Fire Born, Water Made
by Adria Laycraft
Chahna let the babe suckle, yet still no milk would come. He cried, and she sparked a trickle of
fire to run along her fingertips. Her little firelord only cried harder, fists punching the air.
She let the fire die and his panic settled into mere cries of hunger. Exhaustion made her body
heavy. She put him to her shoulder.
"Please, Taksheel, don't cry," she whispered, but nothing would sooth him. Chahna clucked and
cooed and cried right along with him.
When she rose to walk him, her father stood in the doorway. She caught her breath, and held
Taksheel tighter. By some small grace of the gods, the babe quieted.
"Give him to me." Fire licked along his bare arms and trailed from his fingertips.
"His ceremony approaches." His glower warned her. "I will not risk public shame. Bad enough
you are now spoiled for any decent marriage contract. Give him to me."
His fire grew and she stepped back. He seemed almost hungry for the child. There was only one
way to forestall him. Chahna looked up at her father through a veil of saltwater mist. "Let me
take the babe to a Vaidya."
He studied her for a long moment, and she feared he would not even allow this one concession.
Then he gave a sharp nod. "I am leaving to meet with our merchants. If you don't have proof of
his firelord status when I return, then you will be forced to surrender him to me. Understood?"
She simply stood with her gaze downcast, chin tucked to her chest. When she finally dared look,
her father was gone.