Title: Unexpected Visitor – Luke’s Place
RP Thread Number: 63
When Occured: Between Sessions #25 and #26
Location: Luke’s Shack
Out of Game Date: Mar 20th – Mar 29th, 2019
Participants: Luke, Sidonai, Rabbit
Original Thread: http://silkandspices.net/forums/index.php?topic=53.0
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Key and Anglerond exit their carriage and Key asks the driver to wait for them. She moves over to Lukes door and knocks politely three times and waits for an answer.
Rabbit looks up from where she was cooking towards the door when she hears the knocks. Still naked from the night before she grabs a small robe hanging by the stove. She likes being naked and has learned she should have something handy since most of the people up here are prudish. She hears the third knock and she smiles. She has grown incredibly happy and comfortable with her neighbors in the warren coming to the door looking for food, for some money or usually… for Luke.
She walks over to the door and sets down a long knife on the table beside her before answering, you never knew if something bad would happen as she opens it.
When Rabbit opens the door Key can see her disheveled hair draping down her body, growing longer with the months. Her face and body tousled as well, indicating what she has been doing to Key clearly. A grin splits Rabbit’s face at the sight of her sister though.
She reaches forward and hugs Key, the happiness at the idea of getting married coming off her in waves, even if she is mostly silent. She leans forward, “Let me yell at the tree to get up here.”
With that Rabbit steps back into the home and yells to Luke “We have visitors Luke, get your ass up here.” She steps back further to let Key and Anglerond in. There is amusement on Rabbit’s face from Anglerond stepping back in surprise at how Rabbit is dressed.
Luke comes up then new stairs, still marveling at how much house he has now. He makes his way to the door, and kisses Rabbit on top of the head,before he sees Key.
“Oh, come in. Come down to the kitchen, or the living area. What brings you over?” He motions Key and Anglerond into the home.
Key hugs Rabbit back tightly and enters when invited in. She finds the closest chair she thinks she can get out of and lowers herself into it.
“We hadn’t seen you guys in so long we thought we’d come check to see if you were alive or dead.” She teases.
“Actually though, I came to ask Rabbit a few questions.” She smiles sweetly at her sister.
“Oh, okay. We had a lot to work out with how everything is changing. I have the whole new baby thing, Izzy is living over with you, which thank you for that. I’d prefer that to stay that way. Rabbit is free. Yeah. There have been a lot of things going down. Don’t let me stand in your way,” Luke says, as he leads her to his new kitchen, a floor down from the old one.
Rabbit looks around the room behind Luke “Nestrim still in bed? Does he like bacon? Is he actually going to get up, he is evidently the one person among us who doesn’t sleep.”
With that she steps back towards the kitchen area, looking at Anglerond and then back to Key smirking. She seems incredibly happy, probably happier then Key has ever seen her.
As they head down she turns to her sister, “Is everything ok?”
Key’s eyes go a bit round with embarrassment.
“Im so sorry Luke, I didn’t mean to be rude. Im happy to see you too, I’d like a tour of the house if I’ll still fit in your halls.” She smiles warmly at Luke.
“Everything is fine. I have questions for you but they can wait until after our tour.”
Luke happily makes small talk, as he shows Key and Anglrond his newly created four underground stories, with bedrooms and living areas, and a full kitchen. The only thing left of his small shack was converted into an entry way leading to a large central stairway.
There is a room that has a baby bassinet, and he says, “I had them create a room for Izzy in case she needed it, but I wanted my son to always have space here. Rabbit says we can go down if needed, if I have more.”
Rabbit follows her friends through the house, smiling and helping the tour by pointing out where the Duergar did special things for the construction. Defensive positions and hidden weapon racks in case there was a fight in the house. She also shows them the rabbit holes used to escape overwhelming odds. She seems very proud of the house.
She continues to follow along but she hesitates and her face goes more pale then normal for a moment behind Luke, when he mentions the word “if” and children.
She shoved down an anxiety that maybe he changed his mind after all, maybe she was forcing this on him and her anxiety climbed slightly. Realizing it she gripped her thigh hard for a moment using the pinch to catch her breathShe smiles at the back of Luke’s head like nothing happened and starts talking more, “We made sure to have plenty of room here. Wanted to make sure any kids or friends can stay over.”
Key looks over at Rabbit with mischief in mind.
“Speaking of children Rabbit. I have something to ask you. Are you interested in renewing the tattoos we shared? We thought it would be extra special if we could pass that bond on to our children.”
Luke laughs and says, “I had them build a room for Rabbit on her own, because if Ira’s paintings are right she’s going to need to to get away from all the kids she’s going to have.”
“We’ve even got a well secured door to a tunnel to the your manner house, Key,” Luke says.
Rabbit breaks out into a grin when Luke mentions many children, she turns to Key with that smile, “I am happy to re-bond with you if Luke is ok with it. As for babies, I am ready whenever he wants them, those are up to him. I don’t want to pressure him.”
With that Rabbit leans up and kisses her tree deeply, pushing herself against him.
Key shifts her attention to Luke. She waits politely for the pair to finish kissing before she speaks.
“Really?! Where does it come out in the manor? I wish I had known, I would have taken that to get here. I really need to sit down with Nestrim and get that progress report.” She smiles at Luke.
Luke looks to Rabbit, “Um, it’s not up to me. That’s your choice, but you might want to consider that you are no longer forced to be a handmaiden, and you might want some time to consider if you want to be in that capacity for Key. Being a handmaiden has brought you nothing but pain, and you might not want to tempt Lolth’s Handmaiden to try for you again? She came down herself to try and get you. I just don’t think it’s a healthy decision, but I will stand behind it, if you choose.”
Look looks meaningfully at Key over the topic of making Rabbit a handmaiden again after all they’ve done.
“I’m not sure if the tunnel is fully finished. It’s on the edge of being done, but you’d have to come here anyways to ask Nesterim, because he’s always here,” Luke laughs.
As if hearing his name was a magic spell Nestrim steps into the room with everyone. Hair mussed up, a lot more casual dressed then Key normally sees him. He seems happy as well, a smirk on his face when he sees his sister’s baby bump, “It is good to see you sister, and now that you weigh 500 pounds I can feel you coming as well.”
He laughs happily and kisses Luke on the lips, “So did your priest here tell you the good news yet? Your official family is getting bigger.”
Rabbit looks surprised at Luke’s words, she hadn’t considered that. She looks between Luke and Key twice trying to think. She wanted to be there for Key, but she didn’t want to risk any children and Despek. Would her making a bond with someone cause Despek to have more control? She wasn’t sure, “I really would love to be bonded to you, but can we talk with Salkya to make sure it wouldn’t be a bad idea? I love you, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be your sister.”
Key smiles over at Rabbit.
“Luke has made some very fine points, as usual, thst I hadn’t considered. If this isn’t a good idea and you don’t want to do it, forget I asked.” She gives Rabbit a reassuring smile and at the same time a hand shoots out like lighting and jabs Nestrim playfully in the belly. She looks over at Nestrim and narrows her eyes.
“Be careful brother Im about to add two more to my side and Im sure that at least one of them is going to be a fighter of some sort. He or she kicks like a horse.”
Luke kisses Nesterim back, “No, I didn’t.”
He then looks at Key, “Nesterim asked me to marry him, and then Rabbit asked, and I guess I will be married twice over. I just don’t know how to make it all work yet.” He smiles broadly at Nesterim and Rabbit. It would work out one way or another.
“Oh, and if you are anti-slavery, as a house, you might want to consider a handmaiden is a slave. A fancy fighting one, but she is still a slave to the rest of the world,” Luke says. “Drow own their maidens, and they are traded, given away, or killed when they are too injured to fight anymore. Like working animals.”
Nestrim smirks at his soon to be husband, “Ya sis, you are going to have a legal new brother and sister. Isn’t that going to piss off the other nobles… Mom and dad knew it was possible I was going to ask Luke, although I don’t think they considered that Rabbit would be marrying him too.” He reaches up to take Luke’s hand when he pulls it away quickly before Rabbit bumps into him.
Rabbit grabs both of Luke’s hands, turns towards Key and in a loud excited voice, jumping up and down announces, “I am going to be his wife…” her face is ecstatic, and Key can swear that Rabbit’s eyes are gigantic compared to what they used to be, with what looks like gold flecks free floating in them.
It is also obvious that Rabbit is excited because she had never imagined to have a full partner place with Luke, even though he has always been clear he cared for her.
Key’s face lights up.
“That is fantastic! Congratulations to the three of you. You have to let me plan your wedding, or at least throw you a party.” She seems to have let the other issues go knowing that Luke had a very good reason to let it go.
“This needs to be a thing.” She looks at Rabbit.
“Don’t you agree?”
“Yes, we can definitely have a party. That sounds fantastic,” Luke says. He does note the discussion of the handmaiden slavery issue was glossed over, but he lets it be. Key is his friends and he hopes she makes the right decision.
“I’m kind of concerned, because I don’t have any titles. I’m a street orphan, and Nestrim and Rabbit both have titles. I’m not going to be helping with that,” Luke says with a tight smile.
Nestrim looks at Luke for a few moments then leans over to Rabbit. He whispers some things to her and she looks up a little surprised and then she nods. Turning back to Luke Nestrim wraps his arms around the tiefling and kisses him again, “Will you let me do something sooner than later? We can have an official ceremony, undoubtably mother will demand it. Oh… you are going to get treated like a kid too you know that, just like they did with Key.”
He looks over at Rabbit again, and continues to Luke, “I hope you will let Rabbit and I both take you to the tree and make the pledge to you together, there is a small ceremony we can do privately that will marry us. Then the official ceremony can be whenever. This way if you and Rabbit rush off it can be done already.”
Rabbit is quiet after Nestrim’s whispers to her. She seems a little wary, as if not sure she understood what he said, or heard him right. She does smile at Luke though. “I would like that, that way Nestrim can have what he needs before we leave. Nestrim will get us the necessary jewelry. Did you want a ring, a bracelet or something else?” She is excited and still seems worried that Luke might change his mind.
The golden flecks in her eyes whirling against the blue.
A hint of sadness flutters over her features and is then banished. It’s replaced by joy and happiness for her family.
“I think that would be the perfect way for the three of you to be married. You three can make a quick trip to the forest outside Arborlon and we can stay here and prepare a reception for you.” She smiles, looking at the three in turn.
Luke smiles, and says to Nestrim and Rabbit, “I just want to make sure you two know, that you don’t have to do anything together. I love each of you, and my relationship with each of you is not dependent on the other. So it doesn’t have to be an all in one, one size fits all thing. I can celebrate this with each of you in a way that works. I don’t want you to think I am lumping you together.”
Nestrim smiles and raises an eyebrow,, “Does the idea of the three of us as a unit bother you?.”
Key stays silent. Not wanting to interfere with what is going on between the three.
“No, it doesn’t bother me, but you are Rabbit did not sign up to be together, and I want to respect that. If you did, I would support that, but I do not want to pressure you both to be an a relationship you didn’t want,” Luke explains.
Nestrim gives Luke another hug “When you were sleeping last night we talked about things. The one advantage is Rabbit still sometimes doesn’t sleep and it gives us time to talk. Also you sleep like a dead man.”
He chuckles, “Rabbit and I were both trained from birth as royalty and heirs. We were trained and indoctrinated that we would marry one… or more people we had never met before, or we absolutely were revolted by. We both love you, we like each other enough and it would seal up any rumblings. Besides it would really piss off some of the houses to do this.” A mischievous smile splits his face at those last words.
Rabbit steps back letting Nestrim hug Luke on his own. She is smiling and for a minute seems to be lost in her own thoughts. “We talked a lot, although to be honest it is getting harder and harder for me to not sleep. We talked about all the possibilities, including how it involves our children” She motions to Luke, Nestrim and Keyleth, “I am good with this. Doesn’t mean I will listen to a thing his skinny ass says, but we would both like to give you a solid foundation, not something that others might think they can slip in and move either him or me in a different direction. They will still try of course, but won’t have as much leverage.”
The golden flecks in her eyes whirling against the blue.
Key looks at Rabbit’s eyes squints and decides to inquire about it later. She rolls her eyes at Nestrim and shakes her head. But its obvious that its a response that she expected to here from her brother.
“So it sounds like you’re going to have a very untraditional wedding. It will suit the three of you perfectly.”
“I was worried because you both come from cultures that have been at war for generations,” Luke says, “But it does sound very untraditional.”
Luke shoots Nesterim a look, “Are you sure you don’t follow Sekhmet? You are monkey wrenching an entire Elven ruling class for your Elven country.”
He snorts in laughter, but there is a seriousness behind it, “As an Elf I am forbidden to follow a non-Seldarine. We are taught from birth the superiority and the true ways. There are some elves of course who don’t worship, and some who follow others. However, that would be too much of a blow for the ruling class, especially the priests of the Seldarine.”
A frustrated look on his face, “I think Sekhmet would be pretty good person to light candles to, but we are not allowed. It is something all of us of the noble blood have ingrained into us. It is why Alluvia hasn’t found someone to follow.”
“Will she have to choose a god to worship? It seems a bit heavy handed to make kne worship if they don’t feel inclined to. She may not want to after the experience she had.” She crosses her hands over her belly and looks around for a place to sit.
“You can’t force worship. It’s just not a good practice. Something is bothering me about the Selderine, Elves, and Drow. I feel like the Selderine have parted out the Elven race to their individual needs, and most elves of any standing are already spoken for in a theological sense,” Luke says.
“Rabbit and Alluvia went through the breaking of the bonds with the law gods, and it came with some unexpected physical changes for Rabbit, which I suspect also are mirrored with Alluvia. I am wondering if their bonds with the Selderine as a whole have been sundered, and they are free to worship or not as they so choose without outside interference from the Elven gods,” Luke explains.
“I started thinking about it when I saw Rabbit startle you the other night when you proposed, and you looked genuinely fearful for a half second as she was watching you in the dark. I’m wondering theologically if the Elves are different when they do not have any godly ties to the Selderine, and if so, what are the benefits to it? Would it benefit others to go through the process to be truly free?” Luke posits the questions to Nesterim, and watches Key. Key’s upbringing was not the highborn elf that Nesterim was, so she would not have been given this detailed history.
“What if Key underwent the process, and found herself free from any bonds to any gods that wanted to lay claim to her based on her being born an elf?” Luke asked.
Nestrim listens to his fiancé and nods a few times, “I don’t know if your theory is on the money, but I do know when I was researching negotiations with one of the houses references to older myths about the gods. Involving some intercine war between them. I am wondering if there was more to the Lolth/Correllon breakup, along with the other races.”
He looks over at Key, “I think it would give my sister full opportunity to claim her birthright, but it would also expose her to those protected by the Seldarine. Keyleth wouldn’t have the protections of the gods with her. However, she got visited by an avatar of a Seldarine but claims to not follow, always makes me wonder.”
Key listens intently to Luke, nodding in agreement.
“Its an interesting theory. You would know more about it than I would. I don’t want to do anything until after the babies are born. But that gives us time to do a bit more research.”
“Just something to think on. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but my father is as old as the Selderine. It just got me thinking. We should check this,” Luke says.
“What startled you about Rabbit the other night?” Luke asks gently. He felt this was a piece of a puzzle he wanted to unravel.
Nestrim grimaces when he realizes Luke wasn’t going to let it go, He looks over at Rabbit and takes a moment to think about it, “It wasn’t Rabbit that scared me, not the Rabbit we see every day, and who squeals when you touch her with a cold toe. There was something more there in the dark. I don’t think she is possessed, but there was something in the way she was watching us. Something that made me on the inside twinge, it was almost a physically painful sensation. I haven’t ever been that scared before.”
He turns to Luke, “I was terrified of what she would do to you. Then almost as quick as I was watching it, it was gone and it was just Rabbit. It could have been I haven’t rested enough, and it was a twitch on my part. I haven’t seen it since, but sometimes there is an aura”
He looks away, making sure he didn’t look into Rabbit’s eyes. It was evident he was a little embarrassed
Key gives Rabbit a once over trying to see what Nestrim saw. Not finding what she’s looking for she looks back to Luke.
“We should take a look at Alluvian and see what if anything has changed with her. Maybe also have someone do some digging about the gods and this artifact?”
“I think this is important. Rabbit was half a sleep and her eyes were almost glowing in the dark. She was listening to you and I talk but wasn’t fully awake. I chalked it up tp her processing her experiences unti I saw your look. You are a politician. You have a poker face that is solid. It was surprising to me that whatever you were reading slipped past that. It wa when I really started thinking about how the removal of all pacts might be effecting Rabbit, “ Luke says.
He looks to Key, “Nights ale will know more than anyone if theses changes have happened to Alluvia, and I agree. We need to check.”
Nestrim thinks about it for a few moments,“I definitely don’t think it was her handmaiden thing again. It was dangerous, but more primal maybe. I definitely want to know if Alluvia has gone through any of this. I wonder if they both are changed and you are right though, Night Scale would be the one person to know all the differences in Alluvia and I think Alluvia wouldn’t be as good at hiding her nature as Rabbit, even subconsciously. Do you think it has to do with Rabbit’s eyes?”
Nestrim doesn’t look scared at all around Rabbit, he actually looks comfortable as he puts his fingers softly under her chin and moves her face so she is looking at him and Luke in the faces.
Rabbit has stayed quiet for some time watching. Thinking about Luke’s words and the meanings of slavery while everyone talked. When Nestrim began to explain his reaction she double checks herself internally and she feels no other presence, no sign of Despek at all. She does feel different but she couldn’t tell a person how. She smiles at the two of them as she looks into Luke’s face, “I don’t feel Despek or anyone else in control, in fact I feel pretty alone in my head, except sometimes I think I hear singing far off, but it hasn’t come any closer since the sarcophagus.” She is uncomfortable where this is going and decides to address an earlier subject, although she was sure Luke would bring it back here, it would buy her a little time.
She looks over at Key, and she hesitates before speaking, “When I last swore fealty to you Key, I was unfair and I said it in drow before you could speak it. I knew you didn’t fully understand my intention. My words were ‘I will die for you my queen, that will be my freedom from this life’.” Her voice shifted slightly as she said those words, trying to indicate they were not an oath this time.
She reaches out to Luke’s hand and squeezes it while talking to Key, “I don’t think I can give you that oath again. I was looking for a way to die since I left the Underdark. I don’t want to die anymore, I want to have children and watch my husband drown in them between our adventures. I want to watch my friends and family grow their lives and to spend as much time as I can with everyone I care about. Would you be ok if I just promised to be there for you as a sister? My sword and love would be there, but I can’t swear an oath to an Empress that would be above Luke, or our family… including what is best for your even if your crown demands something else.”
The golden flecks in her eyes are whirling more then earlier.
Key reaches out and takes Rabbits other hand. She looks a bit shaken at the revelation of what was really in the oath she gave.
“I never wanted your life for mine, I never will. I’ll be honest, having a little piece of you in the back of my head grew to be a comfort that I miss now that its gone. Knowing what it truly meant…” she shakes her head emphatically.
“I don’t want that. All you’ve ever been to me is a sister. I want for you all the things you want for yourself and more.” She bends down as far as she can and pulls Rabbits forehand against hers.
“You deserve to be happy.” She lets go and straightens rubbing the small of her back.
“Now, I really need to sit.”
Luke leads Key and the group back up to a living room. It’s underground, but has a nice fireplace and hanging tapestries. There are traces of Elven and Drow in the decor, along with occasional Sehkmetian influences.
Luke motions Key to a big comfy chair, before sitting on a couch, himself.
As Luke sits, he says to Nesterim, “I thought it was something like that. I saw her, but had no reaction like that. I wondered if there was something more to it. I don’t think you are normally scared of Rabbit, wary perhaps when she was a handmaiden, but not scared. We will take a look at your sister, as well.”
Nestrim nods,“Looking Alluvia over will help greatly with that, should we call her over? As for Rabbit, to be honest I have seen others jump back from her in passing. Not often, and not just elves, but I wonder if it depends on what she is thinking about at the time. Or we could call your dad over, he is fairly smart about these kind of things.”
Rabbit sits on the couch closest to Key and takes her hand. She leans forward, “You just want the bond to feel me? That can be done with no oath. With no oath you can’t influence a person, you just can feel them. I didn’t think you would want to do that without the oath. After all, its not hard, its part of the wedding bond as well so it won’t be the only one in the group. Also it isn’t the same meaning as a wedding bond, so don’t worry about that. I just hadn’t ever seen it used without the oath, no one in the Underdark wants to let someone in that close without being forced to.”
Her eyes have mostly settled to blue, the golden flecks only seem to float haphazardly, and sometimes they don’t seem to be there.
Key shakes her head.
“I don’t want to do anything that the three of you aren’t comfortable with. I tend to be a bit over emotional these days. It’s bizarre and a bit unsettling at times. I did think it would be fun to pass such a bond on to our children, the likelihood that they’ll be as close as we are as they grow up as pretty high. You’d have to be pregnant for that and I don’t want you to rush into anything. So many things have changed for you in such a short time.”
Luke looks approvingly at Key and Rabbit now that they have decided against the handmaiden bond.
“I should call my father over. He would know, if anyone does, and I also need to tell him I am getting married. I think that would make him happy,” Luke says.
Nestrim looks at Luke closely, a very skeptical look coming up to him, “You aren’t looking to jump into that device are you? I don’t have to worry about you staring at me with glowing eyes? Although those eyes could be nice from certain positions…” His look becoming more leering then skeptical.
“Do you mind if I leave some stuff here permanently? I will at times sleep at the manor for official duties, but I would like to spend a lot, if not all, of my off time here when not in the city.”
Key looks over to Luke.
“I agree. No one should jump into that thing until we know more about what it does to you.”
Luke smiles at Nesterim, “I had them build you a suite here so you could leave as much as you wanted. I wanted you to feel comfortable to leave thing here.”
He then looks at Key, “We kind of already had people jump into it. The question is what is an Elf without any ties at all?”
Nestrim smirks at Luke and Rabbit, “Curious, did Rabbit ask to stay or did she just drop her shit off and claim it?”
He is quiet for a moment thinking then continues with a new thought, “ I am thinking there is something the gods, or at least the religions have suppressed from us. Something is definitely going on, and the presence of all these avatars traveling around has been gnawing at me, now this….”
His smirk has retreated to a concerned frown at the end.
Rabbit is listening to Nestrim and she seems to worry momentarily when he comments on her just staking a place, but it passes as he talks about the elves, “There is a society of drow that believe we can make ourselves into the first elves, from there is simple steps to become gods. They are considered heretics and executed if found, so it is one of those secret groups. Pushback by the matrons and the priestess are brutal on members including killing everyone around them. That also encourages non-followers to turn followers, or just political enemies, to avoid punishment and remove adversaries.”
Key raises an eyebrow.
“Of course she claimed her space. Why wouldn’t you do otherwise?” She jokes.
“What where the first elves? I feel like Ive been living under a rock.”
Luke laughs, and says, “Key’s right. Rabbit showed up like a stray cat with a bag, and I don’t know how but things just seem to appear in the house. I never see her move them in, but there they are.”
“Elven gods are not my speciality, but I can ask Salkya or my father? Salkya is kind of an all around theological scholars, and it seems my father is just old enough to keep note of any historical tidbits that might be worth knowing,” Luke says.
Nestrim shrugs, “We should ask Veronwe, and maybe Miffle too. They are old enough and as acting conduits with Correllon they may not want to talk about it, but they are likely to know about it.”
Rabbit fakes looking shocked, “I walk in all the time with stuff, set it down in front of you.” Luke cannot recall a single time she has done this,
“Maybe we should go back to the island of the gods and ask Ira. Or maybe something about it is in the paintings.” She looks at Luke skeptically, “Can you not jump in and do that before we find out more? I don’t want something to happen now that things are working out.”
“Now we have two reasons to go to Arborlon. That avatar that visited us and left me that scroll, which might have some answers as well, was the same one that Miffle mistook me for when we first met. I’d like to ask a few more questions about that as well.” She reaches into her pouch and pulls out the scroll in question and puts it on the table in front of her.
“Yes. Yes we should go to the Island of the Gods to find out how Rabbit brings her belongings in without me ever once seeing it happen,” Luke says as seriously as he can muster. Then he narrows his eyes and looks at Rabbit.
“I’m not sure we will get a straight answer out of the elven religious camp, but we should pursue it. Sometimes you learn more from people by what they refuse to answer. I am studying the paintings, but there are no straight answers from them, so I can only speculate,” Luke says.
Nestrim bursts out into laughter at Luke’s words to Rabbit. Eventually he recovers, still snickering occasionally, “That is definitely true, maybe Sekhmet can give us a little blessing to loosen their tongues? Get one of those ribbons to Veronwe.”
Rabbit seems confused, “I wasn’t meaning about that you dork, I was meaning about what Ira could tell us… Are you joking?” She is trying to figure out if Luke was joking and the annoyed look on her face is reinforced by her golden flecks seeming to whirl as she thinks.
Key looks over at Luke.
“Would she give you a second one? Wasn’t the first one a pretty big deal?”
Luke shakes his head, “I don’t think we should ask for one unless we run out of other options. They are a big deal. They call in ages old favors. They are the ribbons her avatars wear when they take feline form and wander about our world. We should ask Veronwe and Miffle, my father, and Salkya. If we start there, we’ll know where we need to hone in on, and they are all in town. My father spoke about having to leave, but he seems pretty happy in Kokand.”
Luke smiles and says, “I also have to figure out how to get the under world from the Sekhmet temple excavated to have one extra level for Salkya, and one for the law god temple. Truth be told I didn’t think that little magical trinket was that strong. I thought it would cover the room, not the whole bloody temple. Now I have to pay wizarding fees to see how big it’s going to pop out so I can pay excavation fees to get it reseated here. I am not sure how I can work that, but here I am.” Luke looks determined, but unsure.
Nestrim nods, “Let us try without the ribbon and not put Sekhmet to a test. If that doesn’t work maybe we can look at that again as an option. I will contact our family’s archivist and see if there is anything, and have them personally contact the Library at Serapis. Their influence is much greater than Key’s at the moment and they might get a real response instead of whatever they are doing now.”
Rabbit leans over and touches Luke “The cost of the purchase of the necessary area for the temple isn’t a big cost. The Duergar owe me a lot, and that is not an issue for their fees. I suspect they can do it in less than two months time, maybe less than a month if they focus. If they need to they can pull people off of the manor. Also I have some favors I can call in, some people that may know parts of what we are looking for. I will call for them.”
Key looks at Nestrim.
“They should be close to done with the underground levels at the manor right. If not Im sure they would appreciate a change of scenery. We’re not in a hurry to finish right?”
Luke nods approvingly at Nesterim, “That’s a good strategy. The ribbons are in short supply, and I don’t recommend trying to remove one from it’s owner.”
He looks questioningly at Rabbit, “How do they owe you so much? I have 23,000 gold but that can’t possibly be enough.”
He looks to Key, in case Key knows the answer.
Nestrim smiles at Luke, “I am not saying I want a ribbon, but I would totally make a ribbon look good.” He Lukes over at Key, “We have enough to loan Luke if you want to do that. Sobhan and others have put in a lot into our bank and we are starting to get money in from ships now. We still have an incredible debt, but I keep money in our treasury and pay payments instead of large chunks of debt so we have a backup of money.”
Rabbit looks away, and closes her eyes in embarrassment “I owned the Zhiv and his wife Grincia in the Underdark, they were a prize for a raid against the Duergar when I was younger. When I left the under dark they were going to be destroyed by mother, I got them out and let them go when we got to the surface. They agreed to do any work I ever needed, I agreed at the very least I would pay them the cost for it if I could. Last 70 years or so Zhiv built up an incredibly large Deurgar crew with the help of Sobhan. He makes a lot of money and has always been willing to help when I ask. Usually I pay full price, I just get precedent over anyone else being worked on.”
Rabbit keeps looking away, “He still calls me his mistress, I think he still thinks of me as his owner even though I don’t own him at all. Duergar are like the other Dwarf races, honor bound and as a rule incredibly loyal, the only difference is now I feel bad about having owned him at all.”
Key puts a hand on Rabbits shoulder.
“I think you’ve more then made up for anything that you may have done. Part of the ritual in the sarcophagus was severing the ties to that old life, giving you a fresh start. You should also think about all the good things you’ve done for everyone else. I’d say you scales are more than balanced.”
Luke nods, “You can’t change the past, and how things use to be. You can only act on what you know now, and you have. I don’t want to disadvantage them because the temple size is bigger than I expected. I really only thought we were getting the one room. We will probably have to go clear the damn thing out, too. I just postponed the problem, because I can’t just plop down this temple and let people die trying to get to the room. It’ll need a clear pathway built in, and I’m hoping here on God’s row with Sekhmet involved that any infiltration will have been cut off. It’s one thing to pick off a orphaned temple from a weak older god, but to try and infiltrate god’s row? With active god’s with followers? That might not be as easy for the three, I am thinking.”
Luke ignores Nesterim’s offer, as its Key’s money and he would never ask for aid in his own endeavors. He makes a mental note to bring it up to his father though, it seems like the temple would be something his father would find useful from time to time.
Nestrim is ignoring Luke’s ignoring of his offer, “Any money we go towards helping a temple would look good to our people, and it would attract non-elves to you to see that we don’t hold just elves as sacred.” He looks over at Key, “Besides, I will call mom and dad and mention I am getting married and that my husband’s temple is failing… They wouldn’t even blink at helping.”
Rabbit chuckled “The area below the temple is clear currently. Salkya was expanding so she hired adventurers through Sobhan to clear it out and Sobhan keeps a guard there until it is decided how it will be rebuilt.”
Rabbit tugs at her hair, “Before we worry about it, maybe we should just take it to the wizard’s guild and have them look at it. Maybe it is something easily fixed if its portable, sort of like removing a curse on any magic item. It isn’t that expensive either.”
Key nods at Nestrim.
“Of course we should help Luke out in any possible way we can monetarily or otherwise. And of course he will not pay us back in any way, shape or form.” She turns to Luke and flutters her eyelashes and gives him a sweet but mischievous smile.
“Welcome to the Royal Family brother.”
Luke looks at everyone, “This is a hugely expensive endeavor. I’m trying to build two levels underground, and unfurl an ancient temple filled with who knows what, in the bottom. That can’t be cheap. You all have expensive endeavors of your own.”
Nestrim shrugs off Luke’s words, “We have multiple things in progress at all times. Let’s find out from the Wizard’s guild what they have to say before worrying about cost.”
Rabbit watches Luke for a moment, “For me, the ability to break people’s bonds out ranks any other thing on our table. I consider it the most essential thing to fix or make work.”
Key gives Luke a steady look.
“Im with Nestrim and Rabbit. This is trumped by anything else that’s currently going on. Lets start with the wizards guild and go from there.”
Luke nods, “Okay, okay. I’m not used to having anyone help. I’ve been wracking my brain for a good grift to get that much money, but it’s beyond most of my tricks. I just want people to be able to start clean in life, too. It’s a good temple, and it may not be mine, but Sekhmet isn’t fussed about things like that, and would guard it all the same.”
Nestrim wraps his arms around Luke and pulls him to him. He kisses him and when he comes up for air, “If you are going to be my husband, you will need to accept the fact you are not poor, not middle class, but you are wealthy. You can and should ask the family for help when you need it, to do otherwise would be insulting. Now you have two sides of the family that can help.”
Anglerond sits beside Keyleth, takes her hand into his and holds it. He seems wary of Rabbit being in arms reach, but he doesn’t object or say anything.
Rabbit meanwhile is busy playing with a large cat on the floor, ignoring the conversation and especially Anglerond’s looks.
Key nods at Luke.
“I understand some of what you’re feeling. Its a weird thing to go from poor to privileged. Im not sure I’ll ever get totally used to it, but I have gotten more used to spending other people’s money.” She jokes. She look over at Anglerond taking in his posture and face. She takes her hand back and turns as much as she can to face him.
“Out with it. This is our family, everything on the table. What are you seeing?”
Luke picks up the fat cat that Rabbit has been playing with and puts the tubby beast in her lap. He then picks up another cat and puts it in Nesterim’s lap, before settling back and letting another crawl over to him.
Nestrim wraps his left arm around the cat given to him, checking the cat out looking for something he shifts his attention back to Luke. He just sits back and smile as the cat burrows into his side.
Anglerond watches Rabbit for a few more moments, he turns his attention to Key and smiles, “It’s nothing my love, I am tired.”
Rabbit wraps both arms around the gigantic cat, hugging him and smelling him. Her eyes flicker over towards Anglerond and Keyleth and then over to Luke and Nestrim. Her eyes sparkle and whirl when she sees Luke happy. A smile comes to her lips.
Luke says conspiratorially to Nestrim, “Some of them are just cats, but even the cats gossip. “
Key squints her eyes at Anglerond not happy with his answer. She sits back, letting it go. She looks down at Rabbit where she snuggles the cat in her lap and nudges her playfully with a toe. She mumbles to Anglerond as she smiles at Rabbit.
“We can talk about it later.”
Nestrim shifts the cat on his lap so he is more comfortable and absentmindedly strokes him. He looks over at Luke and winks, “So that is where you get your gossip bone is it? It is a Sekhmetian thing.” His gaze returns to Anglerond and Key, watching curiously what they are talking about. Still talking to Luke, “What do cats gossip about anyways?”
Anglerond watches carefully Rabbit’s reaction to Key’s foot and seems to relax a little when he sees nothing aggressive from Rabbit. He turns to Key, “I really think I am just over tired, and getting used to changes.”
He turns to Luke, “So how long before you jump into the crypt?”
Rabbit tries to jerk away from the toe, upsetting the giant cat who just uses his weight to push down on Rabbit even further. “Hey, your supposed to help me sister…” The fake hurt in her voice cracking into snickering.
Luke smiles at Nesterim, “The cats bring news to the priests and priestesses. Unusual events, royal gossip, and news to clerics and paladins. Cats are incredible gossips.” He smiles broadly. “I can’t hear them, but Salkya can.”
He looks at Anglerond, “Me? I’m just tied to Sekhmet, but choice. Even then she’d let me go if I asked. She’s not really the kind of god to want unwilling followers. It’s why her numbers are so small. I hope the law temple underneath will be a big enough draw to start some interest in Sekhmet, too.”
She gives Rabbit a big smile and laughs softly.
“I am helping you. Im helping you hone your balance. But the fat cat in yoir lap is cheating.”
Nestrim leans over, “How do you get the cats to actually speak to you? You are her paladin, you would think they would.”
Anglerond nods, “I had assumed the infernal blood caused problems and this might fix those. Now I know.”
He gives Luke a smile
Rabbit looks annoyed at herself for a moment, “I think my center of gravity is different, I think my butt got bigger in the sarcophagus…”She looks over at Luke, a grin on her face, “He likes bigger butts, I wonder if his likes influenced my ass and hips… hell I think my breasts are a bit bigger too… Nothing fits right.” She tugs at her shirt to prove that it is amply filled out.
Luke tells Nesterim, “Higher level clerics can do it. I switched to Paladin so I am behind on my cleric duties and studies. It’s a gift from Sekhmet.”
He then says to Anglerond, “Actually, your guess is as good as mine. I’ve only just met my father and really don’t know that much about that. Maybe I’ll ask him? If I have ties, I could ditch them. It would also be a good test for the temple so that nobody else risks themselves going through the first time. I hadn’t thought of it.”
“Rabbits shape did change enough to be noticeable,” Luke says.
Key looks disconcerted.
“So the artifact took you apart and put you back together again. That’s a bit scary, and oddly enticing.” Key pushes playfully at Rabbit with her other foot this time.
“Your butt is a bit rounder.” She teases.
Nestrim smirks as he looks over at his sister, “it’s pretty nice when you have to sleep next to her. She takes the whole bed, but she isn’t pointy on edges anymore so it’s only Luke that gives me bruises when I am in a trance.”
He turns back to Luke, “Let’s talk to salkya about that ability. It is something that a paladin could use. Since you will have to journey all over on her quests.”
Anglerond leans over and points at Luke’s wrist where a small cat symbol rests,, “When did you get that tattoo. You didn’t have it when you guys left.”
Rabbit smiles “I think I like it. It doesn’t feel like it interefeees with my fighting.” She adjusts her top,, “I think you are just jealous of my boobs.” She smiles good naturedly and a look of panic crosses her face as she reaches under her shirt and finds her pregnancy ward still on, which case she breaths a sigh of relief.
Luke says, “I think it does take you apart to some degree, Key. I think the reputation of the gods involved means that they are fair about it, though.”
Luke laughs at Nesterim, “I warned you I was a sleep hazard with these horns! I also never really thought about it. I figured the cats would talk to me when they were ready.”
Luke then looks down at his wrist, “I don’t know when I got it to be honest. Like Sekhmet herself, it just kind of showed up. I know it’s a mark of hers but other than that I don’t know. I should talk to Salkya about it.”
Key puts her hands over her larger than normal bust.
“Well at least I get boobs for a while I suppose. Honestly, Im happy to not have them. If mine get much bigger I’ll have to throw them over my shoulder to fight.” She turns her attention to Lukes new tattoo.
“Its odd but nicely done for all that you have no idea who did it. You sure you didn’t come home with it after a ramble.” Key gives Luke a grin and waggles her eyebrows at him.
Nestrim slaps look on the back, “Maybe if someone would take somebody with him when he goes out to ramble, this wouldn’t happen.”He winks at Luke, showing he is only joking.
He stops for a minute thinking, “I guess we aren’t just boyfriends anymore, maybe not spouses yet but something in the middle.” He gives an approving smile of that.
Anglerond smiles at Key “I wouldn’t mind if you kept like that indefinitely. You smile a lot when you are pregnant. Also you are always beautiful, but a little bit of flesh on you looks good.”
Rabbit smiles at Key’s boobs appreciatively and then shifts on her hip to watch Luke and Nestrim talk. She doesn’t talk, just watches the two men happily. Her eyes seem more reflective and the gold in them seems to be flickering around eddies and whirls. As she watches they seem to grow larger slightly as the candle on the side of the couch seems to dim momentarily until the large fat cat reaches up and taps Rabbit on the face, getting her attention.
“I think all my rambling days have been mostly over for a while. I’m more of a slow drink kind of guy now,” Luke laughs.
He then leans towards Nesterim, “Yes, I do think the word is fiancé.”
Key looks over at Anglerond. “I appreciate the compliment, but I’ll be glad to have my old body back. I can’t fight in this one.” She leans iver and gives him a quick kiss before looking back to Luke.
“We should give you a stag night. One last night filled with slow drinking before you settle down with your spouses.”
Nestrim kisses Luke gently, then he looks over at Rabbit and then back to Luke, “I am right when I say we have two fiances… Are you ok with marrying us both at the same time and just making it a unit?” He takes Luke’s hand and holds it..
Rabbit leans over and lays against Key on the other side, “This is nice, its like my own inflated pillows right here.” Meanwhile the cat looks annoyed but refuses to move.
“I don’t know if I want a stag night. The people I want to be with are all right here, and if I were to celebrate I’d want them with me. Besides, I don’t want any of Rabbits Underdark drugs. No thank you,” Luke says.
He smiles at Nesterim, and says, “If you are okay with it, than I am.”
Key wraps an arm around her sister.
“Enjoy them while they last.” She pats her belly.
“If you shift your ear you might be able to hear them in there. They’ve been turning cartwheels for a while now.” She looks to Luke.
“No underdark drugs. We can throw whatever kind of party the three of you want. Its about time we throw the doors of the manor open.”
Nestrim chuckles, “Surely one night of Underdark drugs isn’t too much for my future husband.” Using his left hand he runs his hand through Luke’s hair, “When did you start using dye in your hair anyways? If you are going to look younger you should act younger too. Then again I kind of like having you home more so maybe not.” Nestrim leans over and sniffs Luke’s hair affectionately… “Oh gods I am acting like Rabbit now “ as he playfully pushes Luke away.
Anglerond starts petting some of the roaming cats, playing with them as he watches the group unwind.
Rabbit shifts her position so she can lay her head on Key’s belly and she listens. A slight wistful look is appearing on her face as she just sits there with a smile, closed eyes, concentrating.
“No no no no no under dark drugs. I’ve seen Rabbit go on a bender. No thank you. I am not built for that,” Luke says in agreement with Key.
“Dye my hair? I don’t. What are you talking about?” Luke pulls a dread loose and looks at.
Key looks over at Luke.
“Rabbit told me a while ago she had something worked out. Has she been slipping you something?” She looks down tonwhere Rabbits ear is pressed against her belly.
“Did you slip him something?”
Nestrim touches Luke’s hair and seems unsure how to continue, “I have noticed over the last five years or so that your hair has… lightened in a few little places.” Nestrim looks really uncomfortable talking about this,
He touches the hair some more, “I didn’t notice it at first, but over the last couple of years it has been doing that. I noticed it is gone this morning, I wasn’t sure maybe this week when I wasn’t paying attention if you went down to a hair dresser or something.”
Anglerond becomes very quiet and attentive at the unfolding situation.
Rabbit looks exasperated at Luke over Key’s belly, “You could do a single day, I wouldn’t take you on a full bender… unless you wanted it. Besides you are built for that, you survived a night with two drow and a lot of wine, you would be fine. I promise I won’t even involve anything heavy drug wise.”
One eye looks up at Key, “I did not ‘slip’ him anything.” Her words are very precise, and clear in what she says about this.
Luke looks at everyone before turning his attention back to Rabbit, and gives her a fixed look, “What did you do?”
Key gives Rabbit a skeptical look.
“What Luke said. You’re a bit to dodgy to not have done anything. Spill it sister.”
Nestrim is watching the situation closely, but is now looking over Luke closely, he doesn’t say anything though.
Rabbit is laying on Key’s belly ignoring everyone for a few moments to catch her breath. She then sits up, her eyes whirling and a bit of anxiety returning to her, She hadn’t anticipated Luke realizing it this soon. She gives Nestrim a half assed glare which she can’t keep up. She can’t be mad at him for caring about Luke.
She smiles sweetly at Luke after a few more moments, “I was able to buy you some time, enough time at least until we find you something that makes it indefinite. Don’t worry I didn’t sell my soul.”
Luke looks at Rabbit, “I was more worried about my consent, and knowing what it is that you are doing to my body without me knowing.”
“Didn’t you just recently have a similar conversation with Te’Teh?” She looks to Rabbit.
“Weren’t you there for that conversation?”
Nestrim stops fussing over Luke and turns to give Rabbit his full attention. A wary look mixed with concern on his face.
Rabbit looks like her namesake cornered by wolves. She takes a deep breath and sighs in resignation. Her voice catches as she starts talking and a single tear rolls down from her left eye, “Something on the other side of the sarcophagus makes judgments. They told me they found me wanting and that I would die. They gave me a last request and I begged them to give my remaining years to Luke so Izzy’s son would grow up with a dad.”
“As it stands, Luke would die of old age before he became a young adult. I thought I was dying, I didn’t think I had time to ask Luke and they made it clear I would be destroyed. It’s all I could do for him.” she wipes the tear away with her right hand.
Luke looks a little alarmed but pulls out his cleric voice, “That’s okay. Can you start at the beginning? This is the first time I’m hearing this and I’d like to understand what has happened.” He smiles reassuringly at Rabbit.
Key looks at Luke with a puzzled expression.
“This has a bit of symmetry to it. We fight the demon. She has to fight herself.”
Rabbit shifts uncomfortably and concentrates trying to recall what happened. Her breathing quickens as her voice is pitched almost to a whisper.
“I don’t remember most of what happened. It felt like I was in an old dwarves smithy
“Something has been arguing with Despek who was across from me. They handed Despek my skin and tossed her off the ledge into the abyss. They then said that I had been judged and found wanting. That I would die and be cast back into the Abyss. It then asked me for my dying wish. I asked them to give you my lifespan so you could be with your son, and so you could grow old with Nestrim.”
Rabbit’s head is down and tears are falling as she tries to hold them back. “He then said I would be cast into the abyss because of who I am and he tossed me off the ledge, and I woke up in your arms”
Rabbit lapses into silence, unable to look up at her love and family. It is obvious there was more but she wasn’t ready to talk about that.
Luke looks at Rabbit, “That doesn’t make any sense. You are not dead, and you have not been tossed into the Abyss. I’m not sure what is going on, but we can ask Salkya to look you over. She did already and saw nothing noteworthy. I think if your soul was going to the abyss she might have mentioned it. There is nothing about you that would lead me to believe there are issues with your ability to be resurrected, or live out a normal life.”
“Unless it was some weird test to see how she would answer. Maybe to see if she was trying some sort of work around to screw someone or something over.” She lifts one shoulder and lets it fall, at a loss.
Rabbit looks at Luke terrified..
“I didn’t care before but I don’t want to be taken from you and my family. I know I don’t remember everything but I know it was telling the truth. Please take the lifespan and don’t throw it away. Ira is going to need you.”
Rabbit shuts up and looks away, wiping her face she is trying to get out from under the cat who seems to have become the weight of a small dwarf star.
Luke smiles gently at Rabbit, “I’m sure it happened, but let’s have Sally’s take a look at us and see what just went down. Sometimes contact with the God’s is interpretive. Not everyone has access to talking deities so there’s a lot of interpretive work. Theologically speaking we don’t know what any of this means to the law gods so we might want to figure out the basics of their definitions first.”
Key reaches out and puts a comforting hand on Rabbits shoulder but otherwise stays quiet.
Rabbit stops struggling under the cat. She seems to give up trying to escape him and just lays there.
“I am sorry, I shouldn’t have made a big deal about it. Do you think you can figure it out?
Luke smiles and says, “I’m sure we can figure it out.”
Key looks a bit angry and shakes her head. She schools her features into nurtrality before talking to Rabbit
“We’ll figure this out Rabbit. Its going to be okay.”
Nestrim wraps his arms around Luke, hugging him, “Promise me you will be careful whenever you decide to use the sarcophagus.”Nestrim burrows his head into Luke’s neck, inhaling his scent.
Anglerond gives a brief smile and turns to Luke, “Do you think your dad will know anything about this? I didn’t hear if you ever talked to him about the sarcophagus and what he said.”
Rabbit looks embarrassed by her outburst, she smiles at Key.“You still have my sword sister, I will do anything for you. I hope you understand though if Luke has to come first….I can’t promise I wouldn’t do what he asked first. I didn’t think I would find what was missing but its him.” She looks up at Luke, worry and love evident.
“I think there is nothing to make me feel like your soul is damned or something. I don’t know what is happening with loosing my GREY hair, but we can look into it,” Luke said.
“We should go talk to my father, and Salkya. I think those are our first steps, but my assessment is you are a whole person, Rabbit,” Luke reassures.
Key smiles warmly at Rabbit and pulls her into her side.
“Im just happy that you are in my life. I don’t want you to die for me. I want you to live for your family.” She reaches out and pets the cat in Rabbits lap.
Nestrim shifts to the side to allow Rabbit space to lean across everyone.
Rabbit wraps her arms around Luke’s head, while somehow not knocking the cat or Key off the other side of her. She burrows her face into his dreads..“Thank you for loving me, I love you so much, and I don’t know what to do now…” She kisses his neck and just lays there feeling the heat off Luke.
Luke smiles and gives Rabbit a kiss, “I love you. I’m not worried. You are fine. It’s probably an interpretive issue.”
He catches Nesterim’s eyes over Rabbit and gives him a reassuring look.
Key smiles at the threesom next to her. With a bit more effort than it would normally take her she deposits Rabbit and her cat in Lukes lap and stands up motioning for Anglerond to do the same.
“We should be going. I think the babies need to eat again and I don’t want to empty your pantry. I also have a party to plan.” She winks.
Nestrim nods at Luke, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by Rabbit. He mouths it is fine and he is happy. He watches his sister get up and nods to her, ”Thank you for helping sister. Can you check on alluvia, I am sure she is fine but listening to rabbit I am curious what she went through.” Nestrim, using long and deft fingers begins to unbutton Luke’s shirt.
Anglerond laughs at the bodies piling onto Luke, “I will watch over Izzy and make sure the boy is treated well. If she shows any sort of aggression to your son I will separate them.”
Rabbit realizes she is overwhelming Luke’s affection and she looks up at Nestrim shyly.“Sorry Nestrim, I didn’t mean to monopolize him..”She Doesn’t know what to say when she just sees him smile and wink at her.
Luke smiles broadly, “Thanks for coming to see my home. We actually have room for cisitors now.”
He looks a little harder around the eyes at Anglerond, “Thank you. My fathers vassel will be looking after the situation as well. I am hoping for the best but my concern is for my son.”
Key smiles at Nestrim.
“I’ll check on her as soon as we get back. Luke your home is wonderful, congratulations.” She waggles her fingers mischievously at the pike of bodies.
“Your turn to come see us when you come up for air.”