Ediva soared through the sky, her enormous wings pushing them through the air. Her husband Chapin and her son Malchior sat confidently on her back, experts at riding her so that she didn’t have to worry about either falling off. They had gotten stir crazy in the village and decided to just leave for awhile, no real destination in their heads. They were now flying into areas none of them had seen before so all three of them were enjoying the amazing view from so high up in the sky. Something caught Malchiors eye below so he yelled “Mom! Mom there’s something I want to see! Can we land please?” She roared then slowly began descending to earth. Flying with her husband and son was amazing but she was eager to look at whatever it was that caught Malchiors attention.
The glimmer that had caught his eye turned out to be a pod made of giant flower petals that pulsed with soft orange light. Chapin was immediately wary of it and grabbed his son’s wrist when he reached for it. “You know better, Malchior, you have no idea what it is.”
“Sorry.” He said looking embarrassed.
Ediva leaned over it, but didn’t let her face get too close. “It’s beautiful and it smells really sweet.”
The pod jerked a little and she moved back a little. Chapin put himself between them, his body tense. The petals began to unfold, releasing more of that sweet scent and a cloud of pollen. When it cleared Malchior said, “Dad, that’s a baby.”
“Oh my goodness. Chapin, your shirt love.”
Chapin quickly pulled it off and Ediva lifted the child and wrapped her. He studied the creature, taking in her copper colored skin, dark green hair, and amber eyes. “Who leaves a baby?” Malchior asked as he moved closer.
“It may not have been intentional.” Chapin said. “We should be careful and search for her parents.”
“I’ve never seen anything like her.” Ediva said as she gently rocked the baby.
“Neither have I.”
Son, why don’t you shift into a dragon and search while your mother and I walk the area?” Malchior shifted, getting himself back up in the air, high enough he wouldn’t fly into anything but low enough he could examine the landscape. “I’m glad the girls didn’t come. Who knows what mess we’ve stumbled into” Chapin said and his wife responded “don’t get worked up. Everything feels calm here’
“you know that doesn’t mean anything”
“still, no sense in getting worked up until we know what’s going on”
“I guess you’re right. Your family is prone to odd situations, I guess I’m still getting used to it” she laughed “I guess I can’t say you’re wrong. We always find ourselves in the middle of something”
The baby started to get fussy and Ediva did her best to soothe her. She checked to make sure she was dry and that nothing was being pinched, but when that didn’t help she knew the child had to be hungry. “What should we do Chapin?”
“Well we don’t know what she eats and you’re not producing milk.” He gently took the small, strange child from her. “Hey now, there’s no reason to be upset, we’ll find you something.” The baby looked up at him, her eyes swimming with tears and he softly shushed her, his sweetness melting Ediva on the spot.
Malchior spotted a small village as he winged his way through the air and he did a couple of rounds to study the people. They were human, but they might help if they were asked. He turned heading back to his parents and landed as softly as possible before shifting back. “I found a village, they’re not like her, but they might know something.”
“We should walk there, I don’t know how she’ll be with flying.” Ediva said.
“They’re this way.” Malchior took the lead while his parents walked behind him, Chapin finally getting the hungry infant to sleep.
They slowly approached the village when it came into view and they were relieved to find that the people were kind and ready to help. “We found a baby back there in a clearing and we wanted to know if you could help us.” Ediva said as Chapin let the villagers see the sleeping child. “She’s hungry.”
“Ivan and Mara just had a baby. I’m sure she’ll feed her, she’s making more than her own needs anyway” One lady said then started guiding them to her house. Just as she thought Mara was more than willing to feed the hungry child. Ediva, Malchior and Chapin felt much better now that the newborn didn’t have to be hungry. They had felt so helpless and had a much bigger pull on their hearts knowing they couldn’t feed her. “Have you seen a child like this?”
“No but I’m sure they are finding our village elder.”
“If they don’t know I’m sure we could figure out something back home. I’d just hate to take this child that far away if her parents are near” The little one had only just been handed back to Ediva when the village elder stepped into the small home “welcome, where precisely did you find this child?” They thought about it. Since they weren’t really going anywhere they hadn’t been paying that much attention “we can show you, saying a wooded area would be too vague in our world” The elder laughed “yes, so please show me”
They took him back “I see”
“you see what sir?” Ediva urged as she snugly held the child, wanting her to feel safe. She knew the baby had little concept of what was going on but she still worried over her. “I think this child is a tribute”
“a tribute, for what?”
“princess, much goes on without the king or queens knowing but it would be impossible for them to manage everything, the kingdom is just too vast”
“I understand that, please, what would she be a tribute for”
“her parents cowardice, they are offering her so they don’t have to participate. I don’t know much about their people but if you wait here you’ll discover for what”
“then we’ll wait, right baby?” Ediva said, looking at her husband. “we wait” Ediva looked at her son “take the baby home. When this is all over we’ll find you there”
“yes mam, you and dad be careful”
“You know we’ll be fine”
“are we keeping her?” Chapin asked and Ediva answered “Of course, her parents obviously don’t deserve her. We’ll hire a wet nurse or something.”
Chapin and Ediva hid just out of sight, discussing baby names so their newest addition wouldn’t have to go without. It was as the sun was setting that they noticed a man approaching the clearing. His shirtless pale torso had black tattoos lining it, his black hair fell to his wait in a thick braid and pale grey eyes looked around the area in confusion. He suddenly raised his head and looked right at them. “Come out.” He ordered and they looked at each other. “Come out now or I assume you’re my enemy and destroy the forest.”
They both stood and slowly made their way out, Chapin staying in front of Ediva. “We’re only your enemy if we have to be.” Chapin said. “We were told you take tribute from a village of…of people.”
He looked at both of them. “Why are you here?”
“We found your tribute.”
“Did you now?”
“It was a baby.”
He growled. “Are you serious?”
“Yes, what do you want with a baby?” Ediva answered.
“Nothing, I say tribute and most people leave things here, food, jewelry, never children.” He let out another growl, his eyes flashing a deep red for a moment, stripes banding across his skin and then vanishing. “I should eat them.”
“You’ll do no such thing. Leave them alone you selfish ass and provide for yourself”
“I am providing for myself”
“Intimidating people into taking care of you isn’t taking care of yourself” His eyes narrowed angrily, flashing red again “do not lecture me woman” Chapin growled, seeming to barely be holding himself back from hurting him. Ediva placed a calming hand on Chapins shoulder. She still didn’t want to have to fight whatever this man was if they didn’t have to “I’m serious, stop demanding tribute or you’ll have my family to deal with: He seemed to smell the air then get more annoyed “a koopmann…damn it, no wonder you’ve got the mouth”
“Thats damn right. I can get the queen and king involved if I have to. This isn’t right and you know it. Start taking care of yourself and don’t even think about just trying to find another group of people to intimidate because I will find out”
“Oh? You will will you?”
“yes I will” he sighed sharply “You Koopmanns already pissed me off before this. Fuck you guys, if people are weak enough to be bullied they deserve it. You guys are messing up the natural order of things’
“This isn’t the natural order of things. Maybe they should stand up for themselves and that baby’s parents should definitely be punished, but you can’t just go after people because they’re weaker than you. It’s wrong, you have to know that.”
“He’s a parasite, Ediva, he takes things with not even a thank you.”
He glared at them again. “What do you know of me? You know nothing of my past, of my life, I do what I must to survive as those before did.”
Ediva moved forward and slapped him, shocking him. “Back off.” He just stared at her as Chapin pulled her back, his hand coming up to rub the mark already forming on his cheek. He had never thought she posed any kind of threat. “I don’t want bloodshed, so go and find another way. The baby is safe, so let’s just leave it at that.”
“fine” he walked away and Chapin breathed easier. He wanted to reprimand her for slapping him, for getting that close to something they knew little of but he didn’t. She was a grown and strong woman, while he wanted to take care of her he knew she would never be the type to just let him fight their battles. As that man had said, she was a Koopmann. Chapin hugged Ediva and she said “we do need to talk to those people. They can’t just offer up defenseless children like that. What if he had been a worse monster?”
“we will go, I remember the babies scent still. It will no doubt lead us to her parents”
“they aren’t getting her back Chapin. You’re with me on that right?”
“I am baby” Chapin gave her one final squeeze before they walked on, following the scent. Malchior made it home, going straight to the house his sisters shared. He needed to go into the attic to pull out baby stuff he knew his parents had saved and he couldn’t do that and mind the baby. His sisters were eager to help, telling him they’d go ahead adn start searching out a wet nurse for the child while he got a baby room ready.
Both Ediva and Chapin were surprised to find the door to the little girl’s parent’s home wide open. A familiar scent hit their nose when they stepped in, he had been there. Chapin kept her behind him as he looked into the living room. There were signs of a struggle and a little bit of blood on the floor. “You don’t think he killed them do you?” Ediva asked.
“I don’t know.”
They moved slowly from room to room until they came across the couple huddled in the bedroom. The side of the man’s face was bruised, he had a few cuts on his forearms and his lip was busted. The woman had a bruise on her cheek and they both looked terrified. “What happened here?” Ediva asked.
“He…he came, no one even saw him. He said he had to punish us and that we were lucky he wasn’t going to gut us. We…we only did what he wanted.” The woman said.
Chapin couldn’t bring himself to feel sorry for them. “You left a baby all alone in the middle of nowhere, I say your punishment is warranted.”
“But…” Chapin held up his hand and she snapped her mouth shut.
“Do you want to go after him?” Ediva asked.
“I think we should just leave it alone. He could have done much worse.”
“Then lets go home” He glared at the couple “if you ever have another child, which I honestly hope you don’t, we better not hear of you doing something like this again. Your people could have asked the king and queen for help but you just gave into a bully and then went farther than he even wanted. He wanted money and food but I guess you didn’t want to give anything else up so you gave him a life you were supposed to protect. Babies don’t choose to be born, we choose to have them. When you decide to bring life into this world you don’t do shit like that to them”
They just cowered, not having any fight in them so they left. Ediva shifted when they were in a good area for it then her husband climbed up so they could get home faster. It didn’t smell like the baby had even been in the house but they heard their son messing around in the spare room so they went to him, Ediva asking “where’s the baby Malchior?”
“My sisters have her, don’t worry. She needs a room so I was doing all this. They might still be out looking for a wet nurse. They knew I was doing this so I’m sure even if they had one they just took the new little one to their house”
“I’ll go check in then. Chapin, why don’t you stay here and help Malchior. Check everything and make sure it’s still in good condition. We can just go rebuy anything we need to” She didn’t really think they wouldn’t check but it was the mother in her. Chapin kissed her head “alright beautiful”
Valora and Zyta were sitting on their floor playing with the baby when she arrived. She was letting out little laughs as the girls took turns playing peek-a-boo. “Hey mom.” Valora said as she lifted the baby into her arms and stood. “How did everything go?”
“As good as can be expected. How is she?”
“She seems happy.” She handed the baby to her mother. “We went and found a wet nurse, a really nice woman named Alora. I told her that she would have to meet you and dad first before anything was official.”
“I’m sure she’ll be perfect.”
“I can’t believe someone would just abandon a baby.” Zyta said. “She’s so little and helpless.”
“Apparently they were paying tribute to some…well I’m not quite sure what he is.”
“What heartless creature asks for a child as payment?”
“He didn’t, he had been bullying the village for a bit, wanting money and food, but he never asked for children.” She sighed. “He was such a jerk, but he went and punished her parents.”
“beings here can be complicated. His parents just obviously didn’t teach him things they should have. I mean, most supernatural things are raised to be selfish. Anyway, I’m glad he taught them a lesson. I’m even more glad you and dad took this baby. They obviously don’t need children”
“I wasn’t giving that baby back even if your father had wanted to”
“well sit down mom. Lets us get you a drink and maybe a snack. Then we should tell grandma, you know how she’ll be if she doesn’t know right away about a new baby” Ediva smiled, almost laughing “yeah, I would love a drink and maybe some fruit first though” Ediva sat with the little one “we still need to name her”
“what’re yours and dad ideas so far?”
“we talked about a few but he brought up Saskia again.”
“it’s what dad wanted to name me but he ended up letting you have Zyta right?” Zyta said and Ediva nodded “so I think it’s his turn, we’ll name her Saskia”
“it’s cute” Valora said, handing her mother some fruit and a drink.
Chapin and Malchior joined them once everything was set up and Chapin couldn’t help but take the baby from his wife. “Did you pick a name yet?” He asked.
He smiled. “See, I told you it would be perfect. Don’t you agree, Saskia?” The baby gurgled at him and he chuckled. “She agrees.”
“She seems very attached to you, dad.” Zyta said.
“Good, stick with me and we won’t have worry about any pesky boys. I already have my hands full with your sisters.”
Ediva’s heart gave a flutter at how devoted he already was to little Saskia and felt truly lucky they had come upon the child. “We were just about to go see my mom and dad, I’m sure they’ll want to meet their new grandchild.”
“You are going to be so spoiled little one, your grandparents, especially Zane, would move heaven and earth for you.”
They happily walked over to Zane and Belles, knocking loudly when they arrived. Belle answered and gasped, noticing the new baby right away “who is this?!” she asked excitedly. Ediva laughed “she is your new grandchild mom. We’ve named her Saskia. Chapin, the kids and I thought you’d want to meet her and learn how she became a part of our family”
“Oh my gosh and your father isn’t here. He’s working with his apprentice” she sounded a little sad and Ediva knew he’d want to be there too. “I’ll go find him mom. You just get acquainted with Saskia and we’ll tell you both when I get back with dad”
“okay” she brightened up right away and Ediva quickly left as her family went inside
“Come on, keep your guard up, what are you going to do if you get cornered by guards?” Ediva could hear her father as she walked up and when he and Espin came into view she watched as he grabbed the young man’s arm and flipped him over. Espin rolled up quickly and Zane smiled at him. “Good, never stay down.”
“Dad.” Ediva called, pulling his attention away. Espin thought to take the opportunity to ambush him, but Zane caught his arm. She giggled at the look of surprise on Espin’s face.
“Hey baby girl.” He let Espin go then slapped him on the back. “To what do I owe the visit?”
“Chapin and I have a surprise for you and mom, but you weren’t home so I decided to come and get you.”
“A surprise huh?”
“Come on you’ll love it, Espin can come too.”
The three of them hurried back to Zanes home. Ediva adored the look on her fathers face when he saw the new baby and she told him Saskia was their new grandchild. Chapin took over telling the story, it causing Belle to hold her grandchild protectively “what horses ass’s, leaving their baby for someone like that” Zane took Saskia “well never again little one. Not a soul will hurt you and if they try they’ll be sorry” he kissed her head “welcome to our family”
“do you have everything you need for her?” Belle asked and Chapin answered “yeah, all the important stuff is taken care of”
“good, I might even have some clothes stashed to give to you for when she’s bigger”
“I have some from my girls aswell” Ediva said happily, starting to talk to her mother about all the adorable things they could put on her. They just enjoyed what was left of the day then went back to their home. The next morning they told their king and queen about what happened so that they would keep closer tabs incase that ass started using another village. Plus they needed to show off the new addition there.
“I think we tired her out.” Ediva said when they finally got Saskia back home and in her crib.
“She certainly looks happy. I still can’t believe she’s really ours. She’s such a precious little thing.”
Ediva wrapped her arms around his waist as they stood there admiring her for a bit. She counted herself lucky to have such a loving and accepting family and knew that Saskia would want for nothing. “Come on, before we wake her.”
They left her door open and went to their own room to cuddle under the covers. “What are we going to say once she starts asking about herself?” Chapin asked.
“We’ll tell her the truth, I think she deserves it, but that’s years from now.”
“I know, I just want her to know that even if her birth parents didn’t love her enough to keep her, we will always love her no matter what.” He sighed. “I can’t help but wonder what he would have done when he found her.”
“He was an ass, but he seems to have some morals.”
“I hope you managed to knock some sense into him.”
“maybe I did, as our daughters said, things are complicated among non human races. He may not be that bad. He just didn’t have parents that taught him any better than to behave like that.” she sighed “I just hope he changes for the better” Chapin kissed her “well if we hear of him doing anything else we’ll clean it up later. For now we need to rest. Who knows how good of a sleeper she’ll be” Now Ediva kissed him “You are such an amazing father, I truly hope you know that”
“family is the best thing that ever happened to me, next to wandering in that school of yours that is. I would have never gotten here in my life without your love and acceptance. I hate how I used to lose my temper back then…you were only trying to help me”
“you were just embarrassed. I understood Chapin”
“well, maybe that ass will find a woman like you one day, patient and understanding enough to turn him around”
~ The End