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Crystal-Gold Lake

Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Anhur al-Azhar
Post # 1

Ice Skating

The light of day was diminishing with a blue-gray cast to it for the snow coming down. The lake was frozen solid becoming dusted with a thin layer of white. Although not heavy presently it was like looking through a veil with gray and blue shadows in a quiet set over the lake. There were a few torches lit along the shoreline and benches that had been moved there for anyone that came to skate. A pair of boots left on one of them but no one really in sight, someone had either forgotten them or was out there where clarity no longer held.

It had been a while since Kaylea had been on ice skates. Having finished her duties at the zoo and since there was a lack of patrons, she had gone to the lake for a bit of recreation. Those weren't her boots on the bench. Hers were tucked beneath a bench so they wouldn't fill with snow while she was skating. Though she could catch the flicker of the torches, she wasn't paying attention to the shadows there. Instead, she was practicing, making figure eights. She was wearing doeskin pants beneath a pair of woolen ones and a heavy cable knit sweater. Her cloak she had placed in the shed.

The hooded cloak obscured him, though worn for the snow and cold. Scarf wrapped around the bottom half of his face and a stripe knit cap pulled down to his brows. Hard to tell who it was. The whoosh of steel against ice came as he passed by one practicing figure eights. The length of the cloak to the top of those skates as snow continued to fall, coating over broad shoulders as he melted back into the blue-gray shadows overcast in white veils.

Mirre had noticed her brother leave with a pair of skates slung over his shoulder. Once she was done with the painstakingly writing in recording, she was quick to run up to her room and don the boy's clothing she kept for winter in these lands. They were baggy but were cinched at her waist with a belt, a shirt then sweater over that before the heavier blue cloak. Hat, scarf and gloves before her skates were found buried in a chest and she was soon heading out to catch up with her brother. She arrived at the lake moving to one of the benches, swiping the light layer of snow away before taking up a seat and seeing to getting the skates on her feet.

She glanced up as she caught movement, watching a moment before the Egyptian disappeared again. If the other was here to skate, she'd greet her once she was on the ice. A knit cap kept her hair from her face, while the rest of caught in a braid. When she gave a little jump and turned, it smacked her in the chin and caused her to laugh.

She squinted a look as one boot was removed and the skate slid on over her foot, working at the laces while observing. Deft fingers knew what to do as she noticed the woman most prominently being the closest. More shadowy moments further away to either side before focus was back on getting the next boot off and replaced with the skate.

Anhur had gone out quite far over the lake, reaching near the middle for its size. Here he stopped to watch through the veil of falling snow for a vision once seen long ago. It was not impossible to see such again as the quiet closed in on him and he finally turned back with his sister coming. Instincts honed drew him closer to the female skating nearer the shore as he became clearer in form.

"Evening." She paused to face the man, head tipping slightly. "Nice night for skating." He seemed familiar but dressed as he was, it was hard for her to tell if she knew him or not.

It had taken Anhur some time in learning to skate a good number of years ago. Something he had stuck with until very good at it. The turn to have him stop near the woman came with a spray of ice shavings as steel dug in to accomplish the halt on point. Mostly what she would see was translucent blue eyes and the line of black brows at the edge of the knitted cap. "Fair of evening MemSaheb." Giving a slight bow of his head with the general greeting. "You are MemSahib Kaylea of Zoooo." The last word sliding out through the knit scarf in the heavier accent, one that he had a little trouble with. He noticed the other at the bench as recognition followed, giving a wave to his sister to let her know he knew she was here.

She gave him a wave in return, her smile bright with the scarf only over her chin and neck to wrap around. She'd recognize her brother anywhere even if mostly wrapped up.

"I am." She nodded, pleased he remembered. "You skate very well, Anhur. Or should I address you as Saheb Anhur?" Blue eyes held a hint of laughter as she spoke. She wasn't sure how she should address him to be honest. She looked toward the shore and waved as well, even if she didn't know who the woman was.

"I am Anhur, you are Kaylea." A decisive decision that settled it in his mind. Usually only the first greeting held the title nowadays if at all. It use to be constant years back. "My sister Rahmirre, or Mirre." Angling between the two respectfully as he introduced his sister.

"It is nice to meet you Kaylea." Called out in a clear tone of voice without the need of yelling. She was going to watch them skate first in a sit back and relax, catch her breath after the haste that brought her here.

"Much preferred." She agreed then smiled warmly toward Mirre. "And a pleasure to meet you as well. Are you joining us tonight?" She wouldn't be standing still for much longer and didn't as she started to glide backward.

"I will be but first I'd like to watch my brother skate." She knew he had learned many years ago and it was said he was good so she wanted to see firsthand. Big smile his way in a subtle challenge.

He gave a bow of his head to his sister as he as well glided backwards before around, hands coming to fold behind his back as he was moving with Kaylea in facing her as she continued to glide backwards.

She grinned at Mirre then watched Anhur. He moved as well on the skates as he did on solid ground. "There are no pigs to chase here." Speeding up a little, she did one of the jumps she had been practicing -- fairly easy with a little spin added at the end. Not quite sure what Mirre wanted to see, she'd give Anhur a little challenge of her own.

"Only if you squeal?" Attempt at humor and teasing as he kept pace with her. As she speeded up he rounded to her side as hands came from their position behind his back for one to smoothly curl about her waist, taking that spin into more before letting her go, speed taken up before a leap had him spinning up coming to land back down as legs swept arched out then back as he was moving sideways around her, hands out for balance at his sides.

Somewhere, some when, someone had mentioned the idea of skating. On. Ice. She thought it might have been Pyper, but she couldn't quite recall. Abe seemed keen on the idea, too. He was with her, chatting low, perhaps giving her advice on what to do, what not to do. Even with her warmer clothes, they stood out in a bright contrast against the ghost grey scenery around her. A royal blue sweater draped long, nearly to her knees and she had some kind of silken sash around her waist, blue and purple. Her pants? Layers. The ones beneath the looser, near black pair fit her snugly. She was eyeing the skates in her hands as she approached the lake with Abe.

A muffled clap came with that small demonstration as gloved hands came together quickly before she was to her feet not to miss any. Carefully stepping closer to the edge of the lake on her skates.

"You are very good." She was delighted with what he had done. She sped up again, once more going backward, then went into a long spin, pulling her arms in close as she went faster then bringing them out again so that she slowed down. "How long have you been skating, Anhur?" She figured it had to be for at least a few years.

"Thank you. I learned four years ago. I was determined when I felt like fish flopping out of water." Keeping near in a backward glide before moving in again to take her off dancing on ice. Something that resembled a waltz as it was harder to skate with another than on one's own. First at her side then backwards as she moved forwards, forwards when she moved backwards before a quick spurt had him catching her up by the waist to lift while he spun, balancing her well before slowing bringing her down so her skates met the ice and he could be used to gain that quick change in balance again.

She caught sight of the woman, one she had seen about and knew of her. Al-Dawla family. She was without her guard for she had followed her brother here. He might say something to her about it and he might not. "Fair evening," turning to the side carefully in greeting her and the guard. "I am Rahmirre, Mirre." Just in case they were unsure which sibling or even a sibling al-Azhar.

Abe said something to her that made her glower. She gave a muffled response and lifted a gloved hand to fidget with her head scarf, thicker than the types she usually wore. She paused near the woman that greeted her and offered a  tiny smile, though her nose and mouth was covered, too, mostly to keep the cold away. "Ah, Mirre. I have heard much about you. I am Banafrit, and this is Abe." She motioned to the burly man and he bowed, smiled. "He is quiet," she explained. "It is good thing I am here, in case someone break neck, yes?" Choppy English. Mostly because she said it so quickly!

Her smile grew brighter as he explained then started to skate with her. She had liked skating with others and moved easily with the taller Egyptian. When he lifted her into the air, she held her hands and arms just so, in order to help him with balance. Once on her feet again, she was ready for more, if he was so inclined. She didn't want him to neglect his sister!

"As I have heard of you." Up front and honest and the smile warm. Obviously nothing bad at all but good things. A soft laugh came under her breath as she eyed the muscle-man as her guard. Words low as she leaned a touch closer in quiet tones. "They are all quiet, big, muscles, they see as guards for us." A touch of a wicked gleam with a thought she didn't express at the moment on the game of losing one's guard just to show she could. Oh, she'd let him eventually find her, panting with a touch of fear in his eyes if something happened to her. Wicked thing to do but done if hers invaded her space or privacy too much.  She gestured to the frozen lake where her brother and Kaylea were skating. "Anhur skates well. It took him long to practice years ago."

Abe didn't seem to be paying attention. He was watching the ice. Banafrit squinted up at him then leaned towards Mirre. "Yes, but I stuck with guard that looks like goat." She made a motion towards her face, probably indicating all of the scruff. Banafrit was evil, sometimes. For Mirre's last, she turned her attention towards the ice. She watched for a moment, then laughed very low. "He does skate well. This is my first time. Ah, Virgin on Ice?" Whispered!

He was not real use to skating with another, dancing on the skates so didn't try to show off. Might have them both sprawled out on the ice. He moved out and away into another spin that lifted him up from the ice only to come down in a swirling circle that brought him close to where his sister stood as well he caught sight of Bana and Abe. Steel dug in with a quick halt just a few feet from them. "Fair of night, Banafrit, Mirre, Abe."

Which had her laugh more, soft sound she tried to keep down. "Abasi was assigned as my guard. He looks like mule's backside. He is hairy one. I think they pick ones with lack of looks for a reason." Her guard's name meant stern and certainly he lived up to his name. "I am not that good on ice yet. I've not had time to be here," words as low and fading as her brother approached. "Fair night Anhur. I left too quickly to tell Abasi," may as well address the fact he was not with her, "when I followed you here." Feeling being with him she didn't need the guard then.

"Fair eve, Anhur." As always, she addressed him with a delicate bow, though she didn't touch her hands together mostly because they were full. She straightened with a hinted smile. "You skate well," she told him. Abe nodded  a silent hello and cast the Priest a true smile.

She applauded then continued to skate, though she took note of Banafrit and Abe and waved. If she stopped she might get cold, and that would never do.

One of her hands lifted, skate in it, to wave towards Kaylea. More of a waggle back and forth of the skate than anything.

"You have met each other, Banafrit," indicating Kaylea. Knowing his sister probably had not. "Kaylea this is my sister Mirre and this is Banafrit and Abe." In making sure. Obviously his sister and Banafrit met while he was skating.

"It is pleasure to meet you Kaylea. You skate good like my brother." Which was a compliment to her as she had been watching. She noticed with a bit of relief that Anhur said nothing on her leaving her guard behind. That was good news for he would have said something if he minded.

"Ah, yes, I believe so. Mikhail, he read cards for me." She swallowed some at this. She stepped over to one of the benches to sit down. She wasn't so sure of this skating thing!

"Thank you, Rahmirre, and It's a pleasure to meet you. Good to see you again, Banafrit. Abe." A dimple appeared as she smiled. "He's good at reading them."

"He is good, what did your card say?" Curious as ever. Thinking as well maybe he would get his card read if he came upon Mikhail again. "Did you have your card read Kaylea? Mirre?"

She shook her head but certainly was interested in what Banafrit's card said as well if Kaylea had hers read.

"It is good to see you, as well," she aimed the words towards Kaylea, tipping up a soft smile. That somewhat faded, mostly because she was thoughtful. "Are his... cards often correct?" She grew briefly still, then she turned to face Anhur, then Mirre. She was silent for a moment, it was all confusing--what her card represented. "Either I do love myself, or I do not, I do not know that part. It confuses. Mikhail said, too, that my card... meant... uhm... Something new birth, as in the way of feeling. Like... ah... relationship." She struggled with the last word. "Or a birth of child. Is anyone with child?" She looked hopeful, didn't she?

A brow lifted, "you are with child?" Just the way she said the last had him confused.


Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Anhur al-Azhar
Post # 2

"Oh, aye. He's read mine several times " Which was to be expected when they were siblings. "Correct yes, but they are more a guide then a certain fortune. His readings to me usually tell me I need to look inward." She looked at Banafrit then Anhur and bit at her lower lip. Oh dear.

She stared at Anhur. It wasn't often she stared. Surely he realized who he was talking to! She wouldn't let anyone close enough for even that to be a possibility. "If so, I should be world wonder," she murmured.

"Maybe it is that you can explain then what the words mean, Kaylea?" Being it was her brother that read them and she was use to his readings, she might help out Banafrit.

"I think you would have a wonderful child." Glancing to Abe with a certain look. The guards were specifically picked to never touch those they guarded nor let anyone else outside of certain ones. Sliding that glance back to Banafrit. "I have not slept with you nor Yusuf." Isaac would not be allowed to though he was supposed to take Anhur's place with the Qiana. That changed with him getting with Desh and the custom to have him anyway, did not go well with customs here.

"I'm not positive. He may have meant that she needs to love herself more. As far as the other, a new birth could mean many things. Not necessarily the birth of a child but something new perhaps." She was trying to not stare at Anhur knowing their customs had to be different.

She didn't want to say it, in front of everyone, but--she had to, here, or else she'll be in massive trouble later because everyone thinking she's with child. "I am a virgin." Delivered in a dry tone, accidentally.  And Abe, even though he was innocent, obviously, looked suddenly worried. He didn't want to die or anything!

Sometimes Anhur was thick in the head considering how smart he really was aside being gifted. Socially thick. "She is not pregnant, Anhur."

"Good. You are supposed to be virgin as Mirre is virgin." Abe was off in any suspicion, fleeting at it was. He turned to Kaylea with a nod. "One has to love themselves, not be in love with themselves, before they can be capable of loving another. So birth is figure.." struggling with that word. "It is something new to happen." Which had him curious as blue eyes turned back on Banafrit. "Do you love yourself?"

"New, but what will be new?" This bothered her. She furrowed her brows then they arched when Anhur sent that question towards her. It wasn't something she really thought about, or wondered, not until the reading, anyway. "I am happy with whom I am, mostly, so yes." She thought so, anyway.

While they talked, she went out on the ice to practice. Careful movement forward and even slower moves in turning. She didn't fall and she didn't try moving backwards.

Maybe he should speak to Yusuf about finding her a husband. Though things were done differently in these lands. So he was caught between the old and new customs. "Then you love yourself as it should be. Do you wish a husband?" He would find out if she had any such yearnings.

This was getting a little personal and so Kaylea moved back onto the ice, grateful that it was cold and that would hide her blush. She stayed near Mirre so she could give her advice if she wanted it but not so close she'd make her feel closed in.

Somehow, she never expected that question at all. She blinked in slight surprise. Then stammered, "I.. I.. I.." More like, stuttered. She wasn't sure if she was thankful or not, that she was suddenly left alone with him. She became a little nervous. "I do not know." She answered, somewhat. "I do not know if I am ready." With Banafrit, she may not be ready... ever!

Which was all he needed to hear. He was direct. "If you do then let me or Yusuf know and we will try to help." Marriages were usually arranged by their customs although some step forward to ask for a certain one. In these lands it was different and he was still unsure when to go by their customs or when to go by the customs of the lands they were in and learning.

She smiled as Kaylea joined her. "It takes much practice. How do you move backwards?" Daring to ask before she tried such a maneuver.

"Yes it does but it's fun, even while learning." She came up beside Mirre and grinned. "Watch how I make my feet go. Start with them close, then apart, but not too far, then close, apart." She moved back effortlessly though she laughed. "It's not easy doing it slow when one's been doing fast for a long time, but this is how I was taught."

She knew the differences, too, which puzzled her--at least, his asking. She furrowed her brows. "Would he... be from here? My husband?" Future, whichever!

He would have left the subject drop but being she asked more, it rose more questions on his part. "Do you wish one from here. Maybe Mikhail, is there a drawing that you ask if it would be all right?" To clarify her questioning as well give him an idea where she wished to go with this.

She didn't hear him right, obviously. "Mar--Mikhail?" She was stuck on that. Blinking slowly, she glanced down to her booted feet. "Oh, ask him if there is a drawing?" To clarify. "I could ask him."

"Are you drawn to Mikhail. Wish to be your husband?" He was not real good in asking these questions. "If you are, their customs are different so it would have to go different." Which he was not all that clear on to start.

Luckily she was not trying to listen in on that conversation! Worse, to be drawn into it. She concentrated on what Kaylea was advising her and attempted it, like she said, like she did. She managed to move a little backwards before stopping as arms flailed so she didn't fall.

"I hardly know him. And I do not think he would have interest." And his sister was here. Not that she was standing right next to them, but still. She cast a glance towards the women on the ice, then slowly gained her feet.

"Then another you have met?" Stepping aside that she might come onto the ice. She was here to skate and the conversation had gotten them sidetracked.

She was ready to catch her if necessary. Keep your arms out to help you balance. Once you learn, you won't need to do that."

She took a few deep breaths to let out slowly before attempting it again. Arms out more to learn the balance as suggested. Once she got the feel of it she need not look like one of those scarecrows she saw in vegetable plots.

She shook her head. "No. I..." She pursed her lips, pausing. "I do not know many well, not men from here. And our customs are so different." She brushed her hand along her hip, glancing down at the snow.

"Then there is no present worry to be married off. Let time decide." A rare smile lighting his features as he had moved the scarf down from the lower portion of his face. "Come and ice skate." Giving her room as he had no idea how well she could or not.

"Good. Just take it slow and easy. And occasionally look over your shoulder. When you go faster, you'll have your arms out some anyway." To show what she meant, she started to skate backward again, arms out slightly as she went faster and faster.

"I will, but--there is something I wish to do." She never changed into her ice skates. She took them up into her hands and smiled apologetically to Anhur. "I will return." She was very fast and Abe had to hustle to keep up with her. She moved away, Abe shadowing.

He watched her move away and for what reason, to put on her ice skates. That would be helpful as he turned and skated out, circling both Kaylea and his sister as he watched her progress in learning how to skate backwards. She was doing well so he would skate and watch.

She was doing well until she tried to go a little faster like Kaylea was doing. Her feet went out from under her and next she knew, she was staring up into the dark sky with snowflakes falling on her face. It slightly knocked the wind out of her or more just the surprise. After the initial blinking she started laughing. She hadn't gotten hurt for the layers of clothing. Struggling up next as she slowly got to her feet. Wobbly a moment as well.

She was right back to Mirre, making sure she was all right. When she heard her laugh, she grinned and if her new friend needed any help getting up, Kaylea was there to assist. Once she was on her feet, the zoo keeper placed her hand on Mirre's arm to help steady her if necessary. "That wasn't bad at all. Keep practicing and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll learn."

Somewhere, Abe stood off near Banafrit as she changed into her skates. Her boots were shoved underneath a bench. And even though her arms were stuck out to her sides and she scooted towards the ice like a wobbly penguin, she refused Abe's offer to at least help her to the ice. She stood on the very edge, somewhat bent at the waist as she stared at the patch right in front of her. Drawing in a deep breath, she inched onto the ice and automatically starting a wobbling, weaving dance. Somehow though, somehow she wobbled and weaved into a full circle.

She gave a wicked look off to the side where Anhur was skating a short distance from them. Gaze dropping down to what was in her hands when she'd been down, snow over the ice, she had made a snowball. Kaylea could probably see the wicked smile more for the gleam in her eyes, the scarf mostly up over her mouth as she turned and whipped that white ball at Anhur as he glided by.

He had watched making sure Mirre was all right before he slid by the two to start laughing as Bana wobbled for the ice. That was cut off when he got hit in the shoulder by snow. Startled him for he'd not been aware or looking in the direction of Mirre and Kaylea. Uncertain which one, he scooped up enough to first throw one at his sister then Kaylea in fast succession.

She was about to laugh with Anhur's startled laugh when she got hit square in the chest, snow flinging up into her face coating her cheeks. It didn't hurt for the snow was soft but the cold was a rude awakening, she squealed. The snow fight was on as she scooped up more to shoot another his way then making another as it was flying towards him.

She wasn't sure what all of the laughing was about, yet. She was facing the wrong direction. She turned oh so slowly to see everyone and what was going on. She got all nervous when she realized a snowball fight of some sort had broken out. She inched forward, and again, until she actually started going somewhere in a glide. A wobbly one.

She was watching and of course, started to laugh when Mirre managed to hit Anhur. She wasn't expecting to get hit though and let out a yelp when the snowball smacked her in the same general area. She also was hit by what had hit Mirre. Scooping up snow, she sent a ball flying toward Anhur.

He was on the move as Mirre retaliated, the one she threw brushing against the cloak worn with little to no effect. He whooshed right by Banafrit as knees bent, scooping up snow as he glided only to come back up and throw another her way. He got smacked in the hood with the one Kaylea threw and so the second was sent her way as he headed towards them.

Her arms went up defensively even though Anhur aimed the snowballs in another direction. Lowering her arms, she squinted at him then broke out into a quiet laugh.

She got smacked in the shoulder close to her neck as the spray dusted on her face again. The tip of her tongue licked away the snow upon her lips as she was determined now to hit Anhur good with one .Frustrated, she packed some more snow and sent one towards Kaylea in possibly having better luck in hitting her target.

He watched the one fly by before his sister threw one at Kaylea. He was laughing at this point but made sure he had enough for two more snowballs, lopping one at Banafrit as he glided past so she was not left out.

She managed to move enough that the snowball just dusted her shoulder and she giggled. Another was sent flying toward Anhur before she realized that she was now Mirre's target. It smacked her in the shoulder. Laughing again, she scooped up enough snow to send one for Anhur and then another for Mirre. She was on the move now, hopefully becoming less of a target that way.

It barely touched her! A hinted brush was felt against her shoulder and the snow sprayed all over the place. She squinted her eyes at Anhur, then lifted her chin upward. "So close and that is all you can do?" She actually laughed again.

Being Kaylea sent one his way in the last, he glided towards her again as he got off another. No longer bothering to scoop the snow up from the coated ice as he could form them out of the moisture in the air.

Her cloak was starting to be more white than gray as she scooped up some more as Kaylea's hit her side. She tried a longer distance shot towards Banafrit thinking she was joining in. Bana was too far away so another was sent towards Kaylea.

Another near miss had her squealing out a laugh. She lobbed a quick one toward him before she started to skate away. If he couldn't get closer, he couldn't nail her!  Mirre needed to practice and Kaylea needed to quit laughing!

He hadn't meant to hit Banafrit being she was wobbling but with her taunt he skated up to stop right in front of her. The snowball flying by him had been noticed and by whom. He put his hands on her shoulders each at the same time, leaving crusted snow there. Not the same as throwing them at her. "Feel better now?" Smile dazzled of white teeth before he was around to shoot one towards Kaylea for the last attempt.


Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Anhur al-Azhar
Post # 3

Perhaps she had an invisible shield around her, who knew? She swayed to the side though, when she realized she was under fire. Letting out a squeak. Watching Anhur sweeping in, she froze up briefly until she realized what he was doing; had down. She bent down, well, sort of fell and while down, she packed together some snow and flung it at him. Or tried.

She came to a stop and again, was just grazed. Laughing, she sent another toward Mirre and then toward Anhur. Now if she was lucky, she might get two in one with that last shot.

He was standing that close if she hadn't hit him it would have been a miracle! It splatted right against his chest as another brushed by his side from behind that might have sprayed on Banafrit. "Let's see if you can hit me on the move." Skating backwards as when he was a distance away, a snowball came her way.

She got hit in the shoulder as another balled up bit of snow went towards Kaylea. Then one towards her brother as his back was coming closer.

The snow did spray her, and she squinted against it. Not only that, she was brushed by the one Anhur aimed at her not long after. She had a determined look in her eye and she scooped up some more snow and struggled, a good bit, to her feet. But why she stood was anyone's guess, because when she launched the snowball, it threw her off her feet. She slipped after the snowball was hurled towards Anhur.  And missed.

Mirre was getting better as one hit his back from her direction and he whipped two off, one towards Kaylea and his sister in turn.

One finally missed her other than a passing brush. She hopped and nearly fell so excited one basically missed her.

She grinned at Mirre and sent another flying her way. Then a second went for Anhur. She had gotten hit twice! Soon she'd look like a snow lady! And just so Bana didn't feel left out, she sent another her way.

Probably why Banafrit missed, the snowball was released on her way down, looped up and probably fell on her as well! He was over to help her up while keeping an eye on Kaylea and Mirre. He might use Bana as a shield once she was standing again.

Luckily the one shot from Kaylea would only skim a shoulder but the next one would get her. Once Banafrit was standing he made another snowball, well two, both heading for Kaylea in succession.

She wobbled right upward and just as she rose, she was smacked. If Anhur hadn't been helping her stand, she probably would have fallen again. She skittered forward some, glancing over her shoulder at him. At least he wasn't  throwing them at her. She picked up snow and sent two flying. One towards Kaylea, the last towards Mirre. Swoosh-swoosh!

Ooooo. that one got her good as she sent another snowball in Kaylea's direction for it!

And just because, he sent one towards his sister again.

She got Kaylea good at least but got hit square against her shoulder from another direction. Bana and then Anhur whose ended up short of her foot so she balled up two, throwing first at Bana then her brother.

She was getting hit more than she was hitting. And Bana's hit had her flailing to keep her balance. She couldn't see!  Down she went, laughing harder than before.

Splat! She went down, needless to say. Arms all flailing. And the tiny noise she released sounded like a startled, choked cry. Mirre got her good, needless to say!

"Woman down," as he was over to scoop Kaylea up, any balls sent his way were liable to hit her instead as he got her to her feet. Just what she wanted. The one Mirre threw his way, missing easily when he started moving.

Hitting him was good. She was laughing as he helped her. "Thank you, Anhur." It would take her a minute to get the snow out of her eyes.

It was hard to tell if she sent one at her brother as Kaylea was up and in the line of the throw.

She began to realize that the snow on her was somewhat melting. The part she usually hated. "I am all wet!" She complained. Given, she wasn't soaked. But that one little patch was enough to make her complain!

Another woman down as he was over to help Bana up again. Once more she would end up a shield.

She was trying to hit her brother as a snowball came in his direction again, now Bana in the line of fire just as he helped her up.

She didn't notice this at first, what he was doing. She glanced back again, just as she was brushed with snow. She sucked in a startled breath then tried to slink around behind Anhur, to turn him into the shield! She was so wobbly though.

Which had her throw another at her brother as she saw Bana move out of the way.

One brushed by then the next hit him in the chest. He was grinning under the scarf as he was gliding away from Bana headed for Mirre as he threw one her way.

"Hey!" She turned to look at Rahmirre and tried to glare but she was having so much fun. Laughing, she charged toward Rahmirre, turning at the last minute as she threw one at the Egyptian lass.

Luckily she had moved, whirled around and shot one off at him as he passed.

She became very bold, very. Anhur had a tag along. Banafrit had lightly grasped the back of his cloak.  And was hauled along for the ride!

At the same time one splatted against her arm. Noticing Bana hooked on Anhur, she moved as quick as she could to grab onto the back of her coat.

He wondered what could have snagged his cloak as it took more effort to move but move he could, glancing over his shoulder naturally at that first pull to find Bana attached then Mirre. They were becoming a train.

Indeed, they were. She tried to skate, some, so he wouldn't be under the brunt of all the pulling! Then she felt pulling, too and glanced back to Mirre. She smiled, even if it wasn't seen; her eyes showed it. She wondered if Kaylea would tag along, too. "If he stops quickly, this will not end well," she warned Mirre.

Of course Kaylea would become the end of the train. She was careful to put her hands on Mirre's waist though so she wouldn't choke her by pulling on her cloak.

Her eyes showed her smile, this was fun as she helped in skating too. Looking back over her shoulder as Kaylea joined in, her smile bigger more seen in her eyes, briefly her way. Banafrit's words were now ever present in her mind so minding her feet in case he stopped. It would be like her brother to do so!

He didn't stop but wove them around like a snake around the area they had been skating. Not as much snow for the activity and parts where snow had been scooped up showed the ice beneath as well skate marks.

She hoped Anhur didn't hear her! But it would've been easy, considering he was right in front of her. The snake pattern took a little getting used to. She found it easier though, to skate while holding onto someone.

Weaving until he picked up some speed and started a circle in place that would have the last out in that momentum having to go even faster being on the end. Kaylea better have a good grip on Mirre's coat.

She was almost tripping over her feet as she could feel the spin being second to the last.

Well, all was going good until Anhur started that. Her other hand fumbled to catch a grip somewhere on him. "Are you trying to shake us free?" She teased, laughing. She did well for the first part, but the spinning made her dizzy! She released him and flew off in a random direction. Hopefully Mirre let go! Especially since she, Banafrit, was headed for a large snow bank. Pinwheeling arms.

She had done this with her brothers since she was small and as soon as she felt Mirre start to stumble, she let go, using her speed to avoid the others, just barely. She slowed and turned to watch, her eyes wide.

She had let go as Bana had, her spinning off and she right into her brother; who at least stopped her momentum.

He felt the release of his dragging having him spin quicker as they let go only to be barreled over by his sister it turned out. His skates going out from beneath him as he went down sliding in another direction. He was laughing.

Well, that made up for getting hit by so many snowballs from him when her aim had not been so good on moving targets. She had nearly stumbled but caught her balance as she watched her brother go down instead. Laughing as well being he hadn't gotten hurt. None of them had. "I think I need to get back so I can thaw out in front of the hearth. Have some hot tea."

Eyes wide, then closed, she could only wince before her balance was lost and she went careening into the bank of snow. Snow shot everywhere, but at least her legs and skates could be seen out over the ice!

Blinking then as she caught the sight from the corner of her eyes, turning there to see fully. "Banafrit!" Heading her way then to help her up. She would need to thaw out as well. She heard Abe laughing.

Yes, Abe was over there having a darned good laugh out of all of this. Especially the sight of Banafrit when she pulled herself free from the snow, with Mirre's help. Snow was all.. over.. her. She glanced down at her legs, then blinked over at Mirre; her lashes holding flakes of snow, too. "....That..." She had no words. She suddenly laughed.

"That was fun," no matter the cold as once she was up she helped to get rid of the snow covering her cloak. She sent Abe a look which had him suck in that last bit of a laugh. Words were low, "we'll get him back." Which only meant trouble! Why she said it low so her brother didn't hear.

He had gotten up in the meantime and was over to make sure Banafrit was all right. Lucky for them he hadn't heard what Mirre had said.

She squinted her eyes, listening to Mirre while glancing over towards Abe. "Do you ever .. uh.. sneak from your guard?" And there was Anhur. She hoped he didn't hear. "I am all right," quietly. She tried to smile, a dazzling smile, but it was hidden behind her scarf.

She nodded her head in answer to the question because Anhur had approached. It was quick, discreet followed by the smile in her eyes. They could talk later on it.

She was a bit further away then planned but made her way back, smiling at the three. "That was fun."

He took the nod in agreement of something, figuring it was that it was time for them to head back. "You can come with us, Kaylea until your place is reached. We will need to go by there." Basically herding both Banafrit and Mirre towards the benches so they could get their skates off and boots on.

"Yes, it was." She agreed with Kaylea, perhaps a shocker for most. She never cared for snow. She caught the nod from Mirre, though didn't reply, just to keep Anhur in the dark. Herded to the bench, she settled down to change out of her skates and into her boots.

"Yes it is fun." In answer to Kaylea as she grabbed her hand as they were herded back to the benches so she would join them as well. It wouldn't take long to remove her skates and put on the far warmer boots. She was looking forward to thawing out in front of the fire back home.

Well, it looked at if she was leaving whether she was ready or not. Laughing, she allowed herself to be herded back to the benches where she changed from skates to boots. It didn't take her long either and now she grabbed the cloak she had there, brushing it off before pulling it on.

She stood, giving a slight stomp of her boots against the snow. She held her skates, but these, she passed off towards Abe without a word.

She was up as well and over by her brother's side in wait. She had tagged in his wake so he was her guard tonight.

With just him they would all be safe as once his boots were on, skates slung over a shoulder, he started back with them. Well, to where their horses waited. "We shall do this again." He had fun and was pleased to see his sister out as well Banafrit in sharing that fun.

She nodded quietly, for Anhur and sent him a brief smile. She shivered, becoming suddenly chilly. The snow was melting, her clothes were getting quite wet.

"It's good to get out and have fun with one another." She mounted her horse and waited for the others. She'd have to see about getting her own family out and about. Should be interesting as well as fun.

He saw to helping the others up upon their steeds before mounting up then heading them out. He would lead, Abe would take up the rear.


Date: 06-07-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 4

Time Spent at the Lake

Kuwan made her way along the shore of the lake, basket over one arm as she searched for certain roots and leaves. Ingredients she used in her rabbit pies. She was as quiet as a deer of the forest, graceful in movement as well. There was a sadness about her, though she would hide such emotions deep inside where secrets were kept in her heart. Ones she told no one, not even Kaliska. She was becoming a loner as time progressed but she had her little shining spotlight in the rabbit pies she made.

The sun beat down warm on this late spring day. Conor lounged on a rock, like a snake in the rays, soaking in that warmth. It took everything he had to drag his arse out of bed this morning. He ached from his head to his feet and most days, after a night of brawling, he felt this way but this morning was different. He didn't want to move. He didn't even want to pretend he was alive. He started to roll to his stomach from his back, but ... no ... he changed his mind and stayed just as he was.

She had clothes like those of the lands but she chose to wear the simple doeskin shift. Simple in style but she had worked beads into it making patterns of color. Fringe along the hem and shorter arm sleeves. Boots of the same coloring held with darker strips of leather winding up her legs to mid calf. hair was braided with small feathers adorning the ends, black that was so pitch it had highlights of deep blue. Quiet steps brought her around a bend only to come upon a man lounging on a rock. Startled at first but she quickly regained her composure as she studied him, first wondering if he was dead or sick. So reached down to poke his shoulder. He looked very pale.

Pale with patches of bruises and cuts, yes, that was Conor. Her approach was silent, not that he would have heard even if she didn't. It was the poke that got him. "Holy..." He jerked to the side, nearly tumbling off his pedestal of rock into the water below. Conor scrambled to keep his balance, blinking through the sunlight to the vision of feminine form silhouetted against the bright day. That quick movement wasn't exactly good for his current state of physical duress but she'd never know by the look of him. He came to his feet in an instant swaying only slightly against the surprise and discomfort.

"You are hurt," natural instincts to heal as she set the basket aside and loosen the top of her medicine bag she carried at her waist. She stepped away to the water's edge to crouch down, water scooped in one hand before adding certain herbs in a mixture then back up again. The pate on the left palm while a finger of her right hand was used to scoop up just a small bit to the fingertip. She stepped closer to the male, lifting her right hand. "This will help heal," hoping that he would allow her to apply the clay like substance to his cuts and bruises.

What could he say? His state of shock was so that he only watched her, following her movements with his squinted gaze. So many sights to see in this land, and the majority of them quite pleasant! He nodded, not verbally consenting but consent he did. Curious and almost eager. She moved with the grace of a swan, all sleek lines and streamlined muscle. Her attire, her hair, he'd never seen anything like it before. Conor stood as if mesmerized. Just the occasional blink to indicate he wasn't made of the rock where he waited.  She was definitely different from the lasses back home. Would Eion call her strange? Or would he agree she was more like a goddess from one of Segan's tales.

Eion might think she was a dark fairy or some other mystical creature that wasn't real. Her touch was light, concern showed in dark almond shape eyes, her skin a rich honeytone bronze. The youth and innocence unmasked by any makeup white women usually used. "You have strong face. Strong bones," which she could tell as each bruise and cut was seen to individually. No rush, it took as much time as needed. "You have been in fight?" Her English was good but still it was choppy at times. Little words that connected others sometimes overlooked in usage.

She smelled really good too! Fresh air, burned herbs, green forest and female. He closed his eyes as she started, bending toward her when needed so she could reach him better. "Scuffle." One eye opened and he peered to the woman when he spoke, then he closed it again. "Are you a native here?" He asked as she worked. Where the clay covered his wounds, it tingled and drew his flesh tight. He tried not to pay attention to that sensation and more to the touch of her fingers.

"Scuffle?" That was not a word she knew as she finished up with the last of the medicinal pate she had made. "I am from far away across the sea. It took long trip as we came with the twin brothers. Their father is from here. There was mishap and they were sent from tribe so it is here we came. Our choice to stay with our brothers of kind." She wasn't sure if she was making sense to him but it was a situation hard enough to relate to another let alone translate it into another language. "You will heal good. No marks left." Meaning scars as she stepped away to the water's edge, crouching down as she washed off her hands.

He listened as she spoke, her voice blending nicely with the sound of the wind and the movement of the water. It wasn't until she moved away from him again that he opened both eyes fully. He glanced down over his body, smeared with gray mud where the poultice was drying. "I, too, have traveled across the sea. My father...was...from here." He tapped a fingertip at the hard cover of mud and medicine, then lowered his hand. "A fight. A scuffle is a  fight...not a big one...but a fight." He moved over to kneel down beside her. "I'm Conor."

"Small fight like male friends or brothers have?" Glancing his way from over a shoulder as he kneeled down beside her, mirth showing in dark eyes for a moment before she was up, hands wrung with each other before guided down along the sides of her shift. "It is strong name, Conor. Does it have meaning? I am Kuwanyauma but it is long name so I am called Kuwan." She was back over to collect her basket but instead of leaving to continue on her way gathering roots, herbs and berries, she took up a seat against the stone ledge he had been laying on earlier. There was a calmness that surrounded her, something that came deep from within no matter what else was hidden there. "Perhaps your father's heart will become your heart with these lands." She wasn't sure if the others of her tribe would stay or not as the three years punishment was almost reached. She wasn't sure how she felt about staying or going back. She watched him in that solemn keen way, curious about him and not so judgmental as accepting.

"Aye. See? You do know what a scuffle is." He laughed softly, rearranging himself so that he could sit beside her again. "As far as a meaning? It means...I'm the youngest of three brothers. That's all I know." He really hadn't given much thought to his name except that when he heard his mother or grandmother call it, his entire body turned to fearful mush. A tilt of head allowed him to look at her without fully facing her. He appreciated what she said about his father, but he didn't comment on it. "Kuwan?" He started, lifting his hand to stroke his thumb along the mud on his forehead. "How long does this stay on?"

"Yes. I do know what scuffle is. I did not know word for it." Her smile was pleasing as she learned something new each day. Warming more as he sat aside her, moving just so that he could become comfortable. With her basket handy she offered him some early blackberries she found as well some raspberries that grew in a section of the forest she only found this very day. It was becoming a very prosperous day. "It is harder for a path to be found for the youngest of brothers. It is not the oldest or the second to choose limiting choices to be unique." More a statement but there was that hint of a question in wondering if it was so for him. Glancing down to where he touched the drying poultice. "Until you wash it off or it dries so much it brushes off with finger or material."


Together they shared the bite sized fruits. "My path was pretty much set for me." He answered her statement with one of his own. "I don't mind much. But are a healer then?" He scratched at one of the mud bandages, watching as it flaked away. "And out gathering for your little bag of magic there?" He nodded toward her medicine pouch.

"If another sets your path and it not right, then you have to find and set it right." She had enough of the berries to share in how many he wanted for she could collect more on her way back. "I was being taught much about healing before we left. I have continued to practice what I learned. Yes," dipping glance to the leather pouch, decorated with beads woven in designs and fringed. "I collect what I know of and find here in these woods and forests, streamlets and meadows. Many of the same grow here, some are harder to find and can only be at night, some only early morning but I find." She had plenty of time in that way and made her a useful part in her community aside making the rabbit pies. "Have you ever had rabbit pie?" As the thought came up with her curiosity.

Wouldn't Eion croak? Conor covered in magic mud speaking to this 'strange' to Eion's way of thinking, rather interesting to Conor's, female. "Rabbit pie?" He shook his head. There weren't many wild creatures Conor hadn't tasted but not in pie form. "Can't say as I have. Is it anything like lemon pie?" He realized she probably couldn't catch the humor of that comment if she even knew what lemon pie was! He waved a hand to let her know she didn't need to answer. "Thank you, Kuwan. I needed this." He swiped his hand along his chest, smeared with mud where his injuries were. "I don't want to hold you up."

"I do not know this lemon pie to know." So yes, the humor had been lost on her until she had the chance to have some lemon pie. "If you are here this evening, I will bring a rabbit pie for you to try." Being that she didn't know where to find him otherwise. "You are not holding me up, am I holding you up?" The terminology new on her but she picked up on it quickly enough. Detaining him. "I will need to go soon for the pies are cooking as we speak, slow, take time to be done right." She had time still before she needed go.

"No. No." He stuttered over the need to explain he was in no way detained. "You are not holding me up. I was just here resting. If you remember." A chuckle, a glance to the spot he had vacated so quickly when she startled him. "And, I won't be here, more than likely, this evening. But at the" She wouldn't know where the manor was but didn't everyone know where the Thistle was? "Are you familiar with the Thistle Tavern?"

Today, Karina's wanderings had taken her further afield of the Thistle Tavern than just the immediate surrounds. With each passing day that she went unaccosted, her confidence to move about in broad daylight increased. Perhaps it was overconfidence, but on such a pretty day the sunlight couldn't help but lure her outside. So she'd been meandering around for several hours now and soon found herself standing some distance from a lake. Her eyes opened a little wider, because hey, that sight was not bad. Filled her head with sudden poetry in fact. A smile split her features, but before she went further, she bent to tug off her boots. She wanted to feel her bare toes in the grass.

His stuttering had her smile, even the slip of laughter to lace her words. She found that endearing. "Yes, you were .. basking in sun to heal your wounds?" Which would only cause him burn if his skin was as sensitive as other white men's were. Something that was noted over the course of years. "I am pleased I am not detaining you." Words measured out so they were correct, so she hoped. "Yes, I have been to the tavern. Wise man Alex sits well in his domain."

Wise man Alex in his domain. He smiled in agreement. "Aye, that's the place. That's where I'll be."

"Then I shall bring rabbit pie there for you and if you are not there when I can, I will leave it with Alex for you. The Hazel woman will keep it warm in her kitchen." Her smile came swiftly with that satisfactory decision. Conor would have his rabbit pie, either directly or indirectly. "I will come if I can when the sun hovers over the mountains and light will remain for a few hours still."

Rabbit pie. Couldn't wait to brag to his brothers about this one! "Just make sure she knows which Quinn brother it is for, Kuwan. Make sure she knows it's for Conor Quinn." He mulled over the poetic way she spoke of twilight,  hoping he could remember it later to share with his sisters. "It is something I'm looking forward to."

Ahh, much better. Karina straightened again with her boots dangling from her hand and looked around the idyllic place again. This second glance found two figures relaxing not too far off, by the water's edge. A grand distance to run. And so, for the hell of it, that's exactly what she did. Took off at full speed, which was impressively fast; she'd had a lot of practice running. Barefooted she pelted her way across the field, and all breathless and red-cheeked, the tomboy teen jumped to a stop RIGHT next to Connor. "Hallo!"

"Yes. There is only one Conor of the brothers Quinn." Such words were carefully pronounced that she would learn them correctly, imitating his speech in pronunciation. "It is something I look.." but the words were cut off as another woman came running, stopping up short, breathless and red faced. Dark eyes then dipped to Conor to watch his reaction.

Startled for the second time in this spot, Conor flinched, starting at those bared toes and working his way to the features of the one that got him. "Nessa!" Covered in splotches of mud where Kuwan had mended him, Conor scrambled to his feet. He lowered a hand to Kuwan as he began an introduction. "Kuwan...this is Nes..this is Karina. Karina, Kuwan."

Karina just grinned as his exclamation turned out to be the warrior queen's name from the story she'd told. Ah well, she didn't mind. It was kind of a nice nickname, actually. "Ya been rollin' in the mud?" She asked first, eyeing the splotchy Quinn, before turning her eyes to Kuwan and sticking out a hand to shake. "Hallo, Kuwan. Pleasure it is." The young woman meeting Kuwan with a grin was dressed in boy's clothes, head to toe. Baggy pants and a loose tunic two sizes too big, smattered in patches and soot. She had a sailor's cap on her head, which she now tugged off to rumple the sweaty copper curls beneath. Aqua eyes sparkled with fun as she shook Kuwan's hand.

She eased up in a fluid grace much like the deer of the wild in movements or swan some might say, to stand as they were both standing. "It is good to meet Karina." Hard to read dark eyes, except for the natural curiosity in them, studied the woman. She looked at the hand, remembering the custom as she shifted her basket over her left forearm so that she could shake the hand with her right. She had a firm grip that was quick in the up/down motion before released. She had on a doeskin shift that had intricate beadwork by her hand. Fringe, boots of like, lustrous black hair was neatly braided with small feathers at the ends with the twine holding them in place.

He looked with a smile between the two females. "Kuwan is a healer, Karina." He laughed, once more flicking a couple of flakes of mud from his flesh. "If I knew that rolling in the mud could be so beneficial, I would have jumped in with the pigs whenever I had a disagreement with one of my brothers."

Which had thick lashes to lower demurely a moment but a smile turned the corners of full lips. "You heal fast, so medicine work well."

Date: 06-07-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 5

"A healer?" She asked, curiosity sparking in her tone. She studied the other woman more closely now. "And not of this place from the looks of it. Well, neither am I," she added so that Kuwan wouldn't be offended by that statement. "So are ya tellin' me that folks pay gold and silver for fancy remedies, when they could just go out to the pigpen themselves?"

A glance to the sky and positioning of the sun before lowered back upon the two. "I must be back or the pies will burn if not tended soon. I will see you again," one or both as she was off to see to the rest of her duties.

"I doubt this is mixed with dung." He mentioned in an aside to Karina before looking once more to Kuwan.  He nodded his farewell and watched as she left them.  "Interesting lass, that." He said, pulling his gaze back to the he/she standing near him.  "Have you not ever rolled about in the mud?"  He took a step back, another once over of her person. "I find that hard to believe." He dipped his head though just then to take a sniff.  Because, he really didn't know what all was mixed in that mud.

"I wouldn't put it past a healer to mix her potions with more... ordinary substances," a snicker as he went to sniff the mixture anyway, "Even such a pretty one." She added with a suggestive perk of the brow. Ah yes, she knew exactly why Conor had been lingering here with that exotic lady! "And o' course I've rolled in mud. It's grand for keepin' off flies and mosquitos." Kidding? It was hard to say.

He pulled his chin in to watch as she sniffed at him, grinning in the process.  "I've found that this place has many pleasing sights.  Haven't you?"  If Conor knew the lass' train of thought, he may have asked her to further explain why he was lingering, at least, her opinion on it.  But, as it was, he didn't so he just chuckled with her protection techniques.  "Aye, why do you think the pigs muck about in it?  It's cooling as well."  Seems he was familiar with the benefits of mudmucking.  Ice skating was nothing to cowpile skating.  Did that with bared feet and the goo just oozed between the toes!  Grand fun!  Until your mother found out. "So..." About to state the obvious.  "You've ventured further than the front porch of the tavern!  Good for you!"  He slowly lowered to that rock surface to sit again.  His exposed chest and back were soaking up the sun.  The mud patches actually cool over the healing areas.

His comment on many pleasing sights just earned another broad smirk. Mmmhm. Many pleasing sights indeed for a man who'd just been lounging with a lovely lady. But she didn't air those thoughts aloud, instead just agreeing with his statement about mudmucking. "Exactly!" Wearing mud as clothes could lower the body temperature significantly. She remembered once, when she was just a small child herself, little Mags had taken fever. Karina had snuck out and gotten a bucket of mud and dumped it all over Mags to cool her down. Oh, how Mam Gretchen had been furious about the mess... and in the end Mags had died anyway. Thoughts elsewhere, it took her a second to register what Conor had just said. "Eh? Oh, aye. Figured it was about time to get out from those four walls." And she flopped to the ground to sit as well, tossing her sorry-excuse-for-boots aside.

Now he was lounging with another lovely lady.  At least, the potential for lovely.  At the moment she was just... well... Nessa in her oversized clothes and her mop of copper curls.  "Glad you wandered down this way in your adventure seeking.  Though there really isn't much to see but the lake here."  And then, it hit him.  When he arrived here, beaten, bruised and exhausted, he could barely make himself move.  Now...he was feeling rather good.  This mud stuff really worked wonders!  He eased down, the warmth of the rock pressed to his back.  His arms lifted and  he tucked them under his head, but he still had his faced turned to Karina and that smile was in place.

"Not much ta see?" She repeated in tones of incredulity. She lifted a hand and swept it around emphatically, as if the scenery were explanation enough in itself. "Not everywhere has this sort o' view," she pointed out. Stretching herself out for a second, she wriggled her bare toes then settled back, leaning her weight on her bony elbows. For a second she just looked around, at the lake surface sparkling in the sun, new flowers blooming, birds on the wing. "Almost like a sort o' paradise," she added idly.

Conor...just smiled.  She was rather fetching when she got all indignant.  He would know, this was the second time he had managed to rouse her ire.  "So I'm finding."  At the moment this was the only place that had this sort of view and aye, it could be as close to paradise as the country Irish lad had ever come.  He pushed up to his elbows, mimicking her stance.  He was still looking at her, then his eyes almost sparkled with a realization.  The hand furthest away flattened to the rock and he leaned toward her.  "You've got freckles."  He informed her, as if she didn't know.

Karina, on the other hand was glancing around the lake. She couldn't help it, the pastoral vista had her imagination spinning off into all sorts of directions, musical notes and poetic lyrics. It was a habit she'd never been able to shake, that had annoyed more than one elder in her youth. Now at least she'd learned not to hum aloud. Though her features were distant unto themselves, as if seeing other worlds where they both actually looked upon the same place.

Oh no, she wasn't looking where he was looking. His view was far more delightful at the moment.

She would've lingered happily there for awhile had his words not pulled her from her reverie. Turquoise eyes sharpened and blinked, moving to him. And she just regarded him with narrowed eyes, as if expecting this to be a trick. "Aye, so what?..." Most people didn't like freckles. She was already readying a sharp retort if he were to tease about them.

"Gran used to say they were fairy kisses.  They seem to like the bridge of your nose and your cheeks."  The hand that wasn't supporting his weight lifted and he used his finger to dart a path as if he was following the different freckles.  He didn't make contact, but it could be annoying just the same.   Score three for Conor.  Once again she was on the defensive in his company.

"Fairy kisses," she repeated skeptically. Then watched as he lifted a hand as if to touch her. She couldn't help but flinch, then leaned back away from his finger. "Hoy!" And she leaned up off an elbow, attempting to grab at that obnoxious pointy finger of his. It took a couple reaching, grabbing tries, though her irritation was being eclipsed by a smirk. "Ye can tell you're a younger brother."

His hand jerked away.  Frowning for a moment while he looked at her, he shrugged then leaned back on his elbows as he was before, turning his gaze out over the water.  "Aye, well..."  was all he said, crossing his feet at the ankles.

Regan was bored.  The Dream was in drydock for repairs after the run in with those blasted English ships, and she was stuck ashore for a least another week due to the fact that the shipwrights were so busy.  The lake was the next best thing, almost.  Clad in cut off pants, her feet bare and a poet's shirt that was tied at her midriff. True, it wasn't the usual garb for a lass, but it was perfect for when she was on a ship and she saw no reason to dress otherwise.  She even carried a picnic basket that she had gotten at the Thistle, thanks to Hazel. And look, there were others there.  She set the basket on grass and headed for the water.  "Afternoon."

Conor shot up a hand.  "Afternoon to you!" He called to the woman.

Now why was that man covered with mud?  Hard to tell what he looked like.  "Playin' in the mud some?"  She grinned impishly before she went wading.  The water was cold but she continued bravely on.  "I'm Regan."  She had to remind herself to be sociable with landlubbers.

"Some." He laughed, sitting up fully to drape his arm over a bent knee.  "Conor.  This is ..." It had become very difficult for him to use her birth name.  "Karina."

"Pleasure to meet you both. There's grub in the basket from Hazel. Help yourselves."  She ventured a little further out into the water but paused again and looked closely at Conor. "You using the mud to take care of some wounds and bruises?"  He was Irish obviously so fights would be in his blood.

He glanced down to himself, grinned, then looked back out to the woman.  "Thanks to a lass named Kuwan, aye, I am."  With the offer of food his stomach let out a growl of demand.  He had been here since early this morning.  Then, there was no desire to eat.  Just to ... die!  Now, his body and his mind had other designs, and those were centered on Regan's basket.
  The little miss next to him seemed to be in her own world of appreciating the lake and such so he rolled away from her, pushing up to stand.   As he crossed behind her, he patted her head, then started down the rock to where that basket screamed his name.  Conor! Conor! GetthehelldownhereConor!  "I'm thanking you, Regan."

"You're welcome."   She grinned at him as he headed that way then chuckled. "I know Kuwan. She lives on my brother's estate with her friends. Sweet lass and smart too."  She studied him a moment. "So, how does the other man look?"  Not mud covered in the least!

Conor squatted by the basket, looking up to her. "What makes you think it was only one?  Could have been two."  Actually, it had been two.  Conor did look rather rough, especially mud spackled.

"Was it?"  She had come back out of the water and plopped in the grass beside the basket so he didn't have to look up into the sun.

"Aye."  He laughed.  " was."  His gaze searched out the contents, and he decided on an apple for now.  "Would you like something, Regan?"  He shot a look to Karina, but she was still daydreaming at present.

"Not yet, thanks."  She closed her eyes as she enjoyed the warmth of the sun on her skin.  "I couldn't resist nibbling while I was walking here.  So, they look worse or as bad."  She opened her eyes suddenly and grinned. "Wait.  I know, you're one of the brothers that was brawling in the streets last night, aye?"

The apple was on the way to his mouth, but when she said ... that!  It didn't go any further.  And he started to laugh.  "At present I'm rather ashamed to say!"

"Nothing wrong with that.  My brothers have gotten into a few brawls in their time.  But we're all off in different directions now.  The older one is between here and Kildare, and the younger two have ships they're sailing."  She made a face then. "Be glad to see a fight or two with them."  Was she kidding? Maybe!

Karina had given Conor a rather odd look as he suddenly seemed to take their little game more seriously. Leaning away from him again, she frowned in return, and was about to ask what had crawled up his bum, when the other woman appeared. A kindred spirit of sort, it seemed, for Karina too was dressed in the garments of a sailor lad. She lifted her hand to wave in greeting, but soon enough had laid back flat on the grass, arms folding beneath her head for a nice catnap in the sun. Her mind wandered faraway until the woman mentioned something about ships and sailing, at which point, she cracked open a single eye and turned her head thataway.

Regan was tanned by the days of exposure in the sun, her hair bleached almost white.  While Conor happily munched his apple, she sat up and looked at the lass., giving her a hint of a smile.

The girl was younger than Regan by comparison, still in her late teenage years, though as Conor might be learning already, it was odd how she could seem to bounce between the age of ten and the age of thirty. Behavior-wise that is. When Regan caught her eye Karina decided it was about time to socialize some, so she pushed herself slowly upright, stretching as she did so. "What sort o' rig do ya sail?" Yes, clearly she'd been listening to the conversation while

"I captain a Carrack called "Neptune's Dream".  Three masted and she's built o' cedar."  There was definite pride in her voice as she spoke of the ship.  Just a little over 21, she had been navigator on the ship her brothers had originally captained.  "She's built for speed but right now she's in drydock."  Which had her frowning a moment but she shook it off.

"I've never sailed on a Carrack," Karina said, waking up more and more by the moment. Folding her skinny legs crossways, she scootched to face the other two. "Got a lateen sail on the fore and aft, aye? I'd love to sail on one of  'em... what happened to put her in drydock?"

Since Conor knew what it was like to be missing your brothers, he didn't say anything about that.  He sure couldn't enter into the present conversation.  Would rather not.  Just the mention of ships made his gut twist.  He ate more apple.

"An attack by some English ships that were laying in wait off the coast. Not sure if they thought we were someone else or just were testing the waters so to speak."  Which, wasn't totally true but until they found out more, that story would do.  "What have you sailed on before?" 

Things were rarely what they seemed when one ship attacked another, Karina had learned that much. "Well..." Karina offered a lopsided smile. "In truth I've only ever been on one ship before. And she was a galley. But I've always wanted ta go to sea. I love all the stories and shanties and all."

"It isn't all songs and stories."  Conor grumbled  coming to his feet again.  It was time to wash this mud off, but he wouldn't do it here.  "Well, ladies..."  He turned and let sail that apple core, deep into the woods for the squirrels to enjoy.  "Nessa, enjoy your day out...Regan, thanks for the apple."

"Ah.   That's how I was but then me brothers had been sent off to learn to sail and when they returned, I managed to coax them into letting me join them. "  She chuckled when she heard Conor but her expression was serious.  "And aye, it's not all fun.  It was good to meet you, Conor.  Maybe next time I'll get to see you brawling with your brothers."

Turning her face upward to Conor, she gave him another frown. She was wondering why he seemed so down and dour, all of a sudden. But in the company of another she wasn't going to pry. Instead she just offered in neutral farewell, "Seeyas, Conor."  She waited until he was gone to head off herself after saying good bye.

He waved...and off  he went.

Well, she had the lake to herself now and intended to enjoy it. With a wave to the two, she laid back and just enjoyed the sun.

Date: 06-08-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 6

Segan had been at the port since breaking fast with his family the early morning. He was having his crew go over every inch of the Anaconda and checking off the condition. So he had been going over the lists, things to be addressed, things to be added, things to be repaired. New sails would be in order too so he would need to find a sail maker and put that on order as soon as possible. This was herald when talking to Eion after Conor left last evening and a trip down along the coast to Ballicastle in order, once he got to talk to Gabriel as was setup to do soon. The trip would take near a whole day, that is if they didn't decide to stay over in Ballicastle a day or two and explore. He heard that Liam's ships were a sight to see as well those of Innis when here. Noonday saw him to the Thistle first where he picked up a basket of food, after learning such one could do when Hazel was cooking. There was enough packed to see to his brothers if they showed up at the lake.

After Conor's first trip there, it was time for him to see it. Perfect day for swimming especially after being around water but not in water and the sun beating down he'd been in. Alex told him how to get there easily, a path from the main road that brought him through a wooded area that then opened up to a sandy shore for a stretch. Noticing there were boulders of rocks that jutted out down further to each side as he headed for a picnic table he spotted nearest the sand. Here he dropped off the picnic basket and proceeded to strip down to what amounted to a loin cloth in case others showed being broad daylight. Last thing he needed was causing trouble here by being naked and the fair gender coming upon him so thus insulting sensibilities, after the fighting in the street the other night. He got this picture of some obscure being making a list of errors.

With his grandmother standing guard over him the first hour he worked this morning, Conor at last finished up the saddle he was preparing for Maurice McDonough. As he worked, he realized how much he missed having his hands on the leather; the thick hide, the familiar scent, the way his arms, back and fingers ached. He'd make the trip to Laird McDonough's ranch tomorrow. Today...he traveled to the lake. Perhaps, he'd get to see that Indian lass again. As it turned out, the only one there was Segan. Where was the justice in that!

It seemed where one or two of the brothers were, another would show until the three were together. Once Eion was fully healed, he'd likely be around only when off duty. He was going to the field daily though so he could build up again and to watch the others training. After stopping at the Thistle, and having Alex inform him where Segan had gone, he headed that way. And lo, and behold, not only was Segan there but Conor as well. Instead of yelling out, he let out a loud, long whistle.

The whistle was familiar. Conor looked around his shoulder. Smiled. Then raised his hand in greeting to the eldest of the brothers.

"Brothers." He greeted them both with a grin and began stripping off his shirt, boots to follow. "How has your day been so far?" Tomorrow he wouldn't be going to the field. He had promised Mel he'd fix a stone wall at the end of the property. And Gran hadn't quite scolded him but he had a feeling, she might wait until she could get the three together.

Conor was on the ground tugging at his boots when Eion asked that question, so with each tug, came his words. "Been... working... on that saddle. It's... been..." And they were both off, "a good day." He stood, peeling from his shirt. "How has your day been, Eion?" Conor would address Segan when he got in that water closer to that brother.

"Good. I went to the king's field to work out, watch the training some." He gave Conor a side look, a hint of a smile showing. "Saw the healer again and drank some nasty drink that is supposed to help me." He made a face. "I think I'll stick with Gran's." At least she offered something after to take the taste out of one's mouth.

"Mine will be better once I take a swim. If either of you are hungry," indicating the basket, "help yourself. Taking a run as he leaped up onto one of the large boulders and continued that run down off the end leaping, forward into a barrel fold to hit the water.

Food? He looked at the basket and before he stripped off his pants, padded over to the basket and found a fried chicken leg. He grinned and took a seat on the table while he enjoyed it. His appetite was one thing that didn't take long to regain.

Karina had gone to bed the evening prior still fuming over what had happened in the alleyway. It seemed wherever she went such things were always the same, and it'd almost been enough to make her want to up and move on again. But as it usually went, things looked better in the morning. Her jaw looked a little better too, from what she could tell in the dim mirror the bruise was still vibrant but the swelling was gone, at least. So down the stairs she'd gone for a belated brunch, and after stuffing her face, Alex had mentioned that the Quinns had gone off to the lake for a swim. Well, that sounded like jolly good fun on such a warm day. And so after shoveling in prodigious amounts of food she'd set off for the lake, knowing its location, for it was already one of her favorite spots in town. Crossing the field that approached the lake's shore, she saw the three of them, Segan already in the water. And their only warning would be an increasingly loud holler as she broke into a run, tugging off her cap, boots and over-coat as she went. "WaaaAAAHOO!" A flash of bright hair in the sun and splash! In she dove, headfirst.

Well, that was a surprise, he watched the lass run for the water like a crazed banshee, then rooted through the basket again. An apple the next to be devoured.

What was that streak of red! Conor had taken a place on the ground next to the table, a chunk of bread for his efforts in that basket. Conor laughed to himself, knowing that Segan was in the water and that the anaconda was a sly creature.

"Ahhh!" Karina surfaced with a happy exclamation, shaking her waterlogged locks from her eyes and grinning ear to ear. Despite a sore jaw, though she'd already near forgotten about the bruise there. "Hallo," she greeted the lads on the shoreline. "Thought ya had a grand idea so I decided ta follow ya's."

Another good idea? Conor leaned back into the grass, tucking a hand under his head, and shut his eyes. He'd listen to the frolicking in the water and check his eyelids for holes. Just for a little while.

Segan had surfaced only to have a bomb drop in the water not far from him, sending a spray and waves as he kicked back out of the way laughing. Though he thought it was one of his brothers but the two had been on shore, catching sight of Conor who looked to be asleep. "What was that, Eion?" Maybe he'd seen as he eyed the area of water that was presently calming.

He watched Conor, chuckling slightly. It seemed he had worked harder than he realized. Looking up when he heard Segan, he squinted toward the two. "What was what?" Did he mean Karina or something else?

In that brief opportunistic moment, Karina had quickly taken a breath and dunked herself back underwater before Segan could turn and see her. Karina was no stranger to swimming, and though the lake was a little murky she swam intently towards her target. Segan's legs came into view, planted in the muck of the bottom, and she reached forward through the water, reaching out to give a toe a sharp pinch! And just as swiftly she kicked herself away, still underwater.

He had to take a double glance as he'd not seen Karina there a moment ago, now she was under his sights. "Hello, feeling better." Glance dipping.. but then she was gone! He howled before going immediately under, grinning as small bubbles slipped through his teeth and lips. Only warning before he took hold of her hand to bring her closer and started tickling her sides.

"Bbbppbpbpb!" She squealed, but of course since she was underwater, it was just a bubbly sound beneath the surface. Segan had a strong grip on her hand, and though she tried to tug herself free she was weakened by the laughter tickling brought. Having just one hand free, she attempted to push it against Segan's face and shove him back!

He'd not have her drown as too much air was escaping for her squealing and so dragged her up to break the water's surface that she might gulp in more air than water. He too could use fresh air. Well, he also lifted her up and tossed her in getting even for the attack on his toe!

And gulp in air she did, as soon as they both surfaced. A laughing gasp would have metamorphosed into speech - had he not then tossed her back underwater! And so her yelp was cut off by the hearty splash she created. Karina surfaced just two seconds later, gasping for air but grinning at Segan. "Ohhh boyo. I hope ya know this means war."

He laughed as he watched the two, reminded of how they used to tease their sisters in the same way. Good memories of another time. Resting his elbows on his knees, he continued to watch as he waited for his stomach to settle.

Eion's laughter drew her eyes over to the eldest brother. She didn't think she'd ever heard him laugh yet, and so her grin turned his way. "And ye. Why are you still dry, hm?"

"So it does..." which had him swimming fast in her direction. He took to water like a dolphin. Long sleek strokes and dipping underwater as she looked over to his brother. If she looked back she'd not see Segan but next she would have a strong arm about her waist dragging her in further where he could regain footing. Once he did, she was up over a shoulder as he emerged from the lake. Water gushing down over bare skin and what he wore covering him in a bathing suit.

Uh oh. She glanced over her shoulder when she heard the telltale splashes of Segan's approach, but by then, it was too late. "Hoy!" She cried in protest, she wouldn't go down without a fight! Even after she was tossed like a sack of grain over the sailor's shoulder. "Hoy, ye! Put me down! Right now!" But her commands somewhat lost their authoritative edge for her giggling. Still she lashed out with feet and fists - rather useless against the brick wall carrying her bony frame.

"Because I'm not ready to get wet." He laughed again as she was caught and carried out of the lake. "Looks like you caught a wee mermaid there, Segan."

Bony frame was correct as one large hand spanned her derriere as she was held firmly over a strong shoulder, making sure she was secure while she wiggled and squirmed. He was up onto the boulder he had jumped from earlier and to the end leaving her to wonder if he would toss her in from there with the fifteen foot drop.

"Segan! Put me-" Her giggling exclamations paused as he swung her around just enough so she caught an upside-down glimpse of where they'd ended up. More specifically, the fifteen-foot plunge to the water below. And her tone changed considerably. "Segan Quinn! Don't ya dare... I swear I will set upon ya's the fleas of a thousand camels...!" And she gave another squirm, one last bid for freedom!

Which she would feel his laughter rumble up as he turned at the last moment and was swiftly down from the boulder, taking her over to the picnic table near to set her down to her feet. "I've brought some food if you want any?" He noticed both Conor and Eion had left at this point.

A sudden reprieve! "I didna expect such mercy," she managed to say when right side up again, breathless but smiling broadly. One hand lifting to push the sodden curls from her face, Karina glanced down to the basket. "Aye, I'm starvin!" Even though she'd only just eaten perhaps an hour or so ago. She'd always had quite an appetite, even more impressive for her slight frame.

He had mercy for he'd gotten her pretty good already, there was a point not to cross so he didn't leave her as much a drowned rat. "It would seem my brothers did quite a job on this," which had him chuckling under his breath after the lid was lifted. "I need to get. I didn't realize the time but enjoy what is left. Return the basket to the Thistle if you would?" Hand lifted to tousle wet curls causing a spray before he was collecting his clothes and into a sprint up the trail his brothers had taken earlier.



Date: 06-10-09
Poster: Victor Cleary
Post # 7

Moonlight Dancing

They had arrived in a carriage but he left that for Concessa when she was ready to go home from the ball held in allied lands. A guard to escort her as Victor took one of the horses as he and Kaylea decided to go dancing on their own. Settling her in to spoon up against his chest while wrapping his cape around her as would be his arms as he held the reins. The piece of leather slipping from tail his hair was held back in that had made his appearance more prim as a Viscount's would be. Falling away as the spirited horse took off in a gallop. The two into the rhythm of the equine as one. The road they took was lined in looming shadows of full foliage allowing little light at times through the thickness. Night sounds surrounded but the most that would be heard were the hooves of the stallion making their mark on the hardened earth beneath. No words, just held close and guiding the equine on another level with ease, the beast could sense what Victor wanted of him and inclined to obey.

The gown made easing onto the horse a little awkward but with Victor helping her, there were no problems. She leaned back against his chest, letting out a soft sound of joy as the horse started to gallop. Her hair would be an untidy mass of curls by the time they reached their destination but she didn't care. Being held so close while riding adding another dimension to the adventure.

The tree canopied road led away into open fields with the moon on the rise. Shadows danced with lighter counterparts as a misty haze seemed to capture the pale beams having them shattered into pinpoints of light. Kaylea could wonder if they had even reached Heathfield lands for the short time. Seemed barely in a tunnel of trees and out again on home lands. In essence that was exactly what happened. What would normally take hours took minutes. They were soon surrounded by a forest a distance away, a semicircle of trees from the center of the field they came to. One quarter was where a waterfall rushed down the side of mountain. Green grass grew with an abundance of wild flowers, gathering in clumps of areas, purple, pink, yellow, white and blue dotting between. It was warmer here as the shifting rising mists foretold, an ancient cast where even the sky cleared through the wafts to a zillion bright stars, the constellations not in their normal pattern as known by their day. Here he reined in the stallion, sliding off like a sleek predator before helping her down. The stallion was free to roam and would stay within this small domain.

The change from one place to another caused a tiny bit of disorientation though she felt the change in the feel that sang in her heart. She smiled as she sniffed the air then her bright eyes took in what lay before them. In spite of the darkness, she could see the wildflowers, feel the kiss of mist against her skin. Turning so she could slide down into his arms, her eyes met his. "I like it here already. It gives off a feel of age, and security." She kept her hands on his shoulders a moment before stepping back, her eyes still on his face.

The moon would soon be washing her pale light over the field and its occupants below. The mist like smoky tendrils with the burst of pin points of light shifting them this way and that in the light current of breezes as they rose up. "It is a special place better shared than not." Implying he had been here before alone most likely. "Breathe in the air full of nature's scents, the medley of flowers and fairy mists," which by his words hinted on whey they seemed to shimmer in dusted lights. Winged brows lifted as dark eyes searched hers before closing do draw in the breath of this enchanted place. He stood so very close. In the next moment he was discarding jacket and vest leaving the poets shirt half tied and untucked from his pants. Boots were next to be tossed off leaving his feet bare to feel the grass and earth beneath them.

"And I'm pleased you're sharing it with me." She answered as again, she studied the meadow, her eyes closing as she took in the scents of the flowers and mists and the sounds of the night and waterfall mixing together. When she opened her eyes, she watched him remove some his jacket, vest and boots. Was that a light caress of her fingers over his chest or a touch of fairy wings. She tugged at the skirt of her gown, bringing the back around so she could untie the draw strings. Stepping out of the skirt, she was left in a short dress of orchid and white. It was carefully draped over a branch and her shoes removed. She wouldn't want to damage the gown. The petticoats followed leaving long legs bare and toes curling against the cool grass.

He was back over, body swaying to music by the way he moved. Music yet unheard as hands lifted, haloing over her hair in a tracing outline down. His eyes intense held an inner light that turned them golden brown, gold near the pupil turning brown at the iris' outer edge. So close she could pick up his scent of deep forest, rich earth and something far more ancient, primal feel to it with a majestic edge like some ancient god. She might realize that he was drinking her in. Subtle movement of his head had his nose graze against her cheek, his lips touching the corners of hers before he was gone. Actually around behind as he slipped his arms around her much like they had ridden here. Though she could feel the motion of his body in finer clarity. The wind seemed to play music, something distant to the ear, captured on the fringe of consciousness but chased away when one tried to capture it by focusing in. A touch and run in tag with the feel of light laughter.

As she turned, she watched his approach with eyes that seemed to reflect the pale light of the moon. His eyes caught her attention and the hint of a smile curled full lips. She understood now how he had gained the nickname she had heard as the scent surrounded her. Eyes fluttered shut briefly with those delicate touches and opened again so she could watch him move. As his arms lowered, she rested her hands on his, and began to move in motion with his body. The music was familiar to her, caught on the edge of a dream perhaps or when the wee folk were about. She could forget that she was in a forest in Heathfield and allow herself to become lost in the music, knowing she was safe to do so here.


A low primal growl vibrated up along the line of her neck from his position behind her. The sway in tune with the other as the moon rose higher. Pale beams danced about the field plying tag with small clouds as the sound of music intensified, light as air and dancing with the light, forms taking shape, small winged creatures as beautiful as a flower in full bloom and as variant in colors as the wildflowers in the field. Such scents mingled and teased, poppy, dianthia, aster, violet, daisies and such others. His lips teased the lobe of her ear as well the shell as he spoke low. "Come dance with me under the moon and stars accompanied by those unseen in celebration of not only life but creation. The continual dance of the ages and cosmos." Hands sliding away as he discarded the last of his clothes into the tall grass before he disappeared into those shadows chased by the light. Not seen but heard in realistic sounds as one animal or bird interchanged as easily as he moved with the other dancing lights chasing him.

The tremble that passed through her was not one of fear but of actual delight. It had been long since she had felt this way. Light as a feather and part of the world in a way few felt. She breathed in deeply before he spoke, her eyes closing slightly, not completely. She turned slowly, just in time to see him slip away again. Had she been one used to the assistance of a maid, she might have hesitated, unsure how to slip out of the gown. It was easy enough to undo the side ties and allow the shorter dress to accompany the skirts and petticoats. The last of her clothing followed before she was following, quiet as the wood nymph she had been named.

Victor's features, shape and form were the ideal of the human male. Muscular and sleek, primal, as the day their species were created. Predatory on the female they would choose to mate. The music would call to her to follow, the dance around her encouraging. The feminine laughter generate from the pinpoints of light, enticing. The primal masculine sounds around her mixed in with the others, luring, the heat of the blood to rise in unison with the ancient drums that rose up with the lighter feel of flutes. Chasing and chased.

She had danced in the light of the moon again, her skin exposed to the silvery light, but this, this was different than anything she had ever felt before. She followed as the music rose and fell, laughing in answer to the call that swept over her. Feeling the freedom that such a night brought, she tipped back her head, her arms out. The moon turned skin to silver, her hair silvery gold. At first she spun slowly in a circle, then allowed the music to take over, hips first moving in a sway, then lifting and rising to the beat of the drums.

As she stopped towards the middle of the field, awash in moonlight and the dance of firefly nymphs about her, Victor was rounding her in dance, bringing him in closer with each step. until none were left having him bring her up into his arms and lifting her way like some bird on the wing as he turned in a circle, head back, smile wide as eyes held to hers the while. Hands strong upon her waist until lowering her as the sky opened up and the light spring rain to come down. Warm, sweet smelling from the scattered clouds that played tag with the moon and its light.

She never stopped dancing, until he lifted her in his arms. Pleased laughter escaped, as light as that of the fair folk that danced with them in the meadow. She held out her arms as he turned, one leg bent slightly, her head tipped so that eye contact wasn't lost. When her feet touched the ground, she tipped her head back, eyes closing as the rain misted over her face, teased her skin. She laughed again as she held out her arms and spun. A moment later, she was dancing across the field, beckoning him to follow.

He turned his face into the rain leaving it to cleanse body and soul. Hands falling away as she tipped her face into the rain as well. The laughter had his head dipping back down, eyes opening before he was off in the wild chase. Certainly a man who could race with the horses would catch her but where was the fun in that but the chase itself? He had plucked some long wide leaves on his way using them in a swatting motion every time he got close.

She laughed again when she saw him coming, and let out a little squeak. No fair! She was light on her feet, quick to dart when he came too close with those leaves. Running and dancing in the rain It had been much too long since she had felt so free. She turned finally, holding out her hands. The music was calling again and she wanted to dance before it ended and daylight returned.

The moon had moved high along its path and would be gone the hour or so before morn. The leaves were showered over her before taking her hands and the dance back upon dew kissed grass to where their clothes laid. They would be damp but not overly for the light rain that had not lasted long. He debated something in his mind and finally drew to a conclusion upon it as her hands were released and he sweeping up her clothes to toss her way, see if she was quick to catch them before taking up his to don his pants and shirt, leaving that open down the front.

She knew it had to end but still was disappointed. It was a night she'd remember for a long time. Catching her clothing, she slipped back into them, but left the longer skirt and petticoats off. She was returning to her own manor so would not have to be concerned about prying eyes. "This was ... wonderful, Victor. Thank you." Wonderful didn't cover it really but it was the closest word she could find. She was certain he'd understand.

It had to end but there were more days and nights to come. Now he found one whose heart and soul sang the same song. He was back in her personal space as he drew her in close. She might realize toes were being played with much like one use their fingers. "It has been a long time since I've been with a woman of your caliber, Kaylea. One who knows how to let their heart sing freely." Hand had lifted as fingers caressed along her cheek and neck, working its way to her ear to draw a finger along its curve. That barely touching kind that would leave a trail as dark eyes held to hers without the need to view what he was doing. Fingers and toes and her lips so very near as he seemed to work his way closer in a way to give her every opportunity to duck away freely and he'd not pursue.

She didn't resist as he drew her closer, eyes holding a hint of fire as they met his. His touch felt petal soft, and the trail it left was electric. "I don't think I've ever know one like you, Victor. Those of the forest, yes, but there's so much unseen about you." She felt silent as her eyes lowered to his mouth then lifted again, lips parting slightly.

That was as good an invitation without words needed and so much clearer. There was a tick of a smile off to one side that reached the darkness of his eyes to a golden light. Fading as they closed while leaning in as lips touched gently, molding, folding over hers. A hand to cup the back of her head as fingers splayed with the tips to caress where they landed. The first sampling soon drew into a deeper hunger that came of the dance and ages. Consuming to mind and soul, the need to lay claim and hold in reverence at the same time.

She leaned into him as the kiss deepened, arms sliding around his waist. There was a low hum in her throat, almost a purr. It seemed as if the world retreated with the kiss, the sounds of the meadow fading and another song taking its place. One as ancient as the earth itself.

She was the wind in the stars, the gold dust of the cosmos, the song of ancients and siren amongst women. He drank of her lips until he needed air, their parting minimal as they traced along their swell, bottom lip almost dragging until they were passed and her earlobe caught up, his breath warm until he knew if he continued they would not be making it back at all tonight. She had family, protective brothers and rightly so. His voice held the deeper rasp for the emotions stoked. "I should get you back," but reluctant to release her from his embrace.

He had caught her up, captured her with the music that touched him, the wildness within his soul. It had called to her from the first time she had seen him. She loved the way he made her feel and her nod was reluctant. "I know." Her voice was soft and husky in a way that surprised her but it was something to think about later. "Though I fear I'll not sleep." Not when she felt as she did. "When will I see you again?" Soon, let it be soon.

He stooped enough to bring her up into his arms. The mystical field he had brought her to was very near the lake as she would find out as he walked with her, bringing her down along the shore in his arms. Bare feet in the wake that lapped along the shore. "You will see me soon. If you do not sleep then know that I look upon the very stars you do until the morning's light outshines and the birds begin to sing."

She laughed as she slid her arms around his neck, skirts and petticoats still in one hand. It draped down over his back like a colorful cloak. Her shoes had been left behind and she wasn't the least bit concerned. "I'll remember, Victor." She had expected a night of dancing but what she had received had been so much more.

His shoes, cape and even his horse were left behind without a concern either. The horse would make its way back to his manor and stable. It was fairly commonplace. He would get home without incident, leaving her there on her doorstep at the quiet manor. A stolen kiss his reward before he was quick to disappear into the wilderness by way of the forest. She would hear the distant howl of a wolf and could wonder if it was that particular beast or that of the forest king.



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 8

Afternoon Swim

The afternoon was hot.  The sky a clear blue with no clouds to provide even a moment of relief in that way.  A blur of heat rose from the walkways where the vendors set up their booths, and under the coverage of canopy they lingered.  From there they shouted their come-ons.  From foods of the area to exotic delights from lands far away,  jewelry, ceramics, books, mirrors.  If a person needed it, they could most likely find it at the market of Heathfield.  Conor  strolled along the street, stopping at various carts to linger and look and perhaps to share in what little shade the awnings provided. 

Karina had barely slept. How could she when Segan and Eion's words kept tumbling about in her head like the inner workings of a thundercloud? She'd risen from her rumpled bed with the first light, her small bedroom being too much to contain her thoughts, and took to the streets. She'd almost wandered down to the portside first thing, yearning to talk to Segan, explain herself somehow but she had a feeling she wasn't ready for that just yet. The words would just get lost and confused when passing her lips.   So instead she headed to the marketplace, seeking some sort of comfort in the presence of other people, even if her thoughts kept her essentially isolated amongst them. The sun beat down mercilessly hot overhead, forcing her to remove her cap and even her over-blouse, leaving her in a sleeveless tunic that wouldn't be considered proper by most ladies but at least was cooler. You get what you deserve... Eion's words especially stuck in her mind leading to plenty of introspection. She'd never really thought  about it that way before. Her tough behavior had always been purely necessary, a survival tool, a suit of protective chainmail around herself. But maybe here she'd found a place, or at least a group of people where that wasn't needed anymore. Not only not needed, but even offensive to others. It was a difficult concept to absorb and she was preoccupied with doing just that, as she walked down the aisles, absentmindedly touching the wares she passed. 


Not really interested in the item he held at present, some sort of vase made of leaves, he looked about the commons.  His gaze passed over and then returned to one particular patron, his smile growing.  He placed the item back, thanked the vendor with a nod, then started across the street to where Karina browsed.  His gaze passed over her attire and even that made him grin.  Did she know she was a bit underdressed?  And even if she did, would she even care?  Not Karina.  He stepped up beside her, making a note of what she perused.  "Hot today, is it not?  There is a booth of parasols down the way of any color or design." 

A bit underdressed by current standards but she'd never been much for standards. Beside, it wasn't as if she was indecent! Everything that needed covering was covered though the ties at the neck were hanging loose. Well she wasn't the bustiest gal anyway...though in this attire, the small swells of her breasts were more visible. Conor nearly scared the bloody blue hell out of her when he stepped up so suddenly, for she hadn't seen him coming. Dropping the mirror she'd been holding back down with a clatter she turned towards Conor, though unfortunately, that mirror had shattered upon impact. Not much to the pleasure of that stall's owner. "Oh... sorry..." And digging in her pockets for coins, she somewhat distractedly addressed Conor. "Aye, real hot. Um, what is a parasol?" A couple of silver coins were spilled onto the table for the mirror she'd just broken.

Conor looked to the fuming man and shook his head.  In return, the man provided a begrudging nod but pushed Karina's coins back toward her.  "You broke it, its yours." The vendor said, pulling a sour face.  The youngest Quinn collected the frame, leaving what pieces fell from it behind.  "A parasol? It's what some of the ladies..." He nodded to several of the ladies shopping about with their parasols to protect their skin "use as sunshade."  As he spoke he collected Karina's coins, holding them over to her.  "Shall we walk that way?"

Karina blinked at the vendor without comprehension. Usually a merchant would not only hand over the broken goods but demand coin retribution as well. A shake of the head, people were strange here. Taking her coins back from Conor, she let them drop into her pocket, then glanced around to the ladies he motioned to. Oh, right, so it was a fancy umbrella. But she didn't have the spunk right now to tell him that she'd never use such a silly thing. So instead she just shrugged and stepped forward to follow him thataway.

Just before they walked away, with Karina's back to the vendor, Conor placed payment for the item, plus some for the owner's ... kindness ... on the table.  Conor had a strategy.  The parasols were at the very far end, that would allow him to walk with her a bit longer.  Lack of spunk would have concerned Conor, for he had never seen her hold back with him before.  It was probably good he didn't know.  "Have you been to the lake today?"  As hot as it was, a swim seemed to be the order of the day.  He chose his comments carefully, starting to say one thing, deciding that,  considering the company, another direction might be better.  Even the subject he chose, he knew she could misinterpret his intent and turn it against him.  But, it was out there, waiting for her response. 

Lucky for Conor that Karina didn't see that act behind her back, something that could have been interpreted as the dreaded 'charity'. Lucky for him also that she was in such a muted mood that she didn't think any farther into his question than the words themselves. "Nah, I haven't," she answered just as simply. Hands found their way into her pockets as she walked alongside Conor, glancing around idly at the stalls they passed. It was amazing, the variety of wares that could be found here - things from all  over the world. It would've usually set her imagination a-whirling but today, not so much. Especially now with Conor here beside her. She was still more or less convinced that the man couldn't stand her, or at the very least, didn't care much for her. And yet he had approached her and was actually acting... nice. Or at least polite. 
Since their conversations were usually arguments, that left her unsure of what to say.

That lackluster reply caused Conor to stop in his tracks, looking down to her.  "Are you all right, Nessa?"  He took a step away from her, knocking the edge of the mirror frame to a nearby pail, cleaning out the rest of the glass which remained.  "If you prefer not to walk with me, I would hope you would tell me."  At least, the Karina he knew would tell him.  He checked the face of the mirror to make sure it was clean, then tucked the handle into the waistband of his pants at his back.  "Truly, it is too hot of a day to be forced in someone's company." 

She wasn't sure how to answer his question of being alright or not, but when he went on to name the cause as himself her reply came quickly. "Nono.... it's not that." She'd stopped walking when he did, and she turned her face up to look at him from her shorter height. It'd been awhile since they actually had been in that sort of close contact and she had to force her seagreen orbs to meet his. "It's not you, I just...." Cue trailing off. She shrugged instead and tried for a lighter tone,  "It's just it's so damn hot! Let's go to the lake, I could use a swim."

He studied her blue-green gaze, attempting to see the truth past the words she offered.  He slowly lowered his eyes with a slight nod.  "Aye, then.  Shopping another day."  The only time they had been nearly this close was during the dance, but then she had been in his arms, and now she was not.  She was quite accomplished at keeping her distance from him.  He pressed his hand to the side of his leg, then lifted it to indicate the direction to the lake, even though she would know the way.  

"Aye. Another day," she echoed, producing a smile. Not her usual dazzling flash of teeth, but she was making an effort. With Segan's and Eion's words fresh in her mind she didn't want to be rude... or be misinterpreted, something that seemed to happen alot around the Quinns. Though quite honestly as they strolled along, she was at a loss. Not much in the mood for conversation anyway, producing any sort of casual chatter seemed a daunting task. And so she was mostly silent for the duration, except for maybe an offhand comment about this bird's nest or that new flower bloom. Just to show she wasn't angry with him and to fill the awkward silence.

And Conor noticed every nuance of her withdrawal.  The lack of energy in any comment, the less than enthusiastic way she walked with him.  She was indulging him, and he recognized that.  Her thoughts were elsewhere, not here. Not with him.  Probably not of him.  So he would see her to the lake for the swim.  It was hot.  He could use a dip himself to cool off.  He had been so pleased to see her in the commons, now he realized he had pressed his company on her.  Nessa was actually being polite.  Imagine that.  Conor wasn't so sure he liked her new manners.  He would have much rather she just spit and hiss at him and tell him to leave her alone. 

Which was exactly what she was trying to avoid, him feeling as if she wasn't glad to be with him, or interested. If only one or both of them were mind-readers, there would be so much less ANGST between them! But alas, life isn't meant to be that easy. And so she shuffled along beside him, falling completely silent once she realized he wasn't reciprocating her inane little comments. Discouragement only added to the mix of emotion left to swirl inside her diminutive self. So she gave up and said nothing.   This lasted until they came into sight of the lake and Karina paused for a moment, looking at it. Feeling suddenly about to burst she without announcement took off running... shedding her boots and socks just before she jumped into the water with a splash. But it wasn't the exuberant action of joyous energy; there was no laughter. It was more the expression of overwrought feelings about to snap.. and being cooled off by a headfirst dive into the lake instead.

As she took off, Conor's steps slowed.  He watched her peel from her footware then jump into the cooling waters.  He took his time, tugging free his boots, his socks.  He grabbed his shirt at the back of the neck and pulled it over his head.   He dropped it there by his boots and wandered to the water's edge.  Lack of laughter, lack of shouts, lack of ...emotion.  Dammit, what had happened to ... Nessa, the warrior lass?  Or had she actually become more like the heroine of her stories.  Able to spend time with a man, even if she had no desire to do so in order to reach her goals?  What was she attempting to gain through Conor?   Like Fachtna, how much would he sacrifice to be with the lass? He waded in to his thighs, then dove under the surface of the water, washing away his thoughts, his concerns, the heat from his skin.  At least...for now.


Maybe once upon a time this had been a place for ulterior motives. It always was. New faces, new towns, they were always a means to an end for her: survival. And keeping that suit of armor intact. But not anymore. That need seemed to have vanished, leaving her far more uncertain than she ever liked to feel. She stayed submerged in the cool water long enough to ensure that she wouldn't burst into tears or scream in frustration, long enough that she actually saw spots, then burst to the surface with a gasp.


The water felt deliciously cool in contrast to the baking sun and she just floated on its surface, bringing her hands up to scrub at her wet face. Her legs kicked gently to keep herself afloat, somewhere between the deep water and the boundless sky. Between such vast, unknown forces what direction could a person go? Karina let her legs sink, bringing her body upright and turned slowly to face Conor, wherever he had landed. For a moment she just treaded water, looking at him with those audacious turquoise eyes that seemed somehow larger and graver today. Then she found her courage and her voice. "Am I an unruly brat that demands too much of others while not giving them enough respect back?"


Repeating Segan almost word for word it was certainly a blunt question, but she needed to talk about it. Needed to know if that was really others' perception of her. And Conor, forthright Conor she could at least trust to answer her honestly.


It had been a rather busy last couple of days and it felt good just to let go.  To allow the water to cool and support.  He swam slow, more of a treading of water forward than any need of a powerful stroke.  Karina surfaced, he noticed her location, and debated his desire to join her.   His course brought him closer, though.  Perhaps a subconscious need to be near, easy enough for him to deny if he felt the need.  Then...she spoke.  A question so unexpected he caught himself just as he was about to backstroke to escape it.   "What the hell?"  Was the beginning of his surprised response, but he gathered his thoughts, and frowned.  The sun glared off of the reflective waters but that wasn't the reason for that pucker of brow.  "You are unruly, Karina.  And ... at times ... I suppose a brat, though I'm not one to use brat to describe someone.  You can be quick to comment, which could make you appear less than respectful of others and at times, I suppose,  a bit demanding since you appear to perceive yourself as always right." 

Yep.... honesty. And while she appreciated it, the truth couldn't help but sting. It was never easy to hear about one's personal flaws. It confirmed her rather reluctant suspicion that Eion and Segan hadn't just been speaking in anger. All she did was nod though, and flip herself slowly back to float on her back again, with a sigh. "Aye, thanks fer bein' honest," she said then. Just a hint of bitterness in her tone there, though the sentiment wasn't directed towards him exactly. She was reflecting on things that had never ocurred to her before.

To him, it was directed at him, since he was the only one here and the only one who just answered her loaded question.  "Hold on a minute." Conor grumbled, pressing forward in the water to grab her ankle before she could float away. 

She kicked a little bit, just in reflex when he grabbed her ankle. And with a splash levered herself upright again, treading water as she just looked at him. Those scraggly curls weighted down with water, hung about her face, and somewhere beneath those large eyes of hers looked out at him. Not quite resentful, nor angry even but more on the other side of the spectrum. Uncertainty, regret.

Conor jerked his hand away as soon as he realized he had touched her, and knowing her dislike of that he wouldn't force it on her.  She also kicked which also confirmed the fact.  "What is going on, here, Karina?"  She was young, Conor realized that.  He had heard it enough from his brothers, he saw it himself with certain things she did, how she reacted to things.  He saw it now in her eyes, her inexperience, her naivete, her doubt and even that touch of sorrow. 

For a second she just continued looking at him, debating whether to bark him off or not. In the end she let out a short sigh and caved. "I got in a fight with yer brothers the other night." That was nearly muttered as she glanced down through the clear water to where her toes wiggled slightly below. "They said much o' the same things you just did. Guess everyone saw it but me."

The frown that already marked his brow, deepened.  "You fought...with my brothers?"  He started, adding an expletive after that she'd not understand even if she heard it.  Neither of them mentioned that to him.  "Did you ask them the same question as you asked me?"  And how would that start a fight?  He was at a loss, but knew whatever had been said between them, accounted for a lot of what she was feeling today.  He couldn't help but feel a bit guilty himself now having added to the unruly brat's melancholy.  Since Eion's and Segan's opinion meant so much to her, he just went ahead and asked, leaving his initial question hanging with his need to know the answer to this one.   "Karina, what is Segan to you?" 

She didn't bother to answer his initial outbursted question, but when the next followed she shook her head. She was about to explain all that had happened. But then he came out with THAT question, and it was her turn to take her utterly by surprise. "What do ya mean?" But even as she asked it, she realized what he meant. And couldn't help it, she let out a slight laugh. She'd never considered it before. "He's.. a friend, both of 'em are even if they do call me names." A faint smirk there, attempt at humor,  but she was watching him carefully as she countered with an all-important question of her own... "Why are ya askin'?" 

He swam closer to her, then around her, coming back in front of her as she finished speaking.  "I'm asking, because I want to know, of course."  He left it at that where Segan was concerned.  "And what of me?"  She wouldn't see him tense with that question.  A tightening of his shoulders even as he dipped them below the surface of water to cool them from the rays of the sun. 

Well, if he didn't tense visibly she did that enough for the both of them. Turning herself around in the water to continue facing him as he circled her, they both came to a stop when that question came out. Her breath, and any reply she might have blurted out got stuck in her throat for a moment. A vital moment, that allowed her to study him and measure her answer. Was he teasing her? Or... unthinkable, being serious? Her eyes seemed almost locked on his as she finally replied, in a thin and quieter voice,  "...I'd rather ask the same of ye before I answer." A cop-out? Maybe, but her sense of self-preservation was too strong to allow her to answer honestly first. So what was she... to him?

Conor grunted out a laugh with her lack of reply.  His gaze still meeting hers, he moved even closer to her, so that as one of them kicked the water to keep afloat, they may even nudge the other.  "What are you to me, Karina?" He spoke softly, his notice dipping from her eyes, to her slightly turned up nose, to her lips that were all too often tight with anger then on down to the stubborn uplift of her chin.  "You are a woman I have wished to touch, but dare not.  Who rails at me when I come too near. Who barks out threats and warnings.  You are, to me, a lass  that tries my patience, turns my words around on me, and tempts me to the point I don't know which end is up.  I will be your friend, Karina, if that is what you would have of me.  I would.  I suppose, in short, Nessa..." He reverted back to his pet name for her as he smiled.  "what you are to me is a pain in the arse that I've rather come to enjoy."



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 9

She thought she already knew the answer. Hadn't he just said it? An unruly, demanding brat that deserved to be thrown in water troughs. But what he actually said was far different indeed and almost held her spellbound. Not unnoticed was the fact that he called her a woman. And though he went about naming some of her worst faults, his smile and eyes told a different story. A surge of excitment swelled up in her, especially as he drew so near. She almost held her breath as he came to his conclusion and all dissolved, trickling away like the first snowmelt of spring. "Oh." She said, quietly. "A friend." And that was all she would ever be to him, she saw that now. Her lashes came down to shield her eyes as she just gave a nod. "'Course, I'll be your friend, Conor." And she made to tread a more comfortable distance away.
She moved back, he moved forward, one arm snaking around behind her to pull her closer still.  She wouldn't need to swim, he swam backwards for the both of them.  He didn't say anything at first.  He was testing her.  She was held close to his bare, wet chest as he moved them closer to an underwater rock ledge where he could gain his footing.  He kept his gaze locked with hers, daring her to lie to him with her words or her actions. 

Already beginning to turn away, he startled her to say the least when he grabbed her. In those first couple seconds it took every fiber of her being to push down the instinctual panic, and resist the urge to kick out or squirm away. She did neither of these things, though her slim body was undeniably tense as he held it. "Conor... what are ya..." But that was all she managed to say, glancing around just briefly until her gaze locked with his again. She nearly told him to 'let go' but... she didn't really want him to. Her heart beat strong and quickly against his own chest, with fear and excitement both. One was battling the other at the moment.... new urges fighting against old, deepseated phobias. But there was no denying that the contact of their bodies, and the intensity of his eyes on her own were intoxicating. Not even daring to hope yet she just held her breath and waited.

He felt the solid footing beneath him and he used it,  standing with her tucked against him in the bend of his arm him.  The tensing of her body in his hold he had expected. Had she not always jerked away from him?  Uncertainty was there for him to see and the internal battle to fight him as she always did, yet she didn't.  While she was petite, hers not a woman's body fully developed, she did possess a woman's body, and he could feel the softness of her pressed to his chest.   He had created his own torture with this act of dominance, of control.  She was but sixteen, maybe seventeen, eight years between them.  But age was the only thing between them right now except the thin, soaked cloth of her tunic and he realized he had created his own hell.  Not for her but for him.   His gaze dipped to her lips, and he drew in a deep, steadying breath.  "I'm not sure, Karina." He spoke, his voice hoarse with indecision and, at the moment, need.  "Don't ask me what I'm doing, because damn if I know."  He eased his arm from around her, though his fingers curled into the wet fabric at her side.  "I ... owe you an apology perhaps for ..."  God Almighty, she needed to stop looking at him like that!  "taking hold of you." Bloody hell if he wanted to give one though. He wasn't sorry. He was only sure he shouldn't have. 

Once the initial anxiety had passed she had been sure he was about to kiss her. Waiting for it, even. Nobody had ever kissed her before, well, not in adulthood... and yet she sensed it, that tension, that anticipation just before his lips met hers. Karina's eyes even closed, waiting for it... but then he spoke instead. Her eyes opened slowly and they were softer than ever before confusion clouded them. She felt his arm relax around her and it felt like a physical loss. What? One moment clutching her, the next letting her go and apologizing... was he battling against his own desires... or had he simple realized this wasn't what he wanted, after all? That she wasn't what he wanted? Though his arm had moved she didn't budge.. she couldn't, as if held there by magnetic force. The water barely had room to lap between them. Her voice still quiet, nearly a whisper as she held his eyes. Those bright aqua hues seeking to see past his own. "Why did ye do it if you didn't want to?"

"I didn't say I didn't want to." He began, his free hand lifting and cupping her jaw in the palm of it.  "Christ, Nessa, I would never say I didn't want to. You have no idea what I ... want to."  Especially as he felt her willing and curious against him.  She was far from the unruly brat now, so far that Conor couldn't even bring back that image if he wished to, but he didn't wish to.  His gaze once more rested on her mouth.  His head tilted and his mouth touched  lightly against the corner of her lips, the pad of his wet thumb stroking against her cheek.  "Stop me, Karina." He spoke low, perhaps in the hopes she wouldn't hear him.  The breath of his words warm where his lips had only just lifted from. 

She was 'just' a girl, yes, but there was also a woman in her, ripe for maturity. Perhaps the woman had just been awaiting a moment like this to truly blossom free. Because the female looking at him now did not have the eyes of a child, but of a very aware, very tactile, woman. Listening to his words a new and different sort of excitement tingled through her, not of fear but of possibility. It all seemed so surreal, making it difficult to believe he was actually holding her. Actually touching her cheek.  Actually kissing the side of her mouth... and her eyes closed and neck arched briefly as he did so. She was nervous as hell and yet ached for more. At his final statement she opened her eyes to look at him again and finally asked, on a whisper, "Why should I?" It wasn't a facetious question nor was it coy. She genuinely wanted, needed to know why he resisted still.

His eyes were still closed, he didn't see her open hers.  His kiss touched once more against her lips, this time a caress against the fullness before he struggled to speak. "Because I have not the power to do so myself and your kiss is ..."  His hand released the hold of her shirt, splaying against her side, smoothing along the sway of waist to her back and pressing her fully to him, completely, no water to separate their bodies.  The other hand eased up behind her ear, fingers lacing in her wet hair, thumb encircling her lobe.  Again that press of lips, slightly parted, tasting, testing, taunting.  His final word mixed with the feel of her, the warm, sweet thrill of her.  "...intoxicating."  

The curve of her hips was slender and slight, but these weeks here amongst sunshine and free food had done her good. Now there was a bit more flesh on her body, some soft cushioning between bones and skin. And right now it was all melting against him. She actually caught her breath audibly when he pulled her against himself. She'd never felt the contours of a man's body against her own quite like this, and the sensation was dizzying. Her eyes closed as she surrendered to it. At his urging her own lips parted, impossibly pliable and yielding in contrast to her usual personality. It was her first 'real' kiss and at first, she just let him do the bestowing. But after a moment her lips flexed outward, and she pushed herself against him, returning. Her heart hammered in her chest as a sense of clarity overcame her. This WAS real! His fingers on her ear made her shiver deliciously and her own came up instinctually, resting behind his neck. All movements slow, uncertain but most definitely purposeful.

And she responded, not with a tart reply or a tightening in defense, but a molding, a melting, a meeting and accepting and then an offer.  He turned them in the water, gently supporting her back to the bank, his free hand sliding down to urge her leg up around his thigh before moving to brace the bank next to her.  His body was pressed on top of hers, held by the strength of his arm.  She stoked in him a fire he had long denied himself and that pulsed through his veins, the heat of that need shared in their kiss though he struggled as his mind battled his body.  Keep it gentle. Keep it safe.  Enjoy the feel of her.  Enjoy the taste and scent of her.  Keep it genuine.  Keep it light.  She's responding, give her more.  Don't scare her. Be careful.  He pulled from the kiss, looking down to her.  Her lashes at that moment spread against her cheek, the curls of wet locks against her face, her kiss swollen lips, her giving, willing posture...

And Karina didn't question it, not his actions nor his motives, not in this moment. Because when you're sixteen and somebody tells you you're 'intoxicating', you're gonna believe them. In that sense, despite all her street smarts and rough ways, maybe she was naive. Maybe she was lacking judgement, allowing things that would only hurt her in the end but... she couldn't help it. Because it was the first time she'd ever felt cared  for. He sought and she obeyed, moving where he led, hitching her leg up around  him. That limb was supple against its shield of thin, wet cloth. Where he was analzying and concious of every moment, her mind had been swept free of any sort of thought process, simply enjoying his touch, his lips and wanting it to never end. And, always, that slightly nerve-wracking thrill of his body, now atop hers. When finally the kiss was broken off her eyes opened only slowly, reluctantly to fasten upon his. The seagreen eyes were deep and dusky. And she said, foolishly, the only thing that came to mind... "I thought ya couldn't stand me. I thought... ye thought I was just a stupid little girl." 

Conor was too seasoned; a male, a friend, a lover, not to listen to the ramblings of his mind, especially when those ramblings kept him on task for the age and inexperience of the woman he could press too far out of sheer need for more. It was on her lips his gaze fixated as she spoke, a slow smile forming on his.  "Aye, well now, Nessa." He brought his notice up to her eyes, then lowered to her lips again, his own tingling with the memory of how she could seduce him with the simplest of responses.  "Seems you tend to think too much on useless things."  His hand eased from her hair, forefinger and middle touching lightly to the middle of her lips before lowering away.  "I'm glad we waited for the shopping."  Ever so slowly he raised his eyes to look into hers again. 

A chill ran down her own spine, just from the way his eyes touched on her lips. The simple glance burned in and of itself, and it showed in the way she leaned minisculey closer into his words. The coolness of the lake, combined with their... activities had brought a flush to her cheeks, making that smattering of freckles stand out along her nose and cheeks. The effect, sans goofy cap and baggy clothes was becoming. A smile spread across her lips when he smiled. She agreed, she was glad they hadn't lingered  in the markets... but what was that he'd just said? The dreamy smile remained but her head tilted gently to one side. "What do ye mean by that?" She inquired, refering back to his comment about 'thinking too much on useless things'. 

Since he had no way of knowing to what she referred, he answered.  "I mean, by not shopping, we came swimming instead." 

"Nono, I meant... about thinking too much on useless things." Smiling still, eyeing him with arms 'round his neck, her head tilted to the other side. 

"Ahh." His smile grew broader.  "If you're pondering whether I think you a silly girl, or that I couldn't stand you?  Then you're thinking too much on useless things.  None of that matters anyway.  I'm just a man.  They're in these lands a dime a dozen.  The sweet way you kiss, Nessa, you won't be needing to worry whether the likes of me is standing ya' or thinking you silly."  He leaned in and gave her nose a peck, reaching up to pull one of her arms from around his neck.  "I'm just glad you consider me a  friend." He laughed, a soft sound, deep in his chest.  He pressed his lips to the palm of her hand and then released it back into the water.  "So...we're friends then, Nessa?"  A brow was arched.  Would she proclaim them more now?

Oh, that was all. Her smile relaxed, even deepened enough to form a single dimple in her cheek as he placed that light kiss upon her nose. Held close like that, she was happier than ever until.... that bit about friends again. Her smile faded and confusion marred the clear pools of her eyes. He didn't need to remove her arm, she was already disentangling herself from him. "Conor.." And there it was, that bit of spark in her voice and manner again. "Mayhaps I need ta consult a dictionary, but what we just - the way you just - it wasn't exactly what most friends do." She shoulda known! Already she was preparing to pull away from him. He'd just been playing with her all along! 

As easily as she had softened against him, she was now tensing and pulling her arm away.  She was the one that said he was a friend to her.  He was the one that pushed her to prove just how much of a friend.  This wasn't a game to him, it was a male enjoying the kiss of a female and from the way she responded, the other way around too. "What do you know about it? What friends do or don't do?"  He rolled from her, the water lapping up around them with his movement. 

"Not much maybe," she admitted with that familiar uplift of chin. He retreated but she wasn't about to let him get far, and she swam over to tread alongside him. Trying to catch his eyes as a frown began to form on her face. She'd have folded her arms, if she didn't need them to keep afloat. "But I know enough to know the difference between a friend and a - a..." A what? Well she didn't know the exact term for it, and would've shied away from using an official title anyway, so she settled for, "...more than a friend! So..." She took a deep breath, keeping that scowl upon her face even though what she was about to ask made her feel decidedly vulnerable. "...which do ya wanna be?"

He reached up over his head, holding to the overhang of slate that jutted out above them.  "Hold on, Karina.  Maybe friends don't kiss the way I just kissed you, the way I wanted to kiss you..." He knew the ice had just started to crack beneath him. He could attempt to lay flat, distribute the weight and hope not to break through, but the look on her face, the one he had seen more than once on her features because of him, made him realize, the ice was going to break without a doubt and he was going under and there was nothing he could do about it.  "But one kiss doesn't make more than that."  Creeeeak, craaaack, spliiiit.  He wouldn't deny to himself that he liked the lass, that he had really liked kissing her, but to state that aloud would be taking a war ax and crashing down on that ice...quickening his demise.  He had kissed other lasses, some with even more passion, more touching, more ... everything, and he hadn't had to worry about needing to be more to them.  "Don't push me, Karina."  

She had started to smirk triumphantly, the expression on her face clearly speaking what she was about to say: Seeeeee. She'd even started to move forward, closer to him again but then.... then the whole world came crashing down upon her ears. That look on her face remained for a delayed moment until the smile melted off her lips. She looked at him for a long moment as if unable to understand his speech. And then as if she wanted to throttle him. Which she did. But only because he'd just broken her young heart, just a little. "Don't worry." She finally managed to say, lowly. "I won't." She wouldn't push him, nor even approach him ever again, she thought. She started swimming away, fast strokes to bring her to the shore which she clambered out upon. Looking for her discarded boots and socks in the grass.

Conor  stayed where he was as she swam away.  He didn't mean to hurt her. He had thought she enjoyed herself.  He should have listened to his brothers.  Regardless of how she responded to him with the growing maturity of a woman, she was still young at heart.  And that heart couldn't handle the fact he could be attracted to her and still not want to be more than just friends yet.  She swam from him but he knew from now on, if he ever crossed her path again, she would avoid him, probably have nothing to say to him.  And that didn't sit well with him.  But he also realized that what she wanted, needed it seemed, he couldn't give her.  She was young still, he only hoped she didn't rush into something 'more' than a friend when she had so much time to find a friend...and more. 

If only he explained himself a little more, explained the thoughts inside his head maybe she wouldn't take it so hard. But as it was, what else could she think? He'd kissed her like a lover then asked to be a friend. The two couldn't reconcile, in her mind. She didn't know enough of relationships to see the gray area there. It couldn't be 'just' a kiss to her. A kiss was supposed to mean something. But apparently to Conor, it was just a game. He'd just been toying with her like everybody else did. Boots found, she bent to jam her feet into them, and all the while, Conor watched and said nothing. Maybe that was what hurt the most.... he said nothing. No explanation, no apology, no expression of regret or attempt to smooth things over. Nothing. And so she gave nothing back. As soon as her shoes were on her feet she took off running, back towards the town.

What could he say?  Anything he said would probably only hurt her more or have her hate him more.  So all he could do was watch her leave.  As she ran away, he pulled himself from the water and starting putting his own boots back on.   It sure was cold in the water looking up from under this layer of thick ice.



Date: 07-05-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 10

Rumors and Truths

The wanderlust appeased as when heading back he diverted the Roan to the lake being on his way. Night was hot and muggy so a dip in the lake would be refreshing, get rid of that sticky feeling. He was singing the song again as he slid from the saddle to gain his feet. "As I walked by the dockside one evening so view the salt water and take the sea air. I heard an old fisherman singing a song....'wont you take me away boys my time is not long." Poet's shirt was up and over his head to toss on a rock as his pants soon followed, leaving the loin cloth looking britches on. Never knew who might show up and whose sensibilities he could step on. He'd been drinking too but at least he could still carry a tune. Rich voice actually not that he could really hear himself or consider himself a singer. "Wrap me up in me oilskin and more on the docks I'll be seen. Just tell me oul shipmates...I'm taking a trip mates and I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green."

For whatever reason, Karina had not felt up to her usual nocturnal routine this evening. Wandering the streets left her unsatisfied; she hadn't even had the motivation for an easy nab she'd come by in one alley. Her fingers had remained in her own pockets and she bypassed the older gentleman, making her way out of the town and into the grassy field that surrounded the lake. She'd not been there since a certain fateful day, had avoided it in fact, but now it seemed a particularly good place to reflect. So she'd been there for some time and in fact, had climbed up a tree, a big old cypress that overhung the lake with trailing branches. Hunched barefoot in a crook of the tree, she ceased her own absentminded humming when Segan appeared. Keeping herself perfectly still, her lips quirked faintly and she just watched, wondering how long she could go on spy-like, undetected. The only clue was a pair of boots she'd left at the bottom of the tree, but then in the shadows perhaps they'd be overlooked.

Why would he be looking in the shadows under a tree when there were hundreds of them around? Cat like movements, panther sleek, he was up a large boulder that jutted out over the lake. One of the bigger ones that had the fifteen to twenty foot drop off the end. Moonlight played after a longer day of light that seemed to not really end this one. Silhouetted for a few moments as he stood towards the back washed in the silver blue light. Next moment he was on the run, leaping off the edge as he did a full somersault only to go into a perfect dive, leaving little sound or splash in his wake.

Karina blinked, but bit her lip to prevent a word of protest as Segan stood on the edge of that big drop-off. But the next second the lips caught beneath her teeth curved up in a smile, as he performed that impressive dive. And that's when Segan would hear it. The sound of clapping, slow clapping, coming from... somewhere above.

He broke through the water's surface with a shake of his head. Droplets sprayed around him as he turned and turned again with the sound as he located it. Though was above. Beasts didn't clap as he slipped back under inky depths lighted only by the moon to skim across the ripples. A few minutes later he surfaced again where he could reach the bottom and started up from the water near the shore where the sound had come from.

Karina grinned to herself and just as quickly, the clapping ceased. When Segan shifted, she did as well. Slowly and carefully placing hand over foot over hand again, she inched out along a thicker horizontal branch. She nearly held her breath, keeping as quiet as can be, only a soft rustle or perhaps brief glimpse of shadow disturbing her covert operation. Slowly, steadily, she crawled along the branch until it drooped beneath her weight over the water. And then... splash! She let herself drop from the tree and into the lake with a cannonball, splashing Segan where he stood from several feet away. She surfaced grinning triumphantly and pushing the wet curls from her face. "Hiya, Segan."

He was just about to go up that tree as he listened to the breeze through its leaves. She would have seen just how agile and swift he could be like a monkey, hands and feet along with every muscle in a well tone body used. Instead he was around with a dash of a smile across his features. "I should have known," probably suspected but didn't outright say so. "Hello, Karina. How have you been doing?" He wasn't too far from where the horse munched on some sweet grass so headed that way to get the bottle of potcheen, he had with him, out for a drink.

"Fine I s'pose, and yourself?" She asked lightly as she let her arms float upward on the water, but the gleam faded from her features somewhat as he headed towards his horse. "Leavin' already?" She asked, and even sounded faintly disappointed. Had she done something again to make the brothers upset? Or maybe Segan had just decided to take Connor's side. If sides there were. Either way, the sense of loneliness that had been lifted when a friend appeared began to creep in again. She was done with alone time... and needed the distraction to boot.

If Segan even knew about that incident to take sides, which he didn't. He would never suspect anything as he was back over. A leap had him easily upon a smaller boulder as he was out to the edge in a crouch. "Water is perfect tonight wouldn't you say." A quick drink of the potcheen before he held it out over the edge with a tipping, challenge, that she come near and he pour some into her mouth from up there. Not that far up as this boulder was only a couple feet above the water.

She perked again a bit when it was clear that Segan wasn't leaving after all. "Aye, it's real nice tonight." A quirk of the brow at him for his unmistakable gesture, but she smirked as she slowly, cautiously, made her way closer. Positioning herself beneath his canteen and tipping her head back, baby bird-like while issuing her warning, "Don't drown me now..."

Which almost had him laughing but that would not do as he tipped the bottle just enough to let a dollop fall down her way, trying to keep his aim good and not drown her. Not waste the potcheen either which would be sacrilege. "Don't get me laughing!" Which the words were laced in it.

"Ach!" That, as she had to move quick by a few inches to make the shot, but with mouth open wide she did indeed catch that dollop. Scrunching her face up briefly as the potcheen burned all the way down, but at the end of her swallow was a giggle of her own. "Why not? Laughing's one of the only things free in this world. May as well collect as much of it as ya can."

"That and a few other things," but that was all he'd say on that. After all, she was only a teen. "C'mon," was the only word in invite as he was up from his crouch and heading down off the boulder. Moving along the shore he soon disappeared behind brush and bramble that grew down near the edge, around the bend to right before the sandy stretch of beach most swam at.

She might've been only a teen and still naive in some ways, but in others she was quite seasoned. And knowing full well what Segan might be referring to, she just rolled her eyes lightly without real irritation. When Segan vanished behind that brush her curiosity was piqued, and she sloshed her way free of the lake, drenched head to toe. The sleeveless tunic she'd worn in the heat of today, as well as the pants which usually swam on her now clung to her lean limbs, weighed down with lakewater. Barefooted she minced her way around the bramble until her toes could dig in the sand of the beach. Pushing the springy curls back from her brow, wide-set aqua hues then turned again to Segan. "What brings ya down here so late?"

"Adventure," being he would have to wait on sating another area. He was dragging out a canoe stashed in the grass amongst the bushes. There were a few there in fact. Only needed one as it had been turned around so he could get the oars and seat pads in place. Easy for one built like him to practically carry the canoe to the water's edge. "Get in," indicating the seat at the front, or what would be the front for he would be the oarsman.

Not much adventure to be had at this quiet lake... or so she thought, until he almost magically produced that canoe from underneath some overgrown bushes. Eyes widening with delight, she just looked at him a second with a smile slowly spreading. In the end though all she said was, "why can't I row?" But it was accompanied by a smirk for she was already moving to jump lightly into the bow of the canoe.

"Wont need two oaring tonight with the lake like glass. You can lounge, leaving your fingers trail through the warm water." He had a destination in mind, more in something he wondered on and this a means to get across the vast lake in parts. Not something one could really swim across for a good couple of miles wide. There was indication there were byways, groves by the cut of the trees which would hide them to an ordinary eye. His were keen in that way. Once she was in, "hold on," as he gave a good shove, running with it as feet splashed in the wake before he leaped up and in. The canoe would jar back and forth in those few seconds before balance was regained. Segan had used canoes before and shifted his body in a way to gain that balance. Long as she didn't stand up or she would probably go over the side.

"Does that mean I get to direct where we go?" She asked teasingly until that command to hold on came. Both hands reached out to grip the gunnels on either side, and she let out a somewhat startled laugh as the boat tipped from side to side. Wisely she kept her seat and kept her fingers 'round the edges of the boat, too. A smile of anticipation crossed her lips as she glanced around the lake, which she'd always privately wished to see from the water itself. The night was definitely looking up.

If she said boat out loud, he'd correct her in that this was a canoe, quite different than a row boat. They had those too but the canoe, was much better. "Maybe, after I show you something, then see something else that brings me here." The oar in hand by this time as it dipped into those inky depths, long sleek stroke before it was easily flipped over his head to dip into the water on the opposite side. There was a rhythm, almost like a dance, to using the oar correctly in a canoe. Had it cutting through the water silently in a speed a rowboat could not match. There was only the light sound of gurgles as the moon washed over the two and the waters around them. Segan's chin was tipped up as he was looking along the shore's treeline they were passing by. Nostrils flared with certain scents as they headed down a lot further from where they'd been swimming.

"Where are we going?" She had a feeling he wouldn't tell her, but natural curiosity forced her to ask it anyway. As the canoe sliced easily through the water, bringing them further offshore Karina slowly began to relax. Almost visibly. Her narrow shoulders sank easily as her weight rested on her hands, which were placed now on the bench on either side of her. A deep, cleansing breath was taken in of the slightly briny night air, her ears attuned to the multitude of sounds: insects chirping, fish splashing, the croaking call of a night heron flying overhead. She soaked it all in and felt the peace like a balm on her soul. "It's beautiful out here," she breathed.

Dipping glance came to settle on her with a serious edge to the tone of his deeper voice. "Yes, it is." Lingering look upon her as he noticed her calm and he nearly missed the first sight but luckily caught it from the corner of his eyes. Distraction jetting in that direction as he pulled the oar flat against the water, turning the canoe on a pinpoint. The front end lifting up in the process and sinking back down as he lifted the oar to dip back into the waters on the opposite side. Had them at a stand still as he pointed up into a great oak that grew a short distance up from the water's edge. "There!" She would view under the light of the moon, Gabriel and Raphael's tree house they built. It was a magnificent sight in a feat well done.

She was too absorbed in the world around them to notice the way he looked at her, but she DID notice when the boat suddenly rocked, enough to nearly lift her off the bench! She let out a sound of startlement before laughter bubbled forth, even as she gripped the bench securely to keep her balance. Lips parted to question his steering abilities when his attention turned overhead. There, where? Her own face turned upward and at first she couldn't make out what it was they were actually looking at. But then as the shape materialized she actually caught her breath with wonder. That... was the most incredible tree house she could've ever imagined. Wide eyes turned back to Segan with disbelief, "Did ya build that?"

He sat there admiring it with undisguised envy written over his features. "I'm going to build me one, maybe not as big and not at the lake." He would find his place to retreat in these lands eventually like he had in Ireland. "Not me," shaking his head with a dipping glance back her way. "You met Gabriel and Raphael, I believe." At least Gabriel he was pretty certain. "They built it. The winged men." Which might be news if she didn't know that part! He was easing the canoe along getting a view from one side to the front to the other side before continuing on.

Ahh. She looked upward again, gazing at the treehouse with no little jealousy herself. It was like a world unto itself, the perfect retreat suspended upon the wide lake. She wouldn't mind having a place like that to go, herself. It would beat sitting curled up in the branches of a tree. Wait... and then what Segan had said sank in. Was that some sort of expression? "Winged men?" She repeated, curiosity bringing her gaze back to the sailor.

"Aye, they have wings." So did two of the Queen's children but those were obvious, not retractable as it seemed Gabriel and Raphael's were. Though he didn't elucidate. He'd seen Gabriel's the time he tested his brother. Only knew that Raphael had them too. He was watching where they were going. The sounds of the night seem to melt away behind them the further out they got. Replaced by a peaceful quiet drenched in moonlight with the gurgling of water for the passing of the oar, a quiet sound to be heard. This would go on for a stretch as muscles flexed across a bare torso. Segan didn't seem to mind nor tire with what some would find a tedious workout. As he went towards the middle to make the fastest way across, he would then cut to the right where the trees ahead seemed to fall right into the water. Weeping Willows.

"Have wings." She echoed him again, flatly. Was that a figure of speech or something? Her words were coupled with a dry look. "What are they, birds?.." But that was spoken more to herself as she let the subject drop, in favor of just looking around instead. Out here one could almost feel the silence, so thick was it, as heavy as the moisture which hung muggy in the air. The moonlight sparkled on the flat surface of the lake, broken only by the shadowing patterns etched by trees looming overhead. Saying it was beautiful didn't really cover it. Face upturned to the stars, Karina closed her eyes, the better to drink it in. She looked peaceful then, moreso than she could ever look in the harsher light of day. This was her world, after all. The world of night.

It wasn't any big secret that he knew of, though he got the impression they didn't go flaunting it either. There was a slight roll of muscular shoulders. "Literally, they have wings. Ask Gabriel next time you see him." That would be the best way to explain. They were getting closer to those trees with the moon behind them and Karina facing him, she wouldn't realize it until the long tails of leaves started to sweep over the canoe and those within as they went under its canopy. It blocked out most of the moonlight but there seemed to be another light up ahead. Too hard to really make out its source or what it was. One might wonder if someone was there with a lantern. There was also a feel to this area not like any other part of the lake they'd been thus far. A very ancient feel to the air or otherworldly might be more accurate.



Date: 07-05-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 11

Turning her eyes back to Segan, one brow lifted quizzically but before there was time to question further, there was a quiet swishswish of the willow leaves as they brushed the canoe. One even tickled her shoulder, causing her to twist her torso to look behind her, and ahead in the direction they were going. Hm. It was dark in here...and there was something of an unsettling feeling about the place. Not foreboding, exactly but to one who'd never felt it before...unsettling. Though she was drenched the warm air had kept her comfortable, til now, and she gave a slight shiver that wasn't due entirely to a cool breeze. She glanced back to Segan, then back over her shoulder and that small light that seemed to float on the lake. "Segan..." For some reason she kept her voice hushed, here. "Is there somebody up ahead there?"

He slowed the canoe down, barely moving as it seemed to cut through the water on its own, without the need of the oar. Which he had crossed over his knees as he leaned, straining to see. The tails of willow leaves seemed to disperse the further in they moved and the light on the other side of them seem to grow. "I'm not sure," came whispered but he felt nothing threatening. It was after that moment of speaking that the canoe stopped on its own. There beyond what remained of the leaves hanging about them was a cove. One that seemed to hold its own moonlight under its water. What looked like glowing fish swam about, shifting much like a school of them. It was not unheard of, these fish that glow in the dark like muted moons. Except they seemed to go in patterns and they were not silver or green only but other colors that shifted much like a rainbow. So one could still write this off in a logical explanation, though instincts told him otherwise. It was when the glowing balls started to roll and bounce down the grassy incline that he could no longer write it off to any logical explanation. It brought him back to memories he had in some other strange places he'd been. These balls would bounce just before the waters' edge and no longer round but took form, though small, that was human like in a dive. Flying glowing fish?

Karina was silent as the boat drifted onward, sitting perfectly still. Quiet she was, but this time her breathing was a bit shallow. Uncertain. What was this place? She couldn't shake the feeling of something being just Soon those glowing beings caught her attention and she just stared, as they capered about, seeming to shift color and form both. Lips parting loosely, she glanced between them and Segan before speaking quietly. "What is this place?"

He pressed a finger to his lips as if they should keep quiet. They were witnessing a scene not every got to see. An honor to be allowed. "Tumbleweeds and others." He was not sure of all the other kinds of Fae there but felt if they were witnessing without their knowledge and they found them out, he wasn't sure what would happen then. He started to ease the canoe back as the musical edge to the air was becoming too intoxicating for him and he'd be moving forward instead to their call.

"Not like any tumbleweeds I've ever seen," Karina muttered softly, picturing the sort of dried-out brush that rolled across a desert. But she fell silent again then, turning her body on the bench to just watch. The air around them all but sparkled with energy, or life, something beyond the tangible but most definitely there. And powerful. Without even noticing she leaned forward slightly, as if drawn by magnetic force towards the creatures and their haunting song. All the colors and dancing lights, they were something...

"Shhhhh," eased off into the breath it took. "Or they might capture us and bring us to their queen." He had heard rumors, hanging around certain ones when he went to visit his brother at the barracks or on the training field. He was not told which kingsman they seemed to favor and who had learned of their existence. "I wanted to see if there was truth in some of the stories around." Quite a few as this was only the beginning for him in going to some of these places he learned of. "Fae, tumbleweeds." She had seen them with her own eyes and most likely tomorrow she would be denying it as just the light of the moon. Maybe it only was?

At that, she turned a quick and sharp look back onto Segan. Captured and taken to their Queen? Where the heck were they? Still, duly warned she kept her mouth clamped shut and just stared for another several seconds. The creatures, fairies or tumbleweeds or whatever they were, seemed to be almost dancing in their joyful commute to and from the water. "I think there's some truth to it," she finally whispered in response.

"Aye, I think so too. I hear there is a section of woods where the Silver Elves live and shroud it. There is the Celtic garden that is tended by the Forest Fae and Wood Nymphs. I might go there to see on a moonlit night like this." The last more to himself in mussing on it. As well the hot spas beyond he learned of as well. The willow leaves trailed away as the canoe broke through back to the normal side of life they knew. He wasn't sure about her but it left him with wonder. Least this distracted him to something else of late that had been plaguing him. A need. A means to see to that need in the working. There were a lot of other curious thoughts there that had him lost in various scenarios while he continued to draw the canoe away out towards the middle of the lake again.

"Elves," she repeated, certainly in a voice softer than she usually used, though she waited to go on until they had passed through the willowy gateway again to the other side. "Elves and fae and nymphs..." She shook her head in disbelief. They might have left the ancient magic on the other side, but she still felt it tingling her skin. Wide aqua-colored eyes, catching the gleam of moonlight now moved to Segan. Clearly she was no less than flabbergasted. "I've never seen anything like it. I never knew such things were more than just stories told to gullible kids..."

Like Lions and Tigers and Bears. Oh no! "Aye," though taking a moment of thought as he was drawn back to the here and now. "There are no vampires, slavers, orcs, or drows here on the norm." Excluding those that visited. "The Druid Prince put up Wards against evil on that level, so if it comes here, it is thrown out into some Rift or other dimension." Maybe Rhydin! Where they would be more welcome. "I've not seen with me own two eyes until tonight. Why I wanted to go there. See the tree house as well." There was far more connected to that tree house though he didn't know about it except a few things said. "It bothers Eion. He near freaked when he saw Gabriel's wings." And that was more human than the Fae things. Though Eion had lasted at that allied dance. Then again he could figure midgets in costumes.

Karina just listened with that same look of awe, still craning her neck to look back over her shoulder at the grove of willows they left behind. It seemed so innocent and normal, from the outside. Finally turning back to Segan, she let her hands rest loosely in her lap as she shook her head, incredulous. So much so that she was actually silent, for once. It was an immense thing to take in... childhood stories brought to life before her very eyes. Now she realized that when Segan had said those men had wings it wasn't just hyperbole. In truth, it bothered her too. Or at the very least unsettled her. On some deep level that she couldn't quite put a finger on, not just yet while it was still so fresh.

It was what started him on these quests. He had gone the world over to see many a sight but this time he was finding them at his doorstep, in his own backyard and it was an enlightening prospect at the same time. The moon had moved along her path leaving the stars to shine behind her now that she had moved on. Those that were brightest were the first to be seen and so clear this near cloudless night. "It's going to be a hot one tomorrow. I can smell it in the air. The feel it leaves on my skin." More mussed to himself but not quite under his breath. It wasn't long when the front of the canoe dug into the sand slowing it down to a stop. Segan leaped out to guide it in, leaving the oar inside as he did.

"Mmm." She commented, only half-listening to his forecast for the morrow. How could he talk about the weather after what they'd just seen? Karina was still somewhat caught up in the dream-like feel of it all, but when the boat drew up onto the shore she hopped out and sloshed through the knee-deep water until her bare feet met sand. One more glance over her shoulder to the willow grove, now far out, and suddenly speech returned to her in a rush. "Did you see the way they changed shape? And couldn't you just feel it in the air? Something strange, something more than just the heat. I can't believe it! Fairies, right here in this lake..." Her hair had begun to dry, surrounding her face in a frizzy halo and her cheeks were flushed bright with excitement.

He had his hand wrapped around the tip of the canoe as he stood there a moment, looking back out to approximately where they had been. A place they probably would not have found during daylight. And could very well be shrouded again. It was rare what they got to see, he knew that much. "Yes, I felt it all and I'm thinking I would like to meet them next time or one of the others on land." He was Irish, a Celt, who knew what else ran in his blood. "Makes you realize just how vast the universe really is, not just those distant stars and planets that could contain life but right here, there is another kind of life that has the ability to hide at will from sight."

"I wonder why they hide..." She murmured, perhaps in answer, perhaps just to herself. All of his celestial talk had her eyes turning upward again, raking over the familiar patterns and constellations that had been her companions on so many nights slept outdoors. "Makes a person feel small," she commented, and she hadn't meant to say that bit aloud. Eyes flitted back to Segan before dropping casually then sweeping up again. The stars were bright tonight, twinkling behind their veil of humidity. So many of them. She remembered trying to count them sometimes, to lull herself off to sleep. She'd never been able to finish for she didn't know enough numbers to count them all. That would be a feat beyond her abilities and patience. Glancing back to Segan then, there was a tint of eagerness to her words when she asked, "Will ya take me again, next time you go to see 'em?"

He drew the canoe back up to the bushes, putting the oars and seat underneath after he turned it over. Actually considering her question as he had a talk with a few on the subject since that day. "It is said that long ago the Fae of all kinds and mankind walked the earth together but man broke his treaties and promises to the point the Fae no longer wanted to be a part of his world. They created their own mastering the veils of time displacement and so walk this earth but not in the sight of man. Only a few, only certain kinds can see them since then. It was so long ago they became a myth, wanted to become such for they are the divisions of angels and their fate would one day rely on the very ones they don't trust for it is written in The Book, that mankind if he passes the harder tests of living, will one day judge the angels." It was a complicated thing. Having the canoe stashed away safely as it was found, he was back down to grab up his pants to put on where he had left them there on a rock. "Aye, if I can." He meant his words but should it come about when she was not around, he would still go for some things didn't wait for man's convenience. He might even attempt going back out to that cove under similar circumstances as they found this night.

And Karina listened to it all, with the alertness of an eager audience. She did love stories, especially new ones, and she'd never heard anything quite like this before. Clambering up onto a rock, she pulled her legs up to her chest comfortably. Bare slender arms lifted to clasp loosely around them. "How do you know that all of that isn't myth, too?" She asked with a clever smile, though it was a genuine sentiment. Even stories told moments after the event had happened could be instantly skewed and warped.

The sand was still warm as he donned the poets shirt, leaving it open and down to sit then lay back cradling his head against the bend of an arm curved behind it. He closed his eyes, taking in the feel of everything about him without sight. "Because I get a chill up my spine when I hear words that ring true." There was no logic to play here, to discern if it was true or not. "It's something very much like instinct. When logically you should do something but instincts tell you to do something else. Then later find had you not, you might have died or even would have died."

Settling herself on that flat-ish rock which was only a few feet away from and above Segan, she too lay back, pillowing her head upon her clasped hands. She watched the stars as Segan spoke, considering his words. The stars wheeled across the sky, their ancient dance invisible to the naked eye. A person could only notice the change when the stars themselves had already moved an unfathomable distance. "What happens when your instincts are wrong?" She finally asked, her voice small as it drifted across the vastness of the lakeside area.

His thoughts would wander with a release of a breath to spare on them. It would all eventually work itself out. "Were the instincts wrong or was the want or need greater than listening?" He found that to be a true one in a few places. Rising up as unfortunately he knew he needed to get back for the hour. "Either way, if it pans out you were wrong about something, you need to face that fact. You were wrong. You will not be the first one to be wrong nor the last. You would be counted as normal in the run of it for there is not a person alive that has not been wrong at some time even if rare or the facts gained were either incorrect, misinterpreted or not all the facts in, lending to an early inconclusive determination." All right, he kept this up he'd be tripping over his own words. "It's called live and learn and keeps us human or we'd be gods!" Teasing at the end as he gave a whistle. The roan showing up to nuzzle with his muzzle against Segan's shoulder. He mumbled something about asking to keep this horse for himself but he'd rename him from Big Red.

She didn't have a response for that. But she knew Segan was right, and it gave her a lot more to think about. A slow exhale through her nostrils, wasn't quite a sigh as her gaze was trained overhead. Though when Segan's tease came, her head turned on the rock to give him a faint smirk that was almost a smile. "Seeya's, Segan." She'd decided to sleep out here tonight, on the lake's edge. It seemed a much more obliging place to sort through her thoughts than the cramped, lonely room she occupied in the Tavern. At least out here she had the company of the frogs and the crickets... and those fae-people, occupying their own world just beyond.

She wouldn't be alone and he had thought upon staying but then there might be rumors spread that would hurt her reputation. Though that was unfair, as it would only be to his advantage of thoughts that would be untrue and quite on the opposite of the spectrum when all came out in the wash. Though on the other side of the coin, separately, it was an area he was working on for himself. He had a few options and to explore as many as he wanted. "Good night Kar," shortening her name as he slipped into his sandals and would walk the Roan with him to the Thistle, he might not make it all the way to the Manor tonight.



Date: 07-13-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 12

An Enlightening Talk

There was much for Kuwan to think upon and it was the draw of the lake that would lure her in the hope that she would find her answers. Ones she felt were lost in the void of things to be answered. Little ever showed on her features of what she was thinking or more, what she was feeling inside. Part of that was the feeling she was not allowed to have certain emotions in certain areas. The leather skirt of brown was drawn up as she waded in the water, walking carefully over pebbles that gleamed like pearls in the late afternoon sun. Midriff showed though fringe at times of the otherwise modest top. Hair was left flowing down her back with the corded leather strip around the crown of her head. A small basket on her arm was filled with wild flowers as she would take only the bud to set afloat in the lake water. Bending enough to set it carefully to be taken away from the tips of her fingers.

Eion's morning had been busy with training, then with painting the outside of one of the stables. After promising his Gran he'd stay the night at the manor, he headed for the lake for a swim. He carried a picnic basket, mostly because Gran had insisted. Likely she was worried he'd fall asleep and stay sleeping right through dinner. As he approached the lake, he saw Kuwan placing flowers on the water. He didn't want to startle her so he started to whistle a little ditty as he continued his approach. He was shirtless because of the heat, but wore long pants tucked into leather boots, still splattered with paint. Beneath he wore a pair of cut off pants that he wore for swimming. The picnic basket was placed on one of the tables and he sat for a moment on the bench.

She had long heard him but the whistled ditty gave way to who it might be for tones alone. She placed one more flower upon the water before she turned about to see if she'd been correct. Sunlight played around her and the lake seemed to sparkle at her feet for the pebbles as well the crystal clear water around her calves. The smile readily bloomed when sight caught upon Eion's face but for an unguarded moment eyes darkened, her smile faltered when that same sight dipped to a bared chest. It was not that she'd not seen a bare chest before, in fact plenty of times, it was just she had not see Eion's bared chest before and had caught her by surprise. Perhaps the color to rise to her cheeks even more the surprise before she quickly caught hold of any such unguarded reactions and schooled them in. She was almost knee deep in the water as she moved away and out towards the shore. "It is good to see you Eion. It is a good day to swim." Not looking at his bared chest again!

"Aye, it is at that. And it's good to see you, Kuwan." He smiled slightly at the lass as he watched her. "Haven't seen you for a while. How have you been?" He did motion to where she had set the buds to floating in the water.  "Is there some meaning to that?" If she did look again, she might see the thin silver scars around his wrists, and across his back. He also nodded toward the basket. "Me Grandmother made a picnic lunch. You're welcome to enjoy it, if you'd like."

"I have been well. I am on my vision quest still for answers to various questions I have. Some serious, some not so serious." The distraction to the flowers floating was a welcome one bringing about a smile as she glanced to see they had moved into a pattern. One she studied for a lingering moment then back. "They are like your prayers to the higher spirits set in motion of something the spirits would find pleasing." Having moved completely out from the water as she set the basket to the table.

"How do you tell what they are?" He looked toward the flowers as well, but didn't see a pattern. The smile actually grew wider. "They look nice on the water in any case. Kind of peaceful, aye?" Blue eyes shifted back to the lovely maiden. "You seem at peace with yourself, more than most. Or is it that you're good at hiding what you feel?" He had noticed lately that he seemed to be able to tell what some were feeling. Not everyone but quite a few. It was a bit disorienting at times but he was learning to block it out.

"I do not understand all patterns, much like the intricateness of life in all that comes about to sort out. In time you see understanding in the pattern. Some patterns you will embrace again while others that proved hurtful you will know to avoid." She was still on her search for answers having not really gotten any but she wasn't discouraged. She knew the questions would be answered in time. "It is peaceful." That she easily agreed on and better than trying to explain the ritual. One of the smaller ones compared to others. "I try to be at peace when my mind seeks answers to things I am not sure how to put in a question." Dark eyes strayed upon the sight of the flowers again for if she looked at Eion in that moment she might give away something she was not even sure of herself. "I do not let my feelings show much." Which had those dark eyes finally lifting his way, so much there hidden though not of negative bearing.

He watched her as she talked then nodded when she finally looked back. "Neither do I." Though his reasons were certainly different than hers, or so he thought. "Is that something you're taught, or perhaps something that comes from the past? I don't really know much about your people or your customs though my brother has been to the colonies. Not sure if he was to your homeland or not."

"You hold much in your mind and heart you speak not on. You watch with keen eye and mind. Your heart has a barrier but it runs deep behind the wall." Perhaps there was much reflected in his eyes as she dared steps closer to see those reflections. "It is not all how you want things but it is best?" She wasn't quite sure on that one. "You would embrace change if it was the right kind of change?" There too it was put forth as a question.

He stiffened slightly with her approach, then relaxed. It was more surprise that she came so close but a hint of a smile appeared again. "You see far too much, Kuwan. Aye, it is best. Safer for everyone." Her last question had him pausing as he met her gaze. "I really don't know the answer to that question. I suppose it's one I'll know in time." He may not have smiled fully but it did show in his eyes. "You can tell things about others, but not yourself?" A question for a question.

She noticed him stiffen but he also relaxed near immediately so she took it more as a surprise that she had approached than anything else. Close enough that hands lifted to gently cup his jaw and cheeks as eyes delved with his for as much as he would allow, though the touch connected more for her. "You are good man. Good heart, good spirit. Wisdom will be yours more each year." The touch of her hands to lower away as she was considering his question. The smile soften as it was something she discovered. "It is so. I can see more in others than myself. Perhaps fear gets in the way or want over need, I am not sure other than I feel blind when it comes to myself at times. I had hoped my spirit path would show me the way, to find one that I can help myself and not rely on others." Though she was doing very well at self sufficient, she also felt very alone even when with others. This did not necessarily mean she was sad when with others, they lightened her time and times with laughter.

He hadn't expected her to touch his face but the words she spoke startled him even more. Wisdom was something he felt he was lacking at times, especially in dealing with family. "I think we all feel blind at times, Kuwan. " He glanced toward the flowers and back. "But you hold much wisdom yourself. I don't know if I can help, but if there's something you'd like to ask, something you need to share, I've as good an ear as Gran." He was finding a lot of the younger men asked him for advice, though he was reluctant when it came to their questions on women.

There was a soft sigh to escape her lips as she too look out where the flowers still floated about. Unlike a river which would wash them out to sea, here they fanned out, moving away then some coming back again, some washed up on shore only to be collected later by the gently lapping water to claim them again. She almost spoke up then found a blush to heat her cheeks as she didn't know how to begin or if she could begin. It wasn't often one got to see her struggle. In fact, Eion was probably the first. "I have not confided in anyone and what weighs on my heart has not been shared with anyone." Dark eyes drifting away from the flowers to find his. Maybe there were some things in common between them. For some reason, though they were different, she felt a slight connection with this man she hardly knew. "Our time here has ended, the choice to be made to stay or leave. I feel Kaliska who is my heart sister, will leave with her love. If I stay I will be the only female left of all that came. Yas and Mat will feel responsible for me and possibly seek to find me a husband, for I would be burden. Even if they say not, I would feel a burden. I had wondered," and here was the more personal part mixed in there, "if I would be loner, never to find mate but to take care of others. I do not know how I feel about this. I have different feelings that make it hard to accept. I wish to have like my heart sister has but I feel it is not to be so back home.." then a long pause, "nor here." So that is what it all came down to. "I do not know where I belong." She didn't expect any answers from Eion, more it was a step to actually share some of the feelings she as having. He was the first to ask her.

He smiled at the blush, eyes meeting hers as she looked at him again. "First, you should make clear to Yas and Mat that you would rather find a husband on your own, if that's the case. I don't think they'd find you a burden at all if they haven't yet, even if your friend leaves. Especially if you're making the rabbit pies for them." He winked at her with the reference to the pies. "As far as finding a mate, you're young, Kuwan. I'm sure it will come in time. The heart is an amazing thing. It can always surprise us." His words came as a revelation to himself. Healing would come in time too. "As far as belonging, would you care to hear what I think?"

Which she knew, saw the change in his eyes. The wisdom she spoke on was in use for himself as well. This pleased her. She could not have arranged it better had she tried. She took a step she never had and it helped another she was growing to respect and call friend. "I do not know if they have decided to stay or go back. It is possible if they have decided to stay they will go back short time and come back." She had no need to go back as they did. "I will say this, I will find my own husband if there is one for me out there." That gave her one part of an answer as things were done differently here. When she made one decision it would bring up new questions and decisions to make. She was prepared for this, she didn't like being stuck not knowing which was her path to take. "I wish to hear what you think." She was impressed so far, considering he didn't know much of her, no one did really.

He looked at the flowers again. "Flowers grow in Heathfield, in Ireland where I'm from, in England, in your homeland. They may not be exactly the same in each land but they're still flowers. I think it's the same with you. You belong wherever you are, wherever you make your home. And because of who you are, and what you are inside, you can make a home any place. You're a gentle, compassionate and kind woman. And you'll touch every life you come into." He smiled widely as he looked back to her. "You just need to realize that and like those flowers, you'll bloom." He was hoping he made sense but he couldn't explain it any better than that.

His words comforted her, had her to smile. It took pressure off of her in making a wrong decision over not making a decision at all. "Then it does not matter if I stay or if I go. Nor if I go and come back, that life is where I make it and will become my path. It may hold love in it like my heart sister found or I might find I am content helping others where I can as a lone medicine woman. Though, I have one answer without realizing it until now. That I need to be out amongst others and not hide myself away, living as herman." Though she was a little off on that saying as well as the next, "not become stick in wet ground."

He chuckled and nodded. "Aye, that's the best way to learn about yourself. You'll find those you like and don't like, people who don't accept you or do but you'll deal with them and I think you'll do well." He leaned toward her, lowering his voice a touch. "Though it's living as a hermit. Stick in the mud, though wet ground works well too." He was teasing her though he became serious. "You'll find that talking to someone else helps, especially one that has a different way of looking at things. People who are close to you sometimes can't see what's troubling you. Of course, like everything, there are exceptions." He hoped he didn't confuse her.



Date: 07-13-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 13

She did not move away as he leaned closer. Instead her eyes met his more boldly, or so she felt. Noticed how they were as the sky but more how that blue deepened. He had luring eyes she decided in that moment. "Herman ... hermit," her smile spreading as she remembered the word correctly. "They are funny words," but at least she understood their meaning even if off on the exact word. "It has helped me this day in talking with you. You have been the first to wish talk with me on such things. I am grateful to you, Eion Quinn." He had helped her take a step to finding her answers and each step was better than none. She also would not hog his time as he came here with a purpose. The whole while she had averted her eyes from straying to his bare chest but kept to his eyes. "Have you come to swim?" Asking her guess in question form.

"Aye, they are funny." He agreed then listened quietly. "I'm glad I helped, Kuwan. And know that you've helped me as well. I think I hold much in. We should both probably talk to our family -- which I think your companions are in a way." He looked at the inviting water and nodded. "Aye, I have. I was working at the estate all afternoon and felt the need to enjoy myself some." He looked at her and smiled. "Did you come to swim or just to do that searching?" Not making fun of course. His question was serious.

"I come for searching but I would swim and keep you company. It is better to swim with company some of the time. Some of the time it is good to be alone but not too long." All had their place. "I am please if I have helped you. It is the best of ways when two help each other." Very pleased with that prospect as she unhooked the leather skirt to slide away. A smaller covering beneath, somewhat like a loin cloth in covering her but certainly exposed the length of shapely bronze legs as she was over to carefully place the beaded skirt on the bench then head for the water. Once the edge reached she was quick in splashing steps into the water until she was deep enough to dive.

"I'd like that." He stood after removing his boots, then his pants, clearing his throat when he looked up to see those long, bronze legs. No wonder Conor acted like he did around her. She was certainly beautiful.   He shook his head, tossing his pants a bit carelessly on the bench before he was charging into the water, splashing heavily before he dove in. It was cold but felt good after the heat of the day.

Cooler than the heat of the day but warm waters for this midsummer swim. She had stayed swimming underwater until her lungs hurt and she surfaced drawing in a greedy breath, one, two, in quick succession as the length of her hair fanned out around her. Long inky tendrils moving with the buoyancy of the water and where ripples would take them. Lashes were heavy with droplets she blinked away and then looking to where Eion had gotten. First the shore to see if he had gone in at all then moving around to spy where he was.

He came up a short distance from where she had surfaced. His hair had grown since his arrival in Heathfield, and he brushed it back out of his face. His back was to her, and this time the silvery web of scars could be seen, though there weren't many. He turned and grinned at her, a wide, full grin, before sending a wave of water in her direction with his hand.

She had seen the scars as to her they were badges of courage, a tale behind each one much like the wrinkles on one's face that appear in time as the years pass. Focus was there until he turned and on that spur of the moment as if being caught looking and a distraction needed, a hand swept to send a splash of water his way. Eyes widening the moment they collided instead and then slipping under the water with a bubbling laugh left in her wake as she tried to swim back towards shore and escape any retaliation.

Wave met wave and he laughed then dove in after her. The race was on and he closed in with powerful strokes. He reached for her, though blindly, trying to catch her around the waist. Then he'd lift and toss her, just as he did with his sisters when they were younger. "Hold your breath!" Warning her in the least!

She had surfaced by the time he caught up with her. Lungs lustily drawing in quick breaths. It didn't help she was laughing with them as her arms went around his neck, trying to stop the inevitable as she was lifted then tossed. Luckily she managed to suck in a breath before going under then lower, drawing down as she came back around to grab one of his ankles and pull, heels digging into the soft ground beneath.

The problem with being in the water was weight didn't matter a lot when one was being dragged under. He took a breath as he went down, managing to give her a devilish grin. Then he was moving for the shore, even if she was still hanging on, a challenge to a race. She was slim and light, but he knew she could swim as well as he could.

Bubbles escaped in laughter underwater and certainly the heavier weight of the day was as light as those very bubbles going up and away. When she realized he was not going to retaliate, as they were even at this point but swimming to shore, she followed suit. She could swim very well, her form sleek as were her quick strokes though she had not the power in her arms Eion had.

It was close as he came out of the water, waiting for her to catch up. "I'm a bit hungry. Hope you don't mind." He motioned toward the basket. "Though I had a big meal at mid-day." The was one of the benefits of working at the manor. If Gran didn't see that he was fed, Aunt Chandra or his sisters or Brigid saw he was.

Kuwan was not small breasted as the top had gotten twisted some and she had to adjust it as she emerged from the water. A quick motion, or more of her would be showing than should be. In her customs it would not matter much as they went swimming without clothes but here she had learned on the privacy of the body was important. Which in turn made her more aware of the differences. "I do not mind if you eat the meal you brought." She was sliding her hands over the length of her hair to squeeze out the excess water as she caught up. "You have appetite like bear. Big meals does not stop your appetite?" Which had her smiling up to him as she proceeded over to where the skirt was laid to wrap back around her waist to hide the length of bare legs from view.

He looked away, whistling a little as he did. "Aye, a big appetite. I know she packed more than I'll eat though. You're welcome to join me if you'd like. " He started for the basket as he spoke. "I know she'd like you to come visit again. She's still talking about the day you came and the frogs escaping." He opened the basket and grinned. "No frog legs in here but there's fried chicken and some potato salad. Don't know if you've had that. Looks like some strawberries too and some slices of bread." He wasn't sure what else but he helped himself to a chicken leg while he spoke. "She put plates in here too. I guess she figured there'd be someone here other than me."

"Great Mother is very thoughtful. If no one, then none the wiser but if someone then you are prepared to be hospitable and for her for preparing the basket of food." Because he invited her to share his food, she would honor him in doing so. In their customs it was so, meaning more than some other cultures. She carefully chose one of the chicken legs to try. She had not had them fixed this way.

Great Mother. He'd have to remember to tell her that. Smiling, he settled on the bench, allowing the sun to dry him. He watched her taste the food, waiting to see her reaction. "She always makes sure there's plenty of food. If  there's too much for us, there's always someone she can give it away to. " He was curious about something else and hoped it wouldn't bother her if he asked. "When was the last time you saw Conor? He's been working pretty hard lately."

It was different and juicy, flavor bursting in her mouth that had a wee little purring sound escape just before she licked her lips. Tip of her tongue between both to slide as dark eyes lifted to find him watching her. That had her breaking into a smile. "It is very good, this bird cooked like this." Then to answer his question on Conor, "it was night Yas and Mat came and much tension. He found me in the garden and we talked some."

"You should ask Gran to show you how to make it. I'm sure she'd enjoy doing so. Do you want to try some of the potato salad?" Herself could do wonders with potatoes. "It's a bit different so if you don't like it, you don't have to finish it."

"I will try," setting the unfinished leg aside to a plate as she dished out some of this potato salad, not knowing any better she used her fingers to pick up the moist pieces, licking them clean after the morsel was eaten. She probably looked like a little kitten in the way she did it so meticulously.

Oops! He should have shown her but instead he just watched a moment before picking up another plate and adding some of the food. He used a fork though he didn't want to embarrass her. He just wasn't ready to use his fingers. "How do you like it?"

"It is very good, it has this flavor that is appealing to the tongue." Meaning the tangy part she found she liked. She finished up the bits before going back to the leg that was partially eaten. "If you are going back to the Great Mother's home, may I come to tell her how good these are?" It would be a short stop, unlike the other where it had been Eion who had invited her to stay for the dinner of frog legs.

"I promised to return the basket and I'm planning on staying the night at the manor, so of course you may. She'll be glad to see you, and so will the rest of the family." He studied her a moment then reached for another piece of  chicken. "You don't have to wait for an invitation. You can stop in any time you want, Kuwan."

"It is said so, that I do not need to wait for invitation but it is more comfortable to go in the company of a friend." Perhaps in time as she became more comfortable she would show up more often or at least at times it would be good for a visit. These she would learn. "Do you have a pond near the house? I would set the rest of the flowers to float upon it to bring good spirits to all near."

"I'm glad you consider me a friend." He meant it too. Finishing up the chicken, he tossed the bones aside, then looked at her. "Do you want anything else? If not, we can head there now." It would be a nice visit and she could return to the camp. "And if we get to talkin' too late, you're welcome to stay the night. We've plenty of guest rooms." Of course, he wasn't certain she'd be comfortable sleeping in a bed but the offer was there.

"I am very satisfied with what I've had." She wasn't one that had a huge appetite and pretty much had some food because she'd been invited to. She had slept at the Thistle and in a bed so there would be no problem sleeping at the manor if it came down to it. From what she knew, most likely neither of his brothers would be there but his sisters would and she adored getting with them too. There was something she waited for, knew through another what to look for and maybe one day it would happen for her. She would watch. After putting away what was taken out back into the basket, she was up to collect hers with the flowers in it, she had them setting on a piece of moisten moss in the bottom to keep them fresh so they had not wilted in the meantime.

While Kuwan collected her flowers, he pulled on his pants and boots. They might squish a bit but he didn't mind. Once she was ready, he picked up the basket, then motioned toward the path. "Shall we? And while we walk, would you tell me how it is in your homeland?" He hoped she didn't mind the questions but it was natural to be curious. A smile was offered as he added, "and I'll answer any questions you have for me."

She didn't mind, here too he would be the first to really show an interest in knowing more about her. Though she didn't take it as meaning anything else in another area just because he did. He would learn how on a daily basis they lived to survive. The work that they did, all had a place. How women were seen to by having a husband, some of which had a few wives to keep his wigwam and provide him with many children. How in comparison this was important, that if a woman was on her own and not a medicine woman, she was left to the elements if not taken in. Which happened to many older women that lost their husbands and had no children while if one was young and could bear children, someone would take them in. How when an older warrior died, his wife would go with him as her time was considered done, unless another claimed her. There would be a lot to tell him and how the warriors did their coups like Mat had on his brother Conor. She slipped into her moccasins before they started to the manor, keeping with his steps at his side.



Date: 07-19-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 14

A Surprising Encounter

Segan was lying on the sandy area just up from the lake. Eyes closed with his arm curved behind his head. The sounds of the night comforting and a low burning fire in the pit, not far from where laid, crackled low giving off a soft glow over the area, illuminating Segan in a flickering way. Bare chest, legs, loin cloth worn for swimming though presently dry and he seemingly asleep. There was still some baked fish in a wrought iron pan setting on the stones to keep it warm.

Rhiannon had been wandering the land, meeting the people as well as her own who lived closer to Heathfield. She had been in Ballicastle and was returning when she decided to go to the lake before heading to the Thistle. It was one of her favorite places. She saw the man there, and moved closer, silent as any of her people and climbed into a tree. A branch that nearly hung over the man was where she stretched out, letting a leaf drift down so it would fall and tickle his skin. If he opened his eyes, he'd see a hint of a face in the flickering light of the fire's glow.

There was nothing to give someone away by sound nor sight but there was something that had him opening his eyes. He didn't move otherwise but waited. Moonlight played over the quiet lake, crickets and bull frogs in a chorus of their own making. The air sill had the tint of cooked fish and he wondered if maybe some nightly creature came to help themselves to the last in the pan. Doubtful, however, for the fire for any wild animal to get that close let alone the pan would be too warm for them. No, it wasn't a woodland creature as he realized the glow of the light above him was clarifying the shadows into a face. At first he thought he was seeing things, something that had been happening far too often of late. He stared a moment but he felt no threat from the one. The settled leaf on is chest he became vaguely aware of. He had said he wanted to meet one of the Fae. "Hello, who are you?" Wondering if she understood him at all.

"Acheyla., I am Rhiannon." She swung down from the branch, landing lightly beside him. Delicately pointed ears showed her Elven heritage as did the pale blue and slanted eyes. Dark hair was pulled back into a single braid. Her clothing was finely made, a sleeveless tunic of forest green over tight fitting black pants, beautifully tooled boots and a cloak that was embroidered with Elven runes. She carried a sword at her hip as well as a bow.

He scrambled to his feet dusting off sand as he went. Blue eyes slightly wider as he stared seeing the pointed ears. Not knowing that Elves were not Fae like he saw in the cove of the lake. "I am Segan. A pleasure to meet you Rhiannon. Are you one of the tumbleweed Fae from the other side of the lake in your bigger form?" He wasn't one to putz around but ask direct! "Who is Acheyla?" Or was she addressing him by that name but giving his name should clear that up. He was taking in her appearance, from the ears to the clothing she wore and weapons. Ones crafted of a kind he'd not seen before. It didn't even dawn on him he was standing there almost naked.

She listened to him with a slight tilt of her head then laughed softly. "I am not one of the Fae but of the Sylvan Elves. Acheyla means hello in my language. It is good to meet you, Segan Quinn." She opened the palm of her hand as she spoke and a tiny light appeared there. If he looked close, he might see a tiny figure with wings. "They are everywhere in this land but only some can see." She studied him openly from head to toe and up again.  She rarely saw human males in such a state of undress, though many went without their shirts.  Eyes met his as she spoke again. "You are the brother of Gemma. Like her, I seek to join the Order of Athena."

"Acheyla, Rhiannon,"  repeating her greeting in her language. It almost sounded musical on his tongue for some reason and he didn't consider himself musical. He blinked seeing the light and even more that it was a figure within the light, like the ones he saw on the other side of the lake. "I can see, what does that mean then?" The next gave him some more solid grounding as he was feeling out of place at the moment. "Yes, she is a gifted warrior. I think it runs in the family." After seeing Concessa joust and doing well for a slip of a girl, this aside from the training of he and his brothers. "I admire the craftsmanship of your bow. Is the sword as well fashioned uniquely?" Being it was sheathed but the shape had him notice.

The light disappeared with a soft word from the Elf before she looked at him again, laughing softly. "You ask many questions, Segan. The first, yes, it means you have the sight. It runs in families." She unsheathed the sword to hand it to him, hilt first. It glowed, even in the dying light of the fire and he would see Elven runes etched along the blade.

"Then Gemma has it too?" It seemed she knew his sister well that she might agree with that statement. Here was another question. "Can I touch your ears?" He had no clue how profoundly sensitive Elf ears were either. "You have my interest so you have my many questions." Trying to explain as she drew out the sword then offered it his way, he took it reverently to hold up in a way it caught the moonlight playing over the blade, eyes drawn to the ancient runes. "You will need to show this to my brother Eion sometime. He is in training to become a knight of these lands. You two have much in common," which had him lowering the blade to hand back hilt first. He didn't mention his own training as if it didn't exist for his brother and such ideas as this lass might be the one for Eion to take a double look. He had.

"Each of your family, yes, though some will deny what their eyes see." She blinked slightly then laughed. "Do you not know that it could be dangerous to touch an Elf's ears? They are very sensitive." She took the blade and slid it back into the sheath. Then removed the bow from where it was slung over her shoulder. "I have seen him on the field though I have not approached the males as of yet. I have sparred with your sister. She is good. Did you train  her?" She might be guessing that he had training or maybe it was the way he moved.

"No. I do not know this because I never met an Elf before." She might guess he had some kind of training for how toned his body was too. He came closer to study her ear of the like he'd never seen before and pretty much told not to touch it. It was tempting. Even more tempting for saying how sensitive it was, would it curl away from his touch like that one plant he'd seen? Hand lifted as if he would touch it no matter. Fingers flexing, reaching, then dropped away. "Sorry," stepping back as the question had him down to earth again. "I am not sure who trained her." Still not giving away his own skills even if he had not sought becoming a knight.

She tipped her head slightly, eyes holding a mischievous glint as she watched him. "You can touch them." She said with another soft laugh. "They are sensitive but no so much that they can't be touched lightly." To be honest, she didn't mind, even if it did cause a ... bit of a reaction. "We're hoping to join at the same time but Dame Maureen has been very busy."

He stepped right back into her personal space. He was not leaving this opportunity go but taking advantage of it. For roughen hands his touch was gentle, barely skimming the shell as he followed the contour up leading to the point, stalling there a moment before trailing down in a way it would leave a ghosted feel behind. Would on a human so he would find out how much different on an Elf. "It doesn't curl away from me." Letting that thought escape into words.

She had to close her eyes as soon as she felt the light touch. It made her shiver and  caused a touch of goose bumps.  She even made a sound much like a low purr.  When he made his comment,  her eyes opened and she looked at him, laughing. "No, it doesn't curl away or move. It sends chills through me,  right down to my toes."

"Chills on a hot night are a good thing?" Hoping at least such chills were pleasant ones. Sick chills were not. Stepping back as he took a good soaking-in view of her features. Here was another very pretty face. "Would you like some fish?" Realizing he could at least offer some of the dinner he made, smoked by now and very tender it would fall away from any bones, if any were left after filleting them.


"Chills as in an intimate feeling." She answered with complete honesty before turning to look at the fish. It did smell good and though she had planned to have a meal at the Thistle, it was getting late. "Yes, I would, thank you." As she spoke, she looked at him again. "Were you swimming earlier?" Considering his state of undress, she thought it likely.

He cleared his throat, "best I didn't ask if you've been kissed or would wish such." Trying to tease but oh how it had him wondering if a touch to her ears sent such chills, but then it did on humans too, though perhaps more than just a touch. "I was going to go but haven't yet. In fact I think it would be perfect right now, to go swimming, that is, over kissing, though I think kissing would do about now but that is a thought that brings on swimming," which he was tripping over his words for even thinking on it. "Excuse me," barely out as he was around on a heel and in a fast run taking him into the wake of the water before he was diving in.

She tipped her head as he talked, blinking several times, and then several times more before he was dashing away. She watched him thoughtfully, though her lips were pressed together to keep her from laughing. Not at him, which she'd be afraid he'd think was the case. She found him quite charming. Instead, she picked up a plate, put the fish on it and began to eat it using her fingers. She sat cross-legged on the sand as she watched him.

He came up for air a number of yards out. If it wasn't for the play of moonlight over the waters, one would not see him at all. It was different to go swimming at night than during the day, something about it making it more mysterious, or the feel more enhanced for less distractions with less seen. "How long have you been  here?" Floating on his back as he drifted in towards the shore.

"A few weeks. I was going to come during the winter but my people live in the mountains near the border of Tyremoor and we had several early spring storms. One thing led to another and before I knew it, it was summer." She licked her fingers as the last of the fish was gone. "What about you?"

"So you have been of the lands since your birth.." more mussed to himself as he continued floating in. "Couple of months. After our father died. My grandparents were from here and had to leave during the time of Rath." Which she was probably very well aware of since, from his understanding, the first Queen was Sylvan Elf, her daughter part. Though he had known this, it still had taken him by surprise to actually meet one. For his boldness he was probably lucky she hadn't turned him into a frog or something. Though that might be a different race that could do that. "So you came down from the hills to become one of the women warriors.." more going over it to be certain as he reached where he could stand and was soon walking out from the water, dripping wet of course.

"That was a dark, dark time but it is good that you came back, all of your family." She lifted her eyes again as he approached, nodding. "Yes. Most of my people prefer to be rangers or archers. But I feel strongly called to that. Enough so that my parents said I should come here and see if I was worthy. It's not easy, but I'm hopeful."

"I am sure you'll be worthy," having come near as he took up a seat on the stones that surrounded the fire pit. It seemed she had enjoyed his cooking. "Are there many Elves that come in service to the King and Queen directly or do you mostly keep to yourselves? I heard there were forests veiled from humans so they couldn't find them." Not having a clue yet he was allowed in part of one. Maybe there was more to his nature than he knew of or ran in their family that the whole of them didn't know about.

"There are many serving as Rangers but many more keep to themselves." She brought her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them as she spoke. "They are veiled. The Queen's son and his wife are our King and Queen but we serve both." She looked at him a moment as if she was about to say more but thought better of it. It wasn't her place to tell him what she knew. "Do you like Heathfield, Segan?"

"Yes. I do." He'd been listening to all she had to say and committing it to memory. Though it was getting very late. "I have briefly seen the King and Queen but have yet to meet their son and wife. I get the impression one serves here, they serve all and the sister castles too." He had taken the pan up to clean it using the coals still smothering in the pit as he talked. "Can I walk you up to the Thistle? I should get some sleep though I hesitate to prolong the time talking with you."

"It is true." She answered, agreeing with his impression. "And ... it is a good thing I believe. It strengthens each. She stood, picking up her bow. Today she had walked, leaving her horse at the tavern. "I'm sure you will meet them in time. Your family has a growing reputation and it is a good one." She nodded, her smile growing again. "I would very much enjoy your company and I am sure there will be other times to talk. And we can both ask many more questions." She glanced over the lake, her expression talking. "We both like coming here so I am sure we will see one another again."

He left the pan for anyone else coming down to cook as it was one from this fire pit. Once taken care of he was up and over to don his shirt, pants and boots before ready to escort her up. "Aye, and you'll be meeting me brothers and sisters most likely in the days to come as well some others."



Date: 08-15-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 15

Dog Days of Summer

It was a picturesque day. Sun at high noon in a clear blue sky. Only clouds were cirrus down near the horizon of distant mountains. It was a hot day, kind that would be best suited at a lake or inside if a cool enough room could be found. Deep woods another place that might offer relief from the heat. Segan was floating on his back with the water lapping against the sides of his head on down to only where toes peeked above the water's surface. There was a basket and coverlet set on a table under the shade of a tree and where his clothes were discarded in a heap on the ground next to it. All except the braies he left on. Birds fluttered between trees, squirrels as well running the branches scolding here and there. Chirping sound that could get very intense with their tails stiffly shaking. Comical, as he watched one that was scolding a larger bird that had landed on the tree branch not far above where he floated.

That mid-day sun was bright enough to illuminate the summer world with outrageous color... but also hot enough to make the experience of sitting upon a swaybacked old donkey rather miserable. Pedro, the donkey, was none too happy about his life at the moment either, and plodded along through the open meadows and dappled thickets with his head down and his legs moving agonizingly slow. Despite her impatience Karina knew she couldn't push Pedro any faster, for he was as stubborn a mule as she was herself. And so Karina contented herself with nothing more than a mutter when Pedro took five minutes stepping over a six-inch log, and occupied herself with looking around. Much as she hated to admit it even to herself, she had NO idea where the hell she was. Days of wandering aimlessly, punctuated by asking for directions at any homestead she passed, had led her to this patch of low woods that looked much like any other patch. She knew from the last person she'd asked (a crotchety old sort who was extremely confused by her attire and choice of mount) that she ought to be getting close. In fact she ought to have been there by now.

When one wasn't doing much of anything at all other than soaking in the cool waters, they tended to hear things that would ordinarily not register. A twig that snapped the rustle of something larger than a rabbit. Eyes had closed after the scolding squirrel had chased off the bird, who in turned flew away squawking. They were open again with a scan of the shoreline but such prove fruitless. It was down-a-ways, whatever it was, as he dipped into the waters to swim beneath bringing him out from the overhanging tree shaded area further out. Out far enough that he could see more of the shoreline as he treaded water. It could end up being Eion and a few of his newfound warrior buddies heading for a dip in the lake. Actually he had expected more to be here but then there were other lakes about the lands that might be closer to some.

The teen felt like she was frying in this sun, especially as they left the brief shade of the thicket behind and started across another clearing. She felt lines of sweat trickling down her neck and tugged off her cap, flailing it in front of her face in an attempt to cool herself down... though really all it did was move the warm air around. She was beginning to wonder if she was doomed to wander the realm on donkey-back forever when she glanced up ahead. Across the clearing, still some distance away a lake shimmered beneath the harsh sunlight. And - she blinked, hard - damn her if everything didn't look suddenly familiar! Could it be? Or was it just the mirage of a dehydrated mind... well, only one way to find out. "Yah!" Sitting up straight, she kicked at the donkey's sides. But to her infuriation the thick old beast gave nothing more but a grunt, not even speeding up his ambling pace. "Yah! YAH!" Kick, kick! Blast the beastie's eyes!

It was more than merely a familiar path by now. It was one that she enjoyed traveling and generally led to wonderful company. Far from alone, her handmaiden (among other jobs for the young woman) accompanied on this lovely day, for the journey. The ink black Andalusian traveled along at a steady, smooth gated trot with rider easily giving the beast free rein over his own chosen path as long as he kept the direction she had intended. Blonde hair drawn back in a thick braid down her back, Sariyelle was dressed in a dark green gown with fitted sleeves and a low V style hipline. The ride was quiet for the most part, trusting her companion's guide.

It was nice to get out of the castle and take a long ride. Vanessa always enjoyed such freedoms for herself, and it was nice to have the company of Sariyelle with her. This was the first chance she really had to have her company away from the castle and the woman's children, who Vanessa absolutely adored. The bay moved along in a matching stride to the dark beauty. "Perhaps we should stop to water then along the way?" Not too long a journey, but long enough that both horses should be and likely were thirsty, and her bum could use a rest from the saddle. Fair shade of lilac colored the capsleeved dress, light for summer heat and easy to move in.

He squinted his eyes, someone was on a mule trying to get him to move faster. Those YAHs traveled easily on such a day as he started laughing watching the one, comical it certainly was to observe. Funny to him but probably infuriating to the other. Another rider could be seen from out this distance. Well, at least the lake would not be so deserted after all. Having eased to his back while watching he soon turned beneath the waters gain to swim a few hundred yards before surfacing and going into a regular stroke of arms and kicks to take him into shore. Once shallow enough he walked the rest of the way out. Water ran off bronzed skin in rivulets as a hand lifted to sweep back the slick dark blond hair out of his eyes and off his face. "Hello," calling to the two off a distance yet closer than the other it seemed. Which had him looking back that way to see if the mule moved along now that it could smell the water. Most likely that would be the incentive it needed.

"Yah! Get on, ya stupid, smelly, lazy, worthless beast!" Pedro turned his large-snouted face back up to her, as if to mention that such insults were no way to win him over. Karina puffed out her breath in exasperation and decided that she could move faster on her own two feet. Sliding off the mule's back, bare feet met grassy earth and she started half-walking, half-jogging to get herself closer to the lake. It wasn't as if the donkey was going anywhere; in fact, now rider-less he halted where he stood and started munching on the long luscious blades of grass. The petite ragamuffin was looking around so intently that she nearly stumbled as she marked a hurried pace. That tree, that bit of lake... yes... it DID look familiar! And then she noticed the man standing by the shore, his build and the way his wet hair flopped around his face... and she let out a triumphant shout of laughter that echoed across the field. And that was when she started stumble-running towards the large body of water that was her parched throat's salvation.

A single nod was given to the inquiry. "We should, yes. Lead the way." Iniev would be absolute pulling his hair out in silent anger to know the pair had gone out without proper chaperone, but the road wasn't known to be a dangerous one, and the thought of chaperone on such a lovely day that was meant to relax wasn't very pleasing. Let's face it, two women with an armed guard was more likely to draw attention than the two women alone would do. She heard the 'yah's' and other commands to the beast of burden and smirked slightly before hearing the male voice drift across the lands towards them. A voice unfamiliar to herself though, a single hand rose to wave in return to the greeting.

"Yes, M'Lady." With agreement of Sariyelle, a soft click to the horse's attention, he picked up the pace by half a gait to lead the way towards the lake. She'd spotted the young woman on donkey-back and felt for her. Stubborn beasts were a pain in the arse, but they were good for lead training horses! Golden hue drifted across the noon-time scape to find Segan looking as though they'd all intruded upon swim time. "Hello, Sir Segan." Called to him as they neared the lake's edge and the horses slowed to a calm pace.

Sir Segan, reminded him of being in the presence of ladies and near naked. He eyed the heap of clothing figuring he had time to grab his shirt at least doing a side step that-a-way. "Lady Vanessa, Lady," grabbing his shirt as it was up and around while arms went through the sleeves and it falling in place over his shoulders, covering most of his chest. Sticking to it once settled in against the wet skin. "Karina!" Realizing with a blink the teen was back! Here he thought she left for good as it had been some time. "There is food and drink here," indicating the basket of which he leaned enough to flip up the one side. "Cider packed in with wine skins full of ice. Sandwiches if you're hungry," which smelled like chicken and lettuce as he tried to see but gave it up as it didn't matter and the women almost here. Instead he straightened up and stepped away. He would move to where they stalled the horses and lend a hand to either if they wished it in dismounting.

"Segan! Hullo! People I don't know! Hullo!" She sang out with wildly waving arms as she all but frolicked to the lake's edge. To Segan she might've just seemed delirious with elation (or maybe just thirst and exhaustion). To the strangers she probably seemed almost mad. The girl carried nothing but the clothes on her back, which after nearly a month on the road were barely more than rags. Her loose pants were all the baggier on a skinny frame, falling in tattered ends to her bare feet. The tunic she wore was sleeveless (though not on purpose, as that too was ragged on the ends) and a muddy gray color that wasn't its natural hue. Her own skin too had changed color, tanned darker by the sun and stained red by the same. They had just the flash of a wide smile that spread across her crimson cheeks and hid beneath moppy amber curls, before she fell to her knees and started scooping water into her mouth.

Conquer picked up pace with Tennison, following to the stalls. The stallion slowed to a lazy stride, she dipped her head in return to the man's greeting. "Sir." Offered kindly while pale brown eyes turned in direction of his voice, never to actually find him though. She listened for Tennison's sounds to grow silent with stopping and reined Conquer to halt at his side. A wave was given in direction of the girl's voice, but no sight to find her. "Good day, Miss." Sariyelle needed no help to dismount from the side saddle, though once on the ground she'd wait there for Vanessa to offer her arm since Sari was unfamiliar with the area.

A bright smile was flashed to the young woman who greeted them before indulging herself in the cool water, then attention returned to Segan with the same bright smile. "That's most kind of you, Sir Segan." If his assistance was offered, she took it gratefully with a quiet spoken word of thanks. "A stop to water the horses, and imagine my surprise to find you here. How are you?" Quite the surprise indeed. She moved around the bay to where Sariyelle stood and reached out for the woman's hand, which was placed around her arm nearest her as a guide. "M'Lady, this is Sir Quinn that I told you of." Offering a proper introduction, she looked back to Segan. "Lady Sariyelle."

Karina had always that bit of delirious to her since he and his brothers first met her. So, it didn't come off all that odd to him at all. He had, however, noticed the condition of her clothes as she had been given good ones when here eventually. Though he was uncertain as to where she got some of them for she didn't like handouts. She was still that kind of skinny straight framed teen lass though at least her cheeks had some color as well some bronzing. The former could be due to the heat. He had a number of questions skimming his thoughts but they would have to wait as it seemed she was hot and thirsty presently and seeing to that. After assisting Vanessa he stepped back and waited as she saw to the other Lady. "Segan, if you mind not informality. Actually it will be me older brother that will be Sir when knighted." Though he was sure it was all in the proper line of things using Sir, as he used Lady. "The lass here is Karina, a friend of mine." Which he considered her even through all the crazy stuff that had gone on, far behind him now. "A pleasure to meet you Lady Sariyelle. Welcome to the lands." Sticking to his better manners.

Karina didn't pay much heed to the introductions, at least not right at the moment. Unlike Segan's practice of politeness, she wasn't concerned with such things when her throat and tongue felt like they'd been hung out to dry in the sun for days. So she bent on the lakeshore and scooped water into her mouth, and splashed it over her face until she could drink no more. Then she gave a great sigh and flopped down onto her back, limbs splayed, right there on the bank where the air was cooler and she could dangle a hand into the water still. She'd made it back finally. She was home. Then she wondered when she'd started calling this place home. Something to ponder as her eyes closed briefly.


The arm was taken gently as introductions were given. Once more a nod was given to Segan with a smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Segan. Please, call me Sari." No need for formalities. She wasn't at the castle and she'd rather not be called Lady. She would have looked over to the young woman...but wouldn't have done her much good. So she'd wait until Karina was closer to converse with. "Thank you for the welcome. I'm not stranger to Heathfield though."

She looked over to Karina and smiled. "Hello, Miss Karina!" Called over to her with a chipper tone. Proper was a hard habit to break. "Lady Sariyelle is the one who requested the cider, I had spoken of at the Thistle." Spoken to Segan as she moved both herself and Sariyelle away from the horses, but not so far to be rude to Segan since they were talking. "I didn't have the chance to thank you properly for your help at the Thistle." She'd hoped to catch him before leaving the Inn that morning to return to Eldyn, but she hadn't, so it was good to see him again.

Date: 08-15-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 16

He gave them the respectable distance required and room to see to the basket on the picnic table if they wanted that drink. "Aye," his accent very Irish though he was keeping from the heavier brogue. "Seems I got up too late and you were gone by then. Understandable," as she had been needed to get back and not worry Lady Sari. "I got word to Sir MacShire and he should be contacting you very soon. Probably take a trip out to Eldyn being an ambassador of the lands as well having the farmlands. That's what Alex was telling me." So a heads up. Then to Karina. "There is cold cider in the basket and some food." A slight smirk slipping up one side as she laid sprawled there on the cool sand, water lapping around her. Then back to Lady Sari. "Vanessa was saying that you know Mikhail and Amory." At least, he wasn't sure who else she may have met.

"Rmmm." Was her only response for a few seconds as she lay there absolutely prone, eyes heavily shut and soaking in the shade. Then her eyes popped open. Food? That was the only thing that could've lured her up just then. And so she clambered to her feet and went over... where was it... oh, there! to the basket! She flipped open the lid, looked inside for a couple big-eyed seconds then dove her hands inside to retrieve one of the sandwiches. She was already taking her first oversized bite as she sank back down onto the grass, to sit cross-legged as she ate. "Thurnks," she thanked Segan through a full mouth as she took another bite.

"You're welcome." Capturing one of the flasks of cold cider as he was over to where she sat. A quick lean had the vessel settled on the sand next to her. "This will go good with it." Wink given as he straightened. He looked like he was about to say something, more like at least a couple of those multitudes of questions waiting to spill forth but clamped his lips together with a sweeping glance over their visitors. He'd wait instead. Who knew what the answers might be and might not be ones to speak freely in front of ones not really known. Though, both ladies seemed very pleasant and trustworthy.

A nod caused those mussed, sweat-dampened curls to bob around her face as she took another bite, simultaneously reaching for the flask. She had to fiddle with the cork before getting it free, then took a long thirsty gulp. Ahh, it WAS nice and cool. She was eating and drinking so quickly it nearly gave her the hiccups, and she forced herself to chew and swallow thoroughly. She had enough experience with hunger to know that if she stuffed her face too quickly, she'd just puke it all back up, and that would be a waste. So she forced herself to swallow, then take a deep breath for a moment. The pause allowed her to glance over to Segan, and her sea-green eyes crinkled in a slower smirking smile. "You look like you've been doin' alright." At least there were no visible gashes or bruises like the Quinns usually sported. "Stayin' out of trouble, have ya?"

It seemed both ladies needed to part and were on their way instead of partaking of food and drink. He figured it must have been urgent matters as he gave a wave as they left. Slow draw of blue eyes from their departing backs to Karina. "Aye, I've been doing well as me brothers have been as well." In case she was wondering on them but obviously he was out without them. "Seems you've been in the sun with a healthy glow though," use to being direct, "what happened to yir clothes?" Hand lifting in emphasis towards what were more rags at this point.

Yes, she would've asked after his brothers too but Segan spared her the question, and she took his vague reply as good enough for now. Though of course her insatiable curiosity wondered just what they'd all been up to over the past month of her absence. A light snort was given to his comment of a 'healthy glow', it was more like several sunburns racked up together. But certainly the tawny color of her skin wasn't unappealing, and the color in her cheeks seemed to light her up in a way too. She didn't comment on that though, as he went on to ask about her clothes. Glancing down, she gave her frayed pants a rueful tug. "Storms, squalls, sleepin' in dirt... lots happened to 'em," she answered with a light shrug, taking another bite of the scrumptious sandwich.

He was over to take up a seat near. Even took a drink from the flask of cider deciding he was thirsty. There was enough in there to share with a few and only enough needed to whet his throat. "Storms, squalls, sleeping in dirt, where on Earth did you take off to and why? Certainly doesn't sound appealing as in a choice vacation or destination." So he was concern more than even curious as blue eyes darkened, something she might note but he unaware of. Knees bent, arms crossed between in bridging them as he set his chin against a forearm, slightly turned to keep her in his sights as well the serenity of the lake before them.

She did note that slightly changed tone in his voice, that look in his eye, and it took her aback somewhat. Enough to have her misinterpreting it as anger, which caused her to frown slightly in return. "Well I didn't set out to do all those things, any more than I set out for a long vacation. But sometimes things just happen."

Except there was no anger in his tone of voice. "Aye, sometimes things just happen. You didn't get hurt or sick during the time in the least?" Chin lifted enough that he could reach over to ruffle her hair in a way letting her know all was well. "I tried out the O'gawd-let, you might like to try it out some hot evening." Hand was back to rest over the other arm still bridging his knees. "Are you back for good or only traveling through?" After all, this was not the first time she disappeared for a length of time, this time even longer. So he would be naturally curious.

She'd been drooping a little in her frown but when he reached out to ruffle her locks in that old familiar way, she relaxed again, and glanced up with a soft crooked smile. "Nothin' too bad," would be her own vague answer to his first question. "And I'm back, for now at least if not for good." Her vagabond nature prohibited her from saying definitively that she was here to stay always. That was a concept that had difficulty sticking in her mind, even if she had privately called it home. She was formulating how to tell the tale of her journey, but curiosity stopped her for a moment. "What's the O-gawd-let?"

For that matter, his excursions out to sea could be considered the same. Dimple came with his smile as he watched her. "Sir Lancely Caster designed and had built a different type of gauntlet. Something that challenges your balance, adeptness and so forth, along with a good bit o' luck," he would add the last part. "All in fun for instead of spears, axes you have water balloons, bumpers, seaweed, whipped cream and a huge wave to run under or be swept away with it at the end. Only two men have made it all the way through so far, Sir Lazare Carno and Sir Calhoun Quinlan of those that tried."

Karina's brows perked upwards as she tried to imagine such a contraption. "Must've taken a lot of time and talent to build such a thing," then added with a quick grin, "Sounds like alot of fun to try. Or just watch others try." Prime entertainment, it sounded like! For now she'd run with this conversation, because it was a far sight more pleasant than what she had to share. "Have you tried your hand at it yet?"

"Either way it is fun. Lancely built the regular gauntlet. Man is ingenious and constantly resetting them so it can never be mastered but always a challenge." Here he stalled with the next question as he cleared his throat. "Aye, and didn't do so well, made it through a couple stages." But they had beaten the ladies and it was the men against the women that night. "I plan to give it a practice even if the timing is changed often, at least I would have an idea of what is to be accomplished in each section." Which he figured would be a help, or so hoped. "I've been running goods down to Ballicastle and have the option of running some a lot further away. Europe and some islands if the contracts go through on the goods." The last would be the more dangerous for the waters he'd have to sail. "Don't see as much of me brothers, Conor the least, Eion a slight bit more as both have taken to what keeps them busy." Still watching her as he'd let her have a turn talking, he just got started was all.

Her grin stretched a bit wider as Segan admitted to not having done 'so well' on the gauntlet... which she wouldn't judge him for, because the contraption sounded like a formidable beast indeed. Her sandwich had been mostly devoured by now but she nibbled along the crust, reluctant to finish it. Listening to his talk of going to sea, she shuddered just slightly though the day was only growing hotter. It'd be a long time before she set foot on a ship again, if she could help it. She only nodded when he mentioned his brothers by name, features impassive, for many things were far behind her now too. Taking another swig of cider Karina didn't notice that she'd fallen uncharacteristically silent. In truth she was more or less waiting for him to ask what had happened; for some reason she wasn't up to volunteering the sordid tale herself.

"There's more." Glancing down to her nearly devoured sandwich. "If you have room," smile sweeping away with a dimple again before gone just as fleetingly. He noticed the shudder on such a hot day, "some'tin the matter Karina?" There was that look of concern back in his eyes, this close she would notice it was not anger but the other for the pupils didn't dilated. "This time away?" Well, kind of obvious but said to clarify.

"I just might have room," she answered with a little grin; in fact she felt as if she could've eaten three more sandwiches, but she was purposefully holding herself back. She gnawed on the end of the crust til his question, and concerned tone lured her turquoise gaze back his way. Chewing and swallowing the bite, she raised one shoulder in a half-shrug. Seemed like she might not answer for a few moments, but her words finally came. "I got myself in a shipwreck." She held his eyes even so, knowing that as a sailor he was one of the few that could understand the horror of such an event. "That's why I was gone so long. Or part of why anyway."

"Begorrah, bejaysus," muttered under his breath coming out in a whoosh. "Where? When?" Stilling his tongue and leaving her to answer what she would of it. Yes, he understood as there were some others here that would also he learned over the course of time on one of the families. "Where were you left stranded, do you even know?" Eyes held and were searching hers as if he could drag up the answers before she could even speak them.

The questions battered her like the winds of the storm that had felled the ship, but she couldn't do much more than to shrug helplessly. "Bout three weeks ago I guess, but I don't know where exactly." A pause and then she admitted, "I was stowin' away. So I was down b'low the whole time, for a few days afore the squall came. So I dunno where we were but...." Well, she wouldn't describe the storm itself, the way the ship seemed to groan and scream as it broke apart, how she could hear the cries of the crew too as she remained stranded below decks. Trapped by the weight of the fallen mast, which lay across the hatch. Perhaps in time she'd be able to tell the story with as much flair as she told fairytales, but for now it was still too raw. "When it finally ended I had ta pull apart a hole in the hull, and when I crawled out I could see the whole ship had come apart. I was managin' to float in just a piece of it. I couldn't see nobody, though. Nobody alive." That moment when she realized she was the only survivor had been its own sort of horror. Her eyes dropped to the half-crust in her hand.

He knew very well what a shipwreck was like and the sounds that accompanied it from the shattering of wood to the screams of sailors in terror as they met their death. He knew it on battlefields too. She might remember how fast he could move. Sitting there next to her one moment then on his feet, taking her with him as he cocoon her within his arms. "You're safe now and home. You can put it behind you but not forget." Though that might not make sense, it did. Even the horrors in life were a means of teaching a lesson if one survived them. "Let's go up to the Thistle, you can see to a bath." As she was probably needing about now being she didn't go in swimming. "I will get you some new clean clothes to wear while you soak. I'll not take no for an answer this time." Marketplace was that close anyway. Easing from the hug as his chin dipped, eyes meeting as to put across his point on the last.

Karina would've gone on with reciting her story but she was surprised by being pulled to her feet, and into a hug. In truth she was grateful that she could keep mum on the rest of it, for now at least, and while she stiffened briefly in the embrace she soon went limp enough to rest her head against his chest. His words were kind to say the least and swept her away with a sense of exhausted relief. Safe now and home. She wouldn't cry, she wouldn't let herself but she did blink a few times and swallow before pulling back from the hug when he did. "Guess I can't argue with ya then," she answered to his final words, her voice a little thin but accompanied by a crooked smile. She added after a second a simple, "Thanks." For the comfort or for the clothes, it was hard to tell; most likely it was for everything.

"No, no arguing with me," slow smile started up with that dimple to reappear, "this time." He purposely didn't keep her in the hug or she probably would end up crying if he cradled her head against his chest, stroking her hair. He knew she didn't like to show those kinds of emotions so would not embarrass her. He could tell. Hell, there would be something wrong with her if she didn't get emotional over such an ordeal. "You eat some more on the way up." Taking her hand in his as fingers laced in a gentle hold, his much larger and rougher as he urged her to the basket, taking that up in his other hand but swung around that she could take her pick. The flask returned first as they would start on their way to the Thistle.



Date: 10-11-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 17

Skipping Stones

The lake looked spectacular this day. The height of the trees to turn with most leaves still on the branches. Yellow gold was the reflection off the lake for the trees lining the other side. Gradually they mixed with orange and reds as well those still green and the dark green of the pines. Red were the leaves of the tree he was under whose limbs snaked out over the edge of the waters from the embankment above. Sloping down where rocks jutted then gave way to a smoother surface for the water level of the lake having gone down, as it did every fall. Sunny day for a change and the lake smooth except for the ripples he was causing by skipping flat rocks, those chosen amongst many along the shore as he gradually was making his way up along it. Many lengthy pauses. Segan wore a brown vest over a heavier cotton shirt of tan, brown pants and heavier leather boots lancing up.

The morning had passed swiftly and happily at the Avian Gardens, but Sunday afternoons were hers, and Karina had decided to spend the remainder of the day in the wilder outskirts of town. Despite her new habit of wearing dresses she'd reverted to her older 'style' of more boyish clothes today, though since these were fairly new, they lacked the stains and tears of former outfits. An open-necked tunic, laces loose at the neck, the color of fresh sage. The ends were tucked into dark brown linen pants, which in turn had been stuffed into her leather work boots. The morning had started out chilly but that all changed when the sun came out, and without a jacket or other layer, Karina sucked in deep lung-fulls of the crisp air. It was inevitable that her rambles would bring her eventually to one of her favorite spots and she stopped to admire the blazing colors from afar before advancing at an easy pace. Soon enough her ears caught the repetitive plunks of stones being tossed into the water, but thanks to the undergrowth she couldn't see their source just yet.

Segan would crouch down to choose the rocks. Like one was picking up masterpieces as each were handled that looked correct. A few tossed back down while only the chosen were kept as he'd stand again. A few more paces up the shoreline had him upsetting a beaver coming up, rock skipping right over his head before the chiding came in chatter then he plunged back under the water. The whole scene had him taking pause in surprise before he let out a good laugh then continued up a distance further.


Aha - now she knew who it was skipping stones, she'd recognize that laughter anywhere. A sly grin curved her lips as she stopped and ducked behind a tree, peering from out behind it for a moment to make sure Segan was still absorbed in his task. Quick and silent as a cat, she minced her way from tree to bush, until she was near the lakeshore and close enough to reach the pebbles of the beach. She crouched for a second to select the perfectly-shaped rock, then, still half-hiding in the foliage she flicked her wrist and expertly threw the stone. It skipped a total of four times across the lake's surface before disappearing, and Karina grinned again to herself as she quickly ducked again out of sight.

He had crouched only to catch motion from the corner of his eyes, a stone whizz by him and skipping over the surface. Brows rising he was up fast only to spin around. Someone was hiding in the bit of forest behind him. Brush and trees could easily conceal and most likely one of his brothers spoofing on him. So he charged the brush, arms moving out to grab up his brother in a tackle soon as he caught sight or flushed him out.

Vanessa couldn't resist the sunny day that was offered knowing the cold that was soon to come. It called to her and thus she'd left the cottage and Gardens for a ride with Tennison and bit of a chance to explore some. Some path along the forest had been chosen and brought the pair towards the lake in a round'about way. Clearing most of the denser wood, Vanessa gave lead-way to the reins and Tennison a chance to run off some excess energy towards the lake for a drink when reached. One figure could be seen up ahead, but at this distance, it was hard to tell who it was.

Alas, Karina had bent her head to find another rock, and so she was unaware until the very last second that she was under attack! She glanced up to the sound of footsteps, only to see the mad sailor flying at her with wide-spread arms. She let out a strangled yelp and tried to dart to the side, but Segan was too fast, and so she was caught up in the bear-hug tackle. It threw both of them a few feet and then onto the ground, where Karina squirmed and protested, but mostly all that came out was giggles. A little too incapacitated by laughter to be truly outraged.


He was half upon her in that charge to stop it. In that split second realizing it was not his brother but Karina as she was caught up in a motion that could not be stopped. Rolling. Rolling. Leaves clinging as well any other debris as twigs and pieces of acorns. Once stopped he had let go as laughter poured to mingled. He laid there a moment, on his back a few feet from her just laughing. As it subsided, he was to his feet, brushing debris from his clothing as he moved over to with a last sweep to offer his hand in helping her up. "Be you lucky that you were not Eion or Conor, for a good thrashing and hair ruffling would have been yours." He also heard someone coming in on horseback as he tried to see through the brush and trees. More a silhouette, glimpses of a form with a horse from this angle.

Tennison had no issues in making the run to the lake's edge with the effort. And effort he put into it as she lengthened gaits to make it there that much quicker. The run across wouldn't take long at that pace and Tennison drew his longer gait to a steady slow to walk the last few steps to the edge of the water. Vanessa patted his neck with one gloved hand. "Good run, Tenni." All smiles as the horse snorted at her in return, she draped the reins over the stump of the saddle and twisted in the single stirrup of the side saddle to hop down from the seat. "Drink and enjoy. You've earned the cool down."

Karina rolled onto her side in the brush, arms wrapping around her stomach against the helpless laughter that pealed from her. It took several seconds before she could breathe again, and she grabbed Segan's hand when he offered it, jumping lightly to her feet and still grinning. "You call that lucky? I call it abuse!" A broad smirk as she teased, half-turning her head towards the muted sound of a horse snorting. She could recognize Vanessa now, and lifted a hand to wave in greeting.

"Abuse?" Oh, she was asking for it as the caught up hand wasn't really released, drawing her in as he crouched and bringing her up over a shoulder. He was around and making it back through the trees and brushed. A small jump to clear the last and have them out where Vanessa was. Which he too figured out who it was once she had reached the area completely. "I caught a tree sprite for your collection." Grinning as he approached. Of course he would be letting her down at that point too, struggling or not.

Tennison's head jumped up and ears perked at the nose from the brush. But quick enough who it was became evident. A bright smile to both Segan and Karina. "Is that so? I'm not sure I have a cage to fit her though. Perhaps I will have to call Jon back out for a special one?"


Karina had squirmed away and dashed off to take care of something she forgot, or so he would assume being it was so quick. "I think you scared her with that suggestion," teasing Vanessa in turn like it was her fault, knowing well it was not. Not even close. Grinning as he tore the glance to the retreating sprite back to Vanessa. Glint in his eyes pronounced.

Jaw dropped in mock offense at such an accusation. " Hand went to her chest as though she were genuinely offended, but the very slight quirk of a grin would tell otherwise. "I think it was you that frightened her off. Must be since you came out of the woods carrying her caveman style." Her hand moved to cover her mouth to keep from snickering, holding attention to him.

"It wouldn't be the first time," which had the rumble of laughter to follow. "No cage will ever contain that lass. Aye, only way to get her out and she ran off anyway!" Though he didn't feel that had anything to do with it either. "Thought it was either Eion or Conor throwing rocks at me," though the rock skipped out onto the lake's surface and he had not gotten hit. "How are you enjoying this cooler though sunny day," which had him turning with a gesture of hand at the sight of golden trees being mirrored in the blue crystal clear waters of the lake.

She just smirked at further mention of Karina. That girl was certainly a wild spirit if ever there was one. "Surely Eion wouldn't hide if he were going to throw rocks at you?" She didn't know Conor, so couldn't guess that much of him. Turning to the lake as it was gestured to, she smiled. "I am enjoying it quite well. I couldn't resist a long ride with Tennison to enjoy the day while it lasted. How was your run?"

Which had him take pause to consider if it had been Eion what he would do. "In such a case, Eion would hide in the brush and toss a stone close to me to see if he could take me by surprise and what I would do. Conor would do the same though he might try to nick me to get my attention." Though he didn't feel his brothers would try to hurt him. Changing tracks again, "my run went well and profitable. I know there will only be a few more before I'm grounded completely. I might have to find something to keep my hands busy." Which he had some ideas but there was no rush and feeling quite comfortable that fate would have land in his lap what direction he should take. "Have you sold many more birds in my absence?"


"Hm..." She thought over the tactics for a moment and nodded. Not tactical minded in the least. Hope no one gave her a weapon and told her to defend something or someone. That wouldn't go over well. The thought passed as he spoke of his run, and nodded. "Well and profitable is good. Also good that you made it back safe. I'm sure given time, you'll find plenty of things to do." Patting Tennison once more, she removed the gloves from her hands with a shake of her head. "No, I've not. I had a small delivery of carrier birds early yesterday, and spent a bit of time with them."

"I've not been home yet to see how Master Bentley is doing." Though he was sure all the Quinn ladies would be in love with the striking cockatoo. "I could help with the horses. Learn to put Fandango through his training paces." Be trained to train. "Train Big Red and give him another name more appropriate. I would like to train him as a warhorse. I may consider helping out, becoming a part time warrior if that is allowed. I know another is, has a profession but works out with the warriors and on call for duty if needed." Which also gave him an idea. "You know that if you need birds picked up from somewhere, I could bring them in." He had a ship and if sailing was possible, he would take the run.

She had no doubt the Quinn women doted over the bird. Being such a charming creature and all. "Training horses is one way to take up time. My brother-in-law trains them. I've seen him spend countless hours on just one. Such as he did when training Tennison." Having spent a couple summers with her sister and her husband, she'd seen the hours put into such a thing. Brow quirked when he brought up possible duty as a warrior. Not that she didn't think he was capable, just...dangerous work. "I appreciate the offer. I'm not expecting to receive anymore right away. I think for the next purchase of birds, I might have to do my own traveling. I am going to need a few more companion birds. I suspect that with winter coming and so many who will keep indoors, they will be quite popular with their tropical colors."

He lived dangerously, possibly a more dangerous a life at sea especially some of the places he'd been and things that happened. But, he remained in one piece. "Then perhaps I can sail you to where you need to pick up some of these exotic birds. Or sail and pick them up for you being sailing is not that agreeable with most women." If he could help out, he would. "With the holidays coming up, there might be a few willing to spend the money on a bird or two for their young or loved ones."

"That would be very nice." She smiled again, tucking her gloves into a pocket of her riding coat. "I don't mind sailing. I've been on two ships, though the travel wasn't far. I was thinking perhaps going to Innis. I've heard it's more tropical there." Something she'd considered when Peter told her about Innis. "I'm hoping that the birds can help cheer up the holidays. I intend to gift a few out myself."

"Innis would be a nice place to visit, especially with the colder days and nights coming up. They probably have exotic birds in the jungle areas of the island. There are also the shell islands that Laird McDonough has." Those were the two he knew of offhand. "Can I walk you back," though she had her horse which he glanced to and back, "to the Thistle or home on my way?" He knew he needed to get to Clearview to not only check in but wash up and be there for dinner tonight.

"I would like to visit Innis. Peter told me it's much more tropical there. If I can come by some birds to bring back with me, that would certainly be helpful." She glanced back to Tennison, reaching out to take his reins. "Sure. I can't refuse good company." A light smile to Segan, she pulled Ten around to begin the walk back towards the commons. "I think I'm going to go to the cottage. I need to clean up and get Tennison settled for the night."

"I was hoping you'd accept for certainly I consider your company good as well. Do you wish to sail to Innis soon then? I will see if I can make the arrangements." Giving  nod to her stated destination. "I will see you there then," before continuing on his way to Clearview. The sun was spiking through the trees at a more horizontal angle that made some of them look ablaze or at least as if the light was coming from within the leaves themselves. It was a spectacular sight as well the way shadows played along the trunks of trees, making various shapes that would gradually shift to something else as they walked along. Some leaves would drift down, especially if a light breeze picked up, in a colorful shower.



Date: 10-31-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 18

Autumn's End Ritual

Kuwan was dutifully walking the shore of the lake. Feet cover well in thick moccasin boots lined with fur. A cloak worn that was fur lined over a leather dress. Small items were buried into the sands up from the shore before a mixture of tobacco and herbs was sprinkled over the area. One held a small tree branch with green leaves, another a smooth rock gained from a riverbed. Another had acorns and yet another had pieces of leather and jerky. The last had a piece of buffalo and bear skin though there were no buffalo in these lands.

Yas was watching Kuwan from a short distance away, not wanting to interfere with the ritual she was enacting. He had followed her because it was the night that the people here spoke of being when the ghosts come out. He still wasn't used to children dressing up to chase evil spirits (or so he thought), but even less with the idea that ghosts might bother her. Luckily, she picked the lake, and that meant he could pretend to have not followed her. He finally looked up at the sky as a gust of wind blew and send a great flurry of leaves flying. Some landed on the lake and he thought once more of the voyage he and the others would soon be taking.

To her it was the end of the year, though most didn't adhere to it, there were some. The communication with the spirits was not a bad thing and her ritual was in recognition and respect of forces greater than her. She had wished to communicate with her mother who had died unexpectedly a long time ago when she was barely twelve. She knew she had been a woman of great healing skills but even more, a woman of vision. She had found flowers that had
not been killed by the frosts of late, golden with rust as she arranged them in a spiritual  marking on the ground then kneeled. Eyes closed just as the snowflakes started to fall landing on dark hair and an upturned face as she waited silently to see if her mother would communicate and possibly impart a gift upon to carry on.

It would be Full Beaver Moon soon and those animals were busily making ready for winter. Back home, they would have started trapping for the pelts to protect against winter's cold. He sat on one of the rocks, barely noticing the cold. Arms resting on his knees, he did take note of the touch of snow and smiled slightly. Then he paused to watch Kuwan again. Dressed in heavier buckskin shirts and pants, he wore a fur that he had brought with him from home.  His first bear, killed as part of a ritual of manhood. It still kept him warm after all these years.

The snow seemed to fall heavier upon the lake that the wind picked up in a gust. One that seemed to come across the waters on its own volition and surround Kuwan. From where Yas kept watch it would seem like one of those bulbs they had in the toy shop she had admired. Her in the center. Fascinated with it but perhaps there was a subconscious reason for she was a haze of white though she never moved, never opened her eyes for what would most likely startle some to even gain their feet to try and get away from a strange phenomenon. Instead she moved not a muscle, not even the flutter of dark lashes that as the gust passed left her looking like a frozen statue or some newly spun goddess of winter. Still she waited before the lift of lashes dispelled the surreal. A hand lifting to touch a frosted cheek, one with a hint of rosier darker hue beneath. Her mother had imparted her gifts.

He would admit to being surprised at what he saw, startled enough that he stood, though slowly but not frightened. He was certain there was no reason to be though he couldn't explain why. He waited until what he saw faded, leaving behind a colder looking Kuwan. When he saw her moving, he was down from the rocks and striding toward her. "Kuwan?" He paused a few feet away, making sure not to startle her. Sometimes those who came out of visions, if this was what she had, were disoriented.

She heard him not as if in a trance still belonging to the phenomenon. She stood as the flakes shimmered away as she turned, arms lifting as well dark hair in a spin, sending a dazzling spray like an aura around her before gone as she ended up facing the approaching Brave. These flakes had not melted on her skin like they should have. Clarity sharpened dark eyes as she recognized him. "Yas, you are here. Did you see?" Almost breathless as a hand moved in gesture over the now calm waters. At a loss for words to even label the incident she turned back to him silent.

"I saw a light that surrounded you, like the glow of the moon and snowflakes that surrounded and covered you, turning you into a snow spirit. But what it means, I could not say." He pulled the fur from his shoulders and placed it over hers. "You looked ... breathtaking." There was no other word to describe it.

Her eyes were brighter than they had ever been before, the dark brown like polished bronze for the heightened experience. "My mother came to me and told me of things that will yet to be presented. She said my gifts were accepted and for each I will be rewarded in time. That the spirits here have claimed me as one of theirs." Which there was more but that she would keep to herself as she was not sure how any of the others would take what she had to say or accept them. The very thought had a chill run through her but she held to her mother's voice still fresh in her mind. There had always been a mystery that had surrounded her and that much had been revealed. There too, it was not something she would just go and say upon. The shiver could be taken wrongly as she snuggled into the warmth of his fur cloak. His words held the blush upon her cheeks and the silence of her tongue for a moment.

Of course he had spoken the truth as he saw it. And though her words might have troubled him slightly, he wouldn't let her know. He knew what she had heard and seen was a comfort to her. "I'm glad for you, Kuwan. You, of all of us, except perhaps Mat, have felt more akin to Heathfield since we arrived here. I am glad to know you'll at least be here. As my father's oldest, my place too will be here. It's good to know I'll have someone to remind me that it is possible to be of both worlds." He smiled at her and touched her cheek. "Even in the dark, a blush is becoming, but it's cold and I think the wind is picking up." He grinned at her. "Remember, this is the cleansing wind, that clears the leaves so the trees may sleep. Do you want to go to the Thistle to warm up or shall I build a fire that you may warm yourself while you remain in the presence of the spirits here?"

His words heartened her. She had been afraid to speak on what she was shown, knew now in her heart that it would trouble those she loved as family. "My family is here. I know now I do  not belong with the tribe. This is not to say I am ungrateful for all they had done for me when my parents were killed in a raid. I would not have survived without being taken in and accepted. Though, you know I have always felt the outsider, something..." She knew why now but her words stilled.

"Yes, I know but you have not been to us." He half smirked as he continued. "To me, you were always the calm one, the certain one. Even when you were being trouble and causing mischief. Still, we each must follow our own path.  Even if we're not certain it's the one we'd have chosen for ourselves." He tugged on a strand of her hair. "Which would you like to do now?" She could tell him as little or as much as she wanted. He would do his best to listen even if he couldn't understand.

"No, not to you, Mat, Patwin and Kaliska. It is why when you were to leave the tribe, I had to go with you even if they had said no. I would have stolen away." Eyes searched his for a moment, "I am certain on some things but I am no different in that there are uncertainties for me. These had plagued me inside a very long time. Now I am free from them that I can grow and be who I am to become. I will learn a mingling of cultures, that forces there are not unlike those here and they will be open to me as time moves on I was told."  She drew in a calming breath, "would it trouble you if I did not return to the colonies with you? I know you need to as well Mat, Kaliska and Patwin, but you all have reasons to. I really do not."

He looked out over the lake again, watching the wind play havoc with the leaves as he listened. When she asked her question, he looked at her for a long moment. "Yes, it will. Not to mention, that you'll be missed but if that is your choice, none of us will insist."

"I know you will not," though she was uncertain why it would trouble him for her to stay. Unless, the separation as they all had been through so much together. "I will leave it to know when the time comes and will follow what my heart tells me." It would be the best way for her to know as she could change her mind or will find her resolve stays the same. That she belongs here and will find a way to grow and learn. She might have to take off by herself on this path until it is found.

He nodded studying her a moment longer before looking up at the sky. "The tribe lost you the day you stepped foot here but I think I always knew you would find a different path. I think it is time for me to return to the camp. My head grows achy with so much talk." The last was an attempt at a tease, one he used to make when Kuwan and Kali made his head spin.   Though he knew it was what was in his heart that made his head ache.

"I am done here, I will return with you if you do not mind the company. I can fix you the tea that will make your head better and have you sleep well." Which had the brightness of her smile. Yas was as hard to understand as was Mat and Patwin. Now she knew it wasn't limited to their tribe males but of the white men too. Conor and Eion both confused her was well. She was beginning to feel it would not do her well to be attracted to any  male or end up attracted to a few. One was as bad as the other in different ways.

"Your company is always welcome, Kuwan and the tea will be as well." He smiled again, though there was something different in the way he looked at her. "You will be forever in my mind as the snow spirit now. Not quite of this earth and nearly untouchable." If she thought males confused her, she should try feeling what Yas did when it came to females!

"It will go well with the rabbit pies I made earlier." Offering to share his fur as it was cold enough he should not go without warmth for the distance they would need to walk. This time of year had the smell of rich earth and the scurry of smaller animals in collecting food for their winter hibernation. The forests, a stillness about them, mysterious in a way. These would all be enjoyed and breathed in with every breath she took.

"Yes it will." He was glad to share the fur with her. "We'll have to go without those pies for a while." Kali would make them but hers would soon be for Patwin and he might not share. But as always, he'd survive.



Date: Rhett Shawnesey Jr
Poster: 12-06-09
Post # 19

Dragon's Head Run

Rhett sent word out to anyone that wished to help with making the run, to meet here tonight at the lake as soon as they could. It was not an early night but it would still get the sleigh run started. He showed up with his brother as he would head for the top of the hill off from the side of the lake where they made the runs every year. A few fields long and up that gave them plenty of room although most of the runs ended up so they spilled out onto the lake. Which was frozen at this point and had been tested safe.

Trevet rose his brother to the occasion to help out the Shawnesey brothers in making the run. The more the merrier and sooner it got done that they could all make use of it. He brought a sled with him as well in case they got that far that he could get in a few rides.

Douglas was dressed in layers against the cold though there wasn't a bitter wind tonight. Shovels carried over his shoulder, was standing at the bottom of the hill, studying where the run would be laid out. A grin flashed to the MacKay brothers as they joined them. "You going to use the sled to test what we do, Treve?"

He had a touch of a cold, but Kynan was game enough to help out. He kept threatening to hop onto the sled and make his brother pull him along but hadn't. "Evening, Rhett, Doug. Aye, he's anxious to get started."

"That's the idea if we get that far. Four of us so far should make at least most of the run and always a run should be tested, aye?" He knew there were more sleds in the shed here as well food, potcheen, blankets and other necessities for emergencies. Stocked for the winter as well all the stuff for the summer.

Segan had stopped at the tavern to collect anyone that might be there to help out with making the Dragon Run which was becoming a tradition for the winter months. Only found Vanessa which he had suspected being she was not at her cottage and she only went a few places. Making sure she was bundled up before heading out, a note left for Karina with Alex if she showed up tonight so she knew where they were in case she felt like joining in.

Vanessa was plenty bundled up when Segan found her at the Thistle. She'd only just gotten there and only had time to remove her gloves before being collected for the ride out to the lake.

Which he had gotten a small horse drawn sleigh for and a couple of sleds tucked away in the back of it, attached to the back of the seat. Once there and down near the lake, foot of the hill, he reined in the horse before getting out and around to see her down.

"Are you up for this Kynan?" Seeing Segan and Vanessa show up he gave a wave their way from where he stood at the top of the hill. Once done he started to wind his way down to make the pattern the Dragon run would take, pretty much the same as last year for it was the best layout, one that followed the contour of the rolling hills. When he got near to the bottom, he circled a good size area for where the head would be built up.

"Aye, I'm fine." Kaylea might argue otherwise but she wasn't here! He watched as Rhett made his way down to the bottom of the hill, taking note of where the run would have to be built up. That's where the sleds could gain speed.

"You sure you're up to this, Kynan?" Echoing Rhett. He knew his brother all too well and he would get hell if Kynan got sick and ended up in bed for a week. Once Rhett was down a distance he started to follow with a shovel, packing  down a widening path.

"I said I'm fine." A touch grumpy but he didn't want to miss out on the fun. And he'd drink plenty of doctored up tea when he got home. He started down a few steps behind Treve, flattening out until they came to the first curve
and that's where he set to work.

Vanessa hadn't been out here at night and the beauty of the lake by night in the winter was just as much as during the day. Thrilled to be of help and have his company, she smiled to Segan as he offered her help down. A wave to Rhett in return with a bright smile to Segan. "Looks like they've started already."

Good thing Doug was at the bottom of the hill because he'd add his voice just to torment the younger MacKay. He started working on gather snow for the head of the dragon.

Karina hurried towards the lake, having not spend that much time there since the weather turned. Though as she approached she asked herself why, because the place was nothing less than a winter wonderland. She was bundled up from head to toe, pants worn beneath a heavy woolen dress, the scarf Segan had given her wrapped round and round her neck and lower face. A felt cap was snug on her head though plenty of chestnut curls spilled out from beneath it. She rubbed her mittened hands together as she walked swiftly up toward the group, waving her greetings.

He helped her down, bringing her close for those few suspended moments. She'd notice the grin and spark in blue eyes that flashed before stepping back and turning to see the lads at work. "It is beautiful out here at night." Enough of a moon too to see by as it glistened off the layers of snow and ice. There were marks through the light layer of snow over the ice where someone had gone ice skating, well probably a few for all the crisscrossing.

Once done with the initial layout, he was back up to the sharper curves to pile some snow to indicate where the walls needed to be built up in a way the sleds would take the curve slanted up, making it faster. One area not far down from the start was a stretch where bumps would be made. This was marked off as he noticed the arrival of Karina at this point sending a wave her way. "Everyone is welcome to help out," indicating where the walls needed to be built up as a major factor, "over here, here, here and there, the sides need to be built up with snow. Also need huge snow balls rolled to build up the part for the head down nearer the lake."

She saw the grin and smiled up to him, fond and adoring before looking back out over the scape with a nod. "It is beautiful." She spied Karina not far off and waved to her from where they were standing. "Are we all helping but.... Never mind. Rhett answers. Shall we go help?"

Doug lifted a hand in a wave to those just arriving. He had started to roll up the snow off the lake, going in a meandering path as the ball grew bigger and bigger.

A little grin and she hurried up to join the group. "Wow... there's a lot laid out already." She'd heard tell of this Run before but the scale of it seemed impressive. And would be even more so when they were done no doubt! Bobbing a nod to Rhett at the instructions and then Van. "Alrighty then." And off she'd go not too far away to start piling up some snow.

"We can start on the first curve that needs to be built up." Which he was guiding Vanessa that way as he waved to Karina. Once to the spot he would excuse himself. "Let me go get some shovels from the shed." So he would be back in about ten minutes with three more shovels in case needed. This part would be easier to shovel the snow up first then pack it down.

Karina smiled over to Van once Segan had gone off on his shovel mission. Actually she grinned at her friend. Didn't say a word, just glanced to Segan's retreating form then back to Van and smirked widely.

Trevet would start on making some of those bumps as he got that far in widening the path down. The kind of bumps so place that it would have the riders' teeth chattering. Just thinking of it had him laughing as he set to work.

A nod given to Segan as he went shovel hunting, then about to say something to Karina, but she had that goofy grin. Brow quirked up slightly. "What?" Followed her attention to Segan then back to Karina curiously.

There'd be some bare spots up where Kynan was working but he was sure the snow would start again soon enough and fill them in. There were plenty of leaves under there too and he dragged some large logs out of the way so that no one would get hurt on them if the toboggans happened to fly off the course.

"Nothing." Cue more of that goofy grin as she started to pack up some snow.

Being down the end of the hill, he started rolling snow like one built a snowman to build up the head. It had to be high enough to shoot those out on the sleds if they made it that far. Grinning his brother's way as he rolled one into place. "Good thing there is enough snow already," and there were flakes starting to fall as the moonlight waned. The white would still made it bright enough and there were torches to light if necessary. His eyes were adjusted and so figured everyone else would see just as well too.

"Nothing my foot." Grinning back to her. "Tell me." She joined in helping pack the snow and waiting for Karina to say something funny. Because of that grin.

Karina got a poke as he had returned. "Glad you could make it Squirt." Teasing her as always as he offered one of the shovels, then one to Vanessa. One left for himself.

"That's what I was thinking." He pushed the first ball up to the edge of the lake, then took a running start to go further out to start a second. Sliding, he let out a whoop that echoed off the mountains. Once he slid to a stop, he started rolling another.

"Just that - " And then Segan returned. Karina snickered at the poke, attempting to poke him in return (though likely he dodged too quickly). Van would have to be left in the dark as to what Rina was about to say, though that grin was back briefly as she looked again between her two companions. The shovel taken, she put her back into it and started scoopin' and dumpin'.

As the two seemed to be in some debate, he left them to their spar of words as he started shoveling to form the embankment on the swinging curve.

"...." She smiled to Segan and took the shovel from him. "Thank you." And watched him wander off before looking back to Karina. "Just what?" She gave her friend's coat sleeve a little tug and started shoveling.

He was stomping those bumps in good, nice and hard so they didn't shift. A glance up to the others from time to time as he worked down that stretch of snow.

A brief giggle. "Ah, c'mon. I know what's goin' on, a poet could write a sonnet about the googly-eyes you two make at each other." Another grin as she glanced over towards Segan then back to her friend.

"...." Mouth opened to say something, then closed as she looked over to Segan. Good thing her cheeks were red from the cold. "Okay, yes. You're right. But what's the goofy grin for?"

He must have heard that as he turned after dumping a shovel full of snow and crossed his eyes making them go around too in plain sight of Karina before turning back to his project at hand.

She smirked widely, having never doubted that she was right. "I've seen it coming for awhile now." Even if Van hadn't! Catching Segan's antics out of the corner of her eye, she laughed and stuck out her tongue at him then turned back to Van. "Oh, nothin'." A shrug as she dumped another pile of snow then patted it with the flat of her shovel. "I think it's good though, you know." More of a smile now.

Rhett rolled his in against the large ball Doug had made. Who had helped him make this run for the last two years. Well, first it was a snake run but the second year he got fancier making it into a Dragon run.

She looked between the two laughing quietly before looking at Karina with a smile. "I'm glad you do." There'd been a small hint of worry before, but it seemed there was no need for it. "Yours will come too. Then I can make goofy faces at you."

"Psh, don't hold your breath." But Karina gave another little grin, glancing away briefly and making that grin the more bashful sort as she lifted another shovelful.

"I won't have to." Watching Karina look away she smiled and went back to shoveling. She hadn't told Karina about the brief conversation with Rhett, and she probably wouldn't. Just get the girl in a dress and get her to the ball!

He had worried too for the time Karina had started to catch on and her seemingly initial response. Eventually all would, some sooner than others. They had kept it discreet for it was a gradual discovery for them. Still in the making for that matter and who wanted people going around saying they were a couple and they were not certain? Gradually they were easing into it, and with others to notice. His back to them as a grin played being he could hear the playful threats. He was setting the shovel aside to start packing down the snow so it would be hard and take the sleds' course. He tried to remember when it first started between him and Vanessa and realized it had been towards the end of the summer, time here at the lake. Or at least in his mind.

That in itself would be enough of a trial for Van, lord knows! "Aye well." She just shrugged again with another shy grin, letting that subject pass. She used the shovel to shape the pile of snow into more of a solid wall. "Don't worry." She added a bit more quietly with another glance to Vanessa. "I'm not gonna talk about it all over town or nothin'. Or anything, I mean."

She continued to shovel, though slowed down as Karina started packing the snow, adding to it gradually with a smile to her friend. "Thank you. It's something we have decided to let it grow as it will." So really nothing official as far as telling others, being new and everything for the both of them. Pretty sure Karina was the first to pick up on it though. Except maybe Alex.

Vanessa had asked both he and his brother Douglas. Karina may end up with a few dances depending on who showed at the Ball. He was around to build up the area to the top of the snow banks of balls they made. It would end up in a tunnel but he probably would not get that far tonight.

"How it should be." She nodded in agreement, not about to say how great they seemed together and jinx the whole thing.

Rhett would have to do some talking if he wanted Doug to go. He knew how his brother felt about dressing up and attending formal occasions. In a word ... ugh.

She just smiled and gave a nod. "Aye." Back to shoveling so Karina could pack it down with a glance around to the others there. She knew everyone there. Not sure that had happened before.

He wasn't much better so it would be dragging his brother with him or more their parents saying they should be attending such functions. There were many where the issue was not pressed upon them. "Have you both met Trevet and Kynan MacKay?" having come up to where they were all working on the different sections. Also to see how it was all shaping up and what might have to be tweaked.  He was speaking more to Vanessa and Karina.

Kynan sent a snowball flying in the general direction of his brother, though he wasn't sure where he was exactly. He moved another log, winced when it rolled a bit and crashed into another tree, causing a pile of snow to fall from the heavy laden branches of that tree. Snickering, he set back to work. Plenty of snow now.

"Don't think so actually..." The names seemed familiar, at least, she thought she'd heard mention of the MacKay's before. Glancing up from the latest shovel work, cheeks flushed from the exertion and cold she gave a crooked smile of greeting to the brothers. "I'm Karina."

Date: Rhett Shawnesey Jr
Poster: 12-06-09
Post # 20

A nod given to Rhett. "Aye, I have. Though it's been a while since I've seen either of them." A wave to the two MacKay brothers and smile to Karina as she introduced herself.

Treve stopped long enough to run the back of his glove over his brow. Snow was starting to collect on the knitted cap. A tipped smile came easily as he turned to Karina. "Hi, nice to meet you Karina." He was pretty sure they had not met but he also was studying her features wondering if he had seen her around before. That was entirely possible. "Did you come to any of the Jousts run in Solurius?"


Kynan was still halfway up the hill so introductions would have to wait.

"Ah...No." Another little grin, this one a little sly. Such things weren't exactly her scene, or at least, they hadn't been till more recently. Likely he wouldn't have recognized her had he seen her when she first arrived in the lands. "Never been to a joust actually."

He leaned against the shovel as he continued to openly study her. She wasn't hard on the eyes either as were a few others. "Well, at least we have met now. Not everyone likes the Joust for it's pretty dangerous. Concessa," glancing to Segan and back, "came with us and eventually tried it out as there are other women that do the joust. She held her own against the King of Solurius too." Grin splitting as that scene played in his head again and a glance given his brother who also had joined in the season of jousting.

Listening to the conversation, she smiled to Karina. "You'd probably like the jousts. It's a lot of energy and movement and people hitting each other with large sticks."

No Kynan in sight. He had gone to move another log.

Karina was an observant sort (thus how she'd cottoned on to Segan and Vanessa's chemistry ages ago) so she noticed his attentive glances and her smile became crooked with slight awkwardness. A nod to Trevet's words, snickering as she imagined Concessa beating the King - she could believe it, the girl had energy! Glancing to Vanessa briefly she flashed a more normal grin. "People hitting each other with large sticks, well that sounds fun." Trevet got a fleeting flash of that grin before she lifted another shovel-full of snow.

This second snowball was bigger than the first. Doug was getting preoccupied with rolling the snow. Even if it got heavier as he pushed it to where the others were. Then he was off in another direction. The lake was large. He could be at this until it was time to go home.

He was by Vanessa's side at this point, taking a break with the others as introductions were made. His words came low, "if you start getting too cold, let me know." He would see her back and not let it get to that point of her freezing.

"It is fun." She'd attended long enough to see a couple jousts towards the end of the event. Her smile to Segan then. "I'm fine for the time being. Your scarf is very warm." Laughing as she went to packing snow with the backside of  the shovel.

They had tied if he remembered correctly, the king had unseated her and a knight of their realm had rushed to her side. Then she had unseated the king! That was a real upset but the ladies all cheered loudly! Concessa made a small target while the king had made a very large one.

"Maybe I'll have to try to go to a joust sometime, then." She remembered Van talking about going to watch the Knights train and compete and wondered if she'd see Eion or even Segan on the field.

"Next time I hear of one, I will be sure to let you know." She smiled to Karina. She was sure that her friend would enjoy such an event, even if only watching.

Oh heck no, she wanted to be out there beating people with sticks too!


...Though she'd have to learn how to properly ride a horse first...

Could be done!

"Maybe we can do some practice ones if you are both interested." They could do so down in the spar field behind the hall. They kept the area clear for such events and there had been an extension done on the Hall to include an inside jousting area.

"I'll watch." She smiled to Segan. Jousting was something she wasn't keen on watching. Joining was not going to happen. She looked over to Karina. "You can ride Tennison." Well trained horse, he was easy to ride.

"Really?" A keen glance over to Segan which then turned over to Van. She smiled at the idea. "Aye, I'd like that. I've really only ever rode mules..." She admitted with a little grimace. Not wanting to mess up Vanessa's horse with her clumsy equitation.

It was getting late and time to quit, another night to come back and finish the work, hopefully tomorrow or at least by the next. He stuck the shovel in the ground as he rolled up a snowball to whip at his brother.

"If I recall correctly, we never got to teaching you both how to use a knife. The bow and so on. It is good for a woman to know how to defend herself even if it is hoped she never has to use that knowledge."

Karina shrugged a bit and had to glance down to hide a smile twisted by wryness. Bow and arrows no, but knives she could handle well enough to make it count.

He was over to stack his shovel back against the shed where he scooped up some snow to fire at his brother as he came up around the top of the hill.

She nodded to Karina. "Aye. He's an easy horse to ride." Something her brother-in-law had seen to. She nodded to Segan then. "Aye, you owe me lessons with both a knife and the bow." Both of which were at the cottage, safely put away since she had no real knowledge in using either.

"Hey!" Came from somewhere in the darkness though a moment or two later the huge snowball was being rolled in the direction of his brother. He got it moving fast as he ran and never mind who else was there. There was going to be a big snow explosion if it hit.

She nodded in return but the conversation about knives and such had her stomach souring a bit. Time to lighten the mood; she took a leaf from the lads' book and dropped her shovel. Reaching down to swiftly gather up a snowball, packing it with mittened hands and then throwing it straight at Vanessa.

"Holy!" Barked out as he started laughing and taking a dive off to the side out of the way of the huge rolling ball of snow. He had rolled one and got it shot off but for the angle it may have averted to the other group with Vanessa, Segan and Karina were standing.

Kynan had finished stacking as high as he could and stepped back to admire his handiwork. Hopefully it would freeze some and then more snow packed on top. He didn't really hear anyone else shoveling so he picked up his shovel and started to walk along side what had been finished. He sneezed, then chuckled when it echoed. That was funny.

Vanessa heard the commotion and looked just in time to see the massive snow ball come rolling. Squeak! She and her shovel were quick to get out of the way, nudging Segan and Karina to move too.

When Karina aimed a snowball at Vanessa, he was quick to sidestep leaving the girls to wing it out.

"Ack!" That came from her as she nearly got a taste of her own medicine, Rhett's wayward snowball whizzing close enough by her head to splatter some snow into her face. A glance back but then Van was tugging her. Huh? OH. Huge snowball coming their way... "Abandon ship!" She yelled out, laughing as she dropped her shovel too and started running back down the hill.

When he ran the snowball passed Rhett, he skidded to a stop but that big ol' snowball had it's own momentum now and kept going. He looked at Rhett and grinned, giving a slight shrug. "I think it's time to go." And he was making a beeline toward the shore where the path led to home.

Trevet was going to nail Kynan in the back as he passed then shot some in the direction of the group thinking Rhett had started the idea.

Vanessa apparently missed the snowball from Karina. She'd get her back though.! Running with Karina well out of the way before looking to Doug. "Leaving so soon?!"

He was up to his feet as his brother was taking off. It was late. "Hey, wait up. Nice to see you all and we'll be back soon!" Pressed smile had the brightness of blue eyes to reach as he gathered up the snow shovels to cart off with him too. These belonging to them as to not use up all the ones that were in the shed.

"Argh!" He hunched his shoulders as he got nailed then laughed and turned to whip one at Treve. He had been watching that snowball rolling across the lake.

"Bye," she waved to those departing, passing a grin their way. A snicker as she watched the MacKay boys continuing to go at it with the snowball fight.

He had grabbed the one he had been using at least. "Aye, time to go. Got crates to check in the morning." A new shipment was coming in at dawn. He stopped to wait for Rhett, still laughing.

Which nailed him in the chest as he didn't really try getting out of the way. He was laughing too much, pointing to the runaway snowball like the bottom half of a snowman, skidding across the lake on ice.

Following Trevet's pointing finger she turned towards the lake, and burst out laughing too. "Is that thing solid?" Meaning the lake as she started tromping through the snow to get closer to the edge.

"Looks like part of the head is in place." He snickered as he watched the snowball rollin', rollin', rollin' and Doug light out of there.

Vanessa waved to Doug and smiled, looking towards the lake. "One way to find out. Go explore, Karina."

He was walking backwards as he waved. "Night everyone, thanks for coming to help," and then he was down as he tripped over some branch or log under the snow. That's what he got for walking backwards in the snow. Took rolling to the side and getting up to dust himself off before he continued on.

Smooth moves Rhett.

"See you both soon," called after both Rhett and Doug as they took their leave. They had gotten quite a bit done as he looked over the area while dusting the snow off his chest from the hit.

"Thanks, Vanessa. I know who's NOT gonna be pulling me out when the ice gives way." She gave her friend a wide smirk and then started out onto the ice. Laughing and waving of arms ensued as she slipped and slid across the ice.

That's why he didn't look back. His face might be somewhat red with embarrassment or just from the cold.

Course his brother would get teased on the way back, but not too much. He had done the same himself once or twice.

She waved to Rhett then smiled to Karina again. "I'll go out there with you." Glance to Segan with a quick wink, she was following Karina out to the ice with a laugh as she stepped out onto the ice, waving her own arms about until she steadied herself.

Karina glanced back and waited long enough for Van to catch up some, then started forward again. A yelp and another laugh as her boots slid with each step. "So far so good..." Though she was glancing down to make sure no cracks were forming...

Any place where the ice might be thin were posted. It was tested and re-tested all winter.

"Don't go out too far, it is safe about twenty yards from the shore." The last thing he needed was to try rescuing them from the freezing depths of the lake but it had been tested.

Slip 'n slide! She caught up with Karina, trying to maintain her own balance. All she could really say was that she hadn't fallen. Yet. And then Segan broke her concentration because she looked back to him, and down on her bum she went, laughing.

"What fun is 'safe'?" Called back to Segan over her shoulder as she advanced forward, slowly and surely, like walking a tightrope. She glanced back again when she heard Vanessa's exclamation. And that threw her off, down she went, only she landed on her stomach with an "Oof."

Treve had gone to the shed to bring out a bottle of the pure to share with his brother. "Think we should stay around a little bit longer in case those two lassies get themselves in trouble?"

Vanessa snickered when Karina went down. "I can't imagine trying to stay on my feet with those skinny little blades." For ice skating. She turned onto her side then crawled over to where Karina was.

He might be pulling them in off the ice, by a hand.. or leg. The visual that made had him chuckling to himself as he stood along the shore. "It's much better with ice skates on."

"Never been ice skating," she answered with a shrug, still laying on her stomach. Elbows resting on the ice she propped her face in her hands. Then burst out laughing again when Vanessa started crawling towards her.

With his teeth he removed his glove long enough to open the bottle then worked it back on before taking a long drink then offered it to his brother on the downswing.

"Me either." She smiled and seated herself on her heels next to Karina, and looked at the men all standing around watching. "I think you should all come out here with us!"

"Then that is something else you should both try. They have ice skating races and those that move like dancers on the ice. Just think of getting so good you can go backward, do figure eights, turn on a dime twirling and leaping into the air only to come back down on those skinny blades in a sweeping motion."



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