"They look so young," Illyria sighed, her hands resting lightly upon her belly. "How can they continue to look so young? After all that they have seen? After all that they have lived though? They never seem to truly age."
"Well, my love, they do not have to rule a country and raise fourteen children." Laric came up from behind her, wrapping his arms around her and resting his own hands upon hers.
Illyria had a small, lopsided smile on her face as she continued to look down at Sheila and Darian playfully fighting with their practice swords in the courtyard below her window. "You, Husband, only have two children, until this one is born."
"Actually, I was counting my Ruling Council as the other twelve," he teased.
A quick shot of laughter escaped her as she shook hear head. "Oh no, you are not grouping my children in with that hopeless lot. I take no blame for their lack of maturity. Those twelve are all yours."
He gently turned her around to face him, standing a little to the side so that he could hold her around her ever-growing belly. "Now, now, I wouldn't have been saddled with them, had it not been for you, My Queen."
Illyria rolled her eyes. "Just because I saved your kingdom, I get blamed for all that is at fault within it?"
"It was all a part of the coronation. Weren't you paying attention before that crown was placed upon your brow? I'm sure the priests mentioned it." His brow furled in concentration. "No, no, I'm almost positive. Somewhere between hours...hum...four and five of their recitations, I believe. Yes, between four and five, I'm sure of it." He nodded, a happy grin gracing his mouth and shining from his eyes at his pronouncement.
Illyria nodded solemnly for a few moments, letting her eyes focus on the collar of his tunic as she thought. Finally she heaved a great sigh and stepped away. "Very well then. I'd best go find Quiet Storm, then."
Laric frowned. "What? Why do you need Quiet Storm?"
Illyria calmly walked over to the large wooden wardrobe that had long ago been refitted into her weapons chest and took out her favorite sword. "Well I can hardly manage without him, now can I?" She attempted to fit the sword around her belly, but found it far too expansive, and finally sighed and looped the belt around one shoulder and across her chest to hang below her left arm. "I wonder how quickly the others can come to my call?"
Laric shook his head. "I fear you've lost me, love, I don't understand. Why do you need your sword? And I'm sure the others will come with the speed of the wind anytime you call them, no matter how busy they may be." He finally dropped the remnants of their joke and followed her as she began the slow waddle out the doors of their chambers.
"Well, if putting you on the throne got me into this mess, then clearly I'll have to remedy the situation if I want to have a moment of peace to myself. I'm sure the others would be only too glad to help, once I explain the situation to them. I mean, really, who can blame me? I would have agreed to any vow at the time, simply to make those wretched bores of priests stop blathering on about righteous duties and holy honors. I'm sure the others will understand when I tell them you need to be overthrown. For my sake."
Laric finally stopped, and laughed. "Oh, yes, very funny, love. Quite amusing. You fooled me." Illyria didn't look back, but instead kept her slow, steady pace down the hallway towards the stairs. "Love? Yes, it was quite funny. Now do come back and rest, you know how those stairs hurt your ankles when you are this far along..." He walked over to stand in the doorway as Illyria continued to ignore him.
"Illyria, my Queen? Illyria? Love?"