Elthinor and I spent a joyous month at the isolated cabin then we returned to our friends and family at Greensage, where we stayed through autumn and winter. Spring came and with it, a surprise I honestly thought would never happen. And it scared me. I avoided everybody for two weeks until my father finally caught up with me. He brought Ember, his mate Sparky, and their five pups.
"Daughter of mine, is something wrong?" he asked as they settled beside me on the grassy knoll. "Even Elthinor hasn't seen you much."
I muttered something and placed my head in my hands. My father stared at me intently for a few minutes.
"You're with child," he finally said.
I jerked my head up. "How did you know that?" I demanded.
"You're acting like your mother did when she was expecting you and Nolan," Elyosius said with a laugh. "Let me guess and surprise you even more. You don't think you'll be a fit mother, you're not ready for a child, and you're scared out of your mind because it's going to happen anyway."
I nodded as Ember placed his head under my hand. "It's horrible. How can I raise a child? And will the child be Elf or Human? Or some combination of both? What will Elthinor think? What will my friends think? What do I do?"
"Do you really want my advice?" I nodded. "Tell them. Especially Elthinor. They'll be thrilled, and they probably will even help you raise the child."
"When should I tell them?"
"How about now? They sent me to find you. They're in the Satyr's pavilion talking about clearing the Oidynhall library."
I took a deep breath and nodded. "Expecting a child is horrible," I said.
"Not yet, but I'm nauseated all the time."
"My deepest condolences."
We walked to the pavilion and slipped inside. Everybody turned to look at me. Elthinor looked thrilled, hurrying up to take my hand.
"There you are! Here, this is our plan."
I listened quietly. They planned to start the excavation of the Oidynhall library in the summer. I swallowed and glanced at my father. He nodded encouragingly.
"I can go, but I can't work," I said tersely.
Elthinor looked shocked. "Why not, Fily? You love working the mines! How is this any different?"
"It's not," I said. "But I have a slight problem."
"What?" Valtrak asked.
I swallowed and guided Elthinor's hand up to rest against the area just below my navel. He stared for a few seconds then comprehension flooded his face.
"Oh Fily!" he cried. "Are you really?"
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the ground. He scooped me up, twirling me around.
"Oh, I hope it's a girl!" he exclaimed.
"You're going to have a baby?" Gabrithon asked, a little slow on what I had meant by that action.
"Yes," I said bitterly.
Everybody stopped celebrating.
"Filynora?" Elthinor asked. "Don't you want a daughter? Or a son?"
"I don't know!" I snapped. "I hate being a girl again, that much I do know!"
"But Filynora, this is joyous news," Pinnathir said softly, taking my hand. "Why are you unhappy?"
I voiced my doubts, the questions that I had asked my father earlier.
Jaiden snickered. "You're worried about what we think? We're happy for you! Pinnathir is right. This is wonderful news. Only you seem to be down about it."
"As for how you raise a child," Vincentia said, pulling the growing Nora closer. "I'd say start with one day at a time."
I smiled. "I suppose you're all right. Besides, if Ember's mate can do it, I can do it."
Elthinor got a tray and held it out to me. It was some kind of sweet bread. The smell hit me and I gasped, sprinting out of the tent to heave up what little breakfast I had eaten. Elthinor looked guilty as I came back in. The offending food was gone.
"Sorry, Fily," he said apologetically.
"I'm going to have to get used to that," I said weakly.
"Now, we obviously can't start the excavation within the next year, but how about next summer?" Valtrak said.
"Sounds good. Right, Fily?"
"Right," I said, going to stand by him.
He held my hand. "I love you, Filynora," he said seriously.
"I love you, too," I replied happily.