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Colliding Worlds

Discussion in 'Mixed-genre & Uncategorized' started by Silence, May 28, 2017.

  1. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Ehud was a gracious host at least and insisted that she stay in Sien's room while they slept in his room together. Using the wall as a brace, she slid her hand down the hallway and followed the two men, one little and one big, to the bedrooms in the back. When he explained about Sien still learning the manners of a household, she chuckled. "Ah, yes. Something Calysta is still trying to teach Cypher too. I'm used to locking the doors if I don't want any little visitors at this point," she replied, "Thank you for the advance warning though." He smiled at her a little then went to go get another ice pack along with an extra pillow and blanket, for which she was grateful. Once he seemed her set for the night, he announced he would be available if she needed anything then left without any lingering looks.

    Priscilla laid down on Sien's bed with a small sigh and used the pillow to prop her ankle up, which had gained some girth again at walking down the hallway. The boys bed was a little smaller then hers at home there was plenty of room for her to wrap the blanket around herself for sleeping. Normally, she would have taken off her bra and skirt before diving into the bed to sleep, but this time she remained fully clothed. All she she felt proper in doing was pulling her hair down from it's shaggy bun and then unlacing her shoes to leave them neatly beside the bed. Laying back on the pillows, Priscilla stared up at the ceiling and sighed to herself against the dull throbbing in her leg. What was wrong with her? She wanted to reach out and get to know Ehud more, but she felt like she couldn't ask him things really. They were dating...sort of...shouldn't she be able to ask? There were some things she knew. He was a work-aholic with a dry since of humor and a lack for details sometimes. His mannerisms with his son and herself often reflected his work. She knew for as shy as he was, he was a bit of a trouble maker on occasion. He hadn't asked very much about her either. What did he really know about her? She was a widow and a Terran. She liked fried chicken and had a penchant for falling in holes. Hadn't she tried? Or maybe she was hurting and missing Harry. His response would have been different from Ehud's altogether. He would have joked about her lightly, and made her laugh a little about it. How could she even think to be looking at someone else?

    It wasn't really fair to be comparing Ehud to Harry though, and she knew it. She and Ehud weren't that close. They were hardly what she would call boyfriend girlfriend at this stage and here she was staying in his house somehow feeling more lonely now than when she started. For a brief moment, she almost wished she was at Illya and Calysta's. There she would have heard Thomas snoring a bit through the wall, Cypher's feet pattering to the bathroom before the toilet flushing, Lohgan's giggle in the night and occasionally the twins cooing. Sometimes a brief note of love making could be heard upstairs if the flytr bugs weren't chirping and she happened to be on the second floor. Here in Ehud's house it was quiet and a bit chilly, making her wrap up further in the blanket, and she felt a bit like she wasn't supposed to be there at all. It was kind of them to let her stay the night at least and he had tried to take care of her in some way. The chicken had been a nice too, reminding her a bit of home that she hadn't had in a long time.

    For the rest of the night, Priscilla tossed and turned unable to find a comfortable spot while the distinct longing for Harry settled in deep. She was awake when she heard the shuffling of feet down the hall. First it was Sien because the footsteps were softer, and they were shortly followed by heavier thumps. A light filtered in from the hallway through the bottom of the door revealing passing feet as shadows. The sounds were accompanied by the smell of food cooking, which she assumed was her cue to start gathering herself. Priscilla, pulled her significantly less puffy ankle from the bed first and inspected it. There was definitely some blackened bruising around her foot but it wasn't nearly as swollen which was a good sign. Lacing up her shoes, she managed to comb her fingers through her hair, setting her light blonde hair down her shoulders in soft waves. Her make up was all but gone and she probably looked bleary eyed from lack of sleep. Wouldn't she be a lovely sight? Resolving to fix herself, she grabbed the bed post and hauled herself up, testing her foot tentatively before adding a little bit of pressure. "Youch," she grimaced. It was still nice and tender with the added bonus of being stiff from the previous night. She was going to have to get up and move though.

    A knock sounded at the door and she whipped around, a sense of dread striking her. She really didn't want him to see her with clothes wrinkled and make up smeared half from sleep and half from a bout of tears in the night. Sure, he had seen her covered in dirt from the fall, but this was different. "I...I will be out in a minute...thank you!" she called through the door. That answer seemed to satisfy him because she saw his feet moving away from the light filtering through the bottom. Relieved to find him gone, she hobbled over to the door and unlocked it before making a lurching dash for the bathroom.

    The mirror revealed that she did look exactly as she though. A nice wreck. Leaving all of her weight on her good foot, she washed her face and combed through her hair a bit more before straightening her clothes. That made her look more presentable, and she deemed herself ready to make her way into the kitchen where food was waiting. If it was one thing she could say, was that Sien looked very much like his father in the matching pajamas and his blond hair sticking in all directions. Priscilla's eyes traveled from Sien to Ehud who was putting plates on the table and she couldn't help the sight of the two of them looking so similar in their pajama's. Some of the gloom from the night before lifted almost automatically. Ehud was actually very handsome standing there in the morning light coming through the window. "Good morning," she said with a gentle smile toward the boy. He grinned and grabbed a seat at the kitchen table, pulling it out with great effort for her to sit in. "We made breakfast!"

    "Well, thank you." Stepping over to the offered chair, she settled into it and looked at the plates, "This looks wonderful. It's even smiling at me." The pancakes were each given a smile with egg eyes and a little cream grin. They ate in the quiet and she had to admit that the food was excellent. Ehud really could cook well and it seemed to be a natural sort of skill unlike with Calysta who occasionally ran aground of not knowing things about what she was cooking. "You've impressed me again," she told him honestly, "I haven't had good Terran food in so long. There's a diner on Kinte, but it just doesn't compare."

    With breakfast done, they sat around and Sien told her all about how Mickey Martian survived the pirates. "Sounds like he had a close one there but he saved the day in the end, huh? You know there was a hero on my planet like that. They called him Superman and he could fly...he would stand in the sun with his cape blowing in the breeze. He saved the world with his strength. He was strong like your father." After that, Sien had to know all about Superman and she told him until the morning inched toward early afternoon. She talked and chatted along until she knew that Ehud probably had things to do that didn't involve entertaining her. Despite that she felt like she didn't want to go just yet. Things had grown more comfortable with him now that he stopped following Illya's dating advice. The inevitable silence fell between them, and she nodded. "I suppose I should go," she said finally, "I could probably walk a little ways out to the flyer if you don't mind dropping me off?"

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Their morning was a good one following a good night, though it had started out a little stressful for both of them. She hadn't worn the last of her tempting outfits for him, but that hadn't stopped him from being enchanted some how. In fact, when they stayed on the balcony for a bit, he couldn't keep his eyes off her or his hands. It was a bit encouraging to know he was alright. That he was there with her and not some far away place with voices that were long dead. Their night was lively as ever and even at her teasing when they woke, he seemed to know just what to do. He drew her in with the song he had learned in Kaerelean, singing in his low, slightly raspy voice that she couldn't resist. Even he knew it had worked when he grinned and wrapped her up all over again making her giggle all the harder.

    After they had managed to get their shopping done and returned to their room for the first attempt at a short break, Calysta let her Chip do whatever it was he needed to relax while she packed away their new blankets for traveling. It was a good distraction from any sort of worry that might creep up about the reason for their 'break' time and she was focusing so hard on packing properly, she had almost missed when he said something about a package on the desk. Tilting her head, she paused in her task to inspect it, removing the lid with a curious gaze. Inside was a beautiful insignia set made for flyers bearing a silver bird. His Little Bird. Her eyes bounced around the box in wonder and a fair amount of surprise. She had never had something so nice for the inside of a flyer before. Her classic flyer she had built from scratch had been vandalized by purists on Pyrta when she was younger and it taught her never to invest too much unless she was willing to let it get ruined by them. Even her racing flyer Elian crashed on Kinte didn't have finery like this. Calysta looked up to Illya with a beaming smile and out of instinct reached up to give him an exuberant kiss on the lips. "It is good," she said, "Perfect even. Thank you, love."


    The zoo turned out to be a good trip in the end as well. It always made her happy to see Illya with animals and going to see the korybei was no exception. He had no qualms about jumping right into the pen with the scaled herbivores and petting over their smooth hides. Watching him visit with the creatures was peaceful. Illya was always gentle with them, ever since she had known him, and it something she enjoyed because he was at peace in those moments he spent with the creatures. She doubted he knew how long they had spent at the korybei pen in the afternoon. It was well over an hour, but he seemed surprised to learn it was so long. "We had a good time though," she told him taking his hand, "Let's get some food."

    They ate a nice dinner in the restaurant overlooking the waterfalls, and this time Illya seemed much better. He felt more relaxed and even sprang for a big dessert, their favorite chocolate cake with extra whipped cream. It was delivered with five inches of fresh cream on top by the waiter, making his eyes go a bit wide with delight. Neither of them wasted any time marveling though. She dug into the bottom for the chocolate cake, excavating from below, as he scooped from above until their forks clashed. Calysta just laughed and stole a bit of the cream before inviting him to a bit of the cake itself. They made a good team in most things, even when it came to devouring deserts and with these breaks it appeared things were better. She only hoped they stayed that way.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Illya was on the quiet side for the rest of the afternoon and spend some time in the office, undoubtedly informing the Elders of the incident. It was something she somewhat disagreed with. She felt it should have been handled privately, but the more she thought about it, she knew it was a Chippeqouti reaction to something of the sort. She let him have it. In the end, it might be easier to work through Edgar on the issue anyways. While he was tending to the business with the Elders, Calysta walked upstairs with a glass of chocolate flavored milk and went into her sons bedroom. She found him with Hairy, Rose's rabbit, he was sitting on his bed patting the animal gently between the ears like his father had shown him. His eye was puffy and bruised along a few spots on his chin. Seeing him like that made her chest ache, and especially knowing the reason behind it. He sat up when she came in and looked at her with his big blue eyes before wiping his nose with the back his hand. "I'm not in trouble, Mam?" It was usually his mother who got on to him when things like that happened and he had expected no less this time. "No," Calysta replied carefully, "I brought you some milk and I want to talk with you."He sat back on his bottom and took the glass with both of his tan hands to listen to his Mam.

    Calysta sat on the bed and smoothed down her boy's fly away hair for a moment before looking at him. "Did what the Pithian boy do scare you?"

    Cypher wasn't sure how to answer at first. He knew it was his job to protect his sister because she was smaller, just like Dah said, and that's what he had done. "Dah Pitian boy made meh mad."

    "Because of what he said about Dah? And Lohgan?" she asked. Cypher nodded as he sipped his milk and a scowl came to his face. "He is a dirty Pitian boy. Dah said so." He knew immediately by the look on his mother's face that this was the wrong thing to say. But Dah said it all the time! Mam looked at him with something he knew wasnt anger but it wasn't happy either. It was his first taste of disappointment from his mother. "What makes him dirty?" she asked. Cypher had already chosen his opinion, though his Mam didn't like it. "He is a Pitian."

    Calysta could see things were already deeply engrained and she sighed in frustration. "And you think all Pithian's are mean. All Pithian's are not mean. Some are and some are not. It's the same thing with Terrans. I suppose you think all Terrans are bad too?" He nodded firmly. Of course they were all bad. His father grumbled about them too, so it must have been true. His mother seemed even more distressed about the answer and he wondered what exactly it was he had done wrong. "Do you think I am bad Cypher?" she asked him. The boys little brow pinched together and he shook his head. "No, yah are my Mam."

    Calysta looked over her son and nodded. "So, you don't think I'm bad, huh? You're sure?" The boy seemed adamant that was good. She tucked him in at night and gave him blueberries in the morning. She helped him with school and taught him games to play. He even got her to play the cowboy so he could be the wild indian. He loved his Mam, but all of that love was thrown in to shock when she said something he didn't know. "Did you know I'm part Terran?" she said, "That Rose is Terran? Papa too?" The boys eyes grew wide and he shook his head ever so slowly. "So, if all Terrans and Tannas and Pithian's are evil, how can I be good if I am one of them? What about Papa and Rose?"

    Cypher grew very quiet and he sat down his glass of milk in deep contemplation but didn't say anything else. Calysta let him stew on it and then continued. "I think this Pithian boy was starting a fight because he thinks that you are bad like you think he is bad. He was mean to you and that isn't fair because he doesn't know you, does he?And he doesn't know Dah either. It's called racism and it's not a good thing to do. I know Dah does that sometimes but he tries not to be that way and you should too, yeah?" She got a vague head nod from him as a reply and she could tell his he was still processing a few things. Maybe it would do some good or maybe it wouldn't. She still had to try. Leaning down she kissed the top of her little boy's head, but he drew away slightly. Calysta frowned and left her boy to play with the pet rabbit and to think for a long time on what they talked about.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Calysta sat in front of Edgar in his home which had been added to since her last visit. They had gotten a new book shelf and filled it part way so far, which was something she was itching to browse out of curiosity. However, she was here more on business than pleasure, and while she had brought the twins for Edgar and his agreed to see, there was still a less pleasant reason for their visit. Tomas cooed from Edgar's arms and tugged at the man's shirt with his tiny fingers, making them both smile. "Illya spoke to you about what happened at school the other day with Cypher, yeah?" She tried to make it sound a bit lighter as if it was a simple matter that they could solve, or at least try to.

    It was always a special pleasure to have his great grand kids brought to his house. Edgar and his agreed couldn't get around quite as well as they used to and he enjoyed having his family come. No matter the reason it was good if they brought the little ones. Holding onto the baby he grinned. It seemed all of Illya's children had good sense and they loved the Dark Chippequoti as much as their people loved them. "Would yah look at dat grin?" Lifting the baby up slightly he blew on the boy's belly and watched as the baby giggled. After a moment he let the boy settle in and just rest in his arms. Looking to Kalizda he smiled and nodded. "Yes, Illya talked to me. He said that you have a plan and he wanted me to take it into consideration. I think that you are the council woman and it would be wise for the Elders to know what is on your mind. We would like to support your decision."

    Edgar watched his great grandmother with intense interest as she poured tea into ceramic, Chip sized cups and then walked back into the kitchen. Her boy was constantly hungry, and in this moment his hunger was no different. He smacked his tiny lips together and grunted as he tried to keep the older Chip woman in view. When Edgar replied, Calysta looked at him unsure of where to begin. What wasn't on her mind would have been a more appropriate place to start. Still, she took a sip of her tea, gathering her thoughts, and nodded to the Chip elder. "I think that there are tensions between the Chippeqouti and the Pithians that aren't likely to go away for the foreseeable future. I do think we can ease them though and the best way to start is by teaching the children. Alliance members aren't forced to agree with one another, Pithian's and Chips included, but it is in our best interest to respect one another. I think the children would do best to learn about one another from each other."

    "Hmmm." Edgar nodded a little when she spoke. It sounded like an age old problem that they had dealt with for quite some time. While he was busy thinking of what to do about it his agreed gingerly made her way over to sit next to Kalizda. Once she was seated she held her mug up for baby Edgar to try. "It won't hurt him to try it and see if he likes." She spoke in Quoti like usual and her brown face wrinkled with pleasure when the boy leaned forward to try and get a sip. Finally, Edgar lifted his head and he sighed. "What do you think would help?" He had a few ideas of his own, but he wanted to see if there was something she would suggest first.

    Calysta didnt mind if she let Edgar have a sip, though he was tiny and she thought it best if maybe a finger tasting was better. About the time she was going to suggest it, the woman was already gently bringing the cup to her baby's waiting mouth. He suckled on the edge of the cup, then made a grimacing face. That was not what he was expecting at all. Where was the milk? The taste of the herb tea rather than milk was such a shock that he began to cloud up, with great sniffling sounds of sadness. "Oooh," Calysta winced with a small chuckle, "Maybe he's a coffee drinker instead." It was a small joke the two Chips likely wouldn't get and she dug through the diaper bag until she found his bottle of milk. "Would you like to feed him?"" she asked. The woman smiled and seemed to look forward to the task. "Well," Calysta said to Edgar, "I think it would help if maybe the children were require to learn a little bit about each other. I was thinking of some cultural studies at the school. Where they could learn about all Alliance member cultures....Kaerelean...Terran...Pithian...and of course Chippeqouti. I think it would be prudent to ask our Tannas members if they would like to be included as well. I think if the children learned more about each other, and understood each other beyond what prejudices they might be exposed to at home, then it will help."

    Both Edgar and his agreed chuckled at the baby's reaction to the tea. Often times a baby didn't like the first taste of tea, but they were curious and more than likely the baby would want some tea the next time they saw a cup. With the offer to feed the baby Edgar's agreed nodded eagerly and she held out her old wrinkled hands for him. Taking the boy in her arms she gazed down into his little face and cooed gently at him. "Aren't you just as handsome as your dad was when he was little. You have your grandmother's eyes though. Lovely blue." Talking softly to the baby in Quoti she rocked him with the expertise that only a grandmother could and she smiled at the boy. Occasionally he would reach up with his little hand and try to touch her face and she would let him and then pull her cheek and chin away. While she played with the baby and fed him her agreed listened to Kalizda. Edgar nodded. "Very good. I will present this to the Chippequoti council and ask for funds from the people to provide a new school. If you are going to teach Chip custom then there will need to be a good room like Chip school room and we will need a Chip teacher. We will need a room for all cultures to be taught like they were in their own home and each race will have a teacher to teach the young about their kind. I'm sure that many Chippequoti will want to fund the school if they hear of the project and the reason that it is being proposed. There should not be fear for our children when they go to school to learn customs of those in our Alliance."

    She was more than happy to let Edgar's great grandmother enjoy some time with the boy. In some ways, it still amazed her that her babies had family that they could come to and rely on. They were a wealth of extra love that Calysta wanted them all to know of. Without too many further questions, Edgar seemed to agree with her and went a step further, adding that a new school should be built to accommodate the program. A new school building was a big deal. The on the Pyrtan's had now was small, and quickly growing smaller with the amount of soldiers they had living lives on the continent. Not to mention, the facility had suffered some damage during a raid by the Federation some years ago. Perhaps a new building would be in order. His last statement made her hands tighten together in her lap for a brief moment. "I agree. Fear should not be something children should have when learning about each other in school. This may not be easy in some moments but I think it will be worth it and successful if we make it a space for the kids to learn without fear of each other," she said, "If the Chippeqouti are willing to help fund the school, I know the Pyrtans would give what they can as well and we have several good Terran people who would gladly help. Dora and Priscilla would be excellent teachers. I would have to maybe ask Helen who she thought might be willing to fill the Pithian role, and the same for our Tannas members."

    Edgar nodded as he listened to Kalizda, but he was sure that there would be no need for the Pytran's to pay for the school unless they wanted to have part in it. He knew as well as anyone else that the Pytran's did not have so much money. "Perhaps we make small modification. There is still money from the offer of aid. We will use some of this to build a new school house if the Pytrans will accept that use of funds. Then we will ask each people that want to have their culture represented to provide a teacher and equipment necessary to make the school room like they would for their own classes. Chippequoti will pay for the building, extra land, and we will provide for our own class room and a teacher to be hired. Does this sound reasonable to present to your people? I believe that the Chippequoti council would agree with me."

    She thought over all the uses of those pledged funds. They could have gone anywhere...military...business...but this would be something important. There wouldn't be an Alliance if their children didn't understand what it was like to be equally allied. It was would never survive. This was an investment and Edgar understood that, at least she thought he did. Chippeqouti always had their own way of looking at things and she knew by Illya's reaction, and what he told her, that Chippeqouti consider Kaereleans their own. His insistence they go through the council on this matter rather than handling it privately stemmed from his own tradition. An attack on one was an attack on all. The same went in the opposite way though. An offer of peace was meant for all, and she had contracted with the Pithians living in Kaereal, offering safety and citizenship for standing against the Federation. There was very little choice but to work together even if it was hard and at times difficult. Mistakes would be made but with the chance to understand one another better perhaps less grievous ones could be made. "The Pyrtan's will likely do what they can. Perhaps the land can be donated," she said, "I know there are one or two fields some of the younger Pyrtan's might offer. I think it would help to have these cultural parts in addition to the schooling they go to." She gave Edgar a an assuring sort of smile, hoping that she didn't come across as tired as she felt that day. "Offer this to the Elders and see if they agree, Asha as well, since I know she is acting General and Admiral. Things aboard the Omebrey have been going well since Jaimye's decommission and her new first mate has taken over. She might have some insight as well."

    "I think that the Elders will find this agreeable. I will send you our final proposal for the use of some of the funds designated for Pytra. We will trust your judgment regarding the final decision. I hope that Pytrans will find the offer satisfactory." With the business out of the way he decided to move on to more pleasant things. "I have spoke with my agreed, Dahvine and we want to see our great grand children more. You will let us watch the twins for 3 hours once each week and then Cypher and Lohgan for 3 hours once each week. We want Rose to come see us when she can. She is almost a woman now and we must wait for a time that works for her. The Elders want to make contract with her to write our stories and history too. We will need translations if we build this new school. She will be busy writing in Quoti for us and translating if she likes the work. We will pay her well. Tell her to come see me and I will talk to her about this."

    "I will draw up the proposal and send it to my people," she replied, glad to have that part out of the way. His next statement made her bristle slightly, starting off with 'you will do this' but occasionally, he did that when they spoke. Though, this time he was sounding a bit more adamant about it and she took another sip of her tea before replying. "You're right, Rose is nearly grown and she is an excellent writer. She knows Qouti and we've spoken briefly before about having her work on projects for the Chippeqouti. I will tell her she should come to see you about working for the Elders on recording the Chippeqouti stories and history. As for the other children, I agree that you should get to see them more. I'm not sure we could have a consistent day, as Illya will be applying to Skycorp and we may be spending some time on Kinte in the next months, but I think it would be good." It would also give her the chance to help Illya study along with her a chance to spend time more singular time with him along with their other children.

    They visited for awhile longer until Calysta felt an incoming message on her pad which chimed on the higher priority channels. "Excuse me," she said, reaching into her bag. When she opened up her messenger she saw what the alert was and a kernel of dread slipped into her stomach. It was something she would have to deal with personally. "Edgar? Would you mind watching the twins for a bit right now, actually? Something has just been brought to my attention and I need to take care of it." The great grandparents didn't seem to mind being left in charge of the twins while she was gone and she nodded her thanks. "I'll be back in just a little while or Illya will come by to pick them up if this takes longer than I intend. Thank you." With that, she kissed both of her boys on the their foreheads and left the house to make her way towards town.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Cypher knew his Mam had gone out for the afternoon and he had been doing some hard thinking while she was gone. Dah said that Pithians and Terrans and Tannas were all bad regularly when Mam wasn't around. His Mam said they weren't all bad when Dah wasn't around and Mam was a Terran. Mam was not like a Terran though. She was good. It left him a bit confused and since Dah would talk about it while she wasn't there, he was determined to find the solution to the predicament.

    Venturing out into the yard, he found his father standing in the yard with Cin loping around. The big bear was making chortling sounds, begging to be played with, but his father was on a mission to feed the chickens instead. Cypher walked up to his Dah and grabbed a handful of the grainy feed for the clucky birds causing them to gather around him like he knew they would. Even the chicks peeped around his feet. Normally, he would be delighted to have them so close where he could pet them, but he was on a mission of utmost importance. "Dah?" he asked as he threw the feed, "Did yah know dat Mam is a filty Terran?"
     
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  2. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    It had been a good day and when Lohgan laid down for her nap Kalizda took the twins and went to speak with Edgar. Illya knew it was going to be about the incident at school. She was going to make sure that the Chippequoti Elders and the Council came up with a good plan. Since Kalizda was the council woman she was naturally going to be more involved in the politics. That was her business and he didn't have as much say as she did when it came to these things. If he were still the General then he would certainly have something to say. As it was he didn't have place in this discussion.

    When Kalizda left Illya took himself outside to feed the animals. Lohgan wasn't going to be causing any problems and Cypher was probably fine to be alone in the house for a few minutes. First, Illya dropped a good sized lump of meat and some giant bear pellets around the yard. There wasn't any point keeping it in a dish for the bear. Cin would drag it through the yard first and then eat. Keysha was much more neat in her eating habits and Illya dropped her pellets into her dish and then returned her bag of food to the porch before he exchanged it for the chicken feed.

    Illya walked himself out to the pen and he let himself in to feed the chickens. As soon as he stepped in the entire host of birds came clucking and waddling. As soon as they reached him they began scratching at the ground and then tilting their dumb heads one way and then another. Illya dropped a handful of feed on the ground and then sprinkled another handful before he paused long enough to pick up his favorite chicken. It was waiting for him to feed it from his hand and he knew that. The bird didn't bother scratching the ground, or fighting the others for the pile of feed, it just waited near the big man. When his hand came down she nestled in close and let him tuck her under an arm.

    He had only had the birds for a few years, but Illya knew his favorite hen was getting older. She was laying fewer eggs and he knew that she logically was starting to outlive her usefulness, but he couldn't bring himself to move her over to the fattening pen. As far as Illya was concerned he would let her continue to roost till she died. The hen was good and she even followed him around the pen and through the yard if the bear wasn't out and Keysha was out of sight. However, the times that the other two animals were out of sight were rare and so the chicken would simply wait for him to come to her. When he had finished giving his favorite hen her feeding by hand he put her down again and she only scratched at the ground a few times and then lost interest in joining the pecking order and moved on. She was one hen that thought of herself as being above the pecking order and such things.

    The birds started the cluck and squawk louder and then flock in a separate direction. Illya turned slightly to see his son was helping him feed the birds. Somewhere in the middle of the feeding Cypher started out with a question and it quickly turned bad. Momentarily Illya froze and then slowly lowered the bag of feed and turned toward his son. "Yah never say dat about yah mum again. Hear meh?"

    His father's words were very serious and Cypher's brow furrowed in confusion. He had been sure his father would tell him what he wanted to know and now he didn't say anything. Some how he had gotten scolded instead. Cypher's little mouth quirked slightly before he looked up at his father and tilted his head. "But Mam said she was a Terran and yah always say they are dirty. Did yah know, Dah?" The bird peeped around his ankles but Cypher had forgotten about them in the effort of talking with his tall father whose expression he couldn't really see because the sun was beaming down on the both, blotting out the view.

    "Yes, I know Cypher. I know dat yah mum es part Terran, but she es nut dirty." Illya was having a hard time trying to figure out who would have told Cypher something like that. "Where yah hear someting like dat anyway?"

    Cypher squinted up at his father while his toe dug into the dirt. Even on a quest he stayed in constant motion without any thought at all. "You say so. You said deh Terrans, and Pitian's and Tannas are all filty. She told meh she was Terran. She told meh Rose and Papa are Terran too. Dat means dey are bad and dirty because yah said dey were." It was a simple answer and it still didn't make sense to him.

    What his boy said next was not at all what Illya had said. Somehow Cypher had determined that Illya meant all Terrans and part Terrans. "No! Dis es nut what I say. Yah never say dat about yah mum, papa, or Rose. Dey are nut filty. Yah have Terran blood too. Dis does nut make yah filty. What makes people filty es dah way dey treat oters."

    The sudden exclamation of 'no!' at him made the boy nearly jump out of skin. Dah hardly ever yelled and usually he got louder when he did something bad or didn't listen. This time it was unexpected and Cypher's jolted a little, before his bottom lip poked out. He had only been listening to what his father said! He heard him mumbling about it, especially the Terrans and Pithian's but now Dah was saying that it wasn't true. What was more, was Dah said he was part Terran too and that it wasn't dirty. What makes people dirty was the way they treated others? Now, he was was more confused than when he started and he stepped back from his father, nearly stepping on a chickadee in the process. "I'm Terran, but not dirty? Papa and Rose and Mam are Terran but nut filty an yah say what makes yah dirty is the way yah treat oters...den why yah talk about dah Terrans like dat, Dah? Why yah say dose tings?" His accent always got thicker when he got upset and he was thoroughly lost on how all of this works. It wasn't fair that he had gotten fussed at for asking when Dah was saying one thing and then another.

    It was easy to see that his son was confused. With a sigh Illya dropped to one knee so he could see his son better and so his son could see his face. Once they were at eye level he studied his boy's face carefully. "Cypher, et es nut dirty tah be Terran. I am learning dat nut all Terran are dirty. Dere are some good Terran and dere are some good Pitians. Maybe dere are good Tannas too. How about we make a deal eh?" Illya set one hand on Cypher's shoulder. "We dun call anyone dirty unless dey are bad and dey treat us bad. Dat means meh too. I dun say dat all Terrans are filty and I dun say dat all Pitians are filty. Yah understand now?"

    Cypher shifted back a little when his father knelt beside him and finally he was able to see his face. Rather than anger, he was met with a concerned sort of look filled with gathered patience. Dah was learning too? There were good Terrans like Mam and good Pithians too? Cypher's bright eyes scanned over his fathers face and at the offer of a deal, he nodded slowly. "We don't call people dirty unless dey are bad and treat us bad. I understand, Dah." It mean that the Pithian boy was just a bad one and he was still filthy but that Mam and Rose and Papa were good. He could be good too. That was something he could agree with and it made much more sense now. "I make a deal wit yah and tell mom I dun think she is filty anymore."

    With a sigh Illya nodded. "Dat's good. Yah tell yah mum dat and I tink et will all be fine. We jes work and remember nut tah call people filty unless dey are bad to us." Since it seemed the matter was taken care of Illya grinned at his son and then shifted to stand up and finish feeding the chickens.

    After tossing out a few more hands-full of feed Illya was done feeding the chickens and he decided to play around with Cin for a few minutes. The bear was practically bouncing with the effort of holding himself back and when Illya gave the signal they were going to play Cin lunged forward with a great cry for joy. There wasn't enough time to even move out of the way and Illya could only prepare for impact and the inevitable. He was going to get plowed right into the ground and he knew it. With a huff Illya hit the ground and he momentarily felt a bit stunned, but he was quickly brought back to reality by the fact that his bear was already rolling him around on the ground. With a little time between rolling Illya was able to get out of the way and pop up for a quick return attack. Cin jumped back and growled playfully before he stood up on his hind legs and swatted Illya over with one of his huge paws. Once Illya was sent rolling to the ground again Cin came running for him.

    The two of them played outside for nearly an hour before Illya finally had to give up and go inside. By now he was pretty sure that Lohgan and Cypher would both be wanting to eat. If Lohgan was awake. He might have got lucky and she would still be sleeping. There was no such luck. As Illya entered the house he was mauled by Cyher and Lohgan both and then assaulted with the pad. Apparently his grandparents were wanting to talk with him and Cypher and walked around with them aimlessly for who knew how long.

    "Illya, we need you to come get the twins. It is getting late and Kalizda said if she wasn't here in time that you would come get them."

    Whatever the plan was Illya didn't remember talking about it. Why had she left the twins at his grandparents? For the time that wasn't the important thing, he just needed to go get the kids. "Eh yeah. I'll come get them." Responding in Quoti he started to pick up Lohgan and try to think of the other things he would need if he was going to try and carry the twins home too. Strapping the double baby carrier to himself Illya figured he was ready to go.

    The walk to his grandparents wasn't a long one, but he knew that Lohgan would want to be in the stroller on the way home and Cypher would probably push her. More than likely he would push his sister into the weeds at some point, but that wouldn't be the end of the world. By the time he reached Edgar and Dahvine's house Illya was starting to get worried. Kalizda was somewhere, he didn't know where and when he asked his grandparents they didn't know where, but she'd left the twins. Kalizda didn't do that kind of thing.

    With a little help Illya got the twins packed onto his front and he loaded Lohgan into the stroller and let Cypher push it while he called Kalizda's pad. "Kalizda are yah ok? Where are yah?" He didn't even wait for her to answer one question before he blurted the next.

    ****************************

    It looked to Ehud like Priscilla was enjoying the Terran style breakfast quite well and she even engaged Sien on a lengthy discussion about superheroes. If there was one thing that Sien loved it was superheros and Ehud just smiled. He didn't have much to say about this. Personally, he wasn't such a fan of them, but there was nothing wrong with enjoying a story about a superhero either.

    There were a few reasons that Ehud had decided he liked Priscilla. She was kind, had a bit of fun in her, and she was excellent with children. If he had to guess, Ehud figured that she actually wanted to have a child of her own. Somehow she seemed like a woman that loved children and it showed when she spoke with Sien. There was a part of Ehud that worried perhaps he was looking for a wife for all the wrong reasons, but perhaps wanting a woman for his son wasn't so bad either. Ehud liked Priscilla for himself, but he also liked how she treated Sien. His son craved the attention of a woman and it showed whenever he was at Illya and Kalizda's house. Sometimes when Ehud came by to pick up Sien the boy would be with Priscilla outside in the gardens, or he would be with Kalizda trying to help her. Most of the time he was like any other child and he played with Cypher, but there were those days that Sien was interested in having a mother.

    When they finished breakfast Ehud washed the dishes and he was thinking of a few things that he could plan to do with Priscilla and Sien that would not be harder on her ankle, but Priscilla seemed to be anxious to get home after her superman discussion with Sien. At first a little frown came to Ehud's face and then he cleared his face again and he nodded. "I'll get ready to fly you home. Are you sure that you're ankle is ok?"

    Priscilla insisted that she was fine to go home and so he helped her out to the flyer and loaded Sien in with them before flying her home. Once they got to the street outside Illya and Kalizda's he stopped and then got out to assist Priscilla. "I'm sorry about your ankle. Maybe next time you won't have such bad luck." The look on her face was difficult for him to read. Ehud didn't know her well enough to tell if that was a good look, or a bad one. Was she upset, surprised, or maybe concerned? Instead of dwelling too long on her expression he nodded. "I'll come back tomorrow to see how you're doing." He would be back on the next day anyway to pick up Sien after he got off work. Sien usually walked home with Cypher after school, but Ehud could stop at the house for more than one reason.
     
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  3. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Ehud helped her out of the little flyer and she held on to his arm to use his solid weight as support up the stairs to the ugly front door. Her ankle was still tender, giving sharp little pains with every slight pressure she put on it, but with Ehud's help she was able to scale the steps. "Oh," she replied, her brow creased a little, "Luck is the way you look at it, I suppose. I got to spend some time with you and rather than sandwiches, I got to have fried chicken. I wouldn't altogether call it unlucky." Her next step caused a little jolt to go up her ankle and she looked away from him to hide the grimace. He helped her into the living room, then down the hallway toward her bedroom. It didn't appear that Illya and Calysta were back from their trip yet and the kids were playing the backyard. She wasn't sure where Thomas was, but she could only assume he was with the twins. On the way down the hall she looked to him through her wavy blonde hair, a stolen peak at the man holding on to her arm, and she had a thought before quickly averting her gaze.

    "Here, this is my room," she said, bringing them to a halt outside the door, "Thank you. I can get to the bed I think." Resting her free hand over his, she gave it a little squeeze then let go. "Come see me tomorrow. I won't be going anywhere, huh?" Smiling a little she let him go as she leaned against the door frame, watching his broad shoulders retreat down the hall until he was out of sight. When the flyer started up again, she hobbled her way into her room before easing down on the bed.

    As she undressed, she thought of the morning and how she enjoyed it. It hadn't been just the chat with Sien or getting to talk with Ehud so much as it had been feeling for the briefest of moments like she wasn't missing something. Illya and Calysta had been wonderfully kind and she felt as close to them as her own family, and they had filled that starving little hole in her heart for some time, but this had been something different. She peeled off her dirty smeared shirt and undid her belt before shimmying out of her skirt, leaving them in the floor for the time being. The last thing to go was something she hadn't taken off in a year. Something she had refused to remove even when battling alongside midgets on Demos and Christmas tree hunting on the Pithian cold planet. Her fingers wrapped around the silver wedding band along with her engagement ring and she tugged them from her knuckles. She had worn them so long they felt molded to her hand and didn't want to pry loose until she used a little lotion to ease them off. Once they were free of her finger, she put them on her bedside table with small clatter and glanced down at the red indentation left by the rings. Why had she done that? Her finger felt naked and all of a sudden tears began to blur the image of her own hands before she covered her face, leaning down into the pillow and cried.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Calysta stood in the cold hallway pacing with her arms cross over her chest and her eyes trained on the floor. She hated hospitals ever since she was a little girl. The cold, clinical lighting that cast everything in sharp relief. It always made things look more grim than they were. The smell of antiseptic and bitter medicine filled her nose, making her stomach roll slightly. She'd been in enough hospitals on enough planets to know they all felt the same. Perhaps the grander question, was why she was even here at all to begin with.

    A ringing cut through her thoughts and she stopped pacing long enough to remember her pad in her bag. It could have been one of the Land and Continent Committee calling her back for the umpteenth time that day, but it wasn't. She rummaged through her satchel until she found her pad and saw that it was not only 19:00 galactic time but that it was Illya calling, no doubt worried about where she had been. A flood of guilt hit her as she answered the video call stream to see her Chips tan face. Before she could even explain, he was off to asking where she was and if she was alright. "I'm at the hospital but I'm alright," she assured him, "Something happened and I had to deal with it. It happened kind of fast and I didn't know what time it was. I, um, if you want to come down here..I'm outside room 394."

    In his usual fashion he didn't hesitate to say he was on his way. She tucked her pad under her arm and started pacing again, biting at her thumb nail in deep thought on what was going to happen. A call came in from the Land Chairman finally and she had to answer it too. "Yes, good...if you can get the surveyors here...assess the damage. Then we can go from there....no..there haven't been any reported tremors..."

    "MAM!"

    The familiar voice of her son accompanied his thundering footsteps down the hall and she quickly bid the chairman goodbye just in time to bend down to catch her boy. He had been avoiding her for awhile, but now it seemed he was glad to see her. His curls were a wild mess and his cheeks were pink when he hugged her around the neck. She hugged him back tightly, kissing the top of his curls. "There's my boy."

    "You're not filty, Mam. I know now," he said brightly before snuggling into her arms. She blinked a few times trying to figure out how that statement came about before just accepting it as a good thing. Another little form waddled over to her, and Lohgan grabbed her hands wanting some attention too. "Mam," she pouted. Calysta knew that pout well, and it was obvious they had come straight over. She hooked an arm around her girl, kissing the top of her red haired head, and then looked up to see Illya coming down the hall. His head came close to brushing the ceiling in some places and he carried the twins in their slings over his chest.

    At first, she wished he had left the children home with her father which would have been easier than bringing them all, but after seeing them she felt selfishly glad that they had all come. Illya came over and she stood up, leaning in close to give him a gentle kiss on the lips before meeting his eyes. "I'm sorry," she repeated to him, "I was called because...well...there was no one else." She nodded through the window of the hospital room door where a woman with a striking resemblance to herself laid in the bed. Her neck was bound in a brace and any visible inch of her we either bruised or cut. There was a big welt on her temple, half hidden by her long black hair which had been touched by just the smallest graces of silver. Her eyes were closed as a tube was fed down her throat to assist in breathing. She looked as if she might have been resting comfortably save for the fact that her arms were tied down at the wrist and her ankles were strapped to the bed.

    "There was a sink hole," Calysta explained, "A big one out in the north of the continent and she along with another farm house were swallowed up. They weren't sure if she was going to live at first and they called me because I'm the next of kin technically. I'm the only one who can make a medical decision for her. They found her half buried and her neck is fractured. A few organs were crushed. Calysta ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "Even then they had to knock her out. When they found her or to help her...she thinks anyone looking for her or coming into the room is Federation, I think. They said if she makes it through the first 24 hours the she'll live. If she doesn't live, I will have to make the arrangements for her funeral...problem is...I don't know my grandparents...and I don't think dad does either..." Her voice trailed off and she stole a glance at Illya before sighing. "The sink hole is another problem. There are some experts coming to look at it in the first light. Luckily, they seemed to be localized to the fields in the far northwest and only a few people have been relocated for safety. It happens from time to time on the continents. Heavy rains in the past plus trauma to the foundation from the debris caused by the attack on Kinte could have loosened it. Who knows, Pyrta may be looking at the beginnings of a lake, or it might even break apart like Kinte did a thousand years ago or so."

    She looked to her Chip feeling tired and glad he was there all in the same moment. It was strange to feel like she had to be there for a woman who had done nothing for her. Her mother had tried to kill her at least twice, sold her out to the Federation, and caused nothing but trouble...and yet, Calysta didn't want the woman to die alone if that was her fate.

    Cypher stood on his toes and peered through the window hoping to see whatever it was that his Mam and Dah were looking at. What he saw, surprised him and he gasped, before his tan brow furrowed in curiosity. "Mam? Who is dat lady? She looks just like you." Calysta swallowed hard, and glanced to Illya. "She's a friend who is very sick. I'll tell you what, why don't we go out to dinner and then we can come back to see if my friend is all better, yeah?" Cypher seemed in agreement with this idea and Calysta slipped a hand to her sons back, guiding him down the hallway. "They don't need to know," she said in Kaerelean to her Chip, "It's just better that way."
     
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  4. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    Ehud took himself home and he thought about the day. It was a good one. He'd had a little time to visit with Priscilla and she certainly made it sound like she wanted to see him tomorrow. All things considered that was a good sign. Slowly Ehud took himself back out of the house and he closed the door behind himself before he got into the ship. Sien was waiting for him with that expectant little look in his eyes.

    "Is she gonna come see us again?" Sien looked up at his dad while he clutched his little Micky Martian action figure in his hands.

    The man blinked a few times before he answered, "No, you're going over to Illya and Kalizda's tomorrow and then I'll come to pick you up. We might stay a little longer to visit with Priscilla. She hurt her foot and she can't come to see us. We have to go see her." That was the nicest way to put it without having his son terribly disappointed in him, or what he had planned for the future. Things weren't quite as simple as his son seemed to think. There was also that one question that Sien had asked a few times when they were home alone and Ehud wasn't sure what to do with it. For now, he could think of only one way to address that little problem. "Sien, I like Priscilla and I want to see her more, but this does not mean she will be your mom. Priscilla needs to decide that for herself. You can't ask her to be your mom ok? Do you understand?"

    Momentarily the boy's eyes widened and then they started to fill with tears. "B-b-but I wan her to be my mom." Sien's voice rose in pitch slightly and his little knuckles turned white with the effort he put forth into squeezing his greatest super hero. "Cypher has a mom. I want one too." Wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand he sniffled and looked at his dad with his watery big blue eyes.

    "I know you want a mom, but you have to be patient." Ehud wanted badly for Sien to have a mother, but he wanted the woman to be a good one that would love the boy as if he were her own. Then there was the challenge that the woman would want Ehud that much too. He was a bit out of practice, but he wanted a mother for Sien as badly as he wanted to have another agreed. Perhaps there would be a chance if he could just set the intensity of the situation aside and enjoy being in the company of the best prospect he had. "Let's go home and clean. Remember, tomorrow you go back to school, you go home with Cypher after school and I go to work."

    The next day Sien walked home with Cypher the same as he did on most school days. He still couldn't get the idea out of his head that he wanted a mom and he was determined that he was going to ask her. If his dad wouldn't ask then he would. Sien shuffled along behind Cypher as the boy raced for the front door of his house and nearly bulldozed through it in his rush to get inside. Just a few feet behind him Sien came into the house at a much more gentle pace. When he saw Priscilla he grinned at her shyly and then wandered over to where she was sitting. "I have a very important question for you." Setting one of his pale little hands over hers he looked deeply into her eyes. "Will you be my mom?"

    Illya almost flew out of his big chair when he heard the boy ask Priscilla that question. He had been quietly reviewing Cypher's school report from the day. It seemed the teachers were quite impressed with his manners in a good way for once. This was about the only way that Illya could think of that might inspire his son to do better in school. So far it seemed to do well. Cypher was coming right in to look at his report with him. However, in this moment Cypher was tumbling from Illya's lap the pad clattered to the ground and Illya barely caught his son before he glanced to Sien. "Sien dis es nut Chippequoti way. Dah man never asks dah woman. Dah lady must ask dah man because she sees he has good qualities and den he will accept if he cares for her. Yah dun ask dese questions."

    Even if the reprimand was given quietly the boy knew the intensity of Cypher's father's voice. It was always there and especially when he didn't approve of something. With a gulp the little blond boy nodded and then quickly moved away to the kitchen. Once he was in the kitchen he saw that it was empty and started to wander through the house to look for Kalizda. It would still be a little bit before his father came to get him and he wanted to sit with someone that felt safe for now.

    ************************************

    Whatever was going on it was hard to tell if Kalizda was having trouble, or if there was something else going on. Illya wasn't going to question her too much though. It looked like she was upset and he was going to get to the hospital as fast as he could move his kids along. "Yah put yah feet on dah little stand back here and I push dah stroller faster eh?" Usually Illya and Kalizda didn't let Cypher stand on the back of the stroller, but this was a time that Illya was going to encourage it. They had to move faster to get to the hospital. By the time they got to the steps Cypher got off and ran inside while Illya struggled with the stroller.

    The nurse saw Cypher and she already knew where his mother was. Pointing to Kalizda in the hallway she smiled a little as she watched the boy race past her and go straight for his mother. Within a few minutes she saw his father come in with two babies strapped to the front of him and another one in the stroller. They were a busy young Chip family and in a way they were the most troublesome, but joyful to have. "She's down there." Pointing down the hall she stepped aside as Illya pushed the stroller down the hall to join Kalizda and Cypher. While his boy was trying to look into the window of the room Illya glanced inside too. He was curious and he saw that Kalizda's mother was the one in the bed. The woman was in poor shape it seemed and Illya didn't remember much about her, but he did know he didn't like her. Whatever memory he had of the woman was enough to give him a general feeling.

    Kalizda never really spoke about the woman and Illya wondered why she was suddenly so upset. Was it something that he had gotten in the middle of? Had he forbidden her mother from seeing the children and Kalizda some time ago? These were troubling thoughts and he kept them to himself for the time. They all needed dinner and Illya nodded at Kalizda's suggestion. Then she spoke to him in Kaerelean and he frowned as he tried to put all the words together in his mind. From what he could tell she didn't want the children to know about their grandmother and that only spurred more questions in his mind. What had the woman done?

    They were barely out the hospital doors and Cypher had picked out the place they were going to eat. The boy loved the noodle and snake bowl place. It wasn't the best snake, but Illya found it tolerable. "I guess we have noodles and snake den." With a wink at Kalizda he leaned a little closer to her and wrapped one arm around her shoulders while he kept on pushing the stroller with the other hand. "Maybe we talk about yah friend later. We wait till tahnight when we get home eh?" There were a lot of questions and Illya was sure that he was missing something. Perhaps it was a memory that he did not have anymore and that concerned him. If he had indeed lost some memories permanently then what else was there? He couldn't begin to know what he lost and he knew that terrified Kalizda.
     
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  5. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Much to her relief the swelling in her ankle had gone down considerably the next day and Priscilla found herself able to sit in the living room with her leg popped slightly in the warmth of the heated couch. She had spent the time reading and helping Calysta keep track of Lohgan who still enjoyed her games of 'hide and seek' which included difficult places like inside the clothes dryer. Every now and then she would find herself playing with the empty space on her finger as if her rings were still there to turn on the digit. It would happen when she was thinking about it least of all in the middle of a paragraph or talking with Calysta. Her hand would simply search out what it knew was missing and she would scold herself silently before redirecting her attention elsewhere.

    It wasn't until she heard the heavy thumps of Cypher and Sien coming up the stairs that she put aside her book to prepare for the rush. Both boys came tumbling in in the usual order, first with Cypher exploding through the door and aiming for his father's lap with Sien following behind with less fuss. A back pack was flung into the couch as Cypher scaled up to his father's side and thrust a crumpled report into the man's hands with a grin that glowed with pride. It must have been a well behaved day because the boy never came in an immediately showed the report if it was a bad one. While Illya grunted from the weight of his son hitting what she suspected was a tender spot, Sien shuffled over with a shy little smile before placing a hand over hers. She had expected a variety of things to come out of his mouth as he was intelligent and liked to talk about things he's read in school or learned about, but nothing could prepare her for the innocent yet striking question that spilled forth. "I.." She wasn't sure what to say at first and any sort of reply she could muster was summarily cut off by Illya delivering a somewhat harsh lesson to the boy about some Chippeqouti custom she wasn't even aware of. When had he ever mentioned that she was supposed to be choosing anything or making the first move? He'd never said a word, and even if he hadn't, she had been more than showing interest.

    A new worry rose up along side the one about Sien being upset as he scuttled off to hide from Illya's scolding. How was she supposed to have known? Sien had presented her with such a complicated moment in such a simple question. It was maddening! And she was sure following the boy would make it worse. Running a hand through her hair, she sighed. "I...I'm going out to the porch before the rain comes." In truth, she wasn't sure what else to do with herself and she didn't want to be sitting in the living room across from Illya after such an episode out of sheer awkwardness. Limping her way to the beastly front door, she stepped outside to a blast of cool, damp air and made her way to the swing at the end of the covered deck. It was built for two, but she took up the extra space by propping up her bruised ankle, then stared out over the dusty red plains that made up Pyrta's harvested fields.

    On the other side of the wall, Calysta turned the page on her blue prints and sighed. Sure, she had designed this well, but there were a few changes she wanted to make before submitting them. As she flipped another large leaf a tiny shuffling came from the door and she looked up to see expecting Lohgan being a bit sneaky into her Mam's office. Instead, she was greeted with the pale little face of Sien. His nose was pink and he looked flustered as he padded over to her arm chair. "Is there something you were looking for, Sien?" She asked gently. He was a quiet boy, a bit rabbit hearted in some ways, and she always tried to treat him like her own.

    Sien stepped into the office almost on his tip toes. He wasn't supposed to bother Kalizda, but he needed to see her. Silently he nodded and stepped around her desk. He was almost as big as she was, but he still pulled at her chair and tried to make room to sit with her. Once he was comfortable he nuzzled in a bit closer and rested his heavy head on her shoulder.

    She felt the tugging at her side as Sien wiggled his way into the chair with her without a reply. His small, but heavy frame leaned into her, burrowing into her side in a way that clearly said he was seeking comfort of some kind but for what, she couldn't be sure. Had he and Cypher gotten into a tiff about who was going to be Mickey Martian and who was going to be the pirate? No, he wouldn't be looking so glum for that. Leaning back, she wrapped an arm around his tiny frame because it kept him close and gave her free use of her hand so she could keep working. With the boy tucked under her arm, she decided to let him stay there for awhile until he was ready to move past whatever was bothering him as kids often did or wanted to talk to her about what was wrong. Perhaps it was something to do with Priscilla, though she had thought the boy was fairly well enamored with his father's girlfriend. Nearly fifteen minutes ticked by as they stayed in the quiet and she kept looking over her blue prints until she felt him nuzzle in a bit further. "So, what brings you to see me?" she asked gently again, "Did you come on a Mickey Martian mission, just for me?"

    "So, what brings you to see me? Ddi you come on a Micky Martian mission, just for me?"
    Sien tilted his head slightly so he could see her eyes better. The boy licked his little lips and then whispered. "Illya is grouchy. He told me that I couldn't ask Priscilla to be my mom." If she was asking Sien was sure that she would want to help him.

    Illya was grouchy. Those little words combined with such a serious look on Sien's face made her bite back a chuckle. Of course, he would seem like he was grumpy, but he usually wasn't with the kids unless something trampled a nerve. The following sentence nearly made her choke, and in an effort to save face, she swallowed hard then looked at the boy. How in the Wilds was she supposed to respond to that? She knew exactly how her Chip would view a comment like that and she could see now why Sien had slinked into her office to escape. "Hmm...you want her to be your mom, yeah?" Calysta repeated the question trying to gather up her thoughts on how to deal with such an issue. "Maybe, she wants to be your mom too...but I think your dad will have a say in that too. He wants to make sure she is good mom for you and she wants to make sure that she will be one for you too. It takes a little time. Anything worth doing is doing right, yeah? And they want to make sure they're just right for you. Do you think you could wait for a little while longer so you get the best mom possible?"

    The boy nodded his head vigorously when Kalizda asked if he wanted Priscilla to be his mom. Her explanation was a bit lacking in the sufficient power he thought it should bear. "You're the council woman. You should just make her my mom and then I wouldn't have to wait on dad. He takes too long." Waiting on his father for anything seemed to take a long time and Sien was more than ready for his dad to ask the nice, pretty lady to come live with them.

    He seemed to understand a little more about how things worked when he nodded so confidently...and then he took a wrong turn with his next comment altogether. Calysta blinked at him for a moment in shock that he might be so forceful about the subject and then shook her head. "It doesn't work like that, Sien," she told him in no uncertain terms, "I know your dad might take awhile, but if I did that, Priscilla might be sad or scared she wouldn't be good for you yet. Your dad would be worried that it wasn't right for him either. You wouldn't want to make either of them sad, I know. They have to come together and decide this all on their own."

    Of course Sien didn't want his dad and Priscilla to be sad, but he still knew there had to be something that Kalizda could do. "Can you talk to my dad and tell him to hurry up?" Sien wanted to have a mom and then he could have a nice home and Cypher could come to his house to play sometime.

    Calysta smoothed down the boy's wispy blonde hair and nodded. "I'll tell you what. Let's make a deal. You give them some more time and be patient and I will talk with him. I can't promise it will work, but I will try. Hm?" She couldn't have him running around asking if she had talked to his father yet, and she imagined the conversation might go a little different than Sien was imagining in his head. "Do we have a deal?"

    It all seemed to be a bit better and Sien nodded. "Ok, I'll make a deal." He could wait a little bit longer and then Kalizda would talk to his dad about making Priscilla his mom.

    "Good," she nodded firmly, "Now, why don't you go find Cypher and play in the backyard before the rain comes tomorrow?" It was forecasted for the rainy season to truly begin and the clouds had gathered in the distance waiting for their time to strike for the next 4-5 months solid.

    With the most concerning matters settled and his life put back to right Sien pushed against Kalizda's chest with one hand and slid off her lap before he grabbed the Micky Martian toy that he dropped on the floor. Once he had the toy he raced back out of the office. "Cypher! Let's go play outside." Almost immediately the thundering of Cypher's feet could be heard trundling through the house and the two boys tumbled out the back door together.

    From the porch, Priscilla could hear the boys thundering through the house again and she leaned her head back against the wooden swing deep in thought. She had never had the chance to be a mother with Harry and Sien was wanting her to be his mom. From her understanding, he had lost his mother when he was 6 months old or so and with very little memory of her. It would be natural for him to want a mother and to attach himself to someone he thought would be good. Just because he thought she would be a good mom didn't mean it was true though. She liked children and little Sien was a sweet, gentle soul. Easy to love. It still didn't mean she was qualified for the task. Not to mention, she had no idea how Ehud felt on the subject. Everything was so new that even thinking about it was slightly overwhelming. Thunder rolled in the distance and the wind pushed her in the swing a little as she thought over what on earth she would say to Sien.

    The rain was just starting to patter down over the side walk when Ehud trekked up the path and scaled the porch steps. His blonde hair was wet making the locks stick to his temples which was not an altogether unpleasing look. "The forecasters were a little wrong," Priscilla said from her spot on the swing, "It wasn't supposed to start raining so soon." Shifting on her bottom, she made room for him to come sit with her and patted the swing bench carefully. "I'm glad you came." His weight caused the swing to pitch forward some and she reached out snagging his shirt sleeve in order to steady them before quickly letting go. "Today was good?" she asked, "The akle is a little better. It doesn't look like a fat sausage roll now at least." Nodding at his response she bit at her lip and tried to work up the nerve to ask what she needed to. The fact that she couldn't un-ring the bell once she said something was all too prevalent in her mind. Forcing down the worry, Priscilla met Ehud in his eyes. "Ehud, can I ask you something? What...what is it you expect from me?"


    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Dinner was a welcome break from the stress of the day. A little Chippeqouti-Kaerelean Fusion restaurant had popped up in the main square which sold snake and noodles combined, making it a go to place for them all. Cypher in particular had a love for the noodle bowls and it made him happy to tell her all about his day at school over a heaping plate of his favorite food. She tried to focus on what her son was saying, but her mind kept wandering to her mother and the sink hole problem among other things. Along with her lack of focus came a side dish of guilt for not being able to fully engage when her son was talking. At one point, he was calling her repeatedly and she snapped out of her thoughts after the 4th 'Mam!'. "Hmmm?" Cypher stared at her expectantly, a fork still gripped in his hand. "I learned about deh birds in dah old place called Rayla."

    "Oh," she nodded, "Is that so? I've ridden on before and so has Dah. Your Dah rode a great red cryn falcon right on top of his back." That started a whole new flurry of questions which were field by his father who looked like he was doing his best to answer.

    Once they had made it home, Calysta tucked in Cypher with the promise she would tell him more about the falcons tomorrow, then let Illya put Lohgan to bed while she tended the twins. Luckily they didn't take long to feed or send off into sleep, though Edgar did have a tendency to fight it sometimes. A full stomach always took care of that problem. With the twins in their crib, Calysta peeled off her belt and then reached for the hem of her tunic top, pulling it over her head with a fluff of black, silky hair fluttering behind her. It had been a long day, though she'd had longer in the past by far. Mostly she wanted to stretch out in bed with her Chip and relax just a little in body since her mind wasn't likely to slow down at all during the night. She unplucked her bra from her chest, and then pulled her robe on before shimmying out of her pants along with the rest. Illya was already tossing off his clothes too, aiming for the hamper, and she picked up his cargo pants when his toss went a little sideways. Holding up the pair of pants, she realized there was a hole near the rear pocket. Her Chip always managed to end up with at least one hole or grass stain somewhere in his clothes before she retired the article to the donation bin. This time it looked like a bear claw had snagged the pocket. Piling the clothes into the hamper, she used the tiny stool on her side of the bed to climb up into their soft Chip mattress and half melted into the covers before letting out a long breath into the pillow. Illya settled beside her and she rolled over to face him, popping the side of her head on her hand and allowing her long hair to flow down where it wanted. "The doctor may call me if she gets worse," Calysta told Illya, "If I have to go up there in the night, do you want me to wake you?"

    It was finally time for bed and Illya carefully pulled his shirt off. He had a few little scratches from the bear and while none of them were bad enough to bleed there were a few tender spots on his back. Once the shirt was off the rest went quickly and he tossed his pants toward the bin. Kalizda picked them up and briefly examined them. A grin came to Illya's face and he pulled his boxers off. He had a feeling that she either patch the pants or tell him to keep them as bear only pants. He'd forgot to put on one of his bear pants before playing with Cin. Instead she stayed quiet until she got into the bed with him. All of his worries from earlier came flooding back and he pushed up on one elbow. "Yes, I want yah tah wake meh." With one hand he combed his fingers through her hair. "Why dun I know dat yah moter her? Why does she nut visit us? Es et someting I did?"

    His broad hand came up and played with her hair using gentleness that always surprised her, and yet she had come to enjoy at the same time. When he asked if her about her mother and why things were the way they were, Calysta's eyes widened some. He thought it was his fault? He didn't remember? it dawned on her that maybe he didn't really remember what happened on Terra or before that and he had been a bit lost the whole night, thinking he might have done something. "No," she assured him gently, "No, you didn't do anything at all." Tilting her head, she kissed the tops of his fingers playing in her hair. "My mother..." Her voice trailed off as she thought best how to sum up everything, and she met Illya's eyes, searching his face for a minute. "Kiya...she never wanted children to begin with and gave me up to my father...she worked for the Federation as a doctor and it was her who helped them frame me for the Cirellant diplomat murder. She's the reason I crashed on Qouti. When we went to Terra looking for answers, we found her and she was placed on house arrest indefinitely though, some of what she did was forced." Clearing her throat, she swallowed and shifted a little closer to Illya. "She was in Belen's custody for awhile but the woman passed some time ago and Kiya has been on her own. She's...she's...somewhat cruel and wants nothing to do with me, but her mind has been slipping and I've sort of been looking after her since Belen died. She doesn't know that though and she's as likely to rage about it as she is to make wild accusations that the Ehaui are Federation in disguise coming to experiment or kill her." By this point, her cheeks were pink with embarrassment over her mother's actions and her eyes dropped to the mattress between them.

    Some of the story was making sense. Illya remembered parts of Terra, but not her mother. "Oh, so yah moter es dah reason yah get put in maximum security in dat prison. When yah tell meh dat jails are supposed tah be broke out of and nut into." He was certain that her mother had turned Kalizda in as soon as they got to Terra. "So we bring her back here and she es still rotten. Dat es nut yah fault. I guess et es good ting yah nut crazy too."

    Calysta let out a small snorting laugh, remembering when he came crushing through the wall and she'd popped off with a small scolding. "Aye, she is the reason and she's still as rotten as ever. Time hasn't done much for her attitude." Scooting a little closer to her Chip, she felt the usual heat radiating off him and smiled a little more. "It's a good thing I'm not crazy. She had gotten to the point now where I think she needs more help than I give alone and I am a bit worried. I wished it hadn't happened to her and I wonder sometimes if it was the guilt of what she's done, or maybe just from being alone too much. Of course, sometimes things like that are genetic and can be passed down. I hope I never become that way."

    Naturally all the worries came out and Illya was relieved to hear that this was not his fault. "Ah...well even yah get little crazy I tink I will love yah anyway. Yah love meh when I'm little crazy too." He grinned a little and winked at her. "Dere es someting else dat I tink about. Very serious." Looking down to the edge of the bed and then back up to the top he sighed, "I tink we have small bed. Maybe we get closer. I dun want tah fall off dah bed." With one arm he pulled her closer and took a deep breath. "Kalizda I know yah worry. What happen? Yah worry dat maybe dis es yah fault wit yah mum and yah watch her all dis time. Dun yah have enough watching when yah take care of all yah people?"

    He was trying both to get a rise out of her and make her smile at the same time and she chuckled a little when his arm wrapped around her, pulling her small frame to his chest all in the name of making sure they didn't fall off the bed. Her hands tucked against him out of natural habit right over the scar left by his heart surgery a few years ago. "Ooh, I'm glad you warned me. I wouldn't want you to fall off. Better now?" she replied, kissing his cheek. When he continued about her mother, she gazed up at him and nodded. "I wonder if there is something more I could have done. Maybe I should have tried harder to connect with her. Let the children meet her maybe. I was worried she might hurt them though and I wouldn't be able to stand it if she had done that. Even if I have the rest of the Alliance to take care of, I didn't want her to die alone if she did. I used to imagine what she was like when I was a kid and I always thought she was just kind, and beautiful and funny, but wasn't ready for a child at the time. I know better now, but after everything, it would still bother me if the woman who birthed me just vanished like that. If she does live, Is that strange? I'm not sure if I should put her in a home or continue trying to help on my own. She'll likely be an unholy terror wherever she is."

    "Yes, some better." Illya mumbled a little through the kiss. With his few questions there was a whole tumble of answers and a few questions of her own that came out. Listening to her he nodded a little. "Mmm I tink yah make right choices. Ef she es nut dah woman yah imagine as girl den she would hurt our little ones. Kalizda, maybe yah get home for her. Et would nut be cruel. Dey would make sure she has proper food, and she es taken care of even ef she tinks badly of dah care. Et es nut good tah let her suffer because her mind es sick." Carefully Illya rubbed her back and worked at the tight muscles in her shoulders. "I dun know what all yah job requires, but I know dere a lot on yah mind. I worry when I only take care of Chippequoti and yah have many more people. Share yah worries with meh and I can help yah."

    All the questions on her mind about what to do with her mother had been building up for some time and Illya seemed to think putting her in the care of a home might be best. Calysta had been leaning toward the option for some time as things had gotten worse but with the prospect of her being so ill and hurt, the woman wouldn't be able to live on her own anymore. In the end, Kiya was in her mid life and might hate her for placing her somewhere for people far past their prime, but it was the best thing to do. Illya seemed to think so too, which was relief. Illya's warm hand circled around her back and rubbed with light pressure that felt nice. She started to relax a little more with him, simply enjoying the touch. "I think you're right," she admitted quietly. He wanted to know more it seemed and he almost never asked about her work.

    Normally, she didn't mention it because he usually had more on his plate than she did and she wasn't the kind to make her Chip worry when he didn't have to. Of course, he sounded worried about her right now given that he didn't know alot of what she did. Should she say anything? Calysta's little fingers played over his chest, her thumb stroking absently at his smooth, tan skin as she thought for a moment. He really wanted to know? Biting a little at her lip, she nodded again to confirm that he was right. "I've been working on a few things," she said, "I have to fix this sinkhole issue on Pyrta here and I have been working on the details of a deal for a new school which will include rooms for cultural studies for each Alliance member...Kaerelean...Terran...Pithian...and Chippeqouti along with the rest...Oh and I have been working for months on organizing my tour of Kaereal. Normally it happens ever 2-3 years for a council member's tenure, but with the war it hasn't happened at all since I started. That's been taking alot of time. I've also been in contact with the Terran colony to continue to help them organize. They want an entirely separate seat on the council, which is up for vote along with a seat for the everyone else. There have been letters and messages constantly coming in, both good and bad over that. Then I've helping Rose with starting her translations for the project the Elders have given her. She's been working on translating Chippeqouti history and stories commissioned by the Elders and is having an issue every now and then with syntax between Kaerelean and Chippeqouti. Oh, and I've also been trying to finish up my own little project too. I was asked to help with the design for a new engine to be used for the fleet, and the first few test flights have gone well. We should be receiving commission for that work soon too though and most of that first payment to us will go to pay for-" She cut off her words for a moment, debating whether or not to tell him about what she had done yet. Would he think she was crazy for doing it or lose faith in her ability to run things if she told him? "It's going to finish up a safe house for us. It's money I earned as a private consultant and separate from my work as a council woman...I used it to purchase land on a planet on the fringe under a false name. With the war...and after what happened on Terra...if everything fell apart and I couldn't keep it together...I wanted a place where we could be safe."

    Somehow the offer to help seemed futile. The more Illya listened to what she was doing the more he realized he couldn't quite help like he thought he could. Translating from Chippequoti to Kaerelean was something he couldn't do, but if she needed a word in Quoti he could have helped Rose. Anything with a school Illya wouldn't know much about. Voting was something he couldn't change and the Terrans wouldn't want his help. Perhaps the only thing he could do anything to help with was the safe house. "Oh..." His statement fell flat and he searched her face with one eyebrow raised. What was going to do to help her now? "Eh...maybe yah give meh history of old travels for dah tour and I make plans for et and I help wit safe house. Safe house es someting dat I know. I plan entire bunkers for hundreds of Chippequoti before."

    Calysta knew he wanted to help her, though he wasn't exactly sure what to do that might of assistance. If she honest alot of it were things he couldn't do, but she just had been holding in the entire time so he didn't have to worry about her own work. His offer to help with the trip and the safe house was a good one though and she smiled up at him tentatively. "That would help," she told him earnestly, "The trip spans all 90 continents, but I have to make a schedule and itinerary to turn in soon. Following Henaiah's trips to see what she did would be good. The safe house is something you would know better than I would, and I've had a few plans for it. If it's never needed we can always keep it for traveling some day. I hope that's all we'll ever need it for." Her hands slowly slipped from his chest and settled on to his side. "I know it probably seems excessive, but with the children I wanted to make sure you felt safe along with them just in case."

    At least there were a few things that Illya could do for her. "Den I will take care of dese tings." Giving her a little nod he smiled slightly until that last sentence. Slowly the smile faded and he frowned slightly. "Ef we have tah use dat safe house et will nut be jes mehself and dah children. Yah will have tah come wit. Dah agreed dun leave each oter. Dey may send children wit oters for safety, but dey do nut separate in danger like dat. Dis war es someting we fight togeter and I would nut leave yah alone tah die when I could be dere."

    Calysta saw his smile fade a little. She wondered if he knew that she was dedicate everything she could to hold the alliance together for him and the children. She would fight tooth and nail to keep the Alliance a place where her children could grow up unafraid and she worried that he might take the safe house as a bit of a cop out but didnt. Instead, he said that he would be there standing beside her. Her throat tightened a little and she wrapped her arms tightly around him, drawing him close as she could and kissed him. "Thank you. We fight together no matter what." She knew she was so lucky to have him. For as lonely as her mother must have been, she had support ten fold in her husband, her agreed, and she loved him endlessly. Her hug turned to slow kisses, just to show him how much she did love him.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    By the time she woke in the morning to the sound of Lohgan pushing open their bedroom door, Calysta was curled against Illya quite comfortably. Her only move was to check her pad before making room for her daughter to wiggle in behind her. It appeared Kiya had stabilized and had made it through the night. There were still other concerns, but for the moment the woman was doing as well as could be expected. That was some small relief and the following message gave more decent news. The geologists were on Pyrta and would be meeting with her at noon to work up an initial assessment. It meant she could sleep in a little more.

    Calysta shifted slightly, gathering Lohgan up in her arms then kissed the top of her head before closing her eyes again. She was glad her daughters had a mother with them, even if she wasn't perfect. There would have been a time where she would have given anything for someone to be a mother for her. Henaiah had almost been that person, but it hadn't worked out in the end. Maybe she didn't know much about being one without a proper example growing up and maybe there were better moms out there. Illya seemed to think she was doing a decent enough job at it though and she loved her children. Surely, that was a good sign. Hugging Lohgan close, Calysta smiled to herself with the thought that she hadn't turned out so bad.

    Eventually, she had to get Cypher up for school. It wasn't a hard task given how active he was at any time of day. He bounded with fresh energy in the mornings with the prospect of his favorite berries for breakfast and the hope that he would get to walk with Cin to school. She sent him off to school with the bear loping on one side and his dog trotting along the other, both bigger than him for now. Illya came into the kitchen to help finish up breakfasts for the rest of their troupe and she walked up beside him, rubbing gently at his back. "Morning," she said. They exchanged a little kiss and she smiled up at him. "I forgot to mention last night. I came up with a study schedule for you. You've only got a few months before entrance exams and we've got some work ahead of us. " Inching her pad over to him, she let him look over the regimen. The mornings consisted of a brisk walk, then a study session of hour increments with break times and meals in between. Each study session was divided by subject and she had focused heavily on language and law related issues out right. "We can work on it together and you still have your nights free," she told him happily, "What do you think?"
     
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  6. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    The first time Illya woke up it was near 3 a.m. and he didn't want to get up. A spasm shot through his spine again and he rolled to his back to see if it would relieve any of the discomfort. Sometimes laying on his side too much got his back feeling like it was twisted. After a few minutes the spasms started to subside and he gradually fell asleep all over again. Only a few hours later the door to their room creaked open and Illya rolled to his side and lifted his head just enough that he could see Lohgan coming into their room. He'd made sure all the kids knew they could come to the room whenever they needed and he wasn't going to scold the girl even if it was entirely too early to come into their room. Putting his head back down on the pillow Illya closed his eyes and almost immediately fell asleep again. If Lohgan needed help she would ask for it, otherwise the girl was going to help herself.

    A while later Illya woke up to a strangely empty feeling bed. Patting the bed down on his side first he moaned a little in his half sleep state and then started to frisk Kalizda's side of the bed. All he discovered were a few of her pillows and the blankets lumped up. Pushing himself up, Illya yawned and rubbed at his face before he pulled the covers back and made the mad scramble for clothing. In many ways it was the worst part of having to get up. Getting out of the warm blankets and then meeting the cooler air of the room was never much fun. Once he had his clothes on Illya decided to go see what he could do to help Kalizda with the morning chores.

    Mornings at home were not the time that he worried about his hair and it was obvious when he came down the stairs. Illya was wearing clean clothes, but his hair stuck out in wild curls and waves. There were still sheet marks on Illya's face and his eyes were half closed. A gentle hand rubbed along his lower back and Illya lazily lifted one corner of his lips into half smile. "Eh, morning." Lohgan would be wanting her breakfast soon. The girl liked to get up, but she enjoyed moving slower in the mornings and then eating her breakfast. The twins were another story. Kalizda would need help holding one of them at least while they tried to have breakfast. Illya usually held onto the more rambunctious of the boys and fed him his bottle while he stabbed at whatever his breakfast was with a fork in his spare hand. It irritated their son to see that dad would eat while feeding him instead of focusing solely on the bottle feeding. However, it didn't matter. While Illya was still trying to get his morning brain put together Kalizda handed him a drill of sorts for study. Raising an eyebrow he smirked. "Oh, yah have meh walk first. Dun want tah roll a fat Chip into Skycorp tah take test eh?"

    Illya was looking his usual sleepy self in the mornings but it was the half smile that made her reflect the same expression back to him. He looked over the pad as she waited somewhat eagerly to see if he would like the schedule. It had been crafted with care and with special focus on what he would need. When he smirked back at her and asked if she was worried about rolling a fat Chip into Skycorp for the test, Calysta's cheeks turned pink and she gave him a bit of a shy look. "Well, I wanted you to have an easier time during the physical and...I...well...I wanted to get back into better shape myself. I thought it might be good to train together."

    It was always worth those awkward comments to see Kalizda turn red. Chuckling a little Illya got closer to Kalizda and kissed her on the top of her head. "I tink maybe training wit meh Kalizda would be best part of meh day." He wasn't looking forward to the study time, but he wouldn't mind the little bit of extra attention.

    He pecked the top of her head gently and she smiled, though her cheeks were still hot from having to admit that the physical training was as much for her as it was him. It made her happy to think that spending time with her was something he would call the best part of his day. She was a lucky woman to hear things like that. It did spur her into attempting to be a bit more bold with him since they were the only two in the kitchen. "Mmm," she hummed as her hand rubbed at his back again, "It will be my favorite part too and then...we always have night." Of course, now that she had started blushing, her comment managed to make it all the brighter though she had been more bold than that in the past.

    It was impossible not to chuckle a little bit at Kalizda's next comment. "Dats meh favorite part of dah day too. Yah make sure everyday es good day." It was slightly entertaining to watch and see how red she would get when she spoke about these sort of things with him. "Maybe we just start wit fun stuff today. We walk little bit and den tahnight we spend time togeter. I tink I get some extra oils and I massage yah back and yah feet and legs. In dat order." He knew if it wasn't in that order he would never get to all of it. "I help meh Kalizda relax. Yah have long days and too much work."

    Calysta gave her Chip a shy, but knowing smile and nodded. He was trying to flirt and to help at the same time, both of which she appreciated. In fact, the idea of a massage from him sounded good in more ways than one, even if she knew by the time he made it to her ankles that would be all the more he could stand before getting into hard work. Smiling a bit more playfully, Calysta stood on her toes and stole a quick kiss from him. "I think that would be a wonderful idea in that order."Her days might have been long with tons of stuff to do between everything for her work as a council woman and also trying to run a house hold while helping Illya in his studies, but her agreed is someone she would always make time for.

    ************

    The day was long and Ehud knew that tomorrow would feel longer. With the colder weather coming on he could tell that he was close to getting the cough. When he got the cough he could stay at home and he probably would because he knew that Sien wouldn't be far behind him. Sien tended to get fevers a little more easily and that was because of his age. For most of the Light Chippequoti the fevers got to be less severe and far less frequent to accompany a cough as they got older. Unfortunately their darker cousins didn't get the same benefit. They were more susceptible to the cold and usually they got fevers a bit more easily, but that was likely due to the slight difference in their bones. Light Chippequoti bones were not quite as dense and it was the reason he had been able to hide for as long as he did on Terra.

    When he started winding through the streets into the Chip district Ehud could smell the familiar scents that reminded him of the war. There was a reason that he chose not to live directly in the Chip district. Sometimes the memories were good, but he had almost as many bad ones living among his people as he did living on Terra. He was torn between the people and despite what the Terrans did he liked most of them. Many Terrans didn't know what the Federation was doing and even fewer knew that the Federation existed. For the most part they were a good people and Ehud almost considered them his own.

    A stiff breeze pulled at the sleeves on Ehud's jacket and he could feel the wind's tendrils creep up his arms. Folding his arms in front of himself he gave his best attempt at blocking cold air. Just as he started to turn the corner and then step onto the sidewalk leading to Illya and Kalizda's front door he looked up to see that Priscilla was sitting out on the front porch.

    Priscilla beckoned him over to sit next to her before he got to the front door and Ehud walked over to where she was and he sat down next to her. The swing rocked gently back and forth a little and he planted his feet firmly on the ground, but used them to keep the slight momentum. It was nice feeling to rock like that. Only a few seconds after he was seated Priscilla threw an odd question at him and Ehud blinked a few times. "Uh...Priscilla this depends partially on you." Ehud wasn't about to try and force anything and he had been trying to grapple some with his own feelings and he'd overcome most of the. "I don't want to hurt you by forcing anything. If you want to know my intentions then I'll tell you, but how far this goes depends on what you're ready for."

    For what felt like a long time Ehud stared out at the sidewalk and continued rocking before he said anything else. "I decided that Sien will need a mother and I would like to find a woman that I can love too. These are my intentions. I am not haphazardly running about and trying out women just because. If you cannot see any of this for yourself then my expectation is that you will tell me. If you think that you can possibly be that woman then I would like to know. " Glancing at her he shrugged a little, "And, if you think that perhaps you will need time to know if you are a friend, or this woman I will understand. It is difficult to lose someone. Priscilla, I like you. If you need time I will wait."

    ********************************

    "Uuugh..." Illya groaned with the first alarm that went off. He'd gotten used to not having alarms and waiting for the kids to wake him up. This time they were getting up earlier than the kids and he didn't want to get up yet. However, this was the new plan for his success and entrance into Skycorp. Since he was starting a new exercise regime Illya knew that either his leg would hurt where the prosthetic was attached, or his back would ache. No matter the case, Illya took the lozenge he could have in day and stuffed it into the side of his cheek. From here on out he figured he'd sip tea to see if he could get ahead of the pain and stay ahead of it. Eventually he would get used to doing the kind of exercise he would be doing with Kalizda again and then it wouldn't hurt quite as much.

    Before they left the house Illya grabbed his thick green sweater that Kalizda got him while he was on the Pithian planet. Once it was over his head Illya opened the front door for Kalizda and stepped outside. "Should we take dah dogs and dah bear?" The animals would need an outing and Illya knew that Quroz needed it too. Since their first morning was more likely to be leisurely compared to what it would become they let the animals out to get some play and exercise too.

    Pytra was quiet this early in the morning. While they were walking Illya reached out and grabbed Kalizda's hand with his. For the moment it reminded him of the gold ring he had on his left hand and he grinned. Perhaps it was a good time to tell her about the dream he had. "Kalizda, I dream last night. Et was good dream. We went back to dat place yah like wit dah glass floor. We were eating dessert and den yah get glider wings and we go jump off dah top of dah restaurant. I tink maybe we try dis next time, well, maybe we jump first and den have dessert."

    ****************
    Somehow the language part was the worst and Illya knew it would be, but he didn't think it would be so hard. He had forgotten how much he struggled to even read Trader's Tongue. Normally he had a translator on his pad read stuff to him and he had gotten lazy enough that he hadn't followed along for some time. It was near the end of the day and Illya glanced at the clock again. It had been nearly an hour. He had only about 20 minutes left to finish out his 1 hour and 15 minute session in language. Even if he was supposed to try and finish making the translation using Trader's Tongue to determine the Kaerelean text he was feeling frustrated.

    Illya's eyes glazed over as he continued to stare at the book. There were plenty of thoughts running around in his head and he didn't even notice when the timer went off until Kalizda placed her hand on her shoulder. "Ooh.." Almost too quickly Illya shut the book and he grinned. "Yah make dinner tahnight and I make surprise for yah and den I can do dah dishes wit yah after dinner."

    Scampering up the stairs Illya started off setting up his plan for the night. First he needed to have some nice oils set up for the tub and he was sure to get some vanilla for Kalizda to put in her hair and call Asha to make arrangements for her to watch the kids. Then Illya turned on the base heater for the tub. The heater kept the tub itself warm so that when they ran warm water in the tub it would stay warm for a bit longer and that would let them indulge in a bit of soaking. Not to mention the fact that it felt nice and Illya liked to rub Kalizda's back and shoulders and her feet when they were in the tub. She liked it the last time they did that and somehow along the way with life they had forgotten to use the tub. It would be a nice change of pace.

    Focusing on dinner was hard, but Illya made it and then he quickly cleared the table and started the dishes rather than waiting the usual couple of minutes afterword. Thomas noted the hurry and Illya winked. "I have special night planned wit Kalizda. Asha said she would come help watch dah kids." It wasn't fair to always assume that Thomas would do it, but he could help if he wanted. As soon as Asha arrived Illya showed her where the bottles were for the twins and then held a hand out to Kalizda. Illya let her take one hand and then winked at her. "Yah like tah hold meh hand, or maybe I carry yah up dah stairs to yah surprise."
     
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