I Should Be There JP M'gal/Kassia #HatchingForeth2020


The hum from Foreth went up and then caught through the Weyr as night fell around them. The time was weird, but more than that it was inconvenient. Kassia had been battling headaches and the pain in her arm for the past couple of days. The Healers still wouldn’t let her out of the Infirmary and she certainly wasn’t cleared to go see the Hatching. If she thought she wouldn’t just be a distraction, she might have fought to go anyway.

Helpless to do anything, even to fully control Foreth, Kassia laid there with a lot of time and imagination on hand.

{{Kassia needs you with her,}} Ozayith said as he started to hum.

“But the eggs…”

{{I’ll be here, in front of the Caverns, watching. Guarding. Talith and Truenoth know I’m here. Go.}}

M’gal went. Truth be told, he’d rather be with Kassia anyway, but he was still worried about the eggs and what could happen. Though, if they were ready to Hatch anyway, he supposed that if something dire occurred, the dragons might still be saved. He sent a tendril of that thought to Ozayith but met only stubborn silence. 

Entering the Infirmary, he quickly went to Kassia’s side. “Hey, sweetling, how are you doing? Other than the obvious, of course.”

Kassia had spent much of the last few days trying to sleep. Partly for nothing to do, partly because she wasn’t getting great sleep with everything hurting. With the humming she’d asked for help to get propped up while she listened in on what Foreth could pass along considering that she was fairly busy. By the time M’gal got to her, Foreth was already calling for her selection of girls to come up to the Upper Caverns.

Kassia blinked the image away as her weyrmate came into the room. She wasn’t sure if anyone would come. Sh’ain couldn’t with his duties to the Candidates. B’lin might be roped in to help with the Weyrlings. And M’gal might have to be there due to his Ranker’s duties. So she was happy to see M’gal walk into the room. 

“You came,” she said, holding out her good arm and hand.

Clasping her hand, M’gal bent down for a kiss, and took a chair. Rank had its privileges, and Kassia’s small room in the infirmary had a few better comforts than most of the others. Still holding her hand, he nodded.

“Ozayith is at the entrance of the Sands, where he can watch. I’d like him to be in there, but with the Candidates, and the sires, there’s not a lot of room. But this way what he can see while looking in, he can relay to us.” He shot her a wry grin.

“It’s not as good as being there, but it’s something. If Foreth will allow Oz to speak to you, he can let you see what’s going on. Otherwise I’ll have to describe everything.”

“Foreth was the one that decided to split up the Clutch,” she said. “I understand her reasoning, but she forfeits her chance to say ‘no’. She’s busy anyway. She’s calling up the girls she wants from those that saw the eggs.” Kassia didn’t dare say out loud where anyone, maybe even M’gal, could know that she couldn’t stop the Queen from doing it. Better to let them think that Kassia agreed with her dragon than that she couldn’t entirely control her in that moment.

“Every once in a while she lets me know what’s going on or shows me a glimpse, but that’s all I’m getting. I imagine once the golds Hatch she’ll want me to see.”

“Well, with the golds being on the second Grounds, Oz can’t really see those as well anyway. So he’ll just show you the majority.” M’gal didn’t have any favorites amongst the girls. Most of them seemed to be gold-diggers anyway, just wanting the prestige. He almost wished that those would be the ones to Impress gold--it would serve them right.

“Did Foreth call all the girls in your family up?” he asked. “I feel bad for Shalia; I know she wants blue and I think she’ll be a great bluerider. She’s the type of person I almost wish could ride a brown.” Almost.

“She did,” Kassia nodded and was glad that her head didn’t hurt more. She was glad she could look at him, as well. The first two days her eyes had been very sensitive. Now they were only a little sensitive. “Though, I’d say she’d actually be a great gold rider. If she wanted to be one. She’s not mine, but she’s got the fire like she’s mine. More so than Kashara or Rassia.”

M’gal nodded. He hadn’t gotten to know Kashara or Rassia that well yet. Probably due to being busy, and since they were Candidates, he didn’t see the Canididates often. He saw Shalia because of R’tal, and he used to see Sarati with Shalia. Still did, for that matter.

“Well, if your daughters Impress gold, in my opinion I think they’d need to switch Weyrs. I just can’t imagine Ozayith catching one of their golds. Though I guess we could leave.” He waved his hand. “That would be better anyway.” He went silent.

“Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it,” Kassia said. She squeezed his hand. “Foreth is only telling me what’s going on in the Upper Caverns. And barely at that. Can you have Ozayith show me or you tell me?”

Ozayith immediately opened a link from his mind to Kassia’s so she could see the Lightning in a Bottle egg  shake, vibrate and Hatch into a little blue. 

“It’s a blue,” M’gal said. “And he seems healthy, though,” his forehead wrinkled, “he’s not the prettiest dragon on the planet.”

{{He’s fine,}} Ozayith said to both, affronted for Truenoth and Talith. {{You probably weren’t that pretty when you were born, either. And,}} he bugled angrily, {{you all should be ashamed of yourselves for judging him. At least Almira will give him the love he needs.}} 

The bronze acted like he was going to stop letting them look through his eyes, but M’gal had to placate him, and quickly.

[[I’m sorry. I think everyone was just surprised. And with everything that happened, it’s hard not to...I’m sorry.]]

((A Hatchling is a Hatchling,)) Kassia tried to reply, unknowing whether the bronze was listening back or not. ((Every Hatchling should be celebrated.)) Especially after those eggs had been smashed.

Placated, Ozayith allowed them to continue to watch as the Stoic Pebble and the Bricked Skull eggs began to rock. Eventually the Stoic Pebble egg opened to reveal a stocky brown, while a little green nose poked through the top of the Bricked Skull egg. After the hor--surprise of the first egg, seeing these two made M’gal smile. Ozayith also allowed M’gal and Kassie listen to the exchanges between the dragonets and their sires.

“These two are wonderful,” he said to Kassia. “I’m surprised that no one touched them. They are so smart.”

{{They are Foreth’s,}} Oz said.

((Yes, they are Foreth’s,)) Kassia agreed. And as Foreth’s, she expected them all to have an extra ‘oomph’ to them than some of the other golds. She doubted there’d be many that were excessively sweet, but Thread didn’t need sweet. Thread needed mentally strong and motivated, for lack of a better way of describing it.

“So good so far,” she said out loud.

M’gal nodded. Unlike some Hatchings, these dragons seemed to study their selection of partners. He knew that no matter what was said, dragons were not infallible in their choices. Some ill-made matches had happened throughout the history of dragonriding, though he knew that even though Kassia felt hers was one, that wasn’t the case. She had just needed affirmation. Or something.

Now the Sheen of Blood egg was rocking, and speaking. “So, this next one seems to be really hungry,” he said. “She’s calling for food before she’s out of the shell.” Then his attention was caught by a couple of Candidates.

“Should I have Oz have someone remove those two?” M’gal asked, speaking of the two Candidates acting out while on the Sands. But as he spoke, the Bronze Eye egg, the one that had been punctured, Hatched.

“They should be handled by the ACMs,” Kassia said, not wanting to upset the whole situation. That’s what the ACMs were for, right? Besides, it wasn’t unusual for there to be a little bit of issues among the Candidates.

“Yeah, true,” he said. “Oh look. This is why people should keep their stupid firelizards out of the Sands.” The bronze had grabbed a blue firelizard out of the air and was playing a game of keep-away with his green sister.

As they watched, he was impressed with the mind of the green, how she tried to trick the bronze so she could steal his prize. And she did! Until…

“No. Oh, Faranth, no!” he said, gripping Kassia’s hand. “This shouldn’t be happening.”

Kassia gripped it back. There was nothing they could do for what was obviously a dangerous situation. It could only get worse.


M’gal was yelling at the Candidates now. “Get away! Get out of the way!” But of course they couldn’t hear him. There was nothing Ozayith could do as the boy was ripped to shreds. 

“Oh, feck me,” M’gal moaned, laying his head in his hand. How could he ever look at Dardueth with anything but revulsion?

{{She doesn’t know. He was in her way, and she wanted to get to Hers,}} Oz chastised. {{If someone were standing in my way, I’d have done the same thing then. But not now. Now I’d politely ask them to move.}}

“Trust Ozayith to put things into perspective,” M’gal said. 

Kassia just stared in horror even though the image was all in her head. She’d seen enough throughout her life, but the image still made her nauseous.

“Foreth could have...she could have...” she stammered. If Foreth had been there...if she’d been there to direct might not have happened. This was all her fault.

Tears welled in her eyes. 

Something of her guilt reached Ozayith, which reached M’gal. “It is not your fault,” he said holding her good hand in both of his. “These things happen. If you’d been there, you would have been at the other Caverns with Foreth and wouldn’t have seen it. You said it yourself earlier: This is why we have Candidate Masters. But there are a lot of Candidates.

“If you’d been there is the least of it. If the Caverns hadn’t exploded. If Talith and Truenoth weren’t blinded. If Foreth had allowed that girl up with the gold eggs. If, if, if.” He wanted to hug her, but it was too soon after the explosion without causing pain. Plus, it was hard to hug someone in an Infirmary bed.

“Look, we have a green and blue playing with tunnelsnakes. Aren’t they cute?” he said, trying to get her mind off of this most recent tragedy.

Kassia tried to push the memory from her head. She blinked a couple of times and then pulled her hand from his so that she could wipe at her face. She needed to be strong. The Weyr needed a strong Weyrwoman, even if she was injured.

She focused on the image in her head and let herself enjoy it. “So long as they don’t get hurt.” Faranth, this was a heart wrenching Hatching.

“For some reason, I think those two know what they’re doing. And they don’t look like the poisonous tunnelsnakes. I know that before Foreth even rose, some of my Wing and I went through the tunnels checking for poisonous nests, and there were none.

“Their lifemates are going to have their hands full, though, if those two insist on catching and keeping snakes. And Ko’ssen. Definitely Ko’ssen.” He smiled, glad he was neither a CM or WM. This group made Weyrleading look easy.

“I don’t envy his job,” Kassia agreed. “And the golds haven’t even Hatched.”

“No, but we do have another bronze,” M’gal said as the Endless Sky egg Hatched. “He’s a nice-looking one. Oh, and another blue. I’m glad that these guys are being a little more civilized.” Not that it was the others’ fault for what happened. But he was still talking his stomach down from that little episode.  He felt Ozayith’s snort as he heard it.

“Hey, didn’t that guy get banned from the Sands for being a troublemaker?” he asked, referencing Asheran. “Or, because he was actually trying to help was he allowed on?”

Kassia narrowed her eyes as Ozayith passed on the image. “He did,” she said. “We’ll have to make sure he serves some sort of penance. I wonder if anyone helped him.”

“Well, not sure what we’re going to do now,” M’gal said wryly after a few minutes. “He Impressed that bronze. But I’m sure if anyone helped him, not all of them will Impress.” Secretly he was glad the boy Impressed. Sure, he’d gone about it the wrong way, but his heart was in the right place.

“We’ll find some way to punish him,” Kassia insisted. “And whoever helped. Can’t let that stuff fly or others will try. “He’ll probably come out of Weyrling training a good bronzerider, though.”

“Probably.” M’gal looked at all the eggs still waiting to Hatch. He hoped none of them were duds. That would be terrible. Bad enough Foreth lost eight babies to the explosion.

Another egg hatched an ugly green. “Hey, there’s a green that can go with that blue,” he said jokingly. Ozayith closed his eyes.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said. “Honest, I didn’t mean it.”

{{You did, but I’m only going to let you watch because Kassia can’t be there,}} Oz said. He opened his eyes again.

The green was hanging out, trying to decide what to do when he saw a shadow out of the corner of Ozayith’s eye. “Look out!” he said, then stopped and stared. “Where did that dragon come from?” he asked rhetorically.

“It’s so dark in parts of the Caverns,” Kassia said. “It’s likely that there are eggs we can’t see.”

“Yeah, likely.” He watched, smiling at their antics too. “Heh. More Fun with Tunnelsnakes,” he said as the two kept trying to corral the creepy-crawlies. “I really like that green--she’s almost black. I love dark green, it’s a good color.” 

“She is pretty,” Kassia agreed. She was starting to get antsy to know when the golds were going to Hatch.

Both greens Impressed, then two blues Hatched. These two seemed to love the puddles that were placed around the Sands after the rains earlier that night. 

“Heh. That one looks like a runner,” M’gal said as they splashed. “A water-runner. They’re both handsome, though.” Then he frowned. “Too bad Shalia’s not down here.She’d love that one.” But, she didn’t get him and instead they went to a couple of different people.

Now things were quiet and he wondered what was going on.

Suddenly Foreth pushed into her head. It was Kassia’s turn to be the relay.

“Golds are hatched,” she said. “Little brats they are. Beautiful brats. They’re each trying to show each other up. They’re definitely Foreth’s brood....Now she’s restraining them with her cla...oh no, she let one out.” The stream continued until suddenly things got exciting again. 

“Oh no! They started fighting and hurt each other and a couple of other girls. Shalia fell over, I think she broke her arm!” She squeezed his hand hard. “Oh...oh...they Impressed.” She let out a sigh of relief.  “One of them is the girl who was taking care of Foreth. I don’t know the other.”

At first M’gal held his breath, expecting another death like the last one. But after they Impressed he let it out. “Poor Shalia. Didn’t she just have a broken arm because of R’tal’s wher?”

But now two more eggs had Hatched, and these headed straight to the water puddles also. Then they took on the look of dragons searching for their lifemate.

“Faranth! There’s a green and blue trying to go up the stairs to the other grounds. They need to bring the girls down1” M’gal said

“Shards!” Kassia said, but Foreth was still giving her info. She saw Kashara run towards the stairs and then disappear down them. “Kashara’s gone down.”

“Good. She got the green. But the blue is still looking for someone...oh, there’s Shalia, broken arm and all. She’s going to have fun. As will K’ossen.” He sighed, then the last egg began to rock.

“One more, and it looks like--oh, some idiot Candidate brought food to the Hatching and left it on the Sands. You’ll have to talk to the Candidate Masters about that. Can’t have that happen during a Hatching.”  A few minutes later, that dragon had Impressed.  He squeezed Kassia’s hand.

“Looks like they all found someone,” he said.

“And person died.” Kassia sighed, then brightened. “But Kashara and Shalia Impressed. And Shalia got her blue. And the golds Impressed. Now it’s all the Weyrling Master’s problem.”

“I’m so glad I’m not him,” M’gal said.

{{You’ve got that right.}}