written a while ago but throwing it in here bc whY NOT
Jennalaia opened her eyes.
She was still smarting from the burns from the Black Sovereign Tower. Vaerie had offered to heal her, but she ignored him and treated the wounds herself. She was starting to regret it, but she'd rather tough it out for the next couple days than injure her pride by asking a cleric for help.
Jenn felt a twinge. Since she had been a kid, Cynthia had beaten her beliefs into all the students without realizing it. Jenn didn't exactly like clerics, but she didn't really see why they were so terrible.
Still, she had her pride to be concerned over and nothing could change that.
After a while, Jenn forced herself out of her bed and away from her soft, warm quilts and padded to the bathroom she shared with Alisun. She applied the usual burn cream and brushed her teeth.
It was never cold in Saint's Haven (not nearly as cold as it had been in Mana Ridge, anyway), but there had been a definite chill lately. Jenn wrote it off as a side effect from all the wintry cheer that had been going on lately.
She slipped off her pajamas for a moment and inspected her body in the mirror. She had been bruised and scraped a few days before, and she was absolutely positive she had cracked a rib or something, but all that remained from the Crossroads was a few bruises and a bandage on her arm that was always covered anyway. The cracked rib was also gone, and she suspected one of the clerics had healed it when she wasn't looking. Jenn was probably one of the biggest risk-takers of the entire guild, charging headfirst into action and worrying about defenses later. It probably wouldn't surprise the guild if she simply didn't return to the guild hall one day, simply because she had run out of resurrection scrolls.
Jenn sighed and put her pajamas back on. Stashy wanted her to head back to the Crossroads today, and she had something to deliver to the king's friend that way anyway. She smoothed out her hair and left her room, heading for the main hall.
To her surprise, everyone else in the guild was sitting around, eating breakfast and chatting. The Kalis were sitting together (Kaae seemed bright and eager for once), Yukijii, Alisun and Nuaide were discussing something lightly, and Delsine, Theophana, Vaerie and Irven were all grouped together at one table. The rest of the members were a bit scattered, and Jen didn't blame them. (Zcaliber, for example, was usually a loner.) Irven was joined by another sorceress, who wore nothing but a robe.
Jenn blinked. She was pretty sure Delsine and Theo never got up before noon. What the hell were they...?
Her eyes fell on the gaudy Christmas tree Delsine had insisted on buying. It was covered in tacky decorations and topped with a glittering star.
Kaydeen looked up from her massive plate of pancakes and her eyes lit up. She waved Jenn over. Jenn waved at her dismissively and entered the kitchen to put together her own breakfast.
She picked up some bacon and pancakes before sitting down at a table that was in between the Kali table and Delsine's table, but it was empty. Jenn preferred to eat alone; it was more efficient.
To her surprise though, Delsine glanced over at her before standing up on her table, greyish hair tumbling down her back. It appeared she hadn't tied it back yet today.
"Alright, listen up!" Delsine called out. There wasn't a lot of clamor anyway, but the guild hall silenced. "Today's Christmas, and now that everyone's here we're gonna eat together. Yeah, even you, Zcaliber, in the back. I see you." She glanced below her at Vae and Irven. "Move a couple tables together so we have enough room for everyone." She hopped down and looked at them expectantly.
"Why us?" Vae muttered as he and Irven complied. The two grabbed Jenn's table and started pulling it to their own. Jenn lurched forward and grabbed her glass of milk so it wouldn't spill everywhere.
"A little warning!" she snapped.
"Merry Christmas to you too," Vae muttered.
"Blugh," Jenn replied as the tables bumped together. She heard a loud commotion as the Kalis scattered while Kaydeen made sure they all had their food before picking up the table and carrying it over. She dropped it with a loud clunk and sat back down.
The other members, bit by bit, sat at the makeshift giant table. Delsine looked pleased. Jenn was displeased as she was wedged between Alisun (who she had never gotten close to, really) and the sorceress girl who hung on Irven's arm. (She suspected she was the source of the ghostly moans that had scared Alisun in the night.) Irven sat next to Vaerie, who now had to deal with Zcaliber chewing quietly beside him. Yukijii and Nuaide chatted next to Theo and Delsine. On the far end of the table, the Kalis were still clustered together. The rest of the guild members were scattered around the table, but before long a loud chatter filled the hall.
Jenn made herself as small as possible and ate her breakfast, intending to hit the road as soon as she could. It didn't matter if it was Christmas; Christmas was never a big deal at the Ridge. Except for that one year that the clerics got snowed in...
That had been a bit better. The clerics had been trapped there for longer than usual, so they decided to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the village. They had set up decorations, planned festivities, and handed out gifts. For months afterward, not a bad word had been said about the clerics. It had seemed that Mana Ridge almost developed respect for the clerics. Even Cynthia's scathing remarks had been silenced. But then it started up again, and the memories of the festive time were swept under the rug.
Jenn finished her pancakes and left the table for a moment to put them in the kitchen; someone else could wash them. She left the kitchen and started heading in the direction of her room, but an exaggerated "ahem" made her pause. She glanced over her shoulder to see Delsine staring meaningfully in her direction. Jenn stared at her for a few moments before realizing what she wanted. Groaning softly, Jenn returned to the table, stuck between Alisun and Irven's one-night stand once more.
After several minutes, when everyone was finished with their food, Delsine stood up on the bench and everyone quieted.
"I'm giving a Christmas gift to everyone - no work today!" she announced.
The table cheered. Jenn groaned and put her head in her hands.
"You guys can hang around the guild today I guess," the tiny tinkerer continued. "There are gifts to exchange and such. Enjoy your day off."
Delsine hopped down as the clamor resumed. Jenn glanced at Vaerie, but Vae was too busy talking to Theophana.
The sorceress hanging on Irven snuggled up close to him. "I already got my Christmas gift," she purred.
Evidently Vaerie was leaving one ear open, because both he and Jenn gagged simultaneously.
Kaydeen came bounding back to the table, holding a poorly-wrapped gift in her hands. "This is for you, Jenn!" she grinned, pushing it into Jenn's hands.
"Oh, um, thanks," Jenn said, tearing the paper open carefully. Inside was...
A rather poorly-stitched backpack. Jenn examined it. She... guessed it was supposed to be a reindeer? It was kind of hard to tell.
"I took it to a friend!" Kaydeen said enthusiastically. "It'll make you a bit faster!"
"Where did you get this because this is a real piece of sh-"
"I made it myself!"
"-ockingly well-done stitching! Wow I am totally blown away by how amazing this is! Thanks, Kaydeen."
Kaydeen beamed. Jenn made a mental note to throw an invisibility spell over it later, if it really was that useful.
Kaydeen bounced off to give gifts to other members. Theophana was handing out cookies to everyone. Jenn accepted, since they were pretty good. She wondered if that was why Theo had been dragging Vae, who was a pretty decent baker, off to the kitchen so much.
Delsine sat down across from Jenn. Jenn glanced up.
"This is for you," she said cheerfully, putting a small crystal vial in front of Jenn. "It's a potion to help improve your physical condition!"
"Why would I need this?" Jenn said blankly.
Vaerie reached over and prodded her on the shoulder, right over a burn.
Jenn winced. "Ow!"
"That's why," he muttered.
"Just drink it," Delsine said. "It's Christmas, what do you think I did, spike it?"
Jenn sighed and pulled off the top. At any rate, she got another vial that was kind of neat-looking. The potion tasted alright too, as opposed to that sludge that Kelly sold. Kind of like... cherries?
A warm feeling swept through the Mystic's body. She felt a little bit tougher, which was nice, except now there was a bit of a pain concentrating in her backside which was a little irritat-
Delsine cracked a huge grin.
"What?" Jenn said, annoyed. "Thanks for the gift I guess?"
Vae furrowed his brow. "What was that sound?" He leaned back and glanced behind Jenn.
And then he fell off his chair.
"What?" Jenn repeated, but Vaerie was laughing so hard he couldn't speak.
"What did you do?" Jenn growled.
"Nothin'!" she replied cheerfully.
Kaaelyn and Kaydeen bounded over. "What's going on?" Kaaelyn said, and then glanced behind Jenn. "Oh. Ohhhh-ho-hoho-" Her face cracked into a huge grin and she doubled over, letting out breathless laughs.
Kaydeen's eyes grew huge. "Whoaaaaaaaaa!"
"For the love of the Goddess, what the hell are you all laughing at?" Jenn snapped, looking behind her.
And then she swore loudly. The entire hall silenced.
"You gave me a ******** tail!" she snarled, twisting to display it. It was true; Jenn now had a white, fluffy, brown-capped fox tail sprouting out just above her rear. "What the hell?"
Vaerie doubled over in hysterics again.
Delsine grinned. "Hey, it's only a prank! Should vanish in a couple hours, anyway."
Jenn felt her face grow hot. "Should?"
"Well, I did buy the thing off Ed," she admitted, shrugging. "He said it was temporary."
"And you trusted him!?"
Jenn sat back down and glowered at the table. This was absolutely ridiculous. She couldn't go out like this!
Vaerie climbed back into his seat, still snickering. "So... can I call you a b***h and get away with it?"
Jenn glared at him and summoned a ball of fire. "I will ******** burn you-"
"Ah-ah-ah," Delsine said, waggling her finger. "No burning in the presence of a guild leader."
She looked ridiculous, Jenn thought. Delsine only came up to her stomach. She had big eyes and long grey hair that she usually tied back in pigtails. She wasn't even wearing her usual gear - she just had on a nightie. But she also had the power to kick Jenn out on the street, and that wasn't a position Jenn wanted to be in on Christmas Day.
She extinguished the flames and crossed her arms. "Fine."
"Ah, we get along so well!" Delsine extended her hands happily and went back to chatting with Theophana.
Jenn slumped over grumpily and glared at the wall. There was a reason she didn't hang around the guild all that much, and this was one of them. She had been motivated to get the hell out of Saint's Haven to get more powerful than Vaerie. She really, really, really wanted to have the ability to beat his a** again in a fair fight.
And, um, meeting Kasarana and setting up residence in Lotus March. That was also important. Yeah.
"Oh, by the way, Jennalaia," Delsine said suddenly. Jenn looked at her warily. "Everyone would like something decent for lunch. Get on that, would you?"
"I'm not your maid." Jenn flipped her off.
Delsine returned the gesture cheerily. "You are my subordinate, and below me in guild rank. I'm feeling like a grilled cheese today."
Jenn desperately wished she had her staff on her. She had recently figured out Gravity Crush and was simply dying to use it. Crushing her opponents under massive pressure sure sounded good right about now. Unfortunately, she didn't have it and she couldn't summon it. She could summon her orb right now if she wanted, but all she could do with that was smack Delsine a few times.
Well, cooking did always make her feel better. But she flat-out refused to suffer alone.
"I think Vaevae should bake everyone some cookies," she said casually. Vaerie froze and glanced at her.
"Hmmm." Delsine touched her chin, glancing between Jenn and Vae. "I do like Vaerie's cookies. Yeah, Vae, go ahead and do that."
Jenn grinned. Vaerie stared at her grumpily and got up. "Fine."
"Poison Jenn's share too."
"No." Vae walked into the kitchen.
"Oi!" Jenn glared at Delsine, who just giggled.
"I didn't mean anything fatal. Just something to make you barf or something."
"You're a d**k." Jenn stalked into the kitchen.
To her surprise, there was a book waiting for her. It was wrapped up rather sloppily with a ribbon, but the ribbon was at least tied off neatly. Jenn blinked and picked it up.
It was... well, it looked like a romance-adventure novel. It seemed a bit beat-up, but Jenn loved beat-up books.
"Merry Christmas," Vaerie grunted from the corner, cracking eggs into a bowl. "I don't read that one anymore, so I figured you'd like it."
"Oh, uh, thanks," Jenn said, surprised. She hadn't expected any gifts from anyone; even the reindeer backpack from Kaydeen had been a surprise. She hadn't gotten anyone anything either, but maybe...
Jenn clicked her fingers, and a few moments later a book wooshed into her hand. She took the ribbon from Vaerie's book and quickly tied up the one she had just summoned, sending the other one back to her room. "And, uh, you too I guess."
Vaerie dropped the egg shells in the trash and took it with surprise. "Uhm, thanks." He felt it with his fingers and gave her a wary look. "This isn't... booby-trapped, is it?"
"Kay." Vaerie put it aside and started mixing the batter, but his posture was somewhat more cheerful. Jenn couldn't help grinning a bit; he may have been pleased now, but he wouldn't be when he found out the book she'd just given him was one she'd... borrowed without permission from his library and forgotten to give back.
Pleased with herself for now, she tied her hair back. "So Delsine wanted grilled cheese, right? Kaydeen will want a cheeseburger, Kaaelyn some sausage..."
"Merry Christmas, by the way," Vaerie said offhandedly.
"Same to you." Jenn got to work.
· Wed Jan 08, 2014 @ 06:27am · 0 Comments