Molpe smiled proudly as all three of the men gathered in front of her. All three looked nervous, but waited expectantly for the queen to speak.
“I have glad tidings for you all.” She smiled, looking at Vulmar. “I am expecting a child sometime this year, and I will need your help to make sure things run smoothly for the arrival of the baby.”
Vulmar looked proudly, while Magnus raised his eyebrows, smiling at his friend. The only one who did not react as much was Pallas, who had expected as much when Vulmar had begun staying late at the palace. It had only been a matter of time. Besides which, the queen’s stomach had begun to swell, just as it had when she had been expecting Odysseus.
As Molpe continued to talk of how they would need to prepare for the child, it felt as though it went over Pallas’ head. He thought of Septimus, and of Odysseus, who he now never got to see unless he was accompanying Molpe, which rarely happened. Instead, he seemed to be trusted with palace duties more than most, though it did mean he could help out with the princess’ studies and such. Even so, he wondered what this new child would bring to the tribe.
But this was both natural and practical. He knew that they still did not have an heiress, and that Molpe’s duty was to bear a princess to inherit the tribe.
A mirror of Pallas’ doubts plagued Molpe that afternoon as she sat down with her mother’s chess board, practicing one of the more complicated plays she’d been taught. Her sister had invited Marcella over, and their carefree laughter echoed down the stairs as Molpe narrowed her eyes at the board.
If she bore a girl, there would need to be changes. Polgara would need to come back to the palace, of course, as a trained Provider, and Diana, who at this point could be considered her apprentice even if she could never be anything more, could take care of the children. If she’d had more Providers, it would not have been an issue, but instead, here they were.
But, on the other hand…
If it were a boy, it would be Odysseus all over again, and she would still have no heiress. She tried not to feel that doubt, instead focusing on the measures a princess would need. Polgara could be moved to her old room next to the royal nursery, and Diana was more than qualified to raise the children. Besides, her Artemisian had come a long way, and Marcella spoke both Artemisian and Frankish quite fluently.
Upstairs, Marcella was telling Anikka all the news hurriedly.
“Gorgophone is old enough to come live with us! Polgara made the assessment the other day, and she has asked for Lukos to build what we need to be sent over. She is so sweet, too!”
“How do they grow so quickly?” Anikka asked, amused. It did not seem to her as though it had been that long ago that Marcella herself was Gorgophone’s age, but here she was, excitedly telling her everything.
“I do not know, but Meda said that she will bring her over herself! Oh, I cannot wait! Now, tell me your news.” Marcella looked expectantly at Anikka, who smiled.
“Well, as you know, my sister is to have a baby, but she has said that I may keep record of whoever arrives, and their line. I have already written down what I can, but even though I am not yet a Scholar, she is putting me in charge of this. Is it not wonderful? She says that she will choose my final project, just as Mother would do for a Scholar’s apprentice back home, but that is years away yet.”
“But then you are just like a real Scholar! Have you been writing about everyone? Have you written about me?”
Anikka sat herself down on her bed, gesturing for Marcella to follow suit.
“It is so exciting to think of, Marcella. Just think, one day I will become the person who writes of my sister’s reign, and I will train other Scholars…I may even be written about by them! I am the first Scholar of this tribe, or rather, I will be.”
“You will be the best, I am sure,” Marcella said immediately. “Anikka, this is wonderful! You must be so excited.”
“Well, of course I am!” Anikka giggled. “Molpe is already sending for more paper for me, and she has written to Mother to let her know I will be training as a Scholar. It is just a pity there is no one to train me, but my sister has been very kind and will make every accommodation.”
Anikka could feel her smile getting bigger as she talked. How exciting it was, knowing what she would be doing!