Please... (Vignette)

Papa, don’t go.

The eight turn old didn’t say the words aloud, but iceblue eyes begged him not to do it. Wide-eyed and silent from where she stood alone in the shade under that tree – the first one she’d ever climbed because he’d helped her to do it – and watched as he’d loaded the last of his things then settled her half-sister Hali astride Siebith.

When he came to her, swept her up, she’d wound her arms about his neck, her legs about his waist and clung tight to him, her soft cheek pressed to his rough stubbled one. Maybe if she refused to let go, he’d take her too…

Papa, it’s my fault, but please love me anyway. Don’t go.

She didn’t say those words either.

“You be good,” he’d said gruffly, peeled her off, set her down and left for Xanadu without looking back.

Left her.

Yeah, she saw him over the turns since he’d left. He came for the occasional turnday visit. He took her riding on Siebith, went shopping for treats in Ierne’s market square. It wasn’t the same.

Moving to Xanadu, she had him back. The Weyrwoman Thea was good for him. They didn’t fight, shout and throw things. She didn’t throw him out and he didn’t threaten to leave her. He was happy. He was the papa she remembered, one she could be herself with. Well, okay, mostly herself. He didn’t like her hanging out with boys so that had to be on the sly or he’d growl and glare at them.

Everything changed after that document claiming Muir- Mur’dah and Marel and her part in helping get them to Cold Stone Hold - what a Faranth-awful place!

She stood under the tree at the edge of the clearing, hidden in the deep shadow of the moonless night and watched him reel and stagger into the tavern. His choice to leave had been made the same night the ship sailed with her and her half-sibling twins aboard. It was already too late to ask, he’d been gone to the whiskey’s embrace ever since. Regardless, Darsce whispered her plea to a man who would never hear it,

“Papa, don’t go.”

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