Baby Winnowill

A Haken's Clan Fanfic

It was raining, big drops of rain like tears from the sky.

Haken watched from the shadows as Vol Golden, standing under a tree, told a story to his younger brother, Young Voll. Some words caught his ears: "...Haken was their Passion, driving them forward, while Gibra was their Caution, holding them back. And that was the Circle of Nine. There were others, many others, but the task of the Circle was to steer the Palace through time and space..."

Haken walked away. He should have known it was just the story of the Palace for the hundredth time again, instead of actual gossip about Haken and Gibra. He took great care not to let anyone gossip about him. What they said of Gibra was no business of his.

Long ago, Haken had left the other Firstcomers, to make war on humans, which the others, led by Timmain, had refused to take part in. He had even fought Timmain in his rage. And then he had fled. To his surprise other firstcomers had joined him on his journeys, ones who had been separated from Timmain's group when the Palace landed and they all fled the humans in panic. And then one had come to him who had once bowed her head to Timmain's leadership. Gibra, with a child in her arms, Vol, later to be known as Golden. It was plain this golden-haired babe was no child of Haken's, yet Haken had looked after the child like a father would, and taken Gibra as his lovemate.

But Gibra's councel, when, years later, she felt brave enough to give it, had the taste of ashes. Gibra was too cautious. She had told Haken to stop fighting humans. Haken's response was that she had to forget such talk and never mention humans again, or leave, child and all. Gibra chose to stay, but ended their lovemating. She would call Haken Lord, but her body was hers, and she gave of her love willingly, to any who would have her, apart from Haken. Years passed, and Gibra mastered the art of getting pregnant once again, and gave birth to Young Voll, the second Firstborn in Haken's Clan. Again, Haken was certain he was not the father, for very simple reasons.

Haken walked to the stone alcove behind his throne, where the cocoons were stored. Gibra was the one to the right. She had been injured by humans, and the Clan had no healer. Little preservers wrapped up those who were seriously injured, or dangerously ill. Little wounds were healed with bandages and time, common ailments cured by herblore. And here stood Haken, rooted to the ground, his hand on the cocoon of his former lovemate...

While elsewhere Rayeen was giving birth to a Firstborn. And not any Firstborn but Haken's child, a child of Recognition. And according to Rayeen, this child would be a healer, the strongest Healer ever.

Rayeen cried as the females attended her. She had been nothing to Haken until eyes met eyes, gripped by this wild new force that came no one knew whence, and did what it wanted among them. They had done what their blood asked them to do, and after that, Haken had seen to it Rayeen was looked after, protected, and guarded against herself. Rayeen was his Lady, but Rayeen was his prisoner too - for the moment before their souls passed through each other, Rayeen had been asking his permission to leave Haken's Clan. Now, all such thoughts were out of the question. Indeed, Haken had not spoken to Rayeen at all. She did not matter, what mattered was that she bore his child, his firstborn, his heir.

Rayeen cried, and not because of pain. Who was Haken to rule her life? And of course she knew who he was, knew him like no one, not even Gibra, had even known him. Haken was our Passion, driving us forward. And all of Haken's Clan wanted to be driven forward by his passion. She shivered, remembering Haken's body pressed against hers. He had been the gentlest of lovers, he had seen into her soul and known just what she needed, and he had been wise enough to give her that. And yet, Rayeen was given no opportunity to love him. He had not asked her opinion about anything. He didn't even talk to her. He simply assumed she still wanted to leave, and took precautions against it.

The attendants helped Rayeen to the birthing chair. The pain was worse now, and Rayeen realized her baby was sending her unwillingness to come out into the world. Rayeen gave in. **Haken! Your child is being born!** She sent, and shivered at the coldness of his mind at her touch.

There was no reply to the sending, but instead, moments later there was Haken himself, wet from the rain, fury in his eyes. **It is Lord Haken to the likes of you.**

Elaya, the midwife, spoke up. ~**Lord Haken, it is a difficult birth. We can save either mother or child, but not both. Which one shall we attempt to keep alive?" **~ She asked in private sending.

~**The child. You must save the child. Need you even ask?**~

The midwife stared at him.

~**Go on, do it! Or if you think the decision is not mine to make, then ask her, she will say the same!**~

Elaya knelt beside Rayeen and explained the situation to her. Rayeen managed a faltering sending: **My child must live. But summon the preservers, for we shall have a Healer, soon. This is why my child must live. She shall be the Healer.**

A maiden was sent to fetch the preservers. Haken knelt beside Rayeen and took her hand in his.

~**I never allowed myself to love anyone after Gibra. But I should have seen you were meant for me. I feared your eyes, Rayeen, for they saw too deep and discovered all my buried secrets.**~

~**If you had but looked in my eyes again, Lord Haken, you would have seen my love for you. But now is too late, my child has decided she wants to be born.**~

Elaya, unaware of the locked sendings, tapped Haken's shoulder. "My lord, it is better if you leave now. This will not be a pretty sight." An odd shape of metal glinted in her hand.

"No! You must save them both! Elaya, you must save them both! The preservers will come, we will wrap her up, and her own daughter the Healer can mend her, in time!" Haken demanded.

Elaya shook her head. ~**Preservers never fly in the rain.**~ She told him, and set about saving the life of Haken's daughter, because it was what had to be done, and it had to be done now.

Haken watched, and held Rayeen's body as the life escaped from her. Someone finally brought preservers, sheltered from rain in a sack, but it was too late, Haken had felt the spirit of Rayeen escape. He rocked the body in his arms and would not let go, until Elaya placed in his arms a lighter bundle, his newborn daughter, her skin pink from her first bath, her eyes the eyes of Rayeen, her hair dark as Haken's, her little flower-petal mouth just as perfect as the rest of her. Haken held her, and looked into her eyes, and pulled her close, then cried. The baby's hand touched his face, his tears. Most likely by accident, but Haken felt his very soul being touched and comforted. Rayeen was lost, but here was his daughter, dearer to his heart than any other ever would be.

"Her name is Winnowill." Haken told the gathered elves. Quite a few had arrived to witness the scene.

Young Voll stepped up first, and touched the baby's hand. The little fingers clasped around his long, delicate finger. Young Voll laughed in delight, having never seen a baby before. Then he seemed to realize laughter was not fitting for a night such as this one, and bowed his head, awaiting punishment. But Haken laughed too, and as he laughed, thunder roared somewhere over the distant hills.

"Young Voll, I give you the task of looking after my daughter. Feed her with animal milk. Play with her. Keep her clothes clean. Rayeen was meant to do all of these things, but she is gone. I know you well, Gibra's son. I know you were Rayeen's companion during her pregnancy, I know you touched her swelling stomach and wondered at the little miracle inside. I know you envied me for having fathered a child. Here is a child for you, but never let her call you father. She must grow up knowing her true parents. I will visit her, as often as I can, but I cannot raise her, I am too busy, much too busy."

Young Voll looked up, his eyes shining. "Thank you, Lord Haken!" He breathed. Nothing else could have won the heart of Gibra's youngest to serve Haken, nothing but Winnowill, the innocent one born of such great sorrow. Maybe it was rain on his cheeks, maybe it was tears. On Haken's face, it had to be rain, Voll thought as the lightning struck a tree not far from them and lit the countenance of Haken, "˜who was their passion'. After all, everyone knew he did not care about Rayeen. Thunder rolled, Baby Winnowill began to cry, and Haken gave the child to Young Voll, and as soon as Winnowill was in his arms, she stopped crying. The son of Gibra had never been so proud, not even when he first shaped Haken a throne.