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Revision as of 05:06, 13 January 2020

Synopsis: Talyara and Lanara have completely decked out Lharast Cottage in preparation of a Yule party with their closest friends. Unbeknownst the Lana, Taly has invited a drow dwarf to be the elder witch’s blind date; however, she likewise forgot to mention that she is in fact dating someone and he might be coming as well! Things take an even stranger turn when Nick, lead singer of the Backstreet Bards, arrives uninvited with extravagant gifts for the witch sisters. After a tense and shocking end to the evening, everyone parts ways and Taly and Krice are left to clean up the mess, and Lana is volunteered to host the next holiday.

Lharast Cottage

Talyara :: (Post 1 of 2) Lharast Cottage looks picture perfect for the Yule party from the exterior, like it could be the image on a postcard one would send to friends and loved ones in celebration of the season. A light snow falls in Frostmaw coating the outside with fresh powder as warm smoke unfurled from the chimney promising comfort on the inside. The illuminated windows seem frosted and a festive wreath complete with a big red bow sits invitingly on the front door. The interior is just as magical, as Talyara and Lanara had gone out of their way to make it full of Yule spirit. At the elder sister’s behest, bunches of mistletoe had been strung from the ceiling all over, trying to encourage lovers to share an embrace. A large pine tree half decorated is the focal point of the living room, tall and proud beside the hearth where a crackling fire dances merrily and wrapped gifts nestles below the branches. Originally, the tree had been placed front and center of the room; however, it had been tucked away into the corner to hide the burnt branches after receiving a well placed strike of lightning by an excitable Fleur the previous night. On the coffee table there is a large bowl of popcorn, a smaller one of cranberries, a needle, and thread as well as various other blazonries meant for the guests to decorate the Yule tree with. The smells of a roasting ham permeate the cottage mingled with garlic and other herbs and spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. In the dining room, the table had been laden with a forest green tablecloth with golden goblets, chargers, plates, and utensils while the placemats and napkins are crimson. The small table against the back wall which usually acted as an altar, is taken up by a large log decorated with pinecones, sprigs of pine, and a trio of candles--green, red, and white.

Talyara :: (Post 2 of 2) Talyara continues to bustle around the cottage to make sure everything is set from decorations to the roasting ham and boiling potatoes. A pot of simmering liquid sits on the fire where a spicy, wintery wassil wafts welcoming steam to any who wish to taste. A warm apple crisp sits on the counter to join the cookies and Lanara’s...unique pork pudding for dessert. The younger witch is just wondering how she can politely discard it without offending her sister when Lanara calls out to remind her to place it out when the time comes. Taly grimaces before straightening and joins Lana and Fleur in the living room. She is dressed in a pair of black leggings and an oversized green sweater which hangs off of her left shoulder. She forgoes shoes in favor of wearing two mismatched socks, and her wild curls are left to their own devices. She leans against the wall as she watches Lana and the young girl read the story. “I hope we aren’t forgetting anything…” she mumbles to herself. Despite this being a casual affair with close friends, she wanted everything to be perfect.

Lanara sits on the sofa with Fleur on her lap, a book propped open, as she’s reading the toddler a story about how the Grinch tried to ruin Christmas. The little girl is twirling some of Lana’s sleek locks around her tiny fingers, as she listens attentively to the story and giggles over a picture of a dog wearing antlers atop his head. Relishing in the fact that she’s been able to play the role of a ‘parent’ for the weekend, the witch is all smiles as they both reach to turn the page and continue the story, and it’s apparent that she will miss Fleur as her parents would claim her at the party. Lanara is dressed casual today in a crimson blouse, hip hugging jeans, and a comfortable pair of tan fur-lined boots that reach halfway up her calves. Fugg’s were the most popular selling item this Yule in Frostmaw, and she was lucky enough to snag a pair for herself and for Fleur, which was one of the toddler’s presents! Having left her long hair down for today, she applied minimal makeup this morning to enhance her fair face, and a pentacle is worn about her neck. It had been a long night of wrapping presents, baking cookies, decorating the cottage, and babysitting, but the sister’s are both in the spirit of the holidays and are excited for their friends to arrive. Lana pauses in reading the book and glances at Taly, “The food smells delicious! I put the pork pudding in the fridge… Just remind me to set it out for dessert. I still can’t believe the mix up at the butcher!” The witch had ordered a tray of pulled pork, but somehow there was confusion and they had given her a frozen tray labeled ‘parts’ of pork, and being that it was short notice there wasn’t anything they could do. Lana had made some disgusting concoction of bread pudding with pig’s feet, and sprinkled some green edible glitter on top to make it look more appetizing. The story concludes moments later and a knock at the door announces that the first guest has arrived! Fleur claps excitedly as she slides to the floor and reaches out a hand “LaLa!!! Door!?” Was it Callum and Meri? Krice? Perhaps another that Talyara had invited? Lanara highly doubts that Tiber will be showing up, as she invited him, but seeing as he didn’t celebrate Yule and they weren’t an established couple she doesn’t want to get her hopes up. Unless he missed her, of course, then he may show! “Come on, Fleur! Let’s see who it is!” In unison the sister’s and the toddler greet whoever is on the other side of the door with warm smiles and a triumphant “Blessed Yule!”

Callum || The trek to Frostmaw hadn’t been -too- terrible and Cal and Meri would make it there without incident. With them, they’d brought a bottle of champagne that the two had bought from the winery during their getaway trip--not to be confused with the one that they actually made because it’s probably best to not possibly poison the guests; crafting wines was a delicate thing after all--to give to the witch sisters for the occasion. They could certainly share the drink if they wanted! Or, they could save it for themselves and their partners. Cal’s attire wasn’t quite like what he’d worn during that soiree Talyara and Lanara had hosted. Instead, it was his usual: dress pants, long-sleeved button-up shirt, and waistcoat. The right accents were green (for obvious reasons) and he’d forego the jacket that would normally go with such an ensemble because this is Frostmaw and he needed his super thick winter coat. Before knocking on the door, he’d give Meri a look and sighed, “Let’s hope things go differently this holiday.” It’s safe to say that Halloween isn’t his favorite, after what had happened last time they were here. And then? He did indeed knock. And they were greeted. For Cal’s part of entering into the cottage, he’d offer a smile and a nod, say “Likewise!” in response to the yuletide blessing, and offered whom was closest the bottle of champagne.

Meri :: Who could possibly be at the door? Why Callum and Meri of course. Given that they will be having to haul a child back with them, they arrived by means of carriage. It was just easier to manage a toddler that way. Meri's attire was back to the usual, that is to say she is wearing black pants, with black boots, some thick winter cloak...because Frostmaw is so cold...but once she's inside and the cloak is shed, well she is wearing a very not-fancy flannel shirt. While Meri may not be the hugging sort, she has come to understand that the witch sisters are...And so Meri caves, greeting them both with a hug. This was one of those occasions where hugs seemed warranted anyway, celebrating Yule together and all. Lanara was hugged second, so that she could collect Fleur from the witch sister last of all. "I don't know, Cal. It might go like last time. I already found the monster." She is referring to their child. It does not take Meri long to discover the book that Lanara was reading to Fleur. The blonde smirks and begins to comment to her child, while pointing at a picture of the Grinch. "Do you know who looks just like the Grinch?" She's pointing at Callum next. Yes. Not only has Meri called her child a monster, but she is now trying to convince her child that daddy is the Grinch. A few moments after, Meri finds some amount of manners, and flashes a grin to both Lanara and Talyara, "Thanks for watching her. I hope she did not give you too much trouble."

Krice hadn't been in the cottage when Talyara and Lanara decorated it for the Yule celebration; he'd been away the previous night for work. When he shows his face, it's a few minutes after Meri and Callum have sorted themselves inside the cottage. He lifted his nose on approach, detecting a multitude of scents that didn't typically pervade his little KriceTaly bubble. Wearing his usual black attire - with collar open and sleeves rolled to his elbows in spite of the Frostmaw cold - Krice entered the home and artfully dodged a Lanara hug--she was huggy, and like Meri, -he- was the opposite of touchy with everyone but his companion--by moving around the edges of the room to make as direct a line as possible for Talyara. Crimson eyes scanned the faces of those gathered on his way in; though Tiber and Callum were less familiar to him than the women who accompanied them, he them similarly. The child was an unexpected addition to the party, his eyes staring briefly before he found himself within the younger sister's embrace. With his left hand down, holding his sheathed katana, the warrior curled his right arm around his lover's waist and pulled her against him, tucking his chin over her shoulder. During this closeness he murmured that he'd be back shortly, before disappearing down the hallway to the bedroom. There he would shed his boots, leave his katana against the southwest corner of the room, and return a moment later into the living spaces where people gathered. On his way back in, Krice scanned the room a second time to take in the finer details of the decorations.

Tiber always needed a reason for motives. Tiber had been lingering outside the Cenril Inn. The man was smoking a cigarette before he went in to slither his way in to bargain with a wealthy man who was staying in the fancier part of the hotel. The lycan take his last long drag and dabs out the ashes before dropping the rolled cigarette on the ground and stomping it out. The man adjusts his rustic brown tie before entering the building and making his way to the high class abode where he begins to chat with the richer man… The two men sit across from each other and talk for a bit to make the light talk before truly getting down to the details… “So, Mr. Lowell, I’m looking for a partner I can trust, y’see,” the wealthy man, Franz Rouseaux, speaks in a thick foreign accent, for he was from a land far off Lithrydel. Tiberius raises his brows, and the foreign man still speaks. “After all, you are getting my money back from the sick man who stole from me,” beat. “So, even if I find you charming, I need to have a dinner with you to discuss more about our little… chat. Bring a date. After all, my sweet Sylvi just loves to scrutinize whoever I find interest in for my bidding. She gets final say, so bring a date. Sylvi loves a gentleman,” he says sternly. Franz waves his hands off before Tiberius can get a word in. “Now, off with you, Mr. Lowell, I’ll send note of the arranged dinner.” Automatically, Franz’s bodyguards are gesturing for Tiberius to leave which the lycan does. The lycan stumbles back out on the streets and his mind races. Lanara. Of course she would be the date, but perhaps she could do more for the Catalian. The lycan looks down at his watch. Frostmaw. The Yule gathering. Right. No better place to ask Lanara to a work dinner than a Yule gathering, so he begins to make his trek. Plus, it would not hurt to hear her non-stop chatter. The loft had been almost eerily silent without her around. Again, he is climbing mountains for this woman. What is even happening with his life now? Eventually, he manages to trek through Frostmaw, picking up a bottle of an apple-tasting whisky on the way to Talyara’s cottage. Why the heck would Talyara live in a blizzard? Soaked shoes, freezing breeze? This was not a life to live, Talyara. Not one at all. This was a mistake and he mentally suggests she move somewhere near by Lanara for his sake. Eventually, with grumbles from the overly thick snow, he ends up at the door. He is late, of course, but he knocks carelessly confident anyway—the great not-boyfriend ever, right Lana? When the door opens, the man would hold up the hard liquor. “Cheers to being overly giddy about some holidays and what-not.” If he may, he would step in. The man draped in his work clothes—brown tie with a grey and brown checkered blazer and grey slacks. He wears a long camel coat over the top of his work outfit to dress against the weather and he is actually growing some stubble in for the winter weather.

Talyara joins her sister and Fleur at the door when there is a knock to greet their first guests with welcome arms and a warm smile. “Thanks for coming! It’s so good to see you both!” she says with a grin, ushering Callum and Meri inside the toasty cottage. “How was your little getaway? Did you enjoy yourselves?” As Lana’s hands are occupied with Fleur, Taly accepts the bottle of champagne from Cal and examines the label. She is pleasantly surprised by the willing hug Meri bestows upon her, and Taly is quick to give her a squeeze in response. To her question about Fleur’s behavior, she casts a conspicuous look at the half burned tree in the corner, but returns to look at the psion. “She was an angel!” After greeting the couple and collecting their coats, she places them on her bed and returns to the party. She hears the door open and looks up to see the silver haired warrior enter the cottage and skirt around the room towards where she stands in the hall. “Hey!” she greets Krice with a wide smile before returning his embrace and nodding at his murmured words. There is a knock at the door and Taly automatically goes to answer it and startles when she sees Tiberius standing there, wishing yuletide greetings and offering her a bottle of liquor. “Umm…” The little witch seems confused for a moment but then understanding washes over her expression and she shoots Lana a knowing look over her shoulder. “Heeeey!” she says cheerily, stepping aside to allow him entry into the cottage. “Lanara can take your coat,” she volunteers. “Can I get anyone drinks?” she offers to the room at large. “I have water, wine, hot cocoa, wassil? Oh, and of course champagne and apple whiskey, now!” She is halfway to the kitchen to collect everyone’s orders when there’s -another- knock at the door and the little witch’s brow furrows. Everyone was already here so who would...oh no. She had forgotten that she -had- invited one additional person! Lanara had only just mentioned that she was dating someone and invited them to the Yule party, but didn’t think they would come. Unfortunately, Taly had met someone at the clinic the week prior to gleaning this information, and invited them for Lana’s sake as she didn’t want her sister to feel like a fifth wheel at the Yule celebration! This would certainly be an interesting night. Without meeting anyone’s eye, Taly answers the door, however, she has to look down in order to see her invited guest--he definitely looked taller when he was laying on the clinic cot. The man appears to be a dwarven drow with a scruffy, patchy beard. “Is Lanara here?” he bellows before elbowing past Taly and into the cottage without an invitation. The hostess quickly hides her mouth behind her hand to stifle a giggle as the man looks around the room before his eyes land on the beautiful witch and her grins to reveal slightly pointed canines--he’s no vampire, but clearly he’s sharpened them himself for the aesthetic. “I’m Francis!” he says importantly puffing out his chest and reaching to take Lanara’s hand and press a bristly kiss on her knuckles. “I just want to lay it out there so you don’t think I’m expectin’ nuttin’. We don’ hafta be intimate or anythin’. We can just hang out and play games.” Talyara’s eyes widen and she practically runs to the kitchen before a fit of laughter threatens to overtake her. “Getting the drinks!” she calls over her shoulder, her voice shaking with laughter.

Lanara is speechless when Meri willingly reaches for an embrace, as she knew the psion wasn’t the affectionate sort, so she makes sure that the hug is brief but memorable. Cal stands slightly to the side, much like Krice, so the witch merely greets them with a smile and a shoulder squeeze. The bottle of wine is admired as she hands Fleur to her mother, and she smiles warmly, “She was no trouble at all!” As long as Callum and Meri didn’t look closely at the right side of the Yule tree, since their daughter managed to burn the branches to a crisp. Neither witch mentions this, though they share a conspiratorial look, before Lana changes the subject and addresses the couple, “How was your weekend getaway? Did you enjoy the activities that we planned?” The sister’s are quick to change the subject, nearly speaking the exact same words, but Taly takes their coats and hopefully it’s a distraction to Fleur’s parents that something was amiss. The warrior has left the room to shed his weapons, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else walking up the path to the cottage, so the sister’s aim to close the door. It’s obvious that Lanara’s smile seems a tad forced as she turns back to their guests, as though she were hoping a certain someone would breeze through the blizzard and over another mountain to spend Yule together. Wait. Was that another knock? Or just the howling of the wind? Turning, the brunette locks eyes with Tiberius as he stands at the door with a bottle of hard liquor and spouting well wishes to her little sister. “Tiber?! You came?” Shock is registering, and Lana is quick to greet the male with a hug, her arms lingering around the male before she helps him out of his coat. “I’m glad you’re here…” She gives him that specially reserved smile and peers up at his face, lost in the moment before something snatches her hand and licks her flesh. “Dammit, Taylor!” Thinking it was Taly’s shape shifting feline, Lana swats at the cat, only to smack Francis upside the head. The witch is startled, terrified even, as she looks down and he utters that he isn’t expecting intimacy and wants to play some sort of game. Did she detect a lisp? Lanara glares at Francis, as she hates midgets and drow, and –somehow- one is standing here and salivating all over her hand and interrupting a touching moment. “TALY! What is this?!”

Callum smirked and narrowed his eyes at Meri, his words for their daughter, “Your mother isn’t much better, Fleur. She is a she-devil after all.” The lycan pretended to be all huffy about the situation, but of course actually wasn’t. Krice would show up, and eventually Tiber. The grey-haired warrior was given a slight nod but… Tiber? He’d get briefly stared at before being given a nod of his own. The staring was not -quite- as long as it’d seem. Callum was definitely subtle about it, as being the ever-observant and info-gathering type was one of his many specialities. He’d been warned, after all, that another Catalian would be there. -Another one-. Staring or not, it wasn’t difficult to pick up on those sharply angled features that all of Cal’s kinsmen shared. Meri’s sister had not been wrong about the people from Catal: they just seem to constantly pop up out of nowhere! It’s ridiculous. “It was a nice trip! Thank you, you two,” he said to the witches. He wasn’t going to mention the fact that Meri wanted to beat the hell out of the winery owner. “Wassail, please” was directed to Talyara as she headed into the kitchen. The whole interaction was not something that went unnoticed, thanks to those heightened lycanthrope senses, but… honestly… Callum did his best to ignore the edgy drow-dwarf-dude because -awkward-. He’d give Meri a look like he was screaming internally though, then put on a brave face, grabbed their daughter and wandered over to the tree. He’d started telling her what sort of tree it was, where it was grown, and all that jazz until he smelled that the tree… had been on fire? “Uh. Did something happen here last night? The tree smells… off.”

Meri would greet Krice with a wiggle of her fingers, but otherwise would not interrupt the warrior's path to Talyara. Tiber's arrival would not be missed either. Someone really needs to take the Grinch book away from Meri, because now that the other Catalian has joined the party....? Well Meri is trying to convince Fleur that Tiber? Well he's the Grinch's dog. She also proceeds to very appropriately explain to her child that his is why Lanara likes him, she thinks puppies are adorable. Apparently tonight was a night for shenanigans for while Meri was trying to convince Fleur of this latest wild story, that Tiber was the Grinch's dog....there is another knock on the door. And the THING that enters has Meri nearly falling out of her chair with laughter. She can't with this. Like at all. Fleur is passed off to Callum so that he can take her over toward the tree. This means that Meri can join Talyara in the kitchen to help get the drinks. I mean, Talyara only had so many hands? And there were plenty of people to serve. Alright, that's a lie. Meri's off to congratulate Talyara for an awesome troll on Lanara. Unfortunately, Francis has completely derailed Meri. She is unable to answer how their weekend get away went. Fortunately, she remains distracted enough that she does not seem to notice that the Yule tree looks a little...crispy. She'd reappear at the same time that Talyara does, except the only people that she actually has a drink for her are herself and Callum....because she's so helpful like that. She was sure that Callum got something with a bit of booze in it. Like maybe some eggnog with some rum in it? Or something close to that.

Krice's attention drifted to Tiber, an even less familiar face than the others, which earned him the warrior's scrutiny. Lanara seemed pleased with the male's presence, however, so he didn't feel a need to linger there for long. The fingers of his left hand extended out to brush Talyara's wrist as she walked by to answer the door, a brief affection followed by a small, reserved smile if she glanced his way from the touch. The arrival of that dwarf, shoving past the younger sister, wiped the smile from Krice's face and he bristled at the subsequent... boldness of words directed at Lanara. Talyara's giggles and retreat to the kitchen compelled him to follow and there he regarded her quizzically. She looked guilty as all hell; he couldn't help the smirk that curled his lips. When Meri joined them in the kitchen to fetch some drinks, she seemed of the same mind - that Talyara was pranking her sister for once, not the reverse - and her amusement ensured that his own lingered, albeit just in the fleeting warmth of his gaze. His drink was simply a glass of water, which he thanked his companion for in the form a kiss pressed to her chin. He would take whatever else she placed in his hands and carry it into the living area where the items would be delivered to their designated person or place. The sensitive noses of the group would detect the scent of a vampire coming from the warrior, watered down from a recent wash but there nonetheless. If he was concerned about the tree, he didn't mention it - but Callum drawing attention to the thing did seem to trigger his own glance in its direction, and then toward the sisters to await an explanation.

Tiber smirks at the knowing look towards Talyara. He is amused he makes his appearance at the witch’s house, but past was past. Tiberius was not a new man, but to Lanara, he was flexible. He maneuvers in and looks at Meri who gets a nod and a crookedly annoying smile, for he tends to crash a lot of events she appears to be at. Amber eyes then run over Callum, but his expression sort of turns back to a stoic, but non-threatening gaze and Krice receives one as well as he nods towards the two men. After all, they all had to get along for the evening, did they not? Lanara had mentioned that Meri’s fiancé was a Catalian, and Tiber had no idea how to feel about that. Perhaps he wanted to push the past to the side, for there was nothing that could be done about their history. Tiber lived for the moment now, although grouchy from his past. As another person knocks, the lycan thinks nothing of it and is approached by the witch he is fond of. She squeezes him, and her touch is somewhat comforting, but he remains stiff as he normally does in front of others. He gives her a squeeze back and runs his hand through her hair to show he does, in fact, care, but the dwarven drow makes his eyes go wide and he abruptly pulls away. He wants to snort, but he lets the amusement dance in amber eyes instead. Was this a friend of Lanara’s? Though, as the drow steps in proudly and admits that they do not have to ‘intimate’, a blaze almost lights off in the irises of the man, but he settles internally knowing that he hopefully has the witch wrapped around his finger enough. “Hey, Talyara, make my drink strong,” he briskly follows after the younger witch to give her the bottle of whiskey. “Lanara loves games, don’t you, Lana?” He says in his tense and taunting mannerisms over his shoulder, and he leaves room for light response. He is grouchy that he climbed the mountain for a dwarf to start flirting the witch up, but he is also appreciative for the entertainment that entered the doors for the evening. He could have a good buzz on this brave dwarf. He stands near Meri momentarily and shares the fit of laughter from the blonde.

Talyara :: Francis looks utterly bewildered at Lanara’s reaction to his gentlemanly gesture. “I’m your date,” he says very slowly, as if he were explaining it to Fleur. Did he think the elder sister was a little slow? “Don’ worry,” he explains, scratching at his beard. “I know you’re shocked that someone like me agreed to this, but I’ never been on a blind date before. That’s why I wanted ya t’know I didn’t expect anythin’ sexual like. But yar a bit frisky! I like that in my women,” he says with a waggle of his brows. Talyara’s laughter can be heard from the kitchen, tears leaking out of the corners of her eyes as she gets a tray together of everyone’s drinks, ignoring her sister’s yell from the other room. For once, it seemed like Taly was the one inadvertently pranking Lana! When she hears someone approach the kitchen she whips around in a defensive stance, convinced her sister had come to wallop her, but she is instead greeted by a likewise hysterical Meri. “I swear! He looked a lot taller at the clinic!” she says through her laughter, wiping the dampness from her cheeks. When Krice arrives she does her best to appear innocent but fails miserably and hands him his water and her glass of wine. She gives herself a minute to compose herself before rejoining the guests in the living room and handing out the remaining drinks to Lanara, Tiber, and Francis. “Dinner will be ready shortly, I have the ham resting before we carve it.” Francis scoffs from his place beside Lana. “I guess ham’s alright,” he mutters. “I brough’ ya a gift,” he informs Lana. “You see, my sister can’t know I used her coin on my collection, see, so I though’ I’d share it wit a booty...I mean beauty like you!” He hands Lana a bunch of tattered cards with pictures of odd animal creatures on them and a list of statistics. “It’s called Pokewomon. This one is -really- special,” he says spitting slightly. “It cost 400 gold! It’s a shiny Garizard! But seeing as we are gonna be playing games, you can borrow it for the night. You jus’ have to give it back” Talyara is outright REFUSING to look Lana’s way and instead she stays at Krice’s side, knowing he would protect her if the elder sibling threw something her way. She is happy to mingle but when Callum inquires about the state of the tree, Talyara is quick to invite everyone into the dining room. “Why don’t you all have a seat in the other room and get ready for supper! I’ll bring in the food!” “I’ll be sittin’ next to ya, of course,” Francis says to Lana, offering her his elbow. “Ya got a pillow or somethin’ I can sit on, Taffy?” he asks of the younger witch. “Krice, come help me,” she says tugging on the warrior’s arm, leaving the rest of the guests to fend for themselves while the couple went to fetch dinner from the kitchen.

Lanara has previously been called many things in her past, multipolar being one of the terms, as her emotions tend to fly from one extreme to another in a matter of moments. This is one of those unpredictable moments, where the ex-empath is unsure just how to handle such a thing, as Talyara had somehow managed to have the upper hand in their strange sibling relationship. Never, in all of her one hundred and eighty two years has Lanara been pranked by another, and confusion washes over her face as everyone leaves the room to laugh at her misery. The witch is beyond pissed off as she clenches her jaw and answers Tiber testily, “Get. My. Sister. In. Here. Now.” Naturally, no one is making eye contact with Lanara as they all pile back into the room, with their beverages but none for the witch and her spitting shortstack of a date. “Look, Franco. It’s great that you came and all, I guess, but I am sort of seeing someone.” Where the heck did Tiber go?! Did he –want- her to be wooed by this inbred creature? Francis is handing her a soiled deck of cards and she’s only half listening as she storms into the dining room, a scowl on her face, “I’m not giving you four hundred gold for pictures of halfbreeds. What are you twelve?” She glances down at the man noting his size, and is thinking he’s about a foot tall, so he’s likely going to be confused. “In age, I mean…” What games did he want to play? Maybe she could concoct some sort of snowman building fun and bury him in the frozen tundra?! A wicked grin splays on her face as she sits between Francis and Tiber, directly across from Talyara. If this went too far south, her sister would be wearing the ham and Lana would be carving the dwarven drow! “Everything smells delicious! That’s probably what you are noticing, Cal! We were baking cookies late into the night.” What did that even have to do with a tree?!

Callum did not receive the drink he wanted but… you know? It doesn’t matter. Because he’d take anything with alcohol in it right now. “Thanks,” he said to Meri, as he guzzled half of his glass of eggnog. He’ll regret that later, but that’s a problem for Future Cal. “Are you sure…?” The tone of Cal’s voice was one to denote that he sensed a mile high pile of bulls*** when it came to that tree. Especially seeing as how Talyara’s so quick to change the subject! Alas, neither of them really know about how well adept he was at sensing that sort of thing. Meri knew. He’d give his woman a skeptical look and a raised eyebrow. He was eventually coerced into the dining room, however. Fleur was seated between him and Meri, so that both of them could keep an eye on She-Devil version 2.0, but for now Cal’s attention was on the witches and that… dude. “Lanara, weren’t you just telling us before we left for our trip that you wanted to go on a blind date? To give yourself a nice change of pace from all the chaos you’ve been dealing with? This looks like the perfect opportunity!” Cue an evil smile from Cal to Lanara. That’ll teach y’all to lie about something like setting the tree on fire. He’d likely loop Talyara into it too, buuuuuut Krice did not seem like the type of person to deal with that sort of thing well and Cal was not one for confrontation! He’s (mostly) a pacifist and all that.

Meri can sense that Lanara is not happy that she has to spend time with the mini-drow. Laughter aside, Meri manages to show the witch some amount of mercy. If there was one other person in the room who could make this worse, it would be Meri. And honestly? With how she's been sassing off tonight? Lanara should be very appreciative that Meri doesn't add any colorful commentary to the whole dwarf situation. For a brief moment, Meri is standing near Callum and Tiber is standing near Meri. The blonde takes this opportunity to introduce the two, because of course Meri has managed to meet Tiber already. Meri seems to know like everyone, Cal. "Tiber, this is my fiance and baby-daddy. Callum. The little monster is called Fleur." They're really not able to take this conversation much further, as Talyara tries to usher them all to the dinner table. Meri is trying to ignore the numerous amounts of awkward in the room. There was the awkward between the two Catalians, which was a quite subtle awkward when compared to the dwarf in the room. Lanara was clearly not happy. Meri was not sure that dinner was going to pan out well...Another ghost situation was starting to feel more welcoming than sitting at a table with Lanara and knives. Regardless, Meri would find a place at the dinner table with Callum with Fleur between them. Callum was giving Meri as skeptical look for a conversation she was only partially aware of. She had missed the first bit of it when she went off into the kitchen to laugh with Talyara and screw up Callum's drink order. She might be slightly out of the loop on the tree-chat but she is aware that Callum is currently poking at Lanara, and so the she-devil herself smirks and turns her blue-eyes toward the witch...and any knives placed within her reach.

Krice transferred Talyara her wine once her hands were free, and he finished his own glass of water in quick order. Her deflection from the damaged tree to the dining hall was smooth and he regarded her with bemusement. Perhaps she would tell him later what happened to the pine. Whilst it seemed like most if not all of the other guests were amused at Lanara's expense, the warrior was simply proud of his companion for returning serve, finally; the older witch deserved much more before he'd consider the sisters even. That amusement had been short-lived, and the dwarf's obnoxious behaviour - for games or not - began to chafe. Krice followed Talyara into the kitchen at her beckoning, placing his empty glass next to hers on the counter before he moved to the plate holding the ham. " He called you Taffy," he mumbled through a wry grimace. What a degrading nickname. At any rate, being handy with a blade as he was, Krice made short work of the ham and finished carving the entire body into equally-sized slices. " Your sister's annoyed," he added quietly, sensitive ears detecting her direction to Tiber. He shot a glance over his shoulder at the younger witch and warned, " Careful of the consequent venom," before moving to step out of the kitchen, plate of ham in hand. As Tiber presumably approached to grab Talyara for Lanara as demanded, the silver-haired enigma afforded him a look that told him to be respectful about it. No sense in escalating the situation. Krice had confidence in Talyara's ability to know when enough was enough, in her awareness of Lanara's limitations, so he moved into the dining hall ahead of her to place the ham in the middle of the table from his placement, avoiding the obstruction of the others seated. Hopefully, the witch had some control over the dwarf to tell him to ease back - unless he was operating on his own steam. Elsewise, clean wine glasses decorated the setting, along with lit candles lining the middle from end to end, and a shallow but wide basket of fresh bakery bread - assorted sizes, shapes, and dough. Thereafter, he stood behind what would be Talyara's seat and waited for her to finish placing other foodstuffs on the table, before he would tuck her chair beneath her and occupy his own at her side. He did seem at first glance to be a little dull in relation to the tension and unspoken things that developed within the group, but was he really? A man of efficacy, he wouldn't intervene or simply add his two cents unless it became necessary. If he managed to catch her eye, Krice would gift Lanara a calming stare that he hoped would communicate his sympathy for her - and his wish for her to remain calm. It was just a joke; no need to kill anything for it.

Tiber almost chokes on the drink that Krice gives him as Francis responds that he is Lanara’s date. “Must’ve gotten your date wrong then, huh, Lana? Think I’ll stay anyway,” he says with a raise of his glass. The man gives in and moves to reach for Talyara in the kitchen to have the sister deal with the other one and the drow. He then turns, and while he makes his way out of the kitchen again, the Pokewomon card is pulled out, and Tiber now just turns his back in an awkward turn and gulps down whisky. The man is then drifted away in a brief greeting to Callum, and if the man is willing, he would extend a hand to shake the man’s in what people called ‘polite’ gesture. “Right, Callum, pleasure,” and with that verbal note, he sits down in the nearest seat. Men, amiright? He cannot save Lanara from this mess. This was too entertaining, though eventually she is planting down next to him with Francis on the other side. “I like Francis, he should come over more, right?” He leans an elbow on the table and presses his cheek in his hand in a playful, mocking way as he blinks at Lanara with a knowing smile. She would most likely hate the lycan right now. He was the icing on the cake. Like always.

Talyara smiles innocently at Krice when he warns her about Lana’s retaliation to this prank of hers. “Honestly, I was just hoping for a blind date, I had no idea he was this obnoxious. It’s just a bonus!” In other words, Taly had no control over to dwarf so any action or speech was his own doing. His calling her ‘Taffy’ is met with a shrug of her shoulders--she’d been called worse and it didn’t bother her in the slightest. In fact, her sister was notorious for messing up nomenclature so they truly were a good match! When Tiber enters the kitchen she does give the lycan an apologetic smile. “I didn’t know you were coming,” she says as means of an apology. The witch assists the warrior in carrying the foodstuffs to the table which includes a large bowl of garlic mashed potatoes and a shallow dish of glazed carrots. She takes her seat when Krice tucks her into it and invites everyone to dig in. She doesn’t like her seating arrangement, being directly across from Lana. That left her susceptible to being pelted with hot food or Lana’s knife. Hoping to smooth things over, she scoops some carrots out of the dish and reaches to hand the platter across the table to Francis. “Here! Try these! It’s a recipe from me and Lana’s mother, the honey glaze makes it taste like candy!” Francis eyes the carrots suspiciously before plucking one out with his fingers and tentatively takes a bite. “Blah!” he yells, throwing it down on his plate as his face scrunches in anger. “This ain’ taste like candy! It tastes like a freakin’ disappointmen’!” Looking at the other wares on the table, he grabs a utensil (that had been meant for Fleur) and shows it to Lana. “Ah look! A spork! I’ve always wanted t’use one of ‘hese!” Francis helps himself to a generous slab of ham and a massive mountain of mashed potatoes. Perhaps on another day, Talyara would be offended by this insult of her mother’s famed glazed carrots, but truly, she has a fit of giggles this evening and she quickly picks up her wine glass and snorts into it as she chokes down a sip. Hopefully the others had realized by now, that Francis was going rogue--Taly supplied the invitation but that’s where her involvement ended. She can only pray that the rest of the dinner would pass with relative ease and they’d be able to retire to the living room to exchange gifts.

Lanara was considering having friends play matchmaker, or even a ‘blind’ date, before she had reunited with Tiberius. Things sort of took off after that fateful day in Cenril, and while they weren’t yet a couple, she’s very interested in taking things to the next level at some point. Hell, if it meant Francis would vanish, she’d say ‘yes’ to a girlfriend title this very minute! As Krice and Taly are getting the spitting abomination a booster seat, she hands him back his sister’s playing cards, but her words are directed at Callum, “I’ve changed my mind! Most of those on the scene don’t quite meet –up- to my standards, you know? The –short- of it is that I’m picky when it comes to love!” A side glance is given to Tiber, “I prefer to focus on just dating one man and seeing where things go, and I sort of like where I hope things are headed.” Lana is –trying- to remain calm in the midst of her friends, and she so she smiles at her Catalian date and then at Meri, as they both notice the proximity of the knives. The witch loves throwing knives, and if Francis kept trying to lure her into any games, she’d introduce him to Dice-The-Drow. Krice is giving her the ‘look’ to behave and she sighs, knowing that the warrior is right, and that despite the ire she’s feeling it’s a high holiday. However, it’s then that Tiber throws in that one liner and she nearly spears him with her fork as she reaches for a slice of ham, “That’s right! You are looking for a new roommate since I’m leaving soon, right?” She elbows her other ‘date’ to get his attention, “Frodo, have I introduced you to my fabulous friend, Tiber? He’s –very- interested in renting out his spare room in Cenril.” Two could play at this game! As the dwarf is rattling on and on about how disappointing the carrots are, Lanara is slowly slicing her ham and glaring at Taly across the table. Was this the calm before the storm? Or was the witch merely biding her time until the evening came to a close? After helping herself to seconds and stewing in silence, Lana spies Francis twirling a sprig of mistletoe around his finger, and she shakes her head. The gleam in her chocolate eyes is evident to back off, as she clears her throat, “Presents are next! I’m sure you all will love your gifts!”

Callum || “Oh, are you sure, Lanara? I met some lovely jershers you might like, back when I was selling my herbs and flowers. There’s so many frogs looking for a princess,” Callum said, with an entirely innocent look on his face. He’s just trying to help, Lanara. “You know, I’ll let them know just in case. I imagine Francis and Tiber won’t mind sharing their date.” He’d stop with his antics -eventually-, but… this honestly was fun as hell. Meri would also be given an innocent grin. He was possibly going to regret making fun of Lanara later, seeing as how he was now her and Talyara’s student, but likewise he was also her boss now! So he could totally get away with this right? That’s how that works! Definitely. Yes. Cal would grab up some of those carrots and mashed potatoes and a bit of ham--and give a bit to Fleur too!--and wolfed them all down in as polite a manner as a starved lycan possibly can. Fleur had started to eat her dinner, but at the moment ‘presents’ were mentioned, she bounced around in her chair excitedly. Thanks, Lanara.

Meri was fairly quiet for this stretch of the gathering -- not that anything was wrong. The werewolf was honestly just preoccupied with feeding herself and her daughter. Sure, Callum might be helping to try and fee Fleur but there was no telling when Lanara was going to jump across that table and throttle her Catalian fiance. Meri's not sure what she'd do in that instance. In every other instance, Meri has always sided with Callum....but antagonizing Lanara made the whole thing more complicated. The only contribution Meri has is mostly toward Fleur. "Presents?! Did you hear that, Fleur? We get presents."

Krice was watchful of the people gathered, predominantly Lanara and then anyone else who goaded her--all in good fun. The last thing he wanted was for things to blow up - not because he couldn't handle a mishap, but because it would upset Talyara and that would in turn upset him and, honestly, he didn't want to be upset. Callum's taunting words to the older witch earned him a sharp look from the warrior, not in reprimand but quizzicality. Couldn't everyone just eat now? The warrior glanced at Meri, noting her maturity as she did that very thing, feeding her excitable child as well. A moment later, the warrior followed suit, efficiently partaking of his meal with a fork in his left hand - and a knife in the right where necessary. He was as methodical at mealtime as he was in battle, but his focus was divided between eating and listening to Talyara, in case she needed him for something.

Tiber scoops up the food that is on the table and is cackling like a child at Callum’s response to dating frog people. The two men are like children in this game. Lanara goes on about her spiel of being with one man. He understood that, yes. He knew her. He knew what she wanted. The lycan then idly stuffs the sweetened carrots in his mouth, but he is now coughing now that Lanara is offering up for Francis to be his roommate. A fist hits his chest momentarily to cough the carrots up before swallowing them properly. “Lanara is being exaggerate. She thinks I –like- company. That’s not the case. She wants me to not be as lonely, though Lanara visits a lot and there’s lots of noise that goes through the apartment, if you know what I mean. You would hate it. So honestly, it’s best if you keep to just sticking with games tonight,” was the Catalian really that crude? He probably just made everyone choke at the table at his frisky, coy banter that was faulty. The lycan has yet to even touch the woman, but he was not letting some dwarf stay in his apartment by any means. Apologies for Fleur, but she probably would not know at all what any of his words meant. “Oh, you didn’t know? Did I mention, she’s taken? But yeah, we can host a game night, Francis,” Rude. Completely. The man was trying to take what was his in his greedy ways. This conversation was probably not the time to talk about labels. Especially in front of everyone in such an awkward and odd scenario. Of course he would try to make the label this way in jealous, spiteful, yet playful feud. Something that Lanara would not appreciate. He then looks at Talyara. “Love the honey glaze,” he turns the conversation like nothing was spoken of. No one said Tiberius Lowell was a nice guy to bring home to the family. Thank goodness, there was a mention of presents to lighten up the mood.

Talyara’s eyes widen down at her plate when Tiber offers up his crude reasoning behind not wanting the dwarf in his apartment and she clears her throat loudly. These were details she -didn’t- need to know! Francis grunts in response to Lana when she introduces him to the lycan and he extends a greasy hand towards Tiber, completely missing his attempt to be rude. “Nice t’meet ya Timber. Thanks for the offer of a room, but I got a nice gig at my sister’s. And it’d been such a pain in t’ass to pack up my Pokewomon stuff.” Francis seems to also have missed etiquette class because he chews with his mouth open, burps audibly, and slurps down his drink. “Aside from the carrots, you did well, Tabby,” he ‘compliments’ the younger witch. Taly chances a look Callum and Meri’s way--compared to the fiasco that was Samhain, this had to be a better dinner, right? Hopefully? She grins at Tiber when he compliments the honey glaze and dips her head in thanks. The witch does a very good job at ignoring her sister’s glares; however, when she spies Francis twirling a sprig of mistletoe she is quick to swat his hand. “Be careful! That’s poison oak! You’ll get a rash!” It was, indeed, mistletoe but Talyara wasn’t -that- cruel to Lanara! The dwarf immediately drops the plant and wipes his hand on the tablecloth. “I already got me some of those blisters,” he confesses to Lana. “But don’t worry, it’s t’best rash to have.” His eyes alight with the promise of gifts and without making sure everyone else is done, he hops from his chair and moves into the sitting room. When the others -were- ready to be done with dinner, Taly tells them all to leave their plates. She’d clean up when everyone left for the night. “Yes we have presents!” Talyara says excitedly, feeding into Fleur’s delight. Once everyone is settled back in the living room, Taly would select a few gifts from under the half-charred tree. “These are from Krice and I,” she tells everyone, though she knew the warrior had no idea. They were a couple so it seemed appropriate that they should be from the pair. Callum is gifted a Kelvarian oak sapling, a native tree to the witches’ homeland that always sprouted autumnal leaves that never fell. Meri, a protection amulet which Taly explains in short, to aid her when she’s fighting. Lastly, Fleur’s gift is her own set of toddler-sized leather armor and a sword made of foam. “So you can be like Mommy!” she tells the adorable girl with a kind smile. Taly eyes Tiber and excuses herself to the kitchen before returning with a bottle of Kelvarian elven wine--it was quite strong so she hoped he liked it (especially as she hadn’t been expecting to be at the Yule gathering). “And where’s my gift?” Francis asks the younger witch rudely and she’s momentarily at a loss for words. Did he really expect something? “Ummm, it’s on backorder,” she explains to the dwarf. “Delayed delivery due to the holidays, I’ll have to give it to you at a later time.” Francis scowls and crosses his arms over his chest but says no more. Lana had been given her gift the previous night and Krice’s would be given later as he was one who preferred privacy.

Lanara (Post 1 of 2) :: There is a knock at the door, followed by the turning of the knob, as though whoever was on the other side was all too eager to enter the cottage. “Merry Christmas! Saint ‘Nick’ has arrived! Where is the one that I hope will be my Mrs. Claus in the future?!” The handsome Backstreet Bard is decked out in a Santa suit, a full length white beard, and a pair of spectacles, as his piercing blue gaze trails over all that are gathered. He mutters “Freaking Clydesdales…” when he spies Callum and Tiberius, though it’s likely that he’s referring to the fact that they are Catalian, and either issued an insult or had misspoken. Upon seeing Krice, he gives a curt nod, as he had respect for the warrior after he had saved the witches from being held captive. The witch at his side is given a smile, “Taly, I have a present for you!” Brandishing a small box, he explains, “I wasn’t sure if your eyes were blue or green, so I got you something in the middle.” If she were to open the box she’d see a pair of aquamarine studs to adorn her tapered ears, along with a handwritten note that had a postscript asking if she’d please set him up with her sister! Nick looks at Meri, making sure that he had her parental consent, before handing a candy cane to Fleur. The lycan then drops the act, as he drops to a single knee before Lanara, taking her hand in his as he presses a chase kiss to her silken flesh, “Merry Christmas, Beautiful! I have traveled far and wide to find the most perfect present for you!” Slipping his hand into his jacket he removes a box and opens it before the group, revealing a tennis bracelet with rare chocolate diamonds. The bracelet is placed on Lana’s left wrist and it sparkles as the candlelight bounces off each diamond, mirroring the eyes of the witch. “Oh look! Mistletoe!” Nick stands up and tries to tug Lana into a standing position so that he can claim a return present as fitting as the expensive jewelry he had given her for the holiday.

Lanara (Post 2 of 2) Lanara hands out the presents that she had purchased for the others, save Talyara, as she had been given the Kelvaropoly custom game last night. Each gift is wrapped in thick crimson paper with gold ribbon and would be unwrapped to reveal something unique for each recipient. Krice is given a slightly abused trench coat, the hem tattered, and a few obvious bloodstains that had been cleaned the best to one's ability. She had torn it off of a dead bum, but it was the thought that counted, right? “Since you loaned me yours years ago… I wanted to replace it.” Callum and Meri are given a dozen ‘free babysitting’ vouchers and a basket of fine cheeses and wines, to provide some relaxation and alone time. There are also a few presents for Fleur, consisting of plush toys from the Grinch story, a pair of Fugg’s, and couple of coloring books. “We have matching boots now!” Lanara practically ignores Nick as he strolls into the cottage like he owns the place, but she gives him a small smile when they lock eyes. She –had- to be kind, as he did take the blame for her crimes, and despite the fact that he had stalked her for years, he had never treated her unkindly. “Blessed Yule!” she chimes in with the others that utter a greeting, grateful to be done with dinner, the ill mannered dwarf, and the sexual commentary from her actual date. Lana’s cheeks have been burning for the past fifteen minutes, but she finally leans in to whisper in Tiber’s ear, “I left your present in Cenril, as I wasn’t sure if you were going to come! Seeing that you’re here, I will head back with you tonight, instead of crashing at Taly’s.” She nudges him in the ribs and grins, “I bet they want some alone time, too.” As did the witch desire with the Catalian! It’s then that the costumed bard drops to one knee and snatches her hand, and Lana’s eyes grow wide and her skin grows pale, as he presses his lips to her hand. Was he going to ask her to marry him?! He had done such a thing three times already in the past, but never with an actual ring, and every single time she had declined his proposal. Nick was handsome, wealthy, had a promising career, blonde haired, and a lycan, all of the things that would attract most heterosexual women… Yet, Lanara had never viewed him as more than a friend, and she’s panicking as he’s making a show of things in front of a crowd on a high holiday! Did he feel that she owed him, after he had served time in prison? She doesn’t want to hurt the man, especially not on a holiday in front of a crowd! As the dainty bracelet is locked onto her wrist, she snags her hand back and takes a closer look, “It’s beautiful… Thank you, Nick.” The man is momentarily forgotten as she studies the chocolate diamonds, but then she’s roughly pulled into his arms and he’s pointing at the mistletoe and leaning in! Swallowing hard, Lanara runs from the room and slips into the kitchen to grab the bowl of pork pudding, it would serve as a buffer in case Nick tried to kiss her again. “Nick… Um. No! Look! I, uh, got you a present, too!” She pauses and looks from Nick to Francis, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving!” Diarrhea. “You both can divide the pigs feet and pudding!”

Callum || Look, Cal has to be Mr. Maturity 99.99% of the time, what with being a dad, a business owner, and a professional taker of people’s money (that’s different from being a business owner, mind you, because #JustRogueThings). He did stop finally! Maybe, just maybe, Tiber could be the only Catalian that Callum actually got along with! would move on from dinner once he was finished and headed into the living room. He sure as hell wasn’t going to get along with Brand or Lionel--even though Brand was hella easy on the eyes. He’d apologize to Lanara later at some point, maybe. Right now though, he’s too busy staring in awe at that new sapling of his. “Thanks!” was said to both witches, but now his attention was on that idiot bard. It was obvious that the dude was waaaaay into Lanara and she just wasn’t having any of it. And was now being proposed to. Sigh. Well, maybe -this- could count as an apology? If Meri had sat next to him, well… she’d sense his lightning magic right away. That little whiff of ozone and a wee bit of static electricity clung to the lycan, his next actions as subtle as possible. As Lanara protested and changed the subject and Nick’s attention was very much on her, Cal’d summon up a bit of lightning in his palm. It was barely anything at all! Just enough to give that bard a zap once the ball of electricity was rolled along the floor towards him. Just before it did indeed zap him though, the tiny ball split into many, each taking a turn with zapping Nick until they all dissipated. But Callum? He wasn’t doing anything except looking through one of Fleur’s new coloring books with her!

Meri did not end up sitting next to Callum. Not right away at least. He got to take care of their daughter while Meri did the thing they were here to do...and that was NOT electrocuting people, Callum. The lycan snorts and huffs and shakes her head at her second chi-....I mean her future husband. While Callum was busy entertaining their child, Meri was politely excusing herself...long enough to give take the couple of gifts they have collected out to their carriage and then return with some presents of their own. Maybe they should have hauled them in earlier, but they didn't. Meri and Callum were not entirely sure how many people were invited to this party...Meri would return with a few boxes that were pretty much all of the same size...because everyone was pretty much getting the same thing. Meri was left in charge of the present portion of tonight, because only an artist would think these are cool gifts to give out. Everyone...except Francis (Lanara's not the only one who is a little racist...stupid drow)....gets a box and that box contains a bunch of calligraphy related supplies. You know, fancy parchment, cool pens, ink. It's a really safe and boring present...even if one does not want to do any calligraphy! It's always nice to have snazzy pens for letter writing, no? Don't like it? Suck it up, what do you expect from an artist? The only two people who get any variation in their box would be Lanara and Talyara. As Meri has actually had an art session with the witch sisters, they get a more elaborate/expensive box than everyone else. It includes paint, pencils, charcoal, etc. After all this! Meri sits next to Callum, but Nick has already been shocked by then.

Krice didn't like leaving the table a mess, but Talyara had guests and it wouldn't do to waste their time cleaning up while they were there. As the others departed the table to enter the living room, he hesitated to cast a glance at the door. A knock and then a turn of the knob later, he was staring at his favouritest pretty-boy singer in the whole world. Not. Nick's respectful nod tempered the warrior's distaste for the supposed-musician and he nodded in kind, his mention of 'Clydesdales' holding the warrior's attention. A moment later, the enigma glanced toward Talyara with a bewildered frown. Was she expecting anyone else to just waltz into the cottage like they owned the place, or was that done for the night? He took a moment to attune his senses to the frozen surrounds outside the cottage, to prepare himself for the possibility of another interloper. Standing just outside Talyara's reach and closer to a wall than to anyone else, Krice observed the bard's interaction with everyone else. The earrings given to Talyara would indeed match her eyes, and he harboured a hint of gratitude toward BB for the pretty gift. When Lanara moseyed over to gift him that bloodied second-hand trench-coat, he afforded her a grimacing smirk but took it anyway, lifting it in a small bob of something resembling gratitude. He really didn't need for her to replace the one he had lent her so many years ago. When Meri departed, he listened externally for her return. The gift - a copy of everyone else's - was met with a nod and a softening of his eyes for the familiar woman. He was clearly pleased with the calligraphy supplies. " Thanks a lot," he said to her, his gratitude genuine. Whatever compelled the next expression to his eyes remained hidden within his thoughts, but Meri might catch a glimpse of his pensiveness before she turned away. Krice shifted, pivoting to place his and any gifts that Talyara received in a neat pile on the kitchen counter, thus missing the visuals of Nick's proposal to Lanara and her subsequent refusal, but hearing it all. Stupid, delusional bard. When he returned to the living area, it was to see his companion dishing out their joint gifts to the other couples, her evasion about the dwarf's gift inspiring a quiet scoff of charmed amusement. The lightning ball that rolled around to zap Nick first caused the warrior to bristle, but he didn't blame Callum for the magic at all. It seemed they shared in common a Nick-centric distaste. That was something.

Tiber amused gaze had been deflated by Francis’ oblivious behavior. ‘Timber’. Really? “Tiber,” he responds with venom. Perhaps the dwarven drow had gotten on the lycan’s nerves in his hot temper. The man then gets up as he finishes his meal and first drink. They all wander to the sitting room and he finds somewhere close to Lanara. Everyone is in the giving mode, and the holiday seems distant for Tiber, but he seems appreciative either way as Talyara offers up a bottle of wine. “Thanks, Talyara, truly. Merry Yule,” he says politely. He knew that he had stunned people in dinner, so at least he could settle down for a while. Well… until. ‘Merry Christmas!’ The other blonde lycan bursts through the door. Now, this guy, Nick, is competition. Handsome, blonde, and like Tiber only more cheery and judgmental… like Tiber. It is disgusting, but exactly what Lanara wants from Tiberius—holiday freaking cheer. The strange man is passing gifts from left to right to the sisters, and eventually for the witch he admires, he is getting down on one knee. Oh, hell no. Instinctively the Catalian stands up as Nick pulls Lanara into a forced embrace and tries to lean into smack one on her. The witch dodges and Nick is following, so Tiberius then follows suit, and even though Lanara is blatantly trying to avoid the cheerful, forceful man, the business man is going to take full on action anyway. The lycan reaches out to grab Nick by the shoulder, and by this time, he is hoping that he could keep the three of them back into the kitchen, so Fleur is out of view of what is about to happen next. As Tiber grabs the man’s shoulder, he is trying to press him up against a wall where no one could see the physical contact but Lanara. His eyes are intense, his nose crinkled in disgust, and his lips pulled into a threatening frown. “Listen, obviously she’s not into you, so do yourself a favor and leave. Nice gesture, but sleazy move, dude. Grow a pair or find someone as desperate as you. If I see you do something like this again, I’ll knock you out clean,” the man then gives a moment to glare and intimidate before shoving into the man against the wall in some force and then pulling back and grabbing Lanara’s hand. He then attempts to tug her back into the sitting room where Callum is preparing silently to zap Nick which is very appreciated. “Talyara, this was great. I appreciate the food and the wine, but we have to go now. Cenril is a long way from here, and I want to make sure she’s back safe.” Amber eyes this look to Meri and Callum. “Meri, good to see you again and thanks for the box, and Callum, perhaps we will run in in the future,” he says nonchalantly. “You,” he looks at Krice. “Nice shirt.” He then turns his head, “Francis,” he just blatantly stares on not knowing what to say. “Read a book, and try the Whaler’s. Some girls can be… desperate like my friend Nick over there.” He then begins to walk. “Night,” he would then move towards the door whether Lanara would like it or not and take his leave for the evening.

Talyara :: (Post 1 of 2) Talyara takes a seat on the couch after dispersing her gifts as she watches Lana take her turn in handing out her presents. She is eyeing Krice’s used and abused coat with a bit of uncertainty, unsure of how sanitary it was and concerned about where her sister had even found it. Once Lana is done with her gift giving, the hostess eyes the dwarf wearily, wondering if he is going to chastise her sister for her lack of gift for him; however, he is thwarted by the front door swinging open. The witch startles, her mind immediately going to the witch hunters who had snatched her from right outside that very door nearly a year ago. She grips the arm of the couch tightly in fear but she soon releases a breath and relaxes her hold when she realizes it’s only Nick the Backstreet Bard, coming to bestow gifts upon the witch sisters and crash the Yule party. She blinks up in surprise when he hands her a box; he had never been rude to Taly, but he obviously favored the older witch. She opens the box and her eyes widen in surprise at the generous gift. “Uh, thanks, Nick. That was very sweet of you.” She is likewise thinking along the same lines as Lanara, that the Bard is going to propose for the millionth time only this time with an actual ring. She is thankful said proposal doesn’t come and instead of a ring it’s a chocolate diamond bracelet. Francis looks furious when Nick mentions the mistletoe and tries to snag a kiss from ‘his’ lady. “Hey, Saint Nitwit! That’s poison oak, not mistletoe,” he says matter-of-factly. “You’ll get a rash!” Taly watches as her sister runs from the room and returns with the dish of revolting pudding. Deciding she’s been punished enough, she nods her head in agreement. “Oooh Lanara that’s so generous of you! Piggy Pudding is -the- Yule delicacy this season!” “Gimme that,” Francis says, kicking Nick in the shins and grabbing the parts-of-pork-pudding out of the bard’s hands. Talyara is too busy accepting the box from Meri that she doesn’t notice the balls of lightning Callum sends Nick’s way, and she is eagerly shows the warrior all the art supplies. “I used to sketch when I was younger,” she confesses to the room at large. “Thank you so much! That was so sweet of you!”

Talyara :: (Post 2 of 2) Things soon fall apart and before Taly even has a chance to share in the Yule log ritual or even give her sister a proper hug goodbye, Tiber is pulling her out of the door. It’s clear that Taly is disappointed but she forces a smile back on her face for the other’s sake, although Krice would note that it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. As everyone prepares to leave for the night, Taly fetches their coats and hands them each a to-go platter of homemade cookies that she, Lanara, and Fleur had made the previous evening. Callum and Meri are also handed a small gift bag to take with them. “Fleur, you forgot to give your gift to Mommy and Daddy!” Inside, they would find a hand painted ornament that was -supposed- to be a wolf wearing antlers, but Lana had been the one to assist the toddler and as Meri knew from Khitti’s bachelorette party, art was not Lana’s strong suit. The couple and baby are all given a quick hug and beaming smile. “Thanks so much for coming! I hope you had a good time?” she says in a questioning tone. Would the psion and Catalian return for another holiday celebration? Perhaps it was too soon to tell. Francis loiters in the living room and Taly is about to ask the warrior to forcibly remove him when he huffs in annoyance. “I’m a CATCH, Tanny! A CATCH! Your sister doesn’t know what she’s missin’!” Still clutching the piggy pudding, the dwarf leaves the cottage and Krice and Taly are left to pack up the leftovers and clean up the mess. Lanara was in charge of hosting the next holiday.

Lanara doesn’t know what to say or do at this point, as she’s blaming herself for the horrors that occurred on this high holiday. The ongoing fiasco with Francis from start to finish, the ‘prank’ from Talyara, the crude commentary courtesy of her Catalian date, and the beatdown of the Backstreet Bard from multiple angles, she takes full responsibility. “I’m sorry things got a tad, uh, out of hand at some parts? Thank you all for the gifts and the company and for spending Yule with us!” A chaste kiss is delivered to Taly’s cheek, Meri and Cal are simultaneously pulled in for a hug, Fleur is given a long hug, and Krice is given a nod. Nick remains in the kitchen, peering into the living room at Tiberius with a death glare, vowing that this wasn’t ‘over’ and that they will meet again. Lana winks at Cal as she accepts Tiber’s hand, “That was an electrifying evening, hm?” They’d see each other soon since she’s working for the man now in his greenhouse! Francis doesn’t get even a parting glance, as the witch exits the home with the lycan, sidling closer once outdoors for warmth and comfort.

Callum could only smirk at Tiber and gave the other Catalian a mock salute once he decided to head out. Fleur would hand over her present to her parents and Cal gave her a nice little anime-girl pat on the head, “It’s cute, Fleur! Are you gonna be an artist like your mommy?” She’d nod excitedly, and Cal would smirk at Meri. “It’s probably time for us to head out too, guys.” There’d be goodbyes to all, except to Francis--and especially not to Nick. “Hey, guy. Just so you know? It’s -Catalian-, not Clydesdale. And there’s a reason why at least three of the four of us Catalians, that’s around here, have significant others...” Because we’re better than you, buddy. At least, Cal would leave that part out. Nick probably didn’t need anymore salt in the several wounds he’d been given in such a short amount of time. The implication is there though, as was a very pointed stare. “It was lovely, you two,“ Cal’d say to the witch sisters as him and Meri were given those dreaded hugs. And then, just like that, they’d be off with their daughter to deal with a very long carriage ride back home.

Krice couldn't see Tiber's encounter with Nick in the kitchen, given his location in the living room. Once the man emerged with Lanara in tow and said his goodbyes, he responded to the compliment of 'nice shirt' with a casual, " Nice threat," which betrayed his awareness of the situation that had taken place. The subtlest smirk told of his honesty; he would have done the same, had Nick attempted a move on Talyara. As everyone began to pack up and leave, the warrior stood in the background - but near his companion - to say his goodbyes from an amicable distance - a nod to Lanara, a little friendlier one for Meri, and various nods to the other men. As they filed out of the cottage, he turned to begin cleaning the table.