As the clock struck midnight, two boys were born simultaneously, under the same roof. The labors were both short, but were otherwise quite dissimilar. Carenf was controlled, deliberate, able to harness the pain and direct it, make it work for her. Glendan spent the bulk of his time helping his sister whose agony was all consuming. Relinquishing control, she was swept away. Her screams were piercing, shouts thundering. It took everything she had left to give.

As Glendan tended to the newborn, he noticed that Urissa lay still. After so much loss since that last streetcar ride with Abe Sir, her war was finally over.

Glendan ran into the next room where Carenf was already holding her baby – their baby – to her breast. “You have to do something to help Urissa!” he cried. With a quivering voice, Carenf replied, “It doesn’t work that way. I can’t. It’s done.”

In the weeks that followed, neither boy would cry. That is, so long as they were kept apart. Being near each other seemed to create a physical tension, a discomfort within the newborns. With Urissa gone, the new parents couldn’t bring themselves to yet name her child, and therefore held off on naming their own. How could they even begin to raise both boys while still fighting a war with Geryman?

On top of all that, Carenf felt as though the birth altered her abilities. She sensed that something had been lost. Perhaps a decline had begun. She needed guidance, wisdom. She needed Victor Strife.

Victor was easy to find. The first call to his bookshop informed Carenf that Victor had followed her to Seattle just a few months after she had left him. She was given a number which then led her to an associate with whom she left a message. They met in the back office of a small bank the following day, per Victor’s suggestion. Carenf was nervously excited to meet with her former mentor. Why had he been here for so long without contacting her? She trusted him initially, and now worried that she was walking into a trap. Her guard was up and yet she went alone. If she would find danger, Glendan needed to be home safe with the kids. Victor embraced her tightly, though Carenf’s caution was obvious. “Relax, dear Carenf.” he eased.

Tears flood the eyes
Bellows drown out the sigh
Yesterday’s sorrow
Informs the joy of tomorrow

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