Talaitha Title: Talaitha Rating: FRC Pairing: Dermail/Mistress Time: AC 146
Talaitha by Arabian Princess
Every morning, he rode his horse. It gave them both a good workout. He generally had the same destination, though the exact location and the route he took changed. He had been unable to reach this destination for a couple of weeks now. He had had to go to Brussels with his father for some Foundation business, and then his mother demanded his attention in Vienna. He felt certain that his parents had secretly conspired to have these "things that gravely needed his immediate attention" to keep him from Mirela and the child that was due any day. Whether they had designed it or not, they had gotten their wish and Mirela had had his child while he was away. They could not keep him away forever, though, and this morning he pushed his steed a little more in order to get to Mirela's camp faster. He had never been a father before, and though he did not daydream of playing catch or soothing away nightmares, he eagerly wanted to see his child. He leapt off the horse before it had come to a complete halt. The Roma gave him the same sneers they gave him whenever he came to call on Mirela, but they took excellent care of his horse as always. He ignored their glares more than usual and went straight to her quarters. He could hear the baby's noises before he entered, and he quickened his pace. He was in luck; only Mirela was there with the baby. He would not have to deal with her mother or sisters or anything else. "So. You've returned," she said when she noticed him. She promptly returned to soothing the newborn. "Is that...? Is it a...?" "Yes, this is our child. We have a girl, just like I told you we would. All the tests said so." "Those 'tests' were nothing but old wives' tales, Mirela." She sniffed at the comment but did not continue the argument. He went to the bassinet and looked down at his daughter. "Have you named her?" He reached down and carefully picked up the baby. "No. I was waiting on you." "I can't even name my animals properly." He sat down holding his daughter gingerly in his arms. She made some grunting noises and stared up at him. "She's beautiful. Look! She has my nose! The Dermail nose." He smiled and pointed it out. Mirela rolled her eyes, but he was certain he saw a small smile on her lips. "Those are definitely your eyes, though. No one in my family has eyes as dark as hers." "Trying to decide if you can take her home to show Mommy?" she teased. "NO!" he cried, his arms automatically shielding and protecting his daughter from an imaginary attack. "My mother would kill her!" He was certain his mother had killed his own father's bastards from mistresses. Not only was she jealous, but she wanted to keep the Dermail bloodline "pure," and that meant that only those from legitimate, "pure" marriages and unions could be allowed to live. "Well your mother is a bitch," Mirela conceded. She folded some cloths then sat next to him and looked at their daughter as well. "She needs a name." "I told you. I'm horrible at naming things and animals. I'll be much worse at naming my daughter." "Could you at least try?" "Mildred." She smacked his arm. "You aren't really trying." "Well, then you help me." "Fine. How about...Elena?" "No." "Joséphine?" He shook his head with a look of disgust. "I can see where this is headed. I'm not playing this guessing game, Joseph." "How about a Roma name?" She shrugged and sighed. "Kizzy...Fifika...Violca...Drina?" "None of those fit." "What are you looking for then?" "Well...she's my little girl, and she's going to stay that. How about a name for that?" Mirela rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I don't know. I don't know! I...I guess maybe Talaitha?" "Talaitha," he said, trying the name out. "Talaitha." He looked down at the babe. "Yes. That fits. Talaitha Dermail." "What makes you think her surname will be Dermail?" "Because I am her father. Now don't kid, Mirela," he said then kissed her. Talaitha squirmed and started "rooting" as Mirela called it. He reluctantly handed his daughter back to her mother so that she could eat. He turned the conversation to a more serious topic. "My father called me to Romefeller to see how business is done, and my mother wanted me to spend more time with my betrothed, of course. While I was gone, I thought of you two constantly. I've found a small château in France that I'm sure most of the family has forgotten, at least especially my parents. I want you two to go there. I'm having it staffed right now; you'll be well taken care of. I'll take you there to keep you safe." "I can't leave my family, my people. Our place is here. I'm not going to be your little mistress tucked away. You'll forget about me once you marry that 'woman' anyway." She looked away and held Talaitha closer. "I'd never forget about either of you," he insisted. He lay on his stomach on a bed of pillows and pulled himself as close to mother and daughter as he could. "My wife is just there to make an heir or two. I don't care for her at all. If I could safely have you as my wife, I would, but my family would kill you and the baby. I know they would. Besides, you turned away all my other marriage proposals." "Because it won't work out between us," she argued. "We're only fifteen and sixteen. We'll grow apart. This is only a fling. I've seen it happen with a lot of girls growing up. They fall for a man or boy, and after a year or two, they go their separate ways. My place is here with my people. Your place is in those fancy halls." He shook his head vigorously. "Our place is to be together. Talaitha is my daughter, too!" "You can't ever acknowledge her publicly!" "It doesn't change my feelings! I love her!" He sat up and pounded a fist into a pillow. "I love you, too. I don't want anything bad to happen to either of you. Please. Just go to the château in Épinal." "Nothing bad will happen if we stay here and you keep your big mouth shut!" "Mirela...there's going to be another war." "There's always one about to start," she pointed out. "I'm worried about this one. I don't want to worry about you two. Worry if you've been caught up in a fight, or if you've traveled to the side of the enemy...or not being able to find you again." He rubbed her back. "Stay at the château. For me. I want to know you're safe." "I can't leave my people," she repeated, but he could hear her start to cave in her voice. "What if you brought your mother? Or a sister?" She thought for a moment and burped Talaitha. "I get to bring my mother and a sister or two," she negotiated. "Fine. But it can't be only be two sisters at the most," he warned. "It really is small, and I think someone will bring it to the attention of my parents if I have a whole caravan of gypsies moving into one of our homes." She nodded. "Okay." She set the baby down back in the bassinet, claiming she needed the nap. "You can hold her soon enough. You just have to wait until she wakes up again. She needs her rest," Mirela explained when he whined. He pulled her onto the bed of pillows with him. "I can think of a way to pass the time," he whispered into her ear.