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Lian Dracel-Cortes

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

In the days after her visit to Sebastian in Wiltshire, Lian had returned home and did away with the majority of the comfort space in her study. It had been returned to the space of old, a cold and unwelcoming room where she would spend her days planning her moves. Once the study returned to its original state, Lian had gone through her closet and took out everything that had been deemed her hermit-wear. She had vanished it to where she knew Darcie kept her fire pits with a note: Burn It. - soon after that happened, Lian had sent her assistant orders for her "uniforms" to be brought out of retirement. Within a few hours, her closet was refilled with anything you could imagine ranging from robes, blazers, slacks, boots, all matters of button downs in greys, indigo and her personal favorite colors.  The moment her wife saw this, it would likely cause questions.

 

Not that she would answer them so easily. For years, Lian sat in the shadows of her own home - allowing for things to steer a certain way. What had truly sunk the reality of the situation had been Killian, asking if Damaris could stay with them over the winter holidays. Without hesitation, Lian blurted a positive response and now they had another child under their roof, albeit temporarily. If she hadn't been angry at Sebastian before, the sight of her youngest son and his girlfriend had intensified it. Oh, life, how interesting it had turned out. If someone told Lian's younger self that she'd end up surrounded by Slytherins and grow protective of the younger generation of Slytherins, she would've laughed it off!

 

Lian knew she was getting too far in her own head, thus she found herself summoning parchment and a quill, writing a note intended for another of her children-in-law ( @Leonid Stanislaus). Lian, due to her personal house biases, wasn't all that close to Leonid. It wasn't that the chap was a terrible lad, it was mostly a mean to shield herself from handling further frictions at a time where she was too weakened to handle fights on two fronts. Yet, after the incident with Sebastian - Lian reflected that now, more than ever - their family needed to unite. They had come close to losing Killian…

 

This meant uniting on all fronts. So she wrote away:

 

Dear Leonid,

 

Under normal circumstances, I would have sent this owl directly to Morgi and requested you both meet with me. However, the situation at hand has made it very clear that this meeting must be between you and I. Perhaps we could catch lunch at your convenience? I know of a lovely restaurant called Mia's. Bring the children if you'd like, I'd love to see them as well.

 

Sincerely,

Lian

 

"Amadeus!" - she called, sealing with parchment into an envelope. The owl appeared and Lian tied the missive to it's leg, before reaching for treats. - "Take this to Leonid. You can await for a response or go see Morgi. I'm sure she'd love to see you."

 

With a hoot, Amadeus took off and Lian was left to reflect on the ties that bind.

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Leonid Stanislaus

There were troubling events occurring in the world. One would have to be hiding under a rock to not notice them, and Leonid had never been the type to hide away from the world. However, the occurrences over recent months had him nostalgic for the days when he and Morgi had laid across the couch, making mild jokes about the part-vampire rehabilitation center and how Darcie might try to make profit off of part-vampires by creating a blood wine.

 

If only the current events were so easily laughed off.

 

But, as Leonid had learned while at Hogwarts, werewolves were no joking matter. It was while he’d been at Hogwarts that Galen Ward had killed his own sister, after all. Leo was well familiar with how dangerous werewolves could be, and this latest tragedy was just another drop in the barrel. But still, Leo supported werewolf rights. They needed to find ways to better provide wolfsbane to werewolves, to help them integrate… and yet, he feared quite the opposite would happen after this.

 

Fear, after all, was a common motivator of hate.

 

Despite the disturbing incidents, the last thing Leo expected was the correspondence he received that morning. Things had always been tense between himself and Darcie, and by extension, her wife, Lian. Lian had always seemed the more reasonable of the two women, but she was subdued, and had never seemed to want to fight Darcie on things. Thus, things remained strained. He tapped a quill against his lips thoughtfully as he thought of how to reply, though, and decided there was no reason to decline. If it was Darcie, it’d be something to confirm with Morgi about. But Lian seemed… safer, somehow.

 

Stalling for a moment longer, Leo handed Tempest and Lenore each a small cup of yogurt (peach for Tempest, strawberry for Lenore), before returning to write his response. Lian’s owl, Amadeus, gave him an expectant hoot.

 

 

Quote

Lian,

 

I could probably do a late lunch today if it’s pressing, or else I can do lunch on Friday. Your choice. I’ll have the twins either way. Will it be just you?

Sincerely,
Leonid

 

 

 

He felt the need to ask if it would be only Lian. He would need to prepare himself more before being faced with Darcie Dracel, otherwise. Sealing the letter, he gave it back, along with a treat of his unfinished bacon, to Amadeus. The owl obediently ate his treat and flew off to deliver his response. Leo, meanwhile, decided to get things together just in case Lian did choose to meet that day.

Edited by Leonid Stanislaus

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

When Amadeus arrived, Lian took the letter and tore right into it. Her lips pursed into a thin line, bemused at the prompt response and the proposed question. Darcie had done everything in her power to break Morgi's marriage, only for the girl to prove as stubborn as her father and rise above. Sometimes, Lian wondered if Morgi would have made a fine Gryffindor had she had an influence that wasn't Darcie, or even Lian (a snake in lion's mane).  Petting Amadeus, she mused to herself - "Would Darcie have backed off, if I had stood against her in the matter?"

 

There was no use in dwelling in the past, Lian thought to herself before picking up her ink and parchment. 

 

"I was too tired of the turmoil. After everything my damned decisions put her through, I figured giving her the freedom to do as she well damned pleased was a great idea."

 

Yet, where did it lead you, fool? Heartache. Heartbreak. A family that both loves, but reviles you - fears your movements. You failed not just your own kin, but those whom you swore to protect. You were too willing to give Darcie the world, consequences be damned. Now, you must stand! You need to unite everyone and prove your worth.

 

Snarling, Lian clutched the quill until it snapped in her hand. - "Reparo." - She would go on to dip it in the ink, scratching away a response.

 

Leonid,

 

Friday would be wonderful as it gives us both time, rather than a rushed meeting between us. As far as Darcie is concerned, she will not be joining our lunch. I do believe it is time you and I met without any third parties, or mother-daughter spats in between.

 

Sincerely,

Lian

 

She sent the letter with Amadeus and smiled to herself. 

 

*˜*˜*

Friday had arrived faster than it should have, but Lian stood in front of her vast mirror. She was grateful that business seemed normal and that Darcie was likely going over some new Vintages they would be launching for the Spring. It gave her time to perform a ritual she hadn't done in almost twenty five years. The scent of blood oranges filled the room when Lian splashed her perfume on. The outfit was more alike the Lian that stood at the front of Arken Industries, instead of the merry dresses and flowery skirts and blouses she had begun to favor in her attempts to become the perfect housewife. She had played the role and lived the lie long enough.

 

The slacks felt awkward at first, the boots were commonplace thankfully as Lian buttoned up the indigo shirt. She felt strange, as if looking at two mirrors. In the first, she was her younger self and in the second, she was a shadow of that woman with age reflecting over her. Pulling a cloak over herself, Lian double checked for her wand before pulling her hair into a half-twist, with some tendrils framing her face. Turning on her heel, Lian apparated out of the house.

 

Arriving close to Mia's, Lian arrived a few minutes earlier than she had agreed for the meeting. She explained the need for a nicely sized table as well as some privacy, she had even included a few galleons for the discretion of the waitstaff, should Lian arrive with Darcie at some point later on. Once she was led to a table, she ordered a goblet of butterbeer and settled down to wait for Leo and the kids.

 

"Madam," - The waiter approached - "We believe your guests arrived."

 

"Show them here, Lloyd. I appreciate your assistance, as always."

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Leonid Stanislaus

Relief was what Leonid felt after reading Lian’s response. Darcie would not be there, and she wanted to meet without any third parties. Leo was optimistic, even if there was a nagging dread that lingered in the back of his mind (what if this was just another of Darcie’s elaborate traps?). But, Lian somehow seemed safe, and he sensed no deceit within the letters. And when it came down to it, Leo wanted at his core for the families to at least form some sort of understanding between them.

 

Family was important, and Leo wanted the best for his twin daughters, to give them more options for people to rely upon. While Darcie still wasn’t someone Leo was desirous of having influence over his children, Lian again somehow felt safer. Not quite entirely secure, but… safer. Thus, he had hurriedly written a response to the effect that he would see her on Friday, with the twins, for lunch.

 

The day of, he still felt awkward about it. He wondered, vaguely, how it could be normal. Lian’s wife was the root cause of most of the strife that he and Morgi had been through, first when they’d only been young kids dating for the first time, and then later as they underwent a more serious, sweeping romance, that resulted in Leo’s entire future (much to Darcie’s chagrin).

 

He dressed, feeling an absurd need to wear something a bit higher quality than his usual at-home wear of t-shirt and jeans. Thus, he wound up in a button down, light blue shirt with dark slacks. The twins he dressed efficiently in matching dresses, and he ignored Lenore’s fitfulness as he strapped them into the double stroller for transport. It was easiest, with the twins, to travel via the Knight Bus. Lenore’s squirminess made him anxious to attempt side-along apparition, and floo was a no-go, as it seemed to upset Tempest’s sinuses.

 

One bumpy ride, a clean-up of a subsequent motion sickness mishap by Lenore (thank Merlin for cleaning charms), and Leo had finally made it to the restaurant. He prayed the twins would behave themselves as he stepped in to the designated restaurant. Leo told them who he was looking for, and after a momentary pop back into the restaurant, the host led Leo, stroller and all, to where Lian was seated.

 

Lian did not look like the Lian he had always known.

 

The man blinked, taking in her appearance with some uncertainty. He remembered only skirts and florals, quiet, normal clothing that fit her personality. Today, though, was slacks and an indigo top, bright. She stuck out in a way he had never noticed before, and he wondered vaguely what had triggered the change.

 

“Hello Lian,” Leo greeted after his momentary surprise faded, managing to give the woman a smile. The twins, thankfully, seemed calm for the time-being. Tempest was staring at Lian with wide eyes, her brunette head of hair slightly mussed, but nothing unpresentable, while Lenore was squirming a bit, the blonde locks on her head significantly more rumpled, but that was normal. Lenore had always been the difficult one. However, in terms of how to further greet Lian, Leo paused. A hug seemed odd, and a handshake somehow odder. So instead, he worked on moving the twins into the booster seats on one side of the table.

 

“So… uh… how are things?” He asked as he worked, beginning with Tempest, because she was always easier, and if she was already seated, he had a better time getting Lenore to follow suit. He considered commenting on Lian’s clothing, but again, stalled out at that. Seemed best to start off with something basic, anyway, before they really got into the nitty-gritty.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

Lian observed, falling back into a habit she had developed by the years spent under Aries' control. Her granddaughters were absolute treasures and her heart ached at the sight of these two lovely babies, who didn't really know family outside of Leo's side. Lian's own children owled and kept in contact, but Grandparents were meant to be there and lend support. They had lent, or rather Lian, had been there through her grandchildren's births and aided the parents through the first months. To have sordidly missed this much of the Twins lives irked her. It was almost like Morgi all over again...

 

Under the table, her fist balled as she offered her sincerest smile. It was as always, maternal, in spite of the fact she looked less the Lian that they knew and more the Lian that Darcie knew. - "Hello, darling!"- She greeted in return, her head swiveling towards the girls as she beamed in their direction. - "My, my! Aren't you two the cutest little duo? I could just eat you two up. Do forgive my blunt approach, but I've yet to learn the names of my granddaughters"

 

A lilt of parental possession came through in her tone, as she tended to do with all of her children. It wasn't meant with malice, but she was rather curious to know after all! As it stood, she knew that her move had stunned him, though one couldn't tell unless one really looked. Both her hands came to rest at the table, opting to navigate things with ease. She knew that suspicions ran high, especially if Leo was privvy to the fact that Lian had personally removed Morrigan from the care of her paternal family. Lian knew she'd be suspicious of her motives if she were across the table in Leo's place. Still, this wasn't why she was here. What she'd done all those years by taking Amender and a small contingency of Arken personnel had been a necessity. With Morgi's father imprisoned and Darcie on the run, Lian couldn't well leave Morgi to be raised in total seclusion. Okay, so maybe doing what she'd done was highly illegal - but at that time of her life - Lian didn't care. 

 

"Things have been rather topsy turvy on our end, I'll regale you on the details shortly. How are you all doing? I imagined with recent happenings it has been busy for the both of you." - She eased gently as menus floated to land before them. Lian casually pushed it open with her index, perusing for changes. When noting there had been none, she glanced to where a piece of parchment and a quick-notes quill were awaiting for their orders. - "One order of bruschetta for Antipasto. I'll also have the bolognese with pumpkin juice. Also, a glass of Muses "Vector's" Claret, summer of 2030 vintage."

 

The quill and parchment scribbled, soon moving towards Leo.

 

"I suggest you do not do the eggplant parmigiana. It has a tendency to be too dry and too heavy on the sauce." - She added a wink to that statement. How to begin the nitty gritty?  It wasn't going to be easy to explain her motives, but then again, she had nothing to hide at this time. Most of her secrets had been either exposed throughout the years or the people who knew them were incapable of speech permanently.

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Leonid Stanislaus

Leo was suspicious. It was hard not to be, after everything that Darcie had put him through. And even though Lian was a different person and he didn’t blame her for any of Darcie’s actions, all of this was just odd. Why now? Of course, the attacks had just happened, and politics around the wizarding world were fraught with tension, but it wasn’t like they hadn’t seen any of this before. It was a different foe (but were werewolves really the enemy?), but Hogwarts had been attacked before, multiple times.

 

Yet, despite all the past events, Lian had never seemed to care much about interacting with Leonid. She’d been largely silent - a bystander, and not really much more. It was Morgi’s love of this woman that was the only thing that put Leo at ease. He had to remind himself that whatever this might seem like, Lian was the good half of Lian and Darcie. Even if he had yet to see much of that good side for himself.

 

He gave her an apprehensive smile, though, deciding to remain optimistic about whatever this was. Even if her use of darling followed by her protective tone when she called the twins her granddaughters made him want to narrow his eyes at her, he refrained from doing so. Today was going to be about giving the benefit of the doubt.

 

“Oh, well… this one’s Tempest,” Leo introduced awkwardly as he set Tempest down into her booster chair. He purposefully put her in the seat closer to Lian, because she tended to be better tempered. “And this one is Lenore,” Leo added, lifting Lenore and plopping her into the next booster seat. The blonde fussed a bit, but thankfully did not let out any of her ear-piercing shrieks, seeming to be interested enough in their surroundings for the time-being.

 

With the twins settled, Leo settled himself across from Lian, a menu floating before him even as Lian was outlining an introduction to the conversation. “Topsy turvy’s one way to put it,” Leo began, opening the menu and skimming, eyes lighting on a few select meal choices, but thankfully for him, he did not favor eggplant parmigiana. “I’ll take the chicken marsala,” Leo decided as the quill jotted, and, prudently, he added, “And just water for me, with a lemon.” Because it hardly seemed smart to have a drink when he needed to keep his wits about him.

 

“Anyway, I was lucky enough to not be summoned to Hogwarts… afterwards,” Leo continued to respond to Lian’s initial question. “But I know a lot of healers who were. Nasty business,” The blonde winced, and found himself actually thankful the twins were so young, and thus, not at Hogwarts for the grisly events. But, a more pessimistic side wondered what horror would befall them when they were enrolled. After all, Leo had seen not just one attack while at Hogwarts…

 

“So, uh… why now?” Leo was not good at beating around the bush, and his curiosity was getting the better of him. He was sure Lian would understand what he was asking, even if he didn’t spell it out for her.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

A smile lit up Lian's face as she heard each name, bemused by the little hints in each. Names, Lian knew, were of high importance in certain families. Why the Cortes naming tradition was more attuned to middle name, much like her own: Eternia. They were derived of significant words that would fit the child's character. Lian however, never came to learn why her parents chose such a name. - "Fitting, one after the father and the other...strangely enough, after a telling characteristic that befalls Dracels everywhere - they're true tempests." 

 

She listened, grateful that Leo wasn't swallowed by the insanity that seemed to follow Hogwarts. However, this also meant she would need to bring him up to speed on what happened with Killian. Damn it all, Lian thought to herself, she had hoped not to broach the subject out the gates. This would give away her whole reason for being here, to extend an olive branch. Darcie may be too proud and too high strung to understand Lian's choices, thus Lian going behind her back and doing the very thing that would set her off. Not that she gave a rats arse, things needed to happen!

 

"Of course. That school has been a magnet for trouble since it's reopening and since Darcie and mine's classes were sorted in. School attacks were the bl...normal for us." - A slight bitterness wove into her tone, the memory of Sebastian saying he was not changing his mind on sending Aleks to the school ever present in Lian's mind. She took notice of Leonid's reaction and raised her glass slightly, before taking a sip of the wine. It was a controlled sip, leaving a vast majority of it in the glass. A stark difference from her wife, right there and then.

 

"You know why," - She said even toned - "We're already discussing the matter at hand, my dear. Hogwarts, werewolves, our children. We came very close with Killian, he and his girlfriend were swept in the attacks. Thankfully, they are not in the awful list that was published by that..." - Restrain overcame Lian's tongue as she came awfully close to saying what she'd said to Amender when the names were listed off in the WNN. It had been the reason why Lian had gone through and decided enough had been enough when it came to her own family.  Lian had lost it all in the Second War and as it stood, she did not want a repeat scenario as a result of the Jacobins' agenda and the on going situation with the half-breeds. - "The time for petty little feuds must come to an end. Darcie may not initially agree, but I'll handle that when the time comes, I believe reminding her how close she came to losing the only male Dracel in a generation will force her views to shift in line with mine."

 

She took a second sip of the wine, leaning slightly forward. Pragmatism was an artform that the Cortes family had worked on for generations, survival was at stake after all.

 

"My wife isn't aware I am here and I am sure she'll be thrilled once she learns I'm here to begin working on restoring family ties." - She let out, her lips pressed to a thin line. - "But, it is high time my wife remembers exactly who she married. Killian has but a few years left in that school and unfortunately for me, Sebastian decided it would be a wise idea to allow his children to attend. I'm sure down the road, Morgi and you will likely do the same with your own. I want to unify the family as a whole, as things are heading down a path too similar to the past. Attacks like these will continue so long as Hogwarts stands, and as long as the Ministry of Magic continues to have it's collective heads up their collective back sides."

 

Plates began to float in their direction, as Lian finished her reasonings - "You have no reason to trust me, considering the strife caused by my inaction over the years. Allow me, however, to begin working on mending the wounds caused by it. Let us rebuild this together, if not for the sake of my mission, but for the sake of the future of this family. A day will come in which neither Darcie or I will be at the helm of this family, I do not want for that day to arrive and for my family to be in shambles of itself. I refuse to allow us to become like the Dracels were prior to mine and Darcie's union."

 

The future: Tempest, Leonore, Aleks, Moira...  a whole generation beginning to integrate in their society.

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Leonid Stanislaus

Lenore was actually named after one of his aunts on his mother’s side of the family, but Lian was close enough. After all, Lenore was named to honor Stanislaus naming traditions while Tempest had been chosen by Morgi. “Oddly,” Leo began, giving each of the twins a toy to occupy themselves with, “Tempest thus far is the calmer of the two.” Thus far, because Leo knew how quickly that was likely to change as the twins aged.

 

Yes, Hogwarts did seem to be a hotbed for death eater attacks, as Lian agreed, but that made it all the more puzzling as to why Lian was calling this meeting now. If attacks at the school were the norm as it would seem, why would a werewolf attack prompt this? The man listened, squeezing the lemon wedge into his water as it was promptly dropped by their table, to Lian recounting that Killian and his girlfriend had been swept up in the attacks.

 

So that was what had prompted this. A swipe too close to home, as it was, had seemed to remind Lian of what was important. Leo was painfully aware of the strain that estranged families put on people - he had grown up estranged from his mother’s side, his mother disowned for marrying his father, a muggleborn, and his Aunt Lenore being one of the only contacts on that side of the family. And now, it would seem that unless he and Lian came to some sort of agreement, he would be sentencing the twins to the same life he had lived: a life estranged from half of their family members.

 

And as someone who valued family ties (a Hufflepuff he was, indeed), Leo did hope there was a way to make amends. He was just more dubious about Darcie’s willingness that Lian promised would come, despite the leverage that Lian felt confident in. Leo was not so sure.

 

Regardless, he stayed silent, opting to listen to everything Lian said, mulling it over as she spoke. While the benefits of having a full, complete family were obvious, especially for the twins, he worried about Darcie’s influence being part of his children’s lives at the same time. Darcie had always been synonymous with dangerous to Leonid, and that had not changed. He was uncertain whether Lian’s pull over her wife would be strong enough to also eliminate the bad influence she might hold over his twins… but of course, Morgi had escaped; had rebelled away from Darcie’s way of life. And she’d lived around her much more than the twins ever would…

 

Regardless, he’d likely remain unconvinced until Darcie proved her ability to change. That was no reason to deny Lian at least making an attempt, though. He left his plate of food untouched as he thought over his response. “I am generally in favor of not having the twins grow up estranged from Morgi’s side of the family, despite all Darcie has done,” Leo began, decisive in his words, his eyes looking towards the twins, who were being suspiciously well-behaved, as if they could sense he wanted them on their best behavior and they were actually deciding to oblige.

 

“But I remain unsure that Darcie will be easily swayed, and I have no interest in having her make another attempt to ruin my relationship with Morgi,” Leo added. Of course, he didn’t believe Darcie would ever succeed in such an endeavor, but that had certainly not stopped her from trying. “I’d like to see a true change within her stance before we really decide to band together,” The blonde concluded succinctly, because to him, that was all there was to it.

 

Trying to forge an agreement with Darcie and Lian was likely something he might have gone for even without the attacks that had happened, but he had simply never thought them amicable to it, until now. It was merely a shame it took such a grisly attack for things to be put into perspective for Lian. “I’m sorry to hear that Killian was caught up in it,” Leo added belatedly, cutting off a piece of his chicken and biting into it. He chewed and swallowed before inquiring, “I trust that he healed up alright?”

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

Her chuckle was a welcome reprieve from the serious conversation they were having. She understood better than anyone that when it came to Darcie Dracel, acting with caution was always the best course of action. If anyone bore the scars to show, it was a dead set match between Aurora and Lian. If anything, she hid her left arm so well that most people were often surprised when they saw the garish scar left behind from almost thirty years ago. Lian understood better than most that Darcie was someone untrustworthy, yet why could she trust the woman with her entire being?

 

They were cut of the same twisted cloth, one could suppose. Mayhaps Lian concealed it better? No. No. She vehemently refused to admit just how much life twisted her from a paragon of good virtue into a purveyor of malice. Her hands were coated in the ruin of others, but she would never admit it so flagrantly. Only Darcie knew just how truly vile she became and it was their well kept secret. - "I understand your position in this, Leonid and agree about needing to see changes." she trailed off, knowing there were no excuses to anything her life did or didn't do.

 

Lian stood from her seat, crossing over to each of the girls in the high seats. She began first with Lenore, calmly she pressed her lips to the crown of her head. She did the same with Tempest, smiling once she was done finally showing some warmth to either girl. From there, she stopped briefly to roll her sleeves as the restaurant was becoming warmer by the second. Her left hand and arm exposed, as she sat back down to begin eating again. From where her silver wedding ring rested on her ring finger, spread throughout her forearm like a set of ghastly roots - this was her scar even after healing. It was however, the only visible scar that came from fighting her beloved wife. - "From the very wand of the woman I eventually married. I'm still standing, Leo. Don't think I wouldn't take more if it means getting her to see reason."

 

She took the water instead of the wine, pushing it aside for it to be taken away. - "Deep down, she loves her family. Yet she's never known a healthy way to express it. Darcie's definition of love is twisted to all hell. As is her version of loyalty for that matter. I'll do my best to step up to her about the subject. If she doesn't acquiesce to the conditions, then I'll be the sole grandparent - much like I was the sole parent Morgi knew for the first few years of her life."

 

She would do anything.

 

"As for Killian, he's physically healed, but his views have shifted into vitriol against all werewolves it seems. At least from what I've overheard out of his room in passing. Considering the actions of Trudy Veritas and her outing all of those kids, I fear that he may grow a bias against the people who didn't ask for Lycanthropy to be passed unto them."

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Leonid Stanislaus

Leonid watched Lian, his own skepticism still on the fringes of his mind, unable to be calmed even by her easy understanding that he would need to see changes in Darcie as well. Of any dark side lingering in Lian herself… he knew naught of it, but had instead always seen her as Darcie’s quieter, milder other half. However, as she gave each of the girls a kiss on the forehead and rolled up her sleeves, revealing a ghastly scar on one arm. Leo had seen many scars and wounds, but whatever had caused that had to be some dark magic, to mar the skin so deeply and permanently.

 

His eyes followed Lian back as she sat down, and he didn’t ask about the scar, but also didn’t need to. He shouldn’t have been surprised by the almost blasé explanation, as if it was perfectly normal to admit your now-wife was responsible for such a horrible scar. Leo would never be able to understand Lian’s mentality towards Darcie, her ability to forgive her for all of her wrongs, and as she explained Darcie’s mentality, justifying why she was still with her, Leo heard, but could not understand.

 

“I won’t pretend to understand why you’re still with Darcie, because I don’t, especially now that I know she did… that,” He told her bluntly, tone unapologetic as he pointed to her scarred arm. Leo didn’t mince words and had hardly ever been tactful, and this had not changed even as he had aged. He may be good-natured, but tactful? No.

 

He hurriedly leaned over to offer Lenore a pacifier as she began to fuss, and thankfully that proved to be enough for her. “However, I’m not going to stop you from trying, if that’s what you want to do,” Leo conceded. Family was worth fighting for, although he was still unconvinced that Darcie really cared as much as Lian believed she did. But it wasn’t like he’d ever known a side of Darcie he could trust…

 

Leo’s frown deepened as Lian divulged Killian’s mentality towards werewolves. “That’s a shame. It… it would be hard to not be prejudiced, after what he went through, but… I do hope he will grow out of it and realize they were not in control of their own actions and that things like that can be prevented,” Leo stated. Though getting Killian to see that side would likely take time - a lot of it. And perhaps, if they really did bridge the divide, Leo could help in making the younger boy see things that way. Slowly. That was what family was for - to help you learn and grow.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

"I don't ask you to pretend or understand," - She offered in a peaceful manner - "I just needed for your to understand the lengths I am capable of going for those I care for." 

 

Which is what would be discussed next, Lian thought wryly as Leo began to see where she was truly coming from. In order to help Killian, they had to come together in order to correct what could become a terrible situation. The way Lian saw if, if Killian had been the one turned and outed, would he be capable of seeing his own classmates turn against him in such vitriol? Lian felt a pang of anger and disgust in regards to the entire situation and now, she had to set her own biases to the side.

 

"Precisely. I don't want him to use this as a catalyst for further damage to our world. This is what people like the Jacobins desire to see, people rallied against werewolves and against parts of wizarding society that are seen as less than. Those who do not learn history are bound to repeat it." - She dug back into her food, using the pause to stabilize her emotions. - "There is a chance he could grow out of it. But not when you have people like Trudy Veritas adding fuel to the sodding fire with her broadcast in the Wireless there is a chance he could turn even further towards spite."

 

This would be a major undertaking, Lian thought to herself, but she hoped it would work in their favor. It just had to.

 

"The children that were turned, Leo, they're innocent in this. I don't know just how to explain it to him, without risking alienating him further. I want to be sympathetic to the fact he was caught in the crosshairs, but I don't want to be insensitive to others."

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Leonid Stanislaus

Leonid nodded obligingly at Lian’s words… he definitely had a firmer understanding of the determination of the woman across from him, one he most certainly hadn’t had before. So today had certainly been illuminating, in terms of getting Leo to understand more of the woman who had been somewhat shrouded in mystery outside of the details Morgi had shared with him.

 

The man had almost forgotten his food after the first couple bites, and as Lian began voicing her concerns about Killian and, more generally, the entire state of the wizarding world, he took the opportunity to dig in once more, mulling over the words as she spoke them. In truth, Leo was uncertain changing Killian’s mind would be so easy. He had been at Hogwarts when Galen had killed his sister. He had seen firsthand the fear and loathing that had garnered to werewolves from parts of the student body. It seemed like people reacted in one of two ways - defending werewolves, or hurrying to attack, subdue, and alienate them. There was little in between.

 

And he was certain it was worse now, with the damage being so widespread, and so many wolves having been involved. It would be hard to calm a teenager exposed to a world so full of hate, so full of people calling for justice and quick to judge. Leo worried about what the world was turning into, especially when it was under the influence of such people as Trudy Veritas.

 

“I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think the solution will be a simple one. It’ll take time for Killian to see, I think,” Leo commented. “All you can do is express your own views on the matter… expose him to things that shine a good light on werewolves…” If there were any, even… “And even then, I’m not sure you can do much more than hope that he opens his mind to the other side. If you try to be too forceful…” Leo trailed off and lifted his shoulders helplessly. Leo could be pig-headed about his own beliefs, but he had learned that forcing them on others usually ended with them remaining steadfast in their own, and refusing to open their minds. Of course, that was a lesson Lian herself had likely learned by now as well. She seemed a shrewd woman.

 

“Anyway, I would be willing to try to help, in whatever way I can. We definitely don’t need more hate in our world right now, especially against those who didn’t ask for… this,” Leo cringed, because it was difficult for him to imagine how he would feel, what he would have done, if something like this had happened to him at a young age and he’d been forever changed. For him, it was all too easy to sympathize and put himself in those kids’ shoes. Now, if only they could find a way to make the rest of the world (or, to start, just Killian), remain so open-minded.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

She mused on what Leonid said and in the back of her mind, she oft wondered how Aries would have gone about things? Subtlety was his field of expertise, as far as Lian recalled. She remembered deaths when she attended school, like Mer Colubra and Azrael. She even recalled @Joe Piallest - the boy from her year that had a whole pyramid crash unto him. It'd served a reminder that life wasn't a gift granted without a price. Sighing, Lian tilted her head to one side - a forlorn look to her.

 

"I appreciate you more than what you think, Leonid. For what is worth, you're a calming person - Morgi is lucky to have someone capable of keeping grounded." - It was almost a bitter reminder of an old friend who should've been here, at this moment and time. Morgi's father had the uncanny ability to see beyond the situation and bring it to a center point. It'd been a trait missed over the years, as the man had been capable of remaining unbiased. This had been the true reason Darcie was recalcitrant at the idea of Leonid. A bitter reminder of all that could have been, except Morgi wasn't her mother. Morgi was calmer, wiser - a sword tempered unlike her mother.

 

"I'm grateful for your offer and I will let you know come the summer."- Aka let me try first to gauge how it's going. She politely took a moment to sip from her juice before checking their surroundings. Good, it was still quiet. - "I want to begin by explaining the history of Remus Lupin, to him. But I fear it may backfire, considering Greyback's involvement. I've heard it on good authority that Fenrir spawned heirs and that now his own kin attend the school. They may be related to that sad excuse of a wizard, but they do not deserve to carry the burden. If done correctly, I could probably set up a good line between good and evil."

 

She could almost hear it... the infamous words that became a mantra for years. Without a filter, she could only come out and say: "As a dear and old friend used to say this, the choices we make, make us who we are."

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Leonid Stanislaus

“Uh… thanks,” Leonid gave Lian a small smile as she noted her appreciation of him. This entire day had not gone exactly how he had thought it would, but Leo was not averse to the ideas pitched here of uniting their families. While he remained uncertain of whether it would work due to Darcie’s volatile personality, he did have some measure of hope. He was eager to see what Morgi would think of it all after he regaled her with the details of this little meetup.

 

And, mercifully, the twins were still obeying, albeit perhaps not for long, as Lenore was beginning to get fussy even with her pacifier. He tried not to draw too much attention to her, though, knowing receiving the attention might set her off.

 

Instead, he nodded at Lian’s theory on where to start with Killian. That could do to start with a well-known wizard who was considered a hero, but who was also a known werewolf, and he said as much. “I think that may be a good place to start. It’ll be delicate no matter how you go about it, but at least you have to try,” Leo nodded, finishing off his dish and taking a long sip of water to wash it down.

 

He raised his glass at Lian’s words, though, nodding along with them. “A very true statement. Perhaps reminding Killian of that will help, too,” Leo stated. “I do hope your talks with Darcie… and Killian… go as well as possible,” The man told her, allowing his gaze to flick over to the scars along Lian’s arm before meeting her gaze again. “I would not like to hear about any further ill befalling you,” Leo concluded, corners of his lips tugging downward at the thought. All they had was hope, though. Hope to turn Darcie around to the idea of reuniting, hope that Killian would hear where they were coming from. The future would tell what would actually come to fruition.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

It was pleasant to know she could still remain full of surprises and break through people's perceptions of her. Lian caught on to the fussing, but following Leo's cue, she remained bemused by the turn of events. Her mind spun the thoughts crossing through, like a ribbon of information that refuse to leave her peripheral alone. The road ahead was shaping at long last and she knew it would be an uphill road, but it was not her first or last rodeo when it came to them. She also saw much of herself in young Leonid, but she wouldn't dare voice that opinion right now. 

 

Raising her own glass, Lian couldn't help the true smile tugging at her lips. - "Here, here." - She would begin with Remus Lupin and work her way through a lesson on choices, right and wrong, evil and good... and in that moment Lian felt wholly hypocritical. Not allowing it to show, she thought ruefully to herself: 'Funny you should be the one, you're neither good or evil. You're a very blended grey, as they shaped you to be.'  - Drinking from her cup, Lian set it down to catch Leo's wish of no further harm coming to her. - "I would hate for it to go that way," - The admission felt odd on her lips, but Lian carried on - "Thankfully for us all, I'm not the same witch I was back then."

 

Naive wasn't a descriptive factor. Over the years, Lian had lost her moral code when it came to fighting and she had no qualms in fighting dirty. Yet...

 

"Living in the past does no favors to the soul. You learn from the past, you grow from it. Unfortunately, the lesson today is that many in the wizarding community neither grows or learn from the past." - She glanced at her dish, realizing it was nearly empty. The bruschetta has also been throughly enjoyed. How? Lian didn't realize she'd been that hungry, considering her appetite had escaped her a few times before. - "I hope Morgi doesn't become upset that we met without her."

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Leonid Stanislaus

Not understanding the circumstances of how Lian had gotten the nasty scar on her arm naturally made it difficult to really discern what her words meant. I’m not the same witch I was back then could mean many things, but Leo did not feel it was his place to pry. He assumed that Lian merely meant that whatever had cultivated between her and Darcie to result in that would not happen again, because she would not allow it to. Or something along those lines. It was impossible not to note that Lian didn’t refute that Darcie might attempt such a thing again, though, and Leo remained unrestful.

 

But there was no point continuing to doubt Darcie’s ability to change or ask about what Lian meant, so Leo let the subject lie.

 

“That’s always been an unfortunate truth,” He commented instead to Lian’s next words, a frown tugging down the corners of his lips. In the case of werewolves, the sad truth was that a large faction of their population still reacted defensively and yearned for werewolves to be ostracized; secluded from society at large, when what they needed to be doing was working together to ensure they felt included, and had access to wolfsbane. But Leo felt it might be a long way off until everyone else saw things that way.

 

“She’s only slightly disappointed,” Leo provided an answer automatically, and only with a bit of a sheepish smile. After all, unlike Lian, he had not hid this meetup from his significant other. He had merely told Morgi he thought that Lian wanted to meet just the two of them, and that he’d tell her of what happened afterward, and she had supported his decision to go. “I told her, before I came. She had to work today anyway, but she did tell me to say hello for her,” The blonde explained, leaving it at that. Morgi hadn’t told him much about Lian before the meetup, though, so that he could form his own conclusions, as he preferred.

 

“Perhaps we can all catch up over a lunch, if this all ends up working out,” Leo proposed, finally picking up Lenore, who was getting fussy enough for him to worry she might be about to emit one of her ear-splitting yowls. The change in position should at least placate her, momentarily. “I’m afraid if I linger too much longer you might be in for a busted eardrum,” Leo told Lian with a grimace, bouncing Lenore on his leg to entertain her as best he could. “What do I owe you? For the lunch?” Leonid was not someone who easily took favors, and he would happily pay his part, if Lian allowed it.

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Lian Dracel-Cortes

Though she knew exactly what she'd meant when she said it: if someone tried to harm her in such a way again, she'd make them regret it. Being capable of seeing eye to eye with Leonid was a proper step for what she needed to do next. Though for now, matters at home needed to be cleaned up before they could expand further out. Pushing everything out of her mind, Lian felt a smile tug at her lips when Morgi was brought up. She would always feel pride when it came down to each and every one of her children and a smile would always dance over her when they were mentioned.

 

"Give her my love and regards, then. Perhaps next time I'll invite the two of you and the children out for lunch, but today I needed to steal you away." She winked in a playful manner, showing that she'd indeed relaxed around him significantly.  The offer of a follow up lunch meant that there was indeed, hope for a future. Even if it meant having to conceal her own moves in the shadows that she operated from. Lenore bemused her, as she demanded attention after being left to idle for long. Lian thought of a time long ago, when she'd first had her first child.

 

Oh to be young again.

 

“I’m afraid if I linger too much longer you might be in for a busted eardrum,” 

 

"Leonid, I gave birth to four children - raised five babies and somehow got a sixth child on my doorstep. By the time I gave birth to the twins, I had Sebastian out of his terrible toddler stage and had both Morgi and Kienna entering the terrible stage. The fact I can still hear you is a miracle." - She laughed at that, but that laughter died when Leonid dared ask what he owed for the lunch. Her eyes narrowed and she rose a single finger, a clear summon for Lloyd to arrive by the table.

 

"Lloyd, the check if you may?"

Lloyd's eyebrow rose and he was quick to ask: "What check, Madam?"

 

"For our meal," - Lian began with a smile on her face. - "My son-in-law asked how much he owed for his part of the meal."

 

"I don't know if I should feel insulted on your behalf, Madam." - Lloyd murmured, trying to point a name to a face. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to Lian only for her to finally introduce. - "This is Morrigan's husband and their children, Leonid, Lenore, and Tempest. Please ensure they're added to the list." - Lian spoke whilst Lloyd turned to the kitchens. Her head turned to Leonid, a knowing smirk tugging. - "Go on, your galleons are useless here. Mia's has been in the Cortes family since my father arrived in England." 

 

She stood, moving to bid all three of them a warm farewell with fancy air kisses.

 

[OOC: Feel free to GM Lian leaving.] 

Edited by Lian Dracel-Cortes

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Leonid Stanislaus

“I will,” Leo confirmed, and despite his reservations about this reconciliation, he did seem to be more relaxed as well, perhaps because Lian was as well. “And I think she would like that,” He added with a nod. Morgi had always been fond of Lian, and now, Leo was finally getting a chance to see why; to see past the quiet exterior Lian had always shown him before and to the woman who had raised Morgi, and protected her in many ways from Darcie’s influence.

 

The man laughed as Lian responded to his comment, still bouncing Lenore in the hope that she would remain entertained for long enough to finish their conversation. “I suppose that’s very true,” Leo conceded with a nod, even as Lenore was beginning to get fitful again. She definitely would not hold off for much longer, and even Tempest was beginning to stir now, as if she sensed her twin’s upset.

 

Leonid eyed the exchange between the waiter and Lian curiously, but as it concluded, he supposed he really should have expected something like this. “We’ll have to return the favor next time!” Leo called after Lian as she left, shaking his head ruefully before tacking on, “Thank you!” to Lian’s retreating back. He laughed a little at himself, and it was only then that Lenore let loose the wail she had been holding in.

 

He winced at the sound, but moved swiftly after that, loading up the twins back into the stroller even as Lenore continued sobbing. It would certainly be time to try for a nap when they got home. Leo had a lot to think about from what happened today, and he was eager to hear Morgi’s thoughts on it as well.

 

End~

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