Today is Naiara Bittertongue’s Birthday. I don’t think its funny to celebrate the birthday of a fictional character, especially when this particular fictional character is the result of so many fantastic stories. So, in honor of those fantastic stories–and my brilliant RP partner Threnn–I’m sharing the stories and cleaned up chat logs from that night. If you stick with us to the very end, you’ll learn something new about Naiara…
The contractions started at dawn, pulling Threnn out of a sound sleep. It was the first night since they’d returned from Icecrown that she hadn’t dreamed of the fields littered with the dead, or the shadow of a chittering Nerubian Prince, or the cold, dead eyes of the Wordweaver. She lay there in the dim light, wondering if she should wake Bricu. He’d been subdued all week, the horrors they’d witnessed shadowing his eyes even when he was making plans for their daughter’s future.
The pain subsided even as she came awake the rest of the way. It had felt more like a strong cramp than what she imagined true labor pains would be. Anna says this part could last all day. Leave him be. Truth be told, Anna had said this part could last for several days. Best to wait a little longer and try getting back to sleep herself. Threnn pulled the covers up and snuggled closer to her husband.
It seemed that she’d only just drifted off when the second one came, but it had to be longer than a few minutes; the sun was brighter, creeping across the floor towards the bed. She counted to thirty before the pang went away, and gave up on the notion that she’d fall asleep again any time soon.
There was just enough light to read by; Threnn sat up, propping her pillows behind her back, and retrieved one of the books Yva’d brought to her — a study of arcane magic, written for beginning practitioners. It got dry in places, enough that her eyes slipped closed despite her resolve to stay awake. The book fell from her hands.
Sometime later, both Bittertongues awoke to the sounds of a cat and a pengu crashing about the room in a game of chase. Sasha dove under the bed. Tirion launched himself across the top of it — tromping over his master’s and mistress’ legs — to drop down upon her when her beak poked out from the other side.
“Oi!” Bricu’s sleep-thickened voice made both animals pause mid-tumble to peek up at him guiltily. “The two o’yeh cut that out or I’ll ship yeh off ta the gobbers. See if they feed yeh half so well.”
Tirion stopped gnawing on Sasha’s ear and started giving her a bath. For her part, the pengu suffered it in silence.
Bricu grunted and rolled over, reaching for Threnn. “It’s almost as if they understa–Threnny? Yeh been awake long?”
She shook her head. “I was reading for a while, and. Oh. Ow.” Her hand went to her stomach as she felt the cramping begin again.
That got Bricu sitting up, his hand covering hers and filling with the Light. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, love. ‘s what’s supposed to happen.” She took a deep breath. Another. “Half a minute. Last one was maybe an hour ago.”
His eyes widened. “Should we be callin’ Annie an’ Haemon?”
“They’ll tell me to go back to bed. ‘s nowhere near time yet.”
“But it’s today, isn’t it?”
“Today or tomorrow, yeah.”
“An’ they’ll tell us to go back ta sleep? Ballacks.” Bricu let the Light go and raked his fingers through his hair. “I’m not goin’ ta be able ta…” He looked around their room, as if there might be answers in the gleam of gems on his worktable, or the ashes in the grate. Or on the tea tray from last night. “Breakfast.”
“If I’m not goin’ back ta sleep, I’m makin’ breakfast. Can yeh eat?”
“A whole stack of pancakes.”
“Brilliant.” He leaned over and kissed her. When he pulled away, two pairs of eyes were peeking over the edge of the bed, one feline, one birdlike. “An’ yeh lot get tuna. We’re celebratin’.”
After breakfast, there was nothing to do but wait. Bricu arranged his jewels and settings on the worktable and made a valiant effort at concentrating on them. Soon enough, he gave that up and moved to his writing desk, sifting through paperwork for the house and the Pig. Threnn, deprived of her blacksmithing tools, sketched out a few designs for a sword she was planning once her sister returned her hammers.
Then a contraction would come, and both Bittertongues would stop what they were doing while Threnn counted off. Bricu had started keeping a list of their length and frequency during breakfast, when a particularly strong one made Threnn drop her fork.
A call to Anna yielded the exact reaction they’d expected: keep count, wait, tell me when they’re closer. Despite that, while she was cautioning her sister and brother-in-law to stay calm, they could hear her rushing around on the other side of the buzzbox, gathering her things. Threnn imagined Anna composing a list in her blocky handwriting, ticking off the items one by one.
They took a walk when the bells tolled half-past ten, making their slow way to the Mage District. Flowers lined the walkways, a colorful contrast to the stark snows of Icecrown. “I’ve never noticed them before,” said Threnn, bending awkwardly to pick a white sprig of yarrow.
“I heard the crown doubled the gardenin’ staff, after the winter we had. Keeps up morale.” He considered the flowerbed they were passing and added a lily to her bouquet.
“Well. ‘s working.”
By the time they meandered back to the Rose, the midday crowd had arrived. Bricu took the flowers and headed into the kitchens to prepare their lunch. Threnn paused halfway up the stairs, her knuckles turning white on the railing as another contraction came. They were definitely coming faster now, their intensity growing. When it passed, she continued her climb, grateful that no one had seen her grimace and offered assistance.
She surveyed the room as she swept inside, hanging her light spring cloak on its hook. Everything was tidy; the bedside tables had been cleared off for Anna and Haemon’s use. They’d borrowed a few chairs from the small sitting room down the hall. Light only knew if they’d be needed, but it was better to be prepared.
Bricu entered a few minutes later with bowls of soup and a loaf of fresh bread. He’d found a vase for the flowers and set them in the middle of the tray.
“It’s cream o’asparagus.” He put everything down on the desk and waited for Threnn to try her first spoonful before tucking into his own. “Threnny? Don’t yeh like it?”
She’d taken one taste and set the spoon down. “I… It’s fine. I just. I think…” She shifted in the chair.
“Another contraction?” The log wasn’t far from his hand. Bricu waited, pen poised.
Only, Threnn wasn’t counting this time. She stood up, touching the seat of the chair, then the back of her dress. “Think I need to change.” She gave him a tremulous smile. “My water just broke.”
Kara Thompson, who refused to run on general principle, bolted out of the door of the Gilded Rose and into the crowded, early morning streets of Stormwind. She was confused, worried and borderline giddy as she ran out of her workplace through her regular early-morning customers.
“Make way!” she screamed in her off-key voice, “MrsBricuishavingthebaby!!” Her words jumbled together as she flew past stunned customers.
Mr. Bricu had given her precise, clear instructions on who to find: Thenia and Padraig, Mrs. Bricu’s parents. She was then supposed to give Morgan Pestle Annie’s list and bring the herbs she needed back. He also mentioned something about being quiet about the birth, but Kara thought that was a stupid idea. Babies and birth were not quiet things. New life was loud, so why try and keep it quiet? But Mr. Bricu’s requests were seldom, and he was such a pleasant man to deal with. She kept her comments to herself.
Kara ran staight and true into Morgan Pestle’s apothecary.
“Morgan! Here! I need these things right away!” Kara cut through the line and handed the list straight to Morgan Pestle. He took the list, examined it briefly, dismissing his patrons with a “hush!” .
“Whose this for, Kara? You already had your…”
“Mrs. Bricu’s having her baby now! Hurry, please!”
“Threnny’s having her baby?” said someone a few steps behind her.
“YES!” she yelled back, “and it’s supposed to be a quiet affair!”
“Wasn’t a quiet affair when I saved her from drowning,” the voice said. “Kara, dear, you give her a message for me.”
“I do not have time to dilly-dally, sir!” Kara spun on her heel and jabbed a finger at Elling Trias. “Oh! Mr. Trias! I’m so sorry!”
Elling simply smiled. “Just tell her to teach her baby to swim. I’ll be by to pay my respects soon. Now then, can I get my tarragon and dill from my friend Morgan here?”
“Oh, certainly!” Kara said meekly. “I’ve got to fetch Mrs. Bricu’s parents!”
“Do you know where their shop is, girl?” Morgan asked.
“Oh, sure I do. They do so much business with Delion Oreweave, they probably have their shop right next to his! Tata!” Kara sprinted out the door, ignoring the yelps and shouts of the crowd in Pestle’s.
The cheesemaker’s brow creased as Morgan measured out sprigs of tarragon, dill, mint and cumin. “Did she just say by Oreweave’s shop?”
“Elling, I wouldn’t worry over it. Bittertongue probably just sent her on a fool’s errand to keep her away from the birth. She’s a sweet girl, but she’s a few ounces short of a pound.” Morgan handed over four wrapped packages. “That’ll be four silvers.”
Elling paid his tab. He shook his head briefly. “If not, Padraig and Thenia will have to claw through the crowd to see their granddaughter. Thanks, mate.” He was halfway out of the shop before he stopped and asked, “Wait, Morgan. Is that list she gave you real?”
Morgan peered at the list while shifting through his stocks of pepper. He paled as he answered. “Oh hell. It is.”
“I SAID WHERE ARE PADRAIG AND THENIA AL’CAIR!”
The shout startled him out of his flow. Delion pulled the thread slightly, pulling out the other pearls he had spent hours working on.
“Do you realize,” Delion said, his anger adding venom to his tone, “that you have just ruined hours upon hours of work?”
“I asked nicely three times! Padraig and Thenia, are they here?” Kara crossed her arms and stared at Delion.
“Did the sign outside say ‘Al’Cair’s Fabrics?’ Do I look human to you?”
“You don’t have to get upset.”
“Upset? You ruined hours of work with your inane and foolish prattle! You ask a question where the answer is painfully obvious. Then you ask if I am upset?” Delion studied Kara’s flushed features, “Are you ill or just slow?”
“There is no need to be rude!”
“Dear child, I am not being rude. You are the one who is not following proper decorum. I believe you should leave before I waste more time.”
“But…” Kara stammered.
“Go.” Delion said, scooping up spilled pearls.
“Mrs. Bricu!” She said again
“Get out of my store this instant!” Delion said, stamping his foot.
Delion adjust his jewelers loop. “Mrs. Bricu? Child, did you mean Threnn?”
Delion paused. He studied Kara’s face as if she had sprouted a third eye. “Why are you telling me this?”
A grin creeped up on Kara’s featuers. “Who’s slow now, huh?”
Delion rolled his eyes. “Oh, just get out of my store.”
“Fine.” Kara stormed out of the store. She slammed the door for good measure.
Delion turned on his buzz box, for good measure, while he started to repair the damage to the dress.
The brothers Bell walked from the Stormwind Docks, napsacks over their shoulders, smiles on their faces. They continued their argument that started in Valiance Keep.
“I’m just sayin’ that he didnt’ need to get us the extra wood or the shits from Westfall. We can do this for them with what we have.”
“And I’m just saying who cares! He’s paying us the same rate, with better wood and decent help. What’s the problem Robert?”
“The problem, my knot headed brother, is he’s doing all this for us, while we were doing it all for our Threnny.”
“And he’s just making things safer, and better, for his wife and their baby.”
“Our Threnny. A mother?” Robert asked.
“Our Threnny. A damn fine mother.”
Robert let his brothers word sink before commenting.
“That’s true. And Bricu isn’t that bad.” Robert said.
“In fact, we both approve of him.” William added with a nod.
“Its that Fingold we have to watch out for.”
“Oh, aye. Bricu’s salt of the earth. Edour’s almost–what was Bricu’s term?”
“Aye, Proper Northern. Can’t trust those folk who don’t have a shady past.”
“Aren’t you the same person who said, ‘never trust a northman who doesn’t drink?’” Robert asked.
“And our Bricu doesn’t drink.”
“He is as sober as a glass of water.”
“And he drank enough to build a credit of trustworthiness.” William stated plainly.
“Speaking of drunks, what is her deal?” Robert pointed down the canals, towards a woman running madly across the bridge, stopping every person she saw.
“I’ve bloody clue,” William said, “but she’s coming right for you, brother dear.” He shoved his brother slightly, so Robert was in the lead when the dishevelved, flushed and wild eyed girl grabbed him.
“DO YOU KNOW THENIA AND PADRAIG!”
Robert glared at his brother before smiling sweetly. “We know a Thenia and a Patrick. They love him like a son.”
“Your Bricu’s Brother-in-law?!” Kara exclaimed. “You have got to take me to your parents house. Mrs. Bricu is having her baby!”
“Oh ho, wait a minute friend.” Robert said, putting a hand on Kara’s shoulder. “Our little Threnny is having her baby now?”
“YES! She started labor hours ago! Mr. Bricu asked me to find her parents, deliver messages…They Need me.”
“I’m sure they do luv, I’m sure they do. Now, what’s your name again?” William asked.
“Kara Thompson.” She curtsied out of habit, “I just need to let her parents know!”
“How about this luv. We’ll run home and let Thenia and Padraig know. You just run back to our Threnn and let her know we’re on the way.” Robert said.
“Would you?” As she spoke, Kara visibly relaxed.
“Certainly sweetling. We’ve always taken care of her, we’ll do it now too.” William replied.
“Oh bless you both!”
“We’ll take whatever blessings you have to give, Kara. Now run back to our Threnny, alright?” Robert said with a grin.
Kara smiled and started down the canals, running straight for the trade District. As she ran toward the trade district, Robert took William’s gear.
“Get going.” He said calmly. “I’ll tell da, you tell momma Al’Cair and Padraig. I’ll meet you at the Rose?”
“Quit gabbing, get moving.” William said, bounding off towards old town. “You have to carry the crib we finished! It’s at the shop”
“You’re an asshole William!” Robert yelled after his brother.
“Just like my dear brother.” William shouted back.
Robert, moving slower now, whistled to himself. “Our Threnny, a mother.”
Kara rushed back into Pestle’s Apothecary, once again cutting in front of the other customers. “Well Mr. Pestle, is it ready?”
“Kara, dear, Mr. Ilbis was here first.”
“No. I was here first.” She leveled her gaze. “I dropped off a list for Mr. and Mrs. Bittertongue. I am here just to pick up what she needs.”
“Why don’t you wait a moment, eh? Threnody’s labor will last….”
“Mr. Pestle. Please, I know it isn’t going to happen right away, but I need to be there for them.”
“Kara, you’re a sweet girl, but do you really think…”
“If Mr. Bricu didn’t want me there, don’t you think he would tell me–directly–that he didn’t want me there?”
“No. You listen.” She said calmly, “they sent me to get her parents. I found them. I took longer. I got flustered. It makes sense. My friends are having their first child. I am allowed to be a bit absentminded. Maybe you should just get me their package so Mrs. Bricu isn’t going to be screaming bloody murder.”
“No buts dearie. Just hand me the package. Okay?”
Morgan grumbled as he handed her package. She balanced it on one hip while she leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.
“Thank you Mr. Pestle!”
“Light bless, Kara.” He said, almost cordially.
Kara ducked and weaved through the crowd, not spilling a single item. She rushed back to the Rose, just outside the Bittertongue’s private room, and knocked on the door.
“Mr. Bricu, its all here!”
“Thank yeh lass!” he said from the other side of the door. “Can yeh wait there in case we need yeh for somethin’ else?”
“I’m not going anywhere. You tell Mrs. Bricu that if she needs anything, to just holler.”
“That’s sweet o’yeh lass. I’m sure she’ll be hollerin’ soon.”
Kara did not wait for the shouting. She boiled water for tea, wine for gauze and instruments, and prepared a small sandwhiches for the crowd she knew was coming. It was going to be a long labor–and Kara Thompson was ready for it.