Poster: Michael Dewar
Post # 34
Gillean was relaxed by the fireplace, his legs extended, a comfortable
slouch of body conforming to the cushions as he waited for his sister to
return from shopping. The heat of the flames worked magic on the nerves,
placing the Lord of Swan Lakes in an almost mesmerized state of
Michael had finished packing, and gone outside to see to the carriage
and his horse. It was a clear, cold day, easing into evening and later
then they had wanted to leave. The roads were tended to, so travel
should be fairly easy until they reached the borders of Tyremoor. He
came in from the back, rubbing his hands together to warm them. His hand
was unwrapped finally, and he almost had full use of his fingers. He
paused when he saw Gill, deciding not to interrupt the noble's reverie.
Instead he headed for the bar and asked Alex for a glass of potcheen.
Gill's attention slid from the fire to the entering guard, following him
with his gaze until the man moved from his view. "All is ready
then, Captain?" As soon as Caiome joined them, they would arrange
for her things to be brought down and loaded. Then, they could finally
be on their way. Gillean Callihan wasn't a huge fan of winter, having to
travel two days in the cold wasn't his idea of fun times. But then, what
exactly was Gillean's idea of fun times?
"Aye, Lord Callihan, it is." Michael turned to face the
nobleman. "Everything is packed save for Lady Caiome's things. Even
the seamstress is ready at her place to be picked up." Lass would
probably have to ride with the driver, knowing Gill. "Is there
anything else you need?" Dewar had eaten earlier so he was ready to
leave at any time. Lucky him. He'd get to ride in the cold but it was
Regan had been finally able to leave Montrose and Kildare but not for
warmer climes. There was a shipload of ore to be brought back to
Heathfield, and there would surely be a cargo to be returned. Her crew
was seeing to the unloading while she headed for the Thistle. James had
asked her to pick up mail. The Captain was wearing a wide brimmed hat of
black with a scarlet feather, and a warm overcoat of scarlet velvet.
Quite extravagant but she liked it. Heeled boots announced her entry and
she closed the door behind her. It wasn't as cold as in Montrose, but
cold enough. "Evening, Alex." She paused when she spotted
Michael. "Captain Dewar." And there was her cousin. Her face
hardened just a touch. "Gillean." Oh, she remembered how he
had been when his uncle was in charge all too well. Even if she had been
Did Michael really just ask that? Gill shoved up, leaning forward to
brace his forearms on his thighs, staring once more into the flickering
heat. "Good, as soon as my sister descends, we will head out."
The door opening brought his gaze around. The flourish of color and
attitude caused him to frown but when he realized who it was he stood
slowly. "Captain Callihan." A nod for her as well.
The two hired lads earning their coin were down first with her things.
Loaded down to be certain as the natural regal glide of one Caiome
Callihan followed in their wake with just a carry all over her one
shoulder she would not entrust to anyone else. She caught sight of both
brother and the Captain then a smile of true delight came when she
caught sight of her cousin. They had all been so very good to her in a
time when she needed it most. She shoved past the two lumbering teens,
nearly knocking over one as she rushed in near tackling Regan.
"Regan dearest, it is soooooo.. good to see you." Crushing her
in a hug that came quick yet brief.
He stood straighter as Regan came in, giving her a grin. "Evening,
Captain. Good to see you again." And hid his smile at her reaction
to Gill by taking a drink. Ah, but there was Lady Caiome. He didn't lean
back just greeted her as he had Regan. "Evening, Lady Caiome."
Regan's expression changed when she saw Cai and she grinned at the hug,
returning it. "Caiome, you look lovely. Having Gillean home is
doing you a world of good, isn't it?" She cut a sly glance Gill's
way. "Are you enjoying the weather, both of you?" And she
hadn't lost her balance either! "I'm planning to come visit before
I leave for warmer climes again. I missed you so much."
Gillean watched Caiome's reaction to Regan's arrival until they released
their embrace and their cousin began speaking. Gill motioned for the
teens to continue on. "Go ahead, fasten those to the carriage, we
will be out directly." Knowing that his sister would answer Regan's
questions, he didn't bother to state his opinion on the weather. A look
to Michael and he nodded toward the bag that Caiome had slung over her
shoulder. Her most personal things, but there was no reason she couldn't
trust the captain to relieve her of that burden. "Swan Lake's
mistress will be making the most of this weather, Cousin. You will need
to let her know where to send your invitation."
The teens were there staring and all but gawking at the two pretty
Callihan ladies. It was good that Gil said something to bring them out
of their trance. They all but stumbled over each other to see to that
command. Sounded like a command to them. That had Caio laughing as she
teased her cousin, "now see how you are turning the lads' heads
already. I do hope you come visit," which she slanted a glance her
brother's way then to Dewar as it paused there with her next words.
"We are going to have a Party," not calling it a Ball for the
reactions that sometimes gained, spelling SCARE instead. "I am
expecting you, your sisters and brothers to come of course. Morale for
the lands and the continuing growth of Kildare. I'm sure the handsome
Captain," giving a slight nod Dewar's way, "will save a dance
for the Captain." Which she enjoyed playing on the titles.
"Aye, m'Lord." Dewar stepped forward, offering to take the
bag. Once he had it in hand, he hurried outside with it. Directly...
right. He teased the two boys then saw to paying them, even if Caiome
had. After they hurried out, he leaned against the carriage, and talked
to the driver while they waited.
Regan chuckled when she watched the lads, then nudged Caiome. "You
can't get out of that so easily. They were staring at both of us."
She glanced at Gill then groaned. "Do I have to get dressed
up." She knew she wouldn't get out of it if it was formal. Her
father and eldest brother would insist on her playing the lady. Dewar
hadn't answered about the dancing, and that had Regan laughing. "I
don't think he can dance." She wasn't sure of course!
"Well, there is that isn't there.." came in low tones with a
soft laugh as she was picturing Dewar with Regan. "I'm having a
special dress made for you." Certainly she knew that Regan would
not have a gown befitting such a Party. Certainly, it might be that
Regan didn't own a single gown! "Well, it was requested he learn
how to dance so that he doesn't step on any ladies' feet. I'm surprise
his mother didn't see to it long ago.." but she was getting off on
a tangent as she escorted her cousin with her to the bar. "Shall we
enjoy a drink before we're off back to Swan Lake?" Certainly this
late already one drink would be obliged being her cousin came in at this
moment. "Tell me all you've been up to? Maybe I can come on one of
your runs..." eyeing her brother with that last quickly stated idea
before away and back to Regan. She noticed Dewar escaped!
He had been ordered to go out!
He was escaping!
"A special gown?" Regan laughed, shaking her head. "Thank
you but I do have some gowns. Of course, they probably aren't up to
date." She'd have to wait to see what jewels she could wear with
them. "I'm not sure there's anyone to teach him in Kildare, unless
maybe Alannah does. And yes, a drink would be wonderful. You're heading
back already?" She looked at Gill then turned back to Cai with a
grin. "There's not enough time for everything. And I would love to
have you along. I'll be heading back out in the morning if you'd both
rather travel by sea." Now wouldn't that be fun? She accepted a
glass of wine and then leaned against the bar. No lady she. "I've
been spending most of my time in the Caribbean though." For several
Gill slowly walked over to join the ladies by the bar, listening to the
two of them chatter as if they were best friends forever. "We have
the carriage, Regan, but thank you. Perhaps next time. We've already
been in Heathfield these past two days, so yes, we will be heading
back... already. I would suggest that Caiome sail back with you, but
with her upcoming event, it is probably best she returns expediently
with ... me." There was no hiding the fact that Gillean Callihan
wasn't exactly thrilled about any possibility that his sister would be
spending more time with Regan. The woman was rash, and flamboyant and
had taken on too many qualities of those men at sea that she pal'ed
around with. Not the best choice of 'girlfriends' for Caiome, no matter
their kinship through blood.
"Perhaps you'd like to help me out with this.." slight plea in
her voice that was kept lowered between them. She was about to take up
the offer in the affirmative but her brother spoke up dashing the idea
of them traveling by ship. The disappointment was clear in her
expression, dashed in fact but she said nothing. Regan, Alannah, and
even Deirdre had become friends with her. They helped her to hold onto
her sanity with the truth of their father revealed then her brother
taken from her too. Her beloved brother. Luckily she didn't know his
real reasoning behind the passing up of Regan's offer.
Luckily Regan didn't know either. She made a face at Gill, almost
sticking her tongue out just like she had when younger. She reached out
and squeezed Cai's hand, giving her a slight nod. She'd talk to Alannah
too when she was back at Montrose. "I promise, with Gill's
permission," shortening his name on purpose of course! "I'll
take you with me before I leave again. We'll sail to Innis if you like,
and stay there a few days after your party. What all are you
planning?" Did they have time for the details?
Did they? Gillean would never pressure or deny Caiome outright. Only
make his suggestions and his wishes known and hopefully his sister would
see the wisdom in those. "You need not my permission, Cousin."
No name this time, just their relationship as he crossed the way to take
the weight of his wool coat from the pegs by the door. This he donned
and then started to wrap his woolen scarf, tug on his gloves. "Nor
does Caiome." He muttered under his breath, turning to lift a wave
to Alex. "When you are ready, Dearest, we will be awaiting you at
the carriage. Enjoy your time with Regan. We are but a two day ride from
She gave into his wishes almost equally to him giving into hers. But,
there was the time or two where she stuck to her wants in spite of his
hints. Those were rough times for it hurt her more to be on his bad
side. Bad side usually meaning his moods. He was a moody one but then so
was she. Then she'd set on to buttering him up again. Sometimes that was
fun for it was a challenge. One she always won so far. So far being a
key component being it could turn the other way but then, that was the
challenge. "Well, I will be once I have my coat on," seeing
him rush to get his on as if to be gone fast at this point. "It is
not a race?" Which came as a tease before hugging Regan again.
"Come see me when you're back in Kildare.. the very minute if not
sooner." They had much to talk about and she would see to the last
fitting of her gown. "I could use your help on the guest list. You
know the esteem families there better than I." By the last she was
over to retrieve her hooded woolen cloak to don. Expecting her brother
to lend a hand that would come automatically.
She did stick her tongue out at Gill's back while Caiome hugged her.
"I may be back before you. The roads might be snowy and slow your
travels. So, yes, I'll come to see you and help you with the list."
As Cai joined her brother, she leaned again and took a drink then added.
"Take care, both of you." Oh yes, she would definitely come to
visit. Maybe even stay a few days.
Gill didn't look to his cousin, just held the coat open for Caoime and
then wrapped it around her shoulders. "Safe journey, Captain."
Gill offered his farewell, but that was all for Regan, then he turned to
head out of the door, giving the newcomer a once over then a nod.
"Good evening. Do excuse us." He caught the door and tugged it
back open so they could depart.
One gloved hand lifted to bring up the hood as the cloak was wrapped
around her. A dipping glance slanted the young man's way sizing him up
in that quick moment. "Evening," politely before giving Regan
a wink as she passed, heading out with her brother. Dewar might well be
a popcicle outside by this time! Now that would have the quirk of a grin
for many reasons.
Dewar pushed off from his lean as soon as he saw the light from the door
opening. The lad who traveled with them hopped down from his seat on the
carriage and pulled open the door. And Dewar quickly mounted his horse.
So far the skies were staying clear and hopefully they would the rest of
the way home.
Regan was grinning to herself as she finished her drink. She was quite
pleased with the fact she seemed to have to have gotten under her
cousin's skin. Now for a late meal and then, she'd return to her ship.
Once Caiome settled onto her cushioned bench, Gill made sure she was
tucked in under the furs and then used his knuckles to rap a message to
the driver. They would be swinging by to pick up the seamstress and then
be on their way back to Swan Lake. With such a late start, they'd be
stopping midway, going for as long as his sister could travel
comfortably. Gillean settled back onto his bench, drawing a throw over
his legs as well. A steady rocking-sway moved them along, Gill's gaze
resting on his sister in the dim lights offered by the candled lanterns
hung within by the doors.
Cai settled in comfortably. The carriage was built for comfort as much
as a carriage could be. She might last until just over the borderline
that brought them to where the Owl's Nest Inne was. Oh, there were
stories about that place that involved the Queen of these very lands of
Heathfield. She had loved hearing that story and of the child lad
protected by his mother. She almost fell asleep as the carriage had that
effect but jolted up when they arrived to pick up the seamstress and all
her bolts of materials, bags and such they would need to load in. She'd
wait inside the warmth of the carriage, leaving the task to the men.
They had to stop already? He had nearly forgotten about the seamstress
and dismounted when he saw her. Working as quickly as they could,
everything was loaded onto the roof of the carriage and then the lass
was helped up to the driver's seat. The boy climbed onto the back of
carriage, facing Dewar and wrapped up in a wool blanket. "We're
ready to go, my Lord." Dewar called out to warn them that the
carriage would be jolting forward again.
She idly listened to the sounds of the seamstress' things being loaded
on. A thump here and a thud there as she looked out into the darkness.
Well, almost dark being the lands were covered in white, gave off its
own light. She was waiting for the door to open and close and in fact
was looking forward to the company of the other woman. When she heard
Dewar yell out that they were ready, that door flew open. "No we
are not, by damn Dewar," and her tone was harsh, "I'll not
have you putting a woman in the cold. Especially our very own
seamstress. When she measures you she'd be pinning you good." More
in pricks as she wanted to be there if that happened! "Melissa,
come into the warmth of my carriage. Georgie, help her down and
back," having the lad with Dewar do the honor being he had her
sitting up front in the cold!
Dewar jumped back, nearly getting his face smashed as the door flew
open. He could have protested that he was only following orders but
Caiome probably wouldn't believe him. "As you wish, my Lady."
He bowed slightly and looked at the seamstress giving a slight shrug.
Then he spoke again. "Now we're ready, Lord Callihan."
And then he mounted his horse. Sheesh!
When Caiome jumped up and dove for the door, Gillean shot forward,
meaning to catch his sister, but instead, only got a handful of that
fur. "She is not a ..." But it seemed the standards set for
servant, staff or noble mattered not to his sister when it was ... cold!
When the woman entered, she didn't look to Gill, just smiled her
gratitude to Caiome. Both ladies got comfortable and snuggled in across
from him and Gill drew in a deep breath, shifting his gaze from resting
on them to peer out of the window. They were ready? Really Dewar?
"Then set us in motion, Captain." He called out to the mounted
Poor Melissa was wide eyed to be sitting in the royal carriage.
Certainly she was of a well standing family but it was still a shock.
Especially since one of the most handsome and single males was sitting
right across from her. Lucky for her Cai kept her in conversation as she
talked about the various gowns she was to make and hashing out
particulars in design and jewelry to go with them. Just what Gill wanted
to hear for the next few hours. Even what he would be wearing would be
discussed and she noticed Melissa found it hard to look at him directly
after the wide eyed stunned look at first. He might really be saying
Sheesh! by the time they reached the Owl's Nest. By that time they would
be needing to use the privy and possible a light respite before they
continued through the night in getting to Swan Lakes. Or, stay the
It was all part of a game, wasn't it? He hid a grin as he nodded at the
driver, then rode forward again. Georgie had climbed back up into the
driver's seat. Hell, the seamstress knew how these nobles were. Well,
some nobles were. Huddled into the furs he wore, Dewar resembled a bear
but he was warm enough, even as the wind grew colder and brisk. Still no
snow. It was just damn cold.
Gill's head swayed ever so slightly with the motion of the carriage,
allowing the drone of conversation across from him to blur to the back
of his mind. Every once in a while, he caught a glimpse of the man on
horseback, bundled and huddled against the cold. He snorted softly and
turned his head, focusing out of the other window and the passing
scenery of ... snow covered landscape. Nothing but snow covered land and
snow covered trees illuminated by the moon overhead. When the discussion
included his name, he looked their way, but realized they spoke only of
his intended attire for the event. Melissa could barely sit in the same
carriage as him, how was she going to measure and fit him? He could only
hope her professionalism made more of an impression on him than her
current all-curled-up with Caiome first impression. Passing landscape
survey again. Dammit. The going was slower, pressing through the wet,
thick snow at times but eventually they were pulling up close to the
entrance of the Owl's Nest.
For the many hours it took, the conversation dwindled down after a while
and Cai nearly fell asleep curled up there in the corner. Having the
Lady next to her kept her from getting cold at all. In fact, with three
warm blooded bodies, it kept the carriage nice and warm. Poor Dewar, he
looked cold the few glimpses she got of him. Maybe he liked the cold for
certainly he had not return back inside at the Thistle but chose to wait
outside. "Oh look, there is the Owl's Nest," only light that
came from the darkness of the woods that even the moon had a hard time
to highlight with so many pines. It had a lot of shadows instead and
things that moved in the night. The snow was full of tracks from wild
beasts and humans alike.
If he did mind the cold, Dewar wouldn't have said so. He was, in spite
of his grumbling, first and foremost a soldier. And the cold helped him
to stay awake. That didn't mean he wasn't glad to reach the Owl's Nest.
But before he could see to his own comfort, he'd make sure the Lord and
Lady were settled in and warm. He rode ahead to have the stable boy
ready to tend to the horses and to alert the innkeeper they'd need four
rooms. The driver and Georgie would sleep in the stable most likely. He
didn't wait at the inn though. The forest held dangers and he wouldn't
risk anything happening, even this close to the buildings.
Once his sister and the seamstress were inside, he paid the innkeeper
and food was brought over to the table where they were seated. Caiome.
Gillean. And ... Melissa. Michael might as well join their little
gathering of travelers when he re-entered. Not that Gill would say
anything. He was ready to put something in his stomach, and then seek
out his bed. By himself. All ... alone. No more chatter. No more
unappreciated company. Quiet. And peace. Until the morn when it all
would begin again.
Beasts of the animal kind and beasts of the thieves kind, pirates,
hoodlums, the place attracted all kinds. Nobles were prayed upon if they
were not protected well enough. Some attempts failed, some were
successful. At least Cai didn't wear her expensive jewelry on such
excursions. There were many still up and one particular table had what
was probably a disbanded partial crew of some ship. They were eyeing the
two women up with that look in their eyes only another male would
understand or a woman with far more experience in that area than Cai nor
Melissa had. Cai was hungry and the two chatted ending up ordering the
seafood bisque. They were blissfully unawares of the others around them
which was not necessarily a good thing. More due to feeling so protected
they didn't need to.