Chapter I

Chelsea was infinitely glad it was relatively easy to pretend she was pregnant. She and Delma simply had to buy maternity clothes and stuff them with pillows. All she had to do was remember to act pregnant. Because she usually forgot, the poor socialite had forced herself to remain home instead of going out. That wasn't so bad either, the Amia's servants were lovely people and enjoyed the excuse to sit and chatter with the lady of the house. Sometimes, Chelsea's friends would come calling. Chelsea still had to keep up the appearance, but it was much easier in her own home; she could stay seated for the duration of most conversations; it was much easier to pretend pregnancy sitting than standing.

Chelsea was also infinitely grateful that she didn't have to give birth. Having watched her two elder sisters – twice each – she was happy to be missing out on the pain. If she had gotten pregnant, Chelsea would of course have put up with the pain. But she and Delma had never been blessed by Teradosq with their own child; they would take the little miracle that had been offered to them.

What brought the largest smile to her face and the most joy to her heart where the gifts. Chelsea loved moseying through the baby room the day of the party before the gifts had been put away, the presents stacked in neat little groups. Clothes in one pile, toys in another, blankets and pillows in a third, bottles and baby china made up the fourth file. Chelsea held up a little pink and white girl's dress from friends in Asturia and sighed. She truly hoped for a little girl. She would be happy with a little boy, of course; that would make Delma happy. She smiled at the plush sword and shield and their short, wooden counterparts, gifts from Delma's brother's family.

The Amia men were warriors going back for at least five generations. If they weren't wielding weapons, they were crafting them. Or armor. Delma could barely remember one great-great-grandfather who had become a lawyer. The Amia women typically married into the men of high status and their male children followed in their mothers' forefathers' footsteps. Chelsea's line, the Ciere, were more of the socialite class, the men as well as the women. The men served the traditional three years of basic training in the military but few remained there.

From the bottom of the stairs, one of the servants loudly announced that Delma had arrived home. Chelsea plodded down the stairs and welcomed her husband home. She didn't mind the charade, but she would be overjoyed when it was done and over.

Chelsea couldn't wait until she could hold their little child in her arms.

Tearing the brown paper from the box and opening it, Chelsea scoffed. Delma's other brother proved yet again that he hadn't married and needed to. "Eight months! Esesra has been here eight months! That's plenty of time for him to have gotten the news that I 'gave birth' to a daughter! And yet he still sends wooden swords and stuffed horses bearing tournament regalia!"

Later that night, Delma chuckled at his youngest brother's mistake. He laughed much less over two weeks later when his other two brothers sent in little boy gifts. They were married and had no excuse.

Delma's brothers weren't the only baby boy gift-givers the couple received from so late in the 'afterbirth.' Thankfully, none of them came from any of Chelsea's family. She was sure she could never live through such embarrassment. A few of the baby boy gifts did come from a few of her male friends though.

In the end, the baby girl gifts did outnumber the baby boy gifts. In usual Trellyxian tradition, the Amias kept all of the girl gifts. Returning any gift was frowned upon, it was rude and dishonorable. They kept some of the boy gifts, still hoping for their own someday. It was also acceptable to regift any unwanted gifts. The rest of the baby boy gifts were sold to an out-of-town baby's toy shop. (None of their relatives or friends lived there.)

However, little Esesra developed a fondness for some of the little boy toys when she discovered them at age three…

Teradosq is the Trellyxian land dragon god. Fanelia has the air dragon Escaflowne and Asturia has the sea dragon Jeture/Jichia. The name 'Teradosq' was borrowed from something Dungeons and Dragons related; my husband gave me the name.