29th Trial of Cylus 713
It was finally time, time for him to meet his firstborn. Well, part of Amicus still wanted to believe that the child was his. He wanted to, but after what he'd heard about Fuli'ta's night time job. It was no wonder that when they'd first met, she never stuck around a trill past dark. They had hit it off so well, or so he'd believed, but now as he sat there outside of the birthing tent waiting for permission to be let in. His whole body was shaking with pent up energy. They'd been in there for so long. Fuli'ta's cries could be heard some distance away he could tell. The screams made him wince in pain, glad for never having to know about such pain for himself.
He'd been reminded over and over just how painful birth could be. It wasn't as if he was unused to it, as he cared for animals that were pregnant all the time. But that didn't mean that he'd wish such pain to anyone especially his Fuli'ta, his shining star. Who, the past few trials, had been showing signs of increased weakness, even getting sick when she had been completely fine before. He was really scared for her because even the mid-wives were concerned about her well being as well as the baby's own well being. That was why he was so stalwart and insistent on being there when the midwives said it was time. They wouldn't let him in the tent, so he sat on a post nearby and stood vigil.
Amicus crossed his arms sitting there in the freezing cold, the last blizzards of the rebirth cycle still seeming to haunt Desnind with its wake. It had been almost silent for a time, he'd only heard a few sobs from Fuli'ta for the last few bits. But then he heard it, she screamed once more. This time, though, he couldn't take it, tears were welling up in the corners of his eyes and he had to get in there. Those screams were more than just pain! She sounded like she was dying! He jolted up, brushing off some of the snow that had accumulated on his head from the breaks he'd been sitting there like a guard dog.
He lurched towards the tent only to be stopped by a particularly young midwife who was stepping out of the tent. He didn't like the look in her eyes. Grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her so that she would look at him he started demanding answers. He gravelly voice enough to shake any person, especially when angry.
"Why is she screaming so much!? Don't you have medicines for that?! Isn't there ways to ease her pain!? Is she going to be okay!? What about the baby!? They have to be! They just have to be!"
Panic rushed through his bloodstream as he looked over the woman who just shook her head no for a moment. No?! What was no?! What did she mean!? But it didn't take long for him to realize that something had gone horribly wrong. There was blood all over the woman's dress and hands. She was shaking and was tearing up herself.
This one word filled with a sudden hollow tone as his hands slipped down from the woman's shaking shoulders. She collapsed down into the snow before him and Amicus pressed by her and jerked the curtain open. The sight before him was not something he could unsee. His shining star, cut open, dead and the elder midwife who must have been the one to make the decision was calmly taking the baby out of the dead mother.
"Fu... li... FULI'TA NO! YOU! What have you done! You.. you killed her! YOU!"
He started coming up on the elder woman, his voice almost a growl. Barking like a mad dog but not biting as he heard her words. Those words stopped him in his tracks.
"She was already dying you fool. I was going to lose them both. This had to be done to save your daughter."
The fact that she was so calm in the face of that fact broke him.
"Daughter? This... creature.. is mine?"
He looked at the blood-soaked baby, sudden disdain and hatred filling him as he looked away from the whole scene. For a moment he thought he was going to be sick. Not paying attention, he didn't hear her worries about the baby not crying yet. Didn't hear her attempts to shock the baby into crying and breathing. He had lost his star. Was it his inability to help her that cause this? Why was it Fuli? Couldn't it have been someone el...
He paused his thinking, shaking his head. No. That was wrong, no matter how much it hurt to lose her, he couldn't wish this upon someone else. He stood up and was about to walk out, the child wasn't really his, he knew it wasn't his, so he had no reason to stay. He had no reason to hold her or cradle her, but then, he heard it. Her cry. The tiny being wailing as loud as it could, and he felt it shake him to his very core. This sound, this being making this sound, it was overwhelming. The feeling he had to take the child in his arms. He turned around and looked to the midwife, tears in his eyes as he stepped closer.
The baby girl was crying as she was being bathed for the first time. He reached out and gently took the cloth from the midwife with shaky hands. Starting to cry more as he carefully worked away the blood from the fragile baby skin. Carefully revealing the beautiful baby girl that he couldn't deny. She cried and cried, wobbled and shook as he carefully tended to her bathing. The elder midwife stood nearby cutting the cord to length and watching him closely. It almost would have made him uncomfortable but he bore with it. He was technically not invited yet and here he was.
"She's... so tiny. How... do I care for her? I can't feed her, she... she will die without her mother."
He didn't fight as the woman took the cloth away from him to rinse out and start cleaning the baby herself.
"There are plenty of mothers here who have lost their baby to the season. I'm sure we could find a few who'd be willing to help you two. Or you could give up now like you were getting ready to do at first. Child."
He stared at her for a moment. Not sure how to speak to her, as he knew she hadn't been wrong. He was about to give up the one last thing that would be good in his life. Even if she wasn't actually his, she still was born, and she still needed someone to take care of her.
He ran a hand over her forehead and looked over the almost clean child. Such a tragic way to enter the land of the living. She was here though, and she was ready for a name. He thought about it for a moment and smiled softly when the name came to him. He moved his hand down, putting a finger into the little one's palm.
"Little light of life. La'Vie. My baby girl. You are mine now. Your mother was a beautiful woman and would have cared for you well, now though, I will do everything in my power to protect you as you grow. To guide your hands..."
Little La'Vie's tiny fingers gripped onto his finger for one second and more tears started to fall from his eyes. Making his voice even deeper with sadness. Yet at the same time, there was joy at this moment.
"I will always be there for you little La'Vie. Daddy's here for you."
His voice broke off into a whisper at the end, the baby was starting to calm down now as the midwife stood there smiling. Her form changing before him, causing Amicus to pick up the baby carefully and pull it to his chest and back away from the shifting woman. Some sort of magic? The voice that came next was not that of an old woman, but something ethereal and almost snake-like? He couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"You have done well child. You have chosen the noble and high road to protect this little one. I, Ethelynda, commend you and deem you worthy."
He took another step back when she stepped closer but he was at the end of the tent. Ethelynda's hand reaching out to the hand protecting the baby. He kept pulling as far away as he could until she touched the back of his hand.
"For now, this will do. As she grows, you may find that you will need more power. When in need, your bravery, courage and caring heart will be sought out. Answer those calls within your heart Amicus. Just like your name says. Be a friend to those who find themselves in need. Just like your daughter here. Go, take these cloths to wrap her with and take her to the other midwife. Get her to help you find a donor for the milk La'Vie will need. I will tend to things here."
The more he looked at the woman, the more he realized how special this meeting was. Ethelynda, whoever she may be, was a powerful being, as powerful maybe as Moseke or Thetros. He looked took the cloth, quickly wrapping La'Vie in them and moving to the entrance of the tent. Eyeing Fuli'ta's unmoving body once more, swallowing down his grief. He bowed to Ethelynda and walked out of the tent. The young midwife was still there on the ground. Freeing one hand he shook her shoulder.
"We need to help La'Vie, she will need food. Please... Help us."
Over his shoulder, a blue lighted frame appeared, watching over them, grief and happiness emanating from the being. Amicus, turned but the light faded. He blinked. Were his eyes playing tricks on him? Was that some spirit or ghost? Maybe it was Fuli'ta's ghost. He smiled a bit, maybe she wanted to stay till she saw La'Vie grow up. He whispered softly.
"Don't worry Fuli'ta. I'll raise her as my own."
He had yet to notice the silver shield that now appeared on the back of his right hand.