Birth Plans

Finarvi — Birth Plans

????, Sea Season


Context

Sea Season, after leaving Venlar out in the cold on his own. [[[s02:session-32|Session 32]]]

Events

“Have a good time, my love,” Mellia tells Venlar. “I will see you soon.”

He goes off at a disconsolate, low-paced walk, his mount agreeing with the pacing.

Mellia waits to see which way Finarvi goes.

Finarvi turns his horse back to Mellia, towards Blue Tree village. “Is everything well?” he asks, more curious than concerned.

Mellia smiles and waits until Venlar ends up out of earshot before saying, “You have a wonderful surprise waiting for you!”

Her smile is infectious. Finarvi’s answering smile is slightly more bemused.

“Let me take you to Matila. She should be the one to tell you.”

He falls in to ride beside her. “Matila?” he asks, surprised. He shrugs. “I thought she was avoiding me.”

Mellia comments, “Maybe she’s nervous, but you should know and she should tell you.”

Finarvi accepts this wordlessly, and they ride back towards the village in silence.

Matila is out with the horse herds, wearing a cloth backpack. 1Finarvi fails scan, passes Insight. He does not see what the backpack holds, or that it is not in fact a backpack, but a long sling, tied carefully.

Matila looks… cautious? Maybe? Half worried and half hopeful.

Finarvi dismounts and offers Matila a greeting in what little Heortling he knows.

In return Matila says, “Greeting,” in Tradetalk. It should be ‘greetings’. However, she does manage to say, perfectly comprehensibly, “You view the child?” She even uses the ‘look at’ rather than the ‘assess for sale’ sense of the term.

2Matila rolls a Special in Tradetalk.

“Haran Dostiaragson? Yes, he’s growing fast.” Finarvi, relieved to be able to speak in Tradetalk, beams happily at her.

“Not that boy. This boy.” Matila shrugs like maybe it could be any boy nearby and she does not care.

Finarvi looks puzzled.

Matila does something odd. She starts untying the cloth backpack. Maybe there is something in there to help her explain. But as she wriggles, it looks less like a backpack and more like something is just tied to her, carefully and securely.

She has put on weight this year, and is curvier. The harvests must have been good after all.

Finarvi glances over at Mellia, hoping for clarification.

When he looks back, Matila is wrapping a small child up in the excess cloth that used to be a tied backpack, so that nothing trails down. The effect is to over-swaddle the baby, who blinks confused eyes open.

“If you want, you can walk away,” Matila says. “He does not need a father.”

The boy, paler than her, darker than a Grazer, grumbles in his wrapping.

“Your son,” Mellia explains, “and fathers are helpful. I thought you should know.”3Finarvi fails his ‘love girl who loves horses’ passion roll.,4Both Matila and Mellia pass their Insight rolls

For an instant Finarvi looks stricken, then his features compose themselves. “Thank you, Mellia,” he tells the White Lady. His gaze leaves the baby to settle on Matila’s unreadable face. “May I hold him, even so?” He is standing very still, as if the slightest motion might startle some shy creature into flight.

Matila offers the bundle over, her face set. Forbidding? Locked down? Hard to tell.

Finarvi accepts the bundle tenderly. His attention’s wholly on the baby now, everyone else forgotten.

It stares wildly at him, in confusion. He, this little bundle, must have been born just before Sacred Time, or he would not be able to hold his head up yet. It cannot have been much before that.

Finarvi is besotted. He loosens the swaddling just enough that the infant can get an arm free.

The boy wriggles and tries to embrace the ground. Snug in all of the windings, he does not manage it. His ear is cute.

Finarvi shifts his stance slightly so the baby can see his mother and deftly handles the wriggling bundle. He’s clearly done this before.

Matila smiles a little. “Active. Forward-gait.” Her new Tradetalk, predictably, has a lot of horse-related words.

Finarvi looks at her, and some of the tension around his eyes eases. “Strong too,” he agrees, and lifts him up at arm’s length to get a better look at him. “What is his name?”

“Antoril. A herder’s name.”

The bulbous wrapping is coming undone. Matila adds, “It’s cold. Not too long away from me.”

Antoril has soft brown hair and mid brown skin and eyes that are darkening from blue-grey. He also has the look of a child about to scream for his mother.

It is cold, so Finarvi doesn’t hesitate to hand him back when she asks. “Antoril,” he repeats, trying out the strange name. He bows his thanks to Matila for letting him hold her son. “You are very blessed.”

Mellia watches, seemingly pleased with how things are going.

Matila quickly ties him back on, this time on her front, facing her. She says nothing as she does.

The silence grows uncomfortable. Finarvi casts a pleading look at Mellia.

“Well, at least Antoril’s name isn’t in dispute,” says Mellia. “Some things should be settled, such as Finarvi visiting and supporting the child.”

“Only if he wants to,” Matila says. “He does not have to. If he wants it, I show him the boy in the great hall. He says he is the father, and I say it.” She shrugs, as if to show this is not a big deal to her.

At Mellia’s words, Finarvi’s expression turns pained. “Why would there be dispute?” He looks to Matila. “I have no claim here. The child is his mother’s. He is Blue Tree, not Pure Horse People.”

He turns to the healer. “Mellia?” Fin looks anxious and unhappy. “I do not know the traditions here. Will you help?”

Matila steps away to go not be in earshot, discreetly.

“I don’t know the traditions either, but I will help. Venlar might be more helpful.”

Finarvi nods. “If you would ask him for me. I do not want to make difficulties for Matila or… or Antoril.” He’s turned back towards his horse and is staring hard at the saddle.

“Of course I will ask Venlar. Shall I go find him now?”

For a long moment it looks like Finarvi just wants to get on his horse and ride off. But he gathers himself, and offers Mellia a sad smile. “Yes. I think I should come with you too.” He looks back towards Matila.

Matila is carefully watching the horses, like a good herdswoman should.

After making sure Mellia is well-seated, Finarvi climbs back into Madryn’s saddle. “Let’s go back.