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Late February, 75AD

Charis choked and felt bile rise in her throat as the woman withdrew her hands from her bare stomach. "Y-you're sure?" The woman, significantly older than her - wizened, almost, glanced down with that faux-sympathy she must hand out to all the young women and girls who graced her establishment; "I'm sure. You've not had your bleed for how many months now?" Charis swallowed, "Not since before Saturnalia, a...while before." But that was not uncommon, surely? With the stress? Her courses hadn't been regular after the miscarriage either, but that, according to the woman in front of her made her only more susceptible to the trappings of pregnancy. Apparently if one couldn't predict the accuracy of one's menses, then one's contraceptives (or the yarrow root that Charis thought constituted a contraceptive) wouldn't be effective. 

The woman merely shrugged and allowed Charis a modicum of privacy to redress as she moved to take a seat, "Then I'd say you're two, almost three months along maybe. A late summer baby." Charis only glanced at her, horrified, tears visibly in her eyes. That didn't seem to matter much to the woman who merely shrugged and crossed her arms over her chest. 

Slipping off of the makeshift bed, Charis felt her legs buckle and she had to reseat herself. She had always, for as long as she could remember, wanted to be a mother. That happiness she had felt at her first pregnancy - even with the fear of the Roman occupation - had been overwhelming, but this was different. She didn't want to mother his child, a child born of what could only be called rape, a child who would be a slave, and grow up in Rome away from her people, away from her family and friends. She felt nausea rise again and she only just made it to the strategically placed bucket in time before she was coughing and retching up bile. 

The woman, amused, shrugged again; "That's the sickness you've been having for the last few weeks?" And Charis, exhausted and upset, could only laugh. No. This wasn't the sickness that had hit her in waves every morning and finally, at Rhoda's quiet insistence, had led her to this woman's door. This was something else; something guttural and painful, it was the realisation of the situation she was in and the mess she had made for herself. When there was nothing else for her to retch up, she slumped back down on the floor and wound thin arms around herself as if to protect herself. But from whom? From Tertius - because surely his reaction would far from the joyous grin of a father to be? She let her head roll back and hit the bed frame as she muttered quietly to herself; "I can't..." 

The woman whose name Charis had not been told, evidently had seen this all before and in a business like fashion slapped her knees and shook her head; "Not even crossing your legs and binding them with iron'll keep that baby in. The only thing to do if you don't want it is...well...to get rid." Charis cracked her eyes and stared her down, curiosity on her face. The woman continued; "I know a woman, backstreets - a few shops over, she'll sort you out. She has the weaving needle of course," Charis felt her insides contract and the bile rise again and the woman must have sensed it as she raised her hand, "Or, or some tisanes you can take. It'll cost though." Had Charis been thinking rationally, she would have realised that the tisanes were surely as dangerous as the needle, but in her mind it sounded better, safer, certainly less excruciating. 

She only nodded her head minutely and mumbled a; "I...I can get money, who is she?" The woman sighed and with fierce judgement in her eyes stood to write the details down on a torn, dirtied scrap of papyrus (the presumption that Charis could read would have amused her in happier times). And so she left not long after, legs wobbling, mind a mess with the name of a woman tucked into her belt and a child in her belly. 

Oh Gods give me guidance, what am I going to do? 


TAG - Closed.

Edited by Sara
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