Polgara heard the cries of her queen from the nursery, and ran as fast as she could. Molpe was supposed to be resting, as her child was due soon, but when Polgara reached the room she found Molpe stood over the cradle, clutching her stomach.
“My queen!” Polgara cried out, rushing forward and taking her in her arms, trying to walk her away from the cradle. It was clear from her cries that the queen had gone into labor, and would need help.
“Sleeping, my queen,” Polgara steered her away, trying to get her towards the bed.
On the Isle or indeed any well populated Amazon territory, many would be able to attend and help a queen during labor, but here, Polgara would be the only one. She took a deep breath, steadying herself as she laid Molpe down on the bed. Polgara would need to see Molpe through this virtually by herself.
The next morning, a gurgling baby rested in Molpe’s arms, while behind her Polgara tried not to worry. The baby was healthy, at least, and Molpe was speaking softly, but…
Odysseus was a boy.
Their firstborn was a male, and of course, someday, would die. His children could not even inherit the throne. And for the firstborn of the tribe to be a boy was worrying.
“He is precious, Polgara, do you not think?” Molpe asked, dreamily. “So small…”
“All babies are so, my queen.” Polgara cleared her throat. “I shall need to ask his father to come see him soon, of course, and then…”
“Oh…” Molpe seemed to awaken from some sort of trance. “Of course, Polgara. And have Meda sent to me, too. I need her to make her decision soon.”
Polgara nodded, and came over to help the queen return to her bed. “Rest easy, my queen. I will take care of all matters while you rest. I will take care of it all.”
Molpe smiled gratefully as Polgara eased her under the covers of her bed. “Thank you, dearest Polgara. You are of great service to your queen.”
Polgara stood over the cradle, looking at the baby. He was not an heiress, but on the bright side, he was a healthy child, and very sweet. She found herself drawn to talk to him.
“You and I will be friends, Odysseus,” she said, gently, “for I will raise you. I will provide for you, and you will have as happy a life as you may, but I will be your protector and provider.” She smiled at him, and he stared up at her, not understanding a word.
“Your father is coming to meet you.” She lowered her voice. “You may only see him once, but he will give his life in exchange for yours, and thus he will be giving you the greatest gift of all. As you are given to us, he will be given to the Goddess. You will see him.” She moved as if to pick him up, but heard footsteps and moved away from the cradle.
“Septimus?” she called out.
“Yes, my lady.”
The visit was short, but Polgara averted her eyes as Septimus faced his son, the firstborn of Tribe Hesperia. She heard him sniff as though he was weeping, but whatever he said to his son, whatever words of love and affection were given, those stayed between the two.
And as she had promised Molpe, Polgara took care of everything as she led Septimus into the trees nearby. She gave him the vial that she had asked Andromeda to prepare, and held his hand after he drank from it, staying with him until the very end, and when the sun rose she came back alone.