Family is Thicker than Blood

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Title Family is Thicker than Blood
GM Who's Reffing?
Characters Kalixi, Nicholas
Date of Log 06/09/2022
Log Poster Kalixi
Summary Nicky's biodad and Cathleen's ex show up at the Harbour of Refuge, aiming to get their respective human 'possessions' away from Kalixi. Nobody leaves happy.

Harbour of Refuge - Ellischester - 07:16 PM - 09 June 1490


Wide and spacious, the soup kitchen takes up the lower floors of what used to be two separate residences. The brickwork inside is partially exposed, though not for any aesthetic reasons, and the evidence of reinforcements and repairs over the years can be seen all over in newer plaster work as well as supportive beams made of younger, sturdier wood, while others show their age and the wear and tear of a harsh climate. The back wall has been taken up by a large hearth with racks for roasting, hooks for pots and a clay oven for baking bread. Further along the back wall is a window which peeks out at the distillery equipment kept in a small walled yard accessible through a nearby door, as well as cupboards for storing dishes, tools and dry goods. Long, sideboard like tables make up makeshift counters for serving, daily lined with large pots filled with whatever the day's fare may be, doled out by volunteers. Much of the space is taken up by mismatched tables and chairs, with similarly mismatched table cloths for the patrons to sit at. Light filters in through two windows at the front, to the left side of the door, and in the darker hours, comes from above from lanterns hung on sturdy chains. What hints of decoration there is scattered about are largely nautical in theme, prized ship parts salvaged from shore as well as strings of collected shells, polished to a sheen. In the far, back left corner is a stairway leading upwards to a landing with a door, the upper floor serving as the proprietor's residence.


It seemed like a normal enough night. Soup and acorn rolls were being served, and the sludge that passed for coffee was aplenty. There was even still some bitter orange preserve to make the acorn rolls just a bit sweeter. Nicky was doing his thing, smoking and washing the dishes with an apron hanging haphazardly off his otherwise bare chest. Why the lad even seemed to be in one of those rare moods where he wasn't completely brooding in front of everyone. A little off-key whistle marked the occasion. Jace was running around as he always was, pestering tolerating patrons and waiting for the end of the service when they'd eat as a family. That didn't stop him from swiping little bites here and there from anyone willing, though.

The door opening to welcome another inside wasn't unusual either; enough so that Nicky didn't bother to turn around for a meet and greet. He never did. Nice mood or not, he wasn't /that/ friendly. A familiar face to both Nicholas and Kalixi, unbeknownst to Nicky who remained blissfully unaware for the moment, Robert strode through to greet the room with his bald head, short greying side-hair and the salt and pepper stubble on his chin. He always had a severe look to him, and tonight he sported a certain hardness to his eyes. Behind him, lingering in the doorway was another man. Some sort of mercenary by the look of him, or at least someone with a strong arm and the gumption to use it.


The low tone was like a viper that struck a deep-seated fear into Nicky's heart. One not even Kalixi would have ever witnessed before. As far as she knew he was a reckless trouble-maker with enough heart to care about the ones closest to him, at least. Never a boy who knew fear, no matter the odds. He wasn't turning. He was trying to pretend it wasn't real. Just wash the dishes, Nicky.

Kalixi, dressed similarly to Nicholas in that she is wearing no shirt and an apron, comes in the back door with a fragrant sack of dried orange peels; not the bitter oranges, but the blessed ones that graced the community for too short a time. She waddles in, and squints at the two heading inside with the vaguest of vague recollections. A mercenary doesn't get a second blink, and Robert only gets the second blink because he's a slightly familiar furless pink entity. "Yarh?" she answers, in a voice like a bucket of rusty fastenings tumbling down an old downspout. "Me boy's busy lookin' after the needy, what does yer need?"

Nicholas could only tense further, with every ounce of anticipation. The clatter of dishes briefly grew louder as he shuffled around in the soapy water, grabbing and dropping a plate no less than three times in a row. As drifted down to rest softly atop the suds.

"Kalixi." Robert seemed happy to see her, and somehow that made Nicholas' skin crawl even more. The older man was broad shouldered and shorter than his lanky, tall son, so it wasn't so hard to brush off that there was any resemblance at all. It was there if you looked hard enough, but who was looking right now? Walking forwards, Robert stopped a few feet from Kali, the hands clasped behind his back releasing so that one can raise and gesture Nicholas' way, "While I /appreciate/ how you've cared for my son all this time, it seems you've softened him up a /bit/ too much. It's time he came home." The apologetic look that Robert gave Kalixi was slimy to say the least, "Don't get the wrong idea, he was never yours to begin with."

Kalixi cocks a very thick eyebrow. Behind her, where Nicholas could see, her tail stiffens. She looks up at Robert, setting the sack of orange peels down with a fragrant thud, and offers up a wide, fangy smile that does not reach her olive-black eyes. "Awrf, that be a funny thing, possession," she drawls. "Yer see, these two shit-sheds nailed together be mine." She gives a whistle, then, not a complicated one, since she's not had the opportunity to draw her proper bosun's call, but a whistle all the young'ns would recognize as '*Danger*'.

She then continues raspily rumbling, resting her little elbow on her little belt of kitchen implements. "This scrap furniture be mine, these denty pots be mine, and all of me foundlin's be mine, by rights o' abandonment and suchlike." There is just the smallest scrape of her thick hindclaws as her feet clench hard enough to drive them through the rushes on the floor. "Also, if yer want to get all fancy-arse technical about it, he be well past the age of majority and don't belong to nobody but hisself." Amidst the silence of nervous patrons and residents, she adds, cheekily as the day is long, "Sir." Spelled c-u-r.

The littluns do their scramble, pattering up the stairs to hide out at the top of the landing. Jace watches with wide eyes, not really understanding the situation.

"Hey Nicky." The mercenary looking fellow was looking past Robert and Kalixi and right towards Nicholas. The tone of his voice was a cold sort of charm, taunting, "Where's my wife?" It was an intensely loaded question. He knew how to push Nicky's buttons.

"I'm sympathetic, Kalixi, I really am but i'm afraid Nicky has responsibilities he can no longer flee from." There wasn't an aristocratic air to either Robert or Richard, but that never stopped some people from having similarly rigid ideas about carrying on this or that about a family, "The charade needs to end."

The low growl was coming from Nicholas. Adrenaline was pumping and already muddling his thoughts and now Richard was fueling the fires of his temper in old and painful ways. Maybe he'd mumbled something here or there, but Nicky never had lent any real clarity to his past. That fire was burning and it was fixin' to turn into a raging inferno real fast. It'd been a real long time since Nicholas had really lost it. What a streak to break.

"You know kidnapping is a crime, Nicky. So, i'll ask you again: where's my wife?"

There are a few not so soft thuds as Kalixi's tail starts to lash. "Sympathy?" The query is a bale of sea-wasted razor wire, rusty and sharp and dripping with salt. "I didn't arrsk for ye sympathy, road-walker. Ye be in Ellischester, whar if yer ain't here runnin' from somethin, or yer ain't here because ye landed here, then yer here because ye be born here and hadn't the choice. He arn't with -ye- he be with -me- of his own free choice, and by the scales round Sagcoln's arsehole, his -home- be where he chooses."

"An' who in the name of Belphegor's ballsack be this? We ain't got no bloody wives here, yer empty bilge barrel." She too, is clearly getting heated, and not in the funny puff cheeked 'ooh scary old bag' way, but in a mother bear, territorial creature way, fangs bared, fur a-bristle, and the whites starting to show around her olive-dark eyes. "I recommends if yer intends upon continuing to speak, you puts your arses in some chairs less yer want a firsthand dance amongst townsfolks wi' shit to lose."

Shit was being lost for sure as Nicholas just straight leapt over the counter and whipped past Robert to rush at Richard in a blind rage. It's ok if no one else understood, because Nicky understood! Richard was obviously stronger, with the muscular mass to prove it, but Nicky always had been fast and in the whip of an instant his sudsy hands were around that man's throat and looking to kill. It wasn't that easy. If only it could be that easy, but Richard was steadily prying Nicky's hands apart.

"Now look at that, Kali. All these years and you still couldn't quell the beast inside him, hm?" That certainly was a fanciful way of putting it, "Whom Captain Allen is referring to is Cathleen Allen." Robert took a chair and sat down, quite squarely in the walkway.

Behind him Richard was tossing a hard knee into Nicky's gut. Oof.

Perhaps in contrary to what was expected, Kalixi doesn't look at all alarmed that Nicky's gone over the counter and is attacking the current visiting mercenary-Captain-what-have-you. The patrons don't even look surprised, scooting their benches and cushions closer to the wall to stay out of what wasn't the first fracas on this floor and wouldn't be the last. A few cheers go up when Nicky wins a blow, followed by jeers and tossed rubbish when his opponent does. She keeps a sharp weather eye on the fight, this much is true, but the other half of her attention is fixed on Mister Robert. One paw goes to rummage in her forelimb pouch for her bosun's whistle, kept to hand but not yet to her lips, and the other paw rests on the handle of her old kitchen cleaver. "Oh, yer simple city jackarse, what would ever make ye think me boy needs -quellin-?" Her voice is a rusty, rattling, chesty little rumble, tinted with nigh-feral amusement. "A magnificent loggerhead, he be, and I ho---"

The second sentence hits the old Vydra like a ton of loose feathers. A rumble turns mid-exhale into a snort. "CATHLEEN?" She guffaws. "She et cursed mangoes an' ran puking into the hills, haunted by half the devils o' Brighton, how would yer... WHY would yer... by me chafed arsehole after the screeching squits, why would yer be looking for that thornbush?"

Robert laughs as if this is a jolly soiree that he and Kalixi are merely socializing at, "I can't speak to the man's taste." Or his son's, that much was implied, "Warned him and my boy both to keep away from her, but I suppose some men can't think straight in that regard." His eyes are a subtle narrow, but narrowed none-the-less; the same honey-brown shade of Nicky's in fact - eerily identical.

Nicky and Richard go on trading blows. Nicky never had been one to let a few hits get him down, after all. Not when pain fueled the rage like a berserker. Nicky punched Richard, Richard slammed Nicky into the ground. Nicky bit Richard like some sort of feral beast. Ah, a familiar exchange. Worryingly, Richard seemed to have just as much stamina and durability, if not a bit more.

"The -ear-, Jetsam, go fer the thin places, have I taught ye nothin?" The old Vydra barks, while gesturing to Grandbaby Jace to come around behind her in case of unsportsmanlike behavior. She's still got the whistle clenched in her paw, but for whatever reason hasn't decided to call All Hands on Deck yet. Yet. "Anywise," Kalixi says, not coolly, because she never speaks such and has never been known to speak such, "We ain't got the pufferfish girl, and yer'll have to find some other whelp to do yer family nonsense, me boy's plenty of responsibility here already and neither me nor this armpit of a town be keen ter part with him." There is a small pause, to make sure little Jace is tucked away safely behind her furry hawser-cable of a tail, before she raises her voice. "Yer break any of me chairs and yer payin' for 'em, the both of yer!"

Nicky was a bullheaded boy, so maybe he hadn't been listening that day. Then again, he was also just /that/ furious with Richard he wasn't thinking that straight. Cathleen was a touchy subject, now that she was gone, even if it had been for a good reason. What a funk he'd been in for a while! Classic Nicky sulking. Hair, throat - any bit of bare flesh Nicky could get at was getting ripped and torn at while he kept his jaw clamped down hard on Richard's forearm, latched on and refusing to let go even as blood started lazily trickling down around his mouth. Ah but Richard doesn't take that too well, and in a moment that shows the man's training, he manages to dislodge Nicholas and log toss him into a table. K.O. table. Oops.

Robert's eyes followed Jace as he scuttled behind Kalixi then flickered back up to meet hers in a chestnutty squint, "Hm." It was an unsatisfying response with every implication that Cathleen's disappearance had only granted a stay, not peace. Robert was 'kind' enough to put his chair back when he stood, but he didn't make for the door yet, instead shifting over to Nicholas and crouching down beside him. Nicky's reaction was noticeably different. The fear took over again when Robert was dominating his view and he froze, flinching at the deceptively soft touch of Robert's hand brushing over his brow and through his hair, "You'll come back, boy." A hard grip rattled Nicky's shoulder before Robert got up, striding towards the door, "Such a shame to see you again under these circumstances, Kali."

"Yarh, I care not to sees yer again under any circumstance," Kalixi rasps, her lips twitching slightly over her fangs. Not really one for playing poker, that's for certain, although decorum has less value than manure in Ellischester. After all, you can fertilize a field with manure, there's naught to be done with decorum. She lumber-hops a bit forward, ensuring that her Grandbabe remains behind her, and hisses when Robert touches Nicky. "Take yer airs elsewhere, yer ain't the baddest soul in this city. Yer ain't even the baddest soul on this -row-. I sent the last father who din't deserve the title out over me back fence wi' his block and tackle twisted round to piss up his own arse," she growls. "Do not press ye fortunes, sir." C-u-r.

The echo of quiet laughter followed them out as Robert waved farewell, ushering Richard out before him. The door seemed especially heavy, shutting after them. In Nicky's ears it was deafening. He just laid there, blinking in a confused muddle of trauma-ridden terror and animalistic fury.

Jace really didn't understand what was happening. Confusing and upsetting, he hovered behind Kalixi until the terrible two had departed and peace had supposedly resumed. Peering out around Kali at his father, Jace tugged on a bit of fur and skin to get the ottermom's attention to signal to her, "Who was that?"

Kalixi responds to Jace with the signal for 'BAD', and dumps her cutlery belt on the counter before lumberhopping over to Nicky. Raspy threats turn to raspy croons, and she stays close without touching him, clucking and murmuring in a soothing, repeated lullaby-like rhythm. A few of the more able-bodied vagrants move to keep watch over the door, and those slightly less able go to clear the broken table and get the room back into shape for sleep.

Eventually Nicky dragged himself to his feet, bolstered by the familiar rhythm to drag him through the fucked-up menagerie in his head. A generalized, low sound regaled the rest of them of the stiffness and soreness he'd earned. A spare moment was given to patting down his pockets to locate a spare cigarette, rolled earlier in preparation for the evening's service. Aha! There it was. The instant it was to his lips a snap of his fingers set it to flame, "Sorry Ma." The tone of voice was reminiscent of the first time he'd decided to speak around her; flat and distant, "I'll finish washin' the dishes."

"Yer all right, me lad," Kali assures, as patient as the first day to the last day. "We'll get it all cleaned up and get a good rest."