“Oh. Tristain.” I certainly did not expect to see him here. Or really, not for a good long while.
“Uh, hi… Mika. Um, is the arbirator around?” He seems to be waiting patiently in the middle of the field of death flowers surrounding the Gaia tree. There’s a dragonfolk standing next to him. Naked. These… non-humes?… they all have no sense of decency. I shake off that thought and answer his question.
“Ah, she’s probably around, since Gaia sent her here. Who is this?” The dragonfolk seems to be looking me up and down, a frown on her face. I do my best to ignore her.
“This is Melsy, my wife. Melsy, this is Mika. Er… she came from the enclave with me. She is a very capable void hume… err… Who is that you’re holding?” His eyes have been fixated on Nanook ever since I got close enough to see him well. He’s only been glancing at my face when either of us talk.
“This is my son, Nanook.” I smile at my bundle of joy, and brush his cheek with my finger.
“I… see…” He looks pensively at me with a frown before continuing. “I’m so sorry.”
“I… don’t completely forgive you for how you treated me, but I understand now that you didn’t mean harm.” I don’t know that I ever will forgive him. I hated how he treated me.
“That’s not… You know what? That’s fine.” He nods with a smug smile. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but the conversation is moving on, so you know what? I don’t care what he was going to say.
Melsy turns to Tristain and announces: “She’s just a hume.” What? Yes, I’m a hume. What else would I be? Her thin tail is flicking back and forth a bit as waits for Tristain to answer.
“Yes? I told you we both came from the enclave. Sort of.” Tristain looks back at Melsy with a confused look.
“So…” I hate to interrupt this annoying introduction, but where are the other two? “Is Lillia and Dubhe still with you? I thought you were married to Dubhe.”
“Uh, things happened.” He pauses, then sends me a short, sad smile, “She dumped me. However, I’m sure Dubhe and Lillia will be up soon. And the queen… among others.” He waves it off like it’s nothing. Is he really that insensitive?
“So, you have a son! That’s great!” We already covered that. Yes. I have a son. For a hume, Tristain, you are dense. I wonder if my thoughts are showing on my face? Smile, just smile!
“Yes?” Oh, that didn’t come out with a smile.
“Look, can you just admit you suck at this?” The look Melsy shoots at Tristain is full of exasperation. “Mika, you’re a cutie, and so is your little one there. Tristain’s just trying to be friendly. You know he has seven children now?” She gives me a toothy grin.
“S-seven…?” Just. How. Many. Girls. Can he really not keep his hands off of other people?
“Y-yeah, they’re all great children. They were all born just over two weeks ago. Er, over fifteen cycles ago? Apparently I’m not allowed to name them until the make it past their first year. Otherwise I’d tell you their names.” He looks away as he tells me this.
“What hume doesn’t name their child immediately?” That’s standard, even in the enclave. Even in every village I visited, here post ascension.
“We~ell, both their mothers’ rejected my attempts.” He has a sheepish grin on his face.
“Huh? Oh, so you really couldn’t keep your hands off others, despite being married.” Despicable. How can this dragonfolk be his wife? Does she not know how unfaithful he is? Surely she must know.
“Uh, actually, it was my wife’s idea at the time…”
“What? Dubhe?” He nods. “What?” I really can’t believe that stuck up bearfolk female would do such a thing.
“You two, so much beating around the bush. Tristain, only six of them are yours. Mika, Dubhe and Lillia are the mothers. One of them is mothered by Dubhe, and fathered by Lillia. I know, I know, don’t give me that look. It’s true. There are two dryadites, three humes, and two bearfolk.”
“Child, here.” She taps the bottom of my chin, then pats both of my cheeks. “It’s okay, it’s not quite that surprising. Dubhe was married to him at the time. And everyone know dryads have something wrong in their heads.”
I’m still not sure what to say. Did I hear right? Lillia is a father? How does that even happen? Here I thought my circumstances were unique, but that lineup of children and parents.
“Come now, I’ll take you to Dubhe, you two can catch up while feeding the children. She probably would like some help anyway.” She wraps a slender arm around me, and gently pulls me forward towards the Gaia Tree. “Tristain, go find the Arbitrator and resolve your… erm.. Problem; quickly, please.”
Wow, she really has him under her thumb, doesn’t she? Meanwhile, Tristain just has this very perplexed look on his face.
“Husband.” She nudges her head towards the rest of the caravan. “Go play.”
He keeps looking back while walking away. He looks very confused.
“How… how did you do that?” That was amazing. He did just what she asked, and she didn’t even threaten him.
“Child, you will learn after many years. Mostly, though, I have what he wants. He knows he won’t get it unless he does as I say.”
“Love, child, he just wants to be loved. Just like everyone else. Come now, lets go get you to Dubhe and Lillia. They will probably be happy to see you. And your son. Nanook, right?” Why is it that I feel so safe talking to her? It’s like talking to the Arbirator. Some uncanny ability to say the perfect thing. Or something. I don’t know.
Author’s Note: Thanks for the support! I am in your care! I’m LAAAATE. Sorry, busy with life and stuff.