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Old February 23, 2018, 04:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[PA] What you don't know wont hurt you, what you do...might.

Timestamp: Mid Winter, Era XXV Post Fractum

It was with a smile on his face that Calanon had wound the gate spell together to take him back to his newly set anchor. Home. Gone longer than expected, he couldn’t wait to see what Kailin had done with the place, and hoped that she was not too put out by his extended absence. What he had not expected was to blink back into existence in an immaculate but entirely empty house.

Curiously, he had wandered through the downstairs, noting the things that had been added, moved, finessed whilst he had been away. His love had clearly been busy, and he paused to run a hand over a tapestry that hung on the stairs, threads a myriad of different greens depicting a vast expanse of forest that called to mind those he had known before. The smile that it brought to his lips did not last though, for where was she?Where was Kailin?

He thought for a moment he had gotten the days wrong and that she was working, but some quick calculations and that was discounted. Continuing his exploration upstairs revealed the beds unslept in and the elf dropped his pack on the floor with a sigh.

Perhaps she had wanted to wait until he was back to move in properly? Calanon felt a flicker of guilt at the thought and hoped his message had at least reached her in a timely fashion. It was a far fetched hope, he could admit.

As he was here and his love clearly was not, the elf thought he might as well clean up a little before he sought her out, and he stripped off the dusty clothes he had travelled in, letting them lie where they fell. At least for a couple of moments until he thought better of it and picked them up, glancing around before setting them on a a chair in the corner. Washed and dressed in clean clothes, he considered the likely places Kailin might be prior to deciding to head out to her family home to see if he was right, that she was still staying there. He grimaced a little at the thought, for if that were the case, he was not sure it bode well.

By the time he was standing on the doorstep of the manor house, he was at least presentable, if still feeling a little apprehensive. He had cut down on days by teleporting back, but it did mean he didn’t have Moss as moral support, or to take the blame for their misadventure as he had halfway hoped. But his motivations had been reasonable enough, even if their quest had been..less so. Kailin would understand, he was sure.

With a fortifying deep breath, he lifted a hand to knock smartly on the wooden door.
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Old March 4, 2018, 06:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There were small touches all over the new home they'd so recently purchased, where Kailin had clearly taken care to weave in elements she thought would make Calanon feel more at home. A fair bit of lively greenery spoke to the fact that, though the house was cold and dark, his love had not entirely abandoned care of it in his long absence. It was set almost like a stage, merely waiting for the players to take their places, though he might have noticed - upon gathering new clothes from a new, mahogany wardrobe that lined the wall of their bedchamber - that the space which would have been filled by her heavier winter gowns was empty. The lingering scent of her perfume that drifted from the open door, however, suggested that they had hung there for a time, before being removed.

With no fire, the water for his wash was cold, but served its purpose well enough, ridding him of whatever dust was left from his travels and adventures. Quickly dressed, then, it was a healthy walk from the Crown district back through town and across the bridge into the Nest, a nice way to warm up after the cold bath.

Soon enough, he found himself before the now familiar door of Kailin's family house, and it swung open silently a few moments after his knock to reveal the butler, Jean, dressed in her usual crisp grey dress. A professional, there was only the barest press of her thin lips together before they swung into a polite and welcoming smile.

"Vedui' heru en amin Siluvanade, and welcome home," the barest twitch of an eyebrow at that, and she immediately stepped aside so he could enter, leaning to pull one of the cords set into the wall next to the door.

"I imagine you are looking for Her Ladyship?" There was nothing in either her voice or her expression to suggest anything untoward, merely the placid welcome of a woman who knew her business.

The same could not be said for Maya, the younger maid, who visibly blanched upon seeing the elf standing in the doorway. Stepping into the breach before the young woman opened her mouth, Jean closed the door behind Calanon - effectively sealing off his escape route - and quite calmly instructed, "Maya, I believe Miss Kailin is in her studio. Would you run and let her know that Lord Siluvanade is on his way?"

Obviously relieved that her task did not include bringing the elf herself, Maya bobbed a curtsy and did actually run off to warn her mistress of her love's return.

Which meant, of course, that Jean was left to take Calanon down a long hallway to the right at a far more stately pace. As they came to a door out of which came a somewhat wide-eyed Maya, who bobbed a curtsy before sweeping past them, Jean turned her head as if to speak after the girl, then seemed to think better of it. Instead, her gaze swung to Calanon again, and she gave a smile smile, "I shall bring up refreshment before long, my Lord. I believe Her Ladyship is ready for you, now."

And with a slight inclination of her head, Jean took a couple steps backward before turning and leaving Calanon to enter on his own.

The room was smaller than Kailin's studio in Jaedaxia, with less space for the organized chaos in which she seemed to be happiest creating, and the smell of turpentine, paint, and some sort of alcohol wafted out to him where he'd been left on the threshold. There were piles of papers scattered over almost every surface available, and canvases in every state lining the walls. Some that still needed stretching over frames, some that had been stretched and were waiting for paint, and still others upon which she'd begun work, standing tall in their easels.

And past the chaos, a mostly still figure was standing watching the door, the main movement that of her hands as Kailin wiped them on a paint-spattered towel. Her eyes were red rimmed, jaw set as she stared across at him, and without saying a word, she lifted a small piece of paper from the desk next to her and tossed it toward a large square work table that took up the center of the room.

It fluttered down atop the rest of her sketches, landing near a group that showed a very pregnant, very familiar elven female in a variety of poses. Obviously her most recent focus, as they sat atop a variety of others, some showing the front of the house that Calanon had just come from, others focused on planning out specific rooms.

"This came yesterday..." she said, voice mild, pale eyes just beginning to glitter with an anger that Calanon would recognize from previous engagements with his love. "Did you and Moss have a nice time, then, on your adventure?" Likewise, he would know that the small spots of color that bloomed on otherwise pale cheeks were not a good sign.
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Old March 5, 2018, 08:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The elf wasn't sure if he imagined the fleeting tension in the expression of the woman who opened the door. He decided he had, and returned the smile, albeit somewhat hesitantly.

“Vedui, Jean. Indeed, is she here?” He was assuming the answer was postive as the woman stepped aside to let him enter, and Calanon didn’t know whether he was relieved to have located her or worried that she was here rather than at their own home. As he shifted past the butler further inside, he was absolutely positive he did not imagine the expression that greeted him as Maya caught sight of him.

Uh oh. His heart sank as he surmised that perhaps his name might have been dragged through the mud a little in his absence, and he tried not to mind as the door clicked shut behind him with a sinister sort of finality.

As he trailed after Jean, Calanon almost opened his mouth to see if the butler would confirm his suspicions, but he thought better of it at the last moment and instead tried not to imagine that he was walking to the gallows as he followed her down the long hallway.

So Kailin might be a little irked he tried to console himself, fiddling with the button at his cuff, it was nothing he hadn’t faced before. And truly, he did feel bad for having agreed so readily to prolong his trip. It had been foolish, and he’d known it at the time, only it had been easier to ignore then. Now, having walked through the empty house that his love had poured all her efforts into in order to create a home, he felt only too keenly the thoughtlessness of his decision.

When Maya scuttled out of the room ahead, Calanon sighed, for if the poor girl’s face was anything to go by, he should not be expecting a warm welcome. Perhaps then, there was a hint of a plea in the gaze he turned upon the butler, though the What if I’m not ready? of his thoughts was replaced by a softly spoken “Thankyou”.

There was nothing for it then than to step forward, the elf telling himself that seeing his beloved again would far outweigh the negatives of any initial prickliness that might be coming his way. He had written after all.

The optimistic smile that he decided to lead with dimmed and flickered pretty quickly though as he stepped into the studio, eyes alighting immediately on Kailin and registering the reddened eyes, the familiar stubborn set to her jaw. His greeting died on his lips as she threw a paper down on the table that separated them, and Calanon was dismayed to recognise his own -entirely inadequate in hindsight- hastily penned letter.

“Yesterday?” he repeated, realising that the letter was not going to be his saviour. The apology was already primed on the end of his tongue then by the time Kailin had asked her question.

“ I had hoped it would reach you sooner” he said in a conciliatory tone “ I’m sorry Kailin, it was badly timed...I didn’t think it through” That statement was true at least, for he had not been expecting to travel halfway back across the province again to even get near their destination. And if he told her he had spent the days in the company of a dwarf, she would not be able to doubt his sincerity. “I came ahead of Moss…” he added, eager to illustrate that he had at least been hasty in his journey home.

Trying to decide if he dared approach her or if the table was a needed barrier, Calanon forged ahead, the separation meaning the desire to take her in his arms outweighed his wariness. “I went to the house” he said, as he crossed the space “ It looks...its wonderful lirimaer.”
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Old March 9, 2018, 04:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There was nothing like an underwhelming and entirely inadequate apology in the face of the kind of anger that could only result from cycles of worry and hurt. Like alcohol poured on flames, Kailin’s emotions flared in response, and the pinpricks that dotted her cheeks spread up to her hairline and down to the top of her bodice, coloring her as red as she was seeing in that moment. And as the elf made to make his way around the table that separated them, Kailin unthinkingly held a hand up and took a step to the side, feeling a desperate need for the minimal safety that it provided.

For she knew, even in the midst of it, that not all of her anger right then was rational, nor justified. Knew it, but also doubted the ability of that knowledge to stay her hand if he got within striking distance.

You went to the house…” she repeated, without me. And should not have been surprised to feel tears pool along her lashes as yet one more thing was taken from her. No chance to see his reaction to the care she’d taken, no chance to be there with him the first time he walked through rooms that she’d so carefully crafted with them both in mind. The first time he saw their room, their bed. The one they were supposed to share, though that was no certainty, now.

Feeling robbed, and angry, and more than anything else, so scared as she looked across at everything that she stood to lose - to lose, again - Kailin took in a deep breath to try to calm herself before she said or did anything she might regret. Because on top of everything else, he did not know. Not yet.

And selfishly, so selfishly, there were some things she needed to know before he found out what else was waiting for him here, within these very walls.

Badly timed…

The words had been rebounding in her head since he’d spoken them, having taken on a mocking tone in her own voice. She wanted to laugh at what an understatement it was, but instead felt the tears that had gathered spill down in a rush of coolness against painfully hot cheeks.

Her hand lifted again, palm out to prevent him from moving in to comfort her, should he feel the urge to do so, and Kailin took another step back as she swiped at the wetnesss, coming up against the edge of the smaller desk and halting as she forced herself to jump straight into the one question that had been weighing on her since he had seemed so keen to let Moss take him off cycles before. Only an easily dismissed thought at the time, it had grown steadily with each brightening that had passed without his return, until now it sat like a shadow on her heart, one that had not been assuaged in the least with the letter that sat between them now.

Please just tell me… Do you regret it, Calanon?” Her voice was hushed, fear evident in the tightness around her eyes, “when we… last time,” tear-dampened fingers fluttered briefly over her low abdomen, before Kailin crossed her arms tightly over her middle, gaze never leaving his face. “You left last time, too,” the taste of salt spread past her lips and over her tongue, and she pinched them together briefly to keep the sob trapped in her chest from expanding outward, “when I lost the baby.” Her voice cut out on the second half of the word, and her body shook with the strain of controlling the sobs that wanted to rip from her as the enormity of what they were facing, of the very real possibility that he was already pulling away from her, was placed between them. Pulling away from her before even learning of the news Niven had brought.

She felt almost certain, in that moment, that he’d been gone so long only because he did not know how to tell her that he had realized what a mistake he’d made, and tried to steel herself against the platitudes to come.
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Old March 10, 2018, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Calanon watched the rather alarming flush that spread over Kailin’s skin and his steps slowed,coming to a complete stop as her hand created a very physical barrier in front of her. She was..definitely angry. Rather bewildered as she repeated his words back to him, the elf tried to dispel the hurt that bled through into her voice, and shimmered in an unexpected wash of salt in her eyes.

“I..set my anchor there. Before I left.” he reminded her gently. “I thought you would be there.” That his love was more wounded by his extended absence than he had anticipated was becoming clearer every moment, and Calanon hovered awkwardly, held off by her staying hand that raised once again when those tears he’d seen gathering finally fell.

There was a perplexed sort of worry on his face, and because he didn’t know what else to do, the elf reached for the letter, the letter that had done so little to smooth things over as he had hoped. Staring at it, his mind was elsewhere as he tried to decide what had upset Kailin so much that she would not let him near her, a leaden weight making itself known in his gut. He hated seeing her cry.

“Kailin, I..” Whatever he had been going to say was cut off by her voice, quiet and strained, and Calanon frowned, not understanding what she was asking him. Did he regret going to Mercuria? Well, if he hadn't before, he certainly did now and he opened his mouth to say as much, but she had not finished, and as she went on, as her voice stuttered and her breathing grew ragged, the elf slowly caught on to what she meant.

“Do I regret it? You think I am having second thoughts about the house? About us?!” Shock coloured his words, the letter he had been holding crumpled in the fist that formed around it. Calanon looked back at Kailin in disbelief, trying to subdue the hurt that her reference to Jaedaxia called up.

“ That was not the same. Me going with Moss was not the same.” He spoke it as much to reassure himself as anything, trying to think what he had done that would shake her belief in him in them so greatly. Letting the paper drop,pushing away from the table, he stood tense and rigid, thrown entirely by the reception he’d been given. Taking some deep breaths before he spoke again, Calanon stared at Kailin, a frown etched above eyes that now mirrored the hurt that he had seen in hers and tried to place.

“ I have done nothing the whole time I was away other than complain about being far from you” he said quietly. “ I think Moss was glad when I left him that he would not have to hear it anymore. I don’t understand Kailin, how you have made the leap from me being gone a little longer to me going cold on you” Silence for a few beats before an added “ It is hurtful, if I am honest”

Calanon rubbed at the back of his neck as he did when he was anxious, before he asked a question of his own. “ This is why you are not staying in our home? Are you having regrets?”
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Old March 22, 2018, 05:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Contrary to what it might have seemed to the elf across from her, Kailin was trying hard to reign in her emotions. The problem was, of course, that there were just so many of them.

Despite the stresses of the past brightenings, she'd hardly expected this to be the reception she gave Calanon. Though if asked, she couldn't have said what she had been expecting, either.

Just... Not this.

But now that she was face to face with him, arriving on the very footsteps of the letter that had told her in only the vaguest of terms that he was probably alright, that he and Moss were not - as she'd begun to fear - laying dead in the middle of a forest somewhere. And that he had chosen to go harrying off after a mythical city that probably did not even exist rather than coming home to the house they'd only just bought together...

She heard the shock that threaded through his reply, but the reassurance that followed did little to reassure. Despite his words to the contrary, it felt the same to her. Or, at least, it felt similar enough that she did not think herself crazy for wondering if it was the same as before.

It was the hurt pulling at the corners of his eyes that began to break through her certainty, finally. And perhaps it would have been enough to break through the fear and anger she felt if he hadn't followed it immediately with the words 'gone a little longer'.

Her head cocked to one side as he finished asking whether she was having her own regrets, pale eyes narrowing as she shook her head side to side slowly, mystified by his seeming unawareness of the very great understatement he'd just spoken. "A little longer?"

"Calanon..." again, Kailin shook her head, trying to find an equilibrium that was all too adept at evading her, currently, "you were to be gone a few brightenings. It has been almost two cycles!"

She took a long inhale through her nose, lips pinched tightly together for a moment as her anger built and threatened to spill over. "I know..." her gaze dropped and she readjusted her arms across her center, tightening them defensively, "I know that you wanted to get out of my hair, while I was getting the house ready for us. I know that's why you left."

Her eyes danced up to find his face again, and her frown deepened, "but you didn't come back, Calanon. Even knowing that I was waiting for you... that our house was just sitting there waiting for us."

"I was so excited..." Briskly, as her words trailed off, Kailin swiped at a tear that spilled over her lashes and reset her jaw, clearing her throat hard. "Did you really expect me to go ahead and move in without you? Did you even think about the fact that I might want to have our first darkening in the house together? That I might be waiting for you? That I might be worrying about you?"

"Gods teeth, Calanon! How is it any different?" The words were quiet, the word 'how' drawn out and emphasized as she stared across at him.

"And even if it is, how was I supposed to know that?" Another tear fell to drop cool against her hot cheek, followed quickly by another, and her arms uncrossed finally as she lifted her hands to draw her fingers across her cheeks.

"You were gone!" Gone, when everything changed. Again. Gone before when she lost their baby. Gone this time when Niven walked into their lives, bringing his children with her, and the knowledge that the 'dream' that Calanon had told her about was no dream, after all. Children. Twins. Niven.

Kailin paled suddenly, as she realized she was all but picking a fight with her love, when she ought to be preparing him for the news that was really so much more important than all of this. Because in the emotional tumult of Calanon's arrival, she'd forgotten entirely to have Maya tell Niven that they would need to do her sitting later.

There was no surprise, then, as the pale green gaze dropped past his right shoulder to settle on the somewhat startled, far more vivid green pair of eyes staring into the room from the hallway. But the rest of the color drained from Kailin's cheeks as she held the blond elf's gaze, lowing her hands to wipe the wetness on her skirts, voice almost subdued as she spoke past Calanon to the elf behind him, "Niven... I meant to have Maya tell you..."

"Calanon is back."
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Old March 22, 2018, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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While Calanon was finding his new home empty and his mate's reception to his return less than welcoming, Niven finished her now third rosyun in her chambers, finishing up by taking the last sip from her glass of milk. The babies within her shifted as they eagerly awaited being fed. Again.

It always surprised her how much she now ate. Her hunger was almost constant now that she was nearing the end of her pregnancy. And it seemed that it was all going to the twins as she didn't seem to be growing anywhere other than her belly. Which suited her just fine. Though if she grew much bigger she wouldn't have any clothes at all. Her cream coloured underdress was still ok, but the dark blue kirtle she was wearing overtop was reaching its limits. There wasn't a whole lot left to loosen of the side ties. Hopefully, it and her other dress would make it to the end or she might find herself in trouble.

Wiping her mouth with her napkin, Niven realized that she needed to get herself quickly down to Kailin's studio for this brightening's sitting. The elfess had been nervous her first couple sittings with her artistic friend, but Kailin was having her in so often that it was becoming old hat. Niven also enjoyed the one on one time she was getting with the woman she considered her best friend. The conversation flowed easily as they chatted about everything and anything. And sometimes there was just a comfortable silence between them as Niven let her mind wander as she gazed out the windows to the grounds below that were already starting to show signs that spring was on its way and Kailin lost herself in her work. Both scenarios were pleasurable for the Sylrosian and she had no preference for which brightening the studio held for her today.

Checking her reflection quickly in the looking glass to ensure that she had no residual morsels of food on her person or that her hair was still neatly plated in a single cue that rested on her shoulder, she waddled out her door and down the hallway.

Something was different, though, as she started towards the part of the large house that housed Kailin's studio.

Suddenly there was a sharp pain that started in her back and travelled around to the front of her stomach. It was new and felt like nothing she'd felt before. Niven froze. The pain faded. Hmmm. That was odd. Tilting her head slightly and listening intently to her body Niven tentatively took a few steps forward and then stopped. Nothing happened. A small smile of relief formed on her lips as she walked more easily.

Walking (or waddling) for another short jaunt the pain returned and Niven had to step towards the wall and braced herself until it passed. Her lips formed a small "o" as she exhaled, breathing through the pain. She was starting to get a little alarmed now. How she missed Dante's diagnostic spell right about now. That thought alone brought up a different kind of pain and Niven quickly pushed the thought aside. No, she had to focus on what was happening right now.

It struck her at this moment that Kailin was also a thaumaturge and that perked her up a bit. Feeling like it was safe to start walking again, Niven moved as fast as her slippered feet would move towards Kailin and her healing arcane skills. If something was wrong, Kailin would be able to fix it, Niven was sure of it.

As she got closer, another voice wafted out of the room where Kailin had set up her workspace, one that wasn't normally in the house. The thought barely registered until Niven recognized the common tongue slightly accented with an elvish accent. Calanon

Again, the elfess froze just outside the door, her strange pains from before forgotten. The voices were slightly raised, the tones not one of a happy couple reunited. More like a couple having a bit of a row. Niven bit her bottom lip. Should she stay? Or should she leave the couple to their chat? She and Kailin did have a sitting scheduled and Niven didn't want her friend to feel like she stood her up. But maybe it was better than to insert herself into a lovers quarrel. She went back and forth for a while trying to decide what to do when another thought struck her. At any time anyone could come upon her and think that she was eavesdropping on Kailin and Calanon.

A sharp inhale and Niven made her decision. She had no interest in being caught just outside the door by either staff or family. And if Calanon was here, it was likely that Maya was coming back with tea or some kind of refreshment at any moment or was inside already and would be coming out and find her just out of sight.

Letting her breath out slowly, Niven stepped out and into the doorway where she could be easily seen by both people in the room.

The first thing she noticed was just how upset Kailin was. Her whole face was a dark shade of pink and her cheeks were wet. She'd clearly been crying and Niven wanted immediately to go to her and give her a hug. But she didn't move. Because between her and her friend was Calanon. The mate of Kailin. Father of her unborn babies. And Niven didn't know how to respond to him or how he would respond to her. She also wasn't sure what he knew or didn't know.

The second thing she noticed was that Kailin was talking to her. "Wait, what did she say?!"

"Oh. Yes," she said, forcing a smile as she turned her attention from Kailin to Calanon. "Creosa eska. Ta naa pleasien a' elea lle eithel ale' lle lema."Welcome home. It is pleasing to see you well after your journey.

Well, it wasn't exactly a warm greeting, but it was polite and appropriate and a simple way to start a conversation that she wasn't sure of.
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Old March 23, 2018, 12:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Perhaps he had downplayed it a little too much.Had it really been so long? Calanon recognised quite quickly that his response had not diffused Kailin’s upset at all, but rather seemed to have sharpened its focus into a point, and she drove it home relentlessly.

And worse, as her questions rained down around him, he could not plead ignorance to the fact that she had been waiting, that she had been worried. Was that not what had driven him to write that damned letter in the first place, and then more recently to abandon his friend and hurry home? He had known even before they had travelled to Arconis that she would fret, and had felt the slight dread increase in his belly on the walk over here, because he knew she would be angry too. Why had he ever thought it was a good idea to go?

Feeling guilty, it was difficult not to twist it into defensiveness, and he might have been more tempted to stray that way had her tears not continued to fall. And more so,had she not once again compared his conduct to the same that had led to that horrible argument in Jaedaxia. It hit him quite suddenly that it mattered not if he felt it was the same. What mattered was that it had made Kailin feel the same way, and that was enough to silence any protest he might have made.
So Calanon bit his tongue and breathed through the urge to throw off her accusations, instead looking down and off to the side. He would wait until she had said what she needed to say, and then he could try and repair some of the damage he had obviously caused. Perhaps by finding a more heartfelt apology amongst everything he wanted to say to reassure her now.

When she paused, that last damning statement enough to see him flinch, he was beginning to try and pull together something that might convey how sorry he was when Kailin’s gaze slid past him, and he turned to follow it, in time to hear her address whomever had so stolen her attention. Before the name Kailin spoke could register any meaning with him though, his slightly irritated gaze had swept around to see first the vastly expanded stomach, and then the following familiar elfess that it belonged to.

Despite all his best intentions, there was a fleeting widening of Calanon’s eyes, more at the sheer size of Niven that at any surprise at seeing her, though that was present too. Surely she was about to give birth, right here, right now?. Why on earth she was away from home so close to her time, he could not fathom either. Swallowing all of that, and the awkwardness of the atmosphere that he felt as cold and brittle as the weather outside, the male mustered an effort at a smile and returned Niven’s greeting.

“Anann le ú-gennin. Lle na aglareb!” I haven’t seen you for a long time. You are radiant He hesitated a moment before seemingly remembering his manners and crossing the space to drop a kiss on her cheek, though it was awkwardly done with the swell of her belly between them.

The smile he had adopted for her faded quickly as he looked back to Kailin warily, a question beyond the green of his gaze, not wanting to be rude and blurt out the obvious What is she doing here? But Kailin’s face was tearstained and flushed, and he was quite certain it was obvious enough that they had been quarreling, and that Niven’s arrival - for whatever reason she was in the Alyxanda’s home - could not have been more poorly timed. Feeling unsettled, he turned back to Niven, asking instead a less impertinent sounding question. “ You have been well? Is Dante here with you?”
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Old March 27, 2018, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The look in Calanon’s eyes when he looked at her was one of surprise, though his gaze was less at her than it was at her massive belly. Protectively, Niven placed a hand on her stomach. She was well aware of how large she was considering how petite she was usually and while she wasn’t a vain woman, everyone’s looks and comments were starting to make her feel a little self-conscious.

He recovered smoothly though and Niven gave a small smile as he kissed her cheek. Until the feeling of his warm lips on her skin reminded her of the last time that his lips brushed her skin and her blood ran cold. Her smile turned slightly awkward, though she managed her own passable recovery as he pulled away. "Diola lle." Thank you

Calanon’s question made Niven visibly flinch. All the colour drained from her face and she slowly inhaled trying to internally manage the pain the innocent inquiry brought. Her eyes slowly closed and then opened again as she fought the tears welling up. Steeling herself she shook her head slightly at first and then more prominently as she tried desperately to find her voice. “No,” she said finally, forcing her eyes to meet his. “No, Dante is not here."

No sooner had the words left her lips than did the pain return, a tightening around her stomach. She'd completely forgotten about the intermittent pain once Calanon's presence was known and so the surprise of it caught her off guard and reflected in her eyes. Quickly a hand went to the side of her belly and she let out a small soft grunt of pain. Her features crumpled as she exhaled through a small 'o' in her lips.

Once the pain had passed she cast an alarmed look at Kailin, but only said, "I need to sit," before pointing to the large armchair that looked like completely out of place among the stools and tables covered with sketches, not to mention the odd easel. Unless otherwise assisted, Niven would labourously waddle towards the chair and sit, a hand on her belly the entire time. As she sank into the chair there was another burst of pain and tightening of her abdomen.

"It is far too soon!" she thought, as the idea that this might be the beginning of her babies entering the world entered her consciousness. She winced and then relaxed as the pain abated again. Wiggling to get comfortable (which was virtually impossible nowadays) in the chair, she gave Kailin another worried look, wondering if perhaps the experienced of the two of them might have an idea of what was happening and the reasons behind it.
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Old April 2, 2018, 03:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Niven wasn't the only one in the room acutely aware of the brush of Calanon's lips on the Niven's cheek, nor the only one for whom it brought forth the most vivid of memories.

His face was above hers, charcoal hair cropped short around his fine, noble features as he gazed down with a tenderness to match her own. She could feel the zing of electric current where skin met skin, and a need for him that was all-encompassing.

This was right. This was perfect, and she loved him like she had never loved anyone before. There was no better match.

She could see her hand where it wrapped around his neck, drawing him to her, pale and lovely. An answer that spoke louder than words, and more definitive. She would give him everything she had, everything she was.

This was meant to be.


Kailin's gasp was soft as her eyes opened, the darkness in which she had seen having lasted no longer than the time it took her to blink, as usual. The memory could have been her own. So much of it was familiar, from the tenderness she felt to the intense desire.

It could have been her own, but she knew it wasn't. The feelings, familiar as they were, were foreign, touched with a strangeness that made it the most intimate of intrusions. For when, past that very first darkening, had his touch ever felt so new? Or her own excitement so...

Kailin reached for the word, tasting it in memory again, and finally found it.

Innocent.

The pale, almost grey sheen that fell over the human's features could very likely be attributed to the situation in which she found herself, should either of the elves chance a look in her direction. But just as Kailin was looking around for a stool upon which to settle for a moment, to catch her bearings, Niven gave a sound of pain that snapped her attention firmly back into the moment.

If she could not bring herself to meet the elf's eyes, then the hand that Niven had pressed into her side was excuse enough for Kailin's focus being elsewhere. And she was already moving to assist the elf into the chair that they'd brought down for her when Niven spoke.

Distraction was good. Distraction was very good, right now, because Kailin really did not want to think on what she'd just glimpsed. What she'd just stolen from Niven. And gods... from Calanon, too.

Of course, thinking it, two bright spots of color stained her pale cheeks, and she could see her hands shaking slightly as they moved to settle on either side of the roundness that was Niven's belly, feeling the clenching even as it happened. Could it be possible that the elf was going into labor? Had the shock of seeing Calanon affected her so greatly?

Kailin scolded herself for such alarmist thoughts, remembering well her own pregnancy and the contractions and discomfort she'd occasionally had, especially toward the end. Lips pressed together, she darted a look up at the elf, and - seeing the worry creasing her friend's face - shook her head.

"Just breathe, Niven..." she took her hands off of the elf's abdomen and squatted down in front of her, still unable to hold her gaze for long, but aware of the need to reassure the female. "You just need to rest for a bit, I think."

Which, of course, was a laughable suggestion, given Calanon's presence and the bright pink dragon in the corner that was everything he didn't yet know. For the first time since the memory, Kailin tilted her gaze up to where Calanon was standing, then looked back to Niven.

"Perhaps we should all take a moment to rest," mixed with her concern for Niven was her own very selfish desire to escape the confines of the room that was usually a refuge for her, but quickly beginning to feel claustrophobic. "Calanon, if you would see Niven up to the drawing room and get her settled with her feet up, I will go find Maya and see if she might bring up tea and some food."

"Then we can catch up," her gaze touched on Niven's for a moment, the knowledge they shared momentarily at the forefront, and she settled a hand briefly on the elf's knee in what she knew was a poor measure of comfort, but all she could manage just now.

Of course, with the cords set into the wall next to every door, it was entirely unnecessary for her to go find Maya, but Kailin needed a moment to herself. A moment in which she was away from the pair and everything that she'd just seen between them. Everything she'd felt.

Niven had said love potion, but the words had meant little to her until that stolen glimpse. The emotions had felt true, real, and so right. And Kailin would be lying if she said she wasn't shaken by them.

She needed a moment with which to collect herself before they jumped into any of what had brought Niven here, now.
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Old April 2, 2018, 05:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Irritated as Kailin failed to meet his eyes and answer the unspoken question there, Calanon frowned as he noted her pallor where there had been that bloom of anger. What now? With their conversation so unresolved and still feeling the chill of her greeting, he did not move toward her, nor voice his concern, but his mouth thinned as he looked at his beloved, still so studiously avoiding his gaze.

Acutely aware of the third person in the room and frustrated at Kailin’s lack of communication, Calanon had reached for what he considered to be a safe subject in Dante. But as his focus resettled on the pregnant visitor, it became rapidly clear that he had made some faux pas. For Niven flinched -flinched!- and then paled, and when she finally met his gaze in the awkward moments of silence afterwards, there were tears in her eyes. Her answer then, though it should of been a surprise simply had him blink back at her.

Obviously, he had put his foot in it somehow, but Calanon was flying blind and even as he opened his mouth to say something to repair the situation, the blonde gave a small cry of distress and clutched at her stomach, and the male elf had extended a hand toward her without realising. It did not touch her though, and whether it was there as support or as a panicked fending off was not clear.

Oh Feth.

Wide eyed, Cal turned his head to seek out Kailin, but she was already moving so he hovered uncertainly as Niven was helped into the armchair, wondering if he should go for help. “ Uh..I can get someone…” he offered, addressing the room than either or the two women specifically. But Kailin at least did not seem unduly concerned , her eyes finding him briefly but almost immediately sliding back to the elfess.

Calanon was staring at her when she actually addressed him, and opened and closed his mouth, not at all sure he wanted the responsibility of manoeuvring the pregnant lady with strange pains, nor satisfied with the way things still hung between he and the woman ordering him around. But what could he say?

“Of course” His words were a little clipped, and he shot Kailin a look that would leave her in no doubt that he considered their conversation unfinished, but crossed over to Niven to offer her whatever support she needed to get up and out of the chair. If the elf watched her with her something approaching caution as she got to her feet it was only because he felt woefully unequipped to handle any pregnancy related twinges that might still occur, and also awkward with the mystery of Dante still unresolved. Still, Calanon offered her an arm once she was upright and began to lead her from Kailin’s studio and up to the drawing room as Kailin had instructed.

He was uneasy still from the row that Niven had interrupted, and was quiet as they walked down the hallway, before he realised the silence seemed rude and steeled himself to try again. “ How long have you to go?” He was going to kill Kailin. Why she could not have gone with them, he didn’t know, but after his first disastrous attempt at conversation, he was more than a little anxious that he might upset the elfess somehow, and so hoped the single question would be enough to tide them over.

Up the stairs then and Calanon adjusted his pace to try and accommodate the slower progress of the heavily pregnant Niven, and it was all he could do not to sigh in relief when they reached the double doors to the drawing room and he could open them for Niven to move through. ’Get her settled with her feet up’ he recounted, and motioned her over towards with the couches by the fire, eyes casting around until they alighted on a small footstool which he brought over as well.

“I’m sure Kailin won't be long” he offered in an attempt at reassurance, before he drifted away to the window to take a moment for himself, gazing down over the lawns as he tried to get some handle on what the feth was actually going on. Half-tempted to go and seek out his beloved right then and get some resolution to their conversation, he realised that would seem rude, and so after taking a couple of deep breaths he turned back toward Niven, visiting the bureau where the drinks were kept and glancing across at the woman. " Water? Or something stronger?"

He felt the need for a drink himself, but stayed his hand until Niven had answered, pouring one for her and pressing it in to her hand before he sloshed a couple of fingers of whiskey into one of the heavy cut glass tumblers and folded himself into one of the chairs that were positioned around the fire. If it had not been for Niven's presence he would have been pacing off his frustration at the unresolved discussion with Kailin, but as it was he tried for some measure of calm, only the non-stop tapping of one elegant finger where it curled around the glass breaking the illusion.
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Old April 3, 2018, 08:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Noticing the drastic shift in the colouring of her friend, Niven had meant to ask if she was ok when the contraction had hit. At that point, anything pertaining to anyone else flew out of her head as her only concern then became about what the devil was going on with her body. Kailin came quickly to her side and the Sylrosian gripped her friends hand tightly as she guided her over to the armchair.

Sitting down with effort, Niven watched Kailin intently for signs of reassurance, that everything was going to be ok and this wasn’t what she thought it was. There was a comfort in knowing her friend was not only a thaumaturge but also had gone through a pregnancy before herself. The elfess would find herself constantly deferring to the woman’s expertise.

Colour bloomed again in her cheeks, but brighter than her natural colour. This only confused the elf. Was she flushing because she was flooding with adrenaline due to something being wrong with the babies or because of something she was embarrassed about? Nothing had especially happened that Kailin needed to feel embarrassed about, at least not in the last 10 seconds. And Kailin had touched Niven’s stomach before, so it wasn’t that. Something had to be wrong with the babies? Kailin wasn’t meeting her eyes. Panic set in and Niven’s whole body tensed and her blood pressure went through the roof.

When Kailin finally met her eyes, she shook her head. “What does that mean?!” Niven screamed inside her head at her friend. The look of concern never left her features even as Kailin told her to breathe, though she did as she was instructed and took deep breaths in through her nose and exhaled through her mouth, her heart still pounding in her chest. Relax. Right. *That* was going to happen. “What was that? Am I ok? Are the babies coming?” She asked, panic lacing her tone. “It’s too soon! It’s too soon!” her brain kept screaming.

A moment to rest. For all of them. “Ok,” Niven thought, forcing herself to calm. Calanon came and offered her his hand and Niven gave him a weak smile of thanks before bracing herself on the chair and doing a combination of pulling on Calanon and pushing with her arm on the chair arm. Once up, she took her kinsman’s arm, linking hers underneath with her other hand resting on top.

As they walked out in silence, Niven started to get in her head. When was she supposed to tell him? How was she supposed to tell him. Just blurt it out? How would he take it? Was Kailin going to be there like she’d said? She seemed to need to get away. Would she return or leave Niven on her own to handle it? Panic started to rise in her again when Calanon broke into her thoughts.

“A couple more months, supposedly,” she replied, distracted and trying to channel a calm she didn’t feel. “But I keep being told that babies come on their own schedule and multiples come earlier than single baby pregnancies.” Was she talking too much? Saying too much? WHERE IN AETERNIA WAS KAILIN??

Niven inhaled sharply as they came to the stairs, her nemesis in this vast house. Mentally preparing herself, Niven shot a glance at Calanon, before taking up her skirts in one hand and taking a firmer grip on his arm. Slowly and painstakingly the pair moved up the stairs towards the drawing room. Niven longed for the brightenings it wouldn’t take her almost a quarter of a candlemark to climb stairs. It felt like every brightening she got a little bit slower.

Eventually they got to the top and Niven did take a sigh of relief, shooting Calanon an apologetic smile. Then the pain came again and Niven dig her finger nails into Calanon’s arm without thinking as her whole body tensed, not just the muscles around her abdomen. “Ooooooo,” she groaned, her breath quickening as she completely forgot what Kailin had said about breathing. Releasing him as the pain passed, Niven noticed what her fingernails were doing to poor Calanon’s arm. “Amin seldarine, amin hiraetha!” My gods, I’m sorry Niven breathed, realizing how much that must have hurt.

It was no surprise then as he dropped her arm and opened the double doors to the drawing room. Feeling more than a little self conscious, Niven moved laboriously towards the couches where she was directed and while she sat, she thought about the first time she’d been in this room. She’d sat in this very spot when she told Kailin that she was kicked out of her home and marriage for being pregnant with Calanon’s children. It seemed almost like deja vu to be here again, but doing it with the actual father of her babies.

Giving a grateful smile to Calanon when he brought her the stool, Niven slowly raised one foot and then the other onto it. She nodded when he reassured her that Kailin wouldn’t be long, hoping that he was right. The elfess wasn’t so certain that she wouldn’t just blurt it all out. “C’mon Kailin,” she thought, anxiously drumming her fingers on the arm of the couch. When her friend didn’t arrive promptly, Niven forced herself to look at the fire and focus on the flames to try and calm herself down.

Niven didn’t pay her kinsman’s movements much heed until he broke into her thoughts again. Turning her head towards him at the question he posed to her, the druidess gave him a blank look before realizing what he was asking her. “Oh, um, water please. Alcohol has made me sick about a week after I learned i was pregnant.” “Dammit! Am I over sharing again?” she wondered.

“Diola lle,”Thank you she said when he brought her the drink. She took a long drink while he moved to fix something stronger for himself. Niven wished she could have a drink herself, if she was honest. She could use something to calm her frayed nerves and give her a little liquid courage.

“Please come soon, Kailin. Please, please, please, please!"
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Old April 5, 2018, 04:41 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Distracted to an unconscionable degree, especially given the very real fear she saw in Niven's eyes, Kailin let out an explosive, "gods, no! The babies are not coming," as her friend was forced to ask whether she was, in fact, going into labor. Unable to recall what - if anything - she had said to the contrary, Kailin's cheeks bloomed with the renewed heat of embarrassment, and she grasped the elf's hand tightly, finding in herself a soft, reassuring smile for the very pregnant female before her. "I'm sorry, Niven. No. You're fine, mellonamin. The contractions are too close together to be labor, and this is all perfectly normal, if a bit surprising sometimes. Think of it as practice. It helps get you and the babies ready for birth."

"And, as I said, they should calm down once you've rested a bit." Though, of course, the likelihood of much rest happening at the moment, given the topics to come, was close to nothing.

Dammit all to Aeternia.

Holding the blond's gaze until she was certain that Niven understood that she was in no danger at the moment, and was not going into early labor, she finally pushed to her feet. As she spun toward the door, the look Calanon gave her was noted, though now that the moment of seeming emergency had passed, Kailin could feel her own chest constricting around her breath, and - leaving her beloved to see to the mother of his children - she all but fled the small room.

Needing fresh air more than anything else, she made her way through the nearby kitchen and out the door to the relative privacy of the side drive, paying no heed to the few startled looks she gained en route. Then it was simply a matter of breathing, which took up a good few minutes as she determinedly kept her eyes open so as not to see - with every single blink - the look of adoration that Calanon wore for Niven. For Niven.

Tendrils of the elf's emotions still clung to Kailin, vines of love and desire that were as invasive as any climbing ivy as they wound their way around and within the passion she herself felt for Calanon. The strange resulting confusion of feelings - at once familiar and foreign - made her feel slightly ill, and she knew they would only grow stronger and more distracting until she found a moment to render what she'd seen.

For now, she would have to bear up, because despite the shaking in her hands and the overwhelming urge to purge her mind of the intensity of what she'd just stolen from Niven, Kailin was increasingly aware of the fact that she was needed. That she'd promised to be there for her friend when she told Calanon of the very strange situation they now found themselves in. That, despite her anger, she would never leave Calanon to face it on his own. She already knew he would be angry that Niven had told her first, but could fault neither her friend nor herself for such a thing when she hadn't even known if he were still alive, or ever coming back.

Not that he would be able to see or understand such a thing until his emotions had calmed, somewhat.

Her steps were quick, then, pushed by a sudden worry that she was too late, to what she was sure must have seemed a comically fast clip to anyone watching. Sure she'd taken no longer than five minutes, and equally sure that it took Niven ages to climb stairs at this point, Kailin was almost certain her friend would have been able to hold off. But not certain enough to take the steps at a leisurely pace.

So it was that she arrived to the drawing room slightly out of breath, the flush of her exertion masking her current pallor quite nicely. Stepping through the door, her gaze fell on the pair as Calanon extended a glass of water to the female he had apparently managed to get settled with her feet up. And though there was tension in the room, there was nothing in it that led her to believe that Niven had begun.

It was only after she'd taken a good three steps in that Kailin realized she'd completely forgotten that she'd ostensibly gone to get food and tea delivered, and her steps faltered for a moment. If she'd needed an excuse to turn tail and run from the room, she'd just given herself one, but as her gaze shifted to settle on Calanon, she knew she wasn't going anywhere. Food and tea would have to wait, for she was unlikely to pull the cord that would call Maya up into what was bound to be an increasingly tense conversation.

Smoothing her features out as best she could, still breathing fast from her run up the stairs, Kailin went to settle herself on the couch next to Niven. "Whiskey for me, please," she spoke politely enough to Calanon - albeit without looking at him - still angry, hurt, and stuck in an argument that they hadn't been able to finish. Except, suddenly aware that it wasn't bound to get any better, her gaze lifted to find his as she accepted the tumbler from him, brows drawing together to form a deep, familiar crease that he would easily be able to read as worry.

Waiting until he had settled himself on a nearby chair, Kailin slipped her hand around Niven's, none of the worry abating in the slightest as she turned to ask, "are you okay?" And, knowing it would only confuse Calanon, but wanting to be sure, "are you ready?"
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Old April 5, 2018, 07:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Calanon’s eyes slid sideways towards Niven, eyebrows shooting up in surprise. “Multiples? Congratulations, Niven.” Inwardly, he was trying to imagine how big she would be in two months time, and finding it hard to envision. As they reached the stairs, he caught her glance, and so slowed his pace to an almost painful crawl, taking each step one at a time so as not to pull her off balance. Some sympathy in the way he looked at her then for he could not tolerate being so encumbered as she seemed to be.

“ Alright?” The enquiry came as they reached the top of the staircase, but the next moment, the elfess had stopped still, her fingers more like claws as they gripped his arm hard, and Calanon shot a worried look at her, resisting the instinctive desire to pull his arm back and away. This is why he wanted Kailin. “ Uh..breathe” he said, remembering what Niven had been told downstairs. Watching her with some concern, it wasn’t until the woman relaxed again, and finally released his arm that Calanon smiled faintly at her and moved to open the door, rubbing surreptitiously at his arm as he went.

It was as he was passing the pregnant elfess a glass of water that Kailin made a reappearance, and Calanon felt his attention pulled to her, taking in her rather flushed and harried appearance, which did nothing to ease the tension he felt at the words left unspoken downstairs. But yet again, her gaze did not linger on him long, and his expression hardened as he was again instructed, stalking over to the bureau and fixing her a drink as well as himself, though his actions were choppy and agitated.

When she finally deigned to look at him as the whiskey was offered towards her, Calanon paused at the expression he read on her face, his hand lingering overlong before he released the glass to her waiting hands. He wanted to say something, cut the tension between them but was overly aware of Kailin’s guest and so he said nothing, sighing quietly as he settled himself in one of the armchairs.

One leg crossed over the other, his ankle resting atop his knee, the elf might have appeared relaxed to those who didn’t know him well. But Kailin would notice the restless grip he had on the tumbler of whiskey which he did not drink from, and the rather rigid line of his other arm where it lay against the leather of the chair. Sharp eyes shifted between Kailin and Niven as he watched their exchange. It did not ease him in the slightest.

What was going on?
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Old April 5, 2018, 10:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Niven was taken aback by Kailin’s outburst and started but smiled as her friend rushed to comfort her, realizing that she hadn't yet. The anxious look on the druidess' face melted away as her friend reached for her hand and grasped it tightly, the intensity of Kailin's desire to reassure her evident in her warm green eyes. Niven felt a little foolish but that went away quickly. How was she to know? It’s not like she’d given birth before. Niven relaxed further as her friend explained what was happening and nodded in understanding. Practice. Ok, perhaps that made sense. Just as she needed to practice her archery to be effective it would seem that her body needed to practice labour in order to be ready. It was annoying but logical.

But Kailin’s initial reaction made her wildly wonder just what in the name of all that was good and holy was wrong with Kailin? Glancing at Calanon, Niven wondered just what she had walked in on and if perhaps she would have been better off walking back to her room and sending word with Maya that she wasn’t going to make their sitting today. "But then I would have panicked with the contractions and likely called on her to help, interrupting her anyway.”

When Kailin arrived in the drawing room, Niven let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding, but did not fail to notice the woman's breathing and slightly dishevelled appearance. Like she’d been wind tousled or had been running. Confusion momentarily clouded her features, but Niven was a little too preoccupied with her own predicament to pay too too much attention. She smiled briefly as Kailin moved to sit beside her.

It was here. The candlemark she’d been dreading since the moment she found out herself was upon her and there was no chickening out now. It needed to be done, but the anxiety that rose inside her was hard to ignore.She watched as Calanon served Kailin her drink and used the pause to try and control the trembling that had started. Gods, as if enough hadn’t changed, it was all about to change again.

Kailin’s warm hand wrapped around hers was an immediate comfort, but not enough of one to keep her from internally freaking out. She gave her friend a weak smile and gave her hand a soft squeeze. Are you ok? “No, no I am not ok, but thanks very much for asking.” Outwardly Niven nodded. Are you ready? “Is that some kind of a sick joke? No, of course I’m not ready to bring a man’s life crashing around his feet!” Outwardly, she inhaled and exhaled slowly and then nodded again.

Niven turned her attention from Kailin to Calanon and wondered where to begin. How on Telath did one begin this sort of conversation? It wasn’t like it was going to be some kind of casual exchange. Yeah, so remember how I told you I was pregnant with multiples a few minutes ago? Surprise! They’re yours!

Niven moistened her lips with her tongue and rubbed them together before she realized she wouldn’t be able to do this with a glass in her hand. Taking her gaze from Calanon to the glass of water in her hand, Niven set it beside her on the table. Removing her hand from Kailin’s grasp, the druidess braced herself on the sofa before adjusting herself so that she was sitting a little straighter. Sitting tall with her shoulders back, Niven returned her eyes to Calanon’s and tried to will the trembling to stop.

“You asked me if Dante was here earlier and I said no. There is a reason for that along with why I am here and not…. with him.” She had been about to say at home, but it really wasn’t her home anymore now was it? “As you know, Dante is a thaumaturge, like Kailin is. A couple of cycles ago, I was feeling off and he cast his diagnostic spell on me. In doing so, he found out three things. One, that everything with me and the pregnancy was fine. Two, that I was having twins. And three….” Niven swallowed consciously as she fought to remain relatively stoic and not give into the tumult of emotions that were flooding her right now talking about this. “…And three, that they had no dracon blood within them.”

“This, obviously, seemed impossible to me,” she continued, spreading her hands in front of her. "I’d not had relations with anyone before my husband and there was no way that I could have become pregnant with babies that weren’t at least half dracon. Unless….” Niven wet her lips again. “…Unless a dream I had last summer in the forest not far from here before the wedding wasn’t, in fact, a dream.”

The elfess paused for a moment before continuing. “I believe that you know what I am speaking of. Calanon, that was no dream. It actually happened. I think we were drugged with some kind of love potion that was in that little bottle and we… well…” Niven trailed off and put one of her hands on her rounded belly. She bit her lip, having trouble saying it out loud, but knowing she had to.

Summoning all her courage, Niven spoke again. “Calanon, my babies are yours."

After that everything seemed to spill out."Dante felt betrayed and was furious. After 8 eras together abstinent, I ended up pregnant with another man's children, all revealed no more than a few months into our marriage. Everything fell apart from there. He couldn't forgive me. I had to leave. I had nowhere else to go, so I came here. To Kailin and to you."

Niven's emerald eyes never left Calanon's as she waited for him to respond. With her hand closest to Kailin, she gripped her friend's hand again, feeling the desperate need for physical support.
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Last edited by Niven; April 5, 2018 at 03:57 PM.
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