Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Chapter 111 - Babies

As Elenie's pregnancy progressed, she and Ieaun spent a great deal of time reading about parenthood.  Unfortunately, although there were a great number of books available very few of them seemed to agree on anything!  Nonetheless, both of them wanted to be as prepared as they could, so they continued to read everything they could.
Putting the latest book down with a sigh, Elenie turned to her husband; "So, this book says that we need to let our babies cry, unless they're hungry or in need of changing, while the last said that we should get up and reassure them every time they cry...  It's so confusing."

Ieaun laughed, "Well, if Mam's stories of when my brother and I were babies are anything to go by, we won't have much choice about whether to let them cry or not - she said she'd do almost anything to shut us up for the sake of her own sanity!"
Elenie sighed "Ah well, at least it should be soon now.  You said you saw we'd have twin girls, did you see anything else about them?"

"Bits and pieces, they'll be as thick as thieves and drive us up the wall..."  Leaning over he kissed her lightly "Don't fret cariad, all will be well."
Elenie went to pull a face at him, intending to object to his suggestion that she was worrying, when she felt a sudden spasm.  Jumping to her feet she put her hands to her tummy and gasped "I think we'd better head to the hospital..."
Fortunately, the hospital was only just across the road from their home and they were there within minutes.  
After a lengthy labour, Elenie eventually gave birth to the first of twins, a healthy baby girl with sparkling lights floating around her.  Moments later, their second daughter simply phased out of the womb, a tiny golden spirit with darker sparkles who seemed just as healthy as her twin, despite her incorporeal state.
Taking their daughters home, Elenie and Ieaun settled them into the newly decorated nursery.  They had discussed names while the healers were checking the two babies and on the short walk home, and after some thought, decided to name them them Bronwyn and Rhonwyn.  Bronwyn was the elder of the two and Rhonwyn the younger.

Once the two babies were settled in their nursery, Elenie decided to have a quick nap.  While she was doing that, Dory introduced herself to her granddaughters, cuddling the two of them in turn, she promised them quietly that she would be a better grandma than she had been a mother.
Later on, after Elenie had awoked refreshed from her nap, she joined her mother tending the plants in the greenhouse.
While they were doing that, Ieaun gave each of the babies a bath and settled them down to sleep, leaving a baby monitor in the room with them.
He regretted that slightly  when they were both awoken early in the morning by their daughters' cries echoing through the monitor...
Stumbling downstairs, not even getting changed first, he and Elenie each picked up a daughter and began to cuddle and feed them.

Once the twins had been fed, changed and cuddled, Elenie and Ieaun placed them in a couple of baby swings and left them in the care of their grandmother.  

Ieaun had to head off to work, while Elenie was keen to make at least some with her alchemy and science experiments.
When the twins began to fuss again, Dory carefully got them out of the swings, fed them and settled them down for a nap.
Meanwhile, Elenie had finished a batch of elixirs and rode over to the alchemy store to sell the spares off and pick up some more notes for her research.
After passing the elixirs over, she spotted Evie browsing the displays in the shop and headed over to talk to her, calling her name.  

Evie turned to greet her "Elenie, I was hoping to see you, how are the babies?"

"They're doing well, although I'm a little concerned about Rhonwyn being a spirit, what will that mean for her?"

"To be honest with you, I don't know.  It's a rare thing for anyone to be born a living spirit and I've never come across it before.  However, I have some important news for you.  I've received confirmation that Nicodur is dead, slain by his Queen for his failures.  You don't want to know the details; I understand it was a particularly painful and gruesome death, even by Morgana's standards..."
"He's dead?  Is it wrong that part of me feels cheated and the other part glad?  I know I shouldn't rejoice in the death of another, but he's caused me so much pain that I rather wanted to kill him myself..."
"Oh, I don't blame you for that, but he was never the ultimate villain, just the henchman sent to do his queen's dirty work.  Then again, he was only too happy to carry out her orders, or attempt to, and ultimately he chose to follow her knowing what she was like, what sort of thing she would order him to do, and what her penalties for failure were... I won't be mourning him either."

"So, if he was only the henchman and she's killed him for his failure to kill me, does that mean she's given up on her plans, or just on his ability to carry them out?"

"Likely the latter I'm afraid; Morgana is a queen of the fae, she won't give up on her aims although she may change her plans for how to achieve them.  The real question is not whether she's given up, it is how long it will take her to make new plans to achieve her aims - it could be a year, it could be a century...  I suspect though that her next set of plans will involve your children rather than you.
"I just wish I knew what changed to make her decide to kill you rather than try to corrupt you, I know she wants the power of the prophecy, but if we knew why she changed her tactics then we might be able to predict what sort of plans she will come up with next.  I will keep alert for any information coming out of her realm.  In the meantime, you get back to your babies and bring them over for a visit soon!"

Monday, 17 February 2014

Chapter 110 - New Life

Elenie woke the next morning having come to a decision during her repeated bouts of nausea in the night.  Life was too short, even if the sickness didn't mean what she hoped it might.
Gathering the family together, she insisted they all head down to the fairground and visit the summer fete being held there.  It was a gloriously sunny day and they all headed straight for the snow cones.  Grabbing a cherry flavoured one, Elenie took a seat on one of the benches and beckoned her mother over.
As Dory sat down apprehensively, Elenie took a deep breath.  "Mother, I forgive you for all the things you did and failed to do in my childhood.  I know it wasn't your fault and you were bespelled.  I don't really want to talk about any of it, but let's try and make the most of what time we have now."

Dory looked down at her feet; "Thank you, I'm sorry for what I put you through and I'll do anything I can to make up for it"

Neither of them really wanted to talk any further about it, so Elenie went to find Ieaun and they all trooped off to get the obligatory summer fete picture taken.
When they were done, and all of them had a copy, they decided to have a go on the skating rink and enjoyed themselves skating round until they started to get quite hot, at which point Ieaun suggested a water fight to cool off.  
He and Dory had begun to head over to the walls which had been set up for people to hold water fights, when they noticed Elenie had stopped after coming off the rink.  As she had taken off her skates, she had felt a small movement in the area of her stomach; pausing and placing her hands there, she felt the unmistakeable sensation of new life within her.
As Ieaun and her mother ran up, she turned to Ieaun first; "You're going to be a daddy!  We're having a baby!"
Ieaun leaned over and placed his hands on her tummy, feeling the same sensation that she had earlier.  As he did so, however, he sensed more than Elenie had moments earlier; a vision swam briefly in front of his eyes and he smiled.  "Cariad, we're not having a baby, we're having two!  Twin girls!"
As the impact of that news sank in, Elenie decided not to strain herself with any of the more strenuous activities around the fete, but contented herself with a little quiet fishing.
Ieaun was asked to carry out a few readings of the future for some of the people at the fete, and it seemed that many of them thought being a living ghost, he must have more of an insight into the future and the spirit world.
Dory had just started a hot dog eating competition when the sunny day changed dramatically, the heavens seemed to open and rain poured down, sending everyone hurrying home as quickly as they could go.
While Elenie and Ieaun headed home together, Dory decided to celebrate the upcoming additions to the fmaily by doing some shopping and paid a visit to the Valley's toy shop.  She spent some time browsing the wares and considering what would be the best items for her coming grandchildren.
Having finally made her choices she took them over to the till to pay and had them nicely wrapped up in the prettiest gift paper the store sold.
Back at home, Elenie had decided to spend some time on scientific research, running various experiments on the plants she had harvested from the garden recently.  
At the end of one such experiment, she was excited to find that the seed she had been running the experiment had changed; she would have to analyse this new find very carefully!

When Dory returned home from her shopping trip, she found Ieaun tending the plants in the greenhouse and joined him in weeding and harvesting.
Later that night, after everyone else had gone to bed, little Ffion decided the time had come to leave her cub-hood behind and sparkles surrounded her.
She aged up into a fine looking vixen and immediately went out to explore the surrounding area.

The next morning, Elenie discovered that she had aged up and made a great fuss over her, feeding her treats and giving her extra toys to play with.
However, she couldn't just leave her alchemical research and spent a good part of the morning mixing up elixirs and testing out recipes.
She then spent the afternoon relaxing with a long bubble bath, pampering herself.
While she did that, Ieaun practised his magic, testing out enchantments on various household items.
A few mornings later, as they ate waffles for breakfast, Dory suggested that they take a trip to the beach.  It was Ieaun's day off, and the idea of relaxing on the beach appealed to Elenie, so they both agreed.
When they got there, Elenie and her mother spent some considerable time sunbathing and relaxing, while Ieaun spoke to his parents on the phone.
When Elenie had had her fill of sunbathing, she decided to spend a little time fishing while Ieaun meditated.
As Elenie's pregnancy progressed, she spent a lot of time reading books about babies; she wanted to be as prepared as she possibly could be, especially since they would have two babies to cope with not just one!
While Elenie prepared for motherhood, Dory did her best to ensure that she didn't have to worry about household chores, or about looking after Ffion, the cats or the unicorns.
She also insisted that she would do all the cooking and that Elenie should just put her feet up and relax, after all, she wouldn't have time to do that soon enough!
As time went by the atmosphere in the house relaxed, dinner conversations became more natural and they began to find it easier to put the past behind them.

Of course, putting the past behind you is so much easier when you have new life to look forward to, and mealtime conversations became dominated by talk about the babies, what to call them and how the nursery should be set up and decorated.
In her spare time, Dory took to training Ffion to do various tricks, never realising that Ffion knew exactly what she was doing and was simply playing along!