Poster: Ailbhe MacNeils
Post # 1
Maggie was alone in the tavern... relatively speaking. Alex and Hazel
were almost always around, but neither were in sight at this moment,
busy with something or other in the back. It was a quiet evening with a
warm damp breeze pressing against the windows, which had been shut to
allow Maggie to wash them. With her sleeves pushed up and dark mass of
hair pinned back in a messy bun, she dipped a sponge into a bucket full
of lemony suds, squeezed it out and continued scrubbing a window pane.
Humming to herself all the while, enjoying the task and the peace.
A sudden thunderstorm rolled in. Severe one that lit up the pitch sky
like daylight only in a blink before the thunder hit shaking the tavern,
rattling the windows and the feel as if one got knocked against on
another level. In that black out, light up, then gone again, a man stood
in the doorway that one could swear the lighting was right behind him
illuminating him there, except he didn't disappear when the lightning
did until the next bout. The rains came heavily behind him next as eyes
of a unearthly blue took in the familiar place and what was changed
about it, including a woman washing the windows. One could wonder if he
was even real or one of those images a night like this played tricks
upon the mind. His hair like sunlight, his eyes the sky, a tone build
under a loose fitted poet's shirt left partially open and the red plaid
kilt of the MacNeils clan. Sandals on his feet for the time of
Her humming was cut off by that blast of thunder, which had her jumping
with a startled sound. In the next moment she was laughing at herself,
but it was a bit nervous as that storm seemed almost supernatural for
its harshness and suddenness. She ceased washing, peering outside
instead through the blackened and water-tossed windows, then a movement
out of the corner of her eye had her glancing to the door. She didn't
jump this time, but the ghostly image of the man silhouetted by
lightning did take her aback. Just for a moment until he stepped inside,
proving himself to be flesh and blood. "My goodness, did you bring
this storm with you?" She joked on a laugh, for the two had seemed
to arrive simultaneously.
There was something majestic about the male yet with an unworldly touch
to it. Features remained immobile, pleasant yet stoic at the same time.
"It is fashioned on another level as there are things afoot not of
the norm. The power of creation is moving its hand on a few things
simultaneously." It was these changes that stirred one like Ailbhe
to come out and stop here as his first place in seeking out the source
or sources of this storm. "Breathe deep, taste the metallic upon
the tip of your tongue that doesn't come with any ordinary storm."
Which was growing worse as the tavern seemed to become the center
beneath it. The rattling and pounding of thunder taking turns with the
kind of lightning one wanted to duck and felt like running for
cover half bent over. It didn't faze Ailbhe at all, like he could
walk with the streaks of lighting nonpulsed.
"...." There was a silence as Maggie regarded the male with
well-mannered skepticism. She was a simple girl, or at least, had chosen
to lead a simple life... and she was more comfortable dismissing his
words with another jest or laugh. Something stopped her from doing
either, though. Despite herself she glanced around out the window and
there was that strange scent of metal in her nostrils. A chill running
down her spine as the entire tavern seemed to tremble and the ground
beneath it, a crash of thunder striking her ears. An uneasy laugh parted
her lips as she dropped the sponge into the bucket, then lifted it to
carry over towards the side door. "Well. I don't know about the
power of creation but you're right, it is no ordinary storm..."
"Ease your mind fire hair lass. It comes not for you and you shall
remain safe. Those in here shall as well all of the lands the Wards
protect. Son of the Great one has seen to that on this parallel
universe." Of course she would have no idea what he spoke on but
possibly in a way, she might too. Even if not the details in reference.
"I am Ailbhe," white world sovereign king as those
words naturally followed his name but were not spoken for a change. He
felt he had confused her enough and probably would continue doing so no
matter for trying not. He was over to the bar to greet Alex who was
pleased to see the Alterian ruler again. Much was spoken on and mostly
what might reach her ears was 'it has been too long' a time he
had not been around.
No, she had no idea what he was talking about, and her blank stare
probably said that plainly. The only reply she could come up with was
the obvious one, giving her name in return. "I'm Maggie."
Watching him go over to greet Alex, she tried to puzzle out his words
but gave up with a slight shake of her head. She opened the side door
only long enough to dump the contents of the bucket out into the garden,
emptying the suds into the dirt. She straightened with the empty bucket
in hand, about to turn and go back in but those rolling storm clouds
held her transfixed. There was a frisson of fear, or was it excitement
that ran down the back of her neck again. A whispering sense of
something not of this world, something more... calling to her or
demanding to be understood.
He had been talking to Alex, last thought she'd have on him, until
she heard the deep timbre of his voice coming low by her ear.
"I could show you," as if he could read her thoughts. She
would know that Alex knew the man and trusted him but it would mean her
trusting him too. If she went by instincts they would say to trust,
logic would say be wary he is not one you know and different than any
you have met. Certainly there were many that were different but then
there were those that were even more different from the different. How
different is that?
She jumped again, startled by his sudden voice in her ear, when in the
back of her head she'd been hearing him talking with Alex. Blazing blues
that seemed to glow luminously for just a moment, flew to Ailbhe. One
blink of dark lashes as she looked at him, yes warily. He couldn't
possibly know what she was thinking... SHE didn't know what she was
thinking, so what was he talking about? "Show me what?"
Perhaps it was something in her eyes that had made him ask, or in this
case .. offer. Eyes as blazing blue searched the depths of hers.
"Show you something of worlds moved by tremendous forces that
humble us in their presence. Forces that some are akin to even when they
do not realize it. Do you wish to see, to understand, to learn?"
Once again he had her looking blank, though this time... there was a
spark of recognition in her eyes. Covered by that same wariness and
confusion of before. A confusion with actually left her helpless for
words as she just returned this stranger's gaze. "I... I am of this
world," she finally managed to murmur. If Alex could hear he'd
probably be shocked to hear brash Maggie stammering for once! "I've
no idea what you can mean...."
"Aye, that you are, of this world but there is a part that shines
that is not of my world either but of a universal one not found on the
physical plane." There was a pause with a slight dip of his head in
decision. "Perhaps another time, when you are ready." As much
as his perceptions were strong, there was more to learn here and perhaps
he'd been wrong. Not something usual for Ailbhe but then, this was not
his world but a surrogate one. One he came to cherish as he had his own.
It was not good to have her stammering for he felt it was quite alien to
her and what he proposed to show her would take her on a very unique
trip of the mind and soul.
Now he definitely had her on her guard, for clearly he was able to sense
the thing that she usually kept so well hidden. Even from herself. Her
features were kept strictly smooth as eyes bounced between his own. She
would have laughed it off, turned around and walked off to find some new
chore... that is what she should have done and would have, had it not
been for a strange magnetic force that kept her rooted to the spot. In
the end it was like a sibling poking you in the arm during a long
trip... at some point one had to acknowledge it, and it was a sudden
pounding behind her temples that decided her. A change which stole over
her features as she broke eye contact, only long enough to glance behind
him to where Alex stood behind the bar. Then a hand was upon his arm and
she pulled Ailbhe right out the side door and outside into the rain.
They'd both be soaked in seconds but it was the only safe place to talk.
"I do not know who you are or what you know about me. But whatever
it is you want to show me..." It was a deep breath she had to draw
to banish her brother's voice from her head and continue decisively.
"I want to see."
He seemed to go all too easily with her as she dragged him outside, not
really dragging one willing and seemed to know something. Certainly he
could have stopped her but there was a reason not to. "I cannot say
I know you but there are things I recognize. Things I see in your
eyes that await a birth, a discovery, by you, by others like me."
His words flowed even keel as he drew her over to where a great pine
would give them some cover and a bench had been placed in the area
behind the tavern. Blond hair was plastered to his face in semi-long
ringlets that ran down along the edges and neck. Shirt plastered to his
chest became near transparent but Ailbhe didn't seem to mind the heavy
rain at all, although better not to be running in their eyes, hence the
cover taken. Seating her across form him he took her hands in his. Focus
there a moment as she may well feel the surge of power in this man if
one was sensitive enough. He took in the vibes coming from her
before he proceeded. "I will hold your hands loosely like this. If
at any time you wish to return, just squeeze mine. You will not be in
any danger of what you see even if it appears you are standing right
there as you are right here." That part was the hardest for some to
adjust to, those whose third eye was closed, even for some whose were
open for most were not open like his. He communicated with his kin on a
mental level. They had shared all thoughts as one and built things in
the physical world with their minds, his as the center although some
others of his kin could do the same.
She followed him out of instinct to seek shelter when she was drawn over
to the bench, seating herself. Hardly meeting his eyes as she glanced
this way then that, her calm demeanor belied by those nervous gestures.
The rain had stuck the thick locks of hair which had escaped the bun
against her cheeks, and an absent hand pushed them away, that is until
he took her hands and drew her attention back. That rush of power which
swept them both then was almost intoxicating... she could nearly feel
the blood of her veins running faster as if pulled towards him. It
elicited an abbreviated gasp as her fingers tugged reflexively against
his. "I might hurt you," blurted out. She knew exactly what
she was and what she could do.... that was why she feared.
"You wont hurt me," he knew exactly what he was, a man that
transcended the physical, transcended time. "Look into my eyes, it
is there for you to see and for me to guide you in showing."
She was still afraid of doing something without meaning to do it... the
type of fear that could strangle a person, unless they fought it down.
Which she did, beating it back until she could think clearly. And met
his eyes as asked. Hers were vibrant, a blue that rivaled the brightest
sky and now taking on that subtle glow.
She would find her eyes were not the only ones that glowed in these
lands. Not just his but a few others and some that had the same spirits
even if their eyes didn't glow. It was that lock that would start their
journey and the holding of her hands the guiding. The storm still raged
around them but melted into the background. The darkness becoming more
pitch before the surreal light of a city stretched before them. Perfect
lines, pure radiance of white light. Water a pure blue that sparkled. It
was at night, three moons in the sky forming a triangle left their glow
on the city and waters below. Silver white danced over the blades of
grass that formed the fields, the trees like coins lifting in the breeze
to welcome the sweep of mist that was forming.
There was a moment when she hesitated, a moment when she was on the
brink of pulling away and saying Never Mind.. but that moment came too
late. No time even to ask where they were going before they were whisked
away to another world. The present surroundings faded away to make space
for a breathtaking vista, illuminated by not one but three moons. It
seemed incredibly unreal but also, so beautiful. "Where are
we?" Her voice echoed strangely, she wasn't even sure he would be
able to hear it in this realm but she tried.
There was song all around them but not of voice but pure octaves. Light
and lovely the kind that inspired the soul and mind to do great things.
They stood on the curved bridge where the waters ran beneath. Fish of
sliver and blue darted through the clear waters. Strange birds, both
large and small moved about in the moonlight shadows with the trees.
Their call mingled with the others and she might come to realize it was
the thoughts of thousands in harmony. She had no real voice here but
thoughts conveyed as such with the soothing touch of his voice in
thought was upon her mind. "Alteria, which is no more but remains
still." As she was seeing for it was alive in him and in his kin
that lived. He could show her more of its beauty that was suspended here
but there was something he needed to discover as the next he drew her
back from being in the middle of the scene. There were fires that leaped
from cracks that opened up out of nowhere and a third of the world was
devoured, broken away taking lives with it. There were the screams
before silenced as if taking a part of your mind and ripping it from
your head. That was how it had felt for Ailbhe and the others that
survived. A calm followed as death was accepted, something they should
never have in a world were there was no aging, no disease. Utopia at its
finest. They were sucked into the library of that great white crystal
castle that had a rift open up to another, Universal Library.
It was like music but not, something purer and more perfect than music
as most knew it. A harmony far more complex than just two notes sung
together. She was soaking it in with all its wonder, curious when he
spoke...what had happened if this place was 'no more'? The question was
answered for her a moment later by the fires and destruction. Murders
even, and her horror might transmit to him as they watched it. One which
was assuaged when the scene shifted again to something much more
soothing, a library. Though one far grander than she'd ever seen before.
In this library there was a window, as closely as one could describe it,
that they stood before and it showed creation. The layers of worlds that
existed and the various developments. It wasn't so much in technical
physical achievements that set one world apart and higher than others
but the spiritual achievements that developed at the same rate as the
other so all was used to better mankind than to destroy it for power,
greed and hatred of fellow beings. He pointed out the world that had
been right below theirs that was of such corruption it ate through the
dimension to their world, setting it ablaze with its destruction. One
world was not alone but a part of an ever greater whole that had its
bearings on itself and others in its destruction. There had been hope as
she would see in another part, a door that opened up to this world. A
man came that befriended the ruler of another world without question and
their people were guided through this link. Unfortunate the link
collapsed after so many of his people got through. It was here that
Ailbhe searched the darkness as there were echoes that called to him
that she would hear as well. Not so much voices and words but thoughts
that they were trying to find their way through still.
She could have stood at that window a long time, gazing upon the scenes
depicted there. It was beautiful, and terrible all at once.... even a
world that seemed no less than utopia was vulnerable to the evils of
another world. No world was an island... the same links which had
destroyed Alteria seemed to also save it in the end. By saving a few
Alterians who could keep it alive in their memories. She understood
after a time that not everybody had gotten past the threshold, that the
door had slammed shut before the migration was complete. There were
voices here that pressed against her awareness, snatches of
consciousness that seemed to be reaching out. She sought to answer them,
to grasp hold of a thought here or there but they were as difficult to
hold as water. Are they ghosts? She wondered in that strange
not-speaking communication towards Ailbhe.
"No, they are in the abyss, the tears in time corridors between
worlds trying to find a door that is open that they can pass
through." He spoke the words out loud but obviously he had heard
her question. Then it was the other speech inside her head that was
emotion based than really words. The feel of anguish of being trapped
but things were in motion again that could change that again after over
a decades here. For the ones trapped time had ceased to exist, just as
it ceased to exist on this mental travel they did. What seemed like near
an hour going from the various places was only a few minutes in this
physical world they were caught in. It was not good to linger too long
for a few reasons he didn't get into but might perhaps in time. There
were a lot of things, too many to delve into presently, to clarify. He
pulled her back up with him for certainly it might feel like one asleep
in the dream world and rising to the conscious world. "The storm is
connected to those lost and yet separate."
Maggie absorbed this without verbal reply, but her heart was wrenching
as the anguish of the trapped ones became her own. She even looked
around as if sight alone might help to find them, and guide them to
freedom. She wanted to reach out to them but didn't quite know how, and
then everything was becoming distant... the music, the cries, the eerie
triple-moon lighting. Becoming further and further away until they were
finally back in the 'real' world. Took her a few seconds to settle back
into herself as she noticed the bench beneath herself and the rain
dripping off the leaves overhead. A few blinks before luminous blues
could settle on Ailbhe. "Can't we help those who've been lost? Help
them find their way out, somehow?"
"Some things are beyond even my abilities because they are to be
for those involved. It is not to question so much but for me to be there
now that it seems there will be a door to open again. Their anguish is
not of pain but separation and once reunited then all that had been felt
on that level will be gone and a deep peace found. I will keep
watch," which was not meant by sight but on this other level,
"and wait for when it is the right moment." Releasing her
hands at this point for the connection was no longer needed. "Shall
we have a respite of something to eat and drink?" It was late and
sitting outside soaked to the bone, would not fare well for too long.
Yes, she was soaked through and chilled to the bones. Flexing her hands
a bit once they were released from his, she nodded slightly to his
words, accepting them for what they were. Not much more they could do
than that, it seemed. This experience would bear some more thinking but
for now... she was cold and with a mind that was spinning. Realizing his
suggestion of a meal, she shook her head and stood stiffly. "No,
you go ahead, I think I'll just go change." She gave him a smile
that was a faint version of her earlier bright smiles, and turned to go
inside to change.
Luckily he was not so affected physically in this world as he walked
with her back into the tavern. Nothing more was said for there was no
need but certainly they were both drawn to inner thoughts for all that
transpired this evening. The trip was not just for her but for him to
see what was coming too. He collected his drink to stand in front of the
hearth. The feel of the low heat given off by the peat had a soothing
affect on him physically and mentally.
It was already beginning to feel more like a dream than something
actually experienced, but it was one of those dreams that haunted a
person with strange feelings throughout the day after. A few quiet words
with Alex as she let him know she was going to rest in her rooms a bit.
Pausing at the hallway that led back to the staff quarters she watched
Ailbhe at the hearth a moment, or rather his turned back. "Thank
you.." The only thing she could think of saying. Her chin dipped in
a brief nod before she slipped away to the back.