Disclaimer: As I am not R. A. Salvatore, and also surprisingly not Gary Gygax or any of those other wonderful fellows, I don't own any of this except my own imagination.


To the outside observer the day would have seemed very normal. Light mist coated the ground in the early hours after dawn, floating up the sides of the trees just beginning to grow leaves. But to Lord Albert Lanfar and Lady Elise Lanfar, this day was anything but normal.

Lady Elise had woken early. Too early, for she was a deep sleeper, and lately rarely woke before noon. But today was different. She awoke minutes before dawn, and shook her husband from his pleasant dreams. "My stomach is killing me," she groaned. "I think it's time." Lord Albert sprang from the bed, a worry lines creasing his otherwise handsome face, and ran to the door. He opened it and said simply, "Call the midwife."

A few hours had passed since then, and Lady Elise was still as calm as ever, lying on the bed, chatting to the midwife, and following instructions. Lord Albert, on the other hand, had not been calm for weeks, and the waiting was only making it worse. It had been almost three years ago that they had begun trying for a child, now, with so little time left, Lord Albert was worried. There were often complications in childbirth. Maybe he should have gone against his wife's orders and brought in a wizard. It was too late for that now. Still, his wife seemed calm, and looking at her Lord Albert calmed somewhat. She had been the love of his life since they met as adolescents on a pirate ship in the Sea of Swords. The young Albert had been looking for his father, and Elise had been the captain's daughter of a ship he had boarded searching for the elder Lanfar. Albert had been so captivated by the sight of her, dark hair flowing around a porcelain face as she fought, that he had been momentarily stunned. And then literally stunned and taken prisoner by the pirates.

He had spent a few years of useful apprenticeship with the pirates, and eventually came away with his own ship, and a beautiful first mate. But seafaring was not his destiny, so he returned home to take over the running of the estate, and his first mate became his wife. He had never found his father.

As he continued to gaze at his wife's face, Lord Albert realized that she was crying, but also smiling through the tears. Returning his gaze to the task at hand, he saw the midwife holding what could only be a baby girl. He couldn't help some tears of his own as his wife said "We'll call her Valeria."