Docstoc

The Hall of Imladris IIb

Document Sample
The Hall of Imladris IIb Powered By Docstoc
					The Hall of Imladris IIb

Ro came through the door grinning, Rhagi's shriek setting his emerald green's all aglow. "There is
Atto's boy!" he said in a delighted tone, "I couldn't let my birthday go by without seeing you, now
could I? Suilad Mak." He ruffled the blond Elen's hair, and then held his hands out for his son. "Suilad
Ghet," he grinned.
<BR>
<BR>
Willow had watched the interchange between Athena and Callan with interest, then watching her
disappear out the door and into the trees. Memories could do a number to one’s feelings. Her thoughts
drifted back to Drake.
<BR>
<BR>

It was time for them to head back to their cottage. She stood there leaning against the door of the Hall,
twisting the pendant that hung around her neck. Drake had given this to her when she had agreed to
marry him and she knew from that day forward, when he put in on her, she would never take it off.
<BR>
<BR>

Carefully she made her way over to him trying to dodge the snowballs that Flake continued to toss.
Slipping her arm around his she looked up at him with a twinkle in her eye, “It’s time for us to go.”
<BR>
<BR>

Watching An’Thaya slip out, Kaelie realized she still hadn’t given her the birthday gift. She went over
to the gift table and placed it there, knowing that she’d open the rest of the gifts eventually.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she headed over to see Mystical before she left. Not remembering if she had met her before or
not, she introduced herself, “Suilad, I’m Kaelie,” Holding out the package, she smiled, “Happy
Birthday!”
<BR>
<BR>

Mira smiled softly at Y'Roden, "You're very welcome, <I>Draush'ke'</I>, very welcome..." Mira's
eyes flicked from Y'Roden to Bran, her spine stiffening slightly at the bittersweet look on Y'Roden's
face, and the cool distance in her husband's eyes. Mira had never pressed anyone for details, not even
Bran. The Dragon-elf paused to consider Arianne for a moment.... Honestly had Bran ever been
unfaithful, Mira would no doubt find the coin of her blood falling on the Black dragon side...something
she had no doubt would happen to Silverthorn, relatively speaking, of course.
<BR>
<BR>

Jade eyes narrowed slightly at Y'Roden going to wish Rhagi goodbye, then shifted to Silverthorn.
Something never quite added up in all this to Mira...and the dragon-elf could find more holes in their
story than in a sponge, and unlike a sponge, the story simply didn't hold water.
<BR>
<BR>

"Bran? I think its time we left, love." Mira slipped an arm around Bran's waist, "<I>And I think its time
we talked...Any place in particular? </I>" Her tone would allow for no waffling on her husband's part,
and it was the tone she took with Muirne, Caolan, and even her nephews and niece when she would
have the whole story from them after some spectacular bit of mischief.
<BR>
<BR>

Mira knew Bran's desire to protect his sister, and knew from whence it came...but something wasn't
right here...and Mira couldn't let this continue any longer.
<BR>
<BR>

Callan's ice blue eyes watched the Silver Lady leave, his blood pulling for a moment, then seeming to
snap back. "How...unsettling." Callan had no better way to explain what had just happened, between
Athena and An'Thaya, the Dragon was thoroughly...surprised.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're welcome, both of you." Callan leaned over and planted a gentle kiss on top of An'Thaya's head,
and slid his soul against Agaru's.
<BR>
<BR>

"Happy Hatch day, An'Thaya D'Riel Alcarin and Agaru'loki, Empress of the Diirlathe. Happy Hatch
day..."
<BR>
<BR>

And it was time to leave....
<BR>
<BR>

"I think its time I slipped out, love..." Callan looked at An'Thaya, but addressed the Crimson within as
'love'. Come to me when you're ready."
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet smiled and held Rhagi out, swinging him slightly. "Here, catch! Kidding..." She caught the boy
herself on the upswing, making him giggle again, and handed him to Y'Roden. Then she took a step
backwards and rolled her eyes at Mak.


"Look, see, two seconds and they've both forgotten I'm here. A girl could get a complex, especially if
she didn't have sweet strapping young men to flirt with her. Ro, I was just telling Mak how you stopped
being such a slut and settled down as a responsible family man. And my point was actually that this
was a good thing, just in case you were wondering."
<BR>
<BR>

Her tone was light, but her eyes were shining as she watched her son and his father together. It was a
sight she never tired of, or at least she never got the chance.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're right" Bran said, replying to both of Mira's statements. He looked across at his sister, noting
the slight signs of strain in her gaze, but he said nothing. He had already asked her what was wrong on
several occasions and each time she had either denied it or, when pressed, simply refused to tell him.
"Take care, 'nasse" the fair-haired elf said softly. "Namaarie."
<BR>
<BR>

Turning to his wife, he hugged her and then opened up a silvery portal beside them. <I>"The cabin
okay with you?" </I>he enquired as he guided her through. Somehow he thought they might need a
little peace and quiet for this conversation. Silently the portal closed behind them.
<BR>
<BR>

"Namaarie, toror'" Silverthorn murmured softly as the portal closed behind her brother and his wife.
For a second her gaze flicked towards the stairs leading to the rooms above and then, without saying a
word, she headed outside.
<BR>
<BR>

"Fechine, Keira. Time to go" she called.
<BR>
<BR>

The boy raced over to her, emerald eyes gleaming, his chestnut hair as dishevelled as always. "I got
Daro Galain with a snowball, and Cully, and..." he said, almost bouncing in his enthusiastic excitement.
<BR>
<BR>

The dark-haired elf smiled slightly, rumpling his hair with one hand. "I'm glad you had fun, yondo.
Where's Keira?"
<BR>
<BR>

"She's saying goodbye to Flake" Fechine explained. The tiger gave the little elf one big lick with her
raspy tongue and then bounded over towards the pair.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ready to go?" Silverthorn asked. A shimmering silver portal opened up beside them. "Remember
GrandAmil Se'Liene is looking after you all tonight so I want you to be good for her."
<BR>
<BR>

"We will" Fechine promised. Keira nodded vigorously.
<BR>
<BR>

His mother smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "Okay then. Off you go."
<BR>
<BR>

She watched them step through the portal. As it closed behind them she leaned back against the wall of
the Hall. There was a distant expression in her jade green eyes as if she wasn't really seeing the
woodland scenery before her. Instead the look in her brother's eyes kept playing through her mind.
Why did everything have to be so difficult these days? There was a time when she could have lied to
Bran without compunction, and she had done so. Why then was this one untruth so hard? It was odd,
she thought, that whilst she had no problem with him thinking badly of her, the fact that her brother
thought badly of Ro hurt... especially when what he thought wasn't true. But there was also no way she
could ever tell him the truth either.
<BR>
<BR>

"Pardon?" Ro only half heard Ghet over Rhagi's delighted squeals and unerring ability to grab the
fringe between his eyes. He blew a raspberry on the boys belly and the child giggled madly, letting go
of his Father's hair in the process. "Works every time," the half-elf snickered. "Have you been a good
boy for Mummy? Of course you have. Look at you!"
<BR>
<BR>

He looked over the top of his son's reddish blond head at Ghet and grinned, "Well, I tend to think it is a
good thing. Course, I still manage to garner all sorts of intense glares from people. Some things never
change."
<BR>
<BR>
His attention focused back on Rhagi who was making the web a little crazy in his excitement. "Calm
down you, every D'Riel on the web is going to be holding their head between their hands and wincing."
It was said amidst laughter though and a game of tickle the baby commenced, which seemed to go over
rather well.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak winced when his Daro ruffled his hair, but then was grinning as he watched father and son. He
tilted his head, thinking over Ghet's words and laughing as the baby went crazy from the tickle game.
<BR>
<BR>

"Everyone's leaving... maybe I should go say good-bye to whomever's still left." He leaned in to kiss
Ghetsuhm on the cheek before he daringly ruffled his uncle's hair and tweaked little Rhagi's nose.
<BR>
<BR>

"Turnabout's fair play," he told his uncle with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

Adarin had been watching the snowball fight from a window, figuring that was the safest way to
spectate such a "battle". He'd been waiting for Tay to break away from the others as the party wound
down and turned, watching her head toward him, a smile that was only for her lighting his face.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was hopping around, frantically trying to shovel snow out of his trousers.
<BR>
<BR>

"This is why parents eat their young!" He exclaimed before he suddenly lurched into Cully and dragged
his son into the snow where he promptly rubbed Cully's face with the icy cold stuff.
<BR>
<BR>

"Eat that! HA!" Galain shouted gleefully, not aware that their opponents were being gathered together
and heading home. He was just quite happily lost in the fun of the moment.
<BR>
<BR>

"It is? And here I was just thinking they must get hungry or something," Cully retorted, then gasped as
he got a face full of snow. It was an all out grudge match now. Snow flew in a little flurry as the young
elf wrestled his father down and made the strangest snow-angel on record as he shoved snow into his
vest.
<BR>
<BR>

</I>I will, </I> Agaru answered her mate, <I>I promise, soon my love. </I>
<BR>
<BR>

Meanwhile, An'Thaya had scampered into Adarin's embrace and kissed him. "I suppose you have to get
back to Alcarinque, don't you," she sighed, laying her head on his chest.
<BR>
<BR>
"Miscreant," Ro accused his nephew in an affectionate tone, "And yes, it is." He winked at the young
elf, then laughed as Rhagi's chubby little fist latched on to Mak's finger. "Ok, let go of Cousin Mak
now, there is a good boy. I think he wants to tweak your nose back, turn about being fair play and all."
<BR>
<BR>

It was probably more of a snow demon that Galain might have been making as he flailed about, trying
to escape his son. He twisted about and flipped Cully onto his back and proceeded to bury him under
the snow as fast as he could, laughing wildly as he did so.
<BR>
<BR>

Grudge match indeed!
<BR>
<BR>

Adarin kissed the top of Tay's head and chuckled.
<BR>
<BR>

"I took the day off. So I don't have to go back to Alcarinque until tomorrow. Or the day after that.
Heck, I'm the King, I'll go back when I'm good and ready." He laughed and wrapped his arms around
the Amazon and swayed with her a little bit.
<BR>
<BR>

"Can I wish you happy birthday again?" He whispered, rather content to just hold her at the moment."
<BR>
<BR>

"Well he can't have my nose. Nor my finger. Strong little bugger," Mak replied before he dove in and
kissed Rhagi's cherub cheek. "Okay, I'll go now. Maybe snag some birthday cake and head for home.
Happy Birthday, Daro."
<BR>
<BR>

He saluted Ghet and Y'Roden, made a face for Rhagi and headed out of the room and back down the
stairs.
<BR>
<BR>

"Goodbye, Mak," Ghet said, smiling. "You come and see us any time you want."
<BR>
<BR>

That left her alone with Rhagi and Ro, something that always made her skin prickle a bit. Not because
of anything they felt, but because of the weight of all the thoughts and feelings of other people. Then
she looked at her son with his father and just knew, the joy and the love they both felt was so great and
so pure, everyone else could just put up with it. They needed to be together sometimes.
<BR>
<BR>

"That's a trick I'll have to remember," she said quietly. "He's always grabbing fistfuls of my hair and
not letting go. Hasn't he grown? I have to take his clothes shopping again. You should..." No, Ro
couldn't come. It was no use pretending that things were even vaguely normal. "People are leaving,"
she said levelly. "You shouldn't stay too long."
<BR>
<BR>
Ro chuckled and grinned at Ghet, "You have enough children, you learn these things. They always go
for the hair, and they all have that belly weakness." His expression softened a little, the grin melting
into a smile. He would have loved to take her and their son clothing shopping. Unfortunately, others
likely wouldn't take to kindly to it.
"Yes ... I know," he said, a slight hitch in his voice as he kissed his boy on the cheek. "You be good for
Mummy, ok? Atto has to go now, but I promise to come see you again soon."
<BR>
<BR>

He hugged his son close before turning him back over to Ghet, "Thank you for bringing him Ghettie."
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet's eyes danced. "Oh, so you have<I> enough </I>children now, do you? I'm sure the galactic gene
pool will be relieved to hear it."
<BR>
<BR>

She gathered up her son, who immediately started grizzling: quietly, but enough to let them know he
wasn't pleased. "It was the least I could do, love. It's not like I can really give you a present or anything
any more. Anyway, he loves it so much, any excuse will do. I might just slip away home, that will save
me taking him through downstairs." She knew Galain was outside, but she didn't really feel like being
sociable any more.
<BR>
<BR>

"Now did I say that?" Ro asked in amusement, "I think one or two more would be nice, but that is up to
the wife type these days." A low chuckle rumbled in his chest and he kissed Rhagi's little hand, "Soon
my boy. Meet me at the cabin in two days?" he asked Ghet, "If you aren't too busy."
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet pressed her lips together hard, suppressing a giggle. "Well, you know, the more children you
have, the higher the chance one of them will marry an Alcarin. There are only so many people, you
know."
<BR>
<BR>

She smiled and settled the baby on her hip. She hadn't previously realised that hips had this use as well.
"Two of your days or two of my days? Hell, we'll be there. He'll go crazy if we're not. I swear, one day
I'm going to start getting the upper hand over the baby." She stood on her toes and kissed Ro on the
cheek. "I'll see you then. Rhagi can show you how far he can roll."
<BR>
<BR>

"Agh! Perish the thought! Wait.. four of them already ARE Alcarin ... that means I'm safe where almost
half of them are concerned at least." He paused, "Maybe." The half-elf actually paled a little and
shuddered, "Ok ... now that is going to be with me for awhile."
<BR>
<BR>

Grinning he kissed Ghet on the nose, "Two of my days, which would be four of yours of course. Take
care of you, love .. and our beautiful boy." He winked, kissed Rhagi once more, then headed back
towards the door. "I look forward to it ... rolly polly Rhagi. Bye yondo!" Chuckling to himself the half-
elf opened the door and slipped out, heading back down the stairs to his wife.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet chuckled, then lifted Rhagi up in front of her face. "Silly daddy. What a silly daddy." They went
to the window and she leaned over, watching Cully and Galain for a while. <I>Verno? I'm going to
take Rhagi home, okay? He needs a feed. I love you.</I>
<BR>
<BR>

She took a last look around to make sure they hadn't forgotten anything. Some time she needed to talk
to Ro about Bran too. She was sick of him being all... whatever the word for that was. There had to be
some way of persuading him to blame her instead. Even while she thought about it, she knew she
wouldn't get round to it, just like she hadn't in the past. Time together as a family was too pleasant and
rare to ruin by talking about the bad things.
<BR>
<BR>

She opened a portal back to Riker's, which made her baby coo and wave his arms about. "Yes," she
said absently, "Shiny thing. Shiny sparkly gold thing. When the time comes I'm going to teach you to
make gold ones, okay? Not green ones. There's got to be some Elen in there somewhere." Wishful
thinking, of course: her son was as S'Hean as they came. Even the hair could have come from that side.
The word she muttered as they stepped through the portal probably wasn't 'parthenogenesis'.
<BR>
<BR>

Ro snuck up on Silverthorn and brushed a soft kiss across the tip of her ear. "Hello my love," he
murmured, "Ready to go?" His gaze flickered past her to the two idiot Alcarins wrestling in the snow
and he couldn't help but grin. It had been a very good day all in all, and not even Galain could take the
shine off of it.
<BR>
<BR>

"Fechine and Keira gone ahead already then? Good ... that means I have you all to myself."
<BR>
<BR>

Silverthorn smiled slightly, leaning back against him for a moment. "Hello to you too" she murmured
softly. Turning to face him, she brushed a gentle kiss across his lips. "Se'Liene promised to look after
both the children and the tiger for the night," the dark-haired elf said softly, a faint hint of mischief
lighting her eyes, "So yes, you can have me all to yourself for a bit. Besides, I did promise that you had
one last gift to unwrap, didn't I?"
<BR>
<BR>

She opened a portal up beside them and took her husband's hand. "The outfits the girls picked for
Anaya's party were... interesting" she said with a laugh as she drew him through the portal with her.
Silently it closed behind them.
<BR>
<BR>

In the end it was Mak and Cully and Galain and the elf was staring at the Hall from where he lay in the
snow.
<BR>
<BR>

"You know, why do I always get stuck with the clean up?" He asked aloud, sensing one wife leave for
Riker's while the other spoke with Adarin. He flicked snow at Cully and chuckled. Oh heck, this way
he could set up booby traps and surprises for the next party.
<BR>
<BR>

"Because everyone else knows that you'll do it and they sneak off early to make sure you do," Cully
told his father with a grin. "Come on, I'll help you clean up. I have to steal a bottle of Whiskey for Wil
anyway." Getting to his feet the young elf brushed the snow off himself, then offered Galain a hand up.
<BR>
<BR>

"Smart boy. We'll just rope Mak into the clean-up effort," Galain said, accepting Cully's help up.
Together they marched back into the hall, waving to Adarin and Tay before Galain collared Mak who
had just descended down the stairs.
<BR>
<BR>

"First order of business... eat the leftover food!" Galain crowed. He also found a bottle of whiskey with
his own label on it. "For the Butterfly," he said as he handed it over to Cully.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well then," An'Thaya smiled up at Adarin, "Let's sneak off and you can wish me a happy birthday
properly," she teased. "Jaiden is watching the little ones."
<BR>
<BR>

"Excellent," Adarin said with a wide grin, waving at the other Alcarins as they re-entered the hall. "I'd
been hoping we could do a little sneaking off."
<BR>
<BR>

A portal opened and he bowed low to the Amazon.
<BR>
<BR>

"After you," he said, tweaking her lovely back end as she stepped through and he followed after.
<BR>
<BR>
Pink! Everything was Pink! All right, An'Thaya had been more than a little unstable lately, but that had
nothing to do with the current pink explosion in the Hall of Imladris. It was the Birthday of one very
special Pixie.
<BR>
<BR>

There was a flock of fae hanging pink and white streamers from the rafters, giggling amongst
themselves and somehow avoiding making a complete mess. These were special streamers, enchanted
against Elen magic so a certain Elf couldn't turn them funky shades of ... whatever.
<BR>
<BR>

There were plants and flowers everywhere and a banquet table full of goodies, provided by the
Culinary Goddess of the Universe herself ... Barbie Q. Tay was attempting to keep one chubby male
fae from diving face first into a rather grand birthday cake, luring him away with the promise of a
cupcake at the other end of the table.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain came in a side door and stared around. This place was a confection of pink! PINK! Gods, his
mother would have loved it. He gave a grunt when Mak smacked into his back and he turned around.
<BR>
<BR>

"Okay, we've been beaten to the punch again. Put all the black stuff away," he told his son who gave
him one surprised look, then took in the pinkness of the place and nodded.
<BR>
<BR>

Now that pudgy little fae An'Thaya was rescuing the came from looked like fun... all too tempting...
The elf began to prowl the hall, his eyes going slitted as he headed for the Amazon and the fae.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius took several steps in, and then contemplated taking them all back out again. "Ah, my eyes!
There has to be some kind of convention of war against this. Hey Mak," he said jauntily, smacking his
brother in the back of the head. "Who are you backing on this one, Galain or An'Thaya? Or the fae?
Can we take bets? Can we run interference?"
<BR>
<BR>

Melaina glanced at her father stalking her Atara and the fae and then at her brothers. "Some things
never change..." She mumbled quietly and headed into the room. She smiled as a few of the fae came
to dance around her, tugging lightly at her hair, curled and piled on top of her head as she had seldom
bothered to do it. She placed her gift on the table, somewhat nervously, she'd been unsure what to give
this pixie who already seemed to have her favourite brother by the heartstrings, so she'd done her best...
<BR>
<BR>

Mak stumbled forward a bit and then smacked his brother back, in the gut. Of course it was like hitting
an iron pan and the elf winced.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well I was backing Galain, but it's probably a losing proposition, right?" He said this as he watched
his father stalk An'Thaya and the pudgie fae. He chuckled.
<BR>
<BR>

"Let's run interference!"
<BR>
<BR>

He was nearly upon her and the fae, anticipation lighting Galain's eyes. He was going to goose the
Amazon and catch the fae and tie him up with twine.
<BR>
<BR>

Oh the fun!
<BR>
<BR>

The fae was distracted, An'Thaya seemed distracted, but those Elven ears of hers seemed to be
someone's downfall.
Humming merrily to herself she waved the cupcake in the air, luring the chubby little fae along .... and
then....
<BR>
<BR>

WHAP!!!
<BR>
<BR>

One blonde Elen had a face full of icing.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ha!" Grinning madly the Amazon leaned in and licked his nose. "Mmmmm... tasty!"
<BR>
<BR>

Meanwhile, the Fae was headed back towards that cake.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius snickered and tried not to let on that the smack had actually hurt. He dropped his voice and
pitched it so that, while it sounded like a conspiratorial whisper, it carried pretty well across the room.
If you were an elf, anyway. "Okay, it's only fair we run interference on the losing side. What will
inevitably be the losing side. I suppose I <I>could</I> go stick my hand in your mother's cleavage
again."
<BR>
<BR>

"Aagh!" Galain exclaimed. "Unfair!" He immediately leaned in to give Tay a wild kiss that resulted in
a lot of icing being smeared across her face before he noticed the fat fae again.
<BR>
<BR>

"Come here you! You're mine!" He cried, lunging after the tiny creature.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak's jaw nearly dropped and then he clicked it shut. Well, it was certainly a very good idea that would
result in a certain amount of pandemonium. At that moment An'Thaya successfully thwarted Galain's
first attempt, but then their father seemed to lose it completely as he headed after the fae. He threw a
quick grin at Melaina before he nodded to Marius.
<BR>
<BR>

"Okay, just don't go down too far," he advised.
<BR>
<BR>

Thanks to Galain, An'Thaya was unaware of the impending doom known as Marius. The Elen's cry of
foul play had drowned things out quite nicely.
<BR>
<BR>

She was, however, aware of the Fae and its intent. Now, the question was .... Rescue the cake from the
Fae? Or rescue the Fae from the flake?
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had only seen Catherine once or twice in passing and scrunching her nose couldn't seem to bring
any memories of an introduction to mind, but she'd received and invitation and had been very
impressed with the Fae's performance at the Tourney and so gift in hand here she was.
<BR>
<BR>

Sneaking up between Mak and Marius she blew suddenly into Marius' ear, pinching his ass for good
measure and hopefully shocking the hell out of him. Then conspiratorially she whispered, "You're
shoving What? Where? If she cuts if off I want dibs on putting it back on, and temporary permission to
use bacta" Oh yea it waaaaaaaaaaaas an evil grin.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra slipped quietly in through the doors of the Hall, slightly shy in the presence of so many
people, not all of whom she had met. The petite forest elf stopped and stared, her hazel eyes wide with
amazement as she took in her surroundings. It was certainly... pink.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius frowned at Mak. "Too far? I never... oh, <I>down</I> too far. Are you sure? She's quite short.
All the good stuff is quite a way down."
<BR>
<BR>

Which was not a good thing to be saying when Foxx was grabbing his ass. "Ah! No! Not there! Oh
look, Galain might win anyway." Nothing like the thought of what had happened to his side happening
to his bits to make a man reconsider his priorities...
<BR>
<BR>

Slightly stunned, Chandra stared around and tried to work out what was going on. The inns were quite
often a little mad but she wasn't sure she had ever seen anything quite like this before. Edging away
from the evidently insane Galain and the redhead he was chasing, the chestnut-haired elf bumped into
someone else.
<BR>
<BR>

"I... I'm sorry. I..." She was blushing with embarrassment as she looked up to meet Mak's gaze. Then
she froze as she took in his features, her hazel eyes instinctively swinging to Galain and back again.
"Oh dear. You're an Alcarin. Um..." The forest elf started to look a little panicked. She had met
Alcarins before. Looking for a way out she spotted Marius as well. Oh no. There were two of them.
She was doomed!
<BR>
<BR>

Mak's jaws had been trying to work as Marius said things the young elf wasn't sure he should be
hearing. Of course he no longer felt guilty for flirting so madly with Ghetsuhm. He finally had to look
away and found himself staring down into two very big hazel eyes. The owner of them was wearing a
"deer in the headlights" look and Mak almost burst into laughter.
<BR>
<BR>

"We're not so bad. I like to call myself the sane one," he said as way of an introduction. "It's just the
rest of my family that's a little nuts. And I'm Mak, this is Marius, and that's... Foxx. Yes. She's also
nuts, but not related by blood." He gave Chandra his most charming smile and bowed to her.
<BR>
<BR>

"You <I>call</I> yourself the sane one? but <I>are</I> you the sane one?" Chandra stuttered and
then blushed furiously as she realised she'd spoken out loud. "Um.. excuse me... erm.. Suilad...
Chandra... Chandra Morningstar." Perhaps if she was really lucky the ground would open up and
swallow her the forest elf thought wildly, and a touch desperately.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak was halfway up from his bow when Chandra spoke. He froze and gave her a look of surprise
before he straightened fully. He eyed her, but wasn't put off, just amused.
<BR>
<BR>

"Welcome to the party, m'lady Chandra Morningstar," he said then, lifting one of her hands and kissing
it gently. "Perhaps my aunt, Summerlin, is truly the sanest of us all, but I promise you, I don't go
chasing fae around unless my father specifically orders me to." He winked at her.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh! I've met Summerlin. She's very kind" Chandra exclaimed. "She and the Lady Willow both were
very nice when I stayed at the Misty Rose once. That's where I met Catherine too." Her cheeks were a
deep pink shade that matched nicely with the decorations. As Mak kissed her hand she ducked her head
shyly. "And I am no lady, just a simple bard."
<BR>
<BR>

"Good, I'm glad to hear that. And 'm'lady' is a polite form of address, oh simple bard, but if you would
prefer I call you 'Simple Bard', I can do that." He was teasing her ever so gently. "Might I get you
something to drink or eat -- oh Simple Bard? Or can I call you Chandra?" His forefinger caught at her
chin and he gently tilted her head up. "Ms. Morningstar?" His eyes twinkled.
<BR>
<BR>

A smile tugged at the corners of the forest elf's mouth, a soft laugh escaping her. The blonde Elen's
amusement was just impossible to resist. "Most people call me Chandra," she agreed quietly, "and
something to eat would be nice although..." She cast a quick glance at Galain and An'Thaya, "nothing
that looks like he's been anywhere near it." There was one very good reason why she was wary of
Alcarins and he was still in the process of attacking his wife.
<BR>
<BR>

Well, Galain was finished attacking Tay -- for the moment. That fae was just too much to resist and he
dove after the creature, missing by a long shot. He hit the ground, cracking his head on the table as he
went down. Of course the table shook wildly and the cake looked like it was going to topple, but it did
startle the fae who now realized he was being hunted. He stared down at fae, his wings fluttering
furiously before he suddenly transformed a bit.
<BR>
<BR>

He was now Sumo Fae and he was dive-bombing Galain's back end, intent on teaching the elf a lesson.
<BR>
<BR>

"Terrific! I shall then call you Chandra. It's much nicer than all the other names though 'Morningstar' is
very nice," Mak replied. He offered her his arm. "Shall we peruse the refreshments? You hold the plate
and I'll fill it with whatever catches your eye. No worries, we'll totally avoid the fruitcake on the floor."
Mak stared at his father; not quite believing Galain was about to be bested by a tiny Sumo Fae wrestler.
It was frightening.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak wisely took Chandra to the opposite end of the refreshment tables.
<BR>
<BR>

Mel was quietly laughing in the corner, a few of the fae laughing with her as Galain was attacked by
the dive bombing sumo fae... She was wishing she had a camera or something to take pictures... And
then suddenly she had one, and was snapping away.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra was staring at Galain in disbelief. "That could happen to no one else," she murmured in
amazement before turning her attention to the buffet table. "Someone is very keen on pink," she
observed. Many of the items on the table were that colour. There were little sponge cakes with pale
pink icing, rose-coloured meringues and even a jelly mould in an eye-watering cerise shade.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was horrified of course. He batted at the fae, but the fat little fellow wearing nothing but what
appeared to be an ill-fitting diaper had attached himself to the elf's back end and industriously grunting
and groaning as he tried valiantly to flip Galain over.
<BR>
<BR>

Which he did.
<BR>
<BR>

It was positively frightening.
<BR>
<BR>

"Catherine does," Mak replied. He too was eyeing the gelatine, amazed by just how many shades of
pink there could be. His mother had truly outdone herself. He looked up in time to watch his father get
flipped by the fae and he gave Chandra a slightly embarrassed look.
<BR>
<BR>

"I keep hoping most of my genes came from my mother," he said.
<BR>
<BR>

"I can understand that" Chandra replied, trying not to laugh at the expression on Mak's face. "You do
look very like him though." She was doing her best to ignore the little scene on the floor at the other
end of the table. The sumo fae was now puffing and grunting as he apparently tried to knot Galain's
feet behind his ear.
<BR>
<BR>
Well now the cake was safe, but the fae and the flake were at each other. An'Thaya stared at the
spectacle for a minute, not really surprised, but... wide eyed none the less.
<BR>
<BR>

At that moment, the buxom Barbie Q herself appeared, rather ticked about the teetering birthday cake.
She had her trusty rolling pin in hand and wound up to crack the Sumo Fae one for nearly destroying
her marvellous confection.
<BR>
<BR>

"NO!" Tay howled, just a little to late.
<BR>
<BR>

WHACK!
<BR>
<BR>

The pin missed the fae, but caught Galain right between the eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh the elfanity!"
<BR>
<BR>

"I do. I know." Mak shook his head. "I'm probably more like him than I like to admit although... I don't
mind it too much, except right about now." That was when the gourmet goddess whacked Galain right
between the eyes. "Gods, that had to have hurt."
<BR>
<BR>

Mak winced and looked away.
<BR>
<BR>

"Care to try those pink chips and dip?" He inquired.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain looked up at Barbie Q for one moment, a look of "Why?" crossing his face directly after she got
him between the eyes. And then he was down for the count as the sumo fae arose victoriously. A dozen
female fae gathered around him and he basked in the glory of it all.
<BR>
<BR>

The little devil.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra looked at the dip in question. "What flavour is it, do you think?" she asked Makilnar. "I don't
think I've ever seen a dip that colour before." She picked up a chip and nibbled at it delicately. "These
aren't bad, although I can't place what they taste of yet."
<BR>
<BR>

"I don't really know... Me? I'm in the mood for straight, salty chips and some French onion dip, but this
all looks like it should taste of strawberries, cherries and cranberries. Raspberries, even." Mak
scratched his head and took a bite of chip and dip as well.
<BR>
<BR>

"Pink. It definitely tastes pink," he said decisively.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya gaped helplessly for a moment, then growled at Barbie. "WILL you watch where you are
aiming that thing? Go find Chaos, he is obviously here somewhere, distract him and poke his eye out
again or something."
<BR>
<BR>

Grabbing a pink ice sculpture off the table the Amazon got down on her knees and pressed it to
Galain's forehead. "That ... is quite the goose egg."
<BR>
<BR>

"I think that's what they taste of" Chandra decided, "strawberries I mean. Strawberry chips and dip.
How odd." The forest elf nibbled at another chip.
<BR>
<BR>

"Strawberry?" Mak's eyebrows raised in surprise, but Chandra was right. "It's kind of not bad once you
expect the flavour..." He laughed and then stared at some sort of casserole. "I will NOT try that
however," he asserted. Then he looked at Chandra and gave her an engaging smile.
<BR>
<BR>

"So, you met Catherine at the Misty Rose... do you wander a lot?"
<BR>
<BR>

Okay, Galain was coming to, but he was being his usual sneaky self and he pretended to be
unconscious a little while longer. It was better this way anyway because he had a splitting headache.
But then he couldn't stand it any longer and he snagged his arms around the Amazon and pulled her
down for a rather lusty kiss before he broke away and gave her a devilish grin.
<BR>
<BR>

"Tend to my wounds?" He asked, giving her a soulful look.
<BR>
<BR>

The Amazon didn't even have time for a startled squeal. Well, ok, she did, but it was lost against
Galain's mouth. Startled, Tay blinked at him, then grinned, "I thought I was. You do only have the one,
right?" Leaning forward she kissed his forehead, giving him a fine view down her breastplate.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well it's awfully big -- I think it qualifies as two, don't you think?" Galain replied earnestly before her
breastplate hove into view. He wasn't given to muttering incantations, but he couldn't resist this one
time.
<BR>
<BR>

"Panta tangwa!" He whispered. The elf was rewarded with one undone breastplate. If she just lifted up
a little... The elf was grinning fiendishly.
<BR>
<BR>

To call Foxx's giggle maniacal would have been unfair, no one could prove she was a maniac.
Probably. "I think it would have been fun" She pouted slightly and then turned towards the newest
arrival with a smile.
<BR>
<BR>

She waved at Chandra after Mak introduced them, she'd heard one of the bards stories and had been
very impressed, she considered attempting to defend her sanity, but gave it up because frankly she was
nuts.
<BR>
<BR>

As the two wandered off she looked at Marius "Ok, What’s the sitch? Wherefore the mayhem which
await wreaking?"
<BR>
<BR>

She was kinda on a kick.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was on a mission. It involved kidnapping. It involved kidnapping of a certain grown-up pixie
whom he was beginning to love heart and soul. He poked a head through the portal, giving the illusion
of a beheaded elf and shocking the piddle out of a few wandering fae. He just laughed. He LOVED
scaring fae though he hadn't quite shared that with Cat yet.
<BR>
<BR>

Okay, guests were arriving, a certain amount of chaos was occurring and Glory decided he better warn
them all.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey! I'm getting Catherine! You all should turn out the lights and hide and get ready to shout
'surprise!' Okay?" He gave them all a pleading look, especially his own parents. His head disappeared
suddenly as he sought out Catherine.
<BR>
<BR>

Summerlin had arrived through the main door and in a hurry. She was flushed and she was excited.
Catherine was one of her dearest customers and the Elen did not want to miss this birthday party. She
had a small gift in hand -- a glass bouquet of delicately tinted roses that sang when you waved your
hand over them. She'd worked hard to transform the roses in her garden into this tiny work of art and
then enchant them and she was immensely pleased and anxious.
<BR>
<BR>

She was also not surprised to find Galain and Tay up to no good on the floor. She quickly averted her
eyes and scanned the room before she head toward Melaina. At that point Glory's head popped out
before her and Summerlin nearly lost her cool and slapped him.
<BR>
<BR>

Oh! It was almost time! She set the gift down on the gift table and hurried to Melaina.
<BR>
<BR>

"Might I join you in finding a hiding spot?" She asked, excitement giving her a high colour.
<BR>
<BR>

Yes, the breastplate popped open as An'Thaya was leaning forward, in a rather explosive manner. The
metal clanged off Galain's teeth, seeing as gravity works and all, and the Elen got a face full of
Amazonly delights as she squeaked in surprise.
<BR>
<BR>

At the sound of Glory's voice Tay's head popped up, which caused the rest of her to go down. Galain
had a wild moment of near suffocation before his wife got her bearings and popped his head out of her
cleavage. "Quick! We have to hide! Wait... you were hiding, but that doesn't help ME any."
<BR>
<BR>

The spell worked! How excellent! Galain nearly crowed with glee before he was buried in boobs. His
teeth ached from the metal clanging, but the rest of his face was beneath the most earthly delights...
<BR>
<BR>

He heard his son's voice and was prepared to hide -- far deeper into Tay's cleavage, but she ruined it all.
<BR>
<BR>

"But I'm fine here!" He cried out before she started moving. "Oh fine! The buffet table is close enough!
Stop moving! Gods!"
<BR>
<BR>

"Get your head out of there," Tay admonished him, "It isn't THAT kind of surprise party! Do I look
like a party favour? Wait, don't answer that. Shhh... have a cupcake. Help me buckle this back up!
Catherine doesn't need to be that surprised!"
<BR>
<BR>

Yes... Mr and Mrs Alcarin were in top form this evening. The buffet table rocked back and forth
dangerously for a moment, then settled.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius watched Mak for a moment with an appreciate grin. One day, they were going to have to take
on a whole bar between them, on the 'you go left, I'll go right' principle.
<BR>
<BR>

He was about to answer Foxx when Glory came in and made his announcement. "Well, it seems now
we have to find somewhere dark to hide. Come, let me drag you under this table."
<BR>
<BR>

Jason dived under the nearest table, as did Helena, managing to nearly crash into Foxx, as Calliandrae
bashed into the back of the Ingraelis Princess.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ow!" The two yelled, then shushed each other and began giggling.
<BR>
<BR>

Jason, under another table, rolled his eyes, caught sight of the Thaya/Galain goings on and his eyes
rolled even *higher*...
<BR>
<BR>

It was going to be one of those parties... and Rach wasn't even here yet...
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx allowed herself to be led pausing a single moment to make sure ice water was far away.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she grinned at Helena, elbowed everyone in reach and shushed herself, all the while producing
and distributing cans of silly string.
<BR>
<BR>

Pink had been a lucky guess.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak suddenly lost his decorum and snatched Chandra down. It was no hardship of course as he found
her lovely, soft and pliable. She bent down with him beneath the table and he tried to restrain a shudder
of excitement.
<BR>
<BR>

"This is soooo cool!" He whispered to the bard singer.
<BR>
<BR>

Well we all knew at which juncture Galain would shout, "Surprise!"
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was still laughing over his aunt's reaction and was almost dancing around. Gods, he hadn't done
that in years.
<BR>
<BR>

"Cat! Oh Catherine! Come here! I want to show you something!" He exclaimed, barely restraining the
glee in his voice. In a moment he'd have her and the party would begin!
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra crouched under the table trying, and failing; to ignore quite how close Mak was at the
moment. The forest elf had gone bright pink and was suffering from an appalling urge to giggle
nervously. Biting her lip to stifle any sound she hoped Catherine would show up soon. As for the
colour of her cheeks... well, at least she matched the decorations she supposed.
<BR>
<BR>

"Sure, Dara, sounds like a plan..." She was trying not to giggle over her brother's antics, but she could
feel his happiness and it made her happy. She'd seen him far too sombre in recent years, but then they'd
all grown up rather quickly...
<BR>
<BR>

Gden was late. He'd been held back by some semi-urgent business at home. One of the pixies was quite
convinced that whatever he had to say was more important then Gden’s daughter’s birthday. He finally
excused himself figuring he'd deal with whatever the crisis was later as the chap just would not get to
the point. He portalled in, and saw darkness. He had quite forgotten it was supposed to be a surprise
party. It looked like he was just in time.
<BR>
<BR>

He ran over to a table where he saw Helena. "Suilad," he whispered. "I take it I just made it in time...."
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara portalled into the darkness as well. She looked around for a place to hide. But all the tables
were just a tad small for her to hide behind.
<BR>
<BR>

She took a chapter out of Ymir's book then and created the illusion of a huge rose and stood behind
that. This ability she was just discovering was going to come in handy. She heard giggles in the
direction of Galain and thought she was probably lucky she didn't know what was going on there.
<BR>
<BR>

Along her bond with her sister she could sense that something had changed. But her sister was keeping
that to herself. So she was quite ready to play 20 questions when Catherine showed up. It should be an
interesting day.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory took Catherine by the hand and opened a portal to the Hall of Imladris. Naturally all she could
see was darkness though and Glory nearly burst with excitement.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're going to love this," he told her as they stepped through.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak wasn't ignoring how close Chandra was at the moment and actually got closer to her. Close
quarters and darkness were two of his favourite things when crouched beside a lovely woman. He was
contemplating just how much closer he could get when he heard Glory's voice and saw the golden
glimmer of a portal. Someone turned the lights back on and as one everyone shouted, "Surprise!"
<BR>
<BR>

Everyone shouted "Surprise!" except for Galain. Well he did shout <b>in</b> surprise...
<BR>
<BR>

"Turn the blasted lights back off!" He bellowed before he realized Catherine and Glory had arrived.
"Oh! Hey! Happy Birthday!" He waved from his position on the floor, quite unashamed of himself.
<BR>
<BR>

Summerlin and Melaina had found a hiding spot behind a supporting column and the Elen Mage felt a
moment of girlish pleasure as the anticipation mounted. She thought Catherine looked properly
surprised and delightfully radiant when the shout went out.
<BR>
<BR>

"I said help not hinder!" Tay admonished her husband, "Get off me! Oh! Hello! Happy Birthday
Catherine! Erm... Surprise!"
<BR>
<BR>

Gden yelled surprise along with everyone else. But then his eyes narrowed. The look in his daughter’s
eyes and the subtle look of possession in Glory's had intensified since the tournament. Something more
had happened. And he would sure like to know what. But then again it was his daughter’s birthday and
maybe he should stuff it. But then again this was his daughter and he did NOT like the way Glory's arm
was around Catherine. The argument swirled around in his head over and over. He stuffed it in his head
for now, but the day could prove to be interesting.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara’s illusion of the rose disappeared as the lights went on. She yelled surprise along with the rest
of the guests. She felt tentatively along the familial bond she shared with her sister and felt her sister’s
deep contentment. She had a good idea what that meant and smiled softly to herself. She then rushed
up to give Catherine a hug, and formally meet Glory.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine had followed Glory into the portal having no idea what to expect. Her surprise as the lights
went on was truly genuine. And she wanted to hide. She was so new in her relationship with Glory that
to go public in such a public place was slightly scary. She stuffed the emotions aside grinned big when
she saw her sister.
<BR>
<BR>

"BARBARA!" she said with enthusiasm. "Oh, its good to see you again." she said giggling. She
hugged her sister back, and then returned to the shelter of Glory's arms. "Have you met Glory yet? I
can't remember, I think I forgot to introduce him at the tournament..." she said with enthusiasm.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine wings finally unfurled with excitement and she began to flutter in her totally pixie way.
Forget the shyness, nothing had changed she was still Catherine, even though she had become Glory's
Cat somehow along the way.
<BR>
<BR>

She turned quickly and kissed Glory. <I>Thank you for the surprise. </I> she sent quickly. And then
turned to survey the guests. She giggled and blushed when she saw An’Thaya and Galain on the floor.
Another bridge she would have to cross, but one thing at a time.
<BR>
<BR>

As Catherine began to bubble with excitement Gden worked hard to control his face. His daughter’s
shields were not working as well with her excitement and he had figured out what had happened
between Glory and her. This was his first daughter to fall in love off Gardenworld. And he was
concerned, and worried and all the father like emotions crawling through him.
<BR>
<BR>

He breathed in deeply and walked over to Glory. He bypassed Catherine even though she seemed to be
permanently connected to Glory. And just looked. The look was scary, and he wanted answers. He
figured just looking would give him most of them.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was immensely pleased with himself and watched with delight as Catherine greeted her sister
and folks emerged from their hiding spots and began to mingle again. He did catch sight of his parents
and clapped a hand to his forehead and then had to laugh. Leave it to them to create their own surprise.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>You're welcome, love, </I> he silently replied to Cat before he gave Barbara a smile.
<BR>
<BR>

"I remember seeing you at the Tourney. It's a pleasure to meet you," he told her before he became
conscious of a very hard stare directed his way. Glory met Gden’s glare head on and tried not to feel
panic.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hello there, sir," he said, instinctively adding the honorific. Oh gods... he looked like he knew what
his daughter and Glory had been up to.
<BR>
<BR>

"Sorry! Ow! Wait! I'm stuck! Okay, not anymore. Better? Need help standing up?" Galain stood up,
kicked the breastplate away and offered his hand to Tay. Yes, he was wearing a very cheeky grin.
<BR>
<BR>

Tay snorted, then accepted Galain's hand and clambered up him. Pulling her black cropped off shirt
into a decent position she turned around and put on her brightest smile. She'd take it out of his hide
later.
<BR>
<BR>

And he'd like it.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara hugged Catherine back. She was so pleased to see her sister happy. As she hugged her
however the rest of Catherine's shields came down, and Barbara sensed there was something new about
Cat's psyche. She struggled to identify it. And then all at once she did. There wasn't one psyche there,
there was something else lurking deep within Catherine. Barbara began to probe forgetting she was
violating her sister’s privacy. Privacy was such a mute word in their shared home. She probed deeply
and suddenly realized that Catherine and Glory were going to be starting a family. This was a major
surprise.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara stepped back with a subtle smile. She wondered if the two knew. But as she observed the two
and continued to poke her sister’s mind a bit she realized they didn't. She contemplated when and if she
should say something. She decided to wait for now. There was too much going on at the moment.
<BR>
<BR>

She smiled as she talked to Glory and then stepped aside as her father and Glory began their stare
down. She shoved her information deep, deep inside her head. She didn't figure her father needed any
more ammo.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden continued to stare down Glory. He finally found his tongue. "So, tell me young man, what do you
have to say for yourself?" he said glaring hard.

He was holding himself in, but just barely. He wanted an explanation and he wanted it yesterday.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius had got all distracted under the table. Dragging Foxx under there had been the work of a
moment: extracting themselves from the prematurely exploding can of silly string was probably going
to take somewhat longer...
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx wasn't used to things shooting off prematurely, she was usually quite skilled, the mess had her in
fits of giggles though she'd managed to contain them until she shouted surprise, and had despite the
giggles she had managed to shout surprise on time.
<BR>
<BR>

As it was she had given up on the one can, and her now very pinkified shirt and was doing her best to
shoot silly sting into the most interesting places Marius' outfit afforded; tickling Marius as needed.
<BR>
<BR>

"About what?" Glory responded without thinking. Then he colored and mentally kicked himself. Well
allrighty, let's just announce it to the world why don't we? he thought as he hoped others weren't
listening too closely. "What I have to say is that it's your daughter's birthday and I would like it to be a
special day for her full of love and joy. Afterward I would be happy to talk more. Your daughter -- she
means everything to me."
<BR>
<BR>

Emerald green eyes met Gden’s, clear and frank in their expression.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden continued to glare at Glory. But he figured that what Glory said made sense. He knew from
fighting with Glory that he was a honourable man. And he had respected him the day of the
tournament. So he took a deep breath and let it out.
<BR>
<BR>

"You show wisdom." Gden said reluctantly. "But just so you know, she'll always be my little girl, and
you hurt her, and there will be much pain and suffering coming your way."
<BR>
<BR>

At this moment Gden noticed Catherine's focus being turned on him. He quickly straightened up his
facial expressions and turned to hug his daughter. He pulled out of his pocket his gift to Catherine and
placed it into hers. Later she would find it and find a delicate comb for her hair with a pink rose carved
into it.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden then decided to head over to the drink table. He thought he needed one, or three.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine figured it was time to meet the guests. She headed over in the direction of An’Thaya and
Galain. She figured seeing they'd gotten her dad out of the way it must be time for Glory's family. She
headed over in the direction of them holding onto Glory's hand tightly.
<BR>
<BR>
"Suilad," she said just as she stepped on something. She looked down to see it was. It was the
offending breast plate that Galain had removed before she had entered the room. She bent down and
picked it up. She looked puzzled at it. "UMMM, is this yours?" she asked with a giggle in the general
direction of An’Thaya.
<BR>
<BR>

She knew Glory's family was nuts. But umm why this? she wondered hysterically giggling in her head.
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes sir," Glory replied, bowing his head. The last thing he wanted was to ever hurt Catherine. He was
well aware of what his foolishness had done to others in the past. If he did manage the impossible he'd
quite willingly take the promised retribution.
<BR>
<BR>

Nevertheless he was relieved to be taken away and he clasped Catherine's hand tightly, giving his
parents a bright-eyed smile.
<BR>
<BR>

Well, Marius had shouted... soon he would stop. Foxx had got a particularly nasty angle on that last
shot with the silly string, and his dodge-and-revenge roll had them both out from under the table and
lying in the middle of the floor while trying to simultaneously get silly string in her top and out from up
his tunic, and yet not permanently traumatise anyone...
<BR>
<BR>

Slightly relieved to be able to stop hiding under the table, Chandra smiled shyly at Catherine as the
pixie began to greet the other guests. "She looks happy,” she observed to Mak, trying to ignore the fact
that her face was still slightly pink.
<BR>
<BR>

"She most certainly does," Mak replied. He was watching his older brother and Catherine intently. "She
looks rather radiant in fact." He arched an eyebrow and then grinned at Chandra. "And you're
blushing."
<BR>
<BR>

"Blushing? Me? Well..." Chandra ground to a halt and looked at Mak a little helplessly. "It happens a
lot. I can't seem to stop myself,” she confessed. "I guess I'm just not very good with meeting new
people and crowds and so on." Her hazel gaze dropped to the floor, embarrassed. The forest elf wished
she had more confidence. Being shy and tongue-tied in public was not what she wanted. She couldn't
seem to help it though.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey..." Mak was instantly contrite and he caught at her chin and tilted her head back up. "It's all right.
Crowds and tons of new people can overwhelm the heck out of most people. I won't tease you, I
promise. You've been doing really well so far. Of course things are fairly mild at the moment." He
smiled.
<BR>
<BR>

The chestnut-haired forest elf smiled back at him shyly. "Thank you. I know that it’s silly. I'm a bard.
I'm ought to be used to crowds, but somehow I never did get used to them." Her hazel eyes were wide
with innocent curiosity as they regarded Makilnar. "How do you learn to have more confidence when
you meet people?"
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya actually had the grace to blush as she accepted the breastplate back from Catherine. "Erm ...
yes, it is, thank you." The look she shot at Galain was rather withering. “Happy Birthday Catherine,
you are looking well.” Actually, she looked better than well, she looked… “Suilad yondo,” she said to
Glory, one crimson eyebrow shooting up in a silent question.
<BR>
<BR>

"Suilad, Amil," Glory replied. He hugged his mother, nodded to his father and then eyed An'Thaya and
that arched brow of hers. He raised both of his eyebrows as if to say, "What?"
<BR>
<BR>

"It's not silly," Mak insisted. "Even if you're a bard." He chuckled a little at her question and ran a hand
through his hair.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well... most people I'm never going to see again... and the rest of the time I'm just more interested in
meeting them than I am worried over what they're thinking of me. I don't know if it's learned though... I
think you're just who you are and eventually you find your own ways to meet people without going
fumbly." He smiled at her and drew her away from the small crowd of people.
<BR>
<BR>

"That a little better?" He asked.
<BR>
<BR>

"I see." Chandra thought about this for a moment, smiling up at him as he drew her away from the
others. "That makes sense I suppose, and yes it does help. Perhaps if I try to meet people one at a time
it would be less scary?" She looked around, "of course you're related to a lot of the people here, aren't
you?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine giggled at the look An’Thaya threw Galain. She wasn't even sure what it was she had
stepped on, but she was beginning to suspect she'd missed something. She watched the silent looks
being exchanged between Glory and his mother. She figured that Glory's family would probably be
much more gracious then her own dad. But she was unsure she didn't know either of them well. She
had visited with Galain some in the distant past, but An’Thaya she had just seen at varying parties.
<BR>
<BR>

She waited for words to be said, but was too shy at the moment to say them. While she waited the
emotions coming from Barbara distracted her. She continued to smile at An’Thaya and Galain, but her
mind wandered over to her sister.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara had a smile on her face that just wouldn't quite disappear. Catherine probed a little bit into
why. And when she realized what Barbara had sensed about herself she was shocked. She looked at
Glory for a moment. And then she gently and as unobtrusively as possible put her hands on her
abdomen. It appeared that her and Glory's play had resulted in life. She hadn't thought of that
somehow. She'd just been enjoying her time with him.
<BR>
<BR>

The awareness of it was something slightly terrifying. She was unsure as to how Glory would react.
They'd been too busy doing other things to actually discuss details or consequences of their recent form
of entertainment and exploration.
<BR>
<BR>

In spite of this she was excited and began to radiate joy even more then she already had. If Glory's
mind was even half there he'd probably pick up what she was broadcasting, shoot the whole room
might pick it up if she didn't damper soon. She couldn't help it the news was so new, she had no
control. If not she'd tell him later in the privacy of the cottage.
<BR>
<BR>

And so here they were, the filly and the Elen Ranger outside the Hall of Imladris...the makings of a
good joke, aye?
<BR>
<BR>

An odd friendship to be certain, but Paiden was doing her best to overcome the ingrained xenophobia
of her pure Elen blood, and Ophelia...well, she was simply to hard headed and zesty to NOT drag
Paiden Trayhan along.
<BR>
<BR>

"Come on...you met Catherine before, didn't you? No? Well...she's sweet! Father just adores her, in
fact, he still calls her Narahmor...little one, but the affectionate term. Though...the last time I saw her,
she was well on her way to being a grown..."
<BR>
<BR>

The filly shifted the package in her arms and swung her equine hips to open the front doors, then
cringed as they threatened to burst off their hinges and slammed against the walls inside.
<BR>
<BR>

"...up. Oh...wow!...elvish ingenuity, aye?"
<BR>
<BR>

Laughing, the dark eyed centaur filly nudged Paiden into the hall, completely unmindful that the Elen
was hesitant.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ophelia, are you ever going to wear at least a halter top or something?"
<BR>
<BR>

Wide amber eyes flitted to Ophelia, then to the hall...
<BR>
<BR>

"Why would I? You should try it sometime, going topless, its wonderful..."
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhh...wow..." Brown eyes scanned the room...
<BR>
<BR>

And Ophelia had thought Centaur parties wild...
<BR>
<BR>

"AWK!!!! That’s COLD!" Foxx giggled and made noise of outrage at the same time and despite
knowing better tried to pull the silly string out of her top while it was still goopy.
<BR>
<BR>

She had started it, she usually started it, nevertheless she arched an eyebrow at Marius "Revenge WILL
be mine!" and followed it up with a lunge, careful addition of pink silly string to his hair and depending
on vantage point a shot which may have induced trauma.
<BR>
<BR>

Somewhere along the line a less than wild shot had managed to catch Helena.
<BR>
<BR>

Meghan had been easing along, enjoying the forest around the Hall as she made her way up the path.
Within the package she carried was a tiny vial of delicately blown glass with a fragile seeming stopper.
Inside were the priceless tears (actually, drops of dew) from the blue Mourning Roses she'd planted at
the Dragon Inn so long ago, a gift from Cayde to place outside her window for protection.
<BR>
<BR>

Not that she'd needed it there, but it was nice to have a half-sentient flower guarding her sleep.
<BR>
<BR>

But anyway!
<BR>
<BR>

Meghan knew of the pixie's love for roses and the scent of them, and a tiny drop of this rose oil would
scent an entire room for months. A soothing and heady mix that often helped with everything from
nausea to sleeplessness...
<BR>
<BR>

Little did Catherine's childhood friend know...
<BR>
<BR>

With a broad grin, Meghan Ilessandra entered shortly on the heels, all six of them, of two people she'd
never met...
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya's eyebrow finally came down and she smiled at her son and his Lady. Catherine was fairly
glowing and An'Thaya had that now familiar feeling that she was going to be a grandmother. Again.
Grinning to herself she started lacing her breastplate back into place as three more guests made their
way into the hall.
<BR>
<BR>

Redressing the Amazon embraced Catherine and leaned in close to her ear, "Congratulations," she
whispered, "Welcome to our family." Well, she had faith that Glory was going to make her part of the
family. He had changed alot in the past few years ... for the better.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine hugged An’Thaya back. She was still quite floored by the piece of info she had just
discovered. She wanted to pull Glory off in a corner somewhere and tell him, and talk about it or
something. But as life happens there just didn't seem to be time. Hopefully all would be well when he
found out, or when he read her emotions she just couldn't control.
<BR>
<BR>

She stepped back from the hug and looked around to see Meghan and Ophelia, and somebody she'd
seen but never met. She ran over to give Meghan a hug. She was always excited to see her friend, and
sometimes when it was quiet wished they could go back and have one more mud fight.
<BR>
<BR>

"Suilad!" she said with excitement. "I'm so glad to see you." she said her wings fluttering behind her.
"Glory didn't warn me about the party, and I'm still flying high, okay I always fly high huh?" Catherine
said giggling.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius had pink silly string in his hair. Yes indeed. He was going to make Foxx help get it out later. He
wondered none too vaguely if silly string was safe to eat.

He was wrestling for control of the can again when he realised there was a hoof about three inches
from his nose. For a moment he thought he was having a horrible flashback, but then he raised his eyes
higher and recognised the centaur he'd seen with his not-brother Conor at the tourney. Yes, he'd
recognise those... that face anywhere. "Oh look," he told Foxx inanely. "People." He got up and helped
her to her feet, without letting go of the can. He reckoned it was safe money they looked kind of stupid.
And boy, but that was uncomfortable. "Vendui," he told the newcomers. Later he'd realise that and
wince a lot. "I don't think we've been properly introduced. I'm Marius and this is my charming friend
Foxx. You'll have to excuse us, we're not quite at our best right not. Unless we are, in which case we
probably need excusing even more."
<BR>
<BR>

"Hello ... " Foxx half curtsied, which was out of character, although she decided explainable as she was
officially a lady now, but which more importantly allowed her to re-align her grip on the can so that it
wasn't quite so much upside down and arm twisting. Then she grinned wickedly "I probably am at my
best, if that's all the excuse I need, depends on your definition of best as well. I'm not a complete
heathen, at the moment. . How are you?"
<BR>
<BR>

Her finger had found the trigger and her small prayer had found some kind god because it wasn't aimed
at her. .
<BR>
<BR>

Mak was busily counting folks.
<BR>
<BR>

Relative, relative, relative... almost relative, relative, relative... oh gods...
<BR>
<BR>
It wasn't until Paiden and Ophelia arrived that he felt some measure of comfort and then he started at
the sight of Paiden.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well, I'm related to all but a very few," he said, suddenly breaking out into a cold sweat.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was getting broadsided here. He was feeling a joy even more intense than the excitement he'd
been getting off Catherine before. His mind was usually only "half there", but today he was totally
focused on Cat and when the emotions hit him he was nearly blown off his feet. He had to give his
mother a quick and apologetic look. His mother had known. He watched his lady hug his mother and
realized his gift today meant more to just himself and Cat. He stood back when Catherine ran to
Ophelia and Meghan He waved to Paiden. but was sure she didn't quite remember him or recognize
him.
<BR>
<BR>

Okie... time to find that little box he had. The one with the wee ring and big pink diamond in it.
Meanwhile he just suddenly sat down on the floor. It was comfortable and available after all.
<BR>
<BR>

An’Thaya watched Catherine flitter off and smiled softly before reaching over and giving Galain’s
hand a squeeze. The Amazon gave him a surreptitious wink and kissed him on the cheek before
crouching down beside her second eldest son. “Aminmela lle yondo,” she said in a low voice, “You
make me proud.” The edge of her lip twitched up and she gazed across the room at Cat for a moment,
“She is very sweet, keep her happy love.” Leaning in she kissed her boy on the forehead, “Ok. I’m
through embarrassing you now.”
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was finally in the right frame of mind, whatever that was, and was eyeing his son and Catherine
with a grin.
<BR>
<BR>

That was all. Just a grin.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine had given Meghan a quick hug, and was getting ready for a good chat when she realized that
Glory was sitting on the floor. She was quite curious as to why. She excused herself, and headed over.
<BR>
<BR>

She plopped down on the floor beside him with a giggle. And said..."Is there something interesting
down here? Cracks? Spiders? Mice?" she giggled again. And waited for a reply. She was nervous, but
waited in silence for an answer--something that was always a challenge for her.
<BR>
<BR>

"No..." Paiden blurted out, "I'm NOT going to go around topless anywhere...ever..."
<BR>
<BR>

And as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she was being introduced to several people at a time.
<BR>
<BR>

"Marius, Foxxy, hello...and what? What is that?" Her ears all but twitched as her Elven curiosity kicked
in at the sight of the pink stuff strung everywhere.
<BR>
<BR>

And then an entirely lovely, completely high-strung, magical woman was greeting her.
<BR>
<BR>

"Suilad, Catherine...I'm Paiden Trayhan..." Paiden had barely gotten her name out when she noticed the
other occupants of the room, her tongue seemed to stick to the roof of her mouth.
<BR>
<BR>

Mentally, the Ranger was swearing she was going to strangle Ophelia. She'd not expected to see him
here...
<BR>
<BR>

"Suilad, Catherine..." Ophelia's brown eyes were alight with mischief...Paiden really did need to lighten
up....
<BR>
<BR>

"Foxxy! My brother Merick told me of you. He thinks you are quite the female. And you then are
Marius?" Ophelia turned her eyes to the man before her, "You would be an Alcarin then?" Ophelia
tilted her head to the side, the pink silly string catching her attention.
<BR>
<BR>

"What is that stuff? It seems most...interesting. How did it get there?"
<BR>
<BR>

Sometimes Centaurs were worse than elves...
<BR>
<BR>

Melaina stayed in the shadows, watching the room. She missed Ethan and the Diirlathe more than she
had thought she would. When she was there, she didn't feel lost, as she often had amongst her family
these last few years. She saw the look on Glory's face as he realized why Catherine was so radiant and
she smiled, happy for her brother. Her small box was almost hidden on the gift table. Inside sat a tiny
crystal rose that shimmered in an array of pink shades. Melaina had included a chain with it, so
Catherine could wear it around her neck if she chose, or any other way she wanted.
The half-elf sat on the floor in the shadowed corner, watching her family and smiling softly. Her hand
lightly played over her abdomen as she thought of the two children she'd lost, and of the ones she
hoped for someday. A single tear fell and she caught it. In her hand, it crystallized, a mix of green and
blue caught in a tear shaped gem.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx considered blushing when Ophelia mentioned Merick, but just grinned even bigger instead. "Its
nice to know I'm remembered fondly, Say hi for me and tell him that next time we'll find someone to
keep count ... " One toe reached out and snagged the bag with another three or four cans of silly string
waiting til a strategic moment she released the can she'd been holding with Marius, reached and
grabbed a fresh can shot Marius uhm *strategically* and resumed her conversation within five seconds.
<BR>
<BR>
"This, is silly string". "When you press this nozzle like this ... " she shot Marius again. He was
probably going to kill her "... It fires".
<BR>
<BR>

"This is the non-toxic stuff so eating it won't kill you, nevertheless it bears strong warnings about not
consuming it, spraying it in eyes or ears, or sucking in the fumes from an empty can. I can't remember
what happened when I did that so I don't recommend it. Want some?" Foxx edged carefully away from
the recovering Marius.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara saw Melaina hiding in the shadows. She knew how it feel to be uncomfortable She was still
new to these worlds, and huge to boot. She walked over quietly, and sunk down on the floor beside her.
"Suilad, You look like you need a friend,” she said softly. "I'm Barbara, sister to the goofy bouncing
thing over there,” she said pointing in the direction of her sister Catherine. "I can leave if you need time
alone, or I can listen too...." she said gently trying to portray she wouldn't take offence either way.
<BR>
<BR>

Melaina smiled up at Barbara. "I'm Melaina, Glory's my brother... And I'm alright, just haven't been
around this much family for a while, aside from the ball where Catherine and Glory met, and the
tournament where the lot of us almost died..."
<BR>
<BR>

Marius was distracted, first by Paiden's comment about not going topless. He quirked an eyebrow
upwards and was about to comment when Foxx hit him with the silly string. Then he was wondering
who this Merrick person was and how much teasing he could get it, when Foxx hit him with the silly
string. And there was some kind of vibe going on with Mak, but by now he'd hit his silly string
capacity and rational thought was no longer possible.
<BR>
<BR>

He made a small bow to Ophelia. "If you'll excuse me a moment, I'll be right back. If I could just
borrow that can..." He dove after Foxx, flattening her face down, and covered the back of her head.
And her butt, just to be contrary.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had landed with a solid *oof* and then had squealed appropriately and giggled madly, because
she could. Marius seemingly finished Foxx engaged in a patented move grabbing Marius' tunic rolling
him over (quite a feat given the height difference) and emptying the remains of a loose can down his
tunic.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she got up and wiped most of the silly string off her butt, pulling some out of her hair as well.
Marius could get the rest out later. She would have attempted to regain her dignity, but she figured she
probably had lost it irrevocably by this point.
<BR>
<BR>

So she just smiled and continued right where she left off with Paiden and Ophelia, albeit with more
giggles and while niftily avoiding the hand that reached for her ankle "And you could help me coat
Marius, because he'd probably very much enjoy being covered by three women, so long as he wasn't
smothered or we could just grab a drink and shoot the unwary..." At the thought of drink her mind
wandered off.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara shuddered when she remembered the tournament. "The tournament will be a hard memory for
anybody to shake." Barbara said with a grimace. "I spent my time defending Lianna...and dodging
falling bleachers. It wasn't something I care to repeat." Which was an understatement.
<BR>
<BR>

The giantess looked down at Melaina's hands and saw the crystal tear. "But, why cry when around
family? Family usually means joy. Well except when you’re in the process of wanting to kill one of
them,” she said thinking of moments when Catherine had made her mad.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara wasn't usually this inquisitive in a brand new relationship, and yet something about Melaina
pulled at her and caused her to want to help.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden typically wasn't a drinking man. An occasional daiquiri was his limit. But tonight, tonight he
needed more. He knew that blonde fellow had been messing with his daughter, and he really, really
wanted to take him out. He settled instead for rum. A lot of it. He tossed two back without even
hesitating. The third one he held onto. The rage was settling. He knew he would embarrass his daughter
if he didn't get control. But he still really wanted to get into it with Glory. He glowered in the direction
of the two sitting on the floor in the middle of the room. And then shook himself hard.
<BR>
<BR>

He looked around for something to distract himself. He saw Meghan lurking in the doorway behind the
centaur. He remembered his daughter talking about her. He walked up to Meghan and said. "Suilad."
He would be sociable if it killed him.
<BR>
<BR>

Well, at least 'down his tunic' made a change from 'up his tunic'. Foxx was altogether too dextrous at
dodging his hands, too, which was odd, given their track record, and obviously not a feat she'd chosen
to display in the past. He'd have got up by now, but the floor was by turns slippery and sticky, and the
view was pretty good from down here anyway. Though there were naked breasts not getting ogled up
there somewhere.
<BR>
<BR>

And yet, this sounded like a good time to crawl off under a table.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra may have been shy but she was not unobservant. The panic on Makilnar's face drew her gaze
over towards the Elen woman who had just entered. "She's lovely" the forest elf commented quietly,
"Do you know her? What's her name?"
<BR>
<BR>

Melaina pulled her knees up to her chest and slipped her arms around them, still holding the crystal
tear. "It's a long story, but I'll see if I can condense it down for you, it's not exactly a pleasant one.
About twelve years ago, I carried a child, but I wound up losing her about six months into the
pregnancy. It's probably for the best, as she may have been unbalanced after birth, due to some
complicated circumstances. At the tournament, I had just realized I had conceived again when Nargus
Blackthorn's force attacked. I immediately shifted to dragon form, but I still took a nasty cut across the
abdomen. When I shifted back and was healed, I'd lost the child. I see Glory and Catherine so happy,
and as happy as I am for them, there's still a hint of a bittersweet pain as well. The tear is both the
sorrow for what I've lost and the hope for the future..."
<BR>
<BR>
Melaina glanced at Barbara. Hoping she hadn't given her too much information. She didn't usually talk
about either loss, but the giantess seemed so sincere and something in Mel just reached out and trusted
her.
<BR>
<BR>

The giantess grieved for the lady sitting on the floor beside her. She hesitated for a brief moment, but
finally reacted as she would if she were on Garden and reached out and touched her arm. "I'm so
sorry," she said. "You are brave to be out in public so soon, in fact I think we all are given what has
happened recently. May the fates stop picking on you soon." Barbara said emphatically.
<BR>
<BR>

Melaina looked up with a soft smile on her face. "The fates have already given me much... I have a
wonderful family, most of whom I adore... a friend who has risked his life to save mine a few times,
and I have Ethan... The sorrows along the way only make the happiness sweeter, it's just a few little
twinges now and then..." She smiled again as she watched her brother and Catherine.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory had blushed profusely when his mother said what she had and kissed him. He met her eyes once,
blushed more deeply and nodded, a silly grin on his face. And then he realized Catherine was beside
him and he gave her a less silly grin before he silently handed over the tiny box. It was actually a ring
with a lot of pink diamonds in it.
<BR>
<BR>

"I would have given you this and asked you what I am about to ask even if... well. Catherine, will you
marry me?" He asked. He flipped open the box's lid for her.

<BR>
<BR>
"I couldn't find anything else that was so... right." He said with a small laugh.
<BR>
<BR>

"She is -- very lovely. Her name is Paiden Trayhan and yes, I know her," Mak replied to Chandra. He
grinned at her as he recovered himself. "And what's my brother doing on the floor?"
<BR>
<BR>

As for the Filly, she was completely ignoring the thrown dagger-looks Paiden was casting at her, and
was completely enraptured by the idea of silly string.
<BR>
<BR>

Brown eyes hadn't missed that bag on the floor either...
<BR>
<BR>

Half-kneeling and half-leaning, the filly raffled in the bag, mentally going over Foxxy's instructions
and rose, watching the Alcarin son spray the stuff wildly...some of which somehow managed to lodge
itself on her bare chest.
<BR>
<BR>
"Ooooo! That feels...well...weird!" Ophelia turned the nozzle on Paiden, "Here!!! You try!"
<BR>
<BR>

In seconds the Elen Ranger was covered in neon green silly string from the tips of her pointed ears, to
the toes of her worn leather boots.
<BR>
<BR>

Ophelia was no respecter of dignity and decorum...she'd rather LIVE...
<BR>
<BR>

Though how long that would be now, was debatable...perhaps it would be a good time to spray
Marius...
<BR>
<BR>

Brown eyes found the blonde male, a wicked grin slathering her face.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh, oh, oh!" Catherine had completely lost control of what little decorum she had ever possessed. She
screeched, and hugged Glory, and knocked him over kind of all at once. "Yes, yes, I will." she giggled,
and then realizing she was lying quite sensibly on top of him. She gave him a kiss. She hadn't even
looked at the ring yet. She wasn't even sure where it had gone. She was just too giddy for the details.
And completely oblivious to the audience.
<BR>
<BR>

In her heart she felt like her and Glory had married in the cottage. The ceremony just confirmed it. She
gave her heart into the kiss, and enjoyed the feel of his body once again.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory let out a yelp when Catherine screeched and hugged him -- no wait, the yelp came out when he
got knocked over and his head hit the hard stone floor of the hall. But he was grinning and kissing her
back and feeling absolute delight.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hurray!" He exclaimed. He'd caught the box and ring and snapped it open for her again. "It's pink --
with white. But pink. Diamonds. For you."
<BR>
<BR>

He was going unintelligible as he realized his Lady was atop him. It was a happy sort of unintelligible.
<BR>
<BR>

"Are we going to be grandparents and in-laws?" Galain whispered to Tay, a grin on his face. He was
rather pleased by the turn this particular part of the party was taking.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx grinned at the Elen "Well its green... You're a ranger right? Just think of it as camouflage. . Find a
neon forest and you'll fit right in!" Foxx realised she was probably at least partially in the hole with
Ophelia, and so she did what she always did, which is to say she kept digging. One day she'd get to
China. . "If you let it set for about thirty seconds it comes off much easier... "
<BR>
<BR>

Picking up a can she looked at the ranger. . "Here! Have uh" She paused to read the label "Purple!" and
tossed it lightly towards the Elen.
<BR>
<BR>

"Try not to get it in the food until the An’Thaya has eaten ... Just for safety’s sake." Foxx wasn't sure if
Paiden would actually play with them, but hell it was worth a try. There were two cans left and in a
sudden willingness to play fair she kicked one to Marius who was being well and truly stalked. Despite
having retreated, to what Foxx decided based on the frequency with which it was used, must have been
his favourite table. And the other to Helena and Calli who were still under a different table.
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes," Tay snickered, grinning up at Galain, "I believe we are. We may have to save Glory from Gden
in a moment ... I think." A soft smile flickered across her face as she watched her son, "It is good to see
him happy."
<BR>
<BR>

Okay Galain might have been a little spacey during this party, but he was here and he was eyeing Gden
now.
<BR>
<BR>

"Should I go for his legs while you go for his arms?" He whispered. Honestly though he kind of wanted
to see what Catherine's father might do. And the elf could understand the fellow's emotions... he had
daughters of his own after all.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara began to laugh as she watched Catherine knock over Glory. He was apparently quite a good
catch with the ring too. She smiled as Catherine screeched and then turned to Melaina. "Well, that
settles that, now doesn't it?" she said with a grin. "But the true question is now, if Glory is your brother,
and Catherine is my sister, what does that make us." and then Barbara threw her head back and
laughed. If she'd learned anything off Garden, relations around here were always confusing.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden had managed to down the third rum when he heard Catherine screeching.

<BR>
<BR>
He looked over to see his daughter on the floor on top of Glory. He didn't see the ring, he just saw a
bad scene, and wasn't impressed.
<BR>
<BR>

He hauled over to where they were and in his most menacing voice said..."Ok, I gave you slack
Alcarin, but this, this is ridiculous! What are you doing underneath my daughter?" He bellowed out. He
quite forgot that Catherine was on top, all he saw was red, and was itching for a fight.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well, I think it makes us sisters in law... of a sort... But it won't get confusing yet... I was fine until my
adopted sister Brianna married Jason... Then Jason's sister Rachel married my best friend's son
Yarwin... Then his other sister Anaya married my cousin Valin... And Daro Y’Roden is married to
Silverthorn who's brother Bran is married to Yarwin's sister Mira..." Melaina grinned. "And we don't
even want to get into my siblings... Glory and I have a half sister that's actually not related to our father
cause our mothers were lovers and yeah, things are quite insane..." She was tempted to draw the
diagram, but well, it would take up the whole floor. She couldn't remember how long it had taken
Ethan to understand the whole mess...
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine ignored her father; she had the advantage of knowing that his bark was always worse then his
bite. She rolled over and sat up and finally looked at the ring. "Oh, oh, it’s beautiful, and it’s perfect,
and..." Catherine's wings fluttered and she was bouncing off the floor. She barely restrained herself
with joy. "Will you put it on me?" she asked bubbling over with enthusiasm.
<BR>
<BR>

Wide amber eyes left Mak abruptly as the filly showered the Elen with the odd canned confetti...and
quite suddenly, a can all her own was shoved into her hands.
<BR>
<BR>

"Neon forest? OH! OHHHHH..." Paiden growled hotly and began shaking the can *she hadn't read the
instructions, no,* and popped the lid off.
<BR>
<BR>

This meant war...and she didn't care who was looking...
<BR>
<BR>

The redhead was first...she was closest in range, then the blonde...who by the way, Paiden could have
sworn wasn't wearing any briefs under his tunic....
<BR>
<BR>

"Proposing?" Glory gasped out, quite in awe of Catherine's father. Sure, he'd beat the fellow at the
Tourney, but the guy was really impressive and... Cat brought him back to the moment.
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes, yes I will." He slid the ring onto Catherine's ring finger and gave her a grin
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine’s smile couldn't get any bigger her face would break, and she had a feeling that would be
quite painful. "Oh, it’s beautiful." she said. And this time the tears came down her face. It had been a
hard decision to grow up. She had always felt safer small. But also intensely lonely. What she would
have missed if she hadn't taken the chance. "Thank you," she said through the tears. She grabbed
Glory's hand and held it tight. "Do you think we should get off the floor?" she said after a minute or
ten.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden had figured out half way through his tirade what was going on. He was actually quite pleased
with this piece of information. This he could deal with, it was time his daughter no longer be alone. IF
you looked close you could begin to see the twinkle in his eye. If you didn't look close you would think
he was still intensely angry.
<BR>
<BR>
"I don't believe young man, that you asked me if that was possible...and believe me you are NOT gonna
do it if you don't." Gden said growling for emphasis.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya was pondering Galain's question when Gden growled at Glory. "Wow," she muttered, "He is
rather impressive. Are you taking notes?"
<BR>
<BR>

On gaining the table, Marius flipped in on its side and made it into a foxhole. A Foxxhole, even, though
he wasn't in a hurry to let her in.
<BR>
<BR>

He liked Ophelia's style, though, and not just her dress sense. So he stringed her from behind his
barricade, though he missed a bit, as he was trying very hard not to cover up anything that was better
left uncovered.
<BR>
<BR>

Jase had yelled surprise and managed to escape the insanity with the silly string by playing guard over
the gift table. NO-ONE was going to send it flying this time.
<BR>
<BR>

Calli had picked up the silly string and gone flying for Foxx and Marius - it was neon yellow and the
Ingraelis Ranger was whooping at the top of her voice.
<BR>
<BR>

And Helena? She crawled out from under the table eventually and managed a small smile. She had
wanted to talk to Melaina, but it could wait. Instead, she found herself a nice quiet corner, and a drink
that, while looking like it possessed alcohol, was quite non-alcoholic.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx managed to get a hand up before her entire face was coated with purple silly string and she found
herself giggling quite a bit.
<BR>
<BR>

Screaming out a cry she began a three fronted attack with the single can, fairly impressive really. She
got the back half of Paiden, Calli square in the chest and a nice shot off at Ophelia’s retreating back.
<BR>
<BR>

She'd find her way to Marius’ foxxhole sooner or later. . hehehhe
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes! Off the floor!" Glory exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet and dragged Catherine up with him.
It was much easier to meet Gden’s eyes when he was at his full height and he felt the blood drain away
from his face as Cat's father reminded Glory in no uncertain terms that he'd quite failed to ask
permission to marry his daughter.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're right sir. I didn't ask. Of course I thought it was sort of important to ask the lady in question
first considering it's she that I'm marrying and not you, but as her father and all you should be given all
honour and respect and -- may I marry your daughter?"
<BR>
<BR>

Gods, he was a babbling lunatic!
<BR>
<BR>

"You're right -- I've never managed to intimidate anyone quite like that. Of course my daughters keep
sneaking off and reminding me of my own past so I guess 'impressive' is sort of out for me," Galain
replied, giving Tay a rueful smile. "I'm still taking notes though. There's always the chance our
daughters will find someone who knows nothing about me."
<BR>
<BR>

Now if Gden’s emotions had been a teensy bit more in control he would have figured out Catherine
was pregnant in which case the rage would have continued. But he figured he'd scared the young man
in question quite enough. He threw his head back and laughed at Glory's scrambling off the floor, and
almost standing at attention.
<BR>
<BR>

"You were right lad, my daughter needed to be asked, and you didn't need my permission, but a father
likes to see what the man his daughter is considering marrying is made of. You'll do. You fight well,
and your willing to stand up for yourself, and my daughter must find something else that she sees worth
living with. You are welcome to the family." Gden said with enthusiasm. He shook Glory's hand, and
then reached in to give his daughter a hug.
<BR>
<BR>

Hopefully Gden wouldn't figure out the pregnancy thing for at least 24 hours...
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine calmed a bit, and reached into to give her father a hug. In a soft aside she sent <I>Remind me
to tell you my father's bark is worse then his bite...</I>. She spoke out loud to her father, "Now dad,
that just wasn't nice...." and then she giggled she was too happy this day to hold a grudge.
<BR>
<BR>

She quickly returned back to her love however and snuggled under his arm. She finally truly looked at
the ring. And smiled contentedly. "Thank you," she said to Glory, "You have made life quite complete
today."
<BR>
<BR>

Someday Glory would be exceedingly glad that his future father-in-law had now clue his daughter was
already pregnant Right now he was just glad the fellow was agreeing to the marriage. He'd do -- that
was a good thing to hear. And he was welcome to the family -- doubly good. He shook Gden’s hand
and sighed with relief as he watched Cat hug her father. His eyebrows rose as she sent her message
though.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>Well he barks awfully loudly, </I> he returned with a trace of laughter. He was rather happy when
she snuggled into his arms again.
<BR>
<BR>
"You're welcome? Oh hecks, Cat. I love you. You have made <I>MY</I> life complete."
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine's heartbeat raced with Glory's words. Complete was such a lovely way to feel. She hoped that
nothing would ever take it away from her. She reached up and kissed Glory with as much passion as
she dared show in public. Eventually she reluctantly pulled away, and linking her fingers between his
she dragged Glory over to his parents to show off the ring. "Oh, look, isn't it lovely, and do you know
you have a marvellous son, and..." Catherine realized she was fluttering again. She brought herself to
the ground and desperately tried to calm herself down.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara looked at Melaina. "Shall we go admire the goods?" she asked with a broad smile. And worked
herself off the floor. Getting a giant-sized body off the floor was always a little tricky. "Need a hand
up?" she asked.
<BR>
<BR>

"Nah, I got it.. Thanks..." And with that, Mel jumped to her feet, recent practice in the arena proving
some worth to her abilities. The half elf slipped up behind her brother and stood on tiptoe to peer over
his shoulder. "Oooh, nicely done little brother... " A bit more quietly, she whispered, "I'm glad to see
you so happy, toror'amin..."
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhh... she better stop fluttering like that," Galain whispered to An'Thaya. A sudden mad giggle
escaped him and then he was grinning at his son and future daughter-in-law, heartily approving of
Glory's choice -- the pixie, not the ring though that ring was certainly spectacular.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank you -- and thank you," he told her. "I honestly thought I'd ruined my chances for this sort of
thing." He bowed his head a moment, then hugged his sister again. "You doing okay?" He asked.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya shot an amused look at Galain and snickered, "Mmmhmm. I'm sure it would impress the new
in-laws, I'm sure Gden would be wildly amused if you flew his daughter across the room." Her tone
dropped to a whisper, "He'll be upset enough when he finds out what Glory has done to her."
<BR>
<BR>

Laughing madly she tweaked the Elen's ear and reached into his vest, relieving him of the usual ball of
twine. "Here, hold this." She stuck one end in his fingers, and then ran around him in tight circles.
<BR>
<BR>

"But it would! He'd be sooo impressed! Right before he killed me and then Glory." Galain replied.
"And how could he get upset???? It's a baby! Babies are good things!" His voice was carrying as
An'Thaya went berserk and ran around him. He was getting tied up... with his own twine! NO!
<BR>
<BR>

"HEY!" He yelped, spinning with her. And of course he'd stuck his fingers into the twine.
<BR>
<BR>

Foolish, foolish elf.
<BR>
<BR>

An’Thaya yodelled like the loon she was and kept running round and round till Galain was trussed up
like the turkey HE was.
<BR>
<BR>

Hmm… a lot of bird metaphors today. Or are those similes?
<BR>
<BR>

Screeching to a halt she grinned feraly at him, then jumped back, using her full weight to yoink on the
string and send the Elen spinning like a top.
<BR>
<BR>

Right towards the buffet table.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh gods! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Came
the cry as the Galain-as-top spun wildly toward the buffet.
<BR>
<BR>

Please forgive me those who are in Hurricane Isobel's path...
<BR>
<BR>

Hurricane Galain hit the buffet tables at force five winds and spread food every which way as he
powered into the centre of the tables and spun downward, quite possibly undermining the hall's very
foundations.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine had been enjoying watching Glory with his sister. But then his two mad parents began their
dance with the twine. "Ummm, Glory why does your father have twine, and what was he planning on
doing with it?" she asked curiously.
<BR>
<BR>

She ignored the crashing buffet table. It was just standard operating procedure at parties around here. A
party WITHOUT the tables crashing would be truly shocking.
<BR>
<BR>

Mel grinned and leaned on Glory just a little. "I'll live... Wasn't as bad as Br’Ytha..." Her eyes were just
a little sad and then her Atara was spinning her Atto and well, chaos reigned as usual.
<BR>
<BR>
"Well, Catherine, Atto has a little hobby... He likes to fly fae like kites... Most of them steer clear of
him by now, but all that fluttering of yours must have had him plotting again..." Mel grinned. She
adored her Atto, even when he acted like a buffoon...
<BR>
<BR>

"Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaal!" Thaya yodelled at the top of her lungs, then turned and
sketched a bow to a panel of Fae who were holding up mini score cards. "Thank you! Thank you! And
for my next trick...”
<BR>
<BR>

"I suppose being a fae myself I shouldn't ask what the fae think of this?" Catherine said barely
controlling her mirth. She had a sense of humour. And could see the silliness of this all. "And dare I
ask if any of the rest of the family participates in this?" she asked of Glory or Melaina trying her best to
look outraged and failing miserably.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain stopped spinning at some point and gazed balefully at everyone.
<BR>
<BR>

"Jello to you all!" He exclaimed, thoroughly covered in various types of pink-tinted foods.
<BR>
<BR>

"Step momma’s been guilty of it on occasion... I usually am playing with them in other ways... But
every once in a while, one of the numerous siblings will try..." She grinned as one of the fae who'd
judged An'Thaya's elf-bowl came over to land on her shoulder and tug gently at her hair. She was still
missing the Diirlathe, and Blackthorn Keep... or at least it's Arms master... But after the events of the
tourney, they had to prepare for war.
<BR>
<BR>
"I should get back to the Keep... Ethan and Callan might need me for something or other..." She stood
on tiptoe to kiss Glory's cheek and then hugged her future sister in law. "Happy birthday and
congratulations..." She smiled and then in a flash of blue portal, was gone.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled as Melaina left. She sensed sadness in her, and wished she had had more time to talk.
She hoped some day that would happen. In the meantime she had another question for Glory. "So, has
anybody flown your father?" she blushed. "That didn't come out quite right. Ummmm, what would
your father do if he found himself flying in the air on twine? Do you think I could?" she asked
mischievously. If Glory gave the word Galain was gonna find himself greatly inconvenienced.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya was grinning at Galain across the room, and it grew a little more feral when she overheard
Cat's question. The Amazon's brow furrowed and she started counting on her fingers ... she paused,
then sat down to remove her boots.
<BR>
<BR>

She was going to need her toes ... and probably someone else's too to figure this one out. How many
people HAD flown Galain?
<BR>
<BR>

Well.. at least he was over his fear of heights.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had been so awestruck by the top style spinning of Galain she stopped silly stringing'ing people
to clap and wolf whistle.
<BR>
<BR>

Definitely a prize-winning performance.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory watched his mother and realized she was counting how many times his father had been flown as
a kite. He shook his head and realized suddenly that his sister had left. He sighed. As long as she was
all right...
<BR>
<BR>

He refocused and grinned at Catherine.
<BR>
<BR>

"He's actually been flown a number of times. It's pretty funny when it happens though."
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine giggled when Glory said Galain had been flown. It figured as much that he had. He had the
ability to get into trouble more then anyone she had ever met. Also the ability to stick his foot in it.
When Catherine realized they were alone for the moment she turned to him and said quietly, "And how
about you, have you ever been flown by a pixie?" and she was of course thinking of something entirely
different. She blushed when she realized the words had spoken out loud.
<BR>
<BR>

"No... I've not... I --" He went silent, blushing with Catherine. He hadn't missed what she was thinking
and he was delighted.
<BR>
<BR>

"Okay... I've been flown by you -- or would that be... blown away by you?" He said then, kissing
Catherine gently. "I cannot wait to be your husband," he said softly into her ear.
<BR>
<BR>

"Nobody do anything they're thinking about right now if it involves me, flying and twine!" Galain
suddenly yelled, pointing directly toward the toe-counting Tay.
<BR>
<BR>

It did not help his dignity that he had pink cottage cheese sliding down his nose.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine blushed some more at Glory's quiet words. "I don't think I can wait myself,” she said with a
smile.
<BR>
<BR>

And at Galain's shouted words she just really couldn't resist the urge she'd had ever since she'd put two
and two together.
<BR>
<BR>

The twine took on a mind of its own and wrapped itself around in a knot. A gentle breeze from
nowhere came and began to lift him up off his feet. If he grabbed a table, or An’Thaya or? He might be
saved. But probably Galain was gonna do some flying.
<BR>
<BR>
It was okay to torture ones future father-in-law wasn't it?
<BR>
<BR>

"Noooo!" Galain let out a yelp of dismay as he went unexpectedly airborne. The elf tried desperately to
untie himself and got lifted further upward. He jerked backward, let out a gasp and reached blindly for
anything. His first grasp was for Tay. He missed and snagged Glory.
<BR>
<BR>

There were now two airborne and shrieking elves.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya got that prickly feeling at the back of her neck that told her she had just barely avoided...
trouble. "Galain?" Looking up she didn't see anything at first, but she heard plenty of shrieking.
Blinking she pulled her boots back on and swivelled around on the floor, just in time to catch site of the
Father and Son Dirigible. Well, they were full of hot air … you know. Lost in a hysterical fit of giggles
she flipped over onto her back, and then winked up at Catherine. “Well done, you’ll fit this family quite
nicely I’d say.”
<BR>
<BR>

"Lemme down!" Glory cried though he clung tightly to his father. "You're dead," he hissed into his
father's ear.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh tell me something new," the Elen replied with a laugh just before they hit the hall's upper rafters
and bounced downward.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhhhh goooodssss!" Glory yelled as they hit the floor, took out Foxx, ran over Marius and buried
the rest of the birthday cake.
<BR>
<BR>

"Dead!" He yelled.
<BR>
<BR>

“Oh my Gods!” Tay let out a squeal as the streamers came down with the pair of demented Alcarins
and tangled among the party guests. “Look out for the…!”
<BR>
<BR>

Too late.
<BR>
<BR>

Then there was one infuriated BBQ and her rolling pin again, winding up to crack the pair of them for
destroying the Birthday Cake.
<BR>
<BR>

“Look out!”
<BR>
<BR>
Too late, again.
<BR>
<BR>

Tay clapped her hands over her eyes and winced.
<BR>
<BR>

THWAP!
<BR>
<BR>

“Oh… that’s going to leave a mark … several of them even.”
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine couldn't decide whether to giggle or screech. So she did both as Glory flew away with his
dad. When they crashed she continued to do a bit of both and fish her way out of the streamers. She ran
to where BBQ was hauling off for a second whack. "Oh back off, you knew they were gonna destroy
the first cake!" she said in exasperation. "You hit my man again and I'm gonna start hitting you." she
said with a fierceness of possession that would astound her later.
<BR>
<BR>

She ran towards Glory stepping on some part of Galain on the process, or was that more cake? "Oh, oh,
I'm sorry, you weren't supposed to be part of that..." she said. She tried to fish him out of the mess, but
found herself tripping on something and landing in Glory's lap instead. He was quite pretty in pink
cake. She took her finger and scraped some icing off his face and said..."MMM!"
<BR>
<BR>

It was frosting, really. Galain still let out a yelp as his son was retrieved and he was hit again.
<BR>
<BR>

"Saaave me!" He cried as he rolled under the stairs and abruptly stopped.
<BR>
<BR>

Well, Marius was thoroughly distracted. He hauled himself back up to his feet in time to see his brother
and father take out the cake and the subsequent rolling-pin work. Wow, that Catherine was a tough
pixie... She'd only saved Glory, though.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius extended a hand to Foxx with a sigh, watching his father take a pasting. "You know, I could
watch that all day."
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was just grinning away. Had everyone heard Catherine's fierceness? And she'd saved him!
<BR>
<BR>

"I think I love you," he told her, a silly grin on his face. Then he decorated her face with pink icing. A
pretty little pink moustache.
<BR>
<BR>
All of the chaos served to help Mak recover his equilibrium and he snagged Chandra out of the path of
his brother and father before she could join them.
<BR>
<BR>

"I suppose I should rescue my father, but Amil is enjoying herself a little too much and I really like it
when she's enjoying herself," Mak observed with a laugh.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine giggled at the moustache. And then kissed Glory icing and all. She managed to get more
icing on herself. And found herself giggling rather hysterically. "Oh, dear life is never dull is it?" she
managed between giggles.
<BR>
<BR>

She grabbed a streamer and tried to wipe icing off Glory. "Your a mess you know that?" the streamer
of course left little paper bits and made it worse. She giggled some more. It was then that she saw a full
can of silly string. She wasn't even sure how it had got there.
<BR>
<BR>

"So, what do I do with this?" she asked with mischief in her eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx grinned and took Marius' hand resisting the urge to silly sting him "It is always amusing, but
personally I savour the anticipation, it’s like a perpetual storm front. You know its coming, you just
aren't sure exactly when, where, or what... Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey . . Look ! Catherine has silly string now".
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had a sudden wonderin' "Where'd Paiden and Ophelia go?"
<BR>
<BR>

They might need that table reasonably soon. .
<BR>
<BR>

"She's enjoying herself?" Chandra was watching the chaos unfold with wide hazel eyes and a bemused
expression on her face. It looked more like the Amazon was torturing her husband. On the other hand
everyone was laughing so perhaps it was all some sort of game. Not one she understood completely
admittedly. "No, I don't think rescuing him would be a good idea at this point."
<BR>
<BR>

Well, An'Thaya did have a small measure of mercy, so she finally clambered up off the floor and
chased off BBQ before crawling in under the stairs. "Ok Elf in Distress, you have the all clear. You can
stop screaming like a girl now." Emerald eyes glittering with amusement she poked him in the belly
button.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine turned the silly string can in her hand and read the directions. "Do not use around flames,
don't aim directly at face, bla, bla, bla, point and shoot." At this she perked up. Turned the silly string in
the direction of Glory with mischief in her eye. And let go a string of it.
She giggled and then jumped up to try to run away...
<BR>
<BR>
Marius cocked an eyebrow at Foxx. "I don't know where they went. You really think so? I guess the
anticipation is fun, but I do like watching the wave break. Have you met my brother Mak?" His eyes
gleamed. "You'll like him."
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes I'm a mess and no! Don't shoot! Aagh!" Glory tried to defend himself and managed to loop his
foot around Catherine's ankle, moving swiftly to catch her as she fell.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well lookie here, I've myself a pixie and I'm just going to have to kiss her until she gives up her
weapon," Glory said with an evil little laugh before he caught her lips with his.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx grinned right back "Ahh but you see while the wave break is fun often as not you end up wet.
Properly enjoyed anticipation keeps you dry while still allowing maximum participation in the
mayhem, it allows the frosty pink coating to be an option".
<BR>
<BR>

Then she went all-introspective and began counting on fingers ending with "Uhmmm No? I don't think
I have. And I like everyone, well almost. And all of Galain’s children so far, though admittedly" Foxx
paused, looked up realised that even with the three inches from her boots there were five or six
outstanding, so did the logical thing and tripped him. Straddling him she kissed him happily and
finished her sentence "Some more than others".
<BR>
<BR>

Then she smiled "Hey wait! I came in and you were talking to tall and blond. . He was going to erm
<I>'help'</I> you with An’Thaya’s breastplate and I offered to put you back together afterwards?"
<BR>
<BR>

"I wasn't screaming!" Galain protested before he gave Tay a cheeky grin. "Poke me again. Don't mind
the blood and bruises."
<BR>
<BR>

"Trust me, she is. My folks are weird," Mak replied with a laugh. He couldn’t miss those hazel eyes
and how wide they went and almost touched her face before he caught himself. He flashed a quick look
toward Paiden, but she was unaccountably busy and he grinned, this time touching Chandra's face
fully.
<BR>
<BR>

"See? He's being rescued, and by none other than my mother herself," he said.
<BR>
<BR>

It could be argued that Catherine had sprayed the silly string just so she WOULD get kissed, it could be
argued, but it would have been a waste of time as they would have been right. Catherine giggled as
Glory kissed her and quite enjoyed it. "Now, that is unfair, you've made me completely forget what I
was doing...." she said and gave him another kiss.
<BR>
<BR>
"Idiot," Tay snickered, "Do you need some ice? A bandaid? Tender loving care?" She poked him again,
just to be contrary.
<BR>
<BR>

And yes, Mak's folks were weird.
<BR>
<BR>

"All three," Galain replied decisively. "And now. Hey! Do that again!"
<BR>
<BR>

He caught at Tay and dragged her down for a kiss before he just grinned at her. "Do I get Scooby Doo
band aids?" He asked.
<BR>
<BR>

"I think you'd look better in the neon glow in the dark kind," Tay informed her husband, "We'll just
stick em here... and here... and here ... and maybe one here too." With her usually single mindedness,
she set about making him feel all-better.
<BR>
<BR>

Hey, they put hidey-holes under stairs for a reason, right?
<BR>
<BR>

He really should have been starting to expect it by now. Marius oofed as he went down and Foxx
knocked the breath out of him, and then sat on him. Her assessment of his brother was amusing. "Yes,"
he said rather breathily, which could have been because of the winding but was probably more the
straddling. "Tall and blond. That's how you can tell him from... well, Glory and Cully, I guess. That's
him over there, with the nice lady. Which is how you can tell him from..." Ooh, time to shut up. "If you
let me up I'll introduce you. Otherwise I'll just stay down here."
<BR>
<BR>

"Weird?" Chandra studied the rescue attempt for a moment before smiling up at Mak. "Yes, I think
weird sums them up quite succinctly." She blushed as his fingers brushed against her cheek. "So how
weird did you end up with that sort of influence?" she teased the blonde elf gently, trying to distract
herself from the warmth of his hand.
<BR>
<BR>

"Of course that was unfair and yes, that was my plan. Catch you and kiss you and make you forget
everything else," Glory replied with a laugh before she kissed him again. He nuzzled her ear and
grinned at her.
<BR>
<BR>

"Happy birthday, Catherine," he said softly.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh I'm hardly weird at all. I'm the youngest of the brothers and thus all the weirdness was bred out
before I was conceived," Mak told Chandra, waggling his eyebrows a little. "Now if you've met my
brother, Glory, then you'll see that quite a bit of weirdness hit him. I mean really, look at him there all
covered in pink frosting and silly string and he's deliriously happy. Then there's my brother, Cully,
whose wife kept baring her breasts to him until he simply had to marry her. I shouldn't even go into my
sisters, but they're a completely different story, but I'm talking too much and I'm just very curious right
now so if you have to slap me I'll understand."
<BR>
<BR>

Mak leaned in and kissed Chandra very gently and then straightened, running his tongue over his lips.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hmmm... strawberry. Definitely."
<BR>
<BR>

"No! Not there! I'll have to peel it off and it'll hurt!" Came one loud cry from beneath the staircase as
Galain was bandaged up with glow in the dark bandaids that kept magically appearing in a maniacal
Amazon's hands. "Can't you just kiss all my boo boos better?!"
<BR>
<BR>

Should we say more?
<BR>
<BR>

"Well I could," Tay observed, "but where would be the fun in that? Oh wait ... oh <I>there</I> I see
the fun now! Let me get right on that then."
<BR>
<BR>

Ok, that may have been the worst sentence in the history of Imladris.
<BR>
<BR>

Then again ... probably not.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was torn between screaming and laughing as he answered Tay. "Oh that's right, get right on top
of it and -- OH! No! Don't do that repeatedly! Wait... Ow! Oh! Ow! Ohh... OW! Ohhhh..."
<BR>
<BR>

And so it went.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx giggled and continued to hold captive Marius, captivated, as a captive. . "I sense that perhaps you
are making fun of my observant and insightful observations. Besides they're all quite different Glory is
Platinum and Paternal, and Cully is Blonde and Botanical. I don't have one for you that’s fit for public
consumption".
<BR>
<BR>

She just looked at Marius and grinned silently for a moment then she leaned over and kissed him
"A'right shall we go interrupt Mak on the make?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine loved those words; she didn't think she'd ever get tired of them. "I love you too,” she said
with a quick nibble to his ear. "So, do you think we should be polite and talk to the guests we haven't
yet talked to...or can we go hide like your parents?" she said with a giggle. She had really wanted to
talk to Meghan again, but apparently Meghan had faded into hiding again, she was good at that. She
looked around and it seemed that all the guests were quite entertained, so maybe she'd just stay on the
floor with her love. It was a nice floor.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh we could be polite... we could also take a bullhorn, mount a table and yell a hello to everyone,"
Glory replied. He was rather of a mind to and was already getting to his feet, dragging Catherine with
him. He got onto the nearest buffet table, formed a cup with his mouth and began bellowing.
<BR>
<BR>

"Meghan! Ophelia! Paiden! Melaina! Atto! Amil! Hello! Cat and I are going to go snog now!"
<BR>
<BR>

Of course he quite forgot Barbara and Gden could hear all of this and gave Catherine's father a wide-
eyed look as he stood still on the table.
<BR>
<BR>

Well hey; living dangerously was an Alcarin trait.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine desperately grabbed for Glory's mouth, but he was fast, and stupid. "Glory!" she then
blushed and looked for a place to hide. In her long ago past she would have shrunk to be about an inch
tall. It was extremely tempting. She did think to duck however, 'cause her papa was coming, and Glory
was in trouble, and quite frankly he probably deserved it for that comment.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden had been quiet. He'd ignored the goofiness of the party, and the games on the floor. It was
innocent. He was a reasonable man. He was happy for his daughter, but then he'd started wondering.
Just why were they getting married so quickly? This thought swirled around in his head. He started to
feel along his bond with his daughter and was just starting to put one and one together and get three.
When Glory pulled his major mistake. Fury leapt to Gden’s face at Glory's public announcement to
embarrass his daughter.
<BR>
<BR>

"HOW DARE YOU!" he roared. And flew in the direction of Glory. Before he knew it he was up on
the table grabbing for Glory. He knocked them both of the table and managed to come up on top. He
put his hands around Glory's neck and began to squeeze. "EXPLAIN YOURSELF, OR THERE'S
GONNA BE A WEDDING TONIGHT IF I HAVE MY SAY!" He roared for all his worth.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine screamed when she saw where her dad was going. She tried to stop them, but Barbara
appeared from nowhere and held her back. "They’re gonna have to figure it out at some point. And you
haven't exactly been acting yourself." she said with slight exasperation in her voice. Catherine began to
whimper in fear for both of the men she loved, and waited to see the out come.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hiiiiiii!!!!" Was Glory's last word as he was taken down by his future father-in-law. "Tonight's fine if
you feel it's necessary!" He replied unthinkingly. He went unintelligible then as Gden squeezed away.
He kicked and flailed and then the table went down and Glory could only hope Catherine wasn't
beneath it.
<BR>
<BR>
Something was clicking in Glory's mind and he realized Gden was sensing something he himself had
only just realized earlier.
<BR>
<BR>

Okie... he was a very dead young elf.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain sat straight up as he realized one of his sons was in trouble. Of course he was nekkid and
covered in neon glow bandaids so he wasn't about to just leap into the fray.
<BR>
<BR>

"Look... someone's killing our son... oh wait... it's his future father-in-law." A wild chuckle escaped the
elf.
<BR>
<BR>

G'den was just getting warmed up. But he had just enough control to let go of Glory's throat. "Speak,
you dirty rotten son of a skunk, you maladjusted oversexed blonde patooty." G'den had a whole string
more of words but he had to breathe at some point. "How dare you do such things to my daughter!" he
bellowed. "And, now just exactly WHAT are you going to do about it?" he asked. With each word he
thumped Glory's chest for emphasis with his fist. He was ticked and he wanted the whole world to
know it. He took another deep breath and waited for the villain underneath him to say a word, any
word.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine knew somehow that Barbara was right. She buried her head in her systems stomach and
refused to look. She knew she couldn't interfere, and she trusted the two men in figure this out on their
own...well she thought she trusted them. She waited without watching to hear the outcome.
<BR>
<BR>

"Popcorn?" She just had to ask, "With extra butter? Should we be taking bets? Glory is younger, maybe
stronger, but Gden has anger on his side. Anger is always a wonderful motivator. Erm... how did a
bandaid get <I>there? </i>
<BR>
<BR>

Oh yes ... such loving, protective, worried parents.
<BR>
<BR>

Well, Tay figured Galain had lived this long...
<BR>
<BR>

Glory gasped, choked, coughed and stared up at Gden.
<BR>
<BR>

"Do what things? I love her... We're marrying. I'd have married her no matter what. She bonded to me
before I even knew it. See? I hear her heartbeat all the time." He tore his own vest away to show the
bondmark over his heart and coughed again. Gden hit hard and his chest was on fire.
<BR>
<BR>
He seized the moment to throttle Gden himself, grinning despite himself. There was a whole bunch of
insanity between the two and sometimes it was just healthy to get it out.
<BR>
<BR>

"Snogging is kissing! I'm going to snog her!" He exclaimed.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak used the ensuing chaos after his first stolen kiss to steal another one. He wasn't too worried about
his brother though he kept one eye on him and Catherine.
<BR>
<BR>

"Why don't we step over here and see how this all turns out, eh?" He suggested amiably to Chandra.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden was suddenly shocked when Glory returned as good as he got. Glory's pummelling knocked him
back hard and he hit his head on the floor. He bounced back up and threw him another punch before he
finally saw the bondmark.
<BR>
<BR>

He stopped mid-punch and looked. He was numb. It was a done deed and nothing was going to change
that mark. He fell back onto the floor and just stared at Glory for a minute. His daughter was grown up,
she was an adult, and she was a mother-to-be. He was just going to have to face it.
<BR>
<BR>

The words that Glory spoke began to sink in. Gden wouldn't apologize, not now, maybe not ever, he
would have wished for his daughter to have done things differently somehow. But, if this was the man
Catherine had chose he would relent. But then he grinned evilly, he didn't think he'd tell Glory this for
awhile, it would be fun to make him sweat.
<BR>
<BR>

"A bond? You bonded with my daughter?" he finally said out loud. Gden felt along his familial bond
with his daughter, and realized that yes it was there, and it was deep, and unbreakable. He was in shock
somehow. The bond that Cat shared with Glory was for life, he sure prayed that Cat knew what she was
doing. "Well, then, I guess I should say...welcome to the family." Gden managed to spit out. The words
came out they were the right words, but they were said slowly as if it hurt to say them.
<BR>
<BR>

He sat on the floor huffing from the workout. "Take care of her, she's special,” he said softly, gently so
that only Glory could hear and with a touch of sadness as he realized he was losing his oldest.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara nudged her sister who she had been holding tight. "You can look now, dad appears to be
done,” she said. She had seen the look in her dad’s eyes, and knew that he was starting to adjust to the
whole idea. "Look, but stay here for a minute, give them time to sort things out." she said softly. She
was taking the role of the oldest on right now. Catherine's emotions were just bouncing all over, and
someone needed to be calm in the family.
<BR>
<BR>
Glory was holding his jaw, noting a little blood on his hands. He gazed warily at Gden and nodded.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thanks... I think," he replied at first. Then he nodded.
<BR>
<BR>

"I will take very special care of her. I never expected someone like her in my life. Ever," he replied in
as soft a tone as Gden’s He looked away, breathing slowly as he tried to calm down. He arched an
eyebrow in Cat's direction.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>Still up to snogging? </I> He asked silently, a devilish gleam in his eyes. He cast a quick look at
Gden and cut the gleam as fast as he could.
<BR>
<BR>

It's always good to be safer than sorry.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden worked his way up off the floor. "Need a drink after that?" he asked of Glory in an attempt to be
civil. He then looked over at Catherine and realized what Glory really needed. "Go, to my daughter,
she needs you." he said gesturing his head in the direction of Glory.
<BR>
<BR>

It was the ultimate blessing and showed that Gden truly had decided to accept Glory. "And come visit
my home some day, you need to meet Cat's family." he said with a gentle smile. And then walked away
from the man who had stolen his daughter’s heart. He needed a drink, and a quiet place to ponder
things.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius valiantly hid under and behind Foxx while the confrontation went on. He was violently allergic
to offended fathers and tended to avoid them whenever possible, no matter what that meant climbing
out of.
<BR>
<BR>

Once it was over, he said, "Yes, we should go an interrupt Mak on the make. If only because every
time I look at him I get the feeling that someone, somewhere, is keeping score." He thought for a
moment. "It's probably one or both of our mothers." He got to his feet, took Foxx's hand, and went over
to where Mak and Chandra were trying to hide. He was grinning far too broadly. "Hey, Mak. I want to
introduce you to my friend. Foxx, this is my half-brother Makilnar. He's muuuuuch older than I. Mak,
this is Foxxfire."
<BR>
<BR>

This was something in the way of a test. Marius was checking that Mak actually knew his companion's
name, and was capable of introducing her. One day, he was going to fail.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra was sure her face must now be red enough to rival the hair of Mak's Amil, who had
disappeared somewhere beneath the stairs. The forest elf was completely stunned. The number of times
she had been kissed she could count on the fingers on one hand, and this was the first time someone
had decided to kiss on their first meeting. Hazel eyes blinked up at the blonde elf bemusedly. "Step
over where? What? Um..." she managed a little incoherently, whilst seriously debating running out of
the door in a panic-stricken fashion. A look of faint relief flickered into her gaze as Marius and Foxx
approached.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hello!" Mak realized belatedly that he hadn't hidden far enough away as his brother and Foxx
approached and smiled ruefully. Chandra was bright red and utterly charming in her embarrassment
and he was wondering what else he could do that keep him on the charming side of things while
keeping her blushing.
<BR>
<BR>

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Foxx. This is Chandra and she's a bard singer. Have you two ever met
before?" He looked at Marius and gave him a smug smile that basically said, "HA! I always know their
names. Nyaaaah."
<BR>
<BR>

"Her last name is Morningstar," Mak added; just to drive things home for Marius.
<BR>
<BR>

A drink would have been good, but Glory took a look at Catherine too and got up to go to her. He
paused when Gden spoke again, grinning despite the pain in his jaw.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank you," he replied. He was rather looking forward to meeting Catherine's family. He ambled over
to her and wrapped his arms around the pixie. "Hey love. Would we believe we both survived?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled at Glory's goofy comments. It helped release some of the emotion. But then she just
melted her body into his and began to cry softly. "I'm sorry, I guess I don't know why I'm crying, I just
didn't like watching that, and..." the words dwindled off. She just held him tight and let herself have a
good sniffle.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh don't be sorry... you love your father and I'm pretty sure you love me and it can't have been
pleasant to see us throttling each other, but I think it's all right now." Glory kissed Catherine all over
her face and rocked her back and forth.
<BR>
<BR>

"Can I help you open all your presents?" He inquired brightly.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx grinned, subtracted the devious and held at friendly smile "Nope, but I was at the Green Heart
when the darvons projected one of her stories, and it was magnificent... My last name is Evenstar.
Marius probably knew that. Anyway to express the obvious you and I, we're day and night. ."
<BR>
<BR>

Its possible Foxx was way too easily amused.
<BR>
<BR>
Slowly she rocked on her heels trying to decide if it was impolite to suggest that they sit the two boys
down with buzzers and let them fight it out game show style. It'd be
subtler.
<BR>
<BR>

Shaking off the idea her smile slipped a little towards a grin and she continued "Travelling rocks,
what’s the best place you've ever been to? Have you ever stayed at the Misty Rose? And how many
Alcarins in a room before you start to feel panicky? You too Mak. ." Mak was the one she was
supposedly over here to meet after all.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak was watching Foxx with obvious dismay and no small amount of fascination. She was scary, but
she was scary in that sort of way that had him leaning in to check her out more thoroughly.
<BR>
<BR>

"Me too, what?" He asked, his nose having dropped dangerously close to Foxx's cleavage. "I never
panic," he replied without thinking before he suddenly flashed her a grin. "Oh wait, you're asking
Chandra all those questions and just including me to be polite. But really, Chandra's very interesting to
get to know."
<BR>
<BR>

His nose was now a safe distance from Foxx's bosom and he was giving his brother a gigantic grin.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine was still holding onto Glory. He just felt too good to let go of. And for some reason she was
weepy, and couldn't quite completely stop. "I'm sorry, I don't know what is wrong with me, I can't stop
for some reason. I guess, I don't know..." Catherine wondered off in mid-sentence. She'd not actually
told Glory what Barbara had found out. But she thought he'd figured it out. Things had just flown too
fast, and there really hadn't had a moment. She slid a hand down to her flat abdomen and felt it. She
couldn't really find words to tell him. Things were too new, and happening just so fast. She held onto
him and pondered for a moment finally she said hoping that he would understand. "Is it okay?" She
hoped he would figure out what it was.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was grinning from one pointed ear to the other.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're weepy because we're having a baby and I think it's the most wonderful thing in the world," he
told Catherine, kissing her again. "Okay, actually you're the one having the baby and your beautiful
little body is trying to acclimate to that fact. Go away, cry away." He hugged her close and swung her
up his arms.
<BR>
<BR>

"Let's go check out these presents of yours."
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled through the tears at Glory. "Oh, dear one, I love you." She then wiped away the tears
and found her smile. She had a feeling tears were going to flow frequently. She was a creature of
emotion, and this pregnancy could prove to be interesting.
<BR>
<BR>

"Presents, yes let’s." She grinned and linked arms with him. She smiled when she realized Summerlin
was still off in a corner, and waved at her to come over. She then looked to where the quizzing Mak,
and Marius, and Chandra, how had she missed Chandra being here, oh and the redheaded lady she'd
competed with. She'd been quite distracted and slightly rude to her guests "Come, on everybody its my
birthday!" she said with a giggle of enthusiasm. "I want to see my presents,” she declared with her little
girl joy that she still possessed in her grown-up body.
<BR>
<BR>

And then as the giddiness took over her she yelled at the two future in-laws in the closet. "Come on out
Galain, and Tay, its my party, and I get to open presents." she giggled at this, and fluttered over to
where Glory was trying to pull him off the ground as she went.
<BR>
<BR>

It was time to watch his daughter open gifts. And he hadn't given his to her yet. He pulled out of his
pocket a small box. Inside was a beautiful rose shaped necklace filled with pink pearls. He placed the
box in his daughter’s hands. And said "Happy Birthday daughter! I love you."
<BR>
<BR>

He stepped back to wait her watch her open the paper. As he did he smiled a greeting at Summerlin.
"Hello, I'm sorry I haven't said it sooner, I was rather wrapped up in other events." he said as an
apology.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara walked over to where her sister was fluttering. She was really quite amazed that the table was
standing. She had snuck her present down earlier. In it was a lovely pink dress with real miniature roses
attached to it. The roses had been preserved at their finest, and she knew her sister would love it. She
grinned and waited for her sister to open things. And wondered if the hurricane Galain was going to
show up again. She still had a bone to pick with him after the skunk, tomato juice, and moose incident,
she was really hoping she was gonna get to do that today.
<BR>
<BR>

A surprised squeal came out of the Amazon, and she had a rather abashed expression on her face as she
crawled out form beneath the stairs. Dressed and all. Reaching back in she grabbed hold of her husband
and dragged him out too.
Yes, he was dressed ... for once.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya had a small box in her hands as she approached the table and she set it in with the rest of the
gifts, winking at Cat as she did so.
<BR>
<BR>

There was a note attached:

<BR>
<BR>
                                 <I>A gift from one mother to another,
                                      this once belonged to Glory.
                                  The rattle is made of Mai'Tus wood,
                                and the bands around it are Elen silver,
                                      two symbols of his heritage.
                                                 Love,
                                                An'Thaya
</I>
<BR>
<BR>

Summerlin had wisely chosen to stay out of the way of everything and everyone until she was sure it
okay to actually stand close to anyone not involved in silly string, smashed cake or flying fists.
<BR>
<BR>

She smiled warmly at Catherine, unutterably pleased for the grown-up pixie and curtseyed to Gden.
<BR>
<BR>

"It's a pleasure to meet you... do you need any medical assistance? You sure threw some amazing
punches there." Humour twinkled in her sea-green eyes.

<BR>
<BR>
Ah, Galain was dressed, but only he and Tay knew where all the bandaids were stuck and he was
smirking. Of course he was also smirking a bit over the gift from Tay to Cat because it was just plain
fun to watch Glory turn utterly crimson.
<BR>
<BR>

"Wanna play with it again, yondo?" He asked teasingly.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was trying to just stare at the rafters of the hall. They were very high. He was doing his level best
to ignore his father and several knowing grins from those gathering around.
<BR>
<BR>

He'd kill his parents later.
<BR>
<BR>

With immense pleasure.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled with delight when she saw it. "Oh, that is so cool." she said with enthusiasm. She
especially liked the note. The word mother had a lovely ring to it. One she was going to enjoy getting
used to.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank you!" she said and spontaneously gave An’Thaya a hug. She giggled at Glory's expression on
his face however. "Come now, it was a nice gift." she said giggling.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden smiled at Summerlin. "Don't worry, its worse then it looks. My daughters brew a lovely tea that
will remove the damage when I get round to it." he said with a sheepish smile. "I figure I probably
deserve to wear the marks for awhile considering what a all-fired jerk I've been today."
<BR>
<BR>
And that was as close as he was going to get to admitting he'd been wrong, really wrong.
<BR>
<BR>

"If you're sure..." Summerlin said, a chuckle bubbling in her throat. "But you're her father and you
weren't that much of a jerk. You were very lovely in your own way -- at least that's from my
perspective. She's very fortunate to have a father who cares and loves her as you do."
<BR>
<BR>

She meant that whole-heartedly, especially given who her own father was.
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes, I love her, but I've also taught her how to make wise choices, and to follow her heart. And when
push comes to shove I tend to forget that somehow. And I forget that she's all grown up and to be
trusted and cherished, not bossed and protected anymore." Gden said surprised he was sharing this
deeply. "It’s been a challenge raising girls on my own, the boys I can just thump them, the girls, well
they’re just scary!" he said with enthusiasm and then laughed at his foolishness.
<BR>
<BR>

Summerlin was charmed by Gden’s honesty.
<BR>
<BR>

"Once a parent, always a parent," she replied, chuckling. "I feel the same way about my own children
and worry at times about their choices, their happiness and their future. Might I ask -- how many
children have you raised? It seems you've had your hands full."
<BR>
<BR>

Now this was lovely -- getting to know a person she hadn't had the chance to just talk with.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden grinned, " I currently have six. I have adopted Barbara, you've met Catherine. I have two sons
who rarely leave home. Well one of them has, but it’s been a long time. One who is happily and
contentedly married on Garden, and one baby who refuses to grow up," he said with a smile.
<BR>
<BR>

"You see pixie babies are rather unique. They don't grow like elves or humans would. They stay small,
and typically toddler to preschool size until they've learned most of what they need to know. Well
Sharee just doesn't seem to want to get beyond baby...some day she will I hope." he said by way of
explanation.
<BR>
<BR>

"Six? Goodness. And one refuses to grow up?" One fine eyebrow raised and Summerlin shook her
head. "I think that would drive me a little nuts," she confessed. And then she eyed her nephew and his
fiancée with a considering smile.
<BR>
<BR>

"Glory doesn't know that I bet," she said, wondering how his mixed blood and Catherine's pixie blood
would blend. It'd be fun to find out.
<BR>
<BR>
Gden smiled broadly when Summerlin mentioned Glory not knowing. He may be able to get that
young man after all.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well, it can be irritating, but fortunately there's lots of help at home, and lots of volunteers to coddle
babies who aren't really babies." he said with a smile.
<BR>
<BR>

"And, how about you, how many children do you have?" he asked with curiosity.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank goodness for help, eh?" Summerlin said with a laugh. She watched Catherine and Glory again
for another moment before she answered Gden’s question.
<BR>
<BR>

"I have four. Three sons and one daughter," she said. A shadow crossed her face as she thought of her
twin sons. She was afraid to truly acknowledge them as hers. "Perhaps one day I'll be fortunate to have
another." Her smile returned to its normal brilliance. "Mine are all quite grown now, and one is even
married -- something that never ceases to surprise me."
<BR>
<BR>

Marius watched Mak play with Foxx and grinned. Right now it was really amusing. Two more inches
and someone was going to get his nose slapped.
<BR>
<BR>

He grinned at Chandra. That blushing thing was really quite attractive. Still, far be it from him to cramp
Foxx's wonderfully expansive style. He took Chandra's hand and kissed it. "It's a distinct pleasure to
meet you, Chandra. My brother's not making a nuisance of himself, is he?"
<BR>
<BR>

He <I>knew</I> there wasn't a number of Alcarins that could make Foxx panic, he just knew it.
<BR>
<BR>

A shimmer appeared next to Melaina's present for Catherine. The half elf had not returned, but she had
sent something else for her brother and his fiancée to make use of. Her original present now leaned
against something she thought Glory might recognize. When pregnant with Br’Ytha, Melaina had done
a lot of crafting. One of her favourite things to shape with magic was metal. She wasn't much of a
smithy, preferring magic to the flame, but she'd called the metal out of the ground to create Br’Ytha
cradle. After the loss of the baby, things had all been packed away, and Mel had only recently begun
going through them all. That was how she found the painting she had given to Y’Roden for his birthday
and now how she came across the cradle she'd crafted with so much hope. A small note lay on the
pillow inside.

<BR>
<BR>
 <I>Blessed be the head of your little one as she sleeps in the cradle crafted by her Aunt. Dreams will
                       not trouble her here, in her own garden paradise.</I>
<BR>
<BR>
Foxx had in a slightly amused manner watched Mak's nose go down. . And had in fact begun counting
downwards in her head. . 3 . . 2 . . On one she was going to take a deep breath and see if she could hit
him in the nose. Unfortunately he recovered too soon.
<BR>
<BR>

So she settled for clasping her hands behind her back, which presented certain things strategically, and
pretending that she hadn't noticed.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx beamed at Mak and blinked "No, I'm really interested in the most Interesting place you've ever
been". She paused and adjusted the beam's intensity to just a little more "I Really AM".
<BR>
<BR>

Somewhere in Foxx's head there was a voice telling her to behave. After a few moments consideration
the motion passed. She stopped beaming and did her best to make the grin less terrifyingly full of
portent; she was too amused to stop grinning altogether.
<BR>
<BR>

"Nuisance? No, of course not" Chandra said to Marius, starting to feel a little overwhelmed by these
three exuberant people. "I'm very pleased to meet you Foxx. I'm glad you liked the story... and yes; I
have been to the Misty Rose. Willow and Summerlin are very nice." Well, she hadn't bolted for the
door screaming... yet.
<BR>
<BR>

Remembering she hadn't given Catherine her present yet, the forest elf glanced across at the pixie.
Then she hesitated for a second. Not wishing to draw attention to herself, she was stuck. The only way
she could summon the gift was by magic... but that required for her to make some sort of sound as her
magic only worked when channelled through her music.
<BR>
<BR>

Hoping the others were too engrossed in their conversation to notice, the chestnut-haired woman
hummed softly. A small box-like object materialised beside Catherine. Made of a golden wood, it was
delicately carved with briar roses that seemed to ramble all over the box. Inside the pixie would find a
crystal sphere that, when tapped, would produce the most marvellous music.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>She's messing with me, </I> Mak realized and gave Marius a quick look before he nearly dumped
his nose back into Foxx's cleavage again. Distractedly he wondered if his brother might ever consider
sharing before he realized Foxx had spoken.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh I haven't been to all the fun places I plan to go to yet. I bet you've been to far more fascinating
places," he replied.
<BR>
<BR>

He gave Marius a look then. How could Mak be a nuisance? He was showing Chandra nothing but the
utmost attention and gentle care. In fact right now he attentively listening to her hum.
<BR>
<BR>
"Is that what bard singers do? Hum a little?" He hadn't missed what her humming had produced and
was genuinely curious suddenly.
<BR>
<BR>

Oops... spotted.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra looked at Mak with an expression reminiscent of a deer being caught in the headlights. "Um...
well, no. I mean yes... Oh dear." She gave a helpless shrug, "I was hoping that no one would notice."
The forest elf looked slightly uncomfortable with having gained all this attention.
<BR>
<BR>

"I can only do magic if I channel it through my music" she explained after a second. "The Lady Athena
says that I am a Dra'kar Sin'ra, a Dragon Singer. We met when we stayed at the Misty Rose."
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine blinked as two presents appeared before her. She turned to the larger one that Melaina had
sent. She opened it and blushed, and then giggled. "Your sister moves, fast Glory." she said. "And oh
isn't it beautiful?" she rubbed her hands on the metal of the cradle. And the tears began to fall down her
face once again. She brushed them away and smiled through them. These were happy tears, and
wonder that she was actually going to need one of these sooner then later.
<BR>
<BR>

"My dear Chandra. You are one the loveliest ladies here, you hum most delightfully and you expect to
escape notice?" Mak struck his chest, assuming an air of mock surprise. He arched an eyebrow at her
and wondered again how to closet her away for a short bit. He was curious about that blush of her and
if it was just the face and neck or more. That thought got brushed aside with the bard singer's further
explanation and Mak's jaw dropped.
<BR>
<BR>

"That's amazing!" He exclaimed. "Does that mean you're a dragon? Or that you have dragon magic? Or
that is just the name? It's... honestly, Chandra, that's amazing."
<BR>
<BR>

Mak looked upward a moment and repeated "Dra'kar Sin'ra" a few times. Lalaith, the dragon within
him, chose at that moment to purr and Mak turned bright red.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh gods," Glory breathed in a gentle whisper when he saw Melaina's second gift appear. The first had
been quite pleasing, but the cradle -- this was something extremely special and precious and the elf
knelt beside the gift, quite serious suddenly.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh Cat... this is so from the heart of my sister," he said quietly, reaching blindly for his fiancée’s
hand.
<BR>
<BR>
Foxx bit down on the offer to take Mak to some Interesting places and just smiled instead. Rocking on
her heels in a vain attempt to drain off some energy. Chandra was beginning to get that cornered look.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she heard the lovely woman hum. Foxx blinked and smiled, it was pretty sounding. Mak beat her
to the questions though so she simply rocked on her heels some more and listened for the answers.
Absentmindedly and playfully poking Marius in the side for a moment. "He's very flirtatious"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine reached out to touch Glory hesitantly. She was unsure as to what to say to him. She finally
settled for a lighter tone. "It is beautiful, and I'm looking forward to putting our baby into it."
<BR>
<BR>

The words came out and she was stunned by it all. A baby she was having a baby. She got a glow on
her face and just couldn't wipe it off. She was having a lovely day!
<BR>
<BR>

There was a moment there when Marius thought Mak might have been laying it on a bit thick, but he
pulled it back nicely through a rather unorthodox application of genuineness. He was just grinning
broadly and appreciating the show.
<BR>
<BR>

Then Foxx nudged him. "Why, yes, I think he is. Terrible really, I don't know where he gets it from."
He chuckled. "You love it. I thought you were going to make him fall in."
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx turned solemn for a moment "I thought he might drown and seeing as he is" She paused for a
moment "My adopted ... uncle that wouldn't be nice".
<BR>
<BR>

"Somewhere in the many handbooks I had to read before I could become a diplomatic ambassador I
think not drowning people was covered. Quite possibly on the bold and capitalised top ten list the gave
me with the pin the day they finally REALLY had to pass me."
<BR>
<BR>

It was unrelated but "Someone also had to let me qualify to practice medicine, and they did."
<BR>
<BR>

"I think that the flirtatious gene is dominant on Alcarin chromosomes, You get Tall, You get Blonde,
and You Get uhm Courtesan-manship" It was creative grammar but Foxx decided she rather liked it.
"Especially you".
<BR>
<BR>

"Given what number one was the top ten list was probably formulated in response to your mother,
which was also why it was bolded, triple underlined, and had a little note about expulsion written in red
pen and attached. I still don't understand why they were so against it . .".
<BR>
<BR>

Eventually Foxx would be adding Ghetsuhm or Marius to her list of traumatized people.
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra blinked at Mak's barrage of questions, not quite sure how to answer. "No, I'm not a dragon.
I'm still learning about what it really means myself. I had never imagined..." she said softly, and then
shook her head. "According to Athena it is an ancient magic, gifted to the first Dra'kar Sin'ra by the
dragons after she showed them that there was hope for humanity by the beauty of her song."
<BR>
<BR>

His blush fascinated her. She didn't think she had ever seen an Alcarin blush before. "Who was that?"
she enquired quietly, wondering where the sound had come from that she had heard.
<BR>
<BR>

"It IS beautiful. Our baby will be perfect in it," Glory replied to Catherine and then he looked at her,
quite serious again. "Might we... do you think we could ask my sister to be the baby's godmother?" He
kissed his Lady's glowing face and chuckled. She was sooooo beautiful.
<BR>
<BR>

"<I>Our</I> baby. Gods!" He suddenly exclaimed.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak skimmed along the fine line between naughty and schmaltz a lot
<BR>
<BR>

Okay, Mak could have quite easily fallen into Foxx's boobage and with happy abandon. But he was
always quite aware of his brother's skill with the bastard sword. It was a good weapon. It hit hard. It
hurt. He would prefer to avoid it. For a few moments before Chandra's question hit his consciousness
Mak gave Foxx a wild-eyed look. What had she said about Alcarins, flirting, chromosomes and what...
courtesan-ship? He shook his head, rubbed his hears and was immediately hit by the gentle bard
singer's question.
<BR>
<BR>

"My dragon. Me. My other me. Lalaith. Don't laugh -- he does too much." Mak answered and then
gave Chandra a quick smile. "He likes to sneak up on me."
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled at Glory's baby comment. It seemed they were both in a touch of shock. And nodded
her head about Melaina. "I think she'd like that, she seemed so sad somehow..." she wandered off. She
had been aware of Melaina, and wished she'd been able to help, but she'd also been aware of Glory and
well he kinda took precedent these days. She grabbed Glory's hand and wouldn't let go. She needed it
somehow. She needed to feel some part of him, even if his heartbeat was in her head as well.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden smiled at the mention of Summerlin's children. "They somehow grow up fast...well with the
exception of Sharee..." he said with a laugh. He sensed the shadow, the slight darkness in Summerlin's
concern for her children, but chose not to be nosey at the moment. He watched his daughter and soon to
be son-in-law open the cradle. He was maintaining the facade of being calm. It was all too much to take
in at once. "I guess it will be watching grandchildren growing up all too fast now,” he said trying to put
on a brave face. "Do they REALLY know what they’re getting into?" he said with a chuckle. "How,
something so small can be so positively terrifying at times?" he asked again.
<BR>
<BR>
"Do any of us remember even after the first or second?" Summerlin asked with a laugh. It was her reply
to Gden’s questions. "And you know the pleasure in grandchildren, don't you?" She asked slyly,
leaning in a bit. "You can give them back." She laughed aloud. "I've heard that so many times, but now
I appreciate it!"
<BR>
<BR>

Gden chuckled at this comment from Summerlin. "True, I think my wife's parents told us that a time or
too. Now I'll have to try it out for myself." he said with a slightly mischievous face. "Would you like a
drink?" he said changing the subject. "It appears that the drink table survived, even if we won't be
eating birthday cake today,” he said sniggering.
<BR>
<BR>

"Especially me? I'm not sure if I should be flattered or insulted. Or if Mak should be insulted." He
didn't want to think about his brother being her uncle, that was just weird. Fortunately (perhaps) she
distracted him with horrendous speculation as to what the number one thing on that list had been. He
tried not to think about it but his mind just kept turning over possibilities. He gave a protracted
shudder. It seemed he'd be making that traumatised list after all.
<BR>
<BR>

"I think you're probably right about the genes," he said lightly, rather enjoying treating his brother as an
exhibit. "What do you think he gets from his mother?"
<BR>
<BR>

"You should definitely be complimented, its hardly backhanded at all. Mak shouldn't be insulted, from
the contenders I've seen he draws second place and I'm as biased as a Russian judge at an ice dance
competition". Foxx enjoyed the shudder.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ahh his mother" Foxx eyed Mak for a few moments "That’s tough, you see I haven't really spent
enough time on Whispin or with D’Riels" She continued to think "Green eyes? His eyes are green
right? The way he stands is somehow more 'Thaya than Galain, he thus far hasn't actually fallen into
my breasts and he didn't immediately ask what sort of Interesting places I could take him to so
obviously restraint came from somewhere".
<BR>
<BR>

"What would you say?"
<BR>
<BR>

"I'd love something to drink -- perhaps some of the punch or ice water if they have any," Summerlin
replied to Gden as they headed over to the table bearing various types of drinks.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak's attention was caught by the discussion between Marius and Foxx and he decided to take a step
back away from them.
<BR>
<BR>

"My eyes aren't D'Riel green," he offered though before he found himself self-consciously checking out
his posture and giving Chandra a rueful smile.
<BR>
<BR>
"The D'Riels I've met had emerald eyes" Chandra offered helpfully, "Mak's are..." She glanced up,
realised she was staring into his eyes, blushed and looked down again. "Um... not" she managed in a
slight squeak.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx looked, squinted and wondered if pretending she was momentarily blind would help.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ah Well, I'm notoriously unobservant, and occasionally a twit to boot, I can't tell from the side, and it
was a worthy guess".
<BR>
<BR>

Then she realised she hadn't said D’Riel green she'd just said green. Unfortunately while she was
realising this she was saying, "I didn't say D’Riel green, I just said green" So she was unable to shape it
into an effective argument.
<BR>
<BR>

Deciding her hole wasn't big enough Foxx continued to dig, one day she'd get outta trouble by arriving
in China, she was pretty sure of it. Double-checking to make sure she went with the final argument
"Sure they may be" Triple check "Galain’s colour, but every part of you came from your mother once.
Unless you've added stuff?"
<BR>
<BR>

Marius grinned and slipped an arm around Foxx's waist. "They're kind of green," he said thoughtfully,
managing to stop himself before he launched into a lyrical description of his brother's eye colour. "I
think you're right about the restraint, though, there's no way he got that from Atto. We'll have to wait
until he breeds to see if he's carrying the genes for those lovely bosoms." He grinned broadly at his
brother.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius' head suddenly shot forward as an Amazon hand connected with the back of it. "Don't talk
about my breasts behind my back ... wait... never mind. Sea green, Mak's eyes are sea green. Suilad
Chandra." Emerald greens sparkled with amusement and the redhead winked at Foxx around her
stepson.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius was fazed for all of about four seconds. He lowered the angle of his head as he addressed...
'An'Thaya'. "I'm sorry, ladies, that was terribly rude of me. How can I ever make it up to you? A hug?
A kiss better?"
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx just laughed and winked right back at An’Thaya before speaking to Marius "I retain my earlier
position, s'long as I get dibs on sticking the parts back together I'm all for you trying sweetie . . Not
because you couldn't hold your own. . Rather because you could, whenever she was done cutting it off.
. Duker sent me some new stuff to try. . He says it tingles and feels very cold. ."
<BR>
<BR>

She grinned right up at Marius in that lovely and unnerving way. Then she beamed at Mak "Sea Green,
Green See! Your mom agrees!”
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx holes can be burrowed quite deeply y’know. .
<BR>
<BR>

Mak was grinning broadly at Chandra and thought that squeak of hers was just adorable. He winked at
her and brushed at her hair before his brother's comment penetrated. He gave Marius a startled look and
then burst into laughter when An'Thaya popped him in the head.
<BR>
<BR>

The laughter turned to a slight growl for a moment until he saw his father sneaking up behind Marius
too.
<BR>
<BR>

Oh good. Mak returned his full attention to the squeaky and blushing Chandra.
<BR>
<BR>

"Why don't we leave all these goons to arguing amongst themselves about my traits and head over to a
more private corner of this hall?" He suggested.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was indeed sneaking up behind Marius and grabbed his son by the shoulders as he whipped him
around. The elf enveloped Marius in a bear hug and then kissed him soundly.
<BR>
<BR>

"All forgiven! Now where are my wife's breasts? I like to talk about them -- and to them. They have
names you know." And with that he bowed to Foxx and swooped in on Tay, a wild grin on his face.
<BR>
<BR>

Tay squeaked, and defensively grabbed... herself, then blushed and let go. "They have names?" The
look on Galain's face wasn't entirely reassuring. She looked down her cropped off shirt and stared at
them dubiously. "Oh look! They glow in the dark!"
<BR>
<BR>

Well, honestly, it was a happy accident involving a glow in the dark bandaid.
<BR>
<BR>

"Why yes they do," Galain said, peering in with Tay. "That one is Itchy, and that one is Scratchy."
<BR>
<BR>

Need we say more?
<BR>
<BR>

"Itchy and Scratchy? I thought that is what you named your..." she suddenly looked up at their
audience. "Never mind."
<BR>
<BR>
Gden moved towards the pump, and gracefully poured some for Summerlin. "Here you go, my lady,”
he said with a smile. "It looks quite...pink." he said with mischief in his eyes. He looked over to
Catherine and Glory. He wondered momentarily if he should apologize for what had happened earlier.
And then decided not to. Gden wished to continue conversation with Summerlin instead. He was at a
loss for a moment as to what they'd been talking about. He looked into his head for a suitable
conversation and finally grasped on his first love. "So, doing much gardening lately?" he asked with the
right amount of curiosity and interest.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine eventually opened each of her presents, and dutifully thanked the giver with enthusiasm. She
then smiled up at Glory and said..."Do you think we can dance at least once before the party is over?"
she hadn't danced with him since Diirlathe. Well she had, but umm, never mind.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain paused a moment and stared into space, then exclaimed dramatically.
<BR>
<BR>

"My gods! You're right! So this would actually be Bibbity and Bobbity. And we all know where the
Boo! is." He twirled Tay around and drew her up close against him.
<BR>
<BR>

"Let's dance."
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh my goodness is it ever pink. My mother would just love this. She would just adore Catherine as
well," Summerlin replied as she took her glass of pink water. It tasted just fine though and she
chuckled. She missed Gden’s momentary pause and then practically glowed with excitement when the
mention of garden was made.
<BR>
<BR>

"OH yes! I garden as much as I can. And if the seasons don't allow for it, I have a green house. Herbs
mostly, but flowers as well. The Elen are renowned for their everlasting roses -- the front gardens of
the palace in Alcarinque are filled with them in every hue and shade. But just the other day I was
working over my rosemary -- I hadn't realized how large they can grow and I've been away a bit and --
Oh dear, I'm talking too much. What do <I>you</I> garden?"
<BR>
<BR>

Mention cooking or gardening and Summerlin was right there in the middle of the conversation.
<BR>
<BR>

"Absolutely," Glory replied to Catherine and took her by the hand, leading her out to the dance floor. It
was covered with frosting and silly string, but not too dangerous for a pair of lovers intent upon each
other and the music that swelled up gently throughout the hall. The place was magic and a live band or
sound system wasn't entirely necessary and that made things even more perfect for the pair.
<BR>
<BR>

"Happy, <I>happy</I> birthday, melda," he whispered into her ear.
<BR>
<BR>
An'Thaya let out a small squeak when she came up against Galain's chest, then grinned up at him. "Are
you talking to me? Or Bibbity and Bobbity? All three of us would love to dance."
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes, I'm talking to you. But if Bibbity, Bobbity and Boo are listening in, that's all for the better,"
Galain replied, kissing Tay before he swept her out on the dance floor. He nodded to his son and led his
wife off in a dance.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden smiled when Summerlin began to talk. "It sounds beautiful, I would love to see it some day...” he
said. And then he smiled at her question about his garden. He had the same problem as she did when it
came to gardens. "Oh, I live in a world of gardens. We of course vegetable garden, and have some
lovely melon gardens. My daughters favourite are the roses, as you probably knew. We actually have a
100-acre maze of roses of every colour known to man. My personal favourite however are the wild
flowers. I love to find an exotic plant and teach it to survive in a domesticated garden. Have you ever
seen the lady slippers from the planet of Earth? They are delicate pink and fragile. I currently have one
that I'm trying to convince it could survive on Garden...” he said in a burst of information.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine grinned hugely when they swirled out onto the dance floor. She loved the feel of Glory's
body as she danced. And the word melda. "I love it when you call me that." she said with a smile. "And
thank you for this." she said nodding at the party. It has been perfect." she looked into his eyes
absorbing the beauty of them. And then rested her head on his shoulder and continued to dance...albeit
slowly.
<BR>
<BR>

"Lady slippers! How delightful! Do you have an illustration? Perhaps we could share notes, discuss
climates? See what might grow on Berelath versus what grows where you live?" Summerlin was
absolutely beside herself with excitement and quite ready to kiss this darling fellow. But she held back
and just clapped her hand, her eyes glowing.
<BR>
<BR>

"You must come visit. <b>I</b> must come visit!" She exclaimed. "I want to see what roses you're
growing... and what herbs are hardest for you? Parsley and oregano grow well for me, but sage and
mint... I feel like I'm messing up. And have you ever grown Aloe? It's sooo helpful, but I keep paying
too much attention to it. Are you familiar with it?"
<BR>
<BR>

Gardening! Oh yes, Summerlin was aglow.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden grinned at Summerlin's enthusiasm. He had finally met someone as enthusiastic as him. "Oh, you
really must try the lady slippers! They require shade, and a wet moist climate, not too hot. Quite tricky,
still not sure whether their going to survive or not." He said with a smile. He then reached into one of
his many pockets and pulled out a seed. He closed his hands around the seed and began to envision it
growing. The plant began to creep out of his fingers and soon he had two beautiful blooms connected
to their roots still.
<BR>
<BR>

He then reached over and 'borrowed' one of the punch glasses to put it in. "Here, try it, and maybe
some day we will meet up again and see how it grows." he said with a gracious bow and placing the
cup into her hands.
<BR>
<BR>

And in regards to aloe, you really must neglect it. It prefers no love as to over-loved, though it’s hard to
remember that some days. "Herbs? Oh I've had luck with many kinds. Rosemary is one of my
favourites, hard to kill at Garden." he said and then came up for air waiting to see what she thought of
the flowers.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius had been expecting to get thumped. Instead, his father and stepmother had got back at him in a
far more insidious and permanently damaging fashion. His ears were still ringing. "Oh my gods. That
was way, way too much information! It's bad enough I seem to have to see all that stuff at regular
intervals; I didn't need to know they had names!" It was pretty good odds he wasn't talking about
An'Thaya's breasts.
<BR>
<BR>

He looked down at Foxx, grinning. "And look at that, Mak and Chandra ran away. I guess we should
leave them to it." His grin wavered a little. "Do you dance? I mean, would you like to dance? With
me?" He thought. He was pretty sure he had all the exits covered on that question.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxxy had stared after Chandra and Mak briefly then sighed "They always do that" Before engaging in
a brief ponderance of exactly what caused it and all the various people who'd quickly found back exits.
Then Marius asked her to dance.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx replied before she thought "Not unless I'm solidly Drunk" then her mind clicked into place "Erm.
That would be lovely, one of the greatest inventions of the future are steel-toed boots. Somewhere
there's a box that recommends putting them on before you dance with me". The thing about dancing
was that it made her all self conscious, which was ridiculous really, and then she would completely lose
her mind. Well the portion of her mind that she usually marked for holding on to.
<BR>
<BR>

"It’s co-ordination thing that gets me. Hands here feet here and here and here then there and here then
there again. I'm not half bad though when I close my eyes and pretend I'm not dancing though, or so
I've been told. If you're willing to try I'm willing to pretend I'm not, erm I will, but well, Yes".
<BR>
<BR>

"Did that make sense?"
<BR>
<BR>

Marius tried to work his way through Foxx's little speech. This was something he felt he was going to
get better at with practise. "Okay, let's do this then. You pretend to be drunk, and pretend we're not
dancing. I'll pretend I'm wearing boots. Which I hate, by the way, so imagine the sacrifices I'm making
for you. Anyway, I've been fallen on by legionaries much uglier, and heavier, than you. Come on."
<BR>
<BR>

Marius pretty much picked Foxx up and carried her out on to the dance floor. He could lead, he just
wasn't sure Foxx was constitutionally capable of following. Still, if it went really badly, maybe they
could take out Glory on the way down...
<BR>
<BR>

As a matter of fact Foxx was pretty much incapable of following, except when her life was at stake.
She became capable of much when it was a choice of life or death. Unfortunately for most of her
partners dancing wasn't often on the list.
<BR>
<BR>

So she laughed "You can just dream of the recompense for you illusory suffering while imagining the
boots okay? And you can introduce me to Glory if we take him out, but you'll have to tell me what
colour his eyes are before I get in trouble this time".
<BR>
<BR>

Then she moved into position. Closed her eyes and tried to relax. Pricking one eye open again she
looked at Marius through it "We really shouldn't take him out on purpose, it doesn't help my
reputation." Closing them she continued, "I'm not here now, I'm off delivering imaginary compensation
for boots" giggling she relaxed for real and left herself to Marius' tender if potentionally questionable
mercies. .
<BR>
<BR>

Marius chuckled, and pulled her nice and close, which should actually reduce the risk of her standing
on his feet. And he was holding her pretty tightly, to encourage moving when and how he did. But boy
was that 'compensation' thing distracting. "Wait, let me think," he said, moving slowly. "Which one is
Glory... he does have the bizarre D'Riel eyes. It's Cully who has our father's eyes. I'm pretty much
slightly more than half sure I've got that the right way round. It's all very well to say that's how you tell
them apart, but you've still got to remember which one is which. But I'm perfectly sure your reputation
will in no way change whether or not we fall on him and Catherine."
<BR>
<BR>

He kissed the top of her head.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhh... this is lovely, thank you!" Summerlin exclaimed when Gden handed over the punch glass.
"You'll definitely have to come visit Alcarinque to see how this grows." The Elen was utterly delighted
and then laughed.
<BR>
<BR>

"Now I should remember which is the flower and which is my glass of water before I take a sip," she
said, a twinkle in her eyes. Music had started up and a few couples were moving onto the dance floor.
She decided that Marius and Foxx looked like they were plotting and she shook her head.
<BR>
<BR>

"I think this has turned out to be one of the nicest parties in a while," she observed.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden smiled at Summerlin. "I haven't been to any of the others, but I might have to start. Its good for
me to get out, and meet new people." he said with a smile. Then he really bit up his courage. "In
absence of your husband...would you like to dance?" he asked.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh do start, and perhaps I'll drag Reece along next time. I don't get to many parties myself, but I just
had to come for Catherine's birthday and what a wonderful surprise it's been." She winked at Gden and
then her smile blossomed fully when he asked her to dance.
<BR>
<BR>

"I would love to dance. Let me set these down and we'll whirl away for a bit," she replied. Once both
glasses were placed in a spot where they wouldn't be disturbed the Elen Mage curtseyed to Gden.
<BR>
<BR>

"Shall we?" She asked.
<BR>
<BR>

Gden beamed at Summerlin's curtsey and bowed in return. And then led her out onto the floor and
began to twirl her around. "I would like to meet your husband." he said with a smile. And then gave
himself to the joy of the music. Although he was wondering whether it was actually safe to dance with
Foxxy and Marius on the floor...they didn't exactly look like they knew what they were doing.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well then I'll make sure Reece comes to the next party event. As long as I know you're coming too
though," Summerlin said, giving her dancing partner a wink. She too watched Foxxy and Marius rather
cautiously; certain disaster loomed on the horizon with those two in action on the dance floor.
<BR>
<BR>

If Foxx had been able to hear Gden and Summerlin's thoughts she would have been forced to retort
she'd never taken out more than five people. It probably wouldn't have done her much good.
<BR>
<BR>

As it was she settled her head against Marius' chest it was rather nice where she was "Yes, but it's
possible he hasn't <I>heard</I> the reputation yet. Not entirely likely, but possible."
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara smiled as she watched the couples dancing. She was willing to be a spectator...Ymir was back
at the dragon. She decided however it was late, and probably time to head home. So she sent a goodbye
and mental hug to her sister and father and portalled back into the inn.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya watched Glory and Catherine for a moment, then smiled softly and let her headrest on
Galain's chest as he waltzed them across the room.
<BR>
<BR>

Sometimes it was the quiet moments ...
<BR>
<BR>

And then her brain went back to the glow and the dark bandaids, and she giggled softly against his vest.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh quit that giggling. You're the one who stuck them all there," Galain murmured against Tay's ear,
laughing with her as they danced, gracefully avoid the trouble couple.
<BR>
<BR>
"Just dance with me," he whispered. He wanted to give her a wedgie, but refrained.
<BR>
<BR>

For once.
<BR>
<BR>

The Amazon stilled her laughter and lifted her face to be kissed. Serious moments between them were
few and far between these days it seemed, so for the moment, Tay drank in what she could. "You
certainly are graceful for a be-band aided goofy Elf," she whispered back, "Aminmela lle Galain."
Emerald eyes sparkled for a moment, then she laid her head back on his bare chest again.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius chuckled, a warm deep sound in his chest. "Word of your delightfulness has spread far and
wide. Perhaps in your absence you became something of a legend. Or maybe it was your presence that
did that." He shrugged, as best he could while dancing. "I don't feel like sharing you with Glory right
now, anyway."
<BR>
<BR>

They danced together for as long as they could, Galain kissing Tay repeatedly although it was probably
no help that he kept whispering "Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo!" between said kisses. But he was pretty
serious for the most part.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank you, my dear. You're the one who band-aided me. Remember that." He told her. "Aminmela
lle," He said then, echoing her. He rested his chin atop her glowing mane of hair and went silent after
that, smiling to himself as they still, somehow, avoided the marauding Marius and Foxx.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx resisted the urge to say that Glory looked decidedly off the sharing market, on the grounds that
her and Marius were having a nice moment. Tempted, but resisted. It was very warm and the way
Marius' chest vibrated when he laughed was very nice.
<BR>
<BR>

Course she really couldn't help "I've always been a legend in my own mind" and the snicker. She
paused for a moment "When you say legend like, in a good way?"
<BR>
<BR>

Marius grinned. "I don't think words like 'good' and 'bad' really apply. Especially in situations where
they actually mean the same thing. Which is definitely you. I guess it's time this party broke up. Let me
whisk you off somewhere?"
<BR>
<BR>

Then, rather taking his life into his own hands (though it was probably already firmly there) he dipped
her.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had been doing fine, she hadn't stepped on Marius once, had managed to ignore, and then mostly
forget she was dancing, and she was fully going to allow him to whisk her away in fact, had been about
to say so when . . He dipped her.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx would have liked to say that normally this wouldn't have been a problem but the fact was she had
been successfully dipped once, and she had been much drunker, semi conscious might have been an apt
description.
<BR>
<BR>

So instead of asking to be firmly whisked she said something to the effect of "AWK!” released Marius,
then grabbed Marius. Then she said "Ooof..." and after a suitable pause which was required to check
and make sure her ribs weren't broken ". .I don't land on you that hard."
<BR>
<BR>

After a moment, Marius managed to breathe in again. He was in no hurry to get up, though. "Well, I
think normally, when you fall on me, you're at least vaguely expecting it. Often I think it's entirely
deliberate. I guess I should have been expecting to fall." He kissed her, and then bounced a bit. "How
are you doing down there?"
<BR>
<BR>

"I cannot state positively or negatively on my mental state when I fall on you as it may incriminate me
at a later time". Foxx had learned some things from her lawyers. Then she snickered in what was
probably a very incriminating manner.
<BR>
<BR>

"As for the second," she leaned up and kissed him back before giggling "Better for the kisses, probably
more bruised for the bouncing"
<BR>
<BR>

Chandra smiled a little shyly up at Makilnar. "I should probably be going" she said softly, "it's almost
time for this party to end and I have done what I came here to do which was deliver Catherine's
present." The forest elf hesitated slightly. She had enjoyed the Elen's company, even if he could be a
little overwhelming sometimes, and she wished that they could have a little more time to talk. But then
there had been something in the way he had looked at the blonde woman, Paiden she thought she had
been called, that made her think perhaps that wouldn't really be all that appropriate. "It was nice to
meet you, Makilnar Alcarin."
<BR>
<BR>

<I>Crud</I>, Mak thought as he realized Chandra was making a smooth getaway.
<BR>
<BR>

"Are you sure you have to go? You can't stay longer? Have another drink? Sing me a song? Tell me
more about yourself?" He asked, truly sorry that she felt she had to leave so quickly. "Might I see you
again somewhere?"
<BR>
<BR>

Marius was going to laugh his butt off.
<BR>
<BR>
"I... Well..." Chandra hesitated, her escape halted by the Elen's words. "We probably all ought to be
going soon" she said softly after a moment, "but I would like to see you again. I've enjoyed talking to
you."
<BR>
<BR>

Mak's shoulders slumped a little and he nodded. At least he might get to see her again and apparently
he hadn't overwhelmed her too badly.
<BR>
<BR>

"All right then. It was a pleasure to meet you -- and I'll be looking for you," he said. He took one of her
hands, gave her his most courtly bow and kissed her knuckles. Though, it was hardly an appropriate
kiss as he touched his lips to each knuckle before he finally let her hand go.
<BR>
<BR>

"Until next time," he said, backing away.
<BR>
<BR>

The forest elf's heart beat a little faster at each brush of Mak's lips across her knuckles. "Until next
time" she repeated softly and then, blushing at her daring, she rose up on tiptoe to press a gentle kiss
against his cheek. "Take care of yourself,” she whispered, before hurrying quickly from the Hall.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak was grinning. He'd gotten to witness Chandra's beautiful blush again AND he'd gotten a lovely
little kiss from her as well. He watched the bard singer hurry from the hall and sighed before he quickly
scanned the place for a view of Paiden. He'd quite lost track of her. When he didn't see her he headed
closer to the dancers, waiting for a chance to quickly wish Catherine a happy birthday and to
congratulate them both -- on several counts.
<BR>
<BR>

After a lovely dance with Summerlin and some more small talk, Gden realized it was getting late and
time to leave. "Thank you for your company, and the dance, it was a treasure for me." Gden said with
sincerity. "I think however it is time for me to leave."
<BR>
<BR>

He looked over to where Glory and Catherine were dancing quietly. They seemed quiet, but intensely
happy. He smiled in spite of himself at the two of them. "I have a feeling the next time we meet it will
be for a wedding. Don't tell those two, but I think I'm looking forward to it." he said with a twinkle in
his eye. He laughed. And said..."Well, farewell again." And opened a portal and disappeared.
<BR>
<BR>

Summerlin had to chuckle, but she wouldn't tell Catherine or Glory just how much a certain someone
apparently did approve of their unit. She'd enjoyed her dance with Gden and watched him leave before
she picked up the punch glass that held the growing flower. It was truly a lovely gift and she smiled
and shook her head before she took a quick look at the lingering partygoers. She waved her hand at a
smug-looking Galain and then took her leave, taking the more conventional route of the hall's main
door. She was in the mood for a walk and had brought an Elen steed with her. She'd reach Alcarinque
in good time.
<BR>
<BR>

Marius turned his head to the side, from which vantage point he could see feet leaving. "Then, my
dear," he said magnanimously, "I should take you somewhere where there can be much more kissing
and bouncing, and even possibly some more bruising. If we portal out, I won't even need to get off.
Stand up. You know what I mean. Unfortunately."
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx laughed "Indeed" And kissed him back opening a portal and dropping them onto a bed before it
snapped shut you could hear her say "OW! OOPH!" And a variety of giggles.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well," An'Thaya murmured into Galain's vest, "are you going to help me clean up this mess? Or is
Thermax on hand?" She was much too comfortable in his arms to move away just yet. "Everyone
seems to be heading home."

<BR>
<BR>
"Last time I was stuck with cleaning detail and two sons. But I didn't mind. I'd be quite happy to help
you clean up. But let's keep dancing a little while longer." Galain didn't feel like moving away just yet
either and besides, they would probably be able delegation.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine and Glory had been quiet while they danced. It was just a pleasure to listen to the music and
enjoy each other’s company. But eventually Catherine came up for air enough to realize that everybody
was abandoning ship, or hall as the case may be.
<BR>
<BR>

The music started winding down. And Catherine looked up at Glory, "It has been lovely, but I think its
ending, do we have to clean up, or just gather gifts and hide?" she giggled as she said this. And then
before he could answer leaned in for a nice long kiss.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'm on clean up duty, you two aren't," Mak said suddenly, watching Catherine kiss his brother. He was
grinning, still feeling rueful over losing Chandra, but fairly philosophical about it all. At least Marius
hadn't stopped to rib him, but the portal he and Foxx had made... well...
<BR>
<BR>

Mak just smiled.
<BR>
<BR>

"I wanted to wish you, Catherine, a happy birthday and I wanted to wish both you and my brother,
Glory, good fortune, many blessings and a bright future." He bowed and backed away.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was enjoying the kiss, but was fairly certain neither he nor she would be stuck cleaning up.
Mak's words confirmed it and he looked up, giving his brother an annoyed look, though it softened a
bit at the other's words.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thanks, brother. Thank you very much. We'll eventually leave. You'll be in the wedding right?" He
asked -- keeping titles vague for now. There was a lot he had to go over with Cat first. He got a nod and
Glory was satisfied.
<BR>
<BR>
"Let's finish the dance, then we'll go back home," he murmured to Catherine.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya lifted her head for a moment, watching her sons with a slight smile. "Wow ... our first family
wedding," she murmured, "Seeing as Cully and Wil ran off like a pair of love struck fools." She
laughed lightly and tilted her head up to look at Galain. "You think they'll go S'Hean, Elen or Pixie
style? Perhaps a combination of all three?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled up at Makilnar. "Thank you, and thank you for coming today. And then she pulled up
and whispered in his ear..."Don't worry you'll find the perfect somebody soon enough." she pulled back
and giggled. And said. "Let's finish that dance!" to Glory. The music started from nowhere and she
began to swirl around with him. "So, how long until we do get married?" she said quietly to Glory with
a smile of delight in her eyes. "Or better yet should I ask...how big will I be when we do get married?"
she giggled with mischief at this as they twirled away on the floor.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was startled into stopping a moment. Yes, Cully had sneakily avoided a wedding. How had that
happened? And then he chuckled. He'd sneaked by with his own quiet wedding.
<BR>
<BR>

"I don't know... perhaps it'll be whatever Miss Cat wishes. I think she's sort of in charge... what do you
think?"
<BR>
<BR>

Glory's jaw dropped.
<BR>
<BR>

"Not too big?" He gasped. He didn't want their wedding to resemble a shotgun wedding.
<BR>
<BR>

"When would you like it? What are you wanting?" He asked.
<BR>
<BR>

Mak just blushed. He was in no hurry to find <I>that</I> perfect somebody, but Catherine had just
that effect. He shuffled his feet and just backed into a corner and awaited the commands to clean.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine giggled at Glory's facial expressions. "I don't know, I'm completely flexible. UMMM urrr,
you already knew that didn't you, umm never mind, lets try this again. Catherine stammered blushing.
"Right, wedding date. I have no opinion about a wedding date. Sooner then later is probably a good
idea, but that's just my own two cents. And while we're on the subject, I'm a simple kind of wedding
person. As long as theirs roses, and family and friends surrounding us, I don't care, how, where, or
when it happens." she said smiling into her beloved's emerald green eyes. "Oh, and always willing to
work in whatever traditions are applicable from the heritages of your two families,” she said smiling.
<BR>
<BR>

"The only tradition we have on Garden is to build the newly weds a rose-home on the day of the
wedding. But as you have a house, I'm not sure as if we need that...though we could make it an addition
of sorts at Whispin I suppose..." Catherine dwindled off unsure.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was just grinning as Catherine spoke. Yes indeed she was very flexible. And it was a good thing
Gden was no longer here to hear that. He was pondering what Alcarins and D'Riels did at weddings
and realized he'd have to talk to his parents.
<BR>
<BR>

"Then we'll marry in a month's time and we'll invite all our friends and family and make sure there are
a lot of roses. Do you want to be married on your home world or... wait... what about Dragon Inn?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine smiled at Glory's suggestion. "Yes, a talk with your parents would be good. And Dragon Inn
sounds perfect. It has been home for a long time." Catherine said thinking fondly of all the goofy things
she'd done there, and the friends she'd made. "I have a feeling your mom probably has opinions, and
I'm quite willing to go with them, I'm just not a get uptight kinda person when it comes to that kind of
stuff." Catherine said with a smile. "Garden tends to be rather laid back, I guess it comes from growing
and gardening all the time"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine then got sidetracked by her partner and really had to lean in for a kiss or two. She eventually
shook herself free of this and said..."So should we ask your parents now while they’re actually in the
same spot?"
<BR>
<BR>

She snuck in for another kiss before getting an answer. She just really couldn't get enough of this man.
<BR>
<BR>

"Good idea -- catching my folks now. Wait, kissing you is good too," Glory stopped speaking and
indulged a several long moments of kissing Catherine and then they headed over to the still dancing
An'Thaya and Galain.
<BR>
<BR>

"Um... ahem. Cat and I have some questions. About our getting married," Glory started.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya paused, shared a rather evil look with her husband, then smiled sweetly at her son. "Dear
Heart, from the looks of things ... it is waaaaaaaay to late for <I>that</I> talk."
<BR>
<BR>

Oh... evil Mummy.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain gave his wife an admiring look and just grinned at his son and Catherine as well.
<BR>
<BR>

"I would be happy to teach you some of the finer points though, yondo," Galain added.
<BR>
<BR>

It took a moment or two for his parents' words to penetrate and when they did, Glory's jaw dropped and
he turned white as a sheet before he then blushed deeply scarlet.
<BR>
<BR>

"No! Not about that! Nooo!" He exclaimed, barely resisting the urge to throttle both of them. Oh yes,
he loved his Amil and Atto, but there were times...
<BR>
<BR>

"We want to know about what sort of elements of S'Hean and Elen heritage we should incorporate into
our wedding and... We’re going to have it at the Dragon Inn and... we need your help. We're sort of
easy -- easygoing that is. Just friends, family and she wants roses. Lots of them. And we're thinking a
month from now."
<BR>
<BR>

"Well I have no clue on Elen traditions," An'Thaya shrugged, "Though it likely involves your Dara
Summerlin, roses, a horse and Tiron standing on his head." What HAD been in that icing?
<BR>
<BR>

"S'Hean traditions ... well, that usually involves blessings by the four elements and the Aethyr and
pledges between the Bride and Groom. The most important thing, is love and the willing spirit to be
there. It all depends on the level you want to take it too. My favourite part is the binding of hands with
the flower garland." A genuine smile lit the Amazon's features as she gazed up at Glory; she truly loved
each and every one of her children, and just wanted to see them happy. Glory seemed to have found
that ... and An'Thaya felt blessed just watching him with his Bride to be.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine blushed crimson read at An’Thaya and Galain's comments. "UMMM, I'll ummm, pass on
those lessons thanks." She finally said. She turned her head and buried it into Glory's shoulder for a
moment to recover. And then she turned and waited for the opinions of the two.
<BR>
<BR>

She wondered if they'd actually GET a serious answer.
<BR>
<BR>

"Actually that would be Tirion with no clothes on and standing on his head. We've gotten favourable
reviews on that particular part of the ceremony though we had to geld the horse," Galain said with a
perfectly straight face. But he was remembering his wedding day with Tay and he couldn't help but
grin.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'd suggest going the S'Hean route," he said, a soft smile on his face.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory gave his parents one horrified look before they grew serious again and he hugged Catherine
close to him. And then he was grinning. He was their son after all and one day he might get to do this
to his own son...
<BR>
<BR>
"Well, Cat? Shall we go S'Hean? I'm sure Dara Summerlin would do a beautiful job, but if they had to
geld the horse..." His eyes twinkled. Then he looked at his mother again.
<BR>
<BR>

"What do you mean by level?" He asked curiously.
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine rested her head on Glory's shoulder and was glad Glory had asked that question. "Yes, what
do you mean by the level we go?" She then sent very quietly to Glory, <I>You really must stop
declaring yourself easy</I>. She tried not to smirk too loudly at this underlying conversation and
waited quietly for An’Thaya’s answer.
<BR>
<BR>

While waiting for this answer she also turned to Galain, skipping the horse and stuff I'm very much
sure I do NOT want to know, I would like to know about Elen weddings if there is anything special."
she said with a gentle smile to encourage him.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was being encouraged. One should never encourage the elf. But then this was Catherine so
Galain remain well behaved.
<BR>
<BR>

"Special? Elen? Erm... we could give you a really big state wedding since he's a prince. My uncle or
my sister would preside, you'd have to wear yards of gossamer silk, spend seven days and seven nights
being feted at numerous balls and parties and then marry in front of the entire city on the front steps of
the palace of Alcarinque. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of details though."
<BR>
<BR>

He just grinned.
<BR>
<BR>

An’Thaya stared at Galain for a moment; she had gone a rather funny colour. “Seven days and seven
nights? Main steps?” She weeble wobbled a little and blinked. Wow
…
<BR>
<BR>

“I meant, what level of ceremony,” she said in a small voice. “Your Atto and I kept it fairly simple.
Seeing as a State Wedding would have sent him screaming for the hills.” The redhead finally managed
a grin, “He wanted small, he got small. Lucky thing Amil didn’t get her claws into us before the plans
were made.” As it was, Galain had still ended up with a Circlet crammed onto his head. “Y’Roden and
Arianne were a more complicated version, quite … legal. All your Father needs to do to divorce me is
take that ring off his finger,” she pointed, “and say he releases me. For Ro and Thorn, it is a great deal
more complicated.”
<BR>
<BR>

Her brain was still back on the Alcarinque thing and a mild panic, due to the look Adarin had given her
every now and then … and the fact that Galain was Crown Prince of his people. Having been raised in
the jungle, Tay didn’t do pomp and circumstance well.
<BR>
<BR>
Galain just nodded. Seven days and seven nights and lots of gossamer and lots of parties and lots of...
exhaustion. After that he just blushed because he was a dolt and hadn't had the courage to undergo such
a ceremony with Tay -- or Ghet. And he was well aware of his uncle's dreams. He got all funny looking
sometimes when he stared at the Amazon and the elf had quaked in fear more than a few times. For
several reasons.
<BR>
<BR>

As it was he now assumed a properly blank expression, twisting his wedding ring around on his finger
as Tay explained things. And then he suddenly eyed his son.
<BR>
<BR>

"You want full and legal, right?"
<BR>
<BR>

"Legal, yes, ummmm a ordeal no." Catherine said giggling. "Seven days and seven nights sounds just
plain terrifying." she said with emphasis.
<BR>
<BR>

"Simple, simple is very good,” she said with more emphasis.
<BR>
<BR>

"Great! Legal, middlin' size, simple and no ordeals. Great! Just five nights and days of feasts and
parties!" Galain exclaimed brightly before he winked. "Okay, no nights and days... just a reception?"
<BR>
<BR>

Catherine giggled at Galain’s outrageousness. "Yes, one day, one reception 'tis good. Semi-clothed, lots
of food, and hopefully not too many food fights." Catherine said knowing how parties tended to end-up
on Berelath.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh yes, and no kidnapping the bride." she added giggling. It was a semi-tradition on Garden that she
probably should NOT have brought up.
<BR>
<BR>

"Kidnapping?" Galain's eyes went wide and then he gave his son a wild smile. "Kidnapping! Whooo!
Does the groom have to chase after her? Yes? And just semi-clothed? Who? You guys or we guys?
Weeee..."
<BR>
<BR>

The elf went puerile for a moment. For a lot of moments.
<BR>
<BR>

Glory was eyeing his wife-to-be. What other traditions were she failing to mention? And he did NOT
like the look in his father's eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

"I have to catch her, not you," he warned his Atto.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya merrily tromped on Galain's foot and smiled at her son and soon to be daughter-in-law.
"Well, you two put some thought into it, and I'll be happy to help in any way I can."
<BR>
<BR>

That included trussing up a certain Elen Prince and cramming him into a closet if need be.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ow!" Galain howled. And he howled a lot. He was going to milk this unwarranted wounding out as
much as he could.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh think. Do think. Us? We're going upstairs. Now." He was NOT going into a closet. Thought if it
involved trussing...
<BR>
<BR>

"Well, its semi-tradition 'cause some grooms keep an eye on their bride better then others." Catherine
said giggling. She then rolled her eyes at Galain's howling. She knew where that was headed, and she
just didn't need any more info.
<BR>
<BR>

"So, one last dance, and then we leave melda? Or should we leave now?" Catherine asked looking up at
Glory not sure of what his plans were.
<BR>
<BR>

"If it happens, I'll be keeping a firm eye on you," Glory said, not at all paying attention to his parents.
They'd progressed past a certain point that he paid attention
to.
<BR>
<BR>

"Let's dance one more time, and then leave." He kissed her, twirled her away from his parents and
launched them into a dance that would last just long enough to send them through a portal and back to
the cottage on Whispin.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya cast an innocent look up at her husband. "What?" she asked with a grin, "It couldn't have hurt
THAT badly. And what could possibly be of interest upstairs?"
<BR>
<BR>

She looked about ready to bolt.
<BR>
<BR>

"It hurt badly enough. Besides you mentioned trussing. We're going upstairs for some serious trussing.
NOW." He ignored his son and Catherine, tossed Tay over his shoulder and headed for the stairs.
<BR>
<BR>

"There's soooo much of interest upstairs," Galain muttered wildly, whapping Tay on the back end with
glee.
<BR>
<BR>

The dance was lovely, and Catherine once again couldn't believe how truly blessed she'd been in falling
for Glory. She danced until the portal opened, and as he opened the portal she managed to magic the
gifts into coming along with them and landing safely on the ground.
<BR>
<BR>

An'Thaya let out a squeal, then a giggle, and wriggled wildly on Galain's shoulder. "I didn't say
anything out loud about trussing! Mental eavesdropper! Mental! Mental!" She paused, "But trussing is
good! Upstairs we go!" Her voice was kind of staccato from the bouncing on the way up the staircase.
"Ooo... more glow in the dark bandaids!"
<BR>
<BR>

"Why does it have to be mental with me? I hear it all! Mwaha!" Galain crowed, bumping his wife a bit.
"I've always been mental. You know that. Up to truss we go!"
<BR>
<BR>

The two bounced up the stairs and it was just Mak left alone with a sudden appearance of Thermax.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hello my lovely! You're all mine! Bend over and put some muscle into that broom! Ohhhh! Nice! It's
more fun when you're naked!"
<BR>
<BR>

There was a cry of protest from Mak followed by delighted coos from Thermax and then total silence
punctuated by squelching mops sounds and the delightful sound of Mr. Mop being emptied into a
bucket.
<BR>
<BR>

And upstairs? Staccato bandaging? Lots of trussing? The Alcarins were getting in a lot of first aid.
<BR>
<BR>
Willow quietly slipped into her studio and carefully uncovered Drake’s birthday present. Knowing that
if the children did wake they would be taken care of she portalled to the Hall. The party for Drake
would soon start and she wanted to be sure she had things decorated and his present hung.
<BR>
<BR>

Entering the Hall she stood and stared about. She would not use ladders to string streamers; no she
would use the magic within her. In her mind she saw the lights begin to flicker throughout the Hall,
then the curtains turned to shades of silver and blue that sparkled as the light shined on them.
<BR>
<BR>

The banquet tables were covered with tablecloths the shade of Drakes eyes. Punch bowls appeared at
each end with glasses that had stems in the shape of dragons. Platters with an array of food appeared in
between.
<BR>
<BR>

The banner she had made for his family crest was draped across one wall. She went over and stood
beneath it. Raising her hands that held the painting she watched as it hung itself.
<BR>
<BR>

She knew there were two others who should be celebrating their special day too, but she wasn’t sure if
they would be there. She could only hope they liked the decorations and colours that she had chosen
with Drake in mind.
<BR>
<BR>

Stepping back she let out a sigh of relief. The Hall was ready; she could sneak back to the cottage. She
turned to leave and realized one thing was missing, their song, the one that was playing when she asked
him to dance. Smiling she heard it playing softly in the background. That would play until the guests
arrived, then it would change.
<BR>
<BR>

Turning around she looked back once more and stared into the Hall remembering her boldness when
she had come back in and asked Drake to dance with her … it had been the bravest thing she had even
done … but it had been the right choice … smiling she portalled herself back to the cottage.
<BR>
<BR>

Tomorrow the guests would arrive...
<BR>
<BR>

"It's still quiet, vesse" Bran called back through the portal. He reached through and snagged Mira by
the wrist, tugging her through. With an impish smile he stole a quick kiss. "Willow's done a good job
on the decorations" the fair-haired elf then commented as he looked around. "I wonder where she is?"
<BR>
<BR>

"Gone to fetch Drake probably" Silverthorn commented, catching the tail end of her brother's
conversation as she walked into the Hall. She smiled at the couple. "Suilad Bran, Mira. How are you
both?"
<BR>
<BR>
"You think they put flame retardant on the hall this time?" Ro asked as he came up behind his wife.
The half-elf grinned at the other couple and wrapped his arms around Silverthorn’s waist from behind.
“I left Drake’s present outside,” he said to her, “Thermax would kill me if he made a mess in here.”
<BR>
<BR>

"Thermal’s ire has never seemed to stop anyone before" his wife observed dryly, leaning back into
Y'Roden's arms. Resting her hands on top of his, she tilted her head back to brush a kiss across his jaw.
"Besides, I can always blame you if an irate deity appears." Mischief shimmered in her jade green gaze.
<BR>
<BR>

“Well you probably have a point there,” Ro chucked, “and you know, come to think of it, the last clean
up crew I remember was Galain and co.” An evil grin lit the King of S’Heas features and he turned his
head slightly, cupping a hand over Silverthorn’s sensitive pointed ear as he whistled shrilly.
<BR>
<BR>

An answering whinny came from outside the hall and the sound off hoof beats soon followed, starting
with the dull thud of shod hooves on dirt, and ending with the sharp ring of metal on hard flooring.
<BR>
<BR>

“Good boy,” Ro chuckled, grinning at the massive Obsidian White stallion that barrelled into the hall.
The brute of a horse slowed to a standstill and nuzzled the half-elf before moving over and sticking its
muzzle down Mira’s shirt. “Whoa! Sorry… ahem… I thought he was fully trained…”
<BR>
<BR>

"Excuse me. This one's mine. Find your own" Bran said dryly, pushing the horse's muzzle away from
his wife's cleavage. He eyed his sister who was laughing madly.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh priceless" Silverthorn gasped, before going into fits of giggles again.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain had been confounded by Willow's magic and had been unable to mess with the decorations.
Well, he'd found a quiet little way to be rotten and there were subtle changes to things here and there...
the silverware handles had a faintly piggy shape and if one looked closely at the tablecloths one could
see the faint tracery of little piggies in the fabric.
<BR>
<BR>

And there were glowing things zipping around here and there. At first it seemed they were wee little
fairies, but if one got too close one would see they were tiny flying pigs...
<BR>
<BR>

Galain had brought his own bit of livestock as a present for Drake. Right now he was upstairs feeding
said bit of livestock a giant bowl of barbecued beans.
<BR>
<BR>

Back at the cottage Willow had looked everywhere for Drake. She could feel his presence, but she just
couldn't locate where he was.
<BR>
<BR>
"Drake! Where are you? We need to get back to the Hall for your birthday party."
<BR>
<BR>

There was no answer just a soft breeze that fluttered around her. She knew he was there, but where?
She could sense his nearness but she couldn't see him. Was he messing with being invisible? She knew
that they could do that with the armour but why now?
<BR>
<BR>

She checked Sierra and Aran, but no Drake. She checked the bedroom, no Drake. She checked his
study, no Drake. But she could still sense him.
<BR>
<BR>

"Fine!!" she muttered as she search their bond. He was there and invisible. "You are being a brat Drake
Cole Silverwing. Wherever you are hiding, I'm portalling to the Hall. Don't be too late."
<BR>
<BR>

Stepping through she found herself standing before a beautiful white stallion. "Oh my," she stammered
as she looked at Ro and Silverthorn. "Did you…? Is he for Drake? He looks just like the one I painted
in Drake's picture. He's beautiful! Oh goodness …" Willow could hear herself rambling. This was just
so perfect and what he wanted.
<BR>
<BR>

Just then something buzzed by Willow. "What the devil. I didn't decorate with anything flying."
Reaching out she grabbed one of the sparkling objects. "Oh gee, look, it's a little flying pig." Peering at
those there, "Has Galain been here?"
<BR>
<BR>

Sensing that a portal with Drake was about to open, she looked at the guests a bit nervously, "Drake
will be here … soon. I'm not sure where he is. He's been a bit moody about this birthday. Can't see
why, I think he's only going to be 350 or in earth years 50."
<BR>
<BR>

"Drake...”
<BR>
<BR>

"Uhm...I think..." Mira helped Bran shove off another advance from the glowing white steed "Oh, I
think you've got him trained just like you wanted."
<BR>
<BR>

To which Mira got butted on the hiney by the stallion’s forehead and nearly knocked to her face.
<BR>
<BR>

Gaaahhh...what was it with this thing?
<BR>
<BR>

"You know..." Mira brushed her butt off and spun, to which the horse jerked his head back, ears flying
forward, "Most horses don't like dragons..."
<BR>
<BR>

Y’Roden choked back laughter and grinned at Mira, “Ah, but this fine fellow is an Obsidian White.
The equines of the Obsidian basin are raised along the borders of Ciwnac. The Dragon’s reached an
agreement with the Nomad’s a long time ago, and they do not feed on their horses. That, and an
Obsidian’s lifespan is five hundred years, and they are highly intelligent. Hardly dumb beasts, and not
suitable to eat. Whites are especially rare and highly prized, only the White-Golds are more precious.”
<BR>
<BR>

The King smiled at Willow and nodded, “He is for Drake, yes. I hope they’ll get along alright.” He
reached up to scratch between the stallion’s eyes and chuckled as the horse closed its eyes and expelled
a sigh of pleasure. “Once he gets use to the lighter gravity here he will make a fine companion for the
Knightly one.”
<BR>
<BR>

Galain had gone to great pains to obtain this magnificent porcine steed and was happily watching
Lancelot munch away on the pot of beans.
<BR>
<BR>

"That's right my sweet, pork out!" Galain cooed to the creature. Nearby was a tiny saddle and bridle
made especially to fit the bravely named pot-bellied pig and the elf was beside himself with mischief.
<BR>
<BR>

He was really an adorable fellow really... the pig, I mean.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet cooed. "Oh, he's magnificent!" She wasn't talking about the pig. She let the horse sniff her and
wuffle in her hair before she patted his shoulder. She smiled at Ro. "He's perfect."
<BR>
<BR>

Then she turned to glare at the pig, which she managed for almost thirty seconds before she burst out
laughing. "Careful," she told it. "The last pig that got fresh with me, we ate." There was quite a bit
more to that story, but it wasn't coming out here. She kissed Galain's cheek and grinned. "He's going to
kill you."
<BR>
<BR>

Galain had come downstairs with Lancelot and was eyeing the horse with immense distaste and
distrust. Despite the fact that three of his sons apparently enjoyed horses greatly, the Elen prince had
never gotten over his dislike of the large animals.
<BR>
<BR>

He was grinning though when Ghetsuhm kissed him. He waggled his eyebrows and nearly shook with
wild excitement.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'm counting on it! Look! A saddle with tiny little stirrups and everything! And I just gave him
barbecued beans!" he exclaimed and Lancelot wuffled over Ghetsuhm's feet.
<BR>
<BR>
Meanwhile one of the tiny flying glowing pigs whizzed by.
<BR>
<BR>

Literally.
<BR>
<BR>

Willow reached out and patted the stallion. “Oh, Drake will love him. He’s beautiful!”
<BR>
<BR>

Hearing Ghet talking to Galain she turned and stared in amazement, “Oh, Galain, you didn’t? You
did!!”
<BR>
<BR>

Willow covered her mouth so she wouldn’t laugh out loud. “Oh gee, I’m not sure what Drake is going
to do to you to for that. Lancelot, you say is his name?”
<BR>
<BR>

Then pausing she looked about, she hoped Drake would materialize soon. Not only was there a stallion
in the Hall, there was a rather large pig, with a saddle and a lot of little buzzing, flying piggies.
<BR>
<BR>

Oh goodness….
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes, his name is Lancelot and yes, I really did. I hope he discovers the fine art of pot-bellied pig
riding and rides him into battle one day. I can see it now... the proud Silverwing war cry of
'Sooooouuueeeeyyyyy!' filling the air and causing the enemy to quake in their boots!" Galain clapped a
fist against his chest and gave Willow a wild
grin.
<BR>
<BR>

He hoped Drake didn't get too even with him for this though.
<BR>
<BR>

"Just imagine it! Oinking his way to victory!" Galain continued, quite unable to stop himself. Now he
was saluting an invisible flag, obviously moved by some sort of martial music only he could hear.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was turning 350 years old! A milestone for him. Hitting that age felt like he had just hit a stone
wall. He had gotten up early, long before dawn and was in the small study that he kept for writing, and
thinking. It was a quiet place where he could be alone to read over his past adventures. He could hear
Willow stirring, before we went invisible. He wanted his peace, to think about his past, wondering if he
had things different would he still be there, with a lovely wife and two great kids. Then he heard
Willow mentioning the hall and the party. His party!
<BR>
<BR>

He started sulking even more!
<BR>
<BR>

There was no other word for it. He had told her that he didn't want a birthday party, but the true be told
he enjoyed them, when they were someone else’s. But now everyone would know that he had hit the
big 3-5-0.
<BR>
<BR>

He sighed as he heard Willow looking for him. He had stepped into their bedroom, following her
around like a second shadow, trying not to bump into her. He did reach up and touched her cheek, but
she was too angry to feel it.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'll be there soon love," he whispered after her as she stepped through the portal. He got a quick glance
at the hall, catching the painting that Willow had been working on.
<BR>
<BR>

The one she kept hiding whenever he drew near.
<BR>
<BR>

"A white stallion? She has me sitting on a white Stallion! I wish!" He was missing Silverwing, the
adventures they had together, and the things they spoke about over the campfire. He could still hear her
as he went in to check on the children.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>Someday I'll be gone, </I> she said one night while looking up at the stars. <I>When that time
comes you will have to find a new mount. </I>
<BR>
<BR>

Drake still laughed as he remembered what he said to her. <I>When you’re gone, I'll be old and grey.
I'll be grounded, riding a horse, not a Dragon. Hell, I may end up riding a broken down old mule,
knowing my luck. </I>
<BR>
<BR>

He still heard her reply and her laughter as he stepped up to Emily, who was sitting between the crib
and basket.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>With your luck child, You'll be riding a pig! A short very stout beast with a bad case of gas. A gift
from a friend...</I>
<BR>
<BR>

He had answered her too.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>Friends like that, why would I need enemies, </I> he asked, but remembered only receiving a look
over the fire and hearing a soft chuckle. If Drake only knew that she was looking far into his future he
would have died.
<BR>
<BR>
Finding the children asleep, Drake knelt down, giving Emily a rub across her back. "Some day you're
going to prove to Willow that you are just a simple cat. Unless you're hiding something from me..."
<BR>
<BR>

Emily arched her back and purred, before jumping up into the crib. There she looked up before curling
down by Seirra's feet.
<BR>
<BR>

"Watch over them. We'll be back soon."
<BR>
<BR>

With a wave of his hand, he took a deep breath, straightened out his clothes, ran his hand through his
greying hair, before he started to step through.
<BR>
<BR>

"You know, I can watch the kids, and you can go in my place..." That's when he heard Willows song!
<BR>
<BR>

"Nevermind..."
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had slipped into the hall quietly. She didn't really know any of this month’s celebrants very well
but hell a party <I>IS</I> a party. So here she was.
<BR>
<BR>

Piggies, little flying piggies . . she hadn't seen little flying piggies since that party at Rohan with 'Thaya
Catching one carefully she eyed it "You! Do not have much bacon!". The pig seemingly confused (And
who could blame it) stared back until she released the little critter. <I>"Lotsa grease though, if I recall.
."</I> Then she laughed, this month everyone was getting gift certificates for Corellia, for a Dukerian
mall.
<BR>
<BR>

Flattening Galain with an expertly executed tackle she grinned "Where's the bar?" Then she looked
down "Sorry Ghet . . .Not really though, you seem to like it there ... under grampa" Quickly she
beamed and moved out of deathly eye ray range. One could never be too careful.
<BR>
<BR>

Well there we go, Galain's dramatic declaiming was abruptly cut off by a tackling Foxxy and Galain let
out a loud,
<BR>
<BR>

"OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
<BR>
<BR>

Lancelot chose that moment to pass gas and then immediately attempted to mount Foxxy.
<BR>
<BR>
"Down piggy! Off Foxxy! Bad piggy! Noooo! Off her now! Ghet? You okay?"
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx hadn't discorporated anything for a long time.
<BR>
<BR>

But that pig disappeared rather quickly.
<BR>
<BR>

She was prepared to put up with a great deal of indignity; hence her choices in adopted family. But she
was not about to be mounted by a pig.
<BR>
<BR>

Of course it was possible it would suddenly incorporate the next time Galain mounted anyone. . in a
particularly special position, but y'know that’s just speculation.
<BR>
<BR>

Pig cleared off she eyed her grampa. " I know you had something to do with that...I don't know what ...
But I'm certain you did ... do... will..."
<BR>
<BR>

Galain sat up and grinned, helping Ghetsuhm to an upright position too.
<BR>
<BR>

"That was Lancelot. He's Drake's birthday present. He's had beans for dinner. Have you seen his cute
little saddle and bridle?"
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet went down. "It's true," she told Foxx quite reasonably. "I do like it. I especially like when there
are..." At this point, all the breath was rather blessedly knocked out of her as the piggy climbed on top
of Foxx on top of Galain on top of her. Oddly, the whole thing had a rather familiar feeling about it.
<BR>
<BR>

She took Galain's hand and got up off the floor, brushing down her dress. "Well, that significantly
lowers the chances of me having to ride <I>that</I> pig topless. I'm going for a more responsible,
caring kind of attitude these days."
<BR>
<BR>

Naked pig riding? There'll be emotional attachment as well?
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had indeed seen the bridle and the little saddle with little stirrups. And now she was seeing them,
sans pig with a great deal more satisfaction. "It was hard to see them at the angle from which they were
originally presented ... They're very cute though, and they'll fit nicely in a box til Lancelot comes back.
Gets back". Foxx took that moment to snicker quite hard, tears came to her eyes even "Gets back I kill
myself I really do ... Well, not <I>Myself</I>, ... I find myself very humorous..." Then she went back
to trying to look innocent.
<BR>
<BR>

By this time Silverthorn was laughing helplessly. "Oh I don't know, the horse seems perfectly trained to
me" she managed to say. "I can't wait to see Drake's face when he sees the pig though."
<BR>
<BR>

Willow could see the glint in Galain’s eye and she wondered what Drake was going to think about the
pig. Then Foxx entered and a bit of chaos took place. Lancelot didn’t seem to mind all the attention.
<BR>
<BR>

Still standing near the stallion she sensed a portal opening next to her. Turning she bumped into
something or someone solid causing her to loose her balance.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhh," she reached out and grabbed onto to and invisible arm.
<BR>
<BR>

“Drake?”
<BR>
<BR>

Drake had second thoughts about entering the hall, but as he started to step back from the portal, he
saw Willow fall. Reaching out with one arm, he caught her, before stepping on through.
<BR>
<BR>

"Stumbling in or out love," he asked before kissing her. "Well I'm here," he sighed before looking
around the room. "Hey Galain! I see you finally decided to trade Movedamnit in on a new model," as
he pointed at the potbelly pig.
<BR>
<BR>

"He...or she has your eyes! Ears too! You'll both make a great couple, though I doubt you can haul very
much on its back."
<BR>
<BR>

Laughing, he held his wife close. "The hall looks great love, but who's the young knight in the
painting? Mitch..."
<BR>
<BR>

Ducking out of the way before Willow could strike, Drake stumbled backwards, bumping into a white
stallion. Turning slowly so not to startle the great beast, he gave the horse a quick pat on the neck.
<BR>
<BR>

"My, your a fine looking creature. Does...he belong to you Ro," he asked as he reached up to scratch
one of the horses ears. "If I knew you were here,' he whispered in the horses ear, "I would have brought
you a couple of apples." Hearing apples, the horse decided to check out his pockets, sticking his nose
into every one.
<BR>
<BR>

"Sorry, but I'm all out." Patting the horse on the neck, he took a deep sigh. "You're one lucky man to
have a mount like this Ro. He strong, well spirited and knows what he wants. He sure beats Galain’s
trade-in hands down..." watching as the pig waddle up next to him, sniffed him, before proceeding to
try and hump his leg.
<BR>
<BR>

"Galain! Call off your....pig!" About that time the pig decided to pass a little gas.
<BR>
<BR>

"By the gods man! What did you feed him? Beans?"
<BR>
<BR>

If he only knew....
<BR>
<BR>

Y’Roden was trying really hard not to laugh, but Silverthorn’s gleeful gales were not helping matters
much. “The horse is yours Drake,” he managed with a grin, “he is waiting for you to name him. It’s a
tough life wandering around nameless you know.”
<BR>
<BR>

Meanwhile, the horse had taken offence to the pig humping HIS Knight, and promptly kicked it across
the room with a back hoof.
<BR>
<BR>

“Erm… Obsidians are bred for battle… and uh…extreme loyalty… I think he likes you, but he doesn’t
think much of the pig.”
<BR>
<BR>

Drake simply froze when Ro spoke. The thing the pig was doing to his leg was all but forgotten when
he heard Ro telling him that the horse was his. He looked up at the beast, watching as it kicked the pig
from his leg before he looked back at Ro and his wife.
<BR>
<BR>

"He's...mine? You mean to keep? I need to name him too? Oh boy..." A lump formed in the centre of
his throat as he turned to face the white stallion. Tears swelled up in his eyes as he took another deep
breath to calm his voice.
<BR>
<BR>

"I...I don't know what to say..." as he wiped his eyes clear. "Thank you...thank you both! I'll find a
name for him, I promise. I'll let him decide on the right name, seeing how it’s only fair. He's...beautiful.
Thank you...again!"
<BR>
<BR>

Once more he ran his hand along the horses neck, then reached up to scratch its ears. "We'll have to get
you settled at the Inn. Then I'll see to it you get brushed and exercised. I can't wait to mount you..."
<BR>
<BR>

Looking around, he blushed as all eyes fell on him talking to the stallion. "I meant to take him out for a
ride. You people..." Shaking his head, he whispered, "Now all I need for you is a saddle and bridle.
Then we could sneak off..." but one look from Willow and they both rolled their eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

It <I>was</I> a great plan...
<BR>
<BR>

"Yes," Ro chuckled, all yours, "and I bet you are looking for this." He opened a pocket portal and
pulled out a rather oddly shaped hunk of silver metal.
<BR>
<BR>

"You will find the saddle, chest guards and the rest at your cottage. A gift from An'Thaya and Callan."
The King chuckled, "The two of them are much better in the forge than I am. Erm.. at ... making ...
things."
<BR>
<BR>

All right, that sentence had gone into territory a brother didn't want to think about. "Anyway, they said
sorry that they couldn't be here, but they hope you have a Happy Birthday, and that you enjoy your
gift."
<BR>
<BR>

"MY PIG!" Galain yelled as the pot-bellied and gaseous creature was kicked far a field.
<BR>
<BR>

"He was raised and trained especially for you!" the elf exclaimed. "HIS name is Lancelot and he is a
stallion sort of boar in dire need of mounting. I mean... He's a stallion worthy of your mettle. I have had
his saddle and bridle created especially for you... lookit the stirrups! And he's got bells!"
<BR>
<BR>

The pig had weathered a lot in the last ten minutes and was running crazy eights between the stallion's
feet. Ding-ding-dinging all the way.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake whistled as Ro pulled out the headpiece for the stallion. Reaching out slowly he took it in his
hands, admiring the skill and workmanship it took to make it into a work of art. Holding it up so his
new gift could see, he watched the stallions’ eyes brighten.
<BR>
<BR>

"The rest is at the cottage you say? Sweet! Be sure to tell Callan and Tay thank you for me. I hope to
return the favour someday."
<BR>
<BR>

He wanted to portal back, to get the rest of the gear but he stopped when he heard Galain screaming.
Turning, his brow slowly arched as he looked over, watching the pig run between the horse’s hooves.
<BR>
<BR>

"HE'S WHAT!?! He better have nine lives if he keeps doing that! And you named him Lancelot? Is
that why he's trying to hump everything in sight?"
<BR>
<BR>

Drake knew Galain, and some of the quirks that the elf
held dear. To get him a pot bellied pig for his birthday was one thing, but to say it was a stallion worthy
of his mettle?
<BR>
<BR>

"Have you been drinking some of Ro's Brandy? You don't think for one minute that I'm going to
moun..."
<BR>
<BR>

Drake stopped in mid sentence; his smile slowly grew as he looked into Galain’s eyes. The elf meant
well. He was sure of that, and he understood that the elf was a bit...eccentric. But a pig? As a mount?
Worthy of his mettle?
<BR>
<BR>

<I>He's flipped his Elven mind, </I> Drake thought as he eyed the pig once more.
<BR>
<BR>

"Well...He is sort a cute, and the saddle and bridle is a nice touch. But don't you think the bells or a bit
much? Ah...Those are his bells I'm hearing, right? You didn't... never mind."
<BR>
<BR>

His thoughts were that Sierra might enjoy riding the pig around the yard, but he would have to keep
Aran from having it for breakfast. Laughing, he placed his hand on the elf’s' shoulder and pointed.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ok Galain. You have me at a loss here. Show me how you...
mount him." Leaning back, Drake winked at the horse, who winked back.
<BR>
<BR>

"Once he gets on, I want you to strike your hoof on the stone floor real hard right behind the pigs butt.
Make it spark! Lets hope the pig will pass gas when Galain mounts up. Him and that...thing will sail
out of here like a Roman candle. I just hope it doesn't explode." Looking back, Drake started rubbing
his chin.
<BR>
<BR>

"Then again..." thinking about the way the Inn looked after being placed in the elf's care.
<BR>
<BR>

Hearing the horse snicker, he cleared his throat. "Fire him up Galain... I'll let you ride him off into the
sunset first."
<BR>
<BR>

It was hard to keep a straight face.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet had fallen back on the floor and was laughing helplessly. Foxx had started it, and Galain's
indignation had finished the job. She was just starting to get it all back under control when Drake asked
Galain to teach him to mount the pig, and she started to weep. "It's not fair, dammit," she gasped.
"Make him stop!"
<BR>
<BR>

She sat up, pushed tears and hair out of her eyes, and eyed the pig assessingly. "Are you sure he's going
to be able to support Drake's weight?"
<BR>
<BR>

Thank goodness it was Drake that came through the portal. She knew he said he hadn’t wanted a party,
but she also knew that he would have the time of his life once he showed up.
<BR>
<BR>

“I’m glad you’re here, you had me worried.” Then hearing his comment on the knight in the picture she
made as if to whack him one, “That is you Drake. Only you! You are such a brat sometimes.” She
hugged him and stepped out of the way as the white stallion nudged him.
<BR>
<BR>

She watched as he admired the steed and she could see the desire to own such an animal appear in his
eyes. Tears appeared in hers just as they did Drakes, as Ro explained to him that the stallion was his
and then presented him with the head armour for it. She listened to him as he spoke to the animal and
chuckled as he stumbled over his own words.
<BR>
<BR>

Smiling at Ro and Silverthorn, “You two have done wonderfully with your gift for Drake. Thank you.”
Turning to Galain she giggled. The potbelly pig was actually cute, but Drake could no way ride that
animal, for any reason. She couldn’t help but snicker at the comments Drake was making to Galain.
<BR>
<BR>

Suddenly the stallion kicked out at Lancelot causing the critter to roll backwards. “Goodness, is he
alright Drake? Galain?”
<BR>
<BR>


Taking the piece of armour from Drake, Willow placed it on the floor under the painting. She looked
up and sighed. <I>Darn man</I>, she thought to herself, <I> he hadn’t noticed that the knight was
wearing a suit of armour and the face couldn’t be seen, but if you looked real close you could see
cobalt blue eyes peering out. </I>
<BR>
<BR>

Turning back to join Drake she saw him whispering to the horse and telling Galain to get on the pig
and show him how to ride it. She looked at Ghet questioning, "Do you think he should? For that matter
should either of them attempt to ride on its back?"
<BR>
<BR>

And no one had anything to drink yet …
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was no dummy. Instead he cooed at Lancelot and gave Drake the eye before he touched the
knight gently on his shoulder and smiled, as the fellow suddenly became pig-mounting height.
<BR>
<BR>
Erm.
<BR>
<BR>

Anyway.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was just the right size to break Lancelot's spirit.
<BR>
<BR>

"See? I had the stirrups made just right," he said with a proud grin as he moved quickly out of the way.
<BR>
<BR>

The expression on Drake's face as he suddenly found himself shrinking to the right size to ride the pig
was priceless. "They make a very cute couple" Silverthorn managed to say, before leaning against
Y'Roden and giving into the fits of laughter. "Oh gods..." she gasped, "Please tell me someone is taking
a picture of this."
<BR>
<BR>

Bran couldn't help but grin at the scene in front of him. "Perhaps I ought to give this to you for now?"
he said to Willow, handing over a plain wooden box. "It's from Mira, myself and the children." Inside
were all the brushes, combs and such like that Drake would need to groom his new mount and maintain
the tack.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet scrambled to her feet and clapped. At moments like this, Mr Brain went south for the winter.
Further south than that. Then she bent over so she could look at Little Drake properly. "That's so
clever! He's just the right size for the pig! Can we put him on the horse?"
<BR>
<BR>

Helena had forced herself to come to the party, even though she really didn't feel up to it. Drake looked
after Dragon Inn, and Helena had had some good times there, so it was only right she went to his
birthday party.
<BR>
<BR>

Jaythall had thrown a fit the moment she tried to leave Ingraelis without him, so in the end the Queen
arrived, her son perched happily on her hip.
<BR>
<BR>

The blonde avoided the madness around the pig and sidled up to Foxx. "Suilad." Jaythall was reaching
out to the Obsidian white, and Helena had to catch his hands. "No Jay, that horsie isn't for you, he's too
big."
<BR>
<BR>

Drake felt a little strange when Galain placed his hand on his shoulder, but didn't notice the change
until he looked up.
<BR>
<BR>
"What the..."
<BR>
<BR>

His voice was that of a munchkin, along with his height. Looking up now at everyone, he placed one
hands on his hip, while shaking his finger at the blonde headed elf!
<BR>
<BR>

"Very funny! Laugh all you want, but if you think I'm going to ride that pig..."
<BR>
<BR>

Lancelot took this time to look over and see the pint size Drake. With his head bowed he charged,
scooping Drake up, throwing him on his back. Feeling the weight, the pig started running around in
circles while Drake tried to find the stirrups and reins, holding onto the short hairs that grew out from
the pigs back.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hold still you blasted piece of bacon!"
<BR>
<BR>

Grabbing the reins, Drake gained little control over the pig. Throwing his now small feet into the
stirrups, he gained more control as he pulled the pig to a halt. Eyeing Galain as he all but rolled on the
floor, Drake turned Lancelot before kicking him in the flanks.
<BR>
<BR>

"Sick em!"
<BR>
<BR>

The pig let out a mighty squeal, passed a large cloud of gas before running at full speed towards
Galain. Lancelot's little hooves were hitting the stone floor hard causing sparks to fly. One spark lit the
gas the poor pig was passing, causing it to run faster, its fat little belly dragging the ground, as it's small
eyes grew smaller by the second. He was light up like a roman candle!
<BR>
<BR>

For reasons unknown to Drake or anyone there, the Knight let out a war cry as Lancelot drew closer, a
trail of black smoke trailing behind him.
<BR>
<BR>

"Sooooouuueeeeyyyyy!"
<BR>
<BR>

The next thing Drake knew Galain was face down, with Lancelot humping the elf with all his might.
<BR>
<BR>

That or he was trying to put the fire out...
<BR>
<BR>
Meanwhile...
<BR>
<BR>

Mr. and Mrs. D'Riel were off in a corner dying of laughter. Ro had the foresight to start a miniature
camera rolling ... for posterity’s sake and all.
<BR>
<BR>

OR was that posteriors sake... in Galain's case.
<BR>
<BR>

Even the horse was laughing, and wuffling Willow’s hair at the same time.
<BR>
<BR>

Oh it was all going so well and Drake had looked so manly atop the piggy when things suddenly went
horribly and terribly wrong. Galain's last vision before he fell down was of a rampaging pot-bellied pig
streaming smoke and flames behind him and then the elf was too busy to notice anything else as he
tried to get the pig off him.
<BR>
<BR>

"No piggy! Down piggy! Not me, piggy! Bad piggy! Lancelot! No! You're going to be sausage links!
Ghet! Help!"
<BR>
<BR>

Okay, now Galain was regretting the baked beans part. Not much else though.
<BR>
<BR>

Willow didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as she watched Drake ride the potbelly pig. But she knew
enough to stay out of the way.
<BR>
<BR>

Then seeing Drake aim for Galain and the ensuing results all she could do was lay her head against the
stallion and muffle her laughter.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was going to have to get himself out of this one.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was trying to pull Lancelot off Galain, but the pig was bent on getting the fire out. He bucked
and pushed while Drake held on for dear life, laughing his arse off as the bells bounced and jingled
<BR>
<BR>

"I...told you...the bells have...to go!"
<BR>
<BR>

Pulling on the reins as hard as he could, for his small frame wasn't getting him anywhere, he was able
to pull Lancelot off.
<BR>
<BR>
The poor pig looked back at his now roasted backside before snorting in Galain’s face. Then he started
rooting around in between the elf’s legs, snorting and twisting his head, pushing the elf against the far
wall.
<BR>
<BR>

"I don't think he's looking for truffles Galain," Drake said in his munchkin voice. "I think he's very
upset with you for feeding him beans."
<BR>
<BR>

Looking back and down, Drake fanned his face with his free hand while trying to hold Lancelot back.
"Oh that's not a very pretty sight. Want to see?"
<BR>
<BR>

Drake laughed as he made the pig back up, turning him so that his now burnt butt faced Galain. Then
he smiled before kicking Lancelot in the flanks once again.
<BR>
<BR>

There was a small flame still burning down a thin hair that caused the cloud of gas to explode. Both
Drake and the pig shot forward a few feet, but Galain got the full force of the blast. It wasn't the heat
that took the elf’s eyebrows off.
<BR>
<BR>

It was the odour...
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara portalled in with her sister Sharee. Sharee had chosen to stay behind when the wedding was
over, having been fascinated by the outside world, and finally *mostly* old enough to take care of
herself. Cat and Glory were quite happily hiding out; they had just gotten married after all.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara stayed in a corner eyeing the party rather warily. It was all a bit strange. And she kept thinking
she'd seen strange, and then a pig with a saddle walked by, and she knew strange was yet to come.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain sneezed, gasped, gagged and sneezed again. He knew he'd added too much chilli powder to
those baked beans and he was totally regretting it now. He had to admit though, Drake and Lancelot
made a fine pair as they galloped around the hall. There was the occasional backfire on the part of the
pot-bellied pig, but as long as the traitorous little porker stayed away from Galain and his truffles
things were all right.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet was trying to help, honestly she was. At this stage, that seemed to consist of leaning heavily on
Foxx and giggling helplessly until she gave herself the hiccups.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she got all nostalgic. Aw, this reminded her of the time Ro burnt Galain's eyebrows off at the
Grinder. She would have valiantly protected him with her body, but, well, pig flatulence and fire... it
just didn't smell so great down there. At least his hair didn't seem to badly damaged this time. She
leaned down and offered him her hand. "Have you ever noticed you seem to be irresistibly attractive to
livestock?"
<BR>
<BR>

Galain snagged Ghetsuhm's hand and hauled himself to his feet.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'm beginning to notice...” he said ruefully. "Livestock and bears." He shuddered a bit before he
suddenly grinned and waggled his non-existent eyebrows. "How do I look?"
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had considered Galain’s position, and decided hers was far enough away to be 'safe' if any
position could be said to be anyway. . So she's happily served until Ghet, Well until Ghet was willing
to go over to Galain, Personally Foxx wasn't visiting grampa til he'd had. . at least a dozen baths. She
suspected tomato juice would be required.
<BR>
<BR>

So instead she beamed at Helena and made her way in the other direction "Ooooh 'Lena Wow! You
look Good!" Foxx nodded "And you can always be grateful he isn't twins, Hand him over, I'll save you,
and torture him, and let’s find you some Vodka". So far with Jayhall he either screamed like a banshee
until Foxx gave up on the soothing and tried ignoring him, or he'd be just the sort of angel that most
kids needed to be bribed into faking. Whichever way he went today Foxx suspected she had at least
three more nerves left then Helena. "How is everything?"
<BR>
<BR>
Ghet sniggered and kissed Galain. "You look... kinda bizarre. Gorgeous, of course, but kind of weird
nonetheless. I don't know what it is about the bears. Though I'm quite willing to believe that your raw
animal sexuality transcends species. But... yeah, we will be growing those eyebrows back when we get
home. Oh, lookit the baby! Okay, done that. Oh man, I am so going to have to scrub you down
briskly."
<BR>
<BR>

"Bizarre and gorgeous and weird! Great!" Galain was hugely satisfied with his wife's answer and
pressed his hands to his forehead.
<BR>
<BR>

"Wow, totally crisped," he murmured, thoroughly impressed with the power of the pig's flatulating
powers. He looked over at Helena's baby, waved and then flapped his arms.
<BR>
<BR>

"Am I lost in a miasma of stink?" he asked.
<BR>
<BR>

Pretty soon poor Lancelot was showing signs of slowing down. His butt was red, his back was hurting
and he just wanted to be a pig and rest. Dropping back on his hunches real slowly he shook all over,
knocking Drake off before looking back at the down knight.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey! It wasn't my fault! Galain fed you the bar-b-q beans. I wasn't the one that scooped me up either.
But if it will make you feel any better, just take a look at Galain."
<BR>
<BR>

The pig turned, before snorting, what must have been pig laughter. His whole side shook as he snorted
as tears fell down his snout.
<BR>
<BR>

"Yeah, he does look rather funny with no eyebrows! But I can fix that."
<BR>
<BR>

Reaching into his pocket, Drake pulled out a pair of "Groucho" glasses, complete with black bushy
eyebrows, a big plastic nose and a black scruffy moustache. Stepping over as Ghet brushed the soiled
elf off, Drake slipped the glasses over Galain's nose and ears before laughing.
<BR>
<BR>

"Now <I>that'</I>s an improvement? Don't you think so Ghet? Oh and I think Lancelot's ran out of
gas," pointing a thumb at the downed porker. Drake was at the right height to look down Ghet’s outfit
as she was leaning over Galain. Blushing, he quickly turned away.
<BR>
<BR>

"Nice rack..." he whispered in her ear. Then he looked up at the rack that hung from the ceiling while
laughing.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh before I forget! Don't bother to try to take them off. I've...warded them so they stay on your face
until..."and he started to scratch his chin. "I'm not sure how long the spell lasts. I forgot to ask. And if
he starts acting a bit strange...well stranger than normal, it's the glasses."
<BR>
<BR>

Smiling as he backed away, he winked at Willow before snapping his fingers. Suddenly everyone but
him was wearing Groucho glasses. Silverthorn's outfit even had big a cigar sticking out from under the
moustaches, its end glowing a bright red.
<BR>
<BR>

It was his way of getting even!
<BR>
<BR>

"I just love these parties!!"
<BR>
<BR>

If this was Drake's way of getting even then everyone was going to be seeking retribution upon Galain.
As it was Galain was fighting back the urge to make smart remarks and puff on a cigar.
<BR>
<BR>

And he hadn't missed the "nice rack" comment. He would have to kick the Knight's rear later. Or put a
burr in the big white horse's saddle.
<BR>
<BR>

The elf was always thinking.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet snickered and resisted the temptation to whack Drake over the head. He was so little... "Why
thank you, I know. You should see my morning maintenance routine." Ghet took revenge in her own,
very strange little way.
<BR>
<BR>

Then she was snorting, while her brain went nuts trying to work out whether to be amused or horrified.
"DRAKE! Get back here!" She turned to her husband and waggled her huge fake eyebrows. "Fancy a
spot of dwarf tossing?"
<BR>
<BR>

"Why yes, yes I do fancy a spot of dwarf tossing," Galain promptly replied, waggling his own huge,
fake eyebrows. "Shall we?" He offered his arm and headed straight after the still short Drake, snagging
the fellow before he could let out a yowl.
<BR>
<BR>

"I've got his feet!" Galain yelled. "Time to play birthday games everybody!"
<BR>
<BR>

The smell was getting out of hand and Willow eyes were watering. For that matter the horse’s eyes
were watering. She patted the stallion on his neck, “I’m going to have to do something about this.”
<BR>
<BR>

Looking at Drake and the potbelly pig and then back to the horse beside her. “I hope you have a sense
of humour.” The horse whinnied at her while nuzzling her hair.
<BR>
<BR>

“Well, you are friendly at least,” she chuckled. “Maybe I’ll keep you and Drake will have to ride
Lancelot to and from the Cottage and Inn.” Willow wrapped an arm across the horse’s neck and
snuggled against him while she waited for Drake to become himself once again.
<BR>
<BR>

Watching Drake putting the funny looking glasses on Galain she suddenly sensed through their bond
what he was up too. “Oh no you don’t.” She quickly threw up a ward that kept the glasses from
appearing on her face.
<BR>
<BR>

Looking back at the stallion, “Hmm, as for you, I wonder what name Drake will give to you. A noble
one I hope. Running her hand along his neck she sensed his lineage. “Yes, you are a noble one."
<BR>
<BR>

Then she heard the words, "Dwarf tossing and Drake...."
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet was right into this. Her brain had quite effectively blocked out the smell by now, though she'd
certainly be getting out the wire brush and disinfectant when they got home. She swung her end of the
dwarf happily. "Bran! Barbara! Go long!"
<BR>
<BR>
Drake tried to run away, but his short legs were no help, and Lancelot was down for the count. He felt
someone grabbing his legs as he went down kicking.
<BR>
<BR>

"Galain! So help me once I get back to my normal size..."
<BR>
<BR>

It was an idle threat, with his voice sounding like a munchkin on speed. No matter how hard he clawed
at the stone floor, or kicked at the elf and his wife he couldn't get away.
<BR>
<BR>

"What are you doing? Quit that! Willow, just don't stand there playing with the horse, get over here and
help. No, not help them! Help me!" But it was no use. Even the Quicksilver charm decided not to work.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're not going to throw me! When pigs fly..."
<BR>
<BR>

He couldn't help but laugh as hands started running up his legs. "Watch where you're putting those
hands. Ghet... behave now! Quit that! Go long? What do you mean go long? "
<BR>
<BR>

The next thing he knew he was sailing up towards the ceiling.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey look! Flying pigs!"
<BR>
<BR>

"That's right, Drake! When pigs fly and lookit what's in the air with you! Gods, Bran! Further! No, in a
bit, no wait! Back! Out more! No! Look out for the wall!"
<BR>
<BR>

Galain covered his eyes and hoped somebody caught Drake. If not, well hey...
<BR>
<BR>

Willow heard Drake calling to her, but it was too late. Galain and Ghet had his feet; Bran and
Silverthorn had stepped to the side. She saw Barbara and Foxx just staring.
<BR>
<BR>

Seeing her husband tossed into the air she knew she had better help him. She patted the stallion on his
neck, “Can you get over under him.” She whispered in his ear.”
<BR>
<BR>

The horse shook his head in a “no” fashion.
<BR>
<BR>
“Please. He really is a special knight. It’s his birthday you know and well, the tables so to speak have
been turned on him this time.” Willow giggled.
<BR>
<BR>

The stallion looked at her than at Drake then made it’s way towards the group. With a wave of her hand
and a gentle thought Drake became his normal size as he descended from the ceiling …landing
backwards on the stallion.
<BR>
<BR>

“Oops…”
<BR>
<BR>

Well, Galain was glad somebody had managed to catch Drake, though the elf was immensely
disappointed to see the Knight had returned to his normal size.
<BR>
<BR>

Of course he looked good sitting backward on his horse. No telling how hard that landing was though...
Drake was probably still speaking in a terribly high-pitched voice.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet snickered. "I am watching where I'm putting my hands, Drake. It's no fun unless you watch."
<BR>
<BR>

Then she was wincing, and trying to repress the female urge to roll about laughing uncontrollably in
such circumstances. "That has got to smart."
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was flying through the air with the greatest of ease, until gravity grabbed him by the short hairs
and pulled him straight down. He saw the floor coming towards him as he tried flapping his arms,
which didn't help one bit. Then he tried to capture a few of the flying pigs in hope to slow his descent,
but they were like trying to catch...flying pigs.
<BR>
<BR>

"Slippery little devils! Comehereblastya!"
<BR>
<BR>

The next instant was like a dream, watching his life flash before his eyes as he landed hard on the back
of the Stallion.
<BR>
<BR>

Backwards!
<BR>
<BR>

Sucking in his lower lip until it looked like he was going to swallow his chin, he slowly slid off with a
feeble, "Thanks," in a very high and somewhat squeaky voice before hitting the cold stone floor while
holding the best part of a man in his hands.
<BR>
<BR>
"EEP!!"
<BR>
<BR>

*EEP* Translation: <I>Kill the elf! </I> Kill him now!
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara had been quite prepared to catch Drake. And was thoroughly disappointed when Willow ended
the game. "Are you sure we can't shrink him again?" she asked to no one in particular.
<BR>
<BR>

She thought the pig would make a lovely addition to the inn, and was good payback for a certain
monkey that had appeared a while back.
<BR>
<BR>

Willow gasped as she watched Drake land. The look of pain on his face said it all. She had only tried to
help. Really. She thought maybe it would be a good time to see what there was to eat.
<BR>
<BR>

Moving as silently as she could she slipped past the guests, the stallion, the now sleeping pig and Drake
and headed over to the buffet table. Picking up one of the goblets to put punch in she stared at the
tablecloth.
<BR>
<BR>

“Wait a minute,” she mumbled, “I know the tablecloths had dragons on them, not pigs.” Then she
looked at the silverware. They had pig handles. <I>Just wait</I>, she thought to herself, <I>Galain’s
turn would be coming</I>. She would get even with that elf, if Drake didn’t first.
<BR>
<BR>

Coming back to the group she looked at Barbara, “Er, no, I don’t think he’ll be shrunk again. But,
maybe that elf should be.” Willow stood staring at Galain wondering if she dared.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara grinned big. "Oh, shrink him, it would be fun to watch, and I'm sure it’s happened to him at
least two or three times." she said laughing.
<BR>
<BR>

Sharee had fluttered over to the pig, and was poking it to see if it would wake up again...the ride had
looked like fun.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had determined the best position to be in, while dwarves were flying, and well, everything, was
behind the bar. She'd forgone her usual and was drinking something brown, whiskey, cognac or
brandy. . She couldn't really tell over the taste of her cigar. Jayhall appeared transfixed.
<BR>
<BR>

Right about the time Drake *landed* they loosened up fortunately "Whaaaaaaaaaaatt the ... ." Foxx
portalled them carefully away. . they were in the cupboard with the plates she'd been gifted with when
she moved into the transdimensional hotel way back when. Safe keeping in otherwords. Also in
otherwords in a cupboard that'd been opened precisely the once it took to put the plates away. The gods
packed takeout food containers for a reason, and Foxx was religious about eating out of them. .
<BR>
<BR>

A small modification later she chewed on the Popeye candy cigarette and stared dubiously at her glass
"I feel a deep need for something with a little umbrella in it" Jayhall clapped. He liked little umbrellas.
Possibly, just possibly, too much time with his godmother.
<BR>
<BR>

Helena was kinda glad Foxx had disappeared for a moment with Jaythall. At least he wasn't subjected
to all the insanity. Then she remembered that the insanity was a permanent trait and she may as well
get him used to it...
<BR>
<BR>

Grinning slightly manically, everyone's drink suddenly developed several small umbrella's, decorated
with Dragons chasing flying pigs.
<BR>
<BR>

"Stressed?" Helena said softly to Foxx, "Naah... One of my cousins seems to be losing her mind... I've
developed an awful trait of almost dying quite a lot... Nothing new. Now, where is that Vodka?"
<BR>
<BR>

Silverthorn had managed to change her outfit back to her more usual one and, still laughing every so
often, watched the others. "I'm sure they get crazier as time goes on,” she observed to Y'Roden. Jade
green eyes sparkled with mischief as she glanced across at her husband. "I'm sure some sort of payback
is required for that outfit though, what do you think?"
<BR>
<BR>

Silver mist glimmered around her fingers for a second. Magically Galain and Drake found themselves
turned into small fae, complete with wings.
<BR>
<BR>

He was a fae! A fae wearing Groucho Marx glasses even. He fluttered about, waved at Ghetsuhm and
started zinging wildly about before he shot straight for Ghetsuhm and dropped into her cleavage. He
nestled there with a look of extreme pleasure on his face.
<BR>
<BR>

Bran was almost crying with laughter by this point. What with the bean-powered pig and a mini-Drake,
the fair-haired elf could barely stand up straight. He had his arm wrapped around Mira and the couple
supported each other as they laughed their heads off. "Oh gods, we need string" he gasped out, spotting
the fae Galain and Drake. "Galain always flies fae after all."
<BR>
<BR>

Hearing Bran and Silverthorn laughing Willow turned in time to see a tiny Drake and Galain flitting
about the room. She had just mentioned to Barbara that maybe Galain should be shrunk, but someone
in the room had decided that both should be.
<BR>
<BR>

Then all the little flying piggies that Galain had brought with him headed straight for the elf and were
all clustered around Ghet.
<BR>
<BR>

As for Drake, where had he gotten too? “Drake, Drake, where are you?” Willow called out.
<BR>
<BR>

“Hey, did any of you see where Drake went?”
<BR>
<BR>

Drake had wings! He was sure of that as he started fluttering around the room checking to see how a
fae really sees the world from high above. He knew who had turned him and Galain into little people,
and was trying to hatch a way to get even. Hearing Bran, an idea hatched as he made a mad beeline
straight towards Silverthorn.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hold still for just one second my pretty!" Reaching over, he plucked a black hair from Silverthorn’s
head, taking roots and all. He knew it had to smart just a tad so he took a few more for good measure.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thanks! I could have taken the grey ones, but decided they belonged to Ro. After all I'm sure he gave
you each and every one!"
<BR>
<BR>

Flying away, his voice now a high-pitched giggle, he quickly shot straight back up so he wouldn't get
batted down like a horsefly. He started tying all the ends together until he had a pretty long piece of
rope. Making a lasso out of the one end, he started hunting for Galain.
<BR>
<BR>

"HA! There's that pesky little elf," spotting him relaxing in Ghet's cleavage. "I should have known
you'd be hiding in there. I will now go where few.... men have gone before," as he dove in between
Ghet's breasts after the sneaking elf.
<BR>
<BR>

"Gee! I hope Willow didn't see that," knowing it would be hard to explain his actions. "I was hunting
Galain! Really!"
<BR>
<BR>

It would never fly...
<BR>
<BR>

Finding Galain wasn't all that hard, seeing how the tiny fae like elf knew his way around
Ghet's...er...body.
<BR>
<BR>

"Comehereblastya!"
<BR>
<BR>

Taking the lasso, he caught Galain around the ankle, before trying to pull the elf out. It was a battle just
to pull him free, knowing that the elf was having way too much fun where he was. Drake could have
sworn that Galain was holding on using all ten fingers, five toes, his nose and his mouth.
<BR>
<BR>

It was either that or Ghet had just taken in a deep breath.
<BR>
<BR>

"What do you have, suction cups for fingers? You'll have to breath sometime," Drake yelled as he
pulled harder. It was a sight, seeing Drake flying a few inches above Ghet's breasts, straining to pull the
hair that was thrown over his shoulder, the end tied to Galain’s foot, as the poor elf held on for dear
life.
<BR>
<BR>

"Something's bound to give!"
<BR>
<BR>

He was hoping that Galain would lose his grip. What he fears was Galain pulling Ghet out of her outfit.
But no matter how you looked at it, it was a win-win situation.
<BR>
<BR>

It was a good thing Galain didn't fly down Silverthorn’s cleavage. That would have been...messy!
<BR>
<BR>

Looking into Ghet's eyes, as he was right there staring at her, Drake smiled before winking.
<BR>
<BR>

"You're next my pretty," while he took the other end of the rope and made another lasso. Pointing
down he laughed; his eyes grew bigger when he saw what Galain was holding on too.
<BR>
<BR>

"Be afraid Ghet!! Be very afraid...." as he started circling the lasso over his head, aiming for its
intended target.
<BR>
<BR>

"That's not a raisin he's holding you know! Run! Run away..." *Place evil laughter here*
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet had been grinning at the little Galain and considering getting him so tiny scuba gear and seeing
what happened, when suddenly Drake dived after him. There hadn't been this much wriggling around
in Ghet's clothes at a party since she'd first met Yarwin. She let go a series of giggles, shrieks, and
mildly terrified laughter. She was quite sure she was in big trouble with Willow. She was also ticklish.
At least Galain knew where all the best hiding places were.
<BR>
<BR>

She batted at Drake, but he was dang hard to hit. "Hey! Quit that! No, not in there! Oh..." Yes, that kind
of smarted. No, she wasn't complaining...
<BR>
<BR>
Watching the way Ghet was slapping at her bosom Willow knew where Galain had flitted off too.
<I>But Drake? He wouldn’t have gone after Galain there, would he? </I>
<BR>
<BR>

Seeing the blush suddenly rise on Ghet’s face as she looked over at Willow she knew Drake had. Yes,
the dear man was going to have a lot of explaining to do. For that matter Ghet might have a lot of
explaining to do if Drake remained down there much longer.
<BR>
<BR>

Willow could feel her foot starting to tap. She knew she could use her magic but it would be best that
she waited till Drake flew out … or she could …naaa, she would give a few seconds more …
<BR>
<BR>

Galain couldn't get himself much further down into Ghetsuhm's cleavage or he would have become
hopelessly wedged and perhaps suffocated. Which might have been all right... death by boobage could
hardly be a terrible way to go.
<BR>
<BR>

But Drake was a tenacious and stubborn fellow and that rope was in danger of maiming Galain's wife.
That was just naughty! The elf snagged hold of the rope and gave it a yank, sucking Drake in with him.
Before the Knight could complain he was bound and hogtied and Galain the fae was dragging the
birthday boy forward and struggling mightily to escape Ghetsuhm's chest and head for Willow.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ohhhh Willowwwwww... I have a yoyo for you!"
<BR>
<BR>

Hearing a tiny voice calling her Willow made her way over to Ghet only to see Galain flying up out of
her cleavage with a Drake on a stick.
<BR>
<BR>

"Erm, excuse me Ghet. Willow gently reached out and took the tiny stick from Galain the fae and
looked at Drake the yo yo.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hun, just what am I going to do with you?" she muttered as she held up the tiny Drake. Then she
started to giggle. "I wonder what the kids would think of a toy daddy?"
<BR>
<BR>

Carefully she sat Drake in one hand and unwound the thread of Silverthorn's hair that was around him.
Then she smiled rather impishly, "I am so tempted to leave you this way for a while, but..." with a
wave of her hand Drake stood before her.
<BR>
<BR>

Putting her finger on his lips, "Shush, I don't want to hear what you found down there with Galain… or
back you go to fae size… just think of what the kids could do to you as a tiny fae daddy."
<BR>
<BR>
Just them the stallion came up behind Drake and pushed him into Willow. "Oh, you haven't named him
yet."
<BR>
<BR>

The forest elf giggled as she slid the dagger into its sheath and wrapped it in a soft pure white material,
that she was sure that Willow would like. It acted as a cushion, and a muffler as she placed it in a
carved box and closed it. The mechanism that handled the lock closed with a soft click and she looked
over towards her son.
<BR>
<BR>

“He’s a tall human fellow with greying hair, rather dignified if I remember correctly, with a curled
moustache.” Shadow turned and offered the box to the younger elf. “Now, you deliver that directly into
his hands, no one else’s…” Turning back around she scratched out a quick note and paused as she read
it over.
<BR>
<BR>

‘Fa’ilte Drake,
<BR>
<BR>

I’m sorry that Gent or I couldn’t make your party, and I’m afraid my son can’t stay for very long either.
But I couldn’t pass up sending you something, and when my baby brother and his friend finished this, I
snatched it up, knowing that it would be perfect for you. I hope you enjoy it!
<BR>
<BR>

Happy Birthday! <BR>
Shadow Sorontur, and the rest of the Silverleaf Clan.’
<BR>
<BR>

Folding the note over she opened the wooden case once again and slid it inside. “Remember what I
said, Kal, only to Drake.”
<BR>
<BR>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
<BR>
<BR>

Kaltaur whistled as he headed into the hall, he paused and looked around at the usual madness that his
mother and uncle had told him so many stories about. He grinned and took a wild guess that Drake was
the man being shoved by the horse. The forest elf headed towards the couple, bowing to Willow as he
neared.
<BR>
<BR>

“Excuse me m’lady, but I have a special delivery for a Drake Silverwing from the Silverleaf Clan.”
<BR>
<BR>

Inside, once Drake got into the box, past the material, he would find the dagger happily snug in its
sheath, once drawn it would start singing different show tunes in a voice that sounded eerily like Bing
Crosby, starting with The Road to Morocco. Of course there was a way to shut it up other than
returning it to the sheath, but he wasn’t about to point out the gizmo that did that, Drake would just
have to figure that one out on his own.
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx was grinning "Right here" the label was carefully marked in large letters formed with black
permanent marker 'Helena's bottle' There was a disclaimer in super small script beneath it "Duker
thought you needed something extra special, being a mom and all so he sent this back with me the last
time, its been waiting for you, the disclaimer is indecipherable after 'warning'".
<BR>
<BR>

Then she grinned, "Umbrellas are good!" And flicked the pig the dragon shooting off after it "Pigs are
not so much! To Babysitters! Cheers!"
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx took a long drink and gave Helena long enough to get to the first mouthful of her drink "So
details? Or just stare at the problems and resolutely hate them and pretend they don't exist?"
<BR>
<BR>

It was then that Barbara remembered her gift. They'd all been at a loss as to what to give Drake. But
finally had decided upon a basket of different things. In the basket he would find some smelly cologne
that the pixie's had made. A whistle (for calling his wife?). A mirror that allowed himself to see himself
as others saw him. (this may or may not be a good thing). And a bunch of assorted candies for good
measure. Barbara and Sharee walked over to where the horse was. And said. "Happy Birthday Drake,"
in unison.
<BR>
<BR>

Sharee fluttered over to Galain and said. "Wanta race?" she loved to fly, and was thinking this fae
looked like fun.
<BR>
<BR>

Helena smiled to Foxx. "One moment."
<BR>
<BR>

The Queen walked over to Willow and Drake, and curtsied. "Happy Birthday, Drake Cole Silverwing.
As the representative of the Mars Corinth clan I present you with your gifts." She grinned. "That’s the
pompous part over with." Her joy, to those who knew her well enough, seemed forced. "Here."
<BR>
<BR>

Two parcels were handed to Drake. One contained a nosebag for the horse, which always contained a
tasty treat for him. The other, a small saddlebag that would always provide just what was needed for
the Knight, from hoof pick to torches.
<BR>
<BR>

"Happy Birthday!"
<BR>
<BR>

Galain hadn't quite made it back to Ghetsuhm's bosom and Sharee's question had him back flipping.
<BR>
<BR>

"Race! Yea!" He exclaimed in a pipsqueak voice. "I'll beat you!" he yelled in a tiny voice as he crashed
into Sharee with glee. "On the count of fifty-two million!"
<BR>
<BR>

There was a moment's silence before the elf gone fae yelled,
<BR>
<BR>

"Fifty-million two! You're late!" He was already racing for gods knew whatever and was racing back,
smacking Sharee's path, screeching with glee.
<BR>
<BR>

Never.
<BR>
<BR>

Ever.
<BR>
<BR>

Turn Galain into a fae.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet watched Galain quite calmly for a while. "He better turn back," she said casually, "Or I shall kill
someone. Possibly several someones. I suppose he'd make a good cot mobile, him and a bunch of these
pigs. Oh." She took a moment to put her dress back where it should be. After another moment, she
simply burst out laughing. "Okay, that's pretty cute."
<BR>
<BR>

No matter how hard Drake struggled, he could not break free from the hair that was wrapped around
him. If he had been able to reach the dagger in his boot, he would have skinned Galain alive after
getting free. It was a good thing the fae-elf brought him over to Willow.
<BR>
<BR>

After becoming full size once again he kept his mouth shut, knowing any explanation as to why he was
rooting around in Ghet's cleavage would not be heard.
<BR>
<BR>

"A name! Yes, I've been...ah thinking about that," as he scratched the stallions ears. "How does
<I>Roy</I> sound?"
<BR>
<BR>

The horse rolled its eyes before shaking its head no.
<BR>
<BR>

"Can't blame you," Drake said as he winked. He was thinking of another name when a young man
came up behind him, offering him a gift.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'm Drake!"
<BR>
<BR>
After receiving the carved box, and opening it to find the note Drake whistled at the workmanship of
the dagger that lay inside.
<BR>
<BR>

"Please tell Shadow that I am forever grateful for such a fine gift, and give our best wishes to her and
the family. They will be forever welcome at the Inn. You're welcome to stay and enjoy the food and
drinks if you like. Just swat the fae that looks like Galain. He's just a pest..."
<BR>
<BR>

He would be wanting to hunt Shadow down later once he tried to shut the blade up.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake turned when Barbara and Sharee all but sang "Happy birthday" to him, before handing him a
basket full of goodies.
<BR>
<BR>

"Thank you ladies! I'll...cherish everything. Oh look love! Candy!"
<BR>
<BR>

Grabbing a piece of candy while trying to keep the stallion from eating the basket, he received another
gift, this one from Helena.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey! This one's for you? How do you rate," he asked, sticking the magical bag over the horses nose.
"Don't think you'll get this service every day," knowing he would have the thing spoiled by the
weekend.
<BR>
<BR>

Drake watched as Galain raced with Sharee, cheating as he whizzed past. Smiling, Drake reached into
the new saddlebags and brought out a large sheet of paper.
<BR>
<BR>

"Don't worry Ghet! I'll slow him down for you!"
<BR>
<BR>

Holding the paper behind his back, he waited until the fae-elf whizzed past, before bringing the paper
up. There was no time for Galain to stop, as he hit the paper with a wet splat
<BR>
<BR>

"Gotcha!"
<BR>
<BR>

Printed on the back of the paper, in bold letters, it read, "<I>Only the best will do when you need to
catch them on the fly. !" </I>
<BR>
<BR>
Below that were the words, "<I>Acme Fae Paper! We stick 'em, you flick them!" </I>
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was now stuck solid to the glue side of the paper.
<BR>
<BR>

"See! Nothing to it," as he handed the Fae paper over to Ghet. "Good luck peeling him off. It's super
strength! You might try holding him over a candle."
<BR>
<BR>

He didn't tell her that the glue was not flame proof.
<BR>
<BR>

Of course neither was Galain...
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet spent a couple of seconds trying to look shocked and appalled. She took the flypaper gingerly by
the corners. "Well," she said slowly, "I've been looking for something to hang over the bar. It's bound
to be a conversation piece." Her face fell. "I can't take him home like this, the squirrels will eat him."
She sniggered. "In fact, I bet this is one of Lucretia's little fantasies. I guess I could see if Rhagi could
'invent' something to dissolve the glue. We could get Conor in to help. What do you think, honey? Or I
guess I could just give you to Foxx. Ohhh no, you're not going back in there, you're all gluey."
<BR>
<BR>

Galain was trying mightily to remove himself from the flypaper and of course was utterly failing. His
little wings beat helplessly and he was certain that he was going to smother to death. Okay, he did
make one valiant attempt to stuff himself, fly paper and all down Ghetsuhm's cleavage again, but he
was foiled.
<BR>
<BR>

He'd been having soooo much fun...
<BR>
<BR>

By this time Silverthorn was almost choking with helpless laughter. Then an idea struck her. "Hey! If
he's stuck on the flypaper he can't run away if I try to stab him." An evil gleam appeared in her eyes as
she looked at the Elen.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain heard Silverthorn's evil plotting and let out a tiny fae yell of horror.
<BR>
<BR>

"Don't let her get me! She's got a knife and she's not afraid to use it!" He started yanking hard on the
flypaper as images of himself being pinned to the wall as some sort of twisted dartboard filled his
mind.
<BR>
<BR>

"Ghet! Loooove! Keep the scary big lady away from me!"
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet laughed, a little hysterically. "Honey, if I knew how to keep Silverthorn away, don't you think I'd
just do it?" She put the flypaper Galain behind her back. "Now come on," she told Silverthorn, "You
know if you kill him he'll just come back and haunt you for all eternity. I know that doesn't sound that
bad, but you'd have to use the bathroom sometime."
<BR>
<BR>

Sharee hadn't met Silverthorn. She didn't know that she was supposed to be afraid of her. And probably
wouldn't have been even if she had known.
<BR>
<BR>

She was quite disappointed when her racing partner had gotten stuck. She headed over to help him, but
then realized he was getting threatened. She took her 3 foot 5 inch body and flew it right up into
Silverthorn's face. "Hey, you be nice to my friend, we were racing, and he didn't hurt you, you, you big
meanie!" she said with exasperation shaking her finger the whole time.
<BR>
<BR>

Barbara was glad Drake enjoyed his candy, and was wondering when she would have to rescue her
sister. "So whom do you think will win, Galain or Silverthorn?" she asked of Willow just barely
maintaining a straight face. "And do you think she'll have my sister for lunch?"
<BR>
<BR>

Willow looked at her husband as he pulled out the strange sheet of paper. Seeing Galain suddenly stuck
to it was priceless. Watching him squirm around was even more entertaining. Hearing Silverthorn
threaten him with a dagger, hmm, now that was dangerous.
<BR>
<BR>

Snitching a piece of Drake’s birthday candy Willow looked at Barbara and answered her question.
“Well, Silverthorn, is good. Really good. It will depend on how fast a talker Galain can be.”
<BR>
<BR>

“As for having your sister for lunch. Hmm, how well do you like your sister?” Giggling, I would rescue
her if I was you,” Willow replied winking at Drake.
<BR>
<BR>

“Hmm, this candy is good Barbara.” Hearing Ghet’s response to Silverthorn Willow just about swallow
the piece of candy whole.
<BR>
<BR>

Holding the carved box that contained the dagger Willow fingered the soft white material that had
wrapped it. “Drake when you thank Shadow for the dagger, please thank her for the fabric. It’s will be
perfect for the quilt that I have been working on for Sierra.”
<BR>
<BR>

Reaching behind Drake she scratched the nose of the stallion as she laid the box on the table, “Your
stallion is beautiful Drake, and you will look mighty fine on his back. Yes, mighty fine.” Then smiling
shyly she raised her hand toward her husband and watched as his old leather pants changed to a new
pair of the finest black leather that Willow had been able to find. Then she replaced his shirt with a
black silk one with a small silver rose embroidered on the pocket. Last, a new black vest.
<BR>
<BR>

Reaching out she adjusted the shirt smiling while she unbuttoned the top three buttons so that his
pendant showed. “Hmm, you my husband, look mighty fine, without the horse. Happy birthday love,
may there be many more.”
<BR>
<BR>

Letting her hands slide up around his neck she kissed him letting her lips linger for just a moment,
“there’s more where that came from, later,” she smiled with a faint blush.
<BR>
<BR>

Then there was the buzzing of tiny little flying pigs making their way towards Galain …
<BR>
<BR>

Foxx had been thinking, and so instead of just bursting into giggles when the little Fae threatened
Silverthorn she spoke "Oooh Y'know I Really Really don't think that the blood would go with my
decor, or with any decor I'd like to change it too . . On the other hand silver accents are spread
throughout my furnishings and so the duct tape I'll be adding to protect my guests will go smashingly. .
I've needed something for that wall over the couch for quite sometime. . Or maybe the kitchen, I don't
think hanging Galain is quite a dining room thing. .". Then she giggled.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oooh!! I could frame him!! He'd be Living Art."
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet laughed, on the grounds that if she didn't, she was going to pop a vein in her forehead. "Um, to be
fair, I don't think Galain has ever actually <I>hurt</I> Thornie. It's more been centuries of
psychological torture. And then she went and voluntarily married Y'Roden, and really, what could we
produce to match that? So I think we've just called them even." Okay, so she hadn't exactly forgiven
Silverthorn for the whole Rhagi thing, but on the other hand, she'd calmed down a lot and she wasn't
still gunning to turn her into squirrel feed.
<BR>
<BR>

She batted pigs away from Galain (who wasn't stuck to her butt quite yet) while she spoke to Foxx.
"Blood goes nicely with gold, muted sand tones, and even beige. No, really."
<BR>
<BR>

Ah yes... Ghetsuhm's back end. So round, so firm... and Galain had inched his way downward and was
totally ignoring everyone else. Of course if he accidentally got restored at his point things were going
to look awfully strange.
<BR>
<BR>

And he often said he lived simply to be a psychological terror to Silverthorn's mental wellbeing -- he
hadn't quite gotten her to completely snap yet.
<BR>
<BR>

Silverthorn calmly wrapped her fingers around the scolding Sharee. "Perhaps you should teach your
sister the concept of not interfering in things that are none of her business," the dark-haired elf said
coolly as she handed the pixie over to Barbara. A faint grin curved her lips as she caught part of Ghet
and Foxx's conversation. "How precisely could my marrying Ro be damaging to Galain's psyche? It
had nothing to do with him after all. I could understand that he might find me wanting to stab mildly
traumatic... but in my defence he does make such a good target."
<BR>
<BR>

"Actually, I think marrying Ro would be extremely damaging for Galain's psyche. Though possibly
more so for Ro's. No, I meant you. But I was also lying, it hasn't taken all the fun out of psychological
torture." Ghet fished Galain out from behind her back. "How are going there? Maybe if you wriggled
out of all your teeny clothes..."
<BR>
<BR>

Sharee wasn't to be distracted by the simple removal process.
<BR>
<BR>

She fluttered right back to Silverthorn. "It's my business, he was flying with me, and you were gonna
hurt him, and he's my friend." she said shaking her finger at Silverthorn again.
<BR>
<BR>

<I>My gods</I>, Galain thought. <I>She IS brilliant!</I>
<BR>
<BR>

Immediately the tiny elf began wriggling out of his clothes and a few minutes later a very naked Galain
fae was fluttering around Ghet's head.
<BR>
<BR>

"I'm free!" He yelled gleefully in a tiny voice.
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet clapped a hand over her mouth. Galain was just so... cute. Beautifully detailed, just like one of the
dolls. But if she hadn't been Ghet...
<BR>
<BR>

She turned a dark gaze on Y'Roden. "Not. One. Word."
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was enjoying watching Galain as he tried to squirm off the fae paper. That was until Ghet placed
him behind her back.
<BR>
<BR>

"I don't that that would have been my first choice, knowing that little elf. Of course any part of Ghet is
fair game to Galain. I'll bet he's not even trying to escape now."
<BR>
<BR>

Looking into his wife’s eyes, Drake smiled as she placed the box that held the dagger down. "When I
see Shadow again I'll ask her if she has any more of that fabric. I know how you love collecting
different types of material."
<BR>
<BR>

Then Willow changed his clothes before his eyes, he ran his arms around her, holding on to her while
she kissed him. All things were forgotten as the kiss seemed to last forever, then hearing that there
would be more to come only made him look for the nearest exit.
<BR>
<BR>

What he saw as he looked up was a naked Galain, fluttering in front of Ghet.
<BR>
<BR>

"By the gods Galain! put some clothes on," as he covered Willow's eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

"And quit mooning me! No one....Well Ghet might, but no one else here want's to see your bare butt!
NO! Don't turn around..." As he pulled both hands up to cover Willows eyes.
<BR>
<BR>

"That wasn't funny..."
<BR>
<BR>

Then Drake gave Galain an evil grin before whispering in Willows ear. "Love! Give that elf something
to wear. Something....loud!"
<BR>
<BR>

Looking up again, his smile grew.
<BR>
<BR>

"With spiders!!"
<BR>
<BR>

Pulling Drakes hands from her eyes she looked at him then momentarily glancing at Galain Willow
chuckled. “Okay, I can do that.”
<BR>
<BR>

With the slightest movement of her hand the Elen Prince was clothed in a tiny neon lime green pair of
pants and fuchsia shirt with tiny buttons in the shape of little black spiders.
<BR>
<BR>

“There Drake, what do you think?” she smiled up at her husband.
<BR>
<BR>

Galain hovered a moment, stared at his new duds, let out an unearthly shriek of horror and headed
straight for the birthday boy and his bride. Before either could move or speak Galain had pulled
Willow's hair into Pippi Longstocking braids and then zipped around to give Drake a big, fat kiss on
the lips.
<BR>
<BR>

"Happy Birthday," he said with a grin before flying away for Ghetsuhm where he perched on her
shoulder and beamed. One day he might be returned to his normal size, but he wasn't too worried about
it right now.
<BR>
<BR>

A dark brow rose as Silverthorn looked at Sharee. "But he isn't my friend" she said bluntly to the pixie,
"and to be quite honest whether you do or don't like my behaviour is completely irrelevant to me. Now
get out of my face before I decide I would rather stab you instead." There was an expression in her jade
green eyes that suggested she would carry out her threat. One thing she would not put up with was
being lectured to by strangers.
<BR>
<BR>

Seeing Galain kiss Drake got Willow to laughing until she realized she had pigtails that stuck straight
out on each side of her head.
<BR>
<BR>

She eyed Galain evilly raising her hand to whack the little elf when instead she chuckled. In the next
instant there was the cutest little spider in the shades of Galain's new clothing on Ghet's shoulder.
<BR>
<BR>

"What do you think Drake? Doesn't he make a rather attractive spider, sorta like a fancy brooch? Oh,
oops, I left the wings."
<BR>
<BR>

Galain didn't miss a beat. He was suddenly very afraid of himself and he wasn't going to freak out
Ghetsuhm too so he left her shoulder with a whir of his wings and headed straight for Willow.
<BR>
<BR>

Yes, he was headed for <I>her</I> cleavage. Nothing like eight skittering legs scrabbling about in
one's clothes...
<BR>
<BR>

"Drake!!" Willow screeched. "Get that blasted Galain out of here, there! Help!"
<BR>
<BR>

Willow had forgotten she was scared to death of spiders and this one had wings and gone only where
Drake had been. She totally forgot about her magic....
<BR>
<BR>

"Get him out of there!"
<BR>
<BR>

Y'Roden was giving Ghet the innocent look. He hadn't said a word... he had thought plenty of things...
but he was keeping them to himself.
<BR>
<BR>

At the moment he was more worried about whether he was going to have to get between his wife and a
pixie...
<BR>
<BR>

"Whooooooeeeeyyy!!!!" Galain shouted, skittering around in Willow's clothes. "Change me back or I'll
just stay in here, spin a web and have babies in your corset. Wait, you don't have a corset. Panties! In
yer panties!"
<BR>
<BR>

At this point it would have been justifiable homicide if he'd gotten squished.
<BR>
<BR>

Only momentarily had Willow thought of squishing that dratted Galain. It was her fault for changing
him into a spider and forgetting those wings. But how dare he go where only one other had gone!!
<BR>
<BR>

She felt his little wings as they slid past her backside and back up to her waist as he shouted out his
threats. But by the gods, there was no way she could put him back to his normal size while he was still
in her dress and he was a spider and if she grabbed him by his little head the way she was feeling about
now... She wondered if Ghet looked good in black.
<BR>
<BR>

"Drake ….HELP!!!"
<BR>
<BR>

Ghet screamed. At first, it was just because Galain's outfit clashed. Then he got all spidery and she
started screaming properly and trying to climb Foxx, which was tricky given that the other redhead was
shorter. "Turn him back! Turn him back right now! gods! Grain alcohol, stat!"
<BR>
<BR>

Drake was standing back, laughing so hard his sides were hurting. Shaking his head, he tried to speak,
but all that came out was more laughter.
<BR>
<BR>

"He...he's all yours...love. I...I didn't change...him...into a spider...with wings. Y...you did!"
<BR>
<BR>

Still, Galain was under Willows dress, doing only the gods knew what, not to mention he was
threatening to lay eggs in her panties.
<BR>
<BR>

"Eggs? Since whe...when do male spiders...lay eggs?" What was the last straw was watching Ghet
trying to climb Foxx. Now that was a sight. It had Drake rolling on the floor in tears.
<BR>
<BR>

"Stop...please stop!! Oh the pain..."
<BR>
<BR>

With one hand Drake reached under Willows dress until he found a thin web. Giving it a quick jerk, he
pulled the spider-elf out, before hog-tying his eight legs together.
<BR>
<BR>

"Hey Ghet! Catch..."
<BR>
<BR>

He was hoping Willow or someone there would change Galain before he struck Ghet. That or someone
was going to have to pry the red head off Foxx's shoulders.
<BR>
<BR>

It would be like pulling a bull through a knothole...tail first!
<BR>
<BR>

Mira couldn't help it...she was consumed with laughter, and her ribs were going to hurt in the morning,
she knew it.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh Sweet Chaos...Xraden's laughing his arse off somewhere..."
<BR>
<BR>

Mira gasped and clutched her side, the fingers of one hand slipping down the inside of Bran's trousers
at the small of his back...whoops.
<BR>
<BR>

Choking back tears of mirth, Mira managed to stand up straight...then watched the whole spider-elf
occurrence, which had her in stitches again.
<BR>
<BR>

"Oh gods...now THIS was a party!" Mira wiped her eyes again, then winked at her husband.
<BR>
<BR>

"Think now would be a good time to slip out?"
<BR>
<BR>

And while the dragon-elf might have been about to take her leave along with her Verno, something was
being left behind.
<BR>
<BR>

In Drake and Willow's cottage was to be found this. And if the Knight and his Lady thought there was
more celebrating to be had, Mira only hoped they could explain the bells to the kids...
<BR>
<BR>

Ahem...that were once again sewn on the mattress...
<BR>
<BR>

"ACK!! HEY!! JATHALLL!!!" Foxx would have been screaming with laughter but she was pretty sure
she knew what Helena would do to her if she dropped her godson "GHET AH! GHET!!! He's GONE!
Sort of! ACK!!" Seeing the panicked Helena "Not JAYTHALL!!" Jay was clutched by very clutchy
fingertips and staring a stare which would probably become greatly practiced. It clearly stated 'Y'all are
crazy'. On the upside he wasn't yet wailing... Even after the Ghet Foxx Jaythall pile tumbled "HE'S
OKAY!" Helena didn't seem to be in the silent but deadly place. . "I think he liked that". "Oooh Grain
Alcohol". Everyone else’s problem solved she found her own "Where'd my drink go...?"
<BR>
<BR>

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:1
posted:12/11/2012
language:English
pages:120