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The Callihans

Date: 07-06-11
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 21

There was always that, parasol of death. He shared a good laugh as the bottle kept being passed. Fire in his blood by the time they reached the port. If the Commons was busy, and certainly it was, so was the port twice over but of a different kind. There were sailors bellowing in a chorus, drunk as a skunk and thought they could sing. Other inebriated maties, took to throwing tomatoes and eggs. A fight broke out. One that had Faelan ducking his head as a tomato whizzed by. Not the kind of fight he wanted to get into unless it was with a few pretty lasses. There were stories there on a different kind of food fight. He noticed a few new ships had ported. One from Spain, Italy, France and even England. Their flags flying high and the combination could get volatile. He spotted the harbor masters out with a crew ready for anything and everything. "Looks like a good night to be here." He gestured to a downtrodden bar with a few older sailors watching the fight from the door. The Rusty Anchor in bold letters sported a crooked sign above the entry. "Ale is drinkable but the food is not edible." They might notice a few out back bent over as such was rejected by their bellies. "Unless you have an iron clad one." The two older ones eye them over but stepped aside as they approached. Seems they were approved of.

A dip of head, a side step, it all made up a trip to the docks. "Evenin'." Keifer offered to the two by the door, then stepped past into the establishment and he took a look around. Busy enough and well worth the coin that would be spent, for no doubt, a few would be passing from captain to serving lass before the night was through. He smiled to one of the maids as he continued in toward the bar.

There was never quite a night like that on the docks, no matter what land one was in. Morgan chuckled as a few things went flying by. He nodded in agreement with Faelan both about being there and about the food at the tavern. He nodded at the two as they passed. "Eve. Good show tonight." And then he was following Keifer's wake to the bar. The few torches that sputtered on the walls gave little enough light and most of the candles on the tables were either burnt down or had been put out. "Looks like your kind of place, brother mine."

That was so one could not see what littered the floor. The stench gave it away nonetheless. Stale tobacco, cheap ale and libations of the few they had. Most could really only afford the ale. There were a few card games going on, easier to cheat in such low lighting. Curses followed a swing here and there but no fight broke out. Yet. A young sailor, old enough to drink, caught sight of the near empty bottle Faelan had back in his possession. "I'll give you a silver for what's left in that." Stopping in this tracks as the one approached with the comment. Faelan grinned offering it out to him. "Here, taste something far finer and tell ye maties on it." One from the Spanish ship deduced from his heavy accent. The bottle barely passed hands when a waitress slid by his side, "what will it be handsome," from Faelan to his brother and Keifer as she was taking in their good looks.

Keifer watched the transaction between Faelan and the sailor, then looked to the tender holding up three fingers. But, it seemed they were to be served from the waitress, so he just waved a nevermind to the tender instead. The question, for Faelan, the look, for all three and Keifer cut a smiling gaze out to seek out a table.

"Ale, lass, and if you make it the best you got, there's another silver in there for you." He gave her a disarming grin. "And keep them coming." He noticed an empty table and started for it, weaving between the tables until reaching it. The languages being spoken were a true mix but so far, the patrons were being civil enough.

"Aye, the same here," he had not accepted the coin from the sailor who rejoined his buddies and a few looks their way of approval before back to their conversation and drinks. This one was a pretty little thing too as she gave them the look to follow her, sliding between Faelan and Morgan before giving Keifer a hip bump. "Best table in this place, which means the legs on the chairs wont be giving out on you." She quickly took away the platter, leaving them to get situated while she saw to the drinks ordered. They were going to get a shot of their finest whiskey, which was good but didn't compare to potcheen, along with their other drinks. She was aiming for that nice tip. Faelan naturally gave the chair a tip forward before back and taking a seat. His back to the wall and a good view of the room as he waited. He was taking the moment to check out the place and who it contained.

Keifer almost...almost...swatted that backside after the bump, but managed to keep from that action, although as she moved from them, it was there his gaze lingered for just a moment. "Aye, but mine just might, lass." He spoke low, the words probably lost in the din of the tavern. He reluctantly pulled his eyes from that tempting view and took hold of a chair, spinning it around so that he could straddle it, and rested his arms across the back.

Well, he made a u-turn and followed that lassie, his brother and Keifer and settled on a third chair, legs stretched out under the table. A glance was given to the Spanish sailors, considering if that would be the best place to start. He wouldn't say anything though until the three mugs of ale were delivered, coin given over and the lass off to her other duties.

Perhaps his words were not lost for the sultry look with a sidelong glance back, dipping then away as she saw to her duties. She was better than this place and her accent hinted she was not from around these parts; probably new and would not be here that long. In contrary to the environmental qualities of this establishment, the owner was a descent bloke and treated those working for him well. She was back with the tankards, three shots to accompany them and set before another table was calling for her, one she had just seen to and wanted more. The card players. She gave a roll of her eyes and was off. She was given an extra silver before he watched her move off. Speaking up again as focus returned to brother and friend. "I sometimes wonder what that smell is.. greasy kind." One that came from the kitchen area. Settling back as he started on his tankard.

Sometimes it was better not to know what certain smells were from. Ignorance, for several things, was continued bliss. He lifted his tankard in thanks to her, also providing an extra coin for her efforts and turned his attention back to the brothers. "To endeavors well intended...and well ended."

"I'd keep it at that, Fael." Had Keifer voiced that thought, he would have simply agreed. The lass would do well tonight, extra coin and no one to make her share them unless she had family to support. "I'll drink to that, Keifer, gladly."

"Aye and to new adventures that see us safely home when alls done and a guid story to tell." Taking up the shot of whiskey to kick back with the toast. A couple of the men were trying to manhandle the lass but she managed to slip away from the gropes and pinches. Yes, he was noticing and keeping an eye in case he decided to teach the two a lesson. Ruin their card game. That had a twitch of his lips with the thought.

He nodded off agreement to Faelan and brought his tankard to his lips, following the youngest Callihan's gaze to watch the lass avert any ill placed touches. She was good! This couldn't be the first time she had to deal with the likes of soused sailors and groping gamers. "She's got it handled, Faelan..." His words lingered, watching her maneuver through the crowded bar. Okay, so he was enjoying that watching as well.

This was their first stop. They'd have had least two or three chances to fight tonight but it was a pleasure to see how the lass handled herself. "Isn't that ol' Hawkins sitting there with those sailors?" He was watching the old sea dog do a bit of cheating with a card up his sleeve. Slick the man was, and those at the table none the wiser. "Thought he was lost at sea last winter."

"It certainly is, he's cheated not only cards but death." One of the men was up to take a piss and staggered by the three, ramming into Morgan as he passed. It was done in a way that would have that instinct it was on purpose than a true staggering. Perhaps they noticed the looks their way and it was a warning. The gamer continued onward to the back door and stood right there to take his leak than actually bothering to go outside. There was a rattling of garbage bins as a few alley cats jumped startled, a few crying out in that cat screeching yowl. A dog barked and took chase. Brows went up as the one rammed into his brother and started up but the man continued. Although, he didn't sit back down right away. They might notice his hands clench into a fist then eased.

Keifer would rather not fight, he was more settled to a night of drinking and enjoying. They fought for their lives enough when on the open waters. The man's shuffling bump brought the Douglas blue gaze up to rest on the continued course of his direction, then drifted over to his comrades. The captain just shook his head. Ah, but life was too short to spend seeking out ways to make it shorter. Faelan was up, fists clenched and Keifer stretched his arm over that chair back to tap fingers to the table. "No harm done, Captain. Enjoy your ale, aye?"

A bit of ale spilled when his arm was jostled but Morgan brushed it off. He didn't bother watching the man, ignoring him as unimportant but Faelan's reaction had him watching his brother. "Aye, Faelan. Just relax. He's testing the waters and you be giving him ammunition. We faced things more dangerous than a drunken sot looking for a fight. Not worth it." Not yet anyway.

"Aye," he would agree and was about to sit down when from the corner of his eyes he caught the other having backed the serving lass up against the wall, hand over her mouth while trying to push her into the alcove just to the right. One could tell the other five were getting ready, watching the three and the other was still at the door on the other side, easily come up from behind. They were being setup. Faelan knew it in that next instance. He was the hot headed one but he could move faster than most realized. Almost sitting down one moment and the next he had leaped right over the table, threw a chair out of the way, vaulted over another on his way to the table the ones were sitting at in a blink of an eye. He had that man pulled off the lass so fast he probably didn't know what flung him nor the fist that would help fling him back. Three of the men were up and going for Faelan, their buddy on the floor, the other three were also getting up and turning, waiting for the two to come to the rescue of their comrade. What they didn't expect was the group of Spaniards up and heading for the men, five of them, three intervened on the ones going after Faelan, one was the one he gave the bottle to earlier without the cost he was willing to pay.

The aggressors obviously didn't know who the men they had targeted were! "So much for finishing my ale." Keifer growled, swinging a leg around and clearing his chair, then using the pewter tankard in his hand to whirl around and cold-cock the one 'buddy' who had come too near the table. Keifer had heard of the Callihan's temper, and with such a temper, surely three would be no problem for Faelan. Keifer stepped over the downed man as if he were no more than a fallen log in the woods, and reached over to place his tankard on the table. He crossed to the girl, gripping her by the arm and weaving a path through the mayhem of swinging fists and tossed furniture. "Give this to your boss, lass." He handed over a pouch of coins to cover the damage, gave her a little nudge to get her moving and out of harms' way and then turned, surveying where he'd throw himself in.

Ah hells... Morg took a moment to down the rest of his ale, then headed for the two who were waiting. One down. "You sure you be wantin' to fight?" One was a younger lad, a little too sure of himself and he charged Morgan who just stepped aside, and used the his foot to trip the lad and send him crashing into the wall. The other swung and was blocked. "My turn," the elder of the brothers grinned and a moment later that one was flying into another table. "Need to learn not to fight when your drunk and your opponents aren't." The place would be hopping soon enough with some of the others using the opportunity to take care of grudges. He was over to join Keifer and to check on his brother.

The Boss interceded giving the pouch back to Keifer. "I know them, I know their wives, they will pay the damages or be pulled around by their ears for the rest of their lives." There was morbid amusement there but Randy would not be having these men paying for the cockheads. Only one of the three managed to Faelan as he attempted a swing and got a right hook in return into his nose. Blood spurted as the Spaniard tackled him down. The one that had been at the door, exited. He might get off having not directly participated. The rest scrambled, swinging their way out as fast as they could. The one Faelan put down dragged away as well the others leaving with a few black eyes. After all said and done as Faelan righted a chair, the Spaniard turned to the three, "if we may join you, si?" He was probably a couple years older than them and two of his men were older, seasoned, warrior sailors. Buccaneers possibly by their look and demeanor.

Keifer hadn't needed to join in, just reclaimed his money with a nod to the tender, then side stepped when needed to avoid a bungling brawler, and push him back into the fight. When all was done, chairs were righted, tables set in place, drinks flowing, cards collected and dealt, there was no telling that anything had been amiss just moments before. Two tables were pushed together, allowing the men to come together there. With a motion to the lass, she came over to make sure everyone had a drink at the table.


Date: 07-09-11
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 22

The day that greeted them was exceptional, even for Barbados.  Sunny and warm, without a cloud in the sky.  Regan stood on the wheel deck, watching as the ship was expertly guided into a berth, eyes of bright blue studied each ship already ported.   The Dream wasn't there as of yet, but would be within a day or two as agreed.   It was hard to believe the time had passed but the voyage had been fruitful and Regan was pleased that the Benevolence had suffered no damage, even from the storms they had waited out.   She watched as Barnes set the crew to work, then saw to the unloading of the cargo.  It would be stored until it could be put aboard the Dream.  Including the horses.  "Make sure that area is clean, Ned, Johnny.  We want everything in order for Captain DeHaven's return."   They had been keeping it clean but an extra scrubbing would be done today.

The Dream would be docked in a day, this very day, because no sooner had the Benevolence fully settled into its berth, then the Dream drifted with expertise into a slip three ships down.  The captain of that ship did not make his presence known, but had trusted the crew to manage the undertaking lest any see that the Dream held not the lovely lady of the sea, but the ole sea dog, DeHaven, instead.   Determined and skillful, the crew set the ship to rights preparing for the return of the Lady to her rightful master.  "We've settled her in, Captain, if you're ready to depart, The Dream is ready to be shed of you."  DeHaven looked up from his last entry in Regan's log over to the man who waited at the door.  "Aye, I suppose she is, though I'm not so wont to be departing her.  She has a nice ..."  Slowly his gaze drifted through the cabin where Regan called home when on the open waters.  "feel to her."  A slow nod and then he set the quill aside, closing off the inkwell and sprinkling the fine sand between the pages and closing it, wrapping the leather string to keep it so.  He stood, crossed to take up the bag he already had packed and joined the man at the door.  "Let's be about it then, before she draws me back into her embrace as only the finest of ladies can."  The man with him laughed, nodding his head with agreement while they made good their departure. 

As Regan started down to the cabin, she was stopped by one of the crew who pointed out the Dream.  A smile appeared as she studied her ship then nodded.  She had a report to give before returning to her own ship and needed to finish packing the gear she had brought aboard.  "When your Captain returns, send me word.   Ned, Jerome and the three men they had rescued would be disembarking earlier."  She wondered at how she felt at the moment -- a mix of emotions, glad to be aboard her own Lady, sad at leaving a crew she had come to consider as good as her own and friends among them, anticipation at seeing Marcus again.   She went inside the cabin, checked the chest and closed it.   Then she went over to the desk and  checked the log and the notes she had written. All was in order.  A crewman came for the chest which would follow the cargo to keep suspicions down and that would be the last trace of her except for the scent that would linger.  She poured herself a glass of brandy and looked out the window that made the rear wall of the cabin, letting her thoughts calm.

Several men departed the docked Dream, making it difficult to pinpoint one particular face from another, each with the soft leather of their hoods drawn, each with their large bags tossed over a shoulder.  Only one looked toward the Benevolence though as he stepped from plank to dock with a slight dip of head to welcome Her home, along with the Lady that had governed Her journey.  "Let me know the moment you have word from the Benevolence."  He spoke to the man closest to him then they all parted ways, each to their own haunt of choice. 

It was when Ned knocked on the door that word was finally sent. The cargo had been unloaded, the ship was cleaned and all that could be smelled in the cargo hold was pine.   She stepped out of the cabin and motioned to Barnes who stepped closer.  "All is made ready, Capt'n," he said with a grin then smiled slightly.  "Been a pleasure serving ya, ma'am.  Don't be a strange, aye?"  Regan laughed and hugged the man, then watched as Ned and Johnny headed down the gangplank.  "Have some of the crew look around, make sure we're not being watched too closely already."  Some would take note of course, but she had hidden the blonde hair that made her stand out.  "Especially that dog, Slevis."   She moved to the seaward side of the ship and looked out over the water, smiling again. Perfect day to return but rain might have made it a touch easier.

Marcus had just placed a hand on the handle of the tavern but turned to look back at the Benevolence.  His inward movement stopped and he squinted to see the two who had come down and mingled with the crowd.  His gaze shot back up to the deck but no one else started down.  He nodded as a decision was made and redirected his steps toward his Lady instead.  

The lads were headed toward the agreed upon meeting place, but it would turn out that the Captain had been on board for some time.  Barnes had just taken a lean against the rail of the ship, studying the dockworkers, vendors and others milling around.  He took note of one familiar figure though it took until the man was closer for him to be certain.  Straightening from the lean, he waited at the top of the gangplank and though his gaze was mostly on that single cloaked male, he still watched to make sure the interest given to the ship was not more than it should be. Truth was, Barnes wouldn't have minded dealing with Slevis himself but there were more important manners at hand.

When he neared, Marcus looked up, and lifted a hand in greeting to Barnes.  "Well you old Dog?" He called up to the man standing there.  "Do I get welcomed aboard or do I have to stand down here lusting after such a lovely lady as the Benevolence?"  At this point, none would know that Marcus had been aboard the Dream, only that he wished to come aboard the Benevolence.  Any who recognized the man and knew his sense of humor would think nothing of the demand.  Any who didn't, he didn't give a rat's coarse-haired arse about. 

Barnes laughed and rubbed his chin as if thinking.  "Well, I'm trying to decide if we want a grumpy ol' man lusting after our lady." He laughed and actually saluted the man.  "Welcome aboard, Captain.  The Lady is waiting and willing to have you back."  He grinned as he added, "hale and hearty it seems."   Aye, they knew there was business that Marcus needed to tend to, and it had been good not to be inactive during that time, but they'd be glad to have their Captain on board. 

Not until he had the word did he place a boot on that plank, but soon enough he was boarding, and slapping a hand to Barnes' shoulder.  "Guess the scenery was better with the ..."  But his words stopped immediately when he noticed Regan.  "Well, hello there, Captain."  Marcus called out, swinging his bag around to brace it against the side of the ship.  "I do believe you've spoiled these men to such a degree I'll never get an ounce of work out of them again."

"Well, all it takes is a smile, a nice walk and a set of ... orders, and they'll do anything."  She laughed as she crossed to the two men, offering her hand.  "Welcome back to your Lady, Captain.  Returned safe and sound and with nary a scratch upon her.  Except where Ned missed his target and hit the wall instead with his knife."  Her eyes took him in, finally meeting his.  "I trust your trip went well?"   She was almost laughing to herself at the way her heart did a little jump when he noticed her so her eyes were brighter than usual.  Then again, maybe it was just
seeing him that did that. 

He took the offer of her hand, providing the necessary shake for appearances sake.  "Shame I can only provide the last.  At least now I know where I've been lacking." He glanced over to Barnes then back to Regan.  "I never doubted for a moment that you'd keep her safe from harm.  Once you're settled, Captain, we'll speak of your journey."  A dark brow arched as she passed her gaze over him and when she met his eyes at the end of it, a smile flashed moreso in the depths of that look than on his lips. "God only knows that I've thought quite often about what we discussed prior to your departure."  The very faintest of nods to her before he drew in a deep breath.  "So, damn, Captain, get yourself settled soon enough."  A wink followed, barely there, but for a woman as sharp as Regan it wouldn't be missed. 

"It won't take me long to settle at all, and then aye, we have much to discuss."  There was a brief, heated look, gone quickly following that wink.  She grinned as she continued,  Once thing .  I have to say, Captain DeHaven, that your crew is one of the finest I've had the pleasure to serve with.  Now, my cabin boy and yours have gone to pass on a message, so send the lad to the Dream when he returns?"  She adjusted her own cloak, her smile fading slightly.  "The logs are on your desk if you feel like looking them over.  I'll return soon "  The last said as a promise before the blue-eyed Captain was gone, like fog as the sun melted it away.


Date: 07-10-11
Poster: Unholy Trinity
Post # 23


The port of Safia, Morocco had been a refuge for ships for centuries. Currently under the protection of the Portuguese, it proved to be a haven for certain men, especially if those men tended to attack the ships of their enemies. A jewel on the Atlantic Ocean, it offered many diversions from life. One such place was a tavern whose name loosely translated as "The Dancing Whore" or Maiden, depending on who was doing the translating. There was little that was not offered by the man who owned the establishment, who only used his last name, Alvares. Portly, seemingly good-natured, those that knew him well knew he'd slice your throat if you crossed him with no hesitation. It was at that fine establishment where Jonathan Stirling sat, enjoying a glass of absinthe while he listened to the music of the land and watched a balady dancer whirl and twirl her way around the room. Outside it was hot, steaming and most of the occupants of the port had retreated to the indoors to wait for the cooler hours of the evening. Jonathan was bored and that in itself could be a dangerous thing.

Business brought Duncan to Morocco, in particular its port of Safia. It was not so much he knew Johnny boy was here but certain others that were in cahoots with black market goods. Goods included humans as well. Something that tightened his groin with the anticipation of new blood to torture. New blood to bend to his will, to do things they would never do otherwise that a bit (an understatement) of pain didn't persuade. He had a few men with him, as much as he trusted anyone, as he always kept an eye open and in the back of his head for that matter. The dealing was done, goods on their way to his island. He had Jinkings or Jinx, Limey and Ramsey or Ram with him. His bodyguards now that his business was growing, his wealth along with it. They were as trusted as much as one paid them for their loyalty. He slid the back of his hand across his brow as the humidity would have one stand there and sweat. He didn't say anything to the three only giving a slight lift of his chin to the place called a dancing woman. Jinx snickered before they changed course for the questionable establishment.

Westmoreland was already within, but only just arrived. He stood to the side of the door, hat beneath his arm, smearing a salt-sticky palm along the side of his sweat-damped temple. At times, these establishments proved to be hotter on the inside then the outdoors had been. Stuffed with sweating men, reeking of sour ale or spilled ... whatever ... the difference between outside and inside soon didn't matter. Except, inside, there was the chance for spirits, both of liquid and feminine form. And look, was that not Dear Little Johnny? Awwww. Eric snorted softly and jerked his hat from beneath his arm to wave away a serving maid that had approached him. Let her come to him at the table when he was settled. Poor timing alone could find his blade deep in the offender's gut. He approached Jon's table, hooking his hat to the back of an unused chair and pulled out one for himself. Not asking if he could join, because, well ... he could. A beady, alert gaze followed Stirling's to the girl dancing, and Eric chuckled to himself, lowering to his seat.

Now, he wasn't so far gone as to not know who was joining him at the table. He watched the woman a moment more then looked toward the man sitting there. A squint followed, then one eye closed and he shook his head. "No matter what I drink or how drunk I am, you're still ugly." They had separated for reasons of their own and because the Spanish were getting too close but truth was, he was not all that unhappy to see Eric. Where one was, there was sure to be trouble. Where two were, even more and when the Three were together, the fires of hell were soon to erupt.

Talk about timing. Duncan arrived with his three in time to see Eric all comfy with Jon-boy. His men knew not to stay with him but found their own amusement elsewhere in the room. Didn't even seem like they were together for they had come in first and Duncan a few minutes later. He was quick to catch sight of the one he expected and the one he had not as he approached. "How cozy, two peas in a pod." Certainly that brought a smirk just saying it as he pulled up a chair and invited himself much like Eric had before him. He had heard the comment on Eric's good looks, "I have to agree with him there. He's got a point." Eric was not the best looking of men unless you went for the one that got his face caught in a field plough.

Eric grinned, pulling his gaze from the woman as he settled. "Now is that any way to get me to fuck you, Boy? 'Cause, sure as the day is too damn hot, you've fucked uglier than'd have to." Slowly he pulled his attention from the youth up to the arriving elderly. "Sit down and join us, Duncan." He didn't comment further on the insults. What cared he for pretty-boy looks, they lasted only as long as the maggots of death squirmed and wreathed through your rotting flesh and left you ... look-less. Aye, good looks were for, well ... the Jon's of the world. Not long ...for this world.

"Ah, my day is complete." He gave Duncan a lazy look as the man arrived, the smile far too amiable to truly be so. "The one thing in your favor, both of you, is you've outlasted the others. Too ornery even for ol' Scratch himself." The glass was set aside as he straightened from his slouch. "Dare I hope that the fact the two of you have re-emerged from Hell means we're about to terrorize the shipping lanes once more? Or have we gathered to trade insults and talk about the old days ... you know, back when the two of you didn't have to run to catch a lass?" The insults were part of the game. Just to see how far he could push.

"Doesn't take much to complete you, Jon-ie boy." He had his eating dagger out and was picking his teeth with the tip until lowered to work on his nails. One of those 'aside' things he did. "About to, where have you been Jon-ie?" Certainly word got around, great rumors. Some hit on truths some made it sound even better. "Of course," rolling his head with a look Eric's way, "I can only speak for myself," then back to Jon-boy. "All's quiet on your front then?"

"Hell." Eric growled low in his throat. "Run to catch a lass? Not this old man." And not because he didn't have to, because ... he probably couldn't! But he didn't care about all that right now. With the right amount of coin, there was no running required, except the running up of his tab, which he would gladly pay if the entertainment provided matched the sum demanded. "I feck'n hate quiet." He added. Because he was Westmoreland. Slowly his gaze drifted back to the dancer while Doom and Scourge spoke of trivial. It wasn't that ole Scratch thought them too ornery, more like, he was wary of them himself!

He snorted out a laugh at Eric's answer then looked at Duncan and nodded. "Too bloody quiet. Seen more warships about then I care to though the rumors be that the war is heatin' up and they're thinkin' protection for their ships." Not that he cared who fought who but it made it harder to swoop in and take on a fat merchant ship if it was being guarded. He smirked as he added, "And there's the usual talk. Three ships sunk. Or maybe just one. A knife in the back or a steel ball to the gut." He had to agree about hating quiet. He did as well. The serving lass finally came to their table and he eyed her a moment. Saucy wench. "First rounds on me. I'm feeling generous tonight."

"I think he is going by his experiences when a long-legged youth running after the girls," not even women. "You see boy-o, there was never any running, they came to us. You need to learn the ropes." He wiped off the tip of his blade against the edge of the table before spearing the only descent looking apple set in the bowl at the table's center. He turned it around inspecting it as he continued. The dancing lass was just beyond the sight of the apple, "warships are out for good reason," slight twitch at the corner of his lip before he bit into flesh with the appropriate crunching sound and level with part of the dancer's anatomy. "Have you heard a name pass your ears by the name of Letcher?" Asking as if any normal question to ask.

The approaching lass stepped into his view and Eric followed her progress to their table. "He'll cover every round, whether willingly or keep them coming, eh?" Don't think he wasn't listening to everything being discussed. He had passed several warships himself, as well as merchant ships too heavy to be just goods. No one was taking any chances, although, to Eric's way of thinking, taking chances was exactly what had made his life ... enjoyable. Everyone had stocked for a battle. Westmoreland may seem distracted by this lass or that, a wayward look toward the window, seemingly disinterested. Maybe he was...probably he wasn't.

He opened his mouth to answer but closed it again. He didn't mind paying for drinks if it meant they'd be doing something that involved mayhem, blood and killing, lots and lots of killing. The name didn't ring a bell and he shook his head. "No, never heard it. Something important about it?" He reached for the absinthe and handed it to the girl. This was no time to deal it. Whiskey would be good enough. He glanced at Eric and smirked slightly then looked back. Man looked more bored then he was.

"If you come across him, let's just say he's trying to take over the blackie." meaning the black market and called that with ears around, "he refers to himself as the King, or is trying to sway numerous ones in various professions that he is. Tall, black, looks like an Ox. Likes his women white, preferable blond but will go for a redhead." It was a good heads up and certainly Duncan knew many more particulars on this man but there was a lot unknown about him too. No one really knew for sure where he came from but he had the backing that shot him up fast as a underworld lord. So they had the threat of nations and now a growing internal threat.

"Large white scar along his jaw line too." Westmoreland added, pulling his attention from the window back to the table. And just in time, for their drinks had arrived. "These you delivered, Lass, now go see about the next round." He leaned forward, taking up one of the tankards, and looked up to her when she lingered. "Get you going, I said." There were ears aplenty that could be listening without adding her two to the lot. Unless, of course, she wished to donate her two ears, which no doubt Doom would be glad to see to for her.

He leaned back in his chair, eyes narrowing in thought. "I'll put a few feelers out, see if I can find a location for ... " He let his words fade away as Westmoreland dealt with the lass then nodded, more to himself, though at mention of the scar he barely bit back a grin. "Made by a lass or during a fight?" Eric's own scar had fade slightly but it was still there from his own ... battle.

"Aye, tattoos too not that you can see many of them for the darkness of his skin, seems to absorb colors, until close." Which one didn't want to get that close that they actually saw the man's markings. "It is said that he subscribes to voodoo with blood sacrifices. Too bad he wants to be King or thinks he is." Duncan could get along with such a one if he wasn't in competition. "You put out those feelers," slapping a silver coin on the table as he leaned up. "and this coin says that only one out of five might return." So he better put out a few expendable ones. Letcher seemed to be able to sniff them out. Still there were rumors to leak through so he wasn't invincible, just very dangerous. All spoken after the woman had left for he lost interest in her for the moment. Something more important to consider but later that would not be the case. He took up one of the tankards and near guzzled it down to quench his thirst before bellowing out to the lass, "round two..."

Eric just shrugged when Jon attempted to provide a reason for the scar. What did Westmoreland care why...he was just offering over another mark of difference to know the man by. He drank from his tankard slowly, sweating out as much as he put in with the god awful heat of this place. He f'ecking despised sticky, and that's exactly how he felt ... sticky. "The sooner that black bastard is out of our breathing space, the better, Stirling." As if the boy didn't already know that. Maybe he didn't! Probably not. That pup would probably still be sitting here, panting out his fantasies with the help of that green fairy...and they still wouldn't know a damned thing about Letcher.

The heat had to be affecting Eric for him not to catch the mention of his own scar. Still this business was more important than taunting the old man. "I don't send ones out that are worth spit. If they're lost, they're lost and less gold I have to spend on them." The girl moved a bit faster this time, leaving their drinks and disappearing. He picked up one of the tankards and took a drink. It would be dark soon and the windows would be opened to let in a breeze. "Anything else to be dealt with?" He was usually the one who did the checking with the use of his own gold but he didn't mind. Anything was better then sitting and doing nothing in this damnable heat.

She didn't disappear quite that fast, there long enough to take the slip of paper with a short to the point message on it. She took it, didn't read it nor look back when she took her leave. Smart lass. "This man will not be easily disposed of as most are. We're going to need to beat him at his own game, trap him in his moves. He's got more working for him spread over many nations than I've on my island." Which had thoughts flicker to the fact he was stashing goods on Heathfield lands without them knowing under the command of the Boss, or so the title the man chose to go under.

Oh, he had heard the mention of scars, and how they could be obtained, and made the connection, and at the moment, wasn't going to comment on it. Wait...then again, yes he was. "Aye, saw that Callihan wench in Tangier too." Instinctively his hand tightened around his tankard, as if that could have been the woman who got away. "Just so we know that she wasn't using her ship, didn't see it at the those Heathfield pricks are sneaking around under our noses..." Letcher. Callihan. Stirling. Westmoreland's list of rivals never ceased to grow. Eric had wind of Duncan's Heathfield exploits, anything Heathfield tainted he kept abreast of. Not that he gave a rat's bald ass as to what business Duncan had going there...only that he was there.


Date: 07-10-11
Poster: Unholy Trinity
Post # 24

"I don't expect him to be easy. Anyone that can challenge the two of you ... us," including himself even if he were the junior, "would have to be a challenge." He gave a slight shrug. "Once he's found, we go from there." Yes, he fully expected Letcher would be found. His drink was paused as he stopped short and looked at Eric. "You saw her? " Stunned, because the lass had apparently slipped through his fingers again. He just took a drink of the ale, knowing anything he said could have him on a deserted island again, or skinned alive.

"Callihan wench," slow smile as he took another bite of his apple. That was followed by a long draw of the ale before the tankard was set back to the table. "Sniffing her out would be entertaining. We sunk their ship so she's with another. Her brothers not around?" Which made it even more interesting. He didn't like how that affair went down but here they were back in the ring again and more powerful than ever. Well, he was. "Perhaps I can get a bit more information as I've a few on those shores incognito." Wasn't just his little band of bandits who would die before letting his name fall from the tip of their tongues when threatened with death. They only thought they worked for one called the Boss. Little did Duncan know that one or two knew the real score and by other means. Stirling would probably be skinned alive then left on deserted island this time.

While Doom flaunted his ... come back. Others just lived in the luxury of theirs, with little fanfare or need to press beyond those comforts needed. "Not a one of the brothers." He answered Doom first, then looked to Jon. "Not only saw her, Boy...but was close enough to smell her. Had I realized soon enough, I wouldn't be having this little chat, I'd be enjoying her in my cabin. And the woman has her own ship." Who of the three had been keeping up with Regan Callihan? Seemed Westmoreland had a very profound interest in the bitch who practically took his ear. "Just...wasn't making use of it in Tangier." He tilted his tankard toward Duncan then. "You do that, Graham. Find out what you can...Letcher, he's a threat to our livelihood but that Callihan bitch?" To that he just grunted out a huff. That Callihan wench was a threat to his manhood and damn if that wasn't just a tad more worthy of Eric's attention any hour of the long day.

Again he was stunned. Stunned! He lowered his tankard and stared at Eric for a long moment. "How did she manage to do that? And without her ship." He rubbed at his chin, his expression thoughtful. "Last I heard they were all running the coast along Heathfield and those other lands. Caribbean maybe. " And that was where his connections still were, along with those he had made while he played innkeeper in Spain. "Well... " He looked at Duncan and shrugged. "Might want to make sure they're not trying to close the noose on us. We've played ghosts long enough that it may be makin' them nervous." He tapped the silver that Duncan had left there. "Those three took the treasure we were lookin' for. Set you back in your plans, me in mine, and obviously Eric in his. Wouldn't mind doing the same to them." Not just the wench but all three, and a few others in those lands. "Still have another grudge to deal with too." Those scars on his back were a constant reminder of that one.

He had not been keeping up with them as much as the Frasiers. It was their ships that had sunk his and Eric's for that matter. Callihan dish was a sidetrack and one could bet if he got his hands on her, he'd not share her with Eric. No. He'd have a good ole time at her expense. That thought alone enticed him. "Better we stay recluses, legends win battles before they start. Letcher is out in the public's eye but he wants to get into politics, play his war games there." Duncan didn't care for politics as he spit on the floor off to the side to show how he felt about the present governments. They didn't live by their rules anyway. In fact they probably broke every single one, one way or another. "Much can be learned in Barbados, some of those fielders gravitate there, makes them feel like real sailors.." which had a gruff laugh to follow. "We can always steal their ships, they owe us that." It was a thought or at least some way of getting even. Hell, he wanted more than getting even as he was sure they did too.

Good thing Eric couldn't read minds! Damn good thing. "Ships?" Eric's empty tankard clunked down hard on the wooden table top. "They owe us blood and flesh and gold and ships...and that damn lass...that bloody lot owes us all that and if I wasn't so godblasted sweaty ass hot, I'd think of a shitload more that they owe us. A legend can't screw, Graham. Fuckin' winning battles, I want to just be ... fuckin'." That Callihan. Period. End of discussion. Point...made. Where did that serving lass go! He stood from his chair, the backs of his legs pressing the seat with a scrape of wood against wood. "Where's the next round?" He shouted out into the crowd since he couldn't find the hussy.

Well now, all it took was the heat and Eric spewed all kinds of interesting things. That lass could well become a bargaining chip. He didn't say a word, didn't need to. Just finished what was in his tankard and watched the girl practically run to the table with their drinks, never mind the other customers grumbling their anger. He checked his weapons and grinned openly. "I'll send one of my men back there then. One not known. Find out what I can." He leaned forward, watching Eric again. "Just one lass, or any, old man?" There were plenty about willing for a coin.

Which had Duncan burst out laughing. Gravely type one. Not often heard but heard after Eric's outburst. He was amused. Highly amused. Jon had the same idea as him. First he'd use her then taunt Eric with the remains. "I've the one main ship," meaning pirate, "and I've three merchant ships." Carrying all kinds of contraband, stolen and black market goods. He had more to fight with. "And I've a tropical island," where he was King but that title only amused him for it was what Letcher was trying to achieve. Basically what he was saying was he had men, arms and ships behind him this time around.

Seeing the movement of their tankards being brought over, lowered the man back to his chair, scooting it forward so he could reach. "Any for now, Boy...but one in particular." That he didn't mind sharing, the information, but anything else would remain his own to know. Including anything other than. "I have the Whore and some gold to see any venture financed." Westmoreland was a greedy bastard. What was his, was his, and he had spent too many sweating hours obtaining that which was his to hand over more than what might be needed. He brought up his tankard, eyeing both Duncan and Jon over the rim. They might both think him an obsessed fool, but if either of them attempted even a portion of what they were thinking, there would not even be enough of their spilled guts left on the rocks for the carrion to peck at.

"I have my ship, my estates and gold to share." Business ventures that paid off even when he wasn't present. He didn't trust many but those that worked for him did exactly what was expected of them. Or pay the price. "So, I begin by doing what I can to find Letcher, and keep an eye out for any from Heathfield or the other realms." Including that lass. He wouldn't share more then he needed to either. However, it might be interesting to see how much he could manage, without getting his guts spilled.

He could probably share the same sordid story, sweat, blood and tears, of others that got him where he was today. Sitting here with two of ilk as they slugged down their ale. With the last he swiped the back of his hand across his mouth as the lass came close enough. "Best whiskey you have in this place," motioning towards Jon, "make sure it's expensive too." He wanted a chaser worth Jon's coin. Then a wave of his hand, "now for present matters. Any need of some weapons?" He obvious had a shipment he could disperse of.

Ah, now Doom's request to the lass sounded worthy of a ... "make that two." Then he settled back, tankard resting on his thigh rather than the table. If any were looking their way, Eric didn't even seem to notice it, or he just didn't give a drip of bullpiss. They could look all night long, there were none in this establishment that would dare more than that where these three men were concerned. "Depends...what sort of pretty trinkets you got?"

"Make it three." It was his coin, he may as well enjoy it. He leaned back to hear Duncan's answer, considering. "I might know where to take some of your hands." There were those who didn't care for their present government. Why not help them along for a bit of profit. "Once the Old Man decides if he wants them." Back to the easy insults, while he considered all that had happened in the last hour or so.

"Long, short, thick and thin, what you fancy or what can be useful is what I got. You can take a look over the lot or I'll send a few demonstration pieces and you decide what you want." They knew the price would be good in moving such goods. They all made out.

Old Man? Which old man? Surely he didn't mean the one that had his dagger point positioned to carve the youth a new naval. Then again, he sure did! Eric only smiled with the insult, knowing the boy's innards were contained still only because Westmoreland wished it to be so. Not that Jon couldn't return the favor at any given time. But, at this particular junction, neither man acted on their desires, only their instincts. "I'll take a couple, Duncan... let the boy see what he can do with the rest."

Bah. The insults were half the fun and if he saw where the dagger was pointed, he didn't let on. The drinks were brought, the coin given over and he just smirked at Eric. They needed the coin for the war they were about to fight and win. Beyond that, he didn't care, though he would like to see this island Doom spoke of. "Save you the legwork." The windows were being opened to let in the cooling air and blowing some of the stench away. "When do we start ... that is after the money is made."

One day John Stirling would have his tongue cut out, roasted, and fed back to him to choke on it. Eric would have the honors and Duncan would get to watch. Until then, he was useful. Sort of. Useful enough he was still alive. Hell, he might participate and cut off his balls, roast them and stuff them down his throat to follow. He preferred being a participant. Still, it was one day to come. "Done," was all he said and Eric would find a crate delivered for starters. If he approved, there would be more to follow. Then Jon-boy would get what was left. Then again, Eric might decide he wanted them all just so there was nothing left.

The whiskey arrived. And one glass was claimed. "You do that, me the legwork." After all, he had enough legwork with 'running' after the women. Eric might just buy up the entire shipment, but if he did, it would be because the weapons could be used or else he wouldn't waste the gold. "And I say, you... Mark that one start come sunrise. After all, boy, I'm too fuckin' ugly to show my mug in the daylight." Or too fuck'n wanted to chance being fully recognized in the daylight when hiding was more difficult. Besides, snakes crawled at night...he'd stick to his evening hours for now.

Jon was good a disguises if need be. Besides, no one expected one of the Trinity to be young, no matter how many times they were told. "You mean you can't drag your wrinkled ass out of bed before nightfall." He pointed at Eric then grinned. He'd take what was left. It was better then sitting, doing nothing but watching the flies fall over from the heat. He'd also send those feelers out looking for Letcher. If the man was that determined to make a name for himself, he'd have to make a mistake some time. Might just work out to be a blonde.

As the two exercised their lips he was up as the waitress was back. Off duty. Another was over with more tankards. "You two boys continue your lip work, I'm going to use mine in another challenge." After all, Jon was paying for it all. A running tab just ran up some more as he was up to escort the lass upstairs.

Eric leaned in, meeting Jon's eye. "I might mean that exactly, but damned if I'll admit to it." With that he tossed back his shot and relaxed back again. If he managed to have a brunette in his arms come daylight, damned if he'd be dragging anything, especially his wrinkled ass, out of bed until nightfall. Westmoreland grunted with Doom's words. "That's a challenge for you, Doom? Using your lips? God love ya, lass...if he attempts to use his cock!" He was chuckling as he set his empty glass to the table and stood. "Better yet, wench, when you tire of blubbering, slobbery attempts, seek out the boy here...and when you tire of his blundering, come to the Hound's Paw...and daylight be damned." The dagger that had been set for his defense eased back into its sheath and he started toward the door. Just hope the lass didn't mind she might be sharing Westmoreland's bed with three others. Hell, if a man was going to sweat, he might as well make it damn worth the stickiness of it. Eric paused and looked back to the lass and Doom, calling out his final insult before departing. "Then skip the boy, Woman, and come straight away." With that, he stepped out of the door.

He laughed hearing Eric's last bit as he leaned near the lass while moving upstairs, "his are overworked, flabby, just like the rest of his parts. Only exercise they get, flapping in the wind." Of course it was loud enough for Eric to hear before they were out of earshot.

He just laughed and shook his head. Sometimes it was more fun to sit back and let them insult one another. And had he known Westmoreland's plans, he might have saluted him. "I've my own plans for tonight." A card game, a lass, a few hours of sleep and he'd start his day at sunrise. Afternoon, he'd start all over again. Waiting until both men were gone, he took the bottle, and headed for his own room. And he was still chuckling as he did!


Date: 07-28-11
Poster: Keifer Douglas
Post # 25

His Cheri

Marlana was up on a small ladder, long skirt pulled up and tied off to the side showing some leg but kept her from tripping on the material and breaking her neck. There were a number of workers still fixing up the Blue Marlin weeks after the hurricane. She took a lot of damage being right on the port just up from the piers, yet not as badly as some places. It was a good time to do some renovations too. There were no lives lost, just a lot of broken glass, chairs, tables and a roof that was half torn off. Four workers were putting in a new pane in the front window where she was hooking up the new custom drapes. The window glass took a few weeks to make with the Blue Marlin elaborately etched across the top. One hook pinned when she noticed the quiet and happened to glance down, "keep your eyes where they belong or lose them faster than you can respond." That was to the point and a few sets of eyes quickly diverted as they continued to do what they were suppose to be doing.

Keifer stood in the doorway, the door opened to the fresh air that already managed to flow in from the damage done. "Aye, and the lady kids you not." There was amusement in the tone of his words and he continued in and toward the woman on that small ladder. "Though I will admit, it is almost worth the loss to have that the last thing you ever see." He offered a wink to Marlana as he neared, smiling up to her. "Hello, Cheri."

She was about to respond with another witty comment when the voice penetrated her brain and she left the drape half hanging as she jumped down from the small ladder. "Keifer, you ole seadog, the women in every port have been keeping you far too busy.." affecting a pout that would win a prize with large blue eyes looking as innocent as possible. "I'm jealous.." which the tone alone could actually hint she might really be but not something she'd admit to. So the jump down had her nearly in his arms! Hers wrapping around him in a hug that one might lose their breath. She was strong for such a delicate looking one.

He caught her up with a grunt of contact, pressing a kiss to the first place his lips touched, her ear. " my favorite port." Hell, it was the only port where Marlana was. He leaned back with her still in his arms so he could look down to her. "I'm liking you in green." He leaned back in and returned her tight hug, then with her still in his arms he looked to the men. "And this is how it's done." With another short laugh, he anticipated the reaction to that comment from the spirited lass in his arms, but still didn't release her.

"Long as green don't turn to red.. rage.. furious..." giving him a wink as she captured his face between both hands pressed to his cheeks. And didn't she bring him in as she lifted to kiss him square on the lips. Sassy type that slightly lingered never having done this before and had gotten bold. Out of her head she'd chide herself later, but that would be later. Right now she was enjoying the taste. "So.." began after breaking the kiss but she ended up running her tongue between them instead of any words to follow. She was paying no mind to her workers who were staring dumbfounded at this point.

If he had started to respond to that comment of red, his intentions to speak went sailing right out of that broken window! The kiss caught him by surprise, but he was pleasantly surprised and he managed to return it while it lingered just before she ended it. "So...damn, don't stop now, Cheri." He twitched a brow and his gaze drifted to her lips then back up..."But then, if this is what a man needs to do to get a drink in this establishment." Granted, there was a lot of work to be done, and he would be offering to help for sure, but first...things...first.

"Ok boys," being they were almost gaping in how she was giving this man something they had been trying to scheme, weasel, trick, conjure, woo out of her and got nowhere, not even an inch. She turned  back and gave Keifer a kiss that would have him remembering in his dreams tonight if not beyond. Heated. Searing. Passionate. All mixed in with the sweetness her lips had to offer as fingers drove up the back of his head along his scalp. One leg bent to rub up along the side of his leg and perhaps there were cat calls, whistles and maybe even bells going off somewhere as the men hooted. Actually it was the clock on the tower in the square. Did he say something about a drink? That finally was realized as lips parted again leaving such a nice hint of rose to her cheeks for the effort. "Anytime in my place, your drinks are on me." That would only make those few even more jealous. Drinking came even before women for most of them. She was ushering him over to the bar as she waved a hand to Martha to finish what she had started. The young girl dipped her head and was right over to do as she was paid to do. "Now tell me all there is to tell.." tipped grin as she hooked her arm with his on the way.

And the leg that lifted was the leg already exposed, and the palm of his hand captured that soft, silky outer thigh before they finished off their kiss. She was a darn good one to make a man oh so happy to return home from sea. As her leg lowered, his hand fell away, almost aching to feel her again. He was drinking her in, he didn't need an actual ... dammit ... yes, she was pulling free from him and walking away. He shot a look to the envious men, both brows danced with amusement at their reactions, then Keifer was being escorted to the bar. Drinks...on that brought about a whole different wave of thought, his imagination running wild a moment. "You'll have to give me a moment or two to rally my thoughts, Cheri. You make me wish to set sail again, just to come back and receive another welcome home."

The touch was as a branding on her leg that had her thoughts returning to it, leaving her seeming to be a little dazed. Tony eyed this man. A newer man here but here long enough to feel protective of Marlana, calling her Lana in an attempt to be more personal. She actually smirked at his comment, one on the tip of her tongue. "Then us both." Giving a wink as she noted the dangerous brooding look growing on Tony's features. "Oh don't look like that Tony. Keifer is one of the good guys, home from being away a long time." Certainly it would have the brawny man, being he also served as a bouncer, lead him to believe there was something more between Cheri and Keifer. Best he thought so too, might keep him from making subtle advances. He'd not be here had they been more than subtle. Her arm still locked with Keifer's, "serve him up that new German ale sent by the Traugott brothers and a tumbler of potcheen, leave the bottle." Which Tony knew right then and there this man was special for she didn't serve potcheen on the norm, it was saved for only a few. Special. The stuff was far too strong for the sailors and they were rowdy enough as it were. Especially in her place she'd not tolerate too much.

Keifer didn't meet Tony's eyes, because one man to another, the bouncer-sort would recognize that look in Douglas' blues. And it didn't speak of 'good guy' to be sure. "Dang but you treat me well, Cheri." He offered a nod of thanks to Tony when Marlana's order was placed on the counter. "What can I do to help out here, Marlana?" He didn't take up the glass yet, just pulled his gaze from her to take a look around the room.

She considered Tony one of the good guys, in her book, which didn't mean they were 'good' guys. The look might be recognized and mutual. Tony studied although averted his glances to make it not seem so. He was discreet, why he made a good bartender aside being a bouncer. "You wish I treated you less?" Such a devouring look turned on him, perhaps it had something to do with abstaining when there was so much temptation offered around her. "After your drink and telling me what you will of your adventures, I'll take you up on your offer. There are some new tables in the back to replace the broken ones, chairs too.." she would not turn down a pair of good hands when it would help her get back on her feet quicker and her business opened again. She had been one of the ones donating food and the like to those homeless or who had suffered great losses.

"Here's the deal then, Cheri. I'll enjoy the drink, and we'll save the discussion for later. Granted you'll save me some of your later..." Keifer brought the ale up, but didn't drink yet, still smiling over to Marlana. There could be no explaining the deep-seated relief at seeing her well. Even more proof, if he needed it, that he had been gone too long. "and we'll take care of this place first. I'd want you able to pay me full attention when that attention is due, and not be worried about what needs to be done here."

"My time is yours for as long as you wish to keep my company." Words were lowered as certainly she didn't wish to upset Tony or any of the other fellows milling about that worked for her. She wasn't that type. Her business with Keifer and what she may offer or not, was between her and him. Had to be a mutual thing too. She settled into an adjacent chair with an ale and chaser of potcheen. She was tempted to bet him on drinking him under the table but she wanted her wits about her for him. She wasn't so easily turned from her course of interest. "Then talk while we enjoy our drinks. What are your near future plans? Will you be gone as long again?" Eyes held as if she could find the answers there in his if he knew.

Keifer's chuckle was muffled behind his tankard, and he was smiling as he lowered it to the table. "My near future plans settle mainly around one particular lass, and helping her finish up what she has started. I owe her that, you know, for being gone for so long without word." A wink followed, faint as it was, but still there for her. "And next I'm gone, aye, probably so, just as long. But you knew that, Cheri." He slid his tankard with the back of his hand, leaning forward to get closer to her as they spoke. "I needed to see for myself you were doing well, I haven't even been to the Keep yet." His father could wait. Keifer could not wait to see Marlana.

"I like those future plans." Pausing a heartbeat," the one where you'll be spending some time with me even though working. Perhaps... a little more time then later." Certainly the implication was there to spend time with her alone after the place was closed up for the night. It was late already so that would not be too far into this immediate future plans. "Aye, I envy the adventure, not to imply I am not happy with my lot but it is so safe here and I could use a bit of danger." That didn't really sound like the usual danger but something else again. "How is your father doing?" She had liked Trevellyn from the moment she met him.

His arms crossed in front of him on the table as she spoke. "The storm that came through, that wasn't enough danger for you?" With that, he stretched out a hand, palm up, resting in front of her on the table. "The Douglas keeps his welfare to himself. He appears all the best for his age, but one never really knows with the Duke of Tyremoor, Marlana. Malcolm keeps me updated, the occasional correspondence that finds me. Other than that, I've yet to make my assessment of the old warrior, perhaps you could accompany me to see the surly lord. It would make my homecoming at least some bit more pleasing for the old wardog." At least, this trip home, he had not lost a ship.

"I will have a basket fixed up for him. I would love to go." She planned to visit him anyway that such a thought took hold. "I'm sure between the two of us we can make a good assessment." Thoughts went there for a few moments then back as she finished up her drink. "The night wears on and I wish not to wear you out too much before we close.." sneaky smile crept even if she tried not to allow it. It pleased her to know that The Douglas would welcome her company.

She didn't take his hand, his fingers closed slowly in his palm, and he drew it just as slowly back to his side of the table. He didn't really wish to speak of his father but he did rather like the turn of her conversation. "I would agree whole heartedly. Please, save the wearing out..for after you close."

That secretive smile held with a flutter of lashes with the coy look down as his fingers closed, yet not quite smug. It was a social game if one wanted to call it that. A tease in a sultry way. "My plans exactly." No waggle of brows but certainly felt like such could have followed. She rose. "Come into my parlor," luckily Tony didn't hear that one! He was the only one left at this point and would see to locking up and securing the grounds. This time she offered her hand as she would take him to where the broken furniture was stored.

....said the spider to the fly. But all the same, the fly could not resist such a tempting offer. His hand caught her and together they went off to begin the exchange of furniture and once the other men were excused for the evening, Keifer would enjoy catching up with Marlana all the more. It was always good to be at sea. But it was damn good to return home.


Date: 08-15-11
Poster: Samuel Davidson
Post # 26


Time was to be spent as they were in between runs. Time to make some money at dice or cards. Wheeling and dealings always to be found in back rooms, alleyways or dives along the piers. Presently it was time for some eating and drinking as well the sight of a couple comely females waiting the tables. A coin flicked, sliding and slipping between his fingers in an unconscious habit as he waited on his meal.

Time wasn't always to find when learning the ropes of a new ship but tonight, finally, there was. And his footsteps led him to a tavern recommended by a few. Samuel stepped inside and lo and behold... there was Justin,... waiting. He made his way through the crowded room, and motioned to a spare seat. "Mind if I join you?" The English accent had changed. Years at sea and on the island had helped that along.

The Black Falcon was not so bad compared to many of the other places in Barbados. The owner was trying to run a 'respectable' business if such could be managed. His thoughts wandered although it was second nature to be aware of those around him at the same time. The familiar voice broke the mental wanders as the coin slipped from between his fingers to be clasped in the palm of his hand. He slapped it down as he spoke up, "I don't mind at all, in fact your first drink is on me." His speech showed he was educated for a villager. Those of intellect might wonder while those of lesser intellect would probably not notice. Why he got away with it for so long, he lived amongst the lesser intellect. Until now. Regan and many of her crew were higher in intellect. Something he was getting use to and would find it a challenge. One he looked forward to. "The Captain still on her ship?"

"Aye. She had made a few deliveries earlier. Going over some letters with Jordan and seeing to the cargo we'll be taking back to Heathfield." Unless she decided to send it on another ship. Always a possibility with Regan, he was learning. Not so much that she was off on a whim, but with the Benevolence and some of the other ships gone, she could decide on a change of scenery. He was just glad it was Jordan who had to deal with the paper work.

"She's a pretty lass, I'm surprised a few don't have an eye on her but something about her keeps them at bay, afraid to approach.." which the thought kind of wandered off without words as he wondered if she didn't like men. "I don't think she's ever been with a man." If he was wrong, he hoped Samuel corrected him and then that thought she was frigid or a man hater could be ruled out. He had a curious mind on certain things and this was one of them.

Samuel ordered German ale and a meal then he looked at Justin for a long moment. "Regan had a bad experience with the Unholy Trinity," for some reason, when he mentioned the three, he always felt he should cross himself. He did lower his voice. Never knew if one of their men were about. "Didn't get what they wanted, but it left her cautious." That was all he knew and that had come from another. "She likes men well enough but even if she's been with one, I doubt it'll be permanent." He grinned as he leaned back in his chair. "Though she'd not call the sea her mistress, she's heard the siren's call."

"Aye, a woman should be cautious in today's world nonetheless," Sam might notice he was frowning over the whole idea. Of course he knew of the three moniker as the Unholy Trinity. A brow lifted with the last. Thoughts wandered there too but he didn't say anything as their meals came as a good distraction. "I got some leads and probably a fake map or two to look over. Never know when one might be real.." there was always that off chance and he had a pretty good eye for telling ones completely fake and passing them up.

"Aye?" He had started on his meal but stopped to look up. "Never know. Cap'n been talking about one she was given herself but if she finds the treasure, after she pays us, she'll likely give the rest to the old gent that had it. It's the hunt she enjoys." The food was hot so he waited a moment and continued. "From what Laelia tells me, Regan pays the crew first, sees to repairs and then she may take a portion." Of course, he was also told after that treasure they found, even with all that came out of it for repairs and the ships of her brothers, the Callihans were still well off. He only knew since he had signed on board, not a pay had been missed. "So, what would you do with a share of a treasure, Justin?"

"Aye, she's a fair lass, why I asked to join her crew." Which he was just as new as most of them. He knew the Callihans but didn't know them individually or well enough to call friend. That might change in time ahead. Just like the odd chance of finding a real treasure map, he could get lucky. "She say anything about leaving to go on this hunt?" Wondering now how much longer they would be here in Barbados. One never knew that they would do with a lot of money found but he had some ideas. "I'd pay of any debts, might buy me a ship o' me own and I might take the whole crew on a party binge.." which had him grin before he dug into his food.

"Soon as Aearion has the way plotted, and there's no sign of storms." He motioned skyward with a wave of his hand, even though it couldn't be seen inside the tavern. "Reading the signs and all that." Samuel knew the sayings like most sailors, but he was also learning about Elven ways and the tales of magic that came from the Realms. Some were met with skepticism, of course, but he had seen a few things lately. Justin's answer had him chuckle. "You mean, you'd leave the crew that fast?" He tisked then laughed. "I'd save it. Until I decide what I want to do." He glanced around the common room, seeing no one he knew in the dimness, though he didn't know many yet. There were a few Englishmen but they kept to themselves. He only knew they were there because of an occasional word caught.

He was eating down his meal as Samuel gave the information and what he'd do with a lot of sudden money. "Aye, save it for a rainy day but we live at sea and such days may never come." They lived a dangerous lot but the whole had him chuckle. Such would have thoughts wander before rein back in. He too noticed the other Englishmen but he said nothing for such rude comments might insult and ruin a growing friendship. Not all limies were bad. He had learned that and even to respect one or two of them in his growing years. "What of you, do you have a lass tucked away in some port or even a few?" Which had him flash his first full smile. One that was attractive to the lasses.

"Aye, there is that possibility. But if we do survive, be nice to have a place to retire too. Or live if the sea life grows old." Then to answer his question on women. "None tucked away." He grinned and shrugged. "Had a lass back in London, but well, I was the second son and all that and her mother had her eye on another. Then again, there is a lass in Spain... " He trailed off then laughed. "In spite of the girl in every port, there is none of that in my life. Just a night or two here and there. Still, nice memories. What about you?" In all honesty, he had heard it all, and knew there were bad coppers in every land. If it was funny enough, he'd even laugh at an insult made.

"Aye, the ones in Spain..." slow smile grew as he recalled a few nights spent there before once again he pulled those thoughts back. "I think each country has an appeal where the ladies are concern." Eye contact was made in that knowing way. "I swore I'd never settle but I think if the right one came along, she might be able to convince me." There that smile flashed again, "but it would not be easy." Life was short for many, this too he had seen, so he was not adverse to changes. But it would have to be worthwhile for him. His meal done, he was working on his drinking and they had a bottle of whiskey to add shots as chasers.

"Aye, they do." He chuckled then shrugged. "I think we've all said that at one time. Though I'd be happy if I had a wife like Cookie who didn't mind me going off to sea." There was good money to be made if you could deal with the boredom and danger. "Do you want to always sail, or do you have other plans in mind?" He was staying with ale tonight, being he'd be on duty come the afternoon and a hangover would last all day.

"That is a good point in qualification..." had his thoughts wander again for a split second and rein in again just as quickly as he washed them away with the lift of his tankard. Back of his hand dragged over his mouth as the vessel was lowered. "I think my bunk is calling me, dawn comes in a few hours and you know the routine expected of us."

"Aye, I was thinking that myself." It would be a good night for sleeping too with just enough of a drop in temperatures. He downed the last of his ale, put down the money and a good tip for the lass who was over quickly to claim it and looked at Justin. "Ready when you are."

He was up, leaving a bit of change for the waitress on the table. Just his actions had her coming in case they did and so none other about didn't take what she had earned. What was left of the bottle of whiskey was tucked away under his shirt as he flashed the woman a smile then started out with a look Sam's way. Obvious he was ready and they could share the bottle on the way back. Both would be sleeping well this night. They might have to answer to Regan in the morning if they had a hard time getting up.


Date: 08-18-11
Poster: Justin Darwin
Post # 27

Morning After

It was a glorious day. Sun up high sending sparkles to dance across the foaming crests that flowed inland. The gulls were squawking in flight before diving for a clam to fight over. There were bullies even in the bird kingdom and a sailor knew not to feed them for next they would be attacking if they didn't get more. They had one thing in common with the dog, endless stomachs. The stores along the pier were already in full activity. A day that should have had Sam and Justin up on deck hours ago but this glorious day didn't find either there. They had come on so late, it was possible the others had not even seen them. Although, there were always one or two on guard for the port they were in especially. It had been a good night, a friendship started between him and the first mate. Justin was spread over his bunk like he fell face down. Shirtless, bootless, bottomless, he would not even remember getting those off. The light coverlet wrapped around a leg while the rest pooled onto the floor. A whiskey bottle on its side had spilled to soak into the coverlet. Something jarred his head against the wall as she ship shifted with a larger wave that came in with the tide rising. The groan sounded far off to his ears as he tried to lift himself up.

Though neither Samuel or Justin had been with the ship as long as some of the others, Regan had come to trust them. She knew both men were loyal, dependable and today, late. It wasn't normal for either even if they had been out drinking for hours. She knew both men had left the ship for the evening watch had given their report on who left and who came back. It was a necessary precaution here in Bridgetown. She knew they had returned together from the report of the night watch. He hadn't noticed anything other then a whiskey bottle but that wasn't unusual in itself. Finally, she had headed for Samuel's room. He was on his bunk, bootless, with his shirt half off as if he had fallen into the bed and gone to sleep while undressing. When she couldn't rouse him to do more than groan, she called out and was answered by Max, the young cabin boy. "Go and fetch Val. I want her to look at Samuel. And then have her come to Justin's quarters." Her officers had their own quarters, even if small. A moment later, she pounded on Justin's door, only to have it drift open. "Now isn't that a sight to see. Full moon during the light of the day." Muttering to herself, she walked into the cabin and tucked the cover over him, at least in part. "Wake up, Justin, lad. You're supposed to be on duty." She spoke first then shook him by the shoulder.

It wasn't so much she'd get to see a sailor bare ass but being a virile young man had the morning come with an altered state for his dreams. Not uncommon if she didn't know but would find out as he heard the voice penetrate the fog. Who knows, possibly that had the apparent rise as he struggled up only to fall on the floor near at her feet. One hand grabbing at the coverlet to cover the evidence. Blue eyes lifting that held a certain fog to them. His words somewhat slurred though his wit managed though, "aye, vould 'ave dreessss fir comheny." Didn't really sound right to his ears as his balance was affected. Room was moving as she might notice with the shifting of his eyes and he trying to control them. The bottle rolled away to land at her feet with the motion.

Regan had grown up with brothers and had seen them in various states of undress, and even had spied on them with certain lasses. She was a bit amused but that was quickly pushed aside as he covered himself. "I'm sure you would have. Don't move, Master Darwin, until Healer Willowleaf comes in." Normally, she wouldn't use titles but she hoped that would penetrate the fog of his mind. The bottle was picked up and studied, then sniffed. Regan made a face at the smell and looked at Justin again. "Seems someone had in mind to shanghai you lads. And wanted to make sure you slept a long time." She took hold of his chin to have a good look in his eyes. "I'd say you're off duty for the day." As she spoke, Valaina Willowleaf entered. She stood and handed the Elf the bottle, not saying a word but motioning to the two men behind Val, Aearion Hlaeaear, the Navigator, and Cadoc Llewellyn, the Gunner's Mate who Justin served under. "Help him get into his bunk."

"Pirrrateees," was all he got out for his tongue felt like it was swollen to fill his mouth when it wasn't really other than the sensation. Only pirates shanghai to fill the quota of their ships when they lost too many and couldn't get enough to recruit. Another form of slavery done often enough by pirate captains. He wasn't moving for if he did, he'd probably pass out or so felt. When she took him by the chin, eyes crossed naturally when she got that close. They had a foggy glossed over look to them but he froze in place for another reason. He held her eyes with his for as long as he could and broken when Aearion and Cadoc were helping him up. He managed to keep a good grasp on the coverlet as he was heaved up onto the cot leaving him propped up against the wall behind it. "Whhhhat o' Sammm?" Genuine concern laced his tone.

"Aye, there are enough of them around." Oh, there were a few others who had conscripted a few men but those captains would find themselves in hot water if they tried it in Barbados. She stepped back so he could be helped up by the two. Both were unlikely to tease either man but others of the crew ... well, that might be different story. "Where were you last night, Justin? Can you remember?" She looked over her shoulder at Val who nodded. The Elf could smell the drug as well. "Samuel is in the same condition as you are," the Elven healer answered. "I will make you both a tea that will help clear your minds some but you should rest today." Val headed out and Regan turned, arms crossed over her chest as she waited for Justin's attempt to answer. Cadoc and Aearion remained as well.

"Blaaak Faaalcoon," still his words slurred as much as he tried to say them carefully. He wasn't going to argue about resting for presently if he stood, he knew he'd be flat on his face near as fast. The implications attached to their situation had him frowning. Even with concentration at a minimal, it was sinking in what exactly happened. He wanted to get to the bottom of it, just not right at the moment. Trying to recall was an effort and he gave it up after a few moments. Later he would be better able to recall anything that might help figure this all out. Especially if he and Sam talked and compared notes. He finally rested the back of his head against the wall and let his eyes close as that seemed to help.

"The Black Falcon?" Regan frowned and looked at the men with her. "The owner's always been on the up and up, unless something else happened last night. Get the word around to the crew. Until we get to the bottom of this, it's off limits." She narrowed her eyes as she added, "and that means you as well, Llewellyn. " She knew how apt he was to investigate on his own. "I want someone watching that tavern though so hire someone you trust." She leaned over and placed a hand on Justin's shoulder. "Val will be back with the tea and then sleep some more. Both will help clear out the cobwebs." She was angry now but not at them. Someone picked the wrong crew to try to shanghai!


Date: 08-23-11
Poster: Samuel Davidson
Post # 28


Justin leaned on a post, right booted foot hooked against its rugged surface. Cigarillo preessed between his lips as the smoke eased out the one corner of his mouth. Blue eyes were dead set on the Black Falcon across the way. Those coming in and out were scrutinized in an effective nonchalant way so no one was the wiser. The dipping wide brim hat helped in this matter. Rain ran from the brim for the constant steady drizzle. Another factor that helped in this scrutiny. Most were in a hurry to get in or out and not noticing the one across the street in a lean.

Rain in Barbados usually meant there was a tropical storm or hurricane somewhere though the winds didn't give any indication it was close. He had finished his duties for the day, sat with Jordan and the Captain while they went over the books and finally escaped. An oilskin cape with an overly large hood helped to keep the rain off. He kept his head down, shoulders hunched, walking like so many other sailors and inhabitants of the island. Not entirely sure where Justin was, he paused to slip into a shop doorway, leaning there to watch the folks hurrying by. The shop was closed so he could stay there as long as he wanted.

He had been in the place earlier, the bar keep spooked having thought he knew the man that replaced him for a number of days. Luckily he didn't know Justin to see him but the lass that waited on them had. She'd as much talked out of the side of her mouth in a hush-hush way. She was just as spooked but for another reason which she would explain after she was off duty. So Justin waited outside in the rain. A certain figure passing, even at a distance, was recognized as he shifted up some. "Sam," was all he said as the one ducked out of the rain beneath an overhang.

"There you are." He glanced in Justin's direction, half smiling under the hood. The rain made what was usually a brightly colored place gray and now that the sun was nearly gone down, even the torchlight seemed dull. "Been out here for some time? See anything?" He was aware Justin had been gone, thought he might be here and lucked out that he had been.

He flicked off what was left of the cigarillo as he pushed up from his lean. Quick steps through splashing puddles and he was over to duck under the overhang as well. Better than attempting to talk over the distance. "Aye, waiting on some information. The whole situation has everyone in the place, knowing of it, spooked. Something happened to the other lass, remember the one that kept looking my way?" Although he was keeping an eye on the side door.

He watched the street as Justin joined him, then looked his friend's way. "Aye, I remember her. Is she gone as well?" Things happened in the islands all the time but this way into the Falcon then frowned slightly.

A lithe figure clad in a hooded cloak, slipped out the side door and hurried to the mouth of the alleyway. One could tell she was in search of someone as Justin stepped out from the overhang. He didn't say anything for he didn't need to. She spotted him right off and rushed through the rain that was getting heavier to where he stood. One hand at her elbow, he drew her under the overhang with him. She quickly noticed the other man, sort of recognized but she asked. "He bae al-rig't?" Which Justin nodded to, "aye. Tell me what happened." She was nervous and glanced more than a few times back the inn's way. "Daisy she called herself. She was wit' t'ese men t'at came about. I warned 'er tae be careful. No one kin t'is but I will tell yea." Delcy was like a cat on a hot tin roof, expecting monsters to materialize as soon as the words left her lips. She actually moved closer, almost behind Justin.

Samuel offered a slight smile then moved forward so he shielded the two from sight. "I'll keep watch," he offered, hoping it would ease the lass' nervousness. No one was on the street at the moment, and with the flash of lightning he was able to check some windows. Nothing there to show they were being watched. Eyes lowered to the tavern again and he waited. The rain might make it hard to hear but he was sure to hear some.

"T'ey foundit er washed up on shore t'e next morn, 'er t'roat slit. I kin t'ey did it for s'e said s'e was goin'n to be able to leave t'is place, find a guid life and,"
here she hesitated with a wild eye look, "git to spend a nig't wit' yea. Shez saiz in a 'ushed way." A serious concerned look followed. "I saw it later, the siringe with the odd smell of what had been in it. She put it through the cork that way she did. I must git, need to leave this place tonight so I don't end up like 'er." Without adieu, she clasped both her hands against Justin's cheeks and kissed him like there would never be another. Next she quickly maneuvered between the two and ran without looking back. All this in those few seconds that left him sort of shocked. Not something that happened very often to naught.

Well now, he was certain the Captain hadn't known about the girl, or if she had, it had been kept to herself. Had things not been so serious, he would have teased Justin about things being reversed but maybe another time. Rubbing his chin, he watched as the lass disappeared into the rain then looked over his shoulder at Justin. "Seems someone didn't like losing part of their crew." Or maybe Daisy would have been silenced in any case.

"Silence the lass so she couldn't confess up what she did," which had him frowning for somehow he was made part of the bargain. Which explained all the looks his way that night. Minx, unfortunately a dead one. "It makes sense, how they got the drug into the bottle." Which he kept an eye on the street. They must not have known that Delcy knew what she did or she would have washed up with the other. "Best she get out of here for a while." The rain was letting up some and it was later as he stepped out again. "We should go let the Captain know.."

"Aye, we should." He adjusted his cloak before following his friend out into the street. "Looks like it might clear, but if it takes a turn for the worse, she might be taking the Dream out of harbor. And we don't want to be left behind." He gave a shake of his head. "I guess it's better then getting hit over the head, but methinks the result is the same." Headache or concussion. Neither was welcome. "Being she's leaving, it seems the men Daisy was with might still be around."

"They might be or it is fear that has gripped her and well earned. If she knows something, least she shared it with us." His lips still tingled and had a smile erupt. "She took her payment.." so he was no longer obligated. Silently he wished her well that she survived this ordeal. "You can bet the temporary tender was killed unless he was one of them." Whoever 'them' were but they had more information than they did before.

"She did at that." He chuckled then nodded. "If he was one of them, he might have shipped out or changed his appearance." Not hard to do since he could grow a beard, wear a patch .... anything to change his appearance somewhat. He too, hoped Delcy would survive. It wasn't easy for a woman alone, and in this type of situation, much harder.

"Aye, so it will be a little more of a challenge to find out." Some might think it impossible, but not Justin. "I've made a few special explosives to test out on the ones..." which had him grin as they headed for the ship. He didn't like to disturb Regan once she got to her cabin but on a matter like this, the two of them would be doing just that.


Date: 01-15-12
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 29

The New Year's Spirit

Morgan may hear the recognizable singing in the distance along the pier. It was Faelan in his cups but with the New Year's spirit. All the lands were getting infected.

He did indeed, and over the sounds that surrounded him. He stood up on a wide pile, balancing as he looked over the crowd for Faelan. A chuckle escaped when he realized the younger Captain had been drinking for some time. Once he spotted that blonde head, he let out a loud, shrill whistle, causing some of those around him to complain. One even threatened to knock him into the cold ocean but he ignored them all as he watched his brother.

That whistle stopped him in his tracks as he spun around and near lost his balance. Caught it with a widening grin. "Hey! Come join the party." Party was only him not that there wasn't others around doing the same.

Morg hopped down and pushed his way through the crowd, coming to a stop in front of Faelan. "Seems I have a bit of catching up to do." He chuckled as he studied Faelan. "How long have you been at it?" He caught the hand of a small lad and shook a finger at the boy. "I don't have anything in that pocket to pick, Boy. Here." A coin was handed over and he gave the child a warning. Then attention was back on his brother.

"Indeed it does," holding out the bottle of potcheen few got to have down at the docks. "I've been down here all day, seeing to me ship then some R and R.." which Morgan knew how it went. His attire was of wool this time of year for the cold wind blew a lot. In fact there were snow flakes drifting. The big fat ones that would accumulate if they continued and heavier. Most likely both. There were still patches of snow from the last snowfall. Shaking his head in disapproval, "Henry, I told you before if you needed a coin to just ask. I know you don't like handouts but stealing will get that hand cut off in some places. Ask me brother here.." violet eyes switching back to his brother with a knowing look. Henry looked peevish that the one he tried to steal from was related to Faelan.

"Very true. Now here, it might get you some time at the castle, put to work scrubbing dishes, or maybe mopping floors." He watched as the boy ran off with his prize then shrugged. "I'm having some sails made. The ones on me Lady took a beating." He put an arm over Faelan's shoulder. "Hear tell that Regan will be home soon for the holidays." One thing or another had kept them from sailing after her but it seemed everyone would be home to celebrate.

"That's a relief," as the two moved towards one of the local taverns. His arm hung over his brother's shoulder in like. "We should get her something special for Christmas. A man perhaps.." which had him grinning. "There are many to choose from in these lands. Surely one man would appease her?" Which was a standing joke in a sense but one never knew. None had capture either of them.

"She would likely throw him at us." He laughed, almost picturing it. "I'm afraid our darlin' sister is enjoying herself too much to be tied down to anyone." He looked sideways at Faelan and grinned. "You have someone in mind for her?" He was quite happy to be footloose and fancy free himself. Life offered too many choices at the moment. Perhaps in the future he'd settle down.

He gave a roll of his shoulders in almost a shrug. "I've heard that Adrian Frasier has been about her but I don't know if she shunned him or not." His free hand went in a rub over his chin in a thoughtful way but he didn't say anything more.

"Shunned him?" He chuckled, shaking his head. "No, I don't think she did. She talked to Segan Quinn too. Both were a while ago though I'm thinking." He paused to push open the door and gave a slight bow and motioned Faelan in. "What about yourself, brother mine? Have your eye on a lass or two? And don't be askin' me. I avoid ones that live here so I don't get in trouble." The last said with a grin.

"Of course they were. She has not been home in months. She better have some good stories for her excuses!" Which had him laughing by the time they reached the Inn. The Drop Dead Inn. One of the newer ones but then there was always a new one here along the port. There were also a few that managed to continue in business too. "I've not found a lass of yet and you'll be the first to know most likely, even before the lass!" Swinging the door open and holding it for him.

"Before you even do?" He chuckled then shrugged. If Faelan wanted him to go first, he had no problem with that. He lifted a hand in a wave to a couple lads he knew and headed for the bar. "Tender, an ale with a whiskey chaser and the same for me brother." And if Faelan wanted something else, he could add that.

That was fine with him as he saddled up to the bar, half lean that gave him a view of the room too. There were a few card games going on, groups mostly of three to five men. No women except the barmaids and one odd cloaked one sitting in a corner by himself. Not that in and of itself was strange but there was something about him. All that was picked up without staring or lingering a look to cause the one to notice.

It's good that Faelan took notice because Morgan didn't. He had some things on his mind. "Now, what we really should do is concentrate on getting James a wife. That way, he'll be too occupied to keep an eye on us." That would be a good thing in his mind though James was picky.

Any thoughts of the reclusive man were dashed with that statement. "Have anyone in mind?" Faelan was all for the idea and it came with a slow widening grin. "I hear he's coming down to these parts too."

"He is? Coming to collect us and make sure we all go home for the holiday?" He laughed, then shook his head. "There are a few lasses about that might do. We'll have to sit down and figure them out. You hear anything about our cousins? They coming to Montrose to celebrate?" He frowned slightly. "Haven't heard much about them so that's likely good."

"More than likely he heard Regan was on her way home and wanted to collect her personally, carry her there if needed." Which the whole scenario had him burst out laughing as he pictured it. "One is as stubborn as the other." The last statement had him wondering. "I would suspect that James would have some dinner celebration and they would be invited. They are starting to establish a social network as would do the kingdom well."

"I don't remember her being that stubborn when she was our navigator." He chuckled and eyed Faelan. "You're more in touch with the whole business then I am. Not a good thing on my part." He needed to keep up with more then just what was happening in Heathfield.

That had him thoughtful as the scenario with the unholy came in a vivid reminder before his mind's eye. Regan had changed after that in a way he wasn't sure yet if it was for better.. or worse. Worse for a while but that seemed to wear off. He gave a slight shrug that he was more knowing about the social aspects of Kildare that centered around the Callihan's. "It's more common knowledge at the port, people buzzing as it's growing and what goes down socially as much news as anyplace else. I'm sure you'll catch up fast once we spend a night out on the town." Of which he planned once they got back up to Kildare. "So tell me of your exploits and who we can arrange to meet our brother James."

"You've been home more then I have." He chuckled as he saluted Faelan with his drink, took a good hit of the brew and then lowered his glass. "Aye, hopefully I'll not get too drunk and forget to listen." Faelan had him pausing a moment before he laughed. "My exploits. Not much to tell there I'm afraid. Too much transport and not enough adventure but I'm not minding it." There were still plenty of pirates to avoid in the Caribbean, but none like the Trinity. He leaned back in his chair, eyes narrowing in thought. "We need that lists of lasses. Of course, there's no telling how old it is. Might need to add a few here and there. You have any in mind?" Hell, he couldn't remember half the lasses he had met here though a few stood out.

"That's what we need, an adventure that involves you, me and our little sister Regan. She can bring along a beau if she wants.." rolling that right in there as if serious as he added humor. "Or even two.." which he struggled not to outright laugh as he kicked back a good portion of his drink. Motioning to the bartender to leave the bottle this time as slid more than a enough to cover it. "What about the infamous croons?" Recalling they seemed to know every bit of gossip and then some and that there was a list about. More than likely if they didn't have it, they would know where to find it. "We need to find one that upon sight will wow our brother." James Roy Callihan could have his pick of women as he'd seen with his own eyes over the years but there older brother remained single, yet, he felt not by desire but lack of anyone that stood out from amongst the many. That would be the biggest part of their challenge.

Morgan scratched at the scruff that he had allowed to grow lately as he considered the question though he laughed when he heard Faelan talk about a beau or two about their sister. "You can suggest that to her if you want." Regan's reputation as a captain had grown into a rougher one then Morgan had expected. "Have you heard something I haven't?" He chuckled as he took to studying the room. No one seemed to be paying them attention. "The crones ... haven't heard much of them lately but it's possible they have it. Then again, who is brave enough to go ask." He took another drink and shook his head. "I'm not sure who that would be, Fael. It seems to me there are quite a few lovely ladies about. Not even sure about his tastes. Do they run to the exotic, flashy, quiet ones?" Yes, that would take some thought!

"I think if anyone were to win little sister it will be one of the sea that can understand her, and meet her on even keel. Maybe someone willing to take her over their knee if necessary. Oh what a visual that boasted of needing adventure so there you go, you're the perfect one to approach the crones." Which it was Morgan that mentioned a list to start so he would shanghai him into being the one get it from them. "That is why we need to list.. to go over each and every one to see if there is one. Then we have to arrange them to meet." Probably with neither knowing!

Definitely with neither knowing! "There's been a few stories about such meetings around here, hasn't there?" He chuckled then sighed. "And I thought you were the braver one. " He lifted his glass in a saluted. "Well then, here's to one endeavor that will succeed... obtaining the list. As far as the others, I think they're far more risky. What if they decide we need to meet some lasses?" He shuddered, then gave Faelan a half smile.

Which had him near choke on the bit o' whiskey he just kicked back. Voice came out raspy when it finally found vocalization. "That is why you are braving it. You're more resilient.." or so he thought. Faelan was more likely to fall before his brother ever did. Although he was tempted to view the incident from a safe distance without any of them knowing. The proverbial fly on the wall. Situation too rich to pass up.

Morg laughed then shook his head. "I'm talking about James and Regan, Faelan, not the crones though I'm sure they'll be wanting to know why I want the list." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I'm thinking maybe I'll tell them it's for one who doesn't want his name known, add a bit of mystery to it. Make sure I take scones for the ladies too." He grinned at Faelan. "More resilient or more resistant?" Love was a funny thing and even Morg knew it could hit him right when he wasn't expecting it but he was going to try to resist for a long time. They didn't need more gold, but ah, the adventure!

Maybe he had a few too many as he gave his brother a confused look. He had certainly thought he was talking about the crones wanting to match him up with someone once they met him. "Ah, here I thought the bigger one," not saying fatter, "might want to hook you up with her daughter." Now wouldn't that be something! Nearly had him laugh but Morgan might take it seriously. "Aye, I'm sure they would love a bit o' mystery to at least let you take a look at it, make a copy. Just leave out any names you know don't belong there anymore." This was going to be an adventure of a different nature and probably just as risky!

"It's possible. She has managed to marry one off I think but I'll worry about that after I get them to let me see the list." He was full of confidence, wasn't he? And there had been a few mothers after both of them in different ports but they had managed to elude that trap. "Should I see about both lists, so we can do the same for Regan or shall we just work on James?" He was looking forward to this, even if it turned into a mis-adventure! "And do you think we should both take off for parts unknown after we do this?" Hide out for a while!

Daniel going into the Lion's Den, yes, older brother had his work cut out for him. "We can hope, she has all her girls married off by now." Being he didn't really know how many either of the crones had other than they had daughters. Fairly sure. "I'd get them both while in there than have to go back. Hindsight or foresight... not sure which applies other than a wise idea." He chuckled with the last as he kicked back the last bit of whiskey in his glass. It came down with a slight thud as he swiped his lips with the back of his hand. "I'd say we best be prepared to run depending on how it turns out." Who knew, they might get a clap to their backs. Right.

"Only if it turns out for the worse." He laughed and shook his head. "Now, the thing is, can we keep Regan home long enough after the holidays to even try to hook her up." He leaned back in his chair, pushing it up onto two legs briefly. "James isn't as hard to track down since he has so many responsibilities." Though he disappeared at times too. I think Regan considers the Caribbean her playground since the Trinity is gone." Of course, that could change quickly enough.

"That's a good question and puts forth the challenge. I think I might hint around Adrian at least that our sister is back.." see if he looks like he'd take the bait of seeing her or add some incentive or... she's back and could use some company thing. Right. Still, it would be a new frontier to venture. Oh, they might suffer in the long run by one means or another but that is what made it an adventure. The last had him frown. "That is what I worry on, seriously, she could get into some real trouble and without us there.." he didn't really want to think further on that.

"Maybe we should talk to some of her crew. They might be willing to let us know where she is. We could work out some system." Then again, her crew seemed very loyal to her and that might backfire as well. "What we need is a Seer. One of those who looks into water, or a crystal ball, or something and can tell us if there's trouble." He was starting to feel no pain and his suggestions might become more outrageous as they continued to drink. "Adrian Frasier? Now there would be a match."

"Think a few of them could be bribed?" In a situation they would be wanting to see... place bets on. "We'd have to keep one with us all the time looking into the depths of the waters.." having him chuckle as it was an interesting but far fetch idea. Still, where Regan was concerned... there would be a lot of far fetched ideas explored. He was rising up with a stretch. No fights tonight nor card games gotten into, yet proved to be interesting of a kind that would continue into tomorrow, a few tomorrows that become a today. Right now, he needed sleep for the next today to happen and he prepared. "Then we start tomorrow.."

He yawned then shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? I'm not so sure about me own crew let alone hers." He laughed as he stood and tossed a coin onto the table. "Tomorrow it is then. I'll head back down here, explore the docks and see if I can charm the crones. Meet you back here or at one of our ships?" He didn't give the others in the common room a passing glance as they headed for the door and out into the chill of the night. Their ships were berthed close so they could continue talking till they parted.


Date: 01-15-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 30

Plans Made

The day had been an easy one for Dewar. The guards were in place, he had a few more recruits in training and Caiome hadn't been attempting too many escapes. Of course, there was always the Lord of the manor to deal with but that usually involved only a quick meeting and report. So far there hadn't been any problems with the guard. He was certain he'd hear of it if there where. He had finished setting up the duty rooster for the week and was seeking out Gillean now to have him approve it. Then, he'd see about his evening meal.

Gillean would not be found in his study, however. He was outside, standing in the chill of January, frowning at the stone foundation where a mason poked and prodded. "Tell me again, why you haven't been able to get that right the last three times you attempted to sure up that wall. Because, for the life of me, I can't seem to get a grip on why I'm paying you to waste my time, my money and still have this wall crashing down around our shoulders." The mason tensed against the words, but he didn't answer. Instead, he went about his search for the faulty rock that had caused the crack to snake up the interior wall when the foundation shifted. Far from the best of moods, Gill snatched the heavy sable of his cloak closer around his body, burrowing his chin into the warmth.

Caiome stood at the window from her room in the upper part of the mansion. Such exquisite buildings were drafty as she was wrapped up in a quilt to stave off any chill. Beneath she wore a blue velvet gown that kept her thus far from venturing out. Dinner was being prepared and along with the drafts wafted the scent of well prepared food. At least they had hired a good cook. Actually she had hired the older woman who didn't have a straying eye upon her brother as quite a few did that actually could cook too. So she killed two birds with one stone in the older cook. They had enough maids, two so far, that giggled behind their hands when the Lord of the manor went through a room they were in. Eyes followed, thoughts spoken she came upon and told them they were inappropriate and to cease or their jobs would. So she stared out over the barren land thinking of spring when she'd not shy due the cold to venture out. She realized snowflakes started to fall in hint of what was to come for the size of them. Big. Fat. Flakes. She swirled back around as she discarded the quilt for her cloak with determination to head out where she knew her brother to be. A few moments later a hand came to touch against his arm as she had caught the last comment. "I think I could fix it better than he." Her smile winsome in the hope to ease the mood surely besetting him presently.

He didn't mind going out into the cold if it meant getting to see the Lord of the Manor uncomfortable. Of course, it took a few minutes but finally one of the servants told him where Gill was. He was out in time to see Cai with her brother, the one aspect of his position that he liked to see -- how the siblings were together. Though he'd never admit it.

To further his pissy mood, the snow had started to fall, lighting in his hair, on his face. Caiome's suggestion didn't lighten his mood but set it more firmly in place. "At the moment, My Dearest, I wouldn't doubt that you could." Movement from the corner of the manor brought his notice to Dewar. Great, now what? "Well, well, how better to spend a day out in the cold."

She peered around her brother's arm to see Dewar coming towards them. What did she do? She winked at him before a hand rose to dust the large flakes from Gill's hair. "Remember when very young how we enjoyed coming out when it snowed? We'd build forts, make stacks of white cannonballs and pelt any of the neighborhood children that came looking for such a fight." She had a soothing quality to her voice that was for her brother alone. A shared affection that ran deep with them. In the next breath. "Fire him. Tomorrow we'll hire someone more qualified. Perhaps Captain Dewar knows of such a man in these lands." Which would have Dewar's hide on the block if the one suggested turned out to be an imbecile too.

Look at that smile! Just because Gill's bad mood was so apparent. He inclined his head slightly to Caiome, then saluted Gillean. "M'lord, m'lady. I thought you'd like to see the duty roster right away." He offered the papers to Gillean, then he looked thoughtful. "Your cousin has employed a man named Able Martin. He may be free to come and see to the repairs." His pick was a safe one!

Really, now? The papers were extended and Gill looked down at them and then over to the Captain. "Better he be named Able Mason. So there you have it, Man." He turned his attention back to the man on his knees on that cold, hard earth. "This is your last chance to keep my house upright." The worker shifted his gaze up to Gill, then over to Dewar, and nodded, ducking his head back to his work. Gill reached out and snatched the roster from the Captain
of the Guard, shaking off the fat flakes that had settled there before they soaked into the parchment.

Her arm curled around Gill's free one as she silently watched for a few moments. "Aye, with a name like Able he would need to live up to it." Amused? Certainly. Couldn't help the soft smile that curled either. She hoped for the man's sake he fixed that hole in the wall and fast. Eyes lifted from the man on his knees whose livelihood was just given an ultimatum to Dewar. "Did you make forts and have such snowball fights when you were a lad." Trying to picture him as a wee lad ended up being lost on her. "Sleigh or ice skate..?"

He had been a small lad, surprising everyone when he grew to be both tall and brawny. He smiled at Caiome. "Aye, Lady Caiome. I did all those." Montrose was prone to early winters and plenty of snow, as she well knew. He looked over at the mason and his smile faded. Odd that the man wasn't doing his job as he should. Or was it Gillean's mood that affected him as well?

Gill had a way of unsettling the finest of workers, better to just nod to him and be about your business. And you better get it right. "If the two of you wish to stand out here in the snow, reminiscing, you have my blessings. I rather prefer the warmth of the fire within." He leaned down to kiss the top of his sister's head, lips to snowflakes. "Sister." He cut a look to the Captain. "Dewar." A nod offered and he took his roster and his chilled ass back into the manse. He was no sooner through the door than maids went scurrying. "Has no one anything better to do than gaze wide eyed at the falling snow? It has never snowed in Montrose?" He knew it had, he had lived here a good portion of his life, and even if this was one of the first snows of the season, that was no reason to twitter about the manse and stare out windows. Darker and more bleak, that mood of his. "Coffee!" He barked as he stalked into his study, tossing the roster to the desktop in order to look over it later. "Please!" He added as an afterthought, moving from the one room to the other, coming to the head of the table where he dropped into his chair. His elbows slammed onto the polished wood and his palms met his forehead.

"I was just going to suggest we find the warmth of the mansion. The fare is going to be delicious from Mrs Brown. Would you like to join us Captain?" Certainly she was up to mischief although not staying out in the cold. She laughed as she was a few steps behind her brother and he had those two maids scurrying for their spying on him. His mood may have gotten more dark but that didn't sway Mrs Brown whose friendly appearance took on a touch stern, "you get yourself comfortable My'lord Callihan and you shall have that coffee you so enjoy," she had come to the entry from the kitchen to dining room to make certain they were the ones coming in so dinner would be served. It would start off with a small fruit dish which was rare for this time of year to acquire. "Please have another setting put out," waving a hand in a graceful way, "over there," which would put Dewar on the other side of her brother from where she'd take a seat. Mrs Brown nodded approval before disappearing back into the kitchen. She had another woman about her age as her helper who served the food efficiently. Quietly. Taking requests or changes without a word back unlike Mrs Brown who would respectfully speak her mind at the appropriate moment. Seemed she was use to working for the upper class. The butler followed her into the dining room to see to her cloak as. she was soon joining her brother at the table. "Coffee for myself as well." Then with a whoosh of velvet she was taking a seat.

"Thank you, Lady Caiome, and certainly I accept." He wouldn't miss having a meal made by Mrs. Brown, or to see if Caiome could come to the root of her brother's bad mood. Though he didn't care for the man, he was curious. He followed Caiome into the manor, smiling at Mrs. Brown and then the other woman after handing his cloak to the butler. It wasn't his place to ask Gill questions but he did glance at Caiome before he too requested coffee. It had to be better then what was made in the barracks! The cook there could never get it right.

Gill spread his fingers to watch the Captain join them at the table. His sister was such a 'gracious' hostess. He sat back, lowering his hands to the arms of his chair and rested his eyes on the beauty of his kin. When the fruit was set before him and the coffee to the side, he scooted up closer, reaching over for the warm brew. "The fruit was your doing, Caiome?" Such a nice addition to gray day could only be the workings of his sister's bright and cheer filled mind. He brought his cup up, allowing the steam to singe his nose, and anticipating the heated sting against his tongue.

She approved the meals for the week and made certain requests. "I was hoping you would enjoy such." Knowing it meant them finding a means to get the delicate delight in midwinter. "I was wondering if the field that flooded by late rains and now turning into an ice field could be cleared and checked that it might be enjoyed by those living close enough for the lakes are a bit distant away and it will take more time for them to freeze completely." So no one fell through. Although her request was aimed at her brother, eyes also turned on Dewar in case he had any input on the subject.

Michael knew Gillean was not pleased that he was at the table which would make the meal even more enjoyed. He watched them both a moment, waiting for the two to start before he did. "That's an excellent idea, Lady Caiome, that is if your brother agrees." And even if the ice should grow thin, it wouldn't be as deep as the lake the manor was named for.

Gill had started his response with a nod, and that delay allowed for the Captain to jump right in with his opinion. "Then maybe you should see to that, Captain. Now that the roster is in place." Back out into the snow, Agreeable One, and set up a skating arena from a field prickled with dried stalks of grass, thorn-like bushes and spindly saplings. Gill skewered a strawberry half with the tiny fork provided but he didn't eat it yet, just bobbed the red fruit in the Captain's direction. "And when my sister is satisfied with the work, we'll arrange for a winter party to take place." Might as well get it planned, no doubt that was where it was headed.

Which meant Dewar would have a headache project headed his way and she would be there to witness how he handled it. A grape had been speared and soon between her lips as her brother spoke on what she had hoped. Once eaten she added, "of which you will attend and allow me a list of those worthy under you to attend. I can take a trip to the castle and speak with the Princess there on who of the lands would be appropriate to invite." And if the Princess wanted a say in the matter or any requests, they would be seen to her liking. This she didn't express as it would go over the men's heads anyway. She continued with her fruit, relishing each one individually.

He groaned inwardly, not having expected it to be placed into his lap. Of course he'd do his best, and attempt to have it done quickly and to the Lady Caiome's satisfaction. "Of course, m'Lord." He nodded amiably but he was stewing about having been trapped like that. Then again, if he was working with Caiome, Gillean would likely not be able to keep away. He went quiet then and concentrated on enjoying the rare treat of fruit.

Ohgoodlord! From a gathering of field workers to the company of princesses? How the hell did this spiral out of his control. Ah, his little sister had taken the reins and now the bloody carriage was leading the horse. He could only fight back the smile, since he had always enjoy how his sister could blow the smallest gathering into a grand affair. Case. And. Point. "Then you'll need a new gown as well, Dearest. Something in velvet ... the deepest of greens to bring out your eyes, accented with white rabbit to keep you warm." He offered his sister a wink and then shifted his attention to Mrs Brown, offering her a nod for the next course.

"Of course. I hear there is a fantastic seamstress in Kildare who services the Princess personally. Maybe she will have a reliable name to give me that we might hire one for Swan Lake. I would wish to look my best for all the eligible men in the lands." Which had her slip a look her brother's way as that would have him on guard the whole night as the overprotective brother! Wicked. "Green velvet it will be, forest or emerald. Deepest of green like the pines that stand out against the white of winter." Their empty fruit cups were cleared away as she glance Dewar's way to see how he was taking to this social event that would be an elite party by the time she was done.

If it was an elite party, he wouldn't have to worry about it, would he? He picked up the coffee and sipped it while he listened. When he caught Caiome's glance, he winked at her.


Date: 01-15-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 31

Gill had just started to swallow more coffee, but his sister's comment had him clearing it from his throat before he choked. "Why not attempt to concentrate on one eligible bachelor, Sister Mine, rather than all of them." Protective he might be, but Gill wasn't without some sense of propriety. At some point his sister would marry, and hopefully to a man of worth who could provide for her in a way she was accustomed to. Damn good thing he missed that wink sent from across the table. He smiled still, a subtle tilt of lips, as she started in on the different shades of green. That alone should keep her busy for, what, an afternoon, a day at best?

"Well, variety is the spice of life and a good hostess." One that would have the mostest that night as they would end up witness to. "Unless you have a particular bachelor in mind you wish me to pay more particular notice of?" Which had delicate brows lifting with a look her brother's way in expectation as if maybe he had someone selected? Mrs Brown came out with her helper to set out the plates being there were three to see to. Succulent orange glazed tender duckling was the course for this evening. That and the usual side dishes that complimented. She cleared her throat but it sounded more like a swallowed laugh before she scooted quickly from the room. Perhaps she was laughing out in the kitchen as there was such sounds coming from that area.

He hoped she would marry a man who could handle her. Those few days in Heathfield had been a challenge. He glanced at Mrs. Brown, and hid a grin then began to eat. This was a topic he'd do well to stay away from.!

The plate was placed before him and he leaned in to smell first. A deep breath of appreciation was released and he looked to Caiome, taking up his knife and fork. "Dearest Lamb, to this day I've yet to meet a man worthy of you. Who knows what this party of yours might produce." His attention diverted momentarily toward the closed door, hearing the suppressed amusement coming from that quarter. "It seems you have endorsements for your abilities coming from the kitchen."

"What of you, Captain Dewar, is there a lady friend or few that you would wish to invite?" Sure she was making it seem like the social aspect, boy/girl, was concentrated on her when little miss wicked had other ideas up her sleeve or sleeveless as it would be that night."Exactly, that is the wonder of Balls that holds many a female and male to attend, not just put in their time." Which a number of them did but really they could be enjoying the mechanics of it all.

Ouch. He just glanced over at Gillean, a brow lifting but then again ... he wasn't really surprised by the rat bastard. He blinked and looked at Caiome, and may have actually paled. "I uh... no, Lady Caiome. I really didn't expect that you would invite me." He was only Captain of the Guard after all. "And even so, there's no one I would know to invite."

Good she hadn't asked Gill the same, but as Dewar stuttered out his reply, the Lord of the Manor only shook his head. "Fear not, Captain, my sister will make sure there are lasses aplenty to make up for those you do not know..." Gill paused, slicing off a bite of duck, but finished before he took his bite. "...were you invited." He didn't waste the energy to settle his gaze on the captain, rather centered his attention on his meal.

Michael was going to enjoy his meal but then perhaps not the conversation. Not missing a beat as she added to her brother's statement. "Unless there are some gentlemen you'd like to see invited in particular." It was not an unknown practice being he had paled at the mention of female friends. Such a sweet smile the Captain's way as if understanding his possible preference. She had not addressed such to her brother because she knew there was no one he had an eye on. That didn't mean he could meet such a one either! Dewar was unknown territory but this conversation might enlighten them.

His head lowered slightly to bring in his next bite, Caiome's comment brought Gill's brows up, shifting his regard to Dewar's features to get a better read on what she may have picked up on.

Was she trying to cause him to choke to death on his meal?! "No, there are no gentlemen either." He was careful not to growl out his words. "As I said, I don't expect to be invited to an event with nobles." Never mind his family was nobility, however minor. He choose to ignore that fact.

Such a good meal to choke on too! She was savoring the orange glaze duckling in tender strips as she watched Dewar the while. So he didn't like women nor men. She didn't venture about little boys, not here at the dinner table. "Oh, but you will be there in attendance, it would be expected of the Captain of the Guard and in full uniform. I believe that has a kilt does it not?" Yes, Caiome was starting to not only enjoy her dinner but this whole conversation.

Lady of the Manor or not, Michael might well have strangled her! At the very least, he would have walked out. His mood was now turning from good to sour. "As you command, Lady Caiome. And yes, a kilt or dress pants if the weather is unsuitable." And a command would be the only way he'd attend.

Gill would chose to ignore that fact as well. Then again, it was easily ignored. "Leave the man be to enjoy his meal, Caiome." Though his amusement laced his words and he was more than pleased she had managed to disrupt the smooth demeanor of the Captain, he wouldn't permit what could turn into a bad situation for them all should the Captain take offense and speak out of turn. "You did, after all, invite him to join us and you have now invited him to attend your gathering. Eat, My Love, before he is bunked under our roof in the guest quarter." A flicker of greenish-gray touched on the captain before settling back on his meal.

One mood dipped and rose another. This was like a seesaw between the two. There was a twinkle to spark in the depths of grey-green eyes before dark lashes lowered as she dipped a glance to the very food in question. "Ah, but no one could not enjoy a meal fixed by Mrs Brown on the dreariest of days," or moods but that was not added. "I hear she has a lovely unmarried daughter. Perhaps I shall invite her that you can meet." Given the age of Mrs Brown would make this daughter older than Dewar as if she looked upon him as being that old. "It will be expected that the Captain of the Guard turn a step on the dance floor." She just had to add before sliding an apologetic glance her brother's way all but saying she would try to behave. Try being a key word here as she started in on her meal again.

He looked from one to the other then back to Gillean. "I do have my own quarters in the barracks, so you need not fear I'd accept such an invitation, Lord Callihan." He did show a hint of humor at that comment though it faded when Caiome spoke. "Dance?" He just... nodded. Oh, he'd dance at least once, and that would guarantee there'd be no more. Dewar was excellent with a sword but on a dance floor, his partner would likely suffer.

The knife was placed down first, and then the fork, and he looked directly at his Captain of the Guard. "You do, do you? I suppose you do not have a table for eating, or a chair tucked under it there? You and I both know that if my sister so desires it, you would not only bunk here, but you would be served in bed for the breaking of your fast come morning." A cant of head dipped toward him. "Is that ... not so?" No sooner had he stated that, he shifted his eyes to the aforementioned sister. "Which ... she will not likely do." He brought his napkin up and touched it to the corners of his lips. "And you will dance, as is expected of the Captain of the Guard, just as it is expected of the Hostess. So we are all in agreement and we can settle this subject before my meal settles not at all in my gut."

"You do dance, do you not, Captain?" But her brother's words had eyes darken as they came to rest with his. So the challenge. Gillean wanted Michael invited to stay the night just to see if he would go against his claim. How she was seeing it. There was a slight twitched to the corners of her lips before the intensity of eyes turned on Michael, to put his mouth where his money was placed. "Please do spend the night then, Captain. Especially when you will be served breakfast in bed." Did the thought flash.. who might serve it?

So much for the pleasant settling of his food. "Caiome..." Gill growled out a warning. This whole scene of doing exactly what he suggested she not do was starting to wear on the man. Masons who failed him. Servants who avoided and then peeked around corners at him. A Captain of the Guard who was invited to dine, to party, to sleep beneath his roof and would no doubt receive that breakfast in bed. A sister who defied him. At least the cook still knew to bring him his coffee. Wait...his cup was empty. "Mrs. Brown?" He called, as pleasantly as he could for a refill.

What the hell?! He was caught between bother and sister now and just looked from one to the other. "Of course I would. And yes, I will dance." He was about to say more when Caiome spoke. "Not well, m'Lady." Honest in that. When she invited him in spite of his brother's warning, he stared at her a moment then inclined his head. "If that's what you truly wish, Lady Caiome." He glanced over at Gillean then away. If things became too uncomfortable, he was sure Gillean would go speak to James about replacing him. Then he could return to Montrose.

Well, there was a point she wished not this conversation to go and she was pushing the envelope. She found out what she had wanted to see. "Well, I understand if duty has you better to rest in your own bed." He had his ticket out along with a sweet smile. Coffee was being poured. Rich. Dark. Hers sweet. Dessert would follow of a lemon meringue pie.

Gill didn't comment on Caiome's escape route, just nodded off his thanks for the refill and collected his spoon for the pie. "Are you a fan of lemon, Captain?" Perhaps now the conversation could shift to more mundane subjects.

"Thank you, Lady Caiome." He'd take that ticket and run with it! And now that they were speaking of safer subjects, he nodded. "I am, in tea and definitely in pie." He was going to make an effort to keep things at an even keel. "Especially when Mrs. Brown's made it." Ugh. He was going to have to start working harder. He was starting to add weight and it was not all muscle.

Which they each had a good size slice set next to their coffee and his tea. "I notice your preference for tea, is that an English or Irish trait by chance?" Being she was unsure of the origins of the name Dewar, so now she get a little more information. She lifted the pie fork and soon was breaking off a bit big enough, yet not too big, to enjoy.

Lemon wasn't Gill's favorite, but Mrs. Brown's pies never disappointed. He kept a subtle glance shifting from his sister to her guest while he ate a good portion of his large slice, but was soon sliding the remainder away to be cleared. He collected his cup and stood. "Do forgive me, Rabbit, but I need to glance over that roster before the Captain ... takes his leave." They could continue their conversation without him and Gill would be all the more pleased to be free of the table.

Michael stood as Gillean did for in spite of his claims to the contrary, he did know the rules he should follow. "Good night, Lord Callihan." A salute followed and he'd wait to be sure Caiome wasn't going to follow her brother. After he finished his pie, he intended to take his leave as well. He always checked the guards on duty each night before turning in. If Gillean had any questions on it, they could speak tomorrow. "And I don't know if it is or not, Lady Caiome. I'm of Scottish descent. And I happen to like both." A smile followed his words.

It was getting to that time. "I will see you in the den for a nightcap of brandy." Spoken to her retreating brother. She rose being she was finished with every bit of her pie and it seemed Dewar had devoured his. True to his claim. "I will see the Captain to the door once he is ready." Being he rose, it would seem he was ready! Well, since she rose she realized he had not finished his. "Please do enjoy the slice," as she moved to one of the large windows and drew back the heavy curtain to view the snow that was coming down far thicker than before.

It didn't take him long to finish, and then he stood again. "Good night, Lady Caiome, and thank you. Please tell Mrs. Brown I enjoyed her cooking immensely." He bowed slightly. "You need not show me the way out if you wish to join his Lordship." He was going to make sure he avoided approaching either when it was close to meal times!

She turned with an unreadable expression followed with a slight dip of her head. "As you wish, Captain Dewar," standing on protocol as she let the drape fall back in place. A guide of her hand saw to the folds of her gown as she held her head high in spite of thoughts he disliked her. Then again she had planted those very seeds. She headed from the dining room to the den where she would enjoy that brandy tonight.

Gill would also enjoy his brandy, in the company of his sister, and with the knowledge that the captain was at the guard house, and not under his roof.

And he felt she didn't like him. At least with Gillean, there was no uncertainty. He knew the man disliked him. He wasn't sure why the Lady's expression became so guarded. He had only not wanted to keep her from her brother's company. After bowing as she left, he retrieved his cloak and headed out into the blowing snow. Ugh. Another lovely winter's night.


Date: 01-17-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 32

The Ice Rink

The following day had Caiome up early as she stood by the large window of her bedchamber. Today one Captain of the Guard would be set to work on the iced up flooded field. The brim of the teacup touch lips that curled in a soft smile before a sip was taken. The warmth soaked into her fingers as she curled both hands around the heated cup as it was lowered. It was not only cold out there, it was still snowing. It would mean clearing the snow away too every few hours to keep the ice exposed. It would mean finding every shoot that stuck up unwanted through the ice, disposing of it and filling in the hole with water to freeze. It would not do if there was any spot on the ice that might down a royal. She enjoyed the luxury of the tea a few more minutes until it was done then moved back into her chambers to dress according to the weather. Warmly. Such was the thicker woolen slacks and cable sweater over another lighter shirt. Fur lined boots, hat, scarf, gloves and a hooded cloak once she left the mansion.

That very Captain of the Guard wasn't about to tackle this task alone. He had the recruits and some volunteers helping. A necessity since the frozen field was large. The recruits were told that this was a lesson for them, but didn't explain what just yet. The volunteers were off duty but weren't in the mood to sit around indoors. Of course, some didn't volunteer and Michael couldn't blame them. It was bluidy cold. He was just checking an area to see how thick the ice was when it gave way and one leg broke through into the cold water. He cursed as he stumbled out, nearly losing his balance as well. "Mark this area," he growled at the soldier who was with him and then gave him a look. "And stop laughing, O'Brien, or I'll push you in myself." He and O'Brien had been boyhood friends so the man just laughed again as he placed the marker. And Dewar gave him a push.

Gill had overheard the discussion between his sister and one of the maids about tending to the ice field today. Guess that was the first step toward her foray of grandiose proportions. He took up a lean at one of the ceiling to floor length windows, one arm crossing his midsection to hold back the heavy, damask curtain. The snow continued to float down in large flakes, hazing out the periphery, blending the horizon. Would he ever deny Caiome anything? Not in this or any lifetime. Still, he had expected to see her out there already. He squinted, shifting his body in an attempt to better his vision, but that did little to see past the fluttering snow. He knew what he had to do, that is, if he wanted to, and since he wanted to, he pushed up from his lean and called out to his man. "I'll take my coat, Norman, gloves, scarf and hat." Norman didn't reply except to appear in the doorway with those items draped over his arm and in his hand. "It is dreadfully cold out, My Lord. I've tucked a flask of something, proper, in your coat pocket." Gill nodded, smiling to himself, and crossed to the man. "Ever thoughtful of my needs, thank you, Norman." The man assisted Gill to don his outer attire and then the Lord of manor tucked his chin against the chill and ventured out.

She made a dark figure against white that lent to becoming shadowy as she moved through the falling snow. She came upon Dewar the precise moment he shoved one of his workers into the water. Granted it was only knee deep. "Is that any way to treat your help?" Her face obscured by the forward pitch of her hood but her voice would not be mistaken by Dewar. "Here I figured you to be a more kind task master." She nudged a booted foot against his leg that has a layer of ice formed on it, watching as it broke away in tiny crystallized shards. She had not witnessed the preceding events that led up to his frozen pant leg.

Wonderful. That just made his day more ... perfect. He turned to face Caiome, stepping back when he nearly bumped into her. "Thank you," but for what? Just as he was about to say more, a snowball smacked him in the back of his head, sending snow down his back since the hood of his cloak was down. He took a moment to compose himself, lips tight to keep him from laughing or cursing. "Excuse me, Lady Caiome." Tunring he looked at O'Brien and barked out a laugh. His friend looked like an ice man! "Get you to the barracks, and thaw yourself out, O'Brien. Stanley! Get over here and take O'Brien's place." O'Brien just flashed him a grin then stomped off through the snow to warm up. Dewar turned back to Caiome, his face stern again. "What can I do for you, m'Lady." On another part of the ice, the lads were clearing snow again, and pulling at weeds and sticks, even rocks.

Gill stopped a few yards shy of the chatting Caiome and Dewar. His arm crossed around his chest, hunched into himself, burrowed into his scarf. His eyes watched the body language even though he couldn't yet hear the words shared between them. He nodded to the quick and snapped off salute provided by the guard as he dashed past, snatching his attention back to the pair.

She muffled a laugh as she realized it was all in fun but then she would have said the same regardless. "Oh, and here is my brother..." distracted a moment as she viewd one very cold Gillean. "What can you do, well... you are already doing something for me so I came to see if you and your boys could use something to eat and pots of hot coffee or tea?" Obviously the one sent back would get all he needed and warm too. "Who was that man?" Curious to get a name. One never knew what fun mischief she could make of it.

"Jacob O'Brien, Sergeant Jacob O'Brien," correcting himself to include the man's rank. "One of the finest men you'll find, should you need anything. And I'm sure the lads will appreciate anything in the way of food and coffee." He noticed Gill now and saluted him, giving a whistle so his men noticed and did the same.

Yes. Yes. Okay. Yes. When work ceased to acknowledge him, he started forward, lifting a gloved hand in response so they could resume their duties. Such as they were. "It almost seems a waste of energy to try to clear the snow..." Since his hand was already out from the tuck, he presented his palm to collect the heavy flakes that collected in it. "At least until the night of your gathering." He walked on up to Caiome, slipped her hood back only a fraction, and bent to place a kiss at her temple.

"Sergeant O'Brien, ah yes, I've heard his name mentioned favorably." By this time her handmaid had approached and she gave her the request for the food and hot liquids to be brought. Gill nearly got Mary but Cai had stepped between being the lass would enjoy a kiss from Gill way too much. Her hand came up to touch against his cheek while she placed a kiss to the other. "Some woman will be very lucky one day." Although some might debate that for his moods but she felt the right woman might help with those.

He nodded then looked at Gillean. "We're only clearing to make sure there's nothing hidden by the snow." He kept his voice respectful then looked away as the two greeted one another. And he didn't roll his eyes when he heard her say some woman would be very lucky. She'd have her work cut out for her. "Dalton, get help with that rock, lad. Excuse me, my Lord, my Lady." And he headed over to see to that help.

A soft wink was offered to his sister for that comment, although Gill knew such a day would more than likely never come. Dewar's shout pulled Gill's attention away, finding and then watching as the two men struggled to dislodge a rather hefty rock. Well now, brute force in action. Everyone swoon and sigh on cue. Ready...steady....

Wink had her smile before she too was watching Dewar. "So how long have you known Sergeant O'Brian?" Never hurt to gather every bit of information on those that were under their employ for one never knew when it might come in handy. "I was thinking that a very large barrel could be constructed and attached to the back of a wagon. Fill it with water from the top and a hose from the spigot that you can use to flood the field more once it is cleared." Ready, steady and the one's hands slipped that had him falling backwards and sliding on the ice.

Ah hell! Dewar was trying to keep the rock up once the lad had fallen but he wasn't having much luck. His feet started to slip and next thing he knew he was flat on his stomach, the rock still in place. He would have started to laugh but one of his hands was caught under the rock. He let out a yell which brought several of his men running.

When one man slipped, Gill remained, but when the rock began to slip as well from the Captain's grip, things went South fast. "Shit." He hissed, long strides carrying him across the distance. He didn't run, but determination cut the distance in no time. "Damn, Man, got yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place." Waving away all but one of the men near, Gill curled leather clad fingers around one corner of the rock, the guard doing the same around the other and they tipped it enough to free the Captain. Bent as he was to that task, he cut a look to Dewar. "Be prepared, the Lady of the Manor will no doubt..." But he didn't finish, twisting his head to look back at Caiome.

"You look rather cold Captain. I'd offer to warm your lips but I think my brother would break your neck." She was terrible in teasing him but it would keep his mind off the slight disaster at hand. She couldn't help but draw near with the rescue. It obviously was the very idea that such could prove harmful to the guest list she had yet to work on. "I guess my idea for carting water was not good?" Being neither had comment on her suggestion.

"Very funny." He answered through gritted teeth. Once the rock was lifted enough, he sat up. First he tried flexing his fingers, then he bit back a curse. He didn't think they were broken but damn that hurt. "Thank you, Lord Callihan." He stayed where he was, though sitting up and stared up at Caiome in surprise. "Uh.... " He hadn't answered because he hadn't heard. He had been concerned for the boy and look what happened.

Rubbing his hands together, Gill swatted off the caked on snow, hearing the gratitude but brushing it off just as effectively by looking to his sister. "It was an excellent idea, Dearest." A brow was lifted as he straightened fully, turning to her. The idea for the ice, not the idea for warming the Captain's lips. "Quite the engineer's mind you have. We need but find a free hand..." A cant of head had him looking at the Captain's hand, to meet his eyes, then back to Caiome. "...and I have no doubt your idea will be an effective addition to icing this field." Black leather disappeared into the pocket of his woolen coat, bringing forth the silver flask that had been stored within it. This Gill handed down to Dewar. Whether he was on duty or not, no doubt he could use a swallow. The Captain would know not to hand it back, a man of Gill's upbringing would not drink after.

Green eyes shifted from her brother to the Captain. She still had a smile to linger from her brother's compliment. Had Dewar ever seen her really smile? Made her look like an angel of which she was not! "Do you know of anyone with such capable hands." Had her eyes dipped to see if he had little or large hands for starters. Who knew where Dewar's lips had been. She slightly rocked on the soles of her boots as the motion helped to warm her. It was at this point her handmaid returned with a few other ladies to dispense the hot coffee, tea and even cocoa to those who wanted it along with a bit to eat.

Free hand meant him obviously, though he wouldn't second guess. He accepted the flask, took a long drink and tucked it away. He'd return it to the cook to be scrubbed up later. And where his lips had been was no one's business. His hands were large, thank the gods or he'd look ridiculous. "Of course, I'll be glad to see to the rebuilding of the ice, Lady Caiome." He pushed himself to a stand, wincing again. He'd see the healer later. "I doubt I'll be much good for doing the cleaning up for a few days."

The mention of capable hands, by his sister, to the Captain, brought Gill's dark brows tightly into a frown. He refused, refused! to glance to the man's hands again after her comment. If Gill's mind drifted even slightly in the same path of his sister's, yes, there might be trouble. Especially if he knew she was considering his lips beyond just that off hand comment about warming them, which, of course, she was only teasing him about, even if it made Gill cringe inwardly with a need to retaliate. No harm. No foul. The Captain remained honorably detached from Caiome's teasing pokes. At least in Gill's company, which was, probably all the better for all of them. "Don't take on too much of this responsibility, Captain. Swan Lake Manor and those within her keeping need you where you are most need you focused where you are most qualified. You've done well delegating so continue."

"Aye, we would not want you wore down to where you fall ill or listless where your energy is needed most.." such a sweet smile as she tried to picture Dewar in such a state one could take advantage of him in many a different way. She curled her arm into her brothers as she stepped closer, her head to rest against his shoulder. She barely made it to his shoulder. Eyes held that devil's own twinkle. At least in this area. Others she showed compassion in helping those within their small villages scattered about. "I would suggest you delegate a crew to start such a project, I will have a drawing made up for them to follow by this evening. Do come by to pick it up. I will go over it with you if you have any questions." Although she would write out the various needs of such a project and where there would be reinforcements. The rest would be easily done under the skill of the local barrel maker.

She had to be trying to make her brother angry! It seemed like it. He took a deep breath then nodded. "Of course, Lord Callihan. Lady Caiome. I'll put O'Brien in charge once he returns." He would see to his hand then too. Dewar was always very careful with Lady Caiome. Sometimes he wondered how Gill managed to keep his temper. He would swear she was more to handle then all their female cousins. "As you wish, m'Lady." He bowed his head slightly to the siblings though he glanced at Gillean to see his reaction to her invitation. Why did he feel like he was walking on the edge of a sharp sword?

Gill's saving grace, or perhaps it was Dewar's saving grace, regardless, 'the' saving grace was that Caiome was rarely the cause of his temper. Those twinkling eyes? To Gill, he was blissfully ignorant that they did not just rival the heavens, the Angels' envy, those sparkling greens. He rested his other hand on where her arm hooked to his, listening to Dewar's response to Caiome's invitation. The poor captain was not just walking on the edge of a sword, Caiome held the hilt and at her will, she gave it a slight jiggle, just to see him attempt to keep his balance. "Before dinner." Gill interjected. "She will have them for you before dinner, so that you can be comfortable with them and then be suitably situated back at the barracks for your meal." He slanted a look down to his sister. "If not, the plans can wait until the morrow. We wouldn't wish to inconvenience the Captain further this night."

One thing that had changed and now showing, was that Caiome Callihan was no longer the frightened little creature she had been. Those dark days had been dispelled once she got her brother back and they now presided over Swan Lake Estates. A small castle in its own right with a few small villages and rolling productive lands. She almost, almost! laughed as her brother made sure to make it clear he was not welcome to dinner. Who knew. Someday, Gillean might invite him but it would take a lot of changes in how Gill viewed the man. One of those, worse enemies that became best friends if they didn't kill each other first. She had a twinge of sympathy as she added, "I'm sure such would be far more convenient.." waving it off with the slight graceful motion of a gloved hand. Needless to say she noted how uncomfortable he'd been last she had invited him. "If the Sergeant has any questions, arrangements can be made to see him." If the man needed to talk to her directly to make certain of the invention.

Dewar would not fight Gillean unless he had no choice. He might not seem to like the man but he respected him, and intended to do his job until Gillean decided he was no longer needed. And if there was no longer a place for him at Montrose, he'd find one elsewhere. "Yes, it would and would allow me to studied the plans more fully." He wouldn't meet with her without a 'chaperone' in her manor, whether it would be Gillean or a maid. O'Brien had returned and waited off to the side for his orders. "If you'll excuse me, Lord Callihan, Lady Caoime, I'll speak to O'Brien now and see to having the healer tend my hand." He waited for permission of course.

With the mention of O'Brien, Gill looked off toward the man, but nodded to release the Captain to be about his 'business'. Gill and Dewar had 'fought' already, not as Lord of the Manor rather than a threat to Montrose's safety. Although, really, was Gillean Callihan really not a threat to Montrose? Only time would tell. "Come, Rabbit, let's get back within before there is no differentiating us from the mounds of snow that will be collecting. I've a sudden need to hear you read to me from Shakespeare's sonnets. I believe the last we were on is 134." He slid a look toward Dewar and O'Brien, then patted the delicate hand under his own, turning to direct them back toward the manor and its warmth.

"Aye, there is a bit o' a chill settling in. I'm sure the Captain and Sergeant can see to things and give us a report on how long it will all take." She was still nestled in against her brother while watching the two. That was until the request that had her smiling warmly up to her brother. "I was wondering when you'd make the request again." Moving as he turned with a sliding glance back before she her steps came quickly alongside for she was going to enjoy reading to her brother like old times.


Date: 01-28-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 33

Shopping Spree

Winter was finally making its mark as the snow fell heavily.. steadily. The quiet could calm the beast in anyone, even her brother! Caiome was a diehard with her shopping and was still in one store picking out material for new dresses until very late. Deep rich velvets that she had a hard time choosing over. She knew taking her time would have at least Dewar and her brother standing out in the blowing cold snow the whole while until she finally rushed out, cheeks warmed by being inside. "I think that will be all for tonight?" Such relieving words as she motioned to the Thistle just up the road. "Shall we take a respite there?"

Gill had stood out in the cold, digging the heel of his boot into snow that had collected by the side of the building while he leaned against the exterior. Every once in a while, he leaned forward to glance around through the window, checking Caiome's progress then just shook his head and relaxed back again, arms crossed tight over his chest. His gaze drifted over to Dewar, actually lingering there, watching how the man reacted to this delay. And then, out she came, which caused Gill to immediately shove up from his lazy posture. He looked in the direction she indicated. 'The Thistle? Well enough, Dove."

At one time Dewar stood guard, through all kinds of weather. That didn't make him patient but he managed to hide it, except for the fact he wasn't still. His hand still hurt so he'd blame it on that if anyone asked. He didn't lean against the wall... that would be too much of an imitation of the Callihan. He fidgeted, like a school boy, one foot to the other, pacing a few short steps and finally just standing near the wall. Not a good idea he realized when snow slid down from the roof, smacking him on one shoulder. Finally, Caiome came out and he relaxed a touch. Of course, it wouldn't be his decision but Gill made the right one.

Her smile was bright for her brother, chin lifted as she noted the difference between the two, Gil was calm and collected while Dewar fidgeted like a school boy. "You're blood is not thick enough Captain Dewar?" Brows lifting a fraction as she didn't hide her amusement. "I hope you are not going to refuse some warmed up brandy or whiskey once we get there. I think such will do you a world of good." Stated as a matter of fact as she slipped her arm to hook with her brothers. The walks and roads were slippery by now but at least she had boots on. Still, one could still take a tumble. The monster was out as well. The rumbling of the giant snow roller was getting louder as it headed their way.

Gill dipped his head with a suppressed smile. Right, Dearest. Dewar. Warmed Brandy. Interesting. Not likely, but interesting. Gillean placed his leather clad hand over his sisters there through the bend of his arm and started them across the street. He glanced to the sound of the snow roller, but they had time to take it slow and carefully to their destination. "So what color did you chose, Rabbit? The deep green? A royal blue?" They made their way with care up the steps of the Thistle and then Gill leaned to hold the door open for his sister to enter.

He blinked in surprise, then managed not to grumble. "Ah, my blood is thick enough, Lady Caiome. But it seems the cold makes my hand ache." Dammit. Next time, he'd make sure to stand perfectly still like a toy soldier. He fell in behind them, glancing at the snow roller as it passed. It was loud but it did a good job. And no, he wouldn't have brandy. Potcheen if he could get away with it.

"Indeed," oh.. she wanted to make a remark about his thick blood but her brother was right there on her arm! Instead she threw back her head in a merry laugh that lasted the few seconds it would. Had she not been on her brother's strong arm, she may have been down sliding along the street for certainly the soles on her boots wanted to give way a time or two. "I think I'm due for some new boots." Why not? They could finally spend money that was their own. Something they had longed for. "I am going with a deep rich black, luscious sheen to it and trimmed in silver brocade along the hems and such.." waving her hand as if to dismiss talking about her attire to be. "I'm having velvet suits made up for both you and Dewar being he will be the leading royal guard there." Royal for they were royalty and now they needed to show that to all who lived under them. It was a new role for her and for her bother as they had, up to recent events, lived under the thumb of their cruel father. She was more than happy to step within once the tavern was reached and the door held. Such a smile with a glint in green eyes that made them sparkle. "A round of warm whiskey dear Alex.." that was the start of this evening.

Heavenly Lord, she had been shopping all day and had not even gotten boots? Gill brought up a hand and rubbed his fingers to his eye as he shook his head. He had heard Dewar's comment about his hand but didn't comment on it. Like Caiome's comment, but didn't respond to it. Like Caiome's unspoken retort, his remained unstated as well because of her presence. Suck it up. Get the hell over it. Gill reached up and started unwinding his scarf. "Evening, Alex." The order was placed by Caiome, there was nothing left but to greet the good man. He stuffed the fold of the scarf into his pocket, then started plucking at the fingers of his gloves. "I have plenty of clothes, Dear One. I didn't need anything new." When Alex brought the drinks, Gill thanked him with a nod. Sincere gratitude. This had been quite the day.

He had only used his hand as an excuse. And it wasn't the cold either. He felt like it was a waste of time, but he wouldn't say so to either one of them. He groaned inwardly when he heard Caiome. Velvet? Velvet! That was all he needed. "I don't know if velvet is really suitable for a Captain of the Guard." He would feel ridiculous too.

"Only for this event but I will make sure that it is flattened and stiff..." which would make them all the more uncomfortable. She laughed then as her cloak was removed, hat and gloves one by one. "Wool will do you both just fine." She knew her brother had plenty of clothes but she also knew he didn't really have something suited to represent him as Lord of Swan Lakes. Perhaps the title of Duke might be bestowed on him one day too. That would really have the women swarming like flies to dung.. oh yes, the mental image amused her as the gloves were folded, she looking very innocent as they were tucked away. "I'm famished, perhaps something to eat as well?" Making her way to the bar at that point to collect one of the three warmed whiskies.. aptly, potcheen punch.

How well did Caiome really know Gill, anyway, after his extended absence? Fingers curled around his glass, dipping his head to look in Dewar's direction, perhaps only the men would recognize that look. "I'm sure the Captain will feel honored with your consideration and generosity, Caiome, when the night arrives." As far as the swarming flies were concerned, Gill would find that rather amusing as well, considering his innate disinterest in the pesty insects no matter how big a shit he could be. His head came up, as did his hand, and he brought the glass to his mouth.

Dewar just smiled slightly, inclining his head to his Lordship's words. "Aye, I will," as long as he didn't look like a dandy. "You will have to consider, in time, a uniform for the guard." They wouldn't want the others to be wearing any kind of clothing they wanted, or worse yet, look as unkempt as Dewar managed to most of the time, now would they? Of course, he hadn't been quite so casual in Montrose. He picked up the whiskey and took a long, badly needed, drink.

Caiome timed it that just when that warmed whiskey hit mouth and throat, "you will be expected to escort me in one dance." Hers was held that moment before the statement then downed in one quick kick back. Now that warmed her from head to toe but eyes were steadfast on Dewar and his reaction. Both seemed to like goading him. Certainly the poking and prodding would toughen him up, thicken his blood.

Gillean's empty glass was placed on the bar and he motioned for a refill before looking to his sister. "I believe the Captain is already intending to do so, Caiome." It was the warmth of the whiskey, surely, that caused him to nearly grit his teeth as he spoke those words. Alex, kind soul, was quick with that refill. "And you shall save one for me as well...Sister Mine." This was going to be a test for Gillean, and he wasn't unaware of that fact.

He was tough enough though sometimes he felt like he was being punished for some odd reason by James. He knew better but still... And because they had spoken of such before, he managed to drink without choking. "Aye, my Lady. As his Lordship says, and I promise to do my best not to step on your toes." And hopefully that would be the only dance he'd have that night or there would be several lasses limping home. He didn't down all the whiskey but he had lowered the level of the liquid quite a bit.

"If you do, I'll feed you to the dogs. I suggest you take some dancing lessons. I hear there is a school right here in these lands." Being Kildare was still growing she doubted there was any dance instructors unless in the castle itself. She leaned against her brother for a moment, words smooth as velvet, "of course m'dear, you will always have a dance with me." That was a given as was the quick wink before picking up the menu to decide what she'd like. Although late she had skipped dinner and was finally hungry.

Drinking the second glass at a slower rate, he accepted the slight weight of his sister as she leaned into him by just holding the glass aside. "Ah, dancing lessons now as well. And when do you plan for the man to sleep, Caiome? He has his duty as Captain, seeing to our guard, preparing that field, taking care of your errands for your party as necessary, and keep from stuffing the belly of the dogs, he will need take dancing lessons. You are a vicious taskmaster, Dear One." Gill actually chuckled, a deep, dark sound, faint to the ear, but there all the same. "Ah, and lest I forget to add, being fitted for his new, velvet attire." He tipped the glass he held to his sister with appreciation of her ability to push a man to his limits.

"There's also the matter of traveling from Kildare to here and back." He added mildly. He had placed his glass on the counter and nodded his thanks to Alex as he lifted it. "But, as you command, my Lady." Nearly cheerful. Likely it was the whiskey that warmed his belly making him agree. He'd be so exhausted by the time they had the party, he'd fall asleep standing.

"Are you saying I'm too hard on the man? Perhaps I should allow him a vacation. Hmmm." Her smile sweeping in an infectious luring way, "after the Ball is over.." Finally slanting a glance the Captain's way, "you are man enough to handle..." almost saying me but caught herself as that smile only took on another quality, "all of this? Hmmm?" She had traveled here as well her brother and all would be going back together too. That slight tilt of her head he could be sure she was measuring him up. "Perhaps another warmed whiskey will help the blood flow," motioning to Alex in a pleasant way to serve Dewar up another and herself.

Gillean said nothing for now, but his jaw worked with Caiome's words, well aware of her unspoken intentions. Drinking down the remainder of his second, he started to nod a yes to Alex but thought better of it. They needed Dewar, and if things continued at this pace tonight, Gill may very well say or do something that they all would regret. "Are you in command of the man's leave, Sister?" Turning slowly, he rested his side to the rim of bar, his arm hooking there as his hand hung limp from the edge. "After your ball is over, the Captain will have plenty to keep him busy that he'll not be able to afford the time away." Gill would talk about Michael as if he wasn't in the room. Wasn't that usually the case? It was safer ... for the both of them. Trust in that.

He had meant daily for in all likelihood, it would take from now until the ball for him to learn. He didn't answer but merely inclined his head in answer to Caiome. It was probably best that he kept his mouth shut. There was a hint of a smile again though as he finished his second drink and started on the third. This would be the last for him tonight, so he nursed it. Surprisingly, or maybe not, he wasn't hungry.

She gave a simpering sound as she had not intended to offend her brother. "It would have been with your leave and more to the tune a vacation from me pulling his strings." She too could talk about him as if he was not in the room. Certainly Gil knew that his beautiful sister was going to be a handful, especially with this ball coming up. She was also a bit high strong, that went without saying especially after all she'd been through. She slanted a glance finally Dewar's way noticing he was taking to the drink well. That amused her for some odd reason as the hint of the smile was all that showed.

His Dear Caiome wasn't the only one that had been through hell these many years past. Caiome might be high strung, or head strong, but in comparison to her brother, she was a foal in the hay, still on wobbling legs teetering. Gill was danger to her daring, expertise to her experimentation, serious sin to her sampling seductions. So, the older brother was well aware of every nuance of making up for lost time, especially with Caiome. Everything she was testing out, trying, he had already manipulated and mastered. He still didn't like the sound that followed his reprimand though. It shot right through his heart. "Forgive me, Dearest. I am aware you know of the man's responsibilities to those he serves."

So, now he was being ignored. Fine with him. He would just enjoy the drink, listen and stare out the window. Better he didn't talk anyway. He had a feeling he'd only get himself in deeper.

"I figure one more day of shopping and I have hired a seamstress, temporarily of course until she proves herself. She will be coming back with us." She had come highly recommended but only time would tell. "She will be taking measurements of you both once back to the mansion." She was more than happy to let the other topic fall through the cracks in the floorboards. Focus turned on Dewar. He was too quiet and that brooded suspicion. "Have you gotten any reports on the progress of the skating rink?" More like field but when they were done with it, it would rival any lake. They had seen to the contraption she came up with so one reason she was more than curious.

Back? As in tomorrow when they left their rented rooms to return to Kildare? When had this happened? Get a grip, Gill. This was Caiome. Be ever ready for surprises. The conversation shifted to Dewar, and so it was there that Gill settled his gaze.

He wasn't doing anything but drinking! Turning slightly, he faced the siblings, lowering the glass. "Aye, Lady Caiome. Everything has been cleared away, the ice is thick enough in every spot and your machine worked extremely well." All proper and polite. He didn't say the lads were trying it out while they were away. They'd smooth it out and it would look perfect. "They've even cut away the bushes and dead plants from around the area." So she could decorate along the banks of the shallow lake to her hearts content.

"I'm pleased to hear it and.. can't wait until tomorrow so I can witness the end results personally." She was gathering a crew together to put this party in place. Dewar best be accurate in his statement. "Best to get you back to your other duties," slanting a glance her brother's way with a slight lift of her chin. Perhaps she would hire a few handymen too so the poor Captain wasn't overworked.

Gill lifted his hand and chucked his sister under that uplifted chin with his forefinger, twitching a wink her way. He eased from his stool. "Alex, we'll be staying the night. That is if you have three rooms."

Again, he just inclined his head. "Of course, my Lady." He nearly sighed but contained it. Caiome certainly drew out her claws when it came to him but at least she treated others kindly. He had nearly finished his drink but held off for just a little longer. Maybe he'd stay up while the siblings retired to their rooms. Just to give his ears a rest.

The chucking of her chin brought the light laughter which would herald the end of this evening. No matter what transpired with wit in spar of tongues, left life to continue keeping them from the dull and dreary. "A few hours of shopping after breaking fast and Swan Lake should be reached in time to dine." Late dinner but that would suit her well and a hot bath to follow. Glass of wine and she'd go over the minor details that this Ball would entail in her head.

The Keeper of the Key slid over the three and Gill collected his. "Finish your meal, Caiome." A lidded gaze touched on Dewar. With her guard here, his sister would be safe enough. "I'll meet you down here for the morning's breaking of the fast, and we will begin anew." A lean and he touched a kiss to her temple. "Sleep well." Nothing else needed to be said, just a slow, single nod Dewar's way. Alex would see to their belongings being delivered to their rooms before they were needed.

Dewar was still a soldier and as such, he straightened from his lean and saluted Gill with a thump of his fisted hand to his chest. He'd wait until Gillean was out of the room before relaxing again. He didn't need a bad report getting back to Montrose though he was wondering why one hadn't been delivered.

A kiss touched to her brother's cheek in return, her smile not contained. "A well planned day to be enjoyed." She always enjoyed her time at her brother's side. She was having lobster bisque and so set to finally finishing off what she'd been picking at in small spoonfuls. In the process she was ignoring the Captain. Something she was sure he would expect at this point. She was tired and would be following in her brother's footsteps minus the kiss to Dewar's cheek!

Yes, Dewar would expect it. He also expected Caiome to retire, then he would tell Alex that he didn't want more to drink and would sit at the hearth for a while. That way Alex could also retire if he wised. Thankfully, Dewar knew he would be riding a horse ahead of the carriage on their return to Kildare and not have to engage in idle talk. He wasn't all that good at it. Now, however, he sat in front of the fire in one of the wing backed chairs and stared at the dancing flames. He needed some time to think.


Date: 01-29-12
Poster: Michael Dewar
Post # 34

The Next Day

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 relaxation.

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 worth it.

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 younger.

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. "Cousin."

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 reasons.

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 home."

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 man. Sheesh!

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 night.

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.


Date: 01-29-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 35

The holidays had provided Captain Regan Callihan and the crew of the Neptune's Dream with a much needed break. Those of the crew who didn't have family celebrated together on the ship. Regan, with permission from her brother, James, held a celebration at Whispering Pines where she gave gifts to each crew member, from her first mate down to the cabin boy and all the officers and sailors in between as well as their families who were also invited. Her crew had given their all over the course of the year and this was one way to show her appreciation. The rest of the year had been spent with her family while her crew spent their time off anyway they wished. She promised they'd see to setting off again in the new year though she gave no promise of a date. It would depend on if she could slip away, and if she wasn't needed in Kildare. While she was home, she took her share of the booty they had gained during the past year and divided it into thirds. One third was given to James for Montrose, one to Kildare and one to Heathfield.

She had made a delivery of wood and other items to Kildare on her way to spend time with Alannah and their father and found herself snowed in at Montrose. Her crew was split up since some had chosen to sail with her and some had not. The waters along the coast could be dangerous but she had enough crew to deal with most problems. Of course, the sight of the remains of Segan Quinn's ship served as a reminder of what those things could be. A message to her crew, waiting at the port in Kildare would have to be delayed but likely the storm was hitting there as well. She wasn't worried about the ship or the crew. They would deal with the weather and the cold well enough.

As she stood at the window of her bedroom, watching the snow fall, her thoughts began to drift to an odd meeting before she left Bridgetown. She had seen Marcus and had given him a pocket watch to replace one he had lost during one of their partnerships and was returning to the Dream when a woman approached her.


The woman's skin was a deep rich brown, her eyes dark and depthless and her hair black and carefully braided. She carried herself gracefully and Regan noticed with some amusement that many of the men watched her. She also noticed that some crossed themselves as she passed while others looked away rather quickly. She stopped as she neared Regan, pausing to study the young woman.

"Ya have a name, lass?" Finally, she spoke in the accent of one born in Barbados. Power seemed to emanate from the woman but it was benevolent, warming.

"I do. Regan Callihan at your service." Those around them found the sight of the two intriguing, a contrast that wasn't all that unusual except for who the two were. Regan smiled and the other did as well nodding.

"I am called Quenna." Regan understood now why people reacted as they did. The woman was rumored to be a Voudun priestess, a seer, a prophet. The woman looked her over, then nodded. "Ya be da girl I seen in my dreams. Do ya have time ta speak ta me?" Quenna waved toward a small cafe, an oddity among the taverns and shops of the docks.

"Aye, I do." Regan was rarely without an escort, even if they weren't close With the Dream in sight, she motioned her men on to the ship then followed Quenna to the cafe. Inside it was as cozy and comfortable as any in the upper class areas of any city. The woman led the way to an alcove that had silky blue curtains. The serving girl brought Quenna coffee, rich and dark and Regan ordered the same.

"And da cakes I like for bot' of us, chil'." Quenna told the girl who scurried away. The woman waited until the cakes were delivered and the curtain closed before she spoke again. "Are you heading back to your homeland today, child?" Regan's blue eyes grew wide then she laughed. Quenna merely smiled.

"Aye, I am. Do you need my ship to carry cargo for you?" She sipped the coffee, pleased to find it had a touch of chocolate. Quenna picked up a cake, placing it on a plate and slid that over to Regan.

"No, child. I came to give you a warning." She raised her eyes and met Regan's. "I had a dream, and I always trust my dreams. It involved you, child, and a treasure you seek." Again, Regan was surprised but she nodded for the woman to go on. "The treasure is cursed, so first you need to find a way to remove that. You will find it not in the Caribbean, nor in the place where the treasure is hidden."

"Do you have any idea where it is?" Regan sat back, watching Quenna who nodded. "It is on another island, hidden from most, in the seas off South America. I will give you the means to find the island. And in return, you will give me your promise that when there is a need, you will aid me."

Regan studied the woman again, then nodded. "I agree. Though I'm not always in the Caribbean."

"I will find you." Quenna said softly then she smiled. "I promise I will not endanger your soul but I cannot promise you will succeed in removing the curse. And if not, that will endanger all you hold dear. If you don't, come back here and I will do what I can for you." She finished the cake she had chosen and her coffee. "One more thing, you are being sought for, Regan Callihan, but not for the reasons you believe. Those too, will be revealed in time. "
She placed a box on the table, sliding it over to Regan. It was covered in red velvet and inside was a pendant of silver and gold, in the shape of an orchid. Quenna lifted a petal revealing a blood red stone. "Give me your hand, Regan." As soon as Regan placed her hand in the woman's, she felt the prick of a needle. Quenna held her hand over the stone and a single drop of blood fell on the stone. It flared then the light faded and the blood was gone. "Wear it from this day on. When you go to South America, travel past Trinidad toward Guyana. The pendent will show you the way." Quenna stood and laughed softly. "You draw danger to you, child, and revel in it. " Slender fingers reached out and touched Regan's cheek. "But you have ones watching over you, both here and in the other world. A treasure ya be, chil'. Rare an' precious." She winked at the young woman and stepped back. "Tak' care an' we'll speak in time."

Regan watched as the woman disappeared through the curtain. She finished her tea and stood. As she did, the curtain stirred lightly as if from a breeze. Regan closed the box and stood, moving swiftly to the entry. She parted the curtains in time to see the door close. "Was there something here?" She asked the serving girl who approached. "A man came in after Madame Quenna left and drew near but he left when he saw the curtains were closed." The girl could only say he had brown hair and was tall. Regan nodded and handed her coin. "Madame paid," the girl protested and Regan smiled. "Then keep it for yourself." She tucked the box away beneath her coat then headed out and for the Dream.


Regan stirred from her thoughts when a snowball thumped against her window. She looked down to see James standing there and laughed. Her family was gathering outside, yelling for her to join them. The pendant beneath her shirt was warm against her skin as she nodded and headed out of her room. A gentle reminder of what was to come.

Date: 01-29-12
Poster: Morgan Callihan
Post # 36

Visit with the Crones

It didn't seem like a hard task. Find Maddie or Pearl, avoid their questions as best he could and charm the lists of eligible women and men from them. Of course, it would need to be updated. There were more then a few who had gotten married or into a relationship since Morgan and Faelan and arrived in Heathfield and first heard about it.

Morgan headed off his ship as the sun rose. From what he heard of Pearl, she took in washing to help ends meet. One of her lads had signed onto a ship and a couple of her daughters were married. The youngest lad was an apprentice to a sail maker, leaving only one daughter who was too young to leave home. Maddie he wasn't so sure of other then she had a few daughters and maybe one or two sons. Both women had lost their husbands long ago but had been good friends as girls growing up at the rougher areas of the docks. After a few questions, Morgan headed to the home of Pearl. He was told the two usually had breakfast there, sharing tea and scones, or biscuits. He had even taken some sweet pastries along to tempt the two even further.
It didn't take long for him to find the small house. It was whitewashed and neat, in spite of its location. There was even a small yard out front, which, though snow covered, had some plants. Morg took a deep breath as he stepped up to the door and knocked.

Pearl prided herself in keeping her house neat, even if she had to fuss at her sons and sons-in-laws to take care of painting it. She was serving tea and scones with her second best china. Of course, that only consisted of a few nice plates, bowls and cups now. Soon she'd have to go to the second hand shop to find another set. She had just set a plate of scones on the table when a knock sounded at the door. "Pour yourself a cuppa, Maddie, while I see who it is." First she peeked out the window, through pale green curtains. "It's a young man! I do believe it's one of the Callihan Captains." Not that she remembered which was which. Fussing a moment with her hair and smoothing down her apron, she opened the door. "May I help you?" Maybe he wanted her to do the laundry for his ship!

Unbeknownst to his brother, Faelan was stalking. He was very good at becoming invisible in following Morgan to the Crones' place. Ever evasive and finding a window from which he could watch the proceedings. How could he not? No way was he going to miss this opportunity to be the proverbial fly on the wall. He was also in disguise as one of the many old women that occupied this part of the harbor. They seemed to collect here.

Maddie was on the road to recovery and perhaps a big part in that was her friendship with Pearl. They had ceased to do the column in the Gazette long before it stopped being published. She had fallen gravely ill to the point the healer hadn't been sure she'd live. She was told to lose weight, fat chance there.. but the fat came off while sick even if it was not as much as the doctor had hoped or that it come off while sick. Some things one just didn't have control over. She was getting around better and the day not so bad to not have her here. "I didn't know you got yourself a beau, Pearl." Teasing her as she poured them both a cuppa tea. "I'll pour your beau one too," and she was by the time Pearl opened up the door. "Invite him in for a cuppa, dear.."

Morgan would likely have strangled Faelan if he knew, or maybe hugged him. He did his best not to roll his eyes heavenward when he heard Maddie. He knew she was kidding but by the sea god's trident, he was sure this was a mistake. Once Pearl stepped aside and motioned him in, he smiled easily at them. "Ladies, I've come to ask a favor." The smell of the pastries filled the small room as the door closed.

"Maddie, you be terrible." Pearl laughed as she opened the door wider and of course, invited him in. "Welcome. Captain... Callihan? Please have a seat." She had four chairs left. One had been repaired but they were all good and sturdy. "You will have tea, won't you?" She sat and looked at Maddie. Betcha her dear friend was thinking the same thing - what that favor was.

Maddie fluttered her hand at her chest. One that still bore the remnants of crumbs that had fallen there never to escape the deep crevice where they collected. "A Callihan Captain in our humble home," even if it was technically Pearl's home. "Yes, yes.. come in." He certainly was handsome but then they all were. Hell.. any man was to her! He was a man and even better, he was single. Or was he? "How's the wife?" Sneaky way of finding out.

Not sneaky! He thanked Pearl for the tea as he sat, and smiled again. "Call me Morgan, please." Now they had a name. He was about to lift the cup when Maddie asked her question. Morgan studied her a moment, then shook his finger at her. "Now you know I don't have a wife, Miss Maddie. And before you ask, no steady lass but one in every port. Isn't that what they say about wicked sea-faring men." And maybe a few sea-faring women!

Pearl just laughed again then she eyed the box. "Is that for us? Is it a bribe, C... Morgan?" Oh, they did love their sweets, even if Pearl had cut back to encourage Maddie. Not that Pearl could afford to lose more weight.

Morgan would be situated between she and Pearl as she nudged her chair closer. He was lucky it was the one day of the month, day before, that she had bathed. Less time in the winter being so cold. "Morgan," testing out his name. "You know you're amongst single women hoping to one day find a good man.." would that make him worry? Jump up and run out? She eyed him... that was until she noticed the box too, "do you have one in this port? If not, I know at least two that would be willing to be your port lass." Now that word lass barely fitted them anymore! "You must be after something important.." which she couldn't fathom what he could want of them unless he wanted a port lass!

"No, not a port lass." He sipped the tea, deciding to send Pearl a good tea after this was finished. IF he got what he wanted. "What I was hoping for, is to have a look at the lists you have of eligible men and women. Not for me, of course. But my brothers are still all single as are my sisters. And it's worrying our father who would like grandchildren. I'm not in the running just yet. Once I decide to settle, I hope to find a lass here, in Heathfield."

Ah ha! She just knew it. They had other charming visitors and some pretty ladies for that very reason. "Oh, well, I don't know... " She made what she hoped was a thoughtful face but looked more like she had been sucking a lemon! "We really never meant to have that list out and about, you know." Primly.

During her convalescence, luckily, she had made a few copies and had updated them as best possible. That had Pearl's help mostly being she could not get around, until now. "Ah, bachelors, so you are interested in the eligible ladies' list." Giving Pearl a look that said, come up with something really good, maybe gold! before working their way down to a few biscuits in barter. "I see.." not really believing it was not for his own eyes to discover. How many times was that use.. but not for me?

Meanwhile, Faelan was taking it all in, mostly hearing as he pretended to prune a rosebush needing such. Of course this barren thorn branched plant was right alongside their window off to the side where the three sat. So he got a glimpse or two, three or more.. ongoing as needed. Just seeing Morgan sitting between the notorious two was a sight that would go down in history.

Morgan laughed and shook his head. "Well," he looked around as if checking for anyone listening. "To tell you the truth, me brother Faelan, is shy and he didn't want to come for it. So, he owes me now." Leaning back, he opened the sweets so they could help themselves. "And I'm willing to pay for it." The sweets were just to loosen them up a bit and all. "So, what would you like in exchange for the lists? Gold, some expensive trinkets, both?" Hell, they could afford it.

Pearl just gave Maddie one of her slyer smiles and turned her attention to the young man. Then she found to her surprise, Morgan was offering them more then what she was going to ask for. "Well, I don't know. What do you think, Maddie, dear? Ten gold, and a pretty jeweled necklace and earrings for both of us? " Wouldn't that just set the other ladies to chattering when they turned out in their best all bejeweled. But wait! Were jewels a good idea here? Oh dear, oh dear.

Holy SHIT! His mind screamed when he heard that. Oh, he would get even but he was smart enough to realize it was a test to see if he was within hearing distance. Nope. He wasn't going to let on; just plot his revenge!

Maddie's eyes widen with the thought. What they could do with ten gold and jewelry, "that would be one for each of us." She didn't want to fight over one piece given. "Of course if you meet any eligible men send them our way." Courting could be short, in fact completely skipped if they could get a willing male.

"The gold I have on me. The jewelry... I'm wondering if you'd like to pick it out yourselves, and if so, I can write vouchers for each of your for Velvet MacShire's shop and I'll stop there tomorrow morning to make sure she knows they're from me, and that she's to send me the bill. But, I'd like two copies each of the papers." Best for him to have one and Faelan one.

"Well, I suppose we can agree with that." She looked at Maddie. "What do you think, can we trust the Captain to keep his word?" Oh, she was just chomping at the bit to see all pretty jewelry and to be able to pick her own.

Oh well.. she could not contain herself any more. "Indeed!" In fact, she was so excited she was up and over to practically pull Morgan up from his seat by his head, two meaty hands against each cheek and she kissed him square on the lips. She let go too in the next instant. "Let me go get them." They had a little gold mine in these documents and she scuttled off.. outside and down to her place.

Ack! He couldn't move but at least she hadn't hugged him against her... uh ... chest. He plopped back into his seat and took a drink of the tea. Once he was back on his ship, he'd definitely need something stronger! "Do you have any paper and ink and quill, Miss Pearl? I'll write those vouchers out while we're waiting."

Pearl giggled, yes, giggled at Maddie's exuberant kiss and stood herself when her friend hustled out. She patted Morgan's shoulder. "Yes, I do. I have to write down who I'm doing laundry for so I keep it on hand." She didn't want to mix up some rich nobles silk undergarments with say, a soldier's rougher ones. That would be just terrible. The paper, ink and quill were placed in front of Morgan, along with a bit of sand to dry it. And while he set to writing, she set to enjoying a bit more tea and a small pastry.

Faelan was absolutely dying outside. DYING! He couldn't have planned a better revenge than Maddie kissing his brother. What a sight! Too bad there was no means to capture it other than verbal. Except, that would prove he'd been watching. Well, if the advantage outweighed in the long run, he was willing to sacrifice that coming out! He almost clipped a gloved finger at that precise moment he saw his brother in a lip lock with the Crone.

Morgan wiped his mouth when Pearl turned but he was chuckling even so. The kiss was a definite negative in this whole business but he could put up with one kiss. He was pleased to be getting the copies though, if he had to admit it, he was pleased to see the two women so happy with the deal. He'd warn Velvet in the morning for sure. Her work was lovely but she might have to convince them not to get anything too flashy. Then again, who was he to deny them the pleasure?

By this time Maddie had returned with two sheets of the ladies and two sheets of the eligible males in hand. All folded and rolled being clutched to her breast. She needed to catch her breath. One might wonder if she had gone the mile but she was actually two doors down from Pearl. Just took her a while and a lot of energy and breaths. "I have them here," door open and rushing in. The color of her cheeks were high and her eyes bright. She set the parcels down onto the table.

"Thank you Miss Maddie." He actually sat up to help her into a chair being a little concerned at how red she was. Once she was seated, he handed over the vouchers and took out a pouch he kept hidden under his coat. Then he counted out two piles of coins, ten each, in front of them. He picked up the sheets and read them over, laughing. "Ah, I see you have us on there." Expected of course!

"Oh, Maddie, you shouldn't have rushed." Well, for her it was rushing, right? Pearl refreshed her tea and set out a lovely eclair for her. Just one wouldn't hurt surely. She watched Morgan read over the papers and laughed. "Of course." Though they really needed more lasses for the list.

Maddie was one never to refuse food as that made up for all her rushing. "Thank you.." to both as they fussed over her and she didn't mind one bit. She fanned herself but it wasn't long before she was drinking her tea and eating the eclair with relish. She nodded in agreement with the 'of course' for certainly it would have been an insult if they were left off the list!

Faelan knew he didn't have much time before his brother would take his leave now that the mission was accomplished. He left the set of shears there where he found them and hobbled off. Down an alleyway the disguise was discarded as he headed for his ship. Morgan would be none the wiser, that was until he spilled the beans by a well placed comment. Had to be well placed too so that might take time.

"You have both been delightful company," and not as bad as he had heard! Morgan stood and tucked the papers beneath his coat. "I may stop to see what you've picked out. Take care of yourselves, ladies and enjoy yourselves when you go to pick out your new jewelry." He decided to leave papers at Velvet's too, instructing the ladies to see the seamstress for new dresses. They might not get to wear them often, but they would certainly enjoy them.

"Oh, thank you, Morgan." Pearl stood as well so she could escort him the short distance to the door. "You come see us any time." She even dared to pat his arm. "And maybe you'll find a lass on the list yourself."

"You have been very generous," as Maddie rose when Pearl did. She had finished swallowing her bit of the eclair too, well, the last of it! "Aye, you know where to find us and bring a brother." Two and two! There was some pudding smeared on her upper lip but it seemed that was a natural sight where Maddie was concerned.

Morgan gave the two a courtly bow then headed out the door. He'd leave the ladies to enjoy their snack and their good fortune. And while he'd never whistle on a ship, being it was bad luck, he did whistle while he walked back to the Naiad, in a very good mood indeed.


Date: 01-30-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 37

Owl's Nest

Gill paused. Michael's daring to contradict him caught him completely off guard. But, what he said made sense, no matter Gillean's need to let off some pent up steam. He glanced to the door, to Melissa, then Dewar. "Then get the hell out there, Captain." He muttered, taking a step back to reclaim his chair. Gill couldn't very well leave the seamstress by herself, or else he'd join Dewar outside. A dark gaze slid along the periphery, noticing just how many males had taken their leave since his sister had. Reaching for his drink, he forced a quick smile for Melissa, and it looked as fake as it felt and actually was.

Melissa was as white as the snow outside. Her lips parted as if to say something but then quickly thought the better of it as her they clamped shut. Probably best for she offered to go out as well, she might hear the thunder from the one known as the Thundering Lord... or was that Ogre? Kind of hard to tell with some of the Irish/Scots accents. She folded her hands in front of her against the table, eyes lowered but her knuckles were white with how tight her hands were held. The Innkeeper said something to his wife who came in from the kitchen and took over the bar while he took his leave by yet another door.

Cai was hurrying up as fast as one could while trying not to breathe. Sure they had some smelly stuff in the form of dried leaves and herbs but it didn't do a whole lot of good. It was also cold. Freezing cold when one's skin was bared to it. They didn't heat the outhouse but then if they had, anyone using it would die of the stench for certain! All this was going through her head unaware of what was going on behind her, so far no one was in sight but that didn't mean they were not there.

Dewar knew he would likely be sorry for this all later, but he nodded at Gill and then headed on out. He followed the path to the privy, ignoring the cold. There was a sense of something not right but he couldn't figure it out yet. He slowed when he drew near and stepped into a shadowy area. He wasn't sure Caiome would like to know he had followed her but Gillean had known those men were up to something. Neither one of them wanted it to involve Caiome.

The ones hiding within the pines behind the privy had made it so the back of the outhouse could be opened. Their scout didn't see Dewar for him being in the shadows and gave the signal. They wouldn't notice the short struggle thereafter as someone else took the man down. Cai had just finished up and was trying to get the door open that seemed stuck. Tricky latch no less when all of a sudden the whole back of the outhouse fell away. She turned startled but then blinked as she was rushed. A struggle commenced as she tried to fight off the two, one hand clamped over her mouth and her head hitting the side. It wasn't that which actually put her out but what dampened the cloth in the one man's hand that had everything go blank. As they managed to drag her out the back, the one buddy collapsed to the ground as it was the Innkeeper with his bat that had met the man's skull. Melvin wasn't going to give up his prize so easily as Cai was dropped as the two started fighting.

Dewar started forward as soon as soon as he heard the sounds of a struggle. He headed around the back of the privy and saw the Innkeeper in a struggle with another man. Pulling out his sword, he used the hilt to knock the other out. Two others were already down, so the Innkeeper had been quick. "What the hell ... " He started to ask the Innkeeper when he saw Caiome. "Ah... hell," while the Innkeeper saw to tying the men up, Dewar knelt down in the snow to check Caiome's pulse.

Inside, Gill sat, tensed, at the table. No conversation between the two, the lord and the seamstress, he just eyed the door. Waiting. Waiting. His knee bounced under the cover of rounded wood as his heel took up a noncontact tattoo of impatience. Then, where his hand rested on his moving thigh, his fingers started to pat. What was taking so bloody long? Surely Caiome must be 'done' by now.

The Innkeeper was grateful for the help even if he felt he could have taken care of it himself. Well, it was good the male was here for there was blood all over the downed woman's face. Hard to tell if she lived or not. "I don't think his intentions were to kill her. Get her inside to my wife, she's a bit o' a healer." Which was more one had to be out in these isolated parts of Kildare kingdom still struggling to tame all the lands. "These fellas have been hanging around a while now just waiting to cause trouble.." which he was motioning to Dewar to get the lass up and back inside while he finished up with the would be kidnappers.

"I think I feel a pulse." His fingers were cold so he wasn't certain but he was praying it was so. He carefully slid his arms under Caiome and held her close to his chest as he stood. Dewar was tall enough not to have to deal with tripping over her skirts but the snow made walking like this a touch difficult. When he reached the door, he kicked it until one of the serving girls pushed it open. Then, half turning so he wouldn't smack her against the wood, he stepped inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust but he headed for the bar rather then her brother because that's where the healer's wife was.

As soon as the pounding started at the door, Gill stood. And then, darkness fell. Like a black curtain over a well lit scene, the stage of civility was obscured completely. One swipe of hand had the nearest chair shoved aside, slamming into the table behind it, and he pushed and shoved his way through the curious spectators that had gathered to see the woman in the guard's embrace. Melissa...completely forgotten. Michael may be on his way to the bar, but the woman's brother had come up alongside him. "What the hell, Dewar?" He growled, noticing the blood on Caiome's face, her unconscious state. "My God! Does she live?"

"Those men were planning on kidnapping your sister, Lord Callihan." He answered, glad to see the crowd move away from Gill's anger. "The Innkeeper apparently suspected and was out back, behind the privy. The back of it was opened as well. I'm not sure what they did to her, but she has a pulse." Hopefully! "The Innkeeper said his wife is a healer." And she better have a place out of sight of the gawkers . He looked at Gillean. "The keeper had them taken down by the time I reached her." He'd apologize later but first, they need to have Caiome taken care of.

Gill's sharp regard shot to the bar where the inn keeper's wife was waving Michael toward a back room, then he dropped that look to Caiome. "See her tended to." He practically hissed out that unnecessary order as he reached out a hand to stroke her hair and then spun on a heel to push his way through the crowd again toward the door. By the time he was on the front stoop, that black curtain was no more. Replaced instead by a veil of red...blood red. Not even registering the cold, the Lord of Swan Lake strode with long, purpose-driven determination toward the area Dewar had referenced. The innkeeper was still there, wrapping up the perps like a present to the angry noble.

The strong side of Melissa took over as she rushed past the Thundering Lord to help with Cai as Dewar was led to a back room. The Innkeeper's wife didn't mind the extra pair of hands as she started giving Melissa instructions, clean water, soap, linen bandages and so on. "She'll be all right in me hands," the Innkeeper's wife reassured both Dewar and the one that looked like a raging bull. "You can get me some whiskey from the bar, the good stuff on the bottom shelf." The shelf out of sight they would discover. That comment ended up more on Dewar as the Bull charged off. "Check on me better side.." called after him before she set to work cleaning up the cut that had enough blood to look worse than it was. "Smelling salts," which Melissa was bringing her all she needed, "cuppa of that tea over there for when she wakens." It would help ease the headache sure to follow if not seen to.

Dewar watched Gill leave then turned back to watch the two women briefly. He wasn't sure if the woman was telling him to check on the husband or Gill but he knew a dismissal when he heard it. "Bottle of good whiskey from the bottom shelf when we come back in," he told the lass at the bar, then followed Gill out. Whatever the men got from the noble, they deserved and hopefully there would be no trouble from King Leoric over it.

"I'll take over." Gill clamped a hand down on the Keeper's shoulder, practically dragging him from his chore. One look up to the man's face and the innkeeper frowned, doubting whether he should leave the men alone, but realizing no matter if he stayed or went, judgement was passed and punishment was forthcoming. The innkeeper took one last look at the downed men, then nodded in quick dismissal, taking off through the snow, sliding and skidding, to return to the warmth of the interior and away from the cold - deadly cold - of the exterior. Jerking the first man up by the collar, wobble headed and stunned still from the innkeeper's assault, Gill leaned forward close to his face. "Caiome Callihan. You sorry excuse for a human. Wrong frick'n female to put those filthy hands on." That very hand was limp on the ground and Gill's booted heel slammed down on the fragile bones.

The Innkeeper came in with a puzzled expression on his face until he finally realized who that man was! They had a noble in their house and the woman involved was probably nobility too. Just what he needed. "Is the lass all right," rounding his bar and into the back room. One of his men had taken over the bar as Bruce was not only the owner, the keeper and the best bouncer. He didn't care what the Lord did to the three for they were deserving of anything after their obvious plans on the lass. She was a beauty, duly noted, duly knowing it would bring trouble. "I've got a better place for you to take her and stay. Got a servant cottage down the back not being used. Once she is well." Which the man's wife was waving the salts under Cai's nose as her husband spoke. "Aye, she'll be all right, worse looking than it is." The Innkeeper's wife spoke up. Cai shot up from the pungent smell administered by the woman, which in turn had a hand fly to head as she nearly went right back down again. "What happened?" Which had the Innkeeper explaining.

Dewar rounded the corner in time to see Gill deliver the punishment to the first man. He stopped dead, hand resting on his hilt and didn't say a word. The man was very good at punishing those who had attacked his sister. It was his face that Dewar was watching though, and the darkness in his eyes.

The man's yowl of pain was silenced with a swiftly applied forearm to the jaw held up by shirt cloth for the administration. Gill shoved him back into the snow, nose and mouth bleeding, hand gnarled and useless. Rage and satisfaction spurred him on, and the second man was scooting assbackwards in the snow to try to get away from him. "Leaving so soon? But your fun-filled evening has only just feck'n ... " Kick caught the man dead center of chest, sailing him backwards into the snow. "Begun." Gill growled, not even aware of the audience, not that he would have even cared. At this point, his gaze no longer held any hint of decency, dark as his soul, and just as lethal. Wheezing for breath, the second stared up with wide eyes when Gill squatted to loom over him. "Gillean Callihan. Wrong frick'n brother to piss off." Fist dislocated jaw, lights out. Gillean stood slowly, rubbing his knuckles and looking around. There was one more, was there not? And then...he saw Dewar. Dark brows that were already settled into a frown only tightened more. For a good minute they just stood, looking at each other, and then Gillean cursed under his breath and started back toward the inn. "Find me that other bastard, Dewar. But he better come back to me bleeding." Gill continued in to return to Caiome.

By the time Gill got to the back room they had Cai in, she was sitting up and coherent. The tea was doing wonders. The cut not so vicious looking and the woman assured Gill, that no mark would remain once all was healed. That would take a week or two, gradual process. She was up, wiping her hands off in her apron. "My husband has offered the vacant cottage down the back for your use should you wish it." It would also take the pretty face that would only bring them trouble out of the main Inn. Cai's smile brightened the room as she got up from her seat to hug her brother. That would be the best healing power as she murmured against his chest, "I hope you got those men good." Yeah, she was pissed at what they tried to do, aware now of the magnitude had the Innkeeper had not stepped in.

Dewar saluted Gill, since that was about the only way to show him respect. "I'll bring him back, Lord Callihan." Trussed up like he was the man couldn't have gotten far. In fact, he was making more noise then a bear would as he tried to escape the madman that Gillean had become. Dewar would be gone for about fifteen minutes, but when he returned, it was as Gill had ordered. The man had been given a beating just as the Callihan Lord had commanded. The Captain tossed him to the ground beside his friends. Ignoring the groans of the three prisoners, he went in to look for the siblings.

Gill gathered Cai up on his arms, pressing his lips to the top of her head. His gaze lifted to the innkeeper's wife, and he nodded while his lips remained on his sister's hair. "Worry not, Sister Mine. I am sure they are repentant of their deeds." His mouth had moved while still in contact but he lifted his head, still eyeing the innkeeper's spouse. "If you will have our things delivered, we will make use of your rear exit to make our way down." No thanks for the offer or for helping his sister. It was their duty, was it not, to attend to those who paid them well. Dewar's return had Gill turning, one arm still wrapped around his sister to look in the man's direction. One brow lifted with his silent question.

Unlike her brother she was over to the woman once the hug was soaked in, giving her inner strength. Her words were low as she discreetly pressed a few silver coins into the woman's hand, "for helping me. I shall remember you." Her smile was warm and genuine as the woman flustered and blustered about giving a nod to the brother and would make sure their things were gotten there and a carriage to take them down. Cai turned back to her brother. "I'm sure the king of these lands will want the ones safe in his dungeons so they harm not another woman." She would go see King Leoric on it herself if it came down to it! She was back into the curve of her brother's arm as she too looked upon Dewar in silence, but certainly the questions were there in her eyes.. where had he been?

He gave a nod to Gillean before Cai looked his way. The man had been dealt with and he'd see them held somewhere until the guard came this way. When Cai looked his way, he smiled. "I'm glad to see you on your feet, Lady Caiome." He may not have said it well, but he meant it. And he wasn't answering that question. "Are you two going somewhere, m'Lord?" He hadn't heard about the cottage.

Caiome was so unlike her brother. She was the light to his darkness. The soul to his damnation. She was everything to him, because without her, he was just an empty, corrupt shell. He watched as Caiome extended her gratitude and didn't say a thing regarding it. Just looked then to the innkeeper. "I'm sure the King of these lands has more important matters to attend to than those miscreants, Rabbit, but I am, without reserve, certain that the proper authorities will collect the blackguards and deal with them further." Eye to eye, the innkeeper dipped his head, a sanction to the noble that all would be attended to. Once given, Gill turned to Michael again. "The Keeper has kindly offered us a cottage to rest in, away from the possibility of further ... interruption ... to our evening. You will be so kind as to escort my sister and the seamstress down? I've a few things to deal with here as yet."

"Then that is all I ask for." Words quiet to her brother but there had been a questioning look still upon Dewar before she mentally dismissed it. "Please allow me to bring some of your tea," which the Innkeep's wife quickly agreed to along with some stew and homemade bread. She'd pack them enough food for them all to enjoy once they settled in. The lidded pot would keep it warm for some time too. "I am tired," finally admitted as she still hadn't really allow the events tonight to sink in. She might not until tomorrow or throw one of her rare tantrums. She had the other side too but it was rarely seen. She was back to her old self by this time as that certain smirk would be noted by Dewar as she swept pass to the door they were indicated to use. "if you are ready Captain," a passing look over to her brother all but said she knew he'd take care of the blackguards and their future by the law of the lands.

Dewar had seen a side of Gillean he had just suspected was there, or a touch. He knew the man was dangerous and now he had proof, not that he would do anything about it. Those men deserved what they got. "Of course, Lord Callihan." He would see to settling the ladies in and remain until Gillean returned, though he wasn't sure if he was to stay at the cottage or return to the inn. Either would do as long as the nobles and the seamstress were safe. "I'm ready now, Lady Caiome." He offered to carry the food and let the seamstress carry the tea though it would be dropped if there was the slightest sign of danger.

So magnanimous, that Dewar. Could sour the stomach if one had to be subjected to 'that' too long. Gillean pinched up a lock of his sister's hair and pressed a kiss to it. "Go, Dearest...get some rest. We will leave shortly after the sun rises in the morning if you are up to it, so do attempt to sleep soon." Hopefully, that tea would knock her out, because surely in her dreams she would be reliving the evening. "I trust you will find a place to settle in the cottage as well, Captain. For safety's sake." After all, Gill may be some time before venturing down.

A hand came to briefly rest on her brother's forearm as she stopped by the door... "Always, my dearest." About the only one that could get away with such an endearing term on the hardened hearted man. Eyes were more green than hazel that lifted to meet his. "I will be fine." Although she was uncertain if Dewar had been incapable of guarding her or not. Even if it wasn't his fault. She ducked out into the cold with Melissa at her side carrying the tea. The tea had whiskey in it too she had realized! It would not be long before the driver saw to them all getting safely to the cottage and he would head back to the Inn. One could see the lights from either place.

Dewar was blissfully unaware of Caiome's feelings so he merely followed the women out. The package of food wasn't that heavy so it was carried in one hand. His other was on the hilt of his sword. When they reached the cottage, he waited for them to enter and carried the food inside to the kitchen. "I'm going to have a look around. Then I'll be back." He'd be sleeping in the front room on the floor, awake at the sound of the knob being turned.

Gillean Callihan needed some time, to settle the demons, to quiet the beast, to drown the past which had leaked into his present. The ladies and Captain were gone, the lord of the manor claimed a stool at the bar meaning to do that very thing. Drown...the past and the present. "Vodka...Belvedere?" His gaze narrowed when the keep shook his head. "No? Iordanov?" Gill drew in a deep breath with a nod when the negative was repeated. "No...Magnum Grey? No?
Then...just pour me something...clear...and leave the bottle for Christ's sake."


Date: 02-04-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 38

Decorating for the Ball

It was a few days after their return that had Cai hard at work to make an idea a reality. An ideal, some would say as she got quite a few volunteers of young ladies from the village. Women ranging in ages from eighteen to twenty five. She was sure they had an eye on her brother and this would probably be the closest they would get. There would be a party in the kitchen for all the help that night once the guests were seen to, so some would be working it most of the time. There would be shifts. They didn't care, this was the closest they would ever get to something so grand as a Noble's Ball. Something they would talk about for decades to come. There was also the handsome Captain of the Guard for them to swoon over and a few of his men that just stood out from the commoner. Perhaps it was the uniform? Or maybe it was the training.

The ballroom had not only been renovated but it was being transformed into a winter wonderland. The theme was outdoors as the outdoors became part of the indoors. Small trees had been gathered as centerpieces. They were scrubbed clean then coated with a shellac which was sprinkled in a whitish dust that had silvery blue sparkles in it. There would be ice sculptures added and small snowmen behind frosty cold glass. The field was just outside the large French doors and so the decorations were extended outside. Barren trees became festive and the ice groomed to a smooth sheen with benches all around the circumference which too were decorated. There were many skates of different sizes that would accommodate anyone needing a pair All would be aware of the skating. A band had been hired that would practice outside for the dance on ice that was part of the night's activities. Cai was about overseeing all, changing this or that to suit what she had in mind. It wasn't long before she was outside and walking the distance around the field turned pond. A warm cloak of deep red was worn with fur lining the hood. Boots were lined as well, scarf and mittens would keep her warm.

Dewar had some men seeing to helping with what was needed. He had some paperwork that had accumulated while they were gone. O'Brien was good with everything but anything that had to do with writing. It wasn't that he couldn't, it wasn't his job. He had finally had enough and decided to make his way to the ice skating area to see how it was all progressing. A couple of his officers had been drafted to join in the festivities, O'Brien among them. Dewar got him back for all the teasing earlier. "Time for a shift change, O'Brien." Others were coming to take the place of those who had been working. "Go get yourself something hot to eat and drink." Never one to argue, O'Brien headed for the barracks, leaving Dewar standing there, watching as the men who had come out with him switched places with those who had been working. He smiled to himself as he studied the landscaping the Lady had done. It truly did look like a winter wonderland.

"Captain," came close by his side as she slipped an arm around his for sure footing. She had ice skates on. "Isn't it wonderful?" Excitement lit hazel green eyes that complimented the healthy rose to her cheeks as she looked up to him. "Can you skate? Joan has been idolizing you from afar and wondering if being a Captain you were able to skate at all." Which was clear that even Caiome wondered the same. "I'm afraid I could not confirm the ideal nor shatter it either." He might notice the huddle of women, at least five of them not far off taking a break and looking his way. There was that little smirk of amusement to show itself once Dewar lifted his eyes to that very group admiring him from afar.

"It's very nicely done, Lady Caiome." He was a bit surprised but accepted being used as a steadying post. He glanced at the house, wondering if Lord Callihan was watching then mentally shrugged it off. If he had, he'd be out there soon enough. Blue eyes lifted from Caiome to the women and back. "There are very few lads, or lasses for that matter, who can't skate after growing up here. It would be nearly sacrilegious." As far as idolizing or wondering, he didn't answer. He really didn't want to deal with a gaggle of females.

She noticed him glance to the mansion beyond the snow covered lawns. "Is there a lass inside you'd rather see out here? Hmmmm," the last hummed in a naturally teasing tone. "She might get a little jealous seeing you arm in arm with me." Her smile widened with the admittance of skating, "then, I have a partner much to the chagrin of those ladies, to take a round with me on the rink." It was no longer a question if he could skate. "You best pick out a pair that will fit unless you have a pair one of your men can retrieve for you with haste?" She didn't want to waste what time she had outside in waiting for a pair of skates.

"Hmm? " He shook his head, smiling. "No, no one inside the mansion, outside or down the road." He had been told he was too unpleasant, too dedicated to his work, too irritating among other things by a few. Still, no need to mention that. She could go to Montrose if she wanted gossip. "They'd never find them in my room." He was organized in everything but his own possessions, which was why he often looked like he had slept in his clothes. "Can you stand alone for a few minutes?" He was already eyeing the skates to size them out. Truth was, Dewar was itching to try out the rink.

"Of course, be swift dear Captain," giving him a wink as her arm slid from his. "I shall be the envy of a few hearts this night." Oh yes, she couldn't help the tease and it didn't help the fact that the warmed punch being served was spiked. Why it tasted so good and warmed so well. Still, she was very steady on her feet as she carefully stepped out onto the rink. It was surreal with the blues that winter held in shadowy hues beyond where the lights played from the lanterns set up strategically around the rink. They had been lit and such a transformation lighting at night did in aesthetics. She took in a deep breath as the exhale frosted the few inches from her face. There were braziers setup as well for those helping to warm up when taking a break or while watching those skating when the ball was held.

He stood there a moment with a brow lifting then selected a pair that surprising fit. It didn't take him long to join her, though it took a few seconds after stepping on the ice for him to be steady. He was wearing a heavy cloak and fur-lined gloves so the cold would be held at bay for a while. As he caught up to Caiome, he spoke. "It looks even more lovely from out here. Has his Lordship seen it yet?" Dewar truly felt Gillean would be pleased for his sister and maybe, appreciative of how it all looked.

"Oh, he's seen the progress of it but I'm not sure if he has seen it with the lights unless he is viewing from one of those many upstairs windows." Her smile carefree at this point, "it has been a while for you too it seems." As he had been slightly unsteady as she had been at first. "It has been far too long for me. Now, the question is will you be able to waltz while on skates?" The question out as she indicated the band to pick up a song where they had been practicing notes of various different musical scripts up to this point. They started in on a formal waltz at her bidding.

"Aye, it has. A couple years. Ah... " He looked toward the musicians then back and just grinned. "I guess we'll have to see." After all, he didn't have to worry about stepping on feet and ice skating had it's own rhythm. He held out his hand, grin fading to a smile. "M'Lady if you would care to... waltz?" Oh yes, those with her were all in a dither but best to ignore them for now.

She still had a bruise where the cut had been on her forehead. "I will not make a Cinderella at my ball.." wry smile came with the comment but more than likely, with a little makeup applied, the wound would be hard to notice by that time; or gone completely if she was lucky. She gave an elaborate curtsey before taking his hand and smoothly following his lead in the waltz.

He had never figured out why he couldn't dance well, though maybe it had something to do with the closeness of his partner, the crowded dance floor, and those elaborate gowns. Peasant dances were easy enough and skating... Dewar found skating with a partner to be as easy as sparring. He was graceful on skates, and now Caiome's ladies were oohing and aahing. He even spun her once or twice, and yes, without her brother giving him the evil eye, relaxed. "You will look perfectly lovely, Lady Caiome."

She was having a ball, never minding being the center of attention under such a cause. She had not liked being of any attention during the reign of her father. Her laughter blended with the music as well her smooth skating steps matched his. Sparks flew from the blades on those sharp turns that were executed perfectly. That was until one of those spots that was missed found the blade of her skate and pitched her right into Michael with all the force of even her lithe body could muster. He would recognize the squeal that came in surprise and a bit of fright to trail the end of it.

He was enjoying himself as well, right up to when that squeal came. Releasing her hands, he caught her around the waist, though it was a losing fight to keep his balance. He was skating backwards until wham! He hit the snow and down they went with an Oof!, a whomp and a puff of white. He kept her on top of him so she wouldn't be hurt but they'd both look like snow people. And he just knew this would bring more trouble!

She thought for sure they would end up sprawled upon the ice but she ended up sprawled atop him in the snow. There was snow on his hair and side of his face and if there had been any pain, she started laughing instead once she caught her breath. Then it was sucked in when she realized just how close his face was to hers and how it would all appear as she quickly rolled off him so that nothing could be said as surely something would be said if she lingered in that position. "I do believe you have kept me from breaking my neck." Spoken as she gingerly got up, it was possible she had not sprained the ankle but she had slightly twisted it enough not to continue this night. Better to have the resident healer take a look and a hot bath. She motioned to one of his men that were helping, "mark that spot to be smoothed out. It would not do to have any or our guests take a fall." Which they would end up going over every inch again especially in that area come the morn when the lighting was better.

He had his eyes closed for a moment, so when he opened them, she was right there. Hearing her laugh had him doing the same. "I'm glad to have been of service, Lady Caiome." He sat up, realizing then he had landed on a small rock. That would have to be removed as well or one of the nobles could end up with a black and blue mark on their arses. His would be on his back. "And it will be seen to, first thing." He couldn't tell she had sprained her ankle as of yet. "Do you need assistance to where your boots are?" As he spoke, one of the lads was sliding over to that very spot to place a marker on it. Show off.

"Yes, please, but I dare tell my brother of this little spill or he'll keep me from dancing on skates come the ball." Which had a fleeting glance towards the windows but they all seemed darkened from where the light spilled from the lanterns. "Let it look as if we have finished our dance and time to get inside." Which was true and best allow those working this late to be finally done and on their way. The little group of women had taken to the indoors for the cold was only getting colder.

He glanced at the windows as well, then put his arm around her waist. "You'll have to point the way." Once she was seated and tending to her skates, he excused himself and skated over to where his own boots were, just a short distance away. He left the skates where they were, leaning against a bench and made his way back to her. A light snow was beginning to fall and he looked up briefly. He had brushed what snow he could out of his hair but he was still somewhat covered.

"You'd make a good snowman, Captain Dewar. I must admit you are an excellent dancer on skates. I can't see why you would not be on the dance floor." Her smile was growing as she was easing the skates from her feet and slipping them into the warmth of her boots. "Then that theory will just have to be tested that evening.." glancing up as she was finally done and up from the seat. "Shall we have a warm nightcap before calling it a night?" Her brother had been working hard on some project so she could hope he was in bed asleep hours ago.

"My family could never figure it out either." His father had actually accused him of doing it on purpose. He smiled and offered his arm. "But I thank you for the compliment." A warm nightcap? He didn't want to disappoint the Lady. "That would be greatly appreciated, Lady Caiome." And would help him sleep.

At least the rest of the evening, short as it were, went without incident. In fact it was leisurely. Talking had to be in hushed tones as to not wake any that stayed in the mansion out of courtesy. "I will see you come the break of dawn, until then sleep well, Captain Dewar." Quick smile as she set her empty glass back to the tray that the one kitchen maid would see to once they retired for the night.

"Good night, Lady Caiome. Rest well." He stood as she did, then bowed. "I enjoyed our dance while it lasted." He retrieved his cloak from the maid as she brought it. Lass looked like she needed to sleep as well but she would not retire until the nobles were in bed.


Date: 02-05-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 39

Prelude to the Ball

Luckily she had only twisted her ankle which was pretty much better by the next day. Thanks to the excellent healer she had found and hired on. She also was a masseuse so double her find. Cai could walk without a limp so her brother would be none the wiser. She just couldn't go sprinting about or even run as the ankle could give out under such strain presently. She was wrapped up warm this later afternoon to inspect the area that was to be smoothed out better. They had the water wagon she had invented to add another layer to freeze over. Everyone was kept off the ice during the process for wet ice was extremely dangerous.

The soft crunch of boots through snow would alert Cai to the arrival of her brother. He came up beside her, an arm extending to wrap around her back and gave her a tug to him, watching the next layer of liquid ice being applied while he leaned in to touch a kiss to the top of her head. "You've created quite a setting for these festivities, Caiome." He continued to watch the water pour from the wagon and spread out over the thickening ice. The half embrace was released and he crossed his arms at his chest, squinting against the chill while the men worked according to Caiome's dictate.

Dewar was on the other side of the lake, talking to a couple of his men. They had been on patrol and when he spotted them, he had called them over to receive their report. After he dismissed then, he turned his attention back to the work being done. He saw that Gillean had joined his sister, but the Captain stayed where he was. No use adding coals to the fire, now was there?

She slanted a glance up his way as a smile threatened then slipped into place. "You approve." More a statement but certainly she was pleased. This was her first big undertaking and it was no small feat. "I need to sit down and make a list of those that should be invited and not miss anyone or such the faux pas I'd never live down." She silently wished she had some help but she knew not who to ask unless Regan was capable but she was not the socialite. Still, she knew many. "I trust you slept well last night, you went to your quarters earlier than usual." So she had been assuming as she watched for any clues in the way he responded.

He had not gone to bed, but luckily for them all, he had not felt the need to spend his waking hours standing at a window facing the skating area. Caiome, however, did not need to know what kept her brother busy when she was not aware of his presence so he simply answered with a nod of head and..."They beckoned to me." He also didn't address his ability to sleep, since that was a subject to avoid as well. "I am sorry I can't help you with that, Dearest. But true that you must be mindful not to step on anyone's pride by not issuing an invitation. Are there none that might..." His gaze hadn't rested on his sibling while he spoke, but rather on the gathering on men that soon dispersed leaving only the ... "Captain!" He called for Dewar, using a nod of head to invite him over, even though that barely visible gesture could easily be missed. "Do come over, Caiome may be able to use your expertise yet again." Was the Captain not often present in James' manor to know the majority of the nobles and elite that may need not be forgotten or overlooked.

It was the call that caught his attention. He moved around the perimeter of the lake until he had joined the siblings. Bowing slightly he looked at the Callihan Lord, then to Lady Caiome. "How may I assist, Lady Caiome?" No word about the skating? Good!

"Captain Dewar," slight lift of her chin and a hooded gaze met his. "I trust the day finds you well as well your men who have been working hard. It would appear that the ice is flawless now." There was a glance given her brother with a slight lift of delicate brows that turned back on Dewar. "Is it possible you know of all the families in Kildare of noble birth?" She knew who to invite within the castle and of course the main Callihan family.

"The Lady needs to make her invitation list." Gillean further explained the need for that information, the arms crossed at his chest tightening as the man stood near them. The Lord of Swan Lake was no simpleton by any means. He may not have witnessed the testing of the ice the night before but he did not miss that his sister was an eligible young woman of considerable beauty, quick wit and wealth. Traits that could tempt any man, even the most stoic and duty bound. Dewar was by no means foul of build, looks or breath and his station, though of service to them, did not put him below Caiome's notice. Especially since his sister didn't seem to abide by the same 'standards' of propriety that Gill had been raised with and had been forced to adopt. "If you are unable to assist her, then perhaps you may know of someone who could instead."

He had noticed Caiome long before she had become Lady of Swan Lake Manor. Then he had seen her as a delicate creature, first as a pawn in her father's games, then later when she had suffered from his becoming a traitor. This other side of her often had surprised him though he was certain her brother had much to do with her return to good health. "I can help you with most of the names, m'Lady." He had thought their cousin was coming to visit but only the gods knew when the unpredictable Captain would appear. He looked back to Lord Callihan a moment but the man as usual, did not show his true feelings.

She watched the interplay, the byplay and all the stoic giving away no clue to their expressions and almost burst out laughing. It was ironically funny the way the two bristled around each other. Maybe if she gave a stomp to each of their foot it would break something loose! The changes that Dewar may have seen her, was her struggling to be a proper lady of means. Certainly they had means at this point. She could no longer be the delicate, naive, Caiome she had certainly been once when she didn't have to step up to the plate and be heard and taken seriously. People didn't take timid, naive individuals, seriously. "And do you suggest another to go over the list we have done to make sure no one was left out?" She knew there were still obscure nobles that needed to be brought out into the light again. Some were questionable and hence the guards that would be required at the Ball for the safety of all.

Gillean shifted his gaze from Michael to look out over the iced field. "Perhaps it would better suit us all to discuss this within the walls of the manor. In that way, Caiome could start her list as well." He didn't wait for acceptance of his suggestion, he just turned, his arms dropping to his side as he started his trudging wake through the snow back to the warmth of the interior.

"Possibly Lady Alannah, or the Duke of Montrose, himself." He frowned slightly. "Lady Deirdre might know. The Captains, I'm not sure of." Meaning Regan and both her sea-faring brothers. He paused as Gillean suggested the manor and waited for Lady Caiome to follow her brother. He'd bring up the rear.

A slight frown played as Gill started away without her, leaving her standing there a moment. "Of course.." shifting focus from one to the other before starting in Gill's wake. At least she didn't have to trudge as much as the snow was piling up. The men would be taking turns keeping the ice clear. The embankments were getting high, at his rate there might possible be a wall of ice. Maybe they would sculpt them too. Another idea to tuck away. She near slipped, arms flailed a moment as she caught her breath. "I would not wish to bother James," the man had enough on his plate than to be sitting down making out such a list. "Perhaps Alannah, I can send word to her and her sisters, my cooooooooousins," sounding like wwhooooot.. as she started to slip again.

Caiome's imitation of a hoot owl caused Gill to pause and turn, to see her start to go down. His eyes went wide with surprise and he started to race back to her, only to slip and slide himself, his hand slamming down into the deep snow up to his elbow, his face only inches from plowing into it as well. He was still scrambling though, now on a hand and practically knees, his coat tangling with his legs, his scarf falling from its wind to wrap around his arm.

Dewar got to see all this from his position. Caiome with arms flailing, not once but twice. Gillean down on hands and knees. He moved a few steps forward, caught Caiome under the arms and stood her on her feet. He couldn't get around the Lady's skirt to see to helping her brother though. unless he picked her up and carried her.

She sucked in a breath as Dewar steadied her on her feet. "Gill!" Urging the steady foot Dewar around in front of her towards Gillean but her feet were sliding again that had her slip with her knee going against the back of his. She was like white on rice at the moment.

Gill just dropped to all fours, snow drifting into his gloves over the top, his head dipped. The working of his jaw was his only movement for a moment or two. When he looked up and over to the two, a few of the dark curls that were usually slicked back with perfection had dropped onto his brow. His dark eyes passed from his sister to the Captain then back to Caiome, the line of his lips narrowed that was forcing himself not to .... and then, he laughed. Shoulders shaking, head dipping again, and then he rolled, expensive wool of coat and pants slap-wet flat-backed in the snow. He looked up to the sky from that position, still chuckling as he swept his arms and legs up and over, out and back. Damn, but it felt good just to be one with an angel, for this once, for this once would probably never come again.

With Caiome behind him, he would have started forward but then he felt his knee hit from behind. That knee buckled throwing his other foot forward and down he went, in a half split. By then, Gill was laughing and making a snow angel. And now that he was down too, he started laughing as well. Ah hell, why not? Without glancing at Cai and seeing if she were still upright, he rolled off into the snow in imitation of the Snow Lord, though he didn't make an angel. His cloak would have interfered with the movement of his legs.

For the moment, she was the only one standing. As Dewar went down, the momentum had her spun around and back up. Took a moment with a blink before she started laughing. Her brother! was making a snow angel. It brought a rush of memories of when they were young and carefree. Before their father went insane with greed. She was over but with a scooped up snowball in her hand to toss against her brother's chest. "Peewee..." oops! she had just let out a childhood nickname for Gill had been smallish and thin. He certainly changed in the years growing up. She was quick to make another snowball and whip it at Dewar to hopefully keep him from hearing that! Gill would not miss the delight in her eyes that reflected in her smile either.

Gill curled up into himself as the snowball smacked against his chest, pitching himself to the side. Snow clung to the wool of his clothing, caked white into the expensive cloth. As he moved, he gathered up a handful of snow in that black glove and as she took the time to pummel Dewar, he arched it her way so that it wouldn't slam into her but would make contact never-the-less. He caught her glee, in her features, in her laughter, in her actions, so much he didn't even flinch with the nickname that his father had tagged him with that was not meant affectionately, as Caiome had grown up believing, but more of an insult and a mental game of doubt to Gill's possible accomplishments. Finding his feet, he wiped at the clumped snow packed on the front of his coat at the knees. His gaze drifted to the impression in the snow, at first smiling, but that feature stilled and then faded as he drew in a deep breath. He tore his gaze away and to the other two. His sister and the captain on his back. "Ah, well, that was fun." He stated, though it would seem it was for comment's sake, nothing more. "Come, Caiome, let's get in and dry off. Can't have you taking a chill and being red-nosed and sniffling for your festivities." He held out a gloved hand to her to escort her in. As he should have to begin with.

Dewar had stopped moving, taking a moment to stare up into the sky. He didn't seem to hear the nickname, sitting up just as Caiome threw the snowball. It smacked him in the back of the head, sending snow down his neck. Letting out a yelp, he stood, wiggling around. Then he followed the siblings, still chuckling. He had noticed how Gillean switched off his emotions and it had him wondering many things about the two. Removing the cloak as they neared the mansion, he shook it off, then tended to the snow on his pants. Didn't want to get the nice floors all wet.

Perhaps, unknowingly, she had taken the edge off that nickname for the way she had used it affectionately. She had seen the brother she once knew then the more rigid one quickly take his place. She could be disappointed but now she knew for certain the other was still inside. Her beloved brother. Thoughts were tumbling around in her head as she dusted off her expensive woolen cloak. It would be none the harm to it. A smirk went Dewar's way for the yelp before she was over on cue when her brother thought it wiser to get inside. He was wise for the chill was starting to even penetrate wool. Arm slipped to hook around her brother's arm. "The mud room then the kitchen where we can get something hot, or maybe some Irish coffee.." which was very appealing at the moment. The glance slipped Dewar's way was including him in the offer. After all, he got to spend time in the snow too.

Gill didn't miss that glance toward the captain of the guard. Shifting a look around his arm toward the man as well but since the Lord of Swan Lake would deny his sister nothing outright, he didn't say anything about having the man join them....once again. As he held the door for his sister to enter first, he riveted his look back on Dewar, Caiome continuing in and out of ear shot. "She is noble born, Captain. Do keep that in mind...always." A dark brow arched up but he swept a hand toward the entry, inviting the man within, and with the Lord of the Manor holding the barrier open for the captain.

He inclined his head in answer to Lady Caiome's generous offer, stepping up, though he paused as Gillean looked his way. "I never forget my place, Lord Callihan." He answered just as low, only looking away from the man as he stepped inside. Damn, he hated turning his back on the man but he had no choice.

It was a good thing that Cai didn't hear those words. It as much said that Gill told what men he chose to back off from her. Not to even attempt it in fact. Of course they were wasted words if the man had no interest whatsoever anyway! Still, it was the idea of it that would rile one Caiome Callihan to retaliate. Such might come in an unexpected way. She was shedding her cloak, mittens and scarf, one by one as she gave a glance over her shoulder to Dewar, "you have had Irish coffee?" In a 'certainly you have' tone. She didn't wait for him to answer but continued into the kitchen in stocking feet to order up some for them all.

The door closed behind them, Gillean peeling out of his wet coat, soaked scarf, water filled gloves. These hung up to dry and then tugged off his boots, slipping into a pair of fleece-lined house shoes until he could get above to change. Since the captain would never forget his place, considering he and Gill held the same opinion of that 'place, the Lord of the Manor could excuse himself. "Caiome, I'll be back, I need to change from these wet clothes, and you should do the same soon." As he crossed close to her, he reached out and touched the back of her arm. "If you'll see me with a cup for when I return, I would greatly appreciate it." Then he quit the room, leaving the two of them alone.


Date: 02-05-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan 
Post # 40

"Being Dewar remains in the mud room twiddling his thumbs.." words were not so quiet the man would not hear, "I shall retreat to my rooms and change off the wet clothing as well." If she didn't and she caught cold, she'd catch more than that and she knew it. "We shall return shortly, Captain. There are dry clothes in one of the many guest rooms that should fit. Edna will show you," waving it off as she was quickly on her way as well.

"Aye, I have. " He watched both leave then looked down at his boots. A twitch of his lips followed and he remained where he was. He didn't want to track water. He didn't have extra shoes and he certainly wasn't comfortable enough to remove his boots. So, he'd wait.

Gill tensed when he heard his sister welcome the captain above to use some of the clothes reserved for esteemed guests. If his steps faltered even the slightest, neither of them would notice, because he just grit his teeth and continued on. He was quick to change and deposited his wet clothes for collection and tending. In fact, he was back in the kitchen before either his sister or Dewar returned. He started the task of preparing the warm brew, holding that third cup a little longer in his palm before eventually placing it on the counter to fill. Edna returned, minus Dewar, and Gill glanced over the woman's shoulder toward the door. "Where is the captain?" Tugging his gaze back to the woman who had entered only to gather up the wet clothing in the mud room. "He is above, as instructed, My Lord. He was given clothes to change into, as you wished." He wished? Gill didn't 'wish' it. He never suggested that. He turned back to measure out and pour the liquor into the dark brew. "Thank you." He couldn't bring himself to say her name, that was too personal. Gill didn't do ... personal well. Hell, Gill didn't do all. He kept glancing to the door, and couldn't help himself, until either the captain or his sister re-entered.

Michael actually laughed when he heard Caiome. Ah, but wouldn't Gill be surprised if he took the time to look into Dewar's background, and found he was of noble blood, minor as it was. However, Michael would not volunteer the information. He was down in a few moments, dressed in clothes that actually fit, and a pair of low boots He had even pulled back his hair. And look who was waiting in the kitchen! "M'Lord." Just as politely as always.

Guess who would be last giving the men a good fifteen minutes to share each other's company. She couldn't decide which gown to wear as she tried a few up against her front then set it aside. Her handmaid came in to help her choose and put those away she discarded for not being in the mood. The clothes that Dewar chose actually suited the man.

Dewar had returned, relief settled into Gillean's shoulders and he brought a mug over for the captain, placing it on the smaller kitchen table. He, himself, pulled out a chair and sat, holding the warmth of his between both palms. Since his sister wasn't here, and Gill knew she'd be all huffed up and pissed if he didn't, he nodded to a chair. "Do sit, Captain. Irish coffee is better consume if you are off your feet and planted firmly on your ass."

"Thank you, Lord Callihan." He nodded in answer to the sitting. "Nothing like it to warm up though." Unless it was straight potcheen. His hands were cold from the fall in the snow but the mug would help. And now, there wasn't much to say, though it was really up to Gillean if he wanted to talk. The silence was fine with the Captain.

And it would suit the lord as well. Fifteen minutes seemed an eternity of sand falling through the glass when two men, such as Gillean and Michael, sat across from one another. In silence.

The Irish coffee was excellent though the company could have been a bit better. He cleared his throat after a moment, looking at Gillean. "The patrol had returned before you called me to speak to Lady Caiome, m'Lord." He glanced at the door and back. "They met a man from north Kildare who gave a warning about bandits attacking some of the villages." The snows could drive them south but he trusted the Callihan lord to know that.

She finally chose a pink and rose color gown accented in white Irish lace. Her handmaiden fixed up her hair that left tendrils to flow down along the slender line of her neck. It was a modest gown, nothing like what she had made for the ball that was the latest French trend. Gill would probably lay an egg on the spot, have a bird, choke on a gourd. It was why she was saving it as a surprise. "What bandits?" Wouldn't you know she would have the perfect timing to sweep into the kitchen smelling of spring flowers in a hinted sort of scent.

Gill had started to open his mouth to respond, but Caiome's timing put an end to any talk of possible threat. "Now, Dearest, I do not poke my nose into your designs for this party, you need not fret yourself with talk of bandits." Thus said, Gill stood and crossed over to the counter, collecting Caiome's cup and bringing it over to the table. He placed it on the far end, although the kitchen table for the staff wasn't that long compared to the manor's dining table. But, it would put her some distance from Michael if she sat there. Her brother returned to his chair midway, reclaiming his cup. Caiome attire was always appropriate and comely, not too modest, not too revealing. There was a strange amount of sanity provided with that. Gill couldn't help but appreciate the epitome of graceful Lady displayed by her choice of gowns.

He stood when he heard Caiome and turned to watch her enter. The gown was very becoming, the color giving her cheeks a hint of color. Again, he had to admit she was thriving with her brother's return. He smiled at her when Gill's back was turned, then looked at Lord Callihan again. "It was just a warning. They rarely come this far south." Rarely being the key word. Once she was seated, he'd take his chair again.

She got the cup of Irish coffee he had set out for her and taking it to where she was near him to take up a seat there instead, "ah, but you are invited to poke your nose into all designs of this party." Sweet smile knowing well he didn't want to poke his nose there! She wasn't going to be so easily put off. She had one run in with would be kidnappers and didn't want any more such surprises. She had nightmares for a full week until she got the healer. Why she got one. Certainly Gill had heard her screams in the middle of the night, waking up in a cold sweat and quite a few in their home rushing into her bedroom. Being Dewar offered more information she added, "will a scout or two be sent to investigate to make sure?" If their Ball ever got hit, for certainly there would be the rich gathered, it would prove a Nightmare.

Great, now his sister was asking questions she had no business to be involved with. Gill lowered his gaze to his cup, then lifted it again to nail Dewar. "I am certain our captain of the guard is capable of assuring you that you have nothing to worry about, Dearest. How he handles this is best left for him to decide." And Gill, but the brother was wise enough not to add that to the equation or else his sister might take offense. And he would never, ever wish to offend her if he could possible avoid it. He noticed she didn't take his cue on where to sit, but came next to him, which was fine, except it placed her directly across from the aforementioned captain of the guard. He brought his cup up, sipped, then lowered it. "So tell me, Caiome." Yes, he was changing the subject, but for a good reason. "You and the seamstress have been locked up in your rooms for hours on end, when will we be seeing this gown that the two of you spend so much time preparing?"

He hid his smile as Gill answered. Word had been sent to James, and to any other manor close by. He had planned to increase the patrols in any case before, during, and well after the ball. This just gave him good reason. Best for him to stay quiet now though he looked at Caiome for the answered. Lovely ladies, fancily dressed men. Oh, how he wished he could avoid it all.

"Gowns," there was obviously more than one and she would be choosing that night which to wear. "You will see it in due time, m'dear." A hand moved to rest on his forearm a moment coupled with one of her disarming smiles before the touch was gone and the look that turned on Dewar with just the slightest movement of her lips assured him that while her brother may have changed the subject, she would corner him later. She was back to her brother. "Has the seamstress gained headway with your new suit?" She had been sent a few times and she knew her brother kept saying later or not now to the poor lass.

"I, uhm, ahhh..." Gill stammered with his sister's question, bringing up his cup and tasting the heated brew once more, as if that would give him some time to gather his thoughts regarding his continued avoidance of the seamstress and her pins. Just as the ridge of the cup left his lips, he started to speak. "I have not yet had the opportunity to ... accommodate ... her needs. I assure you, Caiome, I am not without proper attire should we not have the chance to do so." Gill wasn't exactly ready to be undressed and posed for the woman to run her hands all over him, poking and pinning and ... measuring. He was used to a gentleman tailor, after all. It was only proper. He had caught the seamstress eyeing him up and down, chewing on her bottom lip or puckering and tapping that same area as if in thought. Granted, it could have nothing else to do but with her ideas for his clothing. Thing was, Gill didn't particularly wish to be the object of any woman's...ideas. No matter the context. "I gave her leave to address the captain's needs when last she attempted to come to me today." So, take heed, Dewar. Seamstress...incoming.

She might corner him but there wasn't a lot for him to tell, not yet. Instead he just smiled slightly, then looked down while he took a drink of the hot brew. He was just paying enough attention so he wouldn't be caught unawares, but... he was and looked up at Gillean, eyes just a touch wild. Ah hell. Maybe he'd just have one of his men take them and hand the paper off to her. "I'll keep an eye out for her, m'Lord." And run the other way. His lips twitched again and to keep himself from laughing, he took a drink. Two grown men, running from the seamstress.

"You are not without proper attire I'm sure. For regular occasions. When is the last time you attended a Ball?" Which would them back to their teens and they watched from the balcony upstairs for a while. They were allowed down long enough for their father to introduce them to another Lord who had a son and daughter of which, they were then required to dance. That was one of those very awkward moments in time best forgotten. There were times she could read her brother like a book. This was one of those moments. "Rest assured, both of you," glance included Dewar for there was a special Captain of the guard outfit in the making. "I told her to concentrate on the gowns and a tailor will be arriving tomorrow to attend to you both." Giving the idea there would be no more excuses. Ah yes, there was that little smirk that came with the twinkle in her eyes. She took a drink of her enhanced coffee then too.

Rather than get into any details with Caiome at this point, he just smiled with a nod to her. Especially when she explained a tailor would be arriving. "It is possible the same time you did, Caiome." Was his answer. Vague. But considering the time they had spent apart, she need not know the majority of what he had called home or the means to his survival once he had fled Montrose. That was behind him now. Like his shadow though, which could also be behind him, at times the thing shifted and made its presence known and there wasn't a damn thing Gill could do about it. "I look forward to the man's arrival."

A tailor would be better then a seamstress, though he could deal with either. Again, there was little he could say, and he felt it best to keep out of the discussion. He looked up from time to time, watching the siblings as they spoke. A glance toward the window had him thinking his men should be done for the night, and ready to settle in their barracks except for those on guard.

"If you need to go, Captain.." she caught him looking towards the window as if they had been keeping him from whatever laid beyond those panes, "by all means." Let it not be said she kept a male captive against his will! There was that tiny smirk again. A fleeting sort of thing like her thoughts. Oh, she was more focused on the tone of her brother. She had not yet approached him on those years apart. She wasn't sure how to go about it so left it to an opportunity of which still hadn't happened. "Good," on his comment about the tailor. "Then the chore should go much quicker and be done." Tonight she was going to start on that list. "If you are free in a few hours, meet me in the den, Captain, to start that list."

Ah, but she would keep a male captive...if willing? The siblings may just have more in common than either of them realized. Gill caught the movement of his sister's lips, pulling his gaze away from her to look to Dewar in search of any returned features of disclosure. "I do not consider it a chore, Rabbit. But something to look forward to. For it will mean your evening of merriment and enjoyment will be upon us when it is completed." It was his turn to lightly tap her hand, then he swallowed down the last of his coffee and pushed away from the table. "I shall leave you two to the list preparation." After all, Caiome had not included him in that meeting to take place in the den. "There are a few things that I should probably attend to before I turn in for the evening." Like...missives regarding bandits to the North for one. "Good evening, Caiome." He leaned down to touch a kiss to the top of her head, turning and bringing his cup over to the sink. "Captain." He offered the man a nod when he started for the door.

He just blinked then smiled at being caught. "Not at all, Lady Caiome. I was just trying to see if the lake could be seen from here. My men should have retired for the night and their evening meal." He stood as Gillean did, and saluted, out of habit. "Good evening, Lord Callihan." He watched the man leave the room then lowered his eyes to Caiome. Wherever she led, he'd follow.

Well, no, she had not included him as per the whole of the conversation that got Dewar volunteered even if that was not an evening he would have planned to have otherwise. "The door will be left open, if you're up and wish to join us, m'dear." There. He had a left open invitation if he wanted to join in. A hand touched on his before he got away, a small show of affection with the brotherly kiss. "I am hoping that you will enjoy yourself at this Ball." By the tone, she surely meant it. With her drink finished, she also rose turning to address Dewar as her brother took his leave, "then we can see to it now and perhaps get it done." Or a good chunk and have one of her female cousins come and take a look over it too, "before the night grows later." She stepped away from the table and headed out taking a different direction than her brother that would take them to the Den. The Den had all paper and ink she could possibly need. A small bar and a warm fire burning in the hearth.

Gill was pleased with her precautions, even if he didn't comment on the offer to keep the door open. He delivered himself to his office, closed the double doors and turned the key to lock himself in. Unlike his sister, what transpired beyond those doors, would not be witnessed by anyone.

Dewar followed along, going over the names in his head. There would be one family he'd not mention. No, that name would have to come from one of her cousins, IF they even remembered. Michael had no intentions of subjecting anyone to the presence of his family if he could help it. Not the younger ones of course, but his brother, father and that harridan of a sister. His father still hadn't found a husband for her. And probably never will!


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