The father asked his daughter, the soon to be ten turn old looking up with the same pale crystal blue eyes as his own. She stared at him for a moment as if considering what he said, before she laughed and playfully pushed Darilex as if he had been teasing her.
“My nameday's not for a while,” she told him as if he didn't know, laughing a little as they continued along their way through the Weyr Yard hand in hand. She was growing up so much already, and Darilex couldn't help but feel the sting of having missed out on so much of her life before now when he looked at her. He smiled down at his daughter.
“I know, but I want to make sure I can give you whatever you want this turn, as long as it's within my power. So how about you think about it, yeah?”
“Hmmm, ok,” she agreed easily enough in a cheery tone, earning a chuckle from the man as she swung his hand back and forth. It was hard to believe she was going to be ten this turn, easier for himself to believe that he was going on thirty-three this turn or that Darilesk would be seven turns as well.
“Can Darisk and Darilesk come out yet? I want to say hi,” she suddenly asked after they walked alone for a little while longer. Darilex looked at where the sun was at, and shook his head.
“Not yet, maybe by the time we make it to the creche though the sun will be down far enough for them to say hi for a little while before you have to go inside.”
“Awww, I wanted to play with them,” she huffed in an almost pouty tone, and Darilex just chuckled again. At first, Letitia had been very afraid of Darilex's whers, now though she was completely used to them and loved to see them. The only problem was that she was on the creche's schedule and so could only see them in the evening for a few minutes before the children had to be back inside the creche.
“I know, maybe one day I can convince your foster mother to let me have you for a night if I get a day off. How does that sound?”
“Yeah,” she answered with excitement, seeming to like this idea. Darilex had been able to have her over for a night before, but it was rare between his handler duties and mindhealer duties as well, as Darilex had no plans on quitting practicing that part of his life. He had helped many people since joining with the Weyr, and he hoped to keep helping them.
Soon Darilex was dropping Letitia with her foster mother in the creche after the girl got to say hi to Darilesk and Darisk. As Darilex began to mount Darilesk, since the prism was bigger and it was easier for him to carry him than Darisk, a familiar pair of two toned whers trotted up to them, with a very familiar dark skinned woman riding atop the blue.
“Good, I was hoping to find you here,” the aging Matriarch said to him when their eyes met. Darilex's brows raised curiously, even as he bowed his head respectfully.
“To what to I owe the honor,” Darilex asked. At one time Krizia would have scoffed at such behavior, but she was older and had grown used to it. She had never planned to be here, to be in such a rank for so long, but it was how things had played out.
“Do you have some time to come to my office so we can talk?”
Several minutes later Darilex took a mug of klah offered to him by the Matriarch after he had seated himself across from her desk. Her living space was much roomier than the other handler living spaces, not that Darilex minded the size of his living space.
“I've been looking for a replacement for Wherhandler Leader ever since Vexill had to step down,” the older woman told the dualhandler as she seated herself behind her desk, opening and looking at files though she squinted at the files in question, likely beginning to lose some of her vision from her age. He wondered briefly when she was going to retire and if Vexill stepping down affected her retirement plans.
“Unfortunately the potentials are small, we don't have enough handlers that have been around long enough to be able to handle the position, and some are too young in my opinion right now. I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.” Amber eyes looked up at Darilex with scrutiny, and the mindhealer nodded in understanding.
“I take it you're wishing to ask me to take the position?” She had been making that pretty obvious, so her nod in agreement came as no surprise as she left Darilex's file open, likely on purpose.
“Out of the other options, you're the best in my opinion. You have been around the longest, you have fit into this life pretty well, and you handle both of your whers almost seamlessly. I know you have your mindhealing work, but I really need you for this. The sooner I can get a replacement the better. So what do you say? Or do I need to try and improve my sales pitch to you?”
A silence spanned between them a moment as Darilex sighed and rubbed at the stubble on his chin. This wasn't anything he had ever really sought after. He had been complacent in his position in life as a guardhandler and mindhealer, and then as a father as well, now this? He had never had any ambition for it, but where did it leave things if he denied the Matriarch what she needed? He didn't want to leave his Matriarch and fellows hanging without a Leader though... and he felt he could do it probably...
“Well I can't very well leave you hanging now can I? I'll accept the position.”
The Matriarch nodded, and then pulled out from her desk a new set of knots more intricate than his current ones with the colors of his whers woven in with the color of the Weyr and the color of the Wherhandler Leader's Guard Team. She was betting on him saying yes, and he couldn't help but chuckle as she slid the knots across the desk to him.
“Congratulations, Leader, I suggest going before your new Guard Team first thing tomorrow. Here are the files you'll need for them and you may move into the Leader's apartment as soon as you're able, your whers will love the extra space. Other files will be there waiting for you, I suggest that you start looking through them.”
“Thank you, I hope I will not let you down,” Darilex said humbly as he accepted the knots and all the files given to him, feeling a weight in his hands for greater than the weight of those files.