Stillborn. Oh, how the babe's mother had wailed when she heard the pronouncement. Her newborn son, her fourth child, lay in her trembling, weary arms. The boy was cold and pale, and neither drew breath nor had blood running through his veins. He had never known life, or tasted the air or his mother's milk. Born still. Stillborn.
The mother sat for what seemed like hours, cradling her lost child in her arms and sobbing hysterically. Her banshee's cry only grew when it came time for the usual ritual for stillborn babes: the village priest would take the body and burn it as an offering to the gods. It took all of the burly blacksmith's strength to wrench the dead baby from his wife's arms, and an equal amount to hold her back as the priest carried the body towards the roaring fireplace. A that moment, a new sound started, barely audible under the sobs of the woman, the scolding of her husband, and the priest's incantations. It was not until the priest was lower