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The Callihans

Date: 11-02-09
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 1

Late Nite at the Port

At least he had a full belly now after wandering distant lands. He was in a gallop, cloak flying behind him with the wind that picked up as he headed through the commons and onward down to the port. He needed to check the scheduling and make sure his brother and sister had the same one before they set sail. There weren't too many around this late of night except the regulars at the bars and most of them inside the respective buildings. The rush of the ocean was in a constant flow as he dismounted at the port master's building to check the listings.

It was late, but Morgan had been one of those in a bar. He had come looking for a game and found one and had just left as his brother went riding by. He headed in the direction Faelan had gone and soon came upon the portmaster's building. Grinning, he patted the horse and looked around for his brother.

"We set sail at dawn. Are yea ready?" Which he was writing on another sheet that he would be setting sail at that time. Shifting a quick glance over his shoulder as his brother had approached. He could smell him from twenty feet away. "I'm putting in for ten more cages if they have them to bring along. Just in case we find a lot of birds." They would also fit the small monkeys.

"Aye, Regan will be as well. She's sleeping on the Dream tonight." He rubbed at his chin, frowning slightly. "Though I can't help but wondering if James really is all right with this." True, the others would all be here and with Ultan now tucked away and the Kildare armies ready, they didn't have to worry much. "Course, being how he is, he'd probably say no if he wasn't." Yes, he was also a bit tipsy.

He wrote another note to have five more of the larger cages put on the Dream. "Can your ship hold any more?" While he was at it. "From what James told me, our family will not be needing to fight this time. Although that Renegade thinks he is going to march on Montrose, he is being marched on instead." Though he paused as violet blue eyes turned on his brother. "Would you feel better if we postponed the trip until the matter is settled in Kildare? I have a feeling we will be back before it is completed and Kaylea will have more animals at the Zoo before winter sets in for good."

"Aye, I can take more of the small and large." He shook his head and grinned. "No, if you agree with James and I agree with him, we're in good shape." He leaned to look at the list. "I don't see having trouble with any of these,  though if we come across something mythical, we may not have enough room." He was teasing but one never knew what would happen. They both knew that after their search for the treasure.

"Kaylea can open up a whole new section then." Once notes were made he knew would be seen to come early morning, a hand dipped inside his cloak to an inner pocket for a flask filled with the pure. "They had some good food at this place I visited but nothing like the pure." Uncorking it the while that it was lifted by the time his comment was made for a drink. Good hearty one before offered to his brother as he swallowed. Nice smooth burn. "What have you been up to tonight?" He was kind of hoping he would come across a certain doxy he'd seen about a few times down here. She looked clean as well attractive.

"Gambling." He grinned as he accepted the flask and took a long drink then handed it back. "It's more for sport since I don't really need the gold." And anything he did win, he usually gave to one of the bar maids or the urchins that ran about the docks. "Lost as much as won, so no fights. Though I did take note of a few shady characters about." He rubbed at the back of his neck. "Talked to some lads just in from where we're heading. Said they haven't  heard talk of any trouble on the seas." He paused then squinted at Faelan. "Where were you?"

"Shady characters, what kind of shady?" There was all different shades of  shady characters as he picked up on perhaps a bit of excitement to be had in dangerous dealings. "Did I tell you that his fetching lass that tended this bar didn't look any older than me, had a grown son that came in as well a daughter there?" His luck continued it seemed. Not. If he picked one out, she was married or old as dirt but not showing it.

"No, you didn't." He laughed then frowned. "Sailors but seemed like they were doing more watching than anything. I didn't know you were looking for a lass, Faelan. We'll have to put Deirdre and Alannah on that since they're staying behind." He chuckled and clapped a hand to his brother's shoulder. "You'll find one in time and hopefully James and Adam as well. Then I can stay the Captain married to his ship and be buried at sea at an old age." He looked somber a moment. "If she was an Elven lass, they don't age like we do."  Hard for him to stay focused on one thing tonight.

Hands were out waving at his brother, "no.. no! I can find one on me own iffin I want. I don't want setups and expectations. I've a run of bad luck around women anyway. Except maybe a doxy?" Which had him looking down the length of the boardwalk. Not a one in sight, "seems there too, for once they're all working or gave up on finding someone tonight?" Or maybe in the bars as most let them in down here at the port.

"There is that, or the Gardens, though you'd be on your own there tonight. I smell of drink and smoke and will be needing sleep soon enough. You could try that one bar done the way. Can't remember the name but I know a few of the Frasier clan favor it."

"Aye, I might but I think it is too late tonight." He didn't need to become a laughing stock of the port by falling asleep instead of proving he was the man he was. "La Grato something," he had heard of it, "maybe when we get back?" The two of them could go and see what there was to see and do.

"Aye, we'll do that." He grinned and clapped a hand to Faelan's shoulder. "And now, brother mine, I'm thinking it's time we head back to our respective ships so Regan isn't up and sailing before we're awake." Not that she would leave before they did. After all, they were working on this together.   Then again, she might just to make them race after her, especially if she knew they weren't quite at their top form.  "Are you taking your horse on board, or shall we walk him to the stables first?"

"Aye, or we'll never hear the end of it if she is bright eye and busy tail and we're like slugs hitting the deck." Which he took up the reins of his newly acquired stallion. "Best leave him here as most we'll be on foot I'm thinking or gain what transportation is offered there." He might consider taking the steed with him on future trips if it would prove frugal over the downfalls of having a horse on board to tend to. Then again he could assign one of his crew to do most of the looking after.

"Thistle stables then?" They could send word asking that the horse be collected and taken to the manor stables. He patted the horse's neck again. "Fine animal."

"I'll have to take the time to name him when I get back," more mussed as they started off for the stables. Time to share the rest of the potcheen too, both of them would be sleeping well tonight, "aye, that he is."

Morgan had no doubt that Faelan would find the right name for the stallion, possibly get an idea during their travels. The potcheen would help could off the chill. First to the stables, then to their ships and off to warmer climes come morning!



Date: 03-26-10
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 2

Spring Fever

Spring was finally here, something much awaited and anticipated. Flowers were blooming, trees were budding and grass was green again. It had rained, heavily for a while then tapered off leaving the rich smell of earth, grass and flowers in the air. The days nor nights were overly warm but a comfortable degree if a light cloak was worn. Faelan was lingering about the marketplace before making his way up to the Thistle in the hope that any of his family might be around. He wasn't ready to go inside just yet but drink in the night air, taking up a spot along the rail in a half sitting position.

One family member was making his way toward the tavern just as Faelan had settled on the porch. Morgan was strolling in that direction from the docks, and he too, was enjoying the night air. His coat was a lighter one than what he normally wore, though it was still long and black. No hat this evening, just dark blonde hair pulled back. Looking toward the tavern porch, he thought he spotted a familiar form.

"I'd recognize that walk anywhere," called out from the shadows of the porch before he pushed off the rail and moved within the lamplight given off from the lanterns near the door. "I was saying to Regan the other day, that we need another adventure to embark upon, stir the blood with sailing the seven seas, short of there particular Pirates." Grinning as he waited on his brother near the open door. "Have you a thirst tonight?"

"Aye, we do," a grin accompanied his answer, though he'd agree on leaving out the pirates this time around. "And when do I not have a thirst?" He chuckled as he stepped through then to the side. "So Regan is feeling restless as well?" It wasn't unusual, especially this time of year.

"Aye, and we know if we don't come up with something, Regan will go off on her own and probably get hurt," not saying the word 'killed' in there for he hoped she at least had that much luck not to. "Two ales, Alex, with a bottle of potcheen to follow." Grinning as they headed for the bar to collect their fare then head for one of the tables near an open window.

"Aye, she doesn't have much patience for waiting." If Regan knew they were talking about her, she'd have both their hides. Well, not really but they'd tease her all the more. "Evening Alex, and thanks." He saluted the older man before following Faelan to the table "So, have you been up to anything? There was little going on even in Tortuga. Like a great cloud of laziness has settled over all the world."

Actually Faelan would love it if she knew they were talking about her and her attempts to have their hides. He liked locking horns with his sister or any of his siblings. "I've only been doing some runs down the coast to Ballicastle and up the coast to Kildare, which is the norm and getting back into sailing after so many months not. I need to get in contact with Kaylea to find out what she needs for the Zoo." Settling into a seat across from his brother as he took a long drink of his ale to start.

"Aye, this will be a good time to start that." He slouched in the chair, stretching out his legs. "And we'll try to avoid any dragons this time around." He paused, the grin returning. "Unless it happens to be guarding another treasure." Not likely but one never knew what they'd find in exploring.

"Getting us out to find some exotic birds or mammals, could have us come upon adventure." Like it had times before. "I'm thinking maybe going to the land down under for there are strange and curious animals living there. Strange and curious land."

"Have you been there?" He stopped drinking and peered at Faelan over his tankard. "And when? Or is it something you read about?"

"No, but I heard of it. I'm sure you would have known if I had been there!" Taking another long drink of his ale but this time chased with a shot of potcheen which he had poured for each of them.

"Well, there are times we seem to go in opposite directions." He laughed, then held up his tankard in a salute. The liquid was down and followed by the shot of potcheen. "So, we'll skip South American?" He didn't care where they went, as long as they went somewhere.

"You would prefer to go there?" Eyeing his brother as he brought it up, had to be a reason. "There are a number of different places to explore."

"I don't care where we go, so long as we go." He gave a shake of his head. "We had plenty of adventure when there. Wouldn't hurt to try another land and we'd be more likely to avoid those three. Be all we'd need for our hot-headed sister to spot one of their ships and go after them like she did in Kildare and the English ship."

"That was different, she would know that English yellow belly newt didn't have any real balls." The Pirates did. Deadly serious twisted minds in those three. "Aye, we need a start so we'll see what Kaylea needs first."

"Plan to do that tomorrow? I would imagine she'll be seeing to getting the Zoo ready for spring. Planting and cleaning up debris?" He scratched at his neck, his expression thoughtful. "And if we happen on something she might like, and hasn't put on the list, can always gather it up too." Two by two, like Noah's ark maybe.

"Aye, want to come with me?" He had finished off his ale as he took a drink straight from the bottle of potcheen to follow. "Nice night, too nice to be wasted just sitting around. How about we go find some card games down at the docks, never know what a sailor will put in the pot when he doesn't have the coins to match. Old treasures from the sea.." which might not be worth anything or a gold mine.

"Sounds like a grand idea to me." He sat up straight so he could stand and rubbed his hands together. "Feeling lucky tonight." Whether he would be or not was another thing. "How's everyone been doing while I've been gone?" Faelan could tell him all about it as they walked.

"Aye, I'm feeling lucky." That elusive quality like that time they ended up with that other map from a kid trying to get rid of it fast. "Night, Alex," waving to the tender as he headed out with his brother, it wouldn't rain again until tomorrow. Somehow he knew.



Date: 02-23-11
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 3

The Hint of Spring
Thistle Tavern


The flames within the hearth held Anthea's attention. Silver hues transfixed to the dancing fire. Curled within the comfort of the chair, she tilted her head as the glowing logs caught her attention and would not let it go.

The door burst open allowing Faelan and his brother within the welcoming warmth. With it came that vibrant air, "I feel so much alive again like spring is here even if it's snowing out there! I need another adventure, drag Regan with us so she doesn't try one on her own." After reminiscing on the adventures they already had and where he got the dragon's tooth that hung from a leather strap around his neck.

The opening of the door brought Anthea's attention to slowly shift from the flames, turning a bit in her chair and gazing to those that had entered. Smile always came to full lips, even to those she did not know.

Morgan just shook his head and laughed.. "Spring is still a ways off." He wasn't so wide awake and covered a yawn before answering. "She took off as soon as she could. What makes you think she isn't off on another right now?" He wouldn't mind going somewhere warm however, and looked thoughtful.

With the smile given, and not wishing to keep the men from their drinks, Anthea slowly turned back into her seat, finding comfort with cup of tea to be taken from the table and enjoyed once more.

A dipping glance of violet eyes was swiftly discreet as he shrugged out of his overcoat to hang there on a peg by the door. "Good evening miss," smile was sweeping before shifting focus on his brother again. "Aye, that she might but when have we ever not been able to track her down and when have we ever not been able to entice her to venture on a new adventure?" Moving to the bar where he could get a tumbler of the pure.

Well she felt rude about now. "G'evening, Sirs.." Spoken to both with her head to lean over the side of the chair again so the greeting could be given with a smile. But then, once again, and with a soft chuckle, she found comfort within the chair once again.

"Hmmm." He answered thoughtfully, eyes holding his laughter. "Not too often, so long as she doesn't think we're doing it to keep her out of trouble." He hung his long coat and smiled at the lass in the chair. "Evenin'." And then he was heading for the bar and a glass of the pure. "Besides, after that business with the kangaroos, I'm not sure we could convince her."

"It has been too long since I've been here as I can't say I recognize your lovely face, Lady. I am Faelan of the Callihans and this is me brother Morgan." Not knowing for sure if she would recognize the surname or not.

And there went Faelan. "You're the reason why people say sailors have a lass in every port, you know." He teased in a low voice.

Anthea smiled warmly and turned, slowly to lift from the chair to not seem so rude. " A pleasure, Sir.. I am Anthea Drakos.." Should she curtsey? She thought twice on it and only bestowed a smile in greeting to both.

She may not but the stranger entering recognized the name as it was given. Garbed against the chill, he left his hood lifted as he entered the tavern, a patch covered one eye and thick stubble blanketed his jaw. He nodded to the ones within and crossed to the bar. Although it was obvious by the quality of material and cut of the cloak that his man was no humble traveler, there was still an air of separation, of solitude that marked his presence. A shot ordered, he didn't glance to the others but did offer a "good evening" before retreating to a table and chairs.

Dazzle them with a smile some would say for certainly he had such a smile. There it went just to prove his brother's words. "A pleasure indeed Anthea, if I may use your first name? Faelan," as much as saying she could use his first name. Drink in hand he was over to the hearth, "if I may be so bold, that I and my brother, "turning a look over his shoulder then back, "may join you?"

"Of course, Sir.. " Easing into the comfort of the leather once more, she let his name roll easily from her tongue. "A pleasure again, Faelan..and you as well, brother of Faelan?" Twitch of a grin and nod to the other gentleman as well.  "Of course, Sir .. please. It is always nice to make new friends." Softly were the words spoken, the accent of her mother land to soften with each vowel.

It was then he noted another along with a prickling at the back of his neck. "Good eve to you sir. " Greeting him as well. There was a twitch to his smile which his brother would recognize. Oh, he might attract the lasses for his smile and for his ways .. but ... how many times did he send them Morgan's way?


  Didn't mean his brother was receptive.

They always sailed right around and headed back to a friendlier port.

She gazed to the door in hopes one of her family would enter, or even her Scottish duenna. But, she had enjoyed time here without her family before, she would enjoy her time here this evening as well.

"Evenin'." He greeted the man casually enough but studied him a moment. Not a sailor it would seem, and certainly not one of their enemies. But there was something ... Morg shrugged inwardly. Getting bluidy paranoid lately.

Hessian boots spoke of a cordwainer who had worked long and hard to craft the footwear, though this particular customer cared not at all for the tassel and so, none adorned the leather. His attire might speak of influence and wealth, perhaps that was the reason he set himself apart. Perhaps ... not. He drank slowly, resting the glass on the table between tastes.

"So, Anthea," settling into a chair in making himself comfortable. "Are you visiting or a lass of the lands that give it the reputation of having the finest, and the prettiest around?"

The velvet of her burgundy gown, crinkled in annoyance as Anthea tucked slender legs beneath her body, and moved fingers to cover feet demurely. "Sir, that is too kind of you.." Slight flush danced along her complexion, with a shake of her head in answer.." I live here, Sir.. help to run the Press Shop." Silver hues studied the brothers, smiling at how close they seem to be.

The lady of Greek origins was not the only one that studied the brothers, although the stranger was not so obvious. Indeed, he appeared not to be interested at all in anything but the glass in his hand and the contents of that glass when a drink was taken.

"Then I am correct and never too kind.." giving her wink but he was still distracted to that annoying prickle along the back of his neck. In fact, a hand lifted to rub there a moment to try and ease the sensation. When it would not be appeased, and his hand lowered, he gave a look Morgan's way for usually that preceded one of their adventures. Wondering if he was getting the same. Odd it should happen here in the tavern.


The man was good with words, and that brought her to smile with images of many a lass ooo'ing and aww'ing? With a grin she turned her attention to the tea, sipping at the heated brew slowly. She took note of Faelan's behavior, but knew she did not know him well to inquire on what could be troubling him.

"Faelan isn't one to give compliments lightly, Anthea." Though he gave them freely. He smiled at her over the rim of his glass before he cut a look toward Faelan. Something seemed to be off, yes, but he couldn't pinpoint what or why.

"Thank you, Sir.." Words came with kindness to Morgan. Glad to have been told such, and giving both men smiles to their words yes, but also to their kindness to this Greek.

"Although you may get many, at least now you have some of mine." The prickling was back as he finally turned attention to the man. "Have you a name to go by stranger? I'm Faelan and this is me brother Morgan in off the high seas until spring sprouts her buds and we'll be off again."

With their attention to the silent gentleman, Anthea turned those silver hues to study the flames once again. The colors brought flaming death to the logs, but to the petite Greek, it brought beauty.

"Rare is a man without one." Came the initial reply, a coarse in tone as it was in attitude. "And though the lady might find your spring jaunts interesting, I'll just enjoy my whiskey if you will, and then be on my way again... prior to the sprouting buds."

"Rare but it happens," which had the flash of a smile for certainly when a man was about with no name they could be assured there was a reason and usually not a good reason. "Or the man that doesn't share one. As you will, have a good drink and life." Studying him a longer moment before a glance was given his brother again. There were those unsociable and so he'd leave the stranger to his drink.

Anthea felt her back stiffen. How in the blue blazes did she get involved with this conversation? Delicate brow arched in confusion, but she did not bring her gaze to leave that of the flames.

He tipped his drink toward the chatty-male, he intended to do both, with or without the man's best wishes. Within the shadows of his hood, a smile twisted, but soon enough it was eased away with the rim of the glass he drank from.

Just the slightest hint of a frown then he looked at Faelan and shrugged. If the man was looking for trouble, he'd head to the docks and find it there. Otherwise, Morgan had no problem with him. It wasn't as if the stranger and Faelan were about to get into a duel. Hopefully.

Not this night.

"Maybe we should get Caoime to come with us on a trip to one of those tropical islands. Get Regan to come, then she will, get her out of the snowbound castle and alive again." Which he was well aware of the state of mind their cousin was in and in the years following the battle, he had befriended her. He'd been tossing around this idea and now running it by Morgan.

Anthea left the conversation to the men, enjoying the tea with the conversation to float around her.

The glass touched down to table with a bit more force than the times before when the woman's name was mentioned.

He was about to answer when the man reacted as he did. Morgan looked at him a long moment before he answered Faelan. "I think it might be a good idea. She'll enjoy the change, I'm sure. Take her mind off things best forgotten."

With the men engrossed in their own words, Anthea leaned slightly to the side to deposit her cup of tea on the table, and pick up her book.

That had his shoulders straighten into a tight line as he gave a glance back over his shoulder to the one. Something was very wrong there but he was not in the mood to get into a fight, especially here. There and back just as easily with a shrug. "Then we shall sail there soon and present the idea. First we need to find Regan so she has a female companion, one that has become like a sister to her." The three of them made sure to stop in Montrose whenever in from the sea.

Or perhaps fate was watching after Faelan for keeping his mood in check? To return to Montrose would be a difficult thing for anyone with a past. Difficult, but not impossible. He finished his drink and stood, using the back of his knees to slide the chair away. The glass was returned to the tender with a short comment of thanks. "Appreciated." Then without glancing to the other three, he made for the door. "May spring come early for you." That was it. Nothing more. And he left the same he had come - none the wiser for his intent and purposes.

Morgan gave Faelan a confused look. "I thought Cai was closer to Alannah?" Did their younger sister truly befriend anyone? The man was moving. He watched him leave then chuckled. "I don't think he cared for our company."

Smile curled about lips upon hearing Morgan. But made no comment herself. Only continued with the reading.

Which he gave a shrug of his shoulder to, "they all seem to get along but you'll find Regan out on the high sea than Alannah. Alannah could come too if she wanted. A little summer holiday to wash away the winter blues."

"Don't forget Deirdre." He grinned at his brother. "Maybe Da and James too."

A lick of her finger tip, and the page turned to bring more information to the young Greek's mind.

"Da wont go and James is too busy watching over us all.." which had him laugh for they were out at sea most of the time but their oldest brother always seemed to know what port they were in.

"He could watch us better if he was with us. Did his friend from the colonies ever come back?"

It was nice to hear of family. Even her own, for now she knew what it felt like to have family, and it brought the smile to bring radiance to her olive complexion.

Which had him show a slight frown on a thought, reflective one he didn't voice. There and gone as he caught himself and his wandering mind.

"Wolf is his name I think?" And because the lass was reading in a tavern, he leaned forward to try to see what she was reading.

"Do hate to interrupt.. " Warm smile to both, and then with a smile showed Morgan. "Hamlet.." Offering it to him as she spoke in general.. "I am going to gather more tea, do either of you wish anything?"

"Aye, I believe he did as well Downy Feather but I've not seen them yet." Smile was quickly back with a shake of his head to the offer, "I'm grand sweetling, thanks for the offer."

"Your very welcome, Sir.." Then turned to Morgan in question.

"Ah, and do you like the Bard's writings?" He took the book and looked it over, keeping her page marked. "No thanks, Anthea. I need to be sober when I go back to me ship tonight."

"Faelan," which he quickly reminded her as the smile remained. One that reflected in violet blue eyes as he quietly studied her as they talked.

"Oh yes, I adore Shakespeare.. very much so. Myself and my sister are on quest to read all his works." Warm smile with a snap.."Faelan it is.." With a wink to both, she left the book in Morgan's care and moved toward Alex with her own request.

"The actors at the theater put their plays on sometimes. I haven't caught them yet, but I understand they're very good." He read a few lines while he sipped his drink.

"Aye, the Valdez family. They are very good." He too reflected on some of the scenes he'd seen when here in the past. "We'll have to make sure we do."

Anthea heard both as she approached the brothers once again. "Truly? I have not seen a good play since London, and then it was rather bland" Scrunching her tiny nose in memory.

"They sometimes put small skits on in the square. Bits of comedy. One of the lasses sings, the other dances." He smiled as he motioned toward the window. "Though I'm not sure they'd brave this weather."

"So true.. it is rather cold.." Mock shiver coursed down her spine as she took her seat. "Perhaps when the warmth returns, I can visit their work?"

The prickling ceased as he eased up from his seat in a stretch. "I think it is a good time to head out to Whispering Pines." See the ones that stayed here for their professions. "It was a pleasure to meet you Anthea, I hope to have the pleasure again." He was also going to see if the man hung around or what direction he headed in after realizing the prickling stopped after he left.

"A pleasure to have met you both as well. Be safe and only good dreams.." Spoken to both with a gentle smile, glad to have met more people on this land.

They were leaving? He handed the book back to Anthea as he stood. "You should go by the theater and see if they have any notices out. They may be putting on a play soon." They did seem to try to do one at least every month or two.

Taking the book with a smile. "Thank you so much, I shall bring my sister and inquire on such. " She could not wait until they did. Taking the book she gazed to the door knowing soon she would be taking her leave too.

He bowed slightly before he was turning to take the glass to the bar. Then it was on to retrieve his coat. "So, where do you think our wayward sister is?" Meaning Regan of course. "Kildare? Innis? South America?" Holding the door for Faelan as he asked.

Morgan didn't have to leave! Most likely the man was heading for the docks and sure as shooting, Faelan would probably get himself into a ruckus. He was over to collect his cloak and off into the wild winter beyond the tavern doors. The rumble of voices to continue as he gave his opinion and guesses.



Date: 03-04-11
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 4

The Cover of Night

Caiome knew many were coddling her for all that had fallen upon her and her immediate family. It was a heartbreaking moment for her to finally admit, her father was a scum. An evil crazed man. Worse, was the inkling of thought she refused to face, that her brother might take after her father. She refused to believe it for they had been close once upon a time when there was no treachery. Perhaps it was the fact their father lost so much along with his pride to have to come to his brother's place to be able to survive. Live off him. It was a bile lump the three of them had to swallow; one called pride. Except, their uncle Ronan was a truly good man, this she found out in taking care of him when he became gradually ill. Not knowing at the time it was due to her father. Guilt ridden when she had to choose right over wrong that made her choose her uncle over her father. Those last couple of years, Ultan had kept Gillean apart from her. They rarely got to see each other and when they did, it was with many others around. He separated them on purpose for they had a strong tie and it was that very tie she wouldn't let be broken, would't let herself believe he had any part in trying to kill their uncle.


This night was one that felt strange. The air was still, the night was still, hardly a sound other than distant clanging in the kitchen. A wagon passing by outside below under one of her windows. The Keep had found some peace over the past months but was still guarded well. The guards here saw action far too often as poachers and renegades still roamed the forests. Too quiet for the Keep but it was something even more intangible that had her step to her window to see out into the night. Light from a partial moon played with the shadows below. Movement of a guard, the wagon, a woman running down the street carrying something. All were distractedly noticed. Dark hair had been combed to a luster by her handmaid before she was dismissed. One who slept in an adjacent room in case she was needed. There were a few such handmaidens but one was her personal one. A nightgown of simmering pale silver-blue was worn with a light overlay until she sought her bed. She was restless tonight.

So long from a place, and yet, it seemed nothing had changed. Still the guards kept to their posts, the same posts they had kept these several years past. More of them perhaps, but still, there could only be so many to keep post. Gillean had learned much during the years away from Montrose. Much of which served him well, in any situation. Tonight he played within the shadows, the dark attire and lifted hood blending into his surroundings. The guards were well trained, the slightest misstep would give them cause to investigate. Gillean was not his father, he did not misstep. Skimming along the border of the outer wall, through the secret entry at the gate that only family was privy to, then glancing up, scanning, searching, if his sister hadn't changed her suites then...ahhh...he ducked his head against the pale light offered from an obliging sliver of moon as he smiled. He tucked his cape tighter around him, fastening it at his right hip to keep the fullness of cloth from tangling around his arms or legs. Sure of his surroundings now, he waited for the next passing of guards, marked both on the ground and on the outer wall, then he'd make his move for the stones of the keep itself.

It would be hard to say what caused Captain Michael Dewar to suddenly become alert. It was one of those nights where sounds carried, cold and crisp, with the stars so bright it was a wonder they didn't hurt the eyes. He paused in his walk, listening again but only heard the sound of a dog in the distance. A chill wind blew across the ramparts and he began his trek again along the inner wall, more alert than before.

There was another chill to run up her spine leaving her with a shudder hearing the lone howl of a distant wolf. It brought to mind shadows that moved in the night with deadly intent. Stealth honed that the one being hunted never knew what hit them until that second and then it would not make a difference. She counted on the guards being well trained to keep any such evil from their home, keep them safe. Still, there were too many legends of whole families being overrun in the strongest of Holds. Bad thoughts! She moved from the window to see about the tea that had been left for her.

"Fuck." He had just stepped out to move toward the hand holds of stone he had pin pointed when the guard moved against the inner wall. Where had he come from? A muscle twitched with frustration along the chiseled line of his cheek and for that second, he pressed himself into the thickness of ivy vines which wove a heavy wall of its own over the trellis decorating the Keep wall. The lower bailey provided little protection against notice save the shadows, surely a protection endeavor, but for one who knew how best to make use of all around him, the trellis, his cloaked form, the pale light of moon and the fact that men had eyes meant for seeing in daylight rather than at night all worked to Gillean's advantage. He braced himself as the guard drew closer, slowly dipping his head and becoming as much a part of the evening's scenery as any other stationary object.

There was a pause of footsteps, a slight intake of air as the guard looked around. Surely the chill felt against his neck was only the wind, nothing more. He moved passed the ivy, on into a niche where the wind lessened. A few moments of silence was followed by an unmistakable sound that left no doubt as to why he had chosen that place. Silence followed for a few moments more before he was moving again, away from the user of shadows but slowly, as if he was again listening.

And then the silence was broken "HALT, " sounded..

Halt? Who is moving?

Only Michael! "What the bluidy hell, Phillips. Can't a man take a leak?" There was laughter in answer and Michael moved further away, grumbling a bit. He glanced upward, taking note of the light in the window. "I'm going to check on her ladyship. Make sure all is well." There'd be teasing that he was a bit too solicitous of the lady but his concern was for all the family and well his men knew it.

The breeze played with the vines, shifting the leaves left clinging to their lifeline, blowing some from their fragile hold. Surely it wasn't the man who had started using well anchored, aged vines and the stones beneath to scale the side of the wall toward the window he had marked earlier. He kept a watch below, stilling and flattening as men walked below. How rare did anyone look up? Those on the parapet and rampart walls scanned the lands, those in the  bailey's looked as far up as the walks, but there their main study ended unless something gave them cause to search further, higher. And with Gillean, there would be nothing. He had heard the conversation, knew where the guard was headed, and that caused a knot of anger to tighten in his gut. Of all the bloody foul luck...He reached the window just as he saw his sister start to the door. As her back was turned, he tried the window and had to grin. For all her history of deceit and intrigue, the window gave to his urging and he was able to slip in and shut it before the night breeze could even give him away. She would be in her sitting room while he found a suitable place to  'wait' for her return in her bed chamber.

He was up the stairs quickly, knocking lightly so as to not frighten the young woman. "Lady Caoime?" He had followed his instincts before and they'd not failed him. He couldn't quite figure out why he was concerned more than usual for her welfare.

She had moved from the bedchambers to the antechamber for her tea. The fire in the hearth burned low so she added some peat when the knock came upon the door. It near had her drop her cup of tea as she took a moment to regain her composure. There was a guard stationed outside but she moved to the door and asked. "Who is it?" It was late, she was not usually disturbed at this hour unless a good reason. She was still was paler than she had been before all hell broke loose with her father and brother. The only improvement was she had started to leave her room, join the others at the great table for dinner. She was still more a shadow of herself and perhaps it was why she drew so much sympathy she detested even if genuine. She never let on for she loved her cousins, they were the reason she had not done anything too crazy.

"Captain Dewar, my Lady. Forgive my intrusion but is all well?" He didn't give a reason for his inquiry. It was well known that Caoime was upset over all that had come to pass, and rightly so. And they were given orders not to make her feel as if she were constantly under watch. But he still followed his own feelings, and something was off.


Letting out a breath of relief she unlatched the door and eased it open. Just enough to speak face to face but not stand there in her night clothes for all to see, mostly hidden by the door as she peeked around. "Captain Dewar, all is well. There is nothing amiss outside? It is a strange night..." but she didn't continue or he might think her some kind of witch reading the whispers of wind and something else. "Yes, all is well," repeating herself which gave way to the fact there was something unsettling that one could not put their finger on.

He nodded as she opened the door and spoke, then gave the slightest of smiles. "I have to agree, it is a strange night which is why I felt the necessity to check. No reason for certain." Just the odd feel. "Again, forgive the intrusion. Good night, my lady." He inclined his head slightly before turning and walking away, though he paused to look back at the door before he headed down the steps and outside.

He listened from the confines of bedchamber, and as he heard the departing words of guard and lady, he moved from his hiding place to take a seat on the bottom edge of her mattress. It would be there she would find him when she returned to her room.

She watched him leave, a feeling of security calming her nerves. It had been good that he stopped for that bit of ease as she finally closed the door. The guard there giving a cordial nod to both as he kept his station. By morning it would be a different one. The door was latched for if she didn't, the guard outside would be knocking to remind her. The cup of tea, which she only had a few sips from, was set back to the tray which she would leave until morning. Well, by morning it would be gone. Taken away by her handmaid or a chambermaid. There was another entry for them. Which was also secured by a guard. Deciding it was best she get some sleep or not wake until noon which she hated, she whisked into her bed chambers only to find a man sitting there. The shock of surprise had the feeling of her knees to give way before that last second she drew out a knife hidden away in the layers of cloth. The room was dark, fire burned low and only silhouetted the one. She was about to scream too.

"Hello, Sister Mine." Gillean took in the tell-tale signs of an alarm being raised, he was instantly up and to her, taking her by an arm. He caught the side that held the blade so that her wrist was gripped tight and the weapon pointed away from him. He had moved swiftly, silently and with movement, his hood fell away, revealing the man beneath to her gaze. "Miss me?"

It had been good that he had for he had trained her to be quick. Something held her back and she didn't resist. "Gillean," eased out with a breath as her dagger dropped and she was around to hug him tight. Holding onto him as a life line. "Miss me?" barely audible against his chest as she drank in the scent of her beloved brother. Still, fear gripped her in the next moment for where they were and the situation. She eased her head back to stare up into his eyes, searching his face. He looked hail, he looked no worse for the situation. "What happened after the battle?"

He held her, close, tight, knowing he couldn't stay, wishing he didn't have to leave her ever again. "Miss you?" He had his lips pressed to the top of her head in a brotherly kiss and it was there he shook his head and even spoke without breaking the contact of lips and hair. "Not a moment." And he paused, starting to smile before he finished his comment. "Not a moment passed that I didn't think of you and wonder how you were. You know I've stayed away  because of you, for your safety, for your sanity, until I could bear it no more. I am a selfish man, Sister. And I wanted to see you." He lifted away, leaning back to see her face, study her features. He didn't answer her question about the battle. That could wait. What he wanted now was for his own self-centered desires to be met. He had to be here, with her, right now.

She was a paler version of herself. A hand lifted to press her fingers against his lips as she shot a glance towards the outer chamber. Her voice in a whisper, "we need to be careful." There and back as her fingers left the touch, "I have missed you more than words. You need to return. I feel James believes me that you were not a part of our Father's treason. Ronan is no longer a shadow of death but he has passed on the title of Duke to James. They need to hear it from you." So she desperately hoped he would try and make amends and come back to her, to them.

He shook his head to her suggestion, but her glance had caused him to bring his gaze to the door and there it remained. "I was a part, in a sense...and why would they ever believe me?"

"Because James is a good man. He will see that you are good and was forced by Father to aid him or die." She knew now of the pressure he had put on her brother. "One day maybe we'll understand what happened to him to turn him into such a monster." Certainly their father always had greed and that greed had been what helped for him to lose everything he had but to turn on his own brother was not something Caiome had ever expected and still found it hard to accept, such she felt his curse hung over her too.

His voice lowered, but not because she had hushed him with her touch. "It was not my death that I was threatened with, Caiome. And I could very well not be the man you think me. Am I good? Can he trust me? Even I don't know that. The blood that spoiled in our father's veins ..." He released his hold, taking a step back so he could offer her the inside of his wrists. "That is the same blood that flows through mine. You do not know me anymore, Caiome. You have no idea what I've done since I was forced to flee, since I was made to know what the consequences of my actions or lack of action would be."

"The blood of our uncle and cousins flows in us too. It is wrong to spill one's own blood. It is why Ronan and James had father banished from the lands in exile than having him hung for treason. King McLarkin allowed them the choice wherein he could have had him hung for his actions against the Crown." Which was also letting her brother know that their father had been caught and sentenced. "I know who you were, Gillean so I know who you can be if you don't let what happen ruin you. Will you at least agree to meet with James. He is home. Remember the old church about two miles away from here where we played? It would be a good spot." She didn't want to know things he had to do once he fled. She believed in him still. She spoke with such conviction, such surge of heart she forgot to keep her voice down and the knock on the door spoke of her error as the guard was alerted and the muffled, "is everything all right Lady Caiome," could be made out passed her room and antechamber.

He had started to speak, perhaps to agree, but the call of the guard set his resolve. "Not now." He whispered to her, leaning in to press a solid kiss to her forehead. "You know, Robert the Bruce fell into an ambush in a church. I prefer not to step foot in one, for any reason." He took a couple of steps back away from her, marking the distance to the window. "The Lady is fine!" He called out, shooting a grin and a wink to his sister and he lunged for the window, jerking it open and swinging out. "But not because of anything you've accomplished tonight." He blew an air kiss to his sister and dropped in quick hand catches down the vine, twigs and shards of wood slicing into his hands as he made his speedy retreat. "Latch your window, Sister!" He shouted up to her. "There are villains afoot that could gain easy access."

She was desperate to make sure she saw him again, "then the old cave where they distilled moonshine," abandoned and the equipment broken as she moved to the window as he swung out." The pounding on the door became insistent. She was certain that the guard would be coming in as she held onto the edge of the window with the frosty air circling her. Layers of silk rippled as well her hair with the moonlight awash over her features having her look like some ancient priestess calling out a spell upon the night.

All that yelling had the Captain alerted and he was over to the window almost in time to catch the trespasser as he touched the ground. "Hold!" Sister? He looked upward at the window, his attention off the man for that brief second. Another time he might admire the vision he saw there but there was someone to deal with. His sword had been drawn and was aimed for Gillean. "Don't move or I'll run you through." If it was the lady's brother, he wouldn't dare kill him but he made the threat nonetheless. And he could hurt him if necessary.

Gillean did hold, just long enough to respond. He stood dead still, eyeing the man at the other end of the sword. "My, but you wouldn't be the first to threaten, and not the last to find that ... threats don't really work well with me." With a sweep of arm, his cloak was whipped from his body and the weight of it tangled around the sword, giving the Callihan son enough time to make good his escape. He shot off a salute to the captain while he darted and dashed from the bailey toward the secret gate. He had never been an easy target, but it seemed he was always ... a target.

Seeing the scene below, Dewar to confront her brother, she dashed from the window to the door. Grabbing her cloak on the way, she barely had it around her shoulders when the latch was flipped and the door swung open as the guard outside was doing the same. He went sailing in as she want dashing out as fast as her feet could take her on the run down the flight of steps and outside. She came to an abrupt halt, expecting to find her brother at sword point and what she would say so he wasn't slain on the spot when all she found was the Captain with her brother's cape wrapped around his sword. No words left parting lip, only the frosted breath for the chill of night.

That was ... unexpected and not a move the Captain had ever had pulled on him before. Had it not been his sword the cloak was tangled around, he would have been laughing. He bit back a curse, instead yelling out. "Catch him, you blasted fools and don't kill him!" And then the Lady was there. "I'll have to speak to Ronan, Lady Caoime, about this." He cleared his throat as he removed the cloak and offered it to her. "He's ... very good." And knowing he would be hearing about this for some time, he motioned toward the door. "If I may escort you back to your room?" Then he would see about speaking to the older Duke, who was likely awake with all the commotion.



Date: 03-05-11
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 5

Barely a Night's Sleep

The very next morning had Caiome up early and dressed before heading to the stables. "Stewart, please get my horse ready," the soft voice still carried well startling the stable master. "Yes m'lady, right away," holding a tone of surprise for he'd never seen her before in the stables. Since the Keep was return to Ronan, then to James in turn, all of the staff hired by Ultan was released for they had some connection with him and was best. A faint pleasant smile as the man saw to her request without question nor delay. He even helped her up, perhaps lingering those few seconds more than he should. She was pale but there was no denying the Callihan looks she'd been grace with. Dark hair, silver blue eyes and a touch of an otherworldly look about her, arcane. Perhaps it was the last that held his look upon her longer. The faint smile disappeared but her voice was cordial still, "thank you Stewart," slight dip of her chin before heels nudged. The woman was a good rider in spite of the frail look about her. She headed out of the inner Keep through a gate used by the family and out over the pastures where the crocus was starting to bloom. The first indication of spring. There was a pond not far from the cave she and her brother use to explore as kids when visiting their cousins. Fond memories compared to the present situation. Drawing the steed to a halt, she slipped from the saddle with ease and led him over near the pond's edge to get a better view of the ice that was melting away.

The rider on the horse had stopped a distance from the pond, but he watched the lass from the cover of trees. He knew the land was guarded, and well, so surely he wasn't a threat. Or perhaps, he knew more about Montrose than many of the guards did. What luck that the Callihan lass had chosen this day to ride. He eased from the large animal, tying the reins to an obliging limb and started weaving his way through the woods to get closer. From the confines, he hooted out the call of the mourning dove and waited, arms crossed at his chest, waiting.

She had hoped he heard her the other night, about coming here being he would not visit the old church ruins. Perhaps a bit of superstition there but no matter. She was looking about, reminiscing until she heard the dove call. There were no doves about, making sure on that before she drop the reins of the stallion saying "stay" only. She knew Starling would stay put as she gathered the layers of cloak and gown and hurried off in the direction of the sound. Hood slipped from the length of dark tresses as the cooler air caressed pale cheeks giving them color.

Gill lifted his hand, sweeping his own hood back and enjoyed the view of his sister hurrying toward him. So she did remember. A quick glance right then left showed no initial threat so he stepped out from the shadows of trees, holding out an arm for her arrival.

She caught sight of him even before he left his cover of wooded trees. Ones that were starting to show the signs of buds swelling that would burst open to leaf or flower in the coming weeks. She was into his arms with the thrust of her flight to wrap her arms around him and bury her face against his chest. Nothing said yet as she drank in his scent and the security (even if false) having him here gave her.

Holding his sister, he smiled, not an expression he had found use for these past years. "You look pale, Mimi." He leaned back, hooking the side of his forefinger under her chin to lift her face up to his scrutiny. "Are you well?" He hadn't noticed the other night, but there was much to discuss and not enough time to do so, just seeing her had meant so much to him that he really didn't study her as he could now in the sunlight.

Fingers folded into cloak in a grip that belied her pale features. "There has been much to morn but now, you have given me hope, giving fire to my heart again that things can be better. I can at least have the brother I love dearly near." Head that had been buried tilted back as his hold kept her balanced. "I am better than I've been and the will to live again." Spring might take care of the pale look and the fact her brother was back. She wasn't even sure he lived, fear that their father killed him for all that happened. She no longer would put anything past him for the threats in the past if they didn't bend to his will, more so Gillean.

Gillean had endured much under his father's hand but now he was stronger, better for the fear of his younger years. "Having me near is not my decision to make, unless I hide away for a secret rendezvous."

"James is away but he is due back." She had thought he was within the Keep but he had left earlier that night before Gillean appeared. "Please meet with him. I will talk to him but I'm certain he will listen, will believe you. He's a good man our cousin." Which neither of them had really known him for he'd gone before they arrived having had a difference of opinion with Ronan. Heated words was all she learned over exactly what was said. She didn't need to know but it was the reason he fled and was able to keep from his father finding him for many years. Until their father nearly killed Ronan and James came back to rescue his father from Ultan's hand and deeds. James had triumphed over their father, foiled all his devious plans. Eyes were pleading that searched his and her grip just a touch tighter.

"Arrange it if he will, Caiome, I will be there." His gaze drifted past her to the two men riding toward them. "Looks as if my time with you this time is through." He lingered long enough to kiss his sister's forehead. "Send word to me at the Raven's Claw. You are the only one that knows I'm there."

Once again he was off, the kiss to her forehead and she to make an explanation to the men that caught up with her. Of course she would brush them off and head back, not much they could do. The Raven's Claw imprinted on her mind.



Date: 03-06-11
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 6

Subduing Gillean

Caiome paced her chambers after the dinner meal was done. James had still not arrived and no word sent ahead as to why. The staff only shook their heads, late or not at all, they were prepared for his arrival back. She knew that Gillean would be there at the site and didn't wish him to think that she, nor James, would just not show up. Stand him up. She feared he'd leave and not come back if he thought that. The horror of her thoughts had her wringing her hands as she continued to pace her room. Clad in a deep red gown that at least lent color to her pale looks, she soon grabbed her cloak of black and spun out of her room while putting it on. Words spoken to her guard as she passed. "If anyone is looking for me, I'm getting some fresh air. I would appreciate the privacy tonight. I will be in the back gardens." Not that she would be staying there, giving the man a winsome smile for they usually worked she discovered. She was quick down the halls taking turns in such a way to avoid running into any of the staff. Most likely no one would be looking for her at this time of evening. Only stop was in the kitchen to pluck the usual muffin, telling the cook the same as she had the guard. Also to find out if James had returned. She ducked out the back as still nothing was heard from the Duke and made her way to the stables using a little known path that brought her around back. The stable master didn't ask questions of any of the royals and had her steed prepared with very little coaxing. She was only going to ride in the adjacent field, not past the outer fortress walls or so he was told in idle conversation as she waited. Hood was drawn up as she left through the back gate for her destination. Here too it lent to secrecy. The stable master didn't know the couple of hidden gates she would be taking that would lead her from the field out past the outer walls and to the destination of the small pond near the old caves.

Captain Dewar should have been off duty tonight but a sick man had left the night watch short and he had taken his place. He was up on the inner wall of the ramparts, and found himself drawn to that area near the stables. An all too familiar figure slipped into the stables and then left a few moments later. Not much to think of except when she made her way toward the path the Callihan siblings sometimes used. When she disappeared, he decided to follow, if he could. Two men were ordered to accompany him as they made their way down. Soon they were mounted and following after.

Gillean was waiting, leaned against a rock outcropping just at the edge of woods. Every once in a while he'd look out over the field, then dip his gaze back to the small stick in his hand that he carved in this time of quiet. It was getting harder to see the transformation at hand or any riders in the field so he trusted his hearing more so than his sight for the possible arrival. The hour had come, and surely passed, and he growled out a breath of frustration. So much for a cousin allowing amends.

The clouds gave way at times leaving the silver threads of moonlight wash down over the lands. Mist was rising giving it an otherworldly effect which was perfect this night in keeping undetected. So Caiome hoped. Ground was soft with the melting snow, crocus blooming in patches with the start of the daffodils breaking ground could be seen in spots if one were looking. Hooves made a sucking sound more than the heavy beat against hardened ground. She kept in a pace less than a gallop for she didn't wish any harm to her horse. Once she reached the other side she looked back over her shoulder, casting a glance to make certain no one had followed her. She had been careful. Seeing only the rising mist from the warming earth below, she turned back and made he way up around the knoll to the lake and the spot they  were to meet. At first she didn't see anyone for the mist was a bit thicker here, rolling out along the ground in spots while others were clear. The exhale from her equine frosted against cold as well such a sound would alert any around.

Which way, which way? The gate was found easy enough, since the truth was they had all used it one time or another, and then he spotted her when the sliver of moonlight showed briefly. That was all it took. He ordered his men to keep to the tree line with a single whispered word. Once he realized her direction, he was certain where she was headed. If she stopped, they'd catch up to her and maybe still be able to stay in the shadows to see what exactly was
going on.

No need to give away his location yet, he listened as the horse approached. But wait, was there something else as well? He discarded the creation at hand with a flick of wrist, but he held tight to his dagger. No longer a coo of mourning dove to hail his sister, if that was who the rider was, but a wavering hoot of owl. His senses alert, he could hear the steady hoof-falls of nearing rider. A softer patter of footfalls? Or was it the evening shift of warmer to cooler causing the trees to respond? A cant of head, held breath, senses scanning brought him no answers. Which in turn caused him to tense. The clouds thinned, separated and the form of a female on horseback came into view. He didn't move yet, just warbled out another owl's call.


The hoot of an owl told her immediately where her brother was located and that he was indeed here. An unseen smile from that distance gave way as she dismounted, leaving her steed there as she was quickly over. The mist swirling about her form gave way to visibility the closer she got, "you blend too well with the elements my dear brother." Her arms to surround for the needed hug, many to be made up for near a year and a half of his being gone. Quick it was then a step back, "you are tense tonight." More a statement which had her looking over her shoulder again with a slight frown to mar near perfect pale features. "James has not arrived as expected. No word when or why," words were soft under her breath as if a secret was held between them. More it was to listen as well convey the information.

She appeared as a specter, floating toward him, creating a surreal feeling of disconnection between this life and the next. But he smiled, as he always did, when she was near. He collected her into his arms, holding her tight against his chest. "There are times I feel the forest has eyes is all." She may not be able to see, but she could hear in his voice he was smiling and it was because of her. "I had thought maybe James cared not to meet with me, I'm glad you came to let me know. But really, Caiome, you shouldn't be out this hour all alone."

As they drew near the pond and caves where he thought Caiome might have gone, he lifted a hand for his men to stop and dismount. One of the horses shook his head and snorted in protest as his rider's feet touched the ground. All three men froze in place, listening before they moved as silently as possible through the muck. The fog made things seem unreal, ghostly and made sounds echo through the caves and rocks. That could be to their advantage.

"I had to come and tell you. Knowing you would be here wondering and thinking that James cared not, that you might leave and I never hear from you again." Words were kept low as she was back into the hug, closing her eyes and soaking in the security she found there, something she needed. Her world had become so unstable she grabbed anything that felt like sure footing. Perhaps it was something of the past, but it had been there and she knew no different that it would not be the same still with her brother. She had keen hearing as the snort from a horse had her freeze up, spine stiffened before pushing out of the embrace. "I don't know who comes best you be on your way until I can find out when James will return. Where can I find you?" Words whispered quickly as her heart pounded. It could be pirate bandits for all she knew but her brother's safety was more her concern.

He wouldn't leave her alone, out here, without knowing who might be lurking within these woods. "At the inn I told you of earlier." He kept a hand to her shoulder as he squinted through the misty darkness for any clue, any sign, any reason he should scoop her up and make for her horse.


They spread out, just enough to make escape difficult. Swords were drawn as they came out of the mist, appearing first like spectral warriors before taking solid form. "My lady, you should not be leaving the keep so late and without an escort." Michael inclined his head slightly to Caiome. "You may come upon a renegade who will put you in danger. And you sir, I presume are Gillean Callihan?" Not too close since it seemed the man had replaced the cloak he left behind. "I place you under arrest, sir, and ask that you come peaceably."

"No," putting herself between Gillean and Michael. "Go back to the Keep, I will be right back," like she could order him around! She could try and sound as intimidating as a hissing wet kitten. It also gave her brother the opportunity to go being she was his distraction, hopefully, with the guards and he would know she would be fine.

Immediately he marked each man: The weapons drawn, their location, their distance, his possibilities. "Peacefully?" He placed his hand on his sister's shoulder where she stood between him and the inevitable. "Now there is a term that can be interpreted in many ways." So he wouldn't put up a fight, but damn if he wouldn't flee! His gaze on Dewar, he gave Caiome a light squeeze and spun. Their horses were not near, they could not follow as swiftly on  horseback. Caoime would have a ride back to the keep and he'd see her horse returned. If they were going to arrest him for being Gillean Callihan, let them add horse thief to the charge! No doubt either would be a sentence of death if James thought him to be the traitor. The grass was slick with mist causing him to slip, to lose his footing with the initial lunge. His hand slapped down to the ground but he pushed off, running toward the horse in the field.

The Captain let out a shrill whistle, calling his horse to his side, though he started immediately after Gillean. That slip gave him a bit of advantage and he drew close enough to jump and tackle in an attempt to take the fleeing noble down though he did lose his sword in the process. One of the men stayed with Caiome while the second started after the two men running. He grunted as he hit the ground but managed to say a few words. "Don't be a fool!"

Barely parting as she went to help her brother with his near fall, slipping as it were, but she as caught up. At least she could deter one of them as she struggled against the strong arm that held her in place. "Leave him be!" Sounding more desperate than threatening this time around. This was not going how she had planned and might set her brother against them all when she worked hard trying to convince him things could be good.

Gill heard the horse's approach, grit his teeth for the attack he knew was coming, and when the impact hit he lurched forward beneath the weight of the guard. In unison they both grunted with the contact, sailing to the wet grass, with blows from both fists and elbows. He scrambled and grappled and punched and cursed, managing to free himself just long enough to look to where the horse was standing before he was buried beneath two large bodies. He didn't care who received the blows he shot out, but he made contact every time. His knuckles bled with the intensity of his defense, as did his nose from a returned blow. His ribs screamed in protest when a fist found its mark but even that didn't keep the Callihan man from 'being a fool'. Slowly but surely, in the midst of the fighting bodies, he was able to edge closer to his freedom by way of horse. If he could just get free long enough to gain his footing...if only..

A shrilling screech split the night, splitting right through the mist as the man detaining her let her loose, having her fall in the wet grass as he went to the aid of his comrades. She was in a swinging arm whirlwind as she managed to her feet and after the man in trying to pull him off her brother. She might not have the strength nor training they had but she had a lot of spirit, an extra helping of it. "Let him go..."


Trying to restrain the man was nearly like restraining a wet eel, though instead of using teeth, he was using fist, elbows and feet. None of them would be unmarked when this was over and none of the three were worrying about any consequences if Gillean was hurt. They were following their orders to the letter. One of the men was a target for a well placed elbow but in spite of the loud crack!, he kept hold and the while ignoring the tiny fists pummeling. Michael was knocked off the pile up briefly but picked Caiome up bodily and placed her aside before he was joining in again. The horse Gillean was trying for was getting skittish, something all four could pay for if it decided to rear up.

James had been detained in Kildare even after the King departed for Heathfield. Not that he was privy to the why but certainly he could surmise. He stayed with Gaidan to go over plans for Swan Lake Estates after the demise of its former lord and now under a Ward. It had the potential of varying food crops and minerals under someone permanent. Another Lord or Lady that could see to its full potential. Until then, plans were made to reap the best they could for it would help Kildare as a whole. He was late for the talks went later than any of them planned. There were other matters to address that included him or his input. Tired but with a good meal in his gut he took the shortcut across the plains, misty and wet as they were, it would save him some of the lost time. Half way through was when the sounds reached his ears that included a screech. The sounds also denoting a fight in progress. He turned his steed about 45 degrees and was off in a gallop. He recognized Caiome right off and well his men subduing another. Coming to a slight sliding halt as he grabbed up the reins of a horse getting too close to the brawl and avoid someone getting knocked in the head by a hoof or worse, trampled. He was quick to figure out who the man was under the bodies as he caught enough sight of his face. "Stand down Captain Dewar," the voice held authority of not only a Duke but a warrior. As the men would follow his orders and move away from Gillean, there was a slight smile in admiration, "it has been some time cousin, still fighting your way through life," unlike the other siblings, they had not seen each other since youth, perhaps twelve or fifteen of years. It felt like a few lifetimes for James.

As soon as the weight of bodies lifted, Gillean was rolling and jolting to his feet. He couldn't stand straight, his ribs prevented it, but he did cut a sideways canted look to the mounted man. "It is the lot of some to have to do so." His response was torn from a throat raw and voice hoarse from fighting. Damp clothes, wet hair, bloodied face, grass and dirt smeared appearance didn't make this the most glorious of reunions. His arm was wrapped around his midsection with the hunched posture needed to breathe. He glared up at his cousin, licking the corner of his mouth where blood had gathered from a cheek split inside. "While others get to order the beatings." One of the men was standing too close and for the hell of it, Gillean snapped up his forearm with a solid blow to that man's face. Poor form indeed, but he was in a foul mood of a sudden, and even though it caused shooting pain in his chest, the action was well worth it.

It had been his lot too, Gillean may eventually discover. Something they had in common. He held out the reins of the horse that he'd acquired. "You are free to go unless you would like to talk over a good meal, drink, warmth, and settle once and for all what needs to be settled. If not for your sake then for your sister's." Which he would not get into but he well knew how hard Caiome had taken the treachery of her father and the possible notion her brother was like Ultan. His words barely out, not fast enough as Gillean sent a blow to one of the unsuspecting guards that were ordered to stand down. It only had the horse that had moved between to rear up as he pulled back on the reins, hooves just missing Gillean by inches. Brows slightly dipped to the bridge of his nose but he was far above being taunted by words. It lent only a concern. "Orders were from the Royal seat in Kildare to find and subdue you should you enter the lands, under the circumstances.." which didn't need to be rehashed. "There were no orders to have you killed on sight, in fact they were not to." Which would make it hard for any man to capture one Gillean Callihan. Orders were old too and perhaps not readdressed but James knew that he could. A moment's decision which he waited having given Gillean the choice. Understanding  that if he left, it would be for good then. His guilt admitted as being part of his father's deeds and not as Caiome stated on his behalf. James hoped his cousin would come around, that Caiome was correct.

Caiome finally moved back once James arrived, the adrenaline was still pumping good as she tried to catch her breath. Now she wanted to hold it as a look shot from James to her brother. If he looked her way at all he would see the silent plea in her eyes.

Of course the three were up immediately once James gave the order, more than a touch relieved it wasn't another to aid Gillean. All three looked a bit worse for the wear, much like Gillean. And all three had lost their helmets somewhere during the fight. Michael would have one helluva shiner in the days to come, his eye already beginning to swell. The one closest to Gillean grunted loudly, covering his nose with both hands. It was only because James was there, (and the fact the guard was in a good deal of pain) that kept him from retaliating. The fact that James was being cordial did little to endear Gillean to the three soldiers.


As if he cared to be endearing at the moment. Failure to escape weighed heavily on a man that had managed to keep from being subdued by any without his consent until this very night. Even when his father would threaten or follow through on threats, he managed to overcome, to gain control, to adapt, to escape. He didn't face James fully even now, the man remained in the haughty position of power upon his mount. But Gillean did glance to his sister, and even  in the poor light of the hour, he saw her face, and it ripped his heart into shreds. He swallowed down the bitter taste of pride and nodded. "If you've the time to talk, James, I'll take you up on the bath, meal and drink...and clear whatever doubts you may have about my intentions."

Date: 03-06-11
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 7

"I have time, Gillean." Handing the reins over of the steed that managed to finally settle down before glancing to Dewar as he spoke to him, "Captain, see Caiome back to her quarters safely and then to yourself and your men." The talk would be between him and his cousin without the need of force or influence of his sister even if that could be beneficial. No, this had to work man to man if it was to work at all. Gillean may feel at a disadvantage on the ground, but he would soon be mounted up and moving under his own will, not escorted by James' men.

"Yes, your Grace." Michael saluted the Duke as did his men then the Captain retrieved his sword while the other two retrieved their helmets. Michael accepted one, rolled his eyes when the man Gillean had thumped put on Michael's own (which was too large), and sheepishly handed it back. Michael whistled to his horse, catching the reins as the beast neared. "My lady, if you would care to ride?" He'd walk the horse back to the castle. Give him time to cool off.  Three?! It had taken three of them to even attempt to 'subdue' Gillean Callihan.

Gillean would recognize the easing line of her shoulders when he accepted James' proposal. Now it would be up to them and certainly she would worry! She gave Dewar a passing glare but took up his offer and help to mount his horse being the skittish one was hers and would be ridden by her brother. She was wise not to say a word as she was led away. For certain they would not be very ladylike.

"Alright then." Gillean agreed with a jerk of a nod, using a fisted knuckle to rub away the blood from beneath his nose. He shot a look his sister's way, marking the guard who had managed to bring him to the ground first. The very one that would now be escorting her home. The one that had almost managed to thwart him at the keep. A dark look settled over his features but he managed to drag his attention from the two back to James. "Bath first though, aye?"

There was a hint of a smile as the reins were taken, "aye and any needs befitting a royal." In spite of all that happened, Gillean Callihan was blood and was royal born as much as he was and his siblings. "Food, drink, clean clothes..." letting his men in escort of the lady to make a slight distance from them so Gillean could settle down. He recognized the blazed look of a bull who didn't settle even after the red cape was lowered. It would take Gillean those few moments to mount and start on their way.

The Captain, in spite of the swollen eye, the blood and mud, straightened his shoulders and returned the look from Gillean calmly before his attention was on the now haughty Caiome. He helped her onto his horse, and motioned for the men to retrieve their own mounts and return to the castle. The walk back would be made in silence and once her Ladyship was safely back in her room, which he would make certain of, he would certainly make use of the healer at the keep.


There was no small talk for the half hour or so it took them to reach the Keep. Captain and his men had altered their destination path to where they were needed. Gillean would know the old ways in as well as he knew them. Once inside he dismounted in the courtyard and handed off his steed to the stable hand. The older lads around sixteen or so up this late. The guards were already seeing to opening the front door and one might notice the scurry of staff beyond now that the Duke was back.

Gillean entered behind the Duke and received for his efforts tonight just a few second looks. He waited to be directed to his destination and was more than ready to soak in a steaming bath.

Some of those second looks were from the women, both men for that matter. James didn't notice but then it was his way or seemed that he didn't notice. Some of them it was best he didn't notice. Sure it would put a feather in any of their caps if he noticed or more but he wasn't that kind. He didn't misuse the women serving him and the family as a whole. "Tansy, please see that a bath is drawn for Gillean, promptly. Also have Mary see to a full change of clothes befitting a royal born." So there was no mistaken identity and he got clothes below his station. "See to any other requests he has and once he is done, bring him to my study." That was where he would be after he refreshed himself as well. He might end up there before James depending on how quick either of them were compared to the other in getting ready.

It had been a while since Adam had visited Montrose, Christmas in fact. He knew if he didn't show up soon, their father would likely send someone to Heathfield for him. He greeted the man at the door, handing off his hat and coat before making his way to James' study. Their father would likely be asleep at this hour but he knew his brother's habits. The man slept nearly as little as Adam did.  A light knock on the study door would let James know someone was here.

James wasn't there yet but the guard at the door informed Adam he would be down soon as he was welcome to wait inside. Food was being brought up and the store of libations checked to make sure all was full with the variety James kept.

He thanked the guard before stepping on inside and made himself comfortable, including helping himself to a glass of the pure while he waited.

Gillean's body already protested the additional effort it took to climb from the tub, he could only imagine how he would feel come morning. He shaved while his clothes were brought in. He leaned in close to the mirror after, studying the swollen lip, the bruised jaw, turning his head side to side. There was nothing to be done about it. He knew as well as anyone living in the keep where James would retire. A single knock and he waited for the permission to enter.

The knock had Adam looking up. Of course, James wouldn't knock on his own study door. "Come in." He called out though anyone who lived and worked in the keep would know that wasn't the Duke's voice. He stood, just in case it was one of his sisters or even Caiome and placed the glass on a side table.

In walked Gillean. He knew the voice wasn't James but no doubt he was surprised to find Adam within. He paused, meeting his cousin's eye, then started forward again into the room fully. "Evening, Adam."

He watched Gillean for a moment then smiled and offered his hand. "Evening, Gillean. Looks like you had a run-in with a fist or two. I'm sure the other looks equally bruised." Since Gillean was not in chains, it was a sure bet he had been welcomed by James back to Montrose. At least for the moment.

"It was my welcome back." He started to grin but decided against it, his lip was split and just starting to stop bleeding, no need to open it back up again. "I take it James hasn't come down yet."  He accepted the hand shake, they were kin after all.

"Not yet." He motioned toward the bottles that were available. "Help yourself to a drink. Might numb the pain a bit." Might burn too but that was one of the chances Gillean would have to take. Adam returned to his seat, picking up his glass first. "Is this a permanent stay or just a visit?" He had a feeling who might be behind the 'welcome back'.

He nodded, to Adam's answer and to the offer of drink. That was a chance he would take. "I guess that depends on the Duke." He popped the corked crystal from the decanter and poured himself a drink.

James had gotten waylaid by two on his staff about a few matters that could really wait until tomorrow for decisions. He sent them away as he has another matter to attend to that was far more important. The door had been left open after Gillean's entry as James gave a nod to the guard as he stepped in, who saw to the door being closed. In the meantime food had been delivered and set out. Perhaps before they arrived or while here. "Good evening Adam. Father will be very pleased as I am always to see you," moving to give his brother a brotherly hug before stepping away. Turning to Gillean, "I see you have greeted. Please help yourself to food and drink. It is the least I can offer on such short noticed." Gillean had cleaned up well all considering the skirmish. James had always been one to get right to the point with manners seen to and now set aside. "On your word, cousin, did you have a willing part in your father's deeds? If you have, it will be addressed but your life is not at stake." Certainly if the father was spared his life even if exiled, so would be his son.

James was straight to the point as always and Adam smiled slightly to himself.   Adam might have a bite to eat later. Right now he was more interested in what was playing out before him.

Since the offer of a drink came from James as well, Gillean waited to answer until he had consumed at least half of the glass. "Every deed I was ordered to perform, I did so willingly." The consequences for not following through were made clear to him from his own personal pain to threats against the one he held most dear...his sister. Yes. He willingly set out to succeed at any deed ordered of him. His sister was safe. His skin remained on his back yet another day.

Eyes darkened from the more bronze with that loaded response. "Then you willingly admit your sister has been wrong, that you wished my father's death. That you wanted to rise against the crown of Kildare and see to the demise of the king and regent there?" His glass remained in his hand untouched and the grip tighter.

A fractional shake of head started his reply. "That's not what I said, Cousin." He set his glass aside. "I never wished my uncle dead. I would never wish ill on the crown of Kildare or to have Montrose. But I would do what I had to do, then...and now, to have my sister safe from the ways of our father. If that is considered traitorous, then a traitor I am and as willingly as I fought to protect her then, I willingly give myself to the chains that wait for me now."

Since the loss of hearing in one ear, Adam had become more adept at body language. His brother was fairly easy to read, in part because they were brothers. Gillean was a different matter, He watched the younger man a little closer, and gave a slight nod as he glanced to James. It seemed Caiome had been right.

The straightening of his shoulders eased back to the norm as did his grip on his glass that was close to shattering. "It is with a good amount of relief that is not what you had said," why he asked more directly to be certain. There had been those to question his motives and rightly so. "I am even more pleased for Caiome's sake for I think it would break her otherwise," if James was then forced to enforce the same verdict on the son as was the father. He also knew were Ultan was but that information would remain with him unless needed. "You will no longer be threatened by way of your sister to bend your will to anyone while here." He didn't use those measures. "How much do you know of since your absence in way of changes here?" An idea was formulating in his head too that would benefit both siblings as well himself and the crown.

He shrugged a shoulder of indifference. Gillean knew he had fought against the crown, against his kin, had killed and maimed in his father's name and he was expecting to share in the older man's fate. "And I suppose I'm relieved that you believe what I've said as truth." His gaze shifted from James to rest on the food, but he didn't move in that direction, he stayed where he was. "I know that your father has handed over the title to you, as well as the responsibilities that come with it. I'm not certain exactly what you're fishing for, but I'll bite, James. What am I supposed to know?"

"I hope to believe you and give that benefit but I do believe your sister. All here have grown to care for her as a sister." As it should be amongst cousins, especially Callihans. Their pride was stripped from then when Ultan pissed away all their money to have more, always in greed he needed more. "I have a proposition that can make amends for any deeds done through blackmail." For certainly that was the crime against Gillean. "You know of Swan Lake Estates," that was a statement for his father's man, his partner if it could be termed that, was in the center of things too. "The Lord of the manner is no more and it needs a good hand to manage it. There are minerals, mines as well rich pastures to grown food that is needed. I can offer you this, bring your sister there and make her Lady of the Manor and yourself Lord, serving the Crown as I and all here in Montrose Keep serve the Crown." That was probably something he didn't know about as obviously he knew other information.

Since a young lad, Gillean had fought for everything, including his life and his sister's life. To have something handed over, something of this magnitude just given to him, caused him to look James over with skepticism. "To manage the estate, see to the people and to the lands...all for Montrose and in doing so, for Kildare?" This was not banishment. It was not chains. Accepting would give his sister a new life, away from these walls that whispered of memories best forgotten. "Am I missing something here?" He looked from James to Adam to James.

Adam was as surprised as Gillean and he shrugged when he looked his way. James had given his reasons for what he did. Though there was more to it of course.

"It is not as easy as it sounds. It is not a gift but a challenge. One that will take effort on your part and on your sister in ways too. It will take intellect and brawn to manage it right and work with the men that will need to be hired by you. There is an old geezer that knows all about mines and how they should be worked if you don't know firsthand. You can learn from him. The village outside it has ones that know farming. The place is in shambles by a Lordship's view but the estate is sound, even beautiful with the many lakes that have swans, hence its name. It needs work, a lot of work. A challenge I think both of you can manage to make it your own and pride in what becomes of it through that hard work. Are you up for this challenge?" Figuring Caiome could come into her own managing the interior of the Estate.

Minutes ticked on as Gillean looked at James, still attempting to figure out the deceit behind the offer. "I'm not sure if I am, Cousin, but I'll take it on if it gets Caiome out of the keep and into the fresh air. She's looking pale and fragile. Aye." He nodded, rubbing his hand along the back of his neck, and he spoke words that he had never found easy to utter. "Thank you."

"Aye, that she does still. I am hoping a project will be the cure. Some of it will see her outdoors to see to the gardens that will need tending. The gardener will be at her disposal but is use to following orders." A nod to the last as he lifted his glass. "To you and your sister, a new future. A welcome home." And he was pleased with the end result as he kicked back his drink. Gillean was getting to know the one cousin he hardly knew. As he lowered the glass he spoke up again, "you can stay here as I've had chambers down from Caiome's readied for you. Take a ride out tomorrow. If you need a mount, we have plenty. Improvements may need to be made before you can even move in. I don't think they will take long." He was sure Caiome would want to hear from her brother and so he would leave it to him to tell of the offer as well. "Please, have something to eat," as he had gotten his appetite back enough to eat lightly of what was put out.

Well, it seemed that their business here was done. Adam stood and offered his hand again to Gillean. "Welcome home, cousin and congratulations on becoming lord of a manor. You'll do us proud I'm sure." He would be glad for Caiome as well, knowing that what her ordeal was finally over. So, for that matter was Gillean's, if he considered it such.

"I'll pass on the food, Your Grace, but I will gladly take you up on the bed." A nod of goodnight followed and he reached out to Adam, returning the hand shake. "I'd like to speak with my sister before I retire for the night. If you'll excuse me."

James might surprise Gillean as he took him into a clan embrace. One of respect and of a friendship that would hopefully grow between them. "Aye, if she is hungry or yourself, something can be brought up to her room." Nothing went to waste as what was not eaten fed the staff or those poor or old in the village. After Gillean departed, he would spend time with his brother in catching up on all the news, as well the other siblings staying in Heathfield.



Date: 03-20-11
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 8

A New Beginning

A lifetime of hiding was difficult to release. Years of solitude and survival didn't just evaporate with the warmth of the sun. But Gillean would admit that the warmth of that sun felt good on his face, on his arms, on his legs as he rode alongside his sister toward the estates granted them to oversee. The horses stayed close, even when they raced through the fields like they had before the black cloud of betrayal had hidden that warmth. A lovely lady astride, laughing and calling out as they galloped through the meadows. A nobleman pleased to see the lady thus.

The news received the prior evening lifted her heart in a way it had not been in a long time. Her beloved brother was back and now without a price hanging over his head. She had to pinch herself as she glanced his way in the steady pace set by their mounts. It was not a dream for certainly it had been a dream but even her dreams were not as good as this reality. "I see the crocuses are in bloom," as they were passing patches of them and the ground sporting the hint of green grass. Other clumps pressed up through a remaining patch of snow. "As the spring brings forth new life, I feel as if we are beginning a new one too. A better one." Even the days of old before their father had become too corrupt, there was a way about him that had him always pitting them against each other to control. It never stopped the bond that had grown between them, perhaps in a way it helped to strengthen it. "I have saved money, to help in refurbishing the estate," she wished to do most of this on their own, without money from the crown or their cousin if they could. The brightness and warmth of the sun was actually adding some color along her cheeks. Made her eyes brighter but it was more an inner shine. "I would like to raise horses again if the estate has a stable." She had always loved that particular animal even if she favored a few others too. Laugher came easily again when they raced, she kept up well as she had before even passing him out a time or two.

"You shall have anything...everything, Caoime." As long as he lived, he would do all in his power to make it so. The horses were slowed then stopped as they topped the knoll, looking out over the lands that would be theirs together. The large lake, the manor house in the distance, the stables and crofters houses and all that needed to be done to bring all of those to life.


The sun had no comparison to her smile with his words. Her heart overflowing with Joy. This was probably the happiest he'd seen her since a child on Christmas morn. "Our future lies before us Gillean, I will not let anything have it not so, beloved one." He was her blood, her beloved, he would always be a part of her life as she would be of his. Perhaps different in the future if either or both should marry but the bond would not be denied. It was the very reason she took past circumstances so hard. She took a moment to soak in the scene, the manor was grand that stood regally nestled in lush rolling hills and pastures. Sheep scattered the planes and even the rockier inclines. Three decent size lakes formed a triangle from this view. Blue waters could be seen with fading ice patches. "There is so much potential here...." turning the brightness of eyes his way.

It was her final words that had him looking her way with a nod. This was the sister he loved and cherished. Her features alight with hope and excitement. The pale, fragile woman of only a couple nights past gone, and gone forever. "The potential lies in you, Dear Sister and so, there is hope for even this place." There was now hope for wherever they might venture, with whatever they may venture to do. He was not without his own funds to support them. Gillean had not survived these many years without a plan for his future and those plans included investments that had more than paid off. "Where would you like to start? The manor house? The stables?"

"It will be wonderful," words spoken not only in encouragement but in determination. "Let us see how the manor holds up inside." Leaving Gillean to estimate the foundation and outer walls as he would know better if the mortar needed reinforcing or even new walls built where old ones were starting to crumble. "The manor house, that is if we can, if there is a cook, have our meal there this night in celebration and if there is not, I can see about procuring one tomorrow." She was not sure of the setup of the place in what they had. "The stables next," so one would get the quick over as her passion would not be denied either. She started forward and then into a gallop again for the grounds were solid enough of the fields that rolled before the estate.

He laughed as she made up her mind and set off at a determined pace across the fields. He lingered a moment where he was, enjoying the view with his sister included in it. Soon, though, he tapped his heels to the horse's middle and followed. The earth beneath seemed to welcome the solid thud of horses' hooves echoing back. It was a confidant sound, one of authority and control. The two large mounts arrived with both, confidence and control, as did their riders. Gillean eased off of the saddle, still holding the reins as he came around to aid Caoime from hers.

Her hands found his strong shoulders as he helped her down, her smile near brilliant that shone up to him with the tip of her head back a moment. Dipping back as she stepped away and surveyed the front of the Keep. It seemed to be in fair shape but she didn't really have an eye for such things unless a prominent eyesore. "What do you think?" It was a good size but not as big as Montrose, which was good in her opinion... the less she had to take care of. Not that she was lazy but more she didn't want to spend from morn to dusk taking care of a household. "I'm sure I'll have to hire on a head maid." More mussing to herself as she peeled the leather riding gloves from her hands. All the while taking in the sight before them. At least there was a stable boy, slightly stammering with his words as he offered to take the horses and that they would be seen to all proper. She would guess word got ahead that the new Masters of Swan Lakes were on their way.

"Dry them down good." He released his reins to the lad and started walking toward the entrance of the large manor house. "They've been ridden hard." He reached back a hand for his sister to accept it. They'd walk in together. She the Lady of the house. He the Lord. For all the years of disuse, the structure appeared sound enough with his initial scan. Perhaps some support at the foundation here or there ... but a more thorough inspection would be completed later.

She took in a deep breath, "now to see how the inside is," smile didn't waver with a glance to Gillean. "See if we can stay." Which if they could then they could start having their things sent as well see to what was left tomorrow and the next. Placing her hand in his as they ventured forward. Inside they would find that only a few rooms were in use which had the minimal amount of furniture. Other rooms were closed off and furniture draped in sheets. There was a cook and they would find she was very good. Only one chambermaid to take care of the rooms being used.

Gillean could sleep or eat anywhere. He had before, he could again. But he would see to Caiome's comfort before he'd agree to sleeping here. The chambermaid curtsied off a hello to the two and he motioned for her to come closer. "You'll fix the master suite for the lady, yes? You've all day to see to it. And if you have any friends or family needing work, have them come to speak with me. Go on now, see to it. Your Lady will be wanting a bed free of dust and clean sheets." He left Caoime's side then to walk to the parlor room to the left, pressing the door open to enter. A dark brown stain made a small half circle in the wallpaper near the floorboard. Signs of a leak, but that could be easily enough corrected if it wasn't already.

She came up alongside him after the woman went to see to his bidding. "Her name is April." an arm sliding around his back as her words stayed soft, "I feel so free. A feeling I've not had since our early teen years." Somewhat wistful but certainly happy to feel this way once again. There had been many dark nights, days, weeks and months adding into years since their father lost everything and their lives were shoved in a basket to hell.

And his greatest regret was that she had to face them alone, those many nights, days, weeks, months, years. "April?" He cast a look back over his shoulder toward the door and where the maid had been, then down to his sister. "How do you ever remember that?" Names of servants would never seem important enough to Gill to remember, but Caoime was different from her brother. She cared for everyone, not just those who might be worth something to her in the  future.

"Well, to remember it. I just found out. If she is going to be working for me, for you, I want to know her name. Unless she is good at her job she is going to regret it soon enough." Giving him a wink as she slipped on by to view that brown stain then glanced up to the high ceiling. "I wonder if they even realize there is a leak here," more mussed for the room wasn't used. From there she went around to peek under the white covers protecting the furniture, carved cherry wood in an intricate design with brocade covered seats in muted autumn colors. "Not bad," still mussing as she was over to discover a covered grand piano near a large window.

"We know it." He said regarding that leak, and they were now responsible. Gill actually tilted to the side to see beneath the cloth that Caoime had lifted, just so he could see what she saw. "You want to check the kitchen to see if we can eat here tonight or if we should head to The Owl's Nest for dinner?"

James had talked with Captain Dewar on an opportunity to advance his career by going under Gillean Callihan. A letter written would be brought by him to Lord Callihan. It read:  Greetings Gillean, I am offering you the services of Captain Dewar in the capacity of Head Guard of your Estate. He's a good man, well trained and with an expertise to train others as you will be needed your own regiment in these not so tamed lands. (not adding hostile in case Caiome should read it). He has been serving your sister and keeping her safe for some time. I know this would be a priority for you. There is no obligation to this request if you should decide to decline, Captain Dewar will still hold his position here. Respectfully, James Roy Callihan.

To be honest, Michael hadn't considered such a move until James spoke with him. Of course, the likelihood that he would be accepted was slim but he couldn't pass up the opportunity. He was sure, after their last meeting, Caiome wouldn't care to have him anywhere near her, and Gillean, well ... In any case, he made his way to the manor.  After a knock on the door, he waited to see if anyone answered. It wouldn't do to walk in unannounced.

Gill had gone over to the leak-stained space and had squatted to get a better look at the damage of wall and floor. The knock had him looking toward the door. "Yes!" He barked to the request for entry, then looked back to the darkened splotch, running his fingertip over the area to see if it was still damp.

Caiome was at the piano, dragging the sheet off as she tested out the keys. It was fairly in tune, except one or two keys that would need just a bit of adjusting. Hearing the knock at the door, she looked up and near jumped when her brother barked out a YES. Hand flew to her chest as a light laugh escaped. "I do believe the butler, Barry, I think his name is, can see to the door.."

First he heard that barked out yes, then as he reached for the door it opened, causing him to step back. The butler motioned him in, asking his name, and had him follow him to the parlor, though he was made to wait outside in the hall after the man gave his boots a look. Michael couldn't help checking them for mud after the man stepped into the parlor and announced "A Captain Michael Dewar is here to speak to you, my lord, my lady. He brings a message from the Duke of Montrose."

Gillean slowly straightened to stand, wiping his hand against the side of his leg. "Then show him in, Benny. If he comes from Montrose, don't keep him waiting." Yes, Caoime had said his name correctly, but Gill just butchered the hell out of it. He wasn't one for befriending the servants. He'd leave that up to his sweet, compassionate, darling of a sister. Even the captain's name, though vaguely familiar, didn't set off any bells of recognition.


She rose from her the bench to move away from the piano and just short of the archway between foyer and parlor. Just a slight smile but one that warmed her eyes, "good evening Captain Dewar," with a glance between the two, "shall I leave you to your privacy?" She would depart if they needed to discuss business they wished privately.

Gillean would surely recognize him when the man entered. He was carrying his helm under his arm, and the eye was merely black, blue, and yellow rather than swollen. "Good evening, Lord Callihan, Lady Caiome." He bowed slightly, before he stepped forward to offer the sealed letter. Privacy would be decided upon by Gillean so he kept silent.

Gil hesitated when he saw which 'captain' it actually was. His gaze narrowed on the man but he started toward him, thanking him with a nod of head as he accepted the letter and broke the wax seal.. "No, Bunny, you are the lady here, it is as much your business as it is ...." And he was already reading as he spoke, his words fading as the 'kind' offer from James was reviewed. When finished he handed the correspondence over to his sister and looked to Dewar. "Well, this is interesting to say the least." He crossed his arms against his chest, a half grin tugging at his lips. "You are aware of what the Duke has suggested, Captain?"

He kept his expression fairly stoic though he didn't drop his gaze from Gillean's as he stepped forward to accept the letter. "I am, m'Lord. " He resisted the urge to shrug or glance at Caiome to see what her reaction was to the letter. She seemed to have forgiven him for the attempt to capture her brother.


If she wanted to choke when she heard "Bunny" from her brother, in front of Dewar, she had the grace not to show any sign of such. He had not used Bunny since she was very young and had almost forgotten it. She had a love for the rabbits and even had a bunch she raised. All domesticated and lop eared. For a moment it brought her back in time to a happier place before she was back to reading the letter that Gil handed her. The smile remained that had been there. She gave a slight dip of her head before taking the few steps to stand near her brother.

Gillean glanced to his sister to see her reaction to the letter, but since she continued to smile, he slid his attention to the guard. "Water under the bridge is it?" He crossed over to one of the sheet covered chairs, taking a lean against the back of it, his arms still held against his chest. "Thing is, that water may have washed away down the stream, but it always seems to leave some damage to the wood of that bridge. It's the way of the water. Can't be helped." What would Dewar say to that? Would he even respond? A dark brow twitched up, a challenge in itself.

She had read the letter, much would be up to Gillean than her but she figured she could have her say. "James was kind, the lands are hostile and besides needing a staff, we will need good men to protect our Keep so all who lives within can have that peace of mind. Although, I don't know what my brother has planned in that area. I can vouch that Captain Dewar has been very efficient in his duties as well complimented on his expertise over the years serving under James." All the while she looked right at Dewar before finally shifting focus to her brother after the last was said as she held out the letter back to him.

"That is true, but damage can be repaired, in time, if one wishes to preserve the bridge." He looked squarely at Gillean though Caiome's words had him inclining his head in her direction in thanks. "I will add that I would not allow anything to interfere with my duties here anymore than I would at Montrose." No matter what his feelings were for the new Master of this keep, or of the Master's feelings toward him.

Ah, his sister. Such a unselfish, magnanimous, trusting woman. He didn't look to Caiome, just accepted the letter, intently watching the Captain. He tapped the letter to his open palm, then with a slow nod, pushed up from his lean. He offered a hand out to Michael. "It seems you come highly recommended by not only James, but the Lady of the Keep. It would be an honor to the household to have you see to the protection of those within it and those who reside upon her lands." There was only the slightest tick at the base of his eye as he presented his hand. "And while we see to the repairs of the manor and the homes in her charge, perhaps any bridge repairs can be attended to as well. All in good time."

She knew the undercurrent between the two and she held herself back from giving that bit of a sly smile. Instead she fell into her role as Lady of the House until her brother found a wife. She would cross that bridge when she came to it. "How many good men do you think we shall need? I think James had over a hundred and fifty at Montrose." The Captain would know exactly having been one of them! "There are probably local males of age and ability that might suit." She had seen the small villages around the Keep, between the outer walls and inner. She had made a mental note to check them out soon as they got settled in. Probably take a guard or two with her just in case. That quick look her brother's way with her thought the only indicating she figured he would insist.

He may have noticed the tick but his expression didn't change as he took Gillean's hand in a firm grip, then stepped back as he released. There was no need for a testing of strength. Michael was well aware of Gillean skill and strength.   His attention shifted to Caiome and he nodded. "It varies with some leaving, new ones joining but closer to one hundred and seventy. There were some who served the former lord here and were not of the same disposition as his most trusted men. They'd be willing to serve a Callihan." Even if he was the son of Ultan, so long as the Duke was the one who stood behind him. "I believe there are several who might join me temporarily to help train." He was already calculating what would be needed, archers, footmen. "Of course, all would have to be approved by you, Lord Callihan."

Gillean chuckled, but there was no humor in the sound. "Well, let's hope they would serve a Callihan." No matter the blood line of that particular name. "There is no need of my approval, Captain Dewar. I'll leave the guarding of Swan Lakes in your capable hands. Is it not why the Duke recommended you? There is plenty enough for the two of us to tend to." He motioned between himself and his sister with a flick of hand. "When you've amassed your troops, seen them trained, then perhaps I'd like to know. But until then, this will be my initial attempt at bridge mending." A cant of head the man's way, a modified bow of respect. Or perhaps, considering the origins of the source, a mocking one instead. "Unless, of course, my sister would like to oversee the process." He glanced to Caiome and smiled. For her, the expression was genuine, but when he looked back to Dewar, that expression had faded to one of guarded  hospitality.

"No, that will be fine as my brother wishes. I do hope to be visiting, even inspecting the villages to see how the people are living. I will be dressing down to try and fit in but I will be needing an escort to ensure my safety in case I'm recognized and perhaps.." but she waved it off instead of going there that there might be resentment or the fact a woman of her status as it was now, should not be wandering the unknown area without an escort. A guard. "The guard would need to dress down as well or certainly they would be alerted to the status of the woman he escorted?" She was reasoning this out with focus first on Dewar then her brother.

"Thank you for your trust, m'Lord." As begrudgingly as it seemed to be given, it was still appreciated and surprising though the fact that he cared so much for his sister did raise Gillean up a notch in Dewar's estimation. Again his attention shifted to Caiome and he nodded. "Your reasoning is well thought out, m'Lady. There is always a danger here, though perhaps someday there won't be. Since you wouldn't be known yet, I don't think it would be difficult for you and an escort to travel about." Again though, permission would have to come from Gillean so he looked toward him.

"Hold on, here." Gillean's tone could be described as nothing short of a growl. "Is it a lady, period, who is at danger, or just the lady of this house?" His arms had dropped and he fisted them where they rested at the sides of his thighs. Fisting and releasing. "Or is it because she is the daughter of Ultan? Why would the Lady of this Manor not be able to present herself to the people, as the kind, caring, giving noble that she is? Would they not wish to see their Lady mingling with them? To see her wishing to be a part of them? To see their plight eased?" It was his turn to look between guard and lady, a dark storm of anger brewing in darker eyes. "I agree with a guard, that is always a necessity...but I will need clarification for this fear that my sister...that you..." He looked straight at Caiome, his right hand lifting to stroke along the line of her face. "Should go to the people you mean to help as anyone ... but Caiome Callihan, the Lady of Swan Lakes."

"I am not saying there would be any trouble, it only in case, not necessarily a reality. I would like to meet them on their level so there are no pretenses to their reactions or what is said." A hand coming to rest on his arm to hopefully quell the storm she saw brewing in his eyes. "These lands are not safe for a woman to be traveling about on her own." Her words softening as she really didn't think anyone had anything personally against her. Perhaps she worded it wrong but she canted her head slightly to study him, he had grown more stormy than before. It made her wonder on the years he was gone and the life he led.

"Lady Caiome is known for her kindness," even though she had hidden herself away but that didn't need to be said, "and it is my feeling you both will find no problems with the people here. However, as she said, there is a danger for any lady traveling alone. The fact that she is a Callihan could put her in danger, but more with those who have a dislike or grudge against the Duke. We didn't kill or imprison all of his enemies, and those could now be yours as well. Your father could have enemies among those who also hated the Duke. They might blame him for the failing of the assault on Montrose and Kildare." He didn't say more nor did he need to. In time, she would be known to the people and unable to disguise herself.

His had not been a gentle life any more than hers had been easy. But they both found ways to survive what fate had delivered to them to endure. "Very well then." He nodded, hearing Dewar's addition to the reasoning behind his sister's wish to lower herself to that of peasant and serf in order to get to know the people better. Just hearing the word 'fail' was enough to cause Gillean to stiffen but he said nothing to the accusation. Just to the suggestion of her guard. "I know you will have a lot already on your to-do list, Captain, but until a trained and trusted guard can be found for this Lady of the Lakes, it seems the duty of escort falls to you." Gill may or may not agree still with the idea of her 'dressing down' to go to the people, but his thoughts on that were as much his own as any others. "Caiome, don't keep him overlong. Find out what needs to be done to ease their burdens and then allow the captain to be about gathering our troops to us." He twitched off a wink to her knowing his beloved sister meant the best for those who she would visit.

She realized she would need to get use to watching these two butt heads. It might be amusing if she allowed that avenue instead of becoming upset over it. "Do you happen to know these grounds, Captain Dewar?" Her hand remaining on her brother's forearm as a gesture of support and devotion to him. Which had her slant a glance his way, she would not overly keep him but her venture out with a guard would not have her brother fuming to find out she went alone. "Of course," slight dip of her head before attention fell on Dewar, "when will you be moving here?"

"I studied maps during the fighting, so I know the locations. I don't know the people well, m'Lady or their feelings over all that's happened." He did know that most accepted their fate whether their Lord was good or bad. He gave her a slight smile as he continued. "Like most soldiers, I have little that can't be moved quickly so within a day at most after I let the Duke know of the decision." They would all be impatient to begin, including himself. "I'll also be able to contact those men I know of that will likely be glad to be doing what they know best again." He was certain there would also be recommendations.

"Good enough then." Gill caught up Caiome's hand from where it rested on his arm and pressed a kiss to her knuckles before gently lowering it away. "I'll leave you to it. For now, though, you will need excuse me. I've a leak that needs to be addressed before the next rainfall." Amongst other things, many other things. He offered another dip of head to the Captain of the Guard, a smile to Caiome and he started toward the door of this particular parlor room. "Anything needed, Captain, if you will just send word. The barracks will need attending to I'm sure, just let us know." By the time he finished speaking he had reached the doorway.

She gave a curtsy, one quick before she was following her brother to the door. "I bid you good night as well Captain Dewar. I will most likely see you soon, tomorrow perhaps. I shall help my brother and see to my quarters." For it was getting late. Her farewell polite as Barry seemed to appear out of the woodwork to escort the captain to the door which gained him a smile from her. Attention then turned on her brother, "would you like a brandy before we retire. I brought along some of the vintage stock you like." They would also find the cook had prepared them a light late meal that she would bring up.

Instead of bowing, he saluted Gillean, touching his fisted hand to his chest over his heart. He did bow to Caiome. "I will, m'Lord. Good night to you both." And with a turn on his heel, he was following Barry out. The barracks would definitely be needing some work for he knew they had been looted for their stone before that was stopped and he nearly groaned at the thought. But that would wait until tomorrow.

Gillean waited until Dewar quit the room with Barry, then relaxed, in his sister's sole company again. "I can think of nothing I would enjoy more at present, then a brandy and your company, Caiome." Tomorrow was another day, and  it would would definitely come...and demand so much of them.



Date: 05-22-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 9

The island of Barbados held one of Regan's favorite cities, that of Bridgetown. Held by the British, it was beautifully maintained, and clean. Unfortunately, it was because of the slaves that it was so well taken care of. In spite of her dislike of slavery, Regan had several friends there and business associates there and often carried sugar cane from the island to other places. She made a decent amount of money even she didn't need it since there was still plenty of gold left from the treasure she and her brothers had found.

It had been one of those friends who had set her on the path recently taken. She had gone to speak to an elderly freedman who was glad to share information with her. Then it was off to the colonies where she found the remains of an old village in Florida. A small chest was exactly where the elderly man had said and once she had it on her ship, she broke it open to find another treasure map. This one wouldn't be as large as the one found before but sizable. She intended to give the former slave the greatest portion of the treasure so he could live the rest of his days comfortably. She headed back to Bridgetown, delivered her cargo and was now waiting for a storm to pass. It was slow moving and likely would take several days before it was fully gone.

Staying on the ship while the storm passed wasn't an option this night for her. Some of the crew had stayed on board of course, guarding the ship until it was their turn for shore leave. Regan and several of her crew had gone to the Dancing Moon Tavern. Neither too upscale or run down it was a good place to find some distraction. Tonight, it was a card game for Regan and some of the others. Another of the sailors was playing a lute-like instrument that
he had gotten in Spain while one of the female customers sang. Others were drinking and talking . All in all, it was typical night like any tavern. Regan wasn't doing badly but she was slightly distracted, and she couldn't explain why. She would just look around every so often as if trying to find the source of the feeling she had.

A ricochet of movement marked the arrival of one Slevis Cole. He bumped and elbowed his way through the crowd with more gusto then was probably needed. Wet from the rain, he reeked of unwashed body and sour clothing. He didn't seem to mind. What he did mind was the female he saw at the gaming table, seated, with cards in hand! What was this place coming to if a bitch wasn't serving and pressing her breasts to the back of a man's neck for luck? As he neared, his grin revealed more of a lack of teeth and those remaining, black and knobby, would not be rooted for long. "Well, look what a foul wind blew in. Regan Callihan." He swiped the back of a hairy hand to the drool pooling at the sight of her in the corner of this lips and he swept his gaze over what he could see of her, lingering for a moment on the junction of breasts before lifting again to her eyes.

Regan smelled the man well before he reached the table, her eyes narrowing slightly, nose wrinkling. Though the lack of soap was common, she didn't have to like it. "M'eyes are up here, Cole and it seems a fouler wind is blowing if you're here." She kept playing the hand she held, though her hand lowered to rest on the hilt of her sword. Blue eyes came to rest on the man, watching him over the fan of cards. "You bae wantin' something?" He better be careful about answering. Those of her crew who were here were watching.

Watching were they? Well so were Westmoreland's, what ones had come to Bridgetown while the remainder were off farting around near Africa's shores. "Want'n to know what the feck you're doing in my seat for one, for next, you probably can guess. And if you can't, then you're even more of a stupid wench than Westmoreland suspects. " Let her crew make a move. Slevis wasn't as old and scarred up as he was from waltzing about with what fellows might think they could take the shorter pirate.

"There's a saying, that you might not have heard. Has something to do with fuck you and the goat you rode in on." Regan wasn't so cocky as to think she could beat the man in a fair fight, but then none of Westmoreland's men were known to fight fair. She studied her cards, though the man was never out of her sight. "You know, you're even uglier than I remember." She remembered him all to well. "Heard he was off to Africa somewhere, sharing a ship with Doom."

A couple of the other men at the table shot a frown his way for the interruption, but Cole paid them no mind. Instead, he fisted a hand against the collar of the player directly in front of him and jerked him to the side, pulling him out of his chair and to the floor. "Too much to drink? Could see you losing at cards." And at life...if the danged idiot moved his hand any closer to the dagger at his side. A snatch of Cole's head ordered that man away, and while the stranger did get a few curse words in, he still managed to leave with his tongue...since he did leave. Slevis claimed the empty chair, leaning to pick up the man's cards. Didn't have much of a hand anyway. What the hell was he thinking still holding them? He placed them face down on the table, folding his fingers over the top and delaying the game more. Aye, he had heard that saying, and enjoyed it just as much from her lips as from anyone's. "Aye, they be, but for the present. Have an eye for another ship already but then, sure he didn't know yours was available." He sat back, a filth stuffed fingernail dug into the crevice between two of those few teeth he possessed. "Won't be long for him knowing though." Even as he spoke the words, two burly seamen left the tavern. Heading where he wondered!

"Does he now? I'm sure he'll find my ship hard to take, and probably a bit faster once she's off to sea. No cargo to speak off after all." She didn't glance toward her own men but knew they'd send one or two off to warn the crew remaining on the ship. "Takes a fine hand to handle her too." She leaned forward slightly, eyeing Cole. "And I just know Westmoreland would hate to lose more men to a Heathfield ship." She gave him a smile that was sweeter than honey, and as phoney as a whore's promise. "And you're too smart for that, aren't you, Cole?"

Cole crossed his arms over the port of his belly, and when they wouldn't fully cover, he just rested his palms there, tapping his fingers. "Thing is, Cunningham..." He looked to the other men, marking each of them with a frown. "Aren't you done playing here? The bitch and I have some discussing to do..."

Cunningham? She didn't bother to correct him, though her lips twitched at his calling her a bitch. Ah, well the game wasn't going all that well for her so she nodded at the ones who belonged to her crew, and the others seemed to think it wise to leave. A motion to the serving wench had her coming over until they left. "Name your poison." She'd pay at least for a bottle.

"Whiskey." Was all he said, dismissing the serving girl to address Regan's earlier comments. "Thing about Black Beard..." Wait, what was the thing about Black Beard. A knobby finger scratched at his ear before delving in and squirreling around. The tip was studied when he finished and what he found was smeared against the collar of his shirt. Where was he? Ah, yes, Westmoreland. "He's a patient sort, when it comes to a Lady that catches his eye. Be she of wood or of flesh. Unlike some of us." A thick tongue snaked out, licking the very finger that had dug around in his ear, then he made a motion as if he was stroking the deep line between her breasts. No touchy though, this wench was Eric's and every man who knew his place in this world would mind that fact. Even Slevis. Not that he wasn't swallowing more saliva than usual once his gaze appreciated what his finger could not.

Regan just shook her head and looked heavenward, as if asking for patience. The man was completely disgusting. When he spoke, her eyes narrowed and lowered again, watching his finger. Had he dared gotten closer, she might have drawn her knife and cut that finger off. "I'm sure he is, and he's just waiting for another scar to match the first." No, she wasn't that confident when it came to Eric Westmoreland. In fact, she was terrified he'd catch up with her again, but she'd be damned if she'd let him or this piece of slim know it.

"Now that, I can't say as I know." Where was that whiskey? He looked around for the girl, leaning foward then back in his search. "Alls I'm telling you, Woman, is that nows about he knows where to find you, he'll be eager to make himself reacquainted with you. For reasons not needing explanations." He gave up that looking and drifted a glance to rest on Regan again.

The girl arrived just about then placing the glass in front of Cole along with a bottle. "Are you saying he's here, not in Africa?" Storm or not, she was going to be ordering her crew back to the ship. And finding another island. "Or that you're going to sail back and find him?" They had one ship that was known. There could be more. Or it was a trick to get her to set sail.

Slevis snorted, nose hairs waving in and out with that sound. He took the drink, tipped it toward Regan since she was buying, then drank it down without saying a word. The Sea Whore surely didn't think he was going to give away his intentions, did she? As he lowered the empty glass, all he said was. "Just saying." Even though he really hadn't said anything she didn't already know.

She leaned back in her chair and laughed, yes, laughed. "You don't know yourself then. More'n likely, he left you and the others here while he took off. Or Doom did. I understand he's pretty particular about his crew." She grinned at the man, then shook her head. "I can't believe they haven't killed off one another being so ... close. Then again, maybe by now they have."

The bitch laughed at him. She laughed! He sat forward with such speed, his chair screeched with wooden legs against wooden floor boards. He slammed both hands down on the table and leaned toward her, the thickness of his belly resting on the table top. She'd be armed, he knew it. His action would have her going for her weapon, he knew that too. And all of her minions would be stiffening too with his move, but it was quick and halted just shy of being in her face, because of all of the above. Yes, Eric had set him off here with men to watch him more than accompany him. Still! She didn't know that for sure! "Guess you'll be finding out whose living and whose not soon enough to appease your curiosity, Kitty Cat. Just hoping I'm around to see it sajiated." Okay, so he didn't really manage to get that last word out without mucking it up horribly.

Yes, she laughed and even with his quick movements, she kept the grin on her face. "Gods, man, drink more whiskey. Your breath is foul." He'd feel the tip of a stiletto against the flab of his chin. "Move too quickly and you'll give yourself a hernia." Let's see if he knew what that was. "And you get too brave, you'll not be around to see it. Now, back off before I decide to skewer what little brain you have." No more laughter now, not a hint of a smile, just a deadly serious look while she was praying inside that the man was little more than a bully. Her sailors were ready, and the tender didn't look at all happy with what was playing out.

He stood away slowly, bringing his hand up to rub the back of it at the stinging spot where the blade had been. "Don't be getting huffy with me now, we be in this fine establishment, act the lady you ain't, Regan." He grinned, lips going thin with the effort. "I'll leave you with this, eh? I'll be in Westmoreland's good graces soon enough with my news. And you needn't high tail it out of here when the storm eases. You know the man will find you - you're as tasty as a tart to him and just as addictive. Aye, don't be running, Girlie-O. You'll only die tired."

She kept the knife in her hand, visible but didn't move toward him. "And should he try, I'll blow his ass out of the water while my ship runs circles around him. Now, why don't you get out of my sight before I change my mind and run my sword through that blubber around your middle." He was right though. She wasn't going to run, dammit, though the plan had been to leave when the storm was through. Still, there was information to be taken back home, little as there was.

It was his turn to laugh, that very blubber she mentioned jostling with the sound. "Then I'll leave you with...until we next meet." He swept a hand across that jiggling middle and offered a bow, devoid of any respect or like for the lass. For meet they would, and probably with her strapped to Westmoreland's bed and him, standing at the foot watching the captain have his fun with her. The very thought brought on a shiver of anticipation. "Enjoy your gaming." He nodded to her cards and with a single step back, then cleared a path to the door the same as he had entered.

She nearly picked up the bottle and threw it at him, but why waste good whiskey. Waiting until he left, and any with him, she handed the bottle off to one of the locals. A nod to her crew, and they all headed out. When the storm broke, the Dream would set sail, and they would find the treasure though it was time for a bit more caution. Westmoreland was on the loose and for all her bravado, he was one of three men that she feared.

Date: 05-22-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 10

Marcus DeHaven had watched the scene in the tavern with some interest. Although he had warned his men off with a small shake of head, they all had been tuned in to the interaction between sea captain and pirate. It wasn't until both the miscreant and then the woman left the establishment that Marcus moved from his spot. He spoke briefly with his men, then snapped the collar of his cloak up around his ears and dared the wind and wet of the weather beyond the tavern walls. He didn't hurry in his steps, but his stride was long, bringing up beside Regan. Braced against the weather, he raised his voice but since her reputation stilled any quick actions on his part ,but he kept an arm's length to her right. "Damnable night to be walking alone, Captain. No matter your skill with the blade."

Regan was still steaming about the meeting with Cole, and worse, regretting she hadn't run him through but it would have been without cause. She had worn a cloak this night, one of oilskin to keep her fairly dry but the hood was a nusiance. When she heard footsteps, she put her hand on her sword, not slowing until she heard a familiar voice. Then her steps slowed enough that she could turn to see him. "Captain DeHaven. Then why aren't you inside, out of the weather?" There was a hint of a tease as she asked though she knew what he was referring to. "Probably not, but the smell left behind needed left behind."

Marcus smiled, dipping his chin down into the dryness at the front of his coat. Her wit was matched by her comeliness. Add to that her legendary skill with her weapons and the woman was a lethal combination. "I'm not inside out of the weather, Callihan, because you're not. I was wondering, actually..." Together they walked, and even though his head was bent against the rain, his peripheral vision took in everything from the tryst in the side alley under an awning to the gutteral chug of rain water forcing its way through a clogged waterspout. "Wondering if you might spare me a few moments of your time. The Benevolence is anchored just yonder." He motioned with an elbow since his hands were stuffed in his coat pockets. "If you have those moments to spare."

Regan's steps slowed to a stop and she turned to face him. Like him, she was watching, constantly. Few were out in this near hurricane but that didn't mean they weren't being watched as well. She knew DeHaven's reputation and he had her curious. "Since you're considerate enough to share this lovely shower with me, I can return the favor." She did motion with her hand, even though the rain was cold. "Lead on, sir. You've caught my curiosity." A slight smile appeared as she added. "As bad as that turned out for the c

Marcus continued to smile to himself, encouraging her to continue toward their destination with only a pause when she stopped and then onward. "Ah, but Captain, satisfaction brought it back."

His retort had her laughing, since she'd heard that often enough. "So I've heard." She took a running step or two to catch up, keeping her stride with his as they made their way to his ship. By the time they reached it, the wind seemed to be picking up. Any of her crew that might have been following headed on to the Dream.

In spite of the protection they wore, both were well-soaked by the time they reached the Benevolence. The First Mate saluted them aboard, his expression showing nothing of what he might be thinking. It was one of the reasons he was first mate. Marcus made his way to the door of his cabin, opening and motioning for her to precede him inside. Though the cloak hid her well, there was a deep appreciation of the woman's grace.

Regan gave the Mate a nod, having seen him before. His loyalty was well known and a few of the Dream's crew were friends with the men on the Benevolence. She stepped inside the cabin, looking around as she lowered her head. It suited DeHaven, masculine, spare and with a well maintained bar, made safe against the rolling of the waves. Stepping out of the way, Regan turned to look at him, waiting.

Marcus was not one to waste time. In spite of the rolling of the ship, he closed the door and moved with ease to pour brandy in two glasses. One was offered to the lovely Captain and he took a drink from the second. As his glass was lowered, he studied her. "I have a business proposition for you, one that will prove profitable as well as give a measure of security and safety to others. It will not be without it's dangers but did I not think you capable, I would not consider the offer. Will you hear me out?"

Regan watched him over the rim of her glass while she sipped the brandy. It was excellent but she expected nothing less considering the man's reputation. "I'm listening, Captain DeHaven."

"You're aware that Westmoreland and Doom are rumored to have taken refuge somewhere in Africa. I have established trade routes in the Mediterranean, along the coast of the continent. I'm talking calico, a cargo that is nearly as priceless as gold. While doing this, you will be able to seek out information not only on the two of them, but the Scourge as well. I'm aware he hasn't been heard from in some time. If there's information to be found, I have no doubt you'll be the one to ferret it out." He smiled as he continued, watching her face. "And I'm offering the Benevolence since, not only has it been to these lands, but none will expect her Captain to be the lovely Regan Callihan."

"Instead of the handsome Marcus DeHaven?" Regan laughed though her eyes narrowed. She asked one simple question. "Why me and not you?"

"I have business that will leave the Benevolence free for three months." He didn't bother to explain what that business might be. It was not relevant to the discussion. "This would be an act of revenge for you. And I have business that has to do with Stirling and his past. All the profits made would belong to you, except for the payment to my crew. You would be doing myself a favor as well as those who wish to know where he is. I have papers prepared that will state that you are Captain of the Benevolence until you return to Bridgetown, and that I forego any claim to the prophets. The reasoning behind it is no one's business but ours." He smiled, well aware of what this woman was capable of and how clever.

Regan considered a moment, taking another drink of the port. It was a known fact that nearly every Captain in Bridgetown as well as other cities in the Caribbean would pay well to learn the whereabouts of the Unholy Trinity just to avoid them, and the chance for profit. Well, what Captain would give up the chance for that? She nodded and offered her hand. "Very well, Captain DeHaven. We have an agreement." Yes, she was curious about his obvious interest in Stirling but perhaps that would come in time.

Marcus took hold of her hand and brought it to his lips, placing a kiss against her knuckles. "Then consider the Benevolence and her crew yours for three months." His eyes stayed on hers until he released her hand and started for the desk situated so he had a view out the windows of the back of his ship, his lady.

She watched him as he walked away to that desk, a brow lifting at his words. "To say I'm honored isn't saying enough." She took the paper and smiled with a warmth she showed to few. "And I promise to take good care of her. Do you have need of a ship during those months? If so, I think I can offer the use of the Dream." She wasn't certain about the crew and asked, "will your men stay on? Or shall I have my own join me in this ... endeavor." Oh, she was certainly pleased for the chance to keep all three off the seas if possible. Even one would make sailing safer many times over.

He perched a hip to the edge of his desk. "My men know the port well, Callihan. But it's up to you. We've made the trip more than a dozen times, and those along the port will recognize her and so, there will be nothing unusual with her there. Bring some of your men though. I am well aware of the need for a trusted crew." A cant of head was added to his smile. "And, I will be honest with you, Captain. The thought of my bed...if only in this way...intrigues me greatly."

"My crew can stay here for another week or two. Let Cole think we're sticking around. Maybe let it be known we're heading for another island." They could keep checking back to, for their wayward Captain. "And if your crew won't mind a few of mine, aye, I will." She rarely blushed and didn't now, though she was close! Tipping her head, she met his gaze steadily, and lowered her voice a touch. "Does it indeed? I'll have to remember that when I'm ... laying there."

A rumbled laugh rolled from deep within his chest, and he pushed up from his perch on the edge of the desk, his hand coming to grip the soaked fabric of his cloak just over his chest. "Madam, you cause me great pain which has nothing to do with your expertise with a blade. And ..." He chuckled still. "All to do with your expertise with a blade." For her reputation kept him acting the gentleman as best he was able in her company. "Talk with your crew, Captain. I have already with mine. You may set sail at your leisure. My business here keeps me on land, with no need of a ship, so the Dream can be managed by the crew you assign. I appreciate the offer." He cleared his throat, returning to the bar to pour himself another glass. "The offer of a ship, of course." Decanter in hand, he looked to her, holding it up in a silent offer of more.

She inclined her head in a way that would do a Queen proud but the laughter in her eyes showed it was not serious. "I'm told I can be quite dangerous, but not to everyone." She smiled then became serious again, at least for the moment. "Should the need arise, I'll be sure to tell my First Mate that you have my permission." One never knew what could happen. "You're most welcome, Marcus." A touch of emphasis on his name was given as she brought her glass up for more. "I'll not set sail until the storm has passed, and I'm certain Cole is not around to see me slip from one ship to the other."

The action of refilling her glass brought him closer, and hearing his name spoken allowed his smile to linger. "This offer is not entirely just a generous offer. I'm a man who attempts in any way to gain what it is I desire." Even though he was finished pouring, he didn't move away just yet. "And in this, I desire some more information about Doom, Beard and Scourge. I offer it to you rather than taking it on myself only because I am aware of your ... history ... with them. A cargo of calico to trade at a substantial profit and the means to starting the demise of the Trinity for you. The last for me as well as a lovely Captain beholding for them both. I am a selfish man in the end, Regan. I hesitate not to admit to it. " He bowed his head to her, allowing the truth of his words to sink in just as the warmth of the port was.

There was a quiet intensity about Regan, much like the oceans she sailed upon. Though it was usually hidden, tonight it was there, just below the surface. Tonight, it was in her eyes as she listened, her eyes on his as he spoke. Her dislike, closer to hatred to the three men was not hidden. They had affected her badly, frightened her badly and she would never rest until they were no longer a threat. "I think it more than a fair trade, and you may rest assured that I will learn all I can without endangering either your ship or your crew." That intensity remained as she raised her glass for a sip, her eyes still on his.

Passion in every form either brought ultimate ecstasy or infinite demise. There was no denying where Regan's passion burned. It was the very reason Marcus had sought her out with this proposition. "Had I any doubts of your abilities, Madam..." The eye contact steadfast and unwavering, the remainder of his comment need not be voiced. Only when she brought her glass up to touch against her lips did his gaze falter. Just a flickering of notice to the contact but no more as he met her eyes. "You're welcome to stay on board, Regan, until the storm eases a bit. I'm sure a game of cards will be underway that you can join ... perhaps a chance of dice..." He didn't move though. "Unless, of course, you may be interested in a more daring game of chance...right here, in this room." Only then did he take a single step aside, a sweep of hand indicating the door, the other hand extended to her, palm up.

She gave the slightest of nods to his words about her abilities, oddly pleased by them. Staying was an option of course, since she was certain one of her crew had followed her, De Haven was well known and trusted by many so she was confident her man wouldn't stay out in the storm. The last had her breath catching in her throat. So much thought about her, so much said and yet she had never dared step outside the lines of what was proper. And yet ... in all passed in a moment, those thoughts before she laid her hand in his, the eyes that had dropped to his hand lifting again.

Strong, confident fingers curled around the touch of Regan's decision. A smile and a dip of head acknowledged the internal struggle that may have taken place for her. And still, their eyes held one to the other. He guided her forward, and his free hand lifted to pluck free the fastenings of her oilskin there at her throat. Neither of them had removed their cloaks when they entered. As much a statement of their individual need for barriers as this gesture of an offer and the softly placed acceptance was to their need for none. For moments of surrender in place of the constant battle for control. The soft, slender length of her neck was traced with the back of his fingers and his gaze before he leaned in, allowing his lips to follow the very same path. His fingers laced in her hair. As he straightened, his hand eased forward, cupping the line of her face before slipping away. His gaze searched hers, and for the passing of that breath, the Benevolence lost himself in the cornflower blue depths of the Dream

Date: 06-04-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 11

Captain Regan Callihan was not a woman given to wild flights of fancy. Perhaps that had been so once, when she had been young and still been sheltered in the walls of Montrose. But that had been long ago and the world had still been safe and a place to dream. That had been shattered on the deck of a burning ship where her life, and sanity, had been threatened by the Unholy Trinity.

For a time, she had avoided the company of men, denying the need that drove most. She wanted a ship of her own, to be free of the protection of well-meaning brothers, to become one of the best. And when she was ready to give to a man, he would have to be special.

He had been and even now the thought of that first night left her knees weak and her heart pounding. No, she wasn't in love with Captain Marcus DeHaven. But the fire that he had ignited would not be quelled, nor did Regan intend it to be. She stretched lazily on the bed that was his, wearing a shirt he had left behind, on the ship he called his lady. The pitch and roll of the Benevolence reminded her again of the mission she was on but for a moment, she remained where she was. Everything in his quarters reminded her of him, his scent, rough hands on her skin, the feel of his beard on her cheek. She buried her nose against the pillow and breathed in then with a reluctant sigh pushed to her feet.

The Benevolence was in her care while she did two things. One was to establish a trade with merchants in Africa for the finest cotton ever wove and in great demand in Europe and even Heathfield. The other was to learn the location of the Unholy Trinity. Marcus had not explained his interest, beyond that of most Captains who wished to avoid them but intuition told her it was more than that. For her own part, it was the wish for vengeance that drove her. She wanted to see them hang, especially Eric Westmoreland. Though he had not gained what he wanted, it had been too close. She wanted to end the terror the three caused permanently though she knew that would not come if she stayed hiding like some spring violet. They were Satan's own, and he'd not let them die easily.

She was dressed before the knock came on the cabin door. The lad who acted as her secretary had accompanied her as well as the lad who had served as her cabin boy on the Dream. Both had friends on the Benevolence and were welcomed, just as she had been. They would be moving up in the ranks when this voyage was over but it was an adventure for the two. It had been almost fun, rowing the short distance from the Dream to the Benevolence, making sure she was seen for a day or two beyond that first night. The last day, her blonde hair could be seen from the docks as she was rowed back for the last time. A few hours, the Dream set sail and while attention was on her ship, Marcus had slipped away from the Benevolence. When the Benevolence set sail, it was with a temporary Captain. They had been cautious, watching for ships to follow but none did. Regan was impressed with the crew of the Benevolence. They were efficient, loyal and respectful. They were also not above telling a tale or two on their Captain.

She had no delusions about the man. He'd enjoy the company of a lass if the opportunity happened by. Regan intended to do the same if the right man came along, though she'd be picky about whom. She had a feeling what happened between herself and Marcus would happen again. And knew she would welcome it. Another man would have trouble measuring up. She opened the door as she tucked in her shirt, startling young Ned, the Benevolence cabin boy who had been about to knock again.

"Johnny is bringin' your breakfast, Cap'n Regan and the First Mate said ta tell ya that we'll be seeing the straits soon."

"Good. Make sure he puts extra men on watch. We don't want to be caught unawares. I'll be up on deck shortly." The orders might not be necessary, but she'd give them anyway. No on was sure where the Trinity was and there were other pirates about. She was not about to lose the ship she had been entrusted with.

"Aye, Cap'n." The boy scurried off and Regan closed the door, leaning against it. It had been a while since she had seen the Straits of Gibraltar. First time had been on the Fianna. This time it meant the adventure was about to begin.


Date: 06-06-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 12

The Mediterranean Sea was unlike any other. Surrounded on all sides by land except for where the Straits of Gibraltar allowed the waters of the Atlantic to mingle, it was a miniature of the oceans of the world. Storms could appear from nowhere though snow was a rare phenomenon, it held ocean life and ships sailed its blue water. Those ships included pirates and their handiwork was what the crew of the Benevolence and its temporary Captain were observing. The Barbary Pirates were not above taking entire villages, burning them to the ground, stealing their livestock and selling the people themselves into slavery. Smoke still rose from the remains of what had been a fishing village, with licks of flame dancing here and there. The pirates were long gone but that didn't mean the crew would slack off their watch. Regan shook her head and turned away.

"How far are we from Susah?" She looked at the First Mate who forced himself to look away from the smoldering ruins.

"I'd say 'bout an hour." He gave Regan a gap toothed grin. "Ye'll be finding them proper folks, Captain Regan. Crusaders and the like. But they'll nay have any problem wi' a female captain. It's all money." He chuckled as he headed on up to the wheel. Regan watched him, then chuckled. It seemed she had time to prepare.

Susah was a small fortified town that seemed to not ever see the pirates. She could understand why after taking a closer look at the cannons that lined the sea wall. When Susah fell, it would be from the desert. She was escorted to the fortress of the Duke of Susah, an English noble named Guy Winthrope. Rumor had it that the man was little more than a minor noble before he caught the eye of the king who made him Duke of this area. He was also said to be ruthless. Unlike the Knights Templar, Winthrope had no religious affiliation other than being a member of the Church. He also refused to live in austere conditions and inside the fortress were many treasures, no doubt 'rescued' from the enemy. He was quite obviously surprised to find the Captain was a woman and not Marcus DeHaven, and a lovely woman at that. Regan had chosen to dress modestly in billowing trousers over her boots, and a ruffled shirt that showed no cleavage. All were very well made of course, the pants black silk, the boots tooled leather. Her shirt was white embroidered with gold and she wore a long sleeveless vest of dark blue. A Tricorn hat trimmed with feathers of red finished her look, giving her a jaunty look. The silk kept her quite comfortable in the heat though she found the inside of the fortress to be surprisingly cool.

Guy Winthrope was a man of middle years, his hair beginning to gray at the temples. He had magnificent mustache and goatee and was in excellent shape. His son was also with him at Susah, serving as his father's right hand. He was a younger version of his father, though his hair was longer and he had a smaller mustache with no beard at all. Both men were quite generous with their compliments as they spoke to Regan. They were, however, a bit skeptical at what she was asking.

"For a woman of your age, and, if you'll forgive me, lack of experience, to travel as you wish is really quite unheard of. The people of this land are no respecters of foreign women and would not hesitate to capture you." Winthrope the elder explained as he finished his meal. The younger said nothing but watched Regan in a manner that reminded her of a cat watching a mouse.

"Is that why your wife has not accompanied you, your Grace?" Regan said guilelessly, her blue eyes wide. She had heard the rumors about the Duke's young mistress. And the son had several. The Duke cleared his throat.

"I'm afraid my wife left this life long ago. "

"Would you have brought her?"

"Well, yes ... "

"Let me be clear here, your grace." Regan laid down her fork and looked at both men. "We both know that my asking is a courtesy, nothing more. Though I am using the ship of Captain DeHaven, I am a citizen of the lands of Kildare and Heathfield. It is for them I am seeking this trade." Whether that was true or not was none of their business. "I have been informed by Captain DeHaven that moving through Susah is the easiest route for what I will be transporting, but I can and will go to another port. I also know that at the moment, you are enjoying a tenuous peace. As long as I do not offend the sultan of those lands, I will have little problem, and you will be out the revenue that you charge for such transportation through your lands. So, you can agree now, or make me wait until I return to my ship and send word. Or I'll continue on." She picked up her glass and used it to salute both men before taking a drink. Winthrope stared at her a full moment before he laughed.

"I hope you take it as a compliment when I say you have the cunning of a man, Captain Callihan. Very well. You will have your route and your cargo, with a fair tax. When do you expect it to arrive?"

"I've been in contact with the agent and he says within the week. I have plans to travel down the coast for another trade and will be back the days after it arrives." The rest of the evening passed pleasantly enough though Regan was glad to be away from the fortress and the younger Winthrope who more than once tried to place his hand on her leg or arm. "That one will cause his father trouble." She predicted as she told Barnes about the evening. He just laughed and waved that away.

"No matter who is in charge, we'll make coin, Cap'n. Whether you're at the helm or Cap'n DeHaven." He winked as he added. "But I think we'll be castin' off now, just for your peace of mind."

As the Benevolence sailed out of the harbor, Regan looked back and watched Susah disappear. She caught movement on the dock and laughed softly. Barnes may have been wise in leaving, but no matter. They would only make a brief stop on their way back and Regan had learned that no foreign pirates had been seen in these waters. Now to see if it was the same further down the coast.


Date: 06-09-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 13

Egypt. The land of Pharaohs and pyramids, an ancient land often called a land of mystery. As the Benevolence entered the port of Alexandria, Regan stood beside the wheel, watching. She knew the history of the city but it still held that feel, even in the heat of the day. Barnes came up onto the deck, smiling at the young Captain's expression.
"Wait until you see the pyramids, Cap'n." He said as he came up beside her. "We'll be sailing on one of the barges to Cairo and then further down the Nile to meet with the Sultan."

"I can't wait." She smiled back at the First Mate. "We have people in Heathfield who fled Egypt because of war. I can't imagine how they felt." She wiped at her brow and grinned. "I think we overdress here though."

"You can wear their clothing for your meeting, though I doubt you'll wish to wear a veil." He chuckled softly. "If we were meeting with anyone else, you would probably have to."

Regan frowned and looked at Barnes. "I think I'm spoiled. Growing up where I did, I never had to deal with how people think about women in most places."

Barnes nodded, his smile fading slightly. "Ah, Cap'n, it's a shame that it's like that but truth be told, most of the men on this ship thought like that. Cap'n De Haven changed their way of thinking in some ways. I think you're doing the rest."

Regan smiled, pleased then she grinned at the taller man. "Time to get ready." She headed into the cabin, and pulled out the outfit that she had been given. Made of linen, it consisted of billowing pants of blue, a dress-like tunic of white and a coat of red and gold with a hood. She thought it would be heavy and uncomfortable but it was surprisingly light. She added a touch of kohl to her eyes, red to her lips, dangling earrings of gold with four tiny ruby teardrops and a necklace to match. The coat was roomy enough to hide her weapons.

Even Barnes was impressed when she came onto the deck and Regan laughed as the man bowed. He was wearing his finest clothes, including a rather impressive Tricorn hat with a peacock feather. Regan's two crew members and two from the Benevolence also accompanied them, looking quite impressive in matching blue and white uniforms with gold buttons on the jackets and Hessian boots.

"You're going to melt." She chuckled as she studied the five. Her cabin boy smiled and she resisted the urge to tousle his hair. He was growing up and she knew how she had wanted to be treated at that age. As they made their way down the gangplank, she was surprised to see a surrey like wagon waiting for them. They were taken from the docks of the sea to one of the deltas of the Nile where a flat bottomed boat waited for them. Again, she was surprised at how comfortable the boat was with a canopy for protection, curtains that could be lowered as well as food and wine for their consumption.

There were sheer curtains as well and these had been lowered but they still allowed a breeze. They also did not veil the view and Regan found herself noting the contrast between those who traveled the Nile at their leisure and those who worked on it and along it. Heathfield had it's poor but they never went hungry nor had the lean, lost look some of the Egyptian people had. She didn't comment of course, only glance at the others who seemed to have taken note as well. They weren't citizens of Heathfield but with the steady work De Haven gave them, they weren't poor.

The trip took nearly a day with their arrival at the palace of the Sultan. Built on the ruins of what had been an ancient city, the peasants made use of the ancient foundations to build their own homes. It was situated so that homes weren't flooded but the fields around them were and an elaborate irrigation system still was being used. The way to the palace was lit with torches and guards stood along the way, dressed in white linen kilts, with gold armlets on biceps and a pendent with the name of the Sultan in hieroglyphics. Servant girls dressed in silk gowns of scarlet and veils offered drinks as they entered and then led them to where the Sultan waited with his two sons and Vizier. Regan had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing. Though she knew the Sultan was a powerful man, he was as round as an orange and his elegant robes didn't help his appearance. His white beard was curled extravagantly as was his mustache. It reminded her of wigs worn by French nobles when trying to out do one another. His pudgy fingers were covered with rings and he wore enough gold to buy a his small village three times over. His elder son had an arrogant expression as he studied the small group. He ignored the men and watched Regan instead. The younger had the sullen expression of a spoiled, bored teenager and looked everywhere but at the small group.

"Welcome, welcome, Captain Callihan." The Sultan spoke with a heavy accent but his Common was understandable. He was almost gleeful over the prospect of more money, something Regan had learned was usual among those who had riches. "I am Bau al Chefren, Sultan of this humble village and the surrounding area, and these are my eldest sons, Cherif and Yasar. My chief wife, Sultana Amenah. May I say what a great pleasure it is to welcome you. Now, come, come. We have a light repast and entertainment planned tonight. Tomorrow, after a good night's rest, we will break fast and speak of business."

"Thank you, my Lord." Regan inclined her head, dimples showing as she smiled. "The beauty of your land is as incredible as I've heard, and so is the graciousness of her people." The Sultan seemed a little too ... delighted with the compliment as he motioned for Regan to walk beside him. From his manners, she couldn't help but wonder if perhaps he had followed the Old Religion, changing to the new not only to save his life, but his fortune. "And how did such a rare flower hear of our lands? Others of your people who have visited here? Tales from books?"

"Books when I was young but there are people from your land who make the lands of Heathfield their home now. It is my understanding they fled during a time of war." She looked at the Sultan and smiled slightly. "I do not pretend to know your laws nor do I know the circumstances so I'll not speak their names. " The Sultan stopped and leaned close, causing Regan's eyes to water from the combination of perfume and spices that surrounded the man. "Tell me." He said quietly and when Regan whispered the names of the families, he paled.

"You are very wise for one of your years. Speak the names to no one." He kept his voice low so none of the others could hear. Regan turned her head slightly and took note of a young woman who seemed to be whispering angrily to Cherif. She had a feeling that Bau had not introduced her and she had been insulted. Perhaps she was the young man's wife. Smiling slightly, she nodded to the Sultan, then they continued. He was quite proud of his palace and pointed out various items, all worth a great deal of money. The banquet room was decorated to impress with ancient statues, low tables of mahogany, plates and bowls of gold and brass, pillows for their comfort and sheer draperies in jewel like tones of blues and greens hung from the ceilings. She noticed a young girl approach Yasar and he shooed her away impatiently. Bau sighed and looked at Regan.

"My son's betrothed. She is very young and he does not love her but it is a marriage that is necessary. So he will marry the girl." Bau waved the comment away then clapped his hand. He had Regan seated on his right, the others around the tables that formed a U. Cherif was staring openly at Regan, not looking away as blue eyes met dark brown ones. If he thought the woman would look away like the women of his own land, he found himself mistaken. Regan's look was open and curious, as if expecting him to ask a question. He finally looked away from the intense gaze and Regan glanced at the younger son. She winked at the lad who grinned then turned her attention to the Sultan and his wife.


The meal consisted of fruits, both familiar and unfamiliar, different breads, cheese and wine as well as lamb in a spicy sauce. Musicians played and as dessert, again fruit but this time sweetened with honey, figs and honey cakes, was served, dancers began to entertain. The Sultana asked Regan if she would like to observe the view and led her to the terrace outside where they could see the village and river. The Sultana spoke excellent Common and it seemed she was about to ask Regan a question when Cherif approached. The woman excused herself, leaving the two alone. He circled Regan, who ignored him until he came to her side. Cutting a side look to him, she waited.

"I am curious to know how it is that a woman becomes a captain of a ship and makes trade." His common was poor but understandable. He took hold of a strand of Regan's hair, sniffing it. "But then, I remember that the morals of those of the West are disgustingly low at best. Tell me ... is your hair truly this golden or do you use dye to hide the truth. Are you golden even in that place hidden from sight?" He stiffened as he felt the point of a knife against his stomach.

"You have the manners of a small boy, looking to shock his elders. Since you'll never know if my hair is truly this color, you need speculate no more. And if you are seeking to disrupt the chance for your father to make more gold, you have succeeded." She stepped away, the slim knife disappearing. "And if you ever touch me again, there will be no warning. I will slice you open and let you die a slow death."

Regan tuned on her heel and made her way into the banquet hall again. The Sultan noticed her anger and stood as she started for the door. The crew members who had been seated at a side table, stood and joined her. She paused and looked at the Sultan.

"These negotiations are at an end. I thank you for your hospitality. My men and I will remain on the boar until morning and then return to the sea."

"But ... I do not understand .... What has happened?" The older man stammered and as Cherif stepped into the room, Regan looked at him, holding her gaze there as she spoke.

"Perhaps you should speak to your elder son. Good night, my Lord Sultan." Regan bowed gracefully before she turned again and started for the corridor. Both men began to argue in their native tongue as Barnes stepped up beside Regan.

"What happened?"

"Cherif has a low opinion of women from our lands." Regan cut him a look, close to smiling. "And grew too curious about the color of my hair." For a moment, Barnes seemed confused then both brows rose and his mouth formed an O. She would have sworn the man blushed but before she could be certain, the Sultana called to her.

"Captain, may I speak to you?" She paused then motioned to the younger son, "may we speak to you?" Regan studied the woman a moment, then glanced at her companions. Barnes gave the slightest of nods.

"Of course." She followed the two to a window that overlooked the river. A cushioned seat was available, covered in rich red velvet, pillows of golds and red marking this as a favorite spot. Amenah sat and patted the spot beside her. Yasar remained standing, and Regan noticed he watched both ends of the hall. Amenah removed her veil and Regan blinked in surprise. The woman was quite young, barely old enough to have a son Yasar's age, let alone one Cherif's. "You're not Cherif's mother."

"No, I'm not. His mother was a dear woman, gentle and kind to a frightened, homesick girl about to be married to a much older man. She died giving birth to Cherif's youngest sister. He's made the child's life pure hell since then, even to insisting his father marry her off to an elderly noble. Luckily, I talked my husband out of it but, well, you saw Yasar's betrothed. " The teen's face darkened and she smiled up at him. "It won't happen, Yasar. And we'll make sure Yasmine is able to grow into a woman. You made a promise and your father will have to hold to it." She looked back to Regan, her dark eyes sparkling with mirth. "Yasar has a love, in a nearby village. The daughter of a minor noble, so his father cannot object."

"This is all very interesting, but I have a feeling you stopped me for a different reason." Regan wasn't in the mood for gossip. Amenah nodded and continued.

"We are asking that you do not leave, but return to the banquet hall. In the company of my son." A brow lifted and Regan studied the woman.

"Why?" Simply.

"Bau has not yet named Cherif as his heir. They fight constantly and I fear what Cherif will do if he is named. Not only to my husband but to Bau's other children and wives. If you return, it will seem that Yasar has spoken to you and that you listened to him." She touched her son's sleeve and the lad moved away. "I will not deny I love Yasar deeply. All my children are precious to me and I will do anything I can to preserve their lives. Yasar is wise beyond his years because of the life he has had. He is willing to listen to advice, prone to be merciful, and just." She pulled back her sleeve revealing a bracket with a winged scarab upon it and Regan understood she was a follow of the Old Religion. "He will continue any agreement his father makes. Though it is my hope that my husband lives many years, he is aged, and fond of rich food and drink... "

"So, if I return with Yasar, his father may lean more toward naming him as heir." She placed her hand on the Sultana's. "You will have to guard your son and yourself if such happens. Cherif will never accept such an act."

"Cherif will be exiled the moment he makes a threat on his brother." Amenah smiled and patted Regan's hand with her free one. "Do not worry. I grew up in a harem. I know the dangers and intrigue and I know there will be much talk if Yasar becomes Sultan after his father." She leased Regan's hand. "Had I not feared for my children, and those of the other wives and concubines, even our own lives, I would not be doing this, believe me." She looked toward her son, her expression sad. "This is not the life I would have wished for him, Captain." Replacing her veil, the woman stood and so did Regan.

"We'll return with him, my Lady." She said simply and accompanied the Sultana to where the men still stood.

"Thank you, Captain. You are truly wise beyond your years." Regan smiled, inclining her head and watched as the woman rejoined her son and spoke to him.

"Playing politics, Cap'n?" Barnes asked quietly.

"Backing the winner in this case." She looked at Barnes and grinned. "But be ready in case this goes badly, aye?" Barnes chuckled as he nodded, then fell silent when the woman and youth approached. Regan turned and met them a short distance away.

"I will leave you here. It is best that I do not return with you." She kissed her son on the cheek and walked away. Yasar smiled slightly at Regan.

"I'm sorry you had to be involved in this." He said as they walked back to the banquet room.

"It could be worse, I'm sure." She glanced toward the youth. "Is this what you want, Yasar?"

He was quiet a moment before he shook his head. "I would live a normal life if I had a choice. Travel like you do. But my brother is harsh and cruel and he would hunt down those who do not believe as he do, even as our rulers do. I may not rule this small area long but I will rule it differently. And I will not marry a child who is so much younger than I." His chin lifted stubbornly and Regan stopped, placing her hand on his arm.

"If it comes down to you and yours needing to escape, come to Heathfield. You would have to learn to adjust to the changes in weather but there are others of your land there. And you and yours would be safe."

"I will remember that, should the time come." He smiled as they stopped before the door of the banquet hall, now closed. The Sultan and Prince were still arguing but the soldiers at the door opened the door for the younger Prince. He looked at Regan and put out his hand, winking. Regan laughed softly, placing her hand on top of his. As they entered, the Sultan caught sight of them and fell silent. Cherif turned, his expression becoming one of dismay.

"Prince Yasar has convinced me to return and to begin again tomorrow." She announced and nearly laughed out loud when Yasar added.

"Indeed and I told her my older and much wiser brother would surely apologize being certain that it was merely a mistake of not understanding the language of our lovely guest." He gave Cherif such a look of innocent and adoration that the older Prince was of course, flattered. What else could he do but bow and apologize to the Captain? Indeed, his intentions were misunderstood and tomorrow they could begin again, if the Lady so desired. By the time Regan returned to the Benevolence, they had an agreement for trade to continue with Regan and her heirs for as long as the pyramids stood, and any other ships that came under the protection of the newly named Princess Regan would be welcome to pursue the same, so long as they did abide by the agreement. Regan had included this for the protection of those who served the Sultan.

As she stood near the rail, watching Egypt disappear, Barnes joined her.

"He'll be a good leader, Cap'n." He told her, knowing she was thinking of the lad.

"Aye, I know." She looked at Barnes, her pretty face serious and nearly stern. "And he'll survive what changes are coming. In every land there are those who keep the old ways alive, in their minds, in their art, in their lives. In times to come, it will be because of people like him that we'll remember." She wrinkled her nose suddenly and laughed. "Remind me when we return to De Haven to smack him one. He sent me to lands that cause me to think instead of act."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n. I'll remind you, so long as I get to see you do it."

"You've a deal, Mister Barnes." Regan laughed as she clapped a hand to his shoulder. "And now, my friend, I've books to tend to and a bath to take. I need to wash the sand out of my... britches."


Date: 06-15-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 14

The final stop came at the ancient city of Selçuk in Turkey. There Regan dealt with a woman named Sefika Yilmaz and her son, Nejad, rich merchants who dealt in fine cloth. They too, had cotton, but to Regan's delight, they also dealt in silk from China and had recently received a large shipment. The Benevolence left Turkey with silk and cotton, and enough room for what they had waiting in Susah. Sefika had also given Regan a gift of a beautiful Turkish rug as well as two Ottoman necklaces. One was made of silver, with silver coins and turquoise. The other was much lighter with silver beads, turquoise and red coral. Another of pearls with matching earrings was another gift. The woman had taken a likeing to the young Captain and teasingly said she could add the gifts to her dowry.

From there they stopped at Cyprus then went on to Susah. With each stop, while Regan tended to duties, members of the crew snooped about, trying to find information on the Unholy Trinity. It seemed while most knew of the Barbary pirates, those three had not been heard of. Until, they stopped at one of the small Balearic islands near Spain to avoid a storm. A young lad who the two cabin boys had befriended, and who spoke English, told them of the crazy men found drifting in a boat by fishermen from their village. There were only three left now, from eight. One had died of injuries, another had just walked into the ocean one night, one married a lass from the village and joined her brothers in fishing, and the final two had caught a ship to England. The final three lived away from the village, with two completely mad and the third caring for them. They had spoke of the three devils who had attacked their ship and taken it, killed the officers and forced most of the men into service. The eight had proven hard to break so they had simply been put into a longboat and set adrift.

Regan and Barnes followed the boy across the rocky shore to where the men stayed in a small hovel. A rock landed at their feet and the boy stopped.

"It's all right, Alberto. Go back to the villlage." Regan said quietly and waited.

"Stay right there." The clipped English accent came from beyond a pile of rocks. "What do you want? Who are you?"

"My name is Captain Regan Callihan, of Kildare and Heathfield. I've some questions for you." She looked at Barnes then looked back. The man stepped from behind the rocks, studying them. He held a flintlock pistol but Regan doubted it would fire. While he made up his mind to trust them, she studied him. He might have been handsome but it was hard to tell with the growth of beard and wild black hair. He was tall enough, taller than Barnes, well built and wearing only ragged pants. He moved closer and she could see the angry scar that ran across his cheek.

"A woman captain. I heard about one. Didn't think it was true. What questions?"

"Funny, I heard the English had manners. Do you have a name? And ... about the men who attacked your ship."

"Samuel Davidson, at your service." His voice was heavy with sarcasm as he bowed. "And why are you interested in those madmen?"

"I have my reasons." Regan answerd and she took a few steps forward, placing a sack between them before she stepped back again. Davidson waited a moment, then snatched it up. He ravenously attacked the bread and opened one of the bottles that had been in the sack, sitting on the stones. Regan and Barnes did the same, ignoring the hot sun that beat down on their backs.

"It was those called the Unholy Trinity but they only had two ships. Our frigate was a war ship at one time, still had the armor plating and cannons. But the Captain wasn't a man of war and so we were taken. Seems the one called Blackbeard had need of a ship or something." He was more than willing to talk with food and drink in hand. "I won't tell a lady like you what they did to us, how they torgtured and killed the officers. what they did to those of us who refused to join their crew, but they set us adrift with no food or water. We were lucky we were found as quickly as we were. Now there's only me, Tommy and James. Tommy's a gibbering idiot and James just stares at the walls. Now you have any answers."

"Where did they attack you?"

"Near the coast of Spain. Small village called Tafira. They came out of nowhere, like avenging demons." He paused and looked at the two. "And they asked about ships from Heathfield and Kildare." He added it as if it just surfaced in his memories. "Now I have something to ask of you." When Regan nodded, he took a deep breath. "I want to leave this place. I don't want to go back to England. And I don't want to leave Tommy and James behind. I know they can be helped, if it's the right person, place and England isn't it."

"I think we can accomadate you in that, though you' and your companions will be needing baths before you set foot on the ship." She stood and gave him her most charming smile. "I'll inform the innkeeper to have three baths ready, and help for your friends if needed. And a good meal."

"I'll take care of James. Tommy, well, he'll do what I say but best to let me be the only one until he's settled on the ship, aye?" He stood and saluted Regan, very properly. "Thank you, Captain." Gathering the sack, and the remains of his meal, he disappeared behind the rocks again.

"Well ... " Barnes shook his head. "This should be interesting."

"It should. Find where this Tarifa is. I want to pay a visit before we head for the Africa side of the sea." She rubbed her forehead briefly, then sighed. "Let's get back and warn the crew that we'll be having visitors, and what kind." Dear lord, just what was she getting into?

Date: 06-19-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 15

Regan found she didn't need to worry overly much about the crew. Samuel was used to caring for the two but he also accepted help when it was offered. Regan's assistant, Jordan and Samuel became friends and he was often in the company of the three. Tommy even seemed to regain some of his memories, though his mind was still a muddle. And with him, had come King George, a miniature black and white goat who Tommy treated like a pet dog. It was an odd sight to see Tommy and James sitting in the sun on deck while the goat laid with them. They had even put in a load of grain and grass for the small creature.

A few days later, the Benevolence put in at Tarifia. A storm out on the sea gave a good excuse but as Regan, Barnes, young Johnny and Samuel, went ashore, the hostility of the villagers was almost palatable. Almost. The crew of the ship would have gold for the good sold, and they were always in need to it. The small group wandered around the town then headed for a well kept tavern called The Dancing Moon. A pretty, young serving girl waited on them and she smiled at Regan.

"Such a lucky senorita to be surrounded by such handsome senors, si?" She asked and roughed up Johnny's hand. The lad blushed brightly, causing the small group to laugh and ignored the glares they receive.

"Yes, I'm very lucky" Regan agreed with a laugh. "Folks not too friendly here."

"Don't worry. They warm up soon enough. You from English?" Regan was sure any information given would go right to the tender and she shook her head.

"Kildare, though we port in Tortuga at time." She took a drink of the excellent ale and study the lass, who wasn't much older than Regan. "You speak very good English."

"Former owner insisted." The lass shrugged and glanced over her shoulder. "Not so nice man, si? I have to tend other tables but be back with food." Samuel, who had trimmed his beard and hair and was now wearing decent clothing, watched the lass walk away.

"Seems like she wants to talk." He said softly and Regan nodded.

"We'll give her the opportunity." Regan said with an easy smile. "Just don't give too much away. Not sure what these folks are like." She glanced around before chuckling softly. "Besides a bit angry that is."

The lass returned with their food and refills for drinks, along with several other young girls They talked a little more and Johnny asked about the 'former' owner, wondering if he had died or up and left.

"Wish he would have died." The lass looked as if she would have spit if she could. "He left and may a thousand fishes destroy his corpse." She gave a sheepish smile. "Forgive. I did not mean to ruin your meal. Enjoy."

The food was excellent but Regan wonder if the opportunity to speak to the lass had passed. Not long after she had served them, she went into the kitchen and never reappeared. They enjoyed their meal, then the men started a card game. Regan watched for a little while before she decided to go for a walk. She wandered about the city, looking over the goods for sale, picking up a few items as gifts for her family, and then settling on the wall of a fountain in the center of the city. It was a good spot not only to watch the villagers but to see the ocean and the fishing ships as they returned.

"Tarifia is very pretty, si?" The lass from the tavern joined her and smiled. " My mother says I am too young to work at the tavern at night." She glanced around then looked at Regan. "You have questions, si?"

"Only if they're not going to get you or myself in trouble." Regan chuckled then looked away from the girl and pointed toward the ocean. Her question, however, had nothing to do with the point. "What was the owner's name? What did he look like?"

"He call himself William Saxton." The young woman pronounced his surname as if it were two words and not one. "Tall, with the blond hair and brown mix from sun. Beard, moustache. Thin, but not too skinny. Cold eyes."

"Why did he leave?" This time it was the girl who pointed, toward the cliffs where large birds soared. As Regan looked that way, she answered.

"Two men come. Older. Both black hair, colder eyes, cruel mouths. Beards. One had a scar he try to hide. They go inside office and talk. Come morning, Fernandez has tavern again, Saxton leave dog, woman and is gone. War ships come. We think to fight Barbary pirates but no, three ships attacking gold ships. Diablo crews, appear, attack, gone again."

"Why are you telling me this?" She looked at the girl and grinned. "I'm Regan, by the way."

"Maria. Like so many, si?" Maria laughed then shrugged. "You, me, alike only I stay here. You travel. And I think maybe you know understand evil."

"Aye, I do. Enough to know that a single ship can't take them alone." She offered Maria a gold coin and the girl took it with a smile. Her mother would be pleased.

"Then, if you see, you go other way. I must go now. Mama will worry." As she stood, she smiled again at the Captain. "Stay safe, Regan. May the Madonna watch over you and her Son keep you safe." Regan watched as the lass left then she sat there quietly for a little longer. When they had left Susah, Regan had expected to learn very little about the Trinity but it seemed Fate had a different plan in mind. She just hoped it wasn't for the Benevolence to come face to face with the three. Giving a slight shake of her head, she stood and headed for the tavern to look inside. Johnny spotted her and wave, joining her a few moment later. The other three would return when the game was over and come dawn, they'd set to sea again, and head to their last stop for this voyage... Africa.

Date: 06-20-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 16

The intentions of the Benevolence crew and her temporary Captain had been simple enough when they started out. Find outlets of trade for cotton, learn what they could, if anything, of the Trinity for Captain DeHaven and possibly others, return to the Caribbean and then home. Hopefully both the Captain and the Dream were back in Tortuga. The voyage had a few delays with storms and avoiding a few ships but nothing like what they were seeing right now.

Another storm had come from nowhere, causing them to drop anchor near a few extremely small islands. They waited it out and after checking the damage, were about to set sail when one of the sailors called an ahoy. As Regan turned her attention toward the rocks, a white mare came over the top, following by two foals.

"What in the .... " She looked at Barnes and Samuel, and in a few moments, they were headed down the gangplank. The mare was skittish at first but came slowly to them. She still wore a halter and reins.

"Look there, Captain." On the rocks were several other horses who swam the short distance to where the humans were. "Ah hell.... " Barnes grumbled. "Cap'n ain't going to like this." But he called to several men and soon the horses were safely on board. Regan wandered the shore, finding one injured horse who Johnny took aboard. She climbed up on the highest point and looked out over the ocean.

"Barnes!" The First Mate joined her quickly enough, squinting as she pointed. "Wreckage. Let's set sail. See if we find any human survivors." She was surprised they had found the horses. Maybe humans would be as lucky. Barnes nodded, shouted out the orders and by the time the last horse was settled, they were sailing in the direction of the wreckage.

"Keep a steady eye out, lads," Barnes yelled, "not only for survivors but for them what caused this."

At first they saw only board, barrels, crates and other flotsam, some of which they pulled aboard. A body drifted by then another. The writing on the crates was Spanish and had Regan remembering Maria's words. She was about to say something to Barnes when someone yelled and pointed out more debris, and a crate with passengers. As they neared, they could see a shivering dog and a rather unhappy cat.

"We're going to have a reg'lar Ménage à trois." Barnes grumble. Regan barked out a laugh.

"That's menagerie, Barnes and shuddup." She cut a glance at Jordan who grinned and took the First Mate aside to explain the difference. Regan watched the mate's reaction and turned so he wouldn't see her laughing. It was then she spotted an overturned longboat and what seemed to be survivors clinging to it. "Get to the longboats! We have survivors!"

They rescued nine crewmen, including a cabin boy who was badly injured. Tommy had been taken below deck as soon as the debris was spotted but James remained in his usual spot. He stirred suddenly and looked around. "I am a surgeon. Where can I get to work?" Samuel stopped dead, then took hold of James' arm. "Welcome back, my friend. I'll take you below deck."

"I wasn't gone far, Samuel. I just needed some time." The man patted Samuel's hand as they went below deck. Regan watched a moment then headed up to the bridge to keep a watchful eye on the waters. Using a spyglass she followed the debris and spotted a few more survivors clinging to debris. They were pointed out, and rescued. From the story pieced together, three ships attacked the one, showing no mercy. The ship was looted and set afire and the pirates were gone.

"Captain. We have Spanish warships approaching." A warning given, and the order to hail them. There were three frigate, plus one sloop. That one approached the Benevolence. One of the men on the Spanish ship spoke English and another on the Benevolence spoke Spanish. By the time the sun had gone halfway across the sky, the human survivors were on the sloop headed back to Spain while the three frigates set out in the direction the survivors said the ships went. Regan watched both sail away then looked at Barnes, and smirked. "I say we go that way." She pointed away from Spain and the open ocean and toward Africa. Barnes chuckled and nodded.

"I agree, Cap'n. We need to see to some decent feed for the beasties and take on supplies so we can head for Tortuga." He gave her a grin, and a nudge to her shoulder with his fist. "Though I'll be first admitting, I'm going to miss sailing with you."

"You're full of blarney, Barnes." Regan laughed as she took a step from the nudge. "I'm think you'll be right glad to be rid of me, my companions and my zoo." She let out a wuff of air and grinned. "Meantime, you're still stuck with me. Set sail for the coast of Africa, Barnes and to Tangier, our last stop before we head out to open water. As for me, I'm going to take a bit of a rest before I statt on the ledgers again." She nearly tripped over the dog and cat who seemed intent on following her and sighed. "Come on then, but no sleeping on the bed." She'd need to name the beasties and hope they'd answer to them. The cat could stay on the Dream, but the dog, no she'd not do that to the poor dog, or the cat if he didn't want to stay. Montrose for them or maybe the manor in Kildare but she'd worry about that once she was home again. Home. As she settled on the bed, with the animals on the floor beside her, she wondered if her brothers were searching for her. She'd find out ... in time.

Date: 06-21-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 17

It was decided to travel along the coast of Africa after signs of the Barbary pirates were seen. They were bold enough to attack ships as well as the villages and Regan wanted to avoid any attacks if possible. She had no doubt the crew of the Benevolence could handle anything but she was hoping to see the ship home undamaged. Still, any repairs would be paid for from the money she and her brothers had from the treasure they had found. It was the possible loss of life that concerned her. It was a risk no matter what one did but she didn't want to be the one to tell Marcus that his crew had been lost. The men didn't seem to mind either. They kept busy dealing with the usual day to day duties, and Regan made sure they stopped at port cities here and there until finally, they headed toward the straits of Gibraltar. Of course, there was always a chance for trouble but she only had to bail some out once.

Barnes sent Ned down to the cabin to fetch Regan before they reached the straits which was unexpected. She followed the lad out of the cabin and up to the stern deck where the First Mate stood beside the wheel. He held out the spyglass he had been using. "Look toward Gibraltar then west about 20 degrees, Cap'n."

Regan took the spyglass and lifted it. The great rock jumped out at her and she swung the glass west, stopping at the sight of a battle. Adjusting the spyglass, she let out a soft curse. Three ships sailing a unique flag fought three Spanish man'o war. "Well, now we know where they are, don't we?" She looked at Barnes, pursing her lips thoughtfully. "We can avoid them if we stay on course and stick close to the coast. All the ships look like they're taking a pounding but even so, I'd rather not meet up with any of the three, if they survive. There's a fourth Spanish ship heading for them." Barnes nodded and turned to give the orders while Regan took another look. One of the Spanish ships was listing badly and though the ships of the Trinity were damaged and the other two Spanish ships were fighting, they closed in for the kill. Regan gave a little shudder as she lowered the glass. There would be no mercy. She turned away after taking note of the design of the three ships of the Trinity. Different then when she and her brothers had met up with them, they were each unique as the men that mastered them.


Tangiers, Morocco was unlike the other cities Regan had visited in Africa. It was steeped in history, and an air of mystery hung heavy over the city, permeating even the darkest corners. The mix of people amazed Regan and Samuel as they walked the streets while waiting for the supplies needed to get them back to Bridgetown. Ned and Johnny had gone off in another direction and Barnes had practically chased Samuel off to join Regan. The young man spent too much time with his friends, and Regan needed an escort, though he'd never say that to the Captain. They had been there for three days and this was to be the final day. If they didn't go explore now, they might not get the chance for a long time. Besides, Barnes happened to know that the First Mate of the Dream would be leaving for, and he felt Samuel might be a good choice to replace her.

The two had gone through some of new parts of the city with its English and Portuguese influence and then wandered toward the Sultanate Palace, called Dar-el-Makhzen. No Sultan was in residence at the moment and they were able to look into the palace and courtyard before heading to the older docks, a distance from where the Benevolence was berthed. Regan suddenly grabbed Samuel's arm, pointing at one ship that was very unique. It was painted from stem to stern in grays to blend in with the waters of the ocean, even to the furled sails but it had stood out against the red of the Spanish ships and the orange of flames. Samuel cleared his throat at the figurehead, and the name, Putain d' eau and Regan chuckled.

"You need to toughen up, m'lad. You're not sailing on a English ship anymore. And it's not the name. She's not sailing the flag she was before," in fact, it was a French flag, likely stolen. "That's one of the ships that was fighting the Spanish warships. I'll bet my eye tooth that's one of the Trinity." But which?

"Let's have a closer look, shall we?" Samuel started down the road, then he suddenly pulled Regan into a doorway, turning his back to the road and using his body to hide her. A moment later, she caught sight of none other than Blackbeard, Eric Westmoreland himself, striding away from the ship. Samuel stepped back out into the road, glancing at the ship. Now that they were closer, it was obvious repairs were being made.

"We're following him," Regan said, giving no room for discussion as she started down the road. He was taller than most here, with the same swagger Regan remembered. People moved out his way, almost without thought as he neared, making it easy for him to be followed. He stopped at a market, spoke to a man and was pointed in one direction. From there, he walked down a less crowded rode and entered a building. Samuel glanced at the man Eric had spoken to and took note of his clothing and the veiled woman with him. Bedouins who had made the city their home, perhaps temporarily.

"Hold on. I have an idea." Samuel said and led the way to a side street where an elderly woman could be seen He gave a shrug at Regan's questioning look. "I've been here before." Then he was speaking to the woman in Arabic. A few moments later, Regan was pulling off her boots, rolling up her pants, and pulling on a thobe or robe of dark blue with lighter bands of blue along the hem and embroidery at the neckline. She also wore shambar, a tube that covered her head and neck. And a burqa that acted like a half veil covering the bottom of her face formed by rows of coins. There was a piece that went over the nose, between the eyes and held the veil in place that was decorated with beads. She also was given a heavy necklace of coins and beads decorated with eyes and triangle, and hollowed beaded bracelets and anklets. The beads were filled with small stones to make noise which amused the Cat pain. Freshly washed, they smelled of jasmine and spices, definitely exotic. The old woman laughed at the young woman's obvious delight. Regan slipped on a pair of sandals and watched as Samuel put on a thobe of white that fell to his ankles, and a aba, a sleeveless robe with stripes of blue, red and black over the thobe. Over his head he wore a kufeya held in place with an igal of camel wool. A square of fabric folded into a triangle with a point on each shoulder, it could be used to cover the bottom half of his face. The igal was richly decorated with metallic threads. He didn't wear jewelry but the woman gave him a curved knives called a khanja, which she explained had been her husband's.

"They pull this up in case of sandstorms. Or if they don't wish to be recognized though I doubt that devil would recognize me now." Samuel told Regan about the headpiece as he pulled on a pair of soft leather boots. He hadn't had a beard or long hair when he had been captured and though it was neater than before, he had kept both.. Both he and Regan were tan enough to pass as natives. "Your eyes won't be a problem, though they're unique. There are those among the Bedouin people who have blue eyes. Some say it was from a wife of one chief who was from Europe. Not all their women wear veils but most would in the company of strangers." While they were talking, the woman marked Regan's hands with henna. Samuel gave the woman a few gold coins, and planted a kiss to the top of her head before the two of them walked back to the main road and the building that Westmoreland had entered.

"And here I thought you were a wet behind the ears English Lieutenant." Regan teased, laughing when Samuel did. He grinned at her, then stopped her with a touch to her arm. "Two things. Try not to let that Irish temper of yours get out of hand. Remember the males here are in charge and we can't go in here, this is a brothel. Let's go into that cafe and I'll treat you to the coffee here." Though it was a bit of a nuisance with the veil, Regan found the coffee to be very good, if strong. They also enjoyed Looqemat which was were sweet dumplings served with a syrup made with rose water, sugar, water and lemon juice, and halva, an almond pastry. The owner's wife was friendly and talkative and spoke common rather than Bedouin. She told Regan that there was a woman who had blue eyes at another cafe two streets over, though they weren't as blue. She thought the woman was older too, but couldn't be sure since she also wore a veil. Finally, they wandered back out onto the street and Samuel sighed.

"He may stay in there all day." He didn't think they should stay much longer but before he could say more, Regan grabbed his arm. The black haired pirate had a satisfied look as he came out of the brothel though with the curses and wails that followed, it was hard to say way. They started after him again, staying back but it didn't seem that he was going anywhere in particular. He had wandered into a market area and as they followed, Regan picked out some gifts, mostly jewelry.

"We lost him, Captain." Samuel said suddenly, his voice close to her ear. She cursed softly, handing the vendor coins and accepted the bag which she tucked into another bag beneath her robes. "Where did you see him last?" She demanded softy. Regan was uncertain if Eric Westmoreland knew of Marcus DeHaven and the Benevolence but she didn't want to take any chances. They needed to be certain he wasn't heading for the new docks to check out likely victims. Neither did they want him to realize he was being followed but knowing the instincts of the man, he might suspect something though a young Bedouin couple might be ignored.

"Over there at the weapons vendor." Samuel took her by the arm and led her that way, trying to keep up the appearance of a brother indulging his younger sister but wanting to see something that might appeal to himself. He made a show of studying the knives while trying to spot the man who was so very dangerous they could both find their throats slit. Regan acted bored with the knives though there were in truth a couple that caught her eye. She caught a glimpse of a man who could have been Westmoreland. "Samuel." She hissed and turned a little too quickly. A step had her colliding with a man's chest, one wearing a gold waistcoat, a coat of deep red satin and a pristine shirt of white with ruffles at the sleeves and chest, one open to reveal the muscles beneath and a pendent of gold. Hands were placed on her shoulders and an all too familiar voice rumbled.

"Easy lass, slow down." There was no kindness in the tone, just warning. Regan slowly looked up into a pair of dark eyes that caused her to freeze in her tracks.

"My apologies for my wife, sahib." Samuel was swiftly over to Regan's side, drawing the man's attention from her. "She is young, quick to move without thought." His accent was nearly perfect, thick and a little hard to understand. "She does not speak the English. Excuse." He took Regan's arm and led her away, speaking in Bedouin which of course, Regan did not understand, though she kept her head down and didn't look back. Samuel however, did. "He's still standing there, just staring at us. I think we ... "

"Wait!" Came the yell they were both dreading. "Stop right there!" There was no anger in his voice yet, but the two stepped up their pace, breaking into a run as they rounded a building.

"Quick. Where is the cafe the woman mentioned?" Regan asked, almost breathless. In spite of the danger, she was close to laughing as she hiked up her robes and followed Samuel. She heard a shout behind them and dared to glance over her shoulder. Eric was trying to get through a suddenly crowded street and she realized people were purposely blocking his way. By the time he saw Samuel grab Regan's arm and pull her down another street, the pirate was furious. He skidded to a stop as he rounded the corner, eyes narrowing. He caught a glimpse of black robes turning another corner and pushed his way through the crowd. As he made his way down the second road, the cafe caught his eye. One small boy was peering inside as if curious but then he walked away when he was called. Eric made his way inside.

The cafe was typical with scrollwork on the walls, burring torches, windows, and screens in areas for privacy. A dancer made her way around the floor and between the tables. She danced up to Eric, turning and leaning back against him. For a moment, the pirate Captain forget his pursuit then he pushed the woman away. Each serving wench was stopped, no matter the type of veil they wore and forced to look up. Finally, he came to woman dressed in similar fashion the one who had caught his attention. Wife of the young man or not, he would see her face. He grabbed hold of the woman's chin, just as he had the others and forced her to look up. Blue eyes were wide and startled, and she screamed as he roughly pulled the veil from her face. With the scream, the owner of the cafe as well as several other men stood. The face was not the one expected. The woman was older and a tooth had been replaced with one of gold. As he was grabbed, he let out a roar of rage.

From behind one of the screens, Regan and Samuel watched as the pirate was overwhelmed, at least briefly. He threw most of the men off and drew his sword. Samuel grabbed Regan's arm again and pulled her down a hall and out a door. They ran back to the old woman who insisted they keep the clothing, folding it and making neat packages while they pulled on coats, boots and vests. Thanking her profusely they made their way back to the main street. There was quite a commotion somewhere nearby. Looking at one another, they started to laugh. They headed back to the Benevolence at a quick pace. Barnes gave them both an odd look which had Regan giving him a half smile.

"Eric Westmoreland is here. We need to leave as soon as we can." She informed the First Mate who frowned. He was wondering about the details but those could wait.

"Most of the men are back, with the exception of our two cabin boys and the man I sent out to look for them. The supplies are fully loaded, included feed for the animals." He paused then asked the obvious question. "Did he see you?"

"No, but I'll explain later. Make preparations and as soon as the lads are back, we'll cast off. I'll be in the cabin." She wanted to write a few things down while they were still fresh in her mind. Glancing out the windows that filled the back wall of the cabin, she watched as the Benevolence sailed by Eric's ship. There was plenty of activity but no sigh of its Captain. Hopefully the angered crowd had taken care of Blackbeard but Regan doubted it. Somehow, someway, Erick Westmoreland and Regan Callihan would cross paths again.

Date: 06-22-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 18

The winds held steady as the Benevolence left the Gibraltar Straits behind and headed into open water. They kept a careful watch behind, uncertain if Eric would decide that the Benevolence held some secret or if he had even noticed the ship leaving. He would have been furious in any case and though she didn't say it, the thought made Regan chuckle. Until the third day out. The man in the crow's nest thought he saw a ship following but he was uncertain and with the coloring of Eric's ship, they might not know he was close until it was too late.

Regan, Barnes and Samuel were talking quietly in her temporary quarters about which course to take. James was sitting nearby, unmoving as always. "If we go the usual, we'll go around this area toward Bermuda and then to Barbados."

"I think we should go this way, catch the edge of the Sargasso Sea and cut days off our time." Barnes touched the map while Samuel shook his head. He opened his mouth to speak.

"We can go straight across the Sargasso." Samuel blinked and looked toward James as did Regan and Barnes. The man stood and made his way to the table, leaning over the map, his hands on the table. "There's a way through where the dead ships are few and the grass less thick. It's only known to a few, though likely the Trinity are among those."

"Jamie, you're back with us." Samuel touched his friend's arm and the man smiled.

"I'm not sure what happened. I was trapped in a darkness where what happened when we were captured couldn't touch me. But somehow I knew it was time and I heard your voices. I've no wish to meet with any of them again either. So, if you'll trust me, I'll show you the fastest route."

"James was our navigator." Samuel looked at Regan and Barnes. "One of the best." Regan looked at Barnes who nodded slowly.

"If Samuel vouches for you then, all right, I'll trust you with the Benevolence." He said and Regan nodded agreement. A half hour later James was at the wheel of the ship, watching the waters ahead. The crew was silent as they watched the passage. There were a few derelict ships, the portholes seeming like eyes watching as the ship slid past. One ship was smoldering and Regan glanced at Barnes, who leaned on the rail to study it. "Looks like there was a fight here not long ago. They flew the jolly roger so likely went up against a warship or maybe even another pirate. Limped their way here most likely."

"Think there are any survivors?" Regan asked as she watched the ship pass.

Barnes shrugged. "Could be. There's tales about survivors who live amongst the ruins. Scavengers when a ship dies, make their living off the sea other times. I've seen one place where they've made a small village, floats on the water, anchors keeping it from floating aimlessly. Ships even stop there for supplies. It's said that there's a spot where the ocean water is fresh and they use it like a spring. Don't know if that's true or not, but they survive right enough." He grinned as he turned his head. "Resourceful we humans be." Regan chuckled then looked up at James. Like the others, she was amazed at the difference a few hours had made. He had bathed, trimmed his hair, shaved his beard and been given new clothing. Had Regan not seen the change for herself, she would have never recognized him. Samuel was making notes as they moved through the area so both Regan and Marcus could have them. It would make the trip easier, except for days like the one that followed. The winds died, leaving them becalmed.

It was a situation that could happen anytime but being in the middle of an area said to be haunted did nothing for the morale of the crew. James quietly sniffed the air, studied the sky and assured them they'd be on their way soon. An hour after he spoke, a storm blew in from the west. The ship moved forward again, slowly at first until the wind filled her sails and the Benevolence cut through the grass like a knife through butter. The rain stopped but the wind remained, pushing the ship forward. As the sun sank beyond the horizon, turning the sea to golden fire, they were out on open water and had only one more day of traveling ahead of them.
As the night watch took over, Regan went to the cabin that had been hers for nearly three months. Most of her things had been packed away, except for the clothing she'd wear tomorrow. She picked up the shirt she had been using to sleep in and smiled to herself. Though the scent of the man who owned it had long faded, she liked how the material felt against her skin. Smiling to herself, Regan undressed and slipped the shirt over her head. She blew out the lanterns and looked out the windows a moment. No lights shined in the distance, just a sliver of a moon hung high in the sky.

This had been a fruitful time for her. She had established a new trade route, though it would be with her own ship the next time, and learned the information Marcus had desired. She had even literally run into Eric Westmoreland again and survived, probably leaving him to wonder who the woman had been with eyes like the lass who had gotten away. She laid on the bed, hands clasped together behind her head and watched the reflection of lights dance on the ceiling Three months. She wondered again if her brothers had been concerned though the Dancer was still located in the Caribbean. If they had stopped it, they wouldn't find her aboard and she wondered what her crew would have told them. But ... she was going to make a decent amount of coin, which meant she wouldn't have to touch her share of the treasure, The demand for the materials she had obtained extended well beyond the realm and could very well bring her more contacts. She could need to buy a second ship. The thought had her laughing as she got ahead of herself. First to Bridgetown, where she would see if Marcus and her own ship had returned or if Marcus had left word on either when he would return, if she should leave the Benevolence where she was or escort it somewhere..

James had family there and he planned to speak to them to see if he and Tommy, and of course, King George, could stay there. Neither wished to return to England. If not, they would be joining Regan again. Samuel had decided to journey with her to Heathfield. She would wait to see if he'd stay in Kildare before asking him to join her crew as First Mate. She knew her crew well enough to know they'd not argue her choice even if she gave no reasons. She liked the man, found him trustworthy and thought he'd serve well. With no family, he was alone and might welcome the opportunity to join her crew. If not, well, she'd help him find another position. He could be leery of being aboard a ship after his experience with the Trinity, especially since the Callihans were a target of the three. She yawned and rolled over onto her side. The dog and cat had taken to her and were both sleeping in the cabin. They would be journeying with her as well as the horses. A bloody zoo. Yawning, she smiled then closed her eyes. Come the dawn, she'd be spending her last day on the Benevolence and though she had become fond of ship and crew, she would certainly be glad to be back on her own Dream.

Date: 07-06-11
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 19

Seafaring Adventurers

Faelan had been out to sea when word reached his ears of a devastating hurricane that hit lands he called home. Home was split between there and Kildare but he turned around and headed back to the lands. Word also reached his ears on his sister being sighted here and there. Barbados being one of the ports which had him, at the time, head there only to find he was one step behind. He wondered if Morgan knew, or even James. Either way he knew she was headed for trouble on some kind of wish to face such. Avoiding her over protective brothers would be another challenge on her part. Maybe he'd find out tonight. There was a nice salty breeze off the ocean as the Dragon's Tooth dipped and lifted in a steady, lulling, motion. Faelan was at the bow with one hand on a rope as he watched the lands of Heathfield come into sight and grow with each passing minute. Hair had gotten longer as no one bothered trimming while out at sea. Hell, it was lucky if they bathed. Although Faelan tended to keep clean, something their mother and heritage drove in him.

He noticed the shipwreck adorning the jutting rocks and winced inwardly. Presently he was not sure whose it was as such particulars were not with the news that traveled. It was sort of a monument to what the lands had suffered and he could tell there had to be causalities or Fate had been more than gracious by the sight of it. He turned his thoughts back to the night ahead of them. Most of his men would get to go ashore after a few months out. Landlubbers would be able to tell by the way they walked how long they'd been out, including their captain. Sea legs and land took adjusting and hence more the swagger to smooth it over. Once anchored and a dinghy taken inland, he set his path to the Thistle, leaving his men to find whatever satisfied them during their leave. Cards. Drink. Women. Fighting. Betting. Some liked one or two while others like a combination of all. They had a good pocketful of coins to see to enough fun. When he entered the tavern, it was quiet. No one about except Alex and Hazel in the kitchen could be assumed. Grin came quick and easy much like the swagger that carried him to the bar. "It is guid tae bae home and a guid meal for a starving sailor," which he picked out the Colcannon and herb dumplings with a small dish of Irish stew on the side along with the staple buttered brown bread.

Like his brother, Morgan had been out to sea when the hurricane hit though he hadn't heard of it until he arrived back at Heathfield. He had seen the remains of the ship and as soon as he touched shore had gone to find out the story. By then, of course, there was little to be done except stop in one of the portside taverns that had little damage and had a drink in honor and remembrance of the crew. He was glad to hear a few had survived, especially her Captain but knew Segan had to be suffering the effects of that loss. When he emerged with a few drinks under his belt, it was to find his brother's ship had docked, and the crew dispersed for some needed R & R. With that in mind, he headed for the Thistle, after all that was where most of their family headed when they first returned to Heathfield. As he stepped through the door, he couldn't help the grin that appeared. There was Faelan, chowing down. "I'll be having what me brother's having, Alex. As long as it comes with a glass of potcheen."

As he waited for his food, Alex was affable in answering his questions, the first being on the ship. He told him of the various buildings, how everyone worked together and how lucky there were not more causalities. By the time he was done his platter arrived with the start of a hearty meal. If he was still hungry when done, he'd order up a plate of the cutlets next. Thin as he was he could eat like one three hundred pounds. In the midst of almost wolfing down his food, his brother arrived. He knew as soon as he neared the door for the certain prickling at the back of his neck. One covered by the longer hair tied off there. Boot hooked in the rung of his seat as he used that as leverage in turning him enough to greet him with a grin before swallowing what was still in his mouth. "I see the seven seas has spit you out here too. Alas, our sister is still out on them. Last I heard she was in Barbados but had flown when I got there." He had searched it from end to end which was never an easy task in that port. More like fight his way from end to end. He eyed his brother before even asking what he was sure he would guess, "have you heard of or seen her?"

Tyremoor had seen a taste of that sea storm, but nothing compared to the feast of anger that had swept over Heathfield. The Duke had sent word to the King and Queen, entrusting that correspondence to Keifer, who had come into port just days before. The missive offered any help to Heathfield, even as Tyremoor attempted to repair its own port. Having taken the time to speak with the Royals, deliver the letter, Keifer had then taken a ride through the land ending him up at the Thistle. Was there any other place better to end up? At least, alone? The flat of one hand pressed to the wood, the other lifted the latch...and he entered.

Morgan shook his head as he joined Faelan. "Haven't seen her, though I heard the Dream sailed off toward the north, possibly the colonies. Then I heard they were at the coast of South America. So, she doesn't seem to be staying in one place." He sat and looked Faelan over. "You seem hale and hearty enough. Did you manage to avoid the storm?" As he asked, the door opened and he glanced that way. "Evening." An amiable greeting was given to the man entering but then, unless it was one of the Trinity themselves, Morg had no reason not to be friendly.

"I can see her heading south to South American with Inca and Aztec gold still around." If one were good with adventure and stumbling on things that might have them find some of the artifacts. "The question is, do we leave her be or follow?" Like they could pick up an adventure to find Aztec or Inca gold and happen across her just to find out she was safe. Just the way spoken had him giving away his thoughts. He lifted a glass of the pure. "Here is to the sailors that met Davy during the rampage of a storm. May fate have found them peace and if not, may they burn in hell for all their misdeeds." There were good and bad sailors, the toast given just as Keifer pushed through the door. Faelan with his glass up and the last of the words just off the tip of his tongue. "Welcome Mate." Although there was recognition he couldn't place yet.

A good amount of time had passed since Callihan and Douglas shared a tavern together. Such was the way of the sea. She took many men off, kept them in her embrace, and allowed them to leave her embrace only so long...before they longed to be with her again. "Thank you." He offered at first, providing a chin-up for Alex in greeting. "I know I don't need to waste the words, Alex." He smiled to the tender, crossing over to the bar. "Quite the storm here, eh?" He added as he took up a lean against the bar's edge. "And you..." He nodded toward Faelan. "You look familiar...Ferguson? McEchron?" He snapped his fingers, wagging a finger the man's way. "Callihan. Faelan Callihan." Pushing up from his lean, he stepped closer, offering his hand first to Faelan and then to Morgan. "Keifer Douglas."

"Big ocean to find one small ship, but we can try." Never knew what they might come across. He laughed at the thought of coming across Regan and how she might react then he nodded at the toast . He'd drink in a moment but first it was time to take Keifer up on the handshake, after his brother of course. "Morgan Callihan. Pleasure to meet you."

Hearing the name brought a hearty laugh as he joined in with the humor. "Ah, I bae Faelan of the Callihans and you must be Kenneth MacDoogle... oh, right.. Keifer Douglas!" Sliding from the stool with agility as he took up his hand in a good strong shake, nothing overly done, before released. He offered him the drink which had not been touched yet that was part of their toast to fellow sailors. The glance told Morgan everything on the last about Regan. Grin. In short he'd love the day to see her reaction. Never knew how it would be but it would be worth it. One tiny ship to find but they were good at finding things, then with a look back on Keifer. "How has the sea been faring to you?" Which had him squint an eye in thought. "Keifer's Island, is it fable or fact?"

Keifer chuckled, taking up the drink with a nod of thanks. "Guess you should just check it out to see." He hadn't heard the previous toast, but tilted the glass just slightly as he lifted it as a toast to that offer before he brought it to his mouth. He drank down that shot with a growl of satisfaction following, then lowered the empty glass. "She's not unlike any lass, now is she? Loving and kind one minute, causing you to curse under your breath the next? Unpredictable as all hells. But you can't get enough of her, no matter."

He just laughed again, then settled into the meal and his drink, listening to the two talk. Though he did have to add, "Not like any lass I know at all." And he was quite happy with her the way she was.

He had gotten another tumbler which he clinked against Keifer's as they were lifted and the burn to follow had that kind of satisfying sound to it. "Aye, but we love her so with ever the challenge and never to be tamed by man. She'll take whom she wants and spit out the rest on land until they come back again. Have you been to sea lately or wishing more adventure? More the merrier and better the chance fighting against any pirates on the way."

"I need to meet your lasses, Morgan..." Although, truthfully, what man didn't enjoy a female with a bit too much spirit for either of their goods? "I've been in Tyremoor for a couple of weeks, just back from Africa's shores...some textiles...ebony...isn't your sister Regan Callihan? Blonde...slight. Captain of Neptune's Dream, is it?" It was difficult for a man to forget a lovely lady...whether of wood or of flesh.

"Aye, that's her." He looked up from his food to Keifer and smiled. "Have you met her, or is her reputation growing so much that you've just heard of her?" He wouldn't be surprised. There were a few women captains around but none quite like their sister. "We've a hard time keeping an eye on that one." It was nice to know the others stayed home for the most part!

"You have Lasses?" Turning a look on his brother with a lift of his brown. The idea he had a harem of them tucked away on his ship and wasn't sharing with his brother. Humorous look before one turned on Keifer as his brother continued, "aye, been thinking of seeing if our paths can cross. She is one of a couple of sisters, another does tattoos." Which was not an average career for a woman either.

"Mostly the last, but I've seen her...never met her...but there's no not taking notice when she's in the same room. From what I've been witness to, once or twice, you have no worries. A beauty she may be, but none dare overmuch from what I've witnessed. Guess that is where her reputation comes into play." He laughed low, not even a sound so much as a rumble of mirth in his chest. "Tattoos? Here in Heathfield?" That might be interesting to check out.

"Aye, though she does them for the lasses. Saves the man she works for from doing them and getting himself into trouble and her as well come to that." He chuckled as he thought of Regan. "She's a spitfire, Regan is. Though sometimes she causes a bit of worry." She wasn't as reckless as she had been but what kind of brothers would they be if they didn't worry about her?

Well, his brother ignored his remark and went on praising Regan with Keifer. Wasn't more for him to add so he set to eating his meal.

And Faelan ignored Keifer's question, so he took what Morgan offered and just nodded. He might check out this place, and see if he couldn't convince the lass to tat a Capt. He shifted a look between the brothers and leaned in to steal their bottle and add a splash more to his glass. "How soon are you heading back out?" Once the level was satisfactory, he placed the bottle back to the counter, bringing up his glass. "I'm guessing Heathfield's ships will be pulling in supplies for repairs so that her resources aren't so strapped, considering the damages."

He reached over and slugged Faelan on the shoulder, in a brotherly way. "And if I did, aye, I'd be keeping them hidden. Otherwise, you'd be trying to steal them away." A grin to show he didn't mean it and he pushed away the empty dishes.

"Well, I'd be thinking there was hope for you still," rubbing his shoulder as that slug was felt but a grin was playing about his mouth. "Aye, that's it not share with your brother who has found you many a lass," even without his approval, even chagrin if one were to evaluate Morgan's response. But there was a time or two, like the redhead with green eyes that he didn't mind so much. His food was done as well as the dishes were moved near Morgan's. Easier for Alex that they were all in one pile. "See the abuse I take, Keifer." Like Keifer didn't with his older brothers? He hadn't ignored Keifer's question, Morgan had answered him. "Once we make the rounds with family, mostly to see father," as he was aging but he didn't state that part, "then I'm ready to sail. How about you Morgan?"


Date: 07-06-11
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 20

Keifer chuckled hearing the two of them, then fell silent, his gaze passing from one to the other brother. "It is bloody disgraceful." Keifer grunted out through a suppressed laugh with the mention of abuse. Since a question had been set out for Morgan, the Douglas captain said no more at present, just waited for the forthcoming answer.

He just smirked, finishing off the last bite of his meal and continuing to stack the dishes. "I'm thinking I may see if the services of my Lady are needed to transport items for rebuilding." He said after taking a drink. "Then, I'll probably do the same." And of course, he'd be off to see their father. That was a given.

"When are you itching to set sail Keifer?" By the looks of it, they could make the runs together, "word is getting around there are pirates about and safer to sail in numbers, especially ships carrying any kind of cargo." Faelan got to hear a lot of things, not necessarily that there were pirates here on these shores but that such had been encountered in other parts, other countries, other ports.

"When am I...isn't that a constant itch?" Keifer set his glass to the counter, lifting an arm to scratch along his side. "And nothing any medicine can cure and not a that I would even seek out that cure if there was." He nodded to their mention of aid in the transport of goods for rebuilding. "There are plenty of ships for that unless you mean to stay planted rather than floating, we should set our sights on other ventures." He pointed a bent finger toward Faelan. "Like those pirates."

Morgan eyed Keifer over the rim of his glass thoughtfully. Instead of drinking, he raised it in a toast. "Well then, here's to other ventures, no matter where they lead." He wouldn't mind having a shot or two at the pirates. And who knew, they might even run across their wayward sister.

"You keep doing that," amusement dancing in violet blue eyes, "and your maties will be thinking you've come down with the shingles.." but he knew that itch well. The three of them danced to its tune. "Aye, every less pirate on the seven seas is one less to end up on these shores." Sounded patriotic as he lifted his glass to the toast being offered. "To all worthwhile ventures." Keifer might notice the dragon's tooth that laid against his chest as the motion up shifted his shirt opening. Which was usually left unlaced down a ways. He didn't like things closed around his throat. "We've met the unholy three on those seas.." his drink kicked back following that comment.

Ah, and Keifer knew the story behind that tooth. Most captains did! "...and the true kicker is, you lived to stand here and make that claim, Faelan." Keifer chuckled.

"It was iffy for a while." Morgan smiled as he spoke. No point in not admitting it could have turned out badly. "But, aye, here we stand, and none the worse for it." He chuckled. "Maybe the devil wasn't ready for us." Who knew but he'd be forever grateful that they had survived!

"Aye," about to say something about having to pretend he was a woman to attract a man, his sister giving him pointers almost slipped out. Thing was, it had worked and gained them their freedom so they were all still alive. Pretty boy Faelan, yeah, he didn't want to have to start breaking noses again. He couldn't really agree with 'none the worse' but more his thoughts turned on his sister. Except she had gotten pass the ordeal in the past few years. "It is rumored they are making a comeback but no one really seems to know where, or if such a rumor is true other than, such rumors are always bound to surface." Which if there was truth in it. "Have you encountered them at all in your travels?" Curious question at least chased away any other thoughts and concerns.

"I'm pleased and relieved to say, no, I have not, Faelan. I'm not so sure Satan would be willing to pass up the opportunity to slap a shackle around my sorry-arse hide if I came that close to death." He crossed his arms at this chest. "But I'm not one to hide away, so if death is what we'll be seeking, then hell might as well just get me a room ready." Didn't they all sniff after death anytime they ventured out onto the seas?

"Well, I suppose there's only one way to see. And that's to head out but the question is, where do we head? Haven't heard that they've been seen in the Caribbean but that doesn't mean they aren't hiding there somewhere. Or are we going after smaller fish?" Three against three? Even odds except the Trinity had experience. The fact that two had lived as long as they had was a feat in itself.

"I think maybe Barbados to start." There was always a lot of information flowing there via drunken sailors. Something one had to sift through but a few loose tongues came by ones who knew too much for their own good. "Three or five days time then?" Within the week in the least as he was seeing it. "I'm sure your family would like to see that hide of yours before one like the unholy three got hold of it. Might not be recognized afterwards." The notorious three had a reputation earned by their deeds, deeds that failed against those here but never failed to come back and try it again.

"I'm sure, considering the target, that my family would not need to know before heading out to come up against the likes of those three. If we even find them." But the fact that they were discussing these particular pirates had the Douglas captain wondering as to the sighting of the third and female Callihan captain.

"Would they protest?" He was curious of course. There was a chance their own family might also try to discourage the sea-faring brothers but one never knew. Their father might give them his blessing and send them on their way , perhaps with the hope one or more of the Trinity might lose another ship, or be permanently sent to the bottom of the sea and plague no ship of the realms again.

It was his turn to listen to the forthcoming answer to that question posed by his brother. "Never know, maybe we should start in our own backyard," meaning their port which had foreigners aplenty as ships sailed in and out. Plenty of drunken sailors that kept the harbor masters busy near every night.

Keifer started his answer with an agreeing nod to Faelan. "I've lost one ship, Morgan, I'm sure my father wouldn't care much for me daring the odds to lose another. But still, he is a just man, the Duke, he may actually give his blessings, and his warnings as to what will happen if I do lose the ship and not my life to the Trio." He chuckled, actually amused with how his father may react to any news about what these captains were contemplating. "Allow me a couple of days to help set Tyremoor back to rights and then I'll leave the completion to the capable hands of those citizens...and we can set out?"

"Aye, losing a ship is not only losing an investment, but a part of yourself." He smiled and nodded. "I have no problem with that. While you do that, Faelan and I can see what we learn here. Maybe encourage some talk with a bit of drink or a coin or two." He would never believe that at least one of the three, if not all, didn't have someone somewhere keeping an eye on things here. Of course, if the rumors were true, it would take a few weeks for any messages to get to them.

Which happened to them as due course in meeting the Unholy Trinity. But with some things, what seemed bad ended up good as they each got their own ship afterwards. Something overdue but then they still sailed together when they could. It was only little sister that wanted to prove herself that she could stand alone. "Sounds like a good plan for me." Agreeing with the few days. "Unless you don't have to go rushing off tonight?" The more the merrier and probably a fight or two as well.

"The night, this night, is mine." Keifer answered Faelan with a quick nod to add to his information. "I'll keep an ear at Tyremoor's ports too, until we meet back up, but tonight...there's nothing like the present."

"Well then, where shall we head first?" He rubbed his hands together after finishing the last of his potcheen. Nothing like the prospect of a bit of trouble to set a man's blood to racing. They could learn enough to set them in the right direction once they were ready to sail. He'd wait until morning to find the Quartermaster and tell him to prepare.

"I'm going to check out Tyremoor's port one day too." He got a bottle of potcheen from Alex as he knew the shadier places at the port didn't carry the good stuff. "See what kind of men are around that wander from a hole in the wall to a place like Marlana has." If they got hungry later, they could get a bite to eat there than chance any of the other places. "The port me brother," giving him the good clap to the back as he held the bottle in the other hand. More trouble too with some fire in their veins.

Marlana's place was literally a hole in the wall right now, but not for long. "Lead on, Faelan." Keifer offered Alex a nod of a impending farewell. It was always good to see the man.

A salute to Alex as he stood and he was more then ready to be off, even with the prospect of a hangover tomorrow. He was over to get the door for the other two, a willing follower this time.

It would be the best hangover ever! There was no quiet of the night in the Commons for there was singing, laughing, clapping, cheering and so on down in the square. The Valdez family was out doing one of their performances, or parts of various plays to get others interested. Giving a sampling of their acting worked well as there were always new faces and those passing through looking for entertainment that didn't come out of a bottle. As they neared, Faelan stopped a moment for certainly the sisters were good looking too. Not just good looking but had bodies that a man could dream of having next to his. Ah yes, never hurt to feast the eyes first.

Indeed, the women there were worth the pause. Keifer smiled, appreciating the scenery before he dipped his head, clearing wayward thoughts, and started forward again. While the day was made for waking, the night was definitely made ... for dreaming ... and here was proof of that!

Morgan was not immune to the charms of the lovely sisters and for a few moments, he too, enjoyed the feast for eyes and ears but finally, with a nudge to his brother, he started for the port along with Keifer. A wink was given to a young lass in passing, causing her to blush and her mother to glare. Morgan just chuckled and stepped up his pace until he was a goodly distance away.

When he noticed two of the lasses look their way, he put a hand over his heart along with a dashing smile. It was his way of appreciating them and their talents. As they started off towards the port, he opened the bottle of potcheen from which he then took a swig, once lowering it was swung over to Keifer to share who then could share it with Morgan. Burn was held in his mouth before the swallow. Once they were pass the glaring mother, who he boldly winked at and had her flush, he made the comment. "If a mother dun like men looking at her pretty daughter then she should know better than having her out at night."

Keifer had just lifted that bottle to his mouth when Faelan made that comment and it was a good thing he hadn't yet poured any of the liquid through his lips! He shot a look to the mother, who had heard and now was red with indignation to blend with her earlier blush. "Damn, Callihan." Keifer laughed, shaking his head, and then took a long pull from the bottle, sharing it around his arm then with Morgan.

The woman had a parasol and looked likely to use it but her daughter whispered to her, calming the woman enough that they could make their escape. Morgan accepted the bottle then grinned. "If we can face an angry mother, we can face anything." There would be a tale to tell ... a narrow escape from the parasol of death.


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