Asta was glad the trio was listening to her. She was loosing her strength, struggling to keep her eyes open. As if she blinked, she was in Hernan's arms again. Blink. In the carriage. Blink. Driving through the night. Blink. The Temple? The Temple! She opened her eyes and looked at Hernan. "Moon pool" she told him once the carriage came to a stop. She curled into him, finding comfort in knowing he was there. She closed her eyes again, opening them as they came to the moon pool. Between the four of them and the young priestess that came to look after the newborn as they refocused on Asta, they got her into the pool. Asta closed her eyes again, feeling the power of the moon, of Seline as it filled the pool. As she sat in the water, her gaze moved to a window overhead as the moon encased the pool in a light glow. The babe in the Priestess's arms grew silent as if comforted by an unknown source. Asta breathed a soft sigh, the pain subsiding the be replaced with a warm feeling.
She was gaining the strength she needed again. She looked at Athena and drew in a breath. "I... I think there is one more" she explained, moving to adjust herself so she could sit in the water to deliver the second child. Between everyone in the group, the birth of the second child did not take as long and went smoother now that they had help. Once the child was out and it was announced that it was a boy, Asta felt the strength she had been given subside. Now... she was left utterly exhausted. She was moved gently, fixed up and changed into a Moon elf priestesses gown before they moved her to her old room. Asta laid in the bed and looked at the double basinets that now sat in her room. The babes were fed, clothed, and sleeping now as she watched their little eyes move. She wanted the same thing as she laid back, brushing her hair from her face as she felt tears in her eyes. She'd done it. Two beautiful and healthy babies. And a male heir. She dried her eyes as she had begun to cry, wondering what the future would hold for her now. Now that she was a mom, a wife, home.
Freya again held doors opened and sat in the front, directing the Queen's carriage where to go. Athena was in the carriage, holding onto the baby girl close to her, keeping her warm. Her eyes darting up at Hernando every so often and then back down at the baby and smiled, calming her. Once there, Freya jumped off opening the door and leading the way inside to find staff. Once taking the baby, Freya and Athena focused on Asta. Athena was only out in the moon for a day and hadn't feeling exhausted. If she did, it probably wasn't as bad as Asta.
"Keep going, Asta, you're almost there!" Freya said as Asta gave that final push. Athena took the baby and lifted him out of the water, hearing his cries. She smiled, wrapping him up and handing him off to Hernando. "A boy." She said softly before attending to Asta again. With her strength back, the two got out of the pool and helped Asta out. Both cleaned themselves up and let Hernando and Asta bond with the babies and relax now. Freya had went to tell Asta she would be leaving to go to back to Ishgar and if there was something else, Athena would be here and to send a raven. She also wished all of them well and hoped she recovered magnificently. Athena was in the other room, reading and relaxing.
Things were moving far too slow for Hernan to keep his nerves down. He struggled to keep his wife awake in the carriage ride, fighting every urge he had to take his wife and child and run there himself. When they finally arrived, he lifted the queen in his arms and carried her into the moon temple. He was directed to the moon pool by Asta herself and followed the staff. Once at the pool, he stepped into it himself, setting her down and remaining by her side. The only moment he wanted to step away was when he realized that his daughter was no longer in Athena's arms, but the combined power of the moon and the sudden revelation of the existence of another child pulled his attention towards them. He couldn't move. Another child?
Asta squeezed his hand and he returned to reality, staying close to her as she gave birth to the second baby, a boy. He finally had his boy. He released Asta's hand to take his son, the moonlight illuminating his red face as it had his daughter. Pride swelled in his chest and he allowed a priestess to direct him out of the pool as they lifted out Asta and cared for her after the birth of her children. He only allowed the baby out of his arms when he was given a tunic and trousers to change into while his royal clothes were dried.
He followed an elven woman into Asta's old room, stopping at the door. His adrenaline had been pumping all this while and now that he had time to settle, the voice in the back of his mind was finally quiet. His memories of his time as the Mad King threatened to flood his thoughts, but he subconsciously managed to hold them back and he walked into the room. He walked slowly, sitting on the bed beside Asta and placing a hand on hers. "At least now we know why you were basically a small moon," he teased, thumb rubbing the back of her hand fondly.
Asta received the message from Freya, praying for her safe journey. She had managed to stop herself from crying more and barely done, eyes dried when Hernan came in. She looked up at him, rolling to her ride where she laid. It was the most comfortable way to lay right now instead of on her back. She looked over at the sleeping duo, watching as Lucio. She smiled softly. As Lucio stirred at the sound of Hernan's voice before going still once more. Asta looked up at the man and smiled at his comment. "I should have known there were more than one in there. Of all the pregnant bellies I've seen before, mine was far too big" she told him. She looked at the basinets again, at the girl who slept soundly, suckling in her sleep. "Serina" she whispered, looking up at Hernan. "We only ever picked a male's name. Lucio. I think Serina fits her. After the Goddess who saved my life" she watched the girl as she finally stirred, whining lightly as if to agree before settling again.
Asta smiled, her gaze moving to Hernan's. "I'm sorry" she stated after a few moments. "The labor pains had started on our way to the ball." she looked down at their hands. "I didn't want you to be angry with me." She drew in a breath, realizing now that if he grew angry, he could strike her if he wanted. Then the thought of the other wives came to her mind as she felt the tears returning. "You're not going to kill me right?" she asked him. She didn't look up, wanting him to remember the promise he'd made her the night he had told her he would kill her before saying and promising he wouldn't. She had birthed him a son after all... why wouldn't she live.
Her mind then crossed the thought of where they were now. The Moon Temple, her home. She didn't have to go back with him... she could stay here if he threatened her life... But did she want to stay there? She wasn;t entirely sure... She wanted to be home... but... She stopped the thoughts and moved her free hand to dry her eyes. The day had taken it's toll on her. Just hours ago, she thought she wouldn't see the end of the day and now... Now she was sitting with Hernan, their children a mere few feet away.
Hernan interlaced their fingers are she spoke, suggesting the name to honor the Moon Goddess she credited with her life. He had never been very religious, doubting much else other than his own existence, but he did like the idea of honoring the Moon and by extension, his wife. So he nodded, smiling at her. "I like it. Lucio and Serina, Light and Moon. Our children, Asta." He raised her hand to kiss it once more, unable to properly explain with words how very pleased he was. He had not been present, in the body or in mind, for the births of his previous children. However, this one was his first the was there for and he was absolutely delighted. Their daughter and son were beautiful and perfect in every single way.
He looked down at her as she apologized. He started to reassure her when she began to cry, asking if he was going to kill her. He shook his head, sinking down to lay beside her and pulling her into his arms. "Asta. Asta stop. I'm not angry with you and I would never kill you." He gestured towards their children, then wiped away her tears. "I wouldn't leave my children without a mother." He paused, the pain from before suddenly resonating through his head. His memories threatened to strike him once more, but he held them back. "You are safe, my love. I would not hurt you." He kissed her temple, stroking her hair and holding her close.
Asta listened as he agreed to the names. Light and Moon... she hadn't realized it before when she had decided on the named. She felt the tears continue as she cried, waiting for his answer. When he gave it, she felt herself give in as he told her he was not angry with her and would not kill her. She was so glad he was in his calm state right now as he moved to pull her close. She looked at the children as he motioned to them before speaking again. She looked up at Hernan as he stated he didn't want to leave the duo without a mom. She watched his eyes shift for a second before hugging him tightly, holding onto him as he promised she was safe. That he would not harm her. She closed her eyes, willing the tears to cease.
They did after a bit. She laid against him, emotionally and physically drained. She couldn't cry anymore, not wanting too and not being hydrated enough too both issues. She felt her eyes grow heavy as she laid in his arms. She started to let sleep take her, feeling the need for it overwhelm her when a soft whine from the bassinet startled her awake. She dried her eyes and looked toward the bassinet, wondering if the child would fall back asleep. When the whining stopped by a few coos and then silence, she smiled softly and got comfy again, this time letting the sleep win as she closed her eyes, soon engulfed in peace and quiet. She was nestled into Hernan, her head leaned against his chest, her arms pulling the blankets tightly to her chest. Her eyes were shut tight for a few moments before relaxing. With a soft sigh, she entered into deep sleep, unmoving as exhaustion worked its way through her.
Hernan moved the blankets to better cover his wife, pulling her close to his chest and letting her rest against him as she fell asleep. He glanced over to the window to look at the moon, wondering for a moment why it was so much bigger and brighter here than it was back in Ishgar, but even he could not deny how dark and gloomy it was all over his kingdom. He had only himself to blame. He was king, after all. There was no reason why he couldn't redecorate. However, the doom and gloom of Ishgar followed him everywhere he went, even outside the kingdom. Even his clothes for the ball were black, red, and gold. He couldn't escape the cold stench of death that followed his family name.
He looked back to the double bassinet as one of his children fussed a bit before falling back asleep. They were the future, he reminded himself, that he had to fight to protect. His daughters, intelligent and talented beauties though they were, were old enough to make their own choices without regard to what he said. But these children, he could care for and raise to be everything his father had not wanted him to be. He didn't want them to be afraid of him, or afraid to do what was right. He knew his daughters hid so much from him out of fear of his wrath and he hated that. This was a new start for him, and maybe for them as well. Hernan smiled softly, then held his wife a little tighter before finally falling asleep himself.
As the night around them moved on, Asta only slept a few short hours before waking. She was still tired but with her body adjusted to the moon's schedule, she could only sleep so long at night. She looked around, forgetting for a moment where she was. She smiled, realizing she was in her temple, in her bed, in her home. She let out a breath and looked down at the arm that craddled her close. She put a hand over it for a moment and smiled. She sat up, wiggling slightly to get out of his hold and to let him remain asleep. Once free, she stood up out of the bed and looked at Hernan as he slept. She smiled before moving to the bassinets. She watched as Serina slept, her tiny thumb plopped into her mouth. She smiled once more and kissed the infant on the forehead, tucking her in before moving to the other bassinet.
Lucio, silent but focused found her gaze once she looked him over. Asta smiled and brushed a finger over his cheek, looking him over as he sat in silence. After a few moments, his face turned from calm to upset, tears welling up in his tiny eyes. Asta gently lifted him from the bassinet and held him close. "Easy now" she whispered, "He's grumpy when he wakes up" she smiled, teasing Hernan a bit as she looked over at him sleeping. She moved to a chair in her room and sat down with the boy. She hummed softly as she held him, gently rocking back and forth, singing the song to him as she had sung it to Hernan. She rocked him until the child's eyes grew heavy. She moved, curling up in the chair as she held her son. He soon fell into slumber and she watched as he slept. He was so peaceful, his little lips puckered in his sleep and his tiny hands clasped around her one finger. Not wanting to wake the boy, she leaned back and looked up at the moon, growing tired once more. Drifting off, sleep found her as easily as it had found her son and soon both were snoozing in the chair.
The king awoke as his wife removed herself from the bed. He held his head up with one hand and watched her care for the child with a small smile on his face. "My love, I fear that several hours old is a little early to begin spoiling the boy," he teased, then sat up to remove his tunic. He folded it and placed it to the side, then lay back with his arms crossed behind his head and watched her as she soothed the babe back to sleep. He didn't move as she herself started to drift, taking the moment to take in the scene. He'd never imagined he'd find this peace as a young man. Even when he wed Heloise, he knew that this would never be his future. The madness would take him long before he could ever experience this. His head throbbed at the memory of the family madness, and he closed his eyes and grunted. He waited for the pain to subside before opening his eyes and getting out of the bed.
"Asta," he whispered so as to not wake the baby. "You really shouldn't sleep upright so soon after giving birth." He knelt beside her and touched her cheek gently to wake her. "Come on, you can bring the baby if you want. You should really get back into bed."
Asta hadn't heard much of what Hernan said, sleep finding her fairly quickly. As she snoozed, the boy adjusted in her arms and she moved slightly so they could both be comfortable. She hadn't really realized she fell asleep until a gentle hand woke her. She opened her eyes, still in a sleepy daze as she listened to Hernan. She looked down at Lucio as he slept soundly and nodded before letting Hernan help her stand. She decided against sleeping with the babe and gently laid him back in his own bed. "I didn't realize how tired bringing two little ones into the world would make someone" she explained, sleep evident in her voice. She walked to the bed with Hernan and smiled softly. "That's a thought" she said after a moment, "Hernan, has an elf ever ruled in ay of the three kingdoms?" she asked, looking at him, curiosity making her question it.
"To think, the future king of Ishgar... is half elf." She crawled into the bed and looked at Hernan, smiling softly in her sleepy state. She looked at the bassinets and thought again about the future. She pushed the thoughts that threatened her away, thinking only about Hernan as she looked at him. She waited for him to climb into the bed, staying sat up until then. "Hernan?" she asked him after a few moments. "Is it possible to rule a kingdom from within another kingdom?" she was genuinely curious, seeing how calm and moral the man was here with her. She wondered if he could stay there and still rule Ishgar.
Hernan assisted her back into the bed, keeping his thoughts to himself. Of course, she was tired, she'd just brought two babies into the world. Childbirth was a difficult, exhausting, painful experience. Even he knew that and he'd never been present for any other births! Still, he wasn't about to say that to the mother of his children and pushed the blankets back for them to reenter the bed. He looked over to her when she spoke, taking a moment to think before shaking his head. He'd never heard of an elf leading any of the kingdoms, much less Ishgar. He could always ask his advisors when they returned home, which he hoped would be sooner rather than later. After all, he had a kingdom to rule.
He laid down next to her and pulled the blankets over them both, turning onto his side to face her as she remained sitting up. He thought for a moment, then shook his head again. "I'm pretty sure it's impossible. The people require their leader to remain in their homeland. If anything, they'd have to leave a regent until they were able to return, but that usually falls to the wife, the eldest, or the most qualified. For example, if I have to go to war, you are a new queen not from noble birth, so my advisors would insist that my eldest child acts as regent until I either return or die, in which case Lucio would become king and you and my advisors would act as regents for him until he's of age. Does that make sense?" He looked over to his children, then narrowed his eyes and looked back to Asta. "Why do you ask? You aren't thinking of raising them here, are you?"
Asta sighed softly as she stayed sitting up but got under the blankets. She looked at Hernan, to the children and back as he explained what life would be like... if they were to return. She ran her fingers through her hair, combing it a bit a she thought about it, listening as he asked if she were planning to raise them there. "Would it be so bad?" she asked him, "Raising them here?" She looked at Lucio's crib. "You don't remember half the time. But... When you aren't you. You become angry... a monster almost. I- I don't want Lucio to go through that Hernan. Here at least, he'd have a chance to grow up and understand his role." she explained, "And I would like Serina to be a high priestess when she comes of age." she almost whispered the second part, feeling bad for asking but wanting to. "Like it or not Hernan... this is their heritage as much as Ishgar is." she explained, looking at him after a moment.
Asta knew she was right, that it would be safer for the both of them to be raised there, at the temple. "Besides" she stated, "it would be safer here for the fact that they would not be harmed. Elves look out for each other, and care for each other. They would have endless knowledge in our library" she drew in a breath, wincing at the slight discomfort from sitting up too long. She didn't want to lay down yet, wanting to finish her conversation. Who knew how long she would be awake if she laid down. "I just want what is best for them" she stated after a bit of silence, her gaze moving to the bassinets. Lucio had been saved by a Goddess and Serina blessed. They needed to know and live with their people... both sides of their bloodline.
He listened in silence, allowing her to speak her piece before he gathered his thoughts to speak. Hernan took a deep breath, then looked up at her with a serious look on his face. "Asta," he began, "our children aren't like other children. They are royal by birth. Lucio will become king one day and Serina is a princess like her sister before her. We don't have the choice to keep them here. They must be raised in the palace." He placed a hand over hers. "If they aren't raised in Ishgar, dissidents can reject their bloodline and birthright by accusing them of being Murielese instead of Ishgarian."
Hernan sighed once more, then stood out of the bed and ran a hand through his thick hair. "I can't deny that a sense of peace does come over me here that I do not feel in Ishgar, but either way, we must return. This is not my home, nor is it the home of the future king. I'm sorry, Asta. If you want to stay, I cannot force you to follow me. But I will bring my son and daughter home with me." His ultimatums were always hard, especially when he was insane, yet his sane arguments were more heartwrenching than the others. He knew that this was the right way to go if he was going to protect the birthright of his children. Besides, he couldn't rule Ishgar from Muriel. It simply could not be done.
Looking down, Asta was quiet as he spoke, closing her hands around the blanket, tightening her hold and then loosening it. She drew in a breath as she listened... He wanted them all to return to Ishgar... to leave behind everything she knew. To forgo what she was about. She looked up at the window, at the moon as it's rays moved over them. She didn't like it... having to choose. Not one bit. "So that's it then?" she asked, "Either return to Ishgar, forget my home and be a Queen to a kingdom I know nothing about or stay here, loose my children, and loose the person I've come to care for dearly?" she asked. She didn't cry, not letting any sign of tears be visible as she became quiet once more. She looked up at the sky, as if she were listening to something else.
She drew in a breath as she finally looked down again. "If we all return to Ishgar... there are a few small holidays in the Elvish community. I wish to return here with you and the children during those times in order for them to know who they are and where they come from in my community" she explained, looking from the blankets to Hernan again. "For them to understand the elves." She brushed her hair from her face, her hand resting against her temple for a moment. Her head hurt, a dull ache from too much stress. She let out her breath and leaned back. She looked at Hernan once more as she relaxed. She patted the bed beside her, wanting him to return. She was growing tired again and wanted him near when she slept.