|Welcome To The World|
|Summary:||Cordelya's time has finally arrived.|
|Cordeyla and Anders' Guest Room — Tanglewood Manor|
|Fresh rushes cover the floor of this guest room. A large four post bed sits of centered in one corner. Heavy curtains are pulled back upon entrance to show a lush, light blue velvet coverlet over a feather down mattress. Golden wheat stalks are haphazardly embroidered on the fabric's soft surface. Small tables sit to each side of the bed, on the surfaces of which sit a candle stick and holder. Another table modest in size, is set to the center of the room with two small soft cushioned chairs seated at its left and right. A couple of shelves are set about the room to house the private book collection of whomever resides, a wardrobe sits in one corner for the guests belongings. A window who's heavy coverings are pulled back by day, let a warm sunny glow in. By night, they are loosed and cast the room in complete darkness.|
|08 Nov, 289 AL|
It's a few days after the wedding now, and having returned from the manor site, Einar has washed and changed before heading to check upon the Young Lady of his house. The last few times he's tried to gain admittance he's been turned away on the grounds that she's been asleep, but it seems that he's in luck this time as one of the maids simply curtsies and lets him pass. There's a faint look of surprise at this on his face as he knock and then starts to push the door open slowly, but it's gone by the time he's fully into the room.
Awake, yes. Exhausted, overwhelmed, and more than a bit scared, but awake. In truth, Corrie never rests well right now. It's too hard to get comfortable. The room heavily lit by candles and torches, she's got a stack of books on the table beside her and one open on top of her mountain of a belly. She looks surreal, in truth, such a small frame and such a large middle. It shouldn't be possible. Even the midwives are shocked she has carried this long. She blinks as he comes in, a faint smile crossing her lips. Eyes focus upon him. Apparently, she's sane today also. "Einar…"
"Corrie," Einar replies with a warm smile, "it's good to see you.." he almost adds 'awake' or 'sane' or some such descriptor, but in the end doesn't. It is after all, good to just see her. closing the door behind him he then crosses to a chair that is conveniently close to her bedside, almost as if it's been placed specifically for visitors. Settling himself he offers a conversational, "keeping up with your reading then? Anything interesting?"
A small, unhappy sound comes from her throat, half sighing, "No… well… maybe for the babe. Reading to he-… Him." Him, him. They all need it to be a him. "But I've been through the tales thrice over now, and I feel like I know every book in the bloody library. I am… bored. Ready for this to be done." Corrie admits softly, though she doesn't quite meet his eyes as she says that, so he can't see the fear that lingers there even stronger than boredom.
Einar has only one book about his person at the moment, although he figures that Corrie possibly isn't all that interested in reading about the teachings of the Seven, so he doesn't offer it across. "Can't be long now can it?" he asks, knowing it's a stupid question but being utterly unable to come up with a better one. "You'll soon be back on your feet I'm sure."
"I… I hope. As long as things go well." Corrie presses a wider, reassuring smile to her lips as she says that, even if the confidence doesn't fully slip into her eyes. They're still scared. She gently folds the book shut after slipping a ribbon between the pages and sets it aside, her hands now free to lazily rub up and down her stomach.
"Things will go well," Einar answers with a sense of real determination. It's well know that saying such things make then true after all, and the more firmly you say them, the truer they become. He's spotted Corries fear though, and the intensity of it is worrying him. Childbirth might is definitely on the list of things he knows very little about, but he guesses that some concern is natural, this degree though? It unsettles him a bit, although he does his best not to show it. "You'll soon be back on your feet," he repeats, because repeating these things helps too. Don't you know.
"…Evangeline died giving birth, Einar… and she was stronger than I… I… I'm just a little thing… It is dangerous. Gods, I am… scared. We have to prepare for… for it. Just in case. You have to be at Andy's side if something happens, yes?… You have to help him move on." It seems that the woman has thought rather intensely about this, and now that he's here and she's in a sane frame of mind, she needs it get it out. One of Corrie's tiny hands comes out, reaching for his fingertips.
"And you are not Evangeline," Einar replies, lightly but firmly, or atleast he's trying to do that reassuring light but firmness. As he sees her hand move he reaches out to encase it in both of his own. "Being scared is natural Corrie, this is no light thing you are preparing for, but you can not let yourself think like that." If he'd thought before reaching out he'd have shifted the chair a little closer first, but as it is he's stuck leaning forward a little awkwardly. He almost promises that he'll always be there for Anders, but stops himself after he figures adding the 'until I'm knighted and bugger off entirely' part on the end might lessen the statement. "We'll both be there for him," he says instead, "and your child."
"I… I hope so. I do. And I am going to do everything I can to ensure that happens, but… BUt if it doesn't, you need to help him pick up. Carry on. find another wife, please? Make certain he keeps himself and his house strong… Remind him of that. Please." Corrie's fingertips tighten around his palm, almost hugging his hand against the side of her stomach. "And… and help teach this child about me. Ensure that the babe gets to see Graywatch, sometime, please? Promise me this, Einar…" The pair are, indeed, alone in Corrie's chambers. She's laying back in the bed, big as a while and then some, a book at her side and her fingertips clutched quite tightly around Einar's hand.
There are only two places Anders can be found these days. At the hole in the ground in the clearing near the shore, close enough to hear the seas' lapping on the shore, or in the Guest rooms in Highfield's keep, where his lady wife lays now abed. Food is taken in one or the other place, and it's now that he has a small loaf of bread and a goblet of wine in hand. The door's latch rattles, and opening, his back is turned to the two in order to push the wooden portal open, and turning about, he closes the door behind him with a foot. "Cor, I'm ba—"
"Don't hope," Einar answers, allowing his hands to be manouvered by Corrie as she sees fit, "know. Know in your head and your heart. That is the best think you can do." Well, that and listen to the advice of the attendants, those who've dealt with all this before. "Your made of northern Grit, remember that. I won't need to ensure your child goes to Greywatch, you'll be taking them yourself, showing off how proud you are of them to your mother house." Hearing the door open he gives Corrie's hand a brief squeeze before glancing over his shoulder to see who is arriving. As it turns out to be Anders he gives his knight a quick nod before turning back to the bed, and offering the lady what he hopes is a positive and uplifting smile.
At the sound of her husband's voice, all conversation dies off almost immediately. Corrie forces herself to sit a bit straighter, smiling stronger, doing her best to look hale and hearty even if she feels breakable and on the edge of busting. "Andy… Come in… Einar just came to visit…." She squeezes Einar's hand one last time, the sisterly, loving press of her fingertips lingering a heartbeat and then finally letting go so she can reach for her husband.
Anders looks at the two, and it really is a good thing <tm> that there isn't anywhere near the rivalry and mistrust in the Flint family that can be easily and readily found in others. Nor is there a whisper set at the Young Lord's ears to cause doubt and concern; concern is only for his wife's health. He approaches the bed, a nod and a murmured, "Cousin," before he pulls the chair that he's been occupying when in the room. He gives his hand, and takes the light, feminine one in hand, "Is there yet news?" Now, he looks between the pair, his attention settling upon Einar first, "Should we send for a midwife?" Not the.. the much detested one. "Corrie," and now his attention goes back to his lady wife, "Tell me.."
As Corrie withdraws her hands, Einar leans back into his chair once more before moving it a few inches back to give Anders more room at his wife's side. The nod is returned with a remarkably similar one and he's about to leave the pair of them to their privacy when the question pulls his attention back to the present. "None," he replies quickly, if maybe a little uncertainly, he's not entirely sure he'd know the first signs even if they presented themselves for inspection. That sort of thing he reckons is very much Corrie's department.
But, there is no distrust among their family. Corrie has absolutely no fear of what Anders might see or think having walked in on she and Einar as such. She smiles in a touch of relief for him to be there, her cool fingertips happily finding home in his larger, calloused palm. "No… no sign, nothing yet. Some discomfort off and on but… it is… Common for this time. It doesn't mean anything…" Yet. Probably.
"None," Anders repeats, in acknowledgment of the answer and in understanding as well. He offers something of an unsure smile, but it grows a little stronger as he looks back to his lady wife. "No sign?" He exhales softly, and his brows rise in question, "Should I call? This is common for this time? You're close.. I've been watching. It's not that I know more, but what I've read?" His hand envelops her own, and he lifts her hand to his lips to kiss it. "I'll contact Lady Ceinlys for a midwife.."
Einar listens in silence as Corrie gives her answer. He has no idea if that's good or bad so just does his best to keep his features in a reassuring smile. As Anders mentions talking to Ceinlys he offers, "I could do that if you wish cousin?" After all, husband and wife might well want some time alone. It's not unheard of after all. "It will be soon then?" he adds, to either or both of them.
A slightly breathless laugh — everything Corrie does is breathless now because there is simply no room to breath for her lungs — escapes Corrie's lips as Anders begins insisting on going to call a midwife. She shakes her head slowly. "No, no… darling, no… I love you, and I know you are quite eager for this to be done with, but I will tell you when it is time. So.. Just rest. Breathe… we have time. The babe just wishes to stay warm a bit longer, it seems." Even if those last words do bring a slight tremble to her voice, some of that fear Einar saw in her before returning now. "And… yes, Einar. Soon, but not now."
"I don't know.. soon? Maybe?" Anders looks at Einar first, his brows rising. He only knows what he's seen in books, and this.. not so much. Not for the first time, a concerned expression fills his face, his eyes, and he's back to looking at his lady wife. An encouraging smile is attempted, and he squeezes her hand, "Corrie.. I love you, and in days, this will be behind us. Our child.. and he'll know all that we've ever known. Family. Land.. and hopefully more. Peace." A soft, chuffed laugh comes, "Yes, I said 'he', but Cor.. if it is a she, we'll love it with all our hearts." Soon?
Einar dislikes not knowing, especially with Corrie quite so obviously spooked about the whole thing. It's sort of like war really, you know something is going to happen, but all you can do is sit and twiddle your thumbs while you wait for it to begin. "Her Anders," he offers in an attempt at lighthearted humour, "not it, you'll love her with all your hearts." It's not great, and he'd be the first person to hold his hand up and admit it, but the atmosphere is not really conducive to humour and he's starting to feel it.
Her free hand, the one not trapped tenderly in Anders' palms, rubs slowly across the top and side of her belly. Corrie breathes out gently, just trying to focus through the slight tension and discomfort that has come on a bit suddenly. She doesn't look in raging pain, but she's definitely not speaking for a few moments and her knuckles are a bit more white around Anders' hand. Finally, she gives a little laugh again…"Einar is right… women… we are not… Its… Unable to be heirs or not… This child will be loved… treasured… no matter what."
Anders rises at the tension on his wife's face, and he looks to Einar, "Get a midwife, cousin," he says slowly, carefully.. nope, no panic here. He turns back around to rest his hand upon her belly, feeling the familiar wriggle of child beneath, and he cracks a touch of a smile. The tension is palpable, but it's not out of.. anger, though it is stress. "Yes, she will be loved. My mistake.. I apologize. She will be lavished with all sorts of fabrics, silks, brocades, and spoiled.. and loved."
Einar does not need to be told twice. While he doesn't exactly bolt for the door, he's out of the chair before Anders has finished saying 'cousin' and out of the room before he gets to 'brocades'. He's not running, no, that's not what nobles do, he is merely striding purposefully. Very purposefully.
"Love…" Corrie breathes out a moment later, her eyes reopening, though still slightly pinched with pain. "It… it might not be time. We shouldn't worry people quite yet… Einar, don-!" Corrie blinks, it far, far too late already. Damned if Einar didn't get out of the room fast enough. She sighs, but her body does seem to sink back into relaxation another few moments later. See? That wasn't so bad. She smiles a bit wider at his words, "…And yes… she… She will be. She'll be lovely."
The chair simply doesn't cut it anymore, and Anders kneels by the edge of the bed. "We'll have someone experienced decide that, love," he murmurs, and he runs his hand over her belly, gently. It cheers him greatly to see her relax into the bed, and gives him a chance to actually take a full breath. "She will look like her mother," he murmurs, "Because if she looked like me, we'd never find her a husband." Trying for the light jest once again, and he leans over to kiss her lips gently. "She'll be beautiful." Falling silent, he considers a moment, then begins again, his voice low in the room. "The foundation for the manor's been dug. Now, it's time to work with the wood. Slowly, but surely it's coming."
The feel of his fingertips around her hand and his other palm over her belly just helps her to relax even more. At least, for now, the pain not coming again and all of her just surrounded by his loving touches. Corrie's smile is utterly genuine, head turned in his direction, a few errant, dark locks now draped against her cheek. "Or he will be very handsome and look just like his father… Grow up running around the manor, staring out at the sea, all the trees, open air, boats that she or he could want… This will be a lovely place for a family, Andy…" Corrie whispers gently.
"Gardens to lose herself in, learning every sprout, every leaf.. and sitting in the evenings with our books on her lap, just like we did." Anders brings a hand up now to stroke her hair gently. "We'll have to lock the library," he jokes softly, "If they are anything like we were." He continues to stroke her hair now, watching her relax, "We'll call for more books."
By this time, Einar has reached the Great Hall…
Einar is on the hunt for someone or something, that much is apparent from both his purposeful stride and the determinded look on his face. There's soemthing else present in his expression to, but he's not really staying still long enough for anyone to get a good enough look to read it fully. Whatever quest he's on seems to have originated somewhere in the East Wing and so far has taken him to the sept, the enterance hall and now the great hall. It might of course have helped if he'd stopped to ask any of the servants he'd passed in the hallways, but it doesn't seem like that thought has punched it's way through to the right part of his brain yet.
For once to be found somewhere other than her chambers-come-offices, the Steward of Highfield is finding a small moment's respite within the Great Hall; seated at the far end of a trestle and absently stirring a bowl of pottage with one hand, while the other holds a sheaf of parchment aloft at an angle for her perusal. As usual, she's enjoying the stoic, silent, sour-faced company of her handmaid and chaperone, Brigid.. though she seems engrossed in the mindless task of mending a cloak-hem. Unsurprisingly, Ceinlys doesn't immediately glance up merely for the presence of another striding into the chamber, regardless of how purposeful their gait. Plenty of people pass through here, day and night. Especially recently. If it's any business of hers, no doubt she'll know soon enough. Shaking back her dark waves, the young lady brings her spoon slowly to her lips, daintily taking a taste of the rather bland meal. Apparently she's more interested in haste than extravagance, when it's not forced upon her.
Einar almost doesn't spot Ceinlys in his haste, that or maybe the parchment was blocking his line of sight. Either way though he's halfway towards the door to the gardens before he gives teh seated lady a second look. He'd probably kick himself, if it weren't for the fact that it'd waste more time, so instead simply changes course mid-stride. It's not a graceful manouver, but it is a successful one and he's soon closing the distance between them. "Lady Ceinlys," he starts, before switching to the less formal and more urgent, "cousin. Might I have a moment of your time?"
As she's addressed, Ceinlys doesn't hesitate in raising her blue eyes to level upon her cousin, arching a slender brow in obvious surprise and concern at that vaguely frantic air surrounding him. Pausing, still with spoon in mouth, she then simply swallows down the pottage, nodding, before replying aloud. "Einar. Of course." Out of habit, she waves him in vague gesture to a seat at the bench opposite her. "Is something amiss?" Through the familial bond, her wits sharpen, betrayed by the flicker of intensity as she scrutinises his expression. Anything amiss at Tanglewood lands at her feet. In that instance, damn social niceties.
Einar does not sit. Instead he simply pauses a couple of paces away and lets her finish her question before he states his business. "Amiss? No," or he dearly, dearly hopes not anyway. "I have been sent by Lord Anders to request the presence of a midwife in Lady Cordelya's chambers." He's doing his best to keep his tone level and balanced, but there's defiantely a flicker of worry in there, no matter how hard he is trying to surpress it.
Stepping from the Gardens, Perrin keeps his eyes on the Lady Jocelyn and laughs a bit at something said before they entered the Great Hall. Perrin with out his cloak, for it's over the shoulders of Jocelyn, plucks bits of stray grass from his tunic and pants as they walk side by side. "Well," Perrin says "I am looking for the trip M'Lady. Just let me know when you wish to leave and I shall be ready along with my armsmen." He offers her a warm smile, oops, another bit of grass clings to his elbow and that's discarded along with the rest, leaving a bit of a trail behind him.
There's a split-second of relief as her cousin sweeps aside concerns of any threat to the Keep. But the Steward's eyes widen at the unspoken danger in Einar's meaning, all the same. "Her time has come, then." With a slow breath, heaved then softly sighed, Ceinlys pushes away the remnants of her meal and rises, smoothly and swiftly, to a stand. That, if nothing else, gets the attention of her handmaid, who looks up and between the pair; so lost in her work she may well have missed the exchange entirely. "Of course." In contrast, as usual, to the situation, the dark-haired noblewoman offers a single nod of understanding. "I shall see to it immediately." And she seems to mean it, stepping away from the table to walk around the edge of it, silver skirts trailing in her wake. Those eyes, though, flit back to her kins worried expression. "..is the Lady struggling, Einar? How long has she been in travail?" Her tone is hushed, despite the hall being mostly deserted.
Einar is, in all likelyhood, not even aware of either the handmaid or the newly arrived pair, his attention is on Ceinlys and his mind back in Corrie's chamber. Her immediate responce is met with a nod of his own and a heartfelt, "thank you cousin," before he moves to follow her. They are after all, aiming for the same door. At the questions though he looks to his cousin, a faint nod given to answer the first, followed by an uncertain, "I don't know, not long I think, not that she's said anyway."
Once they reached the interior of the great hall, Jocelyn laughing softly in response to Perrins own laughter. "I'll just need to tell my guards the plans to be prepared for, I should be ready within the next or two. Whatever is more suitable for you." Those same guardsmen that is now following after her, having their own coversation with the Noblewomans handmaiden.
The sounds of others close by makes the Nayland turn her head towards the sound. Seeing the other two present, she reaches up and slowly removes the cloak that was about her shoulders, folding it over her forearms. From the sight of the other two, she looks back to Perrin and slows her steps to a pause. Her smile lowers and her lips are flat with a bit of worry attached to her features. "I-Um… We might be intruding." she murmurs low, meant mostly for Perrin to hear.
Listening carefully as she keeps pace with Einar, the Steward nods again. "Alright. Go. Keep me informed as you are able." A thought does seem to strike her, giving her pause at the threshold of the vast chamber, silhouetted in the sunlight from the entrance hall and courtyard beyond. "I.. am unfamiliar with the Northern traditions. Would the Young Lord be expected to remain with her, or ought I have a room prepared nearby for him, instead?" It's rare that she'd have to ask about propriety. But these are different folk and she wouldn't want to misstep; not while they are guests of her Lord. A glance back over her shoulder as she catches movement brings her eyes to her brother and the figure accompanying him. But the woman manages only a cursory smile and brisk nod of greeting before returning to the matter in hand.
Einar is not exactly off like a shot once Ceinlys inplies that she has all the information she needs from him, but his stride does increase in both length and pace. Her question though does cause him to pause briefly and after a moment's thought he answer simply, and honestly, "I don't think you could move him away if you tried." It's not exactly an answer to her question, but he figures that since he's been given the chance he'll never forgive himself if it's his words that get Anders removed. That said though he offers a brief, "I'll pass word as I can," before he's off again, back towards the eastern wing.
With that smile fixed on his features, Perrin is only looking at Jocelyn. With a nod and a slight clap of hands "Good. I am free any time, now that I have made my appearance as Father had instructed me to do." He doesn't even notice Ceinlys and Einar so intent he is with watching Jocelyn. Not till she pauses and her words that are directed to him does he look across the hall and spot his sister and another.
"Intruding," he says in a soft voice "No no, it's a common hall, how could we be intruding?" Back to the pair, Perrin catches the smile from his sister and returns it in like manner along with a nod of his head as well. "It looks like they are leaving anyway. Huh, wonder what's going on…" for he can see way the man hurries and the look upon his face, all of which tells him that something is happening.
"Oh…You never know." It might be a common hall but it was still inside and the uncomfortableness of was creeping back up Jocelyn's spine and making her tense. Her head angled downward she kept herself turned slightly toward Perrin, a defensive move. Looking back at her guards and maid, they've stopped talking as they were approaching their lady and noticing her sudden change. A small smile is offered toward them and she nods once.
Hearing the others twos murmurs and then the footsteps is what causes her to look back and having seen Einar leave the hall, still she remains paused, but if Perrin should move she'd move along eith him. The cloack resting in her arms is hugged a bit tighter, and then as if realizing she is doing it she release it and offers back, "Oh, I forgot to give this back to you."
Surrounded by a sudden flurry of activity as a few words from her lips bring servants and others hastening toward her, Ceinlys has only the chance to briefly glance back at the pair with a rare expression of apology, before the small crowd gathers and almost ushers her from the hall. Low discussion can be heard few beats longer, before they are all lost to sight and sound. Just what is going on?
"Andy… if… if something happens, you have to take her to Graywatch… At least once. Take her to see my home. It will know you now… the little people know you. You would be welcomed. If…if I can't do it, promise me you will, some day…" Corrie whispers, some of her happy smile trickling away into that familiar fear that has been almost constant these days. There is a part of her that wonders if she kept from labor so long just to hang onto every last day of her life… "And yes. You have to teach her to read… First off. She'll be brilliant."
Anders takes a breath and holds it, and anything that comes is caught in his throat, giving him a hoarse sound. "Nothing will happen, Cor.. we'll both bring her to Greywatch, introduce her to the land there. Teach her about her mother and her mother's land." He can see the fear, and it's not something that he's seen a great deal from his wife; she's always tried to hide such things. Here and there, yes, and it was concern and fear for other people. But now? He offers a soft, "Shhhhh," as he strokes her hair, his hand drawing down to caress her face. "Reading.. unless she's too busy digging in the dirt. Then we'll make sure the tutors are stricter."
That hand across her cheek encounters just a slight brush of moisture from the edge of her lashes, tears there that she refuses to cry. Corrie is trying desperately to be strong like all the times before, but she's never truly looked her own possible death in the eye so nearly. She falls quiet, letting him hush her, just stealing a few moments to breathe and focus on remaining calm. On the sound of her husband's voice, the touch of his hand. "I love you, Andy… I love you… so much. This child will be the world. No matter what…" She finally whispers, turning her head to kiss at the interior of his wrist.
Anders draws his thumb across her cheek, wiping away the touches of moisture, and he leans forward to kiss her lips again. "I love you too.. I know you do, Cor.. since we were children. I knew that it would only be you, even then." His voice is low, a murmur even though they're the only ones in the room. "Loved by all in the North."
While his words are entirely sweet, reassuring and tender, they are enough to draw a few other tears to the edges of her dark lashes. Touched by his sentiment, knowing love that she never truly dreamt she could have. She tilts her head up, kissing his mouth again, deeper this time, tasting every bit of him in a way that she hasn't for a long time. The kiss, however, breaks in a sudden catch of breath. Her cheek turns, pressing against his as that discomfort and tension returns. He can feel it on her belly, with his fingertips there. "Sorry… this… Perhaps… perhaps you were right love… Maybe it is time." Corrie confesses between tense breaths.
Anders half-rises to kiss her, his hand a light touch as the kiss deepens. "Cor," he breathes, "You'll be fi—" and he's interrupted by that swell in her belly. Straightening, he puts his flat hand upon her before turning about, "I think I was then.. I know you," before he calls out, "Cousin!" He leaves her side to cross the room, his step hurried; he doesn't want to leave her too long, and it's evident in his manner, and he opens the door to bellow, "Einar!" Where is that damnable midwife?
And she doesn't want him gone overly long either! Corrie's fingertips, suddenly dropped so he can touch her belly and move for the door, are now clinging and reaching out for him again. She tries to shift in the bed, to turn and watch him, but the pain is a bit more than uncomfortable and she's not the most mobile of women right now anyway. Her stomach is truly… Daunting, compared to the rest of her rather frail frame. "Andy…come… come back… she will come when she does… It's fine…" She huffs out, tension behind her voice.
Anders is not gone long from her side, truly, but he's got the door open so when he bellows again, his voice will carry down the hall, and perhaps heard. "I'm sorry, love.." and he crosses the small distance back to her side, taking up the hand that reaches for him. "I'm here, Cor.." and he puts his free hand on her belly again. "Take a deep breath," but as for other advice? He's at a loss. Other than, "Relax.. you'll be alright." Which is easy enough for him to say! "Think about.. the times we chased each other at the hunt around Winterfell? You knew how to hide; because you were so small, you could get into places I could never dream."
The pain isn't maddening yet. Uncomfortable. Sudden, but nothing she cannot handle. Her smile is a touch tense, forced through the stiffness of her own breath, but Corrie is still smiling. Her hand wraps tightly around his, fingertips white knuckled again but that is in nerves as much as pain. Her pulse is now racing. She gives him a weak laugh at the commentary of being children. "I could hide no where now. I am lucky I can leave the bed and fit through the door, much less hide…" She tries to take in a deep breath as he's guided her, but it's hard. "…I… I don't want you to leave. I know they are going to… to shoo you out… but I want you here…"
Einar is still not running, not in the slightest. Running implies panic and he is not panicking, just concerned. Deeply so. Striding in through the open door he wastes no time in starting his report, "Ceinlys," formalities dropped given the circumstances and who is present, "is fetching the midwife now." He pauses about half way to the bed, not sure if there's anything useful he can do or if he's better just keeping out of the way. A thought though strikes him and he turns specifically to Anders, "I might also have implied that by northern custom you'd be staying." He's not expecting to get in trouble for that, just giving Anders a heads up so he knows it's coming and isn't caught by surprise. Then his back to trying to work out what to do with himself and so asks quickly, "Is there, erm.. anything I can do?"
There are several stereotypes associated with midwifes, and Mistress Lavender Chandler embodies none of them. She is a terribly thin woman that embodies more of the Crone than the Mother with a stern upper lip and face-tightening bun of silver hair. She moves swiftly and sternly, demanding anyone in her way to, well, get out of it. She probably didn't require being fetched, as some say Mistress Lavender has a sixth sense of when a baby is incoming. She is being followed after by one of the scullery maids armed with a bucket of hot water and tons of thick towels. "My Lords, My Lady," she says with a sharp accuracy, none of this silly 'Milord, Milady' nonsense.
And not so far behind the midwife and her accompanying maid, are Nerys and Marisa. Josef, of course, is not far from his charge's side, but he, understandably, finds himself banished to hall sentry duty, once the Flint woman makes it to Cordelya's door. Nerys seems to care little for formalities or even courtesies, all of her attention seemingly focused on the Young Lady and the family gathering within. Well, that and the wine skins she's brought in with her. It might be a long process and a Young Lord's nerves, well….better to get him drunk than club him over the head. (RIGHT?!)
Anders is back at Corrie's side, and he's got his hand in his wife's, looking concerned. "I'll stay, my lady wife.. by your side, as we promised to the Gods." He chuckles softly, barely above a whisper, "I have a chance now," he teases gently.
When Einar returns, he catches his cousin's footfalls first, and looking towards the door, Anders takes a deep breath. "Okay, thank you, cousin." His wife is given a glance, "I thnk you for that.. and I'm sure your presence will be comforting." Or.. not.
It's the arrival of the midwife, however, that brings the most.. relief across his features. Anders studies the woman briefly; no nonsense.. and that bodes well. "Mistress," is given in greeting. Anything he could say at this point, well.. she could probably tell just by looking at his wife's condition at this very moment. Nerys' appearance does give Anders some surprise, but his appreciation for that which is held in his sister's hand? "Nerys.."
Well, Corrie's sick room, which was a place of privacy and intimate moments but half a minute ago, has now burst into the chaos of a party. The last round of tension and pain has faded now, Corrie breathing a touch more evenly and her eyes widen as she stares at the influx of people through the door. "…Goodness, Einar, you aren't… well… You do not mess around, do you…" She breathlessly admits with just a little bit of a laugh. And, though Anders can talk to others and even smile at his sister, she's not letting his hand go. Not for her life. She smiles weakly at the midwife. "Mistress… it's… it's not so bad yet, really… they may have called to soon…" She admits, trying to sound confident and strong.
Einar gets out of the midwife's way. He wants to be useful, it's his way of dealing with the stress, find something useful to do and do it. Standing in the way of the experts is not useful. "Mistress," he offers respectfully, but briefly, in response to her own greetings, then Nerys' arrival draws his attention away. "Nerys," he offers with a nod before moving towards her. "It's starting," he says once he's closer, not really sure what else to say other than to state the blindingly obvious.
"If you intend to goggle, you may do so as long as you do not get underfoot," Lavender says firmly as she waves the scullery maid about so she can put the bucket close by, and starts folding up the towels in a particular fashion that the midwife demands. "My Lady, I will need you to sit up straight. I will also need the entire lower section of the bed cleared of blankets." She doesn't even look expectantly around, as if knowing someone will hop to. She is sweeping over toward Corelya, and starts her initial look over of the nearly bursting belly. There might as well not be a head attached to it though, as the midwife is much more concerned about bringing the Young Lord's babe into the world. Certainly she cares about the survival of the mother, but there is a chance that there is the Flint's heir in that taut globe. She glances toward Corelya at her words though, and she shakes her head. "Care now, my Lady, time to prepare yourself. He's coming."
Nerys has little to no experience with childbirth, unless one counts a random calf she once helped pull out of its mother, but this is Not The Same Thing At All(tm) and so, she will not attempt to assist the midwife in discharging her duties. But she knows how to manage housekeeping, and the wineskins are handed off to Einar, "For Anders," before she goes to help clear the bed as Lavender ordered. The maid seems best suited to helping the midwife. Bed linens should be the least of their concerns. And so Nerys and Marisa will take care of those sundry details, to leave those with real training to do what needs doing.
Anders whistles low at Einar, a gesture to get him .. above all the tumult. He's there to help Corrie sit up upon the request from the midwife, helping balance and shift her. "I don't think we've called too soon, my lady," he murmurs, "I get that distinct feeling." He nods to his sister as she's on the move, and watches as the wineskin is passed off to his cousin. "My mug is on the table there, Einar.." Just in case. And it's back to Corrie, "You'll be fine, Cor.. a fine child you'll bring into this world."
More and more nervous looking, Corrie doesn't seem to know what to do with ALL these people. Nerys? Marisa? Another woman at the midwife's back? Her white knuckled fingertips don't let go of Anders hand one little bit, even as Nerys begins to clear the blankets, making Corrie shiver a bit just beneath her night dress. She's been buried under blankets for ages now, keeping her frail frame warm around her big belly. For a woman her side? She is truly huge. Perhaps she's just carried overly long, though that could make things even mroe complicated. She leans back into her husband's arms, as he and Einar get her into sitting as indicated. There's a plethora of pillows, almost as many pillows as there are books in this room. She can easily be propped up against that wall. "Alright… alright… maybe it is time… we… We shall see. This just… it's happened so fast…"
What's that you say, something to do? The midwife doesn't need to ask twice, just as Ander's hadn't earlier, and Einar is quickly setting to on stripping the bed of it's blankets. Or at least he would have been had he not found Nerys had beaten him to it and he finds himself holding the booze. He blinks slightly, not entirely sure how she managed that, but then she's a Flint, they can do anything they put their minds to. Apparently. He gives her a brief nod, even if she won't see it before Anders' whistle catches his attention. His mug.. oh, his mug, yes right, mug, wine, useful. Turning away from the bed he crosses to the table and fulls the mug, bringing it back carefully to the bed so as not to get in anyone's way.
"It can start fast, but it could go on for hours," the Midwife says casually as she goes about checking over Cordelya. She is frowning in a stern, thoughtful way. "Merda, rearrange those pillows. The Lady will need to be properly braced." Something still frets the woman's wrinkled brow, though she does not yet verbalize it. Instead she focuses on what is under Cordelya's nightdress. She at least has the grace to warm up her hands a bit before she goes poking around, but poking around she does. Lavender is at least proper enough to make sure no one is gawking at her while she does it.
The wine is the perfect way to get Einar's attention, and it's more something to give both men to do. Something to focus on, rather than Corrie's discomfort, which is more than evident to Anders. He's got to keep his hand on her, helping brace her and shift in order to make the midwife 'happy', or at least content and thus making it easier on his wife. Now, it's just a matter of time..
It's going to be a night. A LONG night. Hours of pain, pushing, people occasionally taking breaks for more wine, to close their eyes, getting water at the bidding of the mid wife, but things don't seem overly horrible. Corrie is exhausted by the crack of dawn when the true pushing starts, the midwife commanding the room like a true pro, even if she's been strangely quiet sometimes. Shortly after the break of dawn, Corrie's face covered with tears, sweat and spilled water, the first sounds of a crack across the buttocks and a newly crying baby are heard. The maid has damp towels, quickly cleaning the baby off, when it's announced…"A….a boy. The heir of house Flint." The woman calls into the room, baby quickly being swaddled to be handed up to his father… A drunken, happy, exhausted sound that is both laughter and tears cracks from Cordelya.
It's a hell of a night. Long, exhausting, and not only for his wife. There's no rest for Anders, at least, as he holds her hand, offering both encouragements and wine. And water.. each when it's needed, or requested. As the night darkens, just before the light, the sound of the child's arrival brings his attention around. When the announcement comes, Anders actually lets out a soft, happy 'hoot', and rises, his hand lingering with his wife. "A son!" is given tiredly, repeating the words, committing them to memory. "A son, Cor!" and he reaches out to take him, once swaddled and bundles. "A son." He looks around the room, eyes bright, "The heir to the House."
Einar has had sleepless nights before, but possibly none quite like this. He almost sees the wisdom in keeping the men out, but then figures he'd only have fretted and paced all night if he hadn't been present. He's almost, almost nodding off when it all finally begins properly and he's jostled awake again by someone or another so he doesn't miss it. Smiles are offered all round, of both joy and relief, as the boy makes his appearance and more wine poured so a toast can be shared. That and so he has a manly excuse to cross to Anders and peer at the tiny bundle in his arms.
Nerys has not been idle, through most of the night. But it helps that she hasn't been bound to Corrie's side, as Anders as her husband has, or Einar to Anders's, as his squire. And so she's been able to escape the room now and then, to help fetch more water, or linens or wine. The rest of the Flints, of course, smallfolk though they may be, are deeply invested in the events happening in the Young Lady's room, and Nerys has offered what placating words she can manage. And so, it's not surprising that she misses the delivery, the swaddling, but walks back in with some fresh linens just as Anders is taking his new son up into his arms. "The gods are good." Relief? Most certainly.
A son. Corrie's exhausted eyes flutter back open, another choking, happy little laugh of disbelief and relief…"I… I so… thought he was a girl…" Corrie admits with an odd little laugh, blinking tears from her eyes as she tries to catch her breath. Mother and baby are looking somewhat alike, quite red-faced and still damp, but she's managed to almost catch her breath. The little boy, however, is clearly not happy to be so rudely presented to the world, and his purple red face lingers in such colour for his wailing to the high heavens right now. Still, the wailing is a good sigh. It means he's healthy. Strong.
It's then that the midwife finally looks up, brows lofted, her expression surprisingly stiff for the worst of the work to be over. Still all business and command, she's ordered her maid for a few more fresh, damp towels, confirming her suspicions from all along, "No time to relax yet, my lady, my lord… There's another one coming. You remember how to do this, Lady Flint. When you are able…" And she's coaching Corrie through pushing again. Another one. Another.
Anders laughs through the wailing of the child, not even trying to quiet him. The noise fills the room, and he's content in it. "He's not.. I knew you had a boy. You were too big." He watches Einar as his cousin approaches, and he shifts the squalling child so he can be seen. "Healthy, cousin.. which is all I can hope for." Well, other than the fact that his wife may be healthy as well.
When the midwife expresses some concern and looks as if the process will be beginning again, Anders looks at the pair, and the preparations, he looks.. puzzled. Confused. "Ano- another one?" He looks to his wife, "Another one? Corrie?" Did she even know? He's unwilling to hand the baby off, but there has to be a wetnurse, and the lad needs his food.. "Another?" He seems to be stuck on the word.. trying to work out the meaning, even though he knows exactly what it means!
Einar imagines that the wailing will quickly get tiring, especially in the middle of the night, but for now it's like music to his ears. Very loud music. Very loud music that's slightly out of tune. "He's more purple than I expected," he states simply as Anders gives him room to look, although the unexpected colour doesn't seem to have dampened the squire's smile at all. The midwife's remarks though bring his attention straight back to Corrie, then to Anders. He'd have offered to hold the firstborn so that the Young Lord could go back to holding Corrie's hand, but there's a handmaid in there first and he's not about to argue with a purposeful woman in a birthing room. Retreating back a pace or two to give room around the bed side he turns to Nerys and says, in case she hadn't heard everyone else say it yet, "a son!"
Nerys hands off the linens she brought with her to Marisa, who's been kind enough to help, though, from the look of nearly abject horror on her face, its only her dedication to her lady that is keeping her from running screaming from the room. Not the maternal sort is Marisa. Nerys does take the time to look at the babe now in his wetnurse's arms, "He's…a very handsome babe." For being squashed and underwater for ten months. But the words of the midwife snaps her head around, "Gods preserve us." Anders' head might explode.
The look in Corrie's eyes, exhausted and glassy from the first round of labour, proves that she did NOT know there was more than one inside. She never dreamt. She just figured the baby was big. Her eyes shoot wide, a fresh wave of terror crossing her features as she doesn't even have time to hold her son before another wave of pressure comes. "Gods… help us…Help me…" Corrie whispers, truly meant more as a prayer than something for anyone in the room to hear. She doesn't know if she can do it. And then her hand is frantically reaching for Anders' once again. The groan of pain, pressure… the familiar sounds of labour start once more.
This time is a touch quicker, but not by much. The midwife and her maid bustling around, coaching Corrie through the second birth. "…so tired… Can't… can't do this…" She gasps out halfway through, but there is no choice. She must. And within a few more minutes, there is another slap upon small buttocks and an angry, hiccuping cry into into the room as the midwife continues to clean the baby off. "…And… another son." She announces proudly. Whether they will be identical, it's hard to tell, purple and crying… But it seems a fair chance. Corrie's instincts could not have been more wrong! And speaking of the mother, she has gone rather quiet now, collapsed back into the pillows, eyes shut. Spent.
Anders is beside her, finding that searching hand, and clutches it tightly. "Another, Cor.." He sounds excited, and even in his own exhaustion, he's fully awake. "The Gods are returning, Cor.." he murmurs, "They're blessing us, giving their blessings over the land again. The dogs thought they could burn them out, but they're here..". He allows Corrie to squeeze his hand, encourages it.. and the moment the baby arrives, the announcement is made. He laughs aloud, the sound mixing with the wails of the newest. "Another boy!" and he looks as if he's not going to be able to hold back the tears of pride. "Cor! Einar.. my sister.. another boy!" Another boy!
As the second boy arrives and starts screaming as his brother had, Einar lets out a breath he hadn't noticed he was holding. "Thank the Gods," he mutters, then turns to Nerys, "your's and mine that is. All of them." Well, not the Drowned God, but that goes without saying really. "More wine cousin?" he then asks, moving towards Anders and the newborn even before an answer can be given.
Another boy? This…is going to make things very interesting. But Asmund Flint did not send his second daughter to his heir's household for nothing. And Nerys remains by the firstborn's side, at least so far as she's standing by his wetnurse. But for the moment, her hands are busy, as she works one of the ribbons out of her skirts, not the stark black, but the softer, more delicate grey. The ribbon she ties carefully around his wrist, that the first of her brother and goodsister's sons might be told from the second. Such things…should not be left to chance. Only then, once she's assured, at least for the moment, that the first son's primacy is noted, does she turns to the new parents, nodding in acknowledgement to Einar's words, "Truly, the gods, old and new, have blessed you, and our House." In such times as these, she has no trouble thanking whatever gods might be looking down on Cordelya Flint, to thank them for the gift of living sons, and a living mother besides.
A living mother, for now. Corrie, in a time of celebration, has gone oddly silent. The midwife and maid are a touch more frantic now, trying to get the unconscious woman through the after birth, but there is blood. And a lot of it. And where the celebrations in the room are wonderful, they are not celebrations in which Cordelya is partaking. She got through the births. Through every last second of what she had to do, she hung on. And now she simply cannot any longer. The flush of exhaustion has quickly faded to ashen pale. But she did her duty, twice over in fact.
Anders takes the baby, once swaddled and wrapped, "The gods are home.. and with us." His voice cracks in the emotion; for those closest to him, they'd know how important it is, was, to be able to feel their presence, to hear them. "And you.." he talks to his wife now, his tones filled with love, "Amazing.." and pauses.. his face whitening. He looks around, "Cor.. Cor.." and he hands the second off to Nerys, and soon enough to a wetnurse. Now, however, he goes to the bedside again, kneeling beside it, taking her hand. "Corrie.. the boys.. they need their mother.."
So that's a no on the wine then. Einar had been holding Anders' mug to pass to him once the secondborn had been passed to the wetnurse, but that idea goes out the window when he follows Anders' gaze to wher Corrie lies on the bed. If he thought he could get closer without getting in the way he would, but instead he simply takes a pace or two slowly backwards, unable to tear his eyes away from the unfolding scene. Thankfully though, a baby's cry snaps his attention back to Nerys and the lads and he turns to face his cousin with a purposeful look in his eyes, "what do you need me to do?"
There is nothing Nerys can do for Cordelya Flint. Nor for her brother. But for his sons? Yes, she can accept the second, though he receives no ribbon. The better to tell them apart. And she will remain with the wetnurse, and guard the heir of House Flint as best she can. And the spare. And if her expression is stony, who could blame her. To do any less would be to admit the possibility that Cordelya will not survive the birthing of her sons. For the now, her eyes find Einar's, her voice as stony as her expression, "Pray."
Pray indeed. Anders' words to Corrie go unheeded, the woman well and truly unconscious, and getting slowly paler by the minute. The midwife has gone even more stony, working under the bloodied skirt of Corrie's night dress, not saying a word. Finally, she flickers a look to the other's. "Take the babes out… go. There is nothing left to watch. Lord Flint, if you wish to stay, you may… otherwise, take the boys to a more healthy room." There was no need for them to be around should their mother pass. Though she never even got to hold her sons…
How could Anders suggest otherwise? At the moment, his lady wife is in the hands of the midwife and the gods. Her gods. His gods. They've given their blessings, and now? "You can't have your daughter," Anders murmurs, and he keeps hold of her hand to give the unconscious woman something.. even if she can't feel his presence. He inclines his head in agreement with Nerys' response, and he looks back at his family, expression pale and grim. "This is when I would call her for aid.." and his voice breaks in the memory.
When the midwife speaks up, Anders nods his agreement with the woman. "The boys, Nerys.. Einar, don't leave them.. not for a moment. I'll join you when I know something," but he can't bring himself to leave. He returns his attention to the midwife, and offers in a quiet, even voice, "I'll not leave."
Einar had been hoping for something more along the lines of 'hold this one a moment' or 'get someone to fetch more towels', but just nods once at the seriousness of Nerys' reply. Before he can start in earnest though there's the mid-wife's words, and then Anders'. He's quite obviously torn for several moments, Nerys and the wetnurse can take the boys between them after all, and he should be at Anders' side… Once he makes up his mind though it's decisive. Crossing back to the bed he takes Corrie's other hand a moment and gives it a quick squeeze before muttering a few words, presumably a prayer and making the sign of the seven. No harm in getting as many gods as possible onside after all. That done he rises again and strides back to Nerys, offering his arms to carry one of the infants. "My room is closest," he offers quickly, "we can use that and take it in turns to catch some sleep as we can."
"Of course, Anders. We will guard them with our lives." Nerys will not keep them in the room longer than they need. These are delicate times. The first son, she gathered to herself, the second will be her cousin's charge, but neither of them will let the babies go to anyone save the wetnurse, once they are ready to feed. She will wait, long enough to Einar to indicate he's ready. "Your room then." And she'll pick Josef back up on the way out, as they move back down along the guest corridor. "Josef, set the guard outside of Einar's room. None enter without our leave." There may be two newly born Flints, she she's taking no chances.