"I think he's going to have your nose," Perry says, sounding quite pleased by the notion, and carefully settling his youngest son in the cradle in the corner.
"I suppose we'll see. More pressing, though, darling, is the fact that we have yet to come up with a name for him."
"There's still time," Perry says.
"Not really," Amy says. "Not a lot. He's here."
"Technically, we have until the christening."
"That'll be months, Perry. What do we call him in the meantime?"
"'Prince Whose Parents Are Out Of Names,'" Perry says, ticking the words off on his fingers. "I say, that's seven. We could use that."
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," Amy says.
Perry settles onto the bed next to her and pulls her over so that her head is resting against his shoulder. "I see why your parents choose to have a theme. It does make things easier. I suppose we could do that."
"What? Name him after a gemstone? Prince . . . Peridot? Jasper?"
"No, I meant adopt a theme."
"I think we're four children too late for that," Amy says.
"Pity. We could have done colors," Perry says. "Gone right down the rainbow. Red,
"Thereby making your successor King Orange of Ambergeldar." She pauses, considering it. "That almost works. The Court Poet would never have forgiven us, though."
Nothing rhymes with
Perry kisses the end of his wife's nose. "We'll talk about it after you rest. It won't hurt him any to wait a little longer. He's too young to know, anyway."
* * *
"It's not like we have to come up with all seven," Amy says the next day. "I mean, we do, but we've already got a couple. We can use Scorpius and Bruce. They, did, after all, help save the kingdom."
"Yes. Which means we just need another five," Perry says, writing Scorpius and Bruce on the paper in front of him.
Amy is still in bed, and Perry has dragged a spindly and quite fragile-looking table over to use as a desk as he keeps her company. She's not sure it's meant for the sort of abuse it's taking as the King's Desk, but it's a particularly ugly table and she shan't mind in the slightest if it dies in the service of its country.
"I know you don't like the name," Amy says, "but we haven't used Humphrey yet, and he was your father. For that matter, we haven't used Algernon."
"My father didn't like his name. And who do you think started calling me Peregrine, anyway?"
"Yes, darling, but the populace doesn't know that. They just know you've already named three sons, and none of them are named after you or your father. We don't have to put one of them first, but I think we should at least consider putting one or both in the middle."
"I will consider it," Perry says, with the air of one making a great concession.
"Besides, it would be at least one more name we don't have to think of," Amy says.
* * *
Amy is watching the sunset over the palace gardens, with her still un-named youngest son in her arms. He is asleep. Amy suspects she will be soon. Perry is watching them both.
"We could name him West," Perry says.
"Well, Sunset seemed a little frivolous. So West. And then we could name the next one East. Or South."
"You're back to themes, then?"
"What about North?"
Perry looks down at his wife and son. "Don't be silly, Amethyst. What kind of a name is North?"
"No directions, cardinal or otherwise," Amy says.
* * *
"Benjamin," Amy says, over breakfast.
"Benjamin isn't bad," Perry responds, weighing it. He writes it on the slowly-filling bit of paper he's been jotting names on since yesterday.
"David. Jonathan. Noah. Joshua. Jacob. Caleb. Samuel. Aaron. Moses," Amy offers.
"Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego," Perry says, setting his pen down. "Are you just going though the Old Testament?"
"We can go through the New Testament, too," Amy says. "Matthew. Mark. Luke. John -- no, wait, we've used John already. Bartholomew."
"Drink the rest of your tea," Perry says.
* * *
"What about Ambergeldan heroes?" Amy says, in the afternoon. "From history and legends and so on. We could take names from those. Ambergeldar must have some."
"Of course we have some," Perry says, just a little indignantly. "And you should know about them already, oh Queen of My Country for the Last Six Years."
"There has been rather a lot going on in those six years," Amy says, though he's right of course. "Tell me now."
"Well, there's the Founder of the Country. He stopped one day, right about where the throne room is now supposedly, and thrust his sword into a huge stone -- "
"Wait. What? Surely that's backwards. The sword went into the stone? Not out of the stone?"
"No, into," Perry says. "And years and years before that fellow in
"But why would anyone try to put a sword into a stone? It seems like you'd run a needless risk of damaging or at least dulling the blade."
"I don't know, but he did. And the stone split in two and the inside was full of amber, which he took as a sign that he should found a city and name it Amber. So, well, he did. And here we are."
"I see," Amy says, after a moment. "Because this man somehow cleaved a giant rock in two with a sword, and it was full of amber, even though most of what we've got of that washes up on the shore?"
"Don't let science get in the way of a perfectly good legend, Amethyst," Perry says.
"Of course not, Algernon," Amy says. "So did this rock-splitting gentleman have a name?"
"Egbricht," Perry says.
"Egbricht," Amy repeats, thoughtfully. And then, "No, I don't think so."
"There is a reason we haven't carried on using it."
"And no reason to start now."
* * *
Amy picks up Perry's list of names. Well, it's not really a list, as that implies some degree of order, and Perry has jotted these down somewhat randomly, at whatever angle was convenient in the moment, all over the page.
Bruce. Scorpius. Humphrey (?). Algernon (???). Benjamin (with an odd trail coming down from the N probably made as he'd looked up from the paper to his wife). Geoffrey. Lionel. Francis (?). Allyn. Lysander.
"Apple?" Amy asks.
"What? Oh, no. I mixed up the bits of paper," Perry says, reaching over to draw an untidy line through the word Apple. "They came to ask you about dinner and you were asleep and I didn't want to wake you. So I just scrawled some things down myself."
"And that's why we're eating apple and onion pie with trout and marmalade and cherries jubilee?"
"I didn't put much thought in it, all right? I've been a bit distracted. My wife just had a baby."
"You don't say," says the wife in question. "I suppose we could consider Marmalade," she adds.
Her very Regal husband sticks his very Regal tongue out at her, then frowns at the paper in her hand. "We need to name him something. The Prime Minister is getting prickly about Proclamations."
"Yes," Amy says. "And I'd like to know what to call him." But there's nothing written on the paper she's holding that she can quite hear herself saying every day for the rest of her life.
"I suppose -- " she begins, but Perry cuts her off.
"Let's just pick a name we like," he says. "He's the fourth son, it doesn't have to be appropriately kingly, because the chances he'll wind up on the throne are . . . well, far too bleak to be considered. Let's just use a name we like without worrying about who has already had it. And then we can stick Algernon in the middle somewhere for balance."
"All right," Amy says.
And an hour later, on a fresh bit of paper, they've got it.
George William Humphrey Philip Algernon Scorpius Bruce.
It has a nice ring to it.