• Closed • Five Days Ago

But five days ago you were as skinny as a stick...

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Zvezdana Venora
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93rd of Zi'da - 19th Break
Faith had been an incredibly forgiving person to her since their first encounter in Rharne. Not only that, she had provided her aid when the first contractions brought her to her knees in the middle of the street. Despite having played a devious role in the death of Veljorn, Zvezdana was coming to terms that Faith had never held the dagger herself. She had been doing her duty as a servant to the house. Lent by her cousin to the Lady Burhan, the true evil-doer in this story, Faith had simply kept her head down and obeyed. She had survived this long by following orders. Now, as a free woman, her past would have to be forgiven. Zvezdana had to realize that she was no longer a slave. Faith was entitled to have her own opinions and make her own choices. Hopefully, knowing love with her current suitor, she would know a devastating choice in the future.

Part of her was still leery of leaving her baby with Faith. Questions still seemed to march past her mind's eye. What if Faith was working with Elyna? What if she came back to a dead baby? No, that would never happen. Faith was better than that. Alzorn was innocent. Not even she could harm of a baby. The form inside of hermight, but that was besides the point. Beast and woman were two very different creatures. Alzorn would be safe, she just knew it.

She should have made small talk with Andráska as they moved through, but her mind was moving too quickly. Thankfully, he had elected to hold Alzorn the entire time and was probably preoccupied with that. Between the worrisome thoughts of leaving her baby with someone else to enjoy an evening with her brother and her growing concern for Vivian and the twins, she had little time to think of something bright and bubbly to talk about. Zvezdana just focused on the stairs and the paths in front of her as they descended from Sky Quarter. The descended from the Glass Quarter to the Earth Quarter via the lift. Things seemed to change at that point. The people were coarser and the atmosphere was louder. Pubs were jumping with music and the scent of urine and liquor mingled in the air. Of the beauty of the poor. Zvezdana scrunched her face as they moved away from the disgusting streets to the building where she had given birth to Alzorn.

"Sister Zvezdana. It's good to see you again. How's the bab- oh! You brought him! This must be his daddy too. How handsome." One of the other attendants that had been there 5 days ago swooned over Andráska. Zvezdana rolled her eyes but said nothing. She did not know this woman and did not need to provide a response. She was hear on business.

"I'm looking for Faith. Where is her room again?" Zvezdana questioned, drawing the woman's gaze from Andráska. With a frown, the woman turned back to Zvezdana and pointed up the stairs.

"On the left."

"Thank you. Come on sweetie." Zvezdana chortled jokingly. Clearly this woman was an idiot. Didn't they look like siblings? Hmph.

Finally, they came to Faith's room. She lightly knocked her knuckles against the door. "Faith. It's Zvezdana. I have a favor to ask of you."
word count: 578
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When Vri had first lifted the illusion which Aelig had put on her, Faith had been utterly exhausted. Scarily so for Padraig, she knew. Because she had been pregnant for such a long time, but the illusion which maintained that she was not meant that she had done things which were reckless at the best of times but which, whilst pregnant were downright insane. They had also taken a toll on her body and, save for a few specific exceptions and important conversations, Faith had slept nearly two trials straight. But then, she'd woken about two breaks ago and she felt, for the first time in her life that she could remember, hungry. She'd asked Padraig if he'd go to get her something to eat and he'd made the mistake of asking her what.

She'd considered it and then said, clearly. "Ham. Chicken. Steak. I ... meat. Padraig, I really want meat." Faith's appetite was tiny and it was rare that she ate any meat at all, but she'd asked him to get that and then had got up, got dressed in one of the two outfits she had which fitted her and then sat in the chair to read because getting dressed was tiring enough.

But she was sitting there and there was a tap on the door. Maybe Padraig had forgotten his key, she thought, but dismissed the thought because he wouldn't knock the door like that. "Hang on! I'm coming!" Faith called and heaved herself out of the chair. It wasn't easy, this self-hoisting and she wasn't well practiced at it. She was discovering that there was a certain waddle-like walk which meant that she was less likely to feel like she was about to keel over and so, without anyone there, she decided to go with it. She was just at the door as the voice came through.

Zvezdana?! Oh the Immortals were having a laugh. They were. Of all the people it was Zvezdana bloody Venora. Faith sent a prayer to Famula, thanking her for the lesson in humility and she knew that there was only one thing to do. She couldn't hide, Zvezdana had already heard her voice, Padraig wasn't here and there was nothing to do but to open the door. Which she did and there, right in front of her was both Zvezdana and Lord Andraska. Oh by all that was holy, Faith wondered if there were a line of Immortals watching because you couldn't bloody well script this.

Faith looked tired, but well enough. She was also heavily pregnant, much more than half way along and she most certainly hadn't been five trials before. She looked at the babe and she smiled in delight. "Good trial! Come in, please. Oh, you brought me a visitor. Hello you, how are you?" Faith addressed the baby and then she looked at Zvezdana, only her and she gave the slightest, but noticeable, shake of her head. Please, no, she thought to herself. But whether Zvezdana acknowledged, saw or did anything about it? Well that was up to her. Faith focused on the baby and smiled in unashamed delight. "Oh he looks well. How are you?" Faith asked, ushering them into the room and waddling in behind them.
word count: 566
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

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"My two natures had memory in common."
  • 93rd of Zi'da, 716
  • The baby in his arms consumed his attention, Andras minding the boy's head as he held Alzorn as if he was made of glass. He only glanced up once or twice after giving the letter, not quite sure how to split his attention between the babe in his arms and his sister, who clearly was getting choked up. She had agreed to accompany him, and quickly lead them away. Andras followed suit, holding his newphew close and winding down the street.

    It came like a second nature, and he watched the boy with such curiosity. At one point when Alzorn began to fuss, his hands clenching and releasing, shifting and looking as though he may cry, András' eyes widened and he began to make faces. His mouth dropped, his tongue stuck out. He alternated the blinking of his eyes and the baby watched with mute fascination.

    He was grinning when Zvezdana lead them into a building and a woman addressed them. This finally tore his eyes upwards, and for a moment, Andras thought perhaps this would be the woman to take care of his nephew. She regarded him with inviting eyes and complimented his looks. The flattery made him completely overlook her assumption and he displayed the boy with pride, and then, himself, “Hello.”

    His mind finally seemed to catch up with what was said, but Zvezdana was quick to brush the woman off. She didn't seem to mind, still looking up at him, and he inwardly rolled his eyes. Some things in his sister hadn't changed after all. Meanwhile, Andráska wanted to entertain the amusing mistake, and missed the real reason they had come.

    He continued to look at the woman, “It's an open relationship,” he countered with a smirk.

    “Really?” The woman's eyes lit up, catching Andráska off guard. She wasn't... deterred? His brows rose in surprise and he looked over to see Zvezdana disappearing into the other room.

    “Come on sweetie” she called.

    Andráska gave one last glance to the woman and then to the baby in his arms and dismissed himself with an apologetic smile. He rushed after his sister and whispered into her ear, “Did you see that?” he said hurriedly, “She didn't even bat an eye. She was willing,” he said this with breathless awe, “Did mom and dad ever come to Rharne? I was born here. I have to be.”

    They had arrived at a door now, and he was about to talk about the availability of Rharne women and their flexibility in relationships when the door opened and a familiar pale face looked back at the two of them. He began to give his sister back her son, his face breaking out into yet another smile.

    “Faith!” he exclaimed, throwing his arms wide and going to embrace her, “What are you doing here? Wha-?” His eyes fell to her stomach and he paused. And then, happiness filled his eyes and he looked up to her face. And her neck. No scars. How? What? Reeling, he was speechless for a moment and then wrapped the woman in a hug, craning his head to assess where her branding had been, “You look fantastic!”

    He had so many questions. So she was no longer a slave? How did her brands go away? Did Tristan free her? “Look, Zvez!” he motioned to her with a hand and then hesitated, his face twisting in hesitation, “Uh, how... how far along are you?” He looked skywards in thought, trying to place a memory. “When...” he trailed off, thinking of the time they had gone drinking. How long ago had that been? Before the war, right? “Well, uh.... I'm visiting. Is... is Tristan here?”
word count: 661
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Zvezdana Venora
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Open relationship? The way he had responded really made her blood boil before she had to practically untangle his ego from the concept of Rharne's characteristic ability in sleeping around. By worshiping Ilaren, the city seemed to favor vices and polygamy. It made everything she believed to be sacred - monogamy, true love, a devoted family - unfavorable to the world around her. What was disheartening was that Andráska seemed to be interested in the woman and the idea that was Rharne. She refused to believe that he was born here. She would never believe that their parents were open in bed. Then again, she wouldn't put it past her father, the way he had used her. Furthermore, his interested seemed to slice at her heart. The feeling was similar to jealousy. She had felt it once before when she discovered that Lazuli was supposed to marry Veljorn. Zvezdana gave Andráska a side glance. Why would she be feeling that about a woman that was eyeing her brother?

"Good tria-" Zvezdana had started. Her words fell flat immediately. Something was off. Way off.. Zvezdana barely realized she was taking Alzorn from Andráska, too focused on Faith's swollen belling. Had she been delirious enough to miss Faith being that pregnant when her own son had been born. No, this could not be. Even their first encounter in the Cathedral, Faith had been the epitome of slenderness. There was no way she could explain how she had blown up like a balloon so quickly. Zvezdana knew her to be a cook, but that much weight gain over food. It was not possible. She barely caught the look that Faith gave to her. Zvezdana shoved a shoulder gently into András' back when he complimented Faith on the glow of pregnancy.

"You never suggested I looked good when I was pregnant." Granted, she also had fled after leaving him a quickly scribbled note about her pregnancy. Yet, his compliments again scored her heart. She shook the feeling off. "We are doing good. Alzorn seems to be doing exceptionally well, thanks to you Faith. He might not have been here without your aid in his birth. András, you should let Faith come sit. Pregnancy can be a bear on the feet. Come now, take a seat. Ignore my idiot brother. He is too interested in babies right now, having just met his nephew."

Alzorn let out a whine, causing Zvezdana to revert her attention back to the baby at hand. She turned away from the seat and the other pair of humans to make a small circle. She was pacing and bouncing the baby again to prevent him from crying. How had Faith gone from not pregnant to being very pregnant in five days? Zvezdana had no explanation. Magic? Possibly, but none that she was familiar with. Immaculate conception? That didn't explain the massive baby bump that seemed to appear in sixty seconds. Quietly, she ran a hand through her hair, clearly stressed. This free woman was going through so much, and Zvezdana's brain was trying to explain it for Faith. When she could not come up with an answer, she simply stared between the two, who were most likely already back into bubbly conversation.
Last edited by Zvezdana Venora on Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 555
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Lord Venora wrapped her in a hug and Faith could not help but hug him back. "It is good to see you, too. How are you?" He had always been kind to her, she could not argue that, but she was aware that there would be a lot of questions from him and, somehow, she got the feeling that he would not be as quick to pick up on subtle head shakes, like Zvezdana. She turned her gaze to said lady and looked at her, then smiled. "You look well, I'm pleased. You're sleeping when he sleeps?" There was no doubting that her gaze on the baby was one of pleasure at Zvezdana's words. "You were amazing, we muddled through and he's none the worse for it. I'm glad I was there and able to help." Genuine words, after all she had been there when the woman's husband had died. Faith was glad that Zvezdana wasn't alone, though she was also grateful at her suggestion that they sit. "Please, both of you, sit down."

Andraska had questions and Faith raised her eyebrow in surprise at some of them. "Tristan hasn't told you?" Why would he, though, she thought. "Lord Alistair wrote to him and said that he felt that Tristan should free me, that I had served the house and him and I would be a better ally than a slave. Tristan showed me the letter and asked me if I wanted to be free." It was Andraska who had asked the question, but it was the two of them she answered. "That was towards the end of Vhalar. I said yes." Faith smiled and shrugged slightly, then spoke honestly as she always did. "I did so because I believe I can do more good, serve better by being free and working for places like this, the Order of the Adunih who provide free healing to those in need. But I also did it because I had fallen in love." The earnest young woman placed a hand protectively on her stomach, her eyes telling the depth of emotion she felt for Padraig.

She gestured around the room with a slight smile. "We have been living together since, but we came here on vacation. I was thrown from a horse and got a concussion, Padraig was worried for me and he wanted me to rest so he brought me here. Thirty two trials on a boat, then a holiday here, he wanted to make sure I rested. But then, I found out I was pregnant." She looked at Zvezdana and smiled slightly. "Just before we saw you in the Cathedral, on the 81st, we'd found out. We were both still reeling, it wasn't something we'd planned." Never were truer words spoken, she thought with a slight smile which told just how not planned it was.

"Then, three trials ago, we had a visit from the Immortal Aelig in a shared dream. It wasn't pleasant, not at all. He messed with us both and, when I woke up, I was like this." Faith shrugged slightly, her hand on her stomach. "We were involved in a thing with the Immortals in Ne'haer. Lots of people were there, Tristan and I, Padraig too. We stood against Aelig, I guess he felt that it was time to sew some chaos." She smiled, though and said, quite honestly. "So, we're completely in a state of panic over being parents and seem to have no time to get used to it. But then, that is what it is. So, that's my story. Now then, you said you had a favour to ask?"
word count: 627
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"My two natures had memory in common."
  • 93rd of Zi'da, 716
  • Andráska took in Faith’s appearance with a quiet observation uncharacteristic to the male. It was clear the ex-slave was pregnant, but the way her stomach swelled and pushed itself outward… She had been with child for some time. Longer than Tristan freeing her. His mouth went dry and he eyed her stomach wearily. “Aelig…” he muttered, not too familiar with the name. Some immortal who wished to cause chaos. How lovely, His green eyes remained fixated on her stomach, his thoughts churning in his mind.

    Tristan’s baby, he immediately imagined, glancing at Zvezdana in quick desperation. Didn’t she share his thoughts? ’Who is Padraig? He looked around the room for signs of a lover. Or… Aelig’s baby. Was that possible? Faith had not gone into any details on what kind of pleasantries he had brought with him, but she wouldn’t, would she? Could a dream effect the physical world?

    An unsettling thought.

    “Congratulations,” he finally said after Faith’s explanation, his throat dry. That baby had a chance of being Venora blood. Granny Ebony would be thoroughly displeased, but he could easily remember his first time meeting Faith. He had found her ridiculously obedient, if endearing. She had been tense when he had insisted they act equal, offering to tie his shoes, clean his home, fetch him drinks. The woman before him had come a long way, but it would have been easy for Tristan and his flirtations to exploit such mannerisms. She had talked of the House of Roses, a brothel and her training there.

    More than ever, Andráska was sure they had shared a bed, and he paced the space thoughtfully. Suddenly he felt very far away, conflicted on what to do. Faith seemed happy and had found love. He could only wonder what she must be feeling, thinking… to be suddenly so… fertile. If her child did turn out to be part of his family, and she ever needed anything… he would seek to aid her. In the meantime, however, there was no telling how long she had been seeing this Padraig fellow, and it was best to keep his mouth shut. He hoped he could talk to Faith at another time, maybe catch her alone and explain his concerns.

    “I was wanting to take Zvezdana out for the night, but that would leave Alzorn without a caretaker. I’m assuming my sister had hopes of asking you, but…"

    Perhaps he was being a bit forward, so he quickly added, “I wasn’t aware of your condition. If it’s too much trouble, we can look elsewhere.”
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Zvezdana listened quietly, her back turned to the two of them as they talked about information she already knew. Alistair, her valiant brother, and caused their flouncy cousin, Tristan, to release the best slave he would ever find. It was quite the tale indeed, and showed a little bit of heart from her older brother. Alistair and Zvezdana had had their arguments, their vendettas, but she was slowly coming to find that he wasn't all that bad. Bad blood ran deep, and it was taking a great deal of effort on both of their parts to clean it up. Now she was free to love Padraig, the scruffy silent man she had met back in the Cathedral. Zvezdana knew very little about their relationship, but the information she gleaned from Faith's story suggested that it was a harrowing tale. Zvezdana wondered where and why Faith had been thrown from a horse as mounted travel seemed reckless, but it was a fleeting thought.

The timeline still didn't match up. They met in the Cathedral only a short time ago, then again five days ago. That was not enough time to become that pregnant. Aelig. That was not a name she was familiar. By the Seven, he sounded worse than Syroa, and she was a callous bitch. This battle that she mentioned sounded ballsy, but Faith had always been one to put herself in harms way. Her skin prickled. One war after another, the slave seemed to find herself knee deep in trouble. Or maybe it was uterine deep. Zvezdana chuckled to herself with that mental joke, cooing at Alzorn as she turned back around to face Faith. So the baby was being messed with by power no mortal could comprehend? Who was the father? Certainly Padraig was a logical possibility, but to be that pregnant, Tristan was also in the running. The Seven only knew what Aelig could do.

"Congratulation. Motherhood suits you. Much more so than me," Zvezdana shot Andras a glare. After all, Faith was pretty being pregnant. The man was just so ignorant. Zvezdana smiled again, only to purse her lips. Andráska had already asked Faith before Zvezdana could suggest some other lie as to why they were here. She had come with intent to have Faith babysit, but that was before she knew just how pregnant she was. Leaving a newborn with a late term mother felt wrong. Andráska seemed to read her mind, back pedaling as fast as he had offered his explanation.

"We should go elsewhere. Alzorn can be a handful, and you need sleep. He is not sleeping for long periods of time yet, and gets cranky when he wants to be fed. Maybe going out is a bad idea," Zvezdana trailed off, looking apologetically at András. He had been so gungho about going out, and part of her desired to see his world. Parties, drinking, Ilaren's own vices; it all sounded like fun. She hadn't had a dose of that in a long time. Although, avoiding the drugs was probably best. Who knew what would happen if she became doped up on a spiked drink.

A brief image flickered into her mind, as it from a dream. The bitter taste of water laced with something. No, that couldn't be? She had never done drugs before. Zvezdana shrugged, smiling empathetically at Faith. "We can go somewhere else. We can leave now, so you can go back to resting. You'll need your strength."
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Faith looked at the pair of them and it was like watching cogs tick in a clock as their minds worked over the possibilities. She had no need, no desire and no inclination to explain further because, simply put, it was all too complex and was none of their business. She didn't know for sure what was actually going on but she knew for sure what they had decided and that was good enough for her. It would have to be good enough for them, too, or it would not. That wasn't something that she had any control over and the disciplined young woman would not be able to change it.

When, however, first Andraska and then Zvezdana explained their situation, though, Faith's face showed her answer before her words did. "It would be our pleasure, truthfully it would. Padraig has gone to get me something to eat, so I won't be alone and this young man and I can become even better friends, can't we?" She smiled at the baby and, although she wouldn't recognise it in herself, wouldn't see it as true, she was completely relaxed with him. It was just her own that terrified her.

"You go. Have a nice time. Be careful if you choose to drink alcohol." Faith glanced at Zvezdana as she said that. "You're more likely to be susceptible to it so close to the birth and you shouldn't feed him for a few breaks after you've stopped drinking. But you've brought enough milk?" For a three trial period, Faith considered with a smile and looked at Zvez. "Some good food, drinking in moderation and fun are what I prescribe and I'm a doctor. Go, go and enjoy yourselves." The birth had not been an easy one and Zvezdana deserved an evening of rest. It would re energise her, Faith was sure.

Faith looked at Andraska and said, most seriously and with much more of a firm tone than he had ever heard from her before. "Nothing is too much trouble for this lady. Spoil her, please. Now, show me what you've brought and then out with you! Any instructions, all of that. We will be here, you know where we are." She held her arms out for the baby, quite happy to take him.
word count: 402
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"My two natures had memory in common."
  • 93rd of Zi'da, 716
  • Andráska remained mostly quiet while Faith addressed Zvezdana about Alzorn. When they discussed milk, András found himself paying extra attention to the susceptibility part. Being recently pregnant affected alcohol tolerance? An interesting concept that had him tapping his chin thoughtfully. He'd have to watch his sister closer then, to make sure she wasn't going to get in over her head. Well, not too much in over her head .

    "The alcohol will affect the milk?" Obviously his intention was not to get his nephew drunk, and since the body processed alcohol and milk came from the body... That must have been why Faith insisted she not feed Alzorn for a few breaks after drinking, "How long, do you think? I don't want to impose on you, Faith. What would you like for compensation?"

    Faith was a slave no more. Hard work and favors deserved rewards, and money was the only thing András knew to offer, unless she wanted a favor of her own. He was happy to grant it. Not because Faith had been a great slave to his family, but because she had been an even better friend and a good person. András respected those qualities, "If you need anything," he added, trying not to fixate on the idea that the baby in her belly could be a different niece or nephew, "You know how to find me. I'll be in Rharne for awhile," he smiled, "You can always write to Venora, or the Iron Hand. They'll know how to find me back home."

    András had questions. but asking to meet Padraig was innappropiate (not that he was there) and the other questions were far from easy to answer. Most involved Tristan, and putting himself in Faith's [swollen] shoes, he knew they would not be good to answer. Maybe she didn't even want to talk of her ex-owner. Had they ended their "relationship" on mutual terms? He burned silently with his questions, looking to Zvezdana to keep his mouth shut. Nevertheless, András respected Tristan's decision to free Faith. He saw slaves as equals more or less, and he was happy for her.

    Faith addressed him, and his eyebrows rose at her order. He grinned, pleased to see her more open to sharing her spunk with the world, "Would you expect anything less from me, love? I spoil everything." A jab at himself and a light joke, András winked at the slave, and leaned against the wall while Zvezdana gave instructions for her son.
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It was good to have Faith around. She was going to make a better mother than Zvezdana ever would. A good mother would have known what would pass into her baby's milk. An ok mother would at least know to ask. Zvezdana chewed her lip as she placed herself subconsciously into the "bad mother" category. She had just assumed that milk was milk. Why would it attempt to take on properties of another liquid, like alcohol.

"Padraig is a good man. Tell him thank you for me when he returns home," Zvezdana started. She had with her the little hamper that Faith had given her a while back. A spare set of clothes was nestled inside. A sealed jar she had borrowed from the kitchen in the Cathedral was half full of goat's milk. "It should be straight forward. He will probably need to be fed soon. He likes to burp shortly after being fed. I apologize, he's obnoxiously loud like his uncles."

Men. Disgusting from birth. No matter how much they denied that they were noble, sophisticated, and quiet, all men were quite the opposite. Alzorn was just beginning to show his colors. If András had anything to say about it, Alzorn would be a delinquent by the time he was old enough to go to school. Zvezdana sighed dramatically, giving her brother a long side glance. At least Alzorn would grow up with some kind of father figure. "He should sleep for a good long time after that. Thankfully, he has been sleeping for long periods of time."

Zvezdana hesitated before gently transferring Alzorn into Faith's arms. "We should be home in a couple of breaks. Uhm," Zvezdana was sure she was forgetting something, but what? She slowly took a few steps back. Part of her wanted to take Alzorn back and completely bypass this evening of fun. Quickly, before she could truly entertain the idea, she turned around and began to pull Andráska to the door. Better to just pull the bandage off and leave Alzorn in capable hands.

"Thank you Faith!" Zvezdana called over her shoulder as she closed the door behind them.
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