Journal Entry 15: Delivery

COLD OPENING

JANUAE

Never do I recall being wracked with so much anxiety. Triasha is carrying my child and I could jaunt at any time, leaving her to raise it alone. Yet this does not seem to concern her as she as been aloof with me. I need to speak with her…

NARRATION

JANUAE

Although Triasha was not initially forthcoming on the fact that she was with child, my child, and to that point had not divulged this information to me, I decided I needed to discuss the matter of the child’s future in consideration of my jaunting condition.

MEETING UP WITH TRIASHA

JANUAE

Triasha, why did you not consider it important to divulge this to me? It is only right, considering it is my child as well.

TRIASHA

What would it matter? You said yourself you will be jaunting at some point. There’s nothing you can do for the child once you depart, so it’s just as well.

JANUAE

You’re right. And I feel guilty and responsible for leaving you in this situation. Had I thought there was a possibility this would happen…

TRIASHA

Don’t concern yourself with that. I understood your nature when we had our little tryst. I was okay with that, and I continue to be okay with it. I have no doubt I can raise this child without your help. Please, don’t worry, it’s fine. You can go about your business and-

JANUAE

No. That’s the thing. I can’t. Not so long as I’m here. I may not see the child grow to be an adult, but I can provide the support you need while I’m here, for as long as I remain here.

TRIASHA

That’s not necessary.

JANUAE

But it is! I will support you through your term up until its birth, and I will continue to-

TRIASHA

(laughs)

To what end, Januae? Some sense of obligation you place on yourself? I haven’t placed it upon you, that’s your own doing. The child will be fine. Look around you. Do you believe these halites will not want to help care for the child?

JANUAE

(after a moment)

Are you trying to spare me from becoming attached to the child? From growing to care about it, only to find myself broken the day after I abandon it with a jaunt?

TRIASHA

(beat)

I hadn’t considered that at all. It may be something you want to consider though. Personally, how you deal with this is of no concern to me. I am trying to relieve you of any sense of obligation but you seem to be determined to carry one. Do what you will, Januae. Whatever burden you decide to bear is of your choosing.

NARRATION – TWO WEEKS LATER

JANUAE

These conversations continued with each visit I paid Triasha. And with each visit I could see the child appeared to be gestating at an accelerated rate, one I would not normally expect. Two weeks had gone by since I learned of her state yet her belly had grown to that of a woman entering her third trimester.

The halites were very attentive of her, often monitoring her state and her health, clearly concerned about the rapidly developing state of the unborn child. Triasha assured them she was healthy and that the baby felt fine, but the accelerated development was entirely unnatural. Was this a result of what had been done to me to cause my jaunting? Or was there some strange numenera property in the large quantities of salt that was everywhere in this place?

Only one more week had passed before one of the halites rushed to me to tell me Triasha was in labor. It had been just one month prior that we had become involved intimately and she was already delivering the child? Something was terribly wrong…

I quickly went to her. I tried to be by her side but she would shove me away with surprising strength as she howled with labor pains. It was only twenty minutes later that she gave birth to the child. As the halites retrieved it I could see looks of horror and disgust on their faces. I was terrified to see for myself, afraid of what had become of a child born far too soon. The two women assisting in the birth first looked at Triasha with eyes far too wide, then to me. Triasha all but demanded they bring her the child, but as they balked she became more insistent.

(TRIASHA can be heard demanding they give her her baby in the background)

Finally they hurriedly carried it to its mother’s arms. She received it and began to coo over it, rocking it gently, her eyes wet with tears of elation.

I tentatively stepped to a place where I could get a better view of the child, nervous of being rebuked again yet relieved at her reaction. I was finally able to see it, and when I did I understood the halites’ reaction.

It was not a child, at least not a human child. Triasha was cradling and cooing over what resembled a large… insect, about the size of a human infant.  I could see four spiked back legs followed by a long finned tail, with two front legs each bifurcating into a pair of tentacles. Two pairs of horns curved upward alongside either side of its serrated mandible, and a crystalline crest protruded from the top of its head. The creature writhed slightly in its mother’s… that is, Triasha’s arms, and she stared down at it adoringly and starry-eyed as if it was a human child. I could definitively say I wasn’t the father.

JANUAE

Triasha… what is that?

TRIASHA

(indignant)

It’s my baby.

JANUAE

(cautiously)

Perhaps the halites should examine the- your child to make sure it is-

TRIASHA

My child is fine! No one will be taking my child! Leave me to tend to it!

NARRATION – VISIT WITH GABRA

JANUAE

I left her with that thing, whatever it was. I made haste in going straight to Halite Gabra, to inform her of the twisted outcome of the birth. I found her in the apothecary studio fashioning poultices alongside other women. I urgently disrupted her task and pulled her to the side to gain a private audience with her. I explained the result of the delivery, describing the strange creature that Triasha had birthed after her unusually short gestation period.

GABRA

It was some strange insect-like creature, you say?

JANUAE

As best I could tell. She wouldn’t let me get close enough to it to get a good look at it.

GABRA

(after a pause)

I think I know what we’re dealing with. That baby is not human because Triasha is not human. Based on the birth of the creature and the quick gestation period I suspect she is a Nibovian wife.

JANUAE

A Nibovian’s wife?

GABRA

(correcting)

Nibovian wife. An ultraterrestrial from the Reeval dimension. Their entire purpose is to seduce a man in order to create a dimensional portal to allow an ultraterrestrial creature to enter our dimension. The gestational period is simply the time it takes for the portal to form in their womb. It explains why you had trouble resisting her charms and why she became so disinterested in you after using you to initiate the portal.

JANUAE

So she used me to open a portal through-

GABRA

Yes. She was using you for more than sex. Sex was merely the catalyst to-

JANUAE

Yes, I get it. So you’re saying that thing she’s coddling is an ultraterrestrial?

GABRA

I’m afraid so.

JANUAE

She would not let me near it, but if I can find a way to find out what kind of creature-

GABRA

I would not advise that.

JANUAE

But if we could find out-

GABRA

Stop thinking like a damn Aeon Priest, Januae! You need to leave it alone. I would hate to see you suffer the same fate as Halite Osto.

JANUAE

Who?

GABRA

The ravaged body we found before you arrived was that of Halite Osto. I suspect Triasha secretly seduced him and used him to create a portal. An ultraterrestrial beast must have come through and destroyed him.

JANUAE

But you said you never found any such creature on the island.

GABRA

This is not a small island. Over 160 kilometers long. Plenty of places for it to hide.

JANUAE

Then it is cleary dangerous! Or it soon will be. I need to see what we can do to contain it before it gets to that point.

(gets up to leave)

GABRA

Januae! You need to stay away, for you own safety!

(calling after him)

Januae!

NARRATION – RETURN TO TRIASHA

JANUAE

I returned to Triasha. I questioned her on who she was, or what she was, if she was indeed a Nibovian wife. I asked her about this Reeval dimension, and what the thing was that she held. She would only state her adoration for it, the way any mother would for their newborn child.

(Triasha can be heard saying “Isn’t she lovely? Look how beautiful she is!)

Even more disturbing than that scene was what I believed the creature to be. When I was finally able to study it a bit more, albeit from an authorized distance, I believed it to be a miniature version of a shatarak, a realm crasher! While I had never heard of a Nibovian wife in my studies I had learned of shataraks. I had not recognized it for what it was as they are typically massive creatures, over 9 meters tall. If this was indeed what I suspected it to be, I would be in serious trouble once it reached its full size. These creatures enter our dimension specifically with the intent of destroying anything that creates a transdimensional portal. I suspected strongly it would consider me the portal’s creator and make me its target.

I reported my suspicions to Gabra as to what I suspected the creature was. As a precaution she had the room Triasha was in secured. The door was bolted from the outside and the windows were shuttered and barred. The particular building their room was in was made of stone so we hoped it would hold them until we figured out how to deal with the situation.

It turned out we didn’t have the luxury of time to plan out our next steps. The following day while harvesting salt deposits from the sides of the workshop I could hear screams in the distance. I looked to see women fleeing from the area outside the basilica. The realm crasher trodded forth, standing easily 7 meters tall, where it had not been previously, a true to scale version of the miniature one that had been birthed by Triasha.

Gabra began shouting to the halites warning them to flee and take cover. I knew any refuge would be useless against this creature as it had simply used dimensional travel to escape its makeshift prison with the Nibovian wife. How had it grown so quickly? It could not have been that large when it was still in the room with her.

While it was prudent for everyone else to seek safety I knew it was only after me. It was quite possible another shatarak had come through previously and killed Halite Osto, then exited this dimension after having accomplished that. There was no guarantee it would leave this island once it killed me, but I would gamble on that likelihood. I would have to give myself to the beast to spare anyone else here from getting hurt or killed by it.

I turned in the direction of the shatarak and broke into a sprint toward it, ignoring Gabra’s protests. Halites ran in the opposite direction as I made my way toward it. Soon enough I stood before the creature as it towered over me, the twin tentacles of its upper limbs twisting as the head tilted down, pointing to where I stood. I yelled up at the creature, goading it on, and a tentacle reached down and wound around my body as I could feel myself lifted from the ground.

It is said one finds a moment of peace and clarity when they stare directly into the face of their own demise. I indeed found myself in that moment, and with it came the notion that I could focus my will and intention enough to jaunt. Despite the number of times I had futilely attempted to do this very thing, I felt I actually could call the power forth at that moment, hopefully taking the shatarak away with me. As the beast raised me to its jagged maw, the tentacles gradually squeezing consciousness from me, I felt the trigger within my being, all the nanites vibrating and aligning to create the effect that would bring me to some other place. It was working! I was jaunting and I hoped to take the damned beast with me!

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