Anyway, I'll stop rambling and give a small, somewhat neccesary bit of background information. It and the story are behind the cut, if one cares to look :).
First off - Dreylan. A bit of backstory before the plunge.
He's 19 years of age; just married about 10 months back. The girl in the story - Nirasse, his wife, a bit younger than he is. She's perhaps 7-8 months pregnant at the time.
Both are young, happy; going a short, easy journey across the sands from the main town they live in to the one they grew up in. This is what happened.
If you want physical descriptions, for the sake of mental images... Dreylan is tall, brown-eyed with soft-angled features and long, dark-red hair, customary in those of pure desert blood in Rithelien. Nirasse has yellow-blond hair with tints of red-orange, and she's not short, but certainly not Drey's height. Delicate features, almost.
That's enough of my that, I believe; here's the story, itself.
Silver flashed in the white-dull moonlight.
He stumbled back a step as a long gash opened down his leg - he didn't know where it came from, and he didn't care.
Blood dripped crimson, swallowed by the sands.
All he cared about was that it would be over soon, one way or the other, and only one of those ways was acceptable.
He recovered quickly, blade slitting past thick, dust-coloured fur to vulnerable skin beneath.
He didn't see it fall. He was already running back to her.
She was sitting heavily, legs sprawled beneath her seeming to barely carry her weight.
She looked at me. Her eyes were wide, dazed and unbelieving. Panicked.
'Drey, Drey' She said to me. I was kneeling in front of her, my hands on her slight shoulders.
'The baby, Goddess, I think something's wrong with the baby, I can't feel the baby!' Her voice got shrill, and I could barely speak. I think I said something, but I don't remember much about me, that night.
I just remember her.
She shook in my arms, and I must have pulled her to me because that's when I felt the blood. Hot, thick, shocking, revolting in a way it never had been before because it was 'hers'.
I think I tried to comfort her the best I could. I think I would have.
She coughed then, and the memory of being terrified was sharp and clear. There was blood, more blood, on my shirt. It took me a minute to connect that with her coughs. I tried to hide my fear, and I think I kept telling her, 'It's okay, it's all okay, you are, our baby is, it's all gonna be okay,'.
I know it's a cliche, but every moment seemed to last a lifetime, stretched on into forever. She kept touching her round, wet stomach, blindly panicked. She didn't care about herself. She just wanted to know if the baby was all right.
Soon, I'd gotten her onto our sleeping cot, covered her with all the blankets we had because she was shivering, shaking like a gale, and I didn't know why. All I knew to do was stop the bleeding and clean her off, and I did that first.
She was talking most of the time, my beautiful girl, but she was all hazy, and her words faded in and out as if she was talking in her sleep - she did that sometimes, and it always woke me. I never let her forget this one night, she started talking about digging cats and asked me - by name, even - to stop the black one before it ate the chair. Nicest, politest, most normal tone you could imagine, and she always said I was making it up when I ribbed her about it. The small quirks just made me love her more.
She was gorgeous, even covered in terrible red and out of it, more gorgeous than any woman had the right to be. I think I cried then. Just held her to me and wept as I told her it was all right, and in the morning we'd keep going, and we'd go see my parents, her parents, and she'd have our baby, and everyone would be happy, she'd see.
She didn't believe me, no matter what I said, I could see it written all over her gentle face. Even when she was scrunched with pain and I was doing whatever I could do and praying to the Goddess fervently.
She- the Goddess-, can be a cruel deity. I learned how cruel first-hand, just before dawn.
She was lying half in my lap, and I was stroking her hair - my hands were shaking - and talking to her, I had talked to her all night, told her how much I loved her more times than I could count, and it still wasn't enough. As the first glow of dawn lit her face, and shone through her hair, her eyes went... Dull. Empty, the spark I'd adored her for flickering and then fading out.
I couldn't believe what was happening- what had happened- and I kept talking to her, voice higher and panicked and rushed, until it all degraded into a trail of refusals.
I don't know how long I sat there, curled around her - no - around what used to be her. Whatever had been her was gone. The wriggles and kicks of life that had made us grin and laugh with sheer nervous joy, that had been our child, went with her. I was truly alone - no - beyond that. Most of me went then, a thin shell left sitting in blood-wet dunes.
After that, I was never anything but.
If you read it, please, tell me what you think. Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated - any comments are, actually. I'll stop annoying you all now, and slip off to bed. :)