The next morning broke across the land finding Kevaj sleeping on his back to accommodate his belly and Maikaj on his side curled up next to him, watching him sleep. Kevaj’s rhythmic snoring lulled Maikaj into a calm.
In spite of the squalling babies keeping them up most of the night, Maikaj was still awake and energetic. Fatherhood was something that he had never given much thought, much less planned for…
Maikaj’s thoughts were interrupted as Kevaj rolled over and snuggled up to him. Kevaj hadn’t woken up and as soon as his head rested on Maikaj’s pecs, Kevaj started drooling in his sleep.
A small chuckle escaped from Maikaj. Who would have thought this is where I would be just a year ago?
He heard the faintest of whimpers and knew that the pups were awake again. He had woken in the middle of the night to hear the she-wolf and Kevaj working out the best way to feed all of the kids and pups while keeping Kevaj sane. Before long, it was decided that they would encourage them all to stay in their pup form on the overnights to allow Kevaj some sleep then during the day, it would be the most comfortable form for the child.
Maikaj wiped as much of the drool off his chest as he could without waking Kevaj. He rested his head on Kevaj’s and held him tight. Before it was just him and Talija. Now, it was Kevaj and the Pamnyki…and Talija…and 9 children of the Great Wolf.
Maikaj let out a heavy sigh and realized that the children were a gift of the Great Wolf and that it was only because of his shamanic abilities that he had nine children. They were a shaman’s gift. As he drifted off to sleep himself, Maikaj shuddered and felt something cold sweep across him, drawing his flesh up into goosepimples. Kevaj slept on as if nothing had happened and Maikaj made a mental note to meditate on this when he awoke.
For a few brief hours, Maikaj and Kevaj were united in a quiet morning of sleeping in, soon to be one of their last. Neither fully understood the responsibility that lay before them in raising nine children at once. Maikaj had semi-lucid dreams of his life and also of his future. He saw the twins, born as humans, being raised in the Lodge but the seven pups, they would be raised on the land before returning to the Lodge.
It wasn’t more than two hours later and the Lodge staff was already knocking on the doors to the bedchambers to get Maikaj up and briefed for the day. As he slipped into his gown, he found himself thinking how much better it would be if he just stayed curled up in bed with Kevaj.
The shortened morning was packed full of meetings and briefings. Most of it was good news, trade was up, crops were coming up to harvest with some of the best harvests in recent memory, and the weather mages said that weather should hold through the harvest with little to no rain.
By lunch, Maikaj was ready to head back to bed. He was quickly beginning to understand why the parents of newborns and small children always looked so tired. If you didn’t get much sleep night after night, you’d never be a full capacity.
Maikaj called his day done over after lunch and returned to his chambers, but not before telling his staff that all of his meetings were to be after lunch until further notice. Only emergency meetings would be held before noon.
Up in his chambers, he found Katlynn and Kevaj discussing their faith and praying. Maikaj didn’t recognize the words or much of the language, but he didn’t need to, Kevaj’s faith was his own and between him and his gods.
Entering his den, Maikaj sat down at his desk and looked over all the notes and reports that were on his desk. As he yawned, he started thinking back to all the people who had children and worked. The first two years would be the hardest when you have to watch them constantly, feed them, change them…Maikyl got lost in all the responsibilities and day to day details of parenting.
He was pulled out of his thoughts when he heard a light knock on the door. He looked up to see Kevaj standing there smiling at him and suddenly his feet were being tickled as the wolf pups wobbled and tumbled over to him.
“You know Kevaj, we should all be in the sun. It is a beautiful day and we could go up on the tower and relax. We need to spend as much time with the children as we can. I think I may sign a decree to give parents time away from their jobs to stay home and raise their children. Two seasons would be a good start for both parents then another four seasons for one of the parents.”
Kevaj smiled broadly at Maikaj. He knew that Maikaj had a huge heart even if he rarely showed it in public, preferring that his people saw a stoic leader, but this would show a side of Maikaj to his people that they hadn’t seen.
“Perhaps my love, you could start something where there are designated parents who could watch other children and get paid for it.”
“Also a good idea Kevaj. Perhaps both would work. Some people would want to work still and others would want to stay home.”
Maikaj turned away for a moment and pulled the string that connected his den to the kitchen. After a few moments, no one had come up from the kitchen to see what was needed. Kevaj looked noticeably agitated that no one had responded to the request.
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