Cascabel, Echo


New mother Echo meets, slightly green around the edges, expectant mother Cascabel, and the two exchange pleasantries at the Laundry.


It is afternoon of the seventh day of the fifth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Laundry Rooms, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 29 Jun 2018 04:00


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"I rememember being that big, it's just plain tiring isn't it?"

Laundry Rooms

The laundry rooms at Igen are vast, lined with barrels of varying soap concentrations and shades: darks, lights, and colors. However, it seems that some laundresses are less finicky with this rule as a peek into any of them reveals clothes in various states of cleaning are from all shades of life. The room does smell mostly pleasant with the soap, but the laundry sticks are old, worn, and smell rather of mildew. High ceilings echo the gossips of the workers here, and lines of drying laundry criss-cross overhead for when it's too wet or sandy to line-dry outside.

It's funny how despite the fact she is close to giving birth and also appears a little green around the edges, Cascabel seems in relatively good spirits. One might worry, considering rumors that her entire family has been stricken with some illness — and she hasn't been spared — but it seems like she's trying to grasp onto optimism. She's not actually doing laundry in the laundries; she's sitting on a bench with her feet up on it sideways, leaning against the wall, long skirts obscuring most of her body. Her veil isn't covering her face distinctly because she is trying to take deep breaths of the soap-scented humid air. Occasionally she gets a weird look from a passerby; why is this woman here watching people doing laundry? Yet that's exactly what she's doing: she seems to be assessing, somehow, even as her face is a bit sunken.

Well here comes someone with some rather recent knowledge of what Cascabel is going through. Echo walks in with a small sack of laundry hung over one shoulder, her torso wrapped with a long piece of orange fabric, creating a carrier for her babe. She's dressed in a pair of loose fiting trousers that hang to mid calf and a simple linen tunic. Her auburn hair is swept up and away from her face in a practical runnertail. Moving with purpose and talking to herself, the Zingari herder wanders towards the barrels, her one-sided conversation going something like this, "You really need to stop spitting up so much Esmi, you run out of clothes almost as fast as I can wash them." Testing the barrels, she finally finds one with cooler water, and begins to unload her sack which is mostly just contains lots of baby clothes some diapers and blankets, "And you'll want to wash anything delicate, like all these knit things your Nana Cheri sent you, in cold water. You getting this?" When she looks around for some soap, she finally spies Cascabel and gives her a look of pure sympathy, before speaking up shyly as she moves closer to fetch some soap, "I rememember being that big, it's just plain tiring isn't it?" Echo assumes the woman is taking a much needed breather, especially when she sees her sunken features.

Cascabel does try not to get too close to babies, usually; maybe it's that she's nervous about impending parenthood and maybe it's just that she's sick. Those deep breaths do seem to be offsetting a cough. But she's not veering far away enough from people to seem like she's trying not to infect them, so she's not that dangerous, surely? "I think it's hard to persuade them to stop doing such things," she says gently, quirking up a smile on half her mouth (and present in both eyes). "Unless you encourage them to stop eating, and that's not much better, I don't think." It's teasing, really. "I am — very tired of it, yes. It'll be over soon, I can hope." Days, even, based on her math — which is a lot better than anyone ever gives her credit for. "Is that the right age to start teaching lessons about wash?"

Taking note of the way the other woman is breathing as well as her complexion, Echo adjusts the fabric to cover the babe's face and gives Cascabel a wide berth as she retrieves some of the gentlest soap before making her way back to her barrel. "Let me tell you, when I've been up five times already to feed her in one night…" she trails off with a small laugh as she measures a precise amount of soap in with the clothes. "What? You think two months is too early for basic chores?" Echo replies with a mild tease before she shakes her head, "I just find it's easier to talk to someone who can't answer me back. I've done it for turns with runners and now this little girl is my best audience yet." Puitting aside the soap, she takes up a paddle to start stirring the wash.

She's just a little congested. Really. But Cascabel is careful not to exhale on anyone just in case, even if she knows it won't really matter. Knowing things she isn't saying is really her nature, though, so nothing seems to be a change. "I often talk to my firelizard for the same reason, though he's old enough now he sometimes does answer back. Just that I can't always understand." Can't always, but can sometimes; the way firelizards communicate in pictures is a fascination to her. "Two months may be a good time to start internalizing. I wonder, how old do I need to wait for basic math? I — hope, by the way," she backtracks to Echo's first statement, "that you have help and aren't getting up all by yourself to feed her every time." Even if no one else can do the actual feeding, there ought to be someone to assist. Someone should just be bringing her the baby, if you ask Cas. Which no one did.

"Yeah, I do it with my little bronze as well, they do make great conversationalists too," Echo replies as she picks out a few of the garments and if she sees a rather stubborn stain, sprinkles it with more powder, rubbing it in vigorously before putting it back in the wash. "Maybe not, but she's starting to react to when I speak to her now, so maybe she's getting something out of it," a gentle shrug of her shoulders as she continues her spot checking. On the subject of night feedings, Echo just blushes softly, "Oh yes we share a yurt, so there's no hiding when she starts bawling. My husband has been very attentive since the birth, he'd be adorable if he didn't get underfoot so much. I finally had to force him back to work after a sevenday or so because I just need some peace from his hovering," but it's obvious by the bright smile on the woman's face that it was just as endearing as it was annoying. "What about you? Your husband excited? Is this your first" Echo asks as she tosses Cascabel a look, making all kinds of assumptions.

Not assumptions she hasn't heard before; Cascabel knows how to roll with them. Honest, but not to the point of bringing down the mood: "He is pleased to have an heir," she says simply, though if she looks a little bit more amused at that then she should — she must just be tired. "So, yes, the first that kept." Frequent miscarriage in Igen's climate and frequently cyclic having-enough-food status doesn't really bring the mood down that much, does it? "We're all fairly confident he is a boy, thus no concerns about not producing an heir, at least. He isn't the type to be very helpful or put up with crying, though." She's gotten very good at pretending things like that actually matter to her, too.

Quietly, Echo processes the other woman's careful answers, wondering what exactly it is that she's not saying, but she'd never be bold enough to actually say something to a near perfect stranger, so instead she just offers a warm smile in Cascabel's direction, "Sorry about the ones that didn't take, it sounds like your baby is really wanted. Not that this little munchkin wasn't," Echo remarks looking down into the carrier to check on the babe, "Wanted that is. She definitely was, is, but we weren't even engaged and our herbs failed, so she took us a little by suprise. Didn't take him long to propose after that though so maybe I should thank her for her timing," she chuckles sofly, trying not to disturb her little passenger. "Oh I was almost convinced Esmi was a boy too, I even had dreams where I had a son, I just hope your husband won't be too disapointed if it's not what your expecting," Cause if he's the kind of father who won't be helping out, he might be one of those who see a son as far superior to a mere daughter.

Enyem would definitely be displeased with a daughter; Cascabel might have been a little bit herself. Or worked into a panic about the child's quality of life. "It happens. I was smaller," which may be hard to imagine as she's still rather thin for someone who is nearly term pregnant, "Likely an eating issue. But at least a complete surprise was something I missed out on. That sounds like — it sounds awkward to discuss, at first, though it also sounds like your husband's the type not to mind. Just, 'surprise, trying not to get pregnant didn't actually work' …" Enyem never liked surprises. Cas isn't the best with them either, but she's far more roll-with-the-punches. "I won't let him make too much trouble if it turns out to be a girl."

"Oh it was awkward…I was so nervous," Echo says before remembering with a chuckle, "And he ended up having a panic attack and running out of our yurt, but there are complicated reasons that lead to that, which I knew. In the end though, he proposed almost immediately and treated me like glass throughout my whole pregnancy right up to the point she came into the world. He can be a bit overbearing, but always out of love." There's that softly warm smile again as she absently reaches down and runs a finger over her little one's cheek. When she turns warm brown eyes again to Cascabel, she smiles, "I'm Echo, by the way, of the Zingari, and this, I think I've mentioned, is Esmi." To Cas's last, she merely smiles with a knowing twinkle in her eye, "Of course you won't. Men…They sometimes need to be put in their place." she says firmly, safe in the knowledge her own husband is nowhere around.

Nor is Cascabel's, considering he wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near here. Busy selling things and being pompous, for sure. "Oh, well, that sounds — that sounds discouraging, I think I wouldn't handle that well. I tend to get upset when people get upset and I probably would have been even more upset with a reception like that." If she had cared about the person's reaction, anyway. "I think being treated so fragile-ly would have been a little anoying, too? But it sounds nice enough. It's good to meet you both," she says in a tone that sounds truly sincere; she then takes another deep breath before adding, "Cascabel. Cas is fine."

"Oh I was used to Milosh's…ways by then, so I was sure he would be right back if I was patient. And he was, after getting a calming draught," Echo says remembering the moment as if it was yesterday and not nine months in the past. Her gaze clouds just a little as she turns it to the water, and she sighs softly, "His past gave him some leniency to act like a broody gold. He was married with a child before…" she trails off a bit, hoping the emphasis on the word 'was' speaks to all she needs to say. "Well met Cas. Unfortunately it looks like my load is just about done, and I should get it home and hung before this little one decides it's supper time." As if on cue, a sleepy noise is heard from the sling across her chest. So making quick work of wringing out the tiny clothes, Echo piles it all back in her sack to take back with her to the Caravan Grounds. Before taking her leave, she manages one more friendly smile to Cascabel, "I wish you a smooth, and quick, delivery and a healthy baby, no matter the sex, on the other end." And then the herder girl heads off just as her little bundle starts to fuss in earnest.

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