[Aq] Week 201: Dinner Time!

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Pho

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Mar 13, 2009
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New Zealand
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(1117 words)

A gentle breeze carrying the smell of salt flows inland, across the emerald waters of the Chlorae Ocean lapping at the shore, over a shallow beach of golden sand and up into the trees that mark the beginning of the new Boreas Forest. The sun, Caesar has just fallen below the horizon, its red hue in the clouds gradually being overtaken by the green light of the second moon, Lacunar. Open-edged wooden staircases wrap their way up the trunks of sturdy, evergreen trees, to a collection of circular and ring-shaped homes about thirty to forty metres up, linked together by walkways made of wood and rope. Each home is one floor, but the height of each one is determined by the tree it is on - there is no consistent floor level between them. Pots of Light Bearer hang just below the eaves, approximately one per "room".

The sound of laughter erupts from a large, circular platform bridging three trees, holding up no roof or walls, but twenty or so feathered fiends around a food-filled table. Clusters of red and brown feathers, of blue feathers, and of green feathers appear to be the three families at the table, and at the head are the seniors of the flock, a female Enlil, and a male Velen. Sharp fingers dart in and out of sight, reducing platters of food to nothing amongst the harmonies of conversations around the table.

An older feathered lady at the head of the semicircular table turns to her side and asks, "So, Red, have you finished your preparations?"

A bit further along the table, a rainbow-streaked head yells back, "Yeah Gran, I'm all set!"
This individual, one of the bunch with variegated brown and red feathers, continues, "I found some deep hermit crabs that strayed into the shallows and took them up to the Gray Mountain clan the other day for a catch-up and thanked their blacksmiths for training me before I go."

Also at the head of the table, an older Velen who looked quite at home in the family fluff asks, "Red, there was more than that wasn't there?"

"Oh yeah! I also managed to trap some ghost crabs and brought them over to the Blue Forest bunch the day after and we had a nice brunch and I thanked the healers for their training and…"
Mille pauses for a bit, searching his memories, "I found a big bush of sweet and sour leaf that looked ready for picking and took a good supply of that with me to the Emerald Glade, and no, I didn't forget to thanks their mages, and man that was a tasty lunch!"

As the Velen at the table, Genus Viridimare, listenes to his grandson's responses, he thinks to himself, Wow, he's really food motivated…

Mille rubs his stomach, reminiscing over lunch the other day, before stuffing his face full of fish and gulping it down. He looks over to his grandmother, Fortis Voluntatis, and says, "I paid the Silver Spears a visit too, they're happy with how I'm going and eager to see me when I get back."

With a mischievous smile she says, "That's good to hear."

Someone in amongst the conversations could be heard saying, "I hear grandma once won a staring contest with a brick wall!"

Silence fell, and all became motionless. Fortus then pierces the silence with quip, "That's how I keep you all in line," and follows her comment with a wink. Normality is restored, and the flurry of conversation and movement resumes.

Between Mille and his grandparents sits his mother Cor Fortium and his father Rimor Viridimare. His mother is an Enlil, with the same red and brown plumage as her children, except less pronounced. His father has the shoulders, arms and legs of a Velen, combined with the head and torso of an Enlil. Some travellers would call him a Spurii, the negative connotations of which he would try to ignore. He could certainly swim faster than any full Enlil.

Obligatory conversation with the oldies complete, Mille turns his attention back to his siblings and cousins. He then asks, "So, what's the talk down this end of the table?"
His younger sister, Celeri Ingenii, who looks a lot like a younger version of their mother - aside from the hydrofoils on her arms in place of wings - then answers, "Well Swimmer was just asking why bother with underwear and I was telling him Sharpy's story."

Mille's feathers flatten a bit and he says, "Ughhhhhhhh, you mean that one with the twig?"

"Yeah."

Mille's face scrunches up and he says, "Ew! I'm trying to eat here you know!"

Celeri quickly retorts, "Don't ask a question if you don't want an answer," and turns away, enjoying a succulent piece of crab meat.

The multicoloured man's mouth opens for a moment, then shuts. Nope, no, nu-uh, not taking that bait.

One of his many cousins then asks, "So, looking forward to your overseas experience?"

"Heck yeah! I'm gonna see so many places and so many plants and so many animals…"

A nearby sibling interjects, "And people!"

Mille amends his previous statement, adding, "Oh yeah, and people!"

One of his brothers then asks, "So, you'll be seeing more Laicar than the occasional boat or two at the dock eh?"

At this point, a mischievous smile appears on one of Mille's cousins, eager to snatch the opportunity. She says, "I heard that when you frighten a Laicar they can suddenly run faster than a sea wolf and jump higher than a sea horse!"

His sister then joins in and says, "I heard that since they have no feathers, they pluck ours and make clothes out of them!"

The young man was a bit ruffled at these comments and responds with a glare, "I'm pretty sure we're not the ones to point fingers at different races."

Celeri jumps back a bit, startled. She stammers out, "Uhh… sorry, I didn't mean it like that. Was just trying to make a joke, ya know?"

"Yeah, sorry, didn't mean snap at you like that. Maybe I'm a little nervous," replies Mille.

His sister visibly drops into a more pensive mood and quietly asks, "You're gonna be away for a while aren't you?"

The rainbow-streaked lad tries to perk up a bit, to get his sister's mood back up, and says, "Don't worry! I'll be fine! Granny made sure I can look after myself!"
He then throws his voice down the table and asks, "Isn't that right?"

"I ain't agreein' to whatever schemes you kids are coming up with over there!" resounds back.

Mille couldn't stop himself from snorting at that one - a real pearl of wisdom.
 

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