Old November 4, 2011, 06:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The pain of betrayal

TS: Tempris 8 Era XVIII Post Fractum

It had been 7 brightenings since the eclipse. Dante had watched it facinated, like most of the rest of the continent, if not the world. He'd been morosely fascinated by the event although he had dismissed it as nothing more than a tortuous lie sent to disrupt the hearts of the masses and lead them astray. Regardless of what occurred he believed squarely in the Goddess of Mercy and nothing he saw in the eclipse changed his opinion of her, especially since he didn't think it was real anyway.

He had insisted that it was nothing more than a hoax, nothing more, and had encouraged his family to go on about their lives as if it had never happened. Then came the announcement from Ovan Hastra. The dracon was shocked. He simply stared at the Herald while flashing between the emotional numbness of disbelief and the growing rage at being betrayed. The dracon immediately stood and left his place of business, heading for home. He needed to see Niven and they needed to decide what they were going to do. The dracon was about to become a fugitive, a fugitive in a country he had fought to protect on multiple occasions, sometimes sent by the betrayer Hastra himself.

The dracon quickly dodged through the back streets of the city he knew so well until he reached the familiar gate of his property. He headed straight inside locking the gate behind himself and then the door as well. As soon as he was inside he roared so she'd be able to hear him from anywhere in the house, "Niven! We've got trouble!"
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Old November 4, 2011, 10:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The eclipse had been something to behold. Niven could hardly believe what her eyes were seeing as the sky tore open, revealing the celestial world and all the gods. The demise of Diana was horrific. The elf didn't know what to expect when she got home and spoke with Dante. But he acted like nothing had happened. She wasn't sure if he was in denial or what was going on. So she laid low and watched and waited.

Now, almost a cycle later, Dante was calling for her. Niven dropped what she was doing and went to the front foyer where Dante was. "What is it? What's wrong?" she asked, the agitation in his voice concerning her. She moved down the stairs to wards him, her feet barely touching the steps.
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Old November 4, 2011, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The dracon realized that Niven was less than satisfied with his assessment of what the Eclipse meant, but he couldn't help it. His faith didn't allow him to believe that Diana was gone, especially not forever, and he still didn't understand enough about what had occurred otherwise to make any qualified judgements yet. There was too much speculation and not enough fact, what had occurred was ridiculousness at best and until he understood it fully he wasn't about to change his life based on it. That said he might no longer have a choice.

His normal joy at seeing his beloved was stunted slightly this brightening by the news unfolding. He saw her practically floating down the steps as a chill suddenly went up his spine. "My house can no longer protect my family from the dangers outside," he thought to himself as the stone walls suddenly appeared to him thin as parchment.

He looked sharply at Niven, not angry at her, but still seething at Ovan. "The Church of Faith has ordered all dracons out of Diana. Their properties will be seized within one cycle. Hastra has betrayed me." A shadow of the night his parents died passed over his face as he looked at the most beautiful woman on Telath and was suddenly terrified at the danger she was in. "We need to get you and the children out of Diana this darkening, if not sooner as I can't see Meeko, Maya, Jar or Kel faring well here anymore either," he replied as serious as Niven had ever seen him.

Looking around suddenly nervous, "Where is Chariras? Are Kala and the kids here? He sent out the call at the same time searching for Kala's familiar signature as well as that of Nelly assuming they were in the house.

The suns were still high in the sky, it not even being midmorning yet, and so the light was bursting through one side of the house while the other side was dark and foreboding. It reminded the Dracon of the dark dual nature of the world in which they lived.
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Old November 6, 2011, 12:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The look on Dante's face was one she'd seen before, a few times, and there was no mistaking it. He was angry. Niven was just grateful that this time it wasn't in her direction. However it didn't bode well for their conversation that he was starting it already angry.

The news hit Niven like a ton of bricks. She just stood there looking stupidly at Dante, "No… No, that can't be. Diana is a safe place for dracons. The church…" Niven stammered as she finally found her voice. "… The church wouldn't do that." Niven knew even as she said it, that it was a lie. They had to react to what the entire world saw. She had only hoped for better. Especially for Dante. The goddess had created a refuge for his race. With her out of the picture it only made sense that things would go back to how they were before she was queen. The dracons no longer had their patron goddess and were going to pay for her demise. Niven wondered if this might make Dante rethink his stance on what happened during the Eclipse. But at this moment they had bigger problems.

"This darkening?! Dante, I don't know if we can get ready that fast. You're asking all of us to pack up our lives here. We're not coming back. When we prepare for a move to a different house in a different city it takes brightenings, not candlemarks!" Niven exclaimed. She understood his urgency, but he needed to understand the enormity of the task he was asking from her, from all of them.

Dante started to get nervous and asked after Chariras and the other children. "The children are at Grammaticus and Schola and won't be back until later. Chariras is out in the garden with Kala," Niven said, waiving her hand distractedly in the direction of their nanny and youngest. "Dante, what does this mean? What's going to happen to the business? The house? The restaurant? I mean, can we sell them? What are our options?"

oocWhat's going on with Meeko? We've mostly been playing without her. Is that thread finished? Spider or girl?
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Old December 2, 2011, 12:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Dante's anger was palpable, like a thickness to the air, his fear for his family however was similar to a cold chill up the spine. He looked at his beloved with a serious, firm, and unrelenting look as he saw her come to the realization that not only 'would' the church banish a race from one of it's cities, but that they already had. His lips snarled in disgust at the thought of the institution that he had once supported, even defended on occasion. With a snarl of irritation he ripped the church of faith robe from his person. He glared at it as if it were an enemy, gripping its torn remnant contemplating the situation he was in as Niven voiced her complaints.

With a quick turn toward her, almost like a whip snap his eyes narrowed. He knew their situation wasn't her fault. She and the kids were the one ray of sunshine in his life right now, but that said his temper was already kindled and it took a conscious reining it in to keep from snapping at her. Finally he took a deep breath and thought about the monumental task that was before them both. "We need to get the children home now. Last time the church did something this asinine there was a riot. Dozens died. We can't just trust them to be safe."

He looked out the window, toward the sky hoping to see his Goddess standing there smiling, giving him comfort as always, "I'm not sure. The church will confiscate everything and I'm sure if we tried to sell it we'd get pennies on the crown to what it is worth. Besides..." his snarl turned to a growl, deep and sinister. "I'd rather raze it all to the ground then let those treacherous whoresons have anything of ours." The flames of his mother's death burned in his eyes, although this time it was Ovan and his band of treacherous supporters he was seeing burn rather than she.

Then a terrifying thought struck him, like a crossbow bolt to the heart. She could walk away from this. She was only in danger because she was with him. She could be safe. Although deep down he wanted her with him always, alright not that deep down necessarily. That emotion pretty much filled his whole being. Instead there was a part of him that was willing to send her away so that she could be safe.

"Perhaps..." his voice trailed off as he tried to voice the thought. She had to be safe, his Niven had to be safe. He'd already failed his mother, his first love in Tyrsvale, Hatorania, not to mention the dozens he promised to protect as he tried to help people only to fail. He couldn't be responsible for the death of Niven. It would kill him, possibly literally, for depression can make one do terrible things "Perhaps you should leave me. At least then..." he choked up as the anger had melted away and only sorrow remained "at least then you'd be safe." His eyes were as big as dinner plates as he looked at her with nothing but love for her in them. To Dante death wasn't the ultimate sacrifice, it was denying oneself being with the person they loved so that they could be safe. How could he be so selfish to the woman he loved more than his own life by asking her to go through this nightmare with him?

Shortly Kala came into the house carrying Chariras. The boy was complaining about not being able to play outside more, his blonde locks bouncing as he gave Kala his angry face and she carried him inside. He suddenly lost his train of thought as he saw his father and the boy started squirming to get down, "Daddy! You are here!"

Kala's elven seeming features were riddled with concern, her eyes wide. She looked back and forth between Dante and Niven, seeing them in conversation, then nodding once to something that passed between she and Dante with the call, pulled Chariras out of the room again. The sound of her footfalls heading toward the kitchen.

Dante's eyes hadn't left Niven's in the whole exchange with Chariras and Kala as he'd used the call to communicate with the draconess entirely.
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Old December 2, 2011, 02:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Niven bit her bottom lip as Dante tore his robes off his body and shredded them. At any other time she might have found it amusing that he was standing in front of her half naked. But this was not the time for humour.

Dante's sharp turn and angry look made Niven feel 2 inches tall. She knew his anger wasn't directed at her, but he was still volatile at this moment. However what she had to say was valid. It was impossible to get so much done in so little time. The three youngest especially would take extra time to as they wouldn't be able to discern and discriminate between what was a 'need to bring' and what was a 'want to bring' and would need someone to help them. He demanded the children be brought home immediately and Niven nodded. "If that's what you wish, I will speak with Kala. We will get them home and get started on packing," she said, softly. She was not about to argue with him further.

However, Niven didn't move right that moment. She still needed her questions answered. Dante's replies were not what she'd hoped for, but what she'd expected. She nodded sagely. The growl sent a chill down her spine and she had no doubt that Dante meant that he would rather burn everything then let the church have it. However she hoped that he wouldn't.

Niven took a deep breath in and turned to leave to find Kala and Chariras when Dante spoke again. She stopped and looked back at him, waiting for him to finish his thought. Then she wished he hadn't.

Now it was Niven's turn to be angry. Her normally soft jade eyes hardened to a harsh emerald and flashed with anger. "Enough!" she said, her voice low and in a growl of it's own. "I'm not having this conversation with you again! I am not going anywhere! My place is here. With you. With the children. How can you even think that I would leave?! Do you not know me at all?! What do I have to do to reassure you that I'm not going to run? Move in with you? Tell you I love you? Fight beside you to protect our family? Spend month after month, brightening after brightening loving and giving everything i am and have to you and those wonderful children, loving every moment and knowing that being away from any of you would be as painful as ripping my beating heart from my chest?" Tears of anger mixed with hurt flowed down the elf's cheeks. She walked until she was standing right in front of him, her own eyes filled with pain and searching his. She found love in them, but she didn't know what to think anymore.

At that moment, Kala returned with Chariras and Niven couldn't bring herself to look at them. She wouldn't allow Chariras to see her cry, so she looked at her feet. They were there for only a few moments before Niven heard them move off again. The elf moved her head slightly to see Kala's retreating form with Chariras, but didn't look up. Niven was just at a loss. She stood like that for a moment before she gathered her resolve, brushed the tears off her face with her hand, and looked back up squarely into Dante's eyes, the look in her own one of defiance. "If we have to leave, then I should go start packing Chariras and the little girls," she said, her voice strong and firm. There was no more room for argument. She wouldn't entertain anymore of this leaving nonsense. It simply wasn't going to happen. "You can go speak to Kala about getting the other children home. However, I suggest you dress first."

Turning on her heel, Niven marched up the stairs towards Chariras' room.
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Old December 3, 2011, 10:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dante turned to look at Niven with a look of intensity, more than anything at her response to his proposal of her leaving. His muscled torso heaved with the large amount of air he was inhaling, while trying to control whatever emotion it was he was experiencing. His eyes were sparkling, his wings flared out to the side, every muscle on his body tense and rippling. He stood in front of her, towering over her looking down with an intense seriousness.

Looking at her beautiful, feminine, powerful, defiant face Dante stated, "Then marry me." He didn't let her turn away, taking her firmly by the shoulders, letting one hand slip to her face and pulling her eyes to his if he needed to because she wouldn't look at him. "Marry me Niven Soliel," he stated more softly as he dropped to one knee and removed his father's signet ring he'd had since that fateful night long ago. He took her hand in his free one and slipped it on the ring finger of her left hand. "If you weren't with me I would die. I never wanted you to leave," he explained as he gently wiped a tear from her face. "I only wanted you to be safe. You are more important to me than my own life 'avatar of my heart'. I don't care what anyone else has to say about it. Just say you'll marry me."

Still looking into her eyes, as much as she would let him, "I wanted to create a perfect evening to ask you this, but we don't live in a perfect world. I don't want to take the chance of not asking you this and refuse to let this world of turmoil keep me from showing you how I feel about you." He looked at her with love in his eyes to the point of near tears, "I'm a fugitive now, my property will be either sold or seized and I'll probably lose my title. I don't think your family would or could publicly give me their blessing, but I no longer care. The rules of the world have been changed. If you can still accept me in such a world then marry me Niven Soliel and regardless of what comes I'll feel like the luckiest being in Telath."
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Old December 4, 2011, 01:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Then marry me."

The words didn't register, though she heard them. Dante grabbed her shoulders, pulling her towards him, one of his hands then moving to caress her face. Niven moved as if her body was a separate entity from her mind. Her jade eyes simply stared into his as she tried to get a grip on her reeling thoughts. Her anger melted away and shock took over.

Then he said it again.

'"Marry me, Niven Soliel."

This time it registered and Niven's eyebrows raised as he repeated the one of the most important questions he would ever ask her. Dante took her hand and went down on one knee and Niven lost all control of her emotions. She began to cry anew, but this time tears of joy mixed with surprise and an overwhelming rush of love for the dracon in Eshlahier-seeming before her. He took out a ring and took her hand and slipped in onto her finger. He started to explain why he said she should go. She couldn't even speak, all her words were gone and any that her mind could form got caught in her throat as she cried. Dante reached up to wipe her tears from her face and that only made her cry harder. He kept explaining and she kept crying. She just couldn't believe this was all happening. It was so surreal. She'd hoped it would happen one brightening, Dante had said it would happen one brightening, but she never expected in millions of patterns of eras that this brightening would be the one.

Dante started talking about how he'd wanted to make the time he asked her perfect, but it was impossible because of the imperfect world and he didn't want that to keep him from expressing his love for her and Niven just smiled as she continued to cry. He expounded on what was going on now, with him being unwelcome because of his race and most likely losing everything. He expressed again that he wanted to have her family's blessing, but he didn't think that they'd give it. All he cared about was if she would be his wife.

Niven couldn't help herself. She took his face in both of her hands and leaned down and kissed him passionately and with all the love she had within her. She didn't care that he didn't have a title. She didn't care that his race was being chased out of the city. She didn't care if her family had an issue with their relationship. She did care for him and that was all that mattered to her.

Still crying, Niven managed to get out a "Yes."
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Old December 4, 2011, 01:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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At first Dante couldn't read her reaction. He hadn't planned his proposal to be now, but the timing, due to the nature of what was occurring seemed not right, but necessary. She didn't even seem to register what he said at first. Then she started to cry again. It was so close on the heels of her being angry with him that it took longer than it should have for Dante to realize that she was actually crying from joy.

Everything he said after the proposal seemed to deflect off of her as if it wasn't important, not in some rude way, but because she'd already made up her mind. He hadn't needed to sell her on this, or even explain the dangers. She knew them, lived them. The fact that she was still around spoke volumes more than any library could hold.

When she cupped his face in her hands and pulled herself into a kiss he rose from his knee to return said kiss, lifting her off her feet as he did so and putting one arm under her knees while the other was at her mid back so he could hold her more comfortably. Her yes sent his already racing heart off on its second wind and made him spin her about with a grace that only a dagger combatant could manage. "I love you Niven," he whispered between kisses.

"When should we do this?" he queried wanting to set the plan in stone as soon as possible so she'd know how sincere he was about the marriage. He hoped she didn't say she wanted to wed in Diana, because aside from the memories of another wedding here, there were also the issues of a dead Goddess and his race's banishment to worry about. "We could wed in Jaedaxia if you want, or Demios, or..." he stopped and thought about it again "...well anywhere."
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Old December 4, 2011, 03:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In a swift movement, Niven was off the floor and in Dante's arms. He acquiesce to his proposal made him spin her and she started to laugh through her tears, a purely joyful laugh. She resumed kissing him when he was finished. He whispered that he loved her and Niven couldn't help from grinning.

Dante switched gears and started making plans. He wanted to know when and where they should make it official. Diana didn't even cross her mind as a possibility, especially considering the notice of eviction the dracons were all given. Jaedaxia didn't sound overly appealing though it might be nice to have a good memory to associate with the city. Demios would be lovely. The elf simply laughed and shook her blond head. "I don't care, Dante. Right at this moment I don't care."

Niven couldn't help but smile, and even though she was happier right at this moment then she'd ever been in her entire existence, the situation they were in was a serious one. Truly the family would be 'theirs'. Sure, Niven and Dante already considered the family belonging to both of them, but now it really would be true. The kids that Niven loved more then life itself would finally be hers as well. And she needed to protect them. No, Dante had been right earlier, they needed to get out of there as soon as possible, not only for Dante's sake, but for Nelly's. The poor little draconess had enough insecurities and frustrations with her race. This was going to be a complete nightmare for her. Niven would do everything she could to protect her little girl.

"Dante, I love you so much. And I want to marry you with everything that is within me," she said, her heart still full but her logic winning over, "But I think that we should deal with one major life change at a time. We need to focus on getting this church situation sorted out. When we get out of here to someplace safe, and things settle to a more manageable level, then I think we should talk about a wedding." The elf leaned in and kissed her now fiancÚ.

"Where did you think we should go? Where can we go where we'll be safest?" She asked him.
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Old December 4, 2011, 01:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Dante was in a stupor of euphoria. His world seemed to be crashing down around him, but this one light, this powerful emotion of love had burned through the darkness, fear and uncertainty to make him ecstatically happy. He still had her in his arms, and he didn't want to put her down, wouldn't put her down. She was his and he wanted her as close to him as possible. Her affirmation that she'd marry him as soon as possible caused his grin to grow wider if that was possible, although the kissing would make it difficult to tell.

Her next words were logically sound however, but he did have one proviso; "I don't think this issue with the church will be 'resolved' quickly. So as soon as 'we've' settled down, not everything, I'd like to marry. Alright? I'm already mad enough at the church. Aetheria help them if they keep me from marrying the woman I love." Although the statement as said in jest to keep the happiest moment in his life 'light' there was definite seriousness to it. He kissed the most beautiful lips on Telath again still smiling sincerely.

Still holding her he nodded at her question, "I think the best option for right now is Jaedaxia. It's close, the church doesn't have a strong presence there, and I have ships that can get us away to somewhere else quickly if need be. I don't think we should 'stay' there, but I'll sell my property there then we can head to Demios. I don't want to... sell our Demios home, but we should probably sell the business there. What do you think?" He had too many happy memories in Demios, and besides they could always use a summer home. It would be dangerous to go there if the church was 'hunting' him, but hopefully not for Niven and the kids.

Nelly he was unsure of, but one thing was certain he had to teach her to change her form now. He'd been delaying because he didn't want her to go through the painful transformation and she hadn't been expressing and interest, but now the need was vital.
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Old December 4, 2011, 04:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Kissing him back, Niven said, "No, I didn't mean that the church issue would be resolved. I meant that once we've gotten us, the family, somewhat settled and sorted then," she paused, smiling, "Then we'll get married. I want our wedding to be a happy memory, something we can all enjoy with a bit of leisure."

"Jaedaxia?" Niven looked doubtful. "You really think thats our best option first? You haven't let the children go there in eras and, to be frank and honest, I'm not too sure I'm entirely eager to go back there myself." She didn't have to explain her hesitation any further. Dante knew full well her experiences in that city.

The elf nodded as he expressed his desire to sell off the property there and then to head to Demios. At them mention of Demios, Niven perked up. Her smile quickly faded as he considered selling the house there and she shook her head to the negative. "No, I don't want to sell the house there. The business is yours and you know how to deal with it best. But the house…. The house is special." There weren't enough words to express how much she loved their home in Demios. She had so many happy memories with Dante and with the children. She was sure they'd be just as devastated if they were to never be able to go back there. Plus, Niven had to return Ilianthe to her kind at some point and the Weaver's Woods were the little treant's home.

A different thought came to her mind and a smile played on her lips, but at the same time she was a little melancholy. "We have to tell the kids. Not just about this, but about leaving. How… I mean, should we wait to tell them our happy news or maybe wait until a bit later? It will be a lot for them to process just having to leave so quickly."
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Old December 4, 2011, 05:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Dante held Niven close as she explained what she meant. He closed his eyes resting his forehead against hers, grateful that they understood one another in regards to the wedding timing. Smiling and turning to look deep into her beautiful creamy jade eyes he replied, "Niven the brightening we wed will be the happiest I've ever known, regardless of anything else that happens because I'll be wed to you."

Dante nodded at her concern regarding the gift of the Empire. "I don't plan on us being their long my love. Just until the end of the month at most. We go there, I sell my property, we move on to Demios. Sound good?" He tipped his head to the side waiting for her answer, although he wasn't very patient and had to kiss her again if she took to long. "I wouldn't ask you to go at all if I didn't think it was important that we stick together."

Dante nodded, glad they were of the same mind set. He wouldn't be able to visit much, at least not as himself presumably, but he couldn't just sell it. Not to mention it wasn't as if dracons had been banished from there. It was just Diana the city that was having issues. He suddenly had an idle wonder about whether they'd change the city's name. "Perhaps we shouldn't tell them about the why? Maybe we should wait until we get to Demios. We could tell them that you and I are going to go traveling and that we want them to come with us. Then once we get to Demios we can tell them?" He didn't really believe the words when he said them. The Heirarch's announcement was too big to keep from them, but he didn't want them scared either. All his kids had troubled pasts, every last one, and Dante wanted to spare them as much pain as possible.

"Why not tell them that we are going, but not tell them why yet? Maya, Jar and Kel could understand and we could tell them separately later, but the little ones? I don't want to scare Nelly. Imagine being a little girl thinking that the whole city is after you? Not something you want to subject a kid to right?" He waited patiently for Niven's further input. She seemed much more knowledgeable about such things, at least more than he.
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Old December 6, 2011, 12:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The elf smiled as their foreheads touched and she replied, "Me too." Niven couldn't believe that she was so fortunate to have such an amazing man to love who was just as in love with her as she was with him. It had been about one and a half era's that they'd been together and it was the happiest time of her life. And hopefully before the next was up, she'd belong to him.

Nodding at his plans to only stay in Jaedaxia for a short time, Niven felt better about the idea. It was a shame that the gift to the Empire had more or less gone to the dogs. The estate was beautiful there and it was a shame to have to sell it, but it was in their best interest. It would give them a good amount to put towards starting over somewhere they weren't known.

Shaking her head at Dante's proposal about what to tell the kids, Niven said, "No, I'll be surprised it they don't hear about it on the way home. This is public news. If they don't then I think we can just tell them that the city is no longer a place that we need to be and we've decided to leave sooner rather than later. If you think we should tell the older kids. then I'm on board. However, I think that the time to tell Nelly is not until we are far far away from here. You're right, we shouldn't scare her. This is a scary situation and as it affects her the most out of all the children, she will have to be told. But if we are removed from the immediate danger, I think she'll take it better." Niven truly believed Nelly would take the news better outside of Diana. However the margin of "better" was small.
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Old December 6, 2011, 12:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Dante sighed happily, holding Niven close. All the rest of Telath could go to Aeternia as far as he was concerned. At this point his family, Niven, and himself were all that mattered. With a smile he kissed her forehead, still holding her in his arms.

A look of curiosity crossed his face, "Perhaps..." he started his brow furrowing. "Perhaps I'm dreaming?" Just to make sure he pinched Niven's backside with his closest hand, just to obtain empirical evidence of course.

Once her 'realness' was established he turned his attention to their conversation regarding explaining things to the kids. "Maybe, with all that's happened we should try a new tactic? We could just tell them that we have to leave and the why, although we'll keep Nelly out of it at first. She'll stay with me until we leave and then we'll explain to her the whole situation later? What do you think?"
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