Who

Xanthee, Beatris - NPC

What

Xanthee makes a long overdue visit to her foster mother.

When

It is afternoon of the fourth day of the twelfth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Creche, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 09 May 2018 04:00

 

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“Don’t you sass me child."


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Creche

Conflicting ideas or architects developed this chamber round at first until right angles took over for the arc still without sacrificing much in the way of spatial efficiency. Matching the flat lines of the left side are single cots with a few double tiered representations should space be at a premium. Nannies enjoy the luxury of larger, higher bed frames or hammocks which flank the woven baskets containing infants. Ample blankets and sheepskins bloom a variety of colors, syncing with circular braided rugs to make the creche comfortably snug (and more soundproof). A few playthings on wheels and strings, straw-woven dolls and sturdy stick animals compile a roster of toys on the semicircle side of the cavern.


Time.

It’s something that Xanthee is finding herself in sore need of but no real way of trimming her already busy schedule. She likes it that way. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. By keeping her days filled with her work, her own personal PT regime and time carved out to spend with Mal, she keeps herself from dwelling on things.

One of those things has been a visit that she had been putting off way too long for several complicated reasons. But finding herself with an unexpected candlemark free on her hands in the middle of the day, she decides to take advantage and heads to the Creche.

Peeking in through the door, her emerald eyes sweep the room until they land on one of the older Aunties of the Weyr, Beatris, a woman well into her seventh decade. Sitting in a rocking chair off to one side, the woman was obviously quite formidable in her day, ginger hair faded heavily with white streaked through and plaited into a long, thin braid that hangs over her shoulder. A tall woman though she looks somewhat fragile bundled under a quilt over her knees. In her hands, a half-knitted scarf, the needles poised as if she was in the middle of a stitch when it was abandoned. Her pale grey eyes wander over the nannies as they do their work with the care of the Weyr’s youngest, age spotted hands resting in her lap.

With a soft smile for her foster mother, Xanthee grabs a stool from nearby and brings it along with her. “Hey Auntie Bea, how are you feeling today?” she asks as she settles next to the rocking chair and brushes a strand of escaped hair from the older woman’s face. She was told the story many times of how four turn old Xan would bawl her eyes out the first few times the older woman tried to call herself her mom, and so from that point on, she was always Auntie Bea.

“Lexi?” her voice is soft and mildly confused as Bea turns her head to look at the dark haired girl with dull grey eyes. Her hand lifts from her lap with a soft tremor and fingertips trace down Xan’s face, “What happened to your scars?”

Shards, she’s having one of her bad days. the weyrbrat thinks to herself even as she broadens her smile and lifts her own hand to gently squeeze the fingers on her cheek. “No Auntie, it’s not Mom, it’s Xanthee,” she says as she searches the old woman’s eyes for any spark of recognition. She’s ready to give up and try another day when something finally catches behind the woman’s gaze and her smile widens, “Of course it’s you, dear. You just look so much like your mother,” she remarks with a touch of contempt before she takes Xan’s hand in hers and brings it down to her lap where she clasps it there.

Xanthee has to try not to laugh as she reaches with her free hand to move the knitting aside. “This is pretty,” she remarks, admiring the neat stitching before she puts it down again. Her mind races back to a time when the older woman diligently tried to teach her fosterling how to knit, it only took three broken needles for Bea to declare that she was un-teacheable.

“It’s for…” she trails off as her brows furrow in concentration, “For…” she gives a frustrated sigh. With a reassuring squeeze, Xan just shakes her head a little, “It’s ok Auntie,” she shushes the older woman while reaching up with her free hand to gently stroke it over her hair.

There are some who thought Beatris, who at the time was already 59 Turns old, should never have fostered Xanthee at such an advanced age. Never having had any children of her own, she was glad to mother so many of the Weyr’s charges over the Turns, her last had long since grown and Impressed but she still worked as a nanny. Having known Lexi, and subsequently Xanthee, she was the only person who could calm the little girl after Threadscore took her mother. She was also the one who insisted Xan was brought to see her mother when the end was near, the one who let the girl sleep with her mother’s riding jacket almost every night for months, and most importantly, she was the one who knew the most about Lexi and she shared those memories with the brownrider’s daughter.

Until she started forgetting things.

“It’s not important. Don’t worry,” Xan says again with her soft smile still in place, but she can feel the pricking of tears at just the corners of her eyes. A couple of blinks clears the rising sensation, for the moment anyway and her eyes take on a worried cant, her brows furrowing with little lines between them.

“Xanthee, what have I told you about scrunching your face up like that?” Auntie Bea asks with a chiding cluck of her tongue.

“It will give me permanent lines.” the girl replies in a mock exasperated, sing song tone more suited to a young child than a young woman.

“Don’t you sass me child. If you keep a smile on your face, the rest of you will catch up to it eventually…And none of that!” she snaps with a raspy chuckle as she catches Xan rolling her eyes and mouthing the words to her foster mother’s favorite idiom, having heard it enough to have it memorized by now.

Looking properly chastised, she drops her gaze again with a sheepish, “Sorry Ma’am.”

A softly smug look lingers for just moment before the older woman’s eyes dull again as her features twist frantically. “Don’t take Xan to Telgar, Lex, her home, your home, is here.” she says with quiet desperation as her weak voice shakes. Wrinkled hands grasp at Xan’s smooth ones as she watches her foster mother get lost again into herself.

It takes everything she can muster not to break down in tears. Patting the woman’s hand reassuringly, she shushes her softly, voice cracking “She never took me away Auntie, she stayed,” but experience tells Xan that she won’t be getting more from the woman today. Suddenly, she seems to forget the girl sitting next to her as she reaches for her knitting to take it back up as if she had only put it down a moment ago.

With a heavy sigh full of emotion, Xanthee pushes herself up from the stool and leans over to gently brush her lips over the woman’s forehead. “Bye Auntie Bea.”, she whispers, screwing her eyes closed against the prickling sensation that has returned, before she stands again.

Dragging the stool back to where she found it, Xan offers a warm smile to the nannies who look over at her movement, adding a friendly wave of her hand for good measure. She almost lets herself think that it’s a good thing her foster mother doesn’t seem to notice if she doesn’t visit so often, because she’s not sure she could deal with the heartache each one brings more often than she's currently managing. She’ll make sure to come back near Turn’s End, no matter what, Beatris always has something for Xanthee's Turnday. Trying not to think that this turn might the one she doesn’t, the raven haired girl smoothes over her dress and puts her best smile on before exiting the Creche.

Hopefully the rest of her will catch up soon enough because she still has half a day’s work to get though.

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