Family Matters

Elyna, Malcolm

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Fri May 19, 2017 6:54 am

98th of Ashan, 717
lunch

Vaughn waited nervously at the door to Malcolm and Elyna's house. His father had invited him over when he had seen the man last, and had also invited him once even before they had left on their mission to Endor... and still Vaughn felt entirely out of place. There was a dead weight in his stomach that said, Don't go in. He wasn't wanted.

Perhaps that's why he reached out and quietly opened the door.

The puppy inside the house rushed at his feet as if she had been waiting for him to enter and Vaughn picked her up, holding her gently against his side. Aware of her small, bright life. Like the lives of Elsie and, if he had heard word correctly, a new brother named Luke.

Suddenly his hands were sweating and he put the puppy down. He felt sort of sick.

There is no reason to be so nervous, he reminded himself, though he had heard it had been a premature and bloody birth. But surely the child was healthy, and Elyna too. And surely his father wanted him there to visit them both. And surely he himself wanted to be there. He wanted to meet Luke and, if he could, speak to Elyna and Malcolm about the things which had thusfar been left unsaid...

He just wasn't certain Elyna wanted him there.

Quiet like a ghost he drifted through the house. The puppy followed so closely on his heels that he had to be careful as he stepped. He walked up the stairs at a slow pace, almost afraid to make any noise. Vaughn found the correct bedroom and, rather different than his usual manner, knocked sedately at the door.

"Hello?" he asked. His voice was incredibly soft. He had two small blankets with him fit for children, one for Elsie and one for the new baby, not worth much but he hadn't thought to pick out something more expensive. He should have gotten toys but his mind had blanked at the marketplace and he hadn't been able, for the life of him, to remember what sorts of things children liked. In the end he had figured blankets were safe. All kids liked blankets. Something soft and comforting.

Whereas he, in this moment, felt big and cumbersome and completely out of his element.
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two light blankets = 0.5.0gn x 2 = -1.0.0gn TOTAL
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Elyna
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Fri May 19, 2017 8:12 am

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Elyna was glad to be home, with her small family. The infirmary had waited until the pain was more bearable, as the medicines required could not be administered at home. Without them to numb the worst of the agony, she perhaps felt more discomfort than she had in a few days. It was going to take time to adjust. Her body, if anything felt bruised. As though she’d gone ten rounds with a giant, or Jacadon and she wasn’t sure who’d won. At least, she had a reward from the battle. Little Luke, cradled in her arms. He slept most of all, which was handy. The young woman hadn’t managed to move far from her bed, but at least she could collect him from the cradle and put him back now. Home for a few trials now, they’d settled into a routine. Malcolm was patrolling closer to the area when he was required to work, and she adored having him nearby.
This wasn’t nearly as terrifying as having Elsie either, she was less afraid of dropping the baby or causing her harm. There was the sound of bootsteps on the stairs. The young woman was dressed in a lose shirt that hung from her shoulders. Her hair had been pulled back into a bun at the base of her neck and her skin clung to the unhealthy pallor of someone who’d been out of the sun for a few trials. The blankets were pulled to her waist and she had used pillows to prop herself up. Beside her, lay a book of sketches and tiny little pencil drawings. With Luke sleeping, she’d been watching Elsie stack blocks, encouraging the child to pull out different colours and stack them on the bed.
Elsie had heard the steps as well and she stood. She grinned at the arrival and ran at him with an excited yelp. He was, after all, her new favourite person.
“Vaan!” She exclaimed and lifted her arms to him, demanding to be picked up, “Vaan! Look!”
Elyna was surprised to see Malcolm’s son, but she smiled at him. The expression shy, “hello there.”
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Fri May 19, 2017 10:31 am

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Outside Malcolm was making the most of the warmer weather, after what felt like the longest winter in years. He picked a few points from the rosemary bush for the lamb he had cooking in the oven, and ventured back inside, having completely missed Vaughn’s arrival. Vara came rushing down the stairs, did a spin part way and raced back up towards the bedrooms. Malcolm cocked a brow and shook his head, amused by the half-mad young dog.
He pulled the tray from the oven and turned the potatoes before poking the small bits of rosemary into the soft meat of the lamb. The meat was returned to the heat then, and the carrots Malcolm had diced, along with the cleaned up runner beans were tossed into a pot of boiling water over the fireplace. The meals he cooked were simple, homely.
Upstairs he could hear Elsie squawking away excitedly. She was so talkative all of the sudden, and Malcolm couldn't help but wonder if it had something to do with the arrival of her new baby brother. He listened for a moment, and then, really listened. Was that another man’s voice he heard?
“Elyna?” he called from the bottom of the stairs, and then took them two at a time to race to the top. Once there, he recognised the familiar outline that filled up the doorway as his son, and slowed to a halt, smiling. “Vaughn,” Malcolm greeted his son and scooted past him into to room to pick up some of the things that were lying about. “Welcome, will you be joining us for a roast meal?”
Malcolm looked at Elyna and then back to Vaughn, trying to judge the mood in the room. Had Vaughn seen Luke, had he met his little brother yet, would be approve? The mortalborn’s movements slowed, and he hesitated before offering to take up Luke and show him to Vaughn. The last thing he wanted to do was upset him.
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Sun May 21, 2017 7:43 am

Elyna looked pale and maybe he should have brought a blanket for her as well. She didn't move to greet him and he was glad. Her voice was shy and he was suddenly struck by the remembrance of how angry he had been at her when he had seen her last.

He had little time to dwell on it. Elsie bounded at him and he scooped her up into his arms without thinking, doing a little spin as he did. The puppy, who had raced out the door and down the stairs for a moment, thundered back into the room at the child's excited squeals.

"Shh, hush!" he told them both, not wanting to wake the baby should he be sleeping, but he couldn't help but laugh at the toddler and puppy's joint excitement.

"Elyna," he said, grinning, and then his father was there, tidying up, chattering away as much as Malcolm ever did. "A meal?" Vaughn asked, "Oh, I already ate." But as if to betray him his stomach growled. He looked sheepishly between them all. "I really did eat." He was always hungry, as if his body was still trying to make up for meals lost.

Only when Malcolm brought the newest member of the family up for him to see did Vaughn remember his earlier hesitance. In his arms Elsie squirmed and he huddled closer to Malcolm and the baby, shaking his head with an almost confused expression. "He's so small," he said, unable to help himself, and reached out gently to brush at the back of Luke's hand, which was curled to his cheek.

The blankets he had brought were still tucked in his arm and he peeled one away to give to Elsie, seeing if she wanted to take it. The other he offered to Malcolm. "For Luke," he said, and then said, to Elsie, "And Elsie of course." He turned his attention back to the baby, taking Elsie's attention with him.

"Look," he said, in that same, almost unrecognizably soft voice, "Look Elsie. Is that your brother?" She looked somewhat disenchanted until he said, smiling, "Is that my brother?" He laughed at her expression. "No?" he asked, bouncing her somewhat. "You don't think so? Did you know your dad is my dad?"

To the adults in the room he said, "He's... indescribable." Luke was beautiful. Different. Almost frightening. Elsie was one thing. Vaughn had never had a sister. Luke was... all Vaughn could think was he was just so small.
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Elyna
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Sun May 21, 2017 8:22 am

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Malcolm climbed the stairs like thunder rising through clouds, and still Luke slept on. Leant back against the pillows, Elyna adjusted the blanket that had risen-up over his shoulders. He curled a small hand into it, gripping tight. Elsie proved an excellent distraction, leaping over ‘Vaan’ and struggling for his attention against Vara. The pair of them were a nightmare. Whose idea had it been to get a puppy?
Her gaze found Malcolm as he came into the room, with the relief falling off him. She wondered what he’d heard or suspected, to come haring up the stairs so quickly. The tall man scooted into the room and bent to collect Elsie’s bundle of bricks, the odd book scattered across the floor. Elyna tried to catch his eye, and smile at him. The room was a bit of a mess, but the noblewoman was too tired to care much about prettiness. New-borns and toddlers were hard work. Struggling to move too far from the bed or the room, Elyna knew that she was little help to Malcolm, other than keeping the children distracted while he carried out the every-day chores. If she tried to imagine life back outside the city walls, with two children, she felt cold. They’d made the right choice. At least Anna was able to take Elsie for a few breaks a day to maintain her routine.
Vaughn declined dinner, despite the noises from his belly and Elyna wanted to reach out for Malcolm. She wanted to hold his hand and remind him, that things were going to take time, that he shouldn’t be disappointed. Unable to move quick enough, she sat up once more, but made no move to get out of the bed. She was saving her energy for later, “you’re always welcome to join us,” she extended Malcolm’s invitation. She tilted her head to the side and watched Malcolm present Luke to his older brother, wanting to see his expression, but taking care not to stare.
“He was a little early,” Elyna admitted, “it’s why he’s so small,” they were lucky to have him. Lucky that he hadn’t been even a few more days early. There had been so much stress during her pregnancy…and then a shock the day she’d gone into labour.
Elsie laid her head against Vaughn’s shoulder, “no brother, rabbit,” she protested.
A rabbit? Elyna’s brows lifted in surprise. Where had she gotten that idea from?
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Sun May 21, 2017 9:18 am

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Vaughn didn't want to join them for dinner, and Malcolm had to remind himself that it was okay. He thanked the young man for the blankets and wrapped one around Luke carefully before handing the baby to Elyna, sure Vaughn didn't care much for newborns if he was like any other man. They were just ugly, crying, blobs of helplessness until they got to Elsie’s age, but a parent never saw that, all Malcolm saw was a gift more precious than his own life, the same feeling he had known holding Vaughn for the first time.
“Luca, Luca,” Elsie reached for the bed where Elyna sat. The little girl had grown even since the dinner, her hair noticeably longer, a new tooth making an appearance next to those already formed.
“Luke,” Malcolm smiled and took Elsie. “Do you like your new blanket?”
“No!” She was very fond of her favourite word.
“Did you say thank you to your brother Vaughn?”
“Hank cu, Van,” she said quietly, looking down at the blanket, shy all of the sudden; Malcolm seemed to have that effect in people.
He kissed Elsie’s temple and put her down, folding the blanket up to leave on the end of the bed in case she wanted to take it later. Elsie ran after Vara and chased her to the bed, getting down on her hands and knees to peek under the bed where ty dog escaped to.
“Thank you for the gifts,” Malcolm told Vaughn, “you shouldn't have. How is Andvari doing?” he smiled, and moved to take Elyna’s hand, if only for a moment. “Do you want me to help you down stairs?” he asked the woman, Luke didn't seem to want to wake up any time soon, already used to the noises in the house.
Last edited by Malcolm on Mon May 29, 2017 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wed May 24, 2017 11:35 pm

They both seemed to think he should stay to eat, though they didn't outright say it. But wasn't it better this way? Malcolm had said to visit; he hadn't said to stay.

"I could help too," Vaughn offered when Malcolm went to Elyna's side, half-hoping the noblewoman would hand him Luke to carry down the stairs.

"Andvari is great," Vaughn said. "When I brush him he shines like gold. I've had three people offer to take him off my hands. One of my superiors tried to order me to." His face showed what he thought of that.

"I think I'll take him with when I visit Lei'lira in Warrick with Pride." Then he caught himself: did his father know that he was going to Warrick to visit?

"Don't try to set me up with her," he said preemptively, and then danced to the other side of the bed and crouched down on hands and knees like Elsie had, drumming his fingers against the floor to startle the pup. Play-growling, the little animal exploded out from under the bed on Elsie's side and out the door like a wild beast, thumping down the stairs towards the smell of roasting lamb. Vaughn stood and went after her, catching at Elsie's hand to help her down the stairs if she wanted to follow her playmate. Not wanting her to fall.

At the bottom of the stairs he waited, keeping an eye that neither puppy nor child got too close to the hot oven and trying to ignore the tantalizing smell of the cooking food. "Is being born early so bad?" Vaughn asked. It may have sounded like a stupid question, but really he was asking how early? Certainly that made a difference. If it was just trials early the baby wouldn't risk harm, right? Longer, however... "Perhaps it just means you have another impatient son."

"Won't Luke grow like Elsie did?" he added. Elsie looked up at her name and he smiled at her, leaning to poke at the soft muscle of her arm. "Soon enough he'll be big and strong like her."

What went unsaid was whether or not it was good for Elsie and Luke to grow so quickly.
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Elyna
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Fri May 26, 2017 7:36 pm

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Elyna remained quiet, conserving her energy for a point where it was nessecary for her to join in the conversation. Instead she watched the interaction between Malcolm and his children, with a faint smile. Head resting back in the pillows and her hair fanned out behind her. No, Elsie said and it caused her to grin. It was her favourite word. That and the newfound, Vaan. Her sentences were developing and getting longer and more complex. Elyna didn’t know if anyone else was as proud as her babies in that moment.

Malcolm offered to help and she accepted, only with a moments hesitation before she placed Luke in Vaughns offered arms. Eager not to let her baby out of her sight, she followed as close behind the young man as she could, leaning heavily on her partner. Her hand curled around his arm. She felt beggared, like an old woman and she hated it. She hated every step forced to rely on a strength that was not her own, yet she lent into Malcolm and accepted his support with a smile. Grateful to sink into a chair as they made it down the stairs. She stretched out her legs and watched Elsie as she crawled under the table after Vara.

“Being born early can be dangerous,” she explained, voice soft. Her eyes fixed on her son. “He can’t keep himself warm, so blankets are important…” as for the man’s other question, she looked to Malcolm who was more of an expert on this kind of thing. “I don’t know,” she admitted, “I don’t know if he will grow so fast…” she hoped that he wouldn’t.
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Tue May 30, 2017 9:16 am

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Malcolm felt strangely protective of his little girl. Elsie did grow at an alarming rate, one both parents were satisfied Luke wouldn't match. If Vaughn had noticed, however, and so soon, it meant others would too. The mortalborn found himself wondering how he was going to protect his daughter from a world in which her strange gift would only make her a target.
“Elsie,” Malcolm cooed, and the girl abandoned her mission to catch Vara, to run into Malcolm’s arms instead.
Elyna had been helped down the stairs and sat at the dining table, explaining the complications of a premature birth. Vaughn was holding Luke, and Malcolm stood with Elsie in his arms, who had her own wrapped about his neck. She was such an affectionate child. Elsie pressed her lips to he father’s stubbly cheek and tried to blow raspberries against his face, an assault Elyna had made against the girl’s belly in jest from time to time.
“She shares the blood of an immortal,” Malcolm said, careful not to raise his voice, even in his own home. “Any one of my children could have inherited an ability, even you,” he told Vaughn, “one that might lie dormant all your life. I don't think Elsie knows she's different.” he turned his head to look at her, and she smiled. “I don't think she understands what she's doing or how.”
Malcolm smiled as Elsie tucked her head under his chin, as if she were suddenly shy and knew they were talking about her. He went over to the stove and plucked a runner bean from the pot, blowing on it until it was cool enough for the child to grasp. Elsie chewed the bean, looking over Malcolm’s shoulder at Vaughn.
Even while he finished cooking the meal, Malcolm could feel Elsie pulling at his own aura. It started as a tingle in his fingers that morphed into a faint numbness as it spread through his hands, and rarely ever did more than that. It was how she grew so quickly, by draining the strength from those she loved, those she was closest to. It was the same reason both parents had felt so tired in her presence ever since she had been born, something they had only noticed after spending time away from her in Zi’da.
Setting a wooden cup down on the bench top, Elsie watched as Malcolm poured a helping of ale for Vaughn. “Give to Vaughn?” he asked the girl and Elsie smiled and curled against him again.
“Vaan,” she echoed.
He prepared a cup of ginger tea for Elyna and took the drinks to the table, passing Elsie into Elyna’s arms once the drinks were set down. “I'm serving you a plate,” Malcolm warned Vaughn. “If you don't eat it, I'm sure Vara will.”
Returning to the kitchen, Malcolm dished up a plate for each of them, organising a couple of roast potatoes, carrots, and onion onto each plate before carving up the lamb and adding a side of beans. He mashed some of the roasted vegetables into a bowl for Elsie, and took the dishes to the table two at a time. Elyna’s meat was sliced up into bite-sized pieces, just as the man used to do for Vanessa, and he sat down to feed Elsie while his own plate of food went cold on the table.
“You're going to Warrick?” Malcolm circled back to something Vaughn had said upstairs. “I was planning to make a trip just before season’s end. Would you like some company? We could visit the valley.”
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Wed May 31, 2017 9:46 am

The baby was in his arms and he almost couldn't believe it. As soon as the child was craddled against his chest he felt something, not love or wonder but that sense of being out of place once more. All the worry from earlier as he had approached the house descended upon him again. Elsie had run over to Malcolm, wrapping her little arms around him to give him a raspberry kiss, and Elyna had settled at the table. Looking down at Luke's little face it all struck home for him. This was his father's family now.

Yes, there were echoes of Malcolm's old life here. Wife, two children. The way he had organized his study. The way he cooked. How he had cut Elyna's meat for her without realizing. But a lot more had changed.

Slowly, because his father had made him a plate, Vaughn sat himself at the table. Opposite of Elyna and the others. Gone quiet compared to before, though his expression remained open and polite.

Now that he had Luke he didn't know what to do with the baby (he didn't know what to do with himself) and he busied himself with figuring that out, listening while the others spoke. He nestled the small bundle of blankets into one arm until the little baby squirmed, then moved him carefully into the other. Rocking him, trying to keep him asleep though he wiggled more and more with each bit as if coming awake. Face scrunching up as if he was having a bad dream.

Trying to balance between the baby and the food, Vaughn got about two bites in before Luke's squirming became a short, angry snort. Vaughn couldn't help but find a little amusement in the sound before he realized it was the beginning of a cry. "Oh," he said, jumping to his feet as the baby worked himself up, wriggling a fist free of his blankets. But now on his feet Vaughn could only stand and bounce the child, hovering in place; he couldn't tell who to give the baby to. Elyna, who had already been given Elsie, or Malcolm? In the end he handed Luke over to the first parent who reached out, whoever that may be.

Sitting back down he snuck a piece of meat to the puppy who was slinking around under the table.

Once the baby's cries had quieted Vaughn said, still somewhat subdued, "Well I was planning on leaving for Warrick before the end of the season. Lei'lira offered a broodmare for Pride, and I was hoping she would be impressed by Andvari as well. So I've got to go soon enough." Horses typically only bred in the spring, and it was fast nearing summer. He'd need to get the horses there as early as he could.

The Valley, his father mentioned then, and a line appeared upon Vaughn's brow. He picked around at the food on his plate. Looking at neither Elyna nor Malcolm. He took a sip of ale. "The Valley," he finally said. He kept his tone perfectly even. "Can we go around the start of the new season? I've got some traveling I need to do in Ymiden. People I need to track down. And I need to visit the Burhan manor. Haven't been there since..."

It had been a long time.

Instead of finishing that thought he said brightly, "Food's good." Then started eating like he hadn't eaten anything all day.

In truth he was hurrying through the meal so he could leave. It turned out his concerns about Elsie and the baby had been for naught. Elsie was growing because she was gifted with immortal blood and Luke would be fine and everything was good.

So why was it so hard for him to accept all this? He felt like he had only just gotten his father back and still he didn't have him back at all.

He just didn't fit in here anymore.

Soon enough Vaughn had cleaned his plate. Murmuring thanks and some excuse to leave he stood and walked to the kitchen.

And yet at the sink he hesitated. He wanted to put the dishes he had used down in the sink and go. But he couldn't. Finally he gave up and started washing the dishes. His mug and plate, whatever else he could find that looked used. Not quite knowing what he was doing, he was supposed to be leaving, but instead he ran water and looked for soap.

Then, hands sudsy and the first plate half-cleaned, he stopped and shook his head. Leaning over the sink with his eyes shut.

Sudden anger welled with the emotion in his chest and he wanted to break something. Smash the plate against the floor. But that wasn't fair.

He could feel someone looking at him, but he didn't open his eyes to see if it was Elyna or Malcolm. He said, jaw tight, "It's okay. I'm trying to leave but I..." He couldn't. He blew out a breath. Tried to do something, anything. Finish the dishes. Leave the house. Hell, even throw something. Just so he could move again. Just so he could move on like Malcolm had.

But he was stuck.

"You're happy, right?" he finally asked. He knew it was true. All Vaughn needed was a yes and he could make himself scarce. "Just say yes," he said. Just say yes and he could go.
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