Glory And Honour Are The Only Songs I Know

As common as afternoon thunderstorms were at Ista Weyr this time of Turn, it seemed almost unfair for yet another — a doozy of a storm, or so the old folks had predicted earlier in the afternoon, citing various aches and pains as proof — to roll in just as the dragons’ humming had begun. By the time the candidates filed in, the last of the guests were rushing in out of a true Istan downpour, light jackets pulled up over their heads, and more than one was soaked to the bone as they climbed up into the Stands to find the best remaining seat.

By all rights it should have still been daylight outside, but the clouds that had rolled in were black and oppressive, so that from inside the well-lit Hatching Cavern hung liberally with glowbaskets, there was nothing to see outside the entrance but hazy grey shapes obscured by the darkness and the heavy sheet of rain that was drumming down on the stone. The wind roared so that it was hard to tell the difference between it and the distant, ever-present sound of the crashing surf — both wind and ocean whipped into a frenzy by the storm, water slamming against the rocks of the beach and cliff walls far below the Weyr. Every so often, the wind picked up and blew just right over the opening of the Cavern, sending a whistling, moaning echo ghosting through the entrance tunnel.

R'fan laid his hand on Sirasri’s arm as they took their seats on the lowest tier, just behind where Tameketh loomed over her eggs protectively.

“Everybody knows the best Istan dragons are hatched in a storm!” he said proudly, though he didn’t add the other half of that oft-repeated Istan idiom: that Istan dragons also die in a storm.

Sirasri didn't feel the need to remind anyone of the last part of the saying either. It was too raw, especially after the First Fall, and it rather felt like wishing bad luck on these babies. And the last thing they needed was bad luck.

It was her first clutch as Weyrwoman, and she was all too aware of how things needed to go. The size of the clutch had been an excellent start, but they still needed to hatch and Impress. Any sign of fault and the Outsiders would call the Ista breeding stock into disrepute.

She was leaning in to admit her nerves to R'fan when suddenly white light almost filled the grounds as a bolt of lightning struck outside. Immediately on its heels thunder cracked overhead, blasting everyone with sound.

Down on the sands the Sunrise Is Just A Heartbeat Away egg that Tameketh had kept close to her, brooding over the colours presumably, seemed to know that its moment had come. As the lightning flashed it gave a small wiggle.

And with the almost ear shattering thunderclap the egg exploded outwards.

Standing there surrounded by the remains of his once beautiful egg, a large, strong bronze looked out over the crowds in the Stands.

((I have no fear of thunder!)) the little bronze boomed, striding forward, only wobbling a little bit on his newborn feet, ((It shall not stop me!))

R'fan laughed and slapped his thigh. He couldn't hear the little dragon's pronouncement, of course, but he knew a flashy entrance when he saw one. “Wouldja look at that big boy? He might be as big as Ronageth someday!”

((What?)) Ronageth stretched his neck back to look at himself. ((No! Never! I was hatched this big.))

[[No? Seems I remember it differently, tiny.]]

Back on the Sands, unnoticed in the young bronze's explosive entrance, the All Things Have A Right To Grow egg was rocking hard, and the Soft Like Sunset egg had actually managed to crack – albeit in a less flashy fashion than the bronze's egg. There were only small striations at first, but they spread rapidly until a big piece fell off, and a small, dark sapphire blue head poked out.

((That's the spirit!)) he encouraged his bronze brother. ((Well done!))

((Don’t encourage him.)) A dry voice floated over from one of the other eggs, although no little dragon was in sight, ((It’s not wise to expand such a fool’s ego.))

The bronze turned, looking around until he spotted the blue’s head ((HAIL BROTHER!)) he called, striding forward, little wings fluttering slightly to try and compensate for the lumbering gait, ((WELL MET!))

((Well met!)) the blue echoed eagerly. It was an odd phrase, but he rather liked the sound of it. How nice, how appropriate! ((What a lovely place we've come to here! Isn't it ever so nice to be outside? I was starting to get a bit cramped in there.))

He was still a bit cramped, of course, with his body still trapped inside his egg, but he didn't seem overly-concerned about it. Instead, he looked about, searching for the source of the other mysterious voice. ((Hello? Why don't you come out, my friend? It's really a wonderful place here. The sand is so warm, the lights are really quite nice.))

Just behind him, the All Things Have A Right To Grow egg fell off its little mound of sand and wobbled awkwardly past.

((I’d really rather not.)) The dry voice responded, ((I’m quite content here. Observing. Carry on.))

The bronze looked around too, first at the All Things Have A Right To Grow egg rolling past his feet and then up at the blue and beyond to the lurking dragon.

((No need to be afraid brother!)) The bronze proclaimed, fluttering his little wings again, ((Together we are mightier than any storm.))

((I am not afraid.)) The voice bit back, and the vivid Your Attention, I Command It egg wobbled, ((I am biding my time.))

((Sounds like cowardice! Charge into the fray brother.)) he turned back to the blue, ((I am Thowrath.))

((My name is Kerwalth!)) the blue responded happily, his egg shaking a bit. ((And don't be so hard on our brother. I'm sure he has his reasons. Though…)) He tried to turn his head towards the Your Attention, I Command It egg to address the lurking dragon properly, but found that his shell was in the way. ((Oh, just a moment. This is a bit inconvenient… I'm sure I can…))

He wriggled, the egg shook and fell over onto its side, and that was enough to crack it open the rest of the way. The little blue, sapphire all over with tiny pale star-cluster-like speckles, spilled out onto the Sands, scrambled to his feet, and shook his head, instinctively spreading his wings to dry them.

((There! Anyway…)) He looked at the egg at last. ((I'm sure you'll enjoy it out here much more. There's no rush, I suppose, but we're right here to greet you!))

There was silence for a long moment and then a quiet chipping sound, before with a soft crack the egg fell into two neat halves revealing a sleek brown. Slowly he made his way over to the others, and then sat himself down, eyeing the still rolling All Things Have A Right To Grow egg as it beetled past.

((I suppose it would be just as easy to observe from out here…yes? I am Kolikith.))

((Welcome brother!)) Thowrath boomed, jovial at the gathering they were having, ((What adventures we shall have now!))

((Wonderful to meet you, Kolikith,)) Kerwalth agreed. ((I'm not sure if I'm ready for adventures yet, exactly, but… well… oh, why not? We may as well enjoy ourselves, and I'm sure it will all turn out for the best!))

The All Things Have A Right To Grow egg finally came to a halt, rocking in place. ((Don't go without me!)) a small voice from inside entreated. ((I just can't seem to… this is… oh…))

And just like that, the hatchling inside seemed to snap – or come to a decision, at least. ((GrrrrrrrAAAAR!)) it said, shoving hard all at once at the shell, which finally gave way, sending egg shards every which way and spilling out an adorably chubby little green with short limbs and stubby little wings.

She blinked, shook her head, realized she was being stared at, and hunkered down a little. ((I'm sorry, that was awful of me, wasn't it?))

((Not at all!)) Thowrath reassured, striding forward to check on her, ((Twas perhaps a tad ungraceful, but it was most assuredly not awful.))

((What he is trying to say is,)) Kolikith murmured, sliding a little closer as he did, ((Is that very few of us exited our shells with any great grace. He exploded his. Could have hurt someone.))

((Pah!)) Thowrath rumbled with a chuckle, ((I was the first. There were none to be hurt.))

((You know that now…)) Kolikith muttered, ((Did you then?))

((Of course!))

The brown made a noncommittal murmur, and left it as it was, and Thowrath settled, content that his honour was no longer being impugned.

Kerwalth glanced back and forth between the bronze and brown and, deciding that things were okay between them after all, gave the green a reassuring little nuzzle and sat down. ((There, see? No need for worry at all. Surely things could have gone wrong for any of us, but they didn't, and now look around! There's much to do, and a bright future for each and every one of us!))

((Oh, I could have hurt someone too,)) the green said worriedly. ((I'm so sorry!))

((But you didn't,)) Kerwalth reminded her.

((Still, I could have. I'll control myself better from now on, I promise!)) She glanced up at Thowrath. ((And you should, too!))

Thowrath stared at her, ((I don’t need to be careful!)) he blustered, floored that the little green was scolding him. His entrance had been flawless, and epic! ((You weren’t even there!))

((She is entitled to her opinion Thowrath,)) Kolikith murmured slyly, ((She’s allowed to think you…reckless..))

((I was just saying,)) the green said a little defensively. ((Why, you're bronze, you're the very best of us, and you should lead by example!)) She seemed to realize suddenly what she had just said, and just who she was criticising, because she ducked her head suddenly and shifted from foot to foot. ((Er… I'm sure you're not reckless normally. I'm sure you're perfectly wonderful! I just think we should be careful, is all.))

Instinctively she glanced to Kolikith for support. Why, he was almost a bronze, and he seemed to agree with her, didn't he?

((GLORY DOES NOT MEAN BEING CAUTIOUS!)) Thowrath proclaimed loudly, letting out a trumpet of indignation, ((I will not tiptoe around in fear of upsetting someone’s delicate sensibilities, when the future is at stake, when glory, and awesome awaits!))

((I suppose that is what you want from a leader,)) Kolikith said slyly, murmuring to the little green. On the surface it sounded like he was on Thowrath’s side, but there was a note of mocking there, ((Someone who takes no care about personal safety. Don’t worry my lady, I’ll make sure you remain unharmed.))

The green slid subtly closer to Kolikith even as she looked back and forth between the two, distinctly confused. ((But, but… how are we supposed to know when caution is better, and when it's time to be bold? Aren't there rules to tell us? I don't understand!))

Kerwalth had since tucked his wings in, but half-spread them again in alarm at Thowrath's outburst. ((Thowrath, no need to be offended! I'm sure she didn't mean to insult you! She's merely looking for guidance, that's all. The world is very confusing when you're only just hatched, after all,)) he added, as if he himself wasn't also only just-hatched. He turned and cocked his head at the green. ((Never fear! Our brother means no harm, he's merely very proud. It's going to be alright… er…?))

He trailed off, realizing at last that he didn't yet know her name.

((Wuffryth,)) she replied, still eyeing Thowrath uncertainly.

((Wuffryth!)) Kerwalth repeated happily. ((Everything will certainly sort itself out for the better, don't fret.))

((Now we should go forth!)) Thowrath nodded, already forgetting about the altercation and looking around, ((Investigate the fellow eggs and then progress in our epic tale.))

((That’s all very grand,)) Kolikith snarked back, ((But perhaps Wuffryth and Kerwalth don’t want to go blundering off into things headfirst. Perhaps it should be a group consensus?))

((Of course.)) Thowrath beamed at his smart brother, ((We are all brothers and sisters in arms. We should be able to trust and hear each other completely. Speak Kerwalth the brave and Wuffryth the wise!))

((Oh spare me…)) Kolikith muttered.

Kerwalth blinked. ((Well… I suppose it doesn't really matter to me! It's quite nice over here, but I'm certain it's beautiful over… well, somewhere else, too. It would be nice to see it all eventually, but it needn't be right now. I don't believe it's going anywhere. I'll be quite happy with whatever the group decides, Thowrath, so long as we enjoy the journey!))

Wuffryth, however, trembled a little and looked around a little wildly, clearly uncomfortable. ((But… where are we going? Isn't that important to know before we decide if we want to go there or not? And what will we do when we get there? Isn't that also important? What if we do it wrong?))

She sat down hard on her chubby little haunches, swaying her head unhappily as she puzzled it out.

((We're supposed to be doing something, right? We're supposed to be going over there.)) She glanced up in the direction of the candidates. ((If that's what we're supposed to do, we should do it. We should always do what's right!))

((What’s right, is doing the morally correct thing!)) Thowrath boomed, ((To seek peace and justice and GLORY FOR ISTA!))

((You are a buffoon.)) Kolikith snorted, ((Clearly Wuffryth is correct, we are supposed to introduce ourselves to the white figures over there. Discretion….brother…)) his lip curled on the title, ((Is the better part of valour.))

((I am not yet ready.)) Thowrath proclaimed, sitting down huffily, ((You can go if you wish. Find your own battle to fight. I however…will seek glory and honour here.))

Kerwalth stretched and spread his wings fully, working his shoulders. ((I don't know about glory and honor, but isn't this egg beautiful?)) He sat down again to admire the nearest unhatched egg.

((I don't think it's supposed to be about glory and honor,)) Wuffryth replied uncertainly. (Not exactly. I mean…)) She glanced at Kolikith again. ((Is it?))

((It seems to be for him. However it is not for me. Or you either.)) Kolikith murmured, eyeing the bronze, ((What do you wish to do Wuffryth. We shall stick together, yes?))

Thowrath meanwhile had been distracted by his brother’s admiration of the egg beside them, and turned, noticiing the particulars for the first time, ((Oh that is nice!)) he marveled, sitting down beside the blue, ((Look at the colours…))

((Really?)) Kolikith eyed them, ((Really? You two are going to sit and look at a probably empty egg?))

((Why on Pern would you think it would be empty?)) Kerwalth asked. ((I'm sure there's a brother or sister inside, just waiting to come out! What's so awful about simply admiring the beauty around us, Kolikith? You can do what you'd like – I'd never stop you – but I believe I'm going to take my time and enjoy my journey, thank you.))

((That sounds lazy,)) Wuffryth murmured to Kolikith. ((I don't mean to say anything bad about Kerwalth because he seems very nice and all, but I'm pretty sure sloth is an awful vice for a dragon to have.))

((I’m pretty sure you are correct my dear,)) Kolikith hummed back, flicking his tail slightly, ((That bronze brother of ours is…well…he’s perhaps a little less than what one might ideally desire in a leader. And the blue is simply meandering through life. Come, we shall investigate our future together. I’m sure that as a unit…there is little we shall not accomplish.))

The brown turned away from the bronze and blue and was about to steer the little green away when suddenly the nearby A Secret Message egg exploded, showering all of them with a cloud of sparkling dust.

In the Stands the crowd oohed and Kolikith fumed.

((I’m going to kill whoever that is.)) he growled and stalked forward into the dust.

Hatching Posts

Glory and Honour Are The Only Songs I Know | Who Shall You Be When All The Dust Settles | And We Want To Know How The World Does Work |

Is It Really A Man's World? | The Story Is Not Always Glamourous | I Can Tell You There Is More | Keep Your Wits Around You. True Adventures Never End

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