Quite a long while ago, I recall reading a fanfic hatching told from the Dragonet's point of view. It inspired me to try a slightly different slant: to see how far the naive hatchling mind could stretch, and how it might react when things don't go so smoothly. And to play around with some of the "rules" of hatchings: choice of candidates, pre-impression, luck, and the ever-present desperate hunger of the young dragonets.
And every once in a while, the glowing golden comfort of the Other, accompanied by a gentle deep crooning, a peaceful counterpoint to the steady beating deep within him.Often at these times he would find his world shifting, strangely. The steady, ever-present warmth...moved
At first, this was the only change he was aware of. But steadily, with every new shifting, he noticed something alarming.
His world was shrinking.
Panicking, he thrashed out, desperately afraid of this unexpected, unknown, disastrous turn of events. Physical sensations were no longer limited to the changing gradient of warmth. For the first time, he felt pain, as delicate parts of Himself were abruptly impeded by... something. But even as he reacted, the comforting presence of the Other was somehow there, brighter and stronger than he'd ever felt before.
All was well?
Reassurance flooded into him from the Other, followed by a brief glimmering of understanding of his own.
He was growing, becoming brighter and stronger himself!
Now, with each new shifting, his awareness of his own self increased.
Gradually, he discovered limbs, wings, tail... although their purpose remained quite a mystery to him. The presence of the Other was constant now... or had it always been so?
Cocooned in the comfort of a warm shell, and the mental care of the Mother, time passed.
New senses gradually impinged on his mind. Sounds. Vibrations.A shifting hiss as his mother approached.
Deep bellows - The voices of the big, bright ones! There were many of them, outside of his own warm shell. If he concentrated hard, occasionally he could feel the incomprehensible edges of their thoughts trickle across his senses, like his Mother's mind, but weaker.
Less resonantly, there were odd staccato punctuations of sound. His Mother eventually sensed his confusion, his curiosity.
People, she supplied, glowing with love and warmth.
He began to reach out more often. Mother was always there, but she wasn't what he needed. The big, strong bright one who his Mother loved would appear now and then, but his mind was full. Others were reaching out to her, too; every once in a while their minds would drift past his, alike in their yearning. Alike: but he knew instinctively that they were not what he was reaching for. Sometimes, he would hear the People nearby, but he could not reach them, even when they approached his shell.
He was horribly incomplete.
Within him, there was a growing sense of uneasiness. Pangs of emptiness, physical and mental, came upon him with increasing regularity. His shell was closer now, firmer, with less room to move. He filled his world, completely, with no room for anything other than his growing self. He needed something, desperately - but still, he had no idea what it might be. Except that it must be outside.
And then, when he'd almost given up searching, he suddenly felt it.
Something was reaching towards him, weakly. Someone right! He tried to follow, tried to reach whatever, whoever it was, but failed. He struggled, kicking out at his shell, trying to escape his tiny, tiny world. Exhausted, again he failed.
But he knew they were out there. He'd find that mind again.
The darkness was fading now, although he could still feel the warmth from beneath him as strongly as ever. Within him, the hunger grew, together with a growing anticipation.
He'd felt the mind come back again once more: still out of reach, but closer now.
He woke to an unignorable reverberation. The bright ones were humming, all of them, and the sound was tremendous! Thoughts of welcome, greeting and anticipation brushed past his mind, but he was unaware of them. Encouraged by his Mother, he knew that now was the time. He was stronger, brighter, and hungry. The other half of his soul was waiting for him.
Noises reached him: sharp cracks, cheers, gasps, creeling wails. And joy! But still, he felt only hunger.
Desperately, he launched himself at the outside, and was almost shocked to find his world give way. Cracks spread through his shell, and a whole portion collapsed, letting in a cacophony of noise and light. With another clumsy surge, he was free, stumbling moistly head first into the hot sand.
a wing from beneath his legs, he blinked, and tried to reach out to the
mind he knew. Blurs of white filled his vision, People. A lumbering
brown shape stumbled past him, crying; briefly he caught a glimpse of
the mind of his sibling, also searching for the Right One.
Suddenly shocked, he moved to follow his brother toward the shapes in white; jealously possessive of the One, whoever that might be.
Passing by several brave, fearful, hopeful figures, he watched as his brown brother unexpectedly stopped beside a tall, trembling figure standing off to one side. Determined not to be beaten to his goal, he stumbled forwards, mentally stretching towards the figure.
But that wasn't the One!
Crying out in anguish, he wandered off again through the discomforting hot sand; blank, confused, hungry, ignoring the joy behind him. There were so many people, so many siblings, too many thoughts.
then, finally, he felt once more the familiar rightness of the mind.
Excitement thrilled through him. Where! Where was the one who would
complete him? Steadily, he turned round, ignoring the distractions of
his physical hunger and carefully reconciling his uncertain vision with
the bright mental beacon he was searching for.
colourful crowd of his siblings lay ahead, between him and his goal: a
small group of white people, themselves reaching out in a confusing
welter of thoughts. Amongst them, he could sense the Right One. As fast
as his legs could carry him, he ungainly staggered forwards. His eyes
were working better now: he could focus on the group of people, on his
siblings which milled around them, and on the steep, grey surface
behind them. This world was also an egg! Broken, like his own first
shell, letting in light from high above. Were there other shells beyond?
Ahead of him, he noticed one of the white people move, avoiding the onrush of one of his green sisters. She'd found her One, he realised, momentarily distracted. Looking back again, he decided that the white people were almost as clumsy as himself. The one who'd moved had stumbled, tripping over something behind him: egg shells.
Were they, too, newly born into this world? Newly hatched, confused, clumsy and hungry?
The tall white figure had fallen hard against the large shell - but why try and break a new hole, when there were plenty of openings already?
He focused again on the singular mind of the One. It had been growing stronger as he came closer with each step, but now it had changed. He had to grapple for it, but it was slipping away, no longer reaching for him. Just fading away, painfully.
High pitched shrieking noises filled the air, and the continued humming of the bright ones faltered. He cried out, adding his own voice to the confusion, still searching as he stumbled forwards towards the figure who had fallen. A darker colour now stained the whiteness of the figure before him, and was beginning to seep fluidly onto the pale sand.
Where was the One?
Bending his head to the ground, he sniffed, and nudged the limp limbs of the crumpled figure.
He reached out.
The One was not here.
Anguished, he realised that he could not sense the One anywhere.
But then, a sudden instinctive awareness of a new faculty sprang into his mind. There was a way: a sideways transition to another place. Maybe he could find what he was searching for there? Yes. That had to be the answer. There were no other options, not anymore.
His Mother's mind echoed through him.
But he couldn't.
Desperately, he let his new faculty unfold around him.
A terrible keening filled the hatching ground, torn from the mouths of grieving mature dragons and hatchlings alike.
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to reach the fallen candidate, shortly followed by the Weyrwoman herself, one of the Weyr's Healers and a tall woman of the lower caverns: the boy's foster mother. Stooping down towards the boy, the Weyrlingmaster quickly checked his vitals. Shallow breaths. A weak pulse. Letting out a sigh, he stood up to give the healer room to tend his patient, and raggedly uttered the words that every onlooker had been hoping for.
"He's still alive."
The boy was somberly carried out of the hatching grounds on a stretcher: a silent, unmoving figure, who would wake feeling weak, dazed and strangely bereft a few hours later. Later, he'd be comforted by the score or so of failed candidates who'd been left standing when the last hatchling had made her choice. His wounds, physical and mental, would heal with time.
But where the small, blue dragonet had been, only scuffed, blood soaked sand remained.
He'd thought he'd found the answer. A way to follow the One, wherever he had gone. Into darkness. Whatever, wherever was necessary.
This place was lonely, cold, dark and empty.
And he couldn't find the One, not here.
There was nothing here.
No shell to break out of; no return to the warm, bright and noisy world he'd just left.