I know my world, and my characters much better and that amazes me.
Please enjoy the story of Cera's birth. She is the heroine of Sword's Call.
Pacing, he swallowed hard. Back and forth. Back and forth. The love of his life, kicking him out of the room. Deep breath. Falor took another one for good measure and forced his feet to still.He was stronger than this.He was the Duke of Greenwald, for Blessed Spirit’s sake.Feet spread apart, Falor looked at his hands. Turned them over. Closing his eyes he called upon his magic. Artificial calm settled over him and his breath exited on a whoosh. His heart rate slowed.“Why didn’t I think of this before?” he whispered. Because Evie was in so much pain… But his healing magic could help her with that, too.The midwife glared at him when he slipped back into the bedchamber he shared with his wife. “My lord, I beg of you—”“I can help.” He extended his palms. “Healing magic.”She pursed her lips but gave a nod.“Falor, I hurt.” Evie’s voice was plaintive and he rushed to her side.Pushing damp red curls off her forehead, Falor leaned in to kiss her. She grabbed his hand, squeezing hard. “Shhh, my love, it will be all right.”Evie whimpered and tightened her grip.“Almost time to push, my lady,” the midwife announced, patting his wife’s knee as she readjusted her sleeping chemise.“Evie, give me your hands,” Falor whispered to wipe the panicked look off her face. Sweat beaded on her forehead as wide gray eyes met his. “I can’t take all the pain but I can help.”She nodded, but bit her bottom lip. Falor offered her a gentle smile.“Thank you, my lord,” the midwife told him. He glanced at her, and for the first time she wasn’t glaring at him. He inclined his head and refocused on Evie.He’d help her bring their child into the world. Falor would take her pain away if it killed him.Flattening his palms, he moved them toward her, and she rested hers on top. Her hands were trembling and it gave him pause. The feel replaced her normal touch and his heart skipped a beat.Taking a breath, he closed his eyes. He called to his magic, his skin tingling and heating. If his eyes were open he would see his skin aglow, but Falor kept them shut, concentrating on ridding the woman he loved of her birthing pains and willing her to calm.Now that they were touching, he felt Evie’s tension and pain and it made his stomach flip. She was tight where she needed to relax so the pains could pass, and assist their child’s journey.Another contraction hit and it rolled over them both. She gasped as he absorbed most of the physical hurt. Her agony receded and Falor sensed her heartbeat slowing, her muscles loosening despite the movement and tightening of her belly.“Breathe, love,” he whispered.Soon every breath she took was in time with his, their chests moving rhythmically.Falor opened his eyes, meeting her gaze. Evie flashed a smile and didn’t appear to be so pale. She was calm, radiant. The most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.“Thank you,” she told him.He was dumbstruck. His words caught in his throat and his heart stuttered.The midwife stared, her lips parted. “My lord,” she breathed. Awe replaced her earlier disdain and Falor smiled.“Magic comes in handy sometimes, does it not?” he asked.“Aye, thank you, my lord. The babe will enter the world without chaos.”“I’m ready,” Evie said, squeezing his hand. “Ready to push.”“Are you in pain?” Falor asked as the midwife shuffled forward, gently pushing his wife’s chemise off her knees and urging her to open wider.“My lady, with the next pain, please push,” she admonished before Evie could answer him.“Yes, love, but it’s not nearly as much as before. I feel much better.”“Thank the Blessed Spirit,” Falor whispered.“And you. Thank you.” Her smile was cut off as another contraction rippled across her swollen belly, and he gripped her hand.Falor sat on the edge of the bed, slipping his arm around her shoulders, helping her bear down. Evie leaned forward, pushing harder with each pain. His heart clenched. He was torn, seeing his beloved in so much pain, but for such a happy occasion. He was about to become a father.Joy threatened to overwhelm, even disguising the wince as Evie gripped his forearm, nails digging in. She panted, pushing hard. Her face was red, gleaming with sweat, but she was still calm, in control. She was going to succeed.Wailing took his attention and Evie collapsed against him, her chest heaving.“A fine girl child. Gorgeous, like her mother,” the midwife announced, a grin splitting her wrinkled face.Falor whooped and kissed Evie. She was surprised, but her mouth moved under his after only seconds. He beamed as they parted, cupping her face.“I love you so much. You did so well. And we have a daughter.”His wife’s brows drew together. “You’re not upset I had a girl?” she whispered.Falor frowned. He’d never given Evie any indication that he’d prefer a son over a daughter. From the moment she’d stolen his heart, he’d wanted his children to be hers, and that had been the only requirement.“Are you upset that you had a girl?”
Their daughter was squalling as the midwife cleansed her. Falor was dying to see her, hold her, but first he needed to make sure Evie was all right.Her face flushed and she broke eye contact. “No, I love her so much already. I just wanted her to be healthy.”“She is love, she is. I felt it through my magic.”Evie met his gaze, tears in her eyes. “Can I see her?”Falor nodded, his throat clogging. He wouldn’t cry in front of the midwife. He couldn’t. He was a duke. He cleared his throat.She met him halfway. “Here is your daughter, my lord.” Her tone was pleased, as was the smile on her face.He gathered the swaddled infant to him and the world stilled at he looked into her face. Falor was aware that the midwife was speaking to Evie in soft tones, cleaning her up and gathering supplies, but he was helpless to the child in his arms. His child.Her weight was pleasant and warm against his chest, and he would never let her go. Staring at her, tears gathered and cascaded. He didn’t care. The baby looked up at him, pursing her tiny rosebud mouth and blinking tired smoky eyes. Her little head was covered with reddish fuzz. So, she would be like her mother. She was already just as gorgeous.“Falor?” Evie called. “May I see her?”Nodding, he turned toward his wife. They were alone in the room, and he had no idea how long he’d been gazing at his little girl.“Are you all right?” His tone was choked, but Evie’s smile was brilliant.“Yes, I am. I would like to see my baby.”As he went to her, he transferred their daughter to her arms. She started to wail, but Evie cooed at her, opening her freshly donned chemise so she could nurse. The baby quieted and started to suckle.Falor was dumbstruck again. The natural act was beautiful. His wife caressed the baby’s tiny cheek as she fed her, a tender smile on her lips.“Can we call her Ceralda after my grandmother?”“Haven’t I heard stories about how wild she was as a child?” he asked.“It’s just a name, love,” Evie answered, her tone amused.“I hope so.”“Is that a yes?” she asked, eyes wide with excitement.Falor laughed. “Anything you want.”She grinned, looking at him for a moment, then back to the baby in her arms. “Cera, it is. I’m sure she’ll grow up to be a fine lady.”“I’m sure she will, too.”He stared at his daughter for a moment. She was so innocent. Surely she would stay that way. Right?
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