New Year's Day, 6100 RTR (20 Jan 2000) A reception is held after Willow's wedding.
(Aaron) (Rephidim) (Willow) (Wynona) (X)
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The reception after the wedding of Prince Sebazhan and Lady Willow Dack is held on the dry-docked Merryweather. It seems as if there are more people present for the reception than for the wedding itself. Knowing people in general, and especially in this part of town, that's quite probably the case.

Catering is provided largely by Bromthen Heaven, which means that the food strongly favors those of the carnivore persuasion, though someone has thoughtfully made sure that there are vegetarian dishes as well.

A foppish fox sits up on a crate, providing musical accompaniment for the festivities. Most of the time, he either plays instrumental only, or else his voice is drowned out by the laughter and general chatter. At the time, though, he has a song to sing…

Who could have seen the way,
The way the story turned,
Who could have seen the way,
The way the fire burned.
No more laying blame, now we are not the same,
No more playing games, as ashes rise up as flames.

Years and years went by, it seemed you were all alone,
No one to see you cry, chilled right to the bone.
Across the miles, and sometimes seas, I dreamt of you, you knew nothing of me.
It seems so crazy, how can it be? When we finally met, it was you who saved me.

Who could have seen the way,
The way the story turned,
My night turned into day,
I found all that I'd yearned.
No waiting from afar, no wandering in the dark,
I know now who you are, in a fire lit by a spark.

I thought that I was strong, I thought myself as old.
How could I be so wrong? Was I really hot or cold?
I hated all, I hated me, I would not believe what I could not see.
Love was for fools, a fantasy – but now no more, I say to thee.

Who could have seen the way,
The way the story turned,
My fears are washed away,
By the lessons that I've learned.
No more pulling back, I'm on a different track,
I've found all that I lack, as opposites attract.

We had our separate plans, we had our separate dreams,
As enemies we no longer stand, but now friends on the same team.
No longer are we slaves to rage, no longer living in a gilded cage.
In a twist unseen by any sage,

Together we write a brand new page…

And then the fox finishes singing, strumming the chorus melody on his lute.

Willow isn't quite dressed in her work clothes, although she's changed out of a dress for the reception. She's in a billowy zolk shirt with some embroidery on the collar and sleeves and some thick cotton pants that also have some embroidery along the cuff of each foot. She sips from a wooden glass of wine in one hand while her other hand is latched firmly onto the prince's. "You know… that was really fast. I hope the honeymoon doesn't go by as quickly."

Prince Sebazhan says, "I understand that the real Silent-Ones weddings go even faster. Comes from always being at war, I suppose. No time to waste in long drawn-out ceremonies." He winks.

A sleek black Khatta walks up, dressed in an outlandish outfit of black and violet. She doesn't look a day over twenty. "Well! Congratulations. Welcome to the family, Willow. Or should that be 'Lady Foxfire'? I heard that you like to be called that," she purrs.

"This is Kassy," Sebazhan says quickly. "My sister."

"Thanks for letting me have a Star wedding. It's helped me cheer up a – " The Skreek clears her throat. "You can call me whatever you're comfortable with, although this 'lady' business will take some getting used to. Just call me Willow for now – and it's a pleasure to meet you finally, Kassy. Sebazhan has told me a lot about you."

Kassy raises an eyebrow, smiling faintly. "All of it flattering, I hope?" She gives Sebazhan a humored sidelong glance.

Prince Sebazhan nods his head. "I wouldn't have it any other way. I had to sell her on the family's finer points, in order to enlist her, after all!"

"He tells me you're a traveler. I'd like to hear about all the places you've traveled sometime." Willow laughs and takes a sip from her goblet. "If you're worried, you can tell me all the dirt on Sebazhan and make it even." She winks.

Kassy smiles. "Nowhere as exotic as where I hear you're going for the honeymoon. Do bring me a souvenir back, won't you, Blink?"

Sebazhan winces for some reason.

Willow gives her husband an amused look, obviously filing that name for later use. "I'll be sure and look for something appropriate. So what made you decide to see the world instead of staying in Kroz?"

Kassy purrs, "You have seen Kroz, haven't you? Need I say more?" She reaches over and grabs Sebazhan's ear. "So I let him have it."

Sebazhan feigns a wince of pain, but it's probably more the embarrassment of being treated like a kitten that prompts his reaction.

"It's not horribly bad. Of course, when I landed in Kroz for the first time, I'd just been dragged through Mongrel Town in Gallis and brushed over Bosch. I suppose that even the Wandering Roams would look like a playground after that." The Skreek suppresses a giggle. This is a side of the Prince she's yet to see. "I'm just curious – are you a mage like Sebazhan?"

Kassy laughs. "I imagine. Hmm, yes, you could say I dabble a bit. Just don't say it around the Guild. They get touchy about, what's the term, 'hedge wizards' like in our family. They think that they're the ultimate authorities on how to shake a rattle, light a candle or make a chant on this world."

Willow takes another swig from her glass. "Feh, most of the mages I knew were knee-deep in debt because they had to pay off the Collegia's tuition."

Kassy nods. "Indeed. In any case, I am a woman of means, and I far prefer the freedom to roam Sinai as I please, rather than being saddled with the responsibilities of a throne in a dreary, imp-infested principality. Why, poor Sebazhan can't even call himself a king." She tut tuts. "It's a lousy deal. I pity him. But pity no more! Now I won't worry about him getting lonely in the castle."

"It means a lot to me to be accepted into the family. I am a Krozite, but any titles I had I've renounced and was pretty much just a ra – er… a Skreek when I proposed to Dack here." Willow licks her lips. "Traveling is nice if you have the means, just avoid airship work to get those means if you can."

Kassy smirks. "Don't worry. Species means nothing to me, nor titles. There are far more important things in life." Her grin spreads. "Like fun, power, and the ability to do what you want to when you want to. Royalty is overrated. I'm glad you're getting out while you have the chance, Sebazhan!"

The Skreek casts the prince a sidelong glance. "Just be careful what you do and how you get that power. There's lots of folks who primp you up to feel big and important and powerful and then yank the rug out from under your feet when they're done with you. Star knows it's happened to me enough times."

Kassy pats Sebazhan on the shoulder. "Well, I'm sure you'll both do just fine. Now … I'll be heading along. I have my own transportation to catch. I'll see you again after you get back from Abaddon. Ciao!"

Willow waves to Kassy, although a grimace is fighting for position on her face instead of a smile. "Sebazhan, how close is she to your uncle?"

Sebazhan frowns slightly. "I don't really know."

Just then, Ariel bounds up, and then curtseys. "Greetings, Lord and Lady Dack."

The Skreek smiles more genuinely. "Hello Ariel, thank you so much for coming. I didn't know you knew Savanite Sign."

Ariel mews, "As a messenger, I have to be multi-lingual," looking proud of herself.

Sebazhan says, "You did a wonderful job. If you had need for employment, I would hire you on the spot as a court translator." He winks.

Willow's smile fades a little. "There's someone who speaks in sign that I'd like to send a message to, but I suppose I can do it myself just by praying." She clears her throat. "I'm sorry; I'm trying my hardest not to be gloomy. I'm really happy to see you again, Ariel. I was worried that since magic doesn't work as strongly up here that you might not be able to show up."

Ariel shrugs. "I can't do anything fancy, but I can still get around." She frowns. "And I'm sorry about your friend. I heard about it. I'm really glad that you two had a chance to meet. In fact… " She bites her lip, looking a bit uncomfortable.

The Skreek tilts her head slightly. "Yes?"

Ariel pauses a bit longer, then mews, "Do you think I have a soul?"

Sebazhan's eyebrows raise in surprise, evidently taken aback by the question.

Willow reaches out and takes the kitten's hand. "Yes, I do. People with no souls act like it … and you act like you have the biggest soul of almost all the people I know."

Ariel's expression positively brightens. "Thank you!" And then she suddenly grabs Willow in a hug. "You don't know how much that means to me!"

The Skreek doesn't even hesitate as she hugs Ariel back. "People without souls probably don't consider whether they have one or not." She pulls away. "Why did you suddenly start wondering about if you had one?"

Ariel mews, "Oh, just thinking." She smiles. "I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!"

"You can visit us at the castle anytime you want. You're always welcome, since you really are family." Willow smiles and drains the remainder of the liquid in her cup.

Ariel nods, and bounces off, heading back toward X and Reed.

Sebazhan sees Willow drain her cup, and casts a curious glance at his own, which he has neglected all this time. He slips in a quick sip before the next well-wisher comes along.

A white bat gets up from her magical ritual at the far end of the deck. "There," she squeaks, wiping her brow. "That should hold the weather for a while – Oh! Aaron, there you are!" She walks over toward a Lapi.

A rather nervous looking Lapi smiles to the Eeee. "Hello Wynona, I only just got here. Had a little… err… errand to run first. How was the wedding?"

A scrawny Skreek young man in fancy duds walks along with a Savanite lady much taller than he is. "… so then, you see, there were four imps left, and they tried to circle me. But the thing is, they go down really easy if you so much as prick them, so I opted to try for a sweep attack… "

Wynona says, "It was very short, really. And there's still plenty of food. Oh … I … well, I think there's still plenty of the vegetable kind, too."

"Shall we mingle, dear?" Willow stands up and offers her arm to the prince.

"Oh good," Aaron says, relaxing a bit. "The food at the infirmary wasn't very satisfying, I must admit. Thank goodness you brought me those flowers."

"Yes, let's!" says the prince, grinning. "Must keep up appearances."

Wynona blushes faintly. "Well, I felt rather bad about inviting you to the rally and then you getting torn up by those Kavis. It was rather heroic of you to rush to that Naga's aid like that. Oh! Look! There's the Prince and the Lady now. They're Krozite royalty. Why, this deck is simply crawling with royalty from the surface! That Cervani couple over there … those are the Diamantes. And that Skreek over there … He's Prince Naochi. He's single, I hear."

The Lapi teases, "Single eh? Looking to retire to a castle, Wynona?" He looks the prince over. "Naochi? I remember a local Skreek healer by that name. She had really great legs … err … medical skills. She got eaten by a demon though; what a waste."

The Savanite with Prince Naochi pauses, turning toward Willow and Sebazhan. She's fairly tall, even for a Savanite, and has a … remarkable … resemblance … to someone Willow knew briefly.

Wynona frowns at the Lapi's "slip", but quickly hides it. "Well, ahem, that's terrible."

The Skreek's eyes widen at the sight of the cheetah and her arm falls from the prince's. "Je – … "

Aaron also notices the prince's companion. To Wynona, he whispers, "To be honest, I'm relieved that the Astromancer has declared slavery illegal on Rephidim now. I never trusted slaves. But I hear there are lots of spotty mages too, so now I need to hire someone that knows silent-speech… "

The Savanite walks up to Willow, a solemn expression on her face, and bows her head when she comes up to the newlyweds. "I am Moon-Brow," she signs, lest the inadvertent charade continue any longer. "I came on behalf of my sister, as I am certain she would have wished to be here had she been able." When she is done signing, she folds her hands neatly together, looking at Willow.

Wynona whispers back to Aaron, "It's such a sudden declaration. I have heard that a few businesses had to close their doors immediately. Tsk. Comes from relying too much on slave work, I suppose."

Willow forgets entirely about her husband. "Your… " She shakes her head and holds her hands up. "Your sister?""

Aaron shakes his head slightly to the Eeee, and whispers, "Must not have been very good masters then. I mean, even though they're free, they still need jobs and homes. I imagine most will just stay where they are and draw a small salary. It's the Kavis I'm worried about; they might be annoyed at suddenly having competition."

Wynona nods. "I wouldn't be surprised. I'll bet you a lot of the slaves end up working in exactly the same place … but we're talking … well … I don't mean to be radical or anything, but I've seen some awful things done in Rephidim."

Moon-Brow nods. "She was my elder sister. Of my seven sisters, she became my closest friend. I shall mourn her passing a long time, but I am glad to know that she has left a shining legacy. I do not think she could have foreseen that you would be here in Rephidim. On her behalf, I wish you and your husband all the blessings of the Star. You encouraged her greatly."

"At least ex-slaves have work experience and skills," Aaron says. "I'd hire one that could read and write and tally, but the educated ones are probably in the best positions already anyway, and I've always suspected that they had influence in the Temple too. I just wouldn't want to meet one in the dark … or in the wilderness. They make me nervous."

Wynona raises an eyebrow at the Lapi. "You're … serious?"

The Skreek wipes at her eye. "For a moment I thought that you were … that she was… " She shakes her head and puts a hand on the Savanite's shoulder. "It's an honor to meet you, a great honor … and thank you. I'd probably be dead if it wasn't for her. I don't know what kind of encouragement I could have been, bawling my eyes out in the sand like I did, but I'm still grateful."

Moon-Brow smiles faintly. "She saw much of herself in you. To be there when such a change came to your life gave her much hope beyond just that one day. And I am grateful as well, though I cannot put my feelings to sign eloquently."

Aaron nods to the Air Mage. "My shop doesn't stock itself, you know. I was hunted by a tribe of Savanites for several days down in the jungle once. Maybe they thought I was going to give away their location to slavers or something. But as regular citizens, at least I'd know what their motivations are."

Willow throws her arms around the cheetah, not caring what anyone else on the deck thinks of the act. "If you, your family, or any of your people are ever in Dack they will be welcome in my home. I'm terribly sorry for your loss and hurt as though I lost one of my own sisters. You don't know how much comfort I have in meeting you and seeing a little bit of her in your eyes."

Moon-Brow keeps her hands silent for a time, but once her hands are free again, she nods. "Thank you, but I have a home already. But perhaps there may be an opportunity for me to visit." She smiles again, then signs, "I know that this is pathetic as a wedding gift … but I was pressed for time." She digs around in a pouch, and pulls out a very small bundle wrapped in light cloth. By the shape and indentations, it takes only a glance to guess that some sort of ring is hidden inside.

Wynona just blinks confusedly at Aaron, and nods politely. "Uhm-hmm?"

The Skreek takes the pouch slowly unwraps it. "The only bad gift is one that is heartless. Thank you."

In the pouch is a ring of some odd stone, or perhaps it's made of polished, carved horn. It is dark, save for violet, translucent striations that run through it, giving it an odd sense of depth and in the proper light, an illusion of something less than solid material.

Aaron smiles to Wynona. "Didn't you ever wonder where those powders and herbs and other things you need for spells came from?"

Willow gently slips the ring onto one of her fingers, in between a silver ring and a translucent black one. "Does this represent anything? Your sister gave me a ring as well… "

Moon-Brow's ears suddenly blush, and she covers her muzzle with one hand. It takes her a moment, and then she signs, "I did not know she gave you a ring. I tried to pick something that I thought she might give you. She was something of a mage, and could sculpt images from shadows. She tended to like to give gifts that looked as if they were sculpted from shadow as well."

Wynona looks back at Aaron. "Uhm … what are you getting at, Mister Lightfoot?"

The Skreek looks at the ring again and then throws her arms around Moon-Brow again, her eyes watering. "Star bless you, I feel like I've been given a chance to say goodbye."

Moon-Brow seems a bit surprised, but she doesn't back away, and returns the hug. Her own eyes are obviously moist as well.

Aaron blinks, and his black ear flops across his face again. "Oh, uh … nothing, Wynona. Just that I'm not only a shopkeeper, I suppose, and that I'm a little afraid of Savanites."

Willow's ears droop. "I should probably pay attention to the rest of the guests. Please… remember my offer. And maybe I can catch you in Rephidim sometime if I ever come back. Where out here do you live?"

"Nicodemus' Shiny Shoppe," the Savanite answers. "Ask any Vartan, and you'll find the way." She smiles brightly, wiping at her eyes. "I shall leave you to your guests now." She curtseys again to Willow, and to Sebazhan.

Wynona looks at Aaron curiously. "You're not just a shopkeeper? Have you been leading some sort of double life on us, Mister Lightfoot?" She smirks faintly.

The Skreek waves hesitantly and then lets her hand fall on the ring, rubbing it gently.

Aaron stands straighter. "What, when I'm not battling spies and facing the undead and such you mean?" He brushes back his ear and grins.

Sebazhan smiles. "At this rate, you'll have more rings than you have fingers."

Wynona gives Aaron a dubious look. "Really!"

"One of the reasons why I got my ears pierced." Willow pats the Khatta's cheek and begins to wander through the crowd again. She pokes her nose in between the Lapi and the Eeee. "Hi there. Are you two friends of the bride or the groom? Not that it matters… "

Wynona squeaks in surprise, then curtseys. "Oh! I'm just hired help, really. I'm an air mage, hired to keep the weather nice. This is my last job here in Rephidim before I ship out to the Himaat."

The Lapi tries to look worldly and confident, despite a few still-fading bruises here and there. "Why, I'm simply a local businessman here to express my well wishes to the lovely couple, and to extend my services should they require any ritual components, bath oils or perfumes to enjoy on their honeymoon."

"Ritual components?" repeats Sebazhan, with one raised eyebrow.

Wynona says, "Oh, he's an Apothecary. He supplies magical components to the College Esoterica. And mages like me, too, of course."

The Skreek grins. "I never expected to encounter a salesman at a wedding. Usually they flock you beforehand." She smiles at the Eeee. "And thank you for making the weather so pleasant for us."

"Indeed, Your Highness," Aaron says, and produces a card. "I also ship and handle special orders, if you ever need anything. And of course I've brought a gift basket so that you can judge the quality of my wares for yourselves."

Wynona giggles and bows her head. "My pleasure. So, do you have big plans for the honeymoon?"

Sebazhan takes the card, glancing at it, nodding, and tucking it away. "I'll keep you in mind, good sir."

Aaron bows again. "I am at your service."

"We're going to Abaddon to drop off some furniture," Willow squeaks, casually eyeing the card. "So what all is in this gift basket? I'm going to get absolutely spoiled by all of these presents, dear Prince Dack."

The Lapi turns his smile on the bride. "Why, scented soaps and bath oils, and a fine selection of teas and spices from around the globe. One can never have too much spice in life, after all!"

"Abaddon?" squeaks Wynona. "Oh! I hear that it's much nicer now. When you're there, see if you can get a look at the Pit of Himar. It's quite a sight."

"You've been to Abaddon?" Willow's expression sobers. "I've had enough of Himar to last me a lifetime, but I'll keep the recommendation in mind."

Wynona says, "Well … yes, though a mage isn't much use there. Magic doesn't work there, except for the Pit … but the magic got sort of … well … used up. And I hear that it's practically all gone now. But they're building a gigantic dome to cover the Pit of Himar, to make it a gigantic "life dome" … ah … That's what they call their artificial environments there, where they keep the plants and grow food."

The Skreek clears her throat. "Soap and such I'll greatly appreciate," she squeaks to the Lapi. "Um… you don't happen to carry any sorts of tobacco in your shop, do you?"

"That must be quite an undertaking," Aaron says, rubbing his chin. "I wonder what they make these domes out of?"

Wynona shrugs. "Metal, I suppose. They have plenty of it there. And some of the displaced Himarian Earth Mages helped until the magic ran out, I heard. It should be years before it's finished, though."

Aaron grins, "As it so happens, my uncle was a bit of a smoker. I don't stock any, but he had quite a stash. I haven't touched it, but I'm sure it's still usable."

Willow leans back on Sebazhan. "I'm not sure if tobacco improves with age – and I suppose that I should drop that particular habit now that I'm an official lady."

Sebazhan smiles. "Glad to hear of your sudden conversion, my dear. In any case … " He looks to Aaron. "I will make it a point to visit your shop the next time I am in Rephidim. I don't believe that magical components will be of much use on Abaddon, however."

"See how glad you'll be when I start going into fussy withdrawal fits, darling," Willow coos. "So what's the buzz here in Rephidim? I've been out of the country for about a year now and I've been behind on a lot of stuff."

Aaron smiles, and winks to the Prince, "Well, I'm sure you'll be able to work magic of the Sphere of Romance there, my lord. For that, you clearly have the finest materials to work with already."

Wynona claps her hands to her cheeks. "Oh my goodness. A year? Oh, where do I start?"

Sebazhan gives Aaron a polite smile, and squeezes Willow's shoulder lightly. "Most certainly, good shopkeeper."

Willow arches an eyebrow at the Lapi. "Romance?"

Sebazhan grins to Willow. "The ways of magic are many and mysterious!"

"Yes… I think it was seeing you pummel on that fat Jupani back in Diamante when I fell in love with you… or maybe getting half-drowned in that pool in Olympia. I wonder what the honeymoon will bring." The Skreek chuckles to herself.

Wynona, meanwhile, counts off on her fingers. "Let's see. Babel, Nagai and several other countries have declared war on Rephidim. Savanites have been declared free by the Captain-Astromancer. Fetiss Sky Island was taken by the Knights Templar. Some crazy Naga holed up in a tower in the Himaat and is threatening to starve herself if she isn't granted the tower or something like that. A swarm of vermites crashed the fireworks celebrations in Freedom Park. The High Prince of Babel was assassinated. Oh … " She blushes. "And then there was the sabotage at the Pool of Zahirinee in Ashdod, and that giant ice golem we had to fight. Ah … " She thinks.

Aaron offers, "I also carry poultices, ointments, and other first-aid supplies, Princess… "

"I'm not a princess, sir… um… " Willow purses her lips.

Wynona adds, "There was a Vartan-Hekoye that explored Arcadia and they promoted to being a Temple Ranger … and Duchess Eve lost her title, since Sylvania isn't recognized anymore … and … "

Sebazhan says, "The proper title is 'Lady'. It's … a bit of a long story, and a matter of Krozite history that is a bit controversial even in the Principalities."

The Skreek nods to Wynona. "How are things in the Bazaar? When I lived in Rephidim, I used to work out there."

The Lapi bows, "Forgive my faux-pas, my Lady. I was momentarily so overwhelmed with your innate nobility that my formality slipped."

Wynona says, "Oh. Well … " She takes a moment to turn away to hide an eye-roll at Aaron's remark, then resumes, "it's going pretty much as ever, really. There was a bit of excitement for a while with some vampire foxes, but they were dispatched by some local heroes."

Willow blinks and looks at the prince, chittering something in a language that sounds like a variation of the Skreek tongue.

The Khatta chitters back in a heavily accented version of the same language, shrugging apologetically.

The Skreek sighs in relief at the Khatta's response.

"Is that crazy multicolored Eeee zolk salesman still in the Bazaar? And his little Skeek friend with the funny accent? Is Makah still around?" Willow clears her throat. "Also, did they ever rebuild over that healer's tent that got burned down by the demon?"

Wynona squeaks, "Oh! You must mean Astaro, 'Fine Purveyor of Garishly Colored Zolks', or something like that. Oh, he's quite a character." She rolls her eyes, grinning. "Skeek with the funny accent? I'm afraid there are a lot of those. No offense meant to any Skeeks, that is. Makah? As in 'Honest'? He's always around. And I don't really know about any tent."

Aaron blinks and asks Willow, "You knew Chiria the healer?"

"Chiria was my sister," the Skreek replies. "Do you know what they did about the tent and all, or if they ever had any kind of formal ceremony or suchlike?"

"Well," Aaron says, a bit uncomfortably, "I don't remember there being anything done afterwards, besides dispatching the fox. Darksiders tend not to be very … sentimental."

Willow shrugs. "As I expected. I appreciate the news though." She nods to the Eeee. "From both of you."

Wynona's wings droop. "I'm terribly sorry to hear about that. My condolences." She tries to brighten a bit. "But I hope you have a lovely time on Abaddon! Uhm … I think I should go see if my ritual needs any recharging, just in case. It's been a pleasure meeting you!" She curtseys again.

"Oh … don't you get all sad on me! What kind of wedding has depressed people moping around it? Well … except for Whitehead, but that's because he hit the bottle too scruddy hard last night." The Skreek grins. "Mage… er… madam, maybe we'll meet again if we're both going to Himaat. It was nice meeting you."

Wynona smiles and nods again, then shuffles back off to her magic circle.

Aaron watches the mage return to her work, and sighs.

Just then, a big muscular cheetah walks up, accompanied by a shorter cub. He is conspicuously lacking a slave collar … but then, that's not exactly a rare sight in Rephidim anymore.

The Lapi's ears fold back and he shrinks away from the giant out of habit.

X signs, "Reed has a wedding gift for you, Lord and Lady Dack." Wow. He's using complete sentences.

Willow nods approvingly at the cheetah's signs. "I didn't get your name yet, Lapi sir… and it's all right. The big fellow here's a friend of mine. Wouldn't hurt a fly… well, unless it was a big mean slavering mutant zombie fly or something."

Reed holds up what looks like a slightly wobbling bubble-melon that has been filled with … water? The cub's ears wiggle fiercely.

Aaron straightens up again. "Oh, I'm Aaron, Aaron Lightfoot – of Lightfoot's Apothecary, my Lady."

X signs, "Reed has a water-melon for you to drop off the cliff along with the furniture. He thinks it will make a nice splat when it hits the bottom."

"A pleasure meeting you, Mister Lightfoot." The Skreek accepts the melon and then laughs loudly. "Oh X, please give your son a big hug for me. That's a very inventive present." She carefully hands the gift to the prince.

Aaron bows again and backs towards the punch table to catch his breath.

Sebazhan's eyes widen a bit, as he struggles not to drop the squirming water-filled fruit. He looks visibly relieved when Rezhinald shows up.

"I'll take care of that, sir," says the older black Khatta, "and put it with your other gifts."

X smiles, and picks up the wiggling-eared cub and obligingly gives his son a hug right there.

Willow clears her throat. "Hey… is the fox musician still awake? I could do with a bit more music."

The Skreek puts an arm around Sebazhan's waist. "How about we go say hello to Misty and then you can explain this 'Blink' business to me later? And don't go using our escape plan to squirm out of it, either!"

---

GMed by Greywolf

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