Rain followed the Bereavement. It filled the people of the Valley with hope. Hope for good crops, good times and for children.
The Sisters walked among the people assisting and helping where they were needed. People paid them gladly with food, drink, song and offers of the not-so tangible, much less nourishing kind. Every day they spurned proposals of marriage, to be wed there and then, under the sun in the Valley. They laughed and sang sweet temple hymns.
The Valley bloomed in the Meadows and Highlands. The Plateau itself, vibrant with all the colours nature can offer. This was the season of new birth. Heavily pregnant women waddled to and from the apple orchards. It had been decreed that there was the place for new birth, under the apple trees; granting them life anew.
The Sisters acted as midwives; they also were doctors, herbalists, messengers, an ear in times of strife and a source of tales in times of entertainment. When a new born had entered the community, it was they who carried it into the villages aloft. The baby, held above her head crying into the clear air, for all to come and offer blessings and salutations.
Delah, bloodied and glorious, carried the baby above her head. The newest member had arrived. The father, stumbling over his joy, closely in attendance, leaving the mother a brief respite after the storm. She stood by the cobbled well, tufts of wild garlic and lavender sprouted incoherently from around the base.
Delah picked a sprig of lavender; revelling in the fresh smell, enclosed it in the baby’s tiny, smooth hand. The people cheered. It was a good omen.
Later, as the festivities continued, Delah sat watching a group of small children play the oddest game. They had found a soft barked redwood and were taking it in turns to hit it with their ineffectual fists. They mocked muscles and toughness and exclaimed how powerful they were, that they could hit a tree and it was too scared to hit back.
In her reveries, she missed the approach of the new father; a slight stumble in his walk, not now from joy but from intoxication.
“Sister… Sist- Sistuhhh,” he slurred. “Shorry to trouble yeh in your thoughts of Shuh-She.”
“How may I aid you brother?” Delah inquired pleasantly, smiling expectantly.
“My wuh-wife has picked a name for the born of today.” He burped proudly.
“What be the name chosen for the blessed of She?”