Saturday, July 11, 2015

159 - Rain Festival, Mella 30

“I’m tired!” Kyriala snapped, pulling free of Farasha’s and Minis’s support where she was walking, and sat down on the chaise, just in time for another contraction that had her hissing through her teeth.  “It’s been five beads and I’m TIRED of this!  I want my dogs and I don’t want any more iced ANYTHING and all of your hovering is driving me MAD! It's so hot. The air is so thick. Go away for a bit.  Just… leave me alone… OOOH!”

Minis stood, hands opening and closing, helplessly as another contraction wracked Ky. Farasha patted his shoulder and offered her hands to Ky to help her up where she’d flopped back against the armrest after the paroxysm.   

“Come back to the pool for a bit,” she said.  “Instead of walking--”

“My back hurts! My everything hurts.  Narilla!” She pulled off her shift and stood naked, stomach muscles rippling as another contraction came in like a wave. “I want to push so much!”

“Let me check, my dear.” Narilla guided her over to the pool and a moment later said, “Where do you want to deliver this baby? In the water?”

“Yes! No! ARRRRGHHH!” It was more a roar than a groan, or a scream and Minis slid into the water with her. She seized his arm with one hand, held Farash’s hand with the other, panting.  “Come ON, child!”

“Push with this next ---“

“ARRRRhhhhHH! Huh, huh.”

Her stomach was visibly dropping as the baby came, as though a great hand were wringing her out. 


“Ky we need to get this baby out now,” Narilla said calmly and as if Ky’s body had heard another contraction pummeled through her.


Minis thought she’d crush his arm in her hand as the baby popped out into Narilla’s waiting hands and then a gout of red, a flap of blood… oh, the placenta… The pool was red and Minis couldn’t see… The baby came up and as the face broke the surface, water and fluid pouring out of nose and mouth, the mouth opened and a healthy squeal marked the newborn.   

And acolyte took up the child since Narilla hadn’t moved.
“Ky… I know you’re tired.  Push! Push hard now!”

“WhhhhhhAAAAAAAAA!  What’s going on, Narillllll AAAAAAAAA?!” Her hands shifted and as the water grew even murkier, lifted a second child to the surface.  A baby’s outraged roar at being lifted out of the warm water joined the first sibling’s complaint.

“Two?”  Minis’s mouth hung open and Ky, hair plastered across her face, turned to look at him in wonder and then clenched shut again a moment later as the second placenta was delivered.

“Minis!” Narilla ordered briskly.  “Now you may take your wife out of this… there are several things I need to check, and she tore.  Akminchaer…”

“I am here,” his soft voice was at Minis’s shoulder as he scooped his wife up in his arms, wet, bloody, still bleeding, lifted her straight up to lay her on the padding that had appeared on the edge of the pool at his elbow. So much good has happened to me in pools of hot water, he thought. Ky had never let go of his arm, her head turned to where the acolytes held the babies, not caring that the Haian and the Fenjitza worked below her waist.

She finally let go his arm and the acolytes laid the two tiny bundles in their arms, even as Akminchaer worked to stop her from bleeding to death.  The Temple bells rang out from the enormous bronze gong, to the smallest silver ones, ringing in the new Imperial Heir… and Coronet Regal… over the crowd of women in the Temple below and the Plaza outside.

“Oh my,” Akminchaer said. “Oh…”

Minis could see the Temple air dancing in his sight and prayed out loud for Selinae and Dimae and Risae and Mella and Anae.  “Almighty Mothers Five… be with us!” He could barely hear himself over the high pitched cheers from the women of Arko and the booming and crashing of the gongs and bells spreading all over the city.

Akminchaer held up his hand and dropped his needle and thread into his case to be cleansed.  “I think the Temple is…”

“Both placentas are here… she’s fine,” Narilla said.  “

“Our babies,” Ky whispered fiercely in Minis’s ear.  “Our beautiful girls.”

“Girls?” The word fell out of his mouth and rolled around in the now empty pool like a coin in a bucket.  “Wow. Two. TWO!  I thought… I mean… I thought that the Gods meant…”  

“Our Inensa,” Ky kissed the one's head, already latched on, and the other, still rooting. Our Daurama.

“I hoped but thought THEY meant Fara’s and mine,” Kyriala said.  Farasha started laughing and shook her head.

“There’s no twins in our family, so it is likely one!  And we have the answer for why you are birthed so early.”

"I'm all a mess," Ky said plaintively as Minis lifted them up again to let the priests wisk away the bloody pads and towels, walked over to lay her down on the clean bed made up for her and the babies. "I'm wet and my hair is all out and my stomach looks like the Imperial bed, half-empty."

"You look wonderful," he said. "You look amazing. You look astonishing." He kissed her under her ear.“Mella 30, and the Rain Festival!" Minis said as Gannara came charging up the stairs and slid to a stop on the marble on his knees, next to Ky, nearly falling over them both. He caught himself on Minis's shoulder.

An enormous crack of thunder boomed and the Rain Festival began with a silvery downpour.  The women in the Plaza raised their faces to the water and sang their hymns to the thunder and flicker of lightning and the pealing of gongs and bells.

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