It was movie night again!!
There was some debate over whether or not to have it. Terry was out of town – one of his old ZAPS associates had alerted him to a Pyra Syndicate expansion in Trianable. Fara felt like she really should be studying for finals. Osprey, of course, insisted that any spare minute not searching for work was a wasted moment.
But Roxanne insisted – surely, after surviving a brush with the notorious Banelings, they deserved a bit of a break. She even extended an invitation to Eleod and Grilka, hoping for some neighborly bonding.
Grilka had been excited – she had baked multiple batches of cookies, in the shape of the twelve different elemental spirits. Fara had to concede that the air spirit Sylphid had never been so adorable, or so delicious.
Eleod had not seemed happy, and yet he was here at Roxanne’s place, his craggy, frowning visage darkening the otherwise relaxed occasion. He sat disgustedly on one of Roxanne’s polterchairs, surveying Roxane’s department disgustedly. “Do you really need all this crap ?” he grumbled.
“It’s not crap, it’s my trophies and mementos from an immortal lifetime of adventure!” said Roxanne. “There was a Taznikanze saying that anything worth owning has a story. Like this vase,” she pointed, “this was a gift from the ephemeral spirit-form of Genruo the Eternal Seer, from the Liang Dynasty of the ancient Xsian Empire,” Roxanne smiled, “he was quite the poet, actually. And a surprisingly good dancer, for someone with no corporeal body. Or that plaque,” she pointed, “that’s my Space Battles 20th Anniversary Commemorative Plaque, signed by James Moldenberry and the entire original cast. Gods, you won’t believe what I had to do to get that. I lost count of the number of fan cons I had to cruise to find the damn thing on sale. Or that harp,” she pointed to the harp on the mantle, “Fara got that for me. Really brings the room together, doesn’t it? It’s the harp of one of the greatest bards in history, King Edward of Damcyan.”
Eleod rolled his eyes. He should’ve known better than to ask. These Taznikanze types always believed anything worth having had to have a story – it was one of a million ways the Tasnicans had progressed from those savage days. Roxanne was dottering on about some boomerang or something from the Light Dimension when Fara interrupted her.
“So, as great as it is to hear about all your stuff, this is movie night,” said Fara. “…what movie are we going to watch?”
“I have a movie!” said Osprey.
“Is it a little-known samurai movie from Eblan that you believe is a “hidden gem” or an “underappreciated classic”?” asked Fara.
“….maybe?” demurred Osprey.
“Look, I like samurai movies as much as the next girl,” protested Fara, “and I love me some sword fights. But enough is enough.”
“No, you’ll see,” insisted Osprey, “it is an epic meditation on will and being, and the fundamental transience of all things –“
Eleod glared at Osprey. “I hate it.”
“I haven’t gotten to pick the movie in a while!” said Fara. “There’s one I want to see. It’s about a bunch of beautiful boys finding themselves in Aryth, and also being beautiful.”
“This sounds like something of…dubious artistic merit,” said Osprey. “Fara, do you really want to pass up your chances to have your cultural horizons broadened in order to ogle some eye candy?”
“What do you have against beautiful boys being beautiful!?” cried Fara. “Or going on voyages of self-discovery in Aryth, while exuding incredible sexual charisma?”
Eleod cast a withering glance over at Fara. “I hate your movie, too.”
“We could watch Deadlocked again,” suggested Roxanne, “Or some other Jacoby Armstrong movie. Everyone loves Jacoby Armstrong.”
“I don’t,” said Eleod.
“Well, at least Terry’s not here to bring up the awful movie he keeps going on about,” said Fara. “About Doan or something.”
“ Doan ,” said Osprey. “It won multiple Figgies. I’m sure it’s really good. I tried watching it once, but then I had an idea on how to finally beat the Dark Lich boss in [i] Manacalibur [i/], and getting that achievement took almost all night.”
“…which Doan is this about?” asked Fara. “Like the real Doan, are the crazy alternate universe one?”
“Doan classic,” answered Osprey. “Although there is a lot of noise about a reboot featuring the other one, Doan II .”
“That movie sounds long and boring,” said Eleod. “Also, needless reboots and sequels are stupid, worthless crap.”
“Well, on that we can agree,” said Osprey. “Butlesworth, do you have any ideas?”
The robot slowly turned his head; there was a brief, barely audible hum as its positronic brain matrix calculated possibilities. Although the robot had no memory, it was trivial for it to use a wifi connection to search through a huge number of movies and reviews in mere seconds. After extensive examination of the data, Butlesworth announced his verdict: “I have no strong opinion on the matter.”
“Oh, I have an idea!” said Bim. “There’s a Scandian film. It has a griffon. Seeing as I am the hand of a griffon, I would be very interested to see this.”
“Aren’t most Scandian films just blind propaganda?” asked Roxanne.
“No, I heard about this one, it’s more like well-constructed, thoughtful propaganda,” said Osprey. “It’s about Vashilov the Terrible. It actually sounded kind of cool. The Scandians don’t have any computers for CGI, so they actually built a griffon on a Dracoform skeleton. And they actually trained like a whole regiment of the SLCM in Oprichnik cavalry tactics.”
“Wow,” said Fara, “that sounds…kinda awesome actually. Like, surprisingly not-shitty for something from Scande.”
“Commie lies, damned commie lies,” spat Eleod, and he frowned, even deeper. “What has the Republic come to? Today, you’re showing some interest in their movies. Tomorrow, you’ll be eating borscht and making five-year plans, Ms. Somers….or should I say, Comrade Somers!??”
“Borscht isn’t that bad, actually,” retorted Fara. “I mean, I don’t think I would go out of my way for it, but if someone were to offer me some, I’d happily eat it.”
Roxanne rolled her eyes, and gritted her teeth. “Well, Eleod, what do you want to watch? Maybe a historical movie about the Great War?”
“They’re all unrealistic crap. I was there, why do I need to watch a movie about it?” Eleod grumbled.
“Maybe a love story?” suggested Bim, helpfully. The griffin hand was in usual spot, comfortably propping up Osprey’s feet.
“Sentimental tripe.” Eleod waved his hand, dismissively.
“What about a horror movie?” asked Osprey.
“They’re all boring,” the dwarf grunted.
“Oh, there’s a documentary out about Agarti gurus,” said Roxanne, “that could be interesting?”
“I know plenty of bloviating self-proclaimed mystics, I don’t need to watch a movie about them,” grumbled Eleod. “Your choices are all terrible.”
“…why are you here again?” asked Fara. “I mean, aren’t there some damn kids somewhere that need to be kicked off your lawn, or something?”
The argument over what movie to watch was interrupted by a rapping on the door – a heavy, determined knock. “Anyone order pizza or something?” asked Fara, opening the door.
In the doorway stood two tall, statuesque, blonde women. One had a grim, dour countenance, looking every bit as dour as Eleod, her long hair pulled up in twin long braids. The other, with sky-blue eyes, wore her hair nearly down to her waste. Both of them were clad in leather and furs – not really making much of an effort to blend in. Then again, the denizens of Albrook had pretty much seen it all – it’s not like the two Valkyries would raise attention anymore than any other pair of towering blonde beauties.
“Oh, it’s you,” said Fara. “ Guten tag? ….I guess you found those Foolish Seltzer Bottles?”