[ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

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Aishe
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aishe »

It was a strange day to be sure. Aishe tried to focus on the positive, but that was more challenging than she expected. Today would be the first time in over a year she stepped foot on Fenian soil. The idea hurt and she wanted to stay home, as if the very concept reopened the wound. Yet, she would not stay home. No, she would go and meet her newest granddaughter. She would do the greatest of honours by baptizing the newborn and being among the first to hear her name. It was that determination that pushed the Queen to get ready.

She opted for a saree with a full skirt of a gradient of blues and gold detail. The matching shirt had longer sleeves, offering some respite to the cold, even though she was back to barely feeling it. The sheer wrap carried the gold detail. Her jewelry was rather simple out of the many options she had, but it was a private affair. She forwent any crown and left her waves hang down freely. She did her usual makeup of blush and eyeliner, adding a bit of a brighter coral to her lips. Putting on some slim boots for the winter snow, she was ready.

Everyone who was going gathered together and with the help of Kuhlashes, the small group transported through the shadows to a new setting. It was an all too familiar view as Ettinford came into focus. She withheld a sigh as Akos took her hand and they approached the door. Aileigh was quick to let them inside. Bright eyes flitted around the foyer, noticing the subtle changes that had been made by its current viscountess. Overall, it was the same home she spent so long living in, between her court stays.

Distracted, she forced herself to pay attention to the current conversation. She caught a smile from her daughter and returned it, even if it didn't quite reach her eyes. The deep depression she had fallen into following the divorce still lingered some days and it was evident in her eyes.

Her grandchildren were the perfect distraction. She showered them with love, life returning to her eyes. Soon, they all left the front room for the conservatory. It was then that Aishe began to feel some excitement for what was to come. When Aileigh returned, Aishe was in high spirits.

With expert hands, she accepted her granddaughter and cradled her close. She was beginning to really stir away, with big eyes opening up. A true and genuine smile spread across her lips as she said, "Devlesa avilan." ["It is God (Mages) who brought you.", a traditional Romany greeting.]

She smiled at Aileigh, then at Thea. "She's beautiful."

Following everyone getting a peak at the baby, Aishe moved closer to the fountain. She beckoned the mothers both nearer. In front of the moving water, she decided to do the baptism in common tongue so that Thea could follow along.

"New life is the most sacred. It is with new life that our culture continues, that our traditions thrive. Today, we welcome new life into our family and our people. It is with this ceremony that her soul shall be cleansed and forever protected by the foes of our world."

She shifted, positioning the baby so her bum and back were sitting in the water, while supporting her body and head. The babe looked around with curious eyes, seemingly not phased by the water, which was preferable to proceeding with a screaming child, which sometimes happened. It was said peaceful acceptance was a sign of a blessed life.

"May the Mages bless you like they blessed our ancestors.

May you be strong and true to yourself.

May you always have a family to turn to in times of need.

May you flourish to your full potential."


Then, the Kralisi completely submerged the baby. It was naught but for a quick moment, relying on the baby's natural instincts to hold her breath beneath the surface. As she was lifted out of the water, there was a wail, showing off the healthy lungs the newborn had.

"May you be known by the world as..."

"Lenora Beth Miaka Sanchari Winterbourne." Aileigh announced proudly.

"Welcome to our family, little Miaka." Aishe gave a kiss to Lenora's wet forehead. With a towel in hand, Aileigh accepted her daughter back and began to gently dry her face. "Devlesa araklam tume." ["It is with God (Mages) that I found you.", the second half of the traditional greeting.]

The saying was enthusiastically echoed amongst the others. Aileigh beamed at Thea, evident she had a heart full of love and joy. Aishe observed the moment with a soft smile.

"Nias tuke, dai."

"My greatest pleasure, my sweet Maarah." Aishe went and stood beside Akos, leaning against her wife with a renewed happiness.

"I am going to change her... Lenora, into something dry, least she get a cold! Let the drinks flow; we shall return shortly." Aileigh excused herself and left the conservatory.

Aishe approached Thea and commented, "This is a good look on you. Thank you for hosting us for the day. It means much to all of us."
Aishe Ehsan Sanchari-Kuhlash | Married to Akos | Mother of Dynasties | Mum of 16
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♛ Queen Mother of Fenia | The White Wolf | Senator of Bravia | Mayor of Paz 🍓
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Thea »

This was not Thea's culture, it was her wife's and for that reason, she tried her best to be respectful of their practices and beliefs. Still, she often felt like she stuck out like a sore thumb every time Aileigh's family members showed up. They had been nothing but nice to her but she still always felt out of place. Then again she felt out of place in her own culture so maybe that was just how she always felt.

She stood in silence as Aileigh did her part in the ceremony led by her mother, Aishe. Thea actually knew her mother-in-law longer than she did her own wife. She had tried to teach Thea, the rebellious Winterbourne, some different languages so that she would be prepared for being involved in diplomacy. This, of course, did not go over as planned.

As the ceremony concluded and Aileigh excused herself to change the baby before Lenora could get fussy, Aishe came and stood beside her to speak. Thea was surprised at her comment, and she was not sure she agreed with her.

"Thank you. Aileigh lent it to me."

She was not sure why she added the second part. Obviously, Aishe would know that Thea did not own any such outfit herself.

"How are you? How is the newest addition to your side of the family?"

Aishe had given birth to another daughter just a few weeks prior to Lenora's birth. It was somewhat weird to her that her own children were very close in age to their aunts and uncles, but at least the children had someone their own age to play with. Thea had been lacking that in her own childhood with only Cordelia being somewhat close to her in age.
Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Baroness of Latona | The Red Wolf
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Cousin of the Winterbournes | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen & Inez | Wife of Aileigh
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Aishe
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aishe »

Aishe smiled, happy for what appeared to be a functioning marriage, or at least a friendship. She did not question by what means led to Lenora’s birth because Aileigh seemed genuinely happy. All she wanted was a happy and healthy family and that seemed to be the case for the Sanchari-Winterbourne household.

Upon being asked about her own newborn, Aishe brightened up even more. “Astra is doing well. She’s growing very quickly… Reminds me of someone else I know.”

She was referring to Aileigh, but she was not sure if Thea understood what she meant. “Aileigh grew rapidly. By her first birthday, she was already a child. She grew too swiftly; we used magic to slow her growth down to a regular child when she was about ten. Aileigh was only born in ‘61, making her twelve, not twenty two.”

Unsure if Thea had ever realized how young Aileigh really was, she offered a smile. “Thankfully she matured just as fast. I can only assume Astra will be the same, should she continue at the rate she is growing. It’s only been a few weeks, but she’s already past the newborn stage. Mages help me.”

It was something she had not quite wrapped her brain around. Aileigh and Astra were made in the same manner, unlike the children she naturally conceived with Zuan. The difference was that Astra had no Kitsune soul mingled with hers; she was purely made from Aishe and Akos. She was curious to see what impact and differences it would bring between her two children. Another damphyr, and yet just as unique as the first.

“I don’t supposed my granddaughters have shown any vampire inclinations? The little royals have not yet, still.” Her curiosity could be consuming at times. She didn’t understand how genetics worked, but it was intriguing. All of her children with Zuan aged normal to a human’s standards and they all appeared… Human. At least while Aileigh appeared to be and functioned like a human, she had vampire abilities such as strength and speed. She was eager to see if her little ones would develop in a similar manner, even though her eldest was always stronger than the average child.

It wasn’t until Aileigh rejoined them that she realized how much she had gone on about her family from such a simple question. “When the weather warms, we will have to have some big play dates with all the children. I can’t believe how much yours have grown since I saw them in the fall. Even normal growth seems so fast in absence.”
Aishe Ehsan Sanchari-Kuhlash | Married to Akos | Mother of Dynasties | Mum of 16
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♛ Queen Mother of Fenia | The White Wolf | Senator of Bravia | Mayor of Paz 🍓
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Thea »

Asking her mother-in-law about family always brightened her mood. Thea had learned that in the few years that they had known each other. Aileigh took after her mother when it came to maternal instincts and Thea was the exact opposite of both of them.

Thea nodded as Aishe mentioned how Astra was again rapidly, similar to how Aileigh had aged from birth. She had been told about this before, at least vaguely. Aishe was the first to provide her specifics.

"Will you slow down Astra’s aging as well?"

Her attention then turned toward the twins. They were not yet a year old and were not yet walking, but they were certainly crawling. Crawling equaled chaos. Between them chasing the cats and their brother, the house was always full of energy.

"I have not noticed anything, but Aileigh would know better than me. When did you notice it with her?"
Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Baroness of Latona | The Red Wolf
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Cousin of the Winterbournes | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen & Inez | Wife of Aileigh
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aishe »

Will they slow down Astra as well?

It was a good question, one she had wondered loosely in the background of daily life, but had yet to put the energy into the debate. There had been many factors that led to the decision the first time, most of which were no longer factors. Akos had been gone, presumed dead, and it had been too much for the heartbroken vampire to handle the rapid growth of their first child. They lived in dangerous and unstable times back in 1661 to 1662. It had been a difficult decision, but one she thought served the family well, even if by the time it was done, Akos was back at her side.

Life now was so much safer and fuller. Would she mind the swiftly passing milestones and all too quickly loss of innocence as much as before? It was not like she didn't have her hands full with "normal" children as well. Perhaps one less diaper would be nice.

"I'm not sure, to be honest." She responded after a moment of consideration. "The situations are vastly different. Perhaps we should let Astra grow as nature intended.

"The first time I vividly remember noticing is after she had learned to crawl, but before she walked. There was a short period of time where she could crawl very quickly, unusually so. She learned to walk not long after. Her grasp as an infant was rather strong as well, but that was not really an issue until she was a bit older. She grew stronger, but it took her a while to learn her strength, many broken crayons later."

Having been in the room, but socializing with her aunts, Aileigh's ears seemed to perk up. She wandered over. "Do I hear my wife and mother talking about me?" Her tease was light, shifting Lenora to offer her to Aishe, who happily took the babe.

"Indirectly." Aishe looked down and cooed at the two week old. "Mostly talking about all our babies, isn't that right, little Miaka?" Blue eyes flicked up to meet its matching pair. "I was curious if your children have developed beyond human standards."

"Ah, not that I can tell." Aileigh responded in a rather neutral tone that implied she did not care either way. "Mom mentioned how my newest sibling appears to be very much like me. How intriguing!"

"We shall see how that progresses. After all, for all the similarities, you two are still different." Her comment was in reference to the very defining Kitsune soul Aileigh had.

It was their theory that it fueled her visions and strengthened her connection to the past, present, and future. She wondered if Astra would also develop such strong abilities or if the familial gift would skip over her entirely. It would be a waiting game, but they would get the answer much sooner than with Amelia or Aileanóra, the two little royals that could also end up with the Sanchari gift of foresight. Some days, she wanted to cheat knowing and ask Aileigh to investigate, her curiosity strong, but ultimately, she decided to find out naturally each time the desire became great.

"Shall we eat, drink, and be merry?"
Aishe Ehsan Sanchari-Kuhlash | Married to Akos | Mother of Dynasties | Mum of 16
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♛ Queen Mother of Fenia | The White Wolf | Senator of Bravia | Mayor of Paz 🍓
Kralisi Kaer of Boreens Durri Roma (BDR) ☾ Rani Ji Purrana
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aileigh »

It had been a long day. With a household containing a toddler, two infants and a newborn, some days felt never ending. Aileigh did a good job at being a mother, but there were times that her patience was tried and she was tired. Thankfully, in those instances, she had a nanny to step in and assist with childcare. She had grown more comfortable with having help, finding it challenging to manage four young children all the time. She truly had no idea how her mothers were so present in their family life when they had political and national duties. Aileigh had only a viscounty to care for outside of her family, and she was not sure she balanced it well. (Her steward, who was very helpful, would argue otherwise.)

It took a while to get everyone asleep. Or maybe it just felt like a while as she impatiently waited to have a moment to herself. With the children down, she slipped away from the rest of the world into the privacy of her seer room. The moment by herself was short lived, leaving the room nearly as quickly as she had entered. The sound of bare feet was slightly audible as she moved through the corridor. Anxiety began to bubble in her chest.

She was in search of her wife. First, she checked the conservatory, but upon not finding her, she headed upstairs to the bedrooms. She gave a knock on Thea’s door, announcing herself, then let herself in when beckoned to enter. She disregarded what her wife was doing, her dilemma pressing to the surface in a worried frown. She fell back onto the bed dramatically, black hair sprawling out around her.

“I have a problem,” She started, putting her hands over her face with a sigh. “Well, I suppose we have one. I thought I was being careful, but…”

Were those tears? Aileigh blinked them away before lowering her hands and staring up at the ceiling. She did not imagine Thea was eager to hear the rest of her sentence, a sentence stuck in her throat as she tried to convey the issue without saying it. Saying it made it more real.

“I’m sorry,” she said instead. She was not sorry for being unfaithful to their vows, just as Thea wasn’t. They were married, but they did not love each other. No, but she had found love. Now to deal with the consequence, which was what she was apologizing for. “I’m with child.”

A flurry of confusing emotions because to spiral, but her blue eyes remained fixated on the ceiling, not wishing to meet Thea’s gaze.
Aileigh Mae Maraah Sanchari Winterbourne | Seer of BDR | Viscountess of Ettinford
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen, Inez
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Matriarch Sanchari [.]
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Thea »

As the evening was drawing near, Thea made her escape up to her bedroom. Either Aileigh or the nanny would do the bedtime routine with the children, but never Thea. She was never the maternal type; truthfully, it was a miracle that she had grown to genuinely care about her children rather than resent their existence. This change was almost certainly because of her marriage and the agreement the wives had come to. Aileigh was the one who always took care of the children and Thea was free to live her life. That included settling down with a good book in the early evening rather than wrangling tiny humans to bed.

She was propped up on several fluffy pillows with a leather-bound anthology resting on her knees when she heard an unexpected knock at her door. She did not bother with getting out of bed, instead beckoning for the person to enter. Thea watched as the door flung open and to her surprise, her wife entered. She closed the door behind her before flopping unceremoniously onto the bed. Aileigh did not even seem to realize that Thea was also there, but she was on the opposite side so it did not matter anyway.

"A problem?"

Thea questioned curiously as she watched Aileigh. The pale skin of the damphyr colored slightly as she pressed her hands over her face. Was she upset? Her wife apologized before finally verbalizing the actual problem.

A look of surprise crossed Thea's face, though in hindsight it was not surprising at all. She had known for some time that her wife had grown close to Andrzej. Whereas Thea had only ever sought physical companions, Aileigh had found a deeper emotional connection that had blossomed into something physical.

"I do not suppose I can fault you, especially given my history. How do you feel about this news?"
Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Baroness of Latona | The Red Wolf
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Cousin of the Winterbournes | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen & Inez | Wife of Aileigh
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aileigh »

The question hung in the air for a moment as Aileigh thought. How did she feel about it? She shifted, sitting up and scooting up on the bed, to be seated beside her wife. She clasped her hands together to keep from fidgeting while her mind raced. She spoke her thoughts aloud and truthfully,

“I’m conflicted. On one hand, I love being a mother. It gives me purpose and makes my heart full. Life is sacred, precious, and to have a child is a gift.

And yet… It complicates things, doesn’t it? It’s not a passing… situation. I think I love him and he’s not necessarily going anywhere anytime soon, nor do I want him to. To have a child together… Does that threaten us? Is this child a threat to our marriage?”


Their marriage continued to serve a purpose. Aileigh enjoyed the protection the marriage gave, but it was more than that now. It was a way of life. Thea was her partner, even if she was not her lover. The unusual friendship between the two very different young women had grown strong. Thea was also the mother of her children. Something like divorce would upheave their entire lives, not to mention the lives of their young children. She loved Andrzej, but she equally loved her strange marriage.

“Additionally - we are swimming in young children right now. Do we really want a fifth? Maybe it’d be different if they were older, but they are all so young.”

In truth, she was a little panicked. She had a suspicion she was pregnant, but it was not until the silence of this evening did she hear confirmation - a tiny flutter that was familiar to her: the heartbeat of a fetus. It freaked her out, spurring her impromptu visit to Thea’s room.

“He doesn’t know yet. I’m certain he will be excited over the news - he’s so good with kids and he really loves ours.” The admission said a lot - the fact she ran to Thea over Andrzej indicated her inner conflict.

“I could take care of it. He need never know.” The suggestion felt wrong though, shown by a wrinkle across her brow. She sighed quietly and looked down at her abdomen. “I suppose I’m curious what thoughts you have. I’ve had a feeling for a while now, but tonight I heard a heartbeat. Suddenly it’s very real.”
Aileigh Mae Maraah Sanchari Winterbourne | Seer of BDR | Viscountess of Ettinford
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen, Inez
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Matriarch Sanchari [.]
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Thea »

Thea let her wife speak without interruption. She not only listened to the words that were being spoken but also watched Aileigh's body language. It felt foreign to Thea to hear her speak of love as she did. Truthfully, they did not discuss Andrzej much together. Or more specifically, they did not discuss Aileigh's relationship with Andrzej. Thea knew her wife to be a hopeless romantic so it really was not surprising that she had fallen in love. What was actually surprising was that Aileigh chose to continue to stay with Thea.

"I know you and I know you do not want to get rid of this child. I am not sure you would even be capable of it."

It was best to get the obvious out of the way. Aileigh was pregnant and she would be having a child. The rest of it they would have to decide.

"But you are also right that this does complicate things. We are married and while our relationship is open, that is not exactly public knowledge. For that reason, it does threaten our relationship. That is blunt, I know, but it is also the truth. Do you want to keep this marriage going? I will not try to force you to keep to our agreement if you want to move on from our arrangement."

"And if you do decide to continue our marriage, will the child be ours or you and Andrzej's?"

When she finished speaking Thea looked towards Aileigh again. Her words had been candid and her face was mostly impassive, but she worried it might come across too harsh. It was a tricky situation they had now found themselves in. Thea had grown accustomed to her life with Aileigh, she appreciated her presence and the role she had taken on in their marriage. She was not sure what would happen if things ended, but she was very aware that this could break them.
Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Baroness of Latona | The Red Wolf
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Cousin of the Winterbournes | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen & Inez | Wife of Aileigh
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Re: [ORP] Ettinford: A Tale by the Sea

Post by Aileigh »

There were many things she appreciated about Thea. Her bluntness was one of them. Living at court, she had gotten used to the dance of words. With Thea, she didn’t have to worry about double meanings and insincerity. Thea said what she meant and meant what she said.

And she was right. There was no world in which Aileigh would actually end a pregnancy, or even give up a child after birth (not that the latter would make a difference to their current dilemma). She sighed softly in resignation. She would be keeping the child.

… Which meant their situation was not going away.

The following questions asked invoked an immediate emotional response, displayed by shaking her head. "I do not wish to end our marriage. I'm not sure I could explain it properly, but I love our life. I'd wish to continue on with the way things are, unless you are opposed to the continuation due to this... Change."

Thea would not keep her trapped in a marriage, but neither would she do that to Thea.

"I don't suppose you think we could get away with just not making a public statement?" They were able to get away with that in regards to Lenora, but that was due to Thea's known rebellious behaviour. Aileigh was a different case. She was more "well behaved". With their public story being one of love, Aileigh seeking company outside of the marriage was less likely. It would turn heads, particularly that of the king, who would be the biggest obstacle. But, what would he do? Force them to get a divorce? As far as she was concerned, there was nothing he could really do about the situation. They were both young adults, who had to make their own choices. Still, the situation was a bit messy. "I guess the easiest route is to say the child is ours, but I would at least like him to know the truth. It's only right for him to know."

Aileigh was not sure how he would react to that decision. Thus far, his understanding and patience was immense. He was happy to have her in whatever capacity he could, even if it meant it had to be private. Would he be happy to have a child, even if he could not claim the child as his own? Children was never something they discussed for obvious reasons, so she was unsure how he would react.

She sunk into the pillows. "I've made quite a mess, haven't I?"
Aileigh Mae Maraah Sanchari Winterbourne | Seer of BDR | Viscountess of Ettinford
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander, Corabel, Elodie, Lenora, Ezra, Imogen, Inez
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Matriarch Sanchari [.]
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