Monday, 12 March 2012

Waiting & Wondering

Noiseless steps took her across the port cobbles. It was just after day break and despite the first morning rays of light that fought to glimmer through the fading darkness, there was a chill in the air, the first real sign that winter was soon on its way. She would miss the swirling autumn hues.

There was not a soul in sight nor any creature soulless to see. Not even the market traders or tavern workers were up this early. In the distance the banners of Tarrund flew almost feebly in the wind. There was not enough gust to have them flutter strong and proud and so they remained somewhat limp and half hearted. She sighed wearily and looked away. Every bone in her body felt recently aged and worn, as if time was creeping up on her despite her immortality. Even her face, which usually shone bright and beautiful in porcelain glory with just that touch of human rosiness to keep her unique from all others, was faded. She looked ashen and dull and felt very much as she appeared. So much for the glow of pregnancy.

She brushed aside strands of hair that whipped across her face as she stepped onward facing the ocean, but somehow the usual comfort and serenity of the open water, waves lapping in hypnotic rhythm, failed to lift the clouds from her mind. Instead her boots took her to the Ivory Church where she sat quietly, the weight off her feet and the almost ancient silence that hung within its walls allowing her mind to settle a little and try to figure out why she felt so low.

Her pale hands came protectively around her stomach, which was now swollen with a miracle child that seemed certain to make her entrance to the world any day now. In ways she longed for it. The excitement always there, a new life, a new start and a future that hoped to be so full of promise. Yet increasingly she felt anxious, growing nerves over whether she could cope as a mother to such a unique and special child. It seemed a long while since she had felt her strong self, not only in body but also in mind and in spirit. Many had told her she would make a perfect mother, with so much love to give...yet they were bound to say such things weren’t they?

She worried for Elemmírë (for even though not yet born she had been named so by her already doting father) in perhaps needless ways, but it could not be helped all the same. She worried that she would not understand her child’s nature, having found it hard to get to grips with ways of pack life and elven tradition, bonds that would inevitably be there through Alastair’s heritage. And on the other hand she feared for the vampiric influence, if it was found to be present, felt a nervous concern that their daughter would grow to face all the temptation and prejudice she had long endured.

Such thoughts turned over in her mind, almost speaking them aloud inside her head as if doing so, facing them may lead to an answer. But the reality was it was just a waiting game, and a trust that things would come naturally. A mother’s intuition as they called it. But it was more than that she not so much realised as faced up to. She was exhausted, anxious and vulnerable to things she had no control over and even surrounded by people and those whom loved her, the sad fact was she felt incredibly lonely.

She had watched Alastair turn his fortunes, find solace in a careful and embraced balance of his heritage after so much hardship, even if the path had been fraught with gauntlets. But like the strong, determined and even a little stubborn man that he was, he had battled hard and won. She was so very proud of him and smiled softly as his face came into view in her mind and even despite her mood her heart warmed at such. Yet she missed him terribly, off somewhere in his dedicated manner, loyalties many and trying so hard to meet them all. She envied him in ways, that acceptance, places to call home and true people to call kin without shame or vulnerability. She felt guilty at feeling such things given the care and respect offered to her by those whom cared for him, but it was something that she just could not put into words. For all their love and friendship she felt no real sense of belonging.

She had hoped that in her ambition to return to Tarrund, even if a little sooner than planned, she would feel the excitement and thrive on the buzz of the city she loved so dear. Yet the port had felt different lately, disorientated, lost and subdued, the mood broken only by fighting, harsh words and injustice which only served to darken it further.

She had spent the last few days seeking the chancellor but to no avail, a busy man or so it seemed though busy in what she could not be sure, reviving her beloved city did not seem to be the case. She wondered if this was yet another mistake of hers, to return in hope of reviving some of that former glory, where even amidst bloodshed Tarrund had been united against any darkness that tried to infiltrate. She began to wonder whether such an era would ever be seen again and then chastised herself for such a despairing outlook.

When not wandering the port or sat by the ocean she stayed close to the infirmary, terrified that the baby may decide to come any moment ill-prepared. Yet that carried its own risks given the stand offs, swordplay and brutish behaviour that had graced the courtyard of late. People swirled around her in a blur, caught up in their own kinds of chaos, tempers and passions running high and she felt lost amidst it, like an outsider looking in who’s voice could not be heard but she could feel the sting of their actions all the same if she strayed too close.

She looked up, seeing the sun arc through the church windows, rainbow colours projected from stained glass images and she realised she must have been sitting there for hours. She felt herself shiver, a coldness that seemed to have encompassed her of late, where her unborn child now craved and took every little glimmer of warmth she had. She closed her eyes for a moment of self indulgence, wishing Alastair here, whose warm embrace always brought the colour back to her cheeks. They had too felt distant lately, kept apart by loyalties and circumstances and she admitted quietly to herself that along with the burden of heavy pregnancy, disappointment in the state of Port and missing him terribly were perhaps most to blame for her frame of mind.

She felt Elemmírë give a swift kick to the kidneys and thought once again she would certainly take after her father in physical strength. She thought perhaps it was time to leave, to seek the sunlight, perhaps lift her mood and hope that the day of her arrival would be imminent and banish away her blues and replace them with a new lust for life. And not a moment too soon for as she made to stand, the doors burst open and in walked Kain.

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