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@Simmik if you're up for it :3 (perhaps forward dated for 02/20/2021 - 02/21/2021 if that doesn't collide with her heat cycle or the thread with NWF.)

It had been only a short time since she'd been brought back into the ranks of the Sainthood though it certainly felt much longer. Almost as soon as they returned Kyn and Simmik had quarantined (pls excuse my awful covid jokes) themselves away, the only detectable sign that they were alive and well being the faint hints of heat-smell on the wind, mixed with the perfume of the Grandmaster and his wintry wife. Aerin had settled in during the newlyweds' honeymoon and the past week and a half seemed much longer in comparison to all that had happened -- even if the events weren't necessarily all that exciting. 

She'd caught word from @Vein (reference) that Simmik had been attacked and injured a few days ago which filled the midwife with no small amount of concern. If the brumal warrioress had truly gone into heat then there was a chance that she could be pregnant -- with Donav's pups no less. Aerin knew she'd already been treated by other healers in the pack but it was still a mission of hers to make a friend and ally of Kynareth's wife and checking up on her seemed only the right, respectful, thing to do in such a situation. So, the ivory hart diligently stalked scent trails through the dawn, finally being rewarded with the catch of a fine squirrel around midmorning -- if she had no herbs to offer or tend to the woman's injuries with, perhaps a meal for the mother-to-be might be appreciated.

Beneath an overcast sky that spoke of further, hopefullly milder, storms to come, the halfling canted across the territory towards the den where the Sandraudiga's and Deagon's scents culminated -- slowing to a halt and stopping some several feet away where she lowered the offering to the ground before chuffing softly, requesting Simmik's presence if she happened to be home and awake (and up for visitors).
The other woman would arrive during one of the very few times that Ky was not in the den with her. She had been more tired than normal, and had needed to take a nap before getting back to her normal activity. She might have just pushed through the exhaustion, but she didn't want to do any harm to the children inside her. Her sides had started to swell already, only noticeable to those who saw her often, giving her more proof that they grew within her womb. She loved them already, and she would do whatever she needed to do to keep them safe. 

She had already woken, her stomach churning with the nausea that was always present. It only seemed to get worse as the pregnancy progressed, and she assumed it was normal but thought maybe she should ask just to make sure. A chuff pulled her from her thoughts, followed by a familiar scent—one that was more welcome than most. She shifted, her wounds still a little sore but healing well, and stood to walk out into the cold air of the afternoon. 

She stood just outside the entrance, offering Aerin a dip of her head in greeting. Is everything okay? she asked, naturally assuming that she must be here to report some kind of problem to her husband. Ky isn't here right now, but I can call for him if you need to speak with him. She knew he was never out of calling range for her—he had proven to be very overprotective now that she was carrying their children. It was cute most of the time, until it was annoying.
Aerin is both elated and anxious when her fellow Specialist appears at the entrance to the den, heart thrumming rapidly with sudden nervousness. "Oh, yes," she reassures easily before admitting, a little awkwardly: "I actually came to see ye." The achromatic healer bends, holding herself a little clumsily on account of her own injuries, nudging the squirrel a little closer as if to say: for you. "One of ze 'ealers mentioned ye 'ad been 'urt," she explained as she shifted her weight on her paws a little uncertainly. "I just vanted to check zat ye vere okay." It was softer, and her moonstones did not quite meet the pale soldier's garnet gems -- as if shy of rejection, even in this small gesture. 

"I didnae mean to disturb yer rest, I could come back some other time if zat vould be better?" The halfling offered, dipping her head in a faint nod of acquiescence . It wouldn't offend her, if her suspicions were correct then she knew Simmik was likely feeling pretty fatigued these days. Being injured likely wouldn't help much with that either. The last thing she wanted to do was to bother the healing she-wolf or prevent her from recovering in peace. 
Her eyes roamed over Aerin's wounds as she spoke. It seemed she was here to see Simmik specifically. It was a nice change from her usual interactions with the pack. She was, for all intents and purposes, quite the outcast here. Aside from a very small few, most of the other Saints wanted to fight with her rather than talk. Admittedly, it was partly her fault; she had stoked the flames with Whrist and Nyra, but she needed to be seen as someone who wouldn't just give her loyalty and respect for no reason. Plus, she maintained that they were just jealous of her relationship to the Grandmaster. Jealousy was a waste of time and energy in her opinion. It wasn't like he couldn't take them as lovers. They had a deep bond—had known each other for a long time, and she saw him like no one else did. Just like he saw here. That was why she was his wife and the one carrying his children. They needed to get over their childish emotions and try to make the pack more cohesive. They wouldn't take the advice from her, though. She and Ky had much to discuss before the children were born.

No, you didn't disturb me, Simmik assured the other woman. She seemed nervous and unsure, and she knew it was most likely due to their first interaction. I was already awake. Plus she didn't mind the company. My wounds are fine. Healing well it seems. I'm just a little sore... she drifted off a moment. And very tired lately. Always nauseous too it seems. She hadn't been able to find much she could really keep down, not that she was ever really very hungry anyway with her stomach always so upset.

Her probing gaze wandered to the other woman's own wounds again. What happened to you? she asked. She seemed too agreeable to have picked a fight with someone, so now Simmik was curious what might have happened. Knowing the women here, it could be anything.
An unconscious tension sheds from her shoulders, the pale doe relaxing just a little bit at the reassurance that follows. When Simmik hesitantly mentioned her symptoms, Aerin felt a smile tug at her lips -- thin, feathered tail offering a happy sweep. "Aye, zat is usually normal about now," the once-mother lilted knowingly, a soft chuckle escaping her. "I do nae mean to pry," she smothered down a mi'lady from her days as a captive, "it is just that a midvife learns ze signs of such things. Yer smell 'as been different." 

"Congratulations," she offered, and meant it. No matter why she had come back, how confused her heart might be -- Aerin refused to be amongst the ranks of those pathetically pining after Kynareth Deagon. She would not be counted amongst those who would turn on him, stoop to harm his wife and children due to petty envy. Such was not love, but lust -- obsession. Possession. "Ye are good fer 'im," Aerin murmured diffidently with a kind smile. "'e is different than vhen I knew 'im last. 'e vas...bitter zen. Angry, an' perhaps sad -- I think. It is good to see 'im settled. 'e seems 'appier, content, yeah." 

"Ach," the sprite tutted as she glanced down -- gaze automatically falling to her wounded paw, the injuries draped around her throat and marring the Saint-mark upon her nape invisible as ever to her. "I am nae quite sure myself 'onestly.."

"Shortly after we returned 'ere, I vas exploring ze Strath -- familiarizing myself vith ze terrain -- vhen I bumped into a dark volf named Vhrist. We vere just talking, she asked if I knew anything about a voman named Sasha an' if I knew ye," Aerin explained, her brow wrinkling in perplexion as she spoke of the events. She told Simmik what she had told Whrist: "I told 'er zat I did nae know a Sasha but zat I 'ad met ye vith Kynareth an' zat ye seemed nice enough. Ze next I knew, she vas screaming an' attacking me," The healer's spry shoulders shrugged cluelessly. It didn't occur to her that it was Simmik's status as Kynareth's wife that had unhinged the shadow so, she just assumed the girl really didn't like Simmik from the way she spoke. 

"I am sorry if zis causes trouble fer ye," and again she swallowed back the title of her days spent in chains. "I 'ave been keeping an eye out but she does nae seem to 'ave vandered near 'ere," the medic reassured. She'd felt guilty for possibly putting the woman in more danger from their pack mates -- who apparently didn't like Simmik, or anyone who expressed any sort of amicableness to her -- and thus had also been patrolling around the Deagons' den vigilantly from a distance, afraid Whrist might show up here. 
Her eyebrows drew together at first, unsure what she meant when she said it was normal about now. But as she continued to speak, Simmik realized what she was talking about. She couldn't help the loving smile that slightly curved her lips. So you've helped other women have children? she asked with hesitant interest. She was beginning to think this friend of Ky's could be someone she might trust. What spurred the question and the many more she had swimming in her mind was the fact that she had absolutely no idea what to expect. Already her sides swelled ever so slightly—she had always been lean and muscular, and the roundness had never been there before. But with the visible proof of her children's existence came the very real fear that she had no clue how to deliver pups. What if something went wrong, or she did something incorrectly and harmed them in some way? Maybe Aerin could quiet some of her fears for her. 

She dipped her head, her smile growing just a little before disappearing. Thank you, she said quietly. And when the other woman brought up Ky, going as far to say that she thought Simmik was good for him, she couldn't help the surprise that briefly lifted her eyebrows before she smoothed out her expression again. She wasn't used to hearing things like that—she had only dealt with issues from the other women so far, aside from Arlette, who she had started to grow fond of. He was very different back when he first got here, she agreed. And it has not been an easy road for us to get here, but I— she broke off, realizing she was about to reveal a vulnerability she had not allowed anyone else to see other than Ky himself. She pressed her lips together and looked away. When her gaze found Aerin again, it was full of fierce tenderness. —I love him more than anything; I only want him to be happy, and I think he needs wolves like that in his life. Ones that could be vicious if needed but also offer him a place free of judgement from his past mistakes. Her expression shifted again, and the moment of softness was gone. 

Irritation filled her expression as Aerin recounted how she came to be injured. The name Whrist had her clenching her jaw in anger. She attacked you for no reason? Simmik asked, her tone cool, although it was clear she was displeased to hear that she was attacked by a member of the pack without any provocation. 

No, she said quickly, shaking her head. You don't need to apologize. Whrist is impulsive, and what she did was wrong. We don't treat our own that way if they haven't done anything to deserve it. She released a quiet, frustrated sigh. I will talk to Ky about it. She knew he would be angrier than she was, and she needed to talk to him anyway.
The midwife nodded, smiling herself -- for she had always been fond of children, that was one thing that had never changed. "Aye, on numerous occasions," she answered readily, hesitating before admitting: "I vas a 'ealing slave once, in another land. I spent many years practicing my calling before I eventually von my freedom. I specialized in midwivery -- ze Master who freed me 'ad traded for me to 'elp 'is vife vith 'er pregnancy." The hart decides to refrain from bringing up what came after -- Daegmar's betrayal, being re-enslaved to Aliroth as his wife. "I stayed vith them after an' 'elped to raise their children." It was not something she had shared with many people, Kynareth being one of the few who knew anything at all about her past. But perhaps it was time to change that. These fierce people were to be her own and she had nothing to be ashamed of. The halfling was as strong as any Saint could claim to be, especially to endure what she had. 

The seelie was rewarded with a moment of Simmik's own intimacy, her features softening briefly as she spoke of her husband. Such was all the resolve that the Saluki needed, it was not so hard to deny her feelings upon seeing how happy her friend and his wife were. The healer's heart would mend itself in time; she had always said she would survive if they never amounted to anything more than good friends. Returning to the Saints made it harder to smother the poignant whisperings of the fickle organ but as much as her heart wanted to feel for them, Aerin forced herself to meter it -- allowing herself to be seen as no more than ally, friend, loyal pack mate. She didn't have it in her to utter such treacherous things into existence and ruin what Kynareth had found with Simmik in the time that she had been gone. She wasn't sure she could live with herself if she tainted such profound joy, or their budding family, by continuing to love Kyn -- by being attracted to his wife. The druids had been polygamous but something about her feelings...just seemed wrong to her. Maybe it was because of everything that had happened to Simmik thus far with the other women or maybe it was because of what happened the last time she fell in love with her married friends.

"I 'ope 'e 'as zat in zis pack. I vould like to think zat 'e does," the medic murmured -- somewhat fretfully. Her own attack and the news of Simmik's, so close together, and so unrelated made her wonder at times. "I know ye vere wary of me but 'e 'as such a follower in me -- he always vill." Aerin could never hurt him. And there was none left she might betray him to anyways -- naught but ghosts. Kynareth was all she had left -- him and the rest of the Saints. "An' ye can consider me an ally if not a friend just yet -- to ye and yer children," the sighthound promised with a solemn nod of her head. "I vould be 'appy to 'elp in any way I can if'n ye need anything." 

The fae grimaced slightly, restraining the urge to shift on her paws -- not wanting to get anyone in trouble but not wanting to lie to Simmik either. "I think so. I could nae see any reason vhy she attacked me. But I do nae think she vas in ze right state of mind either. She seemed...deranged. Unhinged. It vas like she vas not zere anymore.; she did nae respond an' snap out of it until I yelled at 'er." 

The thought of Simmik telling Kynareth about what happened made her a bit nervous, wondering what he might do. She knew it was likely pointless to argue with the pearlescent warrior, and on some level she understood that what Whrist had done was wrong and should be met with consequences, but that didn't mean she didn't feel guilty about getting Whrist in trouble. She just hoped that it didn't cause more issues between her and the troubled shadeling.
She felt instant relief at the other woman's words. She wanted to ask more, maybe if she would be willing to help her when it was time to deliver her pups. But her questions were pushed aside for a moment as she listened to the healer offer some details about her time before the Saints. She couldn't imagine being a slave—no freedom to do what you want, no say in what happens to you. She wasn't sure if she should say anything about it, in case Aerin didn't want to talk about it. This knowledge did paint the other woman in a new light, though. Anyome who could make it through that could never be considered weak in Simmik's eyes.

I think he has that with the other members, but I'm always keeping an eye out for him anyway. There was no way she would let anyone take advantage of him. It seemed Aerin was loyal to him at least, but time would tell if that was genuine. She was content to believe it was until proven otherwise, especially as she offered her help, even though she had suspected that Simmik didn't quite trust her yet. Thank you, she offered with a nod. I've never done this before—have children. I don't know what to expect or how to do anything. I will probably ask you a lot of questions if that's okay. Arlette has been helping me too, Maybe you two could work together. She wasn't sure if they had met, but she thought it would be even better to have two healers help her through this.

The way Aerin described Whrist was a little concerning. Do you think she was sick? Why else would she act so strangely? It seemed like more than just a bad mood.
"Of course," the seelie murmured obligingly, it was her purpose to serve, to heal -- even if she did not worship the heavens anymore and believe in their part of weaving her fate. "Vell, things are different for every mother. I'm afraid there is no standard protocol -- save for a few things like eating enough and resting as needed." A wry grin was offered as she said it, though she felt a small stab of long-forgotten pain for her own litter, remembering how it had felt to grow them within the shelter of her body. "Ye seem to be doing fine so far, but if ye vould like I could try to find some black 'aw. It is a good precaution, for ze 'erb 'elps to prevent miscarriage." Perhaps it might reassure the first time mother to be taking some kind of measure towards ensuring the health of her unborn pups -- Reiko had been much the same when Aerin, Awenfen then, had offered the plant to her. 

"I vould nae mind if ye ask, I vould be 'appy to 'elp. I 'ave nae met this Arlette but I vill seek 'er out an' introduce myself," the healer assured, hoping perhaps she might find another colleague in the unknown Arlette as she had found in Vein. An exciting prospect to say the least -- it had been so long, since the Falls, that she had had a chance to speak with those of a similar calling. 

"Perhaps," the girl of many names considered, "but I could smell no sick-scent on her fur an' she seemed 'ealthy to me...perhaps she vas sick of ze mind." The once-druid was untrained, for the most part, in mental afflictions but she had recognized something in the corvid's wild gaze. She knew what it was to lose leave of your senses, if not how to treat such a malady. 
Simmik was unfamiliar with the word she used. Miscarriage? she asked. What is that? Whatever it was, it didn't sound good, and it was enough of a concern that Aerin thought she should be taking herbs to help prevent it. What if she had already done something that made it a possibility?

Thank you, she said, offering a small smile. I was wondering, Simmik started. I've been feeling really sick to my stomach. I can barely eat most days, and everything I attempt to eat smells bad. Is that normal? Worry was clear in the fiery depths of her eyes. 

That seems odd, but I'll still talk to Ky about it. I think it should be addressed regardless of what is going on, she told the healer. We all need to get along if we want to be a real threat to our enemies. They would never reach their full potential if they were constantly warring with each other.
The midwife blanched, withholding the agitated tic that wanted to course through her. Perhaps she should have held her tongue better. "Vell...it is vhen ze pups...perish before they are born," the marble doe admitted with a distressed flutter of her papillion auds. There was real pain echoing beneath the mask that concealed past tragedies as she recalled the younglings she had lost. "I'm sure ye 'ave nothing to vorry about, Simmik. There vould be concerning signs beforehand: belly cramps, pain in ze spine, bleeding. Some vomen fall into a listless state of despair before suffering a miscarriage."

"Ye seem quite 'ealthy," the midwife promised, scanning the woman's lustrous pelt of winterwhite, her clear eyes. She had been active around the territory as far as Aerin knew, just to a lesser degree which was within the norm. "I am sure ye vill be fine."

"It sounds like morning sickness. It differs from volf to volf but some vomen do experience nausea an' a sensitivity to certain smells. Vhen I vas pregnant vith my first litter, I could nae stand ze smell of fish," she chuckled lightly, attempting to lighten the mood a bit. 

"Ye are right. Perhaps I should try to reconcile vith Vhrist an' see if we can get along," Aerin mused, nodding absently as her gaze fell aside in thought. It could only go one of two ways and if the darkling wanted nothing to do with her, then that was that.