I apologise for missing last week but I was away. I usually try to let you know if I won't be posting, or I schedule a post, but I'm afraid I didn't get round to it.
Here is part 3 of the story of Jovinda and Noni, Carthinal's parents. Since I missed last week's post entirely in the end, I am continuing with my normal schedule with the third week of the month.
Jovinda went about her chores humming to herself. That afternoon she was going to see Noni again. It had been a week since she had last seen him. It was not always easy for them to arrange their meetings. Noni had his work to do and also they had to keep their meetings secret from their parents.
Salor helped the lovers. She thought it was exciting and romantic. She gave Jovinda alibis whenever the pair were to meet, and if the girls seemed to be meeting more frequently than previously, Jovinda's parents did not seem to notice.
Noni could not get away as often as he would have liked, but every time he had any time to himself he and Jovinda would meet. Usually they went to the woods out of town. It was quite there and there were many places they could be totally alone with little fear of discovery. The summer passed and the trees began to put on their autumn colours.
'What are we going to do when winter is here?' Jovinda asked one day. 'It'll be cold and wet. We won't be able to sit on the ground then.'
Noni looked at her and stroked her auburn hair. 'Something will turn up, darling,' he said. 'We're meant to be together. I feel it deep inside my soul. Nothing will part us, not even winter.'
He was right, of course. As the last leaves fell from the trees and the summer warmth left the land, Jovinda came to a terrible realisation. She had missed her monthly bleeding. It was now time for the next one but still nothing happened. She had been in such ecstasy that she had not thought about anything other than Noni. Now she realised she was pregnant.
How could she tell her parents? What would they do? Would they disown her? How would Noni react? Would he stand by her or would he abandon her? Oh why had she been so foolish. She had not thought about possible consequences when they had made love in their glade in the wood. Now she was suffering the results of that lack of forethought.
'I'm going to see Salor,' she told her mother after she had finished her chores. She left the house and hurried to her friend's home. Salor had become engaged to a young man during the months that had passed and was due to be married in the spring. He was the son of a friend of theirs and they were delighted with the engagment. They had been going to suggest the pair get married when the young people themselves said they wanted to get married.
It was so different from Jovinda and Noli's experience that Jovinda was a little jealous. She would not change Noli in any way, though, even for approval by her parents.
She arrived at Salor's house and was admitted. Salor took her to her room where she burst into tears.
'Jovinda, what's wrong? It's not a problem with Noli, is it?'
Jovinda dried her eyes and sighed.
'Well, it is and it isn't. Oh, Salor, I'm in so much trouble. I've missed two monthly bleedings.'
Salor put her hand to her mouth.'That means...'
'Yes. I'm pregnant.'
Salor looked at her friend with eyes opened wide. 'I didn't think you'd be so foolish, Jo,' she said. 'How did you not think this might happen?'
Jovinda's eyes began to leak tears again as she tried to push them back. 'I didn't think. Oh, Salor, it seemed so right. We love one another and soon kisses weren't enough to show our love. What am I to do?'
'Does he know?'
Jovinda shook her head. 'I've not seen him since I realised.'
'Will he marry you? Or do you want to go to a witch woman and get rid of it?'
'I don't know,' wailed Jovinda, crying again.
Eventually the girls decided that Jovinda must tell Noli. He was as much to blame as Jovinda for the predicament she was in. Salor privately hoped that Noli was not one of those men who ran away from responsibility. She had seen young women left with an unwanted baby when the father decided he did not want a wife and child. He had his fun then ran. The girl concerned never regained her reputation. It was different if the man married the girl. Oh, there was scandal at first, but later people either forgot the child was born rather early or deliberately forgot when the wedding had been.
Salor helped Jovinda get a message to Noli and the pair met at their usual place the next day.
It was cold. The fallen leaves made a multicoloured carpet on the ground in the glade where Noli waited. He pulled his cloak round him as he wondered what Jovinda wanted to see him bout so urgently. He heard a crackle in the leaves and turned to see Jovinda crossing the glade. He opened his arms and she ran into them. They kissed passionately before saying a word.
He looked into his lover's eyes and saw they were red. She had been crying. Had her parents found out about them? He held her close and waited for her to speak.
'Noli,' she said through her tears, ' I'm pregnant. I am thinking of going to a witch woman to get rid of it though.'
For the first time since they met, Noli became angry.
'You will not kill this child,' he said, and he stalked to the opposite side of the glade.
'It is a new life beginning. Who knows what great deeds it could do, or how important its decendants could be. We elves will never destroy a life, even an unborn one.'
'But, Noli, what are we to do?'
He came back to her side and put his arms round her again. 'We'll get married, sweetheart. It's what I would like and I hope you would like it too.'
'Of course I would like that. We can have this baby and then lots more.'
Noli laughed. 'I hope so. Elves aren't very fertile as a rule. I suppose it's because we live so long. If we had too many children we'd soon overrun the world. But an elf and a human...who knows?'
They parted after discussing whether Noli should go with Jovinda when she told her parents. He wanted to be there to support her, but she said she thought it would be better if she told them alone.
Jovinda walked slowly back home having resolved to tell her parents the very next day.
How will Jovinda's parents react to her news? The next installment will be on the third Tuesday of April.
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