Startquarter, Redleaf 22, 97
Angel & Ben are 33, Arek is 2
"Ben! Get in here!"
That sounded painful. If it was the baby... the one that should have arrived two weeks ago... well, then the pancake mixture soaking into the grass mat was a matter for later.
Angel was standing in the middle of the bathing room floor, moaning and holding her belly. She greeted Ben with a look that he guessed was probably meant to be a death glare, although it looked more like she was trying not to sneeze to him.
"Well? Don't just stand there! Go find your sister!" she managed to say between groans.
Ben threw his hands up and replied, "You could have said that before I dropped our breakfast!"
It was very obvious after that that sticking around wasn't the best idea. He did need to get Aurora over there. His younger sister had delivered most of the babies born in the last four or five years, including Ben and Angel's first child, Arek.
Not long afterwards, Aurora and a couple of the older women were there to help out - or rather do everything that needed to be done while Ben was shooed out. The Nuidya tribe had almost no gender-based restrictions, but births were still strictly women's business. Yes, Ben's half-brother Rommy had been there when his son Zareb was born, but most Nuidya said it didn't count if the man was the one giving birth.
By the sound of it, Ben was very glad he wasn't.
When it was all over, he was the father of a baby boy who they named Markal. The name meant "strong spear carrier". Ben secretly thought they'd probably just guaranteed that their son would be one of the quiet studious ones who never said boo to a goose, but he didn't think he could be any happier to see the new baby.
It was getting towards midday, a few hours since Markal had come into the world. It was hard to tell exactly how long it had been - no one wore a watch in Kulo Seeri, after all. Ben would be heading out into the forest with a few other Sims to gather some of the autumn fruits that had been appearing lately. Hopefully he'd be able to find something special out there to celebrate the birth.
Not long after the foraging party left, it started to rain. Nobody minded much - it had been raining all month, more or less.
At least, nobody minded until it built up into a lightning storm.
Angel was starting to worry. Ben had been away for a while and she'd seen a few tree fires start.
By the time the weather started to calm down, she'd decided there was nothing to worry about. They were Nuidya. Surviving storms was what they did best. She probably had more to fear from her sons' stinkies.
"Angel? You in there"
S'Ahmisa and Hestrie, two of the Sims who had gone out into the forest with Ben, were standing at the entrance to the hut, soaking wet.
"You're back... is something up?" Angel asked, noticing the expressions on their faces. The sort of looks that said "bearers of bad news".
They explained - after getting inside where it was dry - that Ben had been separated from the rest of the group during the storm. The two of them had gone back to find him after the thunder and lightning had stopped, but by that time, it was too late. They'd found him lying unconscious in the middle of a charred group of trees, just seconds before he stopped breathing.
Angel followed them out as they left, half hoping to see her husband just walk in as if nothing had happened. She knew she never would again. Her sons would grow up not knowing their father. She would have to find a way to support two very young children alone. It was especially cruel that it had happened on the day of Markal's birth.
Bad timing? Understatement of the year.
Welcome Markal zan-Sophie
ROS: Fulfil biggest fear - Angel. Her worst fear when I entered her lot was "Death of Ben". At some point before Ben actually died, that fear rolled away. I didn't notice until after I saved. The new fear that replaced it was "Change Diaper"... Markal was happy to oblige.
Angel married into the zan-Sophie clan before the Nuidya ditched the idea of one partner taking the other's name, so she is now using her original last name, Go.