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In the small apartment over a tidy cobbler's workshop waits an anxious man. He sits, then stands near the bedroom door, then paces. When will it end? The cries are growing louder. Surely something should have happened by now. The man waits in agony, listening to his wife's cries of pain and exertion. Certainly it can not go on much longer. He walks to the door of the bedroom and considers looking in on her, but thinks better of it. The midwife has instructed him to stay out; his wife must not be distracted. He paces some more.
The Shard had been right. As she visited their small town late last summer, she had told the man and his wife they would conceive. They thought it nearly impossible, for they had been trying and praying for the blessing of a child for nearly 15 years with no success. Could it be? Had Selune finally heard their prayers after all this time?
The Shard had come to this little town, badly in need of a new pair of boots, which brought her to the man's door. When she learned of the couple's problem she privately wondered if they might be the ones she had been sent to find. Late that night, in the moonlight, the woman sat and prayed. At the breakfast table the next day she explained to the couple that Selune would help them. The time of the Full Moon was approaching, and during the Festival of the Full Moon the man and woman were to participate in the Rite of Fertility.
The Festival was two weeks off. The couple gave thanks to Selune for the Shard's message and began preparations for the Rite, traveling with the Shard to nearby towns and villages to find the proper herbs. They cleaned the apartment from top to bottom and decorated it with fragrant wildflowers. Every night they prayed to Selune until finally the time had come for the Rite of Fertility.
When the Ritual was complete, the couple waited with anticipation. Three weeks later it became apparent that the Rite of Fertility had been successful, and the man's wife was indeed with child. They gave thanks to Selune, and to the Shard who left shortly thereafter, and began to prepare their home for the baby to come.
He paces the length of the room twice, then pours a cup of tea, leaving it untouched on the kitchen table. The newly crafted cradle rests in the corner of the room, bearing runes and symbols meant to bring Selune's blessings on the newborn baby, waiting to hold its coming owner and rock the child to sleep. The man walks over to look at it, and says a silent prayer of thanks to the Moon Goddess.
Suddenly a final cry of pain and exhaustion rings out through the small apartment,louder and longer than any before it. Then an almost tangible silence fills the air, whichseems to the man to last an eternity. Finally, there comes another cry, this one tiny and full of newborn life. A rush of emotions washes over him as he takes two long strides to the door of the bedroom. Is it safe to go in? He raises his hand to knock when the door opens, and the plump midwife is there, with a weary smile. She bids him come in, while she exits the bedroom and closes the door behind him.
A single smoking candle stands on the bedside table, and moonlight floods the room from the open window to his left. The man walks over to the bed where his wife lays in exhaustion, holding their tiny baby in her arms. She glows with motherly pride as she introduces her husband, overwhelmed with unrestrained joy, to their beautiful and perfect new daughter.
"Isn't she the most beautiful miracle you've ever seen, Haron?" The man nods to his wife, still unable to speak through the rush of overwhelming joy, placing his seemingly enormous hand on his daughter's tiny head. "I want to call her Lirela, after my grandmother. And look. She has a mark." The woman shows her husband a birthmark on the child's chest in the shape of a crescent moon. "What do you suppose it means?"
Haron stares in wonder at the oddly shaped mark. Though he does not know exactly what it means, he knows this child is special, that she is destined to make a unique mark on this world. He is once again filled with awe at the new miracle. He takes his wife in his arms as she leans heavily against him and begins to feed the baby. The woman drifts off into a dreamless, exhausted sleep, while her husband sits in amazed wonderment at the blessings bestowed upon himself and his beautiful wife by Selune, Our Lady of Silver.
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