Old 11-23-2016, 12:25 AM   #101
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"I've taken plenty of breaks. Too many, probably," Alex told her while he set his satchel down and went to open up a cabinet full of jars and salves.
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Old 11-23-2016, 12:34 PM   #102
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"When was the last one?" Valentina asked, turning to level her son with a stern gaze. "Bambino, I won't see you work yourself into an early grave."
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:00 PM   #103
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Alex couldn't answer her question, pausing with a sigh. "I'm just trying to make things easier on you, Ma. And I enjoy my work. It's what I feel like I'm meant to do, and I'm trying to live up to Papa's standards so he knows he's left this family in good hands for a long time to come. I'm fine. I'm just doing what I feel needs to be done."
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:13 PM   #104
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"I know, Alex." Valentina said, removing her pie from the fire and turning to look at her son. "I felt that way when I was your age. I just don't want you to let life pass you by."
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:16 PM   #105
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"I don't have much else to do anyway, Ma. You have Da and the girls and Ruari. I'm just doing what I know how best to do," Alex shrugged, packing a few things into his satchel.
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:33 PM   #106
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"Well, I will make sure that you have more to do. What about hanging around with your friends? What about finding that one great love? You are too young to simply live like an old man." Valentina said as she brushed her son's hair back with her hand.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:35 PM   #107
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"My friends are making families of their own, and I'm not really interested in love." Alex's eye had never been caught by anyone. He was always reading or studying or working. And he'd ended up fairly oblivious to anyone flirting too, just like Valentina had once been.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:37 PM   #108
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"Oh, bambino. What am I going to do with you?" Valentina asked, kissing her son's forehead as he insisted that he was fine. "At least take some time off to enjoy the festival. We're all going to Aunt Selena's home tomorrow evening for dinner. The whole family will be there."
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Old 11-24-2016, 05:21 AM   #109
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"I won't miss it," Alex promised her, wrapping his arms around her. Alex had grown to be her equal in height, his form lean and strong but slim. And it seemed that over the years his eyes had grown to a lighter shade of blue while his skin had darkened a bit from weather and sun, spending so much time running around even in vicious blizzards and storms to look after people.
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Old 11-24-2016, 05:27 AM   #110
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"Te amo, bambino." Valentina murmured as her son wrapped her up in a tight hug. "I've thanked my lucky stars for you every day since you came into my life."
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:18 AM   #111
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"Sometimes I still can't believe you and Da took me in at that time in your lives." He kissed her cheek. "You're okay, aren't you? I heard you weren't feeling well."
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Old 11-24-2016, 01:20 PM   #112
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"How could I not take you in, Alexander?" Valentina said with a smile. "You were a sweet little boy who just needed someone to love. Your Ma took care of her as best as she could. I just took over for her and raised a fine young man."

She chuckled softly as he mentioned her not feeling well. "Bambino, your little brother wears me out. I'm paying for all the bad deeds I might have done when I was younger with him."
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:52 PM   #113
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"You don't have a bad bone in your body," Alex chuckled. "Ruari just needs to learn some patience. Especially if he intends to do work like ours."
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Old 11-24-2016, 08:38 PM   #114
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"He's a difficult soul." Valentina admitted, reaching up to touch her son's cheek. "I'll be fine, bambino. I intend to take Vi on a little trip to France just as we did for Frannie when she reached this age. Just like I did with you when you were that age. Call it a family tradition."
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:13 PM   #115
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"Just make sure you're feeling up to traveling before you make any promises," Alex reminded her quietly, knowing she probably would continue on and deal with her health on her own.
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:15 PM   #116
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"Alex, I know that you worry about me, especially after your Nonna died. I promise you that I'm alright. Perhaps just a bit tired, but I'm just fine. Your Papa will take care of me if the worst comes. I don't want you to worry." Valentina told him, kissing his forehead. "Now, go see to the rest of your patients. I'll have dinner waiting for you when you're done."
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Old 11-25-2016, 04:09 PM   #117
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"I'm always going to worry," Alex murmured as she kissed his forehead. With a small nod, he took his satchel and headed out again.

The next day, the festivities began with riders from the keep trotting through the streets with banners in hand that were more like tapestries for the stories woven across their surfaces, showing the winter sun and legendary figures around it. The riders stopped at every street corner to give sweets to children before heading off once more. And as they reached the southern edge of the city at noon, the great bell in the bell tower by the keep began to ring, twelve times for noon, and four times for the elements Lunasians associated with their beliefs and the Solstice.

Almost immediately, the central square was filled with vendors and people, and the great bonfire for the ancestors was being set up in the front keep courtyard, the gates open to visitors for most of the festival.

From the twenty-first to the twenty-fifth of December, businesses and workers still went on with their lives, but were given extra time to spend celebrating with family and friends. In the case of soldiers-in-training like Yasmine, her usual training regime was cut short by several hours though she and her comrades were encouraged not to overeat or drink too much, or training would get a lot harder when they gained weight or came out in the morning with a hangover.
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Old 11-25-2016, 06:03 PM   #118
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Yasmine had never seen anything like the city of Inverness in celebration. Everything was bright and cheerful, decorated and charitable towards those that had very little. It put a smile on her face as she patrolled with the other axemen, putting in their time at duty before they were allowed to participate in the festivities.

Yasmine's duty had been lightened since her hand was injured, but she still insisted on going on her patrol with the others. She wasn't about to simply rest because her hand was in a splint. Besides, it was a good excuse to check in with some of the people that she had come to be friendly with in Inverness.

Pulling open the door to the bakery, she stepped inside and grinned at Lynndon as he tended to the front case. "Morning, Mr. MacNamara." She teased the young boy, watching as he shyly smiled at her. "How is the bakery this morning?"
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:05 PM   #119
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Lynndon slid a tray of rolls into the case before closing it, smiling up at Yasmine. "Hiya, Miss Yasmine. Everything's really good. Da said this is our best year yet."

Aleister stepped out from the bakehouse with another couple trays of bread and sweets that had cooled enough to be put on the shelves. "Yasmine," he greeted her with a nod. "What can we do fer ya?" One of the first 'living legends' Yasmine had heard of among the Axemen had been Aleister MacNamara. Though he hadn't served long, he had been one of the best and survived certain death and still had the scars to prove it including his missing eye. Now related to the Ghis through his wife, he had become something of a local favorite like Ria and Gerald, even though he was still fairly quiet and not a man for crowds or big gatherings.
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:20 PM   #120
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"I came to get some of those cinnamon rolls that everyone is raving about." Yasmine said, giving Lynndon a grin as Aleister entered with another tray of breads. "And a few currant scones. I like to have a sweet treat when patrol is over with."

She watched as Lynndon scurried off to get what she asked for, no doubt about to slip her a few extra items. She liked the boy and they had bonded over a love of horses. He loved to talk about his cousin, Annie's horses, and Yasmine was very close to buying one of her very own.

"And how is the rest of the family, sir?" She asked, glancing towards Aleister.
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:29 PM   #121
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"Kayla's still a little on th'weak side, but healthy. 'Er Ma's been helpin' us out a lot. Jamie's been helpin' Kay with whatever 'e can, an' Andra's jus' about perfect," Aleister muttered as he set the trays down and leaned on the counter. "What're you up to outside trainin'?"
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:30 PM   #122
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"Absolutely nothing." Yasmine said with a chuckle as Aleister asked her what she was doing outside of training. "I have plans to attend the festival this week at some point, but I keep to myself mostly. Lots of time for reading an simply being myself. It's been a long time since I had the luxury."
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Old 11-26-2016, 12:21 AM   #123
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"Y'know yer welcome around 'ere, all th' Axemen are." As Lynn returned, Aleister gave him a smile. He knew well that Lynndon had picked up his parents' habit of slipping their favorite people a little extra.
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:06 AM   #124
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"Well, thank you, kind sir." Yasmine said, grinning down at Lynndon as the sounds of footsteps from the stairway greeted them.

She was not prepared for the healer to appear, a tiny infant in his arms squealing and upset at the world. The little girl had her mother's dark hair and her father's complexion, delicate little features that suited her perfectly.
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:30 PM   #125
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Alex didn't even seem to notice Yasmine, too focused on the task at hand. "Aleister, your daughter absolutely refuses to calm down. She's worse than her grandfather and you together." He placed the girl in Aleister's arms, and she began to quiet almost immediately. Alex sighed. "Typical. I guess that runs in the family too."

Aleister only chuckled, holding Andra with one arm and patting Alex's shoulder. "Ye'll understand someday."

When Alex turned, he stopped short to see Yasmine. "Oh. Hello. Sorry, I didn't even realize you were here."
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