"Ok, take a deep breath and PUSH!"
The witch pushed and screamed. The baby emerged. Metis cut the cord, smacked breath into the child, turned to grab a wet cloth to clean the mess off and heard the witch scream. She turned and watched the witch seemingly implode into a purple haze. Metis looked out the window at the rising green moon and shuddered. "Damn Withermoon," she said. She quickly cleaned the child, wrapped it in a blanket and took to her cart and headed her horse back to Bridgewater.
As she entered the town, she saw a large object fall from the sky into the forest on the other side of the town. The ground shook. She calmed her horse as they headed toward the stables. The stable boy took her horse and cart inside and she took the child to the office in the center of the town.
Reginald worked at his desk, trying to ignore the eerie green glow outside. He hated the Withermoon, as most did. "Every twenty-five years we endure three months of hell," he said to himself. A knock at the door startled him. He cautiously crossed the room and opened the door a crack to peek outside.
"Yes?" he asked the woman outside.
"Please sir, may I come in? I have a problem and I'd like your help."
Reginald opened the door to let the woman in. He gestured to the bundle she carried. As she pulled back part of the blanket to reveal the sleeping child, she spoke.
"I am a midwife in the next town over. Tonight, a witch came to me for help, saying that something was after her. She said she wanted to have her baby before it got her. I did not know this woman, but I could tell she was into dark magic. I helped her deliver, then she...well...sort of imploded."
Reginald raised an eyebrow over his monocle. "Imploded?"
Metis sighed. "Yes. I know it sounds impossible, but that is what you deal with is it not? Investigating the impossible?"
He nodded. "Yes. So what is it that you want me to investigate?"
Metis shifted uncomfortably. "Well, nothing really. I just need to find a home for this child. I will not take her to the orphanage! That headmaster is horrible!"
Reginald sighed. "Well, I think perhaps fate has you in mind to raise this child." Metis opened her mouth to protest, but Reginald put his hand up to stop her. "And, I also think fate has me in mind to help you. I've never married, been too busy with my business, but I've always wanted a child. I will take the child, and I would like to hire you to be her governess."
Metis looked down at the sleeping child as tears welled in her eyes. "Yes, I do believe this arrangement is fate."
Thirteen years later...
Reginald sat in his chair in front of the fire, Rajani at his feet. She was growing up to be a beautiful woman, he thought. She was smart, curious, and fearless. He noticed her talent for magic early on, and was planning to send her to study with a Druid friend of his. He smiled down at her as he continued his story.
"The Withermoon is a dire omen. When the moon shines green it means the Withermoon is coming. Three months of pure terror, where the thin line between Atlas and what they call The Void becomes almost non-existent."
"Mama was taken by The Void, wasn't she? Right after she had me?"
Reginald stood and began to pace. "Yes, I suppose you are old enough now, although Metis has beaten me to it. That is the story of your birth. Your mother played with dark forces she did not, could not, understand. The evil necromancer Kharnyx tried to open The Void. The residents of Atlas sent their champion dragon, Lucien, to stop her. He did, but what returned was not the same Lucien that went in. He is cursed, poor soul. The creatures that exist in The Void are made of the purest evil. Kharnyx thought she could control The Void and use its power to take over Atlas."
"Will The Void come for me?" Rajani asked.
Reginald smiled and bent down to hug the girl. "No, my dear. Stay away from dark magic and you will be fine. Now, off to bed! Your training with Druid Krieger and Druid Tim starts in the morning!"
She rose, gave him a big hug and walked to the door. She paused. "When is the next Withermoon, Papa Reggie?"
"Not for about a dozen years," he replied. "But you do not want to be outside of Bridgewater when it happens. I do not know still what that thing that fell from the sky last time was, but it brought us good fortune. I am hoping it lasts. I would not want to be in the wilderness when the next Withermoon comes!"
Twelve years later...
Rajani stood on top of a hill in the Twilight Woodlands. She looked back over her shoulder at Kharnyx, who was molding clay and mud over a human ribcage. She thought back to the warning Reginald gave her all those years ago.
"Oh, but I do want to be in the Atlas wilderness..."