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09 August 2018 @ 07:02 pm
_Meet the Family_ part 3  

She could see him fighting off a yawn and getting back to eating.

Rustle cleared her throat. "Which is why I've gotten you a room down in the Inn, instead of inviting you to stay here. It isn't safe for you to stay here."

Rael nodded. "Although that sounds like a good way to scare me away."

"Heh!"


Chapter Three

Rael rode down to the Inn in the moonlight, the fat gibbous moon rising over the mountains as she turned away from the winery.

Xen had managed to eat all his alfredo before he fell asleep, head on the table, and been manhandled up the stairs.

His father is not the least bit scary, and his mother's nice, in a rather logical fashion. Much like Q. The whole family is so competent it's . . . the way they just do things, like there's nothing the least bit extraordinary about it . . . it's humbling.

"The Gods of War, and the witch who invented the permanent dimensional gates. One!"

Calico swiveled an ear to show that she was listening.

"I mean, I knew all these powerful people lived here. I just didn't expect them to be such nice . . . ordinary parents." Rael turned off the path and into the brick courtyard between the Inn and the stables behind it. The mares iron shod hoof clopped solidly and a thin figured popped out of the barn.

Light bloomed as he . . . no, she, lit a lantern.

"Wow, so you're Xen's girlfriend? That's totally awesome. He just runs from most of the witches." Brown hair, blue eyes.

Must be related to Xen.

Rael swung off the mare and the girl took Calico's reins to lead her toward the stables.

"Rustle said you'd be staying for several days? Whenever you want your horse, just send one of the brats, excuse me younger witches who are working here, out to the barn and I'll have her all saddled up and ready to go quick as anything."

"Thank you, umm . . ."

"Mink."

"Mink. I'm Rael, but I guess everyone knows that."

"Oh yeah." The girl grinned. "You wouldn't believe the reputation you have here."

The door in the Inn's back wall banged open.

"Is this her? The Oner who tried to kill Xen?" A girl with long blonde hair, looking younger than Mink.

"Oooo! It is!" An even younger redhead.

Mink snorted. "These are the brats I mentioned. Urial's the blonde one, Dogwood's the redhead. Don't mind them, they're only eleven years old."

"I'm twelve! Doggy's eleven, and you're only thirteen, Minkie Stinkie!"

Rael cleared her throat. "So . . . are you guys all witches?"

A chorus of agreement, with Urial chiming in, "Of course none of us have grasped power yet."

"Shhh! She doesn't need to know that."

Rael grabbed her saddle bags, and let the younger pair lead her off toward the Inn.

They started pointing. "That's the privy."

Oh One! No bathrooms inside!

"And that's the bath house."

Private or communal? Eep!                                                  

Dogwood giggled. "Xen's told us about how Oner's live. Eww! How can you brush you teeth with the toilet right there?"

"Ha!" Urial reached for the door handle. "Remember when Uncle Xen made that big Granite building? He said he was doing like a Oner hotel, so it was nice and compact."

“Yeah, yuck!”

“Umm,” Rael eyed the Blonde girl. “He’s your Uncle?”

“Oh . . . it’s a little more complicated than that. The Auld Wulf is my great grandfather.” She laughed suddenly. “And Mink is—technically—Xen’s aunt.”

Dogwood shook her head. “I am so glad I’m am not in that ridiculous tangle of relationships.”

“Ha! Like the Karista Pyramid is so . . . ordinary?”

Rael eyed the girls and wondering if she should stay out of or break up the incipient fist fight when the Inn door opened, silhouetting a tall figure.

“Girls?” In frosty tones.

The girls dropped all aggressive body language instantly.

Urial cleared her throat. “We were just showing that Oner person where things are.”

“Rael! Call her Rael!” Dogwood hissed. “Be polite!”

“Ah yes. The Killer Princess. Do come in.” The figure stepped back, and in the interior light turned into a woman, mature, but not even close to old. A slender blonde. Confident and cool, as she looked Rael over.

“I’m Particular.”

What? Oh, those witch names . . .

“Here’s the key to your room.” Particular gestured up the stairs and pointed. “North wing, first on the left.”

“Thank you.”

“You might want to take a bath. You look and smell like you’ve been traveling for days.” The witch strolled away, not even waiting for a response.

Rael giggled, feeling her lips pulling back into a grin.

“You think that’s funny?” Urial looked horrified.

“Oh yes. I know all about Mean Girl verbal battles.. I suppose she’s a relative, too?”

“Let’s see . . . I think it’s called first cousins once removed? Yeah, her mother is my grandmother’s sister.”

“I’m going to need a chart. And . . . she’s right about the bath.”