They were eating lunch when it happened. Fallarnon had just grabbed some fresh baked yellow bread and turned to his brother .Two other Weyrboys were sitting with them. There was only one topic of conversation.
The Hatching. It could be today.
The boys were talking and guessing which eggs might be bronzes when.everyone paused .Sensing a change in routine the Eating Cavern fell silent .The boys froze. The dragons suddenly called out and the men jumped to their feet.
The boys bolted to their sleeping chambers inside the Inner Cavern. They pulled on their white robes. Shouts from Weyrpeople and the candidates ran to the Hatching Grounds. There were eighteen eggs in all.
Now the dragons were crooning, a high pitched humming. The boys felt it as well as hearing the dragons. Someone was using a kettle drum, a steady beat to match the dragons. The atmosphere was deafening with the sounds of the dragons echoing through the vast Hatching Cavern. The eggs rocked and shifted on the sands .The adult dragons heard the imprisoned babies and were urging them to break free.
Fallarnon inhaled sharply. This was it.
He hoped for a bronze or a brown but there were only so many eggs.
Nemoth had not laid eggs for a couple of years so he and his brother were presented together. He met the gaze of Famanoran across the cavern. They had decided to split up to cover more ground. Famanoran gave him a grin and a salute. He returned the gesture but felt his stomach lurch.
What if only one of them got a dragon??
Boys were laughing with excitement .Men and women of the Weyr found the best vantage points to watch the event. Fallanon glanced quickly for his father but a sharp crack drew all eyes to the eggs.
The nose of one baby dragon broke his shell in half. The baby brown stumbled as the boys surrounded him. One boy darted forward and the hatchling butted him in the stomach almost knocking him off his feet. The boy laughed and put his hand on the brown’s forehead, calling out the first name of the day.
Fallarnon broke away from the group of boys. A couple of eggs were breaking. As he got to them, one broke. A bronze, then a second bronze. Two bronzes!! Please, he thought, let one of them see me. They went behind him. One even crossed over his foot.
Two greens hatched at once, crying out in shrill voices. He remembered his father saying that older records had young women as green riders. R’gul and S’lel discredited that theory. They said young girls were not able to handle the skittish and temperamental green dragons.
The eggs were still hatching. Names were being called out by jubilant boys. A blue, a brown, a second blue, another green had Impressed.
Fallarnon fought down his panic. So few left!!
A dragonet just hatched and was stretching his wings. He thought it was a bronze, but it was a brown. Big for a brown, almost the size of a bronze. He stepped in front of the dragonet, hands clenched, willing the hatchling to notice him. The brown stopped, tilted his head to study him.
.Fallarnon felt a surge of hope. Maybe, just maybe.
But no, the baby brown veered off to his left and Fallarnon let out his breath in despair
Forget the others. You are mine.
He felt someone behind and turned around. He stared into the whirling eyes of a bronze.
I am Mnementh
Dazed, the boy touched the nose of his dragon and felt a surge of joy.
He called out “His name is Mnenenth!”
He heard his brother’s voice. “His name is Canth!”