Rise of Two Thorns

The breeze swirled Silannah’s white hair around her head, the braids that were probably quite beautiful originally, now a mess of loose strands and uneven plaits. She wiped her arm across her brow as she rubbed the oil into the surface of the metal. Each tool was inspected carefully, cleaned and oiled, laying out in well ordered rows. Every so often, she rubbed a hand over her enormous belly in an unconscious way. She didn’t even notice the visitor that had walked around the cottage to the work area. 

“Elune’s tits, are you smithing,” Estelæth asked in an irritated tone.

Silannah whipped her head around before scowling at the uninvited guest. “What if I am? Who gives a damn,” she barked at her oldest friend.

Estelæth crossed her arms. “Me. Your betrothed. Your Thero’shan. Maybe twenty other people,” she offered drily. 

“Well tough shit to all of you.”

“Get your jiggly ass inside,” the violet haired woman ordered.

“And I wasn’t, by the way. I was oiling my tools so they didn’t rust,” she snapped back, continuing her work on a pair of long handled tongs.

Reaching over, Este took the tool from her friend’s hand. “Sil…look at you, that baby is going to drop any minute!” She set the tongs down on the table and went to take the oil cloth. Silannah shoved Estelæth, hard. She picked the tongs back up and continued wiping them down. Estelæth narrowed her eyes at the pregnant woman.

Setting the tongs down in line with the rest, Sil tossed the oil cloth in the bin beside the worktable. “Yeah. Right. That’s what everyone said two months ago. And he’s still fucking in there.” She gestured with both hands down towards her belly. “Nobody knows a gods damned thing about this.”

“You’re right, they don’t. There’s never been a baby like this. Which is why you should be extra cautious,” Este warned. “You know I can render you unconscious without endangering your baby at all,” Este threatened.

Sil smirked at her. “Go ahead,” she challenged. “You would have to carry me inside in that case.” She planted her feet firmly, wide set, and placed her hands on her hips.

Her eyes flashed at Sil. “I’ll drag you. You may be fat as hell but I can still muscle you in.”


“If I have to be,” she shrugged. “And since you are trying to be more of a baby than the damn baby, I have to be.”

“Who the fel invited you anyway? I told everyone to leave.”

“Your boy called me.”

Momentarily confused, Sil blinked. “My boy?”

“The young one.”

The expression on Sil’s face shifted, her tone becoming incredulous. “Ælithil??”

“Yes,” she confirmed, nudging Silannah towards the steps into the house. “Your boy toy sent word that you had lost your mind, and he sent for me.”

“That little shit…where’s my damned hearthstone?” She dug around in her pockets before looking towards the door. “Gonna kick his ass ten ways to Elune.”

“You’re doing no such thing.” Ignoring her, Silannah grasped the rail and moved up the steps with considerable effort. “Sil…” Still refusing to listen, the pale woman started rummaging through one of the boxes. “Stop, Sil. Don’t make me do it,” she pleaded, though her tone was still firm.

“Don’t even think about it!”

“I will do it if you do not stop.” She placed a hand on Sil’s arm very gently. Silannah growled at her, yanking her arm away, but sat down. “Better.” Estelæth pulled off her hat, running her hand through her hair.

“Call me fat one more time and I’m going to beat you over the head with this table though.” Sil sneered at her, clearly aggravated by the entire situation. 

“Try it,” she challenged as she settled into the chair opposite the warrior.

Silannah grasped the table and lifted it off its feet. “I’m pregnant, not dying.” Estelæth watched her impassively, her hands resting lightly on her lap. Seeing that she was getting no reaction, Sil shoved it at Este who simply put up a hand and stopped it cold. “I really hate when you do this, you know.” She set the table back down on its feet with a huff.

“What the fel are you trying to prove, Sil?” She moved the table back a bit, shifting it into its former position. “If you don’t like it, well, you can blame your family.  Someone noticed that when you are being impossible, somehow I manage to straighten you out.”

Silannah stood up and moved towards the sink. “Oh goody. Someone figured out that you’re a friend,” she replied sarcastically. She reached for a cup on the shelf.

“Your oldest friend,” Este corrected. “You’re best friend.”

Cutting her off, she waved the cup in her hand towards Este. “You want something to drink?”

Estelæth sighed. “I’m fine.”

Silannah shrugged and pumped the handle a few times to get the water flowing. She winced a little, rubbing her belly for a moment. Once her cup was full, she waddled back towards the table. Watching her carefully, Estelæth narrowed her eyes. Silannah sat down and sipped, looking Este in the eyes. “What’s the look for?”

“What was that?”

“What was what?” Silannah sipped again and set down her cup.

Estelæth gave her a look. “You looked like something hurt, and you rubbed your belly.”

Silannah rolled her eyes. “It’s nothing. It’s the same little nothings that have been happening for weeks now.”

“And you know damn well what that can mean.”

“That I’m overdue for this little shit to get out of me?” Her exasperation was palpable. 

Estelæth scowled. “Sil, why are you doing this?  Why did you send everyone away?”

“Because no one knows anything. I’m tired of hearing how ‘It could be any day now,’ and then no baby. And everyone trying to dote on me like I’m a damned invalid.” She flopped back into the chair, sulking. “Fel, the only things I can’t do right now is put on my own shoes. And undergarments, but I gave up on those.”

Estelæth colored slightly. Shaking it off, “So you want to be here, alone, when it starts?” 

“I’m not alone. Gilræn is here.”

“I don’t see him anywhere,” Este looked around for signs of the Ren’dorei man, but none were forthcoming.

“He’s out back,” Sil explained. “In his tent.”

Estelæth turned back to her very slowly. “…wait. In a tent?”

“You heard me.”


“Because I’m probably being a bitch too much of the time right now,” Sil shrugged.

“Did you send him out there or did he go of his own accord?” Este stared at her, disbelieving. 

Silannah sighed heavily. “I don’t remember.” Silannah picked up her drink and sipped it again.

“Isn’t he supposed to be the love of your life or something?” 

Sil glared at her. “He is. But that doesn’t mean I’m great to be around. Or want to be touched. Or easy to sleep next to right now,” she snapped. “I can’t find a position to lay in that isn’t horrible.”

“I know the drill, I’ve done it, remember?”

“Yeah, I know,” she responded drily. “Except you weren’t trying to share a bed with someone when you did.”

“How the fel do you know?”

Silannah narrowed her eyes. “Were you? Hmm?”

“Yes,” she smirked. “Several lovely young things,” she taunted.

“Sabershit,” Sil muttered. She sat forward and picked up her cup, draining it, before slamming it back down onto the table.

“I didn’t go celibate for nine thousand years, Sil,” she grinned wide. “I fucked my way across Kalimdor.”

“Well congratulations,” she huffed. Estelæth giggled. “Must have been a lovely fuckfest.” Silannah tried to sit back, wincing again.

Estelæth furrowed her brow. “What are you feeling,” she asked gently. 

“My back hurts.”

“That’s all?”

“Ok, my everything hurts,” she expanded. 

Estelæth sighed. Her voice grew quiet, “Sil, why are you pushing people away?” Silannah gazed at her flatly. “I’m serious.”

“Nothing is happening right now. Not a gods damned thing!” She slammed her hand down on the table. “You think I want my house full of a bunch of people when nothing is happening?”

“Sil, you are not that stupid, even if you try to be,” she countered. “This far along, there’s always something happening, even if it doesn’t look like it.”

“Really? What? Me being tired all the time? Or peeing myself,” she gestured at herself angrily. “Cause that’s loads of fun. Then there’s the damned crying…”

“All of which is normal, which you already know,” she offered. “That’s what it really is, you can’t stand anyone seeing you that way.” Silannah narrowed her eyes at her. “Uh huh, I knew it.”

“Shut up,” she barked. “I just want this to be done.”

“And there’s the other thing, you’re angry because you can’t control it.”

“I want to hold my son and learn his name. I want to be able to see his face. Not waddle around like an over-stuffed riverbeast!” She growled audibly, clenching her fists. 

Estelæth smirked. “You will.”

When?” Sil bellowed the question.

“Look at yourself!” Este leaned in, waving her arm at the warrior. “You’re enormous! And he’s dropped so far he’s bouncing off your knees!”

“I am sitting down,” she countered. “That doesn’t count.”

“I meant before,” she quipped. “And you are being so shitty to everyone that the man that worships you has pitched a tent outside! As opposed to where he usually pitches it, I imagine,” she smirked at the last bit. “Keeping in mind that this is the same man that sat with you for weeks when you were a greasy, smelly invalid.”

Silannah sneered at Estelæth. “He bathed me. I wasn’t either after the first week.” Silannah pushed her chair back and worked herself to her feet again. She grumbled a little as she dug through the food stores.

“The point is he hung around, dumbass.” Este watched her carefully, concern working over her features. 

“Yeah he did. Still can’t believe it,” she replied. 

“Are you trying to get rid of him now?”

Silannah pushed a few things around, trying to find a snack. She whirled around at Este’s question. The expression on her face could only be described as fuming. “Excuse you?”

“Well, you don’t seem concerned that he is sleeping rough.”

“Rough?” She snorted. “He’s got a damned feather mattress in there. And books and everything. He only sleeps and goes in there to read.” She pointed out the back door. “That man does not do rough.”

“Ok, it doesn’t bother you that he wants to get away?”

“Fuck yes, it bothers me!”

Estelæth gave her a look. “Then why don’t you do something about it?”

“I hate all of this! I hate how I feel and how I look and the fact that I can’t move properly. I hate that my emotions make no sense!”  She clenched her fist again, shaking.

Estelæth sighed. “Well, for one thing, you look beautiful,” she said softly. Silannah turned purple, looking away. “Never got to see you this way, always wanted to.”

“I don’t,” she answered quietly. 

Estelæth looked at her, wistful “I’m sorry he didn’t come when they thought.” Silannah sighed, looking down at her swollen belly. “But you need to let people take care of you, no one really knows what is going to happen.”

“I do,” Sil smirked.

“No, you don’t.”

“At some point, a baby is going to come out of me.” Silannah chuckled mirthlessly. “Because he’s out of room in there.” She rubbed her belly, turning back towards the food. 

Estelæth rolled. her eyes. “Don’t be an ass.”

“Why not? I’m good at it.”

“Even if your ass has taken over,” Este teased. 

“Fuck you,” Sil snapped, turning around. She hurled an object at the woman seated at the table.

“Not today, your boy toy might get his feelings hurt,” she grinned, catching the flying loaf of bread. Silannah grumbled and turned back to her hunt. “Get him to go out and get supplies and maybe we’ll talk about it.”

“Stop calling him that,” she snapped. “He’s neither of those things and he’s not a damned servant either.”

“Ok, fine,” Estelæth groaned. “Your betrothed.” 

“See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Este responded only with a grunt. Silannah reached to the upper shelf, trying to pull down some cookies.

Estelæth watched her carefully. “Sil, please sit or lie down, I’ll get your cookies.” Silannah stretched, cussing as her fingers brushed the packaging, pushing them further back onto the shelf. “Sil…”

Silannah stepped back a little before scowling at her. “What?”

“Please, just lay down.  I’ll get them,” she offered, a slight pleading tone to her voice.

“I don’t want to lay down, dammit,” she whined. 

“I know. Do it anyway,” Este begged. “For me.”

Silannah grumbled, waddling towards the bed. She stopped about halfway, her face screwing up. “Shit….” 

“What is it?” The violet haired monk stood up, concerned. She watched as Silannah looked down to the floor, a growing puddle forming at her feet. “Sil?”

“I just pissed myself again.”

Estelæth furrowed her brow and stepped closer. She inhaled deeply. “No. No, Sil, you didn’t.”

“This is your damned fault,” she started to complain before the comment hit her fully. “Wait…what?”

“You wanted him out, right?”

“Yeah? I’m not peeing him out,” she snipped. 

“It’s not pee, Sil.” Silannah looked at the floor again and then her. Este put her arm around her friend, guiding her towards the bed. “Come on…” 

The white haired woman looked over at her, eyes wide. “All right.”

Estelæth smiled faintly. “No smart mouth now I see,” she teased. Guiding her to the bedroom, she pulled the covers back from the mattress. “Get that skirt off,” she instructed. She moved to the sink and cleaned her hands before turning back. “Do you need help?”

Silannah sat on the edge of the bed and began to work the buckle with her fingers. “I can undo a belt, Este.”

“Even one that big?” Silannah stood back up and let the skirt drop to the floor. Scowling, she threw a punch at Este’s face. Este ducked and laughed. “No more of that.” She guided Sil back down onto the bed, grabbing her feet. “Lay down. Let’s get some pillows behind your back.” She rested Sil’s feet on the bed, gently. 

“Fine. It’s just my waters. It could be hours yet.” She laid back, closing her eyes for a moment. 

“Could also be sooner,” she offered. “Ok, who is supposed to be here?” Sil fought with the pillows, trying to get them in position. Este reached out to help. Sil smacked her hand away. “Elune, just let me help, you hateful bitch!”

She grit her teeth. “Fine. I suppose next you’re gonna say you want to deliver the boy too?”

“I’d like to leave that to someone else, but that’s kind of up to him.” She placed a hand on Sil’s belly. “And if you want to be pissy about it, remember that other people would be here to do it if you had not driven them off.”

“Then ask Gilræn to contact Sutrakarre and Borænin.”

“All right,” she pat Sil’s arm and walk to the back door. Leaning out onto the steps, she called over to the tent, “Hey, Boy Toy!” Gilræn poked his head out, giving Este a questioning look. “Yeah, bring a mop.” Silannah bellowed incoherently at Este who chuckled in response. “You know who to call?”

Gil nodded and emerged from the tent. Straightening his clothes he opened a portal and stepped through, returning moments later with a large Kul Tiran woman with a heavily scarred face. She bowed her head to Este and strode inside. Este looked at Gilræn with some confusion.

“Our nanny, Tanniset. She has spent enough time here, she knows how to manage. She’ll assist you until I return.” With that, he waved a hand, shuttering the first portal and opening a second. He disappeared into it, closing it behind him.

Striding back in with a grin on her face, Este remarked “He answered to it, you can’t tell me not to say it now.” She glanced over to find Tanniset quietly cleaning up the mess on the floor. She nodded her thanks and moved to the shelves.

“You know damn well I can.”

Estelæth giggled. “You know he thinks it’s funny?”

Silannah tugged at the covers. “Does he? He hasn’t said that to me.”

“I can tell,” she remarked. She picked up a bowl and moved to the sink. “Ok, how do you feel?  Any pain?” Silannah shifted uncomfortably. Este pumped water into the bowl and picked up a clean towel from the shelf.  “Answer me, Sil.” 

“Just a little pressure right now.” Estelæth set the bowl by the bed. “It’s barely there.”

“You need to let me look,” she instructed. Silannah kicked the blanket off with a huff. “Let me see my old playground.”

“Go ahead,” she replied. “Not like it’ll be a playground today.” Her eyes flicked over to the large woman at the sink, but to her relief, it seemed their conversation was being dutifully ignored.

Estelæth leaned in, checking things over carefully. “ Hmm…playground has gotten a little overgrown…” Silannah narrowed her eyes which was met by a gale of giggles. “Ok, you are starting to open up. It won’t be that long.” 

“Good,” she nodded. Este smiled faintly. “Get it over with.”

“You can thank me later for rage-induced labor.”

“I may beat you for it before thanking you.”

“Hey now, it was my plan all along.”

Sil scowled before pulling her legs up slightly. The monk gently covered her up again. “Thanks,” Sil murmured. 

“I’ll keep an eye on you until your people arrive.” Este leaned over and put her forehead to Sil’s temple. “Settle in, sweetie,” she whispered. “I’ll stay as long as you need.”

“Este,” Sil whispered. 


“I want you to do it…” 

Este picked her head back up, her eyes shocked. “What?”

“Well it’s you or Sutrakarre. And frankly, I would rather have you.” Tears were resting in her eyes. She blinked them back, offering her friend a small smile.

Estelæth watched her for a moment. “Well, then I guess I’ll do it,” she whispered.

“Thanks,” she smiled lightly, before her face dropped. She gasped a moment.


“I’m fine,” she grunted. “Just a little one.”

“Hmm…Ok.” Este stood and moved over to the chair at the end of the bed. She set her staff against the wall. 

“Really. It was like being punched in the stomach by a kid,” she explained. 

Estelæth pulled off her vest and shirt, leaving only a light undershirt on. “It was being punched in the stomach by a kid.” 

“Yeah, yeah,” she waved it off. 

“I’m here, Sil.”

Silannah reached for her hand. Este moved closer and took it. “Don’t you tell anybody about this…”

“About what,” Este asked. 

Silannah wiped off her face before looking up at her, her cheeks flush. “I’m just really happy it’s finally happening.” Fresh tears began rolling out of her eyes.

Estelæth smiled faintly. “You went to a lot of trouble to get me to play with your twat for a few hours.”

The pale woman kicked her, hard. “That is not what I was going for you damned harpy.”

Este giggled a moment. She sobered up a bit, speaking more seriously. “He’ll be in your arms soon, Sil.” 

“He better be,” Sil grumbled. Este rolled her eyes. “I’m tired of waiting.”

“I know.”

Sil drifted off for about an hour before crying out in pain, her body curling up tightly. As it eased, she panted a few times, working back into normal breathing patterns. “Son of a…”

Este chuckled. “Not a little one that time?”

“Fel no.”

A shimmer of light appeared on the back doorframe, heralding the arrival of the others. Gilræn poked his head in first to see where the situation was. Seeing that things seemed quiet, he invited the two men in. Borænin stepped in, his usual stoic expression on his face. He still wore his full uniform which gleamed in the afternoon light. He set down a small bag on the table and withdrew a simpler pair of gloves and a black shirt. Sil cried out again as another contraction hit her. She bit down on it, hard, turning it into a growl. He arched a long eyebrow before turning back to Gilræn.

“Where might I change?”

“My tent out back is at your disposal,” Gilræn replied. Borænin nodded and withdrew. 

Sutrakarre ducked low to allow his bulk through the door. He moved towards the bed, smiling wide. “The happy day has arrived for Sil!” He clapped his enormous hands together happily. 

“Over there, goat-man!” Este pointed to the other side of the room, which garnered a confused look from the man. 

Sil shoved Este. “Knock it off. His name is Sutrakarre.” 

“Fine. Stand over there, Sutrakarre,” she sneered. “And you,” she instructed. “No more shoving. Save your energy.” 

He looked over to Sil, then Gilræn. “But Sutrakarre thought..”

“I asked her to do it, Sutrakarre,” Sil cut him off to explain. “But after…” her words fell off as her face contorted in pain. “Gods…damn…” she grunted through.

“Sil is in need of…” He tried, but Este’s hand came up towards his face.

“Stay over there, stop talking, and let me handle it,” the ancient monk snapped. She pulled the blanket back off and leaned in to check. “Almost time to start pushing. Won’t be long now at all.” She grabbed the water and some cloths and helped position Sil more comfortably. “All right, you ready?” 

Sil nodded firmly. “Past read…” she grunted as she bored down, bellowing out the last of it.

“Good. Breathe until the next one,” she soothed. 

This repeated itself for hours as Sil pushed with everything she had. Her hair clung to her face, sweaty and messy. Gilræn pushed it gently from her cheeks and brow, reminding her how much he loved her between contractions in gentle, murmured tones.

Tanniset busied herself making sure clean bedding was ready for both mother and child. She picked through the clothes in the basket until she found the one Gilræn had indicated was to be his son’s first. Diapers and salves were laid out without undue haste. Once she was satisfied with the baby’s dressing area, she went and changed the water bowl for Este. She took a glance at the progress as she set the clean water down. “If you’ll pardon my intrusion, that looks like a little bum there, not a head.” 

Sil shrieked as Este pushed her legs back, her eyes going wide. “Stop pushing! Sil, you have to stop pushing.” The urgency behind her cry brought everyone’s head around. 

Silannah lifted her head up, pain, frustration, confusion over-taking her hoarse voice. “What? Why?” 

“He’s breech. I have to adjust him,” she explained. 

The overly large Lightforged moved closer. “Sutrakarre can help…” Este glared at him.

“Out of the way, I can handle it.” He nodded, looking a little dejected. She waved Gilræn over. “Hold her legs. don’t let them drop or let her pull back.” He moved to the bed and did as he was instructed. “Sil, are you ready?” Silannah nodded. Este reached up, slipping her hand up inside following the baby’s leg. She hooked her fingers around it and pressed gently and rotated the knee, stretching Sil as best as she was able. “I have to get his legs down,” she tried to tell her friend. 

The warrior heard none of it. There was little she had ever experienced that was a painful as this. She screamed and her body tried to move away from Estelæth’s attempts. Gilræn held her fast, allowing the monk to do her work. “What the fel are you doing?” Silannah bellowed. “Just get him out of there!”

Este pulled a hand back and slapped her oldest friend on her ass, hard. “You liked it well enough the last time I had my hand up here. Now shut up and let me do this or he can’t come out!” Her hooked fingers finally managed to free one of the baby’s legs. Sil’s stomach hardened as another contraction hit her. “Sil do not push. Do not. You will hurt him and yourself if you do. Just breathe through it.” She repeated the process, freeing the other leg. 

Sil held her breath as she fought the pain, her face screwing up and turning dark purple. Este slapped her again. “Breathe! I said don’t push, not stop breathing.” The white haired warrior exhaled, growling. “Be mad at me later, Sil. You have to breathe.”

Sutrakarre moved in to assist again, placing his oversized hand on Silannah’s brow. He looked to Este to be sure he was allowed to help. He didn’t want to cause more distress in an already difficult situation.  Este gestured that he could do as he wished. He murmured something, a soft golden glow shimmering under his large fingers. Sil’s body seemed to relax to which Gilræn nodded his thanks.

“All right. I’ve got his legs. You can start pushing again with the next one. Hard this time, though.” She carefully supported the baby’s hips. 

“What the fel do you think I’ve been doing?” Sil bellowed.

“Screwing around and not listening,” Este snapped back.

Gilræn scowled. “That is not necessary. A little patience with the one in pain would be appreciated.” Este shot him a look which he met impassively. He released Silannah’s legs and leaned down, gently kissing her brow. “Do not pay her any mind. Just continue breathing.”

Silannah grunted and bore down hard as the next contraction came on. Este carefully turned the boy as more of him slipped free. She worked to gently slide one arm, then the other through. Checking to be sure the cord was still loose, she smiled. “One more really hard push and he’ll be here, Sil. Take a moment and…”

“Rwaaaahhhhh!” The sound brought Este up short. She started, very nearly losing her grip on the child as Sil pushed his head through. “Get out,” she growled as he slipped from her and into Este’s hands. She fell back onto the bed, panting heavily, her forehead breaking out into a sweat again. “Gods…” she breathed.

A tiny wail pierced the afternoon air and all eyes in the room started to shine. The violet haired woman lifted the newborn up and placed him on his mother’s chest. Gilræn settled beside them, gently caressing the sapphire hair that dusted the baby’s small head. He traced his son’s long ears as Sil touched his little fingers with tenderness that no one expected of the woman. She studied his tiny face for a minute before her eyes slid closed. Gilræn looked over at her, the smile fading from his face. Her pale features had lost most of their color. “I don’t mean to alarm anyone…”

“She’s going to be fine. I’ve almost got the bleeding stopped, she’s just exhausted,” Este replied. She gathered up a cloth from the bed, stained purple, and tossed it aside. A soft mist enveloped her fingers as she carefully healed the damage.

Sutrakarre pat Gilræn on the shoulder. “Sil is fine. Look,” he gestured to the new mother. “Still holds child safe. Even now.” 

Gilræn looked over at her, his smile returning. He brushed away the hair that had clung to her face. She shifted lightly, groaning. “Sil, are you awake,” he asked gently. She opened her eyes slowly to look at him. She offered him a tired smile. “How do you feel?”

She chuffed a little, closing her eyes, but the smile remained. “That’s a trick question,” she chided him. She traced a finger over their son’s little lips before moving him down so he was positioned to eat. “I feel like I’ve been kicked by an ogre. And like I’m on a cloud,” she whispered the last bit. Este handed Gilræn a soft, damp cloth and he cleaned the sweat from his beloved’s face. 

Once the baby had eaten, Silannah looked over at Sutrakarre and Borænin. “Is he all right? Will you check everything?” The words choked in her throat. She tried to sit up a little, obviously still in pain. Gilræn held her back, firmly, but not unkindly. He waved the others over and Sutrakarre gathered the boy up into his arms. 

They walked him over to the space that Tanniset had set up. The paladin checked over the newborn first, a golden glow showering his tiny form as he examined him for any issue. “Small bruise, here,” he pointed. “Sutrakarre will fix.”

Borænin stopped him with a hand on his wrist. “It is not dangerous. Leave it. It is uncertain if the Light will cause him pain.” He took his own turn, lifting the babe and checking for physical signs of the Void other than the obvious. “No tendrils, no other major manifestations. Hmmm, interesting. His skin maintained much of the pale coloring but the hair matches his father’s.” He passed the baby off to the waiting Nanny’s hands. “He is healthy and as happy as a newborn can be.”

Sil let out an enormous sigh and sagged back onto the bed. Gilræn kissed her brow, and wrapped an arm under her legs and another around her back. He lifted her into the waiting tub that Tanniset had set up. He lowered her down and unclasped her hair. Este handed him a small pitcher and he filled it, running the warm water over her hair as he pulled his fingers through. “He’s beautiful, Sil. You did wonderfully.” 

“I feel like an elekk trampled me,” she moaned. “He had to start as a damned footling…”

Gilræn chuckled, looking over at the changing table as Tanniset cleaned the boy off and dressed him. He washed his beloved’s hair and massaged her shoulders. “I will see the others off and return to you.” She nodded and he dried his hands as he rose.

Sutrakarre was standing beside the table, letting the baby hold his large finger in his hand. He grinned wide, a rumbling laugh filling the space. “Is Sil’s child! Very strong!” Gilræn joined him, smiling happily. He watched his son wiggle against the diaper he’d been wrapped in. He patted the Draenei on the arm and tipped his head towards the door. Sutrakarre nodded and ran a large finger down the baby’s cheek before stepping outside. 

Borænin carefully set a couple of books on the small table along with a few satchels of food. “These explain some things that will present over the next few months,” he explained. “Be sure to read through. For now, things will be as you would expect with a newborn.” He bowed to the parents and moved to the door.

Gilræn turned to Este, giving her an expectant look. She returned the gaze flatly. “We appreciate what you have done, but I would like it very much if I could be alone with my family now.” She stood, moving alongside Sil and squeezed her hand. The man cleared his throat and indicated the door the others had just passed through. With a huff, she crossed the room and picked up her clothes and staff.

“I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Next week, unless we call for you,” he countered. She pursed her lips and left the cottage. He followed behind her, offering his thanks to everyone outside. One by one, he opened portals for them sending them all their separate ways. 

He came back inside, reaching out for his son. Tanni had bathed him and dressed him in soft silks. Gilræn cradled the babe in his arms, studying the tiny face. “Tanni, will you help her out of the tub, please?”

Sil wrinkled up her nose. “I can get out of a damned tub,” she muttered as she pushed herself up. Her arms tensed as she groaned under the strain of it. “Fel…” She wobbled a little, trying to hold herself up.

“Let her help, my lady. That is what we pay her for,” he encouraged. 

“Come now, Sil. Let’s get you outta the tub and into something comfortable,” Tanni said. She reached an arm in and wrapped it under Sil’s, taking the weight for her so she could step free. The women walked to the bed and the Kul Tiran pulled a soft gown over the new mother’s head. She helped tie the three sets of laces in the front. “This should let you feed him as you need,” she explained. She guided the ancient elf into the bed and pulled the covers over her. 

“Thanks,” Sil replied. Tanni nodded and turned to gather up the soiled fabric and took everything outside to wash. “May I see him?” Sil whispered to Gilræn.

“Of course,” he smiled. He lowered the child into her arms.

She studied his face, her fingertips tracing his tiny features, smoothing the tuft of sapphire hair. She quietly marveled at the upturn of his ears that were just a bit longer than they should be for a Ren’dorei. “He’s so small,” she murmured. “How could something this small have been so hard to push out?”

“You know why,” he chuckled. “Do you still wish for me to choose?”

“His name? Yes, I do.”

He nodded, settling beside them on the bed. “Then I have done so.” He placed a hand on the babe’s tiny head. “You shall be known as Orontë. Our Sunrise. Let us start anew, my lady. The three of us, together.”

“Orontë,” she whispered. “Yes.”