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The Elven Heritage Legacy
Chapter: 1.16
Cum Laude

<- Back to Part A



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Lydia dragged herself off the couch and put away her homework. Who knew that an acting course involved marking up so many plays? She was pretty sure that the professors inflicted essays on Dadaism on them in order to weed out the weak.

She should hunt down Ana, make sure that she actually did something with her Saturday that didn’t make her feel like her brain was leaking out her pointed ears…

Speaking of Ana, she was coming down the stairs all gussied up.

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 “Lydia, does my hair look weird in the back?” she asked. “This is why I never do anything with it…”

Lydia checked. Assuming that Ana had gone for the ‘messy bun’ look, she’d gotten it right.

“Not weird,” Lydia confirmed. “Why the change though?”

“I’m meeting Adam in twenty minutes, and I was just thinking that having my hair all down, and straight and all, makes me look really young,” said Ana, who was now fiddling with a strand of it.

“Meeting… Adam?”

“Yeah, it’s technically not a date. There’s supposedly going to be studying involved. And I don’t know if he likes me or what, so I didn’t want to send the wrong message by getting too fancy, but…” Ana shrugged. “Anyway, I shouldn’t have done anything special, now I’m all nervous, because he makes my toes curl… you know.”

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Lydia didn’t know. She supposed that Ana would be the expert on male handsomeness by now.  And possibly girl prettiness, but as far as she was aware Ana’s real-life dating life was not off to the rip-roaring start that Ana had hoped. And she was pretty sure she’d know, because the two of them shared a room, which to be honest, had some untapped awkwardness potential. Ana had never brought anyone she’d seen for coffee back to the heritage house, and when Lydia thought of the possibility of her being elsewhere all night, it was weird. Very weird.

Maybe it was just because in Lydia’s head they were both still twelve.

It certainly couldn’t be because she spent a good chunk of her time repressing the urge to tell Ana to be more careful, because she didn’t know exactly what she meant by it. More careful than what?

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“Anyway, don’t tell Ara, I’m sick of her giving my dates the stink eye,” said Ana. “You remember the guy from freshman orientation, the one with the chin?”

“The super senior?” Lydia asked. “You dated him?” When?

“No, because Aranel slammed the door in his face,” said Anariel. “Which was rude even for her.”

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“She’s just trying to look out for you,” said Lydia, before she wondered why she was even defending Aranel, who neither needed nor probably deserved it.

“Well, she could do it without implying that she thinks I’m a slut,” said Ana. “Which is so hypocritical when you think about it. So seriously, lips zipped.”

“Sure Ana, whatever you need,” said Lydia. She wanted to be enthusiastic about Ana’s not-date, but her stomach was squirming beneath her ribs.

“Thanks,” said Ana, smiling brilliantly. “Wish me luck!”

The door slammed behind Lydia’s best friend.

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There went her plans for doing something other than being bored around the house… as far as she knew there was nothing going on in the drama department, and at the moment, she couldn’t think of anyone else in the entire college that she even wanted to talk to. Or could even find or call up. The library held no appeal, as she’d been marking a play for notes all day, and she didn’t think she could muster the energy to go for a jog. Were all four years going to be like this?

She should… go work on a skill or something. Or do her laundry.

Lydia wandered out into the yard and lost herself in not actually thinking.

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“So,” said Rean, sitting down at the chessboard, “Any particular reason you’re moping out here?”

Lydia stared at the chess board. “Just skilling,” she said, “Gotta make the dean’s list.”

“Ah, yes, the flawless logical technique of sitting there and staring at a chessboard,” said Rean, wisely.

Lydia didn’t reply, so he moved a pawn at random. She moved another. Well, at least that was human interaction.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with not getting a part in the winter play, would it?” asked Rean out of nowhere.

“What? No,” said Lydia, baffled. “Why would you think that?”

To be completely honest, she knew she hadn’t done well in tryouts. And at the moment, she couldn’t bring herself to care. Maybe she should switch her major, to something boring and predictable and soul-crushing, like macroeconomics.

“Amadeus told me you didn’t get in,” said Rean, with a faux-casual shrug.

“Do you two tell each other everything that passes through your heads?” she asked, too baffled to be properly angry, just irritated. Did people really think she couldn’t handle tryouts, for the green ones’ sakes?

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Rean rolled his eyes at her. “It’s called communication. It’s supposedly good for couples.”

 “Ergh,” said Lydia.

“Romantic troubles?” asked Rean, failing at being casual.

“God, no, why is everyone so wrapped up in that?” Lydia replied. “If you can’t figure out how to deal with another person why the hell would you still be seeing them?”

“Sex, probably,” said Rean.

“Sounds overrated.”

They played a few more moves of chess, neither of them paying any actual attention to the board.

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“Look Rean,” said Lydia, “I know you’re being a supportive housemate or something, but I’m just cranky and suffering from a bad case of midterm projects.”

“That’s okay, I’m only hiding out here because Aranel is yelling at her computer about the electoral college again, and everyone else in the house had the common sense to get lost or go on a date or something,” said Rean, “Also, the weekend before Haloween is pretty much the last good weather we ever get around here.”

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He clearly couldn’t be run off without more effort than Lydia was willing to give. Also, she didn’t want him to hate her, so…

“Okay then, you can stay if we shut up and don’t try to talk about feelings. Which I’m not sure why you’re concerned, or whatever…”

“Was that a rhetorical question, or do you actually want to know?” asked Rean.

Lydia glared at him. “You know what, I’m a knowledge sim,” she said, “Hit me with the source of all the concern.”

“Well, it’s kind of obvious to the rest of us in the house that you’re… not exactly happy here?” Rean’s statement kind of petered out, as if he’d changed it halfway through.

“I like it fine when people stay out of my business,” Lydia mumbled. “Anyway, I didn’t think my happiness was something everyone else needed to get their boxers in a twist about.”

“Okay, you’re grouchy and combative,” said Rean, “And perplexingly silent for someone who is definitely in the top five most outgoing people I knew in high school. And everyone’s got stuff going on, so I figured you might need someone to talk to.”

Lydia eyed him across the table. “And your qualifications are…?”

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Rean shrugged, and fiddled with a bishop. “Just… the last time I wanted to rip people’s faces off for talking to me was around the time I figured out I was gay,” he said. “Looking back, being thirteen probably also had a lot to do with that, but the bit where I kept telling myself that it wasn’t possible, or thinking that if it was true I’d done something wrong… it sucked. And I know I was a bit of an ass to people around school, mostly because I hated myself and I was ashamed of being different. And I actually lost way more friends from elementary school because I was an angsty jackass than them finding out about the whole gay thing.”

When he put the bishop down it was on the wrong color square, but it wasn’t like they were actually playing chess.

“Anyhow, I kind of wish I’d had the nerve to actually talk to someone about it,” said Rean, “Because maybe then instead of getting accused of it, and panicking, I’d just have turned to the other guys and said ‘Yeah, I am gay, what the fuck is your problem with it?’”

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Lydia turned a pawn upside down and clonked it’s head on the side of the board repeatedly. To be honest, she probably knew Rean the least out of every single person in the house. Everyone else had been living in Lake Valley all their lives, not to mention going to Riverblossom Hills Junior Academy long before she’d managed to get into the private high school. And his parents weren’t friends with her mom. He didn’t know fuck-all about all this.

Should she tell him? Maybe. It wasn’t like she was ever going to tell Ana, and she wasn’t exactly speaking to Eluisa anymore, so that cut her list of usual advisors down to a whopping zero.

“It’s not like that,” said Lydia, “Like, pretty sure I’m straight. I don’t like girls like that, at all, so I’ve got to be. And I haven’t exactly asked my parents about it but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t really have an opinion about it if I wasn’t.”

Rean twitched a halfhearted smile. “So something else is bothering you.”

“Yup.”

“And it’s been bothering you since the beginning of the semester.”

Lydia shrugged, and then decided what the hell. “Okay, so, hypothetically, if you’d said something really shitty to your mom, does that make you a shitty person? I didn’t know it was awful at the time, but still.”

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 “I’m not the best person for parent advice,” said Rean, “Considering.”

Lydia glanced up at him. Shit. She was always putting her foot in it, wasn’t she? Chalk up one more point for Lydia the asshole, trampling all over everyone’s sore subjects. Obviously Rean wouldn’t want to talk about parents when his own had thrown him out. And she thought she had problems.

“Sorry,” she said, “Damn it, why do I always say the wrong thing? I’ll stop inflicting all my insensitivity on you, I swear.”

“No, I asked,” said Rean. “It’s honestly… well, it’s not okay. But it never was okay, so I’ve learned to live with it. Anyway, your parents sound like they’re not complete assholes, so I’m pretty sure that whatever you said they’ll get over it eventually.”

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Lydia wilted. “It’s not really what I said so much as what I did,” she said. “And mom doesn’t even know most of it, so it’s not like I can just apologize for fucking up. Unless Eluisa told her, which… I don’t think Eluisa would put her through that, but yeah.”

Rean looked at her. “No, probably not,” he said.

“Yeah, not everyone’s as selfish as me,” Lydia said to her hands. “Anyway, I probably shouldn’t tell you all this, it’s kind of fucked up.”

Rean leaned back and crossed his arms. “You’ve got to tell someone.”

“You’d think that, except, again, it’s awful.”

“It doesn’t have to be me.

Lydia waved her hand around the empty yard sarcastically. “Not a lot of volunteers.”

He thought about that for about ten seconds. “I’m pretty sure Ana -”

“Oh, Green Ones no!”

“- would to just about anything for you.”

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She shuddered. “No. Not Ana. If I tell you this you are never going to breathe a word of this to anyone, especially not Ana. Not even your boyfriend, because what your boyfriend knows gets back to the whole damn Elvensong clan eventually.”

Rean crossed his heart. “This seems a bit serious for morbid curiosity,” he said.

Lydia fidgeted. “Okay. So. I guess I’ve always kind of known that Makir isn’t my dad,” she said. “The fact that he never made any effort to get me to call him dad kind of tipped me off, even before I figured out that brown hair and glasses aren’t something I could have gotten from him – and I certainly didn’t get them from Mom.” She stopped, then started again. “Anyway, when I was… wow, I think I was eleven? I got a real bee in my bonnet about figuring out who my real dad was. I started bugging mom about it, she told me she wasn’t going to say, I figured she meant she didn’t think I was old enough to know, so I waited a while and then asked again.”

Rean leaned forward.

“Anyway, during high school I figured that she was never going to tell me, so I tried to look it up myself. I ordered a copy of my birth certificate. It came back father unknown, so clearly I am not cut out for a life of detective work.” Lydia started tugging one of her braids.

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After a long moment of silence, Rean said, “Actually, that seems to me like a pretty understandable curiosity.”

“That wasn’t the shitty part,” said Lydia hollowly. “I, er, I sort of cut a deal with aunt Eluisa that I wouldn’t bring it up to my mom again. Ever. Provided that she would give me the information she had when I turned eighteen.

“I thought I’d thought about everything, you know? I figured, what if mom had an affair with a married man, what if my dad was in jail, what if she wasn’t even sure who he was? For all I know he’d died tragically, saving us from a house fire or something. It never crossed my mind that he might be an abusive asshole who scared her into running away from everyone she loved, and then stalked her to the city. I didn’t think that maybe she didn’t put his name on the birth certificate because she thought she was protecting me from him.”

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Lydia wanted to look up, but she was afraid of the expression on Rean’s face. Was it going to be shock, pity, confusion? She couldn’t deal with any of the options, so she kept staring at the chessboard.

“I just… I had all these fantasies of going to find him,” Lydia admitted. “Like, I figured he was an okay guy, and that if he wasn’t dead I could turn up on his doorstep and have… not someplace to belong, but answers, you know? I could have grandparents. Other brothers or sisters. Someone I knew who loves cheetos and orange soda even though my whole family hates them both. I thought he’d be happy to see me, and maybe he’d know why sometimes at home I’d feel like I was just a spare piece of some other puzzle that happened to be more or less the right shape.”

There was a lot of silence. A long silence. Someone drove by blaring rap music, and Lydia still didn’t look up. She felt small, and awful.

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“Whatever your dad did isn’t your fault,” said Rean.

She grimaced. “It can’t have been easy,” she said, “I kept asking and asking… also I yelled at her a lot because she wasn’t telling me about something that was obviously really awful for her. I made her cry. I went behind her back because I was convinced that she was just hiding things from me because she was overly concerned or insecure that I wouldn’t love her as much if I knew who my dad was, or something. I got Orion involved, and to be honest, he didn’t need to know that Makir’s not his dad either, but I didn’t really give a crap what he thought at the time. Actually I didn’t care what anyone felt about it because I had to know. And knowing it hasn’t done any good. Actually, it’s just made things worse.”

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Lydia rarely cried. But she could feel the burn of snot behind the bridge of her nose, looming, and hated it.

Rean shifted in his seat.

“Your mom still cares about you, though,” he said. “She keeps calling the house to talk to you.”

Lydia shrugged.

“You know, if I had a chance… if my mom called and said she wanted to see me again, I honestly don’t know what I’d do,” said Rean. “I loved her. That’s how it is, being a kid, and I don’t actually know if I stopped loving her or if that’s why it hurts so much that she thinks I’m an unnatural abomination.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, though,” Lydia said, “Your parents are just bigots.”

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Rean sighed. “Look, if you want my advice – talk to your mom. Maybe not about this, but just… do something. Because as far as I’m concerned, having one good parent is winning the fucking jackpot.”

*          *          *

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From: Achenar Elvensong (aelvenson2@ssu.edu)
To: Haldir Elvensong (helvensong@rbcountyhealth.com)

Subject: Some advice

Dad,
Where’s a good place to buy engagement rings? Also, can you loan me some money?

*          *          *

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“Hey, what’s up, everybody?” Elirand said, as he drifted into the kitchen to find all the seniors in varying states of dejection around the kitchen table.

“Oh green ones, don’t ask,” said Bastian.

“Thesis revisions,” said Rean, gloomily, brandishing a sheaf of paper at Elirand.

“All you have to do is write the damn thing,” Bastian grumbled.

“And defend it!” Aranel spat. “If I have to sit through another prep meeting with holier-than-thou economists -”

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“Forgive me for not having any sympathy for either of you,” Amadeus said, “When I have to perform the piece of music I’m writing for my thesis.”

Elirand snuck out through the front door as the argument accelerated.

*          *          *

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“I do like Meadow’s young man,” said Chris for maybe the tenth time, “I just think it’s all a little rushed, is all. She wants to be married the summer they graduate, in July. Eric’s parents aren’t exactly present, so the two of them have been doing most of the planning themselves and coming to me for help. And it’s not that she doesn’t think of the expense, because she’s been modest in every aspect of the plan besides the guest list… I keep telling her she should be having fun in college instead of just keeping up with her schoolwork and planning this wedding.”

Chalimyra shrugged and took an elegant sip of her tea. “According to Calla, Meadow is on every committee there is, just like in high school. I think Calla goes there to get away from the craziness at the heritage house – no offense intended, Viridia.”

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Viridia eyebrowed at her friend. “Chali, I raised Aranel, I am well aware that craziness follows her. To tell the truth, I’m relieved the kids handled the whole legacy thing as maturely as they did, and that Achenar’s the one coming back to live with us. He’s going to need it the most, what with grad school and a career in physics, and I can’t imagine that Aranel in her twenties will be any different from Aranel in her teens.”

“What about Ana?” asked Midina.

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“Ana is… you know, in Elphemerea, I had a younger sister. Ryelle.” The three other elves nodded, while Chris and Rose shrugged politely. “After our parents died she just sort of… shrank. I wanted her to come with me when I left, but she wouldn’t even think of setting foot outside the village. I’ve always wondered what happened to her, and I have this sinking suspicion that she grew old alone.”

“I don’t think that would necessarily happen to Ana if she came home to live with you and Haldir,” Eluisa reassured her. “Not if she had Lydia.”
      
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“I don’t know what is wrong with Lydia these days,” Midina said anxiously. “She’s just been… gloomy. Since the middle of the summer.”
      
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There was a bit of a commiserative silence on the subject of uncommunicative teenagers.

Eluisa cleared her throat guiltily. “Rose, what is it you said was going on with Daisy?”

“Well, this week Daisy has decided that she is a… hang on, let me get this right… oh yes, Magical Friendship Adventure Crystal Pony Gem.”

The other women all wore expressions of complete bafflement.

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“It’s from cartoons,” Rose explained. “Several of them. At least she hasn’t developed an interest in sponge bob, I can’t stand the voices in that one… In any case, she’s been drawing a lot and has decided she wants to work at the animal rescue over in Appaloosa, so Azalea has been driving her on Thursday afternoons for the last two weeks. Azalea tells me nothing. She’s worse than Briar about that, but at least her college applications are all in order… The quads are all getting a little tired of Daisy’s cartoons, but they’re having an excellent quarter so far. Their teacher did call me the other week to complain that Genlisea and Zebrina keep turning in almost-identical papers, down to the handwriting, even though she’s got them sitting across the room from each other, but I told her they’ve always done that.” She shrugged a little.

There was a chirp from Chalimyra’s pocket. “Excuse me, I’ve got to check this,” she said, fishing out her phone.

After a second, she looked up with a huge smile on her face.

“Viridia, you’re going to want to see this.”

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*          *          *

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*          *          *

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“I’m not really a dream expert, Haldir,” Eluisa said, poking at her plate with a sigh. Haldir hadn’t touched his yet.

“I know,” Haldir replied, “I just thought maybe you’d tell me it was something I didn’t need to worry about.”

“The actual dreams? I don’t think they can make a difference, one way or the other,” Eluisa said, “But they are odd. And to be quite honest, they’re the latest in a list of weird things that I’m starting to be concerned about.”

Haldir frowned. “What sort of weird things?”

“Remember how all our paperwork went missing?”

“That doesn’t seem very…”

“And the aurora storms. The time Viridia’s eyes turned brown. The earthquakes. People in town seeming… different. Things you remember having going missing.”

“Eluisa, all of those things are pretty much normal. Except for Viridia’s eyes, that was weird, but it turned out not to be a big deal. And things got crazy around those Aurora storms.”
      
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Eluisa sighed, and laid her fork down. “Somehow I knew you’d say that,” she muttered.

“Anyhow, it probably is nothing we should worry about, but maybe if we figure out why you’re having these dreams, it will help you sleep at night.” And maybe it will shed some light on why no one else seems concerned by all these strange details being so far off…

“There isn’t really a pattern,” Haldir said. “Sometimes I’m in the garden at home, but it’s not home at all, it’s someplace else. A few times I’m in some… old apothecary shop? Something from Elphemerea, I think, though I don’t remember it. Sometimes there are people I know that I know, but who I honestly have no real memories of. That’s the weird part, really. Everything else I probably made up, but the faces of these people are so clear. I remember their names during the dream, but not when I wake up, it’s like I can’t hold onto the memory.”

He looked at Eluisa expectantly.

She made a little ‘go on’ gesture with her hand. “Could you describe the people again? I know sometimes when I dream it’s a mix of people I know. Your brain is good at combining them in your sleep, apparently. That and making you run ridiculously slowly.”

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Haldir’s smile was a little strained. “There’s an old man,” he said. “Sometimes two youngish women, they look like they might be from the old east, like Chalimyra. They’re usually in the apothecary, and sometimes there are patients, but they’ve never been the same in more than one dream that I can remember.”

“And at home?”

It took a moment before Haldir answered. “There’s a woman. Beautiful, with this red-gold hair, and blue eyes… she’s the one I absolutely should know, but I don’t. Not awake. And she has a son, a little black haired boy about three or four, sometimes younger than that. In my most recent dream, she was pregnant, and telling me something about how this one was going to be a girl and… you know that creeping terror that you get when a dream is about to turn into a nightmare but nothing scary has happened yet?”

Eluisa nodded.

“There was just something so wrong about it that I woke up,” Haldir said, scrubbing a hand over his face. “Most of the other dreams aren’t like that, though. They’re pleasant when I’m dreaming, and then I wake up feeling awful. Or sad. Or something that has nothing to do with what I remember from my dream.”
      
There was a moment of contemplative silence, in which Eluisa stared at her spaghetti and wondered in vain why whenever she managed to cook something properly, no one was in any fit state to enjoy it.

“You think maybe its stress?” she said.

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Haldir looked at her, perplexed.


“You said you got the first ones after one of the Aurora Storms,” she reminded him, “So maybe your brain mixed up a bunch of images of what you saw in Elphemerea with whatever was causing you stress at the time, or things that caused you a great deal of stress in the past. And then you dream about working in an Apothecary, because you’re stressed at the clinic.”

“That doesn’t explain her.”

“Maybe your brain is combining Viridia with someone else?” Eluisa hazarded, “I mean, you have a little black haired boy with your red-headed wife, it’s just that he’s twenty one now instead of three. And I remember very well how awful the Viridia’s pregnancy was when you had him, I can totally understand how it would show up in a nightmare a few decades down the line. And we’re all getting older, but I bet that raising Ariadne is keeping those memories from your other kids’ early years fresh.

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Haldir shrugged. “Maybe,” he said. “To be honest, I’m looking forward to having one of the kids back in the house for good. Sim State didn’t seem so far away until all three of them were gone. This empty nest thing… it just seems so strange and futile. Viridia and I rattle around in that enormous house like a couple of beans in a canoe, and if we didn’t have Ariadne to keep us busy it would be even worse.”

Eluisa, who liked her beachfront solitude just fine, nodded encouragingly. “Maybe the answer is to spend more time with your kids,” she said, “Or the rest of your friends, considering how seldom you actually show up to Talon and Chali’s little get-togethers.”

“Yeah. That’s the hazard of being a doctor, I guess.”

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*          *          *

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*          *          *
Author’s Note: And I was supposed to update in June…

Anyway, now that the heirs have been decided, next chapter starts generation 2! I’ve been working on this legacy for… eight years now. So hopefully you’ll get generation two within the next decade or so.

Here’s to hoping that those stupid handcuffs that Aranel has been wearing as bracelets the whole chapter mysteriously disappear when she graduates. And that I don’t go nuts throwing graduation parties, because I am done filming college parties. So done. Eternally done. But Aranel has graduated so I don’t have to any more.

Shoutout to Photobucket, which sucks hairy monkey toes and wouldn’t load for an entire day.  I announced on Tumblr that this was coming out the week of the 9th… and Photobucket made a liar out of me because it cannot be trusted.

Date: 2016-09-20 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mzyra.livejournal.com
Forgive me if I forget things, pretty sleepy and generally not with it ATM

I'm so glad somebody called out Ara's error on doppelganger, because my first thought was '... those two look nothing alike?' XD

...Ana/Bastian? *Raises eyebrow* (Next thought: Red haired babies...?)

I like what you've done with Daisy Greenman as a character, I'm interested by the idea of plantsim kids, but I don't think I'm really going to be able to explore it in my legacy with all the staging and everything.

Is that a GIF? What is this storytelling magic/chicanery?! Beyond my level, to be sure.

Awww, engagement, though the whole heir thing seems more likely to be the littlest sister with her magic vision.

Oh dear, Ana and overprotective siblings, though it might be for the best. Still shipping Ana/Lydia though.

Poor Lydia. And Rean.

Lol Achenar, immediately on to the parents to get money for the engagement ring. Back in the day it was meant to be 6 months' wages!

Oooh, mystical dreams. Too tired for advanced brain linkage there though.

3 months late isn't so bad for an update <.< >.> Not by my standards, anyway! Good job :)

Date: 2016-09-21 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scribal-goddess.livejournal.com
Yeah, Medley Misty taught me to make gifs. *Twirls to show it off.*



Ana went and heartfarted Bastian when they met. She seriously has a thing for brunets. ;) (You'll see who he ends up with later... much later, rate I'm going.)

Daisy's actually partially based on a young woman I grew up with. (And I sweat a bit about doing her justice because representation and all, even though the five people who read this are people I trust to tell me nicely if I fuck up.)

Achenar: It's a good thing he's headed home, because in the real world he'd be a broke grad student for the next 4-6 years if he wanted to do anything in astronomy or physics. (Wages, what wages? XD )

Dreams indeed!

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