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Crown Services

Date: 04-29-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 1


Maurice had been made aware that there was another in the lands that wished to be a seamstress. They could use all such talented ladies, and men, for the need was great for those who sewed not at all. The royal family usually hiring them to do a lot of sewing especially if there was to be an event. A note had been sent to the young lady to meet him here in the Thistle. Attired casually in light black pants and a sleeveless tunic of pale green, boots lacing up to below the knee, he sat at the bar enjoying a drink of the pure while in idle conversation with Alex.

Addie had not too long came in from the joust, and was in her room when she heard a soft knock with the note being slipped under her door. As soon as she got it, she made herself as presentable as possible before heading down the stairs into the common room. Her eyes lit up as soon as she saw Ice at the bar. She gave a small wave to Alex before moving to Maurice's side with her hand offered out. "Bonsoir. I'm Adelaine Ames," She spoke with her words peppered in a slight accent of French and Prussian, though they both were very faint.

He moved from his seat to stand, taking her hand as ice blue eyes sparked, roguish grin came naturally as it was lifted. The grin easing away with a touch of his lips to fingertips before lowered to release. "It is a pleasure to meet you Adelaine, I am Maurice," as she may have gathered. Motioning to the seat next to his in invitation. "Would you like a drink?" Alex was at the ready for any request. "I am told you are a seamstress seeking a means for your profession?" Asked as a question to make sure as he took his seat once she did.

She gave a big smile as she shook her head towards Alex. "No drink tonight. Thank you," she dips her head as she speaks before lifting her eyes back to Maurice's face. As soon as he asked that question, she gave another slight nod of her head. "I do, and yes, I am. I has been sewing for as long as I came remember. It is something I enjoy, and it isn't everyday you can work in a field you enjoy doing." She gestures to her simple blue skirts that had a ton of hand stitched designs on the ruffles that looked like lace. "This is just one of the skirts I made. I have tons more in my trunk up the stairs."

"We had a seamstress some years ago and a place set up. In time she had to leave the lands, I believe to go back to her family. In the meantime, Brigid MacKinlay has come to stay in a visit from Kildare but she too wanted to make dresses, refashion some she has already," giving a gesture of his hand for he didn't really know the shop talk on sewing and making clothes. He did make notice of her skirt she indicated as having sewn. "It is a very productive profession and we could use a few seamstresses. You have no objection working with another? I will make sure you two shall meet soon if you do not. The place is big enough to have at least four in it. Unless you prefer working alone in your own place?" There were a few other shops that could be modified but the one he set Brigid up in was better suited.

Quickly, she shook her head as she gave a big smile in his direction. She stammers a bit at first, "Of course I don't mind. I've visited with Miss MacKinlay many times actually. I constantly hassle her for fabrics she can spare, and she has let me sew a few minor things for her if her workload was too great at the moment." She didn't know if she was getting Brigid in trouble by spilling the beans about Addie's small work for a little bit of copper. "I'd love to work in the shop, and help everyone with new things to wear."

Which had him chuckle, "then it will work out best for you both." Actually pleased for they were safer in numbers than by themselves. Lands were safe but the port was not that far away and never to underestimate fate even in a safe place that something out of the norm could happen. "There are many in the lands who will be pleased when buying clothing, as most do not make their own, that they will have it quicker with two sewing. Then you also know the shop is in the square, across from where the Theater is." The large fountain in between.

Addie nodded once again. "Indeed. I've explored almost every part of this place." She was so tickled that she was actually going to be staying here for as long as she could. "Well, I have to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She began to quickly mutter excitedly.

Which had ice blue eyes to flash in amusement, good kind in seeing one so excited about their career. "Tell me a little about yourself?" Which he would do the same if she so requested. There were some papers to be signed to make it official. "You have no objection to becoming a citizen as well?" Which those papers were there too, though it seemed she was pretty much one already.

She nodded quickly again. "I was born in France to a wonderful mere and pere! However, the revolution broke out and they sent me away to live with cousins in Prussia. I can speak French and German. I do prefer to speak English though. I picked up sewing from my cousins in Prussia, who ran a shop out of their home. It was small and not really much. However, I remember wishing that I could open a place in France. They are always so forward with fashion."


"You are widely versed, with the flow of various nationalities in these lands, your language skills should come in handy as well needle and thread. There is no reason you can't find the lastest styles France sports and offer them here. There is a wide range of clientele of which some might wish to wear the latest fashions." So their conversation continued for a little while longer until the late hour had each seeking their rest. Legalities taken care of and an official note would be sent to Brigid. Luckily the two already knew each other.



Date: 06-06-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 2

New Beginnings

The confrontation with his grandmother hadn't gone too bad. He offered the fruit and the tale, she accepted both graciously (though probably didn't believe the latter) and he ate dinner. All was well in Conor's life again. With the ladies settling down to their evening routines, Conor took himself away to the tavern again. He had come to enjoy the quiet and the occasional conversation to be had there. He had a glass of potcheen, and the bottle as well. If anyone joined him he would share. But for now he had it all to himself!

Eion had been gone most of the day. He had gone a-wandering, and seen a good deal of the land around the city and stable. He had even gone to the lighthouse but Davin hadn't been there and off he had gone again. The food he had packed for the day was gone but it had been plenty. Instead of heading for the manor, he headed for the Thistle knowing Gran would likely be awake no matter what time he headed home and would want to hear his adventures. Not that he had any, not even a wayward squirrel to talk about. He spotted Conor as he stepped through the doorway and grinned as he made his way to join him.

Conor wasn't the only one that took himself away after the evening meal. Use to be for a shot of brandy in their father den, or Brady's when there. Here it was different, he lent a helping hand and all favors Grandmama had asked of him. Then it was his time, having the feel his brothers would be out as well and probably to the same tavern. Least first. There were still the card games and a good fight to get into, fists, not weapons. Weapons were for serious killing. He was up the steps and in through the side door, grinning as he spotted both his brothers. "Time for some Pure!"

"Actually, you're late, Brother." Conor chuckled, sitting forward to nudge the bottle on the table for Segan to join. His smile remained as he looked up to Eion. "Where the hell where you all day?"

He lifted a hand as Segan came in. "Evening brothers, mine. I was exploring. Gran said I need some exercise and good fresh air but I told her tomorrow would be my day for errands and chores so the two of you can esca... wander about." He grinned at the two. He really didn't want to be fussed over. He was feeling much better.

"Aye, by a minute or two, how much did you drink in that amount of time?" Both Conor and Eion were looking far better, seemed far better mentally than they had a few weeks ago. He wanted to hear that answer while drawing out a chair to take a seat and a glass of the pure to follow. "What did you find out so far? Conor had a lass here with him when I came in earlier." Not looking Conor's way with the tease, instead filling his glass again.

"Yes, I did actually, Eion. One that thought it was honorable for a woman to steal a man's heart, marry him for his wealth and then steal his kingdom, giving it to her bastard son." A grunt followed that and he shook his head. "I've only just started, you have time to catch up." Perhaps the whiskey would help mellow him out from the memory that Segan was so kind as to drudge up again.

"Was he now? " He lifted a brow when he heard what Conor thought of the lass. "Now isn't that a lovely bit." Giving a shake of his head, before continuing. "I found the lighthouse, though Davin wasn't about. The lake is large and cold as the dickens yet but still has an inviting look to it, people are friendly, and it looks like they've got a good crop in. And that was only a bit of what's there from what I hear."

Maurice headed for the Thistle with a certain note tucked away in his pocket. Two days old was plenty of time for the lads to get themselves settled. He was alerted that they had been visiting the tavern learning to enjoy the pure. The thought had him chuckle as he had walked the distance from his ranch. A couple miles but nothing for a man like him. All washed up from a long day with the cattle and after his dinner was done. Lightweight cotton pants and poet's shirt left partially open. Maurice was one of the few that actually ducked through the doorway on his way in. Though it had been enlarged over the years for him and the McAndrews when they visited. Ice blue eyes flashed as he caught sight of all three here this night. Roguish grin tucked naturally in the russet beard. "A good evening to you Quinn lads."

"I wasn't as productive as you, Eion." Conor chuckled, continuing. "But I found a place where we may be able to get oranges in the future. A mercantile...with a plus of a handsome lass to work it."

"Oranges? Now that will be a welcome treat." The lass, well, he'd withhold judgment. He looked toward the man who entered and nodded. "Evening to you as well, sir." No idea who the man was, but Eion was feeling relaxed tonight and not prone to be suspicious.

He knew them? Conor glanced over and nodded with a smile. "Aye." And who are you? He passed his gaze over the man figuring he must be someone of importance; his attitude, his attire, his whole demeanor spoke of wealth and influence and...he knew who they were! Wait! He shot a look to Eion. What if...this man was sent by the English?

Rising as Segan realized who this very big man had to be. Made him feel dwarfed. "Good evening, sir, would it be McDonough?"

With the name McDonough, Conor also came from his seat. Far better this be Laird McDonough and not some English bountyhunter. Either way, he needed to be standing.

As did Eion, though he glanced at Segan. He had more information than his brother did. And had Eion known Conor's thoughts, he would have certainly agreed!

"Aye, Maurice McDonough and I've heard two of you are looking for positions to keep a mind and hand from becoming idle. Devil's playground though we have a few playgrounds you don't need to be a devil to get in." He collected his drink from Alex, glass of the pure with the bottle before heading over to their table, inviting himself. Well, he doubted he would be turned away all considering. "Now, might you tell me the name which goes with each of your faces?" Glass and bottle set as one large hand easily took hold of the back of a chair to flip around in a flash as he was down to straddle it. Amusement in those unique hued eyes.

"Eion, Segan, and Conor." Giving their names as he pointed to each. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Laird McDonough." He offered his hand to the man after he sat.

So this was the time of reckoning. He thought he could drag out that devil's playground time a bit longer. Conor also leaned to shake the man's hand after Eion. "I'm Conor of that list."

In turn he would offer his hand as Eion clarified which was which of the brothers three. Taking his seat again as it would be his brothers that needed to talk to this distinguished man. "Well met Maurice," all that needed to be said for now, leaving him get to the business that brought him here.

Each of their hands were clasped in turn, easy reach for a man his size. Strength there could easily be felt though a normal firm grip. "Welcome to the lands. Melantha has done wonders with the stables. A credit to your family and to her grandfather who ran them for the Queen's father and mother. Your aunt a delight," which meant he obviously had met her and conversed to know. "I hear your sister Concessa did well in a joust run by allied lands." Which he would know of but had no idea if she had told her family or not. "Now, Alex states that it is Eion and Conor," looking to each as their name was spoken, "that needs my expertise. Shall we have Eion go first then?" He was certain he was the oldest and that would be due course then.

Conor was pleased the man knew the names of the Quinn kin and the more he spoke of the family, the more Conor respected him. He nodded, accepting that Eion should go first. Plus, that would delay his own return from the land of the idle and less than productive.

He was listening and it took a few to have it sink in that their LITTLE sister had entered a joust. A JOUST, one of the most dangerous field games there were. The only indication it registered was the slow lift of his brows. A drink was in order as he glanced to Eion as he filled his glass, kicking it back in the next second.

"You've yet to meet our Grandmother." He grinned at Maurice. "She's looking forward to meeting the people here." He paused to consider what he had just said about Concessa. "Ah, can we pause there a minute. Concessa took part in a joust?" Was he surprised? Not totally.

"I look forward to meeting your grandmother. They are very important people for as long as one has the honor of knowing their direct heritage." Taking a drink as he added. "I have a standing invitation to Clearview Manor that I shall be out there soon and will meet your grandmother." Let them wonder how he came by a standing invitation or just surmise it was because they loved company there and he was an important man. He was the one that had helped get Melantha established and settled. "Aye, she did well. She unseated a king who first unseated her. She has spunk and there are other women who just in their lands and here if they have an interest. Precautions are taken for all." Just in case her brothers might be concern and concerned they should be if they had not known.

Again, Conor leaned toward Eion to repeat what Maurice had said for the benefit of Eion's nerves. "Unseated..."
"...but by a king." He added, a slow grin as he straightened.


Segan was trying to keep from laughing at his two brothers. Which meant having more shots of the Pure. "A king," giving a long whistle that had to have been a sight to see.

The only thing keeping him from swatting Conor was the fact that Maurice was sitting there though he gave him a look. "Well, it's after the fact now, but as long as she did well and wasn't hurt...." As long as the king wasn't vindictive. But he would be talking to Concessa if he could get her to sit still long enough. Clearing his throat, he considered a moment before going on. "I've been a mercenary since I left home. Last year I served as a soldier but ... there were some problems. " And unless Maurice pushed, he wouldn't say more.

He would not push as he studied Eion the while as he spoke up. "What position would you be interested in? Depending on your skills as well. There are those here to test them out. Active warriors may be needed in Kildare or any sister lands. We've enjoyed a few decades of peace, still we keep all our guards, warriors and bodyguards in top shape. Training here you will find unique. Unique men and women. Guards are always needed to patrol the port area and wilderness near the castle and commons. The Rangers take care of areas beyond a ten mile radius from the outer fortress walls. If you need time to think on it you can get back to me or I shall have you see the Kings men to help you decide where you'd be best fitted with your skills."

That was a lot to choose from as focus shifted from the Laird to his brother. Which would he pick? A soft job or one that would have him possibly active?

None of them sounded soft. He rubbed at his chin and chuckled. "I'm not sure which to be honest though I don't think I'd make a good Ranger. I couldn't be quiet enough." He tended to charge through the woods, not stalk. "Maybe I'd be better off meeting these king's men?" Was Eion in trouble with that statement?

Yes, and he had the scar from a trap to prove it.

Well, it wasn't his fault that the boar he was supposed to be trapping decided to come from the wrong way.

If it were one of the Traugott brothers, kings men, it would be a lot easier but what good was easy to test the mettle of a man? "Sir Trevor Carins, Sir Lazare Carno and Sir Vincent deBeauvais will be alerted. You will be cleared to join them on the King's field tomorrow. Bring you skill and wits with you." Might seem to be teasing but he would find these special men, three of the four horsemen, he would need more than skill to keep up. He would be thoroughly tested. That took care of one as ice blue eyes flashed the glance settling on Conor, "and of you Conor?"

Conor squinted an eye, scratching at the back of his ear. He glanced to Eion, then to Segan, then back to Maurice. "Leather." He said. "Saddles, bridles, harnesses. I stayed in the family business." He smiled, lowering his hand to the table to wrap it around his glass again. "Only not in the breeding and raising of horses."

He grinned at Conor before lifting his glass for a needed drink. When he returned to the manor tonight, he'd be asking some questions. After lowering the glass, he added, "Conor is an expert and I'm not just saying that because he's me brother."

"You're talking to the right man. I run a cattle ranch and part of our product is leather. We waste nothing if a beast has to give up its life to put food on the table. You have a couple options here. The MacKay brothers have recently taken over the leather shop as the one before them got a position in Kildare. It is the only shop serving the three kingdoms here and goods sent to Kildare and Innis Daingneach. You can get in with them or if you are use to being on your own, I can establish you in Ballicastle. Now, if your that good and maybe have something to show me, I can establish you working for me and my son. We are in constant need of saddles and bridles in particular. My brother Joseph shares the cattle ranch, it is double in size. My son has the stables. One part horses are bred for work, riding and pets, the other side is thoroughbreds for the Falkirk races. All need bridles and saddles. From those to ponies for children."

Conor tapped a finger to his glass, a slow nod beginning. "I don't have anything with me, but give me a week, I'll have something to show you." He was liking the sound of this even more. To be able to work on his own again, that would be his first choice always. It sounded as if Maurice's suggestions alone would keep him shoulder deep in leather work. "From there, you can tell me what my prospects are." He sat back slowly, taking his glass with him. Conor Quinn, when it came to his craft, could not be modest if his life depended on it. He had worked too hard, accomplished too much, banked too much away not to know his work was well sought after. Still, he was new to this country and knew he'd have to prove himself here. And that...was perfectly fine by him. He looked to his brothers and raised his glass. "To new beginnings."

He would not be slave driven but there were none lazy that worked for Ice. If he could do the work of three men at his age, he expected others to do a normal share of the work. "Agreed. If you are as good as your brother brags, I'll be first offering you to work for me, for the McDonoughs. You'd also have access to all the leather you need. You'd also have the other choices to consider." Raising his glass to toast with them, "to new beginnings and horizons of the likes you've not seen before." Slow grin before he kicked back his dram.

Conor drank down his own, lowering his empty glass to the table. "I'll be working for you." Conor chuckled low. He was as good as Eion good and then some.

A nod given more to himself as he saw each of his brothers taken care of. He knew where he was to go and that would be coming about soon. The Frenchmen with the shipping business. "To new beginnings," pausing with Maurice's added words. "and wonders it seems," sounding much like a question but not one he expected an answer. Sounding much like something one had to experience to understand.

"New beginnings ... " He repeated that part of the toast before downing what remained in his glass. He grinned at his brothers, glad to see them both settled, and it seemed his sisters as well. Except perhaps for Gemma.

"Then, that is even more to celebrate." There were a few connections between the families. "Do you have questions about the lands, about the people, about the rumors you probably heard of mystical gardens and more than human abilities?"

Conor shook his head, rising slightly from his seat to reach for and bring over the bottle to refill his glass. When that was done, he sat again, looking to Maurice. "I have no questions but I'm curious I'll have to admit. Interested, yes. I'm looking forward to seeing, experiencing all that this land has to offer." Whether it be places or people, it was all most intriguing.

He shook his head, having no questions. As far as the rumors, well, that would be seen as well. He just topped his glass and leaned back to listen.

"I have to agree, the feel is that it should be experienced firsthand." They had only recently got here and not too many rumors reached their ears.

"Laird McDonough, you should come by soon and meet our grandmother. She may even remember you." Since Maurice was old school, Mary may very well know the man!

"Let's just say that much that sounds exaggerated is understated. Have an open mind and you may well end up discovering a lot more about yourself and your potential in life, for yourself and for others." He kicked back the last drink as he would need to get back. Standing with a stretch that would limber him up for the walk. "I may be by tomorrow, provided all is settle with your arrival." He was old school here but not that kind of old school. He and his cousin were the first ones to settle here after the throne was taken over by the rightful heirs. Over the years, he learned about many of the others, through Alex especially. Through ghosts encountered. If their grandmother knew Gates Barrington she might feel she tripped into the past when she met his nephew. "A good night to you."



Date: 06-06-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough 
Post # 3

"A Quinn is always settled enough for company, M'Lord." Conor smiled, standing as the man stood. "I'll let the ladies know you may be by."

He stood, smiling easily. "Thank you for coming to talk to us, Laird McDonough. And we'll look forward to seeing you again." Provided Eion was in any condition to visit tomorrow!

He rose in all due respect. "Aye, the more the merrier has always been our motto. Thank you for your time," even if Segan was not in need of it, he had enjoyed seeing his brothers gain what they needed. At least a step in the right direction.

Eion would find out just how good his training was and his skills. "Oh, and if you're walking the woods at night down to the lake to go swimming. The biggest black bear about belongs to his lordship Malcolm Douglas. He's tame, in fact saved the head ranger's life from a renegade bear one year. He only looks intimidating." Grin flashed as he left them with that thought, one of many to come as he headed out, saluting Alex on his way.

Conor remained standing until Maurice left the tavern, then he slowly lowered to his chair. "And I thought him English come to whisk you away, Eion."

He blinked and looked toward Alex. "He's kidding, isn't he?" And just shook his head when Alex informed him that indeed, he wasn't kidding. "I wasn't too sure myself to be honest."

"My question do you know if it's the biggest black bear about unless you have another to compare it to. Don't go petting any black bears, Eion. Just in case, aye?"

"If I see a black bear, I don't intend to stick around to see if he's friendly or not." He laughed then looked at Segan. "And you'll be sailing soon enough again it seems, aye?"

Maybe he had a few too many for he wasn't really needed in the conversation. So he'd been drinking. Now he was laughing as the two bantered about the bear. "Maybe it has a collar on it with tags." Another drink taken, just what he needed. "Aye, that I hope, runs that wont have me gone too long. Grams will be boxing my ears if I'm away too lengthy a time. Though we've a few treasure hunting trips to make."

"By sea?" Of course by sea, this was Segan! But Conor could only hope some of the treasure hunting wouldn't have to do with anything pertaining to salt...or water...and especially the two together.

He laughed at that then chuckled when he heard Conor. "Well, I think the treasure from Gran will be found here, in Heathfield."

There was an audible release of breath, most certainly of relief, even if not a visible one with a swipe of brow.

"Aye, that one will take priority. She seems intent on it and I'm sure she will be giving the clues or map soon."

He looked at Segan again though. "You seem to have heard a bit more than I have. Anything on these King's men he spoke of?" And surely Alex didn't chuckle!

Actually, the tender did! Conor shot a look his way and because of it, quick turned his attention back to Segan to see if he had heard anything!

"I heard some down at the port. Sounds a bit too fantastic but the captain of this ship seemed serious. Said they marched on another castle up north, rode in like demon spawn. The sky turned into storms, lightning came down aimed at the enemy, the earth shook in quakes that threatened to devour the castle walls. The riders in cloaks and the pounding of hooves deafening. It is said they are formable alone but all four together with one called the Black Griffon, are undefeatable."

Dang! Segan told a tale almost as mesmerizing as that lass earlier today! Conor didn't even realize he had tilted toward his brother while he listened. Four...against an entire castle?" He slanted a look Eion's way. "Your ass is grass, Brother."

Should Eion be concerned? "I'm sure it is embellished just like fish stories. By the by, there is a fish story too about a bass the size of a cart called ole one eye."

"Well, that's a bit ... discouraging." Maybe he'd develop a cough. Gran wouldn't let him out of her sight then. "Aye, more than likely most of the stories here have been made into tall tales."

Alex was over there shaking his head as he wiped down the counter, much as saying they were not tall tales. The lads would find out first hand.

Eion might be heading back to England!

"Isn't that the way of it in most lands? The local heroes grow in strength and deed without even having to lift a sword."

"You were trained well, now all you need to do is find some wit to bring with you like the Laird suggested," grinning his brother's way.

"Wit." He chuckled. "Well, I did hear there are some hot springs about so maybe I'll head there after I've met these King's Men."

"Hell, Brother! Too bad you couldn't take a dip before. You haven't fully recovered from your last encounter!" Conor was all about making the most out of a situation you could manipulate.

He took a drink of the potcheen and lowered the glass again, nodding. "I probably could if I find them beforehand. I'm just not entirely certain I've enough of the wit Laird McDonough was talking about though."

"You use to have it, maybe this is what you need to get it back?" Wondering if his brother was ready to even try at this point or wait until he healed more. "I heard about the springs as well, said to help heal the body faster for they are fed from pure waters, ones coming from the very core of the earth." It was amazing how he managed to remember things like that.

Conor made a noise that sounded very much like a 'bah'. "How much wit could you possibly need? These are warriors...they grunt for yes, growl for no and probably haven't bathed since their last crusade!" He was quick to look to Alex. "No offense of course." An even quicker smile to let the tender know further he was just messing with Eion.

"So these lands are a little bit of heaven on earth, eh?" He looked at Conor, then laughed. "Oh, is that how you see warriors? Hopefully that doesn't get back to them." He wasn't too sure himself about facing them but there was that small matter of Quinn pride.

Quinn pride? That was no small matter...that was a BIG deal!

Aye, BIG deal then and he wasn't about to back out now.

"Come on, Eion. Tell me how often you bathed since your last crusade." Considering his last had him shoved in prison until his brothers found him! Case...point. Conor smiled, taking up his glass again to drink.

Quinn pride got them through centuries!

Now that wasn't fair! But he had to laugh and nod agreement. "Well, there were a few we had to throw into bath water more than once. And that was before my last ... crusade."

"If I decide that traveling by sea is no longer my cup of tea, I might be joining you Eion. Like old times. We made a good fighting pair back to back."

"Aye, we did, and throw Conor in the mix before we drifted apart and we more than held our own." He raised his glass toward his brothers. "I couldn't ask for better brothers." Not after they risked their lives to get him out of that hell hole.

"Nor could I. I look forward to a few brawls when I've either, or both, of my brothers watching my back."

No intelligent urchin would turn down free accommodation, and Karina had hastened to secure herself a room in this tavern while the getting was good. The place had quieted down considerably earlier this evening, and sleepy with a full belly she'd retreated to her room, which she found to be clean and even without any roommates! She'd stripped off her salty, dusty clothes and promptly flung herself full length atop the bed. The moon was high in the sky when she finally roused from her coma and, yawning and pushing the tangled copper curls from her face, the teen made her way down the stairs to the common area. She still wore her boy clothes for earlier, for that was all she had for now, the linen pants and tunic hanging loose on her beanpole form. Yaaaaawn and she rubbed her belly, already demanding another meal as if she hadn't gorged herself earlier. In her groggy state she didn't immediately see two of the men she'd met earlier.

Ah, the lad lassie. Smile couldn't be helped. Watching her a moment before giving Conor a shifted glance then back. "Did you sleep all right Karina?" Maybe that would help wake her up if she was sleep walking.

In his partially inebriated state, the slight wasn't even noticed. In fact, Conor finished off the whiskey in his glass and stretched from where he sat. Segan's words had him looking over toward the bar area with his arms still raised. He jerked them down fast once he saw the girl there.

"We came close enough night before last." He chuckled then took note of the lass after Segan spoke her name. Conor's reaction had him laughing outright but he didn't say a word.

Yaawwwwwn... Blink! The way Karina swung quickly towards Segan, it was almost as if he HAD woken her up from sleepwalking. But no ... she just wasn't exactly what you'd call a Morning Person. Still, after another blink of bleary turquoise hues she seemed to snap into it, of a sudden. "Aye, well enough. Hullo Segan, Conor." The latter, she gave a rather odd look to ... he seemed just slightly intoxicated didn't he? A smirk crossed her lips as she turned then to the stranger. "And ye must be another Quinn brother. I be Karina." And the lanky little lass went straight up to Eion and stuck out her hand. Not to kiss, like a proper lady ought, but rather to shake.

Conor, from where he sat, looked from her outstretched hand to Eion. And then...he laughed. He rubbed at the back of his neck and pulled in his legs from where he had them stretched under the table. "That's Eion." He offered, slowly coming to his feet. "And while it's a pleasure to see you again so soon, Karina, I think I'll take a wander on down the road." See what kind of sites he could find at this hour. Heck, might even just be the view from beneath his eyelids. It all depended on what he could stir up from here to the manor.

"Brother Eion," grinning at this point as they all had a few and quite mellow. Why he was more quiet than not but had at least recognized the sleepy lass.

He watched her approach then lowered his gaze to her hand. "Karina." He touched her hand briefly with his own then looked at Conor. "You sure you're going to make it home?" He'd not be long in following in any case, so if Conor was snoring by the roadside, he'd be found. And yes, he had actually called the manor, home. Which had him pausing.

You heading down to the port by chance?" Rising from his seat as Karina greeted their brother, giving her more room at the table as he stepped away.

Karina met Eion's gaze squarely, slightly amused by his rather ... hesitant touch of her hand. Aye well, it wasn't an uncommon reaction. So she just nodded, smirking between the three of them. Looked like they'd all been at it for a while down here as she slept.

"Don't come looking for me if I don't." He grinned, swept his hair back with the palm of his hand and nodded once more to Karina. "Is that close to sea water?" He grinned still to Segan.

Down the road part caught his attention for if it was literal, it meant heading down to the port.

Karina was lucky Eion touched her considering he wasn't the most social of the bunch here lately.

Was Segan going to go look for a card game tonight? Then again, Eion probably shouldn't considering he'd be meeting the King's Men on the field.

He could have rickets too for being in the dungeon cell for many months.

It was the reason he had been in that cell that made him less social.

He drew in a breath, released it slowly, and eased his hand back to move his chair out of his way. From there, he moved around Karina on his way out. "Nessa." He whispered close to her ear as he passed her, but that was it, continuing on his way. He shot up a hand to Alex in farewell.

Sounds like they were going down to the Docks, which was exactly where Karina shouldn't be seen. At least not for a little while yet. And so she made no attempt to join the lot on their adventure, but rather, raised a hand in farewell to Conor. "Go easy," she replied, with a grin that stretched wider at that whisper.

"If you're about tomorrow, maybe we'll be seeing you." She had terrible timing if she meant to socialize. The three of them had been celebrating since the Laird was here to help matters along.

"Aye," she added to Segan, "don't fall in the harbor in the meanwhile."

"We'll bring you some mackerel, Conor. Or tuna. That way you could have your revenge on the sea." He chuckled as he stood, then considered. The Port or his bed? Bed made more sense. Then again if Gran was up, he might ask her opinion on Concessa before he talked to that sister.

"Produce a mermaid, only then will I be impressed with the sea." He laughed, backing out of the door, and closing it before his face as he smiled into the room.

"About the worse I'll do is fall in me ship and sleep it off." His crew would probably be about down there as well. He was grinning on a thought but left it unsaid.
  Giving Eion a look as Conor stepped out, "we could shanghai him for old times sake."

"You have a ship?" Karina asked sharply, then hoped that her tone was one of mere surprise instead of startlement. She backed away a pace as if to make for the bar. "Aye well, watch yer step and g'night then."

"Aye, that I do, anchored in the port now. The Anaconda, one that looks like a serpent amongst the others, sleek and built tough." There was pride in his tone as his ship had been home to him for near seven years. Then he got the itch to come home.

That had him laughing. "And drag him kicking and screaming to the docks? Maybe another night. If I'm to be up early, I should sleep some tonight. Good night, Miss." He clapped a hand to Segan's shoulder. "And a right fine Captain he is." Proud of both his brothers.

"Anaconda hm?" Phew! Karina relaxed and offered a grin. "She sounds grand. And I'm sure he is," she added tolerantly to Eion. These boys were shlammered and no mistake, but it tickled Karina and in an odd way made her feel at home.

"Might get you ready for what you need face tomorrow on the king's field. I think I will come to watch, lend support." Pick up the pieces when they were done with him.

At least a good strong wind wouldn't blow him away anymore.

"Good night Karina," giving her a wink before heading out with his brother, probably catch up with Conor.



Date: 06-14-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 4

Seeing a Man about a Horse -- Saddle

It was late afternoon at the McDonough Cattle Ranch. The harder work of the day was done and those hired that stayed on the premises, or stayed for the bronco riding, were gathered about the corral as it took a few to hold the stallion down to get the saddle and bridle on him. They were making bets while whoops and hollers could probably be heard in a mile radius as one after another got a chance to ride the broncos. Bringing in fresh ones as to not dangerously wear out or harm any one wild horse. How many seconds the counting of who would end up top dog that night, then for the week. Rory watched as his score was rarely beat except by his father at times, though his father didn't always partake in the activity for having so much to do. Dust rose in small clouds whisked away with the breeze. Birds were twittering more as the sun was heading for the horizon. Cattle mooing in the background could be heard in various parts as the herds were spread over a couple hundred acres.

Conor reined in his horse, pausing to mark his location. The horse on the lead rope slowed its pace but before it could come to a complete stop, Conor tapped his heels to his mount and headed to the left. The shouts and whoops of men in competition echoed over the fields bringing a smile to the visitor's lips. Having received Laird McDonough's invitation, Conor had counted the days until he could meet with the man. The day, or early evening as the case may be...had arrived. An easy trot brought him down the road that led alongside the fence where the men were gathered. The dust clouds, the snorting of frustrated equine, the shouts of those men, and Conor knew without having to see more what was transpiring beyond that wall of bodies and fence of wood. He continued on. Slowly he drew to a stop and eased from his horse, admiring the manor of the Laird as he had the lands he had traveled over to arrive here.

Rory caught sight of the stranger as he was down off the fence and heading over to greet him. "Evening, can I help you? I'm Rory McDonough. You're welcome to some refreshments," a motion of hand to a table set up not far from the excitement. Covered dishes of corn fritters, small meat pies, sausages wrapped up in bread and lots of ale and potcheen. The men came and went getting what they wanted, thirst or hunger, then back to join in the fun. The fun was a long day of work's reward and they made the most of it. A lot of times they would head down to the lake in groups to go swimming, bathe and generally cool off.

"Conor Quinn." He glanced to the food and while it looked tempting, considering the ride, he shook his head. "I'm here, actually, to speak with Laird McDonough. He sent for me."

"He should be coming in pretty soon. If you don't mind waiting a few minutes?" Moving a short distance over to where he could view the pasture that led down to another and another and so forth, patches of woods and even one with a stream that could be seen.

Rory would see about six riders heading in, one of them his father as for his height he stood out from the rest even at a distance. The sounds of hooves grew louder as they came up to the stable and area of the bronco riding. Dust leaving a trail from the worn path used most often over the terrain. "Go help yourselves and join in," spoken to the five others who were already making bets amongst themselves who could ride one of the wild broncos the longest. A flash of ice blue eyes spotted his son and his guest, "Conor, did you have a drink, something to eat?" The stable lad taking his horse off as he was over where he stood. "I see you've met my son, Rory. He's the one that will be needing a lot of saddles, bridles, reins and so forth as well myself." Obviously they worked as a team, family.

Conor glanced again to Rory, a smile for that man and a nod. "Aye, we were introduced and food, drink were offered. I suppose I'm a bit anxious to show you what I've created for you. But it will definitely wait until you see to your comfort, Laird McDonough." With that, he nodded toward the food and drinks set up.

"All I need is to wash up presently," which had him over to the large barrel filled with water warmed by the day. A bit of soap as he lathered up hands and forearms before rinsing. Face and neck left his clothing a bit wet but certainly was welcome this warm night. "Now," drying up using a towel which he then slipped over the fence behind the barrel and was back over. "let's see what you have."

Rory was enjoying a tankard as he watched his father and Conor. Now and then attention turned over on the men which was about a dozen about the fencing as another wild horse was being made ready. "Ever bronco ride, Conor?" His eyes as well flashed blue in shifting back to the man addressed, especially this time of the evening in the angling of the light.


Conor waited any response while Maurice splashed the roaddust away, but he did move toward the horse he had led alongside him. When Maurice rejoined them, Conor nodded toward the saddle. "I've spoken with Rhett Shawnesey, those stirrups can be formed by him which will make them last even longer." He started in on all the details of the saddle, the stitching, the buffing of leather, each extra effort made which was the reason his services in Ireland were sought after. While Maurice checked out the saddle, Conor glanced to Rory. "I have, when younger. My brothers and I used to test our luck, and our landing abilities with our father's horses that needed breaking."

Kiana had been introducing young Maurice to some of the newest additions to the herd. She knew that one of those would bond sooner or later with the toddler and he loved to watch the foals at play. He spotted Ice before she did and was yelling for his Pap-pap. Laughing, she scooped him up and carried him on her shoulders to where the men were. He was reaching for Ice then Rory then Ice, as if he couldn't make up his mind who he wanted. Eyes of teal came to rest on the man with them and she smiled warmly though of course she waited for them to finish speaking before approaching.

Rory would need take his son presently though very hard for Pap-pap to resist if it wasn't for the fact he was presently going over the saddle. The stitching, the molding of the leather to form the seat, horn and back support. Next was how well it was put together, where weight would stress on the leather to see if it would hold. Double and triple stitching in some place, overlapping pieces for strength as he crouched down to check the underbelly straps, running a finger just under where they fitted. Ice had a keen eye and finally gave a low whistle. "Come see this yourself, Rory, Kia." Rising as he was over to take up his grandson. His namesake loved being up as high as Ice was tall.

Rory had originally scooped up young Maurice while stealing a quick kiss from Kia. Didn't matter to him if the men saw or Conor. His men gave whoops and hollers every time they caught him, teasing him, but any one of them could envy what Rory had. While his father checked out the saddle, he was first over to the corral so the men could lavish attention on little Maurice, one had a stick of candy, another a wooden animal he'd been carrying around for just this opportunity. Rory showed him the bronco but certainly at a distance, explaining how the horse was wild, whether young Maurice could understand or not. He was a precocious child. Hearing his father he was back over as little Maurice reached for his pap-pap. It was his turn to go over the saddle as he addressed Conor. "You be wanting to work for us directly? You have your choice of per item made or a salary, whichever suits. A place here to stay if you're needing one and work area. Got one barn down there used for livery and has a back section and living area above it." Testing the idea with him as he pretty much went about checking the saddle in the same method as his father. Though not conscious of that fact.

Conor watched with interest as the men studied his work. He crossed his arms over his chest, leaning at times to see what they saw when they looked at what they were looking at. He glanced to Kiana, smiled a nod once she was relieved of child, then returned his attention to the inspection. "Would prefer working per item, Sir." He stated, looking from Maurice to Rory again. "Keeps me honest and busy. And if you're serious about the work area and quarters, I'd be seriously considering that."

Kiana had tipped her head up for that kiss and yes, she took her share of the teasing. Once Maurice was with his father and then Pap, she was over to examine the saddle as well. The craftsmanship was extraordinary and she looked at Conor, impressed. "You make all styles of saddles then?" She knew of a few who would more than likely be asking about him and what he made.

"Aye, you can work for us both and my brother once he returns. You'll get to meet him. Per item if you want it that way, it does keep a man busy and honest. There will be enough work but as with any work it can slow down so you might consider putting items in the leather shop in town on consignment if the idea suits." He was jostling little Maurice by lifting him up high then down having him in a peal of laughter as he spoke. "The quarters use to be used by one named Al, a long time ago before she had to leave to go back home." Which he drew quiet a moment as he always wondered and hoped the best on that particular lass they had all come to care for. "There's a bed up there, that much I know and plenty of room for a few things, table even. You can have meals with us, Kia here is the best cook around. Spend the weekends at the manor with your family or over anytime you want for we're not that far." Moving finally back to Kia to hand over little.. now very stinky pants.. Maurice. Grinning as she'd pick up on the smell immediately.

Rory hadn't responded yet but would soon as his father was done. He loved seeing his Da with his son and the rapport he would have with gramps as he grew. "You're welcome to have your brothers over and join in the bronco riding. There is calf lassoing, pig wrangling, as well gypsy dancing down behind me uncle's ranch over the other side." They worked hard and had plenty of activities for fun as well. Maybe not every single day but most.

Conor addressed the lady first. "Aye, Ma'am. All styles." Even sidesaddles but from what he'd seen of these lands, not many or any of those were even in use. He eased closer to the horse, lifting a flap which covered the rear housing of the saddle. Burned into the leather was one word McDonough. "This one is for you, Laird McDonough. As if you couldn't tell from the rather long fenders, aye?" He straightened away, casting a look toward the continued ruckus underway with the men. "I think we might enjoy that, actually." His voice held amusement even if he didn't laugh. He started removing the saddle from horse in order to leave it with the Laird of these lands.

"Well," grinning from ear to ear tucked away in the russet beard as ice blue eyes flashed. He was over to check where he indicated under the end flap of the saddle. "Aye, it is and I am graciously accepting such a fine gift. There are not many that have long enough fenders so my knees are not holding up my chin.." which painted a rather comical picture. A hand coming in a light thud against his shoulder before fingers gripped clan style. "I think we're going to have a very good working relationship. I will warn you that you might feel you are becoming part of the immediate family and extended one too," such as the workers.

One always had an advantage when living in the vardos of hearing things, and ever nosey, Charlie was making her way towards the working part of the ranch. Ears ambling along, his long ears flickering back and forth, as she assessed who was about. She knew about the fun parts of the ranch, usually showed up at some point in time her smiling self ....

Well then, Kiana was going to have to retire for a bit to take care of a stinky toddler though she was pleased with the compliment on her cooking. She let the baking to Sarah however, especially since little Maurice loved his aunt's gingerbread cookies.

"One can never have too much family." Conor grinned, watching as Kiana took her leave. "I might take you up on that drink now, if the offer still stands."



Date: 06-14-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough 
Post # 5

"Come back as soon as you can," Rory called after Kia.. being he knew Sarah would love watching little Maurice for her, showing him off to Art which at least that Rom liked children. And did he spy a certain other with a floppy ear mule coming their way too? He was over to get something to drink but would hold off until Kia was back to eat, so they could eat together.

One leg crossed over the wither, she let the mule pick his own pace, waving at all the familiar faces of the ranch hands, and of course the family too. Still amazed that Rory was grown up, there were times she was certain that it was only a short time that passed, other times, seeing the baby, she knew that she was definitely getting old ... "Hey is every one?" She managed, as Ears stopped out of the way of people, but close enough to be heard .. That was the trouble with growing older, she had seen them all grow up, well except Ice and he was only more handsome as the years past.. Mind you she was behaving for a change. Though that was subject to whim ..

Interesting choice of rides, Conor's smile grew as the woman joined them. "Evening." He offered to her, his voice more likely than not blending with the others shouting out their greetings to this woman who was obviously a friend of the family. Or as Maurice had put it, extended family.

"Aye, you've had a taste of a bit of the pure by now, Conor?" Which he had plenty of as well cold ale. "Charlie, come meet our newest member, we've our very own leather maker, Conor." Proceeding to pour Conor a bit of the pure and himself before raising his glass. "To good fortune, good leather, good workers and a good life for all under my roof." Which was an extended one. Kicking back his drink with the toast.

"Aye, I'll drink to that.." as he kicked back his first drink of the night now that they were done with the broncos.

"Aye!" Conor lifted the glass Maurice had provided for him and drank to that toast.

Charlie grinned sliding off the mule, of course he was an exceptional ride, "our new neighbor, how nice," she grinned, the deserted mule ambled off to graze the grass, while she ambled lightly to Maurice ...

"Charlie, come join in the small feast we have here," indicating the laden table and various drinks offered. There was ice tea and lemonade too. "Ken is down the back field helping to fill in a ditch wore away by the heavy rains. He should be back soon, though he'll probably be a mud man. I saw them horsing around as I came back earlier, black from head to toe by the end of it."

"I had wondered where he wandered off too," she grinned, noting all the goodies. She would get some tea in a bit, smiling at Conor, "pleased to meet you ..I am Charlie One Time ..or trouble," which ever shoe fit at the moment ..

"If there must be trouble, better it is you. A pleasure to meet you, Charlie One Time." Conor would use the ride home to come up with the perfect wording for letting his grandmother know he'd be moving from the manor. Having only just arrived, the woman may not be very happy.

"Conor here has a couple of brothers you'll be sure to be breaking in.." there was that roguish grin Charlie's way before Ice was topping off his drink and Conor's.

Speak of the devil and he'll surely appear as the men worked their way up the field, all four of them including Ken, covered in mud and by the white of their teeth in contrast, laughing.

Then again, the whiskey might just come up with reasons on its own. Ones that sound perfect to Conor but don't make any sense to a sober mind.

Kiana was back after bathing Maurice and then handing him over to Sarah and Art. She grinned when she saw Charlie but headed over to Rory and slid an arm around his waist.

Charlie was oogling the mudded gypsy, smirking, definitely bath night,winking at Conor, "of course ..I do it very well," nodding her head at Ice " I shall look for them, and introduce myself," or make trouble at some point, some how most were always warned about her, though it never helped, forewarned in her case, was just an excuse to act out and she did ...


As the small group neared, one of the mud men broke away and came charging Charlie's way. One fell swoop to scoop her up and share the slime.

"Segan and Eion..." He started to speak but when the woman was snatched up by the mud slimed man, he stopped mid comment, both brows shooting up.

One arm came to wrap around Kia's shoulders as he drew her in close. One of the men that had been bronco riding earlier had gotten out his fiddle and adding a lively tune to pep things up. Another got out a set of spoons to tap fast against his knee as he perched on the fence area close to where they were gathering to eat and drink. "Conor, after a bite to eat, drink, I'll show you the loft room," which was fairly large over the area which would give him plenty of room to work.

EEEEEEEEEEEEppp ..of course she did not mind arms going around the mud man with a grin, "hello hot stuff ... how is the mud?" she giggled .. Charlie grinned at Kiana who had returned, she was a bit distracted, wiping a clean spot on Kenneth's face ..

Conor drank down that second glass of pure, then looked to Maurice as the music started. "I suppose I'll be heading back to town. If you'll let me know a good time to start moving everything in, I'm ready whenever you are. Aye, I'd like that. But I won't be staying to eat tonight. My gran baked a cherry pie just for me. I'm guessing I should be getting to it before my brothers think it is theirs instead." Yes, it was baked for him! She had him out there picking and pitting those cherries, one of those pies was for him...alone! Although, she accused him of eating more than he was pitting. And he had to explain to her order to eat them, he had to pit them, and so...he was pitting more than he was eating. It all worked out in Conor's mind.

"Cool. Care to wash me down?" Lowering her from his embrace as there was a smaller bucket that could be used to dip in one of the larger barrels and thrown at him, "just don't let go of the bucket when you do." There was that shit-eating grin showing off so very white teeth.

"But if I don't let go of the bucket, I can't get my hands on you," simple enough, waggling her brows as she picked up the bucket, "shall we?"


"Then come on down for a quick look before you need to be back and you can come up tomorrow, let yourself in and check it out complete." He would take Kia with him if she wanted to go too. "I'm looking forward to you working with us," notice he used the word with instead of for. Conor was about his age he was figuring and nice to have one his age as most were a lot younger or a lot older than him.

"That would be grand, thank you." He nodded to Rory, turning to look to Maurice. "Good evening, Laird McDonough." A quick glance took in Charlie and the mudman. "Charlie...looking forward to seeing you again." He didn't expect her to respond, she had her hands...full!

"Well then, that is different, only let it go after you find out who is under this casing to get your hands on. Could be Patrick O'Mally," one of the men his size and build who was in the group.

"I will see you tomorrow, Conor. Give my regards to your family and the assurance you'll be well taken care of here, when here and any of them welcome to come visit anytime." His doors were always open for friends and family. Extended family's family. "I will get you leather to start with and bring it down to the work area to use at your convenience. Need any tools, just ask." Most likely they had what was needed around. "Oh, and you can fix saddles that are worth fixing?" There were a few of those, the basis in good shape but a stirrup ripped off or the belts and so forth.

"Oh to be sure ..I will be around," she grinned back to Conor, looking at Kenneth, "naw ... I dont think it is Patrick under all that mud, besides, ain't no one crazy enough." Kenneth was the only one who ever kept up with her... Poor Charlie ..well maybe poor Kenneth, the pair might end up in the water barrel together, who knows what sort of mischief they would get into ...

Of course she'd go with him! Might even coax Rory to go for a walk after they were alone.

"Can do." Conor assured Maurice with a smile, then started away with Rory to take a quick look at that loft.

Rory headed down with Kia on his arm and in a pace so Conor could catch up once his father was done talking. Actually he was half chasing Kia in teasing her. He would also show Conor some of the immediate layout of the ranch.

Which would have her laughing, and that would drift back to the others.

Hearing Kiana made Charlie grin, seems that they were not the only love birds in the bunch...

Ice had finished up with his meal and drink. There were some things for him to see to before he would find sleep this night. A visit to a certain lady's manor was in order soon as well. "Good night!" Leaving the men to finish up the food and drink, the rest would be brought up to the ranch or back to their families. A wave to all, followed by a good laugh with the antics of Charlie and Kenneth.

Charlie managed a one handed wave, sloshing water every where, but grinning all the while, might have to go hit the lake or the river or creek, and just shuck Kenneth out his clothes, to get him clean ...

Most of the mud was off, and of course it was Kenneth, water splashed Charlie's way as he got some in a bucket to do so. After all, she had mud on her from his sharing before. That's when he started running towards the creek, grinning like a loon in invitation, one Charlie would recognize.


"Hey," she laughed, when splashed. "No fair," and she was hot footing after him, ready for the antics that made them infamous ...


Date: 09-23-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 6

Avian Gardens and Cottage

Maurice decided it was the perfect night to head to the Thistle on foot. The lake held a serenity to it and the trees were already starting to show their golden crowns. Ones that would be reflected over the clear waters under the light of the sun. In another two weeks they would be at their crest, so made a note to himself to be there during that time. Heading along the road that led away to the main one, he caught sight of another heading into town and looked much like his brother. "Xander?" Roughen voice would carry from behind the man as Ice hiked up his pace in a longer stride.

Xan had been busy with new inventory that  had come in, but had gone home to have dinner with Maggie.  He was whistling to himself as he headed into town. A stop at the Thistle would be in order first to catch up on news and see if he had received mail, and perhaps a drink or three, then he'd head back to the warehouse and finish up.  His work had doubled since Garath had gone with Joe but he didn't mind.  Hearing a familiar voice, he came to a stop and turned to wait for his brother. There was no mistaking Ice, even from a distance.

Vanessa was already within the Thistle. She'd come to pack up her belongings to move them to the cottage come morning. One more excellent meal cooked by Hazel and of course she wanted to thank Alex for his hospitality and kindness. Currently seated at the bar to carry on conversation and enjoy her nightly mug of warmed cider. The warmth of both the drink and the cider was a nice retreat from the chilling autumn air, which she was now better dressed for with a heavier gown of light blue and darker blue shawl wrapped around her shoulders.

Roguish grin spread even wider as Xander turned. "Haven't you eloped yet like our cousin?" Teasing as a hand came to rest on his brother's shoulder as he caught up. "I'm here to see a lass and show her that cottage down Oak Street to see if it is to her liking. I'm a little late so hoping she is still in at the Thistle." Which they were nearing quickly with the brisk walk set by both. "You're welcome to join me." Gaining the steps at this point as the scuffle of booted heels marked their arrival with the door still open this more pleasant evening.

"Not yet.  There are a few details to be looked into before we do."  Though he didn't say when it would be done.  He and Maggie were discussing it seriously now that the three years were up.  "Been hearing some rumors on you."  He was teasing in turn since he usually ignored gossip.  He opened the door and motioned for Ice to step inside first.  "I guess I could join you."

"Really? Rumors? Can I hope to be back into social quo?" Laughing with the idea and unsure just what rumors would be circulating on him, could be a few amongst many. "All I would request is that you hold a party afterwards that we can salute you and Maggie with good will wishes." As usual there was a slight duck as he went through the door for his height. Though most doors were made big enough, as well the size of chairs and tables. There were a lot of tall clans about. Attire accommodated the weather, buccaneer' shirt with a vest of dark blue and pants of black as well the boots lacing up to just below the knees. Russet beard was thick as was the curling hair of the same hue offsetting ice blue eyes that held warmth in contradiction. He was over to the bar to gain his drink of potcheen and Alex to alert him that the young lady was in attendance this evening with a discreet lift of his chin and glance in her direction.

"Oh aye, you've never been really out of it you know." He chuckled softly but would say no more now that they were inside.  He was dressed casually tonight since he had been moving boxes and emptying them all day.  Just a simple poet's shirt of green with black pants tucked into leather boots.  He hadn't shaved for a few days, so there was a beginning of a full beard instead of his usual goatee, though he had promised Maggie he'd shave.  A nod and smile was given to Alex as he collected his own glass.

Conversation with Alex continued light heartedly even as the sound of the door opening brought attention in that direction. Laughter quieted some as she looked both men over briefly. More a glance of curiosity shimmered in the golden hue of pupil lacking eyes as she dipped her head in greeting to them both. "Good eve." Warm smile matched her tone, she smiled to Alex and lifted her mug for a small drink.

He turned as he kicked back the shot, hand lowering to set the empty glass back on the bar as ice blue eyes sparked. The kind of blue that near left a trail when shifting so in motion. "Lady Vanessa Baltimore. I am Maurice McDonough and here to show you your future abode. That is if it is to your liking, though I would be surprised if the place is not for it seems perfectly suited from what I am told from those who know you. Something that is not directly in the hubbub of society yet not secluded far off by yourself either." Thanking Alex for the drink as he stepped away. "This is one of my brothers, Xan, Xander, or even Alexander.." not looking his brother's way but the flash sparked in his eyes again. Roguish grin tucked naturally within the thick beard.

He knocked back the drink, then turned his attention to the lass Ice had been speaking to and gave her a warm smile.  A brow lifted when Ice gave his full name.  He rarely used it and when he looked back, he kept his smile in place. "Lady Baltimore.  A pleasure, and please, Xan or Xander."  It wasn't that he didn't like Alexander but it seemed so ... formal.

Hearing her name, she turned to the men more appropriately, smiling a bit brighter to the introductions. "A pleasure to meet you both. Please, call me Vanessa." No need for titles. They weren't anywhere formal. "Xander, then." She drifted her attention back to Maurice with a nod. "Then it would seem that others have spoken true. I enjoy being close to everything, but for the sake of what I wish to do as an occupation, I need a bit of space. Thank you for taking the time to show me the cottage. I greatly appreciate it."

"I had a lad go to open it up, put a fire in the hearth and light up the lamps. There is a full moon out tonight but equipped with lanterns should give a good enough view of the grounds. If you would like to see it this evening? It is not that far a walk, far enough to be out of the thick of the commons yet close enough to get to the stores without the need of riding."

He turned so he could see both Ice and Vanessa after nodding to her request. "Vanessa it is then." Eyes of dark blue shifted from her to Ice then back.

A nod given to the offer. "That would be wonderful. I'd like to have time to get the flight cages prepared for winter before winter sets in." One last drink from the mug, it was set down with a smile to Xander. "Thank you." Then back to Maurice. "Whenever you're ready. I'm in no rush but I do not wish to keep you from your evening."

"We will have a crew ready to build the Avian to your specifications. Like a barn raising, there will be quite a few that have worked together before and would have it up before the snow really falls. There is a lot next to the cottage that would suit if you like the lay of the land. A smaller lake is down behind the grounds as well." Collecting three lanterns from Alex as he spoke then handing off one to Xan and Vanessa before taking up the one for himself. "Shall we then," as with no time to waste, he headed outside set in a pace Vanessa could easily keep up with him.

He followed the two outside though once they were making their way along the path, he stepped up beside Vanessa so he and Ice could be on either side of her. He smiled to hear the crickets that still called out.

Taking one of the lanterns as she listened, she thanked Alex and turned to follow Maurice. "It sounds perfect. I have designs for the flight cages and the heating spires amongst my things." Really the designs were simple, but there would be a number of flight cages that housed avians according to their feeding habits. A glance was given to Xander, still with a smile. She was rather excited to have this coming together for her.

The path would take them down through the marketplace. Mostly quiet this late at night except a few places that stayed opened late. "I'm surprised your not still open Xander," as he started pointing out some of the landmarks. "There is a dance studio next to the Theater the Valdez family runs. The dance studio needs an instructor." Not getting into its history but more just pointing out various places. "Xan's place is down further towards the port," which they were not headed in that direction but more indicated. "Traugott clocks," which had a large display window showing off their clocks as they turned down Oak street. She might pick up the scent of Italian cooking as Sibio Bistro was also down this street. "We will get you all situated before the snow and cold comes, don't you worry on that, Vanessa."

"I told the clerks to close up at ten if there were no customers." He smiled slightly. "Things are slow with harvest but once it's in, it'll pick up again." He fell silent while Ice pointed out the different places, then added, "I have an import business with our cousin, Garath MacShire." Just to let her know what his place was.

She followed quietly, looking at what Ice pointed to and explained for her, taking it all to memory. Attention went to Xander, she smiled. "The Imports shop. I believe I've been there once. It's been quite some time though. I had come in hoping to find oils for candles."

There were shops lined along both sides of the street as he indicated a furniture place. "MacGrath Furniture, if you have need." Bakeries, jewelry and clothing stores. The buildings graduated off as front yards became larger separating homes giving more privacy as they moved even further towards the outskirts of town. It would be about a quarter mile down this street where he would pause at a wrought iron gate. One of intricate designs of both floral and Celtic runes as the latch was lifted and the gate to swing open to the path beyond. One that was made of flatten stones and etchings carved in them separating grassy lawns on either side. Hedges alongside the gate offered privacy from the street. The cottage was nestled back a ways with lawns sporting smaller gardens now barren but one could tell where they would be planted again come spring. The ceramic gnomes and other such representations of nature's creatures of folklore kept guard over them. Smile tipped as he held the gate.


"The gardens here will need tending as they have been tended up to now by the gardeners of the castle. Once spring comes of course. We don't let vacant homes fall to ruin, nor even the gardens. Inside the cottage.." which they would notice the door was left partially open. ".. is a large living area with a good size hearth. There is some furniture such as a table and chairs, a couch and a bed in one of the rooms which I had them replace the mattress. Two large bedrooms downstairs off the living area and opposite it a kitchen large enough to suit. A hand pump next to the sink that is of waters that flow deep under these lands." There were rumors about the waters that flowed in these lands which he didn't get into. "A cold storage room that has steps leading down to it from the kitchen off the pantry. There is also one large room above, the length of the cottage, that is standing height to be used as you see fit. Steps leading up are down at the end of the hall from the bedrooms." There were windows were needed, one over the sink and a large one in the living area, smaller ones in the bedrooms and one at each end of the loft room above.  "If you will take a moment to see the back before exploring the cottage." He would leave that to her as he moved towards the right side of the structure.

He just listened as Ice went over all the places that she would come to know. Once they were at the cottage, he'd just follow along. Vanessa was the one who would be making the decisions.

While listening to the description given by Maurice, she passed quietly through the gate, looking over the house and the property itself, taking in what details she could in the light of a full moon. Really the house itself was more than she needed since she would be the only occupant, but it would be easy enough to fill the rooms she had no need of. Not all birds faired well in cold weather, which she kept in mind. When suggesting going around towards the back she smiled and motioned with her hand..."Lead the way. I'll come back this way to have a look at the cottage interior before returning to the Thistle for the night." If the smile wasn't a sure sign of excitement, it could easily be heard in her tone.

She might be picking up by now that this particular cottage seemed to be in a world of its own. One separated by the village life beyond the gate and hedges out front. This would become more apparent as they came around the side and the sight before them. Grassy lawn still green extended down a good acre to the edge of weeping willows and pine trees. To the left was a fountain of about six feet in circumference. The theme was of a sea nymph standing above the dolphins and various fish heads from which sprouted water to the basin below. She held a great conch shell while looking lovingly upon her comrades. Within the waters were live gold fish swimming about. There was grass to surround the fountain of about two feet to where the flower garden formed the shape of a crescent moon around the sides and back. Leaving the front area open and approachable to the fountain.


To the right was where the willows and pines separated enough to see the lake just beyond with its white sandy shore under the glow of moonlight The whole cottage area was held in the palm of nature giving that privacy with the lining of living trees. Trees now beginning to turn their green into more vibrant colors. A path leading through the small cove led to the lake. Maurice watched Vanessa's reactions as he knew even if this was a start here there would be her touches to make it personally hers in time. "You have many neighbors most of which unseen," Not meaning human. " is a sanctuary. One I feel would call to you both to take tender care of. The lake is used by others whose properties boarder and in time I'm sure you will meet them as Fate has a way of crossing paths for a reason." He didn't believe in coincidences. The place had been occupied before but they had moved on, there was no negativity here.

While Ice showed her the grounds and spoke, Xan moved to the fountain and watched as the goldfish came to the surface to catch the bugs that were attracted by the light of his lantern. He joined them a few moments later, looking at Vanessa to gauge her reaction.


The property was spectacular even if it was in the waning of the beauty of the gardens. For what she needed and what she wanted, it was perfect and the sense that it was really a world unto itself made it all the better. Her silent reaction was caught somewhere between awe and excitement. She wanted to go explore it all right now, but held that desire at bay and smiled to Maurice. "I think this would be the perfect place for myself and the avians I intend to house and train." The property was peaceful and offered the sense of privacy that she personally preferred, along with the space that she would need for the comfort of the birds away from all the interruptions of being too close to gathering populace of the square and majority of the buildings. Knowing that it was well kept and she wouldn't have to tend to any immediate repairs on the cottage was nice too.

"Then I have this to offer you." Drawing out the key, though the front door was presently unlocked. "There are papers within to be filled out in the next couple days and given to a courier to deliver to the barrister so all is registered, and you as living here."

He smiled to himself as he watched her, then gave a slight nod.  "Congratulations, Vanessa, on your new home."

Turning to Maurice as he offered the keys, she smiled, biting her bottom lip lightly and gave a nod. "I will have the papers delivered soon." The key gently taken from him with a smile to Xander. "Thank you. Both of you."

"If you would like to see the inside before we head back?" Leaving her a quick glance at least and locking up the place before it got too late. There was a twinkle in ice blue eyes set off by the moonlight perhaps or maybe it was more that Ice was presently surrounded by that which was comfortable to him. Vanessa might well meet some of the elusive wee folk in time, if they favored her. He headed back around but would wait out front so she had the privacy of seeing the inside in what time she wished. He would hold a conversation with his brother as they didn't often enough get the time to talk.

"I haven't really done anything but tagged alone."  He smiled at the young woman then motioned for her to follow Ice.  The time taken to talk would be appreciated of course.  It was true they saw little of one another but they would make good use of the time while Vanessa had a look at the inside.

Key in hand, Vanessa nodded and followed back around towards the front of the cottage. Leaving the two men to talk, she ventured into the structure quietly, eventually disappearing through the door to explore the various rooms and gain some sort of mental plan in her head of what room would be suitable for what purpose.

"Are you waiting for Joe to get back from Kildare?" He knew Xander had waited on marrying Maggie a while now but Joe had been on a dangerous mission that had them all holding their breath then this last part, though milder, had them still waiting.

"Aye."  He frowned slightly as he looked at Ice then up at the sky.  "It's a bit of a worry and I'm hoping it'll be soon.  My sons and their friends are anxious to return to the colonies and see how their people fare.  I don't know if all of them will come back here."  It was a concern, "and Maggie and I want to be married before they leave."

Vanessa continued her quiet venture through the house, exploring each room and flight of stairs that she found along the way. Really it wouldn't take too long. She didn't want to keep either of the men from their evening and it would suit better to come back in the light of day for better ideas and details. This at least gave her means for plans in her head, which she was grateful for. Soon she appeared through the front door and turned to pull it closed and lock it.

"I can understand that and mostly the hope your sons will return. I have a good feeling they will. Though," pausing here, "they might like land of their own to hunt like they were brought up. There is that island no one is using." Obviously Ice had been thinking out a solution. "If you would propose the idea to them. There is one mansion located on it but in a section they need not use to be totally in the wild. Far as Joe, I think he, Garath, Joshua and Tamara will be back soon." Finishing off as he noticed Vanessa coming out to lock up as they waited for her near the gate. They would be seeing her back properly.

"It is possible." He rubbed at his jaw thoughtfully. "I can't be certain what will happen though I know they're all concerned about the future of their Clan. I think things may not have been going well for them, or for the Clan of Wolf and Feather. I'll travel to their camp tomorrow morning before I head for the warehouse." He looked in the direction of the cottage when Ice did and lowered his hand.

"It can be mentioned that any others of their clan that wish to come, live in peace and freedom, are welcome. The island is large and not all that too unlike their home presently in the Colonies."

Vanessa made her way to where the two waited with a smile all too natural it seemed. Quiet though as it seemed they were conversing and wouldn't interrupt. Just a gesture towards the gate that if they were ready, she was as well.

"Perhaps you will get to meet Xander's sons before they leave for a while back to the colonies, Vanessa." Which for some, the braves were a bit of a surprise in their ways, being quite different but both with good hearts as well the lasses that came with them.

He knew neither clan was very large. Giving a nod, he smiled at Vanessa then stepped outside the gate where he waited to start for the Thistle. He'd walk back then head to the warehouse to finish the work he had. Wouldn't take more than an hour.

Vanessa was always willing to meet new people, so Maurice got a smile for what he said and a nod. "Sounds nice. I look forward to meeting people as my time here increases." She followed Xander through the gate and paused in wait for Maurice.

The gate easily swung close behind him with a click as the wrought iron moved into place. A few quick steps and he was flanking her other side from his brother in escorting her back. "I think there are many days held in store of meeting others and new experiences of a good kind, Vanessa."

"Aye. Especially if you spend time at the Thistle." He chuckled softly. "Colder days drive more folks indoors."

"I'm certainly hoping so. I like experiences. Especially good ones." Pause to listen to Xander, she laughed softly. "I'm sure I'll be spending plenty of time there. Hazel's cooking will be missed when I leave my room there, as will Alex's company."



Date: 10-15-09
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 7

Getting Settled

It was a quiet evening that found Michael back in from Ballicastle. Seated at the bar with Alex as the two caught up on ongoing news. Alex seemed to always have more details than the general passed along. Hair was neatly tied back, leather tunic over a poet's shirt, black pants and boots worn. Fairly nondescript except the contrast of blond hair and glowing blue eyes.

Adelaine crossed the steps of the porch at the Thistle before pausing to look up at the paling moon. A small flicker of a smile crossed her pale pink lips as she moved towards the door. She dipped her head in respect to the man at the bar as well as Alex. She winked at the older man before crossing the floor to settle a small basket on the bar. "Bonsoir. It's a fair evening out," She says over her shoulder before looking between the two men. Her hair hung straight around her face falling down to the middle of her back. A pale blue dress fitted her slender willowy frame and matched her eyes. It was threaded with silver lace around the square neckline and at the empire waist.

He was aware of another coming in but finished the conversation with Alex before distinctive blue eyes lifted to the mirror behind. The quality lending them a glow that then turned on the young lady. "Good evening lass," moving from the stool easily in all due respect, habit more than anything. "It is not so cold out this evening, perhaps summer's last showing in warming the week to come."

The wagon borrowed from Vanessa had gone a long travel with all their things packed up. They were sure to find their residence here, well hopefully in Ballicastle, and thus had brought their things on this second trip to the area. Once Set stopped the wagon, she waited for him to climb down before following suit with Oni held in one arm. "This is were Vanessa said to come to leave word about acquiring a home with the keep, Alex." Spoken with a smile to Setsuna.

There was something in the air that for one like Michael, had it crackle on another level if one could put a word to the feel it gave off. Had those blue eyes turning to the darkened windows and beyond a moment before shifting upon the quiet lass. "I am Michael of the McAndrews, I don't believe we have met." Being there was always the very slight chance they had.

"Well then my love..." A brief pause given as he stifled a yawn." Let us see about our home then." Small smile offered up before he found himself stretching his arms over his head. The journey via wagon had been long enough to tire the moonman, so any promise of a new home was very welcomed. Taking the lead, masculine digits would take hold of Zira's hand as he marched on into the Thistle.

Taking Set's hand, she smiled softly. "Well, we will probably have to stay with Vanessa for a couple days at least. But from what she said, it shouldn't take long." Pushing in through the door after him, she took a look around to spot the bar and a few others within. Oni, the oversize white manx mewed quietly from where she held him. Not quite protest, but voicing something.

The lass was not just quiet but distracted and wandered off as if in a trance. He watched a moment but knew she would be fine once she reached her home. Some problems of a deeper kind had that effect. The two coming in captured his attention in the next moment while he still stood. "Good evening and welcome to the warmth and hospitality offered here."

"Relax Oni, you will have your own grounds to stalk soon enough." He said in a light tone, half leaning so the manx could hear him clear enough. He had to make sure his "twin" knew the move was nearly complete. "Good eve kind sir." Came his reply, a warm smile offered up as both he and Zira came to stop before the one who greeted them.

A smile given to the man who greeted them while Oni just laid his ears back in silent protest. "Good evening, sir. Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm Zira Faust and this is my fiance, Setsuna Seiya." The feline mewed again, Zira glanced down to him. "And Oni."

Michael's smile reached the glow of blue eyes, or so their effect as they shifted, like a trail of blue left in their wake. Attire consisted of a variegated leather tunic over a poets shirt, black pants and boots. "I am Michael of the McAndrews," at least this introduction would be heard. The smile on his lips, tucked within a trimmed blond beard, held warmth. One could probably tell he may well have been a prankster in his youth and probably never outgrew his youth or would. Purposely. "A pleasure to meet you both, Zira and Setsuna, how may I help you out?" There was something about them that led him to asking that question. "And Oni, a fine specimen of feline."

Oni had eyes of an electric blue with barely visible pupils. The color stood out against his snow white coat and he was fairly large to be a normal house cat. One paw stretched out and toes spread to the greeting with a lazy mew. Zira smirked and shook her head, then looked back to Michael. "Pleasure to meet you, Michael. We have a friend who's recently moved here and after a visit with her, we're hoping to make this our home as well. She said that we should leave a letter with Alex? Requesting residency."

Well it sure seemed Zira took point on this, and well he had no complaints. "Well I could not have put it more frank myself m'lord. Is sir Alex abouts?" Brow arched in question. Seemed like Set was eager to get the ball rolling.

Certainly there was more to Oni than his unusual appearance, that his appearance was more a reflection of his uniqueness beyond a house cat. A companion came across as an image to Michael. As well the image the cat only kept a certain kind of company and that certain kind was within both of this couple. "Vanessa," coming back to the moment as he shifted from that other world of impressions. "I've not met her yet but there is a lot of good things said. She has made a friend of a king already along with many others. I have the vineyards not far from here but I just returned from my home of Ballicastle." With the later he stepped away from the bar, drink in hand. "I can help you out there, either these lands or a sister land whichever suits best." Indicating a table not far from there, "shall we take a seat and talk once you acquire your drinks?" Even Michael had the McAndrews dimples, although most dipped under the trimmed blond beard. Still one could notice especially the elongated one that traced up beyond the border of whiskers.

She smiled to Set at Michael's mention of Vanessa. "That doesn't surprise me. She's got a heart as gold as the color of her eyes." Which was true enough. No wonder Sariyelle favored the young woman so much. "Any help you could give would be wonderful." She then looked to Set as the offer of joining around a table was made, waiting for his agreement to the invitation.

And a folly on his if he were to decline. "Thank you m'lord, I believe we will take your offer." And take him up on the offer... Already that brow was furrowed in thought as he brewed over what he should drink this night.

He turned out two seats in passing before taking up the third, easing down in a comfortable sprawl as legs stretched out at an angle beneath the table. One that was away from them for the tall male having long legs. "Now, tell me some on yourselves, I can do the same if you have any questions, and what you have need of, that which you seek." It was the best way in helping them out as he waited then for them to get their drinks and settle. He, of all the brothers, probably had the most patience.

When Alex offered them drinks, she asked for tea and waited for Set to get his drink before seating herself. Turning to Michael, she smiled, adjusting her hold on the feline. "Setsuna is a collector and seller of books. I enjoy working with nature and herbs and such things."

Aye a tea had been ordered as well.. He knew full well then to partake in a drink.. He could not handle his drinks well. Seat taken as well he would find himself getting comfortable as he listened to both Michael and Zira. "We also have varying skills in some magical arts as well." He would add in.

"Are you looking for a shop that will have both within or separate? If separate would you wish the shops next to each other?" All would play in what was available too. "Most of the shops offer suites upstairs. A central living area along with a few bedrooms. Some have separate apartments in the same building. There is also the option of having a cottage or small manor." So he was dishing out ideas to fine tune what would be best suited. The last had a wider grin turned Set's way, "you will be at home here then. There are many with varying, even different, kinds of magical arts. Druids," which he was mostly, "and there are those of the elements and then there are the few very unique ones like Andrew, crown prince here and king of the Sylvan Elves in these lands. As they have anointed him."

Zira nodded to what Set added and took the seat next to him. Tea in one hand and Oni laid across her lap. Thinking over the various options given them, she looked at Set curious of his thoughts. "Perhaps having a cottage separate would be nice. I need space for a greenhouse and I'm not sure it could be had within the commons or markets." Just a guess really. "But our shops can be combined, I think." Of course, leaving room for Set to state what he thought or wanted. Hearing there were others with magics of various sorts, she smiled to Michael. "A variety is always nice. I am an elemental and Setsuna is quite talented with alchemy."

"Combined would work just fine for us.. I imagine we could stand each other enough to work beside one another." A small chuckle before he continue. "All I really would like if possible, is a work area, perhaps a basement or an attic." A small series of nods were given as he spoke, a hint of excitement in his voice. He could not hide the fact that the thought of other magics so close could excite him. He was a sponge and he loved to learn, amongst other things. "A cottage would suit us just fine... I suppose it would serve for Zira to tear me away from my studies."

He was set to thinking with input given in return to his questions. "Heathfield has a few herbal shops and bookstores and is far more developed. My homelands of Ballicastle are developed but not overly. You might find more room there especially if you hone your talents by practicing. Although most come to the Thistle, there are rifts, tears in time, doors between one point and another directly that the Fae tend to leave open. Most do not see them and those that can make use of them if you want to travel directly here than passing of time to visit your friend or this tavern."


Chuckling at the teasing between the two as his smile tucked to linger and a sparkle in blue eyes. "My one brother has the lumber mill so a greenhouse can easily be constructed before the snow falls." Though there was an abandoned cottage with a greenhouse here, the rest didn't quite fit. They had wanted to build more so greens could be grown throughout the year anyway. "A larger store would suit that has glass window fronts. The upstairs can be used for storage or for working. The cottage I'm thinking of is set away from the main of the commons. Though not too far out into the country that would have it outside the protective outer walls of the castle. Far better to stay within them especially if you plan to have a family in time." Was he getting off the beaten track? "The place I'm thinking of is on Apple street down from the Commons of Ballicastle."

"Quite literally have to tear you away from your studies." Set and his studies. It was a wonder he didn't keep a pillow on his desk. Her tea sipped from as she listened to Michael describe the possible cottage and the store front. "I'm sure if we can get the supplies, we could build a small greenhouse." She and Setsuna were quite resourceful when it came to such things, but she had to have a greenhouse! "I think the shop sounds fine. If nothing, we can stay there until we find a cottage suited for us. But we'd love to see the one you speak of."

"Aye sounds like it's worth a good once over." He was already spinning thoughts in his head of his potential set up in the upstairs area. Much like Zira who needed her green house, he needed his little work area... Not to say he wouldn't enjoy his side in the green house. It would be just like old times it seemed. "Thank you so much m'lord." He said in a thankful tone as he took to sipping his tea... After letting it cool of course.

"Then we shall at your convenience. Soon as you wish and you can stay here tonight then come to the Bali Hi tavern tomorrow and stay there until moved in. You might see what you think is Alex there but it is his twin brother Allan." Which a low chuckle rumbled with a glance to the ever efficient tender and back. "I will see this through for you," being he had taken it up, "though I may bring my daughter if she wishes to come. She enjoys getting to see all her uncles at the castle."

She nodded her thanks as well and smiled. "Thank you, Sir. That is most kind." She looked over to Set. "We should probably stay with Vanessa at least one night though. I know she's prepared a room at her cottage for us. Then perhaps tomorrow we can travel to Ballicastle to see the cottage..." Turning back to Michael. "If you're free, and your daughter is more than welcome." Both she and Set liked children.

"Michael, if you don't mind being address by your given names as well?" Looking between the two in that easy manner of his. He gave off tranquility most of the time. The story was bittersweet in how he became a father but the brightness of his daughter made it bearable.

"Michael it is then, and please, your daughter is more then welcomed.. Just be careful... Zira has a reputation of being a evil witch around children." He was poking fun of course. "And yes I suppose we should stay with Vanessa one night, it is thanks to her we are here after all...." And then it hit him. "Alex has a twin brother named Allan..." This was enough to bring a chuckle from him.. He just found it funny.

Brow quirked, she looked over to Set with an amused grin. "Aye, my grumpy bookman that runs all the children off." Poking fun back at him. A mew from Oni on her lap, throwing in his two cents. She looked at the feline and narrowed her eyes. "Hush, you. No one asked you." Teasing the feline, then brushing her free hand over his head to scratch around his ears.

"My daughter might enjoy that," grinning with the tease as focus shifted from Set to Zira. Lei was different too which they might well find endearing. He was Papa-san. So many had given him a hard time in the company of a Geisha girl, one he wanted to marry after the year or so in friendship. Unfortunately she was long dead and Lei would never know her but he kept her culture alive as well Celt.

She looked over to Set, seeing he was sleepy and smiled back to Michael. "Micheal, it's been a pleasure and we are very grateful for your help. I think perhaps we should take our leave though. The travel from Eldyn has been long and we shouldn't bother Vanessa too late in the eve. I'm sure with her birds and other business, she's an early riser."

"Aye, I suppose it is getting late and I fear waking any female too late at night. " he laughed lightly at the thought of a grumpy Vanessa. "Yes, thank you Michael, you have been a great help so far and I look forward to seeing you soon." Yes, he was very happy with this move... Things were shaping up to be very nice thus far.

"It has been my pleasure to meet you both and see to helping you get settled. You need only leave a note with Alex when you are ready. He will get to me as I'm not far from here." It was late and the two might wish to talk things over in even altering choices once thought more on. He was open in such ways. Rising from his seat, "I will bid you both a good night." Knowing well Lei would be waiting on her papa to come home from his little trip. Smile remained, dimples and all before he was over to set his empty glass to the bar. A few words exchanged with Alex before heading down the back hall to their offices. He would see if there was any mail or notes left for him before taking the back exit.



Date: 10-18-09
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 8

The New Kids in Town
Ballicastle - Bali Hi Pub


Michael sent word to Zira and Set that he would be at the Bali Hi Pub later this evening if they could make it there. The place wasn't hard to find and looking a lot like the Thistle except for the sign, even the tender was a mirror image of Alex, his twin Allan. Both were very respected gentlemen of the lands having been a major part in the war long ago. It had been a while since Michael had seen Abigail, so he stopped by the library to see if she wanted a day away, maybe two, to Ballicastle with him. She could stay here at the tavern or stay at the castle with all the bustle of children since Chadrick alone had ten sons and a few of the brothers stayed with their wives and family there as well. Some had manors close by so were there a lot about the castle. The cousins would grow up close. This time of night found them at the bar talking with Allan in catching up.

Set and Zira had received the word from Michael via Allan who had been kind enough to make sure they got the note to meet here this evening. They'd left their room only shortly ago and were now seated at a table enjoying some tea and warmth of the fire along with the lively chat that was going on at the bar. It was really nice to see such lively places after so long in Eldyn without many people at all. Just one of those warming things that was always welcome. Though it would probably take Set and Zira some time to learn to get out and about again after having spent so much time to themselves. A smile cast to Set. "Where is your other half?" Referring to Oni, of course in a light jest towards him.

"My love, not become jealous because of our relation, it doesn't suit you." A grin was offered up before he went on. "Left him lounging in the bed... He had been stalking about earlier so he must be fairly tired." Though truth be told, Oni didn't need any real excuse to be tired.. Felines just had it made like that. "And I imagine he is all stretched out at the moment." Lucky fella... Set was feeling slightly lazy himself.

Abigail was, as always, glad to see Michael and even more so for the invitation. She knew the young women who helped her could handle things and there'd be no new shipments of books for a while. So after packing a few things, she happily joined him. Of course she'd stay at the castle, always glad to spend more time with the lively McAndrews family. She was laughing as she listened to Michael and Allan, eyes of blue-gray bright.

Seeing Zira and Set over near the hearth, a smile swept with dimples to show. Hand reaching over to touch upon Abigail's. "Here is the couple I would like you to meet," having given them time and their time to speak with Allan first. Having not claimed a stool he was around, one hand to touch upon Abigail's lower back in escort. "Zira, Set, this is Abigail Frasier, she is the librarian in Heathfield Castle." Moving towards them as he spoke. "I asked for her company in showing you the store in the Commons and the cottage a short distance away in the residential area, a more sparse area giving plenty of room."

"It is not I that you should warn not to be jealous. You know how possessive Oni can be." A quiet snicker, she turned attention to Michael with a smile, upon hearing her name. Motioning to the seats across the table from them, she smiled to Abigail as she was introduced. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Frasier. Would you two like to join us for a few minutes before going out?" She was quite delighted to have the chance to see the shop and the cottage tonight. Fairly sure Set was as well.

"Double pleasure Miss Frasier... Michael it is nice to see you again as well." A warm smile given to both Michael and Abigail. He would then take a sip of his tea, taking a relaxed state.. However, under the table, he would use a foot to push one seat out and then another, adding on to Zira's invitation.

"It's a pleasure to meet the two of you as well. Welcome to Ballicastle." Her smile was open and friendly. "Are you finding the Bali Hi to your liking?" She would wait to see what Michael wished to do before taking one of the chairs.

He would see to her seat, hand coming to the back of the first pushed out. Amused was the touch in glowing blue eyes as once she was seated, he'd take the one next to her. "Always good to relax before going out into the cold but I'm sure warmth will not be a problem for you." Nor would it be for them as Abigail would find out.

"Allan has been most kind to us and the room is more than comfortable. Though in truth, we are eager to have a bit more room." And privacy, but she wasn't going to mention that out loud. "It was very kind though of Allan to take us in while we wait for the chance to find our own residence." She was very grateful for all the hospitality shown to them.

"I'd be hard pressed to find something that is not to my liking here." Yes, the pair had found their new home to be quite perfect." A nod given before he took another sip from his tea. "And yes, warmth before heading out is a very wise idea... I'm not too friendly with the cold."

"I'm sure you'll find the cottage just as cozy as your rooms. I haven't seen it either but the homes here and in Heathfield, are always so lovely. Might I ask what kind of shop you'll be opening?" She glanced at Michael and gave him a look that was a touch impish... and more.

"I'm pleased to hear that as my brother will be pleased." Obviously he would be filling out a report, nothing elaborate needed, for both his brother as King here and for the lands of Heathfield. They tried to keep abreast of all, yet not intrusively on the citizens. More like, yes, they arrived, they wanted to stay, they needed a cottage and shop to start up and all was taken care of. The couple being very satisfied with the lands and all offered here. Leaving the conversation go to his lovely companion as focus turned there, the smile more in his eyes than need upon his lips.

She would have to keep Set warm, and happily would do so. Her attention drifted to Abigail with a smile still in place. "Probably a combination of the shops we had before coming here. Setsuna is a bookman and I cater to those of magical and healing needs. Though we had recently discussed teaching, as well."

"So it appears we are both in similar fields." He chirped happily. "I must warn you... I will raid your library at some point." Of course this way said in a playful jest.. He would browse and possible couple. But no true raiding would take place. "And as well my books are open to you as well." Ah, such was the life of mingling and making new friends. He and Zira had surely missed out on so much.

"Yes we are in a sense. Though of course, the books I watch over are borrowed. I'm certain you'll both find a range of customers." And it was always nice to have new people come to the realms. She studied them both a moment. "Did you travel far to come here?"

"There is a library here as well though not as extensive as the one in Heathfield." He rose from his seat for if they were going to see the store and cottage, they would need to start.  They could talk on the way. "The Alterians also have a library that they allow others to use." There were the three main sources then down to individuals who collected books or prided in having a descent size library.

Zira rose from her seat when Michael did and reached up to fasten her cloak about her neck, then drew her hood up over her head. "Not terribly far, really. We've come from Eldyn, which is normally a little more than half a day's ride. Though with a wagon filled with books and such other belongings, it takes a bit longer. Have you been here long?" Inquired to Abigail.

"You make it seem as if I slowed us down." He was still seated so he had easy access to Zira's stomach area which he would prod. Following suit, he would stand up as well. Luckily this night, he needed worry about wrestling with a cloak, he opted for one of his frock coats this eve.

"Nearly two years. I am one of the Frasier cousins who came here to find the others. And I've been here ever since." She stood as well, retrieving her woolen cloak and putting it on. "Though I spend most of my time in Heathfield and visit Falkirk when I can." Speaking of the Frasier manor.

"I found her in the library with her nose in a book and soon started exploring some ancient places found in certain ones," which there was a lot more to his words translated literally taking her back in time. "I think we are due for another adventure, Abigail. Perhaps get that boarded up door behind one of the wall bookcases opened up too." He wasn't sure if she knew there was one but he had noticed it, accidentally of course, otherwise it would probably continue to go unnoticed. Helping her with her cloak before donning his again then to the door to open and hold it for the others.

A smirk given to Set, swatting playfully at his hand. "I have my fair share of books and cauldrons and things that weigh too. But you have more." She snickered a bit, wrinkling her nose at him. "Sounds as though it made a true home for you kin." Smile given to Abigail then to Michael with a nod, though not completely understanding the literal meaning of his words. Once Set was ready, she followed him to and out the door, tugging the hood a bit tighter beneath her chin.

He himself just fell silent for the most part and followed in line... Of course being Set, he couldn't stand quite still and well his hands wouldn't be kept to himself. He was busy swatting away at Zira who was a step ahead of him.

"It's rare I don't, though if I recall, it was a cold night and the library quite empty." She laughed as she walked with him to the door then stepped outside. There was a light breeze that set the leaves to stirring and she breathed in deeply of the night air as she moved to the steps and down. She'd wait there for them.

Never knew with Michael, he might take them with them as a couples outing. There was a breeze this evening as he stayed close to Abigail to ward it off. Chuckling under his breath as Set set to swatting after Zira. The commons was fairly large here as in Heathfield, the castles pretty much fashioned after each other with differences of course. The square was square compared to the more round one in the sister land.  There were gas lamps that the town crier would see to every evening in lighting, giving off enough light for those that were out late either shopping, eating or getting in a show. Leaves crunched under one's step and best be careful for wet leaves could be slippery if stepped on just right or where a few layered to make a cushion. Pathways had been swept but hard to keep up with the continual falling. They would be covered again before daybreak. "The individual vendors fill the open areas here," which he indicated with a sweep of a hand to that which was empty, "leaving by dusk if not sooner. The shops in the buildings can stay open as long as they want." Unlike Heathfield, the port was a distance away. Though on a clear day in the higher rooms of the castle, especially the towers, one could see the ships and port. Keeping an easy pace as they turned down Apple street.


She swatted back at him before taking his hand. "Be nice to me, or I'll tell Oni." Though maybe Talon would be a greater threat. Though like Oni, the owl could be deterred with promises of treats. Falling into step with the other pair and Set, looking around to the shops and people that passed at this hour, while listening to Michael. "Heathfield is very nice, but having lived in a minimally populated community, I think Ballicastle will suit us a bit better. We're a bit out of practice when it comes to socializing so a somewhat smaller community I think is a good place for us to be." She looked at Set to see if he agreed.

"Aye, we have a tinge of rust but I think we will do just fine... I mean, we're taking this unexpected outing fairly well." He chimed in, a nod given as well. They had been looped into going out but that of course was not a bad thing. They needed to talk to someone other then Oni.. Or they would go insane.. Well maybe that was a stretch, but still this would prove good for them.

It was good for everyone to get out on occasion. Abigail was proof of that though she did come in contact with people every day. "I think you'll find socializing easy here. People go out of their way to say hello." She moved a little closer to Michael, appreciating the warmth he shared. "And of course, they'll be curious about your shop."



Date: 10-18-09
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 9

"There is always the easy trips to Heathfield where more gather socially." Three shops down the street was a duplex as he opened up the wrought iron gate, one with ancient symbols curled in design for its shape. A short sidewalk about two slabs in and eight feet wide as the gate, led up to a set of five steps and a porch that swung down the length either side. The doors spaced between with a top glass window etched in exotic birds and plants design. Duplex was the exact mirror of each other like the right and left brain. Moving within he was up the steps to open up the door to the right and step within to hold it open for them to come in. Though, of course, guiding Abigail in with him as he kept her by his side. The room opened up to a length of thirty two feet, having been converted to a shop. The wall half way down and about ten feet in length had been removed, opening it up to the other. At the end of the length of open space, eighteen feet wide, was a door that led into a kitchen area which serviced both sides. Steps from there led to the upstairs with about four rooms and storage space along with two privies.

"We love the curious." She gleaned a smile to Abigail as they continued to follow. Once reaching the gates she paused and then continued to follow up the steps and into the shop, still holding onto Set's hand. Inside, she looked around to the duplex's open interior that opened up both halves to one another and smiled. "Reminds me of what we had in Eldyn." Spoken quietly to Set as she ventured further in, eventually to climb the stairs to see what was on the second level.

"Yes the curious are the easiest to mess around with any how... Not that we enjoying messing with anyone patrons head by pulling evil little tricks... Because we are normal nice people...." This was all said in a mock serious voice he was just playing the part of the fool. Squeeze given to Zira's hand he would comment on what she said. "Yes it does.. Almost eerily like."

She laughed softly, enjoying the interacting between the couple. As they explored the shop, she leaned against Michael, watching. It had been too long but now that the colder days were here, there would be more time to spend together, and of course, to perhaps have an adventure.

There was a balcony on both sides off the master bedrooms that large French glass doors giving access to this area large enough to have a small table and pair of chairs. "The porch is big enough to have tables, chairs and swings set out where customers can sit and relax especially during the hot summer days." Once they disappeared, he turned Abigail into his arms. "I think it has been too long in not seeing you. Lia has been asking about you and if I was still going to bring you to her tea house I constructed off the dining area."

"Yes, we have a whole new community to build our reputation with as the grumpy bookman and the mean witch." Snickered lightly. "We will have to make some new gargoyles." Along with vining clematis. "Set, you should see it up here." Spoken from upstairs as she ventured into each of the rooms and to peek out the doors to the balcony without opening them.

"Hmmm.. Yes.. A lot of promise here I must say." Those brilliant blues began to wander about, taking in each small detail as he pictured where things would be placed. He was forming the mental picture of how he would like things to look... Wasn't the clearest picture however. "And your building your own reputation... I'm starting anew as the nice quiet bookman."

She had to tipped her head back to look up at Michael, but nodded agreement. "Far too long, and I've missed you both. Lei must be growing like a weed. Is the teahouse finished?" She had missed him holding her like this, and the look in his eyes when his blue eyes captured hers.

"I was hoping the time away had you missing me, the heart growing fonder than forgetful." Teasing as he stood close, blue eyes dipped as well his chin for the height difference. "She has and I shall be making amends. One of the reasons I was hoping you would join me tonight." Though he wouldn't get into any details of the time that kept them away, that would be discussed another time. The important thing was they were getting to spend time again. "It is finished and she is waiting to show it off." He stepped back as he waited on Set and Zira to see if this duplex would suit. Customers could go from one store to the other without having to go out and back in again.

"Not if I have any say in it." Spoken as seriously as possible, which wasn't all that seriously by any means. Returning to Set, she smiled. "What do you think, love mine? Close enough in design to remind us of home, yet different enough to be our new beginning. Your books mingled with my witchy things, we can put out a perch for Talon and a bed for Oni for when he's here with us rather than gallivanting or at the cottage?"

"Sounds like the gears are turning in your head as well..." He paused for dramatics then smiled. "It's perfect love." He opened his arms up to her for a hug. It truly was... But then he expected no less. Perfection was currently the theme they followed since moving it seemed.

"Yes, it has made me fonder, and wondering on you often." She smiled, showing a single dimple. "And I can't wait to see it." Abbie was always patient. As Michael stepped away, she watched him, the smile still in place. Then she peered out the window and watched as the breeze caught leaves and swept them out of the gate and down the lane.

Stepping into the open arms, she wrapped her own arms around him and smiled. "It is perfect. I agree." She leaned up to give him a small kiss. "I think this would do us very well."

The kiss was returned as he wrapped his arms around her and picked up her for a quick spin. "And so it shall do us very well." And just like that it was decided.

He glanced ceiling wise then dipped back down with a growing smile. Hand lowering to capture hers as he tugged her back outside onto the porch with him. Turning her off to the side against the outer wall as lips found hers in their first kiss. It just seemed right with the street lights behind them casting shadows and the lazy drift of leaves to blanket all beneath as they could.

That was ... a surprise! A delightful one at that. She slid her arms around his neck as she returned the kiss, feeling the tingle of it right down to her toes. It was the perfect time and place and the way she felt would stay with her not only for the rest of the night, but for many days to follow.

A smile given to the spin, she hugged him tighter. "You are so very good to me." And for that, he got another kiss. "Perhaps we should return downstairs. I wouldn't wish to keep our kind guides too late in the evening."

It was a hint of things to come, an appetizer. Arm slid around to keep her close as he stepped away from where he had her somewhat pressed up against the outer wall. "Are you ready yet?" Booming voice carried inside as it was getting late.

The kiss was return and of course he would have a smart response for her words. "I am sure they would understand if we took just a bit more longer." A saucy wink was short her way, and though he would have loved to stay up there a spell longer, he took her hand and began to lead the way back down.

She snuggled against his side, laughing when he yelled. That McAndrews voice! She could imagine how it sounded when the brothers were all together and having a row. Watching the door, she was sure the two would join them soon.

"Well, aren't you the playful one tonight." Eyes narrowed and it was spoken with a touch of silly sarcasm. "You know, as soon as we get settled, we have other things to plan for." His hand taken, she followed him down the stairs. "yes, we're done." Called back to Michael with a laugh.

That was when their mother stuffed her ears with cotton and just smiled. Grinning as he offered the key, "that is if you feel this will fit your needs." Once the key was taken he would start them off from the place and continue up Apple street taking them further away from the commons. Houses became further apart and the lights not as many but still enough to see in the pleasant walk. Mostly they were outside each of the places along the walk. Some had lights on the porches of those occupied. Coming to a gate, he paused a moment before opening it up, ushering Abigail with him while still keeping her close for warmth as he was resilient to varying temperatures. "I see the lad Brian was here," indicating the lamp light lit on the porch and a low fire burned in the fireplace inside to warm it up. Heading in to the open area then to the right towards the door. The door was left open and he had the key to give them if it met their approval.

"Ooooh.. Other things..." he loved the way that sounded. Moving on to Michael, he would grin and take the key. "Michael it's perfect, thank you." And then they were off again, heading down Apple street and to their potential new home. "Hmmm.. So far so good. Shall we?" He looked to Zira with a excited look that pretty much begged her to take a look around with him.

She often took walks through Heathfield after the library closed to enjoy how the streets looked after dark. Ballicastle was as nice as Heathfield for that. The cottage was delightful, cozy and welcoming. She smiled when she saw Set's expression then looked at Zira to see what she thought.

"Yes, thank you." She was just as excited. Once Set had the key and they were on their way again further from the commons, the area looked very nice. Passing through the gate of the cottage, still with Set's hand in her own, she might have very well dragged him along for how quick she was making her way into the cottage behind Michael and Abigail. Even a squeak in delight as she wandered the rooms.

"Was that a squeak?" he question with a chuckle as Zira lead the charge now. Well this was quite lovely, seeing his wife to be so thrilled.

The squeak had him laugh, "no, that was not a mouse in the house.." teasing them both as he gave them room to explore. "Set, here's the key, you can stay the night or lock up if you leave. If the place doesn't meet your needs, then return the key or just leave me a note that you will make it your home. I need to get Abigail back to the castle for she will most likely be accosted by a few McAndrews before she finds any sleep tonight."

Now that was a good reaction! She laughed as well, then smiled at the couple. "I hope to see you both again and soon. It was a pleasure to meet you." She was getting to that point so yes, it was a good idea to go to the castle while she was still awake enough to deal with his brothers. "Good night." She thought the cottage was lovely but it would be up to the two of them of course.

She reached out to swat at Set and smiled to Michael. "Thank you. We'll let you know when we've made a certain decision." Though she was sure that Set liked it too. If he didn't, he would be sure to voice it. Smiling to Abigail then with a nod. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Abigail. I look forward to seeing you again sometime. Hopefully soon."

Which leaving them on their own to decide than hovering, it would be a firm decision. "Good night to you both. I'm pleased I could help you out and surely we shall see you again." Leaving the key with them as he was working his way out, arm around Abigail before the two would be melting into the lights and shadows of the night.

"Aye, double pleasure." Apparently he had found a new punch line. "And Michael, truly, thank you... You both have a good eve as well." He gathered Zira up in his arms next and hugged her for a moment. "We're really lucky aren't we?"



Date: 12-18-10
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 10

Getting Ones Situated in the Lands

The day was warmer than it had been, a heat wave hitting the 30 degree mark. Eion's roller had been at work and finally was done after the snow stopped falling. Mikhail was out by the fountain which had been turned off for the winter, leaving water in the wide basin that had frozen. A number of young children were skating under the watchful eye of a mother or older sibling. Mikhail was soaking in the day while keeping warm under the heavier fur lined cloak. A knitted cap on his head that was pulled down over his ears. The length of thick black hair helping to keep the heat in against his skin, including his beard.

ALl Hiram could do, was look up at the sun, and hope that he would not sneeze, thankfully the cold air dispelled with the allergies, bundled from head to toe, Hiram was sure he would survive the great outdoors ...

Children played happily in the snow, as winter birds chirped with the music of play. And, Anthea moved along this music with a smile to lips, red with cold. The chill of the air did not affect the Greek today, almost welcoming the chills, and the change of temperature. Her petite form was covered in a Grecian apron dress of dark lavender, woven patchwork of different shades of same color danced along the apron, with a cream colored chemise to set off the design in its simple form. She was not one to be fancy, but thrifty, and this had come cheap, and fit her well enough. With silver eyes did she look about the shops, kid boots moving slowly as she enjoyed the cold as well as the sound of play surrounding her. Now, that was heard by all she might think. Gazing about, and looking for the printing press, or where it was housed, as well as familiar faces. Hip length hair flowed well past her hips, held back by a french braid. It was the style she preferred, and only way she did decorate black tresses. Things were looking up for Anthea, and she smiled as fingers reached up to touch the pearl hidden within the folds of material, perhaps praying silent to the jewel for her good fortune.

Evony had walked, today, rather than bringing out Trésor, for it was cold and she intended to examine shoppe fronts at some length. That would leave the poor horse to kick his heels in cold air with nothing to do. Besides, she needed a good stiff bit of exercise, after last night's early retreat...and yes, she knew it for what it was...into her room. Too many hours in that small space had left her ready to run shrieking through the snow, though naturally she was doing no such thing. Walking, in her red sable cloak, the emerald green hem of her skirts flaring out with each step as she meandered along the commons.

A dip of his chin as dark eyes shifted to the bundled man. Something hit on a memory and the fact a certain one had been spotted and related to him by Alex. "HIRAM," having that military quality for the one to stand up straight and be counted amongst the living. Provided it was Hiram Jones, if it was not the deep commanding voice would just pass him by harmlessly.

Hiram watched the children at their play, unable to remember when he had ever done such a thing at their age, absently patting his pockets for a handkerchief, he carried several just in case, hearing his name called, Hiram looked up like a deer caught in the light, blinking, and of all things sneezing, just like he knew he would "HUH?" hoping it was not that bully that kept pelting him with snow balls. Giving a another sneeze as he searched for the caller then sneezing as he found his hankie holding his nose ...

Yes, if it was Hiram, the sneezing would begin. As it did. Mikhail couldn't help the chuckle that the one probably would not hear for it was a low rolling sound that one would need to be next to him to hear. He had been in a lean against the fountain's edge as he pushed up moving towards Hiram with an outstretch of hand. "It has been a while my friend. I'm pleased you came back. Need a job?" Mikhail was usually quick to point on something. He noticed both Anthea and Evony's arrival which were two he hoped would be around as well.

At the male bellow, she froze in midstride and looked around towards the sound, a slow blink coming as she realized it was the gentleman from the night before. Her eyes sought out the one yelled for, and in so doing, caught sight of Anthea. She smiled and waved to her. Another nod and smile were sent to Mikhail and the man with the hanky.

A littel girl fell, and Anthea let silver hues roam to the small child. Watching the mother, who looked like she did have her arms full, try to console the child as she held twins. Anthea moved to the mother with a smile, and then reached into her pocket as she knelt in the snow. "Look.. ?" Of course permission was granted first from the mother, and the child took the candy stick with a smile. Soft Greek was spoken, and then was Anthea moving with a
wave to the small family as she seen her friend. A soft motion took the Greek toward her friend, smiling as the child was silent now.

Blowing his nose,cautiosly Hiram watched Mikhail, with his hand outstretched, "oh Mikhail," he extended his hand, with the hanky, then pulled it back, and tucked the hankie in his pocket. "A job you say?" reacching his hand forward again, shaking Mikhail's, hoping that the man was healthy, he really didn't need a cold this time of year. His other hand pushing his glasses up his nose ...

Luckily he had gloves on so he'd not be touching a sneeze coated hand. Grip was strong, probably stronger than Hiram was use to but it was released quickly enough too. "Aye, reporter like you use to be in these lands years back. A job with the lady Anthea," which he motioned to both ladies to come join them. "Lady Anthea will be taking over the printing press and this is the Lady Evony, a friend of hers." If he was not mistaken that they had become good friends along with Charlie and Sadie.

"Evony.." She called softly, and with slender fingers did she lift the her clothing high, above ankles, so the hem of chemise and apron dress would not gain moisture. Moving quickly she did, smiling at Mikhail, as well as the gentleman near him.

OHMYGAWDIT WASAWOMAN, look crossed his face as they neared, starting to stutter "I ..I ..who ..I "Nodding his head, "sure," he finally gushed ...

Anthea had come upon the men as she heard Mikhail's words, and she to smile with sincere kindness to the man. " A pleasure to meet you.."

Once Anthea and Evony got near, "ladies this is the charming gentleman Hiram Jones who was a reporter here and I think will accept the position back."

Evony nodded to Mikhail, to agree that she was a friend of Anthea's, a very kind smile curving her mouth at the clear state of discomfort of the other man. "It is lovely to meet you, sir."

"Erm Really?" he stammered, studying her through the horn rimmed glasses, "you .me ..I say ," he coughed, reaching for his hankie again, looking at Mikhail, "are you sure?" He asked clearing his throat ...

"Hiram, it will be an honor to work with you." Her smile did reach eyes of silver, to show the gentleman she would be a good person to work with. And, then did those silver hues roam over her friends, only to land upon Hiram once again. He was shy too?

There was a twinkle set to dark eyes as he was very well versed in keeping a straight face. He knew some of the antics of Hiram Jones. Amused by them too of course.

Shy didn't cover poor Hiram, he was socially inept, but he tried to be social, when his tongue did not get over his eye teeth to confuse what he might say. "An honor way sure?" He asked once the cough settled to where he could breath enough to speak ...

"Aye, I am sure and I have the key to the printing press building." Which was a small one between store fronts, not needing many front windows. It had one, steps going up straight once inside to a room upstairs that was wide open with the printing press and many tables, storage shelves and bins for paper and ink. All the keys needed to set the words that would be inked and printed, manually turned for each sheet, manually inked too.

Anthea could only stare to the man, and then with a smile she let Mikhail speak, as she remained silent. Nay to move as he spoke, but to smile bright as he spoke of the having the key. Almost a key to her future.

"You do, you have, I say...Umm, May I have an office like before?" he asked, sniffling up to clear his sinuses ...

Evony just stood and watched, learning what she could of Hiram and the other not so well known man, Mikhail, as they interacted with Anthea. Her hands were in her red sable mitt, nicely warm, and the sun was gilding her hair to molten gold. It felt delicious.

Luckily Hiram did not catch that look or he would have started to sneeze, looking for what ever odd bugger was on his face, not that there was, Hiram was just that way...

He handed Hiram a key, he knew exactly where the building was from where they stood across the street. It was one in the common's square of buildings. "Here is one for you and one for Anthea," which he handed her the second. "Hiram can teach you all the in and outs of the printing business. There is also a flat above it with three spare rooms in case there comes a night you end up staying very late, so you can sleep there." It had a small kitchen too she would discover, big enough to cook a meal there in case they got snowed in or working around the clock to get out the next paper.

A look of quiet delight spread over her features as she watched the key be placed into Anthea's hand.


A KEY, his very own Key, Hiram just knew his eyes were going to mist up. "A key ... I ..well I never thought," he cleared his throat looking towards the building, "thank you Mikhail." He needed a job certainly, and to get more herbs.

The chill had returned, the incident that was not new to this woman. And, an experience that lasted even now, bringing her to wear no cloak, nor mittens, only the attire that one might where in early spring. Eyes seem to sparkle, almost glow in nature as she took her smaller hand to accept the key. She could not believe her good luck, luck that had finally touched her as the rays of sun that touched these lands. "Thank you, Mikhail.. very much." Then with a clutch of fingers around the key, she held it to her heart, almost afraid to let go. She would like that, if Evony did. But for now, did she look to the face of Hiram with a smile.."I shall look forward to working with you." Spoken with kindness, and the chill to welcome to key closer within her palm.

"Evony, there is a nice store front next to the Printing Press establishment if you are interested?" This one had two large windows in the front on either side of the door. The store on the first level one stepped through and also had a flat upstairs, bedroom, living room and a kitchen in the back on the first floor, steps leading up from the kitchen to the flat. The store's main room was longer than it was wider.

Hiram noticed that Anthea ..the lady had no cloak, "oh my," he sniffled, shouldering out of his coat, well as fast as he could, unbuttoning took a moment, "here put this on Miss ..cant have two of us sniffling." He was nice, really he was, the sheerling line coat would swallow her ...he was a tall but thin man, needing fattening up and herbs to sooth his allergies ...

Lids did widen, her shapely brows to arch as he showed such kindness. But the secret of a lack of cloak was her own, thus did she accept it with a smile. "Thank you, Hiram.. at times I would forget my head if it was not attached.." The lie did come easily. "But that will leave you cold, yes?"

She looked from Mikhail over to the shoppe front he mentioned, and a slow smile formed on her mouth, as her eyes took it in. Head tipped to the side as she mentally placed fur designs in the window fronts, and then she gave a slow nod. "It would be lovely, sir. Truly lovely. And a delight to be next to Anthea and now Hiram." Smiling warmly at all of them. At this point she realized that Anthea was unprepared for the weather, and so slipping her hands from her mitt, she firmly placed it into Anthea's hands. "You are to wear these, or I shall do something most horrible!" Smiling at her.

"I ..." he put it on her shoulders, "we can get extra wood for the hearth ..or pot belly," he assured her, he could stand a shiver a two ..

"That is a lovely ideal, Hiram.. simply fantastic.." So they would not freeze, for she was not always with the chill. "And perhaps some food on the off chance one or other is snowed in?" Softly spoken, her warm accent to kiss each word spoken.

"This will be your store here in the commons," and the fact it was next to her friend would be a plus for both of them in settling in. At least that was his intent for picking out the place from the others. He procured the key to offer her. "Would you like to get a better look at the place?" At this point he was slowly on the move to both places as a group.

"Evony.. truly I am fine.. you keep that.. we do not wish you to catch a cold, where will I go for fur then?" Soft was the smile, her movements glided to brush a kiss along her cheek. "I thank you, and am so happy you will be next to us."

Hiram blinked, it was a good idea, he smiled, well tried to smile, his lips were chapped, but still, he managed, "I will order some up," he said absently looking in his heavy shirt pocket for a pencil and paper, to which he licked the end of the pencil, before writing, "f.i . r, e .wo.o.d," he mumbled, adding food, and lots of it ...

"Hiram.. we work as a team.." Spoken as she turned her olive features to him, her attention on the sneezing man. "I can find food.. and do love to cook. Perhaps some good Greek food, and haggis?" She never liked the stuff, but perhaps he did?

She reluctantly took her mitt back, slipping her hands inside it, and nodded with a smile for the buss to her cheek. "Oh, very well, but I must to say I am not happy when you are cold." Oh, cue the nosewrinkle at mention of Haggis. Gah! Oh...yes, Mikhail. Belatedly noting the key and taking it from him with gentle fingers. "I would love to see it, yes."

"Haggis," he blinked over the lifted paper, "OM mah word ..sheep guts no." He coughed, tucking the paper in his shirt pocket, "I .. you ..I like simple things taters and biscuits and butter," but he never gained weight ...

She had not eaten it, but was taught to cook it. Watching Shawn eat it, well, it had made her cringe, but soon she had grown use to it.. "We shall see what we need when we arrive, ne? Yes, I mean.." She smiled warmly to Mikhail, thinking it was a grand ideal to move, almost like a tour, and the mystic was their guide. "Fried potatoes, boiled, even some with butter.. hmmm... biscuits I am good at, but bread.. for some reason they always are hard as logs." Twitch of a grin as she did follow the group.

"I have found places for both of you not far from the other. The one for you, Anthea is the next place up from the Aviary run by Vanessa Baltimore. Further into the wilderness and Willow lake is a cottage that is comfortable for one or two people and has a large barn as well a stable attached with a paddock."

Again, this man was bringing her to smile so brightly, silver hues almost seem to glow. A home too? She took a slow breath to contain her excitement. "Mikhail.. thank you so much, words cannot express my thanks." Words came soft almost shy in nature, and then was she touching her pearl, glad for all this, and for her safety as well.



Date: 12-18-10
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 11

Which he gave a moment pause with a glance between the two. "It is not unheard of friends taking on a place together, for company, for safety as Vanessa has Karina staying with her presently. Although once Vanessa got engaged they built another cottage on the lands for Karina."

She gazed to Evony, a smile. She did not mind, but would she? "Very good ideal, Mikhail.. do you mind, Evony?" And she waited, for she knew she would be at the press much of her time, and living with furrier did not bug her at all.

She was smiling as she listened, though then she looked in confusion at Anthea? "Do not mind what? I think he was describing two places, Anthea...yes?" Looking to Mikhail.

Hiram listened, rubbing his hands together, thinking of course about writing, and what subjects might be entertained, listening of course in half measure to the talk of the cottage, and the ladies staying together. Clearing his throat absently as not to interrupt them, but to speak, eventually... He just bobbled his head "ahyup we work soon," he was ready, or would be as soon as he could get some fire wood, and have the interior equal to that of a sauna ..

"Taking a place together.. " Motioning to Mikhail, for it was a good idea. Had she been wrong? Silence as she waited to see. But for now..she thought about the press, the writing, and winked to Hiram. "Soon we work, yes?"


"There are two places but either one is big enough to have two ladies living in it if you should like the idea."

Of course, did those silver hues travel over Hiram, hoping he was not cold. And, with any sign of a shiver, she would immediately give the warmth back to Hiram, the jacket. "Either or is fine, Mikhail.. all that has been done, well I thank you.. "She smiled, she could live alone.. she had done it for many months.

"Oh..!, I do need a place of my own...." smiling at the other woman. "You would not like to live so close to me, chere. The smell can be awful if the wind is right. Or in this case, wrong," chuckling.

She had been use to it, living in a village, but left it alone. "I understand Evony.. then two places it will be Mikhail, ne?" Looking again, quickly, for any shivers to form on Hiram.

Hiram was just fine, not feeling the cold at the moment, his imagination filled with smells of paper and ink ..

Giving a nod, it would be the two places then. "You will not be so far away that you cannot visit easy and borrow a cup of sugar." That was the going reason sometimes to visit.

"Or carrots?" A wink to Evony, thinking of Hercules. She was happy for what she could receive, and silently did she thank all responsible for her good fortune. Not the Gods, but those within these lands.

"Umm ..I .. you ..Mikhail where do I park my ass?" he asked, finally realizing that whiskers had to have a place to stay too ....

"You can use the main flat above the shop or would you prefer getting a cottage out a ways from the commons?"

Slender palm slapped upon her lips. The giggle to be swallowed as she gazed away, almost coughing to hide the snickers. "I  have my mule to think of.. perhaps another home would be good." She wanted to be no trouble, and the look from silver hues proved that.

The furrier was more than pleased, she was delighted with all the arrangements, and everything happening so quickly. A soft smile curved her lips as she considered. "I am so very happy. I will likely move out there after Christmas, for I am sure the place will need some cozening and some setting up. Oh, how fun. Anthea, we can shop for some furnishings and décor!"

"That sounds lovely, Evony. A home.. yes, very lovely indeed." She did love to decorate, and could not wait to plant lavender.. and well, to perhaps make a spare room into an office for her to write there too.

Hiram listened to the Ladies, just certain they were going to start talking lace and gingham curtains and stuff, sniffling as he pondered what the office would need, surely a bed, so he could write at all hours, who knows what night possess him at time ..

Indeed, she did want to discuss all those things, but she would not do that at just this time. The poor men would be yawning on their feet, and she knew that. Besides, she had a need to say something to the one man, anyway. "Monsieur Mikhail....could I have a moment of your time, sil vous plait?"

"Lady Anthea is pretty much squared away. Take your time in moving in, there is no hurry as you can stay as long as you need to at the Thistle." Knowing well the holiday season had things hectic to start and moving required time, patience and making a place individually their own. "As far as hunting grounds, it would be better for one of the Rangers to discuss with you on such matters." He wasn't sure which Ranger would seek Evony out but the matter was known and the Rangers knew the lands the best, inside out some would say.

She nodded to the man, at his information. Looking forward to speaking with said ranger would be all she needed to complete the arrangements that needed to be done for her to be a working member of the community. It was an exciting thought. She gestured a few feet away, indicating she required a moment of relative privacy with him. "If we may?"

Hiram was nodding his head, and wandering away from them, as he was looking for accommadations for his whiskers, he would eventually come back on time, to work, but he was concerned that his ass might get cold during his work hours, "need hay, and grains and a shovel," he decided, lost already behind the shop, his mind racing forward.

She  could only nod that dark head, the ends of the braid swishing as she did nod and turn to view the commons. She was anxious to move in, but would still visit the Thistle often. As well as, well, she needed to find a good lake to skate upon as well. All work and no play would make Anthea a very grump Greek? "Hiram.. I believe you could put the," she had to blush, the pink to pain soft along her cheek.. "the stable near the thistle?"

Noticing the gesture with a slight dip of his head as he moved the few paces to grant her the privacy she wished. There is enough that one could even put in a small vegetable garden, rows of flowers.. some rose bushes, a gazebo, a small fountain.. things like that if one wants.

She turned this way and that, and had to smile as she noticed Hiram walking away. She turned with a smile to the pair, moving from their general vicinity to give them privacy. She was enjoying the sounds of children playing, even the sound of one mother telling the children to play nice. All she took in like a life line, even the chill of winter, and the sun glowing its life upon her form. Hiram was gone, and Anthea was not bothered by it. For her, the time in silence was nice. It brought the sounds and laughter to echo like the finest opera.

She smiled at his kindness and then moved with him, a look of apology to the other two. They would be only a moment, she silently assured. Then looking to Mikhail, lowering her voice, she spoke. "Please, forgive me for my rude behavior last night, Monsieur Mikhail. You were all that was kind, and I did not mean to" flee like a frightened rabbit, ".....depart so hastily. I am sure you must think me so very ...odd. No blame to you for that, as I know that I acted the fool."

"I am sorry," slightly leaning towards her that she might picked up on the scent of sandalwood and spice from the soap he used in his bath this early morning after being on the king's field in training the warriors along with others. "I am at a loss for any need of an apology. If it is of the card reading, sometimes they need time to be thought over, aye?"

Graceful strides carried her further away from the pair. She did eye the shops, perhaps looking for where she could more lavender oil. A scent that she seem obsessed with, and wore often. But then, did she feel a tug upon the apron of her walking gown, and turned with a smile. The little girl was still sucking on the candy stick, and the mother was smiling. "What do you have here?" It was a simple pine cone, a gift that meant more to Anthea then any gold. "Thank you, little one.. I shall cherish this always." With a fleeting glance to the family, she held the pine cone close.

She gave him a smile that was warm and grateful for his making little of her overwrought reaction. His comment on the thinking it over bit was given a nod. "I .....will be doing so, oui. Though what I said still holds, no matter what I may personally desire and wish for in my life, n'est pas? It would be unfair to let some poor soul be put in a position that would endanger him."

In short, it was not something she needed to worry on how he might have seen her, obviously not a fool but some cards fell too close to the truth but in his mind, to help the one face the truth if needed. His smile was growing, "which part you wish to have hold?" She had said a number of things and he'd not assume and possibly make an ass of himself. He had straightened by now, giving back the bit of personal space he'd invaded.

Their speech had crossed each of the other's, and she waited a moment for him to understand her last words. Tipping her head, she considered him and that he may not understand. Perhaps she was the confused one! "I ....thought you were suggesting that I should....em....not have such a guard up regarding ....a relationship with someone, Monsieur. I was ...saying only that I still believe it would be a very unfair and bad idea." Nodding.

Silver eyes caught sight of two boys sliding on ice, that was still stuck to a certain part of the road. Well, never one to ignore such fun. Anthea gazed about, and with a grin to red lips, she took off in a run and let her kid boots glide along the ice.

"I was teasing you, dear Evony, about you having a list of qualifications a man would need to meet for you to be interested in him. It is a compliment and meant lighthearted for the way the card read. Although your reaction suggests something only you know of, that is dire that will keep you from any relationship until it is resolved. Know that you have friends you can reach out to if you need that you need not face danger alone. I am, for one, a warrior that has met many a challenge and many of those were clan fighting." Which had few rules unlike organized troops like the English trained theirs.

She studied him as he responded, her eyes shadowed and darker a blue than usual, less green glimmering in those depths. A shiver of dread rippled down her spine at the thought of such being needed. A faint smile came and she shrugged one slim shoulder in a very Gallic motion. "Ah, mais oui, it is lovely that such is offered. I shall hope that it is never needed, for one may be a thousand strong, and yet one single madman can cut the ground beneath that army, non?" Her delicate jawline worked, as memory swamped her. She shook her head. "Please to let us discuss lighter matters, oui?"

Following the easy glide on the ice, she could not help but blush at her antics. But, she smiled as well when she noticed other children sliding with her. In Anthea's opinion, this was excitement, this was joy.

"Aye. As a man such as myself trains to kill and kill efficiently, it is hoped that my skills are never needed." There was a pause, "but they have been many times but less times since I came here to stay with my family here." Then to appease her last request, "I do believe our little Lady Anthea is lost without her new reporter, aye?" Amusement glinted in dark eyes for what kept Mikhail sane was indeed humor in things.

She nodded to his words, smiling up at him more naturally. "I am very certain that if ever a soul needed a warrior, it would be to you they should go, Monsieur." Nodding at his last words, she looked over to see Anthea, smiling again with something of that serenity she usually expressed. "Ah, oui. Let us rejoin her."

"She will make a guid mother some day." Seeing her with the little ones and playing with them as one. At least that filled the void Hiram left after wandering off. Mikhail knew he'd be back later and probably get Anthea going on the press. Making sure everything worked as it should.

The same little girl that had cried earlier, was now holding Anthea's hand as they soared, with caution, along the ice. She did not notice naught but the fun, and her merry laughter gave proof to that as it filled the air.

"Oh, bon, she will!! A perfect little maman," smiling softly, she began to walk that direction, toward the dark haired Greek, smiling at Mikhail over a shoulder to urge his joining.

"I need to see to something," which he pressed the two keys in her hands, "each unlocks the doors of the cottages up from the Aviary which you cannot miss. They also have access to Willow Lake which is behind the homes. Go see them at your convenience and let me know your decision on them. I hope to join you later." Which he would then head for the theater across the way on the other side.

With her head to turn, did those glowing eyes take note of lovely Evony, and handsome Mikhail. She waved with ease, and then stopped quickly with a tug on the little girl's curl. "There.. now you can show your mother, yes?" With that the girl dashed off, and Anthea to brush away the small sprays of ice and snow, not wishing to look the slob again. Well, try not to anyway. "Be safe, Mikhail, and thank you again.." Called out softly, not wishing to stop the gentleman from what he needed to do.



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