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    Guess who's coming to breakfast?

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    elanya
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 10:28 am

    "No. Never. Always wear that hat. It makes me want to kiss you." He put down the book e'd been glancing through - an old edition of an arcanic reference text, his attention fully focused on Aleyn. "Can I?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 10:35 am

    "Yes, definitely," Aleyn said, and opened his arms for Vedran. "I should get some extras, clearly, because at the rate I ruin clothing, this hat's lifespan might be short. And I'd hate to deprive you of its beauty."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 10:51 am

    "There is a world - several worlds - of hats out there, but only one Aleyn Harrowden," Vedran said, slipping into Aleyn's arms, and tilting his head up to the slightly taller man. "And you're the one whose beauty I never want to be deprived of again."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 10:58 am

    Aleyn smiled, his eyes growing a little damp. "Technically, there could be another Aleyn Harrowden out there somewhere, in one of those other worlds. Some scholars think that... oh, mmm, okay then, I'll stop talking about arcane theory and just kiss you instead, all right?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 11:04 am

    "Please," he said, but resolved the issues by pressing his lips to Aleyn's. He pulled back after they were both a little breathless. "...I guess we should probably get going?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 11:13 am

    "Yeah, I suppose," Aleyn said, only a little reluctantly. "Or else all the best food might be gone," he added, smiling wryly.

    As they walked in the direction of Aleyn's family home a short while later, he turned to Vedran. "I guess I never got to finish telling you about our impromptu trip, because... we got sort of distracted," he said with a crooked grin. "Was there anything else you wanted to know about it? I mean, I'm sure you'll get the in-depth report when we talk to Monti, but just in case I've been inadvertently keeping you in suspense..."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 11:18 am

    "Well, you already told me the most important part, which is that everyone made it back safely. But I'd like to know more about the cultists you mentioned, for one and also - how *did* you get back?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 11:33 am

    Aleyn decided to tackle the last question first, because it was simpler. "We found out early on that the best place to get a portal back would be this big traveling bazaar they have there - but, uh, it travels around, obviously, so we had to spend some time looking for it, and it seemed like we kept just missing it by a few days or a week - well, not that they precisely have days and weeks there, not like here, which was why we were measuring time by facial hair... Anyway, eventually we found an efreet who used to travel with the bazaar. Even though he'd been kicked out, he still had contacts there. And in exchange for retrieving this giant pearl thing for him from an underwater complex, he wrote us up a letter to take to one of his friends who he said would be able to do the ritual for us. It'll probably backfire on us somehow, but we couldn't come up with any better solutions, so we did it, and fortunately his friend came through when we finally did catch up with the bazaar, and we were able to get home."

    "As for the cultists... that's more complicated. There was this woman, Tasare, who was the head of the first community we came across. She had evidently spent some time on this plane, because she seemed to know a fair bit about it, and she seemed friendly at first. But we ended up getting locked in our room, so Tzesira and Kallista snuck out to see what was going on, and overheard her talking to someone else, a man I think, we don't know who, about selling us out to the cultists. They specifically mentioned Kallista's father by name. And this place, wherever it was, was apparently near to the Abyss, so I guess it makes sense they would have ties there... Anyway, we escaped, but she eventually caught up to us at the bazaar and attacked us along with some henchmen. Oh, and she could turn into a phoenix or something of the sort, I didn't mention that bit. So we fought with her, and she was really tough but we brought her to a stand-off, but she had Tzesira and was ready to kill her, so we let her escape. I fully expect she's not gone for good, though. Tzesira's still mad about it," he added with a little smile.
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 11:44 am

    Vedran nodded, and smiles a little - he still didn't know the shadar-kai that well. "Mad that she got away, or mad that she got captured?"

    He shook his head continuing. "My understanding is that the Geyr Hextor worship Kossuth, so it makes sense that they'd have contacts in the Elemental Chaos, but an area near the Abyss makes a lot of sense, too. But if they have ways of travelling there and back, that's... interesting at least, if not a little worrying. And you don't know what happened to the cultists from the ritual in Thantopolis?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 11:58 am

    "Both, I think - she seemed upset that Kallista didn't let her die in order to attack. But I'm sure she and Kallista will sort that out between themselves," he said with a shrug.

    "As for the prisoners who escaped, we never saw them. They had outside help, some folks in the prison had broken in, killed guards - we got a bit of a look at them, but not too close in all the chaos, and they were mostly wearing hoods, so it was hard to see. One had horns, I remember that much, so maybe a tiefling?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 12:04 pm

    "Right. And the parliament *did* vote to withdraw troops from Thantopolis... I'm hoping that will keep tensions between the cities down a little, at least, but I'm also worried about losing track of what's going on there."

    He sighed, then smiled. "And these are the things that keep me up at night. But was there anything good or interesting on your unexpected trip?"
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 12:16 pm

    "I hope I can give you some more pleasant reasons to stay up at night," Aleyn said with a grin. "Um... good things, let's see. It was an interesting place, for sure - rivers flowing through the sky, fire cold enough to touch, floating metal - Roscoe was just beside himself with excitement about ninety percent of the time we were there. Oh, and he bought a very impressive hat, I'm sure you'll see it soon enough. We got some pretty respectable treasure out of it - there's a chest full of pearls, so I thought maybe I'd take a few of my share of those and get something nice made for us. Some matching... what would you like, cufflinks, tiepins? Oh right, and there were cakebees. They were pretty tasty, all things considered."

    He paused, his face growing more serious. "But there's definitely something big going on - everywhere we went, it seemed people were preparing for attacks, or had recently been attacked, or there were rumours that demon and primordial troops were massing for ... something. Tensions between the cities might be the least of our worries soon, I'm afraid."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 02:27 pm

    Vedran smiled at the description of the place, and Roscoe's hat, and matching tie clips - pearls were a poor choice for cufflinks since they were so soft, but would Aleyn ever wear a tie clip?

    But his additional comment was enough to make him pause his stride. "That's... really... wow. Well. At least we know, I guess. And maybe if we can keep things from falling apart too much here, we'll be ready. More ready. Wow. I really hope you're wrong."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 02:47 pm

    "Me too." Aleyn turned the corner onto the street he'd grown up on and tried not to think about the people there being attacked by evil forces determined to bring about an end to civilization. "But in the meantime, we'll just do everything we can to prepare and find out more, I guess."

    He went to point out the house to Vedran as they approached, then remembered that of course he'd already been there before, so instead he gestured to other local landmarks, places as familiar to him as the back of his unscarred hand. "...and this is the shop where we would always go to get candy when we had any extra money, and down there's the fountain, we'd play there when it was hot and get in the way of people just trying to get a drink or fill a bucket, and... well, here we are." He looked at the house, then turned to glance at Vedran. "Ready?"

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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 02:53 pm

    He smiled, trying to put the big problems aside for now, listening to Aleyn's anecdotes and trying to imagine him running around as the head of a gaggle of younger siblings and having the kinds of adventures he'd only read about as a child."Of course."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 03:29 pm

    Aleyn took a deep breath and opened the door. The house was busy inside - people seated at the table having a loud and enthusiastic discussion, or rushing around trying to get ready to go to work, and two little girls chasing each other and getting underfoot. It was the older of these two who first noticed Aleyn standing there and shrieked with excitement, running over to him. He picked her up, grinning. "You're back!" she exclaimed. "You were gone a really long time. Did you bring me presents?"

    "Well, I'm glad to see you too," he laughed, hugging her. "I do have something for you, but not right with me - you'll have to be patient until I can get it wrapped and everything proper, all right, Alynna?"

    Any objections she might have raised to this news were drowned out by the startled cry Mrs. Harrowden gave upon coming out from the kitchen and seeing her eldest son standing there. She rushed over to embrace him, and the commotion attracted the attention of the assorted siblings and in-laws, who all turned to see what was happening. "Oh, so you're back," a woman who had to be Aleyn's sister said with a smile, but no huge outpouring of emotion - evidently Mrs. Harrowden had kept her word not to tell the rest of the family about Aleyn's predicament.

    Aleyn put down his niece and bent down to give his mother a real hug, one which was lengthy and came with some whispered conversation. She had tears in her eyes as she finally drew back and patted his cheek affectionately. "So, you couldn't shave while you were on this trip?" she said, but there was no sting behind her words.

    "Only once," he said, and glanced at Vedran with a 'you were right' smile. "I didn't figure you'd want me to take the time to go to the barber before coming here, though."

    "No, you were right," his mother agreed. "You look skinny, too - I can tell you haven't been eating enough. Good thing there's plenty of porridge, that'll fatten you back up."

    Aleyn laughed. "Mom, your definition of 'fat' is plainly insane if you think it ever applied to me. But I'm hungry, so I'm glad there's still some left. I was telling Vedran I hoped there would be some." He glanced over to Vedran, smiling. "You already met Vedran, I hear?"

    Mrs. Harrowden gave him a nod and a smile. "Yes, he came by to talk to me while you were ...away. He was very nice. It's good to see you again," she said to the half-elf.

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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 03:54 pm

    Vedran was happy to stay in the relative background of the scene while Aleyn and his mom had their reunion, smiling politely at a few curious glances from the other assembled family members and more broadly at the bald fascination from the younger pair. He turned his attention back to the main action after the beard comment, and his smile on Aleyn's mother when she adressed him.

    "You as well, Mrs. Harrowden." He might have said more if there were so many other around, but instead he kept to more straightforward topics. "The Thunderbolts got in late last night, and Aleyn insisted I should come along for breakfast this morning - I hope I won't be too much trouble, but I do hear very good things about your porridge."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 04:18 pm

    "Ah, well, come in, come in, sit down, and I'll get you both some," she said. "It's no trouble at all, not for a friend of Aleyn's." There was something about the way she said 'friend' that implied she meant something more, but she didn't elaborate or press either of them, at least not right at that moment. Instead she bustled off into the kitchen, while Aleyn led Vedran to the table.

    He gave his sister a quick hug and introduced the assembled family members to the bard. "Vedran, meet my sister Lystra, her husband Tomas, their kids - you already met Alynna, she's four, and the little one is Teyra, I guess she's a little bit older than Macen - and my brothers Bretyn and Lenyard. There are two other brothers and a sister who aren't here right now, plus a sister-in-law and a baby, but I'm sure you'll meet them all eventually. I imagine this is enough to keep track of for now," he added with a grin. "Everybody, this is my friend Vedran."

    A chorus of greetings erupted, the most enthusiastic of which was from Lenyard, the youngest brother. "Oh, you're Lord Callais! I've sort of... followed your career - well, all of the Thunderbolts, really - and it's really unbelievably cool to meet you."

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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 04:25 pm

    He was probably at an advantage over most people meeting Aleyn's family for the first time, as he'd always been good with names and faces, even ones that looked so similar. He also had a vested interest in keeping track, and making a good impression, and shook his head, smiling, at Lenyard's interjection.

    "It's very nice to met all of you. But just Vedran is fine, please... And don't get too excited, I know I'm not one of the more interesting Thunderbolts - I somehow miss out on most of the really crazy missions."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 04:44 pm

    "That's lucky for you, then," Lystra said dryly. "I can't imagine sane people doing this stuff voluntarily. Where were you this time, Aleyn?"

    "Oh..." Aleyn hesitated for a moment, then shrugged, deciding there was no reason not to tell her the truth. "Thantopolis, for a while, and then the Elemental Chaos..."

    "You see? Elemental Chaos. Even the name sounds awful," Lystra said with a grimace. "Well, I hope you had fun."

    "Yeah, it was interesting," Aleyn said lightly, brushing over the numerous hardships, not wanting to give Lystra more fodder. But he couldn't resist adding "You'd have liked it, Len," even though he knew it would fuel more debate in the family.

    "It sounds awesome," Lenyard agreed brightly. "You'll have to tell me all about it."

    "Not now," Aleyn said with a wink for his little brother that promised he would tell him more later, as he helped himself to a piece of bread from the centre of the table and spread it with butter and jam.

    Mrs. Harrowden reappeared with two bowls, which she sat down before Aleyn and Vedran. It didn't look like much, just grains of some sort that had been boiled and mashed into oblivion, but it smelled of honey and foreign spices. "There's plenty more," she assured them.

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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 05:27 pm

    "Oh wow," he said, smiling as he breathed in the aroma. "That brings back memories. Thank you." Seeing how casually everyone else was, he reached for one of the spoons in the glass holder at the center of the table.
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 05:46 pm

    "Vedran spent a few years in Ahkas when he was younger," Aleyn added by way of explanation to his mother, grabbing a spoon of his own and digging in.

    "Ah, where were you? You can't get all the right spices here, but I've found some things over the years that are ...passable substitutes," she said with a shrug.

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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 06:01 pm

    "Oh, all over the place, really - I was there with my cousin, and he's a cleric of Avandra. We probably spent the most time in Yeshual, but I did get to see a lot in the five years I was there. Where are you from, originally?"

    He took his first bite as she answered, savouring the taste. It really did bring back memories - the mash was one of the few near culinary constants he'd experienced in Ahkas. Most groups he'd traveled with had their own variations, but the base product was almost interchangeable.
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by Curtana on 17/10/12, 07:18 pm

    "Oshuar," she replied. "But it was a long time ago that I left. I miss it, or at least, I miss some things about it. The weather here is not as good, so cold and wet, and the fabrics from Hazzaren are much better than what you can get anywhere in Nerath, and the songs... well, I never hear them anymore except in my head."

    "Mom doesn't usually talk about Ahkas very much," Lystra said, passing pieces of buttered bread to her daughters, who wandered away with them giggling to each other. "She must like you."

    Bretyn nodded, leaning back in his chair and eyeing Vedran with a knowing look. "Well, she likes people who make Aleyn happy."

    "S'not always true," Lystra objected between bites. "The last guy, she thought was a..."

    "Well," Aleyn interrupted his sister briskly, "I would imagine Vedran probably knows some of those songs, Mom - he's a bard, after all. Maybe sometime you can see if any of the ones he knows are ones you know too."
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    Re: Guess who's coming to breakfast?

    Post by elanya on 17/10/12, 07:45 pm

    Well, there were all the assumptions out of the way, anyway. Vedran turned from meeting Bretyn's knowing look with his own most neutrally curious one, and smiled instead at Mrs. Harrowden. "That could be fun - I haven't had an excuse to break out my oud in a while, though, so I'm probably a little rusty on it."

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