Lyaru’s body was slowly lowered into the grave. The surrounding members of the Lodge, dressed in blue, bowed their heads in respect. Maikyl finished up his eulogy and looked up to see how Kevyl was holding up.
Kevyl stood silently with a blank expression on his face, his grief masked except for the constant fall of tears from his cheeks.
As the grave tenders stood aside, the funeral party slowly filed back towards the Lodge. Once the last mourner had left, they made short work of filling and putting the grass back over the grave.
Maikyl didn’t have to quicken his step to catch up to Kevyl. He was shuffling along, head down, obviously mourning one of his favorites in the kitchen staff and a fellow Pamnyki. Kevyl was lost in the swirl of memories of his parents, of his native Pamnyki, and of Lyaru and her special meals that she would fix when Kevyl was young and homesick. Maikyl walked up behind Kevyl and put his hand between Kevyl’s broad shoulders.
“Is there any I can do to assuage your grief?” Maikyl asked, concerned at Kevyl’s morose walk.
Kevyl said nothing but kept shuffling back towards the Lodge. He kept shuffling and sniffling all the way back into his old quarters when he was the Steward of the Lodge.
Maikyl stood outside the door, pleading for Kevyl to open it to no avail. Kevyl was locked away in his quarters. The layout of the castle was such that the only way out besides the locked door, would be to jump out a window. Hours passed and still Maikyl was outside the door. He had long since given up on standing and was sitting with his back against the door, waiting for it to open.
As the first hints of dusk began to color the sky, Benjyl approached and demanded that Maikyl come and sup with him. Benjyl wouldn’t take no for an answer and before long, Maikyl found himself sitting in Benjyl’s kitchen as Benjyl and his wife, Sulea, made a fine home cooked meal.
Benjyl sat a goblet of wine down in front of Maikyl as he told Maikyl what he already knew, “He’s fallen into a pit of despair and grief.”
“I know Benjyl, I know. I just don’t know how to help him through this. It’s killing me to be away from him right now, especially with him being locked up in his old quarters. Even I, as the ruler of the land, can’t force that door open. Only the Great Wolf.”
Benjyl nodded solemnly and agreed with Maikyl. Maikyl quickly drank the goblet of wine and slammed down the goblet shattering it causing Sulea to drop the clay bowl she was carrying, adding to the shards of clay from the goblet.
“By the Great Wolf! I am not leading my people. I’m sitting here whining about my mate who is locked away in sorrow. Why have I not summoned Kevyl’s parents. There are too many things for me to do besides sit here.” Maikyl shouted as he quickly got up knocking his chair over behind him.
For a brief moment, Benjyl summoned up all of his strength and faced Maikyl.
“No Maikaj, as the Elder Healer, I command that you sit here and have a relaxed dinner with us.” Benjyl spoke in a commanding tone that left no room for opposition. Maikyl’s eyes grew large and he quietly picked up the chair and sat back down.
“Yes Benjyl, I will stay for dinner.”
Back in his chambers, Kevyl was curled up under his traditional Pamnyki blankets. The swirl of thoughts had not lessened but had grown. Kevyl realized that he is the one who should have eulogized Lyrau at her funeral. She was Pamnyki and he was the highest ranking Pamnyki in all Taljira.
I can’t stay locked up in here but I don’t want to burden Maikyl with my sorrow and the children will see that I am upset which will upset them as well.
“Perhaps what I was told is true, my power is slight without Maikyl. Does that make me dependent on him or does it mean…” Kevyl trailed off and was surprised to hear the echo of his own voice in the room.
It means that Maikyl and I are at our most powerful when we are together and we are working as one for the betterment of our people and land. It is our strength to be able to rely on our partner and to be there for our partner in our times of celebration and sadness.
And now I understand why Maikyl left the door earlier and went with Benjyl. I needed my time to get the beginnings of closure and to begin to heal as well as begin to grow.
Kevyl jumped up out of his bed and ran downstairs to get to Benjyl’s house as fast as he could.
The Lodge settlement was spread out over a distance but Benjyl’s house was still within the inner walls of the Lodge. Kevyl was so wound up that he didn’t even knock, he just opened the door and ran in.
As Maikyl, Benjyl, and Sulea turned to look at him, he realized what he had just done and his face flushed a dark crimson.
“Benjyl, Sulea; my apologies. I needed to find Maikyl as quickly as I could.” he rushed and then turned to Maikyl.
“Maikyl, my love, I understand the Gift you have given me now. It is the power of Talija and it’s people along with the power and people of Pamnyki. The responsibility for them and their future. The raw energy that the land provides.” the words poured out of Kevyl, “That Maikyl, that is the Shaman’s Gift.”
As Kevyl finished, a wide chorus of wolves was heard throughout both lands.
Maikyl smiled sweetly, “No my love, that was the Great Wolf’s Gift.”
Other fine writers freely sharing fine fiction for you this week:
Jaryl came bursting out of the passageway and dropped to his knees in front of Maikyl.
“My sovereign, I am so sorry to keep you waiting. There’s been an accident in the kitchen and I was helping with the recovery.”
“Recovery?” Maikyl asked astonished, “Recovery? What has happened and are there injuries?”
“Two of the soup cooks were killed. One of the large soup racks collapsed while they were trying to bring the kettle off. When the kettle fell, they tried getting out of the way and fell back into the hearth.”
Maikyl paused to consider this, “Jaryl, please do not tell Kevyl about this. You know he was close to all the staff. I don’t know if he could handle the news right now with his condition.”
Jaryl nodded his assent, “Indeed Maikaj. Lord Kevaj wouldn’t handle it well as the two soup cooks were amongst his favorites.”
“Lyaru wasn’t one of the cooks was she? She was the only one who could make the traditional sitaflen that Kevaj loves so much. I don’t know how he could eat that stuff.”
“What is that?” Jaryl asked, not really sure if he wanted to know.
Maikyl grimaced, “Apparently, it’s hickory smoked horse butt holes. They allow them to dry age then smoke them. Once they are smoked, they are slow cooked in a traditional clay pot. It’s considered a fine highland delicacy.” Maikyl couldn’t help but notice the look of disgust on Jaryl’s face.
Maikyl was about to follow up with his own expression of disgust when he saw Kevyl walk into the room.
“Hi! How are you doing Kevyl?” Maikyl asked, surprised that Kevyl was out of bed and moving almost normally.
“I’m doing okay. I’m just sick of laying in bed and listening to everyone telling me stories while trying to keep me distracted. Like I don’t know that I have a huge job in front of me raising the kids.”
“We know Kevyl. It’s just that no one knows what kind of physical toll your pregnancy had on you. No one has ever seen a human change genders like that.”
“Yeah, I gave birth and seeing how things are returning to normal down there, I don’t think there will be that much long term damage. Besides, I’m bored just laying in bed. I want to be out with the people.”
“Well, let’s see how you are feeling in a couple of days my love. If you are still this energetic and ready to take on the Lodge again, I’ll give you my blessing.”
Jaryl cleared his throat, “Did either of you need anything from the kitchen? We’ll be fairly limited this afternoon due to seasonal cleaning and inventory.”
Kevyl’s face scrunched as the thought about what Jaryl said for a second, “Cleaning you said? I could come down there and help with the inventory.”
Jaryl and Maikyl both exclaimed “No!” at the same time, startling themselves and further irritating Kevyl.
“Fine, I’ll just sit up here and be a bored father I guess. I am hungry through. My appetite has been getting better.”
Jaryl bowed slightly towards Kevyl, “Kevaj, what would you like from the kitchen? I make no promises today but I will do what I can to bring what you want.” Maikyl looked at Kevyl and could almost read the thought on his mind before he said it.
“You know Jaryl, I could go for some sitaflen. It’s been years since I’ve had it.”
“Kevaj, my sincerest apologies but that will not be possible for a few days. We will need to get the ingredients,” Jaryl paused for a moment at the thought of what he was about to say, “fresh from Pamnyki then the time to prepare them.”
“Ah yes Jaryl, I always forget how long they take to make properly. Whenever we went travelled to the highlands to visit family, they always had them ready and waiting for us. Since it will take so long, can I get some Lodge vegetable soup?”
Jaryl barely contained the flinch, “Kevaj, I will have to make sure that we have fresh soup that is worthy of you. I do believe a fresh batch will be started soon.” Jaryl said as he thought about the cooks and the kettle that had been lost earlier in the day.
“Jaryl, any soup and a hunk of day old bread with a tankard of ale would do me fine.” Maikyl said to break the tension. “Do we have any fresh greens that would be put together with the soup?”
“My Lord, that I know we can do.” Jaryl bowed with a flourish, “Shall I do the same for you Kevaj?”
“Why yes Jaryl, if you would please. Can you also set up our lunch outside so that Maikyl and I can enjoy the weather? I’ve been cooped up here in our bedchambers for far too long.”
“Of course, my Lords, is there anything else that you desire for your meal?”
“Not for our meal per se Jaryl, but if you could get the bathhouse ready for use later this evening. Kevyl and I would like to spend some time cleaning up and relaxing.” Maikyl said with a wink and a slight nod.
Jaryl made no attempt to hide the smirk on his face, “Certainly. Just before nightfall so that you can enjoy the night air once you are done?”
“A splendid idea!” Kevyl giggled and clapped his hands, knowing that Maikyl wouldn’t be happy with all this activity.
To everyone’s surprise, Maikyl agreed and told Jaryl to summon his advisors for a gathering to start at the top of the next hour.
“Yes sirs!” Jaryl said as his stiffened to full attention before bowing to both of the lords before him. Before either Maikyl or Kevyl noticed, Jaryl was gone.
If you enjoy reading these Wednesday flashes, here are others writing this week:
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.
Other Wednesday Briefs authors posting fresh free fiction:
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.
“The winds of fate are blowing Maikyl. It is obvious but also perplexing.” Benjyl said quietly while delivering the second of the twins.
Almost fifty hours into labor and Kevyl had only delivered two children. One boy and one girl, both appearing to have Maikyl’s height but Kevyl’s build based on their long gangly limbs.
Outside, the wind was whipping across the grasslands and the livestock had either sought shelter or were seeking it now. The wind had picked up a biting coldness.
Several hours had passed and, in spite of the continuing contractions, Kevyl was resting quietly. Benjyl and Maikyl had been talking to Mauria. Mauria, the mid-wife, was growing more concerned as Kevyl’s contractions had not gone away.
The evening of the third day of labor came and started covering Talija with its greyness that faded out the colours of the Lodge; Maikyl saw that a large, and still growing, crowd had gathered in front of the Lodge as if they expected an impending announcement.
Mauria had left the tower after a few minutes to be by Kevyl’s side and it was her shout out to Maikyl and Benjyl that brought them running.
Entering the royal bedchamber, they were greeted by Kevyl laying on the bed, with a swaddled babe on each nipple and a she-wolf laying on the floor of the alcove closest to him suckling seven wolf pups.
As Maikyl saw the she-wolf, he dropped to his knees. As his knees hit the stone floor, he heard what sounded like a laughing howl from the she-wolf.
“Arise my son!” came a growl from behind him.
All turned to face the source of the growl and saw a dire wolf towering over them all.
Maikyl felt his knee buckle and dropped with it to the floor. He had heard the voice of the Great Wolf and even felt its breath on his neck, but never had he seen the Great Wolf.
“Arise Maikaj. I have already told you to arise once. The she-wolf is a part of me. She is nursing your pups.” said the Great Wolf as Maikyl’s head snapped around to Mauria who nodded silently.
“You have two children and seven wolf pups that you are responsible for rearing. The pups will be companions for the two children as well as Maikaj, Benjyl, Mauria, Brojyl, and Kevaj.” Maikyl’s mouth came open for a moment as he tried to say something but was stunned silent as he realized that Kevyl has been accepted by the Great Wolf had had been addressed with the honorific that was traditionally reserved for the Elpas of the Lodge.
“Yes, my sons and daughters, Kevyaj is now one of you. Maikaj and Kevaj came together in love, both away from their own families and traditions. Together, they have started a new pack and a new set of traditions in my name. A new set of traditions and ceremonies will be known soon to those who follow me.”
“Maikaj and Kevaj will have the natural betas as their companions. The children will have the alphas, to teach them the ways of love and of the wolf. Brojyl will have a male wolf to help him with protecting the pack of Talija. Mauria will have a companion to help her with giving birth to humans and wolves alike. Finally, Benjyl, you will have a companion who will help his tending to the less fortunate of the pack.”
The room was absolutely silent except for the occasional suckling sounds of the newborns.
Kevyl sat up in the bed, “Oh Great Wolf,” he began reverently, “I give thanks to you for accepting me as one of your children. I have much to learn of the ways of Taljia and of You. However, I must respectfully decline one of the wolf pups.”
As he finished, there was a collective gasp from those assembled in the room. The last thing any of them had expected was the refusal of a gift from the Great Wolf.
“Kevaj, I know your doubts and your mistrust of your own parenting. You don’t seem to understand, the pups are your children and the children are your pups.” As the Great Wolf stopped speaking, Kevyl saw the two infants transform into wolf pups and looked over at the she-wolf to see the six pups turn into human infants.
“You see Kevaj and Maikaj, your children, nine in all, are a shaman’s gift.”
Maikyl felt a strange sensation and found himself thinking about…
Suddenly, he stood there on four paws. He scampered over to the she-wolf and smelled her only to find that she had no scent but the infants all smelled of him and Kevyl. He bounded over to Kevyl and found that the pups smelled the exact same way and the smell of Kevyl was even more powerful.
Maikyl’s long celebratory howl filled the room joined in equal harmony by the Great Wolf and in lower voices by the others in the room.
The crowd assembled outside the Lodge knew what the howl meant, the birth was complete and all was well in the Lodge. It had been three long days of waiting for the people of both Talija and Pamnyki.
The coming days would bring the news of the birth of nine new leaders for Talija and Pamnyki and of the new path they would be following in the name of the Great Wolf.
Maikyl slipped under the furs and pressed his body against Kevyl’s. Running his hand across Kevyl’s ever growing belly, he wondered just how long it would be before he would be a father.
Kevyl was momentarily distracted by Maikyl’s touch but the tedium of being stuck in bed for the last month was starting to get to him. “Maikyl my love, hold me tight before I start screaming. I’m so sick of laying here. All I do is eat and fart. I swear if I get any bigger, I’m just going to explode!”
Maikaj gave him a long tender squeeze then let his mouth wander to one of Kevyl’s nipples. As the pregnancy had progressed, his breasts had begun to swell as well. Maikyl gave the nipple a quick nip then sucked it. As he started sucking, his mouth filled with liquid. It wasn’t coppery like blood. In fact, it was quite enjoyable. As he pulled his mouth away, he could see milk slowly coming out of Kevyl’s nipple.
“Uhhh…Kevyl. A tit by any other name is a tit, but yours taste even sweeter. You are beginning to produce milk.”
Kevyl looked down in terror, “Let go of me now or I’ll scream.”
“I’ll go get Benjyl. I don’t know what he’ll be able to do, but I’ll summon him.”
“Maybe he knows something now. I’ll still don’t know how I’m going to give birth.” he moaned as laid back down as Maikyl disappeared out of the chambers. What is going to happen? How am I going to give birth? Will I ever get out of this bed again?
A few minutes later, Maikaj returned with Benjyl close behind him long with a woman he didn’t immediately recognize.
“Kevyl, this is Mauria. She is one of the mid-wives here at the Lodge who assists with childbirth. Maikaj said you had begun to produce milk. May I examine you? There may be other changes that have begun as well.”
Maikaj turned his back to give Kevyl some privacy and was pacing when Mauria suddenly shouted out “Lady, you got a set of balls on you!”
Kevyl and Maikaj both let out loud laughs as Benjyl turned a deep scarlet color. He quickly silenced Mauria and reminded her of where she was and who she was treating.
“Yes, Mauria, he does.” Benjyl commented as he gently lowered Kevyl’s testicles back into place.
Benjyl stopped for a moment, “Maikaj, you best come here. There’s something you need to see.”
Mauria let out a loud gasp and went pale as she neared a faint.
Benjyl didn’t say anything, rather he lifted up Kevyl’s testicles over his penis to reveal a small vertical opening.
“Benjyl…Mauria. What is happening to Kevyl?” Maikaj asked in a panic.
“Most Revered Elpa Maikaj, it would appear that Kevyl is preparing for childbirth. As he is a man, he would not be able to give birth the way a woman would. Given that his manhood seems to have moved up on his body, I would say that the Great Wolf is causing changes to allow Lord Kevyl to give birth.”
Maikyl gave Kevyl’s body a lingering lookover, “Benjyl and Mauria, I’ve known Kevyl’s body for several months now. His ruby jewels are much closer to him than normal. It’s as if he was trying to hide them.”
“Perhaps he is Maikaj. Given the size of his jewels and sceptre, it would be advantageous for him to have them out of the way.”
Kevyl shot straight up in bed growling out, “YOU. WILL. NOT. REMOVE. MY. MANHOOD.”
Maikyl leapt to Kevyl’s side, “No Kevyl, that will not happen. It is just our concern that your normally large jewels would be in the way for you giving birth. The Great Wolf appears to be making it easier for you to give birth. It seems that you are growing a woman’s love between your legs.”
Kevyl looked to Benjyl who nodded solemnly.
“Well, at least I’ll be able to give birth easier that way.” Kevyl said with a sigh of comic relief.
Mauria moved in to examine Benjyl closer, asking Maikaj to help hold Kevyl’s manhood out of the way. She examined him for a few moments then nodded to Maikaj, who gently returned Kevyl’s manhood to a resting position.
“Benjyl, Maikaj and most importantly Kevyl; Kevyl, you are near to giving birth. You are starting to open and soon you will be…”
Kevyl interrupted everything with a loud scream, “my guts…twisting”
Mauria looked at Benjyl, “Hot water, lots of towels, get me a flask of hypernia for the afterbirth and cleaning up, and once this is done, a flask of the best mead in the Lodge. Now.”
Benjyl ran out of the room and the echo of his boots on the stairs faded into the distance.
“Kevyl, I’m not going to lie, this is going to hurt. The worst pain of your life. Just remember, that no matter what happens, the pain will pass and you will be the father of the newest member of the lodge.”
Maikyl gave her a smile and kissed Kevyl on the head.
“Mauria, you are in charge here. What do you need me to do?” Maikyl asked.
“Most Revered…” Mauria started but was cut off.
“You are in my chambers Mauria. You are assisting my mate and likely saving his life. You can call me Maikyl but only this day.”
Mauria struggled to regain her composure, “Yes Maikyl.” she stammered as a wolf howled outside the lodge, quickly joined by more howls which soon grew into a cacophony of sound that flooded the Lodge.
Mauria looked down and saw that Kevyl’s life water was flowing.
“Maikyl, it is time. He waits not for Benjyl. Hold his hand and comfort him, we do not know how blessed he has been.”
The minutes turned to hours as Kevyl’s screams and labor pains both grew in intensity.