The day he was born, his father was far more distressed than the woman laboring to see him into the light. Despite her reassurances that he could remain calm, the man paced back and forth across the room and around the bed. He harassed the midwife and her assistants for every drop of information that they had, and some that they didn’t. It was only when she called out to him that the dark-haired nobleman would sit beside his beloved and take her hand. He would lean over her as she closed her eyes and moaned softly.
The babe’s mother, the most gentle noblewoman the kingdom had yet to know, insisted time and again that she was in no terrible pain. She could feel her belly contracting. the waters flowing out, the child’s passage opening, but it was nothing that she could not bear. It impressed the midwife to see a woman pass so calmly through labor, for most of them screamed, and a few even scratched; one of her patients had even kicked her, years ago. It must have been some gift of the Starr, she told herself. She did not see any reason to hide her feathery wings from those who attended her, and had set aside the cloak that often covered the downy white that cascaded down her back whenever the midwife came to check on her growing belly.
The midwife knew as much about the race of Starr as most people did: they looked like elves, except for their angelic wings. They had a demeanor that was both serene and wise, and a talent for singing as will as instruments. They were rumored to be the children Aamh, the goddess of the bards, although some argued the finer points of what being a child of Aamh really meant. From what she knew about this woman, everything about the Starr being kind, motherly and divine was true.
Her child’s father was so completely in love with her that once the time came for Starshine to push the babe out, the midwife was certain that he would have done it for her if her could have, and spared her any further suffering. Luckily for her, the suffering seemed to be non-existent, except for what he worried about. As she took his hand and bore down, the babe passed through her, but she showed no agony. Fatigue, perhaps, but not pain. With only a handful of pushes, timed with her strongest contractions, the child was free, and Starshine breathed a sigh of relief.
The midwife lifted the baby onto his mother’s chest, and announced to his parents that it was a boy. She hurried to pull away the gooey layers that encased him, the vestiges that she often saw on a child of mixed heritage. His father watched, wide-eyed, his chest heaving with tense breaths, as Starshine rubbed their son’s back, and the baby pulled the first gasp of air into his lungs. He did think until later the his first scent would be that of his mother; in that moment, all that mattered was that he could breath.
The crying was beautiful; it was soft and small and full of life, and his father knew right away that he would be able to thrive. He had been worried for months about a difficult birth and a trouble child, ever since some unkind nobleman had mention in passing that children of mixed races did not always thrive, particularly those of three races, like the newborn in Starshine’s arms. Yet there he was, alive and well, and already being soothed at his mother’s breast.
Her beloved stared in awe at his son, the evidence of his draconic ancestry right there on his back. The tiny webbed wings were perfectly black, the claw-tips not yet formed. As far as Zarrek was concerned, they were a reminder of his own father and what he had done all those decades ago, yet nobody in Cioria knew about it. The child would not be burdened by his grandfather’s legacy, despite his wings and short tail of black scales; he would prosper through them, in strength and honor and glory.
“He is perfect,” Zarrek managed to say as he laid a hand on his son’s back. He through seemed to be closing in on itself, his vision blurring.
“Yes, my love,” Starshine replied, looking up at him. Her fingers lifted slowly, careful not to disturb her feeding babe, to wipe a tear away from his cheek. “Have you decided what to name him?”
“I…” he paused, finding it difficulty to keep control of his emotions, “I know of no name more perfect for our son than Loracaz.”
Seeing Starshine’s warm smile, he knew that she agreed, and he wrapped his arms around her. They sat close together, his head on he shoulder as he watched his baby’s tiny, perfect movements through his tears. All those months of worrying, of working to protect his beloved and the life in her belly, had been worth the headaches and fear. In comparison the the sheer joy that overwhelmed his heart as his tears flowed, those months seemed so trivial; he would have gone through them three times over just to experience this moment.
His son had been born, was alive and well, and was heir to a legacy both grand and noble. There is Starshine’s arms laid Loracaz III, part elf, part dragon, part Starr… and he could not have been more perfect.