May 6, 2014

In Which Lonriad Calls on the Greatest Healer

July 26, 1185

"Lonriad! Glad you could make it!"

Lonriad forced a grimace and let Garrett embrace him. In truth, he hadn't wanted much more out of the day than to run around with his sons and drink imaginary tea with his daughters. But Nanalie was Asalaye's sister, and Nanalie had just had a baby the day before, and she'd sent word asking him to come and meet the new arrival. So, he'd come. "Nanalie and the baby are both doing well?"

"Very well." After Asalaye and Lyraina both, that must have been the relief of Master Indruion's life. "She's just glad it wasn't twins this time--though, this one made about as much noise last night as the other two combined ever did."

"Third babies have the healthiest lungs. I know Alina screamed the most out of my four." And little Honora never dared more than whimper if she needed anything. Almost as if she thought herself an inconvenience, the poor darling. "I hope sleep hasn't eluded you entirely."

"It has, but for happy reasons."

A lucky thing, that such reasons were not bittersweet. "Good."

"I should think so. Anyway, Nanalie's in the bedroom--resting, but awake." Garrett nodded toward the door--no threats or jabs about why Lonriad wasn't a worry. Unsubtle, but correct. "She'll be glad to see you."

"Likewise. And thank you." Lonriad gave his brother-in-law a pat on the shoulder, then turned around and made for the bedroom door. No lock hindered the handle, nor did any verbal protest sound. "Hello, Nan."

"Hello, Lonriad." She didn't rise from the bed, but she did pay him a tired tilt of her brows. Trusting as her husband, she had no qualms about him seeing her in her feather-light summer nightgown, and rightly so. Even if he weren't still plagued by the ache of Asalaye, the thought of Nanalie was no less repulsive than that of one of his own sisters. "Thank you for coming."

"No trouble. Sorry that I didn't call yesterday, but I figured your family would want their fill of the little one."

"You are family, stupid." Smirking, she pointed to the crib by the fireplace. "The baby's over there. She's quite anxious to meet her Uncle Lonriad."

"Another girl?" He'd hoped so. Honora would have a ready playmate in her little cousin.

"They do seem to be my specialty." Wives of crueler men than Garrett might have lamented such, but Nanalie's voice carried a note of pride. "Go, hold her. If you haven't dropped any of your other hundred nieces and nephews, I don't see why you should worry for her."

"All right." He approached the crib, heels dragging against the floorboards. One of these days, he hoped to muster the same enthusiasm he'd once had for being an uncle, but it would be one of many things he'd have to relearn.

Those little hazel eyes said that wouldn't be so difficult. "Aww, she's adorable."

Perhaps a little pale for an infant--not an unhealthy pale, but pale nonetheless. Her cute dab of a nose betrayed neither side of her parentage, and with any luck, that was Nanalie's chin her baby fat was hiding. The most precious bit of her was her mouth. Young as she was, those tiny pink lips clung to a default smile. "Does she have a name yet?"

"Uh, well... that's actually why I wanted to see you."

"Sorry?" Lonriad raised the baby to his shoulder and glanced back over at Nanalie. "What do I have to do with that?"

His sister-in-law pinched one of the laces of her nightgown and let it drop back to her still-swollen stomach. "I wondered if it would be all right if I named her Asalaye."

Asalaye. The name still hurt--just like the sight of her gowns in his wardrobe, the scent of her hair on his pillow. But each time he heard it, it stung a little less. He was healing--slowly, barely, but healing nonetheless. If Nanalie wanted to name her daughter for her sister, it was for love of both of them.

And what greater healer was there than love?

"Hello, Asalaye."



Van said...

I don't think there's any aspirin in the house. :S

Penelope said...

Awwwww! This one made me wanna cry and I don't know why!

And hey, that tunic looks good on funny-looking Garrett.

Van said...

I've been looking for someone to wear that tunic for a while now. I was going to have Izzy wear it, but it made him look too broad-chested. So, I stuck it on Garrett, who is supposed to be somewhat broad-chested. It does seem to suit him.