If You Haven’t Got Your Health

Ververe 23, 1014

Delyth had probably picked one of the worst times of the year to come here. The Agnestide break would start on the first of Hybel, which meant that the exams were all this week. It was Delyth’s first set of Camford exams, too. She probably should have been acting like Cherry and Ravenna and Dilys too, thanks to their examples, spending day and night in the library and re-reading her notes until knowledge dripped out of her ears.

But she couldn’t. She’d already spent too many sleepless nights being the good student. And somewhere in between all the studying and the writing papers and the quizzing the girls and having the girls quiz her and the endless cups of coffee, a thought had crossed her mind:

Why the hell am I doing this?

She had turned nineteen three months ago. She still hadn’t had a course. If she didn’t know what her future was going to be … why was she studying so hard? Why was she turning her brain into a pretzel if she didn’t know what she would be using this knowledge for? If she was fated to spend the rest of her life as a maiden aunt, did she even need a Camford education?

So today, after her exam, she’d hired a carriage from one the Camford stables and had it take her to Apple Keep. She’d told nobody where she was going. She’d come alone.

She had to know.

Of course, getting here was the easy part. Now that she was here … well, Lady Morgan was never one to make things easy for anybody. There were no fewer than three front doors to the house. None was obviously a servants’ entrance, which made a certain amount of sense, since Lady Morgan did not, to the best of Delyth’s knowledge, have servants.

… Well, she probably had servants, but they weren’t Sims.

Delyth finally decided to head toward the double doors, big and imposing, to her right. That seemed more of a guest entrance. And perhaps a professional entrance, too. She wished that she had taken Ravenna up on one of her offers to tea — then at least she’d know this much.

Still, Delyth’s guess must have been right — or at least close enough, since one of the doors opened and out came Lady Morgan …

And Clarice.

Delyth stopped at the foot of the stairs. She knew that her mother had wanted her to talk to Clarice — Lady Morgan had been more of Garnet’s idea. But it never happened with all the preparations for Camford, and then Percival’s birth, and then her father … Delyth swallowed and looked at her feet. Lady Morgan hadn’t been able to help her father. Neither had Clarice. And right now, selfish as it might be, she really didn’t want to have to look at Clarice’s protruding stomach while she talked about this.

Maybe she was just wasting her —

“Delyth?” That was Lady Morgan. “Well! This is a pleasant surprise!”

Delyth looked up. It was? She wasn’t Ravenna’s best friend like Dilys was …

At least when Clarice smiled, Delyth knew that was genuine — Clarice had her prickly moments, she had heard all about that from George, but she was always friendly unless you gave her a reason not to be. (Like being her all-but-betrothed when she wasn’t allowed to know you were.) “Delyth! How are you?” she asked as she and Lady Morgan hurried down the steps. “I didn’t think you would all be back until the beginning of Hybel!”

Well, blast. So much for sneaking into the kingdom and then sneaking back out again with no one other than Lady Morgan being the wiser. “Um … well … you see … I’m not really back …”

Lady Morgan had one eyebrow slightly arched. Good Lord, she was seeing right through Delyth already, wasn’t she? Delyth shouldn’t have come here. She’d forgotten how intimidating Lady Morgan could be when she wanted to be … which was all the time. At least Clarice only looked confused … and, as Delyth watched her through her lashes, more and more concerned.

Delyth sighed. There was really no getting around this, so she ought to just spit it out. “I needed to see you, Lady Morgan …” She glanced down and mumbled, “Professionally.”

Clarice gasped, and Delyth could feel the level of concern rising. At least she didn’t seem annoyed that Delyth had gone to Lady Morgan instead of her.

“You see …” Delyth forced out, “it’s all rather … personal …”

“Delyth, of course it is. Nobody comes to see me professionally for something non-personal.” The tone wasn’t unkind — and there was even something in the briskness that was comforting. “Let’s go in. I’m not going to give you an exam out on the lawn.”

“I hope not!” Delyth blurted out, blushing.

“And I can see myself out,” Clarice said.

“Actually …” Lady Morgan looked between Delyth and Clarice. “Clarice, given what we were discussing, and if you have the time — Delyth, would you object to having us both look you over?”

Clarice’s eyes lit up, but what she said to Delyth was, “Don’t feel obligated! You obviously came here for a reason!”

“No, no — that’s fine, Clarice. Lady Morgan.” Delyth sighed and murmured, “I’m probably going to want a second opinion anyway.”

Clarice’s eyes turned as round as saucers, but all Lady Morgan said was, “Thank you. And none of this ‘Lady Morgan’ business. I know I’ll have no choice but to put up with it from Pascal and Chloe’s friends, but I shan’t have it from Ravenna’s. You’re all adults now.”

“Oh–er–thank you …”

“Here — let’s get you inside, honey,” Clarice said, holding out her arm for Delyth to lean on if she needed it. Delyth shook her head with a faint smile and hurried in on Morgan’s heels.

Morgan gestured toward a bench on the far wall. Delyth sat down gingerly. “Do you need me to … undress or …?”

“Not yet,” Morgan replied. “I try to avoid that if at all possible.” She sighed. “I need to build myself a surgery.”

“It helps!” replied Clarice.

“I’m sure it would.” But Morgan turned to Delyth with no more ceremony. “So. What’s wrong, Delyth?”

But now that it was the moment of truth, Delyth could force the words out. “I–um–can you promise me that you won’t bring this up to my mother? Or either of my brothers?”

Clarice’s mouth opened and shut; Morgan was more decisive. “It’s your body. It’s your medical condition — whatever it is. And you’re an adult. Unless I have reason to fear for your life if I don’t bring this up to someone else, I won’t tell anyone else about this. Clarice?”

Clarice took a deep breath and let it out. “Yes. That’s surely the most ethical course of action. Your medical information is safe with us, Delyth.”

“But …” Delyth looked toward the wide-open archways.

“I really need a surgery,” Morgan mumbled before she took out her wand, murmured something, and waved it toward the arch. “No one will hear us now.”

Delyth nodded, swallowed, and spat it out. “I haven’t a monthly course.”

She could see the possibilities flashing through the women’s minds and across their faces, including the obvious one, to judge by the way Clarice put a hand over her belly. So Delyth clarified. “Ever.”

That made the minds of both women stop in their tracks. They exchanged glances. Morgan pursed her lips together and tapped a finger against her chin. “Clarice, why don’t you take the lead here? For the consultation,” she clarified.

Clarice nodded and turned to Delyth. “Delyth … this might sound quite insulting, but are you quite sure? Sometimes early courses can be very light and rather irregular. As much as we women like to complain about our monthly, you might be lucky enough to not be uncomfortable or have heavy bleeding.”

“I’ve been looking every day since Dilys first got hers. When we were thirteen,” Delyth replied. “I don’t think I would have missed it.”

“Hmm.” Clarice and Morgan exchanged glances. Clarice jerked her head toward Delyth; Morgan nodded. Then Clarice turned back to Delyth. “What’s your diet like, Delyth?”

“My diet?”

“Sometimes women who don’t get enough to eat don’t get their courses,” Morgan explained. “It’s probably because they couldn’t physically support a pregnancy — and our bodies tend to be smarter than we are about some things. Not much point making a baby if you can barely keep yourself alive.”

“Aye,” Clarice agreed. “So … what do you usually eat, Delyth?”

“The … the usual?” Delyth replied. “Plenty of meat … fish … bread and cheese …”

“Fruits and vegetables?” Morgan asked.

“Not so many …” Those were, after all, peasant foods, for all that Delyth liked fresh fruit as a snack or dessert. She’d gotten quite the taste for it last year, especially, when Dilys used to send a servant to the Plantsim’s stall to get as much fresh fruit as he could carry and the Plantsim and his wife would sell. Who wouldn’t get a taste for it when a Plantsim was providing the fruit? “Would that help?”

“Hmm,” was all Morgan would reply. “How much do you eat a day? How many meals?”

“Two? That’s normal, isn’t it?” Delyth looked from Clarice to Morgan and back. “Lunch and dinner? Maybe a little bit of bread and cheese or fruit in the morning …”

“That all sounds normal,” Clarice said to Morgan.

“Indeed,” Morgan agreed. “And to answer your question about the fruits and vegetables — probably not. When it comes to food and one’s monthly courses, quantity tends to be more important than quality.”

“Though I wouldn’t worry about your diet,” Clarice reassured her. “You seem like you’re eating plenty, and so far we’ve no … well, not a lot of evidence that your humors are imbalanced. Tell me, Delyth, what’s your level of physical activity?”

“Er …” How was she supposed to answer that. “Well … I walk to my classes, and sometimes the girls and I will play a game outside … but I don’t hunt or do a great deal of riding or anything like that.”

“So in other words, you’re normally active for a young woman of your age and station,” Morgan filled in. Delyth wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or annoyed that she hadn’t just said “normal.” And before Delyth could ask after the importance of the question, Morgan added, “Sometimes women who are very physically active don’t get their courses until later — and once they do, they’re quite irregular.”

“Indeed,” Clarice agreed. Delyth wondered if she was thinking of Leona. They had never been close enough for Delyth to know about the state of her monthly, but if there was any young noblewoman in Albion who was going to suffer from late and irregular courses because of physical activity, it was surely Leona. “Delyth, have you had any illnesses that might have resulted in your humors becoming imbalanced?”

“I don’t … think so?”

“For the most part, any illness you would have had that might have slowed things down on your courses … you’d know about,” Morgan answered. She glanced sidelong at Clarice, who was nodding.

“It would have to be a very serious illness,” Clarice replied.

Delyth shook her head with more confidence. Her parents had said that she had been small and sickly when she was a baby, but as far as Delyth could remember, she had always been healthy as a horse.

“Unless …” Delyth watched as Morgan stroked her chin with one hand. She looked to Delyth, then to Clarice, and finally to Delyth again. Then she asked her question. “Delyth, have you ever had sexual intercourse?”

What?”

Morgan held up a hand before Delyth could do more than say that. “The most obvious reason for missing a course is pregnancy. If you’d never had one, you could theoretically get pregnant and then never get a course until after you’d had the baby. There are also … diseases …” Morgan rubbed her chin again. “Sometimes they don’t even have any symptoms that you would notice. I’ve never heard of them stopping a woman’s courses, but there’s so much we don’t know …”

“But I haven’t!” Delyth protested.

“You’re sure?” Morgan asked.

“I think I’d remember if I had!”

That apparently was too much for Morgan to argue with; she nodded once. Then she glanced at Clarice. “I think we need to examine her.”

“Oh … maybe we can use a bedroom?”

Morgan shook her head. “No need. Delyth — with your permission, I’d like to cast a spell that will … well, to make things short, it would give me the same kind of information that Clarice’s examination would, only with a great deal less poking and prodding. And no need to take off your clothes.”

“Oh … all right … I guess …”

Morgan nodded and took a step back. She shooed Clarice out of the way and took out her wand. “This won’t hurt a bit.”

There were blue and purple sparks coming out of that wand — pretty sparks, but sparks all the same. Delyth’s eyes widened.

“I mean it, Delyth. The most you might feel is some tingles.”

“All right …”

Morgan smiled at her, then concentrated on her wand. She murmured something. Without warning, a bright blue light zapped toward Delyth. She couldn’t even close her eyes before the light hit.

Then … there were tingles. They zipped all over Delyth’s body, but she could feel them concentrating in her lap and middle. A bright blue light bathed her all over, making it hard to see beyond.

But it was not unpleasant. And even if it was, it was over in a few eye-blinks. It took longer for Delyth to blink away the purple after-spots than it did for the spell to visibly fade.

However, it wasn’t long enough for Morgan to wipe away her surprised expression.

“Morgan?” asked Clarice, taking a hesitating step forward. But Morgan held up her hand and breathed deep, brow furrowed.

What had she found?

“Maybe …” Morgan murmured. “Maybe I’d better do that spell again …”

“Why?” asked Delyth.

“The results were — unexpected. It won’t hurt you for me to try it again, I promise.”

Delyth swallowed. “All right …”

Morgan cast the spell again. Once again there were tingles and bright light surrounding Delyth. Once again, when Delyth blinked away the purple spots, Morgan was wearing an unexpected expression. This time, however, it wasn’t surprise. It was some kind of cross between disappointment, nervousness, determination, and …

Delyth jumped up. “What did you see?”

Morgan glanced at Clarice. Clarice, however, had no wisdom that could be given to her in just a look.

Morgan took a deep breath and turned to Delyth. “Delyth … this is going to sound somewhat strange and … and I’m very sorry. But … your womb …”

“What about it?” Delyth asked, trying to snap.

Morgan took a deep breath. “Delyth, I’m so, so sorry to have to tell you this.”

What?”

“But it’s not there.”

Delyth blinked. “Not–not there? What do you mean not there? Where is it?!”

“Delyth …”

“Morgan …” Clarice murmured. “You — you said there’s no such thing as hysteria.”

Hysteria?” Delyth shouted. “You tell me that–that my womb’s gone missing and then you accuse me of being hysterical?”

“No,” Morgan replied. “No, that’s not what she means. She means — wandering womb. It’s a ridiculous theory expounded by stupid men to try to explain why the women whom they treat like slow children sometimes get sick of that treatment and snap.” Morgan shook her head. “What I mean … Delyth, wombs are something that wo–most women are born with. You … weren’t.”

Delyth blinked. “I–what? Why?”

“I don’t know, honey. We can’t–”

“But–but what can you do? Can you fix it?” Delyth looked at Clarice. “Give me something? A diet? Something to — to put my humors back in order?”

Clarice was white. “Delyth, I don’t think this is related to your humors.”

What?” She looked at Morgan. “What–what can you do? I’ll do anything!”

“Oh, sweetie, if I could do something, you know I’d do it,” Morgan replied. Delyth had never heard her speak more gently. “But there’s nothing I can do.”

“What? No!”

“Delyth …” Clarice came a little closer. But Delyth backed away. She didn’t want that stomach anywhere near her.

That stomach …

No womb …

No children …

Delyth heard herself hiccup, and then a waterfall of tears gushed out.

She’d never have babies. She’d never get married. Who would take a woman who couldn’t give him babies? Some old geezer who had too many children already? That was it. It was either an old geezer for her or …

Nobody …

But I don’t want to be a nun! And I don’t just want to be an aunt!

She felt an arm drape over her shoulder and she tried to flinch away. But it was Morgan, not Clarice. And she was pushing Delyth’s hair away from her face. Like a mother.

Like the mother Delyth would never be.

“Why did this have to h-h-happen to me?” Delyth finally wailed.

Morgan didn’t answer. And somehow silence said more than any words could.

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20 thoughts on “If You Haven’t Got Your Health

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever simultaneously anticipated and dreaded a Sims story post quite as strongly as this one before. 😯

    Delyth. 😦

    Rotten luck, this happening to a Family Sim of the clearly non-asexual, heterosexual (or, at least, not having shown any interest in the same sex as far as the readers have seen) variety. At least when this happened to Camaline… well, Camaline never liked (most) kids, and if she had her choice of committed relationships, she’d be adopting anyway if she and her partner did decide to have children, or her partner would be getting pregnant via sperm donor (er, however the Naroni equivalent of going to the bank would go).

    But Delyth is tough, and a survivor. If she wants what she wants hard enough, I’m sure she’ll find a way to get it, at least once she has some time to think. What if she has a run-in with a Fae? Perhaps the magic of the Fae could create a uterus for her, or at least allow for a one-time pregnancy deal (hey, if they could do it for Father Hugh…). Or… her LTW is Chief of Staff, isn’t it? What if she goes into medical research, collaborates with George and his clever, innovative magic (he might still feel he owes her; actually, now that I think about it, part of the reason she was so upset about the breakup may have been that she feared he was the best she’d ever get–a non-heir of her own age who hasn’t expressed any particular interest in children?) and manages to fashion one for herself? A little out-there, but stranger things have happened in fiction and people have bought them. Or hey… her sister is Dindrane. Dindrane’s found ways to bring people back from the dead; if any non-magical Sim in Albion can find a way to grow human tissue, it’s Dindrane.

    As for the romance field… well, I guess the one good thing she might always consider later is that at least she’d know a prospective husband would want her for her, and not for breeding purposes? I’m sure there are plenty of decent, not-old guys who might not want kids anyway, or would be willing to adopt, or willing to try for a Fae-facilitated pregnancy (whether the baby was a Fae’s, or if the Fae just lent the two of them their method). I’m sure there would be some potential in-laws who could at least make peace with it as well. Hell, if there’s a castle with dungeons for animal races and cellars for breeding dire chinchillas at stake, I could see Florian threatening to disinherit Hamrick if he didn’t at least see if Delyth was willing to courting him; potential for animal-related mayhem is much more important to Florian than biological grandchildren.

    In any case… well, this is going to sound kind of stupid, but I hope Delyth doesn’t mention this to her mother or her brothers until she’s had time to process and figure out her next course of action. They mean well, but Lamorak and Aglovale are men (not jerky men, and not the most “timesy” men in the story, but still men of the times) and Eilwen is worried enough about Delyth. I feel that all three of them will write her off as a “lost cause”, and there may be pushing for the nunnery, or Lamorak trying to reassure that he’ll “keep her comfortable” without actually realizing what that means for her to hear that, or at least this awkwardness that never leaves the room while they’re together. She’ll need support, but for now… she’d better stick to her sisters, Garnet, Cherry, and maybe Ravenna. They may not know what to do, but they’re more likely to come up with something halfway helpful, or at least keep from making it worse.

    On a different note, I hope this news doesn’t impact Delyth’s exams, or at least not heavily. Bad grades would be the last thing she needs right now. 😦

    • I thought I was done, but apparently not.

      I just want to add that–as someone who is on the fence about having kids, and certainly doesn’t want them right now (as a recent university graduate, like most of the Albionese noblewomen when they get married and have children)–even if I absolutely knew for a fact that I did not want to have kids ever… I’d still be devastated if I learned I never could. It hurts when options are taken away from you, even if they’re options you know you wouldn’t choose. It leaves you feeling like some of your agency has been stripped of you; even if “fate” happens to agree with your desires, it’s still “fate” and you’re powerless to do otherwise anyway.

      Add that to the fact that Delyth does want kids, plus the fact that unless you’re Leona, choices for noblewomen in Albion are pretty much wife/mother (and not one exclusive of the other!!) or nun or maiden aunt (and I think I’ve said this before, but given how much she seemed to be into the physical side of the relationship with George, I doubt Delyth would be agreeable to dying a virgin–not that there’s anything wrong with being a virgin or staying one, but again, choice!)… as far as Delyth knows at this point, one of those three options–the most agreeable option by far from her perspective–has been taken from her. No matter how strong she is, she’s bound to be seriously depressed for quite some time. 😦

    • 😦 Sorry Van.

      Delyth is tough. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that she will get through this. Though I wouldn’t read too much into her LTW; it’s the one the game gave her and I’m still trying to figure out what I should set it to instead. (Delyth is hardly in a position to know what she wants out of life at the moment.) However, you’ve got a point that there are LOTS of potential solutions in Albion, between George, Dindrane, and everybody else. Heck, even Clarice, since she seems interested in blending magical and mundane medicine!

      ZOMG dungeon animal races! Florian! Hamrick! I wouldn’t have to worry about who Hamrick would marry and breed with! Although … I’d have to build a castle with a dungeon … *ponders* That is definitely something to consider. Too bad that Delyth herself hasn’t quite thought of that. πŸ˜†

      That’s a good point about Delyth not telling her brothers or her mother. I think part of the reason why she went by herself was so so the ball could remain in her court: if her mother, sisters, brothers don’t know what’s going on, they can’t make plans for Delyth. I also don’t think Delyth quite trusts her brothers to do … not what’s right by her, but what she wants. I think she would have trusted her father more … for all that Pellinore could be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud at times, he at least had a lot of brains and could be talked into things that he originally didn’t like at all. (See: Lamorak and Garnet.) Delyth isn’t sure about the brains when it comes to her brothers (they’re brothers!), and she’s even less sure about them being able to be talked into what she wants.

      It does hurt to have options taken away. 😦 It also really hurts when they’re options you really, really wanted to take. I don’t think Delyth ever conceived of herself becoming a wife without becoming a mother in due time, and she’s definitely not liking the nun/maiden aunt idea. It doesn’t help that this is a major hit to her self-esteem.

      But hopefully, given some time, she’ll be doing a bit better.

      Thanks, Van! I hope you’re feeling a bit better after this!

  2. Oh, Delyth! *wishes she could give her in game best friend a hug* I hope that she talks with Cherry and Cherry can give her a big hug and some cookies. It won’t fix this, but it might make her feel better. 😦

    Poor girl. That’s got to be hard for her to take, but I think that she might be giving up a little too easily. There are ways! Even if you can’t have kids, that doesn’t mean that nobody will want you. Love doesn’t necessarily work that way.

    Granted the problem is with Accolon’s plumbing and not Morgan’s, but Morgan and Accolon have the same thing going on. That doesn’t mean that Morgan loves him any less, or wouldn’t love him even if they hadn’t had Ravenna together before Accolon acquired his plumbing problems.

    Van’s got lots of good ideas for things to try. And if none of the ones she listed would work, well, there’s always the way Camaline and Sparron had Prior. πŸ˜‰ Maybe Dilys can surrogate a bubs? (She’s a romance sims, you know.)

    I totally agree with Van about how devastating this will be for her. It’s too bad you can’t give one away. (I’d at least seriously think about it, odd timing that this would come on a day when I have girl-cramps from hell. I’ve been advised against having kids anyway.)

    But I, for one, have lots and lots and lots of hope because weirder things have happened to people in Albion than having a guy love a girl who can’t (conventionally) have children with him. To the right guy, this won’t even matter.

    • I’m not sure if Delyth will talk about this to Cherry anytime soon — saying it out loud would mean admitting that it’s true, and she might want to go to Dilys first. (Twins & all.) But when Delyth does tell Cherry, there will definitely be hugs & cookies in her future.

      And probably a night getting drunk at the pub, because, you know, college. πŸ˜‰

      Delyth should definitely take some time before she gives up on love forever & ever. There is probably a guy out there who would love her no matter what, fertility or no fertility. Like you pointed out, Morgan and Accolon gel pretty well despite infertility on his end … but what Delyth might be seeing is that Morgan and Accolon are hardly a conventional couple. (Plus they had Ravenna before Accolon developed his fertility problem.)

      I think you’re definitely right that there could definitely be a guy out there for Delyth, despite her fertility problem. But I doubt that this “won’t even matter.” Childbearing isn’t an option in that world, it’s an expectation. (Heck, even today people are pressured to have kids. *points to Nix*) Do I think that the right guy could easily love Delyth enough to marry her, fertility or no fertility? Yes. But it could be a struggle.

      Hey, struggle = drama, and drama = plot, so you can bet your ass there will be struggle one way or another!

      Thanks, Andavri!

      • I disagree. I truly disagree. Either it is possible or you’ve been lying. Because this “Childbearing isn’t an option in that world, it’s an expectation.”? it basically renders your underlying concept of what Tommy and Morgan have been trying to get through to Lynn null and void. ALL men in Albion’s universe, by that definition, are reduced, on a basic level, to Bors.

        The only worth a woman has is in having children. The only worth a woman could possibly have is in bearing children. That no men could EVER possibly look past a woman’s ability to bear him children to truly care about the woman that he supposedly loves.

        So all there is in your romances, for all that you’re playing them up as deeper emotion, are a superficial wash of something one calls “love” laden over the top of non-surmountable social expectation that a woman is a pop machine. Walk over, put your money in, hit the right button, get what you want, walk away. And occasionally, considering it sometimes eats your money, you lean against it with your freshly delivered “what every man must have” and tell it some bullshit about loving it.

        … Plus it means that every man in Albion is a social construct without the intelligence to look past road block A to see what lies beyond.

        And that’s not just faerie tale “True Love is True” as Hat called it. In every relationship we forge by choice, romantic or platonic or even relative, we all have issues, to me the ability to look past the pothole in the road and see that this relationship is worth surmounting said pothole is love.

        My comment of it won’t even matter was never meant to be a statement that it is not an issue, it’s that it will not matter. Someone, I thought, would be able to look beyond the fact that Delyth cannot have children and say “screw it, she’s worth it.” But apparently that doesn’t exist in Albion because mensfolk is dumb.

        And also, apparently, the menfolk, at least the straight ones, are painted with almost the same broadstroke brush as women. Women must provide their men babies. Men must want them and will not look past that to be with someone.

        • Ok, so it looks like I misinterpreted what you said. We both agree that the right guy will be able to say (in your words) “screw it, she’s worth it.” I pretty much said as much in my comment. However, I interpreted “it won’t even matter” in your original to mean there won’t be an issue. I think there would be an issue (unless she got with one of the guys on Hat’s list). The guy and Delyth would just have to work past it, and probably keep working past it as months and years passed and no children came and idiots started to gossip about why. That’s all.

          I don’t think acknowledging that there will be issues, that it would be a struggle, especially if the guy wanted biological children or at least thought it was expected that he have them, somehow negates everything I’ve written about Lynn and Tommy and Morgan. NOBODY in Lynn’s case is arguing that it’s somehow not necessary, or at least vitally important, that she had some healthy children, boys especially. Not even Morgan. What they ARE arguing against is Lynn tying up her whole self-worth with how many children she has, how quickly she has them, and how many of them are boys.

          There’s a difference between a brood mare and a mother. Just because nobody wants Lynn to become, or to think of herself as, a brood mare doesn’t mean that they don’t understand it’s very important that she be a mother.

          You don’t have to be Bors to want biological children. You don’t have to think like Bors to pause for a minute and wonder if you want to go forward after you find out that the woman whom you love can’t help you have biological children (without intensive magical intervention that you may or may not know exists and is available). That a guy might have to go through some struggles to move past that was all I was EVER saying. Not that Delyth wouldn’t find anybody. Not that the right guy couldn’t put the fertility issues aside and decide that he wants Delyth, uterus or no uterus.

        • I think what Kellie was mostly saying (and correct me if I’m wrong!) is that it would be the general societal expectation, especially since relatively liberal Albion is running low on suitably-aged bachelors for Delyth (What are the options, assuming that marrying a merchant is okay, and none of the married/betrothed women die and leave widowers any time soon? Hamrick and Jack? There aren’t any nobles left to choose from.), and she’d theoretically have to look in Glasonland or Reme. I’m assuming guys brought up in those places would have been shown that general view, and their parents would likely hold it quite strongly.

          But I’m with Andavri in the cautious optimism, I think. Delyth is a strong, intelligent, not-unattractive woman who has a lot to offer, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that there’s at least one guy out there who would see that, even if this came as a shock at first, and ultimately realize that the ability to have biological children through conventional means does not and will never define anyone’s worth as a person, and that it’s okay and even necessary to flip senseless and harmful social conventions the bird.

          On a different note, after some thinking and reading over a few old posts… I’m wondering if maybe the Fae are aware of this already? Puck did say that they keep tabs on Chloe and Pascal, so maybe somebody overheard Delyth’s visit with Morgan, and whatever she might have wailed out after the post faded to black. Probably a long shot, but maybe they’d be concerned? They’ve probably at least heard of Delyth through George, and hey–Fae freaking love kids, ya know?

          *Is really banking on the Fae as the most plausible option for Delyth + Future Love Interest*

          • Yeah, that it’s a general societal expectation is what I was saying. A guy from Glasonland or Reme (or Gaul or Simberia — Delyth is in Camford, and there are guys from those places there) would walk into a relationship, unless he was Quasimodo Hapsburg, expecting that there would be children sooner or later. Giving up that idea might take some doing. πŸ™‚

            And for eligible bachelors for Delyth … Hamrick, Jack, and Geoff maybe are really about it. However, there’s always the townie pool!

            … Which is also a really good place to look for Quasimodo Hapsburg … πŸ˜†

            As for the fae being aware of this … hmm. They may or may not be. They could have heard everything that happened — even put Delyth together with George’s old flame — but I don’t know that that on its own would be enough to move them to help. I think they would have to be asked. Or else have Delyth pop up on their radar in some other way …

            *walks away whistling and keeping her plot secrets to herself* πŸ˜‰

            • I think you just like saying Quasimodo Habsburg.

              And part of the pressure would probably be off– or at least a lot less– if the guy Delyth met wasn’t landed nobility. A landless knight or a rich merchant’s son or a minor nobleman with a hefty allowance doesn’t have the same pressure on him to marry a fertile noblewoman and sire a couple of heirs. If no one is depending on him to keep order in their duchy, county, march, and so on down the line, then it isn’t so desperately important that His Lordship and Her Ladyship produce someone to continue keeping order after they’re gone.

  3. No! Poor Delyth! πŸ˜₯ Me, I’m a twenty-first-century woman who’ve never wanted kids (and who now is old enough that people finally have stopped cocking their heads, giving me condescending looks and telling me that “oh, but you’ll change your mind when you get older!” – most of them, anyway), so if I was told I couldn’t have children, I’d just shrug and go on with my day. But in a time where a woman’s worth pretty much was measured by how many sons she pushed out… ouch. 😦 And to make matters even worse, Delyth wants children. Poor, poor Delyth!

    Van and Andravi have some good ideas, though. πŸ™‚ And I really, really hope Delyth will meet some nice guy who loves her for her amazing brain and doesn’t care a fig that she can’t have children – and that she realises that a woman is worth so much more than her womb (or lack thereof). Delyth, you can have a happy, productive life anyway!

    Right now, though, I just hope somebody will give her a hug and a shoulder to cry on.

    • Poor Delyth is right. 😦 And definitely on the woman’s worth being directly tied to how many sons she has! Delyth just went down to a probable number of zero sons. Her self-esteem has taken a major hit along with everything else.

      There are definitely ideas — and definitely guys out there — that will help Delyth get through this and be happy despite her lack of ability to have biological children (in any way that anybody could call “conventional”). She can definitely still have a happy and productive life! My original plan for this post was supposed to close with Morgan telling her that, but with the way things played out, I don’t think that Delyth was ready to hear that (or that Morgan thought it was appropriate to bring it up).

      Somebody will give her a hug and a shoulder to cry on, once she tells them what’s the matter. (Heck, Morgan’s doing that already.) She’s got sisters, she’s got friends. Delyth will have support.

      Thanks, Nix!

      • Yeah, I think Delyth will need some time to digest this before she’s ready to hear that she can have a happy life anyway. When you’ve got devastating, life-changing news, being told that everything will be find and the world will be filled with puppies and rainbows is almost as offensive as being told to STFU and be happy because things could be worse. Even if life really will be filled with puppies and rainbows. πŸ˜›

        Dangit, I miss Pellinore. 😦 When the time comes to break the news to her family, I think he would have been much better at handling it than Lamorak or Aglovale will be. And of course, Aglovale has his darling “fertility is a competition and I’m liek SO totally winning!” wife who will gloat no end when she learns one of his sisters is infertile, because that’s just the lovely woman she is. πŸ™„ (You know, I really, really wish Babette could somehow learn that Aglovale thought she was “common as mud” and that he only married her because his father twisted his arm so hard, he almost tore it off. But of course, Aglovale is the only person alive who knows he said that, so yeah. But a girl can dream, right? :twisted:)

        • Yeah, I agree. Sometimes when you’re dealing with something rough, being told it can get better before you figure out how to get around it yourself is a slap to the face. Like “I don’t care about your problems” or “Just fucking accept it because you’re the universe’s bitch and you shouldn’t want things, ever”, even if that’s not how it’s meant at all. Sometimes, it’s nice–well, not nice, but cathartic–to just hear “Yeah, that does suck, and society at large is stupid, and I’m sorry.”

          That’s partly why I hope nobody even mentions the nunnery. Chances are that some idiot or another would take something like this as a sign that she’s destined for the nunnery, and that would not be pretty if that opinion reared its ugly head. In a religious world where everything is interpreted as the Will of Wright anyway, I can’t imagine Delyth will be on fantastic terms with her god anyway after this, at least for a while, if she doesn’t dismiss him as fiction entirely.

          (Er, I think it was said that Albion is a Deist universe at one point?)

          If only Delyth could have seen Morgan before Pellinore went. I’m not super worried about Lamorak because we already know that Garnet is in Delyth’s corner and she can tell him where to shove it if he does anything insensitive (probably unintentionally insensitive, but insensitive nonetheless), but I don’t think he needs to know until Delyth has had some time to think things over. And ack, Babette! I’d rather she never knew at all! I would hope she wouldn’t be that bitchy if Delyth is obviously distraught, but I wouldn’t be surprised either if she was. That would probably be what pushes Garnet to tell Babette that it’s no wonder that nobody actually likes her. Or maybe Garnet could have a new target for a permanent baldness spell or something.

          • Actually, I’m a little worried Lamorak will think that “get thee to a nunnery” is the only solution, not because he’s being mean, but because he’s got on his lord’s hat (that’s still two sizes too big for him) and he has no idea what else to do with a sister he assumes will remain unwed and cannot fill any useful role in society since she can’t spawn. 😑 I too hope and think Garnet would take him to task if he tried something like that – but yeah, it’s probably still best if Delyth doesn’t get him involved until she’s processed it all and has some sort of game plan.

            Oh, I’m completely convinced Babette would be that bitchy! After all, if Delyth can’t have children it obviously means Babette is better than her, since it takes some mad skillz to get knocked up and push out a kid. πŸ™„ How I hope Babette really will push Garnet over the edge so that Garnet tells her exactly what people really think of her. That would be so sweet! πŸ˜€ (Yeah, I don’t like Babette very much. Can you tell? ;))

  4. Oh the poor poor dear. But there are other options, right? She couldn’t adopt from the nunnery or something? I’m guessing surrogacy might be out of the question considering the times but if she really wanted children, there must be other options.

    • There are other options. Delyth hasn’t really thought about them yet. (Hmm … a conversation with Reman Nicole might be in order, since adoption is something that the Remans do more than the Glasonlanders.) If Delyth or the guy she chooses have poor relations with a few too many children, adoption could be a great option.

      There’s also the orphanage, as you pointed out, but that has its own set of problems, mainly that socially it might be frowned upon to take in a child from a “loose” woman and god-knows-who-else.

      Thanks, Joseph!

  5. I read this last night and I wasn’t sure what to say. That’s a hell of a birth defect– although on the upside, if you have to be born without an internal organ, there are far worse ones to be missing– particularly considering she’s obviously got ovaries somewhere; her hormone production seems pretty baseline for a post-pubescent Sim going by bodyshape and sexual desire alone.

    But the talk of Accolon’s problems and Morgan overcoming them and surrogacy not being a Medieval option have me thinking…

    … Why wouldn’t surrogacy be a Medieval option? Morgan can make dead spermatozoa function like live ones long enough to conceive a child, so getting a live egg from Delyth and live sperm from Delyth’s eventual man together in the hired womb of a healthy third party shouldn’t be magically implausible. … Granted, unless the whole thing can be done by magic, lack of access to Delyth’s eggs would be an in-period sticking point. Another alternate option is bringing Mirielle on as a consultant. As has been said, if they fae can do it in a man, they can do it in a woman born without a uterus (and if they can’t do it in a woman born without a uterus, they can certainly do it in that woman’s husband), and Mirielle may be able to walk Morgan through that process.

    Also, options beyond Old Geezer With Too Many Kids Already (without resorting to Your True Love Will Love YOU No Matter What, which isn’t always an option for a noblewoman and Delyth knows it) include:

    Young widower whose young children need a mother
    Second-or-later son who would be relieved not to have to support children
    Young man who wants to RAISE children (foster or adopt) but who has some issue of his own he’d feel terrible about passing on to a child (born blind, born lame, born with an unfortunate assortment of Maxis-template features) (sorry for implying Delyth is the ideal mate for Quasimodo Habsburg)
    Man who would rather have sex with Delyth whenever the mood strikes than worry about whether or not she’s going to get pregnant this time
    Veteran who suffered an injury and can’t have children of his own anyway
    Man who is often away (warring or trading or on pilgrimages) and needs a Lady Of The House more than he needs an heir
    Man with Secret Fae Children he loves to distraction but is past the point where he knows what to do on his own

    There are options beyond ‘old geezer’s barren trophy wife,’ ‘maiden aunt,’ and ‘nun,’ even without resorting to ‘true love is true’ because I’m so sure Delyth doesn’t feel like she can count on that, or ‘find something useful to do with your life,’ because even the ladies who have careers (Guenevere, Leona, Clarice, Morgan) have them in addition to being wives and (eventually, in Leona’s case) mothers, not instead of.

    • Unfortunately it’s a real birth defect. 😦 It’s called Mullerian agenesis, and according to the Fount of All Knowledge, Wikipedia, individuals with this problem are “hormonally normal.” They also can have children via IVF and a surrogate. However, you’ve got a really good point in that it’s not *that* terrible an organ to be missing — apparently most women don’t even discover this until puberty. If you were born without a heart or liver, you’d be in a lot more immediate trouble.

      Well, surrogacy wouldn’t be an actual medieval option, but it could be an Albion option! Though for what it’s worth, Morgan hasn’t been able to do anything about Accolon’s sterility. Ravenna was conceived before Accolon was zombified (and was in fact a large part of the reason why he was zombiefied). Whatever Morgan tried since then must not have worked, since they were both very eager to adopt Chloe and Pascal when the two fell into their laps.

      But as you pointed out, Morgan might be able to make something work, and there’s always an option to call in Mirelle for backup … or call in the favor of raising Chloe and Pascal from the fae directly.

      OMG Quasimodo Hapsburg. I kind of want to download Gage Uglacy (if I could find him now that the Exchange is no more), throw him into my hood as a townie and name him that …

      But yeah, you have a really good point about there being options! With Delyth’s family wealth and connections *points to Dilys and Kay*, she could definitely find a man who would be interested in having that without necessarily having tons of babies. She could also find guys with any of the issues that you named … or other issues …

      So she shouldn’t give up hope just yet. But first, she needs a few moments to catch her breath.

      Thanks, Hat!

  6. I’ve been waiting for this chapter for so long. I’ve been quietly been playing catch up. I just had to comment on this one though.

    I love this chapter. Not because I want this to happen to Delyth, poor thing. Because I like a story that has realistic stuff in it, and this is one. I also like what-if medieval plots. And this is a great one! What if a noblewoman can never conceive? Oh there is so much material ther. So many possibilities. And the human factor! It’s a lot to work with. I look forward to reading how you play it out.

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