W'ser was nervous and he wished that there had been someone who could
come with him to meet his daughter, but that was silly. He was a grown
man, the Weyrdragonhealer of Dragonsfall, the last thing he should
need was help greeting a holder woman he barely knew, but he did.
Saibra had contacted Lady Benani on his behalf to request that W'ser
be allowed to formally meet the woman he might have fathered.
Now, as Branth circled for a landing at Amber Hills, a part of him
wished that he had never found out about Nazli, then he wouldn’t have
to put himself through this awkward ordeal. Annoyed at the cowardly
thought, W’ser plucked his riding helmet off with more force than
usual as Branth landed and crouched for him to dismount.
Benani put down her embroidery and told a nearby attendant to fetch
Lady Nazli. She watched the brownrider for a moment before she moved
to the entrance to greet him. "Welcome brownrider," she said in a
neutral voice. "My duty to your dragon."
W'ser bowed smartly before the Lady of Amber Hills. "Milady, thank you
for allowing me to visit."
Benani nodded in acknowledgement. "I understand you wish to speak to
my sister-in-law," she asked mildly as she led him into the hold and
the sun parlor where her ladies awaited her.
"Yes, ma'am. I wanted a chance to apologize to her for our first
meeting." W'ser didn't know of a solid way to prove that Nazli was his
daughter, but her aunt Nazima seem to swear he was, and he knew that
there was every possibility she was right, since he'd spent a lot of
time with Nazli's mother. "And perhaps have the opportunity to know my
"I've already sent for her," she acknowledged. "But please have a care
for her mood. She's carrying my brother's child."
**A grandchild.** W'ser was stunned by the information but tried to
recover as quickly as possible from it. He did not want to be turned
away from meeting Nazli. "Yes, of course, milady."
Benamil glanced sideways at Nazli as he escorted her down the hallway.
"Are you sure you are up for this?" he asked. The beastcrafter had
become increasingly protective as Nazli's pregnancy progressed.
Nazli took a deep breath before they walked through the door. Her eyes
fixed on the tall handsome dragonrider. She drank him in, her own
coloring was nearly the same and she half smiled. "Hello," she said
but still clung to her husband's arm.
W'ser smiled, creating lean slashes on both of his sun burnished cheeks
as he inclined his head to Nazli. "Well met." The brownrider's eyes
flicked to the man that stood beside her. They were similar in height,
but W'ser had the advantage of a thicker padding of muscle thanks to
Benamil eyed the dragonrider suspiciously, despite the respectful nod
he gave the man. He had heard from Nazli about her first encounter
with the brownrider from Dragonsfall and the last thing he wanted was
for his wife to find herself heartbroken over some dragonrider who had
suddenly decided to play 'daddy' for a bit.
**Easy, pup,** W'ser thought as Benamil sized him up. "Nice to meet
you," he said, offering his hand to Benamil, who shook it without
breaking eye contact.
Nazli could feel the tension between the two men so stepped between
them to the tea tray. "Would you like some tea or klah?" she asked.
"Klah is fine," W'ser assured Nazli. Benamil retreated a step to stand
beside of Benani.
She nodded and a moment later handed him a steaming cup. Then she sat
in a chair and waved to the settee across from her. "Please," she said
in her best imitation of Benani.
W'ser, aware that his interactions with Nazli were being monitored by
the Lady Holder and her brother took the offered seat and the cup.
"Thank you, Nazli. I'm still amazed at how much you look like Lizana."
She was nearly a mirror image, but now that he was looking at her
closely, something he had not had an opportunity to do the first time
they'd met, he could pick out little bits about her features that
looked as if they belonged to him.
"I am told she was beautiful but... well," she looked down at her
hands. Then she lifted her chin, "why didn't you take us to the Weyr?
The question cut at his heart. "I didn't know," he said, which felt
weak. "I never knew Lizana was pregnant." If she had asked him, he
would have taken her to the Weyr.
Benamil rolled his eyes, behind the dragonrider's back, because the
excuse sounded so typical of a dragonrider. They apparently slept
around so much they didn't know when they had fathered children.
Nazli's eyes filled. "She loved you," she said in a whisper. Then her
eyes lifted to his. "I'd like the chance to know you if that's not too
She'd loved him? W'ser felt stunned. His mind scrambled to sort
through his memories of that time but it had been so many Turns. He
could not even remember the last time he had spoken to Lizana or when
he had stopped coming to the Hold to see her.... What kind of man did
that make him?
"I would love the chance to get to know you, Nazli. We have a lot of
time to catch up on," he said.
"Yes," she half smiled at him. "You're going to be a grandfather."
W'ser's eyes flicked down to her abdomen and then back up to her face.
"Congratulations," he glanced over his shoulder at Benamil, "to you
Benamil nodded his head but still did not smile.
Her hand went to her stomach and she smiled softly. "So," she looked
up at him. Were you born at the Weyr?"
"Yes, I've been at Dragonsfall my entire life." W'ser replied. "My
parents were dragonriders as well."
Her eyes widened as they settled into a more comfortable conversation.
"Are they still alive," she asked hopefully.
Benani plucked at her brother's sleeve and moved toward the other side
of the room to give the father and daughter some privacy now that it
looked like the brownrider wasn't going to reject their Nazli.
"My father died when Thread first returned, but my mother is still
alive. I am sure she would love to meet you..." Benamil heard W'ser
telling Nazli as he stepped away with Benani to give the two some time
to catch up.
Last updated on the September 23rd 2019