"Oh my goodness!" Audiva stares at the little blue fire lizard that's just collapsed on her arm. His tiny wedge-shaped head rests in her palm, while his slim body, still damp from hatching, is supported by her forearm. His wings droop. "Is he alright?"
Menolly chuckles. "That's perfectly typical, as you'll soon find out."
All very well for her to say. She has nine fire lizards and knows all about them. Audiva is thrilled to have one of her own, but she knows she has a lot to learn.
"I told you, when they first hatch, they eat themselves senseless. That's the pattern for the first few seven days."
"He's so soft," Audiva marvels. Menolly really is the best friend a girl could have. Imagine giving her a fire lizard egg as a Turn's End gift!
"His hide will toughen up as he grows. His claws will get harder and sharper, too," Menolly adds. "You'll want a padded shoulder guard like I have."
"He's such a pretty shade of blue."
"He is rather darker than my blue. We won't have any trouble telling him and Old Uncle apart." Menolly smiles at her friend. "Any thoughts on what you'll call him?"
Audiva can't resist running her finger down the little blue's back. His tail twitches, but otherwise he doesn't stir. "He's the color the sky turns just as the sun has set. I think I'll call him Nightshade."