May 24, 2014

In Which Aldhein Considers That Which Miracles Answer

September 1, 1185

Aldhein had hoped that Alsina had been able to occupy herself that day. Nora had attended the execution, so visiting with her had been out, but surely Evaleith or Thetis or one of Alsina's other occasional companions would have been free. Most people didn't care to watch an execution, as demonstrated by Alsina herself when she'd told him she had no intention of going. Alsina had more reason to want that man dead than most, and even she didn't want to see it done. The knowledge that he was gone would be more of a comfort without seeing him again.

As for Aldhein himself, he had to see him. He hadn't been informed of the connection until after the man was behind bars, so he'd been denied the opportunity to rip him to shreds himself. The consolation prize had been watching him hang.

"Have you been here all day?"

"No." But instead of elaborating, Alsina just rose to her feet and shuffled through the gap between the chair and the couch, then looped around to greet him. Like most of their touches since Cenric had been born--the handful of times she'd allowed him to make love to her included--her embrace was slow, tentative, even a little hesitant. Today of all days, that was even more fitting. It was a remarkable strength to touch at all.

"So, he's..."

"He's dead," he assured her after she trailed off. "I saw it with my own eyes. I even saw them prod him with a lance just to be sure. He can't hurt anyone else."

Alsina sighed--a light sigh. Like she'd spent years tangled up in some ball and chain and only now had she been liberated. "Today is the best day."

Aldhein raised an eyebrow. He'd known she'd be relieved, but he hadn't thought she'd be happy. He was--he had enough monster in him to take pleasure in death, so long as the deceased was repulsive enough--but Alsina was all human. She would know firsthand that the world was better off without Grayer Maesflein, but to delight--outright delight--in his death? That wasn't her.

"I'm sure there have been better days..."

She shook her head. "Something miraculous has happened."

"Miraculous?" If that was the case, it was about damn time. But miraculous was never the case--was it? "Alsina..."

"I went to see Arydath." It had been some months since he'd seen that light in her eyes. "I mean, it's been half a year since my last course, but I've been a kind of sick the past month or so, so I thought... maybe somehow..."

She trailed off again, though not anxious this time. Blissful. Savoring a bite of something sweet after an overlarge meal of vegetable mush.

Aldhein reached for her face and ran his fingers down her cheek. Her flesh pinkened at the cue of his touch, but she did not brush him aside.

"Are you pregnant?"

She nodded. "Arydath said it's not unheard of, but she hadn't wanted me to get my hopes up before."

He couldn't blame Arydath for that. Midwives had no say over miracles.

But with Maesflein gone and this new little life in the making, for the first time in his life, Aldhein wondered if something out there did.



Van said...

I hadn't planned on Alsina getting pregnant again, but after this little arc, I figured I kind of owed her a miracle baby.

She's due near the end of April 1186. I'll just state outright that there will be no serious complications.

Penelope said...

Oh, hey! Congrats to the two of them. Life's been rough for Alsina between the infidelity and this whole mess. To quote Devin on the topic of Britamund's pregnancy, "I hope that it is a girl or a boy." ;)

Van said...

Life has been rough for Alsina lately. Babies aren't usually a reliable means of fixing things, but in this case, I think it will be a comfort.

Yeah, odds are pretty good that it will be one or the other. XD

Ekho said...

Van you soft hearted sweetie! Alsina has been through so much in the last few posts, so I agree she does deserve a little something to make her smile again! I wonder if having another baby will effect whats going on in her body? Might give her a few more years of hormones? I am way too uneducated on that topic.

Van said...

Indeed, I caved. This will be the absolute last for her, though. And she will find something else in her life to give her pleasure.

All I really know about pregnancy in early menopause is that, in theory, as long as ovulation occurs, pregnancy is possible. The problem is that the ovulations become increasingly infrequent and unpredictable, so conception becomes challenging and unlikely. Aldhein and Alsina happened to have sex at just the right time.

I have no idea how the pregnancy will affect her body, at least beyond the ways it affects the body of a woman in her peak fertile years. I'll look into it if it comes up, but Alsina's not a major enough character that I expect I'll have to.