As she finished dressing for work Deidre turned and caught Aska's eyes. Aska favored Deidre in many ways but her hazel eyes were all her father. From the shape, to the color, to the intelligence behind the gaze. The only difference was Cal's eyes were the eyes of a warrior, there was a wariness and a hardness to his gaze that never really fully softened. Aska's eyes were her own, she had the watchfulness of a child born of warrior parents but not the hard edge of one always ready for a fight. Deidre knew that as she aged and her gift became more pronounced her eyes would hold that touch of sorrow that Deidre's sister Joycelynn's always did. The cost of knowing too much.
Deidre walked over and kissed Aska on the top of the head, taking in the smell of her child. Deidre knew that she needed to enjoy every minute she had with Aska. Not only because the life of a warrior was sometimes shorter than it should be but because next year when Aska took her 12 year exams she would most likely place high enough to leave for Martindale's Academy the following school year. She was the top of her class in grades and with her gift manifesting itself as such a young age she should be a lock. Prophets often didn't receive their gift until their late teens or even in to their 20s. Joycelynn had said that it was nature's way of protecting the minds of those called. That the things you saw could be overwhelming to a young child so it made sense that the gift came later than most.
They had been watchful for an early development. Joycelynn's first vision came when she was 2 and she told her mother that her sister would be coming in the summer. They remained infrequent until she was 10 but there was no doubt when Joycelynn told you something was going to happen you should pay attention. Early development was normal in their family. Their mother had said she knew Deidre was a warrior while she was still in the womb. After an easy pregnancy with both Joycelynn and their older brother Aric, Deidre had made her presence known early and often. She was never still, always stretching and turning. Their mother had said she had her first fights with her bladder and lungs. And that Deidre always won.
Deidre and Joycelynn had both attended Martindale's as teens and had loved their time there. Aric had gone to school at the local high school with the Others. His test scores were high enough that he could have gone to the academy but as a teen he was fascinated with the Others and as this was life before the time of joining he felt that the only way to really understand them was to live with them. There were many among the Gifted who felt that allowing one of their children to live among the Others was a bad idea. That the risks of discovery were too high. But after The Joining it was people like Aric who made living together possible. Aunt Dot had assured her sister and brother-in-law that Aric was making a wise choice and would be safe at the high school.
But for Joycelynn and Deidre it had been Martindale's Academy. Joycelynn settling in first followed by Deidre two years later. Though the instructors that smiled seeing another Keeper on their attendance sheet soon learned that while having Joycelynn in class was one thing having Deidre was something else entirely.