IC Date Reference: Set approximately three days post Hatching. IC date approx 184.108.40.206.
After the Hatching, she had found it easier to retreat to the solitude of her working space. It was almost finished. With the help of Panagath the wood for the doors had been collected and the doors assembled and hung. All she needed was to arrange a few more things and the doors would be open for the denizens of the Weyr to come with all and any firelizard enquiries. But for the moment, just this moment, it was a much needed place of solitude and quiet.
She was sitting in the Stands, arriving with the barely awake occupants that had heard the dragons begin to hum. And like many others, she had seen it all. Just like many, her eyes had been glued to the grisly scene that unfolded and she had been able to take little joy in the distraction that was the jubilant realisation that both golds had Impressed unharmed. Once upon a time, she had gotten in the way of a green hatchling too. One that she had spurned and still had the scars to show for it. The entire scene had struck a nerve that she had not thought about for many a Turn. For Tyne, she had spent the rest of the Hatching wondering about the fate that had befallen the girl that was taken from the Sands, resisting the urge to run and hide as the blood-curdling screams of shock and pain began echoing up the tunnels before they were abruptly silenced.
But even in the days after, it had loomed in her thoughts and the thoughts were ugly. The firelizards could see it and had clung to her more than ever. Although she had spent the nights with R’zzon and Panagath, needing and grateful for the comfort that their presence brought her, it hadn’t stopped her waking early one morning that it was still possible to think of it as the day before. She had lain there in the dark, listening to the soft and familiar sounds of R’zzon’s breathing, had tried to will herself back to sleep. But sleep wouldn’t come and already she could feel the dark churn of thoughts beginning to swirl and skitter behind her eyes. Rather than disturb him, Tyne had slipped out of bed, thrown her clothes on and had quietly left the weyr, leaving a small note to tell R’zzon that her “mind had been swirling and she had gone to do some work in the clinic”. The Bluerider knew her well enough by now to interpret its meaning and wouldn’t be given cause for worry.
So, with a pot of tea set to brew and the glow baskets uncovered, Tyne had pulled out some of the small boxes of supplies that the Infirmary had provided her with and set to quietly sorting and inventorying them. It was nothing hugely important, bottles of redwort, jars of numbweed, vials of dragon oils and boxes of simple dressings designed for the most straightforward of wounds. But they were essentials and the task of needing to know what there was and where it had been stored was enough to begin to distract her thoughts from the dark needles of her memories and keep them pinned down in the present. The majority of the faire had stayed piled up on Panagath, sleeping in a pile of multi-coloured hides. But Bobbin and Tubber had woken when she had and had instinctively followed, softly chattering quiet nothings to one another as they hopped back and forth across the large table she had had made that would serve as a practical examination platform and in this case, somewhere to lay out the contents of the boxes she went through. Although the large outer doors and smaller inner door were closed, the light of the glows cast a soft outline around the edges to the rest of the world, the only indication that someone was there.
Deep in thought and absently sipping from the steaming mug that staved off the early morning chill, it was the clinking rattle of something being disturbed that brought Tyne’s thoughts out of numbers and cataloguing and saw her head jerking upwards. Bobbin and Tubber had heard it too, the gold and brown stopping in their relay of small bottles to search for its source. For a moment, a long moment, there was nothing. And just as Tyne was about to put it down to something falling of its own accord, she felt it. The tiny prickle of fear that wasn’t hers, the confusion. And the loss. It was small compared to that of even a human, but it was there. And it was raw and scared. The sharpness of it was palpable and despite its small size, very real. For the thousandth time, Tyne remembered why the firelizards were so much more important than people realised.
She didn’t recognise the thread that she felt. It wasn’t one of the wild regulars that popped in and out, nor the familiar thread of one she had encountered belonging to someone. It was hard to explain because so much of it was just feeling. But wild felt different to Impressed, just as Impressed felt different to Bonded and this one… this one was not quite right. Because part of it was there. Just as part of it was missing. “Where are you?” It was a quiet voice that spoke up, her head turning in the direction that Bobbin and Tubber seemed to have focused their own on. A dark corner of the clinic that the light of the uncovered glows didn’t quite seem to touch. But as her eyes adjusted, she caught the glimpse of glowing, whirling eyes.
“Oh, sweetheart. I feel it. I do.”
Reaching gently out, Tyne felt the familiar shift in the part of her head that was learning better and better how to let feelings do the talking for her. Much of the tools she had borrowed from those she had used with Myrandith but it had been a learning experience. And a very steep learning curve. The proverbial “olive branch” was gently reached out, one wrapped in commiseration and gentle colours of sympathy. She didn’t know what the newcomer had lost, but in firelizards it could be anything from the loss of their faire, feeling ousted from a human family after a new addition - even a babe and for those that had found humans, the loss of the one person in the world that they looked to for everything. She didn’t have to ask for Bobbin to extend the gentle wave of soft and walming calm; the gold had begun the moment she felt the grief and pain surrounding the interloper like a thick cloud. But the eyes stayed in the darkness, watching and whirling. And the echoes of pain ripplied around the stranger.
Without warning, the glimpse of the Caverns from high in the rafters flickered into view. Staring down at the bodies clad in their white robes but centred in its attention around one in particular, a blond haired boy. The surge of love and pride was twisted around the boy like an overlay of colour. His boy. Tyne’s first instinct was that perhaps this was a firelizard who had found the overwhelming and possessive stake of a dragonet too much to contend with and had severed the bond, fleeing in panic. But as the images shifted and flickered, she realised that she was so very, terribly wrong.
The boy, that boy was now coloured in red, the light of life leaving his eyes as the Healers clustered around him and like a glow finally dying, Tyne felt the colours of connection wilt and fade, tainted with the fear and pain that… were the boy’s last moments. The realisation was heavy as she realised that she felt the echoes of someone dying within the spaces of her mind. And the firelizard had felt it all. Had felt the rips and tears but had been compelled by its own terror to do nothing but stare and scream before exploding into darkness as the coldness of Between nipped and stung. And when she saw the Sands again in her mind’s eye, there was nothing left but the blood stains in the sand. The boy was gone. The firelizard had returned only to hunt through the sand as though what was lost, could be found again by coming back to that same spot over and over again. And every time it didn’t, Tyne felt as though things were a little further away than the time before. The sting of loneliness reared up, of not being sure what to do now that the light the firelizard tried desperately to find again refused to come back. Of considering the cold blackness, of escaping, of… of… something. But there was a different pain there as well, one that was sharp and fresh and spoke of… actual hurt. Not just emotional.
“Will you let me see? I promise you’re safe. You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.”
The soft and thrumming croon that Bobbin rolled around the room seemed to deepen and reverberate as though to emphasise this point. That they could help. That this was somewhere it was possible to feel safe again. But the newcomer didn’t seem to be quite convinced, the rattle of jars and bottles suggesting the fidgeting of limbs and the anxious remantling of wings. But slowly, agonisingly slowly, a shadow began to shift and move. Eventually, a small bronze head the colour of sandy dunes appeared, eyes blinking in the sudden shift from dark to light. The rest of him was hidden as the head stretched forward, dark smudges on his neck suggesting that his colours shifted from sandy bronze to something darker along his body.
“Well, aren’t you the handsome one?” And Tyne fed it with subtle undertones of admiration, supplemented by Bobbin’s warbling croon and warm feelings of agreement. He was very handsome. Bolstered by the compliment from not one but two females, the bronze chirruped quietly, hopping forward a little more. He was slim, not bulky with heavy muscle but his forepaws were raw and sore from the hot sand that he had dug through again and again. “Oh, sweetling.” Tyne saw the glisten of wet underskin and the greenish tinge of ichor. How many times had he looked? Had pushed through hot sand in desperate search of something that was never going to be there regardless of how much it hurt? And then the prickle of shame and the bronze moved his paws as if hiding them from view like a child hiding an injury caused by doing something they knew they shouldn’t have been in the first place. Bobbin was quick to offer the reassurance that a gold knew how to do best and felt the strained thread of connection ease just a little, relaxing under the buffet of the gold’s calming influence. “You have nothing to feel ashamed of, beautiful boy. I know what it is to search for something you already know will never be there again.” She felt the hot swell of emotion in her chest even as the tiny sliver of comparable loss was threaded along the connection like a thread going through the eye of a needle, received with surprise at the bronze by the other end to feel something so very similar in a human. The shape of it was different, but oh how similar the raw feelings running through it were.
Tyne felt a shift, something that felt like a sagging of relief that finally someone could understand. The wild firelizards often didn’t as they had never felt it. The Impressed ones often couldn’t because they couldn’t imagine it. Inch by inch, more of the small bronze - the one that had to Sorho, been known as “Sanji” - appeared into the light. Beside Tyne, Tubber had offered his own small contribution, gently nudging along to the bronze that this was perhaps the safest place they had. That no harm would be allowed to come to them, that safety and unity and family were the most important things in this place. Their family was strange with their two-legged “Queen” but she understood all of them best of all. Because she listened.
As the small bronze slowly made his way across the room, carefully hopping from shelves to boxes, Tyne encompassed him with the sensation of being welcome. That from her and those with her, he had absolutely nothing to be afraid of. That all she wanted was to ease a little of the pain that she could and if he wanted, he would be free to go afterwards. There was no obligation, no trap. Just the deep desire to be there for him. Settling carefully on the table’s edge, Tyne could feel the nervous desire to flee but that it was growing curious about Bobbin, about Tubber and not entirely surprising, about her. “Will you show me, handsome boy? I just want to took.” She laid her palm on the table but not immediately near the firelizard, felt the surge of suspicion and the thrum of reassurance from Bobbin in response that all would be well if he did. Taking one tentative step at a time, the bronze hopped forward before pressing the tiny forepaws into Tyne’s hand, the brighter light showing that they had been all but skinned raw by the hot and abrasive sand in the Hatching Caverns. “We can make that feel better for you, sweetling. And then you are welcome to do as you please.” Her discerning eye already noticed the beginnings of a slight patchiness to the bronze’s hide, no doubt dried out further if he had been in the hot caverns. And her heart ached again.
With the gentle emphasis from Bobbin that the bronze would need to stay for just a while and then he would be allowed to leave if he wanted, it hadn’t taken Tyne long to gather a small bowl of water, clean dry rags, a jar of salve and another jar of dried meat. The bronze’s nose had lifted sharply into the air the moment the lid was removed and the gurgle from his gullet spoke as loudly as the flicker of hungry red that skittered into his eyes. “I thought as much.” Food seemed… pointless. Unimportant compared to the aching need to search for what you knew should be there. Again she felt the flicker of surprise at the understanding but it didn’t stop the bronze snatching up the dry meat that was brought carefully to him by Bobbin, the gold clutching small fistfuls as she hopped across the table, chiding him to slow down as she might an errant hatchling fresh out of the egg. The promise of more afterwards was as much a lure as the promise of easing the burning ache in his paws and despite the curiosity about him, the bronze tentatively pushed his paws into the cool water where the fine grains of ingrained sand were able to float free.
This time, it was Bobbin and Tubber who stepped in, Tyne not wanting to startle the creature. The pair of firelizards used their own paws to gently agitate the water around the bronze’s forelimbs, crooning softly at him and Tyne felt the warm cocoon they wrapped around him, that they would help, that they weren’t anything to be afraid of and neither was their human. The bronze seemed to droop slightly, even as Bobbin butted him gently with her own tiny head and Tyne felt some of the burning, stinging ache relieve just a little in the cool movement of the water and felt the tension it caused ease just slightly. The pair of firelizards guided the bronze to the waiting rags, using their own tiny paws to pat gently at the raw paws of the bronze before Bobbin nudged him gently but firmly towards Tyne. He was going to let her help. It was a small thought, no, a sensation from the gold. Like so many other exchanges it was a wordless shape of understanding.
As the bronze hesitantly stepped closer, Tyne spooned some of the salve into a small pot, briefly sharing the idea that he needed to submerge his paws just as he had in the water as she nudged the pot towards him. The sensation of the relief it caused was immediate and Tyne watched his body sag forwards as the burning faded in the cool and slightly tingling sensation that the salve elicited. Even as he drooped forward, Tyne tentatively pushed forward more pieces of meat that would be within reach. He managed a few but as the pain ebbed, the tendrils of exhaustion were quick to creep up and fill the spaces that the pain had claimed. Bobbin settled beside him, chittering softly as her paws gently preened the bronze and Tubber hopped onto another shelf and quickly found one of the soft scraps of fur that Tyne kept about for makeshift blankets. A box, Tyne was instructed by the rotund brown. They needed a box. The imperious demand from the normally lazy brown made her raise a brow in some surprise. But she complied, fetching a box that she was informed was the correct size. For what, she had no idea. But even as she did, Bobbin had gently instructed the bronze to remove his paws and was now, just as gently, patting them with the corner of a rag, removing the excess of the salve.
As the box was set down and the scraps of fur dropped into it by Tubber, Tyne was a little surprised to realise that both Bobbin and Tubber were instructing her to leave. Even as Bobbin guided the exhausted bronze towards the box on the table, nudging him to climb into the furs. He was going to sleep and they would stay with him. He needed a different type of comfort that humans, not even Tyne, could give him right now. And when he was ready, they would call for her. But not until then. He needed to rest. As the bronze collapsed into the furs, aching from the tiredness that clung to his bones, Bobbin and then Tubber climbed in around him. Immediately the gold and brown wrapped themselves around him, the gold suffusing him with comfort as Tyne pushed her seat back from the table, taking the cue to leave.
All she could do now, as she stepped outside to a world that was beginning to wake, the hustle and bustle of its denizens beginning to go about their day. Stopping by the kitchens for a breakfast basket, Tyne returned to R’zzon’s weyr where she would spend her day waiting for… well, she wasn’t sure what it would be. But she would wait, nonetheless.
= End =
Nutmeg on the Wizzy.
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