The raven-haired noble in sweeping grey fur robes paced the cold marble hall in tortured silence. The clumping of his heavy leather boots were the only sounds echoing hauntingly in it. The torches that hung from the wall brought him little light, save for the glorious full moon and the scanty, hazy stars shining in the archaic windows.

His brow heavy with care, the du Noir lord leaned against the old cracked wall as if all his strength had left him. A young girl in a flowing white nightgown ran up to her father on dainty bare feet. "Is Mother going to be alright?" she asked worriedly. For one so young, only ten, she seemed so aware of the problems and cares her world carried.

Her father sighed and put a gloved hand on her blond curly head. "I hope so, my love."

Just then a door in the hallway opened, and a kind, wizened face looked out of it. "He's here, Milord," the nurse said softly.

The Coeur du Noir drew a slow, weary breath and took his daughter's petite hand. "Are you ready to meet your brother, love?" She nodded solemnly, and with that they went inside.

The room was quite bare, save for the nurse, a roaring fire in a somber corner, and a large bed carrying a tired but happy mother, and in her arms, her newborn son. She gently handed him to her husband, and collapsed on her pillows wearily, letting her smiling daughter stroke her corn silk hair as they both crooned their favorite lullaby to the new member of their royal family.

Sing, little bird, sing of the sea
Of unity lost and terror to be
Little robin, where are your cares?
Dear robin, have you no fears?
Remember what you are
A hope shining like a star

The du Noir princeling's dark unblinking eyes were large and observant, sharp and inquisitive. His thick curls, the same color as his eyes, hung heavily from his small bobbing oval head. His tiny hands reached to his father's soft ebony beard, gurgling with delight at the touch. The Coeur du Noir, a brand-new father all over again, nosed his son lovingly, too happy for words.

Suddenly the girl screamed, for her mother began choking uncontrollably, her hazel eyes rolling in her fair face. Everyone rushed to her aid, trying to help her breathe; her husband could only stare shocked as the life was being pulled out of her before him.

The Lady of the du Noirs coughed out the blood that clogged her throat, and breathed her last; her stunned eyes forever open in a penetrating gaze.

As if he comprehended it, the baby began wailing, and all his father could do was stare at his face. His mother's face.

The old, understanding nurse gently took him from his father to let him and Loveday grieve over their beloved's corpse.

"Oh, little bird, little Robin," the nurse murmured, rocking the baby gently as he quieted down, and his eyes widened once more. "'Tis not your fault."


I'm working on the next chapters: don't worry! Well, who'd worry about the welfare of this fertilizer…