[Locken and Hissth] [Sokha and Treath] [Raleb and Moonth]
Three small faces above the wall,
Six beady eyes eager to see it all.
Whispers float through the midnight air,
Plans of how and when to scare
All the dragonriders here,
Within the bounds of this great Weyr.
The first is Locken, brave and quick,
With dirty hair black and slick.
Of middle-height and middle-build
He blends in well in any guild.
He leads the gang that none can beat
In their game of trick-or-treat.
Then comes Sokha, tall and thin,
With candy-bag to put things in.
She's followed by a silent cat
Black as pitch and mean and fat
Bright of thought and sharp of eye,
Sokh's cackles heard twixt land and sky.
Raleb, short and mighty round
Makes the trio full and sound,
And though he somewhat lacks in wits,
He makes it up in laughing fits.
Always joking, filthy head,
This naughty boy ne'er stays in bed.
So Lock and Sokh and Ralebbo
Creep through the Weyrbowl, swiftly go
To Queen and bronze and brown and blue.
No matter what horrid things they do
The dragons roar and say 'Be gone
From my weyr, and don't take long!'
And Lock and Sokh and Ralebbo
Leave the place with heads hung low
'Til Sokha gets a grand idea
And whispers in her companions' ear
A plan so wicked it would not leave
A weyr un-scared this Hallow's Eve...
The three children hurried through the low brush at the edge of the Weyr, skirting any place that would shed light on their scheming heads. The moon was a great single eye in the skies, watching them mockingly and tempting them into revealing themselves by first hiding behind a mass of night clouds then suddenly escaping and shedding moonbeams across the land.
There was too little time as it was without losing more in dodging the playful moon. Sokha sighted a dark copse of thickly-dressed trees and pulled her brothers-in-mischief aside.
Raleb fell heavily to a raised root, panting and gasping for breath after the unaccustomed exertion. Locken threw him a dirty glare, which elicited a smart smack on the back of the head from Sokha.
"Boys!" she said as loudly as she dared. They were still within distance of the Weyr and someone could hear a noise and send a dragon to investigate. They could never hide from a dragon. "We'll never get through this is you two keep on like children!"
Locken and Raleb exchanged a glance. "But we are children," they said together, then giggled.
Sokha rolled her eyes. She was only twelve herself, but the boys had ten turns each and tended to show them. "Please behave for just a moment, would you?"
Raleb stuck out his lower lip impudently. "Who died and made you Weyrwoman?" he demanded, crossing pudgy arms over his chest.
"Oh, you petulant child!" Sokha cried in frustration. "Be quiet!"
The boy seemed on the verge of retorting, but with a punch on the shoulder from Locken he shut up good and proper.
Sokha continued with a grateful sigh. "Right. Now, for this to work, we're gunna have to learn to be extra-specially quiet. If you even so much as clamp your teeth together too loud, you'll give us away."
"Well," Locken piped up, "What about you? You're sharding noisy when you put your mind to it."
"Oh don't be ridiculous, Locken," the girl replied haughtily. "I can be trusted with something as simple as that."
Locken shared a glance with Raleb but didn't say a word.
The children huddled together and Sokha relayed the next phase of her brilliant plan, making sure to whisper as quietly as she could and checking the surroundings frequently for signs or sounds of pursuit. When she was done, she stood up again and smiled self-indulgently. She was good. And she knew it.
The two boys looked at their temporary leader in mild awe, then Locken spoke up. "You sure it'll work right? It sounds awfully complicated..."
"It has to work."
"How come?" Raleb demanded petulantly. He was still a little put out by the enforced exercise and wasn't going to give in quite as easily. "Why should we go along with your plan? What if I have a better plan?"
Sokha raised one eyebrow. "You have a better plan, Raleb." She looked mightily amused. "Oh please, do tell me."
Rotund Raleb hesitated. "Well... I didn't say I... had a plan just yet... I was just seeing what would happen if I did have one."
Locken stifled a laugh and was rewarded with a dirty look from the other boy. "Never mind, Ralebbo. Are we done here?" He directed his question to Sokha.
"Good. Let's go then." Locken led the other two towards a back entrance to the Weyr, his heart beating so rapidly and loudly in his ears he swore a dragon would hear, but couldn't care less if they did. It would just make the night even more exciting.
They reached about halfway down the twisted, extremely dusty and little-known tunnel when all three froze mid-step.
A subtle but very noticeable vibration had suddenly taken to the floor... and walls... and ceiling! It was accompanied by a slight humming sound - like a large amount of people singing quietly.
"What's happening?" Raleb breathed, still frozen. His heart tharrumped through his chest in comic-style dramatics as something terrible occurred to him. But rather than be made the fool once more, he kept his silence for a moment.
Sokha shook her head slowly. "I don't know... Everyone should be in their weyrs... I don't know!"
"Shhh!" Locken spat. "Quiet! Maybe it'll go away."
They waited in silence for an eternal few moments until Raleb got up the courage to speak. "What if..." he stuttered, "If... the dragons were... making that noise..."
Sokha made a dismissive face. "Why on Pern would they be..." And there it was. "Thrumming..."
"The hatching!" they all cried at once, suddenly utterly uncaring of the noise they made.
The tunnel through which they had so carefully crept ran around the length of the great hatching cavern, the unevenly-hewed wall veering away and towards the space at varying intervals. And they were nearing the end.
And then they were there.
Bursting out with a puff of long-settled dust and a vague smell of mildew, three children arrived at the edge of the cavern, just below the Stands. Few noticed their entrance.
Except the dragons.