Wednesday, February 5, 2014

With a Purpose

1032, Spring
Marlowe

Maiolaine heaved one last time as her stomach emptied over the kitchen sink, she didn’t have the time to tidy up before she heard the door swinging open. She looked over, pained. 

It was Mae Talisman, “You’re pregnant again, then?”
Maiolaine glanced around for an escape, “What? Ah, no.”
“There’s no point in hiding it,” Mae stepped into the room.
She was right of course, because soon enough it would be obvious. She had kept her bump hidden for the most part, though she had noticed the physician eyeing her carefully once or twice. Mae Talisman was a woman with a purpose, and lying to her was like suicide. She supposed if anyone were going to guess the truth, it would be Mae. She entertained the idea of denying it again, but Mae’s icy cold stare turned her legs to jelly.

“Yes,” she said hurriedly. “I’m pregnant.”
“You’ve been away too long for it to be Conri’s,” Mae mused.
Maiolaine nodded her head in shame, “It was a few weeks before the trial,” she choked. “I couldn’t sleep, so I spent the night in the kitchen scrubbing the floors. He wandered in, drunk.”
She blinked, remembering the drunken man stumbling into the kitchen and almost tripping over her. He had accused her of lying, and when she refused to admit it, he had begun to cry. Maiolaine had learned a long time ago to detach herself emotionally from people, but she was a servant, and just like she would have comforted Reina, she comforted the man. She offered to make him a warm drink, and to help him to bed. But the man had taken her kindness as an invitation.
“Why didn’t you scream?” Mae demanded at hearing her story. “Why didn’t you fight him off?”

Maiolaine shrugged heavily, the heaving in her stomach subsiding. “After awhile it feels as though it’s not even happening, as if I’m somewhere else.”
“That’s rape, Maiolaine.” Mae narrowed her eyes and leered, “Who was it?”
“It wasn’t rape,” Maiolaine shuddered, “I didn’t pull away or ask him to stop.”

“Because you were afraid, you’ve been brainwashed to believe something like that is perfectly acceptable, and fighting back is unacceptable.”
“It’s easier,” she closed her eyes. “If I tell you who, you must promise to keep it to yourself.” She opened her eyes to see Mae standing with her arms crossed, staring defiantly back at her. “He didn’t even remember in the morning,” she insisted. “It would tear them apart, after Rei has finally found a family.”

She watched as the defiance lessoned in Mae’s eyes, and slowly dissipated. 
Mae uncrossed her arms, “This goes against everything I stand for.” She told Maiolaine, “I will promise if you agree to my terms.”
“Terms?” Maiolaine almost winced at the ferocity of Mae’s blunt business attitude.
“You won’t give this baby up,” she said plainly. “I know a well-respected merchant family looking for a nurse. I’ll handle the contract and everything so they won’t be cheating you on anything.”
It was common for servants to raise their children in the household’s of their masters, and they would often send those children to work similarly nearby when they got old enough. Maiolaine supposed it was a fair enough deal, but she wasn’t sure how she would cope emotionally.

“Are they expecting a child?” She asked tentatively, “And what about her majesty?”
“The baby will arrive any day now,” Mae replied. “And I’ve already spoken to Reina, she’s happy for you to move on.”
Maiolaine clenched her jaw. She could not leave Reina, not yet. Although the queen’s condition was slowly worsening, she wasn’t dead yet.
“I want to be with her when – when it’s time.”
Mae seemed to understand what she meant, and nodded. “I can arrange something.”

It was nice to think that she had a place in the world even after Reina, though Maiolaine had never addressed the possibility of losing Reina – and she was touched to learn that her mistress had thought of her happiness near the end. 
She noticed Mae was staring at her expectantly, “Oh.” She remembered, “Juan,” she took a deep breath. “Juan Leolin.”

3 comments:

  1. I have to admit it, I imagined Van when I was writing what Mae said. I imagine you both have similar views about this? Notice how Mae talks herself into getting the better deal - the information she wants and gets Maiolaine to agree to her 'terms'. I'm not sure whether I want to go anywhere with this storyline, I mean maybe one day her child will want to learn about the past, but I can't see it becoming public knowledge at any time. And the family Mae's talking about of course is the Turnwhips, so Maiolaine has a job lined up for her there after Reina passes away.

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  2. In regards to the baby's conception? Yes, Mae and I are in agreement there. Poor Maiolaine. Mae's right, though: Maiolaine was raised in a world that said it had to be violent and there had to be to protests for it to be rape, so it's no wonder she believes that now. Same thing happens today, in our world. Hell, it was only after I graduated from high school that I learned the truth about rape--up until that point, everyone I'd ever heard from on the subject subscribed to the kicking and screaming view. This plays a major role in why I now hate even the idea of religious schooling with a passion.

    Though, I do have to disagree with Mae about one thing, and that's making Maiolaine keep the baby, whether that means keeping it as in not aborting or keeping it as in not giving it up to another family. That said, given the current state of Marlowe, I suppose it's only to be expected that even the most progressive people around think that abortion is a no-no and that kids are best off with their biological parents in most cases. Change is slow, so Marlowe probably has a few generations to go in terms of a pregnant woman's choice, even if Conri died tomorrow and Cohen wasted no time cleaning up his messes.

    I guessed that it was the Turnwhips! That should be interesting.

    And ack... I figured it was a Leolin, though for Rei's sake, I'm relieved it's not Lucan (and I'm just all-around relieved it's not Rian's!). At least with the Turnwhips, I'm guessing the chances of Maiolaine having to see Juan again are slim.

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    1. I imagined Mae asking her to keep the baby for one reason: Maiolaine. She is so emotionally detached since losing her first baby (not that Mae would know about that) and has abandoned her other children one after the other. I think Mae hopes that if Maiolaine raises her own child (possibly alongside the other children she'll be watching as a nurse) that she will somehow break through those issues and maybe one day reconnect with Felisa and actually want to be her daughter's life. Honestly I imagine it was Reina's idea more than Mae's. And chances are she would have ended up abandoning this baby one way or another, either leaving it somewhere for someone to find or handing it over to the nearest midwife she could find - and under those circumstances the midwife would take the child back to Kyland to be raised until it could work for a living as someone's servant.

      Yeah Juan won't be in her life again, and I think that working for the Turnwhips would be a nice sort of a 'break' after working for royalty.

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