+++THINK OF THE CHILDREN+++
Will Tanner cradled the sleeping baby in his arms, rocking the child slightly, even though they had long since fallen off. “She looks like you. She’s got your nose” he said. His voice struggled as his eyes teared up.
“Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining Will Tanner.” Bridget stood with her arms folded by the table, back stiff as an iron rod. “She looks exactly the same as every baby ever did. A bald head, a big mouth for crying, a belly that needs feeding, and clothes that needs changing six times a day.”
“She looks like…” His voice trailed off as he choked up a little. “She looks… like…”
“Don’t Will Tanner! Just don’t! The magic took her and she’s dead and that’s all there is to it. I’ve said that you and I are done with crying. I won’t cry anymore. I know you want another, and maybe we will in time, but this is someone else’s baby not ours.”
“He were my cousin though… I reckon we owe him.”
“Third cousin the friar said. You never even bloody met him. And he were one of them. One of them Wegarra things. It’s not our child. It’s got to go.”
The friar coughed slightly. This was proving more difficult than he’d hoped. “Her name is Gull.” he said softly.
Will repeated the name quietly to the child and threw another desperate pleading look at his wife. Her eyes narrowed, clearly furious at her husbands attempts to win her round. But the friar had seen that look enough times to know she was losing ground.
“There is one other thing.” He reached into his robes and pulled out the heavy pouch, he let it drop onto the oak table, just far enough so that the noise of the coins carried. “It’s not much, but it’s what’s left of the estate. It was sold to a family moving back from Upwold. Like I say, it’s not much but it’ll cover her food for a year or more.”
Bridget stared at the pouch on the table. She knew damn well it would be rings and crowns, not thrones, but still. It would more than pay for the seed they needed to plant the new field they wanted. But after a moment she cleared her throat and shifted her hard stare back to the priest. “That ain’t fair Friar. We’re decent hard-working folk - this ain’t about money.”
“All that is worthwhile is shared with those who deserve it.” The friar’s tone was gentle.
“We’ve still got the crib… and the clothes your mother sewed.” Will Tanner looked at his wife imploringly. “The Friar said she’s got no-one else. What if… what if the curse had taken us instead… and the Friar had to find someone for our baby?”
“You’d want our daughter being raised by some bloody fool who thinks he’s a Jotun would you?” Her voice was harsh.
Will Tanner looked his wife in the eyes and said “I’d want our daughter to live Bridie. And that’s all I’d want.”
Bridget Tanner blanched, her face white and shocked, like she’d been stabbed. She backed away only slightly as her husband approached her and placed the sleeping baby into her arms. He turned his back on her and approached the friar.
“It’s time to go now Friar. You can drop off the baby’s things in the morning. We’ll take good care of her.”
Cesare Enzo di Trivento, Cardinal of Prosperity, has led the Assembly to pass a clear statement calling on the Empire to support the building of a great orphanage to house and educate the orphans of the Mournwold. The statement has been circulated by the civil service to the congregations of the Empire devoted to Prosperity and has provoked interest from some surprising quarters.
You can learn about the Sacrombe Register and the poposed “statement of endeavour” here -> https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/e…/Think_of_the_children