The difference was underwhelming. Plenty of Carers bustled about, moving swiftly to their charges. Older Hatcher Assistants strolled slowly, with more caution and confidence. As always, there were few Hatchers in the main room, and what few were there moved sporadically along their path, heads tilting back and forth each time they paused.
Elida’s legs moved quickly around the room to the first of the Hatcher rooms. Suddenly she was in the room and her ears were bombarded by the hums of ready to hatch eggs. She tried to push thoughts through the deafening hums, trying to remember what she was to do today. She placed her hands in her pockets and felt the treat she made for her daroc’s first food. Elida quickly moved towards the first stationary Hatcher she saw. They were supposed to guide her around the room and approve any possible connections. It could take all day to find the right connection and to wait for the Hatch and First Bond.
The first egg she passed started to vibrate erratically. A nearby Hatcher rushed over, grabbed Elida by the arm, and yanked her over to the vibrating egg.
The Hatcher, an older woman named Ula, loosened her grip but kept her hold on Elida’s arm. Other Hatchers began to gather around as Ula ordered Elida to step forward and get her treat ready to initiate the Bond. Cracks erupted around the eggshell. Ula pushed Elida closer before rushing back with the other Hatchers.
Elida pulled the treat out and stepped forward until all she could see was egg and it’s disintegrating shell. All she could hear was the soft cricks and crunches as the daroc tried to push through.
Elida rocked on her feet, preparing for a long wait. The daroc shell was notoriously thick to break through. But she could already see the outline of a daroc in it. Her daroc. She wanted to look around to the Hatchers to explain why this was happening. But she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the swirling shadow writhing in the shell.
And then there was no longer a shell between her and her daroc.