Mania, that is how Octavia would describe the morning of Christmas Day in the Ailward manor, it was a good job that the kitchen was so big given all the people who were coming in and out of it all morning but somehow, the blonde felt at ease in the madness, apron tied around her waist and hair up in a ponytail so it stayed out of her face, she had been doing most of the cooking this morning and organizing the others who came to help. They had the turkey in the oven already now and next came the prep of the vegetables and the likes.

While all of that was happening through there was desserts to make and the table to set, it occurred to the Nephilim that there were probably few other households who had such a crazy holiday dinner as they did, given that they had to make enough food to feed an entire faction of people but she actually quite enjoyed the challenge. Cooking had always been something that Octavia enjoyed, she was taught how to by her mother, though that was done with your traditional fire stove and while electronics had certainly made life easier, the process behind making food was pretty much the same, only you got the chance to try new things every year and slowly build your own catalog of good food.

She had her cookbook open on the table, she had handwritten the whole thing from past dishes she had made and what others seemed to enjoy, a few of the pages were marked off with a little post-it note to imply those would be the ones she was going to try and make today, it was ambitious but as with every year she wasn’t alone and plenty of people had come in to help and left already. She was just getting to chopping the parsnips when she heard someone else come into the kitchen and she glanced back to see Zandra hovering there “Hey, you’re just in time for the chopping challenge, do you think you’re up to it?” she grinned as she pointed out the knife block next to the sink so she could get started on the carrots which she had left washed and waiting on the counter.

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This was Zandra's first Christmas in the manor knowing she spends time with her father on Christmas Eve. The Human guard got up early to work out and make sure she is giving then right treatment for her leg ever since the bear trap that bite her mission's back. Zandra knew to take her time and do that she can. When she was asking by Octavia to help with dinner for everyone the Human could not say no. As big as the manor is the blonde needed all the help in the world. As she got out of the shower and blow-dried her hair she put on her red long-sleeve shirt and black jeans with her black boots she made sure it's was comfort and nothing will cause herself to be burned alive. Putting her hair in a side braid Zandra was ready to go as she got ready to walk down the stair slowly. 

Holding on to the rails as the human went down she has planned everything after her eventful mission alone. By the time Zandra got down the stairs, it was the time she said we will be done as she walked into the kitchen with a smile bright on her face seeing the blonde. "Ready as I ever am," Zandra said laughing. Going over to see what the other is doing.

"If my mom was here she would be really shocked to see me helping me cook. Then again she was not as good either." Zandra said laughing knowing her mother always tried to cook breakfast once and burnt everything. Still having the pictures made Zandra miss her more. it was not the time to be sad even if it hurts it's time to be with her second family. it took her a while for her to get used to being with everyone in the Manor. After talking and opening up Zandra became very happen and proud to be part of the Guard. "What should I cut up and how small or big. I don't mind the difference knowing they will be cut either way." Zandra said knowing it's the truth but she was not in charge. Even if Zandra was she would ask for someone else knowing she will burn the kitchen down but due to her father helping her cook she is sure to get better to watch the other. 

It wasn’t exactly a secret Octavia was somewhat of the momma bear of the manor, she pretty much knew everyone and tried her best to be there for them in whatever way she could, which is exactly why she had roped some of the quieter members of the guard to help out today, it would do wonders for overall team morale if everyone was getting along well and pitching in, even for something as simple as making Christmas dinner. Which actually wasn’t all that simple when you were dealing with such a large household and so many different tastes and preferences.

She laughed when Zandra spoke with an apprehensive voice, she definitely understood the feeling of not being sure how well this was going to go but Octavia liked a welcome distraction, especially because Vlad had always loved the holidays and the first one without him was going to feel especially difficult for her “Well don’t worry, it’s a team effort so you’d really have to try very hard to mess everything up” she teased it with a grin “Besides you might get to learn a few tricks if you stick with me” she was very experienced with cooking over the years and she did love to teach others and pass on the recipes she had come up with.

“You can start with the zucchini and carrots, don’t forget to grab an apron and wash your hands” she reminded with a soft smile, she definitely ran a tight ship when it came to her kitchen, or at least for today it was her kitchen anyway “And feel free to help yourself to a drink too” she had a glass of mulled wine on the side beside her which she had been sipping between working on different parts of the meal, it was actually quite therapeutic, she thought as she turned on the radio, listening to the upbeat music which poured in over the speaker.

The human is not one to bring a spirit down as she is to one to help someone who asked. "You do have a point." it would be impossible for them to mess everything up. Zandra smiled looking at the blonde with a little nodded. "I would love to know a few tricks. I don't know much about took but cropping and timing the water to boil. I'm only a few things I can cook but then that it's a lost cost for me." she said telling the truth. Zandra knew she has to learn somehow so why not now.   

Zandra nodded as she put an apron on along with washing her hands then started to chop that was needed. She looked up with a light smile and then back down, "Drinking as cooking. Sounds very fun." She finished cutting as she put everything in a small pile. Finding a wine glass and pour her some. "So what are we making today, I can see you been busy." Zandra is wondering looking around at everything being laid out in the kitchen. "If you need to be do anything else am your girl. Well for that I can travel of course." The human looked at her leg not like to bring up her weakness. 

"So after dinner, what are you going to be doing for the rest of Christmas?" Zandra asked knowing she had nothing to do other than being in her room with a warm cup of hot choco or tea with a good book or write some stories. The human knew she had to get her mind off of her mother. One way or another this is the beginning of a new day so bragging the past is something that should be left there for a reason. 

The blonde nodded slightly “Well you know more than some people then, I know plenty of people in this castle that only know how to use the microwave” she shook her head slightly because it really wasn’t hard to figure out how to use the hob or oven, especially if you already knew how to work a microwave. “Honestly I think it’s more of a patience thing, most things take a long time to cook and so people take the easy way out” she shook her head in an amused fashion to do cooking for every meal you had to plan it in advance and not just look for something when you got hungry.

“Of course it is, it’s the best part, and no one can dispute it because you’re doing all the work, my kitchen my rules and all” she snickered as she took another long drink of her wine and then set it down on the side as she kept an eye on the potatoes she had put on to soft boil adding some salt and pepper to season them after draining them and then sprinkling over it “Well you can definitely keep me company and ensure the music keeps playing, we’re going to have a bit of a break here and there between needing to do things” she nodded, it was nice to have someone else in the kitchen with her but if there were too many people she would probably end up kicking a few out.

Zandra’s question made her ponder for a moment, honestly, she hadn’t really planned what she was going to do with her afternoon beyond getting the food sorted, she was going to eat a lot and then figure out the rest “I think I’ll probably watch a movie, I’ve been working my way through the cheesy Netflix ones” she snickered slightly “Or maybe some of the others will come out of their rooms and we can play a few stupid board games” she didn’t mind as long as she wasn’t alone because that would be the time that made it hard for her “What about you? Any specific plans or are you as clueless as I am?” she giggled softly.

The human guard smiled as she nodded. “I mean it’s easy to use if you want a quick meal but sometimes they are not that healthy,” she said in truth, know what she saw in the market one day when she was doing some shopping for her father. It might be her changing everything about her when getting into the guarded life, watching what she eats, working out along with balancing herself. Even now that she is not that active she eats a lot more but stopping herself not to binge eat but drink water and think what is really her being hungry or if it’s because she is bored. “I love food that is home cook then premade food but it’s a preference for everyone really.”

Zandra smiled as she took a sip of her wine. “You’re not wrong. I think everyone that is the cook in a kitchen would say that.” she took a drink of her wine as he watched the other making mental ideas in her mind how the older guard makes good wondering if she can use the same tricks for other dishes. “Am happy to help as I said already,” Zandra said knowing this does bring her back to be with her mother watching her cook as she is talking to her father who was in the other room. “Have I asked what we are making?” she asked does not remember if she had or not. If so Zandra feels like a broken record or she didn’t have a good night’s sleep.

A chuckle came out of the human. “I mean am always in my room to come up with more stories for my blog. I know it’s not that exciting to most who don’t or are not interested. It’s not everyone’s personal time relax I guess.” Zandra said rubbing her neck looking at her glass of wine. “I don’t have anything else planned other than that. Watching Netflix does sound like something to pass the time.” Zandra said taking a drink of her win as she finished her cup. “Anything that sounds fun I’m always up for putting everything I always do every day on the side for hours. Anyways what is the name of this wine? It’s really good.”

“True, but it’s a start” she responded and laughed softly, learning to use a microwave and the stovetop were the main things which could get you by, you could cook microwave meals, reheat leftovers and also boil pasta or make a stir fry which at least provided some basic variety “I prefer cooking from scratch but it isn’t always possible, it costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time” she grimaced slightly, for example making a proper lasagna would take her at least 2 or 3 hours of work to make the meal. “I don’t think anyone actually prefers eating microwave food though, it all kinda tastes the same don’t you think” she laughed, mostly heavy on salt she meant by that.

She smiled softly “It’s nice to be in charge sometimes” she responded and chuckled, as guards, they spent most of their time following missions and completing them so they weren’t really the ones calling the shots. Which was fine because that was what they signed up for and she was much better at doing the missions than she was strategizing what the faction should do, it fitted her. But everyone liked taking the lead from time to time too. She hummed along to the music as they got to work, taking sips of her wine between preparing ingredients “Right now we are working on the roast turkey with the vegetables which needs to cook most of the day, after that, we will pick the next thing from the list and work on that” everything needs to be prepared but there wasn’t a necessary order to most of it.

“Oh no that sounds like fun” she responded and smiled softly “What kinds of things do you write about?” she knew a little about online blogging but she’d never tried it herself, she did her best to keep up with the times but it was easier said than done when you had lived as many years as her. Still, technology was a good thing in her mind and certainly helped to make life easier. Besides, Iris had taught her a few things about how best to use it. “Do you have many followers?” she asked curiously wanting to know more about what good she was spreading into the world. “Netflix is definitely a good distracting, I swear I binged like the first 2 seasons of The Good Place in a weekend” mindlessly watching things helped her not to think so much about the harshness of her life. “I think this one is a Zinfandel?” she responded not really recalling, she had just grabbed whatever looked good from the cellar “Help yourself to more, it’s Christmas after all” she grinned as she started taking the chopped vegetables and arranging them into the tray “Could you mix the stuffing over there?” she pointed it out on the side.

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