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The Barrett Memorial Zoological Gardens
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 1
Keepers for the Zoo
Maurice was back, taking time off and spending some of it here talking to Alex. There was a bit to catch up on still as he went over the list of jobs available and one interested in becoming a zoo keeper. Along with that another expressed an interest. There was a lot to be done and he was the man to see about getting some of the animals that would be of interest, survive in captivity and possibly reproduce. Attired in a light blue poet's shirt, black pants and sandals this warm night even if there was an earlier rain then drizzle. Plants needed the natural watering to keep things green and blooming. Days on end of it was not welcome however. Doors and windows were open keeping a nice circulation of air to offer comfort and not stifling as some taverns became.
Calum descended the stairs from the upper floors to make his way into the common room. What of the recent spate of warmer weather, he chose simple, light garb, a collarless, tan shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows, and dark brown pants and boots comprised his ensemble. The boots were neat, but heel worn and scuffed, indicative of an active outdoor lifestyle. As he arrived in the room, he nodded to Alex, and noticed the presence of the other fellow, someone that he'd neither seen nor met before. "Good evening, gentlemen," he offered cordially as he drew closer to the bar.
As the man came down the steps, Ice shifted up from his lean as a smile warmed his face tucked within the russet beard. Ice blue eyes naturally flashed in the shifting with the play of light, "evening sir, Maurice McDonough," offering his hand in the meet.
"Mr. McDonough," Calum responded genially, the man's hand accepted and shaken warmly. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance. Calum Creighton."
Hands met in a firm shake before released, "well met Calum. If I am not mistaken you're the man interested in becoming the zoo keeper for us?" He didn't know of any other Calums around and this man was new to him so fitted in that equation.
Calum smiled and offered a bit of a surprised expression. "Word travels quickly hereabouts, I see," he answered, a soft chuckle resonating just after the reply. "I had mentioned as such to someone recently, a Mr. Allan Cleary, if I recall the gentleman's name correctly. In any event, yes, I am very interested in the position, and if you're the man to see about the job, I'm doubly glad to make your acquaintance."
"When in the right circles, indeed it does. Draven has been seeing to most of those interested in positions after becoming a citizen. Myself, my brother Joe and Malcolm have also seen to ones. This particular job I will be involved in so who better? Aye, Allan left a note and Alex saw it getting to the right one. Good you've met the man and I can hope others too in your stay here thus far. First question is, will you be become a citizen?"
Devon and Jasper were out talking a nightly walk as was customary for them, and it took them to the Thistle. The husky bounded in first, getting some good attention in by Hazel and a treat as well, the potter came in more casually, her cane a light tapping on the ground as she approached the bar to order just a mug of cider.
Kaylea had done some exploring the last few days, even finding the wild horses Victor had told her about though she only saw them from a distance. Each evening, as the sun began to set, she made her way back to the Thistle. After cleaning up, and replacing her britches and shirt with a clean poets shirt of pale green and a darker skirt, she made her way downstairs. It was time for a meal and maybe a bit of company.
"Absolutely," the answer given without a hint of reservation or equivocation. "And as far as being made to feel welcome, I've yet to encounter anyone that has made me feel otherwise."
"Evening Devon, have you met Calum?" Introducing her after she approached the bar and would be easy to located his voice. Then back to Calum, "good, what I like to hear." Alex had gotten the map for him on cue without the need of being asked. He turned it so Calum could easily see it. A finger used to tap the open area between Whispering Pines and Dunshire below and a little off to the right above Dunshire. "This is where we have started clearing the area and the main house near built. We put out the job offering in the hope someone would step forward at least by the time it was finished. I have the means to acquire healthy animals and birds once the cages are ready and one to maintain them." Noticing another he would greet her, "evening lass, welcome to the Thistle."
She smiled hearing Ice's voice. "Evenin' stranger... long time since I've heard yer handsome voice." She chuckled. "Aye I have," she nodded before letting him finish with the other gentleman.
"Oh, I know Miss Winters," Calum responded, "and her stalwart canine companion." As Devon approached the bar, Calum immediately dropped into a hunkered posture, reaching out immediately to give Jasper a good scratching about the ears and on the underside of his lower jaw and throat. "Good evening, Miss Winters, and you, too Jasper!"
Calum could note the area once he was back up from seeing to Jasper. Dog was loved starved or so behaved even if Ice knew he got plenty, he was addicted.
The greetings having been offered to Devon and Jasper, Calum straightened up and turned his attention to the map that Maurice was poring over. He nodded as Maurice pointed out the proposed site for the zoo, and then looked up as Kaylea entered the Thistle.
She perked when she heard talk about animals but it seemed it was to someone else. She hid her disappointment with a smile. "Good evening. I'm Kaylea MacKay."
"Miss MacKay," Calum offered with a decorous, polite tone of voice. "Calum Creighton, at your service, and this fine gentleman is Mr. Maurice McDonough."
"The pleasure is mine Miss MacKay, Kaylea, as we can dispense with the formalities if you'd like. I believe you are the other interested in the zoo as there is a note here left with the other. The zoo will need more than one to have it run smoothly." That part he would leave to them, "possibly three or four as it grows." All in good time as it seemed this is taking off nicely. One could stay at the main manor and a couple cottages constructed for any others. Waiting for her to confirm the interest or that he was mistaken.
"Evening Kaylea," she said with a smile, before taking up her mug and making her way to one of the large chairs, to allow the men to talk business. Once in the chair, she tucked her feet up under her, leaning her head back a bit, to relax, as she listened.
Upon hearing that Kaylea was also interested in the zookeeper's position, a subtle but delighted smile tugged at the corners of Calum's lips. Running and tending to a zoo would be a mammoth undertaking, and one that could not be capably managed by one person alone. "The more the merrier," he said, adding to Maurice's assertion with a nod.
"A pleasure to meet you all." The smile she gave brought a dimple and she nodded. "Indeed, I'm very interested. I plan to become a citizen, of course." She was delighted to hear that Calum agreed. "Wonderful." With that, she stepped over to study the map. "What kind of animals will be occupying the zoo?"
Kaylea had voiced the very question that Calum had been pondering ever since having read the advert for the zookeeper's position in the Gazette, and he likewise regarded Maurice curiously.
The last of Briarwood had been packed and prepared for shipping on one of Alaina's ships bound for Heathfield, and with it would be coming 'Delia's companion and maid Ana. The woman, the mother of her heart, was not someone she intended to do without and getting her settled would be amongst her priorities when Ana arrived. For now, she pushed the darker thoughts from her mind, determined to look ahead and forward to the bright future she would enjoy in Heathfield, making her way up from the docks in the hopes that Joseph received her note suggesting they meet up, if he had time, at the Thistle.
Joe was making his way to the Thistle, having received her note as soon as he got to the ranch. Long day and getting out looked forward to especially when it included Delia. He dismounted in the ease of one use to riding a lot, having washed up and putting on descent, yet casual, clothing. He had spied her coming up as he looped the reins around the hitching post then came around to await her. The lazy smile lifting in place.
"Lions, tigers and bears," teasing Kaylea with a wink. "First will be what is available for me to gain and in healthy condition. I will expect either of you to be ready to examine any prospective addition. A man here has a camel for instance he might be willing to give him a home in the zoo. First will be getting the zoo completed in building it. Being you have arrived before its completion, you can help with deciding the layout and where certain breeds will be kept. There will be an aviary greenhouse type building too where rare birds can fly freely but contained. A walk through in simulation of a jungle." Throwing out some of the ideas. "You can both stay here until the buildings are done that will house you. There will be a lot to do in the days ahead. I have a few tropical islands we are sure to find some healthy animals to capture." Thinking on the black panther cub that was found. He would be a perfect addition.
"I would be most interested in hearing your ideas, Miss MacKay," Calum said, his tone and expression reflective of earnest interest in her opinions and ideas. Then he nodded in concurrence with Maurice's suggestions. "I would like to see at least a few interactive exhibits, and those that are more precisely and aptly reflective of the animals natural habitat and environs, and not simply cages or other confinements."
She gave Calum a nod, smiling. For a moment she studied him then looked at Maurice again. "Having the animals in small cages is, of course, not something desirable. I'd also like to see a petting zoo so that people can see the younger animals up close. Perhaps I can take care of the aviary?" She looked thoughtful. "Is there a veterinarian in Heathfield, Maurice?"
As she crested the rise, grey-green eyes fell on the familiar form and a smile appeared for him, her pace quickening to bring her towards him. Fortunately, she hadn't had to be away too long. "Good evening, dearest."
She smiled listening to them talk about what animals they were thinking of having. She thought the idea of a zoo was going to be a great addition.
He was quick to move, taking her in his arms and a half swing around before tucking his head down to steal a kiss. Not one to linger but certainly felt nice before speaking up, knowing well the past number of days had been really hard on her. Life's changes tended to do that even if he knew she would adjust quicker than she realize and continue on. "I was waiting for this moment all day." Which was the truth.
"Perhaps the aviary and the petting zoo? The cages were be sized according to the animals kept. There is a veterinarian and he will be asked if he wants to take on the medical care as needed. I'm pretty certain he will."
"Aye, I'll take on both. And if Calum has any suggestions on another areas, that as well." She didn't want him overwhelmed with work until they were able to have others to help.
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 2
"As have I. I haven't kept you waiting too long, have I?" Returning the kiss lightly, knowing they were in public, she smiled as she tucked her arm around his waist comfortably. "And how are the children?"
"My interests would lie primarily in the larger mammalian and reptilian species, but I would certainly be more than happy to lend my efforts wherever and however they might be needed," Calum replied. "A cooperative, team approach to tending to and caring for the animals and exhibits would be the most effective, I think."
"Not long at all, perfect timing in fact even with me washing up and not coming straight from the fields." That would have been a bit overpowering for her. "Josh and Tamara requested to go back to the Indian camp with their cousins as we're to have some very good weather." Slight waggled of his brows as he escorted her up to the porch, arm around her waist until the door was reached, leaving her to go in before him. He heard a familiar voice too!
"That is exactly what is needed," Alex having set a folder next to the map in the meantime as he took out first the citizenship ones for them to go over and sign. Once done with those would be the one for the upcoming zoo. It had room for about six signatures. "Have you taken care of such wild animals before?" Realizing he'd not asked that question and assumed they had experience. So now he'd find out.
"Agreed." She looked at the map again. "Perhaps a place for newborn animals who are rejected by their mothers as well." She looked up at Maurice. "Will there be places available to live?" She liked the Thistle but it would be nice to have her own place. "Aye, I have. Not exotic ones but I took care of any injured ones or abandoned ones. I understand the library here is excellent and I'll send for what books they don't have." Eyes lowered to the paper and she read it over before taking up a quill and dipping it in the inkwell Alex had set out.
"Most of my time has been spent in field observation," Calum confessed candidly. "My veterinary skills are rather limited, but I should be able to lend an extra sets of hands, when and if it becomes necessary." Then, like Kaylea, he dropped his gaze to the citizenship papers, but he was listening to Maurice while he read the documents.
"Yes, there will be a main building where the Head Zoo Keeper will stay, the downstairs a museum and history of various species. I'll not be killing any animals to have them stuffed but if I come by some already, we'll purchase them or better, have an artist do drawings. There are a few artists around in the lands and extra work flow helps them too. There will be a couple of cottages built not far from the main house and possible a couple at the other side of the zoo so there are watchful eyes. Guards will need to be hired also."
'Delia caught that brow wiggle and laughed quietly as she slid free of his arm long enough to step into the Thistle, glancing over the faces collected. A smile appeared as she offered a quiet, "Good evening," to all.
"That will work out well, Calum as I'm sure Donovan McKnight will need some help with the larger animals. Medical supplies will be gotten. A small fee at the gates will help cover those costs if we decide to take that route."
"Sculptures might be nice too." She signed the paper then offered the quill to Calum. A warm smile was given to the happy couple entering. "Good evening." The paper was handed over to Maurice after the ink dried.
She peaked her head around the wing of the chair towards the voices. "Evenin' ta ye both," she said as she recognized Joseph's steps.
He leaned down with words low, "see that vintage version of Rory over there?" Chuckling as he straightened after giving her that clue. "Evening everyone," escorting her to the bar as he'd have some potcheen. At least he had healed up from being thrown from his horse. He also knew Ice was busy so didn't greet him as he normally would be, leaving him tend to the business at hand.
Accepting the quill from Kaylea with a nod and a polite little grin, Calum likewise signed on the proverbial dotted line, and tendered his copy of the paperwork to Maurice. "Good evening," he replied cordially to Delia, according genial smiles to both she and Joe.
"Sculptures, paintings and drawings. We've an excellent little sculptress that takes care of the museum as well I know a lad that is coming into his own with carving." As well himself but he didn't add that. "Joseph!" Ice blue eyes in a flash his brother's way, "and who is this lovely lady with you," as if he didn't know, roguish grin sweeping fully.
"This lovely lady is my fiancee, 'Delia," grinning right back at his brother in that lazy sort of way before addressing the others. "I'm Joseph McDonough, one of Ice's brothers. Good evening to you Devon, how was your honeymoon and time back?" He had heard she was back and always liked seeing her. Crouching down as Jasper approached and giving him a good petting, all around his neck, back and ears.
"Pleasure ta meet ye Delia... and congratulations ta both of ye." She gave him a wink, and a smile where she assumed Delia was next to him. "It was wonderful, but I'm glad to be home again."
Following Joseph's gaze to where Maurice sat, her smile deepened. Vintage version of Rory, indeed. The man was clearly a McDonough by the look of him and the unmistakably rakish grin on his face. "And to meet you as well, Mrs. Cleary," giving her the courtesy of her married name before she had to look up at Ice. Very much up; the man was like a tree compared to her relatively small self. "As a matter of fact," came the prompt retort, "I do, Lord McDonough. Shall I arrange an introduction?" Grey-green eyes gleamed teasingly at him. "But thank you for your welcome."
"Excuse me a moment," leaving them to take their time in going over the papers as he was up and over to Delia. Grin never dimming. "I do believe Joseph has picked one of the prettiest ladies in the lands. Do you have a sister?" So use to teasing it came naturally. Becoming the rare serious as there was that side too, "I'm very pleased to meet you and certainly welcome you into our family," considering their engagement. "I would love an introduction." He was always open to meeting others and certainly ones that would be an extended family. The flash of a smile came with his words as well the devil's own in blue eyes before he had his brother in a bear hug, clan style. Ice was noted for his bear hugs and other things but they were not well known.
"Of course," Calum said, deferring to Maurice, and then he looked to Kaylea. "I look forward to working with you, and I would certainly appreciate any suggestions or input that you might have. As far as I'm concerned, the title of zookeeper is just that... a title."
Devon chuckled, having heard Ice use that line one or two other times... but kept quiet.
She watched the two brothers and 'Delia with quiet interest, before looking at Calum. "Still, I find that people are happiest to know there's one considered to be in charge if they have a complaint." Though her expression was serious, the twinkle in her eyes showed she was teasing. "I'm looking forward to working with you as well, Calum. So far, it sounds excellent, but I'm sure we'll both have plenty to say in the days to come."
"Agreed," Calum responded with a nod, "but I just wanted to express to you that you would be treated as and considered a colleague and a peer, and not as a subordinate."
"Oomph," came in the unexpected exhale as he was into one of those hugs. Laughing then as he gave as good as he got before releasing his brother, a half shot to his shoulder he'd not feel other than the idea. "I see you haven't missed a beat since your long hiatus." Of course there was one bout of him around but it had been brief before he was off sailing to his islands. "I see you've got a zoo keeper?" Looking from him to the others there, well noting the official papers.
"Indeed I have as these plans are shaping up well. Perhaps by the end of the summer we'll have a working zoo."
She smiled at Joseph when he looked their way then looked at Calum. If he had signed the paper about the zoo, she'd put her name under his.
He hadn't as of yet, and was still awaiting the proper documentation from Maurice. "If at all possible, Miss MacKay, perhaps we can meet at the proposed site in the near future and walk the grounds, perhaps jot down some ideas and scout out possible exhibit sites."
"This is Calum Creighton and Kaylea MacKay, new citizens and soon to be the new zoo keepers." In case he had forgotten to make the formal introduction to his brother.
Listening with interest, she took advantage of the brothers' greeting to request a cup of tea for herself and a glass of potcheen for Joseph from Alex, exchanging a few words with him in the process.
Upon hearing the introduction, as offered to Joseph by Maurice, Calum turned his attention to Joseph and Delia. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance."
"A pleasure to meet you Calum, Kaylea and welcome to the lands." Smile taking on that lazy quality again, "my fiancee Delia," in case they had missed it earlier.
"That was my next suggestion Calum. We should all ride out within a few days and see what has been done and make decisions where to put the larger animals, the more vicious and so forth compared to the smaller and more docile ones."
"I think that can be arranged. " She motioned toward Alex. "Just leave a note here since I'm staying here." She smiled again at the two. "Well met to you both and congratulations."
He was rather proud of those words, if the look on his face was any indication. Inclining her head first to Kaylea, then to Calum, she smiled again. "Welcome to the lands, Kaylea, and you as well, Calum."
He accorded Delia a polite dip of his head and a shallow bow, and then he looked to Kaylea. "Exceptionally easy; I'm staying here, as well."
Indeed he was and should be. It had taken him a long time to get to this point, being open to fall in love, to be loved. To gain trust in the one to be able to open his heart. He was basking in it, something he'd given up on. He took up his drink and a half lean against the bar as he took down his first swallow of the pure. Listening and watching his brother with the new citizens and zoo keepers.
"Thank you, 'Delia. It's been very nice here so far." She nodded at Calum then looked at Maurice and grinned. "I look forward to being escorted by two fine gentlemen."
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 3
She sat back in the chair, curled up, and listened. She was glad to hear the happiness in Joseph's voice.. finally... and she couldn't help chuckling... another that thought it would never happen to him.
He could really see the happiness in his brother's eyes and lazy smile before blue eyes shifted back to Kaylea, "and so your wish will be our command," tossing in a wink as well the grin. "So how has married life been treating you Devon? How's Allan and the rest of the Cleary family as well your brother?"
The tea cradled in her hand, she too listened with amused interest, taking advantage of the distraction to study the eldest McDonough brother before she murmured in a low tone to Joseph, "There's still your sister and Draven's to meet, yes?"
She chuckled. "Married life has been treatin' me verra well. Allan is doin' well, busy with expandin' the Dairy, his two sisters have just arrived, and Matt is good as well, busy with the Greenhouse."
"Aye and Garath MacShire, but he is away presently. Juni and Velvet have returned and working on starting up their jewelry shop with the Coalition. I'll have to get hold of them both, maybe you and I can stop by and look at some wedding bands.." surprise the two in the process.
"It's been a pleasure to meet all of you," Calum announced cordially, "and I look forward to meeting all of you again soon. If you'd be so kind as to excuse me?"
"How could any lass resist that?" She laughed as she answered, winking right back. "Good night, Calum. Rest well."
"Sounds perfect as well the news. I hear Allan shouted loud enough they heard him all the way down to the docks, you're to become parents if I'm correct? Congratulations. Calum I'll be in touch!"
The papers were signed and all in order. She needed rest if she wanted to go a-wandering again come morning. "I enjoyed meeting all of you, but I fear I too, need to rest." Now that the business was over, there was an impish look in her eyes. "Good night to you all."
Making sure all the papers were in order as Calum left and Kaylea finished up. Putting them back into the folder which would be sent up to the castle. "Good night Kaylea, it was a pleasure meeting you and I'll be in touch with you very soon as well. Enjoy the marketplace and other such sights."
"Good night ta ye Kaylea. Sleep sweetly." She then turned back to Ice, blushing. "Aye we are... come the turn of the year." She knew he had been loud, but didn't know that loud.
Calum was too quick but at least he got to bid Kaylea a good night, "a pleasure meeting you Kaylea, good night." He planned to bring his children to the zoo once it was opened and would offer Ice any help he needed.
"I'm looking forward to it, Maurice. Thank you, Devon." Jasper got a scratch behind the ears before she was heading for the steps.
"Good night, Kaylea.." But she was too late.
He was teasing as in it being literally, Alex told him. "If you'll excuse me I'll be seeing these papers up to the castle before a few other things. A pleasure meeting you finally 'Delia. Joe, I should see you out in the west pasture tomorrow. Devon, always a pleasure and I hope all goes smoothly for you."
"Thank ye Ice, and good night ta ye. Donnae be such a stranger."
"And you as well. Good night," she smiled a farewell to him as she drained her tea.
"Aye, I'll be there and Joshua asked to come. Time for him to take the next step up." Indicating Devon and her words, "she's right, don't be such a social stranger. Took you long enough to meet the woman in my life." Teasing as he would for certainly Ice would on him if the tables were turned.
He tipped a pointed forefinger 'Delia's way as he echoed the bantering from earlier, "that sister.." tossing in a wink before he tucked the folder under his arm and headed down the corridor taking him to the offices in back.
"Well." Left with that, she laughed softly, shaking her head.
"My brother is incorrigible." Chuckling as he reached over to capture her hand and draw her in at his side. "So what do you think of my eldest brother?"
Moving to nestle against that side, she leaned her head against him and let out a calming, relaxing breath. "I think he is the most incorrigible of the lot of you... and that I wasn't adequately warned."
She just sat in the chair, chuckling at Ice... same old same old....
Which had him outright laugh before adding, "he'll do anything for you too if you're in need." He noticed Devon chuckling also. "Congratulations Devon, I look forward to seeing that wee bairn you are carrying. I remember some famous last words..." lazy grin emerging she'd not see but could probably hear it in the words and tone.
She nodded, a huge smile. "Thank ye... and aye, I know... but I be rememberin' some famous last words from yer lips as well sir."
"Touche but then a few have spoken them when discouraged with Fate."
She nodded. "Aye, they have... but Fate has her ways does nae she it seems..."
"Indeed she does, sometimes sooner and sometimes later."
"I take it you were of Joseph's mind set and belief that you would remain solitary, Devon?"
She nodded at Delia. "Aye, I was indeed, very several reasons." one being obvious.
"We all had our reasons. I'm glad to see Fate wasn't above proving all of us wrong, though." She glanced from Devon to Joseph then.
"Aye, I agree ta that." and she raised her mug of cider.
She was met with the lazy smile. "Were you one too that felt it would never happen again?" A brow lifting with his question as green eyes held to hers.
Grey-green met the green without faltering. "No. I was one that said I'd make sure it never happened again."
"Darn!" but he was grinning, most said in his eyes that were locked with hers, "I am pleased you changed your mind," much as he did in a way for there had been opportunities he purposely overlooked until her.
"I was conspired against." She smiled serenely, but the eyes betrayed her humor.
"Aye, that be what they all say..." she chuckled.
"Indeed, it was a conspiracy on us both. We need to find out who the culprit was." He was looking in that way, half lidded beneath thick lashes. Green eyes held a gleam that seemed to go so well with the lazy smile.
"Oh, I think we know who the culprit was," came the immediate response, though she laughed, seeing the lazy smile.
"I think there was more than one..."
"There might have been."
Grinning at the way that sounded, "aye, might have," adding in a wink. It was getting late and they had the whole house to themselves, well, except the staff but they would not be bothering them. "Shall we head back and have a bit o' tea and you can tell me about your day before we get some sleep?"
"That would be lovely. Will you excuse us, Devon?" the time alone was rare enough with two active children and respective duties that she intended to make the most of the opportunity when she had it.
"Of course." She was getting tired herself and would be heading home before Allan worried too much about her. "Ye both have a wonderful night. and congratulations again... was nice ta meet ye Delia."
"Can we see you home if you're going also?" Being everyone else left he doubted she would be staying alone. Well there was Alex or maybe meeting Allan late. "I have a carriage here at our disposal and plenty of room."
"Congratulations to you as well on your forthcoming blessing, Devon. It was wonderful to meet you as well." She smiled, then nodded to his words, but the woman had been too quick.
He watched her leave before the offer was completely out. "Maybe Allan is here to pick her up," knowing she could hear better than most. He finished off his drink before seeing 'Delia out, "shall we ride double or did you make use of a carriage?"
"I walked, so I fear you'll have to play cavalier and carry me on your horse." Not that it looked like she minded a bit.
Releasing the reins to loop over the saddle horn, "I happen to like that mode of transportation," smile came fuller as he helped her up onto the workhorse, one that could certainly manage them both easily. He was up behind her smoothly before taking the reins up which would have his arms around her that she could tuck herself back in against his chest. A click of his tongue and they started off.
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 4
Last Minute Preparations
The last of the construction was done not only the museum, head Zoologist apartments and general offices but many of the environments for the animals on their way. Ice got word that Faelan brought in a few to start them off. The solarium would hold all kinds of birds in one open area with fine wire netting at a certain height. Good height for the small trees within as well a pond fed by water down rocks and vegetation. The construction had it so clear panels would slide in over the fine netting during the winter and a moderate temperature kept throughout that season. Maurice sent word to both Calum and Kaylea to join him at the main building. Attired in a blue poets shirt, tailored black pants and boots lacing up, he was comfortable yet presentable as oppose to chaps with dirt and what else coated from the cattle round up earlier.
With the note from Maurice tucked away in a trouser pocket, Calum had made his way to the zoological gardens. He'd participated only minimally in the planning and actual construction of the administrative and housing buildings. The greater majority of his time had been spent in the lay-out of the outdoor exhibits, such as the Dark Continent Savannah, and in the construction of barriers that looked natural and unobtrusive, but that would serve to keep predator and prey species safely segregated. He'd arrived early enough to give the grounds a cursory walk through, and then he headed to the main building to meet with Maurice and Kaylea. He was clad in simple, light attire... an olive drab shirt worn over medium brown trousers, and his customary hiking boots.
Kaylea was anxious to see the completed aviary, though she had been checking on the progress of the construction nearly every day. She had certain birds in mind, and an idea of how to keep the predators away from the others. The children's area too, was her domain, and she had animals in mind for that. Of course, some would be farm animals, or ones of the forests surrounding Heathfield though she knew they would be mostly young animals. She was dressed practically in natural colored doeskin pants, a pale green shirt with short sleeves, and boots. As she approached the two men, she smiled. "Hello gentlemen, good to see you both."
"Good to see you both," roguish grin tucked within the thick russet beard as he took up a seat on the marble slab on the one side of the steps leading up. "Have you both moved in yet? If not, you can at your convenience. The smaller manor is also finished and there is a skeleton staff hired to maintain it. Cook if needed, chambermaid and a fix-it gardener. Same for the museum here along with a few guards." Taking a moment in pause and adding a request, "I have a good friend that could be of service here, real big guy by the name of Patch. I can see him helping you out a lot, Calum, especially, with the larger animals."
One of the exhibits that he was the happiest with was that which held the "African Unicorns", known more properly among naturalists as rhinoceroses. Calum had hoped for a single specimen at best, but a mating pair had been acquired and successfully delivered to the zoo. Both Maurice and Kaylea were greeted with a cheerful cordiality once they were all assembled in the main administrative building. "And a pleasant good evening to the both of you," Calum offered in a genial tone. At the mention of added assistance, Calum turned his attention to Maurice. "If he comes with your recommendation, I'd only be too happy to meet with this fellow." That said, he looked to Kaylea. "And all goes well with your fields of endeavor, I trust? Is there anything that I may be able to help you with?"
Patch. She took note of the name then looked at Calum and nodded. "It's coming along well, though I'm at a bit of a loss about what to do with the camel Amory Randall has donated. His name is Clyde and he is more like a large dog then camel. I'd like to see if both you and Maurice would take a look and see if you think he'd be safe to give rides to children." She grinned then, almost impishly. "And the ostriches that we're to receive, I think would be best in the larger part of the exhibit?" She wasn't sure about those strange looking birds. There were peacocks and hens that could wander the grounds during the warmer months. "How are things proceeding with you?"
Calum paused for a moment, his chin held between his thumb and forefinger as he pondered the possibilities for exhibiting the camel. As his hand fell away from his jaw, a small grin marked his features, and he gave a single nod of his head as he replied to Kaylea. "Clyde might be happiest in the petting zoo, giving rides to the children, as you've suggested. Insofar as the ostriches go, they'll fit in wonderfully in the savannah exhibit. Many of the same species that they co-exist with in their natural habitat will also be on exhibit there... zebras, gazelles, giraffes and wildebeests. I'm still trying to work out some details with regards to some of our more... exotic exhibits. Since you seem to have an affinity for our feathered friends, you might be able to help me out with those that are capable of flight."
"Certainly." She studied him a moment, a smile playing over her lips. "Might I ask which you are looking at? Oh, and I've also received a letter from a woman who now resides in Kildare. She has a small marmoset who has been in the care of one of the maids here. I'd like to see to a mate for him once we have a special enclosure. They'll need to be kept very warm during the winter months." She suddenly laughed. "We're being horribly formal, aren't we?"
Calum chuckled and gave a dismissive, friendly wave of his hand at the mention of formality. "Oh, that'll pass quickly enough, I'm sure," he answered with a soft chuckle. "As for the marmoset, I've no doubt that we'll find a mate for it. Now, as to the more exotic creatures, one of the possibilities would be a griffon.'
He listened as they talked, noting the rapport which was needed between them. "Aye, he comes with my recommendation and I'll have him stop by, you wont miss who he is, probably over eight feet." Then to Kaylea, "I can have my niece come see him and see how he behaves. Tamara is about ten, maybe some of the younger McAndrews lads too." Provided their parents agreed but he would be there as a safeguard in the least. "I would like you both to make up a list of what you would like acquired from those Faelan got for you. Seems his trip to Kildare is put off and he has time to make another run in the next day or so. Once you move in to your respective homes here, let me know of anything needed. Smaller details might have gone amiss." If small enough and they capable, they would probably see to it themselves. "Faelan had a bit of a problem, they had to make more ventilation in one of the warehouses to house the animals. So I've acquired it exclusively for the zoo to house them right off the ship until they can be brought up here. The ones so far have been delivered once I was certain the environments they were to be moved to were ready."
Over eight feet tall? Definitely one who could handle the larger animals. She looked at Ice and nodded. "That would be perfect. I know how Clyde is around adults at least." It would help Amory out since the beastie had to be stabled away from the horses. "I'll have a list ready for Faelan once I hear what Calum is requesting. Given the amount of time, it would be best if he traveled to one place this trip." Back to Calum and she looked intrigued. "A griffon? How would one be found? If you can acquire a young one, it would be easier to deal with."
"I'm sure that any arrangements that you've made will be more than adequate," Calum offered to Maurice as he took a moment to survey their immediate surroundings. The construction of the main building looked to be of immaculate, meticulous craftsmanship. Upon hearing Kaylea's query, he turned his gaze her way and offered a small, warm smile. "I'm working on the acquisition aspect now," he replied with reference to the griffon. "And legend has it that they are trainable. My most immediate concern is that they are winged creatures, powerful fliers, and their natural prey are creatures of the equine order, most notably, horses."
"I've commissioned Keriann Fraiser to do some sculptures for the main hall leading to the museum and for the museum. Do you have any animals in particular you would like to have statues of, positions, it would be helpful to her. She has already gotten some of the marble slabs I had sent where she now resides, she should be home soon from her honeymoon and will be starting on them right away." Brow lifted as ice blue eyes turned in a flash Calum's way. "You may want to reconsider getting a griffin then, or, get one so young that it can be trained it need not go after any of the domestic animals or ones here in the Zoo." Last thing they needed was a species that would be killing the others, more than the norm.
"I've given that plenty of thought, and I won't be bringing in any of the more... unusual species until I've spoken with you and Kaylea," Calum replied with a nod. "As for a sculpture, is there a particular beast or bird that is associated with a realm crest or emblem? Perhaps a lion, tiger, or an eagle?"
She chuckled as she listened, though her eyes lit up with mention of the sculptures. "I think it would be delightful to have ones of baby animals as well. Maybe one or two, like a baby elephant." One of the ones she was hoping to acquire for the petting zoo. Of course, once it grew, it could be put in the zoo proper or perhaps trained to give rides to children.
Which had him laughing, "The Griffin actually under Karl and I believe the other is a dragon on the Heathfield crest." They were very similar otherwise. Winged serpent basically with legs. He had a pad and pencil which he marked down the idea for the sculptures to give Keriann when she got back. "Should we have a lion, mate and cub for the foyer? Paintings to hang on the walls? I know an excellent artist or two I am set up to commission as well. There is also another idea to present, that of glass cases with an environmental scenario made up with a script telling of the various plants and wildlife depicted in the scenes." They could do quite a few different ones. In time of course as the Zoo would keep being added to in a few ways. "In time, to keep some ideas in mind, we could create a waterway to bring ones down a trip, a very large contained one."
"We certainly seem to have the grounds and resources to make the most of the gardens." A nod punctuated his observation of the facilities and the assigned resources. "Has a date yet been set for the official opening?"
"I like the lion family." She decided, then nodded. "All those are excellent suggestions. I was also asked if we're going to have an education center. And I approached Dr. McKnight about helping us set up a nursery for any baby animals in need." She looked at Calum then at Ice, waiting for the answer to that question.
"That's a very thoughtful notion," Calum said to Kaylea. "Some species do not reproduce or breed well in captive settings, while others breed like rabbits, no pun intended. We should be prepared for most any eventuality, I think."
"One of the reasons I have asked to meet this night. The Zoo can open as soon as you are both ready. So, it is up to you both. As far as classes there are extra rooms in the museum here where they can be held. That depends on if either of you wish to hold such a class on a particular species and how many nights. Perhaps once a week to start and switch each week. Talk on one particular animal and its habits, so forth. You may wish to hire one specifically to take care of these educational lectures." They would need to decide what was realistic on a few points to integrate it.
Calum looked to Kaylea for affirmation, and then shrugged his shoulders and turned his attention back to Maurice. "The larger exhibits are ready for public per view. Adding to them as we go along shouldn't interrupt the day-to-day operations all that much. In fact, we might be able to make something of an educational experience of any new additions as we introduce them into the park... let the public see the process, from a safe vantage point, of course. Kaylea? What do you think?"
"That sounds like a good idea. I was planning to introduce a few of the birds to the aviary at a time, rather then letting them loose all at once. Most of the animals for the petting zoo need only to be allowed to become use to their areas. And we need to move in." She nodded. "I would say at the most, the end of the month?" Now it was her turn to look at the two men to see what they thought.
He was writing these down on another sheet of paper he could then give to them to polish up. Organize time and such particulars. "I'm sure you will come up with many other ideas as you go along. I suggest to carry a pad and pencil with you and write them down. We should have a meeting once every two weeks at least for a while then less frequently or as needed as things work themselves out. A routine established. I would say, moving in is first." Chuckling as he continued, "get some of the animals settled in and gradually add to them. Enough to start in having it worthwhile for people to come see. You may wish to hire one to have a stand for food and drink also."
Calum nodded in agreement with Kaylea's assessment. "Other than making room and time for possible last moment scenarios, the only thing that I have to do is move into my quarters here at the gardens, and I really don't have all that much to move in," he said, and then he added a bit more, agreeing with Maurice's suggestion as to regular meetings and a possible concessions location in the gardens. "Good ideas, those."
"Perhaps the deli owner can help us with the food and drink. Kizzie Cohen is her name I believe, and of course I'll be available for any meetings." She gave Ice a dimpled smile. "I'm looking forward to opening day." She couldn't wait, to be honest!
"I think that would be a good idea if she is willing. There are some others too to consider. I will get some names if needed. There is also the butcher, Graham Frasier that might be interested." To name one off the top of his head, all the while jotting down these notes. Least one could read his writing. Hopefully.
"Any local bakeries or confectioners might wish to sell their wares here as well. Most people will want to have things to nibble on as they stroll the grounds... which reminds me that we'll have to remind them not to feed the animals," Calum offered, making mental notes that he'd commit to hard copy at the first opportunity.
"I was going to suggest the bakery and candy shop as well so that will work out well." She nodded. "We can allow the children to feed some of the animals at the petting zoo. We should probably advertise for grounds keepers in the next Gazette?" Had they covered that? She looked at Ice in question.
"Unless you sell specific food that they can and only at certain times." To toss in that idea. "Do you think by the beginning of September to be moved in, animals that you have and a few more coming, settled in as well, will be enough time? We can put it in the Gazette as that will be getting out soon."
Calum grinned gently and nodded. "Yes, I do think that we'll be needing a few extra sets of hands here and there. How many do we have signed on to this point, if this Patch fellow is interested?"
"There is a skeleton staff for the museum as well the smaller manor Kaylea is to reside. There are extra rooms there for other employees." In short it was a good size manor even if smaller than some around. "There are six guards hired. Two for each main building and two to patrol the grounds, I'm sure you'll be needing a couple more once more animals are brought in. There are two grounds keepers that will come during the day to keep the areas clean as well any gardening needed. If you have specific ideas, then talk to them how you'd like various plants about. There are a number of benches being brought in made by MacGrath furniture specifically for outdoors. Benches and picnic tables. A lot of the grounds will need to be landscaped so we should take a day, earlier in the day, to decide how we want it. I think outside of this building there should be a fountain installed. Mystical creatures the theme and scalloped shaped stone walk around it that will have small tables and chairs. The food stand off to one side where people can relax and have something to eat."
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 5
"The birds should be comfortable within a day or two. The smaller animals are used to pens, and being around people." She looked at Calum then Ice. "Perhaps in the future we can develop a garden with more exotic plants that people can just walk through to enjoy, allow the peacocks and a few other birds to wander through. The benches should have trees to shield them from the sun. We may be looking at a delay of another month."
Morgan's curiosity had gotten the better of her and she trudged up the path, pulling her cousin along with her. "I know it's not open yet, but I don't think we'll get in trouble," her voice a low murmur.
"You NEVER think we are going to get in trouble, until we get in trouble, then you blame it on me.." She muttered back, trudging up behind her cousin, being led by the arm.
"A place to sit and relax besides this area proposed down from this main building. Aye, by next summer I think you'll both have quite a few ideas of what to add and what to improve on. What becomes a need once people are coming in. I will need a list of others needed to be hired. You may well need a few lads to watch those wandering birds and small animals for their safety and others." As an example. This was a preliminary meeting to get the ball rolling now that the buildings were done as well all more natural .. cages. They were outside on the steps of the main building which housed a museum in the making as well the apartments for the head zoo keeper. Another manor on the other side would house others such as Kaylea. "Evening," ice blue eyes in a flash their way as certainly the two could be heard approaching. Roguish grin tucked within the russet beard in an amused slant.
"That's because we always get caught because of you. You just can't keep quiet when we're hiding." She stopped suddenly as she saw others and smiled sheepishly. "Oh....hi."
She sighed heavily when Morgan stopped, rolling her clear blue eyes skyward. "Will I told you so suffice?"
"If everything goes as planned, I think that the zoo should be functioning at maximal capacity within a month or so. Kaylea's initial suggestion of the first week or so of September is fairly close to right," Calum opined. "We could have a preliminary walk-through, an invitation-only thing... have some of the local dignitaries and merchants come through and offer their suggestions and observations." And as if on cue... " Good evening, ladies," Calum said amiably.
Silently, she reached over and pinched her cousin below the ribs, still smiling to Maurice, Calum and Kaylea. "Good evening. We were just taking a stroll, enjoying the night air."
She jerked a little at the pinch, but shook her head and smiled sweetly at those gathered. "And Morgan is nosy." She dipped her head and smiled again to everyone. "Good evening.
Aislinn was so going to get it later. "I hope we're not interrupting anything important?"
"Well, we were discussing the matter of a ritual sacrifice to feed the dragons..." Calum said, barely able to suppress a grin. "And then here the two of you are."
"I like that idea, Calum. It would be a good way to introduce them to the whole concept." She turned to see Morgan and Aislinn and tried to not laugh. "Good evening, ladies. Oh, wonderful idea, Calum!"
She nudged her cousin with a smirk. "Send Morgan first, she's always wanted to meet a dragon.."
"Being curious is the sign of intelligence." Wink given Morgan as a large hand swept indicating the surrounding area. Least as far as they could see for the torches lit along the walk and out the front. "This is the Barrett Memorial Zoological Gardens that will be opening next month." Giving a glance to both Kaylea and Calum as that point had been agreed upon or would be now.
"You know, Aislinn loves dragons. She is half elf, so those magical types should stick together. Solidarity and whatnot," pushing her cousin in front of her with a sweet smile.
She tried to suppress her laughter at Morgan's words, but she looked around with an appreciative eye.
"Why thank you, Kaylea," Calum replied with a prim lift of his chin, and a formal, preening air playfully exhibited. There was a merry little gleam in his eyes as if to show evidence to the jest behind his act.
"I keep trying to tell my cousin the very same thing, Maurice, but she's never been the curious type," a sidelong smirk given to Ais.
"We may well be getting a dragon also if I can convince the man I know that has one to part with it."
She eyeballed her cousin for a moment, but kept quiet on it, knowing she deserved it after her earlier jesting.
She took the time to glance around as well. She couldn't wait until it opened so she could crawl all over the place, investigating. "What kind of animals do you have lined up already?"
"It is indeed beautiful here so far...I can't imagine how wonderful it will be when open."
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my," Calum replied to Morgan, the grin coming into evidence now.
"I am Maurice McDonough, one in charge of this project. Calum Creighton and Kaylea MacKay the zoo keepers of different species." Leaving them to tell of some of their charges and soon to be charges.
Smiling wryly, she gave Calum a droll stare. "That's it?"
"Well, those are standard." She gave a nod then chuckled. "All sorts of birds, small and large primates. A camel." She looked at Calum. "We did get an elephant, didn't we? Or three?"
"Will you be in charge of any animals, yourself, Maurice?" She hoped she wasn't being too forward, using his first name, but he had used hers earlier so she was guessing it was a night for informality."Oh yes," clapping her hands and looking to Kaylea excitedly. "I can't wait for the aviary to open!"
"Pleasure to meet you all, I am Aislinn Murray, Morgan's zoo keeper.." She dipped her head in greeting to all of them in turn, pretty smile curling her lips.
"I've met Miss Morgan Murray before, Maurice," Calum mentioned aside to the man. "And I'm thinking that we might all be a bit safer if we built an exhibit around her. One with stout bars. And a moat."
She flashed a shocked expression for a moment before pouting mournfully. "Am I really that bad? A menace to the public?"
"Rhinoceroses," he whispered aside to Kaylea, and then he extended two fingers. "A pair of them."
She shrugged and nodded in agreement with Calum's idea.."It may be safer for every one."
"And yes, you are," he added quickly to Morgan.
"Only of the human variety," giving her a flash of a wink before a chuckle followed. Watching them in their response to the whole idea as well the animals they would be bringing in, some mystical.
She nudged Ais, frowning. "I think Calum just called us a pair of rhinoceros," murmuring in a low voice.
"A mating pair at that..."
She whistled at Maurice's words and took a long sidestep away from Morgan. "I love you but not that much.."
"Only on a good night," flashing a toothy grin to Maurice.
"No," he replied to Aislinn. "I referred to her," now indicating Morgan," as a menace to the public. Now you...." he paused and eyed her appraisingly for a moment. "I'm thinking Tasmanian Devil."
"And when she is good, she is very very good and when she is bad... she is better?" This time sending a wink Aislinn's way.
She had to bite her lower lip to keep from laughing as she glanced at the two women. A dragon and a pair of rhinoceroses. She'd have to see about a young elephant at least!
"You got the devil part right. She's got quite a temper and is snippy if woken too early."
"Spitting and sputtering, growling and grumbling?"
"Don't forget drooling and smelly."
She smirked, a cat in the cream look on her face.. "So you've heard about me then?" She winked to everyone and laughed softly.
"Indeed, your reputation precedes you. A glorious one, colorful and fearful to some. You should be right proud." It would be the spark in ice blue eyes and the wicked grin that lent to the teasing.
She rubbed her hands together and grinned impishly. "Ha! Just what I was going for!"
"Great! Let me know when you've got her settled in her exhibit. I promise to visit every once in awhile, and throw popcorn at her through the bars. Maybe poke her with a stick, if I'm feeling frisky."
"That would be high praise, indeed, considering the source," Calum offered wryly, looking from Morgan to Aislinn, and then back again.
She laughed and narrowed her eyes at Calum. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you had it in for me, Calum."
Hand slid out to tickle at Kaylea's side, "go ahead, let it out, I want to hear you laugh."
"Don't worry Morgan..they saved a spot for you in the snake pit." She snickered and nudged her cousin.
He affected a most innocent demeanor. "Why, Miss Murray, whatever do you mean?"
A mercurial thought flitted through her mind at Aislinn's comment, and she burst out laughing, thinking of yesterday's conversation.
"We could always lock Calum and Morgan in the same cage, sit and watch, see what happens," always willing with a suggestion and certain a wicked gleam in blue eyes.
She squeaked then started to laugh, wiggling away from Maurice though she did perk at his suggestion. "Who comes out alive?"
"Not without a whip and a chair!"
"Aw, I wouldn't eat him - unless he wanted me to," waggling her brows at Calum and eyeing him as if he were a tasty snack.
"Or married..." flashing a smile quite wide for a brief moment.
"Ooh a whip AND a chair. You'll be right busy then Cousin.."
At the point, he crossed his forefingers into the shape of a crucifix and brandished them at Maurice.
"I can throw in chains, handcuffs and a flavored gel pit to fight it out in."
"Are you locking a priest in there, as well?" She laughed heartily, shaking her head. "Great, that means I can have a seat while I set him to work, cracking the whip over him. You really know how to sweet talk a girl, Maurice!"
"I'll sell the tickets.." She grinned at Maurice.
"But if you sell tickets, I get at least fifty percent," and she laughed as she and her cousin had the same thought.
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 6
She was waiting for one of them to run when Maurice mentioned marriage though she did look at him a moment. "I'll sell the refreshments."
He dipped his head, if only she knew what he had in his tavern up north. The threat was real, least on the flavored gel pit.
"We could rent the cage out when they're through...It could solve ALLL sorts of problems.."
"Or just help Aislinn get a date," smirking.
"As long as they don't leave a mess behind."
She shrugged.."Whatever it takes.."
"Is that the voice of experience chiming in, Aislinn?" Calum asked, his head tilted slightly to one side as he regarded the woman with a rakish mien.
"Here's a good idea. Take Ais and another single woman, dangle a naked knight above them and see who gets to him first. My money would be on Ais."
To Calum she laughingly spoke.. "So I have some experience..." and shrugged again. To Morgan she replied.. "My money would be on me too.." She waggled her brows and bounced on the balls of her bare feet.
"Is Kaylea being exploited, as well? I feel it's only fair, being as she's so conveniently quiet."
"I am not being exploited. I happen to be the assistant zoo keeper and as such, I get to watch for free." Beam!
"Assistant? Better make sure you also don't have to clean the cage afterward. Check the fine print in your contract."
"No, I don't have anything to do with the larger cages." She chuckled. "That will be someone else's job."
"It has to be a knight? Do you have then a certain knight in mind you wish to dangle naked as bait?" Oh, she had his curiosity and amusement too.
"Were I to exploit Kaylea's talents and capabilities, it would not to be to clean cages anyway," Calum offered, and then a wink was given aside to Kaylea.
She nods emphatically in agreement with Morgan.. "Wouldn't want that job myself.." She laughed at Maurice's curiosity.... "All of them.."
She laughed and winked back to Calum then chuckled again. "Morgan has all of them in mind, or do you?"
"All at once so you can have a knight feast?" He was grinning again. "Who is going to catch the knights to strip them down so they can be dangled?"
"Well...." her tone conspiratorial. She grinned, studying her cousin for a moment before shrugging. "True, she's not picky." cough-desperate-cough.
"That may well be why they've all been putting in extra practice as of late," Calum remarked.
He waggled a forefinger in Morgan's direction, "seems she has at least one certain one she'd like to see." Certainly looked that way to him.
"Perhaps we could trick them...Fake a damsel in distress or something..Perhaps a damsel in undress..." The last was thrown in flippantly.
"So the preliminary dangling of naked girl to catch the knights, then once caught, the dangling of naked knights for girls to fight over. This could be a real money maker."
"Is this a new theory to try out, Aislinn. A naked damsel in distress would need a naked knight to the rescue?"
"Dangling knights ... could be dangerous." Ahem!
"Or is this what you had in mind for the, ah....'snake pit'?"
She nodded, a thoughtful look on her face.." Sounds like it may work."
"I think that I'll stick to tending to wild and ferocious animals. It seems... safer." A firm nod embellished his assertion.
"Especially if their swords are drawn."
She nearly fell over with the laughter that escaped her at Maurice's last comment..She could barely catch her breath she was laughing so hard.."Oooh...that is too good.."
Which he finally let out a robust laugh, "I would agree with you there. Luckily neither of us are knights, so we're safe."
"Women are ferocious animals, Calum," snickering behind her hand. "Or didn't you know that?"
"I think I agree, Calum." She certainly wouldn't be one of the damsels or fighting lasses's. Laughing, she looked over both men. "Well, they could include more than the knights, couldn't they?"
"Especially when facing their pray.." Fiery curls bounced around her as she nodded in emphasis.
"Some are more ferocious than others, I think," he replied to Morgan, and then he gave her a pointed look, as if to say, Yes, I'm referring to YOU.
"Have you tested this out Aislinn, on your prey?" She sounded like it might come from experience.
"Moi?" a deprecating hand to her chest. "No, I'm one of the cute and cuddly ones. I haven't even bitten anyone since I've settled here."
"Yet.." he just had to add that.
"Yes..she bit the night before..."
"Oh, do tell, Aislinn. Was it one of these knights?"
"What? I most certainly did not," flashing an indignant look to her cousin, hands on hips.
To Maurice... "The best opinions come from experience.." She winked to him.
"Not to mention that most people tend to think of bears as cute and cuddly, too."
"Cute and cuddly is all a ploy, she lures you in and then SNAP..it's too late.."
"If you overlook their mouthful of carnivorous teeth that could take a man's head off.."
"I seem to recall you saying the exact same thing about yourself just last night, in front of Neesie. I have a witness. Don't try and blame me for the same. Ninja cat indeed," she muttered, sticking her tongue out at Aislinn.
She swayed forward and back on her feet, a childlike picture of innocence in that gesture.." I had to learn it somewhere."
"Aye, no doubt the countless tavern's we've worked in, and the harlots we worked with."
"I think some consider the larger cats in the same way." Meaning cute and cuddly.
"Or the harlots we live with..." She ran to hide behind Maurice before Morgan could soundly smack her.
"I think that I will leave this discussion to the panel of experts at hand," Calum offered with a slight bow at the waist. "I should head back to the Thistle and finish packing my things so that I may move them here on the morrow."
It was getting late as he tore off the sheet of paper to give to Calum and a duplicate one to Kaylea on what they talked on this night. "Remember, Patch might well come by tomorrow or within the next few days. I think you can find a place for him to stay here. He might want a small cabin, there is one close to here." Well, maybe not a small cabin and the one close was not small in that way. "Or I can see to having an abode built for him if he takes on the job." Calum would understand why when he got to meet him.
Calum accepted the piece of paper that Maurice offered, and then nodded. "I look forward to taking the meeting with him. I'll let you know if he accepts the offer." His attention was then turned to everyone in general. "Good night, all... and happy hunting." That last bit was offered directly to the cousins!
Aislinn was going to find herself locked out of a certain shop tonight, if she wasn't careful. Sniffing haughtily, she nodded to the others. "Good evening, then. I'll be burying a body, if anyone is looking for me."
"Good night! Safe travels.."
"Good night, Calum. I'll likely see you tomorrow." Since she'd be moving into the smaller manor.
She was sure to keep a few feet between herself and her cousin.
Wait, Aislinn was behind him as once the sheets were handed off, he scooped her up over a broad shoulder. "Where do you want me to put her?"
"Sleep well, everyone. I think it's time I sought my bed, as well. You can feed her to the lions, save yourself some coin on supplies."
"I best follow her before she locks me out!" She laughed at being swept off her feet..so to speak. "Wherever you go I shall follow Maurice..seeing as how I don't have a choice.."
He set her down so she could leave with her cousin. Laughing as he glanced then to Kaylea, "would you ladies like an escort back to the commons?"
"But of course, gallant sir. Thank you for the offer."
"I would be amiss if I didn't accept." She was laughing as well and trying not to think of all the packing she had to do.
She nodded with a grin. "At least with your escort she can't kill me yet.."
".......yet," she muttered.
"Well then ladies, I have the honor." Both arms offered in a bend and certainly two would fit on one arm as he escorted them back.
With a grin, she shoved Ais out of the way and accepted Maurice's arm, smirking smugly to her cousin. "Oh, I'm so sorry....were you there? I didn't see you," her voice not contrite in the slightest.
She slid her arm through his, letting the cousins duke it out for the other.
She laughed heartily at that and followed them back to the commons...it was easier to stay out of harms way if Morgan was otherwise occupied.
One could imagine the antics on the way back to the commons!
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 7
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 8
glanced at Faelan but didn't say anything. He knew they were never going
to agree with Regan on this, even if her ship were sleek and fast. He
had no doubt she'd even argue with James on that. Probably not their Da,
but the eldest, yes. "Do you have a deadline for getting the
animals? I know you'd like them as soon as possible but in case there
are delays, will we be messing up plans?" He didn't know if the zoo
stayed open year around or not. And before they left, he decided to make
it a point to visit the zoo.
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 9
Memorial Zoological Gardens
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