Kitai had heard from her father that Tavi had asked about Marat births beforehand -- Tavi was learning from his mistakes. As a result, when they had decided on a name for their babe, and she had forbid him from mentioning it to others yet, he didn't ask why.

He had also called away the staff of nurses, watercrafters and servants who had been thrust on her. For her and her babe's safety, she was told, but Kitai mostly saw them hovering around her, not doing much besides talking over her head. She had managed to get only Hashat and Isana to attend the birth itself. After all, if two of her own kinswoman, one of who was one of the few Marat woman in riding distance, and the other of whom was a master watercrafter, and both of whom had assisted with births before -- if these two could not protect her life and that of her babe, then so was the will of The One. More people would just get underfoot, as her care after the birth was proving.

Kitai was sure that her nurses would have sworn she was too tired to get out of bed. She would expect that was because of the peculiar tendency of many Alerans to treat their women as if they were made of wisps of clouds, but she had seen the same approach, if gruffer, by the surgeons and watercrafters in the Legions. Perhaps it was overcompensating for the tendency of some Alerans -- and Kitai wasn't going to name names -- to ignore common sense to the point of injuring themselves.

Not that Kitai was like that at all. All she needed was to take her babe outside for a moment. Then she could come back, and pretend to be an invalid to make her nurses happy, and she and Tavi could sign the paperwork that Alerans worshiped so, declaring that her babe was the rightful son of First Lord Gaius Octavian and herself. As if there was any doubt. Tavi had made it clear that he and Kitai were a mated pair by Marat law, and the delay was merely to set up the unnecessarily-large ceremony and more paperwork that would make it true for Aleran law as well.

She and Tavi, and the large number of people that a First Lord needed to run Alera, had been using a large residence in Riva as their home for now. She and Tavi had been given the tower for their own residence, so it wasn't like she had such a long walk to get to a balcony facing east.

The Rivan countryside beyond the walls was tinted red with the light of dawn. If Kitai kept her eyes towards the horizon, towards the Calderon Valley where her mate had grown up and her own people's country, she couldn't see the effect of the Vord War, outside of a few burnt patches where croach had once lay. Even below her and her babe, as Riva awoke, there was already the scaffolding that marked new construction. The world her babe was entering was wounded from its battle, but it was healing, as surely as flesh and bone healed.

Kitai checked her babe in her arms. He was awake, staring at her with sky-blue eyes. Isana had told her that color was normal for Aleran babies, and time would tell if he would inherit the many-changing hues of a Marat whelp, or the green of his Aleran father. His wispy baby hair was pale enough that he might as well be bald, but whether that was Marat hair or the yellow-brown some Alerans had, it was hard to tell on someone so young. Kitai smiled -- as all babes, he would be a mix of his parents.

She heard Tavi's footsteps and turned to meet him before he stepped out onto the balcony. "I thought you were going to miss this."

"Reassuring the staff took longer than I thought," Tavi said.

Kitai sighed. "Alerans. I'd think they would listen to their First Lord, but I'm sure they all think they know better than you. Idiots." She kissed him on the cheek.

Tavi laughed. "Just don't go fainting to prove them right."

Kitai rolled her eyes. "And their stupidity is contagious. Perhaps I shouldn't have kissed you -- I might catch it too, and then where would we be?"

As the light of dawn caught all three of their faces, Kitai boosted their babe up so she could speak his name into his ear. The babe would know, and the One would know, and she and Tavi already knew. After that, the whole crows-begotten world could know -- but the babe should hear his own name first, before the rest of the world spoke it.

"Gaius Desiderius Tavarus." Gaius not just for the Aleran ideas of patrimony, but for his father, and his father's mother, and his father's clever grandfather, who he would never know. Tavarus from the Canim, as a reminder to be clever to adversaries. Desiderius, 'the desired one', so that he would always know what he meant to his family. It was well past long enough for a name, and Kitai was sure if Tavi could, he would load the poor babe up with enough remembrances and good wishes for a whole tribe of children. Kitai had to point out that there would be others, regardless of the legendary Gaius infertility. She would make sure of it.

Tavi yawned. "Go back to bed," Kitai told him.

"Can't. Got work to do."

"You were up half the night waiting for the babe to finally arrive. Work will not begrudge you a couple of hours of sleep."

"Work might not, but we have a lot of High Lords and relatives waiting to hear about little Desi, " Tavi replied.

"Oh," Kitai considered this. "That is a different matter then."