The midwife, Mena Lexine, looked calmly on as her patient panted and waddled around the room. The unflappable woman from Keilantra didn’t even seem to notice the dipping and swaying of the Hitori. Instead she was simply watching, and aware that it wouldn’t be long before the baby finally dropped. Though this one had been particularly stubborn. By all rights, the little rascal should have dropped over a week ago, but babies were stubborn when it came to leaving the mother’s warm protection.
Spinning a little bit of magic into the air, Mena did her best to calm the nerves of the three other people in the room. With calculating eyes, she easily noted that the fretting husband would pass out from the stress alone if she didn’t get him to settle his nerves. It wasn’t his bits this child would pass through after all, and yet the stick of a man was more twisted about and frantic than his wife. The other occupant, the unassuming lad in a dress, had been selected as Mena’s assistant for the time being. It was between him and the fat man, and her decision had been made by the fat man being simply too large to navigate the room without causing trouble.
“Mrs. Lexine?” said the lad, his gaze nearly as cool as her own.
Mena respected the man for his unshakeable mask. “Yes, Tsuzaka?”
“I think it would be best if Emris lay down soon, he’s…”
“Going to faint,” she finished for him in a whisper. “I see that. Yes. In fact, see if you can’t get him out of the room for some fresh water. Give the poor fool something to do other than fret. His wife is in good hands, yes?”
“If what we heard of you was half true, I’d say she’ll be perfectly fine.”
Mena smiled, weaving a little more Elven magic into the air. The room was starting to smell more like a fresh meadow than the plethora of herbs kept in stock. If it hadn’t been the doctor of this ship giving birth, the Keilantran knew her services wouldn’t have been necessary. Nevertheless, she would always treat any mother and any birth with the respect the miracle of birth deserved.
Taking a six month tour of the countries had been just a bonus. Once the mother, Lavena, was settled into motherhood properly Mena would make her way back to Keilantra. Unless, of course, another mother in need caught wind of her.
Stepping to the side, Mena let the men pass her. Emris babbled in a frenzy of nonsensical questions.
As Tsuzaka kept a gentle hand on the taller man’s shoulder he spoke quietly. “Ask Blake for some more water. And get yourself some food. You’re no use if you fall over because you got too excited.”
At the mention of the cook, Mena couldn’t help but smile. While the man was indeed a werewolf, he was also kind and happy to trade stories of their homeland. He had made it a point to make many of their traditional foods. It was funny to see the charming wolf’s dour wife lurk around the corners. Wherever Blake was, his scary woman was close as well. Alas, Mena felt a little bad for the-one-that-lurked-as-her-favorite-pastime. During the last stages of the pregnancy, Regale hadn’t seemed to know who to stalk. Did she keep her watchful eye on her husband while the strange Elf was about? Or did she loom and smother the mother-to-be?
When the two quarries were in the same vicinity, it had seemed to ease most of the tension from Regale’s stiff shoulders. At least for a few moments.
Lavena’s sudden collapse had both Tsuzaka and Mena rushing to her side, heedless of their colorful skirts getting dirty from the rough wood. “Do you have her?” the midwife asked her assistant.
Pale, he nodded. “I’ll get her to the bed.”
“I’m fine, I can walk,” Lavena grunted, failing to actually do so without her friend’s supporting arms.
“Enough my dear,” soothed Mena. “You are very close and these long hours will feel like nothing once that little one of yours is at your breast.”
Tsuzaka looked a little mortified, but wisely bit his tongue.
“Now, Lavena. When you are ready, I’ll need you to push.”
Emris had fainted dead away after his return to the little cabin. His wife screamed at his unconscious form in a murderous rage while the lad in a dress tried to rouse the idiot.
Unaffected by the chaotic energy, Mena remained focused and cool. She was dedicated to making sure this child was brought into the world as healthy as possible, not to mention making sure the otherwise sweethearted mother recovered properly.
“Just a little bit more, dear. Just a little more.”
At last the father staggered into the land of the living once again, and gamely kept himself together. Without hesitation for his own personal safety, his elegant hands were offered up on the sacrificial altar of the labouring death grip.
Just a shade off green, Emris held on tight. “I’m here. I’m here. You’re doing just fine…”
“You useless piece of…!”
Mena blocked out the rest as her attention was caught by Tsu. “Do you have everything ready like I asked?” she said.
He nodded, wiping her damp brow with a soft cloth. “All we’re missing is the babe.”
Determined to see the birthing over shortly, she added another boost of magic to Lavena to block as much pain as possible. “On three, I need you to really push! One, two…!”
Accepting the warm mug of rum and tea, Mena eased into the bench, grateful for the relative quiet she found in the mess hall.
Blake beamed at her, and she could imagine the wolf in him was eagerly wagging his tail. “A little boy? They have a little boy?” he said, breathlessly chuckling. “My, my, this is going to be fun. So it’s indeed little Adelais Keitaro that joins this terrifying band of ne’er do well’s.”
The midwife snorted. “You lot are horribly scary,” she responded in a deadpan. “I fear for my life. Nay, my very soul.”
Blake nodded sagely. “Wise woman. Now… you left the family to rest and came here to run from all the questions, but you must have known I’d want to know the whole tale. This is my little nephew we’re talking about here.”
“Adelais is lucky to have an uncle like you.”
“And we were lucky to have you deliver him to us, Mrs. Lexine.”
With a tired laugh, Mena tapped her mug with Blake’s in a grateful toast.