When We Speak Most Fairly Then We Think Most Falsely

The cavalcade of little dragons made an odd sight as they walked amongst the remains of eggs already hatched and the four remaining ones sitting on their little hills completely intact. All eyes were on them, intently focused on the form of the little gold, the first hatched at Ista since her mother, and the first since the First Fall massacre.

The girl candidates too craned to watch the golden dragon, eyes eager as she walked with the shadowed little green, the gorgeous but vain blue and the prim little gentleman.

((This was Pheradith’s egg.)) Hasheth pointed out to Miaranth, ((And that one over there was Mavenath’s and that one there was Zalqueth’s. He was first. I gave him a piece of his egg’s shell as a present.)) she smiled, ((He liked it.))

((Females shouldn’t give men gifts.)) Pheradith snarked, ((It makes you look desperate. We men should lavish our attention and gifts on them to impress them.))

((That’s a little…narrow minded.)) Hasheth shook her head, ((It was a good thing. He liked it because he was sad and that cheered him up.))

((It was sweet I’m sure.)) Mavenath reassured her, ((Pheradith here just thinks like a boor.))

((Oh go stick your head in egg goop Mavenath.))

((You can give gifts if you want,)) Miaranth said. ((I can’t promise they’ll impress me, though. The thought might. I suppose it depends on the reason it’s given. I don’t think gifts would help /your/ particular case, Pheradith.))

She stopped by the Shadowed Arms egg, which was rocking lazily back and forth.

((Well, it looks like this one’s moving. It’s not in any hurry, though.))

((Gavilth thought everyone lingering in their eggs was lazy.)) Hasheth shared, gazing up at the shadowed arms, ((That egg is pretty though. I probably would not wish to leave it either.))

((It’s a little feminine.)) Pheradith pointed out, refusing to be insulted by Miaranth or Hasheth. They would come to their senses. He was amazing. ((I am sure there is a pretty green in there.))

((I think it heard you.)) Mavenath pointed out dryly as the Shadowed Arms egg gave an extra sharp wobble, almost in response to Pheradith’s words.

((Maybe it’s a bronze and you made it angry, Pheradith,)) Miaranth added, amused by the thought. ((Do you ever think about anything but beautiful ladies? Or… your beautiful self?))

Before the blue could reply, however, the Shadowed Arms egg gave another sharp wobble and cracked along one side. It wasn’t enough to break it completely, but a push from inside broke a small piece off, and then another and another.

((I’m not bronze,)) said the dragon inside, and through the hole in the egg a flash of pale green was visible, ((But I’m curious why it even matters?))

((It doesn’t!)) Hasheth slid forward eagerly, ((Green’s good.))

((What else is there?)) Pheradith murmured, confused by the gold’s words, ((Those are important things. And see? I was right. Helloooooooo new green lady…)) he crooned to her.

((Here we go again.)) Mavenath groaned, moving forward, ((I almost wish you were a bronze sister. Just because he’s going to be even more intolerable. A fact I wish was not so.))

((What’s so intolerable about it?)) the new green questioned, rocking her egg some more in an effort to break the rest of the way out. ((If he means it, then it’s nice flattery. If he — unh, just a second,)) and she paused to give one last mighty rock, tilting it over onto its side and breaking the egg open, spilling herself out onto the Sands, ((Ouch. Anyway, as I was saying: if he doesn’t mean it, then what harm is done? If you don’t find him sincere, just disregard him. Ooh, I think I rattled myself a little getting out of there.)) She shook her head. ((Hello, by the way. I’m Nishikith!))

((If only it were that simple, Nishikith,)) Miaranth said, glancing at Pheradith.

((But it /is/,)) the green insisted. ((They’re only words — they only mean what you let them mean. So you may as well enjoy them, right?))

Miaranth gave a little shrug, but privately she was glad the blue’s attention would be diverted for a while.

((Nishikith, you are welcome to have him slobber over you.)) Mavenath said chuckling, ((By all means. Take it in a nice way.))

((Here lovely Nishikith, let me assist you.)) Pheradith moved to help her up, bending so his limited baby blue muscles flexed a little. ((Hellooooooooo…))

Nishikith accepted the help — it was freely-given, after all, and despite what he may think it didn’t obligate her in any way — allowing him to help her to her feet. ((Thank you, handsome, I think I can handle it from here.)) She looked at Hasheth and Miaranth. ((You’re sure your other girlfriends don’t mind your sudden interest in me?))

Miaranth sighed and rolled her eyes — she doubted it would actually help to protest being Pheradith’s “girlfriend”. ((No, by all means, he’s all yours if you want him. I prefer to rely on myself, thanks. And the only attachment I’m interested in is out there somewhere,)) she added, flipping a wing towards the white-robed girls.

((Me too.)) Hasheth nodded, ducking a little closer to Miaranth’s larger limb, obscuring herself, ((Attention isn’t really my thing.))

((Attention is all Pheradith’s thing.)) Mavenath pointed out, ((Which…is strange to me but I suppose to each his own. He’s just a bit…odd. In my opinion.))

((I’m sure you couldn’t charm your way anyway Mavenath.)) Pheradith scoffed, pleased that finally a lovely green was showing him the favour that was his due, ((Beautiful Nishikith. Tell me of yourself.))

((‘And then tell me what yourself thinks of myself…’)) Mavenath mimicked his blue brother, his intonation surprisingly perfect, ((‘I just love hearing what people think of me.’))

((Oh…bite me Mavenath.)) Pheradith hissed, fanning his little wings out, ((I could beat you like a dirty throw rug if I wanted to.))

((I’d love to see you try. I could outwit you half asleep.))

Pheradith’s eyes fell on the white candidates, ((Prove it. The one who gets the best one of those is the best.))

((You wouldn’t know the best if it waved at you.)) Mavenath chortled, ((You want a pretty one remember?))

((And you want someone whose personality makes up for their unfortunate facials.)) Pheradith snapped back, stalking off towards the Candidates, in his ire seemingly forgetting about Nishikith and his moves, ((Come on.))

((So competitive,)) Nishikith observed, watching the pair of blues. ((Seems like a lot of worry, but if it makes them happy that’s what matters, right? Well, makes them happy and gets things done. Seems to be a good thing, when I think of it that way.))

Miaranth stretched. ((I didn’t mind the company so much, but I’ll admit it felt like it was getting a little crowded around here. So it’s probably for the best that they go.)) She looked around at the crowd, the glowbaskets, the stone ceiling. ((I hope we don’t have to stay here too long, anyway. I’d like to see the sky!))

((That would be nice,)) Hasheth murmured, sitting down neatly on the sand, ((But you know Miaranth you don’t have to be somewhere you don’t want to be? There’s no set time you have to take before you…go and choose one of those as your own.)) she nodded over at the Candidates, ((You can do that whenever you want to. If you want to see sky? You can go and see sky.))

Unseen behind them the Cosmos Contained egg rolled off it’s mound and slowly came to a stop behind the greens and the gold.

Meanwhile Mavenath had moved over to the Candidates alongside Pheradith who barged into the midst of the Candidates examining all their faces intently, ((Your skin is so awful. Your nose is crooked. Your hair…who did that? Ban them from ever doing so again immediately. Your mouth…it looks swollen. You are beautiful but not quite right. You’re nice enough but I want perfection…ah!)) and he stopped before his chosen Candidate, ((There you are. Come…you’re my wingperson now.))

((As I predicted.)) Mavenath scoffed, shrugging his wings, ((Your uncouth and crass behaviour has attracted a substandard partner. I on the other hand look for depth, intelligence, wisdom.)) Slowly he walked down the line of Candidates until he felt it, the right, perfect feeling. This was his lifemate, his partner. ((Fefiliau!)) he cried, sititng up on his back legs and offering the boy his tail to shake, ((How very lovely to meet you. I am your lifemate, Mavenath.))

((That’s a good thing.)) Nishikith murmured softly watching the two blues, ((They’re off and doing well.))

((I know I /can/ go.)) Miaranth looked down at the little green tucked close to her side, ((Just deciding when to go is the challenge. And now with Mavenath and Pheradith gone…this is actually quite nice.))

((It is.)) Hasheth murmured, unaware that behind her the Cosmos Contained egg was moving again, until a circle popped open at the base and a long, slender green curved her way out of it.

((Well well,)) The new green purred in a husky mind voice, causing the two other greens and the gold to look around in surprise, ((Isn’t this a girl’s club.))

((More new dragons!)) Hasheth looked around, only three more eggs to hatch she noticed and flicked her tail, ((Wow…I’ve met so many new faces today.))

((More people equals more fun?)) Nishikith supplied, shrugging easily, ((That’s the positive way to look at it i think. Hello, I’m Nishikith. That’s Hasheth and Miaranth.))

Miaranth looked longingly at the Candidates. She was starting to feel cooped up, trapped. For a brief moment there she’d felt alright about being there, on the sands with Hasheth and Nishikith, but with the new green’s arrival and the Flesh of My Enemies egg wobbling over there in the background…well it wasn’t going to be peaceful for long. She wanted to get out and see the rest of the Weyr out there, with her rider who she could just /feel/ over there. She wanted to feel the wind, and she wanted to see that endless open sky.

And really, staying around here wasn’t really doing anything was it? Not compared to outside.

((I’ll see you ladies on the other side.)) The gold nudged Hasheth out of the way and moved quickly, but athletically across the sands as everyone in the crowds held their breath in anticipation. ((I just can’t wait any longer to see what’s out there for me! Caulan!)) she called, pausing beside the girl and nudging her head towards the exit, ((Come on! I want to see the sky!))

The new green watched Miaranth go and shrugged lithely, ((Well, that was anticlimactic.))

((What do you mean?)) Hasheth looked after the departing gold, ((She found her lifemate.))

((It’s a beautiful thing.)) Nishikith agreed, stretching and glancing over towards the Flesh Of My Enemies egg, ((We’re about to have more company I think ladies.))

((What’s your name anyway?)) Hasheth asked the new green, who yawned and prowled gracefully off towards the rapidly rocking egg.

((Sarteth.)) she purred over her shoulder, ((And who….I wonder…is this…)) she twined around the egg, ((Need a hand in there?))

((No!)) came the resounding answer from inside. ((I’ve nearly conquered this — if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay out of the way!))

Indeed, the Flesh of my Enemies egg began to rock even more wildly — enough that Sarteth was forced to move aside, though she defiantly refused to move far. ((You don’t look as if you’ve got it handled…))

((We could… help?)) Hasheth offered hesitantly, but she made no move to get any closer to the increasingly frantic gyrations of the egg. It jerked around, spinning in place, as if whoever was inside was wrestling a wild feline.

((No!)) the trapped dragon repeated.

Nishikith cocked her head this way and that, considering the problem. The occupant of the Flesh of My Enemies egg clearly didn’t want help, but then, the egg showed not a single crack just yet. The dragon inside might be angry… but then again, it would probably forgive her. Or forget. Or maybe not even realize at all.

She sidled close to the egg innocently, tilted one back foot up, and gave the egg a well-timed shove.

It hit the Flesh of My Enemies egg just as it was rocking back the other way, and the extra motion was enough to send it rolling out of the rather deep little sand indentation it had been trapped in. If the egg’s occupant even noticed that it was rolling, it was hard to tell — it kept right on fighting, making the egg’s motion across the Sands jerky and unpredictable, flipping it around and spinning it this way and that, until finally it crashed into the side of the last remaining unhatched egg — The Shell of Reflection Egg — and shattered.

((Victory!)) declared the gangly brown dragon revealed by the egg’s demise, and even as he wobbled on unsteady legs — a combination of newborn weakness and dizziness brought on by all the spinning around — he managed to keep his footing, and despite the fact that his eyes were a little crossed as his vision swam before him, he held his head high. ((I told you I had it!))

((You did it all by yourself,)) Nishikith affirmed proudly, nodding.

Hasheth looked back and forth between them. ((But you—))

((Shhh,)) Sarteth urged, nudging her sister with a wingtip.

((Of course I did!)) said the brown, and though he didn’t dare move yet, his eyes did finally focus on the trio of greens before him. ((I was born to conquer! I am strong, I am /Sarezarth/, and no mere egg can stand before me! Now, you three…))

((Nishikith,)) that particular green offered.

((Sarteth,)) the sleek green purred.

((Hasheth,)) piped up the last.

((Whatever,)) the brown dismissed. ((You three: who is in charge here?))

The three greens looks at each other, then back at him. Nishikith shrugged, unknowing and clearly unworried about it. Hasheth offered a little ((I don’t know…?)).

Sarteth also gave a little shrug, just one shoulder moving beneath silky hide. ((No one,)) she said. ((We’re our own dragons, after all.))

Sarezarth finally took an unsteady step forward, masking the wobbliness of the motion behind sheer confidence, pretending not to notice the problem. ((No one? Well then what are you doing here? Just sitting around watching eggs hatch? Aren’t you bored? Where is the /battle/?))

((We just rid ourselves of a battle, actually,)) Nishikith offered casually.

((Oh?)) Interest shone in the brown’s eyes.

((Two blues, a battle of wits. But both were unarmed,)) she continued sadly, clucking her tongue.

((Point me in the direction of this battle!)) Sarezarth demanded, missing the joke entirely. ((I need no weapons to best a pair of blue dragons!))

((…In a battle of wits?))

((In a battle of wits!)) he confirmed.

Nishikith and Sarteth glanced at each other.

((They went that way…?)) Hasheth offered helpfully, nodding towards the candidates.

Sarezarth turned and took all of four steps before stopping abruptly and turning his head back to look at the greens. ((There? Are you sure? I don’t see any signs of battle over there. Just a bunch of people in dresses!))

((They are probably nice people,)) Hasheth said. ((They made our brothers and sisters very happy, and I don’t think there was any sort of battle at all. Why would you /want/ a battle? I don’t like it when dragons fight.))

Sarezarth turned back around, looking at her incredulously. ((Why /wouldn’t/ you want a battle? What else is there to do? Sit around? Soak up the sun, get sand in all your crevices? Gossip? Bah!))

((Talking to people is nice,)) Hasheth defended. ((I was invisible for a while and no one could hear me… it’s much better to have someone to talk to, believe me!))

Nishikith stretched her front legs, yawning. ((There will be plenty of battles in our future, and I’m sure it will be nice to test ourselves, to fight. But for now it’s good to enjoy the peaceful times, too. If you spend all your time longing to be doing something else, then you’ll at best only be happy part of the time. Wouldn’t you rather be happy /all/ of the time?))

((This sitting around is not making me happy,)) Sarezarth grumbled, tail lashing. He looked around the Sands, but there was nothing exciting that he could see. Broken shells, people staring at them from the stands — surely they were waiting for a grand show! — and the candidates, looking so vulnerable and disgusting to the brown’s eyes with their white dresses and hopeful eyes. Why, there probably wasn’t even a single fighter among them!

But finally his eyes rested on the last remaining egg on the Sands, right next to the shards of his old egg — the Shell of Reflection egg, rocking idly, one large crack up the side left behind by the collision of the two eggs.

((Well, /that/ might just be interesting,)) he rumbled, lowering himself into a crouch, readying himself to pounce.

((Oh no!)) Hasheth cried. ((Don’t!))

Sarteth slunk up next to the brown. ((Don’t be a fool. Whatever is in there could be something too big for you to handle!))

The brown’s eyes blazed. ((Nothing is too big for me to handle! Watch how it’s done, you cowards!))

Sarezarth pounced.

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