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Unexpectedly Expectant

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Everyone on the ship had lost something. Azra had lost his school, Nom had lost a degree of his freedom. Dulcibella had lost a number of her followers, her home, and one of her closest confidants. Adran had lost his home and almost all the people he had grown up with. His real family, instead of the recently discovered half-sister he found in Majori.

Majori lost her home, her family, her standing, her title, and some would argue her dignity given the company she now kept. She had failed her people, and her province's capital was most likely a smoldering ruin. And to top it all off, she had never felt weaker in her life. In the fight where they just managed to escape with their lives, she hadn't be able to really do much of anything.

But as she talked with Azra below the decks of the ship, she felt her soul get a bit lighter. The wizard had his flaws, such as picking a fight with a certain general of their enemy's who they shouldn't have been able to win against, but his lighthearted attitude was contagious, bolstering spirits of those on the ship. They had made it out. They were sailing toward the northern kingdoms where they could hopefully rest and regroup instead of constantly being one step behind Scythia's plans.

When the two returned above deck, they noticed the oddly powerful thunderstorms on the horizon, as did the other members of their band of misfits. There was something very, very not natural about the storms, but they were far enough away that they didn't warrant more than a concerned eye toward them.

Until the dragon landed.

Blue dragons, Majori's mind raced, recalling everything she could about the creatures from her studies as everyone withdrew from it, Usually evil, followed by storms, live on the sea, extremely territorial. Strong. Too strong.

Majori glanced at Dulcibella as Azra spoke in rapid-fire Draconic. No one could understand him, but he appeared to be offering gold, jewels, and his sword to the beast. Majori added her gold to the offering pile, but the creature didn't seem to be impressed.

Majori took one more look around the ship. They wouldn't stand a chance if the beast chose to attack them. Five misfits already battered and bruised from battle, and about 20 or so members of Dulcibella's "church". Civilians. Not fit for this fight. She locked eyes with the cleric, took a deep breath, and thought of the stories her father had told her. Of bards and their skills of seduction.

She approached the dragon, putting on her best flirtatious smile and swaying her hips. Complimented his magnificent stature and power. Stated how their paltry jewels obviously wouldn't be worth his time, but perhaps she could exchange temporary... services. In exchange for safe passage.

It was clumsy, awkward, and likely horrified all involved, but somehow it worked. As the dragon left the ship with Majori, she let out a tense breath. For the others.

-

She was returned to their ship three days later, bruised and exhausted, having used all the magic she had in reserve to keep herself from being torn apart. Still, there had been something... satisfying about what she had done. She looked at the party and hissed out "You're welcome" before collapsing on the deck.

When she awoke the next day, she assumed that either Nom or Adran had carried her to one of the quarters and Dulcibella had attempted to heal her a bit. Majori was still sore- who wouldn't be after three days with a dragon?- but she felt alright enough to walk.

Adran was the first to notice his sister as she ventured to the upper deck. She still looked tired, but she definitely looked better than yesterday. Dulcibella was soon at Majori's side, offering support if the half-elf needed.

Soon they were all around Majori, unsure what to say. Majori looked around the group, who were very obviously avoiding the elephant in the room. Her usual response to this was humor, why wouldn't that work now?

"Well," she said, the rest of the party staring at her, "I guess I can graduate from my bardic college now."

The tension broke as the party laughed. Dulcibella jabbed in, "Well, now you can't say you haven't defeated one of our foes. You just go about in a way that truly leaves everyone satisfied."

Everyone had been on edge when Majori left with the dragon. There was no guarantee she would return, and when she did, she had looked rather worse for wear. Now, however, everyone was smiling and laughing, making light of the strangest circumstance to happen since they began traveling together.

After everyone had settled down bit, Majori noticed Azra casting in her direction. She tilted her head. "Wanna tell me what spell you're using?"

"Detect magic," he replied smoothly, "I read about some sorcerers gaining magic from important events involving dragons. I think this qualifies." Majori laughed and reclined back. It would be truly hysterical if she had gotten stronger from this encounter.

Azra didn't get the answer he was expecting. Majori did have a faint glow of dragon magic about her now, but there was something else.

It was small, incredibly small and incredibly faint. Separate from the bit of magic that had latched onto his friend and Lady. His eyes widened as he realized what happened.

Majori noticed that the normally talkative wizard had gone silent and sat up again. "Please don't tell me I'm cursed." she said, trying not to panic.

Azra laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. For once in his life, he was at a significant loss for words. "...Congratulations?" he said hesitantly.

Dulcibella caught his meaning before the others and went rigid. "Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?" She asked.

Azra nodded as Majori looked between the two, slowly puzzling out what they meant. When she realized what they were saying, her face went blank.

Adran had only been half listening to the conversation, caught up in trying to explain some of the nuances in how he learned to fight to Nom, but he noticed Majori freeze. He turned around. "What happened?" he asked Azra, a slight edge to his voice.

Again Azra laughed nervously. "You're gonna be an uncle?"

Adran went about as blank as his sister, and there was an uneasy silence throughout their quarters. After a solid minute, however, Majori's shoulders started shaking. Dulcibella was immediately at her side with a hand on her back, ready to assure Majori that things would be alright. However, instead of the tears she was expecting, Majori threw back her head and laughed.

She looked at her brother, a wide smile on her face, even as she said, "Dad is going to kill me."

Adran laughed too, "He's the one who taught you everything you know about being a bard, he'd probably be proud. Grandmother, on the other hand..."

Dulcibella started smiling. "Now I wanna find someone who can talk to the dead just to find out her reaction."

Majori snorted. "I can tell you right now." she put on her best 'stuffy superior' voice and began, "'Majori, how disgraceful! I told you that you were acting like a lady of the night! How are you going to find a suitable husband to carry on the bloodline now?!'"

The party carried on like this late into the night. When everyone settled in for bed, Majori laid there, thinking. She had lost so much, and been through so much, but somehow, this made her feel like everything would be alright. She had lost her grandmother and had no idea where her father was, if he was even alive, but she had her companions, her brother, and their family was about to get a bit bigger. There were certain things to worry about still, but she was happy. Truly happy.