At the beginning of this book, I spoke of babies and how circumstances change when such things as babies enter our lives. This is all part of our own growth and learning, courtesy of the God who is the father of us all. I revealed a bit about my wife and mine's travails in moving from being a rather self-absorbed couple into being a mother and a father for what turned out to be our six children. Further, I also revealed a little about Alaedeus and Cassandra, the ancestors of our Mullicynda and Daavor, who were brought to Firsthome by the Mariner and bore the children who would become the nation of the Alaed. In each case, a change came and an opportunity was taken up to do something greater and put aside thoughts of the moment and think more upon the possibilities of a more joyous future.
Of course, it is hard to ponder on future happiness when one is retching on a rough-hewn table in the middle of a make-shift hut that is shaking in the winds of a stormy beach. Mullicynda's travail, as her swollen belly is about to burst, is not made any more pleasant as thunder cracks the sky and jolts her yet again and the rain is dripping on her through a poor roof that Daavor had no business attempting to fashion. She could only manage to cry out as she clutched the edges of the rickety table and hunched herself in another effort to push out the life that squirmed within her.
Daavor is wide-eyed and just as useless as he had always been when helping his now-wife attend to a birth. Fortunately, the hut he had no business building stands on the beach not far from the stone marker with its curious carving of The Mariner's Log that marks the path that leads to Waykeep. The young woman who had once tended Daavor as he was washed upon this very shore is present for this birth, moving and working like a person who knows far more about such things as childbirth, building tables and huts, and practically everything else, than Daavor does. Tessreen has fortunately also brought her own husband Enis along, who consoles the expectant father by being practically as useless at the moment.
The sky cracks again. The hut shakes precariously. Mulls trembles like a leaf from exposure and labor. Tess takes gentle command as well as any Convocation midwife. The men continue to resolutely stand by in horror. I imagine that God is here as well, lending a hand where divinity can best serve, as he has been doing for so long and will continue to do for a long time to come. Tessreen motions to her husband and mentions something about getting a wrap to warm the mother-to-be and the men produce what looks to be a very ornate tablecloth from Mulls' investment party. It seems woefully inadequate and out-of-place in such a scene, but it is placed over the expectant mother's shoulders nonetheless and the effort continues.
Nothing is right in the hut, what with its eclectic combination of furniture built from driftwood and elegantly expensive nick-knacks from Mulls' investment party strewn about and being incessantly dripped upon. However, in a deeper sense, everything is as it should be. There are no rows of midwives come to honor the birth of a new Lady. There are no elixirs sent to deal out life or death to the mother. No matron is here ready to whisk the child away to some nursery or some gutter. Here, there is only a humble wife and husband, cringing at the incredible forces that hold them and clutching to new-found friends that offer what help they can. God brought them to this place and circumstance and, as much as they can, they are making themselves equal to the moment.
There is another crash of thunder, one last scream of pain from Mullicynda, and a crying child comes into the world, the first child to come from the culture of the Convocation with a real mother and a real father, joined in the commitment of marriage and now, parenthood. Mullicynda and Daavor, the pair brought together by Symantha's plan to produce the perfect Convocation Lady, have instead brought forth, with the help of their God, a child who will be the Convocation's doom.
This baby will change everything for the nation of the Alaed. This baby will free the slaves of the Convocation. This baby will help bring a renewed understanding of God, that knowledge and hope that Alaedeus and Cassandra acted upon, to the people of Firsthome and perhaps to you endurant readers. However, these facts and the stories around them are the subjects of future books and it is time to bring this particular volume to a close.
And, as a fitting piece of irony, the baby is uncompromisingly a boy.
Babies change everything.