Authors: Charles Kaluza
Tags: #young adult, #surgery, #medical fiction, #sacred water, #medical science fiction, #adventure and science fiction
Copyright 2014 Charles Kaluza
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The Scarlet King is the final book in the
Sacred Water trilogy. In the first book the world of Daniel and
Heather is introduced as well as the importance of the sacred water
which contains iodine which prevents the development of deformed
babies. These iodine deficient babies are referred to medically as
cretins but in the world of Daniel and Heather they were called
half brains. Their status was as sub humans and slaves. One of
these half brains is Betty who is blessed with a way of knowing
things and becomes instrumental in protecting the Sacred Water.
Others had learned of the power of the Sacred
Water and tried to capture the source which was located in the
Forest which is as much a living thing as it is a place in the
mountains. It is the efforts of Daniel and Heather with those of
the Forest who defeat those who would have captured the spring of
their sacred water. Not only those of the forest but also those of
the northern and southern kingdoms were depended upon this single
source of iodine. As was seen in the second book "The Time Before"
another ancient people Those of the Red whose existence had been
forgotten through time also sought the health of the Sacred Water
but who chose force as their method. Now in the third book we find
that the ancient enemy of Those of the Red also seek the power of
the iodine. They are of the East and much feared for good
This series developed from my own interest in
diseases of thyroid which was a major portion of my medical
practice. The early descriptions of the Africans brought to this
country as slaves contains drawings of their course facial features
and descriptions of their slow mental status. It turns out that the
majority of those captured into slavery were from the iodine
deficiency areas of Africa. Many of our prejudices like those
explored in this trilogy were based on medical issues which could
have been easily solved had the knowledge been available. This book
is written for young readers of all ages who are interested in
science and medicine.
Heather was awakened by a pressure sensation
that began in her lower abdomen and radiated towards her back. Her
pregnant belly ball became progressively harder as the contraction
built. She awoke not Daniel. The pressure would begin almost
imperceptibly and then build to a point of pain before subsiding.
She timed the regularity and was sure that her labor had begun. The
misery and melancholy of the ice field were forgotten as she
experienced the sensations of her womanhood. She gently rubbed her
very pregnant abdomen and talked softly to the baby within her. A
fleeting memory of her injury, incurred when her horse fell after
giving its life to protect her, entered her consciousness, but she
remembered Daniel saying that there was no evidence of harm to
Her contractions were becoming stronger and
more frequent. She was about to awaken Daniel when Betty pulled
back the curtain and said, "It is time."
Daniel began to stir and Heather helped him
awaken by poking him with her elbow. "You should summon the
midwife,” she said, “for our baby wishes to be born."
Daniel did not respond and Heather poked him
harder, which produced some groaning from Daniel. Heather's
patience was wearing thin and she said, with an edge to her voice,
"Why is it when a patient knocks on our door you are instantly
awake, but for me you sleep?"
Now Daniel was awake but insisted on feeling
the contractions himself. Heather just bit her lip and spoke not
despite her irritation with the delay. Daniel may be husband and
father to be, but as always he was a healer. His exam seemed to
take forever. "I said it was time to summon the midwife, do you
hear me not?"
Daniel looked at his bride with a surprised
look on his face but did as he was told. He dressed quickly and
went across the village to seek the midwife. The lamp was already
lit in her cottage and she appeared ready when Daniel arrived. He
said, "The contractions of labor have begun."
The midwife was much older than Daniel and
they worked together often. She simply nodded her head before
saying, "It will be some time yet but let us go prepare."
Heather had begun to perspire and was
definitely working harder with each contraction. The midwife
carefully felt her abdomen and but nodded her head. She reached
around and began gently massaging Heather's lower back while
chanting, "It is not yet time, be patient and breathe."
The massage and the quiet chanting relaxed
Heather and the pressure seemed less. Daniel was frittering about
the room, anxious about everything. Betty finally spoke up.
"You go outside. You make the Princess
nervous." Betty spoke with authority despite her small stature, for
she had looked after Heather since before they left the palace of
the Northern Kingdom. The Spirits of the Forest gave her a way of
knowing that Daniel understood not.
Daniel looked at Heather, who nodded her head
and murmured, "I'll be okay."
Daniel left the bedroom and closed the
curtain. He began pacing around the small house, but then Betty
poked her head out from behind the curtain and stared at him. He
stopped pacing, but Betty just pointed to the door. He did as he
was told and went outside into the cool autumn morning. The sky was
just beginning to develop a light pink color to the east. It was
easier to breathe outside and he continued to stretch his legs and
worry. He visualized all that could go wrong and was talking to
himself. He heard not Jeremy arrive and jumped when Jeremy said,
"Who are you talking to?"
"I was just arguing with myself about all the
things that could go wrong and how I should respond," said Daniel.
"What are you doing up so early?"
"Edna woke me up and said you needed some
company." He asked Daniel, “How did she know?"
Daniel said, "I suppose she heard Betty, who
knew Heather was in labor before I did."
Their conversation was interrupted by an
involuntary groan from Heather. The sound bothered Jeremy greatly
and he asked if everything was all right. Daniel chewed his lip
before saying, "I think it is a normal sound for labor, but I worry
greatly. She is not yet ready and there will be much work yet."
Jeremy was quiet for a while before saying,
"It is probably a good thing we men don't have to go through this.
I'm not sure we would handle it very well."
Daniel responded not but continued his pacing
and worrying. The intermittent groaning began to change and Daniel
said, "She is in transition, I think. It will not be long now."
Jeremy wanted to ask what would happen next
but was afraid to hear the answer. He tried to divert Daniel's
attention by talking about the upcoming journey he and Edna were
going on. Jason had invited them to join him on his diplomatic
mission to the Kingdom of the Red and they had agreed to go. Daniel
listened but said little other than asking when they would
"We leave on the new moon which is in five
days. This will give us a few extra days in the Southern Kingdom to
sample their taverns. Edna is worried about traveling aboard ship
but she will do fine as long as we don't have any major
Daniel really did not hear what his friend
was saying; he was listening to the panting and groaning coming
from his small house. His bride was definitely in the transition
phase. He wrestled with the mental image of the baby descending
through the birth canal. He was pretty sure the baby was pointed
the right way, but what if it was breech? What if Heather began to
hemorrhage? Maybe the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. The
thoughts just kept coming.
Daniel moved closer to the door of their
house, listening intently to the sounds from within. Jeremy stayed
at his side and continued with his banter, but Daniel heard him
not. The birth was getting close and the panting and groaning more
intense, with much less time between contractions. Now Daniel could
hear the midwife telling Heather to push and he felt himself
straining, trying to help her. This phase seemed to go on and on.
Daniel realized he was having trouble breathing and had to force
himself to relax and breathe normally.
The tension had built to the point that
Daniel was ready to go back into the house, when silence suddenly
ensued. This was quickly replaced with a small feeble cry of a
newborn baby, which grew quickly into the full-throated cry of a
healthy newborn. Daniel's expression changed dramatically from
intense worry to unbridled joy. He opened the door and rushed into
the bedroom. The midwife had just finished cleaning the baby and
was handing it to Heather. Daniel just stood there looking.
Heather held the infant to her bosom but it
was not yet done crying. She looked up at Daniel and said, "Come
see our new son."
Daniel moved closer but seemed almost afraid
to touch the small pink baby that his bride held. Heather asked,
"Would you hold your son?"
Daniel reached out and somewhat stiffly took
the small infant in his hands. It was so small. It mattered not
that he had cared for many newborns. This was different; it was his
son. He held the baby closer and began rocking on his feet trying
to soothe it. The midwife was massaging Heather's belly trying to
stimulate contractions, which finally caused her to pass the
afterbirth. Daniel noticed not, for he was holding his son. He
placed his little finger in the baby's mouth and the baby began to
suckle. He handed the baby back saying, "I think he is hungry." He
added, “He has blue eyes just like you.”
Heather again placed the baby against her
breast and this time he latched onto the nipple and began to
suckle. The midwife was giving them instructions but they really
did not hear her, for their attention was so focused on the baby.
The midwife turned towards Betty and said, "I will trust you to
watch over these new parents. If you need me I will hear you."
The next few days were just a blur as the
demands of a new baby seemed to consume both Daniel and Heather.
Betty had already pretty much assumed management of the household,
but she also had to take care of her own baby. For the most part
those of the village bothered Daniel not for their healing, but
when he was called, out he went. Time away from the confusion of
his own household seemed almost relaxing.
The time had come for the departure of Edna
and Jeremy, and of course there was a celebration at the Village of
Issip’s tavern. Heather decided it was an appropriate time to show
those of Issip their new baby and announce its name. Preparation
for the simple walk to the tavern seemed to take forever, but they
arrived only a little late for the party.
The tavern was packed but Jeremy had saved
them room at his table. The baby noticed not the noise and
commotion and slept. He was the center of attention until after the
eating was done and the stories began. It seemed everyone needed to
peek under the blanket and have a look at the baby. Edna asked,
"Have you named your son?"