Raising a Daughter

Commission for Barthurs, thanks again, friend!

	“Is it working?” A man grunted as his beautiful wife yanked spirit energy from his body.
	The woman used said spirit energy to influence her casting, taking it in to regenerate her powerful mana reserves, “Hush, husband. I am concentrating,” She shushed him as she continued her casting. 
The man groaned again, closing his eyes as a bright purple flash encased the chamber the two stood near. The walls of their home groaned as the howling wind blew. Thunder rang out and lightning struck as the purple energy encased the rune covered sarcophagus. Bright lights flooded the room from the inside of the box as the aetheric energy in the air kicked up, billowing around the room. The man flinched, protecting his eyes as the woman’s clothing billowed, curtains nearly came off their hooks, and a lamp fell off a small side table. The woman raised her arms, pure magical power radiating from the body and manifesting as a bright purple smoke on her hands. She hollered out a magical incantation, the spell engulfing the stone tomb in the middle of her living room. 
	Just as quickly as the woman started, she stopped. The last of her words crescendoing as the thunder outside boomed, “Did it work?” The man asked.
	“Of course it did, Barth. My magic does not fail,” The white-gray haired woman retorted as she set down her tome. She brushed off her lab coat before taking it off to reveal her deep purple dress shirt. Her hands brushed across her purple-grayish skin as she listened closely. 
	“Liana?” Barth mumbled in a worried tone.
	The lich opened her mouth to speak but stopped as she heard a noise. First a weak groan then quiet crying coming from the inside of the tomb. She strutted over to it with a confident look on her face as Barth put his pants back on then joined her, “Ah, it sounds like it worked. Let us see her now,” With the wave of her hand, the stoney top of the sarcophagi came off and was set carefully on the carpeted living room floor. A young girl laid on her back and wept softly, squinting her eyes as the dim light of the room was cast over her, “Hush now, little one,” The lich cooed as she gently scooped the girl up. Liana was careful not to apply too much pressure to the girl’s boney and leathery wings or tail, “How do you feel?”
	The young girl silently cuddled up to the lich, burying her cold skin against her as she slowly stopped sobbing. Barth stroked her short white hair, “She’s so cute,” He admitted as he looked her over, “Why… do her eyes glow?” He asked as he gazed at her bright purple peepers. 
	The lich held the zombie dragon at arm’s length, “Hm. Must be some sort of side effect. Nothing to worry about. Consider it a show of her latent power,” With a few fingers, she wiped away the child’s tears as she had stopped sobbing and brushed the young girl’s hair over her eyes.
The young zombie dragon seemed to be about five or six and covered in tattered, dirty rags that may have been a cute dress at one point, “She needs new clothes. Think your old lab coat would fit on her?”
	“The one you shrunk and turned purple?” The lich chuckled at her husband, “Very well. Retrieve it for her, if you would.”
	While Liana stood to her feet, Barth hurried to their bedroom to grab the aforementioned garment and returned to drape it over the little girl’s body with a smirk, “Perfect fit. What are we gonna call her?”
	“Ketela,” The lich stated matter of factly. 
Barth knew there was no discussion with this and merely nodded in response, “Ketela, Ketela,” He said the word as if feeling how it left his mouth, “I like it. Maybe we should lay her down to sleep?”
	“Hm. How does a rest sound, Ketela?” Liana asked, merely humoring her husband.
	Ketela’s mind finally cleared, “I’m tired…” She whined, still sniffling softly.
	“Then we shall put you to bed, child,” The lich decided
	“Are you… my mom and dad?” The small zombie dragon asked quietly.
	Barth nodded and grinned, excited to experience parenthood– even if the circumstances were a bit… unusual, “Yes we are. Is there anything you need? Food? A blanket maybe? What about a cat? We could–”
	“Barthurs,” Liana said his full name firmly to quiet him, “She is tired and she will rest. Come now. I am sure you wish to tuck her in.”
	“Right, right. We can worry about that later,” Barth scooped up his wife’s purple covered tome and followed her to the spare bedroom the two new parents had spruced up for their new daughter. Dark purple walls, a soft, plush, twin sized bed with purple sheets and blankets, a dresser, night stand, and a wooden chest full of old and new toys alike. 
	The lich set the sleepy child down before kissing her on the forehead, “Sleep well,” With the wave of her hand, the dragon zombie’s clothes were magically scrubbed clean, “I will go to the store for clothing tonight. I should be able to get clothes her size.”
	“Alright, see you in the morning,” Barth gave his wife a kiss before giving the child one a kiss on the forehead, “And you, have a good night. I’ll be just down the hall if you need me.”
	“Daddy?” Ketela croaked. Within the blink of an eye, Barthurs was at her bedside, kneeling next to her, eagerly awaiting what she needed. She simply reached out with her arms for a hug. 
Barth smirked and gave her a firm embrace, “Good night, Ketela.”
	As the man left, the small dragon zombie was left in the dark of her room. A single wall was softly illuminated by a small yellow night light near the door. As she closed her eyes, she tried to recall what had happened. She recognized the two as her parents, she felt a strange connection to them both, but she couldn’t recall anything else that happened before tonight. There were hazy visions, pictures in her mind of nothing clear. Soon, she drifted off to sleep.

	After a peaceful night of sleep, Ketela awoke in her bed. She gazed around her room and saw that one of the chairs at her little table had been moved and a small pile of clothes had been laid on it. She wiped her eyes with the back of her scaled hand before throwing the blanket off herself and rolling out of bed. She picked up the brand new clothes and turned them over in her hands. It was all made of a similar, durable fabric that resisted Ketela’s claws as she started to dress herself. It was a blue-green skirt, white socks, and a black t-shirt with a cutesy skull on it. Ketela picked up the purple lab coat she had been given the previous night and threw it on over her shoulders and left her room.
	The young dragon girl found herself in a long hallway. The walls were an off white cream color which was only broken up by white doors up and down the hallway and a few small, framed pictures of her parents together in various places. Waterfalls, the beach, dark caves, a haunted house, and a few others. She slowly walked past them, taking them in as she wandered down the hall into the living room. She had been awakened in this room just last night. The stone tomb was gone, light, curtains, and everything else had been cleaned up after the parent’s long night of casting. The room was somehow spotless now. 
	“Good morning, Ketela,” Barth greeted from the kitchen where he was beginning to prepare breakfast, “How’d you sleep?”
	“I slept good!” Ketela replied with a big smile. Barth’s smile got even wider as she approached him and hugged his leg. All of the dragon girl’s trepidations about her new parents had quickly dissipated overnight. Barth knelt down and hugged her back before returning to his breakfast, “What are you doing?”
	“Making some food. Oh, do you want some? Or are you going to be like Liana and refuse to eat?” Barth knelt back down to pick up the little girl before carefully depositing her on the counter. The man handed her a slice of peeled orange. The dragon turned the juicy orange over in her claws as she examined the orange fruit and its white, veiny surface. She glanced at Barth who bit into the orange, shooting a bit of juice on his chin. Cautiously, Ketela took a bite of hers. She grinned as the juicy orange flooded her mouth with delicious citrusy flavor, “Is it good?” Barth asked as the girl ate the rest of it, spraying orange juice on her claws and chin. 
	“Mhm!” Ketela smiled as she chewed on the food.
	Barth chuckled and grabbed a wet rag to wipe the young dragon girl clean, “Good. How about some bacon and eggs, Ketela?”
	“Okay, dad,” She smiled, slowly kicking her feet as she sat on the counter, watching her dad prepare a few strips of bacon and a some eggs, “Where’s mom?”
	“Studying in her basement lab. She should be--” The sound of shoes stepping across the hardwood floors interrupted barth, “There she is. Good morning,” He called.
	“Good morning, husband,” Liana appeared in the living room wearing a white lab coat over a button up shirt and slacks, “And a very good morning to you, Ketela,” She very quickly walked to the young girl and kissed her on the forehead before kissing her husband on the cheek, “I was hoping you would sleep a little while longer, but I can see you have been spending time with your father. Good. I expect the two of you to form a quick bond,” The lich explained as she reached into the pockets of her labcoat and produced a flat wooden stick, “Say ‘aah.’”
	Ketela did as she was told, opening her mouth wide for the lich to inspect with a small flashlight while pressing the young girl’s tongue down, “Do you really need to do this?” Barth grumbled, feeling like the girl was perfectly fine.
	“Hush, husband. If she has any health problems I much catch it early,” The lich explained as she pushed the dragon’s hair aside and looked at her eyes which were still glowing purple, “Eyes look healthy. Still glowing but that is fine.”
	“Are you gonna stethoscope her too? Make sure her heart isn’t beating?” Barth smirked.
“Ha ha. Very funny,” Liana said in a very humorless tone, “You know that the undead do not have heart beats.”
“Undead?” Ketela wondered as Barth put the bacon and eggs on the stove, “I’m undead?” She asked, not entirely understanding.
	“So is your mother,” Barth replied.
	“Listen, dear,” Liana brushed the dragon girl’s messy hair, “Yes, you and I are undead. You will learn in time what that means for you. How it affects me will be much different for you.”
	“I… I don’t get it,” The young girl whimpered.
	“You will,” The lich gently assured her, “For now, focus on being… you.”
	“Breakfast is done,” Barth announced as he prepared two plates. Ketela was still confused but couldn’t figure out how to put it into words.
	“Up you go,” Liana picked up Ketela and brought her to the dinner table. All three sat with each other, with Barth across from his wife with Ketela to his left at the circular table. The lich watched as the young dragon slowly ate some of her scrambled eggs with a fork before grabbing a small journal from her lab coat and writing some notes in it.
	Ketela glanced at Liana then to her dad. She leaned toward him, “Dad, why didn’t you make some breakfast for mom?” She whispered.
	Liana chuckled, “As a lich, I do not need to eat.”
	“Or sleep. Or breathe. Or blink, even,” Barth pointed out with a few grumbles.
	“Do… I need to do those things?” Ketela wondered as she started blinking repeatedly as if to check she had eyelids. 
	“Most undead do not eat at all,” The lich shrugged, “I see very few of them eating.”
	“Then how do they live? I thought everyone needed to eat,” The zombie dragon wondered.
	Liana and Barth both shot looks at one another, neither knowing how to explain the transference of mana from a mamano and spirit energy from a human, “Uh… well…” Barth scratched his temple and put down his fork.
	Liana cleared her throat, “When a mother and father love each other very much--”
	“She’s too young for that explanation!” The man cried. 
	“Well, how would you explain it?” The lich folded her arms indignantly.
	“I-I don’t know!” He threw his hands in the air in an exasperated fashion, “You’re the brains here, think of something!” 
	“Well…” The lich’s mood shifted and she began thinking, “Think of it like this. Your father has… a magic in him.”
	“Right,” Barth quickly picked up on where she was going, “And your mother is able to take this magic from me.”
	“Yes, exactly. I use that magic to feed like you feed on breakfast foods,” Liana explained, unsure if Ketela would understand.
	“Okay, I think I get it. Hey, I’m done!” With a proud smile, Ketela put her fork down and looked back and forth between her parents, “Can I get down?”
	“Wow, she’s so polite. I wonder who she gets that from?” The man chuckled to himself as he finished eating.
	“Me of course, dear. You gave her a penchant for eating and sleeping,” Liana gave her husband a small smile, glad that she was able to think of an explanation that did not involve what she and her husband did in bed, “Barthurs, finish eating and play with our daughter. You may get down, Ketela.”
	Barth finished his food and took both plates, “We still need to get her some toys… have you talked to any of your friends about a play date with their kids? Ketela, did you want a cat? Maybe a dog? Oh, we’re gonna have to pick out a school, a college too, start a fund…” He kept mumbling additional details to himself.
"Go play in your room for a bit, dear," Liana instructed their daughter. The undead dragon smiled and nodded before heading to her bedroom,	“Barthurs,” The lich said her husband’s name with a soft, almost chuckling tone that made him stop listing things off to himself, “She was just raised yesterday. Give her some time to see the world with her new eyes before she decides what she wants.”
	“You are worrying far too much,” Liana planted a gentle kiss on the man’s forehead in an attempt to calm him down, “She will learn what she wants soon, what she enjoys. Perhaps she will enjoy those… video games you hold so dearly?”
	"Maybe…" Barth thought for a moment before looking at His lich wife. "I want another one. What about a lich daughter? A jianshi? What do you think about wights?"
	"Barth!" Liana laughed at his sudden boldness, “Cease this talk of more daughters for now. We have yet to raise this one. And like you listed earlier, there is much she may need from us.”
	“Alright,” The man sighed and kissed his wife’s cheek, “Maybe we should go play with her?”
	“You do that, I wish to take more notes on her behavior.”

. . . . .

	"Isn't there anything you can do to help her?"
"Nothing that wouldn't change who she is fundamentally. Your daughter would technically be alive, but she would no longer be the daughter you remember. I am working on a spell that could possibly work but I still haven't mastered the formula and I do not have enough pow- "
	“Leave. We do not need your excuses, we only need solutions that you cannot provide us.”

	Ketela shot up in her little bed, sweat pouring down her brow as she shivered. She felt nothing but fear as the blurry visions played in her head again. She hugged her legs to her chest, sniffling and whining to herself as the fear wracked her mind.
	“Ketela?” A voice softly called as the door creaked open. The dragon zombie pulled her covers over herself as if she needed to hide, “Come now, child. What is the matter?” Liana approached the bedside, “I could hear you tossing and turning from the hallway,” She removed the cover to see the undead dragon’s sniffling form, “Oh, my sweet child. What happened?” The lich sat at the bedside of the child and gently stroked her hair.
	Ketela spent what felt like hours looking for what to say, “I… I had a bad dream.” 
	“What about?”
	“I-I heard voices. They talked about helping someone but they couldn’t help her.”
	Liana’s stoic face was unwavering. She merely nodded, “It was just a bad dream. Nothing to fret your head over. Go back to sleep,” She said gently as she prepared to tuck her daughter in.
	“I-I don’t know if I can,” She whimpered.
	The lich thought for a moment, “How about I do something with you that I do when my husband– your father cannot sleep?” She suggested. Ketela nodded and was surprised as the lich climbed into her bed and held the small dragon zombie against her cold form. The lich wrapped her arms around the child and held her close, slowly running her fingers through her daughter’s hair, “Hush, Ketela. I will keep you safe,” She waved her hand through the air, making it glow purple to show off her magical talents.
	“Are you a magician?” The young girl asked in awe.
	The lich bit her tongue, not wanting to let on that she hated the term, “Yes, sweetie. I love you,” Liana whispered as the dragon girl cuddled up to her with a little smile on her face. 

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