Writer's comment : Well, after almost a year, I decided to return to A Strange World. And I finally got to introduce all of Viconia's sisters...
You are cordially invited...
"Coffee," Viconia groaned as she all but stumbled into the teacher's lounge and lunged at the coffeemachine.
"Go ahead," Joneleth said. "I've just made a fresh pot."
"Man," Valen added. "You look like hell!"
"Thanks," Viconia smirked. "That's just what I wanted to hear... And just what are you guys doing here? Both your final lectures ended hours ago! Don't you have lives and homes to go to?"
"Well, yeah," Valen said. "But we have a dartboard here..."
"And free coffee and donuts," Joneleth grinned.
"Figures," Viconia muttered and slammed down a cup of mocha java in a single drought.
"Good gods, woman," Joneleth said in a near state of shock. "That could kill someone!"
"I've only slept two hours last night," Viconia muttered.
"That would explain your irritibility," Joneleth added.
"Yeah," Valen laughed. "And her lousy temper too..."
"Haw, haw," Joneleth replied dryly. "But truth of the matter is, there's a staff meeting at five o'clock, remember?"
"Oh, dammit!" Viconia snarled and slammed her hand over her forehead. "Well, there's a snowball's chance in Baator I'm going to attend. I have enough on my mind to sit through three hours of minutes..."
"Dean Odesserion won't like it!" Valen sing-songed.
"Dean Odesserion can kiss my shapely ebony ass!" Viconia snarled and poured herself another cup of mocha java, this time only gently sipping from it.
"Better not let him hear that," Joneleth chuckled. "Ole rat-face might take you up on that kind offer..."
"Dammit," Viconia said. "I didn't even have time to play with Vierna lately, or let alone prepare my lectures. I mostly winged myself through those last couple of hours. And all because my brother and new sister-in-law asked me to be their weddingplanner..."
"I thought those two were married in Las Vegas last month!" Valen said. "Or... that's what they said in the National Enquirer... Not that I ever read crap like that, of course..."
"Let me guess," Viconia grinned. "In the bus, you sat next to someone who was reading it and she told you."
"You glanced over the headline when you were picking up your copy of Scientific American," Joneleth grinned.
"Nope, nope, nope!" Valen said hurridly. "The rag blew in my face on a windy day, and as I removed that filth from my face, I briefly saw some words on the front page..."
"Well, they want a proper wedding for family and friends without the whole media circus," Viconia said, referring to Imoen's celebrity status of rockstar. "So, I gotta take care of everything and they graciously gave me a single week to work with... And during the busiest time in the semester as well..."
"Tough..." Joneleth sympathised.
"Ooooohhh, a wedding!" Valen squealed in delight. "Can I come?"
"You both can," Viconia said.
"Ah, free food!" Joneleth raved.
"Yeah," Valen licked her lips. "Free food."
"NO!" Viconia said firmly. "No snacking on the guests!"
"Awww!" Valen pouted. "How about only the virgins, then?"
"Nope!" Viconia told her friend. "You'll drink the bottled blood, just like everybody else!"
"Awww," Valen pouted again.
"Glad I didn't miss Vierna's schoolrecital, though. I only watched Vierna's performance and slept through the rest..." Viconia chuckled.
"What was it about?" Joneleth asked.
"Dental care," Viconia said. "Vierna played Tooth Decay, and she was driven of the stage by Toothpaste Man. But a little later, Tooth Decay suddenly jumped Toothpaste Man from behind. Principal De'Arnese got all huffy since it wasn't in the script, but I found it quite realistic..."
"Tooth Decay?" Valen shuddered. "Vampires are quite paranoid about that..." she said while feeling one of her fangs for good measure.
"Well, back to planning a wedding," Viconia sighed. "Worst thing is that Imoen and Valas are on a trip to Japan right now to promote her new album, while I am left here to work my butt off!"
'That's the last of them,' Viconia thought with relief as she had written, stamped and licked the last of the wedding invititions... All twohundred fifty-seven of them... Her hands hurt from writer's cramp, her tongue felt like it had been ripped to shreds and she was certain she would never again lose the terrible taste of envelope glue in her mouth.
She put the envelopes in the box and decided she would bring them to the post-office first thing in the morning. In the meantime, she regarded her home... to notice the klutter, the dirty laundry and the dust. Feeling instant fatigue, Viconia decided she would just have to be a slob... for at least the next fifty years.
Suddenly, the familiar bikebell which was mounted on her daughter's BMX sounded from the outside as Vierna cycled alongside the house to put her bike in the shed. Vierna always announced herself in this same way whenever she came back from baseball practise.
Then, Viconia glanced at the clock and noticed it was almost six o'clock and she hadn't even started to get dinner on the table... and after a full day of school and baseball practise, Vierna could always eat a horse. 'Oh, well,' Viconia chuckled inwardly. 'I guess I'll be ordering a pizza or two again today...'
"Hi, momma!" Vierna called as she came through the back door. Viconia, who was sitting at the kitchen table, turned around and smiled at her child. Vierna was wearing her usual jeans and T-shirt, as well as her red cap turned back-to-front and her 'Johnny Bravo'-backpack. Over her shoulder, she had slung her bat with her glove tied around the end.
"Hello, honey," Viconia greeted. "Did you have fun?"
"Yeah!" Vierna giggled. "I hit a homerun today! Ermm, could you wash my uniform, please? I had to slide to make the last base, and there was this mud-puddle..."
"Sure," Viconia sighed. "I'll put it on my to-do list... I should get around it somewhere in May 2008."
"Still busy, momma?" Vierna asked.
"Still busy," Viconia sighed. Being a single mom had such a disadvantages. "I'm sorry I didn't come to watch you practise today."
"That's okay, momma," Vierna said, but Viconia wasn't so sure her daughter truly meant it. "But you'll be there next time, right?" Vierna asked hopefully.
Viconia smiled and pressed her index-finger on Vierna's nose. "You bet," she grinned. Then, the doorbell buzzed.
"Who's that?" Vierna asked.
Viconia stood up and approached the door. Through the blurry glass, she could notice there were several people standing behind the door, and from the look of it, they were all Drow. Her interest piqued, she answered the door...
"Hi, sis!" Devora said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Cyrilla said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Quivyl said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Rena said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Arouska said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Dipree said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Maya said as she brushed past Viconia.
"Hi, sis!" Gal'na said as she brushed past Viconia.
Partially stunned, Viconia almost didn't notice the last person standing in front of her.
"Hello, child," Ginafae DeVir smiled as she embraced her daughter.
"Mother," Viconia smiled blissfully as she returned her mother's embrace.
"Grandma!" was shouted from behind, and before too long, Vierna had jumped into Ginafae's arms.
"And hello to you too, my little bon-bon," Ginafae chuckled.
Then, Viconia noticed her mother and her sisters were all carrying suitcases. "Mother What's going on?" she asked.
"All the hotels are full!" Maya interrupted.
"So we had no place to stay and had to come here," Devora finished.
"There's some kind of convention in town," Arouska added. "All the hotels are booked solid."
"I told you we should have made reservations before we came," Cyrilla stressed.
"Oh, you negative nelly," Quivyl chuckled.
"Speaking of negativity," Gal'na said while wagging her fingers a little, "I'm sensing a lot of frustration in this place... A disturbance of tranquility born out of overexertion of the soul. I'm going to have to re-align my chakras if we're gonna stay here."
"Hey, that sounds pretty darn painful," Rena laughed.
"Say, Vic," Gal'na continued. "What number is your house?"
"Thirty-four," Viconia replied. "Why?"
"Numerology, of course! Duh!" Gal'na replied. "Thirty-four isn't a bad number, but it isn't a good one either. I must meditate with my crystals if I want to give accurate Tarot readings."
"I think we're going to have to tie a ball-and-chain to her ankle again or she'll float right into the stratosphere!" Dipree chuckled.
"Convention?" Viconia muttered to herself, but then buried her head in her hands. "Oh, OF COURSE! The Star Trek convention!! Dammit! All the hotels must be packed!"
"Yep," Dipree chuckled. "Looks like we'll be staying with you for the whole week, sis."
"Thanks for bringing these sleepingbags here on such short notice, Jon, I didn't have enough," Viconia said after taking the bags from her friend. "I remembered you used to be a camping freak..."
"It's not a problem," Joneleth smiled. "And yeah, I used to be until Bodhi started a forest fire and wiped out my favorite national park. You're just lucky you caught me before I left for the convention."
"I notice you are already dressed for the occasion," Viconia chuckled when she took another look at the uniform Joneleth was wearing : Third design Next Generation uniform, introduced in First Contact. "Commander," she added after noticing the three pips on his neck.
"Yeah, I thought I shouldn't press my luck," Joneleth grinned. "Strangely, though, some people say I sound a lot like Chancellor Gorkon and Gul Madred..."
"I'm sure," Viconia grinned. "Thanks again."
"You're welcome," he replied. "But if I miss Patrick Stewart because of this, you'll never hear the end of it!"
A final goodbye later, Viconia entered the living room carrying the bags and dumped them on the couch. She could already see her sisters enjoying themselves hanging around the house.
Devora, a champion bodybuilder had changed into her sweats and was jumping up and down, while raising a dumbbell in each hand with incredible speed. But then again, what could be expected differently from the Montana State Champion? Apparently, her hand luggage on the plane consisted soley of excersize equipment.
Cyrilla was sitting on the couch, wearing a classy brown business-blazer and was barking orders through her cellphone like she had been doing ever since she had entered her home. Voted Business-woman of the year by Forbes magazine, Cyrilla was perhaps the richest Drow on the face of the earth, and after she led that infamous hostile take-over last year, also one of the most feared ones. The story was that, during a high-stakes daytrading session, Windows had crashed and had caused her to lose over fifty million dollars of her personal fortune. Being insensed by this little incident, she mounted a hostile take-over of Microsoft and personally kicked Bill Gates out on the streets. She then held a press-conference where she personally announced that all company funds would be used to create a new OS which would 'be user-friendly to the bone, would be customizable, would support EVERY piece of hard- and software on the planet, and would never, ever, ever crash, DAMMIT!'
Quivyl was quietly sitting at the kitchentable, writing in her latest masterpiece in her series of bestselling fantasy novels : The Elven Sojourn. About a group of elves travelling from world to world through a magical conduit, the one stranger than the next.
Rena, over threehundred years old, but still the eternal child had connected her laptop to Viconia's own computer and was playing a multiplayer session of 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' with Vierna. And they both seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Arouska was busy reading in the latest medical texts. As a surgeon, it was her job to keep up to date with the latest research. Viconia noticed she was so intent on reading, she would still be sitting in the same position even if the house would explode.
In the corner, Dipree, who has just made herself a jelly-bean, bratwurst, pickle, onion and mayonaise sandwich, was trying out some of her best one-liners on Maya. Dipree, who made a reasonable living by appearing in comedy clubs, was quite persistant and Maya, who was always the most serious person in the family, was visibly having trouble keeping a straight face.
"Say, Vic?" Dipree said, giving Maya a chance to recover. "Did you hear they finally pinned something on Drizzt Do'Urden?"
"Drizzt the Drug Baron?" Devora asked.
"Oh, he was much more than that... Drugs, gambling, assassinations, loan-sharking, smuggling rings... He liked to keep his hands on everything," Dipree finished.
"I heard they got him with a tax evation charge," Devora said.
"The black sheep of the respectable Do'Urden family," Ginafae shook her head. "Poor Malice didn't deserve a son like him..."
"How's Malice holding up?" Viconia asked.
"Ah, child," Ginafae shook her head, "even after all he's done to her, she's still heartbroken over the whole thing."
"Oh, wow!" Dipree said, breaking the sad mood. "We'll be camping today!"
"Come on," Cyrilla stressed. "Mother will get the bed and the rest of us shall sleep her on the floor."
"Can I sleep with my aunties downstairs, momma?" Vierna asked with pleading eyes. "Pllleeeeaaaasssseee?"
"Yeah, momma," Rena added. "Please, please, please?"
Suddenly, it seemed all of her sisters were staring at her, and even Cyrilla had put down her cellphone.
"Oh, alright," Viconia conceded.
"Yay!" Vierna and Rena shouted in joy, while Viconia's other sister smiled at the tiny girl.
"It seems I shall need a sleepingbag myself..." Viconia chuckled.
"Nonsense, child," Ginafae stressed. "You must sleep in your own bed tonight. You look positively exhausted... I will be fine, don't worry."
After some quality family hours, everyone was getting ready for a good night's sleep. Viconia and Devora had put some soft rugs on the floor, and everyone had rolled out their sleepingbag and had changed into their nightwear.
"Say," Viconia asked her mother as they sipped some tea before going to bed. "You've never told me where the boys are?"
"Well," Ginafae chuckled. "Your brother Alton was the only person in this family who was sharp enough to book in advance, so he, Jalyx and Rizzen are sleeping in a hotel this week..."
"Lucky buggers," Maya muttered.
"Not really," Ginafae smirked. "Alton booked a room for intended for a single individial, and thus got a room the size of a broomcloset..."
"Hah," Viconia shook her head. "You know, mother," Viconia said, changing the subject, "I don't remember the last time we were all together like this... It seems everyone is so busy with everything nowadays..."
"True," Ginafae said. "It's been too long since we've had a family reunion... but with everyone of your sisters having a busy career..."
"That too," Viconia said. "I look at them, and I get the feeling my own life is going nowhere. Oh, I'm not complaining, but still..."
"Let me tell you something," Ginafae chuckled. "They are all jealous of you, because you've got that cute little bon-bon running around here..."
"Hey!" Rena suddenly suggested. "How about we all go to see Vierna's baseball practise tommorow!"
"Sounds like a plan," Devora chuckled.
"Wow! Really?!" Vierna giggled.
"Well," Viconia smirked. "It seems it's time for a late-night wash-up, little lady... You'll be up early tonight..."
"Child," Ginafae suggested. "When this is all over, why don't you and Vierna take a short sabbatical and come back to the old family home in Montana for a couple of weeks?"
"I might take you up on that offer..." Viconia replied.
"Dragon! Dragon!... Dra... Dragon! DRAGONBALL Z!" sounded throughout the living room as Vierna and a few of her aunties were parked in front of the television for the saturday morning cartoons.
"This is hardly an educational way to spend the morning," Maya grimaced.
"Oh, lighten up, will ya!" Rena snickered. "And smile once in a while. You look like you've got a cactus lodged up your backside..."
"For your information," Devora said, "from watching the intro alone, I've picked up some nasty fighting moves..."
"Last time, on Dragonball Z, Gohan, Krillin and Dende, using the seven dragonballs, managed to summon the enternal dragon of Namek, and are ready to wish their friends back to this dimension, but with the evil Vegeta flying towards the dragon with impossible speed, bent on his wish for immortality, things look dire indeed. And what about the diabolical Frieza? Can Nail distract him long enough for Gohan to make his wish?"
"This stuff ensnares you like a soap-opera!" Dipree said. "You just have to know what happens next!"
"And it's sooooo cool!" Vierna raved. "And we have a full schedule this morning!"
"Nothing educational, I wonder?" Maya asked.
"Well, there is this show coming on next encourages the development of a keen business-mind," Cyrilla smirked.
"Ed, Edd and Eddy," Vierna giggled.
"And then there is another show that reflects traditional family values," Dipree laughed.
"Cow and Chicken," Vierna grinned.
"After that," Rena chuckled, "there's a very intellectually stimulating show."
"I.M.Weasel," Vierna laughed.
"And I are I.R. Baboon," Dipree said, doing her Charlie Adler impression. "I are smarter than Weasel are!"
"I think I'll go read a book," Maya shook her head.
"Okay," Vierna said and walked to a pile next to the couch. "I've got Spiderman, Lucky Luke, Asterix and the comic edition of Lord of the Rings!"
"Fine literature!" Dipree chuckled.
Then, Viconia entered the room, going over a list with Ginafae. "Okay," she started. "I've hired the festhall, I've hired caterers, I've hired a Lathanderite, I've had an ice-sculpture made, the cake is ready, the cinematographer is hired, the invitations have been sent, and Imoen will be bringing in her own band and security. But since Valas and Imoen will be coming back from their trip soon, and that only leaves the bachelor parties..."
"Momma!" Vierna suddenly came running. "I don't wanna wear a dress! I don't wanna wear a bow-tie on my butt!"
"Vierna," Viconia said gently. "If you want to be a bridesmaid, you'll have to wear a dress."
"Awww," Vierna pouted.
"Oh, I don't think Imoen is the type of person who would be angry if Vierna didn't keep to the proper dress-code," Ginafae said. "It just means I'll have to take this little bon-bon shopping for some new clothes she really likes..."
"Okay," Viconia said, "but I bet you'll wish to come see your uncle before you go shopping with grandma."
After parking her Ford Fiesta on the parking lot, she stepped onto the army base while holding Vierna by the hand as she made her way to the front office. A simply inquiry later, both Drow strolled over to the practise grounds, sometimes stopping at excersizing companies to see if they could spot their goal. Then, they did!
"YOU CALL THAT UNIFORM CLEAN, MAGGOT?!" the deep base voice of their goal could be heard across the lot. "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'VE BEEN EATING HAMBURGERS IN YOUR UNI... YOU HAVE BEEN EATING HAMBURGERS IN UNIFORM? WELL, THAT'S NOT GOOD FOR YOUR FIGURE! SO, WALK IT OFF! FIFTY LAPS AROUND THE COMPOUND!"
Immediately, a somewhat porty halfling broke from the company and started to run as fast as he could.
Knowing there was only one person in the world who could shout like that, Viconia grinned and approached the company of unhappy boys and girls fielded by a very large and impressive looking Sergeant-Major.
"Sergeant," Viconia greeted.
"Unkie Sarevok!" Vierna giggled.
"Who is there?" Sarevok grinned and turned around to scoop up the little girl and put her on his shoulder, while supporting her with a strong arm. "Well, well, this is a nice surprise," he chuckled and tickled Vierna's chin.
In the background, the soldiers were softly snickering at the spectacle.
"ALRIGHT!" Sarevok snarled. "YOU MAGGOTS! START RUNNING!"
After the soldiers looked at themselves in confusion, Sarevok decided to clarify himself. "ALL OF YOU!!! FIFTY LAPS AROUND THE COMPOUND!"
The soldiers groaned in frustration and ran off, hoping a heavy safe would drop on their Sergeant-Major some day...
"That should keep them busy for a while," Sarevok chuckled. "Step into my office," he said and led them to a small building not far from the training-grounds. The office was small, but cozy and sported a closet and a desk filled with stacks of paper and loose bullets.
"Oh, Vierna, before I forget," Sarevok told Vierna, opened the closet and fished out a handgrenade. "Here," he smiled, giving the handgrenade to Vierna. "Something for you to brag about to your friends!"
"WOW!" Vierna said and started tossing it from hand to hand. "THANKS!"
"SAREVOK!" Viconia screeched in horror and astonishment.
"Oh, don't worry," Sarevok said. "It's a dud. The charge has been removed and, hmmm," Sarevok said thoughtfully as he removed a second handgrenade from the closet. "Or was this the dud? Hmmm, Vierna, honey?" he said, while glancing over to Vierna playing with her new toy. "You'd better put the pin back in that one while I figure out which is which... Viconia? Viconia, you are hyperventitating!"
"I... gotta... sit.. down," Viconia managed to bring out before crashing into the deskchair.
"That's the thing, take a load off!" Sarevok smiled. "So it seems my little sister has landed herself a husband!"
"That's why I am here," Viconia said, taking deep breaths.
"You know, when Karis and you were getting together, I was against it!" Sarevok said bluntly.
"Surely not because I am a Dr.."
"Of course not! It was because you are a democrat!" Sarevok chuckled.
"I see..." Viconia muttered.
"You Drow used to be real warriors, tough and hard... Until you started getting soft. 'Sisterhood of The Enlighted Drow,' what the hell is that?!"
"Hey, I've been recieving their newsletter since 1923," Viconia grinned.
"Pink-o, commie rag!" Sarevok chuckled.
"Hey, you even call 'Watchtower' a pink-o commie rag!" Viconia chuckled.
"Well, it is!" Sarevok laughed.
"Anyway," Viconia said, "my sister Rena is taking care of Imoen's bachelorrette-party, I wonder if you would take care of Valas'..."
"Ah, say no more!" Sarevok roared. "Consider it done!"
"Good," Viconia grinned. "I'll leave the details to you... I must bring Vierna home to go shopping with her grandmother."
"Bye, bye, sweetey," Sarevok grinned at the tiny Drow. "Don't take any candy from communists!"
"Candy!" Vierna said, her eyes glazing over...
"She'll take candy from everyone..." Viconia muttered. "See you at the wedding."
3. You are cordially invited...
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