“Matron! Matron!” A young female Kobold in an apron, sparkling red scales with speckled yellow, ran through the Hatchery halls, breathless. Little kobolds and other nurses dodged out of the way, the little ones laughing and thinking it a game, the older nurses scowling slightly, or, those who were more perceptive, realizing that something terribly wrong may have happened.

The red scaled kobold bounded through to a large office, and opened the door with surprising force. The office was not completely spartan, a few fixtures to maintain a warm atmosphere, some toys scattered about the floor for little ones when they visited, and an immaculate organized desk filled to the brim with paperwork.

The older kobold, scales not quite as bright gold as they used to be but her eyes still sharp, looked over her flamed spectacles and at the young nurse who had barged in. “Shigges? What in the name of the Great Dragon has you running through my halls like a drunk ogre?”

Shigges, the red kobold, muttered a brief apology before saying, frantically, “Matron Veksha, there’s something wrong with the clutch in my charge! One… one of the eggs is cold, Matron. Ice cold.”

Matron Veksha clicked her tongue as she stood and walked to the nurse, putting her claws on her shoulder. “Now, dear, that happens every so often. We lose eggs. It’s an unfortunate thing, but sometimes the Great Dragon calls our children home before they have a chance to live. We have to-”

Shigges shook her head violently, “No, no, Matron. The egg is ice cold but the baby inside…. It is still moving.

Veksha blinked. She was renowned in the Hatchery for being almost unflappable, even when some of the soft skins brought their children in for help. She always knew what to do, and Shigges had never seen her hesitate. Even so, the Matron had a razor sharp mind.

“Let me see this egg. I need to verify this, dear. I believe you, but…” Veksha trailed off, but Shigges nodded. The younger kobold understood, to get the eggs rolling, you usually needed someone in a position of power to give the first push. Even so, the younger kobold’s eyes widened a bit, as she realized what the Matron meant. Matron Veksha took one look around her office, and sighed.

Quickly the two moved through the halls. As soon as the other nurses saw the matron, the whispers started up as they passed. Matron Veksha sighed. She loved her girls and boys, but sometimes they were such gossips, especially when she left her beloved office. She was sure that news of something strange would be passed onto the streets and the rumors would abound sooner rather than later.

She came to the Shigges clutch, that she was in charge of monitoring. Various females had laid their eggs in this area, and now, it was getting close to the end of the second month. As she entered the room, Matron Veksha blinked, and realized what Shigges meant. Something was wrong in this area. Her scales seemed to crawl for just a brief moment.

She looked to Shigges. While she was Matron, this was still the area where the Nurse had priority. “Show me, dear.” A critical eye surveyed the room as Shigges moved wrung her hands worriedly. Temperature was optimal, so was the humidity. No signs of tampering with the clutch, nor were there any signs of breaking and entering.

Shigges nodded, and moved to the back of the clutch. In it, there was a small egg, nestled with the others, but this one ever so slightly smaller. Every so often, the eggs twitched, as the little ones prepared themselves to make their way out of the shell. This one was no different, however as Matron Veksha laid a claw on the egg, she felt a chill go through her. While not very strong, the Matron was somewhat versed in magic… and this egg felt touched by something very dark. She knelt down to look at the egg more closely, and noticed something strange. Faint, almost invisible black lines were worming their way up from the base. Fearful now, the Matron cast a spell she learned from years ago, and hadn’t needed to use for a very long time, and her eyes widened.

A type of necromancy she’d never seen was worming its way from the base of the egg, and touching the child within. Terror and anger filled her voice as she spoke to her nurse, the poor girl who had discovered this horror.

“Shigges. Send a message, with my seal, to the Sorcerer Houses, and the provincial governor. Someone or something has tampered with the Hatchery. I will watch over this clutch until they respond…. And good work, Shigges.” The nurse nodded, and left the room.

Matron Veksha turned back to the egg, which twitched as the little one inside tested the strength of the shell. Soon it would be hatching…. If the Governor and the Houses allowed it to be hatched at all.

Author Razas
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