Mauricio on the other hand is ecstatic."So what should we name him? Brann would be a nice name! Or no, what about Magni? Even better!"
"Wait, wait, wait... How come you are so certain that it will be a boy? Have you joined me in the fortune telling business?"
Mauricio shrugs. "Somehow it always turned out to be a boy in our paternal family line. You know I have a brother, my father only had brothers, my grandfather... Oh and here, eat this", he grabs an apple out of the fruit bowl and hands it to Celestine, "Apples are good for pregnant women!"
"Really? I never heard of that. More family wisdom passed down from generation to generation?"
"Exactly! Three apples a day keep birth complications away, or something like that."
"If you say so!", she smiles and takes a big bite.
During the first weeks after the pregnancy announcement Celestine spends a lot of time outside studying the local wildlife. It is not quite winter yet, but frost is already creeping up on the windows early in the morning and she won't be able to watch all these critters for much longer.
"Wow, these water bugs are giants! You must like the current weather, don't you?"
Sometimes she takes a few specimen back home if she knows they can live healthily and happily in a proper terrarium, but sometimes - like in the case of this beautiful falcon - she respects that not every animal makes a good pet and simply enjoys observing them in their natural habitat.
But as her belly grows bigger and the temperatures fall she eventually has to stop exploring outside and spends her time at home with Mauricio, talking about their future or just dancing to their favourite music.
"Tell me about your adventures.", she says one day. Celestine loves exploring the outdoors around her hometown, but she never travelled much further than Appaloosa Plains.
"Hmm... have I told you about that expedition into an old celtic tomb in France yet?", Mauricio asks.
"No, you haven't! Celtic tomb, you say? I was interested in celtic druids as a child. Didn't find out a lot to be honest."
"No wonder, sources are scarce about them. They preferred oral teaching over writing, which makes work for us historians that much harder. What we do know about them is that they mainly acted as priests and teachers, they had a strong bond to nature - the word 'druid' means 'wisdom/knowledge of the oak tree' - and they studied the movement of the stars. Much like you do", he adds teasingly.
"Wow, sounds like I could have saved myself a lot of research if I had met you earlier!", Celestine laughs.
"We could explore these ruins together one day, if you want to?"
"No, thanks, that was a long time ago! I was a curious child but I'm no longer interested in - ahh!", Celestine lets go of Mauricio's hands and feels her forehead.
"Something wrong, honey?"
"No, no... just a headache, probably another pregnancy symptom. I just need some rest."
Mauricio nods and brings Celestine to their bedroom where she quickly lies down and tucks herself in.
"Okay, good night then. If you need anything to feel better, just tell me. Or if you change your mind about exploring some ruins together", he adds with a wink.
Hmpf. Travelling is an important part of Mauricio's life but he never managed to convince her to come with him... Of course with a baby underway travelling won't be possible for a while, and he is okay with that, he always wanted to be a father! But he does want to continue travelling once the kid grows older... And Celestine simply doesn't seem very interested in that unfortunately.
"I never thought I'd see the day when your belly is bigger than mine", Mauricio jokes while trying to feel for any movement of his unborn son (he is still 100% sure it'll be a boy). "You think it's that bad yet?", she teases him back.
In the last weeks before the due date Celestine and Mauricio are so excited about becoming a real little family that they feel a great urge to fill their house with babies (or grown-ups) of other species: a nuthatch, a tortoise, various insects... "It is good for kids to grow up with pets", is their excuse when asked.
Soon their house will turn into a zoo but that's okay since Mauricio doesn't have much work to do when he's not out on an expedition and Celestine is her own boss who can set her working times however she wants to.
"Daaang, have you seen that tasty looking bird in that cage there?", Hanzo chatters while focusing on the cage.
"Hanzo, I'm not sure if the humans approve of this., Katerchen purrs with a mouth full of toy bird. "We have enough of these training dummies, why don't you practice your hunting skills with those?"*
"Why else would they put it in there? Think about it, winter is coming and our humans now provide us with life prey inside so we don't have to get our paws wet in the snow!
Speaking of our humans, have you caught the scent of the female recently? Oh boy, is she pregnant! Her litter must be due, like, any minute or so!"
"What about your litter by the way?", Katerchen meows. "I can't wait to have great-great-great-grandchildren!"
Amy growls quietly. "Great-great...-great? Are we really that old already?"
"We will have our litter when we're ready, no pressure please!", Nele answers while Hanzo is busy climbing up the cage.____
There are celtic ruins in Champs les Sims! One of the first tombs you explore there, actually. I thought that was a nice coincidence because I only found out about it after I already had the story in mind. I sent Mauricio to France because of his adventurer roll and there it was! I couldn't *not* include it here!
[*real life Katerchen would never say this. He surprised me with a panicked living bird in his mouth once. He's an indoors cat...
No birds were harmed in the making of this chapter. Well, harmed maybe, but not killed. Just a few lost feathers.]