*** SILVA’S POV ***

  • Rhia, it’s not the time for you to be there. Come back to us. You know, you belong here.

I wash her body with dump cloth as I already did hundred times. I repeat and repeat. It somehow helps me not go mad seeing her on this hard wooden table. She doesn’t wake up and shows any sign of improvement. On the other hand, she is not worst. And that’s the only thing which gives me hope.

  • Rhia, follow my voice. Come back to us, to your son. We found him next to you. He is so little sleeping beauty.

My lips break into smile just from the thought about him. Her body trembles and drops of sweat form again on her skin. I wipe them away and let out a long breath.

  • You are more than your body, mi querida. Follow my voice through those dark shadows. Your place is here among us.
  • How is she?

I shake my head instead of answering in words and look at my father. Behind Fergus follows silently Warlock into Rhia’s bedchambers. He is short, lacks muscles on his slim bones, but his head is covered in bushy untidy braids and it looks almost twice bigger as it really is. He nods and with the gestures asks my permission to touch Rhia. I step aside letting him closer to her. He rubs his palms to make them warm and touch her neck on the sides. His eyes narrow. My breath becomes shaky and deeper. He opens her eyes but her eyelids fall down as soon as he lets them drop. He takes from his bag some kind of wooden pipe and presses it against her chest, then below. Upper side of it is wider and he holds his ear over it. He repeats it in different places of her body. It looks painful, but Rhia doesn’t move at all. 

  • What is happening with her?

My concern forces my impatience. Warlock shakes his head and keeps it low. Gathers his things in complete silence and before leaving, hands me a little bone box from his bag.

  • What is it?!

My voice is angry. He opens the box. It’s powder inside. He pours a part of it into the water I was using to wash her. Damps a cloth in it and without rubbing covers her body with it. Water runs off of her body leaving signs of a smoke above.

  • That’s all you can?!

I am so angry that I block his path and pin him to the wall.

  • Useless rat!

He gently uncurls my fingers and reaches for Rhia. He takes off one of warlock’s rings from her finger and tattoos on her body start to appear. He points his finger at the skull.

  • Yah, yah, we know that, she was pregnant. Baby is with us.

He shakes his head and gestures. I try to get what he says but nothing makes any sense. He keeps shaking his head no matter what I guess. Oh, I wish I didn’t cut his tongue earlier. On the other hand, he won’t be helping us tonight.

  • He is no use..

Fergus sighs in defeat.

Warlock’s finger points one more time at the skull and then his finger makes a slow trace to the other tattoo, eagle.

  • Cymru.
  • Cymru.

We both say together with Fergus and share a look. Fergus tilt his shoulders.

  • It doesn’t explain anything. How is he suppose to help her or us?

My father smacks hands at his legs. He never had a lot of patience.

  • They have a bond.
  • Bond didn’t help your mother.

He cuts my words not thinking. I put a palm on his shoulder. Maybe it will help to calm him down. Warlock collects other rings from Rhia’s fingers and puts them on the bed as they are ordinary stones. He twirls and changes positions of those rings several times till he finally looks satisfied with the outcome. We come closer and take a closer look.

  • Father, where does Hlif live now?!

Warlock is grinning. Oh, spirits! Oh, spirits help us!

  • Midwife?! Near the river up mountains. Why do you need her?

He doesn’t suppress his surprise.

  • Rhia.. She has one more baby. In her!

He is shocked as reality hits him. 

  • Don’t stand here. Bring her!

He snapps after a moment, nods and turns on his heel. They both leave and I return to my watery cloth. That powder makes water icy. It calms Rhia’s heat down and her body stops shaking. The whole floor is wet, soaking from running water. Unfortunately heat waves come back and the cloth becomes warm and dry quite quickly. Servants bring me more water, and more as we wait for the Hlif.

  • Rhia, come back. It’s not time to visit spirits.
  • You are mistaken. She holds for life.

I swirl around as a lovely alluring voice reaches my ears. 

  • You slaughter us and now seek for my help, Silva?
  • Your humans set my woods on fire!
  • You just don’t want to admit similarities we all share.

I return to Rhia to replace the already dry cloth with a wet one.

  • Well, well.. What do we have here?

Hlif takes off the cloth which was covering a large part of Rhia’s body. She presses her fingers deep in her tummy. 

  • Hlif, if you hurt her..
  • Give me a dagger and candle.

I look at Fergus in shock. I don’t trust that woman. Unfortunately we don’t have much choice. Fergus looks more lossed as I am.

  • Hurry, she has not much time left.

Hlif urges us. We handle things she asked. I am ready to finish her if she will try to hurt Rhia. I stay almost next to her side. Hlif heats the blade of my dagger. Fire licks it’s cold edge. I become more suspicious and catch her by the wrist.

  • You kill her, you will pay more than your life.

I let her go after my warning. Corners of her lips curl up. Unpredictable f*cking humans..

  • Who knew you have a beating heart, Silva.

I try to ignore her tone. I stalk her hands instead. She digs the hot dagger’s blade into Rhia’s stomach and makes a large cut along. Tummy moves from her hands acting inside. Rhia doesn’t respond in any way. She is so pale as never, her body is covered in small drops. I wipe them. My stomach flips over and tears prick at my eyes. With a deep sigh my father lets out, I gather myself to look up and see a little head and two moving legs. Unaware I hold this tiny beauty against my chest and brush dark hair and pale small cheeks. Just my skin separates my flying heart caged in my chest.

  • You, little trouble.

My words come out so gentle. My father chuckles. We’ve never shared a special moment together. I am glad he is next to me now.

  • She. How will you name her?

Girl. It’s a girl! Rhia gave birth to a girl! Overwhelmed, I look at my father.

  • Rhia will do.
  • Is she infamous Rhia? No surprise, she survived this.

Hlif’s voice destroys the idyll and sends me to the edge of anxiety.

  • What do you say? she will live now, right?

Concerned Fergus hugs my shoulders looking softly to the little girl and eyeing Hlif.

  • If it wasn’t her, my answer would be no.
  • How to help her?
  • Keep her heat low and hope, Rhia will do the rest.
  • …thank you.

I pronounce words I never did. Hlif gives me a small weird smile.

  • You may want to put those back on.

She points to the rings. 

  • No.
  • Ah, right. Vampires..

Hlif chuckles puting rings back on Rhia’s hand. 

  • If she survived having them on, she will fight now.

Continue reading chapter 17