Writer's comment : The follow up to the new ASW installment. I won't give too much away, enjoy the story...
"Get back in line, buddy," the Glabrezu security guard spoke in a deep, gruff voice, sounding much like a native New Yorker, to the small Japanese man standing in front of him.
"Ah, my four-armed fellow, I got here just in time. My services are required inside," the man grinned, while holding out his bag of tricks : A photographer's bag of tricks. "Miss DeVir has hired me personally to print some artistic pictures for the photo-book of the wedding!"
"You know," the Glabrezu flashed a toothy grin on his canine features while glancing at his collegue at the other side of the door. "It's funny, but the photographer already arrived this afternoon..."
"Errr," the man stammered. "That... ehhhh, that man is an imposter! I demand you remove him at once! I can't have my jobs stolen out from under me. I have a family of, errr, ten! Yeah, TEN mouths to feed!"
"Look..." The glabrezu began.
"But I am YOSHIMO!" the faux-photographer spoke up. "The Yoshimo?! Surely you must have heard of me?"
"Buddy," the other Glabrezu spoke up, sounding oddly like a chicago gangster from the twenties, "Miss DeVir has specifically told me the photographer is a woman, not a man, and definately not a 'Yoshimo'."
"Yo dudes!" The third Glabrezu spoke up, sounding much like a native californian surfer-dude. "Looks like we got ourselves an uncool partycrasher. Let's see how far I can throw this nimrod, dudes!"
Suddenly, Yoshimo found himself hoisted up in one of the surfer-Glabrezu's pincers and, before he realized what was happening, was sent flying across the broad street only to end up face down in a dumpster. Shaking his head, and hearing the Glabrezus on the other side of the street muttering something about a 'slum-dunk', Yoshimo carefully rose from the trash. 'It'll take more than a few four-armed dogfaces to deep down Yoshimo : Roving Tabloid Reporter!'
'The big day...' Viconia thought. For Viconia, today was the culmination of a week of back-breaking labor. Thankfully, everything had been going smoothly today : The festhall she had hired wasn't double-booked; the Lathanderite she had hired wasn't drunk; the cake had arrived (and wasn't three months old); the halfling caterers were hard at work (and had the self-discipline not to snack); the girl she hired to take the photographs was already getting to work; there were enough seats; Imoen's fellow bandmembers were taking their places; and Imoen's own Glabrezu security men were keeping out all manner of nosy reporters, while friends and family poured in through the door. And to top all that, it was a beautiful evening.
'Who knows,' Viconia grinned. 'Maybe I'll actually get some sleep today.'
Glancing at her surroundings, she was glad she had hired this festhall. It was located at the waterfront of the town's marina at a fairly large mountain-lake. The festhall could be opened, and was at this point, for a spectacular view of the setting sun reflecting off the cold water of the lake.
She seemed to have lost track of Vierna, who was undoubtedly following around one of her aunties at the moment. Also, Viconia noticed her mother was talking to Valas in the back of the room. She would have gone to join them, if Karis' brother hadn't just walked through the door.
"Man, those Glabrezu bodyguards in black-tie really take their jobs seriously," Sarevok, wearing his dress-uniform, told Viconia. "Did you see the grey one throw that papparazzi in the dumpster across the street?"
"They're Imoen's security-guards from her concerts," Viconia said. "She says they also play a mean hand of poker..."
"No kidding," Sarevok remarked.
"Say, how did Valas' party go last night?" Viconia asked.
"Odd," Sarevok said. "When the exotic dancer came, the trouble started. I had asked for a cop, but there came this raven-haired elven bellydancer, and half-way throught the act, this tall elf wearing a Starfleet Uniform storms in and starts to drag her off the stage. She turned out of be his little sister, Bodhi..."
"Oh," Viconia laughed. "Joneleth has been having trouble with Bodhi ever since she moved into his house after she had accidentally blew up her appartment with a home-made microwave oven, which oddly consisted of a canister of butane and a lighter... You might walk into them later tonight. I sent both of them some invitations."
"I see," Sarevok said. "What about Imoen's party?"
"Well," Viconia chuckled. "It was a wild-old time, I say. Only trouble was that the cop that stopped by didn't turn out to be the cop my sister Rena hired, but... a real cop... Send to complain about the noise me made. Unfortunately, we didn't find out until a few of my ravenous sisters had ripped off his uniform. But he was a good sport about it, even though he had to drive his motorcycle back to the station in only his underwear..."
"Uh-oh!" Sarevok said. "Hide the breakables!"
"What? Why?" Viconia said. Then, she saw her. Through the door stumbled a half-Drow girl with impossibly huge eye-glasses. Immediately, she stumbled into one the Glabrezus, apologized, and promptly crashed into a marble column.
"Sendai," Viconia and Sarevok said at the same time.
"I USED to have a collection of classic vinyl records," Sarevok sighed. "Until Sendai stopped by..."
"Same with my collection of porcelin cat-figurines," Viconia sighed. "Still, most were salavagable..."
"The same cannot be said for my television-set," Sarevok sighed. "I have no idea how she got her head through the tube..."
"Hi, guys!" Sendai said, wrapping her arms around both Viconia and Sarevok. "Great party!"
"Coming through, coming through!" a man in a white coat said while pushing through the line outside.
"Hold!" the New Yorker Glabrezu caught the man in the collar just before he could enter.
"Oh, come on, man!" the man spoke. "I'm the DeVir Matriarch's personal doctor! Look," he said while showing the Glabrezu a blinking beeper, "she's beeped me up. That must mean she's about to faint. Come on, do you want her death on your conscience?"
"Funny," the Glabrezu took him forcibly by the hand and made him peak through the door. Ginafae DeVir stood near the door, talking to another Glabrezu and looking very healthy indeed.
"Well, errrr, are you a religious man, sir?" Yoshimo asked.
"No," the Glabrezu snarled. "Tell me Miss DeVir's first name, 'doctor'."
"Well, let's not get into that," Yoshimo said while trying to slip away.
"HOLD IT!" the Glabrezu said. Yoshimo felt the bones in his upper arm scream in protest as the Glabrezu took it in an iron grip. "I must insist you tell me her name..."
"Right... Ginafae," the Glabrezu snorted.
"Look, buddy!" Yoshimo said, poking his finger at the Glabrezu's chest. "I am Yoshimo : Famous Roving Tabloid Reporter! I will NOT leave until I get some shots of this wedding, you hear! Now what are you going to do about it?!!"
The Glabrezu grinned a very, very nasty and toothy grin.
"Oh, NO!" Viconia suddenly spoke up.
"What?" Sarevok asked. "What is it? Something wrong..."
"How did... SHE get in here?!" Viconia all but snarled in anger.
"Who?" Sarevok asked, while Viconia pointed out a haughty-looking Drow female clad in designer products of all nature.
"She... Phaere Despana," Viconia snarled. "The Bane of my childhood and youth... The gnat in my ear! The pestulence of my existence."
"I sense some hostility between you two," Sarevok chuckled.
"We used to go to the same school together, when my family still lived in the South American jungles of the Berra'Yasoj, the former name of the Democratic Republik of Drow," Viconia said.
"I guess you were rivals then?" Sarevok asked.
"No," she snarled. "She was the popular chick, and I was the loser who wanted to do anything to be her friend."
"I see," Sarevok replied.
"Oh, gods, she's seen us," Viconia said, while Phaere waved at her. It took a tremendous amount of effort on Viconia's part to rise both the corners of her mouth a sixteenth of an inch.
"Well, hello there!" Phaere greeted happily. "It must have been AGES since we last spoke to one-another..."
"Eight years, three months, two days, nine hours," Viconia muttered.
Soon enough, fake laughter sounded from Phaere's mouth. "Oh, you are SUCH a kidder. Oh, why don't you introduce us?"
Viconia sighed. "Sarevok... Phaere.... Phaere... Sarevok..."
"Sarevok?" Phaere asked. "Karis' brother?"
"Yes," Sarevok simply replied. He had been in battle many times before, against terrorists, hooligans, communists and some people capable of unspeakable cruelties... But something about this woman scared the hell out of him...
"Do not... speak his name," Viconia snarled. "You sully his memory..."
"Oh, don't be so grouchy!" Phaere chuckled. "Besides, there is noth..."
"THERE IS EVERYTHING WRONG!" Viconia suddenly shouted.
"Oh, come on!" Phaere replied. "We were such great friends back in..."
"We were NEVER friends!" Viconia said. "You copied my homework, you only sat next to me at tests to sneak a peek at my paper and you took insidious pleasure in stealing all my boyfriends! And like the loser that I was, I didn't even realize it!"
"Sour grapes," Phaere chuckled in that fake laughter of hers again.
"Sour grapes? Sour grapes?" Viconia snarled. "You pulled a misguided prank that ended up blowing up the gym and yet let ME take the fall for it. That little stint cost me my entrance into the Magic Academy, and you KNEW how much I wanted to study magic!"
"You should thank me!" Phaere snorted. "Thank me for saving you from all those stuffy books...."
At this point, Sarevok had to catch Viconia before she could jump Phaere and punch the haughty female's head from her shoulders. Judging from the intensity of Viconia's anger, Sarevok was mentally calculating the distance Phaere's head would roll if that would happen. He narrowed it down to a distance between 'Very far' and 'obscenely far'.
"And as if making my youth miserable is not enough," Viconia said, "you travel across the world to follow me around and STILL steal all my men!"
"Hey, Karis wasn't married, so he was fair game as far as I was concerned," Phaere grinned. "It's not my fault you can't please your men..."
"But," Viconia grinned wickedly, "Karis wasn't the least bit interested in you, wasn't he? No, he WAS NOT!"
A small crack appeared in Phaere's mask, signifying Karis' refusal of her wiles had been a serious blow to her haughty ego.
"He only refused me," Phaere said, apparenly in a little darker mood than before, "because you were pregnant... Trust me to find an honorable man..."
"Oh?" Viconia's grin widened even more. "Is that what you told yourself? HAH! I hadn't told Karis about my pregenancy yet! He loved me! That's what made the difference. He would have never fallen for the likes of you, anyway!"
A definate fissure appeared in Phaere's mask, now that a second, devastating blow to her fragile ego had been delivered with style...
"But that wasn't enough for you, wasn't it?" Viconia snarled. "Karis refused you, so you went after his sister!"
"Imoen and I parted ways after the first date," Phaere said. "She was being far too possessive..."
"HAH!" Viconia chuckled again. "That's not how SHE tells it! She said she broke up with you two minutes in the date because you were being a total bitch and she hated you from the moment she met you..."
The third devastating blow had been delivered and Phaere's mask was finally beginning to crumble.
"How the hell did you get in here, anyway?" Viconia asked. "I sent all the invitations, and there's no way in hell I sent you one!"
"A girl has her sources," she grinned, but when she noticed the anger on Viconia's face, she gave in. "Fine!" Phaere snarled, her mask shattering. "If you really must know, it's because your family OWES me!"
"The DeVirs owe you NOTHING!" Viconia snarled.
"Do they?" Phaere chuckled. "Your damn sister Cyrilla took over Microsoft!"
"What has that got to do with anything?"
"Because I had been WORKING that little four-eyed nerd that owned the place for four years, and your sister turns him into a pauper JUST before I could get into his bank-account!"
"Well, at least there'll be no more blue screens during press conferences now that Cyrilla rules Microsoft," Viconia chuckled.
"This is not a joke," Phaere said harshly.
"You swindled 200 million dollars by marrying that 104-year old Texan oil-baron! Why do you even need more?!" Viconia asked.
"I ALWAYS want more... more of everything," Phaere grinned.
"It's females like you that give the Drow a bad name," Viconia accused.
"Anyway, must mingle. There's bound to be some filthy rich record producers roaming around here. Perhaps this strong hunk of a man would accompany me?!"
"NO!" Sarevok replied quickly.
"You are not going anywhere," Viconia said, while signaling one of the Glabrezus, "because you are not invited... Oh, Phaere, I've wanted to do this to you for SO LONG! I have dreamed of this moment..."
"What?!" Phaere said as one of the Glabrezus took hold of her. "What are you doing to me? LET GO!"
"NO SOUP FOR YOU!!" Viconia shouted in glee. "NEXT!!"
Sarevok, who had been mostly keeping his face in 'neutral'-mode, started to chuckle now. "Hah, I'm glad that crazy broad is gone. That girl is nothing like my Tamoko..."
"Excuse me," Viconia laughed. "I think I'll go watch this."
"Have fun," Sarevok snickered.
"Hi," he heard call from behind. Turning around, he noticed Viconia's vampire friend Valen standing in front of him, her fangs beared in a lustful grin.
"Hey... Mind if I... suck on your neck..." the Vampire grinned.
"NO!" Sarevok said again and took off in search of his wife.
"But, but..." Valen whimpered. "I'm hungry!"
"Let go of me!" Phaere shouted as she was dragged outside by the angry Glabrezu.
"Let go?" the canine demon asked. "You really want me to let go, dudette?"
"This instant!" Phaere shouted.
"Okay," the Glabrezu giggled.
Phaere found herself shrieking as she was tossed high into the air and eventually landed in the dumpster across the street.
"Eeewww," Phaere whimpered as she fished a rotting banana-peel from her bosum. Then, she noticed something was moving right below her. A shriek later revealed a Japanese man with a very big black eye, groggily fishing some dirt from his clothes.
"Who are you?!" Phaere demanded.
"Yoshimo," the man spoke unclearly, still recovering from the violence inflicted on him. "Roving Tabloid Reporter... Who hates upper-cuts... Who hates single, devastating, violent upper-cuts..."
Suddenly, the sound of loud and violent hard-rock screamed through the loudspeakers inside the fest-hall, signifying that the ceremony was about to begin.
After taking her seat, Viconia could finally relax a little. The actual wedding ceremony passed her like a blur, it seemed. Vierna was dressed in jeans, t-shirt and red cap, her outfit only differing from her normal one in the fact that this was newly bought...
Imoen was wearing a stylishy short light pink dress, below a painfully pink new hair-do. Valas seemed to be the most traditionally dressed. He wore a tuxedo... or at least the bottom half of it. Instead of the jacket, he wore one of his multi-colored bermuda-shirts.
Chuckling inward, she reflected on a conversation she had with her mother last evening, about taking Vierna to a trip on the DRD. Even though quite a few Drow families flocked to the new world, and most of the DeVirs spent the majority of their lives here, she liked the idea of Vierna getting to know her roots. And then perhaps Ginafae could tell her of her younger days, when she was a young Drow in Berra'Yasoj where she served in the armed forces during the war with the Spaniards, who came looking for easy gold and ended up getting personal with cold steel. Ginafae knew many stories about the relatively short war with the conquistadores, including how Cortez's head on a pike was presented to the Drow emperess. Hmmm, Vierna might consider that story 'cool'.
Breaking out of her haze, she noticed her mother was gently dipping at her eyes with a handkerchief and, by looking at the happy couple and seeing them liplocked, she noticed she had missed the actual saying of the vows.
'Gods, don't they have to breathe?!' Viconia snickered as Imoen and Valas' kiss seemed to last for an eternity. Then, Imoen broke the kiss, turned around and shouted : "PARTYYYYYY!!!". A sentiment which was not lost on the crowd. Chairs were shoved aside and removed as tables with foodstuffs were carried by the halfling caterers. Imoen's band played fast music as the dance floor opened to the public.
Withdrawing her quickly tiring body to the sidelines of the party, Viconia looked back at the dancefloor where her sisters Rena, Dipree, Gal'na and even Cyrilla were dancing to the music as if their very lives depended on it. Merely looking at them made her even more tired.
She was happy to recognize a familiar face in crowd, in the person of Joneleth, who was busy eating some of the hors d'oevres... a lot of the hors d'oevres, in fact.
"Hungry?" Viconia chuckled.
"Oh, hey, Vic," the lanky elf greeted. "Yeah, I haven't eaten anything all day, just to leave plenty of room for the free food."
"Typical," Viconia chuckled. "So, what do you think of the wedding so far?"
"Great job," Joneleth chuckled. "I especially like the food."
"Just remind me to mooch at your wedding when the time comes," Viconia chuckled. "Say, are you still seeing that elven woman. What was her name again?"
"Ellesime?" Joneleth shuddered. "Oh, no... no, no, no, no, no, no... I'm NOT going to marry that airhead..."
"Yikes," Viconia grinned. "What happened..."
"We were on a totally different level, intellectually," Joneleth grimaced. "Her favorite past-time was watching the 'Teletubbies'. So of course we broke up. Unfortunately, she wouldn't accept that, so I ended up having to put out a restraining order against her..."
"Hey, Vic!" Two of Viconia's brothers, Alton and Jalyx, joined Viconia and Joneleth at the dip-table.
At the same time, Imoen stepped on the stage where the band was playing. She was wearing a rather baggy set of camoflage-pants, combined with a very skimpy and revealing red tank-top. Combined with the pink hair, she was a color-coordinator's nightmare.
"Oh, great!" Jalyx said. "She's going to sing her latest hit!"
And soon enough, the volume screamed through the festhall. Joneleth and Viconia looked at the walls, just waiting for the plaster to come crashing down.
"Hey," Alton said, while pointing at the trapeze-equipment connected at the ceiling of the festhall. "Valas said some crazy girl walked up to Imoen and asked to do some kind of trapeze-act when the song is over.
And, indeed, when 'Screaming Reaper' finished their song and received an ovation, Imoen directed her audience to the ropes above, where a raven-haired girl was getting ready for her act. A few moments later, she jumped.
"OH, GODS!!!" Joneleth suddenly shouted. "BODHI!!!! GET DOWN FROM THERE!!!" he called as his sister was swinging from wire to wire thirty feet from the floor, whooping joyfully in the process... But things were about to get worse...
"Whoa, there," Jalyx said. "She's an elf!"
"And... she's naked!" Alton announced.
"HEY!" Joneleth shouted to the crowd. "STOP looking at my sister's CHEST!"
In the background Viconia covered her face with her hands.
'What a piece of luck!' Yoshimo thought to himself as he swam toward the boardwalk on the open side of the festhall. After recovering from the violence inflicted on him by both an angry Glabrezu and an irritated Drow female, he recalled he still had diving-equipment in the trunk of his car, left-over from his last article : "ASTOUNDING SHARK-ATTACKS".
'I might have missed the wedding, but,' he thought, holding his water-tight camera, 'There's always the after-party...'
But just as he rose against the boardwalk and prepared to take his first picture, his eyes grew wide : A flying, naked elven female was approaching him with incredible speed.
Before he could utter a word, the wooping elven female collided with him as they both splashed into the water of the lake.
Yoshimo lost his sense of orientation. Everywhere he looked was water. 'Is this the end of Yoshimo : Roving Tabloid Reporter?' he briefly wondered. 'Hmmm, "FAMOUS REPORTER GETS SIDELINED BY NAKED ELF," or "FAMOUS REPORTER DOWNED BY MYSTERIOUS FLYING SPACE-ELF," or "FAMOUS REPORTER DEVOURED BY LAKE-MONSTER"'
Fortunately, the discussion ended up being academic, as he was fished from the water. Immediately, he noticed that the raven-haired elven female had plenty of volunteers to help her dry off her body, and thus that his cover had been blown. Still, he was grateful someone had fished him out of the water instead of the elven girl. Spinning around to thank his saviour, he was greated by the snarl of the New Yorker Glabrezu.
"Errr, hello?" Yoshimo grinned uneasily.
The Glabrezu grinned as he tossed Yoshimo over the roof of the fest-hall and heard the pleasant thud of something big landing in a dumpster.
The party was finally dying down, and Viconia was the only person left. She had stayed behind to pay everyone off, and after that was done, she was preparing to go home, only to see Joneleth and Valen snacking on the last pieces of left-over food.
"Enjoyed yourselves?" Viconia asked, supressing a yawn.
"Yeah," Joneleth said. "Did you notice Imoen and Valas slipping away after Bodhi landed in the lake?"
"Yeah," Viconia said. "Probably went back to the hotel... But I gotta get home now. I still have a house filled with sisters..."
"Speaking of sisters," Joneleth sulked, "mine is probably streaking through main-street right now..."
"I went to the dentist yesterday," Valen sniffed, and seemed to be a little tipsy. "She says I... I..." Valen stammered before breaking into tears, "NEED BRACES!!!"
"There, there," Joneleth said and patted Valen on the back.
"I'll take you guys home," Viconia said.
"AH-HAH!" a man with a camera jumped from the water and started clicking his camera like crazy...
"Too late," Viconia said. "The party's over."
"NUTS!" the man shouted. Then, he dropped his camera and kicked it in the lake. "I'm going to look for a new job. Maybe 'Yoshimo : Permanent Stock-Market Guy', or 'Yoshimo : Famous Elvis Impersonator', or 'Yoshimo : Renegade Bounty Hunter'. Oh, yeah, I like the last one..."
The wedding was a huge success. Imoen and Valas were back at the hotel, and would soon leave for another tropical paradise for yet another honeymoon. After some strange moments, like having to explain to her sister Devora to get the rice out of the packet before throwing it... to prevent her from braining the bride for a second time and after a wild afterparty, it was really time to go home... so she could sleep for a week. It was time for some well-deserved rest...
She closed and locked her front-door, and turned around to see her eight sisters and her mother, still brandishing sleeping bags. And Vierna...
"What is Vierna still doing up? It's three A.M.!" Viconia asked.
"Auntie Dipree let me watch Letterman!" Vierna giggled before yawning.
"Hi, Viconia," Dipree greeted. "We've talked it over and... we've decided that we'll be staying her in your house for the next two weeks!"
"Vierna will like that," Viconia managed a lopsided grin before fatigue set in again. "And I will too, but... I'm gonna sleep for a week now," she said and crashed on top of the couch, falling asleep almost instantly...
Ginafae chuckled and put a blanket over her daughter.
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