Old April 26, 2017, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Calm before the storm? [Jaedaxia] (Private:Niven)

TS: Beginning of Melora Era XXVI
Quote:
Dearest Maya,

I am writing to let you know that at last I have returned home, to our house, in Demios. In my haste to get here, I sent no word and ended up surprising everyone, and it seems so far that I have done so pleasantly. I am writing to you on the darkening of my return so that you are aware as soon as possible.

I cannot put into words how much I have missed you. You and your siblings and father were in my heart every candlemark of everyday. I made many mistakes in my time away, and one of my biggest regrets is not writing more. Looking back on my absence, there are many things that I would have done differently, but there will be more than enough time to discuss that later.

Your father tells me that you have taken over your own ships in the fishing business. I am so proud to hear that you are thriving in your position there. It warms my heart to know that you have found your place in all of Telath where you are happy.

I was hoping that we might visit you. Your father tells me he was planning to in about a cycle or so and I wondered if you would mind if I came along. I do long to hold you close, my dear daughter, but understand if you are upset and are not ready to engage me.

I hope to get your reply quickly.

All my love,

Niven

Quote:



Dear MOTHER,

I can't tell you how many times I've started this letter, only to scrape it and throw it away. I may have blown a whole cycle's income on parchment. I've learned that honesty is always best, unless you know you're a dracon trying to hide amongst decent folk, so I decided to just say what's in my heart.

For a long time I was angry at you. I felt abandoned again. Being an orphan makes it difficult to trust anyone, especially when I've had such a difficult life before father came along. I had difficulty adjusting to being in a family again. I know I had Jar and Kel with me before, but it wasn't the same. I didn't actually care about them beyond what I could use them for, or so I thought. Then I met this stubborn Dracon who, in spite of everything Telath was throwing against him, decided to adopt three hooligans who tried to rob him rather than slice them to ribbons, which I later discovered he could easily have done. He taught me that we can all overcome who we are, who Telath believes we were born to be, and most especially our past. I'm not sure why the deity he followed decided to go crazy, but I know that such a thing hasn't changed who he is. So I won't let events I can't control change who I am.

I'm still hurt that you left for so long, but I am glad you came home. I can't promise that I won't be a little stand offish or even say something hurtful. Sometimes my tongue seems to have a mind of its own, but I can promise that I'll try to behave like the young lady my father tried to raise, just don't accompany me on the ship otherwise all bets are off. I need to be hard as nails and twice as sharp tongued to keep men in line. Earning their respect was difficult in the first place and I don't want to lose it again.

I hope your travels were at least fruitful and I look forward to talking to you about them.

Love,

Your Daughter

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Old April 26, 2017, 09:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If Niven was being honest, she wasn’t entirely surprised by MJ’s response to her letter. She’d expected her eldest daughter to be angry with her. It was just who MJ was. She was brought into Dante’s life too late for him to have been able to mold her in the same way he was able to mold the younger three, and having been a women among men and on the streets meant that MJ would have had to be tougher than normal. However, that didn’t make it sting any less when Niven read the reply.

Giving a sigh, Niven dropped the letter onto the table before her in the kitchen, where she’d received it from Kala who’d gotten it from the postmaster, and sunk into one of the chairs dejectedly. She rubbed her pretty face with her hands and sighed again. Kala would have had every opportunity to read the letter as Niven wouldn’t have stopped her. To sincerely hope for better would have been foolish and foolish was something Niven wasn’t. If Dante asked to see the reply himself, she’d hand the letter over as well for him to read. To be fair to the girl, she was being honest and Niven could hardly ask for more from her. However, it felt a lot like starting from ground zero.

The letter did not, however, soften Niven’s resolve to go with Dante to visit her. So here they were, at the Jaedaxian harbor. Remembering the warning about meeting her at work, Niven had chosen and sent word that they were to meet their daughter at a local tavern. Perhaps it was not the nicest place, but one where she would expect MJ to feel more comfortable than she would at a restaurant. Plus, there was always the fact that if MJ lost her cool, there would be a fair amount of din to drown her out so that Niven wasn’t completely humiliated.

Walking down the streets towards the tavern, Niven bit her lip and fidgeted with her hands, unsure how better to let out her nerves over seeing her daughter. When it came into sight, Niven stopped and stooped her head slightly, mentally steeling herself against the next few candlemarks and whatever they brought. The one thing the elf promised herself, though, was that she wouldn’t cry in public.
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Old April 26, 2017, 11:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Kala looked at the letter as it seemed Niven wanted her to, otherwise why leave it out in the open like that. Knowing the child like she did, the draconess didn't think that Niven had as much to worry about as the she elf thought. Sure there was pain there being expressed, but Maya seemed to be trying to 'lighten' the intensity of it with some humor, aimed mostly at Dante. She patted Niven on the shoulder and gave her a warm smile. She didn't know how to tell Niven what she was thinking, and she didn't want to write on the letter so instead the draconess just gave her a half hug and resolved to have Nelly explain it to Niven later.

Which apparently didn't happen. Dante himself wasn't about to pry into a personal letter between two people he cared about, so unless Niven insisted Dante wouldn't read the letter himself. Of course that didn't mean that he wouldn't be there with Niven to help her through the experience. Besides he loved MJ and missed her. It was always a treat for him to visit with his children.

As they approached the tavern, Dante could tell that Niven was tense. He patted her on the back, "It will be alright." He gave her a smile. He didn't know what else to say. He loved Maya, knew that she loved him and Niven, but the child was strong willed and free spirited. No one, not even MJ herself would know how she would react.

The tavern was noisy as they entered. A large human man stood behind the bar, meticulously cleaning glasses, while waitresses sashayed back and forth between tables and the bar with drink and food orders. The crowd wasn't too rowdy, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Most of the folks in here were middle to upper class as it was a classier tavern than the ones that Dante would frequent when he first came to Jaedaxia.

Dante gracefully lead Niven toward a large group of men, blocking the view of a corner table. As the pair approached they heard the unmistakable voice of MJ, "Look you louts! I'm not i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-e-d. Just let me enjoy my drink in peace or you're going to regret it!"

A low growl started deep in Dante's throat. One thing that never changed, Dads don't like it when their little girls' get harassed by unsavory types.

"Don be like zat pretty lady. Your exzotic beauty has enchanted us. Pleaze we only ask to spend some time chatting wiz you," argued a well dressed fellow that obviously thought a little too much of himself.
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Old April 27, 2017, 07:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Niven flashed Dante a nervous smile as he tried to comfort her. She appreciated the gesture and she wouldn't dream of doing this without him, but the only person who would be able go put her at ease was Maya.

As noisy as the tavern was, their daughter's voice was unmistakable as they came closer to the large table. Feeling Dante tense, Niven put her hand on his arm. "Hey," she said, gently yet firmly holding him back and rounding so the she was blocking his path. She looked behind here and eyed the exchange between her daughter and the obviously intoxicated lad, "If I know MJ, she's got this. The last thing she'd want is us bailing her out of a situation that she can handle. She runs her own ship, remember? And this guy doesn't seem dangerous, he's just annoyingly persistent." Niven had had her fair share of persistent tavern admirers and, for the most part, knew they were harmless. They were usually just too inebriated to know when it was wiser to back off. She surveyed the situation again. "If it gets out of hand, we'll step in."

Even as the words left her lips, Niven wasn't sure who they'd be rescuing, MJ or the drunkard. But knowing the girl as she did, she was pretty sure it wouldn't be MJ.
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Old April 27, 2017, 12:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dante looked down at Niven confused at first. He listened to her perspective and even though as a father every fiber of his being was saying make this fellow so scared he pissed himself, Dante decided to trust Niven's advice and just fold his arms and assume a 'relaxed' position. Anyone who knew him, knew he was ready to stirke at a moment's notice, but perhaps the casual observer wouldn't pick up on the hostility vibe.

The couple heard that sound of a chair being scooted out and although Niven was too short to see over the heads of the drunkards she once again unmistakably heard MJ's retort. "Good sir," she started in that deceptively sweet voice she used to use on the boys at home right before she thumped them. "What you fail to understand is that while you may be successful in your attempt to spend time with me I'm not interested in spending time with you." Had there been a thermometer the temperature would have been seen to have dropped considerably in the room. The venom that she was known for in Demios suddenly started to emerge, "Now I recommend you take the hint and go find someone else to pester. See the pretty bar maid? She's been making eyes at you all evening. Go buy her a drink on me."

Somehow the young woman made an offer to buy a drink sound like a threat. "Ah, oui, I zink you are right mon ami," he said humbly as he and his group made their way to a different table.

Her red eyed gaze followed them until they were successfully seated. It had that 'mother' look. The one children get when their parents had to ask them too many times and the line had been crossed about three times ago. When she finally turned back to watch the front for her expected guests she brightened and smiled, "Mother! Father!"
With a rush she came and wrapped her arms around both of them at once. "Come! Sit! I saved us the best table." She returned to her seat before Dante could try to hold it out for her. With an eyebrow raise he moved to Niven's chair and waited to help her take her seat.

Once seated Maya took on that reproving mother look again. "So..." she started, directing her attention to Niven, "Where have you been young lady?"
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Old April 27, 2017, 12:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It was easy for Niven to see that Dante wasn’t pleased with her idea, but to his credit, he trusted her and his daughter to sort herself out. Which MJ did quite beautifully. Once the young man tucked tail and left with his friends, Niven couldn’t hide the look of triumph she had on her face. She winked at Dante.

That was all it took for Niven’s nerves to leave. She was very proud of her daughter, no matter how rough around the edges she was, and there was no room for nervousness after that.

Niven smiled widely at her daughter as she ran towards her and threw her slender, yet muscular, dark arms around the contrasting pale skin of her own. Niven hugged her daughter tightly before letting her go so she could lead them to their table. Niven smiled, amused, at MJ while Dante held her chair for her to sit down. Ladylike, MJ was not, nor did she want to be, and that was part of her charm.

Trying to hide a smile and look properly admonished, Niven replied, “I’ve been out searching for family survivors of the black fog.” The smile immediately vanished and her face got somber, as the tone of the conversation shifted. “I was unsuccessful.

Niven sat silently for a moment before continuing. “I should have faced the truth a long time before I did. I just couldn’t let go of the fact that the last time I’d seen them was when we’d left the forest so hastily after our row and I’d said such awful things to hurt them. I didn’t want to believe that was the last thing I’d ever say to them.” The Sylrosian bit her bottom lip to keep from crying.

Blinking back tears, Niven sat up and looked around for the waitress, “I’m thirsty, we should get something to drink,” she said, very obviously trying to change the subject before she lost control and cried in public.
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Old April 27, 2017, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dante was indeed impressed with how MJ had handled the young man. Niven had been correct of course, MJ wouldn't have appreciated their interference. She'd worked hard to earn the respect of the male members of her crew and Dante was glad Niven had been there to stop him from possibly ruining the girl's confidence by making her think that Dante thought she needed him to babysit her.

He hugged his daughter back with sincere affection. Of all his children he felt MJ was the most like him when he was her age. So to see her all grown up and showing that she was an adult made him happy, if a bit wistful. "You handled that well," he said with honest admiration.

"What that? Oh that was nothing. It's not like they were trying to rob me at knife point or something," she said with a large cheesy grin.

She returned her attention to Niven. Shaking her head she frowned, "Yeah. We heard it was horrible. Every now and then I see an elven refugee and they just look... 'empty'. I'm sorry you had to go through that alone." She reached across the table and took her mom's hand. She wasn't always the most sensitive person, but she certainly wasn't the least either.

At the request for drinks MJ put two fingers between her teeth and let out a whistle that quieted the whole place for half a second. The nearest barmaid winced and with a smile that belied her irritation came over immediately. "What can I get you folks?" she said looking exhausted.

"I'll have another of the same," MJ replied.

"Well now that you're home things will get better right?" MJ started chatting again once the waitress was gone. "You're still planning on making an honest man out of father yes?" She had a mischievous twinkle in her eye and she finished off the last of her previous beverage.
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Old April 27, 2017, 01:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Giving her daughter a small smile, Niven gave her daughter’s hand a slight squeeze. It felt really comforting to have MJ’s support. She knew that it wasn’t easy on any of the family that she’d been away for so long. But she’d had to exhaust every chance that she’d find them. MJ’s assessment on the elven refugees was more than accurate. Even Niven had felt empty for a while and she’d only lost her childhood home as she considered where Dante was to be “home” now. These elves had lost everything, some of them their immediate families. Niven could sympathize. If she’d lost any one of her children or Dante, she was sure she’d be little more than a shell of a person too.

When the barmaid came over, Niven ordered herself a glass of winebecause what else would I order ;) and gave the woman a grateful smile. She looked exhausted, but with the amount of drunk people there were already this early in the darkening, she could hardly blame the girl. Waitressing in a tavern could not be easy.

It already has,” Niven replied to MJ’s first question. “Being home already has been amazing. It really makes me wish I’d not stayed away so long.” Niven reached for Dante’s hand. At MJ’s second question Niven grinned. “So long as he still wants me, I’d be more than happy to!” Her creamy green eyes moved from Maya to Dante and she gave him an innocent shrug. If they were both honest, that was something they really should do sooner rather than later. Niven already shared sleeping quarters with her fiancé as his mere presence next to her kept the darkeningmares that plagued her at bay. And the odd darkening they didn't he was there to comfort her. It was all perfectly innocent, as they were both determined to save that sort of intimacy for their wedding night and beyond.

When the barmaid returned with their drinks, Niven took a sip and smiled at her daughter. "So tell me," she said, "How is captaining your own ship? By the looks of things, you have no trouble keeping men in line." The elf nodded her head that the lad who'd been hitting on MJ earlier and shot her a teasing look.
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Old April 27, 2017, 04:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Dante ordered himself an ale and sat back watching the two ladies converse. He took Niven's hand when offered and smiled back at her. He was waiting for Niven to feel herself again. Of course the dracon wanted to marry Niven, but he wasn't going to push her. He wanted her to be ready and to feel whole. He did smile from ear to ear however when she said that she still wanted to marry him.

"If I'd have you? Just waiting on you to tell me you're ready my love," he replied. Trying to keep the tone light. Winking at Niven he settled back to keep watch and eyeball any other 'suitors' that might want to bother the lovely ladies he was with.

MJ shook her head, "Well just hurry it up you two! I mean are you waiting for all of us to be out of the house before you take the plunge? Or do you both just have cold feet?" She raised an eyebrow at them, looking similar to the way her father would do the same. Then gave them both a toothy grin. "Kids today. So indecisive."

MJ glanced over at the drunk Jaedaxian and smirked. "It's fantastic! It's seriously the most wonderful feeling being out on the sea!" She sighed contentedly, "I understand why you do what you do father. I don't know if I could ever leave the sea for long."

"So, Mother, what are you going to be doing now that your home?" She leaned back in her chair smiling at her mother and taking a drink.
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Old April 27, 2017, 05:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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At Maya’s comments on their wedding, Niven looked at Dante. “Well,” she said, “perhaps its something we should really start talking about now. I mean, Maya’s not wrong. We said we’d wait until things settled down when we got engaged. It’s been a crazy 6 eras, us all on the run for the first 4 and then me being in Sancta Nova for the past 2. We have already managed to kick out three of our brood of six.” Niven winked at MJ. “I don’t know exactly how much more settled our lives are going to get.” The elf gave him a shy smile and a slight shrug. “I think it’s time we set a date.

Listening to her daughter talk about her love of her job, Niven couldn’t help but be thrilled for her. She’d never wished for anything less then happiness for MJ and it really seemed like she’d found her bliss. “Well, you seem to have taken to the sea like an oar to water,” she said, with a sincere smile.

The next question, Niven was unprepared for. “Frankly, I don’t know,” she said, honestly. “The twins and Chariras really have little need for me to be around like they used to. I guess I get to find a passion and pursue it. Perhaps Kala will make a cook out of me yet!” she said, laughing.
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Old April 28, 2017, 01:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Dante brightened further, becoming very enthusiastic about the conversation regarding his and Niven's upcoming nuptials. "I agree," he said with a wink at MJ. "We have postponed long enough I think."

He turned to Niven, "Early summer would be nice. Still not too hot outside, if you wanted an outdoor wedding." Which Dante was pretty positive she would.

MJ looked excited as well. She smiled back and forth between her parents enjoying how she was able to steer their conversation. In her not so humble opinion, she decided it was about time for them to get their stuff together. Six era's was a long time to wait for your parents to finally do what they were meant to.

At the change of conversation MJ grinned, "I did indeed." Taking another sip MJ continued, "the sea is fantastic. I'm a little biased of course having a sea rat as a dad, but I think this is what I was meant for."

Hearing Niven's plan, MJ took on a look of mock terror, "Oh no! Good thing I'm not there to be tested upon!" She then started laughing.
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Old April 28, 2017, 04:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Watching Dante light up like a jar full of fireflies at the topic of their marriage amused her outwardly, but inwardly she was filled with a rush of love for him. Over and over and over again he proved in all the little ways just how much he loved her and wanted her and it reminded her over and over again how special he was. The love between a dracon and elf was so unlikely, and yet here they were, not only in love, but engaged and planning a wedding. After almost 8 eras, not counting the eras he'd harbored secret feelings for her, Dante had never wavered in his devotion to her and the person he was made it so easy for her to never waver in hers. Through all of her searching for her family, all that she had done to lose herself in the past eras, everything was better the moment she was back in his arms. He was her true north. So long as she had him, she would never be lost.

As Dante remarked about a summer wedding outdoors, Niven put her hand to her mouth and her peridot green eyes started swimming in tears. Her resolve to not cry in public vanished. "I can’t believe you remembered!” she said, so moved by the fact that he remembered an outdoor wedding was important to her. At that moment she could no longer contain her tears and they slipped down her cheeks, past the smile of gratitude and love that was uncovered as her hand moved gracefully from her lips to her heart.

"By the gods, after all these era’s, he’s remembered the conversation we’d had where he’d asked me about what kind of wedding I wanted," she thought, absolutely drowned in another wave of love for her fiancé. Niven had thought at the time that she wanted something a little more deviant from a traditional Elvish wedding, but still one outside as that was all she’d ever known. And once again, he thought only of her happiness and she could only thank whatever god had blessed her by orchestrating all the right circumstances for her to cross paths with him.

MJ looked pleased with herself and Niven couldn’t help but giggle at her daughter while she wiped away her tears. “I hope you are proud of yourself, young lady,” she mockingly scolded.

Niven joined in MJ’s teasing laughter and replied, “Well, I’ll make sure to be extra experimental when you come home to visit!
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Old April 29, 2017, 02:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Dante laughed merrily, "Of course I remembered." He took Niven's hand again. Then speaking more softly as he looked into her beautiful green eyes, "It's only been all I've thought about for the last 6 eras." The look in his eyes, whether dracon or human or any other seeming he'd had always reflected one thing, his love for Niven. She put the twinkle in his eyes, lit up the darkness in his soul, and made him feel whole, complete, home.

MJ's grin was from ear to ear with the most impish Vysstichi play on a smile one had ever seen, "Oh I am indeed mother. While you're in Jaedaxia we need to get you to a seamstress and get you a dress started. This is the capital of fashion after all. I mean all the new trends come out of Jaedaxia. Elsewhere they are just copycats, here, here is where the originality emerges." She gave her mother a wolfish grin and planned in her head which dress shops to frequent and how much she was going to enjoy making Niven dress up instead of the other way around. No dresses for her, just leather breeches for her captaining.

At the mention of the 'meal' experimenting Maya looked truly mortified. Dante sensing an opportunity for mischief added in, "Ooh, we could try giant spider eggs! Or Jelly fish!" With a subtle wink at Niven he continued. "I've heard of a dish where your bury raw fish in the ground for three days, we could easily match that!"
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Old April 29, 2017, 09:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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oocSo, apparently we’re doing this now! LOL

Her full attention back to their daughter, Niven’s eyebrows shot up as MJ, of all her children, started planning wedding clothes. If she hadn’t seen MJ be true to who she was when they’d first arrived, Niven would be convinced this Vysstichi tomboy before her was not her daughter. After eying her for a moment, the elf’s expression then softened and she smiled, “Actually, that brings up another important point. In an Elvish ceremony, usually the mother of the bride gives a blessing.” Niven felt a lump rise in her throat, but she pressed on. “As that is no longer an option, I wondered if you’d take that place.

Realizing she’d made a huge assumption in her request, Niven turned her attention back to Dante. “I mean, of course, if that’s ok with you. An Elvish ceremony,” she said quickly. “I just…I hoped…that in light of everything that has happened, we’d have a more traditional Elvish ceremony? Kind of in honour of my family?” It was entirely possible Dante wanted a wedding similar to the one he’d had when he had planned to marry Hatorania. He was, at the time, a priest of Diana and while Niven hadn't shared his devotion to the goddess, she had respected his and supported him however she could. He had, however, returned in kind when she had been visited by Carmelya, he had respected her choice to care for the ward the goddess had put in her care and had even come to form a bond with the creature of the forest. So Niven felt that it was at least a fair possibility that he might agree. Even that though he no longer had a goddess he chose to serve in the same way, it may be that respected the culture of the elves who worshiped Carmelya so much and her new wishes to follow closer in those ways.

Catching on quickly, Niven nodded enthusiastically and chimed in. “I’ve also heard of stuffed sheep's stomachs. That might be fun to try as well….” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “I”ll wager Kala has a great recipe for that!
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Old April 30, 2017, 02:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Where ever Niven is, Dante won't be far away...
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Dante Asunder is a glorious SuperheroDante Asunder is a glorious SuperheroDante Asunder is a glorious SuperheroDante Asunder is a glorious SuperheroDante Asunder is a glorious Superhero


MJ's eyes grew large at the request, but then smiled mischievously, "Well since I'm having to be the mature one about this anyway, I might as well." She gave her parents a big toothy grin, "I mean for heaven's sake. How long would you have let me and the kids remain bastards if I hadn't taken a hand?"

Dante pursed his lips in mock annoyance. He had to remind himself that his daughter was a swarthy sea captain that he had put into the job and if he was going to pay her to tell a bunch of crude sailors what to do all brightening he'd have to accept that she'd pick up some of their less savory habits. Of course that didn't mean he had to like it. "I think we might need to reinstitute the 'swear jar'," he gave her a raised eyebrow look. "Can't let our clients think we're of ill repute because of bad language."

"No changing the subject father!" MJ retorted back. "Besides, if our parents aren't married we are actual bastards. It's linguistically correct," she said with a look he was sure he'd never used himself when making a point that would win the argument.

Dante smiled and squeezed Niven's hand, "I always assumed we would follow elvish tradition. I feel it is the right thing to do in more ways than one, especially now." Dante grew distant for a moment. He wasn't so much speaking of Niven's family. He knew how important they were to her, now. He'd wanted to please them before, in an effort to show Niven how much he cared about her, but now, with Diana gone, having a wedding following the path of Carmelya seemed only right. It was true that Dante was devoted to Diana, at least who he thought she was, in life, but since her passing he hadn't felt any great loyalty to any of the other deities. Carmelya however seemed to show personal interest in Niven, and that was worth respecting. Perhaps someday he'd follow Carmelya himself or maybe there was another deity out there that actually embodied the beliefs he had regarding the values of Mercy and Protection as he felt the Goddess had inspired him to follow. For now he was completely devoted to Niven and seeing her happy in her outdoor, elvish style, traditional wedding was what would make him feel the most joyful.

"MMmmm," Dante said with closed eyes while rubbing his stomach, "Yes, a delightful delicacy. I forget what she called it, but it is quite tasty."

It was MJ's turn to pull the 'I am not amused' face. "If you're going to be doing things all elvish traditional now, maybe try gardening or something instead." She opened her mouth to say something else, looked at her father and blushed as she closed it quickly and just smiled instead.

"So what color dress are you thinking?" MJ queried possibly as a way to change the subject to things that didn't make her stomach turn.
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