((It doesn’t mean nothing.)) She reassured him gently, ((Those things are good and wonderful. But good and wonderful things are even better when you have someone to share them with. Yes?))

Kajurath eyed Skalmith worriedly before looking at Danuath, ((Who the figs is he talking to?))

Danuath meanwhile. realising everyone was falling apart, sighed and turned to Gavilth, ((Perhaps if you showed us what to do Gavilth? Lead by action? That might galvanise them into movement…)) she eyed the brown and added, ((Some of them anyway.))

Gavilth broke his staring contest with the brown — with a glance back that promised it wasn’t a retreat — to turn to Danuath. ((Do you never get tired of bleating in my head? I do not require guidance or prodding, meddler. Your good intentions are noted, but I’ve grown weary of you. Go, find a rider of your own. My business here is unfinished.))

Skalmith looked at Hasheth hopefully. ((Shared? Yes, I thought I was sharing this with all of you, but now I realize that even the company of my siblings is inadequate. I am alone! Utterly alone!)) And with that, he threw his head back and began to keen loudly and mournfully. ((A dragon bereft! Half a soul doomed to wander for all of his days with nothing but the chill of his own emptiness to keep him company!))

Gavilth turned his head, an admonition on the tip of his mental tongue, but it died on his “lips” as the brown suddenly stalked past him and lashed out with one front foot, clubbing the wailing blue in the cheek with the thick meaty side of his foot.

((You aren’t alone, idiot,)) said the brown. ((Yours is right over there. Go.))

Both Kajurath and Hasheth let out bugles, one in anger the other in horror, with Hasheth hesitating on the top of her mound, wanting to go down to her friends aid while also not really wanting to leave the safety the shadows offered her.

Kajurath meanwhile had no such compunctions, knocking the brown back with a rather impressive shoulder charge, stocky frame and wings spreading menacingly as she stood between blue and brown, ((Steady on there mate!)) She barked, glaring at the no-name brown, ((That was a bit uncalled for!))

Danuath shot Gavilth a hurt look, before lifting her chin, ((Very well. I’m sure you’ll be able to handle this…mob without any assistance.)) she murmured, flicking her tail contemptuously, clearly thinking he wouldn’t fare well without her aid, ((Come Skalmith,)) The pretty little green nudged her blue brother, ((We’ll go together mmm? Find that one who completes us.)) She shot them a look, ((When you’re done with being immature, you will find us out there with our chosen ones. I’m really very disappointed in most of you. Come Skalmith.)) And she swept off towards the white robed people.

Gavilth sniffed. ((Your insistence on trying to nudge and handhold and talk down to your leaders is as disrespectful, in its own way, as Zalqueth and Ceretith were. Go, and be haughty if that’s what you’ve chosen to do. The rest of us will get there — as many of these others as I can stand to send before I go myself.))

A few minutes before, he might have said all of them — now, he was beginning to feel that urgent tug, and wasn’t sure how much longer he could wait, himself.

The brown stood his ground before Kajurath, but made no move to fight her. ((The blue’s not hurt. Only knocked to his senses.))

Indeed, Skalmith hadn’t really noticed any of this going on around him. The blow had startled him, true, but it had only made him realize that he couldn’t stay here. His chosen couldn’t find him, but perhaps he could find his chosen. He scrambled off across the Sands, past Danuath — he didn’t think her guidance could help him now, though he appreciated the gesture — and directly into the midst of the thickest group of candidates.

((Hello?)) he greeted, trying to put on his very best face. Would he have to attract his special person? What if they rejected him? Oh no, they couldn’t possibly — he couldn’t bear the thought. It hurt so much to be without that being rejected would be unthinkable! He could imagine it, but he’d not let himself think it. Could they even hear him? They didn’t seem able to communicate the way dragons did, poor souls. What if his person was here, but couldn’t hear him? ((Hello?!))

He gave another heart-wrenching keen at the thought as he dismissed those candidates he saw first. One, two, three, and more — none of them right. ((Alone! Doomed to loneliness, my One nearby but unable to hear me; ghosts, ships passing in the night!))

Ships, yes, that seemed right — he had pulled the image from somewhere, ships and ghosts but mostly ships, and this time when he wailed, there was a note of hopefulness in the sound. ((Ships passing, passing…))

And then he saw the one he was looking for. Pushing past a pair of closer candidates, his wail of dare-I-hope-no-I-dare-not anguish raised in pitch and volume, a joyous bugle. ((Yes! You! My other half, my soul complete, my One-forever-and-beyond! Luptu, I meet you like the ocean meets the sand — no, like the ocean meets the ocean! Waves and fury and smashing and crashing all together, one drop indistinguishable from the next!))

Danuath held back at the edge of the group of candidates, unwilling to make her own choice until she was sure that Skalmith was going to be okay on his own, but now that he was safe with his new rider she felt some of the weight on her young shoulders lift. She couldn’t help anyone who didn’t want to be helped, and though she wished them well there wasn’t anything left for her out there. No, she needed something — someONE — here. Close by.

She sniffed lightly near the feet of a nearby candidate, but it was mostly just to be sure, to be cautious — her heart was pulling her in a different direction, and though she gave a quick glance at the girls and boys she passed, there was a certainty growing within her that she would know the right one when she saw him or her. This one? No, she seemed nice enough but didn’t feel quite right. That young lad there? No… no, not right at all.

And then suddenly there he was in front of her — the right one, the one she hadn’t even realized she was missing until only a moment ago, and it seemed silly to have ever not known exactly who he was, or to have even imagined that the one for her could have been anyone else. How could she have ever been unsure of his face?

((Iskander!)) she greeted, relief washing through her as she realized that the burden wouldn’t be hers alone anymore — he would stand with her even as she would stand with him, and together they would look after their loved ones. ((I’m sorry I took so long to find you, but here I am. I am Danuath, and you’ll never have to be alone again!))

The brown dragon, sparing a significant glance over his shoulder towards the newly-Impressed blue (who was still bugling loudly with joy) and green, looked back at Kajurath and inclined his head slightly, as if to say “see?”

Kajurath’s eyes narrowed. ((Still uncalled-for, I say. He’d’ve found his way along eventually.))

((Maybe,)) the brown rumbled. ((But he’d have been just as over-dramatic next time something upset him. Now he’ll think twice.))

Gavilth stepped between them — not a shove, just a smooth insert. ((Point made. I can’t fault your logic, but it was not your punishment to administer. /Mine/.))

((Then you should have moved faster,)) said the brown.

((Oi, you two…)) Kajurath stepped back, no longer interested in the debate — her eyes were on the Woodmaker’s Treasure egg right next to them, which had suddenly begun rocking wildly.

((Brown dragon.)) Gavilth stepped forward, lowering his head menacingly. The size difference between them was not so great as one might think — Gavilth was much taller but slender, while the brown, only average in height for a hatchling his color, was strong and solid. ((Your intentions /may/ be good, and your method /might/ be effective, but there is an order to things. An /order/. I will tolerate no disobedience from you, no taking liberties where you have been granted none. Do you understand?))

The brown simply looked back at him silently. Perhaps the expression could have been called defiant — it was certainly unquailing, unflinching — but his muscles were relaxed except for that idly swishing tip of his tail. The look conveyed understanding, yes, but somehow seemed to imply that he not only didn’t care, but that he thought Gavilth was an idiot that he was merely suffering through momentarily.

Gavilth was certainly not an idiot, and he knew when he was being openly defied even if no words were exchanged.

((Guys,)) Kajurath warned, as the Woodmaker’s Treasure egg rocked right off the side of its mound of sand.

Just as Gavilth stepped forward again, lip curling back from his teeth, the Woodmaker’s Treasure egg rolled right up, barging between the bronze and brown and forcing them both to scramble backwards as the shell suddenly split in half a dozen different places, falling away to reveal a beautiful young blue dragon.

The blue shook himself off carefully, craning his neck back to look at himself. ((Oh! That was dreadful! None of those shards cut me, did they? Do I look cut? Is my hide okay?))

Kajurath sat down — she had had the sense to get out of the way soon enough to escape any egg shards or goo or unnecessary skittering in the sand — and cocked her head at him mischeivously. ((No worries mate, you look fine…))

((Oh thank goodness!))

((…so long as you don’t mind being covered in all that disgusting egg goo,)) she finished.

The blue looked back at himself again, extending a wing, gazing in horror as a tendril of goo slowly dripped from the tip.

((BATHING!)) he cried, shaking himself violently and sending egg goo everywhere. ((I demand bathing!))

Suddenly the candidates were looking far more attractive to Gavilth than he had previously thought.

Hatching Posts

Truth Is The Beginning Of Every Good | A wise man's heart is seldom cheerful | About As Useful As A One Legged Man In An Arse Kicking Contest |

A Heart That Loves Is Always Young | When We Speak Most Fairly, Then We Think Most Falsely | Rather I Mourn For Those Who Day And Night Live In Death's Fear.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License