“My dears, please—“ Minis choked to a stop, torn, wanting to be with Gan and Fara, wanting to be with Ky.
“Go on. She shouldn’t be alone either, love,” Fara said, turning her face into Gan’s shoulder. “We’re safe now.” Her hand rested gently on the curve of her abdomen and Gan covered it with his own hand.
“I love you.” Minis said.
The room where they had Ky sequestered, Minis had never seen before. It was a room behind Risae’s statue, where every stone was carved as though it were a cage with an animal in it. White stone but every white animal had its eyes painted red.
He sank onto the chair they brought for him and took her hand, laying his other on her head, letting his forehead settle onto her shoulder. He could feel her breathing. They’d cleaned her up and put her in a white robe, very much like his. His heart sank a little at the lack of bustle and her clean, pristine stillness. But he took heart at her steady breath. Her belly… was still very round. Had she lost the baby?
“It will be all right, my love.” He whispered. “You’re all right. No matter what happens. Don’t leave us, Kyriala. Please don’t leave us to go be with the Gods.”
“Imperator.” It was the Fenjitas standing next to him. “I’m sorry.” In his hands he held a tiny gold wrapped bundle and as Minis turned to him held it out. “I’m so sorry.”
“We… lost the baby,” Minis said and transferred his hold from Ky’s head to her hand so he could take the little bundle into his freed hand. His insides froze. It was as though he could barely move. He could hardly see as he opened the swaddling cloth and looked at his first baby’s still face.
Perfect features, translucent lips and fingers, curled under the chin. Eyelashes laid against the tiny cheek. Whisps of pale blond curling gently against the delicate skin, tiny, wee chips of fingernails, a faint sleepy frown as if someone had cast a baby in glass in half size. “He never took a breath,” someone said.
He. “Joras Kriadas Amitzas,” he said and it was as if saying the name broke him. He began to sob. “Joras.”
“Our Joras.” Ky said, opening her eyes. “He’s died, hasn’t he?” Tears leaked out from under suddenly squeezed shut eyes. “The Great Surgeon took him.” She managed to roll onto her side and seized Minis and the stillborn baby, her body racked with sobs. “I’m sorry—“
“No! No, do NOT blame yourself,” Minis said, harshly. “If anything this is my fault.”
“Children.” The Fenjitzas said gently. “There is no blame here. There is only your pain. Be with each other.” Minis felt his hand on his shoulder. “Mourn him as is right. Take joy in the other two.”
Minis looked up, Ky was sobbing so loudly he didn’t think she’d heard. “She’s still pregnant? She only lost one of TWO?”
She heard that and hiccupped. “I’m still pregnant? And Fara’s all right then? We’ll have two, that must be what the two wheat stalks meant.”
The wild roil of emotion threatened to knock Minis right out of the chair. “One to grieve for and two to hope for? Gods, Ten…” They clung together around their babies living and dead and cried and laughed, rocking back and forth. “Oh Gods… oh Gods…”