Open broken lullaby

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Warrior of Mokosh

Post may be Mature due to the depiction of stillbirth. Anybody welcome!

Something isn't right.

It isn't a tangible feeling, not something the mare can quantify or describe. She just....knows. It is the final stage of her pregnancy, and her sides have swollen to a gross extent; she is a woman blossoming, possessing the raw beauty of nature and the burgeoning hope of new life, and yet....all is not well. The child inside her has not kicked for days, and as irritating as Oizys had initially found his flailing hooves inside her belly, she would now give anything to feel them once again. She tries to reassure herself that this is completely normal, but wishes more than ever before that she had her dam here to confirm it. As a first-time mother, the grey soldier has gone into this blind and oblivious to what it should entail, yet her instinct tells her that the foal should still be moving.

When the first burst of pain erupts through her stomach, Oizys feels nothing but a cold sense of dread. "It's too soon," she murmurs to herself. By her calculations there's still a few weeks to go before she should give birth, and the general sense of foreboding that surrounds her like a dark mist only exacerbates her anxiety. This isn't right. She thinks of sending Moros out to find somebody - Kid, perhaps, or the child's father, but something tells her that she needs to do this alone. She cannot inflict this on anybody, not even her best friend, so she sends Moros away not to collect anyone, but so he does not have to witness this either.

Hours pass, and the pain intensifies. Oizys makes her way to a secluded patch of trees not far from Mokosh, where a deep embankment of earth rears up behind her to provide shelter and the comforting arms of the firs and pines ensure security. The evening air holds a slight chill, and a gentle drizzling rain falls in waves across the rapidly darkening landscape. The gargoyle is scared, and her grey flesh quivers with fear and anticipation.

By midnight, she is lying flat on the ground with her coat covered in a sheen of sweat, issuing low groans of pain as the contractions intensify. She'd expected it to hurt so this isn't a surprise, however the general sense of not-right-ness makes each stab of agony feel so much harder, like a prelude to something far worse. Her leonine tail arches weakly to slap against her heaving sides, and lifts automatically to make room beneath it; there's a final raging wave of torture and the mare bellows her displeasure as burning, aching warmth blossoms between her hind legs. She jerks suddenly to her feet and with a wet thud, something slips free and falls to the ground.

She does not want to look, so stands for a moment breathing heavily and shaking. Finally, she can put it off no longer. Instinct overcomes her and she turns, leaning down towards the wet lump in the grass and softly licking it clean. Whereas this stimulation would normally cause the foal to take his first gasping breaths, Oizys's child lays ominously still. She knows he's dead, of course she does, but that doesn't stop her licks growing more frantic as she tries to force life into him. He is a miniature version of her, with a jet black coat that she knows will lighten to steel grey and two straight horns on his forehead instead of three crooked ones, and her heart aches with the desire to bond, to urge him to his feet and guide him to her teats. Alas, he never will. He died inside her days ago through no fault of her own, merely nature's cruel way of keeping the natural balance.

There is nothing Oizys can do but cease her snuffling and stand sentinel over the still frame of her son, as though time and her determination will breathe life into him.

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