“Thank you and goodnight Elmville, it’s great to be home!” Fig shouted, as the lights in the venue died and the curtain came down on stage
“You guys good if I bounce?” Fig asked the other two members of her band
“For sure, Fig, get on home.” Replied Poppy
Finally coming off tour after three months, it truly was great to be home. Fig cast a quick dimension door just to get there a little quicker, and felt a wave of relief as she crossed the threshold of her house. She slid perfect, pale red feet from her heavy boots, and stared down at her black painted toenails. She was always so sore after a show, and would absolutely kill for a massage, but it was also nearly midnight, and asking her beautiful wife for anything this late would be unfair, instead she slipped quietly into their bedroom and crawled into warm, strong arms in silence.
Ayda had no memory of Fig’s return, and certainly no memory of wrapping around her in the middle of the night, but when she awoke in their shared bedroom, softly lit by the light of her wings, Ayda was graced with the sleeping visage of a beautiful Tiefling face. The half Phoenix smiled, glad to see the part of her family that had been missing for so long, and sent a message down the road to Vice-Principal of Aguefort Adventuring Academy: Gilear Faeth
“Vice Principal Faeth, I will not be able to make it to the academy this morning, I will be spending time with my family.” Ayda said
“Of course, Headmistress. I shall continue in the day to day, it would be nice to hear from my daughter-“ Ayda cut off the message before Gilear could finish, and continued to hold her wife close to her chest. After another half hour or so, Ayda slipped out of bed, taking care to not wake her wife. Ayda walked as quietly as she could, and the half-phoenix was surprisingly stealthy for a person with talons, but that didn’t stop the sounds of a mother in her kitchen, which has the power to wake even the best sleepers.
The sound of soft, tired footfalls echoed around the corner, and a little girl, no more than five, slowly walked into the kitchen, rubbing at her gleaming, crimson eyes, and unconsciously fluttering her small wings.
“Good morning, Cara.” Ayda said, bending down from in front of the coffee maker to stroke her daughter’s hair
Cara, full name Carardor Lynn Aguefort, was the product of a very complicated spell devised by Ayda, Fig, and Adaine that had managed to fuse not only genetics, but also pieces of Fig and Ayda’s souls and magic, creating both body and soul.
The young girl pulled herself into a seat at the kitchen island, and laid her head on the cool granite
“Morning, momma.” She replied, “whas for breakfast?”
“What would you like? Your mother’s home, I was planning on asking her, but you woke up first, so you get to decide.”
“Mom’s home?! We gotta wake her up! When did she get home? We gotta wake her up!”
“Alright, little one, I’ll be right back.” Ayda slipped back into her bedroom, intending to gently brush Fig’s hair away from her face, and kiss her forehead to wake her, but the rockstar was already up, and had been since Ayda had left. Fig had felt her wife’s weight leave the bed and that, combined with thoughts about the Sig Figs, was enough to fully wake her. Fig loved playing in her band, loved being on stage, loved exciting thousands of people at a time, but the band had changed after Gorgug left. Fig didn’t blame him, he had kids, Zelda was overworked and underpaid, life has a way of making people make decisions. As much as Fig didn’t blame Gorgug for leaving, the negative emotions associated with that change were still swirling around in the soup that was Fig’s brain. All these thoughts were raging through Fig’s mind as Ayda entered and saw her sitting against the headboard.
“Good morning, Fig.” Ayda said, easy smile crossing her face
“Morning, Sweetheart.” Fig replied, the sight of her wife banishing, at least for a moment, the melancholy and anger that had filled her mind previously.
“Our daughter wants to see you, and to know what is for breakfast.”
“Her wish is my command.”
Short chapter following Fabian and Riz, with a flash of our favorite wizard
It was far too early in the morning, but Fabian was awake and aware thanks to trauma that just Refused to go away. Regardless of the reason for his wakefulness, he was somehow managing to lounge on a barstool in his kitchen while scrolling through the Bastion City Times on his crystal. “Eccentric wizard, former headmaster, and now hermit, Arthur Aguefort found living high in the Mountains of Chaos, fending off reporters by casting Power Word Stun multiple times.”
“What a crazy old man.” Fabian muttered under his breath, beginning to make Riz’s coffee just as he stumbled out of their bedroom, curly green hair ruffled, and dark bags so deeply ingrained under his eyes Fabian wondered if they even could go away.
“Good morning, The Ball.” Fabian greeted, holding Riz’s oversized ceramic mug out to him
“Fabian, dude. I love you.” Riz replied, eyes fluttering to stay open
“Love you too, Riz. Have you seen this nonsense about Principal Aguefort?”
“No? Ayda or her dad?”
“Her dad, apparently he’s living in the Mountains of Chaos.”
Fabian handed his partner the crystal, and the article seemed to wake him more than the coffee he had already half drunk.
“Should we... do something? Like help him or something?” Riz asked
“Nah dude, he’s living his best life. Do you want a ride to work, or is it another walking day?”
“I would love a ride, babe.”
Half an hour later, Fabian and Riz stepped down into a sleek and sexy four door sedan, low to the ground, painted black with orange metallic flakes throughout, and a small skull and crossbones as a hood ornament. The Hangman, having been transferred into this car once the rest of the bad kids started having kids and needing babysitters, pulled out of the garage of the new, stately Seacaster Manor and started on the way to Ballaster and to Riz’s office
A look at Gorgug’s little family, that he’s so happy to have
Gorgug had been awake for hours, an occupational hazard of having toddlers, but he wouldn’t give it up for the world. Rosalynd, named after Gorgug’s biological mother, was the older of the two, nearing three and half years old, and the twins Castor and Pollux were two. Castor and Pollux where generally quiet, at least as quiet as toddlers can be, but Roz was a spitfire, wild and free, she was gonna be a dancer like her mom.
“Roz, honey, please get down from there.” Gorgug said, holding his arms out
Roz, from on top of the fridge, shouted “No!”
A little bit of rage boiled up behind Gorgug’s eyes, but with the patience his parents taught him, he pushed it down.
“Roz, I don’t want to pick you up without your permission, but if you don’t get down, I’m gonna have to.”
Roz pouted, but crawled closer to her dad, who lifted her off the fridge and onto his shoulders. She quickly stopped pouting, and began softly tugging on Gorgug’s hair, pulling in the direction she wanted him to go, and Gorgug easily complied.
“Roz, do you wanna go see your aunties and cousin Cara?”
“Yeah! Yeah yeah yeah!”
“Alright let me just go get your brothers. Stay here, okay?”
Gorgug carefully and quietly snuck past his and Zelda’s room to the door that opened to Castor and Pollux’s room. The twins’ room was still quiet, still filled with sleeping boys, and Gorgug let his shoulders slump a little. Gorgug missed being in the Sig Figs, missed letting out his rage on drums, fast and hard rather than slowly and quietly venting to his wife, or his friends. He was thankful for his kids, of course he was, he loved them. He loved their energy, and their behavior, and the way they talked and learned, but he missed that catharsis, he missed not having to push down the rage that boiled up in him in the least convenient moments.
“Daddy?” Castor said, his dark hair poking up in bed
“Heyyy buddy, how’s my little man?” Gorgug answered, walking over and kneeling down to the bottom bunk
“Yeah Cas, I’m okay. Daddy’s just a little tired, your sister woke up pretty early today.”
“Okay. Po’x, Po’x wake up.”
Pollux stirred in his bed, flinging off the dark red Fig and the Sig Figs branded blanket, and peering down through the metal bars
“Hi, Dad.” Pollux said quietly, waggling his fingers in a small wave
“Hey Pollux, I was getting ready to take your brother and sister to see Auntie Fig and Ayda, do you wanna come?”
“Alright, then let’s change out of our jammies and we can get going.”
Adaine’s a wreck, Aelwyn wins most improved, and both are somehow therapists.
Adaine awoke to heat. She was slumped over the small dining room table in her Bastion city apartment, and she was awoken by a heat, a heat in her cheeks, a heat between her legs, and a heat on the two tattoos on her wrists. She had gotten them a decade before, a sort of graduation ceremony with Fig and Ayda. Both tattoos were designs of lipstick kisses, the one on her left wrist was black, and the one on her right was deep reddish orange, and every time Adaine looked at them, she was reminded that Fig and Ayda both had the same designs on their wrists, but instead of Black, or Orange, one of them was an icy blue. It had been a long time since Adaine had dreamt about Fig and Ayda, but that was a fantasy, nothing more.
Adaine arranged the papers in front of her, and started when she realized the time. The elven woman quickly slid on a comfortable pair of sneakers and practically ran to her office downstairs. Margie, the receptionist for Abernant Family Counseling, saw Adaine fly in through the side door and chuckled, calling out “You’re lucky we don’t open for another twenty minutes!”
Adaine slowed at that, thinking back to the clock on her wall, and cursing her sister. “Thank you for telling me that, Margie. I’m going to kill my sister.”
Adaine stomped down the hall to Aelwyn’s office door in her rumpled jeans, and wrinkled t-shirt. Aelwyn opened the door just as her sister raised a fist to knock. If the universe gave out most improved awards, Aelwyn would have received quite a few. The Elf started Abernant Family Counseling after college with a recommendation from Jawbone, and an accreditation by the Bastion City Licensure board, and promised her sister a place when she was finished with her own accreditation.
Adaine glared at her sister, who smiled sweetly, and said “Good morning, Adaine.”
“Aelwyn, did you set my clock twenty minutes fast?” Adaine asked
“Given how you were acting last night, you needed it. Why won’t you call them?”
Adaine’s eyes narrowed, and she said “I have an appointment in twenty minutes, have a nice day Aelwyn.”
“Love you too, Adaine.”
Kristen was arguing with a border patrol ranger, she and Tracker were sitting in a chair in the ranger station. They were coming home from The Baronies, and a small mission trip they had organized, as it turns out Cassandra was pretty popular, especially outside of Solace, so Kristen had arranged for a mission trip with the teens of the congregation, but Someone (absolutely Kristen) managed to leave the bags that held her and Tracker’s passports in the Tavern at the last town.
“Kristen, Babe it’ll take like thirty minutes, I’ll go back to the tavern and get our passports.” Tracker said exasperatedly.
“That’s not the point, Tracker. He should know who we are! We saved the world like five times!” Kristen replied
“Babe, just let me go get the passports, wait here.”
Tracker shifted into her spectral wolf form and darted back down the road towards the last town, while Kristen sat down in one of the hard plastic chairs that lined the walls of the border checkpoint. After a few minutes, one of the younger kids in the congregation, who Kristen knew by the name Caleb, came up to her and asked “Saint Applebees, why doesn’t Cassandra ask for prayers like Sol and Helio do? Do they not need them to exist like the other gods?”
“Well, sure they do kid, they way we pray to Cassandra, isn’t through words, it’s through actions. Prayer in the Helioic church isn’t about loving Helio or Sol, it’s about… appealing to their egos, about giving them things to brag about, but praying with Cassandra is different.” Kristen began, and by this point the rest of the teens had gathered around
“Cassandra doesn’t need their ego appealed to, they are essentially free from ego, they don’t know exactly who they are, or where their future is headed, and that’s incredibly freeing, so any time that we simply exist, and do things that remind us and the world that we’re living beings with free will, then Cassandra gets a little bit of that energy, every time… every time I kiss Tracker, or heal someone, I’m letting it be known that I am a person free to choose, and that’s how I pray, Cassandra and I don’t need thoughts or words, we understand each other through our actions.” Kristen finished, twiddling with her staff
The teens stared in awe at their guide, and then, as though little light bulbs went off in their heads, or padlocks unlocked in them, they began speaking with one another, brainstorming ideas of ways to express their free will. Tracker arrived not long after with both passports in her muzzle, to find Kristen and the kids all lying on the floor in a circle, defying social norms, and each and every one praying to their goddex.
Just as they crossed the exit door of the border checkpoint, Kristen’s crystal pinged as she got an email, exactly at the same time as five others crystals pinged with the same message, all six screens flared to life, and the Bad Kids in unison, though they didn’t know it, read aloud: “Dear [graduated Alumnus] of Aguefort Academy Class of 2021, congratulations! Your ten year reunion is coming up! You are invited to join us, and your graduating class on the Grounds of Aguefort Adventuring Academy next Saturday, your attendance is