whatever it takes [H'ia birth] May 16, 2018 19:36:00 GMT -6
Post by A'ia on May 16, 2018 19:36:00 GMT -6
It was time.
Over the months that had passed since she and Hektor’s pairing, A’ia had grown noticeably large with the promise of life, progressing through her pregnancy with both glee, excitement, and apprehension. Apprehension because she had heard, of course, what had befallen two of the pups from he and Avacyn’s litter, and the very idea of her own young ones withering before her eyes already made her heart ache. Though she did not know them, she imagined that she already adored them – if only the power of sheer determination alone could promise their well-being. But it was not so, and now, she was at last to be tasked with the next monumental trial in her life: giving birth to them.
She’d been restless since waking that morning, and though her bulging belly made it difficult and unideal to travel long distances, she’d paced around outside of her chosen birthing den for some time until her damned unsatisfiable hunger drove her to fish in the stream. When she’d sated herself, she’d lounged in the shade of a nearby tree for a time, but over and over again she was driven to her feet, unable to be still. It was perhaps early afternoon when at last it became apparent that her restlessness meant something…more. She’d always been a wanderer, always loved exploring and moving from place to place, but this was…different. And when the contractions began, uncomfortable at first but then becoming downright painful, she knew.
What to do? Did she call for Hektor and pull him away from his duties? It was not as if he could do anything more than offer support during the time, and she did not know if he’d wish to be burdened with it. The Matriarch she and some of the other captives had caught glimpses of when they’d been corralled by Kairos was within another territory, and Avacyn…well, A’ia certainly would not be asking her for help, not when her maternal instinct was already rearing its protective head. So she retreated to the nook in the hill that was sheltered by low-hanging trees that she’d found moons ago, panting from the effort and then audibly hissing at the pain.
It was quiet and cool in the nook, and she busied herself with tidying the little nest she’d been building (consisting mainly of soft moss and the downy straw-like material found in the underbrush) in an attempt to distract herself. But occasionally little whines would slip from her muzzle, until at last she was forced to sink into a position that was half-sitting, half-laying. The cramps were coming more swiftly now, more painfully – how long had it been? She could barely see light filtering in from the outside, concealed as it was by branches and leaves, so she did not know how much time had passed. But at last an undeniable urge overcame her, the pressure in her hips built until it was unbearable, and A’ia began to push.
Whatever she’d been expecting, it was not this. She was not foolish enough to believe it would be easy, but oh, the pain had her gasping through her gritted teeth and wishing desperately that her sister was there. Daeva had never given birth, either, but to look into her lilac eyes and to hear her quiet words of encouragement..A’ia would have given anything. But Daeva was gone, and mourning her while she was attempting to bring her young into the world would do nothing. So again she gritted her teeth against it and pushed.
The first pup was born after some time of her laboring and whimpering, but when at last the little body slid free of it’s mother, A’ia breathed a ragged gasp of relief. Instinct had her turning to sever the cord connecting the pup to her body with her teeth, and then lifting the little pup to her side, where she proceeded to clean and lick the pup until the little one gasped in air – and emitted an indignant squeak. A’ia could not help the smile that came to her then as she took in the appearance of the pup. Pale mostly, with the signature cream markings of an Isles marking it’s face, broken by a streak of white that extended to the nose – which was mottled black and pink. And it was…a girl, she realized as she gently shifted the pup to check. A little girl, already suckling away; what color would her eyes be, A’ia wondered?
She had a break, then, to marvel over the squirming puppy – but it was not terribly long before the pain started again, and once more she was pushing. This pup was much more difficult, and unable to contain it any longer, A’ia tilted her head back and barked out, ”Hektor!” If he was near to her nesting place, he would hear her. There would be nothing he could do, but just to have him there, to not be alone…
She succumbed to her efforts of pushing and whining, persistent despite the way her body screamed for respite. And it paid off – the second pup was born, and she repeated the process of freeing and cleaning it, only to discover…
Her breath caught with a hitch. The fur…it was marked like the Isles side of her as well, but the coloration…it was the same color Daeva had been, though the pup was male. When his eyes opened, would they be lilac? Or would they be hers – or Hektor’s? So captivated by this was A’ia that it took her a moment to realize why the pup looked…strange. He was healthy, slightly larger than his sister that he was now nestled beside, but he was…missing a tail. Where the long appendage should have been, there was nothing. And though this was strange to A’ia, the pup did not seem the least bit bothered by this fact of life; he was suckling away happily, little growls sometimes slipping from his muzzle.
She had less time than before to process this before her body was working again, and she laid down fully down now, careful not to disturb the two pups as she began to labor again. Again, it was no easy feat – but she had birthed two healthy young ones already, and she would not stop until she’d given life to all of the pups within her womb. And indeed, when the next pup was at last brought into the world, she felt such…relief. For he, too – and he was indeed a male, she discovered as she cleansed him – was healthy and writhing, with the coloration of his father. But his deformity made itself apparent much more quickly; where two squinted eyes should have been, there was only one. The left was intact, but the right…there was just a swath of fur, as if it had never been.
She frowned at this as she settled him beside his siblings, watching the three of them suckle. A son without a tail, and a son without an eye…had something occurred, in the womb? A’ia found that she was not bothered by the fact that hers sons were physically different, but rather bothered by the idea that they might have suffered. She’d always eaten carefully, never over-strained herself during her pregnancy, had been very careful with her bulging belly. And though the next few days would be vital in terms of their health, they seemed content and lively enough.
It was something she would puzzle over with her mate, along with their names. Breathing out a ragged sigh when she realized that the contractions were fading from her body, she laid back on her side, her half-lidded eyes watching her pups with a gentle smile upon her muzzle. At last, they were here, and she’d been right: she adored them already.