CHAPTER NINETEEN - BIRTH IN A BATTLEFIELD
I moaned loudly in pain as Varia took me in her arms and ran with me towards her hut. I could hear the clashing sound of metal against metal behind me, and looked back to see my mother fighting a couple of Ares' soldiers.
Varia ran inside and closed the door behind us, and propped me up on the bed. I screamed in pain as another contraction hit me, and Varia rushed to lift up my skirt to see how dilated I was.
"It'll be any moment," she said to me.
"I know!" I gasped out, "I can feel it... Ahhhh!" I leaned my head back against the pillow and screamed loudly.
Varia took my hand and tried to coach me through it, "Just breathe, like this..." and she started to make some ridiculous breathing technique.
"Varia..." I gasped out.
"Yeah?" She asked.
"Please be quiet... just be quiet... AHHH!!"
Xena could hear Eve's screams even over the battle. All of the Amazons had rushed to join, and they seemed to be overtaking them. It was only a small legion of Ares' army, he didn't seem to have enough time to get them all together before this.
Xena drove her sword into one of the soldiers, and pushed him off of it with her foot. Then she turned, as she felt the familiar tingle on the back of her neck. She turned back around and pointed her sword, directly at Ares' chest.
"My child is coming, Xena, can't you hear her?" He said with glee.
Xena drove the sword into him, though she knew it would do no good. He just laughed and stepped back out of it. "You are not taking my grandchild, Ares. You took my child away from me once before, and I'll be damned if you take away this baby!"
"Relax, Xena. Maybe we can work out some sort of deal," he said.
"What kind of deal?" Xena asked suspiciously.
"The child will not grow at the rapid rate that Gabrielle's did. I have no need of that, I have all the time in the world. I did, however, need her to birth it quickly, because I knew that once you found out you would have found a way to abort it."
"What's your point?" Xena said testily.
"My point..." he said, as he drew closer to her. "Is that I have no use for a screaming child. It can stay with Eve, until the time that it becomes of age, and then it's mine."
Xena narrowed her eyes, "Are you telling me your going to give us a chance to raise it our way, above the blood and the violence, and be able to teach it to despise you?" She scoffed.
"Teach it what you will, but in the end, it'll be half of me. I think no matter what you try to teach it, it will still come to me when it realizes it's true path is to rule at my side."
Xena was silent for a long time and then said with her lips thin, "Fine, it's a deal. Now pull back your army."
"AHHHH!!!" I screamed as I pushed hard, willing this child to be out of me. This was a kind of pain I never knew existed, and I just needed it out... now. My whole body seemed drenched in sweat, and my hair was sticking to my forehead.
"It's coming!" Varia exclaimed, and she helped with the birth. "Come on, one last big push, you can do it!"
I panted out, losing all of my energy. "I cant!" I screamed.
"You can! PUSH EVE!"
Another primal scream released from my lips as I pushed with all of my strength, and then suddenly the pain was gone, and the hut was filled with the sound of a crying child.
"It's a girl!" Varia said smiling, as she cleaned off the baby for me. I collapsed against the wall of the hut, and closed my eyes as I breathed. By the name of Eli, I swear I never want to go through that pain again.
"Do you want to see her?" Varia asked me, and I opened my eyes.
I took the first look at my daughter, and she was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid eyes on. I held out my hands, and Varia laid her in my arms. She was crying, and I hushed her as I rocked her back and forth. I was crying, and I didn't realize it until now.
"The fighting's stopped, do you hear it?" Varia said as she stood, and looked out the window. But I didn't answer, I just stared at my beautiful baby girl. "Ares pulled back his army," Varia continued.
The door opened, and Mother and Gabrielle came in, and smiled when they saw my child in my arms.
"Oh my Gods, I have a granddaughter," Xena said, as a tear slid down her cheek. I had never seen my mother cry since I've known her, and I smiled a little.
"Do you want to hold her?" I asked, and Mother crossed the distance between us to take my daughter in her arms.
"She's beautiful, Eve," Gabrielle said.
"Thank you," I said, smiling.
"Have you thought of a name?" Mother asked me, as she rocked my daughter in her arms.
I looked at Varia while answering, "Her name is Tura."
Varia started to cry, and came over to kiss me lightly on the lips. When we broke apart she smiled at me and whispered, "Thank you...."
"Here Varia, hold your daughter," I said, motioning to Mother to give Varia our child.
Tears were rolling down Varia's cheeks as she took Tura in her arms, and I smiled. Somehow, through all the mess, life had turned out perfectly.
"Eve..." Mother started. "Ares pulled back his army."
"I know," I said. "Why?"
"I made a deal with him," she replied.
I got defensively suddenly, "You did what?"
Xena held up her hand, "Hear me out. Ares said you can keep the child until it comes of age, and then it belongs to him."
I started to protest, but she shushed me. "Listen to me, Eve. You can raise Tura beyond all the fighting, the blood, the violence. You can teach her to never trust Ares. He thinks it won't work, but I can guarantee it will."
"How?" I asked.
"Because of you," she replied, looking at with meaning. "Even after Ares had corrupted you for years, I still turned you back to your true path. There's no way he could corrupt Tura after being raised by you for eighteen years. So we will honor the deal. When she turns eighteen, she will make the choice herself whether to go with him or not. And when she refuses, Ares can't do anything about it, because it wasn't our decision to keep her from him."
"How do you know he won't do anything?" I asked, as Varia handed Tura back to me, so she could be fed.
"Even if he does, you'll have three of the best fighters on your side, and there is no way we are going to let him take her from you."
I smiled, as Tura began to suckle on my breast. "Alright, tell him I agree to his deal."
Mother nodded, and turned to walk out of the door with Gabrielle behind her. I looked at Varia, and smiled before kissing her.
"So how does it feel?" She asked me after we pulled away, "Being a mother?"
"A little scary," I admitted.
Varia took my hand in hers and kissed me on the cheek, "You won't be alone."
"I know," I said, and looked down at little Tura and then back at her. "I have a family now. We... have a family now."