A squalid cry escaped the baby as it entered the world, for the first time out of the womb, warmth replaced by a brisk cold until swaddles and cloth were found to wrap the boy tightly. Mina kindly smiled upon the black shock of hair, as the boy wriggled in her arms and quickly settled, staring with large, blue eyes. His mother lay exhausted in the bed before the midwife, tears of pain, exhaustion and relief flowing down the woman's features.
"In death, and in childbirth all humans are alike. Whether they are nobles or the lowliest scullery maids, these moments after a little one is born, all look the same, feel the same. No matter if they lie on velvets and silks, or mangy fur." Mina thought to herself, as she chuckled tone-lessly. She gently placed the babe on the mother's breast and allowed she said "It is a healthy son, m'lady. You, and your husband should be proud. I shall give your maid instructions and it'd behoove you well to follow them within the next fortnight. I shall be here tomorrow."
This first time mother barely had eyes for the midwife, as already the babe was suckling on her breast and the woman's features riveted by the young life having entered. Mina turned, and left the room, just to bump outside into the husband. She nodded. "A son. And both hail and well. I shall see you tomorrow." There was relief in the man's eyes and he nodded.
Mina knew, he had paid her well. Had the child been a girl, it would have been her task to ensure it was a stillborn. The man did not wish to risk reputation and money for the firstborn to ~not~ be a boy. The mother never knew...
Mina left the household then, and returned home to clean up. This was the third birth she had attended in the past fourteen hours. It was the first birth of these today, that went with a life outcome for each involved.
The first was a premature babe that had been unable to live outside the womb. From that babe, Mina had collected a vial of blood while it was still with a beating heart inside the mother. By the time the child was separated from the womb, it had turned out she had not developed lungs and did not breathe. She died the moment she saw daylight for the first time.
The second birth was one of those tasks Mina undertook rarely - but she did, when they were well paid enough, and had good reason. The woman had paid her well, and she had made her decision well before the birth. For months, Mina and her patient had spoken and throughout it all, the woman had not changed her mind. Woman... Bah Mina thought. The woman was barely out of girlhood.
Mina was to ensure that both, child and woman were to perish during childbirth. A task, she only agreed to against a large sum ahead of time, and only after also ensuring for months to come that this was indeed the woman's choice. The girl was in an arranged, abusive marriage. She had had three miscarriages before this one finally was viable. Her husband was a wealthy, influencial ass of a man. Mina would much rather ensure he would perish, rather than his young wife. But the latter had given up. She had been driven into such deep, black humors and only her faith in god and church and the fear of hell kept her from committing straight-up suicide. This was where Mina came in. She would make sure that the girl would bleed out, fall asleep during the ordeal and die in peace. It was promised, it was paid for, and in the early morning hours, the deed was done.
From both, Mina had collected blood. The beating heart-blood of a first-born child, the ceasing heartblood of a dying mother.
Three valuable vials that would make some powerful agents for some people... And Mina knew exactly where to bring them.
She was running low on supplies, anyways, and once she had returned home, and cleaned up, despite the many hours she had been on her feet, she carefully wrapped her valuable goods, grabbed an empty basket and set out to find Il Noce al Trivio de Apotecaire
She hustled, as the afternoon neared its end, and she had no intention of keeping Thurenza in her shop longer than necessary.
When she entered, she drew in a deep breath. She quite enjoyed the scents of herbs and medicines. In her brown and white, common garb, a cap over her curly hair, a few strands sticking out, framing her wrinkling face, she offered Thurenza a smile when she spied her.
"Good afternoon, Signora - I hope you, and yours are well."