Maia And The Minama Family

<Mina‘Haplo> [ It was one week after Maia’s trying ordeal against Marakanas- nearing the end of her entitled rest period. And the people with whom she was spending this day with, before she set out to fulfil her obligation? … The Minama family. Maia's father, Elijah, a retired Oblationist himself; Erin, Maia's mother, who worked for the Order as a schoolteacher; Fara, the 10-year old middle daughter of the family;-
<Mina‘Haplo> [ And Isha, who at 5 years old was the youngest… And also slated to become an Oblationist herself.]
*Maia takes a deep breath, as she stands before the door of the family residence, where she’d spent much of the last sixteen years. All things considered, it had been ten days since she'd last been here (though undoubtedly, the family already had been notified of her success). And still, as she stood there… For some reason, she felt nervous. Perhaps it was the effect of 'coming of age'…
*Maia stares at the door pensively for a few moments, and then, clearing her thoughts, raps on the door loudly. Well, at least it sounds confident!
<Mina‘Haplo> [ A pause… And then what sounds like something of a scramble inside. The door opens, to reveal a tall-looking fellow with a built, strong appearance. He looked… Confident, capable. He had Maia’s shade of auburn hair… "Mai-"-
<Mina‘Haplo> [ A young girl of five years shot out the doorway, tackling Maia in a giant hug. "Maia Maia Maia Maia Maia Maiiaaaaaaaa~~~~" She squealed. The girl had light brown hair, more like Maia’s mother. ]
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Ahahaha…" Said Elijah, Maia’s father, and the man in question. "She's been waiting for this ever since we heard the news. Welcome home, Maia."]
*Maia smiled sweetly, lifting Isha up and returning the hug gleefully while giving her father a nod. Still holding the little girl, she would carefully proceed through the door while tousling Isha's hair playfully~
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Maia Maia Maia Maia Maiaaaaaaa~" Sang Isha, clinging tightly to her big sister. "Maia’s hooooooooome!" Elijah, meanwhile, put a comforting arm around his daughter, leading her back to the living room. "How're you feeling?"]
*Maia contemplates this for a moment, making a twisting gesture with her free hand, palm flat, the kind of gesture one makes to indicate things are not great but not terrible, just so-so. As if to emphasize the point, she lets out a little yawn, before breaking into a laugh at her little sister's excitement.
*Maia follows this up with her own sort of question - first pointing at herself, holding up one finger, then pointing at Isha and holding up three; then finally, holding up two and looking at her father inquisitively.
*Amethyst is now known as Merilan
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Yeah, I think I know how you feel." Said Elijah, nodding. "As for Fara? Well, she’s waiting in the living room with your mother. There's a surprise waiting." "It's a cake!" "Isha!" "Sorry…"]
*Maia pats Isha on the head cutely, and proceeds toward the family room!
<Mina‘Haplo> [ The family room is a moderately large place, dominated primarily by a large, wooden table surrounded by chairs. There’re two people in the room; Fara, a young, bright red-headed girl of 10, wearing a shirt and a pair of trousers, sitting in one of the chairs, next to Erin, Maia's mother, a woman of Maia's height and build, with light brown hair. "Maia." Said Erin lovingly. "Welcome home, dear." She said, standing up and extending her arms.-
<Mina‘Haplo> "Hi, Maia." Said Fara, somewhat warmly, but with a bit of hesitance, as though she were reluctant to be too excited… And yes, on the table sat an inviting, delicious-looking chocolate cake. ]
*Maia gingerly deposits Isha in a chair as she moves towards her mother, embracing her in a hug with a gentle smile. As for Fara? Well, she was pretty much used to that kind of coldness from her, especially lately.
<Mina`Haplo> [ Isha practically bounces around in the seat, filled with youthful energy… Whilst Erin moved to give Maia a hug and a kiss. "Oh, Maia… I was so worried when we heard how long you were in there for… Come on, sit down, tell us about it." ]
*Maia had, luckily, brought Anna’s little gift to her along! For anyone else, she probably wouldn't have bothered with the details… but this was her mom, so details she got, with Maia painstakingly recounting the battle of wits on the slate. It would probably take a little while.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ To prevent crowding, Erin read over Maia’s shoulder (Whilst Isha pounced onto her sister's lap), with Daddy and Fara a little bit away, letting Erin read. They were a good audience- Isha gasped in horror at Marakanas's terrible visage, and Elijah let out a whoop as Maia recounted seeing through Mara's lies; even Fara cracked a little smile. ]
*Maia pockets the chalk (for now) once the story's done, giving Isha another hug… and then, eyeing the cake.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ Isha was also eyeing the cake… A knife is produced, Erin handing to Maia. "Cut the cake, Maia!" Said Isha excitedly. ]
*Maia nods, and does so carefully, splitting it into as equal pieces as she can manage! No one’s perfect, of course.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ There’s applause as Maia makes the first cut, and Elijah reaches over to kiss his daughter on the forehead. "I'm proud of you, love." He says, as Erin starts handing out plates. "I'll take care of that, dear." She says, commandeering the knife to do the rest- it's Maia's rest day, after all! And before long, everyone is nursing a piece of cake. "So, my daughter, the one to finally bring-
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "That damned Marakanas to heel… It’s been far too long for him. He's a powerful one, arrogant, too."]
*Maia nods slowly in agreement, munching down the cake and giving a 'thumbs-up' gesture at the taste of it!
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "I helped make it!" Said Isha gleefully. "So… Maia, how do you feel? About… Your voice." Asked Erin."]
*Maia ’s only response to that was a … rather resolute expression, but also one that betrayed a hint of sadness.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "I’m gonna miss your voice, Maia." Said Isha, looking up at Maia with big adorable eyes. "But you're gonna be a hero! We'll read about you in the papers and everything I bet!"]
*Maia nods to Isha, laughing. Then, she resorts to the slate. "Pray for me, OK?" is written on it.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "Of course!" Said Isha, hugging her sister tightly. "So, Maia, do you have any plans in mind or the like? Preparations?" Asked Elijah. ]
*Maia nodded, writing upon the slate once more. "Paxia", it read.
<Mina`Haplo> [ "Sounds about right. It’s a common location for young Oblationists to go. I went there myself early on. You're guaranteed to find a bunch of travellers to buddy with in Paxia." Said Elijah… Meanwhile, Isha bounced. "You'll bring us back something, right, Maia?" "Isha!" said Erin with a frown. "Whaaat?"]
*Maia shakes her head to her mother, and then nods to Isha. "Aaaaaooooaiiiiih—" Oops. Well, Fara was going to have a field day with that, which is exactly what she was afraid of when she knocked on that door. A few awkward seconds later, Maia slapped herself across the forehead.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Aaaaooooooooiaahahaahahaha!" Fara burst out into giggles at that. "Oh wow, Maia! Do it again! I had no idea the demon stole my sister and gave us our very own clown!" Fara got a stony glare from Elijah for this.]
*Maia gave Fara much the same glare too. It was a very … Disapproving glare, but one that at the same time tried to demonstrate a modicum of patience, though it was clear as day to anyone that the comment cut deep.
<Mina`Haplo> ["That was *mean*, Fara." Said Isha scoldingly. "You should be nicer to Maia!" "Oh, like you? Worship the ground on which she w-" "Fara! That is *enough*!" Snapped Elijah in a suddenly booming voice. "I’ll not have you ruin this for Maia. Apologise." Fara stared back, a confrontational frown on her face…]
*Maia 's eyes widened a little - her father raising his voice like that? Probably not common at all, and it took her by surprise. Quietly, she writes upon the board a bit. "You wouldn't laugh if you knew what it was like," it read.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ Fara looked back at Maia, frowning, although the expression on her face changed somewhat- as if she realised she’d perhaps gone too far. "I…" A deeeeeep frown. "I don't *care*!" "Fara!" Snapped Elijah, but at this point Fara was gone, bolting up the stairs to her room. ]
*Maia lets out a deep sigh, and lifts Isha so she can stand, holding up one hand and gesturing toward the stairs.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Maia…" Isha clings to her big sister. "She’s mean! Ignore her." Erin just gives Maia a nod. "Go ahead."]
*Maia pats Isha on the shoulder, nodding at her and smiling. Still, she was going to head upstairs.
<Mina‘Haplo> [Isha seemed dead-set determined to cling to Maia the entire time, but… Knew it’d only get her in trouble, so she sat down quietly. ]
<Maia> Up, up, up, and at the top, she'd knock on Fara's door gently.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Say ’please'!"]
<Maia> "…" Maia knocks a few more times, a bit irritated.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["I didn’t hear you!" Said Fara, aggressively. "You need to speak louder!"]
*Maia frowns, and just tries the handle.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ The door opens to reveal a very upset-looking Fara staring out the window, her back to the door. "Go away…"]
*Maia shakes her head, putting a hand on Fara’s shoulder gently and looking at her sadly.
<Mina‘Haplo> [Fara shakes her off. "G-go away…" She scrunches her face up as though she’s trying not to cry.]
*Maia sighs, and takes a seat on Fara's bed, staring out the window with her.
<Mina‘Haplo> [Fara sighs. "Why’re you here?"]
*Maia writes slowly. "Didn't want us parting on sour note"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Yeah, w-well…" Fara frowns heavily. "Y-y’knew this was gonna happen!"]
*Maia just nods slightly in response, with a pained smile. Was she trying to cheer Fara up?
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Y’know what makes me angry?"]
*Maia raises an eyebrow inquisitively, looking directly at Fara.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["You got a cake." Said Fara. "No, hear me out. Get this. Today mum calls me in and gets me and Isha to make you a nice big cake because now you’re a hero and everyone's gonna love you 'cause you've got a monster in you and you're gonna fight evil." Fara reaches into a nearby drawer on her desk and throws a piece of paper at Maia.-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["See that? That’s from two weeks ago." They're the results from Fara's schooling, dated to about a week and a half ago- they're perfect. "Look at that! A perfect score. I'm doing better than anyone. I'm faster than anyone, and… I showed that to mum and I got a pat on my head because she was too busy worrying about you, and… And…-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["I haven’t even shown dad that yet because I didn't want to be given a nice little pat, that's nice Fara, now go not-be-a-hero elsewhere." She said, angrily… "It hurts. I hate it."]
*Maia looks at the paper intently… then, after a bit of contemplation, looks up at Fara and nods. And then writes. "You're right, it's not fair."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["No, it’s not." Said Fara. "I feel out of place. I feel different. I don't feel *right*in this family. Because I'm not being an Oblationist like you are now, or like dad was, or like Isha will be… And it hurts, Maia! It really hurts…" She covered her mouth painfully. ]
*Maia … attempts to gently embrace her sister with both arms, which of course pretty much rendered her uncommunicative for the moment! But how would Fara take it?
<Mina‘Haplo> [ Fara seems recalcitrant at first, glaring up at Maia… Then she just sort of breaks down, falling into Maia’s arms with a series of painful, heaving sobs. "M-Maia…"]
*Maia just sits there, holding her, rubbing her back and patting her gently, and… beginning to hum, or rather what passed for humming from her, softly.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ At the sound of Maia’s humming, Fara breaks down even more, bursting fully into tears, burying her head into Maia's chest. "M-M-Maia! I'm sorry… I…"]
*Maia just keeps at it, persistently, until Fara starts to calm down. She's got time.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ It takes about ten minutes for Fara to calm down until she’s coherent again, but she looks up at Maia's face… "M-Maia? I'm… I didn't mean to be like that, it… I was just so angry…"]
*Maia smiles back at her lovingly, ever regretful that she couldn't even silently mouth to Fara that it was okay.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ Fara quietly leans on Maia again, and stays there for a few minutes… "… I… I guess we should go back, huh?"]
*Maia nods a little bit, but doesn’t stand until Fara does herself.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ Fara stands shakily, gripping onto Maia with one hand, and picking up her report with the other, and moving to put it back in the desk. ]
*Maia softly takes hold of her wrist, shaking her head.
<Mina`Haplo> [ "H-huh?"]
*Maia points to the report, and smiles slightly?
<Mina`Haplo> [ Fara looks at it… A little shyly. "Y-You want it?"]
*Maia shakes her head and … resorts to writing. "You should show Father how well you’re doing."
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "I… Okay, but… Could you help me do it?" ]
*Maia smiles and nods emphatically at her…. and even swallows her pride, and goes, "Ahhh." She could *almost*go "uh-huh", and that was clearly the intended effect; but not quite.
<Mina`Haplo> [ "-Huh." Said Fara, finishing the sound. "Okay… Let’s go."]
*Maia walks back out, and down the stairs, hand-in-hand with the middle sister!
*Maia would, on getting down there, clap her hands loudly a few times to get the family's attention~
<Mina‘Haplo> [ They travel down the stairs together, where the rest of the family is waiting. Elijah looking stern, Erin less so. Isha is nibbling on a piece of cake that she rapidly drops and puts back on Maia’s plate the moment Maia claps. Elijah goes to speak, but Erin shakes her head. "Wait, Eli."]
*Maia looks to Fara expectantly, smiling encouragingly.
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "Um… Um, I’m sorry for making trouble. I… I didn't mean it." She says, looking sorrowful… "That's okay, love." Said Erin, gesturing to the seat. "Why don't you join us and finish your cake?" "W-well, um…" Fara looks over at Maia a little nervously. She looks a bit worried about continuing. ]
*Maia pats her on the back encouragingly…
<Mina‘Haplo> [ "I-I wanted to show you something!" Said Fara nervously, taking a step forward and giving her father the results. "W… What’s this?" "They're results… Feedback from teachers about… School." "… They're perfect. Why didn't you show me before?" Fara looks back over at Maia, nervously… "I-I didn't think you'd care…"]
*Maia writes hurriedly. "She worried she'd be forgotten because of me :(" Yes, with the frowny face.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Oh, Fara. That’s not it at all." Murmured Elijah, bringing his 2nd daughter into a hug. Erin looks at her feet for a moment… "I'm sorry, Fara… I saw it, and I was proud, but I was just so worried…" Isha blinks, and looks up and over at Maia. "What's happening?" ]
*Maia smiles to Isha, and writes, "Our sister = very smart"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Huh? Well, *yeah*!" Said Isha. "I say that all the time. Fara’s sharper than… Than a real sharp thing!" She looked around, looking kind of lost, the moment lost on her. Fara, meanwhile, looked like she was about to cry again… But was smiling, nevertheless. At both her parents and her little sister. ]
*Maia gently hugs Fara with one arm, and walks back to the table with her, where she tousles Isha's hair again~
<Mina`Haplo> [ Fara returns the hug, whilst leaning into her father and mother heavily. "Hee." Isha grabs at Maia, tugging her into another hug. "I ate some of your cake!" She said, with a grin. The rest of the evening, and indeed the day, passed uneventfully, as the family settled down to enjoy a rare moment of peace and togetherness… Before Maia would be sent out into the world. ]

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