Wind tore at the shutters of the low room, small trickles of water flowed down the steps that lead out if the house. In the hearth a fire was burning low, only scarcely lighting the room in a dance of shadows against orange.

“Calm down Eric.” the words uttered by the woman were filled with bith pain and unrest themselves.

A surge of pain went through her the very next moment, causing her to give a muffled scream as she bit her lower lip. “I will bring forth a girl!” she promised after the pain faded. Worried the man squeezed her hand. It was mere hours since they discussed the sex of their child. “You will bring forth a child, healthy and all, that is the most important thing right now!” he mumbled.

 

“We need fresh blood.” she had said those hours before. “Nothing comes from beyond the sea.” he had replied, that had been before she gone into labour. “Our ancestors came from beyond the sea, what have they turned into?” he had raised his voice then. “Us.” he answered his question, retoric as always in that discussion.

Five children. All five of ’em boys.

Their eldest already wed and hoping for a daughter himself. The youngest a toddler sleeping in the bed chamber. The middle three were already in the order of the pole. Eunuchs, all of the orderly knights were eunuchs. After their training, they pledged theur vows and paid the prize for the safety of the world with their manhood.

Still their second youngest was only in training.

In the old days the order had women as members as well, their vows were not paid with a single drop of blood, nor with an oath of celibacy. But when the women of the villages gave birth to more and more boys the order changed with the times. Celibacy was the first oath added, women were soon after prohibited from entering the service, as incidents of rape grew in number there on after, the castration was added a few centuries later.

No ships came to the pole, none left. The two villages on the pole continued to work the thin soil, hard work with little gain, barely enough to feed the population of the villages and the order. Intermarriage between the villages had taken it’s toll, a girl born now was a small miracle. The dowry men brought into a marriage was high, paid by the groom’s family to compensate the bride’s family.

“I don’t like the idea of our daughter having to go through five births before having a daughter herself.” that was when labour began and Eric had sent for a midwife. “We need fresh blood.” she added lying down.

“Perhaps there will be some. But not today!” Eric softly squeezed her hand.

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