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Clan of the Bear

Date: 12-10-10
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 21

Return to Ashford Island

Yas kept watch as the others embarked after a discussion with the Captain had them deciding to anchor near the island, and take the passengers and their possession on dinghies to their new home. There would be less culture shock for them and this would allow each to become use to this new land. He was certain they would adapt quickly, not only because it was so like their homeland, but because of the way the land felt ... welcoming. The Elders had been taken to shore first, along with the Warchief and their families. He was certain Kuwan would be made aware of their arrival, if she wasn't all ready. Kali had remained behind as well and he watched as she moved among the clan, reassuring those afraid of the smaller dinghies, assuring those who were afraid of this change in their lives, and promising the children, that yes, they would be safe here. Once the People were ashore, and the animals seen to, he and Kali joined them after he thanked the Captain. After all were settled, Yas intended to go to the mainland and talk to his father, letting him know not only that they were home, but that Mat and Patwin were still in the colonies. He guided one particularly skittish horse ashore then stood for a moment, breathing in the fresh, cold air.

They had built the multitude of wigwams of which some which housed a few families. A good fifty of them and more could be made. They extended down the shoreline and back into the woods making a rough circle that would become their new community. They could pick and choose amongst themselves and most likely it would be first come, first served. They would know the few that were occupied, smaller ones like the one that housed Yas, Mat and Patwin and the one that housed her and Kali. A central fire burned that she kept it going all the time they were gone. The huskies were the first to alert her someone was around as she'd been gathering kindling wood. Every day she added to the pile of kindling and what she could find of logs to the other. The barking drew her attention as she drop the armful and came running to where they were on the shore.


The three were playing chase, or so she thought at first but they were looking out to sea. That is when she noticed the dinghies coming in, four in all with a large ship a short distance out. They were home. In that moment delight filled her whole being as a wide smile was the result. Arms were up to wave. As the Elders arrived she was there to reassure them and lead them to one of the better positioned wigwams while the others got the idea and were quickly choosing theirs. As many more came to disembark, she started to worry not seeing Yas, Mat, Patwin nor Kali. So she started asking as many were not sure, there were a couple that pointed back out to the ship letting her know the ones were there. Once Yas and Kali came ashore she was over to them, her smile lifted once more but it died away as she looked questioningly between the two. "Where is Mat and Patwin," moving to hug her sister then stand before Yas. She would hug him too but the feel of something wrong had her hesitate to do so.

She hadn't quite gotten her land legs back so she leaned against a horse until she saw Kuwan. She hugged Kuwan tightly stepping back with a wan smile. It was hard for her to answer so she shook her head, letting Yas do the talking. A small child came over to speak to her and after quietly excusing herself, she left the two alone.

He watched the two women with barely any emotion though there was something in his eyes that hinted at some emotion suppressed. "We were traveling to Philadelphia when a squad of soldiers appeared. They made no move toward us, except to watch but some of the young braves from other tribes that had joined us wanted to challenge them. I sent Patwin back to sooth things over but ... " He paused, looking away for a moment, then back, "the braves attacked. Patwin was taken prisoner and Mat stayed behind to look for him." He didn't add they were uncertain if Patwin was dead or alive. Kali had felt certain Patwin was, just as Yas was certain Mat was also still alive.

The delicate line of her brows furrowed as fear started to grip her heart. The darting of her eyes from the retreating Kali to Yas, spoke of this. That moment in time when you become numb of mind and body when bad news was about to be delivered. She was fighting to breathe but Yas' words were found to be support her greatest fear, that they might be dead, although the possibility existed they were alive. She wouldn't accept the former. "Mat will find Patwin, we have to believe in him, believe in Patwin to be too stubborn to die even if he was wounded. Are you going to go back now that the others are here?" She was guessing he would be if they didn't return within a certain amount of time. She was trying to be encouraging.

He listened to her, watching the struggle in her face as she spoke. "I should have been the one to go back to talk to the braves, or had Mat lead the others to the ship. But it's too late to change what happened. I will give them time but and then go after them myself." He looked at the people settling in and for a moment his face softened. "I believe in them both but sometimes circumstances change things. I will go to see my father and tell him what happened, and I will go to the docks every day and wait." Maybe it didn't make sense but it was what he needed to do. "You have done well here, Kuwan. It will not take long for our people to accept this as home." He was watching a few of the youngsters planting seedlings brought by them from home. They would cover them and keep them safe over the winter.

"That is how it should be." Spoken in agreement that he would go search for them after a reasonable amount of time went by that they had not return. There were a long few moments that stretched before her voice lowered with emotion contained. "It is not your fault but fate. You did what you should as a leader not expecting what transpired." She was sure he was blaming himself and if it turned out either of them died for what was a normal course of action, Yas would never forgive himself and withdraw even more. There was another long pause, "if your father offers to help find them if needed, let him." Mat was his son as Yas was his son and it would benefit them both. She went silent as well, focus turning to the children he started watching. A million and one thoughts flew through her mind but there they were kept safely locked away.

"But I'm not the leader now, Kuwan. The Elders are here and the Warchief." He smiled slightly as he looked in the direction of the tent the Warchief had chosen. "Though his life will be greatly changed now." He looked away from the children back to Kuwan, watching her once more. "I will not stop him of course. This will not be easy for him either. But you, Kuwan, will be the binding force here. You have always been comfortable in this land. You will be the one they'll come to with their uncertainty."

The look in her eyes belied the nod, that she looked upon him as their leader. She had for the past five years and that would be hard to change in her mind. Sight quickly dipped away to where he was looking. "He will be seeking you out as if you are the leader now." She would not be surprised if they changed it all with the change in their new life. They would not be living with the threats or way of life they had before and Yas knew more, he was of both worlds in this world. Which obviously she didn't agree with him stepping down. Then there was the matter of the Halflings which she would need to tend to soon as they had grown dependant on her much as pets did. "I need to tell you of the Halflings," which she proceeded to tell him the encounter with the Druid Prince and described the creatures not man and not beast. That those here would need to stay away from that one area unless they were to help.  They could easily do this if it is said there are spirits of these lands walking there, like gods, which would keep their People in respect to stay from that area. She needed his help in this.

He inclined his head slightly but the truth was he never felt less of a leader than he did now. When Kuwan spoke of the Halflings, he listened quietly and glanced toward the area where the manor stood though he couldn't see if from where they were. "The Clan will respect them as they would any tribe and yes, assist them." He smiled again, but it was fleeting and disappeared so quickly one might wonder if it had truly been there at all. "We will speak to them after the evening meal, and explain what is asked. Being these creatures are gentle, our people may be willing to become friends."

That was a weight off her shoulders for there were signs posted on the trees but few here could read English. She only learned recently over time. She dared to touch him as a hand reached out with only the fingertips to rest lightly on his forearm. "They will be back. I know it in my heart. Do not lose heart, Yaskitchi," she kept her voice low as eyes stung with tears. She needed to go see Kali and prepare for the evening meal after she saw to the Halflings. The touch as a feather before there and gone and she was moving off to let her mind twist and turn over the events in her head. It was still hard to believe Patwin and Mat might not never come home and so she had to discharge that notion before she saw Kali again.

"I will try not to, Kuwan." He looked down at her hand then watched her move away. It was something they all would have to deal with, each in their own way. He realized he still held the lead of the horse and led him over to where the other horses were. Then he moved around to speak to each of the others. After their meal, he'd speak to the Tribe then where the Halflings lived. After, he'd make his way to the mainland. He felt this was news that couldn't  wait another day.



Date: 12-11-10
Poster: Mat McDonough
Post # 22


Pain graciously sent Patwin spiraling into oblivion and pain viciously snatched him back into reality.  His entire body hurt, draped as he was over his horse's back.  An unmerciful pounding throbbed in his head, superficial wounds stung, deeper tissue wounds coursed a sickening, burning sensation straight to the pit of the stomach.   Patwin heaved  and vomited against the side of his horse, his positioning not the best for the emptying of his stomach.   Cold had settled on his skin, into his bones, soaked into his very core and his body was wracked with spasms of shaking, aggravating the already angry wounds and causing another wave of nausea.

His captors didn't take the time to address his comfort, or his exposed body, or his wounds.   Their pace was relentless, leaving little chance that any could pursue.  Patwin strained to hear familiar words of where they may be headed but if their destination was mentioned, the warrior didn't recognize the place enough to know it.  As darkness started to set in, the group split with half of the soldiers progressing with Patwin, the remainder heading off in another direction with the other captive.   He strained to see the younger brave in the failing light but all he could see was the man looked to be unconscious. Whether still or again, Patwin had no way of knowing.  The effort caused yet another dizzying pitch of his stomach and he closed his eyes, this time welcoming the blackness of the void that consumed him.

A grim line was set to Matoska's mouth and the furrow of brows to his features. He knew he was already two hours behind the group as he followed the splatter of blood found on a rock, a twig or dried grass as his guide. For one like himself the tracking was easy but keeping a distance was not. More than once he had to go under cover as a troop galloped by or even a few unknowns that looked possibly to be trappers or homesteaders. He couldn't take the chance of being seen by anyone. So each time he had to stop and take cover he lost time behind the ones that had taken Patwin and another. Both were probably hurt badly and bleeding. He could not tell whose blood was whose he used as a guide in following them. This is where the decision was tough, when he was down from his horse to check the ground where the troop had split up. The splatter of blood on both trails so he had to pick one.
He took a moment to close his eyes and appeal to the spirit bear that was his totem. His chant low as he raised his arms skyward, first facing the north, then west before he turned south, then east, the chant to each point before coming full circle. Arms lowered as he took out the carving of the bear to toss in the air and see how it fell. It had never forsaken him before so in fate he trusted as it fell to the ground, the head facing the trail to the left. Picking up the totem which was placed in a pouch before he was up upon his horse and tracking again. Another two days in following had him moving at night to make up the difference. Wolves howled a lonely eerie sound as Mat set to foot leading his stallion through the woods. Something was wrong as the stallion got uneasy and needed coaxing to continue. It was then he spotted the body tossed to the side of the trail under the moonlight. Leaving his horse there, he rushed over with a tremble that raged through his whole being and down to his hands as he turned over the body. The face was not Patwin's but the other young brave that death had finally consumed for his wounds.



Date: 01-06-11
Poster: Kuwan
Post # 23

Shadow of the Docks

The night was peaceful, even quiet for the dock area as the snow drifted down heavily. It didn't stop the sailors from loading and unloading the ships as the small figure passed by as silent as the flakes that drifted. Cloak that had a layer on it and nothing out of the usual, a young lad, except if one were observant they might notice the special made moccasin boots worn. What could be seen of them between cloak and ground. The movement graceful. Perhaps too graceful for a lad. The destination seemed to be the harbor master's building.

The snow was a constant companion of late and barely noticed, though when it became too cold, shelter would be sought in a doorway or perhaps one of the dockmaster's offices. Occasionally, Yas would even venture into the Blue Marlin and obtain a hot drink or meal. Most avoided him after one who had taunted him and physically attacked him had been injured badly. The guard took the injured man away after witnesses spoke up for Yas, to his great
surprise. Those who didn't avoid him were, oddly enough, the ladies who worked the docks. They never tried to solicit but instead brought him drink and food, sometimes a blanket. Tonight, he was sitting in a doorway, wrapped in a blanket over his cloak, a crate keeping him from the cold ground. He was watching those passing while waiting the arrival of another ship from the colonies.

There was a sailor to go running by nearly knocking the small cloaked figure aside. Shouts came "thief" as she barely stepped into a shadow as the guards gave pursuit. It had her heart thundering in her ears and caught in her throat for a moment. Once they passed, not caring to know if the one got caught or not, she continued on her quest, rounding the small building from the side and nearly ran into another sailor standing there talking to another. The pardon was low as the man gave a distracted swat and saying something foul to the 'lad' to have him on his way. Ducking quickly by the two into the small foyer and board that had the listing of ships coming in that were expected.

He had been half drowsing when the shouts caused him to stir and he watched for a moment. His eyes narrowed as he caught a figure that seemed familiar though he shook his head. Surely not. Still, he eased from his perch and started to follow, leaving the blanket behind. If another found it, their need might be greater and they were welcome to it. He growled as he passed the two sailors, causing them to look. Neither said anything though one reached to touch his knife, stopping when the first made a circling motion aside his head.  He whispered that the half-breed was dangerous as well as crazy. They watched him a moment then moved away.  Yas stepped inside the foyer, standing slightly behind that small, cloaked figured.  Simply waiting.

She was scanning the board with great disappointment and knew she should get back to the Thistle as she'd not have the man ferry her across to the island this late at night. A small building had been constructed on both sides of the area from island to mainland and two ferrymen. She was quickly around only to run into a wall. A wall that she knew the scent of immediately. With her heart in her throat she dared to look up, dark eyes meeting equally dark ones. "Yas," came as soft as a summer breeze.

Dark as hers but with the blue that was inherited from his father. He said nothing for a long moment, then his brows furrowed together. "Kuwan. You know how dangerous it is here. Why are you here, and alone?" He looked up and away, out to where the docks still teemed with life. It would only be in the hours before dawn that it would still some and then the vendors and those who ventured out in daylight would appear. "You could disappear and no one would know what happened to you. Dead or worse. And don't say the same could happen to me." He looked at her again, his face as always hard to read. "Someone is always watching me." Whether he wanted them to or not.  "People worry for the crazy ones."  A smile appeared to show he was kidding then was as swiftly gone.

Which had her chin dip. "I come to see the listing of ships coming in." Which he could rightfully guess as her eyes lifted again. "You are missed amongst the People," which meant that some were talking, worrying on him that maybe the spirits had taken his mind for the disappearance. "I have brought you some food," which she procured from inside her cloak, all wrapped up and smelling good of rabbit pie and pieces of jerky. "I come alone as it is easier to walk with the shadows and not be noticed as if invisible." She didn't say what he didn't want her to say, had no intention but the last sent a chill up her spine.

"I told the Elders they would not see me, except occasionally until both my brothers returned. I am not certain why they have not shared that with the People." He shrugged slightly, a brow lifting. "I thank you for the food but I am asking that you no longer come here at night when the risk is greatest. I know you too well to forbid or demand, Kuwan, even if I had that right" He gave her a slight smile, unable to keep it away. "But I wish you to take as little risk as possible for your own sake." He accepted the package and sat right there in the foyer to eat some of the rabbit pie. "The next ship doesn't come in until morning."

Which had her frown again, "perhaps it is just I who has not heard the announcement for the duties that keep me from the village a lot." So the talk was then speculative by some. It was true he could not command her being he was not chief anymore and being she was not his woman to command as some did. While they were talking, a night watchman came to put up the new schedule. She watched him a moment before bringing out the waterskin filled with clear water and other bits of herbs to keep one healthy. This was offered to him as well. "I will consider your words," came low and she meant it too.

Yas nodded at the watchman as he leaned back against the wall, then he looked at Kuwan again. The half smile returned as he took the water. "They may have decided to say nothing for now.  As for you, will you at least, carry a knife. I truly do not like you being here at all but daylight is safer. The guards do the best they can but they cannot be everywhere. How do the People fare? Are they adjusting well to their new home? How is my father and the Elders?" He considered both men as fathers but would have to come up with a way to separate them in talking.

She drew open her cloak enough that he would see two knives tucked away along her slim waist before the cloak was back over to cover them up. She knew how to use them although she had never killed a human before. She hoped she never had to. She could appease his concern that much, "I will come by the light of day if able, instead." She turned to look at the listing as another ship was due in a week from the Colonies, turning back with his question, "the Elders fare well. I have not seen your father to know how he fares." She referred to his real father.  "It grows late and I should return to the Thistle." She was starting to feel the drain of the day.

"I mean Milap. It is confusing."  The last was said thoughtfully.  Perhaps he would use the word of the People for father for Milap.  He stood, licking off his fingers after taking a drink. The remainder of the food was tucked away into his pack as was the water. "I will walk you back and stay the night. The ship does not come until nearly noon so I will be back in time."

"I hope the spirits are with us when it arrives or the one that comes in the week." Giving a nod as she would welcome his company and know that he would sleep in warmth this night. A smile showed for a moment, like sunshine on a cold day before gone as she headed out of the building towards the Thistle. "Milap does well but I know his eyes are shadowed the days you are still away."

He didn't move from the docks often on the off chance that one not listed would arrive. "And I think I need a hot bath, and a shave." He wasn't 'ripe' but if he didn't bathe soon, he would be. It would be good to sleep in a bed though again,that wasn't something he did on the norm. "Perhaps I will go visit after the ship arrives, just to relieve fears." Though his heart was still filled with guilt and sorrow, it had eased enough that he could think more clearly.  And a few hours away wouldn't hurt.



Date: 02-12-11
Poster: Patwin
Post # 24

For a man immersed in pain and confusion, there could be no knowing how many days passed in his delirium.  Only that by the way his body ached, he had been left draped over the horse the entire time.  Fever consumed him and with that his very bones ached, his skin so sensitive he could practically feel even the gaze of any of the men. He shivered. He broke out in sweats.  He slept.   He was offered water and a few bites of tough jerky but no more.  Not that he wanted anything.  Time passed with the injured brave unable to keep up with it, even if he tried.

One moment the dark of night covered all outside from his view except the muffled voices of the men.  The next he was aware he was on a pallet, in a fire lit room, his wounds bound with bandages, a bitter smelling compress resting on his brow.


"Where..." Was all he could croak out, not even able to look around without sparks shooting inside his skull with any movement of his eyes.


"Shhhhush." Hissed the voice, distinctively female, from the shadows his squinting gaze couldn't penetrate.  A rumble of male voice followed, a discussion he wasn't meant to understand though the clipped tones were, without doubt, English.


Patwin waited.


Finally, he heard the click of door and the rustle of feminine skirts and the woman moved into view.  She came to him, floating over to kneel by his side and peel the wet cloth from his brow.  The fringe of her lashes cast shadows on her cheeks as she looked down and reached to the side, dipping it in a bowl of liquid.  The trickling sound of the excess poultice being squeezed from the fabric reached him and then she flattened the folded rectangle across his brow again.


"You've not been well cared for, have you?"  Such a soft voice as she studied his features, but it wasn't a question, it was more her observation of the obvious.


"Where?" He tried again, but even the one word grated against the rawness of his throat, splitting cracked, dry lips.


A soft fingertip touched over his mouth, smelling of herbs, a fragrance he recognized.  He swallowed hard, using what moisture he could create to coat his throat and spoke again, in the language of his people, the pressure of finger on his lips moved with the guttural  words.


"In this house, there are only English words.  You speak my past.  I do not use them."


His eyes were hooded like those of a hawk, whatever he thought of her claim would not show there, but for a moment he studied her intensely.    She stole a glance at his face although she attempted to just be about her care of him.  "Here, drink this."  She twisted in her kneeling stance to collect a small bowl that waited on a stool.  She leaned to him, slipping her arm beneath his head to gently lift him enough for him to sip.


Foul of smell, it was wet and didn't taste as bad as the steam that had met his sense of smell.  He sucked greedily against the rim, desperate for the hydration.

"Slowly..." The woman chided, tilting the bowl so he could not consume more than a small amount with each gulp.  "It will ease your throat, begin to heal you from the inside."  She started to ease the vessel away, but Patwin's hand shot up, grabbing her wrist to keep the bowl at his mouth.  Green tinted water sloshed and splashed, splattering drops against his cheek.  She didn't jerk away, instead an expression of satisfaction settled over her expression.  "Already you gain strength. Two days ago you could barely swallow."


"Two days?"  As she drew away, she lowered his head back to the soft mat of furs he rested upon, ignoring his question.  He turned his head, the sharp shards of blinding lights not quite so overwhelming as he looked into the flames.  "I must return to Heathfield."  He felt his throat drying out again, he forced the words before he could speak no more today.  He struggled to turn his head to look back to her and repeated. "I must return to Heathfield."


She tsk'ed, rolling back to her toes to stand, looking down at him from where she stood.  "Not this day."  She reached down and collected the many layers of her skirts, pulling them aside so she could turn and start away.


Patwin caught her by her hem which caused her to gasp, giving the fabric a yank to free herself.  He had regained some of his strength, her effort was unsuccessful.  "Soon." Came the hoarse and painful demand from the man.


"As soon as you can."  She reassured him with a nod.  "Rest now.  You will need your strength. Lord Frederick will wish to speak with you once I tell him you are returned to this world to find out if killing the soldiers was worth the risk he took to rescue you."  She gave another gentle tug of her skirt, but he had already loosed his hold and she started away, glancing back to him.  "My name is Anna if you need anything."


Patwin snorted. "Anna. Right."  He turned his face away from her toward the fire.  He felt his strength waning and closed his eyes.


"It is the name I answer to and the name which keeps me protected by his lordship." The tone of her voice remained soft, but there was an icy reprimand to it.  "You would do well to guard your judgments."  And with that, she quit the room, the door closing with a bit more force than was probably needed.



Date: 02-19-11
Poster: Patwin
Post # 25

Three days.  Three more days he lay before the fire, Anna coming to feed him and dress his wounds.  Very few words passed between them.

"I must return to Heathfield."


"Not today."




"Soon enough."


And she would leave him to stare into the flames.


On the third day it wasn't the Indian Lass but a man that came to him.  That morning, his bandages were not addressed, he was not brought the foul smelling broth but a tray of boiled eggs and gravy soaked biscuits.  The well dressed man knelt beside Patwin, helping him to sit up so he could eat.  It was the first that Patwin had been in any position except lying on his back or side and the bend of midsection caused the brave to grunt with the discomfort of his wounds.  It did feel good to recline though and he accepted the solid food with a grunt of appreciation.


Once Patwin was settled with his food, the gentleman backed up a few steps and lowered to a chair to sit, watching him begin to devour sustenance that didn't come in a cup.


The man remained silent.  Patwin slanted a look in his direction, cutting off another bite of dripping biscuit and stuffing it in his mouth.  Why did the stranger just stare?  What did he want?


It wasn't until only a small amount of food was left on his plate, a bite of biscuit, a crumble of egg yolk that he spoke.  "What is your name."  The man's voice broke through the sound of his chewing.


The Indian brave didn't bother swallowing.  "Patwin."


"How are you feeling?"


No answer for the man besides a rote comment.  "I need to return to Heathfield.  Soon."


Date: 03-12-11
Poster: Matoskah McDonough
Post # 26

A Moment Frozen in Time Before Shattered
Colonies - in search of Patwin


Relief flooded Mat seeing it was not Patwin, shattering that moment of dread, but one from another tribe that had joined them. A restless youth that suffered a long drawn out death. There would be no burial for him as he took a leather strap from around his neck that held a carving. It may identify him to someone who cared eventually. Tucking it away as he heard voices along with the sound of hooves and a wagon. He blended with the dark as dark eyes took a quick assessment before moving as a shadow back to his horse. The quick draw of his hand over his nose calmed the equine not to make a sound, something he had taught him before leading him away to a spot where he could safely mount and double back to where he'd taken the wrong route. Mat was a bit perplexed that the bear totem steered him in the wrong direction. A couple days later found him at that very spot to follow the other trail that had grown too cold for even the best of trackers. It was anyone's guess but he'd head in that direction for a day and see what came up.


Once more he was driven off the road by the sound of a wagon loaded with Native prisoners. Most didn't look like they were even warriors but older men, some too young, a couple women and a few others he didn't get much of a look at. There were only three guards and the idea to set them free overcame him. Perhaps it was to make up for losing Patwin to his fate and not being able to rescue him. So he followed at a distance until nightfall when they stopped to rest. One man set up a fire to start the cooking. Another man took up a post to watch while the third used a stick to whack a few of his prisoners saying things that no man should say about another. Mat watched,  crouched in the shadows waiting for an opening. None came for awhile until it got to be pitch, the stars bright above with no moon to shine its light. The one that had been cooking switched places with the first look out. The food could be smelled that had his stomach rumbled, making him realize he'd not eaten anything since the morning. Luckily it was not so loud they could hear. The scent brought the other man in to get some of the food and left the one end of the wagon in shadow. He moved in a crouched position to act upon this opportunity. One of the older men was in back of the wagon as he came around and signaled to stay quiet as he undid the ropes of his hands and replacing them with a good heavy stick he found.


The man had been a warrior once as he next undid the ropes of a young brave of about twelve to help the other. He was quick as they were quick. Another, a woman, motioned she would help too and so it went on as they left the wagon and overtook the man on guard then the two at the fire. The young brave started beating the one that had been so cruel but the older man stopped him and said they would bind the three as they had been bound and put in the wagon before they left. They would not kill for then they became as the killers. Mat, in the meantime freed the rest of the ones only to have the last reveal furthest in of the wagon that was bound, the squaw trying to free his binds before Mat dragged his near lifeless body out and down to the ground as the others came back with the bound and gagged men as they had been. It was when he turned the one over to tear off the gag that he stumbled back unbelieving in what he saw. A ghost from the past. "You cannot be, Delsey?" He had fallen in battle or so Patwin had told them, one they were all in more than a half decade ago.

Defeat came in many forms. To give up physically, emotionally and spiritually was the truest form of defeat. Delsey knew he could not help these people, his attempts had only had him gagged and bound tight. Nothing to eat or drink had made him weak. There was no fight left in the man. None. In the darkness, he heard the others slipping from the wagon and then he too was dragged to the ground. He didn't struggle, even if another beating was about to take place. His eyes were closed, but the name had them snapping open. Surely he was passing over to the spirit side, for before him was an image of comfort, of hope and when he had thought both were no longer to be  his to have, he must then be walking the spirit path. He could say nothing, his throat was dry and raw. He could barely move but he managed to lift and hand and place it on Mat's arm.

"It is you, Delsey. Your sister will be filled with joy. You need to come back with me." He lost one but found another. "There is no time to talk now." Words were fast, half with signing and speech before he was helping him up. The offer for the others to come back with him was made, only two wanted to find family they'd been separated from, the rest had no where to go and would probably die without a place to go. So they set out on foot for the fort which was not too far away. He would get them on one of his father's ships; hoping one was kept in the bay knowing he was here. A number of hours later he found such to be true as he was quick to get them aboard before the men in the wagon were found and then any of them recognized. He shared what food he had left on the way and once on deck, the cook would see to them all being fed and the doctor aboard to their health in what he could help with. The captain saw to them being clothed for certainly even what Mat was wearing was torn and soiled.

The mention of his sister was all that Delsey needed to hear to have all which was stripped from him to surge back through him.  Hope. By the time they had made the ship, Delsey had begun to get his strength back. He and Matoskah spoke of the past and of the future, of Kuwan and Kali, of the people and the lands that they would travel to.

First was all the good things. Things to look forward to. "I am here because in coming back and to return, Patwin was taken prisoner. I know now why the bear totem led me where it willed. I was to find you instead. I trust the spirit bear to keep Patwin safe wherever he is," having told him of the relationship between Patwin and his sister. "We will return with those rescued and I will see about coming back." Or his brother may insist which all considering, he knew he'd have to let Yas return in his stead to ease what he knew was in his brother's heart. Being twins he could feel his pain even across the continents.

"We must all endure that which is our journey." Of this Delsey was sure now. For him. For Mat. For Yas. For Kali and Kuwan. And for Patwin. Since whatever would be Patwin's fate was not theirs to determine, he only nodded to Mat. They could pray, and would. They could ask for his safe return. And would. That was all they could do. And would.

It would be nearly three weeks later that they ported in Heathfield. Delsey's health improved greatly. He looked like he'd been before the battle they thought they lost him to. He hoped to find his brother there with the impending surprise for Kali. That he was back but Patwin was not that he knew of. He hoped by some miracle he got back before he did. Time would tell and now that the time grew near and as the ship bumped up against the dock he grew impatient.

The days and nights had become surreal to Yaskitchi at times, hours blending into changes of darkness and light. Voices of the present mixed with voices of the past. But somehow he managed to keep connected to the now. A ship from the colonies would be expected and he would be there, waiting, watching as passengers disembarked and cargo was loaded. Those who watched him never saw a sign of disappointment, only the squaring of his shoulders, and a return to the shelter of the dockmaster's offices or the apartment above the import warehouse, shared with Garath MacShire. Some nights, when he knew there would be no ship because of a storm approaching or simply that none was scheduled, he would go to the Thistle and stay, just to relieve himself of the sound of the ocean, or the voices that seemed to mock his choice. He had visited the Clan on the island, and was pleased none had tried to talk him out of the path he had chosen. He returned before nightfall, knowing a ship was due the next day. And though it had not brought those he was waiting for, or word, he had not given up hope. Today was no different. A ship was due in, one of his father's, and Yas was on the dock waiting. Though he was unchanged in strength and health since there were many who had taken in upon themselves to see he didn't skip meals (sometimes to his annoyance), he was unable to  hide the haunted look that had come to his eyes of late. Yas was not one normally given to visions but there had been some of those gone to the spirits who chided him for his stubbornness. That only made him more determined to remain.

First off the ship were the Native refugees before Mat alongside Delsey disembarked. It had been a long trip and they looked the wear for it but it was good to be on solid ground again. Mat was in the process of pointing out several places for Del's knowledge. He also explained that the island they were staying on was a distance and a ferry to take in crossing it. They would stay the night here, especially since the older men and women were not up to such a journey this late.

Yas was in the usual spot he had made his when a ship was due. It was on the dock, where boxes usually were stacked and offered slight protection from wind though he had gotten to the point where he barely felt it, and now that there was just a touch of spring in that cold breeze, it was almost welcome. He was watching the refugees with some curiosity. There had been others who had come seeking family, or having heard of the new land here. As he pushed from his lean to go greet them, he spotted a familiar figure coming down the gangplank with someone. "Matoskah!" Several of the dock's usual denizens were startled to hear Yas' yell, and even more so to see him charge his brother and nearly tackle him, though he gave him a bear hug instead. Once he released his twin, he looked up at the ship then back. "You didn't find Patwin?" And that was when his attention turned to the other and he just stared in shock. His brother had been accompanied by a ghost!

"Yaskitchi!" Catching sight of his brother near the same moment as he gave a squeeze of Delsey's shoulder. "Come this way," then started off towards his brother. He didn't have to go far as the Bull, not the Bear, all but tackled him sending him back a couple steps with the impact. The hug returned as he gave the bad news with the good news. "I lost Patwin," which he would explain more fully later. "I found one that was lost even longer. Lost to life and now lives." Leaving Yas to soak that in and the shock. "Delsey..."

The twin was spotted as soon as the call was made. Delsey followed, one corner of his lip lifted in a half smile of appreciation for the reunion of siblings. "Yaskitchi." He offered softly, bowing his head to the man he had long called brother himself.

"Delsey?" That was all he could get out as he became literally speechless. Not that it was that big a jump! He stepped closer, eyes narrowed as he studied him then he grinned and caught him in a bear hug too. "Kali might faint." No, the lass was much stronger than that but some of the others might.

"I thought I was seeing a ghost or one that was his image in flesh." Motioning to Delsey, "he will tell you his story on how he survived when thought dead. We shall have good food and drink in the Thistle. Have him taste what they call the Pure or Potcheen here. It is time to celebrate one lost is found. Celebrate again when Patwin returns." Which were very encouraging words that one might question his sanity on considering the odds for how things went down.

He returned the embrace, hard and long and tight, giving his native brother a solid pound on his back when he finally released him. "I wish only to see her, what she does from there we shall deal with." He laughed, knowing his sister was made of sterner stuff but still, he had been thought dead by his people. He had thought himself dead for a couple of years even! There really was no knowing how the woman might react to his return. "What is this ...   Thistle .. .that we shall enter into?" A lodge of some sort that they would clear their spirits of the past and start anew? "And this pure...I have my pipe still with me." The one his father had carved for him as a lad. If they would be celebrating with a taste of the Pure...he would offer over his own pipe to do so.

"We shall share the Pipe," Alex would not notice the difference over the smell of peat that he burned that it was not regular tobacco but a blend of a few things including hemp.

"The Thistle is a lodge of sorts, where everyone from these lands can come to rest, enjoy the company of others, drink, eat and even sleep. It is a white man's place but here you'll find they welcome all." He wanted to hear all about both Delsey's journey from death to life again and how his brother lost Patwin. But first they would see to the others and transporting them to the Thistle. He'd also send a lad from the Thistle to tell their father that Mat at least, had returned, and with a 'new' brother. "Tavern is what they call it though, instead of Lodge."

"Tavern, very well then...let's us seek out the Thistle and celebrate with smoking this pure." He had no belongings except those on his body. He was ready to go once the people Mat had rescued were set on their way as well.

Delsey would feel like he was smoking when he tasted the Pure for the first time.

The two items were going to be a deadly combination but in a good way. They would not be feeling any pain even they could sit on their head. He had one bag with him that was thrown over a shoulder as he set a pace with his brother and blood brother in the direction of the tavern.



Date: 03-13-11
Poster: Delsey
Post # 27

Time at the Thistle
For a time, loss would be forgotten, though Yas would be back at the docks when the next ship was due. He was doing his best to explain all that had happened from when they had fought that final battle and thought Delsey was lost but there was so much to remember. Folks were greeted when he noticed them and more often than not, he was speaking in the Clan tongue, rather than Common.

So much to take in, an overwhelming amount of sights and sounds and smells. Delsey attempted to take it all in, noticing to whom Yas spoke and how they reacted to him or Mat. How they treated the others who had disembarked before them. Quite a difference between the people of this land and those in the land they had left behind. Deep within him, his very being vibrated with the energy of change and his hands actually shook with the force of it. He kept tightening and releasing his fists at his side to gain control of this feeling. It wasn't a bad thing, it was just a ... different thing.

It had been a while since he was here, seemed like years for a few distracting moments. "There are new people.." more said to himself than really to anyone as they passed quite a few he had never seen before. Once inside and a bottle of potcheen procured along with three glasses he headed over to one of the tables near the hearth area. "Would you like something to eat," which there were menus on the table. Once they were all seated and settled, he would get into his story on trying to track Patwin.

Food. He realized he was hungry and picked up one of the menus. "There are people here fleeing from wars in other lands." Others fled poverty, and still others came for reasons of their own. He didn't ask but had heard them talking as they disembarked "That is Alex and the woman here who cooks is Hazel. They are good people." He looked away from the menu and smiled slightly. "Your head is going to be filled with so many names, it will spin at times."

His head was already spinning. "It will all just be new, and new will fade with time." He smiled to his brothers, picking up the folded list of foods to glance over it. Some of it he had no idea what it was, spin, spin, spin ...  "I will have what you are having, Yaskitchi." All the safer that way.

"Then we'll stick with the Irish Stew and brown bread." Simple enough and it would fill them up. He poured the glasses full that Mat had brought to the table after giving Maggie their order. "Drink slowly. This is what Mat called the Pure and it is potent firewater."

He liked fish so that was what he would order. "Only two survived the fight with the troop." Dark eyes turning to Yas. "Patwin was not amongst the dead." That was important. "The troop split up with their captives after a day's journey. It was a matter of chance that I followed the wrong one. I doubled back but I lost four days. I chanced upon a wagon of prisoners that I waited around until nightfall and freed. Delsey has the story on that." Which he glanced then his way.

Delsey accepted the glass of pure, holding it up to allow the light to filter through it as he studied it. Firewater, was it? He looked to Mat as he began his tale, bringing the rim of the glass under his nose to sniff. That was could singe the nose hairs! As Mat spoke, he listened, bringing the glass carefully to his lips to take an initial, careful sip. Was he supposed to talk now? Brows were lifted, eyes wide, but he didn't cough. No, but he cleared his throat, and cleared it again, unable to invoke his vocal cords to work. Firewater it was! He motioned with his hand for either of the twins to continue speaking until he could gain his voice back.

It was Yas turn until Del recuperated! Sitting back after wolfing down his meal as he waited.

He listened quietly, relieved to know that Patwin had been alive when taken but why was he taken and where? He shook his head then chuckled when he watched Delsey. "You do get used to it in time." He had made sure to add water to the order so Delsey would have something else to drink. Him? "I have waited here every day since we returned and the others were settled on the island." He looked at Mat, his expression somber. "Now that the Elders are here, I do not need to act as chief."

"I think you make a better chief and should. These are different lands. Except if it that you wish not to?" So he would find out the heart of the matter.

"The Elders are meant to offer advice to those who are trusted. If it is your place to be chief of the people in these new lands, who are you to decline the honor?" The wonders water could do. It cleaned the body and the soul, and it also cleaned the burning aftermath of this Pure Firewater.

"They are not past their prime and with the lands being peaceful it is not so necessary. Besides, it takes time to become a good leader." And he felt his decisions had not been good ones. Otherwise, Patwin would still be with them. He cut a glance toward Delsey and smiled slightly. "I need more experience."

He nodded to Yas. "Ah, I see...and experience comes from hiding under rocks. I'll see how many rocks we can find you, Brother, to aid you along your path."

"I'll defer to either of you if you'd like." Twitch of lips accompanied his answer and then the food was there in front of them. "You should have a tale to tell, Brother. Unless, you are not ready." Captivity could mean many things and most were unpleasant.

Sitting back, Delsey lifted a hand, declining Yas' offer. "It is not our place to accept, Yaskitchi, the Spirit Guides know who best to lead our people. And as it turns out, it is not me." He smiled, pleased with the notion that he was not a leader, but a servant of the people he called clan. "My tale is a long one..." He looked between the twins, then up to the delivery of their meal. His thanks offered by way of a nod and he brought his plate closer. "Tell me how my sister fares, Yaskitchi." Did he even know?

He knew. Though he spent most of his time on the mainland, he had gone and visited. "She is in good health. With the People there now, she has much to distract her but she does not sleep as well as she should. She dreams and wakes up uncertain. She and Patwin were to become wed once we returned here." He smiled sheepishly. "I am told she spends much of her time staring out to sea."

"She still has Kuwan to help her through this time? How is she doing?" Being the two were like sisters.

Kuwan was next to ask after, but Matoskah had spoken before him, so Delsey waited for that answer as well.

"Kuwan is ... Kuwan." He smiled fully as he answered. "She helps her, yes. I think of all of us though, she has adjusted the best. She is often here, seeing to supplies and visiting those she has come to think of as friends. Her strength helps many from our homeland."  And that was all he had to say on that as he shoveled a spoonful of stew into his mouth.

Brows twitched with interest as Yas answered about the ladies they had called sisters and friends. Who had tended their wounds when they had needed them, who had fed them and rode alongside them. "I look forward to seeing them both again." He bent his head to spoon up a mouthful of stew, tearing off bread to follow it.

"They... have become women now, instead of girls. Beautiful as ever. And Kuwan still makes rabbit pies best." So he added a little more. And had to mention the pies!

Delsey wagged his empty spoon Yas' way. Rabbit pies. He had been denied too long!

"That will be soon." Taking another drink as most of his thoughts were kept to himself on certain things. One of those was were women were talked upon other than their health and such. "You are making me hungry again for rabbit pie, maybe we should see about getting across to the island tonight."

With his head bent to eating, he looked between both men. "Is that possible?"

"It might be." He looked thoughtful. "If the ferry is on this side of the bay, and the weather holds." Both of which were possible.

"After we eat and warm up a bit, we can see if you wish. We have to ride a distance but the trail is easy." He pushed his now empty bowl back and looked at Delsey again. "You know everyone will be clamoring to hear your story."

"And I'll offer over what I can." He too was finishing up, but mostly because if there was a chance they could make the journey over to the island, he would not detain them from doing so. He took another slow sip of the pure then set the glass aside. If this was an acquired taste, he'd be spending a lifetime acquiring it.

Yas didn't drink it all that often. He didn't care to be drunk and it did that rather quickly. "Where were you all this time, Delsey?" Again, if the answer made him uncomfortable, Yas would understand. And he wondered again, not for the first or last time where Patwin was. Kali was sure he was alive.

He drew in a deep breath, passing his hand over his face before resting it on the table. "I've been to the other side of the Spirit Path and back. I've been slave. I've been servant. I've been free. I've been beaten and starved and bound and gagged. I've been treated with kindness. I've been treated with hatred. I've been rescued." And the details of it all would come, with time, perhaps around a common fire. Perhaps between these three men or four should Patwin ever return.

As he listened, his expression never changed but finally he nodded. "And you have come back to the tribe, and to family. And that is the best of all." It would remain to be seen how it had changed Delsey but Yas saw a man who he felt had more inner strength than any he knew except perhaps for the Elders themselves.

"It is more than I could have hoped for, more than I dared ask for, to return to those that I call my own. In this, I know, I am truly blessed." He drank more of the water, leaving the potcheen alone for tonight. "Until Patwin returns to us safely, though, I would prefer not to speak of my trials in front of Kuwan and Kali if possible. Imagination is a powerful thing, but far more haunting is the truth of what evil lies out there."

"Then I wish you luck in averting any questions they might have, especially Kali." Whom would have more the right to ask questions. "I am pleased I will be there for that moment."

"You, Brother, are the truest of friends." He laughed, nodding to Mat. "I will tell them of the good, that which brings hope and promise. That is, in the end, all that matters."

"Delsey was always good at diverting questions thrown at him." He chuckled then nodded. "And that is true. You will find much kindness here, Brother. What comes in from other lands can still hold grudges and prejudice but most who come here to live, leave such behind. The island given to us is much like home. We brought plants and animals from there, as well as soil so part of our homeland is always here."

"I have found, My Brothers, that home is not a place of dirt and sky. It is one of spirit. Of all that has been and all that will be. And it resides in us. Each of us. And it is shared by each of us, one with the other. A web of experiences. A net of existence. And this does not cease once we cross over...we are still connected. Still ever present. Still as much home as we will could ever be."

"Did you become a shaman while you were away from us, Delsey?" He would approve if so!

Delsey chuckled low with a slow shake of head. "Not that I'm aware of." He dipped his head, casting a sidelong look Yaskitchi's way. "But then, just as a man can deny his wisdom to a place of leadership, so can a man deny a similar call to a place of spiritual wisdom. We must all grow into what we are called to do. And only when we are there, will we know we have arrived." He smiled, brief, faint, but a smile was there.

He had seen how he looked when he found him, near dead. "Perhaps it is the foot in the next life that brings a man to wisdom without becoming a shaman." Which had Mat studying Del in a new light.

Anthea needed a break from working on the paper, a break that included a warm cup of tea and perhaps some brandy within it as well. With steps to move slow, and a roll of her shoulder to ease the ache, the Greek moved up the steps and slowly to open the door easing inside. Quiet as always, she moved with graceful strides toward the bar with a smile to Alex, whom she had not seen in ages. "Tea, please?" Softly spoken.

He sighed and looked upward, studying the rafters. "If I don't feel that I make a good leader, isn't it better for me to not take that place? It was I who sent Patwin ... " He paused as a woman came in and shook his head, Delsey could get under his skin more than anyone he knew, even Mat.

The opening of the door brought in another, another face he did not know. "Welcome tonight," greeting her. He was without the fur cloak worn back from the colonies and favored leather vest, twisted bands of leather around his biceps. Hair was braided and wrapped in leather and fur as well feathers to adorn, eagle and dove together. Warrior and peacemaker meant he tried for peace but if he had to fight, he fought well. Only then did he address his brother. "Maybe you will feel more the leader again when Patwin returns."

"It is a true leader who can recognize when he has erred..." He looked to the door, nodding in greeting to the woman who entered. A small thing. Brought to mind images of a mouse.

Hair of black was held back by a leather queue, and her woolen gown had seen better days. Ink stained the apron, as well as a dot on her cheek, but she loved her job and all that came with it. She took note of the gentlemen, even the attire that made her ... News! "Greetings, please excuse me if I have come at a bad time?" Always one to never be rude, she turned to Alex with a smile as she accepted the tea. "I have missed this." Spoken in general.

"But you have not, Miss. For this is a good time. We have arrived to this place of opportunity. a good time."

"Thank you, Sir.. thank you all.." A smile was offered to each man in kind, her voice soft and gentle as was her norm. "I am Anthea.. a pleasure to meet you all" Spoken even as she lifted the cup for her first sip.

"Delsey." He offered with a slow bow of head. "My brothers, Matoskah and Yaskitchi."

"It is bad time for you?" The woman's words had him confused. Then again white man's ways and phrasing baffled him at times. "We do not mind," trying to put her at ease in his mind.  Which he added, "I am Matoskah or Mat, is easier for some here."



Date: 03-13-11
Poster: Delsey 
Post # 28

"Bad time.. " She had to chuckle, she often spoken in loose tongue. "Bad time.. as in did I interrupt." Softly spoken to aide the man with her own words. "A pleasure Mat, and Delsey"

"Yaskitchi, or Yas." He made a motion with his hand as if waving away her concern. "You are not interrupting." And even if she were, he'd be glad of it.

"Thank you, Yas.. that is most kind, very kind of all three of you." Lips captured the edge of the cup with eyes to close to enjoy the taste.

Yes, Yas didn't wish to hear from Delsey what Yas knew was his destiny, no matter his insecurities. "You are one of the people of this land then, Anne-thee-ah?"

No, no he didn't.

"Yes, I love these lands.. but am originally from Greece." Warm smile to the question, with memories of Greece to come but fly away as quickly as it came. "And you?" Spoken to all.." You call Heathfield home?"

"You have not interrupted but have brought breath of spring to the tavern." Slight dip of his head as that coming from him was a compliment.

Slight flush to the compliment. Knowing she looked like a ink mess from the press, but would take the compliment with a friendly smile, and kind eyes. "Thank you, Mat.. very much."

"Delsey is lucky to call any place home," inside joke but he couldn't pass it up as dark blue eyes near midnight turned from the woman to his blood brother. He was lucky to be alive. A ghost he had been.

She did not respond to that comment, for it was meant for the man and nay Anthea. But she did smile at the love she felt in the room. The love of family.

"We were not born here but our father was." He paused to grin and quickly hid it by taking a drink of the potcheen. He studied Delsey again, still reeling a bit from the surprise of seeing a ghost come to life!

Delsey smiled to Mat with a nod. "Heathfield shall be where I lay my head, spend time with family. Where I call home." Then he looked to Anthea with a smile. "We are from the colonies...across the Great Water. Have you heard of  it?" He had not heard of this place of Greece she came from, but it must be a pleasant enough place.

"Then your father is a lucky man to be born on lands that I have grown to love so much" Spoken softly with the cup to be placed upon the surface of the bar. "The new world?" Questioned with eyes to linger on all three men. They were natives, they had to be?

They certainly were not a white man sporting a tan. Color was that slight hue different some called them red skinned. "Maybe you know of him? Alexander McDonough?"

It was not new to them or their people so Delsey smiled to the woman. Matoskah spoke with her, so he did not mention more.

"I don't believe I have met him.. but I did meet Lord Maurice, I believe Ice, is he related?" She was enjoying the conversation, it took away from the work she was easing from.

"He is our uncle. Our father has the import shop with Garath MacShire."

"Ahhh, then I have met one of your family, ne?" She shook her head.. "Yes?"

"He has married and spends most time with his wife. He only has one."

"He only has one?" She was confused by this statement, which brought silver hues to study Mat.

Which he didn't elucidate on but met her eyes with intense dark ones. The kind that left one wondering what he was thinking.

Well, if Anthea learned one thing from her friends on these lands, was not to look away. "Did I offend, Sir?" But she still hated to be rude, when she did not mean too.

"You do not offend me, Ant a thea," doing his best with such a name that twisted around his tongue but managed out nonetheless close enough. "I do not offend you?" Just to make sure. He probably had when he first arrived and offered pelts for a woman, after sniffing her and circling much like a wolf would.

He was watching the two and trying not to smile. Anthea was probably unsure if Mat meant their uncle or father.  At least Mat didn't do that anymore!

They did something better, they scared the living daylights out of Charlie.

"Ant.. my friend calls me that, well, when she isn't calling me a pain in her arse.." She blinked at his comment, and shook her head quickly.."Oh heavens no, Mat.. you have not offended me at all.. I promise." And she would have loved seeing Charlie scared like that! The woman was her hero!

"As in the bug?" He sat back, crossing his arms over his chest, looking between the twins and then back to the woman. "Why would you leave such a beautiful name as Anne-thee-ah to answer to Ant?"

"My friend Anna, was my companion when I was a little girl.. a mother figure so to speak. Often myself and my friend would still food from picnics she held with her husband.. so she called me ant, for they often do the same" Smile as seen at the memory and then.. "Thank you for the compliment.. the name means a lot to me.."

"Does it mean something in your native tongue?" Still with arms crossed, he asked.

"All three of you have fine names too" Returning the compliment before another request was given to Alex for tea. " Anthea? Yes, it has meaning in my mother's tongue."

"The tiny bug that lifts more than its own weight. A tiny bug that is family oriented," if one ever studied the ant.

One hand rolled where it rested on his arm. "And that is?"

She smiled to Mat, and pretended to flex her muscles. "I do love my family, Mat.." Then to Delsey with a soft response.. "Flower like.  My name is often confused with the ancient Goddess Athena.. but it is quite different." Quickly added.

Far from familiar with any Goddess of that name, he could only nod, appreciative of her sharing her true name with them. For these people, the ancient ones, those whose blood line flowed back to the beginning of time, it was the meaning of the name, not the name itself.

She returned the nod, and then gifted Alex with a bright smile. "A little bit of brandy, please?" Requested softly to the tender. It was her mother that named Anthea. It was her mother Anthea always thought Flower like. And, it was her Greek heritage that would always flow within her veins no matter where she lay her head.

He took a final drink of the potcheen, setting the glass aside. He'd have ale the rest of the night. "Have you been in these lands long?" Had either brother asked that? He kept losing himself in his thoughts.

Hearing Yas brought her to smile brightly.. "Not very long, but long enough for the Crown to let me work on the paper, and own a home .. Perhaps." She counted.. "Four months.. and I have loved every minute. Cannot wait for Spring to come, have only enjoyed winter thus far."

"It will not be long. The birds have begun singing more, the sun rises earlier and stays longer. The subtle feeling in yourself that tells you change is coming." He fell silent again and glanced toward the window, his eyes growing distant.

She tilted her head as she studied this man. And could only smile at how poetic he spoke of the coming of the season. "My brother often tells me, when winter ends.. and spring begins.. it is the time death ends and life begins." Tender smile was seen and then she left the man alone, not wishing to intrude on private thoughts.

He set to listening for he was very good at that. Just the dark eyes might convey any emotion, brightening, darkening, or just steady as she goes with information he soaked in.

"Your brother sounds to be a wise man. But even in the midst of death, there is life. We believe, winter - as you call it - is but a period of inward growth. Life deep within to strengthen and prepare to break forth renewed and stronger than ever come this ... spring .. you mention."

Yas tended to be moody even at the best of times. And this was one of the best of times with the return of Matoskah and Delsey. And it was Delsey's voice that brought him back from his thoughts.

She jumped as Delsey spoke, these men were quiet and wise. " Yes, even in winter.. there is a spark of life.. I see it each time I study the gardens of my new home and see life within the bushes and leaves." She gave a soft nod to words of this man, and had to wonder if he was what Erastos had called one in the tribe he lived with.. a shaman. "Thank you for sharing your words Sir Delsey.." And with that she moved from the bar to gather warmth by the hearth.

He followed her with his dark gaze as she moved further away from them. "I do, at times, speak more than I should. I would not wish to go against your own beliefs, Anne-thee-ah."

"My own beliefs? No, of course not.. all have their own thoughts and feelings.. we learn from the differences.. my faith is still set in stone, Sir.. and your words only brought me to wonder how beautiful winter truly is." Warm smile was gifted to the man over her shoulder before taking comfort upon the leather.

"You don't speak more than you should, Brother." He put a hand on Delsey's shoulder. "And the words you speak are good words. Words of truth."

Warm smile when Yas spoke.

Again, the nod. What else could be said to the woman who had put the distance of room and furniture between them? "Is it too late, then, to attempt the island?"

It was Anthea's normal routine. To sit near the fire and enjoy its warmth. Unless of course she was being silly and drinking, which would NOT happen again. But for now, she smiled to the trio, leaving them to their discussion and she to enjoy the warmth knowing she would be leaving soon.

While there was all this talk going on, he drew out a pouch of a special blend with hemp being the main ingredient. "Your pipe," words low as he set the pouch on the table. They could smoke on the way for surely the drifting smoke might make a few in the tavern feel a bit strange not being use to it.

"I don't think so. It is cold but there is little wind." He stretched out his arms then looked at Mat and smirked.

She turned with a smile, and snapped a wave to the trio she had enjoyed conversing with this eve. "It was a pleasure to meet all of you, and hope to chit chat again soon" Called softly with the touch of her homeland to line each word.

Delsey leaned to the side, producing a small pipe and a stem which he screwed into the bowl. Intricate designs of bears were carved into the wood, rearing, fighting, mating, so small but so detailed in their creation. "Until such time as we can you walk the good road, Anne-thee-ah."

"May the wind always bring you happiness and safety.. Delsey, Mat, and Yas" And then she was studying the flames, and of course excited at meeting these men, men from lands that were occupied like her own.

Even Yas had never heard that word but it was interesting. "Good night to you, Anthea." He bowed his head slightly to her. And might see her another time when he sought respite from his vigil on the docks. Tonight however, was a night for celebrating with the Clan.

She turned to look back into the fire. She wasn't leaving? Oh! They were! He slid the pipe over to Mat as he came to his feet.

Anthea would stay here until her guard arrived to escort her home. Pipe? Hmmm, what would it be like to smoke a pipe? She had rode a mule, drank, and now.. well the lad, but now.. a pipe? Interesting. Of course she did not know how smoking a pipe was meant to them.

A sacred sharing. He grabbed his cloak and waited by the door for his brothers.

She could always ask Kuwan if she didn't feel comfortable asking them.

She would love that. She admired Kuwan a great deal.

"May it bring you the same Ant," but then he added, "Anthea," mindful to sound it out correctly. "Our paths shall cross again." He was not sure what chit chat meant but it might be interesting to do. He'd try just about anything at least once. If he liked it, then he might do it a lot.

Ant, she smiled to Mat. "Ant is fine, Mat... " Added quickly as to not bring him to linger here. - Chit Chat.. she should have thought to voice that different as well!

Their minds were open to new things, even this chit chat she promised them.

Probably should if his thoughts had him wondering if it was like wig warming.

Wig warming? Anthea would definitely be thinking of fake hair. A lot to learn by many here!

Delsey was straight away there. Eager to be on their way to the island.

He was right there with Yas and Del, collecting his cloak and heading out.

They would borrow a horse from the stable for Delsey. Make the trip to the ferry a little faster so not everyone was asleep by the time they reached the village.

Date: 03-16-11
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 29


They had been lucky to find the ferryman at the mainland side of his route, though he had been sitting in the cozy shed that was available for him. He was paid well and certainly didn't mind taking the folks back and forth. Even at this late hour he often ferried someone across once or twice a week. It was a still night with the moon close to full. Yas didn't say much, mostly watching the shore of the island growing nearer with occasional glances at Mat and Delsey. He was still taking in the reappearance of their Blood Brother, though he welcomed the feeling. It gave him hope for Patwin's return.

He too was quiet, wondering how Delsey's reception would be. The nights were still cold but not near as cold as they had been. Passing around the bottle too as he got into everything around him. "Spring is awakening."  Soon they were setting foot on the island and the trek to the other side over a well trodden path at this point. It had not been so when they had left for the colonies. So many going back and forth now.

The night was silent except for the sound of water slapping up against the ferry as it maneuvered to the other side He watched the approaching shoreline and his chin lifted a fraction with the deep inhale that filled his lungs. Energy thrummed through him like a hundred drums, steady and strong, welcoming him to this unknown place. When he closed his eyes he could actually feel his heartbeat matching that cadence of vibration. Ever constant, this energy
of change, this deep pulsing of another aspect of life on this plane. He joined his brothers as they made their way under moonlight along the path that would lead to their people. Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. Almost as if their very beings called to him with a melody of the reed flute, acknowledging the increasing beat of his heart.

The dogs that Mat had brought to the island were the first to give notice that someone approached. The first few barks were of warning but quickly changed to greeting when they caught scent of Yas and then Mat, and though the third was a stranger, there was a familiarity to him that was added to their welcome. Tails wagging, they came along the path, nudging hands, sniffing, and escorting the three to the village. Most of the villagers were still awake, though making preparations for sleep or whatever they'd be about come morning. The younger children were fast asleep in their furs, content, their bellies full. Most of the cooking fires had been extinguished for the night except for one or two, and the main fire in the center of the camp burned as always. It was rarely left to go out. There, several had begun to gather. They stood now to greet the braves as they entered and one elderly woman cried out that the twins were accompanied by a ghost. "No, not a ghost." Yas called out, so all would hear. "One of our own, thought lost but now, returned."

Mat finally broke out into a grin as he saw his People come to life and the feeling of being home, of being grounded, welcomed into their arms as family, overwhelmed him. The huskies were dancing around them almost making it difficult to move for a few minutes until they got some kind of greeting, pat on the head, back or fur ruffled up before they dashed off back to the various others in the camp as if telling them family was home. He startled when the old woman cried out, "you will be getting a new name here, Delsey, one the means return from the dead." Or ghost, spectra or the like. As they moved closer to what might be considered the square, many closed in around them to touch in that way of coup and greeting.

Hesitation was the initial response of the crowd, but Delsey did not react the same. Mindful of the dogs that wove a happy path between their legs, he continued to the common fire. The dogs dashed off and the people, their people, swarmed in to greet the men returning. So many familiar faces, so many Delsey did not know. He searched for Kali and Kuwan at first, for his father, his mother but even as he did, the embraces of welcome were returned. "Anakausuen." Pat of back. "Honaw. Inazin." A smile, a firm hug. "Keegsaquaw. Muna." An embrace. "Nakoma. Apenimom." Making his way through the crowd who seemed to buzz with excitement, Delsey kept a searching gaze out into the many faces... searching, seeking.

Kuwan had been fixing a basket filled with rabbit pies to take into the main land when she heard the commotion outside her hut, she was out and around in a half run to see what it was all about. The brightest of smiles claiming her features when she saw not only Yas but Mat with him. On the move she was quickly looking to see Patwin there as well when her heart dropped, as well her basket as she went dead still, freezing in place as she probably went as white as the ghost she thought she was seeing. The basket tumbled with a pie or two falling out. She was speechless.

It didn't take long for Delsey to see his parents as they joined the throng and Abequa, his mother, cried out in joy. Her son! Her first born! Lokini, his father, too was barely able to contain his joy and the crowd parted to allow the elderly couple to make their way through. His mother patted his face, his chest, all the while saying his name over and over before she hugged him tightly as if she'd never let him go. His father stood beside them and when Abequa finally embraced the brave, he gathered both in his arms.  Yas saw Kuwan standing frozen and made his way around the welcoming throng. "It truly is Delsey. Mat found him with the others that will arrive tomorrow. He was lost to us during that battle but he has been found. And he'll be looking for you." He also picked up the pies though the fallen ones had been snatched up by the dogs.

Kali had been in her usual place and about to return to camp when she heard the dogs. She paused a moment then ran down the path, as fleet-footed as a deer to see who had arrived. Yas was there, not looking so lost, and Mat had returned and surely that meant ... instead, she saw one she had never expected to see again and with a cry of joy, she was making her way to him, to their parents. As the couple finally let their son breathe, he was 'attacked' by a young, weeping woman who threw her arms around him, burying her face against his chest. "Delsey." Was all she managed to choke out. "My brother." Over and over again.

Mat continued to grin as he stepped back and watched he moment of reckoning. This was something that would serve as a memory to be passed down.

The brave, who had endured many a trial of spirit, many a physical and mental assault while separated from his family and had managed to survive it all, wept as he held his mother to him and grabbed the arm of his father while in the older man's loving embrace. The cry of joy had him lifting his head to look out into the sea of faces, and there to find Kaliska running toward them. He released his hold on his father and caught Kali up, pressing a hard, soul-felt kiss to the top of her head. He didn't bother to remove his lips from her hair as he spoke. " little coyote." And he kissed her hair again. And again.

"It makes many hearts glad that he is not dead as they thought," though she gave Yas the hug for coming over to reassure her and saving what was left of the pies in the basket. "I was bringing these for you so that you did not go hungry down at the docks," easing from the impromptu moment. "Now they can be shared. Have you return to us now too?" For as Delsey was thought dead, Yas had been a ghost of himself haunting the docks and influx of ships. She knew, for she had been down there too. Then in a whispered worried voice, "what of Patwin?" She saw no reason why Delsey would be looking for her as Yas implied but she let that ride.

"I made a vow and I will keep it. Until Patwin steps from a ship just as Mat and Delsey, I will go there every time a ship comes in from the colonies. Though I will not haunt the docks. I will help Adam during other times." It would keep him busy until that day. He looked at her somewhat surprised. "It was always the six of us, Kuwanyauma, even when you and Kali should not have been there." He smiled as he chased away the last of the dogs. "And he asked after you."

Kali finally calmed enough to lean back and look at her brother. "There is much in your eyes, my brother. Far more than should be." She touched his face, ignoring the tears that trailed along her cheeks. "So much. But you are home now and safe, and I will be selfish another night and steal you away to talk." She wasn't moving far from him though and neither were their parents. Some of the Clan began playing instruments, and gathering food to  celebrate. A few of the children stood sleepy-eyed and curious at the entrances of their lodges, wondering at the excitement of their elders.

He kept one arm around his mother, the other around Kali and he looked out to the crowd as they did what they did best, celebrated. "When the time is right, Coyote." He was smiling as he studied this new place. "Where is your sister of spirit, Kaliska?" He turned his gaze over to her again. "Kuwanyauma."

"My heart is overjoyed for Kaliska and their parents." Her words kept low but then she smiled, "this is so," she could not deny his words in that context. "Perhaps he and Mat would like rabbit pie if they have not eaten tonight." There was silence for a few moments before her words whispered to him, "I understand your vow." Didn't stop her from worrying about him. It was then as Delsey asked that perhaps dark eyes met and she smiled his way. Luckily over the shock of seeing one believed dead many years.

Matt was helping the others prepare a big fire so that the dancing would begin to thank the spirits watching over them.

"We ate, but when have any of us refused one of your pies, and Delsey has long been denied them. Now go, and greet our Brother back from the land of the Spirits." He gave her the slightest of nudges, then spoke to the Elders who approached him and told them what little he knew.

Kali merely smiled, at his words then she motioned. "There she is, as stunned as the rest of us. And Yas has a basket that surely holds rabbit pies." A voice was raised in song, thanking the spirits and others began to join in and in the first time in many days, Kali laughed. Though sorrow still weighed on her heart, tonight's joy overshadowed it and pushed it aside.

Delsey followed the motion of her hand to where the woman stood. Their eyes touched and he returned the smile. "I have traveled from the spirit world and across the Great Water, and you, Kuwanyauma, cannot cross the distance of the camp's fire to me?" He gave his mother and sister a squeeze against his side and then strode toward to the native maid. He took her basket from her and handed it to Yas before he caught her up and embraced her tight, her feet coming up off the ground. "That will not do."

The comment had her lower her eyes in embarrassment. She had not for he needed to greet his sister and parents first. She didn't make the excuse like she could have, instead she was quick, swift of feet to meet him part of the way. Arms went around him tight as she buried her face against his chest. "I am overflow with joy," squeezing back the tears that felt like fire behind her eyes. With her feet from the ground she had a vice grip, "some things do not change. You are still as strong of body as you are of spirit."

He was going to snatch one of those pies now, knowing there would be plenty to share. A nod was given to one of the Elders before they moved to the fire to join their people. He stood where he was, watching, taking it all in. Then he looked up at the moon. A chill touched him briefly, gone like the touch of a butterfly and he frowned. It was just a touch of cold air nothing more.

She smiled brightly at her heart sister and then hugged her mother and father before she fussed at them both to go sit at the fire. Others came and spoke to her, sharing their joy. It was a good night. A night when even the Spirits rejoiced and the stars overhead seemed to dance in the skies.

Mat moved over to his brother with lowered words that kept from the rest, "we shall find the highest peak here on this island and do a ritual to bring back Patwin." It was the last method he had in his power.

"In some ways, more so, Kuwan. And you have grown more beautiful for your time here." He turned to look to the fire. "Come, let's join the others and celebrate a night of homecoming. Where is Mat, it is his homecoming as well?" He turned as he asked the question to find the twins both together and in what appeared to be a serious conversation. He nodded off to them then led Kuwan over to where Kali and his parents were closer to the fire.

"They are right there and it is your welcome too. We have only Patwin to return for us to be completely whole again." Fingers touched along his arm before dropping away, a huge smile turned on Kaliska. They would celebrate the life given back to them and prayers upon the wind that Patwin come home again too.

He placed a hand on Mat's shoulder and nodded. "When the time is right. The full moon comes soon and we will attempt it then. But whether the Spirits see it the same way as we do will be another thing. Now, you too, have been gone and returned. This celebration is in part, for you." He smiled and motioned toward the fire. "And our Father of the Bear waits for us to join him in the circle." Speaking of their adopted father.

As they moved to the fire, she was right over to give Mat a big warm hug too. "I am pleased you have returned Matoskah," although he would know it, it needed to be said too. "Now it is time for feasting on rabbit pie and the fire drink."

"We have potcheen," which he produced a few bottles Alex let him take for certainly there would be a celebration tonight. He was quick to give Kuwan a hug back, "I am pleased to be back." Not needing to say he was not pleased Patwin was not here to share the moment but he would be back, he was sure of it.

Delsey's smile caused his cheeks to ache when he saw Mat produce the bottles of fire water. He put up his hand to decline the offer. That particular drink was not for Delsey. The music had picked up and several people danced around the flames. Delsey lowered to sit on the ground and watch close to his family and his friends. It was so good to be back. And he was home for now, for his soul was at peace.



Date: 03-22-11
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 30

Time at the Thistle

It had been a fine idea to escape the manor, even for only a few hours. The tea was delicious here, and the atmosphere a place where she could think.  Hair of black was held back by a loose french braid, with ribbons of white to snake thru darken strands and hold the braid in place.  Silver hues were engrossed in the latest missive she received from her friend still in Scotland, and it still brought her to laugh how Christina had clunked her husband in the head with a pan due to him cheating on her?  Goodness, that lass had not changed.  Kid boots kept her feet warm, and were even now tapping a silent tune upon the floor, hiding the small shape of her feet, and the black stockings that covered them.  She licked her forefinger, and separated the papers, to continue on the last page.  Slender form shifted upon the leather, so she could cross her legs and continue reading the missive.  This movement of her body brought the burgundy of her woolen gown  to rustle, and she to enjoy the solitude to read the missive one last time before writing back.

It was one of those March nights where the air was cold and crisp but held the scent of spring.  Snowdrops and crocuses were beginning to bloom in the forests of the realm and the birds were singing lively songs.  Yas had been to the docks to check the latest ship and came away disappointed again.  He hadn't returned to the island, instead making his way to the Thistle.  It had been agreed that if either of his brothers were in Heathfield, they would meet there. As he entered and made his way to the bar, he took note of Anthea reading.  Not wanting to interrupt, he merely nodded at Alex and asked for ale.

She heard the door opening, and the soft footfalls.  She turned in her seat and viewed the man that entered with a smile.  "G'evening.." Waving to Yas before returning to her reading, and letting the man receive his ale in peace.

"Good eve, Anthea." He nodded in her direction, thanking Alex for the ale.  A lean was taken against the bar and he glanced at the window, smiling slightly to himself.   The wind had picked up, coming in ahead of the rain.

At least one had come to the mainland, knowing that Yaskitchi would be seeking out the island.  While the earth parted to make way for the life that had been within it, the chilled air spoke of disappointment, the promise of rain... a chance to wash the disappointment away and start anew.  Delsey entered the tavern, standing in the opened doorway to look the interior over before stepping completely in and allowing the door to close behind him.

Anthea would love a good rainfall.  Thunderstorm even would please her.  She, as many others, was tired of the snow and could not wait for the cold to vanish.  She took note of another entrance, the winds that followed the open door brought a slight shiver to course down her spine.  But she merely shook it off and turned with a smile.. "G'evening.." Friendly smile fleeting, and then reading once again.

He nodded once to the woman and continued on to Yaskitchi. "I do wonder, if you were not at the docks when he arrived...would he continue on to the island? Or would he turn board the ship again and return to the colonies?"  There was a smile in his words although his expression didn't show one. "Some heated water would be nice, Kind Sir." That was the request to Alex and he took a stool near where Yas now was.

He lowered the tankard, and studied Delsey a moment before shaking his head. "He would come to the island. Do you also think I waste my time by waiting, Delsey?" There was no anger in his words, just a quiet resignation.  At least his people didn't think him insane as many on the docks did.

From beneath his leather tunic he produced a small pouch and when Alex provided the water, he pinched out some leaves and ground them between his fingers in to the steaming liquid. "Then we would all be wasting time, for we all must wait. I feel you burden yourself overmuch in your form of waiting though, Brother. There is a darkness...." A waggle of finger indicated the darkening circles under Yas' eyes from the stress of concern and the weight of  unnecessary guilt. "that has settled. That is all...and you must do as you feel the need to do. I was just wondering on Patwin." Of course it wasn't only that, and Yas would know that Delsey had concerns for the twin who spent his days and sometimes nights wandering the docks in search of a man who would return when it was his time to return and if it was his destiny to step back on the shores of Heathfield at all.

Lifting up slightly, she eased her legs to fold under her form, resting comfortable. She let the brother's alone, enjoying the letter and then the flames when the missive was read. Tea had been consumed and enjoyed this night.

Snow was drifting which was a disappointment after the tease of spring for a few days, "hush now, go away," as if she had to power to send winter running to next year. A basket was tucked over her arm and anyone that knew her, could guess what was in it especially after getting a whiff if they got close enough. She was quick, nimble of limb and feet to cross the street and hurry up the steps to the porch, only coming to pause a moment with a caught breath at the door. Hand coming to rest on the latch before pushing her way through in a sweep. One that had her around just as quick to see it shut then back again. "Good evening," eyeing Yas especially as she was over to set the basket, not feeling she needed to say a word in questioning if he'd eaten.

He took a drink before answering, a slight frown appearing. "The darkness isn't just there, Delsey. I have tried to stay away, even when Mat was gone, but I go back. I sent him back to stop what was happening. I didn't stop Mat ... " He paused as Kuwan came in. "Nor can I explain why I can't stay away except for the vow I made."   Voice lowered until Kuwan came closer and he smiled at her. "You brought rabbit pies."

Delsey glanced to the door, hard features softening, even before the entrance was breached. But he looked back to Yas as it opened because of his words.

Another entrance, and again Anthea leaned to her side to view the newest arrival. The familiar face brought a smile to the Greek's lips, and a wave to the woman. "G'evening, Kuwan.." Spoken softly.

With the arrival of kinswoman and pies, Delsey spoke no more of Yas' obsession, his misguided guilt, choices made by many that he took full responsibility for. As any true leader of men would do. "Anthea." He remembered her name because of the meaning shared with them. "Have you tasted Kuwan's rabbit pies? I'm sure she has plenty for you to enjoy one or even two, knowing Kuwan."

"Good evening Anthea, it is good to see you again." Smile softened and remained as eyes met those of Delsey first then Yas. "It is so, so you will eat." Giving him a wink but realized they were in a serious conversation or so she began to feel. The light cloak was removed before she flipped open one of the sides of the basket in invitation to them both and Anthea if she'd like one too.

She was happy to see Kuwan smile. The native was kind, and that reached well beyond her soul.. it touched everyone's heart. "I have eaten some of her pies yes, and must say I loved them so much I was called a pig by one." Missive was placed aside, and she to rise in the silent offer from her friend.

That conversation was over. For now. And if Delsey voiced his opinion about Yas being a leader, he'd deny it as he had before. "If the basket wasn't full, we would worry on Kuwan." He teased her lightly before he was helping himself. "Have you gotten lost yet, Delsey?" Knowing full well that was unlikely.

"I wander lost at all times." Delsey's tone hinted at amusement, at humor and he leaned to collect a pie for himself. "I would imagine even pigs would enjoy these pies, they are smart creatures after all." Delsey wouldn't get the reference, wouldn't understand the comparison, but he could appreciate the fact that Anthea must be considered smart as a pig for knowing Kuwan's pies were delicious.

"These are very good, Kuwan.. " Softly spoken with a grin. She had not eaten today, so the pies had come just in time, and tasted very good. "I didn't.. " She shook her head and did not explain further, she would not wish to insult him if he liked pigs? "Yes, very good.." With a kiss to Kuwan's cheek, she finished the pie delicately. "Oh Kuwan, I am pleased you bring them here.. I might have to move closer to you to have them each day." Warm smile.

She took another one out to hand over to Anthea and the men could get what ones they wanted and as much as she had in there which was a good dozen. "I am pleased you like them too, Anthea."

"I did too when we first came here in many ways. There was usually someone to point me in the right direction though I think it's easier to find the way to the island." He finished one pie and reached for another. "And I can work at the docks if I wish." He smirked as he continued. "I help the dock masters keep order." It still amazed him how many fights broke up before he got there. Did he look that angry?

"I think we should do a pig roast as spring is coming. Dig a pit and roast it under leaves for most of the day, until evening." It was a thought and perhaps get everyone out to socialize. A community thing. "I wish Kali would come with me here," not adding to keep her mind off of other things that surely plagued her when alone.

It was not in finding his way about the lay of the land where he remained lost, but in finding his general. He appreciated Yas' confession though, nodding off in understanding as he took a bite of pie. Even that one bite flooded him with memories of days spent at the rivers and creeks, racing across fields ... the way it had been, the way it would be again.

"I would love that Kuwan, as well as helping you if you so wished?" She had been to one pig roast in her life, and it had been a wonderful day. She smiled softly, with one last pie taken, leaving the rest for the men. "Thank you, Kuwan.. they were delicious." She leaned in and hugged Kuwan tenderly. "Thank you again, my friend." She did not wish to interrupt if they needed to talk.

"She is comfortable where she is, Kuwan. We will all find our place, hers for now is on the island." It was how she passed her time waiting.

Yas meant the same about wandering though he pretended not to.  His mood would lift some with the coming of spring. He glanced at Kuwan, keeping quiet while he worked on finishing the second pie. "Have either of you seen Mat today?" He had expected his twin to appear, but knew Mat would in his own time. Anthea need not worry about interrupting. She would more than likely hear them all speak on different things and still know what the other said. "The newcomers will be leaving here tomorrow morning. One was not well, so none of them would leave." He understood their reluctance, a new place, a new start and a new tribe.  And should Patwin not return, if was possible Yas would go in time and search for the truth, even if it proved fruitless.

"He was at the camp helping one build a new wigwam," glancing between the two before taking one of the pies to enjoy.

She smiled warmly, knowing Yas was speaking to the other two. She stood near Kuwan, finishing off the pie without another word to be spoken.  A fleeting smile was granted to Kuwan for the food, and then warm were her words for Alex, wishing a cloth to wipe her fingers.

"That was the last I saw him as well." But that had been earlier evening, two, three hours ago. Delsey brought his brewed herb up to drink, listening a moment as he sipped, then lowered the cup back to the counter. "Then you have spoken with them, Yas?" Regardless of what the man believed, Yaskitchi's energy thrummed with that of a leader. The newcomers would be drawn to it, and appreciate any visits or words from the man.

"I have, knowing all too well what it is like to be in a new place, surrounded by those not of your own people." He didn't bother to suppress the grin. "Though I admit, I was more ... resentful then anything else." Angry, maybe a touch spiteful. And yes, he would deny it over and over until someone believed him!

Hearing Yas speak brought her to smile at her own silent thoughts. It had been strange when she first arrived, but she would thank God each day for bringing her to these lands.

It wouldn't be tonight and it wouldn't be Delsey, so Yas had better just keep denying it. "It is, I'm afraid, something we all are at one time or another." He slid his gaze to Anthea, even this woman could understand.

And she did, only too well. Being a new comer to a strange land, as well as gaining a family she never knew. But all have their stories, and they live past them to survive and to enjoy. Anthea handed Alex the cloth back with a whispered welcome, as well was Delsey offered a warm smile before finding a stool to sit upon. Strange, she had not been here much, at the bar.. it was nice.

"So, we all spent our day at something or another." He chuckled and turned eyes of midnight blue on Anthea. "Except perhaps for you. How do you pass your days, Anthea?" Women, even those of his own tribe, were a mystery to him.  He glanced at Kuwan and offered a wink. The pies, as always were excellent.

Yas about scared her to jump. "Yes?" She turned with a smile to Yas letting her mind clear to grasp the question he had asked. "I work on the gardens at my home. Middle of months, I work on the paper.. " She thought for a moment, tapping the tip of manicured nails on the surface of the bar.."Oh, and coming here when I can escape the insanity that is my family" Twitch of a grin. "And you Yas? All of you? What do you do to pass the day?" Curious.

She didn't speak as she ate but watched those here each in turn. Thoughts certainly associated with each glance but hard to read dark eyes on what they might be.

Delsey was drinking as the question was asked, so he allowed that time for his brother and sister to speak of their days.

It was so quiet, even the creaking of the stool, while she swung her legs, could be heard perfectly.

"I .... haunt the docks." He answered with some humor though it was true. "And sometimes I visit my McDonough family." Or try to comfort newcomers. He cut a glance toward Kuwan who was being very quiet again.  Then his gaze turned toward the window and he noticed the promise of rain had  turned into snow.  Such was the month of March, even in the lands they had left behind.

Haunt the docks? She would not inquire on that.. "Docks can be nice.. " And she had met one McDonough, well a couple, and thought they all were sweet people. "You are kind to do such, Yas.." She noticed when he looked away, which  brought her to smile and silently ask Alex for some water.

And I will visit the island more." Lower, as if an aside for his brother and sister. He didn't need to say more but he looked at Anthea and laughed. "They are family, after all."

"And I still seek to find my place in this new land, Anthea."

Both their words came to the tiny Greek, and she to smile in response.

"Whether they were family or not, Yas..." Like his brother, there was some humor to his tone but it also was true. Yaskitchi was a good man, a brave man and Delsey doubted not that if ever anyone needed, this man born to lead, would be there.

She waited to answer, "I hunt and make rabbit pies. I sew and do bead work. Wash and help the older women of the clan." Taking the time to meticulously clean off her hands of any grease while she spoke.

"I have never hunted, but do cook. Of course to make items of clothing like you.. " She shook her head with a wink.. "It is art you create, it would be a mess I would create."

Delsey would find his place, of that Yas had no doubt. He finished the ale and nodded when Alex inquired if he wanted another. "And you visit when you can," he reminded Kuwan before he looked at Delsey. "We will go hunting, and I will show you more of the land. Maybe we can pull Mat away from the island as well."  He would take Delsey to meet his Heathfield family as well.

There was a belated look slipped upon Yas for his statement about haunting the docks. Settled there a moment then shifted to Delsey being she had not really gotten to talk to him since his return. "What do you plan to do now that you are here?" Had he chosen one of the wigwams that were not occupied yet she wondered.

She left the words for them to speak, enjoying the water for now and debating whether to return home or not.

"There is no maybe, if we pull him away, he can not fight us both." Not the faintest hint of a joke there, but even when Delsey was joking, sometimes it was hard to tell. Yas would know though. "I have no plans...I could join Yas at the docks or...I could join you, Kuwan. Or...I could join Anthea with her ... paper." Whatever that was! But it was a ritual the woman participated in the middle of every month. He could only hope such a ritual had nothing to do with ... well ... you know ... considering.

Oh, no, Anthea wasn't going to sit there without speaking. "How insane is your family?"

Date: 03-22-11
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 31

"Insane?" Responded to Yas with a chuckle. "Adorable." Moved her finger around in circles by her temple.."But mostly insane?" And she heard Delsey. He sure kept his options open!

"You would be bored joining me," quietly spoken as a conversation started up between Yas and Anthea. It was time for a punch which she got flavored as wild berries, richly sweet.

"Do they howl at the moon? Or put their clothes on backwards? How do you mean insane?" Anthea had to learn they took many things literally!


"I am so sorry, Yas. It is a term to joke about my family, as they use the term, snippet of a pain, when referring to me." She thought of her family and smiled.."I love each so much, and do believe if my sister could, she would howl at the moon.." She prayed she was not confusing Yas more. "I do not mean insane, literally, I meant it loving.. " She offered Yas the water.. "If I confuse you, my friend, just pour this over my head?" Twitch of a grin, she was beginning to confuse herself!

"Would I be, Kuwan? To me, it is the company as much as the activity. I have been too long denied both." He dipped his head to this sister of the tribe.

"If company you seek, then perhaps not. I've seen some of the sights but there are many more to see. The island itself to explore as winter set in about the same time we settled there." Smile quirked as a glint danced in dark eyes hearing Anthea tease Yas, "he may do it..." light warning.

He chuckled and held up his hand, shaking his hand. "But if I did that, then you would have to walk home soaked. And then you would have to explain why you were wet." He would, if the night were warmer.

She looked to Kuwan, lifting a brow as shock? "He would?" Then slowly to Yas with a chuckle. "Of course, I could see them now. " She cleared her throat.. "Anty what on earth.." She whispered, "That would be Anna... or," Lowered her voice. "You're not Myrina.  That would be my brother Erastos" She chose to shut up, Anthea had a habit of talking and talking... and talking.

Back and forth his gaze shifted, a twinkle there as Yas and Kuwan came to life in their discussion with Anthea.

She studied Delsey as he seemed to contemplate, lost in his thoughts. She had probably reacted badly, all considering, when he returned. It was a shock, she would appease her thoughts with that but now she wondered a number of things then caught herself probably looking too long his way with perhaps a strange expression before shifted back to the banter between Yas and Anthea.

"See, and your brother would wish to speak to me and it could get very messy." He seemed very serious as he spoke but he wasn't at all.

"It sounds to be messy already." Delsey glanced Kuwan's way, and did a double take, nodding to her as he caught her  mid stare before looking away again. He would not wish to make her feel uncomfortable in her study.

"Yas, I was merely jesting with you" Smile of understanding came to lips, feeling most phrases and jokes did not seem thus to the Natives.. " Erastos would only laugh and most likely throw me in water himself."

She caught the nod from the corner of her eye and a smile hinted a moment as she looked directly back his way. She'd been caught and in a way admitted it this way in a silent communication.

He chuckled and lifted his glass toward her. "As I was with you." Hmmm. They may have to try counting coup sometime though that might scare the folks here. He leaned back, placing his elbows on the bar, then glanced at Kuwan and followed her gaze to Delsey, a brow lifting. He turned back to Anthea though. "It takes time to adjust to new things, even if those are family, yes?"

If he was one to chuckle, he may have done it at this moment, understanding that which words were not needed to communicate. In the process, he finished off the liquid of his brewed herbs and tilted the cup to take a look at the small, ground leaves swimming in the bottom before he poured a small amount into his palm. He set the cup aside. Rubbing his hands together, he dried away the wetness and crumbled what remained of the leaves between his two hands,  returning his attention to the conversation between Yas and Anthea.

A sigh of relief slipped past full lips with his words. She never wished to confuse anyone, or even insult them. Silent thoughts filled her mind, only to vanish as Yas spoke once again.."You are so right, Yas. At times, it seems overwhelming, but then I look into the eyes of those I love dearly, and it is worth the annoyance of the crowded home" She did love her family, of that, none could hold any doubts. When Anthea loved, she gave all.

Was that not what a true love consisted of? One could not love and hold back. Love was like a pony on the open range...full force and with no restraints.

A deep breath was drawn and let out slowly. Life was not easy except to become confused in it far too often. She became very quiet, lost in her thoughts yet at the same time listening. She didn't look at anyone this time.

"Mmm. When it became too annoying when we were boys, we used to wrestle to ease the frustration." He chuckled and glanced at Delsey. "Then we frustrated our elders." He watched his brother a moment then sighed and looked down into the tankard. "You make me think I should forego this kind of drink, Brother, and drink herbs again." A sweat lodge had been built. It could be time to put it to use.

"Wrestle?" Now it was the Greek's turn to be confused by the word. "Elders, your parents?" Softly inquired at the words, but understanding what he was meaning. "I often hide at the press shop when it gets too much." The cup as lifted again, and Anthea to drink the rest of the liquid before offering it back to Alex.

"We'd wrestle one another." Motioning to Delsey. "Boys, youths, even as young men. Elders are not only our parents but all those who are older than us. Though it also addresses those whose wisdom guides our people when needed."

"This other drink of yours causes my gut to ache." Delsey confessed although he would prefer the brewed herbals anyway. "Each generation with their own addition to the circle." His gaze remained on Yas as he spoke to Anthea regarding the elders. "As time moves on." Then he looked right at the woman. "And they are far from lenient when boys tend to be boys and get into mischief that not only places them in trouble, but those of the tribe." A shoulder actually lifted and lowered. The warrior, Delsey, had just shrugged! "Far from lenient but always fair."

"Wrestle as in fighting playfully?" All he spoke was taken in. Elders.. she had to smile, for she felt all within honored their elders, and she felt they were very proud People. "So the old in your tribe, are like parents, to watch and care.. and even to teach when something is done wrong, or without honor?" She was curious to what was spoke of. It was always fascinating to learn another custom.

Yes, Delsey had and it had Yas staring at him. In shock!

"They are the wise ones." And each generation had to wonder who amongst them would ever be wise enough to sit in the counsel for surely, none of them were brave enough or wise enough or elevated enough to deserve that great honor.

"Like your leaders?" She voiced softly, not wishing to intrude on any words between both men. Were they shaman? This she would not ask, for she had heard that most tribes do not speak of their shamans. Perhaps another time.

Or maybe they felt they were too moody. He chuckled then nodded. "Yes, playfully. And they teach the young ones, and guide the older. They find words that will help, if one truly wishes it." He smiled again. "Leaders in many different ways."

"You're lucky to receive such growing up. To have those to watch out for you, and teach you.. Lucky indeed.." Spoken to both in pure amazement. Her dead guardian, she would relate him to elder, very much so.

"We didn't always think so." He chuckled, and nearly rubbed his head where he had gotten more than a few swats. "But that is the way of youngsters." Not that any of them were old!

She couldn't really add to the conversation but it brought back memories. First of them being back home. The wars between them and the other tribes that became worse as more white men settled. The day they were told that Delsey was lost in battle. A brother. A man she had only started to get to know more and he was gone. The trouble the brothers had gotten into along with Patwin and Delsey before that final battle that had the elders punish them but the punishment was a long learning journey for all of them. She and Kali choosing to go with them to this place.

Poor Kuwan, if this was all she thought of when she thought of home. For Delsey thought of flowering fields that the women made rings of hair dresses from. The way the deer would nose through the snow to find the tender stalks of grass hidden beneath. Sneaking off in the dark with his brothers, knowing that Kuwan and Kali would not be long in finding them and even betting between them the amount of time before they were joined by the females. And from  there, the mysteries of life they could explore in the woods, in the meadows, under the moon and stars. Digging up gemstones, grinding them down, polishing them up. Seeking out herbs to brew and smoke. These were the memories that Delsey clung to and would bring to the circle of life once his sons, or daughters, asked of his time beyond these shores.

"Youngsters, I have learned, can be somewhat tiresome at times." Spoken as if she pondered if she should send Myrina to stay with Erastos' old family in the colonies. The ideal held possibilities, she pondered silently, but also knew it would only be a jest, she could no more rid herself of her baby sister, then she could lose a limb. With silence came thoughts. With no words came day dreams to fill her mind.

She had not gone back that far, only to the months that determined their destiny. Yes, there had been peaceful times in their budding adolescence. She longed to have such back again. She longed for certain things she wished not to long for and did her best. Perhaps with spring her heart would be reborn.

How the camp looked in the silver of the full moon or the distant howls of the wolves. So many good memories and they would make them here as well. He smiled at Anthea, "And yet, life would be far too quiet without them." He had watched some of the young boys try to find frogs this morning though it was still too early. Then again, he never found them tiresome because he didn't have to deal with them much! And likely would only as an elder, in teaching.

"So true.." It would be as it had been her whole life, only dreaming of siblings, and now.."I do love them all.. annoying and insane they maybe." And she would understand if they spoke of missing their homeland, for Anthea would never forget Greece.

A homeland that would never be the same. It would be remembered and perhaps longed for, but this was now and he was still hungry, so he reached for another pie.

Good ideal! So did Anthea. Yum!

Philosophical thought could make one extremely hungry!



She moved closer to Yas as he took another rabbit pie so her words could go soft enough only he would hear. "It is good to see you eating again." He still looked a bit underweight to her especially being a warrior.

Kuwan....these men were trained to hear the faintest chirp of cricket and find it in the thickness of a forest's leave-covered floor. Surely she didn't think Delsey would not hear or not understand her words so softly spoken. Not that he would comment, not that he would even acknowledge that he had, it was spoken to Yas. And so it would be.

Eating the pie came quietly. Eyes now to focus on the bar's surface with silver hues to sparkle at the taste of the food. She heard nothing, only the slight movement of her stool as she swung legs to a melody singing in her head.

She had forgotten that Delsey could hear a fly fart twenty-five yards away.

Not only its fart, but the silent, deadly fly farts that the young boys often accused each other of!

Especially the time they came across what would be known as a Troll. That time she and Kali blamed it on the four.

Now she was in the right state of mind for memories! They had been eating mushrooms they had dug up themselves! They saw quite a few things that night and no doubt, could have created a fog of green mist that even the elders would speak of for years had they been witness to it.

Shroons were good and she would be adding them to her rabbit pies once they sprouted again.

"Food was the last thing on my mind for a while." He answered equally as quiet. He had been lost for a time but the return of his twin and of blood brother had brought him back. And they could probably find some in the caves along the shore of the island!

They hour grew late, of this she knew. But to leave meant to return home, and right now the small Greek did not desire that.

"I feel you are returning to us," not adding that once Patwin returned then they would have Yas back fully again. Mat's return along with the return of one from the dead, brought him mostly back to them.

She eased from the stool with grace, finger tips to smooth out any wrinkles in her actions. She did not wish to intrude thus did gentle strides carry her to the hearth to collect the missive she had been reading earlier.

Maybe she could pick up on thoughts like Delsey could hear farting flies. "I hear there are some caves about down the shores from the port. Do you know where these are?" Shroons grew in dark damp places.

...and in shyte.

"Aye, I do. They're far enough away that the wake from the ships doesn't interfere with them." He smiled and motioned to the west. "Let me know when you wish to go. There are also caves on the northern coast of the island."  The docks weren't safe, who knew if the caves were.

Delsey followed the woman's movements as she left the company at the bar to return to the hearth.

She had only returned to gather items she wished to return home with. Missive from a close friend, and the empty cup of tea. "Thank you Alex.." The cup was given to him, and a smile to Delsey who seemed the silent type. But then again, she seemed it as well... don't speak, then silence.

It was getting late and they all seemed to be feeling it. Perhaps that was the reason for the silence. He would need to gain some of the herbs that Delsey was using, take time to clear his mind, cleanse his body. Not totally back perhaps, but more himself.

"I wish you a good night... each of you." Warm smile for those she called friends as missive was folded and placed within the pocket of her woolen gown. Morning would come fast, and she had interviews to conduct. It would be the tenth guard Myrina had lost, and the tenth time trying to find a good one. With a wave, she moved to the door to collect her cloak, and only then did she move from the tavern, knowing her guard would not be far behind.

"Would two handsome braves walk me for a while tonight to see some of the sights before we turn in?"

"A most enjoyable opportunity."

For a moment, he pretended to be confused as to whom these braves were but he smiled and stood.  "And I will also join you both."  Time away from the docks was welcome, and he had a bed waiting at the warehouse flat when he was ready for sleep.   Outside the snow had eased again, allowing the moon to peep through moving clouds and casting pools of silver light.  It would be a good night to dream.



Date: 03-27-11
Poster: Kuwan
Post # 32

Life's Trials

Spring was here finally, warming the lands and especially the island which was further south. Bees buzzed as there was talk about setting up bee hives to harvest the honey. Wasn't so much the great ideas but the fact that her People could plan for a future. Before it had gotten to survival alone that was the main interest of all and their loved ones over small things like harvesting honey. Kuwan walked along the sandy shore warmed by the sun. She was in the leather dress and top with a shawl about her shoulders for there was a slight nip to the breeze coming in off the ocean. The length of dark hair fell like a waterfall down around her shoulders to nearing her waist. A small braid each side nestled in the loose tresses. The top and skirt were made of a soft doeskin with beads in intricate patterns she had carefully done over the winter months when the weather made it near impossible to be outside. Her thoughts wandered as much as the path her feet took her on. A basket over her one arm that she put in her findings. Be they herbs she came across or the small shells that could be fashioned into necklaces and the like. Seeing a pretty small conch, she crouched to picked it up then decided to slip out of the moccasins she wore. The sand was warmer beneath her feet as it sifted through her toes as they dug in. The water was still cold in comparison but was tested nonetheless having a sharp intake of air with a squeal for the shocking difference.

Stalking. Delsey crouched, slinking closer to the woman on the beach within the cover of trees. Watching her, smiling to himself as he prepared for his attack. When she was engaged with the water, he darted out from behind her, fleet of foot and swift of actions, he managed to collect her up in a hold from behind. He spoke her name just as he took her so she'd not retaliate in less than desirable ways to his capture. "Kuwanyauma." And pecked a kiss to the soft skin of her neck.

The squeal from the shock of water was no comparison to the surprise shriek that slipped passed her lips when no longer on solid grounding. She lost her basket which tumbled harmlessly to the sand below. She squirmed like an eel attempting to turn, about to fight with all she had when the voice that came was recognized. "Delsey!" Trying to sound firm as she was still caught up in his hold but the tone was too soft to sound as a reprimand. "I see you still have your talent of stalking," The struggling ceasing of course as she leaned in against him instead. Hard not to considering he was like a stone wall behind her.

The smile for her was in his eyes although it did not show on his features. "What good would I be as a hunter, as a warrior, if I did not possess this?" He looked down to her basket and the few items that had spilled from within. "But I have disrupted your duties of..." His dark gaze returned to hers. "...collecting." Not that he made the effort to help her replace them, but he would, eventually.

"Collecting and now a spilled basket," still trying to sound stern but the edge just wasn't there to her words. "Perhaps you should go hunting and bring me back many rabbits that I can make into pies.." offering a sort of trade but it wasn't really for the things that spilled from the basket came to no harm on the warm sand. That little kiss to the back of her neck had left a chill to crawl up her spine that had nothing to do with cold. She swatted him, perhaps for causing the sensation when her thoughts had been as they were of recent. "Now you will have to let me go so that I can see to saving them," referring to the spilled items on the sand. Hard to talk to him in this position anyway. She was trying to turn so that she might face him but he was much stronger than she.

His hands stroked up her arms and when they rested midupper, he allowed her to turn and face him. Actually, he pretty much turned her himself so that he could look into her eyes. "If it's rabbit you wish, it is rabbits you shall have, Kuwan." The sound was a laugh, but it resembled more a grunt. "And I really don't think your treasures are going anywhere, anytime soon...I believe they will allow us some time to talk without the threat of escape."

Thick lashes lowered as she was turned but the smile teased the corner of her lips only blooming as her eyes lifted to meet his. "There are many that favor my rabbit pies." If there was any reflection on a swift thought in connection with that statement, it was dashed. Something that became easier every day. In truth, there were a few that favored her pies. More than one, more than two. A dipping glance was given the spilled shells and herbs, "you can't be sure there is not a sand crab to come and snatch them away?" Humor danced as focus shifted back up to him. A lingering pause before she continued, "I am pleased death had not made its claim on you. It was very hard on Kali, all of us to accept. Now she carries another burden over Patwin." She was very concern for her blood sister.

"I am one of them." He reminded her before he gave a motion of head for them to walk together. "Leave your basket for now, Kuwan. We have our roofs, who are we to deny the crab a possible new home?" There was little weight to that comment, and more light humor as he started walking, reaching back his hand to the native lass of his homeland. "And as to Death, there are none so pleased as I am. I would not have wished to put Kali or any of you through such grief. I was, in kind, grieving my loss of family. But it is as it should be, and we are together again. Patwin's return is unsure, so we must prepare ourselves for the worst and continue to hope for the best."

She would leave the basket and spilled shells but she made sure the herbs were put back because they were important for medicinal purposes and needed. It was all done quickly, she was nimble that way  before at his side in step. A pace he set as her hands folded one over the other behind her. A nonchalant swish swaying gait set of one who had not a care in the world when there were a number of things weighed upon her shoulders. Some of her own making but still things she needed to sort through. Lips slightly pursed as she decided not to elucidate on the grief that was shared, especially Kali. "You are with us again and that is what matters." Sliding a glance up his way as they moved along the beach. "Why were you not able to come home?" That was a part she could not understand.

Together they strolled the sandy length of the island's beach. Warrior and Indian maid, cut from the same mold of strength and survival and yet, chiseled into unique beings. Male. Female. "I spent many a moon trying to figure that out, Kuwan, until finally I realized, it wasn't my place to know. I was but a leaf on the current of river, and everytime I neared the shore, the water would shift and roll and I felt farther away than when I began." He paused to squat, and run his fingertip in the soft silt of sand. "It was when I gave up, turned over my fate completely, that the Spirit Guides finally smiled upon me, and Mat pulled me from the wagon." He rubbed his forefinger and thumb together, feeling the tiniest grains roll between the pads, then stood, wiping his hand on his pants. "We struggle so to be in control. To know all. To experience all. And it is difficult for us to see the broad, clear sky above and beyond when we are so covered by clouds but the Great Spirits see all, know all and will guide us. Just as they have brought our people here. Who would have ever planned for this?" He drew in a deep breath. "You, Kuwan, are often in your head. It's not the best place to be. It's a favorite hideaway for the creatures of unfavorable thoughts."

She watched her feet for part of the time as he spoke, gave her a way to tune into his words complete. Sentiment was there, held to the tone of her voice which had softened greatly, "life is not easy nor what seems always so. Accepting fate can be hard, you want to fight it and say No, I want it this way but you have no control over others and their feelings only yours when you feel that you have no control at all either. Thoughts may be my demons but I know it is there I learn and grow if I face them." Glancing up to take in his profile, "it is better if you can let go and let the spirit guides take you where you need to go. Accepting your lot as it is and not fighting that which is unseen nor beatable if you try to fight it that way." Hoping she made sense for it was hard to put into words. She had seen how easily Patwin and Kali had fallen for each other and assumed it would be that way for her. That was her grave mistake. "The spirit guides wanted you back with us. I still pray to them to bring Patwin back to Kali." She did not begrudge her friend and sister what she had when she had not. It was not her way. She wanted to at least see her fulfilled. "We still need hunters so you are needed here as there are those younger to train and need strong example. We are also allowed to hunt in the royal forests of the main land but if done, then some of the kill should go to the castle." As she did hunting as well even if smaller game.

He stopped, reaching out to her, his hand cupping her face and then his palm tracing along the familiar shape of it. She was older, as was he, but at this moment, as his mind retraced the footsteps of the past, she was Kuwan. The young maid who had darted and raced, hunted and tracked along with his sister and the four of them. Young of spirit. Young of heart. It was here she had aged, and here alone. For her body was still young, still beautiful, still full of life. "It is not there you learn, Kuwan...It is here." His hand lowered, a finger touching gently between her breasts. It was a benign touch, to match his words. "But we must be careful with our lessons. Because it is the heart that stores them, it can become hard, filled with doubt and regret and sorrow. So that when the softer emotions, love and hope and happiness attempt to enter as well, the stones of protection have been built too thick and prevent them from reaching you. You are a strong woman, Kuwan. Many are drawn to that. Be careful of the barricade you build...that's all I ask."

Pain came with growing up. Eyes closed at his touch, she didn't move into it nor did she stiffen. He was being a brother to her and it was his concern that ripped at her heart. She wanted to say do not be concern over me but the words were strangled in her throat, she knew if she attempted they would not come out as wanted and probably challenged. The heat of tears stung at the back of her eyes but not one would be shed here, no, the were reserved for when she was alone at night and allowed to let her feelings, right or wrong, have their vent. Luckily it didn't happen often. She was learning and so they were fewer. Finally dark eyes lifted as well her hand to fold over his to rest there with barely a touch. "I heard a saying here about the sword and how it needs to be sent into the fires to then be hammered and made stronger. If one is not careful it can became brittle and shatter but this I will not allow. I will allow myself the pain I need to go through to become stronger but not harden my heart no matter how tempting." There was a quirk of a smile to tease a moment to their corners then fell away for another thought that had no relation to former ones but of another and a conversation once had between them. "There is a lot of doubts to rise up in life, on many things, but time sorts them out if you let the spirit guides help." There was a lingering pause once again before her hand fell away from resting upon his. "What are your goals now that you have return?" Obviously he probably had a few in those years separated. One to get home.

He studied her eyes as she spoke, even as she closed them against him. That in itself spoke more to him than any words she forced out, in the hopes he would believe them. Did she believe what she spoke? Would she allow the wisdom of the Spirit Guides to lead her way? He had not been witness to all she had to endure once he was taken from them, but he could tell she still struggled, whether she wished for him to know it or not. "My goals?" There was a vibration in his chest. Was that a laugh? His features softened as he looked to her. "My goal at present is to not be a burden to my people...but to just enjoy the fact I have been returned to them. For a short time, I will not demand more of myself than that." He knew, soon enough, his journey would be set once again, with responsibility, and honor, and duty to the people who depended on him. For now though, especially right now with Kuwan, he was granted a reprieve to just enjoy the life that was his.

"You will not be a burden," almost sounded demanding. "You will be right in there working with the others. When you are not hunting with Yas and Mat then you will be helping to chop down the trees and plough the land so that we may grow crops to feed all in our village." Certainly she would make sure he kept busy so that he was not a burden. See that twinkle that just sparked in dark eyes. Beware it said. "There is a lot to be done still. More wigwams to be built as some are housing more than one family and some are too large for only a small family." They had done what they could in a short period of time and now all would be sorted out gradually as needed. It was at that moment that a pair of eagles soared overhead with their call out to one another as if noticing the two below.

Delsey looked up, his head canting as if in acknowledgement of the noble birds above. "And here I thought I could laze about for a while..." His gaze lowered back to her, he had read more in that passing of powerful flight in the skies than he would let on. "And you...out for a leisurely stroll, distracting me from my duties. Really, Kuwan. Where is your loyalty to the betterment of our people?" He actually did smile, and it came with ease, although it was brief. For her, and gone as he caught up her hand and gave it a tug. They should head back to her basket and be about their duties once again.

She knew, and she knew of the sign set on high to herald new days to come. Spring was here and there would be rebirth in many ways. "You can help me gather more of the herbs for they are needed." Tucking her hand in his she would run barefoot along the sandy shore like a time lost that could be recaptured for the moment.



Date: 04-11-11
Poster: Yas McDonough
Post # 33

Blood Brothers
Thistle Tavern

Spring had finally arrived, though the month of the Full Pink moon was as fickle as a woman in its moods. The day had been warm with some sun, some rain and now a cooling as night settled over the lands. With no ship coming in from the colonies that he knew of, Yas had tended to buying supplies for the Clan and sending them to the island, helping Adam with a trouble sailor and then heading for the Thistle for a quiet meal. He was on the porch, leaning
against the rail as he watched the activity in the square slowly die down.

The island had settled into the regular routine of nightfall, some gathering at the fire, others retiring to their huts. Delsey had wandered into the forest and from there, he now approached the Thistle tavern on the big land. What transpired from island to mainland only Delsey would know. He saw the familiar face lit by the yellow glow of street lamps and he lifted a hand in greeting as he neared. "The Big Water has released you from its clutches for a night, Yas?"

"It has." Yas smiled as Delsey approached, glad again that his blood brother had been returned from the dead. It gave him hope that Patwin too, would soon return. "You are wandering tonight, or just checking to see if I'm still showing signs of sanity?" Yes, the guilt had lessened some but Yas still could not see himself as a leader.

"The Great Spirit watches after children and fools." Delsey smiled slightly, coming up the front porch steps to stand by Yas. "Perhaps that is my calling, to act on the Great Spirit's behalf." He lifted a hand and rubbed at the back of his neck. Time brought all to light, man was just too impatient to allow it to be fully illuminated. Did any man see himself as a great leader? Great leaders did not create themselves. Those men never lasted. No, truly great leaders were shaped by circumstances. Already Yaskitchi was being ... many ways. "Although, the truth is probably more that I became curious and ... yes ... wandered."

He looked at Delsey a moment before a laugh escaped. "And I am the fool that needs watching?" He wasn't insulted but amused. He had hovered on the edge of insanity for a time and it was only because of a miracle that he came back. Or... what he considered a miracle. "What drove your curiosity?" He glanced up as rain started to fall again. The wind drove it under the roof of the porch and he chuckled. "Perhaps it is time for us to go inside." He had been drinking less potcheen since Delsey's return and that pattern would hold tonight.

Delsey stretched his arm out, allowing the rain to fill the cup of his hand. "It is only water." As youths, they used to run out of the dry huts into the rain. Even now, there was something about rain that quieted Delsey's spirit. He brought his hand around and touched the side to his lips, tipping it so he could drink, starting toward the door as he did. "What doesn't drive my curiosity?" Delsey laughed, a deep but hushed sound. "Everything is new here, even the rabbits here are different, have you noticed?"

"Water that we'll likely have to walk through later." Not that he truly minded. They would warm up back in camp since he would probably return there tonight. "Yes, I have noticed. It's strange but not the kind of strange that makes one fear. You should seek the wild horses that roam the valley here. They have an uncanny intelligence beyond what those in the homelands have." He chuckled as he held open the door. "I think they would be a challenge to catch." And that might be something they'd consider as a rite of passage.

Delsey acknowledged Alex with a nod of head. The man knew to just pour a cup of hot water for the native. "A challenge?" He shook his head, pride for his people sparkling in his dark gaze. "Not for a brave of the Bear." A rite of passage...and so Yas was thinking like a leader, although Delsey would have no way of knowing, would he?

No, he wouldn't and it would be a suggestion made to the Elders. He grinned as he took note of Delsey's pride. "We should try it ourselves to see. " He would look into it, make sure they didn't have to get permission though he knew their cousin rounded up some each spring. He had started to drink tea, finding the brew to his taste, and that was what was brewing for him. "We have permission to hunt some places on the mainland. Feather hunts for the Thistle, and for other places here and at times, we give our help." Of course the majority of their hunting was done on the island. "Would you like to do so? We keep saying we'll do these things and have yet to do one." He was getting restless and that could lead to trouble!

"Migwe'c" Delsey offered his thanks to Alex and produced his small pouch of herbs, crushing the dried leaves between his fingers and spreading them over the steaming liquid. "So when you say 'we' should try to capture one of the wild ponies of these lands, you mean you as well?" He was dipping his finger quickly into the hot water to sink the dusting, until Alex offered him a spoon. He looked up to the tender, nodded his thanks then finished his comment
which was now thick with intended humor. "Your muscles and bones have not soaked up so much salt from where you linger that you would be able to move swift enough to manage that, Brother?"

"Yes, I mean myself as well." He grunted, trying to keep a frown in place. "Perhaps that is why I include myself, a fear that I will find it impossible to run from standing so long in one place." He chuckled though in reality, it was a concern, even if he didn't voice it. "I would not want to take the younger braves to do so if I cannot keep up."

"Then we must do so soon, before your concerns become reality." He sounded so serious, not a twitch to his facial features to give away his amusement. It was perhaps good he had dipped his head to study his herbal brew.

Mat walked in on such a serious conversation as brows lifted. "Sounds like something I should know about?" Vest worn over leggings as he didn't need as much clothing now that spring had arrived. First stop was the bar to collect a drink.

And that had Yas looking at him closely. "Bah. I will still outrun you, even when I am gray and my joints creak more than they do now." He looked up as Mat joined them. "We are discussing the fact that my bones could be turning to salt."

He brought the rim to his lips, speaking just before contact. "But tonight, tonight I seek out where I heard the frogs sing on the island." He looked to the arrival of Matoskah. "Greetings, Brother. We speak only of Yaskitchi's fragile state of physical being. He grows soft from saltwater mists." Delsey laughed softly to himself as he and Yas spoke of the same thing, practically at the same time.

"Salt, not pepper or sugar?" Drink in hand he joined them. "I will place my bet on my brother in being able to outrun you but neither will keep up with me." Grinning as he toasted those words.

With the herbs lingering in his senses and soon to be spreading through his mind and body, Delsey stood, slipping the mug to the far side of the counter so Alex could collect it easier. "I need to run only as far as the closest horse, and then, you both will be dodging the dirt that follows in my path. Does it rain still, Mat?" Delsey looked the man over in an attempt to gain an answer without having to wait for a verbal one.

He chuckled then snorted with Mat's boast. "We will test that soon brother. I plan to speak to Rory to see if any are allowed to chase the wild horses and intend to challenge the two of you. Then we'll see who has the softest bones." He looked his brother over as well then shook his head. "Don't start, Mat. That path has not been set."

"Light, like mist. You can smell all that is being born of the land. It is a good scent and it brings a good feel for the coming season of hunting. Yas needs a woman. Unfortunately he has not gained any to choose from." Giving a nod to that suggestion. "I know their trail when we are allowed."

Delsey was nodding with the information provided by first Yas and then Mat, until the mention of a woman was made. Dark brows lifted and he looked to Yas then back to Mat. "A subject best left to the spirit guides to decide. And when they do ... decide ... it can only be hoped that not only your bones are not soft."

"I wish to go hunting, the three of us like old times. There is an area of the royal forest we have permission. There is said to be a great white Elk that is hard to find and even harder to catch."

A twitch, twitch started at the corner of his lips and he started toward the door. He had frogs to find. And the warm herbal brew was taking affect. Obviously, from his previous statement. "May we see it, this great white elk, so that we may be blessed by the vision and then leave it to its reputation." He was talking, but he was walking at the same time.

Delsey caused him to laugh out loud. "That is true. And we will go hunting soon." He lifted a hand as Delsey headed to the door. "Enjoy your wandering." Whether physical or other. "I will see you in the morning, Delsey." He would be staying at the island tonight.

Which had him laugh outright, "if that doesn't harden his bones then he is lost."

"It will be good to have you join us, Yaskitchi." The leader of the Bear ... in denial.

In time, he would convince them of the same.

Delsey stepped out and continued right into the misting rain.

"You know, I feel like hunting for some frogs and rabbits for Kali and Kuwan to cook up.." which he would kick back his drink before setting all back to the bar. "What do you say?"

He took a drink of the hot tea and looked at Mat. "And while Delsey has been wandering, what have you been up to, brother?" He looked thoughtful then nodded. "Sounds like a good idea." Though they would need to avoid the place where Delsey was going if he was planning on meditating on the song of the frogs.

"It is good to have him back, now all we need is Patwin," words were low as he swung an arm around his brother's shoulders. "He's alive. I know it. I know he will be back." The night welcomed them with the sounds of spring that had inspired his words in knowing them to be true. He was encouraging his brother at the same time. "We shall have a great hunt and tests of skills then."


Date: 04-16-11
Poster: Patwin
Post # 34

The man had stayed only long enough for Patwin to finish his breakfast that day and then left without any further questions.   Anna returned later with her poultices and that foul smelling broth.  She also said nothing, even when Patwin commented he needed to return to Heathfield.

The following morning the room was still dark with early morning, just the red glow of faded fire washed over the warrior on the floor.  He tested his wounds with his fingertips, bent at the waist with a grunt of discomfort, but found he could sit up.  He felt his skin pull against the position, testing the limits of his healing and the warrior grimaced.   Rolling to the side, hands clamped down on a nearby chair.  He used that support to struggle to his feet.  The room blurred in and out, spun around him.  Even when he closed his eyes he felt his body swaying and he bent over to clutch at the chair again.

“Going somewhere?” 

Patwin didn’t open his eyes, he couldn’t, or he would vomit the bile that had risen in his throat from the dizziness.   His jaw tensed with the sound of the man’s voice as well as the need to regain control of his body.  What exactly was in that broth fed to him every evening?

“I must return to Heathfield.”  Patwin grunted past the nauseating whirl of his surroundings, peeking past one eye to the man who had entered without a sound. 

“And you will, Patwin.  Please…sit.”  The man was over to the Indian brave, taking him by his upper arm in an attempt to guide him to sit. 

Patwin attempted to jerk away, which almost sent him stumbling back into the fire had the man let him loose.  The gentleman had not, just tightened the hold and with that control helped to lower Patwin to the chair the wounded man had used to stand.  The tight hold was released only when the native had his balance on the cushion . 

Through the squint of eyes, Patwin looked up at the man.   Even in the darkened room, and perhaps because of it, the man possessed a dominance over his surroundings and those within his close proximity.

  “We need to talk, you and I, Patwin.  It has been over a week and if you truly wish to return to Heathfield, you’ll need to start cooperating with me.”

Patwin grunted as his initial reply.  “Oh, I’ll get there.” 

The other man nodded slowly, as if he considered those words.  “I’m sure you will try.  I suppose it’s just a matter of if you’ll make your journey easy or difficult.  So.”  He smiled slightly.  “Together or against each other … which will it be, Patwin?”


Date: 04-17-11
Poster: Kuwan
Post # 35


Spring was finally here to stay, albeit there were a few days or at least evenings where it was cold enough to remember winter. Those were passing, few and far between. The sun shone brightly, warming the earth beneath its rays, the ground moist and warm giving off that particular scent associated with spring even more than summer. Everything was growing, blooming, various varieties taking their time. There were more vendors with flowers to offer than had been. Kuwan was at a particular stand helping Yellow Flower with her display. The young girl had this inclination to set one up to sell the pottery of her grandmother and anyone else in the tribe to raise money to buy things needed. Kuwan had some of her rabbit pies to sell which she would leave to the younger woman and her brother, a few years older, to help fill up her stand. There were also capes to wear she had made of leather and decorated with beads in intricate designs. Yellow Flower was quite pleased with the variety, including the warm blankets that were hand woven, on display. Standing Bear whittled, so he had pieces to sell as well but he was really here to keep his sister safe who was all of sixteen. Kuwan had gotten a small wagon she could pull with a rope, sacks of flower, sugar and such was loaded in as well a few potted plants. Rose bushes to be exact she spent a few coins on and one traded for with her pies.

Breathtaking. And so was the hubbub of the commons. It wasn't that Delsey was unfamiliar with the stalls of vendors, he had many times wandered to the white man's village and seen the selling of their wares, but this was a new land, a new energy, a new experience. He had wandered along the thoroughfare, stopping at every stall, asking questions about their wares, and then, as the conversation became more comfortable, about their lives here, their loved ones, their futures. All seemed to open up to the Indian brave. He smiled to them, drew out their more pleasant emotions, and when he left them, he left them with a sense of peace and happiness. It was a lovely day, and all should appreciate that. That though, was not the most breathtaking part. As he neared one particular section of sidewalk proprietors, he saw the woman with wagon. A lovely specimen of native Indian beauty and strength. He caught Yellow Flower's eye and shook his head, placing a finger against his lips for her to remain silent and he slipped up behind Kuwan and from there he spoke to the young lass selling her people's finest. "I could smell rabbit pies from the other end of the city...are those Kuwanyauma's pies? If not, you are withholding the best from your customers." He glanced over to the Indian lass beside him, smiling down to her. "They are! " Yellow Flower chirped happily, taking up one of the pies to hold out to Delsey. The brave nodded, still looking at Kuwan, and produced the payment, perhaps more than was needed, and offered it to the girl. Only then pulling his gaze from Kuwan to make the exchange. "You will do well, Yellow Flower." He took the pie. "And I will steal Kuwan away for a walk if that is okay with you?" Yellow Flower beamed with this purchase. "Thank you, Delsey, come again!" He waved the two on and Delsey needed no further encouragement. "Walk with me, Kuwan?"

The dress was without sleeves and she needed not the leggings as the moccasin boots laced up to where the leather overlapped a couple inches. Hair in braids but styled in a loop behind to lay atop that which was left to flow freely. If Yellow Flower averted her eyes as she was making sure all hung just right from the small rack, Kuwan missed it as being of any significance. Standing Bear was hardly noticed even if he was watching her, that his focus had shifted too. It was the voice recognized that had her turn only to find him right there, a breath away as eyes met his broad chest first then lifted to meet his. Her cheeks held a touch of rose to them, healthy glow from the sun. "Delsey, you gave me start," her hand instinctively, or naturally, coming to rest against his chest in a feather's touch. Her words whispered, "I have a few left in the basket," she always had a few to spare in case she came upon a friend that she knew liked the small delicacy. Except she knew what he was doing and that had her smile. Yellow Flower was ecstatic to have her first sale. "I will see you later, Yellow Flower," her hand falling away as stepped back in a turn. Perhaps it was then she noticed Standing Bear looking right at her too, "..and you Standing Bear." Slight smile as she shook off the strange feel there for a second and attention back on Delsey. "I would love the walk. Have you seen much of the lands?" A little tug of the wagon had the well oiled wheels moving.

He started to take the handle from her but decided against it, instead placing his hand on the small of her back in a possessive, though comforting, touch. He nodded off to Yellow Flower and Standing Bear and started walking with Kuwan, slipping the rabbit pie into a pocket along the side of his pants for now. He had not purchased it to eat immediately, Kuwan had guessed correctly. "I have seen very little of it. My time has been spent on the island for the most part, and then, either at the docks seeking out Yas or in the place called the Thistle where I have often found him. This is a good place, Kuwan. Our people will thrive here." He watched her the entire time they walked with only the occasional flicker of notice to their way. Her profile, one he knew well, had studied often while they romped and roamed while younger. "The brothers seem to think you have adapted well to our new lands...what do you think?"

He would have a side view of her face with glances up his way, ones that would come with a quick ready smile at times. Which had her reflecting of how little she had seen compared to places she heard about. She had been lost in something else that her world and thoughts had revolved around that was no longer. Only her doing she came to realize. "There are many places to be seen. There is a garden that is spring while it is winter. There is a mountain pass you can ride to that looks over valleys below where the wild horses roam. There are waterfalls that reach to the sky and miles of beaches with hidden treasure and caves." Which brought her around to the island they were on, "you have not met the Changelings. Creatures we take care of on the island." There were just as many places to explore in their own backyard. She mulled over his statement with the added question, "I think that I have. Perhaps I had been looking for a place such as this for a long time in my heart." She could never understand why she felt close to them (Kali, Patwin, Yas, Mat and Delsey) but not the lands they were from that the white man were gradually destroying everything they had. The ones that had adopted her as their own, she had cared for but not the attachment she had with her true parents that had been taken away.

He smiled slow with a nod of satisfaction. "I'm glad to hear from this from your lips." He looked away for the moment, greeting another vendor with a 'hello' and a kind comment about the items for sale there but they didn't stop, they continued to walk. "I have yet to meet these Changelings as you call them, but others have spoken of them. I believe the time will come when it is meant to come. I wander the island, but I have been told to leave that side to those who occupy it, so my wanderings do not take me there." He glanced over his shoulder to the items in Kuwan's cart, then back to her with his smile ever present, if but at times only in his eyes.

"It is still hard to believe you are alive, but a good one." Not wanting to be mistaken for her words. A smile came to the passing vendor as Del spoke the greeting. "All in good time. We help where we can but the McDonough family sees more to them. They are neither human nor creature." She didn't know that the wish they only leave supplies and not really intermingle was for other purposes being many males amongst the Changelings. Some things were best not to be tempted. The glance back to the wagon had her thoughts switch to three potted bushes wrapped up in burlap bags. "I have bought rose bushes," which she paused by one residence near the commons. "Yellow, red and pink, like those that are starting to bloom. I have to plant them tonight to see such blooms soon too. They have a nice smell to them." One she found she liked. "I have to decide where to plant them once I am back to the island." Near her place of course but where others could enjoy them too.

"I doubted my existence a few times myself." Delsey's voice held the hint of humor, but it was true. He had even wished to die at times, but the Spirit Guides had other plans for him. And those plans obviously brought him back to his people. She spoke of flowers and the pleasant smell of them, but was there any fragrance more beguiling, more intriguing, more beautiful than that of a woman, her hair warmed from the sun, her skin kissed with the same? He didn't speak on the comparison though, just drew in a deep breath to appreciate what nature brought to him and he sent out an instant, silent prayer of gratitude. "They will be a sight to behold." He added once he released his breath and his thanks into the atmosphere around them. "Will you need help planting them? I offer my hands.." But really, right now, he only offered only one, the other never moved from her back as the empty hand reached out in front of him, palm up, with his words.

"I will need one to dig the holes so if you're volunteering, then I accept." Brighter smile up his way as they passed more of the store fronts with their doors open giving hint to the merchandise beyond. "We should see about running with the wild herd and if one can be tamed to our own, then we can ride the countryside and the many places these lands have in offer to see. There are the huge royal forests we can hunt in that offer larger game. Bears. Moose. Elk." of that which they hunted. "There are pumas and other such wild cats too. There are no buffalo here. Perhaps Yas and Mat's father would consider bringing a few pairs.." it was a passing thought, "from the colonies."

"Of course I'm offering." And her acceptance had his smile spreading. "You only need to let me know when you wish to plant them." Her enthusiasm was infectious and he found himself caught up in it as she spoke. "There are few left to the areas we called home...but I have heard more can be found in the plains, further to the west, where the sun beats hot on the plains." His fingers drummed lightly against where his hand rested on her back. "I am, everyday, thankful to be back."

"I am considering planting them by moonlight tonight." Which it would be a full moon and the thought becoming to her for some odd reason. "There is much to look forward to and to do." She was feeling elated as only spring could steal into ones' heart. "There is a pool not far from the campsite where we can bathe with the warmer weather. Perhaps a bathing hut can be constructed for the winter months." She didn't like not being able to bathe fully, limited to sponging down. Many didn't care but she had this thing about keeping clean. Only one sad thought crept through, "I pray Patwin returns soon so we are whole and Kali no longer weeps of heart."

"Patwin's and Kali's journey is theirs and though it weighs heavily on our hearts, we can not dictate the outcome. We can only be here for Kali, no matter the course set by the Great Spirit." He drew in a breath and his gaze lifted to the blue of the spring sky. He knew some of what could be a part of Patwin's inability to return, he could only hope it did not mimic his own. But even that, had been a lesson for Delsey, it would be the same for Patwin if he survived. "Now, though, I would like to see this lake I have heard so much about. This Golden Water." So he had it wrong, but it was what he heard.

She knew, much like other things she had no control over. Things she had to accept were not or were as she had experienced both and because of one, another could not be and presently she was in a state of limbo to pass through on her path of learning. "The lake gets its name from the turned foliage of the trees in autumn turning it to gold in color, in reflection." As she started them off in that direction. "It is a place that draws many for any season. Winter had a toboggan race. I got to do down it too. It was a lot of fun, a lot of screaming and laughing," recalling a good time as they moved towards the very place spoken upon.

It was good that certain others had not been for Kuwan, for there were others who were coming into her life that desired her time instead. "I would have liked to have seen that." He smiled considering the sight of Kuwan on a toboggan. "There is always next season of snow." If the spirits were kind enough to allow him the chance to witness it.


Date: 04-24-11
Poster: Patwin
Post # 36

Choose fifteen horses.  Steal the horses.  Return to Heathfield.   Those were the terms.

Easy enough it would seem.

“You think I can steal horses because I am an Indian brave?”

The man started his answer to that question with the shake of head to the negative.  “I think you can ride horses because you are an Indian brave.  There will be no saddles.  No bridles. Just you and the horse, Patwin.” 

Patwin nodded mostly to himself.  “And … if I get caught?”

The man just smiled, lifting from the seat he had taken to discuss this proposition.  “If you get caught, you do not return to Heathfield.  Like the others who have tried before, they will hang you.”

Patwin sat for a moment in the darkened room, his head lowered in thought.  Then he lifted his gaze slowly to the man opposite him. 

“Then I guess I better not get caught.”

“Mistress! Mistress! They come again! They have the horses! They’ve cleared the gate!”

Allyson Byrd heard the cry as it echoed down the massive corridors of Rose Thorn Manor.   She didn’t even look from the large window toward the field, fearing what she would see there if she wasted those precious moments.  Instead, she bolted from behind the large desk and raced from the room. 

“Simmons! Where is Simmons?  I’ll need my rifle! Saddle my horse! Where is Simmons, dammit!”  The entire time she shouted, she made for the double doors that welcomed friends, barred against  enemies.  Those enemies even now were attempting to steal from her what she worked so hard to procure:  The means to her survival as a widowed woman in these new lands.

Rose Thorn Ranch bred and raised the finest line of horses this side of the Atlantic.   Sprawling some seven-hundred acres, there was room for grazing, but that was left mainly to the Angus that also helped support the household and those under its protection.  Following the death of her husband two years past during one such attack, Allyson had refused to give up their dream.  Her dream.  And continued to breed and raise her horses … and to fight off any attempts to steal them. 

Today would be no different! 

As she yanked open the door, she saw the dozen riders charging along the fence line.  That would be twelve horses plus the several that were in tow by lead ropes.   Just as she released the latch of door, her weapon was slapped into her hand.  It was a graceful transition from receiving to utilizing.  She eyed the lead rider, lining him up from scope stop, rear sight to front sight. Her jaw pressed to the cheek rest and she drew in a deep breath, slender finger tightening on the trigger as she started to move her shot further in front to allow for travel time. 

And then, the leader of the band jerked the horse to a stop, yanking the mount around by use of its mane. 

He looked right at her.

Allyson gasped, lowered the weapon slowly and stared…How had he known? Almost in a spell with the intensity of that dark gaze that glared back at her, she couldn't even blink. 

“Mistress! They are getting away!  Shoot!” 

Allyson shuddered herself back into consciousness and shoved the rifle to the nearest hand to take it.  “My horse!  I need my horse!”   She hiked up her skirts and starting running down the brick steps that lead to the entrance of the manor house.

“But you can’t give chase!  Mistress!  You will need a weapon!  They will kill you as they did …”

“ Find Simmons!  And shut up!”  Was all she hollered back, already tearing at the heavy weight of material that made up the skirts of her attire.  She couldn’t ride in this!  Not and have the ability to maneuver how she would need to catch those thieves.   

She left a trail of clothing in her wake and met up with her horse in just her petticoats.  The stable boy was already red-faced from the excitement so to find his mistress so undressed couldn’t add more color, but he did almost miss the hand-off of reins from darting his gaze away. 

“Tell Simmons to find us if you can wake him from whatever drunken stupor he must be in!” Snatching the horse around, she shouted,   “And send for the Captain Eli! I want these brigands hung!”  She jabbed her heels with determination into the horse’s ribs and shot off after the native thieves.  But more importantly - her horses!

Date: 04-26-11
Poster: Kuwan
Post # 37

Spirit Walk

The breeze was warm, the day sunny and full of promise. Birds sang. Butterflies fluttered over fields dotted with multi-colored flowers. Winter had gone completely and the days would only grow warmer as spring moved into summer. So much promise of life around her but she couldn't feel a part. So much life around her and she felt dead inside. There was a great sadness in her heart that would not go away no matter how much she tried. They had come here under a punishment of the brothers but it had opened up a whole new world. Young and inexperience, she'd fallen for a man who did not love her back. All the time spent together that had made her feel special, believed special to him was not so on his part. He was one, or so she became to believe, that could not love just one; or at least, could not love her. Rumors whispered he was off with someone else. It was a long time since he made any attempt to see her so rumors held more weight.  Once upon a time he had enjoyed their time. This she not only had to face but had to accept. It was a far bitter pill to swallow. Now she wished she had never met him at all. Wished that her heart would not continue to betray her so. To complicate that, knowing that another could have loved her the way she had wanted him to was salt in the wound. For her, love had become a cruel demon to leave her with restless nights and silent tears. She wished not these tears, she wished not the hole left in her heart. She was becoming hardened of heart of which another friend had warned her on. How can one stop it? She had not been able to. Each day here was a reminder of all that had gone wrong. It could not be changed. Perhaps she was just not strong enough as everyone thought she was.

She saw to all her duties here. Most of which she took on by her own choice. She had trained a few to do that which she did for the Changlings so all would continue when she was gone. She could not turn to Yas nor Kali for different reasons, Kali the more obvious for her own burdens. At least she had her brother back and she prayed that she would have Patwin back soon too. Mat and Delsey, she didn't feel close enough to open up in such a way, on a deep personal level. She hoped they didn't hate her for what she felt she needed to do. She needed to leave. To where? Well, as Delsey said to her about leaving her life to fate. Her path would not be any particular destination but where her horse took her. First she considered going back to the Colonies but they held nothing for her anymore. Even with loving friends, she felt very alone.

My brothers and sister,

It is with great difficulty and pain that I write this letter. I cannot stop the great sadness that is felt in my heart, nor can I explain it without feeling less a person for these feelings. Embarrassed that they are there. That I cannot cleanse them from my very soul. That I am weak for their continued existence. There is no one for me to turn to with this weight I carry for some reasons mentioned and some not. In the very least, I cannot impose it upon anyone else and I cannot continue living amongst those I love and trying to hide it all the time. My caring will always be with you until our paths cross again, in this life or in the next. I am going on a spirit walk. A journey that I do not know where it will take me.


She was not much of a letter writer so it had been kept short. Giving enough away without saying exactly for it embarrassed her to admit her shortcoming. To admit her weakness. She couldn't even help the tear that slid silently down her cheek only to drop onto the parchment leaving a stain as sure as her signature. She knew they would not understand for they didn't know how her heart felt, something she could not explain. Why she had to tell them in a letter, brief as it was, for they would try to argue her out of leaving and she knew she had to go. Life was uncertain and hers was fully felt to be uncertain at the moment. Had been for some time. Delsey had been lost and as much said it had him grow, perhaps she would find the same. She could have hope there. In time they would accept her decision and life would go on, just as it went on when they thought Delsey to be dead, just as it went on not knowing the fate of Patwin. She hoped they remembered her with kindness and not just her rabbit pies.

Rory McDonough would be the last to see her after she stopped first at the Thistle to leave a catch of rabbit pies with Hazel. They would be for any of her family that visited as such was the best they would remember her by. With her savings she purchased a multi-purpose horse that would be her companion on this spirit walk. The letter was left on her made bed within her wigwam. She knew it would be found when she went missing. Most likely Kali which was her hope for she was her heart sister. As good as trackers as her blood brothers were, she was very conscious not to leave a trail. She was just as good.


Date: 05-01-11
Poster: Patwin
Post # 38

Patwin remained where he was, watching the woman’s actions. That is, until he saw her take to her horse.

“If you get caught, you do not return to Heathfield. Like the others who have tried before, they will hang you.”

Patwin had no special interest in dying this day or any other day. He dipped his head in respect to the woman who, obviously, meant to take on the dozen riders all by herself. May the Spirits be with this woman who lacked the sanity to know better.

He rode hard, knowing his life and his future depended on it. He rode hard enough to catch sight of the other riders now in the lead. His pace and determination never eased.

The other riders were ahead of him, already past the fences that marked their success. One, Two, Three … rider after rider jumped the fence…Six, Seven, Eight…guiding the led horses over the wooden border as well…Ten, Eleven. Patwin lay against the neck of the horse, guiding it with a tight squeeze of leg or arm. He was close, very close. These were large animals trained under the saddle and rein, but still knew a command when it was applied.

No matter the Indian brave’s history, Patwin was no different.

“Stop!” Came the feminine shout at his flank. He hadn’t even realized she had caught up to him. That she could catch up to him!

The Indian brave sat up on his mount that continued to race toward the fence line and looked to the woman who rode pressed low to her own mount rather than upright like so many white men.

“Stop I say! I am unarmed!” As Patwin sat up, their horses still charging across the field, so did the petite woman. She was breathless with the fast chase but managed one more word. “Please!”

It was the final word that caused Patwin to cut a quick glance behind to find no others followed. He pulled lightly on the black mane, easing the horse to a slower gallop, a canter, a trot, coming right up to the fence but rather than vaulting over it, pulled it around so that it rode alongside. She did the same.

“You will not have my neck in a rope.” He growled over to her, even then slipping his fingers from the thick hair in case he needed to jump to the fence on his feet.

“Oh, I may…depending on your answer.” The woman nodded toward the outcropping of trees so that they could take cover from any eyes that might be able to watch their actions.

He could escape her, he knew it. And still … Patwin took that order with a dip of head and with a gentle touch of heels and tightening of left leg directed the horse in that direction.

She said nothing else until they were in the shadows provided by the foliage. Turning her horse around, she faced out and looked to the fenced-in field beyond. “Why do you race to Mitchell Frederick’s land?”

Patwin, one brow arched, just looked at her.

“Ohmygod!” The woman breathed, her hand coming to her chest and she slowly pulled her gaze from the open landscape over to the Indian brave. “I’ve thought all these years that the Indian’s were attacking and stealing from me.”

“Seems like a good plan.” Not much, just those four words rumbled out between man and woman hidden in the trees. The tone of his voice said more than his words.

“Why couldn’t he just buy them? He is wealthy enough. He is wealthy enough to buy my entire stock.” She studied the man mounted next to her. The defiant set of jaw, the strong features. Of course. He wouldn’t know. Why would Lord Mitchell Frederick share that information with this man? She looked out into the distance again, a slow blink of confusion following. “What is in it for you?”

“None of us are thieves, Woman.” Patwin began, and like her, studied the field beyond. “None this day, none that you have hanged in the past.”

The woman drew in a halting breath, her gaze snapping back to Patwin. “I fear that is true.” She whispered her words, the impact of reality settling in. “And I will live with the guilt of that truth. I am … so sorry. Why then?”

“I wish to return home.” He replied, a canted dip of head to her as that dark gaze drifted back to the woman. “I know not what drives the others. But for me, I wish to return home.”

“But you have a horse, why didn’t you just ….” She studied those eyes that held many secrets, silence settling between them, then she nodded slowly. She had misjudged these people horribly. He had given his word. Whatever Mitchell had given prior to this act held this man firm to his promise to Lord Frederick. “Bring him the horse. But mind this…not every man who has stolen from me was hanged by my command. Mitchell has also tossed a good many ropes about an Indian’s neck in the name of justice. And his…his were with the knowledge that the man was innocent. And here I thought it was because he caught the thieves for me.” She sucked in another breath through her nostrils and reached out a hand, touching his upper arm. “If he finds out you have spoken to me, your life is forfeit. Get yourself away and come to me. I will see you on your way home.”

“And I can trust you and not him.” Patwin laughed, a grunted sound that held absolutely no humor. He touched his heels to the horse and the animal started forward.

He was stopped by the tightening of her grip where it rested on his arm. “You can trust me. There…” She nodded toward the five riders coming down the road. “Those are officers of the Crown. Captain Eli is one of them. I will start them in the opposite direction so that you can return to Lord Frederick.”

At his look of skepticism, she smiled. “Oh? You think I can not distract them?" It was her turn to laugh soflty, but hers was all amusement. "Surely you know you can not underestimate a woman, Brave. I am, afterall, in only my underthings. The gentlemen in them will want me quickly home. The male in them will enjoy the trip.” She shot him a wink and it was the lady who shot from the trees on horseback toward the riders.

Date: 05-09-11
Poster: Kali
Post # 39

Spring had fully come to the realm of Heathfield. Fruit trees were in full bloom, leaves fully formed on trees that were now sending out pollen, and the lilacs that had been planted here and there on the island were in full bloom. Though there had been much rain, the sky promised a day of sunlight and warmth.

Kali stood at the very edge of a cliff, watching the sky turn from black to gray as the sun began to rise. She began to sing softly in the tongue of the tribe, greeting the sun, speaking to the spirits. The song continued, a salute to the north wind, as she faced north and there she placed the feather of an eagle. She turned east and placed a small piece of quartz, that sparkled in the growing light of dawn as she sang to the east wind. The south was faced and her gift to the south wind was a bundle of sage grass. Finally she faced west and as her song gave tribute to the west wind, she placed a small mound of earth from their homeland.

Facing the rising sun again, Kali closed her eyes, and held her arms out to her side, palms up as she spoke softly to the spirits.

"Oh Great Spirit, hear my plea. Keep safe Patwin who is so far from us. I know he lives due to your gifts but not what he is going through. My heart is heavy for I miss him so. Guide my steps that I may remain strong for him. Spirit of the Bear, hear my plea. Take my message to Patwin as you give him strength. Let him feel my love for him, my longing. Oh Spirits of the Winds, accept these gifts I have set for you. Take my words and deliver them. Give him patience and the strength to return to us, to me. Take my love to him and tell him I will wait forever." She remained standing for a moment, then two. Finally, as her arms began to ache, she felt the stirring of the wind. It circled around her, teasing loose strands of hair, playing with the fringes of her clothing, and then it faded. Kali opened her eyes and saw the first rays of the sun had peeked over the horizon. Lowering her arms, she sighed and looked down, then smiled. The four gifts were gone. She bowed in each of the four directions before she turned and made her way down the path to the village. On her way, she picked some of the herbs that were just starting to grow in the wooded area. Not all, but spring herbs gave a light taste to food and she would share them with Kuwan. Little did she know that she would be offering prayers for the safety of her heart sister as well.

Date: 05-28-11
Post # 40


It was that magical time between dusk and night where the air hung heavy over the lake and there was a possibility of fog. It had been hot but it didn't keep the frogs from their calls or the buzz of insects to fade. Yas was laying on top of one of the large, mossy rock watching as the stars began to appear, slowly one at a time, twinkling against a background of blue black.

The bewitching hour or twilight it was known as. A time Mat usually took advantage of especially if there was to be a full moon. His brother not far in mind nor body this evening as he stood on a rock a distance down from him. He wore only the loincloth and that because of the public area they were in. Paint covered a good portion of his chest and face as he held his arms out straight, palms facing upwards as was the tilt of his head. Eyes closed and a low hum sounding like a continuous flow of ommmmmmmmmm.

He opened one eye and looked toward Mat, watching him a moment. He didn't comment since he knew Mat wouldn't hear but he did sit up slowly, and stretched his spine, hands over his head. Legs were brought up to his chest and he rested his arms on his knees. He looked up at the sky, watching the stars from this position.

That one guttural tone echoed through the woods surrounding the lake, traveling along the wisps of mist that spread close to the ground in a snake-like path of soft spirals. It had not thickened enough to cover the earth, but soon it would blanket the way of the foot. Delsey followed the sound, feeling the vibration of it thrum along his core. It was good to evoke the deeper spirits of the soul. At least for those who knew the dangers of it as well. An arm swept up, moving aside a branch as he dipped his head beneath. There they were, the brothers. He smiled to himself and let his arm slip free of the branch and it returned to its original position with a rustle of movement as Delsey moved toward the rock where they both were near.

He lifted a hand in greeting as Delsey appeared and moved down from the rock to where a fire was going. A spit had been set up and he had several small rabbits cooking. He was using a mixture of herbs to brush over the meat on occasion. Potatoes were cooking in their skin close to the fire. Those of course, had been bought.

Mat would have heard him and yet not. A distant voice although always aware of his twin on another level. The sound he made attracted the mists and something else that had no name, no explanation in any language that would do it justice. It was an awareness that was called that came with the swirl of mist even around Delsey's feet as he moved. It moved, collecting more as it came laying low over the lake then up, as Mat finally moved his hands. A swirling column of mist rose and disappeared up towards the pattern of stars. That was not the end as a second had been drawn as the first and sent to the constellations above as well. It was only then that Mat finally lowered his arms, the ache blocked out to have held them for so long in that position. His eyes were dazed with a sort of haze as he moved away from the rock, half sliding down to use it as support for the drain the ritual took.

It was 'that of no name' and any who had ever called unto it, recognized it, honored and respected it. Delsey's gaze lifted to follow the funnel's ascent then he looked to the fire, crossing over to squat near the scent of rabbits cooking. "There are few things that smell as wonderful in the night air as that of rabbit's crisping over a flame."

It didn't take him long to recover, a hare's breath after Delsey arrived. He pushed up, even if his arms and legs felt like rubber, at least they worked. "I am hungry," and he also had a thirst, not for whiskey or rye but for fresh water in the skin he had brought with him. It was tipped up once back to the little camp, letting the stream fill his mouth as he drank then over his face. It would have the symbols painted there all wash into one another.

He grinned up at Delsey, though it disappeared quickly as he turned his attention back to the fire. "There are potatoes in the fire and these are done enough to slice off meat." He pointed toward the wooden plates. "Use those if you want to save your fingers." Not that they really needed to. They all burned their fingers one time or another.

Delsey pinched off some herbs within his pouch and rubbed them into his palm, handing them up to Mat. "Breathe these, Brother." The snorting of them would ease away any dizziness that remained after that ritual. He offered his cupped palm to Mat and while doing so, looked back to the rabbits, a soft laugh following. "I have my knife, I haven't grown too soft to use it still."

He took the herbs and added some to his hands which were rubbed together. Once they permeated his skin, he lifted his hands to cover his face, breathing in the scent that was more than a smell of herbs. Far more to the shaman, far more it did to his senses before his hands were lowered again. Any residue from the ritual was gone.

When Mat took the ground herbs, Delsey watched, nodding slowly. "Now we eat." A smile and he slid out his knife, leaning closer to the pit so that he could reach in, tap, tap, tap taking hold of a leg and slicing through cooked flesh and bone. "Sheesh." He breathed to himself, his fingertips were softer than they used to be, and he quick stuffed that portion of meat onto his dagger and started to blow. His other hand, though, was a'flutter with the cooling off of his fingertips.

Delsey's actions had him laughing in a more rumbled sound as he took up a knife to slice of portions of meat onto a wooden plate. The knife then used to spear one of the potatoes before he was over to take up a seat on a deserted portion of downed tree trunk.

He hid his grin as he ducked down his head and dug out three of the potatoes. They were put on a wood plate but each could choose one themselves. "A good way to end the day." He said quietly and then took a slice of meat for himself. He settled back near the fire so he could keep an eye on things.

"A good one, yes." He brought the meat up to his mouth, but could still feel the heat so waited a little longer to take his bite. "Kuwan pies would have been another. Or being in the arms of a lovely maid, while the stars entertain the moon, yet another. But since the first is denied us for a while...and the second...a while longer, I suppose I will suffice with roasted rabbit, over a spit, with the likes of you two braves."

"Forget her pies, holding Kuwan in my arms would be a better ending for the day." Certainly in his mind set not that he had particular designs on Kuwan but he wasn't blind either. Once his food had cooled, it was gone. He wasted no more time in eating.

Delsey had been squatted originally, but he lowered to sit with his legs crossed once he settled in to eat. "Forget her pies?" Delsey laughed again, tearing a piece of the meat off and taking his first taste. Well done, Yaskitchi! "Good." He added real quick before completing his other comment between his chewing. "Why not both?"

"Kali will make pies nearly as good." He looked at his brothers, watching them eat. "As far as the other, well that is up to each of us." He quieted as he began to eat, listening to the splash of fish jumping, or perhaps frogs. "The new wigwams are nearly complete. Crops planted. Everyone seems settled. I'm going to go back to work at the harbor."

"I would not stop her from making the pies but if I had to choose between the two..." that would be his choice. If the pies came with the deal, then he would always have first dibs. That was an interesting side thought. "I'm sorry brother but Kali is taken. Neither of us can think of her otherwise."

"Only for her pies. She is Delsey's sister after all so he gets first pick of those." He picked at his food as he answered.

"So you are saying we need not Kuwan for her pies anymore even?" He was picking at the meat left on the bones.

"Until she returns if her path brings her back to us. She has not gone unprepared, everything was well thought out. She even bought a horse from our cousin, Rory. There may come a morning when we wake and she'll be there making pies again or she may have become one of the Wise Women and have words from the Spirits to share. Until then, we will make do." He frowned slightly. " Though I wish it was otherwise."

Delsey eyed the brothers, back and forth and forth and back as they spoke. He cleared his throat, plucking off another strip of meat from the flank on his knife and bringing that to his mouth.

"Yes. I know." There was little his brother knew that he didn't know and vice versa. Although what he sent out may come back to him with more information. He hoped. He watched his brother for a long moment but said nothing of what thoughts those few moments invoked.

"We know Kuwan is clever. She knows what she's doing though perhaps not the path yet. We have to trust her." Different from the other night but there was little else that could be said.

Once the last bit was consumed, the small, delicate bone was sucked clean and broken in thirds, then tucked into his pouch. His knife swept through the sand, then he wiped it free of the grains along the hem of his pants. Delsey would speak no more of Kuwan's decisions. He would speak of her as she was to them all, a part of the circle of friends far tightly knit than even family. But her reasons, her decisions were hers and not his to attempt to understand. "When will you return to the great salt water, Yaskitchi?"

"That is the part that gives me hope she will survive her journey." He didn't wish to think otherwise. He was doing what he could and decisions would be made from there. There was possibly something he could do.

"In a few days." He blew on his fingers to cool them, nearly laughing. "I'm getting soft. The number of ships has increased with the return of spring. It's harder to keep track and travel back and forth." He looked thoughtful. "And there is an increase of people at the harbor as well. So I pay my way, keep an eye on things there and travel back and forth as much as I can." And if Patwin hadn't returned by fall, he would cut back again.

"You enjoy the big boats and the madness of unknown that flows from within them?" Delsey laughed softly,shaking his head. "Matoskah, it is your brother you should be praying for. His mind is turning as mushed as dove poo." There would be no mistaking the humor to his words, especially when he leaned forward to knock a fist to Yas' shoulder, then rolled to stand. He warbled a dove's song for the twin, smacking his own arse in the process. "Dove... poo." He had heard that word from one of the children playing in the streets. Though it was used in reference to horses, it still worked with doves.

He had set to listening as brows lifted with a look over to Yas. "Maybe his heart has softened? Have you found yourself a woman. Dove Poo..." like that would be her name if he had found such a one.That's it... bite the hand that just fed you!

"If you continue to call me that, you'll see how soft I am." He growled a warning then shook his head. "No, no woman. Not until things settle again." Would they ever settle enough? Probably not.

"Mushed...mushed, Brother. Never said you were soft." With another soft laugh, Delsey waved a hand, wandering back into the rising mist and disappearing within it.

He gave a look to his brother that was filled with mischief like old times. "Shall we?" Which meant waylaying Delsey and wrestling him to the ground.

He chuckled as he stood and made sure the fire was out. Any spare food would be eaten by the wild animals likely. "Yes. Time to track." A game they had played as boys and one they would play until they could no longer move through the forest.


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