The night had already been a long one. Kasheth’s warning came through to Kabelth just shortly before Foreth started keening and Kabelth lent her sorrowful cry. Sarati waited for the inevitable knock on her door, a skin of wine ready.
And that knock came fairly quickly after the second round of keening. As soon as the door was open, a rather pale and distraught Shalia stumbled in. "Oh Faranth, Sar, it was awful!" she said, falling into her lover's arms.
Sarati grabbed her and pulled her over to her bed. She’d been expecting her sister sooner than that.
“Were you caught up at the Barracks?” she asked, hugging Shalia tight to her side. “Do you want something to drink?”
"Oh yes, definitely," Shalia responded fervently, spotting the wine and taking a long pull directly from the skin. Sometimes one just couldn't stand on ceremony. She snuggled into Sarati's side after, shivering just a little before answering the first question.
"No, I was talking with R'tal when it happened, and he took off, and I just stuck with him. So I actually got into the Hatching Caverns. It was an *explosion*, 'Rati!" She sat up a little, quickly reassuring her sister. "Aunt Kassia was hurt, but I heard she's gonna be fine. Hit her head and I think broke her arm maybe? I'm not sure. But she's okay, and so's the babe."
Relief ran through Sarati at the knowledge, but a thought occurred to her. “Why...why was Foreth keening?” she asked tentatively. There was more to this story and she knew she wasn’t going to like it.
"Several of the eggs were smashed," Shalia said grimly. "Talith and Truenoth were blinded, but I overheard Larsin say he thinks they should recover in time. But the keening was for the hatchlings. First when Foreth realized what… had happened, and then after she brought them between." She'd almost let slip how the eggs had gotten smashed, but managed to catch herself just in time. Nobody who didn't already know needed to know.
“Poor Foreth,” Sarati said. She stroked along Shalia’s side, needing the comfort as much as she was giving it. “Poor Talith and Truenoth. Poor Hatchlings.” Was Shalia’s Hatchling one of the ones that had been smashed? They might never know.
“I assume both gold eggs are okay?” She had a feeling *everyone* would know if either of the gold eggs hadn’t made it.
Shalia nodded. "Yeah, they're fine, as far as I know." She let out a small chuckle. "I didn't actually see them, or any of the rest of the surviving ones." Left unspoken was the suggestion she'd seen the smashed ones. "I was too busy trying to comfort Foreth. Figures, right?"shalia snuggled
If Sarati caught the implication, she didn’t push it. She merely snuggled Shalia closer against her.
“I’m glad Foreth had you there since mom wasn’t able to be there,” she said. “Foreth is strong, but even she need comfort once in a while. She seems to like you the most.”
Shalia snuggled in, hands starting to make small movements on her sister's body. Cuddling was nice, really nice in fact, but she needed more. "Me too. I'm still pissed at her, but I'm glad I could be there for her. Even if she makes me wish she didn't like me so much."
“She sees something in you,” Sarati said, letting her fingers roam a little, too. She gave a teasing grin. “Maybe really big, golden things.”
Shalia smacked her herplayfully. "I'm sure she's hoping that, but I sure as shards don't!" She turned towards her more, nuzzling Sarati's neck. "There's only one thing I want to see in me right now, 'Rati," she whispered. Prohibitions be shafted.
Sarati knew she should say no, but somehow Sarati doubted that if they took a roll in the furs that it would make any difference. And this might be the last chance she could hold Shalia in her arms for ten months, if Shalia was lucky. Sarati would miss her, but she’d never stand in the way of her near-sister Impressing. And she wasn’t going to stand in the way of the two of them being together that night.
“We have all night,” Sarati said.