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Heathfield - Ballicastle - Tyremoor History

Date:  05-29-01
Poster:  Nick Douglas
Post # 1

When Fate Proves Herself the Fickle Mistress - Part I
Taken from live roleplay to further the Heathfield/Balli/Tyremoor history.
Nick Douglas, TeriMacKenzie, Thomas Douglas, Malcolm Douglas (in order of appearance) and significant other additions as well.

McMillian knew of Nick's intent tonight, but then he always did, and he had seen all ready and waiting Nick when he arrived at the hidden cottage. Zephyr bobbed his head only slightly as the weight of his rider settled in.  The helm was handed up and Nick slid it on, a slow nod down to his man...all was in order. "Do mind your back, M'Lord...and Godspeed to you."  Nick grinned  "Always, McMillian...and have that coffee ready come daylight, aye?"  A tap of heels to the horse's midsection all that was needed and the beast bolted forward, eager to be on their way. 

Terri had grabbed one of the steeds from the stables, luckily a sleek black one as she  charged off after Nick, yet holding back enough if she got close not to be spotted. 

Having been well trained, the once noisy Thom was as quiet as death as he and Malcolm  followed a few paces behind Teri, once inside the stables he took the reigns of his own  mount which he had named Silver, due to the sliver patch just above his eyes.

Mal moved in silence, sword strapped at his side as he and Thomas rode out after Teri.  Their brother was not going to get away this time with his secrets. 

The jangle of all that kept Nick alive so far strapped to the competent steed.  He set off toward the West...the hour was right for the Chisolm party to be at an end...and with that,  Lord Mortimer and his happy-go-lucky bunch would set off for home.  Hopefully, not suspecting yet that Death might decide to pay a call on their travels.  

The stallion was of thoroughbred heritage as he moved well under his guidance, Teri  was in a dashing hurry as always as he moved as quick as he could get this one to go  following.

Once settled upon his mount he gave a light kick and started out after Teri, his own  sword slapping at his side as that sinister smirk played upon his lips, he could almost smell the blood. Something was not right, turning to look towards Malcolm with an almost  berserker look in those cornflower blues.

A questioning brow lifted as he caught that berserk look in his brother's eye, and they  called him MAD? It wasn't that kind of look in his eyes but some deep and menacing that was growing by the minute as they followed.

She drew up the black steed Whispers as she watched from under the shadow of an old oak tree, a hand drawing down his neck to keep him quiet. She could hear the other two not far behind as she set out once Nick was on the move again.

Nick shifted again in the saddle and the horse knew the command well, the warrior stance now melted to that of highwayman, leaning close to the neck of his steed, the black mane almost a veil behind the man.  Horse and rider one, a supernatural specter, part man, part horse... and Revenge the link between them. 

He heard the shrieks of fright even before the pair topped the knoll, Zephyr coming to a skidding stop, sideways he pranced as Nick reined him in to look down the hill toward the scene at the bottom.  The carriage was overturned, a dozen or so circled, slapping out with swords and whips to the women who cowered near the supposed safety of the useless vehicle. A man was on his knees, pleading for their safety...this...did not bode well. A gloved hand
reached behind him, yanking free the broadsword from its sheath with the rasp of metal against metal, his other hand crossing over to the other side, jerking free the battle axe.  

A distance off to Nick's right she was sitting there on the steed watching from the cover  of trees deep in the shadows of night.  That hand ever cooed in its sweeping caress to keep the steed from giving her away

As if hearing the cries from such a distance, Silver was given another kick, hard pressed to reach the sounds that he was sure played no part of his imagination, the thought of his brother out there the only thing on his mind now.

To the left Malcolm slowed, the jaunting boulders of rock formations melted to his form,  easing the stallion closer, inch by inch as to keep the sound of hoof upon rock muffled.

It was the Douglas war cry that echoed through the night then..."JAAAAAmais AAAArriere!"  bellowed and with that, the horse lurched forward in attack.  The thunder of massive hoofs, the continued bellow of rage...the blackest of archangels swooping down upon Evil with the kill.

Teri kicked the sides of Whispers as she lunged down the other side not far from where the people were surrounded, sliding from the steed as the bow slid down her arm, a hand reaching back in unison as an arrow was drawn and notched.  She was there half crouched as she moved the arrow back and forth between the assailants.

Scatter they did like the roaches they were, though only to take cover and form their assault.  The man on his knees scrambled and fell, attempting to seek refuge as well, the women shrieking now with this new threat.  For threat he was...bloodlust pushed both horse and rider onward. 

Well, hearing the cries he gave a bellow of his own, a war cry that would scare the weaklings in itself. "EeeeeWAHHHHH" And he was at a gallop as one had reached for  the hilt drawing his sword free as it cut through the air in a curve over his head.

With a menacing gaze he charged down the road, the berserker in him taking over as a haze red clouded his vision, his claymore pulled from it's sheath and hanging low unlike his brothers, always was he to catch one by surprise. 

An upward slice of battle axe as he passed the tree, the limb where one of the assailants had taken refuge split and fell, the man rolling to the earth as Nick yanked the steed around to return to the attack. His gaze lifted toward the rise of hill, the familiar cry...the vision of kin...shocked only for that brief
moment as Zephyr continued on the charge, as much a weapon as the blades at his sides.

But she was out there to the side where some were running and the swoosh of her arrow did go flying as another was drawn and notched as she stood her ground.  She was picking out shadows that moved and prayed that those she recognized as Nick, Mal and Thomas none of her arrows would flow.  Another swoosh heard a cry before silence and another arrow notched in its wake.

... to be Continued ...

Date: 05-29-01
Poster: Nick Douglas
Post # 2

Continuation of live roleplay between
Nick Douglas, TeriMacKenzie, Thomas Douglas, Malcolm Douglas and significant other
additions as well.

The leader of the brigands looked as well to those descended upon them, his orders for all to.  "See to yourselves!" As he watched one after another of his men fall...only a few left now... including himself, the odds were not in their favor. He had been at this too long not to realize, there was one yet unseen, and he followed the path of an arrow which had caught another in the chest, eyes narrowed and assessing.  He was to his own mount, as if in retreat.     

As he drew closer, the claymore was lifted, swift and true it reached up slashing across the chest of one who dared come close enough, that long leg of his also lifted to kick to the wounded man from his mount, the cold laughter of his voice bubbling up when the mans own horse trampled him.

Malcolm's own slashed down as he turned his beast, then lunged into the brush after some others, the cries of the assaulters worse than their would be victims.

Nick slid from his mount with weapons flashing in the light of moon, working his way to  those who had been attacked.  He caught the flight of rider away, a curse that he had been missed.  He shot a glance back to Zephyr, then to the fleeing man...his string of curses continuing.

Another arrow flew that met its mark as she went to draw another to notch.

The leader of the band only made it as far as the fall of the hill from view, then he slid from his horse and crept toward the location he had seen the arrows sail from.  Did he take at least one...all would not be a loss.  Ever silent, ever careful he crept on, the sound of battle still underway, better his cover. That he found a woman there, crouched to her chore had him pausing...even better that! The horse at her side would give warning, but not soon enough  

Whispers had stayed close as she half kneeled there in the shadows.

He spurred his mount around, following Malcolm into the brush, his laughter echoing through air.

The arrow notched as she was then concentrating on it as she moved following those shadows to pick out the right one. 

Helm still blocked the identity of the man who approached, stepping over an arrow pierced body, a squint of eyes toward the hill, there was only one he knew that could make such a shot...and he didn't like the idea of that.

A quick glance toward the darkness where his brother's had disappeared into, Nick drew in a deep breath. The scent of death prevailed as he approached the threesome of those that had been saved this night from fate's often fickle hand.    

Malcolm spurred up his horse and headed back into the group looking to see who was there now.  He had a new name for Thomas now "giggles" after this.

Whispers nickered as that arrow fell as she leaped to her feet and spun around.   A hand instinctively fell to the dagger tucked in her belt as she stood perfectly still now, waiting. 

His laughter only grew when that blood red haze fell upon the would-be retreaters, taking one down with a blow to the back of the neck.

On the hill, the woman was stalked, and a palm that reeked of his dinner of fish and ale clamped down over her mouth, even as the dagger he had drawn was pressed to the slender column of her neck.  "A reward after all tonight...nice to meet you, lass."  This was a hiss of fetid breath near her ear.  "Come, lass...let's go for a ride."

Teri managed only a muffle cry as he came up from behind, kicking and clawing at him.

"Wee bit of fight to go with those arrows?"  The evil one chuckled and now fought to drag her back to his mount.

Assured that all was well handled by the Douglas pair that had set off to the brush, Nick bowed slightly to the true victims of this night.  Though as he bent, he lifted his gaze toward the rocks, he'd bend Teri over his knee and thrash her soundly with her own arrow's hilt come the morning.

The stench was near overpowering, draining her in her fight and way too strong physically for her to get from his grasp. She tried to scream but it came more as a muffled squeal. 

"Where's Teri?" Once seeing she was missing, Thom, and Nick there.

Nick nodded toward the hill. "Saw her arrows coming from that direction."

With no one left to fight, he tugged on the reins of Silver, leading him back to where the others were, the red haze slowly lifting though that sinister smile still played upon his lips.

Quite the chore it was to get the struggling, hissing, clawing little kitten up on the saddle with him, but he managed to drape her over with a swat to her backside, his leg now  holding her down as his other heel dug deep into his mount's side. A pretty penny this one would bring...he'd be making up for the men he lost tonight.

He looked between Nick and the area indicated before his heels dug into the sides of the stallion as he took up a gallop that way.

"Bloody hell."  Nick spun and raced to Zephyr, the horse already in motion as Nick swung his leg over.  With the precision of one who had often done so, the weapons were slid back to their places and Nick was fast by Malcolm's side, never one to accept the taste of  trail dirt graciously.

Once he let go of her mouth as he hefted her over him mount, she let out a blood curdling scream. be continued...

Date: 05-30-01
Poster: Nick Douglas
Post # 3

Continuation of live roleplay between
Nick Douglas, TeriMacKenzie, Thomas Douglas, Malcolm Douglas and
significant other additions as well.

It seemed in the confusion they lost sight of Teri and with another tug of the reins he now followed his brothers, his blade still hanging low to his, not again he thought, if anything happened to her it would be the end of him for sure.

Her scream...Teri's scream...had Nick lowered to Zephyr, and taking the lead toward the sound.  His hand lifted and he motioned for Thomas, who he had no doubt would be following now, to take off to the side...just in case that which had caused her scream, might be dragging her off.  He had seen the man take this hill ... dammitall ... Nick should have known!

Malcolm heard it too as he lowered leaning forward to his mount to gain speed, the sword out and hung low off to the side ready. He could see the outline of the retreating man, he would  be slower with the extra weight of Teri, even if she couldn't weigh much.

The threesome at the carriage just stared on ... this night would live forever in their memories. 

With a curt nod Thom separated from the group, heading off in the direction indicated by Nick.

Then the rider in the distance disappeared from his line of vision.  "Bloody hell!"

Nick's curse was a bit more colorful, and the pressure applied to the horse's side and the pull of reins set them both off in the opposite direction of Thomas.  Malcolm straight on, Nick and Thomas to flank the man...if they could be fast enough to catch him...the night could still be saved. The bugger did have a good head start on them though.. something that might be their undoing. 

Teri  wasn't making it any easy for the man, even if jostled by the fast pounding of the  horse, she did her best to wiggle and squirm under him, in the hopes to at least free her  hands.

The clouds weaved a path over and past the moon, that yellow glow offering a faint vision of Teri's captor, and then...all would be lost from sight. 

The haze returned quickly, though it was not followed with his usual laugh. They could not, no they would not lose her. Visions of a small child passed his houghts as well, his teeth grind and his blood pulse.... It was happening all over again.

The kidnapper howled with delight...knowing he had been the victor of this battle.
What did have Nick gritting his teeth as he pushed Zephyr on unmercifully, was that he had seen the face of that man when he was fleeing earlier, and had recognized him as one of Nichols' henchmen.  Nick had chosen wrong course and had lost all sight of the pair, that bellow of a curse as he  pulled his mount back to a skipping halt.  A yank about and he raced back toward where he had left his brothers. 

He too came to a sliding halt as he scanned the area up and away to near the horizon, looking for any movement. He just sat there at first utterly shocked they had let him get away with Teri.  He turned his steed around, he needed to consult with Nick, see what he knew, obviously he knew more than them on this.

Bit-foam splattered white against the black of attire as he returned, Zephyr huffing and snorting through the spittle with the lack of continued chase.  The moon showed its yellow grin just as Nick returned to the open field, his gaze finding one mounted just ahead...a hand dropped to his sword as he approached. "Malcolm?"  His brother's name came rasped and torn from his throat. 

He had no idea where he was going now, yet he could not bring himself to stop, the visions so strong, and though he could see no sign of them he refused to have yet another failure, this could very well be his breaking point.

Sweaty and bloody now as he swallowed the bile in his throat, he was MAD and it was a rage that was starting up slowly in him.

Zephyr danced closer to Malcolm's steed, coming up along side as only two trained in battle could do.  

Malcolm growled. "Nick......... who is it? Who took her?"

Nick nodded toward where the man had made good his escape.  "One of Nichols' men."  The horses were faced in opposite directions, shifting a bit as the men spoke, the creak of saddles, the jingle of stirrups,  feeling and reacting to the tension of their riders.  "Where the hell is Thomas?"  Now
concerned for the runt as well...would they be needing to make an all out assault on Nichols in order to save both Teri and Thomas?  That was, if the bandit who was employed by the man...actually took her there. 

Thomas wanted to keep going but knew he had to stop, Silver was quickly loosing strength and would need rest, about to slow the horse he noticed two figures off to the left and with a new burst of energy he gave Silver a rough kick and followed.   

"Lord Nichols?"   Now the spew of curses would tear one's eardrums apart so vivid and colorful they were,  akin to cutting off the man's head and shoving it up his own arse.

"Aye."  Again that nod off somewhere, his hand lifted and the black helm was jerked from his head.  Hair plastered to his face with the sweat of battle, a splash of blood across his cheek.  His wiped his brow with the back of his hand then lowered it to his lap as Malcolm spewed forth all sorts of lovely ideas for revenge. 

As they came into a clearing Thom noticed the holding of one Barkley Nichols, a so-called friend to the Douglas family. So that was where to man was taking her, this was when he finally slowed his mount just at the edge of the clearing, he couldn't catch them now and knew it, he would watch for a few more moments before bringing the news to his brothers. 

Then he remembered about Thomas.  "Where did he get off to?"

"Sent him off South."  The helmet marked the spot as he lifted it and motioned in that direction. A tightening of thighs and his mount stepped away from Malcolm's.  Then the jangle of the arsenal on both sides when Nick tapped a booted heel to the black beast's side. 

A hand came to loosen his shirt around his neck, blood did stain from his hand as his  sword had done a bit of slicing this night.

Reluctantly Thom pulled back, shifting his mount as he cursed, almost sure the holding was heavily guarded or would be once the man told Barkley of the situation and with a worn horse. Thom moved slowly, his grip still tight on the claymore that rested at his side. Oh this man   would pay for he had messed with the wrong family.

"I'll go after Thom."   Nick looked in the direction that they had left the threesome by the tipped over carriage ... those were safe enough ... someone would find them come daylight.  They needed only to take cover in their carriage to protect themselves from the beasts of the night that would flock to the
smell of death.
 But then, Nick tugged his mount to pause. "Malcolm...whatever possessed you to follow?"  He didn't turn to his brother, just that question, his gaze still narrowed off in the direction he was headed. 

Malcolm only took up a canter following his brother back, the wheels of his mind burning again.  "Actually, I had my suspicions." He drew up closer then.  "but when Teri announced she was following and just took off, we followed."

Nick's response to that was a grunt.  Teri...this would be a fine bit of maneuvering to manage her rescue.  No doubt about it, if she didn't have Lord Nichols mad enough to slit her throat, he'd be using her as a pawn in his game.   "He's the know, Malcolm...Barkley Nichols."  All the others who had met the blade of  retribution ... had been acting under the direction ... of that one.  He lifted forward, that command for his mount to start into that heavy hooved canter. His mind was racing..they had to get Teri out of there and fast if the one who had taken her away actually brought her to his Lordship's attention.  

Thomas seemed to be moving more slowly now, issuing a muffled grunt as he lowered against Silver's neck, during the fight he had been unaware of the blow to his side that now oozed blood down the side of his thigh, curses this was not good. The pain wasn't so bad but this the brothers would not let him live down, klutz that he was.

The silver of horse caught and carried the light of the moon, wrong mount to  take on a midnight run...Nick would have to talk to Thomas about that.  Next time out, he needed to smudge that silver spot.  His reprimand though would wait, a narrow-eyed search of the horse's back for the man who should be riding erect. "What the...?" That tightening of thighs again and Zephyr was off in Thomas' direction 

Thomas forced himself to sit upright, making sure his wound was turned from their sights as he finally reached his brothers once again, though he did look alittle pale Nick was sure to make another comment of him being yellow, he would take it.

Actually Thomas looked green around the gills.

Hard to hide a side when a brother moves to each...lucky for Thomas, it was Malcolm who took up a post at the wounded side. 

Thomas muttered beneath his breath.  "I know where he took her."

That statement was barely heard and Nick reined his horse in closer in an attempt not to miss anything else.  "Where?"   Did he have to shake the man to get information from him?  

Thomas sucked in a breath, his arm clutching at his side.   "The.....Nichols holding. "

There it was, another string of curses and Nick turned his horse in that direction, staring off as if he could see the place from here.  

His fingers curled around the horn of his saddle until the knuckles were white, the clench of his jaw set muscles to twitch as he was doing all he could to put his anger in check. He drew up to Nick again.  "We need a plan, you know he is one you can't just barge in there half crocked."

He was doing all he could to remain upright, grinding his teeth as he looked between the two. "Aye, we have to think this through...."  He sucked  in another breath.  "I am sure they are  on alert and expect us to charge in."  

Nick drew in a deep breath.  "Then we shouldn't disappoint them."  A glance to Thomas, what was he sucking and puffing for, they had fought harder battles then this before.  

Malcolm was eyeing his brother, Thomas, his words muffled to Nick.  "I think he is wounded and we need to get him back or he wont make it himself."

Muffled or not, Thom was between the two and heard it clear as day.  "Forget about the damn wound, we have to save her!"

"Aye, fool man, we do...but we need you to assist in that...and you, clutz that you are, now need attention so you can be there to cover our backs."   Nick  didn't like it, leaving Teri in the midst of the very one who Nick meant to send on to the Devil.  Nick finally pulled his gaze from the distance where
his Little Archer was held, back to look to Thomas.  "So clamp it...and let's see about getting you bandaged up. "

"Don't you worry about me, I will seek attention after she is safe with us again...."   The man was as stubborn as Brandy thought, maybe more so.  "There is no time to waste here so lets think of a plan."

Nick just looked to Malcolm..he was, after all, the one who held the authority in the house of Douglas when their father was not around.  Perhaps the man could knock some sense into this foolish lad.  "A fine lot of good you will do in the gaining of such, bleeding all over your mount... they'll smell you coming a league away."   A nod toward Malcolm.  "Let's find a tavern close, see to Thomas..."  He spoke about his brother as if he wasn't even there, but didn't they always talk about him, in front of him, as if he wasn't there?  "and form some sort of..."  A glare was shot to Thomas to warn him against interrupting.  "...plan."

"Nick, if we try to get her back right now, it would mean her death and you know it. Not with Nichols, anyone else, yes."

"I'm well aware of's the yellow one here that's willing to risk it by storming the castle tonight. To a tavern, then we'll figure something out."  He leaned and took control of Thomas' reins.

Malcolm was shaking his head as it was surprising he wasn't breaking that horn right off the  saddle.  "We need to plan it out to get her out of there in one piece, you know how sadistic he is."

Nick said nothing...was that not the very reason he was working his way up to the man? For Nick could be...just as sadistic as even Nichols.    

"Even if we could hit later tonight, we would need more help too."

Thomas' anger was slowly rising, no longer hearing the words spoken.  Good thing he didn't either, this was no time to be fighting with his brother, but he also knew, now was not the time for hotheaded, thoughtless acts. 

"Time is wasting, we need to start planning." With that he spurred his beast on heading back to the tavern to regroup.

"You heard the man."  Growled over to Thomas.   If any wished Teri back in their company, it would surely be Nick.  A tug to Thomas' reigns as well as a firm application of booted heel to his own mount, and he was off after Malcolm, Thomas trailing along behind.

((I would like to say here that I had intended to transform this into narrative form, but everyone did such a fine job with their contributions while playing it out, I felt credit should be given where credit was due.  The Player of Nick))

Date: 06-09-01
Poster: Teri MacKenzie
Post # 4

Live rp (5-29-01) between NPC's: Wenchel & Chelsea, Barkley Nichols and TeriMacKenzie

Barkley Nichols sat alone at his dinner table, the candles and fire burning, the long table set, all as if he was prepared for company. Though he wasn't.  This was just one of his fetishes.  The commotion in the hallway lifted his gaze from the tender meat of pheasant and he placed his utensils beside his plate.  A lift of cloth napkin to dab at his lips and his gaze settled on the door. His very own man entered, tugging along a scratching, hissing bit of feminine trouble, or so it would seem. Both of those dyed jet black brows lifted and he waited for an explanation to this which interrupted his meal. 

She was bruised and hurting and lack of sleep didn't help. A hell cat now as she dug her nails in when she could, struggled when she could, kicked and would even bite if given the opportunity. What use to be a neatly plaited French braid had mostly unraveled as long golden hair looked like a hurricane hit down.

This didn't look like the wife and daughter of Marcus Briggs, at least, not what Barkley remembered of either of them. 

"Found this feisty little wild cat out and about causing us grief with the accuracy of her arrows, M'Lord Nichols."

Now this did have the older man's interest and his gaze swept over the mess of hair and fighting body. He remained silent, but stood and tossed his napkin to the table, crossing over to them.

She managed a good swift kick to mans calf when he turned his attention to the one at the table, hitting solid.

A yelp and curse when the woman found her target and she was almost granted her freedom... almost.  This man knew that he'd have hell to pay for not accomplishing his goal, and worse, losing every man the Lord had sent out with him...good that he had brought this bit of bargaining with him.

Doeskin britches did fit those soft curves well, even if they were all marked up and smudged, tears in the tunic but one could tell it had been of high quality material.

Barkley's hand lifted to brace beneath the woman's chin, the bite of a tight grip warning against a struggle as he lifted her face so he could see her features. The other lifted and gave a tug to the gag, dropping it to rest against that brace of her chin. "What's your name, Lass?" His voice was deep, rumbling about in that barreled chest and then vibrating the sound up.

She stood rigid as golden lashes lowered, she would not look at the man. There was a quiver set to her bottom lip as the gag was tugged away, she shuddered inside but she kept her voice as steady as possible in spite of her defiant stance. "Teri."

"Teri." A nod and that dark gaze lifted to the man still holding her. That one Barkley, himself, would deal with later.  "Teri, you enjoy playing in the fields at night?  What was your toy?  A slingshot?  Pebbles?"

"Was arrows, M'Lord, and quite the accurate aim the woman has."

Barkley's gaze snapped up, silencing the man immediately. In fact, the clamp of teeth could be heard with the man's quick silence. "Arrows?  A coward's weapon.  Shoot from afar?  Never the enemy to meet."

That deep moss green gaze shot up as defiance sparked in their depths, there was the warrioress there now, unhidden. "Maybe if you had come out to play yourself in the field you'd know."

"I rarely, if, Teri."

"I hide behind arrows and you hide behind henchmen who could use a handmaid to wipe their runny noses.

His gaze again lifted to the man behind her, and this one fidgeted a bit with that glance. "Teri, you've a tongue as sharp as the arrow's tip.  Doubtful you've yet met your match."  Until tonight.  "I find playing games distasteful, it ruins my appetite." He released her face and waved toward the table. "Why not allow those who are paid properly to see to such. While I...enjoy the luxuries afforded by that which they procure for me."

And she hissed the word "coward you mean" under her breath.

At one time, he may have been a handsome man, but the evil of his ways now tainted his appearance. The jet black hair dyed so, the once toned body, showing the signs of a 'good' life. He heard her comment and smiled, that slow, evil grin which had the man holding Teri clearing his throat. "Care to join me, Teri? You must be hungry.  Wenchel...see the woman to a chair.

And the man, Wenchel fought to drag the woman to a chair.

A nod was granted to one of the uniformed servants, and though that one fought a frown, turned and went in search of that which he knew his Lordship was requesting with that motion.

Wenchel pushed her down by her shoulders into that chair, much like pressing down the clown in the jack-in-the-box.  Then held her there by those slender shoulders until the servant returned with the length of rope.

She didn't make it easy, one could make their body dead weight and drag their feet, and she wasn't helping Wenchel at all.

If Wenchel had been elsewhere, he would have cursed a bloody blue streak, as it was, he knew better, and just cursed silently his ill luck for taking such a stubborn woman.  Better he had taken one of those shrieking banshees, they'd at least be more cooperative...though loud.

The flash of green told what fury was within the tempest now as she became deadly silent, not seemingly to fight at all now.

The uniformed one bent down and started at her heels, a glance up to her almost in apology before his gaze lowered and he saw to his work of making sure she remained the proper guest at his Lordship's table.

The chair was slid back out for the man and he regained his place, lifting his napkin and, with the swipe of his hand, resting it to his lap. "Now, Teri, you will tell me why you were out playing in the middle of the night."  This wasn't a request, the demand was there in his voice, as well as the threat.

But Wenchel jumped right in again, for he was a fool where those flapping lips were concerned. "She wasn't the only one...there were a good dozen others."

"I always come out at night." And the thought came to lead him to believe she was a vampire. "It is the best of time to play."

Her words had Wenchel gasping back his further embellishment on why they had fallen to the four who had taken up the cause of the Lord and Lady who were under attack. 

A hand lifted to stroke his chin, just the triangle of a beard marking the tip of it as Barkley studied her.  Interesting concept, but doubtful.

She hid half of her front two teeth with the tip of her tongue as she flashed a smile to Wenchel, so quick it would make her eye teeth look longer.

"Lor'!"  Choked free and Wenchel took a step back, a look to the Lord of the Manor to see how he would handle such a she-beast.

"No, Teri...I've cause to believe you and your companions..." He looked up to Wenchel then. "Twelve or more were there?" At the frightened man's nod, he looked back to Teri. "...were playing at doing good."

Wenchel was a moron enough if she got him all jitters could end up being Barkley's downfall, but to Barkley her lips slightly parted only showing perfect normal teeth, actually she would have a beautiful smile if she did.

" of them was that Black Lord that we've been hearing about, M'Lord. I recognized the horse and weapons on it, as described by Cummings' crew."

That gaze that had been lingering on Teri, only blazed now with further interest, and perhaps, that glow of rage. "The Black Lord does not work with women, fool man."

"Look at the man Wenchel, he's near wetting his pants. He'd think a shadow was this.." And her voice lowered ominously. "big darrrrk looorrrd."

Wenchel frowned at the woman, she would make his tale doubted by his Lordship.  "He wasn't with her...he was with two other men." A glare now from the frightened one to the back of the woman's head.  "Dark like he...but not covered from view...and not riding that horse from hell."

A quick turn of her head had that fake vamp smile flashed at him again.

That beard was still receiving the attention of Barkley's hand.

Wenchel crossed himself before he realized what he had done, taking a step back further. The little vamp was tied tight...what was he afraid of?  But afraid he was...just a bit.

"This is true, Teri?  You ride with three men?"

Of course when she turned the parting of that slight smile could only bedazzle. "I was on my own when I heard cries and followed the sounds." She could lie with the best of them behind that dazzling smile.

He was being most hospitable, his tone and demeanor pleasant enough. "Sounds?" A flicker of black eyes up to Wenchel, then back to her. Her smile was even more brilliant with the smudging of dirt and grime on her face.  Barkley found that filth rubbed him raw, but he'd hear this woman out before he allowed her from his presence.

"Did he not find me, not with any of these men he claims were there?" In her mind she was debating which extreme to take, that there was really no one about except her arrows or a brigade of men? There were no rules in war and she was good with the arrow, the knife and sword if needed.

Wenchel was quick to jump in again, he wasn't about to be made to look a liar in front of his Lordship...especially, not this one! "By the time I looked about, were only the three of them, and this one...." A nod toward Teri:  "Was picking us off from afar. The others must have been dispatched by our men!" He was nodding, bottom lip poked out with feigned pride of a job well done.

Barkley's voice lowered, the sound causing Wenchel to swallow with difficulty. "Teri, is it with the Douglas' you ride?"

And then she huffed, so well could she be the actress. "I'm a Scot, why would I ride with the Irish?

As if he expected her to answer, but he did not.  He turned to his meal, lifting a knife and slicing through a spiced pear half, that portion lifted and dripping down the handle of the sharp utensil. The sweet morsel was sucked between his teeth, then, with one fluid motion, the sharp, long blade zinged past Teri's head to find it's mark, Wenchel's right eye. The man stood a moment, then just...fell backwards dead to the floor. "Incompetence ruins my meal." Up came the napkin and he dabbed it at his lips, his gaze lingering on this woman who, once cleaned up, would be rather a temptation to be sure. "You're...not eating, Teri." But then...her hands were tied.  And this had him smiling again.

There was a draw of breath, caught then let out silently as the knife flew by her head, she didn't have to look behind her to know the man was dead, still, it would not stop her from being her.

Then she was as foolish as she was beautiful. The servant who had tied Teri, hurried over to lug the body from the room before he was thought to be incompetent as well in his duties.

In silence she kept, never looking to the man being dragged away, the lowering of silken gold lashes had her watching him from beneath the canopy they provided.

"You're not hungry then...perhaps a...bath?" Barkley lifted his hands and a snap of fingers had another uniformed servant stepping forward to offer him a bow of respect. "See that a bath is drawn for this lovely lady." A glance to the woman, then the served stepped back, those few steps continued in that backward direction, then when out of view of his Lordship, turned and headed toward the kitchens to see to the water being drawn and heated, then brought above to the..."guest" room.  Where all of Lord Nichols' most 'esteemed' guests stayed when he saw them come for a visit.

That had her gaze narrowing as that other harrowing experience with the Arab flashed passed her eyes. One had their own fears and she would not give an inch to show it, even if it got rather warm in here all of a sudden.

Don't think he didn't see that narrowing of eyes, and the notice of it had him tugging at the beard he had once been stroking. "I would know if you are expecting company, I can...prepare to greet them for you." He stood, pushing the chair away with the back of his legs even as another servant raced forward to slide it away further.

"A warrioress does not make friends for they either cost you your life or die on you." It was flatly stated, only thing was, she was not that warrioress in heart she was so long ago, even if she still possessed the skills.

"Well said, but I did not call them friends...I called  And unless I hear from you they are on their way, then I will assume they are unexpected company, and that would not be polite of you to have unexpected company in my home." His gaze remained on her, but he nodded toward someone off to her left, hands were working at the ties of her binds.

"As I said, I was not even with them as I had come on my own." She was actually torn inside to wish for Nick to find her and at the same time, not bring him to harm on her account.

to be continued....

~ Theresa
Known to her friends as Teri, archer by skill. Bellydancer at night.
Owner of Coffee and Sweets Shoppe, Ballicastle Commons

Date: 06-09-01
Poster: Teri MacKenzie
Post # 5

Continued... Live rp (5-29-01) between NPC Chelsea, Barkley Nichols and TeriMacKenzie

Nick Douglas had caused Nichols many a frustrated evening, the entire Douglas clan for that matter, just in their continued existence.  Though, did that one, Nick Douglas step past the gates of this manor, his head would be severed from his neck and stuffed to the post to welcome any of his family who may wish to seek him out.

She tried not to breathe when he was this close, his smell she couldn't put a finger on, but it was unpleasant, like one who liked too much garlic and onions.

And chicken livers...he had quite the taste for chicken livers of late. "Chelsea will see you above for your bath, be kind to her, she's young, and has yet to have a Lady to tend.  I'd hate to find her duties for you... lacking." This leave this room to see the Lady above, would not be missed by the one Nichols took to be very intelligent in the workings of the world. "I'll stop by later to make sure everything is suitable." That black gaze dipped and swept, just imagining what was hidden behind that filth and rags.

She did swallow as the shift of her gaze was on this Chelsea, she wondered if he had abused her.

He had not the taste for veal...Barkley preferred women in his bed...Chelsea's mother though, he had enjoyed...often. A motion of head to indicate that the both of them were dismissed.

She was to her feet, swift were her movements as in a moments time she was to Chelsea, there was the softening of her gaze for only her to see. Even at her young age she would be able to tell Teri would not let harm even indirectly, come to her on her account.

Chelsea bobbed quick, up and down, then stared up to the woman with a smile.  For the most part, she chose to not see that the man her mother 'worked' for, was evil.  For this young one, all was still right with the world. "Come, M'Lady, before your water cools."

There was a nodnod as she followed her now, actually a bath might ease her sore muscles and revive her so she could hissy fit more on Barkley. The room was clean, yet sparse and one was drawn to the rather large tub in the middle. Without Barkley around she actually relaxed as she started to unlace the tunic, drawing it over her head. The lass did go to search about in a closet for another garment, and being 12 you know she would want something fancy to put on Teri, like dressing a newfound Doll.

Barkley had actually completed his meal without the ragamuffin seated across from him. When he had finished his claret, he made a slow path upwards toward the guest room.  A lean taken just outside the door.  Listening for the motion of water, and when hearing it, smiled to himself.  He'd allow her a bit

Soon the tunic laid in a heap along with the doeskin britches and ankle boots, she wore nothing underneath for she was not one to be uncomfortable. The sleek long legs took her easily to the tub as one was slid over and the other to follow as she eased down into the heaven sent warmth of the water. She slid down as knees went up breaking its surface and even her head went underneath for a few minutes.

"Oh!" This shocked the young woman, never seeing anyone dive beneath the surface of a tub before, or least, so it appeared to her.  She was quick to the side, leaving her search to make sure the lady was not drowning.

She slid back up look much like the drown rat as long tendrils of blond snaked out in the water to curl around her, looking like some exotic mermaid to a young girl like Chelsea.

With those curls of red, more so frizz then curls, this woman's long, blonde strands were very much like a mermaid in her mind. "Do you swim, Milady?" For surely, every mermaid would.  Her gaze even lowered toward her feet, just to see if she could make out any telltale signs of a sea-mistress come to land.

The smile danced then as that moss green gaze lifted to Chelsea. "I'm quite fine little lady and yes, I do swim."

"I'd like to swim." But she never had the time. "Here...I'll soap up your hair?" She hurried to a vanity, then a glass bottle was chosen and brought over to the edge of the tub.  The cork was "popped" free and she poured the thick liquid to her palm.  A bend and the bottle was set aside, even as she was lifting her palm to smell the fragrance of the shampoo.  She never used anything that smelled so lovely...only Lord Nichols' Lady's smelled this good.

There was that nodnod as she sat up more so Chelsea didn't end up in the tub with her.

She moved behind Teri, pressing her palms together, then a stroke of hands smoothed the shampoo over those locks of golden mermaid.

Her head slightly bent back exposing the soft curve of her neck, eyes had drawn close as she was enjoying this immensely, so much so she forgot where she was. She could feel all the dirt and grime, along with the stiff muscles all just fade away.

It was the soft gasp of surprise that might warn Teri, for gasp she did when the intimidating Lord stepped into the room from the hall.  "I didn't hear you coming, M'Lord."  Her hands were sudsy up to the elbows, Teri's hair full of fragrant bubbles.  The lass was having a good time and it showed with the amount of bubbles about.

There was a lifting of golden lashes then as she quickly whispered "get me a towel Chelsea, quick now"

She nodded, though it wouldn't be seen, and scurried to the chair by the vanity to get the towel and robe.

"I'll help her from here, Chelsea.  You've done well." He held out his hand, and Chelsea, had not choice, but to hand over the towel and robe to the man who was in charge of her and her family.

"She will need rinse her hair well, M'Lord." As if he was indeed taking over.

"You may leave." A flickering glance over to Teri, a smile forced, then Chelsea hiked up her skirts and fled the room.

There was a light twitch set to the delicate line of her jaw as something flashed in the depths of moss green, sparked then smoldered for now.

"Be sure to rinse your hair well, Teri." A slow stride to his steps as he crossed from the door further into the room toward Teri. "Come now...finish up." He let the towel dangle from one hand, the robe from the other, just a pace away from the tub...she'd have to get out ... to get them.

She didn't move, for right now she was covered up in bubbles.

"Or, perhaps you need help with your back? Forgive my slight, Teri...I'd be most happy to help out."

Her gaze locked with his, she was no prude and didn't have the giggly, all embarrassed way about her most women did. Instead she was up as the suds just melted away from perfect curves, even if not overly endowed the aesthetic flow of line would captivate even the most discerning critical eye.

And he had a most discerning, critical eye, his attention snagged and dragged along the glistening length of her body.

"I'm quite fine Lord....... I didn't quite catch your name." Standing there quite in natures' own had her talking as if she wore gown that covered all.

Lids became heavy over that dark gaze as he lifted his eyes to her features again.  "Barkley Nichols, Teri..." A bow, the hand with the towel finding his chest as he bent slightly over it, though not fully, he kept this woman in view.  That a servant had snagged Chelsea when she exited the room would not be shared with her yet, he'd see if she could behave herself on her own. "I do believe we have mutual friends." There was that towel offered to her, all she needed to do was step out, and step toward him.

Long blond tendrils slithered down along the curves of knolls and dips of valleys as droplets trapped to their ends in a steady drip drip as delicate fingers did snag that towel as he was "distracted" and soon found the view quite covered up now.

Pity...he rather enjoyed her defiance. It made for a much nicer view.

She was out by then as the towel did soak the dampness slowly from her skin. "Mutual Friends?" The end of the towel were twisted and snagged into the valley between her breasts to keep it in place. "I have no friends, remember?"

And it was to that spot that his gaze lowered and lingered. "Oh, I remember what you said, but a dying man rarely speaks lies. Please do not play me for the fool, Teri, I find it extremely..." And he drew in a deep breath then released it slowly. "...boring." As the last word was spoken, he lifted his gaze to

"There were many men about that night, I was too far away to see faces, only shadows and those going near the women found my arrow." There was a slight toss of her head that sent droplets to spray on him as they started to lose their hold of H2O and slightly curled now.

He took a step back, a low chuckle, though hardly amused.
But the soft scent of lavender and a mingling of sweet pea did so entice that Chelsea had used on her.

He knew she was not speaking the truth, but there were ways to gain information, and with this one, he found he was actually looking forward to it. He stepped closer, his hand lifting to dip a finger down into that valley where the towel was looped, so easily he could have tugged it free, but just ran a finger up her chest and off her chin...that last lifting her face toward him again "Rest now, Teri...breakfast is at Dawn."

There was heat trapped there between them still from the bath a warm dampness, she had all she could do not to flinch at his touch as NO one had touched her in a very long time and only one had she a mind to let. Relief flooded her but she had been well trained not to allow such to show for an enemy would use such weakness for their gain.

With that, he turned from her and started through the room, but not to the door leading out to the hall, but to an adjoining door, a look back to her with a leer, and he pulled that door open, even as a servant stepped in to pull the hall door closed. The chink of the lock turning and then, a repeat sound from that other door. He could enter at his whim from either way...and she could exit by none...had she even noticed there were no windows in this room?

So she would be lucky if she got any sleep, but she was a light sleeper and she stood rigid until he was out the door.

~ Theresa
Known to her friends as Teri, archer by skill. Bellydancer at night.
Owner of Coffee and Sweets Shoppe, Ballicastle Commons

Date: 06-09-01
Poster: Nick Douglas
Post # 6

Taken from live rp:  TeriMacKenzie, Barkley Nichols and Nick Douglas (and the npc of Chelsea)

Lord Nichols rubbed a temple with a glance toward the opened window which allowed in the afternoon breeze.  The woman above still had him confounded.  She offered over very little information and even less of anything else.  He frowned.  Yes, he could have taken that which he desired, for desirable she was, but with such strength of passion he caught from her defiance at dinner the night before, and then, following her bath...such pleasure would be gained by having her willingly give over all that which Barkley continued to mull over in his perverted mind.  Information first...seduction in the process...and then... then..this little spitting puss would be his to taste.  The sounds of steps in the hall had him looking toward the door and he stood, for he had sent Roger after the woman, and the duo of steps implied one ... was female.  The doorway filled with the lovely lass' presence, Roger nodding from behind and then as she stepped in, pulling the door closed to allow his Lordship the privacy required.

"I trust you slept well, Teri?"  Had he had his way, she would not have slept a wink the night's passing.

She had steeled her emotions as another situation had taught her, there was a time to play possum and a time to strike, knowing the difference made the difference.  She kept her expression as emotionless as possible and even managed a fake smile, even somewhat beguiling as it danced briefly.  "I slept very well"  So she lied.  Even if she caught snippets she was awake most of the time, she rested at least.

Barkley motioned to the seat across from his desk, even as he moved around it to come to stand near her.  "I'm glad to hear this. I'd have you comfortable at best.  You are...after all... a guest in my home.  You've found the lass helpful?"  The swipe of tongue over his lips was an absent gesture as his gaze dipped and slid over her, a touch almost felt such was the intesity of it.

Teri knew not to play the seductress with this one, in fact best discourage him, her steps so quick they would not allow even a sway to tease that perverted eye of his, she plopped down very unladylike then.  There was a softening for the young girl and it held in her tone.  "She is a good lass."  She never had any children of her own and it was a regret she had no control over.

"She should be."  She was a servant, and a useless servant...was ... well...useless.
He leaned a hip to the cherry desk, arms crossing over his chest.  His fingers stroked the tip of his elbow as he watched her now.  "Now...I think it's time for us to discuss a thing or two. "  He pushed away from the desk to move around behind her, she'd not see his expression change from one of casual attention to the intensity of a man possessed ... possessed with those who haunted him...and this woman...who also taunted him.

The lifting of moss green eyes were hooded under golden lashes as she prepared herself, meeting his gaze rather boldly and defiant.  She sat so very still then as he moved around her, waiting, alert.

From behind, his hands lifted, and a stroke of palm smoothed out her hair.   A cascade of touch much like the stroking of a harp.  The silky strands playing along his fingertips.

Teri was who she was as she sprang from his touch, a spring uncoiling as just as quickly she spun around and faced him, her words sneered through her teeth, the disguest livid.  "Don't..... EVER..... touch me!"

To say she hadn't caught him by surprise would be an untruth, but the man simply dropped his hands to his sides, a cant of head to her.  There would come a time...

...and move she could as she dashed around to the other side of the desk, anything picked up, first book came sailing across at him in rapid fire; quills, paper weights, even the jar of ink. 

Barkley actually chuckled, the perverted beast, for the angrier she became, the more aroused the man became.  He dodged first to the left, a dip of head and shoulders to the right.  He turned and looked back to that which she had strewn about.  "Like it messy do you, Teri?"  That grin which followed was not pleasant to look upon.  A wicked yet feral expression of a man almost beyond the point of composure.

Eyes narrowed then as like a cat ready to spring. 

Nick crouched in the window, filling the frame completely as he lifted his gaze to that which was underway, the flying objects sailing through the room, the ink well splattering against the wall right there where his hand rested to the wood frame. "I dare say, Nichols, the woman doesn't care for your company."  He stepped down from the window, the single eye of flintlock pointed toward the man as his other hand motioned Teri over. "Can't say as I
blame her."

"You!"  Barkley almost choked on the word, his face staining a mottled red and his hands clenched at his side.  How had Douglas managed to make it past his gates?  Those guards he had seen posted.  His gaze leveled and remained on the threat of that which the other man held though, that one word all he managed at the moment.

That had her attention to shoot to Nick, her heart surged then. She was just about to attack, instead of being the victim here.  She stood ready for Nick would still need her help.

"Surely you didn't think I've forgotten you, Nichols."  His chuckle was far from amused, his free hand sliding behind Teri as he took a step back toward the window.  Two of Nichols' guards had found passage toward their next lives, and Nick could only hope that he could get them both out of here before Barkley sounded the alarm and sent him and Teri on to theirs.  For...Nick stood now...pointing an empty barrel toward the man, though, Barkley Nichols would not know this.  Now wasn't the time for revenge, that would come soon enough, now all he concerned himself with, was getting Teri the hell out of here.

Teri started to move but instead of going back with Nick she sprung from her crouched position, throwing her full weight into Nichols' side and rolling then away to spring to her feet again.

Nichols was caught completely unawares by the woman's attack, and the assault sent him hurling backwards toward the chest of drawers, his back hit solid as did his head and the man, slumped, the heavy thud of body to marble floor ... out. 

This had caught Nick unprepared as well...just a muttered.  "Holy shit."  Then he looked from the form of the large man sprawled on the floor to the woman still crouched and ready to further her attack if necessary.

To be continued...

Date: 06-09-01
Poster: Nick Douglas
Post # 7

Continuation of rp between
Teri MacKenzie and Nick Douglas

Teri was fast to dash closer about to plant her foot into his face but she saw he was out  and didn't waste the time.  "Nick, he has a young girl here.. we need to get her out."

Nick glanced over his shoulder out the window.  "No...we haven't time to play heroes to all about, Teri...we must get you out of here while we can."

"She is upstairs in the third one down the hall."

"Upstairs?"   Nick shook his head, that would put them at the bigger disadvantage. 

Teri picked up a good heavy candelabra.  "He awakens he sleeps again."

Nick drew in a deep breath, the woman was ... impossible!   A nod.  There was no time to argue with the determined woman. "You go then..they will expect to see you out and about and the lass is more likely to come with you without drawing attention.  I'll be here...Go!"  That last word came as a growl as he moved to her and snatched her makeshift weapon from her hand...heavy bit of silver and he weighed the possiblity of it's use...good choice.

Teri dashed off then, avoiding guards as she found the stairs then up she went. She did pause with a quick glance down the hall, she could hear voices from another room but  none were out.  She would have to lie to the girl to get her to come and quietly.  A dash down the hall and just entered the girls room. She found her sitting at the window, daydreaming it seemed. She was there with a finger to her lips in a shhhhhh as Chelsea looked up, startled
at first.  The girl nodded, use to being commanded and didn't question that Teri didn't have such over her.

Teri's words whispered and quickly spun the lie.  "Lord Nichols asked me to fetch you and you are to be as quiet as a mouse, no matter what you see or how bazaar it might seem.  The girl moved up and Teri did have to get her to move quickly with her. She could hear the robust laughter from some of the guards down another hall which they avoided.

Nick in the meanwhile had bent and tugged the heavy deadweight of prosperous man around to the backside of the desk, only his boots extended from the edge for any to notice ... and that, only if they were intent on studying the room.  Hopefully, that would gain them some extra time.  Drawers were then pilfered as he went in search of a weapon that might do them some good, since his own, was useless at this point.

She managed them both down yet another stairwell that led to the first floor, still her caution up as other voices could be heard from the kitchen, one was drawing near so she near dragged the girl into the room and closed the door behind them again.   A quick nodnod to Nick as she kept Chelsea where she couldn't really get a good look at Nichols.

His gaze shot up from his rummaging as they returned.  At first tensed for confrontation, then he nodded back, his gaze locked to Teri's.   "Hello Lass."  A smile for the girl, though he was far from feeling that smile.

Chelsea did look scared for her young tender age but obedient she was as it might have been a pounding in her that paid off just now.

"Shall we...take a different route out?" A motion of head toward the window as he looked to Teri.

She did bend with a whispered word to comfort the girl.  "Chelsea, this is Nick, a friend."

Nick caught that name and, even with the urgency of seeing to their departure, fought to calm the lass.  "Chelsea...a lovely name for a lovely lass."  He crossed to the window.  Zephyr waited in the woods outside the gate, as well as Teri's mount.  Zephyr fully attired in his array of an arsenal if they could just make it ... that far.

A nod to Nick as she ushered Chelsea to the window, meeting up with Nick now.

"Now ... can you run like the wind, Chelsea?"  He motioned Teri on out, he'd help the little on over to her.  A moan sounded behind and Nick coughed to hide the sound, a look that they reeeeally needed to hurry now evident in his gaze to Teri.

Teri did move to the sill then leaped down.

"Here, Chelsea...I'll hand you on over to Teri.  Just slip your legs over the sill here." Nick shot a glance around his arm as he helped the young lass over the edge, no movement yet...but it was not long in coming.

She waited then helped Chelsea down the rest of the way, then made that wild dash to the woods.

Nick watched as Teri dashed off with the youngster, so very easy it would be to end it all now ... but then, where was the reward ... of easy?  He slipped his signet ring from his finger and tossed it through the room to bounce off Nichols' chest and rolled at his side.  Let him wake ... to be reminded that he had lost this time ... and would lose ultimately ... in the end.

Teri near dragged the poor girl but she didn't make a sound.  The soft nicker of the horses did draw her to where they were located as she helped the girl up onto her mount. 

He was through the window, dropping to a crouch outside, a quick look right and left and then, those long strides quickly made up the distance.  Into the cover of  trees as he looked one last time behind toward the holding, waiting to hear if a call for pursuit was issued. He stood until they were both mounted, then gave a smack to Teri's horse's muscular neck, dipping beneath to move to his. 

Her finger was touched to her lips again where Chelsea was concerned, then a  comforting smile dashed a moment as the girl had to be scared by now.

"A leisurely ride through the countryside ... it's such a glorious day to be out."  A wink shot to Teri and he slipped his boot into the stirrup, swinging his other leg over.  That shift of body which Zephyr knew and the horse bolted forward.  "Hold tight, Chelsea."  Called to the lass mounted with Teri.  

A dash of her gaze to Nick as she sent him a wink back.  Chelsea's fingers dug in to a good hold into the mane of Teri's horse as it lunged into a gallop following Nick's.

Date: 06-10-01
Poster: Trevellyn Douglas
Post # 8

Sweat beaded and splattered from the Duke's brow as he parried off a blow, lunging forward then in a series of attacks against the lad he sparred.  A growl of amusement as the fellow swatted in desperation,  stumbling backwards against the accuracy of the older man's charge.

A upward swipe. "..are you..."  The downswing and jab. "...going..."  Another volley of blows. "...lad?"  The sword made ringing contact with the other, that sting of vibration and the lad dropped his hold, diving to the ground to retrieve the weapon.

The booted foot of the Duke claimed the handle of the weapon first, holding it fast to the ground.  "Who's been training you, Lad?"  The man's hand lifted to swipe the back of his wrist to his brow and clear away the sweat which trickled along his temple though not from the exertion so much as from the heat of the afternoon.

The young man scrambled back to his feet, a slight bow to the noble. "Why Lord Nicholas, Your Grace."

The Duke shook his head, lowering his own weapon to rest at his outer thigh.  Nicholas usual trained well...and hard. Those under his tutelage rarely made the mistakes this one had made.  This had the Duke frowning in thought. "Where is he now then, Lad, do you know?"  For the man should have been out on the field with the rest, as it usually was.  But he was nowhere to be seen...none of his sons were here this afternoon to see to their practice. 

The lad was saved the Duke's lecturing and further tutelage by the arrival of a messenger.  This one had lingered on the periphery of the field, watching those who attacked each other as if their lives depended on it, then laughed and chatted as the best of friends.  When he noticed the Duke's truce reached, he started in a trot across the field toward him.

Trevellyn lifted his gaze as the youngster approached, his palm brushing along his shirt front in order to accept the parchment which was handed over.

"From his Lordship, Barkley His Grace, Alexander Trevellyn Douglas, Duke of Ashford."

Trevellyn nodded, barely hearing the mandate of names and titles. It had been some time since he had received word from Barkley, not since Tara's death when the man had made himself available should Trevellyn need the support of a long time friend.  He stood there in the field, the other lad shifting from foot to foot as he awaited the Duke's further instruction, the messenger taking on the same sort of dance as he awaited the Duke's response.

At last, Trevellyn looked up to the lad and nodded.  "You may return to Lord Nichols and inform him I will make haste to arrive.  There are but a few matters I will need to see to first."  That one was dismissed with a wave of hand.

With that, he folded the parchment again and tucked it in his waistband.  "Go find that churl who claims to be training you." Shot to the other one, then Trevellyn's long strides carried him from the field.  First he would clean up, then let his family know that he planned to pay a call on Lord Nichols.

Date: 06-10-01
Poster: Barkley Nichols
Post # 9

Where was he?

Barkley turned that ring over and over in his hand, his anger mounting every time the signet made its appearance then turned from his view.  He had sent for Martin what seemed hours ago, and still, the man had not come.  Again, he turned the ring, his jaw tensed and his teeth squeaked as he grit them in rage.

At last, the door opened. Barkley's gaze lifted from the symbol of all that now held his hatred to the one entering.  "Where the hell have you been?"   With that, the ring was hurled across the room, and had the man not dodged to the side, would have caught him square between the eyes.  As it was though, it slammed to the wall out in the corridor, and rolled away out of view.

"I came as soon as I received word you wished to speak with me."  This attack by the Lord of the Manor did not seem to faze the man and he entered further into the room, a reach back to close the door.  He crossed to the cabinet where he stored away his finest collection of brandy.  From there, a glass was poured.

Barkley watched the man as he saw to himself, waiting for the time being until the attention was returned.

"Danielle Douglas."  The only words spoken when the man turned back to Barkley.

"A lovely lass."  A slight inclination of head with the woman's name.

"You are aware she should be dead?"

Martin only shrugged, that wasn't his doing.  Had Nichols sent him out to see to the deed rather than that simpleton Dunford, they wouldn't be having this discussion.

Seeing the shrug of dismissal from Martin, Barkley leaned forward to his desk.  "I want you to bring her to me."

Martin held his glass up toward the light streaming in from the open window, taking in the color of the brandy in his glass, then a twist of wrist sent the liquid swirling around the snifter and he bent his nose to it.  All this, while he knew Barkley waited.

"Am I to see the deed done prior to her arrival...or do you wish her here to see to it yourself?"  Then, he sampled the liquid, knowing that which he would consume would be beyond reproach.   A smile found his lips as he lowered the glass ... indeed it was.

"Just bring her here, I have other plans.  I've sent a message to the Duke for him to join me for dinner.  Unless his son has gotten to him first, he will no doubt oblige me.  Having him and Danielle here, will give me the two aces needed in this game Nick Douglas wishes to play."

"Nick Douglas does not play at games?"  They both knew that the man was the one responsible for the deaths of two of their closest allies and that idiot Dunford.

"Oh, he plays...but he has just lost his trump, Martin.  I now know who he is...and that which he holds dear."  The Lady Teri was another he would see to claim, again, if these two did not have the man handing over his head willingly on a platter...and a silver one at that.

Martin bowed toward the man, though his action was one more to acknowledge his cunning then out of respect.  "The woman shall be within your walls before nightfall."


"Trevellyn Douglas will not be easily managed if he finds you were involved in the death of his wife.  Nor...if he finds you've taken control of his 'Angel'."

"If Trevellyn Douglas knew of my involvement with such, he would have been storming the manor and making his rage known.   Not like his son, who has me tensing at every creak of house, damn him."

"Mortimer is gone...that leaves...only you."

"Aye, I know."  A growl of such loathing that it was barely heard.  "But with the knowing of it, I can prepare...and wage my counterattack.  Thus...the lovely Danielle."

Martin only shrugged again.   "I'll see to your needs, you just see that the funds are transferred to me before Nick Douglas comes to make 'amends' for his past deeds."

Barkley snorted with that. "You sound as if you doubt I can handle the likes of that sniveling youngster."

"I have no opinions.  I just wish my pockets lined.   So ... see the funds transferred, Nichols ... and the lass is yours as requested."

Date: 06-12-01
Poster: Danielle Douglas
Post # 10

Danielle passed the shop, then stopped, and took those few steps back.  A lean toward the window as her hand lifted to block the glare of the afternoon sun.  Jasper and Manfred both paused as well, moving up to stand beside her, their arms piled high with boxes already.

"Look there."  Her finger pressed to the glass now to indicate the tiny crystal object no larger than a thimble.  "It's a chicken."  The smile she beamed to the two men looked for all the world like ... trouble.

"That it is, Milady."  Jasper looked to Manfred with a shake of head.

She had seen that look from the reflection of the glass and laughed softly.  "Go on ahead, you two.  I'll be but a minute."

"By, Milady...what need have you of a crystal chicken?"  It was Manfred's turn to speak up.  He was a warrior...not the best shopping companion.  Though of late, it seemed all his duties entailed.

"Never you mind...go on ahead to the carriage.  I'll be on as soon as I take a look at that."

"Aye, Milady."  They both knew better than to insist she continue on, for this Lady who held their loyalty...was, if anything, strong willed.

She paused only for the amount of time it took to glance up to the sign above the door, then her hand found the latch and she entered.  Chad would this night find that crystal "chicken" on his nightstand.  A miscellaneously given gift ... but would there be any doubt as to who was the giver?

She made her path straightaway to the proprietor of the shop, and her request was presented, then she waited as he disappeared to wrap the small token of her ... affection.  The front door opened again with the jingle of a strategically placed bell and with nothing else to keep her attention, she shifted her gaze to the gentleman entering.

This man wasted no time in coming to her side.  "Good afternoon, Milady Douglas."

Brows already well arched lifted all the more.  "We...are acquainted, Sir?"  Danielle rarely forgot a face, but this one, she did not recognize.

"We have a mutual acquaintance...your brother, Lord Stephen Nicholas Douglas."  And with that, he handed her an envelope.

Danielle accepted the note, turning it over to find the insignia from her brother's ring pressed to the wax which sealed the message.  She looked up to the man.  "Is all well?"

"Lord Douglas will be expecting your arrival, My should not keep him waiting."

No, no one should keep Nick Douglas waiting.  Danielle looked back to where the shop owner had disappeared, then back to the man.  "I'll leave at once.  If you'll have the owner of this establishment send that package to his Highness, Chadrick McAndrews of Ballicastle?"

The man shook his head slowly. "No.  I need travel with you, to assure...your arrival."

Danielle's stomach had tensed.  Nicholas sending a message, and a messenger, made her nervous.  Something was wrong ... and she must be on her way.   "Sir!"  Called to the man hidden from view.  "You will see that package delivered to Ballicastle!  King Chadrick McAndrews!"

The man stuck his head around the corner. By the motion of his body, he seemed to still be about his business of packaging that fragile piece. "Aye, My Lady...It shall arrive today."

"Very good."  A smile for him, but that smile faded as she turned to the other man.  "I will just let my guards know...."

Again, the man was shaking his head, the movement interrupting her words.  "There is no time for that."  And it was his turn to call to the shop owner.  "Proprietor! When you have completed your task, you will let this lady's guards know that she has gone to ... meet her brother."

"Aye!"  Came the sound of the voice, though no show of body this time.

Danielle pressed the message to her chest with a nod of head to the man.  "Then let us away and with no further hesitation.  Lead the way, Sir."  She'd read the sealed message once in the carriage on her way to Nick.

Her concern was such that she did not notice he lead her out through the side door or that he was smiling as he slipped bindings from the concealment of his waist coat.

Date: 06-13-01
Poster: Malcolm A Douglas
Post # 11

They had ridden hard and fought hard that night, and when all was said and done, it was not the brothers grim that laid dead but four others. One of whom was Mortimer. Other than the clang of sword meeting sword and the muted sounds of a fatal pierce, the night remained quiet. As they had come so had they left in the cover of darkness, leaving death in their wake.

His expression stoic as the new day was brought, the cleansing process of such afterwards was always the hardest. He was not a man that liked taking the lives of others but certain circumstances sometimes left a man no choice. This was one of them. It was on this day he received word that his father was setting out to see Nichols himself unknown what this man really was to him. The cursing once alone would have blazed anyone's ears as to the explicit context it held. He had one stop to make before he headed out on the heels of his father. Propriety had been set to the side so far for the Douglas' took care of their own. The fact was they were not on their own turf but on Ballicastle's and this breech of keeping the king here in the dark would scream a revenge of its own if kept so.

Chadrick was the closest in age to him and they had grown up as brothers. The years had separated them in the ruins that long ago war had reaped and both families had to rebuild, taking them apart. It was now they had sought to reestablish that bond and if things were left to proceed as they were it could be broken forever. There was a foreboding that hung like a heavy unseen veil over the immediate future as he stepped into Chadrick's office. Some
of the weight had been lifted from his shoulders as at least one wrong had been set to right in this disclosure. He knew Chadrick would not interfere unless he was called to task to do such in how the events unfolded. The point was, he knew now and if there was a backlash to fall upon Ballicastle and the McAndrews he would be prepared. He left it to Chadrick's discretion of which of his brothers he would confide in or not.

He then prepared for battle, in mindset and the weaponry hidden upon his person, instead of the meeting of family friend. The only visible weapon was the sword that hung at his side. His life was at the disposal of his family and if he was to go down, he would do so fighting to his last breath. His steed was brought around as he left the confines of Ballicastle. Quickly mounted his heels soon sunk into his sides and had him leaving at a gallop to now
make up for the couple hours spent in the conference with Chadrick. He hoped to catch up with Nick in particular as the two of them now seemed to be in the deepest heat of this, still, it was his choosing and he would have it no other way. It was one of the reasons he had not gotten involved with any as he couldn't even promise to be alive another day to keep any promises made. He had allowed himself to make certain friends but with the unfolding of
events of late, he now wondered if even that had been wise. Such thoughts were not to be dwelled upon before battle so he cleared his mind for now of any distractions and set it upon one thing - covering his brother's back as he had been requested by Nick to allow him this battle alone wiht Nichols. If Nick should fail, which was highly unlikely, then it would be his turn and he would not. Nichol's time was short at hand, the only matter of concern
was keeping Nick, his father and the rest of his family alive.

Malcolm Alexander Douglas
"To desire is to want, to want is to need, to neither want nor desire leaves a happier man."

Date: 06-13-01
Poster: Keifer Douglas
Post # 12

He had been taking a swim when he noticed his brother taking off like a shot thru the field, something was wrong with Malcolm, and if he had to guess it had to do with his sister and fathers long absence.  Swimming quickly to the bank he removed his clothes from the ground dressing as fast as he could, making sure the sword was sheath and adjusted at his side.  Placing his dagger back within his boot, he tugged his earring once as he vaulted upon the horse kicking the sides to have him race after Malcolm.

His thoughts were on the battle Sean had fought so long ago, and he knew he would make his dead brother proud and fight by his Malcolm's side this day if needed. With his head lowered a bit he spoke for the steed to move faster, his feet kicking him again as he noticed his brothers horse dead ahead of him, knowing if his father or sister were in trouble, he too would die for each of them.

In his mind he thought of Danielle, of her funny ways, of her soft soul.  His father's proud ways, stern but a man he admired and loved.  If anyone harmed a hair on either one of them, they would feel the kiss of his blade thru their very heart.

He knew he was gaining on Malcolm, but he would not call out.  One thing he learned from all the men in his family, never call out if you feel there is danger about, so he continued, knowing Malcolm would feel his own blood near and not an enemy.

Keifer Donavan Douglas
Fifth Son to Trevellyn and Tara Douglas

Every decision everything we chose, has a consequence whether we win or lose

Date: 06-13-01
Poster: Thomas Douglas
Post # 13

He had found Kimber and she appeared to be quite well to his delight. The time they had shared since finding her left him feeling happier then he had in years and he hated to leave her, but those cornflower blues spotted Keifer moving like a thief in the night, what was he up to?

He gave Kimber a tender kiss, telling her he would find her soon. Leaving her in the glen and having no time to retrieve Silver, Thom tracked Keifer on foot. Thomas was an excellent tracker and the torn up brush Keifer left made it all the more easier.

In his haste he had not felt the danger which was probably for the best since he needed his mind clear but when he finally caught up with Keifer the feeling hit him like a ton of bricks. Something was terribly wrong and in his absense, apparently there was trouble he was not told of.

It was then he remember the last time he saw his father, Pops seemed alittle on edge when Thom had asked to walk with him, even Keifer kept shooting him looks. Well he had his claymore and his bootdagger. Whatever was to happen next Thomas would be prepared.

Thomas Keegan Douglas
"Neutrals never dominate events. They always sink. Blood alone moves the wheels of history."

Date: 06-14-01
Poster: Mary A McAndrews
Post # 14

She might of kept to her suite of rooms in the North Tower but that didn't mean she didn't know all that was going on in the castle under her. Trev's coming to visit did bring her out of her shell in more ways then one. Old friends had a tendency to do such when one needed them. Mary had been watching them.

She had donned plain riding clothes and even tied up her hair under hat, she looked all the world for some lad unless someone got close enough and saw the small lines that decorated the corners of her eyes telling of her age. At least they had seen smiles lately. She managed to escape her guards, she could always had she wanted to. A dapple gray had been brought around as she was helped up upon the mount.

It had been awhile since Mary had ridden but she would get the hang of it quickly enough as she started off in the direction she had seen Malcolm take, feeling it would lead her to Trev and the rest.

Date: 06-15-01
Poster: Trevellyn Douglas
Post # 15

Taken from live rp between
Trevellyn Douglas, Barkley Nichols and Danielle Douglas

Trevellyn had been shown to the East salon where he waited now for Barkley to join him.  He stood with arms behind his back, that casual rock to booted heels ever so often while he watched the workings of the manor from the window where he stood.  In order to appease Keifer, and perhaps for his own peace of mind, he had three guards accompany him and, as the Duke had thought, met with no malice along the road.  Upon arriving, he had dispatched those men to the guard house so that they could find some refreshment and whatever gaming was available. This was Barkley Nichols' holding ... there would be no trouble within these familiar walls.


Trevellyn's head snapped up and he turned, brows raised in surprise to find Danielle rushing through the room toward him.  "Angel."  His arm extended to gather her to his side even as his head dipped and he pecked a kiss to her forehead. "What are you doing here?"

"A heartwarming sight."  Barkley Nichols had entered just behind Danielle, witnessing the reunion.

Danielle had looked up to her father with a brief shake of her head. 

His Angel had that look of a frightened doe about her and that motion of head had the Duke frowning when he looked up to Barkley.  "What is the meaning of this, Nichols?"  Brows puckered all the more as two guards, fully armed, stepped in to take up posts there by the door.  A sudden surge of adrenaline snapped his senses to full awareness.

Barkley Nichols crossed the room with leisurely steps, coming to stand by father and daughter.  The demand for an explanation ignored as his hand extended to greet his 'friend', but was the action more so a test then that of actual respect? "Glad you could make it on such short notice, Trevellyn."

Trevellyn nudged Danielle around to stand protected behind his broad shoulder and then, in a show of "good faith", that tight grip was presented in return.  "I had no reason to doubt your suggested need for expedience."

"You have always been the loyal friend, Your Grace."  Barkley bowed low over their clasped hands.  His words just didn't ring true, his actions ... though appropriate ... lacked authenticity. 

That show of reverence allowed the Duke to shoot a glance around his shoulder to his daughter, his arm pressed to her as if a wall against any possible danger.  Though when Barkley stood, the man wouldn't know that the Duke hadn't had his attention the entire time.  He pulled his hand free from the other's hold. "Never a reason to be otherwise, Barkley.  Trust is a fragile thing, is it not?  Once broken, it can rarely be repaired.  And even if so, the link weak where the sealed crack remains.  I guard that possession with great care.  As I guard...most of my most precious possessions."

Danielle remained silent as her father spoke, her body pressed to his back, her hand resting on his side.  Beneath that waist coat she felt the poniard which he carried mostly for show.  But the blade was long...and sharp...and the weapon in absence of any other could be quite handy.  Her gaze shot upward.  Was that a nod of sorts from her father?  And if her?  Or to something that Lord Nichols had commented on?  Her palm ran along his back, slipping beneath his coat and fingers laced around the jeweled handle, slow withdrawal had the blade pulled free of sheath and in her grasp.  She switched her gaze from the back of her father's head to Nichols...her father didn't even flinch, and Nichols seemed so intent on studying the Duke, he saw not a thing. Behind the cover of her father's broad frame, she slipped it up beneath her sleeve. 

Barkley chuckled - so void of good humor was that sound that the guards at the door even shifted in their stance.  "Let us not linger by the window, aye? Come, both of you, sit, and we'll visit for a while." 

The Duke started forward, then stopped, turning to Danielle.  "You look a mess, Lass.  What have you been about to come to this house in such disarray."  His voice was stern, the words tinged with the sharp edge of reprimand so very much like Trevellyn Douglas where propriety was concerned, but the gaze lowered to his daughter where Barkley could not see was filled with concern...and a silent command to obey. 

That which she would have done no matter the need for silence for she trusted her father completely.  To find him here when she had been brought gagged and tied to Lord Nichols was a relief in itself, and yet, more cause for concern.  All that had happened nearly a decade ago, there in the dark of late night, along that country road, as a carriage sped away from the men giving chase, came back to her in vivid detail seeing her father standing there by the window.  Her heart was pounding so in her chest she knew that her father could hear it...and most likely Nichols.  She nodded to the Duke, the faintest of motions to let him know, whatever he wished, she would do.

"You will go and make yourself presentable, Danielle. I'll not have you disgracing Lord Nichols with this ragamuffin appearance."  He turned his gaze to Barkley then, even as he started to escort her toward the door.  "Have you a room where my daughter could ... freshen up?"  Get her out of here.  She was now somewhat armed.  His sons knew where he was headed ... that was ... if they received his message.  Perhaps he was overreacting. Perhaps it had been such a long time since he faced any real danger that he now felt the need for caution where none was required.  Though...something in Barkley's manner...just didn't seem right.  

Nichols hesitated, his own desire to have them both in the same room should Nick or any of his brothers decide to join them almost outweighed the need to have Trevellyn oblivious to any threat, at least for now.  He nodded toward one of the guards, dismissing him to see to Danielle.  "See her she can do as her father wishes." 

A low bow was presented to Lord Nichols then the stern guard motioned for Danielle to exit. 

All right, so Danielle had thought to do just as her father wished but she hadn't known that would mean leaving his side.  She needed to tell him how she had arrived, that there was foul play afoot, but the Duke was pushing her away with that sturdy hand toward the door.  Her own hand lifted and she gripped his, giving it a squeeze, but she remained silent, her gaze locked to his in the attempt for him to read her mind...please! Please read her mind! Then that green gaze shifted to Barkley, and luckily, he had turned to make his way to one of the chairs and had missed that look.  For, though mingled with apprehension, was filled with hatred and the need to see that one ... dead.  She did, after all, possess the same blood as her brothers.  The pieces
had fallen into place, and the need to see the puzzle completed ... was great.

Trevellyn drew from every resource he had to allow Danielle to slip from his grip, just a nod to her and he turned then in dismissal, making his way toward Barkley.  He was unarmed ... his sword given to one of his guards so as not to insult the Lord of the Manor, his dagger now in the capable hands of his daughter. The Duke lifted his gaze to move through the room, every inch of it searched before he reached Barkley.  He didn't sit though, since Barkley remained standing, that man's hand resting to the back of the chair when the Duke approached.  A lift of chin in way of a nod to his once revered friend. "Barkley, your request for me to come was this to be a visit for business?  Or pleasure?" 

Once again Lord Nichols chuckled, there was a shrug of shoulder which implied nonchalance. "As I see it, a bit of both, Trevellyn."  With that, he motioned with his hand for the guard to leave them.  The order followed immediately though Barkley knew that one would wait just outside the room. 

The door clicked closed ... shutting the two men off from the rest of the manor.

Date: 06-15-01
Poster: Keifer Douglas
Post # 16

He heard Thomas approach, and quickly stopped his steed, jumping off it in one fluid motion.  Something just was not right, and he could sense it the way Malcolm had taken off.  Almost to his Malcolm's side, he motioned for Thomas to hurry, knowing something was about to happen, what he did not know. "Malcolm, still can out run me, eh?"  His fingers brushed the tip of the handle to his sword, knowing if any harm had befallen upon his father or sister, the sword would indeed see blood this day.

Thoughts of the one left behind at Heathfield only made him shake his head, he needed a clear mind, with no distractions, for family came first to him, and nothing, absolutely nothing would stand in his way now.

Keifer Donavan Douglas
Fifth Son to Trevellyn and Tara Douglas
Every decision everything we chose, has a consequence whether we win or lose

Date: 06-15-01
Poster: Thomas Douglas
Post # 17

Thomas was about ready to give his runt of a brother a cuff to the back of his head, the boy was motioning for him to hurry? He was on foot for hades sake. But he would deal with Keif later, some time ago Thom realized exactly where they were headed.

Nichols holdings, nope this sure wasn't good, after what happened with Teri, Thom could only assume this was much worse. He made not a sound when he finally reached Keif and Malcolm looking ready to kill anyone that got in his way. With one look his brothers knew he was ready for battle.

And so he waited patiently for the elder of the three to give out his orders...

Thomas Keegan Douglas
"Neutrals never dominate events. They always sink. Blood alone moves the wheels of history."

Date: 06-16-01
Poster: Nick Douglas
Post # 18

The dark veil of night would normally have hid the landscape from view. This morning though, the sun shone bright in the sky, the distant mountains obscured by the haze of summer.  Birds of the field took flight even before the one on horseback arrived.  The chaotic flutter of wings as they panicked in their way with the uneasiness of one approaching.  That which gave a hunter the advantage.  The sport was not for fowl today though. 

Nick had come, every day since Teri had been taken and now released, studying, timing, memorizing ... he knew the routine of Nichols' holding probably even better than the Lord of the House did.   He could slip easily into the manor now, make his entrance and see his purpose served.  But Nick wished not to sneak much better to simply walk into the thick of guards and servants.  Easily stopped if those properly protected their Lord, and yet,
him not even caused to linger overly long. That...was how he planned to make his way to Barkley Nichols.

The thicket now upon him, Nick pulled rein on the roan.  Zephyr remained with McMillian today and Nick rode the mount who saw to his everyday needs.  He didn't carry all the weaponry of his ‘trade', just that sword at his side, the dagger in his boot, the pack tied to his saddle.  He straightened in the stirrups, then swung his leg over, landing with ease on the ground.  The reins were looped over a low hanging branch and then, the sack tugged free
from the saddle.  Nick snaked his way through the grove to the other side of the small grouping of trees to watch the workings of Barkley's manor and time his entrance.  For tonight, Barkley would meet the Devil.  Justice demanded its reward.

As the hours advanced to those of afternoon, he had no idea that his brothers met across the way within the cover of forest to the North of Barkley's holding, or that his father had entered that way while Nick planned to make use of the Southern gates.   Nick had noted the carriage's Nichols meant to entertain tonight?  All the better. Everyone would be about their duties and little heed would be given to another seeking refuge from the
late afternoon's heat.   Had he known that his sister  traveled within that carriage as Nichols' honored 'guest' , he may not have continued with such rational thinking.

The thud of horse's hooves brought his attention around and he pushed off from the lean against a tree, tossing that long blade of grass aside that he had been fiddling with. A quick pace laced his way back through the thick cover of undergrowth and in the distance, he saw the lad approaching on horseback through the very field he had taken.  For all appearances a lad, but as Douglas blues squinted to the advancing form, there was just
something...different...about this one.

Nick stepped from the cover of trees, his hand lifting to halt the rider and find out his intent since this was not the usual path for visitors to the manor house of Barkley Nichols. 

The action spooked the horse that the fellow pushed onward with purpose.  The dappled gray reared and danced to the side, jerking the lad's head and the cap falling to the ground.  Long tresses of gold flowed down over ‘his' shoulders. 

She was recognized immediately, and though the realization took Nick by surprise, on impulse he bowed low over his arm.  "My Queen."

Date: 06-16-01
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 19

Life seemed to move on day by day without too much of a difference other than the usual humdrum. It was always amazing how such a sea of tranquility could not only be disrupted but its whole course changed in a matter of moments. Such happened to Mike two eves past.

He happened on Brandy and Kimber at the pond near the Celtic Gardens. Of course the teasing commenced as they tried to get him as wet and muddied as they were. They didn't succeed but still the course of his life changed that night. In the process of the banter of words and unspoken challenges he drew Brandy up into a kiss that ended up surprising both of them in how it changed friendship into something more. He felt it and he knew she felt it. It
was now something they needed to explore.

On that very eve he also found out about their concern for Kimber's Thomas. He learned now that the Douglas brothers had all headed out, one following the other. Kimber was besides herself with worry as well as Brandy was over the brothers. He made them a promise he would go to ensure their safety, specifically Thomas.

The following day Brandy insisted on placing a good luck charm around his neck and so now he wore a locket held by a blue ribbon around his neck. He had stopped to talk with Chadrick soon afterwards and between the two they put the picture together. It was then they discovered not only Danielle missing but their mother. An alarm went out to all the brothers as Michael mounted up immediately and set out towards the Nichols holding for all directions of those reported seen had been heading in that direction. Chad would be on his heels and even Michael was concerned about the fury that was seen there in his eyes. He had a sword strapped to his side but Michael's real abilities were of a different quality even if he would not use them unless absolutely necessary. The horse barely mounted before he took off at a gallop knowing troops would be heading behind him along with most of his brothers if they could be located in time.

^^*^^ Michael McAndrews ^^*^^
Seventh of 9 Princes of Ballicastle
"The Guardian"

Date: 06-16-01
Poster: Chadrick McAndrews
Post # 20

The conversations held between both Malcolm and then Michael had his concern growing in leaps and bounds. All seemed to formulate and congeal into a matter of dire importance. Mike and he had made the rounds as it was discovered that Danielle and even their mother were missing. Actually most were gone now, including all of the Douglas brothers.

Mike left immediately as Chad shouted orders getting a troop together as within a half hour he was heading out with about 50 men behind him on such a given short notice. His fury was great and he had to admit the biggest spark was over Danielle. It took every ounce of training to keep his head clear for the emotions such evoked. They were headed for the Nichols holding at a gallop.

hhh Chadrick McAndrews hhh
King of Ballicastle

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