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The Callihans

Date: 04-11-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 61

Regan laughed then smiled up at Segan. "Thank you. Compliments help to make the agony of dressing up worth it." Of course she was teasing. "I'm glad this is turning out so well for Caiome." Even with all the underlying currents and everything that was going on around them. "We'll keep an eye on things though, aye?" She had caught the ladies suddenly around Corina. Uh oh!

"Of course, .... " Neville spoke to Daniel's back then glanced in Prudence's direction. He snatched a glass from a passing waiter and took a quick drink, not wanting to laugh at what he saw. Well, he'd tell Prudence he tried. Meanwhile, it would be a good time to speak to his mother and grandmother, since it seemed Sebastian was happily drinking and Olivia steaming about it.

Vadome didn't mind dancing three times with the Lord of Montrose. He danced very well and the conversation was interesting. Of course, that all was forgotten when she returned to the Duchess. She whispered to a servant that they needed a room and for the lord and lady to be notified.

"Of course, Lord Callihan." Dewar inclined his head slightly then went out with Jacob. "Take Beck and his squad and send them as reinforcements. Have half the men resting in the barracks come out and take their places here. And the rest ready in case this gets more aggressive. I don't want to leave the estate unguarded with all those who are here. We'll hope it doesn't become more aggressive until everything is done. Let me know when Mark returns."

Distracted. That was the reason Gill hadn't thought this move through enough to realize that Remmington could and would take advantage. Jacob and Michael's discussion. James' look. Caiome's predicament with Hastings. Add to that now the Duchess' impending delivery. Daniel leading Caiome to the dance floor. A missing King. And the ache at the back of his neck that radiated deeper into a pain throbbing in his brain. The maid was told to do all to make Corina comfortable, anything and everything. Gill's hand lifted to massage at the base of his skull along his neck as his gaze followed the dance taking place. Where the hell was Michael and why didn't he have any answers yet for Gill? The Lord of Swan Lake meandered throughout the room in idle conversation to keep the festivities underway until such time as they may not be able to proceed. This was Caiome's night, dammitall, and he'd do all in his power to keep her enjoying herself.

Daniel made note of the rush to see Gaidan's Ladywife from the room, and since every one of her ladies whisked out with the couple it left little to the imagination. "Looks as if Swan Lake will have its first babe born beneath its roof since quite some time ago." As they danced, Daniel dragged his attention from the exodus to the lady in his arms. Where she had spilled her beverage on his shirt, a darker shade of unfortunate stain made its appearance. But he didn't even care. Caiome was in his arms and they were a part of the music which swirled around them. "I'm sure your brother has seen to all of the Duchess' needs, and she would not wish for you to leave your guests and your entertainment to tend to what he has already overseen lest she feel a burden for halting your party. We both know she wouldn't wish that." At times, Caiome's skirt swept around his legs with a graceful spin. "All of Kildare has been relieved to hear that you would no longer be sequestered within Montrose's walls. Me more than most, M'Lady."

"I will send a few of my men with them to help." And to size up the situation. "A runner to Montrose and have my army there alerted." Which would mean they would be ready if needed. "There is something odd about this situation," which James was giving a nod in agreeing with Dewar that some should be sent but not a good portion even of their troops here. He had always trusted Dewar to make the right decisions and would do Gillean and Caiome well in being head of their growing army. The man that served him still had been Dewar's mentor.

A hooded man of a good height sat upon a steed just as formable. There on the hillside up from the wide shallow river that ran at the bottom of this mountain side. There was little to no talk amongst his kin that were in count, less the ones sent to antagonized those at the northern most post of one hundred and fifty strong. This was only one portion of the faction of the Mullen clan. He had runners stationed in relay before they would make any move. So far there were no men sent to help the few at this post. He frowned. They knew of their runners that had left, come and left again. Still he waited with only the sound of shifting metal and leather, the snort of a few of the horses or hooves pawing at the earth below impatiently.

This is what Leo saw now that sounds and distractions were limited. He knew of this clan, or more had sensed them but there had been no outward signs like tonight that they would need to be addressed. Hidden away he astral projected himself to the site just across the shallow river. A golden apparition appeared and would be seen moving through to the edge across from where they sat hidden. A wave of a hand had one pine burst into flame on their side of the bank. Safe enough for those on the other for the span of water but would be of great concern to this clan if they were to lose their mountain to ash. Instead of any plans they originally had this night it was turned into survival as another then another tree burst into flame. The dry underbrush would have it spreading if they didn't go into immediate action. They could not afford to lose any more time as the apparition faded leaving the leaping flames to any out this night to see in the distance. By the time anyone reached the spot, they would find a line of burnt brush and trees and no other sign. The plans this night had been debunked but that didn't mean there wouldn't be another time. Leo drew in a quickening breath as he returned to his body. He had chosen a safe spot for in doing this, he left his physical body vulnerable. He returned inside only to find that Corina had gone into labor. Before he would join them, he caught up with Gillean and took him aside. "I want to see you and the other heads come three days hence at the castle. It has to do with tonight." It was an order but one that Gillean should be glad to be there for. A slight dip of his chin before he was having one of the chambermaids show him to where they had taken Corina and where he'd find his brother. Murphy's law may rue this night but it wasn't necessarily as it seemed. The Ball would go undisturbed other than some undercurrents.

Caiome half swiped a hand down over his shirt were a stain was setting in. It wouldn't do any good and so the action ceased as her hand came to rest against his chest instead as they danced. Dark lashes lowered as he spoke to disguise any reaction she might have such as surprise. She was aware of her brother wandering. She was aware that Dewar had still not returned and James had gone out. She was aware the King seemed to appear again, talked with her brother and thentook his leave. The doors he was led through would indicate where and it was there upon a turn of a dance step she noted Ashley standing there wringing her hands. Ashley.. had become head of the chambermaids for her efficiency even if Caiome was sure she noted her brother like a few of the others. She had not made any advance that she knew of and had established enough of a rapport to give her a nod, which she was waiting for. The nod told her to see to the Duchess and if needed to get her. She also noticed that the orchestra gradually up the volume of their instruments in case there were any echoes of a woman in childbirth to come down those halls, even from behind thick oaken doors. Lashes still lowered as focus shifted back and lifted. "My Lord Thorston, are you implying that you are keeping watch on my affairs?" Hard to tell if the notion pleased or displeased her. She was not giving anything away. Her steps swept with his, as well the flow of the material of her gown. Never did her foot land upon his even if quite near for the step.

Leoric would find Gaidan outside of the room where her ladies were preparing her. He wasn't sure he'd be allowed in or no, or if they'd merely forget him. He would be going inside soon if they didn't call him. He wanted to be with his wife.

Dewar would return to the ballroom but his dancing would be done for the night. All that was left was to watch over Caiome. Who apparently had gotten into a situation. He winced when he saw Caiome with Remmington, but it couldn't be helped. Spotting Gillean he made his way over and told him what had been said as briefly as possible. Including James' words. He hadn't realized the King had spoken to Gillean. But he did notice the Duchess, Regent and the ladies were gone. Hell, now what?

Gill had been in the middle of speaking about absolutely nothing with the Lord and Lady Greenwald when Michael approached. Although he had been watching Caiome the entire time, he slowly brought his gaze over to Michael and added a miniscule nod. "Pardon us." He offered to the Greenwalds and guided Michael to the side. "The King will be requesting a meeting, about tonight...I'd appreciate if you'd be there." Wait, did Gill just say appreciate? Maybe the music made his words morph into something he hadn't really said. "I've got a fuck'n headache that even a guillotine couldn't remedy." He flickered a look to Michael, twitched off a semi-smile that bordered on a grimace and started away from the captain.

Daniel might not be looking anywhere but into Caiome's eyes, but he noted so much more. "I like the sound of that from your lips, Lady Caiome. My...Lord Thornston." And he smiled, the faintest shrug of a shoulder while they danced to add to his next comment. "And while I would never assume to impose upon any of your ... affairs. I can't say I haven't been greatly enamored by you since seeing you on one of your rare outings to town with your cousins, it has probably been close to a year now since then. That's a long time to wait, but patience is a virtue it is said...and look where I am now? Dancing...with you."

Corina was not one to yell out in pain and she had been in l
abor for a while but being her second, it was not so bad. Yet. She wanted her husband at her side so Gaidan was brought in. Between her ladies who were schooled in such things and the efficient staff of Swan Lakes, the baby girl was born without any complications and fairly quick, within that hour. The news would be delivered to Gillean by Ashley to then do with what he wished, announce it to the others or not was up to him. Ashley lingered on the outskirts at to what time Gillean was free to speak with him.

Caiome could feel the heat rising into her cheeks. Had the room gotten so much warmer that quickly? Had the champagne finally caught up with her? Had she been more worldly, although trying to come off as such, she would have laughed and given a witty response. Oh! Where was that witty response when you desperately needed one? Her brain went befuddled instead for those few moments. She found it hard to tear her gaze from his, feeling like she was under the spell of a cobra. Wait! Even if it had been too long in coming and he would know, she came up with something. Struggled it up. "I'm sure you say that to all the ladies," finally tearing her eyes from his as if to look around and ascertain all those ladies about looking their way, his way. Oh wait, Dewar was back and her brother rubbing the back of his neck. That was never a good sign. Distractions worked well too at the moment! "Yes, we are dancing.." but nothing else was added as they moved splendidly about the floor.

Gaidan was always troubled when Corina suffered even the tinest pain. Childbirth... if he could spare her it, he would have. He laughed outloud when he heard the first cry of the child, then leaned over to kiss her forehead. "You are amazing, my love. And she is absolutely beautiful."

Daniel actually laughed softly with her retort, leaning closer to speak nearer her ear as they took their next turn. "I wish not to argue what you are sure of, M'Lady, and so I will say...perhaps, perhaps spoken to all, but meant only ever this once." He straightened, both brows lifting to challenge her doubts to the truth of his words, then as the music died down, he drew in a breath. "And here is where I am loathe to release you. But to protect your brother's sanity, I am forced to act the gentleman and play fair. I suppose I can share least...for tonight." He brought the hand he held around and grazed his lips once more across the soft mounds of her knuckles, then lowered her hand away as he bowed to her. "I have probably enjoyed myself far more than any man here tonight, Lady Caiome."

When Ashley returned, Gill watched her a moment, then crossed over to her. His head dipped to better hear her over the music, then he spoke to her in return. The proud father could make the announcement when he deemed proper and until such a time, the guests could wonder about...and anticipate..that moment. Speaking of anticipating. At last the dance ended and Daniel had to release his touch from Caiome. When he leaned in during the dance, Gill grit his teeth, tightened his fists to remain rooted. Not an easy accomplishment. Then with the genteel lips/knuckle action, the growl he had been swallowing down all night rumbled on up the back of his throat. Remmington led his sister from the dance floor, and even though Hastings was scurrying on over, Gill met her first. "I needs speak with my sister about the Duchess, Thornston. Do excuse us." Gill extended his uplifted palm to Caiome.

She could agree with his first statement but not necessarily the second. There was one thing she was certain of, Daniel Remmington was a dangerous man. Dangerous to women and she knew, just as dangerous to men if he so chose. She might not be worldly but she was intuitive. How did she tell her brother? That this man could get her toes to curl inside her shoes? Gillean would explode. Was he a danger to her brother? Was he a danger to her? The wild thoughts rampaged through her head in a wink of a eye that seemed like much more time elapsing. The first statement was best left without a spar of words, she would lose. Perhaps she could test, "you would protect my brother's sanity?" Spoken with a slight lift of brow, "or.. you do not play fair and my brother would?" Oh, finally, a devilish thought! Such implications his words would gain. "Thank you for the dance," not needing to have him reply as the song ended and she needed that time to collect her wits about her, away from that man! He was still there. Her knuckles still tingled. She needed more champagne! She managed two glasses down before Gill got to them. That was a red flag right there. The glass set aside with a small smile as she took up Gillean's arm to lead her away and what he needed to speak with her on.

Well, that explained quite a bit. He saw Gillean take Caiome in hand, then glanced to see where Remmington had gone, as well as his family. It seemed all was under control for the moment. As far as Gillean, the man would definitely need rest after this was all over. Gillean's words had him wondering if the Viscount would be able to take more tonight before he exploded.

Neville was watching Caiome and Gillean, after noticing Prudence was watching Gill like a hawk. She seemed quite... infatuated. He moved to the refreshment table to get himself a drink, and hopefully, he was close enough to ask the lovely Lady Caiome for a dance before Hastings tried again.

Gaidan kissed Corina on the forehead, then their new daughter and stepped away so her ladies could help her, clean up the baby, and get them both comfortable. Ashley had been kind enough to give her a nightgown for they surely would not be traveling tonight. He made his way down to the ballroom, waiting for the dance in progress to finish. "Your Majesty," He bowed to his brother, "My Lords and Ladies, I wish to announce that my wife has delivered a beautiful baby girl. So, I beg your pardon, as we will not be in attendance for the rest of the ball." He wasn't holding back his grin either. "Enjoy your night." He wasn't sure if the ladies would return or not.

Corina was worn out but she glowed and it showed in her smile. "I am pleased you are pleased my love. Please do tell the others," which she figured he'd make the announcement. She would be here a few weeks, Gaidan would stay with her she was sure as Leo was quite capable on his own in the castle. It wasn't often the twins were separated since that time in their past. Her ladies in waiting would be waiting out the time with her here and seeing to her every need. It was time for to sleep as the baby was put in a cradle one of the staff produced from somewhere in the manor. "Please go down and enjoy the rest of the Ball and come back when it is done and let me know how it all turned out." Shooing her ladies away for they didn't need to be by her side as she slept. She was quite safe here. Two of their guards took up a post outside her door.

With Gaidan's announcement, Arabella squealed, jumping up and down, patting her hands together. "A baby girl. A baby girl." She grabbed hold of the sides of her skirt and spun in a circle, then with the fullness of material wrapping around her legs, she stopped and spun in the opposite direction. "Sugar. Spice. Everything nice. Pink. Flowers. Joy for the hours." Twirling in place one way, switching and repeating the action in the opposite direction, until she was good and thoroughly dizzy. "Oh..." She blinked, taking a few steps to the right. "My." Then shuffling a few steps back as she tried to refocus. "Fun."

Gill looked over to Gaidan as the announcement was made. He really hadn't needed to speak to Caiome about Corina, he just wanted to have a reason to put distance between his sister and Remmington. He joined in the applause of praise and congratulations, then reached over to the collect two glasses of champagne that the servants circulated around the room. He handed one over to Caiome and then he raised his own glass to Gaidan. "May your arms and hearts always be full, Your Grace." Then brought the glass to his lips. Any discussion with his sister would wait until after the excitement about the birth died down just a little. Swan Lake would welcome the Royals for as long as they needed. Of Course! This time of year the mother and newborn should not be attempting any great lengths of travel.

Daniel also raised his glass, drinking to the happiness and well being of the proud family although his gaze did not stray far from one particular woman and the brother who stood sentry over her like the gargoyles of old.

Angel was back down to hear the announcement. She was still smiling from ear to ear. How they could fuss over the new little lady in the months and years to come. She still wanted a dance with the Lord of the Manor so managed her way ...  his way, passing by the prudish looking one who seemed to be staring at the man. Oh! She nearly laughed. He was a wanted man. She would be satisfied with one dance. Once she had one with him, she planned to waylay Simon.

Leo entered the room Corina was in to congratulate her, "a beautiful daughter as beautiful as her mother. I am pleased that both you and she are well and healthy." Of which he'd been assured by the midwife and her ladies. He also knew on another level but he avoided notice of that area for most. Mainly because it had adverse reactions and few understood. Although Corina would be one to understand, it was more her ladies whom were about her at least until he left and rejoined his brother downstairs. This was Gaidan's moment so he stood silently off to the side as he made his announcement.. Hands tucked behind his back but there was a smile upon his face.

Caiome was feeling the drinks. What was one more? Taking up the glass that was offered as she held up slightly up with the announcement. "I am very honored for your daughter to be born here, Your Grace" not saying too much that she could possibly trip over her words. After the announcement was made the music started up in a softer tone again as many came up to congratulate the proud father in all due respect. She planned to visit Corina later if she was up and possible see the baby. She would make sure that every comfort was met even if it meant sending some of the men out to get anything needed. Once all the attention was upon Gaidan, her words came low that only her brother might hear. "What do you know of this Lord Thornston?" Which had her slanting a glance that would find that very man in the crowd.

Gaidan appreciated the words from the Host and Hostess, the guests and graciously accepted each word from each person but he was anxious to get back to Corina. As soon as he was able, he spoke to Gillean and Caiome. "My Lord and Lady Callihan, thank you for your hospitality and kindness. " Then he went over to Leoric and exchanged a few words with him before slipping back to Corina's room. He would stay until she and the babe were well enough to travel.

Michael was over to Arabella laughing as he caught her before she fell. He cupped her chin so she would look up at him and smiled down at her. "Are you going to dance with me, Bella? Or are you going to make me wait all night?" Though the Captain cared deeply for all his siblings, well, perhaps not as deeply where the twins were concerned, Bella held a special place in his heart.

Neville made his way over to the Callihan Lord and Lady and bowed to them both. "If I may intrude, might I have a dance with you, Lady Caiome? But only if you allow, my Lord." He was perfectly polite, but he could not lose that oiliness he had gained since his wife had died. Behind them, the guests had started to dance, drink and gossip again.

If Angel only knew just dangerously close to true her assessment of Gillean's status was, the heavenly being would have sought out the Archangel Simon and left the Fallen alone. Gill saw her approach, and as Neville asked permission for this dance with Caiome, he looked to his sister, extending his hand to Angel as a request for her. "By all means, you may not find a better dance partner here tonight." His gaze shifted to Angel and he nodded to her with a smile that for all appearances appeared sincere. "Except I may just be proven wrong if the Lady Aingeal is up to the challenge." He nodded off an acknowledgement to Gaidan then led the Lady to the floor to dance. Gill glanced around his shoulder to Caiome. Certain matters would be discussed in private. Or at least as private as one might get with a house full of overnight guests. "We shall speak, Caiome, about your inquiry."

Arabella steadied under Michael's touch, even if her eyes continued to track the spinning room for a moment or two more. "My brother is the most haaaaandsome man in all Kildare." She wrapped both arms around Michael's midsection tight. He was, afterall, rather tall to cling to his neck. "And you smell good too!" She rubbed her cheek against his chest as she looked up at him, pressed to him as she was. "Gretchen's cat had three kittens. And she named them pussy, pussy and pussy." She lowered her gaze, still clinging to her brother and that's how she would dance, her ear to his heart. "Silly girl." Who was Gretchen? Did Michael even know? Probably not. Did Arabella even remember she mentioned her just now? Probably not. Especially since she started to hum her own melody which didn't match the flow of the music and, unfortunately, was extremely off key.

Daniel held his glass braced on the arm crossed against his stomach, watching the crowd. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself when he witnessed Dewar asking the lady to dance, and Hastings actually huffing out a blast of air once again that made his shoulders raise and sag. Had to give the man credit for persistence. Couldn't award him any points for smarts though. He brought his glass up slowly, drank, then set it on the tray that passed close by when a servant crossed in front of him. Stepping around the man, he moved along the edge of the dance floor, watching both the Lord and Lady of the Manor with their partners. He stopped by Prudence, offering his arm. "May I?"

Gillean would allow it? Did this man, Neville Dewar actually say that? Not so much on her brother's part but more that this man, a wimp now in her eyes, was trying to play to her brother's wishes like it would gain him something where she was concern. She pursed her lips but luckily it didn't have the same affect on her features as what it did to Prudence's. But here was one of the ladies in waiting, Angel if she remembered correctly as that was an easier nickname to remember in all the many names to learn tonight, whisking away her brother. The purse of her lips eased as Gill led Angel out onto the dance floor. Neville might wonder if she'd bulk and walk away. It was a thought on her part! Instead her features eased into a smile. "Lead on my lord Dewar." After all, if she insulted him she might indirectly insult Michael and she didn't wish to do that. She was as good a dancer as Gill promised. Thinking of Michael, she made note of where he was with his little sister. The child-woman was a challenge and it seemed he didn't mind. She wondered if Neville minded how Arabella was. Hmmm.

For a second there Angel wondered if Gillean was going to turn her over to Neville with some challenging words but as she laid her hand in his she was relieved she'd not be asked to dance with Neville. Her smile, mostly out of relief, could rival an angel's and the pink that settled on her cheeks complimentary. She was graceful as Gillean insuinated and made him an excellent dance partner so there would be no complaint.

Although Prudence thought she was cool and collected, she was obvious to anyone else making notice. She was not only glued in watch upon Gillean, she moved about the outskirts of the room in following his every move. That was until she near literally ran into this newcomer, Hastings was it or Thornston. Ah... Hastings or Thornston. The purse of her lips caused her cheeks to sink in and the line between her brows deepened as with such concentration upon the man of the hour, of the ball, of her dreams from this day forward. "Lord," hesitating before adding, "Thornston. I'd be pleased to take a turn around the room with you." Not that she knew much of this man. Was he rich? Was he titled? More, she hoped to show Gillean she was a wanted woman this night at the ball. She smiled. Slightly forced but at least it eased the prune look.

"Gretchen? Did you get to hold a kitten?" He was never sure if she'd remember or not but it didn't matter. He was smiling as they danced, and if she happened to stand on his boots to do so, he wouldn't mind. Even that off-key tune didn't bother him. He did frown just briefly as he thought about his father trying to marry her off, but it was quickly smoothed away. He didn't want Bella to see the frown and think she was the cause.


Date: 04-14-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 62

Neville was an excellent dancer due to the fact that his late wife had loved to dance. He glanced at Michael and Bella and chuckled. "Bella is so full of love and unintentional mischief." He looked back down to Caiome and that smile remained. Yes, he could be decent if he didn't have to deal with a certain brother. "Thank you for inviting us. This is an excellent way to meet your neighbors. I'm sure they'll be talking about such a lovely affair for days." He chuckled softly. "And bring up all the old stories and rumors that abound when the nobles come together."

Arabella liked the way Michael's vo
ice vibrated in his chest against her cheek. The feeling made her smile. "Three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry. Oh mother dear, we greatly fear, our mittens we have..." She stopped her rhyme as Neville and Caiome passed in their dance near. "She is lovely, the Lady of Swan Lake..." Arabella's head lifted and she looked up to her brother. "Surely she has won your heart, Michael." She hummed a moment, a totally different tempo, and not waiting for an answer she freed a hand to wave at their mother from across the room. "Hello Mother! I am dancing with Michael!" As if the matron couldn't see. One thing after the other, not just one chicken, but an entire hen house of them all squawking about and snatching her attention. "There are seventeen steps up to the front door of our manor house." Important information, for a lass who could obsess at times with counting her every footfall from point A to point B.

Gillean would never complain with the opportunity to dance with a lovely lady, especially one as graceful as the Lady in Waiting. They spoke of trivial things, nothing that might place either of them in an awkward position for stating conflicting opinions. And good it was, too. Though Gill seemed to be solely tuned in to Angel and her words, he darn sure knew exactly where Neville and Daniel were in the room, and that Michael danced within that close proximity as well. The evening was growing late, or was it the morning had tipped the sands by two hours, another and the witching hour would be upon them. Several of the families had already taken their leave, but for the most part, Caiome's festivities continued in full force. Gill's nerves were raw, his head ached, and damn if his hand wasn't still numb from the dance shared with Prudence Dewar. He realized that gatherings such as this could go well into the daylight hours...but for his own sake, he could hope his sister's guests would begin to tire.

"Daniel, M'lady Dewar. Daniel Remmington, Baron of Thornston, to the North. But please, I would prefer if you would call me Daniel." Remmington could pass off full attention on Prudence. She was in his hold, she was his only thought. Indeed. Allow the woman to think so. So attentive to the female, so skilled at the dance, the end of the music would come before she even realized, before she was ready for it to cease. He twirled her out then with her hand still in his, spun her close to him again, smiling down to her. "Quite the pleasure, Prudence." He used her given name, just because he would. "Thank you for this dance." His hold slipped from her and he backed away with a bow. He was a man of purpose, and that purpose would now be ending her dance with Prudence's brother.

Caiome finally eased in this dance with Neville, he wasn't so bad after all. At least not to frown and could actually enjoy the dance as he seemed very smooth about it. Slick. That's how she'd see him in her mind. Like oil. "She's a darling girl," which she gave the very one a big smile as they passed. That came naturally but soon schooled for that was a weakness of hers and it was not good to let a man know her weakness. Probably why her brother was so protective of her because he knew her weakness that another could take advantage of. Thankfully she had not heard Belle's words to her brother. "I am pleased that all has turned out so well and many to meet that had not." She had not thought about rumors and for a second worried her bottom lip with her teeth before pushing it aside. "There will always be rumors." The days to follow would prove how these meetings were and of what rumors spread. They had a way of reaching the noble's ears. She noticed the devout attention Daniel had upon Prudence as they passed on the dance floor, she was out of the woods! Maybe she'd not have to warn Gill after all. She would blame it on the champagne she consumed this night and the elated plane she was on for the Ball. He was probably spewing the same words to Dewar's sister! She could hear it now and suddenly laughed. Neville would probably wonder why but the dance was ending and time for another drink of champagne! She covered it up as he saw her from the dance floor with a question on a comment she had wondered if it was best to avoid but at the same time had her curious. "What old stories and rumors?"

Angel was very much enjoying her dance with the Lord of Swan Lakes. It showed in her graceful step and it showed in her smile. She was quite intelligent even if blond but sometimes played along if it got her where she wanted. Not really anything devious at all. Once the dance was done, she'd curtsey and thank him, complimenting him on how good he danced as well looked and would now leave him to all the other ladies hoping for a dance .. with a wink. It was time to wrestle a dance out of Simon, Thane and Vincent if she could catch them between their dancing with others

Oh, Prudence was sucking it up. Every last drop. Every step, every word. Who was Gillean? She was switching horses midstream and clinging like a vine that she didn't miss a step. He was dashing. He was titled. Baron. He had property and assumed money that went with it. Neville would be having his ear turned to promote this relationship she was now hoping for. "Daniel," coming in an out of breath way as she fluttered her lashes, looking more like she was having an epileptic fit. "Thank you for the dance. I hope to see your manor to the north someday soon." She would put in a plug that being so attentive, he wanted to see her again too! She was left breathless and out to find her brother as it seemed his dance with the Lady of the Manor was ending too.

Corina had gotten some rest but it was hard to rest as she wanted to look lovingly upon her new daughter. She was perfect. She had her father's eyes too! She was propped up holding her when Gaidan returned and Diarine who has lingered in spite of her shooing them away back to the Ball, only then excused herself and headed back down. She would probably dance with King's men as they became free. Or Not. She wasn't the typical as Corina noted in a wayward thought as she left. Her smile brightened upon her husband. "Tell me all about the Ball," meaning from when she had to leave a number of hours ago. She handed up their daughter to him as she knew by his look he wanted to hold her.

While she slept, Gaidan watched both Corina and their daughter. He sat on the bed beside Corina and smiled when she woke telling her of all when he was down there ending with.. "and all the guests were naturally delighted." How could they not be?

Michael blinked then his expression softened. "Caiome is very lovely but she and her brother are who I serve so it's best I don't talk about them Bella." The music had stopped and he glanced around. His younger siblings were dancing, as were the two elder... Neville with Caiome and Remmington with Prudence? For a moment he wondered what damage control would have to be done with Caiome. But his attention was drawn back to Bella. "Why don't we go and get you some of those little cakes, Bella? I hear they're very good and you can share them with grandmother." First the cakes, then grandmother. He held out his hand to his mother with a smile. They would be leaving soon as his Grandmother was growing tired but he had to have at least one dance with his mother.

Neville had enjoyed the dance and found Caiome not only lovely, but well-spoken with a graciousness few had. He led her from the dancing floor to the refreshment table and picked up a glass of champagne as well. "Ah, well, do you see that rather plump gentleman there. That's Lord Hearthwood. The lovely lass beside him is his wife and it's said she keeps him happily fed, and does as she pleases." A silly little rumor there. He pointed out a few others, then sighed, and though it sounded sincere, it was not. "Of course there are the nastier rumors like those about Daniel Remmington." He shook his head. "They say his father was overwhelmed by grief because of his son's behavior. He, that is Remmington, loved to drink, gamble and was said to be involved in a few scandals." He smiled, and this time it was sincere. "But, rumors are just that and not trustworthy. And you should not have to hear such tonight while you're enjoying yourself."

"You should not ever have to hear such, Lady Caiome." Daniel reached forward, plucking up a strawberry from the tray of fruits directly in front of Neville, and as he did, he canted his head to cut a look Neville's way. "Rumors are a fool's fantasy, M'Lady. And while there are more stories than there are locusts every seven years, those of us who tend to hear our names within them, are less likely to slander the honor of others." He straightened, nodding to someone just beyond Neville's location. "Is that not right, Lord Callihan?"

Gill and Angel had come to stand just behind Neville and Caiome, and when the Lady set off to find her next partner, Gill had lingered and listened. "I have little reason to give a shit, one way or the other except that this Lady, my sister, may be uncomfortable with the subject. Do refrain, Gentleman. Or you may just find that some rumors...hold a great deal of truth to them." Gillean's hand stretched out past Neville to Caiome. "Come, Dearest, Lord Hastings is preparing to depart and I think you should at least bid him farewell since he was unfortunate enough not to be honored with one of your dances."

Focus shifted to the ones that he indicated. It would go hand in hand with those smooth words and the charm that overflowed like a volcano from the man. Those thoughts were interrupted as speak of the devil from hell itself and he'd come! "M'lord," was all she got out as eyes went slightly wide that Neville had gotten himself caught in spreading rumors. She would have smirked but that would not be too ladylike. Instead she detached the fan at her waist and fluttered it. The temperature had just risen quite a few degrees or was that the champagne at work again? Lord Callihan, those two words echoed as he was just in time to save the night! The fan was snapped shut and back to her waist before she place her hand in her brother's. "If you will excuse me, gentlemen." Her brother was quite right in that it was becoming uncomfortable to feel like she was between the two with a spar of words. Good Lord, Lord Hastings, he practically drooled on her. Still, yes, it was a duty to see some of the guests off.

Neville merely smiled and shrugged. "Perhaps, but as I told Lady Caiome, rumors ranged from the humorous to the slanderous. And if one wants to sort out the stories, they only have to investigate." He turned to Gillean and inclined his head slightly. "Of course, Lord Callihan. I would not wish her to be uncomfortable. I spoke only to amuse." He took a drink then looked at Daniel. "If you'll excuse me, my Lord, I should attend to my family." It seemed his step-mother was out of sorts, and his father in his cups. It might well be time to return home themselves, though he hated to ruin his younger siblings fun. A slight bow of his head and he crossed the room to his father.

Michael's grandmother intended to see that Bella came home with her tonight. The mood of her son and his wife looked foul. Best to take the younger too as well, and she sent a servant over to make sure a request. "I'm glad you both came." Michael told his mother as they walked back to his grandmother. He had seen the interaction of the four and felt it could be trouble. O'Brien hadn't returned with any reports so perhaps things hadn't changed at the post. And his father was definitely drunk enough that he may have to be escorted to their carriage. Good lord.

Remmington tweaked the green cap from the strawberry, listening to both Neville and Dewar. As the siblings started away, his gaze shifted to Dewar. "You do that, Neville. After all, rumors are like the plague, even the most innocent can fall victim to its vile spreading." His lips tilted ever so slightly in a suppressed smile and then he bit off the bottom of the strawberry, not waiting for a reply, but heading in the opposite direction. Even if he didn't get another dance with Caiome tonight, by God, this would not be the last their paths crossed.

On the way to Hastings, Gillean and Caiome passed alongside Michael. "Choose which house you serve tonight, Dewar." Gill growled low in passing, none but the Captain of the Guard would hear. As long as he was on Swan Lake's roster, Michael damn sure better start focusing on Caiome. He could mend bridges with his family on his own damn time.

Oi. Caiome could tell that this night was starting to get to her brother. All considering he did very well. Lasted very long but he was on the verge of a meltdown. "Once we see to our departing guests, let us have a last dance." If anyone wanted to stay beyond that, they could convince the orchestra for a few more songs perhaps. Any that really stayed long would be offered accommodations for the night.

Michael looked at Gillean and nodded once, keeping his face perfectly expressionless. He kissed his grandmother and mother goodbye, and Bella as well. Summer and Matthew also said their farewells. The two younger Dewars were tired but very happy with the night. He turned and watched the two nobles walk away, narrowing his eyes slightly. Was Caiome walking with a little bit of a weave. He crossed his arms as he moved closer to the refreshment table and Remmington, not saying a word.

As the Lord and Lady of the Manor took their leave, Daniel watched them until they disappeared in the mulling crowd. With a soft chuckle, he turned and plucked a few more choice pieces of fruit from the platter. He felt as the Captain of the Guard took up a post close to him which only caused him to smile. Remmington had done nothing untoward for retaliation, and it would remain that way tonight. He knew how to play this game, and by the gods, he meant to stack the deck in such a way that even an ace or two up Gillean's sleeve would not save Callihan's win. After all, the prize for victory was well worth the patience to gain it. She was every bit worth the wait. "A most exhilarating evening, would you not say, Captain?" Thornston turned just slightly to look at the guard, smiled, then bit off half of the apple wedge. He offered a nod, then while still chewing made his way toward the door where Swan Lake were offering their thanks and farewells. His coat was handed over and he shrugged into it, stepping up next to bid his adieu. He offered his palm first to Caiome. "My Lady, such a fine affair, I'm sure that all will be chattering about it for quite some time, and making those who were unable to attend most jealous for their loss."

Was there was a slight weave to her step? Possibly. Maybe it was that she was feeling very good that her hips swayed a bit more in this dress that accented it that had it look that way? She was smiling. Her arm curled around her brother's might look like it was for support being she was leaning into him as well. Or, just so enjoying herself and the fact she was having time with her beloved brother in saying their farewells. It wasn't until Remmington offer his hand to Cai that she eased from the comfortable stance with her brother. A step forward as she placed her hand in his looking him straight in the eyes. "I'm pleased you enjoyed yourself Lord Thornston,"he was leaving and that should ease her brother's mind. She would probably not see him again but her brother might? Her smile warm as she added, "then they will just have to make sure to attend the next. Including surprises," which was said looking right at him for he had been one of the surprises. A brief glance beyond had her note where Neville and the Captain were.

Michael looked at Remmington and smiled as well. "It certainly has been. Good night, my Lord." He bowed as Remmington left and let out a sigh. He was quite certain the Callihan siblings would be seeing that particular lord again. And that would likely cause all of sorts of problems for himself. Under different circumstance though, he might find Remmington likable.

Sebastian Dewar was well within his cups as his family prepared to leave. There had been a touch of drama when Olivia was informed that Bella, Summer and Matthew were going with their grandmother but she was over it all when they started for the door. She could deal with Sebastian once they were home without upsetting her children. Neville and Prudence would likely retire as soon as they reached home, Neville to sulk over his competition for the Lady's attention, and Prudence to daydream. Of course, they would bid farewell to some of their acquaintances first.

Daniel brought the lady's hand up to his bowing form, grazing his lips lightly over the soft skin. Then her hand was lowered and his touch slipped free of hers. "If ever you would wish to visit Thornston, M'Lady, and I do hope you would, you will find the doors open to you. My staff may even be watching for your arrival." He twitched off a wink to her, that Gillean may or may not notice, before he looked to the Lord of this manor house. "The same applies for you, of course, M'Lord." He offered Gillean a bow as well, although when Daniel's head dipped with that show of respect, he smiled to himself just before he straightened. "Good evening." He tugged his hat down over his head and as he made the cold exterior, he was slipping on his gloves.

No mistaking, Gillean Callihan's opinion of this particular man had everything to do with dislike and nothing to do with courteous indifference. The longer Lord Thornston engaged Caiome in departing conversation, the tighter Gillean's fist clenched at his side. Gill actually tilted his head side to side in a stretching attempt to ease the tensed muscles in his neck. If looks could kill when Daniel stepped away to take his leave, Gillean's continued watch of that back could definitely slay the man before he made the first step down. "Fucker" He grumbled low, too low for Caiome to hear, but a maid passing behind them at that moment sucked in a soft gasp of surprise. "Excuse me, Caiome, just a moment." He had leaned to the side to speak those words, and in doing so, had already set the momentum to leave her side and approach the remaining Callihans across the room. Those leaving at present could wait for his return, or they could accept Caiome's best wishes upon their departure minus his. His sights were set, and his target was one particular sea captain with whom he needed to speak prior to her slinking away.

My staff may even be watching for your arrival.. echoed in her head. How presumptuous which almost had her laugh and saying, until the cows come in.. but she resisted and only dipped her head acknowledging his offer. There might be a small smirk to grace her lips from the thought however. She remained the polite hostess. Luckily she was unaware of the look to kill from her brother as she was focused on those in front of her in departing. The curse under her brother's breath brought her focus back around to him although she didn't make out the word. Ah Oh. That was one of his worse blackened looks. Noting no one else in line she spoke low, "you do not like the man." Obvious statement but couldn't be helped! She almost missed the gasp coming from the maid for whatever was said, but at least it was a maid and not a guest. A quick nod in understanding and she would have a word with the maid later. Better her than her brother for a few reasons. She would address any others departing in his absence but she collected another glass of champagne as the waiter passed.

Segan was enjoying yet another dance with Regan as he and Adrian took turns when not another to gain such from the lovely captain. Around they went as the music continued with the note the last dance was coming up. It was at this point as this dance was ending he noticed the Lord of the Manor heading their way with determination. A slight bow as he stepped aside. "I believe your cousin wishes a word with you.." if needed he would move further away if the conversation was intended to be more private.

Dewar moved to where he had a better view of the two nobles and Caiome. Yes, that one was definitely trouble though from Gillean's look, Remmington might not last another visit to Swan Lake. He didn't hear what was said, of course but when Gillean excused himself, he took up a station near Caiome. He watched as his family came forward, and lifted his eyes heavenward. Of course he was ignored but that didn't matter. He watched as they said their good-byes, which were filled with thank yous and gushing compliments. No problem there so he looked to see where Gillean had gone. Now what?

Regan had definitely been enjoying herself. She did love to dance and hadn't stopped for most of the evening. When she saw Gillean and Segan excused himself, she curtseyed to the Captain and then turned to face her cousin. She was curious of course, but hid it by taking a glass of champagne from a passing server and watched his approach as she drank

Presumptuous. Overbearing. Oppressive. Brash. Tyrannical. Draconian. All of the above and more. Gillean nodded to the departing Quinn and reached out, easing the glass from Regan's hand and with a fraction of an upper body twist set it on an available tray. "Dance with me, Cousin." His other hand captured hers and just in case there might be resistance, he added a customary. "Please." Just for show.

Those that were departing made their leave. The Dewar clan amongst them as she slipped a glance that very Captain's way. Did she notice his shoulders easing? The last dance was being announced as the music started up. It would not due for the Hostess to miss the last dance! Too bad Neville and Daniel had left, either would have had an opportunity... one missed. "Are you going to stand there like a bump on a log or ask me to dance, Captain Dewar?" How terrible she had to ask for the last dance when she assumed it would be with her brother. Never assume! There would be a lot to digest after all the social intrigues she was witness to after tonight. She downed the last of her champagne and set the empty glass back on the tray that became available just as she needed it.

Michael blinked, then smiled at Caiome. "Forgive me, my Lady. I was lost in thought." He bowed then offered his hand. "I would be very pleased if you would consider dancing with me, Lady Caiome." As if she hadn't had to chide him at all. She looked as perfect as she had at the beginning of the ball, and he would be sure to tell her so, once they were on the dance floor.

Well, that was quite a surprise. Regan watched as the glass was removed from her hand, then smiled slightly. "Of course, Cousin. I would love to dance with you." Was there a touch of sarcasm there? Perhaps, but she hid it well, and she was certain Gillean had a reason for asking her to dance, beyond the pleasure of her company.

Gillean led Regan out onto the dance floor which was far less crowded with most of the guests having already taken their leave. Gillean's hand touched lighting behind Regan's waist, his other with fingers closing around her hand. The music seemed louder, but that was perhaps because it need not compete anymore with voices raised in conversation. Gillean stepped in close as their movement started so the Female Captain, who happened to be his Cousin, would hear every word. "You do know that all I do, I do with Caiome's best interest at heart. I always have, and that will never change." Should his sister glance over, she'd find a smiling brother leading her lovely cousin in what appeared to be a pleasant dance. Last dance or not, Gillean was paying the players. Should he desire another chance to dance with his sister, you damn better know for a fact he would have one. Now, however, there was business to attend to which required allowing Dewar to share that coveted 'dance'.

"I'd love to," her smile genuine and even sweet. Perhaps champagne induced as such had her let down her guard easily. This was Dewar, however, he'd not take advantage of her and so with her hand in his, he guided her out to the dance floor. Perhaps for the same reason of libation, she sort of melted up against him as it was a slow dance for this last which might not really be the last. A peek at her brother had her smiling even more seeing his smile and a wink to Regan thinking that Gillean was finally being nice towards her. Yes, she was aware of that rough edge whenever he was around their adventurous cousin. Her head rested nice against Dewar's chest, like a pillow, he felt like a teddy bear at the moment. Comfortable. Her feet kept moving as graceful as ever even with the temptation of falling asleep on her feet, moving or not!

Michael looked down at Caoime and smiled in returned, and now he'd never take advantage of her, though he did glance at Gillean too when she laid her head against his chest. Still, it was a nice feeling that she felt that comfortable with him, champagne induced or not. "If I didn't say so before, you do look lovely, Caoime." A rose to Gillean's thorns. "And I would say, your party has been a great success." He danced slowly so she wouldn't misstep and take a tumble.

"I'm well aware that you do so, Gillean. And I'm certain, you're about to give me a warning of some sort. Let me say first, I would never put Caiome in any sort of danger. I know where there is danger and where there is not. The only excursion I would offer is a trip to Innis, and certainly not during the most dangerous seasons of the year." She smiled up at him, a little too sweetly. "I also know you don't care for me or my profession. But it is who I am, and some day, you may need my help. Then you'll understand why I do what I do." Would he? Likely never but Regan wasn't afraid of Gillean, nor afraid to be up front with him.

They moved with perfection, the Lord of Swan Lake and the Sea Captain. The music set the rhythm, their bodies set the scene. None the wiser to their restraint or lack thereof. "Dear Cousin." Gillean started, once she finished extolling her abilities and her better judgement. "Your history at sea says enough to me about what you know and don't know about danger, or what you may consider danger to be and what you may just enjoy ... " They passed close to Michael and Caiome and Gillean's words faded a moment as he did a double-take in that direction. His brow twitched into a frown, marring the otherwise cordial facade he had in place for Regan. His next word came slow, but soon he forced himself to look back at his dance partner. "...flirting with. Caiome is only just set free from a life that all too closely resembled a prison. Keep your - excursions - to yourself, at least for now." He mimicked her smile from earlier, tender, caring, kind. He leaned closer, pulling her in as he did so that just a cant of his head placed his breath against her ear. "And the day I needed your help or any of my kin, has come and gone. Don't ever delude yourself into thinking I will ever need or count on your help again." His arm lifted and he gently nudged her away, so that she spun beneath his hold before coming back to him. "It's not you or what you do that makes my insides sour. Be careful, Cousin. Give Caiome some time." He released his hold on her and then bowed, as if their dance came to a friendly, pleasant end.


Date: 04-15-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 63

"Thank you," lifting her head from that comfortable position to show him that very guileless smile. It would seem that champagne had a soothing effect on her. She wasn't slurring her words nor really drunk, more in the guileless than anything else. Innocent. Naive. Yet, she was not so much any longer really. Dewar knew the facade she put on. Although it got him in trouble with her brother more often than not. Such an angelic smile. One that shone in green eyes. "You look very handsome tonight," at least she didn't add 'comfortable' too. Had she snoozed off in a way? It was as if she realized where she was all of a sudden as her brother and cousin waltzed by. Huge smile swept as easily as they had and having no clue to the reality of their talk that would contradict like night and day. She actually lifted a hand from its resting place on Dewar's shoulder to wave as they passed. Wait. Was that a dip of brows near the bridge of her brother's nose? Maybe all wasn't as it seemed. Possibly she just imagined it. The dance came to an end and so did her closeness to Dewar as they eased from each other. She curtsied. Low. Gracefully. A sight to behold for the dip in her gown. There and gone as she stood again with a sweeping glance over all those who remained, ending upon her brother a moment in linger as he parted with Regan.

Michael chuckled and inclined his head slightly for the compliment, blue eyes twinkling. "Thank you, m'Lady. I would say it's the uniform." He teased, then looked up as Gillean and Regan swept by, and though Gill frowned, he didn't react at all. There was no reason to and it was perfectly innocent! Once the dance was over and Caiome sank into a curtsey, he bowed, then offered his hand to help her up, and escorted her to the refreshment table. "Thank you, Lady Caiome. If you'll excuse me, I should take a moment to check that all is well." He started to make a circle of the room before stepping to the door and speak to the guards.

Regan's smile was still sweet but her eyes said something different, something dangerous. "You may eat those words someday, Cousin, but don't worry. I won't remind you what I said." She smiled at Caiome and waved in return. "As far as Caiome, I would die before I cause her pain or harm her. However, she is a grown woman, her choices are hers and you would be wiser to protect her from the predators that will surely surround her wherever she goes, though I think there too, you'll find she can handle herself." She curtseyed to his bow, then stood. "As far as you, unlike my brothers, I don't trust you. Yet." Regan laughed, eyes of cornflower blue studying Gillean. '"Your sour stomach will bother you for a long time, Gillean, for it seems you cannot handle strong women. For one, I plan to visit when I'm in port and secondly, I do think you'll be surprised by your sister." She smiled and stood on tiptoe as if to touch her lips to his cheek. "Don't let the darkness inside you consume you, Gillean. That would hurt Caiome most of all." She stepped back and turned on a heel, moving to the refreshment table and glanced around to see who was still there.

Gill's smile faded as Regan spoke, but he dipped his head as she leaned in, as if to accept that touch of a kiss to his cheek, only to hear those words. He straightened away, lips in a fine, thin line as he watched the Captain take herself to the refreshment table. His gaze lingered on her for a moment, that darkness she spoke of rolling and boiling inside of him with the female's audacity. He spun on a heel and though the orchestra had started to fold and tuck away, he snapped his fingers then shook his head. "Not yet, I request one more. Brahms Waltz, Number 15...piano only please." With that said, he flickered a glance to the female seafarer and strode to his sister. "Caiome, if I may? It used to be your favorite, when you were a child...and it remains mine. It is as delicate as you are lovely tonight." He offered his hand to her.

Luckily Caiome was oblivious to the turmoil of undercurrents rolling between cousins. That would upset her greatly. No. She was carefree and happy at the moment. The compliments not just upon her attire and how she looked tonight but the fact that her Ball had been a great success. Something that was hoped for but worried upon falling short. She had needed that hand in easing up for she could have toppled off to the side. The champagne and whole of the evening was taking its toll but she'd hold in there regardless. She was a Callihan, come strong winds at sea, tornados or hurricanes and any amount of champagne. Dewar got the nod as he excused himself leaving her standing there alone. Except, the music started up and here was her brother coming to her rescue. "Gill dear, I do believe this one is ours." Taking his hand, leaving him to lead.

Michael knew Gillean was heading her way. He saw him as he left Regan. He also knew somehow that Gillean was more tense then before . Perhaps it was in the way the Callihan Lord moved. He moved over to O'Brien, and both heading outside to avoid the guests leaving. Everything was fine, O'Brien had given him word that the attacks had ceased and all was quiet, so the Captain returned to the ballroom. While the Lord and Lady of the manor danced, he moved closer to the table and watched.

Regan turned once Gillean and Caiome began to dance. One could almost believe there were no storms, no undercurrents. Truth was, Regan worried for Caiome. She knew Gillean would give his life for his sister, but she didn't want him to become so overprotective that he stifled her. That could have grave consequences.

He swept her out onto the floor, skirts a-swirl, coat tail lifting and she was in his arms. Brother and sister, dancing to the melody that had been a calming balm to the both of them when younger. Before...everything changed.

They looked the prefect pair although brother and sister. A match that would otherwise have a few heads turning had they not known the relationship. "Thank you," for his compliments as they meant a lot to her. Waiting until they got out onto the dance floor to speak up. "May I say how handsome you are tonight my dear brother. I've seen many who would wish to be in this dance with you.." leaving it go at that with a smile upon her lips and besides, perhaps the room now spinning as they spun took all her concentration not to twirl off into those areas that wished to take her. "Do you still wish to speak tonight?" She thought she remembered him saying something about talking at some point tonight.

They did make a fine couple but Michael shook his head when he heard the whisper saying just that behind him. He glanced over his shoulders and the two women blushed, then moved away. Thank goodness, the night was nearly over and things could go back to what passed as normal here.

To have her here, with him, out of the grappling hooks of the men who wished more from her than just a dance, Gill's shoulders eased somewhat. "I have little interest in the wishes of others, Mimi. Male or female." If Caiome felt exhausted from her evening or tipsy from her consumption, she didn't show it on the dance floor. She moved as the epitome of grace and elegance, the women all others should strive to emulate. "And no, Dearest, I meant only to rescue you from the undesirables earlier." The waltz was not a long one, and the dance eased to a twirling end. "I'm proud of you, Caiome. You created the perfect evening." With her hand in his still, he bowed over it, pressing his lips to her knuckles with his devotion to her; a promise he would always be there for her for evermore, he would never leave her to her own devices...ever again.

It was said that all was lost to he who hesitated. Adrian didn't hesitate to take Regan out on the dance floor, sweeping her away before she was asked by anyone else. His dark looks were hard to read and green eyes were intense as he held her close. Words by her ear came in a heated expel of breath, "if anyone is to hog you tonight, let it be me." And wasn't that comment enhanced with the slight graze of his teeth against the delicate shell. Brief and unseen but certainly Regan would know.

She was about to ask which undesirables when she just as quickly realized that any man would be an undesirable. "Thank you for the rescue then.." had it been Neville at the time? Luckily it was not a long one or she may have spun out onto the floor with her dress up around her ears! Now that would give a grand ending to this Ball. No, luckily, it didn't happen even if there had been those fleeting moments that teased such a thought. She remained as graceful as her brother saw her. "I am so pleased and you were my shining star, my solid standing through it all." Perhaps not for some others but for her, he was. She curtsied once the dance ended and was back up to fold her arm around his. "One more drink then I need some sleep. Share the one for this success with me tonight."

Regan let out a soft, startled squeak then looked up as she smiled. That was quite a surprise. She titled her head slightly, a little shiver moving through her. "You're a daring man, Adrian, how could I refuse? But it seems that the orchestra is finished for the night." She pursed her lips slightly. "Unless we make our own music?" The night had gone too quickly and in spite of her final words with Gillean, it had been very enjoyable.

Gillean smiled down to his only sibling, the Venus to his Pluto, all that was good and pure to temper all that was sinister and vengeful. "Then let us drink, Mimi, so you can find your rest." Standing there in the middle of the dance floor, he motioned for the server to bring over their drinks. Once in hand, he tipped the rim of his toward hers. "To your continued joy, Caiome. May everyday be as splendid as this."

"I think we could accomplish quite the symphony.. one with the triumph beat of drums in the background." Certainly held all the undercurrent implications intended and confirmed with the next, "my ship or yours.." leaving it go there as they took the last turn in the dance which had them by the refreshment table for a drink.

Whatever Segan's thoughts were, they would not be read in any expression one way or another. He watched this last dance but remained long enough that once Regan returned from the dance floor with Adrian, he gave his good nights. Slight dip of his head before taking his leave to thank the Hostess and Host for the excellent Ball they offered to all this night that were here. Lastly to Gillean that if he needed anything to let him know. He came into Kildare during his runs enough if he needed goods imported or exported. One would think that the sea captain had enough of adventure to sate him for a while but he was cruising to get into another and worry his grandmother all over again. He took his leave then.

She leaned into her brother, glass held in her free hand as they wished any of the remaining parting guests a good night. Standing there in the middle of the floor it seemed vacant all of a sudden. "Perhaps this can be an annual thing," more mussed to herself and certainly once a year would be more than plenty for her brother to withstand. "My joy is in my brother and may my joy be his." She hoped that made sense and even if it didn't, he'd know what she was trying to say! She lifted her glass before she down the whole of it to confirm their toast to become true.

Regan laughed, giving Adrian a wink. "We'll decide that when we return to port." Any such decision would have to wait alas, since she would be staying here tonight before returning to Montrose to tell her father she'd be off again. Of course Segan and Adrian both were welcome to stay and then return to Montrose with the family but Segan was leaving, and once more she thanked him for coming, planting a kiss to his cheek. She watched as he spoke to her cousins and left, her expression thoughtful, but only for a moment before it was hidden away.

Had Michael heard Caiome's proposal, he would have groaned out loud. Make it once every two years so he didn't have to see his family again, please.

Gillean drank to their toast then thanked Segan for the offer and for attending. "The hour is well past four, please, any who would wish to start fresh in the morning are welcome to stay with us in the manor. Caiome has made rooms available and she would be more than pleased to see them occupied. You need but let one of the servants know and you will be delivered straight away." That said, he dipped his head and touched a kiss to the top of his sister's head, once again speaking only to her. "As for me, I am calling this evening at an end. For I am, good and thoroughly, partied out."

James was still here and planned to stay as well any of his siblings that remained. It would offer him the opportunity to speak with Gill in the morning. Alannah and Deirdre would be staying to at least get in some gossip about the whole evening with Caiome tomorrow. Faelan had taken off with a group to hit some of the bars at the port. He'd be sleeping on his ship. Joseph had been one of the ones earlier to leave with Marina and her brother. There would not be that many staying but even a few would be more than enough for Gill.

None more needed to say good night as the last dance said it all, drinks were still there to be had by a few as some of the staff would stay up until the very last one. Gill would be her escort to her door, "as I am thoroughly partied out as well and what a grand night.." all said while smiling up to her brother in that guileless way of hers.

Michael would stay up until every quest was gone or tucked into bed. Once the servants started to clean up, he headed to the barracks. No doubt O'Brien had a another report waiting. He'd catch a few hours of sleep and be up again, back on duty.

Gillean tapped the tip of that uplifted nose. "Sleep thee well, Sister Mine. Tomorrow is already upon us." And at last, the evening had come to an end.


Date: 04-19-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 64

After the Ball

The next couple days was clean up. There were items left like gloves, hairpins, a purse with little in it, hankies, fans and so forth that were all put into a box in case anyone wished to claim them. It seemed that they had the Ball just in time considering the theme for winter was on its way out and spring coming earlier than usual for these parts on the globe. Gaidan, his wife, daughter and ladies in waiting were sent for three days later for it was felt they would be safer in the castle as soon as possible. All considering and near an army of soldiers surrounding them at Leo's orders. He had his reasons and a meeting yet to take place, once Corina was safely back with an awaiting son who didn't like the delay and separation from his parents. In two weeks time it was as if winter was a memory as well the Ball. The warmer days had the snow melting, what had been the rink now a pond. Daffodils and tulips were sprouting up and soon to bloom. It was a glorious day that she awoke to as only spring can fill one's lungs and spirit at the same time. She had the maids throw open all the windows to air the mansion out. Such a sunny day had her donning a riding habit as she marched through the halls, telling this one and that what she expected to be done by the time she returned. She was going riding and a horse was being readied. One of the thoroughbreds they had gotten. Riding gloves were slipped over slender finger as she stopped by Gillean's office. "I am going to test out the new stallion," which he had gotten her at the beginning of winter. Too dangerous a time to ride him then but he was exercised every day. "I should not be too long, a few hours. What guards do you wish to accompany me?" Knowing he might need Dewar as her brother was always set on this project or that and they would go riding together once he had time.

With Caiome's initial announcement, Gillean had stood from his chair behind the desk, reaching for his own gloves which had been placed at the far right corner. His empty hand eased back and his fingertips touched-tapped lightly on the well polished wood. He could admit to himself he was relieved that he could continue with his work and knowing that she was willing to be accompanied by a few guards eased his previous concern. Somewhat. "The .... stallion? Would you not prefer one of the mares that have had more time under the saddle?" Even as he spoke those words, he knew her answer, and he smiled over to her, shaking his head slightly. "Enjoy your ride, Mimi. Speak with Dewar to find out who he would prefer accompany you."

Here her smile could no longer be contained. "Not at all, I plan to get use enough to him as he is to me so that I can give you a good race once you have some free time." This had also been the spur of the moment too so she wasn't expecting him to drop what he was working on. "I plan to win. There will be a good bet placed and we shall set aside the time. I've a few working on a good trail for riding or racing." She was over to give him a sisterly peck to his cheek. A gloved hand coming up to cup the opposite for that moment then back. A wink before she was around and heading out to find Dewar. More than likely he would be either at his post out front or the barracks behind the back of the mansion.

Gillean had leaned down, tilting his head to accept that kiss of departure without saying another word. He watched her leave, and continued to gaze at the doorway where she had exited for a little while longer before he glanced down to his gloves, back up toward where Caiome had been, then with a deep breath in and then sigh of resignation, lowered back to his chair to continue where he had left off.

Dewar was returning from a walk along the road from the manor to the gate and back where he had spoken to the guards. Though things had been quiet, he also had added more men to patrol the grounds. Depending if the threat continued or grew, there might be a need for more. Some of the locals had been soldiers, and though they were older, he could count on them. As he approached the manor, he saw Caiome and took note of the riding outfit. There was no sign of Gillean, which was a bit of a surprise, but the Lord of Swan Lake had been busy of late. Likely paying bills. He approached Caiome, and stopped, bringing a fisted hand to his chest in a proper salute. "My Lady."

She notice O'Brien was where Dewar was usually posted and so started to head around when she ran into that very man. Well, nearly. Close call. A hand flew to her chest instinctively with that 'oh my' look before a burst of a smile broke free. Fitting with the sunny warm day. "Just the man I was looking for. I'm going riding." Noting just beyond him as the stable lad was bringing the stallion around. A deep rich ebony that near shone blue in highlights and the only white a star up at the top of his forehead. "I'm going riding and to keep the peace, I'll need an escort. Up to you on who and how many."

This could provide an opportunity. There were places to be checked, though he was certain Caiome wouldn't want to stick to the usual roads. "I think three will be plenty, Lady Caiome. Myself and two others, if that suits." He smiled slightly. "And I promise to make sure they're both experienced riders so you don't leave us too far behind." The horses of the Guard were well-trained and quick, but there was no doubt the Stallion would be faster. Even if she went where the men of Swan Lake didn't patrol, it would give the Captain an idea how things were.

She waved it off as not really mattering to her as she fussed over the stallion instead. Promising she would come up with a suitable name once they got to know each other. She had no idea that Michael had another agenda for this excursion as she glanced up to the window that was of her brother's office before being helped up onto the stallion. The stallion raised his head, nostril's flaring with a stranger in the saddle, stepping back as the lad held the reins. Her soothing words and stroke of his neck soon calmed him. Duly noted, the stallion had spirit. This was good in her book but hopefully her brother didn't see that! He would worry for her safety most likely. "You are not mounted up yet Captain?" Brows lifting as that smirk couldn't be helped. Let them see how a thoroughbred would definitely challenge not only the riders but the mounts the guards had.

"I can't mount up until the horse is here, my Lady." He answered mildly as the horse was brought to him. He had sent one of the stable boys to collect two guards, Lancer and Davis, both younger but proficient and veterans of several skirmishes elsewhere. Knowing of Dewar and that he was looking for good men as guards, they had come to Swan Lake to offer their service. "Now we are ready, my Lady. Please, lead on."

"Excuses, excuses," tsking sound but that smile remained barely contained. Heels put enough pressure to send the horse into a canter, it would not do to go galloping out of the courtyard at full speed and her brother seeing her in such a reckless manner, he'd be hot on their tails! She had a bit of a destination in mind but what is planned and what comes about could be miles apart.

He didn't smile until she rode off, and her back was to him, but then he grinned. Caiome's spirit was admirable. He set his horse after hers, the two men behind. They'd stay close enough to be able to reach her quickly but not crowd her. He glanced back at the manor, almost as if he expected Gillean to change his mind and appear.


Date: 04-21-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 65

Caiome was having fun in this race, mostly on her part in the reality of it, with Dewar and his men. They would have to bite in or they would lose her. Sometimes she managed to disappear out of their sight but would emerge again with laughter in the air. Probably not appreciated but did she care? Not with the wind in her hair and the exhilaration that came with the speed of a thoroughbred beneath. There were times it was prudent to slow so she didn't wear the horse out. Little did she realized the great distance they had traveled where it had been late morning turned into late afternoon. She had finally come to a full halt only to notice the positioning of the sun and the hunger that was growing in her stomach. It was also here upon a hilltop she noticed an estate not far off that spread over rolling hills and rich land. She waited on Dewar and his men to catch up as she pointed out the scenery. "What estate is that?" Presently she had not realized she went from western Kildare to Northeast.

There were times when someone needed that taste of freedom that had been long denied. This was one of those times for Caiome. As long as she reappeared quickly, Dewar had no need to panic. His horse, as well as those of his men, were enjoying the run, even if they hadn't caught up to the stallion. He had noticed the position of the sun because it was second-nature, but wasn't too concerned as long as they turned back soon. As the three men came to a halt near Caiome, he looked over the lands and bit back a curse. How in the hell... ? "I believe that it's Thornston, my Lady." And those words would likely lead to trouble. He'd bet on it.

"Thornston?" Said in disbelief as she looked over their surroundings in a new light. "But that would take a good day?" Or so she thought but then they had traveled through a rift without knowing it. Kildare lands still held mysterious areas that didn't adhere to the here and now, nor even to the logic of time or distance. "We moved as fast as the wind." That had to be the reason. "Daniel Remmington.." realizing that sounded far too personal as she quickly adjusted, "Lord Remmington's estate." Not a question at this point. "Then we shall stop here as he has invited me to see his estate and I am hungry. Certainly he will be a good host and see us fed." She didn't look at Dewar while making that announcement and only a slanted glance their way in general as she started forward down the trail that would lead to their outer gates. Guards along the ramparts would certainly spot them long before they reached the entry.

"Aye, normally." Dewar looked around then turned back to Caiome, his surprise certainly showing. Surely she couldn't be serious? Yes... she was and she was starting down the trail already. "Lady Caiome, don't you think we should start back?" He knew as soon as he asked what the answer would be. "Your brother will worry if we're too late." One of the lads was going to be heading back to Swan Lake, it seemed. And all they could do for now, was follow her, down into that valley. "I'm getting too old for this," he muttered and the two with him barely held back their grins.

"Oh, stop your complaining.." which she had obviously heard that remark. She had excellent hearing, maybe more than what was humanly possible. Her brother showed such signs as well. Regan. The others. Time would tell. There was a bustle of village folk as they passed through the town to get to the gate. Once there she paused her horse, having it turn as she spoke. "Open the Gates. I am Lady Callihan of Swan Lakes, his Lordship has invited us." Which would include her guards. Oh, this was by far the most daring thing she had done since her coming out from under the thumb and fear of her father. It was the start perhaps of new things to come.

Dewar just looked at Caiome, then looked heavenward, shaking his head. His hand came to rest on the hilt of his sword as they made their way through the village. He glanced at the two men, then looked forward. This should prove to be interesting indeed. So should Gillean's reaction but he would worry about that once they returned to Swan Lake.

Daniel had said to her that all would be expecting her arrival. And obviously, he wasn't just spewing meaningless air. The gates opened and people watched her and her guards pass. The way was cleared for them. A stable boy rushed forward, but careful not to spook the horses, he bobbed a quick bow to the lady, reaching up to collect her reins. "Welcome, Mistress. Welcome." But before he could say more, one of the heavy wooden doors which led into the rocked manse swung opened. Thornston paused there, shrugging into his waist coat even as he started down the steps to greet them. "What a pleasant surprise, Lady Callihan. I had remained ever hopeful and, how delightful, here you are." His descent ate the steps two at a time until he came up along side her, reaching up to aid her dismount. "You have come alone, even more of a surprise and a delight."

She thanked the lad and dismounted with the guide of Daniel himself. "Well, yes we are," giving a blink when he said 'alone' as she looked towards Dewar and his two men. "Not quite alone. Have you met Captain Dewar?" She didn't really know the names of the two men with him she realized so left that to Dewar to mention them or not. Somehow she doubted Lord Remmington of Thorston would care. "We happened here," which was the truth, "and I remembered your invitation. I hope it might include a meal for I am famished as I'm sure my guards are as well." Was there a slight smirk as she just busted one bubble of assumption on Daniel's part? Maybe she could survive the lions' den.

Dewar dismounted but not quickly enough to help Caiome down, which caused a half smile to appear, then disappear again. He glanced at his two men and shrugged when Remmington used alone. Soldiers and servants tended to be invisible. However, Caiome spoke up and this time he did smile. He remained silent for the moment, watching Remmington's reaction to Caiome's words. How would Daniel handle Caiome?

One bubble gone, ninety nine left whole and floating. Daniel didn't even flicker a look toward Dewar and his men. These were guards, they did not actually count, did they? Indeed he remembered the Captain from the party and since Caiome continued with her conversation, presenting a far grander subject than that guard to discuss, he left any information about the meeting between them unsaid and preferred the discussion she opened up instead. "Whatever brings you to my door, M'lady. Happenstance or determination." He offered the crook of his arm to her to take. "And if it is a meal you desire, it is a meal you shall have. After all, to have you at my table will ensure a prolonged visit. Straight away then, to Thornston, M'Lady." The guards could follow. They could stay. At this point, it mattered not to Danie

"Happenstance this time around." Smile swept as she fell into the role of Lady. Her hand sliding into place at the crook of his arm but she didn't draw close like she did with her brother. She wondered if Dewar would follow or hang back leaving her to her own devices in dealing with Lord Thornston. Only the sliding glance his way would give any hint to her thoughts on the matter. Eating at this moment, before her stomach started growling in a very unladylike fashion, was where her thoughts were in priority. "How vast are your lands?" Idle conversation as that seemed to be the most sterile kind to ask.

Oh, Dewar wasn't letting Caiome out of his sight. But he did speak to his men. Davis was the youngest, quickest. He could eat, then head back to Swan Lake, and inform Lord Callihan of the ... situation. They had rations but hell, why shouldn't the man have a decent meal. Gill might not agree. And Davis would stay on the same route. They stayed a step or two behind Dewar and even if Daniel dismissed the other two, sending them to eat with his own men in the mess hall, Michael would be leaving Caiome alone.


Date: 04-24-12
Poster: Daniel Remmington
Post # 66

Thornston Keep

Inside, warmth radiated throughout from the hospitality of the staff to the fire in every room. Not so much in a stuffy, overbearing way but ... just right. After all, Daniel had not been speaking with his tongue in his cheek when he promised Caiome that his staff would be awaiting her arrival. No sooner had they stepped through the front doors then they were relieved of their outer garments. Nods and welcomes offered from the higher ranking of the staff pool and Remmington showed Caiome - and Dewar since he would be following like a puppy on the scent of a biscuit - to the sitting room. As Daniel crossed over to the tea service that had been prepared, he started to pour his guest a cup and looked around his arm to Caiome. "I do beg your indulgence, Lady Callihan. It will be a short time until something more substantial can be prepared for you, but until that time, will you not share some tea and cakes?" One comfortable with entertaining and the mores and folkways of society, he didn't wait for her answer, but after preparing for her comfort, carried the small plate of pastries and her cup/saucer of tea over to her. "Shall we sit closer to the fire, M'Lady? Or are you quite warm enough?" His smile was well practiced, but for Caiome, no doubt, it was sincere and as we waited for her to decide, he answered her question. "My holdings are vast, more than I shall ever truly need. I thought of maybe dividing it up amongst my retainers, seeing how they improve upon their lots, and then, depending on their success, reward them with the land for their efforts. That is just land though, and you and I both know, that with an estate, land alone does not a man make." He was well aware that Dewar was in the room. All too aware. Daniel kept himself cordial, gracious...but blast if he didn't wish the guard had some other sort of ... know... guarding ... to do.

She watched like a hawk, all those around them. How well kept his keep was .. and she found nothing lacking at all there. How his staff responded to him, was it in respect or fear? Dark lashes lowered under this ongoing scrutiny. The flush upon her cheeks from the long ride enhanced her completion. Dark hair had wisps that escaped their confines of a woman that had been on a good ride with the wind in her hair. Even if she had done a patting down once she had dismounted earlier. "Tea and cakes sound delicious," she would eat one of the cushions, she was that hungry. Not that she ate much but she had a good appetite. There were goosebumps on her arms, was that why he asked? Were they from being outside and now inside or something else? "I am fine," not wishing to upset where things were already set up. She was near a seat so took it that he and Dewar might both get seated too. She was drawing on every social protocol she could remember. She hadn't need of them until Swan Lakes was handed over. Perhaps a little self conscious but she would pull it off as she forced herself to ease the line of her shoulders as if she was use to it all. "That is a very generous idea and I'm sure those having the retainers will be honored with the opportunity." Very kind, was mussed under her breath perhaps a little surprised. This man was sounding too good to be true and in that, sent off some warning bells. She wasn't sure however, maybe he was genuine? "No, it does not. A real man is much more than wealth and money." Was there a catch in here somewhere. Perhaps it was vibes coming from Daniel that had Caiome now looking over to Dewar as if he would add to the conversation.

The two soldiers with them were taken to join the men of Thornston estates for their meal. Dewar had managed to speak to Davis, telling him that as soon as he ate, head back to Swan Lake and inform Lord Callihan where they were. He didn't know if the younger man would reach Gillean quickly or not since he wasn't sure how they had arrived here so quickly. He hoped the soldier wouldn't run his horse into the ground, but Davis was smart enough to handle any problem. Lancer would stay with their horses once he had finished eating. Michael took note of the entry and where they were in the estate. He wasn't looking at all the pretty trinkets. He stood slightly away from Caiome and Remmington, arms crossed. Since he hadn't been invited to tea, or to sit, he stayed where he was. Caiome's look toward him had him a little surprised. "It's a very good idea. One that could very well increase their loyalty." And that was all he had to say, though he did uncross his arms.

Daniel had placed himself to stand beside Caiome as she sat since he didn't need to pull out a chair for her. The refreshments were placed on the table beside her easily within her reach. "Captain, I hope you won't mind if I don't serve you. And as I've set my maids off to make sure all is prepared for the meal, I'm afraid you'll need to help yourself. To anything." He slid his gaze from the captain to Caiome. "Within reason, of course. Beyond the refreshments, I may not share with quite so much genteel enthusiasm." Once the lady was settled in, he moved to the chair just to her right which was angled in such a way he could almost touch the side of his knee to her knee. Conversation in this way would not be hampered. "But enough of me, M'Lady, tell me what you and your brother have planned for Swan Lake?"

Some of the underlying subtleties went right over her head. No matter how worldly she was trying to appear, one that was worldly would recognize the innocence in her. Probably why Gillean was so overly protective of his sister. To her, Daniel's words were an invitation for Dewar to join them. Just fancier than saying it plainly. "Perhaps I'll get to see the lands before you subdivide them." She was interested in the lands. If they were like their own and so on. "We did a lot of renovation to the mansion itself although there are a lot of rooms to it and it will take time to get to them all. The barracks could use some renovation," which naturally had her glance to Dewar and back. "The gardens will be next. Only now does the snow melt and some flowers pushing through. In a few weeks I'll know just what kind of state they are in." If her brother had other plans than these obvious ones, she was not aware of them. Daniel's father had recently died but up till then and the return of his son, the place had been kept running smoothly by the looks of it. "Do you plan to make any changes?" She was curious. Their situation was similar and yet not.

"I understand, my Lord, and at the moment, I'm fine, though you have my thanks." He didn't care for tea, but the Captain did sit so he wasn't hovering. He still didn't relax, something made it nearly impossible. Perhaps it was how close Daniel sat to Caiome, or just his way of dealing with unknowns. He watched Caiome a moment, then at Daniel. Good lord. He had become a chaperone!

To Michael, Caiome may be an unknown to the Lord of Thornston but not to Daniel. It may make the guard all the more uneasy if he realized that Daniel knew quite a bit about the lady in their company and the man that she called brother. Daniel may have just recently taken over the reins of this fine beast called Thornston, but that didn't mean he had been idle. By any means. Relaxing back in his chair, Daniel acted as if this was nothing more than a cozy little chat between long time acquaintances. His leg crossed and he rested his cup on his knee as he smiled over to her. "From what little I saw, it seems you both have been exceedingly busy. As for Thornston, perhaps you could plan to spend a night...or two...under our roof and we could tour the lands." He nodded toward Dewar, but didn't look to him. Daniel's attention centered on Caiome. "With an escort, of course." He chuckled. A deep, pleasant addition to his current good mood due to his company. "I've already made quite a few changes, but that comes any time this sort of transition takes place. My father, as I'm sure Captain Dewar may know, was not the kindest of souls. He was, after all, involved with your own father's schemes although, only in the background. He wasn't all that daring, only a lot of hot air and the money to back it. He didn't ever really go after what he truly desired." He brought his cup up, continuing to speak so that his upcoming last words slipped free just before rim made contact with lips. "I am more apt to at least attempt to gain what I desire." He sipped a moment, or did he just seem to do so before he lowered his cup again. "You see, M'Lady, we have more in common than you may have realized prior to arriving today."

She digested all he spoke on as well one of the smaller biscuits with her tea. Green gray eyes turned from Daniel to Dewar when he spoke of his father having been in cahoots with hers. She had not known that and the look Dewar's way held that near disguised surprise that having been around her enough now, he might recognize. Perhaps looking for affirmation. She could feel the heat stealing to her cheeks for talk on her father at all. It was all still raw. All still so hurtful. He was also alive. She had to remind herself of that and that very fact could have him show up sometime or find her or her brother if they traveled beyond Kildare. From her cheeks with a flush, she paled next with that thought. She set the biscuit down but finished her tea before that was set. She would be asking for a far stronger drink soon if such talk continued or she couldn't wipe the fear from her thoughts. She took a moment to collect herself as hands folded in her lap and looked Daniel straight in the eyes. "Would you consider yourself a more daring man than your father?" Another question popped into her head too, had he approved of his father's doings? Did they have a rapport or estranged? He seemed to know quite a bit to be estranged. To the last she made a statement instead. "That depends upon which side of the coin you are on in those connected circumstances. What did your father truly desire?" Did Daniel know? Seems he was close to his father after all being said.

It would certainly make the Captain more uncomfortable then he was at the moment. He listened intently though he may have seemed to be wool-gathering. When Remmington spoke of their staying the night, Dewar stiffened and looked their way again. He could imagine how Gillean would react to that suggestion, and if Caiome went on her own, there could be bloodshed. He watched Caiome closely at the mention of her father, taking note of the flush of her cheeks. When she looked his way, he gave a single nod. Yes, he had known of Lord Remmington elder, sneaky, conniving and not one to face his enemies. Daniel was nothing like him. And that made this situation all the more uncomfortable. Dewar might actually like the man if things were not so edgy. When Caiome asked her questions, he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from groaning out loud. Don't encourage him!

Ah, but she had encouraged him and his smile showed it. No reason to look to Dewar, Daniel really couldn't hide the fact the Lord of Thornston was extremely attracted to the Lady of Swan Lake. He had noticed she had blushed, but at first had taken that as encouragement although then, she had paled...which was not a good sign. Once he realized his mistake, and then her questions, he was able to appreciate his current situation and hers. He lowered his leg, placing his cup aside and leaned to the arm of his chair, closer to Caiome. "It matters not what my father desired, M'Lady. He is no longer of anyone's concern. Though, I am more likely to pursue what I desire, this is not the only way in which he and I differ. I had been shipped off to school when my mother passed but my father wrote many letters, all of which bragged of things best not discussed today. Only because I wish not to burden the day that has seen me blessed with your pleasant company. But, Lady Caiome, do know I whisper not empty words, I do not plan to withdraw, when I see even a flicker of possibility." Anything else he may have added would not be forthcoming. Movement at the doors had Daniel look in that direction and acknowledge the butler there with a slight nod. "It seems, our meal awaits. M'Lady? Captain?" Remmington stood, extending a hand to Caiome to join him.

That blush was coming back. The man was only proving once more, although only in words, how good a man he was. Could this really be possible? A rosy hue was stealing back to her cheeks. She could feel the heat especially with him getting so close. She steeled herself not to draw away. That would not do. She couldn't quite laugh, one of those airy kinds a more worldly woman could. A wave of a hand and saying something like: you are so deliciously exciting... luckily they were interrupted as well those split second thoughts. She rose instead dashing away the discomfort the whole situation was gaining. She was curious now, what had his father wrote him about her father and all that was going on at that time? Something that would not be asked presently, probably never. She swallowed that lump in her throat, or more so just felt, and a smile falling in place as she took his hand. "It smells delicious." Which certainly those aromas filtered through when the doors were opened.

Had Caiome answered Daniel, Michael might well have shown some emotion. He knew Gillean would not be pleased with this, and he tried to remember all that was said. His eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at Daniel, a frown forming just for a second. He wouldn't let Caiome see and think it was something she said. He stood when the Lady did, inclining his head at Daniel's invitation to join them. And he would follow, just as before -- like a puppy after that tempting biscuit -- though this puppy was more likely to bite then to wag his tail.

At Swan Lake, Gillean had shoved away his papers, the afternoon had extended into early evening. Where had the time gone? He had rooted his elbows to the desk top, resting his face in the palms of his hands. In all those receipts and orders and plans and demands. That's where the day had gone. A light rap at the open study door had him butterflying his hands, looking past the inside of his palms to the man standing in the doorway. Davis? Wasn't he the one that had gone with Caiome? He lowered his hands slowly, narrowing his gaze with a silent question. Davis' initial response was to clear his throat. Then he began with ... "Did you know there is a rift, a time altering warp to travel through which allows distances to be ..." The progress of this explanation for the interruption had Gillean curling his resting hands into impatient fists on the desk top. Davis was well trained, he noticed immediately. "Captain Dewar sent me to let you know, he and the Lady Caiome are currently ensconced at Thornston." Nothing else. And nothing else came from the Lord of Swan Lake for a moment. The guard and the manor master just looked at one another in silence. Then, for a man supposedly of noble blood and bearing, Gill was immediately to his feet, one fisted hand slamming down hard on the polished wood. Still, nothing was said, just that eye contact until Davis shifted his away then back.

"Dewar is there?" Gill growled out, the words sounding strangled and forced from the constriction of his throat. Davis nodded once. "Aye, My Lord. He would not leave her side and so sent me with this news." Gill's gaze lowered, swept over the mounds of papers, some already addressed and needing to be sent, others still screaming for attention. A string of muttered curses followed, which caused Davis to shuffle in place with indecision. Gill lifted his eyes again, the anger and frustration in that gaze could skewer a certain Lord had it been he and not the guard across the way. "Take that damn ... rift whatever ... and get back to Dewar. By the Gods, if Thornston so much as breathes in Caiome's direction, he is to make sure that bastard breathes no more." Davis' mouth opened as if to say something but closed again, still he didn't move. Gill lifted his head, a frown marring his brow that the man didn't jump to the order at hand. "Did you hear me, Davis?" Davis nodded, a respectful response to the order. Caiome was quite the beauty, and she also was any man's fantasy, especially one of title and privilege. How could Lord Thornston not breathe in her direction? Pant in her direction even! "Davis?" "Aye, My Lord. Leaving now." Davis spun on a heel and raced out. It was a good evening. It was a good evening...not to be Captain Dewar.

Maids smiled, curtsied, then skittered away, twittering in happy, hushed voices as the threesome passed. Was it because of the Lord of the Manor? Or that he had a female at hand? Or that dashing guard that stayed close enough to the lady to catch any lass' eye. There was something about a man in uniform. And one that, for all appearances, seemed to be the best at what he did...all the more whisper worthy. Daniel couldn't help but smile. Since he had stepped into Thornston as Lord and Master, the atmosphere had eased to such an extent that, at first, he feared he had lost the respect of his staff. Only to learn, he could ask anything of them, and they were quick to respond instead. "It does smell delicious, doesn't it? I have complete confidence that everything this evening shall be to my utmost enjoyment. I can only hope you will share in my sentiments." As they approached the table, Daniel withdrew the chair to the right of the head for Caiome. Nodding to the left opposite her. "Captain, do, please, remain above the salt with us." Dewar had a job to do, Daniel knew it. Plus, having him near may continue to make Caiome comfortable. At least, until the wine service for the meal accomplished that feat. Then, the captain could take his leave.

Caiome noticed for the maids in her manor acted the same way around the Lord of the Manor. She had seen them as well acting like school girls around the Captain of the guard and even O'Brien. Why were some women so .. like that? She was trying to put it into words and suddenly laugh as 'twitter birds' came to mind. She didn't think for one iota it was her presence, if anything that usually brought jealousy. Oh yes, they would respond to the Lord of this manor especially to fill his bed as needed. The laugh was followed by a quick roll of her eyes heavenwards and back. Sometimes her thoughts gave her away. She would have to learn how to cover that. "A good meal, as certainly this one has the scent of, will have me agreeing to share your sentiments." At least on the meal for certainly that was what he spoke on.. to her. Her smile whimsical as she took her seat with his help, gentleman he was, this too was noted. Everything was being noted. There would be talk with her brother after all said and done too on what she learned this night. She smiled up at him with a turn of her head then proceeded to adjust the folds of her riding skirt.

Twitter, chitter chatter, whispering or talking ... it all was the same, wasn't it? Well, mostly. He was concerned about the time, about Davis. Hell, about getting Caiome back home before she was invited to spend the night. He still didn't understand how they got through so quickly, though he had heard of such happening to others. He was surprised at Daniel's request and smiled. "Thank you, my Lord. I appreciate the honor." Again, he would be silent just observing and trying to figure out how he was going to put it together for Gill. Caiome was enjoying herself however, so perhaps some good was coming out of this mess. She fairly glowed with Daniel's attention.

As soon as she was seated, Daniel eased her chair in and then claimed his own at the head of the table. Such a large, long table for only the three seated at one end. Still, with Caiome there with him, it seemed pleasantly close. No sooner had he placed his napkin across his lap than the covered platters of food were delivered to the table. The wine steward filled glasses with not just solely red or white, but several glasses of the fermented beverage that would compliment this particular course of the meal. Consommes, and then antipasto followed by a fish course with vegetables. Then a salad and cheese selection. Just enough, never too much. And the wine glasses were never empty. The main course followed with rarer roast beef with broiled red potatoes basted in a garlic butter. Nuts came out after that. From soup to nuts, the meal progressed with different wines poured to bring out the flavors of every bite taken. A lighter dessert of rosettes and poached peaches, accompanied by a dessert wine. In between each course, lemon, lime, mint sorbet to clean the palate and prepare for the next onslaught of flavor. Daniel thus far had not told Caiome untruths, anything he did, he did well and he never went half-way if he desired something. Although he took only a few bites of everything, knowing the staff would enjoy the left overs, they always did, he enjoyed watching Caiome instead. Yes. Hopefully Dewar was enjoying his food. But neither of his guests could have enjoyed this meal as much as Daniel.

.......and then there was this thought. A very dangerous thought. A thought that wouldn't go away no matter how dangerous she knew it might prove to be. There was always that off chance it would not prove too dangerous. Her brother would most likely not tell her more of her father and his misdeeds nor of his. He would not tell her of connections she had no clue about until this night. But.. and here was the dangerous thought.. if she got Daniel alone, he might tell her all, or at least far more than her brother ever would. That might well be the reason for the glow, the danger and the part of her attracted to it! "Do you have a library here?" A seemingly innocent question as she carefully unfolded her napkin to spread over her lap. Eyes lit up as the wine Stewart filled not one glass but several. Wine testing. That would help ease her. Wine was fortitude was it not? She preferred it over the ale most men liked. What was being served was fit for a king. She wondered if he ate like this every night. Her portions were very small or she'd not make it to the main dish without being full and having to refuse or puke. The idea was appalling to even consider so nibbling was the way of it. The wine, however, was another story and she was relishing each glass served. She was in heaven with all the flavors and all the wines! Her cup never emptied. One could see it on her features that.. oh so this is heaven look. "I should have you plan the meal for my next Ball." Which would not be for another year but it said it all. "Captain Dewar, is this not fabulous?" Was it more the wine speaking by the time the main course came and went?

If Dewar knew that dangerous thought, he would have insisted Caiome leave with him. Now. However, he had been taught at his father's table when a lad and he knew exactly what to expect. He watched his portions, definitely was careful of the wine, and enjoyed each course. What he did not enjoy was watching the Lady he was to protect drink as she was. Eyes narrowed slightly when she asked her question but then, as he finished the last course, Davis returned. It was a maid who informed them and Dewar looked at their host. "If you will excuse me, I should speak to my man." And see how Gillean reacted. He was surprised it wasn't the Callihan Lord himself, striding into the room, instead of a lass nearly tiptoeing.

Remmington didn't answer Caiome yet, just looked up as the Captain stood and nodded. "Please. And make sure he knows he can eat as well, I'm sure there is plenty." When Dewar took his leave, Daniel eased forward, one hand gently sliding his dessert plate aside, then resting on the table, the other still wrapped around his glass. But, by the saints, it is not what he would have preferred be in his hold. "I have a well stocked library, although, I dare to say it is not the selection of printed material on the shelves that has you asking after that particular room. At least, I can hope that is the case. Otherwise, by all means, I would be pleased for you to investigate the spines to ascertain my preferences in reading materials." He squinted one eye to her, adding to his smile, as if he studied her. But then, in actuality, he her. "As to your ball, I would readily agree to help you plan the meal...only if you would agree to having it Thornston." And what...did that imply? Let her wine-numbed mind interpret.

"A library holds the answers to many questions. Perhaps your library holds the answers to some, if not many, of my questions that have gone unanswered." Certainly it had been to protect her but one reached an age they needed to face the facts and grow from then rather than being left in the dark. For all the wine she consumed, she didn't sound tipsy as her hand came to rest over his a moment. There was a plea in green eyes before averted as her hand lifted away from his. She would find out if they could be friends. It would take one for such. So he had his answer to his comment and perhaps she would have some answers too. She skipped over the Ball and meal planning for now as the other was far more important at the moment.

Michael hated leaving Caiome alone with Daniel, even if only for a minute. He followed the maid through the hall and finally to the foyer where Davis told him about his ride and everything Gillean had said or done. Dewar pinched the bridge of his nose, then sighed. "Nothing to be done for it. I know you gobbled down your food earlier. You can eat again if you wish." And he looked around for the maid so he could find his way back to the dining area. Why did every Lord have to have a different design for their manors? It would be so much easier to find one's way around if they were all the same. And the longer he left Caiome alone with Lord Daniel Remmington, the more certain a problem would develop.


Date: 04-25-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 67

For the moment, his gaze lowered to rest on the connection of hand over hand and there it remained until she retreated by pulling away. Shame really. One could have hoped with the sampling of wines that Caiome might have shown more of her Callihan side and less of her reserved Lady of the Manor side. Still, there was still time over the next months to break through any barriers of propriety, if it would take that long. Daniel could wait, he would wait. He had to wait. He studied her eyes and the hope he witnessed there. An easy smile spread over his features. "I'm not sure exactly what you might seek within the walls and bindings of my library, M'Lady. But I assure you, you are more than welcome to search to your heart's content. For as long as you should need. Until you find what it is that you seek."

At Swan Lake, Gillean had returned to his chair, picked up his quill, placed it down, reclaimed it and dipped it in the inkwell, staring at the dripping tip. Set it aside. He sorted through papers, not reading a single one, or at least, not remembering what he read. He looked past the parchment to the empty doorway, set the paper away from him. Thornston. What the hell was Caiome thinking? What the hell was Dewar thinking? His elbow once more found purchase with the desk top and his fingertips rubbed over his eye, that movement ended with a growl and a jerk of hand away from the contact. He was to his feet. He squinted to the window, then to his desk, and paced away. Striding back, he looked to the still empty entryway. He leaned in, snatching open a drawer, but what he sought wasn't in that one. Slam. He leaned further, pulling open the next one down. Shuffled through some papers. Still no. Slam. What was HE thinking? There would be no thinking as long as Caiome was under Remmington's roof, no matter how Gill wished to make himself believe Dewar could tend to her. His sister was a wild card. Dewar may be trained for combat, for subduing and containing threats, but Caiome? "Dammit." He growled, leaving the last drawer down without investigation. He stormed toward the doorway that led out into the corridor and that corridor that would lead out...into the approaching evening. "Somebody!" He barked, not even pausing to wait for anyone to hear him. How could they not? "Get me my damn coat!"

She was finished eating. Her napkin taken from her lap to dab at her mouth before folded and set aside her plate all prim and proper like. She knew he was studying her. He always seemed to be studying her. Strange that it didn't make her spine ram rod straight or have her cringe. It did have her curious however, that she admitted to herself. "I was hoping that maybe you could show me your library and perhaps discuss some things..." pausing a heartbeat before adding, "before I must leave," which had her sliding a glance to the open doors through which Dewar had gone and not returned. There and back with a touch of a smile in hoping that he would oblige her whim. She might not get another chance to make some discoveries as was hinted upon earlier. She even stood from her seat that she might move around but only took a step away from the chair as she was watching him like a hawk, turning the tables perhaps?

Davis was hungry so Michael started back down a hall. Hopefully the hall. He couldn't figure out why the maid had disappeared, and that made him walk a little faster, until he came to a set of stairs. "You better not be smiling behind my back, Davis," he warned though he knew the man was. "If I don't go in the right direction, you're likely to starve." He turned, stalked past the soldier and headed back the way they came until they were in the foyer again. This time the maid was there and she sent them toward the kitchen at least. Davis might not get to sit at the grand table but he'd get fed.

Since no one would be at the grand table when they arrived, it was probably best the guards were sent elsewhere. Daniel stood when Caiome did, attempting to come around to ease back her chair, but the woman was quick, so he simply offered her an arm. "I think you shall find that all you need to do is ask anything of me, M'Lady, and I will do all in my power to make it so." Remmington caught the eye of a servant and with a motion of head, sent the man off to prepare for their arrival in the library. Not exactly where Daniel would have thought to be their next stop, but Caiome remained at Thornston, and the hour grew later. He could not think of a better way to spend his evening. "This way." With that, he escorted her through the wide corridors, up the marbled, curved staircase and eventually to the double doors that had been opened and allowed them entry into the library.

She didn't feel threatened nor unsafe. Then again she knew little about Daniel Remmington. What she knew now, was that he knew about her father and possibly her brother -- more than she knew. It came with the realization that she wanted to know the truth, wherein years ago she didn't want to know at all. She had hid away within herself many of those years. Now she was braving a world she knew little about but yearned to learn. Her hand was placed on his arm properly, nothing more, nothing less. "It is a very grand home you have from what I've seen so far," more mussed as her steps had her glide at his side. Her free hand saw to the folds of her gown in lifting them as they proceeded up the stairs. Another view to take in with a turn of her head giving a glance over her shoulder. Not too long that she would take a misstep and tumble. Marble. How wonderfully rich looking. Her smile came guileless again as her hand fell from its perch upon his arm before she moved ahead into the library to give it a look over. It would not take long as she tried to pull her words together in presenting them, turning to face him again as she spoke up. "What did your father tell you about my father? There is much I could only guess and best I know all that I can learn at this point, now that I am no longer a child."

Dewar left Davis with directions to join the other man and wait. They'd be out of the cold at least. The Captain himself was directed to the dining room, only to find it empty except for servants. He asked one of the maids where they went, was told the Library and given directions. He didn't see her and another maid giggling together. Walking right past the stairs, he went down another hall until he came to an opened door. When the Captain stepped inside, he found himself in what seemed to be Remmington's den. Standing there for a moment, Michael glanced at the door and moved to the window. Quite a view but this wasn't finding the two.

While she perused, he studied as well. But since he was all too familiar with his library, he allowed himself this opportunity to pass his unwitnessed appreciation over the lady instead of books. When she turned to him, his brows arched, guilty of being caught in the act. "Is this really the topic of our discussion this evening, M'Lady. So dark and depressing, when there is so much more that could entertain instead." He drew his gaze away from her slowly, searching the bindings briefly before he reached up and tipped out a book of green leather with gold writing on the spine and cover. "Thomas Campion. Have you read his poems, M'Lady?" He slanted a look around his arm toward her.

"I have not but I would be far more interested in learning about my father." Which here she paused as she came closer to rest her hand upon his chest, slight pout of lips as he was avoiding that which she asked and after saying he'd answer anything she asked. She studied the crawling of her fingers against the cloth of his doublet. "You are man of your word?" Fingers stopped as green eyes lifted. Caiome was as determined as her brother could be and even Daniel.

He needed to find Caoime but as he turned, a glint of gold on the desk caught his attention. He hadn't intended to look there, but that roused his curiosity. A gold dagger rested on a cloth of scarlet silk, and as he drew nearer he saw a symbol that made his blood run cold. A three headed demon. A letter beside the dagger was sealed with white wax with the same symbol, red at its center as if touched with blood. The Alliance of Cerberus still existed? And if seemed Lord Remmington was involved. He didn't touch either but turned and walked out of the room. He had to find Caiome! Another maid, another question and this time he was sent in the right direction.

Daniel released the book, allowing it to tip back down into its nesting place. He didn't look down to her hand on his chest, but experienced it all the same by just appreciating the delicate touch. His own lifted and closed over hers and he laughed. "Yes. Yes I am a man of my word, Lady Caiome. But it doesn't mean I have to like the taste of them when they are fed back to me. Let's sit." With her hand still in his, he turned and brought them over to one of the seating sections. "Tell me. Do you wish to know what I know of your father? Or what I know of the attempts of your father against Montrose and his aspirations for Kildare?"

Ah, but had he answered her straight up, she'd not have to feed him back his own words, "you left me no choice," causing a slight smirk but there was humor in her eyes too. With his guide she took up the seat he led her to. Her hand only slipping from his that moment she sat and took the moment to adjust her skirts and collect her thoughts. "I wish to know what you know of my father," and here the pause as she looked him straight in the eyes, "and my brother." Obviously if he knew of her father then he knew of her brother. For all the seriousness of this moment, there was a plink against the window behind them. The first plink would go unnoticed as none really heard anything but the second and third, a few moments apart which distracted her to look in that direction having no idea what was making the noise.

How had he missed the steps? Dewar snorted out a laugh, then glanced around. The maid was gone, and there was no one left to watch him. He took a moment to compose himself then continued up and found the double doors to the Library. Since they were open, he walked right through and set his path for where they were seated. Then he too, glanced at the window. That was ... odd.

Any answer that Daniel may have had for Caiome would wait for the moment. Considering the height of the windows on this second story, someone or something was determined to make their presence known. Daniel had stated to stand, his hands on the arms of the chair to push up, when Michael entered. Drats, forgot about that man. Remmington didn't push up further, just perched on the edge of his chair. "Captain, if you would be so kind?"

A double take as she started to rise when Daniel had as Michael appeared. However, she continued up and on her way over to the window to take a look out. "Looks like someone for you, Lord Thornston," it would be hard for the one below to see her as she only stepped to the side of the window then away as she held her hand palm up to Captain Dewar to remain where he was.

"Of course, my Lord." Michael inclined his head slightly but there went Caiome before he could even take another step. He frowned slightly as she motioned for him to stop but only because he was now curious. He looked at the noble and gave a slight shrug. Caiome had given an order. It was up to Lord Remmington to see to their mysterious pebble thrower.


Date: 04-26-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 68

"Oh?" He looked from Caiome to Michael, then rose fully from his seat on his way to the window. His hand slid along Caiome's lower back just before she moved away from where she stood to the side of the window and, with a brush of forearm to curtain, he squinted down to the source of the sound. No one he knew would be tossing up pebbles to gain his attention. That was just ... not done.

Prudence Dewar stood below in a daring attempt to be 'cute' and draw Lord Thornston's attention. She had seen a shadow pass and threw another small stone thinking she had not his attention yet. Another was in hand but dropped as she finally made out his face from the distance and fluttered her fingers. A huge smile spreading with the wave. A short distance from her stood a guard looking highly uncomfortable as he shifted from one foot to the other. They had gained the information of where Lord Thornston was located from the butler that initially answered the door but instead of coming in and being announced, left to come around the manor to where she knew the library would be located and a window to toss pebbles at.

The touch down her back nor the brush of his arm was missed by Caiome. Although at the moment she was highly amuse to watch Daniel's expression. Oh, so many things she could say and a little smirk appearing that went along with the humor in her eyes said it all instead. It was why she had quickly stepped aside. A glance was given Michael to see if he too came close enough out of curiosity to look down below. Then it would be to see if Prudence saw Michael's face if he did so.

Michael watched as Daniel made his way to the window, stiffening slightly when Daniel touched Caiome. His expression became stern, tense but he said nothing. Yet. He did step closer to Caiome but it wasn't the window that had his attention. It was the ring worn on Lord Remmington's hand. He actually took in a deep breath of air then looked up at the window but all he saw was the reflection of the man himself.

Daniel's fingers tightened in the fabric of the curtain he held and he lifted his other hand to acknowledge the lady below. What in the blue blazes of hell was Prudence Dewar doing below? He sure hadn't offered over an invitation to Thornston to her. He gave a brief nod to her then released his hold on the curtain and lowered his arm. "M'Lady, please excuse me a moment." Since the woman couldn't possibly, for propriety's sake, be here for Daniel, surely she had come for her brother's counsel. "I shall return directly." A modified bow of apology followed his comment and then as he walked past Michael he nodded. "I shall bring her to you here, Captain." And then continued on his way out of the door so he could summons a servant to welcome the lady within.

She was fluttered, all warm inside seeing Daniel wave back to her. She had been right in thinking he had noticed her and she gave a sly smile her guard's way. When she looked back, horror struck as her brother stepped up to the window. She had not expected him to be here and that wide smile sucked in to a purse of lips that had her cheeks go into a hollow dip. She'd make a kissing gorami fish proud at the moment for she looked like one, even her eyes bulged wide. She gathered up her skirts and dashed off taking her guard with her. She'd come back another time and hope her brother had not recognized her. Fat chance and she knew it but confronting him in humiliation would not be his this day. Her carriage awaited and by the time Lord Thornston got to the front door, all he'd see would be the back of it getting smaller and smaller the greater the distance she put between her and Thornston Keep.

It was only when Daniel's hand tighten upon the curtain that she distractedly noticed the ring he wore. Odd. Although the design embedded itself upon her memory as surely as it had in the wax earlier. Not that she knew this particular. Daniel missed the look of horror upon Prudence's features and her prude expression being he took his leave too quickly from the window. She couldn't help it as green eyes turned up upon Dewar and she laughed. "I think you scared her away." Certainly she wasn't running from Lord Thornston. Prudence's admiration was no longer a secret. She half wondered if she would go after Gill now. Then a more serious look captured her features as the smirk and laugh drained away. "Did you notice his ring?"

Michael was confused by Daniel's words until he looked out the window and saw his sister turning and running away. He tried to keep from grinning, but alas, he was completely unsuccessful. "I would say I agree, my Lady." He watched as the horses were sent into a near gallop then looked solemnly down at Caoime. "Yes, I did. Very unusual." He looked toward the door and back, lowering his voice. "And your brother is not happy we're here, though he's not angry at you." Should he tell her his orders? No. Let her think just that. Gillean was not happy with him.

Daniel hurried down the stairs, catching a servant as that man ascended. "Kevin..." He stopped the man by saying his name, and by grasping the sleeve of his shirt. "The Lady Prudence Dewar is the garden...tossing up..." His hold was released and he rubbed the back of his neck, fighting back a laugh. "She's tossing up pebbles at the library window. Do have Alton fetch the woman and bring her in. She must be here in need of her brother who is above with the Lady Callihan." Another uniformed member of Remmington's staff came to stand at the foot of the stairs where this conversation was taking place. "My Lord." He called up, starting up the stairs himself to join Kevin and Daniel. "Alton, Lady Dewar is out..." He didn't get to finish, the man's motion of head brought further comment to a stop. "She...isn't?" Daniel asked, looking past Alton toward the front door. "No, My Lord. Rachel in the kitchens saw the Lady from the window in the larder and sent me out to bring her within, but she had already made her carriage and has taken flight." He snapped a finger in the air. "Long gone!" Daniel blinked, looking from Alton toward the closed door again. "Long...gone." He repeated with a hint of a laugh. "Guess she didn't need Dewar after all." He rubbed at his chin with thought, then with a shake of head, he looked to the men. "Just in case, tell Margaret and Nancy that the lady and her escort may be staying the night." "Yes, M'Lord" Was the answer in unison and, whatever Kevin had been in route to do, was put on hold until that message was delivered as requested. Remmington turned and ate up the marbled steps two at a time so that he could return to the library.

"My brother.." Michael would see the surprise on her face, "how does.." well, she never finished it as anger engulfed her and best she didn't talk when she got this angry. Not initially anyway. Michael had to have sent word, tattletale on her, where she was even if it had not been planned. Finally she spoke, words coming like cold steel. "I think my brother should have said something then for certainly he heard Lord Thornston invite me to see his manor." If there was something Gillean should warn her about, why had he not? Why did Dewar know something and not spoken up either? Was Lord Thornston some kind of rapist? Murderer? She didn't give Dewar a chance to react before she was rushing past him fueled by her anger. She hated these kind of secrets and there were far too many of them between her father and brother. Now it seemed Dewar was privy to them too. Daniel would arrive just in time to have her rush past him too. Skirts were lifted a bit higher than proper showing off shapely legs but she'd not trip and fall down the steps in this fast exit. Grabbing her cloak on the way, she didn't even wait for the butler nor for him to open the door. It wasn't closed behind her either as she dashed across the terrain to the stable and mounted her horse. She was on her way. Late hour or not without a word goodbye, she'd leave that to Dewar too. She wasn't heading for Swan Lakes either but Montrose.

"I would think you would wish to let your broth... " He started then stepped back in surprise as she rushed out, then with a curse, he ran after her. "Lady Caiome! Stop!" He charged down the steps like a bull after a red cloth. "Damn it, man, why didn't you grab her?" As if Daniel had time to react. Out the door and he was stepping in front of that damn horse, grabbing for the reins. All he knew were his orders, no secrets except he didn't want to tell her what her brother had said or that the words spoken had to mean Gillean was angry. She knew how protective her brother was! "Lady Caiome, you can't ride off this late! You have no guards!"

Caiome's flight out of the door caught him by surprise on his right side, sending him stepping back to get out of her way before he realized...she was fleeing! Wait...what? Her skirts billowed out behind her as she raced down the very stairs he had just come up. He started after her only to have Michael's chase halt him. What did the man just bellow at him? Remmington stood where he was, watching the man chasing the woman and the woman fleeing the house. If he wasn't so completely thrown off by this sudden change in the evening, he may have laughed. This wasn't at all amusing. He started down and out of the door, watching as the horse protested the Captain's demand to stop by jerking away from the hold on the reins. He continued down the steps outside. "No need to get in a rush, M'Lady. I've rooms aplenty that you could spend the evening, riding at this hour is quite dangerous. Your guard and your brother should both worry over your safety at this hour on the roads alone. And surely you wouldn't wish to cause them concern." Daniel Remmington had been raised the son of a Baron. And though the majority of his life had been abroad, there was an order of social graces that had been engraved in him. He would mind his own business. So he stood on the bottom step, allowing Captain and Lady to work out their differences. Unless, that difference set Caiome on her way into the night. became his business. And Daniel Remmington

When things went wrong, they seemed to go downhill faster than when things went right. The horse, a thoroughbred, was very sensitive to its rider and the high voltage state of emotions had the stallion not only jerk on the reins but rear up when they were held steadfast. The jolt first to one side then up, had Caiome thrown from the saddle to hit the ground hard. It not only knocked the wind from her sails but she'd not suffer the humiliation of tear stained cheeks or the look of betrayal that had surely been there. They had been silent tears learned in the years of terror. No, she was blissfully unaware at the moment. She was lucky there were no broken bones either. She seemed to have at least that much luck.

"You can have me fired, but ... " Ah shit! Dewar's arm was nearly jerked from its socket as the horse reared up and he was hard pressed to keep hold of the reins as he was lifted off his feet. He calmed the horse, urging it forward so Caiome wasn't trampled. Once the horse was away enough, he left go of the reins and ran to where she laid. First he touched her neck to check for a pulse after he knelt down beside her, and slid his arms beneath her to lift her carefully. The pain in his shoulder was ignored as he stood.

While all that drama was taking place around the horse and rider and captain, Daniel had waved over a few of the men from the stables, who came to collect Caiome's spirited mount. Stepping down from the last step to the cobbled circle, he was on his way across to the captain when he heard the distinct sound of a horse and rider dead set on hell's gate racing from the shadows of the drive. His arm crossed over his midsection and he rested his elbow there, covering his chin and nose with his hand as he waited for...sure enough. Did the man have some psychic ability where his sister was concerned? This was just too rich for words and if the Lady Caiome hadn't been injured enough in the fall to be knocked out, they could have all talked about this over drinks and chuckles later.

Gillean Callihan sailed from the back of his racing horse, the animal speeding past riderless, and in the process of passing Daniel, nailed the man with a forearm to the jaw, sending Remmington reeling around and stumbling to keep his feet. "How badly hurt is she?" Gill demanded, coming up alongside Dewar in order to relieve him of the burden of woman.

Daniel righted himself, rubbing at his jaw. Okay, well deserved, he had allowed the lady to get injured. "She has only just taken the fall. We haven't assessed her con..." But he stiffened as Gill spun at him, leaving Caiome in Dewar's arms in order to address Remmington with a fisted blow. The Baron of Thornston blocked the blow, knocking it aside. "Once was for the Lady's injury. Taken. Any more will be between you and me, Gillean. And if that is the case, we shall take it elsewhere and out of the possible waking of your sister. Bring her in, we'll see her tended to."

With all emotions wiped out, she looked nearly angelic. No pain. No worry. No fears nor terror. No anger nor anguish. There was a moan as she was picked up. She was alive although she didn't quite break unconscious. The hood fell away leaving her hair to tumble free. Long, dark strands picked up by the breeze. There was no cut but she would have a nice bump on the back of her head. There were shouts from the staff getting the stallion in order. She jarred some in Dewar's arms as she struggled through the black haze she was in towards them. It accomplished another moan followed by a groan. She was coming to and disoriented.


Date: 04-26-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 69

Dewar had just turned, still grimacing at the pain in his shoulder. He wasn't surprised to see Gillean, though the blow he gave Remmington had both brows lifting. The Captain was about to answer the Callihan Lord's question when the other noble answer and Gillean turned on Daniel again. Good lord. "My Lords, she's waking up." He started inside, and as he passed Gillean, he added, "And this wasn't Lord Remmington's fault. It was mine." As much as that bothered him to say it, it was the truth.

Daniel had enough of all this and since the Lady had started to stir, he turned and made his way up the stairs to prepare a place for her to recuperate. At the moment, that should be all that any of them.

Gill bit back his retort to Daniel, but that was mostly because of what Michael said. Brows drawn in a pinched frown, he turned to his man. "Yours?" With a jerk of head, he indicated that Michael follow. At least, for now, until Caiome could travel home, they would have to suffer Remmington's hospitality.

She was pulling through as a certain voice was drawn to over the others. Words were muffled, "Gill.." his full name falling short from her lips as she quieted a moment then struggled again. By the time they had her to a bed and a maid came in with some smelling salts, she was awake. She was also confused. "Where am I? Gillean?" Her brother's name to follow as her vision was slightly blurred. "I can't see," although she could see, she meant blurred but they might not realize that.

He placed her on the bed as if she were a porcelain doll, then stepped back and let the maid tend to her. He wasn't sure at this point if he should remain in the room or not but he moved away from the bed and to the nearest wall, where he leaned and moved his arm, trying to relieve some of the soreness of his shoulder. When she said she couldn't see, Dewar actually paled and looked at Gillean. It wasn't himself he was worried about but Lady Caiome. If she was blind, it was his fault. He should have left her ride off and maybe Gillean would have spotted her.

Daniel didn't enter the room, but remained outside it, leaned to the wall just shy of the door. As one of the maids came out, he suggested she bring them all something to drink, but he still allowed those closest to Caiome to be the only ones in attendance save the maids helping out. He crossed his arms at his chest, stroking his muscled upper arm where she had barreled past him and when he looked down, he stared. Son of a ... he shot a look to the door, then lowered his hand and slid the ring from his forefinger, tucking it into the interior pocket of his doublet. He rubbed the area where once the ring had been in a circular motion, as if that action would swirl the band had it still been there.

Gillean had taken a seat beside her on the mattress and when she woke and spoke, he took up her hand, pressing his lips to her fingertips. "Calm yourself, Mimi. You've taken a hard fall." He wasn't concerned about her vision ... yet. He had taken a blow or two in his life that had left him dazed and confused, and even struggling to see past the blinding light of pain. "Are you hurting?"

Her anger had abated that had actually been directed at him more than Dewar but what Michael's words had implied. The silent tears started rolling for her blurred sight had her scared. She didn't trust her voice at first so only moved to slide her arms around his neck and bury her face against his chest. "I am sore.. but I think nothing too bad." She was confused so really couldn't tell other than it seemed that way. Words came muffled into his shirt, "we need to talk but not here. Not tonight." She was far too tired to get into such a discussion although not the kind of tired to sleep. She didn't say anything more, only drew in the comforting feel her brother always seemed to manage no matter what, even when she was suppose to be mad at him.

Michael didn't think he should remain in the room while they were talking. He straightened from his lean and headed for the door. Outside, he stopped, then nodded at Daniel. He glanced down at the man's hand then stood on the other side of the door. Gillean was here. Caoime was safe in his care and as long as Daniel stayed out in the hall, it would remain that way.

"She's rather strong willed." Daniel dipped his head, smiling to himself as he spoke across the door opening to the man on the other side. He canted his head to look in that direction, catching the nod and returning it. He didn't miss the note of hand, and no doubt, the lack of ring from the Captain. "We don't have any problems we, Captain?"

"Aye, she is that." Michael leaned against the wall though he was still looking at Daniel. Finally, after a long slow moment, he shook his head. "None that I can think of my Lord, though I apologize for my words when I was trying to catch her. I was caught off guard." He looked away and half smiled. "Something that happens often when the Lady is involved."

Daniel leaned his head back, looking up as he rested it against the wall behind him. "I do not envy you your position, Captain Dewar. Only the opportunity to be near the Lady...often." He rolled his head against the wall to look back to Michael across the way. "Apology accepted, but you were right, I should have stopped her."

"All water under the bridge now, isn't it?" Michael smiled, though it was one that showed resignation. "Though I'm certain Lord Callihan will have a few words for me." Dewar could very well find himself without a position when this was all over.

Daniel's motion of head to the positive never left the wall behind him. "The man will realize you were true to your duty, Captain. You kept her from riding off into the night alone. You could not help that the horse fought the control you had on it with as much verve as the lady upon its back fought your control of her."

Gillean held Caiome close, hoping to ease away any demons that lingered from the state of unconsciousness she had suffered. "If you are up to the journey home, Rabbit. I will see if Remmington...Lord Thornston...will allow us to use his carriage so that we can get you back home to Swan Lake." This talk she felt was needed between them would not take place until they were both within the walls of their own manor home.

"I would like to be home," even if she had been ready to escape to Montrose and find her cousin Regan for advice. This would never be mentioned of course. "If you think it would be all right or if you stay here the night too?" If it was wiser to stay the night, she would but not without him within these uncertain walls. Even the fact he suggested, only fueled there was something evil about Daniel Remmington.

"I hope you're right, but when it comes to Lady Caoime, his Lordship is ... extremely protective." He looked at Daniel again. "And he'll do anything to protect her." A warning? Perhaps but Daniel already got a taste of how Gillean Callihan could be when it came to Caiome. He could hear the murmur of their voices in the room behind him but not was said. Hopefully it meant that Caoime was all right.

Daniel actually chuckled, turning his gaze away from Michael to look back up to the ceiling above. "Would you not, Dewar? Do anything to protect her? Even accept the wrath of her protective brother for the possible misunderstanding that your job was not performed to the best of your ability or that the best...was not enough?"

Gillean heard the rumble of voices outside the door just as Michael heard their voices within the room. "The choice is yours, Mimi. Stay or go. I'm sure Lord Thornston would make us comfortable enough should we need to remain the night."

It was really late and she felt she already caused enough trouble. Her brother would stay and they'd not insult the Lord of Thornston by leaving. "I am tired," really sounding very weary at this point. "Can he put you in the room next to this one?" Not asking him to sleep in the chair near her bed even if tempted. It would be so uncomfortable and he'd wake with all kinds kinks. "I'd like some hot tea," and she realized then too, "my sight is not blurring like it was before." Perhaps it had a lot to do with her calming down.

"I already have." He answered quietly. How could he not do what was right, even to risk the wrath of both Lord and Lady of Swan Lake. It would go against everything he stood for not to follow his duty, or his conscience. He didn't have more to say so he fell into silence.

Once again, Daniel rolled his head and gaze Michael's way. "Duly noted." He said through his smile but he pushed up from his lean as the maid hurried down the hall with her tray of decanter and glasses.

"Lie back, Rabbit. I'll let Daniel know." He reached down, taking up her hand and pressing a kiss to the top of it, then eased it back to rest at her side. Gillean moved to join the men standing as sentries at the door. He looked first to Michael then turned his head to Daniel. "The Lady wishes to remain the night."

"Of course, I would be honored to be of service to the House of Swan Lake."

"Shut up, Daniel...just set me up in the room beside her and make for a place for Dewar close as well." Gillean sounded tired, and fed up, if that was at all a possible mix.

Remmington grinned and nodded. "So much for civilities between us, Gillean? The water under this bridge is stagnant and flowing nowhere?"

Gill rubbed his face with a swipe of hand. "Rooms, Daniel?" The maid stood off from them, waiting. Neither Daniel or Gill acknowledged her yet.

"As you wish it tonight. But only because of Caiome, Gillean."

Gillean nodded. "Always...only." He looked around to Michael. "One night here, Dewar. And ... thank you." With that said, he turned and re-entered to join Caiome at her bedside.

Did Caiome hear them being just outside her door which was left open? If she did, she didn't say anything but there was one point of fact, her brother knew Daniel better than just and acquaintance. Tomorrow. Tomorrow she would confront her brother once home. She needed answers. Answers that had been long denied her. Her smile was bright once he returned, far from the anger that has possessed her earlier that brought her, brought them, to this moment in time. "Perhaps something a little stronger added to my drink.." noticing the maid beyond with the decanter and glasses. Her sight was back fully!

Michael straightened as Gillean came out of the room, watching the interaction between the two nobles with his usual stoic expression. He'd have his own thoughts to ponder once he was in the room for the night. When Gillean turned his attention Dewar's way, he nodded. "Aye, my Lord," and then with a slight smile. "Of course. I'll inform Lancer and Davis shortly." One night he could handle. One night and he'd speak to Gillean on what he learned.


Date: 05-01-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 70

The Talk

The threesome arrived home later in the day from their overnight jaunt to lands unknown. Michael had rode off to see to whatever duties kept a Captain of the Guard busy all day while Gillean turned over his and Caiome's mounts to the capable hands of those serving in the stables. Compared to the night past, the day was warm, and the cloaks that had sheltered them from the cold of evening and early morning had been discarded, those had been handed off as well to the first obliging servant that crossed close enough for Gillean to make the exchange. He had showered, but since he had not planned on spending a night away, had not brought a suitable change of clothing. That...was first on his agenda as he strode through the corridor of Swan Lake toward the stairs that led above to their bedroom chambers.

As their cloaks were taken away, and much the same on her mind to change into something more suitable and fresh, she managed to gently take hold of Gill's arm before he escaped. "Shall I meet you outside, since the day has warmed, to talk on things we should?" Although the gold rooms in the tavern where they had stayed a night were ample they were not her own store of soaps and perfumes. "I trust your stay was comfortable too." Winsome smile was already in progress as her hand fell away from his arm. She was also looking forward to enjoying the sunshine and the lighter cloth dress worn.

Gillean look down where her hand held his arm, then up to his sister. A thousand and forty-seven things he needed to do filtered through his mind, but this was Caiome, so he nodded his agreement. "It was not Swan Lake, but yes, Caiome, comfortable." He took up her hand from his arm and dipped his head to press a kiss to the top of it. "I'll meet you outside, on the seats beneath the willow." The heavens above could only begin to guess what Caiome had on her mind that were 'things they should' talk on.

Smile was as bright as the sunshine outside that could be seen filtering in through the many windows of the manor. Always for him. Possibly one day another man might win such but not so far. She all but raced him upstairs, hands held the folds of her gown up so she didn't trip over the hem. Delightful laughter followed in her wake turning a head of a staff member on occasion as she passed. She felt carefree today even if there was no apparent reason other than .. spring was here. Within the hour, with the help of her handmaiden, she was dressed in yellow taffeta trimmed in white lace. Dark hair was pinned up leaving some strands free to curl down the length of her neck, over her shoulder or just down her back. A matching parasol was kept at hand in case she needed some shading from the sun. He would find her situated, picturesquely, upon the bench with her skirts spread out and the willow branches swaying in the breeze. Grass was green already and some flowers were blooming in the beds. Unfortunately they needed quite a bit of work for the last owner cared not for flower beds and the like.

Rays of sun are all the more appreciated when they stream down from the darkness of storm cloud. Caiome, sunray. Gillean, storm cloud. The Lord of Swan Lake snatched the first maid he passed and requested that refreshments be brought to the seating under the willow in the gardens and then went on to finish his personal preparations for the day. When he joined his sister in the garden, he really couldn't help but smile. He always enjoyed her in yellow.  Such a perfect color for the dark haired Lady he had overheard several of the staff referring to as Lady Sunlight. She truly was a sight, seated there, poised for an artist to attempt to capture the beauty seated beneath the wisps of willow. He joined her, scooting her skirts to the side just a bit in order not to crumple them beneath his leg. "Looks as if the gardeners need to move around to this side of the garden after they complete the front of the manor."

Her brother might one day agree to hire an aspiring artist to capture her thus to hang in his den as a reminder of one so dear to him. She might commission the same artist to do one of her brother. In fact it was a thought already in progress. She leaned in with a touch of her hand to the opposite cheek she placed a chaste kiss. Straightening from the lean as she swept a glance over the ill fated gardens in this back courtyard. "It is a pity they were let go to ruin and yes, once they are done there or I shall hire another just for this area." There were always options and the light talk was just that, light. The serious had to be addressed and being there was no way to come out with it except straight forward, that is exactly what she did. "Lord Thornston.." she got that much out and stalled for a few precious moments. "How well do you know him and what do the symbols of the dog type dragon heads mean on a ring he wears?" Which had her watching her brother keenly.

Gillean had not grown up in his father's ranks without learning how to mask any changes in attitude. He was with Caiome, the continuation of a pleasant conversation was all that showed on his expression or his demeanor. "Thornston?" He looked away from her only to acknowledge the maid who placed a tray of refreshments on the table beside Caiome, nodding her off so the siblings could speak in private. When she skirted away, Caiome became Gillean's center of attention once again. "I know him well enough, Rabbit. Are you sure you wish to hear what I know? The day is rather pleasant to ruin by delving into such a tainted and dark discussion."

I had not known when we ended up on Thornston lands, that you would not approve of me being around this man. He had invited me to visit so finding myself there, hungry and thirsty, I took him up on it. I had not expected the.." she wasn't really sure how to put it. Not so much what was said but all those negative undercurrents. "what transpired from there. I think I am old enough to learn some truths so I don't stumble unwittingly for lack of knowledge, my dear brother." There was a touch of sadness there in her eyes for the whole of it, sunny day or not, she was growing up and could no longer go on being so naive.

"My Dear Caiome." He began, reaching over to take up her hand and enveloping the smallness between both of his. "This has nothing to do with age or attempts to keep you blindly unknowing. But all to do with what transpires in a  man's world, that really shouldn't have to concern a Lady of standing, such as yourself. That said..." He gave her hand a squeeze. "He is of the peerage of these lands and would be expected to provide any means of comfort for those traveling. But know this, I would not have approved no matter whose household you happened upon, had it been a single Lord interested in the lovely Lady of Swan Lake. Even had it been Hastings." He cringed, just for Caiome's benefit. "Especially had it been Hastings." He shifted in his stance, scooting back a bit to cross his leg and rest Caiome's cocooned hand on his thigh. "Here's what I'll share with you. Thornston's father was a financial supporter of our father's attempts. Granted, Daniel had been sent away to school after his thirteenth birthday so he wasn't exactly ... enmeshed ... as we were. But, considering the title that would fall to him, there is no doubt..." Gill drew in a deep breath. "There is No doubt, that he was kept abreast of what was transpiring in Montrose and Kildare. Just in case." Gillean slipped his top hand back, stroking a semi-circle over the bottom of his sister's forefinger where a particular ring would rest. "And the ring, is truly none of your concern, Rabbit. It was most likely part of his lineage." How did Gillean know exactly which finger the ring was seen on? More than likely, a lucky guess? "I'm surprised, considering his title, that an ornate ring would even have you questioning." His sister asked too many questions. Just one about the ring. However, that one was enough to send an entire Kingdom into turmoil.

Her words were quiet but he'd hear them nonetheless, "not everyone separates a man's world from a woman's world." But if he wanted it that way it would be two factions working together or against. She was cringing hearing that Lord's name. Hastings. One she like to see Prudence get with doing them both good if such could be. "Will there ever be anyone that you approve of that is interested in me. Will I always remain a spinster?" Not that she had really thought about it until now. The very mention he would not approve of any male interested in her. "What if Lord Thornston came calling properly here?" Not that she ever imagined he would but it was more the point of the question. More that her brother was enmeshed more than she, who was kept in the dark for being a female. "Just in case?" She was trying to follow but there seemed to be loopholes that were not filled in. Things kept from her. Lucky for him she seemed satisfied on the ring, that it was nothing out of the ordinary. But, "then why did Dewar react the way he did seeing it too?" Maybe not something her brother could answer but she had not missed Dewar's expression. Men! They obviously had their secrets and she felt so left out. Had she been a brother, she wondered if he'd tell her all those secrets. She expected him to address all the questions she asked for there were many, that's what talks were all about!

Had she been a brother, there was one secret she still would not be privy to and yes, he had heard her softly spoken reply. "Everyone should though, Caiome. Everyone should separate the two. It is truly unfortunate that there comes dark days when a Lady must be exposed to the evils created by men. Until then, though, I took an oath, My Sweet, that I would do all in my power to keep you from that. I see the deeper darker most evil truths, I fight, Mimi, so you don't have to." He brought up her hand and turned it, leaning in to press a kiss to the indent of her palm, then lowered it again. "So you...don't...have to. Now, my approval of suitors?" He forced a smile for her. "That will be a struggle for me. And you know it. But, hmmm, but..." He swallowed down a growl that had built in the back of his throat. "If ... I repeat if...Daniel Remmington came calling on you as is proper for a lady of your station and grace, then I would.." Dammit, he was having a difficult time with this, and he paused to stretch out his spine, then attempted to relax again. "I would try to be the courteous brother and suffer through his bumbling attempts to woo you." Considering the man possessed a ring and the ring that Caiome described was all the detail needed to recognize it...and respect it.

She felt so vulnerable with those words: he had to fight so she did not. It had her quickly blinking back the tears that threatened. She wished she could fight but that had not been something she was taught. Not yet. Regan could face such dangers but even with Regan and all her daring she had her brothers worrying over her. Caiome knew about that, seen it first hand those years spent with them. Luckily the comment on Daniel Remmington broke free a laugh, dispelling the fears the early conversation was having. Fears of being in the dark. "Bumbling.." for some reason she didn't see Lord Thornston as bumbling. Lord Hastings, yes. Possibly Neville Dewar too but not Daniel Remmington. If anything, he would be a real challenge for his smooth ways. Ways she felt her own brother had about him if a woman of interest came along. She saw him stretch but took it differently as she got up. "Shall we have nice walk in the garden to see what we can do with it?" Offering him an end to the heavier conversation too. At least for now. Never knew with Caiome what she might do or come up with. "I was thinking of having our portraits done, separately. One for you, one for me.."

To that one word 'bumbling', Gillean smiled with a hum'ed out agreement. "Mmmhmm." Then he twitched off a wink to his sister and stood when she did. "Absolutely, Caiome. Let's see what we can come up with for the gardens." Make that one thousand forty eight things. He reached down and took up her hand, tucking it into the crook of his arm. "Personally, I would prefer one of the two of us together. wouldn't mind." And he started her along. He nodded toward the garden gate. "Why don't we have them dig up those irises and plant them elsewhere. Or am I mistaken in thinking that lavender should be planted at the garden gate?"

"Then I will have three done," which had her smiling up his way and she would look into finding an artist to take care of it. It was the thing to do, portraits painted and they never had any done so far. One of the guests had commented during the ball, innocent question but had set her to thinking. "Something shorter so lavender would be better. Easier to end up getting the plants damaged if too tall in places that saw more traffic." At least the ground cover would have thousands of tiny flowers, as many as things her brother had to do and if some got trampled, they'd only come back again. "I would like rose bushes, perhaps the climbing ones up against the outside of the walls over there. Yellow, pink and red or do you think it better they are all the same color?" She was in an easy stroll at his side, one hand tucked in the crock of his arm while the other was in constant motion indicating this or that or swiping at strand of hair the light breezed teased against her neck.

He listened to all of her ideas, her suggestions, her desires and nodded in agreement to every single one. Even to the portraits, since they didn't have any to hang upon the large walls of the manor. Little did Caiome know, though, that Gillean had a miniature of her that he had managed to whisk away that fateful night he had been jerked from his bed and told to ride. That was all he had of her for those many years. But that...had been enough to keep her close, even with all the physical distance between them. They strolled the gardens until they ended up back at the front of the manor where the gardeners toiled. "Why don't you speak with the men now, Caiome. And I'll go within and make available any funds you may need to see your visions into reality." He dipped his head, touching a kiss to her cheek, then slipped his arm free to go and do ... just that.


Date: 05-10-12
Poster: Michael Dewar
Post # 71

The Sanctuary Inn

With the unsettled clans further north, travel had been limited and even then, well guarded. Gillean had several matters to attend to in Kildare, and what a better time to allow Caiome some time to wander and shop. This far into the belly of Kildare, the area was safer and he had sent his sister off with the guardianship of the Captain of the Guard until the appointed hour that they would meet for dinner at the inn that would house them tonight. He had arrived before the two, claiming a table against the wall within the crowded place. His chosen seat had his back to the wood of the establishment facing out as he watched for signs of his sister and the arrival of their meal and drinks.

Caiome had so many packages it took hiring a lad to help carry them. She'd been given an allowance and was using it all! There was too much not to get and she didn't get here often enough (or her brother would be broke). They had been watched from the forests they passed but the ones watching had kept a good distance then disappeared once they got into Kildare castle area. She was blissfully unaware there was any problem afoot. "Captain, can you handle all that or shall I hire another lad? Oh, wait," as they were heading for the appointed building nicely called The Sanctuary. It had been originally a hideout with underground chambers to hide during the time of the Witch. Now, the ones that had provided sanctuary to many, were enjoying a prospering Inn. She was sidetrack to a cloth and needle store, disappearing inside to order yet another bolt of material that had caught her eye.

Dewar was feeling like a pack mule with all the packages he had to carry, though the addition of the boy had helped some. "Aye, Lady Caiome. We're close to where the carriage .... " His words trailed off as Caiome disappeared into another shop. "Go on in, lad. I'll wait out here." Only one more bolt, please. He leaned against the wall, just rolling his eyes when he heard two women laughing at the sight of the 'husband' standing outside waiting for his wife. Now if Gill were here to hear that, it would have been funny!

But he wasn't there. No. Gillean was seated at that Inn, shifting on his seat when the appointed hour arrived and then passed by ten minutes and the duo still had not arrived. He nodded off to the serving lass as she brought the tray of food and set everything out on the table and watched her as she skirted off to see to their drinks. Five more minutes. Five! And he was going out to search for them.

The bolt of cloth was near bigger than the teen as she took some of the lighter packages and gave him the challenge of hoisting it up and getting it out the door to join up with the Captain of the Guard. "Captain," letting him know they were done. Hopefully, she was sure he was thinking by now. Ah, such a smile with that thought. "We should do this more often." Giving a wink to the lad as she pointed out their carriage so that he could get it settled in the storage box and she would tip him graciously. Oh, they were late already but did she hurry? Of course not. Grumpy would become grumpier every second that ticked passed the appointed hour. Dewar Beware. Not her, no. Never.

Michael would have to stow what he carried as well, and he waited patiently for the lad to be finished first. He just looked at Caiome, then chuckled. "You'll have to have one room for storage if you do it too often, my Lady." Yes, he knew they were late but he also knew Gillian would deny Caiome nothing. He waited for her to tip the lad, then he would escort her into the Sanctuary.

Seconds, four, three, two, one. Gillean pushed up from his chair and hailed the serving girl with a wave. When she came over, he dropped extra coins on her tray. "Keep that table for my return." Then he weaved his way through the crowd and stepped outside, the door closing behind him. And look right down the lane. He actually drew in a breath of relief that he'd never admit to needing. He threw up his hand again to them and then started down the step to start in their direction.

As they finished packing the merchandise away, she caught sight of Gillean and went rushing his way. Arms up around his neck as she went to tiptoe to kiss his cheek. Her cheeks flushed becomingly as she spoke up, "how wonderful to bring me here. I have gotten so many things that were needed," and her words then lowered with that sly smile coupled with a wink, "and I stayed in budget." Arms slid away as Michael would soon be joining them. "I'm famished." She had not taken time out to eat for she was too busy shopping and didn't want to waste a moment doing anything else. That mean Dewar went without eating too.

Dewar was a soldier. If it was necessary for him to skip a meal, he would, and this was ... necessary. "My Lord." He saluted Gillean with a thump of a fisted hand to his chest. No comment on the shopping, or how long they were gone. Gillean knew well enough down to the very minute.

Gillean gathered her up in his arms, listening to the excitement in her tone and in her words, even as his gaze drifted over her shoulder to Dewar. "Ah, so Swan Lake shall not be in ruin as I feared upon seeing all that was being loaded to take back." He nodded to the show of respect from Michael, then leaned back a bit to look down to Caiome's features. "Your food awaits, M'Lady." And so said, released her so that they could return to the inn and that reserved table.

"After the last of the gardens are seen to, it will be even more so grand." She slid a smile over her shoulder towards Dewar adding, "do join us," after all, she had used him well as a pack horse. However, food was more on her mind as one area was sated, this one was demanding the same. Her arm linked with Gill's and eyes set dead ahead as they gained that very Inn and within. The table wasn't far as she was soon settling, "what did you order?" Out in spite of the fact it was set before her and she lifted the dome that was keeping it warm, "oh my it smells good," turkey and gravy over thick slices of homemade bread, small buttered potatoes that were seasoned and carrots sliced diagonally sauteed in butter as well with a touch of cinnamon added. Surprisingly her stomach didn't grumble, tumble or even gurgle.

Once Caiome was safe with her brother, Dewar waited to see if he'd be needed further. Of course, once he was invited to join them, he didn't refuse. The Captain cut a glance toward Gillian but followed. He smiled to himself as he caught a few folks whispering when the siblings passed. Seemed folks were still talking about the ball. He waited for the Lord and Lady to be seated before he joined them at the table.


Date: 06-04-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 72

Prelude to Visit

Spring was nearly over and Regan was still in Montrose. The ball had been fun though an eye-opening event in many ways. Gillean's words were still remembered but not with regret or even hatred. His concern for Caoime was an obsession; there was no other word for it. It went beyond the worry that her brothers had for her They saw her as stubborn and reckless, even knowing she could take care of herself. Gillean saw Caiome as delicate as porcelain, as fragile as a butterfly. She had been during the time their father had tried to kill Ronan but there was a strength to Caiome that she was just beginning to realize. Time would prove who was the stronger.

After the ball, the Callihan Captain had returned to Kildare and spent an evening there on the ship of the charming Adrian Frasier. From there, it was back to Montrose while preparations were made on the Dream to ship out. Ronan didn't want her to go but neither would he hold back any of his children. A few days after she returned to her ship, she had a visitor. Marcus DeHaven had been worried enough about Westmoreland to come to Kildare and find Regan. She was incredulous, angry and frightened all in turn but she wouldn't be turned from following her own path. DeHaven stayed a few days before he sailed off again. Likely they'd see one another in Bridgetown. That was were most ported when not making their runs.

Regan stretched lazily as she stood from the bench where she had been sitting. The crystal felt warm against her skin and she smiled as she turned to head for the house. She intended to visit Caiome before leaving since it was never easy to predict how long she'd be gone. Morgan was heading out soon as well. She wasn't sure what Faelan had decided, but if he was heading for the Caribbean, Regan was certain both brothers would keep an eye on her. She touched the crystal under her shirt before stepping inside.

Regan had unfinished business along the coast of South America. In Bridgetown, she would catch up with the loose fellowship of captains that she had become part of. It could very well prove to be a interesting summer, or a very, very dull one. She made the decision for it to be an interesting one. She chuckled to herself, hoping she wasn't going to regret what she had decided, but then again, so much better to feel that edge that danger brought to life then burning with the dull edge of boredom.


Date: 06-06-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 73

A Perfect Day

It was a perfect day for a visit. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Regan was in a good mood. The Dream was nearly ready to sail. By the time she returned to Kildare's port, they would head straight out to sea. It had been too long and her crew was more then ready to trade the luxury of Kildare for the dangers of the open sea. The Captain was riding a spirited horse form the stables of Montrose rather then a coach and four. She had dressed in her usual fashion, a buccaneer shirt of pale blue that brought our her eyes, black form-fitting pants tucked into fine leather boots, the tops folded over and a opened vest of dark blue, embroidered and decorated with tiny mirrors. She also had added her favorite hat, wide brimmed with one side turned up, and two jaunty ostrich feathers, dyed scarlet and royal blue. Her hair had been pulled back into a ponytail though strands escaped to frame her face. She knew about the attacks of course, but the roads were heavily guarded these days and she was well armed. She rode through the gates with a nod to the guards there. As a stable boy ran up to tend to her horse, she dismounted and tossed the boy a gold coin. "Where is the Lady of the Manor?" And as an afterthought, "and the Lord?"

It was a beautiful day which found Caiome on an outdoor chase lounge. Sketch book in hand with the sorry looking garden before her. One that had been covered in snow during the Ball. The gardener had a few new helpers, young men who seemed not able to concentrate on their work. One got pricked by rose bush thorns, another managed to smash his thumb and yet the third walked into a wall for not looking where he was going. Caiome made quite the picture with the pale pink lacy dress that floated in sheers over solid white silk. Hair had been penned up, so dark in contrast, with tendrils curling down along the length of her neck to lay against her bosom, the top with border
A Perfect Day

It was a perfect day for a visit. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Regan was in a good mood. The Dream was nearly ready to sail. By the time she returned to Kildare's port, they would head straight out to sea. It had been too long and her crew was more then ready to trade the luxury of Kildare for the dangers of the open sea. The Captain was riding a spirited horse form the stables of Montrose rather then a coach and four. She had dressed in her usual fashion, a buccaneer shirt of pale blue that brought our her eyes, black form-fitting pants tucked into fine leather boots, the tops folded over and a opened vest of dark blue, embroidered and decorated with tiny mirrors. She also had added her favorite hat, wide brimmed with one side turned up, and two jaunty ostrich feathers, dyed scarlet and royal blue. Her hair had been pulled back into a ponytail though strands escaped to frame her face. She knew about the attacks of course, but the roads were heavily guarded these days and she was well armed. She rode through the gates with a nod to the guards there. As a stable boy ran up to tend to her horse, she dismounted and tossed the boy a gold coin. "Where is the Lady of the Manor?" And as an afterthought, "and the Lord?"

It was a beautiful day which found Caiome on an outdoor chase lounge. Sketch book in hand with the sorry looking garden before her. One that had been covered in snow during the Ball. The gardener had a few new helpers, young men who seemed not able to concentrate on their work. One got pricked by rose bush thorns, another managed to smash his thumb and yet the third walked into a wall for not looking where he was going. Caiome made quite the picture with the pale pink lacy dress that floated in sheers over solid white silk. Hair had been penned up, so dark in contrast, with tendrils curling down along the length of her neck to lay against her bosom, the top with bordering lace and modest dip to it. She was drawing what she saw in her mind for the new garden. Her handmaid attending her and trying not to giggle at the help. A glass of lemonade sat on small table with a few lady fingers should she get hungry. Something to nibble on. The lad that attended Regan pointed to a gate at the side of the manor that would lead her down a path that would open up to the back courtyard and the shamble of a garden.

She thanked the boy and headed for the gate, whistling to herself as she did. She paused as she watched the lad walking into a wall, and laughed out loud. He turned red and scurried off as Regan continued her walk to join Caiome. A peek over her cousin's shoulder had her smiling. "Are you going to add ponds or fountains, Caiome?" No need for the accent used on the ship. Gillean wasn't around after all.

The tip of her tongue was captured between her lips as she was so concentrated on doing up this drawing perfectly, she had not noticed the man walking into the wall or the subtle under the breath curses when the other two managed to hurt themselves. It was Regan's voice that was heard but even didn't bring her back right away, took a few moments as she blinked, the sketch pad set aside as she leaped to her feet in realization. Regan was getting pounced in a hug as the handmaiden made sure nothing spilled from the tray nor the sketch pad land on the ground. Regan would see by the sketch, there was going to be a pond with a waterfall and a few smaller bird baths. "I'm saving the large fountain for the front courtyard. Right out in that large patch of grass there."

Since the Captain had asked after the Lord of the Manor as well, a servant had sought out the man in order to let him know that a guest had arrived. Gillean had just returned from the fields, handing over the reins of his horse when the man came rushing up. Guest. Lady. Asked for the Lady Caiome. And when asked, provided the description. While the previous preparations to join them might have been slow, once it was made clear that the guest was Regan, Gill didn't bother to change from his riding attire. He just tossed his riding crop and reins to the boy and addressed the house servant. "Where exactly is the Lady Caiome?"

She laughed as Caiome finally came out from the spell of creativity and hugged her in return. "That will be perfect, Caiome. When I return, I'll be stopping here after Montrose to see how the work is going. I brought you a gift to remember me until then." As if she expected to be forgotten. But she had seen it in a silversmith's shop window and couldn't resist. The small box was wrapped in silver paper and inside Caiome would find a pendant with four swans in flight. It could be worn as a brooch if she preferred.

"Oh, I so wish I could go with you!" She still had that need for an adventure in her blood and wouldn't be sated until she had a real one. She had little ones. Nothing compared to her sea captain cousin. Eyes brightened at the mention of a gift, "for me? Oh, I'd never forget you." She didn't hesitate to open it up as her eyes got even wider. "Oh my, this is so pretty. I shall start wearing it immediately." Which she would have her help in putting it on. She noticed the males were not focused on their jobs but watching them both. A wave of her hand, "go take a break and think about if you want to continue working here or not." Which they would get her meaning. They were apologetic while nodding and backing away with those apologies. She was going to have a talk with the head gardener. "Oh, I have a little tale," and proceeded to tell about running into the Lord Thornston again, in all detail ending up with, "he seems to keep showing up." There was a commotion of horses as she quickly added, "I think my brother is back from his ride."

"I would take you with me but Gillean would have a ship after us in no time, and I think he'd be worse than any pirate." She was laughing as she answered. "When I return, we'll travel to Innis Daingneach and explore the island." Well, further then that but Gillean might not protest if he thought that would be as far as they went. Once the necklace was around her cousin's neck, she sat on the bench, listening to her tale. "I think you will need to keep an eye on Lord Thornston then. He seems to be quite interested in you. How is Gillean around him?" She paused to look over her shoulder, suppressing a grin. Wouldn't Gillean be pleased?

Wouldn't he be now? Time would tell, and that time was now as it would appear. The Lord of the Manor ducked his head beneath the vine bedecked archway and entered into the garden. His gaze first fell on Regan, as she was looking his way. A frown puckered for an instant but then his notice shifted to his sister, and while it was easier to smooth out his expression for her, he still had to force a smile considering her company. "This is a surprise, Cousin." He continued forward, only then tugging his riding gloves from his hands. Gripping them in the one, he smacked them lightly against his outer thigh and joined the ladies. He paused a moment to touch a kiss to Caiome's temple then he once again looked to Regan "I would have hoped that fair weather meant that you could be off doing what it is you ... do."

"Gillean," starting her response to Regan on how her brother was around Lord Thornston, ended up unstated presently. Instead it was his greeting as he got a touch of her hand to the opposite cheek and a touch of her lips to the other. "Did you have an enjoyable ride." Slightly swatting his chest to behave. This was their cousin even if he didn't like her profession. She wondered if he'd act the same if Deirdre or Alannah came to visit, there was an open invitation to them as well. "A very pleasant surprise," adding to his words with an imps grin curling. "Would you both like some lemonade?" That old saying coming to mind that kept that smile alive. She motioned to her handmaid to get another pitcher of the cold homemade brew. Ariel was quick, dipping a quick curtsey and was off. Caiome watched her on the sly and yes, Ariel was taking that extra longer look over her brother. At least she was not quite as obvious as some of the others. Some that didn't last. Eventually they would have the perfect staff.

"Ah, Gillean. I would think you're anxious to see me gone." Of course he was, but she acted as if she was wounded though it didn't last long. "Business kept me home longer then expected, and I did wish to come visit before we set sail.." She chuckled at the swat. "And I would like some lemonade, thank you." Just her profession? Gillean wouldn't approve of Regan if she had a less dangerous profession, of that the Captain was certain. She gave him a look of pure devilry. "You could always join me and see what it is I ... do."

It was the woman's entire being from state of mind to state of affairs that rubbed this particular cousin in the wrong direction. His hand lifted to stroke absently against that spot abused but he nodded to Caiome,, and then to Ariel, before the woman took off. "I would only wish that you continue to be prosperous, Regan. Which should see you gone, No?" That said, he turned and reached out to pull over a chair. For as long as he could, he'd make sure Captain didn't get much brainwashing time with Caiome. Once settled, he folded the gloves over a crossed knee. "Seems the beaver dam down at South Creek caused the banks to flood into the fields." That was the enjoyment of his ride. Did Gillean ever allow himself pleasure? At least, the kind that Caiome could be privy to? "The men are there now cleaning it out. Bloke wasn't too fond of seeing his hard work smashed apart, charged right up and bit the foreman on the ankle. A nasty gash at that." His gaze shifted to the returning Ariel and he accepted the glass of lemonade which she offered to him first. He didn't offer a thank you. It was her job. Instead, he continued in order to relieve his sister of any worry, because knowing her, she probably was concerned. "He will be fine though. And the man will be sporting a new beaver cap." He brought his glass up, a moment passed as his gaze settled on his cousin from over the upper rim.

"You will be staying a couple days, Regan? Before you go out to sea for a while for surely I will be missing you and holding you to your promise to take me to see Innis," right on the tail end of Gillean making it clear he wanted her to leave! Bah. Humbug. She took the gloves from where they rested over his knee to inspect them, placing the sketch book there for him to peruse instead. The gloves needed to be mended or replaced. "OH my!" Lifting her focus from the gloves to her brother, "vicious beavers, I hope they are not rabid. He should be checked by our healer." Ariel was a distraction for a few moments as she too, along with Regan was served a tall glass of the refreshing brew. "You need not linger presently, Ariel," as if giving her time to get anything else done she needed to do before her day was through. No. More like keeping her from goggling over her brother. She'd hate to have to let her go because she was proving to be very good as a handmaid. She blinked then, "you killed the beaver?" She had always taken nature's critters in to tend to them when young.

"I can manage a couple of days, aye." She bit back a laugh when Caiome mentioned Innis. "And I would never go back on a promise." She accepted the glass from Ariel then watched her leave. Poor Caiome would have to hire all old women and men if she wanted to stop the looks and whispers. Pale blue eyes turned to Gillean to see his reaction. He would be welcomed too, though the ship might be blown off course, or the navigator take ill and then he'd be trapped even longer with Regan and her crew. "This time of year, they may have had kits." She didn't say anything about the killing but eyes shifted to her tender-hearted cousin.

Sweet Caiome. Where did she think her white rabbit cloak came from? Wheat? Gillean smiled to his sister, completely ignoring his cousin for now. Even the mention of staying. Although his shoulders tensed visibly with the suggestion and acceptance. "Well yes, Dear One, we did." He did actually. Pounded it dead right there on the creek bank and then handed it over limp and ready for skinning to the obliging and injured foreman. "Probably did, but unfortunately, those fields are important for feeding several dozen of our serfs. Three, four, five kits...Caiome...are not worth losing several crops over. I'll hope you can forgive me for taking the whole of those who depend on us into consideration, Sister." He drank more of the lemonade then set the glass aside in order to open up the drawings on his lap. Even though his gaze dipped there, as if studying the plans made, he wasn't fully invested in the sketched diagrams yet.

Well, she obviously didn't link the fur end to the creature that gave it up. Out of sight, out of mind in a way. She could not kill a creature of nature but she suspected, and rightly so, that her brother could and had! At least he didn't state the gory details. "I will go see later and have the kits rescued." She would care for them then release them when they were big enough in a different location. "I understand that the field is important and perhaps a few men assigned to keeping any more beavers from making a dam there. Without killing them. I'm sure if their work is undone enough, they will find a new place to build." Beavers couldn't help being .. well .. beavers! A slight sigh escaped before taking up her glass and a long drink to follow. "Perhaps you'll go with me on the rescue mission, Regan." Caiome would need to get changed too, wear lad's clothing and boots.. much like her cousin. Maybe borrow her hat to see how she looked. Yes, Gill would have a bird.

She watched the two while they spoke, eyes moving back and forth between the two. Deirdre was much like Caiome in some ways, especially when it came to baby animals. Regan had been like that once, but changes had come quickly. She wouldn't change a thing now but sometimes she wondered if she had ever been that innocent. "I'd be glad to go with you, Cai." She smiled as she answered. And if Caiome wanted to try on her hat, by all means! She would look quite dashing in it. "If the mama isn't around, they should be fairly easy to catch. Though I'm sure they'll still bite." Wild animals and all that.

No. They wouldn't bite, but let the women go in search of them. Better they just wait to take a long look next winter at the foreman's cap and gloves. Gill didn't comment on their rescue mission, instead, he tapped a finger lightly to the page, careful not to smudge Caiome's work. "Looks as if you have a talent for landscaping, Caiome. Just let the men know what you need. I'll write up an open voucher for whatever funds they may require." It was damn good thing the discussion of attire didn't come up. Just another black mark against the Captain, to add to all the others.

"OH! I didn't mean take any from their mothers but if that bloke was a mother and defending home and family, then any that got abandoned during the rampage on their home." If any were still with their mother, they would leave them with their mother. Unless Gill had killed them all? A sliding glance in wonder went his way. They might not find any. She had some talents, not just another pretty face. Her smile was bright on his compliment. "I'm still working on whether the gardeners we have are working out. They seem.." she was trying to find the word for it, fumbling idiots came to mind. "Anyway, I plan to sketch the front area too and a large fountain be place there with flowers around it.. with your approval but one project at a time." She would not overwhelm him. She was also finding she liked to draw and wondered now if she would do well at painting too. There was a lovely home overlooking the sea she had always noticed. She wondered if she could rent it for a couple weeks and try her hand. But.. her mind was wandering
again and then reeled in. Maybe it was the heat as more lemonade was consumed. Maybe a dashing dare the devil himself, came to mind too.

Considering Gillean, it was unlikely the kits were alive either but by the time they reached the area, the carcasses should be gone as well. "I'm looking forward to seeing what's been done when I return home." Regan usually was gone for the entire summer, but circumstances in Kildare would have her returning more often in case the Dream was needed. Hopefully the business with the crystal wouldn't take long, if she could even get to it. There were still contacts to get in touch with and cargo to haul. She glanced around to see if the Gardner's helpers were about but they seemed to have fled with Gillean's appearance.

Gillean was loathe to leave Regan alone with Caiome, but he couldn't very well get his own matters attended to by sitting and sipping lemonade all day. He lingered, a mental debate, but soon enough decided all Regan could accomplish this visit were words. He repositioned that sketch book, placing it on the table, then stood with a swipe of palm along his upper thigh. "Ladies, its a lovely day, I hope you continue to enjoy it." As ladies should. "But please do excuse me."

That proved they had intelligence at least for all their fumbling ways. It was getting hotter, "shall we retire within?" Her smile was genuine giving upwards to her brother as he decided to take his leave, "do shower.." so she had noticed!

As soon as Gillean left, Regan grabbed Caiome by the hand. "C'mon, Cai. Let's go skinny dipping down at the lake."

Once gone and devil take her. "Let's. I know where one is that is more secluded." She was already rising, claiming the sketch book which she would put away before going on this daring act. She would also change quickly as well and back outside in record time.

Caiome had Regan laughing as they left the garden behind. Skinny dipping was just the first step to what Gillean would see as corruption! It was a perfect day for it and though the water would likely be ice cold, who could resist? "Are you certain it's secluded enough that Gillean won't find us?" Not that Regan really cared but she didn't want Caiome getting grief from Lord StuffedShirt.

They had as kids but it was much different now. She kept the laughter low so her brother didn't suspect anything other than them going down to the field to see if there were any kits abandoned. She even had a basket over her arm. Quite a large one that was really for putting their clothes in. She was dressed as a lad would be but the clothes didn't look like they would on a lad! Not at all. She even placed Regan's plumed hat on her head and strutting like she'd seen some male captains do. One hand on her hip, elbow out and what a swagger, one could wonder if she had practiced it. Of course that only had her laughing more before she took hold of Regan's arm in a conspired way, glance back to now distant manor then took her off on another path that would lead through the woods. Really, they should not be going considering the incident with the Mullen clan but they were far more north than these woods. The undergrowth was thick and rich that gave way into a clearing of birch trees of a good size pond. One that was a good fifteen feet deep in the middle. It was clear, had a brook that fed it and mostly pebbles instead of mud beneath. There were fish in it too, good fishing for it was not known by many and on private grounds.

Regan felt like the young girl from Montrose when they sneaked away from the manor. She even adjusted the hat just so and laughed when Caiome swaggered. "Ye dae tha' well, lass." She complimented with a heavy accent then chuckled. Gillean wouldn't track them down unless they were gone too long, would he? "Ooo, you'll have blackberries come August." She took note of the bushes, then stopped when they came out into the clearing. "I wouldn't share this with anyone else if I were you, Cai. This is wonderful." A perfect place to escape and just think. She grinned at her cousin as she sat on the ground and pulled off her boots. "Ready?" Almost a dare. At least neither had all the falderal that ladies normally wore to worry about!

"Just don't say that around Gill.." and she knew he had his dark secrets! He was a bad boy but wanted her to be a good girl. "Yes, we'll have to spend a day collecting then having the cook bake us some pies." There were wild strawberries too which she stopped to gather a handful and share with Regan. It wasn't quite as hot in here with the canopy of leaves and sunlight playing hide and seek. Once the pond was reached she set Regan's hat carefully aside before disrobing without aplomb and dashing into the water, "last one in..." as she was already in and cheating. Dark hair spread out around as she was soon treading, she was also waylaying her cousin for that big splash her way when she started into the water.

"Cheater." Regan laughed as she finished stripping down and headed for the water. She let out a very girlish squeal as the water flowed over her then she returned the splash. Dark hair and light. The cousins were a contrast in many ways, and alike in some others. The water was cold but it felt good after that ride. "You're going to have to work on Gillean to allow you to travel with me." She grinned at Caiome. "I don't think he's happy with the idea." And Caiome had time to work her magic on her brother.

"He's never happy with anything," which had her frown but it was the truth. "There is no reason he should keep me from going to Innis Daingneach," so she would get to go for he didn't have a leg to stand on for her not to. She was laughing and laid back to kick up a whole slew of splashing Regan's way. That was until something slid by her arm and she let out a scream. More startled than not. It was a harmless water snake but she didn't know that! She remembered a horror story Morgan told her when young about water moccasins in swarms giving poisonous bites on a swimmer, how they were found bloated up and so on. Shiver.


Date: 06-06-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 74

The trip from Thornston to Swan Lake could be long even when the rift was utilized and especially on a hot day such as this. Daniel's intentions, because he had to have good ones, were to check with the Lord of Swan Lake regarding the well being of the Lady, considering her tumble from the horse. Perhaps discuss any further skirmishes. If there was anything Thornston could do to assist Swan Lake with the summer pressing in on them. Yes. All good intentions. For the shade and cool provided, he had taken to the trees and the narrow path there on his way. A well placed trot to see him along. But he pulled his mount to slow when he heard first the squeal, then the splashing and laughing off in the seclusion of trees. Females. Most definitely. But it was the scream that had him jerk his mount around and start weaving him through until the thick foliage would allow the beast to go no farther. He slipped from he animal, patted his thick neck, and tossed the leather straps over a limb. A duck of head and he continued on foot, following the sound of water and voices to the source. And what a lovely source it was! Daniel had always believed in the luck of those fated for the finer things. Lo and behold, a lucky man could not be witness to anything finer than Caiome Callihan swimming naked with a friend. No, it wasn't proper to watch. But it was also not very smart to pass up an opportunity such as this one when it was presented. Rather than make his presence known immediately, he took up a lean within the cover of trees and just enjoyed the show.

Regan started laughing then got a mouthful of water when all that water came her way. She sputtered and brushed her hair back from her face when Caiome screamed. The snake caught her eye and the Captain grabbed hold of the critter, tossing it to the other side of the pond. Once the poor thing landed, it was gone. If she had known Morgan had scared Caiome with his silly tale, she would have smacked him good for telling it when she saw him again. "It's gone, Caiome. Are you all right?" And why did she have that prickly feeling along her neck? She didn't say anything to Caiome yet, but took a careful look around.

She was catching her breath, nodding the while that she was fine but then she stiffened. The hair on the back of her neck was standing up or so the feeling went. "I think we're being watched." Snake forgotten. Then boldly, "you better leave or I will yell for the guards," shouted. Lo and behold a man tumbled from a low branch of a tree just to the other side and ran off. "I think it was one of the gardeners," maybe she recognized his butt! While Regan looked she got sideswiped with a splash, arm coming around as she turned round and round before letting it go her way. Regan could probably see it now, Caiome lining them up and checking their butts to find the culprit.

At first, Daniel started to push up, make himself known, but then the other spectator dropped from the tree and darted off. He looked from the retreating man to the ladies and smiled, relaxing again. This was better than spending the time with Gillean Callihan. So much better.

Regan turned and watched the man taking off. She laughed and shook her head, then shrugged. "Well, we are very tempting, after ... " Bah, the battle was on and she slapped the water in a way to make a wave head for Caiome. Bet that snake was moving as fast as the man was running away from the pond.

The snake would probably relocate. But there were other snakes in the grass around as the man that ran proved to be. She was laughing and splashing but she still couldn't shake that feeling the one had left. Sound traveled too. "Maybe we should head for that dismantled beaver dam before anyone else comes around." In all seriousness. She was cooled off. They had fun, but linger too long and they might have Gill come and find them naked in the pond. Ewww. She was up, hair plastered down over the curve of her breasts but that didn't hide the hour glass figure or curve of hips and butt as she swam to where she could stand then rush out. She loved teasing her cousin and she'd make it to the basket first. Hopping to get on the pants fast enough as well the shirt which now clung to wet skin before grabbing up Regan's clothes; grinning like a loon too.

As soon as Caiome stepped from the water, long hair clinging to her shapely body, Daniel pushed up. He passed his gaze over Caoime, every step she took, then with a secretive smile turned and plucked his way back to his horse. A most pleasant day's passing to be sure. And what a lovely conversation starter, was it not? "So, Lady Caiome, do tell me how much you enjoy a mid day swim. Have you any favorite swimming holes perhaps?"

She would kill him! Right there. Right on the spot he stood.

What a way to go!

Regan pouted but it was all in fun. "Oh, all right. Wouldn't want your sour puss of a brother coming after us, would we?" She laughed as she followed Caiome out then stood, hands on hips while her cousin snatched up her clothes. "Now do you want me to march buck naked to the Manor?" Wouldn't Gill just keel over right there?

Actually her brother would beat her to killing him if he made such a comment! Caiome would only tease Regan for so long as she then handed her clothes over to her. She still had that awkward feeling of being watched. Hopefully it wasn't any from the Mullen Clan or they might not make it back to the manor! "I know a shortcut from here," nodding in the direction that Daniel was going, not that either were aware he'd been here too.

Chuckling, she took her clothes and pulled them on. The boots were carried as was her hat, once she pulled her hair back in a loose braid. "Lead on, cousin mine. And thank you. That was fun." Fun was always a welcome diversion. Her sword belt was once more around her hips as well. Good thing Daniel was gone, or he might get a taste of steel.

Indeed it was a good thing. He was mounted and backed his horse around and back to the narrow path that lead to Swan Lake.

It wasn't long before they reached the area her brother told of. It was still flooded but the boots would keep her feet from getting wet. She headed straight for what was left of the dam. A few heads lifted and stared at the two for a few moments before they were back to their work and minding their own business. Of course if either ran into any kind of trouble they'd be there to help them. She searched around but so far nothing could be found.

Regan waited until they were near the field to put the boots back on. Wet didn't matter much to her if her feet got wet, did it? And it wasn't salt water. She headed for the dam as well, then after a few minutes, looked up at her cousin. "Not a sign of anything over here, Caiome. Maybe there weren't any, or they fled."

"We should head back then," there were a few extra horses here that they could ride back. Or the men would double up or walk. The horses belonged to them.. so there was no complaint nor questions asked. She was over to mount up with the help of one of their men and waited on Regan to get mounted up. The ride should have them dried off too. The basket was secured to the back of her saddle, empty of any critters. Within a half hour they arrived back at the mansion. She didn't recognize one of the horses in the stable being she rode directly there so she could dismount and fix up her hair now that it was dry. "Looks like we have a visitor," as fingers worked nimbly to braid back her hair.

She hoped Caiome wasn't too disappointed or that she didn't suspect her brother likely had the beasties killed. Regan mounted the horse with no aid, winking at the man who had started forward to help her. The ride back was pleasant but the Captain was glad to see the manor. It was getting close to dinner time and her stomach was letting her know. "So it seems. Do you recognize the horse?" She dismounted and placed her hat back onto her head, though she was sorely tempted to allow Caiome to wear it inside.

"No, but it could be one of our neighbors for the ongoing upheaval with the Mullen Clan. So far there haven't been any outbreaks but everyone is being careful." As they vacated the stables she had them go in through a back way and straight to their rooms to change first. Her brother might not appreciate her in britches looking very much attired like her cousin. The pretty pale pink dress was donned and with the help of her handmaid she looked as earlier today. Only then did she emerge back down to meet Regan below too and find out who owned the mysterious steed in their stables.

Gillean Callihan currently and begrudgingly entertained the Lord of Thornston within his study. Manners and tempers well placed. They kept the conversation painfully professional. Gill heard the door open, recognized his sister's footsteps, his concern for her safety easing somewhat, until he focused yet again on the man opposite him. Not. Good. Gillean stood then came around his desk, offering his hand to Daniel. "I appreciate you coming by, Remmington. If there is anything I can think of that Thornston can do for Swan Lake, I will send a messenger straight away." That would not be happening. Ever. "To keep you from having to spend the evening in a rented room, you should perhaps take to horse. I wouldn't wish for you to be kept from the comforts of your manor further."

When the feminine footsteps times two were heard, Daniel dipped his chin and smiled. He'd have that vision to keep him company until such a time it could be replaced by another. When Gillean stood, so did Daniel, and he accepted his hand. Thornston knew damn good and well the sudden urgency for him to depart. "I am in no particular hurry, Gillean. I, for one, am not so fixed on my creature comforts that I can not do one night without a familiar mattress beneath my back."

Regan hadn't brought gowns with her. She kept to her usual clothing, and that's what she changed into. The maid could see to the wet and dirty clothing and return it the next day. This time she wore a shirt of scarlet tucked into a pair of black and gray striped pants, and the usual boots. The hat was left behind. Instead of braiding her still damp hair, she braided one strand to frame her face, interweaving small feathers in it. She grinned at Caiome as they met up, then headed down the stairs. She was curious who might be here.

Caiome linked arms with Regan as the two headed for her brother's den. Whomever had come to call was within. They were as sunshine bursting through storm clouds as they entered. She had a winsome smile all ready to greet their guest. It stilled as eyes widened. Regan was right in her comment earlier this day. "Lord Thornston," quickly covering up her surprise before shooting a glance to her brother to see how he was fairing.

Another contrast. Caiome the lady, Regan the captain. She looked at Caiome as she spoke then looked at Daniel. Yes, she recognized him from the ball but had no clue who he was. Until now. She smiled at the man, eyes hinting at laughter before she looked at Gillean. He should be livid if he had any idea of the man's intentions. And surely, he did know?

Both men snapped their attention to the door when the ladies entered. Since Daniel was the one addressed, he was the first to speak. "Lady Caiome." He didn't even flicker a look to Gillean before he started over to her, offering over his palm for her to place her hand within it. "My trip has been well worth the time required to travel here...mainly because I've had the opportunity to..." He paused only long enough to smile. "...see you."

Remmington, this day, was not in Thornston and, by God, regardless of mutual affiliations Gillean would be damned before he allowed the man to fondle his sister physically or verbally. It came across as he was attempting both. He too crossed the room to his sister and cousin. "Daniel Remmington, I'm sure you remember our cousin, Captain Regan Callihan." With that diversion, he continued. "Caiome, Lord Thornston was just leaving."

Caiome's link of arm ceased with Regan's as the man Remmington approached. She was tempted to flop Regan's arm about, like they did when kids, and have her hand go in his. But.. she behaved. It was the whole of the afternoon that had her in this girlish mood. Instead, her hand settled in his as she dipped a slight curtsey. He was a lordship after all. Even if her brother didn't care for this one. There were things about Daniel Remmington that drew her curiosity whether healthy or not, whether she liked it or not, whether her brother or Dewar liked it or not. Perhaps it was that dangerous part that intrigued? The Bad Boy syndrome. There was that amused twinkle in green eyes and the slight curl to the edge of her lips with all these thoughts. "I'm pleased your trip was well worth your effort.." he was too subtle for anything else to be realized. He'd have to be far more direct than that and then her brother would probably skewer him on the spot! "So soon you have to go when you barely got here.." almost sounding like it had a tsk in there. Would he kiss her hand, continue to hold it, or let go?

"A pleasure to see you again, your Lordship." Regan inclined her head, slightly, watching with her own amusement as Daniel made a beeline for Caiome, with Gill following on his heels. She didn't need to ask Caiome again how Gillean felt about the man. It was plain to see. She looked at Caiome, her smile growing slightly wider. It seemed her cousin was playing the game as well. This was turning out to be a good visit.

Daniel dipped his head over her hand, but offered it a light squeeze in the end and that was all before he lowered it to slip his touch away. "I dare say your brother and I have nothing more to discuss." A brow cocked up to her, his smile growing before he turned his gaze to Regan. "Captain Callihan." He bowed his shoulders to her, then straightened. "The pleasure is entirely mine, I'm sure. I can't help but stand in awe of the Callihan bloodline. The females are all as beautiful as they are fascinating." He turned, walking those few steps in reverse as he continued to face the ladies while he made his way to the door of that study. "I wish not to over stay my welcome for then I may never receive the invitation to return."

Gillean Callihan forced himself to stay rooted to where he stood. Lack of invitation had not hindered Thornston this day. Why would any other day be different? "Do travel safe, Remmington. We would, none of us, wish for you to fall as prey to any of the roguish bands skirmishing along our borders while upon Swan Lake lands."

When did Daniel Remmington ever wait on a formal invitation here? It would not be forthcoming from her brother. Ever. Although it was said.. never say never or ever.. same difference. She was disappointed although she did her best to hide it. Having Daniel around kept everything.. alive, like the air had sparks in them. She could tell Regan was enjoying this encounter too, short as it was. "Travel safely then, Lord Remmington." Once again there was a slight dip to her step before straightened. "Dinner will be served very soon, I hate sending you out so without at least a meal." Like his last meal before he became prey to the Mullen clan?

Yes, the Captain was and she found Daniel to be as charming as Caiome had said. "Good night, Lord Thornston. Be careful." Oh wait. Caiome had just invited the man to dinner. She looked at Caiome a moment then at Gillean and finally back to Daniel. The whole affair had her curious. If she didn't have business elsewhere, she might have stayed in Kildare just to see how it all played out.

Gillean's jaw tensed, the chiseled lines hardening even more. "He's a grown man, Caiome, My Sweet...he'll live to eat another day." The tone of Gill's comment came across, surprisingly pleasant, considering the fact that he'd rather chew on barbed wire for his meal than dine with Daniel Remmington.

Daniel, however..."Ah, Gillean. You should know I'd never wish to insult your lovely sister by declining such a gracious offer. If you don't think it would be an imposition on your staff, M'Lady, then I would be more than pleased to join the Callihan family..." Daniel looked to Regan, providing a cant of head and a smile, to the Captain. "...for their evening meal."

"Not at all, we already have one guest that rumors have it she eats the rest of her crew under the table," all in good humor but it was more.. she could drink the rest of her crew under the table. She slanted a wink Regan's way to be certain she knew she was teasing. Daniel was right, however, she would be remiss not to invite a guest to their table before they had to leave. It was up to them to accept or decline. She would have to soothe her brother's ruffled feathers later. That was another thing Regan could teach her, how to drink and drink well. In short, "of course I tease but there is plenty of food to feed a few more guests if such happens tonight." One. Two. Who knew. Might have Neville show up or that other man that towered over her that evening. The dinner bell was being rung, so that they knew the staff was ready, all up to them.

Regan inclined her head in return but she wasn't getting into the middle of Gillean and Daniel. She did grin at Caiome however. "Not sure about the eating part." And for Gill's sake, she didn't add the drinking part either. The man looked as if he were about to burst a vein as it was. In spite of his pleasant tone! She looked at Gillean and just about grinned but behaved! And oh, how hard that was.

No one in this room could read minds, and it was a good thing. First, because Gillean would never wish for Caiome to know the current thoughts rampaging through his head. Next, his cousin sure as shit didn't deserve to have such privileged information even if she did care. And lastly, and most importantly, Daniel probably didn't need to be delve into the dark domain to 'know' those thoughts. And no doubt, if Thornston could be sure of them, he would use every single one against Gillean. Gill's only response to the conversation, the affirmation of staying, and the dinner bell was a faint roll of shoulder in a subconscious attempt to shrug away some of the tension. Didn't work. Not one iota.

Daniel really didn't even give a second thought to Gillean Callihan. The invitation for dinner was presented by the lovely Caiome, and it was to her he nodded off his thanks. Arms akimbo, he offered one elbow to Caiome, the other to Regan. "Ladies? Shall we?"

Oh, that brought a smile as one arm was offered to her and to her cousin. A wink given Regan as Daniel Remmington knew how to be charming, courteous and gallant? Well, gallant remained to be proven. "I'm famished," she was really hungry after the long day that included swimming as well the hike there then to the field. Gill sat at the head of the table so she would sit to his right, then Daniel then her cousin, buffer them both from his bad mood. She was sure that mood was worse! It was bad enough her cousin showed up unexpected, open invite from her but not Daniel, but.. Daniel, even Regan couldn't hold a candle to the bad mood Daniel brought on for her brother. Still, she was all smiles for she enjoyed the company and so far there was no reason she should not like Daniel other than her brother saying she should not. Such didn't always work that way and she was going to give him a fair shake. The butler was already out to pour the wine as they got situated and once seated the first course of a fruit and salad would be delivered.

Regan smiled at Daniel's offer, linking her arm through his and giving Caiome a wider smile for the wink. "Thank you, Daniel." Once seated, she studied Gillean again. Her visits were usually unexpected but she only stayed a few days here and there, but Daniel... Gill would be stuck with that one for some time unless Caiome discouraged him. And even then, the Lord of Thornston would likely persist! She decided, with the tension already thick, to keep her conversation as light as possible though of course, if there were questions, she'd answer them.

The conversation wouldn't be coming from the head of the table. At least not instigated from that direction. Gillean settled in to eat, the sooner the meal could be over, the swifter a departure could take place.

Daniel didn't take his seat until after the ladies, much like Gillean, but unlike the Lord of this Manor, he was all smiles and eager to prolong the meal with pleasant conversation. "I see you have men started on your gardens, M'Lady. Soon enough the weather will be warm and your efforts in full bloom. I do enjoy the warmer weather. I have always enjoyed the water, but recently, I've found it much more alluring, I think I shall make it a point to take full advantage of every aspect of it this year. Sailing, fishing ... swimming." He brought his glass up taking a sip while they were all served their first course.


Date: 06-07-12
Poster: Daniel Remmington
Post # 75

"Do you also enjoy riding? Picnics?" She still had not caught on but if he kept it up, she probably would eventually. "I have sketches of how I'd like the garden to turn out as well the front patch of grass," which was bigger than a patch. "A very large fountain, one that a person could wade in." She was seeing it in her mind's eye, any mask usually worn .. gone. Especially when talking on matters that her heart was into. In a lot of ways she was still very innocent even if trying her hardest not to come off as such. Eventually it will catch up to her. Pretenses usually do. "I hope to go sailing with my cousin. Fishing I'm not so good at." And she left it at that. "Do you have a lot of small lakes and ponds on your estate too?" Being it seemed he liked to go swimming. Talking so much she had not even started her meal and so, with enough questions already out there, she settled in with her fruit first.

Regan looked sideways at Daniel, eyes narrowing slightly. She smiled when Caiome spoke, but did not look at Gillean. No, no, no, that would only make her grin and she wanted to be on her best behavior in front of Remmington. If only for Caiome's sake. She couldn't help wonder though, was Gill being his usual overprotective self or was there some other reason for his dislike of the man.

Daniel relaxed back in his chair, his arm extended to the table while his finger stroked along the base of the wineglass stem. "If it involves a chance to indulge in enjoyable company, then I am much in favor of it." For all Daniel's pleasant ways, the appearance of courtly manners and the honest confessions about enjoyable company, oaths and alliances ran deep. Who better to recognize that than Swan Lake's Master? "Thornston can claim a few water holes, M'Lady. But none as magnificent as your lake to be sure." He shifted his attention to look to Regan. "Perhaps though large enough to entertain a captain of the sea for a small time. Do you allow yourself time enough to float about on less than your lovely lady, Captain? Surely even you can enjoy a respite from the demands of life."

Since Gill wasn't joining in, he was soon tapping his empty glass with a fingertip. "Milford..." To which the steward jerked off a nod and hurried forward to refill that wine glass.

Daniel seemed to shift his attention to her pretty cousin and one she felt far more exciting than herself. Something she dreamed of changing. The grass always looked greener from another hill. Since conversation shifted there, she concentrated on finishing up her fruit and salad. When the Steward filled her brother's cup, she indicated that he do the same with hers.

"Perhaps, for a time. I usually spend a good portion of the winter in Kildare and Heathfield since my family would hunt me down if I didn't return for the holidays." She smiled as she motioned in the general direction of the ocean. "There's plenty of cargo to be hauled between the realms, but my crew gets restless and, I admit, so do I. I intend to come back though as I've a promise to keep to Caiome." And she intended to keep it. It might bring a bit of respite to Gillean to have his sister away from Daniel!

Frying pan. Fire. Either way, with Daniel or with Regan, Gillean Callihan would be steaming. "Keep in mind, Cousin." Gillean's glass was raised, and he dipped it toward his female captain cousin before he continued. "...keep in mind you may not be the only one with such a promise." Fine crystal touched against his lips, silencing any further comment.

With the mention of Caiome, Daniel was once more looking in that woman's direction. "Then it seems, M'Lady, when you come to tour Thornston, it may be just the two of us." Caiome was extremely innocent to believe that a man such as Daniel Remmington would go off in search of a different pasture when he was most comfortable right...where...he...was.

She didn't assume anything, she took the moment to eat or have her brother commenting about her food getting cold or spoiled. Ooooo.. tour Thornston. Like that could even happen even if she would like seeing the estate. That was a deadly one to answer as a glance slid to her brother than back. "So it would seem if such the case." Evasive. She was learning evasive! She wondered for a split second, and such would be the test, if he followed upon sea when she left with Regan so he would show up wherever their feet landed them. "What usually occupies your day? Is it full of business like my brother's is?" Yes, she was changing the subject as the main meal of tenderized pork strips was served with mash potatoes and a thick rich gravy. Snap peas on the side with butter.

"Then there'd be another time." She smiled at Gillean then looked at Daniel. No, stared at the man a moment before she reached for her glass. Oh, the things she could say. Still, Caiome had answered well enough. Not enough to discourage the man, of course, but that might take a two by four across the head! She nearly giggled at the thought of Caiome wielding such a weapon. What a sight that would be! Not ladylike, but it might please Gill.

The meal was delicious. Perfectly prepared. Expertly presented. As Caoime spoke, Daniel indulged. When she finished, he responded. Was it not the epitome of pleasant evenings? To make it even more so, and because he was in conversation with Caiome much to her brother's discontent, he passed a look and nod Gillean's way before returning his full attention to the Lady. "You both are busy making grand improvements to Swan Lake, M'Lady. While I've made some changes to Thornston to be sure, I have not needed to devote as much energy to making it my own. There is business, of course. There must be. But I am the master of Thornston at this stage of its development. It is not the master of me. Gillean will eventually be able to enjoy his accomplishments where Swan Lake is concerned. He has you to assist in that." Gillean Callihan was seated at the table but Remmington was in conversation with the man's sister as if Callihan couldn't answer for himself. And while mentioning that sister... "Would that I could claim the same."

Gill didn't even move. Not to eat. Not to drink. Not even to unclench the fist that had knotted on his lap while Daniel spoke to his sister. Not until that last comment. Then he leaned forward, his elbow resting on the table, a finger tapped at his chin while he bored a hole through Thornston's lord skull with his gaze. There it lingered as he spoke to his cousin. "Regan...when do you set sail and to where?"

There were few questions that could have snatched Daniel's gaze from Caiome...but that was one. Brows drawing down, he eyed the male at the end of the table, not saying a word

She could feel the heat rising but yet so exciting! Her brother would strangle her, lock her away in a tower if he ever knew the ideas she entertained where this devil Thornston was concern. She wanted adventure, she wanted excitement, she wanted to become more worldly like her cousin. She had a strong feeling Daniel Remmington could give her them all. Eyes were shifting between the two males as one could cut the tension with a knife. What was so horrid about Daniel Remmington, something hinted at. Was he that evil? A murderer? A thief? A scoundrel? A heretic? She was also starting to wonder if he was really interested in her or just a means to aggravate her brother? If one knew her brother as it seemed Daniel did, he'd know that using her would gain thus. Why she felt all this attention was really only that. But, now, she started to wonder. She didn't need to make any response being the tide changed with the question asked of her cousin. Good thing, she wasn't sure what to say! Wait, there was something. Hell, she nearly forgot for the entangling thoughts, "You do not have any brothers or sisters, Lord Remmington?" She got from calling him Thornston., yet, she still didn't use his given name.

The tension was enough to have Regan on edge now and she wondered if the two men might come to blows over Caiome. She watched Gill from beneath her lashes, lifting her head when he spoke. A moment to finish the bite she was chewing, then she spoke. "I'll stay tonight, then leave here in the afternoon. Once I reach Kildare, I'm heading for the Caribbean.. Most likely Bridgeport first." She smiled slightly and shrugged at having said so much. "Most of my business is conducted from that city." It was large enough to become lost in if necessary.

Bridgeport? For all the internal cursing and frustration at the moment, Gillean just nodded to Regan. So much for entertaining the idea of shipping Caiome off for her well being. No. Not to Bridgeport. "If Caiome can trust the gardeners, perhaps she might like to take the trip up to Kildare with you. I'll come for her in a week's time." Gill sure wasn't going to agree to the Caribbean, as much as he wanted his sister many, many miles from Remmington. "What do you think, Rabbit?"

As soon as Regan confessed her destination, Daniel felt his body release of concern. For one, he knew that Gillean would never agree to Caiome shipping out to Bridgeport. The area was teaming with pirates. Secondly, and because of the firstly, Daniel knew that Gillean couldn't tuck her far enough away while in Kildare to keep Daniel from seeking her out. Since her brother asked the question, he lifted a finger as a sign he would wait with his answer regarding siblings. "What a splendid idea, Caiome. But before you two need to set off for Montrose, perhaps a quick trip North to Thornston? It is but a short distance on horseback, as you know, if you take the rift. I would very much enjoy showing the both of you the lay of the estates and her grounds if you would consider taking refuge within her halls." Okay, perhaps not a short distance on horseback, but surely for two adventurous females, not that far away for a day's excursion.

"I can trust the master gardener." Which she would find the one that had spied on them and have him sent on his way and replaced. She would give the sketches to him with the ultimatum, it be done as such or he would be finding work elsewhere too. Lucky for the one that spied on them, her brother would not know for his punishment would be more than losing his job! She was delighted to go to Kildare with her cousin. The latter had her sliding a glance to her cousin. "If it would not put her out of her way," which would give Regan the chance to have a route already that it would be out of the way. Although here too, she would be with her, not like Caiome was going alone. Perish the thought! Right. Such thoughts sneaked in regardless. She was surprise her brother would let her leave these walls at all with Lord Remmington knowing.

Regan watched with a lift of her brow, gaze moving from Gillean to Daniel and then Caiome. "The Dream won't leave without me." And they still wouldn't be late. "I suppose we could stop." She shrugged as she reached for her glass, "as long as Gillean doesn't mind." She looked at her cousin, almost apologetic. This wasn't quite how he wanted things to work out, was it? She'd leave any protests up to him.

Daniel wasn't looking Gillean's way, he just continued to eat, politely. Such a splendid meal.

Gillean dropped his hand to curl his fingers around the stem of his wineglass. "I wouldn't wish for your voyage to be postponed, Regan." Second time tonight he used her name. That in itself said ALOT! "The two of you travel on to Montrose so that Caiome can visit with your siblings. When we return, perhaps then..." Gillean pointedly nailed Daniel with his gaze. "the two of us might travel north to Thornston, if time allows."

Daniel's chin dipped and he smiled, then he raised his head and redirected his attention over to Gillean. Where it had been while the man spoke and not actually on his food. "I'll see all prepared for your possible arrival then."

"Well then, it's all settled. Possible plans..." which would be left at that. She had a feeling that Daniel Remmington was not going to wait on a possible visit. Slanted glance had her watching him for a few moments as if she could possibly gleam what went on inside his head. She knew her brother was over protective of her and should be considering the times they lived in but there was something more between the two. Something she had not been able to put her finger on yet but now was determined to find out. "Dessert is hot crumble apple pie with ice cream." Who could pass that up?

Regan just nodded her agreement, half smiling. She looked down at her plate and found to her surprise, she had finished her meal. What she wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall with that visit. If she could have, she would have changed her plans but the cargo was needed in Bridgeport. "Sounds wonderful." And a good conclusion to the meal. She wondered though... how the devil did Gillean not have indigestion with all that was going on? It seemed constant!

When Caiome looked his way, Daniel twitched off the faintest wink to her accompanied by a smile. He'd enjoy the dessert offered tonight, but his true desserts would wait until such time he might manage to enjoy another sweet reward.

Gillean nodded, shifting his notice to the door where the dessert would come from. "Indeed, Caiome...possible...plans." Emphasis on possible.

Gillean might do well to find the perfect husband for his sister and marry her off, put an end to his indigestion. Except.. that would not work! Caiome would protest! She'd stow away on her cousin's ship. She dipped her glance away with a nice rose tint to her cheeks. Oh, she knew from the way her brother said 'possible' it meant impossible as in not going to happen. No fly on the wall needed. Saved by the serving of apple pie and a respite from all her thoughts too! She had a few, some went in opposite directions at the same time too. "It smells wonderful," giving a smile to the kitchen maid who set the plate then off to the others before she was gone. Ice cream was already starting to melt where it butt up against the pie and that was where she started.

Poor Caiome, but, in a way, she was having an adventure though she had yet to realize it. Daniel was definitely on the hunt, and Caiome the prize. What she did next was all up to her. Regan lowered her gaze again, to keep anyone from seeing the laughter in her eyes. The Lord of Thornston might find himself surprised by the Lady of Swan Lake, even if her brother came to accept Daniel was going to keep popping up. She felt both Lords would be careful though. A duel and possible death could lead to a whole different kettle of fish. She glanced at Caiome, and wondered if she should sneak her cousin aboard the Dream after all. Gillean would truly hate Regan if she did, but it might cool Daniel's fervor. She glanced at Daniel and mentally shook her head. No, that would only make matters worse!

Daniel nodded in agreement with Caiome's statement about the dessert. "I am ever intrigued with the temptations of Swan Lake. The sweeter...the better." Wisely, or perhaps strategically, he centered his attention on the dessert except when he lifted his eyes to thank the server with a smile.

Gillean Callihan had his spoon half lifted when Daniel stated that. It started to lower but then resumed its previous destination. For his sister's sake, he'd finish this course of the meal and send Daniel...packing.

Who knew with the Lady of Swan Lake. She was not worldly yet, she would not remain naive either. She might use Lord Thornston and throw him over for another after she was done. The worse that could happen was for her to have the affair, so he lost interest but ended up pregnant. Then there probably would be that duel if her brother found out. Key words: found out. She would probably disappear for a while. "Perhaps," skipping right over his comment she knew was to goad her brother. "You would like to see the sketches I've made and the area of the garden, before you leave." Which she knew he would be ushered out quite promptly very soon. See if he was really interested or just pretending, all a pretense to get at her brother.

Regan looked up again when Caiome spoke. The dessert had taken all her attention for a few moments, and she ignored the tensions. Funny, she couldn't remember it being this bad at Montrose when the cousins were there. But then, she had been younger and didn't pay much attention except to stay out of sight. "Caiome is a very talented artist, and her work will create a lovely retreat."

It wasn't Daniel, but Gillean who made the decision. "Let's not detain the man further, Dearest. The hour grows late and he still yet has the journey home. If we journey north, you could bring those drawings..then." Gillean pushed back, replacing his napkin from leg to beside his plate and stood. "Lord Thornston?"

Daniel followed the Lord of the Manor's lead. That was only proper. But as he pushed away, leaning forward to stand, he lingered a moment near Caiome's ear. "Better yet, it may be I could gain an invitation to view the finished masterpiece, in all its actual glory." Said, he straightened, tossing his own napkin to the table. "I very much enjoyed the meal and the company. Thank you." He nodded first to Regan, then to Caiome so she was the one fresh in his mind for the ride home. "Ladies...always a pleasure. I look forward to next we meet."

That had her ear tingle, warmth of words as if something intimate but it was not intimate words! Thankfully or her blush would be so deep her brother might catch on. "I'm sure you will pass this way again," gaining her feet as the meal was done, the dessert done, and time to vacate the premises so the staff could clean up. "Perhaps when I've return from my trip," being she was going to get to go to Kildare and Montrose, "it will be finished." She decided to pass on arguing the point it was not the same to view the sketches at a different location than where the magic would be worked. "I wish you a safe trip home, Lord Remmington." A slight dip of her chin as well a little curtsey that went with it.

Again, it took all Regan had not to say something. She stood and smiled as Daniel made ready to leave, though he spoke in a whisper to Caiome first. "Take care, Daniel. Safe journey." She inclined her head, then linked her arm with Caiome's. The man was either trying to drive Gill mad or he was truly besotted with her lovely cousin. Perhaps it was both. "Are they always like this?" She whispered to her cousin as she watched Gillean escort the man out.

Regan should say something! If there was something she wanted to say. Don't let Gillean nor Daniel stop her! Caiome could tell and would ask her later. "Which one?" Which had light laughter to follow and out of their earshot. "It is quite intriguing to find out. Does he use me to goad my brother? If he does then why? Obviously it is way over the line to do so, without a reason." There were a lot more questions on her mind over the whole deal but she voiced enough of them for now. Her arm linked with her cousins, "shall we go have a glass of sherry and sit out on the porch for a short bit?"

"Both, when they're together. It's like watching two elk bulls butting their antlers together." She laughed then shook her head. "I'm sure there's a reason, but first you should find out how they came to know one another, though I doubt Gillean will tell you. You may be able to convince Daniel with the right words but you'd have to do it without Gillean there." She chuckled and nodded. "I think that's a very good idea, and it will please your brother to think we're not talking about them." Especially Lord Thornston!

"Yes it is, quite amusing too., wouldn't you say?" Maybe why she did her best to keep Lord Thornston around longer than her brother would have it. Oh, she loved her brother, but she was also attracted to two bulls locking horns. Wasn't every day, hell, hadn't up to now, that one could effectively lock horns with her brother. That made Thornston of equal mettle. How could she not be attracted to that? "I have thought of that and know I will have to get Lord Thornston alone, see if he's the same or different without Gillean there. I tried to wheedle some information from him already but he avoided it. I've not given up yet." By this time they were outside, the breeze still warm but refreshing. Glasses of sherry were brought out for them as they took one of the many seats. Neither her brother nor Lord Thornston were in sight. Yet.

"As long as they don't kill one another." She chuckled then added, "and you just have to figure out the right question. It'll come to you." She settled into a chair and accepted the glass of sherry. "Just imagine, in a few weeks you'll have a garden to look at." Or a month or two but it would be delightful. She winked at Caiome for the change in subject. If Gillean did join them, it was best to not be talking about Thornston. And if didn't, well, they would enjoy the quiet for a little while longer.

"I'm tempted to steal myself off with you to this place you do business a lot. What is the name of it again?" With all the other intrigue and undercurrents going on, she'd forgotten the name. "Bridgeport?" sounding very unsure if that was correct. "Tell me about it," no matter what the exact name was.

"Bridgeport. It's a typical port city for the Caribbean but pirates are a bit more cautious there." She went into more detail, telling her how wild it could get when countries were at war, and how pretty the main town was. They would talk until both were sleepy and finally ready for bed.


Date: 06-19-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 76

Trip to Kildare

Montrose looked beautiful this time of spring. Spring getting close to summer days. Long and hot, plenty of flowers as the initial ones had died away leaving others to bloom in their place. Caiome got to stay in her old room, although better memories there as it had been her escape, her refuge from the bad things that were happening back then. Although, at the time she didn't know the half of it. There was a walk she used to take through the woods nearby and she wandered down that lane of past daydreams. Spending time with her cousins was a joy as Alannah and Deirdre both promised to come visit. She even got to see her other sea faring cousins, Morgan and Faelan as well James. She spent time talking with him about the future and some of her plans for Swan Lake. The time spent was pleasant but then she and Regan were soon on their way to Kildare. She had a voucher to spend a certain amount of money and Gillean could be fairly certain it would all be spent on the manor for improvements than on herself. She only got something if it was really needed in spite of his insistence that she buy some things for herself. It was to the Castle Inn they arrived early that morning and procured rooms. They would have the day to explore the commons, and all the shops there. Regan was to sail the next day and before they would head back to the Inn and a nice dinner, she made a request to see her ship.

Regan had enjoyed the extra time spent with her family, though she made sure to send Sam a message that they'd be a few days more. It had been good to see Caiome enjoy herself without her sour puss of a brother along. Kildare was bustling between the talk of the attacks and the building going on. There were more shops each time Regan returned. Soon Kildare would rival Heathfield in size. After a good breakfast, they headed out to the shops. Regan usually didn't care for shopping but with Caiome, it was fun!

Michael was also tagging along though he had enjoyed the trip to Montrose more then he was Kildare. Not that he cared if Caiome shopped. It was just ... boring, especially when he had to carry the packages. He followed along from shop to shop, usually waiting outside. Most packages were sent on to the Inn, but there were a few that just couldn't be trusted to a lad. So, there he was, leaning against a building... waiting.

She was loading him up too. Soon they would hire one of the lads with a pull cart for it was getting to the point where Dewar wouldn't be able to see in front of himself and crash into a lamp post. Oh, there was merriment in Caiome's eyes, "please wait here, Captain Dewar," using his name to differentiate between the two Captains. She would only be a moment as she headed into a leather shop to buy something for her brother. New riding gloves for his were frayed. She'd find a pair that she knew would please, in short, she got a somewhat worn pair so he didn't have to break them in too much. The man provided such, new and all.

Now wasn't this a sight? From across the street, Daniel looked from the guard leaning to the wall outside of the leather shop to the entrance. His smile spread with anticipation. Where one Michael Dewar happened to be, loaded down with packages, there must also be a Lady to whom he was set upon to guard. Well being and the like made for a sure bet as to which Lady that would be shopping within. He shrilled out a whistle, halting the duo who had walked on ahead when Thornston paused and had them looking around. "I shall be about other business for now." He lifted a hand in farewell to which the other two nodded, glancing toward the leather shop, then starting off toward their previous destination. Daniel glanced up and down the busy street, and when the opportunity presented, he trotted across to the other side. "Good day, Captain Dewar." Remmington leaned to the side, as if to look within the shop by way of the window, but the glass only showed his reflection and not those within. "A fine day to be..." His gaze lowered to take in the guard's burden, then lifted back to the man's face. "shopping."

While the Lady Caiome and the sea-fearing Captain were inside, Michael managed to relax somewhat. Even with all those blasted packages. Now, that changed as Daniel approached. Dewar didn't quite stand up from his lean but he watched Thornston approach with a tensing in his shoulders. Perfect. "Or for being a pack horse?" He answered casually then shrugged, a slight smile appearing. "Lady Caiome will be ... delighted that you asked after her, my Lord." Did he tell the man to leave? No, but he did hope Daniel took the hint.

Inside, Regan nudged her cousin, nodding toward the window when Daniel looked in. He might not be able to see them but they could certainly see him. "Look who is here, Caiome. He certainly turns up at the right time." Or maybe the wrong one, but it wouldn't be up to Regan to stop him. If Gillean were here, that would be up to him.

She was going over some other finely made saddles and choosing one as a much bigger present for her brother. She was chatting with the man, haggling him down in the cost and with her smile she was quite capable of doing just that. She had almost lost it when Regan nudged her but the man had committed and couldn't backtrack as she glanced to the window. A smile grew. She could just imagine Dewar's delight. Not. "One might begin to think that he is my bodyguard." Teasing with words edged in laughter. "Shall we go say hello?" Not that she was really asking as she headed for the door, "send the saddle to Swan Lake Estates addressed to Gillean Callihan." Man had his note and nodded to the vacant spot where Caiome had been standing. Stepping out into the heat of the day compared to the cooler leather shop. "Good day Lord Thornston, a fine day to be out shopping."

"Ah, but I didn't ask after the Lady...but from your comment, I take it she is within?" Daniel's arms crossed behind his back, rather amused with Michael's attempt to dismiss him so ... subtly. "But then, since I am here and she is as well...I shall not need for you to deliver that message. I shall see to it myself. Do you need help with those packages, Captain?" And speak of the sunlight and it shall present itself from behind the cloud...or from within the store as the case may be. Packages be damned for the moment. Daniel bowed slightly to the women stepping from the interior. "What a good day, indeed, M'Lady. Hello, Captain Callihan. A delight to see you as well." The Lord of Thornston Manor didn't look back to Captain Dewar. "You've been busy, Ladies. Could I interest you in a short break from your excursions to at least buy you all..." Guard included. "...a drink if not something to eat as well?"

Michael nearly laughed but the truth was, between the heat, the sun and the packages, he was feeling pretty mellow. "I can manage, but thank you." His answer may have gone unheard as the Ladies came out. This time he did straighten, hoping that they could either hire a lad to help or to send the packages back to the inn. He looked at Daniel then back to Caiome to see if she'd accept, and inwardly groaned. Gillean was going to love this.

Regan laughed as she nodded her agreement. It did seem that way. "I suppose we are." She followed Caiome out and smiled at Daniel. "It's good to see you as well, Lord Thornston. Caiome's been doing most of the purchasing,, but we have been on the go." She'd let Caiome accept or decline.

"I would love to," devil take her and he probably will but there were too many curiosities surrounding Daniel Remmington not to take up the opportunity to find out more about this taboo man. She would take his arm if offered and a lad was gotten to relieve Dewar of some of the packages so he could maneuver better. Something she had intended to do but would let them really pile up first. Just because she could! Maybe to get a reaction out of the dutiful man. "I'm rather thirsty and hungry as I'm sure Regan and Captain Dewar are as well, Lord Thornston."

"Well then..." He did offer his arm to her. "Allow me." And then, he offered the other to Regan. "There is a nice tavern just down the way that will serve us nicely."

Well, there was no stopping the force that was Caiome, and as long as there was no real danger, Michael was not about to interfere with what she did. He was glad to get rid of a few of the packages at least and grinned at the lad. There'd be an extra coin in it if he could see to getting those packages and what he had to the Inn after all. Michael couldn't enjoy a meal and watch over them at the same time, right?

Regan was enjoying watching Caiome with Daniel and there was no doubt the man was charming. She glanced at Michael, nearly laughing as he talked to the lad, but then she slipped her arm through Daniel's. "I didn't realize how hungry I am until you mentioned food."

Daniel tsk'ed his tongue. "This way then, Ladies...Captain Dewar." He started them off, managing to guide them through the pockets of shoppers set about their business. Since his arms were, well, full at the present, he stopped outside of The Driftwood Tavern for Michael to open the door. Afterall, the Captain no longer had the excess of packages to tend to, he could at least manage the door.

She might kick Dewar in the shins if he tried stopping her! Although in certain matters it might be worth the kick. Luckily that was not tried at the moment. Her arm curved to Daniel's with a look over to Regan on the opposite side. Perhaps a quick wink was included before the radiant smile turned up to Daniel. She knew little about him and so came the questions. "What brings you to shop this day? Do you own a ship?" Slipping that one right in there. It was a start. She was sure Dewar would manage after having the opportunity to rid himself of the packages. When they stopped, Dewar got a pleasant smile from her.

Caiome just jumped right in there. He stepped up and held the door for the three, and then for an elderly couple before he followed them inside. He knew Daniel wouldn't take Caiome in the least, to anything but the better establishments, so that was no worry. And the smile from Caiome had been ... nice.

Regan smiled at Caiome again, then tipped her head to look up at Daniel. She knew Dewar would be close behind though she did see him holding the door for the elderly couple. And the lady had even patted the Captain's arm. Ah, but there were answers to listen to so her attention went back to Daniel.

Daniel didn't answer Caiome straight away. Instead, he saw them to a table, waved over a serving lass and placed an order for food and beverages to be brought post haste. The table such as Daniel delivered his company to were reserved for the elite of the patrons. Cushioned chairs around the lace covered tables were tucked away in shallow alcoves for semi-privacy. Daniel slipped from the hold of the women and touched a hand behind two of the chairs to
indicate the ladies to sit. "I'm actually not shopping, Lady Caiome." Once the ladies had both claimed their chairs, he moved around to sit in the one on the other side of Caiome. "I'm actually not in town to shop, M'Lady, and no, I do not own a ship. I had some business to tend to and that being done, I have the afternoon to my leisure." And how very opportunistic that his leisure now included Callihan females.

She was barely to her seat and sitting when she noticed the door that would lead to the privies. "Excuse me a moment," all smiles as if covering up the embarrassment of nature's calling and left them for a good seven minutes. When coming back she near collided with the waiter bringing water and other refreshments. The step to the side had her ankle to turn as she caught Danny's arm and hand that kept her from actually going down, but down into her seat instead as the hold was released. She looked duly mortified. "Please forgive my clumsiness." Taking a few breaths to settle she started up with another question to hide her faux pas. "Do you own any businesses in town?" He might feel like he was under fire or perhaps one that wished to know more about him.

It felt good to sit, though the Captain didn't let on. He took a moment to look around, then smiled to himself. Not his usual seating when he came to a place like this. Caiome's return had him standing, and then stepping to the side but she caught herself and sat, so he did the same. Of course, since she started talking, he didn't interrupt to ask the question he wanted to.

"Are you all right, Cai?" Regan asked low enough that Daniel might not here but Caiome might. She thought it funny he had made sure to sit beside her pretty cousin, but only again, because she thought about Gillean's reaction. It truly was a good thing he wasn't here, otherwise he'd probably end up with another headache!

Daniel had started to his feet when Caiome caught his hand in an attempt to thwart that stumble, but once his own tightened around hers and then the contact slipped away, he realized she was fine. He did stand fully though, until she had once more taken her seat. He started to speak as he started to sit. "No businesses either. I am, perhaps, quite boring with my undertakings." The trays of food and drinks were delivered and placed on the table respectively. A momentary touch of brown eyes across the table to the guard beside him with that statement, but it didn't linger there. Ohno! Not when there was far more lovely distractions to be had. Daniel Remmington wasn't the sort of man to shy away from questions. Not when he was so good at diverting them. Answering with all honesty and yet, revealing nothing. "But I must be honest, I did know you would be traveling this way. While I counted on Lady Luck to present this opportunity for our paths to cross, I did tweak her a bit to get her to shift in the right direction." His hand lowered to his leg and his gaze drifted there as well, lingering for a moment before lifting again to circle the table. "Please, enjoy the fare. It is the finest I will admit."

Her cheeks were slightly flushed and her heart pounding for a few moments "I think it has been the heat," her words low in reassuring Regan. Taking a moment to take a drink of water seemed to ease all. Her smile was somewhat coy back upon Daniel. "Ah, but I find that hard to believe, that you could a boring man when so much mystery surrounds you." Words were true so let him try to deny them! "How were you able to learn of our journey here?" So, that was one of the mysteries. She would not plague him with questions as she started in on something to eat. Perhaps she needed both food and drink.

Eyes met briefly with that comment and Michael bit back a snort of laughter. There were a few who would disagree with his Lordship. He focused his attention on the food to keep himself out of trouble.

"I do believe it was mentioned when we were at Swan Lake." Regan didn't have to behave if she didn't want to, but she was. For now.

Daniel glanced toward Regan, nodding slowly, before reaching forward to collect a glass of wine for himself. "You see, Lady Callihan? I am not so mysterious afterall. You did speak of traveling to Montrose and then Kildare. And while I didn't know exactly when...that is where I depended upon the generosity of our lovely lady luck." Daniel would never deny the truth. In truth, there were times where he didn't deny untruths. It was all a matter of semantics. Thornston shifted slightly to the side, tucking away secrets best left as secrets into his pant pocket for now. He brought up his glass, but before he drank, he tilted it to the table at large. "To Lady Luck. May she always smile upon us all."

She frowned slightly with a nod. So it was mentioned. She had forgotten. A slight smirk replaced the frown with her following quip. "Then I must be wrong and you must be right in being boring, Lord Thornston." He had said it! She knew different on instinct alone. Perhaps there was a method to her madness. "You ought to pick up gambling but then that would not be a boring occupation." He'd get her profile then as she concentrated on eating some of the fruit. Ah, but there was a twinkle in her eyes and that curve to the edges of her lips. With his toast, she took up a glass of wine to lift then take a following sip. "To lady luck."

Yes, everyone eat. Keep Michael from becoming nauseated. Even though the conversation wasn't that bad, and he knew better about the boring, and don't think he had missed the action of tucking an item into his pocket. Michael looked up at Daniel for a long moment, then went back to his meal though he did pause to lift his glass. "And may she frown upon our enemies."

Regan was listening to it all with a great deal of interest. After all, she needed something to smile about when she was out to sea. In spite of what most thought, there were times when tedium set in, and it took everything to keep from turning around and finding something more exciting. She just lifted her glass to the toasts, and forgetting herself, downed a good portion. She really needed to get back to the less gentile part of her life!

For a while, the conversation abated, and they ate and drank in relative silence, allowing the hum and drone of the other patrons to fill the void. From over the rim of his glass, Daniel watched Caiome. Whether Michael saw him or not. Whether Dewar minded or not. Would that have changed had Gillean been seated at this table as well? Probably...or not. He didn't eat, but he did drink, until that glass was slowly emptied and then it was placed on the table. "My but I regret having to depart such company as this but I am expected to rejoin some acquaintances before the night falls." He pushed up to stand. "I hope you will excuse my need to take my leave. I look forward to next we can meet." He offered a smile to Regan, a nod for Dewar and when he looked to the Lady Callihan, a cant of head and a faint wink accompanied his smile. "Thank you all for joining me. Do enjoy."

She could feel eyes on her as her lifted to meet those of brown and hold. An unguarded moment of curiosity before dipping away was she finished her fruit. Something light this hot day. She rose from her seat as he made to leave. "I wish you a pleasant day, what remains of it Lord Thornston. Thank you for the company and meal." Ever sounding the hostess, the Lady of Swan Lake. She couldn't help but smile for the wink coming unexpected. He had made for an interesting interlude this day and she had Regan's ship to look forward to next.

Dewar had nothing to say about looking. And he wasn't about to lose his temper over it. As far as he was concerned, Daniel had been a perfect gentleman. He stood in a show of respect and inclined his head slightly. "I'll add my thanks to Lady Caiome's, my Lord. Good day to you." He waited for the ladies to sit again before he'd take his seat, using that opportunity to watch the direction Daniel headed.

Regan smiled as she stood and nodded at Daniel. "It's always a pleasure to see you, Lord Thornston." And Regan meant it. He added a bit of intrigue to their day, especially Caiome's. She glanced at her cousin and smiled. Caiome did enjoy his company and attention as well, even if Gillean did not.


Date: 06-22-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 77


It was a beautiful morning that had Caiome up early, watching the sun rise and anticipating what this day would bring. It had been a bold act on her part but she'd been driven by insanity; at least that is what she kept telling herself. She must be insane to have passed such a note to one like Daniel Remmington. In the very least he was a lady's man. As per her impressions from things said and the way women flocked to this handsome man. Or was it because he was rich? Hmmm. That probably would be a good reason for some but his looks would get him there regardless. Then again, was it his looks? It was far more for certainly there were lot of very good looking men in the lands and yet, this man possessed something more. Something undefinable yet undeniable. Her thoughts had her distracted watching the sky turn from the haze of twilight to sunlight. She shook it off but it would not undo the butterfly knot in her stomach.

She dressed efficiently in a riding habit but she took extra care with her hair, then again, when did she not? Or was it a different perfume this morning she had her handmaid get her from her collection? The cook had the picnic basket packed as usual, nothing more than the usual or something might be said that got back to her brother and if he heard there was enough food packed for two, she could be sure he'd be out riding on her tail. She bade her good morning to him and assured him she'd be back the usual time. Sketch book in hand, full of drawings that gave her ideas for the manor, she set out for that meadow. Their lands were patrolled and so she would be safe. The meadow was on no one's lands other than the seat of the Crown whom owned all the main roadways and byways. It was here she settled upon a thick blanket under a spreading oak tree for the shade offered and set to her sketching. The skirt of the riding habit was of a deep maroon offset in a pastel pink braiding. The top in compliment over a frilly, very feminine, blouse.

A perfect day. For a perfect meeting. Daniel Remmington hadn't allowed this possible meeting to completely distract him, but it had, several times over the days until it arrived, managed to slip into the forefront and tugged at his attention span. With the key to the gate in his pocket, by way of a note that had been slipped to him, he arrived at the 'place' at the 'time' to spend time with the 'she'. His horse was content to wait in the shade. Good thing, since the only other alternative was in the heat of the sun. Since...wait it would. He walked upon the scene and his steps actually paused, but not on purpose. He stood there, watching her, until he realized what he was doing... then continued forward. "Ah, well...M'Lady. Let it not be said that either of us are not true to our word. Even if that the written word."

There was only one thing that could distract her from her fascination with this man, and that was drawing. It would not last as his words penetrated that concentration and had her drop the pad, more like allowing it to slip from her lap to the blanket as she stood. "M'lord Thornston," quietly but certainly he was close enough to hear her perfectly. She was quickly gathering her wits about her too for they would be needed, every last one of them and more. Her smile would cover up the tint of rose to her cheeks as she offered her hand. "I am pleased you were able to make the outing," sounding formal as that was a safer place to be at the moment.

A safer place to be at this moment, was not here at all. He continued toward her, his gaze dipping briefly to the sketch pad she left behind as she stood, but for the most part, his attention remained on her features. "I would never wish to be considered a fool, M'Lady. And to miss this opportunity? Would be most foolish." He collected her hand in his and this time, without the looming presence of her brother or the lingering notice of her guard, he dipped his head and touched his lips to the top of it, his eyes never leaving her face. As he lowered it away, he didn't release that hold yet. "Would it be improper of me to wish to see more of what you keep hidden so well?" Eyes dipped to her lips, then traveled with appreciation down her chin and in a none too subtle notice, swept along the neckline of her dress before lifting back to her gaze. In truth, he was just making note of what he found most pleasing. She was a lovely, tempting, available female. Available...If...her brother could be taken from the picture. He was an interested, admiring, available male. "Your drawings?"

Perhaps there was no safe place around this man. Least for a woman. Least for her she was realizing. How could just a look, just a touch, make her heart pound in her throat? She was going to be lucky if she could hold a conversation when his nearness made her mind go blank to only sensations. She felt as if her words came from afar to her ears, "I cannot see you ever being a fool," truth was there for she could not. "My drawings," barely audible in the breath finally released. Eyes captivated by his, luring her, did she even lean his way like metal moving towards a magnet? Caiome! Get hold of yourself. The thought was followed by a blink. Wits! Where are you? She was desperately trying to find some, one even. "Of course, do join me. I have a small respite packed as well. There is wine." Which she favored. "It is warm, is it not?" Actually comfortable, not too hot and definitely no where near chilly. She was trying to ignore the heat he caused that was no longer contained just to her cheeks but snaking through her body. She was not too successful but managed to get them over to where her sketch pad laid. She had hoped to learn more about him and felt now it was going to take all her concentration not to fall for this man.

He motioned for her to sit, reaching out to take her arm in order to assist her in lowering, then started to join her. "Wine is good, wine is always good." He leaned as he settled, so that the front of his shoulder touched against the back of hers while he waited for her to open her pad again and show him her designs. "Warm? If the lady says so. But I find the day to be perfect...and with good reason." With her attention on gathering up her sketches, he allowed a moment of free visual exploration, along her neck, her shoulder, down her arm. No brother. No guard. No...such a useless word.

"Yes it is, I'm pleased you enjoy wine as well," she settled with his aid, not that she normally needed it but her legs felt weak. Something she would need to reflect upon later. She busied herself with getting the sketches. If he really looked he would find she had an outstanding talent in that area, far better than mediocre. Once he had them in hand, she was allowing him free rein to look them over, she pulled over the basket which was now in reach and brought out the bottle. There was only one glass but who needed the glass? She took her time twisting the cork with the curling screw to work it out. It was not going to be an easy one as it was proving or she was just too distracted.

For the most part, he was looking over her sketches. For the majorities part, he was completely watching her. A smile touched at his eyes and he lowered the sketch pad. "Here, M'Lady, allow me." He reached to her, closing his hand over the top of hers on the bottle and then he circled his other arm around her, over the corkscrew. Together they worked the stopper from the neck. "Is that jasmine, M'Lady? I'm not the best at identifying perfumes." But then, maybe he was! This close, he tilted his head to draw in a breath near her ear. "Smells good."

She was relieved for his help for otherwise there wasn't going to be much of the cork left and that would mean cork in the wine which was unpleasant. It was a good thing he was guiding her hand for all she could think about, more like her brain melted away, was his closeness. Why? How could he have such an effect? She knew he was a ladies' man yet was allowing herself to be drawn to his charm. "Yes," came in a whisper with him this close as eyes turned up to meet his, probably a mistake right there. All her defenses were down. He was managing that chill up her spine as his breath fanned her ear. She had never had a man this close to her, like this.

When she looked up to him, he smiled down to her, catching and holding her gaze. Definite firsts. He could read them all around her. From the way she held her body, leaning against him, to the hushed release of one word. "Shall we toast then? To secret rendezvous?" With her hand still in his, they placed the corkscrew aside, then he wrapped both their arms around her midsection as his other hand guided the rim of bottle toward her lips.

They were going to share their spit! The thought excited her rather than being grossed out like she would had it been say Neville or Hastings, whose first name she could not even remember. "Shall there be more?" More a question but not one really needing to be answered, "then I shall toast to such secrets," her smile warmed as she leaned back against him while he guided the bottle. She was stiff for a few seconds but soon relaxed into it. Eyes closed as she took that first drink then opened as the bottle was moved away that he may partake. It felt like some kind of ritual, something primal to it and luring.

"Shall there be more." He repeated but not as a question, as a comment of possibilities. With her hand still wrapped around the bottle, he brought the drink to his lips next, tipping the bottom up so he could drink where she had. They weren't exactly sharing spit, but sharing the touch of lips, where otherwise that may not be permitted. "Lady Callihan." He didn't need to speak with much more than a whisper, this close, her up against him. "Did you invite me here to share your wine? To see your sketches? Surely...I could do both at either Thornston or Swan Lakes."

Why had she invited him here? Dangerous liaisons? It was far more simple than that. "Alone, call me Caiome, if I may call you Daniel?" Dan or Danny, if he had a preference. "I wanted to learn more about you without all the undercurrents there seems to be not only with my brother but even the Captain of the Guard. Are they earned or is it my brother is over protective and the Captain picks up the same as his regard?" Those two together had been a confusing trip but seemed to have settled in their own niche, if one could call it that. "Why does my brother dislike you so, it is dislike?" Even the question drew her brows slightly together.

"You may call me Daniel, anytime, Caiome." Although, he would continue in public to address her properly. It was only fitting considering she was a female, and society could be harsh on the fairer gender. "As far as those undercurrents...surely you know that your bother is overly protective of you. And the Captain of the Guard has a duty to make sure I respect your honor...and keep my distance. Especially since he is in the employ of that overly protective sibling of yours." The forefinger of his hand over her midsection stroked along the top of her knuckles. A subtle, soothing caress. "As far as his dislike, I am an eligible bachelor, Caiome." He liked the way her name felt over his lips. He liked it alot. He would like to taste it, in combination with the skin of her neck. "I'm an eligible bachelor and his sister is a most attractive, dangerously alluring female. And he has sworn to protect her...he has sworn to" There was more, Thornston debated the sharing of it. A mental battle of whys and why nots. "He is also not Ultan...and I'm not Bradford. We are both of stronger, more determined ways. And while that isn't a threat. It is ... acknowledged. There is a need for caution in that, My Dear. And we will each of us react to that differently. Your brother...with hostile dislike. Myself..with flippant mockery. That still will not keep us both from reacting as we deem necessary where you are concerned. Shall I be honest? I am deeply intrigued with you, Caiome Callihan. Attracted and interested, greatly. Your brother, without doubt, recognizes that...and will respond as a brother should. It will not deter me, Caiome."

"Daniel," she liked the name just as it was without being shortened. She liked the way it sounded too. It had a smile to emerge, soft and supple. She too would not dare to use his given name in public and so that was one little secret there. Eyes held the while she nodded, certainly her brother was overprotective. "I love him dearly but I know that to be true," which her shoulders slightly slumped with the soft sigh, "I fear he would have me grow an old woman, always the lady of the manor unless he married, barren and alone in my heart of a certain kind of love he can never give me." Which went without saying but made a point here in the conversation. "No, as much as it may seem he was like father, he is not. It was questioned but those that count," including herself, "didn't believe he was. It was why James interceded with the king to ask he give Swan Lake Estates to my brother and I, which the king readily did." Her thoughts had wandered there but Daniel might notice she was becoming comfortable with him, near him. It was his next words that drew her back and the heat to rise to her cheeks in a taletell reaction. "As I am intrigued with you, Daniel. It is why I invited you here today, to get to know you without the stiffness of priority and so guarded you dare breathe wrong around me." A hand lifted to rest against his cheek. "I have to admit I admire that you stand up to him yet not in disrespect." If that hit on how she saw it. The two challenged each other.

"Do I seem guarded around your brother?" He shook his head, a poorly suppressed laugh following. "Your brother and I are neither of us guarded, except if it is to be mindful of your feelings, Caiome. And I am in a position to know that your brother is more unlike your father than any man could be unlike their sires. He has a mean streak though. But as do we all."

"You both bristle around each other or perhaps it is more my brother that bristles. I wish you two were friends for selfish reasons.." here her smile brightened a moment. "His mean streak has served him well that he survived our father." This she knew but she also knew he didn't show that side of himself to her. "I wish we could go riding, walking around the lake, spending time that is allowed." Wistful but it only confirmed that he intrigued her enough to actually want to spend time around him. "You have traveled a lot, what is it like, the world outside of the only one I know?"

"You do? Then I shall do all in my power to make it so, Caiome." And let her brother and that guard of hers deal with .... THAT! "The world is so diverse, M'Lady. There is no describing it, there is only experiencing it. Perhaps, if your brother ever loosens the reins he has so tightly on you, someone might be able to show you. And get to experience you...experiencing something new."

"That I should savor and certainly it is a gauntlet tossed at your feet. A challenge of like none before." Would he be her champion? Time would tell and she looked forward to watching this challenge unfold. "I would love to see the world and it is possible, unless he changes his mind, I am to sail with my cousin upon her return. It may not be for a month or more." She wasn't sure how long Regan would be out to sea, "else I would have stowed away on her ship." That bit of a wicked smile teased the corners of her lips and that dare the devil himself glint sparked in green eyes. "I can maybe hear some of your favored tales?" She knew he not tell her of lot of things but certainly he could tell innocent enough adventures he experienced. "Do you regret taking over your father's inheritance?" Did it limit him by keeping him mostly here?

Rather than answer, to anything, he smiled to her, a shifting of his gaze to her lips as she spoke then back up to her eyes. "Do you? Regret taking over an inheritance?"

"I was not the one to take it over," it had been placed in her brother's hands, her brother had the wealth. "I am but a poor lass that lives under the good fortune of her brother." And would for the rest of her life if need be. That was a need be she hoped would not happen. "Perhaps you only intrigue me for your wealth?" The slight lift of her chin a challenging gesture for him to believe such. It was not in her. She found herself, however, distracted to his lips, the way they curved. The challenge even falling short from hers in that distraction.


Date: 06-22-12
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 78

"Forsooth!" He actually laughed when she dared to admit that she might only be giving him the time of day for his wealth. He didn't respond more for a little while, still chuckling under his breath while he shook his head with disbelief. "Madame, perhaps I am only intrigued because I am a gallant greatly drawn to a damsel in distress. And Gillean Callihan? dear a great cause for distress. And no, not any more do I regret my father's passing and my need to manage my inheritance. After all, had I the liberty to set about without any restrictions, I may not be here, and what a great loss that would be with such pleasant ... be had." Speaking of diversions. "More wine?"

She had to laugh with him for it was all very funny and she was letting down all her masks she felt the need to wear more often than not. Only a few could see through them and it was very possible that Daniel Remmington had entered those ranks. "Wine is very fine today," she lifted the bottle to ease against his lips this time first then she would drink after him where his lips had touched. She had noticed. Noticing how his lips curved over the rim of the bottle too.

After he drank, he brought the bottle over to her, his lips parting in a subconscious mimic of her lips to the rim. "I suppose I should ask...if I should apologize now...or after?"

Which hers folded gently as she took a drink, her hand coming up to rest over his before it was lowered away and the mouthful swallowed. "What would you be apologizing for," but somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew, or suspected was more like it as focus dropped to his lips again.

It was the touch of her gaze to his lips, and the taste of the wine on his, and knowing, anticipating, the taste of the same on hers that had him leaning toward her. "Overstepping the lines of propriety." He said, just before his lips touched against hers. She knew. She was a female. Even a female who had never been kissed, never been with a man, never wanted to do either, realized when a man...wanted to. His kiss was surprisingly gently, as tender and light as that summer breeze. Raising his mouth from hers, he gazed into her eyes. "Then again, I don't think I can apologize for something I've wanted for some time now, and have finally been able to obtain." Reclaiming her lips, he reached beyond them to set the bottle aside, and with the pressure of his kiss, eased her back to the blanket beneath them.

"Some lines.." but her words stilled as her breath stilled. She had wanted him to kiss her. There was something in a kiss and his was surprisingly gentle. This man was full of surprises of a kind that only intrigued her more. If he wanted to still her words, he was doing a good job of it, this was her first. She hoped he could not tell that part for it was embarrassing. Something instinctive at least saved her grace in her lips moved with his before parted. Her eyes had closed and she was sure her heart had stopped for the dragged in needed breath that followed. A good thing for as she was about to say something about it ending, it was beginning again. She found she was easy to maneuver as her hand curled up around his neck and her lips betraying her in the way they responded to his. She was drinking him in.

He braced himself on his forearm, his fingers caressing her hair while he tasted, while he explored her lips with his mouth, with his tongue. He smiled against their kiss, his lips moving against hers as he spoke, but wasn't willing to give up the feel of that connection. "This is not.." another peck of a kiss, to the center of her lips. A press to the side. "proper." A press to the left corner. "You know." He scraped his teeth against her bottom lip and drew it in for a shallow suckle before releasing it. "Proper be damned." He titled more toward her, his chest covering the side of hers, her breast pressing up against him while his other hand closed around and captured her far shoulder, rolling her just enough to him to fully enjoy her kiss.

"No.." but she didn't seem to care one bit about proper at the moment. She was enjoying her first kiss. Enjoying it enough to forget all else except him. The enticement was too great, too delicious to worry on propriety. Her whole life had been restricted but in this moment her heart was set free from its imprisonment. She was following his lead, learning how to graze her teeth over his bottom lip, her fingers playing in his hair like a symphony in the making. She was well into his kiss, pressed against him as surely as her lips. Tongue played with his in such sinful delight, thunder in her ears. This was more like heaven than hell.

Daniel didn't particularly like that word No to begin with, but when it slipped out between their lips, he paused. His kiss stilled, and he allowed her actions to speak louder than that word, no matter the reason she used it. Caiome responded to him with such abandon, she held nothing back from the tangle of tongues and slide of mouths against one another. That No had nothing to do with stopping, and all to do with not stopping. Unlike Caiome, Daniel had not completely lost himself to her. This was a kiss. As sultry, as tempting, as inviting as it was a kiss. And while the palm of his hand stroked over the curve of her shoulder, tightening in a squeeze on her upper would remain a kiss. No matter how secluded they may be, or may think they were, this was Caiome Callihan. No man with more than half a brain could allow their defenses down...when her brother or that guard of hers could make an appearance. For a moment more he enjoyed the soft, wine-tainted sweetness of her mouth then pushed up on his forearm, smiling down to her. He didn't say anything, just allowed his gaze to pass over her features. As if he set her face to his memory, the arch of her brow, the way her eyes tilted at the corners, every single lash, the line of her nose, the pinkened blush of stimulation over her cheeks. Everything.

Of course she didn't want him to stop so when he did, it confused her. This was her first kiss, expertly done, so yes, she was lost in it. She would learn and get over it too. If there was any getting over to be needed. As far as the kiss going further, that was the furthest think from her thoughts. Such would probably scare her at this point for she was one to think ahead and knew well were such actions could leave her, unwed and pregnant. Gillean would be out for blood even if she was part to blame. So, she was enjoying the kiss without restraints of where it could lead. Eyes were closed for a few seconds more after the kiss was done. Opening slowly to meet his. There was a glow to her features that had not been there and certainly he could claim the reason for it. The soft rosy hue to her cheeks that touched upon her neck, the fullness of her lips, the dreamy look to her eyes illuminated with an ethereal green haze. "I am not that experienced," soft words trailing off once she found her voice, thinking that was the reason he stopped. But, the way he was looking at her didn't support that notion. She found herself studying him as he studied her in like fashion. "I now understand why the women look at you the way they do." Perhaps teasing or perhaps more of a revelation. "Especially if you have kissed them." Not saying he had but more how she felt he kissed.

Brows lifted briefly with her words, a twitch at the corners of his lips. She just left him speechless, as if her kiss wasn't enough to accomplish that. His thumb caressed against the fabric of her top, although he could feel the heat of her skin beneath it. "Dear Caiome." He began, the touch of his notice stroked again over the fullness of her lips. "Will you be 'looking at me' now, Caiome? Now...that we have kissed?" His hand lifted from the feather-light massage on her arm, and he cupped her face, the pad of his thumb tracing her bottom lip in a gentle pass, his gaze following that motion.

"Although forbidden, I have been looking at you..." and here her hand lifted to cradle over his cheek, "only more now. Although I must remain discreet around certain individuals." Which really went without saying but made a point. At first she had not but the more he'd been around her and the more intrigued she became, had her notice upon him to only learn more. Today, she learned what his kiss was like. Her bottom lip moved with his touch, still supple from his kiss.

Daniel chucked, a deep, soft sound, with her need for discretion. "Some are not as easily thrown and being discreet may not be enough, Caiome. I can keep a secret, My Dear. Can you?" He edged down alongside her, his legs stretched beside the length of hers and he propped his head on his uplifted hand while he continued to smile over to her. "Tell me a secret that you have successfully kept."

"This secret I can keep." She didn't see why not especially when it meant it being stopped. She eyed him speculatively, "you do not think I can keep a secret? That I'll rush home and tell my brother all about this morning's adventure." For certainly it was an adventure in a way. "I have not had to keep any secrets up to now so there is the challenge that I can." Sneaking in wounded forest creatures and not letting her father know, she felt didn't qualify for what he implied.

With his hand resting along her face, his fore and middle finger lifted, catching the lobe of her ear between the extended lengths with a slight tug. "I didn't say you can't. And I care not one way or the other, Caiome, whether Gillean Callihan knows that I am infatuated with his lovely sister. The man is no imbecile. He realizes it. I have no doubt in my mind that he suspects I will take advantage of moments such as this to be close to you...such as this. Shame for him, though, that he doesn't realize just how cunning his sister provide such a 'moment' as this. So tell him or don't tell him. I wouldn't change a minute of this day with you, especially the kiss."

Eyes closed for a moment at the touch in a way to savor and memorize it for when they were parted. "I am sure he knows, why he has the Captain near me when he cannot be and even there I think it annoys him to have one he trusts even if the Captain has no interest in that way." Or if he did, he managed better than others to hide it. They were friends, this she realized and he was only doing his duty to her brother. "I see no reason to tell him at this point." Pausing a moment for a breath, "I wish to continue seeing you when we can in secret until it needs no longer to be a secret." Or if things changed unforeseen such as him not being the man she sees before her and all had been a ruse, in his words.

Daniel was loathe to end this moment, but with the both of them lounging as they were, the play of sunbeams over Caiome's features, the way she looked at him -- hell, the way she looked period! -- it was probably best he make a minor tweak or two to their positioning. Such as it was, how easy would it be to just roll to her again and resume where they had left off? He pushed up from that horizontal comfort to sit and offered his hand to her to assist her to do the same. "If you wish it kept secret, then secret it will be, M'Lady Caiome." A faint wink followed that slightly more formal use of her name to indicate his intentions, at least, in public. "You have influence over your brother, Caiome. Convince him to come to Thornston. I would wish to have the both of you..." Well, her mostly, but to have Gillean out maneuvered always felt good. Always. For reasons Caiome did not and may never need to know. "..out so I could show you what I've started on my lands."

She didn't wish the moment to end but there, someplace, in the back of her mind she knew if anyone came upon them as they were, hell would pale in comparison to the fury of her brother. That fury would be mostly directed at Daniel. Certain then that bridge to cross between them would be enormous. Her hair was becoming undone too, no longer pinned back but falling loosely about her shoulder. She moved up with the helping guide of his hand and took in a settling breath. Such was released into a beguiling smile his way. "Only for as long as needed." Which if their relationship grew, eventually it would not be kept a secret. But, that was jumping ahead. "M'lord Daniel." Adding that in reflection to his formality upon her. "I would need a good reason to convince him. So going to see your improvements, and how would I know about this. Unless you sent us a letter of invitation and from there I could have my footing to convince him. Perhaps a hint to intrigue.." a hand lifting to dust away some of the debris clinging to his shoulder.

"The invitation has already been offered." He brought up a knee, draping his arm over it as he watched her swat and clean. "When you went to Montrose and Kildare. But I will surely see it to ink as well, Caiome. Whatever it takes."

"In writing he will not be able to ignore it." That would be what it would take and a reminder as Gill would conveniently forget and then be wondering why she bringing it up when he already made it clear for her to steer away from this man. This man that intrigued her more than any other she had met. "What have you started on your lands?" Who knew, her brother might go just to see and her convincing would be far easier.

He shrugged with a smile to her. "Anything that I might come up with in order to get you there." Which wasn't entirely true, he had started the division of lands between the serfs and progress continued. He had mentioned it to them but to see it in action, all the more impressive. He twisted slightly and brought around her etching pad. "Shall I pen it this very moment? On a page of your pad?" Now wouldn't that go over well with the oppressive sibling?

"You have a death wish?" Laughing as she flipped through some of the pages. The drawing paper was different from parchment, and larger to start. Her brother had an eye for finer details having it become a red flag. "Now that would have me in a pickle of an explanation." Giving a dramatic sigh, "then our secret will no longer be a secret." The sounds of a rider could be heard in the distance as she gained her feet instantly, peering through the trees and foliage that surrounded the edge of this meadow that rolled down into a nice size pond. Luckily the rider was upon the road and just passing through. It also made her realize the time and she would be an hour late in getting back. That wasn't so much the problem as she could easily lose track of time while sketching, more it would be if her brother came to make sure she was all right. "The day passes into midday and I should be back post haste even if I want to stay." The draw of green eyes came back upon him and lingered there, the regret in her own without her aware her usual defenses were down.

With the sound of rider and Caiome's sudden scramble to her feet, Daniel shifted to look in the direction of the possible arrival although he didn't bother to come to his feet...yet. When the horse continued on and Caiome spoke, he rearranged and rose, slipping his hand beneath one of hers and bringing the top of it to his lips. His gaze remained on her face, and while he touched his mouth to her hand, he smiled. A death wish...hmmm. "Allow me to make myself clear again, Caiome." He lowered her hand and offered her a bow of head and shoulders as he took a step back. "There is much I will dare where you are concerned."

"Time may prove your words, Daniel," such sounding the challenge but it was a real one for her situation. Her smile winsome for the light kiss placed upon her hand. "Shall we meet again in three days hence," then she could tell him on the matter of the invitation. She gathered up the picnic basket, putting the empty wine bottle within. She had not touched the food but then she didn't always. This she would attach to the saddle of her horse along with the sketch pad.

Daniel would not be a gentleman if he didn't help her, and he did, folding the blanket and affixing the items to her saddle. He aided her to mount, and looked up to her at that lofty position. "Three days, M'Lady. I shall count the very hours." A dip of head and he patted the neck of her mount. "Safe travels home, Caiome."

"As shall I m'lord," her smile lifting as she sat upon the saddle gazing down at him. Perhaps memorizing his features before she turned the stallion and had him into canter. From there she would lead him into a gallop to make time and distance quickly back to Swan Lake Estates and her brother.


Date: 06-25-12
Poster: Ultan Callihan
Post # 79

100 Rue Delambre
Paris, France

The home that had been rented for one Ultan Callihan was not as magnificent at the manor at Montrose. It was however, comfortable, with luxurious furnishings and suited the exiled nobleman and his purposes for now. In spite of the setbacks he had suffered, Ultan had no intentions of letting his plans lie fallow. While he dare not return to Kildare or the other so-called sister realms, he could work outside the scenes now that he was settled in his new home.

He sat at his desk before a window in his bedroom on the upper story of the palais, a sheaf of papers before him. A servant had just left the room, allowing Gregore to enter. Ultan turned to look at the man, one arm over the back of his chair. Himes had found the means to reverse the spell that had trapped him in the body of an old man though it was not an immediate change. He was looking younger then he had been in Kildare. A few more months and he'd be himself again. He had already pledged his loyalty to Ultan and though Ultan didn't truly trust him, he accepted that Gregore would be with him until the end.

"The Italian is here, my Lord." Gregore said as he approached the desk.

Ultan shrugged. "Did you have the servants show him to his room?"

"I did myself."

Ultan looked at Gregore and smiled. "I take it you made sure he understood he would see me at dinner and not before." When the man nodded, Ultan chuckled. "I think the guise of you being my manservant needs to end, Gregore. You and I have been together a long time. So, you are now my nephew. No more my Lord or bowing to the guests that come here." He could tell the man was pleased. "I've read over the letters we received from .... old friends. My son and daughter are becoming something of a fixture in Kildare society. One man approached Gillean only to find him quite .... distant. I will tell him to avoid any confrontation with my son but to keep an eye on him. Caiome seems to be talented at giving her brother cause for worry. My ... brother... " Ultan's lip curled in disdain as he continued. "Is stronger and acts in James' place when that one goes to Heathfield. The rest of Ronan's brood are unimportant." He made a motion of his hand as if to dismiss them. "Now, go and see to your clothing, pick one of the other bedrooms for your own, and I will see you at dinner. You will join us, not serve." He waved Gregore away and turned back to his desk. The stack of papers was moved to the side and he pulled a clean sheet from inside a drawer of the desk. Dipping a freshly cut quill into a bottle of ink, Ultan began to write.

My dearest son,

I am certain you will be surprised to hear from me after all these months. It has taken me time to settle into my new life. I traveled to London immediately after my exile from Kildare but the British are tedious bores and so I moved on to Venice. You would find the intrigue of the court there amusing I'm certain, but they served no purpose and I moved on, finally coming to settle in Paris. It is the perfect place for plots and plans, with no questions asked and money moving about freely. I have met several of the King of France's advisors and have gained their offer of aid for my endeavors. Of course, they are not to be named.

I have not forgotten you or my darling Caiome and I understand you are both doing well. Indeed, more than well. A title and an estate? How pleased I am for you. It stands to reason that you will move up in the estimation of the King and his twin. Have I not trained you for great things? You are proving that I did not waste my time or effort. I expect much from you, Gillean and trust you have not forgotten your lessons.

I must go now and entertain some people for the evening. Tiresome but necessary and the ladies here are a delight. I expect to hear from you, my obedient son, and wish to hear all that you and your sister are doing.


Utlan sat back after sprinkling sand over the wet ink. He looked out over the small square before the house then finally folded the letter up and placed a drop of wax to seal it. He pressed his ring into the soft wax, knowing Gillean would recognize the insignia immediately. Ringing a bell, he waited for a servant to appear.

"Take this and post it, yourself. I want it going out today, do you understand?" He spoke in French, and the servant nodded, bowing after he took the letter. "And sent Musette up to me. I have some time to spare before preparing for dinner." He smiled as he turned back to the window, steepling his fingers in front of his face. He had time ... all the time he needed.


Date: 06-25-12
Poster: Gillean Callihan
Post # 80

Letter Received

The doors to Gillean's study were closed. Rare though it was most knew when those double doors were sealed, the man beyond should not be disturbed. Odd that the Lord of Swan Lake looked to be doing nothing at all. He was seated at the large, mahogany desk. The surface was cleared of everything except one envelope, which had been placed directly in the middle, in front of where the master of the household sat. His hands rested on either side but he didn't touch it, just stared down at the insignia pressed into the blood tainted white wax. The Alliance. And the additional olive leaf just above the highest head of dog made it all to obvious who this was actually from. Ultan's adoptive picket had passed some five years ago, which lifted his father to the highest member of their Tri-Affliction. Gillean had already received a directive from the Diethelm regarding his father. To open this, would start all the gears into motion.

Michael had been gone most of the day, having ridden out to the borders of the estate and spoken to the patrols that had been on duty. It had been quiet but that didn't mean they would decrease the number or frequency of the patrol. He hadn't gone to the barracks or seen to his stomach but went directly to the manor. Scratching at his chin with the thumb of his right hand, he stood before the door of Gillean's study. The servant near him watched nervously, knowing the Lord of the manor did not wish to be disturbed. After a moment, Michael knocked. Gillean wanted to hear the reports when he returned and Michael would at least make an attempt to speak to him.

The interruption was almost a reprieve and the sound caused the man behind the desk to jump. He had been too deep in his thoughts. "Yes?" He called, his hands flattened over the envelope, blanketing one over the other.

"It's Dewar, my Lord. I just returned from seeing to the grounds." He looked at the servant with a lift of a brow. Something didn't seem right. Not that he could tell from the tone of a single word but .... he gave a slight shake of his head to wave that thought away. Gillean probably had a lot on his mind.

"Come in, Dewar." Gill didn't move, and when the door opened and the guard stepped in, he nodded to the man. "Shut it behind you."

Michael did as Gillean asked, making sure the door was closed after he checked that the servant was scurrying off to his duties. He turned back to look at Gillean. He glanced around, didn't see Caiome so there was no problem there. "Is everything all right, Lord Callihan?" Yes, he was concerned. What affected Swan Lake, affected him.

His thumb of that bottom hand stroked over the seal, the pad caressing over the design. "Will you sit?"

Now he was certain something was troubling the other man. "Of course, my Lord." He nodded and sat in one of the chairs placed before Gillean's desk. Michael didn't relax, but sat straight with his hands resting on his legs. A slight frown appeared as he waited for Gillean to speak. His eyes dropped briefly to the envelope then lifted again.

Gillean drew in a breath and as he released it, he tapped that same thumb on the same unbroken seal. "Ever heard of Bathos, Dewar?" This man was his captain of the guard. He had served with loyal devotion to Gillean and Caiome. If he could not be trusted, he would be executed. Still looking across the desk, Gillean leaned to the side and opened his bottom draw without glancing down. From there he withdrew the Sharma wrapped in crimson silk. He lay the bundle on the wood next to the envelope and layer by layer peeled away the silk until the weapon was exposed. The blade slid beneath the seal and popped through the white wax and then Gillean placed it with deference to the cloth.

He watched as Gillean withdrew the bundle, then the weapon before he answered. Now he understood the link between Gillean and Daniel. "Aye, I have." Eyes lifting from the envelope, he looked at Gillean again. "And it applies here?" He didn't give away more just waited.

Gillean looked off into the distance beyond Michael, his gaze unfocused, then he brought up his hand and pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes, lids closing while he took a deep breath. "This from Ultan." Not from his father. His eyes opened and that dark gaze was focused once more, and this time settled on Michael. If the man had heard of Bathos, he knew more about The Alliance than most. But then, a man of Michael's standing would probably have to be at least privy to the possibility of secret societies that helped keep the peace, so to speak. "Do you know how it works? is demanded?" That asked, he dropped his gaze to the script within the letter, reading...waiting for a reply.

"When one oversteps their bounds, there is a punishment that will follow." He understood Gillean's question now. Why such a letter would cause this reaction. "Betrayal." The last word was stated. Ultan was a traitor to their ideals.

Gillean nodded with slight distraction, his jaw setting firm with the contents of that missive. Silence extended until the rustle of the letter being folded again broke that lack of sound. The paper fluttered to the desk and Gillean's elbow found support on the wood surface too. He leaned his temple to his fist, looking out toward the window. "He's in France." Slowly his head moved, his fist shifting under his chin when he looked back to Michael. Yes, the grinding of gears had started, soon they would be well oiled and moving smoothly. Ultan Callihan's days were numbered. And more than likely that number would end in a three.

"That's a good distance, Gillean." He dropped the my Lord for now. If Gillean didn't like it, he would tell the Captain. "This just arrived today? " He paused and added. "Is he expecting to return to Kildare?" Surely he wasn't that foolish.

Gillean stood, not even noticing that Michael used his given name. He eased the letter into his hold and moved from behind the desk, handing it over to Michael to read before he crossed the distance to the window that had his attention before. He nudged the heavy curtain aside, scanning the landscape. Caiome was an hour late returning from her 'personal time' spent sketching in that book of hers. Not that she didn't lose track of time when she was so immersed in what she enjoyed. Still, with all that transpired these past weeks, months, the Lord of Swan Lakes was even more on edge where his sister was concerned. And now ... Ultan. "Sometimes just as much damage can be accomplished from afar." Looking to the right and then scanning to the left produced no sign of the Lady of Swan Lake. "Ultan is not without his resources, Dewar."

"No, I would imagine not. He was said to have his own fortune and we do know that there are those here who had backed him and likely would again, or anyone he put forward." Michael watched Gillean as he stared out the window. "You have my aid however you need, my Lord." He didn't bother adding that he would help Gillean carry out that death sentence if necessary. Orders were orders after all. "What will you do now?" One thing at a time. Dewar didn't know that Gillean was concerned for his sister. But he doubted he'd tell her of the letter in any case.

"There are ... others ..." One final sweep of the landscape before Gillean turned back around to look at Michael. "Who have never backed him. But he has been spared until I either produce a son...or adopt one." Was that the reason he was not actively seeking a wife? To sire an heir would line his father up for immediate execution. Gillean the executioner. His son present to complete the Bathos. "What I will do now is wait, and watch, and be wary. You shall as well. In this way you will aid me... and Montrose, and essentially, Kildare. I have a letter that needs to be written and delivered and it needs to go today. But Caiome has yet to return from her excursion so I dare not leave. Will you see it delivered?"

Ultan's son, and one other who would help him, even execute Ultan if Gillean could not. Michael nodded to the first. He was used to watching, being wary. It had been how he survived during the witch's reign. "Of course, my Lord. You don't even need to ask." He had read over the letter received and it made him cold inside. It was demanding without seeming to be, somehow threatening. And he wondered how such could be answered.

The correspondence that Gillean would be entrusting to Michael would not be submitted to his father. "Within this Tri-Affliction, one of the initial delivery points is the alchemist in Kildare." From there, an intricately woven hand off system kept any from knowing too much since the ones set to deliver, were not Pickets, and did not realize exactly what their tasks truly entailed. Michael may be one of the few ever in the history of the Alliance that possessed some insight into the weight of that which he was sent to accomplish. "Herman one else, Dewar. Into his hands alone." Gillean nodded, as if by that motion all was set, and sure, and sealed. Having said that, the Lord of Swan lake returned to his desk and, locating the necessary items, spread them out on the unmarred wood surface to write.

It was likely to Michael's benefit that Gillean did not ask how he came to know about the Alliance. It's secrets were not to be shared but apparently someone else had trusted Michael with them. And the Captain was not one to give up secrets. He nodded at the instructions, and leaned back in the chair for the first time since he had sat. Not relaxed completely though -- that was not in his nature.

Silence for the most part dominated. The scritch-scritch of quill to parchment was the only sound and that faint. Sand was added to the ink and then shifted away, the missive folded. The tip of white wax was held over the candle's flame and then smeared to the junction of the fold. The Sharma pricked flesh, the drop of blood added, and the ring was produced, pressing the insignia into the soft wax. Gillean stared at the letter for a moment...and then a little longer...then he pushed back his chair and stood, leaning forward he slipped the paper across the desktop with his fingertips toward Michael, his gaze never leaving the folded parchment. "And thus the end begins." Slowly his eyes lifted over to the Captain of his Guard and offered the man a nod ever so subtle, but there.

Michael stood when Gillean did, his eyes dropping to the paper. He had watched the entire process of sealing, from the melting of the wax until the ring was pressed into the warm wax. He looked at Gillean as he lifted the envelope and tucked it away into the tunic he wore. "I'll report to you on my return, my Lord." Nothing else needed to be said though he saluted Gillean with a touch of his fist over his heart. Then the Captain turned and left the Lord of Swan Lake to his thoughts.


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