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    Dinner with the Harrowdens

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    Curtana
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    Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 09:53 am

    Aleyn had promised Kallista that he would take her to meet his family sometime, and of course when he got back into town after a month away, his mother insisted on having everyone over for a big dinner to welcome him home. It seemed like the ideal opportunity to fulfill his promise, since more or less all of his immediate family would be in one place at the same time. He had told his mother he'd be bringing a friend, and was confident she would have passed the word on to his siblings. He just hoped that the "JUST a friend" part of the message would also have gotten through, so there wouldn't be any awkward misunderstandings.

    He picked Kallista up from the Union a bit early, wanting to allow them plenty of time to get there. "Hey, I hope you haven't eaten all day, because this is going to be some seriously intense food," he greeted her with a smile.
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 10:02 am

    "Oooooh, that sounds promising!" Kallista said with a wide, easy grin as they walked out of the Union's large wooden doors.

    Aleyn had mentioned that the dinner would be a casual affair, so she had dressed in her normal attire - tight black leather - although she had made sure it was one of her less travel-worn outfits and that there were no obvious cuts or scuff marks on it.

    "So what should I be expecting? I've never actually been to dinner with anyone else's family before."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 10:11 am

    "Oh, hm. Crowded, noisy, full of people and food? Probably they'll have lots to talk about amongst themselves, but you'll be the new and interesting person there, so you can expect them to have plenty of questions for you. Possibly some of them - especially from my mother and my sisters - might be... well, sort of nosy. You can feel free to get me to rescue you if they're annoying you. Oh, and I should warn you up front - my youngest brother, Lenyard, wants to be an adventurer, and he'll probably bug you with a million questions about what it's like," Aleyn said with a fond smile. "He's already heard all of my stories, see, but you're new."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 10:14 am

    "Crowded and noisy I can handle!" Kallista said, "I just hope... I kind of have a tendency to put my foot in my mouth sometimes. Is there anything in particular I shouldn't talk about?"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 10:24 am

    Aleyn considered that for a minute. "Well, the topic of my father is still kind of ... difficult for everyone, so I guess don't ask about that unless they bring it up first." He paused, but then decided it was Kallista he was talking to, and he had better add it just in case. "It's kind of not the ...done thing to inquire into people's sex lives, either. Uh, again, unless they bring it up first, I guess, which is unlikely but not entirely impossible."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 10:30 am

    Kallista nodded, reassured by knowing at least somewhat where the boundaries were.

    "Sounds easy enough."

    She put a friendly around Aleyn's shoulder as they walked.

    "Thank you again for inviting me. I've been really looking forward to this. I want to see what a 'normal' family looks like. All I've ever really had to go on was mine, and they're kind of a... special case."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 10:55 am

    Aleyn smiled back. "I'm glad to do it. I don't know if my family are entirely 'normal' exactly, but probably no one's is. But they're a pretty friendly bunch, and I think they'll like you. I hope it'll be fun, anyway. And remember, if you decide you want to escape, just give me the sign and I'll make up a reason to extricate you from whatever's going on." He gave her an encouraging squeeze. "It'll go fine."

    He escorted her to the Harrowden's family home, which wasn't overly large and had a comfortable, lived-in look about it. There were already audible sounds of chatter from within, and the piercing screams of at least two small children. Aleyn smiled cheerfully and opened the door for Kallista, letting her go inside first.

    Inside were... well, in the crowded confines of the house, it seemed like fifty people, but it was more like a dozen or so, all of whom looked like Aleyn to some extent. The Harrowdens mostly seemed to tend towards the tall and thin and dark-haired, with the exception of a short, round woman with greying hair and sharp eyes who hurried over to greet the new arrivals. "So! You must be Aleyn's friend he told us about." She looked Kallista up and down, scrutinizing her carefully.

    "Mom, this is Kallista," Aleyn introduced her. "Kallista, my mother, Nasira Harrowden."

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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 10:59 am

    "Pleased to meet you!" Kallista said happily, extending her hand to the matronly woman. Only the gently swishing of her tail gave any hint to her slight nervousness.

    "Aleyn's told me a lot about you... well, about your whole family, really."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 11:17 am

    "Oh, he has? Hm. Well, I suppose there is a lot to tell," the older woman said with a hint of a smile. "Don't worry, the test to see if you remember everyone's names isn't until at least the third visit. Come in, don't just stand here in the door," she told them, beckoning them further into the house.

    Aleyn stuck close to Kallista as they were surrounded by an assortment of curious relatives. He scooped up a little girl, maybe about three or four, who ran up to him for hugs. "Alynna, I think you grew while I was away!" She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck, peeking shyly at Kallista. Having an armful of small, squirming child made it harder to give hugs to the rest of his family, but Aleyn managed as best as he could.

    A slim, wiry woman with short dark hair and a beak of a nose offered Kallista her hand to shake. "I'm Lystra," she said, and added "the oldest sister," by way of clarification. "Nice to meet you."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 11:25 am

    Kallista was about to ask Aleyn whether there was actually going to be a test, and if so, whether she was allowed to take notes, but before she could, his mother ushered them quickly into the house where they were swarmed almost immediately with relations.

    Kallista smiled to see young Alynna peeking at over her uncle's shoulder at her. Unfortunately, her smile revealed her sharp, pointed teeth, which made the little girls eyes go slightly wide.

    Kallista was immediately distracted, however, by the thin but friednly loking woman who greeted her. Kallista took her hand, shaking it happily.

    "Nice to meet you as well, Lystra. I'm Kallista. I can see the family resemblance!"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 11:33 am

    Lystra smirked. "It's the nose. Mine, however, never got smashed in during a bar fight."

    "It wasn't a bar fight," Aleyn protested. "Not... exactly. Well, it might have been outside a bar."

    His sister ignored the clarification. "So, you guys managed to convince him back into this whole adventuring business." The 'crazy' was implicit in her tone. "How's that working out?"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 11:42 am

    "Great!" Kallista exclaimed, excitedly, happy as always to share her profound love of adventuring, "It been really nice having another ranged striker on the team."

    She smirked at Aleyn, eying his crooked nose.

    "Actually, Your brother never did tell me what happened to his nose. I bet it's an interesting story."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 11:52 am

    Aleyn shifted his niece to his other arm, and laughed. "Probably fascinating, if I could remember it. I was pretty out of it that night. You know, adventurers and our carrying on," he added with a wink to Kallista.

    Lystra just shook her head, bemused. "I'm glad it's going well for you lot," she said. "But you know, bringing her here is only going to make Len more eager to join up." She eyed Kallista and her skin-tight outfit with an arched eyebrow. "We've been trying to encourage him into a trade that's more... stable," she told the tiefling.

    Aleyn rolled his eyes a bit. "Look, if it's what he really wants, you're not going to be able to stop him. He's almost eighteen, he can do what he wants." It sounded as though they'd had this conversation dozens of times before.
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 12:02 pm

    Kallista nodded a bit warily, trying to think of something to say that wouldn't add fuel to the obviously ongoing debate.

    "Well... I mean, the pay is really good...." she ventured with a sheepish grin.

    "But I guess it's not for everyone. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty. And pretty much the rest of your body, too. There's a lot more slime and goo involved than the press might lead you to believe."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 12:07 pm

    "It's really gross," added a new voice, this one from a shorter, curvier young woman with a cloud of curly dark hair. It was easy to imagine that Aleyn's mother must have looked like her thirty years earlier. "I dated this guy once who was an adventurer, and he had some absolutely disgusting stories! But he did always have lots of money to spend on gifts and going out and stuff. Oh, sorry, I'm Tavya," she said to Kallista. "The pretty sister," she added with a grin, as though it was some old family joke.
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 12:19 pm

    Kallista turned at the adition of the new voice and was immediately struck by the understated beauty of the young woman standing beside her. That she was Aleyn's sister there was no doubt, but her features were much softer, less angular than most of her family, and her gorgeous billowy hair set of her brown eyes - eyes that Kallista suddenly found herself staring into. The 'Pretty Sister' was definitely an apt description.

    "Hello there!" Kallista said with a grin, "I'm Kallista. It's a pleasure to meet you."

    She offered the woman her hand.

    "And yeah, dating an adventurer can be difficult at times, but it certainly has... perks."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 12:29 pm

    Tavya giggled as she shook Kallista's hand. "Definitely. Like how they go away for a couple weeks at a time and then come back with... energy to burn," she said with a grin.

    Aleyn sighed. "The pretty sister, and the extremely silly one," he said, but with a fond smile.

    Lystra nodded. "We don't bother to remember the names of Tavvie's boyfriends until we meet them at least three or four times. That... almost never happens."

    Tavya stuck out her tongue at her older sister. "Most of them you never even meet, so there." She smiled back to Kallista. "Is it weird if I say I've read some of your books? They're so exciting!"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 12:37 pm

    Kallista let her hand linger just a brief moment on Tavya's after the handshake broke, giggling herself at the young woman's comments. She was slightly confused, though at the mention of 'Her books'.

    "Oh! You mean the Adventurers Unlimited series," she said with a smile when she realized what she meant, "I hear they're pretty interesting. I have to admit, though, I've never actually read them. About once a month a person from the publishing company comes by to interview me for a couple of hours and then two weeks later another title hits the shelves. Maybe sometime you can tell me all about my adventures and we can see how much of it matches up with what actually happened."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 12:46 pm

    "Oh, gods, that's hilarious!" Tavya grinned. "Sure, I'll tell you all about them. I just borrowed them from Len, though, he has that entire series memorized I think. I picked out yours because I liked the covers best - one with a girl as the hero!"

    Aleyn put down his niece, who promptly ran off to pester someone else. "Then you might like the Delona ones too. Not that I've actually read any of them either," he added with a laugh. "But Kallista and Del and Tzesira - and Agyness now - do most of the serious melee fighting, the guys mainly just stand back and try to avoid getting hit."

    Tavya's eyes went wide and she looked even more admiringly at Kallista. "That's so cool!"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 12:50 pm

    Kallista laughed at the woman's expression.

    "Yeah, it's kind of interesting. All of our front-line fighters are women since Dheni left."

    She punched Aleyn lightly in the shoulder.

    "You boys all get to sit back and fling spells and shit while we're down in front where the action is."

    She tossed a quick, surreptitious wink at Tavya.

    "Not that I'd change that for the world. I'd get bored if I wasn't always in the thick of things."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 02:15 pm

    Aleyn gave a rueful shrug. "There is sometimes a distressing amount of action in the vicinity of the casters, but we usually manage to get away from it, or make it get away from us."

    Tavya waved airily in her oldest brother's direction. "Pft, maybe you should have picked to be something tougher than a sorcerer then!" She smirked back at Kallista. "But it's good you've got her around to protect you."






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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 02:23 pm

    Kallista laughed.

    "Yeah, we all have to watch out for each other in the field. "

    With a quick movement she reached behind her friend and playfully slapped his backside with her open palm. She laughed even harder at seeing him jump in surprise.

    "Gotta be ready for anything!"
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 02:41 pm

    Lystra looked startled at Kallista's gesture, but Tavya just giggled at her brother's expression. "I bet you keep him on his toes, right?"

    Aleyn eyed his little sister sternly. "There's no toe...keeping...going on. Just so we're all clear."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by tuck on 19/07/12, 02:53 pm

    Kallista laughed at Aleyn's fluster.

    "Not for lack of trying," she said with another quick wink, "Your brother is cute when he's embarassed. But no, we're just good friends."
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    Re: Dinner with the Harrowdens

    Post by Curtana on 19/07/12, 03:05 pm

    "Okay, I get it, good to know," Tavya grinned. "But that won't stop Mom assuming..."

    "I know," Aleyn said with a sigh. "I'm already bracing myself for the inevitable questions. Maybe we can keep her distracted?"

    "Not forever," Lystra said dryly. "Don't worry, though," she said to Kallista, "she's probably too polite to ask whether you're going to give her grandchildren, and if so, whether they'll have horns, the first time she meets you."


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