Closed Adventures in Childcare

Lani is left to babysit. Thankfully Gemma is there to help.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Adventures in Childcare

Postby Madeira Craven on March 5th, 2019, 11:05 pm

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47th of Spring, 519


The iron stairs rattled no matter how lightly Madeira stepped. Still she closed the trapdoor to the third floor softly and defended the spiral staircase as quietly as she could. The second floor was a circular hall ringed with doors to the bathing room and the handful of unoccupied bedrooms. Well, one was occupied now, at least.

"Is Lani still sleeping?" Madeira whispered, holding the skirts of her blue cotton dress over her shoes. In her simple dress with her warm, plain Mouse Cloak over her shoulders, she was dressed more soberly than usual. Which was not saying much. Her hair was still scrapped back into a high braid, her lips were blue with hastily applied pigment, and she wore a mouse skull as a brooch, and her long lace gloves and her many heavy rings on her hands.

The house stirred, wordlessly confirming her question and pulling her attention to the correct door. The house wasn't speaking much lately, its artistic soul having been beaten and bruised by the events at the end of last season. The pain of having its grounds destroyed and of being unable to fix itself and the ugliness inflicted upon it was taking its toll. It needed care and attention, to be gentled and fixed like the healers fixed Madeira's body after the incident. But how do you doctor a house?

Madeira pressed her palm flat to the wall, and pulled her dijed from her soul. Coaxing the link between her and her Architectrix wide, she fed it a small piece of her souls energy. The house absorbed it greedily, and sent its quiet appreciation back through their link in thanks.

"I need to go. I'll talk to a builder before I come home, and see if we can get someone in to repaint you, okay?" She waited for its bubbling acceptance, and thought maybe it felt a little more cheerful than before. "I'm leaving Lani a note. Make sure she gets it, okay? Wake her if the babies start to cry."

Taking her red notebook and an inkstick from her pocket, she pressed it to the wall and wrote quickly. Though even in a hurry she couldn't help but write in that clean, pristine way she was taught.

Lani

I have to step out for a few bells, so I'll be leaving everything in your capable hands. There's milk for Moritz and Amelie in the icebox in the kitchen and fresh cloths in the master bedroom. We don't know what the twin's animal forms are yet so if you see a goat or vulture or something in a diaper don't panic. If any of the ghosts beg you for soulmist don't give it to them. But if they get violent about it I have left my crossbow and souldarts on the kitchen table. If the cat starts trying to make tea he's probably possessed, just let him be. If the house starts acting up and traps you outside or fills your room with spiders remind it that I've left you in charge and that you won't be taking any of it's bullshyke. If the Shinya show up looking for me tell them its Rothsam the Curse Eater they need to talk to, not me. If anybody called Dusk shows up tell them I'm at the Tower and that I have everything under control.

Lastly if the twins are not the perfect image of health when I return I will hold you personally responsible. Thanks for your help!

Madeira Craven


Folding the letter up she pushed it under Lani's door. With a last word to the house to wake Lani at the first hint of trouble, she scooped up for rucksack and hightailed it out the door into the early morning sunshine.
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Adventures in Childcare

Postby Lani Stranger on April 6th, 2019, 11:19 pm

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Lani was slowly growing used to the odd Lhavitian schedule again. If she could she would stay up at all hours, invigorated by a city that never slept, although her body wouldn’t let her. Fatigue made her clumsy and angry and it was better for everyone if she just slept it off. Still the halfblood was trying to get herself on a schedule so that she could be awake at least half the day, and half the night. The Tower had quickly established the bells they needed her for, which were fairly lieneint, although the amount of work they wanted her to do often required her to take more time in their offices. Except today was her day off. She got a rare few of those now, and while she wanted to take every advantage of them that she could, she often slept right through half of them, closing her shutters to the sun that would have normally woke her.

When she did wake, it was to the sounds of Spider fussing. Lani stirred and rolled over and tried to return to sleep, but was unable to find the slumber now that Spider had recognized her moving. He took to a steady squawking, quiet at first, and then louder when she didn’t answer. He wanted to be let out to stretch his wings, and she needed to clean his perch. ”Bully.” She buzzed at the bird, throwing her covers off with more drama than was necessary. She was getting better with caring for him, but he was a stark reminder that the events of the winter were truly for the best. She was no mother, she could hardly care for a self-sufficient bird.

Spider cawed at her on last time as she walzed over to him, stepping past the bird who eyed her curiously, and she swung the shutters aside and threw the window open. Normally she would have been at least a little embarrassed to stare out her window, stark naked first thing in the morning, but she was adjusting to the luxury of Madeira’s house. The living house.

They were in the small fancy residential part of the Shinya peak, she could hear the bustle of the square from her window, but the trees offered these estates enough seclusion and privacy not to worry. From her window she could see directly into the bathing room of their neighbor, nearly a quarter acre away, although it far enough it didn’t matter, since nothing could be seen. Spider reminded her of his existence with a shocking caw. ”Okay, okay!” She conceded to the animal, unlatching his jesses, and before she could moved her hands properly away, he was pushing himself through the window and gliding through the dim overcast morning.

Only Spider’s caw did not only alert her, and within a tick she heard the uproar of a child’s disturbed sleep. Lani had not become as used to the crying as she perhaps should have, the twins were very good children. Most likely because they grew so fast. Although she could not technically mark a difference in the ten days she had known the children, she felt like they were growing faster than they should have. They were born nearly two moons ago, after all, and were already opening their eyes and looking around. The half breed did not know enough about children, but she assumed that was impressive. Waving the sound away, Lani turned back towards her bed to start making it as she assumed Madeira or Allister would care for the child. But as soon as she did, her door swung open.

Lani jumped and quickly tried to cover herself with her blanket, as if someone had swung her door open, but no one was on the other side. Carefully, with the blanket still pulled up past her breasts, the black eyed woman peered out into the hallway to find nothing greeting her. ”Not funny.” She pouted to whatever ghost, or perhaps the house itself, that had played the trick on her. Only then did she hear the sound of wind on paper, and before she could look towards it, something flew up and smacked her in the face.

”Ow!” It didn’t hurt of course, but it had shocked her, and she caught it the parchment, which was written in Madeira’s familiar neat little handwriting. ”Thought we were passed letters, Mads.” Lani mumbled, letting the blanket fall and scanning through the paper. It sounded a lot like nonsense to her until the last sentence: Lastly if the twins are not the perfect image of health when I return I will hold you personally responsible. Thanks for your help!

Suddenly, although it had only been a few ticks since the child had started up crying, it felt like they had been crying for too long. ”Oh shyke,” Lani leapt back into her room, tearing the door of her wardrobe open and shimmering into her green Vinati and Bryda. She had to acquire a few nicer dresses for work, but she still found the flowing Inarta clothing comfortable for casual wear.

”Shyke, shyke, shyke, shyke!” Lani huffed to herself as she scurried up the stairs, throwing open the hatch to Madeira’s master room. It slammed on the ground which caused the other, more patient baby, to start crying as well. ”Oh petch me, I’m sorry!” She cringed, scuffling across the huge room towards the twin cradles where the children lay. Not entirely sure what to do to calm them, Lani started rocking their cradles. Amelie seemed to be the one who started crying first, and this didn’t seem to help her. Moritz was more satisfied with the motion, and stifled his tears slightly.

Instinct told her to hold the child, but something held her back. Nerves. ”Hey, why don’t you just tell me what is wrong? Did you get scared by Spider, is that all? Or is it something else?” She asked the child as if her words were understood, slightly irritated, although mostly with herself for not knowing the first thing the kid needed. The words didn’t help, and since Amelie didn’t understand them she just started crying more. Lani gave in then and scooped to pick up the child, cradling her against her shoulder and lightly hopping on her feet, nerves making the action jolty, in the hopes that it would calm Amelie down.
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Adventures in Childcare

Postby Lani Stranger on April 6th, 2019, 11:20 pm

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”She probably wants to be fed.” The meek voice sounded in front of her, and Lani spooked at the sight of Emma.

”Gods! Be damned…” Lani took a step back, holding Amelie more protectively.

”Sorry!” Emma squeaked, and then hid behind the cradle as if she couldn’t just blink out of existence and be lost to Lani.

”It’s, uh, it’s fine.” Lani ventured, trying to calm her heart. Amelie was still raising the dead, and Moritz was growing to fussing again himself, in tandem with his sister. The note said there was milk in the icebox, but she had to get both of the children down stairs… ”Hey, can you hold one?” Lani asked, hoping the ghost could help her get them both down. Emma looked concerned.

”Uh, I don’t know how.” She squeaked, not coming out from behind the cradle.

”Oh, yeah, uh, well I guess that makes sense.” Lani muttered to herself, stepping over to Moritz’ crib and peering in. He seemed strengthened by her face and began putting up more of a fuss, little chubby fingers reaching for her face, he also wanted to be picked up. ”Hey can you…?” Lani turned back to Emma, but the child was gone. ”Nevermind.” Lani frowned. ”I guess aunt Lani is going to try something else.” She cooed to no one in particular, adjusting Amelie so that she could be cradled with one arm and scooping Moritz up with the other. She had to use the cradle to adjust herself so that both where somewhat secure, and then she started to head towards the trap door.

It was times like these when Lani was every grateful for the muscles and flexibility she had been forced to build. Although the scribe would prefer a life where she could get fat and happy, survival required different things. Apparently survival also required her to find a way to squat into a sitting position so that she could step down the ladder, without tilting or dropping a small screaming child. It took an absurdly long time, and was very awkward, with Lani having to brace her shoulder on the side of the ladder more than once, before her feet finally touched solid ground. The stairs were a breeze after that, although she still walked carefully to make sure she didn’t trip. Horrible images of splattered babies rung in her mind and made her slow down.

By the time she reached the kitchen, the five whole chimes of crying directly into her ear was driving her nearly insane, and she eyed the main counter of the room. Carefully, and stretching her acrobatics skill to the limit, she lifted her leg so that she was precariously balancing each child, and swiped whatever was on the counter off. A fresh loaf of bread and a bag of fruit tumbled to the ground, but Lani didn’t care. Supporting her weight with her foot on the counter, she placed Moritz down. At this point they were crying equally much and the decision was made by the fact that she needed to free her right hand to grab the milk.

Amelie was the first she presented the milk to, and the child was quick to turn her face away, taking one chubby hand and pushing the nipple of the bottle away as if it was offense. ”I get it, you would rather suck your mommy dry. But that is a luxury we just don’t have today, so you’ll just have to eat what you’re given.” She reasoned with child, talking again as if she would understand. Amelie looked at her for a tick, as if digesting her words, and then squeezed her eyes shut and began crying again, as if on demand. ”Fine, maybe your brother will take it.” She huffed, propping Moritz up as best she could with her limited armspace, and presented him the bottle. She had been told that she was party Eypharian because of her golden skin and affinity for flexibility, and that the strange creatures whose lineage she shared had multiple arms. Never before had she wished to be a freak with six arms… until now.

Moritz seemed as appetized by the cold milk as Amelie, and both continued to cry, fraying the last of Lani’s nerves. ”C’mon children, be good for aunt Lani. She is doing her best. The only reason she hasn’t chucked you off of a cliff is because your mommy would strangle her and trap her in some ghost cage to have her nails peeled off for all of eternity.” Lani pleaded with the screaming creatures, who seemed not to care what she was saying, and no longer calmed at her voice. She was unfamiliar, and therefore a threat.

Lani assessed their diapers, wondering if they were uncomfortable, but found no leakage in the rags. They were full, yes, but she wondered if she had to address that yet. She had no idea how to clean and change a child’s rump, but she supposed she had to try. The blue bird that Madeira kept in a cage had begun to speak its displeasure of the noise as well. Grabbing three pillows from the sitting room, Lani set the children down on the floor, cushioning them with pillows so they didn’t roll away, and ran up to Madeira’s room to gather the fresh clothes and rags for the children.

”Moritz first,” She told the children, spreading out a blanket on the floor and then carefully positioning Moritz on it. She took all his night clothes off, and took a deep breathe before unwrapping his diaper. It was as bad, if not worse, than she feared. Making unnecessary faces, Lani took a wet rag to all his crevices, trying desperately to make it as clean as possible. Only once she was satisfied, did she start wrapping him in a new diaper. It was not the neat little bundle that she had unwrapped, but it covered what it needed to… mostly. She was able to slip him into the child’s dress, and place him back in his pillows, crying beside his sister, before doing the same with Amelie.
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Adventures in Childcare

Postby Lani Stranger on April 6th, 2019, 11:20 pm

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The children were now somewhat cleaned, mostly dressed, and had been offered food. But they were still tearing Lani’s ears apart with the sound, and the mixed blood was just about ready to cry along with them, not sure what more they could want. She didn’t want to hold the creatures, or get any nearer to the terrible noise they were making, so settled with gently rubbing their fuzzy heads as if it would help. Moritz seemed slightly confused by this action, only for a moment, before he began crying again, making her attempt to comfort useless again. Terrible thoughts of something being wrong came into her mind, and Lani started to inspect them closer, looking in their mouths and noses for any sign of mucus. Could it be something she couldn’t see? A parasite or a magic curse that was making them cry? Panic was started to settle in, encouraged by her frayed nerves and strong discomfort with the situation. This was not how she wanted to spend her day off.

”If either of you even dare try to die, I will murder you.” She whispered, leaping to her feet. She grabbed her waterpack, purse, and sword, clipping the three necessities to her belt before giving herself just enough time to scrawl five rough words on a scrap piece of parchment. The ink smeared as she picked it up, not waiting for it to dry, and not even cleaning her quill or capping her ink, and she stuffed the note in the collar of her top, and then scurried back down the stairs. She had guessed there would be some sort of stroller or carriage for the children, but she did not know where Madeira had put them, and so she would have to carry them… the way to the Catholican.

At this point, Lani didn’t think too hard about carrying them, roughly swaddling the two screaming children in her katinu, and then scooping up the large bundle together. They seemed to have to adjust to the new close quarters, while she nudged the front door open with her foot and made her way out. ”We’ll be back!”She called back to the house, and then jogged as quickly as she could without jostling the children out of the gate.

Halfway across the bridge to the Tenten, she spotted a small boy, seemingly by himself, and paused. People were glaring at her, clearly more frustrated she could handle two screaming newborns, than worried that she was practically running to the Tenten with two screaming newborns. This boy seemed to be watching her curiously, not yet old enough to attempt manners and avert his eyes, but instead just trying to see what was wrong with the children. ”Hey! You, boy! Wanna make a Kina?” She asked, which the child seemed to pay attention to. Ever trusting as children are, the seemingly nine year old nodded eagerly, and then suspicion set over his face.

”What do I gotta do?” He asked, and Lani huffed, moving the children around so that she could pull her purse from her belt and dig out a blue coin.

”Here,” She tossed it at him, missing and it fell to the crowd. He had quick hands though and scooped it up, inspecting it as if the nine year old knew anything about real or fake money.”Give this note,” She yanked the parchment from her collar, handing it to the boy. ”To Madeira Craven at the Dusk Tower.” She instructed, shaking the parchment scrap so that he would take it. He did so, nodding. Luckily, everyone knew the Dusk Tower, and she was sure he would simply ask for Madeira, so she was not worried about the note reaching her. But she was worried about how fast. Digging in her purse again, she pulled out whatever coin she found, finding the topaz coin, and handing it to him as well.

”Run the whole way, it’s an emergency.” She warned, and then watched the child take off at top speed, her five important words in his hand: We are at the Catholican.

By the time she reached the Catholican, juggling screaming babies with unkempt hair and weary black eyes, Lani was ready to collapse. She had had bout four heart attacks, as the children only seemed to get fussier as she walked, not giving into anything she said.

”Gods, are you alright Miss?” The thickly accented tone sprang up, and Lani turned to see a golden six armed woman reaching for her.

”I’m fine,” She snapped, her patience at an end. ”But they won’t stop crying, and they aren’t mine, and if they are sick, their mother will murder me.” She huffed, feeling a catch in her throat at the stress and utter defeat of the moment.

”What is your name, I will get you checked in.” She asked.

”Lani… Stranger. But these are Madeira Craven’s children.” She said, hoping for the pull of the Craven name. The Eypharian didn’t seem to react to the noble name, and simply nodded, concern still on her face. Lani forgot that Madeira was no longer part of the most powerful family, not here at least.

”Give me just a tick, I will get you a healer immediately.” The woman nodded, and Lani realized that this was the mythical Eypharian that supposedly she was related to, although she was too tired and frustrated to be curious. Out of habit, Lani set to bouncing her hips, trying to calm the children that were now screaming in the echoing reception of the Catholican. She had been awake all of thirty chimes, and already Lani was just about ready to jump off the Tenten with the amount of stress from the morning.

” Lani, this is Gemma Parker, she can help you.” Lani turned to see the Eypharian pulling a familiar face alongside her. Not that the face was familiar, but the half breed would recognize her mother’s race, the Konti, anywhere.

”Leth bless you,” She sighed the Lhavitian saying in Kontinese, an almost grin softening her features. ”Help me.” She urged in Kontinese as well, pushing the children towards Gemma as if the healer could turn their crying off like a switch.

Receipt :
-1.5 Kina
Last edited by Lani Stranger on April 7th, 2019, 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adventures in Childcare

Postby Gemma Parker on April 7th, 2019, 1:07 am

“This will be ready in just a few chimes, Mrs. Dunwity,” Gemma said over her shoulder. She turned back to her work station and dropped some beeswax into the double boiler where a portion of infused oil was just starting to bubble. She stirred the wax into the oil until the two were well mixed and turned off the brazier. The pan before her was able to be lifted with one hand, so she saved her left arm, which was doing much better but was still sore, while using her right to do most of the work.

Gemma rolled a kink out of her neck before pouring the liquid ointment into a small jar. She set the pan down and turned to her patient. “This will be ready in just a little bit. I’m going to go wash this before it cakes, but I should be back shortly to help you with your… situation.” She gestured generally, trying and failing to find a tactful way to talk about the use of her salve. Let’s just say Mrs. Dunwity had been feeling… crabby.

The Konti teen headed out of the room, her dishes in hand. She was doing her best to be mindful of cleaning up after herself, since it was a constant irritation for her mom when Gemma left the dishes undone.

’Just another reason to move in with Madeira,’ Gemma thought, finally resigned to the change. But as she was thinking this, she heard a horrible cacophony coming from the direction of the entrance. She stopped, trying to decide if she should let herself get distracted or finish cleaning the dishes. The decision was made for her, though.

As she walked toward the cleaning room, Rasika, the six-armed receptionist at The Catholicon, called Gemma’s name from down the hall. That decided it. It wasn’t really a distraction if she was being summoned, right? Besides, she could always clean this pan later.

She jogged down the corridor to reach Rasika, once more thankful that her pneumonia was finally a thing of the past. As she ran, the sound clarified to be the discordant, bone-chilling peel of a discontented baby.

“What’s up, Rasika?” She asked, only a little out of breath. By now, Gemma had to strain to hear the woman over the crying.

“Please come with me,” she said, her eyebrow twitching. Gemma had to admit that her stress levels were rising just listening to the sound. And she was being led directly toward it.

Gemma emerged through the reception doors and immediately knew why the sound had been so grating and loud. There were two of them. And they were both doing their absolute best to spread the gospel of ‘something is wrong’ with the world. If Gemma could have paled, she would have. But through the noise, she heard a greeting. It took her a moment to realize it had been in Kontinese, after she had already answered.

“Syna light your way.” The words felt odd in her mouth when said in Kontinese, and she looked up at the bearer of the babies with a smile, only for her face to shift quickly into shock and horror before she could think to control herself. Her mother would have been disappointed at her lack of restraint and composure.

Her eyes… were… black. Like, totally black. Nothing else in there. Was she… ok? But the woman seemed fine. Odd. But it was the least important observation, so she tried to just avert her eyes, using the excuse of a Lhavitian bow of greeting before focusing completely on the children as they were thrust at her.

“Oh!” She quickly handed her dirty pan to Rasika, who took it with a look of disgust on her face, holding it at arm’s length. Gemma would have to process the black eye thing later. These children demanded to be the first and only focus of anyone in the room. She shifted them in her arms so that the lighter one, the girl, was in her weak arm. She thought back to Madeira’s delivery and how she had held her son while he had cried. That had been… no, that wasn’t possible. All babies basically sounded the same, right? Just because this crying sounded kind of similar didn’t mean anything.

In any case, these children were different ages and sizes. They were clearly brother and sister, and looked familiar. Definitely not like the woman who carried them.

“Let’s get them to a consultation room,” Gemma spoke/shouted over the noise. But Rasika touched her arm and spoke into her ear.

“Don’t you think it might be best not to disturb the other patients?” Gemma twisted her lips, trying desperately to think. It was really hard to process anything while the babies were screaming like this.

“Where am I supposed to bring them?” She asked, looking down at the girl, who had started sucking on her sleeve, instantly soaking it with slobber. She couldn’t bring them outside. The damp weather wouldn’t be good for them, even if she kept them warm with her magic cloak, which was with her other belongings downstairs. That was it.

“Let’s just go downstairs while we figure out what’s wrong with them.” She said, turning away from the black eyed woman and leading the way. Her brain was completely frozen. It was like each child’s wails was one half of a jagged-toothed maw that was using her brain as a chew toy.

Gemma got down to her little makeshift herbalist’s workshop and walked over to her workbench. But there were things all over it. At least down here the cries didn’t echo so much like they had above in the main area. The room smelled like dry herbs, and a little bit of burnt honey from when Gemma had tried to do too many things at once this morning, and had let a batch burn.

“Here, hold them while I clear some space,” Gemma said, shoving the two back into the woman’s arms so she could put away the residue of many herbal mixtures and projects.

The storage-closet-turned-workshop was cramped with two adults and two babies, and was seeming to get smaller with every tick that passed.

Gemma tried to be careful with anything fragile, but in the end just swept a bunch of mortars, powered residue, and salve tins into a bin, putting it on the ground to worry about later.

She took a folded sheet from one of the shelves and flicked it open with both arms, forgetting for a moment that her shoulder was still sore. She closed her eyes against the moment of pain along with the insanity of the moment, and finally had a makeshift bench to put them on. At least the sheet was clean.

“Put them here,” Gemma said, her voice already slipping out of the detached doctor’s voice she was supposed to always use.

With the babies on the bench, Gemma began to pray over the youngest. They were both crying equally, but Gemma was concerned of what might happen to the more fragile baby if she was allowed to keep crying like that. Her face was so red Gemma thought her head might pop. At least then it would be a little quieter.

Had she just thought that?

She redoubled her focus on her prayer, and her exposed healing mark glimmered silver in the dim room. As she prayed over the child, her face started to look soothed and she started to calm down, much to Gemma’s relief. She looked over to the other woman and sighed.

“That was easier than I thought,” she said, interrupting her prayer just for a moment to speak.

The other baby was still going nuts, so Gemma shifted her attention to him.

“You can hold her while I calm him down,” She said. But in the time it took Gemma to begin praying again and see the same soothing calm come over the boy, his sister… started once again to cry.
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