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Old October 29, 2017, 04:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Demios] It's a Beautiful Life... [Niven private]

TS:Winteryes that's all you get because Niven and I are very busy people apparently.

It was early as Dante cracked his eyes open, careful not to move lest he awaken the gorgeous woman next to him. With the trained precision of an elite stealth practitioner he slid out of bed like a shadow. He had work to get to, life didn't pay for itself, but first he had to wake up.

There were priorities however. He gently kissed his beloveds brow, careful to not wake her, then moved down and kissed just below her belly button. "I love you baby," he said almost soundlessly. A sincere smile touched his face at the thought of another Asunder joining the family, one that was both part him and part Niven. Sure the child would look like Niven, with a few draconic features, but that was fine with him. At least their child would be beautiful, and when it was time he'd show the child how to conceal his dracon heritage just like the Wings of Zalteria in Tyrsvale taught him.

Reluctantly pulling himself out of his brightening dream, was it considered a brightening dream if the suns still weren't up yet?, he headed into the cellar. Their home, at one time, had belonged to smugglers, slaver smugglers to be precise, which Dante had very, very little patience for. Once they'd been removed, he'd returned and purchased the home, using the old smuggling caves to set up a training ground for himself and his children.

Dante was pleased to hear, as he was lighting the lanterns around the area, that his children who remained at home were entering the area as well. The four of them had a little sleepiness still in their eyes, but they were ready to start. Chariras, the boy, was 12 ordinations old, but looked more like fourteen. He'd taken on his biological father's strong build and blonde hair. Dante's current seeming had been chosen to look as close to Chariras' father as he could remember with a few alterations to cater to Niven's personal tastes, at least she seemed to like them. The advantages of appearing however you wanted.

The three girls, although two appeared as twins, were in actuality as different as three people could be physically. One was a human, with beautiful auburn locks and green eyes (which is where Dante got his current eye color from). She had an athletic build that annoyingly enough to her father the boys seemed to fancy and a mischievous smile almost always on her face, like she was planning some escapade.

Her sister, physically looked the same, but in actuality was also a dracon with bright green scales and yellow eyes. Her figure was slightly thinner than her sisters, for although she was considerably more bookish she had a draconess metabolism that gave her a significant advantage.

The last sister was a special case. She was for all intents and purposes, a giant spider from the forests of Demios. She couldn't speak, but she could write and she used her web making ability to convey short messages. She also wore little ribbons around each leg to make her feel more 'girly' she said.

They were dressed in tight fighting training clothes, except the spider of course, the same as Dante. "Quel amrun, hini," he said by way of greeting, as they took their places in a line.

"Quel amrun, Atar," the all repeated simultaneously. Dante had started teaching them elvish, hoping that Niven would tutor them as well. She'd obviously be better at it than he. They seemed to know more than he did to start with, probably because of their older siblings. Meeko of course managed to scribble, "Quel amrun" in a little web.

The quintet including Dante started with calisthenics. Jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches; including similar ones using the equipment in the cave to increase resistance. The spider, Meeko, did her own special version of course. Afterward they ran obstacle courses, sparred, and trained with crossbows, daggers, staffs, and hand to hand. The children bantered back and forth, making little jabs at each other, as they sparred, except when they sparred with Dante. Then they were all seriousness. Dante showed them no quarter, he challenged them, so they could be the best they could and it showed.

Meeko was easily the best of the four. As a spider she had extreme advantages that the others just had a hard time getting around. On average she beat the other children 3 out of 4 times. The twins beat each other about an even number of times, depending on which weapons they used, with Chariras showing great promise with daggers. Nelly by far preferred the staff although she was a decent shot with the crossbow. Nikki was about equal with all of the weapons, but excelled with hand to hand. It's helped her out on more than one occasion when some of the island boys got too 'fresh'.

After about two candlemarks, the five of them went for a run on the beach, when the suns were just coming up. There was an entrance from the caves right onto the shore that the smugglers had used to bring in their slaves. The run led them down to the shore, up a quarter kilometer toward the village, then back to the stairwell that led up the cliff to the house and the back yard.

As the children moved silently into the house, Dante took a few moments to speak with the treant that he'd been keeping for Niven while she was gone. It wasn't about anything specific, just general conversation stuff about how she was feeling, the darkening. Occasionally they would find a deeper subject to discuss, but not unless Dante had time, which he didn't this brightening.

Dante slipped back inside and found the children starting on breakfast. While they started boiling water, Dante used the other burner on the wood stove to fry up some eggs with a little salt and pepper. Nikki put some wheat cereal into the boiling water, while Chariras squeezed orange juice into a pitcher. Nelly got out the butter and honey for the mush and set the table. As the dishes were finished they were served up then the children sat at the table holding hands, waiting for Dante to sit at the head, even Meeko joined them, although her breakfast was in a web she'd spun outside. Dante bowed his head and said a prayer. Oh Markalin, god of the sea, Carmelya Queen of Telath and Mercy wherever you might be. Please bless this meal that it will be nourishing, the sea that it will be bountiful, and our family that we will be protected.

They started their meal, not really speaking as they were mostly exhausted. Sometimes Niven was awake early enough to join them for their morning meal, but Dante didn't like waking her now that she was expecting although he did prepare a plate of fresh fruit for her covered by a cloth napkin for when she finally arose.
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Old October 30, 2017, 02:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When Niven's eyes fluttered open, the suns were just starting to come up. She sighed as she tried to shift to a more comfortable position. Finding a comfortable sleeping arrangement was getting increasingly difficult as the cycles wore on. Sleeping on her back was out as the weight of the life she was growing was getting too heavy. Sleeping on her stomach was out as her belly was now too big and caused a similar discomfort as the one when she'd tried sleeping on her back. But sleeping on her side.... well, that was only so comfortable as well. A full darkening's rest was getting more and more elusive. She was grateful that Dante was slipping out silently in the mornings and allowing her as much rest as she could get. Though she wasn't sure it was helping as much as he'd like. Niven felt tired all the time anyway. It would seem growing new life was an exhausting job.

The warm light spilt into the room, casting a glow throughout the room. She let out a soft sound as she smiled. Her family was either training or eating. Niven supposed she should figure out which.

Juno, who had taken to sleeping protectively next to her side of the bed, raised his head as he sensed his mistress awake. He let out a soft "woof" letting her know that he was there and knew she was awake.

Slowly she pushed herself up to a seated position. Sitting for a moment, she did a mental check of her body. Nope, no nausea. She hadn't been nauseous for a couple cycles now, but she felt like she had been for so long that she was revelling in its absence. Carefully, compensating for the new shifts in her balance, she moved from the bed to the wardrobe. Juno rose from his place beside the bed and laid at the end of the bed where he could supervise. "Good boy," she said to him, finding it so sweet that he refused to let her out of his sight. She'd found his behaviour odd at first, before she'd known she was pregnant, but Niven had made the connection later. "Funny how animals can sense things before we do," she thought.

Opening the doors, Niven frowned as she looked at her available options. She missed her favourite dresses, even her trousers and chemise. But none of them fit anymore and hadn't for cycles. Sighing, she pulled out a white gauzy dress that had little flowers embroidered on it and a green elvish style overdress that allowed for the bump (pic). It was the most comfortable thing she owned and that made it her new favourite.

Slipping out of her nightgown, she washed up and slipped into her dress. After buttoning the overdress, she picked up her hairbrush and ran it through her hair before braiding it, the plait falling over her shoulder where she tied it off. She checked her reflection and gave a satisfied nod. She put a hand to her stomach. Where her hand was she felt her stomach bulge slightly and she smiled. "Vedui' Melamin. Lle naa bela sina amrun." Hello, my love. You are active this morning she said. Another kick was her reply and Niven grinned. "Much like your father."

Making her way downstairs, Juno on her heels, Niven found her family making rosyun, having recently come in from their run. "Quel amrun," Good morning she chirped cheerily, to the children as she let the dog outside. "Ume lle caela y' quel rima?" Did you have a good run? A wry smile formed on her lips. It was likely a little mean to make their brains work after a rigorous body workout, but Dante got them fresh in the morning, it was only fair that she got their mental workout in too.

The elf moved to her husband whom she kissed. "Good morning," she murmured just to him. "Your youngest has been exercising this morning too." She winked at him and took the plate Dante had made up for her and set it on the table before she let the dog back in.

Niven prepared Juno's rosyun and carefully placed it on the floor, holding onto the counter for added stability. He dug into it gratefully. Then she joined her family at the table.

Taking the hands of the children on either side of her, bowing her head, she partook in the blessing over their Rosyun. She smiled at Dante before digging in, pleased he had taken back the role of spiritual leader of the household. It was his place and she'd felt odd when it had been her job for a while.

"What does your brightening look like, Melamin?"
she asked, taking a bite of fruit.
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Old November 4, 2017, 07:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"Quel amrun Atara!"Good Morning Mother! chimed all the children at Niven's greeting. Dante brightened like a sunrise in the darkness at the arrival his beautiful pregnant wife.

[ooc=Our run was fine.]"Lye rima nae tereva,"[ooc] replied Nelly. She of course looked just like her human sister, because that's how Nelly liked it. She was a dracon that could take whatever humanoid shape she wished. And she was ridiculously smart. She went through books the way the other children went through snacks. "Amin nae i' yeste' n'alaquel,"I was the first back Nelly finished.

Nikki, the other red haired girl in the family, gave her twin a smug look and stuck her tongue out. "Only because I let you," she replied with a lofty air. It might even be true. Nikki was by far the more athletic one and even though she was the queen of snark, she was also brave and sweet.

"E edhel,"In Elvish Dante chastised lightly. Then turning to his beloved he enjoyed her kiss before responding to her statement. "Mmmm," he replied reveling in Niven's affection. "That's because she takes after her daddy!" he said matter of factly.

The other children smiled at their parents, enjoying each other. Some may argue the point, but these kids felt loved and they were happy to see their parents so happy. It was about time. This couple had been through enough. It was time for their happily ever after. "Amin sha atsae lle,"I almost caught you replied the boy to his sister's banter. He was blonde and blue eyed, but big for his age. Tall and muscular and almost a spitting image of his father, which Dante did on purpose.

Dante just shook his head at his children's antics. In all fairness it was good. They had a healthy sense of competition. Not to proud, nor to indifferent and they loved each other like a family should, which made it all the better.

Dante had resumed the role of spiritual leader, partly because he felt it was important and partly because sometimes Niven needed to sleep in. She hadn't been feeling great. Dante had heard that pregnancy did that to females. Dante felt bad for her, but he didn't understand and nothing his magic told him made it make sense. Technically there was nothing... wrong with her. She just needed to throw up. It confused him, but he did what he could to help her and sometimes that including letting her sleep. Since he felt that the children needed spiritual guidance he directed them as best he could. He still had immense respect and reverence for Carmelya and Markalin and the principles he'd been taught about Diana, the ideal ones from Ovan, not what the general populace believed. He still didn't understand the inversion or it's implications, but that was for another time. For now, peace at the rosyun table.

Dante smiled at his beloved as she started to eat. After swallowing a gulp of juice Dante replied, "Well I need to hurry to get to work." He gave his beloved a wink, "After that we'll see. How about you?"
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Old November 4, 2017, 09:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Pleased with the children's replies in her mother tongue, Niven nodded with approval. Nikki may not have spoken in elvish, but her comprehension was fine and that too was a good thing. Their accents were adorable, though. The kids had less of one than Dante had, but Niven loved it. She didn't bother correcting his pronunciation most times because it was just too darn cute listening to him say it just ever so slightly off.

"She?" she asked, an eyebrow raised, a playful smile on her lips. Dante seemed certain they were having a girl. Niven wasn't so sure. Only time would tell who was right. Not that it really mattered in the end. Either sex was fine with her.

"Eithel tela, ilya en' lle," Well done, all of you Niven replied to their children, looking at each of them in turn. She had great pride in their abilities and in the people they were becoming. With everything they had all been through, it would be easy for them to have become jaded and even bitter. But they had each found a way to take their trials and make them work for them instead of beating them down. That they could still joke and banter with each other after everything they had been through warmed Niven's heart. Placing a hand on her swollen stomach, she hoped for an easier time for their new addition. But even if not, there was no doubt that this child would have amazing role models when it came to handling adversity.

"I was thinking I'd spend some time in the greenhouse, prepping it for next era's planting while I still have room to move around in there, after getting our remaining brood off to schola. I'm not exactly getting smaller. Plus, I don't know that I will have the energy to do it later on. If it's ready then Chariras or whomever else is willing to take over the planting for me will have an easier job of it. I don't know that I will have the same time to devote to it once the baby is here," Niven replied, taking a bite of an apple slice. It tasted odd in her mouth. Her brow furrowed as she chewed while she looked at the other half in her hand. That was strange. She loved apples, why did they now taste so off? It looked ok...

"Maybe a walk later as well. I might go with Kala to the market if she needs to go. I suppose it will depend on how I feel," she finished, returning the apple to her plate and picking up a few grapes. Nap's had been almost a regular occurrence now that she was not sleeping well and generally felt exhausted all the time even if she did get a decent darkening's sleep.

The elf smiled at her husband as he made to leave for work. "Aa' i'sul nora lanne'lle," May the wind fill your sails she said in blessing. It was quite a task for him to rebuild the business since it had been neglected not under his watchful eye. It was coming, but slowly. Especially as there were new businesses that had popped up in their absence. Diversifying may be their only option to get ahead once more. Perhaps running supply ships for the governor of Moonstone as Sliucha worked to rebuild the northern region where Niven's home had been. The Sylrosian made a mental note to bring up the idea to Dante later.
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Old November 5, 2017, 01:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Dante smiled at his beloved, "Of course, Melamin. She'll be blonde with beautiful green eyes and a spunky smile." Dante was quite certain.

All the children smiled at Niven's praise. "Diola lle Atara,"Thank you Mother replied Nelly. Nikki pursed her lips and gave Nelly a suspicious smile, while Nelly returned it with a playful grin of her own. Chariras just shook his head and finished his rosyun. He then excused himself and raced upstairs to get ready for schola.

The girls took longer to eat, usually because they enjoyed talking with each other and their parents more. "I'll help you in the green house Mother," Nikki offered.

Dante raised an eyebrow, "You'll still have to finish your lessons, my dear."

"I know," she said exasperated. "I just want to help Mother. Plus spending some time with her would be nice," she looked at Niven as if asking if it was okay.

Dante looked at the ceiling before saying. "Kala says she'd be happy to take a walk with you later to the market. Just don't overdue it Melamin," Dante stated as he rose from the table taking his dishes to the sink with him. He quickly washed them off, before returning to Niven's side. "Something wrong with the apples?" he asked.

After her reply he bent down and gave her a love filled kiss. "I love you. I'll see you later this brightening." As he was leaving he heard Niven's blessing and turned back to her, "Ikotane ron'll brien amin rato n'alaquel a' lle."So they'll bring me swiftly back to you

After Dante left the room, Nelly leaned toward Niven giggling, "Ho edhel lambe naa Tulien eithel naa ta il-?"His elvish is coming along isn't it? She was blushing slightly, "Amin estela Amin caela y' hanwa Mellon ve' atar e' i' tyela."I hope I have a boyfriend like father some day

Nikki's eyes snapped suspiciously to her sister although this time Nelly seemed to ignore her. Nikki then asked to be excused and rose taking her plate and surprisingly Niven's. Not that the child hesitated when asked, but it almost always took asking for even her own plate. She cleaned them both and the cutlery that was used then headed upstairs as well.

Nelly sighed and bussed her plates too,"Mela lle Atara."Love you Mother She announced with a kiss on Niven's cheek then heading upstairs. Sure she'd lived with them for several eras, being the mother role anyway, but now that they were married it was like she had the extra credibility. They for really real had a mother and it was making them all happy.

Dante then came rushing back down stairs, kissing Niven again, then his hand and placing it on her belly. "Remember you love Daddy best," he stated with a grin before running out of the house. In short order each of the children, in the same order they went upstairs, came down as well. Except Meeko of course who came in from outside and simply headed out the front with them. She patted Niven on the leg as she walked by, by way of greeting and farewell.
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Old November 5, 2017, 07:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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"Mmmm," Niven replied, her smile only growing as Dante spoke with such certainty. "We'll see."

Nikki's desire to help her definitely caught Niven's attention. Usually, it was Chariras that gardened with her, and sometimes Nelly. Nikki hadn't shown a great deal of interest before, but her mother wasn't about to say no. Niven suspected there was a deeper reasoning to the offer to help, especially as the two would be alone. "I will wait until you get home to work out there then," she replied, smiling. She held her gaze on the girl a few moments longer, before turning back to Dante as he expounded on Kala's plans.

"Sounds good," she commented a little distractedly. Returning her attention fully to her husband she continued. "Don't worry. The exercise will do us good and Kala is a good second set of eyes for you. She wouldn't let me do anything she thought I couldn't handle."

Looking down at her plate at his question, she considered it for a moment before replying. "I'm not sure. They just taste different for some reason. They look ok and were fine yesterday, so I don't understand."

Lifting her chin, Niven met his kiss. "And I you."

Grinning at Nelly, Niven nodded. "Uma, ho tura nae sai- quel," Yes, his teacher was quite good. she agreed. The elf's eyebrows raised at her daughter. "Boyfriend?" she mused, a smile playing on her lips. "Lle atar naa cerna y' quel er ar' panya y' taurn lesta. Ro wouldaya n'uma lava ai'er il- quel a' couera lle ri' Nikki." Your father is definitely a good one and sets a high standard. He would never allow anyone unworthy to court either you or Nikki Her smile refused to remain hidden any longer. "Sina naa somethien lle naa thinkien no'?"This is something you are thinking on? she asked, taking a sip of her own juice.

Nikki excused herself rather abruptly and Niven's eyes went to her and nodded. She hadn't missed the look she'd given her sister. What was going on? What weren't they telling her? Niven resolved to let it go and probe Nikki gently later instead of making it a thing now. Nikki removing Niven's plate as well as her own took her mother by surprise, but the elf managed to simply thank her daughter.

Smiling at Nelly, Niven returned the sentiment. "Amin mela lle, amin tinu."I love you, my daughter Getting up from the table, Niven followed her daughter out to the foyer, Juno in tow, where Dante was just coming down the stairs again.

"I thought you left?" she commented as he kissed her.

An eyebrow raised as the baby kicked at Dante's voice. "Oh, I see how it is," she said dryly, pretending to be annoyed that the baby she carried seemed to prefer it's father over her.

As the kids filed out, Niven followed them to the door, handing each of the humanoid children their cloaks as they walked past her. "Have a good brightening," she called after the quartet, waving. Juno gave a few barks of farewell as well. Then she closed the door.

Her plans now derailed by Nikki's desire to join her in the greenhouse, Niven though about what she was going to do now. Walking into the study, the elf selected the book of fairy tales she'd been reading to the baby and settled herself lounging on the love seat, and read aloud to her unborn child while she waited for Kala to descend from her quarters. Juno, always loyal, curled up on the floor next to her.

Now that the children were older, Kala was able to relax a little more in her duties, which was just fine with Niven. Kala had been a faithful fixture in their home for so many eras, Niven couldn't imagine what life would be like if she were ever to decided to leave them, especially as the two women had become close friends.
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Old November 6, 2017, 12:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nikki swooped by Niven to give her a hug, before heading upstairs to change. She paused at the stairs and smiled back at her mom before heading upstairs.

Dante in the meantime, swooped in and grabbed a slice of Niven's apple. With a chomp he ate the piece in one bite. "Tastes fine to me," he declared with an apologetic smirk. Kissing her on the head, "Good I'll check in with Kala later and see how you are doing. If I'm back from fishing I'll meet you for a snack later?"

Nelly gave her mother the biggest toothiest grin she could at the mention of Dante not allowing substandard suitors for her or Nikki. "Aiya! LYE sinta Atara,"Oh! We know Mother. she said impishly. "Ta's y' nat' lye caela nowe no',"It is a thing we have thought on. Nelly continued to grin. She gave Niven a kiss on the other cheek, after busing her table of course, and headed upstairs.

In short order Dante and the children headed out the door to their various daily endeavors. Chariras paused to kiss Niven good bye on the cheek before heading out the door, "Bye Mom."

Kala shortly appeared after the front door closed. She appeared as a light elf with long purple hair and an easy smile. She had more of a human build, but with an elven stature. She smiled and waved at Niven as she found the woman standing by the front door. She had her own dishes from her early breakfast upstairs in her room. She passed through the foyer to the kitchen and washed her plates. Then she came into the study and sat down with her friend. She was mute so wore a slate around her neck. "How are you feeling this brightening," she signed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dante was at a steady jog, headed for the docks. He reached them in short order hurrying to jump on the ship before it set sail. Old Beard, the dwarf, was standing watch for him, laughing as he ran up. "Baby trouble boss?"

Laughing Dante replied, "Shut up Old Beard."

Skipping onto the ship he greeted the rest of the crew of the "Majesty". "Serale! Sorry I'm late," he said feeling a little embarrassed. The rest of the boys waved, while Kendria rushed up and gave him a hug. She wasn't Dante's "child", but Dante was kind of her Godfather. Her father had a special arrangement with Dante. Dante takes care of his daughter and her father doesn't sink Dante's ships. She was a spunky tomboy and Dante loved her as a neice. "How are you Kendria?"

"Good Commodore. The wife feeling ill again?" she said sincerely.

"No. Just worked out extra long today and lost track of time."

"SET SAIL LADS," roared Old Beard over the din of Dante and Kendria's conversations.

The brother's, Meran and Keran, moved in the rigging, lowering the sails, allowing the morning breeze to grab the ship and pull it forward as Charlie, Dante and Kendria undid the knots on the rigging and hoisted the anchor. Ollie was at the helm, directing the ship toward the fishing grounds and the other vessels in the fleet.

Once the ship was underway, Dante headed to the bow and stood on the end bracing himself with the rope from the foresail. After a moment of enjoying the sea, he headed back and started helping the crew with their tasks. Meran and Keran both came and said serale to Dante. They weren't twins, but it was obvious they were brothers. Meran was a little taller than Keran, and had blonde hair compared to Meran's redish blonde. Both wore simple fishermen garb, but it was well fitted and comfortable. Blue eyed, the pair of them, they had quick easy smiles and were quick to laugh.

"Commodore," they greeted simultaneously.

"How's the family?" Keran asked sincerely.

"They're well. Thank you."

"That wedding of yours was fantastic. You gonna throw another party for us again?" Meran suggested with a cheeky grin. Meran used to be Dante's ace in the hole. He used the fellow to keep tabs on other fleets, the same as the missing crew member Pip. But ever since Deritz became a little too old to really sail, he spent his brightening on the docks eaves dropping and gathering information to help Dante's fleet.

"You buying the liquor this time?"

Meran frowned, "I don't think I could afford it."

Dante gave him a serious look. "We bring in a big haul this brightening and drinks after are on me?"

That got the smile back on Meran's face, "Sounds good Commodore." He shouted to the helmsman, "Olie drinks on the Commodore if we make the haul! Don't screw up!" Which of course alerted the rest of the crew to the drink offer.

That got the frown on Dante's face, although not a sincere one. Kendria made a similar face and rolled her eyes. She then scurried up the main mast to stand watch in the crows nest.

Olie hollered back grinning, "No worries!"

The men focused on their tasks more seriously...
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Old November 6, 2017, 03:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As Kala came down and waved to her, dishes from what Niven could only assume was her rosyun in her hand. This was perplexing. Kala wasn't eating with the rest of them? Niven had assumed the draconess had been sleeping in, which didn't bother her at all. The idea that she was squirrelling herself away while the family was having their rosyun didn't sit right with her. Kala was family. She'd been through too much with them all to not be considered so. Niven waved back with a smile but frowned as she watched the purple haired elf seeming retreat to the kitchen.

The sounds of Niven's voice reading aloud would be easily heard coming from the study as Kala looked for where she had gone as the Sylrosian had no need to linger at the front door. The true elf looked up from her book and stopped mid-sentence at Kala's joining her in the study. She had a warm smile for her friend as she sat down near her.

"I am well,"
she replied. "It seems the sickness portion of my pregnancy over, thank goodness!" The gratitude she felt for this fact evident on her face. Niven had lived with Kala long enough that the slate was rarely a necessity for them to converse.

Suddenly uncomfortable, Niven shifted position so that her feet were on the floor instead of on the couch. Juno raised his head as she moved, then lowered it again when he saw she wasn't going anywhere. Suddenly there was a sharp jab as she was being pushed on from the inside again. "Ow," she said, wincing, putting a hand to the right lower quadrant of her stomach. Feeling a little foot, she pressed against it firmly until the foot retracted and the pressure abated. Frowning, she thought about how odd it was that she was feeling kicks down there now when the rest had been on her left side and higher up. Something to ponder later.

"Kala, how often are you eating in your room?"
Niven asked, emerging from her thoughts and returning to the present, cocking her head as she looked at her friend, her expression open yet curious.
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Old November 7, 2017, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Kala, happy to join her friend, sat next to Niven. She looked amused as Niven had to readjust. As Niven pushed back the baby's foot, Kala extended her hand toward Niven's tummy, but held it back as if asking permission to feel.

Kala's head leaned to the side, similar to the way Dante's and the children did when they were perplexed by something. She took out her slate, "Usually? I didn't want to interfere in your family time." She looked sincere and not sad about it at all. As Niven said, she was her good friend. Kala understood that Niven was the lady of the house and didn't want to detract from that at all.

"I'm so jealous. I hope someday I get to be a mommy," she showed Niven the slate with a giant grin on her face.
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Old November 7, 2017, 11:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Noticing Kala's hesitance, Niven smiled. "Here," she said, taking her hand and placing it where she could feel movement. There were a few little kicks in succession. "Rosyun must have arrived, as the baby is moving a lot right now."

"Oh, Kala, you are family,"
she insisted. "You've been a fixture here for longer than I've been around. You wouldn't be detracting from family time, you'd be adding to it. If it makes you feel more comfortable to eat in your room, I won't stop you, but please don't feel that you have to." While it saddened her that Kala didn't feel like part of the family, she could understand why she might feel that way. She hoped Kala would join them, but wouldn't force the issue.

Niven couldn't keep the grin off her face. "You will," she assured her friend, her tone confident. "Someday you'll tire of us and find yourself someone wonderful to settle down with and you'll have beautiful dracon babies that I promise to spoil rotten."

"I have to go feed Trigg. Would you like to join me?"
she asked, rising from her seat. In a moment, Juno was on his feet too, wagging his tail. They were going outside!

Whether Kala joined her or not, Niven fetched her cloak and fastened it around her shoulders. Going out the back door, she waved to Illianthe as she made her way to the stable area where her chocolate coloured Juanerro lived. Trigg nickered at her as she came near. Juno gave his friend a bark in greeting and then proceeded to sniff around for the scent of any other animals that might have come near the area, never moving anywhere that would put Niven out of eyesight.

"Hello there, my friend,"
Niven said, taking his head in her hands and rubbing his face between the eyes. "Ready for your Rosyun?" Trigg moved his head in big exaggerated movements up and down. The Sylrosian grinned at her horse. "Alright then."

Moving around the side of the stable, she filled a bucket with oats and brought it back to the horse, hanging it just outside his stall. While he ate, Niven checked his stall while patting his neck. She frowned. It needed a good mucking out and some fresh hay, but she wouldn't be able to do it. It would have to fall to one of the kids to do. Looking back at the horse, she realized Trigg would need to be exercised as well, something else she couldn't do in her present condition. Dante wouldn't ride him if he was paid a million crowns, so it was yet another thing that would fall to one of the children. Niven felt a little guilty. These were her responsibilities, no one elses. Trigg was her horse and she was on the hook for taking care of him. She decided to present the chores to the children later when they got home and see if anyone volunteered. The first job wasn't super fun, but the second one could be. Giving the horse one last pat, Niven headed back towards the house by way of Ilianthe.

"Serale Ilianthe," she said, stopping in front of the little treant. "How are you?"

"I am well, Miss Niven. How are you? Has your sickness abated?" came the reply.

"It has, I'm happy to say. Dante is pleased too. He worried when he couldn't detect anything wrong, yet I was still ill." Niven smiled and rested a hand on her belly. "He's excited about the new addition, though. And I think the baby is too. It already responds to his voice."

The silvery tree swayed as if nodding. "He seems very happy when we talk," she said. "With a baby so soon after your wedding, it would seem Carmelya has blessed you both."

"Indeed," Niven agreed. There was little doubt the goddess looked fondly upon her considering the swiftness of her pregnancy. "I am very grateful for her gift."

"May she continue to bless you."


"Thank you, Ilianthe,"
the elfess said with a smile.

After walking to the back door, Niven meant to turn and whistle for Juno only to find the dog already at her side. "Good boy," she laughed. He really wasn't going to leave her side. She enjoyed this new protective Juno.

Heading into the kitchen, Niven found herself hungry again. Getting some bread and honey, she fixed herself a snack. After cleaning up, she went to find Kala again.

"When were you thinking of going to the market?" she asked the draconess.
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Old November 8, 2017, 12:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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A spray of mist shot up over the side of the 'Majesty' and doused Dante's face. He didn't care, he was all smiles. The sea was like a second home to him and he loved it. It was Old Beard's turn to hang from the foresail, with his other hand raised to shield his eye's from the sun, he was scanning the horizon looking for signs of schools flocking and dangers to the ship. Earlier this year in Jaedaxia, a ship had gotten stuck on a sand bar that no one saw. It was shallow, just under the water, but it should have been spotted. Dante had worked with the varying crews to get the vessel off this bar, but it still bothered him that it was caught in the first place.

Kendria was in the crows nest, doing pretty much the same thing as Old Beard, only with better range. Olie was in the cabin, with the chart, checking their course while Keran, Meran, and Charlie got the netting ready to deploy.

Keran and Meran were chatting as they worked, some philosophical debate that Meran brought up, probably just to annoy his brother. One of those paradoxical questions, like which came first the chicken or the egg? And of course Keran took the bait every time. Finally Charlie interjected, "Shut up. Please just shut up. He doesn't get it. He'll never get it. It's been four candlemarks. Forget about it. Please!"

The two brothers looked shocked and appalled at their ship mate, then haughtily turned their attention elsewhere, "Well if that's how he's going to be."

Kendria suddenly called from the nest, "Commodore, fish ahead! Five degrees off the starboard bow!"

After a few seconds, Old Beard confirmed it. "Aye Commodore. The Albatross flies true!" That was Dante's nickname for Kendria, little albatross. She'd stowed away on her ship, and against the advice of his shipmates he kept her on, which turned out to be the luckiest thing he could have done as her father was a merman that had shown up in force to sink Dante's vessel because her father thought Dante was kidnapping her. Had anything happened to Kendria Dante had no doubt the Majesty would've been sunk.

Dante's heart started to race, as it always did then there were fish spotted, and he cranked the wheel to the right. Olie appeared from the cabin, his mouth full of food, and joined Meran, Keran and Charlie in net deploying. Old Beard and the brothers moved to drop the anchor, while Kendria monkeyed down the main mast rigging and helped Olie and Charlie send out the fishing nets. They were mounted on large poles that were attached to the hull at the top and swiveled out with the nets on them. Once full they could be swung back over the center of the deck, where there was an opening for the hull.

As the anchor dropped the crew of the Majesty went to work like a well oiled machine. They knew each other well and knew what they were supposed to do. Things were going well this brightening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kala's eyes widened and she jumped a little as the baby started it's shadow boxing tournament in Niven's womb. She giggled, silently of course, putting her free hand to her mouth.

In response to Niven's statement she queried, "Dante won't mind?"

Kala put her hands to her cheeks in mock dismay at Niven saying she'd spoil her babies, "Favorite Auntie Niven!" She then nodded vigorously at the invitation to feed Trigg.

Kala could tell what Niven was thinking and made a worried face like, "I don't have to muck that out do I?"

As Niven made to converse with the treant, Illianthe; Kala bowed formally to them both and silently made her way back inside to start cleaning the house. Niven found her in the study dusting the books and furniture and wiping off the window seals and the walls. She turned at Niven's question. "Now if you wish," was written on the slate.

Kala quickly put the cleaning supplies away and grabbing a basket and her cloak, met Niven by the front door, ready when she was.
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Old November 8, 2017, 10:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Niven was watching Kala and laughed out loud at her surprise at the baby kicks. "It's not always so active, but now with the sugars from the fruit I ate, it should be much more so for a little while." She looked lovingly down at her stomach. "It's a magical feeling, really. It doesn't hurt, or at least not very often. And it's not usually a bother, except when I'm trying to sleep. It seems to find that the perfect time to be as active as possible."

Kala's question was fair, but Niven was ready for it. "Not if he know's what's good for him," she said, raising herself into a queenly pose. The elfess didn't really think her husband would have an issue with it. Dante hadn't before they were married, she couldn't imagine he would now. If he did.... well, he'd have her to deal with on that score.

It amused Niven how easily Kala could read her. Years of practice she supposed. That and almost anything she thought was written all over her face. "No no!" she laughed. "I wouldn't dream of it. You do enough, this is not your task." She looked back at the stall. "No, it's mine," she said with a sigh.

If she was honest, while the work wasn't necessarily fun, Niven generally enjoyed the care that came with having her noble steed. Her bond with Trigg was special and she liked giving him a clean space to live and spending the time grooming and riding him. She would have to pass a lot of those tasks on for a while and most likely to a most unwilling person. This saddened her.

Niven nodded when Kala said she was good to go right then. She inhaled sharply and then said, "I'll meet you at the front, yes? I just need to take care of something..." Running up the stairs to her room Niven could be heard mumbling something about not finding being kicked in the bladder very amusing.

Once she had relieved herself, she returned to the foyer where she found Kala waiting for her. "Ok, let's go!" she said to her with a smile. As she closed the door behind her, she could here Juno's whine as he was not invited for the journey.

The market wasn't necessarily far, but it wasn't exactly close due to the house being out of town. Niven enjoyed the jaunt, though. Being cooped up in the house wasn't her idea of fun and it felt really good to get out. It occurred to her that this might be something that happened more infrequently as her pregnancy progressed, so she should enjoy it while it lasted.

Niven obviously had never been pregnant before, but it was a little surprising to her how big she had gotten already. Granted, she was quite slight normally, so maybe this wasn't abnormal? Or perhaps it was the mix of dracon blood that made the baby bigger? Either way, whatever the reason, she felt huge and tired easily. She did her best to hide it from Kala, knowing that the draconess would either make her return home or tell Dante who would not be happy with her later. As protective of her as he had been before, Dante was at least a hundredfold more now. But Niven didn't want to go home, she wanted to be out. As tired as it made her, it felt good to walk. She supposed the risk of a lecture later was worth it.

Hoping to keep Kala distracted from her present condition, Niven decided to strike up a conversation. "So, what is it we need to get today?"
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Old November 9, 2017, 12:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Kala laughed at the activity from the baby, nodding excitedly as Niven explained about her trials and experiences of being pregnant. Kala was getting mooney eyed and was obviously going to want to be a mama some brightening. She made an "Awwwww" face as Niven explained how magical it was, then put her hand over her mouth as if she was giggling at the mention of the baby being the most active in the middle of the night.

Kala then, smiling, drew a crown on her slate and held it up to Niven's forehead after Niven explained poor Dante's fate if he had a problem with Kala eating with the family.

Out in the stall Kala's face went flat. She took the pitch fork, gave Niven an eye roll that spoke volumes in it's own right and headed to the manure pile that was Trigg's pen. She then gave Niven a look that said, "Try to shovel this in your condition and what Dante will do to you will seem like a vacation compared to what I will do."

Kala shook her head grinning to herself as Niven raced up the steps. She was ready and waiting by the front door and gave her friend a sympathetic smile as Niven walked up. Which quickly changed to a smile and a nod.

They walked out the door, Kala holding it open for Niven, then securing it behind them. The morning was crisp, but not cold at least for Niven the elven incubator. Kala had her cloak over her head and shoulders that kept the goosebumps from forming on her arms. Not that it was difficult for a mute, but Kala allowed Niven her walk in speculative silence for as long as the actual elven woman wished. She had a pensive look on her face, and the draconess didn't want to interrupt Niven's musings.

Instead she did as she always did, enjoying the smell of the sea air, the feel of the sun on her face and the sounds of nature, birds chirping, insects calling, ect.

Once Niven spoke, Kala turned with a smile. She pulled out her slate and presented the list to Niven of basic food stuffs that they replace regularly for lack of refrigeration. Also on the list was some other goods, such as fabric, thread, and buttons. They also needed to arrange delivery for feed for Trigg and to find a replacement pitcher for the one that Chariras accidentally broke when Juno jumped at him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"MAN OVERBOARD!" Old Beard yelled as Dante hit the water a split second after Kendria. As the net full of fish had been swung back around to be dumped in the hold, Kendria had had to quickly step out of the way. Unfortunately the moist deck was a little slippery and the woman had taken a bad spill. She had smacked her head on the hull of the ship as she went over the guard rail into the water, because she'd tried to use her feet and knees to hold herself on board. When her head smacked the side however her eyes rolled back and she dropped like a stone.

Dante, being Dante, and having seen the whole thing dove head first after her. Olie quickly took the helm, as Old Beard made a rope seat quick as lightning. Meran, Keran, and Charlie took the end of the rope swing and braced themselves around the mast, lowering it with Old Beard's direction to the water. Dante came back to the surface, holding Kendria's head above water and treading water as best he could. "She's unconscious!" he hollered from the water.

Being careful to keep her head above water Dante quickly put the rope swing under himself and secured him and Kendria to the seat. "Alright! Pull us up!"

"HEAVE LADS!" roared the dwarf.

The three men started pulling the rope, slowly lifting Dante and Kendria from the water. As they reached the railing, Dante gently passed Kendria to Old Beard, who laid her down gentle as a baby on the deck of the ship. Dante grabbed the rail and swung himself over the side allowing the three men to relax. "Hurry and secure that cargo, before there's another accident!"

Dante quickly moved to Kendria's side and checked her vitals. He shifted around on his knees and ran his finger through her mouth, moving her tongue to the side. He then put his lips on hers and breathed, causing the woman's chest to rise and his cheeks to puff out.

"C'mon Girl. I'll take bak ev'ry bad thing I ev'r said 'bout cha," Old Beard said quietly.

Olie kept looking toward Dante, Old Beard, and Kendria; while Keran and Charlie secured the cargo. Meran, just stood there like a lump. It was no secret he had a crush on the girl. If Dante had had time to think about it, he would have been surprised that he hadn't dove over to save her.

"C'mon little albatross. BREATH!" Dante ordered before breathing air into her lungs again.

In what seemed like an eternity for the crew, but was actually only about 10 seconds, Kendria coughed and rolled to her side. She spat salt water onto the deck as Dante sat back on his ankles, still kneeling at her side, and said a silent prayer to Markalin and Mercy; thanking them for letting Kendria live. The whole rest of the crew visibly relaxed and Meran came out of his stupor to quickly join his brother and Charlie in finishing securing the crew.

"Don't scare me like that again! That's an order Little Albatross!" Dante said exasperated, but extremely grateful that she was ok.

Old Beard took a knee and helped Kendria sit up where she winced and immediately put her hand to the back of her head. "That's quite the lump," the old dwarf pointed out. "Ya owe the Commodore yer life little missy," he finished before standing back up and heading to the front of the ship to weigh the anchor.

"Thanks Uncle Dante," she whispered informally, which she only did when the others couldn't hear. Her own voice caused her to wince again.

Dante smiled at her and accessed his vis. He cleared his head and focused healing energy on Kendria, but casting light healing on the lump on her head. "I'm just glad you're ok Albatross," he said with a gentle smile as her eyes widened in amazement when her lump just vanished.

"Old Beard, take us home," he said to the dwarf.

"Aye Commodore," the dwarf responded before bellowing, "OLIE! BACK TO PORT! SET SAIL YOU LOT! FULL SPEED I WANT! We've got to get the Commodore back to his lovely wife!" Old Beard finished with a laugh.

"Aye Captain!" replied the rest of the crew, all grinning, while moving to fulfill Old Beard's commands as Dante just shook his head still smiling. They sure liked to tease him about being married, but they all approved, knowing that Dante was happier than he'd ever been. More than coworkers, these people were family. Dante looked after them and they looked after him.

Kendria giggled as she stood back up from the deck and went back to work. She started scrubbing the deck to get the fish guts and sea water off of it.

Dante stood and climbed up to the crows nest to get some peace and quiet. He sent out the call to Kala, checking in on the two ladies...
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Old November 9, 2017, 08:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Confusion clouded her features as Kala grabbed the pitchfork. "Kala, you don't- Oh, ok!" Niven raised her hands in surrender at the look she got. While Kala went in, Niven lead Trigg out. It was enough that Kala was doing the dirty work, she wasn't going to put her in danger of being kicked.

Tying the horse up outside, Niven came back and grabbed some fresh hay, spreading it around where Kala had cleared out. It was slow work as Kala had the pitchfork, but Niven wasn't about to stand back and do nothing. She would do what she could that wouldn't have Kala and then Dante killing her.

When the job was finished, Niven put Trigg back into his stall. The horse sniffed around and then came up to Kala and nibbled on her shoulder affectionately. Niven grinned and patted his neck. "He likes you," she said. "He's saying thank you." Niven sighed and looked gratefully at her friend. "I want to thank you too," she said softly. "This isn't your job. You won't have to do it again. I will find someone else, even if I have to hire someone else to come do it once a week. But thank you for doing it this brightening."

Niven took a long look at the list. Kala did this every week? Suddenly Niven felt very out of the loop, like she really wasn't as aware as she should be of the needs of her household. Sure, she’d been to the market with Kala before, but she honestly hadn’t really paid much attention to what she did. Usually she had her own reasons for going and focused on that. She looked at Kala with a new appreciation for her. This woman had been taking care of all of them for eras. The fact that she felt that she had to remove herself now and hide away seemed that much more unjust. These thoughts caused tears to well up in her eyes.

Without warning, she gave the draconess a fierce hug. "I really don't know what we'd do without you!" she said, her words muffled as her face was buried in Kala's shoulder. Releasing Kala, Niven stepped back. "I'm sorry," she said, wiping away her tears. “I’m just so grateful for you.”

Niven laughed at her own silliness this wasn’t something to cry over and usually she wouldn’t. She inhaled deeply. These hormones were really doing a number on her.

“Ok,” she exhaled, shaking her blonde head slightly as if to clear it. “The pitcher I know about but fabric, thread, and buttons? What are those for?”
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Old November 12, 2017, 04:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Kala nodded assertively when Niven backed off and let her clean the stall. She smiled gratefully however as the woman led the horse from his stall. Kala did eye Niven suspiciously however as she spread the straw out, making sure that she didn't lift too much at once. Niven, may not be that far along in her pregnancy, but it hadn't escaped the draconess' notice that Niven was appearing farther along than she should have been. There were only two possible reasons for that, either Niven had cheated on Dante before their wedding, which the draconess dismissed with a silly shake of her head, "That was impossible. Not Niven."

The other option was that Niven was carrying more than one child. It wasn't a for sure of course. Kala realized she didn't know Niven's family history on the subject. They could all have carried their babies very forward on their hips, but 'that' forward seemed anatomically unlikely.

Kala tipped her head to the side inquisitively. She gently pet Trigg's nose and put her forehead to the long part of his face. Smiling like someone who really liked horses, she pet his neck and smiled at Niven. It was quite obvious what she was saying, "I really like him too."

Then she turned a little sheepish, almost like a child that's afraid to ask her parent for something. Using hand gestures, a couple head shakes and an expression of interest she indicated what she was after, "Can I ride him sometimes if I clean his stall?"

While at the market...

Kala patiently waited for Niven to look over the list, in case there were any changes to it the lady of the house decided to make. Then her expression changed to one of shock as she was suddenly gripped in a huge bear hug. She patted Niven's back affectionately as she nervously looked about, hoping none of the denizens of Demios were watching them too close.

Stepping back she patted Niven affectionately on the shoulder. "There there" she seemed to say.

She giggled then raised her hand high about as tall as Dante, then brought it down four times, indicating, Niven and the three children that actually wore clothes. She then pointed to a frayed hem on her own dress and just shrugged with a smile. "Clothes needed fixing. Especially with how active the Asunder family was." Niven probably noticed all the patchwork on Dante's clothes. His attire needed regular maintenance just to stay together, nevermind presentable for business dealings.

It was about that moment that one of the stall keepers came over and touched Kala carefully on the shoulder. "You two ladies alright?" She was an older woman, bedecked in typical Demiosian attire. Kala smiled at her and nodded, then turned back to Niven with a tilt of her head, "You?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dante sighed, still too far away for the call to work. "Oh well," he thought. He turned his focus back on the task at hand, pointing out any dangers, or other ships on the horizon. None seemed to be drawing his attention except for his other vessels that were also on their way back to port with their hauls in tow.

Alas jobs were jobs and they tended to not be super exciting when done correctly. That's usually how things went on the Majesty. Smooth sailing and what not. From his perch, Dante just enjoyed the smell of the sea and the feel of the breeze on his face. Deciding that he wanted to be the one steering, he slipped down from the crows nest and switched places with Olie who begrudgingly headed up the mast to the nest while Dante took the helm.
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