The Birth of Wren Chastain (Part 2 of 6)

Quinn and Lucas were a young couple also living in Riverside, where both of them caught fish out of the river to sell. They lived in a small house that they had built together, and which they were now expanding to fit their family.

Quinn was in her late twenties, her husband Lucas in his early twenties. Nobody would have expected them to fall in love, had it not happened. Quinn was larger than life, loud, happy, boisterous with bright red hair and a smile for everyone. For ten years before her wedding she had been a wagoner, shipping goods up and down the road to Strand, even heading east along the King's Way to other communities. She always came back with stories as well as goods; tales of her deeds and mishaps on the road. Lucas had been a shepherd: quiet, methodical, gentle, kind, and able to thrive in silence. He was well regarded but rarely inserted himself into conversations. The two met one evening when Lucas had been walking back to Riverside from Strand and Quinn had offered him a ride on her wagon.

The community had watched in gentle bemusement as the two courted each other, married, and now were making adjustments to accommodate the other. Against all odds they appreciated one another for their differences, seemed to recognize how their partner had made them more complete. Lucas laughed more, spoke more, and went to more social gatherings. Quinn, for her part, found that bragging about her husband was at least as much fun as bragging about herself. Both of them took up a new trade so that together they could live in rustic comfort. They built their new house across the river from town; far enough away for Lucas to be comfortable and close enough for Quinn. Kaelyn liked them both immensely.

When Kaelyn approached Lucas was planing some logs for the new room of his house, his fishing nets hung out to dry. He looked up and saw Kaelyn and smiled. “Miss Kaelyn”, he said, his quiet voice friendly.

“Lucas, so good to see you. Is your wife at home?” He nodded and walked toward the house, but needen't have bothered, before he had entered the door Quinn came out, beaming brightly, leading her two children. Lucas gathered her in his arms, surprisingly strong and confident, and kissed her soundly, long enough that the kids started making retching noises and Kaelyn looked away.

Finally Quinn said “enough of that, honey, the Healer is here!” She broke the kiss, but kept her arm around her husband's waist. “ Hi there Kay-kay, what's news from Colm?”

“Nothing of great import, he just sent me to check in on your children, to see if they have recovered from their cough,” Kaelyn said, reaching into her satchel again.

“Johnny seems to have kicked it, but Margo is holding onto it, poor kitten,” Quinn said, grabbing Margo and carrying her bodily over to where Kaelyn stood. Margo giggled, which broke into a rough cough that lasted for a moment.

“How do you feel, Margo?” Kaelyn asked, as Lucas set a cup of cold water close to Kaelyn's hand.

“I'm fine. Just tastes yucky when I cough,” Margo said, looking up at Kaelyn with curious eyes. “Are you gonna make me take medicine again?”

“We want your lungs to get healthy,” Kaelyn said, smiling gently. “But Mama did make me some biscuits to give you when you finish your medicine,” she finished, and produced a small packet of white powder and a couple of freshly baked shortbread biscuits.

Margo seemed to think this was a fair trade and swallowed the powder in the water, then grabbed both biscuits before her brother could try to get one.

Kaelyn chatted briefly with the couple as the kids ran around. Whatever game the kids were playing it seemed to involve using Kaelyn as a “base”. Kaelyn finished her conversation, gently unwrapped Margo from around her legs, and then promised to check in a few days.

“And now,” she said to herself, “I think I have a little time to do some shopping” and she turned her path towards Strand. She didn't make much as a novice, being mostly paid in room and board with Colm and Marion, but some few coins did enter her hands and she had been saving up to buy some material for a new dress.