Author Topic: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty - The Word Unsaid (9/25/20)  (Read 62659 times)

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Knitting on a Metaphorical Level" (12/9/18)
« Reply #105 on: December 09, 2018, 12:33:26 PM »
Chapter 30: Knitting on a Metaphorical Level

There aint ever a time there’s not some scene happenin’ down at our pad, you dig? Some big, some small, yeah? Today’s gonna be ‘bout a couple of ‘em, some a’ each.

Onna small side, Uncle had Darling come drop in, an’ she bought their first kid, Nicholas. Maybe the hair’s from Darlin’s side of things? Kind of a funky look, but, like, the far-out kinda funky look. Kid #2’s kinda here, too.

An that’s somethin’ on Nicholas’ mind, just a drop.

“I’m gonna have a baby brother or sister!” He tells his proud poppa.

“Yeah,” answers said Pops himself, like it were news.

“I hope it’s a bear!” he shouts, breakin’ up the dancin’ with a big, grinnin’ declaration. Unc stews f’r a tick, tryin’ to figger out how to handle that.

“...That’s… They’re probably just going to be a baby at first.”

“And then a bear?”

“...Maybe if they have a phase, I guess.” Cat’s gotta be prepped an’ ready f’r the groove of his own kids, you dig? Like, what if the kid did wanna be a bear f’r a while? You’re just gonna be the Man keepin’ a cat down if you crush a dream like that. ‘Course, I don’t got the experience to really say it f’r bear suits, but it aint like Kite’s not gonna raise a sprout. An’ when that happens, I wanna remember what’s gotta matter. Acceptin’ the person who’s gonna want it from me the most.

Woah, trip, that got kinda serious, huh? My bad, dude.

‘S funny seein’ Mom out castin’ lines. I’d go out ‘n join ‘er, but school. We got plenty a’ angelfish, but maybe it’ll chill her out to be out by the water’s hip beat… Eh. I don’t think it’s Mom’s groove to chill.

So’s, Uncle Johnny’s kinda got a new project. An’ gettin’ a fresh chance f’r it, Magpie an’ I go with him.

Unc wants t’ snap a pic with each kid -- ‘r, since catchin’ kid-kids in a selfie ain’t cake, at least of all of ‘em. So that’s a couple down from today.

“Does your camera have enough memory for that?” Fiona grills ‘im, kinda teasin’.

“I think it has enough for… Uh… Hey! Math quiz!” Johnny announces outta th’ blue. He’s a performin’ arts guy, not a numbers fella, but...


“What’s 16 times 5?”

Fiona sighs an she sorta holds the numbers on ‘er fingers, you dig? “...80,” she tell ‘im.

“It has enough for 80 photos!” Seein’ her grumpy face, he laughs. “It’s good practice. I never practiced my math, and look where it got me: not a man to be counted upon. I hated looking at my textbook: It just had too many problems!

Course, I’m overhearin’ all this, cuz my dude Hob’s along, an’ we’re chattin’ away.

“No, I haven’t really figured out my career yet. You?” Asks the man. He’s older’n me, so he’s already had the B-day, dig?

“Donno. Maybe I’ll dabble some dabs a’ paint. I gotta do somethin’, an’ that at least, I kinda dig… But it’d be nice f’r a job that don’t involve workin’ for The Man, dig? Well, maybe one day...” Maybe one day...

“Yeah, I understand the sentiment. I’m the man of the house now, or something like that, anyway… Dad’s job always matters a lot to him. Think he’d be mad if I took a while to figure it out?”

“Your pops? Trip, man. I don’t think he’d ever wanna have his kid feel that way.”

“...You may be right,” he says, picked back up just a bit.

Magpie’s gone in with everyone’s crazy arson-chick... I kid, she didn’t mean nothin’ by it.

“No, it was amazing! It burned down the whole table before Mom came and -- just like that, battled the flame into submission!” Guess he’s tellin’ her what happened after she made a break f’r it.

“Oh, oh, is -- is that what happened? Wow, scary. I had -- I had no idea! About the fire,” she says, still playin’ like it was all outta her sights. That gets a laugh from bro.

“Don’t worry, I’m no a snitch. I’m a protector of pretty girls!...So your secret is safe with me.”

“Really? Well, it’s not like I meant to start the fire.”

Nah, it was always burnin’ since the world’s been turning, you dig, man?

“Of course not, dear lady. I’m a shiverous gentleman, so I understand,” he says, touchin a hand over his chest. Man, it aint like it’s my style ‘xactly, that sorta talk -- see, sometimes chivalry aint nothin’ but a word for puttin’ yerself above folks an’ expectin’ them to be glad about it ‘cuz you’re nice above ‘em, dig? An that’s a thing I wanna make sure aint his bag -- but I at least gotta let my bro know the word he’s lookin’ for is ‘chivalrous.’ He prob’ly read it in a book an’ wanted to try out a line.

Oh, hey, funny news on th’ scoutin front! Seems like our troops here got merged in w’ some neighborin’ groups when they got small, so there’re some new scouts hangin’ round.

An I know that less from a meetin’, it’s a school day, but ‘cuz Magpie met this kid, Reiko, who was scopin’ out the joint.

“Oh, then I should say! You can’t catch frogs out here anymore, so you’ll have to fish or go other places for that badge,” Magpie tells ‘er, with just a little pride f’r bein’ able to say what I told ‘im.

“Really? That sounds annoying.”

“It’s pretty bad. But there’s wonderful things about the neighborhood, too!”

“Oh? Show me.”

He gives her kinda a tour -- the pond an’ all, mainly, but you got that little park ‘cross from the pub an’ junk.

“There’s one other thing!” Magpie tells her as it’s gettin’ dark, an’ we got the first glimmer a’ stars. Now, I’ve got a thing happenin’ by then, but you dig? Scene’s a scene, one foot after the next.

“Oh, yeah?”

He sits her down an’ lies back himself.

“See up there? From here, you have the most splendid view of the stars!”

“So it’s not really for scouting. Just for looking nice,” she tells ‘im, an’ he says ‘bout what I would say. Well, once you count f’r the difference in groove, you dig?

“Hmph! As if looking nice isn’t its own good! Beauty is good just for being beautiful.”

She settles on down an’ nods. Hard to pitch a fit ‘gainst that, right?

OK, ok, so, like, here’s what your ol’ pal Kite was up to all that while:

Ringing up some hip cats an’ puttin’ together a little weenie roast. Still cold enough f’r a nice fire out, with a little snow fallin’ that’ll melt when it hits the ground; juuust warm enough you don’t feel too bad ‘bout the outdoors. It’s a nice sky for havin’ a fire out under.

So we get the fire goin’, tossin’ them logs, yeah? An there’s gotta be some dogs, an here’s how I see it: gotta have some yarns. Gotta get knitting, like, on a metaphorical level.

“So there was this cat, right? Real hip cat, got himself a nice ragtop, drivin’ with the wind in his hair, when all a sudden, one night, the car junks out in front of this ol’ monastery. All the bros are real nice when he goes knockin’ up, give him a square snack, fix up his car. But trip, man, it’s dark out! No sense goin’ on, aint gonna get to a hotel tonight. So the monks put ‘im up. As he’s fallin’ out, he hears this funky sound. Like some crazy stuff, man. An’ he goes an’ asks the monks the next day, yo, what’s the noise? An’ the monks tell ‘im ‘We can’t say a peep: see, it’s a thing on the lowdown, only monks are hip to dig, you dig? An you aint a monk.’

The guy goes on, natch. But then, couple a’ years later, the guy an’ his new car are drivin’ down that same ol’ road, an’ it breaks down. Wheels everywhere, trip, I donno cars. Anyway, monks are groovy cats once more, fix ‘im up, fill ‘im up, but he’s gotta stay the night. An’ there, fallin’ asleep, that sound again. So he goes to the head monk an’ says he gotta know, the monk just has t’ spill, right? What’s. That. Sound.

An’ the head monk tells ‘im: ‘I can’t say a peep: see, it’s a thing on the lowdown, only monks are hip to dig, you dig? An you aint a monk.’

So he asks ‘OK, how do I get hip? How do I become a monk?’ He’s just gotta know so bad. Head Monk says it’s pretty simple: gotta count every blade a’ grass in the field, gotta count every grain a’ sand on the beach.

An’ the man goes. An he spends years an’ years, just countin’. And he comes back an’ tells the monk it’s gotta be 895,567,818,818 blades a’ grass, an’ 975,873,4504,113 grains a sand. An’ the monk tells ‘im, OK, you a monk now. Now I’ll show you the way to that sound, man.

An he takes the new monk on to this door, dig? All made a’ wood. An the man tries to open the door, but it’s locked. He turns t’ the monk, an the monk gives him a key a’ wood. He unlocks the door, an, trip, man, crazy to say, but behind that’s a door a’ stone. An the man tries to open the door, but it’s locked. He turns t’ the monk, an the monk gives him a key a’ stone. He unlocks the door, and trip, dude, crazy to say, but behind that’s a door a’ ruby. An the man tries to open the door, but it’s locked. He turns t’ the monk, an the monk gives him a key a’ ruby. He unlocks the door, and trip, dude, crazy to say, but behind that’s a door a’ bronze. An’ a door a’ gold. An a door a’ silver.

But, hey, all’s well that ends well, the cat finally opens the last door, an’ he knows what the sound was.”

I sit back, heat bouncin’ off my face. Tale well-told, Kite my man, all that jazz, dig?

“And it was?” Asks Christian, who’s graduated just the other day. Good f’r ‘im. He’s got big plans, lotta ambition goin’ forward, that kinda thing.

“See, I’d thought about it myself -- wonderin’ if there ever was a sound, really, or if it’s a scope of the universe thing, you dig? Like, it’s gotta be a thing a monk gotta knows… An’ I think I got an answer.”

“And?” Asks Diya.

“Trip, man, Kite’s no narc. You aint a monk.”

“Kiiiite!” Christian needs jus’ a little chill-pill on that. It’s cool, dude.

“Kite, your stories are sure…Something,” is all Hob’s gonna say. The flames jump on up, cracklin’ like you stepped on a bag of popcorn. “I need another marshmallow.”

An’ that’s when things take a dive south, dig? ‘Cuz now there’s a fire. On a chair with Diya, like, personally in it.

“I don’t want to be toasted!” She shouts. Trip, man! Kite’s brain fries tryin’ to think a’ ways to prevent fryin; it all empties out to zoinks unto the heavens, an it aint like I’m the only one screamin. Even super-dependable Mom split wi’ her hot dog before, an’ where’s that leave us? With everythin’ burnin’!
Chill is very lost, cool is over, things on fire!

“OK, ok, I’ve got this!” Kate Munch, savin’ the day!

Fire’s out; folks are out. Everythin’s cool.

“You OK, Diya? I mean, yeah, that’s some singe there, but I mean, like, hurt-hurt. I prob’ly got some aloe vera on the succ’lent walls, lemee go getcha --”

“I’m fine. Fine. Just. Fine.” She’s glarin’ up a storm.

Not gonna lie, punchin’ me gut-like, there, you dig? No one sayin’ ‘Fine’ like that’s cool, an’ you an’ I know it. But when someone says that, you can’t make ‘em do anythin’. How you supposeta please people like that?

“I’m real sorry. You sure you’re cool, for real? ‘S okay if you wanna go, I mean, kinda a party-killer, bein’ lit on fire and --”

She sighs.

“I was scared, but I’m tough! I can take it! Besides, your mom’s grilling the fish and. Dang. You can light me on fire periodically but non-lethally if you just let me shovel your mom’s food down my pie hole forever.”

“It’s a done deal!”

Funny thing; while the party’s goin’ on, a guy goes an’ sits by the pool. Crazy, right? When someone else does it, an’ all.

So’s I’m gonna see what’s what.

“My dude, kinda a crazy chill for the swimjims, yeah?”

“I mean, you’re in your swimsuit, too.” The guy’s Jaden Fryre, one of a bunch of kids -- think he’s in front of the Cameron/Kameron duo, which is, like, trip, man. My school’s got three kids with names like ‘Cameron.’ All kinda look alike, too...

“Yeah, gotta point; but it’s for chillin’ by the pool with a dude. You’re new to the club, right? Well, I gotta welcome you an’ say my hey. How you liking the party? It’s gotten kinda wild, huh?”

“It’s been fun, I guess. Aside from my scummy dad being here.”

“...Trip, man, Uncle Akira’s your pops?” That’d explain it, then, yeah? He and the C/Kameron. They’re all C/Kameron F, too -- Faust and the Fryre bros, real far-out.

“I mean, Mom won’t say so directly, but we’re not blonds, and she comes to this house, and her visits kind of line up with when my brothers were born, so…”

“Yeah, yeah. I dig. It’s like that. You talked to him ‘bout it?”

“...I don’t know if I should. The scumbag!” Man, that sounds like a temper ‘bout to pop off.

Ow, I mean, yeah, I know -- he’s not been cool by them by a long shot, but c’mon, like… Well, he aint asked for nothin’, either. Of a forgiveness-type persuasion, dig? And you kinda gotta, even if I’d just wanna live an let kumbayah, you know?

But that train of thought gets, like, mondo derailed, dig?

‘Cuz, trip!  The burnt-out chair catches fire again!

Don’t look like no one’s gotten caught up an’ all, dig, but everyone’s shoutin’ up a storm.

“Alright, kiddos. It’s going to be fine; just a little smokey.” Least Mom’s here for this one.

“But everything’s on fire!” Someone’s shoutin’.

“Yeah. Kite, sweetie? We’re not having another weenie roast.”

“...Bummer, man.”

“If it’s to defend weenie roasts, let me lend a hand, Mrs. Avyan!” Christian jumps on in, over some more shoutin’, while even I get runnin’ for the hills. ...Well, kinda not the hills. Actually, that’d prob’ly be a good place to beat feet to.

No, I gotta follow Diya on this.

Cuz trip, man, but she’s gotta feel a funk on that. If she was already burnt up, somethin’ like that -- it’s really dangerous, dig? Even if the party’s hoppin’ f’r everyone else…

If someone’s so down ‘cuz of it, I gotta figger it’s nothin’ but a stone cold drag. What’s a guy s’pposed to do here?
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline BallerinaHippo

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Knitting on a Metaphorical Level" (12/9/18)
« Reply #106 on: December 17, 2018, 10:22:16 AM »
I gotta agree with Mom on this one-- no more Weenie roasts.  At least not for a while.

Johnny getting a picture with each kid is a sweet (and somewhat daunting) task.  How many are there?  There must be a lot of blondes in your game!

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Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Knitting on a Metaphorical Level" (12/9/18)
« Reply #107 on: December 17, 2018, 04:20:05 PM »
Maybe when Kite finishes the Botanical aspiration, he will be allowed to roast weenies once more. Safely. But at least it's a little varying of the party requirement!

A good question! The good news about the blonde thing is that hair color genetics went a little wacky after I added those recolors, so the last batch of kids are kind of all over the place... I'm debating hunting them down to fix up their hair color when they're teens, but we'll see. As for the number... I think Johnny's probably about done at 19, current count, unless I decide that I really want that to be a rounded number.
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"The Space Prince" (12/17/18)
« Reply #108 on: December 17, 2018, 06:44:46 PM »
Chapter 31: The Space Prince

Trip, man, I was spooked! OK, so if you’ve spaced on it, lemee set you up again: Weenie roast. Everythin’s on fire. Most everyone’s thinkin’ it aint a half-bad shindig *anyway*. I’ve gotta get a grip on my own brainspace here, or else I’m going on the loose wig, you get me? So. What should I say, over to this burnt-up girl here? Eventually, I just start talkin’ to get a groove goin’.

“Hey, I know you’re prob’ly pretty shaken up, an’ if Kite’s caught where you’re at, yer gonna tell him ‘I’m fine,’ when you mostly aint, so I gotta ask…” Well, dude, I think. Great job outlinin’ the problem vis-a-vis the gal’s mood. So’s I gotta follow up with: “Wanna go chill somewhere more chill? Say, away from the pit?”

“Don’t you have a party to get to?” She asks, more’n a little down.

“Trip, you think the party’s important?” I got plenty a time to throw plenny a’ parties. If I wanna call this one a bust, it’s all cool.

“I mean, it’s your party. You threw it.”

 “Yeah, it’s my scene, but open up an’ dig this: It’ll be wherever I am.”

That gets just a little laugh outta her. But her, man, Kite was being serious, dig? It aint like I was putting her on. There’s a mobility to any scene, you know? You gotta call it a mood, maybe, but all you need for a scene is the people -- I may be rollin’ back up on myself, like, topically, but it keeps comin’ up. Nah, not even that: it aint ‘bout the scene, dig? It’s easy to get it thinkin’ bout that, but what I’m lookin’ for when I want somethin’ like this aint a hip time or nothin, just… I donno, man. Prob’ly talkin’ in circles. But if you took out the idea of havin’ a party, with its party goals, if you took it all out -- whatcha got?

‘M just talkin’ to a pal. That’s it. The night’s fallen hushed an’ low, an’ I can hang with someone important. Big blanket of stars an’ a big, cool moon. Air’s gotten crisp again -- yeah, it was kinda the night for a fire.  But we could do a million things, all full of big bloomin’ potential to see someone smile, an’ open up somethin’ to ‘em. Aint that all you need? Well, ‘less you’re mom, but ‘m gonna put that aside, just for a tic. That ok? Everything I need’s here, right? An’ less crowded, too, so, bonus.

“OK, so what do you have in mind?”

“Well, if we’re gonna wash of some ash an’ junk -- you’re charcoaled up like that, dig -- an cool off, why not go real cool?” I grin. Kay, kay, Kite got bit by the polar bear bug a bit b’fore, can you blame ‘im? “We can hit the pool.”

“Sounds thrilling! Let’s do it!”

Course, we both end up shiverin’ when we hit the water. But we’re laughin, too, so point: Kite. The water’s got a funny look at night, an’ in the cold, too. It’s a good thing to take a peek at, you dig? Hard t’ put to words, which is why your dude Kite’s no poet, dig? Lit only from beneath, so them shadows are gettin’ thrown up, makin’ little webs a’ light that curve around. Got a glitter, an’ the glitter’s colder f’r the water bein’ dark. Can you dig how that sorta thing’d make a difference if you’re tryin’ to put somethin’ in the water, like, conceptually? We’d read stuff into that kinda darkness, people’d make a mirror out of it, when they see it. Their peace an’ their sadness, maybe, jumps up to me. Like, water’s always feelin’ peaceful, but a bright water in the warmth’s kinda relaxin’ peaceful, but this is kinda more, like, my peaceful, dig? Where it’s kinda at rest, in a way that aint quite like fallin’ out. Maybe fallin’ in, dig? Not chillin’ but siftin’ through a smashed-up brain.

You dig? Nah? Maybe if I paint ya a picture, you’ll dig.  ‘M tryin’ to think a little ‘bout what I’m doing.

 But while I am, she shoots,
“Kite, this is some bracing bitter cold!” She don’t sound like it’s a thing, though, an’ the soot’s sinkin’ down to the bottom of the pool, leavin’ a clean face.

“Yeah, kinda is.”

“You suggested it! Stop sounding surprised!” She laughs. “This is not how I expected to spend today.” She sighs, but hey: it aint a bad kinda sigh.

‘Course, while we’re at that, someone else’s moved in ‘round the fire pit.

They look like they’re roastin’ marshmallows. At the time, I’m thinkin, Trip, aint they full? But then Ka-san told me later what they were talkin’ on.

“Aaand he’s off swimming,” Mom said, with a sigh. “Well, this only needs a few marshmallows before we can count it done…”

“Well, this is nice to get to do! Besides, if you don’t want your s’more, honey, I’ll take it!”

“... We can split it, then. Once they actually get roasted,” Mom laughed.

 “You don’t mind helping us with this, do you, Magpie?” Ka-san turned to Bro, who prob’ly coulda been hangin’ with Reiko, ‘f she hadn’t gone home yet. Nights are tricky f’r kids like that.

“Of course not!” The marshmallow the kiddo dipped into the flames came out sizzlin’ all torch-like. “We have to help our boy succeed.”

An’ I’m like, trip, man, they did not have to do that. It coulda just drop, weren’t no problem...But it aint a bad thing t’ feel, neither. I had t’ thank ‘em, after that.

Now, maybe it was kind of a mixed thing t’ invite Jaden. ‘Cuz, see, Uncle Akira’s, you know… Here. He’s been here, sure, but like, then he actually tried to talk to ‘im. And! That’s cool, you dig? ‘M glad he tried. But…

“I’m not sure if you know, but…” He starts out kinda tryin’ to circle around, you know?

“Yeah, yeah, you’re my father, I get it, Darth Vader.” An’ Jaden’s not cool with that.

“...That.” He’s spent long enough really not believin’ that was the case that now, havin’ someone else rammin’ it down his face is kinda a drag, you dig? Before he could say they were just puttin’ him on, cuz who knows what anyone’s been up to an’ all. An’ now it’s gone kinda flimsy. So now he’s catchin’ a breath. “That’s right… And, well, I’m sorry. I did you and your mom wrong…”

“Of course you did! That’s why I don’t want to be here!” Jaden don’t even look at him head on, an’ he sounds seriously steamed. An’, look, I get it, I do. No one gotta forgive anyone when they did you wrong. It just… I just… Imagine if it always did work out? Where people were sorry an’ folks could always forgive ‘em, an’ things could get set right? Wouldn’t that just be crazy, man. If we gotta pull out the many-worlds theory, then that cosmic somethin’s gotta be, like, universes an’ universes away, to somethin’ where thing never got so layered down, hurt over hurt over hurt. Or maybe where people are a different kinda people, even if I wanna be like that kinda folk someday, dig?  So, like I said, kinda mixed, yeah?

“...Please tell your mother I’m sorry. I… don’t think I really want to continue a relationship, but. I want her to know I’m sorry.” Is offered up, just kinda soft an’ low, cuz Uncle knows -- or maybe I just think he digs it, cuz it aint like it’s anywhere but between you an Kite, you know -- that he was hopin’ for a minute to pull somethin’ universes an universes away into this one.

“Whatever,” he shoots back. A hot-headed guy like him isn’t quick to forgive. But I’ll be hopin’ for somethin, at least that Uncle does what he can to do somethin’ like right. Whatever that’s gotta be here. See, if I don’t screw up with anyone like that, I don’t need to worry if I can’t make it right, right? ‘Cuz I don’t think I could, if I gave myself the chance. That’s what I’m thinkin’.

‘Ventually, Diya decides she’s had enough of the pool. An as she’s leavin, I learn what ‘today’ is.

Today’s Diya’s birthday. Round of applause, right?

“Aw, man! You shoulda told me, dude! I’da thrown ya’ a party where no one got lit on fire, prob’ly!”

“...Probably? Probably?!” Her voice is freakin’ out.

“Candles are unpredictable, dig?” I gotta think of some kinda present now, right? Somethin’ I can do nice… It’d take too long f’r a paintin, right? “How ‘bout we get you a Young Adult Makeover-type situation? We’ll go rummagin’ through the closet, on the double-like!”

“Yeah, OK!” Her mood’s gone an’ cleared up just like that.

We end up just on a quick little makeover, fixin’ her hair up so it’s kinda longer, plait’s gotta sporty, all that jazz. Got a real nice look for a gal who’s gotta run.

An’ we end up playin’ some games with the birthday girl ‘til she’s gotta split. It sure was a crazy birthday she had -- maybe that kinda explains why she’s been just kinda all over the place since then, you dig? Like, she’s really out there, kinda in a mixed sorta way. Well, I’m rootin’ for her in her Young Adult kinda life, dig?

Speakin’ of rootin, double-meanin’ like, guess whose Ka-san’s been rootin’ around to reach somethin’ we’re rootin’ for?

Now, you prob’ly said ‘Kite, cuz Kite’s the only Kite you know in Simnation who calls one of their folks Ka-san,’ but hey. Don’t drag a cat down, dude. But yeah! Ka-san finally managed to clear her big goal a’ workin on Renaissance Sim, like she’s been doin’ since I was kinda a sprout.

So, what’s next?

“Well, obviously, I want to see you and Maggie do well,” is what Ka-san tells me, “And if it weren’t for Kest’s whole thing, I’d want to do Soulmates! Curse you, Ulrike Faust!” She’s kiddin. Shakin’ her fist to the sky an’ everythin. Then she grins. “I guess I’ll think about it!”

In the mean-a-while, though, it’s lotto day, so everyone’s gotta scramble for a ticket. Gonna break the chains a’ time here for a second an’ say: Yeah, nah, we didn’t win, my dudes.

“Thanks for inviting us to the chateau, Ulises; it’s crazy we’ve got a place like this so close, huh? It’s sure a great place for a…”

“””Chat.””” Hob an’ Ulises say in unison with their old man. Course, what we got here is, yeah, a visit to the Chateau. Well, more kinda to the maze an’ gardens an’ junk, right? I don’t think any of the folks are real psyched ‘bout the ol’ house itself. Poor thing, poor ghosts, all neglected by the march of history.

“Too obvious, huh? That’s no good. Stiil, I’d hedge my bets we’ll get a chance to see those knights, too.” Uncle Johnny lets that one sit for a sec. Eventually, Hob groans.

“Enough about that. Hey, I got a job as an entertainer recently! Exciting, huh?” Hob leads the discussion away from the latest jape an’ -- far out, dudes, he figgered out a job f’r him after all! I’m proud a’ my pal, cat’s got it goin’ on.

“Wow, that’s great! We’ll play the same clubs, then! I look forward to Zest and Son as a night’s showing!” And Uncle’s pretty clearly proud a’ him, too, an’ I’ll be honest, as he should be, huh? I’d see that show.

“I don’t think a guy who can barely manage opening act is going to get his name on the billing,” commented Ulises, in a move your pal Kite, as judge an’ jury of all things groovy, is gonna declare: Squaresville. Sorry, dude. “Sorry, bro.”

“Maybe if it’s as ‘and son,’ I can!”

“Besides, he’ll do great. Everyone starts somewhere -- it’s your own drive that determines where you stop!” Unc  goes an’ ruffles the kinda meticulous hair a’ his oldest boy.

“Thanks, Dad.”

“Ah, that reminds me… Ulises! Think fast! Pose!”

The camera flashes.

“Oh, man, that’s a quick selfie game, Dad!”

“You’re pretty quick on the draw yourself.” He’s lookin’ through the snaps f’r one that’d really be crazy on th’ wall.

“A bro’d gotta be on the ready for sweet pics on the fly!”

Of course, this shoulda been durin’ school times, right? So it’s kinda funky that Kite’s got a solid grip without someone else’s relayin, right? Well, that’s ‘cuz…

A certain bro an’ his certain bro thought they’d maybe play a little hookey!

“Consider the romance of the haunted house, brother!” Magpie was sayin’ stuff like that all the way from the school. See, lunch break happened an’ all, right? An I kinda felt like just stayin’ out, chillin, just watchin’ the clouds an’ really gettin’ an education in the birds comin’ home for spring, you dig? I got an A, it aint gonna be a thing.

An’ then Magpie saw me out the window an’ thought he’d chill, too, an, well, then we got to this.

“It’s a fantabulous learning opportunity, seeing historical Windenburg sites! Like a field trip!” He’s chirpin’ as he bounds on down the slope.

“Yeah, gotta be somethin’ like that, bro.” Aw, man, I’m just met with a roll a’ the eyes for that one. “Course, I’d wanna look at their gardenin’ -- that’s some sweet hedgework they got… Hey, the ghost hauntin’ here was a painter, too, right? ‘Course, I wouldn’t wanna see a paintin’ he wanted to burn an’ all, Kite’s gotta respect that vibe, you know? Of just wonderin’ if you aint better tossin’ it all in a fire.”

But we have enough fires now, dig? It’s a serious arson streak.

“Your paintings are wonderful, Brother mine.” He pauses. “Hey, Kite…”

“Yeah? What’s shakin’, dude?”

“Mom’s definitely not going to get mad, right? Because we’re not going to tell her, right? She will live in blissful innocence, right?”

“Riiiight. Yeah, what Mom won’t know won’t throw her off her groove, we just gotta not narc about it! I’ll take the fall ‘bout anythin’, but long as the homework gets done, she won’t notice.”

See, here’s the thing. I didn’t… I didn’t know they were gonna be hangin’ here in syncopatico with Magpie an’ me. Did not anticipate that. Kinda didn’t suspect.

That’s when I heard a voice behind us goin:

“I mean, it is true I try to avoid knowing about things that would inconvenience me, like laws, but really?”

Only one lady that could be. With Ka-san and Uncle Akira, too. Ka-san waved. Unc glared.

“Hiii, Mom.”

“Woah, woah, Kite can explain!” I wanna run interference, but that aint happenin’ no time soon.

“Tell you what,” she says, grinnin a little. “Nothing wrong happened, as long as you both do your homework before hanging out here, OK?”

“Yes, Mother.” “Righteous, Mom.”

So, I got to overhear that chat while we were doin’ homework. Meanwhile, the moms, collective-like, got to runnin’ the maze.

Leavin’ shouts of “Marco!” “Polo!” “Hi!” “Ho <3!” echoin’ over the maze. When one of ‘em caught the other, they sealed it up with a smooch.

But I promise I do get to check out their totally far-out garden. Needs a little care, Spring’s still warmin’ up an’ all, but nothin’ I can’t handle, dude.

Round the time we get back, Johnny asks Olivia if she’s wantin’ to be a main squeeze. Not the, dig, no one’s pretendin’ there’s only one squeeze here. But it’s easier if he’s got it sorted out, you dig?

An then we hit home an’, well, lemee see if I can lay it down fer ya. It was somethin...

There’s this gal Mom’s talkin’ to. Eyeshadow game’s far-out, dig? An’ I think I’ve seen her somewhere, but not someone I know-know, you dig? Still, there’s somethin’ kinda… Maybe it’s just the dress, but she sorta got this retro vibe, don’t she? Or the lip, that sorta strong lip thing, or… Trip, man.  I guess I’m kinda starin’.

“So you definitely haven’t seen her?” She’s askin.

“We just got home; haven’t had a chance to see anyone, unless you thought to search the maze. Sorry… Kacie, right?”

“That’s the name, ma’am! Well, if that sister of mine doesn’t want to be found, she’ll probably show up when she’s spent out whatever mood she’s in.” She shrugs. “I can definitely handle it!”

An’ Mom sees I’m kinda watchin’ on, an a big grin fills her face.

“Or... Why don’t you go check with my son! Kite, you’ll help out this precious, innocent maiden in direst need… Or something like that. Right?”

“I said there’s no doubt I’ll handle it! I’d rather be cast in terms where it doesn’t sound like I’m waiting for a rescue, even if it’s to get the services of --” She turns and sees me, an’ she blinks a tic an’ then kinda grins. “Oh, hey! It’s the Space Prince!”

“...Space prince?” Never heard that, but then I get where I seen her before, kinda. She’s in my chem class -- it’s a mixed-grade kinda class, that sorta thing, so it’s just the one.

“Space Prince?” Mom sounds like she’s about to bust a gut. Thanks, Mom.

“Yeah; you never heard that one? Sorry; it’s kind of a mixed bag nickname, right? You’re the guy always spacing out by the window, or doodling in a notebook, and no one thinks you’ve ever paid attention a day in your life.”

“...Yeah, tha’s fair.”

“But then you burst out some comment that’s better than whatever anyone else has come up with, and it’s amazing, like a superpower.”

...Is that how it sounds? “Trip, man.”

“That’s my boy!”

An’ she goes on:
“And everyone says you’re super-nice, and of course, you have cheekbones for days, so all the girls started calling you a Prince.” She smiles, an Kite’s pretty sure Kite’s left the buildin’. My face is a tomato now, so I’m done. “And now you know, Space Prince. Don’t go using that to break hearts, now!”

“‘M sure you’re overblowin’ it, there can’t be that much fuss over Kite, dude,” I say, when my ears maybe let me get a word in edgewise over the beat. An’ I noticed Mom split all’va sudden.

“Who knows? But anyway, you don’t have to worry. I was out looking for my sister, but there’s a chance finding her would not end up great for anyone. She’ll cool off. I can do it later,” She shrugs. That just kinda leaves us here f’r a beat, before she grins an pounds her fist into her palm an waves a finger from it. Lotta quick gestures, you dig? … I say she grins, but that aint it. Donno what to call it, dude. “Well, since I, from being cool and fine and the sister who has it together, have a chance to speak to the illustrious upperclassman, I might as well use it! What’re you always spacing out over?”

“‘S more gettin’ hung up, dig? There’s good hung up an’ bad hung up… But nah, it really aint nothin’ worth writin’ home for,” an I kinda laugh. It’s kinda uncool, right? Like, if I tell a girl who’s got herself all painted up an tidied ‘yeah, nah, it’s just clouds,’ it would be square, you dig?

“I’ll decide that, thank you!” She leaned forward, up real close, a little sparkle in her eyes like she’s just learnin’ what she’s sayin’ then. “Hang me up, then.”

So I pop a squat and lay back, where you get the whole sky.

“This’s it.” Clouds drift on by, an the sun’s startin’ to creep on down.

“Just the sky, huh?” She kinda scoffs, but then -- trip, man, I got it! She’s kinda smilin, right? But before that point, there wasn’t much up by her eyes. That was it. It weren’t complete. “...Tell me about it.”

“OK, sees, cloud there’s gotta be some kinda zen garden, dig? Someone’s pulled a rake through it, it’s gone thin as sand -- probably gave ‘em a nice chill feelin, an’ you can follow the lines, too, watchin’ em change little by little…” I run a finger over the lines -- but if I’m doin it from my angle, they’re lines I’m only pointin’ to for me, right? For her, I’m pointin’ somewhere else, and she’d trace just slightly different lines.

“...That is nice,” she says, after a while, real quiet. An’ I think I cracked somethin’ in that part-smile. Far out, man. So I keep goin’, just layin’ on about that groovy gradient the sky gets up to, where it’s darkest, like, just above your head. An she laughs, and there’s a cloud that looks like a sheep over a fence an’ a little corgi butt, all at once, dig?

And then she says,
“This was nice. You got to buck up some, too, huh, Spa-- Kite?”


“You’ve got kind of a look that’s like, ‘oh don’t mind me,’ and it can’t be good for someone to be that nice to everyone all the time and get good grades on top of it.” She looks over at me, the grass cuttin’ off the edges of her face. “...Besides, like you said -- you get bad hung up sometimes, right?”

“...Trip, man. It aint a trouble, but… Yeah. Maybe you got me a little, on that last count. Jus’ that last count!” I add pretty fast. Little too see-through. Tryin’ not to fret ‘bout that for a while, right?

“Sure, sure. Maybe I was wrong… But. Well, I’m always having to be the one in this hot mess of a family that knows what to do and can handle herself and’ll turn out half okay. And it’s exhausting. I can handle it, sure, but…”

“But you gotta take care of that you they don’t get to see, too, yeah? That sorta little personal Kacie, who’s got their own kinda vibe, somethin’ happenin, somethin’ just crazy… Right?”

An’ she looks at me for a long while, not sayin’ nothin. Those dark lips open just a little.

“... Maybe there’s something like that for other people. But I don’t think there’s anything like that inside of me.” She shrugs an pops on up. “Maybe there was once... but I’m heading forward to the future just as-is!”

She says it with a big, confident grin, but… Man. It feels like it’d snap off if you touched it.

...Whatcha make of that, dude? Don’t it just hurt?
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Shewolf13

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"The Space Prince" (12/17/18)
« Reply #109 on: December 20, 2018, 11:00:23 PM »
I've caught up!  Oh my... so much to comment on!  The holidays are kicking my butt, so I'll just say that I am loving it all.  And Space Prince fits Kite so well, it's ridiculous! Loving him and Kacie so far!

Offline BallerinaHippo

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"The Space Prince" (12/17/18)
« Reply #110 on: December 22, 2018, 11:37:19 AM »
So Johnny has 19 Kids and Counting?  Sorry, really bad reference.

I love the Space Prince! And it's nice to see Kite showing a little romantic interest in someone.  Can't wait to see how it unfolds.

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"The Space Prince" (12/17/18)
« Reply #111 on: December 22, 2018, 04:43:34 PM »
I've caught up!  Oh my... so much to comment on!  The holidays are kicking my butt, so I'll just say that I am loving it all.  And Space Prince fits Kite so well, it's ridiculous! Loving him and Kacie so far!

Happy holidays and good luck! The name emerged in a moment of epiphany, after having the vague notion that there ought to be a nickname for Kite at some point, and here we are, with a space prince.

So Johnny has 19 Kids and Counting?  Sorry, really bad reference.

I love the Space Prince! And it's nice to see Kite showing a little romantic interest in someone.  Can't wait to see how it unfolds.

I don't know what to, but basically! I ultimately decided that where I am, it'd be a little mean to have him try for another kid now. I live somewhere between 10.5-14.5 updates in the future more or less always, so there is your sense of when you will hit my present: when that would be possible, but mean to him.

People who can see what's happening: You, me, Timon and Pumba, anyone who can see the flashing neon sign of emotional significance a 1,000 word introduction indicates. People who cannot see what's happening: Kite. So this'll be fun!
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

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Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"All People Are Stars" (12/28/18)
« Reply #112 on: December 28, 2018, 09:35:59 PM »
Chapter 32: All People Are Stars

So what was I supposed to do, huh? I felt like the whole world coulda turned around while I tried to catch that vibe, man. I still aint sure what to do, man, an’ I’ll probably tell ya the yadda-yadda on that, like, in a bit. But I wanna to take a tick to say how everyone else was doin’ durin’ all that.

So’s, to get started, Ms. Pizzaz was over f’r a bit, club stuff, you dig? Prob’ly shoulda said hi, but, like, was kinda busy, I guess, still… But then, Uncle Akira had somethin’ he really meant to say.

“Listen, Penny…” He musta really mustered up his courage then. Lemee lay it down, dude -- I don’t think folks get a life in order all at once, just one pop, dig? You can drink crazy potions all day, an’ it’s totally square to be down on that if it helps -- it’s cool, for someone to do a thing that does ‘em good -- but you still gotta put the work in. “I was thinking, and… I’d really rather the two of us just be friends. It’s not that what we had didn’t mean something, just -- well, I need to dedicate myself, and get my heart in order, and I never did right by you. So I’d like to set you free of me.”

“Yeah, sure. I mean, face it, ex-not-quite-boyfriend, we were not the best life choices, even if you do look great with that undercut, and black leather is never bad on a man,” she nods, givin’ him his due for his ‘do.

“...I mean, you could just be a little more broken-up about this. I’m broken up about it!” He chokes up just a bit, sorry, dude, but yer doin’ your best, Unc.

“Aww, that’s sweet. Thanks, Akira.” But that just makes her grin alla more. “We’ll still be friends, OK?”

“...Yeah. I’d like that.” An, hey, if nothin else, he gets to head on upstairs with a satisfied feelin’ of knowin that’s something laid out honest and to rest.

Mom put to bed another vampire lore tome, so she’s a bit closer t’ doing useful stuff, y’know, by her spin on useful. The plants sound pretty cool t’me, though.

OK, ok, yeah. So it aint like she left after after that. An’ I’m glad, but man, like I was sayin’, Kite spent a minute hot an’ cold, gapin’ like a fish. I get up off the ground.

“Don’t look so sad, Space Prince! I’m still gonna conquer the world, mwahaha!” She laughs, an’ then stops an’ sees that my face aint changed at all. The grin goes not so big-an-boomin, softer. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’m saying ‘don’t worry,’ OK? I said I’ll be fine, and I’m right. Eventually.”

I guess there aint nothin’ I can do but take that a bit, an laugh a little, too.

“If that’s what you want, I won’t worry.” Much. “...What’dja do with the world if ya had it?”

“I’ll cross that bridge if someone comes along and gives it to me! What about you, huh?”

“...OK, so, I got a coupla’ answers there. Like, one, I don’t think I’d want it, dig? Too much t’ worry about. But if it were just sorta a snap… Well, cut out countries, man. An’ then we can work on, y’know, food transport an’ energy an’ all that jazz, make a better world outta this one; all it needs is some love, you dig?” That aint the sorta thing one dude could pull off, but like I said -- if it were a snap, right? An it aint like there’s none’a that we can do now! The countries thing, you know, just tearin’ down the lines on a map that says who gotta be different from who, that’s prob’ly, like, a total dead-in-the-water thing right now, dig? But the rest, that’s somethin’ we can work on in real terms, I think.

“Aaah, that sort of thing, huh. And then what?” She don’t say ‘that sort of thing’ like she thinks it’s somethin’ bad; when she was listenin, there was a real smile. Like, a real-real smile, that you could feel. Just a far-out smile, man. You dig? But I gotta admit, since I’ve never thought about it, it aint like I got a plan. So it takes a second.

“...I’d get a coupla’ cabins in some places no one knew an’ sorta walk between ‘em when I wanted to work, tossin that sorta ruler-a-the-world cash, or, well, I’d kinda wanna be done with cash an ownership, but maaaan, like, I think that kinda might make the sorta big movement stuff you’d need f’r endin’ world hunger kinda hard, if you aint replacin’ it with some kinda token, dig? An’ then, man, you’re just at cash. But, less’say I can ditch cash, maybe just doin’ somethin’. Plantin’ fruit trees out aroun’ the hills or flowers or somethin.” Man, ‘s been a while since I talked this long, if we aint counting the Monk yarn.

“The most Space Prince answer, I approve. That sounds nice, though,” she says, watchin’ me. “I’m glad you fit in the thing about painting and having cabins in there somewhere. Forget you worrying too much about me, I was going to worry about you if you didn’t.”

“Sorry, dude.”

“No, no, don’t! I just mean… It’d be a shame if your own fantasies didn’t have anything great for you in them! Like I said, it can’t be good for a guy! No one’s going to look out for you if you don’t. Even if I don’t have a real fantasy, it’s gotta have me in it. Since what I’ve got going for me is being sure of myself, I think everything I do should have me in it, right? Right!”

I gotta give it to her; gotta laugh, but gotta give it to her. Her hand hits my shoulder, like, ‘you too, man.’ It’s sorta ringin’ warm, like, after she went, dude.

Hey, though. Maggie had a friend over, too! It was Reiko again; ‘m glad he’s got someone he can be close ta, even if that’s just someone’ll who’ll listen to his stories.

“Earlier, we went to that haunted estate!” He’s tellin’ her ‘bout what we did instead a’ school today, give or take. Mostly give, ya know. Sorta give ‘im the fantastic.
“Really? Was it scary?” ‘Course, that’s a thing a kid’ll always give ya.

“Ah, not for me! I even met that beautiful ghost!” Well, it makes the story better. “A sad and pretty ghost, who wanders the maze forevermore! No matter how long the knights search, it is I who braved the maze to find her!”

“...You didn’t. Did you?” She kinda eyes him suspiciously. ‘Cuz it aint like those crazy knights are lookin’ for no one. They just sorta are in their own groovy kinda way. “...Well, I wouldn’t put it past you.”

“It was a resplendorous adventure! With goblins!” Where’d Goblins come from, bro? Still, he’s smilin, and launches on in, goin’ blow by blow; somehow, that maze ended up holdin’ a swamp in it, too, an all sortsa things. “And then I kissed her hand and said ‘away with me, milady!’ And from this, I managed to pull her at last from the labyrinth of memories of her tragic, no, her super-tragic death!”

“...She’s a ghost. How’d you do that?” Reiko asks at the end. “Kiss her hand, I mean.”

“...It.” Magpie freezes f’r just a second, ‘cuz he prob’ly didn’t think about that. Ever. I was over by the steps an’ still heard those gears turnin’. But hey, he’s a cool kid; he recovered. Kinda. “It was a spiritual kiss!”

“So you just kind of kissed the spot where her hand looked like it was?” She offers, just throwin’ him a line.

“Exactly! Thank you, Reiko!” Just like that, he’s bouncin’ back.

“No problem. It’s what best friends are for, right?”

“Yes, yes! That’s totally what BFFs are for! ...And, uh. Thanks for listening.”

“It was fun!”

Aint that just sweet?

After that, I kinda felt inspired to get some paintin’ done. Just somethin’ simple. Hey, Ranger Jackalope, pal o’ mine, I end up thinkin’, sorta ‘bout what she was sayin’, after that. Kacie, not Reiko, dig? An, like, it didn’t slip my mind I’d wait this all out, not one bit, but… Maybe I guess I do want a little a’ myself in this, you know? It may be kinda squarely self-centered, but...Well, it’ll prob’ly work out the same, right?

‘Cuz I’d like to just evolve, you know, kinda the plants my hands are in, you dig? Mom kinda made sure that most a’ the garden’s waitin, but that’d be kinda… Like, I didn’t need t’ be there. Well, it don’t have to be a thing, right? It aint like I’m hurtin’ for time.

When the paintin’s done, I end up goin’ off just to walk along the street, dusk fallin’ down around me. An’, like, I meet the rest a’ that scoutin’ troop that got folded up into ours, I guess.

“I’m Siya,” says the gal with the red hair. “And this is Lily.”

“Lily, huh? Hidalgo, right? Kacie’s sis?” I ask.

“That’s right!” Lily grins, but her eyes get all squinty! “Who told you that? Who’s in on it?!”

“...Uh. I kinda met yer sis earlier. Looking for you… What’s ‘it’, man?” I ask, kinda taken aback.

“Don’t worry. If you don’t know, you’re better off not knowing. And if you do know, you’re testing to see what I know, you know?” She’s wavin’ a finger in my face. “Still, Kacie shouldn’t go around bandying that about so easily! I’m going to have to have a word!”

“Oh boy,” Siya says, laughin’ nervously as she steps on back. That sounds like… It’s sure gonna be a thin’, aint it? A total drag, dig?

“Hey, now, she was just worried ‘bout you, that’s all. Kite won’t spread it around if you don’t want him too, cross his heart an’ hope to die.”

She pauses an considers it, screwin’ up her face.

“Well, that’s -- Ohhhh, you’re Kite, right? That spacey, princey kinda guy from science class!!” That kinda trippin’ mood’s up and dissolved in a second. “Well, if that’s OK, you’re probably not with those guys who make aglets!”

“I hate to ask, but aglets?” Siya asks her.

“Those things on the ends of shoelaces. They’re part of the illuminati.” ...She mean the guys, ‘r the aglets?

“...Trip, man. Well, make sure you get home safe, kay, dude?”

“Sure, sure!”

Trip, really hope she did, dude.

“How was your day, Kite?” Ka-san asks me over the HW.

“Good, cool, groovy... Met some...Really really far-out girls,” Man, I wish I’d already told you all a’it, dude, since it aint like I knew what to say then. But, I try an’ say somethin’ anyway. “...Just, trip, Ka-san.”

“Girls, huh?” She’s asks, grinnin’. “Did you have fun hanging out with them?”

“...Hmmm… Well, it weren’t a lotta time f’r the scouts, yeah? But…” Kinda puttin that vibe a somethin’ really bein… Yeah, just a little heartbreakin’, there, aside, what I ended up thinkin’ was… “Yeah, it was groovy. Hangin’ w’Kacie was chill; she really kinda dug what I was sayin, y’know? Just sorta listenin’ t’me space out. She’s cool, she’s cool.”
“Oh, how nice!” Ka-san’s bouncin’ on her toes. It aint like I’m hurtin’ for friends, but sure, not gonna stop someone bein’ happy.  “You’ll have to invite her over, of course!”

“Yeah, sure will,” That’d be nice. I wanna hear the stuff she’d see ‘bout the sky, sometime.

“Honey, is there something on your mind? You’ve got kind of a worried look.”

“I don’t wanna worry, it prob’ly aint nothin’ to lose my cool for it… But… Whad’ya do for a cat who says they don’t need it?”

“That’s a tricky one! You’ve got to try and respect her boundaries, and… Kite, honey. There might not be anything. You need to understand her needs carefully, or you may make things worse. And… Well. Sometimes the best you can do is be there for her, OK?”

“...Thanks, Ka-san.”

That night, we had, like, an extra layer. Projects, y’know?

So we might as well put ‘em together together.

“I wish we’d done boats!” Magpie’s sayin. “Then we might have used the school pool!”

“It’s gonna be a crazy bridge, though,” I tell ‘im. Still... I gotta agree with that. Boats are way less of a drag than bridges. An’ anyway, it’d be fun t’ carve out a bowsprit outta cardboard. Eh, well, you win some, you lose a lot, huh? “ But, nah, yeah, ‘coulda done a vikin’ thing,”

“And you could be on teams with your friends,” Ka-san says, thinkin’ back prob’ly on the road t’ her own school days, way back when. “I’m proud of my boys, making good friends out there. That’s important, you know? I want you two to be happy, and while I guess some people like being alone, I couldn’t stand it! I just think it matters to have a life full of people who matter!”

“Course, Ka-san.”

“Of course, Ka-san. What’s more important than the heart?” Magpie stops. An’ considers. An his eyes widen. “ oh no.

“Hey, hey, what’s happenin, bro?”

“I just thought of the perfect end to my ghost story! The perfect end! Wonderful! Imagine. I tell the thrilling tale of seeking the lady ghost within the labyrinth and then say…”

“For I had conquered the greatest maze of all: The heart.”

“Ooh, that’s a good line!” Ka-san claps, an’ I follow on after.

“But I didn’t say it. I’m defeated. I am lost forever, and she will never know what a great ending!”

“Aw, it’s cool, Maggie my dude. You’ll catch ‘em next time.”

“Of course! One of the most important things is to learn how to do something better next time. Even, well, ending stories on a cool one-liner!”

‘Course, even if we kinda try an’ play it cool, Magpie’s in a sulk on it all night. Sorry, bro. You’ll get it.

Mom, out there in the field, catches her first angelfish. Accordin’ to her, that means “OK, goal fulfilled, I can catch them. Now I don’t have to worry so much and just build skill because I want to be great.

Now, I caught kinda a glimpse of somethin’ kinda sweet. You wanna hear it, dude? Yeah, OK, then. So. I walk by the kitchen, an I see…

Uncle Akira, sighin’ a little at his phone. He spots me an says,
“I know she said not to call her until everything’s sorted out, but… I still really do miss Ulrike, you know? It’s a spring day, the air’s soft and cool, the green’s creeping back in… It just makes me think of her. Sending a text to let her know I’m thinking of her isn’t bad, right?”

“...Trip, hope not.” It’s hard t’say. It aint a full call, but how she’s feelin’s tricky. Still, if it only goes that far, ‘s sweet, like a fond sorta admirer, dig?

Oh, yeah! So, turns out it was Anabelle’s, one’a Uncle Johnny’s kids, birthday the other day!

An her old man had to run all the way down the end a’ the road to give her a little birthday gift. Think he got ‘er a book, a romance.

And a snapshot of ‘er, of course. He said not a one of ‘em turned out, though, and aint that a pity? He’s gonna have t’ grab her some other time, too, dig?

After classes, Magpie told me he had plans f’r the day.

“I’m going to invite Poppy Fryres over, and I will not miss my chance!”

“Yer chance?”

“To say a really cool line!”

“...I can dig it.”

Good luck. Spring’s springin, so it’s about time to start watchin’ out f’r our little bee box. Trip, man, but bees? Are totally far out, I’ll tell you. Like, the world would be crazy lesser without bees, dig? They keep fruit growin’ an’ flowers poppin’ up year after year, all around the world, but it seems like it’s all gettin’ worse f’r the little fuzzy dudes, an’ right now, one a’ the best things we can do is just, like, watch out f’r em. Beekeepin’s important f’r bees, and f’r us, dig?

Trip, but the bees did not catch the drift! They ain’t diggin’ this whole thing we got goin.
It’s a thing we gotta work on. Y’know, like, after gettin’ somethin’ on these stings. Auuugh, trip, man!

While I’m doin that, I hear Mom just… flip, ya dig? Just lose it, dude.

At this.

“...I mean, it’s casual day.” Akira answers.

“I thought we burned this for the good of humanity, Akira. I thought we burned those shorts. Those socks. Those sunglasses.” She runs a course through all a’ the look he’s got goin’ on, which is sorta, just… Well, you gotta be free, you dig? “I frankly didn’t think we left the sweater standing!”

“...What’s all this we? Maybe I like showing off my legs.”

Mom leans in close an’ stares for a long time.

“Maybe you like to commit crimes against all that is good. My wife’s in politics. She can ban casual day.”

An Mom’s off hatchin’ a scheme t’ wreck the whole thought a’ unc in socks an’ shorts. Live your groove, Unc. Fight the fashion-police Man, man.

That whole...Uh, look he had, y’know, kinda set onto the side table there, Magpie’s actin’ up on his plan.

“Poppy! Come on and play with me on the swing!” He waves over this gal in a little crown.

“...What if I fall off? It’d hurt, right?” She sorta sizes up the swing kinda nervously. “I’m a princess, you know. All girls are. We’re delicate.”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry, my fair princess; I’ll be sure to catch you!” And, c’mon, she’s gotta trust a promise like that, even if it’s, y’know, kinda hard t’fulfill. But it’s got a real feelin’ to it.

They swing f’r a while, havin’ a nice time… An’ then Bro takes a tick an’ pulls up that resolve. So he thinks of a line while they arc back an’ forth, puzzlin’ it out until he hears her go:

“I’m gonna touch the sky!” She shouts, kicking up higher.

“I will, too! After all...Uh… We’re needed.” He aint exactly figgered it out so much as he’s runnin’ for it, reachin for somethin, dig? “If all girls are princesses, all people are stars! The sky should have its brightest star!” Trip, but if that aint the truth. Heh. Stuck the landin’. Good job… Well, it’s not my thing, but hey, he wants a good riff: gotta be proud of ‘im for it. Shine on, bro.

Speaking of shinin’, even takin that sorta approach I was talkin’ on before (you dig, right?), the garden’s gettin a little shine t’ it, too.

Just sorta tryin’ to encourage some growth back here, you dig? It’s sorta expandin’ on out. Since the season’s just bustin’ out, it’s still creepin’ in t’ green like a lamb. Here’s lookin’ forward t’ it, huh?
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"The Color's a Kind of Garnet" (1/24/19)
« Reply #113 on: January 24, 2019, 10:13:11 PM »
So, it's been a month. And I would like to apologize; I didn't intend for it to be this long. Glad to be back to it, though!

Chapter 33: The Color's a Kind of Garnet

“Evening, princey. Wanna go out on the town tonight?” Kacie rolls on up, askin’ me to catch a scene w’her. Also, in glasses? In glasses, man.

“Cool. Mind if I bring Magpie?” Y’know, sure, he’s kinda a little young, but heeey; it aint like we’re doin’ all that much, really. Anyway, kids gotta get out an’ see stuff, ya dig? Kacie hears that an’ sorta thinks, b’fore smilin’ just a little.

“Yeah, sure, bring him, too. Kinda a change of plans, but whatever! There actually isn’t one!” Off we go, with a laugh. Well, almost, ‘cause she was, uh, not pullin’ a chain on that one; she wanted somethin’ more casual and contacts in ‘fore going out. We end up swingin’ by for Diya, too, ‘cuz why not?

But all’a same, we end up in Willow Creek; the air’s got a bit more warmth, so what’s fallin’s no Windenburg snow, but a rain patterin’ out a beat on the street.

“Oh, wow! It’s full of people!” Magpie grins.

“It’s pretty swingin’. Don’t look like there’s a lotta kids, you aint gonna be bored?”

“Please!” He rolls his eyes. “I’m just mature enough to party with everyone!”

“That so, kid? Well, have a blast!” Kacie laughs. Diya ends up headin’ in with ‘im. Which kinda just left me an’ Kacie.

“Sudden spring’s kinda a jolt, aint it?” I hold up a hand where the rain is fallin’ down, catchin droplets in my hand, where they pool an’ drip back down, like I’m just a kinda twist in the road for ‘em. “You headin’ in?”

“...Maybe later; What about you?”

“Well, it’s kinda the first rain a’ the year, aint it? I kinda want to catch on.” The light’s kinda funny, ripplin’ off everythin. The street’s gleamin’ in the dark, a gleam that bounces around as puddles are formin’. “See, it’s got a different sorta darkness, maybe, an’ you let that smell just hit your nose an’ aint that somethin’?”

“You really like things like that, huh?” She chuckles. “Little things. Pretty kinda things.”

“...Guess so. World’s full of ‘em, so they oughta get liked.”

“Well, then…. Wanna play out here?” Trip, man, but she’s already takin’ me out from under the  awning in her hand, spinnin’ us out ‘till the world’s a the blur of rain. She lets me go to stagger like I’ve been treatin’ Mom’s juice like a punching bag.

An’ the stagger becomes a spin, and the rain’s got just a drop a’ chill on my face but it’s fallin’ like a shower a crystal, like little cool sighs breathed down my back. Yeah, man, you dig? It’s that breath that you lock up in and it sighs out come the come the end of the day. The sky’s been workin’ on it for a while, and it was jonesin’ for it, an the ground an’, trip, man, Kite mighta needed some rain, too! The rain’s bindin’ the bunch of it.

I ended up sorta laughin’ my head off as we loop around… An at first, Kacie’s more down watchin me, sort of followin after...

Trip, though, don’t she get rollin’ herself, bustin’ a gut an all that jazz. An that’s kinda like a shower of crystal, too, dazzlin off into the air. Man, you dig? Don’t ask me what you’re diggin, ol’ buddy ol’ pal, but. It’s its own kinda sigh, too. Like.

Far out, you dig?

‘Course, we’re eventually run through -- my top’s gotta soaked more water than sweater, dig?

When we’re there, some little dude I know’s already got a party-storm in his grip, an we’ve just gotta hurry on in behind.

“Hey, look, you got yer chance t’ party next time, huh?” I ask him, ruffling his hair.

“Ah! Wet hands are mussing my hair! Now it shall stay a-mussed!” He holds off to try an’ protect it.

“I guess it must.” I give it one more shake for good measure. Don’t worry, he got it sorted. It aint like he’s gellin’ it just yet. “You aint gotta worry ‘bout any water.  Youse already drippin’ with good looks.”

Kacie slows down dancin’ to stare. “You are a hilariously powerful wing-man, Princey.”

“Of course he is! My dear older brother’s the best!” He leans forward an whispers t’me an Kacie, excited an’ low: “There’s a ghost haunting this party!”

“He’s probably here for a drink,” ‘s what she decides.

“Trip, ghosts down to drink?”

“I’d want a drink if I were dead. Maybe a double.” That’s a pretty good wisdom there, but I guess I don’t really gotta keep it in mind anytime soon.

An we just sorta chill for a while. At some point, she’s groovin’ on the floor an says simple:
“I can’t wait to get out of that house and feel this nice more often.”

“Zat so?” It’s one a’ those thing that feels kinda strange when she says it, an’ all I can do is shrug along, dig? Right now. If there was somethin’ I knew to do, you’d be hearin’ all about Kite swingin’ into action. Well, maybe it’d kinda muck it all up -- trip! Hold up, hold up, ‘m tellin’ you one thing after another here, not jumpin ‘round everywhere like time’s got no meanin’, even if, dig, it kinda doesn’t an’ is just somethin’ we tell ourselves.

‘Ventually, the party winds down. ‘Sides, Maggie’ bout to drop off his dogs, even if he’s goin’ ‘no, it’s fine, I can stay up,’ which’s like, trip, man, you need th’ club’r somethin’ for that. So we bring ‘m on home… An Kacie ‘n I’re back out there again.

“Hey...Uh. This’s gonna sound funny…”

“Alright, then,” she says, an’, like, man, gonna award a scadoodle a’ points there, ‘cuz there was an easy kinda ‘yeah, but you always do,’ an’, like, fair.

“...There summin’ I was wonderin. There somethin that makes you wanna get out? I mean, yeah, I met yer sis, I see where that’s a coupla’ armfuls -- sweet chick, but 10 fingers worth of it, dig? But somethin like…”

“It’s none of your business,” she answers, goin stony next t’me. She stands up, stretchin’ like she aint about ready t’ break for it. Course, your ol’ pal Kite’s maybe not on top a’ things, so he maybe don’t quite realize when a dude really wants their own space to chill. ‘Cuz I got up, too, an’ kept tryin’ to say it.

“MMmmmm. Yeah, but business’ kinda square, anywho. I wanna know ‘cuz I do. Somethin’ that… Makes you feel like you aint got the sorta space t’be your own person, somethin’ that’s ground that down so fine you can’t find it, even if you’re lookin…” Somethin where bein’ out would do ‘er some good. Somethin’ that’ll tell me what’s really goin’ on with that smile that’s gonna snap. Somethin’ I could give ‘er back, somehow.

Trip, man. I just didn’t think she was fine.

Course, then, she wasn’t. She snaps like a firecracker goin’ off.

“I said stop! I said don’t worry! I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, Okay? Do you need a poem? A painting? What color is ‘I don’t need anyone’s help’? I don’t need some prince to sweet a delicate maiden like me off from the terrible dragon of my terrible mother! I’m the sister who’s got it together, so I do! That’s all I’ve got, Kite! If you take that from me, I don’t have anything!” She don’t so much stop as catch’er breath, shoulders heavin’. Her head’s thrown on back like a wild horse, eyes big an lightnin’.

“Woah, Kacie… It’s cool, it’s cool… Didn’t mean anythin’ by it, dig? I just… I worry ‘bout that kinda thing, an’... An I just…”

“You just what?”

After that, it aint like I can say ‘I just aint feelin like you’re in a perfect smilin’ groove, dude; seems to Kite like you’re hurtin’.’ So I don’t know what to say to try an’ make ‘er feel better. Maybe some’a it’s somethin’ time’ll fix, but that all we can say? Yeah, sucks, gotta wait it out? Trip, man.

“...I just care.”

So mom comes out an’ that’s normally kinda a wu-oh, cheese it, it’s the rents sorta moment, you’d figger, huh? I mean, I love Mom, but ‘friend encounterin’ deep unchill’ aint ‘xactly what I’d call ‘er specialty. But she takes it in an’ says, “Sorry for the kid. Come on in, I want a word.”

An somehow, I’m kinda glad f’r it. Now, it aint like I personally wanted t’know what they were sayin, but you probably do, huh? So I asked Mom, an’ she told me:

She told me Kacie gave the play-by-play, but, y’know, money’s on Mom havin’ heard the whole thing. Ears like a fox, Mom. You’d think so, too, huh?  An when she went down it, Mom said;

“I don’t always get that boy, but he’s my son, and if I think there’s trouble, then trouble and me will have to have a little talk with something fun. I’m sure you get it… And I know a thing or two about girls like you.” Mom prob’bly whipped out her smile that aint in any kinda way a smile, once you start definin’ a face by what it’s showin’ instead a’ what the lips an’ all are up to.

“We’re trouble?” Kacie said, rollin’ her eyes.

“Right… But also, you’re full of it. As a girl like you, I get it, really. And I’m better at it than you,” she added. Now, see, that musta had a real smile. See, I don’t dig that, but Mom’s gonna think it anyway. “I had a plan and knew how to not let anything get it my way to it… Eventually.”

“...That’s what you wanted to say?” Kacie asked her. An Mom said:

“No, not exactly. Just… You don’t become less OK because someone helps you. You become a better resource manager,” Mom couldn’t help but laugh at that a little. “Having someone in your corner’s a wonderful thing. You can take it or leave it, but it’s… A treasure… Besides. I don’t even think you’re really mad at him, are you? Anyway, go apologize or I’ll have to find something to do about it myself.”

She waved a hand, an Kacie came back t’where I was sulkin outside. It aint like I really moved.

“Sorry, Pri-- Kite.” She sighs an’ looks down. “I shouldn’t have gotten so upset. I just… It’s scary. I’m going to be fine. I believe that, because what else can I do? But I don’t… I don’t really have a plan for that. I just trust it.”

She shrugs, an’ when I nod, she kinda keeps goin’. I aint sure I deserve a sorry, but that’s really her call, aint it? I kinda poked over her, you dig? Not cool. But I’m glad she said what she said next, anyway:

“Mom really is kind of… Well. With her boyfriends and her temper looming over us, and Lily needing so much behind me… Or maybe it was just baked in, and I’m just blaming her. Whatever. I just get the feeling like… Everyone else got to grow up and be somebody, and have some idea of who they were, and things they wanted, and -- I just got to be sure that I could take on the world, because I have to. I’ll play my hand to the end, so that’s fine! I can do it!” She grins an it falters. “But as for ‘it’? I dunno. Maybe I’ll get the space to figure that out on my own. And… Heck, if you wanna worry about me. Sure.” She looks on up at me an’ pauses shyly. “But only if it’s because you think I can be OK, too. That’s what I deserve.”

I sweep her up into a big hug, biggest I got, ‘til we’ve just got one kinda warmth between us. Her head’s a weight on my shoulder, an she c’n stay right there ‘til the stars go out, an’ that’s cool w’me. You know that kinda feelin? Hope you do, dude.

“‘Course it is… Course it is. I said I care, and aint that what that means? I wanna get to see how great you’re gonna do at doin’ Ok, dig?”

She grins an’ squeezes me tight. It aint like I got a real idea on what'd help; maybe a cat just wants t' be there an' worry for someone.

“I can dig it.”

Lessee, lessee… This’s kinda a short one, sorry… Ah. A thing, didn’t wanna say it then.
If y’ask me, while I’m here, that color’s prob’ly a kinda garnet color, you dig? Got a lot of flash, got a dark, deep kinda color. An under all that, it’s a sorta red. It’s gonna ask you t’ stop… An it’s a hue a’ hurt. That’s what’s off the dome here. But that aint this jazz, dig?

 Anyhoodle, it’d be bad if it were all Kite an’ this stuff, right? ...Nah. Anyhoodle, lemee fill ya’ in on another couple’a things, so’s I won’t leave my dude hangin.

Ka-san’s workin that fundraisin beat. An I wanted to call attention t’ this one ‘cause that lady looks like a Mermaid.

“OK! So, a lot of people ask me what no sims left behind is for! And that’s a hard one to answer, and honestly, our organization is kinda vague? But that’s OK!” Mom pumps on up. “With my input, we’ve been making it be to help people whose social and economic position is putting them on a slower footing in finding their way! Or something like that, ok? So we need your support!”

Ka-san’s gotten pretty good at this, huh? ‘M down for that, dude! World’s gotta pull each other along, mermaid chick!

So, that day -- the one after that whole scene, I mean -- was Uncle Johnny’s b-day. Last one, huh? Party was kinda later on, but he wanted to start it on somethin’ kinda a bit more low-key. Just fillin’ in some bases…

Spendin’ some time with a little-little one, Beatriz Kim-Lewis. Super sweet, dig? He brings ‘er on in an’ they play around’ with dancin’ with the stereo.

“Did you know there’s a duck dance?” He asks, watchin’ ‘er boogie hard as she can. Kids those age’re sorta very into stuff, huh? Man’s gotta work on, like, his real no-holds-bars doin’, dig? Least, I do, I guess. People get afraid a’ really gettin all wrapped up in it an’ crashin down, though, like kids who aint been hurt before don’t.

“No, daddy! Only chicken!” She’s got that serious look like she’s real into seein’ through his nefaarian scheme a’ pretendin’ there’s a duck dance.

“Oh, yeah? Watch me! Sing the chicken dance song and see!”

“I don’ wanna be a chicken, I don wanna be a chicken, cuz a I wanna be a duck!”

“Quack-quack-quack-quack!” He fires off his best duck impression, which, trip, man. If you thought I’d be sayin’ bout anyone but Uncle Johnny, well… Eh, I’d prob’ly be excited t’ meet that cat, you dig?

“It’s duck!” She squeals.

“Don’t doubt your old man on his birthday!”

Just real cute stuff, aint it? Does the heart good. Course, we’ll get to that party next time. Trip, man! It’s the start of a birthday string!
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Maybe We Lost the Real Scounding" (2/6/18)
« Reply #114 on: February 06, 2019, 02:21:39 PM »
Chapter 34: Maybe We Lost the Real Scounding

So, Zest is having a birthday. Gotta tell you, the calendar spacing out our birthdays? Pretty great, not gonna lie. So the house is crawling in Zestspawn, which is, yeah. Fair, I guess. Kinda nice, really -- you spend one life stage going from “you get your birthday crammed in amid the better, more important birthdays” to “The house is ovverrun in in your legion of blond children.” Not a bad way to go about it, huh? I don’t know a couple of them when the party starts, but I get an idea by the finish -- Kaden Holiday’s the kid who has terrible hat judgement.

Terrible. Hat. Judgement.

And then I catch this business.

“Heheh, Dad’s gonna get a real shock outta this…Huh. Now that I say it, he’d probably like it better if it actually was a shock. Then he could pun.” Ulises had to wonder if his prank was mis-aimed. I mean, really, he’ll pun about anything. Better not to give him an easy set-up. But he cannot be stopped.

So, Kite comes home in the middle of this in a mood. We’re talking ‘so embarrassed he could die’ mood. Which is totally unacceptable, of course.
“What’s got you worked up, kiddo?”

“Maaaaan. Like, juuust… Maaan. Ugh. Mom, don’t talk t’ me. I’m just… like, mondo grody unhip today! Totes squaresville!” I think, if I run this from Son-to-Simlish, comes about to ‘Mom, I’m being a teenager.’ Not that I can blame him. I remember being a teenager. It was a relentless betrayal of my precious maiden’s heart. Maybe that’s why I was never much of a precious maiden.

“Do yourself a favor and get a moodlet solver. You’ll feel better.” It’ll be one of his rewards, but it’s good to get access to that stuff early.

“...Trip, man. Yeah, ‘kay, gettin’ the groove back,” he says, sighing into the cup. (Boy, it must be weird for you to hear an enunciated G again, huh? Stick with me, we’ll pronounce all the letters.)

Which is great, because he’ll be able to join the party already in progress.

“Brianna! You made it!”

“Of course I did, Dad. Oh, by the way, watch the red present. Ulises pranked it, and someone’s got to worry about my dear father’s old, old man heart.”

“That was mean, Brianna,” he pouts, teasingly. “I have to start those jokes first.”

“It’s in the kid contract, though. It’s your elder birthday, so we gotta talk about how ancient you are!” These children are savage. “You didn’t let Great Uncle Krog pre-empt you and the dinosaurs when you were a kid, right?”

“Ah, I dino what to tell you, Brianna.” he grins at the chance for a recovery. Even for him, that’s a low one, but he goes on. “Back then, we hadn’t invented dirt, so we had to call Grunkle Krog older than rock… But he rigged it, huh? I’ll get a real shock outta that one!”

“Not a literal shock.”

“...How could he. Back in my day, we made sure our gifts really rocked!” That is a degree of indignation best reserved for something important, here wasted. He should have saved it for the ribbing itself; if it were me, I’d have to say that I was infinite, stretched from the beginning and ending of time, so do not mock me, mortal. Something like that.

“...Because they were rocks?”

“Got it in one, honey.”

There’s only so much further ado to do, though.

It’s time for Old Man Zest!

The blonde in his beard’s gonna hang on for a little bit, huh? How odd. I heard the noise his back made from the living room, though.

“Man, that smarts,” he grumbles. “All downhill from here, huh? Nice welcome to it.”

Sure, if you’re a sucker who’s going to fall for just whatever inevitability life puts up in front of you.

But, hey, he can at least have a nice slice of cake, family (parts of it, anyway) gathered ‘round, huh?

“Happy birthday, dad!” the child with the unfortunate hat (look at it, Summer, how did you let him leave the house?) shouted through a mouthful of cake.

“Kaden! Don’t talk with your mouth full, cake’s getting everywhere,” Brianna Haas scolds.

“Well, that takes the cake, doesn’t it?” Zests laughs as he watches one kid fuss over another one. It’s kind of an atmosphere at a table like that, you know?

“Father, that is rather a stretch,” comments Yaritza. “However, I should offer you a felicitous ‘happy birthday,’ for the occasion.”

“Oh, yeah! Ulises says. “We didn’t sing anything! Dad got the jump on us. OK, then. One, two…”

“”””For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow, this song doesn’t fall under copyright, which nobody can deny!””””

“Which nobody can deny! Which nobody can deny!”

...What an… Inventive. Version of that song. But it’s got the old man in stitches.

He’s barely got time to do a quick round to everyone before he’s gotta head to work. This is the thing on which he and I understand each other: very little is worth missing work. I was hoping for a birthday promotion for him, but it didn’t happen.

“Yeah, man. Thanks f’r lendin’ me some diges with that.” When I take a look through the living room, Kite and Hob are having a talk.

“I’m always happy to lend a hand, Kite, but it’s not like I did anything. I just showed you where everyone had run off to,” Hob answers. I’m glad they’re friends, just so someone else can get that diges = digits = fingers = hand.

“Yeah, but that’s somethin’! He’s gonna be over the moon, man, just straight-up loose wig when he gets home an’ sees it, f’r sure.” Kite’s drink leaves him with a rootbeer float mustache to lick off. It was a good call to add ice cream to the bar’s freezer. He’s a responsible enough kid for a drink, really, but I wouldn’t call it for the rest of the party.

“...Yeah, he will, won’t he? When we first met, I wouldn’t have thought it. Actually… I was a little jealous,” Hob admits with a laugh. “Of you, I mean.”

“Trip, man…”

“I know, I know. I’m glad I said something, though. I’m glad I got what I was jealous of, in the end.”

“Me too, my dude.” Kite puts a hand on his friend’s shoulder, and that’s where I exit. Too mushy.

OK. So let’s see what they were talking about… I end up strolling through Zest’s room and spot something just a little different.

There are more photos on the wall. Lots more. I think, as a matter of fact…

“Trip, but aint that a groove, man? Like a party’s onna wall an’ erryone’s invited. Who’s a toddler, anyohoodle.” Kite’s stepped behind me, staring up at the wall, a big grin on his face. So, you can put two and two together, right? Yeah, I don’t gotta spell it out.

“Plumbobs, but you’re a sweet kid. C’mere, you.”

“Moooom! Noogies are not cool, man!”

“I refuse to yield on this matter. You will face them like a man!”

And so with many a wail of ‘moooom,’ my son was made to endure his reward for taking nice pictures for our friend.

Turns out it was a double birthday today after all. Funny that. Alyson Caliente ends up aging up to a teen. Not the most stylish girl. By which I mean “what is she even wearing?”

Fashion choices on about level with her dad’s sense of humor aside, she seems a very pretty girl.

And even without our guest of honor, the party might as well keep going.

It’s letting the kids hang out together.
“Woah, Bri, what’s this about? Not like I mind, just…”
“No reason,” answers Brianna. “I figure why not?”
“Arright. Fair enough. But this opens you up to unlimited hip bumps.”
“Bring it.”

Eventually, after everything’s died down, the man of honor himself arrives home.  And on the review of his birthday… Well, how’s this?

This time, when his kids give him a heap of gifts… It’s really pretty nice. Except the smoke bomb.

After that, we go out on the town for the evening! Step one, the park!

It being spring and all, they’ve set up a roller rink. I can’t say I’ve been skating before, but I knock it out of the park! (...That was a pun, wasn’t it? Rats. Well, it’s fine when I do it, because I don’t grin expectantly.) Any claims of times I was not upright in this process are purely fraudulent and should be forgotten.

While the boys did some fishing.
“Hey, dig this, bro! This dude’s got stripes. Mighta just busted him from somekinda fish hoosegow, dig?”

“Or interrupted a fish sports game by catching the referee, forcing them to go without fish arbitration! You scoundrel!” Magpie wiggled his fishing rod at his brother like an accusing finger. I’m going to have to try that. Children really teach you. Upper-level sassing skills.

“Trip, dude! Kite’s never done no scounds, man!”

“...Is that… Is that what scoundrel means? A person who scounds?” Magpie reels back and reels back, shocked.

“...Naaaah, don’t think so. Think that’s just me rollin’ on. Don’t think no one’s got it in the dome where Scoundrel comes from. Maybe we lost the real Scoundin’ along the way.” This apparently merits a thoughtful expression, like he is truly mulling over the loss of a nonexistent word from our language.

“...Perhaps so.”

They continue this to our next destination, a dance party that Morgan...Fyre? Fryres? Why do those names exist so uneasily adjacent to each other? Someone help me -- did I pay off a city councilman to get rid of her house, or nah? Anyway. She invited Akira, and we went.

“Do you think I should revive scound? Bring it back into people’s mouths with my own words?” Magpie asks as they mull over the stars.

“Naaah. Aint it OK we got less ways to think’a stuff that only brings a dude down? It won’t dig out  a heart, dude, but maybe we can have more ways t’ talk about stuff we want, or need, or how t’ go lovin’ on each other, dig?” Kite answers after a while. “They say the more words you got for somethin, the more carefully you’ll puzzle it out, dig? Like, here’s this feelin’, here’s how it’s diff’rent. But, dig it, maybe it’s good t’ think on what’d hurt someone, too, so you don’t hit it when it aint your jive. Donno.”

“That’s hard… Hey, Kite?”

“Sup, bro?”

“Is there someone that you love?” He asks, trying to read something in his brother’s face. The way I see it, the answer’s yes; I mean, you’d have to be blind not to notice…

“Like, bro... I loves you.”

And unfortunately, my eldest boy I will spend a stretch of eternity with is completely blind.

“An’ Mom, an’ Ka-san, an’ the uncs, an’ my pals, an…”

“I mean like real love! Passion! Ardor! Kissing! Smooches!” As if to accentuate the point, he waved his arms. Aren’t half of those the same things as the other half?

“Ah. Well… Donno ‘bout that. Aint it cool to just, y’know, love all people equal-like?” There’s a little touch of worry to Kite’s tone, and Magpie’s quick to jump on it.

“It’s fine to love a lot of people! But to call love equal isn’t fair! That’s what I think! I want to grow up! I want to have passionate love affairs and make-outs! I wanna look cool!”

“Aw, man, you plenty cool, you dig?”

“I want to look cool as a grown-up!”

And this distinction was wholly irrefutable… Even if he said it in the most childish way. My poor baby. He’d be cute if he stayed little forever, but I’m looking forward to seeing him take some names.

“Aww, yeah. But you will, my man. You gotta have things as it’s time f’r things, dig?”

“I guess. Time is mean.”

I’ll leave the kiddo to his well-deserved pouting for a bit. OK, so, Morgan invited Akira here, right? But Akira’s on this “I want my life to stop sucking so much” kick. So.

“I think right now, we should just be friends. Is that OK?”

“..Oh,” she said, worry spread all over her face. It didn’t look like it was, but it’s not like she could do anything about it. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s okay.”

“I’m sorry,” he said as gentle as he could muster. Which, points, I was not expecting to be as much as it was.

“’s okay. But I expect to see you around some, too!” She fires back, with some sort of resolve.

“Sure. Sure. And...I want you to know. That this really did mean something to me, too. I just never did things right.”

“...Yeah. OK. I’m going to dance and get some drinks to forget being dumped.” Ah, the healing power of juice. The modern river Lethe, which brings us all to forget our strife. Or drown in it. You know, whichever.

“You go forget your apparently kinda sorta lousy ex-boyfriend.” That is a weaksauce admission of his low quality. Oh, well.

As for me, my romance…

Was going much better, of course.

“OOh, you’re in a mood tonight!” Miko giggles before I muffle that laugh with kisses.

“Of course I am,” I say, cool as a cucumber, as I pull away. More cool than I felt, really, but, uh, don’t tell her that. Or anyone else. It’s between you and I. “It’s a big night.”

“Let me sing a little something for you, then!” It’s too early for a different sort of song, so I’m not sure what she’d come up with. I take a step back and let her at the mic.

Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come, my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday

Yeah, that’s right. We’ve just about made it.

When I take her hand, I’m sure she can feel my heart beating faster in my palm, in my wrist, up my arm.

”You're still the one I run to
The on that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night...”

Because tomorrow’s the day. My elder birthday. My immortality.

Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline BallerinaHippo

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Maybe We Lost the Real Scounding" (2/6/18)
« Reply #115 on: February 18, 2019, 02:51:57 PM » are on the verge of having your first immortal.  How exciting! 

Also, I love how Kestral went all mama-bear on Kacie.  Don't you go breaking our boy's heart.  You get back out there and apologize young lady. 

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Maybe We Lost the Real Scounding" (2/6/18)
« Reply #116 on: February 22, 2019, 03:44:52 PM » are on the verge of having your first immortal.  How exciting! 

Also, I love how Kestral went all mama-bear on Kacie.  Don't you go breaking our boy's heart.  You get back out there and apologize young lady. 

Isn't it!

Kestral's a momma-bear at heart. All the expression of affection, without any of that pesky emotional vulnerability.

Anyway, your comment really spurred me on to get back to working on this, thank you very much!  So, without further ado, here she comes!
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Memento Vivere" (2/22/18)
« Reply #117 on: February 22, 2019, 03:46:17 PM »
Chapter 35, Part 1: Memento Vivere

Prep work’s rolling on something special. Early in the morning, before anyone else wakes up. A special dish, with all the *mise en place* taken care of.

It looks kind of like a quiche, doesn’t it? Or a frittata. An eternity, a life, suspended in egg. I kind of expected something more, from the recipe, but whatever. I made it, it’ll be step one in dodging the reaper like a boss, it’ll taste great.

Until it’s time, I’ve locked it away in a special dining room that I’ve put in an expanded basement. The stairs have a door now, and the door is locked until the moment comes.

Okay! Weighty stuff out of the way, so next up!

Time to knock out a cake!

Step 3:

A stiff drink. I mean, yeah, for the party. And, not gonna lie, my nerves.

Alright. It’s showtime.

“Good luck, honey!” Miko deposits it with a kiss.

“I don’t need luck; I’ve got it all together.” That’s right. I don’t need nerves! I’m a winner. And also, like, I’ve spent most of my life preparing for this.

“I’m proud of you.”

I can’t even try to stifle my grin, and pull her in, and kiss her back.
“I’m proud of us, too. I’m glad I had you in my corner all this way.”

“Duh!  Let’s ring the bell for the final round!” She mimes hitting a bell, which I guess means it’s time for me to go in for the total knock-out.

“Hey! Maximiliano!” Miko shouts as he comes on in.

“Hey, looks like a great party.” He surveys the slightly eclectic collection of folks we’ve got here -- nevermind that he’s out of place himself...Man, after today, I never have to see that doll-house-wrecker ever again. Nice.

Forgiveness is for suckers, and forgetting is for people with bad memories.

The guest list’s a mixed bag of people for the kids to hang with, people I need to make sure I’m on good terms with, people I just grabbed off the streets…

It’s time to do a little check-in, a last sweep.

“Heeeeeyy, Mrs. A! Hob grins and shoots me a finger-gun. I’m not one to lose a finger-gun fight, of course, so I’ll give as good as I’ve got.

“Hey, Hob! Ulrike! How are you two?” I shouldn’t get too close, but he is Kite’s bestie for the moment, so it pays to keep track, right?

“I’ve been over here a lot lately, so I’ll say not too bad! Having a good Flower Day?”

“...I honestly have no idea, nor do I care, what you’re talking about.” Oh, was there something else today? Well, I’ll get to that when I get to it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry than a holiday I’ll see a million times over. “Ulrike! How are you, unique best friend?”

“...When you put it like that, I feel kind of used,” she comments.

“Maybe. But you weren’t a random choice! I care about and respect you, Ulrike. It’s really an honor. Anyway. How are you?”

“Music’s been keeping me up at all hours. Damien’s in his handful stage.”

“He’s a teenager, isn’t he? Has he had a non-handful stage?”

“I’m still hoping,” says the weary single mother. Well, not much I can do about that, so good luck.

Thank you, next!

“Heeeeyyy!” What’s written on my hand? Is that Souna? Sauna? That’s not a name. So… “Sonja! Still good friends?”

“Have you been asking everything that?”

“...Yes.” I need to make sure! If something’s going to go wrong, it’s one of you guys!

“Then yes, sure. We are still good friends. This is a great party… Afraid of getting older?” She asks, a little slyly. I technically, circa today, will be the older person in our friend group.

“You’re only as old as you feel, and I figure anyone who lets old age stop them,” up to an including chickening out of this mortal coil, “is just not trying hard enough.”

“...You are going to be a nightmare old lady. I can feel this.”

I hope so. I’d hate it to be dull.

One, two, three, and…!

“Ow! My back!” Hey, though, bonus points. Kept the hair color. Which is great, I don’t want to have to decide if I die it or what. It’d be silly to be an immortal who’s gone grey.

“Looking good, babe!”

Ahhh, precious assurance from the most beautiful lady in the world. Not sure the old hair still works, but eh, I’ll figure it out.

“Alright, you folks eat cake. I’ll be right back.”

And that’s it. That’s everything.

It’s time. Sure, it’s a waste of the ambrosia, really: but right now, I have everything. I am everything I need to be. There’s only room for things to get worse – why not destroy that before it ever happens? Why not take it the first chance you get?

Why not let me have a little triumph, sitting here on top of my hill, looking down at an adulthood well-spent, finding great people to fill my life with, killing it at work, and fighting every step of the way for this, this moment, cresting up like a sunrise, or welling up like the music in that old fantasy, just building up inside until it all shines.

It tastes a little like a seafood quiche; I was right, all along. And, of course, pretty great… Even if it smells kinda bad. A true gourmet understands: it’s like cheese! Or durian! Or forever.

I’ll have to keep the ball rolling for a while – I’m not done yet. But this is the first leg of this journey complete.

Memento Vivere. That’s more like it.

Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline Deme

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Memento Vivere" (2/22/18)
« Reply #118 on: February 22, 2019, 03:47:44 PM »
Chapter 35, part 2: Volume 1 Conclusion

Once I have my big moment done, I head on back up to get my hair together. I just can’t say I like the way it looks on my right now, so I might as well go with something different. Grow it out a little.

I think it works, y’know? Still looks good with a suit, which is. Very important. For the whole look.

And then Miko tells me to come out to the sunken garden. Like, I’m skipping around here, but I figure, Kite had a big Flower Day; he’ll tell you about the junk between. I was busy…

But I needed to tell you this.

So I go down and it’s different.

“...Did you. Did you install windows?” And a door. There is a door in the retaining wall under our porch now.

“Maaaaaybe,” she says, feigning innocence. A giggle rises up. “I kind of forgot windows are visible from the outside, but no peeking! Let’s wait on the boys, okay?”

“Wait for the boys for what?” Did she install some extra museum space or something? With the money tree starting to come in, we aren’t hurting for cash. And it’s true we need some space, and I did some extra instillation for the dining room, but…

“For your present, of course!” cries out Magpie as he bounds up, his older brother trying and kinda failing to cover them both. So, he’s a little wet. I don’t even think I noticed it was raining until now.

“Yeah, ‘skinda Ka-san’s idea, an Maggie’s got the aesthetes f’r that kinda thing, dig? It’s, like, a thing he vibes with, turns out.”

“It’d be more purple if it were in my vibe. Or red!” Magpie interjects. “Besides, don’t pretend like you didn’t help!”

“That’s right,” interjects Miko, tapping both boys on their respectively different shoulders. “It’s from all of us. Let’s take a look! Can I get a drumroll, please?”

Kite proceeds to issue the world’s most ska drumroll. I’m not even sure I can reproduce it, really.

“Ladies first, Mom,” Magpie says. I get a chuckle out of that, and I head on in. I’m not expecting much, but I figure, it’s cute. It’s nice to be surprised by your family.

And then I see it.

There it was; all laid out.  It was my dream, perfect down to every inch.

 The rich woods. The jewel tones. The gleam of copper and gold.

“Oh.”  Oh! I couldn’t think of what to say.

 A million nights of dreaming, in a little room in the big city, in that old clunker I lived out of for a while, or in a little fake house, or in an increasingly real house. All of it, crystallized right here.

“Thank you. Thank you.” I rest my head into her shoulder and draw her in as close as I can. Somewhere behind me, I hear her say:

“I’m so happy you like it! It was just something you mentioned once, so I was worried it was --”

“It’s perfect.” It really is. Everything’s perfect.

“Eheehee, now, let me go get changed into something special. We’re not done yet!”

Not done yet, huh? … Odds of a lingerie set are low. Even if Magpie’s scampered off, Kite’s still around, and that’d be weird.

So in the meanwhile...

“Pop a stool, kiddo. Time you had your first drink.”

“Trip, man, f’rreal?” I took him for a goodie-goodie, but hey! That’s my boy! Besides, it’s better to start drinking with your folks watching; you don’t get to start by going overboard that way. And you get better booze.

“Of course! I need to break this puppy in, after all!”

I look my kid over and try and figure out what he’d like. It might take some figuring, so let’s start him on the Kestral Special, heavy on the grenadine, a little light on the gin this time.

And he starts unwinding some of what he’s got brewing -- again, leave it to him, right, he’s got his own version of the day to tell, I’m sure it will be a trip.

And then Miko comes back in that something special. And she gets up to the mic.

And it absolutely takes my breath away.

”You had plenty money 1922…
You let other women make a fool of you
Why don’t you do right, like some other men do?”

She’s normally bright bubble-gummy JPop, normally songs from who knows where… But when she gets up there in that dress and sings, it’s like cigar smoke and honey.

Rain patters gently outside the darkened bar, where the windows glowed gold. I mix a drink and listen to a worried patron. The most beautiful woman in the world’s voice rings out over it, wearing a perfectly slinky red dress.

 And I am home.

I polish the glass and the whole world shines in it. Looking at the world, right there in that moment, every moment of my life was worth it, every step of this journey -- all of it, a whole life’s worth, was to bring me right here. And I was so, so happy, that I had been born.
Stories In Progress:
The Avyan Immortal Dynasty

Offline BallerinaHippo

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Re: The Avyan Immortal Dynasty -"Memento Vivere and Vol. 1 Conclusion" (2/22/18)
« Reply #119 on: February 23, 2019, 05:47:38 PM »
What a satisfying update!  Kestral has all the boxes checked.   :)
Now I'm looking forward to seeing what Kite makes of this immortality challenge.