Post by **Auria (etc)** on Jun 23, 2009 9:51:07 GMT -5
Rannell sat on the floor in CandidateMaster Q'tris's office, playing happily with Wizzerd and Safari. He had redberries in a little basket, and was doing his best to teach the firelizards tricks, as Trilia had told him was possible.
"Sake han's", he said, and held out a finger to Wizzerd. She put a forepaw around the child's finger and Ranny said, "Good Girl!" and popped a berry into her mouth.
Wizzerd chirped smugly and stuck her nose in the air at Safari.
He reached for the blue. "Now, Fari, Sake han's". He held out the same finger.
Wizzerd gave a snort, jumped between Hers and the blue clutchmate, and grabbed Ranny's finger.
Safari chirruped, sounding most hurt and insulted.
Auria watched, and couldn't help chuckling at how the little green always loved to be the center of her human's attention. But where was Q'tris?
He had sent word by Flitter-mail that Aury and Ranny should report to him at this hour. Had he found a foster family for the two-turner? It had been several days since their interview in the barracks, and she hadn't heard any word since.
Ranny had seemed to understand and, though he cried at first, was settling into the idea of staying with a family. She wondered if there would be other children and, more importantly at this point, firelizards.
Once again her gaze lifted from the child to the doorway.
Where was Q'tris? It must be past the hour by now.
This was just ridiculous. Q'tris sighed as he ran a hand over his face, pinching the bridge of his nose in agitation. He had really hoped this last interview would be the one. They had been thoroughly receptive to the idea earlier on in any case, but just as suddenly they shook their heads, mouths all full of apologies and no solutions. The Weyr was too small and busy, everyone heaped with their own responsibilities. What's more, much of the population consisted of freshly graduated Riders, young Weyrlings, and candidates. Perhaps because of the age restriction on those eligible for Standing, these were all young adults, at best; too young to handle the responsibility of a child or too overwhelmed with their new positions to consider it.
Q'tris had put on his best persuasive air, but to no avail. It seemed all he could do was retreat to his office and rethink the situation. He had stopped in on the Nursery on his way, and certainly there was room for Rannell there, but he had given his word that he would find proper foster parents. It tasted something vile in his mouth to consider himself a liar, even if the circumstances were not his fault. Caught up this way, the meeting he had scheduled with Auria and Rannell, in the hopes of telling them the good news, had completely slipped his mind. As he wretched the door to his office open, expression taught and pensive, he was puzzled for a moment to find the boy and his aunt waiting for him there.
He opened his mouth once, scandalized in his confusion, before he recalled the message. "My apologies for the delay." He quickly corrected himself, righting his posture and stalking to his desk. He placed both hands, palms down, upon the wood, looking down as though contemplating before refolding them and adjusting his attention on Auria. "I'm afraid I'm having difficulty finding someone willing to take Rannell in." He said at last, deciding to get right to the point. Inside he was furious with himself for his tardiness, something that he never tolerated. This at once fouled his attempts at handling the situation gently.
Q'tris, Candidatemaster, of green Minth Brell of blue Brueth
Post by **Auria (etc)** on Jun 24, 2009 13:20:52 GMT -5
The look on the CandidateMaster's face as he entered the room fully predicted the words he spoke a moment later.
Auria's smile had already faded, the corners of her mouth turned down into a worried frown.
"... unable to find someone....", he had said.
She swallowed hard and glanced toward her nephew, whose play with the clutchmates had stopped, and who sat looking solemnly at Q'tris.
"'M'I gonna s'eep in Auntie-Aury's trunk for 'while longer?" he asked, blinking innocently at the man.
Auria blinked, startled at how very much such a young child perceived and understood.
"Sir? Does this mean he'll have to stay in the nursery?" Though it was not a terrible solution, the girl knew that he wouldn't get full attention, and the various shifts of caretakers meant that he wouldn't be able to really bond with anyone in particular.
At that moment, however, a knock came on the door, which swung open under the gentle pressure.
"GAMMY! GAMMY!" Rannell shouted, and leapt to his feet, scattering firelizards into the air in surprise.
"Grammy?" Auria spun, shocked. But -- her mother was dead! It couldn't be--
There in the doorway, a look of utter shock on her face, holding the child who had leapt forcibly into her arms and was clinging around her neck shouting, "My Gammy, my Gammy!", was an older woman Aury had seen in the Healing Caverns.
The Infirmary was blissfully quiet for a change, and Gaylen was happily taking the opportunity for a change of scenery. She had a stack of hide sheets in hand, checklists of supplies for emergency medical situations. A stop at each major area of the Weyr had given her the chance to talk to folks she rarely got to see, while leaving them a list to go over. Later, or tomorrow, she would pick up the marked lists and send drudges with baskets to replenish the first aid stores.
She hadn't often had the opportunity to converse with CandidateMaster Q'tris, and was looking forward to her visit with him.
Gaylen stopped outside the door of his office, shifted the sheets to her left arm, and knocked. To her surprise, the door swung open on its own.
That wasn't her biggest surprise, however.
Within a heartbeat, the sheets were scattered into the air, and she was catching a flying toddler who screamed something about his "Gammy"! Memory, who'd been riding happily on her shoulder, screeched indignantly as a pair of young flitters took to the air, buzzing around the head of Hers!
She chattered a scolding at the two little ones, who paid her no heed, the child's infectious joy having spurred them into noisy aerial acrobatics.
"Hello!" the woman said, as the child squirmed and squealed and clung to her neck. "And who are you?"
Brows raised high, her green eyes sought out the gaze of the CandidateMaster. She knew he had one child, the young candidate Trilia, but a toddler? This child couldn't have been more than two or three turns!
At Rannell's perceptive question Q'tris had regarded the boy for a moment, weighing his response, before Auria piped in as well. "For the time being I think - " He had begun a little wearily before the door opened. Had he planned any other meetings he had forgotten? Q'tris was half raised from his seat to receive this new guest, but before he could even register who had come in, Rannell had flung himself into her arms!
Gammy? Q'tris' raised brows probably looked just as surprised as Gaylen as the toddler squealed in delight. The enthusiasm of the firelizards in the room seemed to attract his own flitters, who popped suddenly from between to join the fun, bronze and blue joining the colorful chaos above their heads. Oh by Faranth...
"Phineas. Regulus." The greenrider snapped, but the duo was too caught up to notice. Q'tris rubbed at his temple as he turned back to Gaylen. "I'm afraid he's not mine." The rider replied. "Rannell has been stowing away in candidates barracks with his aunt for some time now." Q'tris explained distractedly, gesturing vaguely to Auria. He wasn't sure if he should relieve the Healer of the child or not. "I'm sorry, here." Q'tris belatedly remembered the scattered papers and moved to help pick them up. "Can I help you, Gaylen?"
Q'tris, Candidatemaster, of green Minth Brell of blue Brueth
Post by **Auria (etc)** on Jun 26, 2009 16:02:56 GMT -5
Gaylen? Auria tried to remember whether she'd heard the woman's name or not and decided that yes, as she'd had chores in the Infirmary it had been mentioned, along with the fact that the woman had gone a bit ... light in the head ... for a while. She eyed the scene before her, only half taking in Q'tris's statement that Ranny might have to go to the nursery for a while.
Rannell was still giggling and calling "Gammy", hanging on with such delight that Auria didn't think the healer would be able to put him down if she tried.
When Q'tris's firelizards arrived to join the joyous acrobatics, the girl's eyes widened and she cast a worried glance toward the CandidateMaster. Once again her nephew appeared to have caused a commotion, and she wondered if she'd be called to task for it.
Her cheeks turned pink, as a touch of anger edged in. After all, she'd lost her entire family, but him, to Thread. The rider who rescued them was so kind, but she had no idea she'd wind up a candidate for a dragon hatching! All she really had hoped for was a roof over her head and food for herself and Ranny to eat.
Thus, when Q'tris said the word, "Stowing away", her lower lip went into a pout, she raised her chin, squared her shoulders, and said, "Yes, ma'am, he's my nephew. Our family was killed. Ranny and I take care of each other!"
So there! She'd allowed her pride to show ... and immediately regretted it.
Q'tris, after all, was in control of her fate ... what if he removed both of them from the barracks? What if she didn't get a chance to stand for a dragon? What if--
"Gammy! I gots a fi'wizzerd and her name's Wizzerd! You gots a fi'wizzerd now, too? I fought you didn't like fi'wizzerds! You tole my Mammy that they was too much ponsabillity!"
Then the child, the adorable little conniving minx he was, reached up and gave Gaylen a wet kiss on her still quite startled cheek.
Aury gasped. "Ranny," she whispered, edging closer. "That's not your Gammy, sweetheart. This lady is Gaylen, she's a healer."
Ranny squinted his eyes and surveyed the face closest to him. "No, she not my Gammy mostly. But she my Gammy now!"
For just a scattered moment, as she heard Q'tris's explanation, in the midst of firelizard chaos and child laughter and hugs, Gaylen had to stop and recollect whether or not she'd taken her medication earlier. Yes, she decided, she had, and all of this was real and not delusion.
The thought made her chuckle out loud, which seemed to set the child into a round of tighter hugs.
She ducked as a green flitter dove toward her, chortling merrily, and responded as Q'tris gathered the sheets, "I was bringing by first aid checklists for you, Q'tris. You can -- whoops --" the flitter went back in the other direction, causing her to dodge backwards -- "Fill it out at your leisure," she finished with a laugh.
"Ranny, are you?" she said, and was about to address the child's aunt, when the girl reacted with pride to something the CandidateMaster had said. Although Gaylen had heard the term "stowing away" as a perfectly innocent turn of speech, apparently the candidate took it to heart.
Gaylen caught the greenrider's eye and gave him a half-smile and a wink, after hearing out the young girl's words.
"And it seems you two have taken very good care of one another," she said softly, returning the child's hugs. Oh, how nice it felt to have a small child in her arms again. Though her own two had been foster raised for the most part, she'd spent as much time with them as she was able, and there were many days she regretted that she'd never had the chance to help raise her own grandchildren.
She turned to Q'tris. "I take it that having a little boy in the girl's barracks has been ... challenging?"
When the child called her Gammy again, went on about the flitters, and then gave her a kiss ... her heart melted into a puddle. Auria's admonition that she, Gaylen, was not the child's grandmother filled her with an odd and totally irrational sense of regret.
"--she my Gammy now", therefore, pretty much finished her.
Gaylen replied with words that came from elsewhere, from an emotional center somewhere both deep within and outside herself, and an instinct that could not have been overridden if she'd tried.
"I'll be your Gammy if you'd like, dearheart."
Mine? WHAT are you doing? Alabanth's startled voice, sounding as if he'd suddenly been roused from a deep sleep (by a cold bucket of water in the face) almost, but not quite, pulled her back to sanity....
Q'tris could only survey the chaos in his office with mild exasperation; the eagerly squealing toddler, the twirling antics of the flitters in the air, the scattered papers, the indignant candidate. The greenrider mentally willed his own firelizards to calm themselves down, as this was the only thing he had direct control over at the moment. There was scarcely a second to think...let alone assure Auria that he meant no harm with his remark, only weariness loosening the care he usually took with his words. Now the child had proclaimed the Healer as his 'Gammy!'
So when Gaylen looked up with a wink and grin, he was wary at best of what to expect. What was she planning...?
He returned Gaylen's remark with a helpless half-smile. "Given how near the Hatching is..." He let the rest hang. At the moment, Auria was needed more immediately for last minute studies, not child rearing...At Gaylen's declaration of being Rannell's new 'Gammy' however, Q'tris looked as though he'd just seen a dragon-sized Wherry run through his office, such was his surprise. At best he could have hoped Gaylen would suggest someone to foster Rannell, and even that had been only a passing hope at seeing her warm reception of the child.
"Are you certain?" He managed to strangle out after a moment, recalling Gaylen's...condition...Certainly she seemed to have improved recently but there was no denying her situation upon arriving at Araelen. Would she be able to care for the child as well as herself? He was sure he could trust C'lyn at least. Perhaps he would discuss it with the Healer privately, though it felt a betrayal to Gaylen to do so behind her back. "Rannell is certainly a hand full." He tried again carefully. Deterring her wasn't his goal, of course, but she was so quick to involve herself, Q'tris wondered if Gaylen knew just what she was getting herself into! Despite it all, Q'tris found his mouth lifting at one side in a half-smile. If Gaylen truly could foster Rannell, it looked as though they'd make an excellent pair, judging by their quick connection and smiling faces.
Q'tris, Candidatemaster, of green Minth Brell of blue Brueth
Gaylen flushed slightly as Alabanth's thoughts reached her, full of doubt for the emotions his rider was feeling. When Q'tris spoke, therefore, asking if she was "certain", it took her a moment to realize just what she was being "certain" about!
The realization flooded her as deeply as the soft, sweet feel of the toddler's hug had done: this child needed someone to foster him.
"Given how near the Hatching is...."
She looked at Auria, and then back to Q'tris, blinked and raised her brows slightly. That statement must have several meanings -- the most important being that Ranny's aunt would not be able to give him the care he needed, with her duties accelerating so. And with a dragonet by her side--? Gaylen was not so old that the memories of a hungry little blue someone, and that that entailed, had left her!
And the staff would be working overtime as well. There would be food to store, cleaning to do, guest quarters to prepare, new linens and personal items to set up, Weyrling Barracks to refresh....
"I take it no one you interviewed could take him in?" she said quietly, as much to herself as to the CandidateMaster.
She truly was out of her mind.
And yet, the child just clung tighter, turning his sweet smile on her. When the little green firelizard landed on his head and tilted her head, peering intently into Gaylen's face inquisitively, the elder healer was undone.
"I'm sure C'lyn won't mind, just for a little while. Perhaps after the hatching a ... more suitable....." she trailed off, shrugged, and flashed an impish grin at Q'tris. "I suppose it can't hurt to ask, anyway ... right?"
Though she sounded fairly sure of the answer to that question, inside Gaylen's stomach roiled like a sleeping volcano.
We need a bigger weyr.... the ever-practical voice of Alabanth said, with no small hint of sarcasm, in the back of her mind.