In a strange hut sitting by a cliff face, a short distance from a cave full of dragons, there sat a table. Upon that table sat a patterned rug sewn with different shades of brown. Upon the rug sat a nest of blankets, sticks, and warm pillows. And within that nest sat three large eggs.
One egg was a dark gray in color; surrounded by a light, gray fog. It was placed in a part of the nest away from the others ensuring that it didn’t cover the other two eggs in needless moisture. The second was a dark blue and covered in patterns of a lighter shade of blue, like the breaking of waves. This one was put amidst a small pile of sand. The last one was different shades of pink and appeared like a delicate candy. It was wrapped carefully in a very light and warm towel and had small candies at its base.
Slowly, one of the eggs began to move. It shuddered, the young hatchling inside starting to awaken. It let out a loud peeping sound as it proceeded to batter and bruise the inside of the egg’s shell, scraping away with its egg tooth and attempting to tear itself free.
As it did, the other two soon followed suit; instinctively tapping at the insides of their shells and calling out to whatever parent awaited them. The peeping sound echoed throughout the tiny nursery as the three eggs began to hatch.
Right on cue, a young man rushed into the room; carrying a clipboard and a scroll. He placed them on a nearby desk alongside a dark red ink bottle and seagull-quill pen; nearly teetering the small desk as he did. With the devotion of an anxious parent he moved close to the nest table and bent down low so he could see the three young forms stirring within.
The young man couldn’t help but smile with excitement as he saw the first of the three eggs begin to crack. He almost went back to the scroll to write something down, but he resisted; instead he stood next to the nest, ready to help should one of the hatchlings within need his aid. One by one, the hatchlings continued to pry at their eggs until the shells cracked apart like melting ice, the young creatures within peeping all the way.
Finally, the first of the eggs hatched. From within its reaches, the gray, foggy egg began to heave and bend as a small form began to pull itself out. Gray, lizard-like, and covered in spines, the tiny hatchling appeared as helpless as a newborn babe as it pulled itself free of the sticky insides of its egg. It bore a pair of backward-curved horns, and eyes that gleamed yellow.
A Gray Dragon hatchling…
As it hatched, it curled itself up and began to take deep, quick breaths; peeping every now and again as it remained still. The fog began to disappear from the egg, and outside a series of clouds began to overcast across the sun. The young man smiled knowingly and walked over to his scroll; jotting something down with the red ink.
The second egg, the blue one, hatched a bit more messily. Liquid insides poured out, drenching the sand that it sat upon. The tiny critter within moved away from its shell weakly, pulling itself forward using the tiny nubs that were its arms. Peeping a little louder, almost like a seagull’s squawk, the small creature dragged itself away from its shell and curled up like its nest mate. It was as blue as its egg, like a wave given living form.
A Coastal Waverunner chick…
The young man made special care to jot down what he had to say in his notes, but was distracted when the last egg still peeped, unable to hatch. He quickly put the scroll down and put on a pair of gloves before approaching the egg. Careful not to harm its occupant, he began to peel away the soft shell, releasing the little creature within.
The last hatchling was much smaller than its nestmates. It was covered in downy scales, and its eyes flashed pink like a pair of candies set under the gleaming sun. It had a long, almost rodent-like tail that ended in a crown of pink feathers, but the rest of its scales were completely white. As it lay helpless in the young man’s hands, one could have mistaken it for a dragon candy.
A Sweetling hatchling…
The young man carefully put the tiny creature amidst the candies below. The Sweetling sniffed at the small morsels, but yawned and simply rested amidst them; too tired to consume its first meal. The young man smiled and returned to his notes; jotting down what he could while the three little ones slept.
Day 1 of hatchling period.
This new clutch should be of some unique value. After what happened to the last clutch I was reluctant to get any new eggs for a long while, but after some prodding from fellow dragon researchers and regaining my confidence I managed to get the courage to start again.
The clutch is composed of three members; a Gray Female, a Waverunner male, and a Sweetling. All three hatched within normal parameters, though I had to assist the Sweetling in hatching. Despite this, all three appear healthy physically and are recovering from hatching.
I’ve been thinking about naming them in Draconian the same way I named the last clutch. Once I feed them and rearrange their nest I’ll decide on their names. I feel confident about this clutch. Time will tell if it’ll prove to be successful.
The Coastal Waverunner was the first to wake up from his egg nap. His tiny eyes slowly began to blink once, then twice. Slowly, he began to yawn; taking in a deep breath and stretching slightly under the warmth of the sun.
As his eyes began to view the world, he looked around; blinking away the foggy film that covered the outside of his eyes. As his vision cleared, every flicker of movement and every flash of color attracted his attention. His eyes darted across the ceiling, gazing upon dust flecks floating amidst the beams of sunlight. His eyes lastly uncovered two other forms that lay resting nearby.
The tiny hatchling immediately became curious. One of the forms was gray and covered in fine spines. The other was a whitish pink and had a tiny pink feather extending from the tip of its tail. Both of them were fast asleep, oblivious to him and the rest of their world…though something told the young hatchling that wouldn’t last.
As he tried to get up, he soon slipped. His legs were not yet very strong, and his upper limbs, which ended in a single claw, were all but completely useless for standing. He had to rely upon his back legs to walk, and that required a balance he did not yet have. In his attempts at standing, he suddenly slipped and landed flat on the long tail of his sibling.
The gray hatchling awoke almost immediately, hissing at the young Waverunner. The tiny creature scrambled to get off of his sibling’s tail, though that did not improve her mood when he eventually did. The gray creature glared at him with yellow eyes, which blinked slowly in the sunlight, before she curled her tail back under her body.
The Waverunner blinked. The odd voice in his mind echoed a little. It didn’t sound like his own…
-Y...you speak? - The tiny creature asked.
The gray hatchling slowly nodded.
-You clumsy- The Gray repeated, -Land on my tail. Don’t like that…-
The Waverunner lowered itself onto its nubs. It managed to put its bodyweight on the base where it first bent instead of on the tip this time, and suddenly found itself able to support itself better. The Waverunner sat down and lowered its head apologetically.
-I sorry- it said.
The Gray didn’t respond. She instead looked over at the other hatchling, the Sweetling. The tiny creature yawned a little in its sleep, its tail curled up under it almost like a tiny mouse. One of the sweets by its head had disappeared in its slumber.
The door opened. The two roused hatchlings looked up, more curious than afraid, as a tall man bearing a large crate walked inside. He set the crate down next to the table out of their eyesight, though they both soon found themselves drooling as an intensely delectable aroma began to waft its way up to their noses. The Waverunner soon found itself wagging its tail; a gesture the Gray seemed to find oddly amusing.
The man looked at them and smiled. He pulled up a chair and sat beside the table, his arms crossed in front of the nest. The tiny Waverunner looked up at him, his eyes never leaving the tall man’s face. The Gray looked uncomfortable and was edged in a corner beside her egg, but otherwise shared the same reaction.
Slowly, the man raised his hand into the nest. The Gray immediately tensed, coiling around her tail and hissing. The Waverunner felt the urge to similarly hide amidst his shell and sand, but despite that he worked up the courage to root himself to the spot.
The man stayed his hand by the Waverunner’s head. The tiny hatchling could smell his hand; the smell was coarse but mildly pleasing, a smell he would later come to understand was called parchment. Slowly, he inched his way closer; ready to bolt in case the man proved to be a threat, and slowly sniffed and licked his skin.
The man smiled. He lowered a finger and began stroking the tiny dragon’s crest. The Waverunner was overwhelmed with a surprisingly calming and relaxing sensation, causing him to purr and prum from deep in his tiny chest. He found himself nuzzling the man’s hand, his tail wagging the whole time like a puppy’s.
“Thalsok,” the man said.
The Waverunner looked back up at the man, and an inkling of recognition came in that first word he heard him say. Thalsok. Somewhere, deep down in his memory, the word spoke to him with a meaning. It spoke of mighty claws that caught squirming, slippery prey from the depths of a great water so vast that the eyes could not fathom it.
The Waverunner made another pleased sound. He liked the word. It seemed to suit him. He found himself affectionately nuzzling the man’s hand yet again, causing him to chuckle.
By now the Gray had become curious. Seeing the tiny Waverunner brave this man’s touch emboldened her slightly, and gave her just enough courage to approach him. The man watched her as she moved, still smiling, his hand never moving from the tiny dragon’s side. Slowly, the Gray sat herself by the Waverunner, who shifted slightly to allow her access to the man’s hand.
It took her a great deal more sniffing before she too found herself enraptured by the man’s scent and touch. She too purred as he began to stroke her crest, though hers was a much more feline sound; one that was softer and seemed to come from her throat instead of her chest. The man smiled as he stroked her, gently getting between the grooves of her tiny crest.
“Jarvarak,” he said.
That word too struck a chord in the Waverunner’s mind. This one showed an image that was mute gray like the Gray’s scales, though it was also coupled by a great expanse of skin and sinew, rippling with strong muscle and the only barrier between himself and a drop thousands of feet below. It was an image of great, roiling clouds and a view of the world around that was of humbling beauty. It took him a moment to realize these images came from the mind of the Gray as she looked up at the man’s eyes.
The Gray seemed to reflect this for a moment or two before she purred again. She coiled herself next to the man and began licking his fingers as they stroked her crest. The man gave a slight chuckle before lifting his hand away and pulling out a scroll that was previously hidden from their view.
With a quill pen made out of some gray seabird’s feather, the man began to write. As he did, he began muttering aloud to himself; loud enough that the dragons could hear.
“Jarvarak,” he said, “Female, Gray Hatchling, five inches, strong spirit…”
For some reason this caused the Gray to swell up a little, her chest rising as she puffed herself up with pride. The Waverunner nearly laughed; it made her look almost like a frog.
It then occurred to the Waverunner he didn’t know what a frog was. How did he know so much at such a young age? Did his nest siblings share a similar knowledge, or was he unique? So many questions…would he ever find answers?
He was pulled away from his musings when he heard the man speak again.
“Thalsok, male, Coastal Waverunner, about four inches, bold…”
The man looked down at the Waverunner. He looked back, cocking his head to one side as his mind brimmed with curiosity. The man chuckled and nodded to himself, before adding, “And inquisitive.”
The Waverunner felt a wave of pride wash over him. Now he was the one puffing up like a frog. The Gray didn’t appear as amused as he was, however. She simply gave him a glare.
A tiny yawn caught their attention. The Sweetling, their youngest sibling, was waking. With a yawn and a cat-like stretch, he roused himself before looking up at the man.
The man smiled and lowered his hand. The Sweetling, a little cautious at first, almost immediately began nuzzling the man upon his first sniff. The man chuckled as he stroked the tiny creature, who immediately rolled over on his belly like a dog, prumming and purring with every delightful scratch.
“Svazrak,” the man said.
This image was much simpler than the first two, though where it lacked in visual detail it made up far more in taste. A feathered tail wagging alongside a background of pink and red, which tasted sweet and aromatic. The Waverunner found himself drooling, and he wasn’t the only one. The Gray was as well.
The man unwrapped several of the sweets by the Sweetling’s side. It immediately devoured a couple, its eyes shining brightly as it consumed the morsels. The Gray found herself licking her chops and began to approach the Sweetling, though the man’s hand stopped her.
The man shook his head. The Gray, disappointed, backed away from the sweets. The Waverunner drooped his head in disappointment as well. He was starving.
The man seemed to see their disappointment and hunger and gave them a smile. Slowly, he reached down under the table and brought something up; something equally aromatic as the sweets, but far more so to the Waverunner’s nostrils.
It didn’t take long to realize what the crate was for. Inside were several cut strips of raw meat, tenderized and easy for baby teeth to chew through.
Almost as soon as the food was placed down the two hatchlings dove at it, tearing through it hungrily with their tiny mouths. The Waverunner took several big gulps before he had to slow down and actually chew his food to get it into his gullet proper. The Gray tore at it like an animal, her mouth becoming bloody as she ate up the raw morsel.
The man wrote down some more notes, muttering to himself as he did. The hatchlings didn’t notice, they were too busy eating. As the man wrote it down, he gave the Waverunner a smile and lowered his hand to scratch at his crest.
The Waverunner purred; he didn’t back away this time. He felt safe and secure beside this man. For reasons he could not explain, he felt bonded to him. Maybe it was the food, maybe it was the way he smelled, or maybe it was the way he scratched his crest. Despite it all, he found himself drawn to him, and so any fear he once could have had was long gone.
The three hatchlings found themselves fast asleep before they could even finish their food. So began the life of Thalsok, the Sea’s Talon…