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fic: Air 1/?

Air
By Max


Disclaimer: This is fan fic of a game my friends play.  The website is: http://thelionage.com/

Note:  Good heavens, I’m nervous about this.  So I think I’ll just write as I write and let it be bad and improve it later.

One


Darkness does not care who passes nor does it give pity to the desires of a soul. Paving stones care nothing for what is spilled upon them.  Lucian Fennic did not much like the dark, nor the uneven hardness of cobblestones. Cloak pulled around him, he stayed close to the skinny little servant boy and the watery circle of light the oil lamp gave them.  Houses were dark, shutters pulled against the chill of early winter.  The servant boy turned to see if he were keeping up. He had dark little eyes, features made sharper by shadows and the splash of  flickering light. His nose wrinkled, eyebrows drawing down, then a shudder went over him, and he spun back around, hurrying down the street.  Fennic kept up his pace, soft soled leather boots just as silent as they’d been before.   

As they rounded another corner, onto another street of shuttered houses, a man stepped from the shadows into the boy’s path, bringing him up short, the oil lamp swaying, splashing light over the man, his pale face, the glint of a dagger held by his side. The boy fairly squeaked, but gave no resistance as Fennic grabbed by the collar and tugged him back. He pushed his own hood back, letting some of that wavering light cast an aura on blood red hair. “Speak your peace,” he snapped at the man, standing tall, his green eyes demanding and critical.

“Have charity, fine sir,” the man said his chin tipped to his chest, brows drawn down, thin pale lips sneering.

Fennic pushed his hood back, letting the swaying light over fire red hair. “I am Fennic. I have no money.”

“You’re the healer,” he man asked, his eyes slightly wide, leaning just a little back.

Fennic glared at him, unwavering. “And you are?”

The man pulled his hood back up, hiding his face and disappeared back into the shadows.

As soon as Fennic released the boy’s neck, as small hand grabbed hold of his, holding tight like the redhead could fend off the night itself.  Tugging on him, the boy hurried him down the narrowing road, down a more narrow ally to the small cottage build against a wall of the stable.  

The door was wooden, thick. Terra cotta tiles hung over the edge of the low roof, made even lower by slender little icicles.  The larger house left both the stable and the cottage in stronger shadow, but the hint of light leaked around the shutters. The boy rapped the side of his fist against the door. Almost immediately it cracked open and a dark eyed woman peeked out.  Overwhelming the scent of the stable, from the crack of the open door there was blood and piss and sweat, the stink of fear and exhaustion.  

“I brought Fennic,” the boy said, as if that were the answer to everything.

The woman pulled the door open enough to let them in.  A sharp featured woman with white at her temples and smudges under her eyes, she eyed him up and down. “You’re a man.”

“That I am,” he said. There were two rooms to place. A curtain of irregular colors and shapes hung between them.

“We got no money,” the woman accused.

“I didn’t ask for any,” he said back, giving her a twitch of a smile. He was a wiry man as well, taller than she was, but shorter than the man he’d met on his way. His red hair was done into a dozen braids, lashes golden enough to be almost invisible in some lights. His face rounder, softer than was the norm, with a curved nose and speckle of dots across his cheeks. He motioned towards the other room, asking her to lead the way.

The woman had the same shudder as the boy, her shoulders shaking for a moment as she looked at him. “It’s a woman giving birth,” she said, challenging him.

He unfastened his cloak,  handing it to the boy. A sack hung by cord from one shoulder and he hooked a finger under it, lifting it just a bit from his shoulder. “I think it’s not going well. She’s been at it too long. Do you want my help or not?”

“Please, mother,” the boy said, taking her hand. “He saved Baba’s leg and the fine lady talks of him.”
“I don’t know. The priest is on his way already,” she said, her face twisting as she swallowed tears, her hand making the sign of Benalus. “The Lord’s will be done.”

“Then it’s no harm if I have a look, is it,” he said. He gestured again and she sort of slumped but lead the way into the next room.
The girl lay pale as a ghost on a mattress of hay on the floor. A blanket covered her, though her legs had kicked free.  She stared at him, barely seeing. “Give me water,” he commanded, “Clean water.”

He set his tool bag down and knelt on the mattress. Feeling for a pulse in her wrist, he asked, “What is your name?”

“Laura,” she said, voice slurred. “Are you the priest?”

“No,” he said, tugging a jar of of honey come from his bag. “You’re not ready for the priest yet.”

“I don’t want to die without last rites,” she whispered.

He broke off a bit of the honeycomb, holding it to her lips. “Then let’s try not to die tonight. Eat the honey. It’ll give you strength.”

“It hurts,” she whispered, licking at the honey, weakly at first, then with more energy.

“It’ll hurt less when it’s done, Laura.” He gave her a little more honey, then a little of the water the boy had brought. The honey was soaked in poppy juice. It was going to hurt a bit less soon. “Do you think you’ll have a boy or a girl?”

“Who's going to take care of my baby,” she said, starting to cry as another contraction bit into her.

“You are,” he promised, pulling out his set of tools, unwrapping them from the thick soft cloth that held them safe and silent in his sack. “You’ll be a fine mother.”

Some light came back into her eyes then and she stared at him, lower lip trembling. “Help me.”

“I’m going to help you,” he promised. “By morning, you’ll be here with your baby.”

And she believed him.

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