Who: Nova, Akemi, Yukijiath, Maozheth
Where: Silverfield Hold, Honshu Territory
What: Nova has lost the baby.

It’s late at night when Yukijiath’s voice reaches out, firstly to Maozheth, but also to Eosyth and Daeserath with wordless, uncharacteristic pleading born of an anxiety without a clear presence to steady her. << I think I will lose her, >> she tells the blue. << The baby is gone and she is sick. …I do not think she wants to live. Akemi should be here. He threatened her and wants the Hold for himself; he will do anything to get it. Please say they will let you leave. >> Silverfield itself is quiet with worry, its Healers gathered in the Lady’s quarters while they switch out keeping watch over Nova and discuss what is the next best course of action. There’s no indication of the presence of the children, their beds made up in the nursery, without them in them, the whole space tidy and silent. In her own bed, Nova drifts in and out of consciousness, listless in giving her attention when she’s addressed, plainly uninterested in the world around her.

Akemi and Maozheth are in the skies before Eosyth or Daeserath give them permission to leave – and are gone in a blink Between. There are no time for Maozheth to do more than push his mind against Yukijiath’s as he appears over Silverfield. << We come >> he manages to put words together as he drops Akemi off and then takes himself back into the skies to circle around the Hold anxiously. Akemi barges into the Lady’s quarters and shoves past any who seem prepared to stop her approach. She’s got only her flight jacket and warm boots on that gave her the basic protection from the cold of Between, her thin cotton pajamas haven’t done little to keep her warm. Her lips are pale and tinged with blue from the exposure to the cold as she moves to sit beside Nova. Her hands move and grasp hold of Nova’s. “I’m here.”

The Healer at the back of the room shares a glance with one at the door, then rises to her feet and opens the box at the foot of the bed to draw out a blanket that she drapes over Akemi before leaving and closing the door behind her. Nova hardly seems to notice, her gaze fixed on Akemi for the moments that she manages to keep her eyes open, though she manages to weakly curl her fingers around the hands that clasp hers. “…This is my punishment,” she rasps. “It… //He// knew that I didn’t want him. Didn’t want more of his father around. I didn’t mean it. I just needed… Akio away from me.” Tears brim over and spill down her cheeks. “I’m sorry. Yuki shouldn’t have… I’m sorry.”

Akemi does not register the kindness of the blanket draped over her as she watches Nova closely. She moves from perching on the side of the bed to joining Nova on the bed. She curls herself about Nova, tucking her close against her chest, and wrapping her arms loosely around her upper body. She holds her through Nova’s tears and waits until she feels Nova may be a little cried out. “It is not your punishment,” she says, “and I am sure the Healers told you so. Sometimes the babies can’t stay inside you. It is not your fault.” She hugs her and repeats, “It is not your fault.” Maozheth reaches out to Yukijiath as he circles over the Hold and observes, << Is the man here? We need to know. >>

Nova curls up, though not without a note of pain, and huddles close to Akemi, her hands tucked closed and folded before her, nudged beneath her chin. “I should’ve known what he was doing. I should’ve known what his aim was. I was too desperate to be wanted and protected and not alone.” Her tears get the better of her again for a little while, before she quiets. “I’ve been awful. I am awful. I didn’t want the baby to go, not really. I didn’t mean it.” She doesn’t appear to notice she’s repeating herself. “If he takes my people, he’ll ruin them. He’ll do this to them, and worse. I can’t watch him do this. He’ll break them.” Yukijiath’s voice is only a whisper when she tells Maozheth, << I drove his creature off our land. But he could be anywhere. He may not know what he has done. >>

Akemi does not move and does not offer any further words while she listens to Nova speak. She keeps holding firmly to Nova until Maozheth tells her what she needed to know. “It is my fault that I allowed him to enter our lives. I knew who he was long before you did. I did nothing to protect you. Instead, I fled like a coward. I wanted to believe that getting his Masters’ knot had changed him. That he had finally eased that unending ambition. And then he had you…, and perhaps he knew how much it hurt me that he had you.” She kisses the back of Nova’s head as she spoons closer around her. “I will handle my brother, Nova,” her voice is firm. “I know Veruth has been banished. I do not know if Akio went after him.

“It’s not your fault,” Nova says weakly, more for lack of strength than of conviction. “I made poor choices, both initially in Zaimika’s father, and then in Zio’s. They were my decisions… I should’ve thought to fight the Conclave and tell them no.” She takes several slow breaths in and out. “I sent them away. The children. I told Aerishani to take them somewhere safe; not even I know where. And Veruth can’t get it from Amorenth’s mind.” Her hands curl together more tightly. “I don’t want to lose you because he broke me. You haven’t seen how he is now… He’s… unhinged…”

When you feel vulnerable and trapped, the worst people can find you to take what they want from you,” Akemi says quietly as she continues to simply keep her arms wrapped around Nova. “Akio would not dare to harm your children. If he has declined that far…, then Nova- we will have to force him to leave. You will divorce him. Exile him. I do not care.” She takes a steadying breath and then tucks her face at the back of Nova’s neck. “You found me again. You can’t lose me now.” She takes a breath and shifts against Nova, trying to be gentle as she resettles her arms once more about the greenrider. “I have seen him unhinged before, Nova,” her tone is bleak, “there was more than loyalty that drove me to mask myself as the man of our family line…”

“…I told him… to… take the baby when he left, wanting him to go, and he said he’d take Zio too, to weaken my claim on the Hold.” Nova shivers and eases herself onto her back, then turns to face Akemi, the business of movement a laborious one that leaves her almost out of breath. “I can’t trust that he wouldn’t hurt them. He’ll accuse me of letting the baby… He’ll tell everyone I did it on purpose.” She curls up once more, ducking her head down beneath Akemi’s. “The day I got back from Honshu… I called for a Harper from the Hall, after he… The Hall knows what I want to do. Divorce won’t be a surprise, to them.” Her eyes fall closed, now not so much of her own volition. “You’ll be safer at Fort.”

There is a hardness to Akemi’s gaze when she answers Nova, “He is evil. To threaten to take a mother’s child…, what purpose would that serve him other than to hurt you?” She eases herself to a seated position, her arms moving to fold in front of her as her face continues to grow more severe. “It is good that you already announced the intent to divorce.” She looks to Nova. “I hadn’t thought you would. I had hoped.. maybe, it could be as it was when it all first started. For your happiness.” She shakes her head and glances up at the ceiling. “I’m going to ask for a meeting with Isolwyn as soon as I return. I can’t leave you alone here. Aerishani and O’rlen may be living here… but I don’t know how much you can depend on them.”

“He wants to hurt me. I don’t know why. Ever since I told him I couldn’t be with him in a way that would risk Veruth, he’s been awful. He finds it absurd that I would be Veruth and Yukijiath above anything or anyone else.” Nova’s eyes remain closed, her brow dotted with perspiration. “He will hurt anyone who doesn’t do as he wants. He can’t remain here. I unleashed him on my people and I have to keep them safe… whatever it costs me.” She takes a breath. “With what happened at Honshu… I can’t afford to depend on Aerishani and O’rlen. Just don’t let Fort hurt you for my sake. Not again.” Without meaning to let it, sleep claims her, dragging her down into the dark, and not a minute more passes before a Healer is at the door again. After looking Akemi up and down, they declare their worries about fever and infection, and the likely matter of Silverfield’s Lady being unable to have any more children. Summons for a Mindhealer and a Dragonhealer have been made, and the fact that the Steward and Headwoman are on the warpath in defence of their Lady is mentioned as a matter of the state of the Hold, before further Healers pour back into the room to check Nova over

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