They hadn't expected her to scream when they offered her her child. Cry, yes, all new mothers did, especially in the high families. But when the goblin King's elvish wife laid eyes on her son, there were no tears in her black eyes. Instead they had instantaneously clamped shut, and her bloodcurdling scream was echoed by the distraught midwife.
The labor had went off without a hitch which was an unexpected blessing for the midwife. The King, who housed the kingdom's highest concentration of magic, had been called away by a sudden threat caused by human spelunkers in the area. They had reached the mirrored receiving room by the time Marak received the message, and, not fifteen minutes after he had stumped away, his wife's contractions began in earnest. Three weeks early.
Having been present when Sella, another captive elf, gave birth to her daughter, the midwife expected a long difficult labor. So, stepping brusquely over the puddle of amniotic fluids she sent a runner ahead to the King and settled herself into position for the long haul. Channeling the magic to widen Kiri's pelvis so that the baby could pass through, she waited for the King's return. Everything was happening too rapidly though. The contractions were even and strong, and Kiri's normally beautiful face was screwed up from the agony and reddened with exhaustion. The midwife sent a probe of magic to check the baby's positioning and found it perfectly aligned.
"The King is on his way." A black clad member of the guard arrived. "He is plotting the invader's revenge, and then will come assist with the labor."
"There may not be that much time. The baby is coming now. Go tell him."
"How is that possible?" The guard had a half-human wife, and he could distinctly remember her fourteen hour ordeal.
"I don't know!" Barked the midwife. "Fetch Marak immediately!" And the guard was gone so fast it was as if he had accelerated by magical means. She turned to another spectator. "Go get Sella, she's only a floor away from here."
A groan from Kiri rent the air, as her blond friend clattered down some stairs into the chamber. In her arms was her flame haired daughter. She thrust the squirming one year old into a guards arms with a few good natured threats and was at her friend's side. "How do you feel?" she asked.
There was a slight pause while Kiri caught her breath. "Like I'm being ripped in half from the inside, like something wants to chew its way through my bones, like I want to DIE!" Her last word was unintelligible as it comingled with a shout.
"Eloquently put." Sella said. "Now push."
And so it was that Kiri was the fifth King's Wife to have her son without the assistance of strong birthing magic. And the golden snake on her arm would recall that she had the shortest labor out of any of the Wives he cared for. And when the King arrived by cloak it was to a scene of pandemonium. Women were screaming and a baby was crying and little Falion was setting tapestries on fire.
"Everybody stop." He cried, and the room paused in time. His magic had even silenced the crackling flames which, with another quick spell, he extinguished.
Unfreezing his wife, he asked "what's going on?"
"I had the baby." She said bitterly, black eyes still screwed shut.
Mildly irritated, Marak turned to look for his son, and didn't immediately recognize him. Mismatched eyes swiveled through the ornate room but didn't stop too long on anyone. A second more methodical sweep followed and his eyes landed on a blob in the midwife's arms.
Just by seeing it, he understood why Kiri had screamed at the sight, he was repulsed by the creature. It was a grayish tan color, and nearly transparent, with some dark orange patches on the back of its head. And the head! Nearly a third of the body was a large lumpy mass, the rest streamlined. The entire infant seemed to be covered in a thin slime. And most disturbingly, the child was limbless.
"No legs." Kiri echoed his thought desperately. An athletic elf, she expressed herself in movement and loved running. A son without legs was the worst thing imaginable. "How could this have happened?" Being the King's Wife, she would only ever have one son. And he was a goblin. And he had no legs.
Marak delayed Calling his son to comfort his now sobbing wife. "I don't know how this happened. Goblin children are born out of things their parents love about each other, about their people. I love your athleticism, your spunk, your energy. This is a cruel joke."
"I love your wild looks and your quiet kindness." Kiri responded hollowly. "Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and this will never have happened. Marak," she paused to think of his childhood name. "Whatever will we call him anyway?"
Aside from Marak, the goblin King didn't know. Normally King's were given a recognizable name after a physical trait. He was Marak Willowbark. But his son had no strong features, no traits that were immediately recognizable as animal. Indeed, his son looked like nothing he had ever seen before. "We will delay announcing his birth until we decide on a name. Someone fetch three scholars, scholars trained in the art of biological identification, preferably some that can blend in with the humans. They'll have a task to complete."