10.06.3013: Dinner With Valens
Summary: Nobles and Citizens of Cindravale and its vassals meet for dinner.
Date: 18 September 2013
Related: None
Ellinor Flint Ioan Kassandra Mykal Nikomachos Rebecca Solon 

Club Glow - Detritus, Inculta
Club Glow is an indoor and outdoor cantina and one of the oldest clubs in Detritus. The indoor portion is dominated by a dancefloor around which tables and booths are crammed, vying for space in a building that is several sizes too small. Cramped staircases lead up to the second floor which offers more seating and houses the busy bar that offers only drinks (as demonstrated by a large, glowing sign above the bar that reads "NO FOOD ALLOWED"). Music is piped in through speakers, and the ceiling is decorated with multicolored flashing lights, spiraling metal decorations, and mirrored tiles.

The outdoor section of the cantina is a fenced-in patio with brand new picnic table-style furniture, an elevated stage for live music performances, and an outdoor kitchen where patrons can order food. The dancing is restricted to the building while eating and conversation are reserved for the patio patrons. Club Glow is forever busy with patrons coming and going and the waitstaff scurrying to keep up with the flow of business.

6 October 3013

Rebecca and Ioan don't get to go out much, not with the war and a small child at home. But tonight, Granny Edna is watching Sophia for them as a bunch of Cindraval soldiers and those of their vassals, are planning a night of food and drink elseworld. She gave them a coupon she had for the patio area of Club Glow on Detritus, too, so it won't eat into their budget too much. Rebecca steps out onto the patio, wearing a soft grey angora tunic and leggings, with calf-high boots. Her hair is down and left in soft waves. "I'm starving. Everything smells good."

Ioan looks rather dashing tonight, having just purchased a set of nice new clothes to go out in. He has a silk burgundy shirt on with black pants and a nice black vest. He's standing next to Rebecca smiling, despite looking rather tired as he hadn't been sleeping well. Looking over to his beautiful wife he says, "Everything smells good to you when you're starving, dear." He says placing one of his hands into hers. "But, you are right, everything does smell good."

It should be a cold day in hell to see Kassie doing something other than work. Take a vacation, they said. Screw you, she said. She lost. Instead of living it up on a beach, Kassandra has decided to venture to a harsh and barely hospitable environment to sit alone amid a crowd on a patio and suck down as many cold drinks as she can manage. The chosen isolation has obviously not lasted for long: a few fellow Valen guards have joined her, and they are shooting the proverbial shit companionably.

Rebecca holds Ioan's hand, which she does now a lot more than she used to. Something about getting him back after he was taken from her, and never wanting to let go again. She looks around and spies the Valen contingent. "Everyone is over there. Let's go." She heads that way.

"Ah, yeah. There they are." Ioan nods, allowing his wife to lead the way. When they arrive Ioan waves and says. "Hey everybody. Ready for the evening?" He takes a seat, making sure the seat he chooses has an empty seat beside him for Rebecca to sit.

A good portion of the members present recognize the Mordains, so the greeting is a hearty one all around. Kassie has spent far less time mingling with vassals, however, and so can only offer Rebecca and Ioan a level stare. It isn't mean, per se, or threatening. It is a look of curiosity without the usual questions that should follow. Instead, she stirs her straw in her glass, sending her ice spinning in a miniature vortex while waiting to be properly introduced. At least one of the louts in the bunch has to have some degree of manners, so it will only be a matter of time…

Rebecca slides into the seat beside Ioan and smiles at the rest of their tablemates. "Sir Kassandra, glad you could join us. I hear the burgers here are delicious."

One of the other soldiers makes the intros. "Sir Kassandra, these are Sergeants Ioan and Rebecca Mordain of Rovehn."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, my Lady." Ioan says, giving her a polite nod and a smile. "If I'm correct, you are one of the members to go on that mission at Cape Arman, yes?" He says, making sure he got his facts right. "If so, we are all very much in your debt." He smiles, glancing down at the menu.

"Sergeant Ioan, Sergeant Rebecca." Kassie nods in response to the names, offering the faintest of smiles to Rebecca for her kindness and inclusion. It is, perhaps, a victory. The Valen drops her gaze to the menu sitting on the table in front of her, and she forces herself to indulge in small-talk. She needs to develop her 'mingling' skills anyway. "I hear the dragon burgers are tasty, but I'm not so sure I want lizard meat on my very first trip to Inculta." She glances up at Ioan when he mentions Cape Amran, and her lips press together in a thin line. "Yes, I was there. Have you tried the dragon yet? I hope it's spicy."

"It's our first visit here too, and no, I haven't had lizard yet," Rebecca admits. She looks to Ioan and arches a brow. "Feeling adventurous? Want to try and slay a dragon burger, love?"

"Well then my lady, we all owe you a great debt of gratitude. Thank you." Ioan says, smiling and looking over to Rebecca. "I'm always feeling adventurous my dear, it's why I became a scout in the first place."

When the waiter hits their table, Kassie snaps her menu shut and hands it away. "Dragon burger, extra hot," she orders brusquely before turning back to the group. A few of the guys waggle their eyebrows at the 'extra hot', but the ribbing - and elbowing of the ribs - is all in good fun. "Ahem. How long have you two been scouts? Did you meet on the job or before or what?"

A group of Valens-Rovehns-etc. have gathered on the outdoor patio of Club Glow, and are in the midst of placing orders while making decent small talk.

"I've been in for eight years now, well, seven. I was out a year when I was pregnant with our daughter," Rebecca replies. "And we met on the job, telling stories around a campfire one night on an extended patrol." She smiles at the memory and looks to Ioan, a touch worried he won't remember that. "I'll have a dragon burger too, but not extra hot."

"I've been in for eight, the last year I was out on uh… leave?" He says, not sure if he should start in on how he was captured. "I will also have a Dragon Burger, medium hot, Someone needs to balance out the two of these beautiful ladies." He says the waiter and another smile to Rebecca. "That's one of the few memories I still have, dear."

Stepping onto the patio, Solon quickly spots out Kassandra sitting along with two others. Making his way over to the small group, he arrives just in time to hear Kassie order her burger 'extra hot'. Placing a hand on her shoulder he idly quips, "Extra hot? Are they not hot enough for your tastes, cousin?" Offering her a smile and then both Rebecca and Ioan a smile, Solon gestures to an empty chair. "Does anyone mind if I join you?" To the waiter he says, "A dragon burger, but more on the mild side with some water if it is not too much trouble."

Kassandra glances to Ioan as he mentions 'beautiful ladies', and she squints for a moment as if trying to gauge whether he was being malicious or just silly. She settles on the latter, considering the context, and glances up in surprise at the touch of a hand on her shoulder. "Oh, Lord Solon, I did not expect to see you here. Please, sit, sit. Have you met everyone? Cousin, these are Sergeants Rebecca and Ioan Mordain. This is the Young Lord Solon Cindravale, and one of my dearest cousins."

There are other Valen citizen soldiers at the table too, and they all welcome Solon with a deferential nod.

"Of course Lord Solon, it's wonderful of you to join us," Rebecca says with a slightly giddy smile. Being out of the house, away from the under 2-year old child, with her newly returned husband, is like a trip to a themepark for her.

"Lord Solon." Ioan waves and smiles. "Glad to see you up and about, I admit I was a little worried about you after the battle." He motions for the Lord so sit at an empty seat and grabs Rebecca's hand and squeezes it fondly.

Apparenly the gathering of Cindravale nobles isn't complete without resident blacksheep, Mykal Cindravale. He moves through the doors at an easy pace, walking stick tapping against the floor with every other step. They tap it makes is vaguely rhythmic, but he seems to do it more for fun than for necessity as there's no limp and he puts no pressure on it. He slows on arrival, looking around idly as he waits to see if he follows his brother to the right place or not.

Solon offers both Rebecca and Ioan another smile. "Sergeants, so good to see you both here." A hand is waved in Ioan's direction. "Nothing to worry about, I think the worst thing was being caught a little off guard. I am glad I could take that hit rather than Lady Eiris though, she was in far worse shape at the time." A glance around and he spots his younger brother, Mykal. Nodding to the man, Solon gestures for him to come over and join them. "Ah, my brother will be joining us, it seems. I hope no one minds more company?"

Laughing, Kassie follows Solon's gaze and her eyes widen at the sight of Mykal. She raises her hand as well, waving eagerly for him to join them and points to the empty seat at her left. "I insist you sit here, cousin. Everyone has ordered the dragon burger, so now it is entirely up to you to disturb the trend. I know you are quite fond of shirking the status quo, so I'm thinking maybe you will have, ohhh, the chicken salad." Her grin is impish, and perhaps the most light-hearted she has been in weeks, and she turns this expression on Solon. "Which battle, cousin?"

Rebecca returns the squeeze of Ioan's hand with a small smile and she reaches for whatever sugary carbonated beverage they serve at this place with meals. She interjects, when the battle is mentioned, "We stumbled on a group of Hostiles on the shore of the Great Lake back in August."

It has been a rather emotional couple of days for one Ellinor Sauveur. She has remained brooding in the Royal Tower, refusing to go out unless it was on patrol. Nikomachos bullied her into this outing, and at least she is dutiful enough to dress for the excursion. The slit skirt and mesh top reflects the hues of fire, playing nicely with the taut pony tail of dark red hair. Her make up is simple tonight with just a hint of orange eyeliner framing her green eyes. "Bring on the booze," she says dryly.

At the behest of both his brother and cousin, Mykal steps off in their direction with no small amount of dance to his step, gliding past a waitress, and spinning around a female patron before he arrives at there table, smacking the ground with the butt end of his walking stick, "Chicken salad? Gods, how bland. No, I believe I will have a duck salad." He hasn't actually looked at a menu yet and instead just motions the waitress he glided past, "Quickly now, I have quite a thirst to quench." A beat pause and he looks towards his brother, "If they don't have the 91 Valus Mytal Petit Syrah, then we must leave immediately and find a eatery and drinkery with a better selection."

"Still, it's good to see you up and about, my Lord." Ioan replies, giving the man another smile. "It was an interesting fight, we ended up recovering some Hostile tech." He says as he waves to the newcomers politely.

With Ellinor dressed in flame hues, Nikomachos has avoided them — as far as he ever does. He guides his wife toward the collection of Valen, calling out to an approaching server, "Fireballs for everyone who is actually drinking, if you please." He points over to Mykal, amending his order, "Except for him. He's going to drink above us all." Tilting his head slightly to one side, at the discussion at hand, "Ah yes, the Great Lake. Those poor shelters, left out on the lakeshore when we departed…" laughter sparks his lips as he shakes his head in amusement.

Rebecca looks a little pale at Mykal's suggestion to find another place, and she looks down at the coupon beside her napkin, which is how she and Ioan are affording even this place for a date.

"I do not know if I would go so far as calling it a battle, Cousin." Solon begins, "It was more of a skirmish. We engaged several hostiles a couple of weeks ago. We were victorious though a few of us received some wounds." With Niko's arrival, Solon offers the man and his wife respectful nods each, greeting them in turn. Mykal's suggestion of a drink does cause him to face his brother and offer him a look. "Brother, this place will do nicely, I am sure their stocks are of suitable quality."

"Solon, Kassie, Myk," Ellinor rattles off with a kind of lackluster voice. She notes the other pair hanging around, and she offers them a slight nod of her chin before she looks back to the Valen. "Alright, I'm here…" She says, her voice heavy with a kind of childish sulking. She will find a seat and slump into it, swinging one leg to cross over its twin as she crosses her arms at her chest.

A sigh is offered by Mykal and he rolls his eyes a bit, "Fine." he replies towards Solon before looking over towards Niko and Ellinor, "Too good to buy your poor cousin a drink? Tsk tsk." he offers with a smirk. Then the waitress arrives and settles his attention on her, "Your best red wine, and …" he pauses, looking to Kassie, "The dragon burder. Medium rare, with cheese." Take that!

Nikomachos does the older brother thing, loosing Ellinor's arm to step around behind Kassandra to wrap an arm around her shoulders from behind, "Good to see you, Kassie. I know I sent you the note when you got back," He leans forward to press a kiss to the top of his sister's head, "But it's good to see you whole and hearty. I would have come to fetch you, but I feared you might come after me with your axe." Straightening up, he looks over to Ioan and Rebecca, "You're both on our tab tonight, Sergeants. You're here to relax and recover from the war, and I won't have you worrying about a thing. How's that little… two year old…? fairy of yours?"

Ioan gives Mykal a dirty look. Not everyone is so lucky to be born into a wealthy noble family. He doesn't say anything however as he squeezes Rebecca's hand yet again, this time reassuring her. He looks over at Niko. "Are you sure, my Lord? Becca can eat a lot. It could be pretty pricey." He gives his wife a wink and a grin.

Ellinor rolls her shoulders back a bit as she is abandoned by her husband. She looks up a bit toward Rebecca and Ioan as Nikomachos diverts his attention toward them, and she frowns as if she is trying to remember them. Nothing seems to strike a familiar bell, so she nods her head in a kind of earnest politeness despite the dark, gloomy raincloud that seems to be storming quite persistently over her head. She glances toward the other Valen. "So, who wants to hear my news so I can get it over with?"

Rebecca elbows Ioan in the side for the eating comment and chuckles. "That is very kind of you, milord. Sophia just turned one over the summer, and she's probably driving her grandmother crazy at the moment. Thank you, Sir Nikomachos, for the wing generators for her birthday, they were almost as big of a hit as having her father returned to us," Rebecca says with a warm and genuine smile for the Knight. She leans over to rest her head on Ioan's shoulder for a moment. She looks towards Ellinor at the mention of news curiously.

"Shut up and eat, Mykal," Kassie mutters to her cousin in as affable a tone as she can manage. She rolls her gaze upward and tilts her head back when Nikomachos comes around to offer her a shoulder-hug, and she reaches up to pat his arm affectionately. "I would have. You grow wiser by the day, brother." While the others take their seats and join the group proper, her gaze darts to Ellinor. And then to Niko. And then back to Ellinor. Hmm. It takes great willpower not to grin in amusement, but instead she turns to the red-headed Sauveur with as sober a look as she can manage. "You have news? I want to hear it."

Solon's attention is dragged to Ellinor as she announces that she has news. "I would love to hear your news." A quick glance is thrown over to Niko to see what possible reaction he could have to this 'news'. A part of him wants to ask if both Ellinor and Niko will be taking part in the joust, but he senses taht this isn't the best time to go ahead and ask that question.

Nikomachos nods to Rebecca, smiling apologetically, "One, right, my apologies." He nods to Ioan, "I think we will manage, Sergeant. I'll have to curtail my clothing spending, but I'm running out of closet space anyhow." He quiets at Ellinor's words, chuckling softly and moving over to stand behind her and rest a hand at her back, his fingers rubbing gently through that mesh shirt of hers. For all her doom and gloom, he is… ebullient, his crooked, pleased grin nearly splitting his face.

"Our surrogate is pregnant," Ellinor says with a false excitement to her tone. She turns to fetch her drink, taking a smooth gulp of the fireball. She broods a bit more heavily now that she's spoken those words, and her shoulders tighten a bit in some preparation. She cups her tumbler between both palms, glancing precariously between her new relatives.

Flint is off exploring Detritus. Which has led him here, wheeling his way inside the club. Having been given the idea that he should stick around Inculta for awhile and see what should been seen, the paralyzed Ash Knight has taken to this place to get out of the sunlight for a bit. He might be used to oppressive heat, but so much sunlight has been lost on him, and he's trying to not get a sunburn. And now that he's inside, he's back to dodging random people, trying not to get in the way with his chair. It never helps that he's eye-level with everyone's crotches.

Mykal play blissfully unaware for his part, though that's possibly an act. He stands musing over the menu options when Ellinor mentions news and all eyes fall on her. He isn't outright ignoring, just multitasking…or something. Of course, when the news is delivered, he quirks a brow, just a bit, indicating that he was actually paying attention, "…Congratulations?" There's a hint of uneasiness to his celebratory remark though. Since they have a surrogate, they obviously wanted the child, so it is unlikely that's the cause of the inflection.

"Congratulations!" Rebecca offers cheerfully, lifting her glass. "That's wonderful news. I have friends currently looking for a surrogate. Did you use a service?"

There are about twenty different inappropriate things that Kassie could say right at this moment. She purses her lips, bites down on her tongue, and closes her eyes for a moment to breathe in deeply through her nose. The others, thankfully, fill in for her so that she can lean back in her seat and fold her arms over her chest. She watches Ellinor closely before offering the faintest of smiles. "Indeed, congratulations to you both. I look forward to calling mother 'grandma' now. She'll have a stroke."

Ioan raises his glass to the two nobles. "Congratulations you two." He looks over to Rebecca and tilts his head, giving her a curious look. "Who do we know that's looking for a surrogate, dear?"

Solon beams at Ellinor. "Congratulations to you both. I look forward to seeing which of us will eventually squire the little one in the coming years." He grins over to Niko at this, considering rubbing his cousin about making sure that the youth grows up knowing all about horses and lances, but decides against it. Glancing over to Kassie, he shakes his head slightly. "I rue the day my own mother has to take up that title."

If there's one thing Flint's learned, it's that you need to keep hydrated out here in the desert. So instead of something alcoholic, he's instead just gone with water. And it even fits in the cup holder built into his wheelchair. Rolling out into the covered patio, he checks his comm peice, then, frowning at it, shuts it off. There's a glance over at the table at the people celebrating the announcement of a new arrival, but decides it might be better to not intrude in a happy occasion like that, so just decides to find a spot in the shade to enjoy his water. With lemon, obviously.

Nikomachos gathers his own neon blue drink in his left hand, his right resting between Ellinor's shoulderblades. Mykal's reaction isn't what he expects… well… maybe it is, if he thinks about it. Kassandra can always be counted on for a grumble, but the reactions of the others fulfills his expectations nicely, and he nods, pulling out a chair and settling into a chair alongside Ellinor, "We did." That to Rebecca, and then he gestures from Ellinor to the others, "Ellie, Sergeants Rebecca and Ioan Mordain. My wife, Sir Ellinor." Which should explain the reason for the surrogate. And then he nods to Kassie, "She will indeed. Father, however, will preen, I think," And he nods to Solon, "So long as the child seeks his or her own spurs." Chuckling a touch, he shakes his head, "You just need to find the right woman, Sol."

"The Keats boys, Sir Lionel and Sir Jeremy," Rebecca reminds Ioan with a smile, sniffing the fireball and deciding against it. One of them needs to be semi sober when Sophia is up at 2 AM crying.

"Now there'd be a reason to have a child." Mykal offers with a smirk, "I will tell Belle that it was your idea, Solon. I'm sure she'll be happy to accommodate in giving mother a stroke with the news." His tone is jesting, and his wine arrives a moment later bringing a smile to his features that were covered with a smirk before. He takes up his glass and sips from it.

Ellinor glances toward Mykal at his half-question, and she shrugs her shoulders. "… Thanks?" She does blink toward Rebecca at her questions, and it has her hesitating just a heartbeat. "Oh… th-thank you." She actually stutters that, glancing toward Nikomachos briefly before she looks back toward the Rovehn. "Nice to meet you, Sergeant. Yes, we did… Little Tomorrows… it is based out of Landing…" She glances precariously toward Kassandra, but her sister-in-law is given a moment's reprieve as she offers Solon a bit of a smile. "I plan to throw him or her your way, Solon… Alexandros squired you, after all." Then she looks toward Nikomachos, relaxing a bit more.

"Ah… yes. I remember them." Ioan says, nodding. "I forgot they were looking to have a child." He does take the offered drink. When he swallows his eyes go wide and he shakes his head. "This is some strong stuff."

"Can't think of a better mentor for the kid, if he or she decides knighthood is the way to go," Kassandra adds, lifting up the drink purchased by Nikomachos. "So, I am proposing a toast. We didn't gather expecting great news, but now that we have it, there's even more a reason to get drunk - I mean, to celebrate. To Ellinor and Nikomachos, who will make some of the best damn parents of our generation. And here's to you having at least eight more that way I don't have to!" And down the hatch it goes.

Laughing at his brother, Solon reaches over and clasps the man on his shoulder. "Please do not do such a thing, I would not want her cross with me for that." Turning back to Ellinor, Solon offers, "It would be my honor, Sir. Oh, and Niko, it would not surprise me if mother tried to find me the 'right woman' a little quicker once this news reaches her ears." Yes, he does not doubt that at all. Kassandra's toast causes him to chuckle, and shake his head. "Cousin, the minute you hold that child in your arms you will want to have eight of your own."

The burgers are delivered to the table, and Rebecca picks hers up, examining it with a slightly intimidated look. She glances at the others. "Who's going to slay their dragon first?" she asks.

Nikomachos takes a sip of his own Fireball, enjoying the burn and the freeze that follows with a soft 'ahhh.' He nods to Ellinor at her request of Solon, his teeth flashing into a grin as he teases his cousin, "If you haven't become a house-husband by then, Sol." The Valen-turned Sauveur nods sagely to Ioan, murmuring sotto voce, "High alcohol to volume ratio. And alcohol to dollar." Kassandra's toast draws a laugh and a raise of his glass, another blazing blue drink going down his throat. Solon's rejoinder causes him to laugh again, easy and light as he leans back in his chair a little, bracing one boot against a leg of the table, "And there is another benefit, besides Ellie and I both being able to remain on the battlefield, she can join us in toasts." The burgers cause him to blink, "By the Six… what is that?"

Flint finishing his drink, it's about time for Flint to move on with his day, setting the glass on an empty table and wheeling on out for his next bout of adventuring/sight-seeing.

Relief touches her features as the Cindravales toast to their news, and Ellinor actually breathes out a slow sigh that relaxes those shoulders. She salutes with her half-empty tumbler of fireball before she also swallows it down the hatch. She winces in the wake of the burning sensation, but merely breathes through it. "This is my last drink for nine months," Ellinor then informs her husband. She shrugs. "Oleander suggested it…" Though she decides not to go into more details as to why. Then she sets her glass down.

"It's good stuff, my Lord." Ioan says to Nikomachos, raising his glass to the toast. He grins at Rebecca as she asks her question, he answers by saying. "You will dear, obviously." He gives her another wink and a smile as he bites down into his burger.

"A local lizard pounded into a patty." Kassandra grins widely at Nikomachos' expression before lifting up the burger and taking a big bite. She chews slowly, thoughtfully, squinting off into the distance while evaluating the flavor. In the end, she swallows and deems it "damn sight better'n that shit we ate while camping" and pursues her meal with a masculine gusto. Halfway through her second bite she looks between her brother and his wife, raising an eyebrow. "What? Of course she would suggest it. She has nine months of sobriety ahead of her. Don't know why you have to suffer too, though. Might need that drink after dealing with a pregnant woman."

Perhaps wisely, Rebecca waits to see Ioan's reaction to the lizard burger before she attempts to try her own. If he makes an ick face, she is so not eating hers.

Solon sighs at Kassie's manhandling of her burger. He has managed to eat several bites of his own, and while he's not ready to proclaim it better than anything else, he's not going to complain either. Unfortunately, time has kind of passed him by, and with a frown he pushes his chair back and stands. "I must apologize, but I must depart. It was good to see all of you again, and once again my congratulations to you both." This last is said to Niko and Ellinor obviously. Proper words are exchanged with each person before Solon makes his exit.

Nikomachos gives Ellinor a double-take at the mention that she isn't going to drink for nine months, "Six Above… then we'd best get you a bigger glass." The words, for all the mild oath preceding them, are filled with laughter. His fingers tighten at her shoulders, rubbing lightly and then slipping away to lean his forearm against the back of her chair. The newest Sauveur lets his drink dangle from the fingers of his right hand, nodding up to Solon, "Thank you, Sol." Kassandra's eating and commentary causes him to shake his head, "Of course. Because no one thought that they might be trapped on the other side of the Waygate and brought supplies? Not that anyone would bring a… dragon burger… or anything of the sort."

Ellinor considers for a heartbeat whether or not she is going to make this comment, but then she straightens up her shoulders, leaning forward a bit on her elbows, and speaks directly to Kassandra. "I want to use my own boobmilk," she states flatly. "Oleander suggested I adjust my diet so I don't have bad habits before they induce lactation." She then sets aside her glass, smiling to the bartender as she asks for a fruit juice. She smirks over toward her husband now, and she nods. "I'll take a dragon burger."

Rebecca just smiles at Ellinor's words. "That's a wise decision. A surrogate's milk won't have the same things your own does for your genetic offspring," she notes. She takes a big bite of her burger.

Ioan chews his dragon burger, furrowing his brow as he choose, reflecting on the new tastes in his mouth. After a few seconds he swallows, and says. "Not as bad as I thought it would be. A little spicy… but I asked for that." He laughs nodding as Rebecca shares her wisdom.

Kassie stares at her burger for a moment before watching Solon take his leave. Her chewing slows until it ceases, and she swallows the bite with some difficulty. The way the conversation is suddenly headed, she looks a little envious of her cousin who has managed to find an excuse to go, while she must sit here and discuss breastmilk and genetics. "Yes, wise. Can I have a to-go box, please?" The last is lobbed at passing waiter, and she lifts her empty drink glass to silently request a refill.

Nikomachos nods at Ellinor's words, watching Kassandra's reaction — which draws a very brotherly snicker. "Oh, we'll stop talking about lactation, Kassie." He waves as Mykal departs, then takes a sip of his Fireball, "We can talk about getting dirty and hitting things if you'd like, Kassie. I take it you're fully recovered from your ordeal?" To make sure that Rebecca and Ioan know what he's talking about, he adds, "Kassie was one of the Waygate Volunteers."

"Next time, don't ask," Ellinor says dryly to her sister-in-law as her red lips curve. "Thanks, Rebecca," she says to the Mordain woman, offering her a thankful nod of her head for understanding. Then she wraps an arm around Kassandra to give her a good-natured hug. There is a sense of comfort and relaxation that settles around her shoulders, and she glances toward Nikomachos briefly. "Thank you, Kass… for not making me feel like shit." She then gives the woman some space as Niko brings up the Waygate volunteers.

Rebecca nods. "Yes, we were discussing that earlier. And how grateful we all are for that sacrifice, and even moreso for the safe return of most of the volunteers." She omnoms happily, finding the lizard burger not bad at all.

"I will remember not to ask anything about motherhood." Kassie taps the side of her nose before offering Ellinor a sly grin, which transforms to a look of surprise as her sister-in-law leans over for a hug. Surprised, yes, but genuinely pleased, Kassandra returns the hug in kind, squeezing Ellinor's shoulder before they pull apart. "You shouldn't feel like shit about having a kid." Truth, right? When the conversation turns back to the Waygate mission, all good cheer dissipates in the blink of an eye. Suddenly stone-sober, Kassie takes this as her cue to pack up her food and depart. "Right, well, I took a day off but I start early tomorrow, so I should go. Goodnight, and thanks for dinner. Sergeants - a pleasure to meet you. Brother, Ellie - see you around." And just like that, bam! She's outtie-five-thousand.

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