Who in the World You Will Turn Out to Be

Endskel 2, 1013

The baby was kicking. Garnet was taking that as the Lord telling her that she deserved a chance to rest, have a lie-down, do nothing for the space of an hour or two.

She had a month to go — maybe more, maybe less, depending on when the baby was ready to make his way out — and as far as Garnet’s mother-in-law was concerned, that meant that Garnet ought to be resting at every opportunity she had. She shouldn’t be running around all the time, organizing rehearsals for the masque, supervising them, conferring with Dannie on the costumes and her husband Robert on the sets. Even Lynn thought that Garnet ought to be taking it far easier than she was, and had proven how strongly she felt that by simply not telling Garnet about rehearsals or appointments that she thought Garnet could stand to miss. Given how Lynn of all people ought to understand how infantilizing and infuriating it was to be treated as being incapable of making one’s own decisions, that was saying something.

But Lynn … didn’t understand.

Lynn, for all her issues and anxiety over her pregnancies and her babies, had her fears focused on one thing: the baby’s sex. She did not have a nagging demon of self-doubt that came to prey on her whenever she had an empty moment. Or, well, she did–but a different one. She had Sir Bors’s voice in her head. Garnet had Morgause’s.

Sir Bors would have never — as Morgause had — criticized Lynn for being too attentive or caring with a niece or nephew, as Morgause had done to Garnet. He never would have sniffed, “You’re spoiling that child,” when Lynn tickled or cooed over her niece. He wouldn’t have rolled his eyes when Lynn clapped over that niece’s first words or first steps. Mothering, in Sir Bors’s mind, was one thing that women were allowed to be good at, and he would have greeted any enthusiasm for the task from Lynn with encouragement.

Morgause had not.

Garnet sighed and rubbed her belly, feeling the way the fabric of her dress stretched and strained against the baby’s kicking feet. She hoped the baby was a boy, as Lynn had hoped that her baby — all her babies — were boys. But not for the same reasons. Garnet refused to get worked up about heirs, not when Morgan told her in no uncertain terms that there was nothing she could do to influence the sex of her baby one way or the other. But … Garnet thought that maybe, just maybe, it would be nice to have a boy before she had a girl — if she ever had a girl. Even Morgause had never seen anything wrong with showering attention on boys. If Garnet could get through her inevitable mistakes as a new mother without having Morgause’s voice criticizing her every move, even the ones that everyone sane said were a good idea … oh, how wonderful that would be!

“Oh, for the love of Wright! Stop it! Just stop it!”

The baby jolted in surprise and stopped kicking; Garnet sat up–well, as quickly as she could. Was that–Delyth? What was wrong?

She leveraged herself off the sofa and waddled to the door of her bedroom just in time to see Delyth pound up the stairs and race down the corridor to the room she and Dilys still shared.

“Delyth!” That was Eilwen, sounding as anguished as Garnet had ever heard her. “Delyth, honey, stop! Come talk to me!”

Garnet watched as Eilwen rushed up the stairs. As soon as she reached the top, Delyth reached the playroom door. She darted through and slammed it shut behind her.

Eilwen stood at the top of the stairs, hands wringing together, shoulders a quivering mass. Garnet hesitated for a split second, then walked up to her. “Eilwen?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”

She didn’t add, “with Delyth.” It seemed more polite.

Eilwen spun with a gasp. “Oh, Garnet! I thought …” She sighed. “Goodness me. I don’t know what I thought.” She smiled, ruefully, as if she was asking Garnet to share in the joke … but there was no hiding the sadness and worry in her eyes. Eilwen was simply not that good an actress.

And it didn’t take long for Eilwen’s eyes to dart away from Garnet, once again toward the playroom door.

“Eilwen?” Garnet asked again.

“I don’t know if I should …” Eilwen started, the rest of the sentence dead before it reached her mouth. “No–no. Yes. I should tell you. You …” Eilwen sighed. “You should know — and Lamorak too — but not yet. Lamorak, that is.”

“Er …”

“It’s Delyth, you see,” Eilwen sighed. “It’s her … monthly visitor.”

Garnet’s heart dropped. Put a girl of Delyth’s age, unmarried, in the same sentence as “monthly visitor” and absolutely no good could come of it. But Delyth didn’t even have a sweetheart — not that Garnet knew of, at any rate!

So she protested. “She’s — she’s been rehearsing awfully hard for her role. In the masque. All that swordplay — I’ve heard that physical exertion can make one’s monthly visitor … not visit.”

Eilwen shook her head. “Would that were all it was. No … Garnet … Delyth hasn’t gotten her monthly visitor.”

“But I was just saying–”

“At all.” Eilwen’s lip started to tremble. “My poor baby …”

Garnet blinked. “At all?” That didn’t even make sense! Delyth was eighteen — closer to nineteen than eighteen! Some girls got it late, it was true, but this was very late. It wasn’t even like she had developed other things, like her breasts, late — as far as Garnet could recall, Delyth and Dilys had started breast development at around the same time.

Eilwen nodded.

Garnet bit her lip. “Have … have you talked to anybody about this?” she asked. “A doctor? Lady Clarice, maybe?”

“Oh, goodness, yes. Not–not with Delyth,” she admitted, “I didn’t want to alarm her if this was just … just a fluke. But …”

“But?”

Eilwen sighed. “Oh, Lady Clarice asked me dozens of questions about Delyth’s diet, her exercise, the diseases she had as a child … and at the end, she couldn’t … she wouldn’t give me an answer.”

“Wouldn’t?” asked Garnet. That … well, that did sound like Clarice in some ways. Leona was an optimist, but Clarice was worse: an optimist who knew quite well what the worst might be, but who wasn’t going to tell you until she was quite, quite sure that’s what it was.

“She said,” Eilwen sighed, “to wait another year — until Delyth is twenty — before making any concrete decisions, but we’d best plan for what might happen if she doesn’t get it.”

Garnet winced. She knew damned well what that meant. Women needed their monthly courses to be fertile. Women — at least, noblewomen — needed to prove their fertility in order to be married. If Delyth couldn’t do that …

Oh, damn. “What about Morgan? Have you talked to her?”

“Don’t think I haven’t thought of it,” muttered Eilwen. “But …”

Garnet could feel the prickles on the back of her neck, the hackles that had been formed during her mother’s trial, when she became the pariah of Camford, rising. But she would stay calm. Eilwen meant well. “But?”

Eilwen smiled. “You know your aunt better than anyone, Garnet. Do you think she would talk to me without Delyth being there?”

If Delyth was seven or eight? Absolutely. But seventeen or eighteen? There would be no way. Morgan would insist on talking to Delyth before she said a word to Eilwen.

“I didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily, you see …” Eilwen murmured.

Garnet glanced at the playroom door. “I think she’s already worried.”

“I know. I know. My poor baby …” Eilwen looked over her shoulder, also at the playroom door. “I don’t even know what to say to her …”

That was when Garnet said something she regretted, not five minutes, but five seconds later. “Maybe I could talk to her?”

Eilwen gasped and turned to Garnet. “Oh–oh, could you? Would you? She looks up to you so much!”

That was when the regret kicked in.

“You see, I’m afraid I …” Eilwen shook her head. “I thought she would want to know the worst,” she sighed. “Delyth usually does. So I–I told her the worst …”

But sometimes the worst was too much to face all at once. Eilwen ought to have known that. Delyth wouldn’t — not when she hadn’t had much “worst” to face in her life. Garnet definitely knew that. How many times had she faced down such a “worst”?

Still, it had been a simple miscalculation, an honest mistake. Garnet couldn’t fault Eilwen for that. And when Eilwen was looking at her so hopefully …

Well, Garnet couldn’t backtrack. Which was how she found herself, two minutes later, knocking at the door of the twins’ bedroom. “Delyth?”

“Go away!”

That, Garnet supposed, was to be expected. So she ignored it. “May I come in?”

“Why do you think I’d want to see you and your–your fat stomach?”

Garnet glanced down. Well. Nobody ever said that Delyth wasn’t honest. “I’ll ignore that remark if you answer the question.”

“NO!”

Was than an answer, Garnet wondered, or was it a refusal to answer? Did it matter? “You know I’m perfectly capable of magicking the lock open.”

“You can’t! It’s iron! You can’t magic iron!”

Well–yes and no. No witch could magic an iron blade not to cut, for instance. But any witch could use magic to make iron move — and what was unlocking a lock, but making certain parts of it move in concern with other parts?

It was also just as easy to stick one’s wand inside the lock, especially the big, easily-picked locks of Dyfed Keep, wiggle it around a bit, and wait for the lock to click. This was certainly not the first time Garnet had used that approach, and it would probably not be the last.

When she walked in, she found Delyth curled up on her bed, trembling very much like a young woman trying very hard not to cry.

Garnet’s heart cracked inside of her. How could she be other than sympathetic? How many times had she lain just like that on her own bed, when the pain threatened to rise up and choke her from within? And she hadn’t faced what Delyth was facing. When Garnet feared the future, she feared not having one. She didn’t fear having one so limited, so alien, so unlike anything you had ever imagined for yourself.

Perhaps that was scarier than the thought of merely dying. Perhaps that was more heartbreaking, too, because when you were as young as Delyth — as Garnet had been – there was a core of you convinced, however stupidly, that you were never going to die.

So when Garnet spoke, it was more gently than she had been intending. She had thought Delyth would have had her fill of gentleness with Eilwen, but perhaps one could never have one’s fill of gentleness. “Delyth, you know you can talk to me. I just want to help.”

Delyth sniffed. “Why would you want to help me?”

Garnet jumped. She never thought — she never imagined that other people thought that. Felt that. She’d thought it a thousand times herself — whenever Leona or Clarice or, heaven knew, Heloise, showed her the least bit of kindness or concern. Sometimes she thought it even when Morgan, Jessie, Tommy and Kay were being kind. Even Lamorak. She had always thought it was just her who imagined such things.

Perhaps … perhaps she had been wrong.

“Well,” Garnet replied, slowly, “sometimes, when I was … in need … other people went out of their way to help me. And since I can’t guarantee I’ll have the chance to help them back, the least I can do is help someone else, and hope that the kindness finds its way forward.”

Delyth froze. Then she scrambled to a sitting position, wiping her eyes. “That–has to be the most philosophical thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“I know, I don’t quite believe I said it, either. May I sit?”

Delyth shrugged and scooted over, leaving a grateful Garnet to take advantage of the room.

“I suppose Mama told you everything,” Delyth muttered. “Like how I can’t get married. Ever. Or …” She looked again at Garnet’s stomach. “Have babies.”

“I am quite sure your mother didn’t say that to you.” Eilwen might think that Delyth would want to hear the worst, but she’d never leave Delyth without any kind of hope.

“Why are you taking her side?”

Garnet raised one eyebrow. “What makes you think there’s a side to take here?” she asked. “Or if there is one, what makes you think we’re not on your side?”

“Don’t!” Delyth snapped. “Good Lord! The–the last thing I want is casual sophistry! And don’t look at me like that, I know it’s something Papa would say, but–but it’s true!” she wailed.

Casual sophistry. That was Pellinore’s term for any line of argument that wasn’t really an argument, but sounded like one — one that wasn’t intended to grapple with ideas, but was meant to put off or confuse the other arguer. Garnet almost shook her head, but didn’t. Still, it was amazing — she’d learned more about arguments and the life of the mind in not quite eleven months of being married to Lamorak than she had in four years at Camford.

So, even though she hadn’t meant them as casual sophistry, Garnet stopped the rhetorical questions. “We are on your side, Delyth,” she replied, “and I for one think you certainly shouldn’t give up any kind of hope until you’ve seen Morgan.”

Delyth bit her lip. “Will … will she see me?”

“She will if I ask her to.”

“But–but what can she do about–about me not having courses?”

“Honestly? I have no idea,” Garnet shrugged. “But I do know that if something’s wrong that can be fixed with Light magic, she’ll fix it.”

“You don’t even know what she can do …”

“That doesn’t mean anything. I’m not a healer. If — if somebody you cared about had a broken arm, or was ill, you wouldn’t not send for Lady Clarice just because you didn’t understand what she could do.”

Delyth sniffed. “I could probably figure out how to set a broken arm.”

Since Delyth had been present for the birth of two her nephews and was apparently unscarred by the experience … yes, she probably could if she wanted to. “Probably not in five minutes,” Garnet retorted. “And I can’t figure out what Morgan could do to help you in five minutes.”

“But you said … if Light magic could fix it — what if it can’t?”

Perhaps Eilwen was more right than she knew. Delyth did want to know the worst. She might react badly to it, but she still wanted to know it. So Garnet shrugged again and asked her, “What did your mother say?”

“She said … she said she and Papa would always provide for me, make sure I’m — taken care of, but they wouldn’t lie for me.”

“Meaning?”

“They won’t tell anybody that I’m fertile so he’ll marry me.”

Garnet could see why Delyth hated to hear this. Nobody wanted to be told that she was being conspired against — especially if the next words out of the conspirators’ mouths was that it was for her own good. But in this case, Garnet thought it might be. Infertility, when it was the clear fault of one partner or the other, was one thing that the Church granted annulments for with relatively little fuss. If it came out that Delyth and her family had known she was infertile ahead of time and had actively concealed that knowledge … they’d grant the annulment in a heartbeat, and who knew what might happen to Delyth when they did that?

But Garnet would not add insult to injury by pointing that out. She chose a different tack. “Delyth, any man who would leave you because of your fertility or lack thereof doesn’t deserve to have you.”

“Are you kidding?” Delyth groaned. “Garnet! You know better! Nobody in his right mind would stay with me if I couldn’t give him children and we both knew it! The–the best I’d be able to become is a — a Rosette!” Delyth spat.

Garnet blinked; she had no idea that Delyth even knew the name of Rosette. How had she found that out? … Then again, it might not have been all that hard for a girl with a sharp mind like Delyth’s. All she had to do was ask the right people.

But besides that … Delyth had a point. What was marriage for, if not to create and raise children?

No. That wasn’t just it–there had to be more than that. A marriage’s worth had to be measured by more than the number and health of the children who came out of it. Look at Sir Bors and Lady Claire — they had more children than any other noble family in the kingdom, and nobody would call theirs a good marriage!

“St. Herb and St. Coral couldn’t have children — of their own,” Garnet pointed out. “And they were happy, at least until St. Herb died.”

“They took in St. Mary-Sue …”

“There are plenty of children that need good homes,” Garnet pressed. “If–if worst came to worst–”

“Not if he was an heir,” Delyth sighed. “We couldn’t — not if he was an heir to anything. He’d need a son of his own.”

Garnet was silent. The stories never said much, one way or the other, about the source of the Oldies’ wealth — only that they had it, and that St. Herb refused to put St. Coral aside even when she couldn’t bear him a child. The stories also never said when the Oldies knew that they would not be able to have children of their own. Was it before the marriage? Or was it only after years of dashed and disappointed hopes?

“So marry someone who’s not an heir,” Garnet replied. “Your father can give you a good dowry. Your sister will be married to a prince. Your sister-in-law is cousin who the whole royal family. You could probably find a man who would be willing to trade in the chance for children of his own for all those connections.”

“Aye, and with my luck he’d be like Mordred–er, no offense …”

“None taken,” Garnet replied drily.

Delyth took that as her cue to continue. “What are the odds that I’d find a man who wasn’t an heir, didn’t mind about the children, and was halfway decent?”

There was only one way to answer that. “When you add in the fact that he would get to marry you in the bargain … probably better than you think.”

Delyth shot her a look that bordered on contemptuous. And … Garnet could not quite manage to disagree with it. She heard how inadequate everything she was saying was. No children in the marriage, ever — that was a huge obstacle for any man to overcome. Many never would. Plenty probably couldn’t.

Unless … “There’s always a widower,” Garnet pointed out. “With a child. I’m serious,” she added.

“So my options are never marry, or marry someone who’s about a hundred and doesn’t need any more children. Wonderful,” Delyth snapped. “And …” She ducked her head. “What if I want children?”

What if she did? What if Garnet didn’t have an answer for that?

“Your options are not a graybeard or nothing. Your options are talk to Morgan, see what’s wrong and if it can be fixed — or work yourself up over something that might not be an insurmountable problem. Right now, those are your choices. Make that decision, and the rest you can deal with later.”

“But what if Lady Morgan can’t fix it?” Delyth challenged.

“Then … then you’ll at least know that you did everything you could — and that will make your path going forward easier.”

“Will it?” Delyth asked. “Truly? Does that ever make it easier?”

Garnet hesitated. She thought of all that had gone wrong with her mother. Had Garnet truly done all she could have? Had that truly made anything easier?

And then … she thought of Lamorak. Of all that had gone right with him. She’d done everything she could to win him. And … she’d succeeded. And as for her mother …

Maybe Garnet hadn’t done everything possible. But she’d done everything she could. Maybe it hadn’t done any good, but that wasn’t her fault. She’d done everything she could, and perhaps more than she should.

Knowing that did help.

So Garnet turned to Delyth and gave her an answer that was only one word — but was all Garnet could say.

“Yes.”

And with that, they would both have to be content.

For now.

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13 thoughts on “Who in the World You Will Turn Out to Be

  1. Poor Delyth. Oh, Garnet, I hope you look back on this whole thing and see you did good. You did something that Morgause would never have done, for another young woman. I like that her philosophy here was pay it forward. I wish Garnet could see that she’s about fifty times the person the wicked bitch of the north-west was.

    I do hope that Morgan can help, or that Delyth can find a niche that doesn’t involve having kids if she can’t. Hey, there are people out there who don’t want kids for various reasons. Or maybe they could find somebody like Lettie to help them out. I’d just let the Octavius of the situation in on it, if they at all could. Garnet’s not too sure about the one that she’s having after all.

    It’s one of those places where I wish Delyth could sit down and talk with Betsy and Leah and Joyce. She’d find out that there’s a lot more to being a mom than carrying the kid around for nine months. Besides, this is Albion, I have every faith in the gods of fertility. πŸ˜‰

    • I wish that somebody else, other than Delyth (who is a nice person and all, but who is kind of having her own issues right now) could have seen what Garnet did here. Not just Eilwen, who didn’t really see the conversation and who already has a fairly high opinion of Garnet, either. Somebody who could point that out to Garnet, somebody who Garnet could listen to.

      But I think the fact that she’s able to pay it forward, that she can look beyond herself and help out somebody else, is a good sign for how her healing is going. πŸ™‚

      Morgan may or may not be able to help, and Delyth may be able to find somebody who loves her and is willing to marry her even if Morgan can’t. So it’s not like Delyth has lost all chances at happiness. And talking with Betsy, Leah and Joyce would probably be a great idea — I’m just not sure it would necessarily occur to Delyth or her family (though it might occur to Morgan). I will have to see. πŸ™‚

      Thanks, andavri!

  2. Aww, poor Delyth. 😦 I can’t blame her for being frustrated, particularly given the time and place, and the fact that (if I recall correctly) Dilys started rather early (not that she should be comparing herself to Dilys, even if they are twins). But hey–it’s not unheard of for women to not get their periods until eighteen or later, even if it’s not common, so I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a “problem” just yet, at least from a biological/medicinal standpoint. Also, while I’m certainly no expert… women do have a finite number of eggs, so perhaps starting later will also allow Delyth to have children a little later than most of her peers (not that anyone wants to be chasing around a teenager at sixty, but you know, evens out)? Don’t quote me on that, though. Not a doctor.

    And if there is a problem, hopefully it’s something that Morgan can help with. And even if Morgan can’t… what about the fae? The fae love kids and will assist in the making of in any way possible. Plus the fae have connections to George and Ravenna, who are both big-hearted people who may still feel bad about what happened with Delyth there (I don’t think either of them did anything wrong, exactly, but perhaps one of the two of them does), so maybe if they bring up Delyth’s woes to their otherworldly contacts…

    And hey, Garnet’s right–just because you can’t produce biological children doesn’t mean you can never be a parent. And it certainly doesn’t mean that no one is ever going to want to marry her! If she meets a guy who genuinely loves her for her, he won’t care. Maybe they’ll adopt some kids. Or pets. Or maybe they’ll just decide that having each other and their respective outside interests is enough.

    In any case, I’m glad that at least her parents aren’t getting all “Get thee to the nunnery” on her ass, even if some part of Pellinore is likely thinking with the Diplomat Hat. I can’t imagine that Delyth would be happy with the church, even if she wouldn’t be as outright miserable as Angelique.

    You know, I think Garnet needed this talk as much as Delyth did. She is more than capable of being a good mother to a girl, and when she has her doubts, I hope she can look back on this for reassurance.

    • Dilys did start relatively early — I want to say around 13/14? Damn I wish I had gone to a dating system earlier. It would make figuring this stuff out a heck of a lot easier.

      Oh well, water under the bridge now.

      “[N]ot that anyone wants to be chasing around a teenager at sixty” — Claire de Ganis wants me to let you know that she heartily agrees with that sentiment, not that it’s likely to do her much good. πŸ˜‰ But you do bring up a good point, how Delyth might be fertile longer than her peers. πŸ™‚

      But like I said, her chances at happiness have hardly vanished. Her life might be different than what she was planning. (Or she might get her period in the next year or so and have nothing to worry about.) But she can still be happy.

      And as for “Get Thee to a Nunnery” … I think Pellinore would have the nunnery in mind, because a) he would rate Delyth’s chances of getting a good husband with no fertility as approximately zero — he loves his daughter, but he knows that many men of his social station aren’t going to look at a woman who can’t give them biological children — and b) he figures Delyth might be happier in a nunnery than as forever being the maiden aunt. But he won’t force it. He was very nearly forced into a monastery when he was much younger than Delyth is now, and he won’t do that to his daughter.

      As for Eilwen’s opinion … she got annoyed when Pellinore didn’t want to let the twins go out to the Tricross or let Lamorak marry Garnet, so what do you think she thinks? πŸ˜‰

      I hope that Garnet can remember this someday, too. πŸ™‚ It might give her some hope.

      Thanks, Van!

      • Just out of curiosity, does Dilys and/or Dindrane know about Delyth’s concerns? I mean, I would assume that Dilys would be the first person to know if Delyth had gotten her period, but maybe Dilys wouldn’t see it that way and would just think that Delyth has a right to her privacy and would just assume that she had gotten it at some point.

        I reread a few of the more recent Delyth posts (I sort of am getting a little too emotionally involved in this because I have something quasi-similar going on with some other aspect of life–nothing to do with my health or body, and I suppose something that I at least have some degree of control over, but nonetheless something that fills me with a hopeless and powerless dread of being left in the dust forever) and maybe my lenses are just tinted by this post, but she does seem to have hints of a Sad Clown or a Stepford Smiler in her, both in her own POVs and others’, even if they don’t seem to notice. I suspect that Cherry is at least aware of this on some level, particularly since she met Delyth at a later age and probably wouldn’t have developed a blind spot in regards to her. I’m also wondering now whether any of her new acquaintances at Camford will pick up on it (why yes, I am still semi-randomly shipping Delyth/Beau for no apparent reason other than his status as the only single nobleman who isn’t Elyan, though after his earlier appearance, I think I could also get behind him and Cherry if those are your plans).

      • Nooooooooooooooooooooo no no no on the biology front. Women have a limited number of eggs but it’s still way, way, way more than they will ever be able to go through in a lifetime of periods. Menopause happens because of age, not because you’ve run out of eggs — essentially you’ll never run out of eggs, it’s just that hormonal changes render the rest of those eggs useless. So there is no logic to Delyth being able to stay fertile longer than her peers just because she started her period later.

  3. When I got to the part where we read that Delyth is nearly 19 and hasn’t had her first period I began being nagged by questions. Is that possible? If you don’t have one by a certain age, does that mean you never will? Does that mean she is truly infertile? Can she be mistaken….like with one that is so light it won’t stain her clothes? Mid-chapter I couldn’t take it anymore. I went on an internet search for answers.

    It is possible to never have a first period, and for all sorts of reasons: genetic, no uterus, uterus blocked inside, lack of certain hormones, and my absolute favorite – having less than 17% fat. In the U.S. this effect .03% of women. In modern day with modern medical treatment, almost all cases can be resolved…as in by the end of treatment the woman gets her monthly curse like the rest of us.

    I did go back and read the rest of the chapter.

    Well done. In this day and age, and this area of the world, this is a rare condition. In medieval times it would be so serious. I love that you brought this into the story, no matter how it turns out for poor Delyth.

    If worst comes to worst I think Delyth will be fine. She didn’t want to decide about marriage for a long time. She wanted to flirt and kiss and not worry. She values other part of her life than getting married and having babies. This would be much harder if it happened to another character. Except the nuns…I don’t think this would be so horrible for one of them.

    • I ended up looking around too, and while I don’t know the limitations of Morgan’s healing magic, I’m guessing she could deal with uterine blockage, at least, or any other sort of structural issue as long as the structures are there in the first place? I don’t know if she could magic a uterus out of thin air, or if she could anything about something that was beyond the organs, like an intersex condition (which would also bring up some ethical questions about treatment in a day and age that knows nothing about intersexuality; I’m guessing Morgan would leave that entirely up to Delyth and not push her in any direction). I’m also guessing she could deal with hormonal issues if it was simply about fixing a malfunctioning gland, but maybe not if constant supplements were required because… hey it is the Times and while the connections between certain functions and certain glands may have been made by some skilled healers, I doubt anyone in Albion actually knows what hormones are and how to create supplements.

      But I guess we’ll find out exactly what Morgan’s magic can and can’t do whenever a follow-up post comes up.

      My main concern for Delyth at this point, while she doesn’t necessarily want a husband and babies right away even if she does want them eventually, is the traditional idea of menarche being the start of womanhood (“Your little girl is a woman now” and whatnot). I wonder if this is maybe part of why she has always sort of acted a little old for her age, to prove that no, she’s not a child. And she’s not–she’s certainly never shown any immaturity beneath her age level, and more often than not, she is very mature. And luckily for Delyth, since Garnet would have probably been one of the first to know if there was, there doesn’t seem to be much of a way for the public to know… in Albion.

      Can you imagine if she was the daughter of one of those uber-traditional Glasonlander lords, though? The ones who marry their daughters off at the first hint of blood down there? Especially if she had a twin who was bleeding and married off at… twelve, thirteen, whenever Dilys started. That would get people talking. 😦

      I wonder if Delyth will end up getting it at Camford. With Eilwen not there, I guess we’d get to see how Dilys and/or Cherry and/or Ravenna are/is under that kind of pressure. But I’ve decided that I won’t worry about her never getting it until we’ve heard from Morgan. Actually, when my mother first brought up menstruation with me, she told me that one of her friends didn’t get her first period until she was twenty-four, and this woman did end up having biological children. So while such cases are rare, I won’t give up hope for Delyth yet.

    • I did some looking up, too, and I have a pretty good idea for why Delyth hasn’t had her period. But I’m not going to tell you. πŸ˜‰ I always like to leave an opening for me to change my mind later.

      But yeah, there are lots of reasons, and sometimes women just get them relatively late for no apparent reason. (Although I am a bit envious of your mother’s friend, Van — well, not so much if she had to go through tons of medical treatments to get that first period.) So we’ll just have to wait and see for Delyth. She’ll probably meet with Morgan sometime next round — if only because the rest of this round is completely booked.

      Van, you bring up a really interesting point about Delyth’s maturity — I never thought about it like that. But she did spend most of her childhood racing to keep up with/beat Dilys to milestones, mostly because Delyth was the younger and smaller twin at first. Having Dilys get that all-important first period first probably did spur her maturation in that way.

      At least Delyth is mature enough now that nobody will ever question whether she’s a thinking adult once she gets a few more years under her belt.

      And it IS a good thing that information about a girl’s first period is on a strict need-to-know basis in Albion. (Mom and Dad? Need to know. Betrothed[‘s parents]? Need to know. Everybody else? Does not need to know!) Nobody else has any idea about Delyth’s fertility, and nobody else needs to.

      Something tells me that Dilys/Cherry/Ravenna will be fine if Delyth ends up getting it at Camford. It’s not like Delyth hasn’t had the talk (I think Eilwen would have given it to her when Dilys got her period, since she figured Dilys would probably tell Delyth anyway). There would just be the initial awkwardness of, “Um … yeah … anybody have some medieval feminine hygiene products I can borrow?”

      Thanks Chicklet, thanks Van!

  4. Well, at least Albionese medicine doesn’t seem to have too much in common with Galenic medicine, which states that blood is the passionate humour and the reason women ooze so much of it once they’re old enough to bear children is because of a dangerous excess of passion. Particularly holy women (such as those on a nun’s rather meager diet and heavy workload) often had their periods disappear completely even if they’d had regular ones before taking the veil, generally confirming that a woman who had or developed a cooler, drier nature (like a man; men were seen as dispassionate and in control of their bodies– or at least the noble, educated men who actually counted) wouldn’t bleed.

    For a peasant girl who spends her days working off everything she eats and the more sedentary winter months eating smaller meals to make stored food last, a period waiting until seventeen or eighteen probably wouldn’t have been unusual. Today, an athletic high school student might not get her period, or get regular periods, until her metabolism shifts out of Teenager Mode.

    And then again, with good nutrition, a lack of interest in sports, and a family history of early bloomers, menarche can hit when mine did– I was ten. And my grandmother had her fifth and final child at 43 (Nana was born in 1912).

    Periods suck. The stigma sucks, the symptoms suck, the mess sucks. Getting them sucks. Not getting them sucks. Losing them permanently sucks. Their failure to show up on schedule sucks.

    It’s arguably better than going into heat like most mammals do, but you’d have to make a hell of an argument against going into heat.

    • I keep wanting to bring in more Galenic medicine theory, but … I have a hard time seeing Clarice being able to swallow the whole passion-thing. And Morgan? Morgan would be ROFL-ing until the cows come home.

      But somebody like Brother Andy, or the doctors at Camford … that could be interesting …

      That’s a good point about nutrition, workload, etc. — it’s part of the reason why I hesitated before writing this post. I think there is documentary evidence to show that the average age of menarche has been dropping — I saw on Wikipedia that in England in the 1860s, the average age was 17. (I envy those girls … ok, not really, I’ll keep my flush toilets and antibiotics, thank you!) So if the average was seventeen, and Delyth is still waiting at eighteen-going-on-nineteen, that’s not too much of a reason for concern. But I decided that since that average probably included farm girls and factory girls who were worked off their butts and never got enough to eat, having there be concern over a girl who was of noble birth, who wasn’t notably athletic, and who comes from a family where earlier menarche was the norm (Dilys was 13-ish, Dindrane about 12) was a gamble worth taking. πŸ™‚

      And yes, periods do suck. Personally I think a lot of the suckitude would be better if people would just get over it already … but yeah. They suck.

      Thanks, Hat! πŸ™‚

  5. I feel for Delyth, but it will probably make for a more interesting story if she never gets her period. I wonder how they’ll deal with that exactly.

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