Valka lie in her bed weak and tired. Her husband sat beside her rocking the newly filled cradle at the side of the bed.
She'd never claim to be much of a viking, parish the thought. There was too much to be held against her in that respect. Her hatred for the viking kill or be killed lifestyle, she couldn't handle any length of time on the open seas, her love of the flying pests that raided their home and stole the food they'd worked so hard for…
The fear that gripped her heart at the thought of the cradle under her beloved's fingertips.
She knew the rumors that spread around the village. She knew what the other women said about her, how many men her husband had to refrain from giving a well deserved beating for a comment on her condition.
Her eyes never left the ceiling. She couldn't bring herself to look, not at her husband, not at the cradle, and never at the wee babe that was now nestled in his father's arms.
She's finally done it. After three long summers of marriage she'd finally given him a firstborn. Finally carried a child full term.
(He's a good sized babe, but…)
Stoick knew she was awake, he'd asked her multiple times if she wished to hold the child, receiving no answer each time.
(His lungs are weak,)
The women pitied her, she who married the most powerful man in the village yet couldn't bear him a child. The men suggested a concubine… her heart broke at the thought.
(His heart is irregular)
Stoick had never considered the idea. The Haddock family hadn't resorted to concubines to produce an heir in recorded history and he'd let the name die completely before he tarnished it so thoroughly.
(His breath's are numbered, and the numbers are few)
Stoick rocked his dieing firstborn in his arms as he sang to the hopeless infant. She knew without looking that he held the child in a way that he could feel the babe's fragile heart beat and see the little chest rise and fall with each breath.
(I'm sorry chief, but the babe won't see his first sunrise.)
Stoick's song continued before her mind grasped the words he sang.
To love to kiss to sweetly hold
For the dancing and the dreaming
Through all life's sorrows and delights
I'll keep your laugh inside me
She should have known it would be that song. It's the only song her husband knew that wasn't a drinking melody.
(Valka, now, you mustn't blame yourself, you did all you could)
It was the slowest she'd ever heard the song sang, especially by him. It was a happy song, it could usually lift her spirits almost instantaneously.
(Stoick, what are you going to do for an heir if… if…)
This time it did little to help her.
I'll swim and sail on savage seas
With ne'er a fear of drowning
And gladly ride the waves of life...
His voice broke…
Her heart broke worse.