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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Mortal Goddess - Chapter 5
Aira finished examining Widow Smith’s son. He was a month old now, and in perfect health.
She felt as if this was part her child because she had been staying at the widow’s house every night and would continue to do so until he was about four months old, or another baby was born. She felt that it was her duty to help new parents out as much as possible. Especially this one seeing as how the widow didn’t have a husband to help out. It was a bonus for having Aira as the village midwife, not to mention she really loved spending time with the babies.
She had been there for the first few months of life for every child born since she was 16, which was almost five years ago. The bond she formed with each child was maintained throughout the years, and was the reason why each child was willing to sit through her “classes,” stories, and songs. They loved her, and she loved them, which was apparent by the way the children always obeyed her, and by the attention she lavished upon them, ever careful not to undermine any of their parents' authority. The villagers loved her for it, for she didn’t just lavish her attention on the children, but made it a point to truly befriend and care about every villager living on her family’s lands.
Aira looked out the window; it was almost time for the village men to leave for work for the day. Which meant that it was time for Aira to begin the children’s lessons. Every morning since she was about ten, she had taught the village children all the lessons that her governess had taught her. Which in the beginning had helped her to remember them herself. She had even come up with a lesson plan for each age group as if they were in a schoolroom. Over the years, she had incorporated some of her own beliefs into the lessons, like the sacred circle of life. Lessons and beliefs that she had learned from Gia.
After a few hours of lessons, she would normally spend some time by her pond, either sleeping or swimming, both nude of course. Then, she would usually return to tell stories and sometimes sing in the afternoon. Most of the time, she ended the evening by chatting and dining with one of the village families.
Lately, however, she had been spending more and more time with Devius at the pond. She was very proud of him; he was spending as much time as he could with her, getting to know the villagers very well, and their simpleness was beginning to have a positive effect on him.
Today was different though for he really was spending some time with his friend that lived nearby, just as he had been telling his mother he’d been doing all a long. Aira was pleased that she had been able to finally convince him that she was one of the Hamilton children, or at least she was fairly sure she had. He stubbornly wouldn’t ask her parents about her because he didn’t want them to suspect that he was having more sex with their daughter than he had ever had with any one woman in the past!
Not that he wouldn’t be tickled pink to marry her, but she had told him that she didn’t want to ever get married. She didn't want to change her happy life, and she didn’t know if she could bear to leave her village to be with him when he left.
She had told him this conversationally, not knowing that he had planned on asking her (that mental shield of his still guarded most of his thoughts, just not the ones that leapt into her mind, like whenever he was aroused or nervous). Even so, she had wondered what it would be like to be married to him. If they could have a relationship like the one Gia had described, it wouldn't be so bad. But he was a Lord with duties. If she married him, she would have to leave here to be with him. She didn't like that thought at all, and had told him so quite honestly.
So, he never asked.
Also – only half convinced that she belonged to the Hamilton family – he had decided to wait until one of her family member’s mentioned her to ask about her, but apparently they never did, at least not when he was around.
The two of them had gotten to know each other very well, and she had been the most positive influence on him of all. He was beginning to consider how his actions affected others, especially since she had threatened to withhold sex from him should she ever find out that he had been unkind or rude to anyone.
He followed her around like the puppy he had once been afraid that she could turn him into. She had even convinced him to help her teach the children every once in a while. Mostly, he’d tell stories to them in the afternoon after their midmorning romp by the pond. He was still a spoiled, arrogant, brat sometimes, but at least he was becoming aware of when he was acting that way and what effects his actions caused.
There were a few times when a villager would call on her – such as when there was an accident, or they were ill – in which he would display jealousy, but Aira made it clear that she did not belong to him, and that she was born to help all people, not just the titled or wealthy. Which was a concept that he may well never understand!
Aira smiled and shook her head; yes, he was her soulmate, and she loved him deeply. But sometimes she feared for his soul!
“Devius, what a surprise!” Thomas exclaimed upon seeing his collage friend, whom he hadn’t seen in over a year.
“Hello Thomas. I was in the area, and I decided to drop by,” Devius explained, shaking Thomas’ hand.
“In the area?” Thomas questioned.
“Yes, my mother and I are staying with her friends the Hamiltons for a while,” Devius elaborated.
“Ah the Hamiltons... Are they still the riotous bunch they used to be?” Thomas asked with obvious distaste.
“Most of them have moved on to their own lives,” Devius remarked casually.
“Whatever have you been doing to occupy yourself?” Thomas asked, almost snottily.
“Well in the village, where their crofters live, there is a woman who has been keeping me company,” Devius replied, deciding that complete honesty may not be the wisest thing.
“That is just like you! As I recall, you never did lack in female companionship!” Thomas said approvingly. “Although, spending time with a mere crofter must leave something to be desired.”
“Well, she is one amazing crofter.” Devius shrugged.
“I hear tell that there is a witch that lives on Hamilton lands,” Thomas said casually, pretending no real interest in the subject.
“I haven’t seen any, but I’ll bet that whoever said that was probably talking about Gia, their village midwife,” Devius responded without thinking.
“My son has changed since we arrived. I think his friend Thomas must be a very good influence on him. Apparently, the two of them went to collage together. Makes one wonder why he wasn’t this much influence on my son while they were still in collage. He must have changed himself since then,” Emmaline commented to Olivia.
“Well, I’ve known Thomas’ family for years. Somehow I doubt that he is a good influence. I’d believe Devius more if he were to tell me that Thomas is such a bad influence, he is changing to be better than him,” Olivia responded.
“You think?” Emmaline asked.
“Yes,” Olivia confirmed.
“Well it makes no difference whether Thomas is a good or a bad influence, as long as my son keeps changing for the better.” Emmaline sighed, then repeated her deepest desire. “I wish he’d give me a grandchild.”
“He’s only 26, give him time,” Olivia advised, shaking her head.
“I can’t believe that he gave me permission to pick a wife for him! I’ve come up with a list of possibilities,” Emmaline said excitedly.
“Oh Emmaline! Honestly! I doubt he meant it!” Olivia exclaimed.
“You don’t know my son as well as I do. He said that because he honestly thinks that he is too handsome for any woman. I know he doesn’t have love for anyone other than himself, and he probably really does not care who he marries. The woman will never mean as much to him as he does to himself,” Emmaline informed her friend with a sigh.
“That can’t be true,” Olivia protested, aghast.
“It is. Oh where did I go wrong? I should have disciplined him more as a child!” Emmaline was nearly in tears.
“Oh Emmaline, it’s not your fault. These things happen. Why I don’t think that my youngest, Aira, will ever get married or give me grandchildren either,” Olivia said, trying to comfort her friend.
“Yes maybe, but you have so many others.” Emmaline sighed. “Where is Aira anyway? I don’t think I’ve seen her the entire time we’ve been here. Is she so ugly – or so beautiful – that she feels the need to hide herself away from the world?”
“I’ve told you, Aira spends most of her time in the village tending to the needs of the people,” Olivia said proudly.
In the most brilliant stroke of timing, Aira, who had decided to visit her mother awhile, strode into the room.
“Mother, how are you? I’m sorry I haven’t been home lately, but the widow Smith recently had a baby boy, and I’ve been staying with her to help out,” Aira said, kissing her mother on the cheek.
“Aira, dear, how coincidental! We were just talking about you,” Olivia exclaimed, happy to see her youngest child. “Aira, this is my oldest and dearest friend, Emmaline.”
“Pleased to meet you.” Aira smiled.
“My word child! You are the most breathtaking vision I have ever seen! Like an angel from Heaven. It’s a shame my son is not here, he would have to give up the idea that he is the most gorgeous person in the world if he saw you!” Emmaline blurted, awestruck. She had honestly never seen anyone with as much inner and outer beauty as Aira.
Aira blushed. “Thank you.”
“Aira, what brings you by?” Her mother asked.
“I miss you. Also, I need to catch up on the family gossip,” Aira answered sweetly, sitting on the floor next to her mother’s chair, resting her head against her mother’s leg.
“Well dear, your sister is about to have her baby, and she wants you to be there, of course,” Olivia started, then proceeded to inform Aira of everything that had happened over the past month.
Aira laughed. Her mother always made things seem so humorous. After Olivia was finished, Aira gave her a light massage, surreptitiously cleansing her aura, all the while telling her mother and Emmaline about the lives of the villagers.
“Emmaline, would you like me to give you a massage as well?” Aira asked once she had finished with her mother.
“That would be lovely.” Emmaline nodded.
“Tell me about your son,” Aira bade in an attempt to relax Emmaline while she massaged her, and also to distract her while she cleansed her aura.
“Devius, my son, is a very self-absorbed man. Always has been. Even as a child, he wanted everything his way, and heaven forbid you tell him no! Lord, that child would throw tantrums so bad that a person would practically bend over backwards just to quiet him. He is my only son, you know, so I suppose my late husband and I did tend to spoil him a bit.
“My! Whatever it is that you are doing feels wonderful,” Emmaline praised, very relaxed.
Aira listened as Emmaline talked about her son and her husband with rapt attention, eager to get a different perspective on the man she loved. A sadness crept into Emmaline’s voice as she talked about her husband, she clearly missed him.
“Your husband died recently, didn’t he?” Aira asked.
“Why yes, how did you know?”
“I can tell by the way you talk about him. Also, not to frighten you, but he is talking to me. He tells me to tell you that he has been watching over you, waiting patiently for you to join him. He also says for you to not worry so much about Devius. Apparently, Devius will provide you with grandchildren before you know it, and you will have plenty of time to watch them grow before you join him,” Aira said.
“He said that?” Emmaline asked hopefully, smiling.
Aira nodded, then excused herself, promising that she would be here for her sister when she gave birth. As she left, she passed by her father, and gave him a hug.
“Aira you look beautiful, as always,” he told her, enveloping his youngest daughter in a strong bear hug.
“I’m sorry I can’t visit with you longer, but I promised the children I’d be back to tell them a story before dinner, and I’d hate to break a promise,” she explained; enjoying her father’s embrace while it lasted.
“Don’t worry Love, I was on my way out the door as well,” he replied honestly, planting a kiss on her cheek. “Au Revoir.”
“Bye.” She smiled and waved as they parted ways.
Once Aira was alone with Tigerpaw riding back to the village, she thought about what Emmaline’s husband had told her to tell Emmaline, and the part that she had left out. He had said that Aira was going to bear Devius’ child, and that she carried it within her womb already.
Aira had noticed an ever so subtle swell to her abdomen, but dismissed it as the onset of her sacred monthly cycle. She took a mental role call of her body, concentrating on her womb. It was far too soon to tell for certain – there were no definite signs – but Aira felt a hub of energy in her womb. As a midwife, even if she knew nothing else, she knew about pregnancy! She was almost certain that she was indeed pregnant.
She wondered whether she should tell Devius right away, or if she should wait until she exhibited more signs, namely missing another cycle. She decided to wait, that way, she could plan a very special way to tell him the news, and as long as she was confessing, she would tell him how much she loved him.
Devius rode back to the Hamilton house slowly, taking time to think over his new reaction to Thomas. Thomas had made him uneasy. He began to look back over his life, and came to the realization that he had been just like Thomas; petty, arrogant, inconsiderate, and self centered. He probably still would be if he had not met Aira.
When did I become so self-absorbed? He needed to think. Rather than go directly back to the Hamilton house like he had originally planned, he decided to go to the pond. For once, he hoped that Aira wasn’t there. He felt the need to be alone.
He discovered that Aira wasn’t at the pond when he arrived. Relieved, he sat on the rock. Carefully, he examined his life. He honestly couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t been a spoiled brat.
Horrible memories from his life ran through his mind. He remembered every time he had been rude, cruel, or otherwise mistreated anyone. He began to cry in shame, and made a vow to never hurt another living creature during the rest of his life.
Emotionally exhausted, he fell asleep, wondering why Thomas had been interested in whether or not there was a witch in the area. He shivered in fear. I sincerely hope there are no witches nearby!
Aira felt Devius’ sadness, and only told the children one short story so that she could join him and ask him what was wrong. She rode to the pond as fast as possible, urging Tigerpaw to run like the wind.
He was sleeping when she arrived, curled into an adorable, yet vulnerable-looking, ball. He appeared almost child-like, and it made Aira love him all the more. Gently, she brushed a strand of hair out of his face.
As unobtrusively as possible, she laid next to him on the rock, curling up as close as she could without disturbing him. She led herself into a deep meditation to see if she could find any blocks that might lay in their path to a happy future.
Go To Chapter 6
Go To Chapter 6