Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chapter 5: The Queen's Servant

 Morgan quietly sighed as he looked at his wife and child sleeping.  How had things degenerated between him and Ava so badly?  He still didn't know what had gone wrong, why she refused to talk to him.  He had gone over their last conversation over and over in his head, trying to figure out what he had said that had turned her against him.

    All for naught.  He couldn't imagine her being upset by the fact that Taliesin was his only child.  And surely she didn't want him to have a mistress?  None of it made sense, and it made him want to shake her and demand that she tell him what was wrong.

  He felt his hands tighten into fists, and he made a conscious effort to relax.  He didn't want to push her farther away then she already was, especially if she really was carrying another child.  A child conceived in happier times.

  He watched her as she slept, with an ache in his heart that wouldn't go away.  He had thrown himself into battle with a fervor, hoping that the sword and the blood would make take it away.  He wanted it to go away, but no matter how many battles he had fought, or how many foul beasts he had slain, nothing had helped.

  Then he had received her letter, and for the first time, he had felt some hope.  This coming child may just be what they needed to get past this bump in their marriage.  He was tired of being on the outs with his wife, he missed her laugh.  He missed her green eyes sparkling at him, her soft hand in his, the smell of roses in her hair, he just plain missed her.

  Taliesin stirred and opened his eyes.  "Dada!" he exclaimed happily as he slid off the couch and headed straight for Morgan.  Once he reached his father, he threw his chubby arms around Morgan's legs.  "Dada!"

  Morgan smiled at his son.  He had missed Taliesin too.  He was weary of war and weary of the cold silence between he and his wife.  He bent down and picked up an insistent Taliesin.  His son had grown since he had last seen him.  "You came."  His wife's soft voice interrupted his musings.

  He looked up at her, her eyes still blinking sleepily, her cheeks rosy, and he knew he had never seen a more beautiful woman, inside or out, than his wife.  Somehow he had to fix things.  "You look well."

  She carefully sat up.  "So do you."  An awkward silence fell, as Morgan scrambled for something to say.


    Ava stood up and reached for Taliesin.  "He's hungry, I'd better feed him."  Taliesin whimpered a little bit as Ava took him from his father.

  "Ava..."  Morgan started to say, but she interrupted him.

  "I'm tired my Lord, and Taliesin is hungry."  With Taliesin in her arms, she left the room, and Morgan wordlessly let her go.

  Once safely out of the room, Ava brushed a tear away.  Why did she have to care so much?  Why couldn't she just let...things...go.  When she had first opened her eyes and seen him standing there, she had been filled with a sense of peace and happiness.  He was home, safe, in one piece.  In the next instant, she remembered all that stood between them, and her happiness faded.  What if he had come home to finally tell her the truth?  She was such a coward, she didn't know if she could bear hearing the words come out of his mouth. 

  Ava had stopped in tracks, lost in thought, until Taliesin began to howl his displeasure.  Ava chuckled.  "Your unhappiness is duly noted my little Prince."  She hugged him, then continued on her way to the nursery, and she seated herself in the aging rocker.  Morgan had wanted to get her a new one, but she treasured this one.  Many Stone Kings had been nursed and rocked to sleep in it, Ava wanted Taliesin to be one of them.


  The week passed by slowly, with only their eyes doing the talking, until Ava decided she couldn't stand another moment of it, and arranged to meet Lady McKinley and Lady Ember at the Village Square.  There was a royal birthday party to plan, and she could use her friends' help.

  Once she made sure that Taliesin was fed and changed, Ava brought him to Morgan.  "I need to go to the Village Square." she explained.  "I'm meeting with several Ladies there."  Morgan nodded as he took Taliesin from her.  "I'll be back."  she smiled tentatively at Morgan, and he returned it, a bit hesitantly.

  Lady Ember and Lady McKinley were already waiting for her.  "Sorry I am late." she apologized.


  "Goodness, your Highness!"  Lady Ember exclaimed.  "You certainly do not need to apologize to us!"

  Ava smiled at them.  "Even so, I did not mean to make you ladies wait.  My husband has just recently returned from the battle field for a short time and..."

  Lady McKinley gasped.  "Oh dear me!  My Lady, wouldn't His Highness rather you stay home with him?  We would hate to be..."

  Ava shook her head.  "Nonsense, we have spent plenty of time together already, and we will spend more time together when I get home."  If either of the Ladies thought it was strange that Ava preferred to be with them and not with Morgan, they wisely held their council.  "Taliesin's birthday is nearly here, and I want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  Now, you said something about a baker, who can make the most extraordinary cakes?"

  "Yes!  She makes the best tasting confections, they are unbelievably good, magical even!" Lady Ember enthused.


  "Her shop is here, in this little Village Square."  Lady McKinley added.

  Lady Ember pointed.  "Oh, look, there she is now.  Perhaps you can talk to her now your Highness?"

  Ava turned and looked at who Lady Ember was pointing at.  "That's her?" she asked curiously.  "She doesn't look like a baker."

  "That is her, your Highness, Mistress Walker."  Lady Ember confirmed.

  Ava frowned slightly, she had tried in the beginning to get her new friends to call her by her name, but they had refused.  Out of respect for her they had said.  All the your Highnesses really grated on Ava's nerves after a while.  It would be nice for just a little while to forget her position and duties, and responsibilities.  It would be nice if she could just be plain Ava, for just an hour or two, she thought wistfully.  But it was not to be.  "Thank you, I'll go speak with her then."  Ava nodded regally, letting them know with her body language that they were free to leave her presence.

  "Mistress Walker?"  Ava called out, and the woman in question froze, then belatedly curtsied.

  "Your Highness."  Mistress Walker kept her head bowed deferentially.

  "Please, at ease."  Ava said, and Mistress Walker looked up at her, cautiously.  "I hear that you make the best of cakes?"

   Mistress Walker smiled shyly.  "So I've been told, my Lady."

  "Well, then, I should like you to hire you to bake a birthday cake for my son, the Prince.  The day of his birth is quickly approaching, and we are having a birthday celebration in his honor, the whole town will be invited.  So I will actually need to commission several cakes from you, do you think you could do it?"

  Mistress Walker's eyes shone.  "Indeed my Lady, I am honored that you would request my humble talents in baking for such an important event as the young Prince's birthday celebration!"


    "Excellent!"  Ava said.  "I look forward to having a slice of those wonderful cakes that I have heard so much about!"

  As she walked back home, Ava finally came to an important decision.  She could not forgive, nor could she ever forget Morgan's lies and treachery, but she had Taliesin to consider, and the new little one that nestled under her breast.  Ava was well aware of what happened to the children who were unfortunate enough to be raised in a household with an unhappily married couple.  She remembered the yelling voices and slamming doors of her childhood, the cold glares and icy words, she didn't want her son to have to go through that.  So, she would simply put a smile on her face, and pretend as if nothing had ever gone wrong.  She would do it for Taliesin.

  Feeling that there was no time like the present to put her plan into motion, as soon as she arrived home she sought her husband out, and found him in the back court yard, nearly naked from soaking in the hot springs.  Before she could change her mind, she quickly stripped off her dress, and stood in her underthings, the tears clogged in her throat, but she refused to let them out.

  She was determined that Taliesin would not grow up with parents that hated each other, no matter the cost to herself.  Morgan simply stared at her, with questions in his hungry eyes, questions she did not want to answer.  Nor did she want to hear him voice those questions, so she distracted him by reaching out and kissing him, almost angrily.

  Morgan was surprised by his wife's boldness, but he had no complaints, and he didn't dare dig any further into her apparent change of heart.  He was only relieved that instead of the Ice Queen, he had his passionate, warm Ava back in his arms.  He had missed her so much.  Her kisses seemed desperate, hard, and her fingers tore at the few clothes he still wore.  He gently grabbed her hands, and softened the kiss, slowing things down.  She resisted at first, but he was persistent with his tender assault, until finally with a soft sigh and moan, she surrendered to him.

  Their passion spent, they laid on the grass, wrapped in each other's arms.   Morgan idly twisted a strand of her hair around his finger.  "I was thinking." he said softly.

  "Thinking what?"  Ava murmured.

  "That maybe you would like some help with Tal..." She stiffened in his arms, and he hastened to add, "There's this village girl, and her mother is quite sick, her father was wounded in battle, and they could use help, but they are too proud to accept any handouts.  I invited her to come by the Castle, and to speak with you.  I thought maybe, with you increasing and being so tired lately, that you could use a little help with Taliesin, just for a little while, not forever.  Tal is a handful."  Morgan chuckled ruefully.  "As soon as I took my eyes off of him today, he was off and into trouble."  He felt Ava start to relax again, and he breathed an inward sigh of relief.  She was so prickly when it came to her child.

  "It wouldn't be forever?" she questioned.  "Because I am more than capable..."

  Morgan lightly kissed her forehead.  "You are a wonderful mother, but you need to take care of yourself too, and the little one that you carry."

  "Okay." she acquiesced.  "Just temporarily."  She disentangled herself from him, and started dressing, he followed suit.  "I'll let you do the talking to her."  Ava forced a smile.  "You know, a nap sounds pretty good about now, I think I'll go check on Taliesin, and then lay down for a while."

  Morgan looked at her, at the hollowness in her eyes, and nodded solemnly.  "As you wish."  

  Mere moments later, Morgan strode through the Castle halls, muttering to himself.  The girl was early.  He had hoped to spend a little more time with Ava before she fell asleep.  He had not even bothered to dress himself properly for he had been hoping to follow his wife upstairs to their bedchamber.  Instead, his Steward had informed him that a young girl was requesting to speak with the King.  With a last longing look at his wife, Morgan unhappily headed downstairs to talk to the chit. 

  He nearly ran into her, but she quickly skittered to a stop, and stared at him with wide eyes.  He cursed under his breath.  Hiring help had seemed like a good idea, but he was starting to have second thoughts. 
  "Mmmyy Lord, I mean, your Highness." the girl stuttered as she blushed.

  "What's your name girl?"  Morgan asked as nicely as he could, mindful of her age.  He was impatient to rejoin his wife, he didn't want to stand around wasting his time talking with a servant girl, when he could be talking with his wife instead.

  "Ianthe, your Highness.  Ianthe MacPhereson, of the MacPhereson clan."  She stammered, even as her eyes boldly roamed over his body.  Morgan sighed wearily, whose great idea had this been?  Well, partially his but...  "I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve you my Lord." she continued.  "My Uncle, Lord Ember, has told me..."

  Morgan no longer heard the girl's voice, he was thinking about that last conversation he'd had with Lord Ember.  Lord Ember had started with asking if Morgan had been pleased with his service, to which Morgan had answered in the affirmative.  Ember was Morgan's right hand man, his second in command, Ember was of invaluable service to him.  Not to mention a good friend.

    Ember had hesitated slightly, confessing that he was afraid of being too familiar with his Highness, but Morgan had waved that off with a simple, "We are friends, Ember, what is it that you require?"  Ember had then launched into an explanation, that his brother in law had been badly wounded in the Borderlands War, and he was no longer able to provide for his family.  His sister was gravely ill, and was not expected to live much longer, they'd had several children, but only one of them was really old enough to work, however no one would take her on.  So, Ember had asked, would Morgan have room for one more servant on his household staff?  The girl, Ember's niece, was a hard worker, Ember assured him, even as young as she was.  Ember had kept his eyes downcast, and had waited quietly for Morgan's answer.

 Morgan had instantly thought of Ava, of how tired she was, and if having one more servant girl would ease his wife's burden, he was all for it.  This chit, however, with the bold eyes, he didn't see how it would work out.  Though he would give the girl a chance out of his great respect for her uncle,  Lord Ember.


    "We are in need of help in the nursery.  How are you with handling young children?"

  "I am the oldest of twelve, my Lord, I could change diapers in my sleep."

  "Don't your parents have need of you at home then?"

  "My brothers are old enough they can help out with the younger ones now.  My family needs me to earn some coins so that we can buy food and pay for our lodging, more than they need my help at home."

  "You will be the Queen's servant, and as such you will answer directly to her, do you understand?"

  Ianthe dipped her head slightly.  "Yes my Lord."

  Morgan sighed irritably, he had a bad feeling about this, but he was bound by his word.  The chit would stay for now.  But by the Ever Living One, if she so much as twitched wrong, he would let her go.

     Ianthe watched the King stalk off, her cousin was right.  He was stunning.  She pictured her hands running over his magnificent body, her name whispered so sweetly from his lips, and she sighed dreamily.  Necessity had forced her to take many men to her bed, her family had to eat, but the King, he would be pure pleasure.

  She had been taught many ways to pleasure a man.  The men she took to her bed had loved her youthful flesh, her firm breasts, and long shapely legs, so she knew his Highness would be no different. If she could become the mistress of such a man, a man that ruled the Lands, she would no longer need to earn her keep on her back, or even worse, forced to be some Lord's servant girl.  She would only need to please one man, and not many.

  It was simply a matter of making him desire her, and she knew many ways to do that as well.  Subtle ways, her cousin had cautioned her.  The King would not respond to overt advances.  He preferred to play the part of a protector, many men did, Ianthe scoffed to herself.  Fools, the lot of them, led by what was in their breeches instead of by their brains.  Ianthe could play whatever role was required of her though, men were so pathetically gullible, just look at her Uncle.  He, who thought she was some sort of drab milk sop of a woman, content to live in squalor and breed a bunch of screaming brats, just like her mother did.

  She hated her mother, and hoped she did die.  Her mother had married beneath her station, consigning Ianthe to a life of backbreaking hell, with little chance of climbing out.  But the King now, he could turn her life around.  Her cousin had said he was attracted to the demure type of woman, so Ianthe had dressed the part, but she could not stop her greedy eyes.  His body had inspired such lust in her, his firm muscles, strong hands, and golden skin, he was nothing like the pale flacid flesh of her past lovers.  She couldn't help but look at him and think of him lying naked beside her.


  Go slowly, her cousin had advised her.  Go slowly and in time, he would be hers.  Ianthe would do exactly as her cousin instructed, though it chafed to allow someone else to have that much control over her.  Her cousin had seduced the King once before, however,  so obviously her cousin knew what she was talking about.  Ianthe would do whatever was required of her, to make the King hers.


  Ava couldn't take Taliesin's crying one more minute.  He had been fussy all day, and no matter what she did, he would not be appeased.  She felt like crying with him.


    She was just so tired, and she felt numb inside, and she couldn't deal with Tal's fussing anymore.  She set him on the floor and called for Ianthe.  The girl was abominably rude and haughty, acting as if she was the queen, but as soon as the King was around, her attitude mysteriously disappeared and she acted as if she was as innocent as a lamb.  Ha!  That girl was no innocent, and Ava would sack her, and without references too!, just as soon as she could get up the energy to care.  Or maybe she was just testing Morgan.  Would he go for such a conniving little baggage?

  Her stomach rebelled at the thought, and she tried to swallow the bile down, but she was unsuccessful.  She ran for the garderobe, and barely made it as her stomach heaved out its contents.


Once her wretched stomach was empty, Ava rested her head on the rough wood and closed her eyes.  She could still hear the muffled cries of Taliesin, but she couldn't muster up the strength to do anything about it.  She just wanted blessed sleep.


  Tal whimpered as he crawled towards his mother.  When he reached her bed, he pulled himself up on chubby legs.  "Mama!"


  No response.  He sniffled and tried again.  "Mama!"


  She still didn't respond.  Tal started to cry, big fat tears rolled down his cheeks.  "Mama!  Mama!"

  Tal was startled when he suddenly heard his father's voice behind him, he was speaking in a scary tone, it made Taliesin cry even harder.  He wanted his Mama.  "Ava, would you at least talk to your son?"


  Ava didn't move.  "I'm tired your Highness.  Just leave me alone so that I can sleep." she said tonelessly.

  At the sound of his mother's voice, Taliesin began to cry in earnest.  "Mama!  Mama!"

  "He doesn't understand why you've withdrawn from everyone."  Morgan said harshly, raising his voice so that he could be heard over his son's cries.  "I don't understand why you've withdrawn, especially from Taliesin, we tried for so many years to have a child, and now you ignore him!"

  "Go away."  Ava's voice was muffled as she pulled the pillows over her head to block out the noise of Taliesin's crying.  "and take him with you."

  "Ava, this is not like you.  All this sleeping can not be good for you.  Please get up, and come spend some time with us.  Maybe we could go to that garden that you so enjoy?"  Morgan tempered his voice, trying to stay calm, when he felt anything but calm.

  Silence, except for the howling cries of his son.  Morgan didn't know what to do for her, or what was wrong with her.  She refused to see anyone, including the midwife, or even her friends.  She just slept.  All day.

  "Taliesin."  Morgan called softly.  "Come here son."  Taliesin turned around, and ran as best he could towards his father.

Morgan enfolded him in his arms, and hugged him tightly as Taliesin sobbed against him.  Morgan offered his son what little comfort he could.  "There, there Taliebug."  Morgan whispered, calling Taliesin by Ava's pet name for him, "It's okay.  Mama is just sleepy."  He picked Taliesin up, felt the heavy solid weight of him, and hugged him tightly again.  Taliesin clung to him, his little shoulders heaving with each sob.

  Morgan carried his son out of the room, and away from his mother, as she had requested.  He hoped against hope, that maybe she would come out of whatever it was she had, in time for Taliesin's birthday celebration the following night.  She had spent weeks and months on the preparation of it, surely she wouldn't miss it?


    Ianthe curtsied.  "I'm sorry, your Highness."  Ianthe said demurely.  "But her Highness is not feeling well, and will not be coming down."

  "I am sorry to hear that the Queen is still feeling unwell."  Lord Ember said. 

  Ianthe briefly looked at her Uncle, before turning her gaze back to the King.  "She sends her regrets."


  Morgan frowned.  "Perhaps I should look in on her."

  "Begging your pardon, your Majesty, but she said to tell you that she will be fine, it is nothing that sleep can not cure, and she hopes you will stay here with your guests."

  Morgan glanced at the stairs leading up to his bedchamber, he had hoped she would come down and enjoy the celebration that she had put together.  He wanted nothing more than to march up the stairs and demand that she come down and participate, but he did not do so, it was not the time or the place, they had guests.  He looked longingly at the stairs once more, before nodding to Ianthe and dismissing her.

  "My niece, she is working out then?"  Ember asked.

  "Well," Morgan chuckled, "at first I was sure she wasn't going to work out, she was too forward."

  Ember groaned and then laughed.  "I'm sorry your Highness, I have heard that she can be a bit bold, she has not had the easiest of lives, but I believe her boldness to be her way of coping."


  Morgan nodded.  "Well, be that as it may, she has been the very picture of a humble servant since then, so she just may work out.  She has been a tremendous help with Taliesin, as you have heard, my wife has been in poor health lately, and Taliesin has been too much for Ava to handle.  I have a kingdom to run, a war to fight, I cannot always be here to play nursemaid, or nanny."

  Lord Ember nodded solemnly.  "I pray to the Ever Living One, that her health is returned to her, and quickly."

  "Thank you Ember."  Morgan smiled sadly.  "I fear it is the babe she carries that makes her so ill.  Once she has the child, I think she will bounce back to her old self.  I am at a loss on how to help her."  He confessed to his friend.

  "I have heard that there are some women who take to their beds when they are breeding." Ember concurred.  "I am sure she will be fine after the birth."

  "I pray so."  Morgan said, then he clapped his friend on the back.  "Excuse me for a moment."  Ember nodded, and Morgan disappeared into his bedchamber momentarily so that he could change out his clothes.  He rarely used his bedchamber, preferring to sleep with his wife in hers, but for this night, he would not disturb her.  Perhaps it was as Ember said, some women simply took to their bed while they were increasing, but back to normal after the birth.  If that was true of Ava, this child would be the last one they had, for he could not stand the way things were.

  After changing back into his regular clothes, he gathered everyone together, and picked up his son and carried to him to his birthday cake.  Ava had it specially made for Taliesin, a chocolate cake, a rare treat indeed.  Taliesin approved of the cake, it was all Morgan could do to keep his squirming son from getting his hands in it.


  The room erupted in laughter at Taliesin's enthusiasm.  "Not until we blow out the candles Taliesin."  Morgan cautioned, holding his son back so that he couldn't reach the candles.  Morgan helped him blow out the candles, and with a swirl of colors and sparkles, Taliesin became a child.  The first thing he did, was help himself to a piece of his birthday cake.


  He was quite disappointed to realize it was a magical cake, and not really all chocolate after all.  It still tasted really yummy though.


  Notes:  Yes---it is magical cake, poor Tal, lol 

  Sims just love to change their clothes for no apparent reason, which is why I had to write Morgan's clothes change in.  Darn sim, how dare he do that, and even worse, I did not catch it until I was putting this chapter together!

  I was going to have Ava attend her party, but I was using the Party statue thing, so that they would have an awesome party, but it kept trying to force her to change into special costume clothes, and since she is pregnant, that caused her to reset, over and over and over.  The statue did not like pregnant sims!  So finally I just sent her to the beach, lol

  Ianthe is a trouble maker, and while Morgan doesn't trust her 100%, he's starting to think that maybe she isn't so bad.  Ava sees her for what she is, but Ava has issues of  her own, lol  I'd called it major depression, not sure what they would have called it then, but either way, she is unhappy and unable to do much about it at the moment.  And poor Tal, he just doesn't understand any of it, he just wants his mama, but at this point, she is unable to care for him.

  As for the challenge part of it, the careers are already done, Ava's lifetime wish has been completed, and Morgan is about half way though his.  He wants to be popular and have 20 friends, so far he has 10. =)  Their locked in wishes have been pretty simple, catch such and such animal, snuggle Tal, pet the dog (he makes guest appearances in the story, lol), be friends with so and so, that type of thing. 

  Now for some outtakes and other pics I won't be using in the story---because this chapter was rather sad, sorry about that.  Next chapter will mainly feature Taliesin, but in the meantime...

  Pretty sure it is against the law to use the King's bed for woohooing during the Prince's birthday party!  But they line up to use it anyway.  BTW, that is Lord and Lady McKinley under the sheets there.


  Messy, messy, messy...


    I have never had a sim cheer when their minor pet died!  I guess she's happy she'll never have to clean out the cage again!


   I wonder what it is about that green ball that is just so fascinating?

   And here is little Bethany McKinley with her father, Lord McKinley.  At the moment, she is the only sim that qualifies as a potential mate for Taliesin.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chapter 4: Betrayed

   Belle felt his lips on her neck first, the tiniest of nips, then his husky whisper.  "You summoned me?"

    She turned around to face him, a flirtatious smile played about her lips.  "Charnos."

  He bowed slightly.  "At your service."

  "Give me word of the Borderlands, are things going as planned?"

  He smirked.  "But of course, did I not say I would do all that you requested?"  He shrugged carelessly.  "It is all so pathetically easy, really.  That King of yours..."

  "He is no King of mine."  She hissed.

  He grinned slyly.  "So you say."  Belle glared at him, but he merely laughed, his green eyes gleamed in the fading light.


  "My hunters tear them to shreds during the night, and during the day we take these weak, frail bodies," He pinched at his arm, "and the King and his Knights do not even give us a second glance."

  Belle ran her eyes down his body slowly.  "I am rather fond of the human form that you take."

  His grin was quick and predatory.  "It has its uses.  Some very pleasurable."  His voice had deepened again, and Belle felt her blood quicken. 

  She licked her lips.  "Indeed."

  "I could end this war now, and kill the King.  It would be so easy..."


  His words wrapped themselves around in her head like a seductive snake, tempting and deadly.  She laughed them off.  "Charnos, when will you ever learn that your mind persuasion powers will not work on me.  No, " she said decisively.  "He must not be killed, I need him alive.  I want to see him suffer, to feel the pain as I take away everything he holds dear."

  He inclined his head.  "As you wish."

  She moved a little closer to him.  "I love how you say those words." She whispered.  She held out a small box to him, and Charnos took it, puzzled.  "I need this little gift left for the new princeling, make sure his mother finds it first."

    He looked at the box, and then at her.  "What is it?  Some type of poison?  An adder maybe?"

  Belle smiled.  "That lacks...imagination.  No, I have something much better in mind.  An innocent little christening gown, the perfect gift for the new prince."  She cackled.  "I only wish I could see her face, when she opens it.  Since I cannot, I will have to content myself with picturing her face instead."

  "Consider it done."


  "Does this conclude our business?"

  She smiled knowingly at him.  "It does."

  His green eyes darkened.  "Excellent."  He copied her earlier words as he grabbed her forcefully. 


   Belle exulted in the rough hands that tore at her ties, and the animal grunts that betrayed who he really was, the King of the beasts.  While she was with him, she had no room for thoughts of Morgan, or thoughts of any kind.  She could only feel; the hard rock beneath her back, the cold air on her bare skin, and his hot breath as he trailed beard roughened kisses down her body.

  "Are you sure it was up here?"  Ava's soft voice said behind him.  "I have looked through all of these boxes and chests, and I cannot find it anywhere."


  Morgan frowned.  "Yes, this is where it supposed to be.  I wonder why it is not here?"

  Ava sighed sadly.  "Taliesin's baptism is less than a week away.  I had so hoped he could wear the christening gown that all the kings in your family have worn for a hundred years or more.  Family tradition is important to me."  She tried not to feel too disappointed, it was hardly Morgan's fault that the family heirloom had disappeared.

  Morgan pulled her into his arms, and kissed the top of her head.  "Don't worry Ava, I'll find it for you." he said reassuringly. 


  Ava looked up at her husband.  "You would make me very happy if you found it."

  "Would I get a reward if I found it?"  He grinned down at her.

  She smiled coyly at him.  "Maybe."

  Morgan pretended to think for a moment.  "I believe I may need a deposit on that reward, as motivation you understand."

  Ava laughed softly.  "Motivation, huh?"  She grabbed his hand.  "Then follow me my Lord." 

  "I would follow you anywhere."  Morgan vowed.  "But our bedchamber is my favorite place to follow you to."  He grinned at her, and she swatted at him.  Laughing they both raced for the bedroom. 

  The morning of Taliesin's baptism dawned clear and cold.  Ava shivered as she stepped outside, she would have to wrap Talesin in extra blankets to keep him warm.  Her gaze fell on a small package that sat slightly to the left of the front door.  Curious, she bent down and picked it up.

  She shook it gently but it didn't make any noise.  She smiled.


  She knew what it was!  Hadn't Morgan told her he would find the christening gown for her in time for Taliesin's baptism?  It would be just like him to wrap it all up, pretty like, just so he could surprise her.  He loved giving her little surprise gifts.  She had not taken him too seriously when he claimed he would find it, she had even reconciled herself to starting a new tradition.  How could she ever have doubted him?

  A slight breeze blew through, ruffling her hair and a piece of paper that was attached to the gift.  She looked closer at the paper.  It had writing on it, a note of some sort.


  She picked the note up, smiling in anticipation at some silly nonsense that Morgan would pen her, but her face fell as she read the words.

  Dearest M,

  I sent the christening gown to you as soon as I could.  I hope it reaches you in time.  T is so excited about having a little brother.  I have tried to explain things to him, but he is still young yet and does not understand the ways of our world.  We both miss you terribly, and cannot wait until you can come visit us again.  My bed is lonely without you.

  All my love and affection.

  Forever Yours,

  Ava crumpled the note up in her hand.  She opened the gift up, and inside, was indeed, the christening gown.  She stared at it.  What to make of the note?  M, did that mean Morgan?  It must have, it was on their doorstep.  Did Morgan have another child?  Though she had not asked him to, he had sworn he would be faithful to only her.  Had he gone back on his word?    He had also said he would find the christening gown for her.  Had he remembered that night where it was?  Who was B?  The questions kept coming, bombarding her heart and her emotions.  She resolved to ask him about it after Taliesin's baptism.

  Sunlight poured through the windows of the Church Sanctuary.   Some of the Nobles had shown up early, but for the most part the sanctuary was still empty and peaceful.  Ava smiled at the little boy she held in her arms.  Today he would be dedicated to the Ever Living One, the first step towards recognizing him as the next king.  The baptism would be witnessed by the whole town, and a guardian assigned to him.

   Once everyone had gathered into the room, Turin started to speak.  "Today, we are all gathered here as witnesses, to consecrate..."

  "Ava, what is wrong?"  Morgan asked.  He had noticed a slight change in her behavior towards him since early this morning, and he couldn't figure out the reasoning of it.  Wasn't the christening gown found in time?  He had no idea how it had reappeared, but he had assumed it's appearance would make her happy.  Instead she looked a bit sad and lost.


    Ava refused to look at him.  "Is it true Morgan, that you have another child?"

  Morgan choked.  "Say wh...where did that come from?"  He was flabbergasted.

  She looked at him then, briefly, and he saw tears shimmering in her eyes.  "Just answer me Morgan, please.  Do you have another child?"

  Morgan hesitated, he thought briefly of the child that Belle had lost, he could have had another child, but he did not.  He shook his head no.  "No Ava, Taliesin is my only child."

  Ava heard the hesitation, and misunderstood the reason for it.  She felt her heart shatter inside her.  All those years she had thought they were happy, even when she thought she could not conceive, she had thought they were happy together.  Instead it had all been a lie.  Every moment of it.  Every kiss, every touch, all lies.


  No wonder he had seem unconcerned over the issue of not having an heir.  He had known that he already had a son, with someone else.   Ava wanted to rage at him, to hit him, to demand the answers of why he would go to such an elaborate charade.  She had been content with the thought of a companionable marriage, a child or two, but no, he had to go and make her want more.  He had to go and make her fall in love with him.

  She said none of what she wanted to say, and she did none of the things she wanted to do.  Instead, she said, quite calmly, "Do you have a mistress?  Another lover tucked away some where?"

  Morgan frowned.  He didn't understand where these questions were coming from.  He was losing her and he didn't understand why.  "Ava, " he said exasperated.  "What is going on?  Why..."

  "Just answer my question, Morgan."

  "No." he said, almost angrily.  "I said I would be faithful to you, and I have been."

  She smiled sadly at him.  "Thank you Morgan.  I hear Talesin, I must see to his needs."

  "This conversation is not over!" he called out to her retreating back.


  Ava didn't bother answering.  The conversation was over as far as she was concerned.  Now she just needed to figure out how she was going to live with this new knowledge of hers.  Her whole married life had been a lie.

  After a couple of weeks of stony silence, Morgan finally left it alone, and hopeful that with time, Ava would finally talk to him, he reluctantly went back to fighting the war in the Borderlands.  Ava cried herself to sleep every night, sure that she had driven her husband back into his lover's arms.  Yet she had been unable to do anything else, the hurt was a live and festering thing inside of her.

  She had no energy for putting on a birthday bash for her son, so when it was his birthday, they celebrated it alone.  Just him and her.  She told herself it was what she wanted. 

  She even believed it, most days.  But sometimes when she looked at Taliesin's bright happy smile, he looked so much like his father, her heart would break all over again.  And she would wish.  She would wish that Morgan had been true, that he had not lied, that it had not been an act on his part.  That they really had been happy.


  Those days were the hardest.  Taliesin would seem to sense her unhappiness, and crawl towards her.  "Mama!  Mama!  Sad?"  She would pick him up, and his little arms would go around her, and she would breath in his baby scent.  She would remember then, to count her blessings.  She had Taliesin.  She stifled any thoughts that dared suggest she should or could want more.  Taliesin was enough.

    She loved everything about being Taliesin's mother.  He was smart, and so curious, and he was constantly getting into things.  Or escaping out into the yard, where Rags would bark and chase down a giggling Taliesin.


  Both dog and boy would collapse in a heap on the grass, one full of giggles, the other panting, content to lay on Taliesin's lap until Ava could come fetch him. 


    "Tal, you naughty little boy."  She would scold him as she picked him up.  Rags would dance and bark about her feet.  "No outside without Mama, remember?"

  Ava did her best to keep up with an energetic Taliesin, but she found her energy flagging, and her stomach was in a constant state of upset.  The smell of potty training was almost more than she could take.


  "I big boy Mama!"

  "Yes you are." she agreed, with her hand over mouth and nose, trying not to breath the scent in.  Taliesin thought she was playing and copied her muffled voice, by placing his hand over his mouth and nose.

  "Yes you are."  He parroted.  His big eyes were smiling at her over the top of his small hand.

  Ava smiled at him, and tickled him.  "You silly goose."

  She was afraid to hope, but she thought she just might be pregnant again. Her breasts were tender, her stomach rebelled all hours of the day, and she was just so tired, she could happily sleep all day.  If she was, it would truly be a miracle, for she had not taken any herbs for it, nor had she slept with her husband since the night before Taliesin's baptism.

  She missed him terribly.  She missed his sense of humor, his silliness, his laugh, the way his eyes crinkled when he found something amusing.  She missed his tender looks, his strong arms around her at night, his soft kisses, and his more passionate ones too.  Was his lover the recipient of these things?  Was he even now, with her and their son?

  Ava sighed wearily.  She was so confused.  She alternately hated him, and loved him, she didn't know what to do, or how to bridge the gulf between them.  Some times she didn't want to bridge that gulf, and in those times she despised her weakness for him.  But those other days, when Tal smiled at her, with his father's smile, or his eyes crinkled with humor just like Morgan's, she was hit with an intense longing for him.

  She had written him of her suspicions, that she might be pregnant.  She had no idea if he had received her letter or not, or if he would even come home.  She hoped he came home.  She laid back on the couch and closed her eyes.  She was just so tired.  She felt Taliesin climb up beside her and she gathered him in her arms.  And they slept.




  Notes:  Taliesin is so adorable! =)  Okay, I got that off my chest, lol 

  Ignore the fact that there likely wouldn't be white boxes wrapped in red bows during this time, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me, but there was no other way I could think of to do what I wanted, lol  Darn gift thing is not even recolorable!

  I had fun creating Charnos, finding the right skin for him was tricky.  Too many of the ones I have installed made him too pretty.  I didn't want him to be too pretty, lol  I was going for seductive, good looking with a hint of evil.  And his hair!  I was finally able to use that hair!  I think it suits him and his evil genius side!  As to what kind of beastie he may be, he is a shapeshifter, but his real form is an unknown kind of beastie.  I haven't made up a name for it yet, lol  I'm just throwing all kinds of powers/behaviors in there.  A sort of werewolf/vampire/dragon/warlock type, lol  Whatever he is, it isn't good, lol  He's the King over the other beasties, and as you read, he is partners in crime with Belle.  They are a matched pair.

  Belle's little gift.  I spent the last month thinking about that.  I hate it when I write myself into corners, lol  But the characters were talking and it was all I could do to keep up!  But then I had to figure out, what in the world would she send as a gift.  It would have to be special.  Then a couple of nights ago, in the middle of the night, I woke up, and I thought christening gown!  And I went from there.  She knows the Castle very  well, and she knows about the gown, (she was going to marry Morgan at one time!).  It would be easy for her to get someone to fetch it for her, so that is how it came into her possession.

  I titled it Betrayed, because that is how Ava feels, whether it is true or not.

  Thanks for reading!! =)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 3: Longing

  Ava dug her toes deeper into the soft damp sand.  The evening hour was fast approaching, and she could feel the slight cooling of the warm ocean air as the sun began it's descent beyond the Sea.  She sighed deeply.  The sound of the waves hitting the shore usually helped calm her troubled spirit.  This night she could not stop the troubled thoughts that whirled around in her head.  

   She faced the Sea, in all it's beguiling mystery, and stared out at the empty vastness of water that stretched as far as her eye could see.  She felt so lost, alone, and her worries threatened to crush her.  The if only mocked her.  If only she could carry a child longer than a few weeks, or a few months.

  Her grief at losing her babies threatened to tear her to pieces.  She closed her eyes against it, against the pain.  Instead, she forced herself to concentrate on the sound of the seagulls far in the distance, and the feel of the Sea that reached out with cold fingers to grab at her toes and soak the hem of her dress.   Sometimes if she listened hard enough, she could even hear the sounds of singing, a haunting melody of such beauty that it would often times soothe her soul.  Tonight, she only heard the Sea.

   She did not hear her husband's approach, until he was upon her, so intent were her thoughts.  His softly spoken, "Ava?" startled her, and she turned to look at him briefly, before turning back to the Sea.

  "Turin said I might find you out here."  Ava remained silent, her eyes steadfast on the horizon.  "He says you spend a lot of time out here, by yourself." Morgan said awkwardly, trying to fill the gulf of silence between he and his wife.  "Ava," he said gently, "I'm not sure all this time you spend alone out here is good for you."

  "What would you know of how I spend my time?" she asked sharply.  "You are gone for weeks sometimes months, home a few days, and then gone again.  You won't talk about what you're doing, or who you've been with..."

  "Ava," Morgan sighed wearily.  "We've been through all this before.  It is War, I do not care to talk about it when I am home, I want to forget about the fearsome creatures that breath fire so intense, just to be within a few feet of its flames will burn you to a crisp.  I do not want to talk of the Ogres that cross into our lands, and rip our people into shreds, or the many other horrors that have been leaving the Forbidden Forest these past ten years.   For a few days I want to forget about all the fatherless children, and widowed wives, the death and destruction, and I just want to be with you."

  "I just don't feel I am a part of your life Morgan."

  Morgan grabbed her hand, and held it.  "Ava, you are my life."  He tugged her gently.  "Come, walk with me."

  "I have brought you a gift, I left it at home.  It's a stray pup that I found, and he needs a good home.  I have been calling him Rags, but you can call him whatever you'd like."

  "A dog is not a child."

  Morgan sighed again.  "I know Ava.  I know you grieve the loss of..."

  "I do not care to discuss it."  Ava knew her refusal to talk hurt Morgan, but she could not help herself.  The pain was still too fresh, and too intense for her to give it words.

  "Ava," Morgan said hesitantly, "it's been several years, maybe we should take a break, from trying to have children, I mean.  You need some time to..."

  "I'm expecting again."  Ava said abruptly.  "Best I can figure, I conceived the last time you were home, that means I am about two months along.  It is still early, so the Midwife says I may still lose this child, as things are not as they should be.  Turin tells me it is the Way of the Ever Living One, to give Life, and to take it back.  I hate His ways."  Ava said bitterly.  "All I have ever wanted, was to be a mother, and I may never get the greatest desire of my heart."

  There were many things he could say, the list went through his head, and he rejected them, one by one.  "Ava, let this one be the last." he finally said.  "It is taking a toll on you and me, and our marriage.  You my dear wife, are more than sufficient, I do not need children."

  "You need an heir." she said sadly.

  Morgan shook his head no.  "I do not need a biological one.  Mayhaps we could adopt, when the time comes to where I need an heir.  We are still young yet, there is time."

  "There is still time yes, I may still be able to conceive and have your child, Morgan.  One of your flesh, and of my own."

  "That is not important to me, Ava, you are."

  "It is important to me Morgan!"  Ava said passionately.  "What kind of woman, nay what kind of wife would I be if I am unable to have children?  Isn't that a wife's duty?  A Queen's duty?" Her voice started to rise in hysteria. "I will be known as the Barren Queen, and it breaks my heart!"


  Ava shook her head wildly.  "I will be incomplete until I have our baby in my arms."

  Morgan sighed, sometimes there was just no reasoning with his wife.

   The next day was spent mostly in stony silence.  Morgan tried again and again to get Ava to see reason, but all he managed to do was upset her more.  Finally he gave up, and spent some time with the dog that he had brought home as a gift for her.

  It was with some relief that Turin told him his wife wished to see him in the Garden Grove.  With a fair amount of trepidation, since his last talk had not gone so well with her, he walked to the Grove, and found her standing in the little gazebo, looking off into the distance.  "Ava, you sent for me?" She turned towards him.

   She smiled at him.  "Isn't this a beautiful spot?"

  He looked around him,  "Yes, it's very nice."

   She laughed softly.  "What a polite answer!  I know you are not into such things as I am, but the beauty and the color has helped remind me of what is important.  Life, and all it's wonders."  She spread her arms out.  "Look at that sunset, and the flowers in bloom all around us, it is simply breathtaking."

  Morgan looked straight at his wife, "I'll say."  He directed his comment at her, and not the scenery around them.

  Ava blushed.  "I'm sorry for being so moody lately, can you forgive me?"  She moved into his arms, and he tightened his arms around her. She buried her nose in his coat, and breathed in his smell.  She loved the way he smelled, of pine forest and earth.

  "I could be persuaded." he teased, relieved to see a sparkle back in her eyes instead of the bleakness he often saw of late.

  "Well, let me work on my persuasion skills then." she teased back.

    "Am I forgiven yet?" she whispered, several moments later.

  "I'm taking it under consideration."


  He laughed.  "But of course, I only wish I could help you."

  "I know you do, but, I just can't talk about things yet.  But there is hope for this one that I am carrying."

  "Hope, yes indeed."  He twirled her around, and she laughed, enjoying the moment in the here and now with her husband.  Her fears still clogged her throat, but she was determined that Morgan would not know.  She swore she would be a Queen he could be proud of.  One that was brave, independent, strong, not the fearful, melancholy person she still felt she was, on the inside, but she would make sure that Morgan remained unaware of that weak creature.  "Dance with me?" he asked her.


  "Why not?"

  "Well, there's no music for one."

  "We do not need any." And indeed, they did not.  They danced until the light faded, and then hand in hand, they walked home.


  The next afternoon, Morgan cautiously and quietly opened the bedroom door, and then stepped in.  He wasn't sure what to expect, only that Turin had told him Ava had been weeping inconsolably for hours.  Though he was afraid he already knew the reason for her tears.

  "Ava?" he whispered.  She did not reply, her shoulders were heaving, and he could hear her harsh weeping.  The sound felt like shards of glass in his heart.  How he wished he could comfort her, offer some words of some kind, but there was so little that he could do.  He sat on the bed next to her, and pulled her into his arms.

  "I lost..." she started to say, but she couldn't complete the sentence.

  "I know." he said softly.

  "I thought for sure I could keep this one."  she cried.  Morgan didn't know what to say, or do, so he just held her tighter, and listened.  "I just want a baby!"  Suddenly, Ava turned in his arms and kissed him, startling him.

  "Ava, I don't think this is such a good idea." he protested, even as she began to undo the buttons on his coat, even if his body was starting to think it was a great idea.

  "I don't want to think." she murmured, and then she kissed him again.

    "I have to leave in the morning, I have been gone from the battle for too long as it is.  This time, I will probably be gone for months." he warned her.

  "Then stop wasting our last little bit of time together by talking so much." 

  Ava threw herself into being a Queen that Morgan would be proud to have by his side.  She locked her pain deep inside during the daylight hours, but at night, as she gazed at the Sea, it would come rushing back.  Her tears numbered as numerous as the sands on the beach, or the stars in the sky, but she could not help them.  She ached with the longing for a child of her own.


  During the day she smiled, she laughed gaily, she played with the village children, she did whatever she must to hide the pain behind her mask.  She cooed over the new babies, of which there were so many, but this one cost her the most.  Today, today though, she had an errand of her own to do, so there would only be one person she was going to visit.  She picked her pace up, eager to reach her destination.

  She had not thought about consequences the night she and Morgan had last made love, she had only been thinking of her grief, of lost dreams and shattered hopes.  She had wanted to only forget for a few hours, and it had worked.  They had not slept much, for in her dreams she could see her children, their arms wrapped around her, giggling and laughing.  So when she woke, the pain was nearly unbearable.  No, she had not wanted to dream, or think, and her husband had obliged her. 

  Just four nights past, she had felt a slight fluttering in her womb.  She had froze, and waited, sure she had only imagined it because of her fierce longing, but no, she felt it again.  She did not know how it was so; so quickly after the losing the other child, but she knew it was so.  She had been down this painful road so many times. 

  She spent countless hours, reading all that she could, on the hope of finding some secret to keeping her child safe in her womb until it could be born.  She did not know if she could go through yet another loss.  In her reading, she read that were some herbs and teas, that made it more likely to carry a child full term.  The text gave some clues as to what the herbs were, though Ava had not heard of them she knew who to ask. The village had an herbalist by the name of Mimi Simms, she should know the herbs that Ava sought.

  Ava found her, outside of Mimi's home.  "Hello!" she waved to Mimi.

  "Hello my Lady!"  Mimi curtsied.  If Mimi was startled to see her Queen show up on her doorstep she did not show it.

  "Please, call me Ava."  Ava smiled.  Mimi smiled back at her.  "I am sure you are aware, as is most of the Kingdom, that I have been unable to carry a child to term.  Well, I discovered, " she hesitated, then continued on, "I discovered that I am expecting again.  I have been reading a lot of lore these past few days, searching for some way that may help me keep this child, and I came across something.  Some sort of herbs that if I eat them, it may help keep this child safe.  The book said something about a chastity fruit, the root of a magical horn, and primroses, does any of that mean anything to you?"

  Mimi was thoughtful for a moment.  Then she said slowly, "Yes, yes, I think it does."

  "The chastity fruit, there is an herb called Chasteberry.  The root of a magical horn, well, that may be the Unicorn Root, also an herb.  And then Primrose, well, those are plentiful.  All of these herbs have been known to help with cramping and the likes, it just may help your problem.  It is not a guarantee!"  Mimi hastened to add, she did not want to give false hope to Queen Ava.

  "I know."  Ava smiled sadly.  "But to do nothing will doom this child as so many before it.  Do you have these herbs, or know where I may find them?"


  "Yes, I have them in my shop!  If you'll follow me, I'll get them for you, then you'll just need to crush them a bit, and make a tea out of it.  A few cups of the tea a day, ought to do it."

  On her way home from Mimi's herbal shop, Ava took a detour down towards her favorite beach.

    She wanted to have a few private words with the Ever Living One.  Turin had told her once, that He always had an ear open for His name.  She hoped that by calling on him that she could enlist his aid as well.  For if it was true that He gave, and He took away, she would prefer that this time He did not take this child from her.

  The weeks passed by without incidence, and Ava began to really hope that between the tea, and her plea to the Ever Living One, she just may be able to hold this baby in her arms.  She tried to keep herself distant from the child, just in case, but with each little kick and squirm, she knew it was too late.  She already loved this child, as she had loved the others.

  Lord Winter stepped into his wife's room, where he found her sitting in her favorite chair, deep in thought.  "Belle."

    "I have asked you to not call me that name." she snapped at him.  "And why are you bothering me in my rooms? I have already given you your heir, if you require sex go find one of your trollops, for I am not in the mood tonight."

  "Charming as always, my dear."  Argus sneered.  "But no, that is not why I sought out your delightful company.  I just thought I'd let you know, as the whole town is speaking of it; it appears that our lovely Queen will actually manage to have this child that she is carrying now.  So there will be an heir, only time will tell if it is a prince or a princess."

  Belle cursed.  It would have been better for her plans if the Queen had stayed barren.  That and it gave her such pleasure to tell Morgan every chance she had; that she would have given him seven sons by now.  Just look at her son, Timmothy, he was strong and healthy, smart as a whip.  The only thing wrong with him was he had Argus for his father, and not Morgan.  How she wished Timmothy was Morgan's son.  "Perhaps we should send a congratulatory present."  Now to think of what would make a suitable gift?  Perhaps a poisoned bottle?  No, no, Ava struck as her as the type that would nurse her child.  Belle shuddered.  Disgusting.  Children were but pawns in the game of life, as were husbands.  She eyed hers balefully.

    "You know Morgan will not let either one of us within five hundred yards of his family."

  "Oh, I know, but I have my ways.  This little gift of mine will have to be extra special, as I doubt I could get two gifts past the King."  She chuckled darkly.  The humiliation she had felt when Morgan had refused to marry her, and instead had married someone else from a foreign land still burned her.  Why was he allowed to be happy when she was not?  She glared at her husband.  He was an idiot.  A fool.  She had only seduced him because she had known it would hurt Morgan.

  Argus was no Morgan, and Belle could barely tolerate him in her bed long enough to give Argus the heir she had promised him.  With an heir,  she tied Argus to her for life, it assured his future cooperation in all her plans.  Once Timmothy was born, she had laid out to Argus the way things would be.  He had shattered before her very eyes, crumpled into a weak, pathetic man, and he had disgusted her.  He had begged, cried even, she curled her lip in the memory of it.  She had so enjoyed reducing him to his current worm status.  And worms did not belong in her bed.  When she had needs, she turned to other men, and made sure that Argus knew it as well. 

  "Hummph."  Argus grunted.  He stared coldly at his wife, who, as usual, was ignoring him.

    At one time he had thought well of her, had in fact fought for her when he thought Morgan had ill used her.  He had been a bloody fool, and Belle was no innocent.  Argus bitterly regretted the fight with Morgan, and wished he could erase his actions of that day.  Belle, Argus enjoyed calling her that because it agitated her, and he had so little enjoyment in his life.  Belle had lied about being pregnant with Morgan's child, in fact she had never been pregnant,  she had lied about being raped by Morgan.  She had even enjoyed throwing it in his face that he, Argus, would never be the lover that Morgan was.

  Argus grinned to himself.  She no longer said that, after the day he had learned to throw it back at her.  To tell her that despite her many attempts over the years to get Morgan back into her bed, he had stayed faithful to his wife.  Which must mean that Ava was a better lover than Belle.  She had slapped him hard for that comment, but it had been well worth it.  Argus envied his friend, for Morgan seemed to be genuinely happy with his choice of wife, even though Ava so far had not given him an heir.  Argus could not say the same thing about his choice.  "What are you plotting now Belle?"

  She laughed at him.  "As if I would tell you, the village idiot.  No, run along now, and chase some skirts, at least you are good at that, for I have some real work to do."  Argus slammed out of the room, her mocking laughter rang in his ears.  He wished she was wrong in her assessment of him, but he knew she was partly correct.  He was the village idiot, for he had married her, believing her to be something she was not.  Morgan had tried to warn him that day, but he had not wanted to listen.  Argus deserved his misery, it was his penance for his stupidity.


  Morgan rushed into the room, "Ava!" he cried out joyously. 

  She had been warming herself by the fire, but at the sound of Morgan's voice she turned, and a smile broke out on her face.  "Morgan!  You are home!"

  He kissed her soundly.  "You should have sent word." he gently chastised her.

  "For what reason?  I had no way of knowing if this pregnancy would turn out any different than the others."

  "We are going to have a child?"  His voice shook with amazement as he carefully caressed her extended belly.

  Ava nodded happily.  "The midwife says this child will be born within the week."

  He sank to his knees and pressed his face against her belly.  "I can scarce believe it." he said.  He smiled as the child kicked out.  "Active little one!"

  He looked up anxiously at her.  "And you are well?"

  "I am more than well." she smiled.  She bit her lip nervously.  "Are you happy, about the child?"

  He smiled at her.  "I am, more so because I know having a child was your fondest wish, and I am glad that after all these years, it is coming true."  He stood up, and lightly kissed her lips.

  Ava sighed contentedly.  "I am glad too."

  Morgan shadowed her everywhere she went, and Ava was glad that he had not been home to do so for her whole pregnancy.  He was driving her crazy!  It wasn't very long though, before the labor pains hit her.

   Morgan, who was never far away from her, began to panic.  "Ava!  Are you okay?  Aarg!  You're in labor?!"

    "Morgan!"  Ava panted.  "I. Need. The. Midwife!"

  Morgan rushed down the stairs in a panic.  "I need a midwife!  I mean, my wife needs a midwife!"  he told the first servant he found.  Morgan waited impatiently outside in the rain for the arrival of the midwife.  When she finally arrived, he urged her to hurry.  The midwife, Rose Wynne, decided it best to do as the King asked of her, instead of taking the time to explain to him there was no need to rush; that first babies took a long time to deliver.  She ran as quick as she could, the King was right behind her.

    Morgan did not want to stay in the room, he couldn't stand to see Ava in such pain.  But she begged him not to leave her, and so he stayed.  He cringed a bit inside when she gripped his hand so hard he thought he felt his bones crack a little, but he never let it show.  After half the night was gone, and the next morning came and went, the Midwife had him help support Ava as she sat up and prepared to push.

  "I hope you are ready to become a father your Highness." Rose Wynne told the King.  "Because your child is about to be born."

     Morgan felt faint, and kept his gaze locked on Ava's face.  He really didn't want to see what was going on below, but at the first cries of the baby, he turned and looked at the squalling red thing in the Midwife's arms.  "Congratulations!  You have a boy!"  She snipped the umbilical cord; then quickly and efficiently cleaned the baby up a little bit, and swaddled him in a blanket.

  Ava lay back against the bed and sighed happily.  "A son!  Morgan we have a son!"

  Morgan's eyes widened as the Midwife carefully handed him his newborn son.  "My son." He said the words with a mixture of awe and pride. 

  Rose quietly cleaned up and then left the new parents alone.  Ava climbed out of the bed and walked closer to Morgan and her son.  "He's so precious!" she whispered.  "Here, let me hold him please!"  She held her arms out eagerly.


  Morgan smiled at her as he placed their son into her arms.  "You did a terrific job Ava.  He's perfect."

  Ava stared at the little bundle in her arms.  "He is perfect."  She cuddled him, close to her heart.

  "What shall we name him?"  Morgan asked her.

  "Taliesin."  Ava answered right away.  "It means radiant brow, for he puts a smile on my face and in my heart."

  Morgan kissed her lightly on the lips.  "Taliesin it is then."

  "Hello Tal."  Ava whispered.  "I have been waiting a long time for you."  Tal opened his eyes, and stared up at his parents.  He waved a fist, as if to say hello.  Then he gave a great big yawn, and closed his eyes again.



  Notes:  Sorry about the length. The first half was just so sad, I didn't want to leave it there!  And if there were poses that existed that allowed the father to bring the baby to the mother while she laid in bed, Morgan would have done so, lol.  But there isn't.  I wish the father could at least hand the baby to the mother, like in Sims2, but alas, that is not possible either.  So that one little scene took forever because I had to use a combination of poses, in game animation, plus put the baby on the floor, have the other parent pick him up, move everybody back to the approx location, and then take more pics.  Overall, it turned out alright I think.

  I had two ways this story was going to unfold, and it depended on whether or not they had a boy or a girl.  Now that I know it is a boy--it is full speed ahead, lol!  And if you read my How will it work page, you will know that Tal is the heir.  I wasn't quite ready for them to have children yet, I thought I had shut off the autonomous options, but apparently, I did not, lol :P

  Taliesin is also a *famous* welch poet/bard, though it is spelled differently then the way I am spelling it.

  There is quite a lengthy war going on by the Forbidden Forest.  I would show more of it---but---I am not quite that savvy to make dragons, ogres, goblins, and other things appear, lol.  So it will have to be imagination only, sorry! :(  For now I just explain it as Morgan does not want to talk about it, because he lives it.

  I have been fortunate enough to not have suffered any miscarriages.  My sister on the other hand, has had many miscarriages and ectopic  pregnancies.  My other sister after five years of trying, finally found out she was pregnant last month.  She doesn't know if she is going to miscarry or not, because her hormone levels aren't right, and even today, it is still touch and go.  So Ava is not alone, my sisters have cried on my shoulder once or twice.

 The herbs are real, Google is my friend.

  Last note---yes, Belle is not so nice.  She feels vindicated in what she does though, because she was hurt by Morgan.  Would she have been the same way if Morgan had married her instead?, it is hard to say.  He did have a certain way with her though. :)

  Any thoughts, comments?

  Thanks for reading! :)