Hatching Grounds

This cavern is deep below the surface of the earth, technically beneath rather than within the great mesa housing Plateau Weyr, its sands heated by geothermal emanations from even further down. This place is accessible to humans only by a series of winding tunnels; it's rather a long walk, so the Candidate Barracks are in a smaller cavern off the main Hatching Grounds so they don't have to travel far when a Hatching begins. There is a gaping hole in the roof of the cavern large enough for many dragons to fly through at once; this is actually the mouth of a huge limestone cave system which, though somewhat dangerous to fly through, is quite navigable by air. Sometime before recorded history, someone discovered that part of this network came very close to the outer rock 'skin' of the gigantic plateau in which it is contained and broke through it, thus creating an entrance from the outside for dragons. Many younger, smaller dragons in particular enjoy the acrobatic flight through this tunnel to reach the Hatching Grounds and its draconic spectator perches, but tragedies happen occasionally when foolish riders attempt to accompany their beasts instead of walking like everyone else and end up being bashed against a stalactite or falling off in the unpredictable environment; it's nothing at all like flying Thread and obstacles are everywhere. Once you are actually in the great cavern which houses the Hatching Sands, however, there is plenty of room. There are two small caverns situated off the Hatching Grounds. One is the Candidate Barracks and the other is a Queen's Weyr designed to be occupied temporarily by whichever female and her rider are currently guarding a clutch.

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