“The child will be born among the dead. An offspring of the god and the mortal, the child will be destined to save the beings of old, the ones who keep to the shadows. The child will be our herald, embracing the powers that lay dormant within. They will rise, with gilded wings, to destroy the darkness that enslaves us. The fearsome battle will rage as the powers of light and shadow clash. Look for the herald. Rescue them before they are taken by the darkness.”
-As proclaimed to Elder Niloth, 357
Kyrr shot upright in his bed. Wincing, he pressed long, grey-blue fingers against his ribs. He caught the gleam of silver blood wet on his fingertips in the moonlight. His bandages needed to be changed again, but there was no time. He had to find Rhiann.
Pushing himself to his feet, he stumbled out of the tent, shielding his eyes from the smoke that filled the air. Swords rang through the night as the battle raged on. Stepping out of the way of wounded and the doctors, he grabbed a blade from the table near the tent and headed into the battlefield to search for his twin sister. The psychic link they shared was faint--his wounds were blocking his sense. Kyrr would have to search the human way. Stumbling forward, he skirted around the soldiers as best he could. He lifted his face to the chill wind that swept away the smoke, trying to catch his sister’s scent on the air, but the fire had burned for too long. Only smoke filled his senses.
Distracted as he was, Kyrr failed to notice the enemy slipping behind him as he so foolishly stood in full moonlight. The enemy soldier swept Kyrr’s legs out from under him, sending the injured man sprawling to the earth. Grimacing, Kyrr clutched his side and hastily scrambled to his feet to face his attacker. Kyrr raised his sword to defend himself as the soldier advanced, a grin plastered on his face beneath lifeless eyes. As the solider raised his sword, another blade suddenly sprouted from his chest, turning the grin into a mask of pain as the solider slid off the sword. Looking up at his rescuer, Kyrr grinned.
“About time you showed up.”
Rhiann flicked blood off her sword as she went to inspect Kyrr’s bandages. “Just in time, it would seem.” She frowned at her brother as she noticed the blood seeping through his bandages. “Why didn’t you stay put? You took a sword to the belly, you need to rest.”
Kyrr flapped his hand at her. “No matter. You know me, I heal fast.” Their race was known for their unmatched healing powers. Normally, a belly cut would be near fatal. As a Vethirii, he would be fine in a few hours. Kyrr searched his sister’s face for any sign of trouble, but the only thing he found was weariness. “Where is she? Is my lady safe?”
“Lhiweth is perfectly safe. The castle is well-guarded. I left but moments ago, but that was just to check on you. Now that I see you are fine, I will go back to guarding my lady.” She looked at her brother. “She is due any moment. She will need you.”
Nodding, Kyrr headed towards the castle. “Let us not delay any longer. Run and grab me some bandages, and I will head towards the castle.” He turned to begin the walk up the stone path as Rhiann sprinted towards the medical tent. Scanning the battlegrounds, Kyrr could see that the war was almost over. Both sides had barely any energy left in them to fight, let alone the number of men needed. It would not be a victory for either side, but it would most certainly not be a loss for the lands of Cithrin if Kyrr could help it. He intended to see the High Lady deliver her child this night, no matter what happened beyond the walls of the keep. Turning as Rhiann caught up with him and handed him the bandages, he nodded his thanks and rewrapped his wound as they walked. As they got closer to the gate, Rhiann put her fingers to her mouth and whistled for the guards to let them in. A white face leaned out over the wall of the guard tower.
“Master Kyrr, you best hurry. My lady is not doing well.”
Glancing at one another, the twins took off at a run, with Kyrr just a step behind his sister, ignoring the blood that ran freely down his side.
Lhiweth, the High Lady of Cithrin, swallowed a scream of pain as it coursed through her body. Midwives surrounded her, a flurry of movement as they gave her water and wiped the sweat from her forehead. Some were readying towels for when the baby came, if it ever decided to stop being stubborn and stop kicking. Lhiweth listened to the midwives whispers as they scurried about the room. Lifting her head weakly, she beckoned to the one nearest her.
The midwife bowed. “Yes, my lady?”
“The battle? Is it over?” She swallowed. Her voice was raspy from screaming.
“I’m sorry my lady, I do not know. Rhiann managed to find her brother, though. The guard sent word that they were on their way up.”
“Good. I must speak with Kyrr before…anything happens.”
“Nothing will, my lady.” The midwife spoke gently, but her voice was firm. “Kyrr is the best wildmage on this edge of the world. We are lucky his people sent him.”
Nodding her head weakly, Lhiweth laid her head back on her pillows and closed her eyes just as the door flew open. Startled, she turned her head to see what the commotion was.
“Kyrr…you made it.”
“My lady.” Kyrr grabbed her hand. “I will not leave your side.” Speaking to the midwives, he asked, “What have you done so far? How far is she?”
“She is due to give birth any second, Master Kyrr. You arrived just in time.” Nodding, Kyrr looked at Rhiann. “I might need your help if we are this close.”
“Anything for my lady.” She placed on hand on Lhiweth’s forehead and the other in Kyrr’s outstretched hand. “Lhiweth, we have to place a protective barrier inside you, to save your organs from being ruptured. You must begin pushing when we tell you to. Do not stop, no matter how great the pain is. Do you understand?” She looked into the eyes of the High Lady of Cithrin and was met with steely resolve. Nodding in satisfaction, Rhiann looked at her twin. “At your word, brother.”
Kyrr nodded, frowning in concentration. He closed his eyes, and willed the magic to come forth from his body. Sending the tendrils of his power over Lhiweth, he reached into Rhiann’s consciousness and pulled power from her body as well. He shaped his power into spikes and forced them into Lhiweth’s body, forming a barrier around the baby. He tried to extend it and immediately became fatigued. His eyes fluttered open to see his twin looking at him with concern.
“I can’t Rhiann. I lost too much blood. I can only fully protect one. Lhiweth may not survive the birth.” He looked at the hand that grasped his, then up into the beautiful eyes of the woman he had devoted his life to protecting.
“It’s alright, Kyrr. The baby must survive. He is the important one.”
“He, my lady?”
Lhiweth looked into Rhiann’s black eyes. “He. I can tell. The child is a boy.” Turning back to Kyrr, she smiled. “Thank you, my dear, for everything you have done to help my family.” She took a deep breath and nodded. “Tell me when you are ready.”
Kyrr glanced at Rhiann and nodded grimly, closing his eyes once more. He grabbed hold of the tendrils of magic and forced them into a barrier to protect and heal the baby. The unnatural pregnancy had taken a toll on both of his patients, and he urged his magic to repair as many internal wounds as he could. Lhiweth would not share any information about the child’s father, but Kyrr surmised that whoever he was, he was not human. How Lhiweth, the human High Lady of Cithrin, encountered something inhuman was beyond him. He took a breath. He only hoped that Lhiweth would survive this birth with her own natural strength, but he was uncertain it would be enough.
“Now, my lady,” he whispered.
Kyrr’s magic flared as Lhiweth’s screams echoed through the keep, fading into the screaming cries of a newborn. Rhiann took the child from the arms of the midwife who cleaned him and brought him to see his mother. She held him out for Lhiweth to see. Kyrr frowned as he caught a glimpse of the child--completely human in appearance. The birth should not have been this difficult if the babe’s human side was dominant.
The High Lady of Cithrin smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks. She stroked the face of her child, dropping her hand to grasp his tiny fingers. “Thank you, you two. You have given me the greatest gift possible.” She looked over at Kyrr , who was kneeling next to the bed. “Do not grieve for me, Master Kyrr. I have the highest faith in you to guide my child.” Turning her head, she kissed her hand and laid it on her baby. “Neiran. The child will be called Neiran.” She sighed. “Take care, my son.” Smiling, she closed her eyes and took her last breath.
Rhiann eyed her brother, then turned to glance around the room at the midwives, who were grieving for their dead mistress. “Kyrr. We must take the child to Rav. He needs to be informed of the birth.” Her brother hadn’t moved from his empty stare. “Kyrr!” Startled from his stupor, he looked at his twin and the baby in her arms.
“Kyrr, we have to go. Take him to Rav. He will know what to do.” Rhiann walked quickly to the door, then turned. “Lady Ana.” A midwife looked up at her. “Please have horses ready for us and provisions for the child.”
“Neiran.” Kyrr stood and followed the twin. He stood and walked over to his sister, stroking Neiran’s head. Meeting his sister’s eyes, he said softly, “His name is Neiran.”
Turning back to Lady Ana, Rhiann said, “Please ready provisions for Neiran, Kyrr, and myself. Three days should suffice.” Bowing her head, Lady Ana left the room to fulfill her request. “Come on, brother. We must go, swiftly. Get your supplies.” She looked out to the courtyard below. “We’ve a long distance to cover in a short amount of time.” Kyrr nodded, following his sister out the door.
“To Ravonaar, then.”