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Heritage

Get Yourself Some Culture (IC)

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Tuesday, June 29th. 6:53 pm. The Main Branch of the Freedom City Library

The rotunda over Ralph Waldo Emerson Hall was Estelle's favorite part of the Library; she loved to gave up at it, letting her eyes trace the colors in the glass and the thousands if not millions of tiles. The acoustics were superb, and on any given day three to four concerts were held beneath the glass canopy.

The blonde heroine wore a simple black dress as she stood nursing a flute of champagne as the musicians finished their tuning, her long blonde hair in its usual thick braid that hangs straight down to her ankles; several other guests stood in distinct little groups, based on wealth, profession and influence. Estelle was rather amused to see she no longer fit into one category, which might explain why she was currently inexplicably alone.

This isn't so bad; the food is excellent and Schubert's String Quintet in C major is one of my favorites. The important thing is to be seen, after all. The check is already in the mail.

At that moment, Dr. de Havilland suddenly realized she could no longer remember what this particular benefit was actually for, not even the vaguest clue.

Oh for goodness sake...

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Estelle was jostled back to attention by a soft voice coming from beside her. ..."I mean, that's why I'm here. Am I right?" The blond girl beside her flashed her a Joking smile and raised her own flute in salute. "Dr. de Haviland, it's nice to finally meet you." She extended her hand. "My name is Vivian Kriger. I also graduated from Harvard."

Vivan was wearing a blue strapless dress with a black belt around her waist. Her hair sported bangs which lay across her shoulders, and a loose bun, which allowed the majority of her long blond hair to hang down behind her head to just below her shoulders. A small gold chain lay around her neck, Whatever jewel lay at the end of it was neatly tucked into her dress. Vivian was wearing onyx earrings and a bracelet of gold with onyx stones set in it on her left hand.

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"Dr. de Haviland, it's nice to finally meet you." She extended her hand. "My name is Vivian Kriger. I also graduated from Harvard."

Estelle brightened as she gracefully shook the newcomer's hand. "Very nice to meet you, Vivian! I was Class of 2001, but I didn't get my doctorate until 2007. How about yourself?"

My goodness, what a striking young woman! Well as long as she doesn't ask me anything specific about tonight's event, I should be fine. :)

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"'03. So I wasn't far behind you." Vivian explained. "I'm History, though, so we were never really in the same place as each other."

Vivian took a sip from her flute and soldiered on. "'07, huh? Pretty sweet. You must have just gone straight through. I've been trying for my masters for years now. But I've had to work full time just to pay for it, so it's been really slow going. I'm hoping to have it within two more years. Really hoping. Anyways, I had heard you were at this thing so I decided to come introduce myself. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm here for the free drinks. What's this thing for anyway?"

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"'07, huh? Pretty sweet. You must have just gone straight through. I've been trying for my masters for years now. But I've had to work full time just to pay for it, so it's been really slow going. I'm hoping to have it within two more years. Really hoping. Anyways, I had heard you were at this thing so I decided to come introduce myself. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm here for the free drinks. What's this thing for anyway?"

Estelle's brow furrowed as her fellow alumnus described the challenges she'd faced; if the de Havillands weren't so damn wealthy, she might be in the very same boat herself. She cleared her throat and stood up a little straighter.

"Uh, if you need any help writing any grant proposals, I used to help my friends at school all the time; my ridiculous prep school education does occasionally have its uses."

Dr de Havilland sighed as she looked aroud the room, idly running her finger aroud the edge of her glass.

"And while I'm certainly flattered thay you attended this evening for the chance to meet me, Vivian, sadly I-" She leaned in conspiratorially. "I have no idea what we're raising money for tonight; I have three events this week, and I've complete forgotten which event goes with which charity." She grimaced with embarrassment.

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Vivian nearly choked on the champagne she was taking a sip of. Finally managing to swallow it down, she dabbed at her face with a napkin and placed her hand against Estelle's arm. "That is the funniest thing I have heard all night!" Vivian was wearing an enormous smile. "Hey, don't feel bad about it, if you ask me," Vivian paused to smile at a few people as they passed by the pair waving, "It sounds like all they're looking for is for you to show up and give your support. Far as I can tell, you've done that in spades."

She turned to look at Estelle again, "I would appreciate grant help. It's nice of you to offer. Maybe you could come to my apartment some time. We can have a few drinks and make a night out of it!" Her tone was sarcastic but sincere, like that would be the most fun thing she'd done all week.

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"It sounds like all they're looking for is for you to show up and give your support. Far as I can tell, you've done that in spades."

Estelle chuckled and shrugged. "Well, they have my check and I like Schubert, so everybody wins, I suppose. And of course I love the library." A slender golden tendril slips out of her braid and lovingly strokes the mosaic on the wall beside her. "I love old things, old buildings. Does that make me stodgy?"

"I would appreciate grant help. It's nice of you to offer. Maybe you could come to my apartment some time. We can have a few drinks and make a night out of it!"

The blonde heroine was genuinely surprised by Vivian's offer. "Oh, of course, that would be lovely! Or if you prefer, you could always come by my loft in Hanover sometime; I seem to collect bottles of overpriced wine that I never have time to drink." Then she was struck by a thought. "Oh, but not next weekend, though; I'm having a little..." She grinned happily, with just a touch of wickedness. "Jam session." :twisted:

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"A jam session?" Vivian was surprised. "Like with a band? That's so cool. What instrument do you play?" The trick with the hair was a little strange to watch. It sent a small involuntary chill down Vivian's spine. She had to stop and tell herself that she had see a lot worse after living in this city for 6 years. After a little silent coaching from herself, Vivian was able to continue.

"But, truth be told, that loft idea sounds awesome. If you ever need someone to attack a bottle of wine with, I'm your gal." Vivian thrust her left thumb at her chest, gave Estelle a wink, and took another sip of champagne.

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"But, truth be told, that loft idea sounds awesome. If you ever need someone to attack a bottle of wine with, I'm your gal."

Estelle smiled; even before she'd obtained her admittedly bizarre superpowers, she'd always enjoyed helping people, and it was nice to do so in an entirely conventional manner.

"Well, we'll have to compare schedules then, and see what date works the best. As far as the music goes, I play guitar and a little violin. I'm putting together a charity concert based on a sort of 'superhero supergroup' model, so I've invited a number of powerful strangers over to my loft to jam."

She drains her flute and sends a tendril off to grab another from a nearby waiter's tray.

"It may well be the most idiotic idea I've ever come up with, but I'm rather intrigued to see who'll show."

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"Ohh, one for me, please?" Vivian asked, putting back the rest of her drink as well. As irking as that power was, it had it's uses, she had to admit.

"And you must be crazy, inviting more than one super hero to your house at the same time." Vivian set her old glass down on the tray of a passing server, "You know that's like the perfect time for some dastardly villain to attack, right? According to Murphy, that's like the perfect setup!"

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"Ohh, one for me, please?"

Estelle nodded and fetched more champagne for her newfound friend.

"And you must be crazy, inviting more than one super hero to your house at the same time." Vivian set her old glass down on the tray of a passing server, "You know that's like the perfect time for some dastardly villain to attack, right? According to Murphy, that's like the perfect setup!"

The chemist sighed and shook her head. "I am aware of that, but I actually own my loft and have extremely comprehensive insurance; I'd rather have villains trash my condo than someone else's studio and face a lawsuit." She raised her drink to her lips. "And as a precaution, I took the liberty of sending all my neighbors scenic Hudson River cruise tickets for the Fourth of July weekend; I told them I had a major party planned and I didn't want to trouble them."

After a big swig, she closed her eyes, and two inch-thick tendrils slipped loose of the braid and began massaging tension out of her neck and shoulders.

"Mmm...you have no idea what it's like to have neighbors who know you're a superhero, and worse, a wealthy one; I basically have to bribe them on a regular basis." Her eyes slowly opened, a bit unfocused. "Still, I suppose I can't blame them; I should probably buy a building of my own, and set it up as my 'Secret Crimefighting Lair and Hair Salon'."

She chuckled at the thought.

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Vivian couldn't help but cock an eyebrow at the impromptu massage therapy. It gave her pause, literally and audibly.

A second later, she shook her head and was paying attention again.

"Still, I suppose I can't blame them; I should probably buy a building of my own, and set it up as my 'Secret Crimefighting Lair and Hair Salon'."

"Gee, and here I thought you guys weren't supposed to mix business and pleasure?" As she took her next sip of champagne she thought about her own way of doing things. For me, at least, they are two very separate things.

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"Gee, and here I thought you guys weren't supposed to mix business and pleasure?"

"Hmm?" The massage apparently over, Estelle's attention focused sharply back to Vivian as her hair returned to its braid.

"Oh, I just mean having a place to call my own, so I don't have to worry about anything untoward happening to my neighbors. Plus I could have a larger exercise area and install the more efficient shower system that recycles the water." She chuckled. "No, I certainly don't want to get tangled up in the hair business anymore than i already am."

Switching gears somewhat, the blonde heroine turned to more directly face her new acquaintance. "So, how have you been making ends meet? Have you been able to find work in your field?"

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"Pfft. No." Vivian scoffed, sipping at her new glass of champagne. "I work here, actually. It's how I knew about this thing. But seriously," Vivian wrapped one of her arms around her waist. "What am I going to do, teach? I TA sometimes up at FCU, but let me tell you, that doesn't pay the bills, and if I really wanted to be teacher, I would have to do a lot more of that." Vivian shook her head, upset. "In this economy, it really is not an option."

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"What am I going to do, teach? I TA sometimes up at FCU, but let me tell you, that doesn't pay the bills, and if I really wanted to be teacher, I would have to do a lot more of that." Vivian shook her head, upset. "In this economy, it really is not an option."

Estelle nodded uncomfortably. "Right...how unfortunate..." She had no idea what to say; the sad fact was, most of the people she spoke with on a daily basis were either working their dream job, or were wealthy enough that they didn't have to work. At least she'd offered to help Vivian with her grant proposals as opposed to just throwing money at the problem, which Estelle found most people resented.

Time to shift the conversation in a different direction; focus on her interests and give her a chance to really shine. "So, what's your specialty? American? European? Middle Eastern?" She sipped her champagne, offering the history major her undivided attention.

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"Norse, actually." Vivian smiled. "It's pretty uncommon, I know. But given my heritage, I decided it would be the right thing to study." Vivian waved a hand around her face to show of her obviously Scandinavian features as she said this. "I've put a lot of time into studying artifacts and legends and things. If I had it my way, I'd go all out Indiana Jones and go treasure hunting. But that's pretty difficult to pull off when you don't have some huge museum paying for all your red lines." She smiled, joking about the travel montages so often used in the Indiana Jones series.

"I've only been on one expedition. I got totally lost while on that trip, but it was on purpose. I didn't want some annoying tour guide barking at me while I tried to observe everything, and let me tell you, it was amazing."

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Estelle nodded as she sipped her champagne, genuinely interested in what Vivian was saying, which was a good thing, because it was much easier than politely faking interest.

"Mmm, my family is actually of Norman descent; Thomas, Sieur de Haveilland, the Jurat of Guernsey is my ancestor." A lock of blonde hair rose up between them. "Which explains the similar hair color."

She smiled as she swirled the bubbly around in her glass.

"Y'know it's funny, I actually met a Viking two years ago; I think his name was...Ullgir? Something like that. He was lost in time and wandering the streets of the North End in his bearskins."

Estelle laughed at the memory. "I bought him a steak dinner and we had a sort of picnic in Liberty Park. I wonder if he made it home all right..."

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Vivian nodded along with the description of Estelle's lineage, trying to build a family tree in her head as she went. Normans weren't her specialty, and the champagne was starting to get to her, and ultimately she failed. But she at least knew a little bit about what she was talking about.

"Y'know it's funny, I actually met a Viking two years ago; I think his name was...Ullgir? Something like that. He was lost in time and wandering the streets of the North End in his bearskins."

Estelle laughed at the memory. "I bought him a steak dinner and we had a sort of picnic in Liberty Park. I wonder if he made it home all right..."

Vivian's eyes went wide and she nearly dropped her champagne glass, "BWHUUUUUH?!" She exclaimed a little too loudly. A few people nearby stopped in their conversations and turned to look at the two blonds. Odin's Beard, Vivian! I can't take you anywhere! She looked around hastily and smiled at the people, her face going red with embarrassment. "You didn't!" Her voice was almost a hoarse whisper as she tried to compensate for her earlier outburst. She hit Estelle playfully on the arm. "No. Way. A real live Viking? Tell me all about it!" Vivian's face was alight with delight!

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"No. Way. A real live Viking? Tell me all about it!"

Estelle gently put arm around behind Vivian's back and walked her into the adjacent hall, offering no comment about her excited outburst.

"Well, he was very large, and very strong; he actually picked me up and ran through traffic at one point! He was wearing a polar bear fur, as well as a helmet, and he was looking to sell a beautiful silver armband to have some ready cash."

She shook her head, amazed at how incredible her own tale sounds to her ears.

"I think he'd recently woken up from some sort of hibernation or deep sleep; his English was excellent though a bit outmoded, and he said he'd known fourteen hundred summers."

Estelle sighed sadly and shrugged. "And after I bought him a steak, I never saw him again. And that's really all there is to say, I'm afraid."

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"Man, isn't that just like men?" Vivian asked sarcastically, "You buy'em dinner, and they don't even call you back." She smiled at Estelle. Things were going really well. She'd made a good friend tonight. One who had a good deal of knowledge and influence. It just went to show, a little luck never hurt anybody.

The two girls continued their socializing until the very end of the benefit, when they finally made plans to meet up again at a later date.

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