November 25, 2014

In Which Jadin Sees as He Will

March 15, 1188

It was hot and cold at once. Jadin's flesh was on fire, but the blood in his veins was a river of ice. He cared for neither sensation, but he knew only one thing would make them stop, and he couldn't give in just yet.

He had to see Xeta. He had to see his father, his stepmother, his siblings. His children.

His new baby.

He would never forgive his own ghost if he didn't see his new baby.


Xeta was near--he could feel her--but her voice was a faraway whisper. He heard her as if from the other side of Styx. "Jadin, are you awake?"

"Yes," he managed with a halting breath.

"Jadin, our baby wants to meet you."

He turned his head and tugged on his leaden eyelids.

The baby looked right back at him.

Xeta hadn't said, but he knew by instinct that she was a girl. Her eyes were that same as her mother's, as well as her brother Wolf's. What hair she had appeared brown like most of her siblings', but hints of red would not rest until they were seen. For a minute, he saw her as he would from heaven years in the future. Tall and graceful, with thick red curls like his mother's.

"Her name is Alina."

He'd known that too. "She's beautiful."

"I just wish she had your eyes." Xeta lifted the baby to her shoulder. Jadin held his eyes open just long enough to catch her tear. "None of our children have your eyes."

"That's all right." He felt the world fading. It wasn't death--not quite yet--but it was sleep. It would be several hours before he saw them again. "Some of our grandchildren will."