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The Angst and The Analyst XII (Part II)

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#1 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 18 March 2004 - 06:12 AM


From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston

(Rated PG 13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence, brief nudity)

Chapter XII – Part II

Over the next several tendays I worked a very abbreviated schedule and only with Anomen, Sir Ryan, and then the both of them in joint sessions. The progress was more than I could have ever hoped for.

Anomen shared his confrontation with Lord Cor two tendays later with Sir Ryan and brought the older man to tears when Anomen recounted hearing Sir Ryan’s mental admonition calling him to an honorable path. It was a very moving session and I felt it sealed their bonding of Father and Son once and for all.

Anomen was also making progress in dealing with the guilt associated with the death of Saerk and his daughter, although he was still a long way from outright forgiving himself. I still had a few ideas on approach, but they were lengthy in nature and required constant vigilance on my part, which I was not prepared to give until well after the twins arrived. As long as he was making progress in the meanwhile, I could re-evaluate at a later time to determine if a more radical approach would be necessary.

My ever-expanding girth bespoke how quickly the twins were growing. The fast development, however, was not well suited for the human body. I felt a constant and intense straining shift on bones and muscles as time went on. It was actually quite painful at times and I became tired so easily, I longed for it to be over. Hendak was the most loving and patient husband any woman could ask for, constantly spoiling me and catering to my every whim, no matter how foolish. Father did his fair share of hovering, as well. And, to his credit, as he had promised, without being intrusive.

Father disappeared for a few days of every tenday, citing ‘pressing business’, but we never quite knew where this pressing business was, or with whom. He was never forthcoming with any details. My guess, and I speculated aloud to Hendak, that it was ‘business’ with Waukeen, and the Gods only knew where and on what plane. But the little trips just made him the happier, and I was glad to see him truly enjoying life.

Waukeen kept in touch with us during the intervening time. She did visit ‘in person’ on several occasions, but she also employed what I would call ‘dream sharing’, and there was an occasional visit from Seer Marybeth. I wondered if Mother Waukeen also ‘visited’ the youngsters in their dreams. I made a mental note to ask her.

And, as the days went on, Riona planned her union ritual, which, she had decided would take place in Trademeet. The city was almost becoming a second home for them as they were respected and revered in the city as heroes, and split their time almost equally between Athkatla and there. The townspeople would have taken it as an insult had Anomen and she chosen any other place for their ritual. In their eyes, it was their ‘home’.

They had decided to be married in the new Church of Helm that had recently been constructed on the outskirts and Priest Michael had volunteered to make the journey from Athkatla to preside over the festivities. Riona did not particularly want a huge ceremony, but something small and elegant instead, and it was to this end that she and her sister Imoen planned a lovely affair. Sir Ryan was going to stand for Anomen, Imoen would stand as Maid for Riona, and Hendak and I would be Standing Man and Standing Woman, respectively. Father, who was, of course, invited, traveled in our carriage with us. Hendak and I figured we would have enough time to get there a day, or two, ahead of the ceremony, rest up and relax, do our part in the ritual and then enjoy the reception that was going to be held in the town square and attended by everyone in the city.

The whole city, it seemed had been cheering the couple on for a couple of years now, seeing en masse that to which the two of them had been so obviously blind in the beginning. Rumor had it that since the beginning of their romance, there had been an ongoing gambling pool at the Inn as to the date of the wedding. The jackpot was large and assuming the wedding came off without a hitch on the day it was scheduled, it would be claimed by a young couple of modest means who had married only a few years before. As the story went, the young man had begged the heros’ help in rescuing his love and they were happy to comply. The lucky bride ultimately had been saved from skindancers by Riona and had been restored to her self by Anomen. It was a sweet love story, but whether it was true, or not, was another story. I would have to ask Riona.

After the huge reception given by the city, Hendak, Father, and I would spend our last evening in the Inn and leisurely return home the next day. That would give us almost five days leeway for the birth of the twins. I already knew that would be the most grueling five days of my life, patience not being one of my better virtues, and the ability to ‘wait’ nonexistent.


The trip to Trademeet was long and tiring. We had been beset with rain showers along the way, making for a few extra washed-out potholes as we traveled along the main road. The jarring of the carriage made my body ache even more severely than it already did. I already felt as though my body was most abused.

I was monstrously huge. My face was fat, my legs were fat, and to say my belly was ‘fat,’ was a gross understatement. My belly button was but a fond memory of weeks gone by. And, I know that in a prone position I resembled one of those beached marine mammals that sometimes were found up on the north shoreline. I did not know that the human body could grow so much without something either breaking apart or just simply exploding.

I couldn’t even put on my shoes by myself and had given up on stockings several weeks ago. And no one really allowed me walk by myself for fear I would teeter over and not be able to right myself. I had become a very large, waddling baby incubator--make that, ‘babies’ incubator. A very large, miserable incubator.

When we arrived in Trademeet, it had cleared and it was late afternoon. Seer Marybeth as well as Anomen, Riona, and Sir Ryan greeted us at the Inn. She had come to insure that our accommodations were comfortable and then graciously excused herself to other tasks. We were all treated to a special dinner at the Mayor’s house and then it was back to the Inn for the ‘incubator’ to sleep as best I could. I had never been so tired in my life but finding a position that was comfortable enough to be sleep inducing was a near impossibility. As I lay in bed, I realized I was now down to counting hours, not days, until the babies delivered. Well, counting hours as well as I could, all things considered.

The next day dawned warm and bright and Seer Marybeth had a lovely morning meal delivered to both Father and us. I noticed Father had more berries than did we, and he had a single perfect red rose on his cart, most assuredly from Seer Marybeth’s mistress. She had also been instructed to have the same meal delivered to Riona and Anomen at the apartment they maintained here in the city. Just Mother Waukeen’s way of saying ‘good morning,’ according to the Seer.

We took a brief stroll around the square, admiring the statues ringing the center fountain. Riona, Anomen, -- all them were bigger than life. It was a beautiful tribute from a grateful town. There was even a small replica of Boo placed carefully on Minsc’s shoulder. It made me giggle to see the little hamster immortalized along side his sweet master. Tomorrow would be the ceremony and already the townsfolk were busily transforming the area for the festivities. Trademeet was known for throwing great parties, so it was something to truly look forward to. The Druids’ Grove to the north had also sent cartloads of exotic flowers for the occasion. The smell was so sweet and exotic; it was cloying in the humid summer air.

We lazed the rest of the day and I was actually blessed with a small burst of energy as we converged for dinner after the ritual rehearsal. It was wonderful to see my friends so happy. It was wonderful to see my family so happy. The cook at the Inn had made our meal special and it was so delicious, I really ‘over-indulged’. Even Hendak looked at me with raised eyebrows when I asked to have my plate refilled for the third time.

With all the excitement and activity and general discomfort, sleep did not come easily that evening. For a long while, I lay there regretting my momentary lapse of reason and ensuing gluttony as I listened to my wonderful husband softly snore. Finally I found a comfortable spot on my side and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning was even warmer and more humid than the day before, with the air fragrant but still. The ceremony was scheduled for mid-afternoon and it gave us the morning to ready ourselves. The women converged on the Church and a small cleric’s room, which the resident Priest had thoughtfully allowed us to use to dress and make ready. Father and Hendak had brought us food at noontime, although I was strangely not hungry.

“Are you alright, my love?” Hendak was a trifle concerned at my lack of appetite, a blatant anomaly compared to the past almost three months.

“Just all the excitement, I’m sure, my love,” and I put his mind at ease. “Plus, it is just a little too warm to eat.”

“She is fine, Hendak,” Father patted him lovingly on the back to reassure him. “What say you, we will go to the Inn and share a glass of wine, Hendak, and leave our lovely ladies to ready themselves for the ritual.” If someone would have told me three months ago that my Father would be comforting Hendak and inviting him for a glass of wine, I would have laughed in their face. So much had changed in such a brief span of time.

The time passed quickly and it was not long and all was readied. Riona looked beautiful in her white silk gown with her dark red hair gently flowing on her bare shoulders. Her hairpiece was a crown of intricately woven fresh white rosebuds and pearls with the sheer silk veil cascading back over her shoulders. Nothing occluded her beautiful face.

“When I pledge my heart to Anomen,” she had explained, “I want nothing between his eyes and my eyes.”

The time grew at hand and the Church’s acolyte led us to the entryway where we would enter the back of the Church. A peek inside the door showed every seat of every pew filled with some actually standing in the back. Traditional harps and horns lined the mezzanine around the Church’s main sanctuary. They toned the traditional music and our procession began.

As was tradition, I would waddle down the aisle first, then Imoen would follow. Riona had asked Father if he would escort her, and he had most humbly and graciously accepted. Imoen, being her only ‘blood’ relative, would offer her to the union. Sir Ryan would do the same for Anomen.

This was a big step for Sir Ryan, but he and Anomen had talked it over at great length – Anomen not wanting his Father to jeopardize his standing with the Order, and Sir Ryan wanting to publicly recognize his Son to the world. It had been a poignant discussion during a joint session in my office with Anomen finally acquiescing to his Father’s greater need.

I was also thankful that Priest Michael was not going to recognize Riona as being a daughter of Bhaal. The taint was gone and no longer was she Bhaalspawn. She was simply the daughter of ‘Gorion, of Candlekeep.’ It would be as it should be.

The ceremony was beautiful. Unlike our ritual, Hendak and I were allowed to take our seats just before the vows. It was lovely to sit and actually watch it. I did say a small prayer that Minsc had Boo safely in hand. All too soon the couple had made their vows to one another, the rings had been blessed and exchanged, and the crowd was intoning the final, “The Gods so grant.”

Priest Michael called above the deafening jubilation, “Go forth into Toril and beyond, and be known as one!”

Euphoria swept the place as the party began the return to the back of the Church. Hendak met me at the altar and we followed Imoen and Sir Ryan who in turn had followed Riona and Anomen. As was tradition, the guests would wait until we had left the building.

Hendak and I had covered almost three-quarters of the distance when, ‘Oh no,’ I thought. ‘It can’t be!’ I looked at Hendak and he immediately knew by the look on my face something was wrong.

“My love,” he whispered as we continued to walk in time to the music. “What is wrong? You look suddenly pale and that look on your face tells me something is amiss.”

“Hendak, my water just broke,” I replied in quiet shock. “Keep walking.” I could feel the warm liquid running uncontrollably down my legs. Not a gushing torrent, but enough to leave a very conspicuous puddled trail directly behind me in the Church’s aisle.

“Your water just broke?” He was puzzled.

“It’s one of the first things to happen before the birthing begins,” I whispered as we continued to walk.

“Does it happen so far ahead of the birthing?” He was now confused.

“No, Hendak. It usually happens around the onset of labor. Hendak, I think I am—“ I didn’t have an opportunity to finish my sentence before the first contraction hit me. I stopped and bent slightly. I looked at him. “—in labor. These twins are going to be born here and soon.”

“By the Gods,” he mumbled and we stood transfixed until the pain subsided and I could easily walk again. “By the Gods,” he said more loudly. “By the Gods, the twins are on their way!” He shouted.

We were finally out of the Church and Father came running over.

“Did I hear you correctly?” he asked. “Did you say the twins are on their way?”

“MorningGlory is in labor, Tabor. We will soon have babies!” Hendak said joyfully laughing and smiling.

“But it’s not suppose to happen until five days, Hendak. Is everything alright?” Tabor was visibly very concerned at this unexpected news.

“I am sure everything is fine, Tabor,” Hendak tried to reassure him. “But we must find Seer Marybeth and we must get Glory back to the Inn and make her comfortable.” They were talking about me like I wasn’t there.

“I will go find Seer Marybeth,” said Tabor. “She will know what to do.” And he frantically searched the crowd of guests for the Seer of the Church of Waukeen.

Well-wishers had flooded from the Church and had clustered around the happy couple on the huge front lawn and the ceremonial tossing of the sweet honey flowers had commenced. The familiar smell of Mother Waukeen filled the air. We waited to the side for Tabor to return. Riona gave me a glance across the crowd just as the next pain began to well in my stomach. She quickly excused herself and came over beside us.

“Babies?” she asked. I couldn’t speak. I nodded and squeezed Hendak’s hands tightly.

“Riona, our twins are going to be born in Trademeet, my Mother’s city,” Hendak was most proud. “Tabor has gone to get Seer Marybeth. She will know what to do until Mother can arrive.”

“Mother Waukeen will be here?” I said through the last of the pain.

“Of course she will, my love. I don’t think she will miss this,” and he continued to hold my hands as I straightened up.

“We have to do something,” Riona said to Hendak.

“We are, Riona. Go be with your husband. This is your day and his day. Go and enjoy it,” and he waved her off to rejoin Anomen.

Sir Ryan came over to us, all smiles. “I can see by the look on your face that our twins are getting ready to enter the world of Toril,” he said.

“Yes, Sir Ryan. Not exactly how we had planned it, but it looks like they are getting ready to make their entrance,” I said.

“Very good, Glory,” he said. “Now, where is your Father?”

“He has gone to fetch Seer Marybeth,” Hendak replied.

“Well, let’s get you a carriage and get you at least back to the Inn so we can make you comfortable,” he suggested and motioned Hendak to take one arm and he firmly slipped his own through my other one and we began to walk to our carriage. As we passed Anomen, Sir Ryan gave him a sideways smile and said, “Seems like our little mother here is going to be giving birth a bit sooner than planned.”

The two helped me up into the open carriage and Hendak climbed in beside me.

Father suddenly appeared from the crowd with Seer Marybeth in tow. He was breathless.

“I..I found her!” He inelegantly boosted her up into the carriage and gingerly climbed in after her.

“Sir Gaeston!” she protested mildly at being manually pushed up on board, but he ignored her.

“Driver, to the Inn and make it quick!” he said. And we left the wedding party behind us. It was only a few minutes before we pulled up in front of the inn and made our way to our suite of rooms.

Seer Marybeth helped me get out of my dress and my sopping under things. The day had turned hot and I was drenched in perspiration. As I sat on the side of the bed, I could feel another contraction coming on and I instinctively rubbed my stomach.

“Let’s get you into bed,” she said and slipped a very ordinary sleeping gown over my head and guided my arms through the short sleeves. She pulled it down around me and helped me swing my feet up on the bed. It felt good to lie down. My back was incredibly inflamed and being in a prone position seemed to relieve some of the pressure. “I will get Hendak and your Father,” she smiled and returned a moment later.

“I’m also a cleric and I can lessen the pain a little,” she said, “but I prefer to wait for Waukeen. She will be here within the hour.” She ordered Hendak to get a bowl of fresh water and several fresh face towels. “To keep her comfortable in this heat,” she explained. Father stood helplessly nearby his face deep with concern. I knew he was remembering my Mother during her last moments of life as she was giving me my first moments of life. I reached my hand out to him and he quickly came to my side and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“Father,” I said and smiled up at him as he grasped my hand tightly. “Not to worry, Father. In a very short time, you will not only still have your Daughter, but you will have two new Grandchildren whom you can spoil to your heart’s content.”

“Darling Daughter, just know I love you and know I will be praying to whatever God will listen to my hardened heart for your and the children’s safe delivery,” he said, his voice quivering and he kissed my hand.

Seer Marybeth interrupted us. “Lord Gaeston, at the risk of offending you, I would ask you to now step into the adjacent room and make yourself comfortable. Hendak is going to need your support before this is concluded and you need to be nearby, but not in the way. Mistress Waukeen will be here shortly and you may speak with her then. In the meanwhile, I can assure you that all is well with Glory. She is fine and the babies are fine. It is only a matter of time before they will be here. You need not worry yourself,” she said and smiled at him.

“It’s fine, Father.... Seer Marybeth is right,” I again smiled at him, trying to reassure him. He leaned and kissed my forehead then as she had instructed, left the room to the adjacent parlor.

Hendak returned with the water and the face cloths.

“Soothe her face, Hendak,” the Seer directed. “Talk to her, comfort her as you can. Your Mother will be arriving shortly. She and I will deliver your children.”

I felt another pain coming on. I squeezed Hendak’s strong hand with all my might and gritted my teeth. He held my hand and gently wiped my face with the cool wet towel. True to her word, or rather, Seer Marybeth’s word, Mother Waukeen walked in the door less than an hour later. She came and sat on the edge of the bed.

“How are you, Daughter?” she smiled sweetly and leaned over to push a wisp of damp hair from my face. I smiled up at her and nodded.

“I..I’m okay, but I am glad you are here,” I said. She squeezed my hand.

“I don’t envy the pain you are going through as I remember my own very vividly when Hendak was born, but we can take the edge off for you,” she smiled. She turned and nodded to the Seer. She leaned over and laid her hands on my stomach and a soothing and somewhat numbing feeling ran through my belly and my lower extremities. It was instant relief.

“I am going to talk to your Father and to Hendak,” she said. “Marybeth will be here with you, however, until I return. Maybe we can speed up the process a bit after I speak with them.”

“That would be wonderful, Mother Waukeen,” I sighed.

“Marybeth, will you keep Glory company for a few minutes?” Waukeen smiled sweetly at her Seer and excused herself to go talk to the men. I could hear their voices through the open door between the two rooms.

I heard Father’s concerned voice. “Why are they early, Waukeen? Is there a problem we should know about?”

“She’s perfectly fine,” I heard Waukeen say to them. “It will be a few hours, but Marybeth and I will try to speed things along. As for them being early, I imagine the trip brought on their early arrival.” I heard sighs of relief as another contraction gripped me. Seer Marybeth sat on the side of the bed.

“Breathe, Glory. Breathe.” And she took the wet cloth and gently dabbed my face.

The time went slowly it seemed. The pains were increasing in intensity and frequency, and my hair was soaked with perspiration. My mouth was dry and the late afternoon summer heat was beginning to permeate the room. I would have given almost anything for just a drink of cold mountain spring water.

“I think we can help you more now, my Daughter,” said Waukeen. “It will begin to go more quickly now, but it will be a little more intense for you. Is that amenable to you?”

“Yes,” I said. I would have agreed to anything to get this over and done.

“Very well,” she said and smiled down at me. She went to the door and motioned to Hendak.

“Go and have the Innkeeper deliver a tub of fresh hot water. Then I want you to come in and be with your wife,” she instructed him.

“Yes, Mother,” he replied and was immediately out the door and downstairs to the Innkeeper. She returned to me.

“Hendak is going to get what we will need and then he is going to be with us as the children are born. He will entertain you and keep you occupied,” and she laughed lightly. “Much as his own father did with me.”

“Thank you, Mother Waukeen,” I whispered and was beset by another gripping pain slowly grasping the width of my belly.

Hendak returned with the Innkeeper and the water. He took up his place by me and resumed holding my hand. He took the wet cloth and continued to cool my face.

Waukeen interrupted us. “Daughter, you will find yourself lightly dozing between this world and a world of shadow. Do not be alarmed. It is only to save you the pain that I remember so well. When you re-awaken in this plane, you will be the Mother of two beautiful children. Hendak will accompany you to keep you occupied so that you will not be afraid.”

With that, she waved her hand and all pain suddenly ceased. It was blissful relief but I looked around and the world had ceased, as I knew it. It was a shadowy place with no sun, no trees, no really solid anything. I couldn’t even see what my feet stood upon.

“I’m here, love,” I heard Hendak say. I turned toward the direction of the voice and saw him coming toward me.

“Where..where are we, Hendak?” I asked him.

“It’s just a place that Mother ‘borrowed’ so you wouldn’t have to endure the same pain as did she. It was only my Father with her when I was born and there was nothing that could be done to allay her pain of childbirth. She has never forgotten it.”

“Do you think we will be here long?” I asked.

“No, the time is different here,” he began to explain. “It does not run the same way as time we know on Toril.”

I nodded. “So this is like a dream world.” He nodded. “And we just wait until your Mother returns us.” He nodded again and I prayed it would not be too long. I didn’t like this unnatural world but it was pain-free and Hendak was with me. I would just be patient until recalled. Hendak slid his arms around me and drew me close to him.

“It will be fine, my love,” he whispered and began to sing a song I had never heard before in a language with which I was not familiar.

I began to awaken in the solid world of Toril and leaving the world of shadow behind. I could faintly hear the tiny cries of babies. In my heady fog I knew they were my babies. I fought to regain my consciousness more quickly. Then I could vaguely hear Hendak’s voice.

“My love,” he said. “My love, can you hear me? We have two beautiful children! They have arrived, Glory. They are here with us!”

I slowly opened my eyes and tried to focus my blurry vision. Hendak stood above me with a small bundle in his arms. Father stood next to him with a duplicate bundle in his arms.

“Hendak?” My voice was hoarse and my throat was terribly parched. I didn’t know if I could even move. I was mostly numb and any part of me I could feel was totally exhausted and still racked with pain. “Can you hear me, Hendak?” I whispered still focusing my vision.

“Yes, my love, I can hear you. Did you hear me?” he smiled again.

I barely nodded. “Yes,” I replied weakly. “May I see them?”

“Of course, my love,” and he leaned down to show me the beautiful new baby sleeping peacefully. I moved my arm so I could take the little one next to me.

“Father?” I said.

“Yes, my darling Daughter.” He was glowing and he gently put the other little bundle on my other side. “They are beautiful, Glory,” he said and gently brushed my cheek.

I looked at them and unbidden tears came into my eyes. One had a small shock of dark hair on top of his or her head and the other one had a similar sprinkling of near white blond hair. Being a boy and a girl, they weren’t identical twins, although I had expected them to look alike. They did in some ways, but not in others.
“Oh,” laughed Hendak seeing the question in my eyes. “Our little boy is the one with the dark hair, and our little girl is the one with the blond hair.” I nodded.

“I…I think I will go to sleep now,” I said. I couldn’t stay awake any longer, and I passed into my own dream sleep of contentment as I lay with each arm wrapped securely about my children.

I must have slept all though the night and to the next morning. I awoke to the sound of tiny crying. Seer Marybeth and Mother Waukeen sat in nearby rocking chairs and were feeding the babies from small bottles with nipples.

I was very sore. Not just in the obvious places, but all over. It was difficult to move. Mother Waukeen heard me stir.

“You are awake, Daughter! I was just indulging my Grandmotherly instinct and feeding one of the little ones. Seer Marybeth was fortunate to secure great quantities of fresh mother’s milk for them.” She looked over at me. “And, although I am not a physician, I think you could probably use something to eat and maybe some more rest.” She arose from her chair with baby in arm and walked to the adjacent room.

“Hendak, I think your wife is awake and would like to see you,” she smiled and he appeared at the door.

He walked over and sat down by me. “Would you like something to eat, my love?” he asked. I nodded. My throat was so dry, my voice wouldn’t work. “I’ll get you some water first.” He just seemed to know.

I had slept until almost noon that day. And as Waukeen had explained to me, even though ‘I’ was in a shadowy world unlike this solid one, my body had still been here and had been subjected to all the rigors of birthing two children almost simultaneously. Seer Marybeth did a minor healing spell and I could feel the results very quickly. But I would need some time to regain the real energy I had expended in the process.

The children were such good children. They slept in their tiny cribs, waking only to eat and everyone took turns feeding them with the little bottles. By late afternoon I felt much better, but I was still unable to get out of bed unassisted. Hendak came in and sat beside me.

“My love. We need to name our Son and our Daughter,” he said.

“I thought of Helena for our Daughter, after my Grandmother, and Haandor after your Father,” I said, my voice still raspy. He smiled and nodded.

“Those are good names, my love. I approve wholeheartedly.” And with that, our children were named.

Riona, Anomen, and Sir Ryan stopped by after the evening meal to visit and see the children. Riona lovingly cradled one in her arms and then the other.

“I see that look in your eye, Wife,” said Anomen. “Do not forget we were only married yesterday.”

“But Anomen, you are going to make such a wonderful Father, and Sir Ryan will make such a wonderful Grandfather…” and she giggled.

They had delayed their plans for a trip so they could return with us. It was Anomen who was so adamant. “Much better if we have two or three carriages rather than you three, er, five,” he corrected himself “going back by yourselves. We will accompany you as soon as you are able to travel, Glory.”

The next day was far better. I was able to walk to the water closet unassisted and I was able to eat. I could also assist the new nurse with the feedings and changings. Seer Marybeth was given a special holiday by Mother Waukeen for her exemplary service beyond the call of a Seer’s duty, and the new nurse was an experienced nanny Waukeen had already selected from a group of faithful followers.

Hendak hardly left my side and even assisted in the feeding although he wasn’t particularly enthused with the changing part. Father was in and out. Seemed he just needed reassurance the children were finally here and I was safe and properly mending. He and Waukeen were able to steal a little time to themselves later that afternoon.

Three days later, I was deemed fit for travel, and we loaded up everyone and our little caravan set out for home. Mother Waukeen promised to ‘drop in’ within the next few days after our return but in the meanwhile, she had some pressing business in the Outlands that required her attention.

Our little caravan took the trip slowly and I was surprised I wasn’t totally exhausted by the time we pulled up in front of the great house.

Drusay and Gernsey both met us at the door and greeted us all with hugs and ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ over the babies. They also greeted the new nurse Margarite and welcomed her to the family. Gernsey had prepared a veritable feast for our homecoming and although all were tired, it felt good to be home.

“Ah, it is good to be in our own bed, my love,” Hendak sighed as he pulled me close to him. The babies were in the nursery fast asleep being ably monitored by Margarite in her adjacent room. I had also brought Ki home with me just before we had left for Trademeet and placed his perch in the big bay window in the nursery. I knew during his waking hours he would keep vigilant watch over our little ones.

I lay there thinking. A new part of my life. I was now a wife and a mother. I wondered what the Gods would author in this chapter. I heard the faint snoring of my adored husband and father of my children. It was easy to drift off to sleep.


It was a bare six months later and I was in the nursery feeding Ki his morning seeds and grains. Margarite had bundled the children against the chilly winter wind to take them into the garden for a few minutes of fresh air.

“Mistress,” said Ki.

“Yes, Ki?” I rubbed his head.

“Mistress, I think there is something of which I must impart to you.” His voice almost sounded concern.

“And what is that, Ki?” I asked as I filled his dish.

“Mistress, when I awoke this morning, young Haandor was playing with a small ball in his crib.”

“Yes, Ki. And what is so unusual about that? He plays with all of his toys.”

“Yes, Mistress, but the ball was spinning and floating above his crib and over to his sister’s crib.”

“Are you sure, Ki?” I asked absolutely dumbfounded.

“Oh yes, Mistress. It was as though they were playing a game of ‘catch’ back and forth without either ever touching the ball.”

I gazed out the window at the clouds gathering behind the spires of Waukeen’s Church.

What now, I thought. I had learned to accept the abnormal as normal in my life over the past year. What new wrinkle was I going to face now?

“Thank you, Ki for telling me. If you note any other strange occurrence, I trust you will let me know immediately.”

“Oh, yes, Mistress,” he said and proceeded to dive into his dish of morsels.

I heard footsteps enter the room. It was Hendak.

“Ah, my love,” and he walked up behind me and encircled me with a warm embrace. “And how are we this morning? And how are our beautiful children this morning?”

“They are momentarily in the garden with Margarite,” I replied pensively then turned to him.

“Hendak, did you know we have magical children?”

He smiled at me and said nothing.


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