Though, did you know, my sweeting, that there are machines in this realm that allow a person to see a babe inside a woman's belly? It's rather horrifying.

But I shan't bore you with the details of your birth, sweeting, as you were there. Instead, I would like to linger on the month just before you decided to come out and join us.

You see, that was the month I went to my first science fiction and fantasy convention. Many important things happened there, though I think perhaps I will save those revelations for another few decades.

For you see, after arriving at FantaCon28, after being mistaken for a cosplay of myself, after literally meeting my maker and telling my untold tale, after the Artist's Alley and the woman who mistook costumes for consent, your Da could not help but be intensely interested in fan culture.

You shall grow up a geek, sweeting, and for that I am pleased, but you must understand that there is nothing, absolutely nothing like this back in the Kingdom of Hain.

Well, there is the Sowing Celebration, but that's more about inversion, and celebration, and pushing Brother Sun back into orbit by tempting Sister Moon into sleeping later and later in the bed of Harvest than it is about actually pretending to be the Great Constellations. And besides, that really is more of a Fey holiday than a human one.

The point is, my sweeting, that for all that meeting Elgar Reed left a faintly bitter taste behind my teeth, I adored the rest of my weekend in Toronto. The crowds were overwhelming, true; I needed to retreat to a rest area often. Your mother calls it social anxiety, dearest, and we both hope that you do not inherit that particular Turnish trait. I had never felt so observed before in my life. Your Da is very used to being either masked and Shadow-Cloaked or totally ignored. But beyond the discomfort of being in such a large crowd, I had . . . well, I had rather a lot of fun, didn't I?

Oh, I must tell you about the Klingon Karaoke. I know what a Klingon is now, my sweet, and someday so shall you—and perhaps you will eventually share in my disappointment that the people dressed as Klingons didn't sing in the language invented for the species. I wanted to learn more of it. But watching my eight-month-pregnant wife take the microphone and give an incredibly rousing and humorous rendition of "Shake It Off" was so entertaining that the Vulcan at the table over pointed at me and shouted to the waitress, "I'll have whatever he's having!"

Perhaps your Ma will sing it for you tomorrow. Would you like that, sweeting? Ah-ah—ah, such a big yawn! Are you ready to lay back down and—ah, oops, I suppose not. Okay, shhh, shush, sweeting. It's all right. I will tell you more about FantaCon.

Let me see . . .

Ah, there was the Cosplay Masquerade. Your mother had to drag me away from several of the contestants afterward, because I insisted on monopolizing their attention to learn just how they had made such accurate and impressive armor out of foam.

There was a pub event where the bar served themed cocktails based on the Guest of Honor's books, such as the Kintyre, some pale ale-based monstrosity named for your uncle; the Bevel, a sweet vermouth cocktail that spoke softly but carried a big punch, named for your other uncle; and the Viceroy, a mixture of red wine and cola that made its drinkers prone to gagging and screwed up faces even as they ordered another. I thought it perverse that one would name a drink after that monster.

My favorite was The Foesmiter, a purplish drink made of spiced dark whiskey, sour plum wine, ginger ale, and a muddle of ginger roots and fresh plums. It reminded me of the Drebbinshire special dragon whiskey. Ma says that I spent the whole evening with a terribly fond grin on my face, but I think she is teasing me. Your Da is a spymaster and entirely in control of his own expressions.

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