Hey, here's the new story I promised
Hope you like it (:
Special thx to Harlequin, for being beta and for writing Valek's POV (: You helped a lot
I gasped in my dark cell. Something was not right. The walls were moving. No, I was falling. I gasped in pain as my head hit the stone floor behind me. Nothing cracked and I instinctively put my arms around my swollen belly.
Reyad's rape had been painful enough. Did I really have to live through the pregnancy he had inflicted on me in this dungeon? Especially carrying my tormentor's child?
The insides of my thighs were suddenly wet. Shit. This could not be happening. My water just broke and I was in no way capable of giving birth. As my first contraction racked through my body, I hit the wall behind me with a loud gasp. Tears streamed down my face. I lay down on the cold, damp floor of my cell as my body jerked with another shock. I screamed out in pain, not caring what reactions this was going to cause for the other prisoners or the guards.
A lantern shone through the tiny bared window on my cell's door.
"Crap! Get a medic, now!" the guard yelled. "You were right about the pregnancy."
I heard heavy footsteps climb the stairs, but they were soon drowned in the sound of my cries as another round of contractions jerked my body. Malnutrition and life in a dark and dung-filled dungeon had done nothing but degrade the health of both me and the baby.
The door to my cell flew open and a rush of people flooded in. I shut my eyes against the bright light from the lanterns they brought with them. Groaning in pain, I made no effort to stop someone from lifting me from the ground.
"Upstairs," someone ordered. "And quick. She's about to deliver."
I let out another ear piercing cry as they carried me through the hallways of the upper castle. Somebody took my hand and squeezed it lightly.
"We're almost there, honey. Hold on for a little while longer." A woman told me softly.
We entered a bright white room. I shut my eyes as the person who had been carrying me set me down onto the bed. A hand came down onto my forehead.
"She's so young." Another woman said.
"What in the world possessed them to put a pregnant woman in the dungeon?" a deep voice asked.
"Do you think she's going to make it?"
The pain had made it impossible for me to take notice on my surroundings, and I could only notice which voice was male or female.
I could hear voices commenting on my appearance and theories on what had happened to me, but I didn't care. All I cared about was getting the damned baby out of me.
Someone took my hand again and a female voice spoke to me softly through the worst of the contractions.
"I need you to push dear. The baby is fine as far as I can tell, but we need to get it out or neither of you will make it." Was that supposed to comfort me? Push or you and your baby are going to die? I would have laughed had I been in a different position.
Instead, I followed the person's instructions. I pushed. Tears streamed down my cheeks and I knew I must be quite a sight. A prisoner – next in line for the noose, I might add – covered in dirt, grease and a tattered prison gown, was giving birth.
I don't know how much time passed since I had first pushed. But the sounds around me grew quieter as people left and came back. And then I was done.
I sat up with the help of whoever was holding me up and waited. Loud crying filled the room. Despite the fact that the child I had just delivered had been conceived through rape, I loved it. It was a part of me and I felt the need to protect it. Then I remember what the Code of Behaviour stated, 'there are no excuses in Ixia'.
I collapsed back onto the bed, letting the blackness take me with only one thought on my mind. It didn't matter that I had survived the birth. I might as well have died. My child was going to be put into adoption anyway and I would hang. Like nothing had happened. Because my life didn't matter. A murderer's life was not important.
Reading through Yelena's dossier again, I checked over my plan. I had already killed Oscove last month with a dose of My Love, and have been tasting Ambrose's food ever since – much to his annoyance. He had already been pestering me to assign the next prisoner the job as the food taster. I've kept Yelena – the key to Brazell's puzzle – In the dungeons for nearly 9 months now, waiting for the opportune moment for her to take the job.
I had to get rid of Oscove a little while before offering her the job, or it would have looked as though I had planned the entire incident. Although our hatred towards each other is – was – common knowledge, I still wanted to keep rumors to a minimum. I also knew that Brazell would not be happy when he learned that his son's murderer had escaped the noose. That means I will have to keep him in check. I was aware of the danger he would put Yelena in, and I will have to be extra careful not to let Ambrose lose a second food taster in such a short period of time. He would be annoyed at me if I let two of them die.
And I would be more than annoyed at having lost my only answer to the puzzle of Brazell's orphanage. Everyone thought he had gone soft when he had asked for the permit to built it, but I always thought differently. I know Brazell. He only does things that will benefit him in the long run. But what will he get out of building an orphanage?
Yelena is my only way to find the answer since Brazell has objected to any contact with his 'children', he says – and I quote – 'they have been through enough without being interrogated – especially by someone like you'. Which clearly proves that he is up to something. And when she had murdered his only son in cold blood and refused to answer any questions, even after being interrogated, proves that, she too, is hiding something. So who can blame me for jumping at the opportunity to keep her in the dungeons until the chance arises to offer her the job as the food taster?
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. A prison guard rushed into my office before I could invite him in. I glared at him for intruding but as soon as he spluttered out that a prisoner was giving birth, all annoyance was forgotten as I lurched from my chair and ran to the dungeons. There was only one woman in this dungeon, and that was Yelena.
So many thoughts rushed through my mind. How could she be pregnant? Why did they keep a pregnant woman in the dungeons? Did they even know she was pregnant? How could they not know she was pregnant? Is she going to survive this? What if she dies during childbirth?
Dread filled me as I reached her cell that was crowded with guards and a medic. I hadn't seen her before, but I took note of her appearance. Her skin was darkened from the dirt covering the cell, her dark hair hung in greasy lumps. Her eyes were clamped shut in pain but occasionally she would open them – revealing them to be of a vibrant shade of green – to look around the room. Even though the glassy look showed that she couldn't see very clearly. Her red prison gown was tattered and soiled. It hung loosely to her skinny, yet pregnant frame. Disgust filled me. How on earth could they keep a pregnant woman in these conditions – no matter what the Commander had ordered? Did these people have no basic humane feelings? The prison cell would already endanger the baby's health, let alone the poor diet of stale bread and dirty water. The food was barely enough for one prisoner to survive on, let alone a baby as well.
I pushed my way into the cell, ordering everyone to step back. I scooped her up into my arms and carried her out of the cell. I knew for a fact that she shouldn't give birth to the child on the muck covered cell floor. Even though the medic was already with her, it isn't safe. Although I doubt that she would pay particular attention to where she was with the pain I imagined childbirth to entail. I rushed to the infirmary with the medic and several guards close behind. Even though pregnant, she was light as a feather. I could see how skinny she was through her prison gown, this finalized it, and it scared me even more. What if she didn't make it through this? How was I going to find the answers I needed?
Although I have witnessed many things, I have never seen a woman give birth before. And it wasn't exactly something that I wished to find out. I've heard stories of the pain, and I have seen the statistics of how many women die from childbirth alone each year, and it's quite a lot. As she withered and screamed in my arms, I hoped that she wouldn't be one of them.
I barely noticed that Dilana had followed and was now walking quickly beside us. It didn't surprise me that she was here – she was always known as the mother hen of the castle - always caring for the servants – especially the new ones.
"We're almost there, honey. Hold on for a little longer," she told Yelena. The brief stop in the cries was the only indication that she had heard her.
Upon reaching the infirmary, I gently placed her down on a vacant cot as she screamed out in pain again. Female medics crowded around her, and I placed a hand on her forehead. She was sweating through the pain, the dirt sliding down her face.
The medics gestured for me to step back, but for some strange reason I didn't want to leave her. I obeyed their orders with reluctance, I may be the chief of security and Ambrose's right hand man, but the medics still over ruled over me in any medical situation.
"She's so young," one of the medics said as she wiped Yelena's forehead clean with a wet cloth before replacing it with a clean one. Her dossier stated that she was nineteen years old, although it's not the youngest age to bear a child, it was still very young. Especially for someone who had spent almost a year in the dungeons.
"What in the world possessed them to put a pregnant woman in the dungeon?" I asked, although I spoke mostly to myself than anyone else.
"Poor thing," Dilana said. I had to agree with her on that one. Yelena looked like a frail little thing. I found it hard to believe she had actually survived in the dungeons for so long – not even considering her pregnancy.
"Do you think she's going to make it?" another medic said. I could ask the exact same question.
I planned to confront the guards for answers and, with one last glance at Yelena's screaming form, I left the room. As the screams followed me down the hall I felt remorse for Yelena. I'd be a hypocrite to judge her for murdering Reyad considering that I've killed more men than I can count.
As I entered the dungeons for the second time in the space of an hour, I demanded that I speak to all guards at once. The head guard quickly ordered them all into the room; they already knew that I was going to ask before I even said it. A few of the guards tried to speak, but the head guard held up his hand, silencing them.
"We didn't know that she was pregnant, sir," he answered me.
"How could you not know that she was pregnant?" I shouted at him. Either he was blind or he is lying to me. I'm favoring the latter.
"She didn't say anything sir. When she came here, there was no sign of anything, but I slight bump on her stomach. When we asked her if she was pregnant she shook her head, sir," he spoke quietly, he knew he was wrong and was scared of my reaction. "We didn't really check after that and we thought that it was nothing."
"You thought? She's practically skin and bones apart from her belly!"
He looked down at the table in front of him. "Yes, sir," he replied, even quieter than before. They were all idiots. There was no other explanation.
I narrowed my eyes at him before storming out of the room and back to the infirmary. I didn't want to waste any more time on them, when they clearly were stupid to think there was nothing wrong even when her belly got more and more swollen. Even though she was practically skin and bones other than her swollen belly.
The medic standing at the door of the infirmary denied me access, saying that Yelena was now in labor and no man could enter. I growled at her and made my way to Ambrose's office. It was nearly dinner so he should be in there working. I didn't even knock on the door as I walked into his office. He looked up in annoyance before demanding what was wrong. As soon as I informed him that Yelena – the next prisoner in line for the noose – his next food taster, was giving birth, shock crossed his face before he raised his eyebrows in disbelief. I explained how the guards didn't believe that she was pregnant, and he told me to inform me later about her progress. I agreed, knowing full well that he meant if she survived or not.
I quickly tasted his dinner before returning to my office. The Medic at the infirmary said that labor can last anywhere between 2 to 16 hours. I figured it would be a long wait so I finished off my work, having ordered a medic to find me if anything happened.
Hours passed before a soft knock at the door echoed through my office.
Should I write more?
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