My Father's Dragon (Vignette)
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What time it was when Darsce eased herself from Jethaniel's arms, she had no idea. Somewhere towards morning, she would guess, but it didn't really matter. Her husband slept at last, sorrow and exhaustion etched in the features she'd gently touched her lips to before she'd slipped from their bed, hopeful not to wake him. She didn't really want to leave him, but she'd made a promise and she'd keep it.

Thus she'd dressed, and simply so, in jeans and a sleeveless top of soft blue, stuffed her feet into sandals and made her way quietly from the cottage, to cross meadow and skirt clearing. The Weyr, shrouded in a heavy cloak of darkness, was finally silent with the uneasy slumber that finally claimed the majority. Light shone from the cavern entrance and her eyes were drawn to it. No doubt there were lights on in the administration wing also, but one of her assistants was on-duty; she'd see to their klah-requirements. Darsce's destination lay elsewhere and thus, she'd moved on.

The steps that took her to the coastal road slowed as she'd neared the residence of the rider D'had. How long she stood at the edge of the yard, staring at the darkened weyrbarn, she had no idea. When her feet would move, they took her not along the path that led to the door, but to the outside wallow where Siebith lay curled in a tight ball.

There, standing at the edge of the larger depression that had held Seryth for the many turns that Thea had shared this dwelling with the man within, she'd paused and somberly considered the aged blue dragon as he slept. Indecision kept her rooted to the spot as she chewed her lower lip.

How do I… do this?

"Siebith," she'd called quietly, reluctant to awake the beast. Best not to sneak up on a dragon though, yeah?

Siebith stirred, and his neck lifted his head enough to reposition it on the ground, this time angled towards her, the gesture one of appeal that she couldn't deny. With a sigh she crossed the space, noting the color of his eyes in the starlight - dimmed, yellowed. She sank to the ground beside his jaw, drew her legs up, knees under her chin and leaned up against blue hide that she vaguely realized was greyed with grief.

A great gust of warm breath stirred the air: a drconic sigh, nothing more. No further communication forthcoming from the blue to be shared with her. It made Darsce frown, this silence, even though he'd never spoken to her before and the mind-spinning experience this afternoon had been rather… uncomfortable.

How do I do this?

In quiet panic she'd tried to decipher what the dragon needed. She could feel the great weight of sadness, a physical heaviness, blanketing her despite the lack of words. Again her eyes drifted to that darkened Weyrbarn. What Siebith needed was in there, in a drunken stupor, no doubt. She would have to do as a poor second. For Jethaniel (she couldn't bear - wouldn't - imagine losing him! and her mind skittered away from that thought) she'd simply sat and listened, held him close, assured him of her love. Siebith wasn't talking, moreover he was too large to get her arms around. And she didn't… love him… did she?

I'm being selfish, she'd noted sternly to herself. One hand reached out… It hovered uncertainly, then tentatively rested upon the muzzle. She'd swallowed…hard…and forced her hand to make soothing movements upon the grizzled hide there. Where to start? She cleared her throat.

"I- I'm so sorry you lost your friend today. I'm so sorry," she said lowly.

Siebith groaned.

Darsce panicked. Way to go, Idiot! Try something else!

"Thank you for all the rides you gave me over the turns when I was a kid. You used to scare me shitless with your acrobatics." A pause. A wry whoosh of air out her nose, a mirthless laugh, preceded her admission, "I loved every minute of it."

Siebith's rumble could almost be a dry, if sad, chuckle.

Darsce sat, silent for some time, reminiscing those early days. As a young child, she'd loved both Siebith and Quirinth, showered them with affection, both verbal and physical, certain one day she'd join them in the skies borne on wings of her own lifemate. She'd probably said as much to both blue and gold many times until… gradually things changed and she withdrew…

"I'm sorry I blamed you for…" A sob rose in her throat and she choked it down with a harsh cough.

In the dark a rustling sound, and though he maintained his mental silence, Siebith's wing drooped to cover her.

Her resolve shattered and her forehead dropped to the blue's muzzle while the palm that had been stroking it curved around so her arm could approximate the best hug she could give the large creature. She'd wept then silently, for loss of light, of cocoons that shut it out, but mostly for the pathos of a dragon bereft of his rider's comfort.

Dawn approached, quietly hidden in the grey mist off the lake, unnoticed by Darsce whose tears were prompted by death, both physical and metaphorical, while in the darkened and lifeless weyrbarn over yonder, the rider lay oblivious.

And she sat with her father's dragon.


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