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Pop (Part 1)

Location: North Weyr
Time: Evening of Day 20 to early morning of Day 21, Month 13, Turn 3
Players: Roa, Ashwin, Neiran, Jandor, R'vain, Tialith
Scene: Well, it had to happen eventually.



Snow falls on the Reaches in fat heavy flakes that quickly blanket the ground (or add to its already copious covering) and cling to hair and clothes with damp and chilly tenacity. It's late evening, the sun already set with the shortened daylight hours, and around the time when the guard captain typically arrives home. The sight that waits to greet him isn't too unusual. Dinner is set out, just simple fare from the kitchen, and both Tialith and Roa are home. The queen is settled on her couch, head up, eyes whirling the slow blues and greens of draconic contentment. Roa lies on the bed, a bit curled with her back to the door, perhaps stealing a brief nap while she waits for her weyrmate's return. The only items out of place are, first, that despite lying down, the weyrwoman still has her shoes on and two, a faint...something in the air or the stone. Something different, though there is no specific culprit, just a sense of slight otherness.

Ashwin's on time, and the door swings open to admit him. He pauses inside it, hauling off his jacket, and reaching up to ruffle a hand through his hair, only succeeding in pressing flakes further into it, and rolling his eyes up as they begin to melt against his scalp. He's spotted her, and turns in silence to snag his jacket on the hook. Just as soundless are his footsteps, as he glances towards Tialith, then moves with his quiet grace towards the bed, tilting his head as her face comes into view, to look for eyes that are open or closed.

Her eyes are closed, brows furrowed, though after a few moments, they open slowly and she tilts her head a bit to peer up and over at Ashwin. Roa offers a faint smile and a murmured "Hey." She glances over his damp hair. "Snowing out, I see."

"Hey," he replies, the private smile he keeps just for her lighting his features, as he bridges the gap between them to ease down onto the edge of the bed, and reach out to rest a hand on her leg. "All white. Saw a blue playing in it, kicking it up everywhere." This amused him, says the quick crease at the corners of his eyes. "Tired?"

"A blue?" Roa laughs, "It would be. They take wonder in things the rest of us take for granted." Her arms are tucked up under her head, fingers curled around the pillow. Is she tired? "Not exactly."

"Quite warm, if you bury yourself in it," Ashwin observes. "Sailor told me that once, tried it out. Worked well, until Seyra dropped a log on me." His mouth quirks a fraction. "Poor choice of location." His hand curls around her ankle, and he looks down to watch as it uncurls again to slowly rub her leg. "Good to see you resting anyway. Won't be long, now."

"Poor you. Poor Seyra. She must have felt awful." Roa's ankle twitches a little bit as Ashwin's fingers slide over her leg. "Not too long," she agrees. "Couple hours, I think, before we should go."

"Yelled a little, reckon she didn't feel too good," he replies, his free hand coming up to rub at his nose in an echo of some memory. It stills abruptly, and he turns his head to look down to her. "Come again, little thing? Couple of hours until?"

"You yelled or she did?" the weyrwoman asks before responding to the second, perhaps more important part of Ashwin's query. "Before there should be healers around. I'm counting. They're not very frequent, yet." The dragon resting on the other side of the weyr flexes her wings slightly and the faint oddness in the room becomes identifiable. A very low humming that's causing subtle vibrating of the furniture and floor.

"Her, what do you think?" His lips quirk for a moment. And then they stop quirking, his hand tightening on her leg. "You mean..." His suddenly wide-eyed gaze drops to her stomach. "Pains? We should call a healer now, what would we wait for?"

"I like it here," Roa says, her eyes closing again. "It's quiet here, it's home. Staying til we shouldn't anymore, and that's not for a while yet. Rather lie in this bed than an infirmary one, and either way that's all I'd be doing for a bit, anyhow."

"Well, let's have you doing all you're doing with a healer to watch," Ashwin replies, shifting to the edge of the bed, and preparing to rise. "We never had a baby before, so we don't know a thing about it. I want an expert. I'll get you a healer here. You're the Weyrwoman, no need to go to them."

"I read," Roa protests, her eyes closing tighter. "I knew you'd do this. Don't. Please. Stay here? If anything's wrong, Tia'll know. It's all right. Promise."

Ashwin snorts, coming to his feet. "With all due respect for Tia, has she had a baby that didn't come in an eggshell? Ours work a little differently." One hand comes up again to run through damp hair. "You don't get to read about this in a book. You get to do what you're told, while I fetch you a healer. Healer says you can lie there and recite texts, that's fine. Not your decision on your own."

The weyrwoman curls a bit tighter, at least as much as her current shape will allow. "She'd know because she's mine. Not because she laid eggs." Sighing softly, Roa tucks her chin against her chest. "Go on, then. I'll be here." The dragon in question cants her head a bit to peer towards Ashwin, the tip of her tail twitching as she thrums softly.

Ashwin takes two steps up to the head of the bed, and leans in to press his forehead to hers, to then to kiss her temple. "Humour me, both of you," he murmurs, squeezing the queenrider's shoulder as he glances across to her dragon. "No dancing while I'm gone." And then gone he is, jacket forgotten as he slips out the door.

-------

It's a little after dinner on the 20th day in the thirteenth month when the Captain of the Guard heads down into the infirmary to bring those healers that had been overseeing the Weyrwoman's pregnancy up into the North Weyr because that pregnancy seems on its way to ending. He waits, silent and still if exceeding ready to move again, as things are gathered, and then he leads the way to Roa's weyr. It's a female aide trailing after the healers that gives Ashwin that look. The one that suggests he find somewhere else to be for a while. He steals a final glance into the weyr before taking several steps back and allowing the door to be shut in his face.

Inside the weyr, Roa is lying on the bed, on her side, her eyes closed. She looks mostly as if she's napping except for the fact that her boots are still on. Tialith is settled on her couch, eyes on her rider, thrumming so softly that it cannot be heard so much as felt as her low tones vibrate into wood and stone.

Jandor is the first of the professional men to arrive on the scene. His arrival is quite brisk, and he carries a case of his implements with him. Everything that he could think of to put into it. He is dressed as per normal; manner only slightly hurried. After all, the baby will come he figures regardless of what happens. No trouble is suspect as of yet, but should it come what he needs is in his satchel. Upon arrival, he nods simply to an aide. "Hot water, soap, towels. Go. Lots of them." And then turns towards where Roa lies, without setting anything done yet. "Jus' startin' lass, or ye been at it fer awhile?"

Neiran is uncharacteristically late, by his account - that being a few moments behind Jandor. His cheeks are red with the lash of the wind outside, and perhaps from the effort of carrying his own effects as well as a small stand that unhinges to become legs on which he props the case. It takes but a moment's look to determine he's not as late as he'd imagined, and the edge of hastiness melts like the snowflakes on the shoulders of his cassock. "Good day," he murmurs, seeing to the clasps of his case. His eyes travel from Roa's prone form to Jandor's hands, and his lips purse.

The weyrwoman cracks an eye open and then lifts her head at the sound of the door closing. Her gaze flicks around the room taking in who is there and who isn't, any longer. The aide nods at Jandor's orders and slips back out to fetch the requested items. "Started a little this afternoon. Really started a couple of hours ago. Still about ten minutes between each one, so closer to 'just starting', I think." Roa's been doing her reading. She offers a faint smile for Neiran's brisk arrival, flushed face and relatively cordial greeting. "Good day, Journeyman," she replies politely.

Jandor nods his head slightly; thick fingers -- so observed by Neiran pulling at his beard. In fact, he doesn't even notice the other Journeyman until Roa speaks to him at which point his head turns. "Ah." He murmurs. "Journeyman Neiran. Right glad t'see ye." He leans back, and with a conspiratorial look on his face whispers something to the other. And then he is bustling, surveying furniture and the like as he figures a few things out. "Ye hurtin', yet?" A smile, for the Weyrwoman. "'Xcited?" Back to Neiran he looks, seemingly expecting an answer.

The Journeyman eyes Jandor warily as he steps in to whisper, but seems to realize at the last moment that he's not about to get his earlobe or cheek bitten, and so turns his ear obligingly to catch his colleague's aside. His response to the whisper is a rapid series of blinks, a small throat-clearing noise, and a straightening of his shoulders. Neiran looks at Roa once again, and offers the woman a sedate nod; that's his way of smiling reassuringly, you see. "Merely anticipatory," he replies to Jandor. He lifts the lid of his case, peers down out of the corner of his eyes to triple-check that everything in there is as it ought to be. The array of blades, phials, and other paraphernalia to cover all possibilities is hidden from the patient herself by virtue of its angle and the raised lid, of course. Families of scalpels laid in rows have never been known to inspire relaxation.

"Little bit," the weyrwoman admits to Jandor's question, settling her head back onto the pillow. "Not so bad, yet." It is, indeed, a rather fortunate thing that Roa can't see the many shiny and pointy objects Neiran has brought along.

Jandor, to his credit, seems to know what Neiran is saying and simply nods. "Either way." He says. "Ye can look after t'at." A flashing smile to Roa, as he sits himself down beside her; tapping his knee thoughtfully. "So, Lass. M'guessin' tha' someone's been over t'basics with ye? Anythin' y'do or dun want done, anythin' that y'want us to know, need t'tell us?"

"Is our assistant not qualified to adequately oversee that particular aspect of minutiae?" Neiran tries to make it sound nonchalant, and lofty, but his voice and his deadpan expression rather convey the sense that Jandor has tasked him with some onerous chore he's reluctant to cede to without some show of a fight; a Lord asked to scrape his plate leavings into the dustbin. There are /assistants/ for these things. "Our patient might perhaps be more comfortable, if that were the case," he adds, gesturing lightly in Roa's vicinity. It's left to the audience to determine whether or not that added remark is an excuse, or a true gentlemanly concern; his tone was nothing less than sincere.

"Just, tell me what's going to happen before you do anything. I'd rather be spoken to than spoken a-..." Roa falls quiet, her eyes closing and her hands tightening around the pillow they suddenly clutch. "...around," she manages after about forty seconds. She slowly opens her eyes to glance curiously at Neiran as the aide returns with the requested hot water, towels, and soap.

Jandor smiles at Roa as he adjusts his position, and gives Neiran a long sort of look. It's a vaguely irritated one. "If'n tha'd be yer preference, hardly be right o' me tae ask y'into an uncomfortable position." A genuine smile. "Anywa' my 'pologies." This is said to Roa. The two healers are clearly going to have to work on their synergy. "Should nae be a problem." His eyes are on her pelvis, though, as his brain does a little bit of figuring. Narrow hips. To say the least. "Ye have questions?"

The recipient of that dirty look raises an eyebrow. "It is not my preference that is in question, but our patient's." Synergy, indeed. As the aide has returned, and Jandor is briefing the mother-to-be, he takes upon himself the mantle of being the bossy one; he's already decided where the water, soap, and towels will need to go, and he directs the girl as his rank entitles him to. Once she's relieved of her burdens, he lowers his voice (but doesn't go as far as to lean in, Faranth no), and inquires, "I would wish to know how in-depth your knowledge of midwifery is...are you trained to perform dilation checks?" He dares not glance to Roa during this. Hopefully Jandor is being adequate distraction that this little interaction can be swept under the rug and they can proceed with dignity all around.

The aide settles things as she's directed, wiping off her hands as Neiran asks his quiet question. "Dia...you want me to..." her eyes widened, scandalized. "I can't go pokin' around no Weyrwoman, sir!" she hisses back to Neiran a touch frantically. Coming back to herself rather quickly, the aide clears her throat and shakes her head. "Uhm, that is, no sir. Sorry, sir." On the bed, Roa's brow hitches a bit higher. "It's hard for the patient to have a preference when she has no idea what's being discussed. Should I..." perhaps she notices the way Jandor peeks at her pelvis, "...change into a nightgown or somesuch?"

Jandor shakes his head as though to clear it. "My apologies, Weyrwoman. I dinna want ye t'think that we're not wit' it tonight. I was tryin' tae think of t'best position for ye t'use." And then he steps back, nodding. "S'd probably be tae best thing for ye. Either, t'assistant, 'r Neiran is goin' t'have to have a wee peek inna few, 'n see how yer dilation is comin' along. M'assume y'd rather naw want my meaty 'ol hands again." The smile beneath the beard seems to indicate that he's aiming for humor here, and to make her relax. "One 'o t'aids can take ye into t'next room for y'to chance."

Neiran's calm nod affirms what Jandor's said rings true. "I understand that it puts many first-time mothers at ease to have the more...intimate elements of the birth overseen by a female." The conclusion of the sentence, 'but, looks like you're stuck with me,' is said non-verbally by way of a vague hand gesture that inclines towards himself, then away, helplessly. He leaves the attempts at levity to Jandor, instead simply busies himself with unbuttoning the close-fit wrists of his cassock sleeves so he can roll them back to his elbows. Formal ablutions with water and redwort will commence then.

Roa slowly and carefully eases herself upwards, swinging her legs down over the side of the bed. "Well," she says to Neiran as her toes touch the floor, "unless you intend to have the aides do the actual delivering as well, I'm not sure what difference it makes." Perhaps Roa's own weak smile suggests this is her attempt at humor. She eases up into a stand and moves slowly but surely towards her wardrobe. "I think I can manage to head into the bathroom by myself, but thank you for the offer of help." The gold's attention simply shifts as her rider does, gaze remaining on Roa as the queen thrums, low and steady.

Jandor nods at the Weyrwoman once again; rising as well. Apparently, he is going to respect her wish to carry herself. Nonetheless, he wanders along with her from the wardrobe until her bathroom itself until he turns back to Neiran, leaning towards him to speak quietly. "Lad." He says. Never mind that he is, in fact, older. Neiran that is. "We need t'work on our communication just a wee bit, you 'n I." A smile, though. But it fades. "Anyway. M'a little bit worried." Said in a quiet voice, of course. "Narrowest 'ips I've ever seen. M'thinkin' we need tae be ready t'look at other options, 'if too much stress comes to t'baby or mother."

Neiran opens his mouth, perhaps preparing to explain what difference it makes, but stops himself and decides better of it. Roa's little jest, presumed to be that, receives a slow nod. Like the tone-deaf, he can sense the melody of humor there, even if he can't sing along. Jandor's approach for a consultation now that Roa's out of the room doesn't surprise; unflinchingly, he continues to bathe his forearms in pinkish redwort, rinsing and toweling them as he responds. "Indeed. I agree." Without moving his head, his eyes make a pointed deviation from Jandor's face to the arsenal of scalpels and suturing materials he's brought. "We shall proceed without surgical intervention, and with caution, until the situation changes. I believe the Weyrwoman is aware of the possibility of caesarian." He hesitates a moment, lifts his eyes to meet Jandor's. "Our /Weyrwoman's/ health should be our priority in such a scenario," he adds, lowering his already quiet voice.

The heavier of the healers is nodding, to what Neiran says; leaning back so that he can peer into the brought tools as well. "Timin' is goin' t'be everythin' if it comes to that." A broad hand scratches at his beard. "Aye." He finally agrees, after a solid thirty seconds. "T'would be tae best' thing. But, if'n it comes t'that....don't ye say a word to t'weyrwoman, we do what we need tae do, 'n tell her what an' t'why of it afterward. Cause us problems we cannae handle, otherwise. Don't like to tell ye yer job, lad, but, yer knowin' what tae say an' when could use a bit 'o work."

The healer's face is impassive, his head tilted up in the ascent of a nod, until Jandor backtracks a moment. "On the contrary," he replies smoothly, lowering his chin to its initial place, indirectly completing the nod, "I am in full agreement and was preparing myself to suggest the same had you failed to do so yourself." A pause. "I am pleased to see we are coordinating our thoughts." Now, he nods a margin, and falls to silence again, eyes on where Roa disappeared to, awaiting her return.



Go to Part 2 here.

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