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"We found it; we've found the lost city of Xeinos." Obligato reported over a comlink to one of his associates.
"You did? Where are the coordinates?" He asked. "I'm sending them in now." Obligato responded, typing in a series of numbers to him. 
Outside the ship, Nalmar was dusting through some of the dirt, hoping to find some small scrap of an abandoned object. She scooped up a small metallic something, mulled it over, and determined it to be some sort of a hook. For what, she was not sure. There was a creek nearby; perhaps it was for fishing? She moved forward a little, wondering if there was another part nearby - then she felt something rupture within her. Her child-to-be suddenly whipped downward and pressed hard against the floor of her belly. 
"Obligato!" She screamed.

Obligato, still conversing with his associate, bolted to the window. "What's going on?" His associate queried. 
"Excuse me, Teiryet, Nalmar needs me! I'll be right back!" Obligato spilled out of the ship, leaving the comlink running and Teiryet confused.
Obligato scrambled to Nalmar in the field. He found her bowled over on her side.
"Nalmar, what is it? What's wrong?" He rolled her onto her back.
"Don't put me like that! The baby's coming!" She squawked. 
It was like one great weight had been lifted off him, only to have another of a different kind dropped on him. 
"Just hold on, my dear...I'm sending for Tieryet and his team to make a dig; we'll have help if we need it. Can you wait for me to finish?" He softly turned her back to her side, facing the other way. 
"I think so." She swallowed. "Good...I'll be right back." Obligato didn't want to leave her, but he had to...if only for a very brief moment.
He returned to the ship comlink.
"Nalmar is in labor, Teiryet; I need you and your team to come as quickly as you possibly can, so we can leave as soon as possible." He reported anxiously. "I can't continue; I must hurry back to her." 
"I understand; the soonest we can arrive is in two days." Teiryet responded. "I'm sorry it can't be sooner." He continued remorsefully. 
"We can hold out until then." Obligato replied. "I really must go..." He looked out the window nervously. 
"I understand; I will speak to you again soon." Teiryet closed down the comlink, and Obligato bolted out of the ship again, back to where Nalmar was still laying. 

"Come, now...let's get you to the creek..." He softly pushed her back up. Nalmar gasped as pressure suddenly exploded into her belly. 
"It won't be long...you need to get there. Just try to hold out." Obligato nudged her along.
"But is it safe?" Nalmar swallowed. "You were with me when I tested it, it's fine." Obligato assured her. "And you said yourself...you wanted to give birth in a place like this." He stopped her from collapsing into the water when they reached the edge. "It's nearly dark, what about the tide?" Nalmar whimpered. "It's too shallow even for that. Just deep enough for us." He crawled into the water first, and cringed; he didn't realize how cold it would be. "Sorry, my dear, but I'm afraid it's a bit frigid...but we have no other options." He helped her into the water, and let her clutch him when she cried out with the cold. "It's still..." She mumbled when she found her balance. "Still enough for me to get you a pillow if you need it." Obligato offered. 
"That would be good..." Nalmar swallowed. "Let's just get through this first stage." Obligato held her frontmost tentacles in his own. "And let's hope your lessons in childbirth weren't in vain." Nalmar tried to crack a smile. Obligato smiled "I'll find some use for them, even if I don't get to employ them here." He kissed her between the eyes, consoling a new twinge of pain.

They remained in the creek for several hours, though Obligato rushed back and forth between there and the ship multiple times, eventually bringing in food and a green pillow that Nalmar had woven and dyed herself. By then the sky was inky black, and Obligato was becoming concerned that it had gone on too long; Nalmar was growing exhausted and distressed. He fought back the concern that this would kill her. After all, she was pregnant for the first time in her middle age; it was remarkable that it had happened in the first place. It was also remarkable that she had not given birth early. Now it was remarkable that she had gone this long without slipping into a coma. At the first hint of dawn, she was still going. Obligato stayed at her side, making sure everything was progressing as it should, obsessively feeling her belly for any sign of movement. He had felt the crown of their child's head on the surface of her belly, gradually falling closer to her epigyne, with agonizing sluggishness. Nalmar was too exhausted to cry anymore than she had during the night.

"It's closer than ever." Obligato assured her. "Yeah, I can--I can tell--" She wailed and tensed rigidly. A cloud of blood pooled under her; she buckled her tentacles tightly. "Quick!" She squeaked. Obligato reached under her, just as the baby slipped into his grasp. He pulled it forward ahead a darker gush of blood, and gently broke it out of the water. At the same time, Nalmar gave a final exhausted screech before collapsing with an exhausted groan. She panted heavily, watching her lover pull their baby close to his skin, just as it was starting to stir. "Oh, it's alive..." She croaked wistfully. "It's alive..." She breathed. "All that time...I thought..." She swallowed as the baby started to cry. "There...there she is..." Obligato breathed. "A girl?" Nalmar smiled weakly. "Yes..." Obligato moved close and passed the baby to her. She clutched her tightly. "Oh, look at her..." She gulped, shuddering as the last of the blood filtered away. "I'll get the emergency carrier so you don't have to walk to the ship." Obligato nuzzled her cheek. "Oh, that would be excellent...then we can get some sleep..." Nalmar managed a weak chuckle.

While Obligato attached a gurney to his walker, Nalmar rinsed some of the blood off the baby, but left some of the residual wax to remove later.
In a few minutes, Nalmar was laid out in the back bed of their ship, bundled under the blankets and waiting for Obligato to return with containers of hot water to tuck underneath the sheets. The baby's cries had reduced to whimpers, and she nuzzled her mother's skin, trying to grasp it in the wake of the crop building just underneath. Soon enough, Obligato came through the door, with two containers of water. He quietly flanked them on each side of the bed, and crawled under with her to give extra warmth. "I'll only sleep for a little while...then I'll make you something to eat." He leaned in to look at the baby. "I want to name her Xeinos...because...we...found it...and then she came..." Nalmar mumbled tiredly. Obligato smiled; he couldn't argue against it. "Xeinos it is, then." He kissed her softly and allowed her to doze off, just as Xeinos finally got to take a little of her first crop. Yet she collapsed into slumber with her first taste. Obligato was too tired to find humor in the moment; he instead ensured Nalmar had more coverage in her blanketing before going to sleep himself. He still had a lot more to do.


Well, that was exhausting. I might do a full story on Krang and Ch`rell's births as well, but I was just more motivated to do this one more. They might end up being more of the same, though, even with the different situations, such as the fact that neither Temre nor Yera were out in the wilderness by an ancient civilization when they gave birth.
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November 19, 2015
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