Together on the Longest Night

“No, really, it’s fine. I will take her. I’m a wizard, this is paper writing material,” Solfyre gestured for Hakon to give her back the malefic baby that was latched onto his shoulder.

“Are you sure?”

“Yep,” Solfyre shrugged and again gestured for the baby. Hakon gave her over and immediately the little desiccated corpse of a child bit into her flesh. Clenching her teeth and letting a spell wash over her, she bid them a goodnight and left with the little creature.

Once in her own space Solfyre looked down at the creature and sighed. She had, like Hakon, promised the malefic baby’s mother, a ghost forced to wander on repeat and make the decision to sacrifice her child endlessly, that she would care for the creature. She promised, too, that the ghost had made a hard decision and the sacrifice wasn’t in vain, though she didn’t believe that for a moment.

“You didn’t deserve this, little one. Truly the old gods are evil if your innocence is the only thing that may sate their appetite,” Solfyre said as she climbed into bed with the horrifying thing. She could not bring herself to be disgusted and fearful of the thing, whom she had playfully named ‘Wulfrica’ since so many believed she was betrothed to Wulfric and it seemed a fitting name at the time of the child’s discovery. She had to make light of such a gruesome story, didn’t she? Sometimes a little light is all one has left and she certainly understood that to her core.

Pulling the covers around herself and the coo’ing malefic baby, Solfyre held her close and told her a story.

“I was also abandoned. My mother, god rest her misguided soul, was a runespeaker. Her 18th birthday she rolled the runes of fate and learned that her children would cause her death. Fearing this, she vowed never to have children—but supposedly fell in love, though no one knows who to. She birthed not one, but two children, my twin and I. I was born just after dawn and my sister was born before me around midnight. That’s what my mother told us, anyways, when we finally met her after 20 years apart. After she had us, she was hysterical and truly feared we would be the end of her, but she could not bring herself to kill us. Fearing backlash from the community or perhaps that our father would try and change her mind, she left in the night, but not before branding both my sister and I so that she would be able to see us coming if we ever returned to her,” Solfyre sighed, “she gave us no names, only hot iron that seared our flesh then she dropped us very far from one another. I was picked up by a lovely couple who took me in and loved me as their own. I love them dearly. My sister went to an orphanage but fate had other plans for her and she rose from her station.”

Solfyre smiles a little, “I’m sorry that no one found and saved you, but I am hopeful that I can be the answer to that. I will not sacrifice you to a dark god nor will I leave your side tonight. How about we give you a more appropriate name? One that isn’t a joke, yes?”

“Hmmm…. Adalgild, how about that? ‘Noble sacrifice’. You can’t very well be Quirinsdöttir so how about Solfyresdöttir? Adagild Solfyresdöttir. Ada for short. How is that? It’ll be my secret gift to you. A true name. It was my adoptive parent’s greatest gift to me,” She speaks and the child seems to respond with some sort of babble. Whether it is affirmation of choice or just babbles, Solfyre nods along anyways.

The night passes and Solfyre falls asleep in the early hours of the morning. Just as dawn breaks over the horizon, signaling the end of the longest night in Njordr, she is awakened as Adagild lets out a giggle and touches her face. Solfyre recognizes the gesture instantly and touches her forehead to the baby’s as she slowly fades away in the morning light. “Goodbye,” Solfyre whispers and suddenly the weight of the creature is completely gone. She sighs heavily, staying quiet in bed for a while recounting the events of the night, rolls out of bed with hardened resolve to continue forward, and begins her day.

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