Descent Into Darkness Prologue
Prologue: The Birth of the Twins
Aerion, Aesteria 1855
A scream came from the birthing chamber of Lillian and Jace Black as the Marchioness was told once more by the midwife to push. Jace was outside the chamber, pacing as he listened to his wife's screams. The Marquess prayed for the first time in years as he ran his hands through his fiery red hair, that his wife would bring safe delivery to their children and survive the night herself. Once again, he listened to her cry out and winced, but the cries that followed brought joy through his fear. He watched as a nursemaid rushed past, giving him a glimpse of the woman he cherished most in this life. She looked exhausted, sweat beads could be seen dotting her forehead, tendrils of her curly onyx hair plastered to her cheeks in the dim firelight. The door closed and he took a deep breath. He had only heard one child cry, there was still another to come but this was the moment in which he feared most. With the last child, his dearest Lillian's fate would be forever sealed.
Lillian trembled as she found rest after their first daughter's birth. The nursemaid brought the bundle to her and she held the squirming babe to her chest as she gazed at the child's face. The babe was a beauty, creamy white skin, black wisps of hair and shocking, ocean blue eyes. Even now, just after birth, the child had soft pink lips that would become kissably full with age. Lillian smiled at the child, watching as the babe squirmed and whimpered, hungry for her first meal, most likely. "Beidh D'ainm a Rayvn." 1
The nursemaid allowed the mother time to bond with her newborn, allowing the child to receive her first meal by her mother's bosom before she found the woman's contractions starting again. It seemed the child's twin was indeed ready to come into the world. She gently removed the babe, whose mother had named Rayvn from Lillian's arms and placed her into the nearby bassinette before returning to her side to assist the midwife. It was a strenuous process, for the second child seemed reluctant despite Lillian's body's willingness to expel the child. Finally, after just shy of fourteen hours between both girls, the second child was born, fed, and all attention turned to the mother.
As Lillian fed her second born, whom she had decided to call Rayne, the mid-wife ensured that she would survive the night. They had managed to stop the bleeding, and it was clear she was a strong woman, pulling through would not be an issue. With both girls born, their mother well and covered, the nursemaid standing by and the midwife no longer needed, Jace was finally allowed into the chamber to see his beloved and their daughters. Lillian looked up with a smile at her husband, though her ocean blue eyes drooped with exhaustion. "Mo grá, ba mhaith ár iníonacha chun bualadh leat." 2
Jace smiled warmly as he walked further into the room. Lillian looked exhausted, but she was safe, as were their daughters and that is all that mattered to him. He sat down in the chair provided next to the delivery bed and received his eldest child with a misty gaze. Both girls were beautiful and he knew at once he would love them with everything he had, just as he did Lillian. "Táimid tar éis a déanta go maith, Angel. Beidh said ag fás I háille fíor."3
Rayne whimpered in her mother's arms and Lillian smiled softly. Both girls seemed exhausted, but Rayne was clearly hungry. Despite the unspoken rule of decency within the Victorian age, Lillian drew back the bed cloth just enough for the child to take her mother's breast upon herself and drink. Even still, Jace looked away slightly and paid heed to Rayvn. The child had fallen asleep in the comfort of his arms, bringing a proud smile to his lips. He stood, slow and careful not to wake the child and lay her in the bassinette.
Jace had one more job to do, and he was proud to do it. Once Rayne had taken her fill and fallen asleep in his mother's arms, he helped Lillian into their own bed, allowing her hand-maiden to help her dress for the night. She needed rest, as did he and the fear had been replaced by pure joy and exhaustion. "Lillian mór duit a gcuid eile, tá sé ina oíche fada dúinn ar fad."4
Lillian got into bed after her hand-maiden left and awaited her husband. The nursemaid would sleep in the adjoining room with the newborn twins, watching over the treasured children until daylight when their mother would come to visit them once more. It was custom for the nursemaid to be a major part of the children's lives, but Lillian would not have it that way. She adored them far too much to keep away from them and it would come in the years to show.
1. Your name shall be Rayvn.
2. My Love, our daughters wish to meet you.
3. We have done well, Angel. They will grow into True beauties.
4. Lillian, you must rest, it has been a long night for all of us.