Two mornings later, Maikaj and Kevaj were woken early to get ready for the official announcement of the births and to finalize the names of the children. They had settled on Tomyl for the boy and Beha for the girl. Many hours had been spent on the names for the wolf pups. Since they could all interchange between human and wolf form, the pups would need human names but what would be fitting? How would they get all the pups safely out on the balcony to show them to the populace as well?
Many of those questions had already been worked out but the Lodge staff. Everyone who worked in the Lodge knew heads would roll if there was a mistake while presenting Maikaj’s new family.
It was mid-morning when the family stepped out onto the balcony. Maikaj and Kevaj led the way then stepped aside to bring out Tomyl and Beha. A huge roar went up from the crowd at the sight of the infants. The roar got even louder when the pups wandered out onto the balcony.
Suddenly, there was an absolute silence then the entirety of the Lodge Plaza erupted in celebration when they realized that the pups were also Maikaj’s children. As if on cue, the wolf pups transformed into infants and Tomyl and Beha shifted into being wolf pups. Maikaj joined them in the shapeshifting. Kevaj was too tired to even consider it. How would you even do that anyway? I mean just think about it and become a wolf? How do you get back to your human shape?
The plaza turned into chaos as the true import of what had just happened struck them all. Their Alpha was part wolf, had transformed the Pamnyki into a shape shifter as well and had whelped so many children with him as well.
A signpost had been erected in front of the main lodge directing well-wishers and those bearing gifts to the east side of the Lodge where one of the lesser entrances had been hastily converted into receiving area for people, gifts, and tributes.
Kevaj’s parents had been amongst the first official visitors. They still were the de facto figureheads of the Pamnyki, but it was Kevaj’s orders that ruled them. They had expected neither to be grandparents much less a five month pregnancy bearing seven pups and two human babies that could all shapeshift.
Most intriguing to them, could Kevyl also shape shift? He didn’t look like he would be able to consider it for a few more months. He was still quite large from the pregnancy and nursing their newborns. If it hadn’t been for the she-wolf, Kevyl would have been totally overwhelmed.
Katlynn, the High Priestess of the Pamnyki, accompanied the delegation paying their respects to the new family that would rule both the Talijali and Pamnyki lands. Katlynn was relieved to see that Kevyl, Kevaj as he is known here, was remarkably healthly considering all that he had been through with the pregnancy. She had asked him to come walking with her, partially to be able to speak freely with him but also to give him some rest from suckling around the clock.
“Come Kev…aj, walk with me. We have much to discuss, my Brother.”
“Indeed we do, Katlynn. There are many things that I wish to discuss with you. I have put aside milk enough for the day. Let us walk outside the walls where we will be undisturbed. And please, call me Kevyl. I’m still not used to Kevaj.”
“As you wish Kevyl. While it is not a traditional Pamnyki name, Kevyl is far easier to pronounce. The rising yet airy aiii sound of Talijian honorifics is hard to get right. I’m terrified of offending Maikaj.”
“Then just call him Maikyl, that is his name. In his own house, he is a normal man and he prefers to be called Maikyl.”
“Really?!” Katlynn said loudly in her surprise, “Your Maikaj is definitely an impressive man.”
“More than you know, Priestess Katlynn, more than you know.”
Katlynn didn’t say anything but the arch in her eyebrow betrayed her curiosity.
As they made their way through the crowds in the inner Lodge, Kevyl took great pleasure in being able to blend into the crowd and that Katlynn had worn the clothes of a commoner to visit him.
Soon, they were outside the walls of the Lodge and Kevyl’s guards kept a good distance away from them allowing for privacy as they talked. No guard would want to be accused of interfering with the religious observances of one of their leaders.
Kevyl was tiring quickly and they found a shady place to sit under a large calpnek tree. It was still early in the season but the bluish-green fruit was nearly ripe. Some said that the when the balance of blue and green in the calpnek just tipped over to green, marking the beginning of ripening, was the best time to eat them fresh from the tree.
Sitting quietly at first, Katlynn quickly brought Kevyl up to speed on what had been happening in Pamnyki. As Maikyl had promised, the unification of the two lands was simply an erasing of the borders. Pamnyki beliefs and traditions flourished and the combined armies meant that both lands were safe.
What Katlynn didn’t tell him was the growing undercurrent of distrust and discontent at having Pamnkyi led from abroad by someone who had seemingly forgotten his own upbringing. The Militia of Free Pamnyki had been trying to organize a full-scale resistance to rise up and overthrow the combined rule in Talija.
First on their list, was Kevyl who was viewed as a traitor to Pamnyki. When he was murdered and the killers were made out to be Talijian, Pamnyki would unify around the Militia and a free Pamnyki.
Their plans had one problem, Pamnyki was flourishing together with Talija as trade and culture flowed across the now erased border.