Private Tales Read between the lines

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Talus

Dreadlord
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For a brief moment Talus considered the words.

Some of the panic slipped away, but not because it was gone, mostly because he knew that in that moment it wouldn't help. The whole situation was almost like a battle in his head. There was fear, emotion, but none of it would help.

Thus it was all shoved away. "I think it's smarter."

He answered finally, moving besides Zana slowly just in case.

"We know magic. We know all of that." Talus said. "But we're not experts in child birth."

Even with all the reading they'd done. "Lets not chance it."

Whatever else happened...they could handle that.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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"I still thi--aaahhh, fuck."

Zana stopped rather abruptly as the next contraction washed through her and she reached out to grab Talus' arm which she squeezed none too gently. For a good minute she couldn't say anything more and it was all she could do not to grind her teeth to dust as she clenched her jaw. Then slowly, as if the pain were reluctant to leave, it eased and she found herself able to regain some of her breath.

"Okay," she relented. Childbirth was not something they could control with magic unless the twins phase walked out of her and that might still leave her in a dangerous position. She refused to survive a revolution only to die in the birthing bed.
 
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Talus

Dreadlord
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Good, at least there wouldn't be an argument on that front. Talus quickly shifted his feet and moved to let Zana squeeze his arm. A frown touched his face for one brief moment, but then he moved her towards one of the more comfortable chairs.

”It’ll be alright.” Talusa said softly, patting her arm.

There was a brief moment as he considered just what he would write, but after a moment he whistled quietly and called the hound. His feet shifted and moved to the nearby writing desk that Zana had put in just a few hours before.

He scribbled a quick note, then bowed down to pin it to Grey’s collar. ”Straight to the village, fast as you can, okay?”

The great wolf almost seemed to nod, and then with one last glance spared to Zana immediately turned and rushed off and out the door.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana skated round the chair to stand behind it and use it as a support instead. Sitting was the last thing she wanted to do. After every wave of pain came concern down the bond mixed in with excitement. Did they know they were close to being born? It might have been a nice thing to experience if it didn't make her want to be sick too.

"You should get some sleep, Talus. This could go on for hours," or minutes. The books had made it pretty clear there was no sure sign as to which it would be. Honestly, she wondered how they had even written a book. As far as she understood it came down to the stars being aligned. Either way her husband had been working hard all day and deserved at least an hour sleep.
 
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Talus

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The wolf ran about as fast as a bolt of lightning.

Talus was sure that Grey had never gone faster a day in his life, even when they had a full cow butchered. He knew just how important this was, what it meant. The beast was surprisingly perceptible, something he'd picked up on years ago.

"No." He told her.

It had been a long day, too long by some measures, but Talus hardly cared about that. His head shook as he slowly moved to stand besides Zana. "That's not gonna happen."

He told her softly.

"I once stayed awake for five days during a siege." Talus reminded her softly. "This won't be any worse."
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana laughed a little breathlessly at Talus words and she gently placed a clammy hand to his cheek when he came to stand beside her.

"That life feels so long ago, it seems like a nightmare most days," aside from the pain of the loss they had suffered. That was the only thing that reminded her it was real. She leant her forehead to his and closed her eyes. "When they're here I'm not going to be able to devote all my time to taking care of you, so I want to do it as much as I can before they--" another wave of pain bit off her words and she hissed through clenched teeth.

"--Arrive," she gasped when the pain faded.
 
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Talus

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Talus smiled. "I'll be fine."

He told her softly.

"We're a team." Talus reminded her quietly. They had faced greater challenges than parenthood. No matter how much some had tried to scare them, no matter how weary Talus himself might have been, he knew that they could do this. "We take care of each other."

The former Dreadlord said with a smile, his fingers gently squeezing over hers. "Deep breaths."

That was what the book said.

He wasn't some sort of expert all of a sudden, and reading had never been a great talent of his, but he knew what to do now. At least a little bit.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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The pain was getting much more regular now and whilst the deep breaths had helped in the beginning now all she wanted to do was throw the useless advice into the fire.

"I think... those books must have been written by someone who had never had a baby," Zana panted after another agonising minute. Storm clouds had begun to form outside and thunder rolled ominously on the tail end of her words. Sweat was beginning to bead on her skin which looked clammy and flushed in the firelight. She begun to pluck at the strings of her dress.

"Help me out of these?"
 
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Talus

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Talus moved almost instantly to help Zana with her request.

He also wanted to point out that a lot of the books they had read had female authors, but decided that it was probably not a good time to bring it up. In fact, he decided it was probably never going to be a good time to bring it up and just deleted the information from his brain.

"Here." The young former Dreadlord said as he helped Zana unlace the dress as quickly as he could.

"Just lay back." He insisted. "I'll get you some water."

That was important too. "Grey will be back soon."

At least he hoped so.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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For the first time since discovering she was pregnant, Zana was beginning to regret their decision.

"T-towels, towels and hot water she'll want," she reminded him after he had fetched her a cool glass of water which she half drunk half splashed over her flushed skin to cool her. She sent the empty cup back with him as she grabbed throws and cushions to support her back on the floor. There was no way she was getting up those stairs, not now. It was still another half an hour before Grey reappeared soaked to the bone with an equally drenched looking midwife and her two apprentices.

By this point Zana was practically begging for Talus to just ghost them out of her.

"There, there dear," the midwife patted her clammy cheek. "Women have been doing this for centuries, you'll be just fine. Why don't you go wait outside?" she glanced to Talus as she took off her raincoat. "We'll handle it from here."
 
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Talus

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Talus did as he was told. Gathering water, towels, and making sure that both of them were in quick supply when they were needed. He briefly thought about setting out some snacks as well, but decided it wouldn't be appropriate.

When the midwife finally did appear Zana was screaming and Talus was practically breaking down with nerves.

The woman patted his cheek, offering a few words of advice and then throwing him out of his own house. He opened his mouth to object, glancing at Zana for some sort of sign of whether or not he should be staying or going.

There was little doubt that he couldn't do anything in this situation.

But he didn't want to leave. Not if she wanted him here.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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"Don't!"

Zana flung her hand out towards him and half turned desperately to the door where he was backing. Being alone was the last thing she wanted.

"Please, I'm s-so scared," she whispered in between fitful pants. "If one of us... I don't want to be alone," tears formed in her eyes. The midwife and her nurses exchanged glances but eventually the older woman sighed and merely begun to bark orders to her apprentices.

"You can stay but if you faint and get in the way I'll have that wolf of yours drag you out," she huffed then disappeared beneath the sheets. There was a moment and then she reappeared. "Okay my darling, this is it. You're going to meet your children."
 
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Talus

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Talus quickly moved back over towards Zana.

In a moment like this he knew to his core that the most important thing he could do was simply be there. He wasn't much good for anything else. Not magic. Not reading. But the very least he could do was at least let Zana know she was not alone.

His hand gently folded over hers, fingers wrapping around her palm.

He tried not to think about the reality of the situation, what was actually going.

Instead he simply hoped. Quietly prayed that everything would go well. There was no god that either of them worshiped, they had never been taught to. Nor could he call upon his ancestors. Yet all Talus could do was silently beg that everything was going to be alright.

To whomever was listening.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana gripped that hand like a lifeline and didn't let go for any part of what happened next.

Time seemed to pass in an odd mixture of quick flurries and agonisingly slow crawls. Usually the latter happened when she was in the most pain. She tried her best to listen to what the matron and nurses said as they dabbed at her forehead with a wet cloth and took away buckets of bloody water. She pushed when told, begged and pleaded and uttered curses she wasn't sure even existed. But eventually, when she thought she had no more energy to give the sound of a babies cry broke the tension.

"There we go, there we go little one," the matron cooed softly and bundled the crawling babe in thick blankets. "A baby girl, a healthy baby girl," whom she held out towards Talus with a smile.
 
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Talus

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Talus took the child with all the gentle care that he could muster.

It was a moment that he'd never thought he would see. Something that even in the depths of his mind of his childhood he had never imagined. Even after all of this. After the time. After the months and years together with Zana.

There was something surreal about it.

As if holding his daughter, his babygirl, was what snapped him into a reality he'd known was coming for months. Tears slowly began to stream down his face as he curled his arms around his daughter and pulled her close.

His heart thundered in his chest.

His knees felt weak.

Yet he never stumbled, never even quaked. None of it mattered. All that mattered to him was that she was here, that they were together, that her brother would be here soon. That they were a family. That they finally had what they had always deserved.

What they'd fought for.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana watched as the marvel and love burst across Talus' face as he looked upon his daughter for the first time. A tired smile spread her lips as she lay her head back against the pillows whilst sweat glistening on her forehead. It all seemed worth it for just that one moment.

"Is she okay?" she didn't even have the energy to really raise her hand but she made herself do it, her fingers brushing over one tiny little foot barely bigger than her thumb. Their child. She was safe. Zana's eyes closed and she let her hand drop. All she wanted to do was sleep...

"Are you ready, girl? We've got to do it all again now," the response was a half laugh half sob but she nodded. One of the assistants came to gently take Lyra from Talus' arms to check her over and clean her up and to free him to help his wife through the next half of labour.

An hour later another cry filled the room.
 
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Talus

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"She's more than okay." Talus said, smiling as he looked down at Zana and shifting just enough so that she could get a glimpse of their daughter. "She's perfect."

In that moment he wondered how anyone had ever had the heart to surrender one of their children to the Dreadlords.

It was something almost unimaginable. The very idea was almost enough to spoil the moment, enough to bring back a rage that he had supposed to let go. Yet it didn't quite reach that tipping point. It could never have.

Not with how happy this moment was for him. Not with how happy this night would be.

It was near an hour after the arrival of their son that Zana and Talus were finally alone with their two children. Wrapped and bundled up, held gently within their arms. Zana dabbed with a soft touch of watered cloth, both of them still a bundle of nerves. "They're perfect."

He repeated in a silent whisper.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana had gone on missions where she had been awake for several days at a time, she had undergone torture at the hands of her own House in the search for the visions in her mind, and she had suffered the Academy and all its old horrors for the large portion of her life. None of that had prepared her for the terror of having children on top of the exhaustion and pain of birth. She held in her arms one of two now most precious things in her whole world.

"Should they really have left us alone?" she asked nervously, glancing to the door where the midwife had left through. She'd assured Zana she was on the road to recovery and the babies were in perfect health but she would check in in the morning, but the executioner was more worried about how unprepared they both were. Really, they shouldn't be trusted with such important things.

She glanced back down to her son fast asleep in her arms and gently moved the blanket out of the way of his mouth.

"He still needs a name."
 
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Talus

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"We'll be alright." Talus assured Zana quietly, offering her a brief smile as he cradled his child.

A part of this felt surreal still, as though they were in some sort of distant reality. He had wanted this for so long that it seemed odd now that it was here, but he knew that he couldn't have been more thankful for any of it. A smile was almost permanently worn on his face.

He looked down at this son, smiling towards Zana. "I know."

Talus said softly.

"Maybe..." Why were names so hard? He'd never been good at it. Maybe because reading simply did not come easily for him. "Alec."

He said finally.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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The babe in her arm made a gurgling noise and rose his little fists as he squirmed in her arms. A smile more beautiful than the sunrise broke across Zana's face as she took one little hand and let it curl about her finger. The boy settled back against her bare chest and she glanced up at her husband.

"Alec," she whispered in agreement then looked down to the girl in his arms. "Lyra and Alec," she had never felt so much pride for anything in her life like she did right then. Her heart had swollen to the point she thought it might burst. It was the only thing really keeping her awake, this desire not to miss a second of their first moments in this world.

Tiredly, she leant her head against Talus' shoulder.

"It makes it all seem worth it, doesn't it?"
 
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Talus

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"It does." All the pain. All that war. All that fighting.

Right now he would have done it a thousand times over if it meant getting to this point. If it meant getting to meet his son and daughter. A wide smile pulled at his lips as he looked down at his wife, a heavy sigh of contentment escaping him.

It would always be enough.

He needed nothing more. He knew that. A bigtger house, more riches? What was that compared to something like this. Something that he thought he would be denied since childhood. Talus Couldn't have expressed how happy he was in that moment.

"You need some sleep." Talus said softly. "It's been a long day."

Longer than it had seemed.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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Zana's eyes had already fallen half shut as they sat there as a family. Contentment, exhaustion, the sudden drop from adrenaline... it was a struggle staying awake. It was only her children's little movements that kept her attention. To Talus' comment on sleep she made a non committal noise in the back of her throat.

"A bath..." the damp cloth had gotten rid of the worst but muscles she hadn't known she'd had hurt and she could feel grime on every inch of her. "Then sleep," she agreed reluctantly. With some effort she struggled to sit up and then shifted the weight of Alec to one arm so she could reach out and take Lyra.

"I'll feed them whilst you run it."
 
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Talus

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Talus nodded his head quickly. "I can do that."

Right now he could have moved heaven and earth for her if he had asked her. A smile flickered over his lips, and gently he gave his daughter over to her. A part of him felt a pang at doing so, an ache that he couldn't quite put into words.

As though a part of him left with her.

Again he thought of his own parents, how they must have felt when they parted with him. A frown touched his face for just the briefest moment, and then he stood up to go run Zana's path.

It didn't take him long to set everything up. The Dwarves, his family, had come months ago to install plumbing inside of the house. They had all the while let him watch, and though he understood it, Talus was still far from ever being able to create something in it's like. The tricks were simply too clever.

"Alright, ready." Talus said, stepping back into the doorway.
 
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Zana

The Butcher of Vel'Anir
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"Mm..."

Talus' voice made her head jerk up. Lyra and Alec were also fast asleep in either arm, milk around their mouths and contented faces all round. Zana smiled tiredly down at them and winced as she shifted her deadening arms slightly. Both babes only nuzzled further into their mother.

"Time to go to daddy..." she whispered and glanced across to her husband with a tired smile. "Can you handle them? I'll be quick," or at least would try to be. If she fell asleep in the bathtub she wouldn't be surprised. Once he came to sit and take his son and daughter, Zana pushed herself up with no small amount of cursing and noises of pain, bent to kiss all three of the most important things in her life, then waddled to the bath calling her name.
 
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Talus

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"I'll be fine." He assured her. Over the last few months Talus had read more books on childcare than he ever had at the Academy total. Perhaps it was because he'd actually cared about the subject, or maybe because it was just easier now. It didn't matter, he had read and read until he knew everything he possibly could.

All that reading had his confidence at a high.

Somewhat.

With a gentle touch he craddled both of his children. Moving them both to the beds that he had built alongside Zana. Neither of them made a sound as he placed them down, looking up at their father as though he were some puzzle to be solved. A smile touched his face, and he softly spoke to them.

It was inane chatter. Quiet words that did not mean much of anything. He told them of places he would take them, things that they would see together, worlds that they had yet to explore together. All of the things he was sure they would have.

They were his children, and everything was theirs.
 
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