She stared after them as they disappeared into the woods feeling full of chagrin. What was she to do with a baby? She had no milk, not even a goat, for which to feed it. Damn it, damn it, damn it.
Said baby moved and gave a squawk and she looked down. Those eyes were a steel grey and they absolutely shined in a face of light brown skin. What an odd combination, she thought, never having seen the like before, but found it quite pretty. She turned and entered her house, eyeing the man on the low cot by the door. He had shot himself in the foot, idiot, while hunting and she had bound the wound as best she could. She wasn’t really a healer, but had some experience with it, so people came to her when they needed something and had no one to care for them at home. This man was widowed with children all moved away with families of their own.
“Didn’t know you were expecting, Sophie,” he said as she entered and he saw the baby.
“Har,” she said dryly. “How’s the foot?”
“Oh, it’s fine, just achy. What was all the commotion?”
“I tried to talk the stork out of leaving me this little person,” she replied, busy unwrapping the infant. She had assumed girl, but she really had no idea and if she was to be in charge of it, it would need a name, which meant knowing a gender. Under the simple white blanket was a warm swaddle of a very fine wool edged in silk, woven with a deep green and chocolate brown yarn. It was a very expensive looking cloth and she eyed it nervously. All of her instincts told her to pass the baby on, to get out of whatever she had fallen into. Nothing she had seen so far made eased her fears.
“Did the stork leave a name?” Gerard grunted as he levered himself into a sitting position.
“No,” she replied, not looking up from her inspection. “You better not move that foot, I’m not re-wrapping your foot if you knock that dressing off.”
“No, ma’am.” he assured her. He had never seen her so flustered and he cursed that he couldn’t make it to the door after the gun shot. Thank the Gods she was unhurt. He had barely gotten back into the cot fast enough to avoid a scolding as she came back in. “Lad or lass?”
She slipped open the clout, which was more than a little wet and needed to be changed, and said, “Lass. Who are you, little one?” she looked up at her, meeting those grey eyes. “Do you have a name?”
Gerard caught sight of those light brown legs kicking and gave a grunt of surprise. “She’s from the south?”
“South?” Sophie did turn at this and arched an eyebrow at Gerard.
“Aye,” he replied, craning his neck to see better. “The people to the south are darker skinned. I visited there in my youth as a soldier.”
“Hmm,” Sophie turned back to the baby. “Do you know any southern names? I can’t just call her little one forever.” Or until those strange people came back and got her, she thought, but shoved that thought back on the shelf.
Gerard pondered that for a moment. “Oh, that was a long time ago, let’s see. I only remember a little, a few words. Found, please, thank you, beer, home, woman…”
“Home, what was home?”
“Aelwydydd,” came the answer. She made him spell it for her, startled that it ended with a double d instead of a th, but nodded.
“Aelwydydd,” she said to the baby. “You’re home.”