We Need to Round Them Up JP/R'tal


((Talith, where is Yours? Mine needs to talk to him,)) Kasheth called for T’rif. The ACM had just been sent by Nayari to figure out what to do with the Candidates.

For a few minutes dead silence, as though he hadn’t been heard in the clamour of draconic voices. Then a slightly rushed ((Here. Why?)) It wasn’t the best time to ask Talith anything. The brown sounded distracted to the point of panic. 

((Mine needs to talk to him,)) Kasheth said. ((Thanks.))

As he went silent T’rif was already sprinting toward the Hatching Caverns. If he hadn’t had his duties, he would have already been on the way there anyway. He needed to know how Kassia was doing. Not so well if Foreth was screaming her head off.

In record time he reached the Caverns. Huffing and puffing, he looked for the Weyrleader.

There was a crowd around R’tal. The Weyrleader was looking grim as he talked, directed and shifted from one to the next, back against Talith as he did so, never moving more than a step away from his dragon. Some part of his mind was screaming to send them all away already, let them decide for themselves if they wanted this or that, focus on Talith and Talith alone. But Kassia was injured, and N’shen was similarly occupied and panic right now was not allowed. 

T’rif hurried up to him. “I’m here to ask about the Candidates and what you want to do with them,” he said. “But I need to you know how Kassia is doing?”

“The Candidates?” R’tal looked at him, clearly thrown by the question. “...Are they hurt?” Right now the memory of the trip was far from his mind. 

“We need to figure out what to do with them,” T’rif clarified. He realized that he wasn’t going to get the answers from the man he wanted, so he stuck to the one he absolutely needed answered. “Do you want them called back to the Weyr?”

“Oh, Faranth, they’re away, aren’t they? It should really be Ka-- never mind.” He caught that answer as it was coming out of his mouth and glanced back towards the Eggs. “They don’t look like a Hatch is imminent, do they?”

“No, I think Kassia was thinking another sevenday last I talked to her.” Don’t think about her. Don’t think about what it’d be like if she...No. Focus on the Candidates. “It might be easier to leave them there. They won’t appreciate being kept in the dark later, I’m sure, but right now I’m afraid they might just get in the way. Or recall them but keep them in the Barracks.”

“Shells, they’ll have riders with them though, won’t they? The riders will know. Did Sh’ain go? Feck, poor Sh’ain.” R’tal tried to pull his head together enough to focus. “OK, leave them,” he said after a second. “Get the riders together -- the adults, I guess -- and tell them what’s going on. The kids can stay -- shells though, if any of Kass’s brood are there should you pull them to one side? I don’t know.”

That was about the time that the keening went up

T’rif’s head snapped around. “Feck, if there are any dragons with the Candidates, they'll know something is up. I can check, but chances are the feline is out of the bag here. I was hoping to let people know before the news might get out there.”

“Go!” R’tal waved him away at that hastily. “The quicker the better. Tell the kids -- tell them a couple of eggs are broken. Tell the adults the full story. Might be that they’re too far to pick up the keening -- hurry!

“Going, sir,” T’rif said, already bolting toward Kasheth.