Jana’s child is born
Phoenix quickly grew impatient waiting for Jana to be released. With no one to talk to, he spent his free time reading in the men’s quarters… in the washroom.
He constantly thought about his conversation with Tatiana. What if Jana really didn’t love him? It was because of her, after all, that he was cursed in this clan. He would be stuck here with his mark until he died.
Every so often he ventured up the steps to where Jana’s room was located and stood outside the locked door. He dared not knock. He knew if someone saw him attempting to talk to her he could be punished. He felt he had been punished enough as is and, frankly, he didn’t feel like she was quite worth it anymore.
Jana, on the other hand, could hear the footsteps outside and usually rushed to the door, hoping someone would try to speak to her. No one ever did.
Throughout her pregnancy, Jana remained in solitude, watching life continue on without her from her window. Despite the fact that her feelings for Phoenix were almost entirely physical, she still missed him and watched him whenever he worked in the garden.
The room she slept in was lightly furnished and not uncomfortable (she was pregnant, after all). She was permitted food but no means to tidy herself. Although she spoke to no one, she constantly felt embarrassment and shame for her predicament.
At last, late one night, she woke up feeling incredible pain; it was time for her child to join the clan.
Jana knocked loudly on the wall next to her bed. Rigel was sleeping next door and she heard faint stirring a moment later.
“Rigel,” she said, her voice increasing in volume, “I need someone to help me. The baby is ready.”
“…Okay. I’ll get Miss Tatiana.”
Jana winced. She did not want Tatiana’s help but she knew she didn’t have much of a choice. Several minutes later she heard footsteps approach her door and a key turn in the lock. Tatiana stood in her robe, a tired smile on her face. Tatiana looked almost ready to pop, too.
“Hello… Let’s get you ready, shall we?”
The two sat in uncomfortable silence for what seemed like ages. Jana would cry out and Tatiana would try and soothe her in return. Finally, the moment arrived…
Jana gave birth to a little girl. She told Tatiana that she decided to name her Yela.
However, to Jana’s dismay, Yela was born with a very unnatural skin tone…
Tatiana made no comment and fluttered about the room, cleaning as she went. Jana had a lot to think about now. She couldn’t stay in the community with these markings all over her body and she definitely couldn’t bring her child with her. Yela would not have the ability to change her form like Jana could; she would be a burden. Jana sighed and placed Yela in her cot. She would sleep on it and decide in the morning.
After the rooster crowed its morning greeting, Jana quickly got up and dressed. She then picked up her child, an unusually gentle smile on her face.
“I think I know what to do with you, little one,” she said softly, “You can stay here with the clan. Your skin will be a burden on them. You will be my ‘gift’ to them…” With that, she kissed her daughter’s forehead, placed her back in the cot, and stepped outside her room for the first time in ages.
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