The First Bonding Ceremony

It had been three days since the first of the bondings, and already Demulcei could tell that some dragonets had quite firmly chosen their bonds. In fact, there were a couple of cases where the children were actually squabbling over who would get to bond who, tonight! Naturally they were broken up right away, with a stern lecture that not everyone could bond a single person, and so the kits would just have to wait for another candidate. Who knew? Maybe one that they'd like better would come around! The kits, of course, took this sulkily, but eventually cheered up as children often do. Tonight, then, they were positively humming. Demulcei had wanted the ceremony to work just like the one she'd participated in back in Avengaea... a meal, a speech, and then getting down to the actual business of bonding. Many of the egg-bound kits had protested about the kits being able to eat in the same room as the bonders, considering that they would get to mingle at any given chance, while the eggs would have to wait up by themselves on the stage, and hope to snatch a bond while they could!

Fair was fair, so Demulcei had had the kits eat in the kitchen, like they usually did, while the eggs lined the back of the courtyard's stage. This could very well have given the eggs an advantage, considering that they were within range to scan the candidates as they ate... however, it was about all that Demulcei could do without having to rearrange everything completely! Goddess knew that she didn't have time for that!

Tonight was a particularly fine evening for an outdoor gathering. The air was just a little warmer then might be comfortable for some people, but as the night wore on, it would grow comfortably cool. Yes, it was a very fine evening, indeed. The food was excellent, the speeches given were short and eloquent, and the bonding itself... well, that was what she, along with everyone else, was waiting to see!

She stood at the podium, now, and gestured for the candidates to come and stand on the stage with her. This hadn't been rehearsed, though by the way that they all lined up nicely, it almost seemed as if it had been! The candidates moved nervously... some watching from the fringes, other milling about uncertainly. Demulcei smiled benignly at everyone, and then called in the kits.

This time, there was no rushing, no clumping... the kits had been told to come to the courtyard in an orderly fashion, and most of them were being orderly. Only a few tried to pull pranks, and those were quickly hushed. The kits lined up, about three rows deep, on the opposite side of the stage from the candidates. Behind them, a few eggs shuddered, letting it be known that they for one were done waiting for bonds, and that they'd like the stasis spell they'd been put under taken off, thank you very much!

"Have at it, you guys, you know what to do," Demulcei said. She gestured to Frada, who had (though she hated the idea of it) managed to borrow the needed bonding scrolls, and would be responsible for distributing them. She smiled warmly at the kits, and then at Demulcei, who could only reign in her distrust. The old woman might have been up to trouble at the frenzy, a year and a half ago... but since that time, she hadn't seemed to lift a hand to pull anything else. Still... the Fire-Light crossbreed didn't like the Ampilo having the power that the older woman had... but that was another story.

The first of the kits to break ranks was exactly the same one who'd done so at the first meeting. Roanari Caelumpictor Strode proudly out from amongst her friends, and snatched a scroll from Frada's basket. She continued onwards and, with a proud grin, stopped at Mars' foot. "Hi again," she said, and then, "I know I said that I thought what you did was kind of scary... but I think it's kind of cool, too. I want to go with you and learn more." With that she offered up the scroll to Mars, who, after just a moment, took the other end. The binding flash was visible to all... the pair were now bonded.

With an example put before them, the other kits began to make their way across the stage now, as well. Lining up at the basket, it was Morticum Filidetiyorarel and Yalazi Saden that picked up scrolls, the former with one of his mouths, the latter in her paw. They made a straight line for Tabanthpsy and Johnathan, Morticum leading the way, as usual. The bipedra pup nodded to the xenoshifter, and with his free mouth, said, "Just take the scroll, Tabanthpsy, and we'll have a bond much stronger and maybe better then the one between you and the human."
Yalazi rolled her eyes and smiled wanly at John. "What he said... and I promise you a bond with me won't put you on edge, don't worry." The bonds were made, the humans (or just human in appearance, in Tabanthpsy's case) moved off of the stage with their two new friends.

Another kit, this one looking much like Yalazi, but different in colour, snatched up a scroll and then approached her chosen one almost shyly. Ardeshiri found Fhecitta Saden at her foot, holding up the scroll in her mouth. ::Fira and I wanted to bond you both, but she decided that she'd let me, in the end,:: the half-air psied, since her mouth was full. ::I hope that's okay!:: She was hoping that she wasn't making a fool of herself... and apparently she wasn't, because Arde' gave an amused rumble. "Of course it's okay, Fhecitta." The larger dragon raised a paw and touched the scroll, like she'd seen the others do, and was relieved to find another mental bond... this one, hopefully one that she could keep close to her as time went on...

Next came two kits, as close-knit as always, a dusty brown Water-Earth crossbreed and a silver and gold kit. Both were making their way towards Dyra and Hnya, and giggling amongst each other. The Earthy kit sat before Dyra's foot and grinned, while her friend stopped near Hnya. "Hey you guys," she said, addressing not only the two women, but their friend Loori, and the two cyborpets, as well. The humans nodded greeting, pretty sure of what was going to happen next. And... sure enough, Femne Puchre lifted her scroll to Dyra Flanigan, while Odelle Caelumpictor held up her scroll to Hnya Corran. The two women accepted, of course, and made their bonds. Loori, in the meantime, might have felt left out, if he weren't watching the scene that was going on near the baskets.
"I wanna bond him!" Ember cried.
"No way, I wanna bond him!" Bormaike retorted, and the kits began to scuffle. Loori watched as the coordinator, the young woman with the deep tan, separated the two of them and berated them sternly. "Look, if you can't decide this time around, you'll have to wait for the next ceremony, okay?" She gave both of them admonishing glares, and eventually the kits subsided. Well, it looked like Loori wasn't going to get a bond this time around.

Once the scuffle had been calmed, the kits began to move along again. However, the kit who was moving across the stage now didn't have a scroll... what was she up to? She came to the foot of the great dragon, Szeretet-Sperare and, after a wing-spreading bow, grinned up at the much larger creature. "Hi, I'm Nabethia Cerex... you probably didn't see me, but I saw you... and I don't want to bond you, but I'd like to come along with you and your fox-friends, there." She gestured to Kin and Gin, who, of course, were with the dragon at any public event. "Mind if I do?" She asked, and the two Vulpyr could only nod and let her come along.

It was about time for the eggs to start doing something, or at least, that was what the consensus was around the shell-bound children. ::Make an entrance, Qatty!:: said one kit. ::Yeah, really blow them away!::
::Oh shaddap, I'm working on it!:: the kit named Qatty retorted, and indeed, her shell was rocking at a steady pace. Of course... hers wasn't the only egg moving!
The sound of hatching was loud, but the acoustics of the courtyard dulled it down enough to draw only the nearest attention. Well... if the sound of hatching didn't bring attention, the squabble that erupted soon after was sure to. ::What do you think you're doing?!:: a teal female sent to another kit, a spotted grey one with... a beak?
::Whatsit look like I'm doing, shiny? I'm making an entrance!::
::That was my entrance! You spoiled it! You rotten little--::
::Your entrance?! You ruined mine!:: The greyish pseudo-gryphon mantled--or tried to. He was still dripping with fluids, as was his competitor.
::You guys!:: another voice interrupted from the still whole eggs. ::Why can't it be both of your scenes?::
The two kits looked at each other, and then back at their comrades... they'd been housed in those tiny little eggs! Impossible! Then they looked back at each other and... yes, there was a devilish grin spread across muzzle and nares, respectively. ::So maybe it was both of our scenes. It was pretty spectacular.:: the beaked dragon-gryphon said.
The other cackled. ::It was indeed! But... I know something that could make it even better.:: And she didn't have to say anything else, because her compatriot caught on right away...
The two of them searched the candidates as if they didn't know who they were looking for, and then all but ran into Kenjista. ::You really do look as hot as you said you did!:: Qatty Filidelaka cackled again, fanning her wet blue wings, and did her best to wink up at the daemon.
Kenjista could already feel the tell-tale bond of another dragon (this one who'd chosen her, and not the other way around!) when the pseudo-gryph pounced on her paw. ::Don't think that you're going to get away with only that technicolor devil!:: Kenji' could feel another bond forming--this one by Umtilaten Filidedziewedanth (what a mouthful!)... and realized, quite suddenly, that she was the center of four different bonds. Her head was almost spinning... but she liked it.
::You think I'd leave you behind?:: she asked, looking down at the grey kit.

::Well you're not, now, not while I'm bonded to you!:: The kit replied. Qatty only snickered... and then realized that she was starving. Kenjista more then happily escorted her two new bonds to their first meal.

In the meantime, more orderly bondings were occurring. Maorel and her group were being approached by a couple of the young dragon kits that they'd been speaking with over the past three days... Olanetu Sesske and Quelcon Oranato, respectively. The second of the kits, the bright orange fiery one, glanced from Olanetu to the three anthropomorphic humanoids. "Jullian told me to tell you that he doesn't think it'd be best if you bonded this time around," he said, looking up at Maorel in particular. "Though I dunno if he was gonna bond you or not... anyways, Silnak!" He said, changing the topic, "I choose you!" A goofy grinned accompanied the white light of bonding, and the two were connected.
Quelcon was a little more laid back then when he'd first met the trio... after all, he'd had a little time to get used to them! Now he stood calmly before Fitrev and offered the scroll up to him. "I like being around you, you're fun," he said, not quite shyly. The Pan-thar laughed and accepted the scroll, leaving Maorel the only one unbonded... for better, or for worse!

Tilara and Belareese waited patiently amongst the candidates. They were both mothers (not that they'd enjoyed the whole conception thing...), intent on winning some of their children over to bring back home. It'd been a long time coming, this ceremony, and there was always the worry that their children would all decide to run off with strangers... but no, one of Tilara's little beauties was moving towards them, a bonding scroll in paw. Belareese's own children remained eggbound, for now... they would bond on hatching, but Tilara's... they were something else. Surprisingly enough, the young girl stopped before Belareese Onnissian and offered up the scroll. "I know I should be bonding mother, but..." and she shrugged. The daemon chuckled. ::What, I'm not your mother, too?::
"It's different!" Han'ente Filidetilara replied, looking all shaken up. Belareese chuckled again and touched the other end of the scroll...
Meanwhile, Tilara already knew what was coming. Jeyas Onnissian was moving towards her awkwardly, spreading his violet and orange wings for balance. Already he was forging a bond with his non-biological mother... without even saying a word. Tilara scooped him up when he got close enough, and began to lick him clean. ::You've got your mother's beautiful feathers,:: she said, while the little male purred happily up to her. It wasn't long before the group of them were moving to get Jeyas' first meal.

For a short period of time, the kits moved amongst themselves, and then two Earth-Fire crossbreeds came out of the ranks. One of them, the male, paused by Frada to pick up a scroll. The other, a female came careening towards Frux Ivou. "Fruuuuuuuuuux!" She called, skidding to a halt in front of the human-formed Light dragon. "Usandi and I decided that I should go with you because we both want to see Avengaea but she wants to stay home and I thought that I should see it first but I wanted to talk to you and I think you're so cool!" She paused, took a deep breath, and it was all that Frux could do not to let out a dry smile. "You realize that you forgot to get a bonding scroll, right?" He said, almost glad of it. Pebai Cn'eni made a face. "Yeah, I don't want to bond, I just want to go with you!"
Well, that was a relief. Frux nodded and... even if he had some reservations about the hyperactive crossbreed, led the child off of the platform.

The second Earth-Fire, Wabiero Cn'eni, made his way towards Aziel, feeling naked (as much as dragon can) as he crossed the open space between them. He almost didn't stop at the raven-haired man's foot... if he just moved on, then acted like he'd decided against bonding at the last minute, no one could blame him, right? But... no. He stopped and looked into the man's golden eyes, his own reddish ones wide with anxiety. "I...I'd like to be your bond," he said, and then cringed, waiting for a refusal. To his surprise, the prince didn't say anything negative... in fact, the next thing that he knew, they were both surrounded in the warm, white light of bonding. In an instant, their minds met--Wabiero, with his strong psionic powers, realized for certain that Aziel's heart would be, always, somewhere else. The crossbreed shielded his own thoughts before Aziel could find out the truth...

In all of this time, Venotrea had been waiting, hoping to find a bond of her own. She hadn't really talked too much to the kits, but maybe, just maybe, she'd made a good impression? She wasn't disappointed! The grey female who she'd met on the first night came over to her with a bonding scroll and grinned slightly. "Hi again," she said, and looked down at the scroll. "I know this is kinda permanent, so if you dun wanna bond..."
::No!:: the Ojee replied, surprised that the kit was giving her the choice! ::I'd love to...:: She smiled along with Nokileth Caelumpictor and accepted the scroll, and that was that.

Valttaan and Kylara found two of the young kits that they met swarming around them, scrolls in webbed paws. "Hi hi hi hi!" Gesceti Sesske said, twining around Valttaan. "Bond me! Bond me!" She added, playfully. There was the typical flash of light, and man and kit were bonded.
"Heya, sweetheart," Kylara said to Wenla Silvacaela, grinning down at the indigo and purple kit. "How's it going?"
"Great!" Wenla replied, then offered up the scroll. "We decided that I should bond you, you're so pretty!" She added. Kylara giggled and took the scroll, making her own bond. The other two of the Pern-group of humans waited for more kits... but none came. Kielee pouted, and Jaeson looked downtrodden. No one wanted them? Well... maybe not this time.

Most of the kits that had decided that they wanted to bond, had already... though two still remained who were ready to go out into the crowd. Bhialica Saden was already at Dominique's foot, grinning wryly, while the last kit made his way across the stage. Bhi' held up her scroll. "I like you, you like me, we might as well, right? Entorni's sorry she didn't come tonight... she got sick," the little kit told David, before Dominique took the other end of the scroll.

The last of the kits, a green colored half-Air, was forging his way determinedly towards Tahvo. "Hiya," he said, glancing from the other potential candidates to the Metsakansa. "I'm Fortius Landwerlen... care to bond?" He held up the scroll, grinning. Tahvo smiled in reply, and took the end of the scroll...

And the bonding appeared to be over. The rest of the kits were sitting with one another, not making any move to bond, so Demulcei took the stage again. "Well, it looks like that's it for this ceremony," she smiled at the remaining candidates. "But feel free to stay for the next ceremony, which will be in the next few weeks," depending on how many newcomers came, of course! The audience... for there had been, sitting around the tables in the courtyard, applauded the new bonds, and were then allowed to mingle with the pairs. Demulcei watched them interacting, a feeling of... accomplishment, that was it, almost overwhelming her.
"You see, everything went well." A voice said, just behind her. The smile that had been spread across the Coordinator's face faded momentarily, but was up again as Demulcei turned to meet Frada's steady stare. "And no, I didn't go and play any dirty little tricks on you, child." The Ampilo smiled that hideously fake motherly smile. "So you have nothing to worry about."
"Maybe not this time around..." Demulcei began, but stopped herself. It was no use to fight with the older woman... she'd just have to keep an eye on her throughout the next round of bondings...