Oh welcome back! Tytoth’s expression was pure mischief as he regarded his rider from his stone couch. The bronze was freshly oiled and gleamed with health, though he looked more like a lazy dog than an active young wingleader draped sloppily across the couch, wings and legs splayed comically. He cared little for how ridiculous he looked; after all it wasn’t like anyone but T’ech would see him like this. Well, and any visitors that might stop by looking for the bronzerider. Did you enjoy your meeting?
T’ech was instantly suspicious and took a good long look around the room before bothering to answer his bronze as he stripped out of his clothing. Jays, it felt good to be rid of it in this heat! “The meeting went fine,” he said slowly, eyeing his dragon. Tytoth knew very well how things had gone. The bronze was always inserting himself into every situation, even ones he could not physically be at. T’ech had spent half his meeting with the other wingleaders trying to tune out his bronze’s unwanted input. What was Tytoth playing at? Tytoth practically radiated amusement and that never bode well for his rider. “Alright, what did you do?”
Me? I’m insulted. What could I possibly have done? You were only gone for a few candlemarks… The bronze shifted slightly so he could watch his rider, now fully undressed, wander about their weyr. It was a much larger one than the one they’d occupied at Fort and T’ech’s usual mess didn’t seem quite so bad when there was more room to start with. Still, there were clothes in random heaps where he’d left them and his desk was a mess of charts and notes. It was a wonder the man had convinced anyone to fall into bed with him when his room was so disorganized, Tytoth thought.
“Hey! I heard that.” The Wingleader scowled and kicked some clothes out of the way, heading straight for the welcoming furs of his bed. He had until evening drills to relax and get some rest and he intended to fully take advantage of this. But as he went to sit down, the source of Tytoth’s amusement made itself known to him and T’ech was suddenly on edge. A rather plain clay bowl, filled with sand and a small orb that could only be an egg rested on his pillow. And there was no way that his dragon could have placed it there. He stared incredulously at the egg for a while and then reached out to touch it. The surface was hard and warm to the touch, clearly ready to hatch at any moment. He whirled on his smug dragon. “Where did this come from?!”
“Yes that. Where did it come from? Who left this here?” Fire lizards eggs, especially ones of this size, were quite uncommon. As far as T’ech knew, most of the weyr’s greens laid their clutches in the desert and forgot about them. And the masterminer had the only gold he was aware of. A small frown decorated his tanned face as his mind raced over the possible origins of the egg. There could be a gold or two at the hold, and maybe it had come from a clutch there? But who would give him such a gift?
It was that girl bluerider. The one from the feeding pens a while back, Tytoth informed him. She might have heard about you losing the little green. T’ech face fell at the reminder of Chell’s rather sudden disappearance and he scrambled to cheer his rider up by adding, Or perhaps she wanted to congratulate you on your promotion. That seems much more likely. She came here looking for you and I told her you were in a meeting. She told me to make sure you took good care of it, pat me on the nose and left. She left a bowl of meat on the bedstand too, just in case it hatched tonight.
That girl bluerider? Tytoth would have spoken of Norsa by name so it could only be Soliska that had left the egg. T’ech sat down and pulled the bowl into his lap, stunned. He barely knew the woman beyond the occasional friendly conversation over mealtimes or running into her at the feeding pens. No one from his own wing had given him a gift over his promotion – not that he needed or really wanted one – so why would Soliska?
Are you complaining about getting a fire lizard? Really, T’ech, I can’t believe you. The bronze’s tone was more teasing than chastising. T’ech wasn’t one to turn his nose up at such a wonderful gift he knew, but it was always fun to tease his rider. Perhaps she fancies you. Or maybe she’s just that nice. You should thank her though. She could have easily kept it for herself.
T’ech couldn’t help but smile a bit, floored by the gift and feeling warm at the thought that someone had thought enough of him to leave him something like this. Whatever Soliska’s intentions, this was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him and he would be sure to properly thank her at the first opportunity. “You’re right,” he murmured, touched. He ran a wondering finger over the hard shell of his egg and his smile grew.
He’d sorely missed Chell’s presence over the last week or so, and he often wondered what had happened to the little green. Perhaps she’d simply wandered off into the desert and gone wild, it happened occasionally. But T’ech was sure that the little green, who’d been so attached to him, had met with some sort of unpleasant fate. She’d never left him for more than a day before and he’d treated her well enough for her to never even consider going wild.
No, something had happened to her and he had a strong suspicion that she’d met her end in that horrible sandstorm that had blown over the Weyr the day that transfer garnet had risen. Something inside of him rebelled at the thought of replacing her so soon, but he really could use a well-trained fire lizard to send messages and this egg looked large enough to hold a brown or a bronze and they were more than intelligent enough to help with minor tasks.
I miss the little one too. Tytoth crooned softly. But this one will make you feel better and it can keep me company when you’re busy. He settled into a more comfortable position and let his eyelids slide shut, rumbling contently. I will ask Cyrmoth where his rider is later so that you can thank her properly, he mumbled, already half asleep. After drills maybe if I remember.
T’ech’s soft smile mirrored his dragon’s content expression and he decided that a nap was a wonderful idea. Yes, he was very excited about his gift, but that didn’t mean he could skip out on drills, and as exhausted as he was, he would make a lousy Wingleader. Things hadn’t been this hard at Fort, but Fort wasn’t built under a roasting desert sun. Blast this heat! Curling around the bowl of sand and its precious occupant, he closed his eyes and let himself slip into a light doze.
For one long, disorienting moment when he woke, T’ech thought he was back in the Harper Hall. The soft humming that echoed through his weyr woke long buried memories of waking up to music every morning. But Tytoth’s gentle touch, the loving brush of minds that he enjoyed every time he woke, reassured him that he was far, far away from his childhood. He raised sleepy eyes to gaze across the room and regarded his bronze with a sweet smile. “Were you watching me sleep?”
I was watching the egg actually. You should too. Oh and do get the meat, so the little one doesn’t starve. I’m sure that woman would be terribly cross with you if it did. Tytoth watched with delight as realization bloomed across his rider’s features and the bronzerider scrambled for the bowl of meat on his night stand and stared down wondrously at the rocking egg. Soliska hadn’t been off her rocker when she’d suggested to Tytoth that the egg might hatch that night after all! Shards, a few candlemarks difference and she’d have been gifting herself with a fire lizard and not T’ech!
T’ech held his breath as the egg shook frantically. Cracks spread across its surface and then a tiny egg tooth poked a hole in the top. The creature inside sliced its head downward in a vicious motion, tearing at the hole it had made. More cracks appeared until finally, the egg seemed to fall apart around its occupant, revealing a striking gold creature who chittered urgently up him with whirling red eyes. Even as he reached mechanically for the meat to feed her, T’ech gaped at the little gold in disbelief. Gold! Even someone as generous as Soliska wouldn’t have gifted him this egg if she’d known it contained a gold fire lizard!
Her hunger washed over him in waves, making his own stomach roil in protest as the little gold practically pounced his hand and tore into the food he held. T’ech continued to offer her slices of meat until her stomach bulged and the little gold turned her nose up at his offerings, choosing instead to crawl into his lap and lick herself clean of egg fluids. He admired her unique coloration, bright gold laced with intricate brown-bronze markings and a hide that faded to a pale creamy color that distinctly resembled Tytoth’s hide on her underside. She was beautiful and she was his.
Welcome little one, Tytoth crooned. He was ignored by the hatchling but he could tolerate her indifference as long as she brought his rider such happiness as he now felt through their link. T’ech looked ecstatic, stroking her soft golden hide and smiling ear-to-ear. All his various worries and the pain of losing Chell seemed to have faded away…at least temporarily. What are you going to name her?
“I don’t know,” T’ech admitted, running a finger along her back. The gold leaned into it, humming softly and he melted a little. “It took me a while to think of Chell’s name, remember? I suppose something will come to me soon enough. Shards, Tytoth! Look at her!” The little gold, seemingly finished with cleaning herself, curled up into a tight ball in his lap and promptly fell asleep. T’ech couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. “She’s perfect.”
Well…maybe not perfect. But she is quite lovely, yes. Won’t Cyrmoth’s be surprised!
“Yes, I’m sure she will be”, T’ech mused. “I’ll go see her right after drills and thank her.” He continued to pet the little gold, sporting a rather ridiculous smile. “I think I’ll name her Samus. It seems to fit somehow.” There was still some time left before drills, and T’ech didn’t know how he was tear himself away from his new friend when it came time to leave or if he’d be able to care for her properly. But somehow he’d managed to care for Chell during weyrling training and that was far more time consuming than his current duties. He’d manage, and Samus would be well worth the effort.