"I'm scared, Huberta. There is so much blood. . ."
The scene she approaches is one that sends her stomach lurching; a friend, so dear to her. . . hunched over. Heavily pregnant. Bleeding. Blood- so much blood. Without any thought, any hesitation, Huberta rushes forth and envelops the woman keenly- ensuring she didn't collapse, as the two men by her side did nothing to help. Fools. They could've helped. Couldn't they?
". . . and the pain-. . ."
These whispered words only fueled the worry that seeped into the raconteur; pregnancy, labor... it was all hard enough. Healthy women and healthy babies died from small mishaps. Serious complications- such as this... the chances of survival were slim. To top it off. . . she was panicking. Kindrel had never been one to panic. So openly, at least- she hid her woes behind witty remarks, snark, and anger. She was always so angry, never-. . . never scared.
It had never been like this.
". . . it has never been like this. . ."
She held the pregnant elf tightly, arms looped under Kindrel's pits.
"It'll-. . . you'll be fine," was what she murmured, to comfort. Not much comfort was given. Nasty glares were spared towards both male 'fenn, and she snapped some demand- for them to carry this poor woman somewhere else. No clinic - they settled on an isolated room in the tavern, a room full of hay with a bed made of the same material. Not comfortable. . . no comfort. The best that Huberta could do was her cape, laid under the pained woman.
". . . not with either of my children."
The next seven hours went by slowly. Agonizingly slow- and Huberta watched it all; she held Kindrel's hand, whispered praise, and boosted her through moments where they both believed she lacked the willpower to finish the job - the job of motherhood. "Easy- breathe, breathe. . . breathe," she'd chant, Huberta, voice cracking with a slight whine. This was a plea - she knew what these sort of complications meant, what ensued. . .
- - -
And doesn't she know, too? The blood, the pain, the distortion of her body stretched beyond its limits. And the speed of it all. . . she knows. She knows, and in Kindrel's eyes reflect an echo of that fear Huberta shudders with - but too, there is hope.
"Ryunthur," she asks, hoarse and weak.
And so Huberta fetches him - with a shout, as she juggles the wailing baby boy in both arms. Eventually, he comes, and his countenance breaks into a proud, overjoyed smile- he spares a proud, overjoyed glance to Kindrel- and is proud. He, a father, a soon-to-be-husband, is overjoyed - as is she.
To the trio - to the quartet, a tired smile, and she summons the strength to speak hoarsely; "Ibram."
Its name. Huberta leaves the couple - paces only a few steps away, and sits on another sack of hay, her makeshift seat for the hours to come. More people enter, more people leave- that tiny room. They're all smiling - but they know. They know, they know, she knows, they all know- why must they pretend? Why are they all pretending?
A line of dust does the trick. Draws her thoughts elsewhere, far away- she can't stand all of this pretending. This acting. It's only seconds to her, that pass, and so suddenly- Ludo exits.
". . . She ain't with us anymore."
And like that, the bard is sobered.
She rises- jolts to her feet- with a gasp. A sharp inhale, and exhale, all at once. It sends her into a fit. She wasn't surprised, no. . . no shock ran over her visage, no shock morphed her features. It was shock, though, really - or. . . was it? Now, she was still unsure. Without thinking, her feet drew her out of the room and down the stairs- into Dobrov's meek square, down the path, and to the main road.
This was expected, was it not? This was going to happen. She knew- Kindrel. . . they all knew. Even then, it hurt- she couldn't believe. She had... hope. That her friend would live longer - long enough to hear her child's first laugh, see those first steps. . . but it was taken. Why? Where is this GOD, the one everybody loses their minds over? Where? Not here, surely, for if He was. . . He wouldn't allow such a thing. Would He? Why? How could He?
It was pointless. The same thought ran over her mind, days, months, and years later.
Why? Why, why- why?