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It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect the first meeting between the Wildmother and Uk’otoa after Fjord broke his pact to be awkward. Recriminations, shouting, violence. 

 

But as it was, the Wildmother had something on her mind when she arrived at their little celestial meeting place. Her brows wrinkled in thought, she actually brightened when she entered the main room and saw that the serpent’s bath tub was full. 

 

“Ah, Uk’otoa. Could I ask you for some clarity, if you wouldn’t mind?” 

 

The Traveler and the Storm Lord pushed back from the table in opposite directions to get out of the line of fire, just in case. The serpent in question sloshed for a moment, tentacles coiling around themselves. 

 

This would be the time. For yelling, for curses, for whatever this limited projection of his essence could do. 

 

The tentacles settled slowly into the water. 

 

“ASK.” 

 

Apparently completely unaware of the tension, the Wildmother gave him a bright smile and came to sit on the edge of the tub. 

 

“Young Fjord had almost no spell casting components on him, and seemed most surprised  when my Clay said he needed them. Have... when he yelled spells in combat, were you just... letting him cast them?” 

 

Beginning to relax, the other two deities in the room stilled, frowned, and turned their chairs more directly to face the tub. Now that it had been pointed out... 

 

Two of Uk’otoa’s tentacles twined around each other in front of his main eye, which seemed strangely reluctant to meet anyone else’s gaze. Water sloshed against the side of the tub and when it came, his projected voice seemed quieter. 

 

“Favoured.” The great slitted eye darted up to the Wildmother’s face and then away again, skittering across the walls. “Gift.” 

 

The Storm Lord’s jaw dropped. A delighted peal of laughter spilled from the Traveler’s lips as he tossed his head back. 

 

“I fucking knew it!” 

 

“You... you’ve just... been giving him spells?” Kord stammered, leaning both elbows on the table to take his weight. 

 

Uk’otoa flicked a few droplets at him. 

 

“Favoured.” It was still quieter than his usual efforts, but now the undertone was more defiant. 

 

At the side of the tub, the Wildmother’s expression softened into a gentle smile. 

 

“I see... he is a rather sweet lad, isn’t he?” 

 

Tentacles roiled in the water. 

 

“SWEET.” That lamp like gaze flitted around again. “APPEALING.” 

 

That brought a trace of the frown back and the Wildmother cocked her head slightly. 

 

“Do you mean emotionally, or...” 

 

“POSTERIOR.” 

 

Having almost regained control of himself, the Traveler nearly fell off his chair. 

 

“Are...” he gasped, both arms wrapped around his waist, “are you telling me that you’ve been giving the boy power without price... because he has a cute butt?” 

 

A more powerful splash sloshed towards him, Melora moving easily out of its way, one hand possibly covering a giggle of her own. 

 

“FAVOURED,” Uk’otoa declared again, more firmly still. The next look towards the Wildmother was almost questioning, and she composed herself enough to smile back. 

 

“I will be making him use the correct spell components,” she told him. 

 

There was a complex movement of tentacles almost like a shrug, and another word just barely above a murmur. 

 

“Return.” 

 

It was enough to break even the Storm Lord’s composure and he snorted a laugh of his own. 

 

“He’s right, Melora. The boy may go back to him if you make the spell casting more complex.” 

 

The Wildmother shrugged, rising from the tub to pull her own chair up to the table. 

 

“That will be his choice. We cannot all bestow such favours on our chosen.” But there was a faint hint of a sparkle in her eye. 

 

Just what favours Caduceus may have bestowed was another question.