Jess fluttered nervously at Maiolaine’s bedside, Aenya Gwynham was knelt on the ground beside Maiolaine’s fevered body. Jess watched on as Maiolaine’s eyes flickered open and shut, and she moaned slightly through the sweat dribbling down her face. Much to her surprise, Jess had no trouble sending word for help. Although Aenya was not a licensed physician, she was a respected nurse and midwife throughout Marlowe and had even attended royalty. The king himself had proven his gratitude to her by gifting her land and a house to further train young women in the art of medicine.
The woman was aged, with a lined face and a taut thin mouth held in a stubborn line. But she worked efficiently and had immediately taken control. Both Padric and Max had been ordered from the library to aid in carrying Maiolaine to her bed – and Jess had quickly sent a maid to watch over her children. The men had excused themselves as soon as Aenya would allow, both wearing a look of unease. Jess herself had felt a churn of her stomach at the sight of the blood from between Maiolaine’s legs.
Jess took a deep breath as she watched Aenya examine Maiolaine’s pregnant belly, and looked away as Aenya examined her further. She heard a loud sigh, and stepped out of the way as Aenya pulled herself to her feet. The woman clucked and wiped her hands on her front, turning to motion to Jess.
“She’s gone into early labour,” she told Jess. “As if her body is rejecting the baby, she will have to push it out – or she will die.”
Through tears, Jess cried out in distress. “How could this happen?!”
Aenya gave her a sour look, and glanced down at Maiolaine “I raised her son, did you know?”
“She abandoned him when he was born – I suppose his father wasn’t high born enough for her to make a profit.” Her voice growled as she stared down at Maiolaine in disdain. “She never wanted this baby, and her body reacted to that.”
Jess was horrified, she had known that Maiolaine’s history was a dark one but she had never thought it was so bad. Her feelings of resentment toward Mae swirled back – she refused to accept how a woman could reject her own child.
She took a deep breath, “Do what needs to be done.” She told Aenya, “Is there any chance the baby will survive?”
There was a cautious understanding in Aenya’s eyes as she nodded, “It still lives.”
“If you can save it,” Jess said quietly, “I will pay for the expenses.”
She didn't need to say more, Aenya understood. If Maiolaine hated this baby so much, then she did not deserve to see it live and grow up. And Jess would keep it from the hands of an undeserving mother.