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Clan of the Bear

Date:  06-02-09
Poster:  Kaliska
Post # 1

Linden Tree

For as long as Patwin had been in Heathfield, he found himself at times seeking out the forests, standing within them, and looking into the depths as if he could see his home.  There.  His brothers had adapted well to these strange lands.  The women seemed to be making the most of their experience.  But no matter how much Patwin tried, there was a hole within him where something that once burned had smoldered and now was but a smoking ember.  Tonight was such a night.  Deep in the wooded area he stood, his head tilted back, a prayer to Father Sky and Mother Earth whispered upon his lips, no more substantial than the breeze which touched upon the newly formed leaves.  His arms were at his sides, yet not touching where they hung,  his palms upward in supplication.

Kali was out walking as well but not from any longing that she had hidden from the others.  She knew in time they would be able to return to their homeland if they so desired.  She wasn't certain if the Twins would wish to, but she wanted to see her family again.  Tonight however, her thoughts were on finding a certain plant that only bloomed at night.
   She was silent as she made her way through the ancient forest, smiling at how she could almost imagine being home.  Almost.  Pausing at the edge of a small clearing, she saw someone standing there.  Uncertain if she should flee or continue on, she tipped her head, recognizing Patwin.  Not wishing to disturb him, she turned to make her way along the path, startling a rabbit that ran toward the very still brave.

Perhaps it was a good thing that Patwin wasn't aware of any of Kuwan's rabbit pies being patted out or he may not have been here either!  "Perhaps I can help you then.  Since...I've been disturbed."  He smiled down to her, tightening his fingers slightly around hers.  Kali could not even begin to know the times she had disturbed him.  She need but walk across the way and his attention diverted.  To rest on her.  To watch her.  When the wind caught  up and carried the smell of her hair, of her skin, he found it difficult to continue with his thoughts, with his current actions, and he had to stop and draw in his resolve to begin again at what he was doing or attempting to think on.  "What is this hard to find plant you seek, Tepeki?"  Patwin did not show his emotions openly but his nicknames for Kali might at times lead the others to believe the sister of their fallen comrade was far dearer to this particular brave.

"It is called a linden tree.  I was told they grow here and bloom at night.  The flowers are fragrant and if they are the same as the trees at home, I may be able to use them freshen our clothes."  She paused then laughed.  "The clothes of myself and Kuwan that is.  I'm not certain you and the Twins would care to smell like flowers."  She was smiling at the nickname as well.  It warmed her to hear him call her that.   Sister Moon was starting to rise, and soon all would be awash in her silvery light but  now she studied his face as best she could in the shadowy night.  "Does something trouble you, Patwin?  Or is it that you only needed some time to yourself?"

Patwin tried not to doubt the Great Spirit's wisdom but the course of their path had been altered, and things could have been so different..."My only perplexing thoughts with you near are that we will be unable to track down your tree."  The hard lines of his face softened as he smiled down to her.  "On the way in, I passed the fragrance of a flower and didn't even pause to think it shouldn't be at this hour of night.  Come, Kali, let's see if we can retrace my footsteps."  Patwin could probably retrace the footsteps of the last century of men that traversed these forests and Kali would know it.  Still, it pleased him to act less than the great Patwin at times.    Especially in her presence.

Now she was certain he was avoiding answering but the men of their tribe were taught to keep such emotions in and she would respect that.   Her smile was bright for him and she nodded.  "Yes, let's do that.  I am glad that you were here tonight. I would have been looking for hours again."  Though her voice would hold the truth that it was more then the flower that made her glad for his presence.  He distracted her at times too, when he stalked like a mountain lion across their camp or laughed when the Twins began to argue, or when she caught him watching her.   It was rare they were alone like this and she planned to enjoy the time together.

"I just might make it hours still, Kali." He tugged at her hand as he stood straddling a fallen tree to help her over.  "It is not often I have you to myself.  And...I rather like it."

She smiled again, her cheeks growing warm. Thankful for the darkness, she used that tug to help her stand on the tree. She balanced there a moment as they talked.   "We could always say we were lost."  Though that would be hard for anyone to believe since it was Patwin she was with.  "I am pleased you do like it, Patwin.  I do too."
   A breath taken with the confession.  Now she was certain she was blushing.

Patwin laughed, shaking his head in agreement that such a statement of being lost would be a waste of breath.  "But of course you do, Kali." He started, easing her down from that height by holding her one hand and easing his other beneath her elbow.  "You know I will help you find your tree."  Once she was on the soft cushion of mossy earth again, he didn't release her immediately.  He looked down to search her familiar features, some so like her brother it could tear at his heart, some so Kali it tore at his soul.  He sucked in a silent but deep breath.  "This way, Little One." And he slid his fingers from her elbow off her lower arm, dropping his hand away to start in the direction he remembered smelling those blooms.

In those moments, she felt as if her heart were pounding so hard he had to hear it like distant drums.   Whenever he was this close, she wondered how she managed to be coherent.  There was so much said in her eyes and yet when he started to move away, she didn't frown.  Instead,
she smiled to herself.  "Not just because you're going to help me, Patwin.  I like your company."  Yes, she said it and briefly though of how her brother might have reacted to her being so ...  bold.  It nearly made her giggle as she followed.

She enjoyed his ... company.  And she felt sharing that with him was bold?  Her brother would probably laugh that she thought he would be upset with so mild a confession that it would make her almost giggle!  He paused in his steps, looking down the side of his arm to the female beside him, small in stature but  not in presence.  "Even if I don't smell sweet of Linden tree?"

Yes, bold!  Though perhaps not as much as she wanted to be.  She nearly squeaked in surprise when he stopped but met his gaze without looking away.  The way he looked at her sometimes made her insides feel like mush and this was one of those times.  "Yes, even if you don't smell sweet.  I like the way you smell.  Clean, and of the forest."  Not like some they had passed on their journey here.  For a moment she forgot all that as the light from the rising moon touched him with pale light.

"I don't know about clean."  He smiled, his eyes narrowing in the process, fine lines touching at the corners from exposure to the sun.  "But the forest?  That's easy enough to accomplish."  And since she was so close, he shot his hand out and caught hold of her lower arm, pulling her to him as he pitched to the side.  The earth was ancient and layers upon layers of centuries had softened the surface with old leaves, mushrooms, moss, moist dirt.  They tumbled to it, and Patwin wrapped a long, muscular leg around Kali's strong but lean ones, tucking her in close as he rolled with her beneath him, on top of him, beneath him where he pinned her there to her back within the rustled up scent of woods and wild.  He smiled down to her, bracing his body weight so not to crush her but still holding her down with it.  His long hair draped over both shoulders, the few braided strands heavier and dangling closer to his face.

He was full of surprises tonight and this time she did squeak in surprise.  Shadows and moon light mixed with their tumble and rolling and she laughed when they finally came to a stop, dark eyes wide as she looked up at him.  She was more than a little breathless as she did."Now we both smell of the forest."  And it was a good scent, one that she loved.  Her hair had been worn
  loose tonight and it some covered her face while the rest fanned over the floor beneath her.  Surely now he heard her heart.  And Kali? She itched to touch those strands of hair and finally tangled one braid around a slender finger.

Hear it? He could feel her heart against his chest which for this man, where this woman was concerned, was stimulating.  He dipped his head to her, his hair stroking against the exposed flesh of her neck and shoulder as he drew in a deep breath near the back of her neck, close to her ear.  Perhaps on purpose, perhaps by sheer luck, he lost himself for a brief moment in the smell of the woods upon her, his face nestled in the softness of that thickness of ebony silk.  "Yes." Was all he said at first,
  knowing he should release her, but finding it difficult to roll from the feel of her beneath him.  He swallowed, smiled down to her again, then gave way to what should be and not what could be.  He eased his weight from her by coming to his knee, holding a hand down to her in order to help her up.  "It will confuse our prey, the flower will never know we are coming for it."

The feel of his hair tickling her skin, the heat of his breath, his nearness was delicious and it cause a shiver to move though her.  Her eyes fluttered closed as she allowed herself to enjoy the nearness of him.  As his weight eased from her, she allowed the softest of sighs to escape  and then opened her eyes.  Fingers once more curled through his as she allowed him to help her up.  "Indeed it will, even if the strongest wind comes sweeping down from the mountains."  Laughing, she stood on tiptoe to remove a dried leaf from his hair.  "Are you also trying to hide from it?"

He didn't realize he held his breath when she reached for him until her hand lowered away.  She was so easy to laugh, so easy to please.  The intensity of his feelings for her could smother such a light hearted spirit.   "The flower, Kali?"  He reached over to her to smooth a dirt smudge from her upper arm.

He might be surprised to find that the flame of her own feelings burned as bright.  The touch of his fingers even sent a shiver through her and she smiled even more brightly if that were possible.  "Yes, the flower. "  She sniffed the air, catching the faintest hint of a scent.  "I think we're very close."  Not really wanting to find it too soon but alas, it seemed the hunt would end far too soon.

Too close if Patwin allowed himself to be honest.   Or then, not close enough if he dared to hope.  Did he even care that the passive breeze carried the fragrance to them, reminding them what their quest had been?  "It is through that patch of mountain laurel, Kali. Just on the other side."  A swipe of hand pressed his hair behind his back and he subdued the passions of a brave to that of a friend.  "Holler if it gives you any trouble, Little One and I'll ..."  White teeth shown bright in the moonlight,  " get help."

She gave a toss of her head before reaching over to pinch his side.  With a soft laugh, Kali turned and rounded the mountain laurel.  The white flowers were bright against the shadows and she smiled.   Those would do quite nicely.  She set to plucking the fragrant blooms, occasionally glancing in the direction where she knew he was waiting.  The basket would be filled quickly and they could walk back to camp together.  Alone for a little longer.

He laughed, twitching to the side as he swatted at her hand.  He leaned just enough to watch her disappear beyond the large bushes then waited.  Without a doubt, there was more than one thing on the other side of those hearty plants that would do ... quite nicely.  But like the blooms, timing had to be perfect.


Date: 06-06-09
Poster: Patwin
Post # 2


Indecision.  It gripped the stomach like a vice, twisting and wringing the choices to the point of physical discomfort.  Two nights had passed since they had sought out the night blooming flower together.  Two nights ... and tonight was like the one past, Patwin lingered outside of Kaliska and Kuwan's abode, pacing before the door to stop and fight the demons within him.  Those very demons that demanded action either to go forward or to retreat.  A look to the star dotted heavens gave him no further answers.  Father Sky remained hushed, as if He left the decision up to Patwin alone.  The tip of his boot dug into the earth and Patwin lifted his hand, rapping lightly on the wood which surrounded the door of the modest hut.  "Kaliska? Do you remain awake?"  So the knock was barely audible, so was his voice, which made the lack of immediate reply seem to be the very incentive he needed not to remain to face his original decision to act.  A nod of acceptance and he turned as if to leave. 

She was still awake, though Kuwan was not.  Hearing Patwin's very quiet knock, she stood from the beading she had been working on and moved to the door, opening it to peek out.  She had been unable to sleep since that night, but she knew why.  It had opened the old wound and now it needed to heal again.  "Patwin?  Is something wrong?"  She didn't know the fire behind her caused her face to be in shadow, but surely he could hear her concern. 

He stopped in his step, not turning immediately to face her.  "No. There is nothing ... wrong."  Then he pivoted to look to her.  "Were you sleeping?  Is Kuwan sleeping?  Can you spare me a few moments of your time to share your company? "  It would seem the previous questions were of no importance to him at all, just that he would have her join him outside. 

"No, I wasn't sleeping, but Kuwan is, yes, and of course you can have however long you need." She ducked inside to grab a light wrap, woven by her own hand, and stepped outside. While she was still dressed as she had been earlier in the day, her hair was free of braiding and decoration, allowed to flow freely. She wrapped the fur around herself and closed the door quietly, turning dark eyes toward him.  The waning moon was still bright enough to cover them both in silver light, showing her features clearly now that she was outside.

Features he knew well, with or without the assistance of the moon.  He touched her gently on the back of the arm to move them further from the building so they wouldn't wake Kuwan.  No doubt the woman heard all, even in her sleep. In the silence around them, dried leaves crunched beneath their steps.  Kaliska had always managed to take his breath,  but tonight, with her hair loosed and the moon gold over her skin, there was almost an unearthly aura about her.  He turned to look directly to her, slipping his hand away from that touch he had stolen while they walked.  He was at a loss for words, he could only, at the moment, search the familiar features of the woman who had always, somehow without her knowing, brought him great peace. 

She enjoyed the silence of the night, watching the way the moon shone above them, the shadowy form of a rabbit running across the path, and, most of all, Patwin's company.  When he turned to look at her, she stopped as well, and watched his face, a hint of a smile showing.  She had never found any of the Braves to be at a loss for words, except with the death of her brother.   "Are you certain everything is all right, Patwin?" Perhaps he was homesick.  She had been but it was finally easing. 

Patwin dipped his head, smiling with a nod, and glanced up to her from that bowed position.  "I wish to thank you for coming."  He shifted where he stood, bringing his hand up to scratch at the corner of his eyebrow.  "Having you here has made the journey and the stay more like ... home." 

She smiled, a touch of rose coloring her cheeks though it would not be seen in the dark.  She modestly lowered her lashes for just a moment.  "I am pleased that it has for you, Patwin.  Being here has not been easy for any of us.  To know the stay has not been as hard is good to hear." She looked at him again, a question in her eyes.  "Has this been hard for you?"

Hard? Patwin had many things to consider with Kaliska's question.  He was doing the will of the Spirits, of the elders, and yet, he had been reluctant, perhaps angry.  He was adjusting.  Living the way of the Clan in the forests surrounding the house of the father of the twins had helped, but it was still not home.  "No harder than it has for all of us.  You and Kuwan have adjusted well.  It is not as easy for myself and the twins."  Not easy.  Of the three of them Matoskah was adjusting best.  He was curious, quick to question.  Patwin himself had adjusted in some ways, refused to in others.  He would be gone when the three years were up. 

"We adjust because we must."  She smiled as she spoke, dark eyes holding the light of the moon.  "My sister and I came because our Spirits Guides told us we must.  We are here to do as you said, to make this a home while we too, learn the ways of the white men.  Time brings changes both here and at home."

Patwin nodded, lifting his eyes to the moon.  "I will walk you back to your tent now.  I have kept you long enough."  He still could not speak to her of what he had intended and would let the moment slip by.

Kaliska watched him a moment before touching her hand to his arm.  "There is more you wish to say, Patwin.  I am not tired. Will you not tell me?"

Patwin was a warrior, ready to face death to save his brothers, his Clan, yet he had not been able to say the words he had been wanting to say.   "This trip is made bearable not only because of my brothers, Kuwan, and because of you. To have been separated, to not see you, for all that time, would have been a greater torture to me then being sent here." 

For a moment, Kaliska didn't dare breath.  She studied him before answering. "I would be lying if I said you were not part of the reason I came.  I did not want to be unable to see you, be part of what was happening to you.  The twins are like my brothers, but you ... "  She trailed off. "Here, so far from home, I want to be with you."

"This far from home, Kaliska...but what of our return?  If you would be with me now, what of my return?"   

"I would return with you."  It was stated simply but with a firmness that left no doubt. "Surely the spirits would not demand otherwise.  And, if they did, I would have to defy them."  She shook her head, her expression firm. "I do not believe they would ask that of me."  She bit at her lower lip as a thought occurred to her. "Unless you would not want me to go with you." 

Patwin...laughed.  Relief. Amusement. Whatever.  He laughed, and with his hold on her arm, he pulled the small woman to him, wrapping his arms around her.  His chin touched down on the top of her head and he smiled while he spoke. "If you would dare to defy the Great Spirits, Kaliska, then I am no man to deny you accompany me."  He leaned back, using the crook of his forefinger to lift her chin so that she would once more meet his gaze.  The warmth of her eyes allowed him this moment to return home.  Kaliska was home to him.  That which his heart yearned for.  "I have, since I was a  young brave not even allowed to do more than watch the horses graze, always envisioned one certain female beside me. was upon a horse, riding with me." He chuckled, a broad shoulder lifting in a shrug.  "I was young then...the visions have changed greatly over the years.  But, they always did center mainly around the one sister of my Bear brother.  And though he knew it, and teased me without mercy, she was still pleasantly spared the knowledge of a young brave's infatuation." 

She leaned into him, her eyes closing until he had her look up at him.  Her heart swelled with his words, and she laughed softly. "And did you never notice how I would follow you when I was small, how I was always in your way until my training began and I was no longer able to do so as much?  And my brother never said a word about your feelings toward me. I think he wished not to influence me."  She sighed softly, the feeling of being lost gone.  "Or you."

"Speculate not on his desire not to influence me."  The corners of his eyes narrowing into the lines which spoke of years in the weather.  "For he never ceased to speak of you.  To keep you ever in my thoughts, Kaliska, as if you were not there often as it were."  Patwin stiffened slightly, his guise of warrior would never be the same with Kaliska, but still, there it was.  "It is good I sought you out tonight."  As if she hadn't called him back and had him speak.  Otherwise, he would have escorted her back without either of them knowing. 

"Yes, it is."  She leaned her head against his chest, listening to the beat of his heart.  "We could have gone on for the entire time of our exile in the dark, never knowing how the other felt."  She tipped her head back, dark eyes sparkling.  "And that would have been a terrible thing, would it not?"   They could talk of the past another time.  The future lay before them now -- one that would have them returning to the Clan together.


Date: 07-14-09
Poster: Yaskitchi McDonough
Post # 3


It was dusk as Yas made his way back to the encampment. He wasn't surprised to find he was the first to arrive. His twin was likely still hunting and Patwin could be doing the same or was with Kali. He had gotten a few wild ducks to give them a variety. Though he was among those who favored Kuwan's rabbit pies, he didn't expect her to make them all the time. To be honest, he wasn't sure she'd be here tonight. It was good that she was making friends, but he still felt somewhat uncertain about it. Since the camp was empty, he started to pluck the birds. It might be considered women's work but he didn't mind. After all, they needed to eat. He was dressed for the hot weather, with no shirt, and a plain loin cloth. He was barefoot, his hair braided with two feathers to show his status. Strips of rawhide were tied around his biceps. A breeze cooled his heated skin as he worked, and there were clouds forming. It was possible it would rain tonight, definitely by morning.

Kuwan had gotten back from the Clearview estate, with Eion's words still playing upon her thoughts, about two hours earlier then Yas. She made the rabbit pies which he might catch a scent of, covered over and kept near the low burning fire. There was also another scent he might recognize as the breeze changed, a sweet treat of blackberry tarts. Similar to the pies but smaller and loaded with the baked wild berries. Being no one had been around when she first arrived, she set to making those as a treat for when the others finally arrive. After an hour still no one and so she had set out to wash in the small lake not far from their camp. Though she had gone swimming earlier, it had been a brief one and the long walk had her needing a bath more than a swim. Concessa had given her nice smelling soap to use which she also washed her hair with. Something of a light floral blended with vanilla. She decided she liked how she smelled, her hair loose and damp as she made it back to the camp. Seeing Yas there her smile grew for it had been hard to catch him alone. She learned long ago not to sneak up on them when she nearly got killed the one time. She was quick to duck into her wigwam to retrieve one of the tarts before coming back out and advancing upon Yas as he plucked the duck, her arms angled back to where her hands hid behind her. "You had a good hunting night." She and Kali, if she got back in time, would be cooking the birds this night.

Those scents made his stomach growl as he considered snitching one when he was finished. He looked up from his work, sniffing the air then worked a bit harder as he tried to preserve the feathers, knowing there was always some use for them, even if they sold them. Another scent warned him of Kuwan's approach, and he looked up to watch her, a slight smile appearing. The way women smelled here was probably one of the few things he liked. "Yes, I did. Game is always plentiful here." Which was how the three braves could keep the taverns and inns supplied though he wondered if Feather would do it again. "You smell good." He paused and studied her a moment, the smile growing wider. "What are you hiding?"

"I am hiding a treat for you." Which by the statement he would be the first to get one of the sweet tarts. "I have made rabbit pies if you are hungry," which most likely he was after hours of hunting. If he indicated that he was, she would wait on him as was their way. Though she teased him with the tart, bringing it around and under his nose before twirling away on the ball of her foot. She knew, or felt, he would not be able to lunge for plucking the duck presently. She was use to teasing him and Mat, so it came naturally.

"Ah, you make my stomach rumble." He growled but it was in a good natured way. "And yes, I am hungry, especially since I've been smelling the pies since I got here. You have been here long?" He put the duck aside for the moment so he could see to cleaning his hands.

She was back over with one of the pies and the tart set into a wide wooden bowl which she came to kneel near his side in offering it to him. Though many customs were adhered to, many were not, such of her speaking her mind when she wanted or was concern. Unless they said for her not to continue. "The few nights ago in the tavern, you left so early but it was the stiffness of your shoulders that has me asking what had been wrong?" This didn't mean she was good at asking such questions but she was concerned something was going on she was not aware of that had him leaving then Mat.

He picked up the pie, pausing before he took a bite. Dark blue eyes shifted away from her then back as if he was considering his answer. Yas had never been one to worry about traditions or customs and wouldn't now. He looked back and placed the pie down. He'd not eat while they spoke. "I left because to see you so friendly with the white man made me jealous. It ... was best I left."

Which had her kneeling there blinking. She had wondered if the young girl who dressed as a boy had upset him like she seemed to upset others. Or that it had been boring after being out hunting. Her lips parted to say something but no words were forthcoming so closed them again. She was totally taken by surprise as she could also feel the heat rising to her cheeks next, that she probably was interpreting this wrong as the first notion. That would be worse. "I was to make friends. He is not the only one but his brothers and sisters, even his grandmother. He does not look upon me as Patwin looks upon Kali." She was with no one but was striking out, like Eion mentioned, meet others no matter where she went. Stayed here or went back home. She needed more time on those words so went to something else she needed to know. "Are you and Mat staying here now that the time is up, or going back home? Do you know for sure if Patwin and Kali are?" Patwin would speak to him if he were, because Yas was the head.

"Friends are a good thing." But he was uncertain if that was how the man felt about her. This was a new feeling for him and he didn't like it very much. "Patwin and Kali are returning home I believe. They will wish to seek the blessing of her father and the elders. I do not know if they will return here. I am going back. I'm not certain if I belong there anymore but I have never felt I belonged here. I don't think I've adapted as well as you or Mat."  He smiled slightly again. "Though I may wait for Father to marry his Mary." That was supposed to be soon. "I may decide to spend time both here and there for now. Feather said they have moved to the sacred place to be safe from their enemies. What of you, Kuwan? Have you made a decision?"

She was pretty certain that was how the man felt about her, friends,and she found she appreciated his friendship as she now was making other friends so it didn't seem to be something else and make things difficult. He already had difficult with the young girl, that was obvious to anyone around them both. "I think if you go back, so will Mat," they were inseparable. She was still kneeling even if the plate was taken as hands folded in her lap and dark eyes downcast. "I have been on a vision quest to see my path. I do not know where I belong. I do not feel I can live the old ways completely after being here and that alone would have me more an outcast at home. The feel that our heritage is in jeopardy and ways need to be preserved, at least certain parts," dark eyes lifting. "I feel they can be preserved here where I will not die for them."

"I will not allow you to die for what you believe." He frowned thinking she thought their homeland unsafe, but he continued to speak. "Feather has seen war but it is hoped it can be avoided a while longer." He watched her without speaking then looked out over the spreading darkness. Lightning bugs competed with the stars above but he didn't see them. "I want to  go back and see how things are there. If all is truly well. I fear that I may find life there different to the point that I will wish to return. If you do not come back home, then, it is a certainty that I will come back here. Not only will I miss your cooking, but ... we have been friends all of our lives. I do not wish to desert you. I know Wolf and Feather will stay here but I don't think it will be the same for you." He offered another smile, even if she wasn't looking at him. "And I think Kali will miss you enough that she will want to come back, even if for just a little while." He was a mix of feelings inside. He loved his father and family, yet he had another family back home and he would always feel protective and love Kuwan, even if it would remain that of a close friend, perhaps a brother. "I wish mostly that you would be happy, Kuwanyuama."

She didn't even notice the tears running down her cheeks. Unbidden in release. She was more frustrated and stressed out over the whole matter than even she realized the enormity of it until now. "I do not know if I will go back but perhaps it would be good for me. To see to Patwin and Kali be given the blessing making them one. To see our tribe at least one last time and to leave more as a choice made in freedom to do so than what brought us here in the beginning." Her words were soft, though she didn't look up for being ashamed of the tears she felt hot on her cheeks. Her voice was kept steady though she didn't do anything to wipe them away or draw any more attention to them than if they had not happened.

"If I have learned nothing else here I have learned that to show emotions is not so bad." He reached over and wiped at a tear. "Do not be ashamed of feeling confusion. I think we all do except perhaps for Patwin. He never seems unsure." He leaned back then. "I would like for you to journey back with us and make certain that the path you choose is right for you. We are young yet and have far to travel and I think our paths will hold many turns but know that you can always depend on me, Kuwan. If need be, I will return to Heathfield if I'm visiting home." He was certain that would be the way of it.

"It may be so, that to show emotions are not frowned upon but I do not like feeling weak or confused. I will try not to be ashamed of them." Though she still didn't like the way they made her feel. "We should all be more like Patwin?" Though she was teasing as she rose from her kneeling position to take up a seat on one of the logs set there just for such. "It is best I journey back and then decide from there. I owe it to our tribe to at least say good bye if I feel I am no longer a part." Which she highly suspected. She was barely a part before though knowing she was cared for and kept safe. Safe as much as they could. She felt that would be as the wind in the near future but didn't say anything on it. She didn't feel it was her place.

He nodded to show his understanding, though her mention of Patwin had him chuckle. "I think no one likes the way such makes them feel. I don't but it's more that we accept they are part of us and deal with it from there rather than try to suppress or ignore. I know I'm not the best example but I'm trying." He watched her sit again and picked up the rabbit pie. His stomach was becoming more and more demanding. "I think perhaps that is how it should be for each of us. A journey back to see how we feel, perhaps even more how we're accepted." He took a bite of the pie, chewing a moment. After swallowing, he frowned. "I do not profess to understanding things, but I am afraid for the tribe. I feel ... things are changing in ways that none will be able to stop, like heavy rains that swell the river and make it flood, sweeping all in its path." He looked down then up again. "It ... more than worries me, it makes me afraid for them, and for all tribes." He shook his head, not quite able to explain further and took another bite.

She looked down upon her hands folded demurely in her lap as she listened to his words. Words she felt herself about their tribe. Dark eyes lifted. "I have seen things in the pattern of the flowers I placed upon the lake. In the ripples at night as moonlight played over them. I will go back but I feel I am to come back to remain here because it will set aside those chosen to preserve. If I went back and told our tribe what I have seen not only for our clan but all of our people, they would say I am wrong, that I am not medicine woman to know such things and even if some believed me, they would not come here. They would stay where our forefather's have stayed. Some will remain, live on but it will be at costs and not the way things had been nor the way things should have been had the white man not come."

"That may be true, Kuwan but the Elders know it is not always they who choose our wise women. Sometimes it is the Spirits who set one apart." He licked off his fingers before continuing. " And your words are not so different from what Feather and Wolf have told them. I'm not certain but I think even She Who Talks has seen visions of dark days." He sighed, shaking his head. "It makes me wish the King and Queen here had seen fit to make a colony rather than the others. They would preserve what the men of other lands will not. " He fell silent for a few moments then smiled. "I will promise you this. I will try hard to not be jealous of your new friends. I will also bring you back to these lands once you are certain that you cannot stay there. It may be more of our young people will join us. Perhaps even some of the older ones but let's make no plans until we see what happens."

"Maybe they are all seeing such visions because they are true and a warning if it can make a difference. Sometimes it is honorable to stand and fight and sometimes it is better to swallow one's pride and hide in the hills so that not only you can live another day but your generations than to be slaughtered like the white man has slaughtered many buffaloes just to kill them, not for meat and hides like our people. They will do the same to us for they are intimidated by anyone that is different from them." Kuwan was visibly getting upset talking about it, as upset as she knew the patterns in the flowers to be, in the moonlight upon the water at night. Still, she had not seen her own destiny other than she felt her path was here, like Kali and Patwin felt their path was back with the tribe. "I think they would make a colony here if more wanted to come. They have welcome us as any others, they have not looked at our skin or our way of life as a criteria. Do not be jealous, what is to be will come as it should. You may well meet a woman from these lands, as your father met your mother to fall in love, so it may be reversed in you." Eyes met his steadily before she broke into a smile. teasing him yet not for it said much more but all this being serious was going to have her take off into the woods to be alone and cry where none would see her. Weeping for her People back home, weeping for all that confused her and answers still unknown.

"Maybe so." He was up to put an arm around her shoulder when he saw she was becoming upset. "She did say they moved into the hills but I don't think they can hide there for long. " He made a face as she mentioned falling in love. "It may well be that I will go through life alone but I make no guesses or hopes on that. What will be will be. Mat says I'm too grumpy for a woman of these lands. My face frightens them." He said it with a serious tone but his eyes held the laughter he was hiding.

"Mat teases you as he will and can every opportunity." Which had her laughing, "I do not find your face frightening unless when you scowl. When you smile it is much more pleasant. You need to look fierce since you will become Chief. Mat will not have that burden." He had lightened her mood and the other willingly let go of and hope that it didn't' return.

He chuckled again then tried to look worried. "Chief Yaskitchi Alexander Gage McDonough. I think I wish my name had been much shorter." He moved slightly, leaning toward her, gently touching his forehead to hers. "Promise me that you will talk to me when the dark clouds surround you. I would much rather see my sunny Kuwan than a sad one but I cannot help if I don't know what troubles you. And I will try to not keep my concerns to myself as well. Even if I must make Mat or Patwin listen to me."

Leaning her forehead against his as well as she closed her eyes, keeping them such with her promise. "I will promise to talk to you if it is possible when such surrounds me again." Not knowing if he would be around if she found herself under the same circumstances. "If I am to voice my concerns, I should not expect less of you to do the same. Just we need to know we are friends and can speak our concerns even if there is not much either can do about them, at leas they are heard." There was a long pause from the serious as eyes opened and her next words came in tease. "You will become known as Chief Scowl Face. It is much shorter name." Which she wiggled up and away in case he wanted to retaliate. She was over to get another tart as she had not had one herself yet.

He made as if he was going to grab her, exaggerating the miss. Watching her a moment, he let out a low whistle, just like he had heard the men at the docks when they saw a pretty woman. Then he was up to retrieve his own tart. As soon as he bit into it, he closed his eyes, his hand going over his heart. "I am surely in heaven now."

They were good as she bit into hers at the same time. Juice running down her chin she had to catch with her finger to scoop back up between her lips. "These are the best, the berries grow sweeter here." Somehow she was not surprise as the words left her lips. Now she couldn't wait until the others tried them and speak of the thought, she could hear all three coming back. "They make good time for dinner by their stomachs." They would know there would be rabbit pie and once her tart was done she was over to finish plucking the ducks so they could set them to roasting after cleaning and rubbing in herbs, filling the cavity with breads and more herbs.

"Chief Scowl Face has to share?" He sounded dismayed as he was over to snatch at least one more of each. He'd gobble them both down so he could finish helping her with the ducks. Not the cooking, but the plucking. "We don't have to tell them our worries for now. See if any of them feel the same." He gave her a boyish grin, then raised his voice. "I think I'll finish all the rabbit pies. I'm very hungry tonight after all that hunting." That should bring them to the camp faster.

Date: 07-26-09
Poster: Kaliska
Post # 4

Time at the Lake

It was a perfect summer night, not too hot, not too cold  with a star filled sky that was reflected in the mirror like surface of the lake.  Lightning bugs danced along the shore and somewhere an owl hooted out a call.  An occasional skitter or crack of a branch could be heard as one of the nocturnal animals made their way to the lake.  Kali sat on one of the rocks that overlooked the lake, watching the night sky.  She was enjoying the peace of the lake.  On the sandy area below the rocks, a low fire burned.

The people of the bear could slip through a field by day, with only the slightest of sway to the high grasses. They could streak through a pond with barely any ripple in the water.   Skills of survival gained over the centuries, the clan of the Bear walked the woods at dark as if they possessed the same night vision as their name sake.  Patwin's path this night brought him to the lake, the fire's glow drew him closer, and the woman on the rock ledge caught his attention.  "Mitawin" he whispered, a softening of otherwise sharp, hard features.  He stepped full into the glow of the firelight so he could be seen and she would not be uneasy with a presence which might be felt but unknown.

She had her hands under her neck, fingers entwined and one leg bent, a picture of relaxation.  But feeling the presence of another, and then catching a glimpse of someone from the corner of her eye had her sitting up slowly.  She would have known it was Patwin from the way her heart pounded when he was near.  Standing, she jumped down from the rocks with the ease of a deer and made her way over to him.  Had she heard his words?  Perhaps but the smile on her face would have appeared even so. "Patwin."  She said his name softly, almost reverently.

He stretched out an arm to her, and as she neared, he stepped to her so that he could collect her to him.  "You set the stars to shame with the sparkle in your eyes, Kaliska.  Be careful you do not make the Mother Sky jealous that you rival her children of the night so."  His other hand lifted and cupped her face, his own dark eyes searching the depth of hers before he lowered his hand away.

In the darkness, even with the glow of the fire, he couldn't see the blush that came to her cheeks but she smiled again, leaning her head into the touch of his hand.  "I think it is so only when you are with me."  She could have stayed in his arms all night but she remembered the fish she had cooking.  "Are you hungry? I was fishing earlier, in the way of those here.  It is slower than using a spear."

Patwin nodded with a single uplift of chin, releasing his hold so that she could tend her cooking.  "The way of the white man continues to confuse me.   To spend so long, waiting for your meal to find you.  When you can wade out and have your fish cooking."  He shook his head, stepping back those few paces so she could have room to move about the fire.

"It is said to be relaxing though perhaps only if you really don't mean to catch fish for your supper."  She smiled as she moved to the fire to tend to the fish, which she had skewered over the flame.  A sprinkling of the herbs that he carried, and then she used one of the plates she had found in the shed.  That was easier than carrying her own bowl about.  A portion of the fish was placed on another plate and offered to him.  "How was the hunting this day?"

Patwin took the plate, squatting by the fire as he did.  He plucked at the flaky meat to help the air to cool it, glancing over to Kali.  "These lands are blessed by the spirits.  Game is plentiful.  Kuwan will be busy with her pies."  He pinched up a thicker portion of meat and bent his head nearer the plate as he brought it to his mouth.  It was still hot, but Kaliska's skill with herbs and cooking could not be questioned and he was eager to taste the fish she had prepared.  He was not disappointed. But then, she had never managed to do so.  He watched her as he sucked the herbs from the tip of his thumb, then dropped his attention back to the fish.  Another pinch of meat was collected.  "Have you spoken with Kuwan about returning, Kali?"  He didn't look to her following that question, but instead kept his attention on the meal he gathered between his fingers.

She helped herself to a smaller portion before settling beside him.  "I think she likes being busy."  She shook her head at his question, brow furrowing slightly with her frown.  "I have not been able to see her for more than a few moments alone.  She does seem more content these days though.  I think she has come to a decision, and I think we may all have to sit and talk."  She watched him a moment before asking her own question. "Have you talked to Yas and Mat about what they're going to do?"

Patwin shook his head, taking another bite of fish which he chewed and swallowed before answering her verbally.  "We speak not of staying or returning.  They will return." He sounded confident, but the flicker of gaze in her direction might give away his concern.  "The blood of the Bear runs deep in their veins."

Kali took a bite of the fish, chewing and swallowing before answering.  "While I am not certain that Mat will remain, I wonder on Yas. His being the elder of them, he has responsibilities to both his Clan here and there."  She looked at Patwin a long moment.  "When you think of our tribe, do you worry about them? I worry about the Horse clan and their dislike of the Bear."

Patwin rubbed at his upper arm, considering her comment and her question.  "The Bear is strong and can face off and defeat any enemy it faces.  I worry not for our people.  We shall survive."  He started to pinch up another bite of fish, but instead, used his fingertip to shift the meat around on his plate while he thought.  "There is change coming, Kaliska."  He brought his gaze over to her.  "It had started before we were sent here, it has continued while we have been gone.  My muscles tense with the thought of what we may find when we return, but I know deep within me." A fisted hand pressed to his solar plexus.  "I know that whatever we find, the Bear will have survived and they wait for our return."

She nodded again, lowering her eyes to the plate, though she wasn't really seeing it. "Feather has said they moved early to the sacred place, harvesting what they could.  She was certain war was coming but feels they are safe for now."  When she looked up at him, she smiled.  "I think what we find will be good among our people, but we will see much that isn't on our journey there.  I wish time could have slowed for them while we were gone, though I know that it has not."  Her smile turned impish then as she changed the subject.  "We will have to bring presents to help our quest for the blessing of the Elders."

A change passed over his features, resembling a faint smile.  "Yes, we will need to."  He then finished the fish with two more movements of his hand.  He licked his fingers clean and stood from his squat, handing the plate over to her to take.  Not an insult to her, it was just his way.  "It grows late, Kali.  Will you return with me to the camp?"

And so it had always been for their people. The women had their chores, just as the men had theirs.  She took the plates and cleaned them before putting them away. There was little left of the fish so that was tossed for the scavengers and the fire put out. "Of course."  She smiled at him again.  "If we stay too long, we may fall asleep here and though that would be a pleasant thing, I think we would be teased."

"You perhaps." He reached for her again, pulling her close into a brief but sincere embrace.  He slipped his hand down along her arm and captured her forefinger with his.

That had her laughing again, until he pulled her close.  The brief hug said so much and her smile softened as fingers were linked.  The walk back would be just as enjoyable, another precious gem for her to tuck away and bring out to remember.



Date: 07026-09
Poster: Kaliska
Post # 5

At the Camp

Yas had returned to the camp just as night fell. He had been away for most of the day, fasting and meditating. While he had no real questions that he was seeking an answer to, he found taking time to himself was a good thing to do. It helped to clear his mind and renew his soul. As he approached the fire that was usually burning, he glanced around to see if any of the others were there. He felt it was time they all talked if they could be found in one place!

Kuwan had originally gone to the lake but nary a twig to snap beneath her moccasin when she caught sight of Patwin and Kali there. Instead of continuing to where they were, she back stepped until she was sure she was well out sight and sound and high tailed it out of there. So afraid she almost disturbed them she was out of breath by the time she reached their camp. She had the herbs she needed and quickly retreated to her wigwam to put them there. Gave her time to catch her breath or have Yas asking what had her so out of breath then would be the embarrassing tale to tell. Especially when it made her flush feeling like she had been spying when she had not. It would take her a few to get unflustered over it all. Had her mind racing on a few other unbidden thoughts.

Mat was not far behind his brother as he came up from behind skimming a punch off his shoulder. "Wake up brother. Your cat and cheese are gone." Misconstrued the saying he heard somewhere in the past three years. Had an arsenal of sayings at this point. He also had a bottle of potcheen he'd been drinking from as it was offered next.

Patwin and Kali returned to the camp together. He had hooked his forefinger to hers while they walked but as they approached the central fire, he slipped his touch from her. The brothers were present in the camp but it seemed at first glance that Kuwan had preferred her solitude again this night. With so much for each of them to consider regarding the future, it was no wonder their tribal sister often set out alone for her answers. At least, that's what Patwin thought she did during her hours away.

The time spent with Patwin was always precious to her and so it had been this night. She peeked at him from the corners of her eyes as he released her then looked forward just as Mat came up behind Yas. She didn't hear what he had to say but still had to smile at their interaction. A little disappointed that her heart sister wasn't here, she made her way to the fire and the twins.

Yas had known someone was behind him but he wasn't expecting an attack so didn't turn. With the punch he started to laugh but Mat had him giving him a confused look. "Cat and cheese?" He had neither. "You have been indulging much, brother?" Taking the bottle, he took a drink and offered it back, turning to watch as Patwin and Kali approached. "And where have you two been?" His voice held a touch of teasing.

Kuwan was finding all kinds of things since she decided to do a spirit path quest at the lake. So much, she went from feeling alone to being overwhelmed. Afraid. Yes, she found she was afraid of that area unlike her sister in heart who was able to give hers. Then again, Patwin let her know eventually, something mutual. Then Yas words rang through her thoughts and she found herself afraid. It was all so very confusing to her when it seemed not so for others. She would duck back out from her wigwam with a basket holding the blueberry tarts, always drew attention away from her to them. All thoughts were in flight to see everyone here this night. "It is good evening to make my heart swell seeing all of you," and drawing the basket out as she neared the twins for them to have the first of the treats.

"See, how easily they are gone before you even knew you had any." Shooting his brother a grin before being the first to snatch one of the wild blueberry treats. "You always show at the right time with a treat, Kuwan." And he would show just how much he appreciated it by gobbling it down then licking his fingers. Ones then up to wave to Patwin and Kali as they came from the shadows of the woods together. Certainly it was noticed!

Patwin grinned with Yas' question. "Were you to know the answer to that, the Great Spirit would have provided it to you." So, Patwin didn't answer, just passed the brothers with a thump to the back of each then leaned in to take a tart from Kuwan. "My middle shall soon be as large as my horse's, and I will have to just sit and eat some more for not being able to move because of it." His free hand reached out to give Kuwan's arm a squeeze. "You are good to us, Sister, with your treats." That hand then took out another tart and he turned to hand it to Kali.

There she was! Kali's face lit up at the sight of Kuwan and she grinned at her. "I am glad to see you this night, Kuwan." She accepted the tart with a smile of thanks then bit into it. "Mmmmm. We may all be the same way." She made a face at Yas for his question but Patwin had answered it just fine. "You all have had good days?"

He just shook his head at Mat, laughter in his eyes, laughter that escaped when Patwin answered. "I think we will have to follow you then, sometime. And yes, Kali, it was a good day. Though I must make up for not hunting tomorrow." He looked at Kuwan as he took a tart and winked then became serious. "Since we are all together, perhaps this would be a good time to talk about the future?"

Patwin received a warm smile for his compliment and turned it upon Kali next before back to the brothers. She could tell Yas where the two had been though she would not. Having to look away as if studying the flames as they danced low in the pit. Squirming more when he mentioned about following them. She had not been and still she felt the guilt as if she had, though she had not seen anything more than them standing very, very close, she felt guilty. "My day is complete now all are here." So in contrast to her thoughts it was amazing she didn't say something else like Isawthematthelaketogetherstandingverycloselikeoneskissing. Thankfully she had not. It was good to see Kali so happy. "Yes, it would be a good idea." At least she finally knew what she needed to do.

"I see you have found your cat and your cheese brother," having stolen another treat before he was off to take up a seat by the fire. "Run with them like the wind..." grinning a white toothy one.

With Yas' suggestion, Patwin shot Kali a look. Had they not just spoken of this? Munching on his tart, he moved to the fire, lowering to a squat there. He didn't say anything yet, just ate his sweet treat. He flicked the crumbs from his fingertips into the glowing flames and waited for the discussion to begin.

Yes, they had and the look her way had her smiling and giving a slight shrug. She joined him by the fire, patting the grass on the other side for Kuwan to join her. Then it was time to finish the tart while she watched the others. She had been wondering on what each decided and now she'd find out.

Now he had to pause to stare at Mat. "If I run, you'll trip me." Matter-of-fact, though again he was teasing. He joined them at the fire, sitting cross-legged. The last of the tart was finished before he spoke. "It has been three years and we have to decide what we are going to do." He looked at each before continuing. "I have decide to travel back, to see how our other father is and how the tribe fares, though I would like to stay until the marriage of my father here to Maggie. I think I will travel back and forth between the two lands."

She was quick to be over to take up a seat near Kali and focus then turned on Yas as she listened. "I will travel back to say my good-byes but I know I will come back here to stay, find my path even if I have no clue where it will lead. I feel unsafe in our homeland and know some need to survive if our ways are to live on. I plan to record them for generations to come as well the ways of others I have gotten to meet, showing the difference."

"If I trip you then you will learn to fly so you do not fall." If they wanted to run that gauntlet. Still grinning before it eased off as he watched Kuwan move next to Kali but it was she he studied leaving no sign of his thoughts upon his expression. "I will accompany my brother but I feel in the long of it, I will probably stay here, possibly scout in helping the Rangers out." He knew at some point he and his brother's path would split at least for a while. It was something needed for he could not live in his brother's shadow being he was those few minutes younger.

Patwin ran a finger in the dirt between his knees while the others spoke, then he look up to the twins. "My place is with the Bear. Our Wise Woman told me before we left that I would learn the ways of the white men here. To bring them back to the tribe, and seeing what I've seen here, learning what I would, then I would know what would be best for our people. I will return. With Kaliska." He moved his gaze from the brothers to the woman next to him, then allowed his gaze to drift to Kuwan next to her before returning his regard to the other two men. "We will return to the clan and fulfill that which has been expected of me."

She smiled at Patwin then looked toward the twins, her dark eyes serious. "As Patwin has said, I go with him, and what is to be, will be made known to us in time." She looked at the brave, and though she didn't smile, it was in her eyes. "And I will stay at his side." She would use what she had learned her as well to the benefit of the Tribe.

Yas listened to each then nodded, and finally grinned. "I will have to tell my father he needs to get married. In the meantime, we can begin to prepare. Feather and Wolf will take over the hunting for the taverns and other places, and will maintain the camp while we are gone." He looked at Patwin and Kaliska. "And even if you do not come back here, know that I, at least, plan to return for a time each year. There is much to be gained from knowing both the way of the Clan and the way of the people here." He would do all he could to preserve the way of life of the Clan as he knew each of them would. "And now, I seek my blankets for it grows late and I am weary." As he stood, he looked at each. "And I am glad, even if it was forced for the three of us, that each of you came. Kuwan and Kali, you made life bearable here." He thumped his fist to his chest in a salute to all four. "Rest well this night." And as each returned to their wigwam, silence fell over the camp once again.



Date: 05-30-10
Poster: Matoskah McDonough
Post # 6

The Search

Mat figured that Yas would track him later as he went out hunting. Hunting ended with a few hares to attach to his belt. Kuwan and Kali would be making rabbit pies for them later. Mat had gotten this notion in his head to discover the Ashford Island he saw on the map hanging in the Thistle a week or two ago. It was pretty much deserted so he was told, although it once had been inhabited. It seemed more than big enough for a tribe to make a new home. They were still living on Callihan lands aptly named Whispering Pines and now that it was determined they would stay, they needed land of their own. Their own path. There was still the idea to discuss with his brother about taking a trip back to the Colonies since none of them had since the three years were up. A time to say true good byes and anyone from their tribe that wanted to come back with them to brave new lands. Lands where they were accepted as who they were and not found less than human. A place where they could raise a family and keep the tradition of their ways. If he was allowed to start a village on the Island, it would be even more tempting for others to return with them.


For the heat of the day he was clad in moccasins and trousers, nothing upon his upper torso except the straps to his quiver of arrows and bow swung over his shoulder and the leather straps to the shoulder sack he put various findings in such as berries and roots. Certain plants that the women could use in seasoning. Sometimes a feather or strange rock that drew his notice. From the forests near Whispering Pines he continued around the upper part of the port where it was not populated yet and could move easily through the forest to make his way down along the other side towards the lighthouse. He had gotten a spyglass from Faelan Callihan and planned to use it to see more of the island once he reached that spot towards the coastal horn. It became one of his prized possessions that he wore on his belt, always keeping it with him.

Both brothers were hunting this day, just in different places, though their paths would cross soon enough. Yas had been trapping game birds, and with several fat partridges on his belt, he was tracking down his brother. He was also enjoying the heat of the day. He was dressed exactly like his brother, trousers and moccasins, though he wore a pendant with a beaded thunderbird surrounded by a black beaded circle. He was close behind his brother, catching up to him as he made his way through the forest that led to the lighthouse. Knowing Mat would sense he was near, he said nothing as he moved up beside him.

He had passed the costal village by the time his brother caught up with him. He had watched for countless minutes at the activity beyond the forest that had secluded him. A forest he emerged from by the time his brother caught up. "I was wishing you would track me down this day." Not even turning to his brother though his steps were silent for anyone else. He knew on another level as he raised the spyglass to his eye. Odd thing that he had to get use to in focusing but he managed within a few moments. The island was not that far out from the shore at this point. Far enough to keep it secluded. What he got to see was land that looked completely unoccupied except for the wild life. The distance not so grand that animals from the main land that swam could move there if being hunted. Lowering the spyglass as he finally looked his brother's way to offer it out. "I see you have been successful today as I have been in our hunt."

"That is probably why I looked for you." He grinned at his brother and nodded. "Yes, I have been. This is a good time of year for hunting." Waving that aside, he looked at the spyglass with some curiosity "What is that and what are you doing with it?" The island could be seen from the shore but not clearly.

"You put this up to your eye and you can see like hawk." Shoving it more in his direction with a growing grin, dare too that he would test out this white man contraption. "I wish to explore the island in two ways. One, in a ritual here on the shore with the special leaves to put on the fire," which created a kind of smoke that could lift his spirit much like the hawk to fly over the island in spirit form. It would be a good argument if his spirit lifted from his body to travel there or if the spirit of the hawk was connected and he saw through its eyes. Mat would say it was the former. "The second will be to make a canoe but that will take time. We can ask to borrow such from the village we passed up the shore." Or buy one until they made their own. They had not had need to do so thus far. "If we are to go home to our tribe being crushed underfoot by the white men there, there are those that may want to come back with us that they can live out a normal life in our traditions and if they want, traditions of the white men." They would have a choice more than being forced to comply or die.

Yas eyed the spyglass before taking it. "I remember they used one like this on the ship that brought us here." He put it up to his eye and looked in the direction of the island. A blink in surprise and he lowered it to squint at the island then brought it up again. "It looks like no one lives there." The spyglass was lowered and offered back. "If you are going to do the ritual, you need someone to watch over your. I will be there for that." He grinned again. "They do not have canoe but flat bottomed boats. Harder to row." He was willing to explore physically at least.

"Yes. It is why I asked Faelan if he had an extra one I could borrow. He did but he gave it to me as he said he had plenty of others." That trip had been so many moons ago it was almost as another life. In a way it had been another life. One rich in ways and dire in other ways. "That is my point. There is a manor you can barely make out that has birds flying from broken upper windows. If the island is suitable for us, I will talk to our father on it and then the crown." There was a lot of hope there that if it was suitable, they would be allowed to move there and set up a village.

"It is a good gift then." He looked toward the island again and nodded. "If it is a good place, we can also watch the ocean for any ships that are suspect." He nodded again then looked at Mat. "When do you wish to do the ritual?"  Maybe they should all be here.

"It is good gift and I introduced him to rabbit pie." Which had a huge grin to follow. "I bought flowers for Kuwan for making them. She seemed to like that." So he was learning not to take advantage of Kali and Kuwan as most were for the way they were brought up. The women served the men but it was not fair that way he came to realize. Although with the two, they didn't seem to mind doing anything for any of them. "If the far side is suitable we can set up a village there." He was going to wait to do the ritual until he got back but the clouds were accumulating. "We do it now, I grow impatient." With that decision he started to clear an area to place rocks in a circle in which they would build a fire. "Would you get the kindling and wood pieces?" By this time he had taken off the quiver of arrows, bow and other trappings. He would mark his face and bare chest with the ashes.


Davin was doing his usual routine. The fire had been stoked and plenty of logs added that would have the flames last into dawn. He was down along the coast gathering shells to bring to the village to earn a few coins. That and other oddities he would find of intrigue. It had been a hot day but the kind that would most likely bring a storm, the humidity high. He continued to put off going around the horn to find out if there was a cave there and perhaps a shorter way back up the cliff from that point. He maneuvered around an outcropping of rocks and smaller spikes to where the ocean water got trapped. He usually found something out of he ordinary in this pocket where such things got trapped and unable to be washed back out to sea.

"You will not rush through the ritual." more a statement than a question before he was moving off to collect the kindling and wood. It was an easy enough task and he soon was back to his brother's side. They could both do the ritual but Mat had always been more at ease with such than Yas. Without a word, he started the fire, making sure it would smoke as needed.

It was one of those days where the ocean called to Niamh and she answered. She had taken the skiff out and did a little fishing on her own, then began to follow it along the coast. Instead of skirting the island, she stayed closer to shore. As she neared the rockier part of the beach, with the sky growing darker, she turned the small boat to the shore, beaching it. It wouldn't take long for her to drag it close to the high post. This time she freed the pigeon and when she released him, she took note of the fire.

"I will not rush," eyeing his twin in that way that ended up with a small smirk to appear. Once the fire was blazing, as it needed to do at first, he was up to get dried pine needles. A good pile of them went into the flames at one side where they could be controlled. They crackled and sizzled adding a pungent odor to the air. They also helped to make the fire smoke more.

Yas could have poked Mat in the chest but he just grinned, removed his bow from across his back and sat cross-legged so he could keep watch. "Good."  He knew Mat would be cautious but the storm might be cause for him to try to hurry it.

The waves were starting to get higher and more ferocious as the crashing against the rocks came with an audible slap. He grabbed up the few objects he had seen before daring to go into the smaller area. Water and sand oozed between his fingers as he squeezed back through the small opening between two of the larger rocks. Just as he emerged he got a good spray in the face but he managed the objects into the sack at his side. He was moving as fast as he could from the rocky area to safer footing. It was as he reached such that he smelled the pungent odor of a fire. Hair and clothing now soaked but refreshing so for the high temperature and humidity, he headed in that direction to see what was afoot. It would take him some time for where he was towards the point of the coast.

Once the pine turned into ash, he scooped it up in a smoothed out large stone for this very reason. He proceeded to make markings on his face and chest as he sat crossed legged near his brother. Once done he passed it over to him. While he did the same, the chants came calling to the spirit world, especially their totems. Dried herbs and tobacco bits were tossed onto the fire that had been reduced to smoking embers. A special pipe with a special weed was also drawn from the pack, eagle and hawk feathers hanging from its stem as he lit the bowl. Inhaling deep before it was passed to his brother. It had been too long since they had done a ritual together.

The pigeon took off toward the village and she turned back to the skiff to finish securing it. A tarp was pulled over the opening after the sail was lowered and secured. It only took her a few moments but as she finished, the wind picked up. She tightened one of the ropes and looked toward the room again, trying to decide if she should investigate or head up the stone steps.

He joined in the chant as he marked his chest and face, then placed the rock aside. While Mat smoked from the pipe he continued to chant until it was passed to him. He inhaled deeply, blowing out the smoke slowly, and watching it disappear in the wind. Then it was offered back to Mat.

It was about the third pass that things started happening and still it would be inhaled and passed around some more. The smoke started taking on shapes, that of a white bear and snow owl, the shapes moving around each other as one with the brothers. The dance seemed endless the more the two changed before they hovered above the brothers. The power drawing their spirits up into the smoke with them.

Davin had reached the stone stairs leading up to the cliff above and subsequently the lighthouse beyond. He caught sight of Niamh and gestured to her where he was headed instead of trying to shout above the growing sounds of the crashing waves. In the least he needed to warn whoever was out there was a big storm rolling in that would soon be upon them.

Niamh caught sight of Davin and lifted her arm in a wave to show she saw him. She made her way over, swiping her hair out of her face. It was pulled back but there were always loose strands. "We have to quit meeting during these storms!" She teased then looked toward the fire again. "Are you going to check on that?"

Yas watched the dancing of the smoke and spirits, his expression stoic as always, though there was a light in his eyes. It was good to know the rituals of their ancestors worked wherever they were, an affirmation so to speak that the Creator watched them no matter where they were. He closed his eyes breathing in deeply as he felt that power.

Which had him laughing, "aye or both of us swept out to sea. What brings you out in a skiff on a night like this?" He had teased her before about coming for this or that, like a lost fish net that would be almost a miracle to be swept up this far. "I have more shells," that could be a reason. All spoken as she caught up as he had slowed his progress some then picked up again. "Someone has a pungent fire going not too far from here." It would not take them long from that point as his steps slowed with the sight before him. He could see the braves and the spirit bear and owl forming in the smoke above them. A white swirl lifting from each of the braves as he became rooted to the spot.

He was lifted up and pulling his brother with him in spirit form, just that little extra help as it came more readily for Mat. Time ceased as the smoke blew away with them out over the ocean with the ominous clouds above and the wind one would think is what took hold of the smoke, leaving none behind in the fire. Or maybe it had been put out by the rains that started. It was up to the individual in witness to decide. For Mat, his spirit moved with his totem of smoke out over the island. He was first drawn to the manor that was in need of repair as he entered by one of the uppermost broken windows. A flight of steps sped over and down in a spiral taking in the scene of this deserted mansion. Down below in the cellar were a multitude of glass bottles. Some still contained liquids or hardened questionable substances and samples. A few large tables where animal, or human, could be placed for the next experiment. The feel was as dark as the storm clouds above as he made haste to leave the odd feel of the place behind and fly out over the rest of the island.


The feeling of freedom and flight was heady, even if he knew their bodies remained behind. The draw of his spirit animal had him following his brother, hating the feel of the manor itself. Something dark had dwelled there at one time, the residue still lingered too heavily. He was glad when the manor was left behind and sought out the wooded lands, taking note of the animals who seemed to be seeking shelter from the coming storm.

Niamh grinned then shrugged. "I was fishing." She pointed to the small bag she carried. "Just enough for one meal, and I have a gift for you from... " Her words faded as she saw the smoke images, uncertain once they faded. Had they been real. She looked at Davin then looked back, her eyes wide. She could almost feel the power around the two.

He only shook his head quickly, quietly to watch the two braves sitting like stone statues without life within or so it seemed though they were a healthy color, not the pallor of death. He squatted down as eyes traced from the two out over the ocean to the island in the distance where the smoke seemed to have headed. Words were low, "we will guard their bodies until they get back. If the storm comes too strong, we'll have to get them out of here. We will take the upper road that leads from where they are." Moving from the squatted position as he decided to get closer yet not too close as to disturb them.

The game was abundant of both smaller and larger varieties. There were even a small herd of wild horses. At one time there may have been a land connection but the way the waters flowed it has eroded away over time. Forests and field abound but it was the far side of the island that gained his focus. The shore was of sand and there was an area formed into a cove that would weather direct storms coming off the ocean better. A few small mountains that contained caves although he didn't spot any bears. Deer were leaping to find shelter as it was then he noticed the storm rolling in. Lightning streaking across the sky in lighted crooked fingers licking at the horizon, one not too far. A mental thought to his brother was for them to get out of there. Worse thing that could happen in this state would be hit by such a magnetic electrode bolt as lightning held. It could trap them there forever leaving a shell behind with no real life. In that blink of a thought he was back into his body in a whiplash. One that had him visibly jerk upwards as if punched by some unseen force. It had him toppling backwards onto his arse.

He was grinning as he spotted a good many rabbits, which would mean they'd have plenty of rabbit pies when he felt the thought of his brother. Rising into the sky again, he watched the lighting a moment, then turned to head back to shore. He too, was returned with a jolt, and found himself staring up at the sky. Slightly stunned, he remained there until his senses returned.

She nodded as she tore her eyes from the two braves then looked toward the island. The storm was moving swiftly toward them but it was possible it would slow some. Or so she could hope. When the two braves suddenly moved, and fell, she jumped as well then let out a exhale. She waited a few moments then moved closer to check on them and make sure they were conscious.


The bolt had Davin jump with a kind of laugh to escape before moving closer. "Are you two all right? Best to get out of here for a storm is rolling in fast. You can find shelter at the village near here." Which was the way they were headed and he might well get stranded there for the rains were coming in a driving force over the ocean waves, one could tell for that hazy curtain which melted sky into sea in a very choppy display. He threw an arm around Nia to get her moving with him in a full run that they might make it in time.

Mat was to his feet by the time Davin and the unknown lass approached. "Do not worry on us but I thank you for the warning. We leave," as Davin moved off he was in a run knowing his brother could run as fast. Like the deer or demons on their heels but he was heading home leaving the storm to chase him. He would already be a blur to the other two. He had already grabbed up all his equipment when Davin approached, most of which he wore.

He wasn't surprised to find someone there but he did stand as Davin spoke. He picked up his bow since that had been all he had placed on the ground. A nod was given to Davin and the lass, giving a half smile to both as he took off after Mat. Like his brother, he moved quickly, gone in a flash.

Nia didn't jump when the two moved , though she smiled at them. They seemed fine but that storm was coming in quickly. She laughed as the two took off then broke into a full out run with Davin. Even though the storm was moving quickly and it could be quite dangerous, she couldn't help grinning. She loved storms, even if she happened to be stuck in them! And if Davin was stranded for a time, he would enjoyed a good meal and some company!

Date: 06-19-10
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 7

Catching Up

The day was hot.  That was for sure.  The windows of the tavern were raised for what breeze might ease the heat of the indoors.  The door was propped open to add to that movement of air.  For the most part, the attempt was successful, along with the addition of the chilled blueberry drink that had been created to cool the insides of the body as the breeze cooled the outside.  Conor sat at the bar, chatting with Alex when the urge hit one or the other of them, but for the most part, the voices outside the tavern was what made up any sounds within.

Vincent had been very hospitable last night and even arranged for her to stay at the tavern for a few nights. Drinks, and boarding was covered with compliments of the nation's crown.. Even still Eliane had a hard time believing royalty to be so generous.. It was a stroke of good fortune and was the cause for a near prideful smile to dust along the curvature of full, weathered lips. Raven locks had been tightly drawn up into a pony tail while the tall woman made her descent down the flight of stairs. Even half way down she felt the drastic fluctuation of air flow.. The theory behind heat rising was proven a solid fact here at this tavern! Cerulean eyes crystallized upon the patrons within as well as taking in the beauty of the furnishings. A wave to Alex was given as she stepped off the landing and headed toward a table beside the window.

Since he was the only one in the common room at present, the addition of the woman definitely caught his eye. He followed her movements, from the first to the window, then looked to Alex with a cocked brow of consideration. He smiled, took another sip from his tankard, then turned on the stool to look to her, arm draped over the edge of the bar counter. "Good day to you. " He offered, short but pleasant enough greeting for someone who didn't appear to care to engage in any conversation as yet.

Both Mat and Yas had brought in many rabbits, hordes of them that so many rabbit pies would feed a whole village for a few days. Except, there was only five of them. Although, that too might change. Kuwan's attire consisted of lighter soft doeskin, a top that left some skin showing around her waist and the skirt shorter than the usual with a slit up the side with fringe. It was their typical summer wear and covered far more than what the braves wore in comparison. A large grass woven basket was held by a leather strap over her shoulder. Dark hair flowed loosely over shoulders and back with two braids woven down, one each side, tied off in small leather strips. Barefoot she stepped in silently as eyes adjusted, large, dark and luminous from being out in nature's own. She loved spring and summer for it gave her much freedom. "Good day," softly spoken before she stopped, faltered a step and stared as if seeing a ghost.

It wasn't that she didn't wish to engage in conversation. It was typical of her nature to be a bit withdrawn.. At least until she got to know someone. But as the man shifted and pivoted to address her he would be welcomed with a kind smile while her right hand eased the hard cover book upon the glossy table top. "Yes it is quite lovely out." The second her words sprang from motherly lips the call of birds filled the room. Ceremoniously welcoming the arrival of another woman. Blues would shift from Conor to favor her. "Hello to you as well" Eyeing the man once more. "My name is Eliane" Of course they would both know she was new to Heathfield.

Would they know? Perhaps one had been gone for quite a while from these lands and the other, more inclined to chase deer in the forest than stop in to any public place to meet and greet new comers. "Pleasure, Elaine, Conor... Conor Quinn." He offered her a dip of head then with his smile spreading, looked to the Goddess of the Wood. "Kuwan." He slipped from the stool, setting his tankard aside on the bartop. "What have you in that basket?" Would his luck hold since arriving back from Ireland? His grandmother's grand breaking of the fast and now ... one of Kuwan's delicacies? He started to her. "Need me to relieve you of that burden?" Hopefully, none would condemn him if his gaze dipped to the skin exposed at Kuwan's waist, then to the length of slender leg. He cleared his throat silently, drawing his gaze back to her face, which was a lovely alternative to look upon. If...a mere human man was allowed to even rest their eyes on her features.

"Good day, Eliane," taking her time to pronounce the name correctly as she heard it given, "I am Kuwanyauma," then realizing her name was a mouthful, "Kuwan," since her sight was on the woman she missed that notice of Conor's, dark eyes shifting back and up as she offered over the very large basket, the kind that handled almost like heavy material such as a demin bag. "You wish to have rabbit pie?" Her smile brightening like a new day's sun to come up with the offering his way. "I am pleased you have come back. You were gone full seasons." She didn't add anything else in words to that but she certainly was pleased to see him again, that much he could see unless he was blind.

A slender brow arched upon noticing the change in his facial expression. But her kindness never faltered for either of them. " It's very nice to meet you, Conor." Then she fell silent.. Observing the exchange between the two. But when Kuwan introduced herself she raised from her chair and moved closer to them at the bar. Yes, her name was a mouthful but it was lovely nonetheless.. "Kuwan.. It's beautiful. What does it mean?" Unfortunately her own bore no meaning.. Or at least to her knowledge. Rabbit pie? "Is there anything I can do to help?" She would have hated to simply sit there and do nothing. "Yes, Conor welcome back" Slightly awkward lips quaked into a grim smile and she ducked out of there way.

He shifted the weight of basket from her to him, pulling it closer as he dipped his head, sniffing the aroma of pies she mentioned. "If you have some to spare." He took a few steps back, glancing to Elaine as she joined them. The question of whether she had ever tasted rabbit pies before faded from his tongue when she engaged Kuwan into conversation. A smile for them both there in his eyes and he turned to put the heavy basket on the counter.

She had a way of locking her gaze but never too long with Conor's. Smile softened but didn't disappear as she answered the woman's question. "It has meaning in your language of butterfly wings." If one ever caught a butterfly and smelled its wings, they smelled of all the flowers visited, roses, daisies, wild violets, phlox and so forth, much how Kuwan's scent was for all the fields of flowers she'd been through, roses the predominant scent this day. The smile was more in her eyes turned on Conor to see how quickly he devoured one of the pies. "I brought the extra we could not eat so those here might give such a try that wished." In short she was bringing them to Hazel but certainly Conor could have as many as he wanted, nine or more month's worth. She noticed the woman Eliane had quickly and quietly left.

Seeing Kuwan slammed home just how long he had been gone. While in Ireland, little else mattered except getting done all that had to be done. But now, now ... rabbit pies were a most appreciated welcome home. Yes, he took the basket but he wasn't going to rummage through it. "You have been well, Kuwan?" She looked well, but then, she always looked well. Very well. Too well for the likes of him.

"I am well, as are Yas, Mat, Kali and Patwin." Not being overly certain he had met all four others but certainly he most likely had met one or two. Forgive her for staring at times and then lowering her eyes to slip demurely away when she caught herself or when he made eye contact and it was driven home. It was just, she didn't think she'd ever see him again though she didn't speak the words. No. "We may move soon by what Mat speaks on." Desperately searching for something to say of any importance and take her mind away from the other thoughts.

He dipped his head, an instinctive action for feeling bad he hadn't asked over her 'family'. The information about a move had his head up, a frown of concern creased between his eyes. "Moving? To where?" He started a step forward, as if to get closer to her, perhaps to touch and hold her there so Mat could take her nowhere. He caught himself and stood where he was. Since he was a man of action, thoughts later, it could be considered a good thing he had managed not to grab hold of her. It would more than likely have scared her, his subconscious action. Scared her, and seared him. Could he touch her and manage to release her? She the Golden goose and he the fool?

As he took a step forward she reacted in the same. Head tipping back a fraction more for the height difference but only lasted a moment for he stepped away again. "It is an island, near," that moment of confusion in his stepping away from her. She had bathed this day, earlier in the river near their village. "I will show," since the bulletin board was close with the daily News and map, her hand finding his as the touch of fingers came then curled to interlace, drawing him over to where these new additions to the tavern had been incorporated. There was a menu too! Once there his hand was released as hers lifted to touch upon the small island out towards where the lighthouse was located. "This, Mat is going out there to see if it would suit then ask if we can move there, most likely the other side from the manor which he says holds strange things and something dark lingers trapped there." That was an aside, "we would build the village on the shores facing the ocean and we can keep watch for anything that should not be there, to warn others here on the main land." Mat had it all worked out, at least a good foundation. "Mat and Yas still wish to go back to the Colonies and bring back any that wish to live their lives in the old ways and not be killed for it or made to move and take what is theirs." Dark eyes turning to his with the last.

His breath actually caught when she took him by the hand, his fingers closed over hers, allowing her to lead him over to the map. Her slender finger marked the area, and his gaze followed it up then dipped to rest on her features. He listened well, not particularly caring for what she shared, but her life was not his to direct. It was when she lifted those dark eyes up to meet his that he drew in a sudden breath. Raw, sensual yet innocent and open, that gaze. Fathomless depths of mystery and discovery. And ... was there a glimpse of something else? Wonder? Hope? What was that he had seen a flash of? God help him, lest he read more into those dark eyes than was actually there. "That is a good ways away, Kuwan. What think you of the move?"

Eyes held to linger there with his, she would not presume to read his but they had a way of captivating until she blinked and broke the spell. He had asked her a question. "It is not far, not far like the Colonies. It is good place and we shall have canoes to cross the distance between the shores here and the island. Maybe you come and see with me once Mat and Yas say it is safe?" There was that to be determined yet. "There are deer and rabbits there, many rabbits Yas says." Since there were no real bigger food chain, they were reproducing without being checked.

"There is not much farther than the Colonies, Kuwan." To Conor, anywhere over the sea was beyond consideration. He forced himself to accept that by not directly answering his question, she accepted the decision to move, and from the sound of it, looked forward to it. "I would enjoy that very much, seeing the island with you, once Mat and Yas say it is safe for you to travel there." Pull it in Conor Quinn. He smiled down to her, pleased he had this moment to spend with her without brother or stranger to either reprimand him for appreciating this Wild Spirit or remaining politely separated while in others company.

She was single and under the care of the two Braves considered the leaders, the chiefs here. Yas being the main one. Although this was Mat's idea so it was not solidly committed. Dark eyes were guileless that held his. She didn't have the same restrictions that the white man had but was aware of them, mostly anyway. "It will be better to have our own lands than living under the good man James Callihan." That is where the idea came from, their natural pride. Then the nagging question came, "you are home for good?" Or would he be disappearing again like a phantom, here and gone.

He nodded once to all that she said. "It is what I plan. All is done back from the land I come from, so Heathfield is now home to me. Just as it is to you. There are no guarantees though, you know?" He shrugged a shoulder. Here one day, gone the next ... did anyone ever have a certainty to where the new day would find them? They only had a desire to be, and then destiny took over from there.

"Life has no guarantees, these are wise words. It does have hopes and dreams but they should be realized for what they are too and held dear in that way." Nothing more, nothing less, her smile came brightly again. "I am pleased you are home for good without guarantees. I will not be going on the trip back to the colonies." That was a decision she had made before although the others never left anyway, one of those life's not guarantees. Except it was being suggested, the idea was not abandoned only changed in the reason. "Please," realizing they were standing there at the bulletin board area and his rabbit pie still awaiting him. "Have your pie and tell me if I still cook them as you remember. I will have a drink of the cider."

She was a beauty, did she even know? And that bright smile only amplified the fact. He shot a look to the basket, then back to her, his own grin coming into play. "You need not tell me twice." He chuckled, taking her by the hand this time and backing up as he pulled her along with him toward the bar and the pies waiting there. He didn't doubt for one moment that they wouldn't be just as he remembered them ... she was ... just as he remembered her. Why would anything else be different?

She easily followed his lead, pleased for the moments shared. Once he was done, and she had her drink, she would see if he wanted to take a walk and talk more before he had to be wherever his next destination took him. Most likely the walk would take them down to the lake where they could cool off with a swim.



Date: 06-26-10
Poster: Matoskah McDonough
Post # 8

The Island

Mat was making his own canoe. He was building it where he and Yas had their little ritual across from Ashford Island on the port coastline heading up around the bend to the Lighthouse. He had cut down a straight birch, twenty four inches in trunk diameter and free of branches for twenty feet. He slit the skin with a knife and using a square of thick bark with a chisel edge cut into it, removing the bark in one piece. This way he will not have to seam pieces together for a fifteen foot canoe. A skeleton was made of wood pieces, forty or so ribs that he ran the bark over sealing all seams. This was what he was in the process of doing this day. Soon he would have his own canoe to take across the waters even if he had bought two well made other canoes from the Wainwright and one from Bovee.

Yas had been out hunting and after dropping the skinned and prepared game off at the camp, headed off to find his brother. He had a feeling where Mat would be and was pleased to see he was right. Moving silently he came up beside his brother while studying the canoe. "Need to work with your hands?" He smiled as he teased, then nodded. "Looks good."

"That is true but I have means until this canoe is ready to be put in the water." Motioning to the brush where he hid the other two canoes upside down and one would not notice them for the way he camouflaged with other brush. "Have you seen Patwin yet? I wish for us three to investigate the island. Hunt. See if the spirits like us there." Which there was a clear view of the island off in the distance. Clear waters rolled in and back out in that constant motion. It would take them an hour by canoe, the waves not as bad in the direction behind the island to the shore here. Spot he chose for their spirit flight done a few weeks ago.

He glanced over his shoulder and nodded, "Good." He opened the buckskin bag he was carrying, offering Mat one of the rabbit pies from inside. Courtesy of Kuwan. "Kuwan said eat. And no, I haven't seen him yet. I'm sure he'll be here soon enough. He can smell one of these from miles away. " There were several inside.

Patwin swiped the back of his neck with the palm of his hand, pulling the stroke down along his chest. The heat of the day lingered on his skin, but the breeze felt good against the sweat that beaded on his brow, against his scalp, down his spine. With that breeze traveled the scent of pies, rabbit pies, Kuwan's rabbit's pies to be exact. After the lengthy fast that accompanied his time with the spirits, that particular aroma caused his nostrils to flare with appreciation, his mouth to water in anticipation. His steps were silent through the trees and underbrush until he found the source and that 'source' was already indulging in the pies. He stepped into the clearing and started toward the brothers. "The Great Spirits have spoken and guided me to this very spot to share those pies with the both of you."

He had sat in the grass while he enjoyed his own, tipping his head back to watch the sky. And when he heard that familiar voice, he started to laugh. "You see, it only takes a good breeze, and there he is. " He held up the bag, grinning. "There are plenty. I would ask if you are hungry, but I know when it comes to rabbit pie, you are always hungry."

"Patwin!" Certainly pleased to see his 'brother' as he secured the strip of bark in place. "There is much to tell, much to share while we eat rabbit pie." He had a small fire going for he suspected they might not cross the ocean to the island until the setting of the sun. They would spend the night there, hunting and sleeping on the other side along the shore to know instinctively on another level if the island is for them. "Come share your story," first and foremost to begin the journey of this night.

By the time the verbal invitations came, Patwin was already at the twins' side. He grinned as he collected the bag and stuffed a hand in to retrieve a pie. "Nice." He said to Mat, nodding toward the construction underway.

"I didn't bring potcheen. We'll have to drink water." Not that he minded. While he liked potcheen, he also preferred to be clear headed. "So ... share now, or after you're finished?" He looked thoughtful. "No, share while you eat, or we'll never hear the tale."

That's when he pointed out the other two canoes, "perhaps your tale can wait until we are on the island called Ashford." Which the swing of his hand pointed out the very place out in the ocean. "It needs new name," but hearing Yas he had to laugh, "eat and tell your tale, I will get the other two canoes ready." He was up from his ongoing project to uncover the other two birch canoes and drag them down near where the water lapped the sand.

Taking a bite of his pie, he shook his head while he chewed. "Mmmph." He began, still savoring the juicy rabbit tenderness. He squatted near Yas, watching Mat head back to work. He remained there, chewing, watching, taking his time. The story would wait for now. Kuwan's pies came first. If the brothers wished to speak while Patwin masticated, they could go right ahead.

He just chuckled and looked at Patwin. "The island is deserted and we want to explore it. It might prove to be a good place for us." He shrugged slightly. "We need a place of our own, though James Callihan has no problems with us staying there." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "So, we are going to start looking."

He came up upon them with a bottle of potcheen which had been packed under the canoe along with a few other things all in the middle of one, blankets and the like for an overnight trip. "If the island is suitable and we are granted it, we shall sail to the Colonies and bring back any from our tribe or allied tribes that wish to live their lives in the old ways and not be forced to change to the white man's but live in respect of different ways as they do here."

The last one he swallowed down rather hard, forcing it down in order to speak. "So we explore the island." And in classic Patwin form he used the motion of his head to indicate the direction of the island, "and then we go back to find any who wish to return?" He gave a grunt, following with a wave of hand to ask for a swig of that  potcheen to follow the pie down.

"That is what we are going to attempt. There will some who will not wish to leave but we hope there will be more who wish to leave, get away from what is to come as the white man move deeper into the land." He frowned, shaking his head. "Perhaps they will keep the old ways in memory, but we may keep them here without pressure to change."

Just when you think it is a deserted shoreline, guess what? "Whooo whoooo," came a familiar call, and the owner of the hootie call, was sitting visible to all. Just sorta walked right up since they were configuring stuff about their people and all, it would have been rude to interrupt you know.

They weren't on the island yet but they may hijack Charlie to go with them. She scare many bears. "It is what we hope and good plan." So he was hoping his plan was a 'good' plan. He took a drink of the potcheen before handing it off to Patwin, just as the hoots came. "It is early for owl," as he turned in that direction, "it is Charlie."

Of course it was Charlie, whoooooooo else would it be, "Hey," rising she ambled to where they were sharing pies and potcheen. Not that she imbibed.."How is every one?" It had been some time since she had seen them all, but she had not forgotten any one ...

"We are well, Charlie. You?" He held out the pouch with the pies. "Are you hungry?"

She grinned at the three, nodding at Yas"A bit hungry thank you," reaching in the poke for a pie, they always had good food ...

"Kuwan's rabbit pie," as if everyone knew how famous they were. "You wish to come for ride to the island," pointing out the obvious to Charlie before he was back to where he had hidden the canoes to get the oars, all four, two for each canoe and a bundle of supplies in each too. "When you are ready," he obviously was but he was back for his bottle of potcheen and a pie to devour before they set out.

Charlie was always game for adventure, nodding her head as she ate the pie, obviously they hadn't heard about her boating mishaps, ought to be fun to say the least, "what is it you are looking for?" figuring she needed to know what she might be agreeing to ...

He gave his brother an odd look before he stood, wiping his hands on his britches. The bag was lifted since there were still a few more pies in there.

Patwin stood as Yas did, almost at the same moment, as if they were thinking the same thing at the same time. He eyed the bag a moment, then looked to Charlie and Mat. "We are searching to see if the island is suitable for living." He offered to the female. "Charlie, it is good to see you again."

"That is why, to build our village there. To live in peace and harmony with nature and be able to come here when necessary." They were half white and a father to see to, although he was being seen to by one fair. He wasn't sure why Yas and Patwin were giving him odd looks or maybe they were giving each other ones.

Charlie nodded her head, she knew how they felt, not exactly fitting in, and kind of on the outside looking in, but for Charlie that was an art form, and she had perfected it well. "It is good to see you as well," humming to Mat, "it is a wise decision, you can come and go when you need to." Which is what she did, most of the time ...

He started to one of the canoes, wiping his hands on the sides of his thighs, then took hold of the edge of the boat, stepping deeper into the water to begin guided it out. Patwin wasn't giving any looks, except to that bag of pies and that was for obvious reasons! "When the mad dogs begin their frothing and foaming, our people will be far enough away to be safe." Then he looked to Mat. "It is so?" Though Patwin had wished to return to the colonies, it was to be with his people, their people. To have them here, safe from the actual happenings witnessed in his visions, would be far better.

He followed Patwin to the water's edge, though before he joined Patwin, he tossed the bag into the canoe and grinned. Since the other wasn't done, they'd be two to one. "We keep the pies." He was full so he didn't care who finished them off.

Patwin grinned to Yas, and offered a single nod of agreement, only then cutting a look to Mat and Charlie. They had the pies, life at the moment was good.

As Patwin and Yas took off in one canoe he helped Charlie get in the other before he was pushing it out into the waters. Good running start then jumping in and like a madman dipping his oar back and forth.

These men were as brothers, and like brothers, their competitive natures were high. The faster, harder, more determined Matoskah's strokes in the water, the more determined, harder, faster Patwin rowed. He kept a smiling eye on the occupants of that other canoe as he kept the pace.

She moved along, hopping to which ever canoe was empty a seat. It made sense closer to the spirit world, looked like it was Mat and her in a canoe.She was fairly nimble, chuckling to her self, as she grabbed an oar. Enjoying the rush forward in the water. "Yee haw we are making waves," like she had to add that ...

The wooden crafts were well made and sliced through the water with little effort at all, leaving a sleek, rippling wake behind their progress. There was a great hope building within Patwin that the island would serve their purpose. Even though his visions had shown him the future of what was held for his people if they stayed, unless the three of them could find an alternative, stay they would have to in the colonies, and survive.

"Not too big," as there were real waves in the ocean to get that canoe through. They had wake going and were steering straight. He made sure to guide the canoe straight into a wave than let it hit them broadside.

To Charlie it was an adventure, with friends, what could be better, she understood a lot of their feelings, recalling her own but she made friends as they did, but it was not the same when you knew that your people would suffer, here at least they had a hope to be themselves ...

Patwin needed to share those visions with Yas and Mat, although Mat planned to return here even if his brothers stayed. He hoped it didn't come to that. Within an hour as the sun lowered on the horizon, they reached the sandy mixed with rocky shore on this side. A ship would not be able to beach itself but canoes could go where even boats could not. He jumped out to pull up the front onto the short in beaching it. There was a squawking of birds just within the forest up from the beach and rocks.

Yas was laughing as the canoe cut across the water and for the island. They had a bit of an advantage but why not use it! It was certainly different from this vantage point then how they had seen it previously. He grinned at Patwin as he motioned to the bag. "Don't forget your snack."

Charlie balanced and hopped out of the canoe, looking at the small beach area, air bubbles from the back wash of the water meant clams ..and maybe something else, good eats to be certain ..

Friend though she was, and well liked by the three of them, Patwin would not share his visions while in Charlie's company. Such was a ritualistic practice that he would save to discuss with his brothers, in private. Patwin snatched up the bag, then tucked and tied the corners to his waistband. The oars he placed within the canoe, then turned to look about at the island bathed in the setting sun. He found himself nodding in acceptance, even without realizing at first he had been.

Charlie watched the waves skitter over her booted feet, so much for the boots right? Lifting her gaze to the forest area, it appeared healthy, stepping towards it, deciding she should really wait for the others ...

The visions could wait until they were back with Kali and Kuwan to share them too. Here they had another project at hand. "Let us know what wildlife you see here," aimed at Charlie but for them all as he started to climb up a very steep embankment comprised of boulders, fallen trees and ground cementing all. He had to jump across some and climb other parts before reaching the grass above. Here he had a view of the manor in the distance. Ominous thing especially in the falling light as the sun was setting.

"Clams," she gurgled, as she hopscotched as Mat did, "bird," not edible but wild life. "EWW ... why do they destroy the view ..." the manor didn't belong to the wilds ...

"It has been here. I was told that scientists had it last and wanted to experiment out in the wilds so they didn't disturb anyone. They have been gone many moons, many years. Something still lingers." So he felt as an owl went flying by and hooting its warning to them. The kind that put a chill to your spine. "We go from here to the other side." Which he wasn't going to linger at this point. He had been assured the island was safe by normal means.

Patwin had maneuvered up to the left of Mat, examining the sandy earth and the foliage that grew from it, then how the earth changed, and what trees and plants took root. When Charlie spoke, and then Mat, Patwin stood from his studious crouched position to see the manor. His gaze lifted and followed the owl, then dipped his head in respect and thanks for the call. "Lead the way, White bear, we are as your shadows from here."

"We avoid that." He muttered as he followed Mat and Patwin up onto the rise above and glanced at the mansion. Eventually they might have to deal with it but maybe they could just burn it down. He watched the owl as well, smiling to himself.

"It is good that owl speaks, there is wisdom here," meaning the owl, more then willing to just play tag along with the three, aware that they were looking for something special ...

That's when their journey through the woods began. The island was overrun with rabbits, or more accurately hares, they were bigger than the usual wild bunny. There were plenty of deer, some elk and even moose. Grouse, ducks, swans, geese, the list went on as they made their way through rich fauna. All kinds of greens, some of which he had never seen before. There was a field of birch trees, that of oak, spruce and popular. Maple trees that if they harvested the sap they could have syrup on their pancakes. A rustle here and a rustle there, things fluttering up in the trees unseen. This was rich earth, untouched earth for the most part.

To Charlie it would take at least a week, of exploring, but she sensed the animals there, the under growth would offer much in the way of herbs, some that did not like sunlight, every once in a moment of time, she would bend to pick a leaf or flower, Sniffing her find, she tucked it in her bodice to inspect later on when time permitted. It was a good place from what she could see ...

He studied some of the trees, taking note of growing fruit. Some would be ready soon, some not until fall. A deer watched as they passed, ears twitching before it was bouncing off again. He wondered briefly if its ancestors had swam across the water though it was a great distance. Or perhaps those who built the manor brought them here.

There would be little the three of them, (four with Charlie!) would miss about this place. The tiniest details could be taken in, even in the diminishing light. The bark of the trees, any stacking of fungus on that bark, the thickness of moss or the sprouting of mushrooms. Patwin squatted, dug a finger beneath a shroom and plucked it free from its insertion. A sniff, a squinting look, then he nibbled at the edge, seemed pleased, then popped the entire delicacy in his mouth. "There is much to be used here, Matoskah, Yaskitchi. It looks that it will support many for many years to come."

She glanced to Patwin, sample a mushroom, smirking to her self, as she moved along, looking at different things. A treasure trove of herbs, and leaves that amused her. Twirling a leaf between her fingers she kept an eye on the men not wanting to get lost in her own realm...

He found a sprig of mint which he gave each a piece. "No wabbit mouth.." followed by a chuckle. They could eat shrooms and envision along with the stuff Mat carried for his pipe. He came upon an inland water hole, one big enough to go swimming in with a waterfall down one end. Mountain to explore although none were as high as the ones inland. There were probably caves too. It would take many months to really explore the island and where the manor was .. only one small part easily avoided. Although there was something about the place. Mat followed the brook that led away from the water hole that would lead them to the other side of the island.

Stuffing the mint leaf to lips she used her tongue to rub it against her teeth, She paused to look at the brook, keeping Mat in sight. Fresh water with no sign of taint from the sea, or sand from the beach, probably have good fish in it at the right time of year ...

Mint!   He refilled his water skin at the pool, grinning as he studied the water. Though it was growing dark, fish could be seen feeding and there were likely frogs to be hunted.  Fireflies were beginning to appear here and there. "Good sign." After placing the mint sprig into his water skin, he caught one of the fireflies in his hand, watching it a moment before releasing. Then he stood and followed the brook a short distance behind his brothers.

They slowly spread apart as Mat headed further down the path. Patwin was correct in that this place was abundant for having been left deserted by human life. Charlie said something about searching for the rare herbs that only grew in such dark places like this forest had to offer and went to find some. Mat managed to disturb a family of coons that scolded then scattered back into the woods. His brothers would probably know the disturbance came from him up ahead. The sun was setting further to the horizon giving off the glow of golds and reds that filtered through the trees and marked patterns on various trunks. Ones that took on shapes of the spirits. The trees gave way as he found himself standing on an embankment about fifty feet up from a rocky shore but the view from that spot also showed that if he kept to his right it would gradually lead him down to sands that were white with rich vegetation behind.

For the most part, all signs pointed toward this island as a possibility. Patwin was pleased as they continued their search, although it wouldn't show on his features, little did. There were predators on this island as well.

He kept moving along the trail, pleased with what they had found so far. The disturbance had him chuckling, remembering other times back home. In fact, the island reminded him of home, even with the addition of that mansion. He finally caught up with Mat, and stood staring out over the ocean, not speaking. He didn't need to at this point.

Patwin traced his fingers down the long stripes that scarred the bark of a tree. He turned, eyeing the darkening area, scanning the growing shadows. None of them feared the creatures of the night, for they were one as well, but like any mammal when the scent of a threat is present, Patwin would be cautious, and he'd warn his brothers as well. He didn't seek out the twins, but called out in a sound that they would recognize, continuing on with his own investigation.

Mat was paying homage to the spirits of the island that welcomed them. Setting the pack on the ground before removing the tobacco and herb mixture from his pouch. His voice rose to blend with the night in an ancient prayer of thanks as he let the gentle breeze take the specks with it. It was also a ritual of claim for his people as the island seemed to welcome them and would the others they brought in time.

He wouldn't interrupt his brother, though he did take a moment to answer Patwin. Then, while Mat, continued his prayer, he turned to look back over the island. There would be plenty of time to explore in the days to come but he took a moment, while the sun turned everything to a glorious gold, to mark any special places in his memory. His hope now was that their people would agree to come back here to a place that would become their sanctuary.

Date: 06-27-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 9

Hot Summer Day

It was hot! Don't misunderstand. Conor Quinn was no stranger to hot. He worked hard, long, and with determination. He worked with leather, heavy as well as soft. He worked from before the sun rose to when it disappeared beyond the horizon, and some days longer! That made for hot work. But today, for whatever reason, he found he wasn't able to tolerate it. He had left his most recent order on the work bench and ventured to the lake. He didn't even need his brothers to just throw himself in. Even that hadn't helped much, he practically steamed as the water evaporated from his skin, his hair and then he came to the Thistle. His next attempt to cool off.


Kuwan was use to being up very early and going to bed late to see to all that was required of her. It had been that way all her life so she didn't see it as work but as living. The basket propped against her hip held a new version of rabbit pie. A little spicier and rolled up into fat cigar shapes. The crust a flaky pastry than the thicker crust of the pies. Something to share with Hazel and anyone about this early afternoon. For the heat, she had Kali help her braid her hair and loop up the lengths like ropes to keep off her neck and shoulders that the usual mane heated. Kali had stuck a daisy in one near the scalp which was stark white against black. Barefooted again as she was wearing as little as possible. The soft doeskin top left a peek of skin at her waist and the skirt to about her knees with the slit on the sides which allowed better movement and air flow. Sun was to her back as she stepped in from the side street, smile as bright seeing who was here besides Alex. "Good afternoon Conor." Heading for the bar to set the basket there as she spoke her greeting then one to Alex. The scent would filter through the room.

And Conor thought he was hot before! When the door opened and the Nature Goddess floated in, Conor Quinn felt himself break out in a sweat. Not literally, more figuratively, but still! He came to his feet and offered her a dip of head in returned greeting. "And to you, Kuwan." Something smelled really, really good. But then, Kuwan usually did, and most times it had nothing to do with rabbit pies. "What have you in that basket today?" He didn't sit back down but moved around the table, crossing to where she was at the bar.

"I have new treat, I have not given a name yet. Maybe you can help me give it name." Turning back the coverlet that kept them warm but the taste would warm in a way that Conor might actually break out in a sweat but a tasty kind to trigger it. Once the cloth was turned back she moved the basket closer to him as she also stepped closer with the slide of the basket against the bartop. Her scent was of the fields she had been in, of wild flowers, clover and fresh air all mingled with the underlying scent all her own. She was watching him keenly now to see his reaction.

Give it a name? Did that mean he got to taste them ... ah ... she slid the basket over to him! It must! He smiled to her with a cant of head as he reached in and collected, what was this? He breathed in, and that wasn't to take  in the aroma of the meat pie. Although it would appear so since he smoothly brought the item beneath his nose to begin with the application of that sense with this taste. He bit in and chewed. He chewed for just a few moments before both brows arched and his eyes widened. "What's..." He turned the roll to peer into the center of it, but that gave him no clues. "What's in this, Kuwan?" He took another bite, even as he reached for the tankard that Alex was wise enough to place near his resting arm on the counter. The tender knew the signs, obviously. The beads of sweat on the forehead, the raised brows, the wide eyes, the look of surprise. That bite was followed by a long drink of cool ale. Not to wash away the taste, more so to compliment the spice and ease the tongue of its bite.

Brows furrowed, "I did not make them well?" Feeling it had been a failure with the spices she used. "They are tangy peppers I got in the marketplace," small hot peppers that were then ground up and mixed with other herbs. She felt bad as a hand reached out to rest against his cheek, she could feel the moisture of his skin. "Please forgive?"

He stood straight from his lean, trading hands so that he could reach up and cup her hand resting on his face. "!" He shook his head, still holding her hand there. "These are very well made. They are just spicy." His hand lowered then and he opened his mouth, fanning there to make his point. "They are delicious, I just wasn't expecting them to be so ... tasty."

"Yes, yes.." her smile growing as she nodded. The tone of relief there that he liked them, not the opposite. "They wake the mouth and skin," she knew how they affected one eating them as she had tried them out and found that in spite of that odd reaction they were very good too. "You drink water with them or, the ale." Which she had not tried but anything cold and liquid was a good choice. A shot of potcheen would probably enhance the sweating part. She didn't pull back her hand with his upon it. "You have good name for them?" Hopeful look that he might.

"Let me think..." He took another bite, as if that would help with the naming of it. "Pastel picante" He finally said, as he continued to chew the last of the most recent bite. "I remember that once, when I was in my shoppe, a gentleman from Spain stopped in for a saddle, made to his specifications and ... he had a spicy little ... uhm ... " He cut a look to Kuwan, then smiled. "... pie ... with him. I didn't want to taste his pie, preferred payment that I could place in my pocket. He told me, his ... er ... offer was a pastel picante. Spicy pie." His smile only widened as he looked from her to the rolled meal in his hand. "Do you think that will work?" Or perhaps it was hot cake, but either way, it worked for Conor if it worked for Kuwan.

"Pas.. tel Pic... ante." Trying out the new word which twisted up the tip of her tongue, having her to laugh at the end. "Spicy fingers," as these that she made were not round like a pie but looked like fat fingers. She could say those words better than the other which had her lips to pucker getting them out. "As long as you like, you can take some home with you." As there were plenty and the rest would be for Hazel. "I have news.."

He chuckled low as she attempted the word and then gave it her own name. "What news is that, Kuwan?" He leaned so he could see in the basket and took out a good half dozen of them to take with him when he left so that Hazel could take away the rest when she decided.

"The island is good for us to build a village there provided the Crown allow us the land. I wish to explore it soon myself, with you if you still wish." They had talked a little on that before as fingers caressed before slipping away from his cheek where his hand had been over hers and now not as he picked out a number of the many spicy fingers.

Wonderfully cruel punishment, that caress. "Is there a question that you may not be able to inhabit the island? I can't imagine the crown would deny your people the land. It's just a matter of time I would think and you will be settled there." He did tell her that he would go with her to see the island, but now, that the possibility seemed a certainty, his stomach pitched with the thought of crossing that water to the land on the other side. It was a curse, this inability to travel by water, and it was on him alone. Neither of his brothers suffered with such an affliction. He couldn't think of anyone he had wronged to warrant it, but maybe it was one of his kin that had the transgression and he the one that received the curse ... or perhaps another lifetime if you were one to believe in that. Who knew! The fact was though, Conor Quinn and the Sea did NOT agree. And the sea always got the better of that argument.

"There is always a question before something is certain, as in we have moved there." That was how she saw it for so many things could happen in that short span to alter that path. She was trying to read that look as she stood so very close still. "You look ill over something fleeting?" Not being certain how to word it. "I believe the Crown will allow us to build our village on the island with no others there to complain about us coming. There are two canoes available, you have been in a canoe before?" Wasn't the same as a big ship.

Good God No it was not the same! It was worse! Wasn't it? "A canoe? I've been on the lake in one, aye. But not the ... " forced swallow. "open water." He rolled his shoulder with a twist of neck to ease away the tension there. "When are you thinking you may want to go?"

"I wish to go soon so that I may pick out a spot for my wigwam." It was pretty much first come, first claim and the braves had not mentioned one spot over the other, other than where it would be. "What day soon do you have time, morning with the rise of the sun would be best. The waters are not so bad between the island and the shore for it blocks the bigger waves on the other side." Of course if they deviated from near middle across they could see bigger waves. Actually it was shallow compared to the ocean at large between island and shore.

Bigger...waves? In a small canoe? Things were just getting even better. Calm exterior, rioting mind. "I've a few orders to tend to but I would be available Wednesday morning, perhaps. If that suits you?" He would make himself available for her. "Midweek" He added, just incase she wasn't as familiar with 'Wednesday'.

"Yes, it suits me well and I might know by then if the idea has been accepted by the Crown. We are to meet, a talk amongst our People," although there were only five of them presently. "To learn of things to come.." she was told that Patwin had a vision. "I will pack rabbit pies and some of the new spicy fingers." She would make sure they had enough food for the journey.

"The spicy fingers?' Conor nodded. "Aye, then I'll pack us a good supply of something to drink." He smiled to her. The thought of spending time with this woman, Nature's own, was daunting to a common man like Conor. He reveled when he imagined it and yet, at the same time, the idea made him uncommonly nervous. He had never been unnerved around a woman before but this Indian lass caused him to stumble over his words and his actions.

"You are all right? The spices have not disturbed your stomach," she was watching him become nervous and read it wrong as if his stomach was churning from eating the spicy food. A step closer had her peering up into his eyes as if that would bring clarity.

Closer and with just a breath in, he could inhale the scent of her all the better. "I'm ... aye ... sure, Kuwan, I'm quite alright." She captured his gaze, and like in a trance, he was unable to break, he just lost himself in those dark eyes. How did a man from her tribe deserve her? Were they all as powerful of spirit? Or more so, they would need to be more so! He gained an all new respect for the men of Kuwan's tribe. He had come nose to nose with a couple of them already, and they were a bit intimidating to be sure. But could any man ... "I've been hot all day is all ... it's ... er ... hot." Another nod, as if that action would make it all make sense to her. The fingers of his right hand curled into his palm, she was so close, how easily he could lift his hand and stroke her face, or finger those braids. "I enjoyed the spicy fingers alot." He added, using his hand to tap the wrapped food on the counter. It gave his hand something to do!

She wasn't really assured he was all right for he seemed off center, in a way of putting it. Assured, however, it was not her spicy fingers that did him in. She drew in a slow breath as she soaked in his words. "It is type of day to spend cooling in a brook or lake. I am pleased you like the spicy fingers. I will help cool you." How quickly she moved, silently, there one moment, gone the next to go where the window to the kitchen was for there was sink there too. A cloth dipped in cold water was brought back which she started to sponge over his forehead then around his neck, moving with ease around him and blowing a breath on his skin in the trail of the wet cloth.

Cool him? He was melting! He had watched her drift away, allowing him a breath of normalcy, only to have her return and start to administer to him in such a gentle, caring way that were he not of flesh and blood, he would have done just that. Melted. He closed his eyes, moved his head as needed so she could better reach him, and allowed himself, this once, to enjoy the application of sponge followed by the cool tickle of breath. His grandmother would not have to force him with a guilt trip to seek out the confession booth. For his thoughts wandered with the strokes, and where they were wont to roam was not at all a gentlemanly path. The fragrance of her skin, the occasional brush of her clothing. He forced his mind into submission and opened his eyes. "That helps, Kuwan. Thank you." Partial Liar! While it did help on the outside, he was burning on the inside. "I never would have asked, but do appreciate your kindness."

She enjoyed tending to him as that might be apparent in the time she took, gentle and not rushed. She thought it would help to cool him so set to the task. She was totally innocent to such thoughts her actions might invoked. "It would be better to soak in the lake. I would join you but I must be back for when we all eat." They ate together by habit if they could, whenever they could. "Where shall I come the morning of Wednesday?" To meet him of course, finishing up the sponge cooling as it was then handed over to Alex. "You need not ask me for such as this," something she could do for him.

The fact she was innocent to the way her touch caused his mind to wander made it all the more enticing, did it not? He cleared his throat softly. "I will meet you at the canoes, tell me where they are, and from there we will go over." Did she need a chaperone? She may want to consider it!

Such would not enter her mind as it was not a custom of theirs. "They are between the Ruiaidin Fishing Village and the Lighthouse," realizing there was the map, fingers captured his as she led him over to take a look. Easier this way. Right behind Ashford Island upon the coast it dipped in almost to a point, "they are here in the brush." His hand released of course as she turned to smile up his way.

It was the second time she'd led him over to the map, and it took him a moment to lift his attention to where she pointed but not so long to return his gaze to hers when she smiled up at him. "Then that's the spot, Kuwan. On Wednesday morning, just as the sun rises. You bring the food, I'll bring the beverage." That smile of hers could mesmerize an everyday man. And Conor was only that, an everyday man. "You better get going, Kuwan, I don't want your brothers to blame me for you being late." He used the 'brothers' with respect, knowing that was how she considered them, part of her family.

"They might wish to skin hide," teasing him as she was learning how. She left the basket with the fine spicy pastries in it as she would collect it another time. Usually Hazel put other things in it for her to take back to the others to dine upon. She was quick to go to tiptoes to leave the touch of her lips upon his cheek before like a fawn she was gone. Long legs took her quickly away to disappear out the side door.

Skin hide? Crap! What was skin hide? It didn't sound pleasant! But he didn't have long to fret about it, that brush of lips snatched his mind away from any worry! He watched her leave, then turned to lean against the wall. Weak. A glance over and he saw Alex cleaning glasses, and the man was grinning! Dammitall! Conor snorted under his breath, a sound of amusement. He pushed up. "Don't touch those spicy fingers, Man. Those are going with me!"


Date: 07-18-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 10

Exploring the Island

Kuwan was up before the crack of dawn that following Wednesday they had set in taking the trip to the island called Ashford. It was the name from before that had not been changed and in her mind she was already renaming it to one that suited the present. She was told the island was overrun with rabbits. Something that would have her making rabbit pies even more abundantly. Humming softly to herself as she packed the food she promised. Rabbit pies and the Fingers that were spicier. There were also wild vegetables that had been sauteed in wild herbs to a tasty distraction from the pies and complimented them. Once ready she slipped out from her small wigwam and headed for the port coast past the village and before the Lighthouse. She would reach the spot at the crack of dawn. Attire was the longer tan leggings and lightweight moccasin boots strapped up to the shape of her legs. The top matched with the peek of skin through the fringe. The length of hair was braided, woven with strands of beads and leather that dressed it up considering the more plain clothing worn. Practical for not knowing the terrain in a wooded area.

Conor was already at their discussed meeting place. Not wanting to be late, or held up unexpectedly, he had left early, and arrived perhaps much too early. So much so that he had finally taken up a seated lean against a tree and had fallen asleep again. He was there, though, and not late, drifting in and out of sleep, sure he'd hear anyone approaching. Each time his head dipped forward, he woke, scanned the area, then rested his head back, thinking this time he wouldn't drift off. Only to have his head fall forward again, wake up, scan ...

She spotted him as she carried the basket at her hip. Made it easier for the long haul. Smile was already spreading while she moved quietly upon moccasin booted feet. Had he just dipped his head by the time she spotted him? "You have slept here all night to be ready?" It was an earlier hour even for her to be here. Coming up alongside him as the sky now was streaking with the first rays of gold, the sun not risen above the horizon but would be in another hour. She took a glance there for it filled one's spirit and any linger of tired was chased away with newfound energy. She also spotted the canoes before focus was back upon Conor and her smile returning as she waited.

She had him scrambling to his feet, not fully aware and yet, prepared for whatever would come. His heart was pounding, caught off-guard and perhaps other reasons he would deny if questioned. "I ... uh ... no, I didn't sleep ..." He glanced behind him to the tree, then back to her. "didn't sleep here, I mean, not all night." This woman, the epitome of natural beauty and ease, always managed to tip him off-kilter. It wasn't a bad thing, just ever unexpected. By now he should be used to it, but it still surprised him. "I didn't wish to be late, yes." Still struggling to find his words, he drew in a deep breath, closed his eyes, then as he opened them, blew out that breath, once more grounded. "I arrived early so I wouldn't be late, didn't wish to be late. I've been looking forward to this. Here...let me take that." He stepped toward her, reaching for the basket.

She was becoming use to it but figured it was his way about things, endearing in a way than the too macho approach. Such braves of her tribe in the past who tried such, only ended up annoying her. Extremely sometimes and coming here was a nice escape. Yas, Mat, Patwin had not been that way around her although Patwin might be that way around Kali which always had her smiling thinking of the two. "You are not late and now makes me late?" Her smile warm like the sunrays rising behind her, silhouetting her frame. "I am looking forward to this day, very much so." Easing the basket of food from her hip over to him as she glance down the shore to where the canoes were tipped over and in the brush, hiding them somewhat. "Shall I choose a canoe and get it prepared?" She obviously knew how to manage one and in the water too.

"Shall we do so together?" He smiled to her, nodding toward where the canoes were hidden in the brush. He took a step in that direction, switching hands so that nothing was between the two of them. "You are sure this is what you wish to do? Go for the first time with me and not one of your family?"

"They have already gone except Kali and myself. I wish to go with you as you wished to see it too?" A slight uncertainty rose to edge her question for she had thought he was interested as per their last meeting and discussion. "You are use to the forests?" Maybe that had him hesitant if he was not so trained in the wild. She was already heading to the canoes with him at her side. "It will be easier if two lift the canoe to the edge of the water than one to drag it there.." the tease of a smile chased over her lips as they soon reached their destination. The canoe was easy to tip over to right it. Oars were stored beneath. She picked the wider of the two for more stability.

The basket was set aside for now, and he rolled the canoe over, taking up the oars and placing them inside. "It's the water I'm not fond of, Kuwan, not the forest." Conor spent plenty of time in the forest as a lad, not surviving, granted, but at times a young boy's play could be imaged as surviving. The basket was nestled in one corner so that it didn't move at all, then Conor tugged the canoe to the water's edge. His hand was offered to her for her to get in, if anyone was going to be dragging it in to the water fully, it would be Conor.

"You have fear of the water?" She was surprised but not making fun of him either. The slight furrow of her brows showed her concern. "I am good paddle of canoe." Not quite sure of the word that would fit for one that knew how to manage a canoe expertly, turn it on a dime and through any waves with ease. She helped with getting the canoe to the water's edge instead of getting in just yet. "You will be safe with me or I will make you a hundred rabbit pies." That number being like the stars in the sky at night to her. Taking his hand as she got into the back, because she would be controlling it from there if they were to make it across. He could take hold of the side in a running start then hop into the middle, work his way to the front once balance was gained after the initial rock.

He found himself smiling with her offer. "I would that you could make me a hundred rabbit pies even with a safe journey over." With her in place, he started them into the gentle tumble of waves, jumping in without the slightest tip of boat with his effort. He settled in, allowing her to row them for now. It seemed to him that was her wish, and yes, he could manage his stomach better if he should have to lean over the side to empty it. He had no way to know if everything had been seen to as requested, and could only hope, not that he could have checked or could have handled it himself. Faith was something a man had to have in great supply when he couldn't take care of things himself. Once they were well underway and his insides stayed where they belonged, inside ... he spoke. "I have no fear of the water, Kuwan, more the motion of the water and my stomach usually aren't the best of friends."

She was impressed with his agility and easier to keep the canoe steady for it as he was in. With only one rowing it would go slower but she didn't mind. Deep long strokes were taken evenly from one side to the other, using the oar dipped as a rudder as needed. She kept to the center of waters behind the island to the shore for the going was easier. "I have twenty pies packed for you. This is close?" Teasing glint surfaced in dark eyes trained on the island and water between they were moving over. It was why she was good at this as she maneuvered around a giant sea turtle that if she hadn't noticed it, it could have capsized them. Still, it wasn't deep even yet near a half mile from shore. The waters were crystal clear and one could see the various fish and sea life swimming below. The sand dollars, the starfish, smaller jelly fish, sea bottom crawlers and the smaller fish of the ocean. Large ones compared to the lake's. "I will keep the canoe steady as possible." Which she maneuvered it through an oncoming wave as she spoke. Slicing directly through it by angling the canoe to face the larger wave had little motion had she not.

Conor trusted her completely, the very reason he hadn't taken up an oar. Had he, they would be swimming around with that turtle, those starfish, the jelly fish ... better she had control for sure. "Twenty pies will do nicely to start." He chuckled, watching the large turtle as they skimmed by it. Her reassurance about keeping the boat steady was greatly appreciated. He was counting on her! His jaw tightened as she maneuvered the waves, as well as his arm and back muscles. They'd be on land soon enough ... and all would be well again.

Luckily she didn't disappoint them and put them in the water. More, keeping the canoe steady which was easier once out further and even more so as they drew closer to the island. Less waves or choppy waters. "I am told this island has many hares running around, too many." They didn't have the usual predators and so multiplied unchecked. "I will be able to make many rabbit pies." They also kept the furs to sew into garments or sell. Conor was looking a bit pale and green around the gills, so she heard the saying, and got to witness it firsthand. Luckily by that time they reached the shore. One could hear all the birds singing and chattering as the sun peeked over the horizon.

It was the sound of wildlife that brought the color back to Conor's complexion. He watched the shore come closer and closer until he pressed up and went over the side with a splash knee deep, pulling the canoe the rest of the way to the sand, guiding it to shore. His gaze scanned the area, passing over what he searched for at first, but no sooner did his gaze sweep over it, his eyes shot back to it. At the edge of the sand, where shore met forest, just before the tree line, a large plaid was spread, another basket already present as well as two vases filled to overflowing with flowers from the island, the large blooms supported within the crystal by the mere compression of so many stems and blossoms pressed one against the other. On one side of the plaid was a large umbrella of sorts, the long wooden handle stuffed into the soft earth of sand and dirt, providing shade from the possibility of heat later in the day. Conor smiled, sending out a silent thank you for the job well done and once the canoe was secured on solid ground, he once again offered a hand to Kuwan, the other taking up the basket inside the boat.

Kuwan stayed still as Conor was out to drag the canoe in further. Being in the back she had to wait a few before she too was out into the shallow water. Her boots were coated with a water repellant substance worked into the leather. It was the call of a very large colorful bird that first caught her attention and mesmerized a moment before the oddity of seeing an umbrella here in the wild, just up to the edge of the woodline. "Look, someone is here!" Excitement laced with a touch of disappointment that they were not the only ones to explore. She didn't notice the flowers as being in vases at first but thought they were growing like a very colorful clump. She was by his side at this point as when he offered his hand, hers readily took his. She was looking, eyes darting back and forth to see if the one or ones present could be seen or would show themselves.

"No ... " He took her hand, curling his around hers, and started toward the plaid. No doubt the native lass would have preferred to make use of an obliging log, allowing the flora to remain rooted to the earth rather than being cut from their source. But Conor didn't think about all that when he was making his plans. He had made preparations as if she were any female, that may have been his first mistake. She was not, and he knew it deep down, just any female. "No, Kuwan, I arranged for this, a place for our picnic." He nodded to the other basket. "The drinks that were my part of the day."

"Oh!" Her eyes and smile lit up. "You were here yesterday?" At least as far as the edge of the woods. She was delighted and very surprised. They picked flowers but she never saw so many picked before. "You... picked... flowers... for... me?" Words were spaced out as it dawned on her that he had set this up, not someone else here. She could feel the tears sting her eyes for no one had picked flowers like this for her before. Moving right along with him as she could feel the heat rising to her cheeks that had nothing to do with the sun which was fully out at this point. On impulse she stopped, hand tugged his to halt his steps before she was hugging him tight, eyes squeezed shut as she buried her face against his chest while getting her emotions under control.

Oh shit! It hit now that she may be upset that he had those flowers cut and gathered rather than leaving them to live. Surprised yet again to have her in his arms, he held her, his hand stroking her back. "I'm sorry, Lass. There were so many, they are everywhere we looked without even having to venture into the trees, and I thought, well ... I'm truly sorry, I didn't mean to upset you." Still holding her, he leaned to lower the basket then wrapped both arms fully around her to console and comfort her for his slight. "Please, dry your tears, Kuwan. Tell me what to do to make it right again and I'll be doing it." He knew she was beyond his understanding when it came to her connection to the earth, to nature. And now he feared he had offended her sensibilities beyond repair. So he held her, it was all he knew he could do.


Date: 09-04-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 11

Island Picnic

She was intent on the hug, face buried against his chest taking in his scent, Leather was part of it she realized too in a distracted sort of way. His words confused her, "so many everywhere, didn't mean to upset," face rising from its buried position to tip back in looking up at him. Eyes round and guileless for a moment as the words soaked in and made some sense. "I am pleased you picked flowers for me, it is first time. There are no tears except of joy." Not tears like crying but her eyes held that bit more of moisture to them. Eyes remained wide wondering if she was reading this wrong. The uncertainty there.

Conor rested his gaze on hers, his lips forming the word 'oh' as her words started to sink in, then he found the sound to follow. "Oh!" He chuckled low, nodding in further response. "I thought you were upset with me." But that was obvious, she caught on faster than he had! "Good! That's ... " He smiled, allowing himself to mold his palm to the shape of her face. "good. I'm relieved." His touch slipped away and he turned to look at the awaiting area. "Shall we then?"


Her hand slid up to cover his a moment as her smile brightened again as they sorted things out correctly. Both on the same page. Her hand slipping away as his did and turning as well back to where they should be. "Yes. I am hungry and there is much to explore." She was fleet of feet in cutting the distance to where all was laid out to kneel on the plaid and start unloading the basket in setting out their fare. "It is beautiful here, my people will like it. I have hope others will come back when Yas, Mat, Patwin and Kali go to seek them out.

Conor pretty much just stood where he was, watching her movements as she practically floated over the sand to the area. Admiring the natural beauty of the area now included a certain native lady as well. He blinked himself back to the reality of 'her people' and started forward to join her. He lowered to a knee, then fully down beside her, taking out the jug of freshly squeezed orange juice that his grandmother had provided. He retrieved two glasses and then eased off the top of the jug, pouring them each a glass. "I can't imagine anyone would not like it here. At least, what I've seen of it so far." He slanted a look to her as he poured, then quick looked back to the level of the juice.

"Even when having to travel a little area of water?" Dark eyes slanted his way with a touch of amusement in them as she place portions of breakfast on his plate. There was bacon slabs cured in maple, wild potatoes sauteed with mushrooms and other herbs and what was a concoction of a flaky crust with cooked egg inside, having a buttery taste with just the right amount of sea salt and pepper. "You are hungry?" As she had heaped his plate up as from her experience, males could eat three times (at least) what she could.

Conor laughed. "Ahhh, there is that." A wink twitched off by habit as he laughed and offered her a nod that he was hungry. "It smells wonderful." Accepting the plate, he passed it under his nose before settling in to eat. "I hope the aroma doesn't float over the water and invite the likes of Yas, Mat and Patwin, for surely they enjoy your cooking as much as I do." He scooped up a bite of potatoes and mushrooms, chewed, swallowed then continued. "From what I have been privileged to notice, Patwin and Kali appear to be rather close." He started the pastry toward his mouth. "I don't wish to be rude and I'm not familiar with your customs but ..." He looked to the egg treat, turning it slightly as if studying it, but not really, he was trying to find his words. What he was about to ask might be considered rude by his own people, he knew he was pushing the boundaries of propriety with his soon to be voiced question, more than likely he was stepping over any lines with her as well, but onward foolish man, onward! "is there anything between you and Mat or Yas? Or someone back in the colonies perhaps?" A quick glance toward her that was so fleeting it probably would not even be noticed before he took a bite of that egg delight.

"I make other than rabbit pies," which she knew he loved but today was a change from them as breakfast and the idea there was more to her than rabbit pies. Although there were some packed away for later if he got hungry again. Being direct with any question wasn't considered rude by her but she wasn't making the connection either. "They are our tribe leaders here. Back in the colonies it is others if they are still living. Things were not so good there as more white men came." For some reason she felt she was not answering him correctly but she was at a loss in the way he presented the question. Eyes sought his as if the error could be read there to correct.

Conor's lips pursed as he thought a moment, then smiled. "Aye, well, okay." He nodded to her, eating his egg in silence until he managed a "delicious" past another bite. He'd not press her further with any relationships she may have beyond those of familial bond. He'd be sure not to knowingly cross any further lines to be offensive to any of the men in her life, brotherly or otherwise. He cleared his plate, added another egg pastry, then finished that as well. "You are an excellent cook, Kuwan, thank you."

Most likely if she had anyone, they would be with her in exploring the island and finding a spot for her wigwam. His compliment had her smiling with a touch of a blush, not that such could show much. "I am pleased you like what I cook." Words were soft under her breath before she was taking bird like bites compared to him. She still had some on her plate but had taken no where near what she had given him. "I think Patwin will take Kali for his mate." Something she had noticed but had not voiced to anyone. She felt comfortable confiding in him as she continued to eat, taking a drink of the juice here and there to wash things down. The flight of a bird or such stirring in the bushes beyond them would capture her attention for a moment only to have it come back to him. The slight flair of nostrils as she drank in the sea sweetened air while soaking in the warmth it held as the hour headed towards noon.

"And I do." Enjoy what she cooked, always. Perhaps she would be exploring with someone else, or perhaps she would be exploring with a friend, especially if that someone else was otherwise busy or across an ocean. He dipped his head to her as she spoke of Patwin and Kali, setting his plate aside and leaning back on his hands. "That is it, exactly. And Kali, Patwin as well. Is that how it works for your people? A ... " He motioned between the two of them, as an example of mutual consent. "well, an agreement between the two? Or is that the male decides or that all is arranged from a young age without any input by the two involved?"

"Some are arranged, more, traded. If a man decides he wants a woman, he offers pelts such as buffalo skins and horses or a rifle if he has one. Then the father decides if it is a good trade. Many do not care how the daughter feels but some do and will not trade unless the man is one she would want to be with. It is a little different for us as Kali and I have no parents and being here we are not under the males' roof as their possession." Doing her best to explain as brows furrowed slightly. "Kali chooses Patwin as he chooses her, but he made the first step, motion," stumbling over how to explain it, "and she responded kindly to him letting her know he likes her. When the day comes, if it is to come, I will have the same freedom." Which had her reflecting a moment before she finished what little bit was left on her plate. It was packed away into the basket with his so they would not attract any of the wild animals here.

Conor smiled, shifting forward as he brought a knee up, resting his arm over it. "Ah, then a man will need not give up a coveted rifle or horse for you? " He watched as she seemed to drift off in thought, then began to clean up. He rolled forward, following her lead and helped to put away their things. "Just his heart?" Looking to her with a cock of head he smiled, putting the lid pack on what little was left of the juice. "Although, men are more likely to hold tight to the offering of their hearts, I would think. Strange creatures we are when it comes to the heart. Have you found it so?" He pushed up to stand. "I'll put what is left of this juice in that water, to keep it cool should we want more." He wrapped the cord around the neck of the bottle to attach to the fallen tree where it had been nestled before for cooling.

"The rifles only make it easier to kill each other." But she understood that if one tribe had rifles and another did not, then they could slaughter the other and take all they have. She didn't like the idea of being traded for such a thing. Buffalo skins and horses, especially the latter were living creatures. A trickle of a smile was back as he helped her with the small task. "The heart is the best to be given but mutually. Few give their hearts but the ones that do, live longer to old age together." How she had noticed things and the ones that were forced where they had not wished to be, die easily especially in a rough life as they lived in the Colonies. Eyes lifting to his as they were a lot closer, captured there a moment or few. "I do not know if it is easier or not, I have only observed. I think Kali gave her heart as well Patwin easy with each other. How is it for your tribe? Do you claim a woman, have it arranged by others or mutual attraction?" Giving a nod to his suggestion on the water as she rose to her feet. They would leave the basket and such here, except she took one of the flowers to slide into her hair. Once that was done she got a large rock to set on top of the basket in a precautionary measure. The rabbit pies were in there. She waited on him next.

He walked backwards a few paces as she secured the basket, and a few paces more for her to join him. But he started speaking while he waited. "Once, there were what we call marriages which were arranged. Especially in families of higher rank, to keep money and power. It was the female, though, that was responsible for a 'dowry', estates certain cases, kingdoms even, some sort of wealth to the man she was to wed." They were soon walking together and he squatted to tie the jug to a sturdy branch that allowed the water to keep the contents cooled. "Now, though, for the most part, it is a mutual decision, between the man and woman. There are some times, though, that the old ways still hold, although more and more it isn't the case. Not the best situation, you know?" He wrinkled his nose with distaste of such a forced arrangement. A glance around searched for their starting point, someplace they could start their exploration, then he looked back to her. "I'm not exactly fond of the idea of spending my life with someone simply because my parents coveted the expanse of her family's land."

"No, it is not a good situation when one is mated to one they wish not to be." She had seen too much of that. "You are not mated?" Being she was assuming he was not but she could be wrong. "Nor would I be but we not worry on that being we are free to choose." Assuming he was free to choose. "Perhaps I should come and offer rabbit pies for you to Eion." Reversing the idea which was so preposterous that it had her giggling, rippling laughter as she shot past him to the edge of where the forest started. A big tree with a protruding knob that would make a good landmark from here, she halted, looking beyond. Tall grass and bushes marked the way before the denser growth of lush trees. What she noticed was the darting of jack rabbits. "We should name the island from Ashford to Kwa'yo."

Actually, to Conor's history, she would be the one offering her wealth ... but the thought of rabbit pies was rather amusing, especially since those treats were worth a goodly amount in Conor's opinion. "More so my grandmother, though, Kuwan..Eion would more than likely just stare at you that you would even want me." He joined her laughter. "My grandmother, on the other hand, would greatly appreciate the fact you cook so well, especially since you are not Irish." A broken branch was pressed into the earth to mark their starting point. She may be able to remember, he wasn't so sure he would keep up with it once in the thick of it. Country boy or not. At home, he'd mark the tree with a knife blade. He wasn't so sure she'd agree with that method so chose another instead. The rabbits retreat stole his attention for a moment, but not for long. "And what does Kwa'yo mean then?" He did his best to pronounce it as she had, but knew he butchered it horribly.

"Your grandmother would not trade any of you away," slanting a glance up his way as he joined her. "Well, another man would not see you how a woman would see you." In answer to the idea of Eion staring at her, which she could imagine and had the laughter bubble up again. "Your grandmother is a good woman." This she said with conviction then back to answer his question. "Kwa' ...yo," turning to him to help in its pronunciation though he was very close. Capturing his hand to press his fingers against her lips as she pronounced it the second time, figuring this might help.

He mouthed the word as she said it, his gaze on the forming of the sound on her lips and not his fingers. Although his finger traced lightly against the movement before he repeated it. "Kwa' yo" his smile lingering as did his gaze but he forced himself to look up to her eyes. A very good alternative at that. "What does it mean?"

Distracted so, she had forgotten to tell him what it meant. "It means rabbit." Which had her smile reach her eyes with a laughing twinkle to them. His hand lowered but she could still feel the touch upon her lips. "You say it perfectly," which he had so the method she had used, worked. "There are many here," so she had been told, so she got to see for herself. "We travel to the other side of the island, it is where we shall settle. She was already picking up on the sounds of the island, the many varied species of birds and the abundance of smaller animals. She was not sure there was anything larger than the deer or more precisely, more dangerous animals.

"To the other side." Conor found his smile lingered with greater ease when in Kuwan's company, and so it did now. "We don't wish to be too far from returning when night falls." Though Conor wouldn't mind, he wasn't sure how Kuwan's family would feel about it. And so they started out, through the forest, to the other side and back.


"It is so, it is harder to steer the canoe at night, to see any swirls in the water," making her hand go around in a spin before stepping onto a path, most likely a rabbit path and taking them into the start of the woods. "The soil is rich here," as she noted the fauna, her steps light and silent on the lush ground as she picked her way through with ease. She avoided any large twigs that might snap, dead leaves were mulch on top of earth. "If it gets too late, we sleep on the beach." Mostly for him she would avoid night canoeing. "How does your making of saddles go?" Keeping idle conversation going in a soft voice so she doesn't startle any creatures yet at the same time they would hear her presence.



Date: 09-04-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 12

Having hunted as a boy, fought as a man, Conor was no stranger to silent steps. He maneuvered along with Kuwan, breathing in the scent of the moist earth which was protected from the sun to some extent by the heavy canopy above them. She mentioned sleeping on the beach which had him cut a look at her. Brows lifted. But he said nothing, continuing on their way. "It's all things leather, Kuwan. Not just saddles. Which is a good thing. One can only make so many saddles." He climbed over a fallen tree, more rabbits scurrying from beneath when surprised from their home. Conor stopped to watch them dart about, and reached back a hand to help Kuwan over, only to find the Indian lass needed no assistance at all. "You should come out to the ranch, Kuwan. You may enjoy the horses and I could show you the shop."

"All things leather," sliding him a glance as she was over the fallen log, before his hand was offered "you make dresses like I wear?" Such a beguiling smile before she darted down another path taking off in a run. He would see her for the first few minutes before she disappeared through trees and brush. If he followed her, he would hear the gurgling of water and when he caught up he would find her just on the other side looking out over a good size pool of water that had a waterfall at the other end feeding it. Butterflies were in abundance here for all the wild flowers that were fed consistently.

He didn't have a chance to answer, but the thought of making leather dresses was rather amusing. He watched as she darted off, chuckling to himself before starting at a slower pace after her. He marked the forest with his gaze making sure they could find their way back until he came up behind her. Steps paused and came to a stop right beside her as he looked out over this untouched beauty. "Breathtaking." He whispered, mostly to himself, the butterflies flitting all about as if sparkles on the flowers while the sun sparkled on the water. Their presence unknown to the butterflies, several came to settle on Kuwan, her shoulder, her arm, the top of her head, taking turns on this unique flower before they realized there was no nectar to be had and danced away, to be replaced a couple of different ones. Conor crossed his arms at his chest, smiling as he watched her, the butterflies.

"Yes it is," so quietly under her breath as to not disturb any of what was around them. Those of her namesake to settle on her for a few moments, she still had the scent of wildflowers to linger in her hair, on her clothing. There was also one of the flowers Conor gave her that was tucked behind her ear. Soft tones of her voice continued, "this place is blessed by the greater spirits," dark eyes had lifted in particular on a larger bird sitting on a tree branch across the way. A species she had never seen before with a red crest across its chest and tuffed feathers on its head. It was watching them before it flew across the way to another tree that obscured it from their vision. There was a great amount of fish in the waters below, fresh water instead of salty. They would find a few sources throughout the island that offered fresh water. "This is a place I will come to." Obviously it had accepted her.

What else could Conor do but nod? "Your family will do well here, Kuwan." Just the short time exploring had proven that the lands were abundant sources of fresh water, food, shelter and fertile earth. The calls underway in the trees made it clear that the one bird had passed on the news of the visitors and that information was continuing over the land.

"Land away from civilization," that was the key and healing element for any of her people who decided to come here instead of staying in the colonies and the changes there. Changes that were not beneficial but destructive to their ways. "Come," moving as the butterflies fluttered away as she did, fingers tracing over his but she wasn't so bold as to lace with his and take them up. Just a trailing light touch that would probably be a ghosted feel to linger. She followed another path leading out and in the general direction they needed to take. There were hills with caves to pass where the trees became sparser then thickened again. The sounds of the ocean could be heard again and louder than where the beach was where they started. This side faced the expanse of ocean.

Conor's hand reached for hers, but her touch drifted away much too quickly, and she was off again. Remember why you're here, Quinn. You're here to search out the island with the lass, fool man. Stick to it. There was just too much to see. It would take years to find out all the secrets of this place. The caves alone called out to be explored when the two of them passed with only a brief look within. Two hours after midday brought them to another section of the island which touched the ocean. The breeze wafted through the trees with more gusto here, sticky with salt but cooled by the shade of trees compared to the open beach before. Conor swiped the back of his wrist along the side of his face to clear away a trickle of sweat, even as his other hand pulled his shirt at his lower back to separate soft fabric from wet skin.

The wind took strands of dark hair to escape the braid, leaving them to move in flowing tendrils down along her neck and back as she moved along the path. "The forests offer many herbs and those harder to find." She could tell by how dense they were and the scent of the earth itself. She mentally marked the places to explore once they were here. When the other side was reached, she stood on a smaller cliff up from the beach, one that overlooked the ocean at a better view than would be offered below. She could see the clouds formed along the horizon, "there will be a storm later tonight," by her guessing, latest would be morning. She would learn to tell how long they would take more precisely once they were here for a while. Dark eyes turned back upon Conor, "it is cooler in the forest," but she was taking a path that would lead down to the beach below and somewhere back from there she would pick a spot she would claim as her own.

It was cooler in the forest, but Conor was never one that had ever minded the heat. Indeed. He found himself often in the midst of it whether he wanted to or not. That aside, the warmer temperatures could be endured when there was water near to cool off in. He really had nothing to say, allowing Kuwan the chance to get to know her soon to be home. Together they scaled the side of the mountain down a precariously narrow path. On occasion, Conor would offer a touch to steady Kuwan when the rabbit trail narrowed or disappeared completely, not that she needed it, it was just habit on his part. When trees and ledge met rocks then sand, Conor reached over his head and tugged his shirt off. The water rolled and lapped against the dust-like, white stones that made up the beach and was much too much of an invitation to pass up. The sun was hot. The breeze warm. The sand soft. The water ... wet. He started toward the small, tumbling waves and turned, smiling to Kuwan as he waved her to join him. "We've introduced you to the flowers, the trees, the caves, hell...the butterflies and birds. It's hot, Kuwan. Let's introduce you to the water." He continued in that backward pace, holding out the hand that had waved as an invitation. A storm later would be later. This was now. They could enjoy the beach now while the weather permitted.

She almost stumbled if it weren't for a steadying hand when her foot hit a rabbit hole hidden by the grass. Lucky for her Conor was there or she may have tumbled down the rest of the precarious trail or twisted her ankle and be limping the rest of the day. Normally there would have been nothing worn under the leggings and top and that would be how she would go swimming o'natural. But in being in these lands and learning of their ways, she wore undergarments just in case on such a hot day she would go swimming. So the top went off leaving a faded yellow cotton top and bottoms that match. Something she had bought and felt fancy in them, a feeling alien to her but one she liked she discovered. They had pretty lace along the hem. So the leggins and moccasins followed before she was following Conor into the water. It was cooler than lake water but a perfect temperature as it was warmed by the sun. She liked the way the sand oozed through her toes if a step lingered, even more so once the waters lapped. She reached down to scoop up a handful of water to send his way immediately after.

His boots came off, as did his socks, but he kept his pants on, foregoing the usual shedding of all clothing due to his present company. She was tossing water his way, he was making his way to her through the deeper water that swirled around his knees. The waves pressed at his legs, he pushed forward until he took her by her wrist and with a laugh, eased them further out past the salty waves to where their feet still touched but the water only lifted them with the movement of current rather than smacked against their legs Waist deep, he slipped his hold from wrist to hand before he let her go completely and he dunked himself out of view. Relief from the heat at last.

Her laughter mingled with his, light and airy much as the day was that tempered the heat of the sun beating down. The water refreshing after their journey from one side of the island to the other. A journey they would have to make again to return to the food waiting on the other side, their appetites regained by then. A surprised squeal and a hop in the water as her foot touched upon something moving beneath in the sand below as Conor disappeared under the water. She dipped in too, leaving the flower floating above as the motion pushed it from its hold in her hair. Looking at him underwater had bubbles of laughter escape as his hair fanned out around his head making him look comical. Only the loose tendrils floated out about her features and the braid snaked behind her more contained. There were colorful fish under here that were duly noted. Nothing too big swimming around.

Smiling still, even under the water, Conor used his forefinger to chase a florescent colored fish toward Kuwan, but it quickly changed direction and darted off just before reaching her. He, himself, pulled his lips into a fish face as he came in closer to Kuwan's. Another grin, and he stood back up, coming to the surface for air...for more reasons than one. He pressed his hair from his face, glancing to the sky. Kuwan's storm was no where to be seen but he trusted she was right, and this little dip was just to cool off which had been accomplished. Sticking to the plan, Quinn, good lad. He waited for her to come above the depths before he'd start making his way out.

The fish face had the last of her air out in a burst of laughter and her shooting upwards to break through the water and drink in some air instead. Otherwise she would have been sputtering and coughing while still laughing. "You are gourami," hand lifting to swipe away the last of the water clinging to eyelashes and hair to drip down in her face. Wet cotton had a way of clinging to darker skin beneath until it dried again. She too looked to the sky to gauge the time by the position of the sun and how long it would take them to get back. They had some time, dipping a glance back to him, "I think I will put my wigwam right over there." Pointing in an angle from where they went swimming and up from the shore where it would be protected by a cove of trees. It looked like a hollowed out cave, a if made to have something to protect beneath.

Gourami. Sounded rather prestigious, but Conor highly doubted that was the case. He was still chuckling as he looked over to where she pointed. "Looks like the perfect spot, Kuwan. As if it is just waiting for you to claim it." There is much to be said for a bewitching woman, fully clothed, beguiling in her beauty. But more could be said for that same beguiling woman, dark hair and skin slicked wet, cloth clinging to her figure. The man with this particular beguiling woman allowed a moment to take in that beauty, he may have to pay for it later with all sorts of rosary verse, but for now, his gaze wandered and he swallowed hard. What the hell was he thinking? Back up to her eyes his own eyes lifted, though the dark lashes and even darker gaze only fueled a fire that grew. Time to get moving again, most definitely. "Would you like to check it out before we ..." He cleared his throat, dry as it was, he almost croaked the previous statement "start back to the other side?"

"I would not have noticed it on shore," as they could see it from where they stood in the waters. "It is," to the statement of just waiting for her to claim it. She started forward making her way through the water as it slowly lowered beneath as she rose above the more shallow it became until she was walking fully onto the sand then the grass right for the spot. She swirled around in a pivot right in the center of the protected area. Her expression so very pleased with the find. It was important where one pitched their wigwam. Arms rose above her head in an arch, actually her way of silently giving thanks. Down again as she turned to face him, see if he was still in the water or had followed her. "Shall we take another path back to see more of the island?" They had come around one side and there was the middle and other side yet to traverse.

Conor had followed, with his boots in hand. When they reached the grass, he lowered, brushing the sand from his feet as he started putting on his foot gear. He glanced up just as she raised her arms. The Forest Goddess in full glory. He blinked, his boot only half on, before she spoke, broke the spell, and he tugged the leather full way. "I'm thinking perhaps another day, we should get back before that storm rolls in. We don't know what to expect on this island and we sure don't want to be caught on the water when it arrives." Standing, he stomped his feet once to make sure the boots were settled, then looked over to her. With the added advantage of having a good reason to spend some more time in her company. Though he couldn't ellude himself into believing more of their time than just entertainment, he did enjoy spending time with her ... so he'd find ways to make her feel comfortable enough to allow him that time.

She was a little disappointed they had to go just yet but his words rang true. "I will have to come back to set up my wigwam, it takes more than one." If he wanted to come back then with her that he could help her out than her having to ask Kali when she would need to set up her own and Patwin would be helping her. Usually Yas and Mat helped her but they had their own to set up. Her clothes were not too far and by this time the cotton had dried enough that she was pulling the leggings on as well the top over her head before slipping her feet into the moccasins. Once done she was back by his side and ready to go while fiddling with her hair for most had come undone and finally unwove the braid completely so it could dry easier. "I am ready." Smile returning as the disappointment was short term.



Date: 09-08-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 13

From the Other Side Back
Conor stood where he was for a bit. Was that an invitation to come back with her? Or just information. He'd have to feel that one out and see. Just a breath more and he nodded. "Aye then, let's start back." He didn't bother tugging his shirt back on but rather just slapped the length of it over his shoulder as he started toward the tree line. A glance at the sun helped him to feel the direction they should head in but he stopped. "Would you like to take the shore line as far as we can to work our way back?"

When he didn't take up the invitation she figured he didn't wish to come and so let it go. She took a few steps thoughts going inward on a few things in retrospect before she near bumped into him. A blink followed while she captured the words in her mind as it reeled back a moment. That was the blank look before expression was flooded with a smile. "Oh yes, I would like to walk the shore as far as we can, there may be treasures to be found." So she would let him lead this time as steps angled towards the beach.

"We've already found one." He gave a tilt of head toward where her home would be. "Let's see what else is to be found." He reached out a hand for hers as he passed her. "We've a good five hours of light to find many more."

With his hand out hers moved naturally towards it as fingers slid to entwine with his. Her smile brighter as she moved along at his side. Little things were big things to her and the contact coveted at the moment. "It will be plenty of time to get back, eat something then head across the short distance of water. Sliding a dark eyed glance his way under just as dark lashes before she noticed a school of dolphins swimming together out a short distance from the shoreline. "Look, they are playing.."

He was really trying not to think of the distance across the water so the dolphins were a welcomed distraction. Both brows shot up. "How many are there? Four? Five?" He led them to the edge of the water to watch them. One of them paused long enough to take in those on the shore before disappearing below the surface and then bursting forth from the water in an arch of movement then diving back down without even a splash. "I believe he's showing off for you, Kuwan." Conor chuckled with a squeeze of her hand.

"At least," drawn to the edge of the beach, she leaned in against his side as hands still held. "Yes he is!" The excitement evident in her tone as the crew of them started chasing each other around, up and down, sometimes over another before they wandered off having shown off enough. "They are special creatures," serious tone crept in as she turned those dark eyes up his way. "For you too."

"I've only ever seen them in books before." When she looked up to him, he was already smiling down to her. "I've read they have a special connection to people. But how I'm not sure." He shrugged and started them walking again, careful not to lead her too close to the wash of the water on the sand but not back to the grass.

She tried to hold his eyes but he was too quick again. "Do you think they still have a special connection?" Her grip a little tighter as her feet managed to catch up and in pace with his again. The sun was a glorious sight in the sky with wispy clouds and a nice breeze to welcome them along this stretch of beach. For a moment there she got this uncanny feeling something was watching them from the darkness of the trees up along the embankment. Enough that it made the hairs stand up along her arms and blink in that direction. There was nothing to be seen. Well, not at first. It was then she saw Ashford Manor looming above smaller tress at an angle in the far distance. Closer to the other side of the island. There were crows flying in and out of its upper most windows, long broken from storms.

Conor had turned his attention back out to the water in search of the dolphins but Kuwan's hold changed, even the slightest, and he pulled his eyes to her immediately. From her he followed her eyes up to the manor and his steps slowed. "Whoooah, now there's a peculiar sight." He didn't answer her original question just yet, the manor had stolen whatever comment he may have made. "Did you know about that place?" Conor didn't even look at her as he asked, his focus still on the manor which seemed to be a blemish on the lush and lovely surroundings.

"Yes," her words had become hushed as if someone might overhear them even if no one was around. "It is long vacant but spirits hold to it still. Mat and Yas said about it being here. Those of science or darker magic once occupied it. They did studies. Yas says bad, Mat wants to explore it. The twins are different in their ways. That is Ashford Manor but we shall not live there."

"Dark magic?" Conor repeated, squinting his eyes against the thought of it. "Best we keep moving on then. I'm of a mind to stay as far away from places that occupied dark magic as I can, no matter what they wish to call science." He began to lead them on.

Or it could be one of those places that rumors had built up and then its appearance lent them to be true. It was scary but drawing too. She was led on again, eyes held to the vision until the trees blocked it completely. Focus came back completely but she didn't say another word on the manor although her expression was thoughtful. "What happened that had you become fearful of the water?" Quiet words came with genuine concern.

Not Conor, as soon as they started walking, he had looked away from it. He had been raised in Ireland. Fae magic and howling spirits was as common as prayers before dinner. As a lad, he and his brothers would give out dares, accept dares, along with the other boys, to sleep on magical mounds, climb through mystical forked trees, though always finding reasons not to follow through. He was quite familiar with magic, good and bad, since he was a youth. He'd prefer as a man not to have to deal with the likes of that which resided in that manor, solid or spirit. "Fearful?" He laughed low, glancing down to her. "Not fearful so much as a disagreement. My stomach disagrees quite adamantly with the pitch of a ship or boat when on it. I can swim in it all day, all night. Plop me in a boat? And my stomach rolls and objects of its contents with great gusto." He brought his free hand up from his stomach and up along his throat and under his chin and out. "Segan is the man of the sea."

"Oh," which broke the other spell that had taken hold of her. More than she realized at this moment. Laughter flowed like the light breeze around them. "You are like the dolphin then." She was sure they would not like being put in a boat. "There is a root you can bite a bit on when you go and it will help keep your stomach even keel." Pausing for a moment as she spied a conch shell and dipped enough to pick it up with her free hand, near taking Conor down with her!

Since he wasn't prepared for that movement, he did almost 'keel' over. "Another treasure!" He laughed, freeing her other hand so she could maneuver as she needed to collect her shell. "That's a nice size one, Kuwan." The sand was turning into larger stones and off in the distance would soon be rocks and boulders, none they couldn't move around through but they would need to watch the tide's flow.

They would have to take a path into the forest and avoid the manor if they could. She dumped out sand and a crab with it before blowing into the end. She had seen someone do this a long time ago and a horn sound came out but for her it was a little squeak like someone farting.

Conor's lips tightened to keep from laughing. The way her cheeks ballooned out for so weak a sound nearly had him barking out quite a laugh. He fought it back, cocking his head to the side. "That would not bring the warriors to battle, Kuwan." The amusement in his voice could not be hidden, even if he swallowed down the laughter.

Oh, she could tell and she huffed, coming right up to him as she swung the shell into his stomach. Not enough to hurt but certainly get his attention. "You try!" Dare was in her eyes, challenges too.

Dares and challenges. He was an Irishman. He grunted with the contact but caught the object against his stomach. "Alright then." He had his gaze slanted to Kuwan as he brought the conch up, tilting his head back, making quite the show of it. He knew good and well he'd not be any more successful than she was, but the gauntlet had been tossed. this case, the conch had been passed! He drew in a deep breath and blew. The first of it was more of a spitting hiss and then, quite the echoing sound bellowed forth, enough so to send the birds in the nearby trees into frantic flight. Conor nearly dropped the shell with that sound, blinking at the delicate thing in total shock that so powerful a noise could come from it.

Kuwan had that 'O' look, first upon him when that sound came out like she heard long ago come from one, then how the birds took flight. She was tempted to pound him but it came out.. "show me," instead. She became very adamant, even forgetting herself as she was right up to him taking his hand towards her lips, "how do you form them?" Pressing them much like he had earlier in a kissy plush of lips.

He couldn't very well just say he had spit into the thing with a bit of air to follow. Didn't sound very masculine or mighty in the explanation. His fingers to her lips, what could he do? He turned his hand so his thumb stroked along her bottom lip then brought the shell up to replace his hand. "Seal off the shell with your lips, Kuwan. More so than a kiss. No air should escape except through channels of the shell. Blow until you feel your ears will pop and head might explode and then, the air will give way, and scare the living bejesus out of you with the sound that follows. You have to blow ... hard." Listen to him! He wasn't even sure how he had done it, but he did remember the sensation of unrelenting pressure just before the sound let loose and released the built up air.

The first stroke lit a fire in dark eyes. Something deep that had been brought up for a moment's time then gone as the conch replaced the touch. She had never been kissed nor knew how but there was no time to say so. Instead her lips were around the thing as she drew in a breath, eyes squeezed shut as cheeks puffed. Then she blew as hard as she could. "Bleeeessssssshhhhhhhhhhh...squeak." The first a wet sounding thing with the fart on the end. This was progress?

Conor coughed as he fought the laugh this time. "If you lived in Hamlin, Kuwan, all the mice would follow you through the streets, I have no doubt." The last word actually was more of a laugh than a word and he smiled to her with apology. "I am just full of more hot air, I suppose. My Grandmother always said I had more air for talking myself into trouble than I had sense to get myself out of it. Here I guess it works to my advantage. Come on, you can continue to practice as we walk along." Which means they would have to stop for her to blow...then start on their way again depending on her success.

She was getting huffed over this in a way. "I will have to learn how to kiss to be able to make sound like you did." Obviously Conor knew how to kiss, why he had used it as an example. She didn't know the story of the Pied Piper. "I do not wish mice to follow me." Only a pause, "hot air and kissing?" So that was the secret to the conch? She tucked the shell under her arm, deciding she would practice once she learned the other parts that would help. The light breeze picked up her hair to tease behind her as she started forward, the line of her shoulders, the way she held her head spoke of the pride that was known of their kind.

"No, Kuwan, the mice..." He let his explanation drift off as she continued her musing and found himself shaking his head ever so slightly. "Hot air ... well, not for kissing ... for getting into trouble, well, kissing can get you into trouble, but that's not what we're..." What the devil was he trying to say? "Just making sure your lips are just so on the shell, I need a good force of air to make the sound...and ..." She had dismissed the whole subject by the pride in her posture, and it was just as well since Conor was making a muck of his explanation. Conor Quinn was all Quinn and he had enjoyed many a kiss with many an obliging female and to hear that Kuwan would have to learn how to kiss set the man into a babbling loss of explanation from there. Who would have ever th'unk it? Not Conor! "Ah look!" Saved by yet another treasure! As the waves foamed in, they carried the lace-like circular discs his sisters used to fawn over. He cut a look to Kuwan and splashed into the froth, catching up one, then another to bring them over to her. "Sea dollars I believe they are called. Or biscuits?" What did Conor know of the sea? Not much! He'd spent his life on and around horses! "Delicate little ditties, these, and if you break them open, there are stars inside if I remember correctly." But were they living things? Should they break them open? What exactly were these things, these dollars...these biscuits?

She finally turned towards him with a still lifted chin, "hot air does not go with kissing? Kissing is cold air? What kind of trouble?" She was genuinely interested in finding out about all this he was babbling on about. She managed to put the conch into a pouch she had hanging from her belt before taking the dollars. "Tell me, explain, kissing and hot air." Before she was distracted to these white dollar biscuits. She only held them until the first subject was cleared up. Otherwise she would end up asking Yas or Mat and they might start asking her questions why.

Conor wiped his hands against the sides of his legs, clearing off the sand and the sea. "Kissing and hot air do not go together, Kuwan. Wait, I guess if you were to.." Stop! He scratched at his jaw. "You don't blow when you kiss, Kuwan. And the trouble comes when one person expects more after the kiss than the other one does or ... when the kissing takes place between two people it shouldn't be. There really is no explaining a kiss, at least, I'm not able. Maybe you should speak to your friend, Callie, is that her name? Aye. Always best to talk to another female. Females can talk about kissing better than males. Males are better at just, well..." A deep breath, another uncomfortable rub of his jaw with the knuckle of his hand, "just kissing. Not to say that women don't kiss better, because..." Brows twitched upward in thought, perhaps memory. "uhm, that's not what I mean, it's ... " Now his hand stroked along the back of his neck and he looked down at those sand dollars. "Mighty pretty little things. My sisters used to love these things. They're not common, Kuwan. They are a real treasure." Was he able to turn the discussion?

"So, you will not show me this kiss because you think I will think there is more or you will think there is more?" This was getting very confusing. "So, there is no blowing hot air with kissing but there is hot air in there somewhere?" She was watching him trip all over his words, "for a man who has kissed it seems you are confused by it." Kali would probably tell her to go ask Yas or Mat to show her. Certainly her friend could explain but it was one of those things one had to experience, explaining just didn't make the grade. "You have kissed?" Uncertain now as it may have been an assumption for all his confusion. Focus dipped to the two white disks she held, "you can show me this then?" He obviously could not show her the other.

Conor cleared his throat, and started to laugh at himself. What was it about Kuwan that always caused him to look and act a fool? For a man who had kissed, he was confused by it, or confused as to how to explain it. "Kuwan, you asked me to explain kissing, never to show you. And a kiss can be a confusing thing, and I've been confused by it, so yes, I have kissed." He'd leave his history of kissing at that! "So now I can show you these." He slipped one of the white discs from her palm and pinched off a piece of it. He shook it gently over the palm that still held the other and two small white dove shaped pieces dropped out. Doves of peace, now he remembered. His mother had kept the doves in a tiny bowl on her night stand.  "I think there are five of these within. Quite extraordinary, actually."

"Well, if it is not too confusing then you can show me how to kiss being it is something you have done, know how to do." She was watching what he was doing with the white disks as she spoke. Eyes widened as the doves fell out of the white disks, "how did they get in there?" She was very impressed and for a moment her thoughts were diverted from the kissing issue. Lucky Conor!

Conor was remembering his mother, how she had carefully collected the doves and kept them safe after one of the girls had dropped and shattered her dollar. What could have been quite upsetting turned out to be the opposite. The other sisters had been intrigued with what was inside the dollars. They all were, even the boys. His words were almost a whisper as he looked on the doves. "Don't know, really. My mother called them Doves of Peace. Guess when they die, they leave something of beauty behind with their white shells. And if you venture a bit further then the physical beauty, you find the true treasure within." Where the hell did that just come from? He actually, physically blinked himself back to the present and out of the manor's parlor where they all had gathered around the doves in their mother's hand. "So!" He looked up to her with a smile. "There you have it. A treasure within a treasure!"

"I shall collect them as they are offered up by the sea, in honor of your mother and this day here that I have learned of them. Maybe enough of them will bring real peace." She would most likely set up a sort of shrine. The last had her very impressed. "The beauty of the spirit that is hidden when found." Now she was looking at him like he'd become a Shaman. "You can show me kissing another time or we will be in the waters after the sun goes down and the pitch of the canoe will be many." She placed the doves carefully into another smaller pouch along with the discs they came from before she began their walk in the direction of shoreline. One that was becoming rough as sand mingled with sharp rocks. "We go to that path," it was a larger one as she started up from the beach in that direction and soon the heat became less intense as the foliage offered shade.


Date: 09-08-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 14

The pitch of the canoe was what it was all about! Yes, the kissing would be put on hold so that they could make the shore and back to the mainland without too much ... pitch! "To that path it is, Kuwan." He grinned, thinking of Kuwan paying homage to his mother via these sand dollars was rather pleasing. He'd be reminding his brothers of them once he saw them again, just to see if they remembered the whole scene the way he had.

She was in awe of so many butterflies again, some bigger than her hand. Such a one of blues and black landed on Conor's head. "You are being honored," as she continued, dragonflies seemed to take over next of all different kinds, colors and sizes. They were a wonder to behold and one could wonder if they had somehow walked into another dimension, the kind dreams were made of. The slanted sunlight through the thickness of leaves left a hazy glow around Kuwan as she stepped through its light. The ground had a layer of mist that provided moisture to the earth beneath. Except it made walking harder to see where one was going. Next Kuwan disappeared as if it swallowed her up. She let out a scream, one ripped from her throat more in that fearful surprise only to find she had fallen into a shallow hollowed out din probably of deer. She laid there a moment as it sunk in before laughter filled the air instead. Or rather coming from mist swirling around Conor.

He walked slowly as not to disturb any resting butterflies, but did continue to walk. "I knew I was honored the day you asked if I'd come with you here, Kuwan." He held out his hands and a couple actually lit on his fingertips, but as they continued on, the butterflies were left behind where they belonged. Even before Kuwan could scream, Conor was diving forward. He saw her disappear, and that had him reacting, but her scream caused his body to go into fight mode. He actually landed right on top of her, ready to battle whatever beast or banshee had grabbed her. But no! She was sprawled there, laughing now, and he forced himself to release the tension and appreciate the fact she was okay. "Are you all right?" She obviously was with her laughter, but he had to ask anyway. "Here I thought I was going to have to fight some wild, killer ... " He grinned through the mist that swirled around them. "squirrel or something."

Well, the laughter was squished out of her when he landed on top. One of those whoooosh squeaks. Luckily women were designed to be under great weight and not suffocate. "Yes," came whispered as he was still on top. Dark eyes looking up in a strange sort of surreal way. She had seen men with women in that way, on top of them and it left a wordless odd sensation course through her. "Deer, I think," shaking her thoughts away from other thoughts but that was hard considering. She felt small at the moment, vulnerable, and a whole lot of other emotions and sensations she couldn't even define.

Yes, he was still on top of her, his chest pressed up by the extension of his arms as he looked down to her. It was the way her gaze softened, darkened, her pupils dilated that had him lingering where he was. His gaze passed over her features, lingering a bit too long on her parted lips, before returning to her gaze. "That would be my guess as well." He managed, leaning to his right side in order to pluck a stick bug from its slow, meandering path toward her hair. He set it aside and then rolled himself, resting on his side with his head resting in his uplifted palm while he looked at her. The mist provided a blanket of privacy, of almost eerie silence as they lay there. "Think it will mind we are sharing its bed?"

What an odd sensation to run through her when his eyes wandered and then lingered on her lips. It made them tingle or maybe that was her imagination? She caught her breath once he rolled to the side not even noticing the stick bug. Then again she was not afraid of bugs and the like. She shifted too, the well with the mist all around was quite comfortable all considering. "I have not heard any complaints yet. It could be an abandoned one, kept only for as long as she gave birth to her fawn?" Or the deer or whatever animal, would be returning at some point to find its berth occupied by humans no less. The thought had a smile to flicker touching off a sparkle in dark eyes a moment. She was also making sure she had not twisted an ankle or whatnot but a good clue was that she was not in pain.

There were tracks leading to and from, this was an active spot. Now their scent would be within it. "If you are not hurt, Kuwan, I'm guessing we really should be moving on." He rolled to stand and lowered a hand to help her up.

She rolled to a sitting position then up with the help of his hand. Debris fell away from clothing and hair as she swiped away most with her free hand. Any thoughts on the brief situation were dashed away as unsafe ones, natural instinct and Conor had not taken advantage of any of them. That spoke volumes to her as she would speak with Kali on how she knew Patwin was for her and vice versa. She felt a bit foolish in this area, so maybe she could learn at least some indirectly. "I am ready," quick smile up his way with just as quick eye contact as if she feared he might be able to read her thoughts somehow but then that really would make him a Shaman.

Conor would never take advantage of anyone. He had never, and that would never change. Realizing that Kuwan had never been with a man, not even a kiss, did cause certain ideas to be unsafe. For either of them. And though Conor could not read thoughts, a young woman as innocent in the way of men and women told all with her eyes. Conor could read those! So, he allowed himself a quick, playful swat to her backside in the guise of knocking away the remainder of loose leaves, dirt, mossy fluff. That was all. "Didn't crush your sand dollar in the tumble did you?"

That had a surprised little squeal escape parted lips as she hopped with the swat a second afterwards. Spinning around as dark eyes held this time and the look there spoke on getting even at some point. Sly little quirk of a smile too that dared she could. His question had thoughts flick back from the other as she had not checked, "I do not know," which she was finding out as she spoke. She carefully opened the pouch and the other had been cracked too, there were more doves loose in there but probably some still in the white shells. She held it up for him to see before she was closing it off and tying it back to her belt. There was noise in the forest, scurry of birds and smaller critters as the crackling of twigs and shaking of bushes was heard. That had her whipping a glance in the direction and luckily they were downwind. "I think we should go quickly." It could be a deer, big one, elk or moose even, or it could be a bear or puma for that matter. There was no hesitating on her part as she started in a quick run in the opposite direction but one that would lead to the side of the island they were headed.

That initial look from her had him grinning, throwing up both hands and taking a step back with an "I was just helping," look. As she checked her treasure, he regained his original spot closer to her to see what she showed him. Conor had spent enough time in the woods to never take any sound of movement for granted, and seeing her dash off, he followed behind, darting around trees, over roots, under branches. Whatever had been returning to its lair wasn't after them, but they kept up the pace, and Conor was soon laughing and hooting as he caught up and then fell behind again when she'd switch directions as swift as the bird of that name.

Exactly, she didn't run at a neck breaking pace as if pursued but she was going to get a good distance away so whatever was returning to its lair, wasn't going to find them there! She could run and leap like a deer herself, so use to being in the forest and being on the run when necessary. When she heard his laughter she finally came to a halt in a spin around, her smile growing as she was sure they were far enough away. Certainly the exertion had the quicker rise and fall of her chest as the breaths of air were caught. She looked beyond him to be assured they were not being followed. Unfortunately this new trail had brought them closer to the mansion as Conor would see it looming up behind her as she faced him beyond the trees ahead. There was a black vulture type bird sitting up on a weather vane atop the roof that had its head cocked noticing the movement they had made even at that distance.

She was facing him, he was still on the run, and he saw that manor house, thinking better than to linger even at this distance. He scooped her up in passing, laughing with an almost breathless abandon, and tossed her over his shoulder. Once again he gave her uplifted and available rump a smack. Just because he could. Distraction usually worked to keep an unwanted sound, or sight, or situation from becoming the center of attention. So with her in this position, he spun once, and ran on, stumbling a couple of times with his burden, but his hold was solid, and she was going nowhere until he was ready to release her.

Well, the squeal was even louder for such a surprise but there was laughter to trail the end of it. His ploy worked for she missed the scene beyond the trees for the present situation. Gulps of air were taken with the joustling as the two certainly had the birds in a twitter and the smaller creatures to scurry, they were being scolded by more than one squirrel that had to run up a tree. Many rabbits darted. The stumbling would have a small shriek to escape as her arms had worked their way around his neck as much as possible and a grip to the shirt over his shoulder as otherwise her hand was on the bare skin of his back. She was starting to squirm too as she really didn't wish to take another tumble and push her chances in getting hurt.

The more she squirmed, the tighter he held her, but as they stepped out from the cover of trees back onto the beach he allowed her to slide down his body to the solid footing of sand. His grin was in full display as he looked down to her. "Such an adventure, Kuwan. Worked up quite the thirst. How about you?"

She clung to him a few moments more as she was set to her feet. Eyes upon his as he asked the question, "yes I am and hungry too." They had been gone quite a number of hours. They were not far from the picnic setup as she finally stepped back with a glance there. "You are hungry and thirsty too? I have rabbit pies saved," which she had said originally she would bring but she also included the breakfast which they had consumed, seemed like days ago. "Yas, Mat and Patwin will have great hunting here." A thought after their latest adventure.

Conor went and collected another jug from the cooling water, this one though was lemonaid. The cord was unwound from the neck and he returned to where Kuwan was getting the food. "We did work up quite the thirst and appetite." To that, his steps faltered, then continued as he cleared his throat. Off in the distance there was a rumbling that warned of the storm to come but it was still a good distance away and they should have enough time to rest and then make it back to Heathfield before the rain came.

She took out two rabbit pies for him, knowing he could eat at least that many. One for her and it would go perfect with the lemonade. She arranged them on plates set on the cloth covering the sand. Here she sat Indian style as she waited on him. Dark gaze following his every move before distracted to the sound of rumbling in the distance. "We will cross soon so we are not caught in that storm heading our way." They had time but they could not dally. Her smile lifted in reassuring him.

The smile was appreciated, but he wouldn't let her know that his stomach just pitched as he thought about the trip back over if they were fighting waves of a storm. He knelt across from her, then lowered fully to sit as she did. "Have I told you lately how much I enjoy these pies of yours?" He brought his up, tipped one corner toward her as if in a toast, then let his actions speak louder than his words ... and ate.

"No, you have not," her voice not hiding the pleased tones. "It is why I make you so many but maybe you will grow sick of them?" Which had a little frown. "I will have the fingers when you do and some new dishes. There is seafood rolled up in a flaky crust you may like? Scallops, lobster and crab meat." She hoped he would like those too but the other was a standard. "I am pleased you like rabbit pie." Not being sure she had said that already, she wanted to make sure he knew.

"Noooo." He tried to assure her. "Some things you never tire of, ever." He reached for and collected the second pie. "Like rabbit pies." Grin. Wink.

"This is good to know, for until you get a wife, I will make you rabbit pies." If he got himself a wife then it would be her duty. All said matter-of-fact as she set to eating her pie and lots of lemonade to drink for she was mostly thirsty.

He took his time chewing before he answered. He didn't want to hurry the taste. "My wife will need to know how to make these, that will be one thing I will look for in a wife from now on." He chuckled, finishing off the second pie and reaching for the jug of lemonaid to compliment the flavor. "Oh, and make lemonaid as delicious as my Grand."

"Your grandmother is a very good cook and maker of lemonade. It will be good if your wife can see to you being fed properly too." Figuring it was something he was use to with having a grandmother like he had. "She is doing well? I have not seen her in many moons." Which was something she should rectify. Once she was done she packed everything up while he finished his meal so it would be done and they could set out over the ocean. There was more distant rumbling to remind them there was a storm on its way.


He started helping her even as he finished up his final bites so that she wouldn't have to do it herself. As he reached for this or that to place in the basket, he spoke. "Even if my wife can't cook, Kuwan, we can visit my Grand and all will be all right." He chuckled, standing to go gather the other jug. "She is doing well and I'm sure she'd love to see you whenever you might find the time to stop by the manor. You know you never need an invitation, don't you?" He wound the bindings around the jugs, finishing off the orange juice so that there would be no liquid to return to the house.

"Yes you could," brows dipped in a small furrow but she didn't say anything else on that. Oh, some thoughts crossed her mind but it wasn't her place. "Your grandmother makes rabbit pies?" This was not something she knew. It meant that Conor could have all the rabbit pies he needed without her interference. "I will have to come by soon." She liked his grandmother and she never really had a mother figure in her life. But, that was neither here nor there or something she should allow thoughts on. Instead they were back on the what is, and that what is was a storm coming in they needed to beat across the ocean in a canoe. Luckily the part they were going was not out in the deeper ocean but more shallow between island and mainland. "Yes," to the last of not needing an invitation. She smiled over her shoulder as she was off down to where they pitched the canoe to place the basket and cover into it.

Quick steps brought him over to Kuwan, to help her with the basket. He placed a foot over into the canoe to steady it then held out his hand for her. "My grandmother can't make rabbit pies, you are the only one that does." At least that Conor knew or cared to know. Her friend, Kali, might but Conor wasn't aware of it. There was only one rabbit pie baker to his way of thinking. "Thank you, Kuwan, for allowing me to share the day and your island with you."

Well, there was just something very pleasing about that considering how good a cook his grandmother was. There was the smile sneaking up on her that couldn't be help as she took his hand. "Thank you for coming with me. I never would have learned about the sand dollar secret or have my meals shared. The flowers," which she brought a bunch with her, "the help in running," as he had carried her a good distance. She figured there was a good reason for that she had not seen, only trusted. Settling on the back seat, she got the paddle ready the waves were a little choppier but nothing she couldn't manage, they were criss crossing more than usual.

He smiled as she named off the events of the day, taking up the second set of the oars this time to join in the paddling. "We had a full day of it, to be sure." His smile faded only slightly as he steeled himself for the journey by water back to the mainland.

Once they were off, she would steer them true as the waves were getting greater by the time they reached the other shore. A few harrowing moments when a wave would well up and toss the canoe about but she never lost control. It had been a challenge however and mostly concern was for Conor that had her heart racing a few times over by the time the front slid into sand with waves still washing up the sides in the proper distance below. She took a moment to relax before she was out helping him to bring in the canoe up to the brush were it was kept hidden.

"We made it." He felt the need to comment on the obvious, considering he was just the faintest tint of green from all the up and down and side to side. He took the basket out of the canoe once they had it hidden away. "So, you will come when you can to see Herself?"

"Yes we did," eyeing him in that way before a smile broke free. The sky was darkening, there would be no sunset to see this night as she glanced up. "Yes, I can come right now if you think that would be all right with her?" As the saying went, there was no time like the present and would assure Conor she was bound by her word. "We may get caught in the rain," giving him that sly look his way as she started in the direction of Clearview manor.

"Ahhh, but we are on dry land, let it come." They had the cover they could drape over their heads if need be, but Conor never minded getting wet. "And I'm guessing Mary Quinn has the porch lights still on for any visitors who might happen by." He tucked the jugs into the basket with the other items and started along with Kuwan toward Clearview Manor, and the company of Dame Mary Quinn.

The first droplet fell, big fat wet one that splattered on her nose. "We may need that cover," as another fell then another and soon there were many falling all around them. At least there wasn't any lightning. Well, one should not speak prematurely for there was a streaking clash to light up the sky with a clap of thunder to follow. The kind that your whole body feels like a slap. It had her jump and move closer to him.



Date: 09-27-10
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 15

Caught in the Rain

Conor laughed as the heavy drops began to shower down on them. He lowered the basket and tugged out the blanket. A sweep of arm circled the blanket over them and he used his forearm to hold it over their heads. She moved in closer and he smiled down to her. The clouds dropped down their large pellets against the blanket. Conor used his other hand to wrap around her back, pulling her closer to him still so she'd better fit beneath the blanket.

Conor was quick and she was as well, moving beneath the blanket with him, moving close. Laughter rippled up as her hair was already wet but she didn't mind. It was more the ideal than the need. There was something about getting cozy in a small secluded space as under the blanket provided. One hand on part of the blanket as her part in helping to keep it over their heads and the other hand slid around his waist to help in getting in close. The palm rested on bare skin, "you are warm enough?" Feet were moving a bit quicker towards Clearview.

For the most part, he watched their feet as they hurried toward the manor, peeking out from where his arm was upheld under the blanket to mark their location. "I'm plenty warm." His hold on her tightened just slightly. "Let's get inside, you can dry off, warm up." His gaze had rested on her but he quickly looked out, marking the back door of the Clearview. He led her right up the back stoop and right into the kitchen.

His skin felt the normal warmth it should be so she believed him easily. Puddles were on the ground they had to splash through before they reached the kitchen door and quickly within. When he held on tighter, she did as well. It made it easier to move as one and not end up tripping up the other. Once within the blanket was lowered and she stood there just within the entryway and out of the rain. She was aware she would track in mud otherwise or at least dirty rainwater so took to peeling the moccasins off her feet before she would step in any further. "It is warm here," for the weather was dipping to much cooler temperatures in the evening.

Warm. That was always the feeling in Mary Quinn's kitchen - in many ways. The scent of previously baked bread, apple pies now bubbling to brown perfection in the oven. Conor leaned and tossed the blanket in the heap just outside the back door. It might appear he wasn't as aware of mud and mess as Kuwan was, hurrying through the kitchen to a pantry where he slipped out several kitchen towels to bring them over to her to dry off. He stood there dripping on the floor by the door, using one of those towels to dry his hair and start to dry off his face, neck and shoulders.

The Dame of the Quinns bustled into the kitchen just then, practically skidding to a halt, doing a double take to the duo at the doorway. The basket she had braced to her hip started to slip as she blinked in their direction, but the very moment she registered their presence had her yanking that basket back up to its original position. "Conor Quinn, that girl is soaked to the bone." The older woman hurried over to the large kitchen table and left her burden there, waving an arm in the direction of the door which led to the household beyond. "Get her upstairs, one of the girls' clothes should fit her enough if she doesn't mind wearing them. Get her out of those wet things." For a moment her attention diverted to the mud tracks from door to closet and she frowned, but didn't say anything. "Take off those boots first, boy." When Conor placed a hand to the young woman's back, leaning in to speak to her, Mary huffed. "No chit-chatting now, Lad. She needs to get out of those clothes." He wasn't moving fast enough for her. "Go!"

This was his home where she was a guest and so, would not take the chance. She started to help dry him off being he was dripping and drying herself off as she could. Barely set to the task when the Quinn matriarch walked in, skidded in. She blinked as the towel almost fell from her hand, quickly capturing it before it hit the floor. "I am sorry to bring rain in with us but I am pleased to see you again Lady Quinn." The order would be followed dutifully although it all came so fast paced it left Kuwan confused, standing there with that evident look upon her face. Whatever Conor was going to say was cut short, she suspected he was going to clarify, or at least reassure her. If he wasn't moving fast enough, she was even if she had no idea where she was going although in the direction Mary had indicated.
"Aye, Mame." Conor stuttered, and as Kuwan started in the direction toward the hall beyond, Conor was jerking his boots off with a hop-teeter. He left them both, muddied and wet, at the doorway and hurried after Kuwan. A nod of thanks was offered to his grandmother in passing which was met with a wave of dismissal and a soft laugh from the woman. "Kuwan." Conor called, coming up alongside her. "This way, Lass." His hand touched to the small of her back and he led her to the stairs that would go up to the private chambers of his sisters. Hopefully, they would be within. He'd not hesitate to enter without them, but he'd not want to get caught in there even if Herself had demanded it of them. Concessa would probably be the best room to start with and so it was to that sister's door he directed them.

There was a tear rolling down her cheek, her spine straight as well her shoulders squared off. "I have made your Grandmother angry with me." Which really upset her to even think she had. "I will have to make it up to her." She would want to win her favor back. Turning automatically as he directed her in a different direction than she was headed for she had no idea where she was going. Up the stairs and to Concessa's room which Kuwan gave a light tap to her door.

Conor took a lean against the wall next to the door as Kuwan knocked. Both brows on the rise? "Angry at you?" His gaze dipped to the tear and he used the side of his forefinger to clear it away from her cheek. "By no means, Kuwan. If she is angry at all, it is at me for allowing you to get soaked through. Besides, she's not angry. She'd be swatting at us with her broom or her rolling pin, or whatever she could find to use if she were angry." He glanced to the door, waiting to see if Concessa would respond. This hour she should be in there, unless she had taken her leave to go seek out entertainment elsewhere tonight. "Don't fret, Kuwan. And trust me in this. I know when my grandmother is angry...and that, Gentle Spirit, was not Mary Quinn angry." He reached out while still in that lean, and gave another, slightly louder, knock with the backside of his knuckles. "Concessa? You in there? Cause we're coming in either way in about ... four ... three ... two ..."

Cessa was within, reading by the window in a lounge seat placed there for that purpose. The book was closed over with a piece of ribbon to mark the page before she was up to dash over. Her door was unlocked as she pulled it open, thinking it might be one of her sisters as they were to go out later to pick any flowers left blooming. "Kuwan," Cessa was the affectionate one and about to give her a hug but realized she was soaking wet. Conor was spied behind her, "you didn't throw her into the pond?" Not realizing they had gotten caught in the earlier downpour which had passed. Giving a teasing swat at Conor's shoulder before she was taking Kuwan into her room, "I've got a dress...," and the words faded off as the door was closed behind them. A moment later, she stuck her head out, "you wait here so she doesn't get lost," then the door closed again.

She listened to his words and was reassured but not totally. She would gauge more once in the presence of the Quinn Matriarch. Anything she was about to say, as lips even parted, was cut short by Conor's pound on the door and it opening up immediately after. Concessa was a quick talker as she was ushered within, bare feet and all but at least she was not dripping on her floor. She stood there looking around at Cessa's room for it was magnificent compared to her humble wigwam. It was bright, warm and looked so comfortable.

Conor rolled his eyes to heaven, for whatever assistance he might gain there for dealing with his younger sister and her assumptions . Just like a Quinn woman. Take control and the male ... waits. So he left his own wet mark against the wall where he leaned, ankles crossed, studying his socked toes in the quiet of the hall.

Wait and wait and wait he would too. An hour and a half passed as he could hear murmured words, laughter and some bustling around beyond that closed door. Cessa dressed Kuwan in a pale yellow dress with off the shoulder sleeves, a scoop neckline that showed some cleavage but with Kuwan's figure, she filled it without overflowing. The waist a V with the flare of skirts, without tons of petticoats that flattered a woman's hips. Matching slippers were put on her feet that fitted too they discovered. It was her hair that took a little longer as Cessa loved combing it out then curling it around in circles that were pinned at the top and leaving some to curl down over the shoulders. She put a butterfly comb into her hair that was of pastel colors offset in silver. So this was the visage Conor got to see first when she opened the door and ushered Kuwan back out. "Let grandmama know I'll be down in about an hour to help her prepare dinner." Quick flashing smile her brother's way before she was back into her room, closing the door behind her.

Kuwan had already thanked Cessa, as she was given to call her at her request, a few times over before she was ushered back out the door. Her smile was shy as she suddenly felt nervous on how Conor would find her looking. She looked so different, at least in her own opinion as seen in the mirror as Cessa fixed her up, much like a doll.

When the door opened, Conor pushed up from his lean. Hell, with that wait, his clothes had almost dried on their own! The vision of the woman who stepped from within caused him to blink, and blink again, his words not coming. His gaze passed over her, butterfly adorned hair to yellow slipper feet, then back up to her eyes. Aye, Kuwan was still in there somewhere. He didn't say anything to his sister, just nodded and managed a smile for Kuwan. Quite the beauty, and Cessa must have known that the yellow would accent the dark skin, hair, eyes and used that to Conor's's advantage. Still, there could, as always, be much lost in the translation. The Goddess of the Forest was still there, it was in her eyes, but his sister's clothes would never be as beautiful on her as her own, at least in Conor's humble opinion. "Let's go back down so you can see for yourself that my grandmother is far more pleased to have you here than angry." He took a step in the direction they would be walking, offering his arm to her if she'd know what to do with that, and he leaned toward her. "You look stunning in yellow. For a moment there, you quite stole my breath and my words away." A smile was provided for her as well. He hadn't missed the uncertainty in her usually warm gaze.



Date: 09-27-10
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 16

She let out the breath she'd been holding for his silence seemed to take ages. Finally, the compliment had her actually blushing and making her dark eyes more alive. "I am pleased you like how I look although it is so different, it is not so bad." Not bad at all but she was mostly at a loss for words. "I will help your grandmother make dinner." If she was invited and that was an area Kuwan felt her feet grounded. Her hand sliding to hook with the offered arm in guide downstairs. He would find her hesitating at the steps in trying to lift her dress so she didn't trip over it. Her steps uncertain which was not like her at all for the clothing she normally wore was made so she had no trouble running through the forest if needed. She would manage but he'd hear her apologies at times when she almost tripped up coming down the steps especially.

He'd pause as she fumbled with her steps, until he shook his head and scooped her up in his arms, all that material draping over and down and started carrying her the rest of the way. "If nothing else, you shouldn't have to fight with your steps when I can help you out." And he continued them down. He didn't even need to look down, but instead smiled to her as he took the steps he practically took everyday. His hair had dried on its own, curled and unruly. He even had splotches of dried dirt on his face he had no idea about. The lovely, clean beauty and the beast of a man.

A gasp is what would catch his attention first. "CON. NOR. QUINN!" Mary was in the doorway of the kitchen with her fisted hands on her hips and then she raced forward. The dish towel that was wrapped around her waist was now in her hand and she slapped it at him, not once, not even twice, but a good three to four times until he released that poor girl before he ruined that lovely gown and all she had to endure under Cessa's administrations! "Kuwan, I am so sorry, Sweetie. The lad, I swear, has more manners than that." Another snap of dish towel in Conor's direction. "At least, he was raised to have!" A glower, which failed miserably. In fact, she had quite enjoyed the site of her handsome grandson and lovely lass descending those steps with her in his arms, but she couldn't very well say that now could she!? "Come with me, Dear Girl, and leave that rogue to clean himself up." A huff, another look to Conor with a jerk of her head to indicate he go do just that! and she took Kuwan by the hand. "You come sit in the kitchen, keep me company...until that boy rights himself by you."

She gave a little squeal but her laughter followed when he scooped her up like that, arms coming loosely about his shoulders. As they progressed, one hand was running through his hair to comb it as he went without the need of looking down. Fingers to lower down in rubbing the splotches of dirt on his face as most was dried and fell away. That was until she heard his name being given, quite loudly, by his grandmother. Her hand froze then quickly lowered as her head snapped in that direction. Her eyes wide like she had done something else wrong. Her heart racing as fast as the woman raced at them, then squeezing her eyes shut as the beating commenced until she was set down. "He saved me from spilling down the steps," for Conor's defense as he'd been her knight a few seconds ago! Anapologetic look given Conor as it was his turn to disappear and clean up as she was ushered away by the grand Dame of the household. Once in the kitchen and seated where indicated, "can I help?" She was far better if she kept her hands busy.

Mary had tied the cloth back around her waist, took up a potato, knife and had started to peel then turned, smiling to Kuwan. She went to the cupboard and plucked down an apron and then brought it to Kuwan. "I'd normally say no, in so lovely a dress, but seeing as how I'm short handed at the moment, any help is appreciated, Sweetie. I thank you." A bowl of washed potatoes was brought over to her and Mary placed a knife by it. Her voice lowered. "And just so you know, I'm not so mad at the boy for carrying you down the steps." Her smile added to the truth of that. "But don't tell him, aye? It keeps him on his best behavior around me, which should be the way of it." She wiped her hands on the cloth around her waist then bustled off toward the other things that needed attending to for the dinner. "You'll be staying, aye? To join us for the meal?" She didn't turn with the question, just kept on doing what she was doing. In true Mary fashion.

Conor hurried off to his former room, starting to tug off his shirt even before he was fully within. He didn't wish to leave his grandmother alone with Kuwan for too long. Not that the Grand Dame would do the lass any harm, but more that Conor was in jeopardy for not being in there! He took the time, though, to draw a bath and wash up, because he knew better in the Dame's presence. So the time he took, though shorter than Cessa had consumed, was enough to present a fine visage of a Irish Country Gentleman at that.

Her smile was swift as she attached the apron to protect the dress. "Aye," repeating that word she liked how it sounded and knowing it meant yes. The relief was there in her smile and she would keep Mary's secret. Kuwan was slow in peeling the potatoes given her but Mary would find that there would not be a single even slight blemish left on them. And not thickly shave but only shaved where needed and how much to bring out the pure white beneath. "I would love to stay, aye." Repeating that word again as she almost had the accent down path too.
Conor cleaned himself up and dressed. The sleeves of the soft, white shirt he wore were rolled up to his elbows. He took a moment to sniff the rolled cuffs. His grandmother's wash always smelled so much better than his. She used some sort of herb which he had yet remembered to ask her about. If she would even share it with him. He hurried along the hall and then down the back steps that led directly into the kitchen. There he found quite a sight to be sure. His grandmother seated next to Kuwan, both of them peeling potatoes, talking and laughing. He paused his decent on the final step, grinned, and then continued into the room. "Cessa said she'd be down in a bit to help out. But in the meanwhile, what can I do?" He crossed to the table and pulled out a chair, prepared to sit for whatever chore his grand might have in mind.

Mid-smile, Mary looked up to her entering grandson. Her hand stilled its stroke. Was there any finer sight than a freshly washed, clean shaven, neatly dressed handsome Quinn man? She set her work on the table and, as she stood, she wiped her hands on the towel wrapped around her lap. "Come down here and take over for me. I need to make a trip out to my garden to pluck up some chives and some parsley." It was difficult, but she pulled her eyes from the nice looking gent to glance around the room. "Where is my rain bonnet? Hmmm..."

Conor started around the table, then frowned to a halt. "But it's raining outside, Gran. I'll go get what you need." Instead of taking up that seat, he started to the door to pull off his clean boots and tug back into his muddied ones. But ... they were gone. Which came as a surprise, he glanced outside the door, all around where he left them.

"I'll not hear of it." Mary clucked, noticing his search with a soft laugh following. "I gave them to Thomas to clean up, Conor. Might as well stop looking. And you know not how much I need." She was bustling toward the back door, brushing right past Conor and in the process, gave him an elbow push toward the table. She plucked down the brown straw hat on a hook by the door and wrapped the ribbon under her chin. "I'll be back directly. Finish those potatoes up, and let Kuwan show you how. Notice, lad, how clean hers are and there is still potato left after!" There she went, out the door, into the rain.

Conor turned and looked at Kuwan...and just smiled ... before he returned to the table to claim the chair previously occupied by his grandmother.

Her mind had been put to ease that Grandmother was not mad at her at all. She just had one of those authority voices that had everyone halt around her and stiffen as well listen. When Conor returned she was soaking in the sight of him. So different all cleaned up but she liked him all dirtied up too. Not that sounded right but something far more earthy and natural with him in that state. Focus shifted then to Mary as she got up and spoke on her intentions, then to Conor, Mary, Conor, hand stilled the while in peeling the potato the other hand held. The last had her smile twitch only to grow fully as Mary was out the door and it turned on Conor. "You have not peeled potato before?" Waiting for him to get situated before she finished the one in her hand then started on a new one. Fresh start from the beginning as she said not a word, only stole glances his way wondering if he really needed a lesson.

Conor chuckled, taking up a spud and knife. "Not that I don't know how to peel." He dipped his head, pretending to put his full attention on the task at hand. "I just usually end up whittling it away to nothingness in the process." He slanted a grinning look over to her then lowered his gaze back to the work. "The kitchen should start to fill up any time now. Everyone will be coming in to help out. It's part of the meal, this time before." Slice, slice, whoops, there went a rather impressive chunk. Uhm...put it in a bowl and make it look like it was meant to be cut. Clearing of throat, more peeling underway.

"That can easily be done but leaves you to peel a lot of potatoes to feed large family." Like the Quinns were. She nodded at his explanation and glanced to the door leading into the kitchen as if all would start emerging. An infectious giggle slipped through as she noticed the chunk he accidentally peeled. Sliding a glance there before back upon her own before she cut herself accidentally. She didn't think Mary would want bloody potatoes for the meal. She noticed Concessa was the first to arrive, giving them both a smile as she passed and right over to start on the vegetable, snap peas. The kitchen started to smell like a good meal being cooked in little time at all.

One by one the family started filtering in, almost as if on cue from his comment. He glanced to Kuwan, winked to her, then continued peeling. No doubt the Matriarch already had a good supply peeled this late in the evening, probably already bubbling away in one of those large pots. Each new addition to the process seemed to just take up a task, begin a portion of the meal, wander off to set the large dining table. Though they did have a small staff to help with daily chores, the Quinns never minded work, and many hands made light that work. If there was one thing the Quinns had, was many hands. The kitchen buzzed with activities and conversations all around, pulling Kuwan in to the discussions when appropriate, laughing and preparing. Mary Quinn seemed to just float through the gathering, doing this or that, not a word at this point, just a light touch, a point, and always a smile. The evening progressed in much the same way. The large family, warm and welcoming, at dinner and after, until such time as Kuwan would feel it necessary for an escort home.

Date: 11-22-10
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 17

The Meeting

They had settled on Ashford Island and began preparations for those from the colonies to come. Large wigwams, made with green sapling frames and bark coverings would shelter nearly everyone until each family made their own. Food in the form of dried meats, fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh food provided by the Crown when they arrive, would see to that. There had been the offer of blankets and other necessities and wood was made ready for fires. As the sun began to set, Yas called for the others to come and join him at the fire. It was time to discuss their trip to the Colonies.

Kali had been cleaning up after the evening meal. It was an easy enough task since there was little leftover and the wooden dishes they used were easily cleaned. When she heard Yas, she put down what she was carrying, made her way to the fire and picked up one of the robes sitting there. Though the fire burned bright, it could become colder!

Mat had been back and forth from the mainland getting supplies. He also made two more canoes so they had four in all now. He planned to make more over the winter months but the plan was to have everything they needed before the winter set in, just in case the waters became impassable. He heard the harbor sometimes had chunks of ice in it that made it hard for the big ships to set out to sea. That would not come for many months so they had time. There was the matter of heading out across the sea to the Colonies before winter got that bad and back before it got that bad too. He had made it just in time as he came from the woods with packs on his back of staples and goods to see them through the winter. Including a sled, and three husky dogs running and barking at his side, along with snowshoes to put on their boots. He was over to set the goods down not far from where they were gathering and the dogs were over to where they could find any scraps left from the meal.

Kuwan was helping Kali in cleaning up after the meal. She lagged behind to feed the dogs some scraps they could spare. She didn't let the men see her breaking up one of the rabbit pies left over that the three wolfed down fast as it was thrown to them in pieces. "That's all you get," teasing them before she was quickly over to take up a seat near the fire and wait on the talk to follow. She too took one of the robes to wrap about her shoulders for the nights got very cold, although she felt not quite as cold as on the mainland.

Each night Patwin watched the moon, followed its course in the sky, marked its phases and how each month led to another until now harvest's chill bit at what remained of the colored leaves and coaxed those which remained rooted to join their brothers on the earth. Just as they would soon coax their tribal brothers to join them on this new earth. The meeting would be this night, the moon having rounded to its fullest the night past, and plans to cross the Great Water were at last to be finalized. He strolled from the cover of trees, leaning forward to rest a hand on Kuwan's shoulder and then, as he lowered to sit between the two women, slipping it away. His other hand came to touch against the small of Kali's back before easing away to the ground behind her. He offered his brothers a nod that he was ready whenever they were.

Yas smiled briefly as those he considered family sat around the fire. He did the same, though he didn't pick a fur up yet. "The time of falling leaves is nearly over and soon it will be time for winter. We have prepared as much as possible and now I think it is time for us to make our plans and leave as soon as possible. I have no wish to be trapped there or at sea by winters' storms or ice. We can leave what is here without fear of theft. Though we may need to bring the dogs with us so they stay out of trouble." He looked at Kuwan and Kali, then at Patwin and Mat. "Are we all going?" He knew at one time that was the agreement but he wished to be certain.

Kali smiled up at Patwin as the brave joined her and Kuwan. The slight touch made the smile grow though when Yas began to speak, she became solemn again. They had all been working hard to make the island a good place to live and she felt pride in that work. "I wish to go. I would like to see our homeland one more time. And, Kuwan and I need to make sure the three of you don't get into trouble." The last was said with a hint of a smile.

Mat was over by his brother as he took up the food that was left for him to eat down greedily. He was starved and the rabbit pies were hitting the spot. He and Yas had already spoken, knew each other's heart and mind so he was not needed presently as he saw to another need.

She knew this moment would come and she had searched her heart many times over the past year. She would have to stand alone. "I will stay and keep our fire going, our tents secured and continue to prepare." There was never enough time to prepare and she finally explained. "For me, there is nothing left in the Colonies that has any attachment, those of my heart are right here and I would better serve staying." She had been the orphan adopted and knew her surrogate father had passed on. A small yet warm smile lifted to Patwin for the touch and then back to Yas and Mat. She wasn't sure how they would feel about her decision.

Patwin showed no sign of how he felt with Kuwan's decision. They each had choices to make, in this, in many things and to be true to the spirit which resided in them, they would need to act as best served that spirit. He kept his gaze across the fire to the twin brothers. "I am ready to go." He stated, he had been ready to go the very day he had stepped foot on the shores of this foreign land. Now, though, he knew in his heart he would have to return and convince those of his clan that they too should cross the water of salt and start a new life here. "Winter approaches swiftly.  We will have to move more so."

Yas too, hid his feelings and concerns though he looked at Kuwan. "It had been my hope that you would come also in case there are those that need aid but your choice will be respected." Dark eyes shifted from her to each of the others, finally resting on Patwin. "I have spoken to father and he will make available one of his ships. We only need give the word. If we are ready, I will travel to the mainland and tell him so. By the time you all arrive, we will be able to leave on high tide."

Unlike the braves, Kali didn't hide her disappointment. While she was glad to be traveling with Patwin, she had hoped for her heart sister to be there as well. She gave Kuwan a weak smile though then looked back.

Mat studied Kuwan for a long time but then dipped his head in acceptance of her choice. They all had to search their hearts and he and Yas were to go for it was well over the three years punishment. Kali and Kuwan came by choice. Patwin too was punished as they were but their punishment had brought change and possibly the salvation of what remained of their tribe and the tribes they were friends with. He didn't tell of his visions, of many being slaughtered by the white man or the long death trails in the snow as they were forced from their lands, those that could make the long trip survived but just as many died along the way. They were going to be in for a shock but it was not something he felt to tell them and discourage before they ever set sail. He didn't know who was left alive and who was not. "It is good we leave soon, it has been postponed far too long." That was about all he had to say on that for he'd been ready a long time. There was one more thing as he turned to Patwin, "we have yet to hear of your vision walk, brother."

Kuwan saw the looks her way and the verbal nudge by Yas, it had her lowering her eyes but she knew she needed to stay. Kali healed as good as she could and there were older healers in their tribe. She didn't have the heart to look upon Kali, she had Patwin but she would always be her heart sister. Times changed some things as it was meant to be. She had already accepted that.

"Then go to the father McDonough, Yas, and tell him of our intent for we should leave and be on our way across the water before the moon reaches its next phase." He drew his leg in, bending the other up at the knee to drape his arm over it. "I have not yet spoken of what was shared with me, Brother, because what was revealed is as certain as the mist. Ever present but easily shifted. Each moment brings the opportunity for change, each action the possibility that all can be righted, saved, or that anything we do will matter not to what the fates have decreed. There is much we will face, but the outcome is clouded with the choices we make." He shifted his gaze to Kuwan. "All the choices we make." His head dipped to her. Even now, with her decision, outcomes were morphing, warping, hazing over and resettling into the ultimate design.

"I will do so when we finish here. The moon is full and there is no wind. In the morning, the three of you can prepare to follow." He looked at Kuwan again. "We will miss you but it is well that you stay. The dogs will not need to be taken along and we'll not have to worry about things being unguarded." He would ask that a ship pass by to check on her as often as possible though. They could be gone a long time.

Kali smiled again when she heard Patwin, turning to look at him. She was disappointed but it would pass by the time they returned. "We can take the raft to transport the horses across the water." Yas would have to travel close to Heathfield port to save time.

That was the hard part, they would be gone for some time with the winter winds. She would worry on them, pray for them and keep diligent to her task. Eyes had lifted to glance between Patwin with his words and Yas in turn. "You will have to come back to me." If they had left nothing behind, it might be easier for them to stay what had been their home once there again. And it was true, someone would have to watch the dogs and all their belongings they were not bringing with them. This had been a hard decision that near had her to tears but she didn't change it and she didn't show that which blurred her vision some and matted the length of dark lashes.

Mat continued his silence as there was no reason not to. All words weighed and hearts read. "Your vision has been wise," with the way Patwin described what he saw. "What is to be the outcome as with each journey we take, large or small, tomorrow starts this new one with the hope we can bring back others with us, as many that wish to come and the ship can hold." He had high hopes! "I will go with you tonight, brother." He still had a few things on the other shore to bring over, well hidden under the brush. Besides, he would get to see his father as well, if he didn't come, Xander would be disappointed.

Patwin shifted and came to a squatting position there where he was beside Kuwan. "You will be sorely missed, Little Sister, but I trust you make your decision for the right reasons." He took her face between his palms and guided her face down so that he pressed a kiss to the top of her brow. "We will return to you, Kuwan, with many more to feed rabbit pies." He released his hold, and though he didn't smile, there was kindness in his tone. "But remember who loves them most." He stood then, reaching a hand down to Kali. While he hadn't shared his actual vision with those of his clan, what he did see would either come to pass, or be changed by them. Speaking of it would not be what decided the outcome. "Kali and I will come to you when the sun rises, and Kuwan is settled to prepare for our return."

"I did not want to speak for you, Brother." He smiled as he stood then laughed when he heard Patwin. "You make the claim but I'm not certain if Mat's love is equal." He was over to hug Kuwan in farewell. "I hope your choice makes you happy, Kuwan. That is all any of us want for you." He was over to clap a hand to Patwin's shoulder. The horses were well trained and he had no fear of them not reaching the shore. "I go to prepare for the journey."

She took Patwin's hand as he reached for her then stood and nodded. "Morning will come quickly and there is much to do." She wanted to make sure all the furs she had been preparing were stacked away. She looked up at Patwin again and smiled slightly before releasing his hand and moving over to Kuwan. "Stay safe while we are gone."

That was her undoing when Patwin took her face into his hands that way. The kind words pulled at her heart as a tear slipped away down her cheek. Only the one escaping as any others were held at bay. She would hold his promise for them all to come back. There were some things she saw and was part of her reason, so they all did come back. "You are one that loves them best." But he was not the only one that did. This she didn't expand upon. It brought a smile however. She rose as she hugged first Yas, burying her face against his chest a moment, murmuring something about what torture she would do upon him if he didn't bring them all back safely. Mat in turn got the same in a tight hug. Tomorrow morning she would see Patwin and Kali off, tonight she and her heart sister would probably stay up many hours quietly talking before sleep was found once Patwin and she came back after their time together. Her choice didn't make her happy as it was a hard choice, one she felt more duty bound by visions than happiness. If anything it was a sad choice.

Mat was over to give Kuwan a hug and reassurance they would be swift as possible in getting there and getting back. Time was of the essence and winter always took a harsh toll on the tribes, especially now that there was less and less to hunt and them being pushed from their lands. "Time will fly with the moons and sun and then we'll be back with others." He seemed certain about that part. "Mind the dogs they will pull our sled when winter arrives." Giving her a wink as he was over to hug Kali then give Patwin a light shot to his shoulder before he was quick to join his brother.

Patwin watched the brothers head into the darkness to prepare for the journey to come. He drew in a deep breath, filling his lungs with the chilled night air. A cleansing scent, a reassuring fullness. As he released his breath into the air around him, he nodded. It was as it would be, as it should be. And all that would follow would also come about in the same way. This very moment, this very breath, brought with it the essence of change. He could but pray to the Spirits that they were all ready for the changes...for ready they would need to be.


After speaking to Xander, and spending the evening with he and Maggie, the Twins waited for Patwin and Kali to arrive. Once they had and they boarded the ship, it wasn't long before they were sailing away from Heathfield. Yas stood on the deck of the ship, watching as the land disappeared. It felt strange knowing they were going back to the place they had thought would always be their home to bring the others here.

Kali watched the shore disappear with a heavy heart. She missed the lands already, and missed Kuwan standing nearby. It would be strange to be without her company along with the braves.

He had enjoyed his visit with his father of which he was becoming to feel like he was one, their father. Still it was strange, the white man's ways although some of their ways he didn't mind. They were all being influenced by them, good or bad. Kuwan seemed to be the one most affected having befriended such families and spent more time in their company. Mat stood near Yas as he looked out watching the lands that had become home grow smaller and smaller away. He remembered how they all detested coming here and how that had changed. "There have been many changes and many changes to come." Which he paused here, "I feel Kuwan will be all right on her own and not to worry on her."

Patwin did not watch the shore, but stood facing Kali, his back braced to the rail of the ship. He cared not to watch Heathfield fade from view. He allowed himself only to look at what would be the future. His future. Their future. To say his heart did not pound, to say the blood in his veins did not sing with the pulsebeat of the homeland they would soon be arriving at, would not be true. For it did. Heathfield may now be home, but the blood of their people, the souls of their lineage, still called to him from the ashes of their ancestors scattered across the lands to which they traveled. His jaw tensed and released, tensed ... and released as he watched Kali, and beyond her the backdrop of ocean. Many nights would pass before they set foot upon the soil of their homeland. Until then, he would think of the future, and how he would have it be, not how the shroud of visions had shown it to be.

"I do not worry on her." Yas turned dark blue eyes on his brother, his expression unreadable. "She has our family here and ... friends to help her. I am more concerned about our family and tribe in our homeland. Many changes could come to pass after three years." He looked away again, turning as he did so he was no longer watching Heathfield fade away. "There will be some gone." He didn't say their adopted father could be among them, or their grandfather.

She could only watch for so long before she turned to face Patwin and smiled. "You are looking very thoughtful, Patwin." They all held their own fears about their homeland. She hoped members of her family still lived but she would have to be patient. "I have forgotten what it is like to be on these ships or that I didn't much care for it the first time."

He gave a squeeze of Yas' shoulder, "I am mistaken then on your worry. You are right, she will be fine and our concern now is what lies ahead." Oh, he knew some were already dead for they came and told him through the spirit world. He had much on his mind as he decided to leave the others to their thoughts and he better in focusing on his own. So he would set a path to pace each day starting with this one. It would help him bear the time out at sea and so confined. So he looked like a caged animal and would more each day that most of the sailors would avoid the wild eye looking savage. Although he never made a savage's move of such.

Dark eyes narrowed, perhaps his version of a reassuring smile for her but then again, perhaps another thought passed through his mind. "It is the sun, it reflects off the water." He pushed up from his lean. "You have not yet been within her embrace for long enough to judge her this time." He moved closer to her, coming to stand beside her so that their arms touched, but she faced one way and he the other. "Perhaps the journey would prove more pleasant if you at least gave her the chance to change your mind. We do, after all, head to the land of our birth and that in itself is worth caring for it." His head turned and he looked down to her. "I do not have much love for such a large boat on such a vast surface myself." And there was his confession to her. "But with every journey, it is the destination that matters." His hand lifted and crossed against his midsection, touching lightly to her elbow as he prepared to move away toward the brothers.

He nodded then watched his brother a moment, a hint of amusement appearing. He had seen how some of the sailors eyed them. Perhaps they had met tribes on the warpath during their visits to the Colonies but that was not his worry. A nod was given to Mat in answer before he glanced at Patwin and Kali. Just a hint of what could have been a sigh and he turned his attention on what the sailors were doing. At least it seemed they would have good weather for a day or two at least.

"Yes, the sun," she agreed with a smile then looked away for just a moment until he moved closer. "I will hold my judgement until we are on solid ground then." Gaze tipping up to him, her eyes brightened at his touch. "The destination is very much worth caring for." As they grew nearer, her thoughts would turn more and more on their homeland and what they would find there.

The days dragged on, or so in Mat's mind as that wild eye look only grew worse with each passing one. He amused himself by climbing the ropes to the bird's nest much to the chagrin of the sailor on duty there. Except, after the one's fears subsided they grew to be friends and he let Mat look through the scope to see things far in the distance, much like a hawk could in flight. He liked it up there. Eventually he saw land and showed this to Smithy as the one called himself. So Smithy yelled down "LAND HO!" the ship became a beehive of activity as everyone knew what to do that manned the ship. They had not run into any storms along the way and only a spot with very choppy waters. Today, however, made up for it with gray ominous skies and drizzle that had started. Mat only came down when he had to after the mayhem ceased and it was safer to. Hours later they drew into one of the vacant slips as designated by the harbor master, one in a rain cloak and lantern he was waving to show where. Luckily it wasn't so bad that they had to anchor out in the harbor and wait until it cleared up. Although the docks and deck were slick it didn't stop Xander's crew from efficiently securing the ship and putting down the plank. There were curious standbyers even in such weather, ones in rain cloaks or under umbrellas, the wealthier ones had carriages to wait on any ship or passengers that were arriving. Some of those passengers were on their ship as greetings came when family met one another. Mat waited on the dock looking around. There were others of their race about doing hard work loading crates and the like and there were dirty looks passed his way already as he waited on Yas, Patwin and Kali to join him.



Date: 11-26-10
Poster: Mat McDonough
Post # 18

Arriving in Philadelphia

The trip had not been a bad one but Kali was still glad to see the colonies as they came into sight. Her dreams had been troubled, vague while on the ship and as they neared the docks, she felt a sense of urgency. It was hard to push it aside as just being anxious. She kept an eye on the three braves as well, concerned for their well being for they were the reason she had gone to Heathfield. And she spent as much time as possible with Patwin. She wasn't certain how it would be once they reached land or if there were be times for them to be alone. She waited for him before making her way down the gangplank.

Mat had left the ship before the rest of them so Yas took a moment to thank the Captain and crew for the safe trip. He saw to the moving of their possessions and the horses before he was making his way to the shore. Supplies could be purchased from some of the smaller villages. They might be natives but their gold was good. Might cause curiosity where they got it but the three would deal with it.

Patwin placed a hand on the back of Kali's arm, easing them both down the gangplank to the docks below. He knew they would all gather together again before they set out, but for now Yas remained on the ship and Mat had disappeared in the crowd. Indian brave could blend in the colonial masses. For the most part, the crowds parted for the natives and those who didn't only wished to cause trouble, so Patwin led Kali around them instead. He kept his gaze lowered for the most part, the battle to be won was not here at the docks.

Actually their gold was only good in a few places as Mat noticed the looks he got. If looks could kill they would all be dead on the spot by the majority. There were degrading comments made and degrading signs in a number of establishments, no Niggars, no Injuns Allowed. Or no dirty red skins. They were in the minority as were other races. It was upon Kali some turned such an eye and comment made about the squaw. Most of the time lewd implications that a man should never say to any woman no matter her race. Mat saw enough as by this time their horses had been made ready and turned back that way. "We leave." Was all he would say. The place was not one to linger in for the longer they stayed the most likely they would be in a fight and it would be greatly weighed in the white man's favor. The one difference they had over their own kind in this port city was they were not poor nor dirty for the living conditions the others were forced into. He was quick to mount up and wait on his brother and friends. He would make certain that Kali ended up between them and the others about this port town.

Kali made sure she had all the herbs, ointments and such before they left. She didn't want to leave a single thing behind. A look at the sailors and others around the docks had her frowning and she looked at the three braves, then smiled to herself. Her dreams didn't have a thing to do with the city so all would be well. Still, it wouldn't hurt to be cautious.

Yas lifted his chin slightly, studying the atmosphere around them. He was surprised to see the People working as near slaves since this was called the City of Brotherly Love but perhaps that only extended to some. Looking at his twin, a brow lifted but he nodded. He glanced at Patwin before mounting his own horse. A comment heard had him looking directly at one man who actually blanched and looked away. Some things never changed.

Patwin gathered not just his horse, but Kali's. He swung up on his mount and offered a hand down to Kali. "Until this is behind us." He explained so she wouldn't object, almost a demand that an objection would not be heard. His other hand held tight to the other horse's rope. That would be led beside them until time for Kali to take control of it. Like Kali, his visions had nothing to do with the port city. At least, not the arrival there. Still so much could change in a blink of an eye. A wrong look. A misstep. He had little of his own to keep up with. A small pouch of personal belongings. He was ready whenever the Brothers nudged their mounts into motion.

That was the interesting part of all this, those that degraded others couldn't look the braves in the eye, at least not these braves as they headed out. There would be a length of the town to get through before they were finally heading out into the wilds. The pace would be set at a clip that didn't bode anyone stopping them and causing trouble.

Kali wouldn't argue with Patwin because she understood his reasoning. It seemed off kilter to her now, this dislike and anger, since living in Heathfield but it made sense in light of what they had all felt and seen. She wrapped her arms around Patwin's waist once she was up behind him and watched the people they passed. Some stared openly, some ignored them, some, especially those called Quakers, nodded. She would be glad to be out of the city but this gave her an opportunity to think and prepare.

The pace was a good one and saw them soon out of the city. Farms followed and finally the woodlands. It wasn't until they were on the proper path that Yas finally relaxed some. He would still be alert for one never knew what lurked in the woods. There were signs of encroachment everywhere, marks of the white man going deeper into the wilderness and places where the tribes there had burned homesteads. It would be a continuing battle now until the clans were driven deeper and deeper into the wild.

Once they reached the woodlands Patwin urged the spare horse over with a click of tongue and a tug of rope. They wouldn't stop, but they didn't need to for Kali had spent as much time on the back of a horse as any of them and could make the transition without any trouble. They locked arms at the elbows and Kali edged up and over. Patwin made sure she was secure and took the reins tied against the horses neck before he tossed the guide rope to her. He slowed as they passed the evidence of a battle already underway. They had arrived just in time but then he was told they would. The pride of their people would sustain them until the four could return to them. It would be the journey from there that would be the test of fortitude and survival.

Once out in the open and far enough away from the stench of that city, for Mat the place smelled as foul as many acted, he spurred his horse ahead to scout. The town had left a bad taste in his mouth and he was more determined to get any of their People out of here, which was transcending the boarder of tribes to their race as a whole. Many, of those remaining would be called but only so many would answer taking the adventure; taking such a step and trust that the spirits and their ways were not held to this land alone. That they could being all to the new lands that they treasured for all lands were connected. Their spirit guides traveled with them.

The exchange was easily done with Patwin's help and she nodded as she was settled. A glance was given to the burned land and she looked away. The ghosts of those lost still hovered there and would for some time and it saddened her. She remained silent for the most part, missing her heart sister, glad for the company of the braves, and wondering on the changes they would find in their homeland. The Clan of the Bear had moved but they would be found by the three.

He kept his thoughts to himself, listening to the land around them. They knew that there were enemies here and with Matt riding forward, they would have eyes ahead. There was no need for them to speak. They would use hand signals though the three warriors had worked together for a long time and knew one another's way of fighting, knew each other's thoughts by a glance.

Silence had always been a language unto itself, between these three, for their people. They tracked the Bear for some time, even though their path had been covered well. The elders had trained their braves well, and even the tiniest bend of grass could give any of these three confirmation. The crack of limb...direction. The scent in the air ... location. The four slept under the stars, each taking their turn at watch. They hunted and ate on the trail so as not to waste time, breaking briefly only to relieve themselves and return circulation to their limbs.

There were many shadows in these outlying lands where killing became a way of life, or more, ending it. He was a good distance ahead when he heard the sound of many hooves and moved off the main road and around to where he'd not be seen but could watch the trail ahead. Sure enough there was a troop of soldiers but it was the way they were riding, the smear of blood on tattered clothing, the hand upon the hilt of their swords still that had him heading back to warn the others. It came as a motion of signals, first letting them know there were riders counting on two dozen or more and that he didn't trust the blood lust he could smell upon them not to cause them harm just for the color of their skin. His stallion reared up coming down in a turn as he would lead them on a trail he knew of that would have them avoid the hunting party, for they were more that then a returning brigade.

There would be no questions from the Healer when she saw the return of Mat and what he conveyed. She looked at Patwin then urged her horse to follow after Mat. Yes, things were much, much worse than they had been but she was not afraid.

Yas motioned to Patwin to follow after Kali. He would bring up the rear and make sure the riders didn't follow. There was a hint of snow in the air and he hoped it would begin soon. Any out in it and not willing to be, would head for protection immediately.

Patwin only nodded first to Mat then as he looked to Yas, set out after Kali.

At least the snow was light enough that they would not leave a trail, half melting into the brush where it mostly rested. Cold enough to leave the ground hard and less chance of being tracked. The group of soldiers had a tracker. One who was a native. That to Mat was bad news for it would give the whites an advantage and the tracker selling out his race for coin. There was greed on all sides. He led them through a small mountainous pass that finally brought them out a lot further down the trail from where he had spied the soldiers. The time would cover a number of hours before he set to keeping ahead again.

There were several times where one of them caught sight of soldiers, scouting parties or natives fleeing the fighting and heading for what they hoped was safety. Those Yas would speak to, and if they were so inclined to throw their lot in with the Bear, direct them to a certain place to wait. Their mother's brother would take them in though there were not many who were willing to leave their home. He spoke to his comrades of his concern about their own tribe, but perhaps they would be more convincing there. It took a week and a half to reach the place where Wolf Paw and Feather had guided the tribe, a sheltered valley protected from those who were not close to the Earth Mother. But even here, her magic had began to fade. Looking down into the valley where they could see the smoke from campfires, Yas looked at his companions and smiled. They were not too late.


They had not traveled here to force a new way upon the people, but to offer, and encourage ... and then hope. Patwin sat upon his horse, looking down over the view below, and his entire being thrummed an ageless, timeless rhythm. He realized then, it was not so much this particular land, this exact earth, but the people upon it that vibrated through his spirit. He caught the motion of Yas' head and looked in his direction, offering a dip of his own in acknowledgement. They were not too late but time stalked them as the wolf on a deer, stealing in on silent paws to rip apart the essence of their people and feast upon what remained. Patwin would not venture forth until the leader of their tiny party gave the order to do so, but his horse danced a silent step with the energy which flowed from its rider into it. So much so that Patwin had to lean in, stroke its neck, and speak in soft, almost cooing tones to the beast in an attempt to calm it.

Kali smiled back at Yas, but it was a nervous smile. She looked back to the campfires, praying her father still lived.

He wouldn't make them wait long, but started down the well trodden path slowly, his hand where they could be seen. It was growing dark and they might not be recognized until they stood in the light of a fire's glow. He held his head high, as befitted a Brave of the Bear Clan.

Mat caught the look and the relief was there in his eyes as well. He had not been so sure they would have a tribe to come back to. It would be for Yas to lead them down with him close behind.

Patwin felt the eyes upon them, knew that word was spreading fast down into the valley as the four made their slow descent. He, like his tribal brothers, rode with his legs tight to his mount, his arms spread wide in a show of peace and surrender. There would none of them enter into the den of the Bear without their heads high, for they were returning, and that in and of itself was cause for pride.

There was a beat of a drum that began slowly then rose as another and then another began. They had been recognized and the Tribe was being called. As they rode into the center of the camp, the elders were waiting for them.  But She Who Speaks to Owls was gone, having joined her ancestors as had Kuwan's adopted father. The War Chief watched them with no expression while Milap and Kirma both allowed pride to show in their eyes. Other Elders stood with them. Kali's mother and father stood to the side, waiting patiently to greet the daughter they feared would never return. There were familiar faces among those that watched, and some not at all familiar. Yas dismounted and strode to stand before the War Chief and Elders, knowing the others would join them. He saluted the War Chief as an equal then bowed slightly to the Elders. "We have returned as we said we would."

Kali glanced at Patwin before she looked toward her parents and allowed a smile to show. They lived still. With them was a small child, one of her cousins who, unknown to her, they had adopted. She slid from her horse and joined Yas as he moved forward, standing a pace behind while he greeted the War Chief and Elders.

They had good reason to believe they would not return when it was more than four years, instead of the three. Mat was at his brother's side, standing tall as they approached the War Chief and Elders. Respectful gestures given as they were greeted and welcomed back. He waited for the meeting that would take place, first feeding them of what they had, even if little to share, then the talks of the years in changes and those to come. Their hopes. Their fears.

Patwin hesitated as he met the War Chief's eye, the younger warrior's chin raising a notch in response. He had no family to speak of, and yet, Dekanawida had been as a father to him as Patwin grew from a lad to a man. His brothers were twins. His mother, all the women who tweaked an ear, swatted a spoon, stroked a shoulder. It had been difficult for him to leave his family, this family of Bear, but harder now to prepare to convince them of the need for them to escape to the safety of a foreign land. He strode forward behind the other braves, standing before those who had justly sent them away four years past.

Yas motioned for Kali to step up beside Patwin, half smiling to himself. She was a woman grown and should take her rightful place. Kirma stepped forward and opened her arms in greeting. "We welcome you home, Snow Brave, White Bear, Patwin, Kaliska. Yet, we see there is one who has not. Where is Kuwanyauma?" Yas couldn't hide his smile to the Great Mother but it was fleeting. "She is well and remained behind in the land of Heathfield. There is much to discuss, Great Mother. I know it grows late but we four have felt a need to return and would speak to you all."

Kali was pleased to step forward and stand with them. She watched the Great Mother move forward with a touch of concern. The Elder was growing frail and it made her sad to see it. Her own father had a touch of gray in his hair. She looked forward again after glancing at Patwin and the twins trying not to giggle. She felt tiny beside them.

After they were officially greeted, maidens brought worked beads to place around their necks. Ones that showed that which was lost was found and something to celebrate. The main wigwam was where they were led, brought in as the council took their seats at the farthest end. They were to sit next, two to each side, the twins on one and Patwin with Kali on the other. Once they were seated then the rest of the tribe came in a certain order of station. The maidens, those untouched to be married yet, waited on all the others. Mat noticed the looks given his brother who was the eldest as he said something low about him taking a wife from the select.

As they took their appointed seats and Patwin watched the others enter, he stroked the back of his fingers against the side of Kali's lower arm. He could appreciate the need for ceremony, it was their way, it had always been and if Patwin even had to die for it, it would hopefully always be. However...he could hear the wolves of his vision howling in the distance, drawing nearer, ravenous and blood thirsty. His gaze crossed the distance to Yas and when their eyes met, he added the smallest of head bows to him.

Yas just gave Mat a look with a touch of a smile. He wasn't worried about marriage at this point in time and he knew Mat was just teasing. It did help relieve some of the tension that he was feeling. The nod from Patwin did the same and he looked at the Elders. Kirma nodded at the young Brave to begin. They had spoken of some changes but it was time for a more serious voice. "We have been in Heathfield passed the three years for a reason. All of our dreams and hearts have been troubled by visions that we were uncertain of. We did not know if they were the future or present. Some things of the now have come true, but what we have seen is a future we wish to avoid for our Clan. Starvation, war, disease. All of these things we hope to avoid and save the Clan of the Bear and any others who might wish to find a different path." Milap looked at Kirma then the War Chief before he spoke. "We too have had those among us speak of dark visions. A time soon to begin. We do not feel we will be safe here for long."

Kali was listening but at the same time, she had been watching those that came in. There were a few who seemed ill at ease and those she watched closely. It wasn't just ill at ease, but ill physically. She was thankful for the herbs that she had collected alongside Kuwan.

Mat sat with his hands resting on the crossing bend of his knees. More like a statue in discipline of limb, mind over matter. If he was noticed by any of the maidens, it didn't occur to him as it did of any that noticed his brother. Dark blue eyes upon the council as he listened to them speak. So many to have the dark visions only certified their truth and warning to save their tribe as there was a means being offered to those who took heed. He would not speak unless asked being Yas was the one older by a few minutes.

Patwin remained silent as well, pulling his gaze from the Elders to pass over the gathered crowd.



Date: 11-27-10
Poster: Patwin
Post # 19

Clan of the Bear

Yas nodded once more, and though his brothers and Kali did not speak, their support meant much to him. He nodded to Milap's words then continued. "Then we have a solution for you to consider. It will mean traveling farther than you ever have before, facing the unknown, but in the end, knowing you, no, we will be able to live as we wish." He motioned to those standing in the lodge, though he never took his eyes from the Elders. "There is an island in the land of Heathfield that is offered for us. It is wooded, with meadows and the land is fertile. There is one area where a manor stands. Creatures guarded by the Great Spirit live there but they have never bothered us. We will be protected by the laws of Heathfield, and those lands will not be taken from us." He looked at the others then back to the Elders. "I do not know what my brothers and Kaliska have to say, but they agree and that is why we have returned. To offer that chance to you all and to others who may wish to find a place of safety." He took a breath and looked at the three. If they had anything to say, this was where they could.

A soft whish of whispered words filtered through the gathering though at first none spoke up. Patwin studied the heads that came together, the frightened looks, the stubborn looks. Patwin pushed up and stood, coming to stand in the center of the room. He bowed his head to the council, then turned to look out to his people. "Many of you have seen the visions and those who have not, have heard of them. The Great Spirit watches over us and protects us. For as long as any of us know we have found favor and Mother Earth has blessed us upon these lands. But even now soldiers of another race hunt down those of our clans. Life has never been easy but we have been peaceful. It is my belief the Great Spirit has provided a way to remain so. Otherwise, we will fight and from all of our visions..." He swept a hand from one side of the gathering to the other. "We will lose, we will lose too much." The warrior lifted his chin, meeting the eye of many. "You will need to do as your own Spirit Guides direct. Listen closely. Chose wisely. But listen you must and chose you will have to do." He did not sit, but turned his body to face Yas. To him, he offered a nod then stepped away.

As Patwin would put forth this dire situation one way, Mat would add putting it another way that it would bring understanding to them all as each looked upon analogies differently. "It is why I have come back, to plea this offer." He wasn't just asking them or suggesting it. "I have had visions of times to come as we have seen and suffered the changes already since the white man. Many are good and innocent as our women and children but there are men in power that rule the others to become heartless in their killings. Like our buffalo they slaughter, so they would slaughter us the same. We are not them so we are no better than the wild wolves they hate. Some feel that it is isolated and they could not be so cruel but there are other tribes more resistant that have been left slaughtered, old and young alike, man and woman. You say they will not do this to us but it is like the snow on the great mountain during winter that starts to roll, it is small and seemingly harmless at first but it builds then builds faster even more until it devours all in its path. This avalanche is upon us and we plea you come with us so that you are able to live out your lives. There was once a time to die a warrior's death here, it will not be so by these other men. Those times have changed." Meaning if they stayed to die so, they would be cheated out of that as well. Some of their great leaders had deaths where they tied themselves to a stake in the ground, giving them only so far they could move and met the enemy this way, killing as many but knowing they would be killed eventually. There was a hush over the group, most had no answers other than what the Elders decided.

Kali wasn't one to speak out usually, but she did now. "I have little to say as to why we should move. Before the visions began, I, along with Patwin, had thought to come back and stay. But when the visions began, we knew there had to be other choices than to watch the death of our people, our way of life. Ashford Island is a good place and the Spirits have shown it to be a good place to raise our children, to grow our crops, to live as we have always. And yet, we can interact with the people as we wish. They are a good people, strong with the Creator, tolerant of others and welcoming." She had nothing more to say so she simply became quiet.

Yas felt a great relief as all three spoke. Kirma stood after Kali sat and nodded. "The sense of urgency that is felt will not allow us to wait for long. The signs have been the winter will be cold and harsh, even here, in our protected lands. We will discuss this while the food prepared is eaten and meet again in the morning." The Elders withdrew, leaving the maidens to serve the meal. Though he hadn't eaten since the morning, Yas found he had little appetite and instead visited those he knew after thanking his brothers and Kali.

That was where his twin differed. He was starving at this point and the whole deal had him eating like one starved. He burned up energy during such stress and ate to replenish. Once he was done, he would vacate the wigwam and find his brother to join him in seeing those closest.

Patwin thanked the maiden as she brought over the tray, motioning that she should serve Kali. The maid looked from him to Kali then back to him with a nod, realization dawning on her young features. He rested his gaze on her then he turned and walked away to retire outside. Cool air washed over, pausing him a moment in the opening. The smell of this place filled his senses, familiar and welcomed.

Kali smiled at Patwin as the maiden served her and then she enjoyed the food that was served. As soon as she finished, she was over to speak to her parents. A few moments later, she followed Patwin outside. Touching his arm to let him know she was there, she smiled as she looked around the village. One of the children spoke to her asking about the weather on the island and when she answered it was the same as this land, he was satisfied. "You can speak to my father tonight, if you wish." She said softly, peeking up at his profile. Once again she fell silent, enjoying the cold, night air.

When he spoke to a few, he moved away for a moment. He wanted to speak to Milap but that would have to wait. Perhaps now was a good time to sleep. The Elders would give their answer in the morning and no matter his own impatience,  He moved to Mat first. "I will sleep now so my mind is sharp in the morning." He would sleep in the wigwam for the Braves.

"I will be along shortly," not giving anything away as he took to a different direction. Not far from where Kali and Patwin stood talking, others were milling about but there was the light sound of a woman giggling behind one of the wigwams and the male voice that rumbled would be all too familiar to them.

Her touch caused him to close his eyes at first, then he turned his head to look down to her. "I will do so." The telltale sound of a rendezvous had Patwin placing a hand to the small of Kali's back to lead her away.

The next morning came quickly and the assembly began immediately after the Clan broke fast. They were all seated as before, but it seemed that more of the tribe had filed this time. Yas, watched the Elders as they took their seats keeping his expression stoic. The Elders knew the dangers, knew what could be for their future. There was little more he could say. Kirma stood and waited for those inside the lodge to become quiet before she spoke. "We have talked long on this. Trying to see both sides, to look at all options. We can stay, and watch as much is lost. Perhaps not all, and perhaps in the future, we would regain it. But, after all the discussions, it is a risk we do not wish to take. The Clan has been for countless moons. If we move to this Ashford Island, our people will survive. Our way of life will evolve and if we wish to change it, it will be our choice. The Spirits have showed their approval when we sought them out. So, we will move to Ashford Island, and ... " She waited for silence as the crowd began to murmur. "And, we will not force any who do not wish to go. But each of you must make a choice and soon." She sat down and looked at Yas who bowed his head to her before he spoke. "There is a ship waiting for us at the white man city of Philadelphia. There are those hostile to us, but we do not believe they will try to stop us. We will begin our journey within two days." They could pack up quickly, but that would give everyone some time to decide.

Mat seemed to be one more at ease than he had been in a long time. He listened thoroughly to the Elders and finally left out a breath he'd been holding, It did his heart and mind good to have this outcome and not have to accept the end of his People had they chosen otherwise. His visions had been too clear. He didn't speak another word after the acceptance, instead, like his brother he bowed his head in respect. He would help any that needed help and he would give encouragement to any that needed such for this trip would be a very daunting prospect for some of them. To go into the belly of the wooden beasts of the sea to get to where they were going.

The two days passed quickly with nearly everyone packing though there were a few who did not wish to leave. One was an elderly man who knew his days were numbered and wished to die on his native soil. His grandson didn't wish to leave him until he was properly back to the Ancestors. Yas gave him instructions to go to their Uncle who would see the lad safely on a ship to Heathfield. The others were two braves and a couple who feared what would happen to
their unborn child. The warriors felt there would be no glory in a land of peace. Kali spoke to the couple, assuring them all would be well, while the War Chief spoke to the warriors. In the end, the elder, and his son, and one brave stayed behind. The warrior promised Kirma to think on his choice while he waited with the boy. Some wept as they left the valley, most looked stoically forward. Scouts rode ahead but on the third day, they stayed with the group. The weather had changed and no one wished to be lost in the storm. After a discussion, it was decided they would continue though at a slower pace. Finally, the storm passed, leaving them with several hours of daylight to continue. The Elders agreed that such a large group would surely attract attention and they needed to be especially cautious.

The only thing they had to their advantage was that the Native Tribes migrated. Not that the white man would know that it was usually before this time. Although close enough there could have been a reason for the delay. Since that night that Morning Dove waylaid him behind the wigwam, he noticed that she showed up often at his side, trying to do this or that for him which he would chase her off to help others. He had enjoyed their conversation, had him laughing at points for she was a witty conversationalist but he was uncertain how he felt, although flattered for her beauty, that she kept showing up at odd times. Even as the tribe, certainly most of it, set out the trek would be slow as many walked and few rode. Many of the horses were used to carry their belongings. There were scouts sent ahead to report back but it would be hard to conceal so many. Word had gotten out to neighboring tribes that had more warriors and maidens joining them. So their numbers grew.

Yas was concerned that they would be attacked and after speaking to the War Chief, he spoke to the braves who then rode or walked on the outside of the group. Kirma spoke to him on the certainty they were being watched, and so he warned Mat, Patwin and others. It was certain they would be attacked. The only questions were when and by whom.  The soldiers were every bit as dangerous as the other tribes.



Date: 11-28-10
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 20

The Scrimmage


With so many people, consideration could not be made for individuals but for the group at large. This caused many to travel in discomfort even though every attempt was made to ease the burden of travel. Three times they passed a group of the white man's scouts, each time the number growing. They never approached, just watched from the distance of the field or from the cover of trees. Each time several of the warriors eased their horses to a stop and allowed them to 'graze' while the group continued on. Patwin didn't pretend not to watch them while his horse stood at a standstill. They made no attempt to hide their study, why should he? He watched them straight on and when his horse shifted, he continued to watch them across his shoulder. Perhaps fifteen men that time, one even blatantly touching his hat with his fingers. This large group could not go unnoticed and the white men were just letting them know.

Mat didn't like the tension the sighting of the white man's troops were making on the people. Mostly the young warriors that were itching to prove themselves. This provided the grounds for a dangerous mix and it was becoming palatable. He could taste that bitterness of blood on his tongue, could smell the taint in his nose and it hadn't even started. He got the idea to make some flags of white material on sticks to show they were moving peacefully. Except there was a couple smaller groups of those very young warriors that lagged behind, somewhat breaking off from the main body after a while, gradually so. Maybe they hoped to distract the white men from the others, most were ones that had joined the process from other tribes. This too was noted. This was becoming a growing concern as he looked from Patwin to his brother. That question should they go get them and bring them back or leave them go? Either way, it was getting him anxious too. If the braves got cocky, they could have the white men descend on them all.

Yas had noticed the young braves as well and frowned. They didn't need this challenge and it was obvious to him that the men were only watching. "We need to keep the others moving," he decided after a moment, looking at his twin. To Patwin, he gave a quick nod, letting their blood brother know that the young braves would need to be brought back to the safety of the group. He moved to the back of the pack to encourage the others to keep moving, not look back and looked to Kali to do the same.

Patwin had looked behind, studying the young men who lingered from the group. He turned just in time to meet Yas' eye, to catch the nod, to offer one just as quick in response. He reined his horse around and started toward the group. Anxious and edgy, the horses danced and pawed as Patwin joined. From the reaction of the mounts, Patwin knew what flowed through the braves. "Join the others." He ordered, feeling the eyes of the white men on them. Several voices raised in protest, hands gripping axes, bows, raising high in the air with their words. A couple of warbled cries were added to the mix. Patwin tensed and brought his mount around, circling the pack then entering in again. As he made that circuit, he checked the distance of the gathering. The beginning was far enough away not to know anything was happening, the last of them might have realized but could continue without worry. "You would fight the white man? Bring their barking weapons upon the whole?"


As several of the young men hooted their eagerness to enter into a fray with the soldiers on the knoll, Patwin struck out, backhanding one brave hard enough to knock him from his horse. "You who have been chosen for protection." The zing and hiss of an arrow being released was what he heard next. The sound of defiance. The sound... of death. The downed brave had scrambled for his dropped bow and had pinpointed a soldier, his aim was true having been trained well, their destinies locked in with that perfect shot. The Indians froze, watching a soldier flip back over his horse and tumble to the ground. The chaos of men trying to figure out what had happened. And then ... the realization. Patwin yanked his horse around. "Imbecile!" He shouted, yanking his own bow from his back and lacing an arrow through it. He shot a look to the larger group, offered a prayer up for their safety and with a grit of teeth, that of frustration and preparation, he heeled his horse toward the attack that now charged down the hill.

Mat had seen the looks exchanged and relief eased the sharp line of his shoulders. Still, the tension had not eased completely as he lagged to the last of their group where he could see Patwin addressing the young and foolish braves. Their heads full of being brave where it was only a death wish in this instance. Possibly one on all their heads. He made sure the slowest of their tribe got help to move along a bit quicker, taking on a small child to ease the burden of his mother with a few more of them to herd. When he heard the war whoops he turned his horse around and galloped to where he could see what was transpiring. The last of the main group well out of sight of the soldiers and renegade young braves. The young child squirmed against him and started to cry so he turned back and once more was galloping up to where his brother was. His words were quick and low between them not wishing for Kali to hear as she was kept busy helping others. He handed over the sodden pants toddler with encouraging words to get the tribe on the ship as fast as possible. He would go back to help Patwin. Sail if needed for it was unwise to sit in the port with a tribe of Natives aboard considering the adversity towards them they had witnessed. Send another ship if needed. With that he was once more heading back putting the stallion at a gallop. Much could have transpired even in those five to ten minutes it took him.

Kali had seen all that was going on and watched as Patwin rode back. She could feel fear grow in the pit of her stomach as if she had eaten venison gone bad. She was shaking as she turned back to the People, urging them forward.  Watching Mat speak to Yas had the heaviness grow but she continued to move forward, always forward. She wouldn't give Patwin cause to worry even when she heard the sounds of the fight but oh, how she longed to go and watch to make sure Patwin, and then Mat as he left again, were safe.

Yas stopped his horse when he heard the whoops, watching as Mat came back. He took the child gingerly, holding him under the arms because he hadn't dealt with many crying children. Another came to take him as Mat spoke. Before he could offer an argument, his twin was riding off. Frowning, he turned his horse, ordering several of the braves to cover the rear of the group. There was little else he could do since he had desired this move.

Much had transpired, it didn't take long for fifteen white soldiers armed with rifles to take down eight young braves and only one experienced warrior. Seven bodies were sprawled on the earth, rider-less horses running this way and that and two Indians bound, gagged, strapped and draped over to the back of their horses being led away. The same number of the fifteen had fallen after the initial arrow, but in the end, the arrows, knives and axes of the Indians were no match for the powder powered bullets. Patwin had a gun wound at the outside of this thigh and at his shoulder. He tried to assess the other brave's injuries as the victors threw the boy over his horse but could only see the blood steaming in a mist from under his body, out of his back and the steady drip as it ran along the horse's belly and to the ground. So fast was the defeat that Patwin was dazed. The burning in his shoulder, the pain in his leg kept him from noticing the steady beat of ribs to horse spine as the soldiers led them away at a fast pace. It knocked the air from his lungs, each breath more shallow than the one before. He fought to stay conscious, to mark their course, even as he welcomed that numbing, black oblivion that erased any traces of reality. His last thoughts were on Kali, mentally demanding she stay with their people, see them to safety. For so lovely a woman, she could be all too stub...a pinpointed nothingness had closed in until his thoughts ceased to exist.

Mat arrived just as all the bullets were being fired, braves falling from their horses like flies. He would end up another if he continued to ride in, so he took to the wooded area getting as close as he could. He used more than stealth of which he was adept as the invisibility charm he learned would serve him here surrounded by trees and brush. He knew to stay behind for that rush that was still high to kill. The area between where he watched from with a cold numbness was wide open and there were still soldiers lingering as they collected their dead. Those of the Natives would be left and he itched to find out, hoping that none were his friend and brother. It seemed like countless ages to keep his horse steady before the last of the soldiers left feeling that was the end of it. The invisibility worked within the woods or crowds but it would not in the wide open areas. He had not that skill as of yet. He finally put his horse to a gallop as he rounded him near the bodies, dismounting before he had even stopped. He was quick to check all the faces of those that would never see another day. They were not even of their tribe but one of the others that had joined them. With much relief Patwin was not amongst them. At least he was alive or they would have left him behind. He was quick and silent about this task and on his way, mounting up as the stallion was already in a canter. He would follow the trail of blood for there was splattering on rock and ground alike. Someone was bleeding. Most likely both the survivors were for the way they were thrown over the back of a horse.

The journey to the ship took as long as expected, with Yas staying mostly at the back of the group, ever watching for his brothers. Kali said little to anyone, her heart back at with Patwin where ever he was. Once they were safely aboard the ship, Yas refused to allow it to leave until a full week passed. Then finally, the Captain told him they dared not stay longer, not with the angry crowd ever watching with only a few soldiers between, and the threat of winter weather to come.   He agreed, reluctantly, angrily, and the ship left to sail to Heathfield. Once there, when all were safely on the Island, he would return to Heathfield port, haunting the docks like a lonely ghost, staring ever out to sea.



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