You Re Working Too Hard

((It’s okay little egg.)) Ormondiath panted as he got in front of the determinedly rolling egg and stopped it with his tummy, ((There see. Much better. Much less scrambled. Scrambled eggs are bad, kay?)) he patted the egg with his large paw, freezing when he accidentally crushed the top a little, ((Oh. Uh. Sorry about that. I’ll just….)) and he slowly edged away from the egg in time to see Rekkith bowl into the Candidates and Impress. His laughter boomed across the sands once more, ((Way to go Rekkith!)) he cheered, waving a hand, unworried when he was ignored, ((That’s awesome.))

Teparith, realizing finally that one of his playmates was gone, slowed to a halt. ((Aww, come on guys… where are you going, Rekkith? That’s no fun!)) He sighed, hurrying back to Ormondiath and nudging him. ((Hey. The eggs are fine, let’s play!))

((I can play.)) Ormondiath turned to face the much smaller blue and hesitated, suddenly unsure if he should pounce him. ((You’re…uh….kinda small buddy.))

((Who says?)) Teparith demanded, drawing himself up to his full height. ((Besides… you’re slow!)) He reached out and bopped the other blue playfully on the nose and then ran off again, laughing.

(( Uh…I say. Said.)) Ormondiath scratched his cheek thoughtfully, ((You…uh….yeah you just heard me say it. Hey!)) he put his foreclaws over his nose, eyes going wide and sad, ((You just….hit me. That’s not fun.)) he sat there for a moment and then got to his feet, charging off after the other dragon, surprisingly swift for one so large and ungainly, ((I’m going to pancake you!))

((You’re going to try!)) the little blue laughed, turning to kick up some sand in Ormondiath’s general direction before running off again.

Unfortunately, even swift baby dragons aren’t always as sure-footed as they think they are. In the middle of a turn, Teparith’s foot slipped, sending him sprawling into the sand. ((Whoa!))

((What in the name of Faranth is going on out there?!)) A voice called from the Infinite Possibilities egg. The shell had already been cracked from Rekkith’s earlier shenanigans, making it easy for the hatchling inside to work their way out, shards falling away to reveal a dark, denim blue dragon, who immediately sat up at his straightest. ((What are you doing?! Do you have any idea what we’re supposed to be doing right now? This is war time, grub-gulpers!)) With measured steps, the blue moved away from the remnants of his egg and began to march toward Teparith and Ormondiath. ((What’s your names, dimglows?!))

Ormondiath froze, halfway through a step, eyes widening as he stared at the new blue dragon, looking rather like a big kid being caught in the middle of being naughty, ((Uh…)) he mumbled incoherently, ((I’m Ormondiath….who are you?))

Teparith scrambled to his feet, sitting up tall, too. ((Teparith!)) he answered brightly. ((We’re just playing a chase and pounce game — you want to play?))

((Playing?)) The new blue sneered, giving his wings a flap. ((Front and center, you two! On the double! This isn’t a day for playing! This is the day to make your mama proud!))

Back and forth he paced, tail swishing. He held his head high with his muzzle pointed up in the air. ((You may call me Kalmorth. Now…you! Hatchling Ormondiath! You’re on egg duty; make sure these eggs are getting hatched on time! Hatchling Teparith, you…sit over there.)) Absently he pointed with a wing in an arbitrary direction.

((Yes sir!)) Ormondiath replied with enthusiasm, hurrying off, before realising slowly that he didn’t actually have any kind of first rate clue of how to assist the eggs, ((Uh…)) he fretted, looking at the pretty eggs before him. He didn’t want to smash them, but how else was he supposed to make sure they hatched?

Gently he reached out and poked an egg, making it rock slowly from side to side, ((Uh…hey there…I don’t suppose you’d mind coming out there would you? This Kalmorth guy seems a little….))

Intense? The good side of him supplied. Like an absolute asshole? the more wicked part drawled.

He was so conflicted, so…worrying his lower lip with his fangly teeth he poked the egg again.

The dragonet inside the Tropical Fruit egg yawned mightily. ((Oh yeah, that rocking is nice. Give me another little sway, will you? I was napping and I think I need a few more minutes.))

Teparith cocked his head at Kalmorth, considered the order for a moment — playing obedient had seemed like it might be fun for a few seconds, anyway — and then decided that “sitting over there” seemed sort of boring, and a bit like he was being shoved out of the way. ((Nah,)) he declined. ((If you want me to sit, you’re gonna have to make me!))

((You disobeying a direct order?)) Kalmorth sneered, turning on Teparith at once. His lip curled up, revealing his small, sparse set of baby fangs. ((You think Thread will just patiently wait for you to finish prancing about like a dim-witted firelizard? You’ve got rocks for brains if you think so. Now let’s see your best war face, c’mon!))

But before Teparith had a chance to answer, Kalmorth’s attention was drawn elsewhere, his head whipping around in the direction of the Tropical Fruit egg. ((Napping? NAPPING?! What a bunch of lollygagging, useless mutts you are, playing games and sleeping while the threat of Thread is FOREVER above us!))

Kalmorth was a bit scary, Ormondiath decided, eying him warily, claw still idly poking the egg. The dragon inside had asked nicely enough after all….

((Aw come on Kalmorth.)) he boomed, not really watching what he was doing as he rocked the egg, ((Lighten up a bit eh? This is a happy day, we’re all out of our eggs. That’s awesome.)) So great was his enthusiasm by the end of his words, that he gave the egg a firmer than usual rock, and his claw punctured through, making a round hole in it,.

He gasped and then pretended innocence, ((Nothing happened I swear.))

((Hey!)) protested the Tropical Fruit egg, rocking a little as its inhabitant shifted. A broad green head pushed through the hole, breaking more of the shell away in order to fit. ((Not so rough, willya? You let all that light in!))

She stopped, looking around.

((Though hey, it doesn’t look so bad out here. Lots of folks out already, hey, it’s a party and it started without me!))

Teparith, who had been flashing Kalmorth his “best war face” — a big grin with his tongue stuck out — wriggled enthusiastically. ((Yes, a party! Come on, we were just playing some games!))

Kalmorth flustered. He’d been hatched only a few minutes and already he was on the verge of chewing someone’s knobs off. But instead of roaring back into his usual speech, he turned his back to them and shuffled towards the rest of the yet-unhatched eggs. ((Suit yourselves, ladies. Don’t come crawling to me when you’re in need of help.))

((Ladies?)) Ormondiath looked confused, glancing between Kalmorth, Teparith and the new green dragon, ((There’s only one lady here. And that’s new lady. Hello new lady. What’s your name. I’m Ormondiath.))

((Oh, he’s just being an uptight spoilsport,)) said the green, shaking her head. ((Guy’s gotta learn to loosen up, you know? What’s the big hurry? We’ll get where we’re going eventually. The name’s Lulaboth, by the way.))

She strained a bit, and her legs popped through the egg, sending cracks all around but not quite shattering it yet. ((Ahaha, this thing is stubborn. Give me a paw here would you, Ormon-my-man?))

Teparith, meanwhile, had caught sight of his shadow, pale but still visible on the glow-lit golden sands, and leapt into the air suddenly, twisting, trying to pin it down.

With sheer determination, Kalmorth prowled around the hatching sands nosing at eggs, trying to find one that had an occupant that would suit his needs. When that inevitably failed, he continued on toward the semi-circle of candidates. Something there would surely make a reasonable partner. ((What’s this? Are you all really just standing around, gawping at everything? Don’t you have anything better to do?!))

And then — ((You! In the white robe!)) — as if they were the only one — ((Get over here this instant! We’ve got business to attend to, you and I! Let’s go, hustle hustle, hup two, hup two!))

Ormondiath immediately hurried forward and considered the egg, only partially aware of Teparith bouncing out of the corner of his eye and Kalmorth storming off. Seriously why were some people so….dissatisfied? This was awesome to him.

Clearly the best way to free the green was to play the egg like a set of drums, the big blue decided and immediately started banging out the most epic rhythm he could think of, humming an epic tune as he did, blissfully unaware that his rhythm was out of beat and tempo, and his song…was tone deaf.

Still the egg fell apart around the green and he grinned down at her, ((Freed you!))

Lulaboth winced, shaking her head. ((Ouch. And I do mean OUCH. We’ve gotta work on your rhythm, big guy. I can take being beaten in an egg, but I just can’t take a ruined dance beat. Lemme show you how it’s done.))

She shook the last couple of clinging pieces of egg away — he had freed her, at least — and then bopped her way to the nearest egg, her big booty swaying along rhythmically. ((Like this. You’ve gotta feel it, you know?))

Teparith jumped again, landing back on the sand, front feet clasping at it tightly as if he could trap his shadow with his own claws. ((Come on, guys!)) he called. ((Your shadows are escaping!))

((We’re kind of busy, junior,)) Lulaboth called back.

((You…don’t like my rhythm?)) Ormondiath’s eyes went all sad as he watched the green groove her way around him, ((But my rhythm was awesome! Wasn’t it?)) Only the question was directed more to himself than Lulaboth, ((I think it was…but she thinks it was awful. I need another opinion….))

He glanced over, and then away again. Teparith was no help. He hadn’t even heard his wicked beats.

So he turned to the candidates and walked over to stand in front of them, drawing himself up, big and strong in front of them, enjoying their admiration, ((You guys heard my beats right? They weren’t crap were they?)) and then his eyes locked on one face in particular, ((You! You will tell me the truth won’t you? My beats were wicked!))

((Aw, where are you going?)) Lulaboth called after him, tapping her claws a bit on the Shells Is That Bright egg. ((The party’s just starting!))

Well. No one left to hang around with but Teparith, who seemed to be having entirely too much fun playing around by himself.

((Hey junior,)) she called to him, ((Caught that shadow yet? Why don’t you come help me give some eggs a good shove? It’s getting lonely out here, and we haven’t even had any real fun yet!))

Teparith came to a sudden stop in the middle of chasing his own tail. ((What? Oh, I don’t know… every time an egg hatches, a boring dragon comes out. You didn’t even want to play chase!))

((We’ve just got a different idea of fun, kid, that’s all. Now come on, your tail’s attached to your butt and it’s not gonna let go any time soon, and your shadow’s probably not going anywhere either.))

((I don’t know…)) Teparith considered — more time than he had spent thinking about anything at all thus far, really — but as he did so, his tail twitched, and its shadow just happened to twitch too right in the corner of his vision. He leapt sideways suddenly like a startled feline, twisting in midair to turn on it, but as he did, it of course disappeared behind him again. He turned around quickly to give chase, but as his tail turned, so did its shadow, and he just ended up spinning around and around trying to catch what couldn’t be caught. At first glance one might have thought him intent on his task, focused, but the dragons could hear his merry laughter, delighted at this game, as he spun himself aimlessly closer and closer to the candidates.

And then, all at once, he tripped himself up and went sprawling, right at the feet of someone who, somehow, seemed like the perfect playmate.

Possibly for all the right reasons, and possibly for all the wrong ones.

((Hey!)) he greeted, ((You look like the most fun ever! Stay with me, huh, and we’ll go on adventures and find treasure and slay all the Thread!))

Lulaboth sighed heavily. ((Man, what a draaaag. I should have stuck to that nap.))

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