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“B’other?” young Magnar asked innocently, pressing his small, chubby hand against Belinda’s tummy.

“Or sister,” she giggled, placing her hand gently over his.

It had been three years ago now, but she would never forget how excited Havardir was when their first child was born. He rushed to buy armor and forge swords the lad wouldn’t be able to wield for years yet. Her husband couldn’t wait until little Magnar was old enough to go hunting and fishing and fighting with him. Belinda was also happy about their son, but she wished that she could have a little girl, too. One she could teach how to cook and garden. One who could stay around the house with her, helping to mend clothes, heal the Mundbyrdians after harsh battles, and craft handy things to give away or sell in the marketplace.

“Belinda, my darlin’,” Havardir’s cheery voice bellowed as he burst into the room. He scooped up his three-year-old son and sat upon the bed next to his wife, “I’ve got somethin’ for my new lad.”

“Or lassie,” Belinda smiled. She wasn’t giving up.

Havardir chuckled and handed a small trinket to young Magnar who was seated on his lap.

“Give this to your brother,” he whispered.

“B’other!” Magnar grinned wide as he poked the little box at his mother’s stomach. Belinda giggled and opened it.

“Ooooh!” Magnar gasped.

Belinda drew out the colorful little glass rectangles and held them up to the light. The red one depicted several lizards. The blue one held a constellation of stars. The yellow one revealed a sun shining over water, and the green one showed a picture of a plant sprouting. Belinda smiled and placed them back into the box.

“These are wonderful, darling Havardir,” she said warmly, “I am sure SHE will love them.”

HE surely will!” Havardir retorted playfully, arising from the bed and flying Magnar in circles through the air.

“Father! Father! Mine!” the lad giggled.

“I remember when I brought yours home, too, my son,” he said, settling back down and fishing a small box out of the chest where he kept the things he’d give to Magnar when he got older, “Dragon!” he said, holding the red one up to the light.

“D’agon!” Magnar repeated fiercely.

“Brave knight!” Havardir roared, passing the little purple rectangle to his child.

“B’ave knight!” Magnar thrust it up into the air.

“This one…” Havardir squinted at the orange one, “A pot of stew brewing above a campfire.”

“...Ooooh,” Magnar cooed, not knowing how to repeat after his father.

“You’ll go on many adventures, lad,” Havardir nodded.

“A’ventures,” Magnar said, running his finger along the little glass shape.

“And this one,” Havardir beamed, “Brother.”

“B’OTHER!” Magnar pointed at the picture of two men walking side-by-side. Then, he leapt down from his father’s arms and scampered back over to the bed. “B’other!“ he repeated, hoisting himself back up and placing his head against his mother’s belly.

Belinda only smiled and hugged the lad. Havardir came over and embraced them both.

“I love you, my boisterous boys,” she sighed, “…and whatever you are, I love you too,” she whispered to the new life forming within her.

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