She awoke in the darkness of early morning, feeling vaguely disconcerted. Something had awoken her, but what? Climbing out of bed, Lydia threw a glance at Ian, snoring softly beside her. She started towards the armoire to put a robe on, when suddenly she realized that her water had broken. Gasping, Lydia fumbled for the lights.
"Ian . . .!"
Ian stroked her forehead gently, holding one hand tightly in his own as she moaned her way through another contraction. "Breathe," he told her for the thousandth time. "Just breathe . . ." She whipped her head around to glare at him.
"If I wasn’t breathing, I’d be dead," Lydia gasped, squeezing his hand tighter. She sank back against the pillows. "Dammit, where is that woman?" Ian had sent for the Lady Zara’s medic-woman, who had delivered the Lady of House Griffin’s four daughters.
"She’s on her way," Ian repeated, also for the thousandth time.
"You said that half an hour ago," Lydia growled. She squeezed his hand again, more gently this time.
"I’ll get you some more water," he said, kissing her forehead.
Lydia waited until he was out of the room and began murmuring a soft spell to ease the pain of childbirth. She knew it would never do for him to hear her doing so, since he feared magic, having seen its destructive power firsthand. As Lydia whispered the last word of the spell, she felt a soothing coolness spread throughout her body. She sighed in relief.
Six hours later, Lydia lay pale and exhausted in their bed. Ian cradled their baby girl in his arms, kissed its forehead tenderly. "Hello, little one," he whispered.
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