Eliza looked out over the lake as the sun danced upon the placid water. The lake was filled of life that moved eagerly about beneath the surface. She stroked her stomach and realized that she too was filled of life. Her flat stomach was no more. Now, growing and stretching inside her was the child that she and Aaron had made. Their own little one to nurture and love. Aaron had never left her side since the day he came back. She was happy. Well, not as happy as she wanted to be…
She sighed softly and frowned as her thoughts focused on the one person that she'd need to hear from. Her mind was troubled because she was worried. Though she had been politely cruel to her, Phiona was still her mother, and the last memory she had of her was not one that she enjoyed. Eliza had been so in haste to leave her home and evade the wrath of her father that she'd never look back. What if he'd hurt her because of what she had done? Eliza felt her guilt heavy in her heart. There was just no way to avoid this feeling. It was ironic that she had and still did care so much for her mother when it seemed the woman could pass her by in an empty room with out notice.
"I've been seeing that expression a lot of late my love. Please tell me how I can remove it completely." Aaron said as he came up beside her. She turned to face him with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes and shook her head.
"There's nothing to fret about my darling. I am just a bit exhausted I suppose." She lied.
"I know when you are exhausted Eliza," he said as he slipped his hands about her waist. "And I also know when you are saddened. Tell me what it is that makes you frown."
She lowered her gaze and tried to squeeze her tears back but they were winning. She shook her head again and attempted another smile. Her lips quivered and she had to bite down on them to hide them. But Aaron was not fooled. He saw the tears and he knew she was sad. She felt his finger under her chin, lifting her gaze back up to his. Tears slid down her cheeks and her brows knitted in defeat.
"Eliza you will break my heart with these tears. Is it something I have done, or have not done that has you this way? Please…you must tell me so that I may remedy it."
Eliza felt the sob at the back of her throat and couldn't help bringing it up. She pressed her face into his chest and felt his arms rush to hold her and keep her upright. He stroked her head and she realized that she had to tell him it was not him before he truly believed it was his wrong doing that brought her tears. For the past four months, Aaron had bend over backwards just to keep her happy and comfortable. She couldn't make him feel as if he was lacking in something. He was the perfect mate.
"It will never be you my darling. You've done so much and I appreciate it. I fear that I would seem ungrateful and insufferable to ask for anything else. This will pass." She finally said after her throat seemed less tight.
"Still, tell me Eliza so that I may help you to smile again. You know you can never ask too much of me. You are my mate and the mother of my child. You are the only woman I wish to please now and forever Eliza. Tell me…"
After that was said, how could she not tell him? She knew she brought him pain and discomfort if she said nothing. She knew she'd drive him insane if she said nothing. She'd learned a lot about her Aaron in such a short time. She knew what reactions went with her actions. This would not be a positive one if she did not speak up. She looked up at him and he quickly moved to wipe away her tears as gently as he could, which for Aaron, they were as light as a brush of a butterflies wing. When he cupped her cheek in his palm she leaned into that embrace and smiled slowly. This man was all her heart needed so why could it not be satisfied?
"I miss my mother Aaron. I feel…worried for her. I don't know why I do but there is a feeling of constant unease and emptiness when I think of her, and my thoughts of her have become daily." She pulled away from him and hugged herself. She felt so cold even though the rays from the sun poured all over her.
"Your…mother?" He asked as he inclined his head. She chuckled nervously and wiped at the fresh tears that claimed her vision.
"Yes, I know shouldn't feel empty when I'm filled with so much life…." She said as she stroked her tummy. She smiled at the child that grew inside her then looked up at Aaron with all her emotions raw in her eyes.
"But…I am. I can't get the last vision of her out of mind. Aaron she'd tried to protect me when my father was beating me. He'd struck when she did and that had given me enough time to leave. Heavens but it is hard to hate the woman after such a sacrifice."
She turned away from him and hugged herself again. She knew Aaron had no desire to know her parents especially after what they'd put her through. So telling him this would only be venting for her. Well at least the weight was not so heavy as it once was before she'd told him.
"I will see what I can do…" He said as he came up behind her and held her.
"Though I wish to never know the people that have hurt you because I see only death for them when I think on them. I know that it will only hurt you more to end their existence and for that reason alone I wish to never know them. It's a temptation that I wish to keep dormant."
"No…just…"She pulled away again and turned to look at him. His eyes looked strained and his mouth set as if he was angered."
"I won't ask it of you. I have learned to do without the things I desire, I am sure that I can do it again. Please, just forget what I have said." With that she turned in the direction of their home and left before his outstretched hand could reach her. Eliza had nearly stumbled from the clouds in her eyes. She knew that Aaron wouldn't want to and she could not blame him for being honest. She wouldn't want him hurting her parents so it was best to forget them. She would learn to be happy and content. Yes, she would learn…as soon as she was done crying.
"She's coming!" Eliza yelled as she held her swollen stomach. Sweat dripped from her body and soaked the sheets she laid upon. For nine months she had lived in the little cottage with her mate and in nine months her stomach had expanded right before her eyes. She felt her child kicking and moving on her insides and she always stroked the bottom of her belly to calm her. This time there was no calming. There was no relaxing for her child now; she was ready to come. Aaron came to hover over her with obvious discomfort and perplexity. Aaron didn't know a thing about delivering a baby. He needed aid and fast because his child was ready to come and she was impatient with wait.
For what seemed like the twentieth time since her water had broken, Aaron paced away from where she laid naked and sweating upon the bed, to the open room door, the window and back to her.
"Aaron please! You must help me with this child."
"Eliza I do not know how!" He yelled. He seemed so unbalanced. She cried out as a new wave of pain hit her body and her child pushed her way down inside her. She wanted to out right that moment. Eliza felt alone and painful. Her mate continued to pace and she could look at him no longer. She looked up at the ceiling and tried to swallow her fear. What if she failed at delivering this child? Would Aaron leave her? Would she survive her existence without her daughter and her mate? No she would surely follow her child into the arms of death if they both left her. She couldn't and refused to bear that pain.
Just as she made that thought as strong, sound and unbreakable as the mountains that surround the valley, there came the sound of softer footsteps from somewhere in the house. She tried to sit up and look over her large stomach but found the pain to be too much.
"Where have you been!" Aaron yelled at the mysterious person. She wasn't aware that they had been expecting company. Well if he had known, the least he could've done was covered her body. Aaron left her exposed for this person's eye to see her vulnerability.
"I do apologize master, but your call came to me at a very crucial time. I had much-"
"Never mind that now! See to my child and her mother first and explain yourself much later."
"With much haste, master." The voice said. The voice sounded young and enchanting. Who was this other woman calling her Aaron master and was about to touch her? She watched as her face came into view and Eliza gasped at the beauty that stood before her. This woman was too beautiful to be calling her mate master. A sudden surge of jealousy fought its way through Eliza's labor pains as she gave the woman a look that was not to welcoming.
"Now, now Eliza, surely you haven't forgotten me so soon. Oh well, we will speak more on it after you have delivered my master's child. Come now open up and let me see how far ahead you are." The woman said with a smile gracing her face as she sat on the crumbled sheets.
Eliza looked to Aaron with obvious anger.
"You've brought a strange woman to see to me? When were you to tell me of this?" She asked through her teeth. Was it alright to be so angry when her child was on her way?
"Eliza, there are more important things you must see to. Concentrate." He sounded as if he too was on the verge of exploding with anger. But why did it sound as if some of that angered was directed at her?
"Aaron why won't you come any closer to me? Why have kept it a secret that someone else would deliver our child? Why haven't you tell me anything? Is there more that I should know? Is there-"
"Eliza!" She'd missed the space in time when he'd moved from where he stood and came to the bed to now be holding her by her shoulders. He looked down at her with his eyes metallic with rage. Why was he so angry with her?
"Liston to me woman, this is my child's life you hold in the balance. You will give me my daughter this night. Do not fail me Eliza…do not…"
She didn't know this man. This was surely not her Aaron that bared his teeth at her and shook her even now when she was in so much pain. She felt fresh tears stinging her eyes. She looked away from him and felt him release her.
"Master, perhaps it is best you wait somewhere else. You will distract her." The beautiful brunette said from between Eliza's legs. Somehow she had coaxed her legs apart and had been examining her condition all along. Aaron had looked as if he was about to argue with her but thought better of it. He looked back at Eliza, who was avoiding eye contact with him and heaved a heavy sigh into the room as he left, slamming the door behind him.
Eliza sobbed silently as the other woman brought the basin of water and a few rags to the bed. She placed a small black, velvet pouch on the bed and made sure it was far away from Eliza's reach. She'd propped pillows behind her head and back so she was more comfortable…something Aaron hadn't done. Her child was ready. She could feel it though it was her first.
"Yes…it is time indeed. Now Eliza love, I need you to push when I say so and stop when I say you must, understood?" The brunette's voice so motherly and sincere, something Eliza had need, that she nodded quickly in agreement.
"Ok…push!" She said and Eliza took a deep breath and did just that. Her walls felt as if they would shatter under the pressure, the force that was pushing its way down and out of her. She screamed in pain and felt her head spin with pain.
"Stop and breathe now. You are doing wonderful. I can see your little darling's red curls." The woman said with a grin. Eliza's heart skipped a beat at the description. Her daughter would have hair like her father. She was just about to rejoice in that feeling when the air in the room suddenly felt charged with something heavy and thick enough to cut. Eliza kept looking around to see that something materialize but nothing came into view.
"Time for another Eliza. Push!" Eliza took another deep breath only this time her lungs were filled with the heavy air about her. She nearly choked but she didn't. She pushed instead and felt her body forcing her child down and through her insides. Eliza yelled as sweat trickled down her sore body. She pushed till her strength felt as if it were no more. She collapsed into the bed and panted tiredly.
"I…I …can't…" she cried.
"Oh but you can and you must. I can see your darlings little shoulders peeping out. Push Eliza; for your daughter's sake, push!"
Eliza pulled what little strength she had into her body and focused it on that little body that was fighting its way out of her for life. She had to grant her life. Eliza's skin tingled with the feeling that crowded the air in her room. What was it? No, she'd have to worry about it after. She grabbed hold of the sheets and pushed hard and long for her daughter.
"That's it mistress! Push! She's here. Ah I can feel her, she's here!"
Eliza took another breath and pushed again. There was a sudden cry from between her legs and Eliza sobbed as she realized it was the voice of her child. She'd done it. Her child lived. She fell back into the pillows and sobbed with her newborn daughter. She saw through tear filled eyes as the woman came to stand over her with her daughter wrapped in a red blanket that she'd never seen. It was the least of her worries. All she wanted was to feel the child that she had felt growing inside her, in her arms. She smiled as she was placed in her arms. She was so beautiful that Eliza's breath was cut short. How could a little infant but only a few minutes into this world already have such unmatchable beauty? Eliza giggled and cried as she kissed her little hand.
"My darling. My love. You are what mommy has been waiting for oh so long. I am so happy to have finally met you." Eliza whispered to the now cooing babe.
"Motherhood was meant for you Eliza. This child is more than enough proof." The brunette whispered as she caressed both Eliza and her child's hair.
Eliza smiled down her daughter and kissed her forehead.
"How can I have so much love for you and we have met only but a breath ago?" She asked. Suddenly Eliza's head fell back onto the pillows and her grip became loose on her child. The other woman caught her before she could fall, but the child did not like the scare and began to cry because of it. She looked down at Eliza and saw that she was unconscious. Dark rings were around her eyes and her skin was pale. She called out to her master and he came running into the room. Two things stopped him in his spot, his child and his mate lying too still on the bed. He quickly ran to where she laid and touched her face. She was still warm. He placed his head on her chest and listened for his hope. When he heard her heart beat, though it was rather weak, he lifted her head and moved her hair from her ear.
"Eliza…no…stay with me love." He whispered to her.
"She is still bleeding master. She has not delivered the after birth as yet."
"She will not die on me!" He yelled at her and then he returned his attention on his mate.
"Eliza. Hear me love. Hear me and come back. I can not raise our child without you. I can no see a way to live without you. Please…"
Though he called for her, she did not respond. Not a muscle moved in her tiny, frame. Aaron felt his mind going frantic at the possibility that she was taking her last breath right in his arms. Aaron growled and looked at the woman behind him.
"Help me fix this now or I will rip your head from your shoulders very slowly!" He growled his eyes like quicksilver.
"Right away master." She complied. She went to him and gave him his child, though it took him a moment of staring before he could take her. He looked down at the red haired child and a sad smile came to his face. He didn't have to see the full head of curling red hair to know she was his. He didn't have to know that he was the man that took her mother's innocence to know she was his child. No, she was his because he felt her true power surging about in the room and sucking at her mother's energy unintentionally. She was feeding just as her kind could. She needed this first feeding but she would take his love's life if she didn't stop soon.
"Please love, we both need mommy in our life. Don't take her away from me so soon." The little child cooed and rubbed her little fingers against her cheek. Her eyes opened and they were the emerald green of her mother's with a hint of silver lining her iris. She was too beautiful to be real, but he held her, she had to be. His head came up quickly at someone screaming his name.
"What?" he asked, his voice sounding lost and dazed. He listened to himself and realized that he was truly dazed. His mind was begging his eyes to look down at his daughter again while his mate laid dying upon their bed.
"Have you forgotten that her powers are loose? And your wife, she is dying. Focus and give her energy if you wish for her to live. The child is feeding too heavily. If you can not give it, you must suppress her hunger."
"Yes, of course. I am alert now. Focus on Eliza and I will on Scarlet."
"Scarlet…yes a fitting name." She said as she adjusted Eliza on the pillows. She went to the little pouch on the bed and pulled on a small jar. A black chalk like substance took up the container. She popped the rubber cork of the narrow top and sprinkled some of the black dust onto her index finger. She placed the jar onto the bed and opened Eliza's mouth, rubbing the black dust onto her tongue. She listened to the hiss of the powder dissolving onto her tongue and sliding down her throat. Eliza's body convulsed as she coughed and struggled to breathe. Her eyes opened and they seemed to shine with a light that the fire in the hearth could not put there. She felt her master's power overpowering Scarlet's and filling her hunger. She had no time to rejoice just yet.
"My baby…" Eliza moaned in pain as she searched frantically for her daughter.
"She is with master dear. You will be able to hold her as soon as you push."
"Push? Is there another-ah!" Eliza screamed as she felt something pushing from inside her. Her words were cut short and there was no more she could say as she started to push. She felt when something thick and wet slipped from her body and left her feeling weak. She let her head fall back with a loud moan. Her head was throbbing and her body was unable to move. She was so exhausted. She opened her eyes and saw Aaron standing over her with a smile and eyes that glistened with unshed tears. This was the same Aaron that had snapped at her when she'd ask too much questions but it seemed as if he wasn't.
An hour later, Eliza laid upon on clean white sheets, all cleaned up and comfortable with her daughter in her arms, wrapped in her red blanket. Aaron sat up in the bed with his arms about her and a fixed smile on his face. She knew he couldn't help himself; Eliza couldn't either. This was the happiest moment in her life and her life with these two had only just started. She removed her breast from her gown and placed the nipple in her child's mouth. She feed gently and Eliza smiled at her little cheeks moving up and down as she sucked. Aaron stroked the top of Scarlet's head and chuckled.
"Heavens Eliza, she is beautiful. She looks every bit like her mother." He said as he kissed her ear.
She chuckled and turned to kiss his lips.
"Ah but look at those cherry red curls; they have nothing to do with me." She said and Aaron joined her in laughter.
"And so it begins. Master, you must be delighted." The brunette said from the foot of the bed as she smiled down at the family before her.
Eliza looked up at her with a frown and her curiosity could bear it no longer.
"Please forgive my blunt manners, but who are you?" She watched as the other woman began to laugh and came to bend beside the bed where Eliza laid. Eliza looked into her eyes and saw something familiar but her mind could not put it together.
"For but a few months I have been absent from your presence and already you have forgotten this old hag." She said with laughter in her voice. What was this woman talking about? Eliza knew that her confusion was written clearly over her face.
"I beg your pardon…"
"Eliza, just think; besides your dearest and your newborn, who have you encountered since entering the forest?"
It was evident when she'd caught on to what the woman was speaking about. Eliza had heard what she'd said, but still it made no sense to her. Still, had anything made since that night of the ball? No, so why be so surprised now?
"Eyola? Is it-"
"Indeed it is love. I promised I would come back when it was time, and here I am."
"Eyola, is a servant of the Incubi, particularly mine. She is the female adaptation of what I am...a Succubus."
"Succubus…" Eliza tested the word and still found herself lost.
"Let me help dear. My kind as well as master's, feed differently than humans do. Our method of feeding keeps us young. Relatively immortal, if you must."
"But when I arrived here, you were old. Does that mean you had not fed?" She asked.
"For quite sometime dear." Eyola answered, nodding.
"But why? Why starve yourself? Why not feed?"
"She had a purpose; a personal oath that she'd wish to keep." Aaron answered, rubbing his thumb behind Eliza's ear lobe.
"I vowed to go without feeding until I helped find my master's mate and made sure she was already with child. I would've waited till Scarlet was born as well but master insisted I was strong for when his child came into this world."
"Because she could've done to you what she did to me?" Eliza asked as she looked at her daughter.
"That is enough talk for one night. Eliza love you must rest. I will take Scarlet and put her to sleep." Aaron said as he began to lift his little red haired darling. Eliza found that she couldn't help smiling and she wanted to stay up longer and watch the two of them together. But she was exhausted; sleep raked at her and she had to obey it.
"Very well. I will rest now. If she needs me, please do wake me." She said as she scooted down into the bed. Her eyes were already shut by the time her head hit the pillow. Sleep claimed her and she surrendered to it.
Aaron stood in the living room close to the fireplace with Scarlet fast asleep in his arms. He found that he couldn't put her down even after she was asleep. Eyola sat in the armchair near the hearth watching contently as Aaron rubbed his nose against his daughter's.
"I have served you well master?" She asked in a hushed voice.
"As you always do Eyola. As you always do."
"It brings me joy to know that I have…" She went quiet for awhile, and then she asked in an even softer voice:
"When will you tell her?"
"What is your interpretation of later?" She pressed.
"When it is more appropriate Eyola."
"Master…she would be angered if you keep this away from her. You will lose her trust."
"Are you passing prophecy upon me Succubus?" Aaron asked, looking up through thick red lashes.
"I only wish for your future to be complete with happiness master. Your servant only wants-"
"To be my mate…" He interrupted, meeting her eyes again. The room went silent and Eyola shifted in her seat.
"There was a time when I desired such a thing. Now I wish only to serve you." She corrected.
"I will believe your words when you do Eyola. I have found my mate and she is all that I want. You can never pleasure me the way she can." He said and kissed the top of Scarlet's head. Eyola swallowed and turned her eyes to the fire that crackled beside her.
"The nature of our make up restricts us from being compatible master. I know my lacking in pleasuring you. I know you have chosen Eliza as your mate and I have stepped down from trying. Please be merciful and do not point out my flaws." Her voice wavered and that caught Aaron's attention. He studied the other woman and saw that she truly was hurt. The room was silent besides the dance of the fire and the howl of the restless wind outside the cabin. Aaron said no more but allowed Eyola to shed her silent tears. He had all he needed, and soon all he wanted. Scarlet was just the start…
Ah but this tale has only just began. There is so much to tell and in time it shall be revealed. This tale is not of the golden haired beauty, Eliza, but of her extraordinary daughter…Scarlet. It begins now…