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Betting - Win or Lose

Date: 05-10-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 1

The Bet Date
Ellyn and Tykir

The appointed hour had arrived and Tykir tied both horses to the ring outside the Thistle. He had worried, at first, that they may have to reschedule. Considering mother nature had decided this to be a day to water her greenery. But, she had also decided to be kind, and now the sun reflected off of the wet grass in crystals, Heathfield was sparkling clean for the young Frasier lass to see Her. He started up the steps and to the door.

A time had been set and as she got ready for the outing she worried her bottom lip watching the rain fall outside. Normally she enjoyed the rain, even ran around in it half naked when so inspired and the air a bit warmer. A riding outfit of deep greens to lighter shades was chosen, feeling like she would blend in well with spring. Hair was pulled back so the wind would not have it in her face and set into a French braid. She was soon making her way downstairs as she called out to Alex as she descended the last step. "Has Tykir arrived?" Certainly the older gentleman had a keen eye that Ellyn was going on some kind of date with the dark prince. It wasn't quite that, like he had asked her out, but she didn't even think to explain it.

Having just opened the door when Ellyn called to Alex, Tykir grinned. "Indeed he has!" He nodded off a greeting to Alex and crossed to where Ellyn stood. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Lady Frasier." He leaned in to peck a kiss to her cheek and then offered his arm to her. "I suppose I should be bemoaning the fact I lost a bet...but I can't think of a better debt to be owing than spending my day with a lovely lady on horseback, touring the lands we call home."

She chuckled under her breath with the kiss to her cheek as the thought of how bold she'd been to kiss his lips in contrast. "I can almost feel guilty but no matter how I tried, I cannot. Three reasons." Giving him a sidelong glance that had the discreet lowering of dark lashes. "I enjoy your company. I love horseback riding and I have wanted to see Heathfield lands." So there was no way she could feel one bit guilty over the end result of her betting him. "So, it works out well for both of us." Her hand set to his arm for the escort.

He walked them through the establishment, not even looking to Alex who was grinning as he polished glasses. He stopped at her horse, lacing his fingers so he could give her a step up to mount. "Oh, I thought of that, the fact that I could win no matter the outcome." He chucked to himself, his head bent, not meeting her eyes as he waited to heft her on up.

She was nimble too, her foot placed in against his laced fingers as she hardly put any weight there and she was up into the saddle. "I'm pleased you will enjoy the time and not a chore. Although you may want to guard your lips, you never know." She could tease but such a beguiling smile that was offered with the last of her words could leave him wondering. Especially since she'd kissed him already. Except, she changed the subject, "how have you been since I've last seen you?" Lacing the reins through the leather riding gloves she wore. A light cloak also worn over the riding outfit, one of a deep brown and lined in creamy soft material. The hood draped down her back as it would not be needed.

Once Ellyn was settled, Tykir mounted his own horse. He clicked it into motion, making a complete circle and coming up along side her again. "I don't need to be on my guard with you, Ellyn." Then he tapped his heels to the horse's thick middle and started him down the street at a leisurely trot. Tykir was easily misread, and perhaps he liked it that way. If anyone took the time to consider his upbringing, however, they would realize he was as far from shy, naive, innocent, unworldly as the earth was from the moon. He grew up in the company of knights, spent his evenings in foreign lands, and he was a seventeen year old male. A threat of kisses was not really a threat now was it? "Have you any place in mind you'd like to see?"

His words only had her smiling. One could wonder what thoughts were behind it but she was soon keeping abreast as she easily guided the horse. "Have you been to the McDonough stables? I hear they have a variety of horses, from racer to work to riding. Some that can do various tasks." There was a soft purring sound as she took in a deep breath. "I think I smell the early lilacs.." that sweet unforgettable fragrance seemed to fill the air in a spot they passed.

He smiled over to her, nodding his head. "I have been...does that mean you wish to?" As they traveled, he started them in that direction. He drew in a deep breath, appreciating the fragrance as well but he didn't say anything about it. "Considering your Uncle's affiliation with horses, I wouldn't have thought horses would be what you wished to see first.."

"No, not today. I plan to buy a horse from Rory but another time. Perhaps tomorrow. Today I wish to get in sight seeing as much as we can." Time went by fast. "I have not seen the lake yet. I hear it is breathtaking in the autumn when the trees turn golden." How she heard it got its name. "It is close to the McDonough place," so she might see the road he would need to take.

"Then this is the road there." He nodded to the road as they continued on their way. "And we can go to the lake anytime, Ellyn." He remembered how pleased she had seemed when she smelled the lilacs. "Would you like to visit the gardens?" He didn't look over to her, just looked out over their way. "And then there's the hot springs. And we could ride along by the crystal cave. We can't go in, but we can ride by."

"They are in bloom?" Figuring they might be some but who knew, it was spring and they might have all the springtime flowers blooming already. "Are they far from here? I hear there are waterfalls too throughout the lands." Moving up alongside again as she had lagged behind to check out the road that led up to the McDonough ranches. "What other points of interest do your lands hold?" He would be the expert, she was going by heresay.

He would have thought the Frasiers would have told her of these lands but, it seemed not. "The Celtic Gardens are always in bloom." He smiled, glancing over to her. "They are at the castle though. I don't really know what kind of things you like, Ellyn. Except, you've made it obvious you enjoy flowers." The caves were out then, and the springs...they didn't seem to intrigue her. "There are waterfalls, some just a tumble down a river, others pouring down from cliffs which seem to touch the sky, and then some that hide the caves beyond that curtain of water. There are some that we used to jump from, into the deep reservoir of water below it."

"I though there were caves to explore?" Eyeing him as she was pretty much open to all kinds of adventures. "I like a lot of things, most everything. I would like even to see the kingly practice field. I hear there are some caves behind the ones tumbling down the mountainside. Have you been in any of them?" Now she was curious as to what he was interested in.

He had started to mention the training field, but since most were gone from there for the day, it wasn't really an option for today. He had mentioned the caves behind the waterfalls because he had been in some of them. "A few... I've been in a few." He grinned, and with a nod of head, gave his horse a nudge. The animal responded immediately, taking off in a gallop down the road. To the waterfalls it would be. He cut a look around his shoulder as he leaned close to his mount's neck, just to make sure she was following. He didn't give a second thought to the fact that she wasn't an experienced rider. Her uncles ran the horsetrack!

"Did you ever find anything in them?" Called after him as he took off then she too was off in a gallop after him. In this case she didn't try to get ahead of him either for she didn't know her way but certainly she was making note of the countryside. "Can you lift someone up with you when you fly?" Another curious question called out as she drew closer.

Racing on a horse could be breathtaking. Staying mounted as the animal soared along, muscles of the legs and arms tight, stomach clenched - back taut to keep balance. He straightened as they entered the forest which hid the whereabouts of the waterfall and slowed his speed so she could come up alongside him. "Nothing that has been taken out, so you'll see for yourself." A quick glance around then he reined off from the main road. No path led the way where they were going, it was memory from this point on. "And yes, I can...lift someone." He'd been practicing, but not with a person. An obliging calf or a fat, lazy sheep, all made for excellent sources of finding out just how much weight he could lift, strengthening his wings every time he chose something larger to heft. "What did you do, do you do, for fun when in Falkirk?"

She loved the feel of the wind in her hair, the 'not a care in the world' wild ride as she caught her breath once it was over leaving her tingling. Following Tykir as she took note of that all about her in case she came back this way another time. Dare the devil and she probably would. She might not be able to see the waterfall but she could hear it. "Oh, it sounds big," not knowing exactly how to describe it but certainly it was a powerful sound of nature. "Who have you lifted so far?" Curiosity drawing her back to the previous conversation. She would also answer his query, only fair, "I do a lot in Falkirk but most is helping out. What is fun is when I escape the manor. Sometimes to ride off in the fields or down to the racetrack to watch the races. I also help out there but I love working with horses." So she didn't consider that a chore.

Tykir moved his horse closer to hers, leaning toward her as he pointed into the thickness of trees. "The trees all around keep us from seeing the cliff side, but just through there, we're close." With that, he looked to her, smiled, and eased from his horse. Reins were tossed and dangled over the branch of a tree and he waved Ellyn on. "Who?" He laughed then, looking over his shoulder to hide the slight embarrassment at having to say ... what ... instead of who. "I've been practicing with livestock." A shrug of shoulder followed and he kicked the heel of his boot into the ground where he stood watching the motion with his gaze.

"Ah.." then laughing as she dismounted. She pictured him with a squealing piglet in his arms, scaring it half to death as he lifted up taking wing. She had to bite her bottom lip while a twinkle was left in green eyes as she surveyed their surroundings. She left her horse near his before starting off in the direction of the sound. "Maybe we should make this one of the gang's excursion." Half turning around to walk backwards before she back righted so she didn't trip over anything.

He had to laugh too, glancing up and over to her as she filled the air with her amusement. "That's an idea." He answered through his chuckle and it was his turn to follow her for a little. "There's a narrow little goat trail along the side of the cliff. That will take us to the face of the cave hidden by the falls. Unless, you want me to test my wings...and we can just jump from the edge." A dark brow twitched with his good humor, and dang it! Just as he was being so ... dashing...he tripped on a hidden root and stumbled a few steps before he could catch his balance.

That had her stop in her tacks as she turned with a blink. Fear was there for a fleeting moment she didn't like having it seen and knowing it would be. "The goat trail will be fine, I'm heavier than a piglet," so her thoughts came out and she was quickly back around to follow the trail and not over the edge where he might drop her.

Tykir tilted his head, sizing her up. "I don't know about that, Ellyn. But, definitely not heavier than a colt." He didn't miss the fear in her gaze and so he nodded. "But the trail it will be. Follow behind me and hold to my hand and that way, if you start to slip off, I can grab you back." This trail was made so narrow, so precarious, that only a goat felt comfortable traveling it. It was even daunting for a prince who could fly if his footing slipped.

She wasn't going to pass up that offer. Brave as she was, there were certain heights that didn't agree with her stomach too well. She would have a vice grip on his hand as she trailed from behind. She didn't look to the depth on her side but concentrated on her footing. Luckily she was nimble enough. Under different circumstances she may have asked he tried to lift her up in flight over ground that was not far from underfoot. "So, when did you start flying? Could you as soon as you were born or close afterwards?" Yes, keep up the conversation.

Tykir, too, kept his gaze on the ground, picking his steps well. His hold on Ellyn's hand was tight, matching hers as they snaked a way along. Spray from the falls misted on their skin as they neared. This close they had to shout to the heard past the roar of water. "I was young, but it was because I saw Rina, and I wanted to be able to do anything she could do."

"Do you still wish to do anything she can do?" She was still watching her step, picking them as carefully as he was. She lifted her face to the spray of water as laughter bubbled up with the feel. Something she enjoyed. It was as good as running around the lush green lawn during a spring shower. She was shouting back wondering when the trail would get a little wider that they could really enjoy the waterfall without fearing to fall, well he wouldn't fall but she could.

The path wouldn't spread out for them, it remained tight up until they slipped in behind the roaring crash of water. Instantly the temperature dropped and shallow puddles riddled the smooth rock flooring at the entrance. "First time I came in here I felt like I was entering into another world." His voice carried and, at the same time, was eaten up by the sound. An odd combination, indeed, otherworldly. "And..." He gave Ellyn's hand a squeeze and then released the hold. "No, I don't particularly want to be prancing about in dresses and perfume. So no, I'm quite content to be myself now, doing what I do." He grinned and with a motion of head continued into the darker confines of the cave.

"That is rather..." pausing a moment with a twinkle set in her eyes, "refreshing to know. Otherwise you'd look like you were to be on the top of a tree at Christmastide." Which was an amusing visual as she settled once into the mouth of the cave where there was more room to look around. It would take a few minutes for her eyes to adjust and her hair was already curling from the mist that settled on it like a mystical silver sheen. "It's really nice in here," he was right saying it was like entering another world, another realm of existence. Of course she started to look around, see what she could find.

Tykir laughed at that, nodding his head and he stayed close to her as she wandered. "Look at these carvings." He lifted his hand above her shoulder, tracing his fingertips along the pictures which were dug into the rock. Stick men fishing, hunting, the waterfall ...

Which shifted her attention to where he traced the patterns on the wall. They told a story, "look, this one seems to have taken the beast down and all are hailing him," it showed severe winters where it seemed they buried a few, old and young alike. There were depictions of family but mostly of game for that was their life. "I wonder how they would tell their stories and what was important to them." Which the tip of her boot came in contact with something she crouched down to come back up with. Holding it to the light it looked like some kind of whistle which she then tried out. It gave off an eerie sound that echoed through the cave as if calling to those very souls they talked about. She swore something stir in the back of the cave beyond where any light could penetrate.

Tykir also shot a look to the rear of the cave, catching something from the corner of his eye when Ellyn sent that blast of ghostly sound echoing. "Crap, did you see that, Ellyn?" He shot a look to her then took off in a trot toward the area he had seen the movement. He spun once, waving her to follow, and was once again in chase.

"Yes," came in a whoosh with a good amount of excitement mixed. "It is fast," whatever it was." Mostly it didn't growl or even hiss so that ruled out bear nor puma. She was after him but would let him be the great white hunter.

It was fast. Faster than Tykir. A shadow, flitting across a darkened wall and gone into the darkness that left no room for shadows. Tykir skidded to a halt at the perimeter of that dark void. Oh, he was wanting to go on, it took everything in him not to race on. But he stopped, putting out an arm to halt Ellyn to and the two of them would stand there, eyeing the blackness. And then, there was a creak. A deep, long, threatening creak. And a crack, a loud, close, vibrating crack. Tykir shot a look to Ellyn. "Oh shit." Was all he got out and the rock beneath their feet shattered and dropped away.

He came up short, she crashed into him with arm out like that and near flipped over it. Instead she managed to grab on, her feet sliding ahead as she pulled herself back up. She was breathless, more for adrenaline pumping on the unknown. Shadows. Boogie men in the night feel to it. Yet, excited too at the prospect of facing the unknown. First came a "what?" nervously glancing around but then, holy hell in a basket, they were falling as rock beneath their feet gave way. Naturally she grabbed on to the closest thing available -- him. If he could see her face it was sheer fear of falling turned white as a sheet.

That one arm wrapped around her, he didn't really need to hold on to her, she was clinging to him! Even with the rock crumbling all around, he managed to keep any of the weight from crashing on them and with wings spread, drifted them down, down until feet touched solid ground again. Amazing! The cavern they landed in glowed with purple light, the amethyst gems embedded in the walls caught what little light filtered in from above and magnified it until shards of light shot out in every direction. Tykir looked around in awe, releasing his tight hold on Ellyn once he felt they were safe. Because he'd have to feel, he really couldn't think right now. That is, until his gaze lowered to the floor and ... he blinked ... and didn't move a muscle. The floor beneath their feet looked to be a sheet of glass ... and he realized that this oval cavern continued down so far he couldn't even see the end of it.

Her heart flipped up into her throat then down again when she realized, in the next split second, that she was not continuing to fall but was being carried as Tykir's wings spread. "Oh my," with a how wonderful tone to the comment. Another, "oh my," came with the tone of pure amazement when they were submerged in the purple light. That was soon dashed as he released her and she as well looked down after being mesmerized by the crystal shards. Blink. "Ty....kir?" As if he had an explanation. Would the glass give way too? A hand was already reaching out to grab onto his arm, or shirt, whatever came into contact first. He would be her lifeline if it did, for he had the wings! She was to become a warrior but hell if there wasn't one downfall (almost literally) or weakness she had.. and that was heights.

"How thick do you think it ..." His gaze squinted, noticing the darker white spiderweb of lines starting to spread around Ellyn's feet. Never mind that question. "Here's what we're going to do. Slowly, we're going to back up to the wall behind us. Okay?" Crappollacrackolla. The telltale white of weakening floor continued to spread. He snatched his gaze up to her in the hopes she wouldn't look down again. "Lightly, you forward, me back, okay, Ellyn?" He smiled to her. Nothing was wrong. Nothing at all. They were in a beautiful place, and she, illuminated by an almost magical purple glow. "You look lovely in purple." He continued, back stepping toward the wall in the hopes that the flooring would be more solid closer to the origin of the support. The entire time he held her gaze as best he could, backing up, talking.

"Doesn't..." but that was all she got out as those thin lines were spreading out from her feet like a spider web being woven. One that did not forebode well at all. She swallowed hard as she nodded, her ears drumming with his words. She finally looked up but her grip on his shirt would have permanent wrinkles in it. She needed something to hold onto in that elusive feel that she would not fall. Nodding as she moved forward with his backwards steps. At least looking upon his face and not down, gave her some confidence. She was afraid to say a word that if by doing so, the floor beneath them would be gone again!

Tykir bumped into the wall behind him with a good amount of force, his head thunking against the solid structure and causing him to grimace. At least they were here. While the threads of cracks spread out all over the floor, there was a musical resonance to it. Almost as if with each additional strand, each lengthening of line, wind passed through the reed of an instrument, strings were strummed, all with the undertone of a deep, vibrating, almost inaudible bass of drum. If it wasn't for their present predicament, it might be rather pleasant to hear. Tykir cleared his throat, forcing out another twitch of a smile to Ellyn. Rocks were one thing to dodge, shards of glass, or whatever this clear substance was, might be more difficult and far more dangerous. Those words were not spoken though. Instead. "At the count of three, we'll run out to the center, you hang on to me tight, and I'll take to the air...up." If the floor collapsed beneath them, they'd already be airborne and on their way to safety.


Date: 05-10-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 2

"Look out for...," she winced when his head thunked in the next second. Could they hold onto the wall? Would that do any good if the glass type floor gave way? All these thoughts were going furiously through her mind and none coming up with a good end result. A blink was followed by, "do you hear music?" She dared to look over her shoulder as if she could see music. Humor was never far away from Ellyn as she quipped, green eyes back upon his, "if a guy ever wanted a ploy to get a lass up close and personal..." teasing. Yes, she was teasing him during this dire situation. Maybe it helped her. Giving a nod to his instructions the whole while she spoke. She was ready to follow his lead and would cling to him like white on rice. He could make a sure bet on that one!

Too bad Tykir wasn't randy enough to think of that! He smiled with sincerity following her comment though then looked over her shoulder to the center of the room. The floor there was practically white still ... "One, two..." And he drew in his breath to say three and run. The twang of a mis-plucked string and poorly pressed keys ... and Ellyn was gone! He didn't even have time to reach out and snatch her. Only a circle of narrow ledge remained along the entire circle and Tykir was standing on it. But Ellyn? Ellyn was gone! So Tykir dove into the darkness below.

That's why she could tease him for she knew it was truly innocent. She squealed when three was not needed to be spoken or it was and drowned out by the sound that came from her throat. One that surprised her! It was followed by a scream. One that would send a Banshee running! Her worse nightmare was realized and her world gone as she dropped, dropped like lead in water. She was falling, she couldn't breathe for the fear that welled up and for certain she was going to be dead! All the things she would not get to do went whirling through her thoughts, all those that would miss her, all those she would miss.

It was easy enough to follow the sound of her fear to find her. Blunt, not sharp, beads of crystals hailed down on them as he soared in an arrow's course straight to the sound. The cavern beneath that layer opened up, as if there were not walls at all and gave Tykir plenty of room to fly. But he didn't fly yet, he swooped down, narrowed in, and caught her beneath her arms, and only then snapped out his wings to send them sailing to the side rather than down. He held her tight, her back to his front, arms wrapped around her, hands locked in front of her. Even as they started to ascend, he noticed that the crystals were healing themselves, filling in, creating a ceiling where once the floor had been. "Son of a ..." He breathed, there was nothing to do but to go down, into the darkness, and the unknown.

She almost fainted in his arms when caught up. She had thought herself dead and now there was hope. She felt light headed and her whole body drained of any energy for those few moments. "What is this," managed out in a hushed whisper. She felt like she couldn't think at all but clarity was starting to fill in again. She tried to look, tried to figure out what she was seeing. Obviously the floor was becoming a ceiling what lay beneath them then? She didn't dare to look down. Yet.

They could have tried to chip away at the crystals with Tykir's dagger, but that would have left one of them holding with only one arm...probably not the best thing right now. "Looks like our adventure continues below, Ellyn." Tykir breathed close to her ear, and with them both in a standing position, he started lowering them down ... and down ... and down some more ... dang ... he wasn't really liking this whole feet into the unknown thing going on. They probably lowered a good twenty stories before a light could be seen down some more and then off to the right. And guess what...a shadowed wisp of questionable origin whisked away no sooner then it was seen.

A chill ran up her spine, having her shiver with it for the fleeting moment. Was it due to the circumstances or his breath in her ear? Hard to say. "Yes it does," not even considering the cause of the shiver other than it was the adventure. Certainly it was a high, flirting with death and the unknown. She was holding on tight, if she went down, meant he did too and not like the last time she wasn't doing it alone. They were in on this adventure together! "How many feet, is there a bottom," her worries showing as it seemed to take forever and a day! "What was that?" She felt it more than saw the shadow. Had they landed yet? She'd probably be standing a few moments before realizing she was at this point.

They actually splashed down, but only ankle deep in whatever liquid it was that cushioned their landing. Tykir released Ellyn, keeping an eye on the lighted passage, and lowered to a squat. His fingers dipped in the liquid, then he brought it up to his nose, rubbing his thumb over the tips of his other four fingers and sniffed. Nothing he could recognize, but he held a faint, sweet scent, enough to make his head swim a minute with just the brief close contact. He stood slowly, glancing around in the dim light provided by the lit corridor in the distance. "I don't think we have any alternatives, Lady Frasier. Like moths to the flames ... we'll have to seek out the light."

She almost took a stumbling step away once they landed but got her bearings fast in spite of her legs feeling like rubber. "Is it water?" Came in a hush tone as she too lowered to touch her fingers into the liquid then smell. She almost tasted it but decided that might not be wise. Something was off.. or so she thought. Precaution was best. "Aye," straightened as she spied where the light was coming from. "Far better than my options earlier." Wry smile turned on Tykir for that free fall she took but then caught. "Thanks for not letting me fall to my death." Words were sincere and actually showed there was a serious side to Ellyn she usually kept hidden. She was quick, however, perhaps for leaving that glimpse show, to start in the direction of the light. "The air is different down here." Offhanded comment.

It did have an odd scent to it. Of flower petals which had fallen from a bush and had started to turn brown. Or the flowers that were in a vase...too long. It felt thicker, heavier ... intoxicating ... and the atmosphere seemed to move with a sensual, almost fleshy pulsebeat. They drew closer to the light. "Thanks for trusting me." Tykir added to her thanks, but his words were barely audible, as if the air sucked up the sound the closer they came to the opening of the cave's portal. His eardrums hummed and the pressure inside his head caused him to lift and hand and hold his temple. Not an unpleasant sensation, but different, and offputting.

She was getting giddy with the scent and started singing tragic love songs under her breath about the woman who waited by the sea for the return of her young husband who never came. She wept an ocean worth of tears to bring him on back to her. But the years piled on each other and it was the old woman by the sea that legends were made of. Then she hiccupped as if she'd been drinking. The unexpected reaction had her giggling under her breath, only causing another to happen and giggling turned into laughter. Then there was fresh air which she sucked in greedily. The hiccups disappeared as well the giggling. "There is something different in that place," as she tried to figure out where they were and mark it for a later adventure.

Tykir was hooting out into the air, at different sections of her song. There wasn't an echo and that's what intrigued him. Heck, presently, everything intrigued him. Ellyn sang, Tykir hooted ... and as she started to giggle, he was chuckling along with her. Where were they was a good flippin' question! The corridor opened up into a wide expanse of lush, tropical landscape. Birds of any and every color squawked and tweeted, flew and hopped about. Flowers bloomed with large, multi-layered brightness and the trees that grew up twisted and tangled into each other, creating quite the overwhelming visual. A stream wound a path under the trees out into the wall of the cave, No doubt spilling into the corridor beyond. Nope. Tykir wasn't going to be drinking that! Shitski! There it was again. Just a movement at the corner of his eye that when he tried to find it, the shadow flitted away before he could see it fully. Wait! There was another! His head jerked to look in the other direction. Up. Up in the trees! Several were catching his eye but managing to escape his vision.

She couldn't believe her eyes as she looked around in wonder. "I feel like we're on the other side of the rainbow." But the worry marred her brow. What if they were in an alternate plane, how would they get back? Would one want to get back if this was the perfect world it seemed to be? So what did she do to cover up her worry? She teased, "you may be stuck with me Tykir." Giving him a wink but then there was the shadow she caught out of the corner of her eyes again. "Maybe we should try and catch that and see if it can talk." Anything was possible after what just took place in that cave. She blinked again as she started in that direction for there seemed to be another, or was it the same on just appearing in another spot that quickly?"

"Poor you." Tykir laughed, and with her suggestion, he bolted in the direction he caught the next vision. Here, there, everywhere, the two teens were racing about like kittens after a beam of light. So close and gone. Almost there ... but not.

"Aye, I'll be resenting the fact I don't have wings and can fly like you." Teasing banter came easy, luckily, made the situation a little lighter to bear. She finally darted and threw herself onto the bit of shadow and light only to have vines whip around her like a cocoon. She screamed as she struggled against them and then they were gone in the next instant. There was trouble in paradise as she got up. "Did.. did you see that?" Whatever just happened went in a blink of an eye.

He heard her scream, that was the only reason he saw it, and he was mid leap to catch a shadow when he looked her way. He landed in a bush, fighting his way out as the thorns stabbed and slashed at his arms, his chest, his legs. But she was freed, and he didn't have a scratch on him! Okay...this was enough. "Enough!" He repeated his thoughts aloud, shouting out into the glade, his voice actually echoing over and over and over. And then, there they stood, a multitude of shadowed forms, lined up shoulder to shoulder and then others behind. Probably twenty, thirty...maybe more, Tykir was counting. He hurried over to Ellyn to draw her near him and stared back at the shadows staring out at them. There were no eyes, but sure as Tykir looked them over, he and Ellyn were getting a once over as well. The pressure in their heads increased, and a ringing in their ears began. They were barely taller than the teens in height but the age of the beings could not be questioned. They were ... timeless. "I said enough!" He clamped his hand to his ear, cutting a sidelook over to them. Listen. The whisper of a multitude of voices seeped through the ringing, as if that sound made it possible for the communication to take place. Listen.

This made the whole beautiful scene just creepy. In fact, she rushed at him as he rushed over and so crashed somewhat into him. Once more she had a grip on his clothing that no matter how many shadows were around them, she was not going to be pulled from his side. They were in this together and would see it through, together. She realized then that the shadows were not much bigger than them, were they deceased teens that banded together and their age had attracted them? Anything was possible as nothing was impossible. "Yes," span of a breath, "enough!" The last coming with more conviction and adding support to Tykir's demand.

His hold around Ellyn's back tightened as the group as a whole communicated without spoken words. Surely she heard them too! "Listen? Listen to what?" He barked out at them, his head was so full with that pressure he felt like it would explode, and yet, it caused him to sway, an almost surreal, drunk feeling. "Dang, back off the head, folks! Who are you?" He grumped, slanting another look to the gathering. Listen. Is all that was sent again at first, but the pressure lightened up some, but with that, the ringing intensified. Obviously both had to do with his ability to ... listen! "What?" He asked again, he was tired of listening to listen...he wanted more!

There was a sound in her head that was first more like a hissing. One that gradually built up to lissssssttttennnn. When Tykir spoke the very word, it clarified it that was not just some wind in the trees. "Yes, what?" She was repeating him again. "What do you want of us? Where are we?" Both questions on her mind as she was gradually feeling they were not life threatening, or so hoped.

We are...Sssssthhhheeegionnssss.
The name was drawn out, a spiderhiss of explanation which caused Tykir to cringe. Perhaps it was his bloodline that caused the magnitude of his discomfort. Hearing more, experiencing more. More definitely not fun at this particular point. "Okay...and?" And because of his discomfort, the dark prince wasn't really being very kind. There were not more words, just that blasted ringing, loud, shrill, painful. "Okay! I apologize." Tykir cringed with the realization he wasn't being very royal at present, and well, listening might just stop this infernal sound! Waaaaater above...sssssstagnation below. Tykir, with one hand still pressed to his head, looked to Ellyn. Stagnation? Where? And as soon as he thought it, as soon as the energy to think it was released, all around them the scene vanished. The blackness of death, rot, ruin ... and the smell, the smell of the same that had been barely hidden by the facade, but now hit them both full force.

"I think they are saying they are serious," serious about what was left to be determined. At least they were trying to communicate with them rather than kill. That was a big plus right there. There came the squeal on the heels of that very thought. "We're in hell.." it had to be. Certainly it was not the other side of the rainbow. She was tugging at Tykir as she moved away from the rotting stench, "we got to get out of here." There had to be a way. "Or get in contact with your brother Andrew." She knew all the stories on Andrew and Tykir should have some link with his brother? She was really hoping.

"No!" Tykir spoke the word the same time as the multitude. Andrew could handle this, and Tykir knew it. But Tykir could handle it, Tykir would handle it. "You need water, we understand." Do it. The words filled their heads. "You have to let us get out...let her get out." He gave a cant of head toward Ellyn. "How do we get out? So ... we can do it?" There isssss a waaaaay. But water...firrrst. Tykir rubbed his temple, this whole communication was getting to be too much. "Break the seal above." He gave an uplift of chin. "It breaks anyway, you're not keeping anyone out." With the hand from his head he motioned between himself and Ellyn as proof. "Break the seal and the water from the falls can be diverted, at least some of it, to flow down here."

No Andrew, Tykir wanted to do this on his own. Macho man. These thoughts had Ellyn eyeing him in that way he might wonder if she was about to swat him upside his head, get his mind back to where it was the most assured way of getting out of here.. dam his ego! Except then the voices were in her head ... do it ... "it seems to be a quandary here, you need to let us go to help you or one of us if you can't trust our word." She was getting to the point she would like to strangle them, back and forth, back and forth. Eyes narrowed as she waited.

Tykir looked over to Ellyn as she spoke. "Exactly, allow her the means to go, and she'll bring help. Either you trust us or you are done with us. You're about to cause my head to implode with your hissing." He turned fully to Ellyn then, resting a hand on her shoulder, his voice lowered. "If they let you leave, get to Andrew, let him know what we've found. Then go to Karl and get the Four. We'll need all of them to get that water down here..." He didn't get to say more, four of the shadowed forms swirled around Ellyn, knocking Tykir back with the force of their energy. They swirled and swirled around her, a blackened blur of movement until her hair whipped and her clothing clung tight to her body, twisting around her. And she started to rise from the ground. "Shit!" Tykir growled, diving toward Ellyn, not sure what was happening, just knowing they hadn't explained their choice. Like a blow to the gut and jaw simultaneously, the power of the shove had his head jerking back and his body doubling over as he sailed backwards once again. Sssssshe goesssss. He ssssssttaaaaaaysss.

She didn't like the idea they would keep Tykir behind, "you better not harm him while I do this quest." Calling it that as she threatened them not to harm her friend. At the same time, she felt better about one of them getting out of here and getting Andrew, Karl and the notorious Four Horsemen. Next she found out what it was like being in a tornado! Her hair whipping with the wind and stinging against her face when it lashed out. She tried to lift her hands but the force had them pressed to her side that would take a he-man's strength, if that even could break the force to lift them. She felt the pull, felt the rise in the black blur of speed as she ascended. It wasn't the same as if Tykir had tried to fly out of here, the speed transcended space and time and the next she knew, she was outside the cave. Thrown to the ground actually with that hard thud of reality yanking her back to the present where she blinked, a bit disoriented at first.

Holding an arm across his midsection,Tykir watched as Ellyn lifted and then, as if in a flash of darkness, they streaked across the dome of the underground haven and were ... gone. He straightened slowly, a narrowed look passing over the remaining shadows of what were once who-knew-what. "I won't help you if she is harmed." He growled past the discomfort that still compressed his skull. It will be no difffferent if you do not. That wasn't what he was expecting and dark brows shot up. Surely, though, they wanted it different, or why would they have led the two here? They couldn't be completely evil, a threat to the safety of Heathfield, or Andrew would already know about them. That helped ease a little of Tykir's trepidation about his circumstances. "But it will be different if you allow us to help." Came his retort.

She got up, not trusting her legs at first as she rubbed her head. The hissing was gone, that imploding feeling eased away although her mind still throbbed. One step found it a bit shaky but the second and third step became more steady. All the while she was taking in her location, realizing their horses were not far from here as she went in that direction. Fifteen minutes later had her on the back of her horse, the other in tow, in a gallop towards the castle. About forty-five minutes later she was arriving, yelling incoherent parts of sentences that had the guards rushing to her. "Andrew, I need to see the Prince. I need to see the King, I need.." taking in a much needed air into her lungs, "the four horsemen," as if the guards could take her to at lest any of the ones mentioned, "Tykir.. he is.." but she was already being ushered to the King. Andrew not so easy to find but the King, they knew exactly where he was.

What luck! Karl and the Four were seated around the hearth, talking in lowered tones only because, that's the way the majority of their conversations took place. When the door to the office flew open, not only Karl, but all five men came instantly to their feet, all Four had weapons drawn and two had stepped in front of Karl. The lass was hurried in, and when it became suddenly clear there was no threat, the men relaxed and von Rundstedt was already pushing his way between Vincent and Trevor. "Lady Royce." He began, motioning the guards to leave. From the look of her, she was in a tizzy, and the Black Griffon crossed over to her immediately. "Are you alright?"

Ellyn looked like she'd been through a wind tunnel. Which was accurate, literally. Hair was a mess as only a good windy day could do on it. More, it was the wild look in her eyes that might alert them before she even spoke. The rush by the concerned guards was another indication this was not something of the ordinary. Rushing in like that had her near faint as all five were to their feet with weapons drawn. "Holytornado!" She was beginning to sound like the young Prince! "Tykir.." pulling in a breath before the words came rushed. Rushed as the need for them to save Tykir. "Tykir. He's being held by shadows. Hissing ones needing water in the cave," which she told where the cave was. They would know of it? She sure hoped so. "Need Andrew and all of you. Water." Was she making any sense? They might need to ask particular questions if they wanted particulars!

Karl's gut clenched with the prince's name but he continued to her, putting an arm around her back and leading her further in. "Tykir is being held by shadows in a cave beneath Sthegions waterfall?" His gaze didn't move but a fraction from the lass as they approached the four, but the men moved, one pulling out a chair for her, another filling a glass with cider, the third slipped away by a passage no one but those who resided in the castle knew of in search of Andrew, and the other left by way of the door to seek out Honeee. "They are in need of water, these shadows who have Tykir? How did he find them? How did they find him? Lady Royce, why are you the one here?" All questions raging through his mind, but he swept a large hand in front of him to clear them all away,this one the only one that mattered. "Are either of you hurt?"

She was feeling as if in another world again as she bobbed her head at the place mentioned followed by a smaller voice, not one as near panicked. "Yes, that is where. You know of the shadows beneath?" She was hoping that he did! It would make it far easier than trying to describe things more in your head than visible. No faced forms of shadows. She hardly noticed she was being ushered to a chair as she followed automatically, even sitting without conscious realization. "Yes, they had us both held but Tykir convinced them to let me go so that I could find ones to get the water they need." She was at a loss why shadow forms would need water but that was what they wanted. "We went to see the cave and fell, he caught me and for his wings I was saved. We landed on something that looked like glass that you could see through but then that collapsed and we fell to the bottom, the translucent area reforming above us and we were surrounded by the shadows."

The King squatted before her and the entire time she was talking through her panic, Karl passed his gaze over her. Besides being tousled and frantic, the lass didn't appear injured. "But you are both unharmed." He answered for himself, if Tykir had been wounded while she was there, he was sure she would have mentioned it in her explanation. "Damn boy." Karl grumbled under his breath as he looked to the two remaining Horsemen. "Get the horses ready, it will more than likely take the Four of you. We don't know what these ... " He turned a smile for Ellyn's sake to her as reassurance, then looked back to the men, using her description. "Shadow forms want entirely, but if it's water they want, that they will get. And we will get Tykir regardless of their desires."


Date: 06-01-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 3

"Yes," drawing in a breath but eye contact was frantic between all.. darting from one to the next and finally coming to rest upon Karl a few seconds longer. "I hope they have not harmed him. He wasn't when I left." Eyes were getting a little wider as panic started to settle in. "We need to go back to get him." More them than her of course. They were going.. she was up with that expectation she would go with them of course.

She would need to travel with them, no matter how Karl might wish otherwise. With her, they could find the boy all the faster. "Finish your drink, Lady Royce, and we will be on our way." Karl's gaze lifted to the two still remaining, and with that look, they exited the room to prepare what else might need be ready for them to depart.

Meanwhile, back in the cave, Tykir had been taken by each arm and led through the rotting forest. Thissssss...was onessssssce our paridissssse. Now no water. Now no life.

She had completely forgotten about her drink as with the King's words she blinked then looked down. Sure enough there was a glass in her hand with the contents half full. She drank it down not even tasting it as quickly as she could for they needed to go. She set the glass back to the table and waited on the men. That's when she heard the hissing in her head as if still in the cave with Tykir. Both hands went up covering her ears if that would make it stop.

Karl indicated the door with a wave of hand, until her's clamped to her ears. "Lady Royce?" The men would be awaiting them outside already but first he would make sure she was okay.

She was nodding that she was all right as she rushed out through the door. "We need to get there before they get unsettled." Being she was not back and they may well grow impatient.

The King escorted the lady outside and paused at the horses. "If you don't mind, Lady Royce, I would prefer you ride with me." The men would set a grueling pace and though she may be an excellent rider, the Horsemen upon a quest would surely leave the lass behind. He laced his fingers and stooped, so she could use that fabricated step to hoist herself up onto the massive war horse.

All of a sudden she felt very diminutive there amongst the king and his men. Certainly they were much bigger, muscular and that warrior look in their eyes that was unmistakable. "Yes," came like a wee sound in the distance someone else spoke. Didn't even sound like her. One hand went quickly to the king's shoulder as her heart rate soared and up she went hoisted into the saddle and waited. Fingers curled around the pummel as she glanced over the other four awaiting their king.

No sooner had Karl placed a booted foot into the stirrup, then the Four started off in a gallop, two on either side of them. The Black Griffon settled himself behind the dainty lass and was soon lacing that large beast through the middle and they created a 'V' of travel. They didn't slow until they reached the precipice that would not allow the horses, and the Four dismounted, Dana coming over to help the lass dismount once Karl lowered from the saddle.

Karl might find the length of dark hair whipping in his face for the pace they set. She was tempted to lift a hand to try and tame it off to the side but she was holding on tight for the speed. The last thing the king needed was a lass, who was a good rider, to be flailing about practically in his lap. That would not do and she was stiff as it were for the whole of it, riding with the king. What would her uncle say about all this? Her father? Both went fleeting in her thoughts as quickly as the wind in her face. Once they dismounted, she pointed. "There, behind the waterfall is where we entered." Glancing between them before starting in that direction.

"Stay close, Miss." Dana smiled down to her and started down the narrow rabbit path, reaching back an arm to form a railing against the sheer drop off of the cliff. The other four followed behind them toward the entrance behind
the falls.

Nodding once more she moved closer to Dana and following him. She stayed close as they went down the narrow path. Luckily she was good on the trail, nimble in movement. The roar of the falls covered any more hissing if there was any. They better not have harmed her friend or they would have a reckoning with the ones she was with. That thought gave her strength as they progressed to the cave behind the falls. "There was a shadow that we saw and followed. The floor gave way that looked like a crystal.. shattered and I fell. Tykir caught me up so I didn't break my neck." That would be all Neale had to hear! Her father too. If such a fate would he add her to the ghost of his wife, her mother? That caused a shiver.

Vincent shrugged the heavy coiled ropes from both shoulders and tossed one to Lazare who was forced to catch the weight of it and grunted with the effort. "Let's find this crystal floor then." Vincent growled, starting to the side where the cave extended into a corridor. Since de Beauvais was in the lead, Lazare winked to the lass. "Normally, I'd say stay well clear of him, but the closer you get to him right now, the better off we will all be." Although all five would defend her with their lives, Vincent seemed to be on the scent...and probably best to follow close, he wouldn't wait.

The growling man would put anyone on edge. Male or female. Female especially at her age. She nodded to what Lazare had to say and only pausing a moment for his handsome face. Natural charm too, a pleasant disposition compared to the dark looks of Vincent and a case of indigestion! Or so it sounded with the way he grumbled. The thought eased any trepidation with a slight twitch at the corners of her lips and soon on him like white on rice. She was in the least, so far, good at following directions and orders. He was also heading in the right direction.

Of course he was! He was Vincent de Beauvais. He neared the edge of the hole, looked down into the glowing abyss, then turned to tie off that heavy rope to one of the ancient, sturdy stalagmites. "Make it two, Carno." Lazare hurried past Ellyn, but was careful not to nudge her closer to the hole in the process, tying off his rope with a tug to set that knot in place. "How about some light, de Beauvais, we can't all see in this damnable...oh excuse me, Lady Royce, in this blasted darkness." Lazare attempted a smile of apology to Ellyn, but the shadows this deep within hid his features except for that purplish glow that attempted to rise up from below. Vincent cut a look to Lazare, then the Dragon swept a hand in an arch and a half circle of fire sprang up from the rock, providing light to show the way below.
Karl nodded off his gratitude to his men then took up one of the ropes, starting to lower down first.

She didn't like heights as she hung back finally, especially after the spill she took down this particular strange rabbit hole. Tykir was lucky she had not died of pure fright in spite of his saving flight. She was unconsciously wringing her hands and trying not to look into the hole. A step back to ensure the kings man didn't accidentally bump her into it either. Once was once too many already. Lazare's humor eased the situation for her as she realized he cursed as a small slip of a laugh escaped. Then she cleared her throat. She was suppose to be a proper lady. She tried at times! Eyes widened at the sweep of fire and to think the dark prince got to be around these amazing men all the time. Now came the question of the century. "Do you need me to go down there?" Far off little voice hoping the answer was no.

Trevor moved to go down next, pausing as the girl asked that question. "Do you wish to stay? If so, Lazare can wait with you. He will be close enough should we need him." Dana chuckled as he went to the second rope, taking up the weight and pulling against it, leaning backwards as he did with the rope supporting him. "You need not come, Miss. If we can't find the prince, we will come back for you." Dana shot Lazare a look, then with a nod, he leapt backwards, the rope loose and airborne in an arc before he disappeared below and it jerked taut. "Looks like it's me and you, Lady Royce." Lazare backed up a few steps and used one of the stalagmites that grounded the ropes to sit on. "Why don't you tell me what you and the boy were doing down here?"

Her cheeks burned as green eyes swayed to take in the handsome Lazare. She was afraid she would stutter but her words came perfectly normal even if she didn't feel like it much at the moment. "I have a problem with heights," admitting her shortcoming. "I don't have a problem being alone. I'm not frightened of the dark and I would not wish to hold you back in what is needed to rescue Tykir." She was almost tempted to yell down to him but best not if they needed the element of surprise. "Aye, that will work. He will be below another crystal floor that is a ceiling to the ones below." If it had remained that way or it had blocked them off. Seeing Dana go off like that made her feel weak in the knees. She didn't succumb to it however but she backed up another step. Green eyes turning back to Lazare.. just in the way he said such brought her smile back. "You need not stay, but I do not mind your company." Feeling a little squeamish after saying it such and a dip of her gaze away feeling shy all of a sudden.

"I find this company all the better than that below." Carno smiled as the lass avoided the question, so he wouldn't ask again. They'd just chatter with small talk until the others returned, because, Lazare did not doubt that they would return...and soon. Below, Karl had no sooner stood on the crystal flooring and began collecting up the extra length of rope that had pooled there when the distinctive sound of cracking echoed around them. Dana, Vincent, Trevor all touched down and instantly the fragile barrier shattered. The four of them grabbed on to the ropes, dropping down until the length was pulled tight and prevented their fall. Slowly they continued down but the ropes didn't go the entire way. "Lazare!" Karl bellowed back up to the man above. Interrupted right in the middle of a pleasant conversation, Carno grumbled to make a show for the lass, but was quick to his feet to look over the edge. "Problems?" He called down to them. He had seen the ropes snap tight from the corner of his eyes but that was a positive sign that there were still bodies attached to it. "Shut up and help out!" Vincent barked back. Lazare turned to look to Ellyn. "One moment please." Then he squatted near the edge of the hole, closing his eyes. From deep within and rising, a funnel of air lifted heavy and strong until it circled the men. "Tell me why we needed this blasted rope?" Trevor's complaint was mingled with amusement but all four of them released their hold and allowed the current of air to carry them down.

She needed to get over this sudden shyness that she didn't know where it came from. The consoling thought was once this was over, she'd be lucky to catch a glimpse of him and not have to worry about her odd reaction. She had taken the time to move closer. She also felt she could be open and honest with this king's man, with any of them really. "Tykir lost a bet that would have him taking me around the area to show it to me and taking Molly to the Celtic Gardens in turn. He lost to us both. I don't think he minded but I said I liked waterfalls and he brought me here. Then decided to check out the cave, next we knew we were chasing shadows that led us to this hole that was at first like a floor.." well he could surmise the rest as she clamped her lips closed. She was talking too much or felt that way.
Then out of nowhere, "I like your company," luckily he could not see the furious red cheeks that she actually said that. So that was her chatting of small talk! "Which element is yours?" Obvious Vincent was fire which had been demonstrated. But her question would have to wait as Karl bellowed up. Rang through the whole cave causing her to shudder. Arms crossed around her front at the waist as if that would still the odd sensation. When he looked her way she hadn't moved for she held that fear to go near the edge. With the last demonstration on Lazare's part, her question was answered and she was duly impressed for the manner in which he helped his comrades.

Boots touched rock and immediately the four of them were running in the direction of the cave. From what Ellyn had shared with them, there would be no use in drawing their swords.

It seemed that Tykir saw them first, and he sucked in a breath of surprise, of relief, of awe with the sight of them. They hadn't even done anything yet and they made for an intimidating sight. In unison, the dark forms turned to face in the direction of Tykir's gaze. Instantly, they were in flight, groups of four and five whizzing, whirling, zooming down toward them in defense. "No! Wait! They are here to help!"

Karl walked with determination toward the young prince but a line of shadow forms morphed between them. "Are you hurt, boy?" Karl asked that without looking to Tykir, he kept his eyes on that barrier of beings.

"I'm fine! Don't do anything!" He called out to the remaining three, even as they were zinged time and again by the slaps of those creatures. "They need water, Your Majesty. With your men, I thought it could be accomplished." Tykir moved from behind the line, and it shifted to block him, but he was quick to spread his wings and shoot up and over, staying airborne. "Cease your attacks!" One, maybe two more spiraled down and got a stinging slap in, but soon enough the madness eased.

The King's men had warded off the attack with swats and shoves, but it was good that it eased when it did, even one as understanding as Cairns would not take that abuse much longer.

She and Lazare could hear all from above as she actually took a step closer for how it all sounded. "You're missing out on all the fun baby sitting me." She felt a twinge of guilt but not enough to venture down a rope or there lack of one long enough. "Do they need you? Please go help then." She would feel worse if he stayed behind when needed. She called down then in the hope the strange slither beings heard her, "these are the ones I brought to help you get your water..." her voice echoed too! She didn't dare a step closer.

"I'll know if I'm needed that badly, M'Lady. Do not fret." He smiled as she added to the noise with her echoing shout. "I guess you told them." He laughed softly, backstepping until he found his perch again.

Tykir actually heard Ellyn. Perhaps it was the fae in him, perhaps...she just had a good set of lungs.

How to get thisssss water?
de Beauvas cringed with the sound of their question as it seemed to evolve in the center of his mind and press outward, rather than being heard by the ear. "We start..." His gaze narrowed and he looked in the direction of the black-with-rot forest, "with razing." And before the creatures could even respond, the dry, brittle forest that lacked life erupted into flames. A shrill of panic went up from the beings. "Now you did it." Dana snorted, looking up toward the ceiling as he brought one hand up to shield an ear. "How about here, Trevor?" Right smack dab in the middle over the forest. Trevor followed his gaze and nodded. "Looks like a good ending point." And the earth around them started to tremble, to rumble ... and a runnel formed outside under the water flowing down and over into a waterfall. It cracked and spread wider, deeper, underneath the ground all the way to that very spot where it opened up. Dana had also started to work beyond that brain piercing sound, the water followed the course of that path, a section reverting from the force of moving forward and once redirected, flowed along and down, like rain, over the flames and the landscape below. Silence! The only sound was that of the water pouring down and the hissing of a dying fire.

"Thank you, Sir Lazare, for staying with me," the refine lady that Neale always hoped to instill in his niece showed in that moment. The real side was more a tomboy but that wasn't so bad either. She was listening all the while to the noises below that echoed up. Voices she was becoming familiar with whose was who's. The silence could be felt all the way up to where the two waited and she drew in a breath to hold in that revered moment.

Lazare slanted a look to his ring, the silence could be menacing, but from that quick glimpse of ring, it looked as if all was still okay. "I mean it when I say, the pleasure is mine." He didn't look to the young woman when he said those words, even though he meant them sincerely, he had gotten up and was looking down into the hole, as if he could see something down there. Which, of course, he couldn't. Trevor lowered to a knee, placing one palm flat on the earth and the other drove deeply, up to his forearm, into the wet dirt. All around, where the earth had been nourished with fire and water, plants began to spring up. They would take a little while to grow, but by week's end, the forest would have returned to its original beauty and the water would continue to flow down on it and stream away along the course it had always traveled, out into the other cavern. While all this took place, Karl had motioned Tykir down to him, taking the lad by the arm and escorting him from the place while the beings were otherwise distracted with the rebirth. Several times they soared through the shower of water, each one of them, zipping back and forth and spraying water in the process. The blackness of shadow started to fade to grey, then to an ash-like white, then as the plants spread and the water flowed, a soft glimmer of fluorescent blues and greens and purples. They, too, were returning to their natural state with the water's return, to their natural beauty.

It was best he had not looked her way for those words sent an odd shiver through her being that was followed by a blush. If this was what happened when one finally noticed a lad, a man in this case, she wasn't so sure she liked it. It  felt like coming down with the flu. Instead she plagued him with a question for she would not venture any closer to the edge of that hole. "Can you see anything?" The curiosity of all their welfare was back in perspective as it should be. Nostrils flared a touch for there was more in her blood too. "I smell a forest, clean with rebirth." Certainly Lazare could smell that too?

He could, the scent of it was carried on the breeze. He nodded as if he could, and spoke the words. "I can't see a thing." A grin and he slanted a look her way. "Not a bloody thin..." And he was shoved back, stumbling the steps to keep his balance as Tykir whooooooosed up and out of that hole that Lazare had only just seconds before been peering down into.

"The King said to ready yourself to get them out of there."

Lazare waved his hands in a flurry toward Tykir as the teen lowered to stand closer to Ellyn.

"What good are your wings if not to get them out."

Lazare laughed through the words, and especially since he knew that Tykir couldn't lift the likes of any of those large men below. He crossed over to the edge and stared down, although he saw nothing, his gaze had shifted inward. Their...means for escape...waited.

Tykir leaned to wrap an arm around Ellyn. "You did well, Ellyn. I wish you could have seen those things glow when the water was returned."

And his wish came true! Because even as Lazare prepared the wind to lift them, the King and his men were escorted above by the healthy, contented, and beaming Sthegions.


She let out a squeal more in surprise than fear when Tykir dashed up out of that hole. Good thing she was not that close or she may have stumbled into it again. She backed off giving Lazare all the room he needed as she gave Tykir an impromptu hug now that he was safe and out of that predicament too. "What are friends for? Besides you were very gallant convincing them to let me go in getting help. They were reluctant. I think I can through your words." One of the gifts she took for granted for she could see it as if she had been there. "They are appeased, happy even." They certainly had an adventure due to a bet lost.

Indeed, that bet had proven a most adventurous endeavor. Yikes, but there was Karl...and the Four. And, like any adventure that placed someone in danger, there would be some extra duties added. Even if they had helped those beings in the process.

"Well..." Lazare broke off the farewells between the Four and the once-dark-ones. "I don't know about anyone else ... but all this work has made me hungry." Work? Yes, he was laughing, and he shot out a fisted hand to thunk Dana in the shoulder and then started to unknot the rope from the impromptu seat.

Ellyn glanced from Tykir to the imposing form of the King and back, "you're not in trouble for this?" Wasn't like they did it on purpose, just an innocent exploration of a cave on the lands. Who'd have known? A sliding glance was given Lazare as he started to get things in order so they could leave. "Can I help?" She was over to do just that for she wanted to be out of here and out into the sunlight again. Luckily what had started to turn into a bad experience, had turned again to a better one like it had started out.


Date: 06-07-11
Poster: Molly Tremaine
Post # 4

Could there be a better way to spend a day? At the moment, Tykir couldn't think of one. The day was pleasant, a warm breeze swept over the fields, rustled the trees. The sun played hide and seek behind thick, white clouds, easing the heat of the afternoon. And! He rode alongside Molly Tremaine as they made their way across the countryside to the Celtic Gardens. This might be payment of a wager lost, but Tykir couldn't admit in good faith that he wasn't just as pleased to have lost this particular time. This particular bet. Since it had him with Molly, alone.

Alone was a rare thing for the two of them and though she enjoyed the company of all their friends, Molly was just as pleased. She had managed to get a large picnic basket and it was filled with goodies from the Thistle. The cook at the inn was good, but nothing compared to Hazel's food, and this was a special day. She was still wearing pants instead of a skirt but she had on a pair of lightweight boots and a pretty peasant blouse. Because of the heat, she had braided her hair into one single braid. But she really wasn't minding the heat at all. All, in all, it was prefect so far.

At first, they had talked quite a bit, about this or that or the other, nothing of importance to the greater good of the universe. And then, as they traveled along, a comfortable silence fell between them. Tykir offered over a glance every once in a while, a smile, but at those moments nothing needed to be said. The air grew cooler, the wind a little more determined, but with the previous warmth, the change felt good. "You know, the gardens are not far from Andrew's Crystal Cave." And so another round of safe, polite, potentially useless conversation began.

It was that kind of day, or at least the start of it was. Being this was the first time they were really alone, it was going to take a little time for Molly at least, to not feel awkward. But it wasn't a bad feeling really, just new. She peeked at him occasionally, watching him as they rode and when he caught her, she smiled, her cheeks flushing just a touch. "I was told they were. Are they close enough to see the entrance or is that hidden away?" As tempting as it might be to take a look, she wouldn't be the one to suggest it. Brushing back a strand of hair, she glanced at the sky. "That flock of birds is heading for the mountains." It was just a comment. Molly really didn't think much of the fact. Even if it did seem a bit odd.

"No, not that close, but the entrance is hidden away by Andrew. We couldn't find it even if we tried." Unless Andrew wished them to. His gaze lifted and his horse slowed as he watched the birds in flight. "Look at them go." He chuckled, still watching the birds as he spoke. "Did you know that it's said you can feel the energy of the cave, even in certain parts of the garden? They say the vibration of it makes men virile and women wanton." Holy Slipofthetongue! Tykir blinked and shot a look to Molly. "I mean, well...that's what passes for conversation in the barracks. There's no weight to the truth of it. I ... uh..." He had to look away from her, his gaze sweeping the field they were crossing, and finding nothing (not one single chicken!) to sway the conversation in a different direction. "So!" He brought his gaze back to her, smiling despite the remaining disbelief he had just shared male bluff-talk with Molly. "What do you have in that basket? I've been thinking about what you might have to share with me since we set off." Ahhellnah. He would slap his hand to his face if he thought she wouldn't see! Shutup, Tykir. Just shut the heck UP!

She was still watching the birds and then laughed. "Probably feeding time somewhere." Was she disappointed about the entrance, maybe a touch but it would keep them from mischief. Or would it? She blinked and looked at Tykir, cheeks not just pink but bright pink! She watched him stumble for words then looked away, trying not to giggle. "Always wondered what they talked about in the barracks." It was more a mutter than outright but also an attempt to show him it was fine. She wasn't offended. When she looked at him again, her eyes went just a little wide. That could have been taken wrong but this was Molly so she just ignored that part for now. "Hazel's fried chicken, and potato salad." She wasn't sure what that was but kept talking, "and apple pie. And of course plates and all that." She was still trying not to laugh but it wasn't at Tykir. More at how embarrassed they both were. "I'll cook for you sometime if you like." To change the subject!

Now that did change the subject, and with his surprise, the wind picked up, sending a rush of leaves from under the trees to twirl and tumble across the field. "You cook? I'd like that very much." His horse sidestepped a pace with that blast of air and Tykir frowned, looking away from Molly to glance around again. Everything was quiet. Too quiet. Not a single bird's song. No rustle of animals. Only the rush of wind and the two of them. The horse jerked at the reins fighting against their course forward, offering over a snort of disagreement. "What the heck, Luas. They are only leaves." But even as he said the word, he felt an ache in his body that he couldn't explain. It was deep, deeper than tissue or bone. All through him and yet, not a physical part of him. A large drop of water smacked down right on top of Molly's horse's head, then another to its neck...and another. All around them oversized, weighty drops started to fall. Not exactly rain, but rain ... drops. And the oddest thing was, the clouds were not even above them fully, and white as could be.

"Aye, nothing fancy though." She grinned then frowned as well. Her horse had become skittish as well and she looked around. The mare started with the first drop of water and pranced while Molly tried to calm her. "Something's not right." She said softly and sniffed the air. She had spent several years on a tropical island and that feel became a warning. "Tykir, we may be in for a storm." Yes, in spite of the beautiful sky. She was hoping he didn't think she was crazy. Sometime, someday, she'd tell him of those years.

All in good time and, at the moment, it was true, now wasn't the time. His wings flickered against his back, trying to ease that dull, persistent ache. "I think you might be right." He was shooting a look all around for a different reason now, the trees would not provide ample shelter if the size of those drops were an indication of the storm to come. "Come on, Moll." He jerked his horse to the side and it obeyed immediately, with only a grunt to indicate its surprise. Tykir called over his shoulder ... "There's a hut in those woods I think, Magnus Somethingorother. If he's there, good! If he's not ... better."

She nodded and barely had to urge the mare to follow Luas. "All right." Hopefully the hut itself was in a sheltered place. They were a distance from the sea but darned if the air didn't smell like it. She let out a yelp as the wind picked up and started to send small branches into the air, one bouncing off her arm. And they had the food in the picnic basket as a bribe if needed! Above, dark clouds started to move in, hiding the blue sky.

No sooner had they entered the woods than the rain slanted in a sideways direction with the wind and battered them. Tykir ducked his head, watching with concern as limbs cracked and fell or flew on the current. He pulled his horse to a stop. "Molly, get on the horse behind me! We'll lead yours." He shouted past the growing whirl of wind, offering over a hand to her to ease over. His body could block the majority of the rain and any possible air bound objects. He wasn't even sure how close they were to that hut, only that it was in these woods somewhere. He and Rina had found it one day while wandering...hopefully his memory served correctly.

She didn't argue and took hold of his hand, sliding over easily enough. The mare stayed close, head down as Molly held the lead with one hand, her free arm going around Tykir's waist. She was scared but not terrified. They still had time to find the hut. That could change if they didn't find it soon though but at least she wouldn't become hysterical. Molly had more sense then that. The trees were taking the brunt of the winds and rain for now and that helped some! But things could change quickly.

What would help some more was that once she was settled, black feathered wings lifted in a shield over her head. So, it wouldn't be for her to see, but for him to call out. "There it is!" And the pace increased as the horse was urged to find the shelter of lean-to so that they could find the shelter of shanty. The house, if anyone but the person living there could call it that, was pressed up against the sheer side of a cliff. More than likely the back wall was made up of that rock rather than having to build another side. The thatched roof was thick, and well kept, but the tree limbs lay flat across it, offering more shelter to the inhabitant within. Nothing fancy by any means, but it was standing up against the wind, and a single, whisping trail of white swirled from the chimney as proof of a drying fire within. Tykir reached behind, hooking his arm through Molly's and providing the means for her to slip off the horse. The ground was nothing but mush and mud, but it was solid ground and it led to that front door

She was surprised when his wings went over her head but appreciated the shelter even if she couldn't see. "Oh, good!" was said in answer and she relieved that there was shelter for the horses once she could see again. She managed to keep her footing and pulled the basket off her horse, relieving her of the burden. No telling how long the storm would last. Tykir got a sheepish smile but as soon as he was off Luas, she offered her hand to him. They could help one another to the door of the hut. The wind was stronger then she expected and she held on tightly. She might laugh about it later, but she wasn't now. All she wanted was to get out of the wind and rain.

This really could get bad. So bad that Tykir didn't even think of relieving Molly of her basket once he had settled the horses. He pounded with a fist on Magnus' door. And pounded some more. He knew the man was inside, there was a fire. "Open up, Magnus!" He tried the latch, it was locked down so with the side of his fist, he beat some more. From within, a gravely, deep voice boomed. "There's a storm, Fool!" Tykir stopped his pounding, and through the rain streaming down their faces, assaulting them and the forest around them, he just looked at Molly. But only briefly, before he turned his attention back to pounding. "I know! That's why we're wanting in!" The door jerked open just as he finished his shout, and out stretched two thick-as-tree-trunk arms and hands the size of ham hocks. The teens were gripped at the collars and snatched inside, released just as quickly once inside the darker confines and the door slammed and latched behind them. "Don't be dripping on my floor!" He growled, it was dark except for the faint glow of light that escaped from the slats on the door of his brazier and the glow of fire in the fireplace. Tykir couldn't help himself. "We're soaked..." And he looked down to see the floor was nothing more than dirt, hardened from constant walking, but dirt none-the-less. "Get out of those wet clothes then!" Came the angry bark and dark woolen blankets hit them both before they could realize they were coming.

Tykir was trying to get them shelter. He didn't need to worry about the basket! She watched as he pounded on the door, wondering the man inside was either deaf, drunk or that cantankerous. And soon got her answer. Cantankerous it was and she just looked back at Tykir when she heard Magnus. Yes, they'd definitely laugh about this all later, but now ... now she just wanted out of the rain. When the door was finally opened, and they were pulled in, Molly yelped again. Seemed to be doing a lot of that but this time it was justified. She near stumbled and looked at Tykir. He didn't want them to drip on a dirt floor. Well, it could turn into mud but ... and suddenly the room was even darker. She placed the basket down as she pulled the blanket from her head. "What?" Take off their clothes? Even with the blanket, she wasn't too sure she wanted to strip down. Still, he could throw them out as easily as he pulled them in, so she wrapped up and managed to start wiggling out of her boots, her clothing following. Oh, if her family found out about this, the teasing that would result ...

Tykir turned away from Molly when he saw her start to disrobe. He looked right at Magnus, snatching his shirt over his head and then both black wings spread wide to block Molly from the man. Heck, to block Molly from him! Magnus grunted deep in his throat when he saw that, not insulted with the implication, but instead amused. "Do you know who we are?" Tykir ventured to ask, making sure the man knew his place, and that place was an arm's length from Molly! "Aye." The deep voice rumbled from his shadowed place. "Only one boy about has those flappers last I heard." And that was all about that. "Girl...are you hungry?" With that, the large man was to his feet and moving over to the area that was probably the man's kitchen. In reality it was more just a pot bellied stove with a pan and a pot hanging from a nail near it and a couple of dishes on a makeshift shelf constructed of about six sticks and two rocks to support it on a table. A tarnished, thin coffee pot steamed on the stove already and the man had the only cup next to his chair. Thing was, everything appeared just shadows for now, in the lack of lighting that made up the room. *

She was grateful for Tykir's shield and once she was wrapped up good, touched his arms so he could lower his wings. She squinted in an attempt to see Magnus but soon gave them up and was surprised at his question. "My name is Molly. And yes." She picked up the basket to offer to show him. "We have food in here too." So he wouldn't have to use all his. She smiled at Tykir and mouthed thank you while the man's back was turned.

Tykir shot a wink to Molly as his response and he rubbed the blanket down the legs of his pants, soaking up any excess from the fabric. As he started to the man, he tossed the blanket to a chair. The wind howled and the rain pounded, and still it seemed they couldn't have been safer. "Not you, boy, I was asking Molly, Go see to the fire." Tykir's steps paused and he turned his gaze around his shoulder to the young girl. "Guess I'm not hungry." He offered her a smile, but that turned into a soft laugh when Magnus grunted out. "Guess'n you're a boy, and you're always hungry." The flat of the man's wide hand slapped to Tykir's shoulder and he gave him a twist and a shove toward the fireplace. "I'm not needing any of your food, Lass...I'm not without the ability to entertain guests, even uninvited ones." With that, down came the pan and it clattered down onto the stove top, coffee pot grasped with bare hand and set aside on the wood of the table. No doubt the surface of that piece of furniture was scarred and battered. The man didn't even wince with the heat of the handle but went about producing a thick stick of butter and his dagger, cutting off a sizable pat and tossing it to sizzle on the pan. With the expertise of an experienced chef, he sliced onions and added those to the pan. Next, mushrooms. And the cottage filled with the smell of sauteed yumminess. He added a splash, then two, then three of whiskey, and another just because he could, and then took a long pull from the bottle himself. Not saying a word, just going about his business. Tykir did the same, stoking the fire so that the light of it provided better vision in the room, dried up the damp interior and oddly enough, did not cause the small space to get too unbearable. "A fine day for entertaining." The codger of a man said as he produced two thick pieces of meat. One he cut in half and as he held the three pieces in one hand, he brought down the pot then poured the contents from the pan into the pot. More butter was tossed into the pan and then the pieces of meat. "Where'd you get that meat, Magnus?" Tykir asked, it took just a couple of steps to cross from the fire to the stove. "Those are some fine slices of steak." "Never you mind, boy." Magnus grumbled. "Never you mind that the McDonough ranch is but strolling distance for a stout, healthy Scotsman." Tykir gasped, looking down to the sizzling steaks. They sure smelled good. "McDonough ranch?" Magnus poked his dagger under Tykir's nose. "I said, never you mind that." Tykir threw his hands up with a laugh. "Never mind what?" "Aye." Was Magnus' reply and went back to browning the steaks.

Molly just found a place out of the way and placed her clothing in front of the fire to dry, knowing that if Magnus didn't like it, he wouldn't hesitate to tell her. "I didn't mean that you couldn't." She couldn't help the small,
indignant huff but that was all she said. The smell of the food cooking had her stomach growling. She bit back a gasp when the man waved his knife around but then, all was fine again. "Well, we thank you anyway, even if it was the storm that brought us and not an invitation." She even smiled at the man then jumped when thunder shook the hut. Stars and stones that was loud!

Magnus didn't even seem to notice that his walls vibrated with the magnitude of the storm. . Was there even a storm? "Good that it did." The man grumbled to himself. "Because there wouldn't have been an invitation." But for all his grousing and attitude, it appeared he was rather enjoying himself otherwise. Really, no one ever came to visit. The two plates were set on the table, the larger half of the steak was slid from the pan into one and the largest uncut piece to the other. He poured the onions and mushrooms over the two. The rest he left in the pan and in the pot. He brought Molly over the larger cut half, and produced a fork, the middle tine bent, for her to eat with. How she was to cut it was a different matter. She had teeth, that would suffice. The other plate, the one with the large piece of meat, he collected for himself and went over to his chair and plopped back down in it with a grunt of satisfaction. "There's whiskey over there if you need a drink to accompany your meal." No glasses, they'd have to take to the bottle just as he had. Now, that left Tykir the smaller piece of meat, still in the pan. He looked from the pan to Magnus to the pan again. Then shrugged a shoulder. His own dagger was produced and he cut the meat right in the pan, stabbed a chunk, then scooped it through the onion/mushrooms. He could have died and gone to heaven and they wouldn't have served such a delicious bite of steak.

She gave Tykir another smile then looked at the steak and sniffed. If it was tough, she'd use her own knife but it wasn't! If she couldn't finish it all, Tykir could have what was left but right now, she fully enjoyed every bite. Her clothes would be dry by the time she was finished too. She had a bit of a struggle with the blanket but Molly had kept on her undergarments. She glanced at Magnus then helped herself to a drink of the whiskey, carrying her plate with her to where he had pointed. Sitting back down, she finished what she could then offered the rest to Tykir. "Were you expecting the storm, Magnus, sir?" She finally asked. He seemed to have prepared by shutting the hut up. Another roll of thunder had her wanting to look out, not only to see how bad it was, but to check on the horses, but she didn't!


Date: 06-13-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 5

Magnus looked up as the lass spoke, and that was just in time to see her hand over her steak to the boy. "What, you didn't like my cooking?" He grumbled, a deep gravely sound of demand. "Don't you eat that, boy." He warned, looking between the two of them. "I made that special for you, Girl, and if we're holed up in here for any amount of time, I don't particularly want to hear your belly grumbling. Eat up." He stood, taking his plate, now empty over to a window, slanted it open only slightly and stuck it outside. He held it at an angle, his arm in the rain, and left the heavy rain wash it clean.

If Molly had to tell the truth, she would admit that Magnus scared her just a little bit. "It's delicious." She protested , adding, "His stomach might growl louder," she muttered but sat back down and gave Tykir an apologetic smile. If she ate all this, she wouldn't be hungry for hours and hours! For a moment, she considered sneaking Tykir bites but that might make the man angry enough to put them both back out in the storm. So, she ate. Slowly and watched as he cleaned off the plate. Almost like using sand in the desert to do the same!

Molly's smile was met with a wink, he was fine, he really was, and he wasn't all that hungry, not with the excitement of the storm. "Hey, I tried something like that once to clean a plate, my mother didn't take to well to a dog licking a plate clean. Looked clean to me." With that comment, Magnus just looked over at the prince, arm still stretched out in the rain. He stared for quite some time, then drew in his arm. "What was wrong with that?" He finally said, as if he had spent all that time really trying to figure out why the dog cleaning the plate wouldn't suffice. In truth, he really had been trying to see where the problem was. He shrugged the bulk of his shoulder as he decided not to try to get into the mind games of a Queen, and hefted on over to place his plate back on the sticks of shelf. "Do you play an instrument boy?" You would have thought this was a social visit, not shelter from the storm that raged outside. He then looked to Molly. "Do you sing?"

Molly grinned at Tykir then chuckled. She looked at Magnus, her expression serious again. "Not too sure but I know most adults don't like it. Always saying dogs are dirty." Yes, she had tried it too and been reprimanded. "I sing." She liked to sing but she didn't know if Tykir played an instrument. She managed the last bite, then stood and carried the plate to the window. "Should I do that too?" Of course, she could lose the plate if she did. And after she
was answered, the lass fully intended to dress again. Even if the clothes were still a little damp!

"Guests don't wash their own dishes." Tykir piped up, grinning as he moved away from Magnus toward the fire. Better put as much space between them as possible. "I noticed you have a tin whistle, Magnus. I don't play, but surely you must." Although he had no way of knowing Molly's thoughts, he had taken some time to feel over her clothes, damp, but not dripping any more. And his shirt was actually completely dry. He turned, slipping his shirt over his head, his words muffled. "You should entertain your guests..." His head popped free. "Right?" The older man snorted. "What good is a man that can't play a tune for a lass?" Although solid earth made up the flooring of this cabin, it seemed to vibrate with his heavy steps. He took up his pipe, licked his lips and returned to his chair. "What songs do you know, Wee lassie?"

Molly smiled at Tykir then looked at Magnus. "Lots of songs. I know The Twa Sisters and Bonnie Georgie Campbell." A mournful song that one but so were many of the Scottish folk songs. "Galway City, Hush Ye, My Bairnie." She shrugged as she was over to see to her clothing. "You play, and I'll sing. After I get dressed." That last said firmly in spite of her being a little afraid of the man. And she ducked under the blanket so she could wiggle and around a get dressed -- something she could manage surprisingly well.

He pointed the pipe toward the lass and as she was wriggling about under her blanket, he set to wetting the whistle, and then to playing. Tykir lowered to sit on the dirt floor, his legs drawn up and his arms wrapped around, his chin resting on his knees. The old Scot started tweeting out Hush Ye, My Bairnie, leading into the song until the lass was ready to lend her voice to the melody.

It wouldn't take her long. Once she was dressed, the blanket was carefully folded and placed on a chair. Then she started to sing, using the right accent and inflection. "
Hush ye, my bairnie. Bonny wee laddie. When you're a man you shall follow your daddie. Lift me a coo, And a goat and a wether, bringing them hame yo your minnie the gither." Her voice was sweet and clear, not too soft, nor too loud and it carried well.

Magnus had closed his eyes as he played, slipping into the sound of the pipe, the lull of the lass' voice. Sharply creased and wrinkled skin eased along his face, and soon enough, the pipe hit an odd note and slipped out of his hand, and the man...began to snore. "Well, what do you know..." Tykir laughed softly, motioning for Molly to join him there on the dirt of floor. He leaned to the side, snatching down his blanket, and spread it there for her.

She finished the second verse just as Magnus fell asleep and joined Tykir in his laughter. Magnus had been so kind to them and now he deserved his rest. She brought along the blanket she had been wrapped up in too, and settled down on the first. "I don't think I'm going to be able to eat until tomorrow. But it was really good." She settled beside Tykir and tipped her head as she listened to the wind. "If you're still hungry, there's food in the basket. Or if you get hungry later." Her smile grew wider and she looked at him. "Not quite the Gardens, but I'm glad I'm with you, Tykir."

She was close enough for him to breath in the fragrance of her hair, where it had been wet, and now damp, the scent was magnified. He leaned back, his arm slightly behind her as he propped himself upon his palms. His shoulder, brushed hers, and he watched Magus a moment, and then looked to her. His smile, faded slightly, but not because he wasn't happy, more because they were this close. "If I had to be stranded in this hut, there's none others I'd rather be sequestered away with, Moll." He didn't mean for his gaze to drift from her eyes to her lips! Promise! It just...happened. Naturally! He was...waiting for her to talk! Yes. Her reply.

If he wanted to make her smile, he couldn't have said anything better. She felt giddy and silly and all sorts of emotions that she didn't understand. He didn't mean to look at her lips and she meant to answer but instead, she leaned forward and pressed her lips against his, tentatively at first, then a little firmer. For a moment, she forgot Magnus was even there!

Who? Tykir pushed up from his lean, his hand lifted to brush against his side, clearing away the dirt, then he eased his fingers in Molly's hair as she remained with her lips to his, and so the kiss was returned...most whole heartedly. The pressure of his fingers at the back of her head, held her to him, simple, yet eager, nothing more than the soft contact of lips, a nibble of bottom lip, and then the pleasurable feel of her lips against his. And then...the pipe started playing if it had never stopped, assessing, amused, twinkle of eyes watching from above it from across the room.

It was perfect, better then perfect. They had sneaked a kiss once (or twice) so this was Molly's first real kiss. And she wasn't ready for it to end when the pipe began to play again. She pulled back reluctantly, looked at Magnus then giggled and leaned her head against Tykir's shoulder. Yes, her cheeks were pink but she didn't think either of them would mind. It took her a moment, but she finished the song staying just the way she was.

Molly started to pull away from the kiss so Tykir's fingers tightened in her hair. Only then did he realize the pipe had started again. How long had the man been watching them? He tilted his head to the side as she sang, resting his cheek against the top of hers...looking over at Magnus. For all that was 'holy' the man could have at least pretended to remain sleeping for a little while longer! When the music stopped this time, the older man cocked his ear at an angle, listening, then nodded and stood, placing his pipe on the rickety table beside his chair. "Sounds like the storm has passed." He shoved up, heavy steps carrying him to the front door which he flung open. The rain still fell, but not as heavy, the wind still blew, but had died down. "Okay, gather your things." He looked back into the one room shanty. "Time to go."

Molly watched as Magnus first listened, then stood. She sat straight when he told them it was time to go, though to be honest, she wasn't really surprised. The man obviously liked his solitude She gave Tykir a side glance and shrugged slightly. They had folks who would be worried. Of course they didn't know what things would be like but they'd find out. The lass stood, opened the basket and placed a bottle of the pure on the table. "For our invading your privacy." She told him but it wasn't said in a malicious way at all and she added a smile. Then she pulled on her boots and picked up the basket. No cloak. She hadn't bothered with one because the day had been so nice. She waited for Tykir before going out.

Tykir shifted and stood, watching Molly for a minute while she prepared, and held out a hand for her basket. He frowned as the bottle was left for the cantankerous man, but when he heard her reasoning, he nodded. "You are an excellent host, Magnus, I'll be sure to stop again, and bring more friends to visit." He turned to the side to ease himself and Molly between the large man and the doorframe. "Get yourself gone, Boy, your Mother is probably worried over your absence. And your family...that you've been gone so long with this boy." He gave a quick nod of head toward Tykir as reference to Molly's part of the comment. "The flies are coming in! Get!" He swatted a hand, at them or the flies, wouldn't matter, he obviously wanted both gone. "Thanks again, Sir." Tykir laughed, giving Molly's hand a tug and they hurried to their horses. The lean-to had held up nicely against the brutal attack, as did the house, old Magnus knew what he was doing when it came to fortitude. Magnus grumbled something and door slammed, it probably had to do with Tykir tagging him with that title. The dark prince had seen the sword which was tucked behind the chair, barely visible. The man had once been more than the hermit secluded away in the forest.

Molly curled her fingers through Tykir's and eased by the man trying not to laugh. He certainly would be 'thrilled' to have a bunch of teens come visit, wouldn't he? "Thank you for your kindness, Sir." Called out before the door was slammed then she did giggle. She hadn't see the storm. "There's another bottle in the basket." She told him as they headed over to the lean-to. The horses were reluctant to leave their shelter but hopefully there would be a stable waiting for them. She stopped though and just stared at what lay ahead of them. Trees down, rocks moved, and some places looking completely different from before. Other parts of the forest weren't touched at all. Even the animals that had survived and were coming out seemed stunned. "Which way is back?"

Tykir lowered the basket the soggy earth, looking all around them. He glanced back to the hut, then toward the direction he knew they had come from the way the home was facing. "That way, I'd guess." The rain continued, but by no means with the angry force of before. They were both getting wet again though, there just was no way out of it. What he wanted to say, was wait, there's something we didn't get to finish ... but instead he offered her the laced cup of his hands for her to mount and then he'd tie off the basket to her horse.

Maybe it was being in the storm and getting scared or just that she was happy that they had finally kissed but Molly didn't want to pass up another opportunity. Who knew when the chance would come again? She cupped her hands around Tykir's face now that he was a bit more level with her, and kissed him again. Next time he could be the one to initiate it. Being under the lean-to meant they weren't getting wet quite as quickly as they would once they started traveling.

That's all he needed, his fingers slipped free and he wrapped an arm around her lower back, pulling her closer still. Though protected now, where they had walked through the rain, their skin was slick, and their lips moist. Tykir smiled against the kiss at first, lightly touching his hand to the side of her face, his thumb in a soft caress against her cheek. Could he stay here with her until nightfall, just like this? Indeed he could. Would his mother send someone out looking for them, especially after such as storm. Indeed she would! The kiss was savored, then he ended it with a light peck, opening his eyes to look into hers. "We know..." Holycan'tgetenough! He touched his lips to hers one more time. The words that followed were spoken in a breath, lips to lips still. "Let's get back, Moll."

She knew they had to come back but she had wanted a little more too. She wouldn't be surprised if her shadow walking brother turned up somewhere, looking for them but she wasn't worried about it, not right now. Her eyes were dreamy, her lips still slightly parted when he said about getting back. "All right, Tykir." A rub of her nose against his and she was ready for his help up onto her horse. Not even the rain was going to bring her back down to earth tonight. Though the trip back might be rough. "We'll try another picnic when things are cleaned up. Maybe go and see how the Garden fared?" Though if the fairies protected it and Andrew's cave was near, it was likely untouched.

He smiled over to her, not moving yet. "The Garden, no doubt, has been left unscathed...we should have retreated there!" Although, he wouldn't have chosen an alternative to this evening, not at all. The day had progressed, perfectly, despite the storm. By the look of the forest, though, he was concerned with just how much damage they would find on their way home.

Molly laughed and nodded, tipping her head in that birdlike way. "Maybe, but it might not have been so interesting. Are we going to come visit him again?" She lowered her voice to ask the last as she looked over toward the hut. At many now that grumpy old hermit was going to come out and shoo them again. Yes, they should get back, though travel might take longer than previously but at the same time, she didn't want to end this time to end.

"Here?" Tykir laughed, looking over his shoulder toward the house and shook his head. "Not if I can help it." But who knew, sometimes Tykir got a wild hair up his ... er ... sometimes he just got a wild hair. "Come on, Moll...lest anyone is worried over us." His gaze slipped briefly from her eyes to her lips, but then he sucked in a breath and bent so she could use his cupped hands as a step up to mount.

She grinned and felt her cheeks heat up so she quickly mounted the filly with Tykir's help. The horses had weathered the storm and not panicked and she told them both how brave they had been. A bit reluctant herself, she eased the horse out into the rain and down the path, then waited for Tykir. She was all turned around and unsure which way to go since she had really not been out this way much. "If we can find the main road, we shouldn't have any trouble getting back." Though if there were folks in need of help, it might take the two a while.

Tykir mounted, riding up alongside Molly. "We came straight on to the front door, Moll, we just follow the way out the same." A click of tongue and the horses continued on in the rain, the smack of hooves in deep standing water becoming a familiar sound as they rode along. They would help as needed, as they could, and when they reached the castle, they would send out more help where they couldn't. It was going to be a looooong day.


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